Book of the Week | Losing the Light by Andrea Dunlop

TITLE: Losing the Light

AUTHOR: Andrea Dunlop

PUBLISHER: Washington Square Press

RELEASE DATE: February 23, 2016

GENRE: Fiction, Adult Fiction, Contemporary

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N

A smart, obsessive debut novel about a young woman studying abroad who becomes caught up in a seductive French world—and a complex web of love and lust.

When thirty-year-old Brooke Thompson unexpectedly runs into a man from her past, she’s plunged headlong into memories she’s long tried to forget about the year she spent in France following a disastrous affair with a professor.

As a newly arrived exchange student in the picturesque city of Nantes, young Brooke develops a deep and complicated friendship with Sophie, a fellow American and stunning blonde, whose golden girl façade hides a precarious emotional fragility. Sophie and Brooke soon become inseparable and find themselves intoxicated by their new surroundings—and each other.

But their lives are forever changed when they meet a sly, stylish French student, Veronique, and her impossibly sexy older cousin, Alex. The cousins draw Sophie and Brooke into an irresistible world of art, money, decadence, and ultimately, a disastrous love triangle that consumes them both. And of the two of them, only one will make it home. (Description from Goodreads) 

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Book Review | The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

BOOK REVIEW | THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE

TITLE: The Winemaker’s Wife

AUTHOR: Kristin Harmel

PUBLISHER: Gallery Books

RELEASE DATE: August 13, 2019

GENRE: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

PRE-ORDER LINKS: AMAZON | INDIEBOUND | B&N

The author of the “engrossing” (People) international bestseller The Room on Rue Amélie returns with a moving story set amid the champagne vineyards of northern France during the darkest days of World War II, perfect for fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale.

Champagne, 1940: Inès has just married Michel, the owner of storied champagne house Maison Chauveau, when the Germans invade. As the danger mounts, Michel turns his back on his marriage to begin hiding munitions for the Résistance. Inès fears they’ll be exposed, but for Céline, half-Jewish wife of Chauveau’s chef de cave, the risk is even greater—rumors abound of Jews being shipped east to an unspeakable fate.

When Céline recklessly follows her heart in one desperate bid for happiness, and Inès makes a dangerous mistake with a Nazi collaborator, they risk the lives of those they love—and the champagne house that ties them together.

New York, 2019: Liv Kent has just lost everything when her eccentric French grandmother shows up unannounced, insisting on a trip to France. But the older woman has an ulterior motive—and a tragic, decades-old story to share. When past and present finally collide, Liv finds herself on a road to salvation that leads right to the caves of the Maison Chauveau. (Description from NetGalley)

MY THOUGHTS

Yes…I finished another historical fiction book revolved around WWII. I’ve read several at this point and each one has a unique story to tell about this tragic war. Kristin Harmel’s, The Winemaker’s Wife focuses on two winemaking couples involved in the French resistance and how their lives impact a woman in present day.

The story is told from the perspective of three characters: Ines, Celine, and Liv

Liv’s story is set in present day. She’s just been divorced, her ex-husband has left her with nothing, and she’s feeling lost. So her grandmother Edith whisks her away to Paris to get her mind off of things, but her grandmother also has something important she needs to tell Liv. It’s something that will change Liv’s life forever.

Ines and Celine’s characters are set during the war. Ines is the wife of the owner of Maison Chauveau and Celine is the wife of the Chauveau’s chef de cave. Both women have many internal struggles with what’s going on with the war and the actions they are taking. Some of these actions are dangerous and hurt the ones they love.

I really enjoyed this book. It captured another facet of the war that I didn’t know much about and with each passing moment you can feel the danger increasing for Ines, Celine, and their husband’s. While there is a lot of danger, there’s still a lot of love within the book too. I don’t want to give anything away, but essentially love can grow in unexpected places even during the worst of times.

Everything comes together in Liv’s present day timeline. While the ending is sad to think about, I believe it was a perfect ending. It was emotional in so many ways. Towards the end I was thinking of all the different ways this book could have gone, but I’m happy with the way it turned out.

Overall, I would highly recommend The Winemaker’s Wife to those who like historical fiction and women’s fiction. A 5 star for me!

OVERALL RATING

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | TWITTER

Kristin Harmel is an international bestselling novelist whose books have been translated into numerous languages and are sold all over the world. A former reporter for People magazine, Kristin has also freelanced for many other publications, including American Baby, Men’s Health, Glamour, Woman’s Day, Travel + Leisure, and more.

Her latest novels — The Room on Rue Amélie, The Sweetness of Forgetting, The Life Intended, How to Save a Life, and When We Meet Again — are out now from Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster. Her latest, The Winemaker’s Wife, a World War II tale of love, family, and betrayal set in the rolling vineyards of Champagne, France, is due out in August 2019 from Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster.

Kristin grew up in Peabody, Mass.; Worthington, Ohio; and St. Petersburg, Fla., and she graduated with a degree in journalism (with a minor in Spanish) from the University of Florida. After spending time living in Paris, she now lives in Orlando, Fla., with her husband and young son. (Bio from Author Website)

Thank you to Gallery Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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Book of the Week | Mercy Road by Ann Howard Creel

TITLE: Mercy Road

AUTHOR: Ann Howard Creel

PUBLISHER: Lake Union Publishing

RELEASE DATE: November 19, 2019

GENRE: Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction

PRE-ORDER LINKS: AMAZON

Inspired by the true story of the World War I American Women’s Hospital, Mercy Road is a novel about love, courage, and a female ambulance driver who risks everything.

In 1917, after Arlene Favier’s home burns to the ground, taking her father with it, she must find a way to support her mother and younger brother. If she doesn’t succeed, they will all be impoverished. Job opportunities are scarce, but then a daring possibility arises: the American Women’s Hospital needs ambulance drivers to join a trailblazing, all-female team of doctors and nurses bound for war-torn France.

On the front lines, Arlene and her fellow ambulance drivers work day and night to aid injured soldiers and civilians. In between dangerous ambulance runs, Arlene reunites with a childhood friend, Jimmy Tucker, now a soldier, who opens her heart like no one before. But she has also caught the attention of Felix Brohammer, a charismatic army captain who harbors a dark, treacherous secret.

To expose Brohammer means risking her family’s future and the promise of love. Arlene must make a choice: stay in the safety of silence or take the greatest chance of her life. (Description from NetGalley.com) 

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Book Review | All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio

BOOK REVIEW | ALL THE FLOWERS IN PARIS

TITLE: All the Flowers in Paris

AUTHOR: Sarah Jio

PUBLISHER: Ballantine Books

RELEASE DATE: August 13, 2019

GENRE: Historical Fiction

PRE-ORDER LINKS: AMAZON | INDIEBOUND

Two women are connected across time by the city of Paris, a mysterious journal, and shocking secrets, sweeping from World War II to the present–for readers of Sarah’s Key.

When Caroline wakes up in a Paris hospital with no memory of her past, she’s confused to learn that she’s lived a sad, reclusive life for years in a sprawling apartment on the Seine. Slowly regaining vague memories of a man and young child, she vows to piece her life back together–though she can’t help but feel she may be in danger. A budding friendship with the chef of a charming nearby restaurant takes her mind off of her foggy past, as does a startling mystery from decades prior…

In Nazi-occupied Paris, young widow Celine lives a quiet life with her father, the local florist, and her daughter, Cosi. When a ruthless German officer discovers the family’s Jewish ancestry, he blackmails Celine, forcing her to become his mistress in exchange for the others’ safety. The trio plans an escape, but their mission goes horribly awry and Celine’s beloved father and daughter are sent away to a cruel fate. Initially distraught, Celine fears the worst. Yet she soon discovers that Cosi has snuck away and followed her into captivity. More motivated than ever, Celine must now fight to hide and protect the person she loves most.

Parallel timelines intersect when Caroline discovers Celine’s diary tucked away in a closet, and it is revealed that the walls of her apartment harbor dark secrets. With the help of a local student from the Sorbonne, she realizes that she may have more in common with Celine than she could ever imagine. (Description from Goodreads)

MY THOUGHTS

I’m happy to say I was not disappointed in All the Flowers in Paris during the historical fiction kick I’m on. Sarah Jio captured a heart breaking story that I’m certain could have truly taken place during the war. I cried several times as I followed the characters Celine and Caroline.

First, we follow the character Celine who is a single mother in occupied Paris and her father is part Jewish, so you can imagine the struggles this family faces. Celine suffered so much and did so while protecting her young daughter.

However, we get another perspective through the character Caroline, who’s story takes place decades later when she discovers letters that Celine had written to the man she loved. It is Celine’s story that helps Caroline through her own personal tragedy.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I’d like to know when this is going to become a movie, so I can cry my eyes out all over again!

OVERALL RATING

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | TWITTER

Sarah Jio is the New York Times bestselling author of ALWAYS, published by Random House (Ballantine), as well as seven other novels from Penguin Books, including, THE VIOLETS OF MARCH, THE BUNGALOW, BLACKBERRY WINTER, THE LAST CAMELLIA, MORNING GLORY, GOODNIGHT JUNE, and THE LOOK OF LOVE. Sarah is also a journalist who has contributed to The New York Times, Glamour, O, The Oprah Magazine, Glamour, SELF, Real Simple, Fitness, Marie Claire, and many others. She has appeared as a commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition. Her novels are translated into more than 25 languages. Sarah lives in Seattle with her three young boys. (Bio from Goodreads)

Thank you to Ballantine Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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Book of the Week | The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

TITLE: The Lovely Bones

AUTHOR: Alice Sebold

PUBLISHER: Little, Brown and Company

RELEASE DATE: September 1, 2006

GENRE: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N

The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family’s need for peace and closure.

The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished.

Sebold creates a heaven that’s calm and comforting, a place whose residents can have whatever they enjoyed when they were alive — and then some. But Susie isn’t ready to release her hold on life just yet, and she intensely watches her family and friends as they struggle to cope with a reality in which she is no longer a part. To her great credit, Sebold has shaped one of the most loving and sympathetic fathers in contemporary literature. (Description from Goodreads) 

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Book Review | The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney

BOOK REVIEW | THE PERFECT WIFE

AUTHOR: JP Delaney

PUBLISHER: Ballantine Books

RELEASE DATE: August 6th 2019

GENRE: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Fiction

PRE-ORDER LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | INDIEBOUND

A missing woman receives a second chance at life, thanks to her billionaire husband–but the consequences are deadly in this gripping psychological thriller from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Girl Before.

Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s an icon of the tech world, the founder of a lucrative robotics company. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago, and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss. She is a miracle of science.

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives–and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago? (Description from Goodreads)

MY THOUGHTS

Thank you to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine for providing a copy of this book for an honest review. Copy provided on NetGalley.com 

I’m intentionally going to try to be vague since this book hasn’t been published yet and I don’t want to spoil anything for other readers.

I believe that this book was missing a genre in the description. It’s definitely a suspense/thriller, but there’s also a hint of Sci-Fi. Now, I’m not a huge fan of Sci-Fi and I was drawn to this book because of the cover, the description, and the suspense aspect of it. If I had known ahead of time that this was also Sci-Fi I may not have started reading, but I’m glad I did.

The Sci-Fi part didn’t slap you in the face all the time. It was woven perfectly into the story. It did get a little preachy in the middle, but then it got quickly out of that and I was back to wondering what was going to happen next.

Towards the end I thought I knew how everything was going to play out and I was anxiously waiting to get to that part…then I got there and was completely wrong about my predictions. I do like when a book can surprise me at the end.

Overall, I was a bit skeptical about the Sci-Fi aspect, but I believe this is a very creative original story. I would definitely recommend to those who like Sci-Fi and suspense novels.

***POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN NEXT SECTION***

Just something I’m hoping some readers will get. While I was writing this review I thought about this character that Bill Hader played on SNL called Stefon.

This book has everything…possible murder, child autism, infatuation, and ROBOTS! 

If you are a fan of SNL, here’s a link to the best of Stefon to give you and idea of how that sentence should be read.

OVERALL RATING

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JP Delaney is a pseudonym for a writer who has previously written bestselling fiction under other names. Delaney is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Girl Before, which is being brought to the screen by Academy Award winners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment.

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Book of the Week | The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

TITLE: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

AUTHOR: Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

PUBLISHER: Dial Press

RELEASE DATE: July 10, 2008

GENRE: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways. (Description from Goodreads)

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