The Italian Daughter (The Lost Daughters Book 1) by Soraya Lane – #BookReview – #historicaleuropeanfiction

The Italian Daughter by Soraya Lane

“An absolutely unputdownable and stunning page-turner”

Book Blurb:

Italy, 1946: As Estee bids farewell to Felix her heart breaks. Thinking back to her childhood when the two friends ran through the cobbled streets of their picturesque town hand in hand, she thought they would never part. But when Estee was offered a place at the world renowned La Scala theatre, she had to say yes. It would change her family’s fortunes forever.

The Italian Daughter by Soraya LaneSoon after, Felix began working for his family bakery, famed across Italy for its deliciously sweet pastries. The two lovers were never far from each other’s minds but when Felix’s parents demanded that he marry well to unite two prominent families, Estee felt sure that she had lost him.

Now, Felix has asked her to make the bravest decision of her life and run away with him. But with so much at stake, can she really follow her heart?

London, present day: Lily clutches a worn Italian recipe and theatre programme in her hands, having just discovered that her grandmother was born in a home for unmarried mothers. The faded objects are the only clues to her past.

Accepting a job on an Italian vineyard –a dream of her late father–, Lily enlists the help of the charming Antonio to help solve the mystery. But arriving in Felix’s town, Lily unearths a tragic love story: of families bitterly torn apart and of two lovers who were prepared to sacrifice everything to be together.

When Lily finds out the truth about her family and who she really is, will Felix and Estee’s story give her the strength to also follow her heart?

An utterly enchanting and heartbreaking novel about lost loves, family secrets and enduring hope. Perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley, Santa Montefiore and Victoria Hislop.

His Review:

Italy has had a magnetic attraction to its citizens throughout the ages. Roman legions and Praetorian Guards longed for home even though thousands of miles away. Estee feels that pull even though she does not know why. Felix had gone missing and was nowhere to be found. Pregnant and alone, she disappears to London to give birth to a love child she simply has no way to care for and nurture as a single mother.

The Italian Daughter by Soraya LaneEstee’s great-grandmother had met and fallen in love with a man at Lake Como. He was betrothed to another but swore she was the one he would marry. However, when the time arose for the wedding, he was nowhere to be found. Pressure from the family required him to complete the arranged marriage planned for him as a boy.

Generations later Lily in America is given a box with two items, one a recipe for a mixture of chocolate and hazel nuts and the corner of a program from Teatro Alla Scala in Milan. Italy is calling her like a siren and she cannot ignore the urge to visit Italy. Yes, she has long black hair and almond eyes, but why the inextricable pull to visit a country she had never been to?

Soraya Lane has woven a generations old tale of broken hearts and lost loves! The fabric of this story is well woven with physical attraction and love torn asunder side by side. I found myself wrapped in sympathy for each of the women from these families who deserved love that was denied. Giving up a child out of wedlock is one of life’s most heart-wrenching experiences. These women kept their strong personal values while enduring terrible betrayal and pain.

CE WilliamsThe dual timeline is well-plotted and strongly descriptive, emotive, and atmospheric. Both timelines are equally engaging, WWII and present day. Gripping and hard to put down, the characters are strongly dominant and the writing style gripping. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

 

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical European Fiction, Literary Sagas, 20th Century Historical Romance
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B0B53Z9H3N
Print Length: 305 pages
Publication Date: September 23, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Italian Daughter [Amazon]

 

Soraya Lane - authorThe Author: Soraya Lane graduated with a law degree before realizing that law wasn’t the career for her and that her future was in writing. She is the author of historical and contemporary women’s fiction, and her novel Wives of War was an Amazon Charts bestseller.

Soraya lives on a small farm in her native New Zealand with her husband, their two young sons and a collection of four legged friends. When she’s not writing, she loves to be outside playing make-believe with her children or snuggled up inside reading.

For more information about Soraya, her books and her writing life, visit sorayalane.com or http://www.facebook.com/SorayaLaneAuthor, or follow her on twitter @Soraya_Lane. She would love to hear from you.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a great week!

The Secret Keeper by Siobhan Curham – #BookReview – #historicalfrenchfiction

The Secret Keeper by Siobhan Curham

A gripping and emotional World War 2 novel, inspired by true events

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars 

Book Blurb:

Nazi-occupied Paris, 1942. “I want to create a world where we are free to be together, to be in love,” he whispered. I gulp down the sobs building in my throat. “I want that too. I’ll come back to you. I swear I’ll come back.”

The Secret Keeper by Siobham DurhamElena Garcia knows that the mission she has been tasked with is her most dangerous yet. With a tearful goodbye to the man she has grown to love, the dark-eyed and warm-hearted Santiago Lozano, she hurries to catch the train to the drop-off point, the coded maps she is delivering for the resistance concealed in a pack of playing cards in her purse.

As she leaves the underground meeting, she hears heavy footsteps closing in behind her. Her heart pounds, and a dark figure comes into her line of sight. Expertly fighting off her attacker, Elena races back to the station, barely making it onto the train. She is forced to confront the worst: her cover is blown and now nowhere will be safe. Somebody close to her is a traitor, but when you live in the shadows, how do you know who you can really trust?

To stay alive, Elena must flee the country – and that means leaving Santiago behind. But she refuses to abandon her mission while Europe is still in the clutches of the enemy, and she will not leave Santiago to face the wrath of the Gestapo alone.

But when Elena uncovers that the love of her life has been having meetings with high-ranking government officials and hears German officials greeting him by name in the street, it’s clear that Santiago has his own secrets.

Elena must now ask herself: should she risk everything to save Santiago… or was he the one who betrayed her to the enemy? And now, with millions of innocent lives across Europe at stake, how can she know what is the right choice?

An epic, gripping and emotional wartime novel based on the true stories of the female spies sent into occupied Europe. Fans of The Alice Network, Soraya M. Lane and Pam Jenoff will be totally hooked.

His Review:

Elena has grown up in the Los Angeles area but loves the letters from her Grand-mere Rose. After Pearl Harbor, Elena is approached by the Office of Strategic Services to become an operative. Her beloved grandmother had moved back to France and is now encased in a Nazi-controlled country. Because Elena speaks three languages fluently, she is a perfect candidate to become a spy.

The Secret Keeper by Siobhan CurhamHer training in a camp in Maryland is extensive and rigorous. She is taught many things including how to disarm or kill a man in close physical combat. Her training includes ciphers and other coding techniques. She knows that if she is caught, she will be tortured by the enemy for information and secrets and then killed.

She wants to be an actress and has been training to become one. Her persona is a Spanish actress working in a play in Madrid. She has a minor role in the production. Madrid is lousy with German operatives who are trying to catch allied personnel who are trying to get back to England! Her primary role is to infiltrate the German high command and thereby help the pilots elude capture.

CE WilliamsThe author has written a believable saga of a young girl in occupied Europe. The amount of danger and efforts to stay alive bring credibility to this character. Knowing the result of not staying vigilant will result in a slow and painful death. Danger moves with her every step of the way. I could not put the book down. Read and enjoy the efforts of this masterful storyteller. 5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical French Fiction, Women’s Religious Fiction, Women’s Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B0B12NDDTD
Print Length: 426 pages
Publication Date: July 27, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Secret Keeper [Amazon]
 

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Siobhan Curham - author
Siobhan Curham – author

The Author: Thank you for visiting my Amazon author page! It still blows my mind to be able to say that I’m an award-winning, best-selling author of over 40 books for adults, young adults and children, because I’m also a former council estate kid and university drop-out who gave up on my writing dream because I didn’t think I was from the right (aka posh enough) background. So I really am proof that miracles can happen!

It’s safe to say that my books cover very wide ranging subjects, from spirituality, love and friendship to World War 2, the refugee crisis and talking animals! One theme remains constant however, my desire to leave my readers feeling uplifted and inspired.

My first historical novel, An American in Paris, was published in 2021 and became an Amazon best-seller in the US and UK, which I was over the moon about, as it turns out I have a real passion for writing historical fiction. I love unearthing the lesser known facts and details from World War 2 and presenting them to readers in stories that will resonate today. My other World War 2 novels are Beyond This Broken Sky, The Paris Network, and the yet to be titled ‘Book 4’ – which will be published by Bookouture in August 2022.

I’m also currently writing two more books for my Moonlight Dreamers series for young adults.

Because my path to writing success has been such a bumpy one, I love nothing more than helping other people achieve their writing dreams via my online community, THE WRITING ADVENTURE (you can find us on Facebook).

You can find out more about my writing and sign up to my newsletter, GRIT, GRACE & GRATITUDE, at http://www.siobhancurham.com

And you can connect with me on social media here…

Facebook: Siobhan Curham Author

Instagram: @SiobhanCurham

Twitter: @SiobhanCurham

Thanks so much to everyone who has read my books and taken the time to leave a review here on Amazon, it really helps so I very much appreciate it.

Siobhan

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

My fairy garden

The Sea Nurses: An absolutely heartbreaking wartime saga by Kate Eastham – #BookReview – #historicalfiction @Bookouture

The Sea Nurses by Kate Eastham

Book Blurb:

The young nurse ran across the wooden deck, her feet skidding. She spotted an injured young man clinging to the ship’s rail, his eyes wide with terror. She could see the water rushing up to meet them. ‘We need to jump!’ she screamed. In that moment, a wave washed over them. She lunged forward to grab his hand, but she was a second too slow. Somewhere, deep inside the vessel, came a loud crack. The hospital ship was breaking apart…

The Sea Nurses by Kate Eastham1914. Evie Munro is a Scottish fisher girl, working the herring season from Wick to Great Yarmouth. For Evie, every day is the same – gutting fish at the docks, shoulder-to-shoulder with her friends, followed by fresh bread, a warm whiskey toddy and an early night. But when Germany declares war on Britain, everything changes.

As her village begins to empty of young men, Evie’s life is marked by a heartbreaking tragedy at home. Her happiness destroyed, she vows to join the war effort as an army nurse, caring for wounded soldiers on the imposing hospital ship Britannic.

But as the war rages on and the ship comes under direct fire, Evie’s courage is put to the ultimate test. Can Evie and the nurses of the HMHS Britannic save the day and heal the patients in their care? Or will her life become one more casualty in Britain’s heroic fight for freedom?

His Review:

Hospital ships rolling in a tempestuous sea is the setting for this saga. Iris Purefoy is a worker in a fish processing plant turned nurse. She has always had a knack for taking care of injuries in the processing of fish and also setting broken limbs. The tale begins on large ocean-liners, The RMS Olympic and HMHS Brittanic!

The Sea Nurses by Kate EasthamHospital ships are prime targets for German submarines because they carry wounded enemy combatants. If they are cured or rehabilitated, they will be sent back into battle to attack Germany again. Better to have them at the bottom of the sea rather than returning to battle.

The nurses serve twelve hour shifts six days a week and only have Sundays off. The pressure is immense and the pace grueling. Extreme mental duress is always a factor. Thinking or dwelling on any young patient can cause a serious degradation of morale. Looking at a patient with a limb missing and then assuring them that all will be well is not an easy task!

Nurses by their personalities are empaths  and feel the need to assuage the pain of those in their care, but they must effectively remove themselves from the obvious pain of their charges and work as quickly and effectively as possible. Triage is one of the most critical and heartbreaking tasks of their job. Assuring the patient he will be taken care of quickly, knowing that he is dying is heartbreaking but necessary.

CE WilliamsThe dialogue and descriptions of the nurses in this book is heartwarming and endearing. I found myself drawn to their humanity and abilities fulfilling. Whether they were on cruise ships or hospital ships, they treated their patients with professionalism and caring. I applaud the author in her treatment of this heartbreaking anthology of nurses in time of war. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Historical Fiction, Sisters Fiction, Women’s Friendship Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09VHDPX1Z
Print Length: 284 pages
Publication Date: June 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Sea Nurses [Amazon]
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Kate Eastham - authorThe Author: Kate Eastham trained as a nurse in the late 1970s and enjoyed a long career before a change in circumstance meant that she needed to be a full time carer for her partner. Determined to make the most of this new role ‘working from home’ she cleared a space at the kitchen table for a pile of books and a writing pad and started to make notes on the history of nursing. Inspired by the achievements of Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole during the Crimean War she was also captured by the sheer grit and determination of other ‘ordinary women’ whose voices from the past are seldom heard. An idea for a novel was born and her first book, ‘Miss Nightingale’s Nurses’, was published by Penguin in 2018, closely followed by three more in the series.

Having thought that she would never find anything to replace the work in nursing that she loved, she is now equally immersed in her writing, drawing on years of experience and the stories told by so many patients. With her passion for history, Kate aims to continue making visible the lives of ordinary yet extraordinary women from the past.

Her current fiction is set during the World Wars and will be published by Bookouture.

©CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

I'm not getting out of bed today.

Souvenirs from Kyiv: Unforgettable stories based on the heartbreaking experiences of Ukrainian families during WW2 by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

‘Russia has been trying to wipe Ukraine off the world map for thousands of years. They haven’t succeeded yet. Now, I’m picking up my stone and throwing it at Goliath. I want people to understand. I want to save this country.’ Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger, March 2022

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-BergerLarissa is a renowned embroiderer, surviving in occupied Ukraine during World War II as a seamstress in her ruin of a workshop. Surrounded by enemies, she expresses her defiance by threading history into her garments. But at what cost?

Mykhailo is a soldier on leave, returning to Ukraine from the front on Christmas Eve. As he travels through his country, he is confronted by the hardship the war has brought to his fellow countrymen. Will what he sees this Christmas change the course of his life forever?

Marusia and her family are woken early one morning by the arrival of the Nazis, who have come to search for her partisan brother. As the soldiers move through their house, her family has just moments to make choices that will determine their survival.

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger’s stories bring to life the true history of her Ukrainian family who fought to survive World War II. Laced with hope,Souvenirs from Kyiv celebrates the endurance and resilience of the human spirit.

Souvenirs from Kyiv was awarded 2nd Place in the 2014 HNS International Short Story Award and the collection won the silver medal in the IPPY Book Awards 2020 for Military and Wartime fiction.

His Review:

As the current attack by the Russians upon Ukraine continues, Souvenirs From Kyiv illuminates the continuing hazard in that part of the world. This country has been in the path of battles and armies since recorded history. The Russians have attempted to draw them into their country for centuries. The citizens of Ukraine have suffered continually.

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-BergerWorld War II found their male citizens being conscripted into the Nazi war machine. If they were unable to serve, they were kidnapped and forced to work on war materiel including bombs and bullets. The women were helping in the munitions factories as well and also conscripted to sew uniforms and other outfits including snow warfare camouflage gear.

Hiding some of the young men became the work of families. They would go to the forests and be part of the resistance. Families would take them in at very great risk to themselves. Should they be caught harboring these men, the whole family would wind up being shot. The Ukrainians also helped hide and protect large numbers of Jews. Harboring Jews was also a crime punishable by death.

Those members of the resistance saved many American and English pilots forced down in the fighting. The Ukrainians and Yugoslavian citizens helped to rescue the pilots as well as set up an underground system to spirit the pilots back to the west. Avoiding serving and being caught usually resulted in an immediate deployment to the Russian front.

The Ukrainians are not fond of the Russians. They hoped that the American forces would release their villages. The Russian troops had a reputation for gang raping the women and taking everything of value. The maturation of the war found the Ukrainian people praying the Allies would prevail and liberate their communities from the Nazis.

CE WilliamsStarvation was a major weapon of the Third Reich. The cities were blockaded and farmers and foodstuffs were taken by the German soldiers for the Fatherland or to feed the troops in the area. Small barley or wheat soup was the staple diet for the average citizen during the war. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Fiction Short Stories, Historical Russian Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09WF1MQ8K
Print Length: 159 pages
Publication Date: April 22, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Souvenirs from Kyiv [Amazon]
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Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger - authorThe Author: IPPY Book Award 2020 silver medal winner for SOUVENIRS FROM KYIV.

Long-listed in the Flash500 Novel Competition 2017 for No Man’s Land/The Breach.

Winner of the Flash500 Short Story Competition with an extract from Bolzano.

Winner of the Coffee Pot Book Club Book Award Box and Box Set of the Year 2019 for the Reschen Valley Box Set.

A Discovered Diamond, shortlisted for Book of the Month July 2019, Reschen Valley Box Set

Reader’s Favorite 5-star reviews for Bolzano, The Smuggler of Reschen Pass, and Magda’s Mark (featured in The Road to Liberation Collection).

HNS International Short Story 2nd Place Winner 2014 for Souvenirs from Kyiv (short story in the Souvenirs from Kyiv collection)

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger was born in Minnesota in 1969 and grew up in the culture-rich neighborhood of “Nordeast” Minneapolis. She started her writing career with short stories, travel narratives, worked as a journalist and then as a managing editor for a magazine publisher before jumping the editor’s desk and pursuing her dreams of writing and traveling. In 2000, she moved to western Austria and established her own communications training company. She has won several awards for her short stories and novels and now primarily writes historical fiction. During a trip into northern Italy over the Reschen Pass, she stood on the edge of Reschen Lake and desperately wanted to understand how a 15th-century church tower ended up sticking out of the water. What stories were lying beneath? Some eight years later, she launched the “Reschen Valley” series with five books and a novella releasing between 2018 and 2021, in parallel to her WW2 novels and short story collections.

For more on Chrystyna, dive in at inktreks(dot)com.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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The Paris Network by Siobhan Curham – #Audiobook Review – WWII Historical Fiction

The Paris Network by Siobhan Curham

The Paris Network by Siobhan Curham

Book Blurb:

Paris, 1940: He pressed the tattered book into her hands. “You must go to the café, and ask at the counter for Pierre Duras. Tell him that I sent you. Tell him you’re there to save the people of France.”

Sliding the coded message in between the crisp pages of the hardback novel, bookstore owner Laurence slips out into the cold night to meet her resistance contact, pulling her woolen beret down further over her face. The silence of the night is suddenly shattered by an Allied plane rushing overhead, its tail aflame, heading down toward the forest. Her every nerve stands on end. She must try to rescue the pilot.

But straying from her mission isn’t part of the plan, and if she is discovered, it won’t only be her life at risk….

America, years later: When Jeanne uncovers a dusty old box in her father’s garage, her world as she knows it is turned upside down. She has inherited a bookstore in a tiny French village, just outside of Paris, from a mysterious woman named Laurence. 

Traveling to France to search for answers about the woman her father has kept a secret for years, Jeanne finds the store tucked away, in a corner of the cobbled main square. Boarded up, it is in complete disrepair. Inside, she finds a tiny silver pendant hidden beneath the blackened, scorched floorboards.

As Jeanne pieces together Laurence’s incredible story, she discovers a woman whose bravery knew no bounds. But will the truth about who Laurence really is shatter Jeanne’s heart or change her future?

My Review:

Paris in 1939 is getting scary.

Laurence Sidot is dispensing books with appropriate passages for her customers; those in need, those looking for something positive. She inherited the book store from her parents (now deceased) and is trying to carry on amid worsening rumors of the war reaching their area. Unfortunately, it isn’t long before the Germans arrive to confirm stories and demonstrate just exactly the shocking conditions and atrocities they rain down on the people in her little village outside of Paris.

When she begins to see the people of her town either taken away, shot, or hanged, she realizes she absolutely cannot stand by and do nothing.

The Paris Network by Siobhan DurhamShe learns of the French resistance and creates a book club (which were banned), and conducts meetings at their peril. She learns of a banned books list and makes sure she has those available to the participants of the book club. She feels she can exert resistance pressure by printing small but powerful anti-German sentiments and coded messages and disseminates those in the middle of the night.

In addition, she is given small but clandestine missions by the French Resistance where she meets war paraphernalia airdrops in the middle of the night. One of these results in her meeting an American airman, slightly wounded, whom she rescues and protects and mends for his return to England.

Now switch to 1993 and the reader is introduced to Jeanne, a former detective who, following the death of her mother, learns she has inherited a book store in a village outside of Paris. Her father can tell her very little of Laurence, though it’s obvious he loved her and claims that Laurence was a hero. She and her father travel to the village to claim her inheritance, discover the truth of what happened to Laurence, and determine their mutual connection.

Yes, I loved the 1939 timeline, Laurence, who loved and knew her books well and provided peace and hope to her customers. Her pride and spirit were strong, her story gripping.

Jeanne, on the other hand, was still smarting over being “retired” against her will, unhappy in her circumstances. I’m not sure why she didn’t badger her father into telling her about Laurence (or he to just admit and spill the whole story), but the truth is fed in small portions, a revelation at a time. It’s an uneven timeline, heavily on the side of Laurence (thankfully) and almost aggravating coming from Jeanne. I didn’t particularly like her character, but once she finds out her mother was not her birth mother, things begin falling into place.

Based on true events, a revelation about the determination and the many ways the women of the resistance provided support. I loved the story and it hooked and kept me listening until the final heart-rending reveal. Powerful, emotional statements of the individuals on both sides of a war and my recommendation to all who enjoy historical fiction as well as the indomitable spirit of people in horrific circumstances.

We received a complimentary review audiobook from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: World War II Historical Fiction
Publisher: Hachette UK – Bookouture
ASIN: B09RKMDB4G
Listening Length: 13 hrs 50 mins
Narrator: Laurence Bouvard
Publication Date: February 15, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Paris Network [Amazon]
 

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Siobhan Curham - author
Siobhan Curham

The Author: Thank you for visiting my Amazon author page! It still blows my mind to be able to say that I’m an award-winning, best-selling author of over 40 books for adults, young adults and children, because I’m also a former council estate kid and university drop-out who gave up on my writing dream because I didn’t think I was from the right (aka posh enough) background. So I really am proof that miracles can happen!

It’s safe to say that my books cover very wide ranging subjects, from spirituality, love and friendship to World War 2, the refugee crisis and talking animals! One theme remains constant however, my desire to leave my readers feeling uplifted and inspired.

My first historical novel, An American in Paris, was published in 2021 and became an Amazon best-seller in the US and UK, which I was over the moon about, as it turns out I have a real passion for writing historical fiction. I love unearthing the lesser known facts and details from World War 2 and presenting them to readers in stories that will resonate today. My other World War 2 novels are Beyond This Broken Sky, The Paris Network, and the yet to be titled ‘Book 4’ – which will be published by Bookouture in August 2022.

I’m also currently writing two more books for my Moonlight Dreamers series for young adults.

Because my path to writing success has been such a bumpy one, I love nothing more than helping other people achieve their writing dreams via my online community, THE WRITING ADVENTURE (you can find us on Facebook).

You can find out more about my writing and sign up to my newsletter, GRIT, GRACE & GRATITUDE, at http://www.siobhancurham.com

And you can connect with me on social media here…

Facebook: Siobhan Curham Author
Instagram: @SiobhanCurham
Twitter: @SiobhanCurham

Thanks so much to everyone who has read my books and taken the time to leave a review here on Amazon, it really helps so I very much appreciate it.
Siobhan

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Happy Thursday!

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A Deception Most Deadly (A Cassie Gwynne Mystery Book 1 by Genevieve Essig –#BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

Meet Cassie Gwynne: bookworm, cat lover, reluctant heiress… and determined detective?

Deception Most Deadly by Genevieve EssigFlorida, 1883. Cassie Gwynne is looking for a fresh start when she steps off the steamship at Fernandina harbor for the first time. She’s trying hard to be a proper lady, for once. She’s styled her unruly hair, shined her boots, and even purchased a whole new fashionable (or at least fashionably priced) wardrobe. However, she’s certain finding a body is not very ladylike behavior…

While out exploring the beautiful island with her Aunt Flora, Cassie stumbles across the body of Peanut Runkles, town grump and her aunt’s neighbor, lying at the foot of the harbor pilots’ lookout tower. To make matters worse, because Peanut and Flora have been quarreling for years over everything from Flora’s eccentric ideas to her pet pig’s fondness for Peanut’s vegetable patch, Flora is immediately arrested for murder.

Desperate to save the only family she has left, Cassie vows to prove Flora’s innocence and untangle the mystery herself, no matter how much the surly local sheriff disapproves. Cassie’s brilliant mind and nose for a clue lead her on an investigation that takes her all around the island, and even earns her a valiant furry friend in Esy the kitten.

But how does the mysterious ledger Cassie finds hidden in a secret drawer in Peanut’s desk connect to the crime? Cassie is determined to dig up the truth, but can she catch the killer before her time on the island comes to a deadly end?

This warm and witty cozy mystery will transport you to the island city of Fernandina and introduce you to a feisty heroine far before her time! Perfect for fans of Verity Bright, T E Kinsey and Deanna Raybourn.

My Review:

I usually enjoy historical cozy mysteries and was hooked by the cover and the blurb that sounded like it might be a bit different. Cassie Gwynne is an heiress (lucky her) and has discovered upon her dad’s death an aunt she never knew existed. So off she goes, to Fernandina, an island city to hook up with the only family she has left.

First, her aunt Flora is highly unusual in that she is an independent perfume entrepreneur who is an animal lover. It’s her pig that first lands her in the pokey when he goes rooting around the neighbor’s garden. Peanut Runkles is the pending victim and though no love is lost to anyone in the town, all points turn to Cassie’s aunt. Right away, you know she’s innocent—right?

A few things I enjoyed: (1) The sense of humor

“So, long as he’s paying, I’m pouring.”

(2) The animals – dogs, birds, cats, including one particular kitten, and, of course, the pig.

Deception Most Deadly by Genevieve EssigOkay, sorry. Two things I enjoyed. What I did not so much:

(1) The length of the narrative. Shouldn’t a cozy be only two-thirds this long? This is one long cozy mystery made longer because I could not get into it.

(2) The characters. So many. Support characters everywhere. A book that requires a chart to keep track of them and what the connection was. Then again, I didn’t care for most of them, including Cassie, so that point goes moot. Clearly, I must have slept through the connection to the heartthrob—or how could she have already known him? This is new territory for her.

(3) Historical questions: LOTS of gum chewing. (Where was she buying all this gum and what was in it?) Wearing a (French?) twist in her hair? Really? In 1883? Other little details that I questioned were common (or at all) in that time period.

(4) Cassie found the body fairly quickly and then due to the ineptness of the local police took another two-thirds of the book to really start making headway while it was Cassie who provided all the clues. And also the twists—not the hair kind.

Some descriptive scenes at the beginning and heavy dialogue dispensing some innocuous minutiae (clothing choices, blah, blah, blah) and the sense of humor is not sufficient to spur page-turning. Sorry, but this obviously is not a book for me. I battled my way through, started skip-reading pages, and still the mystery was no further along. At that point, neither did I care.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Two-point Five Stars Two and one-half Stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery, Cozy Crafts & Hobbies Mystery
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09M7LM6HS
Print Length: 343 pages
Publication Date: January 14, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s): A Deception Most Deadly

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Genevieve Essig - authorThe Author: Genevieve Essig was born in Florida but, after many years of school and other shenanigans in the northeast and midwest United States, she now calls New Orleans home. When she’s not writing historical mysteries or getting lost down research rabbit holes, she spends her time practicing law, shooting pool, performing opera and musical theater, ogling old buildings, acting for film and television, futzing with inventions that address highly specific and possibly only-annoying-to-her problems, traveling, ranting at bartenders about the evils of straws, riding horses, and petting strange cats. If you have suggestions for additional hobbies or are interested her books, please visit her website (genevieveessig.com) or connect with her via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (@essigauthor).

©2021 V Williams

Christmas bough

 

Fallen Angel (Detectives Kane and Alton Book 13) by D K Hood – #BookReview – Organized Crime Thrillers

Book Blurb:

Hurrying along the dark, snow-covered path, she knows she’s not alone when she hears the light tread of someone behind her. Panic rising in her chest, she picks up the pace. But she doesn’t even have a chance to scream before everything goes black.

Fallen Angel by D K HoodWhen a beautiful young woman is reported missing from her hotel room on the outskirts of Black Rock Falls, Sheriff Jenna Alton and her deputy David Kane are devastated to discover her pale, lifeless body trapped beneath a frozen lake nearby. It’s Jenna who finds the single pearl earring buried in the frosted grass that gives them their first lead.

Just as Jenna has the remaining hotel guests safely back in their rooms, the killer strikes again, and another victim is found in one of the hotel’s lakeside cabins. Next to his bloodied body is a second pearl earring. What does it mean, and why is the killer leaving them for Jenna to find?

Interviewing witnesses, Jenna discovers that both victims were seen arguing with other residents hours before their deaths. Could the murderer be out for revenge, and how many more bodies will follow before they are truly satisfied?

As a blizzard cuts the hotel off from Black Rock Falls, Jenna and her team are trapped with the killer. Then she receives a terrifying call from a teenage girl who thinks the murderer was in her room as she slept. Can Jenna save her from becoming the next victim? And how many more innocent lives will be taken before the snow thaws?

Fans of Lisa Regan, Melinda Leigh and Kendra Elliot will love this gripping and addictive thriller from USA Today bestselling author D.K. Hood. Prepare to stay up all night!

His Review:

Mother was anything but a loving nurturer, she was a monster. And she allowed strange men to do things to her child for the shear joy of knowing it was happening! Could anyone fault the child for becoming what she had pre-ordained?

Fallen Angel by D K HoodBut the antagonist is a study in psychopaths and the reasons they become who they are.

D. K. Hood builds an interesting profile of the killer as an adult. Despicable and frightening.

Trapped in a snowbound ski resort with a couple of hundred writers and publishers is the perfect target element. The victims are chosen with relish, particularly those who have dismissed who is perceived a hack writer. Sure they have no redeeming qualities and wouldn’t know a good book if it fell off the shelf on them, oh yes, they have it coming!

Two of the local law enforcement members of a small mountain bound town are trapped in a blizzard when the deaths keep mounting up. The attendees at a writer’s teaching seminar are the targets of ire. In the beginning they believe that it is a game set up by the seminar sponsors.

I found the approach to the novel interesting in the authors’ attempt at getting into the head of the killer. The ending is poignant as the killer explains that the commission of these crimes fill a need more pressing than food!

CE WilliamsRead and enjoy this book, but make sure you have the doors and windows properly secured. Checking and rechecking these items may give you a modicum of security! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions. Currently on pre-order, this book releases next Tuesday (November 23rd).

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Organized Crime Thrillers, Serial Killer Thrillers, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09CH7LYGF
Print Length: 346 pages
Publication Date: November 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Fallen Angel [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

 

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D K Hood - authorThe Author: D.K Hood is THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, USA TODAY, and Amazon Bestselling Author of The Kane and Alton Series. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Australian Crime Writers Association, and Sisters in Crime Australia.

Where Angels Fear and Her Broken Wings, are listed as the Best Thriller and Best Detective Books Of All Time by The Book Authority.

D.K’s books have been or are currently being translated into many different languages.

D.K. lives very quietly with her husband and enjoys a beautiful garden filled with wild birds and water dragons. The dogs and cats in her stories are reminiscent of the wonderful companions from her past.

She started her writing journey to assist with drug free pain management and has continued to use the stories as an escape from intolerable pain. She likes to highlight current themes in her books and is a strong advocate against all forms of abuse.

D.K says,

“Writing crime thrillers for Bookouture (Hachette) is a dream come true for me. I really love writing the Kane and Alton Series.

It’s great to “meet” so many wonderful readers from all over the world through my Facebook pages. Their support and friendship is inspirational.

I’m currently writing more books in the series.

I love writing about the rugged beauty of Montana and my interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. It was one subject I enjoyed studying and with the constant advances, it never gets boring.

With many stories, waiting for me to write, I’ll look forward to sharing more exciting crime thrillers with you.”

Join me for a chat:

Twitter

@DKHood_Author

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/dkhoodauthor

Web:

http://www.dkhood.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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