Daughters of Paris

Author: Elisabeth Hobbes

Publisher: One More Chapter

Release Date: August 5, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The bonds of friendship last beyond the tides of war.

Collette is the daughter of wealth and privilege growing up in post Great War Paris.  She lacks for nothing but is often underestimated by her peers and the socialite scene that she is thrust into.  She carries secrets that weigh on her conscience but must not let anyone know what has happened in her past to prevent her future.

Fleur is the daughter of a maid in Collette’s parent’s estate.  After her mother dies, Fleur continues to live at the estate with her aunt.  She and Collette are fast friends when they are young, but as time moves on, they grow apart.  When Germany marches into Paris, they realize that they must trust each other and rely on the early friendship they once had if they are going to survive.

As World War II fiction goes, this was a quick read with a look into the occupation of Paris and how people of different classes dealt with it.  Hobbes does a good job of balancing the book between both Collette and Fleur, giving each character a chance to tell their tale.  I think Fleur was my favorite character as she had to overcome so much adversity to be able to get ahead and life even when she was set back.  Collette also showed more resolve than I originally thought she would have, but still fell second to Fleur.  The book had a few historical references that I was glad to see and kept the romance to a minimum, which was nice for this type of story. 

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Windswept Way

Author: Irene Hannon

Series: Hope Harbor #9

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: April 4, 2023

Another edition to the fantastic Hope Harbor series that will easily sweep readers away into the magic Hannon has created!

Ashley Scott has experienced some difficulties in life recently and decides buying a haunted house in Hope Harbor might be her next step in life. Her new neighbor is Jonathan Gray, a wounded warrior that likes to keep to himself until she must ask for his help. It doesn’t take long for Jonathan to develop feelings for his new neighbor despite his best efforts. This historic town is in for a battle as its newest arrival stirs things up in the hearts of all.

The Hope Harbor series is a fan favorite for a reason, so much to love about this cute little town and those that reside within. Nine books into this series and it is still one that I look forward to picking up and losing myself in this little beach town. Each book has a new set of main characters but also gives us a continuing look at returning characters such as Charlie, he may be the best character in the whole series. His little wise tidbits at his fish taco stand are the best nuggets in each book. Ashley and Jonathan were a good pair of main characters that had a good chemistry and way of moving the story forward. Faith is always a big element in this series and helps the characters through their difficult situations, readers will be able to pull something no matter what they are going through. I always appreciate Irene Hannon’s way of crafting characters and situations that the readers can relate with. This is a great book for those that love contemporary romance and have been following this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Long March Home

Authors: Marcus Brotherton & Tosca Lee

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: May 2, 2023 (Early Release)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The most moving story with the best characters, storyline and gut-wrenching moments that brought me to tears!

When World War II becomes a real threat to America, Jimmy Propfield and his best friends, Hank and Billy, join up to get out of Mobile Alabama and see the world. Jimmy is also trying to leave behind a broken heart from his high school sweetheart, Claire. The boys are sent to the Philippines which seems like a paradise compared to Alabama. On December 8, 1941, when Pearl Harbor is attacked, life as they knew it changes. They are thrown headfirst into the war with the enemy as the battle for the Pacific ensues. The last stand on the Bataan Peninsula ends with the largest surrender of American troops in history following in the Bataan Death March, one of the worst atrocities in modern warfare. The three friends band together to make it home alive not knowing they are in for a four-year fight to see family again.

I don’t remember the last time I was so moved by a work of fiction. If you had told me that a book about World War II, a historical fiction novel, would become one of my favorite books of the year, I would have laughed at you. This story was about so much more than war and history, this story was about the men that went over there and how they were changed; a story of character development that is some of the best of any written I have read in a very long time.

These two authors have collaborated to craft one of the best written stories I’ve picked up in years. I have read books by Tosca Lee before and knew immediately this would be a top of the year read for me and I can easily say that is true. Normally if you ask me what my favorite genre to read is I say suspense thriller, but I’m starting to rethink that. Honestly, if it is a well-written story with characters that grab me by the heart, I will be hooked. A great story doesn’t have to have shoot outs or fast car chases or serial killers to keep me glued to the page, characters that are on a journey like this and written so well are the best glue. Readers that are looking for a book with amazing characters, a heartfelt story, and tears as they turn the last page will not want to miss this one. If I could give this book more than 5 stars, it is one of the few I would!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Vanishing at Castle Moreau

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: April 4, 2023

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Another fantastic suspense book from one of the best in Christian fiction. Jaime Jo Wright has out done herself with The Vanishing at Castle Moreau!

Set in two timelines, The Vanishing at Castle Moreau starts in 1870 with Daisy Francois, an orphan who goes to Castle Moreau as a housemaid running from her past. The castle is owned by a very peculiar woman who writes gothic novels and keeps many secrets in her estate, and local legend has girls form the area disappearing in the vicinity of Castle Moreau. In present day timeline, Cleo Clemmons is also running from her past and answers an ad for help at Castle Moreau. She is hired by the grandson of an illustrious billionaire to help his grandmother deal with her hoarding and bring the Castle back to what it once was. Within hours of arriving, she is sucked into the mysteries surrounding Castle Moreau that is not only in the past but still shrouding them today.

Nothing and no one are what they seem when it comes to The Vanishing at Castle Moreau. Jaime Jo Wright has crafted a story with characters so far beyond and better than I could have hoped for. I have loved all I have read by her, and this tops the list. The mystery and story in each timeline will suck readers in and keep them glued to the pages until the very end. Both Cleo and Daisy have great character development and the interactions they have with those at the Castle are mysterious, intriguing, and luring. This book has everything I wanted in a mystery book all while being clean and delivering a good message throughout. Jaime Jo Wright gets better and better with each novel she writes giving readers a story we can’t help but fall in love with and characters we want to see succeed. I’ve found a lot of the books I’ve read lately to just have the same feel and end up being bored with them; luckily, I can say that was not the case here. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a great story with mystery and a great lesson of redemption and not judging someone by what others say.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

I’ll Stop the World

Author: Lauren Thoman

Publisher: Mindy’s Book Studio

Release Date: April 1, 2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A great concept that took a bit to get going and ended up being a fun time-travel read.

Justin Warren has always felt that his life was defined by his name and the fact that the high school is named after his grandparents who died in a mysterious fire at the school many years ago doesn’t help matters. In a crazy turn of events, Justin finds himself transported back to just before his grandparents died and feels led to try and save them from dying in the fire. He meets Rose Yin, who doesn’t know Justin is from the future or why he has suddenly arrived in her life, but she decides quickly to trust him and help him. Each move Justin makes has the potential to alter his future and that of so many others and he quickly finds out that changing the past is not going to be as easy as he thought.

When I read what this book was about, I was intrigued. After reading the first few chapters, I was scratching my head as to what book I was reading. After a few more chapters, it felt like I was reading an entirely different book, If you take the book and leave out the first few chapters and last few chapters, it qualifies as an amazing read for me. Unfortunately, the first and last take it down a few notches. The time travel part of the story was great with character development and plot; I really found myself invested in what was going to happen during these chapters. But the last few chapters left many questions unanswered and just wrapped it up as if those questions didn’t matter. I wanted to love this book but the lack of follow up and answers left me feeling disappointed. It was a good story that I’m sure many will enjoy.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Hollow Beasts

Author: Alisa Lynn Valdes

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: April 1, 2023

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book surprised me in the best of ways: gritty, action-packed, and just plain good!

Jodi Luna has left her life in academia to return to her home state of New Mexico to become a game warden. Others in her family have followed this career path and after many challenges in the academic world, Jodi leaves with her daughter to start anew. In her first week on the job, she apprehends a poacher who quickly threatens to retaliate. Jodi finds herself and her daughter being stalked and in the middle of a fight with a white supremacy group. The group has been kidnapping women of color and hunting them for sport. Jodi is met with resistance from the local sheriff and turns to his young deputy, Ashley Romero for help. Together the two work to stop the group and keep those in the area safe.

This book started out on the right foot and took off down a path of suspense, tension, and darn good writing from page one. I loved the rugged setting, characters that weren’t afraid to get after the action, and the ones I was supposed to dislike I sure did, all signs of excellent writing. This was the first book I’ve read by Valdes and from the looks of it there will be more to follow with these characters, making me a very happy reader. I loved that there was nothing trivial in the story; all the events as well as the characters involved all felt right and real. As the story came to a close, I was very satisfied with how it was all playing out even though I can tell there is more that could be done with the characters and continue the storyline in different directions. I live in Texas in a town close to New Mexico, so it was fun for me to read about a rugged area so close to where I actually live. I would recommend this book for adults who enjoy suspense thrillers with hard themes that are written well and a story that can be read in a single day.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Terrible Two

Author: Jory John & Mac Barnet

Series: Terrible Two #1

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fun and exciting book for young readers they will enjoy well past the last page.

When Miles Murphy moves with his family to the small town of Yawnee Valley, he is not excited at all. At his old school he was the best prankster and decides to become the best prankster at his new school. The only problem is he might have met his match with the prankster already at the school. Now they are off on a prank war, and no one is safe.

I picked this book up to read before my 7-year-old to see how it would be for him. I love being able to read the things my boys do so we can talk about them and help them find a love for reading. This was a fun and quick book that young readers will enjoy and fly through. The story is fast and the characters are funny, making it perfect for young readers starting out and finding enjoyment with books. I can’t wait to see what is in store in the next books in the series.

Her Deadly Game

Author: Robert Dugoni

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: March 28, 2023

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Another fantastic thriller from master storyteller, Robert Dugoni!

Keera Duggan wanted to make a name for herself on her own, so she set out in the Seattle prosecutor’s office and worked her way up until a complicated relationship with a colleague messes it all up. Now, Keera goes to work in the family law firm with her father and sisters. When she is hired by Vince LaRussa, she has the chance to show the rest of her family that she has what it takes to try the big crimes and win. Going against her in court is Miller Ambrose, Keera’s ex who wants nothing more than to take Keera down in court. It will take all Keera and her team have to win the case and keep anyone else from getting hurt.

Robert Dugoni is one of the best thriller writers around and this newest addition is further evidence of that. The characters and storyline flow freely with great tension that kept the pages flying and my attention until the last page. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the storyline and characters after the many books in the Tracy Crosswhite series and loving every one of them.

I have found after readomg many books by Dugoni that his writing style is one that readers will find relatable and easy to read. There is something about the way he writes that makes me know with every story I am going to find characters that will be engaging and make me want to see them come out safe and sound by the end of the story. Keera is a great strong female protagonist that I have come to love from Dugoni books. Even when I thought the story was finished there was another fantastic twist that made me smile and know I was reading a book I could easily pull from the shelves anytime and enjoy. I recommend this book to those that love suspense thrillers.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Middle School: Get Me Out of Here

Authors: James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts

Series: Middle School #2

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson

Release Date: February 13, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The second book in the Middle School series is even better than the first!!

Rafe Khatchadorian’s sixth grade year wasn’t great and now he has the chance to start over at a new school in a new city. He is starting his seventh-grade year at a new art school and just when he is thinking it’s going to be a new start, things go wrong. The other students are super competitive and when he realizes he needs to find a way to fit in, he starts on a new mission that leads to more problems and an even crazier year for Rafe and his family.

It’s hard for a second book in a series to be better than the first, but James Paterson has done it with this book. I loved the way Rafe tried to turn over a new leaf and do better to not disappoint his mom, but is also trying to find his way in a new school with new problems. Rafe has real hard issues he is struggling with and the way he deals with them is written really well for kids reading to be able to relate and find ways to deal with those struggles. One of my favorite things about these books is the way the characters are relatable but easy for kids to read and follow along with. I read these to connect with my kids as they find a love for books and reading. I would recommend this book and series to kids and their parents that want to find a great series for them to enjoy books and have something to talk about together with their kids.

Remember Me

Author: Tracie Peterson

Series: Pictures of the Heart #1

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: March 1, 2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The start of another great series by Tracie Peterson!

Addie Bryant was forced by her father and brothers up to the Alaskan territory when they wanted to search for gold, but she never thought that her brothers would sell her to the highest bidder just to have some gambling money.  Being sold to the owner of a brothel was horrible, but fortunately for Addie the owner only wanted her for himself and took her as a wife.  After he is killed in a gambling incident, Addie discovers that everything is left to her and she is a wealthy woman, much to the scorn of her brothers that want her money.  She manages to slip away out of Alaska entirely and hopes to never see them again.

Years later in Seattle, Addie is working as a camera girl at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Expo.  Her brothers were arrested for burglary but have been released for good behavior while moving pieces to the expo.  They also pick up jobs as custodians at the expo and pick a few pockets while they are there, hoping to run into Addie and her money.  Addie’s first true love, Isaac, also shows up at the expo with his class of children and can’t believe he has found her after years of searching.  But the past doesn’t heal all wounds and Addie isn’t sure who or what she can trust.

As always, Tracie Peterson crafts a fantastic story where she brings history to light with lovable characters that must overcome hardships.  Having this set up in the Pacific Northwest was a nice change and I love how she managed to bring the expo to life for her readers.  I also love how she molded Addie and Isaac into who they needed to be to move past hardships brought to them.  I know they may not be in the next book, but I can’t wait to see where this goes.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.