#By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank–Review–5 Stars

by Invitation only:.jpg 850.jpgAnother Winning Novel by Dorothea Benton Frank!

 

Susan Kennedy Cambria and her husband Alejandro are part of Chicago’s wealthy elite class. And, although Susan adores Frederick Stiftel, her future son-in-law, she worries that her daughter is marrying below her. Frederick was raised on a farm, in Low Country, South Carolina, after all, and not in a city, like the Cambria’s.

Diane Stiftel loved her son Fred, and although, she truly wanted to get along with his fiancee’s mother, Susan Cambria, she was not about to allow the woman to bully her about wedding plans.  

I found the banter between the Stiftel’s family hysterical; as well as the engagement party held by them in South Carolina. When wealthy over-the-top-snobbish Susan Cambria and her friends came to South Carolina, they got a full, in-your-face, eye-opening introduction into farm life and southern hospitality. I love the Stiftel family, especially, Diane. She’s a giving, kind, and wholesome woman. Susan Cambria on-the-other-hand is just the opposite. She and her husband Alejandro are about to learn a couple of hard-earned lessons. Unfortunately, life’s greatest awakenings don’t come as a spur-of-the-moment, brilliant idea, but occur at the tail-end of an excruciating and agonizing experience.

By Invitation Only is a hilarious as well as a poignant read. The characters are well-crafted and engaging; the plot captivating and the dialogue witty. I absolutely loved it.

By Invitation Only is a quality read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

~5 out of 5 stars~ 

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

I am the author of eighteen novels placed in and around the Lowcountry of South Carolina and thanking God for my chance to speak. When I’m not writing, I’m reading or gardening or cooking. Love to travel, shoot the breeze with people and most of all, be with my husband and children – not always necessarily in that order. My most recent, Same Beach, Next Year (William Morrow) goes on sale May 16, 2017. Love to have company so come visit at http://www.dotfrank.com or on Facebook. And by the way, serious huge gushing thanks for everything – your kind words, posts and emails. Writing saves me, but without your support it wouldn’t mean as much. Dot xoxo

 

#Katerina by James Frey–Review-#NetGalley

Katerina..:......850.jpgNewest Release by James Frey–Coming 9/11/18

 

 

Katerina is an incredibly sad story about, love, loss, regret, and self-destruction. 

Jay left his American world behind, to begin his writing life, in France. It was in Paris while working on his book, when Jay met the third love of his life, Katerina. She was a beautiful redheaded model and the woman of his dreams. Their love affair was fast, raw and riddled with rules. They both had agreed to a no-strings-attached relationship, until, it was clear that the two of them were in love. Once they became a couple, however, every rule they had ever agreed upon was smashed. When Jay left to return to America, his heart was broken. It was in America, however, where Jay would meet the fourth woman he’d fall in love with. Jay was a well-known man, and content in his California world, until a redheaded woman from his past reentered his life.

Katerina was a difficult book for me to read. It’s raw and crude. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters or become invested in their lives. I loved the book, A Million Little Pieces by this author, so I thought that I’d enjoy this one as well; I didn’t. But, this is only my opinion. The book is not poorly written, just not for me.

Thank you, Gallery/Scout Press and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~2 out of 5 stars~ 

 

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#The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith–Review-4.5 Stars #NetGalley

the dutch wife..:. 850.jpgDon’t Miss Ellen Keith’s Novel–The Dutch Wife–Coming 9/4/18

 

 

The Dutch Wife is a well-crafted, riveting, and haunting novel. It held me captive from the very first page. There are two stories which run parallel in this book, with different timelines. The first story takes place in Germany during WWII, and involves, a political prisoner, Marijke, and the Schutzhaftagerfuhrer for Buchenwald, Karl Muller. And, the second timeline, is in Argentina, during the Dirty War, involving, a University student, Luciano Wagner.

In Amsterdam, Marijke de Graaf, and her husband, Theo, were arrested for taking part in the resistance against the Third Reich. The two of them were considered political prisoners and sent to different camps. Because Marijke was beautiful, she was given the choice of working in a brothel at Buchenwald, or staying where she was, and possibly not surviving the work camp. She chose the brothel. Initially, she was hoping to see her husband at Buchenwald. But as time went on, Marijke felt more and more ashamed, for prostituting herself, and for her growing attachment to Karl Muller, the Schuzhaftagerfuhrer. 

 The parallel story in this book, takes place in Argentina, during the 1970s. Anyone in Argentina who was discovered, speaking out, against the government, disappeared. Luciano Wagner, a University student, was arrested for attending a resistance rally. He became one of many students who were kidnapped by the military and tortured. I didn’t know much about the Dirty War, so the details shocked me. The torture that took place was hideous, heartbreaking and haunting. 

Although I was totally engrossed in this novel, and highly recommend reading it; switching back and forth, between Germany, 1943, and Argentina, 1977, in my opinion, took away from the book. The two parallel stories do come together, however, in the end. The Dutch Wife is a compelling read, realistically graphic, engrossing, and well-researched.

Thank you, Harlequin and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I loved it.

~4.5 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Winner of the HarperCollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction, Ellen Keith is a Canadian writer and a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia’s MFA program in creative writing. Her work has appeared in publications such as the New Quarterly and the Globe and Mail. She currently lives in Amsterdam.

 

#Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia–Review-4 stars-#NetGalley

Leave No trace::.jpg 850.jpgNew Compelling Thriller by Mindy Mejia–Coming 9/4/18

 

Nineteen-year-old Lucas Blackthorn and his father disappeared in the Minnesota Boundary Waters wilderness, ten-years ago. They were both assumed dead. But when Lucas Blackthorn ransacked a nearby outfitter store, the search for his father resumed. Lucas was sent to a nearby psychiatric hospital. He was mute and unresponsive.

Assistant speech therapist, Maya Stark was assigned to work with Lucas Blackthorn. The staff at the hospital were amazed when Maya received an immediate response from Lucas. It baffled everyone, but Lucas, as to why he would connect with Maya, and no one else. 

Against hospital rules, Maya became emotionally involved with Lucas. She became his ally, and crossed professional lines, risking her job, her heart, and her future. Lucas needed to find his father. Maya did too, but not for the same reason. Maya had her own secrets and agenda. She wanted answers. 

Leave No Trace is a complex and compelling thriller. Although I didn’t find the book entirely realistic, I was engrossed in the story from the first page.

Thank you, Atria Books and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~4 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from Amazon)

Mindy Mejia received her MFA from Hamline University. Her debut novel, The Dragon Keeper, was published by Ashland Creek Press in 2012. The granddaughter of Minnesota farmers, she lives in the Twin Cities with her husband and two children. She is the author of Everything You Want Me to Be.

 

The Piranhas by Roberto Saviano–Review-3 stars #NetGalley

The Piranhas::.jpg 850.jpgThe Piranhas Coming 9/4/18

 

 

The Piranhas takes place during the twenty-first century in Naples, Italy.

Nicholas has always been fascinated by the organized crime world. His idea of success was to be the head of an organized group. His father wanted him to go to America or England to attend an esteemed school. But, Nicolas, later known as, Maraja, was content in Naples. The gang world was his life. The only thing Nicholas hated, was reporting to someone. His goal was to have his own paranza. 

The Piranhas is a distressing story about teenagers growing up in the organized crime world. The leaders of the crime families were like royalty. The boys idolized them. Witnessing brutal killings, drug deals, and generalized lawlessness was part of their life. 

I had a difficult time getting through this novel. There are a lot of characters in this book. Trying to remember the characters, crime families, and Italian phrases sprinkled throughout the novel was overwhelming. The story, although interesting, is quite disturbing.  

Thank you,  Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Publishing, and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~3 out of 5 stars~

 

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#Once A Scoundrel by Mary Jo Putney–Review-5 stars #NetGalley

Once a scoundrel:.jpg 850.jpgMary Jo Putney’s Newest Historical Fiction Release–Coming 9/25/18

 

 

Once A Scoundrel is a captivating historical fiction novel, well-crafted with adventure, romance, and pirates. 

Gabriel Vance came from a long line of Royal Navy men and used to be the favorite grandson of a well-known military hero. But, Gabriel’s action in the heat of a battle resulted in a dishonorable discharge and a royal shunning from his grandfather.  Gabriel’s grandmother couldn’t treat her grandson as her husband did. So, to continue corresponding with his beloved grandmother, Gabriel changed his name to Gabriel Hawkins.

 Gabriel hesitated when asked to save Lady Aurora and her cousin, from a kidnapper. His own memories of being a slave were still fresh. But after seeing Lady Aurora’s picture, Gabriel couldn’t just sit back and not try to rescue her. 

Lady Aurora and Constance were mentally preparing themselves for months of slavery when Gabriel Hawkins showed up on the scene. Lady Aurora was surprised to find that her rescuer Gabriel, and kidnapper, Malek Reis were acquainted with one another. 

Gabriel was bargaining for Lady Aurora and her cousin’s freedom, when Malek accepted Gabriel’s price, under one condition. That condition, however, would bring Lady Aurora, Constance, Gabriel and his crew into more danger than she could have ever imagined. The one thing Lady Aurora knew for sure was that she was falling for the handsome sea captain and rescuer, Gabriel Hawkins.

Gabriel knew that showing Lady Aurora affection would get them both punished and possibly killed, but staying away from her was becoming more and more difficult.

Once a Scoundrel is a riveting read and one that I stayed up into the night to finish. If you enjoy historical fiction romance and a bit of adventure this book is for you.

Thank you, Kensington Books and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. 

~5 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USAToday bestselling author, Mary Jo Putney was born in Upstate New York with a reading addiction, a condition for which there is no known cure. Her entire romance writing career is an accidental byproduct of buying a computer for other purposes. 

Her novels are known for psychological depth and intensity and include historical and contemporary romance, fantasy, and young adult fantasy. Winner of numerous writing awards, including two RITAs and two Romantic Times Career Achievement awards, she has five times had books listed among the Library Journal’s top five romances of the year, and three times had books among the top ten romances of Booklist, the magazine of the American Library Association. 

Her favorite reading is great stories, but in a pinch she’ll settle for the backs of cereal boxes. She’s delighted that e-publishing can now make available books that have been out of print. 

 

 

#So Much Life Left Over by Louis De Bernieres–Review-4 stars #NetGalley

So Much Life Left Over::::.jpg 850.jpgNew Historical Fiction Novel by Louis De Bernieres–Out Now

 

So Much Life left Over is a captivating and compelling historical fiction novel. The story takes place between the end of WWI and the beginning of WWII.  

Daniel Pitt was an RAF ace pilot. When WWI ended, Daniel settled in Ceylon with his wife, Rosie, and their daughter. The family was happy there, for a few years, until the second child was born deformed, and died, shortly after birth. Both Rosie and Daniel grieved their deceased baby. Rosie wrapped herself in religion to survive her overwhelming sadness. Although Daniel and Rosie were happy that their third child was born healthy, their marriage did not thrive. Rosie turned Daniel away at night, and during the day, did her best to keep him away from the children. With Daniel’s physical and emotional needs unmet, Daniel sought comfort elsewhere. 

The book has several complex stories including a few love affairs and the beginning horrors of Hitler’s reign.  Although the story is poignant and even tragic at times, it has an authentic feel to it. The book is well-written, riveting and perfectly paced. Although I cared for the characters, I didn’t find them likable. If you are looking to read a complex historical fiction novel, So Much Life Left Over may be just the book for you. It does end in a cliffhanger, though.

Thank you, Random House UK- Vintage Publishing and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~4 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (From Amazon)

LOUIS DE BERNIÈRES is the author of many award-winning novels, including Birds Without Wings, Corelli’s Mandolin, The Dust That Falls from Dreams, Notwithstanding, A Partisan’s Daughter, Red Dog, Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord, The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman, and The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts. Selected by Granta as one of the twenty Best of Young British Novelists in 1993, de Bernières lives in England.