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*The Drowned Phoenician Sailor* by Lesley Hayes*5-Shining Stars

The drowned Phoenician Sailor

The Drowned Phoenician Sailor is a beautifully written, character-driven novel, which quickly draws the reader into the heart and mind of the main character, Fynn. Fynn is a strong-willed, feisty, independent woman with a good sense of humor and a caring spirit. But, because she is being bothered by two ghosts on a regular basis, she fears for her sanity. One of the ghosts is her twin sister, and the other is Paul, her psychotherapist; the same psychotherapist who she was seeing because of her ghost visitations in the first place. Unfortunately for Fynn, when Paul dies, he ends up popping in and out of Fynn’s life, just like her dead sister.

Although Fynn was afraid that she might be insane, she was still the most responsible person in her family and the only one who cared for her eccentric, childlike mother whose grip on reality was quite slippery. It was on one of her visits to her mother’s house that Fynn met Jack, a mysterious man whom her mother found washed up on the beach and brought home, much like she would a stray puppy. Jack would become a special person to Fynn, though, someone who would touch her soul.

The author does an exceptional job writing about the issues that are often found in dysfunctional families; such as; abuse, abandonment, deceit, depression, and mistrust. Ms. Hayes explores many of the puzzle pieces that make up positive and negative relationships and crafts them into a beautiful story. There is a lot of humor, wisdom, and inspiration that is sprinkled throughout this book.

The characters are unique, developed and utterly fascinating; even the cat has a quirky hysterical personality. The Drowned Phoenician Sailor is written with elegance, so much so, that I often stopped to reread a sentence, just to admire the beauty of the author’s word choices. Every sentence is carefully crafted, to tug at the reader’s heart, make them laugh or move the story forward.

This is a quality book with oodles of insights and wisdom. I highly recommend giving it a read.

~5 out of 5 shining stars~Review by Peg Glover

*Three Sisters* by Susan Mallery*5-Shining Stars

Three Sisters

Three Sisters is a brilliantly crafted, touching, character-driven novel. Each page captured my attention and hijacked my heart. The author brings the reader deeply into the lives and hearts of three women who are emotionally broken and in the middle of a personal crisis.

After being left at the altar, Dr. Andi Gordan decided to abandon her life in Seattle and move to Blackberry Island. She bought a severely neglected, Queen Anne home to renovate. It would serve as her home, her healing and her pediatric office.

Boston King’s marriage is crumbling. Her heart died months ago, right along with her baby. Although Boston’s artistic skills are in demand, she hasn’t been able to draw anything but pictures of her dead son. She’s a shell of the person that she used to be.

Deanna Phillips feels desperate. Her husband wants to end their marriage; her oldest daughter hates her, and her younger daughters are afraid of her. Deanna thought that being perfect was a good thing, now she knows it’s not. Her OCD and rigidity are out of control as well as her self-harming behaviors.

Susan Mallery captures the essence of her flawed characters, perfectly. Every page is brought to life for the reader with razor sharp details and raw emotion. Although I felt each woman’s heart-wrenching pain, I also felt their love, hope, and joy. I rejoiced with each character as they began to heal and become whole once again. Truly, this is one of the best books that I have read this year. It’s touching, powerful, and immensely satisfying. Don’t miss it.

5 out of 5 shining stars~Review by Peg Glover

*Can You Keep a Secret?* by Sophie Kinsella*5-Shining Stars*

Can you keep a secret

I’m a big fan of Sophie Kinsella. I love her humorous, easy to read writing style. Can you Keep a Secret? is a laugh out loud, hysterical romance novel.

Emma Corrigan was petrified when her plane hit heavy turbulence; she was convinced that she was about to die. While the passengers behind her were weeping and reciting prayers out loud, Emma began to blab to the man sitting next to her, every dirty secret that she had. When the plane didn’t crash, Emma was immensely grateful that she was going to be able to continue her mundane life in one piece.

At Emma’s work everyone was in a tizzy because Jack Harper, the American founder of the company, was coming to visit. When Emma saw who the owner was, she nearly fainted. He was the same man who had sat next to her on the plane. Emma was hoping against hope that he wouldn’t recognize her. But of course, Jack Harper did. He also remembered every single embarrassing little secret that Emma had told him.

Sophie Kinsella does a brilliant job taking an innocent meeting of two people on a plane and turning it into a hilarious story. Although this is not one of the author’s newest books, it’s one of my favorites. If you have not read this book yet, you’re in for a treat. You’re going to laugh out loud…a lot.

5 out of 5 shining stars~Review by Peg Glover

*The Nightingale*by Kristin Hannah*5-Shining Stars

 

The Nightingale

The Nightingale is a poignant, unforgettable novel, magnificently crafted and impossible to put down. The story takes place during WWII in France.

The story is about two brave sisters and what they had to do in order to survive the horrors in occupied France. Vianne was the rule keeper; the responsible older sister. Isabelle, on the other hand, was the younger sister, the rebel, the one with spirit and passion. Both of the sisters were broken from being abandoned by their parents, but the two of them were forever changed by the atrocities they had encountered during the French resistance, in their home, and in German concentration camps.

While Isabelle lead pilots who were shot down into Spain, Vianne was busy saving Jewish children; one in her billeted home, right under the nose of a German officer.

Every page of this engrossing soul-wrenching novel, pulled me in, until I no longer read the words, but experienced them. This is not only a story about the hardships and suffering of WWII but of the risks that brave men and women took in order to save others. In the end, the only thing that mattered was the love that they held for one another.

I highly recommend this superbly written and remarkable book.

5 out of 5 stars~Review by Peg Glover

*Swearing Allegiance*by Jana Petken*5-Shining Stars

Swearing Aligience

Swearing Allegiance, book one of The Carmody Saga, takes place in Dublin, Ireland in 1916, during the Irish Rebellion, and the first part of the Great War.

Jana Petken is a master storyteller and a magnificent writer. I’ve read every one of her books and have never been disappointed. They have all been five-star reads, and Swearing Allegiance is no different. Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t stop. From the very first page, I was swept up into the author’s world; A world ravaged by war, loss and betrayal.

The book follows the Carmody’s, a realistic Irish family, fractured by violence, betrayal, and injustice, but bonded together by love. The once wealthy family was jolted from their life of privilege in Ireland and forced to relocate to the poor section of London, England. Each member of the family faced their own personal crisis. Every scene in the book is crafted with sharp, authentic details. I found that the main characters were fully developed and that their dialogue was natural and realistic. The book comes alive with raw emotion right from the start, transporting the reader into the dark, violent alleys of Ireland, the bloody battlefields in France, prisoner of war camps and the streets of London, under attack by German Zeppelins. By the end of this riveting book, I was exhausted, happy and wanting more. Now, I can’t wait for book two in the series to be released.

I loved Swearing Allegiance, and highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a story, well-told.

5 out of 5 shining stars~Review by Peg Glover

*The Highlander*by Kerrigan Byrne*5-Stars

The highlander

The Highlander is a well crafted, compelling romance that takes place in Scotland, during the 19th century.

Lieutenant Colonel Liam Mackenzie, aka, the Demon Highlander, was famous for his violent temper and fierce fighting skills. He was feared by his enemies, his soldiers, and even his own clan.

Lady Philomela had never been the recipient of violence until she married the despicable, Lord Gordon St.Vincent. And, although, Lady Philomela knew that her sadistic husband had no qualms about hurting her, she never thought that he would lock her away in an insane asylum.

Lady Philomela suffered horrific atrocities while in the hospital and was tearfully relieved when she was rescued. Once out of the insane asylum, Philomela needed a new identity. It was decided that she would pose as a governess and be sent to the one place where no one would even dare to look for her, in the castle of the Demon Highlander. Lady Philomela was petrified. What would happen if the most feared warrior in all of Scotland were to find out that the person teaching his children was not a governess at all, but a woman living a lie?

The Highlander is a highly entertaining historical fiction romance. I finished the book in one day. The characters are unique, fully developed and likable, and their dialogue, realistic and witty. If you enjoy reading historical fiction romance, you’ll love The Highlander.

5 out of 5 stars~Review by Peg Glover

*The Sugar Planter’s Daughter*by Sharon Maas*5-Shining Stars

The sugar planter's daughter.jpg

The Sugar Planter’s Daughter is a powerfully written, emotionally charged, character driven novel, that takes place during the early 1900’s in British Guiana.

Winnie Cox, a Sugar Planter’s Daughter, is a kind-hearted and trusting soul, who willingly gives up her upper-class status to marry George Quint, a black man, from a poor neighborhood.

Winnie’s sister, Johanna, chose to continue her privileged life, by marrying a man whom she could easily manipulate and use, to restore her family’s sugar plantation. Johanna didn’t care about having a loveless marriage. However, after she witnessed the joy and love that her sister, Winnie, shared with her husband, and their sons, she had a change of heart. Jealous of her sister, Johanna set out to steal Winnie’s happiness from her.

This book is not only a story about love and betrayal; it’s about life; in all of its glorious joy, devastating hardships and difficult life lessons; and how it’s even possible to derive happiness from agonizing trials. Forgiveness like grief has many layers, and even though, an act of betrayal has been forgiven, betrayal’s poisonous sting can easily be resurrected.

Sharon Maas is not only an outstanding storyteller but a magnificent writer; she transports her readers into the hearts and minds of her characters. I was moved to tears more than once while reading and experiencing their lives, especially the heart-wrenching struggles of Sophie Cox Quint. Each page comes alive with fully developed characters, realistic dialogue and raw emotion.

I highly recommend reading The Sugar Planter’s Daughter, a beautifully written, moving story that touches the soul.

I received this ARC from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

5 out of 5 shining stars~Review by Peg Glover