The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

The Things We KeepThe Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

Anna Forster, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease at only thirty-eight years old, knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. She also knows there’s just one another resident her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life at Rosalind House. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.

When Eve Bennett is suddenly thrust into the role of single mother she finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind house. When she meets Anna and Luke she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna’s and Luke’s families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is by far one of the best books that I have read this year. It is compelling, very emotional and although at times can make you sad–also has the kind of realistic redemption at the end that makes you believe in the power of love and perseverance.

If you have a family member or friend who has gone through dementia, or is currently suffering from it, then this will be a book that not only will you feel close to, but will be one that you find it difficult to part with when the story is done. Even if you don’t, this is a great book that has wonderful characters that will stay with you long after reading.

I loved the way the stories of the characters revolved in this. It was always clear who was telling their side of the tale and at what point and never got confusing. The multiple things going on in the book all meld together at the end perfectly, leaving no loose ends to be dealt with.

This is an author that I am very excited about and can’t wait to share with everyone I know. Sally Hepworth is brilliant at her craft and I encourage you to read her work.

This review is based on a complimentary copy, provided through Netgalley.

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The Tannenbaum Tailors and the Secret Snowball by JB Michaels

The Tannenbaum Tailors and the Secret SnowballThe Tannenbaum Tailors and the Secret Snowball by J.B. Michaels

 

They are the Tannenbaum Tailors: elves charged with maintaining Christmas trees in homes around the world. Without the Tailors’ efforts, families might lose their Christmas spirit. And this year, one team of Tailors will be tested like never before.

 

With the North Pole itself under attack, newly promoted Captain Brendan is assigned a special mission: conceal the source of Santa’s power within a Christmas tree in Chicago. On Christmas Eve, Santa will pick it up.

 

The job would be simple, but the Tailors find themselves facing a serious threat—the thieving Spiritless elves, already responsible for sabotaging the North Pole Home Tree, will do anything to gain control of the very thing that makes Christmas possible.

 

Equally bad, Christmas spirit is at an all-time low in the Chicago home where Brendan’s assigned. The family’s mother even wants to take the tree down before Christmas Eve! To save Christmas, Captain Brendan and his Tailors will have to use every spirit-raising trick they know—and possibly even bend a few rules to pull it off.

 

Combining holiday cheer with action and thrills, The Tannenbaum Tailors and the Secret Snowball reads like Raiders of the Lost Ark in a Christmas tree.


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this story because it was different. There are a lot of Christmas stories out there for young readers, but this wasn’t like any that I had run across before. The ideas are very creative and interesting and the characters are the kind that will be able to go on for future books easily.

I did find a few editing mistakes, but nothing major. Some of the sentence structure was a bit awkward in places, but it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story. My only real criticism, would be that I felt this book could use a dash more humour for the younger kids. There are a few funny places, but a lot of the book is descriptions of actions and the main character thinking out loud about those actions.

The imagination of the author really does come to life in this book, and I would encourage parents to give this a read with their kids. It has a few really strong messages in it that make it worth the time to enjoy. This could easily become a film for the holidays.

This review is based on a complimentary coy from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Hard to Forget by Bella Jewel

Hard to Forget (Alpha's Heart, #3)Hard to Forget by Bella Jewel

My rating: 3.5 of 5

3.5

Bella Jewel knows how to write herself a sassy female lead and bring us all with her for the ride. As usual, her characters were interesting, vivacious and determined to outdo one another. I enjoy the competitive spirit in these novels and the way the characters respond to one another.

The main character, as in previous books, has had to work hard to secure her position in a job that usually belongs to a male. She is smart and stealthy and is not overly ruled by her emotions, even though they play a big part in the book. The dialogue is clever and the plot didn’t waver.

The only thing that bothered me about this novel, was that at this late stage in the game, I feel like the books have become slightly predictable.

Otherwise, this was as good a novel as the others in the series with some charming, sexy qualities that make it worthy of a recommendation for those who enjoy a bit of danger with their romance.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

More about this book:

HARD TO FORGET

An Alpha’s Heart Novel, #3

By Bella Jewel

St. Martin’s Paperbacks

On Sale: December 15, 2015

eBook only

$3.99 USD

Goodreads

About The Book

HardToForget FINAL

The third book in the sexy Alpha’s Heart series by USA Today bestseller Bella Jewel.

Delaney, a professional bodyguard, has spent years trying to prove herself in a male dominated industry. Now she’s facing her greatest challenge yet.

HardToBreak Final

Bad boy billionaire Jax Shields has made plenty of enemies on his climb to the top, but being in the wrong place at the wrong time has put his life at risk. Now he’s putting his life in the hands of Delaney and her team. He demands the best in everything, and he doesn’t think she has what it takes to protect him. He’s also made it clear he’d rather have her on her back then covering his. Will Delaney be able to prove herself to the most arrogant-and devastatingly handsome-man she’s ever met?

HardToFight Final (1)

About The Author

Bella Jewel is a USA Today bestselling author. She lives in North Queensland where she’s working on her next novel.

Social Links

Author Website: http://bellajewelbooks.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7178194.Bella_Jewel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBellaJewel/

SMP Romance: https://twitter.com/smpromance

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WRFUEJI/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hard-to-forget/id990319945?mt=11

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hard-to-forget-bella-jewel/1121815834?ean=9781466891371

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/hard-to-forget-4

Read The Whole Series

Each book in the Alpha’s Heart series is a standalone with a HEA.

A Friend of Mr. Lincoln by Stephen Harrigan

A Friend of Mr. Lincoln: A novelA Friend of Mr. Lincoln: A novel by Stephen Harrigan

The author of the best-selling The Gates of the Alamo now gives us a galvanizing portrait of Abraham Lincoln during a crucially revealing period of his life, the early Springfield years, when he risked both his sanity and his ethical bearings as he searched for the great destiny he believed to be his.

It is Illinois in the 1830s and 1840s. Abraham Lincoln is a circuit-riding lawyer, a member of the state legislature, a man of almost ungovernable ambition. To his friends he is also a beloved figure, by turns charmingly awkward and mesmerizingly self-possessed—a man of whom they, too, expect big things. Among his friends and political colleagues are Joshua Speed, William Herndon, Stephen Douglas, and many others who have come to the exploding frontier town of Springfield to find their futures.

It is through another friend, a fictional poet, Cage Weatherby, that we will come to know Lincoln in his twenties and thirties, as a series of formative, surprising incidents unfolds—his service in the Black Hawk War, his participation in a poetry-writing society, a challenge to a duel that begins as a farce but quickly rises to lethal potential . . . Cage both admires and clashes with Lincoln, sometimes questioning his legal ethics and his cautious stance on slavery. But he is by Lincoln’s side as Lincoln slips back and forth between high spirits and soul-hollowing sadness and depression, and as he recovers from a disastrous courtship of one woman to marry the beautiful, capricious, politically savvy Mary Todd. It is Mary who will bring stability to Lincoln’s life, but who will also trigger a conflict that sends the two men on very different paths into the future.

Historically accurate, rich in character, filled with the juice and dreams and raw ambitions of Americans on the make in an early frontier city, A Friend of Mr. Lincoln is a revelatory and moving portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in his young manhood. It is a close-up, involving experience, the sort of vibrant glimpse beneath the veneer of history that only the very best fiction can provide.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book–and that was really surprising, considering how much I tend to hate fictitious Lincoln books. I would go so far as to say that this is the first one I have thoroughly enjoyed.

Told mostly around the life of the fictional character Cage Weatherby, this book explores Lincoln’s life before presidency in such a way that it was not only believable, but compelling and addictive. When I wasn’t holding this book and actively reading it, I was thinking about it.

I have huge respect for the author’s ability to incorporate so many different real facets of Lincoln’s life into his fictional account. The stories he had Lincoln tell in this book, the conversations he had with others and the descriptions of the former president’s well documented periods of melancholy were all spot on.

One of the things that made me enjoy this book so much, was that it wasn’t just another account of the death of Lincoln. Booth gets no page time here and I felt the author did his best, and succeeded at writing something original. It isn’t just another attempt at repeating history in a fictional manner. A+.

If you are a fan of Lincoln or simply want a good historical book to read, this will be one you don’t want to miss. Highly recommended.

This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Raven Room by Ana Medeiros

The Raven Room (The Raven Room, #1)The Raven Room by Ana Medeiros

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you can’t handle some hot and spicy, then you can’t handle this book.

I like to think that I write unbiased reviews, but in this case, I was already convinced I would hate this book before I started. I am not a fan of reading erotica. Not because I’m prudish, but because most of it is rather ridiculous and feels like a copy of a book that has come (pardon the pun, folks) before it.

That wasn’t the case with this book. Okay, okay–there may be a couple of Julian brooding moments that seem a little Shades of Grey, but for the most part, I thought this novel was pretty original.

The sex takes a full frontal centre stage, but it is done well. I didn’t feel like I was reading cheap porn, nor did I feel like I had read this book before somewhere else.

The characters are intelligent, make bad and good decisions and suffer the consequences like real people. I liked the personality quirks and the way the author chose to portray the women in the book as something other than needy and pathetic princesses who needed to be saved by the rich guy.

There’s a strong theme of mystery and also seduction in this book and it will keep your interest–even if it isn’t the type of book you would normally choose.

Definitely recommended to those who enjoy erotica, or those who are looking for a way to read the genre without the silliness and repeat, boring scenes.

*Warning though–cliffhanger ending.*

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It EndsThis Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this book. It is based on events that could really happen. The blurb sounded interesting and the potential for this seemed unlimited-but for me–and obviously, this is just my opinion, this book fell flat.

First of all, I understand the need in a book like this for the character perspectives to rotate so the reader gets multiple views of what is happening, but in this case, I didn’t feel enough was happening at the beginning to warrant so many POV changes. I was quickly lost in the menial details of the school kids and nearly forgot what the point in the story was before even getting to the action. I almost gave up on it, and I rarely do that.

My main issue with this book, however, was Tyler. If you are going to have a central character that has lost his or her mind–if they are supposedly deeply motivated by revenge, then you need to see why they feel the way they do. I hate hearing the “show don’t tell” thing all the time, but this was a good example. I felt like he wasn’t motivated enough to do something of the extreme measure this book is about. It was hard to imagine it, because I felt we, as an audience didn’t know enough about him to make it viable.

Overall, this will be a book that I think you will either love or dislike. There are a lot of redeeming qualities in it–diversity, word choices, etc. But for me, it wasn’t enough to make it earn a higher star rating.

Read it and see what you think. It’s definitely a good way to start a conversation with other readers.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

For Love or Magic by Lucy March

For Love or Magic (Nodaway Falls, #3)For Love or Magic by Lucy March

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really loved this book–and I really loved the big, slobbering dog, which made me love the book even more. Seamus is a keeper.

This is my first book by this author, and now I anxiously await reading another of her books. The overall tone and personality of this novel worked well for me and there were many points where I laughed out loud or had to read a passage to someone else because I couldn’t stand keeping to myself.

If you are into magical books and enjoy a good small town story while you are at it, then you won’t go wrong with this book. I liked the emerging love story and am greatly looking forward to reading more books set in this quaint, little town with characters that have quickly become favourites.

Recommended.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Chasing Gold by George M. Taber

Chasing Gold: The Incredible Story of How the Nazis Stole Europe's BullionChasing Gold: The Incredible Story of How the Nazis Stole Europe’s Bullion by George M. Taber

For the entire history of human civilization, gold has enraptured people around the globe. The Nazis was no less enthralled by it, and felt that gold was the solution to funding Hitler’s war machine. Gold was also on the mind of FDR across the Atlantic, as he worked with Europe’s other leaders to bring the United States and the rest of the world out of a severe depression. FDR was hardly the first head of state to turn to gold in difficult times. Throughout history, it has been the refuge of both nations and people in trouble, working at times when nothing else does. Desperate people can buy a loaf of bread or bribe a border guard. Gold can get desperate nations oil to keep tanks running or munitions to fight a war. If the price is right, there is always someone somewhere willing to buy or sell gold. And it was to become the Nazi’s most important medium of exchange during the war.

Chasing Gold is the story of how the Nazis attempted to grab Europe’s gold to finance history’s bloodiest war. It is filled with high drama and close escapes, laying bare the palate of human emotions. Walking through the tale are giants of world history, as well as ordinary people called upon to undertake heroic action in an extraordinary time.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s really all in the details–and you won’t find a lack of them in this book. Whilst this is a very interesting book, and very well researched–the details cause it to lag a bit here and there.

I was fascinated by all the struggles various countries went through trying to protect their national treasures from the Nazis, and I loved the information on the various political alliances that were formed around the idea of protecting that gold.

George M. Taber writes intelligently and entertainingly and manages to tell a complete story worth reading in this book, but I could have done without some of the minutiae. The smaller details about the removal of the gold, the loading and unloading, in my opinion, took away from the interesting part of the story, in my opinion.

Overall, I still thought this was a really good book and feel comfortable recommending it to anyone interested in this period of history.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

What She KnewWhat She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

In her enthralling debut, Gilly Macmillan explores a mother’s search for her missing son, weaving a taut psychological thriller as gripping and skillful as The Girl on the Train and The Guilty One.

In a heartbeat, everything changes…

Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.

Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion.

As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.

Where is Ben? The clock is ticking…

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel. Not that all debuts are terrible, but many of them seem to fall into the same routine pitfalls and this one certainly didn’t. This book has a tight plot, intelligently created characters and will keep you guessing, hoping, praying even–for the little boy at the centre of it all.

I was not only impressed by the unwavering dedication to good storytelling, but also by the descriptions and word choices. I believe this author will go far in this genre–and probably any other she chooses to write in.

If you are searching for a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat and make you forget everything else, this is one I can definitely recommend.

This book kept me up at night.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Ch-Ch-Ch-changes

I miss you guys. Bloggers, readers, people who built this blog and made it important to someone. It really is no secret that I love books and I love to read. I’ve done thousands of reviews. Some for books I loved and couldn’t wait to tell you about, some for books I warned you to avoid. But, seasons change and so do circumstances, and after careful consideration, I’ve made a decision.

I will no longer be accepting book review requests.

This is not to say that I don’t appreciate all the great books that have come my way over the years. I’ve made a lot of lasting friendships and forged a lot of literary bonds. I’ve also found some great books because you have sent them my way, but the truth of the matter is, I have no life.

I will still be reviewing occasionally, but only books of my own choosing. I’ve got a huge library of books I’ve bought, books on Netgalley and books that I’m not even sure where they came from and I’d like to get to those. I’m also following a bit of a different career path at the moment.

I intend to finish up the stack of reviews I’m working on now, so you will see reviews here for a while, likely in abundance as I’ve a lot of them I’ve agreed to review, but after those, it will only be occasional.

I am trying to return to wordpress by lightening the load. I miss you Pam, Charles, Susan, John, Chris–I miss having time to read your blogs and make comments. I guess you could say I remember what this whole blogging thing is about. People.

I will still be doing promo here and will do what I can to help authors achieve their goals and gain an audience for their hard work, but I won’t be accepting requests. This may only be for a while, this may be permanent.

I love you all for your support, inspiration and wonderful ideas that you’ve shared with me over the years. I also love my four boys and my incredible fiance. They deserve some face time as well, and I just can’t do that when I’m always busy reading and reviewing.

Thank you for understanding, and if you don’t–then let me send you a thousand or so review requests for my books and we can go grab a coffee when you finish answering your emails and reading my stuff. (Trust me when I say it takes a special kind of stupid to get through some of my books.)

XoXo.

I shall now go do a few reviews to make this post seem rather pointless. After I amend my submission guidelines.