The Four Winds Book Review

Posted May 25, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

The Four Winds Book ReviewThe Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Published by macmillan on 2 February 2021
Genres: Historical
Pages: 452
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
five-stars

Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.

In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wow, just wow. This is a book that really gets you in the feels.

I have to admit, I don’t know a lot about American History, there’s a few major political events that I’ve looked up but other than that I’m pretty oblivious. I had no clue about the events leading up to the depression in the 1930’s and so I had no pre-conceived ideas as to what this would actually be about.

Holy shit, bleak doesn’t cover it. Kristin Hannah does such an amazing job of painting a picture of what it was like to live through the drought and the dust storms you can actually feel yourself struggling to breathe.

Elsa is such a wonderful, complex character, she’s not your usual leading lady. Her life is a struggle from the very beginning of the book and life doesn’t really let up on her. But she’s so easy to love, you really root for her, you want her to have the love that she deserves and the life that she deserves.

I really don’t think that anything I write in a review will do this book justice. Kristin Hannah is truly one of the best writers on the market at the moment. In The Four Winds she has taken a bleak period of time and made it accessible to the masses, something that you are desperate to read more about, with a character that you are deeply invested in. This book is historical fiction writing at it’s best.

Kristin Hannah pulls all the punches, her descriptions are so vivid you can really imagine what it was like to live with nothing. Reading this book will make you thankful for what you have, no matter how little you currently perceive that to be.

I read this shortly after reading Firefly Lane and the difference between Elsa and Cloud couldn’t be more stark. Elsa shows us just what a mum is willing to do to ensure the safety of her children and to try and get the best life for them. This is a woman who, when pushed, will give up everything that she loves, if it means a better future for her children. I’m not usually one for posting quotes from books but there is the most wonderful quote about motherhood in here

“A warrior believes in an end she can’t see and fights for it. A warrior never gives up. A warrior fights for those weaker than herself. It sounds like motherhood to me.”

5 stars just doesn’t seem to be enough

five-stars
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Top Ten Tuesday – Book Quotes

Posted May 24, 2022 by louisesr in Features / 5 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks prompt for Top Ten Tuesday is book quotes, there are so many ways that this could go – my favourite quotes from in books, my favourite quotes about books, I’ve decided to share with you my favourite quotes about books and reading. I’ve been a reader all my life, I love that books take me to a different world, even if that world is one of serial killers.

“Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.”

Napoléon Bonaparte

I’m hopefully raising a family of readers. My children think it’s a great afternoon treat to head off to the library and my 6yo has just discovered the libby app. Although she is a very capable reader we take it in turns to read books, some nights she will read them herself and other times I will read to her. My son is 4, he can’t read yet but he’s working on recognising his letters (he gets so excited if he sees a word that includes the letters in his name), he gets 2 stories read to him every night.

“I guess there are never enough books.”

John Steinbeck

When I was a child there just wasn’t enough books for me, before I’d finished primary school I’d read all of the books in my school and all of the books in my local library. Now, I read daily but I’m pretty sure I’m never going to run out of books again.

“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”

JK Rowling

I think this is so true, there is a book for everyone. I know people who can’t understand why others would read fiction but they will immerse themselves in autobiographies or books on sport. My brother always said he hated reading, and then he discovered Terry Pratchett and devoured them all.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr Seuss

Who does’t love Dr Seuss, he has so many great quotes. One of the things that I love about books is that even if you’re reading fiction you can learn from them. Not just the best way to dispose of a body but I recently learn about ALS and depression. I’ve found that the books that used to be known as Chick-lit, which are now normally labelled Women’s Fiction often have some of the deepest topics in amongst the humour.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

CS Lewis

My husband laughs at me for the size of my cups, the only dainty cup that I possess is a cup and saucer that I got in this months Illumicrate box. If I’m having a cuppa I want to know that it’s actually going to be big enough to quench my thirst. In all honesty, I never really check the length of a book any more, I have a lot on my kindle so I’d have no idea how many pages they are until I come to post a review. When I was younger I always used to gravitate to the longer books, I thought I was getting more for my money with them 😁

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”

George RR Martin

I read such a wide variety of books, I’ve gone to different worlds and lived different jobs, I’ve lived through a zombie apocalypse and world wars. When I’m reading a book I get so immersed in the world that I’m living in for that short time.

I can survive well enough on my own—if given the proper reading material.

Sarah J Maas

I’m an introvert, I don’t tend to go out very much, I’m quite happy sitting inside on my own – as long as I have a book to keep me company. Even if I go out I usually have both my kindle and a paperback with me, if I get stuck in a queue or have 5 minutes to myself, I’m not going to get bored if I have a book with me

A room without books is like a body without a soul.

Cicero

I drive my husband crazy as I have books everywhere (I have so many I couldn’t possibly limit them to my bookcases). We have 2 huge bookcases in our study which are stacked full, there is always a paperback on top of the placemats in the middle of the kitchen table, my bedroom has a couple of books on the bedside table and a book trolley on the other side of the room

It’s not that I don’t like people. It’s just that when I’m in the company of others – even my nearest and dearest – there always comes a moment when I’d rather be reading a book.

Maureen Corrigan

I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’d almost always rather be reading a book.

You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.

Paul Sweeney

I finished Lessons in Chemistry a couple of days ago and I honestly felt bereft when I was no longer living in the world of Elizabeth Zott. It was one of those books that could never have been long enough.

What is your favourite book related quote?

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While Paris Slept Book Review

Posted May 24, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

While Paris Slept Book ReviewWhile Paris Slept by Ruth Druart
Published by Hachette UK on February 23, 2021
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
five-stars

Paris 1944
A young woman's future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.

Santa Cruz 1953
Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi Occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door.

On a darkened platform, two destinies become entangled. Their choice will change the future in ways neither could have imagined...

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wow. This book was so much more than I expected it to be.

Set during WWII and looking back at it from 1953 later While Paris Slept is told from multiple view points. That of Jean Luc a railroad worker, Charlotte a nurse and Sarah who is Jewish. Towards the end of the story we have a few chapters narrated by Sam, Sarah’s son.

This is a book about just what you will endure for love, how it can see you through the very worst of times.

What struck me throughout this book is the heartache that everyone endures while all trying to do the right thing. There is no “bad guy” in this book, just a group of people who are trying to get through life in the very worst of times and who suffer, no matter what choices they make. Everyone admits to making mistakes but these were done with the best of intentions and it’s only with hindsight that it’s possible to see that an alternative course of action may have worked out better. Your heart goes out to every single one of the main characters as they pay for these mistakes, knowing that their actions have brought them on but knowing that the alternative would have been just as heartbreaking.

Ruth Druart tackles some seriously tough subjects throughout this book, from living in occupied France and being a ‘survival collaborator’, to surviving in Auschwitz, to doing what is best for your child – no matter how much it hurts you. She handles all of these with such sensitivity and has obviously researched extremely thoroughly.

This is a book that will break you heart repeatedly and will stay with you long after you read the last page

five-stars

About Ruth Druart

Living in Paris for the last thirty years inspired me to write, and my debut novel, While Paris Slept, came out in 2021, followed by The Last Hours in Paris, to be released in July 2022. Both books are set during the occupation of World War II, a time which intrigued me as I imagined the French having to live and work alongside the occupiers.

I love the power of story, and believe that sharing stories from different perspectives and different backgrounds can help us understand the world better. Having studied psychology at Leicester University, I have always been interested in the workings of the mind, and especially in what motivates people. I find people fascinating and love creating my own characters, each one flawed and touching in their own way.

I don’t believe in the single story, and in my books I like to present different perspectives, leaving the reader to make up their own mind as the characters face moral dilemmas and difficult choices. I hope you enjoy reading them.

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Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez

Posted May 23, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Life’s Too Short by Abby JimenezLife's Too Short by Abby Jimenez
Series: The Friend Zone #3
Published by Hachette UK on April 20, 2021
Narrator: Christine Lakin, Zachary Webber
Length: 9hrs 6mins
Genres: Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
five-stars

When Vanessa Price quit her job to pursue her dream of traveling the globe, she wasn't expecting to gain millions of YouTube followers who shared her joy of seizing every moment. For her, living each day to its fullest isn't just a motto. Her mother and sister never saw the age of 30, and Vanessa doesn't want to take anything for granted.

But after her half-sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her baby daughter, life goes from 'daily adventure' to 'hourly nappy change'. The last person Vanessa expects to show up offering help is the hot lawyer next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. No one warned her that he was the Secret Baby Tamer or that she'd be spending a whole lot of time with him and his geriatric Chihuahua.

Now she's feeling things she's vowed not to feel. Because the only thing worse than falling for Adrian is finding a little hope for a future she may never see.

“One Day Syndrome. You live your life like there’ll always be one day to do all the things you put off. One day you’ll take the trip. One day you’ll have the family. One day you’ll try the thing. You’re all work and not enough play. Money can’t make you happy unless you know what you want,”

Oh how I loved this book. I don’t think I have ever binge read a book so fast as I did with this, I couldn’t put it down! I haven’t read a huge number of romance in recent years, I downloaded this on a whim one night when I was maxing ot my library cards. There were other books I’d intended to read first but then someone else was waiting for this so I bumped it up to the front of the queue. Vanessa and Adrian are just so adorable. She is busy living her best life and he’s busy working. This is a couple who shouldn’t work together but throw in a baby and a dog and it just works!

“Don’t get a cat,” she went on. “It’ll walk around pushing your drinks off the coffee table. You’re not emotionally strong enough for that.”

What really makes my heart sing about reading a romantic comedy like this is that it’s not all sunshine and flowers, it discusses some really serious issues. Do you remember the ice bucket challenge from 2014? Do you remember why everyone was pouring buckets of freezing cold water over their heads? Amyotrophic Latral Sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or Motor Neurone Disease (Lou Gehrig disease in the United States). ALS is a major theme running through the book. It also touches on bereavement, substance abuse and unwanted pregnancy.

Vanessa has lost a number of family members to ALS, due to this she has decided that she’s not going to let the possibility of her life being shortened stop her from living the life she wants. She’s quit her job and started a YouTube channel as a travel blogger, not expecting to get so much support and become a celebrity in her own right. She spends her life travelling the world and raising money for ALS research. When her younger sister gives birth but cannot look after the baby due to her addiction, Vanessa steps in to care for her and moves in next door to Adrian

“You know how when you ask someone what they’d do if the sun was headed for Earth and they had twenty-four hours left to live? And everyone always says they’d be with family, eat their favorite food, go someplace they’ve always wanted to go? Nobody ever says they’d spend the last day curled up in bed crying- because they wouldn’t. That’s not what anyone wants to do with their final hours. I mean, yeah, you’d cry. And you’d be scared because you’re gonna die. And you’d find yourself looking at the sky throughout the day, knowing what’s coming because that’s just human nature. But for the most part, you’d just enjoy the time you had left. Especially because there’s nothing you can do about it. There’s no escape, nowhere to hide. So why bother? Obsessing over the end is pointless. If you spend your life dwelling on the worst possible thing, when it finally happens, you’ve lived it twice. I don’t want to live the worst things twice. I try really hard not to think about the bad stuff. But every once in a while I’m human and I look up. Yesterday was just one of those days that I looked at the sun.”

There are so many quotes in this book that I want to share. It’s a novel about positivity, tackling life head-on and not letting the bad things get you down. I have laughed, I have cried. I’ve downloaded the first book in this series and the newest release from Abby Jaminez. I can’t wait to read them!

five-stars

About Abby Jimenez

Abby Jimenez is a Food Network winner, New York Times best selling author, and recipient of the 2022 Minnesota Book Award for her novel Life’s Too Short. Abby founded Nadia Cakes out of her home kitchen back in 2007. The bakery has since gone on to win numerous Food Network competitions and has amassed an international cult following.

Abby loves a good romance, coffee, doglets, and not leaving the house.

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Around the Blogosphere

Posted May 22, 2022 by louisesr in Features / 1 Comment

As well as writing blog posts I spend a ridiculous amount of times reading other blogs. Here I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite blog posts from the last week

What posts have caught your eye this week?

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Stacking The Shelves (1)

Posted May 21, 2022 by louisesr in Features / 7 Comments

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! And audiobooks. Don’t forget audiobooks! In other words, if you can read it or if it can be read to you – no matter how you got it – it belongs in Stacking the Shelves. The Stacking the Shelves meme was originally hosted at Team Tynga’s Reviews. For the last few years it’s been co-hosted at Team Tynga’s and Reading Reality. Reading Reality became the one and only host of Stacking the Shelves when Team Tynga’s Reviews closed its virtual doors in 2021.

My May LoveMyRead box arrived on Monday with Elektra in. LoveMyRead was taken over by Fane last month so I had high hopes that this would be extra special. I posted my unboxing yesterday if you want to check out this post.

I have also just received my Illumicrate box, this is always the highlight of my month. Want to see what’s in it? You’re going to have to wait a few days, I’ve not had chance to take any photo’s yet. It’s not a spoiler to tell you that the book for this month is The Book of Night by Holly Black, one that I’ve been wanting to get my hands on as I love her writing.

I had a lovely surprise from HarperCollins this week when I received The Silence That Binds Us by Joanna Ho. I’ve read Eyes That Kiss In the Corners with my 6yo daughter so was interested in this which is aimed at a slightly older age group. I’ve already read the authors note in the front of the book and will hopefully be able to pick this up soon, it’s out on the 14th June.

I received three books on NetGalley this week – The Friendship Pact by Jill Shalvis, A Sliver of Darkness by CJ Tudor and Keep It In The Family by John Marrs (if you’re not already following him he has a fantastic Insagram account). I’m trying not to order as many books through NetGalley but it’s hard! When I first got my account I assumed that I wouldn’t be accepted for many books so I requested loads, BIG MISTAKE. At the start of this year my review percentage was 40% and it was not improving. I’ve made a big effort to review more books this year. This week I finally hit 50%, it’s taken me nearly 5 months. I don’t think I’ll make the elusive 80% by the end of the year but I’m hoping I can maybe get it up to 70%.

I also went on a library binge this week, I managed to max out 2 library cards! I tend to get audio books out of the library as for some reason in the UK you can’t read them on your kindle, functionality that I believe is available in the United States. I love getting to “read” while I’m preparing dinner or doing the cleaning.

It’s not like I don’t already have a huge TBR but it seems that no matter how fast I read, I receive books quicker than I can possibly read them, there’s just too many books out there that I want to read.

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Love My Read Unboxing May 2022

Posted May 20, 2022 by louisesr in Features / 3 Comments

My husband bought me a Love My Read subscription for Christmas. Each month I get to choose from a selection of books and then I receive my chosen book along with some extras. The selection of books is pretty good and it covers a range of genres so there’s something for everyone, however, the extras aren’t that great, they’re a selection of treats for you to consume while reading. Love My Read were taken over by Fane last month and this was the first box that I’ve received since the takeover, I was excited to see if things had changed. They hadn’t. But the extras aren’t why I get the box, they’re just an added bonus.

A 12 month subscription is £162 plus £37 delivery, which works out at £16.58 a month.

What’s in The Box?

  1. Your book in a beautifully wrapped subscription box
  2. 2-3 goodies from our partner brands, chosen to enhance your reading experience.
  3. A member magazine, detailing the book’s themes, and the author’ bios, games and more..
  4. A themed monthly bookmark

The above is what Love My Read say is in the box, what this actually translates to :

  • Your chosen book in a LoveMyRead branded cardboard box
  • A chocolate bar, a can of drink (usually Kambucha), a sample size beauty product
  • A couple of postcards with a book themed quote
  • A bookmark

This month my book of choice was Elektra by Jennifer Saint, it’s a beautiful book and I’m excited to read it

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Tour: Missing by KL Slater

Posted May 19, 2022 by louisesr in Tour / 1 Comment

Tour: Missing by KL SlaterMissing Published by Bookouture on 19 May 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 380
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-half-stars

I've known him all my life. I know he has taken my daughter. His mother says she can help me. But she's the last person I can trust...

Samuel lived next door when we were children. We were inseparable. But he didn’t like sharing me with my adored little brother. And one terrible night, he got rid of my brother forever…

Now, years later, he’s free. And my daughter is missing.

I turn on my baby girl’s unicorn nightlight and bury my face in her pillow, my heart breaking. I know Samuel has her – he blames me for ruining his life, and even after all this time, he still doesn’t like to share.

As darkness falls, there’s a knock at my door and I open it to see Samuel’s mother. She says she can help me.

I know I can’t trust her, but I don’t have a choice. With each step I take, my fear grows stronger. Can she help me find my daughter? Or does she know something about what really happened all those years ago? Something that could stop me from saving my baby girl…

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Good Morning!!

Today I’m on the Tour for Missing by KL Slater. At the start of the book we meet Jimmy, his sister Josie and their next door neighbour Samuel. Jimmy and Josie are best friends but Josie has caught the attention of their next door neighbour Samuel, a feeling that isn’t reciprocated. It isn’t long before Jimmy isn’t around any more and Samuel is serving time for his murder (not a spoiler – this is in the synopsis).

We then pick up the story 26 years later, Josie has made a life for herself and her daughter running a cafe in a town about 10 miles away. From here the story is told from multiple versions; Samuel’s and his mum Muriel’s, and primarily Josie’s.

There are a number of twists in here, some I saw coming, some were a complete shock. It was really fast paced, there was always something happening with no pause to get your breath back.

This is a book about facing up to your past, owning your actions and having the strength to say what you thought you wanted may not actually be what is best for you.

four-half-stars
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The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd

Posted May 18, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 2 Comments

The Rising Tide by Sam LloydThe Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd
Published by Random House on June 24, 2021
Narrator: Anna Wilson-Jones, Charles Armstrong
Length: 12 hrs
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 448
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-stars

HOW DID IT COME TO THIS?

The news doesn't strike cleanly, like a guillotine's blade. Nothing so merciful. This news is a slovenly traveller, dragging its feet, gradually revealing its horrors. And it announces itself first with violence - the urgent hammering of fists on the front door.

Life can change in a heartbeat.

Lucy has everything she could wish for: a beautiful home high on the clifftops, a devoted husband and two beloved children.

Then one morning, time stops. Their family yacht is recovered, abandoned far out at sea. Lucy's husband is nowhere to be found and as the seconds tick by, she begins to wonder - what if he was the one who took the boat? And if so, where is he now?

As a once-in-a-generation storm frustrates the rescue operation, Lucy pieces together what happened onboard. And then she makes a fresh discovery. One that plunges her into a living nightmare . . .

Wherever her husband is, he isn't alone. Because their children are missing, too.

I read The Memory Wood earlier this year and absolutely loved it. It had me gripped from start to finish so as soon as I saw another novel by Sam Lloyd there was no question as to whether I was going to read it.

The start of this novel was brilliant and for the first 3/4 I couldn’t read fast enough, I was devouring every page. Coming from a fishing town I loved the descriptions of the sea and how it was almost a character in itself. You could feel the swell of the waves and the danger that they brought.

The whole way through I was questioning the reality of what I was reading, knowing that things couldn’t be as they seemed. I was convinced I knew which character was going to be responsible for what had happened, it couldn’t possibly be what it appeared to be on the surface.

I was wrong.

Then we hit the 80% mark. I have a theory that 80% is where the bombshells hit, the twists happen, the pace of the story increases. And that’s where this story fell apart. There was a twist. I found it a complete let down. Things didn’t ramp up and I didn’t enjoy the end of the novel. I read this with my reading buddy and after “the big twist” she put it down in disgust. Over 80% through and it ended as a DNF for her. Now, it didn’t annoy me that much but I did think it let down what had been shaping up to be a 5 star book.

four-stars

About Sam Lloyd

Sam Lloyd grew up in Hampshire, where he learned his love of storytelling. These days he lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and a dog that likes to howl. His debut thriller, The Memory Wood, was published to huge critical acclaim in 2020.

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Book Blitz: River of Ashes by Alexandrea Weis And Lucas Astor

Posted May 17, 2022 by louisesr in Excerpt, Tour / 0 Comments

River of Ashes
Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor
(St. Benedict, #1)
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: August 2nd 2022
Genres: Adult, Psychological Thriller

“A psychological portrait akin to Lord of the Flies.” ~Midwest Book Review

SOME TRUTHS ARE BETTER KEPT SECRET. SOME SECRETS ARE BETTER OFF DEAD.

ALONG THE BANKS OF THE BOGUE FALAYA RIVER, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.

And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.

The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Star quarterback. Handsome. Charming. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.

He is also a psychopath.

A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the haunted abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.

As the victim toll mounts, it becomes clear that someone must stop Beau Devereaux.

And that someone will pay with their life.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT:

A howl came from the direction of The Abbey.

Andrea leaned away from him, listening. “What’s that?”

Beau nuzzled her neck. “Wild dogs. They live on The Abbey grounds. There’s a couple of legends about them.”

“What legends?” She stepped out of his embrace.

He watched her hips beneath her coat. “They say the dogs stay around The Abbey waiting for the lady in white. She was a gamekeeper for the seminary school and a lover of one of the monks. She died on the grounds, betrayed by the man she loved. Her dogs were kept to manage the varmint population. The wild dogs are said to be their offspring.”

Beau slipped the coat from her shoulders. “The gamekeeper was found hanging from a tree in a white hooded cloak. It was all kept very hush-hush at the time. After the woman’s death, the dogs roamed the grounds and lived off the land. They’re said to only appear when death is near.”

Beau looked at Andrea to see if she was sufficiently unnerved.

“That’s just creepy.” She glanced at his hands as he tugged at her jeans. “But a guy who brings girls to these abandoned cells is into creepy.”

He liked the image the cells portrayed. It was his laboratory, like he’d read about in Frankenstein, where he could experiment and create his own monsters.


Author Bio:

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author of over twenty-seven novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers Association, Weis writes mystery, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, and romance. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans where she is a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and rescues orphaned and injured animals.

Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.

He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.

Photography, making wine, and helping endangered species are just some of his interests. Lucas is an expert archer and enjoys jazz, blues, and classical music.

One of his favorite quotes is: “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.” ~Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)


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Faithless by Karin Slaughter

Posted May 17, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Faithless by Karin SlaughterFaithless by Karin Slaughter
Series: Grant County #5
Published by Random House on May 16, 2022
Narrator: Francie Swift
Length: 5 hours
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 393
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-half-stars

Karin Slaughter brings back her two most fascinating and complex characters -- medical examiner Sara Linton and her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver -- in a heart-pounding tale of faith, doubt, and murder. The victim was buried alive in the Georgia woods -- then killed in a horrifying fashion. When Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver stumble upon the body, both become consumed with finding out who killed the pretty young woman. For them, a harrowing journey begins, one that will test their own turbulent relationship and draw dozens of lives into the case. For as Jeffrey and Sara move further down a trail of shocking surprises and hidden passions, neither is prepared for the most stunning discovery of all: the identity of a killer who is more evil and dangerous than anyone could have guessed.

Having just read the previous book in this series and not enjoyed it as much as I was hoping to I was happy to see a return to form with this installment.

While out walking Jeffrey takes a fall over a pipe sticking out of the ground, which leads to the discovery of a dead body.

There is something that is niggling me about this series, something I’ve noticed in all of the books so far. As the Chief of Police and the Medical Examiner, Jeffrey and Sara should be investigating all of the murders that these books are centred around. What really gets me is that it’s always one of these two who discovers the murder, does nobody else in the town leave the house? Where are all the dog walkers, it’s always a dog walker that discovers a body!!!

I’ve read a few books recently which have had a similar premise, even though I didn’t actually know what they were about when I went into them (I don’t usually read the blurb on books, or read it months before I actually read the book).

I really love the Lena storyline, I like that it shows that even someone in the police force who was a strong independent woman can get caught up in a situation and struggle to get out of it. I can’t wait for the next book to see where this is going given how this one ended.

four-half-stars

About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 40 million copies sold across the globe, her 22 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NYT bestselling stand-alone novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, PIECES OF HER, and FALSE WITNESS. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta. Her stand-alone novel PIECES OF HER is now streaming on Netflix, starring Toni Collette, and the Will Trent series are in development for television.

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Book Blitz: The Irish Wanders by Shannon O’Gorman

Posted May 16, 2022 by louisesr in Excerpt, Tour / 0 Comments

The Irish Wanders
Shannon O’Gorman
(Rose Hawthorne, #2)
Publication date: March 16th 2022
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery

Rose Hawthorne is a celebrity author in her early seventies, who dislikes the spotlight but has a penchant for Hermes scarfs, round violet sunglasses, and old colonial hotels.

One day, she receives a strange letter asking her to visit Newgrange, Ireland and look for something that has been hidden there for a thousand years.

She asks her granddaughter to accompany her, but she hadn’t expected Samantha to continually be posting photos of their progress on her Instagram account. An encounter with an old love and an unexpected discovery leads Rose further and further into the past, and she finds must make a hard decision about her future.

Don’t miss this second book in the Rose Hawthorne series!

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

She linked her arm around his as they walked, a natural move. She was allowed to do it. It felt right. Rose was drawn towards Bill. He was like a giant magnet pulling her and she couldn’t help but move closer to him.

They walked together, drunk and happy. She didn’t engage him in conversation. She knew the flow was right. He talked and she listened.

When they got to the next pub, he bought her another pint, and they sat down to listen to a lone fiddler. She sipped the Guinness. It was dark and warm, different from any other beer.

He’d leaned over her, and then—the kiss. The kiss came as a surprise to her. His soft lips were on hers. She could smell the beer on his breath.

After the kiss, he put his forehead against hers. They sat together, joined like that for a long time, letting the music wash over them, throbbing in time with their heartbeats.

At first, the music the fiddler played was lively, his fingers deftly danced across the strings, and a few couples got up to spin around the floor. Towards the end of his set, he played exquisite notes that washed over the pub, making the dust dance, and it rose in the air like magic. The cheering and conversation quieted down for his last song. It was a slow piece that most of them recognised. The fiddler hit the final note with such poignancy that it echoed throughout the pub. When the music stopped, the whole pub went quiet.They cleared their throats and blinked back tears, and then took a few last swallows from their pints.

“Nothing like a bit of Irish music to bring out the tears,” Bill admitted wiping an eye.

“It’s something so special,” Rose agreed with a small sniff.

And all around the pub, they raised their glasses to the fiddler and his music.

As people began to leave the pub, Rose realized that it was getting late and neither of them had eaten yet.

“Shall we eat something? Maybe grab some fish and chips?” Bill said, reading her mind.

“Perfect,” she replied in a low, quiet voice.

They bought some greasy fish and chips at a nearby takeaway. It was wrapped in brown paper and covered with the Dublin news.

Then, they walked the streets until they found a bench under the stars away from the shouts, laughter and the lights. Beside the river, they were alone. They unwrapped the greasy paper and ate the cod hungrily, stuffing the vinegar smeared fries quickly into their mouths.

“Do you want the last chip?” Bill had said softly, holding it up in his greasy fingers.

Rose raised her eyebrows and smiled. “I certainly do.”

Bill placed it gently in her mouth, looking deeply into her eyes. She kissed his fingers slowly.

Then he kissed her again. She’d clung to him and let him kiss her.

They were both tired. Bill took her hand and led her up a narrow laneway not far away.


Author Bio:

Shannon is originally from Winnipeg, Canada but has had the great fortune to have traveled and lived in several countries. After graduating with a degree in English literature she focused on travelling for a few years and eventually found herself teaching English in Japan. After more than a decade in Japan, she returned to teach ESL in Canada and convinced her husband and daughter to join her. These days she lives in San Jose, California, and enjoys coaxing her dog to train for a Camino.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram


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The Truth About Unspeakable Things Book Review

Posted May 16, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

The Truth About Unspeakable Things Book ReviewThe Truth About Unspeakable Things by Emily A. Myers
Published by WritePublishSell on April 6, 2021
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 288
Format: eBook
Source: Instatours
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-half-stars

In an emotional, thought-provoking journey filled with secrets and regret, a young woman has a second chance at love after abuse.

Emma Marshall is haunted by the trauma of her past. The night she ended her engagement to cheating fiancé, Beaux, was meant to be the night she took back control, but it was only the beginning of his true hold over her. Nine months after suffering an intimate assault by the man who pledged his life to her, Emma is doing - okay. At least, that's what everyone thinks. No one knows the unspeakable truth of what happened between her and Beaux. It's a secret Emma plans to carry to the grave, until Julian Cole moves in next door and opens Emma's mind and heart to the possibility of love after betrayal. As the reporter and music executive grow closer in the music-filled city of New Orleans, Emma must risk everything to protect her newfound happiness. As Emma embarks on a dangerous journey to bring her ex to justice, the bounds of forgiveness are tested as more unspeakable truths come to light. Will Emma overcome her trauma and have her second chance at love? Or, will her past destroy her and everyone she holds dear?

Trigger Warnings: sexual assault/ rape (depicted), self-harm (referenced), abortion (discussed)

I received this book for free from Instatours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I read this book for an Instagram blog tour and wanted to add a bit more detail to my review on here.

I think to say that I enjoyed this book would be incorrect, given it’s subject matter. It was incredibly well written with an engrossing storyline but it has a number of triggers which are the centre point of the plot.

When we open the novel Emma has just returned from a holiday to Greece where she had to make some major decisions around her life and her future following the discovery of her fiance in bed with another woman. She does’t get to have the talk with him about her decision though as he has arranged a surprise party for her return, pulling out all the stops. This got my back up about him from the start, what sort of narcissist knows that his fiancee is likely to leave him and so invites all of her closest family and friends round to try and prevent it from happening.

But this was just the start, Beaux is not a person that you say no to and there are some horrible repercussions for Emma in breaking off their relationship.

From this point on the next few chapters look at Emma rebuilding her life and starting a relationship with her new next door neighbour. At this point I was starting to wonder if I’d inadvertently picked up a romance novel rather than a thriller, in fact, around Chapter 10 I went back to the synopsis to see what I’d thought the book was about.

After this things take on a more thriller journey; Emma learns just what her ex is capable of and what lengths he will go to in order to protect himself.

There were a couple of places where the story jumped around a little bit and things happened a bit too conveniently, but other than that it was one hell of a ride, with twists and turns and OMG moments.

This is a book which is so very relevant to now, it has a very similar theme to another book I’ve recently read which makes me question whether this sort of thing happens more than I’m aware of or expected.

My only negative would be that the final chapter – the epilogue – is a bit of a brain dump of information. I found it really interesting but maybe it shouldn’t have been part of the story but an authors notes at the end of the novel.

four-half-stars

About Emily A. Myers

Emily A. Myers is an author of romantic suspense and mystery, thriller, and suspense. When not writing, Emily enjoys traveling, devouring the latest Netflix series, and scouring the shelves of Sephora.

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Tour: The Adoption by Jenna Kernan

Posted May 13, 2022 by louisesr in Tour / 0 Comments

Tour: The Adoption by Jenna KernanThe Adoption by Jenna Kernan
Published by Bookouture on 11 May, 2022
Length: 12 hrs 16 mins
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 407
Format: ARC, Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads

Your little girl is all yours… isn’t she?

Dani and her husband Tate’s life together is almost perfect. But Dani is haunted by guilt for causing a terrible car accident that left her unable to have children. She can’t remember why she was driving so fast that day or where she was going. Her therapist says she should try to move on.

So when their application to adopt is accepted, Dani sobs with joy. As perfect little Willow nestles in her arms, Dani looks at Tate’s loving smile and knows he will always provide for his family, no matter what.

When Dani sees a woman staring as she pushes Willow’s stroller around the safe, gated Florida community where they live, she tells herself it’s simply an admiring passer-by. After all, Dani herself used to watch the local moms and wish she was in their shoes.

But when Dani wakes in the night to find Willow’s crib empty, their perfect life becomes a nightmare.

In her frantic distress for her daughter, Dani’s memories of the accident flash through her mind. And with a jolt she realises: everyone around her has been lying about that day.

Will Dani find out the truth before it’s too late for her baby girl?

Or will facing her own dark secrets tear them all apart?

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Today I’m on the Bookouture book tour for The Adoption by Jenna Kernan.

My first thought about this is that the premise is incorrect. The adoption is a very small part of the narrative. It’s not the focus of the book by a long shot. The baby itself doesn’t show up until half way through the book and even then it’s not the main part of the storyline. That being said, I did enjoy the book, just because it wasn’t what I expected doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.

I felt for Dani, she’d been through a lot and it had obviously had a major effect on her, Tate was untrustworthy, I never really felt that Dani was safe with him. He pushed her too hard too fast, I wanted to give him the squint eye.

The start of the book is a lot of scene setting but the last quarter has twist after twist. One of them I was pretty certain of before it was announced, the other had all the hints there, I’d made a note of things I’d noticed that didn’t add up and it still didn’t quite trigger in my mind, a version of it was debated but I never quite managed to get my head around it. I think if the first half of the book was condensed I would have given this another star, but it was well worth the voyage through the first half to get to the more enjoyable second half.

About Jenna Kernan

Publishers Weekly bestselling author Jenna Kernan is a Silver Falchion nominee and winner of the Book Buyers’ Best award. Her new gripping crime thrillers feature a criminal psychologist, and daughter of an infamous female serial killer, facing a series of murders in Florida. Look for A Killer’s Daughter and The Hunted Girls, out now. Jenna is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Florida Mystery Writers and Novelists, Inc. A natural redhead living with her husband on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Jenna has recently increased her sunblock to SPF 50.

Jenna offers a FREE BOOK as a welcome gift to new VIP Readers. Subscribe here: http://littl.ink/GripThriller7

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20 Books of Summer

Posted May 12, 2022 by louisesr in Features, Reading Challenge / 7 Comments

20 books of summer is a challenge hosted by Cathy at 746books. This challenge is to read – and review – 20 books over the summer, between the 1st June and 1st September.

You can find her original post announcing the challenge and all the information here

I’m reasonably confident I can read 20 books, I’m not so confident I can review that many. As Cathy’s blog is all about reducing your TBR pile, I’m going to choose my 20 books from those that I already have on my TBR, namely my ever increasing NetGalley pile! Below are all of the books that I’m hoping to read/review. Wish me luck!

  1. The Lost Ones by Marnie Riches
  2. Wake by Shelley Burr
  3. The Guilty Girl by Patricia Gibney
  4. The Other Guest by Helen Cooper
  5. A Stranger on Board by Cameron Ward
  6. The Bay by Allie Reynolds
  7. Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter
  8. The Hunting Wives by May Cobb
  9. Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland
  10. Listen to Me by Tess Gerritsen
  11. Truly, Darkly, Deeply by Victoria Selman
  12. The Last Hours in Paris by Ruth Druart
  13. The Cabin in The Woods by Sarah Alderson
  14. The Italian Ballerina by Kirsty Cambron
  15. The Retreat by Sarah Pearse
  16. The Lies I Told by Mary Burton
  17. Looking for Jane by Heather Marshall
  18. Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
  19. One Summer Sunrise by Shari Low
  20. Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett

Let me know your most anticipated read of summer

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