Monday, December 04, 2023

THE LOST GIFT TO THE ITALIAN ISLAND

MY THOUGHTS:

Tori Coleman’s boyfriend Jeremy wants to get married, but Tori just discovered that she is adopted.  She isn’t ready to marry him because she doesn’t know who she is.  She has an old postcard with a picture of a beautiful wedding dress that her grandmother Giulia made.  She was told that the wedding dress was given to a museum on an island in Italy.  This is the only information she has as to who her biological family is.  She decides she must put her life in New York on hold and travel to Italy to find out everything she possibly can about her family. Tori arrives on Parissi Island, and is mesmerized by the beautiful sparkling waters of the Mediterranean.  Her first stop is the museum and she discovers that her grandmother Giulia was Jewish and secretly lived there while World War Two raged on across Europe.  When Tori discovers a notebook she soon finds out the truth behind her family.  


The Lost Gift to the Italian Island, written by author Barbara Josselsohn was an amazing addition to the Sisters of War series.  This story captivated my heart from the very first page to the last.  This wonderful and heartwarming story of the connection of family through the decades was amazing.  I loved everything about this book from the storyline to the characters.  What a wonderfully written story.  I could see the sunshine dance on the beautiful turquoise waters of the Mediterranean.  This unputdownable book was a wonderful escape.  I will recommend this story over and over.  I loved it and it will definitely be one I will read again.  This story is the second book in the series but can be read as a standalone, however, my suggestion is to read this phenomenal series.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


DESCRIPTION:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
THE LOST GIFT TO THE ITALIAN ISLAND
Author:  Barbara Josselsohn
Publisher: Bookouture 
Publication Date: December 4, 2023
Pages: 320 
Buy on Amazon 

Italy, 1943. With tears in her eyes, Giulia listens out for the sound of bombers flying overhead and thinks of the baby growing inside of her. Through the fabric of her lace dress her fingers touch the cold bullets carefully sewn into the seams. Luca might never forgive her, but she has to do this…

New York, present day. When Tori Coleman discovers that her mother was adopted, her whole world shatters. Jeremy, her boyfriend, wants to get married, but how can Tori commit when she doesn’t know who she truly is? The only clue to the identity of her biological family is a mysterious postcard with a photograph of an ornate wedding dress her grandmother Giulia made, which she’s told was gifted to a museum on an Italian island…

Tori arrives on Parissi Island, surrounded by turquoise Mediterranean waters, with the sweet smell of orange blossom filling the air. She soon finds the museum and learns that Giulia was Jewish, and secretly lived there during World War Two. 
She thought her grandmother abandoned her mother, but was she forced to leave and give up her child?

Just as she’s getting closer to answers, an unexpected call from Jeremy stops Tori in her tracks. As he passionately urges her to find out the truth, suddenly Tori wishes he were in Italy by her side, ready to propose again.

But then Tori is shocked to find bullets sewn into the lining of one of Giulia’s dresses and a notebook claiming she did something terrible during World War Two. 
Will the secrets in her family help her follow her own heart, or send her home from Italy with it finally broken forever?

ABOUT BARBARA JOSSELSOHN

Barbara Josselsohn is an award-winning writer who loves crafting stories about strong protagonists facing a fork in the road. Her novels include The Bluebell Girls, The Lilac House, The Last Dreamer, and her newest release, The Lily Garden. She has published hundreds of articles about family, home and relationships in national and regional publications, and also teaches novel writing at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. She lives just north of New York City and enjoys escaping to the beach or the mountains whenever she can. Other than writing, her biggest passion is her family: her husband, her three kids, and her indefatigable shih-poo! 

Monday, November 13, 2023

THE IRISH LAKE HOUSE

MY THOUGHTS:

Daisy Clarke is in much need of a new beginning, but where does she start?  The news of her inheriting a house on the lake, located on Ireland’s west coast, couldn’t come at a better time. It’s exactly the fresh start she is looking for.  Daisy has never been to the tiny village of Innisfree.  Upon her arrival she meets James, the lawyer that is handling her inheritance.  She sees the charm of the village and finds herself loving everything about it, and understanding why her late mother Rose loved it so much.  James offers to help Daisy fix up the lake house while at the same time, helping her to find the truth about her past.  What she discovers is more than she expected.  Is this the new beginning she has been searching for or will it just be more heartbreak?

The Irish Lake House, written by author Colleen Coleman was a wonderful and heartwarming story.  Oh my goodness I loved everything about this story.  From the moment I opened the cover until the very last page, this book had all the feels.  It was completely unputdownable and it left a lasting impression in my heart.  I absolutely loved every person in the story and Daisy feels like a new best friend.  The author describes the beautiful village of Innisfree so wonderfully.  I loved it from the moment I arrived and I never wanted to leave.  The west coast of Ireland was beautiful and I could feel the warm sun on my face as I found the ripples in the lake to be mesmerizing.  This was a phenomenal escape to Ireland and will definitely be remembered for a very long time.  This is a new author for me and she immediately just landed on my auto-buy list.  I look forward to reading more of this author’s books.  This is for sure a ten star read and I highly recommend it.  I love, love, loved this book!!


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Rating: 5 out of 4.

DESCRIPTION:

THE IRISH LAKE HOUSE

Author:  Colleen Coleman 
Publisher: Bookouture 
Publication Date: November 13, 2023
Pages: 357 
Buy on Amazon

Clutching the faded postcard tightly in her hand, Daisy looks around the sun-soaked Irish village. So this is the place her mother ran away from all those years ago… What secrets did she leave hidden here for Daisy to find?

Daisy Clarke is searching for a new beginning. So when she inherits a lake house on the stunning west coast of Ireland that was mysteriously left to her late mother Rose, she wonders if this could be the fresh start she’s been looking for.

Daisy has never visited the tiny village of Innisfree, with its rolling green hills and cobbled streets, but she remembers how her mother’s eyes would fill with tears whenever it was mentioned.Because when she was pregnant, Rose ran away from this magical place in the middle of the night with a heart-breaking secret she never shared…

Arriving in Ireland, Daisy meets 
James, the handsome lawyer handling her inheritance. With his warm Irish charm, gorgeous sense of humour, and sparkling sapphire blue eyes, he soon makes her heart flip whenever she sees him. And when he offers to renovate the lake house and help her uncover her family history, Daisy begins to wonder if she can open her heart once more.

But when Daisy discovers the shocking truth behind her inheritance and her true family, it changes everything… When the dust settles, will she be able to build a future with James? Or will the secrets of her mother’s past destroy her hopes of a future in the beautiful Irish village she has grown to love?

ABOUT COLLEEN COLEMAN

Colleen Coleman is an Irish-Canadian novelist. She is the winner of the much-coveted Novelicious Undiscovered People’s Choice Award launched to find the next ‘chick-lit star’. She spent over ten years working as a teacher of English and Philosophy before finally taking a deep breath, scrunching her eyes shut, putting her pen to paper and vowing not to lift it again until she wrote the words The End. As a result, her first novel was born. Colleen lives between London, Ireland and Cyprus with her very patient husband and very, very chatty twin daughters.


Saturday, November 11, 2023

MYSTERY AT SALTWATER COTTAGES

MY THOUGHTS:

Saltwater Cottages is a brand new arts and crafts center in the beautiful picturesque Saxford.  They finally open their doors for some amazing art courses.  Eve Mallow and her best friend Viv are the first to sign up.  But when guest artist Nena Field’s body is found, the art classes will have to wait.  Eve Mallow with her super sleuthing skills jumps into action.  Eve begins to question all the attendees, and with the help of her friend Viv, they are running out of time and must find the killer before it’s too late.


Mystery at Saltwater Cottages written by author Clare Chase, is a wonderful addition to the Eve Mallow Mystery Series.  This wonderful whodunnit was a fantastic addition to this great series.  I enjoyed the story from beginning to end and with the plot twists and turns, the author kept me flying through the pages.  I love Gus, the dachshund, an amazing addition to the story line.   This wonderful cozy mystery is one that I enjoyed very much and look forward to Eve Mallow’s next adventure.  This cozy mystery can be enjoyed as a standalone, but I definitely recommend reading this series. 


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Rating: 5 out of 4.

DESCRIPTION:

MYSTERY AT SALTWATER COTTAGES

Author:  Clare Chase 
Publisher: Bookouture 
Publication Date: November 6, 2023
Pages: 296 
Buy on Amazon

Saltwater Cottages, Saxford’s new arts and crafts centre, is as pretty as a picture. But when murder makes a blot on the landscape, Eve Mallow must draw on all her detective skills to solve the case! 

When beautiful Saltwater Cottages opens, offering art courses in charming surroundings, 
Eve Mallow and best friend Viv sign up straight away. Viv’s brother Simon is in charge, and they all want him to succeed.

But from the start, Eve finds herself in a sticky situation. Famous guest artist 
Nena Field is a complete nightmare, painting everyone in a bad light. So when Eve finds her body in Blind-Eye Wood, there’s no shortage of suspects. But who could have hated her enough to take her life? Was it the curiously over-qualified cook, the secretive manager, or the chatty receptionist, mysteriously missing at the time of the murder?

Determined to find the killer and save Simon’s business, Eve sets to work sketching out a theory of the crime. Nena was working on a secret painting when she died, which has now vanished without a trace, and Eve is convinced it holds the answers she needs. But when all her best suspects seem to have alibis, Eve is forced back to the drawing board.

Then Eve has her own brush with death, and realises she must be on the right track. But what did she see or hear at Saltwater Cottages, and 
can she find the killer before they paint her out of the picture? 

ABOUT CLARE CHASE

Clare Chase writes classic mysteries. Her aim is to take readers away from it all via some armchair sleuthing in atmospheric locations.

Like her heroines, Clare is fascinated by people and what makes them tick. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked in settings as diverse as Littlehey Prison and the University of Cambridge, in her home city. She’s lived everywhere from the house of a lord to a slug-infested flat and finds the mid-terrace she currently occupies a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.

If you would like to get in touch, Clare would love to hear from you. You can follow her on Twitter, find her on Facebook, and through her website.

Thursday, November 02, 2023

MURDER IN A FRENCH VILLAGE

MY THOUGHTS:

Writer Jack Carrington receives a phone call from his mother Sybil, and she wants him to come to France immediately.  Together with his partner Flora Steele, they waste no time,  pack their bags and take the next flight to France.  Upon their arrival, Sybil informs them that her friend was murdered on the street in Paris.  They have already made the journey so they decide to stay and help her.  But when the trail leads them to the south of France they soon discover that Sybil was actually the target.  She fears for her life and Jack and Flora must solve the mystery and find the murderer before it's too late.  There are many possibilities of who may want Sybil dead, from Massimo Falconi, her boyfriend and rich Italian count.  Allegra, Massimo’s daughter, his business partner Pascal and the jealous estranged wife, Isabella all have something to gain by murdering Sybil. But when another person is found dead in the picturesque little town, Jack and Flora must find the culprit, and fast, before the murderer strikes again.

Murder In a French Village  written by author Merryn Allingham, is a wonderful addition to the Flora Steele Mystery Series.  This was a wonderful whodunnit mystery that kept me wondering who the culprit was.  I enjoyed this story very much and I love how the author gives such a detailed description of France.  I love the sleuthing team of Jack and Flora.  They work well together and the duo makes this series captivating and entertaining.  This cozy mystery is one that is a must read that can be enjoyed as a standalone, but I definitely recommend reading this series.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

DESCRIPTION:


MURDER IN A FRENCH VILLAGE
Author:  Merryn Allingham
Published by: Bookouture 
Publication Date: October 30, 2023 
Pages: 262
Buy on Amazon

Join bookshop owner Flora Steele and handsome writer Jack Carrington as they set off on a French adventure and solve a chilling crime!

Jack is stunned to receive a call from his estranged mother, Sybil, asking him to drop everything and come to France. Together with Flora, his fellow sleuth, they pack their suitcases, dreaming of fragrant lavender fields and freshly baked pain au chocolat. It’s only when they arrive that they discover the shocking truth – Sybil’s friend was killed on a street in Paris, and she is desperate for their help.

The case leads them to a picturesque village in the south of France where life should be rosĂ©, but even the bright blue skies can’t hide the fact that something is very wrong. And the mystery only deepens when Flora discovers that Sybil was in fact the intended target. Who would want her out of the way?

Perhaps Sybil’s relationship with wealthy Italian count 
Massimo Falconi has something to do with it. His darling daughter Allegra, ruthless business partner Pascal and his jealous estranged wife Isabella all have reasons for revenge…

Then when another person in the small French town dies in suspicious circumstances, Flora is convinced the two untimely deaths must be connected. Just when the case seems impossible to crack, a chess box provides an unlikely clue.

Can Flora discover the truth before Sybil meets her end? 
Or could trouble in paradise spell a final au revoir for the detective duo?

ABOUT MERRYN ALLINGHAM

Merryn taught university literature for many years, and it took a while to pluck up the courage to begin writing herself. Bringing the past to life is a passion and her historical fiction includes Regency romances, wartime sagas and timeslip novels, all of which have a mystery at their heart. As the books have grown darker, it was only a matter of time before she plunged into crime with a cosy crime series set in rural Sussex against the fascinating backdrop of the 1950s.

Merryn lives in a beautiful old town in Sussex with her husband. When she’s not writing, she tries to keep fit with adult ballet classes and plenty of walking.

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

SNOWED IN

MY THOUGHTS:

It’s been four years since Megan left her fiancĂ© Isaac, at the altar.  So, going home for Christmas is the last thing she wants to do.  But when Megan bumps into Christian in a pub in Dublin, they decide to be each other’s fake dates for each other’s Christmas family events.  With a mix of family, friends and running into old flames this Christmas will be everything unexpected.  And when the snow starts and doesn’t stop anytime soon, getting snowed in is exactly what they don’t need or is it?


Snowed In written by author Catherine Walsh is a wonderful Christmas rom-com.  This wonderful heartwarming story captured my attention from the very first page.  I loved the characters and the banter within the families had me laughing out loud.  The chemistry between the main characters was felt throughout the story.  I loved the Christmas escape to Dublin, Ireland.  I could feel the cold air on my face as I walked through the quaint little village admiring the twinkling lights.  If you are looking for a great book to launch you into the Christmas season, this is style one.  My suggestion is to brew the hot cocoa, grab your favorite blanket, curl up by the fire and read this fantastic story.  I loved it and I definitely recommend it.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


DESCRIPTION:

SNOWED IN
Author:  Catherine Walsh
Publisher: Bookouture 
Publication Date:  November 1, 2023
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon

Megan is dreading going home for the holidays. She’s the village pariah, the she-devil who left local golden boy Isaac at the altar four years ago and ran away to the big city. She could really do without the drama. Particularly as he’s engaged again, and she’s just been dumped for the fourth time this year.

Christian’s fed up of being on his own every Christmas. He doesn’t mind being alone, but he hates his family’s sad eyes and soft tones as they sit around coupled up. Because he’s actually, totally, fine.

So when Megan literally bumps into Christian in a Dublin pub, they come up with a pact to see them through the holiday season. 
They’re going to be the very best fake dates for each other, ever.

Rules are drawn up, a contract is signed on a wine-stained napkin. They will sit through each other’s family gatherings and be outrageously in love until freed from their annual obligations. After all, it’s only for a few weeks.

But with everyone home for the holidays, two big families to deal with alongside old friends, old flames and old feelings, things are bound to get messy. And when a snowed-in cabin and a little Christmas magic are added to the mix, anything could happen…

 ABOUT CATHERINE WALSH

Catherine Walsh was born and raised in Ireland. She has a degree in Popular Literature and the only prize she ever won for writing was at the age of 14 in school (but she still cherishes it.) 

She lived in London for a few years where she worked in Publishing and the non-profit sector before returning to Dublin where she now lives between the mountains and the sea. When not writing she is trying and failing to not kill her houseplants.

Friday, October 20, 2023

THE AMERICAN WIFE’S SECRET

MY THOUGHTS:

Kitty Larsson spent many years as an undercover agent for the British and had seen so much life loss over the years.  When she is captured and her husband Edgar is missing she feels helpless.  She is told by the Nazis that they will surely kill him if she does not cooperate and do exactly as they say.  Kitty doesn’t trust the Nazis at all, is Edgar still alive, or are they using her to get what they want?  She knows in her heart that she cannot give up and she must hold on to the hope of knowing that one day she will see Edgar once again.


The American Wife’s Secret  written by author Chrystyna Lucy’s-Berger is a wonderful continuation to the series The Diplomat’s Wife.  This heartbreaking, outstanding story was unputdownable for me.  I couldn’t stop reading until I got to the very last page.  This story had my heart racing and my tears flowing.  I loved the character of Kitty so much, she was completely relatable.  The sacrifices that she and her husband Edgar made were devastating and I couldn’t imagine how difficult their decisions were.  I loved this series from start to finish.  This book can be read as a standalone, but my suggestion is to read the entire series.  I highly recommended this phenomenal story.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Rating: 

DESCRIPTION:

THE AMERICAN WIFE’S SECRET
Author:  Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger 
Publisher: Bookouture 
Publication Date: October 20, 2023 
Pages: 375 

Kitty held her husband close to her chest, covering his beloved body with her own. She called for help, but none came. She stared down at the face she loved so well. “Edgar! Don’t go, my darling, not now. Not after all we’ve been through… please don’t leave me here alone…”

1944. Beautiful American Kitty Larsson knows better than most that fighting the Nazis comes at a price. She’s spent years working undercover as an agent for the British and knows that doing what is right could cost her everything…

When Kitty is captured during a mission and her true identity is revealed, she learns her beloved husband, 
Edgar
, has gone missing. The Gestapo tell her they have him, and that his life is in her hands. If she doesn’t cooperate, he will die and her worst fears will be realized. If they are telling the truth, Kitty’s secrets might be enough to save the man she loves… But what if they are lying?

Fueled by her desire to do what is right, but also to save the man she loves, Kitty knows that she won’t be able to rest until she can escape and find Edgar. Because surely, somewhere out there, he is still alive…

As the war rages, Kitty tries to think of a plan. Surely this isn’t where it all ends? She needs to know whether Edgar is safe, and to hold him in her arms once again. But, to do that, will Kitty finally have to make the ultimate sacrifice?

ABOUT CHRYSTYNA LUCYK-BERGER

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger was born in Minnesota in 1969. A first-generation American of Ukrainian immigrants, she grew up in the culture-rich neighborhood of “Nordeast” Minneapolis. Inspired by her second-grade teacher, her writing career began with short stories, then morphed into travel narratives, and eventually novels. She has worked as a journalist and as a managing editor for a magazine publisher before jumping the editor’s desk and pursuing her dreams of writing and traveling. In 2000, she moved to western Austria and established her own communications training company. She has won several awards for her short stories and novels and now primarily writes historical fiction.

            Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon Instagram 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

THE SISTERS AT THE LAST HOUSE BEFORE THE SEA

MY THOUGHTS:

Isla has recently lost your beloved grandmother Jessie.  Isla cared for her grandmother when her sister Caitlin left Heaven’s Cove.  Isla is hoping to reconnect with Caitlin now that Jessie  is gone.  But when Caitlin decides she wants to sell the lovely little cottage that they spent their childhood in, Isla wants nothing to do with her.  When Jessie’s will is read Isla and Caitlin are surprised to receive envelopes with riddles inside.  They must solve the puzzles together as sisters.  When Isla meets Ben in the village they are immediately attracted to each other.  And with long walks on the beach Isla discovers that Ben was a relative of Jessie.  Was he there intentionally or was it fate that brought them together?


The Sisters at the Last House Before the Sea by author Liz Eeles is a wonderful escape back to Heaven’s Cove.  Heaven’s Cove is one of my most favorite places to visit.  With its picturesque views of the sea and the amazing little village, I am always happy to return.  Eeles describes Heaven’s Cove perfectly and it makes me never want to leave.  This amazing story had the perfect plot twists at the perfect time.  When you least expect it and think you have it all figured out, the story changes.  This read in one sitting book is exactly the escape I needed.  This emotional and heartwarming book is an absolute must read that I highly recommend.  


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


DESCRIPTION:

THE SISTERS AT THE LAST HOUSE BEFORE THE SEA
Author:  Liz Eeles
Publisher: Bookouture 
Publication Date: October 19, 2023
Pages: 391 
Buy on Amazon 

Sitting by the window with views of the shining sea, a white-haired woman seals an envelope with trembling hands and thinks of her grandchildren – two sisters who haven’t spoken for years. Will her final message bring them back together? 

Ever since her sister Caitlin left the village of Heaven’s Cove, Isla has cared for their beloved grandmother Jessie in her cosy red-brick cottage by the sea. Now, heartbroken after Jessie’s death, Isla hopes to bond again with her sister. Until Caitlin insists she wants to sell the cottage they spent their childhood in.

But their grandmother, who always had a twinkle in her eye, had other plans. At her will reading the sisters are handed an envelope containing a cryptic riddle in Jessie’s handwriting. Certain their grandmother, who loved puzzles and crosswords, wanted them to solve it together, Isla begs Caitlin for more time.

Then Isla meets tall, brooding 
Ben in the village, come from America seeking answers about his own family history. One of his ancestors was close to a relative of Jessie’s… did Jessie mean for them to meet?

As Ben and Isla walk together on the wild Devon beaches, they discover a heartbreaking generations-old story of a woman who chose her family over true love. But Isla and Caitlin are no closer to solving their grandmother’s riddle: and when Caitlin finally shares a shocking secret about her life back in London, selling their grandmother’s home seems the only way forward.

Without their grandmother to guide them, 
will the sisters ever rediscover the meaning of family? Or will Isla be forced to leave Ben, and Heaven’s Cove behind forever?

 ABOUT LIZ EELES

Liz began her writing career as a journalist and press officer before deciding that she’d rather have the freedom of making things up as a novelist. 

Being short-listed in the Corvus ‘Love at First Write’ competition and the Novelicious search for a new women’s fiction star gave Liz the push she needed to keep putting pen to paper …. and ‘Annie’s Holiday by the Sea’ (her first published novel) is the result. 

Liz lives on the South Coast with her family and, when she’s not writing, likes to spend time walking by the sea, and trying to meditate. Her ambition is to be serene one day …. she’s still got a long way to go.