Wednesday, October 23, 2019

BLOG TOUR - What He Did


Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for What He Did by J. G. Roberts.


DESCRIPTION:

Your husband’s car crash wasn’t an accident… 

Maddy Shaw learns the life-shattering news in the most horrific way: live on air. As the shaky mobile phone recording pans over the terrible crash, she recognises her husband Simon’s car in the wreckage… He is critically injured, and she rushes to his side.

Detective Rachel Hart knows how it feels to have a loved one’s life hanging in the balance, and hurries to support her friend. Maddy is distraught about her husband’s accident, and Rachel decides to investigate. It’s not her case, but if she can give her friend answers, she will. But she soon realises Simon didn’t crash because he was distracted, or because a tyre blew. Someone made this happen. Someone who wants Simon dead…

After the discovery of a threatening letter, buried in Simon’s diary, Maddy has to ask how well she knew her husband. Then a new victim is found – an old friend of Simon’s, a man he hasn’t seen in years. It seems a dark secret from their past has finally come to light… The killer has a list of targets, and they are dying one by one.

Rachel must race against time to protect her friend and find the murderer, before another life is taken. But however fast she runs, it seems the killer is always one step ahead. And Maddy must decide if she wants the truth – even if it puts her in the killer’s path…

A twisty and breath-taking thriller for fans of Rachel Abbott, Cara Hunter and Angela Marsons.  

MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   What He Did
Author:  J. G. Roberts
Series:  DCI Rachel Hart #2
Genre:   Mystery/Thrillers
Publisher:  Bookouture
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   315
Date of Publication:  October 22, 2019
My Rating:  4.5 Stars

I first met Detective Rachel Hart in the first book of this series, Little Girl Missing. Just like before, Rachel takes on another chilling case. 

Maddy Shaw is doing her regular newscast. As she begins reporting, images begin showing up on the video screen. She freezes and all of the color drains from her face. It is the worst thing she could have ever imagined. She is reporting of a life-threatening car wreck and it doesn't take her but a minute to recognize that the car belongs to her husband Simon. She races to the hospital to sit vigil at his bedside.

Meanwhile, Maddy is devastated by the fact that she is sitting in a hospital, waiting yet again. The other time, it was due to her daughter. She nearly took her own life. Maddy suddenly panics. She is hoping that her daughter does not hear about it on TV or via social media. At first she thinks she has no one to call, but remembers a detective who stood by her during and after her daughter's crisis, Rachel Hart.  

Rachel drops everything to get to Maddy's daughter, prepare her and bring her to the hospital. That is the friend in her. However, the cop in her immediately goes to work. She discreetly asks a coworker to start an investigation. As things slowly unravel, Rachel begins to see that this was no ordinary car accident. Before long, Rachel clearly sees that Simon's car crash was foul play.As Maddy begins to go through Simon's things, she finds a threatening letter. This letter leads credence to Rachel's suspicions.

What a fast-paced, thrilling story! It is not only extremely time sensitive for Rachel to find out who caused Simon's crash, she also has to try and stop other connected murders from occurring, keep Simon alive, all while being there for Maddy and their daughter.

I couldn't put this book down. It was written so very well. It touched on some sensitive subjects for sure, but they were handled quite well. Rachel is a no-holds barred detective and I cannot wait to see her solve her next case.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Julia was born in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, and began her career as a professional singer/dancer. This enabled her to travel the world in her late teens storing up experiences she has since included in her writing.

Following roles as a hostess on The Price is Right and a member of the Beadle’s About ‘hit squad’ in the 1980s, she became a TV Presenter and filmed features for Sky Sports before launching the QVC shopping channel in 1993 where she still presents today. Having always wanted to write, she penned her first book, a memoir sold on QVC, in 2013 and has since written four full length novels, two novellas and several short stories.



Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Review - Flight or Fright

Title:   Flight or Fright
Author:  Edited by Stephen King and Bev Vincent
Genre:   Anthology / Mysteries/Thrillers 
Publisher:  Scribner
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   352
Date of Publication:  June 4, 2019
My Rating:  4.5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

#1 New York Times bestselling author and master of horror Stephen King teams up with Bev Vincent of Cemetery Dance to present a terrifying collection of sixteen short stories (and one poem) that tap into one of King’s greatest fears—air travel—featuring brand-new stories by King and Joe Hill, “an expertly compiled collection of tales that entertain and scare” (Booklist).

Stephen King hates to fly, and he and co-editor Bev Vincent would like to share their fear of flying with you.

Welcome to Flight or Fright, an anthology about all the things that can go horribly wrong when you’re suspended six miles in the air, hurtling through space at more than 500 mph, and sealed up in a metal tube (like—gulp!—a coffin) with hundreds of strangers. Here are all the ways your trip into the friendly skies can turn into a nightmare, including some we’ll bet you’ve never thought of before... but now you will the next time you walk down the jetway and place your fate in the hands of a total stranger.

Featuring brand-new “standouts” (Publishers Weekly) by Joe Hill and Stephen King, as well as fourteen classic tales and one poem from the likes of Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, Dan Simmons, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and many others, Flight or Fright is, as King says, “ideal airplane reading, especially on stormy descents…Even if you are safe on the ground, you might want to buckle up nice and tight.”

Each story is introduced by Stephen King and all will have you thinking twice about how you want to reach your final destination.



MY THOUGHTS:

I have never read a Stephen King book before, but figured reading an anthology shouldn't scare me too much. Wrong. First of all, the title and image on the cover says it all. Frightful tales while suspended in the air. Fortunately I have no plans on flying any time soon, so I was able to really enjoy these little stories.

For one thing, look at some of the names included: Arthur Conan Doyle, Roald Dahl, Ray Bradbury. I haven't read these authors since I was a teenager, so I loved that aspect. Stephen King, who edited this scary air travel book, had a story, as did his son Joe Hill. Many other well-written authors were included as well.

What I never knew is that as scary as Stephen King writes, he actually has a paranoia about flying. What a great way to face this fear!

That is about all I will say in this review. The description above says it all. Each story is rather short, one being a poem, and that makes this a quick, enjoyable read.

Many thanks to Scribner and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Monday, October 21, 2019

BLOG TOUR - Christmas at Silver Falls


Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Christmas at Silver Falls by Jenny Hale.


DESCRIPTION:

A beautiful festive romance, all about the joy of Christmas with family, second chances, and finding love under the falling snow. This enchanting and uplifting read will have you both laughing and crying while it warms your heart.

White Oaks Inn has always been at the heart of Christmas celebrations for Scarlett Bailey and her family. Her adored gran has owned the rambling, old-fashioned hotel, filled with the scent of cinnamon and chocolate, since Scarlett was a little girl. But now her gran’s home is under threat. And it looks like it could be the Baileys’ last Christmas together there…

Over the holiday season, amidst much-loved festive traditions of baking cookies and decorating the tree, Scarlett throws herself into saving the hotel. When she hears that Charlie Bryant, a handsome, successful property developer, is spending December in Silver Falls, Scarlett is hopeful he might be the answer to their problems.

When they meet, sparks fly between impulsive Scarlett and business-like Charlie – as they both have very different ideas for the future of White Oaks. Scarlett is determined to show him how much White Oaks Inn means to her family and the guests who return there every year and, as they spend more time together, she begins to realize there is more to Charlie than his serious appearance…

But Charlie is struggling with a secret from his own past. Will he be able to face it, or will it stop him from truly opening up and getting close to anyone? And can Scarlett share the true meaning of Christmas with him and save her gran’s beloved hotel along the way?

Embrace the wonder of Christmas in this gorgeous novel about living for the moment and finding love when you least expect it. Christmas at Silver Falls is the perfect festive indulgence for fans of Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery and Sheila Roberts.



MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   Christmas at Silver Falls
Author:  Jenny Hale
Genre:   Romance; Women's Fiction
Publisher:  Bookouture
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   263
Date of Publication:  October 15, 2019
My Rating:  4.5 Stars

Scarlett Bailey is joining her family for what could end up being the very last time they celebrate the holiday together at her grandmother’s hotel. The establishment is bleeding money and the family plans on letting Scarlett’s grandmother know the hotel must be sold.

This truly breaks Scarlett’s heart. She has the most delightful memories. She does not have the heart to tell her grandmother. Instead, she is determined to do whatever she can to save the hotel. Christmas traditions are in full force. This is a happy, warm family, and Scarlett does not want these memories to come to an end.

Scarlett thinks she has found the answer when she hears that a rich, well-known property developer, Charlie Bryant, is staying in the town of Silver Falls during the holidays. Scarlett tried to find a way to get Charlie to buy the hotel, while at the same time, keeping her grandmother at the helm.

However, Charlie has something going on. Something deep that changed his life. Despite the fact that is is more than drawn to Scarlett, something is holding him back. Something happens and now Charlie is suddenly forced to face his past.

Charlie is the perfect hero. Oh, he certainly is not a perfect man. As a matter of fact, he was a ruthless businessman. But somewhere along the way he was able to learn some important life lessons. In so doing, what he represented to Scarlett, and ultimately the hotel, and even the town, was truly amazing. Watching a character go through changes that end up for the better is truly endearing.

As we approach the season, a story such as this helps to remind what family is all about. I absolutely loved the emotional impact that this story had on me. I truly love Jenny Hale and have enjoyed every single book I have read by her so far. I look forward to digging into her backlist while remaining eager for future books by this talented author.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

When I graduated college, one of my friends said, "Look out for this one; she's going to be an author one day." Despite being an avid reader and a natural storyteller, it wasn't until that very moment that the idea of writing novels occurred to me.

Sometimes our friends can see the things that we can't.

While I didn't start straight away, that comment sowed a seed and several years, two children, and hundreds of thousands of words later, I completed a novel that I felt was worthy of publication. The result was Coming Home for Christmas, a heart-warming story about the magic of love at Christmas, and 2017 TV movie on The Hallmark Channel. 

The rest is history. 

When I'm not writing, I'm a mother of two boys and a wife to a very supportive husband.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

SERIES REVIEW - The Hidden Legacy Series by Ilona Andrews


#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

This delightful urban fantasy series was an incredible read and this is a combined series review. What I loved about the series, especially since I do not read paranormal, is that the whole setup about magic is due to genetics that occurred due to a magic serum. 

After I was encouraged to read the series, by my fellow reviewer and friend who knows how I feel about paranormal, I was thrilled that I was able to read this and did not make me cross any lines. Instead I was able to jump into this amazing world with these fantastic people and situations and, with the bonus of listening to the first three books via audiobook, was able to step out of my life for a few hours each day as I enjoyed this series.


Title:   Burn for Me
Publisher:  Avon
Format:  Audiobook
No. of Pages:   406
Date of Publication:  October 28, 2014
My Rating:  4.5 Stars
Purchase link:  https://amzn.to/2P35prc

DESCRIPTION:

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn't sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire. 

Then she's kidnapped by Connor "Mad" Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan's after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she's getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

MY THOUGHTS:

Burn for Me is my first excursion into the urban fantasy genre. I had to learn what this genre was and that went a long way in helping me to be able to relax and enjoy this series. It is set in an alternate universe where some have received a special serum that has given them magic powers. However it has taken time for some of them to recognize the extent of their new abilities. Nevada Baylor is the heroine of the series. She is the primary protagonist and we meet her as she is working a job as a private investigator and she has to bring in someone that is missing back to his family.

This is no simple case for Nevada. The person that she must bring back home is Prime. The Prime who is missing is the highest rate of magic user and he the skill of setting anything or anyone on fire. Connor "Mad" Rogan is also Prime and he has his own reasons for wanting to find the missing man. In so doing he kidnaps Nevada and then decides that he would like to work along with her to solve this case.

As mentioned, this is a whole new type of book for me. I have often heard the term world-building. In this series, there are a lot of things that are established. kind of like a political system, including Houses, powers, levels and things of that nature. Furthermore, it is clear that the “regular” people that live among those magic users understand that they are on their own. The authorities don’t even get involved in the dramatic situations that affect these members.

Not only is Nevada facing the situation of first being kidnapped and now rather being forced to work with Mad Rogan, she starts to recognize that she herself has powers. Once Nevada is honest with herself, it doesn’t take very long for these to develop even more fully.

What an exciting, thrilling beginning of a remarkable series! We have adventure, intrigue, magic and family drama in this book. The extra bonus is watching the relationship between Nevada and Mad Rogan develop, albeit a slow burn that sets the pace for this series.


Title:   White Hot
Publisher:  Avon
Format:  Audiobook
No. of Pages:   389
Date of Publication:  May 30, 2017
My Rating:  4.5 Stars
Purchase link:  https://amzn.to/33NTr9d

DESCRIPTION:

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she’s used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family’s detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor “Mad” Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …

MY THOUGHTS:

As readers are moving into the second book of the series, one thing has been made clear. Nevada Baylor does indeed have special skills. She can tell when people are lying and this goes a long way for her as she does what she does best. She not only works hard at the family detective agency, and what her family they are, but she gets to work with Connor/Mad Rogan yet again. At first Nevada does not know what to think, especially she had to fight her own heart‘s desire for him, and she was fairly sure she would never see him again. That is not the case.

Mad Rogan, as we learned in the first book, is a Prime. He is the top of his game, the highest rank. And to show the extent of his ability, Nevada’s skills do not work on him. Yet the pair must work together once more as danger faces them yet again. As this happens, the fight against their feelings will soon be lost.

Beyond the exciting romance that is beginning to shine through on every page, Nevada‘s  current case (as her family owns a private detective agency) is a very serious one. A man’s wife was murdered and Nevada is working hard to find out what happened. While working on this case, alongside Mad Rogan, we learn even more about the magic system that is an integral part of this series.

Since I love romance, I found there was a delightful bonus as this series has progressed. Mad Rogan and Nevada make an amazing couple, and I loved watching their relationship develop and grow, especially since there was a definite conflict with their skills and abilities when it came to the system that exists in their world.

It should come to know surprise that I had to read book 3 immediately after finishing this story.


Title:    Wildfire
Publisher:  Avon
Format:  Audiobook
No. of Pages:   391
Date of Publication:  July 25, 2017
My Rating:  4.5 Stars
Purchase link:  https://amzn.to/31AgBhS

DESCRIPTION:

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.

MY THOUGHTS:

They gave up the fight. The relationship between Nevada Baylor and Connor “Mad” Rogan is in full bloom. Despite the progress they have made, including dealing with the politics involved in their magic system, Nevada has truly come into her own with her magical powers. Nothing is meant to be easy, however, and Nevada now has to fight someone that has come back into Mad’s life. Dealing with this woman, Rynda Sherwood, whose husband has disappeared, is only one level of stress in Nevada’s life at this time.

Nevada is trying to keep her family business afloat. This involves her feeling primarily responsible for her mother, her sister Catalina, and her cousins and each of their special gifts. They are all remarkable people and they make a wonderful set of supporting characters in this thrilling series. Nevada is a true heroine, and has proven this time and again in each book of this series. 

Just as in the first two books of this series, there is no end to the action, danger, intrigue and drama that Nevada and Mad Rogan face as they work feverishly to handle the situations they face. For readers who read this series as it was released, it may have seemed to be over. For me, however, I just discovered it, so was able to read and enjoy the novella that ended Nevada’s starring role.


Title:    Diamond Fire
Publisher:  Avon
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages:   160
Date of Publication:  November 6, 2018
My Rating:  4 Stars
Purchase link:  https://amzn.to/33Len0p

DESCRIPTION:

Nevada Frida Baylor and Connor Ander Rogan cordially invite you to join their wedding celebration. Summoning, weather manipulation, and other magical activities strictly forbidden. 

Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle. Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan's extensive family overruns his mother’s home. Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.

To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic. But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn't do for her sister's happiness. Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.

MY THOUGHTS:

Nevada Baylor and Conner “Mad” Rogan are tying the not! As exciting as this was for people like myself who devoured the first three books in this series, Catalina, Nevada’s sister, steps into the limelight.

Catalina is the maid of honor. What is more is that lovers of the Hidden Legacy series are being prepared to see Catalina launched into her own series. The first book in Catalina’s trilogy is Sapphire Flames. The following two books are yet untitled.

Meanwhile, as Catalina prepares to stand by Nevada, a tiara that Nevada had hoped to wear in her wedding has disappeared. Catalina will do anything at all possible to find the missing tiara and to give her sister the best day ever. To accomplish this, Catalina must face a side of herself that she would rather keep hidden. She has her own magic skills and it is well past time for her to employ them.

This novella fits perfectly between the two series. It closes off the trilogy that features Nevada and sets readers up for Catalina’s books. The first of the three is Sapphire Flames, released in August, with two yet untitled books.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

“Ilona Andrews” is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children and many dogs and cats.

They have co-authored four NYT and USAT bestselling series, the #1 NYT bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels, rustic fantasy of the Edge, paranormal romance of Hidden Legacy, and Innkeeper Chronicles, which they post as a free weekly serial. For complete list of their books, fun extras, and Innkeeper installments, please visit their website at Ilona-andrews.com.


SERIES REVIEW - The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka's Journey

   

In this combined post, I will be reviewing the two books in The Tattooist of Auschwitzt series by Heather Morris. This Historical Fiction series........


Title:   The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Publisher:  Harper
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages:   262
Date of Publication:  September 4, 2018
My Rating:  5 Stars
Purchase link:  https://amzn.to/32tRv5d

DESCRIPTION:

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a T├Ątowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions. 

MY THOUGHTS:

With his very life being at stake, as well as that of his family, and all choice completely taken away from him, all led to Lale Sokolov's capture, being transported and ultimately imprisoned in more than one concentration camp. It started for Lale in April 1942, and per the norm for those suffering in concentration camps, he was assigned a number, 32407.

Lale is rather unique, however. He excels at languages and is intelligent as well as selfless. He starts to attain status in the camps. He turns this privilege into a means of helping out other prisoners. When Lale meets another prisoner, Gita, while performing a job he despises - that of tattooing their prisoner numbers on their arms - she makes an impression on him. From that moment on, with her sheer fear and terror, she touches his heart and he is determined that they will survive the camp and eventually marry.

Anyone familiar with World War II and the stories of Auschwitz have a fairly good knowledge as to how things go from here. There is trauma, tragedy, death, sorrow and more. More than once, this story brought me to tears. However, this story also gives us hope. It is this very hope that makes this story so utterly remarkable.


Title:   Cilka's Journey
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   352
Date of Publication:  October 1, 2019
My Rating:  5 Stars
Purchase link:  https://amzn.to/33IybSe

DESCRIPTION:

Her beauty saved her life - and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.

After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to Siberia. But what choice did she have? And where did the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was sent to Auschwitz when still a child?

In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing. Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love. 

MY THOUGHTS:

At the age of 16, Cilka is torn away from her family and is taken to an Auschwitz concentration camp. She is only saved by her beauty. Clearly noticed, she is forced to be different from the other women prisoners. Instead, she is at the beck and call of a commanding officer at the camp. Sadly, for Cilka, life has morphed into a battle for survival and she does what she can to stay alive. Furthermore, she helps the other prisoners out any chance she gets.

One day Cilka thinks she may be freed. Sadly, due to her rather forced relationship with the officer, she is banished to Siberia. Oh what further tragedy she undergoes. Reading of Cilka's experiences, which, by the way, were written based on extensive research done by the author, was heartbreaking. I not only had to put the book down a time or two, but I had to dry my own tears more than once.

Despite the horrors, Cilka proves her worth. Even at her young age, she gets an opportunity to care for the ill. Cilka was forced to grow up and quickly, not only due to her own experiences, but also  by what she witnessed on pretty much a daily basis while serving nursing duties.

This book kept me on tenterhooks. I kept thinking we would see Cilka's end. Instead, we are treated with one of the most satisfying conclusions to a story that I have read for quite a long time. Having read several World War II historical fiction stories, quite obviously I knew going in that there would be a high level of tragedy and sadness. But, as stated, the conclusion warmed my heart and Cilka will be with me for a very long time.

Many thanks to St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I was born in Te Awamutu, New Zealand, a small rural town in the middle of the North Island. I had an older brother, then three more boys followed. My childhood was spent in the even smaller village of Pirongia with four generations of my family living within proximity of each other. My primary school years were spent at the local school which at that time only had a handful of classrooms. For secondary schooling I went to Te Awamutu College.

An average student, according to my reports, except for commercial subjects, shorthand and typing, and sport. I was an athlete, a swimmer, played netball and tennis. And while I loved reading, devouring the Encyclopaedia Britannica where I could escape to far-away exotic lands, attempts to make me write my own stories, failed. I was told from a very young age, I could tell a good story, and growing up in a time when children where asked to be seen not heard, was enough.

In 1971 I moved to Melbourne, Australia, to escape what I considered the claustrophobic environment of having too many extended family members around me. Soon after arriving in Melbourne I met my husband to be Steve (don’t call me Stephen) Morris and we married in 1973.

In 1975 Steve and I returned to New Zealand, living in Christchurch, South Island, a reasonable distance from my hometown and family in the North Island.

Our first son was born in 1976, another son in 1980 and our daughter in 1985.

Waking up one morning I realised I had missed out on something – the extended education I secretly craved that was not offered when I left school. I commenced a B.A. degree at Canterbury University (NZ) in 1986 before moving back to Melbourne in 1987. After a year settling our family into a much bigger city, I enrolled and completed my B.A. at Monash University in 1991. I majored in Political Science.

In 1995 I began work in the Social Work Department at Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne where I stayed until 2017.

During this period, I watched our three children grow into amazing adults. I was involved in their sport and at the age of forty-five became a competitive Veteran athlete, primarily taking part in the various ‘throwing’ competitions. Shot-put, discus, javelin and my favourite, hammer throwing. I never stopped telling stories, or as my husband called them – long-winded tales.

 In 1996 I decided to follow my passion for storytelling and enrolled in The Professional Scriptwriting Course through the Australian College of Journalism.

I went on to attend many screenwriting courses, seminars and workshops in both Australia and the U.S. My workplace provided me with a wealth of heroic storylines, several of which I adapted into screenplays that now line the bottom drawer of my desk.


And then I met Lale Sokolov.