Thursday, October 31, 2019

BLOG TOUR - The Paris Girl


Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Paris Girl by Natalie Meg Evans.

DESCRIPTION:

Paris, 1920s. Tatiana Vytenis has worked hard to leave her past behind. Once a ruined Russian princess in hiding, she is now a sought-after model and engaged to Gérard de Sainte-Vierge – a handsome, if occasionally overbearing, aristocrat. With the Sainte-Vierge heirloom ruby sparkling on her finger, Tatiana feels as though she should be happy. Not long ago she was penniless and now she’s about to become a marquise.

But fate still has a final hand to play. One night in a bohemian café in Montparnasse, Tatiana discovers she’s been the unknowing plaything of the Sainte-Vierge family. Hidden beneath their genteel exteriors, Gerard and his brother have a secret darker side, and her darling fiancé will gladly ruin Tatiana’s life to save his own reputation.

As Tatiana’s situation becomes ever more desperate, she crosses paths with an unlikely guardian angel. Serious, dark-haired Regan Dortmeyer is an American in Paris – a war photographer running from his own hard knocks in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. He’s no fancy French nobleman, but Regan has seen the lengths to which a wicked man like Gerard will go. As the consequences of her disastrous engagement threaten to swallow Tatiana up, he might be the only one who can save her now…

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Milliner’s Secret, The Paris Girl is a beautiful novel full of twists and turns, set against the breathtaking backdrop of 1920s Paris. Perfect for fans of Chanel Cleeton, Kathleen Tessaro and The Alice Network.

MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   The Paris Girl
Author:  Natalie Meg Evans
Genre:   Historical Fiction; Literary Fiction
Publisher:  Bookouture
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   463
Date of Publication:  October 31, 2019
My Rating:  4 Stars

Tatiana Vytenis has escaped a difficult past. She started off living the life as a Russian princess. However, her life was ruined and she had gone into hiding. She revived herself and because a model that everyone wanted. Meanwhile she was happily engaged to an aristocrat,

Gérard de Sainte-Vierge, but then her life suddenly unravels.

First of all, Gérard's brother creates an incredible problem for Tatiana. Thus begins her whirlwind of unhappiness. Then something even more tragic occurs and she really finds out Gérard's true nature. He completely forsakes Tatiana and her life all but comes to an end. Any happiness she thought she finally attained is well and truly ruined.

Meeting Regan Dortmeyer, a photographer she worked with while modeling, might just be the best thing ever to happen to Tatiana, even if it takes her a while to realize it. Tatiana experiences unspeakable trials in this incredibly touching tale.

In The Paris Girl, the timing, 1920s Paris, was a very good time-period and setting for this gorgeous novel. I felt for Tatiana the entire way through. I couldn't help but impressed by her strength and resilience. Also, I was so very happy every time Regan appeared on the page. 

Kudos to Natalie Meg Evans. This is my first book by her and I was kept interested throughout. I look forward to reading more by her in the future.


Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Natalie Meg Evans has been an art student, actor, PR copywriter, book-keeper and bar tender but always wanted to write. A USA Today best-seller and RITA nominee, she is author of four published novels which follow the fortunes of strong-minded women during the 1930s and 40s. Fashion, manners and art are the glass through which her characters’ lives are viewed. Each novel is laced with passion, romance and desire. Mystery is never far away. An avid absorber of history – for her sixth birthday she got a toy Arthurian castle with plastic knights – Natalie views historical fiction as theatre for the imagination. Her novels delve behind the scenes of a prestige industry: high fashion, millinery, theatre, wine making. Rich arenas for love and conflict. Most at home in the English countryside, Natalie lives in rural Suffolk. She has one son.  

web |  twitter

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

REVIEW - The Highlander Who Protected Me

Author:  Vanessa Kelly
Series:  Clan Kendrick #1
Genre:   Historical Romance
Publisher:  Zebra
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages:   423
Date of Publication:  October 30, 2018
My Rating:  4.5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

Bestselling author Vanessa Kelly returns with an enthralling new series about the men of the Kendrick clan—and the women who claim their hearts...

Lady Ainsley Matthews, heiress and darling of the ton, was expected to make a magnificent match. Instead she's hiding on a remote Scottish estate, terrified that her vicious former fiancé will use her pregnancy to force her into marriage. One man can help her—Royal Kendrick, son of a distinguished Highland clan. Though a mistake drove them apart long ago, Royal is the only person Ainsley trusts to protect her baby—even if that means agreeing to never see either of them again.

Scarred in body and soul by war, Royal suddenly has a purpose—caring for an innocent babe and thereby helping the woman he can't stop loving. But when Ainsley ultimately returns to Scotland, determined to be a real mother to her child in spite of the risk, there's only one solution: marriage. And only one likely outcome: surrendering to the desire that's simmered between them for so long, no matter how dangerous it may be.




MY THOUGHTS:

Lady Ainsley Matthews didn't make the match that was expected of her. Instead, she is hiding at a Scottish Estate, desperately feeling that her former fiancé will use the fact that she is pregnant to forcer her to marry him. When she runs into Royal Kendrick, she quickly discovers that she can trust him. And that she does.

She asks the impossible of Royal. And he accepts. She asks him to take her baby, adopt the child. This breaks Ainsley's hearts for more than one reason. Not only will she soon be leaving her daughter behind, but she will be giving up the only man who ever held her heart, and that is Royal.

Although it is very clear that Royal feels the same for Ainsley, she is worried for the safety of her new daughter, as her ex is equally relentless, vengeful and unpredictable. Things change to the point that she is forced to return to Royal - and her daughter. Now she has a chance at being a mother, but not without grave danger and difficulty for all involved.

The best solution is marriage between Ainsley and Royal. But has too much time passed for them to act on the feelings that once warmed both their hearts? The travel to love in this story is incredibly touching. Watching the pair fight the battles facing Ainsley, the family growing together, and the bevy of other family members involved, especially Angus, was absolutely wonderful.

This is the first book in the Clan Kendrick series. followed by The Highlander's Christmas Bride, available now, and The Highlander's English Bride, coming in May.

About the Author:

Vanessa Kelly is a USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”0 Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated in a number of contests, and she has won multiple awards, including the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her books have been published in nine languages.

Vanessa’s latest book, The Highlander Who Protected Me, was a USA Today, Barnes & Noble, and BookScan bestseller. Her Renegade Royals Series was a national bestseller, as was The Improper Princesses Series. My Fair Princess was named a Goodreads Romance of the Month and is a USA Today and BookScan bestseller. The Highlander’s Princess Bride, book 3 in the series, was a Barnes and Noble top 50 bestseller.

When she’s not dreaming of plots for her next Regency novel, Vanessa is writing USA Today Bestselling books with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes. You can find Vanessa at vanessakellyauthor.com or at vksykes.com. For all of Vanessa's latest news and contests--and to receive a free story--please sign up for her newsletter on her website.

Clan Kendrick Facebook Group | Facebook Author Page | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Review - The Family Upstairs

Author:  Lisa Jewell
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Publisher:   Atria Books
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  464
Date of Publication:  October 29, 2019
My Rating:  4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

***FROM THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THEN SHE WAS GONE***

You thought they were just staying for the weekend. They looked harmless enough – with only two suitcases and a cat in a wicker box.

But soon things turn very, very dark. It happens slowly, yet so extraordinarily quickly.

Now you and your sister must find a way to survive…


MY THOUGHTS:

In this intense psychological suspense by Lisa Jewell you have three principal characters, Libby, Lucy and Henry. They are each separated by chapters in varying points of view. As you read my introduction to these characters you might be a bit thrown off. Even though they are all principal players, readers will be forced to wait to see how their stories are all blended into one another.

Let's start with Libby Jones. She is a resident of the UK and has been aware of a trust that was created in 1977. The strict rules included things would not be revealed to her until she turned twenty-five. Now she is finally able to discover some facts about her past. At that time, there was a property in Chelsea that she has just inherited. A couple was killed, and two teens were missing. It is at this point that Libby is told that they were her birth parents and that she has two siblings.

Then we have Lucy. Lucy is the mother of two children, Marco, 12, and Stella, 5. Lucy gets an odd text that simply states: "The baby is 25." Lucy and her children are struggling. They are homeless and they go from place-to-place to eat and to try and find places to sleep. Although she struggled to get away from her ex-husband, she still longs to return to London.

Lastly, readers are introduced to Henry Lamb. He talks of his parents and then of a woman named Birdie who visited his house while he was a child. Henry, as it turns out, is part of the trust that Libby is being told about. We briefly learn about his father Harry and other things that happened during Henry's childhood.

The readers are taken on a journey of alternating viewpoints told in both the past and the present which allow for several revelations to be revealed. Quite naturally, everyone is connected and there is a deep exploration into the family drama that affects them all. I want to add to this review that the fact that it is a psychological thriller, and combined with the title, The Family Upstairs, it simply did not gel. When it came to the fact that Henry grew up in a cult-like environment, it became easier to see what actually happened back in 1977 when the deaths occurred and how that affects everyone now, 25 years later.

I always enjoy books by Lisa Jewell, but I must admit to having a bit of a hard time waiting for this book to gain traction. I was especially enticed and fully committed when the house began to be explored. The pieces are jumbled at first but quickly begin to fall into place. I was definitely intrigued and couldn't put this book down until I read it from cover-to-cover. There is some sadness and emotion, especially regarding Lucy and her children, and also for some of the things that Henry experienced as a child.

Many thanks to Atria Books and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.


She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.


She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.





Monday, October 28, 2019

BLOG TOUR - The Business of Blood

BoB - BT banner


The Business of Blood, an all-new intriguing historical mystery from USA Today bestselling author Kerrigan Byrne, is available now!



DESCRIPTION:


London, 1890. Blood and death are Fiona Mahoney’s trade, and business, as they say, is booming.

Dying is the only thing people do with any regularity, and Fiona makes her indecorous living cleaning up after the corpses are carted away. Her childhood best friend, Mary, was the last known victim of Jack the Ripper. It’s been two years since Fiona scrubbed Mary’s blood from the floorboards, and London is no longer buzzing about the Ripper, but Fiona hasn’t forgotten. She hasn’t stopped searching for Jack.

When she’s called to a murder in the middle of the night, Fiona finds a victim mutilated in an eerily similar fashion to those of the Ripper, and only a few doors down from Mary’s old home. The relentless and irritatingly handsome Inspector Grayson Croft warns her away from the case. She might have listened, if she hadn’t found a clue in the blood. A clue that will lead her down a path from which there is no return.

As a killer cuts a devastating swath through London, a letter written in blood arrives at her door, and it is only then that Fiona realizes just how perilous her endeavor is. For she has drawn the attention of an obsessive evil, and is no longer the hunter, but the prey.

Fiona Mahoney is in the business of blood. But she’s not the only one.

With intriguing twists, blood-chilling discoveries, and dazzling prose, USA Today Bestselling author Kerrigan Byrne shows that a woman’s work is never done, even when is sleuthing out a serial killer.


BoB - AN

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/31q7Q9T

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2qfPPhw

Title:   The Business of Blood
Author:  Kerrigan Byrne
Series:  In the Business of Blood #1
Genre:   Historical Mystery
Publisher:  Ardent Publishing
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   309
Date of Publication:  October 20, 2019
My Rating:  5 Stars

MY THOUGHTS:

Fiona Mahoney is what is now referred to as a forensic cleaner. She cleans up after crime scenes. No matter how gruesome. No matter how bloody. That is why this book is so named, The Business of Blood. Tragically, the more murders that take place, the busier Fiona is.

A man has been brutally murdered . While Fiona is on the scene she quickly notices that the current victtim's body was left in such a way to instantly make her think of a gruesome series of murders, committed by none other than Jack the Ripper, the elusive killer that had disappeared from Whitechapel, where Fiona lives and works.

Accompanied by Aidan Fitzpatrick, her first love, and a man who has become a priest, they lock eyes. Fiona says to him, “You don’t think it was…" The Scotland Yard Inspector on scene, Croft, tries to shut down this line of thinking immediately. 

Seeing the macabre evidence of his murder brings to mind Fiona's former friend, Mary Kelly, a victim of Jack the Ripper. She firmly believes he is back. Heartbroken for the loss of her friend. Heartbroken for the opportunity that was missed to marry Aidan, heartbroken for even more reasons. This all parlays into Fiona‘s determination to go beyond her skills as someone who has a rather expert technique of removing blood, to finding The Ripper once and for all.

This works in her favor, especially because Fiona has a gift of or a scale when it comes to solving crimes. She sees things that others may not see a tensor things out making her what we often called an amateur sleuth. Despite the inspector's insistence, Fiona gets the chance to start investigation almost immediately. With another murder happening almost immediately, more questions arise. Another suspected killer comes into Fiona's mind. Despite the inherent danger facing her, Fiona spends time with the man. 


What a fast-moving, chilling and rather gruesome story. As if the entire thought of someone chasing and coming all-too-close to Jack the Ripper frightened me to death, I devoured this book. What is more, is the shocking conclusion. I could have been knocked over with a feather! Kerrigan Byrne really threw me for a loop. However am I going to wait for the next installment in this series?

I have read a couple of other books by this delightful author before, and they were historical romances. Little did I know when I picked up this book that I would be reading something of a different sort altogether. Something so well-written, so thorough, that I am more than eager for anything else she has to offer.

This series continues in 2020 with A Treacherous Trade, and in 2021 with A Vocation of Violence.

Many thanks to Kerrigan Byrne for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Please enjoy the following excerpt:

Aidan stood behind me for a moment, motionless and silent. I could hear every word ever spoken and unspoken between us spilling onto the ground at my back.

“I understand what the years have done to you, Fiona. I know all the reasons you do what you do.” The pity in his voice summoned a scream from deep, deep in my soul, and I swallowed three times to keep it from escaping. “I appreciate that you have to be cold sometimes. But have a care this profession of yours doesn’t make you heartless.”

Heartless.

Struck by an idea, I frantically searched until I found Frank Sawyer’s heart in the center of the basin. An unceasingly strong muscle upon which one’s entire existence depended. I counted four chambers. Four valves. I stared hard, unblinking in the wan light until Aidan’s retreating footsteps plodded away.

I’d never found Mary Kelly’s heart.

Every single part of her had been catalogued in all its exposed and grotesque exactitude. But not her heart. The Ripper had taken that, along with her life.

I searched for the palpitations to prove Aidan wrong and found them, faint and fluttering, against my rib cage. I still had a heart, even though he owned pieces of it. And yet, I’d stood over too many corpses of those I loved, each time expecting my bleeding heart to just…stop. It should, I think. When a heart was broken as many times as mine, it shouldn’t work anymore. But somehow, it still did. It kept going.

And so long as it beat in its chamber, I’d search for the Ripper.

About Kerrigan

Kerrigan has done many things to pay the bills, from law enforcement to belly dance instructor. Now she’s finally able to have the career she’d decided upon at thirteen when she announced to her very skeptical family that she was going to “grow up to be a romance novelist.” Whether she’s writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, Kerrigan uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in almost every story.

She lives in a little Victorian coast town on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State with her wonderful husband. When she’s not writing you can find her sailing, beach combing, kayaking, visiting wineries, breweries, and restaurants with friends, and hiking…okay…wandering aimlessly clenching bear spray in the mountains.

Profile pic

Connect with Kerrigan

Stay up to date with Kerrigan by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/33VpuF0

Saturday, October 26, 2019

BLOG TOUR - In My Mother's Name


Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for In My Mother's Name by Laura Elliott.


DESCRIPTION:

A swallow flutters its wings into a dimly lit attic as Adele Foyle stumbles across the secret diary of the mother she has never met, and a shocking account of a crime committed over twenty-five years ago…

With her mother’s words etched in her mind and in the pages tucked into her jacket pocket, Adele delays joining her fiancé for a new life abroad and returns to Reedstown, the last place her mother, Marianne, was seen alive. She has one purpose: to find those who carried out the devastating attack on her mother.

Born into a Mother and Baby home run by Gloria Thornton, Adele needs to first unlock the disturbing chain of events that led to her own birth if she is to understand what happened to her mother.

But news of Adele’s arrival and the diary spread like wildfire amongst the small close-knit community. Old memories are stirring up fresh wounds.

No-one wants the truth to be told. The diary is just a story, they say. Yet as Adele begins to unravel the layers of deceit, the tissue paper lies begin to fragment and her own relationship starts to break down.

Her mother was telling the truth. Adele just has to prove it, even if it puts her own life in terrible danger.

A heart-stopping, intense and emotionally engrossing read that will keep you compulsively turning the pages late into the night. If you read one book this year, make it In My Mother’s Name.

MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   In My Mother's Name
Author:  Laura Elliot
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Publisher:  Bookouture
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   308
Date of Publication:  October 24, 2019
My Rating:  4 Stars

When Adele Foyle is roving about in her grandmother's attic, she finds a secret diary of her mother - someone she never met. Sadly, her mother died giving birth to her. What she is about to discover will be more than she could ever believe. Almost more than she will be able to handle.

She begins to discover secrets hidden for over twenty-five years. Adele starts looking for answers. In so doing, she goes back to the last place her mother lived, Reedstown. The circumstances of Adele's conception are devastating and she is determined not only to find out more about that, but to bring certain people to justice, even all of these years later.

Adele was born in an unusual environment. It was a home for unwed mothers run but a strange religious group called The Thorns. So that is where Adele begins her search. She soon learns that no one wants questions asked. No one has answers to offer. As a matter of fact, the deeper Adele goes in her search, the worst things get for her.

In My Mother's Name was a disturbing and fast-moving story. Adele is a strong woman, and I so felt for her mother and what she suffered. To imagine Adele's discoveries was very difficult. However, Laura Elliot is a gifted storyteller who managed to craft a sensitive story that held a lot of suspense. 

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura Elliot is an Irish novelist who writes psychological thrillers and lives in Dublin, Ireland. Her novels are: The Wife Before Me, Guilty, Sleep Sister, The Betrayal, Fragile Lies, Stolen Child and The Prodigal Sister. She has worked as a journalist and magazine editor



Friday, October 25, 2019

BLOG TOUR - The Gift of Happiness


Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Gift of Happiness by Holly Martin


DESCRIPTION:

Christmas has arrived in the little village of Happiness, promising snowflakes, hot chocolate and plenty of seasonal romance. So snuggle up and fall in love with the gorgeously cosy new story from the bestselling author of Christmas at Lilac Cottage…

Christmas has always been such an important part of Ruby Marlowe’s life and at a time of year that always holds so many memories, Ruby likes to throw herself into the magic of the season head first. So when she is offered the opportunity to open a year-round Christmas shop in the little village of Happiness it seems like a dream come true.

Accepting the offer has absolutely nothing to do with sexy Jacob Harrington, the sculptor she had a fling with in the village during the summer.

After all, Jacob is known to love the ladies and has never had a commitment. Ruby, on the other hand, made the ultimate vow of love and suffered heart-wrenching loss in return. She vows she will never be committed to a man again.

But when fate throws Ruby and Jacob together in this town in the most magical of seasons, will more than snowflakes fall? As the Christmas celebrations get underway and Ruby tries to spread her own Christmas magic over the little village, can love sparkle and come back to life.

A glorious, feel-good romance that’s like a warm hug on a cold winter’s day. An unputdownable festive treat for lovers of Sarah Morgan, Miranda Dickinson and Lucy Diamond.                                                   

MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   The Gift of Happiness
Author:  Holly Martin
Series:  The Little Village of Happiness #2
Genre:   Romance
Publisher:  Amazon Digital Services
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   256
Date of Publication:  October 25, 2019
My Rating:  4.5 Stars

Ruby Marlowe has had her share of troubles. However, she has an amazing opportunity ahead of her. She has the chance to start a Christmas shop that will be open year-round. The town is called Happiness and Ruby can hardly believe that she will be able to do this. A huge bonus is the upcoming year will be free of rent.

There is a snag in Ruby's plans, however. While she is setting up, she will be sharing business space with Jacob Harrington. As there was some damage to Ruby's new site, she will be working alongside Jacob for a while. Why is this a problem? Ruby and Jacob had a no-strings fling when she was in town during the summer. The fact that Jacob is sexy as all get-out while making it perfectly clear what he wants from her definitely presents a challenge.

Ruby may be more than drawn to Jacob, but she has a very good reason for not wanting anything to do with him. As far as she is concerned, they can be friends and temporary workmates. This most certainly is a problem for Jacob. He really likes Ruby and hopes to get her to give him another chance.

I absolutely loved this story. It was incredibly sensitive and truly touching. On the one hand, Ruby's story broke my heart. I love that this romance could deal with something so heartbreaking, yet leaving readers with hope and joy. Jacob got to me because he wore his heart on his sleeve. And I just love a sensitive man.

The Gift of Happiness is the second book in this series by Holly Martin. This is a must-read and was yet another book I just could not put down. I loved it just as much as I did The Little Village of Happiness, which is Willow and Andrew's story. Andrew is Jacob's brother and it was a treat to see them back in this book. Ms. Martin writes wonderful stories that pull at the heart-strings. I am eager to read much more from her in the future.

Many thanks to Holly Martin for this ARC to review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I live in a little white cottage overlooking the sea. I studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by an even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of my colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when I knew I had to escape. I quit my job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, I emerged wide eyed and terrified that I now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. I taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave me a lot of time to plan out my stories and I now write full time, doing what I love.

I have been writing for 6 years. I was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance 2012. My short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology in 2013. I won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with my novel The Guestbook. I was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014.


BLOG TOUR - A View Across the Rooftops



Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for A View Across the Rooftops by Suzanne Kelman.


DESCRIPTION:

1941, Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. An unforgettable story of love, hope and betrayal, and a testament to the courage of humanity in history’s darkest days. 

University professor Josef Held has never recovered from the loss of his beloved wife – and has no intention of ever letting anyone new into his quiet, safe world. It is a world where the clock ticks steadily in his mathematics classroom, even as the sinister beat of Nazi soldiers’ boots threaten to drown it out.

Terrified, Josef tries to keep his eyes on the ground as Jews across the city are forced into ghettos. But then Michael Blum, his most reluctant, infuriating pupil, tells Josef Jews like him will no longer be allowed to study at all. Josef can ignore the situation no longer. And, after the shock of seeing his neighbour killed on his own doorstep, he offers Michael a place to hide in an impulsive act of courage.

Michael is everything Josef is not: spontaneous, poetic, and unafraid to love. Even though his passionate relationship with a Dutch girl is strictly forbidden – for he is Jewish, and she is not. Somehow, in the quiet gloom of the attic, Josef doesn’t mind things about Michael that annoyed him in the classroom, and a bond begins to grow.

Remembering the pain of his own heartbreak, Josef is desperate to give Michael and his girlfriend a chance. He must go on as if nothing has changed: teaching his class, bowing to the Nazis. Beneath the fear, a thrill of defiance begins to bloom. But then Michael becomes perilously ill, and there is no way to get him the help he desperately needs.

As the dark days of war continue, with danger and betrayal at every turn, no-one can be trusted. If Michael is to survive and get back to the woman he loves, it will be down to Josef – to find the hero inside himself, and do whatever it takes to keep Michael alive. Even if it means putting his own life on the line.

A heartbreakingly beautiful story about love, trust, and courage against the odds, perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Lilac Girls, and The Nightingale.  

MY THOUGHTS:

Author:  Suzanne Kelman
Genre:   Historical Fiction; Romance
Publisher:  Bookouture
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   414
Date of Publication:  October 25, 2019
My Rating:  5 Stars

Oh my goodness! Evocatively unsettling yet hauntingly beautiful. That is what A View Across the Rooftops translates to me. The setting in this touching tale is that the Nazis have occupied Amsterdam. They are working feverishly at extinguishing any Jews, individually and collectively.

Professor Josef Held is struggling as a math professor. On a personal level, he has never gotten over the loss of his wife. With regards to his job, it is become more and more difficult. Some of his students are simply not interested, as the war is in full swing. Before long, any Jewish students that he was teaching are forever gone.

Josef is sympathetic and compassionate. One thing that soothes his soul is the nightly piano music that he hears his elderly neighbor Mrs. Epstein play. When she loses her life to the Nazis, Josef is more than devastated and even feels partially responsible. Right after this occurs someone comes banging on his door. Josef is concerned the Nazis are back, but why? The person at the door, however, is a terrified former student, Michael Blum, a Jew on the run for his life.

Josef doesn't think twice. He pulls Michael inside and offers him a place to hide. This is not just for the night either. Josef manages to hide Michael for years. Things are incredibly scary and dangerous for both Josef and Michael. This is especially so because Josef's niece Ingrid is dating a high-level SS officer and is seemingly overly concerned for her uncle's welfare.

Meanwhile, the story has some romantic elements. Before Michael had to flee, he was in a passionate relationship with Elke, a young Dutch woman, and they were forced apart. Furthermore, there is Hannah Pender. She is a woman who works at the college. Josef is surprisingly drawn to her, but since he believes her to be a married woman, he fights his powerful attraction to her.

When you pull in all of these characters, Josef, Michael, Elke, Hannah, Ingrid, as well has her new fiance, Heinrich, the story is incredibly powerful - and increasingly dangerous. I read this book with bated breath. I cried, I grieved and I hoped. Josef's heroic actions were so powerful, as well as Michael's strength. After all of this, I was left both heartbroken and satisfied. Suzanne Kelman is a new name to me and she has floored me with this book.

Thank you to NetGalley and to Bookouture for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Suzanne Kelman is a 2015 Academy of Motion Pictures Nicholl Finalist, Multi-Award-Winning Screenwriter and a Film Producer. As well as working in film she is also an International Amazon Bestselling Fiction Author of the Southlea Bay Series – The Rejected Writers’ Book Club, Rejected Writers Take the Stage and The Rejected Writers’ Christmas Wedding. Born in the United Kingdom, she now resides in Washington State.  


Thursday, October 24, 2019

Release Blitz: The Business of Blood

BoB - RB banner


The Business of Blood, an all-new intriguing historical mystery from USA Today bestselling author Kerrigan Byrne, is available now!


BoB-ebook-cover

London, 1890. Blood and death are Fiona Mahoney’s trade, and business, as they say, is booming.
Dying is the only thing people do with any regularity, and Fiona makes her indecorous living cleaning up after the corpses are carted away. Her childhood best friend, Mary, was the last known victim of Jack the Ripper. It’s been two years since Fiona scrubbed Mary’s blood from the floorboards, and London is no longer buzzing about the Ripper, but Fiona hasn’t forgotten. She hasn’t stopped searching for Jack.
When she’s called to a murder in the middle of the night, Fiona finds a victim mutilated in an eerily similar fashion to those of the Ripper, and only a few doors down from Mary’s old home. The relentless and irritatingly handsome Inspector Grayson Croft warns her away from the case. She might have listened, if she hadn’t found a clue in the blood. A clue that will lead her down a path from which there is no return.
As a killer cuts a devastating swath through London, a letter written in blood arrives at her door, and it is only then that Fiona realizes just how perilous her endeavor is. For she has drawn the attention of an obsessive evil, and is no longer the hunter, but the prey.
Fiona Mahoney is in the business of blood. But she’s not the only one.
With intriguing twists, blood-chilling discoveries, and dazzling prose, USA Today Bestselling author Kerrigan Byrne shows that a woman’s work is never done, even when is sleuthing out a serial killer.

BoB - AN

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/31q7Q9T
Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2qfPPhw

About Kerrigan
Kerrigan has done many things to pay the bills, from law enforcement to belly dance instructor. Now she’s finally able to have the career she’d decided upon at thirteen when she announced to her very skeptical family that she was going to “grow up to be a romance novelist.” Whether she’s writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, Kerrigan uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in almost every story.
She lives in a little Victorian coast town on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State with her wonderful husband. When she’s not writing you can find her sailing, beach combing, kayaking, visiting wineries, breweries, and restaurants with friends, and hiking…okay…wandering aimlessly clenching bear spray in the mountains.

Profile pic

Connect with Kerrigan

Stay up to date with Kerrigan by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/33VpuF0