The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert

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Publication Date: April 20, 2021

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

Jobless and forced home to Wisconsin, journalist Sabrina Monroe can tolerate reunions with frenemies and kisses from old boyfriends, but not the literal ghosts that greet her in this heartwarming tale of the power of love and connection from acclaimed author Amy E. Reichert.

For Sabrina Monroe, moving back home to the Wisconsin Dells–the self-described Waterpark Capital of the World–means returning to the Monroe family curse: the women in her family can see spirits who come to them for help with unfinished business. But Sabrina’s always redirected the needy spirits to her mom, who’s much better suited for the job. The one exception has always been Molly, a bubbly rom-com loving ghost, who stuck by Sabrina’s side all through her lonely childhood.

Her personal life starts looking up when Ray, the new local restaurateur, invites Sabrina to his supper club, where he flirts with her over his famous Brandy Old-Fashioneds. He’s charming and handsome, but Sabrina tells herself she doesn’t have time for romance–she needs to focus on finding a job. Except the longer she’s in the Dells, the harder it is to resist her feelings for Ray. Who can turn down a cute guy with a fondness for rescue dogs and an obsession with perfecting his fried cheese curds recipe? 

When the Dells starts to feel like home for the first time and with Ray in her corner, Sabrina begins to realize that she can make a difference and help others wherever she is.

My Review

I really enjoy Amy Reichert’s writing style. I read her books with ease and plenty of enjoyment. This story is no different. I was completely sucked in and did not want to put the book down. I loved the contemporary, romcom twist on a ghost story and related to Sabrina’s struggle with anxiety.

The characters were realistic and fun and it made me want to know what happens next. If you haven’t picked up a book by Amy E. Reichert yet, please do so!

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Trading Secrets by Rachael Eckles

Trading Secrets, by Rachael Eckles, is a Romantic Suspense novel. It was released in May 2020 and is available for sale on Amazon. (Warning: Explicit Sexual Content. Ages 18+) This is the first book in the Trading Secrets trilogy. Book 2 is set to be released in Spring 2021. 

“Reminiscent of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Eckles’s complex thriller grips the reader from the opening prologue. A tale of high-stakes Wall Street espionage and manipulation, the hunt for the ultimate evil opponent, an around-the-world, whirlwind adventure and a journey into the heart and soul of an extraordinary woman. Trading Secrets is, at once, a spellbinding, heart-stopping thriller and an exploration of the complex nature and vulnerability of the human heart.” -Traci Medford-Rosow, USAToday bestselling author of Unblinded and Inflection Point.

Synopsis:

Celeste Donovan, a high-powered finance executive, seems to have it all–the penthouse apartment, the supermodel physique with a mathematician mind, and a trail of beautiful men she has loved and left behind.

But when her boyfriend Theodore is killed in a mysterious accident, she discovers Omar, her abusive ex she had hoped would never resurface, is behind his death.

Now she’s caught in a game of cat and mouse, trying to anticipate Omar’s next move, as she realizes he will stop at nothing to get to her. She sets out alone on a whirlwind journey to entrap him, determined to put an end to Omar’s destruction.

Soon Celeste is thrust in the middle of the largest financial scandal in decades. This time, however, powerful government officials are in bed with some of the world’s most dangerous men.

When she discovers that those she thought she knew best are involved in a secret society warring with Omar and his coconspirators, she must decide how far she will go to avenge Theodore’s death and whether she is willing to risk her own life to save everyone she loves.

Praise:

A stylish, fierce, globetrotting crime thriller that fans of Janelle Brown and Kimberly McCreight will fall for… an absolute page turner… Eckle’s prose is crisp, her dialogue crackling, witty and withering… In Celeste, Eckle has created a fascinating and highly memorable character. Sure, she’s a dysfunctional powerhouse, largely despised by other women, who has surrounded herself with morally ambiguous men. But when pitted against the diabolical Omar, it’s impossible not to root for her.” – BestThrillers.com

“Eckles engages readers from beginning to end with this tale of betrayal, love, and international intrigue. She creates a strong, likable protagonist. Though Celeste’s lifestyle may be foreign to many, it is still very relatable. For those who enjoy a great love story, the relationship between Celeste and Theodore delivers. Likewise, for those whose tastes lead toward the thrill of clandestine encounters and hair-raising escapes, this novel has plenty to offer. A well-written, descriptive narrative and a fast-paced plot keep the action moving along nicely… this is a very entertaining read that should keep readers turning the pages with its exciting plot twists.” – RECOMMENDED by the US Review

About the Author:

Rachael Eckles grew up in the Midwest. After graduating from law school, she followed her heart and moved to the east coast. Trading Secrets is her first novel. She currently lives in Manhattan with her puppy, where she is working on book 2 in the Trading Secrets trilogy. Readers can connect with Rachael on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads. To learn more, go to https://www.rachaeleckles.com

You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes

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Out Now!

Description from the publishers through Netgalley

The highly anticipated new thriller in Caroline Kepnes’s hit You series, now a blockbuster Netflix show—a compulsively readable trip into the deviant mind of the uniquely antisocial, savvy bookseller . . . Joe Goldberg.

“Fiendish, fast-paced, and very funny.”—Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train

ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF THE YEAR—Cosmopolitan, PopSugar, Literary Hub

Joe is done with the cities. He’s done with the muck and the posers, done with Love. Now, he’s saying hello to nature, to simple pleasures on a cozy island in the Pacific Northwest. For the first time in a long time, he can just breathe.

He gets a job at the local library—he does know a thing or two about books—and that’s where he meets her: Mary Kay DiMarco. Librarian. Joe won’t meddle, he will not obsess. He’ll win her the old-fashioned way . . . by providing a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand. Over time, they’ll both heal their wounds and begin their happily ever after in this sleepy town.

The trouble is . . . Mary Kay already has a life. She’s a mother. She’s a friend. She’s . . . busy.

True love can only triumph if both people are willing to make room for the real thing. Joe cleared his decks. He’s ready. And hopefully, with his encouragement and undying support, Mary Kay will do the right thing and make room for him.

My Review

I can remember reading You for the first time and enjoying it. I wasn’t of the opinion that it was an excellent book but I liked it enough to read on with the series. Hidden Bodies did nothing for me and honestly, I can barely remember it. When I was sent an advanced copy of You Love Me, I was interested to find out more about Joe but didn’t have high expectations.

There were many parts of this book that aggravated me, similar in the way that Anastasia’s inner goddess in 50 Shades of Grey drove me crazy. I hate to say this but I enjoy the television adaptation of You more than the physical books.

If you are a diehard fan and loved the other books in this series, pick this up. If not, don’t rush, this may be a better read from your local library.

I gave this book 3 crowns.

I received this e-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Finding Napoleon by Margaret Rodonberg

Out Today: April 6, 2021

Description from the Publisher

With its delightful adaptation of Napoleon Bonaparte’s real attempt to write a novel, Finding Napoleon offers a fresh take on Europe’s most powerful man after he’s lost everything. A forgotten woman of history–Napoleon’s last love, the audacious Albine de Montholon–narrates their tale of intrigue, passion, and betrayal.

After the defeated Emperor Napoleon goes into exile on tiny St. Helena Island in the remote South Atlantic, he and his lover, Albine de Montholon, plot to escape and rescue his young son. Banding together African slaves, British sympathizers, a Jewish merchant, a Corsican rogue, and French followers, they confront British opposition–as well as treachery within their own ranks–with sometimes subtle, sometimes bold, but always desperate action.
When Napoleon and Albine break faith with one another, ambition and Albine’s husband threaten their reconciliation. To succeed, Napoleon must learn whom to trust. To survive, Albine must decide whom to betray.

Two hundred years after Napoleon’s death, this elegant, richly researched novel reveals a relationship history conceals. 

About the Author

Margaret Rodenberg’s passion for French history began when she lived in France as a young teen with her US Navy family. An avid traveler who has visited over sixty countries, she has journeyed more than 30,000 miles to conduct Napoleonic research, including to St. Helena Island in the remote South Atlantic. She’s a former businesswoman, an award-winning writer, and a proud director of the Napoleonic Historical Society, a non-profit that promotes knowledge of the Napoleonic era. Her website, www.margaretrodenberg.com, reports on Napoleon’s ongoing presence in world culture. Finding Napoleon is her first novel. She lives near Washington, DC.

Praise for Finding Napoleon

“Napoleon Bonaparte’s life was an incredible, inspiring, and ultimately tragic epic. In Finding Napoleon, readers enter deep into both the beginning and the end of that exceptional drama as Margaret Rodenberg brings to life the inner circle of the ailing emperor as he spends his final years in exile on the remote island of St Helena. No one is more qualified to tell this sweeping tale than Margaret Rodenberg–her research is in a league of its own, and her writing is beautiful and poignant.” –Allison Pataki, New York Times best-selling author of The Queen’s Fortune

“From the first words, Finding Napoleon by Margaret Rodenberg enchanted me. Exceptionally well researched, the writing is vibrant, the details evocative. The story of Napoleon’s final years is conveyed with moving compassion, humor, and wit. I love Margaret Rodenberg’s writing and I look forward to reading more by her. Highly recommended!”--Sandra Gulland, author of The Josephine B. Trilogy and The Game of Hope

“Finding Napoleon is a fascinating look at Napoleon as a writer of romance, a tender father, and a mature lover examining happier times amid the trials of his life in St. Helena–a side to him not often explored, and one I found completely enrapturing. His forgotten lover, Albine de Montholon, adds an intriguing dimension. Rodenberg’s sense of revolutionary culture and period detail sparkle and her storytelling is truly absorbing. A winner!” –Heather Webb, coauthor of Ribbons of Scarlet and author of Becoming Josephine and Rodin’s Lover

“A tale within a tale, Finding Napoleon creates three vivid characters–Napoleon in exile, Napoleon becoming a young military hero, and Albine de Montholon, his last and little-known love. Through superb writing, Margaret Rodenberg brings history to life while offering insights into the passions that drove this man to greatness. Highly recommended.” –M.K. Tod, author of Time and Regret and creator of the popular website www.WriterOfHistory.com

“In her haunting historical novel, Finding Napoleon, Margaret Rodenberg bookends the Emperor’s life. She enlarges upon his own semi-autobiographical novel, giving us insight into his early days, contrasting them with the contracted, duplicitous court that accompanied him into captivity on St. Helena after Waterloo. And yet, it is through unexpected friendships forged on the island, his tumultuous final love affair with Albine de Montholon, and a longing for the son he’s lost that we truly do find Napoleon during these, his last days. Highly recommended.” –Michelle Cameron, award-winning author of Beyond the Ghetto Gates

The Sound Between the Notes by Barbara Linn Probst

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Publication Date: April 6, 2021

Description from the Publisher

Susannah’s career as a pianist has been on hold for nearly sixteen years, ever since her son was born. An adoptee who’s never forgiven her birth mother for not putting her first, Susannah vowed to put her own child first, no matter what. And she did.

After 16 years, Susannah understands that restoring her lost magic at the keyboard and maybe, just maybe, vaulting into the elite tier of “chosen” musicians will have a price. Everything does. But she never expected the price to be so high.  

Told through the unique perspective of a musician, The Sound Between the Notes draws the reader deeper and deeper into the question Susannah can no longer silence: Who am I, and where do I belong? It’s about a woman’s longing to understand where she belongs, as she learns how to honor her deep need for self-expression while also honoring her connection with those she loves.

“In her second novel, Barbara Linn Probst delivers yet another powerful story, balancing lyrical language with a skillfully paced plot to build a sensory-rich world that will delight those who loved Queen of the Owls and win countless new readers. Offering a deep exploration of the search for identity and connection, The Sound Between Notes reminds us to embrace everything we are–and everything that’s made us who we are.”

–Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY best-selling author of Perennials

“A gifted storyteller, Barbara Linn Probst writes with precision, empathy, intelligence, and a deep understanding of the psychology of a woman’s search for self.” — Sandra Scofield, National Book Award finalist and author of THE LAST DRAFT

Author bio:

Barbara Linn Probst is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, living on a historic dirt road in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her debut novel Queen of the Owls (April 2020) is the powerful story of a woman’s search for wholeness, framed around the art and life of iconic American painter Georgia O’Keeffe. Endorsed by best-selling authors such as Christina Baker Kline and Caroline Leavitt, Queen of the Owls was selected as one of the 20 most anticipated books of 2020 by Working Mother and one of the best Spring fiction books by Parade Magazine, and a debut novel “too good to ignore” by Bustle. It was also featured in lists compiled by Pop Sugar and Entertainment Weekly, among others. It won the bronze medal for popular fiction from the Independent Publishers Association, placed first runner-up in general fiction for the Eric Hoffer Award, and was short-listed for both the First Horizon and the $2500 Grand Prize. Barbara’s second novel, The Sound Between the Notes, is slated for publication in April 2021. Like Queen of The Owls, it shows how art can help us to be more fully human. Barbara has also published numerous blogs on the craft of writing on award-winning sites such as Jane Friedman and Writer Unboxed. She resides in New York. You can learn more at www.barbaralinnprobst.com

After Happily Ever After by Leslie A. Rasmussen

Publication Date: April 6, 2021

Description from the Publishers

Written by the TV screenwriter behind Drew Carey and Ralph Macchio among others, After Happily Ever After portrays the struggles that millions of women in the “sandwiched generation” face. This story will resonate with anyone who questions whether they made the best life choices, wondering if this is all there is; perfect for fans of Jennifer Wiener and Something’s Gotta Give

Seventeen years ago, Maggie gave up her blossoming publishing career to be the perfect wife and mother. But as her daughter Gia gets ready to head off to college, her husband is becoming more distant and keeping secrets, and her father is quickly deteriorating from Lewy body dementia. Now forty-five and feeling lost, a chance meeting with a hot stranger at the gym sends her down a tempting spiral of what ifs and maybes as she imagines a better life, one where she’s appreciated. After Happily Ever After is about second chances and a new lease on life that will having readers glued to the last page.

My Review

I was able to connect with Maggie for the most part with her life as a wife and mother. Although I was not a stay at home mom, Gia’s attitude was sometimes relatable. Maggie’s relationship with her husband had me both nodding in agreement with her and in disagreement with her decisions. Although this story does involve infidelity, at its’ core it is a story about family and relationships.

Maggie’s parents are aging and those were some of the most difficult parts to read as they were an honest look at that experience. I can’t say that this is my favorite read, but it was a one that I enjoyed (obviously not for the infidelity).

I gave this book 4 crowns.

Thank you to Sparkpoint Studio for the ARC of this book. All opinions are my own.

The Memory Collectors by Kim Neville

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Publication Date: March 16, 2021

Perfect for fans of The Scent Keeper and The Keeper of Lost Things, an atmospheric and enchanting debut novel about two women haunted by buried secrets but bound by a shared gift and the power the past holds over our lives.

Ev has a mysterious ability, one that she feels is more a curse than a gift. She can feel the emotions people leave behind on objects and believes that most of them need to be handled extremely carefully, and—if at all possible—destroyed. The harmless ones she sells at Vancouver’s Chinatown Night Market to scrape together a living, but even that fills her with trepidation. Meanwhile, in another part of town, Harriet hoards thousands of these treasures and is starting to make her neighbors sick as the overabundance of heightened emotions start seeping through her apartment walls.

When the two women meet, Harriet knows that Ev is the only person who can help her make something truly spectacular of her collection. A museum of memory that not only feels warm and inviting but can heal the emotional wounds many people unknowingly carry around. They only know of one other person like them, and they fear the dark effects these objects had on him. Together, they help each other to develop and control their gift, so that what happened to him never happens again. But unbeknownst to them, the same darkness is wrapping itself around another, dragging them down a path that already destroyed Ev’s family once, and threatens to annihilate what little she has left.

The Memory Collectors casts the everyday in a new light, speaking volumes to the hold that our past has over us—contained, at times, in seemingly innocuous objects—and uncovering a truth that both women have tried hard to bury with their pasts: not all magpies collect shiny things—sometimes they gather darkness.

My Review

This was a interesting read for me. One of the characters in this book can be considered a hoarder by today’s definition. The other two main characters upcycle items for profit. I liked the premise that each item holds a feeling that attracts a person to it. The feelings behind the item aren’t always positive ones however and the “evil” that lives within them can influence the current item keeper.

Ev and her sister have a unhealthy relationship and I just wanted Ev to take the time to work on herself. She enjoyed sailing and the friendships that could’ve developed from there weren’t explored as much. Owen’s role in the story wasn’t fleshed out like it could’ve been. Harriet was a character with so much history that was left unspoken that I wanted to either learn more about it or not know anything at all.

There was something about this book that irritated me but I can’t put my finger on it. It was well written but maybe the characters and I didn’t mesh well. I gave this book a solid 3 crowns.

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Stable Weight: A Memoir of Hunger, Horses and Hope by Lisa Whalen

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Description

A lifetime of trying to be perfect lands Lisa Whalen in the psych ward at age 29. Eating-disorder treatment sets her on a path toward health, but her progress stalls until she meets 10 special horses. They teach her to face her fears, trust her intuition, live in the moment, and love her body. A story of resilience, empowerment, and the transformative power of human-animal bonds, Stable Weight illustrates that what matters isn’t whether we fall, but that we rise.

My Review

The premise of this book intrigued me. I am a long time believer in equestrian therapy. I thought that this would have been more about that as opposed to the author taking riding lessons. Although the subject matter tackled infidelity, eating disorders, and depression; I found the writing style difficult to read. The author jumps back and forth in time without much reasoning and that left me annoyed. I did want to see the outcome of the story but it wasn’t exactly the type of book I hoped for.

I gave this book 3 crowns.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

A Caller’s Game by: J.D. Barker

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Description

“I’m going to offer you a choice.”

Controversial satellite radio talk show host, Jordan Briggs, has clawed her way to the top of the broadcast world. She doesn’t hold back, doesn’t spare feelings, and has no trouble sharing what’s on her mind. Her rigorous pursuit of success has come at a price, though. Her marriage is in ruins, she hasn’t spoken to her mother in years, and she’s distanced herself from all those close to her. If not for her young daughter, Charlotte, her personal life would be in complete shambles.

When a subdued man calls into the show and asks to play a game, she sees it as nothing more than a way to kick-start the morning, breathe life into the beginnings of drive-time for her listeners. Against her producer’s advice, she agrees, and unwittingly opens a door to the past.

Live on the air with an audience of millions, what starts out as a game quickly turns deadly—events long thought buried resurface and Jordan Briggs is forced to reconcile with one simple fact—All decisions have consequences. 

DIE HARD meets TALK RADIO in this heart-pounding, relentlessly fast-paced thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Fourth Monkey—master of suspense, J.D. Barker.

My Review

I am a thriller junkie. It is my genre of choice and it takes a lot to make me gasp and turn pages like my life depends on it. J.D. Barker has written some great thrillers in the past but A Caller’s Game is the one! I will go as far as to say that this book is one of my favorite thrillers…EVER!

I really enjoyed the twists and turns and Jordan was an excellent main character. She was mean enough to hate her but there was something about her to love. This was such a great read; I am so sad it is over.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Summer Brother by: Jaap Robben

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Synopsis from World Editions

Thirteen-year-old Brian lives in a trailer on a forgotten patch of land with his divorced and uncaring father. His older brother Lucien, physically and mentally disabled, has been institutionalized for years. While Lucien’s home is undergoing renovations, he is sent to live with his father and younger brother for the summer. Their detached father leaves Brian to care for Lucien’s special needs. But how do you look after someone when you don’t know what they need? How do you make the right choices when you still have so much to discover? Summer Brother is an honest, tender account of brotherly love, which will resonate with readers of Rain Man. 

About the Author

JAAP ROBBEN is a poet, playwright, performer, and acclaimed children’s author. You Have Me to Love, his first novel for adults, won the 2014 Dutch Booksellers Award, the Dioraphte Prize, and the ANV Award for best Dutch debut. 

My Review

I sometimes struggle with translated works but the premise of this story intrigued me. A young boy left to take care of his disabled older brother in a home situation that was less than ideal is the backdrop to this story. Brian’s life is anything but normal as he grows up in a trailer with his father who is not such an ideal role model. Lucien is Brian’s older brother but he lives in a home and is occasionally visited by Brian and their father. Their mother is remarried and starting her life over again and cares very little about her sons unless it is convenient for her. When Lucien’s room is being remodeled, Brian and his dad take him home with them.

This was an easy read due to the excellent translation from the Dutch by David Doherty. It is sometimes the case with translated works where the language doesn’t mesh well with the story, but this was not the case. I felt sorry for the young boys and how they had to grow up. The brotherly connection and love between them, however, was the focal point of this story.

I gave this book 3.5 crowns.

I received this ARC from World Editions in exchange for an honest review.