Review:Look Again by Lisa Scottoline #bookreview #bookblog

Blurb

When reporter Ellen Gleeson gets a “Have You Seen This Child?” flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look again, and her heart stops―the child in the photo is identical to her adopted son, Will. Her every instinct tells her to deny the similarity between the boys, because she knows her adoption was lawful. But she’s a journalist and won’t be able to stop thinking about the photo until she figures out the truth. And she can’t shake the question: if Will rightfully belongs to someone else, should she keep him or give him up? She investigates, uncovering clues no one was meant to discover, and when she digs too deep, she risks losing her own life―and that of the son she loves.

My Thoughts

Unfortunately this one just didn’t grab my attention.  I found it quite difficult to get through until after halfway.  It felt like it dragged a lot, too much background noise.  I couldn’t get close to Ellen, because she annoyed me if I’m honest.  I didn’t come across any twists, anything surprising, I didn’t feel any overwhelming emotions reading it.

Now this isn’t to say the writing wasn’t excellent, because it was.  I just didn’t jel with this one, but you might. Definitely give it a go.

I rated Look Again: 3/4 stars

Happy reading

Nat

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Review: The French Photographer by Natasha Lester #bookreview #bookblog @Natasha_Lester @HachetteAUS

Blurb

Manhattan, Paris, 1942: When Jessica May’s successful modelling career is abruptly cut short, she is assigned to the war in Europe as a photojournalist for Vogue. But when she arrives the army men make her life as difficult as possible. Three friendships change that: journalist Martha Gellhorn encourages Jess to bend the rules, paratrooper Dan Hallworth takes her to places to shoot pictures and write stories that matter, and a little girl, Victorine, who has grown up in a field hospital, shows her love. But success comes at a price.

France, 2005: Australian curator D’Arcy Hallworth arrives at a beautiful chateau to manage a famous collection of photographs. What begins as just another job becomes far more disquieting as D’Arcy uncovers the true identity of the mysterious photographer — and realises that she is connected to D’Arcy’s own mother, Victorine.

Crossing a war-torn Europe from Italy to France, The French Photographer is a story of courage, family and forgiveness, by the bestselling author of The Paris Seamstress and A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald.

My Thoughts

A book that it so far from my usual reads that I almost didn’t read it. But boy, am I so glad I did. I laughed, cried, ugly cried, and was angered; essentially I did a full circle of emotions because the content called for it.  A story about women’s rights and their experience during WWII which was a time that really focused on the masculinity of men going off to war and woman staying home and tending to the house and children.

Jess’s character was admirable. She was strong, and identifiable.  I loved the vulnerability of Josh and D’Arcy, the walls that were broken given their struggles and the journey of discovery and intimacy that we, the readers, were taken on.  The ability to transport the reader to a different time and place is really an art, not everyone can do it, but Natasha use of description, both emotional and situational, was splendid.  That was the reason I cried. The reason why I felt so enthralled in every characters journey.

It was a story of dedication, passion, strength, and overcoming obstacles to find personal peace. It was inspirational. And it’s disappointing that woman have to fight so hard to be considered equals.

That ending though!

Thank you so much to Hachette AUS for my copy of The French Photographer, I really appreciate it.

I rated The French Photographer: 5/5 Stars

Happy reading,

Nat

Review: Keeper of the Light by Diane Chamberlain #bookreview #bookblog @DianeChamberlain

Blurb

Dr. Olivia Simon is on duty in the emergency room of North Carolina’s Outer Banks Hospital when a gunshot victim is brought in. Midway through the desperate effort to save the young woman’s life, Olivia realizes who she is—Annie O’Neill. The woman Olivia’s husband, Paul, is in love with. 

When Annie dies on the operating table, she leaves behind three other victims. Alec O’Neill, who thought he had the perfect marriage. Paul, whose fixation on Annie is unshakable. And Olivia, who is desperate to understand the woman who destroyed her marriage. 

Now they are left with unanswered questions about who Annie really was. And about the secrets she kept hidden so well.

My Thoughts

Could I love this authors books anymore? Phenomenal story. What I loved about it was that it’s a personally touchy topic for me. I have a pretty strong stance on infidelity and usually that skews my opinion on the story. However, I was so enthralled in the drama and lives, it just meshed with everything.

After the first chapter, you could see that the author was setting the affair scenario up. I was wondering how it was going to get any better. But boy were there some good twists. Wasn’t Paul a complete douche bag. I felt no sympathy or compassion for him at all. A complete snake really. Annie’s character was interesting in that we didn’t even get to actually meet her, but we learned that she’s got a lot more going on than people realise. Alec’s Daughter I had a soft spot on, and I liked how she developed. And old Mary? Well, I was a bit shocked by what she did for Annie.

It was an excellent read, I enjoyed the ease of flow, development and backstories we were given, and the ending wrapped it up nicely.

I rate Keeper of the Light: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth #bookreview #bookblog @SallyHepworth

Amazon Blurb

Anna Forster is only thirty-eight years old, but her mind is slowly slipping away from her. Armed only with her keen wit and sharp-eyed determination, she knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. But Anna has a secret: she does not plan on staying. She also knows there’s just one another resident who is her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.

Eve Bennett, suddenly thrust into the role of single mother to her bright and vivacious seven-year-old daugher, finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind house. When she meets Anna and Luke, she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna’s and Luke’s families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them. Eve has her own secrets, and her own desperate circumstances that raise the stakes even higher.

My Thoughts

A heartbreaking story. It’s a hideous disease Alzheimer’s, let alone getting it as young as Luke and Anna have in this story. I felt like it might have been an authentic storytelling, I teared up a number of times. I just loved the other characters in the care home, and I loved that Eve took her little girl there 🧡

The overall feel of the book was more-ish. I would have loved to have had the time to finish it in one sitting. I feel that story’s like this, pull you in because of their realism. It could happen to any of us, or has happened to any of us. I think that, is always a draw card.

I rated The Things We Keep: 4/5 🌟 🌟🌟🌟

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: Secrets She Left Behind by Diane Chamberlain #bookreview #bookblog @D_Chamberlain

Blurb

What if you did something so devastating, you regretted it for the rest of your life? Nineteen-year-old Maggie Lockwood spent a year in prison for her part in a fire that cost three lives. The scars carried by the surviving victims – inside and out – are still raw and Maggie’s release from jail does nothing to free her from the guilt. Returning home, Maggie hides herself away, too afraid to see Keith, the boy she grew up with, played with as a child – and recently learnt is her half-brother. Keith nearly lost his life in the fire and the emotional and physical wounds he carries have changed him forever. .With childhood innocence gone, Maggie and Keith must learn to come to terms with their new lives, but trying to move forward will have deadly consequences …

My Thoughts

Well… I LOVED THIS! I didn’t think it was possible to love a story as much I loved this one yet here I am tearing up about it when I finished it, like, four days ago. Oh look, I’ve got goosebumps! LOL. What a wonderful story, the pace and characters so beautifully crafted that I just read and read and never wanted it to stop.  It was quite an interesting scenario, with Maggie going to prison and being released after a year, and Keith being her brother but also a victim from the fire.  One thing that resonated with me was everyone’s emotions. They were so raw and real, so much so that I found myself tearing up, or talking out aloud, or cursing at or with them. It was that easy to lose yourself among the characters. I didn’t care for Sara at all I’m afraid. It goes without saying that Jamie was a twat, not matter how hard he tried to justify himself, but I didn’t care for Sara’s constant manipulation of the situation. She knowingly entered that afraid knowing that he was married, that’s wrong. Period. It added to the story though, and let’s be honest that’s how things happen in real life anyway, so I’m glad it was in there but I do have very strong opinions on that topic.

Jen was a very interesting character in this story.  I knew something was up with here but I couldn’t put my finger on it and I didn’t see the twist coming! I think twists are always expected in thriller/suspense type novels, so much so, that when you read something like this you don’t necessarily expect them. So when you get one, I think it’s the sign of a pretty spectacular, beautifully written, all consuming work of art. I couldn’t recommend this story more.

I rated Secrets She Left Behind: 5/5 stars

Happy Reading!

Nat

Review: Saving You by Charlotte Nash @charlottenash79 @hachetteaus #bookblog #bookreview

Goodreads Blurb

In their tiny pale green cottage under the trees, Mallory Cook and her five-year-old son, Harry, are a little family unit who weather the storms of life together. Money is tight after Harry’s father, Duncan, abandoned them to expand his business in New York. So when Duncan fails to return Harry after a visit, Mallory boards a plane to bring her son home any way she can.

During the journey, a chance encounter with three retirees on the run from their care home leads Mallory on an unlikely group road trip across the United States. Zadie, Ernie, and Jock each have their own reasons for making the journey and along the way the four of them will learn the lengths they will travel to save each other – and themselves.

My Review

Hachette AU thank you so much for introducing me to such a talented and artful author with my copy of this wonderfully heartwarming read 💕  To close a books’ pages and have that feeling of content that makes you audibly sigh, is quite the magical feeling.  I felt as I was experiencing Mallory’s heartbreaks, triumphs, frustrations, and love with every turn of the page. The characters were 4 dimensional and authentic. The pace and writing style suited the story and its characters (although I don’t like I would have minded if it were a little slower because I didn’t want it to end to be honest), and I enjoyed the themes the story explored in relationship breaks, financial vulnerability, motherhood, passion for work, and respect for our amazing seniors.  It was my first story from this author, though it will most certainly won’t be the last!

Thanks again Hachette AU, greatful to have found another wonderful author to add to my shelves.

I rated Saving You: 5/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: The Secret of Midwives by Sally Hepworth @sallyhepworth @stmartinspress #bookreview #bookblog

Goodreads Blurb

A novel about three generations of midwives (a woman, her mother, and her grandmother) and the secrets they keep that push them apart and ultimately bind them together

THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES tells the story of three generations of women devoted to delivering new life into the world—and the secrets they keep that threaten to change their own lives forever. Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy—including the identity of the baby’s father— hidden from her family and co-workers for as long as possible. Her mother, Grace, finds it impossible to let this secret rest. For Floss, Neva’s grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva’s situation thrusts her back 60 years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter’s—a secret which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all. Will these women reveal their secrets and deal with the inevitable consequences? Or are some secrets best kept hidden?

My Review

What a wonderful story *sigh*.  And, for once, it had an ending that I adored! I absolutely loved it; felt natural, not rushed, and not cliche’. Bravo Sally, you won me over by the ending and it was only natural to award that final star.  Where do I start? Loved each and every character in this story (even Marion :p), I’ve come to really enjoy separate chapters for characters because it really gives us readers a chance to bond with the characters. Of course this could also be a disaster if it wasn’t done properly, say if there was a written vomit of too much backstory or the like about that character.  But it was such a pleasure to read each character. Learning their personality traits and thought processes.  There were a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming, provoking the much desired verbal responses, “Oh wow!”, “What the F-“, “Get out of town.” Those are the best storied, when you’re so wrapped up in the characters lives, that you’re reacting as if you’re living the story with them. I held my breath with Grace’s drama, I’m a rule follower, so can’t say I felt at all comfortable with her actions, but I really loved being in the moments where all three were delivering babies.  The description was excellent.  I actually can’t even think about anything critical to say about this one. I enjoyed it enough the breeze through it and not want it to end! Bummed I’ve almost read all of Sally’s books now, I’m definitely a fan.

I rated The Secret of Midwives: 5/5 stars.

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: The Trouble with Choices by Trish Morey @MoreyTrish @HarlequinAUS #bookblog #bookreview

Goodreads Blurb

A warm, witty and wise exploration of family and contemporary romance from international bestselling author Trish Morey.

The trouble with choices… is they come with consequences.

Dumped on the eve of her brother’s wedding, schoolteacher Sophie Faraday throws caution to the wind, and winds up in the arms of the sexy best man. Meant to be a one–night fling, an unexpected consequence means Sophie must face one of the hardest choices a woman ever has to make…

Older sister Beth finds life is tough enough juggling a mortgage, shift work and raising her ten–year–old daughter alone. When she meets Harry, the quiet gardener with a heart of gold, she’s determined to place him firmly in the friend zone. How can she let herself love again, when the guilt she carries every day reminds her what love can cost?

Hannah, older twin to Beth by ten minutes, has her own reasons for avoiding relationships. But when Irishman Declan walks into her veterinary clinic with an orphaned joey in his arms, she’s seriously tempted. But isn’t resisting the attraction the safest option? Especially when the secret she’s held close for so long can only guarantee heartbreak…

Will the Faraday girls learn that, with your sisters by your side, the wrong choices can still lead to the right places?

My Review

*dreamy sigh* It’s been a while since I’ve read a wonderful, heartwarming, tear evoking romance/drama, and this story was exactly that.  I loved that each chapter was assigned a character and that we were able to be that character for that moment of time. I’m aware that Ms Morey is quite the accomplished author and because of that, the words just flowed so serenely on the paper that it was an absolute pleasure to read this.  Funnily enough Hannah reminded me of me! I’m the eldest of three sisters, quite sedulous, serious, blunt, and the rest LOL.

There were spots, especially with Sophie and Nick, where I was talking to the characters as if I were there next to them “uh uh, Nick, shouldn’t have said that, now you’re in for it!”, and to me when a reader does that, you know that’s something special. After all, some of us read fiction to escape the daily grind of life. I actually would have enjoyed staying in this story longer, it’s always a shame when the good ones feel like they end too soon!

So thank you to the author for creating such four dimensional characters who I was able to psychologically interact with, create a story that left me warm and fuzzy, and so happily satisfied at the end.  Looking forward to my next read from you!

I rated The Trouble with Choices: 5/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: A Mother’s Promise @SallyHepworth @MacmillanAus #bookblog #bookreview #amotherspromise

Goodreads Blurb

Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two all their lives. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and is given a grim prognosis.

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the power of love and forgiveness.

My Review

I’m declaring my love of Sally Hepworth stories now, to the world!! What an amazing rollercoaster ride that story was.  Have plenty of tissue handy by chapter 70 because you’ll need them. If you’re like me, you’ll be ugly crying to the end, with a mixture of shock, rage, astonishment, and cheer (for Sonja).  The twist caught me way off guard, I hadn’t put two and two together because I was so emotionally involved with Alice and her situation. You really can’t imagine having to go through something like cancer and be a single parent with no supports.  It’s actually heartbreaking, imagine having to say good by to you child… All the characters were wonderful, and i loved how we got to know each story: Kate and Sonja.  I especially loved how their issues were solved but not in a way that felt unnatural or rushed.  I have to admit, I did hope that Kate would become pregnant on her own.  And Zoe’s father, I WTF’ed, and I WFT’ed hard. I loved the way the story ended, wasn’t rushed, felt natural, and when I read THE END I was angry that it was over! An amazing heartfelt and true-to-life story. Sally, you’re now my favourite Aussie author and I look forward to reading more of you!

I rate A Mother’s Promise: 5/5 stars

Happy reading

Nat

Review: The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth #themotherinlaw #sallyhepworth @sallyhepworth @macmillanau #bookblog #blogger @bookreview

Goodreads Blurb…

Someone once told me that you have two families in your life – the one you are born into and the one you choose. Yes, you may get to choose your partner, but you don’t choose your mother-in-law. The cackling mercenaries of fate determine it all.

From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana is exquisitely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying Oliver, that they’ll never have the closeness she’d been hoping for.

But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. Lucy had wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.

That was ten years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something…

From the bestselling author of The Family Next Door comes a new page-turner about that trickiest of relationships.

My Review

It’s like I’m having Diane Chamberlain de ja vu’ again! This was my first read from Sally and it was fantastic. Obviously by this stage of her writing career, it was an absolute pleasure to read in regards to flow, ease of character to character interaction and speech.  The premise of the story was pretty brilliant because in-law issues is pretty common amongst married couples. Thankfully, I don’t have that problem, but halfway through the book I realised that Diana sounded like me! LOL.

In the beginning, I found myself disliking Diana. Her mannerisms and personality would certainly brush one the wrong way. However, the more I got to know her, the more I started understanding her and the way she behaved.  I think the author did a marvelous job in making Diana a very much likable character at the end, it’s actually a shame that she died because I would have liked to have gotten to know her more. Nettie and Patrick on the otherhand, something about them brushed me the wrong way from mid-way, especially when Nettie hit up Lucy in regards to having a child (won’t say too much so I don’t spoil it for you).  I can understand that she would have been upset, but that who scenario left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

And who killed Diana? All I’ll say is, wow. I got so caught up in this one, I didn’t see this plot coming!

I definitely recommend this one if you haven’t read it yet. And I’d also ask which of Sally’s books you recommend I read next if you’re familiar with her work. Definitely looking like she is fastly going to become a favourite of mine.

I rated The Mother-In-Law: 4/5 stars

Happy reading

Nat