Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020 in Reviews...Books I've Reviewed in August 2020

 A woman unlocks the mystery of her father’s wartime past in a moving novel about secrets, sacrifice, and the power of love by the bestselling author of Daughters of the Night Sky.

Beth Cohen wants to make the most of the months she has left with her elderly father, Max. His only request of his daughter is to go through the long-forgotten box of memorabilia from his days as a medic on the western front. Then, among his wartime souvenirs, Beth finds a photograph of her father with an adoring and beautiful stranger—a photograph worth a thousand questions.

It was 1944 when Max was drawn into the underground resistance by the fearless German wife of a Nazi officer. Together, she and Max were willing to risk everything for what they believed was right. Ahead of them lay a dangerous romance, a dream of escape, and a destiny over which neither had control.

But Max isn’t alone in his haunting remembrances of war. In a nearby private care home is a fragile German-born woman with her own past to share. Only when the two women meet does Beth realize how much more to her father there is to know, all the ways in which his heart still breaks, and the closure he needs to heal it.

My Thoughts... 

WWII is my time.  I devour books set in this time and love when a story really pulls me in.   Across the Winding River is wonderful.   I was invested in the characters, I cared about their lives, and I was excited to see what their future would hold.   

Across the Winding River has dual timelines that tell the story of life during WWII and life after WWII.   Life during WWII has two stories that are tied together but I did not catch on to how they are tied together until later in the story. The life after WWII is set in 2007 and tells of love left behind during the war.  

Aimee K. Runyan did an amazing job writing the story and weaving the characters together as the story was told without giving it all away at one time.  I loved putting the pieces together as I read and figuring out who everyone was and how their stories came together.    I am adding this to my list of recommended WWII books.  

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Become enamored with the splendor of Paris in this heartwarming and delightful story about writing one’s own destiny and finding love along the way.

Vanessa Yu never wanted to see people’s fortunes—or misfortunes—in tea leaves.

Ever since she can remember, Vanessa Yu has been able to see people’s fortunes at the bottom of their teacups. To avoid blurting out their fortunes, she converts to coffee, but somehow fortunes escape and find a way to complicate her life and the ones of those around her. To add to this plight, her romance life is so nonexistent that her parents enlist the services of a matchmaking expert from Shanghai.

The day before her matchmaking appointment, Vanessa accidentally sees her own fate: death by traffic accident. She decides that she can’t truly live until she can find a way to get rid of her uncanny abilities. When her eccentric aunt, Evelyn, shows up with a tempting offer to whisk her away, Vanessa says au revoir to America and bonjour to Paris. While working at Evelyn’s tea stall at a Parisian antique market, Vanessa performs some matchmaking of her own, attempting to help reconnect her aunt with a lost love. As she learns more about herself and the root of her gifts, she realizes one thing to be true: knowing one’s destiny isn’t a curse, but being unable to change it is.

My Thoughts...

I love reading books set in Paris.   The city, the culture, the people, what is there not to love about Paris?   In Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop, I am taken to Paris by Vanessa in her quest to be able to control her gift of predicting the future.   A gift that she wishes she did not have. 

Vanessa and Evelyn must work together to be able to control Vanessa’s gift of predictions.  While Evelyn embraces her gift, Vanessa does not.  They butt heads, argue, and fight all while loving and protecting each other.    The aunts, left-back in the states, still find their ways to meddle.   The families still show their love and support.  

What would a story set in Paris be without some romance?  Both Evelyn and Vanessa find some romance.  The twists and turns in these relationships had me wondering if they really could find their red threads and their happy ever after.  I enjoyed meeting the men in their lives, seeing how they would be able to have relationships with all that was happening around them, and I was thrilled with how it all played out.  

I recommend picking up your own copy and enjoying this wonderful story of love, family, magic, and Paris. 

*Thank you Dache J. Rogers at Berkley for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. 

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Publisher's Summary

Fall in love at Bayside, where sandy beaches, good friends, and true love come together in the sweet small towns of Cape Cod.

Bayside Summers is a series of stand-alone steamy romance novels featuring alpha male heroes and sexy, empowered women. They're fun, flirty, flawed, deeply emotional, and easy to relate to. 

In Bayside Fantasies....

Tegan Fine has never had a plan - life, business, or otherwise. But she's always had goals - to laugh daily and to pay it forward as often as she is able, just like her favorite uncle always did. After inheriting her great-uncle's amphitheater, Tegan makes a risky move to a charming small town on Cape Cod to carry on her uncle’s legacy and hopefully expand the business with her new friend, Harper. Unfortunately, those goals aren't doing much to help her plan a business strategy for her new endeavor. With Harper counting on her and her uncle's legacy at stake, she swears off all distractions, determined to succeed. If only she could stop bumping into a certain arrogant, witty, and excruciatingly hot businessman who tweaks her nerves and invades her every thought. Including her late-night fantasies. 

Self-professed workaholic Jett Masters never slows down. He lives life with no attachments - except to his clients, to whom he gives his all. A reluctant trip to his hometown has him itching to shake the ghosts of his past and get back to spinning deals and adding to his investments. But when he comes face-to-face with a gorgeous, handsy woman who is quite possibly the snarkiest and most disorganized person he's ever met, sparks fly, and his sharp mind stumbles. He doesn't even know her name, but he can't get her out of his mind. 

A chance encounter turns into a wild, sexy night, and their chemistry is off the charts - even if their ideals, and their lives, are worlds apart. Neither Jett nor Tegan is looking for more. Becoming friends with benefits seems like the perfect solution. But when they are trapped together in torrential weather, they work side by side in the aftermath, and every passionate kiss deepens their connection. Secrets are shared, trust is built, and no promises dare be made. As their lives move on, lines begin to blur, hearts get hurt, and their true selves come into focus. Tegan and Jett are left wondering if they make the perfect storm, or if they've reached the end of their bayside fantasy.

My Thoughts...

Audiobook Review…
I read this book before I listened to it and I love Jett and Tegan so much.   The hurt that Jett held in and the sweetness of Tegan made them perfect for each other.   Now that I have listened to Andi Arndt and Aaron Shedlock narrator their story I am even more in love with this couple.     Both narrators brought feelings, heart, and realism to the story while keeping the reader entertained.  


eBook Review…I have heard about Jett in the previous books in this series. He is driven, focused, and has a chip on his shoulder that he just cannot shake. When he met Tegan, the sparks were flying. Tegan, from the first meeting, kept him on his toes. She did not take his attitude, called him out on his arrogance, and made him take a second look at how he is living his life. I loved how Tegan kept him guessing, changing his life for the good, and making him work to becoming a better person.

Tegan and Jett were just the couple I was looking for. They are sweet, they are sexy, and they are so perfect for each other. Neither person is perfect, but together they make sense. The wild, crazy, live life to the fullest Tegan takes the orderly, everything has its place Jett and pulls him into a world that he did not know he was looking for. Jett does the exact same for Tegan, helping her organize her business plan for the theatre and finding out what is important in life.

If you are new to Melissa Foster Bayside Fantasies is the perfect place to start enjoying her fun, sexy, and sweet stories. If you are a fan of Melissa Fosters jump into this book and get caught up with some of your favorite characters while meeting some new ones also. 


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Goodreads -

Georgie is just back from her honeymoon with Darcy when a friend in need pulls her into a du Maurier-like murder in this all-new installment in the New York Times bestselling Royal Spyness series from Rhys Bowen!

Georgie's best friend, Belinda, inherits a spooky old house in Cornwall and asks Georgie to go with her to inspect the property. When they arrive, they meet Rose, a woman Belinda knew as a child when she spent her summers with her grandmother in Cornwall. Belinda never liked Rose, who has always been bossy and a bit of a bully, but when Belinda's house proves to be uninhabitable, Rose invites them to stay with her.

Rose is now married to Tony Summers, Belinda's childhood crush, and lives in the lovely house on the cliffs that he has inherited. Rose confides that she thinks Tony killed his first wife and now she is afraid. She asks Georgie and Belinda to observe Tony's behavior and their surroundings. Is Rose imagining things? Is Tony dangerous? In their quest for answers, they encounter a creepy housekeeper, Mrs. Manners, and learn that some kind of forgotten tragedy occurred on the property years ago involving them all.

There is a lot of strange to go around and things only get weirder--and deadlier--when one night a member of the household is found dead. All clues point to Belinda as the prime suspect. Now Georgie must uncover some long buried secrets that may prove the victim was really a villain before Belinda takes the fall for the murder. 

 My Thoughts...

Rhys Brown always seems to write books that entertain me.  I know that when I pick up one of her books I will laugh, smile, and cringe all while loving every word that I am reading.    Her books have mysteries, quirky characters, and unique storylines. 

 In The Last Mrs. Summers, we find Georgia traveling with her friend Belinda to check out a property that was left to her.  Of course, there is more to the story.   The property is a shack, the first night there a man climbs into bed with them.   The next day, in search of a new place to stay, they run into an old friend and are invited to stay with her.   The story continues with a murder, an investigation, and a mystery of who-dun-it to be solved.   I cringed at some of the events they uncovered, I tried to put the clues together as they were revealed, and I laughed at the situations that Georgia and Belinda found themselves in.   

 I recommend picking up your own copy and reading about the wild situations that Georgia finds herself in. 

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