Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Book Review for The Boy with the Star Tattoo by Talia Carner

 The Boy with the Star Tattoo by Talia Carner

Published January 30, 2024 by William Morrow Paperbacks


 As the Vichy government hunts for Jews across France, Claudette Pelletier, a young and talented seamstress and lover of romance novels, falls in love with a Jewish man who seeks shelter at the château where she works. Their whirlwind and desperate romance before he must flee leaves her pregnant and terrified.

When the Nazis invade the Free Zone shortly after the birth of her child, the disabled Claudette is forced to make a heartbreaking choice and escapes to Spain, leaving her baby in the care of his nursemaid. By the time Claudette is able to return years later, her son has disappeared. Unbeknown to his anguished mother, the boy has been rescued by a Youth Aliyah agent searching for Jewish orphans.

1968: When Israeli naval officer Daniel Yarden recruits Sharon Bloomenthal for a secret naval operation in Cherbourg, France, he can’t imagine that he is the target of the agenda of the twenty-year-old grieving the recent loss of her fiancé in a drowned submarine. Sharon suspects that Danny's past in Youth Aliyah may reflect that of her mysterious late mother and she sets out to track her boss’s extraordinary journey as an orphan in a quaint French village all the way to Israel.

As Danny focuses on the future of his people and on executing a daring, crucial operation under France’s radar, he is unaware that the obsessed Sharon follows the breadcrumbs of clues across the country to find her answers. But she is wholly unprepared for the dilemma she must face upon solving the puzzle.


My Thoughts:  A dual timeline story that tells of a young woman that must make the hardest decision a parent would ever have to make and then never see her baby again.   The story continues with Danny and Sharon working to find Jewish children lost and bring them back to their country and their people. 

There is so much amazing history in this book.  For me, there is nothing better than reading a historical fiction book and as I read the last page realizing that I have learned so much.   That is what happened with this book.   I had not heard much about the people looking for the young Jews who were placed with families of other faiths to keep them safe and the people who would look for them after the war. 

 Along with the history there is the story of a young mother who only wants to protect her son as many parents were forced to do.   Her story broke my heart, the choices she made were made out of necessity but that did not make it an easy choice.   I connected with that mother and felt her pain.   


Thank you William Morrow for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

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Meet Talia Carner
(taken from her website):  Talia Carner was the publisher of Savvy Woman magazine. A former adjunct professor at the Long Island University School of Management and a marketing consultant to Fortune 500 companies, she was also a volunteer counselor and lecturer for the Small Business Administration and a member of United States Information Agency’s (USIA) missions to Russia. She participated in the 1995 International Women’s Conference in Beijing, where she sat on economic panels and helped develop political campaigns for Indian and African women. Ms. Carner’s first novel, PUPPET CHILD, was listed in “The Top 10 Favorite First Novels 2002” and launched a nationwide legislation–The Protective Parent Reform Act–which became the platform for two State Senatorial candidates. CHINA DOLL made Amazon’s bestsellers list and served as the platform for Ms. Carner’s presentation at the U.N. in 2007 about infanticide in China—the first ever in U.N. history. Her novel, JERUSALEM MAIDEN, (HarperCollins 2011,) won the Forward National Literature Award in the Historical Fiction category, and HOTEL MOSCOW, (HarperCollins 2015) won USA Book News award in the Multicultural category. Her most recent novel, THE THIRD DAUGHTER, (HarperCollins September 2019,) is a daring exposé of sex trafficking and was named Finalist in the 2019 National Jewish Book Council Award in the Book Club category.

Ms. Carner’s sixth novel, THE BOY WITH THE STAR TATTOO, a historical fiction set in France, will be released by HarperCollins on January 30, 2024.

Over 70 of Carner’s award-winning short stories, articles, and personal essays have appeared in anthologies, literary magazines, and leading websites.

In November 2023, Algemeiner magazine named Talia Carner as one of the Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life 2023.

Ms. Carner is a board member of HBI, a research center for Jewish women’s life and culture at Brandeis University. She is also an honorary board member of several anti-domestic violence and child abuse intervention organizations and sits on committees of organizations that work toward Israeli causes. She is married to Ron Carner, former president of Maccabi USA. The couple has four grown children and resides in New York and Florida.

Talia Carner’s addictions include chocolate and social justice.

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Book Review for Wander in the Dark by Jumata Emill

 Wander in the Dark by Jumata Emill

Publication January 30, 2024 by Delacorte Press

Genre:  YA Thriller


Taken from Goodreads:  In this new pulse-pounding thriller from the author of The Black Queen, two brothers must come together to solve the murder of the most popular girl in school after one of them is caught fleeing the scene of her death.

Amir Trudeau has his fair share of problems. He hates his new school, and his estranged half-brother Marcel is continuously trying to repair a relationship that Amir wants no part of. Both the sons of local celebrity chef Martin Trudeau, Marcel is part of the 'new' family Amir's dad left him and his mom to start—a betrayal Amir has never forgotten.

But when Amir wakes up in the middle of the night and finds Chloe Danvers, a pretty and popular white girl who attends the same elite private school as him, stabbed to death, he suddenly finds himself with much bigger things to worry about.

After cameras catch him fleeing the scene of Chloe's murder, Amir becomes embroiled in an investigation that has all of New Orleans talking. And now, in order to clear his name, he'll have to rely on the one person his trusts least—Marcel, who sees helping Amir crack the case as way to repair their relationship. But as the brothers dig deeper into the mystery of Chloe's death, they'll have to face the twisted secrets festering within the hallowed halls of their own school.


My Thoughts:  Wander is the Dark is a true YA thriller.   The book is entirely set around teenagers living their worst nightmare, one of their classmates is murdered and another classmate is accused of the murder.   There were so many clues, so many paths to follow.   I followed each one but it was not a surprise to me as to who the murder truly is.

The dialogue threw me off, especially at the beginning.   The slang that was used had me re-reading parts to get a better understanding of what was happening.    There was a lot of attention given to the profiling of Black men and women.   I found it interesting how different tax brackets, different colored skins, and different sexes all were treated differently under the same circumstances.  

 This is a fast paced, easy to read thriller. 

Thank you Delacorte Press for a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.


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Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Book Review for Wild for You by Kristen Proby


Wild for You by Kristen Proby is now live! 

From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby comes an all-new small-town series set in Montana, starting with WILD FOR YOU, an Age-Gap, Single Dad, Nanny, Grumpy/Sunshine romance!

Remington Wild is a single dad of two adorable kids, and as the oldest son of the Wild family, has recently taken over the Wild River Ranch from his father. Life is crazy, and he’s finally willing to admit that he needs help, and the sooner the better. He has no idea that the beautiful woman he sees every day at Bitterroot Valley Coffee Co. is the woman who would show up for the job.

Erin Montgomery couldn’t get out of Seattle fast enough. It’s not that she doesn’t love her big, loud family, but living in the big city just wasn’t for her. The minute she stepped foot in Bitterroot Valley, she knew she was home. She loves the slower pace, the friendly people, and her job at the coffee shop. Even the smoking hot grumpy guy who stops in every afternoon can’t put a damper on how much she loves small town life!

Thanks to car trouble, and her stubbornness when it comes to using her trust fund, Erin needs a second job and applies for the position of a part-time nanny. She’s surprised to find that it’s Grumpy himself who answers the door at the ranch, but Erin quickly learns that she loves his kids and the ranch, and it’s a no-brainer to take the job. She just has to remind herself to resist the sexy rancher and keep it strictly professional.

Remington is attracted to his younger nanny, and finds himself falling headfirst in love with her. He and his kids have never been happier, and he knows she is the perfect addition to their family for as long as she’s willing to stay. Hopefully forever.

But when secrets are exposed, one of which endangers his children, will their love survive? Or will it tear them apart?

My Thoughts:  Small town romance at its best.  I love Bitterroot Valley and cannot wait to get back to the town.   The setting is gorgeous, while I have never been out west, I could picture the ranch and the mountains.   The small town where everyone knows everyone is exactly how a small town I used to live in was.  

I love that there were no big surprises in the book.   As it started I had a good idea how it would
end.   Erin and Remington’s families
played a huge part of the story and Remington’s kids are adorable.  I like that everyone had their part and
Kristen Proby did a good job keeping everyone true to themselves.  

I read the book in one day and am excited to read Chase and Summer’s story next.  

  Download today or read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited


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Narrated by: Sebastian York & Emma Wilder

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Meet Kristen

Kristen Proby is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over seventy published titles. She debuted in 2012, captivating fans with spicy contemporary romance about families and friends with plenty of swoony love. She also writes paranormal romance and suggests you keep the lights on while reading them.

When not under deadline, Kristen enjoys spending time with her husband and their fur babies, riding her bike, relaxing with embroidery, trying her hand at painting, and, of course, enjoying her beautiful home in the mountains of Montana. 

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Book Review for The Excitements by C.J. Wray

 The Excitements by C.J. Wray

Publication:  January 30, 2024 by William Morrow Paperbacks

Genre:  Historical Fiction


Taken from Goodreads:
  A brilliant and witty drama about two elderly female World War II veterans with a secret past who embark on one last adventure to right some historic wrongs.

Meet the Williamson sisters, Britain’s most beloved World War II veterans. Now in their late nineties, Josephine and Penny are in huge demand, beloved of journalists and producers, popping up on red carpets and at fundraisers and festivals all over the country. Despite their age, they’re still in great form—perfectly put together, sprightly and sparky, and always in search of their next “excitement.”

This time it’s a trip to Paris to receive the Légion d’Honneur for their part in liberating France. As always, they will be accompanied by their devoted gay nephew, Archie, who moved in with his aunts right after he came out. The press has always reported that these lady heroes worked for the Royal Navy and the nursing corps, but that’s their official cover. In reality, Josephine was an intelligence operative who drew maps used for the D-Day invasion while Penny was a spy and specialist at hand-to-combat, risking her teenage life in France. And this trip to Paris is not what it seems either. Scandal and crime have always quietly trailed the Williamson sisters, even in the decades after the war.

Now armed with new information about an old adversary, these much decorated (but admittedly ancient) veterans intend to settle scores, avenge lost friends, and pull off one last, daring heist before the curtain finally comes down on their illustrious careers.

A deliciously fast-paced and witty drama, The Excitements is the tale of two remarkably clever and brave women who helped save the world and survived the unthinkable, without ever losing their killer instinct... or their joie de vivre.


My Thoughts:  I thought I was going to read a WWII history book when I picked up my copy of The Excitements.   While I did get a history lesson, even more I got a fun story about two aunt senior citizens and their amazing nephew living their best lives.    I love that Archie took care of his great aunts, taking them on excitements, and helping them live a full life at their age.  The aunts, Josephine and Penny, sure put him through his paces.   They kept him wondering what would happen next but always showering him with love and taking him with on each excitement. 

 Everything about this book is fun.  The quirky characters were entertaining and kept me guessing at what trouble they would cause next.  The storyline is full of details that brought the book to life as I read it.  I could picture the excitements that the aunts went on as if I was going right along with them.  

 Thank you William Morrow for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


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Meet CJ Wray is the pseudonym of Christine Manby, a Sunday Times bestselling author with more than forty books to her name. Raised in the west of England, she studied psychology before embarking on an entertaining and wide-ranging career that has seen her selling kitchens, editing erotica, interviewing an armed robber, and impersonating a princess.




"An absolute treat of a novel—a glorious, rip-roaring adventure, so funny and charming, yet laced with unexpected moments of real tenderness and reflection. Penny and Josephine are heroines in every sense of the word, being both ordinary and extraordinary, and their personalities leap off the page so energetically that I missed them the moment I finished the final line."

   — Lucy Dillon, Sunday Times bestseller of Unexpected Lessons in Love


The Excitements is a rip-roaring adventure that is both tremendously intriguing and wonderfully engaging. In Penny and Josephine, CJ Wray has created two marvelously endearing and daring National Treasures in waiting. Not all heroes wear capes, some wear M&S cardigans! A triumph!”

   — Mike Gayle, author of All the Lonely People


“Funny, thrilling and brilliantly researched. From the SOE to dodgy knees, its heartwarming description of the adventures of the redoubtable Penny and Josephine, past and present, made me want them, absolutely, as great aunts of my own.” 

   — SJ Bennett, bestselling author of The Windsor Knot


“A joy from beginning to end. I loved the jovial adventures of two fearless female nonagenarian war veterans set alongside their intriguing and often thrilling wartime experiences. It’s utterly wonderful.” 

   — Annie Lyons, author of The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett


“I’m a huge fan of Richard Osman’s books, but after reading this all I can say is, ‘Move over Richard Osman, The Excitements are in town!’ It’s just so good—funny, heartwarming, wise and just so incredibly well-researched.”

   — Alexandra Potter, author of Don’t You Forget About Me




Monday, January 29, 2024

Cover Reveal for The Echo of Regret by Jillian Liota


Jillian Liota has revealed the cover for The Echo of Regret!

Releasing March 13, 2024

Bishop Mitchell is destined for baseball greatness – until an injury brings him home before he ever truly gets his shot. Now, he’s biding time back in Cedar Point. Helping coach his high school team, hanging with friends…and, apparently, falling for his high school girlfriend all over again.

Gabriela Ventura enjoys her small town life: a few close relationships, a thriving pottery business, and teaching ceramics is more than enough. So when the boy who broke her heart returns to town, the last thing she’s interested in is rekindling a friendship. Or anything else.

When Bishop and Gabi get partnered together at work, they cautiously take a trip down memory lane. The laughter, the banter, the chemistry…it’s all just as good as they remember, and slipping back into their routine proves easier than either could have imagined.

But what isn’t easy is healing old wounds. With Bishop’s days in Cedar Point counting down and their future uncertain once again, the two must decide: is what they share worth letting go of their regrets from the past?


The Echo of Regret is book four in the Cedar Point series, a series of interconnected standalone romance novels following five siblings as they find their happily-ever-afters in a lakeside small town in the mountains. While the books can be read in any order, readers will receive tidbits throughout the series about other couples. For the best, spoiler-free experience, it's encouraged to read the series in order.

Preorder your copy today!

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Meet Jillian Liota

Jillian Liota is a Southern California native currently living in Suwanee, Georgia. She is married to her best friend, has a three-legged pup with endless energy, and acts as a servant to a very temperamental cat.

Jillian writes contemporary and new adult romance, and has had her writing praised for depth of character, strong female friendships, deliciously steamy scenes, and positive portrayal of mental health.

To connect with Jillian, visit


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Sunday, January 28, 2024

Book Review for Offside by Sierra Hill



Offside by Sierra Hill is now live!

I'm a veteran hockey player known as Ballas the Beast. All I want to do is continue playing hockey and extend my contract with the Vikings for another year.

But those goals might be thwarted because of her.
Karis Spurlock is the niece of the team owner, known as the Ice Queen because she comes across cold as ice.
When we hooked up in Vegas six months ago, she was anything but cold...she was hot and daring and it was supposed to be a one-time thing. No strings. No attachments. No need to ever interact again.
Just the way I like it.
Yet here I am negotiating what could be the terms of my final contract with the one woman I slept with in Vegas.
The same woman who now owns the Vancouver Vikings through a tragic twist of fate. And who also is now my new boss.



My Thoughts:   I am a HUGE hockey fan and love reading sports romance, hockey being my favorite.   Sierra Hill did a phenomenal job writing this book.   I really loved how real the hockey life is.   


Offside is a hockey romance but it also touches on some hard subjects.   There is some talk about athletes abusing women, hockey players targeting other players, and severe injuries to athletes.   I felt like it was an easy read book with respectful attention to the real lives of professional athletes.   Sierra is willing to go the wall for her players but she also wants players held responsible for their actions.  Their fame and money does not excuse any bad behavior.


Back to the romance… Steamy, Sexy, Hot… just what I love in a sports romance.   There is dirty talk, which makes me blush.   There is bossiness.   More important there is respect and openness so everyone involved is aware of the expectations.   I could not get enough all Ballas and Sierra, they are such strong characters and perfect for each other.  


Thank you Grey Promotions for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


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Meet Sierra Hill

Sierra Hill is a RONE Award-Winning author of Game Changer, as well as over 40 novels, including the college sports series, Courting Love, and the twice award-finalist erotic why choose serial, Reckless - The Smoky Mountain Trio.
She lives in the Seattle area with her husband and their rescued lab. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to audiobooks, baking, and hiking.


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