Book Review: A Love Transformed by Tracie Peterson

a-love-transformedYears ago I read a novel written by Tracie Peterson, and I remember thinking how wonderfully written it was and how beautifully it handled difficult situations from a Christian perspective. That being said, when I saw that she had a new novel coming out, I jumped at the chance for a sneak peek, and I would like to say a huge thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a free copy of A Love Transformed in exchange for an honest review. Keep on Reading!

Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

the-book-thiefThe Book Thief has been on my “to read” list for a long time. I picked it up over one school break but didn’t get very far before my classes started again and I just couldn’t keep up with it. So I picked it up again this summer and this time couldn’t put it down! What a unique story! World War II/ Holocaust stories are usually pretty difficult for me to read, and understandably so. What a sad time in our world’s history! This story, however, was so intriguing because it was told in such a unique way.

This book is the story of Liesel, a little girl who is taken in by the Hubermanns in Nazi occupied Germany. The story of Liesel, the Hubermanns and others is told through the narration of Death. Yes, Death narrates this story, and there could not be a more appropriate or unique voice to do so. I thought at first that a book narrated by Death could be nothing but sad and tragic, but it gives the book such an interesting spin. The story is told by the one voice that witnessed humans at their best and humans at their worst. Keep Reading!

Book Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

the-couple-next-doorIf you thought The Girl on the Train kept you on your toes, wait til you meet The Couple Next Door!! THIS is the thriller I’ve been seeking all summer! I read this book in two days, and believe me, with my heavy school workload this semester, that says a lot about this book. I could not put it down. I read the first half of it in one sitting.

Anne and Marco are just a normal couple with a new baby girl on a nice street in a nice neighborhood. Everything about them screams stereotypical middle class family. Except not everything or everyone is always as they seem, are they? Keep on Reading!

Book Review: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Beautiful RuinsAs the late, great John Lennon once wrote: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” In my opinion, this quote sums up Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, well, beautifully.

I’m going to be honest and admit that the cover was what initially attracted me to this book. I know, we shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but something about this gorgeous cover screamed a dated story set in Italy, and I couldn’t resist picking it up. Whoever designed this cover did well because, that is exactly how this story starts.

The story opens in 1960s Italy at a secluded hotel in a very small town. We meet Dee Moray, an American actress, and Pasquale, the young, Italian hotel owner. From that point on, the book is filled with twists and surprises, unfolding the stories of these two people, alternating between the past and the present. Keep on Reading!

Book Review: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Husband's SecretPrior to The Husband’s Secret, I had only read one book by Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies. I enjoyed that book and found it to be a good mystery with a satisfactory ending. I loved how that book started with a shocking event and then backtracked to show the events leading up to that night. I was hoping for more of the same with The Husband’s Secret, but this story was written differently. It was a good story with a definite mysterious aspect to it but there were things in it that I felt weren’t really necessary and took away from the story. **Please note: if you have not read The Husband’s Secret yet, please come back to this once you have read it so as to avoid spoilers!** Keep on Reading!

Book Review: The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen

The Perfect NeighborsMy interest in this book was piqued when I read a description of it that said fans of Wisteria Lane (the street from Desperate Housewives) would enjoy this book. Well, I loved Desperate Housewives, and even though it’s been off the air for a few years now, I still miss getting my weekly Wisteria Lane fix. See, Wisteria Lane was a street where all the neighbors knew each other and knew each other’s business. Or at least, they thought they knew each other and each other’s business. There was a lot of secret keeping on that street, and each new season revealed a new mystery. That being said, reading about the residents of Newport Cove was reminiscent of watching my Housewives but with less mystery. This was a fun, entertaining story but more like a story with a mysterious tone to it than an actual mystery. The characters were entertaining and real, and I found Kellie to be the most real and relatable character out of all of the ladies from Newport Cove. Keep on Reading!

Book Review: A Tapestry of Secrets by Sarah Loudin Thomas

A Tapestry of Secrets (2)I want to thank Bethany House Publishers for sending me a free copy of their new release, A Tapestry of Secrets. I have never read any novels by Sarah Loudin Thomas before, and it has been a long time since I’ve read a Christian novel. I am pleased to say that I adored this book! I found it to be intriguing and refreshing. One of the most appealing things was that the message of faith was beautifully woven throughout the story, subtly inserting itself into the plot.

This book is a story about family, specifically the women in one family, trying to share truths and find healing after years of secret keeping has left anger and bitterness lingering in their lives. One of my favorite things about this novel was the cross-generational relationships – mother/ daughter with Perla and Sadie and grandmother/ granddaughter with Perla and Ella. I love novels in which the story overlaps generations of a family and was pleased to find that this novel includes several generations and has a strong emphasis on your roots and not forgetting where you came from. The characters were so well-written that I felt as if I knew them personally. It was refreshing to read about a family that has faith at its center and to see characters praying when seeking answers to difficult questions.   Keep on Reading!

Book Review: The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies

Tea Planters Wife
Cover art is copyright of Penguin Random House

The Tea Planter’s Wife is a period piece, set in the 1920’s and 30’s in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka) on a tea plantation. The main character, Gwen, moves there from England after marrying an older man, Laurence Hooper, who runs his family’s tea plantation. Amidst the backdrop of the beautiful plantation house and the workers’ run down quarters, Gwen quickly learns that race and class differences are aplenty in her new world and struggles to align her morals of treating everyone the same with what is expected of her in her new household. The story unfolds as Gwen adjusts to her new life and new role and as we learn that she carries with her a secret, a secret which she feels would destroy her marriage and ruin her life. Keep on Reading!

New Reviews in Romance

This past week I have had the privilege of reading two new romance novels by two different authors, one established and one up-and-coming. Though they were two very different novels, I enjoyed them both. One felt more like a sweet romance while the other was rather steamy, but both of them kept me turning the pages! Keep on Reading!

Book Review: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Little Paris Bookshop (2)As a bibliophile, I can’t resist a book that is about books or in which books play an important role in the story. I was drawn to this book by the title alone because it was clear that books provided at least the setting for the story even if they didn’t play into the story itself. Well, to my enjoyment, they did both.

Jean Perdu is a man who owns a floating bookstore, the Literary Apothecary, in which he uses books as a prescription for whatever someone may be experiencing at the time – heartbreak, love, and growing up to name a few. I loved this character because he was unique and honest with people. He not only loved books but appreciated them. Unfortunately, Jean could not prescribe something for his own broken heart.  Upon finally reading a letter his love had sent him twenty years earlier after she disappeared on him, Monsieur Perdu quickly sets sail on the Literary Apothecary to find the healing he has longed for. Interesting supporting characters are introduced along the way as he prescribes his book “medicine” to those he meets throughout his journey. Keep on Reading!