This one started off in a big way…two young women stumble upon a body hanging from a porch. And even though Julia’s death is immediately ruled a suicide, her mother Claire just can’t let it go. So she begins to dig into Julia’s life, looking for answers. Why would her daughter kill herself? Eventually this question changes to, DID Julia actually kill herself? Although the story lost a bit of momentum about halfway through, it’s still a gripping, twisty story up until the very end.
I don’t even know where to begin with this one. It begins with a betrayal, one sister turning her back on the other. And then, over the course of 14 years, there’s more betrayal culminating in a murder that brings everything back full circle. Two sisters, estranged for years, now find themselves on the same side fighting to save their shared son. I’m not joking when I say I read this one in a day, it was that good. Lots of twists and turns up to the very end!
Lucy has a great life. A loving family, a strong support system at both school and church, a devoted boyfriend…she has her future mapped out. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, her entire world is rocked. She begins to question everything she once believed in. Her faith is no longer enough. Her boyfriend isn’t who or what she thought she wanted. So when her mom decides to send her to a new summer camp, it just adds to her growing list of unknowns. Who would have thought she’d find the answers to all her questions in a group of friends as different from her as possible? This is a sweet, heartbreaking story. I loved Lucy, and I especially loved the strength shown by her mom. A great reminder that everything isn’t always what it seems!
I remember watching Anastasia when I was younger and totally getting sucked in. Heck, I watched it last year and still remembered all the songs. The idea of a princess surviving, when her family didn’t, gave me chills. The strength she would have to have. WOW. So when I heard that Nadine Brandes was wrote a story about Anastasia, I HAD to read it. And yet I knew it would be hard to read. I always get choked up at the idea of her family’s assassination. I can’t even imagine how terrified she must’ve been. Ugh.
Romanov was a magical twist of the story of an exiled princess. It tugged at my heart numerous times and it gave me hope. I think I loved it even more because it wasn’t all real, there was a bit a magic woven into the story. I was not expecting that at all. But I’m honestly happy it was there. If this was a 100% true account, I would’ve been crying the whole time.
While the story was a retelling, some parts were very real and mildly graphic. If giving this to a younger teen, give them a little heads up about what really happened. I know my stomach dropped while reading. I was prepared, and yet I wasn’t, for the firing squad scene.
This retelling is now one of my favorites. I look forward to what Nadine gives us next.
You definitely should add Romanov to your TBR!
Release date: May 7, 2019
Stories about dead spouses with secret lives are a dime a dozen. Can’t name one off the top of my head because that’s how common they are, how they all seem to run together. So it was with a bit of hesitation that I picked this one up. And I’m glad I did. Because it’s both familiar and different at the same time.
Alice has a good life. Great job, loving husband, beautiful daughter with another child on the way. And then it all changes in an instant. When her husband, Chris, dies in a car accident she’s shattered. Imagining life as a young widow is tragic. But even worse is the realization that Chris died far from where he was supposed to be.
So Alice begins digging. And she digs some more. Eventually her curiosity leads her to an island she’s never even heard of. Soon she finds herself living a new life as she continues her quest to discover who her husband truly was and what secrets he was keeping from her. But at what cost to both Alice and her children?
I enjoyed this story a lot. While the main plot is one that I’ve heard before, the author takes a unique twist with it. The characters are intriguing, and there’s an underlying vein of humor throughout the story. It’s a bit long and wordy at times but all in all a great story.
Can I just say that I fell in love with the cover before I even read the book? I had no idea what the book was even about when I started reading. I was pleasantly surprised.
Beatriz Perez and her family were forced to leave their country in order to survive. But Beatriz wants nothing more than to bring down Castro and go back home. So she joins the CIA to infiltrate Castro’s inner circle to find a way. She never thought she’d find romance along the way. But she must choose between her heart and her home.
My heart was practically in my stomach the entire time. Many of her decisions could’ve gotten her or her family killed. I was stressing. And I do believe at a point or two, I cried. Not just from emotions, but from the stress as well. She was willing to risk her life and love for her country. I never read Next Year in Havana, so these characters were new to me, but in no way did I enjoy the book any less.
I have quite a few friends who will be receiving this book as a gift this year. Books rich in history like this are some of my favorites. I am definitely bumping up Havana in my TBR and I look forward to reading whatever Chanel brings to us.
“But she is in the stars I try to read. She’s in the wind of our sails and in the water that surrounds us. I’ve discovered the problem with learning to observe everything in nature—it means I am aware of her, always, because she is in all of it.”
There’s something about a story that says “Inspired by a true story” that makes my heart clench. While I was reading A Song for the Stars I could feel it happening quite often. Imagine living in the Hawaiian Islands in 1779. Your world is small. You only know what’s on your island. When new people come bringing their traditions and unfamiliar wares, your world gets even smaller.
Maile and John meet under very heartbreaking circumstances. She is told to train him in their ways, so he can navigate and find his way home. But the more time they spend together learning and sharing, the more time their hearts soften to each other.
I loved watching them interact. She was so angry and devastated in the beginning, my heart broke for her. She starts out leery of him but, then John’s openness and eagerness to learn about her makes her question what she originally thought. Soon she realizes that her heart may find healing after all.
This story was beautifully written I could see and feel the world around me. And knowing that these are the author’s ancestors, makes this story all the more real.