Quick review and giveaway: When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

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.

~Melpomene

Buy When We Left Cuba https://amzn.to/2D14bGj

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway HERE

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Review: Annelies by David R. Gilliam

A different take on a familiar story…

We all know the heartbreaking, inspiring story of young Anne Frank. But what if her story had taken a different turn? What if, instead of perishing at Bergen-Belsen, she had made it out alive? This newest tale from David R. Gillam imagines just that.

She would almost certainly reunite with her beloved father who actually did survive. As the sole living members of their family, they’d only have each other. Maybe they’d fall back into their routines, working at the family business. Maybe Anne would pick up where she left off, taking up her writing once again. But it’s just as likely that too many things would have changed, made them all different people.

There are many things to like about this story. It’s full of historical accuracies making it highly believable. It also makes you wonder what might have been…

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Annelies

Review: We Told Six Lies by Victoria Scott

Young love is hard, y’all. All those emotions and hormones and stuff running wild. It’s easy to see how feelings could get out of control. But how far is too far?

Molly is missing. Just disappeared. And of course, the first place the police look is at her boyfriend Cobain. But he’s just as perplexed as the authorities are. He would never hurt her. After all, she’s his everything. Before Molly came into his life, he was just existing as he wandered through life. Molly brought the light to his world. And now she’s gone.

Cobain is determined to find out what happened to Molly. He knows more than what he’s told the police, and he has a suspect list. Did he really know Molly, though? What secrets was she hiding from him?

There’s A LOT going on with this story. It’s told from two different perspectives as well as shifting from past to present. Surprisingly, though, it’s easy to follow and suspenseful enough to keep you reading until the twisty end.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: We Told Six Lies

Review: Roam by C.H. Armstrong

Most of us have never experienced being homeless. And if we’re very lucky, we never will. Not so for seventeen-year-old Abby.

Being in high school is hard. It’s even harder when you’re keeping a secret that could ruin your social standing. In Abby’s case, that secret is that she and her family are homeless. It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, not so long ago, they had everything. A nice house, good jobs, friends, all that a teenage girl could want.

But one mistake led to another, and one stroke of bad luck piled on top of another. And just like that, Abby finds herself living in the family’s van. Eating at soup kitchens, cleaning up in public bathrooms, trying to stay warm while sleeping in parking lots…it’s a lot for anyone to handle. Abby’s determined, however, to overcome this gigantic obstacle. With the help of some new friends, will she be able to do it?

I loved this story from beginning to end. It’s a reminder of how quickly things can change, of how everything can be gone in the blink of an eye. And it’s also a reminder that we never truly know what someone is going through.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Roam

Review: The Reckoning by John Grisham

It’s been a very long time since I’d read a John Grisham novel. His stories used to be a staple of my TBR list but then for some reason they dropped off my radar. Too many books, too little time I guess. The description of this one greatly intrigued me, though…

It starts with a murder, seemingly pointless. When Pete Banning, a local war hero and town icon, murders a local preacher the town is shocked. Loyalties are divided as the trial nears and eventually concludes. Of course, nothing is ever as it seems. But there are secrets that Pete is not willing to tell, even if those secrets save his life.

Lots of pros and a few cons with this one for me. It’s a great story, full of fascinating characters. And it’s historical fiction set in the WWII era which is one of my favorite genres. Grisham is a master story teller, weaving a story so deep and complex that you just feel yourself being drawn in. There were a few “not so positives” for me. The wartime scenes were more drawn out and detailed than I would have liked, and I didn’t feel they added much to the primary story. And a couple of unanswered questions at the end which always bugs me. Still, this one was a strong four stars for me.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Reckoning

Review: The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh

If only all parents could be as open and approachable as Lacey’s…this thought kept running through my head as I read this one.

A teenage mom herself, she’s determined to not have Lacey’s life take the same path. So Lacey’s always been raised in an open household where no issue is off limits. And that includes any and all things related to sex. So it’s just natural that Lacey would become the “expert” at school for sex ed advice.

Except that Lacey’s never even kissed anyone, let alone had sex. But when she sees her school pushing an abstinence-only policy, she’s determined to take a stand. Even if that means trouble.

Unusual for sure, probably not everyone’s cup of tea. And likely more than a few people will disagree with the author’s stance on this issue. But I liked it soooo…

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me

Review: The Memory of You by Jamie Beck

Great start to a new series! Steffi is offered a job renovating a room in her ex boyfriend’s mom’s house… and that about says it all, doesn’t it?! Seriously loved the good relationship between Ryan’s mom and Steffi – and the slow refreshment of a friendship between Ryan and Steffi. Good, solid story with likable characters, great dialogue, and cool references to the state I call home. I’m looking for book 2 as soon as this review is done being written!

-calliope

Buy THE MEMORY OF YOU