Tuesday 31 July 2018

Review: Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar

In 1943 Germany, Helene is just about to wake up her children to go to school when a group of policemen break into her house. The policemen want to haul away her gypsy husband and their five children. The police tell Helene that as a German she does not have to go with them, but she decides to share the fate of her family. After convincing her children that they are going off to a vacation place, so as to calm them, the entire family is deported to Auschwitz.

For being German, they are settled in the first barracks of the Gypsy Camp. The living conditions are extremely harsh, but at least she is with her five children. A few days after their arrival, Doctor Mengele comes to pay her a visit, having noticed on her entry card that she is a nurse. He proposes that she direct the camp’s nursery. The facilities would be set up in Barrack 29 and Barrack 31, one of which would be the nursery for newborn infants and the other for children over six years old.

Helene, with the help of two Polish Jewish prisoners and four gypsy mothers, organizes the buildings. Though Mengele provides them with swings, Disney movies, school supplies, and food, the people are living in crowded conditions under extreme conditions. And less than 400 yards away, two gas chambers are exterminating thousands of people daily.

For sixteen months, Helene lives with this reality, desperately trying to find a way to save her children. Auschwitz Lullaby is a story of perseverance, of hope, and of strength in one of the most horrific times in history.

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: August 7th 2018 by Thomas Nelson
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

I have an obsession with reading books about WW11. I have read hundreds (no exaggeration) of books in fictional, non fiction and memoirs surrounding it. I recently visited Europe and had the opportunity to visit many memorials in as many countries as well as a concentration camp (in Berlin) but have yet to visit Poland and Auschwitz. Both of my children visited Auschwitz in March of this year. To say that I have a fascination with this tragic part of history is an understatement. The horrors and stories surrounding it far outnumber the amount of days I will be on this earth and I will never get to know them all.

Auschwitz Lullaby is a fictional story but based on real life facts and people. For this I can't help but appreciate the story that this book was telling. Helene was German but her husband was a gypsy along with their five children. When the police came to take her husband and children, she refused to be left behind and ended up being taken to Auschwitz with them. Upon arrival to the camp she was separated, along with her children, from her husband and forced to adapt to the horrific conditions without him. This book detailed her time at Auschwitz in the Gypsy camp with her children.

I don't want to take away from the hardship and struggles of Helene's story but I do have to admit that while I was reading the book I kept thinking that she was quite privileged (relatively speaking) compared to numerous other accounts I have read about in that horrible place. Life was by no means good or easy but her struggles were not quite as horrific. She seemed to have a slight bit of privilege over many of the other prisoners because of her German heritage. I'm not sure if that was intended by the author but it was certainly how it presented in the story. As much as my heart bled for Helene and her circumstances I was hoping to feel her emotions and connect with her character a little more than I did. The words were on the pages but I never fully got into the pages with her and in her head. I wanted to feel her agony and heartache (crazy I know) more than I did. Perhaps I didn't to the extent I had wanted to simply because I have read so many tragic stories and memoirs detailing first hand accounts of holocaust survivors, I'm not sure. Maybe it was because the book wasn't a long one and there was so much information to squeeze into those pages. As much as I was engrossed in the story the emotional aspect of it left me craving. It felt more driven by fact and historical accuracy than the emotions of a mother imprisoned in one of the worst places imaginable while trying to keep herself and her children alive. This was evident when the story would talk about people like Irma Grese and Maria Mandel. These names were not new to me because of my interest in that part of history but I understand they may be to other readers. However, every time the author mentioned these two female guards he used their first and last name. Every single time. The first couple of times I can understand as he was introducing them to the reader. After a while it became a hiccup every time I read their names. It disturbed the flow of the story.

Although I craved a more emotional connection, I really enjoy reading about Helene and her efforts with the children in the camp. I can only imagine the difficulty and devastation that she encountered on a daily basis. It was a time of unfathomable cruelty and horror and I strongly believe that every story within the walls of that death camp deserves and needs to be told.

About the Author

Mario Escobar Golderos has a degree in History, with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is the executive director of an NGO and directs the magazine Nueva historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans.

Connect with Mario

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Chronicles of Arcana Series by Debbie Cassidy

If Buffy and Angel could have banged without him going all evil, then we would have had Wilomena Bastion.
Dragons suck, like literally suck the life out of you if you let them. Trick is not to look them directly in the eyes, like ever. So, the day Wila finds herself staring into the most dangerous Draconi’s pretty, emerald peepers, she knows she’s royally fucked.
No one said saving a bunch of kids from being served up as treats to the dragon liege was going to be easy. Options are limited—immediate execution or servitude, and Wila prefers to have her head remain firmly on her shoulders.
Now, the self-professed dark avenger must work to bring down a resistance of demons hell-bent on making life difficult for the dragon liege. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, her new position comes with a partner, the dragon liege’s favoured demon enforcer; a creature of fire, fury and washboard abs who—let’s face it—is just gonna cramp her style.
With the help of a ghostly receptionist, a talking dog and the thing that lives in the basement, Wila will be forced to take on a most dangerous task. It looks like some serious brooding is on the menu, because for the first time in forever, Wila isn’t sure she’s up to the job.
A city filled with monsters needs a woman who can kick ass, and Wilomena Bastion is just the gal for the job.
A kick-ass urban fantasy with a slow burn reverse harem romance. 

About the Book

City of Demons
by Debbie Cassidy
Chronicles of Arcana
Urban Fantasy
Reverse Harem Paranormal Romance
Publication Date
July 31, 2018
Purchase Your Copy Today!
City of Demons (Book One)  |  City of the Lost (Book Two)  |  City of Everdark (Book Three)
Available On


To celebrate the release of CITY OF DEMONS by Debbie Cassidy, we’re giving away a paperback copy of the book!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open internationally wherever Amazon ships. One winner will receive a paperback copy of City of Demons by Debbie Cassidy. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Debbie Cassidy.  Giveaway ends 8/10/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

About Debbie Cassidy

DEBBIE CASSIDY lives in England, Bedfordshire, with her three kids and very supportive husband. Coffee and chocolate biscuits are her writing fuels of choice, and she is still working on getting that perfect tower of solitude built in her back garden. Obsessed with building new worlds and reading about them, she spends her spare time daydreaming and conversing with the characters in her head – in a totally non psychotic way of course. She writes High Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction. Debbie also writes dark, diverse Urban Fantasy fiction, under the pen name Amos Cassidy, with her best friend Richard Amos.
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Monday 30 July 2018

Review: A Ring for Rosie by Maggie Wells

Once burned, this father of twins is twice shy until he realizes the right woman is thecharm . . .

James Harper is a great dad, but a lousy judge of women—as evidenced by his twin boys’ flighty mother, who walked out when the babies were just six weeks old. He’s got fatherhood down, but dating is another story—especially when the twins’ mom shows up any time she needs something. His office manager, Rosie Herrera, is the one woman he can count on, actually talk to, flirt with, and . . . come to think of it, has he been overlooking the perfect woman all this time?
Rosie’s been in love with James since her first day on the job, but she’s certain he only sees her as a reliable employee—until one heated kiss changes everything. And then James’s ex shows up, and walks right into his life again. Determined to move on, Rosie tries to forget everything she feels about James—by doing her best to fall for someone else. But James isn’t about to make the same mistake twice. To woo Rosie this time, he needs to prove they’re made for
each other . . . forever

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: August 7th 2018 by Lyrical Shine

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher with the promise of an honest review in return.  Thank you!

I have read quite a bit if Maggie Wells' stories so I was pretty eager to pick this one up.  This is part of the Paly Dates series of which I had read the first story however not the second.  I remembered it being a good read and assumed this one would follow its lead.

I feel bad for saying this but I did not enjoy this one as much as the first in the series or compared to Wells' work in general.  I just couldn't identify with the characters this time around.

Rosie reminded me of that one friend everyone has, you know the one who has been in love with the same person forever, while said person does not even know their name?  The friend who talks endlessly about it while you try to convince them to move on and attempt to date people who may know she exists.  As with most people, it gets annoying when exposed to it for too long.  I wanted a stronger character from Rosie and feel like I didn't get it until it was too late.

I felt much the same way for James.  I didn't see the attraction to him as he just seemed indecisive and frankly much like a pushover.  While the twins endeared him to me, his lack making decisions for himself was a turn off for me.

Even the characters I previously loved didn't work so much for me.

As I am usually a fan of Wells' work, I am going to dismiss this as a one off and assume that the heavy pressures I was facing with my career while I was reading it somehow influenced my take on the story.  I will still seek out her work in the future.

About the Author

Maggie Wells is a deep-down dirty girl with a weakness for hot heroes and happy endings. By day she is buried in spreadsheets, but at night she pens tales of people tangling up the sheets. The product of a charming rogue and a shameless flirt, this mild-mannered married lady has a naughty streak a mile wide.

Sunday 29 July 2018

Review: The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa

A stunningly ambitious and beautiful debut novel, perfect for fans of Sarah’s Key and All the Light We Cannot See, the story of a twelve-year-old girl’s harrowing experience fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and best friend, only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised is an illusion.

In 1939 before everything changed, Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. Her family moved in Berlin’s highest social circles, admired by friends and neighbors. Eleven-year-old Hannah was often taken by her mother for an afternoon treat at the tea room of the beautiful Adlon Hotel, both dressed in their finest clothes. She spent her afternoons at the park with her best friend Leo Martin. But, in an instant, that sunlit world vanished. Now the streets of Berlin are draped with red, white, and black flags; their fine possessions are hauled away, and they are no longer welcome in the places that once felt like home. The two friends make a pact: come what may, they promise to have a future together.

As Hannah and Leo’s families desperately begin to search for a means of escape, a glimmer of hope appears when they discover the Saint Louis, a transatlantic liner that can give Jews safe passage to Cuba. After a frantic search to obtain visas, the Rosenthals and the Martins depart from Hamburg on the luxurious passenger liner bound for Havana. Life aboard the ship is a welcome respite from the gloom of Berlin—filled with masquerade balls, dancing, and exquisite meals every night.

As the passengers gain renewed hope for a bright future ahead, love between Hannah and Leo blossoms. But soon reports from the outside world began to filter in, and dark news overshadows the celebratory atmosphere on the ship; the governments of Cuba, the United States, and Canada are denying the passengers of the St. Louis admittance to their countries, forcing them to return to Europe as it descends into the Second World War. The ship that had seemed their salvation seems likely to become their death sentence.

After four days anchored at bay, only a handful of passengers are allowed to disembark onto Cuban soil, and Hannah and Leo must face the grim reality that they could be torn apart. Their future is unknown, and their only choice will have an impact in generations to come.

Decades later in New York City on her eleventh birthday, Anna Rosen receives a mysterious envelope from Hannah, a great-aunt she has never met but who raised her deceased father. In an attempt to piece together her father’s mysterious past, Anna and her mother travel to Havana to meet Hannah, who is turning eighty-seven years old. Hannah reveals old family ties, recounts her journey aboard the Saint Louis and, for the first time, reveals what happened to her father and Leo. Bringing together the pain of the past with the mysteries of the present, Hannah gives young Anna a sense of their shared histories, forever intertwining their lives, honoring those they loved and cruelly lost.

Hardcover, 360 pages
Published October 18th 2016 by Atria Books 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Kristine's Thoughts:

I listened to this on audio book when I had a concussion and I wasn't able to read from a book or tablet. It was a part of history that I was not at all familiar with and I am an avid reader of all things from the Second World War.

The synopsis is very detailed and my head was a little foggy at the time that I listened to this so I won't re-tell the story. Instead I will just say that I devoured this story. My little speaker followed me everywhere I went as I listened to the story of Hannah from her time in Berlin to her time on the Saint Louis and then her time in Cuba. How did I not know about this part of history? I got completely lost in the story and I was hanging on every word.

I really enjoyed listening to this book. I wish I could give it the justice it deserves but I was quite foggy at the time. I just remember really liking it.

About the Author
With 20 years of experience in Hispanic media, award-winning journalist and author Armando Lucas Correa is the Editor in Chief of PEOPLE EN ESPAÑOL, the top selling Hispanic magazine in the U.S. with more than 7 million readers every month. In his role, he oversees the editorial content of the magazine, PeopleEnEspanol.com and its digital editions for tablets and mobile.

He also oversees the brand's social media strategy and events like 50 Most Beautiful (New York), the 25 Most Powerful Women (Miami), as well as Festival
People en Español (New York).

In Cuba, he entered the world of print journalism in 1988 when he was appointed the editor of Tablas, a national theater and dance magazine based out of Havana, Cuba.

Correa is the recipient of various outstanding achievement awards from the National Association of Hispanic Publications and the Society of Professional Journalism. He is the magazine's primary spokesperson and regularly appears on national Spanish-language television programs discussing celebrity news and scoops.

His book En busca de Emma (In Search of Emma: Two Fathers, One Daughter and the Dream of a Family) was published by Rayo, Harper Collins in 2007 and for Aguilar, Santillana (Mexico) in 2009. His first novel The German Girl will be published in October in Enlgish and Spanish by Atria Books, a division of Simon and Schuster.

He currently resides in Manhattan with his partner and their three children.


Saturday 28 July 2018

Review: White Rose, Black Forest by Eoin Dempsey

In the shadows of World War II, trust becomes the greatest risk of all for two strangers.December 1943. In the years before the rise of Hitler, the Gerber family’s summer cottage was filled with laughter. Now, as deep drifts of snow blanket the Black Forest, German dissenter Franka Gerber is alone and hopeless. Fervor and brutality have swept through her homeland, taking away both her father and her brother and leaving her with no reason to live.

That is, until she discovers an unconscious airman lying in the snow wearing a Luftwaffe uniform, his parachute flapping in the wind. Unwilling to let him die, Franka takes him to her family’s isolated cabin despite her hatred for the regime he represents. But when it turns out that he is not who he seems, Franka begins a race against time to unravel the mystery of the airman’s true identity. Their tenuous bond becomes as inseparable as it is dangerous. Hunted by the Gestapo, can they trust each other enough to join forces on a mission that could change the face of the war and their own lives forever?

Paperback, 270 pages
Published March 1st 2018 by Lake Union Publishing

Terri's Thoughts

I randomly came across this book when I was looking for my next audio book.  A WWII read that I have not yet discovered, how could I turn it down?

As the synopsis suggests, this story begins with Franka discovering the man in the Luftwaffe uniform and then gradually tells the history of each character that brought them to this point as they tiptoe (not literally as you will discover upon reading) around each other trying to determine if they can trust each other.

As you can expect, the tale depicts the horrors of WWII Germany as well as the measures people will take to protect their beliefs and their country.  It also depicts the inner conflicts of those who struggle with the moral questions of war and its consequences.

This story was compelling and well paced.  I enjoyed Dempsey's writing style and found I got through the story rather quickly which is a small feat on its own when it is an audio book.  The only issue I had was I didn't really feel the emotional connection between Franka and her airman however their back stories was enough to overcome this.

Overall a solid read for fans of this genre.

About the Author

Eoin Dempsey was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1977. He grew up in the beautiful Dublin suburb of Dalkey, where he and his friends would jump into the icy waters of the Irish Sea (during summertime) to prove their manliness. Eoin had a fantastic time attending Blackrock College, where he played rugby (poorly) and did his best to coast his way through. Eoin’s first ambition was to play rugby for Ireland. Due to a lack of talent, he soon abandoned for that goal the more reasoned path of the rock star. He played in bands through his teens and well into his twenties, before harsh reality came calling, and his dreams of being the next Keith Moon faded.

Eoin made the ill-reasoned decision to study business in university, and was accepted into University College Dublin to study Commerce in 1995. While Eoin did attend college, studying wasn’t his priority there.

He met his beautiful wife, Jill, while travelling to the USA in 1997, though it would be several years before he managed to break her down and they got together as a couple. It was during Eoin’s second stint in the USA, which he spent with his brother in New York City, that he decided to start writing a novel, for the express purpose of impressing women. This effort was met with mixed success. Eoin finished his first novel a year later. The over hundred and fifty rejections he received from publishers didn’t discourage him. He pinned them to his wall. After spending a year in Australia, where he was fired from many jobs, including picking red and green peppers and toiling for scallops miles out to sea on a fishing trawler, he returned home and decided to write again. Another novel followed while he phoned it in at a number of jobs in financial services in Dublin.

By this time Eoin had managed to convince Jill, the girl he’d met in the USA years before to move over to Dublin. She did so in 2004. It was the best negotiation he ever undertook. They were married in 2007. Jill’s more brilliant negotiating skills led Eoin to move to her hometown of Philadelphia in 2008, just in time for the economy to collapse. The plan to live with her parents for a few weeks turned into eighteen months, as Eoin struggled to retain employment in a fractured economy. It was during this time that he wrote FINDING REBECCA, which would go on to be his first published novel and sell over a hundred fifty thousand copies.

Eoin finally found a job that he enjoyed in 2010, when he began teaching computers to elementary school children. He released his second novel, THE BOGSIDE BOYS, about the conflict in Northern Ireland, in 2015.

His new novel, WHITE ROSE, BLACK FOREST, was released on March 1st 2018. He has several more books in the works.

Eoin and Jill have two beautiful sons, Robbie, who was born in 2015, and Sam, born in 2017. Eoin enjoys playing with them and marveling at how much more talented they are at the sports that he loves, particularly golf.

Thursday 26 July 2018

Review: The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell

What if keeping your loved ones safe meant never seeing them again?

Canada, present day

When Martha’s beloved father dies, he leaves her two things: a mysterious stash of letters to an English woman called ‘Catkins’ and directions to a beach hut in the English seaside town of Wells-Next-The-Sea. Martha is at a painful crossroads in her own life, and seizes this chance for a trip to England – to discover more about her family’s past, and the identity of her father’s secret correspondent.

Norfolk, 1940

Sylvia’s husband Howard has gone off to war, and she is struggling to raise her two children alone. Her only solace is her beach hut in Wells, and her friendship with Connie, a woman she meets on the beach. The two women form a bond that will last a lifetime, and Sylvia tells Connie something that no-one else knows: about a secret lover… and a child.

But the tragedy of war brings heartbreaking choices. And a promise made between the two women will echo down the years, and could change everything for Martha…

Kindle Edition, 322 pages
Expected publication: August 2nd 2018 by Bookouture 
Genre: Fiction/Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from Bookouture via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

The Lost Letters was a story that weaved back and forth between past and present to uncover the mystery surrounding Martha's father. After passing away, Martha and her sister discovered that he had rented a beach hut in the English seaside town of Wells for a month to finish his book. They didn't know the significance or reason for wanting to go there. They also discovered a picture of a woman and a protected folder on his computer with the name Catkins. Martha decided to make the trip from Canada to use his reservation and to try and uncover the mysteries and answer the questions they had.

The story weaved back to Norfolk in 1940 during WW11 and began to tell the story that would eventually answer all of the questions from present time. This was where I started to get lost in the pages. As with most stories that weave back and forth I always seem to be drawn more to the historical aspect than the present day story. That was absolutely the case with The Lost Letters. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sylvia's story and was anxious to find out what became of her. I also wanted to know how it connected with Martha and her family. The past story was by far my favourite part of the book.

Initially I found myself not overly interested in Martha and the present day story. It just wasn't as interesting as the historical aspect. It wasn't until the two stories started to collide if you will that my interest was piqued. I had a bit of a hard time connecting with Martha. Even though the book was written in English it was almost as though there was a language barrier that I had to overcome to enjoy her. She was from Canada, as am I, but the way she spoke and acted was unlike anyone I know and it made her come across as years older than she was intended to be. I had to keep reminding myself that she was not an old woman. However, as the story progressed and things started unfolding I noticed it much less and was able to enjoy her and the story a lot more.

In the end I can say that I enjoyed The Lost Letters and its story about family, love and sacrifice during a tragic and difficult time in history.

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Review: The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris

On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter—one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island—has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

Skilfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell—and believe—in order to survive.

Paperback, 340 pages
Published November 24th 2015 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

Terri's Thoughts

As a huge fan of Kristina McMorris, this book has been on my to read list for a long time now.  I finally purchased it is audio form and have finally finished it.  Let me tell you that it was worth the wait!

Anyone who has read McMorris' work knows that she has a way to weave a story in a way that is both seamless and captivating.  From the very first words, I was hooked and needed to know what would happen to both Tommy and Shanley.  I must admit that it took may way too long to realise how these stories connect, in fact I feel a little silly as it is really obvious however I will not reveal any spoilers.

This story was essentially about the bonds that tie people together and the lengths they would go to in order to protect one another.  It is really quite beautiful as I sit here and absorb everything now that the story is done.  While perhaps a little far fetched, you believe it while engrossed within the pages.

As I am late to the party I am sure that most fans of McMorris have already read this story however if you have not, please pick it up and enjoy.  In fact pick all of her books up and you will not be disappointed.  As an author that I discovered purely by accident while browsing a book store, she has gone on to become one of my tried and true go to authors.

About the Author

KRISTINA MCMORRIS is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She's the recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, as well as nominations for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, RWA’s RITA® Award, and a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. Inspired by true personal and historical accounts, her works of fiction have been published by Kensington Books, Penguin Random House, and HarperCollins. Her forthcoming novel, Sold on a Monday (Sourcebooks Landmark, Sept. 2018), follows her widely praised The Edge of Lost, The Pieces We Keep, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, and Letters from Home. Additionally, her novellas are featured in the anthologies A Winter Wonderland and Grand Central. Prior to her writing career, Kristina hosted weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, and has been named one of Portland's "40 Under 40" by The Business Journal. She lives with her husband and two sons in the Pacific Northwest, where she is working on her next novel.

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Review: Hot Asset by Lauren Layne

A sexy agent hounds Wall Street’s hottest new wolf in an exhilarating novel from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

Ian Bradley is the definition of a Wall Street hotshot: seven-figure salary, designer suits, and a corner office. His drive off the floor is just as potent. Every woman who knows him has felt the rush. But now he’s met his match in Lara McKenzie—a woman with the power to bring Ian to his knees.

An ambitious, whip-smart daughter of FBI agents, Lara is a rising star in fighting white-collar crime. Her latest case—the investigation of Ian Bradley for insider trading—could make her career. She knows a scoundrel when she sees one. Ian fits the bill: a cocky, ridiculously handsome bad boy with a slick swagger.

She’ll do anything to prove he’s guilty. He’ll do anything to prove he’s not. But it’s only a matter of time before their fierce battle of wits gets oh so hot and personal. Now, taking down Ian has become more than business for Lara. It’s become a pleasure—and there’s more at risk than she ever dreamed.

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 266 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Montlake Romance
Series: 21 Wall Street #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

Lauren Layne is one of my guilty pleasure authors. I read all of her books and always look forward to when her next one will come out. The spring was not a good one for me this year and I somehow missed the release of this brand new series. Better late than never right?!??

Fans of Lauren Layne are not strangers to an office setting but in Hot Asset we are taken to Wall Street where suits and money run the show. Ian is a self made, successful professional who is being investigated for insider trading by an SEC agent, Lara. In normal circumstances these two would be mortal enemies but not in this case. There was an underlying attraction and forbidden chemistry to go along with their love/hate relationship. I've said it before and I'll say it again, anticipation is everything in these books and Layne knows how to pen it perfectly.

This book showcases all of the things that I love best about Lauren Layne's writing. The office and friend dynamic was a joy to read and it was a pleasure getting to know all the characters that I am sure will eventually shine with their own book and story. The banter and wit between the characters, not just Ian and Lara, was signature Lauren Layne. Something I look forward to in each and every one of her books. Lastly, she provides the perfect amount of well timed story and sexy time to satisfy all fans of this genre.

I cannot wait to get back to 21 Wall Street for the next instalment in this series. The characters already feel like friends and I'm itching to read their stories.

About the Author
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she's written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
Connect with Lauren

Monday 23 July 2018

Review: The Sunflower Girl by Rosanna Chiofalo

In the fields around Tuscany in summertime, sunflowers grow in profusion—wave upon wave of gold and green standing tall against the Italian sky. But for Signora Maria Ferraro, the bright yellow blooms carry only bitter memories. Though she loved them as a child, sunflowers have come to represent the most painful episode of her life. Not even her cherished daughter, Anabella, knows what happened to her during World War II, when the Germans overran her hometown of Florence and Signora Ferraro fell in love with a Resistance fighter. In the aftermath of loss and grief she found salvation through an unlikely source—cultivating roses on her farm in the Tuscan countryside. Now the blossoms symbolize everything that is both good and safe, and she nurtures them with as much care as she guards her past.

Yet to Anabella, the rose farm that once delighted her has become little more than a pretty prison. Despite her beautiful surroundings, Anabella longs for more. During one of her regular visits to Siena to sell their flowers, Anabella encounters a handsome young artist named Dante Galletti. His canvases are filled with images of a girl who looks just like Anabella—and Dante claims to have seen her in his dreams, running through a sunflower field. Through Dante, Anabella begins to see sunflowers, her cloistered existence, and the world itself through new eyes. As their relationship deepens, Anabella knows she will soon have to choose between loyalty to her mother, and the risks and rewards of living on her own terms.

Alternating between the viewpoints of both mother and daughter, and between Italy during World War II and a quarter-century later, The Sunflower Girl is a poignant and moving story of the choices we make in the name of love, and the secrets that echo through generations.

Kindle Edition

Expected publication: July 24th 2018 by Penguin Random House

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

I chose this story because there isn't a wartime story I can walk away from.  To add to that, I also discovered that I had previously read Chiofalo's work and had loved it.  I just had to read this.

This story is written through two perspectives, Maria's during the occupation of Italy in WW11 and her daughters from childhood to adulthood.  Both stories equally interesting and eerily similar while being different at the same time if that makes sense.

As with most stories of this genre, it is filled with the things you would come to expect.  Tragic love stories, horrific events and a theme of perseverance. I struggled with the character of Maria and how overprotective she was of her daughter.  At times I just wanted to slap her however as the story progressed I was able to understand her and what drove her to be the person she was.

Having just finished the book only moments ago, I find myself reflecting and still feeling the story.  This is an indication of a good book in my world when you just can't shake it after completion.  I do know now that Chiofalo is an author I will actively seek out as after reading two of her books, I have yet to be let down.

About the Author

Rosanna Chiofalo is a first-generation Italian American whose parents emigrated from Sicily to New York in the early 1960s. She is the author of Bella Fortuna, Carissima, Stella Mia, Rosalia's Bittersweet Pastry Shop, and the novella "Seven Days of Christmas" which appears in the WHEN THE SNOW FALLS collection. She lives with her husband in New York City.