• ARC's,  Book Reviews,  Recommendations

    The King Of Warsaw: Blog tour & Review

     

    Book Details

    Author: Szczepan Twardoch

    Publisher: Amazon Crossing

    Publish date: April 21st, 2020

    Pages:379

    Translator: Sean Gasper Bye

    Genre: Historical Thriller

    Rating: ✂️✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

    A city ignited by hate. A man in thrall to power. The ferociously original award-winning bestseller by Poland’s literary phenomenon—his first to be translated into English.

    𝐒𝐲𝐧𝗼𝐩𝐬𝐢𝐬

    It’s 1937. Poland is about to catch fire.

    In the boxing ring, Jakub Szapiro commands respect, revered as a hero by the Jewish community. Outside, he instills fear as he muscles through Warsaw as enforcer for a powerful crime lord. Murder and intimidation have their rewards. He revels in luxury, spends lavishly, and indulges in all the pleasures that barbarity offers. For a man battling to be king of the underworld, life is good. Especially when it’s a frightening time to be alive.

    Hitler is rising. Fascism is escalating. As a specter of violence hangs over Poland like a black cloud, its marginalized and vilified Jewish population hopes for a promise of sanctuary in Palestine. Jakub isn’t blind to the changing tide. What’s unimaginable to him is abandoning the city he feels destined to rule. With the raging instincts that guide him in the ring and on the streets, Jakub feels untouchable. He must maintain the order he knows—even as a new world order threatens to consume him.

    Review

    This book is incredible. It brilliantly tells a story with a historical, war-torn backdrop. It’s unique, gritty, and a beautifully written book that gives most readers a fresh insight into a time period not widely read about here in the U.S. And the characters – they are so well developed that it is not hard to begin to think as they would think.

    One important note: this book is violent – if torture, killing, and other acts of violence bother you, it’s important to know that they are contained within this book. However, none of it is gratuitous.The violence moves the plot along and adds to the realistic portrayal of the time. Countries divided by war are often left with deep and violent divisions.

    The writing is nothing short of masterful. It’s easy to see why the author is an award-winning author in Poland. The translation is perfect – nothing felt stiff or awkward – and I hope that more of his work is translated into English.

    Thank you to the publisher, Over The River PR and NetGalley for the gifted eBook in exchange for my unbiased review.

     

     

  • ARC's,  Book Reviews,  Recommendations

    The Socialite: a review

    About The Socialite

    Paperback: 368 pages

    Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 14, 2020)

    Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis.

    As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

    Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?

    Review

    If you enjoy historical fiction, set in WWII Paris, with a dash of romance, this book is for you. WWII fiction rarely keeps me on the edge of my seat nor do I typically find the genre to be a page-turner. Neither was true with this book. Danger seemed to be around every corner and I could not put it down.

    I connected with the characters and found myself worrying about them even when I wasn’t reading the book – that’s got to be a sign of a good book! The writing was excellent, especially the dialogue. The backstories of the characters were quite interesting and did not slow the book down – a common issue I have with backstories.

    I finished this book in less than 24 hours and I’m still thinking about the history, the characters, and the outcome. I won’t provide any spoilers but there are several  scenes that are unforgettable.

    If you are a fan of books like 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑵𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒂𝒍𝒆 and 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑨𝒍𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝑵𝒆𝒕𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒌 you will most likely enjoy this book

    ✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

    Thanks to Thomas Nelson, TLC Book Tours and NetGalley for the gifted copy and ebook in exchange for my unbiased review.

    Purchase Links

    Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Thomas Nelson

    About J’nell Ciesielski

    With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at http://www.jnellciesielski.com.

    Connect with J’nell

    Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

     

     

  • ARC's,  Book Reviews

    The Apartment: a review

    Book Details:

    Author: K.L. Slater

    Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

    Publish date: April 28th, 2020

    Pages: 269

    Genre: Psychological thriller

    𝑾𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒐 𝒔𝒆𝒆 𝒂 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒐𝒏’𝒔 𝒎𝒐𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒔 𝒐𝒓 𝒔𝒆𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒐𝒘𝒏 𝒇𝒖𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆?

    𝐒𝐲𝐧𝗼𝐩𝐬𝐢𝐬: Freya Miller needs a miracle. In the fallout of her husband’s betrayal, she’s about to lose her family home, and with it the security she craves for her five-year-old daughter, Skye. Adrift and alone, she’s on the verge of despair until a chance meeting with the charismatic Dr. Marsden changes everything. He’s seeking a new tenant for a shockingly affordable flat in a fashionable area of London.

    Adder House sounds too good to be true… But Freya really can’t afford to be cynical, and Dr. Marsden is adamant she and Skye will be a perfect fit with the other residents.

    But Adder House has secrets. Even behind a locked front door, Freya feels as if she’s being watched: objects moving, unfamiliar smells, the blinking light of a concealed camera… and it’s not long before she begins to suspect that her dream home is hiding a nightmarish reality. Was it really chance that led her here—or something unthinkably dark?

    As the truth about Adder House starts to unravel, can Freya and Skye get out—or will they be locked in forever?

    𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰: This book was quite the page-turner. It was gripping from the first page and while it was paced well, it was one I had a hard time putting down.

    It’s a fast read and it was a nice change of pace to read a thriller that wasn’t a slow burn. I didn’t guess the ending but I didn’t really try either – something I have found that makes reading thrillers more enjoyable for me.

    I did wish that a few of the characters and storylines had been expanded a bit. Freya was easy to connect with but the other characters, not as much. The ending felt slightly rushed but it had a great twist.

    All in all, this was an enjoyable read with great writing and a fantastic creep factor present from the start. This was my first K.L. Slater book and certainly will not be my last. Available from your local bookstore on 4/28/2020.

    𝐑𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠: ✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

    Thanks to K.L. Slater and NetGalley for a gifted copy in exchange for my unbiased review.

     

  • ARC's,  Book Reviews,  Recommendations

    Fierce, Free, And Full Of Fire: review & give away

    When was the last time you read a genre-bending book? Meet my latest.

    Book Details:

    Author: Jen Hatmaker

    Publish Date: 4/21/2020

    Publisher: Thomas Nelson

    Pages: 256

    Genre: Christian Self Help

    Synopsis

    New York Times bestselling author Jen Hatmaker, with cheeky candor and fearlessness, guides readers to a deep dive into how they are wired and provides them with the tools to walk in that identity with freedom and guts.

    Stuck in people-pleasing or fear, many women hide and pretend, then end up sidelined in their own lives. But what they want is to be brave, to claim every gift, dream, quirk, and emotion inside, to stop performing and start living.

    Beloved New York Times bestselling author Jen Hatmaker understands the struggle to find firm footing in a culture that operates from stereotypes and often unreachable expectations. In this new book, she offers women encouragement, challenge, and humor as she helps them identify everything that makes them tick and gain the confidence to live it all out. She leads them through five self-reflective categories—who I am, what I need, what I want, what I believe, and how I connect—and helps them:

    • identify the exact ways they pretend, and learn instead how to be genuine at all times, in all ways, in all contexts;
    • be empowered to say yes and no without guilt;
    • learn to voice both their spiritual questions and convictions; and
    • opt out of drama and into healthy adult relationships.

    With wry humor, earnest passion, and been-there insight, Jen calls women to the life-giving freedom of leaning into the identity, convictions, and community they’ve been given.

    Review

    Enneagrams, Anne Lamott, Tina Fey, RBG – these are a few of my favorites things. And they are all in this book.

    Each reader will find something different here. Some struggle with being too much, others not enough. Some have had the patriarchy so ingrained in them that breaking out of that mindset seems impossible. Others have stood up for what is right, despite what their social and religious circles have insisted on, and paid dearly.

    I’ve followed Jen Hatmaker for years and I have seen the vicious attacks by the religious mean girls. I remember when she lost her book deal – after the books were on the shelves – when her husband and her spoke in support of their LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

    So to have the opportunity to read and review her new book has been like coming home to a remodeled home – one that breaks the mold and encourages women to take up all the space they need.

    I read this book in less than twelve hours. Like I said, each reader will find something different for their life. For me, there were several things but the most resounding was the encouragement for spiritual curiosity.

    By nature readers are typically intellectually curious individuals. I also firmly believe that those who do not read or at least embrace the company of readers are missing out on a big part of the world. So why should that curiosity stop with secular texts that we read?

    For those of us who were raised around religion that answer is simple: because they said so. They being pastors, teachers, mentors, etc.

    This book systematically reconstructed my religious experience as a youth and as an adult and then swiftly tore it down with an answer for every piece of framework it removed. The freeing part? Hatmaker didn’t rebuild anything. That’s where the curiosity becomes important. And I didn’t necessarily need someone to tell me that it’s acceptable to question Scripture but it certainly did not hurt to hear the encouragement either.

    There are plenty of other points of encouragement as well which ultimately lead the reader to create 12 statements about themself. These are obviously different for everyone and I am looking forward to creating my own.

    This book is perfect for nearly anyone – from the person who has been hurt by religion, to the exhausted mom, to the person who is in a career transition, to the individual worn down by the hatred in our world, or simply someone who is so tired of modern-day religion that insists that there is one belief system and if you dare to ask questions then you simply do not fit.

    Thank you to TLC Book Tours, Thomas Nelson, and Jen Hatmaker for my gifted copy of this book, both on eNetGalley and hard copy formats in exchange for my honest review.

    This book is available today from your local bookstore or you can enter to win one of two copies here!

    Giveaway ends Sunday, 4/26 at midnight. Sorry, US entrants only. Due to COVID, please be patient with shipping times. Giveaway not affiliated with Instagram.

    Purchase Links

    Amazon |Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble Thomas Nelson

    About Jen Hatmaker

    Jen Hatmaker is the author of the New York Times bestseller Of Mess and Moxie (plus twelve other books) and the host of the For the Love! with Jen Hatmaker podcast. She and her husband, Brandon, founded the Legacy Collective and also starred in the popular series My Big Family Renovation on HGTV. Jen is a mom to five, a sought-after speaker, and a delighted resident of Austin, Texas, where she and her family are helping keep Austin weird.

    Connect with Jen

    Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

     

  • ARC's,  Book Reviews

    Afterlife: a book review

    Book Information:

    Author: Julia Alvarez

    Publisher: Algonquin Books

    Pages: 272

    Date Available: April 7th, 2020

    Rating: ✂️✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

    Synopsis:

    Antonia Vega, the immigrant writer at the center of Afterlife, has had the rug pulled out from under her. She has just retired from the college where she taught English when her beloved husband, Sam, suddenly dies. And then more jolts: her bighearted but unstable sister disappears, and Antonia returns home one evening to find a pregnant, undocumented teenager on her doorstep. Antonia has always sought direction in the literature she loves—lines from her favorite authors play in her head like a soundtrack—but now she finds that the world demands more of her than words.

    Afterlife is a compact, nimble, and sharply droll novel. Set in this political moment of tribalism and distrust, it asks: What do we owe those in crisis in our families, including—maybe especially—members of our human family? How do we live in a broken world without losing faith in one another or ourselves? And how do we stay true to those glorious souls we have lost?

    Review:

    I have been so excited about this book – the last time I read a book by this author was her last, In the Time of the Butterflies, almost 15 years ago. It’s one of my most anticipated books of 2020.

    This book had me at a loss for words when I finished the final chapter. It’s timely. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me angry. And just like the main character, Antonia, I have found myself looking for understanding, direction, and a semblance of normalcy these past several weeks. Weeks where humans have had on full display their best and their worst.

    This book tackles tough subjects – death, grief, mental illness, immigration, and a cruel world that just won’t stop. At first glance this book may sound depressing. But it is written with an abundance of humor, a sharp social awareness, clever dialogue, and plenty of literary references from the creative mind of a retired English professor.

    Antonia was a character that was incredibly easy to connect with. Her internal dialogue was so well done that I often found myself thinking ahead on her behalf. Her sisters were equally well-developed and their banter was priceless despite their faults. The writing was flawless. This is a book I could reread more than once.

    The social issues: immigration is at the top of the list. If you read American Dirt earlier this year, this is the perfect compliment. Seeing these issues through the eyes of the character of Antonia shed new light on an issue that has divided our country. It also puts faces and names to what some would rather not see.

    This book also asks the hard questions. How do you care for a fellow human? How do you walk in their shoes? How do you care for your own family? And ultimately, how do you care for others and yourself in the midst of crisis?

    These questions are answered but most often they are answered by the reader. This book is an experience and one I will not soon forget.

    Julia Alvarez wrote a book that lived up to all of my expectations and then some. I never expected to read it during a pandemic but I can wholeheartedly recommend it as required quarantine reading for humans now and even more so as we move forward.

    Thank you to Algonquin Books for an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is available today! (4/7/2020)

     

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