Friday, 29 November 2013

Book review: Saving Rain - Karen-Anne Stewart (The Rain Trilogy #1)

Saving Rain 

The blurb.
Raina has tried to forget her past, forget the pain, but when she finds herself staring straight into the fury blazing in her ex-boyfriend's eyes, her dark past comes rushing back. Furious with herself for actually having chosen someone like her father, she uses that anger to her advantage and fights for her life...and for her future that she prays will involve the man she can't seem to get out of her head. 

Kas is a natural leader, a fierce fighter, the type of man you send in when you need to get the job done. He is a courageous hero who is used to risking his own life to save others, but can he save the one who has captured his heart from her horrific past and the men who are hell-bent on destroying her? 

As Kas and Raina try to navigate through the twists and turns of a deviously intelligent human trafficking group, they find solace in each other's arms. Can they infiltrate the trafficker's tight ring, saving the innocent lives from imminent danger before it's too late?

***Due to sensitive issues of abuse, human trafficking, and adult scenes, The Rain Trilogy is intended for readers 18+ (adult scenes in the final two novels)

My opinion.
From the very first page you get thrown into the story and there's just no going back. It's instinct: you want to save Rain... Or at least, you're very much hoping Kas will be able to save her from her horrible past. It's incredibly moving to see how much Kas cares about Raina and how dedicated he is to making her happy and making sure she's safe.
The story contains a lot of sensitive issues but the amount of love that Karen-Anne gets across is so huge that it forms a nice balance with all the hard, ugly stuff. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but be prepared to fall in love yourself, Karen-Anne's writing is that brilliant. The story line is far from predictable and I found myself gasping out loud and just staring at the page, mouth wide open, at least a few times.

Saving Rain is the first novel in The Rain Trilogy. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series! This novel is an instant favorite and it will definitely leave you wanting more. I actually yelled "NO!" when I reached the end of the novel.

Saving Rain on Amazon and Goodreads
Karen-Anne's website, Twitter and Facebook

I was lucky to have won an E-copy thanks to a giveaway 

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Book review: Little Book of Lost Hearts - Valerie-Anne Baglietto

Little Book of Lost Hearts

The blurb.
Introducing Fools Castle, a forgotten village about to be remembered...

Nothing much happens around here, but that suits Antoinette Ellis perfectly. She wants the cocoon the village provides. Fate has taken too many of her loved ones, and all she has left is her brother, and their late sister’s daughter, Tabitha. Antoinette gave up her future to look after her young niece, but her sacrifice hasn't gone unnoticed. 

When a stranger called Rufus moves into the grim little house opposite her cottage, odd things start to happen in Fools Castle. He admits he’s not the person he appears to be, but he won’t reveal who he really is. And what secrets lie within that tatty old book of his, which no one is allowed to look inside? 

A miracle is long overdue, but the season for miracles is just around the corner.

My opinion.

I love a good Christmas novella and this one definitely makes you all "Christmassy". Antoinette's family obviously went through a lot and you really hope, with all your heart, that things will get better for her. I found her a very selfless, kind and generous person, but I was worried about how she seems to hide herself and her few loved ones from the rest of the world. I was confused and excited at the same time to see her opening up to Rufus, her new neighbour... and stranger. This stranger however might just be the one that gets her out of hiding. 

I loved how Valerie-Anne kept me guessing about Antoinette's past, and how I couldn't make my mind up about Rufus. Is he meddling and controlling... or does he just have that magical spark? You'll just have to see for yourself.

Little Book of Lost Hearts is a very charming and heart warming novella, one you should definitely read this season!

Valerie-Anne's website

Many thanks to Valerie-Ann for getting me into the holiday spirit,
for letting me read and review this charming novella.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Book review: Wolfsangel - Liza Perrat (L'Auberge des Anges #2)

The blurb.
Seven decades after German troops march into her village, Céleste Roussel is still unable to assuage her guilt.

1943. German soldiers occupy provincial Lucie-sur-Vionne, and as the villagers pursue treacherous schemes to deceive and swindle the enemy, Céleste embarks on her own perilous mission as her passion for a Reich officer flourishes.

When her loved ones are deported to concentration camps, Céleste is drawn into the vortex of this monumental conflict, and the adventure and danger of French Resistance collaboration.

As she confronts the harrowing truths of the Second World War’s darkest years, Céleste is forced to choose: pursue her love for the German officer, or answer General de Gaulle’s call to fight for France.

Her fate suspended on the fraying thread of her will, Celeste gains strength from the angel talisman bequeathed to her through her lineage of healer kinswomen. But the decision she makes will shadow the remainder of her days.
A woman’s unforgettable journey to help liberate Occupied France, Wolfsangel is a stirring portrayal of the courage and resilience of the human mind, body and spirit.

My opinion.
Expectations were high for "Wolfsangel" after reading the brilliant "Spirit of Lost Angels", but Liza Perrat met all of them and more. Her wonderful storytelling catapults you back in time. The Second World War is still very present in our collective memories: monuments, memorials, tributes,...  but "Wolfsangel" takes you to the people and the villages beyond the front, away from the trenches and into the lives of people living in occupied France.
Because of the synopsis and the prologue, I couldn't help but dreading what it was that would make Céleste feel so guilty. At first it annoyed me a bit cause it seemed to stop me from really connecting with Céleste, but I soon realized that it was because of that "dread" that it was so easy to feel the anxiety, stress and hopelessness the characters feel throughout this horrible period in our recent history.
[As a heroine though, I did feel more for Victoire (Spirit of Lost Angels) than I did for Céleste.]
Once again a brilliant novel, I cannot stress enough how amazing the "L'Auberge des Anges" series is!

 I enjoyed every page and look forward to the next one.
I very highly recommend this series!
Many thanks to Liza Perrat for asking me to read and review the sequel to Spirit of Lost Angels as well.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Book review: Christmas at the Cupcake Café - Jenny Colgan

Christmas at the Cupcake Café

The blurb.
Issy Randall, proud owner of the Cupcake Cafe, is in love and couldn't be happier. Her new business is thriving and she is surrounded by close friends, even if her cupcake colleagues Pearl and Caroline aren't quite as upbeat about the upcoming season of snow and merriment. But when her boyfriend Austin is scouted for a possible move to New York, Issy is forced to face up to the prospect of a long-distance romance. And when the Christmas rush at the cafe - with its increased demand for her delectable creations - begins to take its toll, Issy has to decide what she holds most dear.

This December, Issy will have to rely on all her reserves of courage, good nature and cinnamon, to make sure everyone has a merry Christmas, one way or another ...

My opinion.

I really enjoyed "Meet me at the Cupcake Café" so I was more than happy when I found out Jenny wrote another Issy novel. And that was before I knew it would be a Christmas novel (!!!!). You don't have to be a Christmas geek like me though to enjoy this book. It's not just jingle bells and snowballs: all the characters we met in "Meet me at the Cupcake Café" have their own fears, frustrations, joys and hopes that go along with this holiday. Real life goes one, despite the festive decorations and cakes.

Issy goes through a really hard time this Christmas and it's heartwarming to see how her friends support her, each in their own way. That being said, there were moments when I was crying my eyes out, along with Issy. Those friendships are what makes this a true "christmassy" novel though. They all have very strong and different personalities, but they care for each other, through thick and thin. Issy truly is surrounded by the best group of friends imaginable.
I really loved reading this novel, a must have on everyone's Christmas wish list! 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Book review: Spirit of Lost Angels - Liza Perrat

The blurb.

Her mother executed for witchcraft, her father dead at the hand of a noble, Victoire Charpentier vows to rise above her poor peasant roots.

Forced to leave her village of Lucie-sur-Vionne for domestic work in Paris, Victoire suffers gruesome abuse under the ancien régime. Can she muster the bravery and skill to join the revolutionary force gripping France, and overthrow the corrupt, diabolical aristocracy?

Spirit of Lost Angels traces the journey of a bone angel talisman passed down through generations. The women of L’Auberge des Anges face tragedy and betrayal in a world where their gift can be their curse. 

My opinion.
I was promised this would be an "emotional and brilliant book". I wasn't disappointed. Liza Perrat takes you along on Victoire's journey from girl to adulthood during one of history's most thrilling and exciting times. The unfairness of a feudal society and the hopelessness the commoners are faced with cast a tragic shadow over the lives of the people of Lucie-sur-Vionne.. and the rest of France. As Victoire gets older, her desire to right those wrongs grows stronger. 
Thanks to Liza Perrat's brilliant writing, you feel as if you're a part of this turning point in history. You feel the anger and frustrations, you smell the smoke, you hear the guns and the sound of the guillotine. Time machines may not exist, but with this novel you get a front row seat anyway to one of Europe's most important revolutions.

I'm so very lucky to have won a copy of this book, 
a brilliant read.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Book review: Cloudland - Joseph Olshan


The blurb.

Catherine Winslow, taking a walk during an early spring thaw, discovers the body of a woman leaning against an apple tree near her house in the Upper Valley of Vermont. From the corpse’s pink parka, Winslow recognizes it as the latest victim of a serial killer, a woman reported missing weeks before during a January blizzard. Once a major reporter for a national newspaper, now a household hints columnist, Catherine is disturbed and galvanized by her discovery and with the help of her neighbor, a forensic psychiatrist, as well as a local detective, starts to research the River Valley murders.

At the same time, her younger lover from an excruciating, failed love affair resurfaces after two years, trying to maneuver his way back into her affections. As she delves into the murders, she realizes that certain friends and acquaintances may actually be suspects or even worse.

My opinion.

This novel was not what I was expecting it to be. It was better. I thought it would be "just another" crime novel (not that I don't love those): bodies are found, killers are wanted, people start suspecting each other,... But Cloudland really takes you on a journey, one with Catherine, rather than the murders, at its center. She started off as a mysterious person. I loved getting to know her, her friends and family and her past with each new page. 
I do have to admit that I got a little impatient at times when the murder investigation almost completely disappeared into the background and the sole focus was Catherine. Joseph Olshan taught me I should be more patient, because the book was better because of Catherine's story.
It took me a while before I had a solid idea about who the killer was. Like Catherine, I suspected almost everyone at least once (woops) and had about a dozen theories. Very exciting and surprising until the very last page. Highly recommended read!

Many thanks to Karen & Arcadia Books 
for giving me the opportunity to read and review CLOUDLAND.