Tag: 5 stars

Release Day Review: Letters to the Pianist

Author: S.D. Mayes
Published: September 19, 2017
487 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 28- September 12, 2017
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description from Amazon:

A FAMILY TORN APART … A PAST THEY CAN’T ESCAPE

In war torn London, 1941, fourteen-year-old Ruth Goldberg and her two younger siblings, Gabi and Hannah, survive the terrifying bombing of their family home. They believe their parents are dead, their bodies buried underneath the burnt remains – but unbeknownst to them, their father, Joe, survives and is taken to hospital with amnesia.

Four years on, Ruth stumbles across a newspaper photo of a celebrated pianist and is struck by the resemblance to her father. Desperate for evidence she sends him a letter, and as the pianist’s dormant memories emerge, his past unravels, revealing his true identity – as her beloved father, Joe. Ruth sets out to meet him, only to find herself plunged into an aristocratic world of sinister dark secrets.

Can she help him escape and find a way to stay alive?

LETTERS TO THE PIANIST is a compelling page turner packed with drama, intrigue and suspense. If you loved The Book Thief, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas or The Pianist, then you will love this exciting new novel.

Jessica’s Review:

S.D. Mayes took a three year journey of meticulous research to bring us her labor of love with Letters to the Pianist. As you read, you can tell she put her heart and soul into this novel.  Letters to the Pianist pulls you in from the beginning by placing you in London during WWII.

We go on this journey with Ruth, her siblings, and also the mysterious pianist.  I really felt the hardships all these characters go through.  There is much more to this novel than the mystery of whether this pianist is actually Ruth and her sibling’s father or not.  He questions his whole past and then his present life takes us in an unexpected direction that spirals towards the fast paced conclusion.

All the characters are extremely well developed and you will like some and some you will not.  You feel all the emotions these characters do. S.D. Mayes did a superb job! These are flawed characters as you deal with family issues, and most of all love.

If you are a fan of Historical Fiction, especially World War II then you MUST read this novel!  Letters to the Pianist is recommended.

I received an arc copy from S.D. Mayes.  Thank you so much for offering this to me for a review!

These Shallow Graves

Author: Jennifer Donnelly
488 Pages

Published: October 27, 2015
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating:
5 Stars

Description from Amazon:

Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter.
Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. The story is that Charles Montfort shot himself while cleaning his revolver, but the more Jo hears about her father’s death, the more something feels wrong. And then she meets Eddie—a young, smart, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. But now it might be too late to stop. The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and this time the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

Kim’s Review:

I loved this book! A good female protagonist that I actually like! I’ll admit that for some reason, I usually don’t like female leads. I wish I could tell you why, but I can’t put my finger on that reason. But Jo Montfort is pretty fantastic. I wouldn’t call her a badass, but she’s well on her way. Most spoiled brats don’t admit that they are spoiled. But Jo gains a self-awareness in this book that is refreshing. She starts out as a privileged, rich socialite but throughout the story, starts questioning her place in life. Does she really want to marry a guy that she doesn’t love? Just to sit on her ass for the rest of her life doing nothing but entertaining and birthing babies? That may be the future for some women, and it’s a noble one, but not for Jo. She wants to be a reporter, to see the world outside her small Gramercy neighborhood. Her father ends up dead, and though she is grieving, she refuses to accept the status quo of the story that the police and newspapers are selling. Then she meets Eddie Gallagher. My new book boyfriend!!!!! She crushes on him the same way that I crush on my husband. Hearing that other women are also attracted to those little parts of a man like the back of his neck, or his forearms, or that little bit of chest hair that peaks out of his open collar, makes me feel not so weird for doing so. Watching their relationship grow became one of the biggest pleasures of my life! And we haven’t even gotten to the mystery yet! But I have the tendency to spoil key details, so I’ll just say that it’s an awesome mystery that kept me going all the way to the end. But without making me feel stupid when everything is revealed. Some things I totally called earlier in the story, other things shocked me when they came to light. I recommend this book to everybody! Especially to those who love mysteries or historical fiction. I think y’all are gonna love it!

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The Cellar

Author: Natasha Preston
374 pages
Published: March 1, 2014

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating:
5 Stars

Description from Amazon:

“Lily?”

My stomach dropped as a tall, dark-haired man stepped into view. Had he been hiding between the trees?

“No. Sorry.” Gulping, I took a step back. “I’m not Lily.”

He shook his head, a satisfied grin on his face. “No. You are Lily.”

“I’m Summer. You have the wrong person.” You utter freak!

I could hear my pulse crashing in my ears. How stupid to give him my real name. He continued to stare at me, smiling. It made me feel sick.

“You are Lily,” he repeated.

Before I could blink, he threw his arms forward and grabbed me. I tried to shout, but he clasped his hand over my mouth, muffling my screams. My heart raced. I’m going to die.

For months Summer is trapped in a cellar with the man who took her—and three other girls: Rose, Poppy, and Violet. His perfect, pure flowers. His family. But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out…

Kim’s Review:

I’ve been seeing Preston’s books on the shelves for months and for some reason, I only just picked them up recently. And I’m so glad I did! I read Awake a few weeks ago and loved it, so when I saw The Cellar at Target, I grabbed it. I’m a huge fan of Criminal Minds and to the annoyance of my family and friends, I totally consider myself to be an amateur profiler, and yes, I love showing off my skills. 😉 However, no Criminal Minds episode has ever awakened more empathy than this book did. Getting into the mind of both the criminal and the victim was fascinating! Watching Summer fight to hold onto her identity and her innocence was inspiring and heartbreaking, all at the same time. Seeing the other girls losing themselves in the fantasy that “Clover” set up for them gives such insight into real life kidnapping plights. If you like psycho thrillers, then this book is for you! And even if you don’t, this is an empathetic and educational read that I would recommend to anyone.

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