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The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin plus a US Giveaway

  • Title:  The Queen of Hearts
  • Author:  Kimmery Martin
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  352
  • Published:  February 2018 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have been best friends since their early twenties, when they first began navigating serious romantic relationships amid the intensity of medical school. Now they’re happily married wives and mothers with successful careers–Zadie as a pediatric cardiologist and Emma as a trauma surgeon. Their lives in Charlotte, North Carolina are chaotic but fulfilling, until the return of a former colleague unearths a secret one of them has been harboring for years.

As chief resident, Nick Xenokostas was the center of Zadie’s life–both professionally and personally–throughout a tragic chain of events in her third year of medical school that she has long since put behind her. Nick’s unexpected reappearance during a time of new professional crisis shocks both women into a deeper look at the difficult choices they made at the beginning of their careers. As it becomes evident that Emma must have known more than she revealed about circumstances that nearly derailed both their lives, Zadie starts to question everything she thought she knew about her closest friend.  (publisher)

My take: Kimmery Martin’s debut novel is the story of two friends, betrayal, and the possibility of forgiveness. Zadie and Emma meet in medical school and become dependable friends as they experience the ins and outs of their medical training.

There are highs and lows that I imagine only people who’ve worked in a hospital or shared the common bond of med school can truly understand. Martin’s descriptive writing kept me interested, especially when I didn’t have a clue if what was happening during procedures, etc. was realistic. Given her real life experience as an ER doctor I trusted and went along with the story. I was completely engaged in what transpired in the hospital setting and on a personal level with Zadie and Emma.

I think fans of medical dramas like Grey’s Anatomy will enjoy The Queen of Hearts. I look forward to Kimmery Martin’s next novel.


US Giveaway

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As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

  • Title:  As Bright As Heaven
  • Author:  Susan Meissner
  • Pages:  400
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Published:  February 2018 – Berkley Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters–Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa–a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without–and what they are willing to do about it.

As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it. (publisher)

My take:  After suffering a heartbreaking loss, Thomas Bright decides his family should move from their small town to Philadelphia where he will join his uncle’s mortuary business. It will greatly improve their quality of life and the change will be good for them all.

The Bright family settles in nicely at Uncle Fred’s beautiful home. They like their neighbors and slowly become used to the large city. That said, they won’t remain untouched by tragedy for long. These are the harrowing days of WWI and the Spanish Influenza.  As Bright As Heaven is a dramatic and emotional novel that taught me a good deal about the epidemic as well as the life of an undertaker and his family. Susan Meissner conveyed a lot from that unique perspective alone.

I grew to care about the characters – it seemed no one was untouched by the War and/or the flu. Learning and feeling what transpired during important times in history is what I love about Historical Fiction. The Bright family were inspirational in their ability to keep looking for the good in life – doing the best they could with what life handed them. Susan Meissner’s novel is a must read for fans of the genre.


 

A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas

  • Title:  A Conspiracy in Belgravia
  • Series:  The Lady Sherlock Series, #2
  • Author:  Sherry Thomas
  • Pages:  319
  • Genre:  Historical Mystery
  • Published:  September 2017 –  Berkley Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Being shunned by Society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she’s had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she’s not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office.

Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as the missing man is none other than Myron Finch, her illegitimate half-brother.

In the meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with a surprising proposal of marriage, a mysterious stranger woos her sister Livia, and an unidentified body surfaces where least expected. Charlotte’s investigative prowess is challenged as never before: Can she find her brother in time—or will he, too, end up as a nameless corpse somewhere in the belly of London? (publisher)

My take:  After being compromised, Charlotte Holmes finds herself exactly where she wanted to be – out from under the expectations of her parents and the rest of Victorian society. She’s been able to find her place in the world at Upper Baker Street and among friends. Our Miss Holmes is quite resourceful and blessed with amazing powers of deduction as well as a good supply of wits and the ability to bluff her way through various situations. There are some (well, at least one – in the form of a certain Lord) who are on to her. She’s okay with that fact and is happy in her new life. This particular novel is filled with family, cryptic codes, and a dead body or two. Miss Holmes is up to the challenge of solving all and I enjoyed following her path to doing so. I look forward to reading more about Charlotte, Lord Ingram and their adventures. If you haven’t already, it would be helpful to read the first book in the series to get the back story on Charlotte.


 

US Giveaway (galley copy): Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

I’ll be reading this novel in the fall and will be part of a blog tour at that time. The publisher has made available a review galley for a lucky US reader now!  The following content was provided by the publisher:

*

A week is a long time to spend with your family.

Now imagine being quarantined with them over Christmas.

 

That’s the delicious premise in SEVEN DAYS OF US, about a dysfunctional British family forced into quarantine together. Eldest daughter Olivia, a doctor, has just returned from treating a life-threatening virus in Africa and must spend seven days in quarantine. Her family, forced into lockdown with her, decides to spend the week in their crumbling and isolated country manor, Weyfield Hall. Each arrives carrying secrets and simmering resentments.

With the Birch family under one roof for the first time in years, keeping secrets is no longer an option. And when a shocking, unexpected visitor arrives, the family’s pressurized state will boil over, spilling problems—and possibly the deadly virus—outside the gates of Weyfield Hall.

In residence with Olivia are her unabashedly frivolous younger sister Phoebe, fixated on her upcoming wedding; father Andrew, sequestered in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and longing for his glory days as a war correspondent; and sweet bumbling matriarch Emma, who’s hiding a secret that will turn the whole family upside down. Anyone who loves their family—in small doses—will relate to the inner thoughts of each character.


US Giveaway

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GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

Giveaway ends on August 21, 2017


The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

  • Title:  The Sunshine Sisters
  • Author:  Jane Green
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  June 2017 – Berkley Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother’s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London—and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.

But now the Sunshine Sisters are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy have never been close, their mother’s illness draws them together to confront the old jealousies and secret fears that have threatened to tear these sisters apart. As they face the loss of their mother, they will discover if blood might be thicker than water after all… (publisher)

My take:  Jane Green’s newest novel is about a family of women: A narcissistic mother in failing health and her three grown daughters who want nothing to do with her or each other.  She sees a chance to change things by bringing her girls together before she dies.

Nell, Meredith and Lizzy know something is up when their mother requests they come home immediately. It’s not a problem for Nell who lives nearby but Meredith lives and works in London and Lizzy is incredibly busy with her pop-up restaurant venture in New York. They drop everything and head home to see what’s going on. The sisters will soon discover things about themselves, their mother and each other.

I liked this novel for its good intentions. It touches on a few serious topics while managing to keep a fairly light tone. But a few things seemed a bit pat – most notably with one daughter’s life going in an unexpected direction almost overnight. I didn’t have a problem with that direction, just how fast it happened. That issue aside, I recommend The Sunshine Sisters as a light read for fans of domestic fiction and Jane Green.