{If You Liked…Then You Might Like} The Nightingale & From Sand and Ash

I’ve seen different variations of this post on several blogs and have been toying around with the idea to start doing my own post. Although these books share some similarities, they also stand out in their own way, and are ones I highly recommend reading.

If You Liked…. The Nightingale

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Despite their differences, sisters Viann and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Viann is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Viann finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength is tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Viann and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

Then you Might Like…. From Sand and Ash

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Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.

As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.

Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.

But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.

 

I loved these two books equally. They are also equally heartbreaking and if you’re a crier like me, you’ll be sobbing by the end of both. But it’ll be totally worth it!

Catch Up Reviews: Finishing Out 2016

Catching up on all the books I haven’t made time to review recently. I’ve decided to only focus on books I enjoyed and feel are worth mentioning.


29087466Keepsake by Sarina Bowen

There’s a first time for everything.

Lark Wainwright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he’s good for much more than farm labor.

I really hope this isn’t the final book in the series. I absolutely LOVE this series, and every book is just as good (or better) than the one before it. I’m so glad I finally picked up a Sarina Bowen book this year and that it was this series.

5 STARS

 

30063292 Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she’s given an opportunity to house-sit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan? What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous—and mysterious—owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn’t appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?

Sarah Morgan has become my go-to for a perfect Christmas read. So perfectly romantic, it was my favorite holiday book of the season. And now I want to go back and read more of the books in this series soon. 

5 STARS

 

29472542 All in Pieces by Suzanne Young

“Anger-management issues.”

That’s how they classified Savannah Sutton after she stuck a pencil in her ex-boyfriend’s hand because he mocked her little brother, Evan, for being disabled. That’s why they sent her to Brooks Academy—an alternative high school that’s used as a temporary detention center.

The days at Brooks are miserable, but at home, life is far more bleak. Savvy’s struggling to take care of her brother since her mom left years ago, and her alcoholic dad can’t be bothered. Life with Evan is a constant challenge, but he’s also the most important person in the world to Savvy.

Then there’s Cameron, a new student at Brooks with issues of his own; a guy from a perfect family that Savvy thought only existed on TV. Cameron seems determined to break through every one of the walls Savvy’s built around herself, except if she lets herself trust him, it could make everything she’s worked so hard for fall apart in an instant.

And with her aunt seeking custody of her brother and her ex-boyfriend seeking revenge, Savvy’s fighting to hold all the pieces together. But she’s not sure how much tighter she can be pulled before she breaks completely.

I don’t read enough YA novels, even though I do enjoy them. This book was getting a lot of praise from fellow bloggers, so I decided to try it. I’m so glad I did! It was fantastic and definitely one the best YA novels I have read. I’ll be keeping my eye out for future books by this author.

4 STARS

 

29432729 Beautiful by Christina Lauren

A FREE-SPIRITED GIRL IN NEED OF A BREAK.
A MAN WEIGHED DOWN BY RESPONSIBILITY.
A ROAD TRIP VACATION WHERE ALL BETS ARE OFF.
OH, AND A LOT OF WINE.

After walking in on her boyfriend shagging another girl in their place, Pippa Bay Cox ditches London for the States to go on a drunken road trip with Ruby Miller and some of her Beautiful friends.

Scaling the career ladder is the default way to deal with heartbreak—and to just deal—for Jensen Bergstrom. Absolutely buried by his drive and workload, he rarely takes time for himself. But when his sister Hanna convinces him to join the gang on a two-week wine tour, he has a rare moment of cutting loose. Of course, it’s only once he’s committed that he realizes the strange girl he met briefly on the plane is coming along, too. She might be too much for him…or he might realize his life has become too small and needs her to make it bigger, crazier.

With this circle of friends there’s always something going on: from Chloe and Sara’s unexpected personality swaps to Will’s new domestic side to Bennett’s text message barrage and George’s own happily-ever-after. In short, their adventures in love, friendship, and hilarity are nothing short of Beautiful.

But I don’t want this series to end! It’s one of my absolute favorites. I have loved every one of these characters and am sad to say goodbye to them. I loved that this book took a group of the friends on a wine tour. WINE, people!!! And they vacationed in a secluded cabin (MY DREAM!). I laughed out loud many times while reading this book. And oh how I loved Jensen (swoon) and Pippa (hilarious and bad ass). Not to mention cameos by everyone else in this awesome group of friends. And those epilogues were perfect. Although I’m sad it’s over – it was the perfect way to end the series.

4.5 STARS

 

30213116 Always by Sarah Jio

While enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiance, Ryan, at one of Seattle’s chicest restaurants, Kailey Crane can’t believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a writer for theHerald and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As they leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister.

When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense everything connected and felt “right.” But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what and whom she wants.

Alternating between the past and the present, Always is a beautifully unfolding exploration of a woman faced with an impossible choice, a woman who discovers what she’s willing to save and what she will sacrifice for true love.

I love Sarah Jio’s books and look forward to her book releases every year. This wasn’t my favorite of her books, but I still enjoyed it. I believe timing is everything, and I think I just picked this one up and forced myself to read it at the wrong time. The story is good, and I do recommend it along with any of her other books.

3.5 STARS

{Review} Close Enough to Touch

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about the book

One time a boy kissed me and I almost died…

And so begins the story of Jubilee Jenkins, a young woman with a rare and debilitating medical condition: she’s allergic to other humans. After a humiliating near-death experience in high school, Jubilee has become a recluse, living the past nine years in the confines of the small town New Jersey house her unaffectionate mother left to her when she ran off with a Long Island businessman. But now, her mother is dead, and without her financial support, Jubilee is forced to leave home and face the world—and the people in it—that she’s been hiding from.

One of those people is Eric Keegan, a man who just moved into town for work. With a daughter from his failed marriage who is no longer speaking to him, and a brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son, Eric’s struggling to figure out how his life got so off-course, and how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. Then, one day, he meets a mysterious woman named Jubilee, with a unique condition…

An evocative, poignant, and heartrending exploration of the power and possibilities of the human heart, Close Enough to Touchis perfect for fans of the emotional novels of Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes.

My Thoughts

You know how sometimes a book will come along and be so unexpectedly wonderful that it blows you away?  I read this authors debut novel and really enjoyed it. But this book puts her on my list of authors to watch out for. She outdid herself with this exceptional and unique story.

I adored Eric and Jubilee, and pretty much all the other characters in this book. It was such an interesting concept, with the perfect blend of humor and emotion. The author writes in beautiful prose that had me glued to the pages. Once you pick up this book you will find it incredibly hard to put down.

Bottom Line

A delightfully wonderful surprise – this is a must read book.

5 Stars

Genre: Adult Contemporary, Romance

Standalone

Expected Publication: March 7, 2017 by Gallery Books

Length: 320 pages

ARC kindly provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

{Review} At Close Range

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about the book

When a lakeside tryst ends in a double murder, police detective Daniele Harper arrives on the scene determined to get answers. Clues are everywhere, but nothing adds up. Dani turns to the Delphi Center crime lab for help, but soon regrets it when her secret attraction to their chief firearms examiner threatens to distract her from the most important case of her career.

As a ballistics expert and former Navy SEAL, Scott Black knows firearms, and he knows he can help Dani unravel her case. Scott has managed to hide his interest in his best friend’s younger sister for years, but when her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly burn out of control. Scott resolves to keep his hands off Dani and his eyes on the goal—identifying a killer. But when that killer zeroes in on her, all bets are off. There isn’t a line Scott won’t cross to convince Dani to trust him so that he can help her take down a ruthless murderer who has her in his sights.

My Thoughts

So damn good. It was just a year ago that I discovered this author and this series. She became an instant favorite, and I have been looking forward to getting my hands on this book. Although it’s the 11th book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone.

Griffin knows how to write the perfect mix of steamy romance and suspense! As I had hoped, this book lived up to all of my expectations. Dani & Scott had incredible chemistry, and the story was so intense I couldn’t put it down. As with all of the books in this series that I’ve read, it kept me guessing until the very end.

Bottom Line

If you haven’t read this series – you need to.

5 Stars

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Series Standalone

Expected Publication: January 31, 2017 by Pocket Books

Length: 368 pages

ARC kindly provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.