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ARC Book Review and Blog Tour: ‘A View Across The Rooftops’ by Suzanne Kelman

Title: A View Across The Rooftops

Author: Suzanne Kelman

Length: Ebook

Publisher: Bookouture

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was absolutely thrilled to join the Blog Tour for this book. I love Historical Fiction so I couldn’t wait to get started.

1941 Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. An unforgettable story of love, hope and betrayal, and a testament to the courage of humanity in history’s darkest days.

University professor Josef Held has never recovered from the loss of his beloved wife – and has no intention of ever letting anyone new into his quiet, safe world. It is a world where the clock ticks steadily in his mathematics classroom, even as the sinister beat of Nazi soldiers’ boots threaten to drown it out. Terrified, Josef tries to keep his eyes on the ground as Jews across the city are forced into ghettos. But then, Michael Blum, his most reluctant, infuriating pupil, tell Josef Jews like him will no longer allowed to study at all. Josef can no longer ignore the situation. And, after the shock of seeing his own neighbour killed on his doorstep, he offer Michael a place to hide in an impulsive act of courage. Michael is everything Josef is not: spontaneous, poetic and unafraid of love. Even though his passionate relationship with a Dutch girl is strictly forbidden- for he is Jewish, she is not. Somehow- in the quiet gloom of the attic, Josef doesn’t mind things about Michael that annoyed him in the classroom, and a bond begins to grow. Remembering the pain of his own heartbreak, Josef is desperate to give Michael and his girlfriend a chance. He must go on as if nothing has changed: teaching his classes, bowing to the Nazis. Beneath the fear, a thrill of defiance begins to bloom. But then Michael becomes perilously ill, and there is no way to get him the help he desperately needs. As the dark days of war continue, with danger and betrayal at every turn, no-one can be trusted. If Michael is to survive and get back to the women he loves, it will be down to Josef – to find the hero inside himself, and do whatever it takes to keep Michael alive. Even if it means putting his own life on the line.

I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. I’m trying to think of a better historical fiction novel I’ve read of this kind this year, and I can’t. It really was historical fiction at its finest.

I liked the fact that this book had a different perspective on the war. It’s the first book I’ve read, of the Nazi occupation in set in Amsterdam, so that added a different element to the book and kept it fresh. I was immediately immersed in the story. And I didn’t leave it until the last page.

This book had fantastic characters. They’re all so beautiful written. Josef, who is the main character, is so complex. You can really feel his internal struggle, with wanting to help and wanting to be safe. It was one of the joys of the book to watch his character open up. To see him help Michael is wonderful. For me, it’s the foundation of this book. The bond they form is so special and heartwarming, in this brutal time in history, is probably my favourite thing about this book.

This book also has some wonderful secondary characters, who have some great storylines. Hannah, who joins the resistance and helps fight. Michaels girlfriend, who never gives up on him. And Ingrid, who is a Nazi sympathiser. A have to give a special shoutout to the arc of Ingrid’s story because it had a twist I didn’t see coming and I end up caring for her. It’s brilliant writing. With all these perspectives, you’d think I’d hate one, but no.

The romance between Michael and his girlfriend is so lovely. I couldn’t read this book fast enough to see if they became reunited. The ending! Oh my god the ending of their story. I’m not ashamed to say I cried. I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but I wept like a baby. I just didn’t see it coming. It was one of those moments in a book where you just pause. I was so shocked. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

It’s abundantly clear this book has been meticulously researched. It had to be, with so many perspectives being told. It was filled with just the right amount of detail to make it accurate, but never to get bogged down and lose the story.

This is just one of those books that has a tremendous amount of heart. It’s all down the brilliant writing of Suzanne Kelman, who’s managed to create wonderful, real characters and put them in a harrowing time in history. When I finished this book I was hopeful and my heart was full. It’s such a fantastic story.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It comes out 25th October. Check it out.

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review + Blog Tour: ‘Sword of Kings’ by Bernard Cornwell

Title: King of Scars

Author: Bernard Cornwell

Length: 331 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins

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This is the 12th book in the ‘Last Kingdom’ series by Bernard Cornwell and I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour.

Uhtred of Bebbanburg is a man of his word. An oath bound him to King Alfred. An oath bound him to Æthelflaed. And now an oath will wrench him away from the ancestral home he fought so hard to regain. For Uhtred has sworn that on King Edward’s death, he will kill two men. And now Edward is dying. A violent attack drives Uhtred south with a small band of warriors, and headlong into the battle for kingship. Plunged into a world of shifting and alliances and uncertain loyalties, he will need all his strength and guile to overcome the fiercest warrior of them all. As two opposing Kings gather their armies, fate drags Uhtred to London, and a struggle for control that must leave one King victorious, and one dead. But fate – as Uhtred has learned to his cost – is inexorable. Wyrd bid ful ãræd. And Uhtred’s destiny is to stand at the heart of the shield wall once again…

As I said before, this is the 12th book in the series and I have to be honest and say I haven’t read the previous eleven. But I can gladly say it doesn’t matter, as I was able to get into the book and more importantly I didn’t feel like I was missing anything and I throughly enjoyed it.

This really was a fantastic historical fiction. It was full of little, intricate details that really made the novel really shine. I loved the period of history the story took place in, with all the different names for places in England, and the different armies and the conflict it created. It made it so interesting and you knew exactly when the book was set.

Uhtred was a great character to follow. He was loyal, strong and fierce and I was so intrigued throughout to see if he would complete his mission and keep his oath. He was a brilliant anchor to have throughout the book and the series. You just wanted Uhtred to succeed. Even when he was captured he still had a dignity about him and the I couldn’t wait to see if he got his revenge. Bernard Cornwell really knows how to craft great characters.

The story was brilliant. It was well paced yet different lose its finer details. I even especially enjoyed the minor plot of Bernadette seeking revenge over her old slaver, it was fantastic. A times it even felt a tad like a spy novel to me, with the some of story. It was filled with some great action sequences, especially those ones on the ocean, you don’t read them often in books and these ones were so well written.The action begins quite early on in the book and the story takes off from there and doesn’t settle down till the end of the book. Fantastic.

I highly recommend this well written, action packed historical fiction book, that has been researched meticulously. Read it regardless of wether you’ve read the previous books or not. Do not miss this one.

Thank you to HarperCollins for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. This book is out now.

Until the next review

JTH

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Book Review and Blog Tour: ‘Overdrawn’ by N.J.Crosskey

Title: Overdrawn

Author: N.J.Crosskey

Length: 334 pages

Publisher: Legend Press

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m super excited to be on the blog tour for this book. This is N.J.Crookey’s second book, her first being ‘Poster Boy’

Henry Morris is watching his wife slip away from him. In an ageist society, where euthanasia is encouraged as a patriotic act, dementia is no longer tolerated. Kaitlyn, a young waitress, is desperate for the funds to keep her brother’s life support machine switched on. When a chance encounter brings the two together, they embark on an unconventional business arrangement that will force them to confront their prejudices, as well as their deepest, darkest secrets.

Set in a dystopian world, this book is told through the perspectives of Henry and Kaitlyn and I enjoyed both. Probably Henry’s a little more than Kaitlyn’s, as it for me was a little bit more emotionally charged and I liked that. Kaitlyn was maybe a tad cliched, and you knew how it was going to end up. But both are still enjoyable. They both became much more appealing as the characters began to forge a connection.

There some things in this novel that I wasn’t to keen on, like the situation Henry and Kaitlyn find themselves in. It was a little strange and a bit uncomfortable to read at times. Also the dystopian world has some aspects to it that didn’t need mentioning and some more that did. The whole euthanasia aspect to it was so interesting and I think it could’ve been explored a bit more.

Where this book was really at its best was when the character Chloe became coherent again after getting her dementia medication. She was the heart and soul of this book. The ending Chloe and Henry come to was really heartbreaking. I have to be honest and say I shed a tear. This book felt like it was building towards its ending and it’s lovely that it didn’t disappoint. It probably surpassed my expectations. Kaitlyn’s ending was good, if not a bit predictable, but it was Henry’s and Chloe’s that truly stood out for me. It couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

What this book does well is it makes you think, makes you ask yourself questions like ‘what would I do in this situation?’ And ‘is this where the future is headed? I also was on Henrys side as he tried to get Chloe her medication, but then I began to think is this really a good life for her. I think that’s the biggest impact this book has, its ability to make you question your own ideas.

I would recommend this book, especially if your a fan of dystopian fiction. Or books with an emotionally charged ending.

Thank to Legend Press for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It came out September 1st! Be sure to check it out.

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC Book Review + Blog Tour: ‘Meet Me In Monaco’ by Hazel Gaynor + Heather Webb

Title: Meet Me In Monaco

Authors: Hazel Gaynor + Heather Webb

Length: 356 pages

Publisher: William Morro (HarperCollins)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for ‘Meet Me In Monaco’. I was so excited to read this, I started it the day it arrived.

Movie Starts and Paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest start of all, wants only to escape the flashbulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelter Miss Kelly in her boutique, fending off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy. James Henderson cannot forger his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie – like Princess Grace- must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

‘We only get one chance at true love. Till death do us part will hopefully be a very long time- too long to spend with the wrong person. Men often think they’re the ones to make all the decisions, but I think that women can do anything they decide to do. Follow your heart, Sophie.’

I absolutely loved this book. I loved it. I knew it was going to be a 5 star read for me, from the first page, that first Newspaper article. It set the tone for book and I loved it.

‘Meet Me In Monaco’ just has a great overall story. It’s what shines. There’s so many aspects too it. I love the whirlwind, yet heartfelt romance between Sophie and James. I love friendship between Sophie and Grace. But what I loved the most was Sophie trying to save her business. This story arc had twists and turns (as did the romance) but I was really rooting for Sophie. You could feel who much it meant to her and I always think that makes for fantastic reading.

The characters were wonderful. The story is told through the perspectives of James and Sophie. At first I thought James was going to be like the preconceived notions I had in my head about paparazzi, but I was wrong. So wrong. I like that Sophie was strong woman, and I loved it when she realised what she truly wanted towards the end of the novel. I also loved how we saw Grace Kelly through both of their eyes. It was fascinating to read. It truly felt like we go a peek behind the curtain into the wedding. Grace was a brilliant character in this book. It only made me want to know more about her.

This book is amazingly written. It’s so atmospheric. I could do easily see and feel the chaos and excitement on the day when Grace married Prince Rainer. You could feel the buzz in the air. Also that ending!! I don’t want to give anything away, but it shocked me. I didn’t expect it to end like that. I have to be honest and say I did cry. It only made the book better.

What this novel does best is it captures a time, place, essence and feeling. It just encapsulates Old Hollywood Glamour. I can’t recommend this book enough. If you love movie stars, sweet romance and glimpse into a different world, then this book is for you. It’s a wonderful piece of work. The novel just has a charm to it that captured my heart.

I was very grateful to receive a copy of ‘Meet Me In Monaco’ from Harper Collins in return for an honest, unbiased review.

Until the next review

JTH

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ARC BLOG TOUR Book Review: ‘The Woman in the White Kimono’ by Ana Johns

Title: The Woman in the White Kimono

Author: Ana Johns

Length: 298 pages

Publisher: Legend Press

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was so thrilled to be asked to join this wonderful blog tour for ‘The Woman in the White Kimono’. I couldn’t wait to get started on the book

Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage secures her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community. However, Naoko has fallen for an American sailor and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations. America, present day. Tori Kovač, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation. Setting out to a learn the truth, Tori’s journey leads her to a remote seaside village in Japan where she must confront the demons of the past to pave way for redemption.

‘A white mist rose from the curved clay tiles as the sun warmed the morning dew and rolled over the edge like the dangling petals of a cherry blossom in a ornamental hair comb. Backlit by the sun, the large, white-walled structure almost glowed. There was a quiet, understated elegance to how it perched atop the hillside.’

This book was a wonderful, heartfelt trip into post-war Japan.

With the story being set in present day America and Japan in 1957, it could be tricky to blend to two stories, but they work so cohesively together. Both times in the story are absolutely wonderful to read, but there’s something special about the story when it’s set in Japan.

Naoko is such a warm, compelling character. I just connected to her right from the start. I just immediately felt for. She’s been bought in the traditional Japanese way but her spirit, her attitude is so modern. To see her struggle between the two is heart wrenching to read.

I loved the relationship between Naoko and Hajime. It was so sincere and true. Even though you know how this love story will end, I was still rooting for them. Their love story was presented in the perfect way, it was grand and dramatic. It was honest. It was real.

In the present day American timeline, the reader sees the story through Tori’s eyes. We are discovering everything at the same time as her. It keeps this part of the story interesting and moving at a nice pace.

For me, what makes a great historical fiction novel is that it can teach you something. This book did. I didn’t know to much about this time in Japan, and I couldn’t even of imagined the things that happened. I had no idea those kind of ‘Maternity Homes’ existed. It a really powerful moment in the book when Naoko finds out what’s happening.

Now, the ending, although I know how the story reaches its conclusion, I was excited to see how each character got their ending. And it didn’t disappoint. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. It was so pleasing. The conversation between Naoko and Tori bought tears to my eyes. Such a satisfying ending.

The reason this novel works is because of Ana Johns superb writing. She’s formed such fantastic characters. Also, the descriptions of the scenery, of Japan, are stunning. It’s so evocative. The whole book. The fact that is Ana Johns debut book is crazy. Whatever she writes next, I’ll sure be reading it.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’ll have you hooked from the beginning till the end. It’s also been picked as a selection for BBCRadio2’s bookclub. How amazing is that!

I was lucky enough to be gifted a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. Thanks Legend Press.

Until the next review

JTH