When We Were Brave (by Suzanne Kelman) … a story of love, bravery, and sacrifice

This was a wonderful book and one I will recommend to all of my booklover friends. I have fallen in love with historical fiction books that deal with WWII. This book takes a unique approach and introduces the reader to the British SOE … or better known as Winston Churchill’s Secret Army. This group of spies sacrificed so much in their efforts to stop Hitler’s advances across Europe.

The author does an amazing job of blending the story of Sophie Hamilton from the present with her Aunt Vivienne during WWII. There is mystery and intrigue. And while you don’t discover the truth until the end, the trip through the pages makes the journey worthwhile. I loved the story and the historical details. I was drawn into the story from the beginning and could not put the book down. And make sure you have a few tissues on hand because you will need them! Having turned the last page and closed the book, I am moved by this touching story of love, bravery, and sacrifice.

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookoutre, and Suzanne Kelman for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. I am beyond grateful to have been given the opportunity to experience this saga and share my opinion.

The Woman in Cabin 10 (by Ruth Ware) … a slow start to a mystery

This is my first book by Ruth Ware.  I was not thrilled with the beginning, but once the book … and the cruise … was underway, it improved.  There were some serious matters covered, such as a home invasion, depression, anxiety/panic attacks, substance abuse, and sexual assault.

The secondary characters were difficult to keep track of, though that may have been the result of listening to the audiobook.  The twist at the end was well presented and pushed my rating from 3 to 4 stars.

Objects of my Affection (by Jill Smolinski) … serious issues discussed

I have to be honest, the narrator for the audio version of this book was horrible. There was no enthusiasm at any point. Her voice was so monotone that it was hard to keep my attention.

The story itself was okay and dealt with some very important issues, such as hoarding, drug abuse, suicide. But it felt like the author did a cursory job of covering these serious matters.

The intimacy was too graphic for my taste. You can provide this without going into detail! And listening to the book, you can’t just flip through the pages to skip over the smut.

Rocket Men (by Robert Kurson) … a story of true heroes

While not the typical book I read, I really enjoyed it. The author does a wonderful job of bringing the reader into the life of NASA astronauts and their families. I honestly felt like I was experiencing the emotions of those involved in the first trip to the moon. The technical details were informative but not overwhelming.

The men who were part of the Apollo 8 mission were brave and cared about their country, the future of space exploration, and being good representatives of NASA. The story of the astronauts’ background from their formative years to present day was interesting and made you care about each of them.

Such an amazing tale that takes you on a step-by-step adventure that will have you holding your breath in awe of the views seen from the capsule window…or in anticipation of whether these true heroes will survive their trip to the moon!

The Peach Keeper (by Sarah Addison Allen) …mystery, romance, friendships, and magical realism

This was an interesting read. With a mystery, romance, friendships, and magical realism, you experience a little bit of everything. As in typical true Southern writing, there are some strong women, controlling mommas, and some cattiness sprinkled throughout.

This is the perfect book to read when you have the desire to lose yourself in a book but don’t want to invest too much time or energy…you just want to be entertained.

A Map of the Dark (by Karen Ellis) … amazing story that will force you to experience strong emotions

One of the best aspects of this book is that detectives were represented as “real” people, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. The characters are richly developed and you find yourself feeling strong emotions on their behalf.

The abduction that starts the book has you focused on one person, but there are trickles throughout that provide clues that things are not as they seem. Don’t make assumptions. You might be wrong.

Else is an amazing individual and I ached for her as she struggled to deal with her past. I cheered her on and kept wishing that she would open herself up and develop meaningful relationships. And then you add Lex to the story. He was an amazing person and his history was touching. So much of that and his brother, David, made him into the person he was as an adult.

There were some great twists at the end that elevated my opinion of the book even more!

Thank you to NetGalley and Mulholland Books for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

The Dollhouse (by Fiona Davis) … a story of fear, insecurity, arrogance, friendship, love, sacrifice…

This dual-time frame novel takes you on a wonderful trip to the 1950s while weaving in the present day. I enjoyed the description of the Barbizon Hotel and the girls who found themselves living there while becoming models or attending the Gibson Girls secretarial school. With class and beauty serving as a dividing line between the residents, you will experience fear, insecurity, arrogance, friendship, love, sacrifice, and life changing moments.

I enjoyed the way the present day story had its own set of issues and intrigue while serving as the vessel to share the story of the girls at “the dollhouse.”

I am looking forward to reading more books by Fiona Davis!