Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center (Release Aug-2019)

Release date: August 2019

41150382

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds.

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice, her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping …but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.”

Review:

Sincere thanks to Netgalley and to Macmillan Publishers for the advanced copy.  This novel is truly inspiring and quite timely during this time of the CA wildfires.

In Things You Save in a Fire, Cassie, a dedicated firefighter turns her back on love after a traumatic experience in her youth and because of this, She is all about “control” and routine. When her past comes back to haunt her, Cassie is forced to learn that only by relinquishing her anger, and finding some redeeming aspect from her suffering, can she release herself from the emotional prison she has trapped herself in.

I found this novel to be beautiful, thought-provoking, emotionally intriguing and heart-warming, it had me laughing and tearing up from one moment to the next.

You will fall in love with Cassie and with the eloquence that is Katherine Center’s writing.

Release date: August 2019

quote-from-TYSF

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

40702156

 

 

 

I would like to thank Sophie Kinsella, Random House Publishing Group, and NetGalley for allowing me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

Description

“Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” And since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will?

It’s simply not in Fixie’s nature to say no to people. So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, she not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, an investment manager, scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

But then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life, and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. As always, she wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. No sooner has Seb agreed than the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?”

Review:

Well, folks, She’s done it yet again; Sophie Kinsella’s latest book is charming, laugh-out-loud funny and loaded with quirky situations.  As with most of her novels, I truly had trouble putting this down! Fixy Farr was a delightful character to follow, and even though I wanted to shake her sometimes for being a total doormat, she ultimately finds her way and it’s definitely worth waiting for.

This story is about Fixie, a woman living in London with her mom and sister and who works in their family-run kitchen supply store. She is always fixing issues with her friends and family (hence her nickname ‘Fixie’), and stands by her late father’s motto of “family first!” She happens to save a stranger’s laptop in a cafe (our love interest, Seb) and he writes an IOU to her.

It’s a heartwarming story of self-discovery, what truly makes you happy and what it means to actually love someone (friends, family, partner).

Yes, there are certainly some cringe-worthy moments, but Fixie Farr is one of the most lovable and realistic characters that I’ve met in Sophie’s novels.

Sophie Kinsella is my go-to author when I need a good laugh and I Owe You One did not disappoint!

Where Dragonwoofs Sleep and the Fading Creeps by A.J. Massey

40497956“A fantasy with tremendous heart and a magisterial execution.”​ – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

A normal eighth-grader by day, thirteen-year-old Ben awakens one night in a fantastical dream world where snow burns, the sun disappears and reappears without warning, and magic is addictive.

But the mysterious realm of Meridia is disappearing, eaten by a phenomenon called the Fading. Joined by Avery, Marcus, and three dog-like Dragonwoofs, Ben journeys across monster-infested oceans and sun-scorched mountains to retrieve the sphinx’s head, the key to saving the world and every astonishing creature that inhabits it.

But not everyone wants them to succeed. Soon, they find themselves pursued by the Sovereign and his generals, whose armies will stop at nothing to perpetuate the Fading and its consumption of the land.”

Review: Thank you to Smith Publicity and Netgalley for this opportunity.

Where Dragonwoof’s Sleep and the Fading Creeps is one of those books that feels both familiar and completely brand-new at the same time.

This story grabs your attention from the get-go,  with the mystery of the first sentence right through to the surprising, yet satisfying ending. It follows the adventures of three misfit kids who wind their way through a magical world, at first, focused on their own survival, but then, on a quest to save Meridia from ‘the Fading’.

The reader travels along with them as they battle evil forces while solving both mental and physical puzzles. Ultimately, the real world and the mysterious Meridia intersect, challenging the three to become their true brave, confident selves. The story moves at a pace fast enough to hold a middle schooler’s interest but not so fast as to be confusing. When the metaphorical significance of the Fading is revealed at the end, it is both heartbreaking and rewarding.

The story is fresh and modern but feels as comforting as any well-loved Tolkien or C.S Lewis fantasy. The storyline is poignant, the characters are fantastically well-developed and the plot is fast and steady. Call it a combination of Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Maze Runner.

Fantastic metaphorical writing! Even if you’re not into fantasy, this one is definitely worth picking up. 

Petals and Stones by Joanne Burn

Petals and Stones Cover smaller

 

I was thrilled to receive this advanced review copy by Joanne Burn from Legend Press.

What an engaging read – this tale of grief, love, family, and friendship.

When Uma discovers her husband’s infidelity just hours before his untimely death, the carefully woven threads of her life begin to unravel.

Struggling to manage the grief of those around her, she escapes to a remote cottage by the coast where she swims in the winter sea, cooks the forgotten Keralan dishes of her childhood and begins the search for her husband’s lover.

It isn’t long before Uma realizes what she must do to pick up the tattered threads of her life. But will her choices jeopardize the only family she has left?

Petals and Stones explore the ties which bind us together and the choices we make that can tear us apart. This book traces the devastating impact of the discovery of infidelity immediately before a partner’s death, so that grief is contaminated by anger and betrayal. Joanne Burn’s writing explores with care and precision the nuances of love deferred for the best of intentions, the tides within family and friendship dynamics and the corrosive lies we tell ourselves.

Uma like many women, finds out her husband has been cheating. She is ready to confront him and wants to know the identity of his mistress. As she plans their conversation before he arrives home, he is killed in an auto accident.

The timeline switches from the present (2015) back to 1997 and charts the friendship of Uma, Daniel, Pippa and Aaron. I’m not sure why I was so gripped by this, maybe I’ve always had a secret yearning to run away to a cottage by the sea, but it really held my attention. There’s a great cast of characters and although Uma is central, I feel I need to acknowledge her interfering mother-in-law Mary as someone everyone knows.

Through Uma’s journey, Joanne Burn explores issues such as the emphasis on image over truth in a marriage, whether something built on a lie is sustainable, and why it sometimes takes a tragedy to recognize the reality of a situation. The author also uses symbolism effectively, specifically the lighting of fires (for cooking or warmth) to illustrate Uma’s inner fire being relit.

I especially liked that she used the four elements (air, fire, water, earth) as a basis for Uma’s healing: the way Uma was swept along by the breeze of her marriage (and the winds that signify change as she comes to her realizations), the previously mentioned fires, the ocean that calls to Uma and invigorates her, and the spices, stones, and flower petals that finally give her the answers she has been looking for.

I loved the writing flow and the premises of the story. This is a book I was unable to put down and that I highly recommend.

Petals and Stones Blog Tour Banner

All That Was Lost: by Alison May

All That Was Lost Cover

Thank you to Legend Press for this advanced review copy of All That Was Lost, by Alison May. I’m delighted to be on today’s ‘stop’ of the Blog Tour for All That Was Lost by Alison May. The book was published on 6th September and you can get your own copy at Amazon CA.

What an interesting and unique book. The plot is simple enough, a well-known psychic hires a ghostwriter to help with her memoir/autobiography, but there is actually SO much more that happens from this pairing. This is a fascinating, at times heart-wrenching, look at secrets, the cost of keeping them hidden, and whether hiding them requires lies.

 

Synopsis:

In 1967 Patience Bickersleigh is a teenager who discovers a talent for telling people what they want to hear. Fifty years later she is Patrice Leigh, a nationally celebrated medium. But cracks are forming in the carefully constructed barriers that keep her real history at bay.

Leo is the journalist hired to write Patrice’s biography. Struggling to reconcile the demands of his family, his grief for his lost son, and his need to understand his own background, Leo becomes more and more frustrated at Patrice’s refusal to open up.

Because behind closed doors, Patrice is hiding more than one secret. And it seems that now, her past is finally catching up with her. The author thrills in this English familial mystery, adding enticing plot layers as intricate and divisive as the themes she introduces.

I found it to be, Intriguing with a cast of complex characters that keep you fascinated, this is a page-turner and surprisingly tender, A resonant, emotional story about grief, loss, and love with a complex, tragic heroine–a fake psychic reaching the end of her career.

While I enjoyed the story, I seesawed between feeling for each character and despising them. My heart broke for each one of them in one chapter and in the next, I wanted to smack them for their lies. While I felt for Patrice and her hard childhood, I just think of the people I know that are desperate for any glimpse of their lost loved ones and I get furious that she was lying to everyone. In the same breath though-I wonder if a lie that makes someone feel at peace about their loss is a bad one? If someone can move on knowing their loved one is happy and peaceful isn’t that a good thing? This book left me with a lot to think about.

All That Was Lost Blog Tour Banner