Tuesday, June 22, 2021

THE WIDOWS OF CHAMPAGNE by Renee Ryan

 

For readers of Lilac Girls and The Lost Girls of Paris comes a captivating novel of resilience, as three generations of women battle to save their family’s vineyard during WWII.

Champagne, 1939

Gabrielle Leblanc Dupree is taking her family’s future into her hands. While she should be preparing for a lavish party to celebrate two centuries of champagne making, she secretly hides Chateau Fouché-Leblanc’s most precious vintages behind a fake wall in the cellar in preparation for the looming war. But when she joins the resistance, the coveted champagne isn’t the most dangerous secret her cellar must conceal…

A former Parisian socialite, Gabrielle’s mother, Hélène, lost her husband to another war. Now her home has been requisitioned by the Germans, who pillage vineyards to satisfy the Third Reich’s thirst for the finest champagne. There’s even more at stake than Hélène dares admit. She has kept her heritage a secret…and no one is safe in Nazi-occupied France.

Josephine, the family matriarch, watches as her beloved vineyard faces its most difficult harvest yet. As her daughter-in-law and granddaughters contend with the enemies and unexpected allies in their midst, Josephine’s deep faith leads to her own path of resistance.

Across years and continents, the Leblanc women will draw on their courage and wits, determined against all odds to preserve their lives, their freedom and their legacy…

MY THOUGHTS: 

I don't know why I always think these books will be different. No tears. No heartache. I have no idea why I always think things will be ok. I mean it's history. These things really happened. Though this is a work of fiction it is a part of history. It could have happened. Actually it did happen. It may have happened to a family very much like the one in this story. In France during WWII. All the laughter, tears, sadness. All the things that happened during this awful time period. It did happen. I'm fairly certain that the people who owned these wineries and champagne houses were big targets for the Nazis. I'm sure those awful, mean, cruel, people targeted them and stole more than just their wines. Of course they did. It's history. Let us never ever forget. Let us never ever take our freedoms for granted. I happened and god forbid it ever happen again. But it could....

This is the story of a family. A family who love each other dearly. Three women and a teenage girl live in this story. They make champagne. They make wine. They grow grapes too for this purpose and work hard. At least the three older women do. They are all three widows who lost the loves of their lives early in their marriages. Each had a good marriage filled with lots of love and happiness. But it was cut short. Then the war happened. The second world war. The one that would change their lives forever.

Josephine is the the grandmother and mother in law. She is the eldest and the head of the family. She has loved this place her entire life. But she is also getting tired. She wants to join her husband. But it's not time yet. She has work to do. She has a family who needs her. Josephine is such a wonderful woman. She's truly strong even in her advanced age. Her memory is not quite as sharp as it was. But she is also very clever. Never under estimate her.

Helene is the daughter in law of Josephine and mother to Gabrielle and Paulette. She's very well respected and loved in her family. She's a force also. A strong woman who will do anything to protect her children. What she does and goes through is proof that she is not selfish. She loves this life and home. She loves all the women here. She fights to protect them. 

Gabrielle is the one I really liked best of all. She is a fighter just like her mother and grandmother. She loves the villa with everything she has. She works very hard to keep the champagne going. Her whole life is geared toward making it better than before. Each year should be better. A very hard working woman who has pretty much sacrificed her life for her family and their livelihood. 

Then we have Paulette. She's young and like most young ladies she is kind of selfish and dumb. Not dumb in a feeble way. Dumb in the silly things she does. The mistakes she makes. The trouble that seems to follow her. She has a good heart though. But I still didn't much like her. She got on my nerves. 

The three main women are strong and forceful when they are pushed. They do what it takes to survive when the Nazi's invade their home. They each have a job to do. To keep each other safe and alive. This is the story of one family during the time France was invaded by the Nazis. How they endured the things that went on. Who did what they could to help. The big huge sacrifices they made just to keep each other safe. How far each was wiling to go to make sure they made it through this war. 

This is a different kind of historical fiction than I usually read. It's excellent. It's centered around the LeBlanc family. The chateau where they grow grapes for making champagne. What happened to them. How they survived. It's part love story also. The love of family and friends. The love between two unlikely people also. It's a well rounded story that will give you many emotions. A whole lot of tears though. Be warned. 

Thank you to #netgalley, #reneeryan, #harlequin for this ARC. This is my own true feelings about this book.

5/5 huge stars and a high recommendation. You don't want to miss this one.



Monday, June 21, 2021

Mailbox Monday!

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists!!
Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @ A Girl and Her Books, has a permanent home now at Mailbox Monday.
 ************

Here’s a shout out to the administrators:
Leslie @ Under My Apple Tree 
Serena @ Savvy Verse And Wit
Martha @ Reviews By Martha's Bookshelf 
 ************
                THANKS to everyone for keeping Mailbox Monday alive. 
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I hope you had a good mailbox.
I had a great mailbox!
************
Books I've received this week:

1: THE WIDOWS OF CHAMPAGNE by Renee Ryan
Courtesy of Harlequin-Romance via NetGalley
2: THE TALLY STICK by Carl Nixon
Courtesy of World Editions via NetGalley
3: HER PERFECT LIFE by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Courtesy of Macmillan-Tor/Forge via NetGalley


It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

I hope you had a great reading week.

********************
This is a weekly meme hosted by Kathryn at BOOKDATE
Post the books completed, the books you are currently reading, and the books you hope to finish at some point.
********************
2: THE LOST GIRLS by Jessica Chiarella
reviewed 6/18
WILL BE READING:
1: THE WIDOWS OF CHAMPAGNE by Renee Ryan
2: 
THREE WORDS FOR GOODBYE by Hazel Gaynor; Heather Webb
3: 
IN ANOTHER LIGHT by A.J. Banner
4: 
LADY SUNSHINE by Amy Mason Doan
5: 
THE GIRL IN CELL 49B by Dorian Box
6: 
THE CHILDREN'S SECRET by Nana Monroe
7: 
NO MORE WORDS by Kerry Lonsdale
8: 
ALL THE LITTLE HOPES by Leah Weiss
9: 
THE ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF LENNI AND MARGOT by Marianne Cronin
10: 
FINDING ASHLEY by Danielle Steele
11: 
DID I SAY YOU COULD GO by Melanie Gideon
12: 
THE LIGHT OF LUNA PARk by Addison Armstrong
13: HER PERFECT LIFE by Hank Phillippi Ryan
14: THE STRANGER IN THE MIRROR by Live Constantine
 15: WHAT'S LEFT UNSAID by Emily Bleeker
16: 
THE FAMILY PLOT by Megan Collins
17: 
DARK ROADS by Chevy Stevens 
18: 
WHERE THE TRUTH LIES by Anna Bailey 
19: 
GONE FOR GOOD by Joanna Schaffhausen 
20: 
THE FIANCEE by Kate White 


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Week in reading!

 

Read & Reviewed:

1: THE LOST GIRLS by Jessica Chiarella
reviewed 6/18
2: OVER THE FALLS by Rebecca Hodge
reviewed 6/16

Currently reading:

1: THE WIDOWS OF CHAMPAGNE by Renee Ryan
review will be 6/22

Reading this week:

1: THREE WORDS FOR GOODBYE by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
review will be 6/26
2: IN ANOTHER LIGHT by A. J. Banner
review will be 6/29

This month has flown by.... 


Friday, June 18, 2021

THE LOST GIRLS by Jessica Chiarella

 

When her true-crime podcast becomes an overnight sensation, a young woman is pulled into the web of a case that may offer a surprising connection to her own sister's disappearance years earlier.

It's been more than twenty years since Marti Reese's sister, Maggie, disappeared. Only eight-years-old at the time, Marti can't remember what happened, just that Maggie got into a car and never returned. After years of grief and countless false leads, Marti is coping as best she can: abandoning her marriage, drinking to forget, and documenting her never-ending search via a true-crime podcast. But when the podcast becomes an unexpected hit and Marti thinks she's finally ready to put it all behind her, a mysterious woman calls with new information that could lead her down a dangerous path.

For years, Ava Vreeland has been fighting to overturn her brother's murder conviction. After finding strange similarities between the two cases, Ava is certain there's a connection between the murder and Maggie's disappearance, one that could prove her brother's innocence. Together, Marti and Ava embark on a quest for the truth, but the more Marti digs, the more she's shaken by the answers she might find, and what it is she's even searching for...

MY THOUGHTS: 

This book is another great thriller for me. A debut novel by Jessica Chiarella that is so good. I thought it was going to be another mystery to solve but it's so much more. It has all the excitement you want in a thriller. Yes it has some mystery to it but the thrills are not to be forgotten. There are many of them. Lots of action in this book. That made it a five star read for me. 

The story of a sister who does not want to give up her search for her older sister who went missing many years before. Marti lost her older sister when she was only eight years old. Maggie was last seen getting into a car. She was sixteen. Just a child. But was she taken or did she just run away? Marti and her best friend Andrea have a podcast and have just won a nice award for it. It's their first season and it's all about Maggie and what could have happened to her. Marti wants answers. It seems she may get some when she receives a call from someone claiming to know something. But is she being honest? Is what she has to say really to help Marti?

This book will take you through many ups and downs. Many twists and turns. Your mind will go in several different directions. But you won't figure this one out. At least not all of it. And if you do you may just be wrong. There are two girls missing. One is found dead. Are they linked? Who could have done this? Follow Marti's story and you will find some answers. You will find out who is evil. I mean evil to the very core. Without a soul. A cold blooded murderer. Or is that another curve? 

This book was a fast read. It held my attention from start to finish. From all the horrors and all the sadness. I liked the characters. Even the ones that ended up being bad. Of course after I found out who was that bad I didn't like them as much. That is a given. But for the most part they are all likable. I felt for Marti's soon to be ex. I also was a bit upset with Marti for all the drinking she did. It had to be hard to hold down her job being drunk or hungover so much. But what do I know. Except that this a great book. Well written. Well thought out. Well played. 

Thank you to #netgalley, #jessicachiarella, #penguingroupputnam for this ARC. This is my own true feelings about this book.

5/5 stars. A high recommendation to anyone that loves a good thriller...



Wednesday, June 16, 2021

OVER THE FALLS by Rebecca Hodge

 

For fans of The River at Night, Rebecca Hodge's next thrilling read explores how far one woman will go to find her sister.

Bryn Collins moved to the Eastern Tennessee mountains and never looked back when, fourteen years ago, her fiancé, Sawyer, jilted her for her despised sister, Del. Sawyer was later killed in a plane crash, but Bryn has never been able to forgive her sister for what she did, and instead chooses to spend her days in the idyllic beauty of the rugged landscape. Although a life-threatening accident ended her days navigating the perils of whitewater, she still finds refuge kayaking in the local lakes.
 
But Bryn's placid life hits the skids when an unwelcome cast of characters reenters her life. Del goes mysteriously missing, leading her fourteen-year-old son, Josh, to Bryn's doorstep for help. Then Carl, a trouble-making outcast the sisters knew years before, is desperate to find Del because she owes him money, pulling Bryn into the orbit of his schemes.
 
On the hunt for Del, Bryn and Josh follow an ever-elusive trail to Colorado, and at the annual Mountain Games competition in Vail, they finally confront the truth. For Bryn, all roads lead to the river, and on vicious Colorado whitewater, she is forced to muster every ounce of courage and strength she has to piece her family back together again.

MY THOUGHTS:

I read Wildlands and loved it. Now Over the Falls is another one to love. This book is so good. It's a bit mystery. A bit of a thriller. A lot of family. A lot of love. Some loss and some closure. This book truly has all the feels. 

Bryn was engaged to Sawyer but her younger sister, Del, got pregnant by Sawyer and that was the end of that engagement. Sawyer was killed in an airplane accident two years later. From there things really take you on a wild ride. It really does. Bryn has made a home for herself in a cabin with animals and a garden. She works from home and does not want or need any distractions in her life. But... Josh, Del's son, comes to see her and tells her about his missing mother. He needs help. He's desperate and alone. Bryn's world will never be the same.

Josh was told by his mother to find her sister is he got scared or if anything happened to her. He is a fourteen year old kid who wants some answers. Why would his mother just up and leave him. She has a lot of problems but she's never just abandoned him before. He reaches out to Bryn for help. The two have never met but they do have a few things in common. 

This story takes off and will not let you go. You will go on an adventure that you won't soon forget. From the hills of Tennessee to the mountains of Colorado. Bryn and Josh are looking for Del and are leaving no stones unturned. They are also having to fight with Carl. A big bad man from Bryn and Del's past. He's not a good man. He gives Bryn and Josh one week to find Del and get back something she stole from him. 

There is a lot going on in this book. I wept about a chicken in this story. I loved Josh and oh the dog, Tellico. Bryn's dog. He's a great one for sure. Then there is Landon. You will love him. He's the neighbor to Bryn and he wants a relationship. After fourteen plus years is Bryn ready for that yet? Will things work out for them? There is opioid addiction, overdose addressed in this book also. It's a terrible thing and is out there. In the real world so many die each year. It's hit my family and most likely yours too. What happens when a person overdoses from drugs is horrible. Nothing is ever the same whether they live or die. It halts your world in ways you never knew possible. I've lost family to drug addition/overdose. It hurts. You don't forget it. What it does to your family.

This book is told by Bryn and Josh. Alternating between the two. Josh is a very smart young man. One who should have had the chance to be a real child but instead basically always took care of his mother. Who didn't get to know his dad before he died. Many things will come out in his life during this search. He will meet a few people and find some closure in his young life. Him and Bryn are a pair to be reckoned with. Together they are basically unstoppable. Bryn faces her biggest fear. Josh faces his future. 

I disliked both Carl and Sawyer. I didn't think Sawyer was a good man at all and not just because he cheated on Bryn with her sister. That was horrible from both of them. An unforgivable act of selfishness. I hated Carl for what he was. A bully. A thug. A sorry excuse for a human being. He was just not good.

This book is well written. The only thing I didn't like was a couple of things at the very end that I thought should have been addressed. But that is just my thoughts and in no way took away from this wonderful book.

Thank you to #netgalley, #rebeccahodge, #crookedlanebooks for this ARC. This is my own true feelings about this book.

5/5 stars and a big huge recommendation. Read it. Devour it. Enjoy it. Have tissues handy though.


Monday, June 14, 2021

Mailbox Monday!

 

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists!!
Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @ A Girl and Her Books, has a permanent home now at Mailbox Monday.
 ************

Here’s a shout out to the administrators:
Leslie @ Under My Apple Tree 
Serena @ Savvy Verse And Wit
Martha @ Reviews By Martha's Bookshelf 
 ************
                THANKS to everyone for keeping Mailbox Monday alive. 
************
I hope you had a good mailbox.
I had a great mailbox!
************
1: WISH YOU WERE HERE by Jodi Picoult
Courtesy of Random House Publishing via NetGalley
2: THE COTTAGE by Daniel Judson
Courtesy of Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley
3: THE WOMEN'S MARCH by Jennifer Chiaverini
Courtesy of William Morrow and Custom House via NetGalley
BOOK MAIL this week!
1: WE ARE THE BRENNANS by Tracey Lange
Won from BookishFirst. Celadon Books

2: THE LANGUAGE OF LIGHT by Meg Waite Clayton




THE WIDOWS OF CHAMPAGNE by Renee Ryan

  For readers of Lilac Girls and The Lost Girls of Paris comes a captivating novel of resilience, as three generations of women battle to sa...