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Darlene @ Peeking Between the Pages "from Peeking Between the Pages" RSS Feed (Canada)

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The Lover's Path: An Illustrated Novella of Venice
The Lover's Path: An Illustrated Novella of Venice
Price: $5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book!, June 17, 2015
The Lover’s Path: An Illustrated Novella of Venice by Kris Waldherr is an absolutely gorgeous book both in story and in the stunning art work depicted throughout its pages. It is a beautifully written tale of forbidden love that is accompanied by amazing illustrations that are a treat for a reader’s eyse. When I opened this book I fell into it and couldn’t put it down until I turned the last page and quite often found myself going back to look at the illustrations again or to read a particular passage that really struck a chord with me.

The Lover’s Path takes us to 16th century Venice where we meet Filamena Ziani. She lives with her older sister Tullia Ziani who is a very well known courtesan in Venice. Filamena longs for a life where she has the freedom to do what she wants but after the death of their mother her sister has virtually kept her a prisoner in their palazzo. Tullia believes that she is saving her sister from all the dangers of the real world. Instead she has taught her to read, to compose music, and to sing exquisitely. Yet Filamena longs for all of the things her sister wishes to shelter her from.

Then Filamena and Angelo happen to see each other and a love is born. A forbidden love because not only does Filamena’s sister oppose this love, so does Angelo’s father. Angelo offers Filamena all she desires especially the chance to live her own life. Will she take the risk? Will she walk the lover’s path with this man she so loves?

I loved this book and can see myself delving into it again in the future. The illustrations are beautiful and the author perfectly weaves fact with fiction in a story sure to capture your heart as it did mine. Highly recommended!


Second Life
Second Life

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, June 17, 2015
This review is from: Second Life (Kindle Edition)
Second Life is the second novel from S.J. Watson with his first being the bestselling novel Before I Go to Sleep (my review) which was a favorite of mine. Once again he delivers a psychological thriller; this time about a happily married woman leading a second life – a much more dangerous life. It makes a person question the people around them. How well do you really know your mate, your neighbor, or even your best friend. I love books like this that have me trying to dissect the story as I go along only to be hit with a twist at the end that leaves me shocked. There are things to like in Second Life and things to like not so much but ultimately it will keep you turning the pages to discover just how this twisted story will end. I listened to the audiobook of Second Life which is narrated by Susan Lyons and she does a fantastic job of adding the thrill to this psychological thriller!

When Julia learns that her sister Kate has been murdered it sets her off on a very dangerous path. Julia is devastated by her sister’s death but at the same time she feels relief. Julia and her husband adopted her sister’s boy Connor when he was very young but lately her sister had been talking of trying to regain custody. Still she didn’t want her sister dead and since she doesn’t feel the police are doing enough to find her sister’s killer she takes it upon herself to do a little investigating.

Julia’s investigation leads into her into the world of online dating. She learns from Kate’s friend Anna that Kate had been meeting men she met online and Julia feels sure that it is one of these men that has murdered her. So despite some misgivings Julia at first pretends to be her sister but then sets up her own profile and does indeed meet a man she finds very suspicious. Yet as she talks with this man she finds herself being drawn more and more into this cybersex online world. How far will she take this new obsession of hers? Will she allow it to destroy her family and her life?

I’ve seen some mixed reviews for Second Life but I really enjoyed it. It’s not the same as Before I Go to Sleep and I think if you go into it that way you really enjoy it. I found Julia to be a very selfish person but we learn that she has an addictive personality early on and I wonder if that’s not why she focuses so solely on herself. The novel also really highlights the dangers of the internet. A person really has no idea who they are talking to when they’re online and it’s scary. It also highlights the dangers of getting into things like cybersex or sharing personal information and all of a sudden finding your online life infringing on your real one. I loved the twist at the end and if I had one complaint it would only be that I wasn’t too fond of the very last sentence that left me looking for a bit more. Highly recommended!


Dear Carolina
Dear Carolina
by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.80
57 used & new from $6.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sweet Southern story to warm your heart..., June 17, 2015
This review is from: Dear Carolina (Paperback)
Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey is a sweet Southern story that will warm your heart. It is the story of two mothers – one adoptive and the other biological and a beautiful little girl named Carolina. At its heart Dear Carolina is a love story – the love that we have for our children and the sacrifices we will make for that love.

This story is told in alternating points of view as both mothers write their journeys of love for baby Carolina. On one hand we have Khaki who has everything anyone could want and has always led a privileged life. She has a son, a great husband, and a career that she absolutely loves. The one thing she can’t seem to have is another baby and she desperately wants one. On the other hand there is nineteen-year-old Jodi, cousin to Khaki’s husband. Jodi has never had an easy life with a miserable childhood, an abusive boyfriend, and being in rehab. Things get a lot harder for her when she discovers she’s pregnant.

Jodi struggles with having the baby at all as she realizes that she can never give a child all it deserves but ultimately Khaki convinces her she should have the baby. It isn’t long before Jodi realizes that the pressures of having a baby may just send her back to rehab and while she loves her baby girl more than anything in the world she also knows that at this point in her life she’s unable to be the mother she wishes she could be. Meanwhile Khaki is desperately wishing she could keep Carolina while Jodi is deciding on how best to ask Khaki and her husband for the biggest gift they could give to baby Carolina.

I really enjoyed this novel. I think it’s such a beautiful idea for both an adoptive mother and a biological one to write letters to the baby. This novel also showcases the struggle that a birth mother can have in making that decision to give her baby up even though it may be best for the child. I only had a little bit of an issue with Khaki at times but I think that came from her over- privileged life and I also found it jarring at first with how different Jodi spoke compared to Khaki likely because I’m not from the South but I quickly became used to it.

Dear Carolina is the debut novel from Kristy Woodson Harvey and I look forward to her next one. Recommended for fans of Southern women’s fiction and I think that this is one novel that would be a good book club pick too with a lot of discussion sparked over adoption and issues with getting pregnant as just a few of the topics. Very enjoyable!


The Seven Sisters: A Novel
The Seven Sisters: A Novel
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book!, June 17, 2015
The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley is the first novel in what is going to be a series of seven books all inspired by the ancient myth of the Seven Sisters of Pleiades and it is awesome! Today is the kickoff for The Seven Sisters book tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and I’m so excited to kick it off with a five star review! This novel is full of all the things I like in a book like great characters, beautiful settings, and a storyline that grabs my interest from the beginning and never lets go even for a minute. The Seven Sisters is sure to please her loyal fans along with new ones like me!

This is a story that weaves from past to present and does so seamlessly. Quite often I find one side of the story so much more interesting but not this time. I was equally anxious to read both and loved traveling back and forth from the beautiful Brazil to the romance of Paris.

In present we have Maia who is the eldest of the sisters. Their father had adopted all six girls from different parts of the world as babies. Upon learning of their father’s death the sisters all come home to gather support from each other while they grieve their beloved Pa Salt as they called him. When the will is read the girls each receive a letter from their father which leaves them an idea of where they had been born. While some of the other sisters have been curious over the years to learn of their birthplace Maia was always happy to let things alone but after reading her father’s letter to her she becomes curious enough to want to delve further into her heritage. Maia travels to Rio de Janeiro and with the help of a novelist she has worked with she finds that she descends from one of the more prominent families there. However she isn’t greeted very warmly and thinking all is lost she goes to leave but is approached by a maid who gives Maia a stack of old letters – old letters that lead her into a past she never could have imagined.

There is so much more that I haven’t even touched on. The book is quite long at almost 500 pages but you’d never know it. Once you start reading it is impossible to put it down. I listened to the audiobook which I have to say is simply incredible. It is narrated by Emily Lucienne and she does such a fantastic job. The audio comes in at eighteen and a half hours and it just flew by.

The Seven Sisters is a must for your summer reading! It’s a favorite of mine so far this year for both the amazing story and the great audio production. Highly recommended


Balm: A Novel
Balm: A Novel
by Dolen Perkins-valdez
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.95
60 used & new from $12.53

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Novel, June 17, 2015
This review is from: Balm: A Novel (Hardcover)
Balm is the second novel from Dolen Perkins-Valdez and yet another fantastic book from this author. Her first novel, Wench, which was incredible, dealt with the lives of people living during the Civil War while Balm addresses the time after as people struggled to rebuild lives shattered by the war.

Balm takes us into the lives of three people who are trying to move on after the war and while their stories are separate their lives intersect throughout the novel. First we have Sadie, a white woman, who was married off to a soldier by her parents. However upon arriving in Chicago she finds herself a widow. Then there is Madge who was raised as a freeborn slave by her mother and two aunts. They were healers and this gift passed down to Madge. Last there is Hemp who doesn’t even remember his real name. He worked as a slave during the war and was only freed afterwards.

These three have been affected by the war but also by things internally within themselves. Sadie finds herself a wealthy widow who is lost … until the spirit of a young soldier who died in the war begins to talk to her and through her and she learns that she is a talented medium. Madge grew up learning about the different herbs and such that are used for healing. Her gift of being able to lay hands on someone and know what’s going on in their bodies is something she wants to explore further. And Hemp finds himself at an uncertain point in his life as he desperately searches for his wife who went missing in the war. They all have to find ways to move on from their past hurts and make new lives for themselves.

Balm is a powerful novel both in words and descriptions of how people’s lives changed in the aftermath of the war. It is a novel of healing and of hope. I really enjoyed it. Highly recommended for historical fiction fans.


Consumption
Consumption
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic for horror fans!, May 26, 2015
This review is from: Consumption (Kindle Edition)
I am a true fan of horror. Always have been and always will be. Consumption by Heather Herrman, which released today, fed that love of mine to perfection. Consumption is a fantastic debut novel that offers up a pulse pounding thrill ride through its pages. Evil is definitely lurking and it kept me glued to this classic horror story until the very last page!

John and Erma are trying to piece their lives back together and start a new life somewhere after going through a particularly hard time. Their road trip doesn’t go quite as planned when they find themselves stranded on the side of the road due to car trouble. Finding help seems impossible until the local sheriff shows up and while he’s very helpful they find that they will still have to spend the night in Cavus. Cavus seems like a really charming town though and the people are friendly and ultimately John and Erma decide to stay a bit longer. Maybe this is a good place for the two of them to mend their broken marriage…

NOT! It doesn’t take long for both John and Erma to notice some strange things going on around them. Things that can’t be explained. There is something seriously wrong with the people in town. Turns out there is an evil that has been waiting for years to escape again … and it’s feeding on the people of Cavus. If it continues to thrive what will be the fate of the world it wishes to control?

John and Erma find themselves, along with the sheriff, two teenagers, and an old man with the weight of the town’s secrets on his shoulders, in the fight of their lives. The problem … who can be trusted? And that includes each and every one of them too.

It is said that Consumption is being compared to Stephen King and Joe Hill and I think that’s a fair comparison. I was riveted to this story from beginning to end especially as all the horrors began to unfold and I enjoyed every minute. If you’re a horror fan then Consumption is a book you’ll want to read and Heather Herrman an author to watch! Highly recommended!


Moonlight on Butternut Lake: A Novel (The Butternut Lake Trilogy Book 3)
Moonlight on Butternut Lake: A Novel (The Butternut Lake Trilogy Book 3)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $10.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to the series!, May 26, 2015
The Butternut Lake Trilogy by Mary McNear is one of my favorites. The latest book, the third in the series, entitled Moonlight on Butternut Lake is just as wonderful as I thought it would be. It’s about finding yourself again even when you feel you are broken beyond repair, of healing a broken soul, and of family and love.

Mila hasn’t had an easy life. Her childhood was hard and now she’s trapped in an abusive marriage with no way out. Or is there? Thankfully Mila finds help from a woman who has suffered abuse herself and sends her to Butternut Lake to work as a home health aide.

Back in Butternut Lake Reid is recovering from a serious car crash in which he almost died. So far he’s managed to send two home health aides running due to his horrendous attitude. It’s understandable that Reid is angry and miserable. He’s a man used to taking care of himself. It’s just that he doesn’t seem to even want to make an effort to get better. He can’t see beyond his self pity to know how lucky he is to be alive and have the support of a loving family. Will Mila be the one to break the impossibly high wall Reid has built around himself?

Mila hopes Butternut Lake will be a new start for her. A place where she can put her life back in order. She finds Reid just as nasty as she had expected and at times it’s hard for her with what she’s dealt with in her past. She has to learn to stand up for herself. When she finally does Reid sees a different woman – one unlike any he’s known before… and she begins to inhabit a place in his heart. Will these two broken souls find peace and healing through each other?

Moonlight on Butternut Lake is a beautiful story. I loved the characters and Butternut Lake itself sounds like a little piece of heaven. While this book can stand alone I think a reader would really miss out on a lot of back story by not indulging in Up at Butternut Lake and Butternut Summer first. Highly recommended!


Trail of Broken Wings
Trail of Broken Wings
Price: $4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Emotionally Powerful Story, May 26, 2015
Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani is an emotionally powerful book that portrays the effects of domestic abuse on a family throughout their lives. It is an extremely well written book and despite the subject matter this is a book well worth reading. You always think you know people but a family can look perfect on the outside and yet the inside is completely broken. It’s a vicious cycle that destroys lives.

Sonya hasn’t been home in years and probably still wouldn’t be if not for her father being in a coma. Sonya, a photographer, has been traveling the world and living her life as she wishes. It’s not as if she really cares what happens to her father having spent years living with his abuse as did her sister Marin. Only one sister seemed to be his favorite and escape the abuse and that was Trish. And in the background always was their mother Ranee who never lifted a finger to stop the abuse that she, along with her children, suffered. Of course the abuser always has an excuse for his actions and in Brent’s case, having immigrated to America to give his family a better life, failed under the pressure of not fitting in and took it out on his family.

With Sonya home and the women all sitting with their father they find their memories of the past rushing to the surface. None of them have gotten past the horrific violence they suffered at his hands and it’s invaded their lives. Sonya doesn’t seem capable of having a relationship in her adult life, Marin feels she has to control everything in her family to the point of alienating both her daughter and her husband, and Trish is bent on destroying her marriage. Even more disturbing both Ranee and her daughter Trish are harboring a secret that has the power to destroy them all. As Brent’s condition worsens all of them have their own private thoughts on whether they want this man to live or die and in doing so – in bringing the past into the present – they might all be able to finally move on from the horrors of their past and look to the future.

I could not stop listening to this book. It’s one of those books that even though the subject matter is disturbing you are still drawn into it. The author really lets you get to know her characters so you become emotionally involved with them and the audiobook makes this story all the more real. It is narrated by Karen Peakes who does a fabulous job of bringing all the emotion to this book that it deserves. I highly recommend Trail of Broken Wings.


Under the Same Blue Sky: A Novel
Under the Same Blue Sky: A Novel
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, May 26, 2015
Having read Pamela Schoenewaldt’s first two books When We Were Strangers and Swimming in the Moon and loving them I was excited to read her newest novel Under the Same Blue Sky. As with her other books her wonderful storytelling shines through as she weaves fact and fiction in this emotionally wrought tale.

Hazel is a German-American living with her parents in Pittsburgh as World War I begins. Life changes for Hazel and her family as they are shunned because of their German heritage. Still Hazel has her dreams – dreams where she’s at a castle. Her mother just tells her it’s a dream but Hazel could swear it’s a memory. When an old family secret comes to light Hazel realizes her dreams may be more real than she ever could have imagined.

As Hazel searches for answers to her past she first takes a teaching position where she finds a town that she feels she fits into until her gift of healing instead becomes a curse. She moves on and discovers some answers to her past as well as beginning to find her place in the world. She also finds many new friends that become a very important part of her life, especially one young man named Tom. When he goes off to war she is left worrying about him all the time. When the opportunity to take a trip across the sea with her benefactor and boss arises she take it in the hopes of being able to find Tom who has gone missing. What the trip does is bring to light the horrific effects of the war and the devastation it has left everywhere.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the historical aspect. The author vividly brings to life how the war affected people during and after it ended. I liked Hazel’s story although I never really felt a connection to her until the end of the novel. I also felt it moved around a bit too much. While the characters are well developed I felt a bit jarred with the changing scenes maybe wishing that the book had been more focused. Still the story is an excellent one that showcases just how devastating the war was and specifically how it affected German-Americans and the soldiers.

Recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction. I’ll be excitedly looking forward to Pamela Schoenewaldt’s next novel once again!


The Antigone Poems
The Antigone Poems
by Marie Slaight
Edition: Paperback
Price: $20.31
43 used & new from $6.16

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible collection!, May 26, 2015
This review is from: The Antigone Poems (Paperback)
I’m not sure I’ve ever fallen in love with a poetry collection but I have with this one. The Antigone Poems by Marie Slaight are hauntingly dark and beautiful and the charcoal drawings by Terrence Tasker are exquisite. I keep going back and rereading pieces from the book and I can honestly say this is a collection that I will continue to revisit.

First a little background. The collection is inspired by the story of Antigone which draws on the Greek tragedy written by Sophocles. I wasn’t familiar with this play so I looked up the story of Antigone. The short of it is Antigone is imprisoned after defying a law set by her uncle in regards to her wanting to give her dead brother a proper burial. She’s enclosed in a cave where she ultimately kills herself. The poems reflect both on her and other women’s anger, despair, and rebellion in the past and through the ages. A person could easily enjoy this collection without being familiar with the play but I think a little knowledge enriches the beauty of these poems.

A word about the book itself… It’s gorgeous. It is a small volume, paperback, with the most beautiful creamy white paper inside. The cover is amazing with its dark feel and it literally invites you to open it and indulge in this wonderful collection over and over again.

These poems aren’t long or drawn out and I loved that about them. They are short, precise, and very powerful. Here’s a favorite…

This voice
Is afraid to speak.

Afraid
Of the brutal metal
Of its words.

Words that scrape.
Words that scar.
Words that have no peace.

If I utter this voice
This great
Aching scream

It’s horror will echo forever.

This piece speaks for itself. Highly recommended!


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