The Uninvited by Cat Winters

uninvitedThe Uninvited by Cat Winters is a haunting and powerful novel of love in unexpected places, of loss, and of moving forward.  I was swept to another time and place in this novel that is set during the time period of The Great Influenza of 1918.

Twenty-five year old Ivy has always had the ability to see the ghosts of loved ones.  It’s a gift she dreads as these appearances of ghosts are always uninvited and always signal the death of someone to come.  With the flu epidemic raging Ivy is struck down but she pulls through.  Upon being well enough to get out of bed Ivy is horrified to learn that her father and brother have killed a young German man in town apparently to avenge the death of Ivy’s brother.

Ivy can’t live in the same house with her father and brother anymore so she leaves home.  She’s shocked to see how much devastation the flu has caused.  Finding lodging with May, a young war widow, Ivy struggles to get her life in order.  First on her list is to somehow make amends to the living brother of the one that her brother and father killed.  Aside from that she works relentlessly with the Red Cross to transport the sick to the hospital.  Ivy is shocked to see the hatred towards the Germans in her community and it seems nobody is safe anymore.  Still she finds that she is drawn to the murdered German’s brother and she decides to live life as she wants since there may not be a tomorrow.  Unfortunately Ivy begins to see more and more of the uninvited and she’s terrified for those close to her waiting for another to die…but there are secrets being kept.  Secrets that have the power to change everything for Ivy.

This story is greatly enriched by all the historical elements. Being a historical fiction fan I really appreciated that side of the story and being a fan of the paranormal that side of the story intrigued me as well.  So The Uninvited was a winner for me and the twist at the end had the power to surprise even me who usually has everything figured out.  I listed to the audiobook which is narrated by Emily Woo Zeller who does a fantastic job.  I really enjoyed listening to her and the effort she put into really bringing out the power and emotion of this tale were great.

Recommended for fans of historical fiction/ghost stories.  I loved it, so much so that I already picked up a couple more of the author’s novels.  Highly recommended!

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Source: Digital copy received from the publisher in return for an honest review. Audiobook personal copy. No compensation was received.

The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott & Giveaway (US/Canada)

wonderHaving read and really enjoyed Jason Mott’s debut novel The Returned I was really excited to read his newest The Wonder of All Things.  Mott’s storytelling leaves the reader questioning themselves as to what they would do in the same situation and I like that.  He also writes of strange phenomena and that intrigues me.  In The Returned it was dead people coming back to their loved ones and in The Wonder of All Things it’s a young girl who has the power to heal.  I love books like this – books that give me a shiver up my spine.

It’s a normal day in the small town of Stone Temple and Ava and her best friend Wash are at the air show when a plane crashes into the crowd of people gathered there.  Ava and Wash are trapped underneath a pile of rubble and while Ava is ok Wash is seriously injured.  Ava can hear her father Macon telling her that help is on the way but Ava knows only one thing – she can’t let Wash die.  As Ava lays her hands over Wash’s wounds he is miraculously healed.

What follows comes as no surprise.  People go crazy, both in Stone Temple and throughout the world as the news spreads of this young thirteen-year-old girl and her healing powers.  People and reporters flood into the town.  Of course everyone wants to be healed and the doctors want to test and test Ava to try and determine how she even possesses this gift.  People think it is a sin for the girl not to help people if she’s able to.  The thing is though that every time Ava uses this gift it takes a horrible toll on her body and she refuses to do what everyone wants her to… she will only use her gift if it is her choice to do so.

I felt for Ava.  What a choice to be faced with – help people suffering or don’t help them and with her being so young she had to depend on the adults to help her and that help wasn’t always the best.  I think the choice would be made easier for me if I became ill myself doing it.  Wash was such a little gentleman and always taking care of Ava and the blossoming love between the two young people was sweet.  As with Mott’s first novel, this one too leaves you asking yourself what you would do and has you wondering about miracles in themselves.

I listened to The Wonder of All Things which is narrated by Julia Whelan who is a favorite narrator of mine and she did a great job bringing the characters and this story to life.  The Wonder of All Things is a beautifully written novel about love, loss, and the deep love we carry for those closest to us.  Highly recommended!

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1 paperback copy up for giveaway
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Source: Digital copy received for review from the publisher in return for an honest review. Audiobook personal copy. No compensation was received.

Woman With a Secret by Sophie Hannah

Woman-With-A-Secret-432x648Woman With a Secret is the newest from Sophie Hannah.  I’ve never read anything by Sophie Hannah and this one apparently has characters from a long running series she has but can stand alone and I found it did.  Woman With a Secret is a dark novel of secrets, lies, and deceit.

Nicki Clements is married with two children.  It all seems pretty normal but it isn’t.  Nicki has secrets and not just your run of the mill kind.  She carries the kind of secrets that have the power to destroy the family she cares about.  Only one person shares her secrets – a man she initially met online on a site called Intimate Links.  She knows she’s playing with fire but can’t help herself.

One day on the way home she encounters a huge police presence on a road very near her home.  They are stopping everyone and while Nicki is waiting she sees someone she had hoped to never see again and she knows she has to get out of there and quick.  So she does and in doing so sets off a chain of events that she never could have imagined and it starts with her being arrested for a murder.  As the detectives investigate Nicki has no choice but to lay her secrets out before everyone and hope to be forgiven, not to mention cleared of murder.

I’m very on the fence with this novel.  I found the part of Nicki and her foray into a website such as Intimate Links very intriguing but soon enough the novel started going in other directions with the detectives and numerous other characters that were introduced and it basically lost me there.  I listened to the audiobook and I have to give kudos to the narrators David Thorpe and Julia Barrie because they did do a great job.  Even though Nicki isn’t a character anyone will like if the novel had stayed more focused on her and her past and present life I would have liked it more.  I think this is one of those novels you’ll either like or not like – I’m in the middle.

Recommended for fans of psychological thrillers.

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Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review. No compensation was received.

The Best of Enemies by Jen Lancaster (Audiobook)

enemies

Jen Lancaster is one of my favorite authors, both in her memoirs which are always great and her forays into fiction. I adore her sarcasm and sense of humor and sitting down with a book of hers is a treat for me. Her newest The Best of Enemies was such a good listen for me and I enjoyed every minute with my only issue being that it ended too soon.  The audiobook is narrated by Julia Whelan and Emily Rankin and both of these ladies are amazing narrators and I always enjoy listening to them.  They do a great job of portraying the characters of this story perfectly!

Jacqueline (Jack) has been besties with Sarabeth (Sars) from the time they are kids.  Branching out in college Jack decides to room with someone else and that ends up being Kitty.  While they start out on the right path to becoming best friends they manage to derail that friendship big time and while they are both still friends with Sarabeth, they are sworn enemies of each other.

While Jack becomes a journalist and travels to some of the most dangerous places in the world Kitty becomes a mom and devotes herself to her husband, kids, and her blog.  The two of them have absolutely nothing in common but when they learn that Sarabeth’s husband has died they both rush to her side.  Despite the two disliking each other as much as they do they both find they agree that his death seems suspicious.  They decide to put aside their differences to do some investigating.  After all they’ve both got to protect their best friend Sarabeth.  To solve the mystery Jack and Kitty set out on a road trip.  The big question is can the two of them survive each other?

I really loved this book and the twist at the end was good too.  Jen’s humor shines through in this story and I found myself laughing over and over again throughout the book.  In all seriousness though, while the story has its humorous side there is also the very real side of forgiveness and moving on.  Another fabulous read from Jen Lancaster!  Highly recommended!

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Source: Review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review. No compensation was received.