Book Review: The Forgotten Home Childby Genevieve Graham

There are so many things I love about The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham. If I had a Must-Read in 2020 list, this would be the second title on it. (The first place holder hasn’t been reviewed yet because it doesn’t publish until late summer, but it is worthy of first place.) Maybe I need a Must-Read Fiction in 2020 list and this could go straight to the very top. It was that good by my recommendation.

Emotionally Moving

First thing I love about this one? The genre. Historical fiction will always hold a special place in my reader’s heart. Always. This novel is based on factual history, but the plot and characters are make-believe. It’s the type of historical fiction that made me do some very light research because I had no idea this had happened (and it left me feeling bereft and heartbroken on behalf of the children who left their homes, and even more so for those who were mistreated in what should have been a better life.)

Two, I love this title because it showcases an important piece of Canadian history, is set in Canada (and the UK), with recognizable destinations and landscapes and was written by a Canadian author. Score for familiarity.

Three, I loved the voice of this writer so much. It was so easy to read, engaging and emotional. I read some early feedback from others that felt certain aspects were sugarcoated – there are some mature, graphic situations (not graphic in actual content, graphic in theme). The author chooses to gloss over them (i.e. rape was not called rape) but I took the liberty of assuming this had more to do with keeping with the era than the author choosing to belittle such horrible events. She paints a highly illustrative struggle of the children in their new situations and also casts a fair light on the flaws in what should have been an excellent program. On the flip side, there is a balance in acknowledging that not all the children ended up in abusive positions and their lives were better for it.

This novel addresses chasms between classes, the heartbreak of stigma, the darkness of an era not far behind us. It’s presented in the retelling by a nonagenerian who has kept her history a secret until a fateful occurence sparks some questions from her family.

Overall, I found The Forgotten Home Child to be one of my all-time favourite reads. It was emotionally moving and enlightening. I am in awe of the resilience of the characters and saddened by this aspect of our history. It hits shelves on March 3rd so make a preorder or on publication day pick up a copy for yourself and let me know if you agree or disagree with my take.

I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this title courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Published by: Simon & Schuster Canada

Harlequin Holiday Blog Tour – Winter 2020

We are midway into December and it’s only 2 more weeks or so until Christmas. I think it’s safe to say that holiday reading and recommendations are in full swing – unless you’re like me and can curl up with a Christmas novel in the middle of July. Sun, rain, snow – I don’t care what the weather looks like outside or what the calendar says, there’s something delightful in the feel-good formula that most holiday-themed tales will deliver.

Harlequin is hosting a Holiday Blog Tour that began December 1st and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. They were kind enough to offer a number of titles to choose from and my selections were CHRISTMAS IN SILVER SPRINGS by Brenda Novak, A WEDDING IN DECEMBER by Sarah Morgan, COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by RaeAnne Thayne. Read on for a quick synopsis of each title and my own thoughts post-binge.

Christmas In Silver Springs by Brenda Novak

Come home to Silver Springs for the holidays, where broken hearts learn to love again…together.

So much for forever. When Harper Devlin’s rock star husband ditches her on his way to the top, she takes her two daughters to her sister’s place in Silver Springs for the holidays, hoping family can heal her broken heart. But comfort comes in unexpected places when she crosses paths with local Tobias Richardson.

The moment Tobias spots Harper, he recognizes a sadness he knows all too well. After spending thirteen years in prison paying for his regretful past, Tobias is ready to make amends, and maybe helping Harper is the way to do it. But offering her a shoulder to cry on ignites a powerful attraction and a desire neither saw coming.

Fearing her reaction, Tobias doesn’t reveal his checkered past. He’s falling hard, and if Harper finds out, he’ll lose her for good, especially because her famous ex is now trying to win her back. Secrets have a way of coming out, but maybe this Christmas will bring Tobias the forgiveness—and the love—he deserves.

My Thoughts:

I liked the characters – even, ashamedly, the bad guy ex-husband who made so many mistakes. Separation and divorce are never easy, I would imagine, and everyone is going to handle it a little different. As in each of Novak’s novels, she did an excellent job with charisma, emotions, and character tension. Her stories also typically have a bit of steamy heat that you can read through or skip past if you desire. Overall, a 7 out of 10 mistletoes – it was quick and easy, but I didn’t quite find the Christmas “heart” I was hoping for, even though there was, of course, romance and growth all set at Christmas. It just didn’t leave me ready to decorate my tree. That being said, it was an overall enjoyable contemporary romance – Harlequin knows what works.

Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Publisher: MIRA BOOKS
Available now from all major booksellers.
Recommended for: sitting by a fire, tucked into a stocking, winter passenger commuting


A Wedding In December by Sarah Morgan

This funny, charming and heartwarming new Christmas novel is USA TODAY bestselling
author Sarah Morgan at her festive best!

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding. First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret of their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister, Katie, is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself! If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…


Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiancé but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has
arrived—how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run
even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget!

My Thoughts:

First, this novel had me laughing on multiple occasions. The lies we tell can get us into some seriously interesting situations and this family has some issues (don’t we all!) I also don’t mean that in a bad way – they all just wanted to protect each other so badly that things, frankly, often went badly. There was a lot to unwrap in this one as it wasn’t just a quick romance – it had some depth and layers to it. Gorgeous setting and great characters that I loved at times and wanted to throw into a snowbank at others. Some heat and lots of romance and so much poor communication. Overall, 8 out of 10 mistletoes – it had more of the heart I was looking for in a novel set over the holidays without being overly sweet like a gingerbread latte with too many pumps of syrup. Bonus points for the gorgeous cover design!

Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Publisher: HQN Books

Available now from all major booksellers.
Recommended for: a weekend snowed in, reading way past your bedtime, tucked into a gift bag with some cozy socks and fancy hot chocolate for the romance lover in your life


Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne

Hearts are lighter and wishes burn a little brighter at Christmas…

Elizabeth Hamilton has been lost. Trapped in a tangle of postpartum depression and grief after the death of her beloved parents, she couldn’t quite see the way back to her husband and their two beautiful kids…until a car accident stole away her memories and changed her life. And when she finally remembered the sound of little Cassie’s laugh, the baby powder smell of
Bridger and the feel of her husband’s hand in hers, Elizabeth worried that they’d moved on
without her. That she’d missed too much. That perhaps she wasn’t the right mother for her kids or wife for Luke, no matter how much she loved them.

But now, seven years later, Luke finds her in a nearby town and brings Elizabeth back home to
the family she loves, just in time for Christmas. And being reunited with Luke and her children is better than anything Elizabeth could have imagined. As they all trim the tree and bake cookies,making new holiday memories, Elizabeth and Luke are drawn ever closer. Can the hurt of the past seven years be healed over the course of one Christmas season and bring the Hamiltons the gift of a new beginning?

My Thoughts:

Admittedly, this was my favourite of the three. It had ALL the heart, some mystery, romance, and the expected feel-goods you look for in a novel touted as a Christmas story. Is it mind-shattering, literary genius? No – but the talented Thayne serves up love, joy, hope, and cheer in a pretty little package that will make you sigh with glee as you get to the very last page. It touches on some heart-breaking real-life issues and I was thrilled with the way it all turned out in the end. New beginnings, indeed. 10 out of 10 mistletoes for this one. It just captured all the essence and magic of a cozy Christmas romance for me. This novel is part of the Haven Point Series but can definitely be read as a standalone – I have only read some of the previous titles and was still enthralled without feeling lost.

Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Publisher: HQN Books

Available now from all major booksellers.
Recommended for: reading in a bubble bath with no kids banging on the door, curling up on the sofa with a warm tea and cuddly blanket, wrapped under the tree for your romance-lover with her beverage of choice and box of her favourite chocolate (why can’t I find Guylian anywhere anymore?!?)


My thanks to my friends at Harlequin for the chance to dive into these charming holiday reads! My heart feels warm and fuzzy after these ones.

Book Review: Code Name Lise by Larry Loftis

I am not a big fan of non-fiction. It can be so dreary and difficult to read. Give me fairy tales and love stories and make-believe any day. This is a review on a work very relevant to today. It is most definitely not fiction.

But Lindsey, if you don’t enjoy non-fiction why would you request such a title?

I asked myself the same question many times over the last few months. In fact, I downloaded the advanced copy of this book on April 12th. It was published May 9th. I reluctantly dug in this weekend.

The answer to the question above? Sheer curiosity. I am so glad I indulged this whim.Code Name: Lise” highlights the remarkable life of Odette Sansom, Britain’s most highly decorated WWII spy. A true story loaded with facts regarding an incredible woman. There was no drudgery involved in the reading.

While based on first-hand accounts, the author did a remarkable job of bringing factual information into a beautiful and exciting tale that will leave you in awe of the mission and the exploits and the incredible courage and humanity of a very normal woman. Perhaps not normal – Odette was almost unbelievably amazing – but normal, in that she was a wife and mother who just wanted to contribute something bigger than herself. Loftis presented her story richly and with colour, weaving a beautiful narrative through a terrible time in our history.

With Remembrance Day observed here in Canada today, I’m particularly glad I dove into this one. The timely reflection on the absolute sacrifice and suffering of people serving their country for a greater purpose at absolute cost to themselves was significant. The book was easy to read, yet painful, and evoked great emotion.

I would highly recommend this for anyone who has an interest in general WWII history and for those who enjoy fiction along these lines with romance and bravery (i.e. fans of The Nightingale.) Once you get into it, Code Name: Lise reads like fiction while being entirely based on fact. Incredible.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a complimentary digital copy of this title for review. All opinions are my own. (Seriously. Go pick up a copy of this book!)

Book Review: Lake Season by Denise Hunter

Charming!

The first story in a brand-new series, Lake Season invites readers to the Bluebell Inn in a small North Carolina town where a lost letter, a chance for new love, and old secrets beckon.

Family, relationships, secrets, struggles, life, love, loss – Lake Season by Denise Hunter has it all. With her characteristic charm, Hunter has developed this novel – to be released next Tuesday – beautifully. It’s an endearing first title in a new series (hooray!) that hits all the points.

The characters, the plot, the setting (oh my – the setting!) all meld into this sweet tale with elements of mistaken identities, romance, and small town life. Another definite recommended read – sure to be a success for Ms. Hunter and Thomas Nelson.

I read it in a single sitting and missed too much sleep, but it was worth it. Likeable, flawed characters and a familiar story done slightly differently, all I can say is if you’re a fan of contemporary Christian fiction, you’ll want to pick it up a copy next week and block off a chunk of time to cozy up with this one!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Book Review: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

Delightful from cover-to-cover.

If you’re looking for a book to get lost in, I’d highly recommend the new release The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland. Touted as “…a wholly original, charismatic, and uplifting novel that no reader will soon forget.” Spot on. Released on October 29th by St. Martin’s Press, I was privileged enough to be provided with an Advance Reading Copy, that once again, I finished up just after publication. (Too many books, too little time…)

My thoughts on this novel are generally positive – it wreaked havoc on my emotions making me laugh, cry, and generally content. It provides a gripping fictional account of a heart transplant survivor who needs to learn how to live again. It tackles the frailties of being a patient staring death in the face, the emotional repercussions of survival, and the nuances of relationships after a literal life-changing event -sussing out the events life and love, family and friends. It’s the telling of Ailsa’s journey to ordinary after an extraordinary experience.

It’s clever and charming with a streak of no BS and I absolutely loved all the characters. Each one has flaws, personality, and something to love. The novel as a whole is both uneasy and affecting. You will feel everything Ailsa feels. The author has done a remarkable job of taking a serious issue and making it lighthearted, yet impactful.

Reader discretion advised for: language (it’s not all squeaky clean) and a couple other elements. I could definitely look beyond them in the greater scope of the novel – maybe not necessary, but they were just little blips on my radar thinking that others in my book-reading network are pickier than I might be.

Overall, this one didn’t follow my typical formula and perhaps isn’t even something I would have picked up off a library shelf. That said, it was a definite win and I’m glad I took a chance when requesting it for a preread. Delightful from cover-to-cover.

I was provided with a complimentary early digital version via NetGalley with my thanks to the publisher and author. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: The Daughter of Hardie

Happy Sunday! Our weekend has been CRAAAAAZY busy and I haven’t had as much time to read as I would have liked, but I did finish a few great titles last week that I’ll be sharing with you over the next few days between work, parenthood, and life in general.

The Daughter of Hardie is an absolutely enjoyable way to while away a few lazy (winsome) evenings…

Back in July, my friends at Agora Books reached out to ask whether I would like to read the second book in the Hardie Family Series by Anne Melville (pseudonym for Margaret Edith Newman), originally published in the late 80’s/early 90’s. (I reviewed the first title, The House of Hardie, here.) Of course, I enthusiastically accepted the offer and downloaded a complimentary e-galley of The Daughter of Hardie. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm found itself tucked into a dark and dusty corner and I just got around to reading it despite a publication date of August 15th. Yikes!

Here is the publisher’s description, touting this title as “a poignant and moving Victorian saga.

Grace Hardie has grown up in a sweeping estate on the outskirts of Oxford. But her life has been a far cry from a fairytale. Ailing and asthmatic as a child, she never really found her place – not with her brothers, not with any friends – always on the outside. And when tragedy strikes twice in the same day, Grace’s world, and her place in it, is turned upside down. Ungainly and lonely at sixteen, could the bloom of first love be the guiding light she needs? Or is the history of The House of Hardie bound to repeat itself? As class once again threatens to tear the family apart, so too does the Great War: sweeping away this budding romance before it’s had a chance to begin. Through heartbreak and betrayal, longing and loss, Grace Hardie must adapt to this changing world and struggle to find her own way.

My thoughts on this title in a nutshell is that it was even better than the first! The centralised storyline revolving around Grace was charming. As with the previous novel, it is not a quick-paced, fast-moving adventure – it’s more of a slow walk through the woods on a perfect autumn day… or akin to catching up with friends while enjoying a tea on your couch in your comfies. It was wholesome and warm and engaging.

The strong female character(s) once again take shine dominantly, challenging societal norms and the expectations of family. Tragedy and triumph escort you through a lifetime, and you may find yourself annoyed by some of the secondary characters (leads from the first – some questionable decision making arose.) The Daughter of Hardie is an absolutely enjoyable way to while away a few lazy (winsome) evenings and I highly recommend. It’s available now to purchase!

My thanks to the publisher for sharing this delightfully empowering tale via NetGalley.


Book Review: State of Lies by Siri Mitchell

Last night was a “rough night” as in I couldn’t fall asleep. So after lying there for sometime restless with my brain pinging endlessly, I decided I might as well read. Have you ever picked up a book and immediately wonder how the author can weave such a plot? State of Lies by Siri Mitchell had. me. hooked. As in, I read the entire book in one session. As in my husband rolled over in the wee morning hours and asked if I ever sleep. (No. The answer is no.) My 6 o’clock alarm came very quickly… but this book was worth it. Better than any dream I could have dug from the back of my imagination.

Action. Drama. Twists. Turns. Shattered Trust. Loss. Chaos. This book has it all. All espionage, political intrigue, danger, and lies. This novel is fast paced and kept me guessing at the beginning, and totally engaged at the end. My only complaint is that it was too short… and I found the post-climax writing a little…. slow? I honestly was surprised at how much I liked it – political suspense and physicists aren’t really my thing…. but life threatening incidents and doubts about everything and everyone, including yourself, while trying to maintain a normal existence? Dished up generously!

This title is published by Thomas Nelson (generally considered a Christian publisher.) However, unlike other books by this author, it skated across that genre – it wasn’t offensive, but it wasn’t faith-centric, at all. This is a non-issue for me, but if you’re familiar with their publishings, this might catch you by surprise a little – no verses, no church, no questioning of beliefs – other than those our heroine has of those she loves and trusts. I definitely recommend it as an exciting read. Watch for it to hit shelves August 13th and pick up a copy for yourself. You’ll thank me.

“I received a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley and the publisher. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.”

Book Review: Not My Daughter by Kate Hewitt

In my last book review, I believe I mentioned that I’ve not been reading as much in exchange for some actual rest. This in turn means that I haven’t been reading as much… but I started the recently-published Not My Daughter by Kate Hewitt late last week and finally wrapped it up last night. In a very basic understatement, it was an amazing book.

Reminding me of my appreciation for Jodi Picoult’s novels, this is an emotional depiction of parenthood, family, friendship, love, life, and loss. While the characters weren’t always likeable, they were very real. As a couple struggles with infertility, this heart-wrenching novel explores raw struggles and the sacrifices we make for those we love. In an emotionally charged presentation, Hewitt challenges the reader as relationships are tested and decisions are made as a longed-for, much-loved child faces a terrible diagnosis.

Tears streamed down my face as I read the final chapter. As I put my reader down, I turned to my husband and said, “That was a horrible book.” But I didn’t mean it as a negative – I meant it was gut-wrenching, compelling, thought provoking, and just incredible – it grabbed me and didn’t let me go. I definitely recommend.

I was provided with a complimentary uncorrected advanced readers copy from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own. .

Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: May 2, 2019

Book Review: A Forbidden Love

I feel a little sheepish admitting that I procrastinated in reading this title. It was published earlier this month and I like to post my NetGalley reviews while the books are still fresh. So I ‘forced’ myself to read it… and oh my word, I wish I had cracked it open sooner.

Set during the Spanish civil war, which I admittedly knew very little about, A Forbidden Love by Kerry Postle follows the intertwining lives of a number of individuals in a sleepy little Spanish town. They are rocked by the human tragedy that befalls their village when Nationalists bring conflict to their doorsteps.

Descriptive, colourful prose and well-developed characters experience friendship, love, loss, anger, pain, betrayal, hope and more in this historical love story. While the main female lead is admittedly self-absorbed, brash, and impetuous, you can’t help but feel for her loss of innocence in such a terrible situation. She makes unwise choices, lives with the guilt, but ultimately is not responsible for the horrors of war that befall her family and friends. You see her maturity develop as she faces remarkably challenging situations that no one should ever experience.

The author beautifully presented this historical era with emotion and poignancy. I appreciated how she drew attention to atrocities committed against woman by their own countrymen. She honoured their innocence and memory.

Overall, I was truly engrossed once I was a few chapters deep. It’s a stirring account of oppression, corruption, and survival. It may leave you feeling a little raw and vulnerable by the final chapter, but in awe of the bravery and desire to fight for what is right. A tale extraordinarily told that asks if the enemy can be loved and truly forgiven. Pick up a copy for yourself!

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this title via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Publication date: April 2, 2019

Published by: HQ Digital (Harper Collins UK)

Book Review: The Remarkable Inventions of Walter Mortinson by Quinn Sosna-Spear

The one benefit to not feeling quite myself is the need to rest, and what better way to rest than with a good book or two or three while tucked into bed in a quiet (or not-so-quiet) house – without the guilt of tasks remaining undone. Doctor’s orders and all that. One of the titles I dove into was “The Remarkable Inventions of Walter Mortinson” by Quinn Sosna-Spear. I’ll admit that one of the reasons I requested this book, besides my quest to encourage a love of reading in my youngest (I’ve given up on the oldest), was the eye-catching artwork design on the cover of this tween-novel. (PS, click the link for the author’s website – it’s gorgeous!)

Beautiful Cover Art –
Riveting & Imaginative Children’s Fiction

This magical debut novel targeted for the Middle School sector was released today! It is a well-written story with elements of mystery, adventure, family, friendship, acceptance, love, loss, and healing. Set in an incredibly fantastical land with enchantingly descriptive elements and people, the writing is engaging enough to capture the attention of the pickiest young reader while remaining sophisticated enough to appeal to grown up readers who enjoy a touch of whimsy.

The plot follows the road trip-style adventure of two tweens who embark on their journey for two very different, personal reasons. The riveting escapade is balanced with colourful scenery, elements of humour, and personal introspection. I was both charmed and surprised. I loved the quirky odd characters and wish we had the opportunity to get to know them a little better. The ending caught me by surprise and left me a little bereft, yet touched – not because it was poorly written, but because I was so engaged with the tale.

This title was a page turner, for sure! We’ll be adding a hard copy of this novel to our shelves at home and I can only hope that it will be as big a hit with my boys as it was for me. A recommended read for any tween or adult readers who enjoy imaginative and extraordinarily curious fiction along the lines of Neil Gaiman or Roald Dahl.

I received a complimentary copy of this title via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Published by: Simon & Schuster Canada / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers