Book Reviews · Recommendations

Quick Thoughts on NYC Historical Fiction

Today I would like to share my quick thoughts on two historical fiction novels that are set in New York City. Both of these novels are set in the 1800’s and compare life in high society with that of the lower classes.

An Awakened Heart
(Orphan Train Novella 0.5)
By: Jody Hedlund

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Published: April 2017
Published by: Bethany House Publishers
Format Read: eBook, Kindle
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

Rating: 2.5/5


Trying to heal the ache she feels in her empty life, wealthy Christine Pendleton decides to volunteer at Centre Street Chapel. Ministering to one of the most deprived parts of New York City, the chapel aims at making a difference in the lives of the impoverished immigrants flooding the city. After seeing firsthand the hopelessness of the poor women and orphans, Christine is convinced more can be done to help them.

Guy Bedell has been serving at the chapel and pouring his heart out for the people he’s grown to care about. When Christine begins to challenge his methods and offers a new vision for reaching out to the community, can he trust that perhaps God has bigger plans in store for him–plans that may include this feisty socialite?

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

I generally jump at the chance to read books set in New York City, especially those in the historical fiction genre. Unfortunately An Awakened Heart took me some time to get into. I did appreciate how dedicated Christine and Guy were to help the impoverished immigrants in the city. I am curious to continue on to the next book ‘With You Always”.

Murder on Astor Place
(A Gaslight Mystery)
By: Victoria Thompson


Published: May 1999
Published by: Berkley
Format Read: eBook, Libby App
Genre: Historical fiction, Mystery

Rating: 5/5


After a routine delivery, midwife Sarah Brandt visits her patient in a rooming house and finds that another boarder, a young girl, has been killed. At the request of sergeant Frank Malloy, she searches the girl’s room and discovers that the victim is from one of the most prominent families in New York – and the sister of an old friend. The powerful family, fearful of scandal, refuses to permit an investigation. But with Malloy’s help, Sarah begins a dangerous quest to bring the killer to justice before death claims another victim.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Murder on Astor Place was an engrossing start to the Gaslight Mystery Series. Although I was able to correctly predict the outcome, I enjoyed the journey.

If I could compare it to a television series, I would pick Murdoch Mysteries, which is one of my favourites and follows a detective and female doctor. In Victoria Thompson’s book we follow a detective and a midwife.

I would highly recommend Murder on Astor Place and can’t wait to read the second book.


Waiting on Wednesday: The End of Her

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that shines a spotlight on the books we can’t wait to be released in the near future.

Today I would like to share the synopsis for The End of Her by Shari Lapena. After enjoying her previous novel Someone We Know, I am very eager to read more from this author.

The End of Her by Shari Lapena

To be released: July 28, 2020



The new domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door and Someone We Know

In upstate New York, Stephanie and Patrick are adjusting to life with their colicky twin babies. The girls are a handful, but Stephanie doesn’t mind being a stay-at-home mom, taking care of them while Patrick does the nine to five to pay the bills.

When a woman from Patrick’s past drops in on them unexpectedly, raising questions about his late first wife, Stephanie supports her husband wholeheartedly. She knows the car accident all those many years ago was just that–an accident. But Erica is persistent, and now she’s threatening to go to the police.

Patrick is afraid his job–and his reputation–will be at risk if he doesn’t put an end to Erica’s questioning immediately. And when the police start digging, Stephanie’s trust in her husband begins to falter and Patrick is primed to lose everything he loves. As their marriage crumbles, Stephanie feels herself coming unglued, and soon she isn’t sure what–or who–to believe. Now the most important thing is to protect her girls, but at what cost?

Source: Goodreads
Memes · TBR

Waiting on Wednesday: The End of Her

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, that shares upcoming books we are excited about.

Today I would like to share a book that is set to be released next week. Although I have only read one book by this author, all of her work sound intriguing to me.

The End of Her by Shari Lapena


To Be Released: July 23, 2020


It starts with a shocking accusation…
Stephanie and Patrick are recently married, with new-born twins. While Stephanie struggles with the disorienting effects of sleep deprivation, there’s one thing she knows for certain – she has everything she ever wanted.
Then a woman from his past arrives and makes a shocking accusation about his first wife. He always claimed her death was an accident – but she says it was murder.
He insists he’s innocent, that this is nothing but a blackmail attempt. But is Patrick telling the truth? Or has Stephanie made a terrible mistake?How will it end?

Source: Goodreads
Book Reviews · Recommendations

Quick Thoughts on YA Audiobooks

Today I would like to share my quick thoughts on two young adult audiobooks, that I read for free from Audible Stories.


The Unexpected Everything
By: Morgan Matson

Narrated by: Bailey Carr
Rating: 4/5


From Morgan Matson, the best-selling author of Since You’ve Been Gone, comes a feel-good story of friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans.
Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.
Future? A top-tier medical school.Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a congressman and he’s never around).Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby – pretty much the most awesome people on the planet. Who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.
So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out, too.
Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer premed internship and lands both her and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all – working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super-cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?

-Source: Goodreads

Quick Thoughts

The Unexpected Everything was a great escape from dark times and was just what I needed. Although I found Andie and her friends to be a bit too “perfect”, I really enjoyed the innocence of this story. The romance was cute, but it was the father-daughter relationship that I loved the most. I would highly recommend Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything to those who enjoy contemporary YA Lit.


Titanic: The Long Night
By: Diane Hoh

Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Rating: 2.5/5


Two teenagers discover true love aboard the doomed ocean liner….
Elizabeth Farr never wanted to return to America. During her family’s vacation abroad, she has fallen in love with England, and is despondent when her father refuses to let her stay. Returning to New York means having her debut into society, and that means a swiftly arranged marriage. Elizabeth will never go to college, never learn to be a reporter – as she sees it, her life is over as soon as the Titanic reaches port. Of course, if she’s unlucky, her life will be over far sooner than that.
As Elizabeth and her family settle into their first-class cabins, Katie Hanrahan, a young Irish girl with dreams of finding fortune in America, makes her way to a steerage berth. Both girls have plans for the future, but love and death are about to intervene.

Source: Goodreads

Quick Thoughts

The tragedy of the so-called “Unsinkable” ocean liner has fascinated me for as long as I can remember, so when I saw this audiobook I jumped at the chance to listen to it. I liked how the author chose to feature characters in two different classes: first and third. Each character were at a turning point in their lives and experiencing their first loves, unfortunately I didn’t feel as if either story lines were portrayed as well as they could have been. While the concept of Titanic: The Long Night was interesting and the narration good, I felt the writing to be repetitive and there were so many missed opportunities to take the plot in better directions.

Book Reviews

The Heiresses by Sara Shepard


The Heiresses
By: Sara Shepard

Published: May 2014
Published by: Harper
Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: Contemporary fiction, Mystery

Rating: 3/5


You know the Saybrooks. Everyone does. Perhaps you’ve read a profile of them in People or have seen their pictures in the society pages of Vogue. Perhaps while walking along that choice block on Fifth Avenue, you’ve been tempted to enter the ornate limestone building with their family name etched into the pediment above the door.

The only thing more flawless than a Saybrook’s diamond solitaire is the family behind the jewelry empire. Beauties, entrepreneurs, debutantes, and style mavens, they are the epitome of New York City’s high society. But being a Saybrook comes at a price—they are heirs not only to a dizzying fortune but also to a decades-old family curse.

Tragedy strikes the prominent family yet again when thirty-four-year-old Poppy, the most exquisite Saybrook of them all, flings herself from the window of her TriBeCa office. Everyone is shocked that a woman who had it all would end her own life. Then her cousins receive an ominous threat: one heiress down, four to go.

Was it suicide… or murder? In the aftermath of the tragedy, the remaining heiresses—Corinne, the perfectionist; Rowan, the workaholic; Aster, the hedonist; and Natasha, the enigma—wrestle with feelings of sadness, guilt, and, most of all, fear. Now they must uncover the truth about their family before they lose the only thing money can’t buy: their lives.

The Heiresses is a whip-smart mystery that simmers with the wicked sense of humor and intrigue that made Sara Shepard’s number one New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series a must-read, must-watch phenomenon.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

A mystery/suspense novel about socialites from New York City, written by Sara Shepard. Sounded like the perfect book for me to get lost in. Unfortunately The Heiresses didn’t grip me like I anticipated. I thought the concept was interesting, but wasn’t surprised by any of the reveals. I wish that there had been a better division between the current day story line and the memories the characters had of important moments in the past.

Without giving away any spoilers, this book does end on a cliffhanger. It was the authors intention to make this into a series, however The Heiresses was released in 2014 and still hasn’t released a sequel. Had I known this beforehand I might not have read this book because now I feel unfulfilled.

I would recommend Sara Shepard as an author, however I would suggest reading some of her other titles instead of The Heiresses.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Land Beneath Us (Sunrise at Normandy, 3) by Sarah Sundin

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The Land Beneath Us
(Sunrise at Normany, 3)
By: Sarah Sundin
Read by: Sarah Zimmerman

Published: February 2020
Published by: Tantor Audio
Format Read: Audiobook, Audible
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Trilogy, Series

Rating: 5/5

NOTE: I was sent a copy of Sarah Sundin’s The Land Beneath Us, from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.


In 1943, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the U.S. Army Rangers at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, determined to do his best in the upcoming Allied invasion of France. With his future stolen by his brothers’ betrayal, Clay has only one thing to live for—fulfilling the recurring dream of his death.Leah Jones works as a librarian at Camp Forrest, longing to rise above her orphanage upbringing and belong to the community, even as she uses her spare time to search for her real family—the baby sisters she was separated from so long ago.After Clay saves Leah’s life from a brutal attack, he saves her virtue with a marriage of convenience. When he ships out to train in England for D-Day, their letters bind them together over the distance. But can a love strong enough to overcome death grow between them before Clay’s recurring dream comes true?

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Sarah Sundin’s Sunrise at Normandy series follows three brothers fighting for their country in three different branches of the armed forces. In the first two books, readers follow naval officer Wyatt and pilot Adler. Now in this final installment in the series we follow ranger Clay.

This trilogy was consistently enjoyable and very well researched. I learned so much about the roles each branch played in the Normandy invasion. Not only did it follow the Paxton brothers, but their romantic interests and their individual roles they took on for the war effort.

While it is clear that I enjoyed all the books in this series, it was this one; The Land Beneath Us, that was my favourite. Like the others, a common theme was forgiveness and acceptance. The plot moves along quickly and I flew through the pages.

I appreciated how the author showed that despite all the tragedies that come with war, there are still other important issues within societies that are still relevant. Sarah Sundin told this through her character Leah and her involvement at a local orphanage.

This is the only book in the series that I listened to in audio format and thought that Sarah Zimmerman’s narration did the characters justice.

Although I would advise caution to those sensitive to triggers, I would highly recommend The Land Beneath Us and the entire Sunrise at Normandy series.

Additional Notes

Sunrise at Normandy Series

1. The Sea Before Us

2. The Sky Above Us

Books Hauls · Memes

June 2020 Giant Tiger Book Haul

For those of you outside of Canada, Giant Tiger is a discount chain store. It sells everything from clothing to food and home décor. And its one of my favourite spots to pick up cheap books. I always find some hidden gems hiding in their big bins. Here are the books I came across in June.

The Promise of Palm Grove (Amish Brides of Pinecraft 1)
By: Shelley Shepard Gray

Then. Now. Always
By: Isabelle Broom

For One More Day
By: Mitch Albom

Love on the Waterways (Waterways Girls, 2)
By: Milly Adams

Currently Reading · Recommendations · TBR · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up June 2020

Total Books Read in June: 4
Total Books Read in 2020: 33


Murder on Astor Place
(A Gaslight Mystery, 1)
By: Victoria Thompson

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Series
Rating: 5/5


Something Real (Something Real, 1)
By: Heather Demetrios

Genre: YA Lit, Contemporary
Rating: 3/5

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Meet Cute
By: Helena Hunting

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Audiobook
Rating: 4/5

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I’ve Got My Eyes On You
By: Mary Higgins Clark

Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Rating: 3/5

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 4
Total Number of Fiction: 4
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 0
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 2
Total Library Books Read: 2

Formats Read

Physical Books: 1
Audio Books: 

Currently Reading

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July TBR