Book Review: Once Upon A [Hidden] Time by Samreen Ahsan

About the Book:

This is book 4 of [STOLEN] SERIES
2015…
All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castle-and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. When Steve Bernard, a wealthy videogame designer offers her to model for a princess character in his new game, Myra can’t resist his offer to enter the mysterious, colorless, and cursed Hue Castle. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to it by blood and sorcery. When she enters the castle’s doors, she awakens dark powers, time travelling through a cursed mirror, torturing her present, and rewriting her future, leaving Steve Bernard with millions of questions.

1415…
Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine, nor felt the rain, or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father King Stefan, who will not rest until he shatters Edward’s soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward’s one hope is the mysterious woman, who walks into his life through a cursed mirror, out of his dreams, and introduces him: love.

Will Myra break Edward’s curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly? Will Steve ever be able to finish his game without Myra? Past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.

My Thoughts:

I have been a fan of Samreen Ahsan’s writing and this series since the beginning. There is something magical about the setting and the story that draws the reader in. This series is a modern day retelling of the Beauty and the Beast. The story jumps between two times, one set in 1415 and the other in modern day 2015. I absolutely love how Samreen has chosen to name each book in the series giving us a hint of what is to come. There is so much meaning behind each title which becomes clear as you read the book.

This book is the fourth in the series picking up where the third book ends. In this book we follow Myra as she navigates the court and her life with Edward. She has brought some light into his life and some parts of the curse seems to be broken. On the other hand we follow her as she deals with the king and his attentions. In parallel to this, we follow Steve as he finds a way to explain Myra’s disappearance and his budding relationship with childhood friend who is also a police officer and involved in the investigation into Myra’s disappearance.

At some parts, it feels as though this book is just building on the existing feelings and settings. The rebuilding of the relationship between Edward and his niece is beautiful to read about. Myra is like a breath of fresh air and brings joy to everyone she is around. She is also a strong independent woman whose opinions stand out and thus she has to be careful in front of whom she expresses this. In a time when women are meant to be quiet, seen and not heard and definitely not stand up for themselves, she is unique and out of place. As she reads more about the Hue dynasty and the past, it’s origins, she is worried that history might repeat itself thus setting her and Edward apart.

What remains to be seen is whether Edward will stand up for what he wants and believes in. Will he stand up for love? Will the king force Myra to marry him? With so many questions arising from the ending where the author threw us a curve ball, I am looking forward to the next book which will conclude the story and the series! This is a wonderful read and I recommend it for fans of romance, retellings, time travel and fantasy fiction.

Book Blitz: Art of Self-Maximization by Dr. Sanjeevv Khanna

Do you look forward to wake up each morning ready to face a new day and new challenges? Or does the fear of failure keep you from reaching your true potential? Do you feel you are stuck in life and not progressing? Do you want to leave your comfort zone, but are not sure how to do it? Only when you are clear about what you want to achieve in your life and your goals can you work toward it.
In his book, “ART OF SELF-MAXIMIZATION” the author, Dr. Sanjeevv Khanna, gives you the recipe to live a fulfilling life. This book will help you identify the areas in your life where you need to make a change to realize your true potential.
Reading this book will help you…
Discover what you are passionate about
Visualize your life goals
Overcome fear of failure
Live a balanced and full life
Get back the joy of living
Dr. Sanjeevv Khanna, a renowned Ikigai, Life, Relationship & Leadership Coach, has provided the blueprint to successful living in this book. It is sure to help anyone looking to maximize their life experiences and come out of the daily rut. Read this book to learn the important hacks to manifest your desires and attain success.
Book Links:
Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Read an Excerpt from Art of Self-Maximization

“We are kept away from our goal not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”- Robert Brault.

The universe controls our actions. Have you ever been told this? Have you not heard people talking about the sheer significance of luck in one’s life?
The answer is categorically affirmative. You often come across people blaming their luck for not getting a job or a good score or for being yelled at by a superior, and the list goes on and on. Why don’t you take a minute and ponder upon the concept of luck? Think about Rajesh, a young man, who is just out of college and is looking for a job. A year passes by, and Rajesh has miserably failed in his attempts to secure a job.
Now, whenever he is asked about being unemployed, he blames his luck. The truth is, Rajesh only applied for the jobs that his connections referred him to. Although this is a good way of job hunting, Rajesh had neither updated his resume nor enhanced his professional skills. He assumed his luck would put things in place somehow. Let me tell you this. The recipe for success is 99 percent hard work and 1 percent luck. Look around you. The world is brimming with opportunities.
The ones who have succeeded grabbed those chances and worked really hard to accomplish their goals. This is the story of all successful people.

“Opportunity does not knock; it presents itself when you beat down the door.”- Kyle Chandler

We all want to succeed, and we all know that it is easier said than done. One can dream, but turning your dreams into reality is the actual task at hand. We are aware of many rags to riches real-life stories. Consider Narayan Murthy, Indira Nooyi, Karsanbhai Patel, Shah Rukh Khan, Rajnikanth, or even late Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam; none of them were born with a golden spoon. How did they reach their current stature?
Well, simple. All of them were open to opportunities, and they worked hard. They explored the path to board a purpose-driven life. Go ahead and look up a few stories yourself. And then, ask yourself this: What makes them who they are? How are they so ahead of the pack?
You need some crucial elements to fill your life with a purpose. Have you heard of consistent behavior? A consistent behavior motivates you, lets you overcome hurdles, and helps you move closer to your focus.
As you adhere to consistent behavior, you dig an option to change the conditions in the surrounding environment. Anyone who lives a life filled with purpose instills consistent behavior in their outer and inner circles.
The next crucial element is to be psychologically resilient. You need to be flexible and make adjustments wherever necessary to meet your goal, no matter what obstacles and demands you might face.
By avoiding adversities and managing the environment dynamically, both physical and psychological, you can reduce your problems, especially if your life does not have a purpose.
Additionally, having a purpose in life enables you to effectively allocate available resources like energy and time. These resources allow you to pursue the purpose. Other actions with zero worth are kept to the least. Besides, the resources they could have used up are redirected to purpose-driven actions. Such components are deemed important elements to pursue a life filled with purpose. In their absence, it’s almost impossible to find and achieve one’s life purpose.

About the Author:

Dr. Sanjeevv Khanna is  India’s 1st Licensed IKIGAI coach and also he is ICF & NLP Certified Life Coach. Dr. Sanjeevv Khanna  is also Founder & CEO of Academy for Self Maximization, Director – CBO, Startup Lanes Strategic Partner & Executive Director –  Noble Manhattan Ltd., U.K. Global Leader – Artemes, Mentor of Change -ATAL, Niti Aayog. He is also the author of Ikigai is Ikigai & Art of Self-Maximisation.Author on the Web:
Twitter * Facebook * Instagram

Book Review: Shut The Lights by Smita Bhattacharya

About the Book:

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A dark and unpredictable tale of family secrets… and the lengths we go to, to save the ones we love. For lovers of non-formulaic domestic noir suspense.

For this family, the lockdown came as a blessing.

On 24 March 2020, with merely a four-hour notice, the Indian government declared a three-week lockdown as a containment measure for COVID-19. In terms of scale and severity, this lockdown was unparalleled worldwide. However, quite unexpectedly, for a family of four, cooped up in a plush Mumbai apartment, it came as a blessing.

On the face of it, Suvini, Mridul, Damien, and Tara belonged to an upper-middle-class family, with its typical privileges and pressures. But inwardly, each of them held a dark secret that threatened to derail their very existence. And the shutting down of everything had given them the unique opportunity to get away with it.
Or not.

Inspired by actual events.

For readers of Herman Koch, Elizabeth Haynes, and Leila Slimani.

My Thoughts:

Every time Smita tells me that she has written another story, I jump at the chance to read it. I was lucky to get introduced to her two years ago and I have been a fan of her writing ever since. What intrigues me the most is how she takes everyday incidents or current situations and turns them into a complete story, replete with strong characters and an entertaining plot with twists that you don’t see coming.

Shut The Lights is a suspense novel set during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic during the first lock down in India. This was a time of great confusion and uncertainty wherein we did not know what was happening, what to do, how to stay safe etc. Smita took this feeling and situation and turned it into a story that will have the reader on the edge of their seats in anticipation of what happens next.

In this book, we follow an upper-middle-class family as they navigate the lockdown and deal with being confined within the house all the time. We observe their strained interactions while the cracks in their relationships that were barely visible start to come to light. However, the most interesting part of this story is in the twist and how the family comes together, despite the web of lies, as one to protect their own and try to hide a shocking secret.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book as the feelings of the characters and their reactions to a lot of the situations mirrored our own during the first lockdown of the pandemic. The book is relatable in this sense and full of mystery with well developed characters who could be anyone around us. I strongly recommend this book for those who enjoy reading non-formulaic domestic noir suspense as mentioned in the blurb.

The Freedom Manifesto: Seven Rules to Live a Life of Your Calling by Karan Bajaj

About the Book:

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In 2019, Karan Bajaj quit his job as Discovery India’s head to start WhiteHat Jr with the mission of making every kid a creator in this world. At the time, everyone thought Karan was reckless to give up a high-flying corporate career at the age of forty, but eighteen months later, WhiteHat Jr was acquired by BYJU’s for $300 million. On the surface, it was one of the fastest startup-to-exit journeys in India, but the seeds of this were planted a decade ago when Karan first decided to create his own set of life rules.

In The Freedom Manifesto, Karan, for the first time, reveals these secrets to help you transform your life. Unconventional, practical and no-nonsense, these seven rules will help you prioritize what matters most, radically transform your mindset from an employee to an owner, create a daily routine to end self-doubt and negativity and break the shackles of conformity to design a life of your calling. These rules will set you free, not just financially, but also help to reveal your best self.

My Thoughts:

The Freedom Manifesto is insightful and gripping in a way that I did not expect. I generally do not read non-fiction and especially books of self-help or self-improvement (not yet anyway!). However, this book is indeed a stepping stone for me, inspiring me to consider reading more books out of my comfort zone ( usually fiction) and to explore new avenues and genres.

The book draws on the author’s personal experiences as the basis for explaining several simple steps to transform your life. Karan doesn’t just talk to us about his successes but highlights his failures and the lessons he learnt from them. He is open, accepting of his decisions (both the ones that worked and those that did not), precise and clear in his thinking and critical of himself in a way that draws the reader in, igniting sparks of interest in following his journey. Through this journey, we also read about steps that we can follow to help ourselves, questions to ask to help introspect and suggestions on what to do after we have thought of the answers. I found the style of writing and presentation to be quite unique and this is what captured my attention. The book and writing are personal but written in a way that anyone can understand or relate to and this is something I quite enjoyed.

In conclusion, I truly enjoyed reading this book even though some of the formulas went over my head. This is something I would have to truly look into at some point. In general, I realized that a lot of the questions that Karan raises or suggests that we ask ourselves are ones which I have thought of but never focused on specifically. The point which sticks with me is what to do with the answers once have them and how to prioritize things which are important to us. All this makes this book worth reading!

#99Cents Deal :: Imagine the Kiss (Crystal Creek Series #7) by Laura Haley-McNeil

Available for 99 cents from 23rd till 29th May!

Two people open themselves to the truth and open themselves to each other.

Her marriage in ruins, violinist Teagan Whitloch Munroe escapes into her music and the solace she finds at the Crystal Creek Ranch. Practicing in the woods helps her piece together her life, but she isn’t alone. When she hears someone hiking nearby, she demands he reveal himself, but the only revelation she gets is a soothing voice that heals the pain in her heart.
Maimed by a crushing accident, the once famous architect Phineas St. Cyr protects the world from his disfigurement by sequestering himself in the woods on the Crystal Creek Ranch. When he hears the intoxicating strains from Teagan’s violin, he can’t resist the beauty that quiets his aching soul, and he yearns to know the woman who creates such beauty.
Teagan finds sanctuary in her friendship with this connoisseur of music, but soon realizes Phin’s hiding more than his hideous scars. As they become entangled with each other, Teagan is stunned to learn they share more than a love of music. They are caught in a web of deceit by someone threatening to reveal Phin’s secrets. His exposed past endangers Teagan, and he can no longer walk away. This time he must face the enemy determined to defeat him. He’ll fight to the finish to protect the woman he can never love. No price is too high to keep buried the secret that will mark Teagan for destruction.Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Read an Excerpt from Imagine the Kiss

Chapter One

Teagan Whitloch Munroe was trembling. She was trembling, and she couldn’t stop. She’d been trembling for more than two hours—since she’d left the downtown Denver condominium she shared with her husband, Dr. Wilbert Munroe. What she’d seen inside the condo—in their bedroom—made her want to vomit. A cold knot of disgust and revulsion gripped her stomach.

When she’d walked into the master bedroom, she must’ve gasped. Will was lying on the bed, but he wasn’t alone. He’d lifted his head from the pillow. He looked right at her.

And swore.

He didn’t look surprised. He looked annoyed.

She’d pressed a hand over her mouth.

Blinded by tears, she’d backed into the doorjamb and stumbled into the hallway. She didn’t remember running out of the condo, but she must have. Her legs throbbed, and her chest ached. The only thing she remembered was her husband calling her name. What had he said? Let’s talk? She didn’t know if she should laugh or sob.

And she remembered the dulcet laughter of the naked woman who was servicing him in bed. Teagan’s and Will’s bed. Teagan had thought Ginny Andrews was her friend.

Some friend. Ginny who was svelte and toned. A contrast to Teagan who’d struggled with her weight since she was seven years old.

A shuddering breath rocked through Teagan’s lungs. Tears streamed down her cheeks. She wiped them away.

She barely remembered driving to the Crystal Creek Ranch, throwing a saddle on her favorite horse, Champagne, and racing through the meadows until she reached the aspen forest covering Crystal Peak.

Fighting against the despair that filled her, she wrapped shaky fingers around the reins and urged the Arabian horse through the trees bursting with spring green leaves. Her vision blurred, and she tried to focus on the pink wild roses and purple elephant’s head mingling with the green undergrowth. The splashes of Crystal Creek tumbling over rocks sounded next to the trail. It was happy and musical and far from the darkness that crowded her heart. Her stomach roiled and begged to be emptied of the half sandwich she’d eaten during the orchestral rehearsal that afternoon.

She ran her hand over the horse’s neck damp from perspiration.

About the Author:

A native of California, Laura Haley-McNeil spent her youth studying ballet and piano, though her favorite pastime was curling up with a good book. Without a clue as to how to write a book, she knew one day she would.
After college, she segued into the corporate world, but she never forgot her love for the arts and served on the board of two community orchestras. Finally realizing that the book she’d dreamt of writing wouldn’t write itself, she planted herself in front of her computer. She now immerses herself in the lives and loves of her characters in her romantic suspense and her contemporary romance novels. Many years later, she lived her own romantic novel when she married her piano teacher, the love of her life.
Though she and her husband have left warm California for cooler Colorado, they enjoy the outdoor life of hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and snow skiing. They satisfy their love of music by attending concerts and hanging out with their musician friends, but Laura still catches a few free moments when she can sneak off and read.

Laura on the Web:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Newsletter

 

Book Review: Love Letters by the Sea (The Siren’s Retreat Quartet #4) by Erica Ridley

About the Book:

What happens when the proprietress of Siren’s Retreat discovers the charming romantic she’s been corresponding with is same villain turning her beloved property into a gaming hell?

When not responding to advice column letters, entrepreneurial widow Mrs. Deborah Cartwright runs bright, beautiful Siren’s Retreat, legendary for helping her lovelorn guests find their perfect match. Deborah experienced love years before, and lightning does not strike twice. Although there might be a light flirtation with a certain anonymous letter-writer she’s definitely not falling for, there’s no time for romance. Not whilst a heartless blackguard is in town to wrest her beloved inn out from under her!

Clever, career-minded Mr. Patrick Gretham is the trusted man-of-business for a powerful lord, who is eager to turn this perfectly situated property wasted on lovebirds into a gambling hell the likes of which no one leaves with their fortunes intact. Over Deborah’s dead body! The beautiful proprietress hates everything Patrick stands for and will fight him every step of the way. Except when they find themselves on opposite sides of a plume. Or falling into each other’s embrace…

My Thoughts:

I have been a fan of Erica Ridley’s books for some time now and so it was inevitable that I would pick up this book to read next. I have been reading the books in this series out of order, but the best part is that they can also be read as a standalone with only a little backstory running through. This is explained in some way during the story making it easy for the reader to follow the many characters and situations.

The story follows widow Deborah Cartwright, the proprietress of the Siren’s Retreat, a place known to bring people together through love. Having lost her one true love many years ago, she takes pleasure in watching other people find love without any expectations for herself. She devotes her time to the running of Siren’s Retreat and corresponding with a secret someone through letters.

I really enjoyed this part of the story which built up the romance and kept it intriguing. Once Deborah meets Mr. Patrick Gretham, all things change and the inklings of love starts stirring. This entire story is well written and being a novella is a rather quick read! The story is uplifting and full of simple and fun moments and is definitely worth reading!

Book Review: Castle of Refuge by Melanie Dickerson

About the Book:

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To live an unforgettable life, she would defy all expectations—including her own.

Ever since she was a child, Audrey wanted her life to be extraordinary. But as the daughter of a viscount born in late fourteenth-century England, the only thing expected of her was to marry—until an act of malice by her sister, Maris, four years ago damaged her face and her prospects. Though Maris was sent away, twenty-year-old Audrey is still suffering the scars of her sister’s cruelty. When her father announces his plans to marry off his damaged daughter and bring Maris home, Audrey decides to flee in search of her true destiny.

However, life outside her home is dangerous, and she soon finds herself attacked, sick, and in desperate need of help. She is taken in at Dericott Castle to be nursed back to health. While there, she decides to keep her identity a secret and work as a servant in the castle. But she doesn’t count on falling in love with the young and handsome Lord Dericott, who lost his arm several months earlier and bears scars of his own.

Meanwhile, Edwin—Lord Dericott—is curious about the new, well-educated servant’s identity. All he knows is that he’s quickly becoming smitten with her. When the man Audrey’s father wanted her to marry comes looking for her, she and Edwin must make life-changing decisions about what to believe and whether or not love is truly worth trusting.

In this Ugly Duckling retelling, New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson brilliantly crafts a high stakes, encouraging tale about the power of love.

My Thoughts:

I randomly picked up this book from NetGalley and decided to give it a try based on the synopsis. I was not at all disappointed.

The story follows Audrey as she navigates her life and the expectations of her father. She is also dealing with a jealous older sister from whom all she ever wanted was acceptance. When she is finally faced with a situation she does not want to be in (marriage to an older man on account of the scars that mar her face and make her “undesirable” or “unworthy of good marriage prospects”), she runs away from her home and everyone she loves.

Audrey ends up at Dericott Castle where she tries to hide her identity for as long as possible, immersing herself in household tasks along with the other servants. As time passes, we see a romance in the very early stages between Audrey and Lord Dericott.

I enjoyed reading about Audrey’s ideas and drive towards education, her dream of providing education to all the girls in the village and giving them a chance to choose their paths. I also like how the author has brought out the contrast between the main characters which makes it all the more enjoyable as the romance grows.

Some parts of the story felt a little predictable to me, but this did not take away from the entire plot. I liked the book and the various characters we are introduced to. Each one had something to contribute with a lot of love, compassion and support to go around despite the negative emotions (mainly from the sister’s side).

Overall this is a fun and exciting adventure on the journey to love. I do recommend this book to those who enjoy a good regency romance or a historical romance with men of title and women of great strength of character.

Book Review: The Perfect Home by Kevin Lynch

Book Blurb:

The Perfect Home Book Cover
It’s a beautiful place to live. Or die.

June is very happy in her home. It’s where she raised her two kids – now college age – and every room is filled with memories, some beautiful, some painful. She loves the garden she has worked so hard to create. She likes her neighbours in this pleasant, leafy suburb.

But lately, something has changed.

There’s the new guy across the street. He seems rough, possibly criminal. And he’s been taking a definite interest in June’s rebellious daughter, Cathy.

And there’s June’s son, Sam. He’s always been open and friendly but recently he’s been sullen and secretive.

Even more disturbing, June’s cheating ex-husband suddenly seems to be everywhere. It’s almost as if he’s stalking her.

Then, when someone she knows is murdered, June begins to understand that all these different things are connected. And as she investigates further, she realises that she herself is in terrible danger.

Because someone out there wants June gone. Permanently.

Author Bio:

Kevin Lynch Author Photo

Kevin is a Guidance Counselor by day and a psychological thriller author during his off hours. He puts an original slant on some common experiences and creates engaging stories with a personal twist. Kevin lives in Dublin, Ireland with three great kids, a frenetic Westie, Alfie, and a wife who makes him laugh, which is really all he could ask for.
Kevin writes psychological thrillers. The Perfect Home will be his second novel published with Inkubator Books.

Buy Links:
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Perfect-Home-gripping-psychological-heart-stopping-ebook/dp/B09QT37GYK
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Home-gripping-psychological-heart-stopping-ebook/dp/B09QT37GYK

My Thoughts:

It’s my stop on the Book Tour for The Perfect Home today! Thanks to Zooloo’s Book Tour for this opportunity.

The Perfect Home is a psychological thriller that follows June as she tries to unmask a killer and find out who is after her. June lives a perfectly good life. She has a good job, her two children who live with her in a wonderfully quiet neighborhood. All this changes with the arrival of a new neighbour, her ex-husband popping up more than expected and her children pulling away.

As time passes, we follow June as she goes about her normal routine while trying to figure out the new people on the block and their motives. The author does a good job in portraying her feelings and fear in many of the situations. I also liked how the plot line developed. It was easy to like some of the characters and dislike some of them. This is a kudos to the style of writing.

There were a few things that did not work for me. Firstly, I was not able to fully connect with June. I found her routine to be mundane and the narration was a little repetitive. Secondly, I was a little confused as to the location of the book which I figured out later. Finally, I found it hard to understand Cathy and her behaviour. It was not something that I could easily relate to.

However, putting this aside, I think the book was interesting and there was a plot twist that I did not see coming. Thus, I admit, despite the mixed feelings, I enjoyed the book and hope to read more by the author! I do recommend this for those who enjoy the genre!

The Perfect Home Book Tour Poster

Zooloos Book Tours

Book Review: The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

About the Book:

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A wedding in Spain. The most infuriating man. Three days to convince your family you’re actually in love. . .

Catalina Martín desperately needs a date to her sister’s wedding. Especially when her little white lie about her American boyfriend has spiraled out of control. Now everyone she knows – including her ex-boyfriend and his fiancée – will be there.

She only has four weeks to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic for her and aid in her deception. NYC to Spain is no short flight and her family won’t be easy to fool. . . But even then, when Aaron Blackford – the 6’4″, blue-eyed pain in the arse – offers to step in, she’s not tempted even for a second. Never has there been a more aggravating, blood-boiling and insufferable man.

But Catalina is desperate and as the wedding gets closer the more desirable an option Aaron Blackford becomes. . .

The Spanish Love Deception is an enemies-to-lovers, fake-dating romance. Perfect for those looking for a steamy slow-burn with the promise of a sweet happy-ever-after.

“Everything you could want in a romance is right here.”
Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient

My Thoughts:

The Spanish Love Deception is one of the most talked about books of 2021 and based on a multitude of reviews, I decided to pick up the book. I definitely was not disappointed. I quite enjoyed the slow-burn romance and how the plot developed right from the beginning.

The story follows Catalina, Lina as she prefers to be called, as she enters into a rather reluctant fake relationship with Aaron in the hopes of fooling her family. She has always disliked Aaron for some reason and as the story progresses, it becomes clear that her ideas might be misplaced. The characters are interesting and even funny at times. I enjoyed reading about them and how their various relationships develop. The story reads like the perfect rom-com and is entertaining all the way.

Aaron is the perfect guy (well that is how he is portrayed and just for the duration of the book it’s okay to believe that he exists!), attentive and attuned to Lina’s needs. I liked the author’s style of writing and the flow of the story until the end. I was indeed hooked and I think that was partly due to the fact that I was looking for a light and fun read and this turned out to be the perfect combination.

This book has the complete package: enemies to lovers, workplace romance, fake dating and all the fun that happens in between. The ending is just perfect and the book is definitely worth reading!

Book Review: A Letter From Pearl Harbor by Anna Stuart

About the Book:

58758179Ninety-eight-year-old Ginny McAllister’s last wish is for her granddaughter to complete a treasure hunt containing clues to her past. Clues that reveal her life as one of the first female pilots at Pearl Harbor, and a devastating World War Two secret.

1941, Pearl Harbor: On the morning of December 7th, Ginny is flying her little yellow plane above the sparkling seas when she spots an unknown aircraft closing in on her. She recognises the red symbol of the Japanese fighter planes almost too late. Somehow, she manages to land unscathed but the choices she is forced to make in the terrible hours that follow have tragic consequences…

2019, Pearl Harbor: Heartbroken Robyn Harris is reeling from the death of the strong, determined grandmother who raised her. Her only comfort is a letter written in Ginny’s distinctive hand which details a treasure hunt, just like the ones she used to set for her as a little girl. Except this time, the clues are scattered across the beautiful island of Hawaii. Despite her grief, Robyn finds herself intrigued as she follows the trail of letters, revealing the truth about Ginny’s service during the Second World War.

But Robyn’s whole world is turned upside down when she’s faced with a shocking secret which has the power to change the course of her own life…

Inspired by true events, this is a heartbreaking and unforgettable WW2 novel about love, loss and bravery. Perfect for fans of The Alice Network, The Nightingale and Kathryn Hughes.

My Thoughts:

A Letter From Pearl Harbor is a story of love, loss, learning and second chances no matter the situation. The story is narrated to us in two timelines, one in the current day from Robyn’s point of view and the other through letters and the narration in her grandmother’s point of view set in 1941. Robyn and her sister spend one last night with their grandmother who is on her deathbed. At this point, she tells them that she had a terrible secret and has set up a treasure hunt with clues scattered across Hawaii to tell them her story.

The sisters, Robyn and Ashleigh have their own share of demons to deal with. Ashleigh got into an accident which led to her being confined to a wheelchair and stuck without the use of her legs. Robyn moves to Hawaii (perhaps following in her grandmother’s footsteps) and works there, giving up a sports scholarship that she was not ready to devote time to. The sisters have unresolved feelings of resentment towards one another which are tackled through the story.

As we follow the girls on their hunt for clues, we get to know their grandmother better. Her story is set in the time of WWII when the was had still not come to America, but there was a hint. Then one day, Pearl Harbor is bombed by the Japanese and everything changes. In the midst of this bombing, a lot changes for Ginny and thus her priorities change. Determined and full of purpose, she goes to England in the hope that female pilots will be allowed to be a part of the war efforts.

This is a heartbreaking story that brings to us the realities of war, the frustrations, but more importantly how loss affects the people who still live. Additionally, as we discover Ginny’s secrets, we find out just how decisions can affect not just your life but that of the others around you and how the goodness of people can go beyond holding grudges and prove to be healing. Through her story, Robyn and her sister also learn to accept who they are, accept each other and form better bonds with each other and those around them.

Though the war is a part of the plot, the main focus is on the women who train to be pilots and participate in the war efforts. Their determinations, achievements and friendships form the backbone of this story. A truly well-written story, this book is worth reading especially for the messages it contains.