Book Report | Summer 2014 {Part 2}

Hi folks!  Last week, I posted the first part of the reviews of my summer book reading.  I warned you that it had been a banner summer for reading!  This week, I have even more fantastic books to share with you!


I have a bit of a mixed bag of books to share with you today, so grab a cup of coffee (or your beverage of choice) and settle back for a quick visit to each story!

Chateau of Secrets (by Melanie Dobson)

Amazon link:  Chateau of Secrets

I loved this book.  This is one of my favorite genres…a little historical fiction mixed in with modern fiction.  The two time periods are linked to a Chateau in Northern France.  During World War II, the house was taken over by the Nazi’s as a headquarters during the latter stages of the war.  Gisele, the daughter of the nobleman that owned the estate, is forced to allow them to use her home.  In an effort to save a Jewish friend’s child, she passes the child off as her daughter and with the help of one of the Nazi soldiers, is able to convince the Germans of their relation even though she risks her life in the process.  Fast forward 70 years and we find Chloe, Gisele’s granddaughter, going through a difficult breakup in her Viriginia home.  As a means to escape and to help out her father with a planned documentary at the family Chateau, Chloe jets off to France for a few days.  What transpires is more than she could’ve imagined as she uncovers family secrets no one but Gisele, knew existed.

The two story lines are intricately tied together and as it switches between the time periods with each chapter, you’re on the edge of your seat to see what happens next for each of the ladies.  I seriously could not put this book down and if you want a book that will grab you in and won’t let you go until the last page, I encourage you to give this one a try!

You Don’t Know Me (by Susan May Warren)

Amazon link:  You Don’t Know Me

This was another great read!  Set in current times (a slight escape from my usual historical fictions!), this story centers around Annalise Decker, a housewife that seems to have it all.  She has an adoring husband that is running for the town mayor, two beautiful children, and a mother-in-law that is just as crazy about her as she is in return.  What she is missing, however, is a past.  Her family believes her story of everyone dying in a car accident until “Uncle Frank” arrives unexpectedly on the scene.  Now, Annalise’s troubled past comes crashing to the present.  As Annalise attempts to keep her past under wraps, a killer is on his way to take out her and her family.  Unbeknownst to everyone she knows, Annalise is not Annalise.  She’s part of the Witness Security Program and “Uncle Frank”, her security officer,  is there to warn her that the man she testified against as a messed up teenager is now out of prison and hunting her down.  What transpires is Annalise’s struggle to keep her past away from her family and a terror that she might be putting them in harm’s way.  What will she do?  Blow her cover and force her family to move?  Or, take off on her own and become a whole new person again, only this time leaving her husband and children behind?

The House Next Door (by Anne Rivers Siddons)

Amazon link: The House Next Door

I have long been a fan of Anne Rivers Siddons.  I think she’s a fantastic storyteller, but I also love that a lot of her books are set in Atlanta, my home town!  This book happens to be one of those.  I didn’t realize when I read it that it was one of her earlier books and was released back in the late 70’s.  I could tell it was set in the late 60s/early 70s, but didn’t realize it was quite so ‘old’.  Regardless, it was fantastic!!  It’s a bit of a horror/thriller story that will have the hair on the back of your neck standing at attention!  The main characters are Walter and Colquitt Kennedy.  They’re a successful couple that live in a well to do neighborhood where everything is seemingly perfect.  That is, until the day the small vacant lot beside their house is bought by a young couple that plans to build a new house on it.  Over the course of the constuction, they befriend the architect and the couple that will become their new neighbors.  During this time, however, strange and dark things begin to happen.  After the couple moves in, more dark and tragic things occur until they move out over night.  This continues to happen to each family that moves into the house prompting Walter and Colquitt to go to extremes to try to prevent others from moving in and experiencing life changing tragedies.  After becoming the black sheep of the neighborhood, they decide to take things into their own hands.  But at what cost?

This was such a good book!  It’s a bit of a messed up story and I was thinking this would make an awesome movie.  After reading more about it after I finished it, I discovered it was made into a movie!!  But, I believe it was a made-for-TV movie back in the 80s (I could be wrong on that…I don’t recall all the specific details).  With Halloween quickly approaching, if you want a bit of a thriller to keep you up at night, definitely check this one out!

London Belles (Annie Groves)

Amazon link:  London Belles

This book returned me to my favorite genre…historical fiction….London…one of the two World Wars.  Specifically, this was set in World War two and centers around four young women that come from vastly different backgrounds, yet forge a friendship that becomes as close as family.  Olive and her teenage daughter are forced to take in lodgers just before the start of the war.  Originally planning to bring in two female lodgers, they end up agreeing to three young ladies that are in need of a home.  With different backgrounds and temperaments, they don’t bond right away, but with the tragedy of war surrounding them, they learn to lean on each other and become as close as sisters.

I really enjoyed this book.  I hated to see it end!  Each of the characters is developed well enough that I felt I knew each of them.  I definitely plan to look into more books by this author.  Several of them have already made it to my wish list!

If I Stay (Gayle Forman)

Amazon link:  If I Stay

I’m a little late to the party for this book!  I only recently heard about it, yet it was made into a movie and just released last week in select theaters around the country.  This is a FANTASTIC book!!  I finished it in two days.  It is rather short, which is part of the reason for such a fast read, but honestly, if I wasn’t at work or sleeping, this book was in my hands.

The main character, Mia, is a seventeen year old high school student with an enviable life.  She has super cool parents, an adorable and goofy kid brother, a sweet and caring boyfriend, and an amazing best friend.  She’s also a very talented cellist that is on the cusp of being accepted to the Julliard School of music.  She does well in school, is happy, and her family gets along so well together, they actually enjoy spending time together (including the boyfriend!).  Life couldn’t get much better than this.  Until one cold and slightly snowy February morning when a horrible accident takes Mia’s parents and kid brother, leaving her the sole survivor in a deep coma with life threatening injuries.  For the first few days she is in the hospital, Mia is surrounding by her grandparents, her friends, and her devastated boyfriend.  They keep vigil at her side and in the waiting room….and Mia is witnessing the entire thing.  While not dead, a part of her is outside of her body seeing everything that is happening to her and around her.  She knows she must decide what to do next…let go of it all and join her family or fight to come back, even though she’ll be on her own.

I can’t WAIT to see the movie!  It should be interesting to see how some of the plot translates to the big screen.

Where She Went (Gayle Forman)

Amazon link:  Where She Went

I didn’t realize If I Stay was such a short book.  When I finished it, there were still 40+ pages in my ebook, so I wasn’t expecting it to be over quite so quickly and I literally yelled out ‘NO!’ when it ended.  Not because of the ending, but because I wasn’t ready for her story to be over!  Fortunately, I quickly discovered there was a sequel…Where She Went.  I can’t say too much about this one, without spoiling the first book!  All I’ll say is even though I liked the first book better, this was equally engaging and I couldn’t put this book down either.  It’s also rather short, so as with the first book, I finished it in two days.  If you decide to read the first book, I guarantee you’ll want to read the second book :).

* * * * *

And that concludes my summer roundup of awesome books!  For my next book review post at the end of the month, there won’t be quite as many books, but I guarantee there will be more amazing reads to add to your list!  I’ve already finished one book and can’t wait to share it with you!  If you want to check out all of the books I’ve reviewed…check out my Books page by clicking HERE!

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