THREE HOURS IN PARIS by Cara Black 🎧

In June of 1940, when Paris fell to the Nazis, Hitler spent a total of three hours in the City of Light—abruptly leaving, never to return. To this day, no one knows why.

The New York Times bestselling author of the Aimée Leduc investigations reimagines history in her masterful, pulse-pounding spy thriller, Three Hours in Paris.

Kate Rees, a young American markswoman, has been recruited by British intelligence to drop into Paris with a dangerous assignment: assassinate the Führer. Wrecked by grief after a Luftwaffe bombing killed her husband and infant daughter, she is armed with a rifle, a vendetta, and a fierce resolve. But other than rushed and rudimentary instruction, she has no formal spy training. Thrust into the red-hot center of the war, a country girl from rural Oregon finds herself holding the fate of the world in her hands. When Kate misses her mark and the plan unravels, Kate is on the run for her life—all the time wrestling with the suspicion that the whole operation was a set-up.

Cara Black, doyenne of the Parisian crime novel, is at her best as she brings Occupation-era France to vivid life in this gripping story about one young woman with the temerity—and drive—to take on Hitler himself.


Title : Three Hours in Paris
Author : Cara Black
Narrator : Elizabeth Rodgers
Format : Audiobook
Length : 10 hours, 21 minutes
Genre : Historical Thriller
Publisher : Recorded Books
Release Date : April 7, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3.5-4 star review

This was a strong character-driven historical read set in WW2 France and Britain. Told from the POV of Kate, an American living on the Orkneys where she lived with her late husband, this was a tense and fast-paced suspense. Kate was recruited because of her marksmanship with a rifle and found herself on a high profile job.

What entailed was a story all about her survival in Paris during German occupation. She ricocheted from one situation to and her, not knowing who to trust. Kate was a woman in the full depths of grief over a significant loss and yet she was navigating this high stress situation. The story gave me Charlotte Gray vibes. It was a gripping listen and totally enjoyable.

The narration by Elisabeth Rodgers encapsulated Kate, her journey and her desperate circumstances so well. She transported me to the era and the story completed.

Thank you to LibroFM and Recorded Books for this ALC.

LATE ECLIPSES by Seanan McGuire

October “Toby” Daye, changeling knight in the service of Duke Sylvester Torquill, finds the delicate balance of her life shattered when she learns that an old friend is in dire trouble. Lily, Lady of the Tea Gardens, has been struck down by a mysterious, seemingly impossible illness, leaving her fiefdom undefended. Struggling to find a way to save Lily and her subjects, Toby must confront her own past as an enemy she thought was gone forever raises her head once more: Oleander de Merelands, one of the two people responsible for her fourteen-year exile.

Time is growing short and the stakes are getting higher, for the Queen of the Mists has her own agenda. With everything on the line, Toby will have to take the ultimate risk to save herself and the people she loves most—because if she can’t find the missing pieces of the puzzle in time, Toby will be forced to make the one choice she never thought she’d have to face again…


Title : Late Eclipses
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book four)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 400
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : March 1, 2011

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

Welp, I’m sort’ve resigning myself to not loving this series at this point. This one failed to entertain, and in fact it just dialed up all my frustrations to eleven, but we also took a bit of turn in direction for some things. So while I am taking a break from this series, for the moment (and maybe to lessen some the strength and immediacy of some of my frustrations), I am at least somewhat curious about the next chapter, as it were.

I mentioned this in my review for book one, and also chatted about it with my buddies (sorrrrry), but the ‘blame October for literally everything’ was once again strong in this one. The strongest it’s ever been. And I just can’t with that. There is nothing worse than a one-note villain that makes no attempt to be sane, or rational, and when you get three or four of them in one book? I want to throw myself into traffic. 

I also have a bad feeling any inroads we were making on the ship of my choice RE the romance may just be about to take a wrong turn because of.. events. I’m not surprised, because we’re dragging this out apparently, but I imagine I’ll be less than happy with that.

So, yes, I don’t know. There are elements of this series that should be great but there’s just so much being kept hidden, and even when a character goes spouting off about new information, even if it’s vague, October just shrugs and lets the subject get changed. And considering the big reveals in this one? I want to smack her upside the head. She’s not made to be a smart heroine and I do not understand why. It makes it hard to root for her.

But I will read on. I just need a vacation from this world. 

MONTHLY WRAP UP – APRIL 2020

To close out each month, we’ll be posting a break down of everything we reviewed, beginning with the reads we loved.. and ending with the reads we didn’t. Not only does this compile all our reviews in one handy summary for you to peruse, or catch up on, it also gives us an interesting birds eye view of the month and our reads. And maybe, even, our moods.


☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

GOLDILOCKS by Laura Lam — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

YOU DESERVE EACH OTHER by Sarah Hogle — see Hollis’ review here
THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST by Abby Jimenez — see Hollis and Micky’s reviews here
EMPIRE OF DREAMS by Rae Carson — see Hollis’ review here
DEAR ENEMY by Kristen Callihan — see Micky’s review here (!)
CHOSEN ONES by Veronica Roth — see Micky’s review here (!)
ACROSS THE VOID by SK Vaughn — see Micky’s review here
HOUSE OF EARTH AND BLOOD by S.K. Vaughn — see Micky’s review here
WHERE THE LOST WANDER by Amy Harmon — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

CHOSEN ONES by Veronica Roth — see Hollis’ review here
TIME OF OUR LIVES by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka — see Hollis’ review here
RUTHLESS GODS by Emily A Duncan — see Hollis’ review here
GIRL GONE VIRAL by Alisha Rai — see Micky’s review here
RULES FOR BEING A GIRL by Candace Bushell & Katie Cantungo — see Micky’s review here
WHO SPEAKS FOR THE DAMNED by C.S. Harris — see Hollis’ review here
IT’S NOT ME, IT’S YOU by Mhairi McFarlane — see Hollis’ review here
AFTER THE CLIMB by Kristen Ashley — see Micky’s review here
ROSEMARY AND RUE by Seanan McGuire — see Hollis’ review here
SUPERMAN DAWNBREAKER by Matt de la Pena — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ star reads

Q by Christina Dalcher — see Micky’s review here
A LOCAL HABITATION by Seanan McGuire — see Hollis’ review here
AN ARTIFICIAL NIGHT by Seanan McGuire — see Hollis’ review here
LOVE LETTERING by Kate Clayborn — see Micky’s review here

star reads

THE INFINITE ONION by Alice Archer — see Hollis’ review here

u n r a t e d

DNF

DEAR ENEMY by Kristen Callihan — see Hollis’s review here (!)
THE GIRL AND THE STARS by Mark Lawrence — see Micky’s review here


additional reads not reviewed for blog : 4
total reads by Micky : 18
favourite read of the month : GOLDILOCKS by Laura Lam
least favourite read of the month : THE GIRL AND THE STARS by Mark Lawrence
most read genre : contemporary

total reviews by Hollis : thirteen
favourite read of the month : tie between YOU DESERVE EACH OTHER and THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST
least favourite read of the month : THE INFINITE ONION
most read genre : contemporary romance

GOLDILOCKS by Laura Lam

The Earth is in environmental collapse. The future of humanity hangs in the balance. But a team of women are preparing to save it. Even if they’ll need to steal a spaceship to do it.

Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.

The team is humanity’s last hope for survival, and Valerie has gathered the best women for the mission: an ace pilot who is one of the only astronauts ever to have gone to Mars; a brilliant engineer tasked with keeping the ship fully operational; and an experienced doctor to keep the crew alive. And then there’s Naomi Lovelace, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, who has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity to step out of Valerie’s shadow and make a difference.

The problem is that they’re not the authorized crew, even if Valerie was the one to fully plan the voyage. When their mission is stolen from them, they steal the ship bound for the new planet.

But when things start going wrong on board, Naomi begins to suspect that someone is concealing a terrible secret — and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .

Goldilocks is a bold and thought-provoking new thriller for readers of The Martian and The Handmaid’s Tale.


Title : Goldilocks
Author : Laura Lam
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : Sci-fi/Thriller
Publisher : Headline
Release Date : April 30, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 4.5 rounding up to 5 star review

GOLDILOCKS is the rare kind of sci-fi that kept pace from beginning to end without any kind of lull or overly descriptive narrative. I have just finished the book on a wow whilst congratulating myself on already having secured an order for a signed hard copy; it was that good.

This did not feel like a story I’d read before, it was fresh and gripping. The protagonist Naomi was the daughter of a renown scientist and protege of a leading researcher into all things space science. This story was set in the backdrop of a close dystopian patriarchy with an active programme of sidelining women and their rights. Therefore, this story took a matriarchal path into the future on another world.

I could not predict the twists in GOLDILOCKS, nor could I predict many of the character developments. But I knew Naomi, I came to admire her, cheer for her, will her survival. The team she was working in was complex with allegiances unknown. The morality and ethics of the mission had me taking quick in-drawn breaths, thinking…what???

“Success will never be linear. Success is illusive, it’s a mirage. What you learn, what you do, how you react – that’s what matters.”

Success came at a price in this story, this mission and whether the crew were willing the pay that price was the nugget to follow through the story. The ‘baddie’ of the piece came from initially unexpected quarters for me, although later I questioned why I hadn’t been more suspicious.

The science in this story was utterly palatable, readable and not beyond any readers’s comprehension. I liked the botany aspects of the science, I found the futuristic nutritional ideas fascinating. This was an intelligent read and I devoured it front to back.

I am now off to work out if I can turn Alexa into a male voice in my house…you have to read to understand this subtle but creepy suggestion.

Thank you to Headline Books for the early review copy.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – APRIL 28, 2020

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


Q is the anticipated second book Christina Dalcher and it has a dystopian context like her previous book Vox. The patriarchy is in force in this book too and it’s all about intelligence, IQ, children and their potential. Q releases on April 30th.

GOLDILOCKS by Laura Lam is a fantastic sci-fi thriller standalone, full of adrenaline, inter-stellar journeys and women. This is a gripping tale of finding a new earth but more importantly a group of women trailblazing the journey and technology. Out on April 30th, you won’t regret clicking this one.

WHERE THE LOST WANDER is a beautiful historical read from Amy Harmon. This is the story of families and individuals crossing an epic trail for life out west. It is harrowing, real and compelling. Out on April 28th, this is well worth reading.


Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

WHERE THE LOST WANDER by Amy Harmon

In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.

The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.

But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.

When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually…make peace with who they are.


Title : Where The Lost Wander
Author : Amy Harmon
Format : eARC
Page Count : 348
Genre : Historical Fiction
Publisher : Lake Union Publishing
Release Date : April 28, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

It’s been a long time since I’ve read an Amy Harmon book and for some reason, I just decided it was time. I am pulled to historical fiction that I don’t know a lot about and American history hits that box for me. This book felt like a Jojo Moyes and it really gave me The Giver of Stars vibes (that’s a high compliment).

The prologue pulls you in with a bang, and then you spend much of the book learning about how the story got to the point of the prologue, and you get some great story beyond that. This was an epic narrative of emigration across an American trail…thousands of miles of journey and it was a survival story. It was brutal and I didn’t realise how tough this journey was with illness, children, death and conflict. I learnt a lot and it gripped me.

The two protagonists were Naomi, a young widow travelling with her parents and brothers and John, a half-Pawnee, half-white man who was taking mules for trade. John was an enigma at first, emotionally inept and he didn’t seem to know where he belonged. John’s growth as a character over this book was vast and that was my favourite part of the story.

He cries like it’s the first time he’s ever cried, like all the pain of all his twenty-odd years is rising up at once.

I can’t and won’t even begin to describe what happened to these characters and families, it’s too big and too spoilery but it was a lot and it was grim. There brothers in this story were favourites and I lived for their chinks of light.

The indigenous people woven throughout this story were a range of tribes and had a range of ways. They were so fundamental to this story, John and Naomi and I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and people depicted. Lost Woman and Hanabi in particular, left an impression on me and Naomi.

WHERE THE LOST WANDER is a historical fiction with romantic elements rather than a historical romance and in that, it worked really well for me. On finishing, I feel like I have also been on a journey and I’m a little ’emotioned-out’. Highly recommended for all fans of historical fiction.

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing for the early review copy.

THE GIRL AND THE STARS by Mark Lawrence

In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.

On Abeth the vastness of the ice holds no room for individuals. Survival together is barely possible. No one survives alone.

To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is not the same.

Yaz is torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her days with, and has to carve out a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of difference and mystery and danger.

Yaz learns that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She learns that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she learns to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.

Only when it’s darkest you can see the stars.


Title : The Girl and the Stars
Author : Mark Lawrence
Series : Book of the Ice #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 480
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Harper Voyager
Release Date : April 30, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : DNF/★ ★ 


DNF @55%

What a journey of expectation and difficulty this read has been. I had high hopes with that cover, that synopsis and genre. The story started off incredibly strong, I really liked the world above the ice and felt excited about the storyline ahead. Things changed drastically and the protagonist Yaz, found herself below the ice. Everything following this for the first half of the book gave me Maze runner vibes, just in a different context. I was not thrilled about this, at all.

The world under the ice was confusing, the characters were mostly annoying and the different creatures, magic, taints and demons were rather difficult to fathom. Half the time, I didn’t know who was who. I wanted to continue, I wanted to know more about Yaz and her stars in the ice but it felt like drowning in mud. When you’ve tried and tried but that pushing through gets harder, it’s time to throw the towel in. This didn’t work for me, it wasn’t the story for me or the characters to interest me.

If I was pushed to rate it, I would say 2 stars.

Thank you to Harper Voyager for the early review copy.

AN ARTIFICIAL NIGHT by Seanan McGuire

Changeling knight in the court of the Duke of Shadowed Hills, October “Toby” Daye has survived numerous challenges that would destroy fae and mortal alike. Now Toby must take on a nightmarish new assignment. 

Someone is stealing both fae and mortal children—and all signs point to Blind Michael. When the young son of Toby’s closest friends is snatched from their Northern California home, Toby has no choice but to track the villains down, even when there are only three magical roads by which to reach Blind Michael’s realm—home of the legendary Wild Hunt—and no road may be taken more than once. If she cannot escape with all the children before the candle that guides and protects her burns away, Toby herself will fall prey to Blind Michael’s inescapable power.

And it doesn’t bode well for the success of her mission that her own personal Fetch, May Daye—the harbinger of Toby’s own death—has suddenly turned up on her doorstep…


Title : An Artificial Night
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book three)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 384
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 7, 2010

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

So, book three was better. Was it the kind of greatness I was promised and expected? No. But that’s okay.

This particular installment weaves in the story of Tam Lin and though I love that story, it didn’t make me love the book. The writing, unlike in book two, was much improved. We had a better flow for both the refresher moments and for slipping us into the story itself after the time that has passed since the previous installment. The pacing, everything, it was fine. I was just.. bored.

October is still not winning me over as an MC/heroine. Which is funny because there’s a very similar character named May who I liked a lot. There’s also a sea witch I adore. So the cast isn’t a total loss. And while we had a few glimmering moments between Toby and the character who make up the ship of my choice, even he wasn’t doing it for me in this book. 

Also, we’re really just leaning in hard to the months-for-names thing, huh? October, January, April, May.. and that’s just after three books.

I really want to love this series. Both because of previously mentioned (in other reviews) buddies who adore it and also because this should be everything I love, too. But I’m still waiting. I’m worried if I pause to read something else I won’t come back to this (like my read through of the bajillion JD Robb novels which.. what, did I stop after only two? whoops. we don’t know her) so I’ll likely be spending my weekend a’binge’ing even more. I hear something great awaits in book six. Let’s see if I can make it that far.

A LOCAL HABITATION by Seanan McGuire

October “Toby” Daye is a changeling, the daughter of Amandine of the fae and a mortal man. Like her mother, she is gifted in blood magic, able to read what has happened to a person through a mere taste of blood. Toby is the only changeling who has earned knighthood, and she re-earns that position every day, undertaking assignments for her liege, Sylvester, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills.

Now Sylvester has asked her to go to the County of Tamed Lightning—otherwise known as Fremont, CA—to make sure that all is well with his niece, Countess January O’Leary, whom he has not been able to contact. It seems like a simple enough assignment—but when dealing with the realm of Faerie nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Toby soon discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, whose domain is a buffer between Sylvester’s realm and a scheming rival duchy. If Toby can’t find the killer soon, she may well become the next victim.


Title : A Local Habitation
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book two)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 390
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : March 2, 2010

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ .5


Hollis’ 1.5 star review

S t r u g g l e b u s.

That’s what this whole read was. It’s a good thing I was warned in advance that this book would not be a favourite and would require some pushing through because oh boy was that accurate. So I’m paying it forward and passing along that warning.

Some of what I expressed as my main issue with book one was definitely present in book two. More romantic entanglements (because why not), more making things complicated with the existing ones (because why not), and combined with a mystery that I felt was just dragged out (because.. you get it), made worse by so much information being kept away from the MC and her investigative buddy (..), and compounded by an element I’m sure was supposed to be a surprise regarding a certain character, but wasn’t because duh it’s obvious and I’ve seen it before, just.. overall? Not a good time.

Don’t even get me started on the appearance of a certain line that is iconic for the Kate Daniels world showing up in this one. Multiple times. Sure, it’s not owned by IA, nor is it an unusual thing to say, but still. Grr arg. I was even trying not to compare anymore and then that happened. Not my fault.

October as an MC failed to impress me, I wasn’t loving the romance (as mentioned above and also because this didn’t further my ship), the mystery was annoying, and this is also the second book where October is being blamed for things that have nothing to do with her? This better not be a trend. One of the characters kidnapped in book one literaly blames October for it, even though she didn’t do the act, and was also disappeated for over a decade because she was trying to help, and in this one? Same thing. Suspicion, blame, distrust, like.. constantly. So annoying.

Also annoying? October tells everyone to pair up, no one should be alone, due to killer on the loose. Right after, everyone spends at least some time on their own; when confronted by the fact that they aren’t following orders, and they explain why, even though all the reasons are dumb, October accepts it. Then October is alone multiple times. Other people are alone. Again. She bitches them out. Then suddenly she’s alone again and only then realizes she’s a hypocrite. Eye twitch. And this was only one example of just some of the dumb ridiculous trudgery. 

Another being.. why was there so much crying? 

I’m no stranger to McGuire’s books, though obviously not this series, and I’m surprised how.. not great the writing is? Was this her first few books? I should look into that.

So, yes, not a favourite, though not surprised due to advance warning (even though, yes, surprised by just how much I disliked it), and holding out hope book three lives up to all the hype it was getting in my group chat. Thanks, again, buddies for the support. I really needed it for this book. If this had been book one, this would’ve been as far as I went. Probably, maybe. It would’ve been a “might pick this up again later..” aka never situation. But we shall push on.

SUPERMAN DAWNBREAKER by Matt de la Pena

When the dawn breaks, a hero rises.

His power is beyond imagining.

Clark Kent has always been faster, stronger–better–than everyone around him. But he wasn’t raised to show off, and drawing attention to himself could be dangerous. Plus, it’s not like he’s earned his powers . . . yet.

But power comes with a price.

Lately it’s difficult to hold back and keep his heroics in the shadows. When Clark follows the sound of a girl crying, he comes across Gloria Alvarez and discovers a dark secret lurking in Smallville. Turns out, Clark’s not the only one hiding something. Teaming up with his best friend, Lana Lang, he throws himself into the pursuit of the truth. What evil lies below the surface of his small town? And what will it cost Clark to learn about his past as he steps into the light to become the future Man of Steel? Because before he can save the world, he must save Smallville.


Title : Superman Dawnbreaker
Author : Matt de le Pena
Series : DC Icons #4
Format : Hardback
Page Count : 288
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Penguin
Release Date : March 7, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3-3.5 star review

There were few surprises for me going into SUPERMAN DAWNBREAKER, what with two sets of films and a series or two under my belt. That said, I liked the YA age of Clark Kent in the context of Smallville and his friends Lana and Gloria. I would have liked to have seen more of Clark’s parents.

Although the surprises were few, the familiarity was good. Clark slowly came into his powers in this book and I was glued to the page at those moments, I don’t think that’s ever been explored in the films or series before.

The first half of the book was good, enjoyable reading with a good pace. The second half seemed to be on sprint speed and the plot developed at a rate that was rushed with lots of predictability and neat wrapping up. I wanted the pace to slow and more pages to to tease out the plot and friendships.

This was the last read of the series, so that’s a box ticked and although this wasn’t my favourite (CATWOMAN and WONDER WOMAN WARBRINGER are), it has finished the series on a solid point; I would have preferred a high!