Monday, 11 December 2017

Blind Side by Jennie Ensor - Book Review

Can you ever truly know someone? And what if you suspect the unthinkable? 

London, five months before 7/7. Georgie, a young woman wary of relationships after previous heartbreak, gives in and agrees to sleep with close friend Julian. She’s shocked when Julian reveals he’s loved her for a long time. 

But Georgie can’t resist her attraction to Nikolai, a Russian former soldier she meets in a pub. While Julian struggles to deal with her rejection, Georgie realises how deeply war-time incidents in Chechnya have affected Nikolai. She begins to suspect that the Russian is hiding something terrible from her. 

Then London is attacked... 

Blind Side explores love and friendship, guilt and betrayal, secrets and obsession. An explosive, debate-provoking thriller that confronts urgent issues of our times and contemplates some of our deepest fears. 


I connected well with the initial themes of this book. An obsessive ex-lover. Characters with suspicious motives. Family drama. There are also many political tones as Georgie navigates her new relationship with Nikolai because of his own history. As an ex-Russian solider, he is not innocent and can people ever really change?

I especially found Julian's character quite interesting, and I was most engaged with the chapters told from his perspective. This is where the most tension is created in the novel. I also learned a lot about the conflict between Russia and Chechnya which was an area of history I didn't fully understand before.

The one challenge I had with Blind Side is that I found it difficult to empathize with Georgie because of some of the decisions she made. At times, she came across as not very thoughtful.

Given the global conversation about immigration, this is a very timely novel. I can see how readers who especially like political thrillers will enjoy this debut.

Blind Side is available for purchase from Amazon. You can also connect with the author, Jennie Ensor, on her website, Twitter, and Facebook.


Disclaimer - I received a copy of Blind Side courtesy of the author. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Monday, 4 December 2017

11 Christmas Books to Read in December

Last year I really got into seasonal reading, so I thought it would be fun to share some of my favourite Christmas novels. Many of these I've read and loved while others are on my TBR pile, but they will each be sure to get you into the holiday spirit!

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak - A family is quarantined together over Christmas. Secrets are revealed. Drama and hilarity ensue.

The Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb - A couple separated by war in 1914 write letters to each other. How will fate treat them as the war comes to an end?

Christmastime Cowboy by Maisey Yates - A second-chance holiday romance set in a small town winery at Christmas. Read my full review here.

The Christmas Bridge by Elyse Douglas - A young widow travels to NYC near Christmas. She wonders about meeting up with a lover from 20 years ago, but a chance encounter changes everything. Read my full review here.

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman - A poignant novella about the broken relationship between a father and his son.

Miracle on 5th Avenue, Sleigh Bells in the Snow, and Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan - Sarah Morgan is my favourite Christmas romance author. Her books are the perfect amount of sexy and sweet. I couldn't just pick one of her books, so I'm including all three! See my review of Miracle on 5th Avenue here.

Christmas at Tiffany's by Karen Swan - A young woman coming out of a disastrous marriage travels to London, Paris, and NYC to find her feet again and discover what's next for her in life...and in love.

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig - Sebastian and I are currently reading this together.  A humorous and heartfelt tale about the original story of Santa. Perfect for fans of Roald Dahl.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson - I grew up reading this short novel with my mom, and it is hilarious! Imagine "Children Gone Wild" mixed with organizing a Christmas pageant. A very fun read!


Friday, 1 December 2017

The Paris Secret by Karen Swan - Book Review

I judged this book entirely by its title. I have a weakness for all things French, and love books set in France. Other than a Paris setting, I knew nothing about The Paris Secret before beginning it.

I loved the concept of a secret apartment that hadn't been entered in 75 years. What mysteries would it hold? How would they matter today?

The Paris Secret was inspired by the true story of a Paris apartment that remained untouched and unknown for 70 years. It was rediscovered in 2013 full of art and artifacts frozen in time.
In Karen Swan's fictionalized account of this event, high-flying Fine Art Agent Flora from London, more comfortable with the tension of a million-pound auction than a cosy candlelit dinner for two, is called in to asses these suddenly discovered treasures. As an expert in her field, she must trace the history of each painting and just who has concealed them for so long.
Thrown in amongst the glamorous Vermeil family as they move between Paris and Antibes, Flora begins to discover that things aren't all that they seem, while back at home her own family is recoiling from a seismic shock. The terse and brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on forcing Flora out of his family's affairs - but just what is he hiding? (via Goodreads)

This was the perfect novel to escape with for an afternoon while enjoying a glass of red wine. Flora was an excellent no-nonsense character who had to navigate the intense family drama surrounding the apartment she was brought in to inventory. It was easy to be on her side throughout the novel.

This was my first novel by Karen Swan, and I truly loved her writing. She blended the elements of history, art, mystery, French culture, and even romance, into one interesting story.

The Paris Secret is available on Amazon or wherever books are sold. You can connect with Karen Swan on Facebook and Twitter.