Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Review: The Secret of the Irish Castle by Santa Montefiore

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pub. Date: August 14th, 2018
Pages: 480

Book Series: 
Deverill Chronicles #3
Genre: Historical Fiction


International bestselling author Santa Montefiore continues the story of the Deverill family in the third book in her beautiful and moving Deverill Chronicles trilogy—perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams

1939: Peace has flourished since the Great War ended, but much has changed for the Deverill family as now a new generation is waiting in the wings to make their mark.

When Martha Wallace leaves her home in America to search for her birth mother in Dublin, she never imagines that she will completely lose her heart to the impossibly charming JP Deverill. But more surprises are in store for her after she discovers that her mother comes from the same place as JP, sealing her fate.

Bridie Doyle, now Countess di Marcantonio and mistress of Castle Deverill, is determined to make the castle she used to work in her home. But just as she begins to feel things are finally going her way, her flamboyant husband Cesare has other ideas. As his eye strays away from his wife, those close to the couple wonder if he really is who he says he is.

Kitty Deverill has come to accept her life with her husband Robert, and their two children. But then Jack O’Leary, the love of her life, returns to Ballinakelly. And this time his heart belongs elsewhere.

As long-held secrets come to light, the Deverills will have to heal old wounds and come to terms with the past if they hope to ensure their legacy for the future.

What Did I Think About the Story?

I doubt anyone has noticed but I've actually not been participating in blog tours for a number of months. It absolutely has everything to do with me having too much on my plate and nothing to do with any problems I've ever had with a blog tour, but there you are. I've been trying to take my time and just read what I want to read when I want to read it...it's been glorious! That being said, when I got the email that TLC Book Tours was offering up the final book in the Castle Deverill trilogy I knew I'd have to break my own promise to myself and sign up! I really enjoyed the first two books in the series and I just had to find out how the storylines for our various characters would play out.

The Secret of the Irish Castle picks up right where The Daughters of Ireland left off. Montefiore did an excellent job of filling in the events of the previous novels for those that did not read them while also advancing the storyline into new and often unexpected and devastating places. I will give it to the author, she is not afraid of putting her characters through the wringer and really making them suffer and sacrifice!

I won't say too much about the events within the story (what would be the fun in that?) but I will say that Montefiore brings this world of violent and windswept hills and passionate people to vivid life. She has such a lyrical way of writing so you can't help but picture everything right in front of you, making you feel like you are witnessing the events unfolding more than simply reading about it. It really is beautiful. Add in the paragraphs about the original Lord Deverill and the O'Leary woman who put a curse on his descendants, as well as the lovely snippets from the Deverill ghosts still living in the castle, and you've got a fascinating story that begs you to keep turning the pages just to see what you might discover next.

The storylines of the characters do wrap up in a satisfying way, with many being at least content if not happy and a few bittersweet endings thrown in for balance.  What the majority of these characters come to realize is that forgiveness and love is the only way to find everlasting happiness, which is really a beautiful concept if you think about it. While I know this is meant to be a trilogy enough is left open that it could easily continue with at least one more book, especially given the fact that the new generation of Deverill and O'Leary descendants have quite a bit more to contribute. I, for one, will definitely be first in line to read any future books the author might write in this series!  

What Did I Think About the Cover?

Like all other covers in this series this one is a beauty! I love the set up - with the traveling woman (which could be any number of our characters) staring across at that gorgeous castle - and the saturated colors just scream "Ireland!" to me. Simply stunning!

My Rating: 4.5/5.0 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins for a free copy of The Secret of the Irish Castle in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine alone. Be sure to continue below for more information about the book, the author, and the rest of the blog tour!

Reviews of Other Santa Montefiore Books

The Girl in the Castle (Deverill Chronicles #1)
The Daughters of Ireland (Deverill Chronicles #2)
The Beekeeper's Daughter
Secrets of the Lighthouse
The Summer House

Buy the Book

About the Author

Santa Montefiore was born in England. She went to Sherborne School for Girls in Dorset and studied Spanish and Italian at Exeter University. She has written sixteen bestselling novels, which have been translated into thirty different languages and have sold more than two million copies worldwide.

Find out more about Santa at her website, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

TLC Book Tours Instagram and Review Schedule

Instagram Stops

Monday, August 20th: Instagram: @happiestwhenreading
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Book Review Stops

Monday, September 3rd: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Wednesday, September 5th: Confessions of a Book Addict
Monday, September 10th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, September 10th: Girl Who Reads
Tuesday, September 11th: BookNAround
Wednesday, September 12th: Literary Quicksand
Monday, September 17th: Laura’s Reviews
Monday, September 17th: Books and Cats and Coffee
Tuesday, September 18th: A Literary Vacation
Friday, September 21st: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Outsider by Stephen King

Publisher: Simon Schuster Audio

Pub. Date: May 22nd, 2018

Length: 18 hours, 41 minutes

Genres: Fiction / Horror / Mystery / Thriller


An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

 As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

What Did I Think About the Story?

I always know when I pick up a Stephen King novel that I'm in for a hell of a wild ride. The Outsider is no different, taking this graphic and horrific murder in small town America and turning it on it's head with a supernatural element that I couldn't have guessed at if I tried.

The story initially presented seems impossible: a much beloved local hero is accused of viciously murdering and violating a boy, something that seems to be backed up by eyewitness testimony and DNA evidence no matter how much the accused swears he didn't do it and that he was actually out of town at the time. Then video corroborating his story shows up. How is this possible? How can a man seemingly be in two places at once? Here begins the real fun as Detective Ralph Anderson and others work to decipher what went on and who the real killer is. I won't say anything else about the plot as this is definitely one you'll want to see unfold for yourself.

I listened to this story as an audiobook and I think the narrator (Will Patton) did a good job of keeping the tension tight and the listener engaged throughout the many twists and turns the story took. He also did a great job of changing his voice to differentiate between characters and to give us some particularly unique voices, especially Holly Dibney, a character who appears in other installments of this "Finders Keepers" series. I actually didn't even realize this was part of a series until after I read The Outsider, but I've now added the rest of the series to my listening lineup. And Will Patton is again the narrator, so that's a wonderful surprise!

The Outsider has quite a lot more interesting aspects that I want to discuss but I'm wary to do so in case I give anything away. Just know that it's graphic at times but also filled with really interesting and relatable characters. The supernatural aspect is delicious and really takes this story down an unusual road that's entertaining to say the least. If you are already a fan of Stephen King's novels you will most likely really enjoy this one as well.

What Did I Think About the Cover?

It's definitely unsettling! It's also intriguing to see the world turned on it's head, making someone just picking it up wonder why that might be, and why the man's shadow has red eyes. Simple but effective for sure!

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

I borrowed a copy of the audiobook version of The Outsider from my library's Overdrive account. All opinions are mine alone. To find more information about the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase a copy, see Goodreads HERE.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Cover Crush: The Fallen Architect by Charles Belfoure

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I know....you aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself! A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful! 

One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at Historical Fiction Reader, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. You'll find my Cover Crush selection below and I'll link to everyone else's at the end of the post.

So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....

This is such a cool cover! There's so much texture and the saturation of color makes everything pop. I love the hands pulling up the red curtain and the way it not only crinkles up the curtain but the title as well...just really eye catching!

You can find out more about the story behind this cover by reading the synopsis....

In this riveting novel from The New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Architect, a man in disgrace finds that digging up the past is the only road he can take 

Architect Douglas Layton has lost everything. The balcony of one of his beautiful music halls collapsed during a packed performance, killing dozens. Layton knows the flaw was not in his design; someone else must have caused the dreadful catastrophe. But with no proof and a hoard of furious Londoners screaming for blood, someone has to take the fall-and Layton finds himself facing a five-year prison sentence.

When he is finally freed, Layton is determined to start over. With a new name and identity, he takes a job as a set painter. But as Layton begins to discover dead bodies hidden within theatre halls across London, it soon becomes clear that something darker is chasing him. When he unearths a clue that ties the bodies to the disaster that ruined him, he knows that redemption is within his reach…unless the culprit gets to him first.

Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week (updated as they become available):

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Stephanie at Layered Pages
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired