Readers' Favorite

March 17, 2020

Did You Miss These 3 February New Releases?

by Susan Roberts

February may have been a short month but there were some fantastic books published that you don't want to miss.  Here are reviews for three books published in February that I enjoyed.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

An Everyday Hero by Laura Trentham

"'If you can't believe in yourself yet, then believe in me.  You are talented, Greer, and you have the ability to help people find their voice.'" (p 13)

February 2020;  Griffin; 978-1250145550
audio, ebook, print (330 pages); women's fiction
I started this book with plans to read a few chapters before I went to sleep.  At 4 am I read the last page - I'm glad that I'm retired so that I didn't have to worry about going to work for 8 hours but the book was so good that I probably would have read it even if I had a workday ahead of me.  This is the second book in the Heart of A Hero series but can be read as a standalone as there is no overlap of characters or storyline.

From the Blurb:  From award-winning author Laura Trentham comes an emotionally layered novel about redemption, second chances and discovering that life is worth fighting for.

At 30 years of age, Greer is back home after trying her luck in Nashville.  She was talented but had never gotten the break as a songwriter that would take her to the top.  Instead, she spent years playing in dive bars until a panic attack when she was starting a song ended her singing career in Nashville.  After she comes back to her childhood home, a bar fight with her cheating boyfriend lands her in court and she is sentenced to community service at a nonprofit agency that aided veterans and their families with music therapy.  Her first client is a 15-year-old girl named Ally whose father died in combat.  She has a major attitude and doesn't want to work with Greer and after the first session, when Greer remembers what it was like to be 15, she finds a common ground for them even though it's still a struggle.  Her next client is even more difficult.   Greer knew Emmett in high school when he was a football star and he was definitely not in her social group in high school.  He had been injured in the war and had lost his leg and had major survivor's guilt and PTSD.  He lived in a small house on his parents' property and spent his time drinking.  He didn't want to talk to anyone or make any effort to return to his old life and his attitude kept people away until Greer decided to ignore his attitude and to try to help him.  Will her sarcasm and attitude help Emmett in his recovery or push him further away? or can they both help each other???

All three of the main characters in this book are living with anger and resentment at what life has taken away from them.  They all use their anger to strike out at other people and push them away even if they are trying to help.  As Greer and Emmett begin to get closer to each other, a situation with Ally causes them to try to save her.  Can they save her and save themselves, too?

An Everyday Hero is a book with a strong female lead character who needs to make changes in her own life so that she can help others.  Only through reaching out to others is she able to find the happiness that has eluded her so far.  This book has all the good feels and made me happy that I got to know these characters.

"I once was lost and now I'm found.  She'd sung Amazing Grace so many times that the lyrics had ceased to have an impact.  But, standing on her childhood front porch, having come full circle, a shiver went down her spine and goosebumps broke over her arms despite the heat that wavered over the pavement like a mirage.  Her granny would have said that someone had walked over her grave.  Maybe so.  Or maybe, change was a-coming whether she wanted to face  up to it or not." (p14)

Buy An Everyday Hero at Amazon

The Lies You Want to Hear by Judy Mollen Walters

February 2020; 979-8603802657
ebook, print (389 pages); women's fiction
"She could feel her body shake.  She said the good thoughts she'd learned long ago to say to herself. "You are a good person. You are worthy.  Food is fuel for the body.  Everyone deserves a treat sometimes.  One ice cream and pizza day won't make you fat." (p11)

Dani is the stressed-out stay at home mom who tries too hard.  She has a husband who works too much, a daughter, a sister who is a lawyer and works too much and her nephew that she takes care of while her sister is working.  She is also PTO president at her daughter's school, much to the chagrin of some of the other mothers and tries to take on too much herself instead of asking for help from others.  She spends her days trying to prove her worth to others and, more importantly, to herself.  But she is keeping a secret from the world and is risking her life.  Her secret gets so out of control that it becomes apparent to her sister who tries to help but Dani doesn't want help because she doesn't think she has a problem.  She wants to be the perfect mother, have another baby and continue her life as it is even as her eating disorder continues to wreak havoc on her physical and mental life.  She feels that she is in control but in reality, the eating disorder is taking over her life.  Can her sister help?  Can she convince Dani's husband that she needs help?  Or will the eating disorder continue to affect her health and ultimately her life?  No matter how much her sister wants to help, only Dani can decide if she'll live life to the fullest and get healthy again.

This is a wonderful, well-written novel about a woman struggling with an eating disorder and trying to convince the other people in her life that she doesn't have a problem.  Her disorder remains private until her body changes so much that her family becomes aware of it.  Dani is a wonderful main character who wants to spend her life helping other people but has such a poor self-image that she is willing to risk her life to be the perfect person and helper that she wants to be.  It's a struggle and reading about Dani's journey made it all very real.

Buy The Lies You want to Hear at Amazon

The Traitor by V.S. Alexander

February 2020; Kensington; 978-1496720399
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); historical fiction
"When you see the world in all its enchanting beauty, you're sometimes reluctant to concede that the other side of the coin exists.  The antithesis exists here, as it does everywhere, if only you open your eyes to it. But here the antithesis is accentuated by war to such an extent that a weak person sometimes can't endure it." (p 33)

This intriguing new novel by V.S. Alexander gives the reader a look at the horrors of World War II from another perspective - those of Natalya Petrovich.  Natalya is a German citizen, lives in Munich and is a student at the University.  She was born in Russia but her parents moved to Munich when she was very young to have a better life.  She sees the cruelty of the war when she volunteers to work as a nurse at the Russian front.  When she returns to Munich, she vows to try to make a difference.  When her best friend asks her to join a small resistance group called the White Rose, she knows that being part of the group could lead to her death but she is determined to take the chance if she can make a difference in the Nazi regime.  Natalya risks her life and the lives of her parents hoping that her words and actions will encourage other people to resist what is happening in Germany.  Will her gamble pay off and will she be able to make a  difference or is the White Rose group destined to failure.  As the Nazi hierarchy of Munich searches for the members of the group, Natalya's hopes for survival diminish and she must take an extraordinary gamble in her own personal struggle to survive.

This novel is fascinating on so many levels:
  • Characters: Natalya is a strong main character who is willing to risk her life to help her country.  She is written so well that the reader can understand her views and her beliefs.  The supporting characters are also superbly written.
  • Setting:  Life in Germany at this time was difficult - there were curfews, food shortages and constant harassment by the soldiers.  You can feel the fear of the citizens throughout this book.
  • Plot:  The plot of the novel is intriguing and suspenseful.  I flew through the pages to see the outcome and was not disappointed.  I will admit to some tears during the story but the overwhelming feeling was one of strength and resilience.

"Words are powerful tools that can cause irreparable harm when used for evil - to divide and conquer." (p 78)

Note:  Be sure to read the author's notes at the end of the book to find out about the White Rose resistance group in Germany.  Many of the characters in the novel are based on real people and the author did extensive research to learn more about the real people in the group and made an effort to 'marry fiction with history'.

I have read all of the books by this author and he has never disappointed me as a reader.  This is a fantastic book and I can't wait to see what he writes next.

Buy The Traitor at Amazon

Other Books by V.S Alexander that I recommend:
The Magdalen Girls - see review here.
The Taster - see review here.
The Irishman's Daughter - see review here.

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter

Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up today! Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


Post a Comment