LEGACY OF WAR by Wilbur Smith

May 18, 2021

Courtney Family Novels, Book 16

From the publisher:

A brand-new Courtney Series adventure.

The action-packed new book in the Courtney Series and the sequel to Courtney’s War.

The war is over, Hitler is dead – and yet his evil legacy lives on. Saffron Courtney and her beloved husband Gerhard only just survived the brutal conflict, but Gerhard’s Nazi-supporting brother, Konrad, is still free and determined to regain power. As a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse develops, a plot against the couple begins to stir. One that will have ramifications throughout Europe. . .

Further afield in Kenya, the last outcrop of the colonial empire is feeling the stirrings of rebellion. As the situation becomes violent, and the Courtney family home is under threat, Leon Courtney finds himself caught between two powerful sides – and a battle for the freedom of a country.

Legacy of War is a nail-biting story of courage, bravery, rebellion and war from the master of adventure fiction.


Wilbur Smith has long since established himself as one the foremost authors of our time. His huge legacy of novels has been built around excellent research as well as the gift of being a true wordsmith. Reading his books is always a fascinating adventure with journeys into history of his beloved Africa where he was born. He has used the device of featuring several families to populate his novels which move from ancient Egypt to modern times. His technique is to make all of his heroes and also his bad guys larger than life. The good guys usually experience all that befalls them with an attitude that prohibits doing the “wrong” thing regardless of what is done to do them harm. The bad guys are what you would expect – no principled scoundrels hell bent on doing evil to gain their own nefarious ends.      

Legacy of War utilizes Saffron Courtney and her husband Gerhard.  The two were featured in Courtney’s War, the book prior to this one set during the second World War. Saffron bravely traveled behind enemy lines for England to get information about enemy activity while Gerhard was a pilot in the German air force fighting in the invasion of Russia and the bloodbath that took place at Stalingrad. They are now married with two children and living in what is now Kenya working a huge farm area that is part of the Courtney holdings.     

Gerhard’s brother also lives in south Africa but has a background during the war which makes him a criminal and sought after by the Israeli Mossad to stand trial for his crimes. The first portion of the novel describes Gerhard participating in the chase after his brother with the need for justice outweighing family ties. There is another section devoted to descriptions of the Mau Mau, a native group that is looking, through violent rebellion, to correct their perceived inequities that allow whites to own land while native groups cannot. The violence of this group does take a strong stomach but the descriptions are taken from real life during the time they were active.     

Smith moves into a meeting by Saffron with Jomo Kenyatta a native who became the first black president of Kenya showcasing the entrance of equality between the two races living in the country with the Courtney’s accepting the situation as both a desired and natural occurrence in African history.

5/2021 Paul Lane

LEGACY OF WAR by Wilbur Smith. Zaffre (April 20, 2021). ISBN: 978-1499862355. 480 pages.

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ENJOY THE VIEW by Sarah Morgenthaler

May 17, 2021

Moose Springs, Alaska, Book 3

From the publisher:

A grouchy mountaineer, a Hollywood starlet
And miles of untamed wilderness…
What could possibly go wrong?

Former Hollywood darling River Lane’s acting career is tanking fast. Determined to start fresh behind the camera, she agrees to film a documentary about the picturesque small town of Moose Springs, Alaska. The assignment should have been easy, but the quirky locals want nothing to do with River. Well, too bad: River’s going to make this film and prove herself, no matter what it takes.

Or what (literal) mountain she has to climb.

Easton Lockett may be a gentle giant, but he knows a thing or two about survival. If he can keep everyone in line, he should be able to get River and her crew up and down Mount Veil in one piece. Turns out that’s a big if. The wildlife’s wilder than usual, the camera crew’s determined to wander off a cliff, and the gorgeous actress is fearless. Falling for River only makes Easton’s job tougher, but there’s only so long he can hold out against her brilliant smile. When bad weather strikes, putting everyone at risk, it’ll take all of Easton’s skill to get them back home safely…and convince River she should stay in his arms for good.


This is one of my favorite series so I was very happy that this third entry was just as good as the first two. Alaska is one of my favorite settings, and small towns are always a good thing for me. But sometimes you have to bring in outsiders to make a romance, and that’s what happens here.

River is a movie star who wants to work behind the camera making documentaries. When she is offered the opportunity to make one about this small town, she’s all in. Except the people who live there are not. They are a quirky bunch for sure, and don’t take kindly to the tourists that come through so they are not of a mind to help with a documentary that is sure to bring in even more people. But River is nothing if not determined, and she gets to work with a small crew.

When River meets Easton, a local guide, she somehow convinces him to help her. He has never met a woman as fearless as River, or as beautiful, but he is not looking for love or to increase tourism to their small town. Nevertheless, he ends up doing both.

There are some really funny, laugh out loud moments, and some dangerous ones, too, making this a book that is hard to put down. I loved the characters and the setting and the romance, a perfect trifecta of a read. This is the third book of a series and while they each stand alone, I think they are best read in order:

The Tourist Attraction (Book 1)

Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Book 2)

You’re welcome!

5/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

ENJOY THE VIEW by Sarah Morgenthaler. Sourcebooks Casablanca (January 19, 2021). ISBN: 978-1728226316. 384 pages.

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IN TIMES OF RAIN AND WAR by Camron Wright

May 16, 2021

From the publisher:

During World War II, an American soldier encounters a German woman living a secret life in bomb-blighted London.

In September of 1940, during the Blitz in London, Audrey Stocking is blending in with other civilians who are trying to survive the nightly bombings, but she has a secret. She’s not British; she’s German. Her fake passport and nearly perfect English allow her to blend in as she works hard to help evacuate British children into the countryside.

Audrey longs to reunite with her family in Hamburg, but her double life, the bombings, and the watchful British Military Intelligence have forced her to stay put. And then there are the paralyzing nightmares . . .

Lieutenant Wesley Bowers, an American soldier training with London’s Bomb Disposal Company 5, meets Audrey when an air raid leaves an unexploded bomb on the floor of her flat. She is attractive, intelligent, and compassionate, and there’s an immediate connection between them.

As they get to know each other, Wesley realizes Audrey is the one bright spot amid the war’s unending bleakness and constant threat of death. But will he still feel the same if he discovers the secrets she is hiding? Secrets even Audrey is unaware of?

In Times of Rain and War is a gripping and heartbreakingly beautiful story about the strength and resilience of the human heart and spirit, reminding us there is always hope in hard times.


This novel is a beautifully written story of love and war. Like most stories about war, it is a treatise of anti-war dialogue but does go quite a bit beyond that. 

Lt. Wesley Bowers is an American that journeys to England in 1940, prior to the U.S. entering WWII. He joins a bomb disposal unit working in London and quickly learns that life expectancy for men that do the kind of work that he gets involved in is very low; that the average for these people is 10 weeks. He also joins the BDU (Bomb Disposal Unit) at a point that the Blitz has begun targeting London as the main point of the German air force’s raids.

Wes struggles to survive the horror he is involved in at the same time that he finds that the men attached to his unit have become like family to him with the obvious commonality of facing death on a constant basis due to the work they do.     

Audrey Stocking is a young girl that has entered England illegally sent out from her home in Germany by her father who has arranged for her to flee what he felt was the coming horror of the Nazi party. The family was Jewish with all the downside that would create for them. 

Audrey traveled to Switzerland with her aunt and from there the two women traveled to England. In order to make a living both work for a group that specializes in transporting children from London to temporary homes in the north of England which are beyond the war zone. Audrey’s problem beyond the basic one of being in the county illegally is that she suffers from flashbacks and nightmares that she cannot come to grips with.     

Wes has a fiancée in the US, but when he and Audrey meet it generates a mutual attraction that quickly gives way to love. The story of a love that helps both people transcend the daily horror they live in is an extremely well done narrative with results that leave the reader with an emotional feeling not often encountered in a novel. Certainly instilling a desire to read future books by Wright and follow through on that.

5/2021 Paul Lane

IN TIMES OF RAIN AND WAR by Camron Wright. Shadow Mountain (April 6, 2021). ISBN: 978-1629728544. 312 pages.

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HER THREE LIVES by Cate Holahan

May 15, 2021

From the publisher:

Gaslight goes high-tech in USA Today bestselling author Cate Holahan’s new standalone thriller in which a family must determine who the real enemy is after a brutal home invasion breaks their trust in each other.

Her public life

Jade Thompson has it all. She’s an up-and-coming social media influencer, and she has a beautiful new home and a successful architect for a fiancé. But there’s trouble behind the scenes. To Greg’s children, his divorce from their mother and his new life can only mean a big mid-life crisis. To Jade, his suburban Connecticut upbringing isn’t an easy match with her Caribbean roots.

Her private life

A savage home invasion leaves Greg house-bound with a traumatic brain injury and glued to the live feeds from his ubiquitous security cameras. As the police investigate the crime and Greg’s frustration and rage grows, Jade begins to wonder what he may know about their attackers. And whether they are coming back.

Her secret life

As Greg watches Jade’s comings and goings, he becomes convinced that her behavior is suspicious and that she’s hiding a big secret.  The more he sees, the more he wonders whether the break-in was really a random burglary. And whether he’s worth more to Jade if he were dead than alive.

PopSugar’s Best Mysteries and Thrillers Books of April 2021


Cate Holahan has a tremendous gift for bringing characters she utilizes in her novels to vivid life for her readers. In her current novel, she places her characters into a plot that is as twisty and turny as any I’ve ever had the pleasure to read, making this book into a grab hold adventure into sleepless nights. 

Jade Thompson is a woman that has made a success of herself via the creation and building up an interesting blog involved in design details and sales of products in that area to an increasing number of interested readers. She has also just become engaged to Greg who is an extremely successful architect who has made himself wealthy via becoming involved with the design of big buildings. Greg is in the process of divorcing this wife of many years and has met and fallen in love with Jade. He has asked Jade to marry him with her accepting.     

Greg has two adult children who are not too thrilled with their father becoming engaged to a woman that is very close in age to his daughter and seemingly leaving their mother. The plot thickens when one night Jade and Greg are subjected to a home invasion. Greg suffers a hit to his head by one of the two robbers using a blunt instrument while Jade is hit in the stomach.  She has become pregnant and loses the baby as a result of the blow. She also is robbed of a very valuable ring she received as an engagement present.    

Holahan takes her readers on a rollercoaster ride as besides Jade and Greg, Jade’s mother and Greg’s adult children get involved in throwing around the whys and wherefores of what was the cause of the home invasion if it had anything to do with an engagement that apparently all felt was too soon and ill advised. Believe me when I state that readers will become dizzy from the myriad of  permutations and combinations involved. It will be an experience that will add to the enjoyment of the book and the expectation of reading future books by the author.

5/2021 Paul Lane

HER THREE LIVES by Cate Holahan. Grand Central Publishing (April 20, 2021). ISBN: 978-1538736340. 352 pages.

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CAN’T HURRY LOVE by Melinda Curtis

May 14, 2021

Sunshine Valley, Book 1

From the publisher:

From a USA Today bestselling author comes a heartwarming romance about a city girl who finds herself widowed in a quirky small town and the new target of the town’s relentless matchmaking Widows Club.

Head-over-heels in love, Lola Williams gave up everything to marry Randy, including a promising career in New York City. Now, after one year of marriage and one year of widowhood, Lola finds herself stranded in Sunshine, Colorado, reeling from the revelation that Randy had secrets she never could have imagined. She swears she’s done with love forever but the matchmaking ladies of the Sunshine Valley Widows Club have different plans…

Sheriff Drew Taylor also knows what it feels like to be unlucky in love. So when Lola comes to him for help uncovering Randy’s hidden life, Drew finds himself saying yes against his better judgment – especially with the Widows Club eyeing them both. Soon enough, Lola is upending Drew’s peaceful, predictable world…and he kind of likes it! But will this big-city girl ever give her heart to a small-town guy again?


This author was new to me, and as this is a new series, I’m happy to report that this was a terrific read and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

It’s always terribly sad when a young woman is widowed, especially after only a year of marriage. Then to find out that your husband had some serious secrets only adds to the grieving process. But there is a Widow’s Club in this small town, and while Lola is decades younger than the rest, they nonetheless decide that she needs a man, and the widows go into a matchmaking frenzy.

This is a very sweet romance, and I loved all the quirky characters. I really liked that the Sheriff also had some baggage that he had to deal with, too. I am a sucker for small towns (never having lived in one) and while this was more sweet than steamy, it had humor and heart and I couldn’t put it down.

5/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

CAN’T HURRY LOVE by Melinda Curtis. Forever; Reissue edition (March 31, 2020). ISBN: 978-1538733417. 512 pages.

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THE PERFECT DAUGHTER by D.J. Palmer

May 13, 2021

From the publisher:

A thriller that explores the truth or lies behind a teenage girl’s multiple personality disorder, from D.J. Palmer, the author of The New Husband.

Meet Ruby, who speaks with a British accent.

Then there’s Chloe, a perfectionist who strives for straight A’s in school.
And along comes Eve, who is spiteful and vicious.
All of them live inside Penny…
Or do they?

Penny Francone, age sixteen, is a murderer. Her guilt is beyond doubt: she was found alone in the victim’s apartment, covered in blood, holding the murder weapon. The victim’s identity and her secret relationship to Penny give Penny the perfect motive, sealing the deal. All the jury needs to decide now is where Penny will serve out her sentence. Will she be found not guilty by reason of insanity, as her lawyer intends to argue? Or will she get a life sentence in a maximum-security prison?
Already reeling from tragedy after the sudden passing of her beloved husband a few years before, now Grace is on her knees, grateful that Massachusetts doesn’t allow the death penalty.

As Penny awaits trial in a state mental hospital, she is treated by Dr. Mitchell McHugh, a psychiatrist battling demons of his own. Grace’s determination to understand the why behind her daughter’s terrible crime fuels Mitch’s resolve to help the Francone family. Together, they set out in search of the truth about Penny, but discover instead a shocking hidden history of secrets, lies, and betrayals that threatens to consume them all.

The perfect daughter. Is she fooling them all?


D.J. Palmer brings an extremely well researched novel on a theme rarely touched upon to his readers. The story concerns a young girl with multiple personalities that take turns dominating their host. 

Grace and her husband Arthur have two sons who have melded with their parents into a good family. As fate would have it, Grace, while walking in the park, comes upon a young girl that turns out to have been abandoned. The girl, Penny, has little memory of her past but seems to Grace to be a miracle and when the opportunity arises, she and her husband decide to adopt her. To help her regain her memory Penny is sent to various psychiatrists all of whom fail to recognize her symptoms.      

One day Penny learns that her birth mother has moved back near her and decides to visit her.  While there tragedy strikes and the police come finding Penny covered in blood, her birth mother dead as a result of multiple stab wounds and her fingerprints all over the knife found at the scene of the crime. The authorities decide to send Penny to a psychiatric state hospital rather than to prison for evaluation and there await trial for murder.   

Palmer describes conditions prevalent in the hospital where everyone is overworked and it is difficult to provide adequate help for the sick. Based on his research, Penny’s shifts into her other personalities and how they emerge with their own characteristics taking control. It is a fascinating study of conditions that have rarely been described, and when done so are not well illustrated. This is not the author’s first published book and it’s theme and depth certainly add to his reputation as a top tier writer.

NOTE: D.J. Palmer also writes as Daniel Palmer.

5/2021 Paul Lane

THE PERFECT DAUGHTER by D.J. Palmer. St. Martin’s Press (April 20, 2021). ISBN: 978-1250267924. 384 pages.

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THE HEIRESS HUNT by Joanna Shupe

May 12, 2021

THE HEIRESS HUNT by Joanna Shupe. Avon (March 9, 2021). ISBN 978-0063045040. 400 pages.

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LEVI’S WAR by Julie Thomas

May 11, 2021

From the publisher:

A story of courage and bravery from a Jew behind enemy lines during the Second World War.

How many secrets can one family hold?

Levi Horowitz isn’t a natural-born soldier. But in November 1938, Berlin is a volatile place for a Jew, and the talented young musician secures passage to Switzerland. Instead, Levi is taken to a Danish border checkpoint and from then on his war becomes secret, even from those he loves best.

In 2017, a recording emerges, showing Levi in 1945 and revealing a story in equal parts shocking and heroic. It is a journey that leads him face-to-face with Hitler, and into a position to change the final outcome of the war.

Levi’s War follows on from the enthralling historical novels The Keeper of Secrets and Rachel’s Legacy, this time tracing the story of the eldest Horowitz son. Whether you’re discovering Julie Thomas’s books for the first time, or making a return visit to the saga of the Horowitz family, Levi’s War will leave you utterly breathless.


This is the third and final novel in the author’s planned trilogy about the Horowitz family and events they took part in during World War II.  I have not read the first two books so that certain described situations mentioned in this book are not familiar to me. While it would have helped overall understanding I did not lose complete track of events and could keep up with the flow of this book. 

Levi is a Jewish boy born into a well to do banking family living in Berlin, Germany enjoying life until the horror of Adolf Hitler and his cronies seized power and turned the country into a police state looking to conquer the world. Levi’s father saw what was probably going to happen and sent Levi to live and work in England. He was supposed to establish a base in order to bring over all his family but fate threw him a curve and he began life as a spy thanks to the British government interceding with him, training him as a soldier, and sending him back into Germany to spy on Nazi activities for the allies. 

Levi returns and gets a position with a Nazi unit to both support himself and have access to information needed by his sponsors.  As a young man Levi had developed a love for and a talent for music playing at a concert hall level. This skill helps him in working at his spy craft gaining entrance to homes of the very well connected including the very top: – Hitler himself. Themes running through the novel are Levi’s having to apologize for his Jewishness and also to have to hide the fact that he is gay in a country which makes homosexuality a crime even to killing the person for showing a same sex love for another human being.     

While Thomas shows the amount of research she undertook to tell this story I fault her on jumping helter-skelter from topic and circumstance to something else. There were a few situations where the reader could very easily have lost continuity and interest making it very far from an all nighter. Levi’s constant fixing on his homosexuality is overdone and doesn’t at all help maintain the reader’s interest.

5/2021 Paul Lane

LEVI’S WAR by Julie Thomas. HarperCollins (April 20, 2021). ISBN: 978-1460759622. 320 pages.

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CAN’T HURRY LOVE by Melinda Curtis

May 10, 2021

Sunshine Valley, Book 1

From the publisher:

From a USA Today bestselling author comes a heartwarming romance about a city girl who finds herself widowed in a quirky small town and the new target of the town’s relentless matchmaking Widows Club.

Head-over-heels in love, Lola Williams gave up everything to marry Randy, including a promising career in New York City. Now, after one year of marriage and one year of widowhood, Lola finds herself stranded in Sunshine, Colorado, reeling from the revelation that Randy had secrets she never could have imagined. She swears she’s done with love forever but the matchmaking ladies of the Sunshine Valley Widows Club have different plans…

Sheriff Drew Taylor also knows what it feels like to be unlucky in love. So when Lola comes to him for help uncovering Randy’s hidden life, Drew finds himself saying yes against his better judgment – especially with the Widows Club eyeing them both. Soon enough, Lola is upending Drew’s peaceful, predictable world…and he kind of likes it! But will this big-city girl ever give her heart to a small-town guy again?


I love finding new authors, and this author was new to me but not for long – I’m going to be reading some of her older books soon. This one was really good.

I always enjoy books set in small towns. I’ve never lived anywhere like that, so I find it interesting. This small town is run by a group of widows and they are matchmakers. Lola and Drew make a great couple, only they don’t know it yet. Lola is a young widow trying to find out more about her husband and Drew is the perfect man to help her.

There are a lot of laughs and some very sweet, poignant moments as well. Sex is more implied than graphic. I couldn’t help but root for these characters to find their happily ever after. Luckily, this is the first book of a series and I am looking forward to the next book for sure!

5/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

CAN’T HURRY LOVE by Melinda Curtis. Forever; Reissue edition (March 31, 2020). ISBN: 978-1538733417. 512 pages.

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SHIPPED by Angie Hockman

May 9, 2021

From the publisher:

The Unhoneymooners meets The Hating Game in this witty, clever, and swoonworthy novel following a workaholic marketing manager who is forced to go on a cruise with her arch-nemesis when they’re up for the same promotion.

Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.

The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.

Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.

With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live?

Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne, Shipped is a fresh and engaging rom-com that celebrates the power of second chances and the magic of new beginnings.


I am always excited when I find a new author to add to my ‘must read’ list. The enemies-to-lovers trope is at the forefront of this really cute romance. Although they’ve never actually met, Henley and Graeme really hate each other, all via email. When their boss offers up a chance for promotion, they both want it, even if it means taking a cruise to the Galapagos together. The company wants a new campaign to improve their cruise business and Henley and Graeme have lots of ideas. It’s totally believable and these characters are so well developed, we can’t help but root for them both.

The setting – both the cruise ship and the Galapagos are unusual, exotic, and add another layer to the story. But it’s the chemistry between these two characters that really heat up the novel and totally sucked me in. The secondary characters add a lot of humor as well. Lots of laughs, plenty of charm, and a sizzling hot romance make for a terrific read that actually lives up to its hype. Don’t miss it – I almost did as it got lost in my to-be-read pile, but I am so glad I found it.

5/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

SHIPPED by Angie Hockman. Gallery Books; Reprint edition (January 19, 2021). ISBN: 978-1982151591. 336 pages.

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