The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory / Blog Tour

The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory


Publisher: Lake Union Publishing 42931500

Publishing Date: 1st September 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 396

Genre: Historical Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback





Berlin, 1989. As the wall between East and West falls, Miriam Winter cares for her dying father, Henryk. When he cries out for someone named Frieda – and Miriam discovers an Auschwitz tattoo hidden under his watch strap – Henryk’s secret history begins to unravel.

Searching for more clues of her father’s past, Miriam finds an inmate uniform from the Ravensbrück women’s camp concealed among her mother’s things. Within its seams are dozens of letters to Henryk written by Frieda. The letters reveal the disturbing truth about the ‘Rabbit Girls’, young women experimented on at the camp. And amid their tales of sacrifice and endurance, Miriam pieces together a love story that has been hidden away in Henryk’s heart for almost fifty years.

Inspired by these extraordinary women, Miriam strives to break through the walls she has built around herself. Because even in the darkest of times, hope can survive.

Rating:  four-stars


“The Rabbit Girls” introduces us to Henryk, on his deathbed, calling out an unknown name of a woman – Frieda. His daughter Miriam is intrigued, also finding an Auschwitz tattoo on her father’s wrist, and sets on finding the woman before Henryk dies. Enlisting the help of Eva, Miriam gets her to translate letters she finds in the dress hidden in her mother’s wardrobe, letters written in French and German. In the meantime, learning about the woman her father used to love once, Miriam is also trying to escape her abusive marriage to Axel, a controlling and violent man. Will Miriam be able to learn courage? 

I personally thought there is going to be more about the “Rabbit Girls” themselves, women that were experimented upon by doctors in the camps, although, on the other hand, perhaps it’s better that the story focused more on other things, as I rather wasn’t in a mood of such a sad, dramatic story. Actually, there was enough drama, tragedy and heart – breaking moments in this book to already make it poignant enough. Nevertheless, after reading the synopsis, you’re justified to expect more about this topic, and it’s only a tiny aspect of it.

 It was a very slow burner and it took me long to eventually settle into the book, and I personally think that what was holding it back was Miriam’s story. In my opinion, Frieda’s tale was the one that made the book and it’s sad that it was so much overshadowed by Miriam and her narratives. Miriam’s chapters focus mostly on her repetitive inquiry into the letters or her personal life, with all the problems, while Henryk’s are set in the past, telling us about his marital problems. It is a tale that feels like three different stories throughout three different time periods wrapped in one, but it’s not a bad thing. The chapters alternate between Miriam’s present life and her background, and Henryk’s past and here I found the changes in the narration and in the person (third and first) a bit confusing, but as I kept going it became easier and not so jarring. However, it eventually starts going, and then it’s simply impossible to put down. 

There are some of the things that doesn’t really ring true, and some of them happen very conveniently, but really, let’s just simply put our disbelief and scepticism away and enjoy the story with all its progressing mystery and dramaturgy. The end has tied everything neatly together and I liked the way it was done. 

“The Rabbit Girls” was a  story about love and about finding strength to fight for yourself. I only thing that perhaps the author should choose less things to write about, as then the story would be clearer and the characters stronger, but altogether, it was a heart – breaking, poignant novel about the abuse in the death camps at the end of the Second World War, a topic that I’ve often read about, also in memories, but each time it leaves me in pieces, and it was the same here. But it also deals with other topics, in the modern times, in Miriam’s marriage for example, and we can observe the menace of those different forms of abuse. Touching upon the caring for a dying father, the horrific tale of the camps and finally, Miriam’s abusive marriage, this beautiful story about hope that can change everything and redemption is truly worth recommending!



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Lies We Tell Mothers by Suzy K. Quinn

Lies We Tell Mothers by Suzy K. Quinn


Publisher: Lake Union Publishing46009806._sy475_

Publishing Date: 1st August 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 247

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback





Bestselling author of the Bad Mother books Suzy K Quinn reveals the truth behind the lies we tell mothers, one sleepless night at a time.

Suzy and Demi were carefree twenty-somethings. They had fun! They didn’t have responsibilities! And then they decided to have a baby. Goodbye lazy weekends, hello sleepless nights, arguments and an addiction to industrial-strength hot chocolate.

In the midst of this major life change, Suzy discovered that most parenting advice should be taken with a pinch of salt—or ten.

For example:

#1 Lie—Just go with your mother’s instinct. But what if your instinct is telling you to hide under the stairs?

#10 Lie—Your new baby will tell you what it needs. Not if it can’t talk it won’t.

#23 Lie—You should never bribe your children. You will ALWAYS bribe your children.

Follow Suzy on the ultimate make-over—from nervous-wreck new mother to happy families. In this hilarious and refreshingly honest account for parents who prefer the realistic to the utopian, Suzy debunks the myths and takes us all along for the (bumpy) ride.

Rating: four-stars


Even though my daughter is already 7 years old I still can remember her baby time and how much of a shock it was for me. You can go to as many preparation courses and whatevers as you want but nobody will prepare you for this what’s really to come when the baby arrives. And because lately the mother – and parenthood books are showing that I was not the only one who experienced the first times with their own babies not feeling like a natural Mother Nature, I love reading them. And this book would probably be the one that I would have written if I had any writing talent.

The book is told through chapters dedicated to lies that are usually told mothers, tackling all the issues in a very direct, honest way. I’ve recognized many of those lies, oh yes I did… I’ve read one review totally slashing this book and I think, of course there are people who would give anything for sleepless nights and of course children are blessing but we can’t take everything so seriously, right? Even though I have a baby, I am still me, a person, a human being with ups and downs, and this book shows them all – it’s so simple.

I adored Demi and his relaxed attitude. Ma own husband maybe wasn’t as relaxed but he showed that he’s a real man in those hard times and I will owe him for ever.

It was funny, relatable, bitter – sweet and brutally honest, the author really isn’t afraid of writing how it is. I laughed, I cringed but most of all, I knew how the author felt. She delivers the difference between the expectations of being pregnant and imagining things and the brutal reality in a light, humorous and sarcastic way. But no matter how hard it is, it WILL get better and I would never had it any other way – and this is also the message in this book. Recommended!

Girl 99 by Andy Jones

Girl 99 by Andy Jones


32606696Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Publishing Date: 14th February  2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 318

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



When Tom’s girlfriend walks out on him the day before Christmas, he feels humiliated but not necessarily heartbroken. Sadie wasn’t, after all, The One. If we’re being precise, she was number eighty-five.

And so, for reasons that are only mostly wrong, Tom embarks on a mission to bring his number of encounters up to a nice neat one hundred.

Over the course of his quest he sleeps with a colleague, a colleague of a friend, a friend of a friend, a friend of a friend’s wife, the estate agent selling his flat and several more besides.

Everything is going, if not well, then at least according to plan…and then Tom meets Verity. Whether she’s The One remains to be seen, but she’s certainly more than just another number.

Rating: three-stars

Oh guys, you’ve no idea how excited I was to read a book by Andy Jones – finally! I love reading women’s fiction written from a man’s perspective, and I also have both Andy Jones’s previous book on my TBR pile, though have never come to reading them – YET – and so I was truly desperate to read “The Girl 99”.

So this book. Arrrgh, it got me a headache. So torn about this one! It may be a book also for women but mostly I think it was for men – the story seemed to me like a never – ending boastings of a man about his conquests – and it actually was only about taking girls in his bed and crossing them off the list. Just look at me, the pasha, ha! And truly, if it is the way that men think and behave than I am really happy to be a woman. I’m sorry, maybe I just didn’t got the story but this is how I feel, and it has nothing to do with feminism – I just felt like the women were objectified in this story. It might be that the main character is only looking for real love, to find The One but well, for me he’s looking in the wrong way. However, OK, Tom has redeemed himself showing that he also has feelings and emotions, that he’s not the heartless bastard that his best friend wanted to make out of him, and – hallelujah! – he seemed to learn what real love is. Tom was rather prone to putting himself into embarrassing situations and mostly he was rather misunderstood by the opposite sex. Hmm. His journey into the happy ever after was bumpy and painful. I also liked the writing style – it was sharp, the author is a good observer of reality and the story is original.

I liked the fact that there were also other aspects to the story. The author touches upon family dynamics as well in his novel and Tom’s family was really well portrayed. The interactions between Tom and his father and sister were entertaining yet poignant, and the relationships in this family were so well captured and felt so realistic – the author writes as it is. But sadly, there was nothing that wow-ed me in this story and eventually I started to skim reading.
At the end the author mentions that his debut story is about one of the characters that also stars in “The Girl 99”. Well, duh, but it didn’t make me want to immediately read this book. Sadly. I was hoping for much more, for a clever, hooking, unique read but sadly nothing doing.

All in all, “Girl 99” was light – hearted and humorous (though it was not my kind of humour, however it is just my personal feeling and opinion and it doesn’t mean that other people are not going to enjoy this book, which they already do!) book about finding love when you don’t expect it. It is written in a very modern way, full of nowadays remarks, and it is especially visible in the way the characters communicate, as the dialogues are sharp and well – written. Yes, it was not only a story about making it to number 100, but also about finding out who you are and what it is you want for your life, and I appreciate that, and I am really, truly sorry that it didn’t work for me.

The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse

The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse


31828961Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Publishing Date: 21st March 2017

Source:  Received from the author in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 332

Genre: Women’s Fiction,  General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter dares to hope that she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But the reality of becoming parents proves much harder than Lucy and Jonah imagined. Jonah’s love and support is unquestioning, but as Lucy struggles with work and her own failing dreams, the strain on their marriage increases. Suddenly it feels like Lucy is close to losing everything…

Heart-wrenching and poignant, this latest work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: what does it mean to be a mother in today’s hectic world? And what if it’s asking too much to want it all?

Rating: 4/5

I was blessed with my wish of becoming a mum happening almost immediately after I’ve decided it’s THIS moment. However, there are many, many women who are not as lucky as I was and it is hard for me to imagine how it must be for them, to live in the world full of ads with happy mums and toddlers, in this world full of pressure when you’re still judged on the fact if you’re a parent or not. It’s a different situation if you don’t want a baby – I respect it and understand it – but how hard must it be when you can’t have a baby and desperately want to have one? Amanda Prowse deals with those – and much more – issues in her newest release “The Idea of You”, which, as a huge Amanda’s fan, I’ve been impatiently waiting for.
The author also admits that she’s gone through the same difficult situations as her character and I can only say hats off to Ms Prowse, as it must have been really hard and painful to write this story, to open the old wounds, to remember. I don’t know how it is to lose a child – thanks God for this – and I think that the author has wonderfully (if I can use such word) and with a lot of understanding and sensibility brought closer the feelings and emotions accompanying such events in life.

As usual, the writing in this book is beautiful, gentle and it draws you immediately into the heart of this story. It is a real rollercoaster of emotions, bringing the characters so easily and effortlessly to life. They all feel so realistic, with all their ups and downs, with their flaws and problems. The author puts her heart and soul into her words and characters, you can really feel this! What I also love in this author’s writing is the fact that she never judges her characters, she lets the readers to make their own mind about them, about the situations they are in and always when reading her stories I have a feeling that she really knows what she’s writing about, with it making the story so much more genuine. She writes about issues that are difficult to tackle, yet there is so much honesty in the storytelling, so much bravery and understanding and the books, also “The Idea of You”, just turn out to be incredibly realistic, down – to – earth and honest.

The story is told from Lucy Carpenter’s point of view, however the chapters are interspersed with letters. Letter that are incredibly honest and genuine, that are full of sorrow, sadness and hope, and those letters made for one of the surprises that I didn’t see coming. I was scared that Amanda Prowse is going to make Lucy’s miscarriages incredibly difficult and that there are going to be so many of them in this story that it’s going to make us stop falling for Lucy. Yes, the miscarriages are a truly heavy subject – especially as there are so many women who have had to deal with this problem, so how shall you write about it without hurting someone, insulting or bringing back the awful memories – but Amanda Prowse has wonderfully managed this subject. She has also incredibly well captured Lucy’s desperation, her longing for her own baby, this awful feeling when you want to start your own family and it was not meant to be. I fell for Lucy and I also understood her desires, and you’ve no idea how much I kept my fingers crossed for her. However, Lucy is not obsessed, as I was afraid she’s going to turn out eventually, and it’s a big brownie point to the author for making Lucy like this.

Amanda Prowse puts Lucy and Jonah through so many problems on their way to happiness. She tries their strength and their courage, tests them in any possible way but let’s be honest, life is not a bed of roses, it’s full of obstacles and it rarely happens that you get what you really want, so this story is about ordinary characters, people like us. I was really scared that the love Lucy and Jonah shared could not make it through those turbulent times, especially as we shouldn’t forget a rebellious 16 – year – old Camille, Jonah’s daughter from his first marriage, who comes to visit and this visit brings a very unexpected surprise, but also troubles. But even with all those problems, you could see that Lucy and Jonah just love each other, that the sparkle is there, no matter what. I was also thinking how hard it must have been for Lucy to suddenly get a brand new step – daughter. Camille might have been already a teenager, but a child is a child, and what with Lucy not being able to have her own children it for sure wasn’t easy for her. She tried so much with Camille and often it back – fired but still she never gave up on making an effort.

Amanda Prowse is a queen of writing raw, unbelievably honest and emotional stories. She can effortlessly get into her characters’ heads and tell us their stories as if we were witnesses to them, as if we were there. Also, as her novels are so true to life there isn’t always a happy end to them – but it only makes them even more realistic and closer to your own heart. There is also a great balance between sad and happy – it’s rather sad story but the author masterfully created it in the way that it’s never an overwhelming feeling. But as much as I love this author and all her books always bring a lump in my throat and often make me cry crocodile tears, this time I missed those things. Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful book, full of emotions and feelings and difficult topics that not everybody would dare to write about but I missed this “something” that makes Amanda Prowse’s books so spectacular – hence the 4 stars rating this time. Still, I truly loved this gentle book about families and parenthood, about being open and understanding, about how it is to long to have a baby. Don’t be shy of this book even if you’re not the target audience – it is written in such a way that you’re going to fall for Lucy not only because of her misfortune. There are many other subplots and the author touches upon many issues that you as reader can for certain relate to. Recommended!

The Food of Love by Amanda Prowse

The Food of Love by Amanda Prowse


30333119Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Publishing Date: 1st December 2016

Source:  Received from the author in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 350

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



A loving mother. A perfect family. A shock wave that could shatter everything.

Freya Braithwaite knows she is lucky. Nineteen years of marriage to a man who still warms her soul and two beautiful teenage daughters to show for it: confident Charlotte and thoughtful Lexi. Her home is filled with love and laughter.

But when Lexi’s struggles with weight take control of her life, everything Freya once took for granted falls apart, leaving the whole family with a sense of helplessness that can only be confronted with understanding, unity and, above all, love.

In this compelling and heart-wrenching new work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse, one ordinary family tackles unexpected difficulties and discovers that love can find its way through life’s darkest moments.

Rating: 5/5

Even though I haven’t read an Amanda Prowse book for a long time now, I do remember that all of the novels that I had a pleasure to read made a great impact on me and I still know that I cried crocodile tears when reading them, so I was guessing what’s in store for me when starting “The Food of Love”. The book started slowly, more like your usual chick – lit book and there came a moment that I began to feel nervous, as it seemed that in fact nothing is happening – the Braithwaites, Freya and Lockie and their two daughters lead perfectly normal lives, sometimes they are struggling money – wise, sometimes it’s better, but what was very clear was that they love each other. However, soon it became clear that there is a second layer to this story, that something has happened, because at the end of each chapter the family is writing letters to one of their member, and it looks like they don’t have a lot of time left – but what has happened and what’s going to happen when they time is over?

This book has awoken millions of feelings in me. Yes, at the beginning I wasn’t too sure, as it started relatively slowly, and then Freya made me feel so, so annoyed, and I also wasn’t sure if I’m right because guys, I thought I was supposed to feel sorry for Lexi, and what I felt was anger – a hot, red anger that she’s so weak, that she’s so stubborn, that she is the one who doesn’t want to stop, and in my own eyes I felt like a monster – but when I finished this book, I was in a mess and I needed time to sort out my feelings, which is always a sign of a good book! What’s more, I am still thinking about it. The characters just got under my skin, they are unforgettable and the realistic way the story was written have just wowed me over.

Maybe because it is probably my first book about anorexia it really made an impact on me. Amanda Prowse has just got under Lexi’s skin and in a very distinctive, clear and detailed way showed us what she felt and what it was like for her and her family, how they all felt and how much it influenced their lives.

But to be honest, this book could easily be a less star – rating read – because of Freya. I know how strong mother’s feelings are but there comes a moment when you need to realise that your child’s life is in danger and it’s up to you to save it. As much as I fell for her and felt with her, I also wanted to slap her, shake her and tell her to wake up and that it’s not a time to wonder if Lexi will still love her, is she will forgive her, it is time to act! I was in fact wondering if it’s at all possible that the doctors didn’t force the family to put Lexi in hospital, seeing that her life was so in danger – I don’t know if there are any laws and if there is a moment that they can act even against family’s wishes. To be honest, now, in perspective, I am not sure how Freya could watch her daughter to lose weight, hair, bones and will to live and not do anything, only hope that love will mend everything. Love is powerful, but it’s not everything in such cases. I know how hard it can be to be a mum, but this all went just too far. And the other aspect of Freya – she herself was also obsessed with food and she belittled people who were not controlling their appetite, or was dismissively talking about bigger people eating fast food – was this what Lexi noticed and remembered? On the other hand, as a mother, I have a feeling that nobody can do my job as well as I do it, so I also felt sympathy with Freya. Yes, I am totally torn when it comes to this woman. But I loved the Braithwaites as a family – their banter, the way they were around each other and it was painful to see how each of them was affected by the illness. Freya, Lockie, Lexi’s sister Charlotte… Thanks to the author I had a feeling that together with them I am experiencing the pain, the novelty of this all, the fear, anger and other feelings and emotions. I also felt so sorry for them with Freya reacting like this, being obsessed to solve the problem all by herself because “she’s Lexi’s mum” – hello? Lexi’s dad and sister wanted to help as well, and maybe they were to do it much better but they just didn’t get a chance. Lockie’s frustration was so palpable and so heart – breaking and I was awestruck that he lasted for so long, and my heart went to Charlotte, it was so, so tough for her, to see the sister that she loved so much suddenly deteriorating, but also finding herself neglected.

But even with Freya, this book gave me the shivers and I am praying every day that a disease like this will never afflict my family, and I can’t stop thinking about the book and the characters, which is always a sign of a great book. I admired the passages where the author seemed to just got into Lexi’s head, as all the feelings and fears were captured in an incredibly realistic way, brutally honestly showing how out of control she could be – not only over her body, but also her mind. It was shocking. Truly shocking.

“The Food of Love” is a powerful, emotional rollercoaster, and once we feel hope and in the next second we feel hopeless and powerless, full of anger and incomprehension how powerful this horrifying disease is. The author has, in a very detailed way, showed the readers the lengths people suffer from this illness, not only the victims of it, but also their families and beloved ones. It is a slow burner that then turns into a real page turner. It is unforgettable and it is incredibly important. Amanda Prowse is a very skilled storyteller and she brought all the characters, dialogues and situations to life. She showed the other side to an ordinary and happy life, the harsh reality and how to face to it. It is a great story about unconditional love, honesty and the great importance of a supporting family, but it’s also about being able to admit defeat and ask for help. A very important read that couldn’t be missed!

The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan / Book Review

The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan


Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publishing Date: 5th January 2016
Source: Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



Lila Soto has a master’s degree that’s gathering dust, a work-obsessed husband, two kids, and lots of questions about how exactly she ended up here.
In their new city of Philadelphia, Lila’s husband, Sam, takes his job as a restaurant critic a little too seriously. To protect his professional credibility, he’s determined to remain anonymous. Soon his preoccupation with anonymity takes over their lives as he tries to limit the family’s contact with anyone who might have ties to the foodie world. Meanwhile, Lila craves adult conversation and some relief from the constraints of her homemaker role. With her patience wearing thin, she begins to question everything: her decision to get pregnant again, her break from her career, her marriage—even if leaving her ex-boyfriend was the right thing to do. As Sam becomes more and more fixated on keeping his identity secret, Lila begins to wonder if her own identity has completely disappeared—and what it will take to get it back.

Rating: 2/5

The Restaurant Critic’s Wife – this book sounded absolutely just like my cup of tea, so I didn’t hesitate to request it on NetGalley. There were restaurants and food involved, and I do like some good food in my books! I was also thinking, with one of the main character being a restaurant critic, we can expect some brilliant anecdotes.

I start reading every book full of hope that I’m just about to discover the next gem for my bookshelf. Unfortunately, in the course of reading this novel, I was loosing my hope. I couldn’t help but asked myself what this book is about and what was it written for, because – shortly – it describes a year in life of Lila, Sam and their two children. Almost every page was full of their daily activities, which included nursing Henry, going out eating, nursing Henry, falling out, nursing Henry, looking for a place to nurse Henry and nursing Henry. I was sure that when I’m going to read about nursing Henry again, I’m going to start screaming. You know, books are about something, there is plot, there is a plan, the story is taking us somewhere, there are twists and turns – which I didn’t find in this book. It started and it ended, and that’s all – it could easily be written about me, my daily routine, me bringing my daughter to kindergarten every day and fighting with my husband.

What made the reading even more complicated for me was the fact that I didn’t warm to the characters at all. Lila was a woman who had no idea what she wanted, Sam… Oh God, please don’t let me start on Sam. He was egoistic, childish and focused only on his work, and I had a feeling that either everything is like he wanted it to be, or it’s not right, and he wanted to decide about his wife’s life as well, and I don’t know if he was so focused, or so short – sighted that he didn’t see how many things he’s cutting his family from. Lila wasn’t allowed friends because of his work. Lila wasn’t allowed to go to work because of his job. Lila must have to come with him to all the restaurants – because of his job. Oh no, I had this one wrong – Lila must have to come to the restaurants he was testing only when SAM wanted her to come. His dressing – ups were on the verge of absurd and the way he took himself and his job seriously only made me roll my eyes and dislike him even more. He was so frustrating with his obsession about keeping quiet about his job, and I couldn’t understand why couldn’t he just write under different name? Why not only say people that he worked in a paper, without specifying what exactly he was writing about? Why make Lila’s life a hell with constant nagging and not letting her go back to work and only promising they’re going to talk about it? He made Lila’s job sound so, so unimportant in comparison to his own job and I hated it. And basically forbidding her to have friends and life other than taking care of the children. Yes, I wanted to punch him. In the face.

So shortly, the whole book is about Lila debating if she should come back to work and about Sam getting more and more paranoid about his job. Am really very disappointed, have expected a totally different story, maybe focusing more on the restaurants and testing itself. I kept reading hoping for something to happen, for something to change my mind about it but sadly, it didn’t happen.
Also, the writing style couldn’t win me over. It was dragging on and on, and even though it was easy to follow, it didn’t keep me hooked. The never – ending river of words didn’t draw me in, as for me there was nothing significant to the story, and eventually I found myself skimming through some of the paragraphs. The storyline was weak in my opinion, and the characters were annoying.

So yes. As opposed to the people mentioned in the Acknowledgements, like Jennifer Weiner, who loved this novel, and other people who SO GOT Lila’s story, I didn’t get it.