Thursday, July 2, 2020

Tiny Tidbits: Adult Edition

The Last Train to Key West

Chanel Cleeton
Age/Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Berkley
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
In 1935 three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton's captivating new novel.

Everyone journeys to Key West searching for something. For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler's legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person's paradise can be another's prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.

The Cuban Revolution of 1933 left Mirta Perez's family in a precarious position. After an arranged wedding in Havana, Mirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can't deny the growing attraction to the stranger she's married, her new husband's illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life.

Elizabeth Preston's trip from New York to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles as a result of the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.

Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women's paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.
Three women from very different backgrounds find themselves all preparing for the same historic storm. They are each running from or running to something, and find the strength and power to do so in the face of a storm of historic proportions. 

I started this series, because I was a fan of Cleeton's contemporary romance books. I don't really gravitate towards historical fiction, but I am a fan of the stories Cleenton tells. I wasn't sure how I would feel about this installment as it did not take place in Cuba and the rest of the Perez family was absent. However, I shouldn't have doubted that Cleeton would, once again, win my heart with her captivating storytelling. 

This book finds us in the Keys during the depression. Newly married Mirta Perez is on her honeymoon and trying to get to know her new husband, a veritable stranger and well known criminal. While stopping over in Key West, she crosses paths with a pregnant waitress named Helen, who is a victim of domestic abuse, as well as a fallen socialite, Elizabeth, who is searching for her brother while trying to outrun her fiancĂ©. 

All three of these women had compelling storylines, which kept me in rapt attention. Their trials were so diverse, but I admired the way each dug deep, and found the will to keep pushing forward. I loved the touch of romance all the plot lines contained, but was especially delighted when I discovered the connection among the three women.  

The most interesting thing about all the CUBA books has been the historical events Cleeton highlighted. The "star" of this book would be the 1935 Labor Day hurricane. It was a category 5 storm, when it made landfall between Miami and Key West leaving death and destruction in its path. I must admit, I loved the way the storylines ramped up as the storm grew in power. When the winds accelerated, so did my heart, as the characters found themselves in life or death situations. My adrenaline was pumping as I flipped those pages, and I loved every second of it. 

I am known for being fussy about my endings, but I have ZERO complaints here. It was nice and tidy, just the way I like it, and I was happy with the direction each woman's life was taking. 

Overall: I was swept away by this story, which showcased interesting historical events as well as three strong and determined women. 

The Heir Affair

Heather Cocks, Jessica Morgan
Series:Royal We, #2
Age/Genre: Young Adult,
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
After a scandalous secret turns their fairy-tale wedding into a nightmare, Rebecca "Bex" Porter and her husband Prince Nicholas are in self-imposed exile. The public is angry. The Queen is even angrier. And the press is salivating. Cutting themselves off from friends and family, and escaping the world's judgmental eyes, feels like the best way to protect their fragile, all-consuming romance.

But when a crisis forces the new Duke and Duchess back to London, the Band-Aid they'd placed over their problems starts to peel at the edges. Now, as old family secrets and new ones threaten to derail her new royal life, Bex has to face the emotional wreckage she and Nick left behind: with the Queen, with the world, and with Nick's brother Freddie, whose sins may not be so easily forgotten—nor forgiven.
Can I just say, it was GREAT to be back in the world of The Royal We. This book picked up shortly after the Royal Wedding disaster with Nick, Bex, and the other royals all dealing with the fallout, and the story continued through their first two years as husband and wife. Let's just say, as expected, these years were anything but uneventful. 

I felt like most of this book was Rebecca and Nick trying to make their comeback, to reestablish themselves in the public eye after their fall from grace. While they were trying to restore the shine to their image, they were also attempting to mend the cracks in their own relationship, as well as the rift between them and Freddie. There were quite a few emotional moments for me. I mean, my heart actually ached at times, but there was also a lot of humor and antics to balance out all the drama. 

I must admit, as much as the Queen irked me, I grew to love her. She and Rebecca developed an interesting and somewhat warm relationship over the course of this book, and there were some laugh out loud moments shared between the two. A sub-plot regarding a HUGE bombshell helped me understand the queen a little better, and HOLY DRAMA BATMAN! I am not exaggerating, when I call it a bombshell. 

THE HEIR AFFAIR was packed with delicious drama, family secrets, and even some tragedy, but at its heart it was about family and forgiveness.  The highs and lows had my emotions all over the place, and I found myself fully consumed by it all. It was a pleasure to return to this world, and maybe we will get a Freddie centric book. 

**ARCs received in exchange for honest reviews.

Have you ever been to the Florida Keys?
Let us know in the comments!

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