#BookReview: Shadows Over Paradise by Isabel Wolff

Reviewer: Mary

shadows over paradiseI received a review copy


For readers of Kate Morton and Jamie Ford comes a captivating novel of two very different women, struggling to come to terms with the ghosts from their past—by the internationally bestselling author of A Vintage Affair and The Very Picture of You
Sometimes the only way forward is through the past.
Jenni Clark is a ghostwriter. She loves to immerse herself in other people’s stories—a respite from her own life, and from a relationship that appears to be nearing its end. Jenni’s latest assignment takes her to a coastal hamlet in England, where she’s agreed to pen the memoir of an elderly farm owner named Klara. Jenni assumes the project will be easy: a quiet, ordinary tale of a life well lived.

But Klara’s story is far from quiet. She recounts the tale of a family torn apart by World War II, and of disgraceful acts committed against a community in the Japanese prison camps on the Pacific island paradise of Java. As harrowing details emerge and stunning truths come to light, Jenni is compelled to confront a secret she’s spent a lifetime burying.

Weaving together the lives of two very different women, Isabel Wolff has created a captivating novel of love, loss, and hope that reaches across generations.


Shadows Over Paradise mixes past with present, detailing the interviews of a ghostwriter and a survivor of a WWII prison camp. Jenni, an accomplished writer with a troubled childhood, faces a hurdle in her relationship with her long-term boyfriend. To take some space, Jenni accepts the job of writing a memoir for Karla, whose childhood was stripped away as she found herself, along with her mother and younger brother, in a prison camp run by Japanese militia. As Karla recounts the mental and physical torture she endured, she unveils the perspective of the thousands of women and children separated from their husbands and fathers and placed into disease-infested, inhumane living conditions.

Upon hearing Karla’s story, Jenni discovers that they share many of the same demons – fostering an unlikely bond between the two women. As their friendship progresses, you can’t help but wonder, will Karla be able to help Jenni let go of her troubled past and face the ghosts that haunt her? And, how will Karla’s years of starvation, labor and devastation lead her to a life where she is finally free? Each woman, though in very different situations, faces decisions that will affect her for the rest of her life.

Although difficult to read at times, Shadows Over Paradise explores a key historical period of Japanese prisoner-of-war-camps. With the development of the characters, you can’t help but root for Karla and her family, longing to read of how their story will unfold. In present time, the reader is captivated by Jenni’s burdens, and watches her character evolve and transform chapter by chapter as Karla’s tragedies provide a therapeutic relief Jenni never knew she needed.

 4 stars


CLP Blog Tours #BookReview: Beauty and the Bridesmaid by Lisa Souza

Reviewer: Samantha

beauty and the bridesmaidI received a review copy


Could love be a nip/tuck away?

Having endured her mother’s fourthwedding, hypnotized by makeover shows and tempted by a Zvengali-esque image consultant named Kennedy J, über bridesmaid Dot Lindell launches into an odyssey of self improvement, plastic surgery and therapy.

Then new and improved Dot encounters former high school hottie John Miller. She begins a risky deception, convincing both John – and herself! – that she’s a totally different person. Maybe she can pull it off: after all, she’s unrecognizable.

But John introduces Dot to his best friend and that bully from her nightmares Jack Weston. Jack has changed since high school, too. He’s grown more dangerous.

Beauty and the Bridesmaid is a darkly comic tale of transformation and choices, frenemies and friendships, the heroic saga of a nice woman who only wants to look in the mirror and feel beautiful, but may find the price higher than she bargained.


When I first agreed to review the book, I looked at the cover and title and thought it would be chick lit. After reading the synopsis and my eyes catching on the “darkly comic tale” part, I was even more curious about what I would be reading. I am really glad the author added the word “darkly” because I probably would have been completely thrown off guard if not. This book touches on a lot of extremely sensitive subjects, like body-image issues, rape and suicide. Dot’s journey was very interesting yet at times hard to read about, but I commend Lisa Souza for writing a thought-provoking and very honest novel.

3.5 stars

lisa souzaAuthor Bio:

Lisa Souza was raised on the mean streets of Spokane, Washington, one of five siblings wrestling for attention and hot meals.

She has a degree in English because both her husband and parents insisted she buck up and finish something. Without outside pressure, she fizzled out on an interior design program, bailed on computer science after two years, but rallied to complete her certification in hypnosis in 2012.

Lisa lives in the Snohomish Valley with her first husband Mark, (author of Robyn’s Egg), two stoic children, and Tater the rescue dog, whose ancestry is very much in question.

Website:                      http://www.lisasouza.com/

Facebook:                          https://www.facebook.com/lisa.souza.3348

Twitter:                               https://twitter.com/LisaSouza_WA

Goodreads:      (still waiting for Author Profile Approval response)

Amazon “Buy” link:     http://amzn.to/1uV2ZIH


Anyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a copy of Beauty and the Bridesmaid. Print copies will be available for US winners and eBook for international. Please leave your email in your comment!

CLP Blog Tours

On Tour: Vicious by Andrea Murray #VividTrilogy

ViciousAndrea Murray will be on tour March 16-23 with her novel Vicious

She can’t escape her past . . . or her future. 

After Vivian Cartwright’s aunt is killed by the same mysterious man who caused her mother’s death, she flees to protect those she loves. Searching for the father she’s never seen, she spends months on the road, working her way from one rundown motel to another and trying to move on with her lonely life. 

Vivian must face her past when the very people she’s trying to protect walk through the door of the diner where she works, but their bittersweet reunion is short-lived when her nemesis, the man with black eyes, kidnaps Abby and Cooper. 

Forced to work for the man she’s tried so hard to escape, Vivian learns she is only one of several gifted teenagers belonging to a corrupt group called the Liaisons. She joins with Wyck, a sinfully handsome twin and computer genius. Together, she and her unlikely ally discover the truth about the organization and its strange connection to her family.

Please visit CLP Blog Tours for all the tour stops!

CLP Blog Tours

Andrea MurrayAuthor Bio:

Andrea Murray has been teaching English forlonger than most of her students have been alive.  She has taught everything from junior high language arts to concurrent credit freshman composition. She lives in a very small town in Arkansaswith her precocious daughter, energetic son, and racecar-driving husband.  When she isn’t writing or reading novels for her students, she’s probably watching reality television or cheesy science fiction movies.  Vicious is the second book in the Vivid Trilogy.

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