780 Followers
241 Following
Mishker

100 Pages A Day...Stephanie's Book Reviews

I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way.  I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.

Currently reading

Twain's End
Lynn Cullen
The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy)
Sally Christie
Dying Embers
Betty Adams
Vengeance of the Gods
Obinna Anagwu

Imaginary Boy

Imaginary Boy - Mark Eldrich

Another square for Halloween bingo- Full Moon!  My copy has a full moon, I swear, just look at my board below :)

 

Benji Saintaubin is an 11 year old boy living in Victorian London.  Unlike other boys, he has lived most of his life in his attic due to a physical disability.  Benji loves to read the story of the Imaginary Boy that his father wrote for him.  The Imaginary Boy is a hero who has to fight a dragon, only the story is not finished.  Benji wants nothing more than to finish the story and deliver it to his mother for Christmas.  After an accident trying to get out of the attic and downstairs to his mother, mother decides that it is time for Benji to venture out into the world. However, a night out at the opera turns into Benji being separated from his mother and going on an adventure of his own.  Benji will see the good and bad of people and their perceptions of his disability, more importantly, he will meet another young man, Thomas, who will show Benji that he can be the hero that he has always dreamed of and defeat a different kind of dragon.

This is an exciting story full of adventure, villains, unexpected heroes and overcoming adversity. Going in a completely different direction from where I thought the story would go, there is almost a fairy tale-esque feeling, even though everything happening to Benji is based in reality.  Right from the start I fell in love with Benji's attitude about life, his determination to finish his story and his courage in the face of many dangerous events.  Though written for a middle grade audience, there are some terrifying scenes throughout.  Not only was Benji's situation scary enough to begin with; due to his disability, having to live in the attic of his otherwise very nice house, but navigating the streets of Victorian London with its unsavory characters, smells and a monster roaming the streets is not for the faint of heart. From being almost sold into slavery, to being seen as a monster himself and then being taken in by someone who is rich and powerful, but not very good, Benji does his best to survive.  The descriptions of the settings and Benji's emotions were so detailed and vibrant that they kept my heart pounding.  I loved Thomas' character, he seemed to be a complete contrast to Benji, yet as they got to know one another, they found more similarity than difference.  I also thought that the dragon was an ingenious and particularly vile villain and a provided a perfect ending for Benji's story.

 

This book was provided for free in return for an honest review.  

 

Awake

Awake - Melanie Surani

My third book for Halloween Bingo!  The locked room square, well, it takes place within a locked museum, but people are also locked in rooms within the locked museum, double lock-up, totally counts!

 

 

 

Five strangers wake up in an eerie, boarded up museum.   Some are minor celebrities, some normal people.  Josh is an opera star, Ajay is a Bollywood actor, Sophia is a fan of Josh, Demetri is a Bollywood fan and Don, the ex-boyfriend of the common link between the five strangers, an eccentric artist named Blair.  The last thing that all five remember is a run in with a woman named Blair.  Now, apparently drugged and what they assume is a few days later, they have woken up inside her boarded up museum.  As the group tries to figure out exactly what has happened to them and try to figure a way out of the strange museum, tensions rise as some members of the group come to believe that others are responsible for them being trapped.

 

This was an incredibly unique concept, live people unknowingly trapped as museum exhibits.  The beginning really grasped me; written from Blair’s point of view as she is trying to figure out how to kidnap Sophia, we have insight into the villain and artist who will create the creepy displays.  From there though, we are thrown to the victim’s perspective after they wake up.  This is where I have just as many questions as Sophia, Josh and the others: where are they?  How did they get there?  What did Blair do to them? And why are they locked in?  Things quickly intensify as more people are found locked in the museum.  The points of view switch between the captives.  Sophia seems to be the only one who can keep it together through everything while the men swiftly jump to conclusions, become violent and go stir crazy. Things sort of fell apart for me a little bit near the end as the different parties start working against one another instead of just turning in Blair.  Anyway, I think incorporating Blair’s point of view throughout the novel instead of just beginning and end would have helped to tie things together.  Also, I kept on reading so I could figure out how the heck Blair pulled off keeping people as living statues for 10 years, it is eventually revealed, but I was a little unenthused by her means.  I did, however, love how the group got back at Blair by the end.  Overall, an interesting thriller with a unique concept, and  a lot of character drama.

 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

 

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book (Thorndike Literacy Bridge Young Adult) - Neil Gaiman

My Second Square for Halloween Bingo!  The Graveyard Book has been sitting on my TBR shelf for a while now, and the Graveyard Square gave me a perfect opportunity to read it!  I'm sure this will be a popular read for Bingo, but I'm glad I finally got to it, I absolutely loved it.

 

A silent and mysterious killer is sent to kill a family, including a one year old boy.  The killer swiftly and silently kills the mother, father and older sibling, but the one year old boy is nowhere to be found.  He has toddled to the old graveyard up the hill where the ghosts of days gone past congregate.  With the assassin on his tail, and at the plea of his mother’s ghosts, the graveyard ghosts protect the boy and give him the Freedom of the Graveyard.  Christened as Nobody Owens, Bod is raised by the ghosts and Mr. and Mrs. Owens who were never able to have a child of their own in life. Bod is brought food and other items from the living by the not quite living and not quite dead Silas, his guardian.  Bod learns from the old teachers in the graveyard and makes friends with poets, explorers and even a witch.  He is taught how to open a ghoul gate, Dreamwalk and Fade from memory.  He even goes exploring an old crypt that even the ghosts won’t go in, older than any of the ghosts; it is guarded by the strange Sleer.  Even with all this going on, Bod is safe in the graveyard; however, if he goes outside the gates, the man Jack, his assassin is still waiting for him.

 

This book has the most wonderful first sentence: “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”  Coupled with the eerie illustration, I was immediately pulled in.  Like the other Neil Gaimen stories that I have read, The Graveyard Book has a way of mystifying and delighting, scaring and comforting at the same time.   I fell in love with Bod from the moment that he toddled away from his crib, he was obviously very special, but we have no clue why.  I wanted to explore all of the nooks and crannies of the graveyard and get to know all of the old ghosts right along with Bod.  Through all of his adventures, befriending a witch, opening a ghoul gate, exploring the crypt of the Sleer and going to school with real children, I had almost forgotten that Bod’s family was murdered in cold blood and the killer is still after him.  When Bod’s assassin finally resurfaces, the mystery is brought to light and the deeper danger is revealed.  In a style like no other, The Graveyard Book blends dark fantasy, adventure and whimsy together for a wonderful story.

The Crimson Tree

The Crimson Tree - Valerie Puri

First Square down for Halloween Bingo!

 

But where does it go?  Supernatural, Scary Women Authors, ghost stories, general horror?  I really should have planned this out better, oh well, I'm going to stick it on ghost stories and see where I go from there.  Anywho, here is my review for The Crimson Tree

 

Everything in Carly’s life is going pretty well; she is engaged to a wonderful guy, James, and they are celebrating their three year anniversary.  For their anniversary, they decide on a picnic in the country.  Carly chooses a hill with a very unique tree; a tree with white bark and deep red leaves.  Carly and James picnic under the tree and Carly takes some photographs.  When she gets home, the trouble begins.  In half of the photos, Carly has no eyes.  The problem persists, cell phone photos- no eyes, engagement photos- no eyes.  Then Carly begins to see spirits, have vivid dreams and waking hallucinations.  Her symptoms only seem to get better when she begins to look into the events from her dreams.  Carly has to work fast though, the spirits are getting upset and James isn’t so sure of their relationship anymore.

 

This was a haunting and quick read, perfect for getting into the Halloween spirit.  This was a slow build, part physiological, part ghostly horror as Carly’s life disintegrates little by little.  Carly’s character was an amazingly normal person, who wanted to continue being a normal person, she even continued to do her normal activities as best she could while the spirit was trying to communicate with her.  None of Carly’s common life bothered me; however, the writing sometimes tried too hard to convey this with mentioning such things as Carly having to press ‘ok’ to get the pictures off her drive from the computer or paying $4.38 for snacks.  Anyway, I was really interested in the spirits that were haunting Carly, it seemed obvious what the spirit wanted her to do, but I wanted to know more about the spirit’s life and his past.  We find out a little through Carly’s research and some dreams, but I wanted to be taken back to the 1920’s for a little bit longer.  I thought I had the ending all figured out, but there is a twist and a cliffhanger at the end!

 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Aphrodite's Choice

Aphrodite's Choice - Christy English

Aphrodite has walked the Earth for 9000 years.  Through Egypt, Crete, Kyrios, Paris,  she has been known by many names.  She was placed on Earth to serve the Mother by spreading the blessing.  By sleeping with different men, Aphrodite is able to heal them, however, the men always forget about her in the morning.  Throughout time Aphrodite has met several men who she has felt that she truly loved,  but she is unable to continue a relationship due to the nature of her blessing.  Also, throughout time Aphrodite and her sisters have been hunted by those who believe that her blessing is witchcraft, calling themselves the Brotherhood of Light.  Now, in Boston Aphrodite, who goes by Addy, is being hunted by the newest member of the Brotherhood, Steve.  Steve is being threatened by the Brotherhood that if he does not kills Addy his family will be destroyed.  Only Steve does not see any evil or malice in Addy, he sees something deeper, something that goes back thousands of years.

 

I absolutely loved the idea of the Gods and Goddesses still roaming the Earth completing their missions.  Aphrodite’s choice is a unique blend of mythology, history and suspense.  Aphrodite’s story was extremely interesting due to how her blessing had to be given.  For her, sex truly is power, the power to heal; and she has healed countless times over her years.  However, the Goddess of love can never truly love since the men will forget her after they are intimate; and, of course this is the one thing that Aphrodite wants the most.  I enjoyed being able to see Aphrodite’s work blended into history in Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, Cypress , Persepolis and  then Versailles 1789 During the March of Versailles  and Paris 1944 during World War II.  Adventure, suspense and intrigue kicks in full gear as Steve and the Brotherhood are introduced.  I knew there was something special about Steve right away, but I could have never guessed the connection that he and Aphrodite share.  A sweet ending wraps up Aphrodite’s story and I cannot wait to read more about her sisters in upcoming Goddess Diaries. 

 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Not Quite So Stories

Not Quite So Stories - David S. Atkinson

Not Quite So Stories offers a variety of speculative fiction short stories that takes everyday events and turns them on their head. Most of these stories will make you wonder and will definitely leave questions unanswered. Some stories made me laugh and some left me in deep thought. Like all short story collections, there were stories that I enjoyed more than others.
One of the stories that stood out the most for me was A Brief Account of the Great Toilet Paper War of 2012. A story of replacing the toilet paper roll incorrectly for your spouse quickly spirals out of hand. This was something I could completely relate to and I was so wrapped up in the story because it went to the absurd, but was still something that I could almost see happening.
Another story that first had me thoroughly confused and then laughing uncontrollably was Changes for the Chateau. When a French Chateau has the conundrum of offering economy and deluxe suites, but only has one type of room, they decide that the economy rate will include constant annoyances from staff. As I caught on to the game, this story became thoroughly enjoyable and I could see American tourists visiting for just an experience like this.
A story that had me deep in thought was Dreams of Dead Grandpa. Almost everyone has had the experience of losing a grandparent; however, what if you didn’t really know them all that well in life? This story not only had me thinking of death, but also dreaming, and getting to know people.
Overall, an interesting collection of short stories that will have you pondering the experiences of life.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Paradox Forged in Blood

Paradox Forged in Blood - Mary Frances Fisher

Several families are brought together through a meaningless tragedy in Pre-World War II Ohio.   In 1939, a young Ellen O’Malley works as nanny for the Sheridan family who lives on Millionaire’s Row.  Ellen already carries around the guilt of witnessing the kidnapping of her younger brother when she was a child and not being able to help; now on one fateful night, she witnesses a burglary gone wrong at the Sheridan household where her employer, Louis Sheridan is murdered.  Ellen only sees the back of the murderer’s head, but she has a clue as to who he is.  Before she is able to tell anyone, the murderer threatens to kill her family if she tells.  Now, Ellen has another burden to carry around.  Meanwhile, other employees in the Sheridan household also have had a brush-in with the suspected murderer, however, everyone is too afraid to say anything and the murder goes unsolved for decades until they are sure that the danger has passed.

 

This is a twisty historical murder-mystery that is based on the author’s actual family members.   The murder mystery itself is quite suspenseful, several people may know what happened, but all are too afraid to speak.  Meanwhile, the police are chasing several suspects that match the murderer’s description that seem to have disappeared.  With WWII on the horizon, tensions are heightened and other concerns are put into the forefront.  I did get a great sense of Ellen’s character and I felt terrible that the knowledge of the murder weighed on her for all those years.  I do wish that the storyline stuck with just the murder mystery and Ellen’s story.  I felt sidetracked at points with the disappearance of her baby brother and the resolution and Sadie’s story- the Sheridan’s cook, and the recovery of her long lost twin sister.  Somehow, all of these events were pulled together, but I felt it could have been streamlined more.  Overall, a surprising murder-mystery that highlights tensions and values of America during World War II.

 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Madame Presidentess

Madame Presidentess - Nicole Evelina

Victoria Woodhull was a woman far ahead of her time.  From the time of her birth, she was named for greatness; and though she would never be queen, Victoria will reach for the Presidency before women even have the right to vote.  Raised by quite a controversial family, her father a swindler and her mother a staunch Spiritualist, Victoria and her sister Tennessee are set up as mediums and healers as children.  However, Victoria’s spirit guide shows her going far in life and her experience with all types of people helps her through.  Victoria is helped out of her messy childhood first by Dr. Canning Woodhull, who turns out to be no better than her father,  but then Victoria meets Colonel James Blood, a civil war hero who helps her with her cause.  Victoria and Tennessee are swept up into the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and then become the first women of Wall Street with the help of Commodore Vanderbilt, start their own newspaper and eventually Victoria runs in the 1872 election.
 
Since I have learned of Victoria Woodhull, I have become slightly obsessed with her life.  In Madame Presidentess there is a very good mix of Victoria’s supernatural predilections along with events that truly happened in her life.  The Spiritualist side of Victoria’s life fascinates me, especially since it seemed to help her achieve everything that she dreamed for herself.  I loved reading about her and Tennie’s time spent with Vanderbilt and how he came to know the sisters.  I also enjoyed Victoria’s meeting with other historical figures that I know of such as Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and President Grant.   Through Victoria’s eyes, some of these figures are seen in a very different light than what history has shown.  Another aspect of Madame Presidentess that I enjoyed was the focus on the political dealings that Victoria had to go through in order to run.  It was interesting to see everything that Victoria had to do in order to run.  Once again, I'm glad that I had the opportunity to learn more about Victoria as an important historical figure. I wish she would have appeared in my history textbooks as well, but she has fallen to the wayside as a victim of censorship and impropriety, which is exactly what she fought so hard against.
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Haven: Chronicles of Warshard

Haven: Chronicles of Warshard - Katherine Bogle

Queen Haven of Rythern never thought that she would have to fulfill her duties as Queen.  However, when both of her parents and two older brothers die gruesomely from the incoming war, Haven must step up.  Born with the gift of being able to heal from any injury, she is dubbed The Immortal Queen.  With war on her doorstep, Haven must quickly step into her new role.  The insane Queen Kadia has been quickly taking over each of the six Kingdoms of Warshard.  Using her black magic, Kadia seems impossible to defeat and Haven is hesitant about sending her kingdom into war.  Haven’s gift, with the help of another, might be exactly what is needed to defeat Queen Kadia.

Haven jumped right into the action with an assassination attempt and warfare.  It was nice that Haven’s abilities were brought right out into the open and no one was afraid of her.  Haven’s abilities reminded me of a kinder, gentler Deadpool.  Haven also continuously put herself in harm’s way to the benefit of her kingdom.  Queen Kadia was a very interesting character and I do wish that I could have seen more into her motivations and history, there were some glimmers of what might be driving her, but nothing concrete.  The second half of the book moved very quickly as the suspense picked up with Haven’s meeting of Kadia and a larger battle. I do wish that there was more description of the Kingdoms and especially the tunnel path to Seaburn, there was a lot of hype over this mysterious tunnel, but I felt that when they passed through, a lot was glossed over.  I had a good general understanding of each Kingdom, but I just wanted a little more.  Hopefully, more will be explained in the next installment, which I will be interested in reading.
 
This book was provided for free in return for an honest review. 

The Last Relicuin

The Last Relicuin - Hargus Montgomery

In the 22nd century the world is very different.  Fearing diseases spread by human contact and believing that the outside air is too contaminated to sustain them, the metro population lives far above the ground level surrounded by glass and mostly in a virtual reality.  In order to preserve history, the Federal Museum Administration runs authentic living history museums that encompass many periods throughout history.  The museum dwellers must give up mainstream life, go through intense training and fully immerse themselves into the time period that they wish to live.  Many do not make it through.  Metro Senator Steven Kane opposes all museums and wants them shut down believing that they steal children, harbor diseases and are a hub for the drug trade.  However, Senator Kane’s son, Alexander has a fascination with the past and when he chooses to enter a 1950’s farmstead museum, Alex sets off a chain of events with lasting impact.
 
I have always loved visiting living history museums and may have wanted to live there from time to time, so I absolutely could not resist a book that took place within them.  However, this book is a whole lot more.   There is a struggle as past and future collide, political espionage, family conflict, secrets and mystery and suspense.   I was taken in by Alex’s character and his fascination with people who lived outside the glass.  Alex struggled with being different, especially under his father’s watchful gaze.  When he finally entered the museum school, everything clicked for him.  This reminded me of people telling me that I seem better suited for a different time.  I loved the authenticity of each of the time periods that were showcased.  Alex’s chosen period, with his wife Kat and son Tom was perfect.  I could imagine the long, winding driveway, the wooden farmhouse with the barking dogs and the fruit orchard perfectly.  Even the speech patterns were on.  As the characters travelled to museums in 12th century France and the 17th century Pacific island, I became immersed in each period with them.  Overall,  The Last Relicuin provided a whole lot more than I could ever ask for.  It is wholly unique, not fitting neatly into any genre, fast paced and with wonderfully built worlds and characters.  Masterful writing combined with a wholly unique plot has easily made The Last Relicuin one of my favorite books of the year. 

This book was provided for free in return for an honest review. 

The Lady of the Tower

The Lady of the Tower - Elizabeth St. Cloud Muse

Lucy St.John is an orphan in English at the pivotal time of the rise of James I.  Throughout her youth, she has been raised by her Aunt Joan and with her sister Barbara.  Joan and Barbara seem to have found a common alliance against Lucy and only care about their own rise within English Society.  As the women grow, Barbara finds a way to friendship with the influential and corrupt Frances Howard and Lucy find a courtly romance with Frances' brother, Theo.  However, Barbara ensures that Lucy will not find happiness there and poisons their relationship.  Lucy moves on with her life, travels and takes in knowledge of medicinal plants and when all seems lost, she meets Sir Allen Apsley.  They marry and Allen takes a position at the Tower of London, leaving Lucy as Mistress of the Tower. 


As someone who loves reading about Tudor England, I was excited to read about the time period directly after but that took place within one of the most iconic settings of the Tudor reign, the Tower of London.  Lucy was a character that I automatically connected with, she was incredibly strong in spirit, refusing to be beat down by her aunt and sister; I also loved that she found solace and purpose within plants and medicine.  Barbara was one of the most entertaining characters, with her scheming and backstabbing, she reminded me of the ultimate Mean Girl.  In addition, the settings were all tremendously described.  From the court of James I, with it's corruption and festivities to the bustling Naval yards to the rooms and grounds of the Tower itself, I felt immersed in the time.  As a bonus, the book is authored by Elizabeth St. John, a descendant of the St. John family, and has taken extra care to write stories of her family. 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Geis Volume 1: A Matter of Life and Death

Geis: A Matter of Life and Death - Alexis Deacon

A Geis is a curse, a vow or a spell where, if broken, the infractor will suffer dishonor or death. 

The chief matriarch is on her deathbed with no heir to rule in her place.  She has decided that a contest will be held to find the one worthy to rule in her place. Fifty people have signed her will to participate, unknowingly being placed under a geis by a powerful sorceress.  Now, the participants must complete the challenges or face the consequences.  

 

I am just starting to read more comic books, so I am not the greatest judge.  However, I was really pulled into this story and it's cast of characters.  There is a wide variety of people who are competing for the position including a judge, Councillor, village witch and a young girl, a Kite Lord's daughter.  I enjoyed seeing the first challenge from several of the characters perspectives.  The artwork uses a muted pastel palate which brings the focus to the characters and keeps the tone classic and serious.  The story leaves us on quite a cliffhanger with the end of the first challenge.  I would have really liked to learn more about the curse itself and some of the characters and I'm hoping book two of the trilogy will answers these questions. Appropriate for middle grade readers and up, a suspenseful, exciting story with a little bit of a dark streak. 

 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Swear on This Life

Swear on This Life: A Novel - Renée Carlino

Emiline is just trying to figure out her life after a childhood of tragedy.  She is now a writer, still unpublished and and adjunct writing professor at UC San Diego.  Her boyfriend, Trevor was an up and coming football star until his shoulder injury and now floats along in life.  One day, Emiline's roommate Cara introduces her to a new bestseller called All the Roads Between by a mysterious new author.  From the first sentence Emiline is blindsided, somebody has written about all of the nitty gritty ups and downs from her childhood.  Only one person could have written something so specific about her life, Emiline's best friend, first love and the person who she has spent the last twelve years trying to get over, Jason.  Will reading his book about her experiences help her get over her past or just bring back the memories that she has been repressing?


A story of love, loss, getting over it, and beginnings and endings.  As soon as Emiline realized that a book had been written about her by her childhood friend, I went through the rollercoaster of emotions with her; anger, sadness, disappointment, love, relief, forgiveness and realization.  Much like the book infers, I had no idea how anything would end. I really did like that there was a story within a story to tell of Emi and Jason's childhood adventures, instead of just flashbacks.  This book made me feel so much, so quickly and I devoured each page just as quickly.  This is a deep love story, but so much more.  For anyone who has ever had to get over something from their past, Emi's emotional journey will seem all too real and familiar.  Overall, a unique, powerful story that will have you gasping for air the entire way through.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Her Dangerous Visions

Her Dangerous Visions (The Boy and the Beast) (Volume 1) - Brandon Barr

Two worlds are being ravaged by evil, two women desperate to help.  On the World of Loam, the entire population works as impoverished farmers in order to feed the Baron and his Watch.  As debt is passed from generation to generation, contempt grows.  Anyone who attempts to leave or speak of rebellion is killed. Aven and Winter are all too familiar with the Baron's rage. Their loved ones were killed as they were planning escape.  Now, the siblings are trying to survive day to day.  However, Winter  has been made a Seer by the Guardians, the gods of her world and has seen some of the tragedies that have befallen others.  Now, she has chosen to do something about them and attempt to change the future.  On Hearth, two kingdoms war against each other instead of their common enemy. Meluscia wants to stop the fighting and will have the power to do so if her dying father appoints her as Luminess; however, her stubborn father would rather appoint someone that will continue the fighting and make she Meluscia never gains power. 

 

A unique and well crafted fantasy universe emerges in Her Dangerous Visions.  Two worlds riddled with issues and people who will sacrifice everything to make it better.  The story is told through several  alternating points of view: Aven and Winter, siblings who have lived under the Baron's watchful eye for too long.  Aven simply wants peace, even if it's under the Baron.  Winter's visions have encouraged her to fight back.  Then Meluscia and Savarah, siblings of a sort, both desperately want Meluscia to be Luminess, but Savarah has alternate motives.  The points of view varied from person to person and I felt like some points of view were elongated and some cut short.  I felt that I got to know Meluscia best and I could feel her passion, anger and longing. A lot is still left to be explained in both worlds, we are left on the precipice of disaster, change and revolution within both worlds.  I would love to know how everything and everyone is connected and hopefully I will find out in book two!

 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

The Villain

The Villain - May Nicole Abbey

What if your hero was also your villain? Rosemary Mayfield has survived a terrifying journey from New York to the Montana Territory with her brother Benjamin and sister Emily in tow. Along the way their train was robbed by bandits and their parents killed. With nothing left to lose, 19 year old Rosemary follows the path that her father had set up to Dannock, Montana where he was planning on setting up a cattle ranch. With nothing to their name except the clothes on their back and a small cabin in the wilderness, Rosemary and her siblings try to make do. Struggling in their dangerous new surroundings, fate crudely crashes Nicolas through the Mayfield’s roof. Injured, Rosemary nurses the wild stranger back to health. Nicolas keeps telling them that he cannot be trusted, but his presence and knowledge is more of a comfort than a hazard. Striking a deal, Rosemary and Nicolas agree to marry for business purposes and keeping the cattle ranch afloat. However, Nicolas’ dangerous secret of his traveling ways and just how and why he crashed through the Mayfield’s roof might pull them apart.

I loved being taken back to the very wild and untamed West with Rosemary and her siblings. Rosemary put on an exceptionally strong front for the protection of her siblings, but showed true bravery, perseverance and kindheartedness in the face of adversity. When Nicolas came crashing into her life, Rosemary took a huge chance in trusting him, changing both of their lives. As with the other books in The Fall series, the romance was natural and sweet. I did figure out Nicolas' secret rather early, but it didn't take away from the suspense at all. The time travel element in this book isn't as prominent as with some of the others, but is subtly woven in with hints and glistens throughout. If you haven't read the other books, there might be slight confusion in the beginning, but most of the details are explained near the end. A big surprise for me was Rosemary's sister, Emily, she seemed to have her head lost in the clouds, but at the same time she knew more about what was really going on than anybody else. With a super-sweet ending, The Villain is a fast-paced, clean, time-travel romance, great for a quick summer read.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Tides of Honour

Tides of Honour - Genevieve Graham

Danny Baker leaves his small fishing village of East Jeddore, Nova Scotia in 1916 for war-torn France.  While marching through France, Danny is fortunate enough to meet Audrey Poulin, an artist, free spirit and a woman who brings light and color to the bleak landscape of war.  Through an exchange of letters, Danny and Audrey fall in love and decide to marry.  However, at the battle of the Somme Danny loses more than he can imagine, most of his friends have died and he has lost part of his leg.  Now in a battle with his own emotions, Danny is sent home to Canada.  Audrey soon meets him there and they are married.  Danny struggles with his own shortcomings and the impacts of the war.  He decides that a move to Halifax and a job on the docks with his brother is for the best.  When catastrophe strikes again, this time in Halifax, Danny’s world is completely changed, but his love for Audrey will help him pull through.

 

A story of war, tragedy, love, family and transformation, Tides of Honour is  touching and powerful.  From the beginning, I knew that Danny was going to be a strong character, his journey, though tumultuous, is one that many veterans dealt with and still face today.  In alternating narratives, Danny's story is filled out and another needed perspective is seen with Audrey's view.  Audrey is a survivor as well and her story is just as  important.  The historical setting  was unique and well researched.  I was very happy to read about Canadian's fighting in the Great War, as they are often overlooked as well as the little known Halifax explosion.  I was very interested in this since my great-grandmother lived nearby at the time.  What impressed me the most was the incorporation of Danny and Audrey's love story into the events surrounding them.  Their love story is not perfect, but it is lasting.  Like the tides rolling in and out, Audrey and Danny's love is for better or for worse.  

This book was received for free in return for an honest review