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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.

Song of Sacrifice

Song of Sacrifice (Homeric Chronicles #1) - Janell Rhiannon

4th Roll for Snakes and Ladders- Square 16: Genre Fantasy

 

Everyone knows the stories of the Trojan War, but we often don't think of the women who gave up their children,  their lives and their homes to appease their gods and their husbands. Queen Hecuba of Troy if forced to sacrifice her son Paris after a seer decrees that he will cause the downfall of Troy.  Queen of Sparta, Leda has been taken by Zeus giving her two children by her husband and two children by Zeus.  Her daughters, Clytemnestra and Helen will go on to endure different fates by husbands Agamemnon and Menelaus.  Penelope, wife of Odysseus of Ithaca raises her son alone while Odysseus is called to war and waits 20 years for his return.  From afar, the Gods and Goddesses watch and intervene in the lives of the mortals who desperately try to defy their will.
 
Song of Sacrifice is a fresh retelling of the Trojan War that focuses on the stories and emotions of the women, mothers and children of the story.  Beginning with Hecuba who had Paris ripped from her to be sacrificed for her country and never recovered from the loss to Helen who viewed her beauty as a curse and was continually sold to the highest bidder instead of finding love for herself.  The writing intricately investigates the inner thoughts and emotions of the female players both real and mythological while not losing sight of the bigger story. Song of Sacrifice does cover a very long time period and includes a large cast of characters, I often found myself having to stop and process all that was happening.  With so much at stake- bloodshed, war, romance, family issues and mythology, Song of Sacrifice provides an epic and in-depth look at the people behind the Trojan War.
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Within These Lines

Within These Lines - Stephanie Morrill

Next roll for snakes and ladders- Square 10- Author's Last Name Begins with M

 

Soon after the attack of Pearl Harbor, life becomes much more difficult for teen Evalina Cassano and Taichi Hamasaki.  Evalina and Taichi have been hiding their growing relationship since Taichi's family began delivering produce to Evalina's family's restaurant.  Now, resentment for their Japanese- American neighbors are growning in California and talks of relocation centers are starting to arise.  Taichi's family is preparing for the inevitable and unknown that awaits them at a War Relocation Center.  Evalina is preparing for college without Taichi while wondering how her fellow Americans can be treated with such cruelty.  When Taichi and his family are moved, Evalina is there.  She continues to fight for the rights of her friends in the Relocation Center while Taichi struggles to navigate his new life.

Within These Lines is a heartfelt, emotional and enlightening World War II historical romance.  I was very interested to read more about the US Internment Camps as this part of our history usually glossed over.  Taichi and Evalina are amazing characters and I enjoyed watching their relationship grow and change through adversity.  Evalina continued to fight for what she thought was right even though everyone had doubts about their relationship.  Taichi continued to make the best out of his situation while continually thinking of Evalina's welfare and was willing to sacrifice for her.  Through Taichi and Evalina's points of view, I was able to see how the Camps were portrayed from both sides.  From Evalina I was able to see the propaganda that the government put out as well as the hatred and misunderstanding that quickly spread and the people who helped and fought for the rights of those interred.  From Taichi and his family I was able to see the true conditions of the camps, the lack of adequate housing, food and sanitary facilities and the community that residents were able to form.  I was surprised to read about the very real riots in the Manzanar Relocation Center that erupted between the residents.  The ending wrapped up rather quickly and I would have loved to see more details of Evalina's and Taichi's romance and what they faced after the war.  Overall, a very well researched and historically detailed sincere romance. 


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

Snakes and Ladders Tracking Post

 

Square 1: Author is a woman- Passengers by Elizabeth Collums

Square 4: Published in 2019- The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick

Square 10: Author's Last Name Begins with an M- Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill

Square 16: Genre: Fantasy- Song of Sacrifice by Janell Rhiannon

 

The Woman in the Lake

The Woman in the Lake - Nicola Cornick
Snakes and Ladders roll #2- Published in 2019
 
In London, 1765 the philandering and abusive Lord Gerard becomes so enraged at his wife, Lady Isabella that he commissions a beautiful gold gown meant to kill her.  When his plan fails, Lord Gerard enlists his Moonraker pal and Lady Isabella's maid, Constance to destroy the dress.  However, both Lady Isabella and Constance become so enraptured with the dress that the task is never completed.  Lady Isabella decides to escape the city and convalesce in Lydiard, away from her husband.  The dress calls to her though, possessing Lady Isabella.  In 2004, Fenella Brightwell takes a school trip to Lydiard.  Fen has kleptomania tendencies and when she walks into a small room at Lydiard, she sees a drunken man in time period clothing staring at a golden dress.  Fen is spooked, but before she goes the golden dress calls out to her- take me.  Years later, Fen is out of an abusive relationship and has created a stable life for herself.  Then, she gets a package in the mail. The golden dress has made its way back to her life with a strange message- danger.  
 
The Woman in the Lake is an enchanting dual-time mystery that pulled me into the story just as the dress made its way into the character's lives.  From the beginning I was engrossed with the puzzle of who the woman in the lake was and the importance of the dress.  The narrative switched between Isabella, Constance and Fen's point of view tying together their experiences with the pull of the golden dress.  While the dress enhanced the worst traits in all of the woman, the dress also seemed to make it possible for the women to rid themselves of an even bigger problem, the men in the lives.  As Fen investigated the history of the dress, the similarities between herself and Isabella became apparent with a love of art and a knack for falling for abusive men.  Constance was a very interesting character to me as it was not apparent as to where her loyalties lied, however, she was definitely the most clever.  The golden dress was a character in itself; as I read about the qualities of the dress, I felt possessed myself as I felt the need to continue to read in order to unravel its mystery. I would have loved to know how exactly the power was created.  Overall, a captivating story mixing history, mystery and a touch of magic.  
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Passengers

Passengers - Elizabeth Collums
Snakes & Ladders Book 1- Author is a woman
 
Katy Ewing and her daughters Annie and Lily live in a rural Irish village in the midst of the famine.  Katy's husband has gone to New York in hopes of providing for his family, but Katy has not heard from him in a while.  On top of this, Katy has not felt the same since the birth of Lily and has left Annie with a lot of responsibility.  When Katy receives a letter from the United States, a new world opens up to her as she learns of her family origins and finds courage to track down her husband and family in New York.  With this new found determination Katy packs up the girls and starts on a journey that will open up their lives to new opportunity, family and healing.  
 
Passengers in an epic family saga that covers decades in time and many issues.  I was drawn into Annie's character right off the bat, she was the driving force behind change in the story as Katie was lost and forlorn from the start.  I was intrigued by Katie's family and the mystery of her mother.  I enjoyed the history of the famine and the immigration to New York.  The conditions on the boat and the living conditions in New York were very accurate and heart wrenching to read.  All of the characters do grow and change throughout the story, though it seems like a lot of it comes from pure luck and God's will as the story swayed towards Christian Fiction.  I was impressed with all of the work that the Ewing family was able to do in New York and loved how it changed each of them individually.  Since this story covered such a large span of time, some important events seemed almost glossed over, such as deaths and marriages just happen in a sentence or two.  Overall, a heartwarming and sweeping historical family tale.
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Innocence Lost

Innocence Lost (Bootleggers' Chronicles #1) - Sherilyn Decter

In 1924 Philadelphia, the city is run by bootleggers. The gangs that supply the alcohol run the city, controlling the money and most of the police force and Mickey Duffy is one of the bosses that controls it all. On the night of a raid of one of Duffy's warehouses, three young boys are caught in the action. One boy, Oskar, never made it home. Oskar is friends with Tommy Barnes, Tommy's mom, Maggie runs a boarding house in order to make ends meet. When Maggie finds out that it is Tommy's friend that has disappeared, she becomes more involved in the community and sees the toll that bootlegging has taken. Maggie is determined to find out what happened to Oskar, but has no idea where to start. Maggie gets a helping hand from an unusual source, a retired Police Inspector from another era coaches Maggie to help her bring down the criminals hiding right beneath her nose. 

Innocence Lost is a unique murder mystery set within Prohibition era Philadelphia. It took me a while to get into the story while the scene was being set, but once Maggie and Tommy's characters were introduced, I felt connected to the story. Maggie's character transforms throughout the story from a woman who feels powerless to control her surroundings while feeling like she does not fit in with many of her immigrant neighbors to a woman who is actively fighting crime and caring for her neighbors. The integration of Inspector Geyer was very interesting. His presence as a ghost fit in seamlessly and helped Maggie immensely, but I did wonder a lot about his background and how he found his way to Maggie. The Prohibition era was highlighted in the storytelling as well; I had never thought of the many reasons why so many men easily fell into bootlegging after World War I and how women embraced the freedoms of the era after taking up the men's jobs while they were away. While Maggie lends a large hand in avenging Oskar's death, there is still a lot of work to be done in keeping her city safe. I'd love to see what she can accomplish next. 

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

A Cobbler's Tale

A Cobbler's Tale - Neil Perry Gordon

Pincus Potasznik is a Jewish cobbler living in Galicia. In 1910, he receives an opportunity to travel to New York and set up a landsman society through his rabbi. Pincus decides to travel to New York making the decision to leave his pregnant wife Clara and their children at home and return for them later. On the voyage to New York, Pincus does not fare well, but with the help of Jakob Adler, her makes it. Jakob befriends Pincus and they decide to help one another after landing. However, Jakob is running from an accidental murder of a Warsaw crime boss and has fallen right into the Jewish gangs of New York with boss Leo Gorpatsch. On the boat over Pincus also has his palm read and receives a warning to bring his oldest son over within the year. With the help of Jakob's connections and Pincus' skills, they set up a cobbler shop which also fronts as a way for Jakob to collect payment for Gorspatsch. Soon Pincus is so busy with his shop and Landsman Society that he can't imagine finding time to go home to retrieve his family. Back in Galicia, four years have passed. Clara has had her baby and the children have grown. She has kept her home and the cobbler shop running. War has broken out near Galicia. Pincus and Jakob plan to rescue the family while delivering a package overseas for Gorspatsch. This opens up a whole new world of trouble for everyone, but also a world of hope.


A Cobbler's Tale combines an immigrant's story along with the suspense of the Jewish Mafia, World War I and mysticism. The story focuses on Pincus, but the point of view bounces between Pincus, Jakob and Clara giving a rounded to view to the immigrant experience and the time Clara was left in Galicia. I was surprised at the reach of the Jewish Mafia. Pincus and Jakob might not have survived their first years with same ease if it were not for Gorspatsch, although it would have saved them a world of heartache later. PIncus' journey closely reflected that of a Jewish immigrant at the time and was loosely based on the author's grandparents. The writing easily conveyed the living conditions and the feeling of community within the Lower East Side. I felt a lot of sympathy for Clara's character, left to raise children, run a shop and survive in a war zone without knowing when Pincus would come back for her and the children. Her strength and courage shone as Clara protected her children and helped her community. Jakob's character was very interesting, always seeming to find trouble and falling in with the gangs, despite his friendship with Pincus, he tends to cause trouble for him over and over. There was a layer of added suspense and mystery with PIncus' oldest son, Moshe and his talent of foreseeing grim events. Known as a tzaddik, Moshe's talent can help his family, but is sought out by others. Incorporating this mysticism creates an exciting and dangerous ending that pulls together Pincus' journey. Overall, A Cobbler's Tale has a lot going on and offers an action packed historical journey of a Jewish immigrant with a touch of magic.


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

The Peddler of Wisdom

The Peddler of Wisdom - Laura Matthias Bendoly

The village of Les Échelles is a quiet farming and mining town connected to the rest of the world by one bridge. Les Échelles has just recently recovered from the plague and it's widowed healer, Irene is just beginning to be recognized again by her neighbors after many of their families perished under her care. Irene works through the protection of the town's spirit, Zahara and has read her future with her tarot cards. Soon after the plague subsides an invader, Duke Dominico, ravages the town and kills their peaceful Count Girau. Many of the villagers are taken with Dominico's finery and promises of a gilded town. The Duke also brings along Durande who works as a healer as well as an alchemist. Durande holds many of Domenico's secrets. Irene befriends Durande and finds out that Domenico's fantasies are fueled by madness and he will soon tear their small town apart. Finding strength within herself and a little push from Zahara Irene must become the leader her town needs to form a resistance against the Duke.

The Peddler of Wisdom is an engaging historical fantasy combining life in a provencial French town with a little bit of magic and large dose of female-led resistance. I immediately fell in love with Irene's character, a healer who cares for everything including birds and snakes and does not seem to hold a grudge. The town of Les Échelles was absolutely charming and picturesque, through the writing I could envision the shops, the castle, Irene's farm and the countryside where Irene left offerings for Zahara. With the arrival of the Duke and Durande, Les Échelles is turned upside down. The Duke and Durande bring elements of danger, fear and magic, a deadly combination for anyone who gets in the Duke's way. With gruesome automata, fiery jinn, and people painted in gold, the Duke attempts to create his vision. Durande, a reluctant hand to the Duke brings Irene into his fold and provides the knowledge for Irene to turn on the Duke. I liked that the relationship between Durande and Irene was not a focus of the story, but their partnership was important for town and their freedom. I enjoyed seeing Irene's leadership grow and emerge among the town. She is the beginning of the resistance, a healer in more ways than one. Her wisdom, kindness and touch of magic within leads to a revolution that the Duke never saw coming. Overall, a unique historical fantasy that left me wanting more.

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

The Warrior Maiden

The Warrior Maiden - Melanie Dickerson

Mulan has grown up in a small villiage in Lithuania.  She is the daughter of Milokai, a warrior who fathered her while fighting in the East.  Milokai's wife has raised Mulan as her own.  Now, Mulan is a young woman and Milokai is dead.  Mulan's mother attempts to marry off Mulan, however when Milokai is called to battle, Mulan assumes his place as Milokai's son.  Assisted by her father's steward and her archery coach, Andrei, Mulan marches off to protect the castle of an ally from the Teutonic Knights.  Fighting with Mulan is the Duke of Hagenheim's son, Wolfgang.  Wolfgang's brother Stefan however is fighting for the Teutonic Knights.  At first, Wolfgang sees Mulan as a rival in archery, but Mulan's skills in battle win her respect and Wolfgang see's her as an equal.  Now, fighting closely with Wolfgang, Mulan must protect her secret and her feelings towards Wolfgang while continuing to fend off the Teutonic Knights, including Wolfgang's brother. 


A very creative re-imagining of the Mulan story within the world of Hagenheim. At first, I was very wary of how Mulan would fit into the western European world, but with a few twists here and there, it seemed liked she was made to belong all along.  I enjoyed how the spirit of Mulan was kept in her personality.  Mulan was scared, but kept a very confident face, and showed bravery and ingenuity in battle, using her strengths as a woman.  She balked against the gender norms of marrying for safety and security to a man who would not love her for who she is.  I loved reading the battle scenes and seeing Mulan's mixed emotions as she fought to protect herself as well as what she believed was right.  Mulan and Wolfgang's relationship was also very interesting.  Beginning as a rivalry and then a respected friend and warrior, Wolfgang then turns into the only other person who know Mulan's secret and his feelings towards the soldier and now woman must change.  There is a lot of will they or won't they that drove me a little mad as neither of them wanted to ruin the friendship forged in battle. I also appreciated the incorporation of the historic Teutonic Knights and Grand Master Rusdorf.  With an exciting ending and the hope of a happily ever after, The Warrior Maiden is another wonderful installment in the Hagenheim stories.


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

An Improbable Pairing

An Improbable Pairing - Gary Dickson

Scott Stoddard is an American graduate student who has been accepted into a prestigious program in Switzerland. On his way overseas, Scott is introduced to the enigmatic Countess de Rovere and becomes infatuated. With a promise to his parents to focus on his studies, Scott puts off calling on the Countess and attempts to concentrate on school and girls his own age. However, the pull of the Countess' presence is hard to resist and Scott finds himself under Desiree's spell. Scott and Desiree find that their attraction is mutual, even though there is a long list of reasons that they should not be together. Being introduced into Desiree's social circle takes a toll on Scott's academics, but their attraction grows. As news of their relationship spreads, pressure mounts on the couple. 

An Improbable Pairing takes the reader through the whirlwind romance of a very lucky American student and a privileged Countess in 1960's Europe. The beginning of the book grabbed my attention with the voyage, the mystery surrounding The Countess and the suspense of how Scott and Desiree would come together. After Scott arrived, the pace slowed a bit as he went about being a student and attempting to date the girls he believed he should. Things began to pick up again when Scott and Desiree begin dating. At this point, it also seemed like Scott was just the luckiest man alive as everything fell perfectly into place for him. Desiree's world is shiny and exciting as her status invites her into world's that I would never be able to see. The descriptions of luxurious homes, clothing, jewelry, restaurants, food and events were very encompassing and detailed allowing me to richly imagine places in Switzerland and France that I will never see. The romance plays out as I would expect, the addition of Desiree's ex-husband adds a slight tension, but could have been used to ramp up the excitement even more. Overalll, a classic historical romance that add the glamour of 1960's Europe. 


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

An Unexpected Adventure

An Unexpected Adventure - Kandi J. Wyatt

Chace, Harley, Will, and Cherise  are eighth graders  on the west coast.  When Harley's family's B & B guest, Professor Raleigh asks them for help in looking for thundereggs, they enthusiastically agree.  They find an thunderegg, but quickly agree that it is more egg than rock. They decide to keep the egg hidden from the Professor, but do bring it to their science teacher, Mr. Behr.  The egg eventually hatches revealing something unexpected- a dragon.  Steria the dragon immediately bonds with all the kids, now they have to figure out how to care for a dragon and keep Steria safe from Professor Raleigh. 


An exciting middle grade adventure-with dragons! Taking care of the egg and Steria is a great test of the group's friendship as they navigate a totally unique situation.  My favorite character by far was Steria herself, calm and trusting- but playful at heart.  Like many middle grade stories, the parents were left out of a lot, however, at least there was an adult involved with Mr. Behr.  The tensions rose as Professor Raleigh  is constantly on their tails and Steria needed more and more food.  As we learned more about Professor Raleigh, it seems that he may not be the villain that everyone thought.  I did really like the solution that the group found for Steria at the end, although it doesn't seem like it will last very long.  Hopefully the next book will come up with a better solution.


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

The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me

The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me - Olivia Hinebaugh

​Best friends Lacey, Theo and Evita have their year planned out- do good in school, practice their music apply to Berklee and live together in Boston jamming together with their band.  However, things begin to change for Lacey.  Lacey's mom was a teenage mom, now a labor and delivery nurse who has always been upfront and direct with Lacey about sex, consent, protection and staying healthy.  Lacey has no experience with this herself, she has never even been kissed.  But when her senior seminar class begins to preach abstinence only education and being fearful or ashamed of sex, Lacey steps up in order to make sure her classmates are safe and protected, Lacey becomes a guru for sex questions and she, Theo and Evita help pass out condoms and other forms of protection to students.  The school is not appreciative of their efforts, however and suspends the trio for passing out lewd material.  In between all of this, Lacey and Theo realize that they have feelings for one another and begin to navigate a sexual relationship of their own.

The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me is a wonderful, sex-positive and health conscious story that is appropriate and informational for young adults while being entertaining.  I loved Lacey's character as well as her mom.  Even though Lacey was inexperienced, she held a wealth of knowledge thanks to her mother's open attitude and positive conversations.  Not everyone can have a mom like Lacey's though, which is why it is important for schools to teach about sexual health.  The reaction from the school was very surprising to me, it seemed to me that if they could turn a blind eye to all of the pregnant girls maybe they could do the same for a girl passing out condoms.  I do wish that Lacey, Evita and Theo would have worked with the adults more for their project instead of going rouge.  I do like how everything panned out in the end.  Another great aspect to the story was the friendship between Lacey, Theo and Evita.  Talking things out with friends is another step in healthy relationships and these guys had a lot of difficult conversations.  The straightforward conversations between Lacey and Theo about consent and sex are wonderful examples of how to start a sexual relationship.  In reading these conversations, they did seem a little awkward and uncomfortable to me, but I also think that is the reality of the situation.  Lacey and Theo's budding romance as well as their band add to the excitement of this fun and realistic young adult novel. 

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

All Is Fair

All Is Fair - Dee Garretson
Mina Tretheway receives an urgent telegram at her boarding school.  She fears the worst as the War rages on.  Mina discovers that the telegram from her father is in code and tells her to come home.  Upon her return home to Hallington Manor, Mina finds an old friend- Lord Andrew Graham and an American- Lucas Mueller.  They need Mina's help in order to complete a dangerous mission in Germany.  Before Andrew and Lucas set off on their mission, an accident happens and Andrew is incapacitated.  Mina is determined to help Lucas see the mission through, although Lucas believes she is too frail and spoiled.  Before Lucas can convince Mina to return home, they are thrown together to complete the mission and survive. 
 
 
All Is Fair is an exciting and adventurous Young Adult novel set during World War I.  Mina's character was charming and invigorating as a young woman good with codes, ciphers and languages.  The writing did have a slow build in the beginning, but did build up the dreadful feeling of wartime and the suspense that not all was right at Hallington Manor.  About halfway through, when Mina became part of the mission with Luke, the pace picked up and I couldn't stop reading.  Their spy mission was intriguing and added a dash of sweet romance. I liked that she proved her worth during the mission as a woman and because she was a woman. Through Mina's and Lucas' eyes we see bits of the harsh realities of war and also learn about the Dame Blanche Resistance movement of France and Belgium which was primarily comprised of female members.  Overall, an exhilarating young adult spy thriller. 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Pretty in Punxsutawney

Pretty in Punxsutawney - Laurie Boyle Crompton

Andie has always wished that her life was like a movie...but this wasn't what she had in mind. 


The summer before Andie's senior year of high school, her family moved to Punxsutawney, PA.  Andie's mother has raised her to be a movie buff, mostly by watching her favorite movies from the 1980's.  Andie naturally gravitates towards the town's movie theatre where she meets Colton. Colton seems like the perfect candidate for Andie's first kiss.  However, the evening before Andie's first day she falls asleep on the couch watching Pretty in Pink in a pink polk-a-dot dress.  After a not-so-stellar first day where Andie loses Colton's interests to classmate, Kaia, Andie wishes she could have a do-over.  Her wish might just come true.

Combining some of my favorite movies from the 80's and early 90's, Pretty in Punxsutawney is a fun and heartwarming journey.  At this point in my life I identified more better with Andie's mom, but easily found myself immersed in Andie's story.  I could feel myself cringe along with Andie as her first day of school was less than ideal, especially with Colton.  I loved when the Groundhog's Day aspect came in and Andie repeated her first day over and over with different variations while desiring to make Colton her boyfriend.  Many of the variations picked up on other movies such as Breakfast Club and Ferris Buehler's Day Off.  I especially enjoyed when Andie began to try out a different clique each first day and begins to realize what her purpose might really be. I do wish that my favorite first day with the dance party was how Andie was able to stop the cycle; however, I'm still glad that things were able to wrap up the way they did.  Overall, a very endearing and lighthearted Young Adult read with plenty of nostalgia for older readers.


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

The Princess of Baker Street

The Princess of Baker Street - Mia Kerick
The kids of Baker Street grew up playing together to the fanciful games thought up by Joey Kinkaid.  Joey was called the Princess of Baker Street since his games often included Joey in a princess dress being rescued by his best friend, Eric Sinclair.  Now, the kids of Baker Street are in Eighth grade and things have changed, the four friends have found themselves in separate cliques.  Eric has opted for the route of survival, especially since is mom isn't often around.  Eric hangs around with his friends on the soccer team.  Joey doesn't exactly fit in anywhere, he would much rather wear his mother's dresses to school than the button up shirts and slacks that his father insists on.  When Eric and Joey are paired as study buddies, their friendship rekindles.  However, when Joey begins to show up to school in girl's clothing, Eric's allegiance is divided between his friends and his need to fly under the radar.
 
Timely and relevant, The Princess of Baker Street reaches into the awkward, transitional years of middle school for a group of students, including the Joey who is realizing that he has always been a girl.  Told through Eric's point of view, the voices are sincere and realistic for eighth graders.  Everyone seems very self-concerned and are worried about where they will fit in.  Eric's journey is just as important as Joey's.  I felt for Joey as he dealt with an absent mother and the decision to be Joey's friend even if it would cost his popularity.  Eric's struggle with his feelings for Joey as he slowly comprehends that not only is Joey a girl, but that he has always seen Joey as a girl as well- a girl that he likes.  With these understandings comes big changes and responsibilities.  Not all of the changes are handled very well by everyone and reinforces that none of these issues should be handled by the kids by themselves.  Insightful and pertinent, The Princess of Baker Street is an important and heartfelt read that can be enjoyed by middle grade through adult readers. 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Citadel

Citadel - Jack Remick
Trisha deTours is a book editor for women's erotic fiction at Pinnacle Books.  Her personal life often reflects the books she edits as Trisha hunts for men on the beach and discards them after sex.  When scientistDaiva Izokaitis moves into Trisha's complex, Trisha finds a new friend and discovers that she has written a manuscript.  The manuscript doesn't exactly fit in with with Pinnacle's normal works, but might be exactly what they are looking for.  As Trisha dives into Daiva's book, Citadel described as a post-lesbian, scientific look at our future, Trisha becomes immersed in the characters and story so much that she begins to mix reality and fiction to become one of the characters herself.  As Citadel blends more into real life, Trisha and Daiva are helping to create the future of Citadel. 
 
Citadel is a very different and surprising work.  Using the technique of a book within a book, we see the editing process as well as the effect that a book can have on the reader.  When Trisha began to read Daiva's manuscript, I think I was just as confused and intrigued as Trisha.  The manuscript is difficult to read at first, however, like Trisha, I could see parts of myself and other women I know in the characters.  The writing is very in your face, not hiding any of the issues that women in every culture may deal with on a daily basis.  There is also a good amount of science involved in the novel as Daiva  works with genetics and bases her book on current research such as creating life without the Y chromosome.  With this addition of science, a lot of important questions arise such as: What is human?  What is desire?  Can we ever live together peacefully?  For me, the most interesting part of the story is that Citadel begins to become reality as more people read Daiva's book.  Overall, a unique and important story that will connect with many readers. 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.