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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.

The Unfortunate Debutante

The Unfortunate Debutante - Laura Beers
After the death of her parents and her brother, an Agent of the Crown, Emma Pearson has been left alone and without much money.  Her father's solicitor Peter believes that he and Emma are betrothed, but Emma would rather work than rely on Peter.  Luckily, a friend of her brother, the Marquess of Downshire finds Emma and offers to take her in as his ward.  Emma accepts and now must complete a Season in London.  However, this is not as easy as it seems as someone seems to be sabotaging Emma at every step.  Bow Street Runner, Simeon Martin is elected to guard Emma.  Although, this is a harder job than Simeon realizes.  Emma  would rather spend her time researching for her news articles on the Anti-Corn Law League that is fighting that laws causing people to starve.  Simeon learns that Emma isn't the typical debutante that he thought.  Emma's behavior infuriates but intrigues Simeon and he finds that Emma might be exactly what he needs in life.
 
The Unfortunate Debutante is the seventy book in the Beckett Files series.  I would highly recommend reading the entire series in order to get to know all of the characters and their roles as The Unfortunate Debutante brings together characters from many of the previous books.  Emma and Simeon take center stage in this story.  Emma quickly emerges as another strong female character in the series, determined to survive on her own and not accepting a marriage to Peter as an easy way out.  Simeon's character has had a difficult storyline, being spurned in the past and making him wary of any relationship.  He's sees Emma as any other spoiled debutante, but quickly learns that she is anything but the fragile young women seeking a rich husband that he thought.  I loved the incorporation of England's history into this Regency spy romance.  Emma and Simeon's involvement with the Anti-Corn Law League increased the suspense and well as situated the story firmly in the early 1800's.  Like many of the romances in this series, their love takes a different path with each of them slowly realizing that the other is what they needed all along.  What I enjoy most about these books are the spy elements, although Simeon is a Bow Street Runner and not an Agent of the Crown, he is still involved with the plots against the Anti-Corn league and of course, keeping Emma safe from what Peter has plotted to get her back.  Overall, another exciting, sweet and original installment in the Beckett Files. 
 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

The Reluctant Healer

The Reluctant Healer - Andrew Himmel
Will Alexander is a lawyer, an up-and-comer at his firm who is just trying to get through the daily grind. His life changes when he meets Erica, a social worker turned energy healer.  Will and Erica are drawn to one another.  Erica sees a strong energy around Will, one that he doesn't realize he possesses.  Will tries to dismiss Erica's beliefs as eccentricities, however as he is pulled more into Erica's life and healing practice, Will's own beliefs begin to waver as Erica tells Will that he has helped her patients simply by being with them and one of Will's legal clients feels a weight lifted off of his shoulders after Will met with him.  Will begins to realize that there might be something about him that can help others, but his beliefs are still on the fence and his legal mind won't allow him to admit to doing anything, even as he begins to take on his own clients in Erica's practice.  
 
The Reluctant Healer is a book to read with an open mind.  It is the story of a perfectly ordinary man, Will -who thoroughly believes he is an ordinary man despite evidence of the extraordinary.  There isn't a lot of action or suspense in The Reluctant Healer, it is  mostly the story of Will coming to grips with forces within himself yet outside of his control, and slowly changing his worldview and belief system.  Even without a lot of excitement,  The Reluctant Healer still had me intrigued.  I really wanted to know what Will's ability was, how he was going to decide how to use it and if it had any limits.  Since this is a story of Will, his character is really the only one who is fully fleshed.  Erica is a large part of the story, yet I didn't get the feeling that I knew her too well.  Will's choices were what powered the story.  I found some choices very natural and some choices baffling, especially towards the end.  Overall, The Reluctant healer is a story of opening your mind to a world of opportunities beyond what you would normally consider.
 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

In Sight of the Mountain

In Sight of the Mountain - Jamie McGillen
Nineteen year old Anna Gallagher longs for adventure in her hometown of Seattle, Washington.  However, in 1889 young women are expected to be proper and run a household.  Anna's grandfather and brother seem to want this life for her as well. Anna gets a taste of adventure when the great Seattle fire devastates her grandfather's book store.  Anna dreams to climb Mount Rainier and places her hopes in an advertisement for a  climbing party leaving next summer.  Now, Anna just needs the funds and to start training.  With help from her Duwamish friend, Heather, Anna finds the confidence to begin training for the climb and a means to raise money.  When her brother's friend, Ben visits Washington, Anna may find a man that also fits her lifestyle.
 
In Sight of the Mountain is an amazing historical adventure that captivated me from the start and didn't let go.  As an avid hiker, I have always wondered about the women who have paved the path for women to be active in the outdoors.  Anna's character, though fictional is a good representation of the experiences of many of the women who were the firsts in the field.  Anna's spirit is captivating and infectious, making me want to plan for my next adventure.  Through her eyes, the grandeur of the Washington territory came alive as well as the many prejudices that people carried.  The plight of the Duwamish people, the native people of the area was brought to light through Anna's friendship with Heather as well as the limited opportunities for women and the views of the women who took matters into their own hands.  I was enchanted by the mystery of the poem in the book that Anna solved and absolutely delighted by the path of the romance with Ben.  The highlight of the story for me was definitely Anna's journey up the mountain.  While Anna's story might not have turned out exactly how she wanted the first time, her story of grit and determination is one that many people can relate to. 
 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Katherine Tudor Duchess

Katherine Tudor Duchess - Tony Riches
Katherine Willoughby  is the daughter of Maria de Salinas, one of Queen Catherine of Aragon's ladies-in-waiting.  Katherine's father dies when she is young and Katherine is taken in as a ward of Sir Charles Brandon, brother-in-law to King Henry VIII.   Katherine grows up alongside his children and believes that she will one day marry Charles' son, Henry.  However, after the death of Charles' wife, Charles decides to marry Katherine herself and Katherine is made the Duchess of Suffolk at the age of fourteen.  Through Katherine's position, she manages to get to know all of King Henry VIII wives, some more than others.  Although Katherine's life was not easy, she was lucky enough to survive and live a full life. 
 
I am an avid reader of anything concerning Tudor history and have read and enjoyed Tony Riches' books before, so I was more than happy to read Katherine Tudor Duchess and dig into the life of Katherine Willoughby.  The writing is quick paced and immersive.  Through Katherine's eyes, most of King Henry VIII reign is experienced through her point of view.  I was amazed by Katherine's life and the series of events that shaped it.  Katherine seemed to take everything in stride and managed to grow and develop in a world that was not very friendly towards woman.  I was intrigued by her different relationships with each of Henry VIII wives as well as Henry himself and was even more amazed that Katherine survived Henry's reign, but was threatened by his daughter, Mary.  It was interesting to see Katherine find her place in religion and how she may have even helped to shape England's religion at times.  Overall, an amazing story about of one of the surprising Tudor women, Katherine, Duchess of Suffolk. 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Distant Signs

Distant Signs - Anne Richter, Douglas Irving
Three generations have lived behind the Berlin Wall in East Germany.  Hans and Margaret are a young couple who met in the 1960's in East Germany.  Due to each of their parents experiences during the War, they have very different backgrounds and beliefs.  These experiences plus the regulations of living in East Germany place a lot of stress on their relationship.  As time goes on, each generation deals with the complications of East Germany in different ways, often clashing and challenging the previous generation; however, everyone seems to know that time marches on and things must change.
 
Distant Signs is a solemn family saga that delves into the impact that the German Democratic Republic had on the people.  Without getting into the politics of East Germany or the people responsible, everything is focused on the characters-  their actions, thoughts and relationships to one another.  This is an intimate portrait into the life of one family.  The story feels more like a series of anecdotes told at a family gathering.  The story mostly focuses on Margaret and Hans relationship, but moves through time beginning with their parents since their lives impacted Hans and Margaret separately.  Both sets of parents had very different experiences during and after War that led them to raise Hans and Margaret differently.  While there is a definite feeling of constantly being watched and having to be careful of what is said and who you talk to and several mentions of meetings, this book could really be set anywhere during anytime.  The writing had a heavy sense to it, while being a relatively short book, this took me longer to read while allowing all of the nuances to set in.  
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Trailing the Hunter

Trailing the Hunter - Heidi Eljarbo
A witch hunter is on his way to the small town of Berg, Norway in 1661.  Clara Dahl is already a few steps ahead of him.  Clara has seen the destruction and murder that Angus Hill imposes on a town after he decided that several of Clara friends are witches and burned them at the stake.  On her way into Berg, Clara notices a young and heavily pregnant woman escape from imprisonment.  Clara follows her into the woods offering help.  She can't find the woman, but does find Christian of Ivershall, the Lord of Berg.  Christian helps Clara and Clara finds a friend in Christian and his mother Dorthea.  Once Clara is set up in town as a teacher, she sets on her mission to educated the women of the town of Angus Hill's true nature.  With help from Dorthea, Clara is able to reach a few women in town.  However, some women have their own motives and will use the witch hunter for their own gain.
 
Trailing the Hunter is a historical fiction novel that shows the impact and destruction that one person with their own agenda and air of authority can inflict on a town.  I had no idea that this book was a continuation of Clara's story from Catching a Witch, which I haven't read.  I had no problem getting a sense of Clara's past experiences with the witch hunter and the Clara's motivation for following him.  I loved Clara's character from the very beginning, she was determined, motivated in her cause and had a well thought out plan for how to help.  Her compassion allowed Clara to connect with and care for the young women that Angus typically accused and give them the skills to stay out of his grasp.  Angus Hill's character showed just how easy it is for one person to infiltrate and poison the minds of people against one another just by using confidence and authority, something that still happens today.  Through the writing I was also able to get a sense of life in 17th century Norway, the towns, dress, politics and religions were all part of the intriguing plot.  The suspense of the witch hunt along with a bit of romance made Trailing the Hunter an intriguing historical fiction read.
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

The Emperor's Assassin

The Emperor's Assassin - Autumn Bardot
Locusta of Gaul grew up in a sprawling vineyard outside of Ancient Rome.  When she was of age, her father sent up an advantageous match for her to an elderly and harsh man.  Locusta learns of her betrothed's true nature and is horrified.  Pricilla, Locusta's servant uses her knowledge of herbs to make sure Locusta will not be bothered by him again.  Locusta is intrigued by Pricilla knowledge of herbs and becomes a student of plants, both helpful and deadly.  Locusta's knowledge soon surpasses Pricilla's and her herbs help many around her, including a servant of a handsome Centurion, Marcus.  Locusta is soon sent to Rome to petition for a tax extension as well as find her match.  The longer Locusta stays in Rome, her reputation for her knowledge of healing and pleasure grows.  Soon, her skills travel to Emperor Nero's ears and Locusta is asked to use her knowledge for murder.  Locusta's fate is now Nero's to toy with.  
 
Locusta of Gaul has been painted by history as the world's first female serial killer.  However, Autumn Bardot knows that there must be more to Locusta's story.  Locusta's story is one of survival, heartache and love.  From her time growing up in Gaul, Locusta learned compassion, however, the poor match for her betrothal left her changed.  I loved Locusta and Pricilla's relationship and how it grew over time.  I was amazed by all of the herbal concoctions that Pricilla and Locusta came up with.  The descriptions of Rome under Claudius and Nero were very detailed and historically accurate.  The treachery, deception, excess and political intrigue was all deliciously shown, especially once Locusta became involved.  Nero's taste for the extravagant was showcased with his Domus Aurea that I had no problem imagining from the descriptions. The religious upheaval of the time was also captured in the writing without getting in the way of the plot.  One of my favorite parts of the story was between Locusta and Marcus, a steamy and passionate romance that began quickly and never lost fervor.  As always, the erotic parts of the story are woven together to fit in seamlessly with the plot.  Overall, The Emperor's Assassin is an intriguing historical fiction that brings to life one of history's overlooked women, Locusta of Gaul.
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Royal Beauty Bright

Royal Beauty Bright - Ryan Byrnes

Read for Veteran's Day task- 24 tasks!

 

The Baker family was not the typical family of Leamington Spa, England in the late 1800's. Mrs. Baker is a widow who runs her own sweets shop, her oldest son, Luther is different from other children. People say he is possessed or a lunatic, what we would now diagnose as autism. Luther's younger brother, Jim protects Luther furiously, but still takes the brunt of his mother's pain and frustration. One day as Jim and Luther are playing with Jim's best friend, Rodney, Luther pushes Rodney and hurts him badly. Rodney recovers but the incident leaves its mark. Years later, a war breaks out. Rodney is fighting on the Western Front and finds a new recruit in his regiment acting strangely. He is surprised to find that it is Luther Baker. Rodney is pressed to protect Luther by childhood friend Ethyl, who is serving as a nurse and trying to find a way to send Luther home. Meanwhile, Jim has taken a job with the British Army Postal Service with his own plan to smuggle Luther out. As Christmas approaches on the Front, Luther cooks up his own plan for survival.

Royal Beauty Bright is a heartwarming tale of compassion that revolves around the Christmas Truce of 1914. Alternating between 1897 and 1914, the timeline immersed me in the lives of Constance Baker, Luther, Jim, Rodney, and Ethyl. Though Luther was met with much adversity in his life, including being tricked into service, the love that Luther shares with his family and friends and they love they return shines brightly through. I loved that Luther excelled at chocolate making and that it paved the way for him to form relationships with other people as well. The depictions of life in the trenches on the Western Front were brutally realistic and showed the impact on the soldier's mental well being. Luther's insights during this time were often the most honest and truthful sentiments during the war, unhindered by what others might think of him. I loved when he told Rodney to write his mother: "Tell her people don't want to kill each other, but they don't know how to stop." As Christmas approaches on the front, I could tell that something had to give. I enjoyed reading the reactions of the men on both sides as they realized that they could take a break from the War and have fun, if only for a day.

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

The Poppy Wife

The Poppy Wife - Caroline Scott

It has been four years since Edie Blythe has seen her husband, Francis, alive.  He is officially missing, but presumed dead in the Great War.  When Edie receives a picture of Francis in the mail, she believes that he is out there somewhere, waiting to be found. Edie sends her brother-in-law, Harry on a mission to find Francis or his grave.  After the war, Harry has taken a job photographing graves or deceased service men for loved ones, now his brother is one more to add to the list.  As Harry returns to the war-ravaged landscape that he last knew as a soldier, the memories come flooding back and he struggles with the day that he left his brother for dead.  

The Poppy Wife is a journey of finding things that are lost and examining the state of the world post World War I.  I knew that many soldiers had been listed as missing after the War and that some were alive with no memory of life before; however, the impact that these missing men had on individual lives and whole town was immense.  The writing portrayed an air of melancholy wherever the characters went and seemed to carry a weight with them throughout the story.  While I expected the story to be about Edie's journey, it was mostly told through Harry's point of view and conveyed the psychological toll of surviving the War, revisiting the ravaged towns where he fought and finding closure.  Edie's journey was also about finding closure, but focused more on discovering just what her husband as well as the other men went through during the war.  The descriptions in the book took on the heavy task of describing a world torn apart and a people trying desperately to rebuild in the face of grief from many angles to accurately describe the overwhelming feeling post World War I.

Auschwitz Syndrome

Auschwitz Syndrome - Ellie Midwood
Franz Dahler and Helena Kleinova did not have a typical romance.  Franz is a wounded SS Officer assigned to head up Kanada-the sorting detail for all of the objects taken from the inmates upon arrival to Auschwitz.  Helena is a Czechloslovakian Jew being prepared for the gas chamber.  Before she is taken to the chamber, Helena is pulled from line in order to sing Happy Birthday to an SS Officer.  The Officer, Dahler is enraptured with Helena and arranges for her to be placed in Kanada, saving her life.  As Helena and Franz spend time together, a relationship forms.  Franz also rescues Helena's sister from the gas chambers and Helena eventually cannot imagine her survival without Franz.  Now, in 1947 Franz and Helena are married.  Franz is set to appear in Denazification Court for his crimes at Auschwitz.  Another Auschwitz inmate, Andrej Novák wants Dahler to be fully investigated for his crimes against Helena.  Two America psychiatrists observe the strange couple to figure out if Helena is a victim of abuse or simply a woman in love. 
 
Stories from the Holocaust are more important now than ever since the world seems to be forgetting the result of hatred towards a group of people.  Helena and Franz' story seems fictional, but is based on the very real story of Helena  Citrónová  and Franz Wunsch.  The timeline of the story goes back and forth between 1947 as Helena testifies to the court in Franz' defense and Helena and Franz' memories of Auschwitz from 1942-1945.  The writing manages to portray an uncertainty of the nature of Franz and Helena's relationship as Andrej, Helena and Franz recall the same events with different emotions and insight.  I was amazed to learn about Kanada, the sorting detail. While I knew of the vast piles of items, I was unaware that the inmates of Auschwitz were made to sort through them.  The description of Kanada and the rest of Auschwitz is detailed with historical accuracy.  While workers in Kanada were typically better fed and kept in better conditions than the rest of the inmates, they were still subject to the torture of Auschwitz and the guilt that the deaths of others kept them alive.  Also highlighted were the many SS Officers who knew what they were doing was wrong and tried to help inmates in their own small ways.  The most valuable lesson of Helena and Franz' story comes from Andrej's character- we must never stop talking about what happened, we must not let people forget the damage that hatred brings.
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
 
 

The Witch of Halloween House

The Witch of Halloween House - Jeff DeGordick

Halloween Square for Halloween Bingo and another bingo!

 

Three years ago, a regular town was rocked by the disappearance of a child a few days before Halloween.  The town needed someone to blame and chose and elderly woman who lived in a decrepit house in the woods.  Many people called her a witch.  On Halloween a mob formed and the woman and her house burned, before she passed the woman placed a curse upon them all.  Now, the disappearances are happening again.  The clues left behind are the same as before, a gingerbread cookie and a shoe left behind.  Except, now there is no witch to blame. Carmen and her little brother Tommy see the effects of the disappearances first hand since their father is the police chief.  They also notice that the adults in town seem to be under a spell.  When children keep going missing, Carmen and Tommy know that they must do more than stand by and watch.  
 
The Witch of Halloween House is a fast-paced paranormal mystery that is perfect for Halloween reading.  This has a vibe similar to Hocus Pocus, however it is definitely not a copy. The intro sets up a perfect mystery with a confounding conclusion which leads into the possibility of the paranormal playing a part.  Once the town seems to have fallen under a spell, the children and teens are left to solve the case of the disappearing children.  I liked all the Hardy Boys references and the clues that were left for Carmen and Tommy to follow.  I do wish that they found out a little more about the witch, her family and why she needed children. The pacing was steady throughout the entire book and kept the suspense high to the very end.
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
 
 

The Winter Sisters

The Winter Sisters - Tim Westover

Another square for Halloween Bingo- Magical Realism- used a transfiguration spell!

 

Dr. Aubrey Waycross has been called to the small frontier town of Lawrenceville, Georgia in 1822. He readily goes into the unknown, since the mayor has hinted at hydrophobia, or rabies being present in the town.  However, when Aubrey arrives he finds almost no one in need of medical attention.  All of the Lawrenceville residents would much rather take their problems to the Winter Sisters, Rebecca, Sarah and Effie.   Aubrey attempts to out the sisters as quacks, but he finds that Rebecca's herbal cures solve issues far better than his bloodletting, Sarah's tests and games that she gives patients make them forget about their problems and Effie seems to cure people by simply being in their presence.  Not even her sisters seem to know how Effie works her medicine.  Aubrey decides to band with the Sisters and the town will need all four healers when a residents does contract rabies.
 
The Winter Sister's is a fascinating historical fiction novel with elements of mystery and magical realism.  Life in a frontier town was brought to life through Aubrey's eyes as he experienced the remoteness, danger and community of Lawrenceville.  The Winter Sister's themselves were the most intriguing part of the story.  I really do wish the story was told through their point of view, especially since the writing begins with the Sisters being bound together in a ceremony by their mother.  Aubrey's character took a lot of time to warm up to as he continuously placed himself above the others in town and tried to prove his methods were the best.  I also just couldn't find any personality in him.  Although he eventually ended up saying and doing the right things, they always seemed robotic.  All three sisters, however were written very well with distinct personalities and habits.  The mystery of Effie still remains did she truly have a power to heal, or did everyone just want to believe in a little magic?
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
 
 

Sacrificial Grounds (The Bell Witch #2)

Sacrificial Grounds - Sara Clancy

Supernatural Square and my first bingo!

 

The lives of four families are forever intertwined after the actions of their ancestors.  Now, centuries later, The Bell Witch chooses one family member from the Bell, Winthrop, Crane and Sewall lineages to bring back to Black River Tennessee and taunt each year, possibly to the death.  Now, the four participants who survived the last game want to head back to Black River, Tennessee and take care of the Bell Witch for good.  However, Black River is not prepared for Basheba, Cadwyn, Ozzie and Mina to be back in town together.  It's not just the Bell Witch that they will have to fight this time, but the entire town.  
 
Sacrificial Grounds is the second book in the Bell Witch series and I would highly recommend reading book one first in order to get to know the characters and what they went through.  Sacrificial Grounds dives right into the action as Basheba and Mina work out their relationship.  I was really glad that this book dove more into the characters, especially Basheba.  More of Basheba's family history is revealed along with the intense training she received from a young age that makes her a brutal warrior against the witch and the events of her past that have created her persona.  More of the history of the Bell Witch herself is also disclosed, along with the Witch's influence on the town of Black River.  This book is more of a fight against the humans who reap the benefits of keeping the Bell Witch happy; however, this does not mean that there is any less gore or supernatural activity.  Basheba shows off exactly how much of a killing machine she really is and while the Witch is not at her strongest, she is still able to send a message to the four descendants of her accusers.  I'm really interested to see what happens now that they have tried to end the curse.
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 
 

The Death Doll

The Death Doll - K.D. Carter
Read by candlelight for Halloween Bingo!
 
Kate Tremont's life changes radically after her father's death.  Her fathers business associate tells Kate she must decide between her Jamaican plantation in the or the unknown. Kate decides that she would rather stay with her only family, an Aunt and Uncle in Durham, New Hampshire.  After a long voyage, Kate shows up unannounced at her Puritan relatives doorstep.  They take Kate in, but the adjustment is hard on Kate, her Aunt and Uncle and cousins, Edith and Mary.  The Puritan lifestyle is very different than anything Kate knows.  As Kate adjusts to life in New Hampshire, she gets to know her cousins better as well as a the Rockford family and is employed as Viola Rockford's tutor.  When Viola and Kate find a young escaped slave in the woods, trouble begins as Kate's kindness becomes twisted into rumors and sickness falls on the town.
 
The Death Doll is a historical fiction novel set in 1692 in the colony of Durham in New Hampshire.  This is the beginning of the Salem Witch Trials, and life in a Puritan village is difficult.  Kate's character is very interesting to follow as she was quite independent in Jamaica, but clueless as to how the world works.  When Kate arrived in New Hampshire, the pacing of the book picked up.  The Puritan world seemed to be depicted quite accurately in terms of dress, home life and religious customs as well as how one accusation could place multiple lives in danger.  I was surprised at how different Kate's experience was from the women accused during the Salem Witch Trails and the reasons why the hysteria didn't reach someplace so close.  After everything that Kate and her family went through, there was a very surprising ending and I wonder if this outcome actually happened to anyone in the past.

 

 

The Stillwater Girls

The Stillwater girls - Minka Kent

Halloween Bingo Read for In the Dark, Dark Woods Square!

 

Sisters Wren and Sage have always lived in the woods of the small town of Stillwater, NY.  Their mother kept them hidden away and without any influence of outside society.  Mother always told them of the dangers and evils of the world outside of their homestead.  However, Mother left Wren and Sage months ago with their sick little sister Evie in order to get her medical treatment.  Mother has yet to return and supplies are dwindling as winter approaches.  When a man comes to their cabin in search of them, the sisters panic and flee into the woods.  They arrive at Nicolette Gideon's home on the outskirts of Stillwater.  Nicolette offers them help and the girl's sudden appearance creates a stir in the small town as well as opening up some mysteries from the past. 
 
The Stillwater Girls is a gripping thriller that I binged in one day.  Told through alternating points of view between Wren and Nicolette; I was immediately caught up in Wren's circumstances trying to survive a winter in the New York woods with primitive supplies.  Nicolette's viewpoint took me a little longer to get into, a wealthy woman in her 30's who believes her marriage is struggling due to a emergency hysterectomy 10 years ago.  I did like that I could not figure out the connection between the women until closer to the end of the story.  The pacing of the story was steady as suspense builds with the sisters having to flee and Nicolette not knowing where she stands with her husband.  As their stories intersect, mysteries unravel.  The ending tumbled together quickly and I was thoroughly unprepared for the revelation at the end and the secret that was held on to for so long.  Overall, The Stillwater Girls is a consuming psychological thriller with plenty of twists and turns.
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
 

In the House of Mirrors

In the House of Mirrors - Tim   Meyer

Relics and Curiosities Square for Halloween Bingo!

 

Ritchie Naughton's life is falling apart.  After returning home on a break from work one afternoon, he discovers his long-time girlfriend in bed with a football player.  The shock triggers a heart condition that Ritchie never knew about.  After all this, Ritchie makes a decision to move back to New Jersey and into his sister's basement. Ritchie finally he  finds a job as a staff photographer at a local paper.  The paper has an older camera for Ritchie to use, and is only inscribed with the name Denlax.  Along with his newspaper gig, Ritchie reluctantly agrees to work for his uncle in order to provide picture proof of his aunt's infidelity.  With this side gig, Ritchie finds that the camera produces disturbing images of other worlds.  Soon, the Denlax drags Ritchie into a dangerous world with extreme consequences.

 
In the House of Mirrors is a slow-burning horror that sucked me in with great characters and a unique plot.  From the beginning, I never quite knew which way the book would take me and that made me keep reading.  All of the characters, human and otherwise were thoroughly created.  The camera itself was the most intriguing, bringing is elements of horror, supernatural, and the occult.  The mystery of the Denlax kept me guessing as the pictures with imperfections soon showed separate worlds and beings that moved within the picture, sort of like an otherworldly camera obscura.  I loved the history behind the camera and the story that was passed down along with it.  As Ritchie learned about the camera, he began to change, but not as I would have suspected.  The pieces started to fall together as the story wrapped up and the horror, suspense and gruesomeness of the acts that the camera precipitated.   Overall, an intense and different horror read.