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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 German Heiress

The German Heiress - Anika Scott

Clara Falkenberg was handed the reins to her family's ironworks empire in Germany during World War II.  As the War ends, Clara flees the ironworks and takes the alias of a secretary that had worked there, Margarete Muller.  Two years later, Clara desperately wants to find the best friend she left behind, Elisa Sieland.  As Clara heads back home, her cover is blown by British Officer Fenshaw who wants Clara to pay for her war crimes.  Clara escapes Fenshaw's grasp only to find Elisa's home destroyed.  In her search for Elisa, Clara connects with Jakob.  Jakob is now a black marketeer who has lost a leg in the war.  Jakob is also in search of Elisa since he stumbled into  a mine shaft with a young soldier named WIlly Sieland who is guarding a stockpile of German supplies and believes that the war is still raging.  Clara and Jakob form an alliance to find Elisa and help Willy, but Fenshaw has not let up on his quest to capture The Iron Fraulein.

The German Heiress is a unique look into post World War II Germany and the many layers and situations that the German people faced in the aftermath of the war.  Clara is a very well-developed and intense character.  For the entire story, she is struggling with her identity as well as her morality for what happened at the factory during the war.  The German government gave Clara the moniker of the Iron Fraulein, which is a name she tried to run from; however, it is Clara's iron will that helps her through the toughest of obstacles. Other than the suspense of Clara constantly being on the cusp of capture by Fenshaw, I found Clara's internal moral fight the most intriguing. I was absorbed as Clara fought with herself in trying to decide whether or not she did enough for the people forced to work for her.  Willy's character also surprised me, Willy's mental health is fragile and his secret the most explosive.  Through Willy, I was able to see the influence of propaganda and the Jungvolk. The writing transported me to the bleak, destroyed landscape of Essen, Germany.  Home were demolished, landscapes were changed and food scarce, but the people found a way to carry on.  This book took me a little while to get into as Clara's character developed and some of her secrets are revealed as this happened, I was pulled deeper into her and Jakob's quest as well as the cat-and-mouse game with Fenshaw.  The ending is surprising and shows the hope that post World War II Germany kept. 

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


Bulwark - Brit Lunden
Bulwark, Georgia is a small town that usually does not see much trouble. Clay Finnes is the sheriff in town.  He is still recovering from a separation with his wife Jenna after the disappearance of their child, Claire.  Now, Clay is dealing with a strange accident on the outskirts of Bulwark.  A car has sunk in a pond that seemed to appear in the middle of the road.  The older couple who were in the car are shaken and keep on insisting that Clay check out the Gingerbread House on Linden Lane, they say their children were taken there. On top of that, Clay keeps getting calls for wolf sightings and a strange death from two puncture holes to the neck.  As Clay investigates these claims, he finds Bulwark's strange hidden history and what it has to do with him.
Bulwark is a paranormal horror that introduces a town with many secrets.  From the sudden appearance of the weird puddle, I knew I was hooked.  I loved the retelling of the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale in an even more horrifying way.  Clay's character is straightforward, but has a lot of personal issues he is dealing with, because of this I think he is a little more willing to believe in the extraordinary.  The mystery surrounding the Bavmorda Gingerbread House was intriguing.  I do wish there was some deeper description of the house to really understand what it looked like.  The intensity amplifies as Clay finds out just what the citizens of Bulwark have hidden for the past fifty years and it affects him greatly.  I do wish there would have been more reveal for the how and why of the Bavmorda Gingerbread house and the cycle it brings, maybe  something from the point of view from Clay's assistant Dolly or Bavmorda herself.  The ending is a whirlwind of activity with a big twist.  There are also two endings that the reader can choose from, one that ties everything up in a neat bow, and one that compounds the horror of the previous events and opens up many more mysterious.  Overall, Bulwark is a fast paced paranormal horror that leaves you wanting more. 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

The Witch Cave (The Bell Witch #3)

The Witch Cave - Sara Clancy
Philomena, Osgood, Cadwyn and Basheba are the last four descendants of the Crane, Davis, Winthrop and Bell lines to be selected to go into the Witch's Wood and complete her challenges.  After surviving Katrina's challenges and going back into the Wood to try to stop her one and for all, the four have forged an unbreakable bond.  Now, the four have been training to go into the Witch Caves where they believe Katrina is buried.  They want to find her remains in order to stop the curse again.  However, the town cult finds out what the four are up to and now Mina, her brother Jeremiah,  Ozzie, Cadwyn and Basheba have to deal with a panicked Witch, crazy cult and the dangers of the Cave.
I really enjoyed the first two books of the Bell Witch series and would highly recommend reading those first in order to understand the Witch, her harvest and what builds the unwavering relationship between these four characters.  The Witch Cave amps up the intensity with the group trying to outwit both Katrina and the cult.  All of the characters are still wonderful and continue to grow.  I enjoyed seeing Mina stands up to her family once again and tries to learn everything she can about how to kill a ghost.  Ozzie uses his family's money for good and learns how to deep sea dive as he comes to the realization that he is not the weakest link in the group.  Cadwyn continued to amaze me with his levelheadedness, caring and medical skill.  I appreciated learning more about his time caring foris little brother, Abraham after his trial in the Witch Woods.  This gave a lot of insight into his character as well as showed Katrina's power as she transported Cadwyn back to the abandoned psychiatric hospital in Massachusetts where Abraham spent his last days. Basheba also continued to be a fierce powerhouse along with her dog Buck.  More of her history is revealed along with her families entanglements with the darker side of humanity and a creature called the Leviathan.  The writing continuously builds apprehension as fearsome creatures and obstacles created especially for each character get in their way.  The story ends with an unexpected bang and I can't wait to see what the next book brings. 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Blue (Once Upon A Rhyme #3)

Blue - Elizabeth Rose
Raven Birchfield's life isn't getting any easier.  After dealing with a possession by Mary of the nursery rhyme Mary, Mary Quite Contrary and helping her best friend Candy through a possession by Little Miss Muffet, it seems that it is her brother Johnny's turn.  After Raven's mom forgets about Johnny's birthday, Raven rushes to find him a present.  After sifting through her Aunt Bestla's things, Raven finds a blue bomber jacket that she knows Johnny will adore.  Raven figures out just a little too late that the jacket is connected to Little Boy Blue and her brother has turned into an overconfident, boastful, thief.  To top it off,  Raven and Johnny's father who left on Johnny's seventh birthday has return inexplicably and their mother accepts him back with no questions.
Blue is the third book in the Once Upon a Rhyme series and should definitely be read after Mary, Mary and Muffet in order to get to know the characters and how the nursery rhyme possessions work. Blue follows the same pattern as the first two books; however, now Raven has a better understanding of how things work and a friend she can trust with the craziness.  Blue's possession was a little different since his evil characteristics weren't shown outright. Raven and Candy liked Johnny a lot better as Blue and so did he, but Blue's possession was the darkest and had the most potential for harm.  I'm still confused about how a bomber jacket is tied to a 16th century historical figure as well as why the graveyard exists.  Although, the intrigue has built up with the return of Raven's father as well as the growing connection that Raven's classmate Dex seems to have with everything.  
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

The DNA of You and Me

The DNA of You and Me - Andrea Rothman

Emily Apell knows exactly what she want to do with her life.  When she gets the chance to join a renowned research lab, Emily knows this is her chance to make a breakthrough in the science of smell. Emily has never felt like she fit in with other people.   However, lab colleague Aeden intrigues Emily like no one before.  Unfortunately, Aeden seems to have no interest in Emily and only sees her as a competitor.  Aeden's research is surprisingly similar to to what Emily was brought in to work on. When Emily's research proves more promising and Aeden is faced with being kicked out of the lab, Emily makes a decision to make Aeden an equal partner in her research. Emily and Aeden begin a clunky relationship, but as things progress Emily realizes she is in uncharted waters.  Years later, as Emily is about to accept an award for her work, she tries to unravel what happened in their relationship.

The DNA of You and Me is a very different type of romance where a neurodivergent tries to piece together what happened to a relationship that almost changed her goal in life.  I could tell Emily's character was a bit different from the beginning and yet I could relate to her not attaching to any people and feeling like she was just fine without them.  I have to admit I found the science part of the book way more fascinating than the relationship part.  It was clear that the author had experience in the lab as well as an extensive knowledge of the science of smell.  I enjoyed reading about the process of tirelessly searching databases, finding something that looks promising, isolating the gene and seeing if it does what is expected.  The reality of research science is also highlighted, that most of what is worked on is a failure- or at least not what was expected.  Aeden was a conundrum to me, approaching his relationship with Emily as something he needs to hide, almost hate fueled and willing to ruin everything that she has worked on for what he believes is love.  I understood Emily's attraction more since Aeden seemed to be the first person she ever clicked with, ever felt that she needed to be around.  In the end, I felt that Emily made the right decisions for herself and highlighted the strength of women in the STEM field.  

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

Muffet (Once Upon A Rhyme #2)

Muffet - Elizabeth Rose
Raven Birchfield is just recovering from her possession by Mary from the nursery rhyme, Mary, Mary Quite Contrary.  After finding an old book of rhymes and a pendant that her Aunt Bestla left behind, Raven has been taken control of by the characters in order to be taught a lesson.  This time, Patience Muffet has gotten a hold of Raven's best friend Candy.  Raven doesn't know that Candy's home life is in turmoil, especially with her stepfather,making her the perfect victim for Patience.  On top of that, Raven unexpectedly starts getting attention from football player, Brett.  Candy happens to have a huge crush on Brett and is hurt by Raven's behavior.
Muffet is the second book in the young adult paranormal series, Once Upon a Rhyme.  I highly encourage reading the first book, Mary, Mary to begin with in order to get to know Raven and Candy as well as how the nursery rhyme book works. Muffet picks up shortly after the first book leaves off and focuses on Candy, but is still mainly told from Raven's point of view.  I was surprised that Raven still seemed immature and didn't put the clues together about what was happening with Candy's stepfather a little more quickly.  However, I did like the lesson that Patience Muffet provided to the girls.  I especially liked Patience's look in the other realm.  Although, I'm still wondering about how the nursery rhyme book works and why a graveyard of 16th century English people ended up in Illinois. I hope the Raven keep learning from the lessons and hopefully her little brother will learn something in the next book as well.  
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Little Wonders

Little Wonders - Kate Rorick
Quinn Barrett strives for perfection.  It's her personal mantra, to appear perfect, to be perfect for her husband, her son, her work life and as the president of the Little Wonders Preschool Parent Association.  The next perfect event she needs to pull off is the Little Wonders Happy Halloween Parade and Dance Party.  However, when her three year old son Hamilton would rather not wear the perfectly hand crafted spaceship costume Quinn made, she has the mother of all tantrums. New Preschool mom, Daisy captures it all on video only to have it quickly spread around online putting Quinn in internet infamy.   Daisy is an L.A. transplant and does not fit in the posh suburb of Needleton with her electric blue hair and tattoos.  She wants the best for her daughter Carrie, but is finding it hard to be herself.  Daisy feels awful for sharing the video of Quinn, but also finds a friend in the now outcast Quinn and is finally finding her place in Needleton.  
As a mother of a four year old, many of the themes in Little Wonders hit home for me.  The first part of the book was a little hard to read as Quinn's character dominates with her endeavor for perfection.  I could feel the stress that Quinn placed on herself and everyone around her emanating off of the page.  It was difficult to connect to any of the characters at first because they all seemed like awful people.  I still felt bad for Quinn as the video was posted online and blown severely out of proportion.  However, after Quinn stopped striving for perfection everything lightened up and I really enjoyed reading the second half of the book.  Her growth was amazing and I liked watching her relationship grow with her son and Daisy.  As the point of view switched between Quinn and Daisy, I appreciated Daisy's journey in finding herself, losing herself and finding herself again.  Little Wonders serves as a reminder to all moms that we need to stop taking life so seriously, enjoy all the imperfections in life, embrace humor, and find a really good group of mom friends. 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary - Elizabeth Rose

Raven Birchfield is new to the small town of Half Horse, Illinois.  Raven, her mother and little brother, have inherited her Aunt Bestla's house along with all of it's belongings.  Now Raven is the new kid at school and just wants to fade into the background.  However, Raven attracts the attention of popular and pretty Janelle all too quickly when she is caught staring at Janelle's boyfriend, Dex.  To make matters worse, Raven has dug up a strange box in her backyard, opposite a graveyard.  The box contains a book of children's stories and a necklace.  After Raven finds the box she begins to hear whispers of the name Mary in the wind and becomes very attached to a watering can in her shed.  Eventually the force of Mary takes over and Raven learns what it's like to have her every desire granted. 

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary is a young adult fantasy that creatively uses nursery rhymes as a vehicle for suspense and a tool to help facilitate change.  The story is fast paced a quick read.  The preface quickly interested me in the story as Raven said that she was the Mary in the nursery rhyme, whether she liked it or not.  Raven's character is a junior in high school and she is facing a lot of the same issues a typical high school does.  However, the story is narrated from her point of view and her voice and inner-monologue seems a little more juvenile than the age she should be.  Although, through becoming Mary, Raven does grow and I hope to see the impacts of this in the next book. I did like the device of the nursery rhyme characters, the book and crystal transporting Raven.  There is some explanation of how it works and why, but I hope there will be even more questions answered in the rest of the series.

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

Confessions of a Sheba Queen

Confessions of a Sheba Queen - Autumn Bardot

Bilqis is born to a jinni mother in the ancient lands of Saba, what is now known as Yemen.  Bilquis' birthday come with a prophesy- that she will have a great destiny to fulfill.  Bilqis doesn't seems to have the same talents as a jinn as her mother, but is easily able to soak up all of the knowledge that her mother can bring her.  As a young adult, Biqis learns of one of the jinn powers that she can use-her power of sensuality. After discovering the power of sex, Bilqis' world changes and opens. Then, tragedy strikes that leads Bliqis on a mission of revenge.  With her mission, Bilqis learns more of the terrible King ruling over Saba.  As Bilqis continues her journey, her destiny becomes clear- to end the King's regime and become the leader that the people need.

The full story of Bilqis, the Queen of Sheba is lost to history.  I have read several other versions this amazing Queen's story, but none quite like this.  Autumn Bardot is known for her strong female characters as well as erotic story lines.  Confessions of a Sheba Queen definitely falls firmly in erotic historical fiction, which isn't something I normally read, but I really enjoyed this.  Bilqis' story combined with the erotic story line makes for an intense and absorbing plot. From the beginning Bilqis jinn parentage and destiny add a sense of purpose to the story.  Even without her jinn heritage, Bilqis' character is strong, intelligent, and willing to put others first.  I liked that the jinn part of her parentage allowed Bilqis to use sex and her sensuality as a source of power and clarity in her life and allowed her to grow as a person.  The sex scenes were all unique, imaginative and used very modern language. However, what I appreciated most were the ties to what little history we do know of Bilqis.  I loved the lavish descriptions of the temple of Awwam and Bilqis' time with King Solomon. Richly absorbing and passionate, Confessions of a Sheba Queen creates a great blend of erotica and historical fiction.

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

The Lost History Of Dreams

The Lost History of Dreams - Kris Waldherr

Famed poet Hugh de Bonne is dead following his wife, Ada sixteen years earlier. From this, Hugh was thrown into a melancholy that produced some of his most famed works published in The Lost History of Dreams as well as a stained glass chapel where he buried his wife.  With Hugh's death,  distant cousin Robert Hightstead is charged with carrying out Hugh's last wishes- to be buried next to his wife and have a daguerreotype taken with his corpse in the chapel next to Ada's niece, Isabelle Lowell.  Robert is the perfect person for the job since he is currently a post-mortem photographer.  However, Robert is dealing with a ghost of his own and doesn't want to leave London for long.  Upon arriving to Hugh's home in Shropshire, Robert finds that his task is made much harder by Isabelle who will not let anyone open the glass chapel.  Robert and Isabelle finally make a deal where Isabelle will open the glass chapel if Robert will record Ada's story over the course of five nights.  

The Lost History of Dreams creates a haunting by hopeful story and a mystery that patiently waits to be unfolded and solved.  Every character, object and place has been created with a story and a secret that made we want to keep digging in deeper and deeper.  From meeting Robert at the beginning of the story I was very curious about and his past and how that led him to be a post-mortem photographer. As the setting moves to Shropshire in Victorian England, a weight settles upon everything that gives the book a distinctive Gothic, atmospheric feeling.  The ghosts in the story are created as characters just as much as Isabelle and Robert.  I loved the device of a story within a story as Isabelle tells Robert of Ada and Hugh; through the story some mysteries are solved and others arise.  The romance entangles not just the dead, but the living as well as two lost souls untangle death to learn how to live.

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

Madame Fiocca

Madame Fiocca - Suzy Henerson
Nancy Wake wants more from life than to stay in her homeland of Australia.  After receiving some money from her Aunt, Nancy travels the world and lands in Paris.  Nancy finds work as a journalist in the 1930's as Hitler's rise to power overtakes Europe.  During this time Nancy meets Henri Fiocca, a wealthy French industrialist and known playboy.  Nancy and Henry eventually fall for each other's charms and settle in Marseilles.  As Hitler's influence encroaches on France, Nancy knows she can not sit back and do nothing.  Together, Nancy and Henri join the Resistance to help people escape and then, after eluding capture Nancy joins the Special Operations Executive and is training in everything from parachuting to weapons and hand to hand combat becomming one of the most valuable members of her team as well as one of the most hunted by the Gestapo.
I love when books introduce me to real women whom I had never heard of before.  Nancy Wake was truly an extraordinary woman who made brave choices in order to help the Allies win World War II.  From the beginning, I knew that Nancy was going to be an amazing character.  She clearly knew what she wanted in life, had strong opinions, was able to teach herself many things and was not afraid to add her voice.  Nancy also had the opportunity to witness first hand the terrors that Hitler's rule forced upon other people.  I think this was a large influence upon her actions.  I was constantly amazed at Nancy's ability to keep going and do whatever it took to help with efforts during the War.  I do wish that the writing gave a little more insight into Nancy's inner thoughts and feelings to really give it a personal feeling.  
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Ascending Power

Ascending Power - Malcolm David Gibson
Billy Strikeleather is returning home to the Chinati Indian Reservation after a washed up NFL career.  He returns to help his uncle, Sam with something that has been happening in the hot springs on the reservation.  In college, Billy earned a geology degree and suspects that the issues of the hot springs has something to do with the hydraulic fracturing nearby.  However, as soon as Billy and Sam reach the springs, they are shot at.  Billy does get a small sample from the spring and recognizes it as dysprosium, a rare earth mineral he studied in college that could have the ability to wreak havoc on the energy and big oil markets and give a payday to the Chinati people.  Billy's discovery begins a whirlwind of trouble as every player tries to get their hands into the dysprosium source for different reasons.
Ascending Power highlights the modern day David and Goliath struggle between energy corporations and Native Americans.  From the very beginning I was grabbed by the action, suspense and Billy's character.  I liked that Billy was struggling and was invested in using a skill other than football to save his town.  The narration begins from his point of view and I wanted to see the rest of the story through his eyes; however, in order to get the full view of the many different sides of the story, the point of view changed hands many different times.  With the numerous characters, I felt that not all of them were fully fleshed out and some became a stereotyped or caricatured version of themselves.  I was glad to see a modern representation of life on a Reservation and the people who live there.  The suspense and many plot twists kept me reading and I'm glad that Billy story felt resolved.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant

The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant - Kayte Nunn

Rachel Parker is a research scientist who has just taken a position in the Isles of Scilly to study the effects of climate change on the warty clam.  Rachel has moved around a lot in life and has never bothered to form lasting friendships or relationships. When Rachel is caught in a storm passing through the Isles, she takes cover on Little Embers, inhabited by the cantankerous Leah, an artist who prefers to be alone.  While on Little Embers, Rachel discovers the suitcase of a former occupant of Little Embers and some unsent love letters that she is determined to return to their rightful recipient.   In 1951 Esther Durrant is unceremoniously dumped at Little Embers by her husband.  Esther has survived a tragedy and still isn't quite right.  Little Embers is run by Dr. Richard Creswell, a retreat for men suffering from the psychiatric effects of the War.  Dr. Creswell has agreed to treat Esther as well.  After fighting and trying to get back to her family, Esther comes to enjoy life on the island and the company of the people around her.  

The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant feels like is was written just for me; I love the dual timeline in the story, the mysteries of an isolated island, and finding yourself before finding romance.  The characters were carefully crafted and pulled me into their stories before revealing everything.  Both Rachel and Esther were guarding secrets and were difficult to figure out creating complex and interesting women that I wanted to learn more about.  The writing flows easily through time and from character to character making the book easy to read and always wanting to know what's next.  I appreciated that the other characters on Ember Island in 1951 were also taken seriously, even at a time when psychological diagnosis were still being developed.  I also loved that Esther in 2018 was also a strong character and that I was able to see how she was not defined by her tragedy.  The romances were handled well for both Rachel and Esther, I'm glad that they were able to make decisions for themselves and find happiness.

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

The Thief's Heart

The Thief's Heart - Kathleen Shoop

Fifteen year old Tommy Arthur has had an interesting few years.  After his grandfather lost their family inheritance, the Arthur family was left destitute and Tommy fled to the prairie to survive.  Now, he is back in Des Moines with his mother and sisters, having found housing with the independent business woman Violet Pendergrass, an anomaly in 1892. Tommy tries his best to earn money for the family, working odd jobs selling prayers for the Reverend, being a bell boy at a hotel and doing some things for Miss Pendergrass.  As much as Tommy wants to be a good person, help his family and save money for their future, but it seems everybody else would like to see him fail. The Reverend asks him to steal trinkets from the houses that he delivers prayers to, Miss Pendergrass isn't forthcoming with what exactly the women in her house are up to and Tommy easily falls into the comforts of drink and gambling.  When Tommy's little sister, Yale is taken to a house for imbeciles he knows that it is time to be a man and help his family.  Luckily, Tommy has family and friends who still believe in him and know that he is a good person.

The Thief's Heart is a story of struggle and survival in the late 19th century.  This is the 4th book in The Letter series and while I could tell that a lot had happened before this book began, I did not feel lost at all.  I did find myself wrapped up in Tommy's strife and constant attempts to make his and his family's life better.  I had a lot of sympathy for Tommy as his successes were cut down and attempts to right wrongs were squashed by miscommunication or circumstance and found myself frustrated for him.  The love of family and friends stood out for me. Tommy is willing to sacrifice, steal and work unsavory jobs in order to help, but he is slow to see how other's are trying to help him.  One of the friendships and characters that I absolutely adored was Frank the crow, a perfect companion as well as an addition of humor.  Along with Frank, Pearl Riverside's character adds a lightness to balance Tommy's edge with her honest and strong personality as well as her ability to rebound from many situations.  As a lover of historical fiction, The Thief's Heart is a perfect read for me, bringing me back to the late nineteenth century in the midwest.  I enjoy Kathleen Shoop's seamless addition of touches of magic throughout the story to create hope, wonder and whimsy.

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

Mercy House

Mercy House - Alena Dillon
Nestled in the row houses of Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood is a house with an angel doorknocker.  Mercy House, a refuge for women is run by three aging nuns, Sister Evelyn, Sister Maria and Sister Josephine who don't exactly follow all the rules of the Catholic Church to a tee.  The Sister's have helped many women find safety, heal and succeed in life.  They have also helped women obtain abortions, calm by practicing Reiki and have never discriminated based on any of the women's preferences.  All of the good work that the Sisters of Mercy House have done is threatened when Bishop Hawkins arrives to audit their house.  Hawkins has a damaging history with Sister Evelyn and is set on closing the house and preserving his reputation.  Sister Evelyn would rather go down than see Mercy House close and when Hawkins does just that, Sister Evelyn dives deep into her past to reveal all in order to save Mercy House and herself.
Mercy House grabbed my attention with wonderfully thought out characters and an immersive plot.  From the beginning, I was amazed at how interesting a group of contemporary Nuns could be. Written mostly from Evelyn's point of view with flashbacks of her youth and interspersed with stories of the current residents of Mercy House, I felt like I got to know each of the characters well.  Thoroughly developed and distinct, the Nun's personalities and the young women's background's captured me.  Evelyn's story allowed me to empathize with her every step of the way and understand her motivations.  The story also focuses on contemporary Nuns and the issues of the Catholic Church.  It was great to see these Nuns portrayed in a very non-stereotypical way and have them be heroes for their residents as well as themselves.  These Nuns are portrayed as real people and some of the most caring and strong people around.  It was clear that these women created a community in Mercy House that extended throughout Bedford-Stuyvesant. Bishop Hawkins added a layer of suspense and an antagonist that I loved to hate. The tension he created with Mercy House and the secrets he tried to kept hidden was palpable in the atmosphere.  Overall, Mercy House is a unique contemporary fiction with amazing characters that focuses on the good and the bad that the world has to offer.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Timestamp: Musings of an Introverted Black Boy

Timestamp: Musings of an Introverted Black Boy - Marcus Granderson

Timestamp is a collection of written works by Marcus Granderson, a Harvard Graduate and young black man.   As Marcus states in the introduction, the works are not related in any way.  The works range from essays, poetry, lists, observations as well as speeches.  The themes of the writings give a fresh perspective on what it's like to be coming of age in the world today with a highlight on racial disparity.  I was able to identify with many of the writings about life during and directly after college very well and remember those feeling. However, what I enjoyed reading the most were the pieces that gave insight to the author's experience a a young black person in today's world.  Oreo was a brilliant introduction to the collection and allowed me to get a clear view of his perspective. Some of my other favorite pieces were Hallelujah Anyhow, Last Night, Sunrise and Hair Like Mine.

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