Showing posts with label Adult Historical Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adult Historical Fiction. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel


Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: I own a copy

    During World War II Eva Abrams and her family live in France. She was born there, but her parents came from Poland. Eva, on her home one day is stopped by a friend and warned she and her family need to get out of France.  Over dinner she tells her parents. Her mom believes that things will change because the Jews have done nothing to the Germans. Her father tries  to tell her that fliers have been placed under their door for a couple of weeks and that it is possibly a ploy by the Germans.  After her mom has retired to  her bed, Eva’s father joins her in the library. He makes her promise him that if something happens to him and her mother that she will get out. He has already paid for fake papers. She promises. She and her mother are watching the children of a neighbor who had to take care of her sick mother. The irony is the mother can’t stand them because they are Jews.  She hears a knock down the hall and watches as her father is arrested by the Nazis. She finds herself in a position where the man her father paid has not completed the job because he fears what will happen to him and his family if he is caught helping the Jews. He reminds Eva that her father told her one day her artistic talents would help her. He convinces her that she can complete the forgery of the documents.  She is determined and does just that. She and her mother escape. She finds herself in a position to help children using her talents.

    This is the fictional story of forgers who helped people by forging documents for them. The author tells a compelling story that you can’t put down. Your emotions are so high you feel as if you have been transported back in time and are working alongside Eva.  This is a must read for people who love to read about World War II. I loved the fact that I learned something new from reading this fictional book.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Catherine Dickens: Outside the Magic Circle Heera Datta

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.


I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t wait for Christmas to come to watch “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. After reading this book my feelings toward the author have been tainted.  While I saw him as a wonderful and successful writer, I never knew who he was. To understand who he was you must understand the Victorian time period he lived in. 

Imagine you have married the man of your dreams only to have him blame you for everything that he doesn’t like in your marriage. Imagine your young sister who lives with you to help you with your children, suddenly sides with your husband.  You are removed from your home, while your sister and your children stay with your husband.

This is for the most part a fictionalized account. We know for a fact that Charles Dickens was separated from his wife. We also know that even though he wrote terrible things about her. She kept her mouth shut. Part of this I believe was because she loved him, and part of it was because that is the way things were handled during this time period.  Women pretty much had no rights.  She was publicly humiliated through his writings. Up until her death she pretty much kept quiet. Yet she made sure her daughter received letters Charles had sent her to be sent to the Smithsonian. It was her way of letting the world know he really wasn’t all that bad.  She believed this until her death. Maybe that is what helped her survive this situation.

Even though this story took place in the 1800’s this could be anyone’s story today. I believe that is why it is such a good book. It is so applicable to present time.  A great book to be read by anyone wanting to know more about the real Charles Dickens.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf

Genre: Adult, Christian, Historical Fiction

Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

simplest terms this is a creative retelling of the story of Esther from the Bible. The author has taken some creative liberties that do not destroy, but enhance the original story. We see Esther as a woman who reluctantly marries a man she never would have because of their differences in beliefs. The author took this opportunity to explore the love between Esther and the King. This is important because during that period in history we know that the King had many wives. Yet we see how much he loved Esther.  The author also shows the king as a wise man and a kind man.  Haman is a man with a hate for Jews and a grudge against a Jew the King likes named Mordecai. Mordecai is the uncle of Esther. In this book Mordecai is shown in a different light. His reasons for Esther’s marriage to the king come across as self-serving. The Bible shows him as a calm and peaceful man who is very loyal to the king. If I had one complaint that would be it. However, this was not enough to take away from the book. It is well written  and I really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Only Charlotte by Rosemary Poole-Carter

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Romance
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This story takes place after the Civil War. Lenore James is a woman who has out-lived three husbands. Financially she is in a great place. She is wll aware of what is going on in society around her. When her brother Gilbert, a doctor loses his wife and child he loses a large part of himslef. Lenore invites him to come live with her and open a practice in New Orleans. Gilbert is willing to take those cases where the main doctor in town feels he won't profit much. This doesn't bother Gilbert since he is more about taking care of the patient and not worrying about the money. 

Gilbert is called to a house to care for a young child who has a terrible cough. He is immediately drawn to the child's mother, Charlotte Eden. Charlotte is married to awealthy architect. Gilbert's sister remembers her when she worked making hats. It is obvious to Lenore that her brother has fallen for Charlotte. The Mystery comes in when Gilbert is asked to remove Charlotte's dead body. I won't say anything more since I don't want to give anything away.

We see a society where those who are in power and have lots of money rule. Women have no rights and if some people had their way there would be slavery again. The author has told a story in the flowery and flowing way it would have been spoken in that time period. For some this may be a hindrance. It took me a couple of chapters before I was comfortable with this aspect. However, it actually put me in the time period. This author has a way of helping the reader visualize everything around them. I love a book that draws me in and carries me around twists and turns to the point I don’t see the ending coming. I love the historical aspect of this book. For me the emotional factor was a plus. I could feel how much Lenore felt she needed to protect her brother’s heart. I could see how Gilbert fell hard for Charlotte from the beginning. I agreed to read this book because there was the mystery aspect and it was historical fiction. I got so much more than I bargained for from reading this book. I highly recommend anything by this author.

About the Author
Rosemary Poole-Carter explores aspects of an uneasy past in her novels Only CharlotteWomen of MagdaleneWhat Remains, and Juliette Ascending, all set in the post-Civil War South. Her plays include The Familiar, a ghost story, andThe Little Death, a Southern gothic drama. Fascinated by history, mystery, and the performing and visual arts, she is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Mystery Writers of America, and the Dramatists Guild of America. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, she was a long-time resident of Houston, where she practiced her devotion to reading and writing with students of the Lone Star College System. She now lives and writes by the Eno River in Durham, North Carolina

Friday, June 8, 2018

Flying Jenny by Theasa Tuohy

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: I purchased a copy

I love historical fiction. One thing that will make me love a book of this genre is when the story has so many details that I read with a pad and pen. I need to look some of this information up to find out if it is truth or just told so well it feels like truth. The story is set during the 1920's.  Women have had the vote for a while. Now they have stepped out  to try to find their place in the world. We find two women stepping into a world that is dominated by me. Jenny is a pilot who loves the freedom of flying for the fun of it. Women have begun to step into the pilot's seat for different types of challenges, endurance and speed challenges as well as stunt flying.  Laura is a reporter in New York. Due to her bohemian background, she has had to find her own way in the world since she was a small child. She meets Jenny while covering a story where a pilot is going to fly under the major bridges in New York City. That is when Laura realizes the pilot is a woman.  There worlds collide in many ways.  I felt more like I was reading a biography than a historical fiction book.  The whole thing was so well written I felt like I was a third character in the book just observing.  I had not heard of this author before. I will definitely look for more by them.  A very interesting book that I would recommend.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Swimming Between Worlds by Elaine Neil Orr

Genre:  Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This book set in the early sixties to have been written today.  This book looks at segregation during the sixties. Although we no longer have segregation, or not to the extent we once had it, we still have racial issues.  As much as we want to ignore it this problem is still here. The story is told through multiple perspectives.  Tacker goes to Nigeria to help build schools.  He is considered a minority in Nigeria and learns what it is like to be discriminated against.  He returns to the United States still passionate about Africa and wants to help make a change.  He goes back to work for his father’s grocery.  When he lets an African American into the store; and the kid is attacked, Tacker decides he needs to do something.  Tacker has reconnected with Kate a girl from his high school. They have differing views on the racial situation. Tacker is able to change her mind.  The lives of these three people intersect so seamlessly.  Some of the racial tension could have come right out of our own newspapers.  This is the first book I have read by this author. I am glad I was offered the opportunity to read and review it.  Please take a moment and check it out. You really won’t be disappointed.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Devil's Cold Dish by Eleanor Kuhns

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This is the fifth book in this series. I have not read the first four. However, this clearly read as a stand-alone book. One of my favorite genres is mystery. Take that genre and add in a historical time period and I am all set. Will Rees is one of those people who tries to always do the right thing. This makes him a target of some in his town. His wife is pregnant and accused of witchcraft. Two people, he has argued with have ended up dead.  Someone seems to be going to a lot of trouble to set him up. Who is it and why?

Reese is a weaver by trade. He has one son from his first marriage that ended with his wife's death. His second wife is pregnant. They have adopted five other children.  Now that someone has tried to set his family up, Reese helps his family flee then returns to figure this mystery out.

The author has done a lot of research into this time period. It is quite evident in her writing. She has also created characters that are very believable. I loved the way this story carried me along from beginning to end. I definitely need to check out the first four books in this series. I have found a new author to love

Monday, October 3, 2016

Guest Post by Judy Alter author of The Gilded Cage

Research After the Fact

For the last ten years, give or take a little, I worked on a historical novel about Chicago. It was my “big” project, often set aside for shorter, less puzzling work. But I’m a believer in letting things simmer in the back of your mind—and I was convinced this was simmering. In between other projects, I’d go back and fiddle with the manuscript I then called “Potter’s Wife.” I’d change the point of view—Potter Palmer, Cissy Palmer, omniscient third-person, Most of all I’d research.
I ordered books on interlibrary loan as if there were a desperate hurry and the service would not be available the next day. I read everything I could find about Chicago history, Potter and Bertha (Cissy) Honor├ę Potter, the Columbian Exposition, the Great Fire of Chicago, architecture. I spent hours online.

I’d write, put it aside, rewrite, go on to a mystery, etc. One of my big breakthroughs came when a first line popped into my head. “The smell. He’d never forget the smell.” I had the tone I wanted, and the actual writing came fairly easily. Satisfied that I had followed all loose threads and tied them up, I sent “Potter’s Wife” to my editor. Somewhere along the way it became “The Gilded Cage.” I sent it to a formatter and hired a dear friend to do the jacket design (original art now hangs, framed, in my cottage).

Mid-May last spring, the book went live on Amazon in trade paper and ebook, garnering mostly five-star reviews, sales that for me were good, and flattering comments from those who read it immediately. Then I discovered a whole new research source I had no idea about and now wonder how I missed.

Author Bio
An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of several fictional biographies of women of the American West. In The Gilded Cage she has turned her attention to the late nineteenth century in her home town, Chicago, to tell the story of the lives of Potter and Cissy Palmer, a high society couple with differing views on philanthropy and workers’ right. She is also the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series. With the 2014 publication of The Perfect Coed, she introduced the Oak Grove Mysteries.

Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and the WWA Hall of Fame.

Skype: juju1938

Buy link for The Gilded Cage

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Guest Post: Researching Other Cultures for Historical Fiction by J.J. White

 Imagine a knock on your door in the middle of the day to find military police outside with orders to take you and your family to a concentration camp, immediately. They have arrested your spouse, removed your children from school, and told you the only possessions you can take with you are a suitcase and the clothes on your back. It sounds like Nazi Germany but it isn’t. This story and hundreds of thousands of similar stories are what happened to Japanese-Americans soon after the Pearl Harbor attack when President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, essentially incarcerating Americans of Japanese heritage.
Now also imagine it’s 1944 and you are a Japanese-American soldier in the US Army in WWII France and you are ordered on a suicide mission, along with 3000 other Japanese-American soldiers of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, to attack 10,000 crack German troops to save the lives of 211 white GIs. You would obey the order because you know the newspapers back home will say you’re a traitor for refusing because you are a Japanese-American.
These were stories I found while doing research for my Historical Fiction book, Nisei, and it was during this research that I discovered in order to get the facts and atmosphere correct, I had to learn both a new language and different culture to understand why these Japanese-American Nisei, though citizens of the United States, reacted to these struggles the way they did.
My novel, Nisei, is the story of Hideo Bobby Takahashi, a Hawaiian-born Japanese-American who must overcome prejudice, internment, and the policies of his own government to prove his loyalty to his country. Narrated by Bobby Takahashi and read by his son, Robert, 46 years after Bobby’s death, the story details the young Nisei’s determination to fight honorably for his country and return to the young love he was forced to leave, a girl he cannot have because she is white.
The notebook of research material I gathered to write the book was almost twice as large as the book itself. Had I been writing a book about a white, Irish-American I could have used my own life and experience for material, but when writing about a different culture, it was necessary to research so deeply that I literally became the character with my words and actions. It was very much like method acting, where you get into the head of the protagonist.
In order to write realistic dialogue, I learned to speak Pidgin, a mixture of Japanese, Portuguese, Hawaiian, and English that the Nisei of Hawaii speak. I think I drove my wife crazy as I spent most of my time speaking in the short, choppy Pidgin, mixed with Hawaiian colloquialisms, on a daily basis. I also had to dig deep into Asian culture in order to understand the Japanese-American’s preference for honor and bravery over self-survival.
This may have seemed like a lot to go through to write a book, but readers of Historical Fiction obsessively scrutinize an author’s work more than fans of other genres, and they expect those facts to agree with historical events.
I hope my importance to detail comes out in the book and I also hope the reader will identify and empathize with Bobby Takahshi as he deals with the obstacles and struggles that all Japanese-Americans had to deal with in those volatile times of American history.

Author Bio
J. J. White is an award winning novelist and short story writer who has been published in several anthologies and magazines including, Wordsmith, The Homestead Review, The Seven Hills Review, Bacopa Review, and The Grey Sparrow Journal. His story, The Adventures of the Nine Hole League, was recently published in The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, #13. He has won awards and honors from the Alabama Writers Conclave, Writers-Editors International, Maryland Writers Association, The Royal Palm Literary Awards, Professional Writers of Prescott, and Writer’s Digest.

His crime fiction book, Deviant Acts, was released by Black Opal books in November, and was followed by his Historical Fiction book, Nisei, in 2016. He was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his short piece, Tour Bus. He lives in Merritt Island, Florida with his understanding wife and editor, Pamela.


Nisei on Amazon

Friday, December 4, 2015

Forsaken by Ross Howell, Jr.

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This book was the story of Virginia Christian, the youngest African American female to be executed. Virginia Christian was put on trial and then found guilty of  killing the white woman for whom she did laundry. A white reporter named Charlie Mears covered the story. This story takes place from his perspective.   Virgie was only 17 when she was executed in Virginia’s electric chair. They waited until the day after she turned 17 to perform the execution. The author used actual court documents, actual stories from the newspaper to tell this story.

There was so much tension throughout the book. My initial reaction was shock that they would just decide she deserved to die because she was African American. This is an eye opener whe it comes to showing the lopsided rules and laws when it came to dealing with African Americans

I really enjoyed this book. I enjoy anytime we can take a look back in time and what really happened. I definitely will recommend this book to those I know enjoy reading historical fiction.  You must read the book then truthfully ask yourself has much really changed today?

Monday, September 21, 2015

The One Who Sees Me by Kandi J. Wyatt

Genre: Young Adult, Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review.

Kandi Wyatt has taken historical fiction and elevated it to a higher level. Her world building pulls you in and puts you right in the middle of the adventure.  This is why I love her books.  I immediately recogized the story line in her newest book.  It is the story of Hagar and her son Ishmael.  However, she has taken the information from the Bible and told Hagars story from her perspective. She also removed it from the Biblical time period and set it in medieval times. For me this works so well. We find Faru (Hagar) traded from her mistress to a young Lord. When his wife is finally returned to him, they keep her.  Things go along well for years with Faru attending to Lady Cwen's needs. She even finds herself falling in love with a young man named Cailean. But all of this is to change because The Existing One has told him he will have a son.

I will say nothing further because to do so will spoil such a wonderful story. However, if you are familiar with the story you know what will happen. The story is full of hope, love, betrayal and the hardship of living the life of a servant in medieval times. It is also full of hope and trust in "The Existing One".  As a Christian it is a reminder to all who follow him that we must always place our trust in God and understand that even through hardships he knows what is best for us.  I will definitely recommend this book to others and because it is such a clean read and one that will appeal to teens and adult, will proudly put a copy on my shelves at school.  I can't wait to see what this author comes up with next.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Christmas in July: A Log Cabin Christmas

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Christmas, Inspirational
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This is a collection of nine wonderful short stories by nine wonderful authors. They all take place in log cabins, in different states,  in the 1800s. There are several reasons I loved this book. First it deals with log cabins which I think are some of the most romantic buildings ever. The stories all happen in my favorite time period in history. If I could go back in time that would be the time period I would wish to live in. The final reason I loved this book was because it was written by nine extremely talented writers, a few I was unfamiliar with, which gave me the opportunity to experience their writing. Each short story is about fifty pages long. I’ve had the book for quite some time.  Whenever I wanted to read something but had limited time I would pick the book up.  For me reading a book of Christmas stories is just as special in July as it is in December.  So let’s talk about these nine stories. 
I have to say “Snow Angel” by Margaret Brownley was my favorite.  Miss Parker comes west to teach in this one room school house. A lot of the parents don’t have a lot of faith in her ability to survive there. When she and three children are stuck in the school house due to a blizzard, the sheriff must go out to find them. They all end up stuck there. They all  have personal issues that make this at times a heart-wrenching and at times a hilarious story.
     I’ve read many books by Wanda Brunstetter. In “The Christmas Secret” while preparing the house for a Christmas Eve wedding, bride-to-be Elizabeth finds a journal that holds a secret. The secret is enough to make her run away. Now it is up to the groom-to-be to find her and together work things out.
     “Christmas Traps and Trimmings” by Kelly Hake gives you an idea of what life was like for women in the early 1800s. They had little say over their lives. Mina has been promised to a cousin in marriage. She sets off for American with her nurse in search for Sam her guardian and find themselves in an earthquake.  This story shakes up their lives in more than one way.
     “A Star in the Night” by Liz Johnson is another one I loved.  I am very familiar with Franklin, Tennessee. This is set during the Civil War. A Yankee soldier is found near Cora’s cabin in Confederate territory. Cora is dealing with the horrors she has seen in this war while she and her grandfather nurse this man back to health.  With their hearts entwined can there be a happily ever after for them?
     “The Courting Quilt” by Jane Kirkpatrick shows the lengths unmarried women would go to in finding a husband. Richard is a traveling salesman and partners with Mary to help sell her goods.  One of his tactics has him convincing women he will propose to them if they “meet the test” as a quilter.  From this you know things are going to be hopping.
     “Under His Wings” by Liz Tolsma is the story of two people who find themselves in a unique situation. Adie cooks for the lumber camp and lives in a cottage with her father. This is her protection. Noah is working to save money to go to seminary and become a preacher. Then Adie’s father is killed in an accident.  She is fair game for all of these men as the only female in camp.  Noah is there to protect her if she will only allow him to, even if it is a marriage of convenience.
takes place in the Minnesota North Woods in 1875. Beth Sorenson is convinced that she can only be a minister's wife and Todd Rambek, a mere blacksmith, will never do. After all her family has been ministers and wives of ministers for several generations and as a minister's wife she can be in service. The Christmas program that Beth is putting together can only be done by her, no one else is capable of doing it right. But when the unexpected happens and everything seems ruined can Beth learn a valuable lesson in service and see what is right in front of her? Or will Beth drive away those who care for her with her attitude?
     “The Dogtrot Christmas” by Michelle Ule takes place in Texas. While a man is off to war his land is sold without his permission.  He returns to finds a brother and sister building a dogtrot cabin.  If you don’t know what this is the look it up. It is quite fascinating and resourceful.  Luis must learn to forgive and Molly may just be the one to help him heal.
brother-in-law Manuel or will peace elude him? Can Molly's kindness help a soul damaged by war?
     “A Grand County Christmas” by Debra Ullrick takes place in Colorado. This is a story of loss yet we find God’s goodness through this loss. Widower Amadeus finds Awyna freezing and starving outside his cabin.  She’d been out looking for food and got lost.  She stays with him and his three children and his mother until the weather breaks. She returns home only to find she’s lost everything. But, sometimes the loss of one thing leads us to what great thing God has for us.
     “Christmas Service” by Erica Vetsch is one of those stories that can step on your toes.  I remember telling my parents I felt God calling me to be a missionary.  I was sure I was going to be a missionary like the many I’d grown up learning about. This seems funny because I was such a shy person.  I asked a missionary how I could have been so wrong when I became a teacher.  That missionary told me that missionaries come in all kinds of packages and for me it was the package of a teacher.  So when I read this story about Beth who believes she needs to marry a preacher because that is the only way she can serve God I got tickled. She had a great man, Todd, a blacksmith in front of her that wanted to court her but she couldn’t see it for her own blinders.  Sometimes God has to allow drastic things to happen to open our eyes.

This book is filled with stories that show God’s infinite love for us as we bumble along in life.  It doesn’t matter that these stories took place in the 1800s because they are just as appropriate to today. You know the saying, same situation different setting.  I definitely recommend this book and would not wait until Christmas time to enjoy it. We should celebrate the true meaning of Christmas year round.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Three Different Genre's, Three Great Reads

Since I've been going through physical therapy I find I have plenty of time to read. I read while waiting my turn for the therapist. I read while they are icing my knees down and using a tens unit on me.  When I get home and the effects (pain) from the therapy sets in, and I can't move very well, I read.  If I have early morning therapy, like today, then I get several books read.  I hope you enjoy my eclectic reads for the day.

A Fistful of Collars by Spencer Quinn
Genre:  Adult, Mystery
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This was an interesting story because it is told from Chet the dog’s point of view. Chet is a police dog. Bernie is his handler or should I say side kick. The two are tasked with watching over movie star Thad Perry during filming in their town. Thad  seems to have a not so glamorous reputation. In addition to this Bernie’s son has scored a role in the movie.  Bernie’s ex-wife can see a future in this, something Bernie is not real happy about, especially when he realizes how talented his son is.

When a dead reporter turns up Bernie and Chet are on the case.  They realize that this murder is connected to a murder in the past.  They also realize that someone is willing to go to a lot of trouble to keep anyone from delving into the past. While you have this great mystery going on; you have Chet’s ability or lack of ability to always understand humans.  This in itself adds the humor that makes this book so wonderful to read.  So if you are looking for something kind of on the light side then I recommend this book to you.  It is a stand-alone novel even though it is part of a series.  

Adobe Gold by Robert C. Mowry
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I am one of those people who love historical fiction. Adobe Gold is the first book in the Stone Justice Series. Colonel Tyrone Rafter was sent on an important mission by his friend Abraham Lincoln. While in Mexico looking for an important man. He is captured and imprisoned.  Due to a leg injury and a inept doctor his leg is removed.  He spends seven years in prison until he escapes.  He returns home and learns things have really changed.  He's lost his wife to another man because she believes he is dead. This was enough to change everything. He becomes a very bitter person.  When Lincoln learns he's alive he needs him for another mission.  He is sent back to Mexico to find out if there really is gold in Santa Fe.   I found it ironic that as a professing atheist he is sent back as a minister. While performing the duties of a minister he reads his Bible.  Will this change him from the hardened man he has become?  You really need to read this book to find out.

Chimera by Vaun Murphrey
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
*Parental Warning* There is some sexual content at the beginning of this book.

I have to say right off that I absolutely loved the cover of this book.  It says so much. Once you read the book you will understand what I mean.  At age five Cassandra watched her parents murdered. At age thirteen she is rescued by an uncle she has never known.  While she was held captive she had no one to talk to.  She kept within herself.  That is why I said the cover was so appropriate.  Her uncle takes her to live with them.  The counsel doesn't want her living there because they think she will endanger all of them. She is trained in martial arts and like her family, as a Weaver.  A Weaver is not what you think it is.  Think of a Weaver as someone who is able to use the Internet of the mind. Cassandra has more abilities than the others in the colony.  She also has someone hunting her so she must go into hiding.  This is the first book in the series.  I know there are three others that I've not yet had a chance to read.  Hopefully my schedule will allow it soon.  I believe teens and adults who like science fiction will enjoy this.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Finding My Thunder by Diane Munier

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
The story takes place in the late sixties. Hilly Grunier has been in love with Danny Boyd since she was a kid telling scary stories on summer nights at the fire hydrant while Danny pulled lcose on his bike. But when Danny is thirteen, their friendship ends when he and his brother Sukey have a vicious fight over Hilly. Years pass, and Hilly carries a secret and growing love as she watches Danny rise athletically to the top of their school's food chain. He even dates the prom queen and rumor says they are engaged. Now Danny has graduated and shows up in her dad's shop looking for some temporary employment until the army picks him off for Vietnam. He's thrown aside his college scholarship and the golden girl. He seems to be searching for something new before he leaves town. he seems to be searching for her. Hilly can't let him go overseas without showing him how she feels. But once he's gone, her own battle intensifies. It's a long road to finding her thunder.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book.  Hilly Grunier plods along in life with an alcoholic, abusive father who doesn't really seem to know she exists, and with  a mother who is mentally ill.  She is and has been in love with Danny Boyd for years. Danny is good for Hilly.  With him she learns to be stronger than what she thought she was.  She learns her family's secrets and decides to let them make her into a better person.  The author did a wonderful job of creating the time period and the characters.  You feel the tension of the time with all the racial tension, the Vietnam War, the hippies and free love.  She gives you characters that are so well drawn that you can't help but hate some of them.  Hilly's father was a real piece of work.  I hated him from the beginning.  I understood part of what shaped him, yet I could not forget the way he let his hatred of her mother and Naomi cloud his opinion of Hilly.  I think I realized how strong my feelings were when he tried to get to move out of the house.  This author has a way of weaving the feeling through the writing that makes it almost poetic. I will be reading and reviewing her book Me and Mom Fall For Spencer in a week and now that I've read this one I can't wait to start on it.

About the Author:
Diane Munier was raised as a midwestern urban kid. She spent a lot of time nosing around in the many establishments that filled the neighborhood. Love of story grew as she sat in various places--pews, restaurant chairs, barstools, and listened to the story-tellers, the keepers of the tales that patched us together. Lots of colors in the neighborhood quilt, lots of threads and shapes and patterns. It was all music ad she wondered how to capture what she was feeling; she wondered how to share it. Diane wanted a voice and to take her place in the quilt. She's currently learning to stitch some small part of it together.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Then Like the Blind Man by Freddie Owens

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Warning:  This book contains language that may be objectionable, even if it is historically accurate.

Orbie is a young boy growing up in Detroit.  He is often bullied and he has very prejudiced ideas.
Orbie's father is killed.  A short time later Orbie's mom marries the man who was his father's boss. Orbie doesn't like him.  He has good reason.  Orbie's new stepfather Victor is very abusive.  He is physically abusive and molesting Orbie's sister.  Victor doesn't like Orbie.  He decides they are moving to Florida and he doesn't want to take Orbie with them. They drop him off at his mother's parent's house.  Orbie feels deserted for good reason.  He soon learns how prejudiced he was raised and that his grandparents truly do want the best for him. This is a realistic look at life in the early  1950's. The pacing is great.  You don' t have a problem and then a sudden solution.  It moves gradually so that everything flows smoothly and naturally. I would recommend this to people who love those coming of age stories set in a time period before most of us were born.  I would warn that because of the time period there is the use of the "n" word, as well as other  coarse language. The author did a great job with bringing everything to a VERY satisfying ending.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Last Witness by Jerry Amernic

Genre: Adult, Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
The year is 2039, and Jack Fisher is the last living survivor of the Holocaust. Set in a world that is abysmally complacent about events of the last century, Jack is a 100-year-old man whose worst memories took place before he was 5. His story hearkens back to the Jewish ghetto of his birth and to Auschwitz where, as a little boy, he had to fend for himself to survive after losing his family. Jack becomes the central figure in a missing-person investigation when his granddaughter suddenly disappears. While assisting police, he finds himself in danger and must reach into the darkest corners of his memory to come out alive.

My Thoughts:

Once again we are reminded that if we try to sanitize history, as so many of our school history books do, the we are sure to repeat it.  That is not always a good thing. From the minute I read of the first killing I was hooked.  What is so amazing is that this book is set in the future, not too far from present time, yet we have all heard people say the holocaust didn’t happen.  Are we doomed to repeat history?  Maybe. I hope that if we ever have such an event that I can show as much courage as Jack did as a child and as an adult.  I was able to connect with his granddaughter’s passion for learning about his history not only because I love history, but because I too am a teacher.  I learned a long time ago that almost all teachers strive to continue to learn something new. The fact that someone would kill to keep the truth of the holocaust quiet is so realistic and frightening.  This is a book I will definitely recommend to my friends, especially those who are teachers.  These are lessons that should be taught in schools.  I would definitely read anything else this author wrote as this was an excellent piece of writing.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Hitler Dilemma: A Mormon Boy in the German Army - Carolyn Twede Frank

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction

From Goodreads:
“We’re Nazis, Max. Everybody in Germany is Nazi—if they want to be safe.” Papa pulled up a chair and sat down, crumpling the newspaper in his hand. “We don’t have to think like them, son, but we’ve got to act like them—at least on the outside. Try to remember that. Okay?” Saarbr├╝cken, Germany—1938 Change is in the air in Max Adams’s small village: The censorship of classic literature, the elimination of math and science courses, the addition of extra physical education classes. Along with thousands of other young men, he is forced into the Hitler Youth and is being groomed to become the next generation of Nazi soldiers. But as a faithful Latter-day Saint, how can Max serve the villain who destroyed his younger brother in his effort to create a Master Race—a man who is bent on tearing apart not only a single nation, but also the entire world? From the horrors of battle and the sorrow of separation from family to the privations of a prisoner of war, Carolyn Twede Frank’s groundbreaking novel The Hitler Dilemma is a poignant chronicle of one remarkable young man’s struggle to reconcile his sense of duty with his staunch opposition to the evil tyrant destroying the country he loves.

My Thoughts:
Talk about a gut wrenching read, that is exactly what this book is.  This author definitely knows how to grab your heart-strings and make you feel empathy for the Nazis.  I am not uninformed about similar situations.  I have read and reviewed enough books from this time period to know that many people were put into a position to fight for Hitler whether they believed in the cause, or wanted to fight for him.  To refuse a command like that had dire consequences for them.  When Max’s handicapped brother is taken to a “hospital” where he will get the help he needs, I could figure out what was going to happen.  However, when Max finds out what probably happened to his brother it was like I was learning it for the first time along with him.  My heart ached for him.  I also felt sorry for Max because fighting in the war went completely against his religious beliefs.  The internal conflict would be so terrible.  The author is actually working on a second book along this same topic.  I will definitely read it.  I love historical books.  This was one that will stick with me for a long time. 

The Hitler Dilemma Book Blog Tour Stops
May 24th:  Frankly Creative
May 25th:  Anna del C. Dye
May 26th:  Fay A. Klingler
May 27th:  Lindzee Armstrong/Lydia Winters
May 28th:  It's All About Books
May 29th:  The Musings of a Book Addict
May 30th:  LDS and Lovin' It
May 31st:  Taryn A. Taylor
June 1st:    Julie L. Casey
June 2nd:   Renae's Writespot
June 3rd:   The Write Blocks
June 4th:    The Stubby Pencil
June 5th:    Why Not? Because I Said So!
June 6th:    Donna K.Weaver
June 7th:    Lisa Winton - Queen of Random

Monday, June 17, 2013

At Drake’s Command – David Wesley Hill

Publisher: Temurlone Presss
Pages:  424
Source:  I received a review copy in exchange for my honest review
Genre:  Adult, Historical Fiction

My Thoughts:
For those of you who love historical fiction this just might be the book for you.  David Wesley Hill has created a character that is very believable.  Young Perry James is found at the beginning of the book tied to a whipping post, preparing to be whipped for a crime of which he was innocent.  He convinces Sir Francis Drake to take him onboard as a cooks helper.  From this point on the adventures for young Perry grow.  As the adventures grow we see him mature and grow.  The use of metaphors helps paint a picture that uses all of the senses to bring the reader along for the ride.  I believe this was most important as the book would be difficult to understand if you did not have a vast nautical vocabulary.  The writing was so artfully done that I, a landlubber, was able to picture this vast ship.  I could feel the breezes blowing through my hair and feel myself being tossed as the ship’s sails billowed pulling the ship forward.  The adventure of the travel keeps you on the edge of the seat waiting to see what would happen next.  For this reason I was please to realize there is a second book coming.  All I can say at this point is let the adventure continue.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hearts Restored – Prue Phillipson

Publisher:  Knox Publishing
Pages: 428 pages
Source:  Review copy from publisher
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

From Goodreads:
What can a young man of fifteen do when he is told by his mother that the three cousins he is about to meet all want to marry him?

Daniel Wilson Horden has arrived in London with his parents from their home in Northumberland on the very day of King Charles II’s triumphant return to his capital. Receiving his own personal wave from the king, Daniel longs only to serve him, but first he must keep at bay the threat of marriage.

His two French cousins are adamant in their pursuit of him, but Daniel is intrigued by his English cousin, Eunice, whose Puritan father snatches her away from the reunion celebrations. Unaware that his gallant attempt to save her has endeared him to her, Daniel only just escapes the marriage trap which his younger French cousin lays for him and is sent off to study at Cambridge University.

Once she returns to her father’s home, Eunice is condemned to a life of austerity. Heart-sick, she is assured by her grandmother that Daniel will come for her when he graduates from university.

But, unaware of his cousin’s feelings for him, Daniel goes off to join the navy only to find that fighting in the king’s service is not as glorious as he had imagined.

While the navy suffers at sea, London passes through plague and fire.

Will Eunice survive the hardship? And will Daniel return to fulfil the promise in his eyes on that fateful day in London?

My Thoughts:
Every so often a book comes along that just stays with you.  This was one of those books.  I was up and down all through this book.  I felt for both Daniel and Eunice.  I detested the French sisters.  They wanted Daniel for his title.  They thought that they would be able to change him.  He hated everything they stood for.    I found it funny that he seemed to take great pleasure in letting them know he had a title but no money to go with it.  His family was not all about the money like the aunt and grandmother were.  I did enjoy seeing the transformation, however small, of the grandmother near the end of the book.  I understood Eunice’s father to a certain extent.  I think he was too harsh on Eunice when it came to men.  He wanted to protect her from heartache. However, all of the moral values he taught her prepared her for later on.  It made her stronger. All of Daniel’s relatives that kept trying to arrange a marriage for him irritated me to no end.  I wanted to slap them all.  I loved Daniel’s parents.  It was obvious that their love was genuine.  They wanted what was best for their son and they didn’t feel an arranged marriage was best for him.  I could identify with Daniel’s mother as he joined the Navy.  I read this book knowing that in just a few days my son will be deployed. The fear and heartache stay with you. There were so many obstacles thrown in Daniel and Eunice’s way.  I loved Eunice’s integrity.  I dare say if she had not had the upbringing her father gave her then she would not have been able to endure the hardships she had to go through.  The thread of faith that flowed through the story was refreshing.  I didn’t feel like I was being preached at.  This has been a wonderful book to read and review and will make a great gift for several of my friends.  I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Child of the Mist - Kathleen Morgan

Publisher:  Revell
Pages: - 336
Source:  Free download from
Genre:  Adult, Historical Romance

From Goodreads:
In the harsh Scottish highlands of 1565, superstition and treachery threaten a truce between rival clans. It's a weak truce at first, bound only by an arranged engagement between Anne MacGregor and Niall Campbell-the heirs of the feuding families.
While Niall wrestles with his suspicions about a traitor in his clan, Anne's actions do not go unnoticed. And as accusations of witchcraft abound, the strong and sometimes callous Campbell heir must fight for Anne's safety among disconcerted clan members. Meanwhile his own safety in threatened with the ever-present threat of someone who wants him dead.
Will Niall discover the traitor's identity in time? Can Anne find a way to fit into her new surroundings? Will the two learn to love each other despite the conflict? With a perfect mix of a burgeoning romance and thrilling suspense, this book is historical fiction at its best.

My Thoughts:
It was really interesting to see how something as simple as performing what we know today as CPR could have you branded as a witch in the 1500’s.  In this wonderful historical fiction book we get a look at the past and how far we’ve come.
If you are into Scottish history or you just love reading about feuding clans then this is the book for you.  To create a truce Anne is pledged in marriage to Niall.  It is not what she desires.  The one thing that neither of them counted on was falling in love.  But that is just a portion of the story.  Read to find out what trials they both must go through and how they handle it.