Posted in fiction, Historical Fiction Book Reviews, Romance

Start of a Series Book Review: Into the Wilderness

Book One

Into the Wilderness by Sara Donatti. This is described as a ambitious sequel to one of my favorite classics The Last of the Mohiacns, though you don’t need to read that to read this. Written back in 1998, after Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, this is one of my top five historical fiction romance books. Unlike Outlander, this doesn’t feature a time travel element, however it is directly linked to the series, as within the halfway point of book one, Clair Fraiser is outright mentioned for at least six pages as ‘the White Witch’. Its a nod to one of the biggest romance series of all time, that’s so well known it became a hit series on Hulu a few years back.

The story begins with Elizabeth, a spinster wishing to teach school in Paradise. But there’s problems. For one thing, her family is cash poor thanks to her brother’s gambling debts. For another, her father-the Judge-wishes her to marry Dr. Richard Todd. But she’s firm in remaining a spinster…until she meets Nathanial Bonner, direct descendant of Daniel (Dan’l) Boone. She is wary around him, unsure of what to expect of him-or this new land so rife with both bounty and troubles. Slavery is still legal. No one’s at first eager for a schoolmarm, worried more about cost and that what she teaches will not be useful to the students, apart from math or geography, reading or writing. She fights for her school, as well as her freedom in not to marry.

There’s lots of other problems scattered throughout the book. Someone attempting to run Nathanial and his people off of Lake in the Clouds, as they don’t want Indians on their territory. Rougher weather than usual settling in. A dangerous threat looming. And the potential for marriage in Elizabeth’s future, despite her wishes being made clear to her father. She struggles to grow used to her new home in Paradise, while the people struggle with the fact she’s not the spoiled princess they thought she’d be.

The story spans eight hundred plus pages, and evolves for at least six more books. I’d read book one at least ten times throughout the last fifteen years, and I’m still drawn in to the whole of it. Its one of my most favorite historical romances that I’d read in my life, and I am sincerely hoping it gets its own television series being linked with Outlander so. I cannot rate this highly enough, if you want fiction with depth, history, and romance as well as adventure, then I recommend picking up this book. You won’t regret doing so.

Final Rating: 6/5 stars

Posted in Historical Fiction Book Reviews, Romance

Netgalley Review: The Trouble We Keep

The Trouble We Keep

Hello friends,

The Trouble We Keep by Cara Devlin is a historical second chance romance. It has a strong start, and keeps up the pace throughout the entire book. I liked the main character, Emma, as she strives to survive pregnant, alone and searching for her wayward brother. While this was christian fiction, it didn’t have hardly any of the religious praying going on that I’m used to in christian fiction, and read more like a romantic western than anything else, a fact that surprised and delighted me. The little bit of christianity I did see wasn’t overpowering in regards to the story, and tied in neatly with the era that the characters were in.

I loved the author’s writing style of this; how it flowed, and made the characters have real depth to them. Jo, Ms. Lewis, and Dean all felt lifelike. I loved the survival elements, how realistic everything read. I sat and read this in two hours, and am now definitely adding this author to my favorites list, and searching out for more of her books.

If you’re looking for a good survival story about strong female characters determined to survive no matter what even while pregnant, then I suggest reading this. Emma doesn’t back down from a challenge, and she definitely gives as good as she gets. My hat goes off to the author-if I had a hat like the fine ladies in this book that is. Five stars, and my thanks to the publisher for granting me an arc of this delightful novel.

Until next time,
Pass Me That Book

Posted in Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews, Romance

Book Review: The Haunting of Hillwood Farm

The Haunting of Hillwood Farm

Hello friends,

The Haunting of Hillwood Farm by Kathryn Knight starts off with a strong opening, and is essentially  a ghost story set on a haunted farm, complete with horses and dark, edgy vibes throughout the story.  The story itself began with an opening chapter of a woman named Alice with a haunted kitchen, where a sugar jar moves by itself-and then explodes, causing her to call up a psychic that can hear ghosts speak-a gift that Callie never wanted. Arriving at the farm, more accidents and dangerous events unfold throughout both the farm, and her own place later on through the story. Ghosts, apparently, want her gone.

It’s thought that Alice’s husband, Henry, is the spirit causing the distress as he unexpectedly passed away. There was a lot of suspects throughout the story of who the ghost might be, some nice scenes with the horses, and a few clips of adventure where there’s a fire, a scattering of dangerous accidents, and even a romantic element thrown in with Alice’s grandson, Luke Turner. The three get together to buckle down, and solve the mystery…before someone else gets killed or hurt.

Overall, the writing was strong, and I quite liked all the characters. Everyone felt fully fleshed out and real, and I spent a solid three hours breezing through this story, as once you start, you don’t want to quit. I devoured the book in one sitting, and gave it 4.5 stars. I recommend it for those who enjoy a good ghost story during the summer, or even for Halloween, it would be a perfect read for that spooky atmosphere. The romance was also well handled, and I definitely find myself intrigued in checking out the author’s other works. This book was available through Kindle Unlimited, for those that wish to grab it for themselves, and I highly recommend it.

Until next time,

Pass Me That Book.

Posted in LGBT Book Reviews, Romance

Book Review (sort of): My Brother’s Husband

MyBrother'sHusband

Hello friends,

My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame is wholesome, diverse, adorable. Despite the slow pace at the start, it built up into a well written plot, that I spent most of two hours devouring. The art was cute, and I liked the real life implications within the story. Canada + Japan culture were both intriguing, and the family within the book were fun as well as amusing at times to read.

Reviewing manga is hard. This is my first official manga that I’ve read, and I’m not even sure how to pronounce it correctly. It took a while to get the hang of reading a book backwards (which is just wrong, in my opinion) and while I enjoyed the art, I felt frustrated and stifled at not having a real book. Perhaps I’m just used to real books, as opposed to manga/graphic novels/comics. I rarely read those, and only when trusted friends (beg) ask me too.

I’m definitely intrigued by this story, and liked the slow relationship build up, however, I will say that the main character is a bit off putting within the first segment. It took a bit to grow to liking him, but now he’s my favorite out of the three in the family, but all of them are equally likeable.

I shall add volume two to my tbr pile, because I’d like to see how the rest of this plays out. A slow building plot, but still fun to read, I’m giving this a 3.5 out of 5 stars, rounded up to 4.

Until next time,

Pass Me That Book.

Posted in Romance, Science Fiction Book Reviews

Book Review: The Colonists Wife

Colonists Wife

Hello friends,

The Colonist’s Wife by Kylie Scott is a science fiction romance. There’s miners, danger, explosions, and even horticulture within this book. There’s plenty of things to go around, in terms of enjoying a good science fiction romp towards an alien planet named Esther (I believe), and in colonization. Mail order brides set in space is always an interesting trope that I like reading, and I found Adam and Louise both likable characters, despite each of them having their own flaws.

The romance was easily one of my favorites as well, and this scifi romance novel soared to the top of my favorites list. I’ve barely read anything by Kylie Scott, but this author has made me sit up and take notice. Sadly, the author doesn’t appear to have a lot in terms of scifi romance just yet, but I hope that will soon change.

This story was well written, fast paced, and with plenty of romance. The setting was intriguing, and I found the characters flaws to be realistic as well as carefully handled. I liked how each character was fleshed out in the story. Louise’s tragic backstory was one I’d read, but in a different set up than what I was familiar with. I liked the side characters, as well as the overall plot. And the flow of the story was smooth, causing me to finish the book in one sitting.

4/5 stars for a new to me author, one that I’m sure that I’ll be enjoying a lot more in the future. I’ll keep a look out for this author, and their other works, as well as recommend them to those on my friends list who adores scifi romance as much as I do. This is a good, standalone scifi romance that I’m sure all of you will thoroughly enjoy.

Until next time,
Pass Me That Book

Posted in Historical Fiction Book Reviews, Romance

Book Review: The Winter Witch

 

The Winter Witch

Title: The Winter Witch
Author: Paula Brackston
Series: Book 1
Genre: Adult Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
Page Count: 400
Received: Library
Type of Book: Paperback, Physical Copy, Library Loan
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 3.5/5 stars
Notes: I loved the writing style, but the depressing mood the story set was not what I was after at all.

The Winter Witch is a book that’s been on my radar to read for a couple years now, and I’m pleased I finally got it done. The cover is one of my favorites, it’s a perfect holiday read, and the atmospheric writing and characters are beautiful and well wrought. With an air of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, I was certain that this would be a new favorite.

Fledgling witch Morgana must defend her love, her home, and her life in this enthralling tale perfect for fans of Discovery of Witches

In her small early nineteenth century Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana, who has not spoken since she was a young girl. Her silence is a mystery, as well as her magic. Concerned for her safety, her mother is anxious to see her married, and Cai Jenkins, a widower from the far hills, seems the best choice.

After her wedding, Morgana is heartbroken at leaving her mother, and wary of this man, whom she does not know, and who will take her away to begin a new life. But she soon falls in love with Cai’s farm and the wild mountains that surround it. Cai works to understand the beautiful, half-tamed creature he has chosen for a bride, and slowly, he begins to win Morgana’s affections. It’s not long, however, before her strangeness begins to be remarked upon in her new village. A dark force is at work there—a person who will stop at nothing to turn the townspeople against Morgana. Forced to defend her home, her man, and herself, Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything.

-Summary as seen on Goodreads

This, however, was rather depressing, and almost lax in that there wasn’t hardly anything going on. I liked Morgana a lot, and I liked that the character had chosen to be mute. I rarely find that in adult fiction, and I feel as though it were well handled. But the sheer amount of bullying, hateful and cruel comments, and general disregard for her intelligent simply because she chose not to speak was a serious mood killer at times. I appreciate the author attempting to be historically accurate with this, and I rather enjoyed the descriptive scenes of passages throughout the book. It alternated between character povs as well, but I didn’t mind overmuch, as it neatly flowed throughout the story.

Overall, I’m giving this a 3.5 raising it to 4 stars out of 5. Strong writing, great main characters…if it wasn’t just so depressing and moody for Morgana, I might have enjoyed it more. I might try the author again in the future. Strongly recommend that the reader keeps a box of tissues on hand for possible triggers in regards to abuse.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Posted in Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews, Romance

Book Review: Mistress of Mellyn

Mistress of Mellyn

Title: Mistress of Mellyn
Author: Victoria Holt
Genre: Adult Romance/Suspense
Series: No
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Page Count: 400
Received: Yard Sale
Format: Physical
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 4/5 stars
Notes: A rather nice, slightly spooky historical romance intrigue novel for Halloween.

==

Mistress of Mellyn is not my first Victoria Holt that I’ve read, though it has been a while since I’ve picked one of her books up. I’ve forgotten how much I enjoy her writing; the spooky atmosphere, the details, the characters-all of it is rather really well done. This one was just not quite spooky enough, but it definitely had a dark mysterious vibe to it that was ripe for Halloween, and made me glad that I selected this one for one of the last books of the month to read. I found myself reading this over the course of four days, letting the rich atmosphere build, until it reached a satisfying conclusion.

Goodreads Summary:

Mount Mellyn stood as proud and magnificent as she had envisioned… But what about its master–Connan TreMellyn? Was Martha Leigh’s new employer as romantic as his name sounded? As she approached the sprawling mansion towering above the cliffs of Cornwall, an odd chill of apprehension overcame her.

TreMellyn’s young daugher, Alvean, proved as spoiled and difficult as the three governesses before Martha had discovered. But it was the girl’s father whose cool, arrogant demeanor unleashed unfamiliar sensations and turmoil–even as whispers of past tragedy and present danger begin to insinuate themselves into Martha’s life.

Powerless against her growing desire for the enigmatic Connan, she is drawn deeper into family secrets–as passion overpowers reason, sending her head and heart spinning. But though evil lurks in the shadows, so does love–and the freedom to find a golden promise forever…

I liked the main character. She was gutsy, strong and had a no-nonsense manner about her that wasn’t off putting though sometimes seemed unreasonable in certain situations. I felt she could have handled the children better in some parts, but otherwise, she was not abusive or cruel towards them at all. There were some questionable teaching methods involved, but as this is an old book, I let that slide. Otherwise, I thought she handled everything nicely.

The mystery element was one of a ghostly nature. She’s apparently a dead ringer for the children’s mother, who passed away several years ago, or so people have claimed, but the stories don’t match up. The mystery is well woven, and kept me guessing until the end, though I suspected I knew where it was heading, I was surprised when I realized that I’d guessed wrong which is always nice in reading.

Overall, I really liked this. Strong writing, great characters, and a good read for Halloween. I gave it four out of five stars, and will continue on with reading more of Victoria Holt’s books.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Posted in Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews, Romance

Book Review: Foul Play

Foul Play

Title: Foul Play
Author: Janet Evanovich
Genre: Adult Romance
Page Count: 250
Publisher: Harper Fiction
Type of Book: Paperback, Owned
Received: Thrift Store
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 3.5 stars rounded up to 4/5 stars
Notes: A silly yet pleasant, a great read for fall

I randomly picked up one of my many, many Janet Evanovich books that I hadn’t read (I think I’ve about thirty of them I’ve not gotten my way through yet, I really need to re-read the series at the start too of Stephanie Plum) and finished this in one sitting, admittedly skimming through a large portion in the middle.

The book was silly, but not bad. I liked Amy and Elliot. I liked the animals. I liked the ridiculous situations that the characters got in. It didn’t wow the pants off of me as a story, but I still was entertained regardless. Amy reminded me similarly to Stephanie, in a weird kind of way. A subtle similarity that barely surfaced. I believe these books were pre-Stephanie Plum, though I could be wrong. I’d have to check on Goodreads to be sure.

The plot is as follows from Goodreads

When Amy Klasse loses her TV job to a dancing chicken, handsome veterinarian Jake Elliott rescues her with an offer to be his receptionist. Jake just can’t resist a damsel in distress, and Amy certainly doesn’t mind Jake’s charming sincerity.
Then suddenly the job-stealing chicken disappears and Amy is suspected of foul play. Amy and Jake search for clues to prove her innocence. But will Jake be able to prove to Amy that love, too, is a mystery worth solving?

Overall, I liked it. I’m glad I read it, because it was fun. I’m getting repetitive, so I’ll just end things here. If you’re a fan of Janet Evanovich? I’d recommend trying this when you don’t feel like reading anything serious during the holidays. It’s a good fall read, and with lots of funny moments, I found myself grinning quite a bit through this one.

3.5 rounded up to 4/5 stars.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Posted in Historical Fiction Book Reviews, LGBT Book Reviews, Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews, Romance, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Woman in the Veil

The Woman in the Veil

Title: The Woman in the Veil
Author: Laura Joh Rowland
Series: Book 4
Genre: Adult Fiction, Mystery, Historical
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Page Count: 400
Type of Book: Arc, Kindle Ebook
Received: Publisher, Netgalley
Review Word Count:
Rated: 4/5 stars
Notes:

I haven’t read any of the first three books, but will likely rectify that when I can because I very much enjoyed book four. While the mystery of Sleeping Beauty, as she’s called by the papers in this book, was interesting, I wasn’t fully invested in this book. I feel as though I missed out a lot on the characters, and their stories from previous novels. While the author does a great job of letting you know what’s happened, I feel it’s best to read this series in order.

There was a surprising gay couple in the book of which I very much enjoyed seeing, especially with one of the characters being a former priest. That was very surprising and nice to see in historical fiction for a change. I liked the main character, and I liked the mystery overall. But as I said, I think I’ll read the other three books and then re-read this one to see how I feel about it.

Overall I liked it, but I think I’ll enjoy it more when I read the rest of the series. 4/5 stars.

Until next time,
Pass Me That Book

Posted in LGBT Book Reviews, Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews, Romance

Book Review: Hitting Black Ice

Hitting Black Ice

Title: Hitting Black Ice
Author: Heloise West
Series: Book 1
Genre: Adult Fiction, Romance, LGBT
Page Count: 200
Publisher: NineStar Press
Type of Book: Arc, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley, Publisher
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 4/5 stars
Notes: High action, lots of romance, and plenty of thrills.

This is one of those rare Netgalley arcs that I requested because it sounded like exactly what I wanted to read, got it within two hours, and then finished it three hours later. It left the book hanging wide open for a sequel, but I fell hard for Shawn and Hunter. Both young men were involved in a high stakes hostage situation, an mysterious FBI guy chasing after Shawn, guns, shootings, and more dangerous scenarios taking place in the snowy mountains during blizzard like conditions. Exactly what I wanted to read.

The only reason it’s four stars was because it left it hanging on a cliffhanger. Sigh. I very much need book two, and I am now invested in this series. The author immediately soared to my top ten favorite LGBT authors.

This made me think very strongly of the survival stories of Stargate Atlantis fanfiction that I used to read in a way, with lots of plot, romance, and characters. I very much enjoyed this and eagerly look forward to book two. Overall, I’m giving this 4/5 stars, and I’m hopeful book two will be out as quickly as possible. I especially liked the dogs that were thrown into the plot for good measure and the heroic rescue at the end. Highly recommended for those who enjoy fast paced action with lots of twists and turns!

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book