Posted in Historical Fiction Book Reviews

Netgalley Review: On Wilder Seas

On Wilder Seas

On Wilder Seas by Nikki Marmery is a strange yet intriguing retelling of the Golden Hind. I don’t know anything about the original story, and the book itself was strongly written, with realistic characters, and a fascinating history of the ship and the people on it.

In truth, I’m unsure of how to write this review. The story, while well written, didn’t keep my interest after about half way through the book. It felt bogged down by a lot of details that I just wasn’t interested in. The women were strong, but the slavery aspects, as well as the rest of it, did not appeal to me in the slightest. I managed a solid sixty percent of the book before giving up. I wanted to like it more than I did. It had a strong start. It had strong characters, a plot, and plenty of high sea adventure. But there’s a fair bit of thievery, rape, and slavery within the book, and it just wasn’t right for my mood. That’s a ‘me’ problem. Not a story problem.

A lone woman on the high seas, Maria was a strong character one could easily identify with in her determination in terms of surviving the harsh environments with almost nothing to her name. With only a boy for friendship, and a man that employed her, the story was captivating…

I just lost interest in it.

My apologies to the author, and I’m giving this a solid three stars.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Posted in Historical Fiction Book Reviews, Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews

Netgalley Review: Murder at Morrington Hall (Book 1 of a delightful new series!)

Murder at Morrington Hall

Title: Murder at Morrington Hall
Author: Clara McKenna
Series: Book 1
Genre: Mystery, Historical
Publisher: Kensington Books
Page Count: 300
Type of Book: Arc, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Rated: 5/5 stars
Review Word Count: 1,000
Notes: My, that was a lovely read!

This was utterly delightful, and exactly the kind of book I’d been hoping for here as of late. A cozy mystery but with plenty of drama, a tiny spark of rebellious romance, and a good old fashioned ‘who-dun-it’ air!

Stella is an excellent female detective, and I loved her personality. While I hated most of the others around her, who are overbearing and downright hateful towards her at times, I did enjoy her steadfastness and intelligence, her wit and her daring throughout the book. She drove the old American cars without caring who saw. She wore trousers beneath skirts, rode horses and cared for them, baked in a kitchen despite the fact it was far beneath her station, was kind to servants and remembered their names and helped them whenever she could…just a basic, all american good lady.

Yet she’s taken aback and furious when she learns that the reason she and her family are visiting in England at a prestigious families house isn’t for the upcoming Derby and her horses, but because of an arranged marriage her father had created between her and Lyndy. She hates to be thought of as nothing more but a prized stallion to be bartered with and traded about. Even worse the implication once she’s done her duty and produced an heir and a spare, then he could just push her aside and find plenty of mistresses to fill his time with, never giving her any time of day unless it was important enough for him to do so.

There’s a fair bit of ‘women aren’t meant to do that’ in this book, which was infuriating to say the least, but Stella remains stubborn and prideful, though the others call her head strong and dangerous. I mean really, just because she bucks tradition, she’s considered to be ‘full of herself’? That’s ridiculous! I understand it was the times back then, but many women and men I very much wish to strangle. Grr…

Stella and Lyndy both talk, and get to know one another as they are now for all intents and purposes, engaged to be married. Stella wishes to speak with the vicar, and so while giving her a tour of the house, the two of them wind up to the library where they find the vicar…quite obviously dead, and in no mood to talk.

There’s an eventual missing horse, missing jewels, a meeting with the King while at the Derby, and more exciting adventures throughout this wonderful first novel. Stella is a true inquisitive lady, determined to figure out who killed the priest that was supposed to be the one to marry her, while Lyndy attempts to figure out who stole the jewels and their families latest and newest horse that was part of the wedding deal from Stella’s father.

(No harm comes to the horse at the end of the book, for those that are worried. It’s returned safe and sound, with not even a scratch on him-bonus points to the author for making sure the animal remains unharmed!)

I really enjoyed this book, and am now adding this author to my favorites list. This was clearly well written and researched, and there was a large cast protrayed so that one could continue to guess and still be surprised by the end of the book. I was half-right in who committed a certain crime, but the author surprised me completely with who was actually the killer, so more bonus points towards her as well. Though I’d paid attention, there were a couple of things I hadn’t considered towards the end of the book, and that was how she’d managed to surprise me, the sly writer.

5/5 stars for a splendid read, and I definitely aim to read more of this series as time goes on. For those that like Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series, you might give this a try. Same kind of style, though not in journal format, it’s still got the adventurous feel and strong female character to enjoy reading throughout.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Posted in Historical Fiction Book Reviews

Netgalley Review: The Lieutenant’s Nurse

The Lieutenant's Nurse

Title: The Lieutenant’s Nurse
Author: Sara Ackerman
Series: ? Works as a Standalone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Page Count: 300
Type of Book: Arc, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 2.5 rounded up to 3/5 stars
Notes: Pretty cover, meh story.

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Sadly, there was a lot of discrimination against women in this book. Doctor’s acted like all-knowing assholes towards women, and the women barely stood up for themselves, afraid if they did they’d be fired and/or worse. It infuriated me how a lot of the nurses in this book were treated, as if they were to be tolerated for their unusual ways and not meant to be taken seriously in a ‘man’s world’. Ugh!

The historical aspects of the book were fascinating to read, set before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Normally the historical books that I read are focused ON the event, not the months leading up to the attack. It was an interesting read, and I give it slight bonus points for taking a different approach than what most authors generally use.

I know very little about Pearl Harbor. My grandfather’s time, and I didn’t have much interest in American History. I was more interested in Ancient History like with the Mayans and the Greeks and the Romans. Pearl Harbor was only of vague interest because I knew my grandfather knew people who were a part of that history, so that was part of why I selected this book for review. Another reason was because I wanted to read more ‘recent’ history, and because the story itself sounded interesting.

And it was, though not as good as I hoped it would be. It seemed to be strongly geared towards Eva finding a man to help her be more ‘controlled’ and less independent. It was very frustrating to read her falling for such an egotistical ass, and while eventually the guy lead character grew on me, it was a very long eventually to get there and he still wasn’t my favorite book boyfriend ever. It seemed to me like Eva was trying to hard to be the well-liked and normal nurse, as opposed to getting shit done and taking no prisoners approach.

Overall, I’m giving this 3/5 stars. Originally, it’s 2.5 rounded up to a solid 3 because of how interesting the historical bits were, and I *did* like Eva’s character, I just didn’t much like the story.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

Posted in LGBT Book Reviews, Romance, Science Fiction Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Netgalley Review: Contact by M.D. Neu

contact

Title: Contact
Author: M.D. Neu
Series: Book 1
Genre: Science Fiction
Page Count: 300
Publisher: Ninestar Press
Type of Book: Arc, Kindle Ebook
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 4/5 stars
Received: Netgalley
Notes: Death of an lgbt character, but makes sense for the plot. Harsh swearing from two different characters, and a bomb attack about halfway through the book in a populated city.

This is a hard book to review. While I flew through the pages, there’s several things that I didn’t much like about the book-the harsh language, and the death of an lgbt character made it a bit darker for me to read. The harsh language was almost off-putting for me, though I skimmed through a lot of that.

There wasn’t much in the romance department, though the obvious love between the main gay couple was evident and real, and I liked it. There were some issues that I had Jerry and his attitude towards Todd, but it made the character seem more realistic as well.

There’s small handfuls throughout this book of characters bashing LGBT characters, but it improves over time. Todd’s brother started out as hateful and mean, but eventually grew out of that, into something that was a bit more bearable.

The science, aliens, and first contact approach with this book was great. I really liked the detail that the author put into the storyline; it was almost as if I was living it, though unfortunately that’s not the case. I think the coolest thing was Faa and the purple mountains comment.

I definitely look forward to reading book two. The ending was a little bit of a cliff-hanger, though without a lot of ‘must have book two now’ it was more of a, what will happen next kind of thing.

4/5 well deserved stars.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

Posted in Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews, Romance, Uncategorized

Netgalley Arc: Lying Beneath the Oaks

lying beneath the oaks

Title: Lying Beneath the Oaks
Author: Kristin Wright
Series: Standalone/Debut
Genre: Mystery/Romance
Publisher: Bella Rosa Books
Page Count: 300
Review Word Count: 600
Type of Book: Arc, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Rated: 4.5/5 stars
Notes: Read for the Buzz-Word-a-Thon! Really liked this one!

This book was beautifully crafted, well written, with strong characters, and definitely well researched material. Molly’s character was fascinating, and I loved her story though it definitely had some trigger warnings for child abuse. So, here are the warnings first before I dive into the full review:

Warnings: child abuse, suggested child sexual abuse, suggested child trafficking, attempted murder of both child and adults, suggested rape of adults and child, some swearing, steamy romance bedroom scenes, sexism, light racism (only one character), talks about fires, talks about hurricanes, a few chapters regarding religion/going to church, other

This book, though certainly dark and twisted at times, made me almost long for a trip back to Louisiana or any of the places down south for its rich atmosphere. Of course, having been to the south, those emotions were few and far between. There were also plenty of triggers in the book that made me want to flinch away and hide, but the book tells such a good story that I was mostly able to ignore it.

Molly is a complex, blunt, and strong female character. She’s served time for possibly accidentally killing her mother, and has paid for it for years. There’s lots of interesting (and depressing) history there, but the focus of the story is her waking up married to a complete (handsome) stranger named Cooper, who happens to belong to a wealthy southern family.

It’s a fascinating story, completely with twisted plots that I didn’t see coming, though a lot of it I did notice right off. I loved Aurelia, the town eccentric, who is one of my favorite characters. I loved Mia and the golden retriever and just all of this book shown with creative clever schemes and strong characters so that I couldn’t turn away from it. I read through it in most of a day, and wish that there was more available, and that I could have seen the bad guy getting his due, aside from the tiny snippet of it at the end of the book-that’s my only real complaint, really, is that we didn’t see him getting published enough.

I really liked reading this book, and highly recommend it-especially if you love gothic, southern crime/romance fiction. It’s rich in detail, and you won’t regret reading it, unless you absolutely loathe reading about the south. 4.5/5 stars!
Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Posted in Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews, Romance

Netgalley Review: Conspiracy of Lies

conspiracy of lies

Title: Conspiracy of Lies
Author: Kathryn Gauci
Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical/Mystery
Publisher: ?
Page Count: 300
Type of Book: Arc, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Rated: 3 stars
Review Word Count: 300
Notes: Not what I was expecting. Heavy sigh.

I gave up at 40% in reading this book. With so many five star reviews, I thought this would be a great read. It was an okay read, but I didn’t connect with the characters, or the plot, hardly at all. While the mystery was interesting enough to keep on reading-just what did happen to Marcel?-I couldn’t force myself to continue as the characters kept giving Sarah grief over her divorce with Alastair and basically treating her as if she was mentally incompetent, and that her mother’s heart attack was her fault. At least, that’s the way it read to me.

The historical bits were fascinating. I liked reading about the first attacks, the newscasters, and the stories the family told about experiencing the war in France. It was interesting, and well researched. My main problem with the story was just the characters. I didn’t connect with them, and found Peter and Alastair and others to be quite annoying.

Others may enjoy this story more than I, but I still appreciate being given the chance to read it. My thanks to the publishers for approving my request, and apologies that I can’t leave a more glowing review.

3/5 stars, and my second book for Buzz-Word-a-Thon.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

Posted in Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Netgalley Review: Families and Other Enemies

famiilies and other enemies

Title: Families and Other Enemies
Author: Christiana Dodd
Series: Short Story
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Harlequin
Page Count:
Type of Book: Arc, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Rated: 3 stars
Review Word Count: 300
Notes: It’s got the word ‘lies’ in ‘Families’ so that counts for Buzz-Word-a-Thon, right?

Well, this was a bit different from my usual read, though it was short so I could easily knock it off the list. This has a potential minefield of triggers, though, so let’s just get into that before doing the review!:

Warnings: child abuse, homelessness, attempted murder, murder, spousal abuse, one scene bashing lesbians (old aunt stuck in her times), hospital scenes, church scenes, veterans, homeless veterans, homeless teenagers, drugs, addicts, abuse, amnesia, dementia, other

I don’t remember an entire year of my life.…
I still don’t remember, but I know what happened now.
I had a baby, and that changes everything.

Kellen Adams has fought battles, saved lives, earned the respect of her colleagues and the love of her friends. But now, can she triumph against the greatest challenge of her life — her family?

-Description from Goodreads

This was a fast short story to read, but also a hard hitting one. It touched on a lot of issues, and some of it made me angry and uncomfortable (such as the old aunt), so it’s not going to be one of my favorite short stories, I don’t think, but it was still a good important read.

There was a bit of mystery, life and death situations, people doing good, people doing bad. I can’t give away too much without revealing the entire plot, but the main point of the story was a woman survived her husband’s attempt to murder her only to get amnesia in the process and switch identities with her cousin who looks almost exactly like her. It was an interesting take, and I liked the main character, though I questioned her intelligent at times.

Overall, I liked it. It’s definitely worth a re-read in the future, if I feel up for it, and I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars!

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

Posted in Historical Fiction Book Reviews, Romance

Netgalley Review: Realm

A Realm

Title: Realm
Author: Alexandra Weis
Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical Romance (Adult Fiction)
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Page Count:
Type of Book: Netgalley ARC, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley, from the Publisher
Rated: 4/5 stars
Notes: Not available on Goodreads yet, so have to wait to review this there.

This was a long book with over 60+ chapters. It took me about four and a half days to read, it was long, but worth it. I loved the history of this book, the Greeks and the Persians, and I loved the characters and world-building. The storyline was good, but a little over halfway I was just wanting to be done already. There was so much there, that I think the author would’ve done better if she’d split the book in two. Or perhaps its just my short attention span these days, lol.

A woman unlike any other, she will conquer the unconquerable and be loved by a man who is worshipped as a god.
When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain—is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.
Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide. Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.
However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.
History tells his story. This is hers.

-As seen on Netgalley.

My main gripe with this is that it seems while there was a strong female lead character, most of the other women weren’t fighters, and looked to her for her bravery and strength. She’s so much stronger and better than the rest of the women that I encountered in the book, it grew a bit annoying. Though I still liked Roxana’s character, sometimes she grated on my nerves.

Also, Alexander seemed a bit like an entitled a**. Then again, so do most men of that era, thinking that they should own and control everything. I probably wouldn’t have lived long in that time period, lol.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was definitely a refreshing change of pace from my typical read, and I always appreciate that when reading new books. Overall, I’m giving this 4/5 stars.
Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Posted in Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews

Netgalley Review: A Spell for Murder

A Spell for Murder

Title: A Spell for Murder
Author: Clea Simmon
Series: book 1
Genre: Mystery (Cozy)
Publisher: Polis Books
Page Count: 400
Type of Book: Netgalley ARC, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Rated: 5/5 stars

This is a cozy mystery book that’s seemingly told from the cats point of view. Need I say more? Well, apparently I must for this to be a full length review that’s more than a hundred words, so here goes.

{“It’s Harriet’s fault. It’s always her fault, not that she’ll ever admit it.” So begins A Spell of Murder: A Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery, the first in a new cozy series that mixes feline fiction with a touch of the paranormal, and a little romance as well.

Becca, newly single and newly unemployed, wants to believe she has psychic powers. With nothing but time – and a desire for empowerment – she’s studying to become a witch. What she doesn’t know is that her three cats – Harriet, Laurel, and Clara – are the ones with the real power. And when Harriet – “a cream-colored longhair with more fur than commonsense” – conjures a pillow for her own comfort, Becca believes her spells are finally working. Could that be why Trent, the coven’s devilishly handsome leader, has been showing her special attention? Or why Suzanne, a longtime coven member, draws her aside to share a secret – a confidence that may lead to murder?

-As seen on Goodreads}

I loved the cats. I loved how accurate they were described in their behavior, I loved the humor and feel-goodness of it all. It was a perfect read, and I hope to be able to continue the series soon. I really liked the whole mystery set up too, and I can honestly say that there are very few books that I’ve read where the cats are the ones to go on the case to solve a mystery. I think this will be one of my favorites. Especially with the magical elements, the witches, and the dark atmosphere throughout the book itself.

If you like cozy mysteries featuring cats, then this book will definitely be to your liking. It’s fun, it’s clever, and it’s thoroughly magical. 5/5 stars for a an excellent first read from a new author, and I definitely look forward to getting to the rest of the series!

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Posted in Uncategorized

Netgalley Review: The Quiet You Carry

The Quiet You Carry

Title: The Quiet You Carry
Author: Nikki Barthlemew
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Fiction
Publisher: Flux
Page Count: 300
Type of Book: ARC, Kindle Ebook
Received: Netgalley
Review Word Count: 600
Rated: 5/5 stars
Notes: Loads of trigger warnings in here for depression, anxiety, suicide attempt, child sexual abuse, physical abuse between spouses, foster care system, and I think that’s it.

Get your box of tissues ready, because this book was an emotional roller coaster ride! Complete with lots of triggers and terribly depressing scenes. There was at least one scene that made me almost cry because of how angsty it was. Therefore, of course I’m going to give this book a high rating, not only because of how emotional it was and the fact that I love reading emotional books like this, but because of how realistic and true it rang with every page.

I wasn’t ever in the foster care system, so I was lucky that way. But I knew exactly what the main character, Victoria, was going through in several parts of this book. It made me cringe each scene, wondering how she was going to get out of it, and if the bad guy in the book (the dad in this case) was going to get put away. The answer is, he drives off, fleeing from cops, and we never see what happens to him.

It takes place as Victoria is planning on attending college, but has a year of high school remaining. After getting shoved out of her home in the middle of a freezing cold winter night, social workers take her away to a foster care system where she resides, attempting to figure out how to fix everything, and why her father would lie about her like that.

She meets Connie, the ‘foster mother’ of a small home for girls, and follows rules, and feels as though she has no control over anything anymore. Her father won’t speak to her, her sister and stepmother refuses to talk to her as well, siding with her father. She fears for her sister, and what will happen in leaving her within her father’s grasp for long periods of time.

There’s a lot of abuse in this book, and it’s pretty heavy hitting at times. I was really impressed with how the author handled this, she weaves a story well, and the writing is splendid, and rings true for the situation, as well as the characters themselves. She’s obviously done her research, and my hat goes off to her for doing such a terrific job in pulling such a topic off in YA literature.

I’m giving this a 5/5 stars, because it was beautifully written, and the rating is well deserved. I definitely am now invested in any of the authors future works, because if her books are just as good as this one all the time, then she’s going to continue to be one of my absolute favorites! I highly recommend reading this, even buying this, as soon as it comes out!

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.