Beyond the Moon by Catherine Taylor – Book Feature

Publisher: The Cameo Press LTD

Publication Date: June 25, 2019

Genre: Romance, Time Travel, Historical Fiction

Amazon

Outlander meets Birdsong is this haunting debut timeslip novel, where a strange twist of fate connects a British soldier fighting in the First World War and a young woman living in modern-day England a century later.

*Shortlisted for the Eharmony/Orion Write Your Own Love Story Prize 2018/19

“A poignant and stirring love story… Taylor’s accomplished, genre-bending book succeeds as a WW1 historical novel and a beguiling, time travel romance… The sharply written narrative deftly moves back and forth between the past and present.”  Kirkus Reviews

“A time travel romance, yet so much more than that. It is also an unflinching portrait of the horrors of war, and a look at the torturous extremes a human soul can endure. It is a sonnet to the transformative power of love, even as it is also a criticism of the futility and pointless destructiveness of war.” — Shaylin Gandhi, author of By The Light of Embers

In 1916 1st Lieutenant Robert Lovett is a patient at Coldbrook Hall military hospital in Sussex, England. A gifted artist, he’s been wounded fighting in the Great War. Shell shocked and suffering from hysterical blindness he can no longer see his own face, let alone paint, and life seems increasingly hopeless.

A century later in 2017, medical student Louisa Casson has just lost her beloved grandmother – her only family. Heartbroken, she drowns her sorrows in alcohol on the South Downs cliffs – only to fall accidentally part-way down. Doctors fear she may have attempted suicide, and Louisa finds herself involuntarily admitted to Coldbrook Hall – now a psychiatric hospital, an unfriendly and chaotic place.

Then one day, while secretly exploring the old Victorian hospital’s ruined, abandoned wing, Louisa hears a voice calling for help, and stumbles across a dark, old-fashioned hospital room. Inside, lying on the floor, is a mysterious, sightless young man, who tells her he was hurt at the Battle of the Somme, a WW1 battle a century ago. And that his name is Lieutenant Robert Lovett…

Two people, two battles: one against the invading Germans on the battlefields of 1916 France, the other against a substandard, uncaring mental health facility in modern-day England. Two journeys begun a century apart, but somehow destined to coincide – and become one desperate struggle to be together.

Part WW1 historical fiction, part timeslip love story – and at the same time a meditation on the themes of war, mental illness, identity and art – Beyond The Moon sweeps the reader on an unforgettable journey through time. An intelligent read, perfect for book clubs.

For fans of Diana Gabaldon, Amy Harmon, Beatriz Williams, Kate Quinn, Kristin Hannah, Kate Morton, Susanna Kearsley and Paullina Simons.

*NB This novel contains graphic descriptions of war violence and injuries, as well as profanity and mild sex. “

I am so excited to feature Beyond the Moon by Catherine Taylor today on my blog and on my Instagram! This sounds really good. I love historical fiction mixed with romance and I think everyone is a sucker for time travel! It has really good reviews on Goodreads too! Check out the author on her Instagram for more info!

*Amazon link is my affiliate link. I earn a commission from them.*

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Redhook

Publication Date: September 10, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Adventure Rating: 5 Stars

Amazon

In the early 1900s, a young woman searches for her place in the world after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own. “

*Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC and finished copy in exchange for an honest review!*

I am SO excited to be writing this review. Not only is this cover STUNNING, but the book was an absolute JOY to read. This is hands down one of my favorite reads of this year and might be one of my top 10 favorite reads of all time. This has all of the makings of a classic! I am not sure I would quite put this as YA. Even though the heroine is 17, it is not written like a YA.

Characters. January. Oh, sweet January. I absolutely adore her. She starts out as questioning but timid. She soon learns to fight back and fight for her family. She is kind while at the same time standing up for what is right. I think that is really hard for writers to do. Harrow hit it out of the park! January’s sense of adventure is enviable! Plus, literally all of the secondary characters are amazing to read about. I want a book for each one of them!

Plot/ World. I like making a list of plot points so here we go: Adventure, plot twists, a big dog that travels with January, ten thousand other worlds, star-crossed lovers, a really well written villain (the kind you feel for but also start to hate). This is one of the most adventurous books I’ve ever read so you can see why I had to rate it 5 stars. There are literal doors that lead to other worlds. One was a jungle where the residents are were-leopards. One is filled with islands that if you have magic, you can write words that have magic. One is filled with harsh, cold, black ice. One where there are ancient eagle-like people. There are many others visited. Again, I want a book for each world!! With January searching for her family across worlds, it’s no wonder you fall in love with the story!

Writing. I cannot believe this is Harrow’s debut novel. Have I said this should be a classic? I have? Well I can’t stress that point enough. She is the type of author writing was made for. Her writing is pure magic.

Final Thoughts. READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW! It is one of the most unique stories I have ever read. I want MORE. I will now forever buy Harrow’s books.

Tell me what one of your favorite books of this year is!

*Can’t help it again! Book Sleeve is from Love You More Studio! Code: Storied10 to save 10%!

*Amazon link is my affiliate link

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Raven Books

Publication Date: February 8, 2018

Genre: Historical Mystery with a Sci-fi element

Adventure Rating: 5 Stars (Or a million)

| Amazon


“At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (The American title) is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.”

I 100% recommend this book to anyone who loves smart, clever mysteries. I reminded me a bit of Inception or Shutter Island! Inception because of the plots within plots within plots, and Shutter Island because you have no idea what is going on at all until the end! I want Leonardo DiCaprio to direct this movie (if it becomes a movie). I literally cannot say enough good things about this book.

Aiden is a smart, witty character in a situation that he doesn’t understand. The reader figures it out along with him, as time goes on. It’s amazing to see what he conquers and what he doesn’t! Each time Aiden repeats a day he loses a bit of himself and you fear it might be too late for him. I mean, he doesn’t even know who he is! It’s a really crazy ride that I didn’t want to get off of. I really can’t say much more because any little thing would be a spoiler.

I’ll just leave off with, THAT ENDING BLEW MY MIND!!!!

If you’ve read this, I would love to talk about it with someone!! I also highly suggest reading this for a book club. It has soooooo many discussion points that would keep you talking for a long time!

Courting Darkness Review [Spoiler Free]

DSC_1121

Author: Robin LaFevers

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: February 5, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, YA

My Rating: 3 Stars

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Amazon

 

Synopsis 2

Death wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning…

Sybella has always been the darkest of Death’s daughters, trained at the convent of Saint Mortain to serve as his justice. But she has a new mission now. In a desperate bid to keep her two youngest sisters safe from the family that nearly destroyed them all, she agrees to accompany the duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one ray of hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiates, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent—provided Sybella can find them.

Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she struggles to remember who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Her only solace is a hidden prisoner who appears all but forgotten by his guards. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands—even if it means ignoring the long awaited orders from the convent.

As Sybella and Gen’s paths draw ever closer, the fate of everything they hold sacred rests on a knife’s edge. Will they find each other in time, or will their worlds collide, destroying everything they care about?”

My Review 2

*I received an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Plot. The plot and premise of this book is what really drew me in. This is my first LaFevers book, I have not read His Fair Assassin trilogy. The idea of lady assassins in the 15th century French court sounded so freaking cool!

Characters. This is where my rating really comes into play. I LOVED Sybella. And Beast. And her whole story. She was hands down my favorite character. She protected the ones she loved. She accepted help from the ones she loved. She was a total BA. I did NOT like Genevieve. She was a piece of crap! Seriously. She was selfish, stuck-up, and judgmental. I hated when it was her turn for the story. Except when Maurad came into the story more often. I loved Maurad. She doesn’t deserve Maurad. I honestly couldn’t stand reading about Gen. I think it would have been better if there had been character growth, but no. She was pretty much the same person the whole way through. I really hope the next book makes her better. I like a character driven story, and I’m all about nasty characters that turn a new leaf OR nasty characters that you can understand. Gen was neither.

World. I like that I didn’t have to to read this new one. However, it may have helped because a lot of the politics and world weren’t explained that much. I understood that there were gifts bestowed on you depending on which of the saints you served, but that was all I understood. Like, is this a Percy Jackson thing where if you serve the saint, they are your parent? I don’t know a lot of 15th century history, but this book could have gone into more detail with it. I understand that this is very loosely based on actual history, but it tried too hard to ride the line. In my opinion, it needed to go one way or the other. Again, maybe things were more explained in the previous trilogy. One more thing, I think the author could have done without the whole wailing on Christians thing. I get it, everyone hates us. But just saying, Catholicism and Christian religion are different.

Final Thoughts. So, I feel kind of bad now. It seems as though I’ve only had bad things to say. The confusing world and Genevieve were really the only down sides. I enjoyed reading this story and still want to read the original trilogy. Courting Darkness was a highly entertaining read that kept me coming back for more! I DO recommend if you like YA Historical Fiction! I can’t wait to read the next book and see how Sybella comes into her new powers, and to see if Gen has a change of heart!

Have you read the original series? If so, what did you think?

Happy Adventuring

*Amazon link is my affiliate link*

 

The 48 Review (Spoiler Free)

DSC_0926

Author: Donna Hosie

Publisher: Holiday House

Publication Date: September 4, 2018

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction

My Rating: 3 Stars

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Amazon

swirl-hi

I received a copy of this book from Storygram Tours. My post on Instagram for this will be on September 2, and there will be a giveaway!   

Story. I was really looking forward to time traveling, teen assassins. However, this was a bit of a let down. The premise made it sound like a lot of action would take place and they would, you know, actually be assassins. I guess not. And this isn’t a spoiler by the way, it says it right in the beginning. They train to rewrite history. There was little action. The story didn’t pull me in as much as I wanted it to. I just liked it. I didn’t think about it in my free time and I kind of forgot about it after I was done reading it. Now, with that being said, it was still a likable read. I just would have written the synopsis a bit differently. It was a tad misleading, in my opinion.

Characters. Honestly, same thoughts as the story. They were likable, but I didn’t think about them. And Charles was a bit all over the place with his feeling between two women. I had to reread a couple of his paragraphs to understand what he was trying to get across. Alex sometimes too. It was as if they couldn’t decide on what to do at any given time. It got kind of annoying. I just wanted to yell at them, “Make a decision already!!”.  I really enjoyed Lady Margaret’s point of view. She was the most consistent character. The characters had good chemistry. Alex and Charlie’s twin bond was so fun to read about! I loved how they interacted with each other. And when one of them would get hurt the other would go crazy and be like, “I’m going to kill whoever did this to my brother.” I liked it.

Final Thoughts. I liked this book. It didn’t keep my attention, but I am interested enough to want to read the second book when it comes out. The writing was pretty good, but not what I wanted when reading a historical fiction. I wanted a bit more oomph from her. But if you are looking for a light read, and you like historical fiction or maybe want to branch out slowly, then I think this would be a good starting place!

Happy Adventuring

*Post contains my Amazon affiliate link*

Ink, Iron, and Glass (Spoiler Free)

DSC_0250

Author: Gwendolyn Clare

Publisher: Macmillan/Imprint

Publication Date: Feb. 20, 2018

Find Synopsis Here

My Rating: 4 Stars

Ink, Iron, and Glass was a really unique adventure ride that I wish I could take again for the first time! Steampunk set in late 19th century Italy is a really fresh take on the genre, in my opinion. There are scriptologists who can write whole new worlds into existence. Think about every book you’ve ever read. Now, if a scriptologist wrote it, you could travel inside that world!! How freaking awesome is that?! There are also mechanics who can build crazy inventions that defy their time. And there are alchemists who can mix up a potion (or antidote…) on the spot. Very interesting stuff to read about, y’all!

Elsa, a scriptologist, was a really engaging character to read about. She had the most character growth going from a major loner who didn’t need anyone in the beginning of the book, to relying on a few trusted individuals who earned it. I enjoyed reading how all four of the characters came together and solved their problems together. There is a part in the book where they go to a labyrinth and each person adds something important in solving it. It kind of reminded me of The Infernal Devices trilogy a little bit because of the group camaraderie and steampunk feel.

I gave this book 4 stars because it was such a fun read, however there were a few things stopping me from giving it 5 stars. I thought that the romance felt a little forced. There wasn’t a lot of chemistry there. I also feel like I won’t re-read this book. It didn’t stay in my head and I moved on really easily to my next book.

All in all, I thought this was a really fun read. It had everything I love in a story; romance, a BA heroin, good world building, and a plot twist that hurts.

Happy Adventuring! 

 

A Treacherous Curse (Spoiler Free)

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

 

“She regarded him and counted only the damage; I saw only the places where he had stitched himself back together. What repelled her was to me the greatest part of him. Every mark that his suffering had left upon him was a must monument to his strength, the inhuman courage that had caused him to reject death and degradation and every evil with which he had consoled himself on the long journey back from his destruction. He had walked through hellfire and back again and she saw only the scorch marks whilst I saw the phoenix.” – A Treacherous Curse

Title: A Treacherous Curse

Author: Deanna Raybourn

Publisher: Berkley

My Rating: 5 Stars

*Synopsis taken from Goodreads*

“London, 1888.

As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker. His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. . . .”

Deanna Raybourn is a masterful storyteller. She weaves a tale so intriguing that you feel as the characters feel. You hurt when they hurt. You are happy when they are happy. Just read again the quote from above! How moving!

One of my favorite things about the third book in this series is the character development. Veronica especially. She starts off this whole shebang as a one woman show. She slowly starts to melt until this third book where she becomes a puddle of emotion, in a good way. Her outer shell starts to crack when she finally decides to let someone in. And that someone is Stoker.

Oh Stoker. I’m thinking about making him a book boyfriend. I adore him to pieces. You get a lot more of his backstory and it just makes you feel for him! And the strength and courage he has is amazing. Why can’t all men be like this? (For the record, I have a man like this. They are just rare. :P)

And can we talk about the plot?! Sweet Abraham’s mother this was good. This was my favorite out of all the books because, in my opinion, it has the best story line. A supposed curse from Egypt, a man masquerading as Anubis, a few murders, AND Stoker’s backstory. Um, yes please.

So, I gave this book 5 stars. However, there was one thing I didn’t like. There is a suicide in this book. I didn’t like that. I don’t like reading about suicide. It’s dark and depressing and I think it’s one of if not the worst way to die.

All in all, I’m still in love with this series. The writing, the characters, the story, all of it just speaks to me. I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes historical mysteries!

Happy Adventuring!