Book Review: The Winter Ghosts

Hello Everyone,

Book Title: The Winter Ghosts

Author: Kate Mosse

Series: Standalone

Genre: Adult Fiction,Historical Fiction

Publisher: Putnam

Page Count: 300

Type of Book: Hardback, Owned

Trigger warnings: ghosts, war, death, cold, grief/depression

Notes: The town Nuelle in the book is fictional however the story is based on real events

Goodreads Summary:

By the author of the “New York Times”-bestselling “Labyrinth,” a story of two lives touched by war and transformed by courage.

In the winter of 1928, still seeking some kind of resolution to the horrors of World War I, Freddie is traveling through the beautiful but forbidding French Pyrenees. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Dazed, he stumbles through the woods, emerging in a tiny village, where he finds an inn to wait out the blizzard. There he meets Fabrissa, a lovely young woman also mourning a lost generation.

Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories. By the time dawn breaks, Freddie will have unearthed a tragic, centuries-old mystery, and discovered his own role in the life of this remote town.

My Thoughts:

There’s a lot of French in this book, and I’m not well versed in french do fair warning for those that are like me in that I speak very little french. I had to keep translating but I still really liked this a lot!

My Review:

This book is beautifully designed! Lovely artwork at the start of each chapter, frayed edges, and decent sized font for once! Usually as of late, book font has been small, but while this was a normal book and not large print, it was easily readable.

The story starts with Fred locating a man that can translate a letter that has deeply personal meaning to him. Even though he’s never been able to read the letter, he treats it as a personal keepsake that he can’t bear to lose. The man realizes this letter holds key importance of a historical nature, and Fred leans in and tells a tale.

The story then goes back in time to when Fred mourns the loss of his older brother George, who was killed/presumed missing in war. After a few years he accepts his brothers death and spends time in a sanatorium. He’s released and he travels… and becomes lost in France when searching for a particular place. A heavy snowstorm with lightning leaves him in distress, and he becomes stranded in the middle of nowhere, not a soul around for miles and miles.

What follows is a great ghost story, telling history of a place that I know extremely little about. This was refreshing from the usual stories in relation to the world wars, and while the ending was a bit sad, everything wrapped up nicely. I have never read a Kate Mosse book before, though I’ve seen them several times and they are on my tbr. She just earned another reader, as I look at her other books with eager interest. I read this during a dark, dreary rainstorm which made for excellent reading material. Ghosts and creepy villages in the middle of nowhere and a nice historical revelation is always neat.

I’m happy to grant this three stars, and highly recommend for fans of history as well as ghosts.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Book Review: The Far Pavilions

Hello Everyone,

Not the best cover but not the worst!

Book Title: The Far Pavilions

Author: MM Kaye

Series: Book One of Two

Genre: Adult Fiction, Historical, Adventure, Romance

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Page Count: 1000

Goodreads Summary:

A magnificent romantic/historical/adventure novel set in India at the time of mutiny. The Far Pavilions is a story of 19th Century India, when the thin patina of English rule held down dangerously turbulent undercurrents. It is a story about and English man – Ashton Pelham-Martyn – brought up as a Hindu and his passionate, but dangerous love for an Indian princess. It’s a story of divided loyalties, of tender camaraderie, of greedy imperialism and of the clash between east and west. To the burning plains and snow-capped mountains of this great, humming continent, M.M. Kaye brings her quite exceptional gift of immediacy and meticulous historical accuracy, plus her insight into the human heart.

My Thoughts:

This book took me a solid week to read! Long winded, lots going on, a bit sexist here and there but those were the times, and I felt as though I would never finish reading this book. I learned there’s a part two. I’m not sure I’m going to read that, lol.

My Review:

This book was a struggle for me right from the start. While I was liking the adventure and the characters, it felt as though it went on and on and on. A 1000 pages of epic adventure, romance, and historical fiction at its best. While people adored Gone With The Wind this was the epic I wanted! The writing was lush, beautiful, and detailed.

I know a lot of newer book reviewers might not be enthusiastic about reading this 1000+ page time, but I’m insisting that it’s worth it! The ending is bittersweet, and the characters and setting will sweep you away. From India to England there’s something new to devour from each page.

The story starts with a premature baby being born in winter and the mother dying due to her not used to the fiercely cold winds. The story expands. It touches to n war. Cholera takes the baby-main character-father and uncle’s lives. More are lost. Travels are had.

This book does have it’s horribly sexist moments. While it’s a relic of the time it’s set in, there are certain things that are hugely sexist in the book. There’s dry spells here and there when it feels like nothing happened. And the ending was a slow burn that felt bittersweet; exactly as those on Google and Goodreads both have stated.

I feel as though this, while a hefty tome, is well worth the effort in reading. Especially if you’re a fan of Gone With The Wind and Outlander. This is equally as huge and well written as the pair.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

Hello Everyone,

Book Title: A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

Author: Rebecca Connolly

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing

Page Count: 320

Date Published: April 5th, 2022

Goodreads Summary:

Based on the remarkable true story of the Carpathia—the one ship and her legendary captain who answered the distress call of the sinking Titanic.

Shortly after midnight on April 15, 1912, the captain of the Carpathia, Arthur Rostron, wakes to a distress signal from the Titanic, which has struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage. Though information is scarce, Rostron leaps into action, determined to answer the call for help. But the Carpathia is more than four hours away, and there are more questions than answers: Will his ship hold together if pushed to never-before-tested speeds? What if he also strikes an iceberg? And with the freezing temperatures, will there be any survivors by the time the Carpathia arrives?

Kate Connolly is a third-class passenger on Titanic, and she is among the last to receive instruction and help after it hits an iceberg. Despite the chaos of abandoning ship, Kate is able to board a lifeboat, though after seeing the Titanic sink into the abyss and hearing the cries from hundreds of people still in the water, she wonders if any rescue is even possible.

Told in alternating chapters from both Captain Rostron and Kate Connolly.

My Thoughts:

This was quite good, but with heavy religious overtones that rather began to annoy. The first half of the book I was hooked, but by the time the characters are rescued and being taken to New York, there’s a lot of prayer and singing.

My Review:

Everyone knows the story of the Titanic, and those who don’t ought to learn one of the most important events in history. The Titanic taught us that all ships can be sinkable. (And to always double our lifeboats just in case.) That we can plan for every structure to be huge and impossible but the slightest item can damage it in the blink of an eye. The story of the Titanic is one of my favorites in history. I can’t put my finger on why, exactly. Maybe it’s because of the heroism of those reaching the poor people that barely survived the sinking of the Titanic. Maybe it’s because I adore ocean stories and survival stories. Maybe because it was such big news back in the day that it still haunts us all even now. Whatever the case, I read every Titanic book I can get my hands on, along with other sunken ships.

This story is historically accurate in terms of events, down to the timing being listed on every chapter. I appreciated the story for it’s accuracy and I did like the characters that I read. I flipped through the book rapidly and had to sit and think about how this review was going to go. Because while the first half was absolutely brilliant, the second half was nothing but paragraph after paragraph of prayer, hymns, and “thank god we’re alive!”. Of which, yes I’m aware that they likely did all that. But I was hoping for more backstory about the ship that rescued the survivors of the Titanic, not half a book of prayer.

The first half of the book was amazing; strong characters, I felt as though I was right there with them, vivid details, lots of rushing about to safety. The author did a fabulous job in recreating history, she’s a great writer. I was seeing a five star book on the horizon.

Then the characters were rescued by the Captain of the Carpathia. They were pulled up to safety, to warmth, to life again. And that’s where the story swapped from harrowing historical events to prayer. Praying almost every page. Hymns being sung. I flipped through the rest, and that was it. Nothing else but grateful for being alive.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that back then religion was rampant. As it is today. However I was really hoping for more information about the Carpathia. So I’m rating this four stars-reluctantly. After all. I did enjoy it. It just wasn’t what I thought it would be.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Book Review: Kanada

Title: Kanada

Author: Eva Wiseman

Series: standalone

Genre: YA, Middle Grade, Historical

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Page Count: 300

Goodreads Summary:

Kanada. The name meant untold riches and promise to Jutka, a young Hungarian girl who was captivated by stories of a vast, majestic country where people were able to breathe free of hatred and prejudice. Freedom was in short supply, but hatred was everywhere in Hungary as hundreds of thousands of Jews were deported to concentration camps during the last year of WWII. Jutka, her friends, and her family are sent to Auschwitz.

In that hellish place, there was another Kanada. It was the ironic name given to the storehouse at Auschwitz where the possessions, clothing and jewelry stripped from the victims were deposited, and where Jutka was put to work.

The war may have ended, but it did not end the suffering of many of the inmates of concentration camps. Many had no homes to go to, and if they did, they were not welcome. Hundreds went back to Poland and were murdered. Famished, diseased, and homeless, they lived in the hopelessness of camps, wondering if they could ever find a home in the world. Some went to Israel, but for Jutka there was only one dream left her: the dream of a country full of hope, where she would no longer have to live in fear.

Eva Wiseman’s powerful novel describes the war and its long, difficult aftermath with compassion and tenderness.

My Thoughts:

Definitely have a box of tissues prepared for this book. I had gone into this completely blind, and ended up sobbing my eyes out.

My Review:

This was very good, although super sad as it’s another Auschwitz story. I hadn’t realized that in going in so allow me to inform you that you definitely should have a box of tissues prepared. Jutka is a believable character and the story is powerful, emotional, and full of historical references. From Hungary to Canada, this was a really good read. I can definitely see why it was the winner of the Geoffrey Bilson award back in 2007. Jutka, a young Hungarian girl, is just trying to survive and not get killed all because she was born a Jew. The story is told before, during and after World War 2. It’s beautifully written, and vivid with descriptions of the time and place of what it was like living as a Jew during that era.  It was quite sad, and yet Jutka pressed on and survived. Very recommended for those who like historical fiction!

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: A Suffragette in Time

Hello Everyone,

Book Title: A Suffragette in Time

Author: Connie Lacy

Genre: Historical, Romance

Publisher: Wild Falls Publishing

Page Count: ?

Series: Standalone ? (I think it’s part of a series but unsure however it works well as a Standalone.)

Book Summary:

A compelling time travel historical

Thrown back in time to the 1850s, Sarah Burns transforms herself into a suffragette. But traveling the speaking circuit can be risky in a time when men believe a woman’s place is in the home. It can be downright dangerous when she shares the stage with anti-slavery activists whose fiery rhetoric triggers violence.

Her uneasy alliance with an arrogant abolitionist may be heading toward romance, but it’s a bumpy road with perilous obstacles, including slave hunters intent on kidnapping anyone they can sell down south. Living with a family operating a station on the Underground Railroad doesn’t make life any easier.

A Suffragette in Time is a fast-paced time travel story set against the backdrop of one of the most acrimonious periods in American history, as the fight over slavery escalates toward the American Civil War. Danger, romance and one woman’s personal battle to make the world a better place.

My Thoughts:

I read this in two sittings, and only because it got late when I read it. I’m still having a few thoughts and feelings about this book. I had fun reading it, it was entertaining and dropped a couple historical names I didn’t immediately recognize and several I did (Harriet Tubman anyone?). I liked a lot of the references throughout from book titles to historical figures to how clothes were made. It was a good read.

I know this won’t be for everyone. It not only tackles women’s rights but it’s also very heavy on racism. It’s got several scenes that I found a bit far fetched-surprisingly, not the time travel though the way that was handled made me clap to the author as that was a clever idea I’d not seen yet. Very well done! I’m still thinking over this book, and am definitely interested in reading more. I think there’s at least two others linked with this one and the author has other books as well I may give a try. This was rather good, and I’m happy to have received an arc from the publisher on Netgalley. Thank you!

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: The Dead of False Creek

Hello Everyone,

Two Netgalley reviews in a month? Who is this girl and where has she been all this time? 🤔 Anyhoo…

The Dead of False Creek is a twisty murder mystery not quite involving time travel. I say “not quite” because no one actually goes back in time. Instead two people communicate through a journal and that premise intrigued me into requesting the book.

Book Title: The Dead of False Creek

Book Author: Sarah M. Stephen

Book Publisher: ? (I’ve searched on Google and Netgalley but am unsure of the publisher. If you know please let me know!)

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Page Count: ?

Goodreads Summary:

He chases crooks. She dusts off maps. With important men vanishing, can one key document prevent death? Vancouver, 1897.

Jack Winston refuses to let his bloodline decide his vocation. Keeping his family connections secret as he joins the Constabulary, the rising detective works hard to make a name for himself on his own merit.

But when he investigates a missing young lawyer, he’s shocked to find his own journal connects him to a woman claiming to be from the future. Vancouver, 2017. Riley Finch adores history.

With life pulling friends and family further away, the archivist throws herself into her new position cataloging police files from the nineteenth century. And her excitement with her research bears thrilling results when she finds a way to contact a policeman from the past.

Despite his well-founded suspicions, Winston still struggles to wring answers out of his list of prime suspects. And as Riley risks her job to unearth useful information, she’s inexplicably drawn to Jack’s great-grandson but forced to keep both men in the dark. Can the pair forge a partnership across decades and solve an impenetrable crime?

The Dead of False Creek is the compelling first book in the Journal Through Time historical mystery series. If you like endearing duos, split narratives, and stunning twists and turns, then you’ll love Sarah M Stephen’s time-bending tale.

My Thoughts:

Set in 1800s Vancouver and present day, this story is told between a male detective and a woman archivist. They begin communicating through the journal, as the male detective searches for missing men. There is a bit of a slow burn romance building and the mystery itself wasn’t what kept me going it was the journal. Unfortunately I will have to wait until summer of 2022 for the next book in the series as it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. I really enjoyed it and I’m eagerly awaiting the rest of the series.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

History or Mystery? Top Six Books On My TBR

Hello everyone,

I’ve got quite the hefty tbr going and so I thought I’d share some that I’m looking forward to reading here soon (I hope!). In no particular order these books are high on my wishlist to read:

A historical fiction piece about a group of men surviving in Alaska while the leader’s wife makes her own efforts to survive.
After losing her husband to war, a woman begins to become a well known midwife and leads a revolution.
A married couple become separated by war and husband believes that his wife has died when a chance encounter shows otherwise a few years later.
A woman goes on a hunt for lost art, and becomes involved in a mystery a painting believed to have been destroyed might actually be around after all.
A woman homicide detective returns to Ireland after clues show up of a long ago missing woman.
A woman begins to question that the man she loves might be a serial killer.

Each of these have elements history or mystery that I’m eager to explore. Some are new releases, while others are are backlist titles I’ve been meaning to get to for ages. Are any of these ones y’all have heard of? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

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

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

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