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

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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.

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

New Release Review: The Lost Queen

The Lost Queen

Title: The Lost Queen
Author: Signe Pike
Series: Book One
Genre: Historical
Publisher: Touchstone
Page Count: 600
Type of Book: Hardback, New Release
Review Word Count:
Received: Library
Rated: 5/5 stars
Notes: Vivid, creative, and utterly captivating!

I voted for this book in the Historical Section of the Goodreads Choice Awards of 2018 just a day ago, in the first round of voting, because it was well deserved (and because I hadn’t yet read any of the other books, but shhh, let’s not go there). This book was captivating, from the first page to the very last. While the ending was a sad one, it was a good one, and I am hopeful that there will be a second book to follow up on everything. Even though it had things mostly wrapped up, killing off a good number of the characters at the same time, it still had things unresolved-as history often does.

The writer is a good story-teller, weaving the tale with practiced ease. The characters are lifelike, there’s loads of things going on, and I learned a few things-such as Boudica came about again and I’m beginning to think she was a hell of a badass, nearly wiping out the Romans so. I really need to do some more information on her, because she sounds like someone worth knowing about.

That’s the main reason that I am giving this five out of five stars, because if it’s a historical book it should make me want to go out and do more research on the time period, and the people it talked about. Not only do I want to learn more about the Pendragon era, but I also want to learn more about Boudica and how she nearly wiped out the Romans-if that’s true at all, and not another wild tale by the main characters brother.

This was a fascinating story, and I loved the characters (though don’t ask me to pronounce their names aloud!) and the book itself was a delight, despite the sad ending. I’m glad to have been able to read it, and I hope to one day get my own copy to put on my shelves.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Book Preview Post: The Sunpath Cycle Series

“The problem with ghosts is that they don’t quite realize that they’re dead.”

A Fading Sun

I received both these books from DAW, so thank you for the books, and I greatly look forward to reading them. Technically, I just finished reading book one and wow, that was a strange but wonderful book to read. I do have issues with it though, and it also comes with plenty of trigger warnings, so first and foremost let’s get that out of the way before I go on talking about the books themselves.

Warnings/Spoilers: death of minor characters, slavery, war, women being beaten, implied rape, implied rape of children, torture, more death, death of a main character at the end of the book?, death of a child, death of a man in an m/m pairing, graphic descriptions of violence=and that’s all just for book one!

{Voada Paorach can see the dead. It is a family trait, but one that has had to remain hidden since the Mundoan Empire conquered her people’s land three generations ago. But this ghost isn’t the same as the others she has glimpsed, the lost souls she has helped to find their way to the land beyond life. This ghost demands that Voada follow a new path, one that will mean leaving behind everything and everyone she has known and loved.

Voada will come to understand the power that her people possess, but she will also learn the steep price that must be paid for such a gift.

Fast-moving and intense, A Fading Sun explores grief, sacrifice, ambition, and the forging of personality in the crucible of war.

As seen on Goodreads.}

I will also make note-if you go about pronouncing character names in your head as you read, like I do-fair thee warning, the names in this book are strange and sometimes long to try and pronounce. I tripped over several of them.

I’m definitely going to insist that if you like ghosts, fascinating magical systems, and bad-ass warrior women then go out and get a copy because holy crap, the author does know how to torment their characters so! It’s heavy reading, but I still managed to really get to finish book one in less than a day, and only put off reading book two because reasons.

http://a.co/d/iCs0DvJ

There’s the link to the Amazon page, if you’ve a mind to purchase it. If the link doesn’t work, please let me know. I’m still trying to figure links out. In the meantime, I’m going to go and write up my review of book one, and I hope ya’ll liked this little book preview of a series.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

ARC Review: The Highlander Who Protected Me

The Highlander Who Protected Me

Title: The Highlander Who Protected Me
Author: Vanessa Kelly
Series: Book 1
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Kensington Books
Page Count: 352
Type of Book: ARC, Kindle Ebook, Netgalley Read
Review Word Count: 400
Rated: 4/5 stars
Notes: This was a fun read for the start of the fall season!

I’m a fan of historical romance, but it’s been a while since I’ve dived into the subject. I’ve been stuck in the fantasy genre for so long that this was a very refreshing change of pace for me. It helped that the story was a fun and fast paced read, and that the characters were all utterly delightful. I particularly liked the heroine, though she seemed to make stupid choices from time to time that just showed how much more human she’d become. While I found Royal to be a bit of an egotistical ass at times, he too proved to be a strong, brave highlander who would stop at nothing to ‘protect his lady’.

Though I enjoyed the whole thing, the feminist side of me couldn’t help but be rather outraged at the whole situation that Ainsley had found herself in, not to mention the few comments that Royal had made towards Ainsley after finding out she was engaged when he first started flirting with her. There was one line in particular that made me want to slap him so hard he’d still be hurting by the next year. But then he makes up for it later, and despite myself I find that I still rather enjoyed reading about the characters.

Warnings: implied rape, pregnancy, males being stupid, women being equally stupid, and lots of drama, plus some steamy scenes between Ainsley and Royal

I do like the name Ainsley. While a bit hard to pronounce, it reads nice. Royal is a strange name, however, I’ve never met a character actually named ‘Royal’ but it suits him. There were other names within that were also unusual, and weird, but it didn’t impact the story at all, and seemed fitting for the time period and place as well.

I’m adding the author to my list of favorites when it comes to writing historical romance. While I didn’t automatically love this story, I still thoroughly enjoyed myself for several hours as I devoured this book in one sitting! 4/5 stars for a perfect fall read, and I eagerly anticipate reading another book from the author quite soon!

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

ARC Review: The Phantom Tree

 

The Phantom Tree

Title: The Phantom Tree
Author: Nicola Cornick
Series: Book One
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin
Page Count: 265
Type of Book: ARC, Kindle Ebook, Netgalley Read
Review Word Count: 300
Rated: 3/5 stars
Notes: So many 5 star reviews on Goodreads let me down….

Being a fan of history, I found this interesting at first, but then it slowly started dragging. It seemed to take a while to build up to plot, and I could not find it in myself to care about the characters. While I found Alison’s story of waiting 500 years to find her son interesting, it wasn’t enough to keep my interest.

Not to mention the odd dis-jointed way that charac-ters kept talking. Yes, it did that throughout the arc copy of the book, which was weird and frustrating and just plain annoying. The story also alternated between two character POVS: Alison and Mary.

While I was excited at first to think that this was about Anne Boylen and Wolf Hall, that excitement wore off as the pace of the story, while beautifully written, was utterly boring. Nothing seemed to be happening much in the story overall.

I stuck around for about six chapters before giving up. I’m sorry, I know bad reviews hurt authors, and I’m sure this book might be absolutely perfect for someone else, but it just wasn’t for me. I felt nothing for this book, and am therefore giving it a 3 out of 5 stars. I didn’t hate it, I just had no emotional connection to it whatsoever.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

ARC Review: A Brazen Curiosity

A Brazen Curiosity

Title: A Brazen Curiosity
Author: Lynn Messina
Series: Book 1
Genre: Historical Mystery/Romance
Publisher: Potatoworks Press
Page Count: 175
Type of Book: ARC, Kindle Ebook, Netgalley Read
Review Word Count: 400
Rated: 4/5 stars
Notes: Apparently, I’m in the mood for historical books, instead of all the fantasy I’ve been reading!

This was a fun book, almost as delightful as The Highlander Who Protected Me! With smart characters, a charming heroine, and an equally amusing hero (duke), I really liked this one and will probably add it to my list of favorites on Goodreads. It’s not a completely original mystery-body in the library, who did it?-kind of theme going on, but it’s well written, enjoyable, and completely believable.

Another good read for the start of fall, I found myself really loving the main heroine, and how she was eager to solve the mystery of who killed Mr. Otley in the library. Coming upon the body and the Duke, she sets about to see if it was the Duke who killed Mr. Otley, or someone else. Of course, the Duke doesn’t want her to interfer because she’s just a woman and doesn’t need to go diving into such a grim business as murder, but doesn’t try to really stop her either which I found a refreshing change.

There were a few women in the book that I found rather annoying. The elderly women who fainted at the mere mention of a dead body, or having to be ‘soothed repeatedly for five minutes’ before getting to the confession of the killer. Come on, really? I mean, I know it’s the time period, but it just makes me feel rather annoyed at them all for being such insipid characters.

Overall, it was a fun mystery with a hint of romance towards the end of the book. I really liked the characters, the way it all turned out, and the satisfying feeling it gave me at the end. I’m rating this a 4/5 stars, because while it was a fun book overall, there were times when the characters were just annoying. I definitely look forward to the next book in the series, and may even attempt to get an arc of it. If not, I’ll see about picking it up some other way.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

Netgalley Review: Fawkes

 

Fawkes

I was not yet ready to turn to stone. 

Title: Fawkes
Author: Nadine Brandes
Series:
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Page Count: 500
Publishing: Thomas Nelson
Type of Book: ARC, Netgalley Read, Kindle Ebook
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 5/5 stars
Notes: THE HYPE IS DESERVED!

Fawkes starts off with a bang, instantly capturing my attention and having me read a 500 page book in less than a day!

FawkesReviewImage{Look, I did art! For a review!}

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

-As Described on Goodreads

Then I read the first sentence: I was not ready to turn to stone, and I was HOOKED. From the very first sentence, this book was a true treasure to read. Thomas Fawkes was an easily identifiable character, the book was filled with twists and turns that I did not see coming, the world-building was unique and well written. I adore this book, and am putting it on my ‘to-buy-immediately’ list, because it’s well worth sitting on my shelves for when I want a re-read.

This book ripped my emotions apart several times. There’s a violent plague going on in this book, and the main character is affected, but with only one eye so that he wears an eyepatch most of the time. He hopes to get a mask from his father after passing a test in order to make it so that people don’t see his affliction and so that he can have the power to help change things. When his father doesn’t show up as he’s promised to do, Thomas Fawkes takes matters into his own hands and goes out to find him.

This book was a delicious read, from beginning to end, and I can’t give you enough reasons why you should read it, only that it needs to be added to your TBR post-haste! It’s got thieves and spies and London and plagues and magic and….what more could you want?

Giving this book a very well deserved 5/5 stars for it’s beautiful voice and unique world-building skills!

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

Kindle Ebook Review: Enthroned

 

Enthroned

Title: Enthroned
Author: K. M. Shea
Series: Book 1 of 6
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling
Page Count: 90
Publisher: Take Out the Trash Publications
Type of Book: Kindle Ebook
Review Word Count: 400
Rated: 5/5 stars
Notes: One of the 50 Kindle Ebooks finished!

King Arthur and her Knights captured my attention from the title alone. While at first I didn’t have any interest in Britt due to her personality, I rapidly found myself engaged in the story until 89 pages later, and I was finished and wanting more!

This is a retelling of King Arthur and His Knights, but instead of it being about the male King, Merlin winds up getting Britt, a young girl from the future who pulls the sword out of the stone when at a graveyard doing photo shoots with her two friends.

The story continues with Britt not believing she’s actually in the past, and Merlin telling her she has no way to get home. I’m actually thinking that Merlin is lying about this, because he seems awfully shifty about all of it. I do believe he’s up to something.

Britt survives battles, being crowned King of Britain, gets a dog, and finds that she adores Camelot and how beautiful it is. The writing is fast-paced and action packed, and there’s lots of nods to the original story that I liked. I especially loved the encounter with the Lady of the Lake.

Overall, I’m giving this 5/5 stars because of how fun it was too read. I am definitely looking into getting the rest of this series, and seeing where it goes.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

ARC Review: A Necessary Murder

A Necessary Murder

Title: A Necessary Murder
Author: MJ Tjia
Series: Book 2
Genre: Mystery, Historical
Page Count: 280
Publisher: Legends Press
Type of Book: ARC, Netgalley Read
Review Word Count: 300
Rated: 2/5 stars
Notes: I wish I had book one to start with!

A Necessary Murder drew me in by its beautiful cover. Sadly, when requesting it on Netgalley, I didn’t realize that it was actually book two of a series. I mucked my way through about half of the book before giving up. My mind wasn’t in the mood for a mystery it seemed, even though this seems to be along the same lines as mystery author Victoria Thompson and/or historical fiction author Anne Perry.

Its a well written book, but I just had no connection to the characters. I wanted to-they were all likeable enough, but I’m not sure if I just wasn’t in the right headspace for this kind of novel, or what the issue was. I just didn’t care for anybody in particular at all.

I’m sorry that this isn’t a more positive review. I wish it was. I really wanted to like this book, but it just fell flat for me. I hope others enjoy it more than I did, and as it stands I’m giving this book 2.5/5 stars, mainly for the cover and the interesting description of plot.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley, but I think this is a series that I’m going to pass along to someone else from now on.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

My May Reads for 2018

This month has flown by, whereas last month felt like it had gone so incredibly slow. This marks the start of ‘three more months until my birthday’ countdown, as well! I hope this year that I can actually be getting more books for my birthday, as usually birthday presents are a bit of a bust for me.

I’ve finished quite a few books last month, several new releases, arcs, and a few library finds fit into the pile. I’m very pleased with how much I’ve read, though I could have read more if I wasn’t working on writing my own book that I hope to have finished here soon. Anyway, here’s the books read:

Some of these I’ve yet to post reviews for, but that’s because I’m still working on my blog (book reviews still pending: To Kill a Kingdom, The Tory, etc.) I just got an email from a couple of publishers who are happy with how my blog looks, and are willing to send me more arcs to read, so that will keep me busy in the coming month as well! June is looking to be another excellent month in reading, and I look forward to it!

Now then, tell me which books you’ve read out of this post, which ones you think I should read next, and which ones I need to review asap! I look forward to hearing your responses!

Until the next time,
-Pass Me That Book