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

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

Top 25 Books on my 2021 Most anticipated reads

It seems as though all the bloggers are making top ten lists, top twenty, so on and so forth. I thought I would do a slightly bigger number. Top twenty five books on my tbr pile that I’d like to get to. I chose random books from fantasy to romance to historical fiction. The choices were hard to pick, but I narrowed it down at last.

#1:

To survive the Holocaust, a young Jewish woman must pose as a Christian farmer’s wife in this unforgettable novel from USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Robson—a story of terror, hope, love, and sacrifice, inspired by true events, that vividly evokes the most perilous days of World War II.

#2

In The Need, Helen Phillips has created a subversive, speculative thriller that comes to life through blazing, arresting prose and gorgeous, haunting imagery. Anointed as one of the most exciting fiction writers working today, The Need is a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives.

#3:

Inspired by the true story of a daring deception that plunges a courageous young woman deep into the horrors of a Nazi POW camp to be with the man she loves.

#4:

An electrifying, page-turning debut about a young woman haunted by her tragic past, who returns to her hometown and discovers that there might be more to her police detective mother’s death—and last case—than she ever could have imagined.

#5:

A traveling librarian ventures into the mining towns of Kentucky on horseback and rediscovers her passions in this powerful novel from the best-selling author of A Silken Thread.

#6:

Combining the emotional power and dual narrative style of ‘Before We Were Yours’ with the nuanced, layered, and atmospheric mystery of ‘The Dry’, a powerful debut novel revolving around a shocking disappearance, two neighbor families, and shameful secrets from the past that refuse to stay buried.

#7:

Happily ever after is only the beginning as Belle takes on the responsibility of becoming queen and learns to balance duty, love, and sacrifice, all while navigating dark political intrigue—and a touch of magic.

#8:

A propulsive, richly entertaining novel about two adventure-seeking brothers, the enemies who threaten them, and the women who reveal to them an unjust world on the brink of upheaval.

#9:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes an epic novel of love and heroism and hope, set against the backdrop of one of America’s most defining eras—the Great Depression.

#10:

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

#11:

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men. Fable takes you on a spectacular journey filled with romance, intrigue, and adventure.

#12:

An unforgettable tale of what we owe to those we love, and those we have left behind

#13:

A queer retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” in which teenage twins battle evil religious extremists to save their loves and their circus family.

#14:

A space princess on the run and a notorious outlaw soldier become unlikely allies in this imaginative, sexy space opera adventure—the first in an exciting science fiction trilogy.

#15:

Superbly tense and oozing with atmosphere, Anna Downs’s debut is the perfect summer suspense, with the modern gothic feel of Ruth Ware and the morally complex family dynamics of Lisa Jewell.

#16:

Bestselling author Nancy E. Turner returns to the world of Sarah Agnes Prine through the wide-eyes of her irrepressible young niece, Mary Pearl.

#17

It’s late summer, war is raging, and families are torn apart by divided loyalties and deadly secrets. In this complex and dangerous time, a young French Canadian lieutenant is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, an unwilling and unwelcome guest.

#18:

When fragmented images and unfocused panic force Noelle St. Claire to flee her wealthy, sheltered life in New York, she gains sanctuary on a ranch in the Rocky Mountains.There Noelle finds solace in the breathtaking scenery she paints. But as the attentions of two brothers, Rick and Morgan Spencer, breach the wall she hides behind, the past she yearns to escape becomes a menacing threat from which she can no longer hide. Award-winning and bestselling author Kristen Heitzmann has skillfully created a story resonating with emotion and depicting a poignant spiritual journey.

#19:

A thrilling reimagining of Shakespeare’s HamletThe Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.

20:

All the Light We Cannot See meets The Nightingale in this literary WWI-era novel and epic love story of a brilliant young doctor who races against Einstein to solve one of the universe’s great mysteries.

#21:

Li has a father and a sister who love her. A best friend, Mirabae, to share things with. She goes to school and hangs out at the beach and carefully follows the rules. She has to. Everyone she knows–her family, her teachers, her friends–is an alien. And she is the only human left on Earth.

#22

From a beloved, award-winning writer, the much-anticipated novel about what happens when two families go on a tropical vacation and the children go missing.

#23

An instant New York Times Bestseller, this is a stunning debut set in a world where reading is unheard-of. Perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone

#24

Set in a magical world of terror and wonder, this novel is a deeply felt epic of courage and war, in which the fates of these characters intertwine—and where ordinary people become heroes, and their lives become legend.

#25:

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes tells the incredible true life story of Mrs. Grace Humiston, the New York lawyer and detective who solved the famous cold case of Ruth Cruger, an 18-year-old girl who disappeared in 1917. 

And those are my top 25 books I’m anticipating in 2021. I should note, all of these are backlist titles, except Kristin Hannah’s, and maybe a couple other historical fictions that I couldn’t resist adding onto the pile. This list was also in no particular order, as I’m determined in getting all these read, as my library has ebook copies, as well as physical copies, of all of these apart from the new releases. I hope some of these caught your attention. I also hope that y’all can send me more recommendations in the comments for backlist titles!

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

Book Review: Hawksmaid

Hawksmaid

Hello friends,

Hawksmaid by Kathryn Lasky is a retelling of Robin Hood and Maid Marion.

A children’s fiction story of Maid Marion, this was not at all what I was hoping for it to be, in that while it contained action and plot, it also contained Christianity and praying every few chapters. I liked the writing in regards to the Hawks and raising birds in general, and how Matty was a strong girl throughout the story, surviving harsh environments, however I felt the story wasn’t quite meant for me, and that younger audiences would definitely appreciate it more.

I appreciated the writing, and characters, however I doubt that I’ll come back to this book again in the future. Another book that’s been on my TBR shelf for years, I’m pleased at finally getting around to reading it, and getting it off the pile at last.

3 out of 5 stars.

Until next time,

Pass Me That Book

 

Book Review: DNF’d

Valentine

Hello friends,

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore was a novel that I picked this up, and read three chapters, before I DNF’d it. The writing was good. Really, really excellent. But the story itself was not meant for me, as I was most definitely not the right target audience at this point and time.

Violent, gritty, the writing was easily some of my favorite; however I disliked the topic of the story, and the way it set up, in terms of justice, retribution, and the way things evolved. Three chapters probably isn’t fair, but I was hoping for something far more centered around survival out in the wilderness, than vengeance and graphic violence. Maybe I’ll pick it up again in another setting, but for now, it was just a bit too dark hearted for the mood that I was craving in terms of a good survival story.

A solid 3 stars.

Until later,

Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: For Love and Country

ForLoveandCountry

Hello friends,

For Love and Country by Candace Waters is a strong female character driven historical novel centered around the WAVES program and Pearl Harbor. While overall I found the plot fascinating, I also found several issues in this book that I wasn’t expecting to have encountered. This book is very Christian based. There’s praying every few chapters, an always when Charlotte Palmer, our heroine, prays she seems to be able to get what she wants, even if it takes a bit in doing so. She’s a ‘proper rich girl’ and though I admired her for leaving her home, she seemed woefully ignorant about a lot of things around the world, not just the war. Maggie was far more interesting to me, as a whole, and I identified with her a fair bit.

Men treated women harshly back then, I understand, and it hasn’t gotten much better if my mother being a car mechanic and carpenter is anything to go by. So this is accurate, but a lot of the men’s comments, and the fact that she got punished for the most minor of infractions is infuriating. I get that was what the author was aiming for, and applaud her dedication to the accuracy of her research in terms of writing this book. Even so, I despised a fair few male characters in this book.

I did like Charlotte, but she seemed to eager to please in terms of those that surrounded her. I wanted more from the story, and the way she handled Eugene could have been handled better, in my opinion. Overall the story was captivating, despite several issues that I had as a person. Others might not have the same issues. 4 solid stars for a new to me author, and I’ll definitely be keeping an interest in any of her future works.

Until next time,
Pass Me That Book

Book Review: The Winter Witch

 

The Winter Witch

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

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

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

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

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

-Summary as seen on Goodreads

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

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

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

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