Wednesday, August 31, 2016

REVIEW: Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

Luther and Katharina
by Jody Hedlund

Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Page Count: 386
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Format: Trade Paperback

How got: personal buy; via Amazon

First attention getter: the leads


From GoodReads:

Katharina von Bora has seen nothing but the inside of cloister walls since she was five. In a daring escape, Katharina finds refuge with Martin Luther and seeks his help to pair her with the noble, wealthy husband she desires.

As class tensions and religious conflicts escalate toward the brink of war, Martin Luther believes that each day could be his last and determines he will never take a wife.

As the horrors of the bloody Peasant War break out around them, the proud Katharina and headstrong Martin Luther fight their own battle for true love, in one of the greatest love stories of history.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 4.5

Jody Hedlund, where have you been all my life?! LOL I never thought I’d find a Christian author that I love as well as Elizabeth Camden, but find her I did. Jody has a way of blending realistic characters, dramatic historical storylines, and riveting romance with a Christian message that doesn’t overpower her non-Christian readers (me included). She does fall into a relationship trope but balanced against everything else and given the personalities of the leads, I can see where the trope might be justified.

Book’s best feature hands down: its leads and their relationship. I loved how the author made such an iconic figure as Martin Luther human and relatable to a modern audience. She still gives him his religious devotion to change and reform, his compassion and drive. Yet, she also makes him stubborn as a mule and sometimes to idealistic to see the world the way it truly was, a dreamer.

For as well-known as Martin Luther is, the fact that he was married probably isn’t known by your average person nowadays. Hedlund makes her as real as he; she has the same compassion and drive to help others escape untenable situations. However, she’s also VERY proud of her aristocratic background to the detriment of her relationships with both Luther and others in her life. To accompany that pride is a deep well of stubbornness to rival Luther’s.

Jody portrays their relationship realistically as well. It’s not a sterile one without chemistry between Martin and Katharina (think goodness ‘cause nothing kills a romance quicker!). There’s definite sexual tension and appreciation for the emotional and physical aspects of such a relationship. Yet, the Christian sensibilities of most of Jody’s reading public are respected as well. Actual sex encounters are not present, only implied. The author has struck a great balance between the two sides of this aspect.

The only hitch in the book occurs here, though. There were times when the stubbornness of both parties made them assume and miscommunicate. This was an ever occurring theme that got overplayed. Given their personalities, I can see this being a realistic relationship problem. Yet, for this tale and how the trope was used, it dragged down the narrative in places and just got tiresome rather than realistic.

As well as the main romantic tale, the author explores a rarely done part of history, that of the early years of the Protestant Reformation and the pangs of a new religious identity being born. Emotions are high, actions are volatile, and people are dying. The author explores the high tension of these years on both sides, Catholic and Protestant, as well as the class distinction of the era/location. I liked how she portrayed both sides of Christianity as very human, both had their zealots and their saints.

The Christian elements were handled fantastically. This work was definitely portrayed as a Christian work, no bones about that. Yet, the author doesn’t preach nor moralize at her audience. The lessons of too much price/stubbornness, taking life as it comes at you, and loving your partner as they are rather than how you wish them to be came through clearly but without hitting me over the head like a 2x4. Not too many Christian authors handle this part of writing as well as Hedlund and Camden do.

This work was a very pleasant introduction to this author and a great discovery. I got to explore some little known history, meet well-known (and lesser known) historical figures, and see a romance develop as it might have historically. Despite that one trope, this book ranks as a fantastic example of Christian historical fiction done right, where it appeals to a wider audience than just the Christian market. I’ll be reading Jody Hedlund again!

Monday, August 29, 2016

REVIEW: A Rose For The Crown by Anne Easter Smith

A Rose For The Crown
by Anne Easter Smith

Publisher: Touchstone
Page Count: 672
Release Date: March 14, 2006
Format: Kindle

How got: personal buy; via Amazon

First attention getter: subject matter


From GoodReads:

In A Rose for the Crown, we meet one of history's alleged villains through the eyes of a captivating new heroine -- the woman who was the mother of his illegitimate children, a woman who loved him for who he really was, no matter what the cost to herself.

As Kate Haute moves from her peasant roots to the luxurious palaces of England, her path is inextricably intertwined with that of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, later King Richard III. Although they could never marry, their young passion grows into a love that sustains them through war, personal tragedy, and the dangerous heights of political triumph.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 4

A Rose For The Crown is a big improvement over this author’s other works I’ve read. The storytelling is more fluid without a ton of awkward descriptive side paragraphs or too perfect characters (though at times Kate had that stink about her). Phrasing sometimes read as awkward, but I could see the author’s reasons for those exchanges. Overall, I enjoyed this historical exploration more than previous attempts by Smith.

I think the ambiguity of my Kate Haute and Richard III knowledge helped spice this story for me. All I really knew about Richard was the propaganda that history has spewed about him and the fairly recent discovery of his bones under a parking lot. To see him from the eyes of one who loved him for himself rather than his position was an eye-opener. Kate’s simple faith and love made him more human to me, giving him more complex motivations rather than a lust for power and evil murdering personality.

Kate was a blank slate for me; I’d only read her name in passing. I enjoyed seeing her fleshed out into a woman with a personality all her own: loyal, sometimes blind to reality, loving, and sweet. The author didn’t have much in the historical record to go off of; according to her author’s note, there’s even some doubt that Kate was Richard III’s mother of his illegitimate children at all. Yet, she was a great foil with which to see the times and Richard’s place in them.

The author pleases again in the history department. Her setting skills are handled with aplomb, as per usual. The reader sees, hears, and smells each scene. I’ve come to expect this from Smith. The one area where this book falters a bit falls in this area, though. There are locations in the narrative where the speech can get very stilted and awkward, dragged down with exact phrasing from the era. I can appreciate that the author was striving for historical accuracy; so I can understand the reasoning. Yet, at times these exchanges made reading enjoyment hard to reach.

A great window into a little known woman who saw much change in her life, this work was a pleasant diversion. Historical figures got new life and perspective, Kate giving us a new window into their soul. She, herself, shone as a loving, if flawed, personality. Some stilted conversational exchanges don’t condemn this book. When taken as a whole, the book is a great historical fictional work, and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

REVIEW: The Boleyn Reckoning by Laura Andersen

The Boleyn Reckoning (review covers whole trilogy)
by Laura Andersen

Publisher: Ballantine
Page Count: 416
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Format: Trade Paperback

How got: personal buy; via Amazon

First attention getter: already followed series


From GoodReads:

A choice to forever change the course of history.

While English soldiers prepare for the threat of invasion, William Tudor struggles with his own personal battles: he still longs for his childhood friend. But Minuette has married William’s trusted advisor, Dominic, in secret – an act of betrayal that puts both their lives in danger.

Meanwhile, with war on the horizon, Princess Elizabeth must decide where her duty really lies: with her brother or her country…

Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, The Boleyn Reckoning concludes the trilogy of the Tudor king who never was: Henry IX.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 3

I became interested in this series for the idea behind it, a son by Anne Boleyn would have changed so much in history. Alternate history is a particularly favorite subgenre of mine. That combined with the premise promised much. It’s that historical story that I liked the most despite the overabundance of melodrama that emerged as the story progressed. Love for certain characters waned, but interest in the story itself never grew stale.

I love what the author did with the history behind the story. We get some intriguing “what-ifs” on a Boleyn king and how that would have played out. Protestantism was given a clear avenue to progress, the Seymours never rose to such prominence, and new plots/intrigues developed. Real figures were also utilized well. Seeing how everyone’s fate changed with the different circumstances was a key feature to this trilogy. Some fates, however, stayed the same, just arriving at their demise or rise under different circumstances.

It was the real historical figures rather than the fake leads that I felt more connection to. Elizabeth, especially, shined. Seeing how her development was changed or not when she still had a living mother and a Protestant brother to succeed rather than a Catholic sister made for interesting reading. She kept her politically savvy ways yet retained a vulnerability and thirst for love that real life Elizabeth didn’t seem to have.

The two leads, Dom and Minuette, as well as William I was lukewarm on. Dom and Minuette were too perfect, a common failing I’ve come across this year. Utterly loyal, beautiful, and desirable are just some of the descriptors used for these two. The extent that some will go to secure the love and desire of these two almost comes across as disgusting at times. Their only saving grace was how trusting, stupidly at times, these two were. They trusted that everyone was as honorable as they were to their detriment towards the end.

William wasn’t as bad as I could see why he changed and developed given the circumstances. Yet, as one other reviewer put it, it seemed like William just got all of Henry VIII’s bad qualities while Elizabeth got all the good. He got to the point of being a mustache-twirling super villain that read as unbelievable at the end. He got some redemption at the very end, but his journey to that end was filled with too much melodrama.

And that is where this trilogy had its biggest failing. The soap opera quality of the melodrama between characters and in relationships is off the charts. At times, this series read more “Days of our Lives” than a serious alternate history series. That might have been the author’s intention, but it backfired for this reader. I couldn’t empathize enough with the main players in the drama enough to make me appreciate it more. The final book is the worst offender in that everything culminates in a huge melodramatic finale with assume death, blackmail, offended parties, and feely soup.

For what this is, an alternate history exploring the Tudor era, it’s an interesting read. For Elizabeth herself, I’d have kept reading. Seeing her develop was fantastic; there’s a follow-up trilogy detailing her reign and how events of this trilogy impact that. So I’m looking forward to those books. However, this trilogy is a toss-up. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t incredible either. The series ends on a whimper with melodrama drowning out everything else. Don’t know that I’d recommend it particularly, but it’s a great way to kill some time. At least it sets up a fascinating future trilogy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

REVIEW: Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney

Once a Soldier
by Mary Jo Putney

Publisher: Zebra
Page Count: 343
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Format: Mass Market Paperback

How got: personal buy; @ local Albertsons

First attention getter: the author


From GoodReads:

As heir to a title and great wealth, Will Masterson should have stayed home and tended his responsibilities. Instead he went to war. Now, after perilous years fighting the French, he intends his current mission to be his last. But all his plans are forgotten when he arrives in the small mountain stronghold of San Gabriel and meets her.

Knowing herself to be too tall, strong, and unconventional to appeal to a man, Athena Markham has always gloried in her independence. But for the first time in her life, she finds a man who might be her match.

Two of a kind, too brave for their own good, Athena and Will vow to do whatever it takes to vanquish San Gabriel's enemies. For neither will back down from death, and only together can they find happiness and a love deeper than any they'd dared imagine...

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 4

A great way to pass the time, this romantic tale of the Napoleonic wars checkmarks all the boxes of a good romance, not a great one, but a good one. It keeps the readers tuned into the lives of our leads and their relationship, even if we aren’t sucked in completely. I wouldn’t say no to more of this series.

The author gives us a unique setting amongst the horrors of war. The fictional country of San Gabriel is really Andorra with a very slim veil. It’s a perfect, hidden-away setting for a dramatic tale of war, ruffians, and suspense during the Napoleonic Wars, given its out-of-the-way nature. How the author uses that setting to flesh out our leads and romance also pleases the palette.

I liked our leads as individuals. Athena’s a strong woman who knows her own mind, isn’t afraid to pick up a gun in defense of her adopted country, yet vulnerable when it comes to her emotions and position in society. Will, also, stands as an honorable man with a strong mind for strategy and a deep well of emotion in his heart. He’s bound and determined to win her heart and she’s just as determined to give up a love for the ages for his position betterment.

It’s the main relationship where this book falls a bit short. Make no mistake; this is still a romance one can get behind. I loved how Will and Athena played off each other. Their love and emotional attachment are evident for all to see. Yet, there were times when that special spark was missing. Some scenes read flat emotionally, and the whole “Athena is a bastard” stick was used far too often. There was never a time where I stopped rooting for these two. But I wasn’t as emotionally invested as I have been for other relationships.

Great leads, sweet romance, and a detailed setting make this a great read. While it didn’t resonate emotionally with me as much as I would have wished, it might be a different story for someone else. This is the start to another series so things look promising. Give this one a gander!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

REVIEW: Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt

Under the Same Blue Sky
by Pamela Schoenewaldt

Publisher: William Morrow
Page Count: 352
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Format: Trade Paperback

How got: personal buy; via Amazon used

First attention getter: subject matter


From GoodReads:

From the USA Today bestselling author of When We Were Strangers and Swimming in the Moon comes a lush, exquisitely drawn novel set against the turmoil of the Great War, as a young German-American woman explores the secrets of her past.

A shopkeeper's daughter, Hazel Renner lives in the shadows of the Pittsburgh steel mills. She dreams of adventure, even as her immigrant parents push her toward a staid career. But in 1914, war seizes Europe and all their ambitions crumble. German-Americans are suddenly the enemy, "the Huns." Hazel herself is an outsider in her own home when she learns the truth of her birth.

Desperate for escape, Hazel takes a teaching job in a seemingly tranquil farming community. But the idyll is cracked when she acquires a mysterious healing power--a gift that becomes a curse as the locals' relentless demand for "miracles" leads to tragedy.

Hazel, determined to find answers, traces her own history back to a modern-day castle that could hold the truth about her past. There Hazel befriends the exiled, enigmatic German baron and forges a bond with the young gardener, Tom. But as America is shattered by war and Tom returns battered by shell-shock, Hazel's healing talents alone will not be enough to protect those close to her, or to safeguard her dreams of love and belonging. She must reach inside to discover that sometimes the truth is not so far away, that the simplest of things can lead to the extraordinary.

Filled with rich historical details and intriguing, fully realized characters, Under the Same Blue Sky is the captivating story of one woman's emergence into adulthood amid the tumult of war.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 4

A jaw-dropping portrayal of life on the home front during WWI, this book surprised me. I had braced myself after reading a few lukewarm reviews. However, I was sucked in by Hazel herself, the amazing atmospheric writing, and an engrossing story of a woman finding herself in a world gone mad. While not perfect, this book still stands as an outstanding example of historical fiction done right.

Hazel herself was a great POV to tell the story through. She started out an idealistic dreamer, facing the world with rose-tinted glasses as she started her teaching career. This was a mirror for the world, pre-WWI, where man could conquer anything and everything was possible.

As the story progresses, Hazel faces tragedy, war, illness, and death. Everything shapes her into a mature woman, equipped to face the trails of life with proficiency. I adored growing with her. Her journey and shaping was the heart of the story, connecting with the reader on a basic level.

If Hazel’s journey is the heart of the book, then its portrayal and tale of German-Americans plight during the war years are the soul. Never have I come across a book that goes this in-depth on the subject. I’ve seen it touched on and used as background before. Yet, this book had something special. The visceral reality of prejudice, violence, and cruelty that became the everyday life of German-Americans comes to vivid life. The author doesn’t scrimp; we get to see the gritty details with no holds barred.

The addition of a healing touch added a nice element to the story at first; in fact, it’s one of the things that attracted me to the book. A little fantasy is always welcome in my historical fiction. Yet, as the story went along, it became more of a burden than a blessing to the story.

I felt like the healing took the story into a different direction than expected; as the second half of the book started, we went in a different direction that didn’t have much to do with healing touch at all. That element of the story was dropped to the wayside and seemed to take precious story time in the beginning that went nowhere.

Despite that one little bump in the road, this book stands as an excellent piece of fiction. Telling an astounding tale of growth and perseverance through adversity, it can’t be paralleled. Even the healing touch aspect added to Hazel’s growth as a person and shaped how she approached the rest of her life decisions. Recommended for its unapologetic look at a dark time in our history and how it shaped the people that experienced it. It’s a tale that will suck you in!

Monday, August 8, 2016

REVIEW: Between Two Fires by Mark Noce

Between Two Fires
by Mark Noce

Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Page Count: 336
Release Date: August 25, 2016
Format: Kindle ARC

How got: ARC copy from NetGalley

First attention getter: setting


From GoodReads:

Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales' last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King. But the fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen becomes the target of assassination attempts and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan, her world threatens to tear itself apart.

Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.

Reminiscent of classics like The Mists of Avalon and A Game of Thrones, and newer popular titles like Hild, Branwen's story combines elements of mystery and romance with Noce's gift for storytelling.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 3

My attention was first drawn by the setting; Dark Ages Wales stands out as unique. I’ve been reading a large number of historical fictions set in this era, just across the border in Saxon Britain, lately. So a book set in Wales caught my attention. Yet, this one turned out just mediocre with an intriguing story but a lackluster romance and setting attempt.

Fractured Welsh kingdoms against a united Saxon army makes for gripping reading. The politics between the various factions as seen through Branwen’s eyes kept me engaged. The Welsh division into tribes and smaller kingdoms would plague them throughout history in other situations as well, always to their detriment. To see it in the Dark Ages when Rome had left and chaos descended was like a window in an ever going saga of division and strife. I’m not sure if the actual history behind this tale is sound or not, but if so, it’s a fascinating look at a time when Wales was strong as one for once.

I felt Branwen’s character was an interesting choice to view the whole situation through as a woman’s place in the Dark Ages was such a precarious one. It sounds like some hold out of the Celtic respect for women and their roles held over, but the strict patriarchal hold of Christianity was starting to develop.

Yet, Branwen as a person herself, I was lukewarm to. She and Artagan came off as too perfect, a flaw I seem to see on the rise in fiction (at least the titles I’m coming across lately). Their perfect personalities got on my nerves. Their relationship lacked any fire for me, probably because I didn’t care for them as individuals in the slightest. The misunderstanding/assumption trope also reared its ugly head in their relationship. Some simple conversations would have smoothed out some of the drama easily.

I can see where the author strives to incorporate bits of history into his story. Some of the names like one of the Saxon kings mentioned and marriage alliances with the Picts ring true; I’ve actually come across Penda in other books I’ve read this year, taking place in this era. Some of the societal norms ring true as well.

Yet, the author seems to incorporate terminology and phrasing way out of touch with the times. Using terms more comfortable in the Middle Ages rather than the Dark was rattling. There were also turns of phrase or wording more at home in the modern era than Celtic Wales. The setting became very vague, reading medieval than Dark Ages and vice versa.

Flat characterizations and vague historical details drag this book down. The story of a group of nation states coming together to face a common enemy make this book readable, but it’s kept from true stardom. I couldn’t get behind our main heroine or her relationship. All in all, this is a middle of the road book; a good one to kill time with but not one to seek out specifically.

Note: Book received for free from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

REVIEW: Above and Beyond by Jessica James

Above and Beyond
by Jessica James

Publisher: Patriot Press
Page Count: 205
Release Date: August 15, 2013
Format: Kindle

How got: personal buy; via Amazon

First attention getter: liked author's previous work


From GoodReads:

Another timeless Civil War novel by award-winning historical fiction author Jessica James.

A romantic tale of two people thrown together by war, and torn apart by Destiny.

Confederate spy Sarah Duvall risks all to help cavalry officer Douglas Benton escape from the Yankees. Will his love be enough to bring her back? Or will a promise he made keep them apart forever?

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 3

Like this author’s other work I’ve read, she still knows how to tell a dramatic and emotional tale. The reader is sucked in despite the pitfalls and down sides to the book. I zoomed through inside 24 hours, even despite being at work for 9 hours of the day; it was that engrossing.

The author keeps her skills at historical setting and details sharp. The harshness of battle and its effects see thorough exploration, not being softened for her readers. The tension of a territory constantly changing hands during such a harsh war comes through clearly. Sarah’s situation being caught between two sides makes the reader empathize with her and her struggle.

As I mentioned, the emotional draw for this novel doesn’t let up. Despite some other drawbacks interwoven with this aspect of the book, I still found myself crying, smiling, and feeling rage at all the appropriate places. The author has a real talent for drawing her readers into the story and never letting them go. Not every writer can do this. Ms. James has a special talent at it.

Now for those drawbacks… First off are our two main leads. They’re likable enough so that I can relate to them and be invested in their relationship (see emotional draw paragraph above). However, they are far too perfect. Constantly described as such, the reader is hit by a 2x4 in how many times this point is stressed. Brave, strong, gorgeous, pure, dignified, angelic… I mean, really?! Nobody is this perfect. And the point is driven home at least every other page…

I also felt the ending was drawn out far too long. We had the fantastic, suspenseful story going strong, like a runaway train on a downward grade. Climax hits, and the audience holds its breathe in anticipation of a great resolution. Then we get this book’s ending. The book drags its feet in giving us the closing scene, going from scene to scene expounding on how perfect our leads are and how they don’t feel like they deserve each other. It’s enough to make me grind my teeth in exasperation.

The book excels in setting and emotional draw, even despite the character and ending drawbacks. Yet, ending the book on such a note is a big bummer as that’s the closing the reader is left with. I was also glad to see these characters leave my reading experience. I might have loved their romance, but the people themselves would not have been people I’d like to know in real life. Read for the emotions if nothing else, though. Those are powerful and suspenseful enough.

Monday, August 1, 2016

REVIEW: Love in Exile by Ayse Kulin

Love in Exile
by Ayse Kulin

Publisher: Amazon
Page Count: 373
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Format: Trade Paperback

How got: ARC from publisher

First attention getter: forbidden love storyline


From GoodReads:

Sabahat, a beautiful young Muslim woman, is known in her family for her intelligence, drive, and stubbornness. She believes there is more in store for her life than a good marriage and convinces her parents to let her pursue her education, rare for young Turkish women in the 1920s. But no one—least of all Sabahat herself—expects that in the course of her studies she will fall for a handsome Armenian student named Aram.

After precious moments alone together, their love begins to blossom. Try as she might to simplify her life and move on, Sabahat has no choice but to follow her heart’s desire. But Aram is Christian, and neither family approves.

With only hope to guide their way, they defy age-old traditions, cross into dangerous territory, and risk everything to find their way back to each other. One of Turkey’s most beloved authors brings us an evocative story of two star-crossed lovers inspired by her own family’s history.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - none

I found myself extremely disappointed in this book, enough that I had to DNF @ page 101. It got to the point that I dreaded picking up the book; I even dreaded just the mere thought of the book. A part was I was just bored with it, but I had such high expectations that when they crashed and burned, I was bummed.

The story of a forbidden love between an Armenian boy and Muslim girl in a 1920s Turkey going through so much societal change and revolution is storytelling gold. The fact that it came from the author’s personal family history is just butter on top. Being so close to the past Armenian genocide (in which our male lead lost family) and in a Muslim county trying to find a balance between Western culture and Eastern values, this story carried tons of potential.

The author at least shined in the setting department. We get an intimate look at the family dynamics of a Muslim family in flux, going through drastic changes in their society and values system. The lush world of Islamic Turkey with a mixture of Christianity made for interesting reading.

Unfortunately, the author didn’t take full advantage of the book’s potential, giving us a muddle of too many characters and a choppy writing style.

The slew of characters is the main thing that got me. I could have understood the full range of family members for Sabahat and Aram; after all, they all have a bearing on how these two develop as individuals and how their relationship would grow or not.

However, when you get to a whole new family only remotely connected with Sabahat by a historical family origin place, I lost myself. I’m sure that given time or further story-telling, it would have become clear how everyone was connected. But I’m already lost in all the names so I couldn’t personally hold out to that point.

The way the story was divided up also threw me. Sabahat’s and Aram’s story was told in a chunk in the beginning. Then we cut away to the different family with all new people, family dynamics, and history. Maybe if things had been interwoven from the beginning, this sudden cut would have been easier to swallow. I don’t know. That sudden break is why I lost interest so quickly; since I was starting to get invested into our lovebird’s story, coming to completely different characters was hard.

To me, this book was full of misguided hope and broken expectations. It started out strong with a great setting and world-building. The story of forbidden love between our leads started to engage me. Yet, the author made a sharp veer into a new story and family with no warning. This lost my interest quick and made me dread trying to dive back in. So I didn’t. This book may work for another individual, but not me, it’s not enjoyable at all the way it’s written.

Note: Book received for free from a GR giveaway in exchange for an honest review.