Review: The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

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I must admit, I don’t read many books with a circus as the setting.  So I guess you could say this one was a bit of a stretch for me.  Still, it’s historical fiction which is my favorite genre so…

Two women thrown together in the unlikeliest of circumstances.  Young Noa finds herself cast out and alone after a one night stand with a Nazi solder leaves her pregnant and a disgrace to her family.  Astrid finds herself in the same situation after her marriage ends.  They both find their way to the circus.  Astrid has been here before.  She did, after all, grow up as the child of circus performers.  For Noa, it’s all strange and scary.  But she has to protect not only herself but the young baby she’s caring for.  Both women have much to lose.

This is a story of friendship, of love and loss.  It’s a story of hardship and resilience.  But most of all, it’s a story you won’t soon forget.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Orphan’s Tale

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Review: All That Makes Life Bright by Josi S. Kilpack


I’ll admit, I had no idea who Harriet Beecher Stowe was before I picked up this book. Thank you, Google, for enlightening me. Once I started reading, I realized that this was not the usual fictional account of her entire life, but more of her life as a mother and wife.

Harriet wanted to be a writer, but when she finds herself a mom of three children under the age of 2, it’s more than she can handle. At first I was a little mad at her for not “stepping up” and being a mom first, but the more I read, the more I realized that she was doing the best she could. And when she could do no more, her body gave up for a while and she was forced to step back and relinquish her duties and recoup. Times were different back then. You were “supposed” to do it all and not complain, but I bet there were many struggling just like her, but were too afraid to do anything about it.

Her marriage was again, just like many marriages at the time. The man expected to walk in and the house be clean and food on the table, but without having to do any of the household duties. As I was reading, I wanted to ring Calvin’s neck for not helping, but then I had to remember the times were different. But, I will say that after a while he stepped up and did what needed to be done, in order to have a healthy wife and a happy family.

This was not my usual romance, in the sense that they were already married. I felt this story was more than about love, it was about life, real life. This touched me very deeply. I, as with many moms out there, struggle with finding a balance being a wife and mother while not losing our own identities. Harriet struggled with that greatly. Watching her was like looking in a mirror. Or better yet, being a fly on my wall, when my children were toddlers.

~Melpomene

Buy All That Makes Life Bright http://amzn.to/2wOBRUZ

Review: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

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Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks.  When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.

Most of us are familiar with that eerie little rhyme, maybe not being completely aware of the meaning.  Some of us even know the story behind it, knowing that it’s based on a true crime occurring in the late 1800s.  But have you ever wondered about the dynamics behind the family tragedy?

When Lizzie discovers first her father and then her stepmother brutally murdered, everyone immediately feels sympathy and concern for her.  To have witnessed the aftermath of such a gruesome scene surely must have been a shock.  As time goes on, however, events come to light casting doubt on her innocence.  And the family itself surely wasn’t a happy little group.  There’s enough suspicion to go around.  Was it Lizzie?  Or was it the mysterious man sent by her uncle?  Or maybe one of her father’s business associates?

The story weaves itself back and forth between the day of the crime, the days leading up to the murders, and the aftermath.  It’s fascinating for the criminal investigation procedures of the time if nothing else.  The author does a great job of creating an entirely believable story that very well could be the true story behind an unsolved crime.  And it absolutely made me want to read more about it!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  See What I Have Done

 

Review: The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

01ab1 ~Everyone deserves light~

This book…

If you read Tiffany’s The Bourbon Thief, then you’ll recognize a few names and places in this one, but it’s not connected. This story is in a whole other world. The Night Mark has a bit of an Diana Gabaldon feel with a Tiffany twist. Twist is definitely what this does to my heart and soul.

Because the synopsis doesn’t say too much, I won’t say much either. What I will say is that Tiffany Reisz has jumped up another notch in my eyes. This story was pure magic. She creates a world like no other.

I realize time travel isn’t possible, but what if it was? If you were hurting so much would you make the choice to leave this world behind? I was so brokenhearted hearing about Faye’s suffering. There’s been one thing after another with her. I’m surprised she’s still standing. When she discovers a way to be happy, but it’s not in this life, she’s willing to do anything in order to find it and keep it.

This book is about love. This book is about pain. This book is about letting the light in and praying that it heals the soul. If you’re in the mood for an epic romance that will have you twisting in your seat as you read, then I think this book will make you happy. Go in with an open mind and an open heart. And don’t read any spoilers. 🙂 In fact, I think this book will be in my Top 10 of 2017. It was that magical and beautiful.

“You know a man by his heart. You know a lighthouse by its beacon.”

~Melpomene

Buy The Night Mark HERE

Review: The Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack

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“Love comes from the connection of souls.”

This type of story is probably the most difficult for me to read, in the sense that I know it’s fiction, but it’s based on real life. I’ve heard of Sir Walker Scott, but I really don’t know who he is. Does that make sense? When I sat down I braced myself for heartache. Last year I read another story by Josi and was left completely gutted. I knew she was going to do it again, and I was right.

SYNOPSIS
One is his first love.
The other is his best love.
Which will be Walter’s true love?

Walter Scott has three passions: Scotland, poetry, and Mina Stuart. Though she is young and they are from different stations in society, Walter is certain their love is meant to be. For years, he has courted her through love letters. She is the sunshine of his soul.

Though Mina shares Walter’s love of literature and romantic temperament, it’s hard for her to know if she truly loves him or if she has only been dazzled by his flattery. When she meets the handsome and charming William Forbes, her heart is challenged. Who will she choose?

But as every poet knows, “the course of true love never did run smooth,” and on a windy morning in the lake country, Walter meets Charlotte.

At twenty-six, Charlotte Carpenter believes she will never find love. After all, she is a Catholic-born Frenchwoman living in London with a family history shadowed by scandal. Though quiet, practical, and determined to live a life of independence, her heart longs for someone to love her and a place to call home.

Passion and promises collide as Walter, Mina, and Charlotte must each decide the course for their futures. What are they each willing to risk to find love and be loved in return?

Let me tell you, Walter stole my heart. He was so romantic and normally I’m not into mushy gushy romance, but this made me weep with happiness. And of course, sadness and frustration at times.

Walter fell for Mina so fast it made his head spin. I think she was a bit too young to understand what love really was, so she wasn’t fully prepared to open her heart to him. He wanted to be loved by her but she just frustrated him, and me, if I’m being honest. He deserved better. No one should have their hearts ripped out like she did to his.

He deserved Charlotte. Charlotte was simple. She wanted independence. She wanted love and happiness. When she meets Walter she expected them to be just acquaintances or even friends, but no more. After all, they come from two totally different worlds. In her eyes, she could never marry someone like him, or even be welcomed into his family. Walter may not have a ton of money, but he was willing to do what it took to secure himself and a bride, whenever he found one. And he eventually found one in Charlotte.

Walter needed to find a way past his hurt and open his heart to love. While it wasn’t smooth sailing for this couple, love found a way.

I can’t wait to see what story Josi is going to kill me with next.

~Melpomene

Buy The Lady of the Lakes HERE

Review: From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

sand This book. Epic, emotional, real, powerful, romantic and moving. Writing a review has me in tears all over again. This book is gonna blow you guys out of the water. It’s been ages since I’ve been fully engulfed in a world that is so real and painful and yet my heart held on to hope. Gah! Buy this beautiful story and read it with a box of tissues, and maybe even a stress ball. 🙂

I admit I know very little of world history. What snippets I can recall I get from tv or movies. I know what happened in 1943, but yet I only know a little bit. This story opened up a whole new aspect, of this time, that left me speechless and devastated. The last time I read a book of this magnitude was The Bronze Horseman. This book was just as epic. This book transported me to a time in which I cringe when I think of it. The atrocities that happened. The heartache that happened. The overwhelming evil that creeped in and touched everything. My heart hurts with this knowledge.

But with all the pain comes love. Love that held tight and wouldn’t let go. Love so powerful it made me heart race and caused my breath to stop.

Eva and Angelo’s relationship over the years was an all consuming love. No matter what happened, or what situation they found themselves in, in the end it was all about love. If they were terrified, all they had to do was think about each other and they would find a way through it.

“My faith is being drowned by my fear for you.”

I found myself on the edge of my seat quite often. As you can see from my updates, this book knocked me for a loop.

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Oh my gosh. My simple words can’t portray how much this book has left an imprint on me. I think about it almost daily, since I’ve read it. My heart weeps at the loss of a generation but at the same time at the courageousness of the people. And the love. The unyielding love. Read this book.

~Melpomene

Buy From Sand and Ash http://amzn.to/2gM7PWP

Review: The Memory of Things by Gail Polisner

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For people over a certain age, it’s hard to remember a time when September 11 wasn’t part of our shared history. We’ll never forget where we were that fateful Tuesday morning fifteen years ago. But for younger people, it’s been relegated to an event found in history books. That’s why books like this one are so important.

When that first plane hit, Kyle was sitting in class just like any normal teenager. It soon become clear, however, that this was more than just an accident. Released from school, making his way home across the Brooklyn Bridge, he comes across something. At first glance, a bird. But upon closer inspection, a girl covered in ash and wearing a pair of feathery wings. And was she trying to jump off the bridge? Nevertheless, he saves her from herself, from the crowd of people walking across the bridge, from the chaos that ensued in those first days.

When he gets home, he realizes that she has no idea who she is and no memory of what happened. So this becomes his focus while at the same time trying to manage in such a time of tragedy. His mom and sister are stuck on the west coast. He doesn’t know where his police officer dad is or if he’s even still alive. And his Uncle Matt needs constant care after a tragic accident months ago. All this falls on Kyle’s young shoulders.

This is such a beautifully written story. Kyle’s story is our main one, with the girl’s voice told in poetic bits and pieces interspersed throughout. There’s a lot going on-fear of the unknown, a confusing teen romance, family dynamics, and just pure resilience. An excellent pick for both young and old!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Memory of Things