They called him Mickey Free. His kidnapping started the longest war in American history, and both sides--the Apaches and the white invaders--blamed him for it. A mixed-blood warrior who moved uneasily between the worlds of the Apaches and the American soldiers, he was never trusted by either but desperately needed by both. He was the only man Geronimo ever feared. He played a pivotal role in this long war for the desert Southwest from its beginning in 1861 until its end in 1890 with his pursuit of the renegade scout, Apache Kid. ~Goodreads Blurb
Instead of glossing over the various shades of humanity and presenting characters in the a simplistic black and white, good versus evil, format, Author Paul Andrew Hutton, has done exactly the opposite of that. Hutton has managed to squeeze every drop of his research into a condensed 424 pages in order to explain a thirty year war between the United states settlers and the Apache people. The detail and depth that Hutton combines in order to not only display a few chosen historical figures but a wide range, shows Hutton’s dedication to avoiding a classic pitfall of historical nonfiction writers. Where most writers would have simplified characters down to the classic “noble cowboy” versus “savage native” trope Hutton takes the time and the pages to show the horrors perpetrated by both sides.
While the sheer volume of details and facts may be off putting to some readers, I found that it enabled me to immerse myself into the past, with much more ease. The narrative style also made it easier to read instead of the standard textbook style that many fall into. There also is not much in the way of glossing over the misdeeds of both sides and if you prefer your history to be more PG than this may not be the best book for you.
*This Book was provided by BloggingForBooks and Broadway Books in exchange for honest feedback*
What explains our current obsession with selfies? In I Love My Selfie noted cultural critic Ilan Stavans explores the selfie's historical and cultural roots by discussing everything from Greek mythology and Shakespeare to Andy Warhol, James Franco, and Pope Francis. He sees selfies as tools people use to disguise or present themselves as spontaneous and casual. This collaboration includes a portfolio of fifty autoportraits by the artist ADÁL; he and Stavans use them as a way to question the notion of the self and to engage with artists, celebrities, technology, identity, and politics. Provocative and engaging, I Love My Selfie will change the way readers think about this unavoidable phenomenon of twenty-first-century life. ~Goodreads Blurb
This is definitely an interesting take on Selfies and their place within our culture. Though it reads like a dissertation, and can seem overwhelming in parts, author Ilans Stavans’ skill as a writer comes through and seeks to illuminate what he sees as the role of selfies, not only in the present world but beyond that. I enjoyed the ability of someone in an educational field to not just simplify the selfie-drive as pure vanity or hubris. Too often media tells the public that to take a selfie is to proclaim yourself better than the world, instead of the view that I took from Stavans’ book, that we are simply capture what we would like our life to look like.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Duke University Press Books in exchange for honest feedback*
The Invisible Hand is about a boy, Sam, who has just started life at a boarding school and finds himself able to travel back in time to medieval Scotland. There he meets a girl, Leana, who can travel to the future, and the two of them become wrapped up in events in /Macbeth/, the Shakespeare play, and in the daily life of the school. The book is the first part of a series called Shakespeares Moon. Each book is set in the same boarding school but focuses on a different Shakespeare play.~Goodreads Blurb
Though it wasn’t very long, I found myself having to take extra time with James Hartley’s new series opener “The Invisible Hand.” With less than 200 pages I expected to be able to flip through it in an evening. If I had, I’m sure I would have been left very confused. Not only is there a flipping between very different settings and times, but there also is a story within a story. The author seems to be going for the Shakespeare iconic play-within-a-play. What originally appears to be dreams soon takes a turn into a sort of body jumping between times or storylines. At times that storyline seems to be a bit haphazard and not everything is wrapped up as nicely as I would prefer. For the first in a series, it did it’s job of drawing you into Hartley’s new world but I’m not sure I personally will be picking up the second one in a hurry. It’s not badly written, I would simply say that needing to read a book through twice in order to understand it, isn't my cup of tea.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Lodestone Books in exchange for honest feedback*
Note From the Publisher:James was born in Heswall, on the Wirral, England, on a rainy Thursday in 1973. He´s lived in Singapore, Oman, Scotland, Thailand, Libya, Syria, Ireland, France and Germany during his forty-odd years on the planet and has worked as a journalist, waiter, childminder and dishwasher. He lives in Madrid, Spain, with his wife and two children and teaches English.
On the day of a late spring storm, in Chicago, Autumn Manning boarded an “L” train. A bomb explodes, killing everyone in the train car except for Autumn—the sole survivor. A year has passed and Autumn suffocates under a blanket of what ifs and the pressing desire to bring the victims back to life, every day, if only for her. She doesn’t want their stories to be forgotten. She wants to undo what cannot be undone. An unexpected ally joins her efforts, also seeking answers and trying to find a way to stumble ahead.
But one victim’s husband, Paul Elliott, prays to let the dead—and their secrets—rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to hurt his loved ones.
Caught between loss and hope, these restless souls must release the past to embrace a sovereign God.~Goodreads Blurb
After a horrifying experience, living through a bombing of her train, Autumn Manning has all the trademark signs of survivor’s guilt. Instead of pushing through it and finding a new appreciation for life, she is stuck in the past trying to find as much as she can about the people who weren’t as lucky as she was. It’s through this shared search for answers that she meets the daughter of one of the victims. Typically I don’t read a lot of faith based romances simply because I don’t find myself connecting to them. “Life After” was very well written and it follows in a very clear way, the journey from victim trapped in herself to a strength that she finds in faith and herself. With enough emotional twists to engage her readers, Author Katie Ganshert has created a story that not only addresses the impact that trauma can have on a person but also its effect on a family and the path it takes to move beyond what’s happened.
*This book was provided by BloggingForBooks in exchange for honest feedback*
Katie (K.E.) Ganshert was born and raised in the exciting state of Iowa, where she currently resides with her family. She likes to write things and consume large quantities of coffee and chocolate while she writes all the things. She’s won some awards. For the writing, not the consuming. Although the latter would be fun. You can learn more about K.E. Ganshert and these things she writes at her website www.katieganshert.com.
Josefine Sonnenthal has it all under control. A successful lawyer with a sensible fiancé and big plans for marriage and children, she is sure that everything in her life is going according to plan.
But without a very important family ring—one that may possess mystical powers to doom or bless Josefine’s impending marriage—there will be no wedding. And that’s why she finds herself on a plane heading to Scotland with her two eccentric great aunts, desperately searching for a wayward cousin who holds the coveted heirloom.
When Josefine finds herself in one near-disaster after another along the Highlands countryside, she repeatedly crosses paths with the handsome but notoriously moody confectioner, Aidan Murray. Enchanted by her lush new surroundings, she tries to resist his rugged charm, but soon she begins to question everthing. Does having a plan really mean having it all together? Or could this unexpected love be the best plan yet?
Sometimes you just need a bit of an escape. “Kissed by the Rain” was just what I needed after a few heavier books in my reading list. Who doesn’t like a nice love story with a lovely Scottish baker? With a strong female lead, and a series of events that force our two lovebirds together, Claudia Winters latest romance novel is familiar in a comforting way. If you enjoyed Leap Year than this will seem similar to you. But instead of simply chasing after a fiance, Winters gives us a pair of feisty aunts, a magical ring, and a whole slew of characters that help wrap up the whole story. I enjoyed that it wasn’t simply a love story but also a family story with just enough of a cozy storyline to move everything along. It was light and fluffy and just what I needed to cleanse my palate for the next few dark mystery novels I have lined up. There is even a couple of recipes at the end that look delicious.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and AmazonCrossing in exchange for honest feedback*
Claudia Winter has been writing since childhood. She has previously published two romantic comedies, a crime novel, and several short stories. She works as an author, editor, and writer's coach, as well as a certified specialist in social pedagogy at an elementary school. Winter lives with her partner and two dogs in a small town in Germany.
Tania O’Donnell takes the reader on a journey from medieval Courtly Love, through to the sexual license of the Restoration, and Victorian propriety. Pick up historical ‘dating tips,’ from how to court (or be courted), write romantic love letters, give and receive gifts, propose and pose as a sighing swain.
The book takes a historical approach to the problem of finding a mate, with case studies of classic romantic mistakes and plenty of unusual tales. In the 14th century young men tried to impress the ladies with their footwear, donning shoes with pointed toes so long that they had to be secured with whalebone—presumably because size mattered!
A History of Courtship is an entertaining and enlightening look at seduction over the centuries.~Goodreads Blurb
Starting off by titling your book “800 Years of Seduction,” you are promising the readers a great deal of information. Instead readers of this particular book are left with a series of little bits of information from a mainly European, and predominantly United Kingdom view on seduction. While there a plethora of information gleaned from other books and several different sources are given out throughout the text, there seems to be very little real flow to the book.
If the book was able to focus on any one segment of time and be able to give details, and perhaps use a bit of narrative to give readers a focus point, it would have promise. As it is, promising 800 years worth of history with only 176 pages, both leaves the reader with not enough detail and too much jumping around. This book would be suitable for a light read and I would recommend looking at some of the references that author Tania O’Donnell has written about throughout if this is a subject that intrigues you.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing in exchange for honest feedback*
The daughter of a Torah scholar in eighteenth-century Ukraine, Gittel has always accepted her place in a family steeped in religion. Married at age twelve to a cold and reclusive rabbi, the young bride gives birth to two sons destined to follow their father’s path. Finding very little comfort in family life, Gittel shares her dreams, visions, and a close spiritual understanding with her only confidant: her father-in-law, the Maggid of Mezeritch.
When Gittel loses those close to her one by one, she decides to leave her old life behind, including her sons, to set out on a lonesome and perilous journey to Jerusalem. Will she sacrifice everything in pursuit of the dream of her youth?~Goodreads Blurb
Sometimes writing a review is harder than reading the book and simply talking about the book. This is one of those books that really refuses to be pigeon-holed. At only 107 pages, I had expected to be able to rip through it and bang out a review in one night. Instead it has taken me a good two weeks and I’m still not sure that I’ll be doing a great enough service to this book. It has a strange twisting ability to sneak into your head and cause you to slow down.
With many religious and inspirational stories, when a character describes a vision there is almost a 2D filter that falls over it to make it simple and plain to the reader. Author Smadar Herzfeld steps away from that common method. Her descriptions of the visions and the spiritual struggles of main character Gittel reads almost like a fever dream that the reader has been sucked into to experience it along with her. That combined with the forward and back flipping through time and place can leave the reader confused momentarily. This begs the reader to pause and absorb what Herzfeld is saying and perhaps to read it again. As previously stated it is rather short, and it can be read in an evening but to understand the story it may take longer than that. A well written story with a strong female character who puts aside her entire life to do what she feels called to do, Trail of Miracles is well worth the time.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and AmazonCrossing in exchange for honest feedback.*
Born in in Tel Aviv, Smadar Herzfeld initially came to Jerusalem to work with underprivileged children. She is the founder of 62, a boutique publishing house that specializes in books on women and religion. Herzfeld, who writes about characters with strong spiritual and religious beliefs, has penned four novels and a book of poetry. Her novel God Isn’t Me won the Jerusalem Foundation Award. The mother of two adopted sons from Vietnam, Herzfeld lives in Jerusalem. Learn more at www.publishers62.co.il.
The Great Fire has reduced London to smouldering embers. From the ashes, thief taker Charlie Tuesday is drawn to investigate a string of strange murders. Mutilated corpses are washing up at Deptford, each marked with a dire astrological prediction. But only London’s best crime-solver realises the killer’s deadly offerings will soon unleash a devastating force on England.
With the help of Lily Boswell, a gypsy street-girl with a knife and a grudge, Charlie must find the killer and put a stop to the murders. And by doing so, the Thief Taker will find the man whose terrible destiny is entwined with his, their fates written in the dark stars…~Goodreads Blurb
I don’t typically read books out of order. I find that usually you miss bits and pieces that make up the characters. Drawn in by the cover and the promise of adventure that the blurb had, I made an exception to the rule. I am so glad that I did. Easy to jump into and with enough explanation of our heroes’ previous adventures to get the gist, Dark Stars was a blast. A fun read with some historical background mixed with a good murder mystery, I was hooked. I’m going to have to go back and read the first two books, but if they are held to the same standard I know I’ll have no problem getting into them.
The story does tend to end the chapters on hooks and then repeat themselves when they pick up again. This may simply be a creative choice that I’m not to keen on, but it doesn’t detract from the story. Author C.S. Quinn takes us through Restoration London, just before a massive lunar eclipse. Following clues from their personal history and things they earn along the way our two heroes are facing more than just a killer. Being able to not only see through the heroes’ eyes but also the killer, left me trying to connect the dots within the killer’s mind. Adventure, Murder Mystery, with a side of psycho-analyzing...it’s what makes me happy.
I would recommend this book, and probably the series, to readers who enjoyed The Hangman’s Daughter series, The Robert Langdon mysteries, and even Miss Fisher’s Mysteries. The fun and easy escapism of Quinn’s novel makes this the perfect book to take on a trip, or simply sit and devour in an evening as I did. *Received eBook from NetGalley in exchange for honest review*
C.S. Quinn is a travel and lifestyle journalist for The Times, The Guardian and The Mirror, alongside many magazines. Prior to this, Quinn's background in historic research won prestigious postgraduate funding from the British Art Council. Quinn pooled these resources, combining historical research with first-hand experiences in far-flung places to create The Thief Taker's London.
When Claudette Bourvil is recruited to the French Resistance the last thing she expects is that she will be sent to work in the heart of Paris to spy on senior Nazi officers.
Claudette learns how to survive in a city ravaged by war, where the citizens are murdered on the whim of the occupying force. Constantly under threat of discovery, and in danger of losing her life, Claudette risks everything when she falls in love with the wrong man, the worst kind of man.
Over seventy years later, in rural Oxfordshire, Connie Webber discovers seven letters linked to a famous playwright, Freddy March. The letters will eventually lead her to Paris where she discovers the horrific reason behind Freddy’s life long depression. As his mother’s story unfolds Connie uncovers a dark past that the city has tried to erase from history.~Goodreads Blurb
With a flip back and forth between chapters, the story line moves forward quickly and the reader is drawn into the worlds being revealed. Alternating between the lives of Connie and Claudette, we are thrust into modern day England and WWII Paris. Each one is trying to make their lives, dealing with struggle, love, and mystery. The writing style is lovely and would make for an easy transition to film. The subject matter in the WWII chapters is hard to face, but historically accurate. It is hard to understand how women could have survived in those situations. It leaves the reader with a moral question, wondering if they would have done the same, or if they could have changed things.
I would recommend this book for people who enjoyed Sarah’s Key, The Nightingale, Finding Rebecca, or Paris Time Capsule. The historical side is taken quite seriously yet never turns into a lecture or speech. The mystery wasn’t solvable in the first few chapters as I feared. I was surprised that this was first novel, it was very enjoyable and I am looking forward to reading more from author, Jan Harvey. Thank yous to NetGalley and Troubador Publishing’s branch Matador for allowing me to read this one so close to publishing date.
The Goodreads blurb about the author:Jan Harvey is an artist and author based in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. She is a tutor in creative writing, drawing and painting.
The Seven Letters is her first novel and now that it is published she will be working on her second, The French Apartment. Her books are unified by the city of Paris.
In her spare time Jan loves jazz, and likes to relax watching French Films and old black and white movies, particularly if they star Cary Grant.
Jan is married to Paul, she has one son, Max, and an extended family including two beautiful step-granddaughters.
She also owns a very badly behaved Flat-Coated Retriever called Byron.
Ben Jones lives a quiet, hardscrabble life, working as a trucker on Route 117, a little-travelled road in a remote region of the Utah desert which serves as a haven for fugitives and others looking to hide from the world. For many of the desert s inhabitants, Ben's visits are their only contact with the outside world, and the only landmark worth noting is a once-famous roadside diner that hasn t opened in years.
Ben s routine is turned upside down when he stumbles across a beautiful woman named Claire playing a cello in an abandoned housing development. He can tell that she s fleeing something in her past a dark secret that pushed her to the end of the earth but despite his better judgment he is inexorably drawn to her.
As Ben and Claire fall in love, specters from her past begin to resurface, with serious and life-threatening consequences not only for them both, but for others who have made this desert their sanctuary. Dangerous men come looking for her, and as they turn Route 117 upside down in their search, the long-buried secrets of those who've laid claim to this desert come to light, bringing Ben and the other locals into deadly conflict with Claire s pursuers. Ultimately, the answers they all seek are connected to the desert s greatest mystery what really happened all those years ago at the never-open desert diner?
Starting out at a slightly slow clip, The Never-Open Desert Diner is a clever story about the lives of the people who choose to live away from modern life. Their link to the outside world is Ben Jones. As a narrator, Ben is clever and observant. As a protagonist, he seems to be lacking. While the perfect protag is often just as annoying and often borders a “Mary-Sue,” Ben has a tendency to go when he should stop and stop when he should keep moving. This make him frustrating but not horribly so. (Besides the peeing on houses, and peeping at naked cello players.) The internal conflict of trying to be a good man and yet, having some sort of hero complex leading him to try and defend Claire, our mystery woman can confuse the reader but I think it shows a human side to this literary character.
I wouldn’t really consider this a mystery novel, so much as I would call it a humanity piece. I really felt like the characters were whole, each with a backstory that understandably brought them out to that stretch of desert. I would recommend this to people looking for something a little different but very well written. You might not like the ending but like life, some stories end in unexpected ways. With a diverse cast of characters, and a worthwhile 295 pages, The Never-Open Desert Diner, is luckily getting a second push from Crowne Publishing and I have to thank Blogging For Books for getting this one out to me to review.
James Anderson was born in Seattle, Washington and raised in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. He received his undergraduate degree in American Studies from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and his Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College in Boston Massachusetts.
In 1974, while still an undergraduate, Anderson founded Breitenbush Books, a book publisher specializing in literature and general interest trade titles. From 1974 to 1991 Anderson served as publisher and executive editor. Breitenbush received many awards for its books, including three Western States Book Awards, juried by Robert Penn Warren, Elizabeth Hardwick, N. Scott Momaday, Jonathan Galassi, Jorie Graham, Denise Levertov, William Kittredge and others. Notable authors published include Mary Barnard, Bruce Berger, Clyde Rice, Naomi Shihab Nye, Michael Simms, William Greenway, John Stoltenberg, Sam Hamill and Gary Miranda.
From 1995 to 2002 Anderson co-produced documentary films, including Tara’s Daughters, narrated by Susan Sarandon. The film, which won Best Documentary at the New York Film Festival, chronicled the plight of Tibetan women refugees as carriers of Tibetan culture in the diaspora.
Freelance Editor & Reviewer