[Book Review] An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry

An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry

[Book Review] An Echo of Murder: A William Monk Novel by Anne Perry

One day last fall, this book just showed up in my mailbox. Best day ever, right? I’m assuming it came from the publisher, but I’m not sure? So, thank you to the mystery sender! I hope you enjoy my book review of An Echo of Murder: A William Monk Novel by Anne Perry. And feel free to send me books any time you want to!

Blurb:

“In this riveting new William Monk novel, Anne Perry delves into the diverse population of Victorian London, whose disparate communities force Monk to rethink his investigative techniques—lest he be caught in the crosshairs of violent bigotry.

In the course of his tenure with the Thames River Police, Commander Monk has yet to see a more gruesome crime scene: a Hungarian warehouse owner lies in the middle of his blood-sodden office, pierced through the chest with a bayonet and eerily surrounded by seventeen candles. Suspecting the murder may be rooted in ethnic prejudice, Monk turns to London’s Hungarian community in search of clues but finds his inquiries stymied by its wary citizens and a language he doesn’t speak. Only with the help of a local pharmacist acting as translator can Monk hope to penetrate this tightly knit enclave, even as more of its members fall victim to identical brutal murders. But whoever the killer, or killers, may be—a secret society practicing ritual sacrifice, a madman on a spree, a British native targeting foreigners—they are well hidden among the city’s ever-growing populace.

With the able assistance of his wife—former battlefield nurse Hester, who herself is dealing with a traumatized war veteran who may be tangled up in the murders—Monk must combat distrust, hostility, and threats from the very people he seeks to protect. But as the body count grows, stirring ever greater fear and anger among the Hungarian émigrés, resistance to the police also increases. Racing time and the rising tide of terror all around him, Monk must be even more relentless than the mysterious killer, or the echoes of malice and murder will resound through London’s streets like a clarion of doom.”

 

My Book Review:

I haven’t read a murder mystery in a long time, so I enjoyed this fun change of pace. As a reader, I thoroughly enjoyed delving back into Victorian London and learning about the Hungarian population there. Monk and his wife Hester seem like they’re very good for each other. It would be difficult to be a detective, especially when a murder is so gruesome. Consequently, having a good support system around you would be a necessity.

Along with the murder mystery comes the story of Crow and Will. Will is the adopted son of Monk and Hester, and he is one of my favorite characters. Will works as an apprentice for Crow, who is a doctor in a clinic. When they need a translator, Will finds Fitz, and he turns out to be quite helpful. I liked both Crow and Fitz as well. They work well together, and it’s fun to see Will learn and gain more responsibility.

At first, all the different characters confused me, but it didn’t take long to figure it out. I liked the writing style and thought it flowed well, was easy to read and understand, and did a good job of grabbing hold of your attention. Ms. Perry developed the characters very well. Although each has a hint of mystery with an uncertain past, I thought that added to the story. The title, An Echo of Murder, fits the story well. It doesn’t smack you in the face, but it doesn’t take a long time to figure out either.

I kept changing my mind about who I thought committed the murder, which is a sign of a good writer. There was a bit of a twist at the end, which made figuring it all out more difficult. I enjoyed this book a lot; it made me remember how much I enjoy reading mysteries.  

 

Content Rating PG-13+Rating: PG-13 + (There’s some profanity, and although there aren’t any “intimacy” scenes, there are a few innuendos and things are implied.  There is a little bit of violence, but the thing that warrants the higher rating is that the murder scenes are quite graphic and gruesome.)

Age Recommendation: 16 years-old and up

Rated 4/5 Stars

4 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten  The Last September by Nina de Gramont
 
 

12 Amazing World War 2 Books You Can’t Put Down

12 Amazing WWll Books You Can't Put Down

12 Amazing World War 2 Books

Today I thought I’d switch things up a bit!
(I know, it’s unlike me…spring fever maybe??)
 
 

My 12 Favorite World War 2 Books

Here are my 12 favorite Wold War 2 Books. Some of them are nonfiction and some of them are fiction; I like both–I can’t help it!
(I didn’t put them in any particular order…Click on the Picture to Read My Review)
 
1. All The Light We Cannot See
by
Anthony Doerr
 
 
2. The Boys in the Boat
by
Daniel James Brown
 
 
3.  The Monuments Men
by
Robert M. Edsel
 
(Ok, this may not have been my favorite book, but the story of what these men did was amazing.)
 
 
4. The Book Thief
by
Markus Zusak
the book thief by markus zusak
 
5.  Unbroken
by
Laura Hillenbrand
 
6.  A Woman’s Place
by
Lynn Austin
 
7.  The Diary of Anne Frank
by
Anne Frank
 
(I have read this book several times, but not since I started my blog -gasp!- so I don’t have a review….I’ll need to get on that!)
 
 
8.  The Hiding Place
by
Corrie Ten Boom
 
 
9.  Man’s Search For Meaning
by
Viktor E. Frankl
 
(I have also read and loved this book, but I have not reviewed it….yet!)
 
 
10. When The Emperor Was Divine
by
Julie Otsuka
 
(I didn’t love this book, but it was VERY eye-opening.)
 
 
11.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
by
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
 
12.  The Nightingale
by
Kristin Hannah
the nightingale by kristin hannah
 
Each of these World War 2 books highlights a different aspect of World War 2. Some of them are fiction and some of them are nonfiction, but whether it is true or not, each brings a different piece of the war to light. There are people in internment camps, people trying to hide Jews in their homes, and a Japanese-American family inside an internment camp here in the United States. There is a story about what the women in the United States did at home during the war and how they helped the efforts, and there’s a story of how the war affected a little girl and her family in Germany.
 
I have laughed, cried, gotten angry, and learned so much as I have read these books. I hope they touch you as they have touched me.
 
Do you have any other favorite World War 2 books? Comment below, I’d love to read them!
Happy Reading!
~Monica 
 

This post was originally published on 3/31/16; updated on 2/15/18.

[Book Review] The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

[Book Review] The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

My girls’ elementary school decided to read The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks for their “One School. One Book.” program this year. I was super excited because I’ve been meaning to read it to them for awhile anyway. It was one of the first books I read to my boys when they were little, but for some reason I haven’t read it to my girls yet. Since I read it with them I decided I might as well review it!

Blurb:

“It’s Omri’s birthday, but all he gets from his best friend, Patrick, is a little plastic Indian brave. Trying to hide his disappointment, Omri puts the Indian in a metal cupboard and locks the door with a mysterious skeleton key that once belonged to his great-grandmother. Little does Omri know that by turning the key, he will transform his ordinary plastic Indian into a real, live man from an altogether different time and place! Omri and the tiny warrior called Little Bear could hardly be more different, yet soon the two forge a very special friendship. Will Omri be able to keep Little Bear without anyone finding out and taking his precious Indian from him?

My Review:

This is such a fun book; it plays to every kid’s wildest dream! How awesome would it be to put a plastic figure into a cabinet and have it come out alive? When my sister and I were little we dreamed that our Cabbage Patch kids would come to life so we could take care of real babies. Haha! Thankfully it never happened. I love how caring Omri becomes. He risks getting into big trouble in order to do things to help Little Bear. His creativity is the best: getting the seed tray for dirt, lighting the tops of matches so Little Bear could have a fire, looking through the toy bin to find the perfect horse and wife. He’s so protective of Little Bear, too. Omri becomes this little parent, and it’s endearing. Patrick drives me crazy at the beginning, but by the end he pulls around.

The writing style of this book makes it great for either a silent read or a read-aloud. My girls are twelve and nine, and they both enjoyed having me read it to them, but could easily read it themselves. The Indian in the Cupboard was published in 1980, so there are a few things that are not quite politically correct now.  Words like “Injun” and “red man” are commonly used. A cowboy comes in at one point, and Little Bear wants to scalp him. I spent quite awhile discussing with my girls how those words are not okay to use anymore. Although it’s a little uncomfortable, it actually provides a very good opening for discussions about race, unkind words, and stereotypes.

I’m so glad that I was able to read The Indian in the Cupboard with my girls. I love that time we get to spend together, and the adventures we get to have. Plus, it allows me to add a review to my list! If you’re looking for a fun read with your kids, or a good silent read, this is a great book for either. One thing I would do, though, if your kids read it silently, is to still have the discussions and talk about the non-p.c. terms used, and how offensive they are now.

Content Rating PGRating: PG (There might be a word or two, but there’s no “intimacy;” there is some minor violence, and some old and non-p.c. terms are used.) 

Age Recommendation: As a silent read, third grade and up, but as a read-aloud, Kindergarten and up.

4 Star Rating

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[Book Review] Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite

Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite

[Book Review] Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite

Blurb:

“Greta loves her job as assistant librarian. She loves her best friend, Will, the high school English teacher. She even loves her mother despite her obvious disappointment that Greta is still single.

Then she meets Mac in the poetry section of the library, and she is smitten. Mac is heart-stoppingly gorgeous and showers her with affection, poetic text messages, and free hot chocolate at the local café where he works. The only problem is that he seems to be a different person in his texts than in his face-to-face conversation.

When the Franklin Library is threatened with closure, Greta leaps into action. She arranges for a ‘battle of the bands’ book jam, hosts a book signing by a famous author, and finally, stages a protest that raises more than a few eyebrows.

Through it all, she slowly realizes that it is Will, not Mac, who she turns to for support and encouragement. Mac has the looks: Will has the heart. How can she choose between them?

Check Me Out is a contemporary romance—with just a hint of Cyrano de Bergerac—that reminds us that it is what’s on the inside that matters most.”

 

My Review:

I liked this book a lot! The main character, Greta, is a librarian, so what’s not to love? She has a great voice in this book; she’s witty, hard working, intelligent, has a great job, and is young and hip. Greta tries hard, even though she sometimes misses the mark a bit (the little stunt she pulls was not my favorite part). I liked how much she loves and cares for the library. Maybe I liked Greta because I think being a librarian would be fun, but in any case, I think she made a great main character.

One thing that drove me crazy about Greta was that she kind of had the Bella from Twilight thing going on with Mac and Will. They both seem like great guys. She needs to choose which features are more important to her, and she definitely has a hard time figuring this out! Will has been her best friend forever. He may not have the looks, but he knows everything about her, and he’s caring and kind. Mac is hot (according to Greta), but he doesn’t quite take care of her like Will does. He’s a good kisser, though, so that makes it a hard choice.

This book is well written, and I enjoyed it.  I like the writing style because it’s easy to read and it flows well. One part of the formatting that I didn’t love were the whole pages filled with text messages. The text messages weren’t difficult to read, in fact, I read those pages quite quickly.  However, I like reading real sentences–you may disagree. In any case, I enjoyed this book.  It’s a fun, entertaining read. There’s even a hint of a mystery, which added a fun twist.

 
 Content Rating PG+

Rating: PG+ (There’s no profanity, no “intimacy,” (except for some kissing), and no violence. There is one part that has a bit of an edge to it. I rated it PG+ because it’s clean, but it’s not recommended for middle graders.)

Age Recommendation: Young Adults (12-18) and up

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright Longing for Home by Sarah M. Eden  Forever and Forever by Josi S. Kilpack
 
 

[Book Review] Potion Masters: The Eternity Elixir (Book #1) by Frank L. Cole

Potion Masters by Frank L. Cole

[Book Review] Potion Masters: The Eternity Elixir (Book #1) by Frank L. Cole

Blurb:

“Twelve-year-old Gordy Stitser is one of the few people who knows the truth about the secret society of potion masters, called Elixirists, whose specialized concoctions have been responsible for three centuries of advancements, including hybrid cars, enhanced military weapons, and the cure for the common cold. Not only is Gordy’s mom on the Board of Ruling Elixirists Worldwide (B.R.E.W.), but she has also been training Gordy in the art of potion-making.
 
Gordy is a natural, and every day he sneaks down to the basement lab to invent new potions using exotic ingredients like fire ant eggs, porcupine quills, and Bosnian tickling juice. One afternoon, Gordy receives a mysterious package containing an extremely rare potion labeled ‘The Eternity Elixir.’ In the right hands, the Elixir continues to protect society. But in the wrong hands, it could destroy the world as we know it. Now, sinister potion masters are on the hunt to steal the Eternity Elixir. It’s up to Gordy, his parents, and his best friends, Max and Adeline, to prevent an all-out potion war.”
 

My Review:

What a fun book! I think it’s almost every kid’s dream to make potions, right? Didn’t we all mix strange concoctions when we were little, hoping in our heart of hearts that it would make our parents forget about chores or bad grades or broken rules? No? So it was just me? Ok, then, moving on…Gordy is a fun character. He is smart (maybe not so much street smart as potion-smart), witty, courageous, and quick thinking. He’s a good friend and a good son. I really like his voice in this book; it feels like your best friend is telling you this outrageous story of what happened to him last weekend. His friends Max and Adeline are great supporting characters. His mom is this super-secretive-awesome lady who is the CIA/FBI of the potion world; I liked her a lot.
 
This book is very creative and unique. I love that you’re reading about this skeleton with a rock head who travels thousands of miles on his own to accomplish his task, and you think that’s normal and totally feasible. It’s great. And the bad guys are definitely bad guys. They’re a little scary with some evil plans. This book is a fast, easy read. It’s quite entertaining, and I enjoyed it a lot. I can’t wait to hand it over to my kiddos, I think they’ll really like it. 
 
 Content Rating PG+

Rating: PG (There’s no profanity, no “intimacy,” and only some minor violence as they fight off the bad guys.)

Age Recommendation: Middle-graders (4th-6th) and up

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Janitors (Book #1) by Tyler Whitesides   Fablehaven (Book #1) by Brandon Mull   Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog's Gold (Book #1) by M.L. Forman
 
 

[Book Review] The Sage Challenger by Chad Rasmussen

The Sage Challenger by Chad Rasmussen

[Book Review] The Sage Challenger by Chad Rasmussen

Blurb:

“The day Arian Coles stepped into the CUBUS his life would be changed forever. His scores were high enough to thrust him into the world’s greatest and most dangerous competition. But this is no game, the winner will become one of the ten world leaders–a Sage. According to Sage Law there must always be Ten Sages, but the eldest, Kanja, is dying. He must be replaced. Unable to find a suitable replacement among their own people, the Sages turn to the working class populace and institute the Challenger Competition. Through their love of intelligence, athleticism, technology, and extreme sports they have created The Challenges–ten Challenges in the most dangerous locations on earth. Making friends and foes along the way, Arian must be on his guard at all times. He must decipher his feelings between Maria and Ciana and decide if one is his ally or enemy. At the brink of death, Arian will have to prove if he has the fortitude to make it through unimaginable adversity and be crowned a Sage. But is this the end goal for Arian? He must decide what his true purpose is.” 

My Review:

Wow! What a ride! Full disclosure: Chad Rasmussen lives in my neighborhood. It always makes me a little nervous to review books for people that I know. What if I hate it? What if it’s poorly written? Especially with first-time authors, you never know what you’re going to get. So, when his wife asked if I’d read his book, I said, “Yes,” and then I got worried. However, I needn’t have worried. In his debut novel, Chad Rasmussen takes one part Hunger Games, one part The Amazing Race, and one part Olympics, and successfully mixes them all up into one crazy concoction of action, revenge, betrayal, amazing feats, and change for the Cive people. You can’t help but like Arian. He’s strong, determined, intelligent, easy to relate to, and courageous. The Challenges are insane! Racing on snowboard-type boards on sand dunes, capoeira to the death, soccer on water skates, and flying suits. I was really glad that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law introduced me to capoeira so that I knew what they were talking about. I watched them in a tournament once, and it was quite exciting! Here’s a video of what capoeira is. It’s 8.5 min, but you just need to watch the first couple of minutes to see what it is.  

What did you think? Pretty fun to watch, right? Now just picture them fighting to the death using capoeira. On a small platform. Thousands of feet in the air. Scary! Overall, I’d say that this book is well written. The characters are developed well, the story flows well, is easy to read and understand, and it’s full of action. The Challenges are exciting to read about, and the relationships Arian has with Maria, Shen, and Komi add such a great element to the story. I loved how they supported him. I’d say that overall it was a bit predictable, but there were enough surprises along the way to keep me reading. I came to enjoy this sci-fi world that Chad Rasmussen has created. The ending was a bit of a drop-off-a-cliff, so I hope there is a second book to take us off the ledge we’re hanging from.

Content Rating PG+

Rating: PG+ (There was one swear word that I remember, so not terrible there, and there isn’t any “intimacy,” except for some brief kissing. It is quite violent though. A lot of characters die, and some of them quite graphically.)

Age Recommendation: Young Adult and up (12+)

 
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, and Chad Rasmussen does live in my neighborhood; however, this did not affect my review.
 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Earth-Sim by Jade Kerrion   Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card   The Inventor's Secret by Chad Morris
 
 

[Book Review] Devil in the Microscope by Ryan Decaria

Devil in the Microscope by Ryan Decaria

[Book Review] Devil in the Microscope by Ryan Decaria

 Blurb (from goodreads.com):

“When “science-fair-geek” Anika goes to live with her scientist father in a town built around his mysterious genetics laboratory, she is determined to prove herself worthy of his legacy. But all preconceptions about her new life are thrown out the window when Anika discovers her father is a megalomaniac living in a town populated entirely by mad scientists. Now Anika will have to navigate her way through a high school filled with vindictive evil geniuses, deadly science projects, and unspeakable human experimentation. Relying on her wits, scientific know-how, and talented allies, Anika fights for her very life, and the lives of her new friends. Will Anika have to become like her mad scientist father in order to save the day?”
 

My Review:

Anika is a fun character. She’s smart, witty, sassy, and doesn’t put up with anything. She’s a good, strong, female leading character. I liked her voice a lot, and thought she was well developed. It’s always good to have a science nerd as a main character. Her mom isn’t in a lot of the book; even though she’s a bit mysterious, you find out more about why she is the way she is as the story goes on. I did think that Anika was a bit quick to disregard her mom after all they’d been through together, but teenagers are never predictable. I liked Billie a lot, and felt so bad for her and the situation she was in. Anika’s father is quite the interesting guy. I didn’t feel like he was developed as much as Anika was, but part of that is the mystery that surrounds him. Anika doesn’t know him very well either, so I guess it’s fair that the reader is also kept in the dark.
 
I liked the story line a lot at the beginning, with the science fair and all that. It was when Anika got to Moreau that the story became a little unbelievable to me (you may not feel the same way). It’s sci-fi, and you know I love a good sci-fi, but this definitely bordered on fantasy, and was a little hard to believe. I liked her friends at school, especially Misty and Sasha, and I did think they were well developed and likable characters. Victor is scary, creepy, and intimidating, but his situation is a bit on the unimaginable side. Well, honestly, a bunch of the characters have sides of them that are unimaginable. On one hand, it gives the story a lot of action. It’s definitely full of action, Anika is a go-getter for sure! On the other hand, some of the scenarios are a tad on the strange/inconceivable side.
 
I liked that the teenagers took matters into their own hands because they really didn’t have anyone they could turn to for help, but at the same time, that included them doing some things that I don’t think teenagers should have to do. I wanted to scream at their parents for putting them in that situation. You never really heard anything about their mothers, either. Where were they in all of this? The ending wasn’t my favorite, either. It just ended. I’m assuming that means that a second book is in the works, but there were still quite a few things that could have been tied up a little better. Overall, the book was ok for me. There were some parts of it that I really enjoyed, and some parts that I had a hard time believing. If you’re a science nerd then you will definitely enjoy this book.
 
Content Rating PG-13

Rating: PG-13 (There is some profanity, and there are times where they don’t actually say the “f” word, but they say a word that is VERY similar, so you know that’s what they mean, which is a tactic I don’t particularly care for. There isn’t any “intimacy,” but there is a lot of violence. There are a few characters that are killed, and there is a lot of fighting.)

Age Recommendation: 14 years-old and up

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Also, the author is the son of my good friend. 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card   Mysteries of Cove: Fires of Invention (Book #1) by J. Scott Savage  Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
 

[Book Review] Christmas Jars-The Collector’s Edition by Jason F. Wright

Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright

[Book Review] Christmas Jars: The Collector's Edition by Jason F. Wright

Blurb:

“Hope Jensen is a young, single woman and an aspiring newspaper writer, and when she receives a much-needed but anonymous Christmas gift, she’s determined to find her benefactor. That search leads her to an unusual family with a longstanding Christmas tradition. Sensing a front-page feature article, Hope desperately wants to publish their story, but doing so would be a breach of trust. What she decides to do will changer her life forever. Destined to become a classic Christmas tale, Christmas Jars is a heartwarming story that will restore your faith in mankind and make you want to start your own Christmas Jar tradition.”
 

My Review:

Over the years I have read a lot of Christmas books, and have loved many of them. This book is definitely somewhere at the top of my favorite list! It’s well written and engaging, and the characters come to life on the page. I felt as if I were there with them; we are best friends now, and I’d love to meet them! Not only that, but the story serves a larger purpose in that it explains what a Christmas Jar is and how Christmas Jars help both giver and receiver. I’d never heard of this before, but what an amazing idea! At the beginning of the year you take an old, empty jar and put it in a safe spot. Then each day when you get home from school or work, you take the change out of your pockets and you put it in the jar. You do this every day all year long. Then the week before Christmas, you take your now-full jar, and you secretly deliver it to someone in need (you could also put a copy of the book with the jar to explain it, but it’s not necessary).
 
You could give the jar to someone with a financial need, but it could also be someone who needs a gift of hope or love. Sometimes the receiver could be someone who needs to know she’s not alone. The possibilities are endless! I love this idea so much! I’ve already talked to my husband about starting our own jar for next Christmas. I’m going to read this book to my kids after Christmas, and we’re going to start a new tradition of a Christmas Jar. My only problem is that I never have cash or change on me, so maybe I’ll need to begin using cash more.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story is heartwarming, and the real experiences at the back of the book are just as good! I loved reading them. You’ll need a box of Kleenexes handy, but it’s worth it! And who knows? Maybe you’ll want to start your own Christmas Jar tradition!
 
If you want to read more about this book, learn about the author, or read more amazing Christmas Jar stories, head over to: http://christmasjars.com/
Or you may go to the Christmas Jars Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/christmasjars/ 
 
 
Content Rating G

Rating: G (There’s no profanity, “intimacy,” or violence.)

Recommendation: Everyone!

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
 
 

Other Christmas Titles You May Enjoy:

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler   The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson   A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
 
 
 
 
 

[Book Review] Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright

Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright

[Book Review] Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright

 

Blurb:

“Ever since Emma Pierce read Pride and Prejudice, she’s been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So when it turns out that what her boyfriend Blake wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious. She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, only to find her job threatened when her boss brings in a consultant to help her expand the business to the East Coast. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake’s younger brother, Lucas. Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realizes that Lucas is nothing like his brother. He is kind and attentive and spends his time and money caring for the less fortunate. But as perfect as Lucas seems, he clearly has his secrets. After all, there’s an angry woman demanding money from him and a little girl who Lucas feels responsible for. Realizing that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must figure out the truth–and soon–if she wants any hope of writing her own ‘happily ever after’ ending.”

 

My Review:

Well, I’m pretty sure I’ve read everything Jane Austen has ever written–twice. So, when the publisher contacted me about reviewing this book I had to do it! Jane Austen lying? No, say it can’t be true! This is a cute book. It took me a few pages to get into it, but soon I was hooked! Emma is smart, intelligent, capable, and a character that is easy to relate to. She has a voice that is easy to read. She’s a bit of a mess, actually, but it made me feel better about myself; although I’m not perfect, I have it more together than she does!
 
For part of the book it kind of has a Bella/Jacob/Edward thing going on, and you just want to scream at Emma because it’s so frustrating. Blake and Lucas each have their strengths and weaknesses, and they’re both well developed and good supporting characters. I love Silvia, she totally reminds me of a few of my high school friends. We even have the cheesecake thing in common (that scene brought back a lot of memories). I did think that the ending of the book left an unanswered question about Silvia; what was going on with her and why was she clearly so upset? That aspect of the story wasn’t ever resolved; Emma’s troubles definitely got more attention in the book than Silvia’s did.
 
I loved how each of the chapters began with a quote from a Jane Austen novel! It made me want to go back and reread all of them. There was one thing that bugged me a bit, but it’s pretty nit-picky: the woman on the cover didn’t at all match what I thought Emma should look like. It’s ok, though, definitely not a deal breaker. This book was a quick, easy read, and quite entertaining. It’s the perfect read for any Jane Austen fan or proper romance lover. I enjoyed this book and recommend it if you’re looking for a cute, entertaining read. There were also some very good lessons in this book: assuming things without all the details will get you into trouble every time, be honest with yourself and others, and never doubt Jane Austen!
 
Content Rating PG

Rating: PG (There’s no profanity, no violence, and no “intimacy.” There are a couple of discussions about a character using drugs.)

Recommendation: YA and up (I’d be fine with my 12 year-old daughter reading this. She hasn’t delved into the wondrous world of Jane Austen yet, so she won’t have those connections, but there’s nothing in it that she shouldn’t read.)

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

 

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Emma by Jane Austen   All That Makes Life Bright by Josi Kilpack  
 

[Book Review] A Tangled Mercy by Joy Jordan-Lake

A Tangled Mercy by Joy Jordan-Lake
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A Tangled Mercy

by

Joy Jordan-Lake


Blurb:

“Told in alternating tales at once haunting and redemptive, A Tangled Mercy is a quintessentially American epic rooted in heartbreaking true events examining the harrowing depths of human brutality and betrayal, and our enduring hope for freedom and forgiveness. After the sudden death of her troubled mother, struggling Harvard grad student Kate Drayton walks out on her lecture–and her entire New England life. Haunted by unanswered questions and her own uncertain future, she flees to Charleston, South Carolina, the place where her parents met, convinced it holds the key to understanding her fractured family and saving her career in academia. Kate is determined to unearth groundbreaking information on a failed 1822 slave revolt–the subject of her mother’s own research. Nearly two centuries earlier, Tom Russell, a gifted blacksmith and slave, grappled with a terrible choice: arm the uprising spearheaded by members of the fiercely independent African Methodist Episcopal Church or keep his own neck out of the noose and protect the woman he loves. Kate attempts to discover what drove her mother’s dangerous obsession with Charleston’s tumultuous history are derailed by a horrific massacre in the very same landmark church. In the unimaginable aftermath, Kate discovers a family she never knew existed as the city unites with a powerful message of hope and forgiveness for the world.”

My Review:

The other day I was looking back at the list of books I have read this year. It’s not as long as it has been in years past, because my son has been sick for so long, but I have read some very good books. This book, however, is my favorite of the year. It’s so well written. The narrative transitions between 2015 and 1822, and it’s not hard to figure out where you are; it flows and transitions very well. Usually in books where it goes back and forth between the present and the past, I have a favorite. I like one better than the other one. In this book I loved both story lines! The descriptions in this book are amazing. I haven’t ever been to Charleston, but after reading this book I’d love to go there. I actually did “google” Charleston, though, and looked through pictures of the skyline. I can’t remember the last time I did that with a book. The city just came to life on the page, and I wanted to see it for myself. Each of the characters are developed so well. They are so realistic and lifelike, and you become a part of their lives as you read the story. Kate, Gabe, Dan, Scudder, Rose, Tom, Dinah, Emily, and Angelina become your good friends as you read. Many of the characters in the 1822 story line are real people, and it is so interesting to think of them and their lives. I love that real events are also woven into the book; both old events and very recent as well. The topics discussed in the novel are current and not without controversy. Ms. Jordan-Lake brings it up in way that provokes contemplation and a good soul-search. This book is intriguing and engaging; it will make you laugh and cry, and will make you take a good look at yourself and your beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions. I could not put this book down, and I highly recommend it!

Rating: PG 13+ (There is very little profanity and no “intimacy.” There is quite a bit of violence, though. A couple of scenes, especially, are very violent, graphic, and descriptive. Many people die, and it’s horrendous and very tragic. The scene that relates a more recent event is especially brutal and graphic to read.) 

Recommendation: 16 years-old and up, at least. (If the teenager is sensitive to violence then I would definitely wait. There is some value in having a teenager read it-it definitely gets you thinking about real life situations, and helps you think outside your box. I would not recommend it for anyone younger than 16. For sure.)


Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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