Category: Review

Book Review: Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey

Letters to the Lost
Author: Iona Grey

Published: May 26, 2015
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: August 29- September 10, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars     

Book Description:

I promised to love you forever, in a time when I didn’t know if I’d live to see the start of another week. Now it looks like forever is finally running out. I never stopped loving you. I tried, for the sake of my own sanity, but I never even got close, and I never stopped hoping either.

Late on a frozen February evening, a young woman is running through the streets of London. Having fled from her abusive boyfriend and with nowhere to go, Jess stumbles onto a forgotten lane where a small, clearly unlived in old house offers her best chance of shelter for the night. The next morning, a mysterious letter arrives and when she can’t help but open it, she finds herself drawn inexorably into the story of two lovers from another time.

In London 1942, Stella meets Dan, a US airman, quite by accident, but there is no denying the impossible, unstoppable attraction that draws them together. Dan is a B-17 pilot flying his bomber into Europe from a British airbase; his odds of survival are one in five. In the midst of such uncertainty, the one thing they hold onto is the letters they write to each other. Fate is unkind and they are separated by decades and continents. In the present, Jess becomes determined to find out what happened to them. Her hope—inspired by a love so powerful it spans a lifetime—will lead her to find a startling redemption in her own life in this powerfully moving novel.

Jessica’s Review:

This is another one I read for a book club and it is one I had not heard of until it was the selected book. We have two time periods for the novel: London in 1942 and 2011.  In 2011 we have Jess’s story with Will coming into the picture and in 1942 Stella’s story with Dan coming into the picture.  We have a love story with Dan and Stella who are separated and this time period comes together with Jess in 2011 discovering the letters Dan wrote to Stella. Over time along with Jess we see Dan and Stella’s love story and Jess becomes determined to find out what happened to both of them.

This one was just an ok read for me.  I was not really intrigued with most of the 2011 story other than Jess trying to find out what happened to Dan and Stella. And I wanted a different ending than what we got. ( I wanted an ending similar the movie Forever Young with Mel Gibson;-which also partly takes place in WWII. I just realized that as I was writing this! Oh wow!)  I just didn’t connect with Jess, so as I listened I seemed to tune her parts with Will out.

This just wasn’t the novel for me, but fans of WWII historical fiction should really enjoy it.  You really see the tough life Stella had in that time of 1942, the tough life that women in general had.  No choices to what they could do. It’s hard for us in our 21st century minds to think about that!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Walk the Vanished Earth by Erin Swan

Walk the Vanished Earth
Author:
Erin Swan

Published: May 31, 2022
384 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Description:

The year is 1873, and a bison hunter named Samson travels the Kansas plains, full of hope for his new country. The year is 1975, and an adolescent girl named Bea walks those very same plains; pregnant, mute, and raised in extreme seclusion, she lands in an institution, where a well-meaning psychiatrist struggles to decipher the pictures she draws of her past. The year is 2027 and, after a series of devastating storms, a tenacious engineer named Paul has left behind his banal suburban existence to build a floating city above the drowned streets that were once New Orleans. There with his poet daughter he rules over a society of dreamers and vagabonds who salvage vintage dresses, ferment rotgut wine out of fruit, paint murals on the ceiling of the Superdome, and try to write the story of their existence. The year is 2073, and Moon has heard only stories of the blue planet–Earth, as they once called it, now succumbed entirely to water. Now that Moon has come of age, she could become a mother if she wanted to-if only she understood what a mother is. Alone on Mars with her two alien uncles, she must decide whether to continue her family line and repopulate humanity on a new planet.

A sweeping family epic, told over seven generations, as America changes and so does its dream, Walk the Vanished Earth explores ancestry, legacy, motherhood, the trauma we inherit, and the power of connection in the face of our planet’s imminent collapse.

This is a story about the end of the world–but it is also about the beginning of something entirely new. Thoughtful, warm, and wildly prescient, this work of bright imagination promises that, no matter what the future looks like, there is always room for hope.

Kim’s Review:

I’m starting to see differences within the sci-fi genre. And unfortunately, this book is in the group that I’m not a super huge fan of. I’m glad I read it; it’s an overall good story, I just feel like it wasn’t for me. It’s a multi timeline, multi POV story that covers a lot! The story line I liked most was that of Moon, an odd child in the care of a pair of odd robotic beings on an odd quest to save the human race and discover her own origins. She falls under the more traditional title of sci-fi and I wish I could have a book just about her. The rest of it was just necessary context for me. I didn’t really have any emotional attachment to most of the characters and the overplayed apocalyptic climate change trope just bored me. It’s definitely not a loss because it kept me entertained while reading and I am glad I did … I just don’t feel much for it now that I’m done with it. But … that cover!!!!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Book Review: Stoker’s Manuscript by Royce Prouty

Stoker’s Manuscript
Author:
Royce Prouty

Published: June 13, 2013
352 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 2.5 stars

Book Description:

When rare-manuscript expert Joseph Barkeley is hired to authenticate and purchase the original draft and notes for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, little does he know that the reclusive buyer is a member of the oldest family in Transylvania.

After delivering the manuscript to the legendary Bran Castle in Romania, Barkeley—a Romanian orphan himself—realizes to his horror that he’s become a prisoner to the son of Vlad Dracul. To earn his freedom, Barkeley must decipher cryptic messages hidden in the text of the original Dracula that reveal the burial sites of certain Dracul family members. Barkeley’s only hope is to ensure that he does not exhaust his usefulness to his captor until he’s able to escape. Soon he discovers secrets about his own lineage that suggest his selection for the task was more than coincidence. In this knowledge may lie Barkeley’s salvation—or his doom. For now he must choose between a coward’s flight and a mortal conflict against an ancient foe.

Building on actual international events surrounding the publication of Bram Stoker’s original novel, Royce Prouty has written a spellbinding debut novel that ranges from 1890s Chicago, London, and Transylvania to the perilous present.

Kim’s Review:

The poor man’s Historian is the best I can say. The first half had some major potential band I was really excited … but then the second half was such a let down! There was no real mystery, there wasn’t a quest, it just all felt so silly and inconsequential! And you’d think that having more vampires, some weird rituals, and a global conspiracy would make the story better! They didn’t. By the time I got 2/3s of the way through, I just didn’t care anymore and turned the pages in order to finish quickly.

Maybe if I hadn’t read The Historian, I would have liked it better. But I kept comparing them, and Stoker’s Manuscript didn’t even come close! Honestly, I can’t even say I’m glad I read it or recommend it to anyone. Just go read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and you’ll have everything and much more than what this book could give you.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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