Tag: Historical Fiction

The Arsonist

Author: Stephanie Oakes
400 Pages
Published: August 22, 2017

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars

Description from Amazon:
Molly Mavity is not a normal teenage girl. For one thing, her father is a convicted murderer, and his execution date is fast approaching. For another, Molly refuses to believe that her mother is dead, and she waits for the day when they’ll be reunited . . . despite all evidence that this will never happen. Pepper Al-Yusef is not your average teenage boy. A Kuwaiti immigrant with epilepsy, serious girl problems, and the most useless seizure dog in existence, he has to write a series of essays over the summer . . . or fail out of school. And Ava Dreyman—the brave and beautiful East German resistance fighter whose murder at seventeen led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall—is unlike anyone you’ve met before. When Molly gets a package leading her to Pepper, they’re tasked with solving a decades-old mystery: find out who killed Ava, back in 1989. Using Ava’s diary for clues, Molly and Pepper realize there’s more to her life—and death—than meets the eye. Someone is lying to them. And someone out there is guiding them along, desperate for answers. At turns heart-racing, hilarious, and heartbreaking, The Arsonistis an intricate tapestry—of love, loss, and the mysterious connections between us all.

Kim’s Review:
Wow! This book was amazing. A stimulating, historical mystery that kept me questioning right until the very end! Each of the three main characters are likeable, relatable, and intriguing. Molly, the weirdo, who wears her oddities like protective armor, could have strayed into annoying, but never did. I could relate to her “outcast” status at her school, yet she was abnormal in the fact that her father is on death row. Pepper, who is an immigrant from Kuwait, is all heart and funny sarcasm. I will say that his lack luster academic performance got to me a little, but considering his circumstances, it is understandable. The essays that he writes to get the credits needed for high school graduation are detailed and funny and really show off his personality . . . but suck academically! 😊 And Ava, the center of all the secrecy, is an inspiring, smart, survivalist. Seriously, by the time I got to the end of the book, my mouth was hanging open and my heart pounding! I have nothing negative to say. I loved this book! I recommend The Arsonist to anyone looking for a unique, historical conundrum. There was some language and teenage sexual jokes, so I would recommend it to slightly more mature teens.

Release Day Review: Letters to the Pianist

Author: S.D. Mayes
Published: September 19, 2017
487 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 28- September 12, 2017
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description from Amazon:


In war torn London, 1941, fourteen-year-old Ruth Goldberg and her two younger siblings, Gabi and Hannah, survive the terrifying bombing of their family home. They believe their parents are dead, their bodies buried underneath the burnt remains – but unbeknownst to them, their father, Joe, survives and is taken to hospital with amnesia.

Four years on, Ruth stumbles across a newspaper photo of a celebrated pianist and is struck by the resemblance to her father. Desperate for evidence she sends him a letter, and as the pianist’s dormant memories emerge, his past unravels, revealing his true identity – as her beloved father, Joe. Ruth sets out to meet him, only to find herself plunged into an aristocratic world of sinister dark secrets.

Can she help him escape and find a way to stay alive?

LETTERS TO THE PIANIST is a compelling page turner packed with drama, intrigue and suspense. If you loved The Book Thief, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas or The Pianist, then you will love this exciting new novel.

Jessica’s Review:

S.D. Mayes took a three year journey of meticulous research to bring us her labor of love with Letters to the Pianist. As you read, you can tell she put her heart and soul into this novel.  Letters to the Pianist pulls you in from the beginning by placing you in London during WWII.

We go on this journey with Ruth, her siblings, and also the mysterious pianist.  I really felt the hardships all these characters go through.  There is much more to this novel than the mystery of whether this pianist is actually Ruth and her sibling’s father or not.  He questions his whole past and then his present life takes us in an unexpected direction that spirals towards the fast paced conclusion.

All the characters are extremely well developed and you will like some and some you will not.  You feel all the emotions these characters do. S.D. Mayes did a superb job! These are flawed characters as you deal with family issues, and most of all love.

If you are a fan of Historical Fiction, especially World War II then you MUST read this novel!  Letters to the Pianist is recommended.

I received an arc copy from S.D. Mayes.  Thank you so much for offering this to me for a review!


Evergreen Falls

Author: Kimberley Freeman
448 Pages
Published: August 26, 2014

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars

Description from Amazon:

It’s 1926 and Violet Armstrong is a waitress at the grand Evergreen Spa Hotel, where Australia’s glitterati are spending a winter vacation. Among the guests who remain are Sam and Flora Honeychurch-Blacks, a wealthy brother and sister ensconced in the hotel for an extended stay. Violet and Sam have an attraction that is as passionate as it is forbidden as the hotel closes down for the winter season. When a snowstorm moves in, trapping them all, no one could have imagined what would unfold. The group must let their secrets be buried by the snow, but all snow melts, exposing the truth beneath…

Eighty-eight years later, Lauren Beck takes a job at a café in the Blue Mountains, built as the first stage of the Evergreen Spa Hotel’s return to grandeur. There she meets Tomas, the Danish architect overseeing the project. As their budding relationship grows, Lauren discovers a series of passionate love letters dating back to 1926 that allude to a whirlwind affair—and a tragic secret. Lauren begins to unravel this long-forgotten mystery, but will discovering the truth finally make her brave enough to take a risk that could change her entire life?

Kim’s Review:

Back to the carpe diem theme of my year. Take every day and cherish it! Make sure that those people that you love, know just how much you do love them. I’ll admit that as a sheltered person, I felt a connection with Lauren from the beginning. Thankfully, my mom is not the obnoxious helicopter parent that hers is, but I can still relate to moving out for the first time and real life hitting me in the face. And of course, we have the couple who try to break all the rules and ignore all of society’s standards. I can sort of appreciate that kind of reckless courage. But in this book, there are consequences for those actions. Those consequences end up affecting everyone. And Sam’s sister, poor Flora, left to pick up the pieces, all while trying to figure out who she is and what she wants out of life. I felt pretty bad for her through the whole book! Even 80 years later, those shockwaves are still being felt. I’m not going to give away the ending, because it’s really good and a bit surprising! So the main things I got from this book: carpe diem and beware the consequences of your actions. I do recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. There are some steamy scenes that would probably satisfy those romance readers as well. 4 stars well earned!