Tag: Historical Fiction

A Taste for Monsters

Author: Matthew J. Kirby
Published: September 27, 2016
343 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Fear the living more than the dead.

It’s London 1888, and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing the people of the city. Evelyn, a young woman disfigured by her dangerous work in a matchstick factory, who has nowhere to go, does not know what to make of her new position as a maid to the Elephant Man in the London Hospital. Evelyn wants to be locked away from the world, like he is, shut in from the filth and dangers of the streets. But in Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, she finds a gentle kindred who does not recoil from her and who understands her pain.

When the murders begin, however, Joseph and Evelyn are haunted nightly by the ghosts of the Ripper’s dead, setting Evelyn on a path to facing her fears and uncovering humanity’s worst nightmares.

Kim’s Review:

I enjoyed reading this book. It’s a simple and unique story. The story was easy to follow, but a little slow in some places. I liked how I hadn’t read anything like it before, but I found myself disappointed with some situations. Kirby did a great job of building the tension with the spirits of the murdered women coming every night and requiring their unfinished business to be resolved before they can rest in peace. Jack the Ripper is one of history’s most fascinating characters and adding The Elephant Man to the mix was a great idea. However, the ending was a little anticlimactic to me. I was so excited to see how the story would come together and who the murderer was . . . and it was just a letdown.

But the setting was amazing! I loved the London Hospital and Victorian London filled with street bazaars and theaters. I fell in love with Joseph Merrick, The Elephant Man, very quickly. He was a gentleman and someone who just wanted everyone to look past his deformity. He was just so sweet!! Evelyn was a believable and likeable character. This book is classified as YA and Evelyn is only 17, but her maturity level is high. She’s not afraid to work and ends up pushing herself out of her comfort zone when it’s required. She gets a little whiny, but considering her circumstances, it wasn’t bad. Overall, this was a good read and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a different and historical read.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Velvet Undercover

Author: Teri Brown
Published: October 20, 2015
336 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Samantha Donaldson’s family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the home front as a messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, mathematics, and complex puzzles, hoping to make him proud. When Sam is asked to join the famed women’s spy group La Dame Blanche, she’s torn—while this could be an unbelievable adventure, how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes she can’t refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity. Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known only as Velvet. Deep undercover in the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Sam must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse she must fight a forbidden attraction to the enemy—a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Sam find Velvet before it’s too late . . . for them both?

Kim’s Review:

I saw this in a Book Nerd Problems video from EpicReads waaaaay back near the beginning. The cover is gorgeous and the description sounded intriguing so I decided to read it. I did enjoy it.  Unfortunately, there were some things in the book that kept me from loving it. The main thing is that it is technically historical fiction, but there was just too much suspension of disbelief. If I’m going to read historical fiction, then I want some realism. During the whole story I kept thinking “why would they send a child into a warzone to spy with almost no training??”

Samantha was a likeable enough character, though like a typical teen who probably shouldn’t be sent out on a secret espionage mission in the middle of a world war, she let her emotions get the better of her at nearly every turn. The first chapters of the book highlight how smart and intelligent and special she is, but then the whole rest of the book seems to contradict that. She’s great at codes and languages . . . because that’s all it takes to be a spy!!!!

I’ll admit that the twist at the end caught me by surprise. I had my suspicions about who Velvet was, and I was pretty excited to find out I was right! The story itself was pretty interesting and I enjoyed reading it and watching it unfold. Overall, it wasn’t a bad book, but I doubt I’ll read it again. I would recommend this book to some teens, but not to many adults.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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First Line Friday #58

Today’s First Line Friday is one I have had for a while, just not read yet (Yes, I know…. That never ending TBR mountain).  I love the cover, it’s so shiny! This week I am going to share the first few lines since it all flows well.

I have lived more than a thousand years. I have died countless times.  I forget precisely how many times.  My memory is an extraordinary thing, but it is not perfect. I am human.

Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. For all the times that he and Sophia have been connected throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart.

But just when Sophia (now “Lucy” in the present) finally awakens to the secret of their shared past, the mysterious force that has always separated them reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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