Review for Beautiful Wreck by Larissa Brown

beautiful wreck

My Rating:  3.5/5

Author: Larissa Brown
Title: Beautiful Wreck

Genre: Science Fiction/Historical Romance

Background:

Amazon Description:
In a bleak future built on virtual reality, Ginn is a romantic who yearns for something real. She designs environments for people who play at being Vikings. But when her project goes awry, she’s stranded in the actual 10th century, on a storybook farm in Viking Iceland.

Heirik is the young leader of his family, honored by the men and women who live on his land. But he is feared and isolated because of a terrible curse. Ginn and Heirik are two people who never thought they would find a home in someone else’s heart. When forces rise against them to keep them apart, Ginn is called on to decide—will she give up the brutal and beautiful reality of the past? Or will she have the courage to traverse time and become more of a Viking than she ever imagined?

 

Opinions:

Narration: First Person through Ginn

 

Character Development and Plot:  The story is told through Ginn’s eyes. Coming from the 22nd century, her world is vastly different than Iceland she ends up in. Ginn is not satisfied with the life she had in the future. When she ends up 1200 years in the past, she takes in everything she can – the voices and surroundings. She ends up in a wealthy farmland. The chief of the land is Heirik – who is considered cursed by his strange birthmarks along much of his face and body. Ginn ends up falling in love with Heirik, and he with her. However, superstition remains in the way. No one has ever touched Heirik at all. How does she show Heirik that everything is okay? That she will not be cursed if he touches her. How does she show the people of the farm that as well? In other matters, Ginn does not do well with most of the chores done around the farm. Her thread making is terrible, and she tries to fit in. However, she makes a friend in Betta which helps her through the days in Iceland. The characters slowly grow over time in their own way. I’m not that familiar with Viking history – especially in Iceland. I would have to say that the only thing that I imagine should have been a little different is the reaction of the few characters that eventually learn that Ginn is from the future.

 

The story tightly weaves Viking history into it. There is a lot of tradition and daily life in the book. The flow of the story is a little slow for my usually reading. I think that some more dialogue might have helped in spots of long descriptions. The book contains a lot of breaks within the chapters. I know some people really like this and others don’t. I don’t mind either way.

 

Standalone or Part of a Series: Standalone

 

Advertisements

Book Promotion: The Knightmare by Deborah Valentine

Today’s book promotion comes from Deborah Valentine and her book called The Knightmare. If you like historical time travel/fantasies, take a look below. You might just find another book for your “to read” pile!

Knightmare_Thumbnail 2

Book: The Knightmare
Author: Deborah Valentine
Genre:
Historical Time-Travel Fantasy

Publisher: Indie
Format: ebook
Release Date: February 18, 2013

Summary:
Sometimes a man has to go back in time to find his future…

When Formula 1 racing driver Conor Westfield is involved in a horrific racing accident, he is determined to devote himself to getting back behind the wheel and resuming the career that has been his obsession. But as he is recovering from his injuries Conor’s childhood nightmare recurs, a strange jumble of terrifying images that feel more like memories than dreams. Can it be mere coincidence that the very next morning he is informed a mysterious woman with whom he had very brief affair has died and left him as her heir? But this was no ordinary woman, no ordinary affair. Dogged by a feeling of déjà vu at every turn, Conor travels to Amsterdam to identify the body. At her home he finds an illuminated book that transports him to the year 1209 and a past life as a Knight Templar embroiled in two missions—one secret, both dangerous. There he finds the woman he left behind and a life lived in the shadow of a tragedy that cries out across 800 years for resolution. Weaving history with the present, fact with fantasy The Knightmare is an unforgettable story of adventure and alchemy, betrayal and sacrifice, and truly extraordinary love.

(Book contains some swearing. PG rating)

Buy book from Amazon

The Author:
Deborah Valentine is a British author, editor and screenwriter who once lived in California but far preferred the British weather and fled to London, where she has resided for many years. She is the author of three books published by Victor Gollancz Ltd in the UK, and Bantam and Avon in the US. Unorthodox Methods was the first in the series, followed by A Collector of Photographs and the Ireland-based Fine Distinctions. A Collector of Photographs was short-listed for an Edgar Allan Poe, a Shamus, a Macavity and an Anthony Boucher award. Fine Distinctions was also short-listed for an Edgar. They featured the characters of former California sheriff Kevin Bryce and artist Katharine Craig, charting their turbulent romance amid murder and mayhem. On 14 November 2013, they will available as eBooks on Orion’s imprint The Murder Room imprint. With the publication of The Knightmare she has embarked on a series of novels with a supernatural twist.

Deborah Valentine’s website: Here
Deborah Valentine’s Twitter: Here
Deborah Valentine’s Facebook: Here
Deborah Valentine’s Goodreads: Here

Q & A:

The best thing about writing this book?
Being with those characters and in the medieval world (without all the creature comfort inconveniences). It was a chance to really let my imagination rip.

Where did you get your idea for this story?
As a teenager I read the tragic medieval love story of Abelard and Heloise and it’s stuck with me all these years. They had a son and I was toying with the idea of what kind of psychology he would have bearing in mind what happened to his parents, when I saw a friend of mine, a bit of a ‘hooray Henry’ who wanted to be a F1 driver, race. What a transformation in a fellow! He became totally focused, totally strategic in his approach. And with that my medieval Knight Templar was born, a medieval workaholic trying to avoid emotions and avoid his parents’ mistakes and running headlong into his own series of unfortunate decisions. Of course, I threw in a bit of magic, alchemy and a crusade or two for good measure.

What would you tell aspiring writers out there?
Read voraciously. Write obsessively. Be professional and learn about publishing all the way round. Edit!

What is your favorite book?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?
Coffee. If it’s not water, wine or coffee, it’s not worth drinking.

I want to thank Deborah Valentine for allowing me to promote her book on my blog. I hope this post has inspired you to go out and read The Knightmare!

 

Review for Fire of the Dragon by Lori Dillon

fire of the dragon

My Rating: 4/5

Author:  Lori Dillon
Title:  Fire of the Dragon (Bestiary Series, Volume 1)

Genre:  Paranormal/Historical Romance

Background:

Amazon Description:
Being sent back in time to the Middle Ages wouldn’t be so bad if the knight in shining armor who comes to your rescue didn’t swoop down in the form of a fire-breathing dragon. Unfortunately for Jill Donahue, that’s just the way things have been going in her life lately. A Maiden Wrenched back in time through the magical power of an old dragon tapestry found in a vintage clothing store, Jill Donahue lands in an ancient medieval town where the villagers decide to sacrifice her to the local dragon. As if the threat of being eaten alive by a giant flying lizard isn’t bad enough, she learns there’s a curse surrounding the tapestry and she has to break it in order to get back to her time. But she isn’t the only one whose fate is tied to the ancient weaving… A Dragon Baelin of Gosforth is a valiant knight who has been cursed by a vindictive witch to live as a dragon for eleven months out of each year. Now he has thirty days to break the curse or he turns back into a fire-breathing beast and, as much as he hates to admit it, he needs Jill’s help to do it. And A Curse Forced to face many challenges along the way—from the harsh world they travel through to the fiery passion they both try to deny—each is determined to break the curse so the other can get their happily-ever-after. And it just might work, if Jill can manage to overlook the fire-breathing, bat-winged remnants of Baelin’s dragon half long enough to see the man beneath the beast and get the job done.

Opinions:

Fire of the Dragon is a story of a modern woman thrust back in time to help a dragon/man break a curse. While shopping for her niece’s birthday, Jill comes upon a weird tapestry that takes her back to 13th century England. Here, the villagers sacrifice her to a dragon – a yearly tradition in that village. When the dragon takes her back to its lair, Jill learns that the dragon is not all what he seems. Cursed to live as a dragon for 11 months out of the year, Baelin (the dragon) becomes human for one month – whereupon he tried to break the curse. To break the evil curse, a maiden must complete three challenges. With normal dangers of medieval life, adding some dragons and evil witches does not make it any safer. Jill must help Baelin if she is ever to get home again.

The story is written in third person mostly following Jill and Baelin. Jill, a modern girl, is never short on speaking her mind. Doing so in the 13th century is not the wisest thing. Jill is a strong character. She has her flaws but she has bravery and good heart. At times I did get tired of her 21st century sayings. I mean, she knows she’s in medieval England; wouldn’t you try to tone down your 21st slang/sayings a little bit to be understandable? Baelin is a knight that was cursed by the Dark Witch. He has been trying for over 200 years to break the curse, but no maiden has gotten close until now. Bound by his knightly honor and virtues, he tries to help Jill break the curse but doing so is not easy for the medieval knight. Baelin, in all sense, is a good man. One thing I don’t get is how – being able to hide his weird dragon features while human – did no one notice the fork tongue?

The plot follows the couple as they embark to break the curse. The first challenge was interesting and one that I did not hear of before. There was a long break between the first and the second challenge. During that break, interesting things happen – such as meeting a dragon slayer along the way. As I was getting closer to the end and still had not reached the second challenge, I was a little worried that this would be broken up into another book. Do not fear readers! Jill and Baelin’s story is all wrapped up in this book. The next book seems to be about another character from this story. I do wish there was an epilogue in this book just to tie up some loose ends (Ha! A tapestry pun!) – such as, how the other characters handled the ending results of this story.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. If you like medieval England, dragons, and time travel, then you should give this book a try.

 

Review for 2:20 (Timeless Trilogy #1) by Holly Hook

220

My Rating: 4/5

Author: Holly Hook
Title: 2:20 (Timeless Trilogy #1)

Genre: Paranormal/Time Travel/Young Adult

Background:

Goodreads Description:
“Please,” Simon says, his pause marked by his face drawing closer to mine. “You can’t remember what time you’re from, but trust me, you don’t want to return there.”

2:20 (Timeless Trilogy, Book One)

When a date to the high school dance goes terribly wrong, Julia learns that her past may not be what she thought. The mystery deepens when Simon shows up and claims that they shared that past in another, more terrifying time…and warns that a powerful force wants to send her back.

Julia grows closer to Simon as she works to discover her true life. Unfortunately, both he and the truth could kill her.

Opinions:
2:20 is the first book in the Timeless trilogy. The story follows Julia as she experiences nightmares of her death at 2:20 am. She tries to figure out the meaning behind it. She gathers a few clues during the school dance at the beginning of the book – realizing there are people called the Timeless that are trying to put her back into her past or rather her nightmare and death. She meets a new student at her school named Simon, who tries to help her figure out her past. Can she figure out her past in time? Can she change her past before she dies?

Characters:
The story is written in first person following Julia. Julia is a teenager who has had a rough past. Her mother was a drunk and now she lives with Nancy – her stepmother. She is saving up to go to college (by working at a daycare) and trying to set her future right. Every night she has a nightmare that she is falling and a guy is trying to catch her. However, he is saved and she dies – waking up. Yes, she wakes up at 2:20. Simon is a new student who knows what is happening to Julia, but he is unable to tell exactly what it is. Simon is a nice guy who shares her past. He truly tries to help her throughout the book.

Plot:
The plot follows Julia as she learns about her nightmare and why 2:20 is so important. The last half of the book picks up in action. It’s the sort of story where you kind of know what will happen, but exactly how it will pan out with the characters is not so clear. I won’t say much more to avoid spoilers. It was a quick read for me and really got my attention when Julia understood about her death and her fight to change it. I think there could have been one or two more sentences at the end. It felt slightly cut off. Don’t worry. It wasn’t an unfinished story – more like an unfinished paragraph.

The Bottom Line:
Overall, I enjoyed the book. If you like young adult books with time travel, mystery, and a little paranormal storyline, then you might like this book.

 

Review for The Witch’s Salvation by Francesca Pelaccia

the witch's salvation

My Rating: 5/5

Author:  Francesca Pelaccia
Title:  The Witch’s Salvation

Genre:  Historical Fantasy

Background:

Amazon Description:
A witch who demands humanity. The immortal families who denied her of it. Two mortals commanded to right the wrong. That is the fate of the urban princess Anasztasia and the renegade prince Matthias, born shockingly mortal to two immortal families. If they go back in time and restore the witch’s humanity, she will grant them immortality. She will also break a 550 year-old curse that imprisons Matthias’s family in their ancestral homeland and exiles Anasztasia’s family from it. But to make their lives their own, the heirs must return to the most dangerous day in their families’ past, Easter Sunday, 1457. This is the day Vlad III, aka Dracula, massacred all nobles and their families involved in the death of his father and older brother. How can Anasztasia and Matthias reverse the past when their families will not speak of their wrongs? How can they refuse when the witch owns their lives? An expansive and immersive fantasy novel, The Witch’s Salvation takes readers on a remarkable journey through immortality, time travel, family curses and one of history’s most nefarious figures.

Opinions:

The Witch’s Salvation is a story about righting the wrongs of the past between century-old families. Over 500 years ago, a witch cursed two families – the Barbats and the Senestis. One was banished out of the border while the other was trapped within. The witch also made the families immortal. And, no. Not vampires or werewolves. Just immortal.  Until two children were born – one to each family: Anasztasia to the Senesti family and Matthias to the Barbat family. Their mortality surprised their immediate families who kept this secret to preserve the honor and pride of the royal names. They are thrown together and meet the witch who gives them two choices to remove the curse. One is to combine the two families through marriage. The other is to go back in time (only mortals can travel to and from the past) and bring back a golden chalice that belonged to her people. For the second choice, they only have one day – until sunset of Easter. However, this is the day that Vlad III (yes, the one that Dracula was based upon) massacred their families. It is a dangerous mission if they choose to accept it.

Characters:
The story is written in third person, following Anasztasia and Matthias. Anasztasia considers herself a goody-goody who does what her family – especially her grandfather – says. She was raised in New York but taught all the protocols of being a royal princess (in name only) of the House of Senesti. She travels to Romania for her eighteenth birthday, where she is presented to other nobles. Being back in Romania, her family wants to seek out the witch who cursed them to see if she can make Anasztasia immortal. Anasztasia is a strong female character. She is later called a “warrior princess.” But, she has a great heart and compassion for people. Through this adventure, she discovers what it is like to be free. For the first time in her life she believes that she is living. Matthias is from the House of Barbat. His father went to the witch and made a deal to go back in time to help reverse Matthias’s mortality. However, he never came back (two years ago.) Matthias wants to find him and bring him back. He is bitter towards his own grandfather and family. He is also the only one in his family that can leave the border as he pleases. IN addition, he is the one who starts the ultimatum with the witch. Going back in time, he helps saves some gypsies while seeking out his father. He also learns how to live and learns more about his family. The other characters were well-written and took on a believable quality.

Plot:
The plot moved along well. There is adventure and mystery throughout the book. The curse and the story of the families become more complicated as the characters move forward. They discover themselves and form alliances with relatives that have long been dead. Anasztasia and Matthias discover the true horrors of what happened to their families in the 15th century, and the cruelty of Vlad III and his commander. The story was original and kept my interest as I read.

The Bottom Line:
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It had magic, time travel, adventure, and mystery. If you like these things, then you should try this book.

 

Review for Lightning by Dean Koontz

lightning

My Rating: 3.5/5

Author:  Dean Koontz
Title: Lightning

Genre:  Science Fiction/Time travel

Background: “In the midst of a raging blizzard, lightning struck on the night Laura Shane was born. And a mysterious blond-haired stranger showed up just in time to save her from dying.
Years later, in the wake of another storm, Laura will be saved again. For someone is watching over her. But just as lightning illuminates, darkness always follows close behind.”

Opinions:

Lightning is a suspense/thriller with a few surprises in it. The story centers on Laura (from childhood through adulthood) who is repeatedly saved by a stranger, who is referred to as her “guardian.” However, he’s not an angel (as the reader might first suspect) and the story leads to an even more complex plot.

Characters:
This book is written in third-person, mostly around Laura. Because of her many horrific events in her life, Laura grows up to be a strong person who is not afraid to fight—especially if it deals with those she loves. Stefan (the Guardian) is another character that the reader follows (more so in the later parts of the book). His love for Laura makes him change everything he can to give her a better life, but he can’t protect her from everything. And, he is also risking his life to do. All characters in the book are complex and well written. Thelma is also a character that I enjoyed.

Plot:
I admit that the first half of the book (although swiftly moving) was slightly bitter to read. It is obviously needed for the plot and gives more depth to Laura. It is almost depressing that all these terrible things could happen to one person, especially someone so young. The second half of the book really picks up in action and continued to the end. Yes, this is a time travel book, but not as you originally might think. The author really worked out the mechanism within time travel theories and executions. It may be slightly confusing at first, but just go with it.

The Bottom Line:
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It’s not within my usual reading lists (even though I do like time travel and suspense/thriller novels), but I’m glad I read it. If you like a good thriller with a slight science fiction twist, you might enjoy this story.