Review: Black Chamber (Tales from the Black Chamber #1) by S.M. Stirling

When this book came across my desk for review—I was stoked. I don’t read a ton of alternative history, but this one sounded so so so good that I was eager to read it without question.

I sounded like alternative history mixed with some espionage and sci-fi so how could I pass? I couldn’t!

In 1912, just months before the election, President Taft dies suddenly, and Teddy Roosevelt wastes no time in grabbing power as he wins another term as president. By force of will, he ushers the United States into a new, progressive era with the help of the Black Chamber the mysterious spy organization, watching his back.

Luz O’Malley–a brilliant, deadly, and young Cuban Irish American agent of the Black Chamber–heads to Germany. She’s on a luxury airship swarming with agents of every power on earth, as well as conspirators from the Mexican Revolutionary Party and the sinister underground of the reborn Ku Klux Klan, yet none know her true identity.

Her anonymity will be essential as she strives to gain the secrets of Project Loki, an alarming German plan that Roosevelt fears will drag the U.S. into a world war. To gather this intelligence, Luz will have to deceive the handsome yet ruthless Baron Horst von Duckler. She, along with naive Irish-American Ciara Whelan, has to get this vital information back to the U.S.–or thousands of lives might be lost (summary from Goodreads).  (more…)

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Review: The Lost Family by Jenna Blum

This was a book that I actually passed on initially. Yes it sounded good and like something that would be right up my alley. But my summer reading schedule always fills up so fast and I just didn’t have room for this book so basically I had to pass.

I did however agree to do a special feature on this book as I think it would appeal to many of my readers. As I was working on the special feature, I felt really sad that I wasn’t reading this book because it sounded so good.

After some very aggressive reading and maneuvering, I was able to fit this book in. There were many times that I stayed up way later than I should have reading this book…..not just so I could finish it, but because it was an excellent read!  (more…)

Review: Echo Moon (Ghost Gifts #3) by Laura Spinella

This book appealed to me for a couple of reasons, but one in particular stood out above all the other general ‘pick me’ signs that I saw in the pitch. The thing that caught my eye was the twist between historical fiction and magical realism/paranormal.

This book is set during the Great War (hello my favorite era) but yet has paranormal characters and the combo between the two interested me.

They sound like two very conflicting different genres and the first thing that I thought was ‘this could go one of two ways—really bad or really good’. So I agreed to review this one.

Knowing that it was the third in the series, I was prepared to be a little lost in the story but I had seen that many readers said it could stand alone so I was hopeful that that was truly the case.  (more…)

Review: Dreams of Falling by Karen White

Many times I get review pitches months before the actual review posts. When I get the review pitch, sometimes the book sounds interesting at that time but when it comes time to pick it up to actually read it for review months later, it might not sound as interesting.

So how do I combat this? I trust the process. I have to believe that something about the book appealed to me at one time or another enough for me to agree to review it and even if I am not 100% in the mood to read it when it’s time—I need to trust that I had good judgment.

That’s kind of what happened with this book. I have had Karen White on my radar for years. I’ve seen a number of her novels and they all sound great—though I hadn’t read anything by her, I was eager to read one of her books when it came up for review. (more…)

Review: The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable

Most people know who John F Kennedy was and can probably name a fact or two about him. President. First Catholic president. Assassinated president. Democrat. Bostonian. War hero. Hyannisport yachtsman. Rich Playboy. Womanizer.

I think it’s safe to say that he is one of the most recognizable presidents in modern memory. For me personally I am not a huge fan of the post war America time period but I was intrigued by this novel. Though I know quite a bit about JFK in a professional sense–I am more intrigued by his personal life than his politics.

When this book came up for review many many months ago, I was eager to read it mostly because it was a different period than I normally read but also because I was intrigued by his love life. Most Americans know of his alleged affair with Marilyn Monroe but who was this Alicia Darr person? I had no idea and was thus interested to learn something new.

While this is a fictionalized account of their relationship, it is rooted in real life.  (more…)

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