Book Review: An Ordinary Life by Amanda Prowse

About the Book:

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From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a tale of love, loss—and one last extraordinary dance.

Christmas Eve, 2019. Ninety-four-year-old Molly lies in her hospital bed. A stroke and a fall may have broken her body—but her mind is alive with memories.

London, 1940s. Molly is a bright young woman, determined to help the war effort and keep her head up despite it all. Life becomes brighter when she meets and falls in love with a man who makes her forget everything with one dance. But then war forces her to make an unforgettable sacrifice, and when she’s brought to her knees by a daring undercover mission with the French Resistance, only her sister knows the secret weighing heavily on Molly’s heart.

Now, lying in her hospital bed, Molly can’t escape the memories of what she lost all those years ago. But she is not as alone as she thinks.

Will she be able to find peace—and finally understand that what seemed to be an ordinary life was anything but?

My Thoughts:

Amanda Prowse brings to us yet another powerful story of first love, loss, war and the endurance of a woman through all of this. This is a story that brings out all the emotions and one of the few books that made me shed a few tears.

Molly’s story starts off in the 1940s in London and goes on until 2019, as she lies in the hospital thinking back to her life. We follow her as she experiences her first love, the loss of her love, her efforts to contribute to the war effort, her experiences with different people and in the midst of the war. In all this, she gives birth to a wonderful baby boy, born out of wedlock and shunned by her mother. With no other choice, Molly requests her sister and brother-in-law to care for her baby while she earns enough money to support herself.

As time passes, Molly becomes a wonderful aunt to her son, who never learns of the truth, but loves her as much as any child could love a mother. Carrying the weight of her decisions, the separation from her son and the horrors of the war, Molly, a very very strong woman faces a life filled with so many secrets. She perseveres on, working for a living whether it is playing her part in the war efforts or supporting herself after the war ends.

The bond Molly shares with her sister is a strong one and something that is great to read about. The strength, support and even jealousy all come together showing us a glimpse into each of their thoughts and in the end how they are there for each other. This is a wonderful example of what family is all about and the bonds that siblings share. The author brings to us the irony of the whole situation under the guise of the character having lived “an ordinary life”!

Amanda Prowse’s writing is powerful and will draw the reader in from page one. There is no stopping until the reader gets to the bottom of it all, finds out all the secrets and how the story ends. This book will stay with me for a long time and I highly recommend it to all fiction lovers out there. The book cannot be put into any one genre, it encompasses so many and in the end is just worth it!

Book Review: The Lost Girl of Berlin by Ella Carey

About the Book:

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The truck stopped for a moment in the freezing, bombed-out street and Kate caught sight of a little girl in a ragged dress on the steps of a once-beautiful mansion. The child’s eyes were startling blue, a pair of endless pools, drawing Kate towards her…

1946, Berlin. War correspondent Kate Mancini is in Germany, reporting on the aftermath of the devastating war. For her readers back home in New York, she tells the stories of innocent families, trying to rebuild the wreckage of their lives now the soldiers have left at last. But in the Russian-held sector of Berlin on an icy winter’s day, Kate breaks all the rules, rescuing Mia Stein, a silent orphan who she fears will otherwise perish.

Together with her fellow journalist, handsome Rick Shearer, Kate manages to find a safe house for Mia before she returns to America and vows to keep in touch. Back home, the reality of post-war life for women is stark. Whilst Rick walks into his dream job, no newspaper will hire a woman. The editors laugh her out of their offices, telling her to get married and raise a family. Rick does all he can to support her, as she takes her first steps towards the new medium of television news, and their friendship deepens into something more.

Then tragedy strikes: Rick is falsely named as a communist sympathizer. He is arrested, blacklisted and faces prison.

Kate knows she must do all she can to free the man she loves. But that means returning to Germany, to seek out the little orphan girl who is her only chance at salvation. Kate and Rick saved Mia—will she help them both now? And even if Kate succeeds, freedom might never be hers when she returns home…

My Thoughts:

I requested for and received a copy of this book via NetGalley. A huge thank you to Bookouture and the author. The below review reflects my honest opinion.

The Lost Girl of Berlin is a very well-written novel that is gripping and heart-wrenching. Set in the time post WWII, we are introduced to Kate, a journalist whose interests lie in all things post war and politics. She is dedicated and a great journalist, in a man’s world, fighting to make a place for herself. The book leads us to post was Berlin where we are introduced to various other journalists from America as well as a little girl sitting on the steps of a home that is now destroyed.

As Kate sets out to save this girl and find her truth, we are also introduced to Rick, a fellow journalist who steps in to help her out. Little do they know that this small good deed will go a very long way. The author gives us a glimpse into how the war affected the countries, people and their way of life. We also get a glimpse into the mind of the average American and the impacts on their lives. With a focus on the two main characters and glimpses into their families, this story is one of resilience and strength in one o the most difficult times.

I have read a lot of stories set during the WWII, but this is the first one that focuses on the world post war. This was refreshing and enlightening. It is heart breaking to read about everything that happened, but the most is little Mia’s story. The author brings in an unexpected twist towards the end that I honestly did not see coming, but one which brings this entire story together in the end.

I think the author has done a great job in portraying the lives of women and the expectations from them in society. Kate was indeed the first woman to present her pieces on radio and later on television. It was difficult to land a steady contract and no-one wanted a woman involved in writing or talking about political things. Taking all this in stride, Kate works hard to fight for her chance, she makes tough choices and along the way finds love, family and peace of some kind.

This is a wonderful story, but one that is based on so many truths and it is definitely an emotional read! I strongly recommend this for all fans of historical fiction and history as such!

Book Review: Meet Me in Bombay by Jenny Ashcroft

About the Book:

Meet Me in Bombay

United by love. Separated by war. Will they find their way back to each other? Find out in Jenny Ashcroft’s historical romance Meet Me in Bombay

Meet Me in Bombay is a powerful, poignant and deeply emotional tale of love, mystery, loss and joy.” –Kate Furnivall, New York Times bestselling author

It’s New Year’s Eve in Bombay, 1913, and Madeline Bright, new to the sweltering heat of colonial India, is yearning for all she has left behind in England. Then, at the stroke of midnight, Maddy meets Luke Devereaux, and as the year changes so do both their lives.

Bold and charismatic, Luke opens her eyes to the wonders of Bombay, while Maddy’s beauty and vivacity captures his heart. Only her mother disapproves, preferring the devoted Guy Bowen as a match for her daughter.

But while Maddy and Luke are falling in love, the world is falling apart. World War I is on the horizon, and Luke will be given no choice but to fight. They will be continents apart, separated by danger and devastating loss, but bound by Luke’s promise that they will meet again in Bombay. His only wish is to return to her–but first he must remember who she is . . .

My Thoughts:

Meet Me in Bombay is a beautifully written story of love and loss in the time of WWI. Mostly set in Bombay, we are introduced to Maddy as she comes to visit her parents in Bombay after many years in England. We follow her as she discovers the sights and explores the city. The author has done a wonderful job in bringing the city to life and in describing it, making the reader yearn to visit.

This is a story poignant tale love so strong, it spans distance and time and still holds strong. The author describes the joys of falling in love, precious time spent and the heart break of the war and loss. The characters are well crafted and bring this story and the places to life. The war is described in detail and will bring tears to the eyes of the reader. Mixed with fiction and facts, this story is deeply emotional and will pull the reader in from the beginning. The friendships and relationships between the characters whether with friends, parents, partners is amazing and well portrayed. Even with secrets and scandal, nothing comes above love.

I thoroughly enjoyed this emotional rollercoaster and I highly recommend this book to everyone!

Round-up 2020 – Historical Fiction!

Having read a whole lot of books this year, I have decided to do a sum up of the different genres and list my favorite books among those read in 2020!

These posts will help me with the final round-up of favorite books read in 2020 at the end of the year (in another 15 days! :D)

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In this post, I am summarizing the list of historical fiction that I read and enjoyed this year! They are not listed in any particular order and I truly enjoyed all of them. I have started to read more books in this genre and I am thoroughly enjoying them. I have a huge line-up of books to finish this year and to start off 2021 with a bang.

A huge thank you to NetGalley and the publishers listed for approving some of the books I have requested.

This post will be divided into two sections: one for the books read and reviewed already with excerpts from my review and a link to the full review (title is a hyperlink); and one for the books that I am yet to read and are now a part of my ever growing TBR list (book synopsis provided from Goodreads or NetGalley).

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Books read and reviewed in 2020 so far…..

The Violinist of Auschwitz by Ellie Midwood

The Violinist of Auschwitz

The Violinist of Auschwitz is based on the real life story of Alma Rosé, an esteemed violinist before her world came crashing down as she was brought to the camp at Auschwitz. Alma was indeed a very strong woman, who made it her mission to save as many lives as she could while building an orchestra in the midst of all the sorrow.

Ellie Midwood is a brilliant story teller and she brings Alma’s story to life just like Alma brought music to life. This story is spell-binding, heart-wrenching, filled with so much hatred and even love, that it will remain with the reader even after finishing the book.

 

 

 

Wedding Bells on Victory Street (The Bryant Sisters #2) by Pam Howes

Wedding Bells on Victory Street (The Bryant Sisters #2)

The story follows the Bryant Sisters as they travel the country during WWII, providing entertainment for the troops. I directly read this book without having read the first one, but it did affect the story for me. I was able to easily connect with the main characters and follow their journey in this book.

This is a love story set in the time of WWII and it brings to us a feeling of hope for the characters and a feeling of joy in spite of all the sadness. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would recommend it to everyone!

 

 

 

Keep Forever by Alexa Kingaard

Keep Forever is a story that will take the rider on a roller coaster of emotions. It follows the lives of Paul and Sam as they navigate their way through being Marines and their short experience with War in Vietnam. We also follow Elizabeth, Sam’s sister as she tries to hold on to her emotions and childhood while dealing with the loss of her parents and the responsibility of her younger siblings.

A very well-written story, Keep Forever will pull the reader in and make up experience everything along with the main characters. The happiness, the turmoil, the heart-wrenching sadness and the flicker of hope.

This story is a must read for everyone, a way to try and understand the nightmares of war and how it affects us human beings!

 

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Books currently being read and on the TBR list….

Midnight Train to Prague by Carol Windley (Released in 2020)
Midnight Train to Prague
About the Book:

An unforgettable tale of what we owe to those we love, and those we have left behind

In 1927, as Natalia Faber travels from Berlin to Prague with her mother, their train is delayed in Saxon Switzerland. In the brief time the train is idle, Natalia learns the truth about her father and meets a remarkable woman named Dr. Magdalena Schaefferová, whose family will become a significant part of her future.

Shaken by these events, Natalia arrives at a spa on the shore of Lake Hevíz in Hungary. Here, she meets the journalist and writer Miklós Count Andorján. In time, they will marry, and Natalia will devote herself to life on a rural estate in Hungary.

When war breaks out in Europe, Natalia loses contact with Miklós. She believes they are to meet in Prague, a city under Nazi occupation. She sets up shop as a fortune teller with a pack of Tarot cards. In this guise, she meets Magdalena Schaefferová’s young daughter, Anna. Accused by the Nazis of spying, Natalia is sent to a concentration camp. In April 1945, Natalia and Anna are reunited, and with courage and determination, find the strength to begin again in a changed world.

The Lost VillageAbout the Book:

1945: Two sisters give birth to two little girls on the same night, huddled under blankets, deep in the black woods that surround their village. They hold their babies close as footsteps approach. If they make even the slightest sound, the German soldiers will find them…

2006: Luce Nardini clutches a plane ticket to Italy in her trembling hands. Since her only child left home, and with her estranged husband more distant than ever, she’s been overwhelmed with loneliness. She never knew her father, or the reason why her mother cut all contact with her family in the little village of Bosconero. Lost and unravelling fast, uncovering her roots feels like Luce’s last and only hope.

As Luce searches the maze of cobbled streets, a house with a faded blue door draped in perfect white roses stops her in her tracks. Inside is the grandmother she never knew, who – with a longing look at an ornate wooden box on her nightstand – begins to tell the heart-wrenching story of a little village ravaged by war, and why Luce’s mother fled home and swore never to return.

Surrounded by new friends and faded frescoes of saints, Luce is just starting to feel like she belongs when the unthinkable happens: an earth-shattering disaster that shakes the little village of Bosconero to its core. Could it be that the secrets of Luce’s past have been buried forever?

Frightened, hopeless and feeling more alone than ever before, will the surprise arrival of the husband she thought she’d lost help sew Luce’s family back together, or tear it apart for good? One thing is certain: she must find the little wooden box amongst the rubble of the village and return it to her grandmother. But nothing will have prepared Luce for the devastating betrayal she finds inside…

An unputdownable historical romance about the secrets we keep to protect the ones we love by the author of million-copy Amazon No 1. bestseller, Watch Over Me. Perfect for anyone who loves Fiona Valpy, Lily Graham or The Letter by Kathryn Hughes.

 

An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham (Publication Date: 4th Jan 2021)

An American in ParisAbout the Book:

Walking through Montmartre that morning was like the eerie calm right before a storm. The roads were deserted. We carried on, arm in arm, and then finally, we saw them. Columns and columns of soldiers, spreading through the streets like a toxic grey vapour. ‘You must write about this,’ he whispered to me. ‘You must write about the day freedom left Paris.’

1937: Florence has dreamed her whole life of coming to Paris. She arrives on a sweltering summer day and, lost on the steep streets of Montmartre, asks for directions from Otto, a young artist with paint-spattered clothes and the most beautiful smile she has ever seen.

Otto becomes her guide to Paris, taking her to visit paintings in the Louvre and bookshops by the Seine. And when Otto returns home to finish his studies, they vow to reunite on the same spot they met, one year to the day.

Still dreaming of their parting kiss, Florence starts writing for an American newspaper and throws herself into becoming truly Parisian. All too soon, heady days of parties and champagne are replaced by rumours of war. When Otto finally returns to her, it is as an exile, fleeing Nazi persecution.

Soon, not even Paris is safe. Florence’s articles now document life under occupation and hide coded messages from the Resistance. But with the man she loves in terrible danger, her words feel hollow and powerless. If Florence risks everything by accepting a dangerous mission, can she rescue their dreams from that sunny day before the war?

A sweeping wartime story that will capture your heart and never let it go. Fans of The Alice NetworkThe Lost Girls of Paris and My Name is Eva will be absolutely gripped from the very first page.

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There are many many more to this list and I hope to talk about the books soon! In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on the books in this post and share recommendations! I am open to suggestions!

Thank you in advance for stopping by!

Book Review: The Pigeon Whisperer by Motaz H Matar

About the Book:

The Pigeon Whisperer

With war ravaging his home in Syria, Dabbour, an introverted, 25-year-old pigeon herder, flees to Berlin with Yasser, his childhood friend. Dabbour is trying to learn the ropes in this new country; while trying to learn German he’s fallen for his German teacher, Zara. One day in a Berlin train station, Dabbour sees a wayward, injured pigeon on the railway tracks; without thinking he jumps to save it, causing chaos and almost getting himself killed. For this, he is arrested by the police – and he realizes how much he misses home and his birds. Yasser asks Dabbour to use his talents as a pigeon whisperer to steal stray pigeons and train them to transport drugs. Dabbour agrees, then realizes it was a big mistake. Dabbour sinks further and further into the world of crime and drug-smuggling, jeopardizing his residency status in Germany. Dabbour is forced to choose between his loyalty to his new family – the drug ring – and doing the right thing. Will love be his ultimate salvation?

My Thoughts:

I was provided with a copy of the book by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

The pigeon whisperer follows Dabbour’s journey as he flees to Berlin from war-ridden Syria. This book is moving in so many ways, it brings out many emotions and makes the reader pause and think. This is a story of wanting to belong, trying to hold on to an idea of self that a person has, trying to find one’s identity and place in a new country. The author brings about a contrast in view between Dabbour and his friend Yasser. As the story progresses, we see how Dabbour is drawn into a world of crime and drug-smuggling, using his talents as a pigeon whisperer, how he tries to fight against his role in this world and the role Yasser plays in convincing him.

In this story, we meet only a few characters. They are present to give us some perspective on the story and to bring out a diversity. We have Anna, a German police officer and Zara, the German teacher, who represent the people who are native to the country. Correspondingly, we meet Mr. Salim, a fellow Syrian who has been in Germany for over twenty years and who takes an interest in Dabbour and tries to look out for him.

The story is fast paced and well-crafted, raising points that we may have contemplated at different points in our lives: What does it take to belong? How far can one go for the things or people they love? What does it take to do the right thing? and many more. These questions are very pertinent and hit very close to home.

This book is well worth the read and I strongly recommend it to everyone.

Book Review: Wrong Place, Right Time by E.B. Roshan

About the Book:

All Anna Belko wants is a quiet cup of tea. For a young garment factory worker in the uneasy city of Dor, such moments of peace are few and far between. When she stops by a little cafe called Oxsana’s on her way home from work, she has many things on her mind, but meeting the man who will turn her life upside down is not one of them.

After his cousin is killed, Boris Merkovich wonders if he will ever feel a moment of peace again. As the manager of Oxsana’s, his family’s cafe he doesn’t have time for grieving. But everything changes when he stumbles and almost pours a pot of tea into his customer’s lap. To his surprise, the young woman doesn’t become angry…

Love comes in unexpected ways. Neither Anna nor Boris dreamed this unexpected encounter would change both their lives, but as Dor implodes, Boris and Anna’s relationship, begun over a broken teapot and a heartfelt prayer, only grows stronger.
However, it isn’t long before Anna realizes the hatred destroying her city isn’t just “out there.” If Boris cannot forgive his cousin’s killer, it will cost both him and Anna everything they’ve begun to hope for.

My thoughts:

I was provided with a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Wrong place, right time follows the lives of Anna Belko and Boris Merkovich as they navigate a war torn world. Set in the make-believe world of Sevia, the author has done a wonderful job of bringing this world to life. It feels as though the places really exist and the author brings to life the characters in the book with great attention to detail! The best thing is that the characters are realistic. They have problems, they are not perfect, but they find love and learn to accept each others’ flaws.

As far as romance novels go, this book is a short and quick read. However, there is an element of suspense with respect to what happens to the main characters and what kind of decisions they take which makes the story interesting. Keeping in tune with the title, the main characters Anna and Boris meet coincidentally at Boris’s family’s cafe. This leads to an unexpected attraction, a growing friendship and a lot of understanding born out of dealing with grief and loss. As they navigate the world and their feelings, we meet their families and the people they interact with, giving us a further glimpse into the perils of life and how the people are dealing with them.

This story is worth the read especially since it has all the elements of romance mixed with suspense making it an emotional ride in a very short time!

Book Review: Keep Forever by Alexa Kingaard

 

Keep Forever
Alexa Kingaard
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: March 28th 2020
Genres: Historical Romance, Women’s Fiction

“Unlike some war stories that focus on intense, harsh and graphic depictions of post-combat trauma, this tale unfolds gently, like an Edna Ferber novel, spread across many decades, detailing the impact this soldier’s illness has on an entire family, including children and grandchildren. KEEP FOREVER is a wonderful, emotionally satisfying read that I highly recommend. ”
GARY SEIGEL, author of “Haskell Himself”

 

 

Paul O’Brien’s idyllic childhood in Southern California comes to a halt when his mother dies in the summer before his senior year of high school and a very different persona of his father emerges – isolating himself inside the house, turning to alcohol for comfort, and barely noticing his only child. Simultaneously, the war in Vietnam is sending shock waves around the world and young men from one coast to the other are being called upon to serve. Paul enlists in the Marines before receiving his draft notice.

Elizabeth Sutton is eager to gain some independence from her father’s old fashioned notions and looking forward to her first year in high school. At fifteen years old, tragedy strikes with the loss of both parents in an auto accident, turning her childhood into one of responsibility and worry overnight. The four siblings are scattered when her nine-year-old twin sisters are sent to live with their Aunt and Uncle on Nantucket Island, and Elizabeth is left behind in Boston with their grandmother. Her older brother, Sam, enlists in the Marines, eager to join the conflict a world away as opposed to dealing with the one unfolding at home.

A bond develops between Paul and Sam in Vietnam, and both are injured in a bloody battle that costs Sam his right hand and sets the stage for a lifetime of nightmares and sleepless nights for Paul. Matched by similar tragedies at a young age, Elizabeth and Paul’s first introduction by Sam upon their return from Vietnam is the beginning of friendship and love that survives five decades.

After marrying, welcoming their first child, and inheriting a small beach house, the couple adapts to their new surroundings, but distant memories of Vietnam continue to haunt Paul. In an era when veterans refuse to speak of their pain and the government denies that thousands of soldiers are coming home irreparably damaged, he is left to deal with the challenge of caring for his loved ones amidst his his erratic flashback episodes and moods. As their lives unravel from the lingering effects of PTSD, Elizabeth learns to accept the burden that Paul brought home, and together they make their own memories to keep forever.

Inspired By A True Story

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Author Bio:

ALEXA KINGAARD, a California native, currently resides in Carlsbad and is the mother of a son and daughter who continue to be her biggest fans and cheerleaders.

October 13, 2011, was the day that changed her life forever when her ex-husband, a Vietnam veteran, took his life during a PTSD flashback episode. Inspired to share this tragedy that continues to rob husbands and wives of their spouses, children of their parents, mothers of their children, brothers and sisters of their siblings, and comrades of their friends, Kingaard relied on her own experiences to shed light on this crisis. The burden brought home is not partial to Vietnam, but is an insidious aftershock endured by combat veterans of all conflicts.

Kingaard continues to pursue her literary career, writing about nostalgia and the human condition, the common denominator of our lives.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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My Thoughts:

Keep Forever is a story that will take the rider on a roller coaster of emotions. It follows the lives of Paul and Sam as they navigate their way through being Marines and their short experience with War in Vietnam. We also follow Elizabeth, Sam’s sister as she tries to hold on to her emotions and childhood while dealing with the loss of her parents and the responsibility of her younger siblings. A very well-written story, Keep Forever will pull the reader in and make up experience everything along with the main characters. The happiness, the turmoil, the heart-wrenching sadness and the flicker of hope.

Considering that this story is inspired by a true story, it is all that more eye opening. The reader is exposed to the concept of PTSD, the possible causes and the effects it may have on the person experiencing it as well as the people around. If a person is suffering from it, their pain and sorrow is difficult to relate to, but for the family, it is even more difficult to handle. The author brings in a lot of perspective on the topic and handles the concept with delicate ease. The main characters are well rounded and very well thought out. I enjoyed reading about their lives, and it was a humbling experience. We are also given a glimpse into the circumstances that shaped the characters and made them who they are, the reasons behind their decisions and finally the consequences of these decisions. These form the crux of the plot.

I particularly enjoyed reading about Elizabeth and how she grows into a strong woman. She takes control of her life, takes care of her family and builds a new one with the man she loves. Even in the end, she manages to give him distance while maintaining normalcy to ensure that he never feels useless. Her delicate handling of things and her ability to understand or make and effort to understand her husband’s pain is what makes her a wonderful person.

This story is a must read for everyone, a way to try and understand the nightmares of war and how it affects us human beings!

Book Review: A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

About the Book:

A Heart So Fierce and Broken (The Cursebreaker Series)

Find the heir, win the crown.
Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Harper has freed Prince Rhen from the curse that almost destroyed his kingdom. But all is not well; rumours are rife that there is a rival heir with a stronger claim to the throne and that ‘Princess’ Harper of Disi is nothing but a fraud.

Grey has fled the castle carrying a terrible secret. When he is discovered by soldiers and returned to Ironrose by force, Grey’s allegiances begin to shift. And as he grows closer to an enemy princess, he is forced to decide whether he will stand against Rhen for the crown he never wanted …

My Thoughts:

Brigid Kemmerer brings to us a well-written, action-packed sequel that follows Grey’s journey as he deals with the truth about who he is. All secrets come to light at some point, and it is the same in this story. When the truth about Grey comes to light, he is seen as a threat to the kingdom. Rhen, now freed from the curse is not ready to see reason or understand. All he sees is betrayal.

The author weaves together a rather complicated set of emotions spread among all the chaaracters, all layered one on top of the other. To get to them, we have to peel back each layer and deal with what is revealed. With so many rumours about Harper and the rival heir about, Rhen is at his wits end to keep everything together. This story mainly focuses on Grey’s journey, his actions and decisions and his interaction with the enemy princess and kingdom. We see how he grows, how he learns to become a prince in his own right and how he interacts with the people around him. There is a stark contrast to Grey’s personality and Rhen’s which is beautifully brought out in this book.

This story is a wonderful sequel to the first, showing us a different aspect of the plot and story and culminating in a cliff hanger, leaving the reader wanting for more! I am sure that every cursebreaker is impatiently waiting for the next book to know what happens!

Book Review: Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow #1) by Anthony Ryan

About the Book:

Blood Song (Raven's Shadow, #1)

“The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm.”

Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.

Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the unified realm. Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright and dropped at the doorstep of the Sixth Order like a foundling knows no bounds. He cherishes the memory of his mother, and what he will come to learn of her at the Order will confound him. His father, too, has motives that Vaelin will come to understand. But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the realm, but the world.

My Thoughts:

I picked up this book based on a recommendation from a friend. I must admit that I was completely blown away.

The story is spell-binding and very well-written, a tale like no other. It begins with a present day account of the goings-on. We are introduced to the main protagonist, Vaelin Al Sorna, who is being taken to the Meldenean Islands as a prisoner. After this account, we are given a glimpse into his childhood and how he came to be a brother of the Sixth Order. This is followed by the story divided into parts, with each part telling the tale of a specific plot line. The reader is introduced to a myriad of characters, a Realm known to follow the Faith and those who do not and the King of the Realm. The characters are interesting, very well crafted and play vital roles in this story.

At the beginning, the story was a little confusing and difficult to follow, but on continuing on, the plot slowly became clearer and clearer. The author tells us tales of war, of power and of plans that seem to be so intricately woven, that noone can understand them. Something is at play in the shadows and not even the reader is privy to what it is. The author handles this intricate plot very well, revealing just enough information to ensure that the book is a page turner until the end. Be prepared to deal with the gore of the battles as they are brutal and the author does a lot of justice with his descriptions.

This is just the first book in the series following Vaelin as he plows through the Tests of the Order, a place that trains and brings up assassins, deals with the battles, all the while trying to understand what his true purpose is. Some of it is indeed revealed in this book, but only enough to ensure that the reader is left hungry for more. With such a strong plot line, I cannot wait to see where the story goes in the next books!

This is definitely a must-read for fans of fantasy fiction!

Book Review: Gryphon Riders Trilogy by Derek Alan Siddoway

About the Books:

Windsworn (Gryphon Riders Trilogy #1)

Windsworn (Gryphon Riders Trilogy, #1)

An unlikely young hero. An incredible destiny.

Eva has never swung a sword. She’s never flown through the open sky on a gryphon or dreamed of being a hero. She’s content with a quiet life — two feet firmly on the ground, working in her foster-father’s forge. But that’s all about to change.

When Eva discovers a young thief hiding in her woodshed with a stolen gryphon egg, the shy, timid girl is forced to leave everything she’s ever known to become Windsworn — elite warriors who ride fierce gryphons into battle. As she struggles to learn the ways of the Windsworn, Eva finds herself caught in a plot to destroy the gryphon riders and plunge the kingdom into war, a plot that somehow involves her deceased parents.

In the face of growing danger, can Eva conquer her fears and unravel the secrets of her past in time to save the Windsworn?

Fans of Eragon, Harry Potter and the Dragonriders of Pern will love this fast-paced coming of age fantasy, set in a world of majestic gryphons and ancient magic.

Windswept (Gryphon Riders Trilogy #2)

Windswept by Derek Alan Siddoway

A long-forgotten champion. An ancient darkness.

Now a full-fledged gryphon rider, Eva’s come a long way from the timid girl she used to be.

After proving herself to the Windsworn, forging a bond with her gryphon, Fury, and discovering the truth about her parentage, Eva thought life would get easier. Instead, war is blossoming on the eastern frontier. And raiders on giant sabercats might only be a shadow of worse things to come.

If that weren’t enough, a captured enemy reveals a startling truth: Eva’s long-lost father is still alive.

Against direct orders, Eva and her friends desert the Windsworn, risking everything to bring her father home. Eva and Fury have come a long way in a short time, but beyond the mountains, danger lurks at every turn. Will Eva sacrifice everything she holds dear for a man she’s never met?

Don’t miss the rousing second installment in the Gryphon Riders Trilogy!

Windbreak (Gryphon Riders Trilogy #3)

Windbreak by Derek Alan Siddoway

From the fires of war, a queen must rise.

Against all odds, Eva and her friends are alive. And they’ve returned home with the only chance the Windsworn have of defeating the Smelterborn.

Hope, however, will prove to be short-lived and bittersweet.

An army of iron golems marches west and nothing can stop them. To survive the coming war, the gryphon riders must stand with old enemies against the ancient darkness. As the fighting begins, a small band makes their way east on a desperate quest: to destroy the source of the Smelterborn’s power once and for all. Chances are, none of them will make it out alive.

Eva and Fury will be tested like never before. Heroes will fall. Kingdoms will shatter. The price of victory has never been higher.

Will Eva succeed in driving back the darkness or will everything she loves be crushed beneath the iron fist of the Smelterborn?

Don’t miss the epic conclusion of the Gryphon Riders Trilogy!

My Thoughts:

This started off with a review request for book #1, but turned into a marathon reading session of the entire series!

Windsworn (Gryphon Riders Trilogy #1), introduces us to Eva, a young girl who chances upon a thief in possession of a Gryphon egg. This part of the story will remind the reader of the Eragon series ( if you are a fan ), but later on the story takes on it’s own identity and the reader is taken on a wonderful adventure of discovery and learning. The entire series follows Eva’s journey as she learns to be a Gryphon rider, gains the trust of her Gryphon and forges new friendships. Having earned the trust of some of her peers and teachers, Eva, embarks on a journey to save the world from those seeking to destroy the Windsworn.

The plot thickens in Windswept (Book #2), where Eva discovers the truth behind her parentage and the chance that her father might be alive. Throwing caution to the winds, she takes off on a journey with some friends against all orders to discover the truth. Finally, in Windbreak (Book #3), Eva and the Windsworn must stand against the Smelterborn and also unite with others whom they previously considered to be enemies. Having learnt the secret to destroying the golems, Eva must do what she can to end it all. What ensues is a thrilling war that will have the reader on the edge of their seats.

Throughout the series, we follows Eva on her journey of growth, self-discovery and the search for the truth. This coming of age series is filled with adventure and action. The war sequences are well written and the entire plot comes together very well throughout the three books. The author keeps the plot simple but ensures that the reader is hooked until the end of not just a book, but the entire series. The supporting characters are well crafted and add a lot of spice to the book.

I am grateful to have been given the chance to read and review these books and I do recommend them for fans of fantasy adventures. Do give this series a shot!