Friday, August 29, 2014

The Movement of Crowns (Movement of Crowns Series #1) by Nadine C. Keels: A Book Review

The Movement of Crowns (Movement of Crown Series #1)
Author: Nadine C. Keels
Genre: Christian, Fantasy
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 116
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: At the point when kingdoms’ ideas of humanity differ…

     The nation of Diachona is celebrating the twentieth birthday and rite of passage for Constance, the Diachonian king’s daughter and heir. Yet, the pause for festivity doesn’t erase collective doubts about Constance’s aspiration for a place with the men on the National Council, nor does it eliminate fears roused by oppressive threats from a neighboring, powerful empire. Amid increasing rumors of war and personal misgivings about her own future, Constance deems this an inopportune time to be falling in love with one Commander Alexander. Will Providence keep them all through international tensions and the changing of times, or is Diachona watching its territory in vain?

     My Review: In a world that is run by kings, the future of Diachona is insecure. For their king has no sons, only a daughter named Constance. Despite the country’s disappointment for the king’s lack of sons, the king is persistent to make his daughter his heir. While the country’s ongoing debate over naming Constance his heir, the king of Munda, a neighboring country, lusts after some of the lush lands of Diachona. Diachona soon find themselves at the brink of war. Could Constance help save Diachona and in the process become the official heir to the throne?

     I found Constance to be an amazing woman. It is clear that she is destined to become a great queen. She loves her country. She also loves and respects her father, whom she looks up to as a great king. Constance is a great strategist. She makes many plans and is willing to take many risks. She also researches the customs, situations, and politics of her enemy’s people to understand Munda’s situation. It is because of this that she sees Munda’s weakness which is Diachona’s advantage. Even though Constance is a good politician, she also rules with her heart. She is very emotional. She is in love with Staid, the military leader of Diachona. Yet she knows her family wants her to marry a foreign prince to help strengthen alliances. Constance is determined to be the official heir to the throne, win the war, and to have love.

     I didn’t think the world-building was fully developed. I would have liked to known a bit more about Diachona and the neighboring countries surrounding her. I would also have liked to known more about the Diachonian peoples, customs, and culture. Yet, I did come to the conclusion that Diachona had a great military, and that the council members seem to be divided. They were more concerned about their own safety, rather than that of their country because they wanted to Diachona to give themselves up to Munda very easily.

     Overall, the book is about love, family, and hope. The message of the book is that God has a plan for all of us and to trust in His plan. We as human beings are called to do what is right. I found the story to be very slow-paced and I was very bored by the politics, which covered half the book. I also thought that the climax was boring for it had no tension, and I think it should be rewritten to heighten its dramatic effect. However, I did like the story for it was light-hearted, sweet, and lovely. I also thought it was a beautiful ending. I recommend this book to fans of Christian, fantasy, and romance genres, and anyone interested in strong heroines and who is looking for an inspiring story about hope.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This is the author's official book trailer for The Movement of the Crown Series:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

One Last Letter by Pema Donyo: A Book Review

One Last Letter
Author: Pema Donyo
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Release Date: August 18th, 2014
Pages: 171
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: A romantic hardened by reality… 

     Evelyn Lancaster turned her back on her love for ranch hand Jesse Greenwood when she was sixteen to pursue a career and marry into wealth that could save her father’s struggling ranch. Now twenty-three, she works hard to keep the property afloat, but no suitor has stirred her heart the way Jesse did. After her father falls ill, she needs all the help she can get to keep the ranch running.

A cowboy returning to what he left behind… 

     After making his fortune, a newly wealthy Jesse has returned home to see his younger sister married. Still smarting from Evelyn’s rejection, he finds the tables have turned, and now only his investment could save the ranch that he vowed to never step foot on again. 

     When he agrees to help her salvage her family legacy, they must overcome their pride and painful past to work together. As long-held emotions rekindle, Jesse pretends indifference, only to admit his true feelings in an unsigned letter left on Evelyn’s porch.

     Evelyn finds the missive and writes back, beginning a furtive correspondence. She dares to hope her mystery admirer is Jesse, but then another man comes forward to claim the letters as his own. Will one last letter give them the courage to say yes to love on the wild Texas plains?

     My Review: One Last Letter tells the story of Eve and Jesse, young lovers who dreamed of running away together. Instead of running away, Eve is struck by reality to save her farm and her family. She rejects Jesse, a cowboy who works on her ranch, in favor of an advantageous marriage. Years later, Eve is still unmarried because she hasn’t found a rich suitor that is interested in her and not just her land. Jesse, after having struck rich in California, returns and immediately saves her ranch, invests in it, and hires on to work as a cowboy again. Jesse is determined to win Eve’s heart, even though he is afraid of being rejected. Eve still has feelings for him, even though she wants to marry someone of social standing.

     The character of Eve is very conflicted and human. She was once a romantic, but because of harsh realities, she had to choose duty over love. At first, she is fine with her decision, but soon she is filled with regret, loss, and longing over what might have been. When Jesse comes back into her life, she tries to rekindle a romance between them. Yet, she is also drawn to a rich suitor of social status. Eve is also educated. She wants to become a doctor, but when her ranch is financially unstable, she must also give up her career for her family and home. Because she is hardworking and determined, she must make responsible decisions.

     Jesse is a romantic. He has a constant love for Eve. He loves her despite all his flaws, and he never breaks his promises to her. Because he is still hurt by her rejection over his social status, he feels that he is not worthy of her and is afraid to tell her his love for her. He expresses his feelings by writing to her anonymous love letters. Jesse is determined to win her heart, yet afraid that she will break his heart again.

     Overall, the story is about friendship, broken love, regrets, family, sacrifice, renewed love, and choices. The message of the story is to follow your heart and to do what you think is right. I found the love story touching and sweet, and the ending was very satisfying. The characters are likable, and the setting of the Texas plain is lush and beautiful. The story is a lot like Jane Austen’s Persuasion, and there is a reference to the novel. I recommend this novel to anyone, who is looking for a light-hearted, feel-good romance.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a video of the author talking about her books including, One Last Letter:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Space In Between: A Story About Nina by Diane Eklund-Abolins: A Book Review

The Space In Between: A Story About Nina
Author: Diane Eklund-Abolins
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: AoE Publishing
Release Date: 2012
Pages: 392
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: Between the beginning and the end, there is the space in between.

     “...People had forgotten how to laugh; they did not even smile. When they had to go out, they always chose the shortest path, and they hurried along the streets , keeping their heads down. They did not talk, and they did not ask questions. They were all trying to disappear behind empty expressions. At home they learnt to keep the windows covered and the doors locked…”

     War, revolution and war again. This is the background against which Nina grows up, fleeing her homeland, Latvia, on three separate occasions. With family members tragically caught up in one or other of the terrible conflicts, Nina is thrown between helplessness and a need for normality, or, at least, some kind of control. Although she is surrounded by much hate and violence, there is also love, and she never relinquishes her belief that most people are essentially good.     

     My Review: The Space In Between tells the story of Nikolina, who is most often called Nina in the novel, as she and her family face danger as her homeland, Latvia, struggles for its independence. During the quest for Latvia to retain its independence, Nina must survive two world wars, and must make the decision to leave her homeland for good to find refuge in another country. As Nina struggles to survive, she faces death and hardship along the way. But as she finds darkness, she also finds love and hope.

     The beginning of the book is very confusing. It starts out with a man walking up to a building and rings a doorbell. Finding no answer, he walks in. Then it jumps to the past starting from 1906 as it describes Nina’s family. The story also is told from third person omniscient, and part of it is told in first person from Nina’s perspective. However, gradually over the course of the novel it becomes clear that the man and Nina are connected and that the jumps with the present and the future are converged together as the time in between.

     The character of Nina is at first a child that loves sticky sweets. Yet, when WWI hits Latvia, Nina and her brother are forced to flee to a safer refuge until Latvia becomes stable again. Because of WWI, Nina’s childhood has been taken away, and she becomes an emotionally-damaged person. Nina also grows into a stronger, wiser person. As she goes through events in her life, some tragic, some happy, and that most of these being out of her control, she ponders about what is the reason for these events. She also never gives up her belief that all people are essentially good.

     I also like the supporting characters. I really like her brother, Maksis, who does everything he can to support his sister. Maksis is practical and self-less. He puts his family and his sister before his own. I also like Nina’s husband, Ernest, whose unwavering love for Nina gives him hope even when he feels that all is hopeless. His love for Nina is his determination as he strives to protect her and his family. I also like Nina’s son, Andris, whose is Nina’s constant support and consolation.

     Overall, this book is about family, friendship, love and the ultimate faith in mankind. The story deals with tragedy, despair, and hopelessness, but there is also hope, faith, and light. For while bad things are in a person’s life, there is also good. The book is very well-written, and the characters are well-developed. A fun fact of this novel is that Nina is the author’s mother-in-law, and that the author, herself, appears as a character in the story. I recommend this story to those interested in eastern European history, WWI, WWII, and anyone who is looking for peace, comfort, consolation, and hope as they try to cope with the loss of a loved one or facing a period of darkness in their life.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This is the author's official book trailer for The Space in Between:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Favorite Daughter, Part One by Paula Margulies: A Book Review

Favorite Daughter, Part One
Author: Paula Margulies
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: One People Press
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 194
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: A young girl faces a dangerous and changing world...

Set in the time of the Jamestown settlement and the English explorer John Smith, Favorite Daughter, Part One recounts the story of Chief Powhatan's daughter, Pocahontas, as she prepares to take her place as one of our nation's earliest leading women. Pocahontas invites readers to experience her native world when strangers appear on the shores near her village. From forging a relationship with the charismatic Smith, to experiencing love for the first time and creating a role for herself in her father’s plans for peace, this young girl takes us on a poignant and harrowing journey through the turbulent events of her life. Eventually betrayed by all of the men she loves, Pocahontas matures into a heroine of tremendous nobility, courage, and heart. 

Told in first person, in a voice brimming with compassion and wisdom, Favorite Daughter, Part One provides a compelling look at the early days of one of the most remarkable legends in American history. 

Editor’s Choice Award Winner, 24th Annual San Diego State University Writers’ Conference

     My Review: The legend of Pocahontas is most well-known as an Indian princess who saved the life of an Englishman, John Smith, who was an Indian hostage. Her story was first written by John Smith and has been romanticized through generations. The most popular version of the story is the Disney movie, Pocahontas released in 1995. However, Paula Margulies’s Favorite Daughter, Part One tells the legend of Pocahontas from the Native American perspective. In this story the tale is retold by Pocahontas herself as she tells her side of events of the time when John Smith and his crew first settled in America.

     The story starts when John Smith has landed in America and formed Jamestown. Pocahontas and her people are fascinated by these mysterious men whom they have never seen before. When John Smith is suddenly taken hostage by her people, Pocahontas becomes attracted to him and wants to learn more about him. Slowly, John Smith and Pocahontas form a slow friendship and together they teach their language and customs to each other. There, Pocahontas embarks on a mission of peace between the English and her tribe.

      I found the setting of Pocahontas’s tribe to be very beautiful. It is clear that the author understands a lot about Native American culture for she writes it eloquently by describing their customs and language. I was fascinated with how she makes their world come alive. I also liked how she portrayed Jamestown, as a town that is starving and does not have enough supplies to survive. Yet, some of these men, like John Smith, are interested in the Native American  language and customs and would like to make an alliance with them. 

     What I found most fascinating was Pocahontas. She is a strong-willed person, who loves her home and respects nature. She is a bit tomboyish and adventurous. She is curious about not only the English settlers, but their home. She wants to go to England and see what it is like. She is also selfless and is willing to give up her life to save John Smith. She is also a woman of influence because her father listens to her advice and follows it. It is clear that Pocahontas is a leader and she never stops working on her mission to make peace with the English.

     Overall, the themes of this book are about family, love, honor, and sacrifice. It is about a woman’s never-ending quest for peace. This book shows what a strong person Pocahontas really was. I can’t wait to read Favorite Daughter, Part Two, which comes out in July 2016. I recommend this book to anyone interested not only in one of America’s first leading woman, but also to those interested in learning about Native American culture. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Monday, August 11, 2014

Winner of Favorite Daughter, Part One Giveaway!

The winner of Favorite Daughter, Part One Giveaway is Anne! Congratulations, Anne! Thanks to all who entered in the giveaway and to all those who are interested in Paula Marguiles and her novel.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Interview with Betty Bolte

     Today I have the pleasure to interview Betty Bolte. She is the author of an anthology of short story collections called Hometown Heroines. These stories tell how average young American girls, whose ages range from 7-20, that live ordinary lives but through different situations and circumstances, they were forced to turn into heroines overnight. Each of these girls are very important to American history, yet sadly, they are very little known. Mrs. Bolte have taken these girls from obscurity, and have shown them in the limelight to give them a true voice that they deserve. I am very happy that she took the time to grant me this interview. I have recently read and reviewed Hometown Heroines, and I look forward to reading her books in the future. This interview is to give some insight about her and her novel. Thank you, Mrs. Bolte. 

1. What inspired you to write this book? 

I was reading Susan B. Anthony Slept Here in the late 1990s and was surprised to see how many young women and girls had landmarks dedicated in their honor. I thought it would be inspiring for other young people to see what some of these girls accomplished as children and teens. There are many more examples of heroics and creativity but I needed a manageable amount of information to include in one book. I chose the 1800s as the primary limiting factor for who would be included.

2. You said that you weren't interested in history in 9th grade, what made you interested in the subject? 

At that time, my ninth grade teacher was teaching history as a lump of facts, battle strategies, dates, and names. How boring! My parents took me on a trip (I think it was to Georgia for my brother’s marriage) and we stopped at the Cowpens Battlefield in South Carolina. Standing where so many fought and died in the struggle to make America independent from Britain brought the history to life. That’s what I wanted to do with Hometown Heroines, and why I wrote their story as a fictionalized account: to bring their history to life for others.

3. What can we learn from these women, and why do they appeal to you? 

These young women demonstrate that when you follow your gut, your passions, your dreams, anything can happen. Each of their stories inspire me through their dedication, their determination, and their strength all through acts of bravery, creativity, and audacity unique for their time.

4. Are there any young American girls that you wanted to include in Hometown Heroines that weren't in your novel? 

A few. For example, I considered including Helen Keller, but so much has been written about her, I didn’t feel I had anything to add to that particular conversation. The same could be said for Annie Oakley, even though her story is also a great one!

5. Did you have a particular approach to research and writing? 

Researching someone’s life for me means gathering as much literature and source material as possible. I checked books, newspapers, historical society libraries, census records, and more. I also traveled to many of their landmarks and gravesites to take photos (check my Hometown Heroines board on Pinterest to see many of them). Only after I had collected everything I could find (note that the research I did was completed prior to the Internet being as easy to search as it is now) did I sit down and immerse myself into the details of each girl so I could attempt to put myself into her shoes and see the world through her eyes.

6. Which was the most challenging to write: the historical fiction story or the girl's biography?

 The fictional story proved more challenging because many of the day to day details of their lives are unknown. Based on other stories and nonfiction books I’ve read about that century, I imagined what their day might have been like, sticking as close as possible to the facts and even documented snippets of their conversations.

7. What is your next project? Do you think you are going to write historical fiction again? 

Next up is a fictional series set during the American Revolution in Charleston, SC, which will be available later this year. The first three stories feature women who have decided they want their own independence but from marriage. I include a touch of history in most everything I write, even the contemporary paranormal romances released this year, Traces (released in April) and Remnants (coming in October), both in the Ghosts of Roseville series. The stories take place in a fictional Tennessee plantation and feature ghosts from the Civil War and World War Two time periods, respectively. I’ll post covers and release dates as I know them at Thanks for having me, Lauralee! It’s been fun.

     Betty Bolte loves history now, but realized many years ago in ninth grade that history books tend to be dry and boring. Thus she vowed to bring history to life through fiction.

     She has also written several nonfiction books for young adult readers, including two books about horse sports (Dressage and Jumping) as well as two books on how to start a club at school (Foreign Language Clubs and Hobby Clubs).

     In addition to young adult books, Betty has written several adult nonfiction books, many essays, and a newspaper column. 

     Since 1990 she has worked as a freelance and consulting technical writer/editor for a variety of companies and government entities.

Please visit to learn more about her other works.

Check out my review of Bette Bolte's novel:

Hometown Heroines

Friday, August 8, 2014

Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring & Adventure by Betty Bolte: A Book Review

Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring & Adventure
Author: Betty Bolte
Genre: Historical Fiction Nonfiction, History, Biography, Short Story Collection
Publisher: Epublishing Works!
Release Date: 2012
Pages: 190
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: Did you know that girls and young women made a difference in Americas history? 

During the 1800s, many girls helped America grow bigger and better, yet are missing from many history books. 

Virginia Reed, at 12, survived the trek to California with the Donner Party.

Joanna Troutman, at 17, created the first Texas flag. 

Belle Boyd risked her life to spy for the Rebels during the Civil War. 

Grace Bedell wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln that changed the way he faced the nation. 

Kate Shelley, at 15, crawled across a high trestle in a ferocious thunderstorm to stop the next train from falling through a washed-out bridge.

 A young teacher, Minnie Freeman led her 17 students to safety through the blinding snow of the Blizzard of 1888. 

Lucille Mulhall, age 14, outperformed cowboys to become the World’s First Famous Cowgirl.

These are just a few of the inspiring true stories inside Hometown Heroines-American Girls who faced danger and adversity and made a difference in their world.

     My Review: Hometown Heroines tells the stories of average young American girls that live ordinary lives, but through different situations and circumstances they are forced to turn into heroines overnight. These girls love their country, and they will do anything they can to improve it. Some of these girls, such as Lucille Mulhall, the world’s first famous cowgirl and Malee, a young Indian princess who saved her enemy’s life, have stepped out of their conventions in society to help make a difference in their world. These true stories of the young girls prove to us that anyone no matter what age can help make a difference.

Bolte groups these girls into three categories: creative endeavors, war efforts, and brave and daring acts. She writes a historical fiction story about the girls brave and daring acts, then she writes a nonfiction biography of each girl. Her sources are limited, yet she includes a lot of resources in these books, like ballads, newspaper articles, poems, and other media sources about them. She also includes places of where the girls lived and statues and memorials of these girls in case anyone is interested, you can trace their footsteps. 

Each of the stories of these girls are very fascinating. Their ages range from 7-20. They contributed a lot to America, especially to the Civil War, yet we have never heard of these girls in our history books. Some of my favorite stories were Joanna Troutman, who created the Texas Lone Star flag, Grace Bedell Billings, a funny story who persuaded Abraham Lincoln to grow a beard, and Minnie Freeman, a schoolteacher who rescued her students during the Blizzard of 1888. Other stories were about girls who helped their hometowns in the Civil War. They were very loyal to their side, and some of them served as spies.

Overall, I found these girls to be very inspiring. It shows that anyone can be a hero. I recommend everyone to read this book so these girls stories can come to light. They deserve to have their names in the history books for they are equally important. This book shows women in extraordinary circumstances who have given their all to the cause and in turn, it helped benefit our country. This book is a great tribute these young girls and their efforts.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My First Blog Anniversary!

Today is the first year anniversary of my blog. I am really excited! I can't believe one year has gone by so fast! Thanks to you, my readers, this blog has far exceeded my hopes. I have read and reviewed many great books on women in various periods of history, and I hope I have provided enjoyable reviews to you so that you may have been exposed to some of these and read a few yourself. I have also got to interview a few wonderful authors and gained insight from them about their writing and publishing. This is the first year, and I am still learning and growing, and I encourage you to keep coming here to hear about more great books and share my love for women throughout history who are models of strength and resourcefulness. Their inspirational stories teaches us life lessons we can apply in our everyday lives and that anyone can make a difference in our world.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Beggars or Angels: How a Single Mother Triumphed Over War, Welfare, and Cancer to Become a Successful Philanthropist by Rosemary Tran Lauer and Scott Beller: A Book Review

Beggars or Angels: How a Single Mother Triumphed Over War, Welfare, and Cancer to Become a Successful Philanthropist
Authors: Rosemary Tran Lauer and Scott Beller
Genre: Nonfiction, Autobiography & Memoir, History
Publisher: Oaklight Publishing
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 256
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Imagine waking up tomorrow in a foreign land with no home, no money, no grasp of the language, no formal education, no friends or family for support, and with two kids under age three depending on you. What would you do? 

     Beggars or Angels: How a Single Mother Triumphed Over War, Welfare and Cancer to Become a Successful Philanthropist tells the inspirational story of Rosemary Tran Lauer, a mother who found the will and a way to survive when faced with this overwhelming scenario. Drawing on her strength, bold resourcefulness, and sense of humor, Rosemary was eventually able to give her family a wealth of opportunities they wouldn't have dared dream about in the war-torn homeland they left behind. A courageous welfare-mother-turned-philanthropist, she was willing to sacrifice everything but her self-respect for the sake of her children's futures . . . and for the futures of thousands of families around the world. 

     Beggars or Angels is about one woman's dare to care and her persistent search for a reason "why." Once she discovered it, Rosemary transformed her years of struggle into an altruistic ambition and purpose-the child care advocacy nonprofit Devotion to Children.

     My Review: Rosemary Tran Lauer’s Beggars or Angels tells the story of survival and of her relentless faith in God as she embarks on her journey as a single mother Vietnamese War refugee and her immigrates to the U.S. Rosemary faced tremendous struggles in her new country. She had no money, family, support, and no career. In order to survive, she decides to go on welfare, and take odd jobs, while thinking about what her career path should be. Despite her tough life challenges and obstacles, including cancer, Rosemary Tran Lauer finds happiness in her life, along with peace, comfort, hope, and God’s endless love. Because God had sent help to her in many ways during her lowest times in life, Rosemary wanted to give back and becames a successful philanthropist through her foundation, Devotion to Children, which is a child care advocacy nonprofit organization.

     In the  beginning of her book, Rosemary lives a peaceful life in Vietnam. She has a happy and joyful marriage with her husband, Binh. However, her happiness did not last because the Vietnam War changed her life forever. She finds that she and her family is in danger, and that her marriage was not as happy as she thought it was. Her life becomes more difficult when unfortunate circumstances force her to leave Vietnam with her two children to pursue a new life in the U.S. Rosemary’s life in the U.S. is filled with ups and downs, but through her unwavering determination, courage, and love for her children, Rosemary is determined to be successful and find ultimate happiness in her life.

     Overall, I felt this book to be an important book about love and to never give up. Rosemary was a woman who knew little English and had no one to help. She almost wanted to give up, but she realized that if she did, her children wouldn’t survive. Her children needed her and depended on her and this gave her the determination to not give up. In her times of despair, she found God. Through God’s love, she became a stronger person. The message of the book is that everything happens for a reason, and that even though you don’t see it then, you will eventually get through your suffering. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and that when you come out, you will become a stronger person. For at the end of your suffering, you will be rewarded in ways you have never imagined. This novel is very thought-provoking. I encourage you to read this book for it gives us a helpful reminder of God’s love, that there is happiness, light, and hope during our times of darkness and despair. It also shows that anyone, no matter what their circumstances, race, and age, can help make a difference that can change the world for the better.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Promo Blitz: The Roman Mongrel by Mary Bernsen

The Roman Mongrel – Mary Bernsen
Historical Fiction
Date Published: July 1, 2014

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For Princess Chiomara, freedom from the Romans isn't good enough. She will have her captor's head.

Loosely based on the true story of the war between Rome and Galatia, The Roman Mongrel is focused on the wife of a Galatian chieftain. Princess Chiomara is a feisty noblewoman who carries herself with incredible passion and bravery - even after she is captured by the Roman army.

Captivated by her beauty and unique spirit, the centurion that oversees her care is unable to resist his lust for her. After an opportunity for freedom presents itself, Chiomara faces two options: to flee, or to seek revenge.

The Roman Mongrel is a new adult historical fiction with a rich mix of war and female empowerment, sprinkled with a touch of romance.

About the Author

Mary Bernsen is a southwest Florida native currently living in Punta Gorda with her two beautiful children and a third, much larger child that she affectionately calls husband. She  spends her days creating characters on the good side of twenty-five because she is in serious denial about the fact that she is now on the bad side of it. She has a passion for fantasy of any kind along with historical fiction. If she isn't having conversations with her made-up friends, you can usually find her clipping coupons or out on the boat enjoying the muddy waters of Peace River (as long as it isn't below 80 degrees).

Author Links

Buy Links

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Woman's Choice By Annie Thomas: A Book Review

A Woman’s Choice
Author: Annie Thomas
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 353
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis:  It is 1901. Queen Victoria is dead; a new era has begun. And on a cold April morning a young girl stands uncertainly on Liverpool Docks ready to board an emigrant ship that will take her to America and an unknown future. Michael, Luke, and Meg are amongst her fellow travellers, with the common bond that only determination and self-belief will sustain them in their new lives.

     Set in the vibrancy of early twentieth century New York, the story follows Clara and the people she meets on the way, through tenement living and sweatshop labour to success in musical theatre.

     But she discovers that she needs more than wealth and security to make her happy; when the past returns, she makes another choice which changes her life. Then, as the horror of World War One in Europe threatens to engulf America, Clara learns that personal lives cannot be lived apart from public events, and finds that the people she has loved, and who love her, are not always what they seem. 

     A Woman’s Choice is a compelling saga of friendship, love and ambition.

     My Review: A Woman’s Choice follows a young English immigrant, named Clara Foley, into the U.S. The story tells of the friends she made on the immigrant ship, her ups and downs in America, her dreams and the choices she made. Most of all, it is about Clara trying to find happiness and identity in a world that is hostile to other races. Clara must choose what is right and stick to her conscience, even if she has to forsake those she loves.

     The first thing to describe Clara Foley is that she is beautiful. At twelve, her beauty attracts many men who fall in love with her. It goes on from there. Everywhere she goes, her beauty fascinate and attracts many people that it is easy for her to get what she wants. Even though she is vain, she is hard and persistent. She is courageous and not afraid to stand up to others, including those she loves, for what is right.

     The author brilliantly paints a gorgeous setting of life on the immigrant ship and in New York City before World War I. We get to learn of how women worked in sweatshops, and what the musical theatre was like. But the setting I found to be really interesting was what New York was like in  World War I. She explained the prejudices of German immigrants, who went to America to pursue their dreams. We also learn that some corporations survived World War I by enlisting in a black market. It helped give the reader a good portrait for the problems that America faced during the war.

     Overall, the story is about love, family, friendship, loss, sacrifice, choices, and finding one’s identity. It is about a young woman who is in pursuit of the American dream. The message of the book is to follow your heart and do what you think is right. There are a lot of interesting subplots and secondary characters that are fun and likeable. The story is slow-paced and there is a love triangle that seems forced and tends to drag. I also found the constant mentioning of Clara’s beauty to be somewhat off-putting. Nevertheless, the story is interesting and you care about what happens to Clara and the friends she’s made. I recommend this to anyone interested in city-life in 20th century America, World War I, broadway, and those who face obstacles and hardships but are determined to make their dreams and goals come true.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars 

Here is the author's official book trailer for A Woman's Choice: