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review 2018-07-17 14:00
Hunting Prince Dracula
Hunting Prince Dracula - Kerri Maniscalco

“Bone white, blood red. Along this path you'll soon be dead.”

 

I really enjoyed the setting of this book and the creepy old Romanian Bran Castle, with its hidden rooms and secret passageways, dark spider filled corridors leading to hidden rooms and bloodless corpses. Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell are now attending the academy of forensic medicine, which takes place in Bran Castle. Just as they arrive a series of murders happen, all pointing to the old legends leading people to fear Vlad the Impaler has risen from the dead.

 

After the events of Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose is still attempting to come to terms with everything they endured. I was a fan of the first book, but I believe I liked this one even more. Despite her anxieties and fears Audrey becomes a stronger character. She pushes past her insecurities and tries her hardest to focus, to solve the mystery and move on with her life. She is the only female student in the academy and has to work twice as hard to prove that she is worthy of being there.

 

Cresswell remains as charming and flirtatious as ever. His humor is ever present, breaking the tension even in the most suspenseful of scenes. There is a slew of new characters, including fellow students, odd and intimidating professors, we even meet Cresswell's sister.

 

This time around I did not figure out who the killer was as I did with Stalking Jack the Ripper. Maniscalco kept me guessing and I loved it! Her writing seems to get better and better. The next book in the series is called Escaping from Houdini and the cover art is beautiful. I can't wait to add it to its predecessors currently decorating my bookshelf!

 

 

 

-Shey

 

 

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review 2018-07-16 13:00
The Romanov Empress
The Romanov Empress - C.W. Gortner

Princess Dagmar of Denmark or Minnie is a daughter to Denmark's King Christian IX and sister to Alexandra, who would marry Edward VII and become Queen of the United Kingdom.  Minnie knows she too must marry and would rather marry for love.  When she meets Nicholas Alexandrovich,  or Nixa, the Tsarevich of Russia, Minnie is taken.  However, as fate would have it, Minnie marries Nixa's brother,  Sasha, Tsesarevich Alexander of Russia, and eventually becomes Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna of Russia.  Minnie must adjust to Russia, a new religion and rules of royalty.  Minnie exceeds in her role and is a driving force within the Russian government.  Although, times are changing in Russia and things become dangerous for Minnie and her family.  Minnie sees that the government also needs to change.  When her beloved Sasha passes, Minnie's son, Nicholas becomes Tsar.  Nicholas' wife, Alexandra is not as diplomatic as Minnie and finds herself in a war of wills with Minnie.  As actual war finds its way to Russia's door, Nicholas heeds his wife's opinion and that of her mystic Rasputin over Minnie's and brings the downfall of the Russian empire with him.


With historically accurate detail,  The Romanov Empress gives an  in-depth and entertaining look at the amazing woman behind the storied last Tsar of Russia.  Told from Minnie's point of view from the time she was a teenager through her son's death, we get a full view of her life.  I went into this book not knowing much at all about this time in Russia's history and I was very pleased that I was able to learn about Russia through her eyes.  As Minnie came to love Russia, she saw the faults as well as its amazing features.  Minnie wanted Russia to grow, change and survive, but as a woman she could only offer so much guidance to the men in her life.  I enjoyed seeing how Minnie was able to affect change in the government, even if the men did not always listen.  I also took to heart her and her sister, Alix's motto of living to the next day: "You will live,...You can do nothing else." It was  very insightful to see Minnie's relationship with her son Nicholas and his wife Alexandra especially when Rasputin came into the picture.  I did not know the breadth of Rasputin's influence on Russia at the time and his relationship with Alexandra and her children.  Maria's story brings us through the fabled deaths of her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.  While I knew of this story, I was unaware of the reasons behind it and the political climate of Russia at the time.  Overall, an astounding and epic tale of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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review 2018-07-15 06:44
Linear Shift, Part 2 by Paul B. Kohler
Linear Shift, Part 2 - Paul B. Kohler

Linear Shift, Part 2 by Paul B. Kohler is a time travel story. I gave it four stars. It continues where Linear Shift, Part 1 stopped.

 

"Michael could feel the goose bumps dance across his skin like spiders attending a masquerade ball. He longed to hear those words. He needed to hear more."

 

It's about Peter Cooper and time travel. Things aren't always what they seem.

 

Link to purchase: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HHWCXAO

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text 2018-07-07 16:19
Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 343 pages.
Above Suspicion - Helen MacInnes

Oh, wow.  I'm only a few chapters in, but this is feeling mighty topical already -- even more so given that it's not historical fiction but was actually published in 1941 (note: it's set in the summer of 1939):

 

"'It is really very sad for a German to find how misjudged and abused his country is.  Of course, our enemies control the Press in foreign countries, and they have been very busy.  They have clever tongues.'

'Have they?  It is strange, isn't it, how criticism of Germany has grown even in countries which were once really very close to her.  I wonder how it could have happened.'"

(P. 25)

 

"'You are a very prejudiced person, I can see.  I suppose you will now lecture me gravely on the wickedness of Germany's claims to natural Lebensraum.  It is easy to talk when you have a large Empire.'

'On the contrary, Herr von Aschenhausen, I like to think of all people having their Lebensraum, whether they are Germans or Jews or Czechs or Poles.'

His voice grated.  He was really angry.  'It is just such thoughts as these which have weakened Britain.  In the last twenty-five years she could have established herself as ruler of the world.  Instead, she makes a Commonwealth out of an Empire, and they won't even fight to help her when she has to fight.  She leaves the riches of India untapped; she urges a representative government on Indians who were about to refuse it.  She alienates Italy with sanctions.  She weakens herself all the time and she thinks it is an improvement.'"

(P. 27)

 

"'Well, I suppose if a nation allows concentration camps, it will find it hard to believe that other people don't use similar methods.  Cheeer up, old girl, who cares what a lot of uncivilised people think anyway?  It's only the opinion of the civilised that really matters.'

'Yes, but it looks as if a lot of the civilised will be killed because they ignored the thoughts of the uncivilised.  Ignoring doesn't expose them, you know, Richard.'"

(P. 32)

 

"[...] And then bastards like von Aschenhausen come along all smiles and bows.  And wonder why people are not enthusiastic about them.  They blackmailed us with bombers one year, and go back on the agreement they had extorted out of us, and then expect to be welcomed as friends.  All within nine months."

(P. 33)

 

"There's nothing like self-pity for thoroughly dissipating a man.  And when a nation indulges in that luxury it finds itself with a dictator.  Wrongs and injustices come in at the door and reason flies out of the window.  It's a solution which does not flatter the human race."

(P. 43)

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review 2018-07-06 18:30
WHITE DEATH by Christine Morgan, narrated by Matt Godfrey
White Death - Christine Morgan,Matt Godfrey

WHITE DEATH is the first book I've read from Christine Morgan and it was a winner!

 

Set during the Great Blizzard of 1888, it's apparent that Ms. Morgan has done her research. Set in the small town of Far Enough, Montana, this novel depicts what it was like for the inhabitants in a time when there were no weather forecasts, or warnings of any kind, before a storm.

 

At the same time, the author also weaves in some native American folklore in the form of a Wanageeska. In fact, it's the crossing of this creature that sets everything else off. I loved the characters in Far Enough, Montana, except for for the founder of the town, who deserved everything that happened.

 

The only problem I had was the large cast of characters, which are easier to follow on paper, than in audio. (I did find that jotting down notes on everyone helped quite a bit.) I thought the writing here was above average and detailed-if you ever want to know exactly what it feels like to have frostbite, or to debride the skin around your eyes trying to remove ice, than this is the book for you!

 

My only problem was that I didn't feel I got to know as many of the characters as I would have liked. However if I had, the book probably would have been much longer and the pacing slower. Perhaps a slightly smaller cast would have worked better and we could have become more familiar with people like Emma the schoolteacher, and a few others.

 

I listened to the audio of this story, narrated by the always excellent Matt Godfrey. In regards to excellence in audio, he never fails.

 

WHITE DEATH was entertaining and informative and caused me to want to learn more about the Great Blizzard of 1888. It was also quite a bit of fun where the Wanageeska was concerned and I would like to know more about that creature as well. Overall, it was a great time listening to WHITE DEATH and I definitely recommend it!

 

 

You can get your copy here: WHITE DEATH

 

*Thanks to Matt Godfrey for the Audible copy in exchange for my honest review. This is it. Further, I consider Matt to be my friend, even though we've never met, but this did not affect the honesty of my review.*

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