Seasons of Love and War by Brenda Ashworth Barry

Summary

SEASONS OF LOVE AND WAR is a historical family saga and epic love story. Childhood sweethearts Beth Ann Rose and Kaylob Shawn O’Brien just want to get married and pursue their dream careers, but the Vietnam War changes everything when Kaylob is drafted into the Army and declared dead. Beth Ann has a complete emotional melt down and starts to have visions of him in the jungles of Vietnam. Is he alive or has she completely lost her mind?

Characters

Kaylob, Beth Ann, and Blake are the three main characters. Although I liked both Kaylob and Blake to certain extents, I couldn’t bring myself to like Beth Ann. She reminded me as a lead in a trashy soap opera. By the end of the book I absolutely loathed her – to the point that I didn’t think she deserved anyone and I wished very much that things end poorly for her. She was not what I would define as a strong woman. Her reaction when Kaylob first goes missing was absolutely over the top. Most of her actions, in one way or another, were understandable  in some regard, but it was the way she handled them that was STUPID. She was a spineless selfish little creature that I hope ends up dying in a horrible way to match her horrible little personality – very similar to my emotions toward Catherine of Wuthering Heights. The supporting characters were fine, I actually liked Jake and Carol. I won’t even mention her long term friend because I’ll just start another rant on how much I disliked Beth Ann. Plus I don’t want to ruin any of the story.

Plot

Very interesting plot. The historical aspects of this book seemed to spot on. Anything I wasn’t 100 sure of, I actually googled really quickly and was impressed that the author did their homework. A hurrah because this was presented as a more historical novel. Wanting to find out what happened to Kaylob was hands down the number one reason I went through the book. I didn’t realize when I picked this book that it couldn’t stand alone. That was very disappointing because more than once I thought “was that really necessary?” Though that may have been due more to my dislike of the main character.

The war zone pieces were great…but they were entirely centered on Kaylob’s love for Beth Ann. I get that it was their connection – but for a historical novel I thought we’d see a little more of what was happening to him and his fellow soldiers. What we did see were some of the best parts of the novel and I absolutely love Kaylob for them. Where the author failed with Beth Ann in my eyes, Kaylob was wonderful. Not perfect, but wonderful. Plus I’m not 100% sure where the author was going with the more supernatural part of the book with Beth Ann’s visions. You’ll see what I mean.

Overall

The writing was well done and easy to follow. The plot wasn’t perfect but did keep me engaged. I would point out that a few parts felt a little convenient – like when John Patterson calls Beth Ann. I also felt there were a few logical fallacies that were overlooked, but most of them were minor and had to do with Beth Ann’s decision making in general. The historical references were spot on as far as I could tell – which was a huge win in my mind. I truly thought that my general dislike of Beth Ann would fade as the author built the character up and made her stronger. Instead she kept her a pouting selfish brat, who I could never sympathize with because she always seemed to be using those who were good-natured.

Rating

2.5 stars (rounded up to 3)

If you like Wuthering Heights or soap operas you will love this book – it just wasn’t my favorite. As a historical novel this was a win, but as a romance for me it was an epic fail.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. More reviews at creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com.

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Fool Me Twice by Philippa Jane Keyworth

Summary

In the gaming hells of eighteenth century London, orphan Caro Worth is leading a double life. By day she plays a proper gentlewoman on the lookout for a wealthy husband. By night she plays the infamous Angelica, her fictional half-sister with a talent for cards and an ability to finance the life her respectable self has built. An introduction to a rich Marquis brings marriage and security within Caro’s grasp…until the arrival of the unpredictable and totally ineligible Mr. Tobias Felton.

Dismayed by Felton’s persistent appearances, shocking frankness, and enigmatic green eyes, Caro watches helplessly as he comes closer than anyone to guessing her secret, but when complete and utter ruin threatens, she finds that Felton’s suspicions just might become her salvation. As the walls she has built to protect herself crumble down around her, Caro learns that no matter how careful your plans, life and love have a habit of falling quite spectacularly out of control!

Characters

Caro is a feisty but desperate woman. She doesn’t want to abandon all home so instead she assumes the persona of another. Angelica has some freedoms that Caro does not – like speaking her mind. Tobias is a bloody mess. Being the youngest he hasn’t found anything worth while to invest his time or energy in so he just drifts. Rebecca is adorable – I loved her more than Caro most of the time.

Despite the fact that in the end and over all I like Caro, she could be down right wishy washy and irritating. Actually I didn’t like her very much for the second half of the book. Especially after her secret gets out. Instead of rising up – she had to be saved by the men around her. That was the most frustrating thing about this entire book. I thought it would be more about her saving herself but no. So fair warning there.

Plot

Caro’s double life as Angelica catches up with her. There wasn’t a lot of lead in to the bad guy being a bad guy but it was believable. Entitled and malicious. Surprisingly the romance is as important as the rest of the plot. I believe that even some men would enjoy this book due to its duel plot nature. The romantic aspect was really secondary for most of the book – only the last 25% really felt like a historical romance. Which was the worst part of the book in my opinion.

Overall

Absolutely gripping read. The writing flowed well and was at a fast paced tempo. It did a good job of sticking with the era and its colorful vernacular. At times the author overshadowed that something (mostly bad) was about to happen, which took me out of the book. There were a few POV shifts as well but also minimal. Not to mention that the grammatical errors were almost non-existent.

The characters were alright, Rebecca being my favorite and frankly Caro being my least favorite. At least the ‘bad guy’ (don’t want to give away who it is) is consistent – Caro isn’t throughout the book. She is all over the map. The only consistency is her inconsistency. The setting was well done, although more than once breaking the rules of proper society. Which may or may not be a good thing! The scenes between Caro and Tobias are very sweet though and by the end I went from not really liking to Tobias to loving him.

Rating

4 stars

The duel plot and fluid writing that is gripping and interesting is the reason for this rating. Fantastic read for any vacation!

I received a free copy in exchange of an honest review.

 

7 and 1/2 hours

I am very excited to give all of my updates on my projects.

Blog 2.0: An Author’s Take

Hannibal. That was the theme leading up to the Hannibal TV show season 3 premiere. So I went back and watched all of the classics. I also watched a few more because there are only 3 Hannibal movies (I don’t count Hannibal Rising).

Fargo (1996)

Hannibal (2001)

Imitation Game, The (2014)

Interstellar 

Red Dragon

Silence of the Lambs

Check them all out here: An Authors Take

1001 Islands

One of my Beta readers informed me this morning that they finished my book and all of the notes. The other Beta reader is only has 10 pages to go. I expect to get a message from them tomorrow. I am thrilled to be getting my final edits together and shipping it off to my editor.

I got draft sketches for the cover. So far I am very excited. Especially for the epic ship she has added to it. I should get a inked draft on Saturday, just before I leave on my camping trip!

The only problem that is really left is the back of the book. I still can’t get it right. I’ve been struggling with what to do and am about to claw my eyes out. I seem to have two ways of doing the blurb for the back of the book; epic fail or epic win. There is no gap but I shall endeavor to keep trying.

Frost Burn

My coauthored book is well underway. You can get the first part for #free on Wattpad. That way you can get your toes wet and decide if the next 3 parts are worth it or not. If you don’t know what Wattpad is, please give it a chance. It is epic and wonderful and not I can’t stop reading other people’s stories on there! It is an app for your phone that allows you to read books that indie writers (an traditional writers) post for free.

Just click on this link: Frost Burn

I meet with my wonderful coauthor on Sunday. We were both very determined to hammer out the best book possible. We had a few changes, but the overall theme and plot remain the same. After 7 and 1/2 hours of typing back and forth we finally worked it out. We also didn’t waste anytime getting to work. We’re already 3 chapters into part 4. Perhaps we’ll finish up faster then we thought and get this baby out in the Fall of 2015!

Love’s Metamorphosis

First round of edits are done. I got it back from my friend who does all my editing (love her) and plan to do another round of edits. I’m just going to construct some sort of cover in the next month and get this baby rolled out on Wattpad. Stay tuned!

In Progress Book – The Gate Doulogy

Continued work in progress. I am 12,000 words in and making head way to getting this baby rolling out faster. Just fine tuning where I want the book to go.

I’ve also started initial editing for the first book in the series. Honestly I am not that motivated since I’m so focused on other books. Not to mention whenever I think about editing I want to curl up on the ground and cry. Grammar really is the bane of my existence.

Honest Hearts Collection

When I take a break from fantasy I like to write romances. My first book completed after I finished my bachelor degree is called ‘An Honest Misunderstanding.’ I have two other outlines for historical romances including the one from 2010. I was rereading over one of the outlines and realized how much I missed it. So despite the fact that I am knee deep in my dark fantasy I’ve started working on this one too.

All of the books will have ‘honest’ in the title. That way if I come up with other ideas I can get more out there. I’m going to work on getting ‘An Honest Misunderstanding’ ready for publication and plan to come out with next spring. That way I’ll be able to go from fantasy in the fall to historical romance in the spring.

‘An Honest Intent’ is my current book. Here is a little peak into that: Abigail Bradford is mistreated by her uncle, but she is still surprised when he decides to marry her off for money. While her uncle pockets the money, Abigail had to leave her sick mother and three very young siblings, to go live with a man she only met twice and only 2 weeks before they married. Mr. St. John needs a wife with an old, respectable name and none are as old as Bradford. Abigail has secrets, terrible secrets, that will either tear her and her new husband apart or bound them together forever.

If you’re interested in ‘An Honest Misunderstanding’ you can check it out here: An Honest Misunderstanding.

The 3rd book which I am right now titled ‘An Honest Persuasion’ will be my NaNoWriMo book.

Stay posted as I keep writing!