Book Drunkard

“I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.” L.M. Montgomery


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Shadow of Whimsy Blog Tour


Shadow of Whimsy: A Cape Cod Love Story
by Ann Hymes

Publication Date: June 15, 2016
Secant Publishing
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Genre: Contemporary/Women’s Fiction/Literary

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Several generations of one family have lived, loved, and lied at Whimsy Towers, a unique oceanfront house in Chatham, Massachusetts. Strong women who refuse to be suffocated by marriage have found excitement and refuge in this house filled with artists and parties. Love surfaces in unexpected ways.

The newest owner, Theresa Alston Crandall, has just inherited the property and leaves her too-predictable husband in Virginia to spend time on the Cape and unravel family secrets and history. She swims, reflects, explores, and watches dramatic cloud formations float high over the ocean as she sorts through the choices in her path forward.

Romance arrives in the form of a young widower and landscape gardener with an awesome pickup truck, who likes Theresa’s dog and provides temptation to stay at Whimsy Towers. Tips of tree branches dance with the weight of birds that seem to scream warnings of danger, and the churning ocean disrupts family continuity.

Theresa learns how her Southern grandmother came to buy a storm-weathered New England house and how loveless marriage is not a mandatory life style. The final decision feels just right.

“In her debut novel, Hymes presents a conflicted young woman who is beginning to question her humdrum existence. From grief and loss to forgiveness and redemption, Hymes does not hold back. The author steers clear of predictable outcomes in this unexpected story, providing ample romantic suspense and witty prose to keep the reader turning pages. Chock-full of rich descriptions of the New England coast, as well as surprising scandals and an adorable dog named Gypsy, the book should satisfy even seasoned beach readers. A captivating and uplifting tale best suited for fans of meaningful beach-town romances.” -Kirkus Reviews

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo

My Review

SHADOW OF WHIMSY: A CAPE COD LOVE STORY is a book of few pages.  But, those pages contain the charm and wit of many books.  This is Ann Hymes first novel and it’s an enjoyable one.

This book has it all–love, mystery, family.  The author has a knack for description, and, though I’ve never been to New England, I feel like I’ve been there after finishing the book.  Characters aren’t your typical which I always appreciate.  This isn’t your run of the mill romance as it’s quite unpredictable.  I was immediately pulled into the story and stayed there until the last page.

With a refreshing book that gives you the unexpected, I give SHADOW OF WHIMSY: A CAPE COD LOVE STORY by Ann Hymes 3 stars ***.

Thank you to Amy from Book Junkie Promotions for inviting me to participate in this tour.  I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

Ann Hymes is a retired real estate broker and mother of two grown daughters. She has a B.A. in English from Mills College and an M.A. in English from Washington College. Her published work includes creative nonfiction. An active international volunteer, including service in the Peace Corps in the 1960s, Ann lives in St. Michaels, Maryland.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 27
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 28
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, March 1
Review at Books, Dreams, Life

Thursday, March 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, March 3
Spotlight at Cafinated Reads

Monday, March 6
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Tuesday, March 7
Review at Book Drunkard
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, March 10
Review & Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, March 14
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, March 15
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, March 16
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, March 21
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Friday, March 24
Review at Blushing Babes Are Up All Night

Giveaway

Five copies of Shadow of Whimsy: A Cape Cod Love Story are up for grabs during the blog tour! To enter, please click the link below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 10th. You must be 18 or older toenter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

 

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/53SYk/shadow-of-whimsy

 

 

 


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18 and Life on Skid Row by Sebastian Bach, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

In this uncensored, unfiltered memoir, the musician and former front man for Skid Row tells the story of how a choir boy became a mega-successful hair metal god, rode the wave of fame in Heavy Metal’s heyday, and came out alive on the other side when glam rock went the way of the cassette tape and the Walkman.

Sebastian Bach is an iconic rock vocalist who has sold in excess of twenty million records worldwide. Best known for his powerful high vocal range and his flowing blonde locks, he’s been a stand out member of the metal music scene since he was fourteen. From first joining Kid Wikkid, Bach has rocked out with Skid Row, Madam X, The Last Hard Men, The Frogs, and Frameshift, and with famous friends such as Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Soundgarden, Pantera, and Guns ’N Roses.

But eventually the party bus stopped and the rock star grew up. Yet the fun didn’t end. Bach established a successful solo career as an actor, musician, and singer, appearing on numerous television shows and on Broadway. In this no-holds-barred memoir—raw, powerful, wild, funny, and reflective—he charts his unconventional childhood, first in the Bahamas and then in his rise from small-town Canada to the world’s greatest concert stages to the Great White Way and beyond.

There’s the usual sex, drugs, parties, women, hair products, and headbanging rock ‘n’ roll, but there is also a lot more. Here is a rock star who can write, tell a great story, and has kept his career moving forward despite the changing musical landscape. Through it all, this talented artist remained devoted to his craft, and to having a damn good time.

MY REVIEW:

If you grew up in the 80s listening to metal, you were probably a fan of Skid Row — and most likely in love with the lead singer, Sebastian Bach.  I know I was!

In his book, 18 AND LIFE ON SKID ROW, Sebastian tells us the story of his life, starting at the beginning with his earliest memories.  Oftentimes while reading, I felt I was sitting on a bar stool beside him, listening to him talk about his adventures while we drank shots.  He is very candid throughout the book, sharing the good and bad times.  I love the parts where he talks about other big bands in the 80s and the friendships he had with them, but I mostly enjoyed the personal bits.  It was during those stories that he really opened up and shared himself with us, unflattering or not. I appreciated the candor.  The various pictures of his family, the band, friends, and himself peppered throughout the book were a definite plus!

I recently had the chance to see Sebastian Bach in concert (For the FIRST time!!) and it was amazing.  I’m so glad I was able to read this book.  For any fan of hair metal, this is a must read.

With all the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll you can handle, I give 18 AND LIFE ON SKID ROW 4 stars ****.

 

Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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Days of Sun and Glory by Anna Belfrage, review


02_days-of-sun-and-gloryPublication Date: July 4, 2016
Matador
eBook & Paperback; 418 Pages

Series: The King’s Greatest Enemy
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Adam de Guirande has barely survived the aftermath of Roger Mortimer’s rebellion in 1321. When Mortimer manages to escape the Tower and flee to France, anyone who has ever served Mortimer becomes a potential traitor – at least in the eyes of King Edward II and his royal chancellor, Hugh Despenser. Adam must conduct a careful balancing act to keep himself and his family alive. Fortunately, he has two formidable allies: Queen Isabella and his wife, Kit. England late in 1323 is a place afflicted by fear. Now that the king’s greatest traitor, Roger Mortimer, has managed to evade royal justice, the king and his beloved Despenser see dissidents and rebels everywhere – among Mortimer’s former men, but also in the queen, Isabella of France.

Their suspicions are not unfounded. Tired of being relegated to the background by the king’s grasping favourite, Isabella has decided it is time to act – to safeguard her own position, but also that of her son, Edward of Windsor. As Adam de Guirande has pledged himself to Prince Edward he is automatically drawn into the queen’s plans – whether he likes it or not.

Yet again, Kit and Adam are forced to take part in a complicated game of intrigue and politics. Yet again, they risk their lives – and that of those they hold dear – as the king and Mortimer face off. Once again, England is plunged into war – and this time it will not end until either Despenser or Mortimer is dead.

Days of Sun and Glory is the second in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his king, and his wife.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

My Review

What a thrill to read and review the second book in Anna Belfrage’s The King’s Greatest Enemy series.  The first book, IN THE SHADOW OF THE STORM, was excellent and this book is just as great, if not better.

In DAYS OF SUN & GLORY, we are re- introduced to Kit and Adam and the rest–Edward II, Isabella of France, Depenser, and of course, Mortimer.  I was drawn in from the first page and was constantly reminded throughout the story how marvelous Anna is at weaving a believable fictional tale into real life history.  The historical content is very detailed without being heavy and is well researched.  Adam and Kit are an awesome couple, though greatly flawed, which I love!  I hate those perfect relationships authors oftentimes write.  Kit is super annoying most of time.  She has a knack of saying the wrong thing, getting herself into bad situations, and jumping to wrong conclusions.  But, she is feisty and I enjoy her so much.

I cannot recommend this book and series highly enough.  There is adventure, intrigue, romance, and sex all perfectly written giving the book excellent flow.  It was hard to put down and kept me interested from the beginning.  I am so looking forward to the next book in the series (And, I also need to read The Graham Saga!!  If it’s half as good as this series, it’ll be wonderful)

 

About the Author

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financia03_annna_belfrage-2015-1l professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours.

When Anna fell in love with her future husband, she got Scotland as an extra, not because her husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century – and were related to the Stuarts. For a history buff like Anna, these little details made Future Husband all the more desirable, and sparked a permanent interest in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of the acclaimed The Graham Saga, began to take shape.

Set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, the series tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters.

Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The King’s Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling.

The first installment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, was published in 2015. The second book, Days of Sun and Glory, will be published in July 2016.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule04_days-of-sun-and-glory_blog-tour-banner_final

Monday, August 29
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, August 30
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, August 31
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at Queen of All She Reads

Thursday, September 1
Review at Lampshade Reader
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, September 2
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, September 5
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, September 6
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, September 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, September 8
Interview at Books and Benches
Character Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, September 9
Review at A Holland Reads

Monday, September 12
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 13
Review at Let Them Read Books
Interview at Oh,for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, September 14
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, September 15
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Monday, September 19
Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, September 20
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, September 21
Review at It’s a Mad Mad World

Friday, September 23
Review at The True Book Addict
Spotlight at The Reading Queen

Monday, September 26
Review at Diana’s Book Reviews

Tuesday, September 27
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 29
Review at Bookramblings

Giveaway

To win a copy of Days of Sun & Glory by Anna Belfrage, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or newwinner is chosen.

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/oVmiR/days-of-sun-and-glory


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The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose, Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Nestled within Paris’s historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protégé to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.

So it is from La Fantasie Russie’s workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline’s creations are magical. But magic is a word Opaline would rather not use. The concept is too closely associated with her mother Sandrine, who practices the dark arts passed down from their ancestor La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans.

But Opaline does have a rare gift even she can’t deny, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her.

So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family.

MY REVIEW:

M.J. Rose continues to enchant and captivate in her latest book, THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES.  In The Daughters of La Lune book two, we meet Opaline, the daughter of Sandrine from the first book, THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS.  In my opinion, each book could be a stand alone, but you get much more insight if you read and savour each one.

As always, I was entranced from the very first page.  M.J. Rose does this thing with words that makes you feel as if you are in a dream while reading her books.  On top of the paranormal romance aspect, she also includes a great deal of political intrigue.  Past books have been more geared towards magical elements, and while this one also had that, there was a great deal more history included.  Secondary plots are as well written as the main plot and add an interesting spin on the story.  There is a grand cast of characters from Opaline and her spirit, Jean-Luc, to a Romanov looking for information about her family.

I know of no other author who can weave a tale like M.J. Rose.  Her writing is magical and delves deep into your soul.  Descriptions are so rich with details that one begins to believe that the mystical aspects of the story are possible (and, maybe they are?).  Great attention is given to the development of each character and they become friends and family to the reader.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough and only wish that my words could convey how much I loved this book.

With lavish writing complete with romance and mystery, I give THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES and exuberant 5 stars *****.

I received an electronic copy of this book from Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  

 


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Rebel of Ross by Mary Lancaster, review


02_Rebel of RossRebel of Ross by Mary Lancaster

Publication Date: July 31, 2016
eBook & Paperback; 340 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Romance/Medieval

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Scotland, 1156.

Malcolm MacHeth, one time Earl of Ross, languishes a prisoner in Roxburgh Castle while his sons raise rebellion in his name. Optimistically, the King of Scots promises the earldom of Ross to landless Norman knight, Sir William de Lanson, if he can somehow defeat the infamous MacHeths.

It wasn’t quite how William’s disgraced wife Christian dreamed of coming home. Capture by the strange and ferocious Adam MacHeth was hardly part of her plan either, although she and William quickly become pawns in his.

Adam, warrior and seer, fights for his father’s freedom and for his family’s right to claim the kingdom of the Scots. Plagued by waking dreams which threaten his sanity and his life, he’s learned to use his prophecies to further his family’s goals. But when he abducts his enemy’s lady, his dreams and his desires are suddenly more personal.

Surrounded by intrigue, ambition and betrayal, Christian must choose between loyalty and love in order to keep a fragile peace for her people and for the man she loves beyond all reason.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

My Review

REBEL OF ROSS by Mary Lancaster is set in Scotland during 1156, a time I haven’t much read about.  That in itself was enough for me to want to read and review the book because I’m always eager to learn about a period in history I know nothing about.

What a fantastic book!  Although I was admittedly lost at the beginning trying to keep track of the characters–a lively cast, indeed– they all soon fell into place for me and I could scarcely put the book down.  This is the first book I’ve read by the author and I’m happy to report that she definitely knows how to weave an intriguing tale all while bringing life to a long ago era with descriptions of the places and people that will make you feel you’re in the midst of it all.  Full of adventure and romance, it’s everything fans of this genre want from medieval historical fiction.  I became completely absorbed in the lives of Christian and Adam, the two main characters.  Their romance is intense and wrought with passion.

This is the type of story you hate to see end and I give it an exuberant 5 stars.

Thank you to the amazing Amy from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for asking me to be a part of this tour, and thank you, Mary Lancaster for writing this amazing book.

About the Author03_Mary Lancaster

Mary Lancaster’s first love was historical fiction. Since then she has grown to love coffee, chocolate, red wine and black and white films – simultaneously where possible. She hates housework.

As a direct consequence of the first love, she studied history at St. Andrews University, after which she worked variously as editorial assistant, researcher and librarian. Although she has always written stories for her own entertainment, she began to make serious efforts toward publication in order to distract herself from a job she disliked. She now writes full time at her seaside home in Scotland, which she shares with her husband and three children.

Mary is the author of three historical novels:
An Endless Exile – the story of Hereward, 11th century outlaw hero
A World to Win – a Scottish governess finds love in revolutionary Hungary
A Prince to be Feared: the love story of Vlad Dracula

Mary loves to hear from readers. You can email her at Mary@MaryLancaster.com, and connect on Facebook. Find out more about Mary and her books at www.MaryLancaster.com.

Blog Tour Schedule04_Rebel of Ross_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Monday, August 8
Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, August 9
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads
Interview at Books and Benches

Wednesday, August 10
Excerpt at The Reading Queen
Guest Post at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Thursday, August 11
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Guest Post & Excerpt at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

Friday, August 12
Review at Let Them Read Books

Saturday, August 13
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, August 15
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review & Excerpt at Historical Fiction Obsession

Giveaway

To enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card, please see the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/nJiWC/rebel-of-ross


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I’ll See You in Paris by Michelle Gable, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

After losing her fiancé in the Vietnam War, nineteen-year-old Laurel Haley takes a job in England, hoping the distance will mend her shattered heart. Laurel expects the pain might lessen but does not foresee the beguiling man she meets or that they’ll go to Paris, where the city’s magic will take over and alter everything Laurel believes about love.

Thirty years later, Laurel’s daughter Annie is newly engaged and an old question resurfaces: who is Annie’s father and what happened to him? Laurel has always been vague about the details and Annie’s told herself it doesn’t matter. But with her impending marriage, Annie has to know everything. Why won’t Laurel tell her the truth?

The key to unlocking Laurel’s secrets starts with a mysterious book about an infamous woman known as the Duchess of Marlborough. Annie’s quest to understand the Duchess, and therefore her own history, takes her from a charming hamlet in the English countryside, to a decaying estate kept behind barbed wire, and ultimately to Paris where answers will be found at last.

MY REVIEW:

I’LL SEE YOU IN PARIS is the first book I’ve read by Michelle Gable (although, I DO own A PARIS APARTMENT).  It’s a love story, but first and foremost, it’s about family.

I adore multi-generational stories told from the perspective of different characters.  I get so much more from the story when I can see it from all sides and I was equally invested in each time period, which is rare for me.  Plus, all the characters are great and I especially loved the Duchess of Marlborough who’s a real firecracker (and a real person).  There is a great amount of witty banter between the characters who are well rounded and interesting, each in their own ways.

Although the narrative crawled a bit at times – in fact, it took me quite a bit to really get into it – once it picked up, I was hooked.  It’s an emotional read.

With a mystery that is, perhaps, a bit predictable, I give I’LL SEE YOU IN PARIS 3 stars ***.

I received an ebook copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  

 

 


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The Determined Heart by Antoinette May, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

The daughter of political philosopher William Godwin and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley had an unconventional childhood populated with the most talented and eccentric personalities of the time. After losing her mother at an early age, she finds herself in constant conflict with a resentful stepmother and a jealous stepsister. When she meets the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, she falls deeply in love, and they elope with disastrous consequences. Soon she finds herself destitute and embroiled in a torturous love triangle as Percy takes Mary’s stepsister as a lover. Over the next several years, Mary struggles to write while she and Percy face ostracism, constant debt, and the heartbreaking deaths of three children. Ultimately, she achieves great acclaim for Frankenstein, but at what cost?

MY REVIEW:

THE DETERMINED HEART by Antoinette May is the story of Mary (Wollstonecraft) Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, and her fascinating life.  I knew nothing of Mary before reading this book, but that’s what I love best about Historical Fiction.  I was constantly going back and forth between reading and Googling pictures and facts about her, Bysshe, Claire, Lord Byron, and the rest of her circle.

I really enjoyed the book.  The author writes with a lot of detail which I always appreciate.  The characters are developed well – even though I didn’t not care for most of them!  Most of them were selfish and detestable and if I were Mary, I’m not sure I would have stuck with them for so long.  But, that didn’t take away from the pleasure I received from reading their stories.  I was particularly fascinated with how the story of her monster began in her mind and reading about its evolution.  For the most part, it seems like Mary was surrounded by horrible people which, in my eyes, makes her life all the more interesting and Frankenstein that much more of a triumph.

With an easy to read tale that perhaps ended a bit too abruptly for my taste, I give THE DETERMINED HEART 4 stars ****.

I received an ebook copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review