Archive for category Reviews
NEW RELEASE! Beneath the Splendor by Jami Taylor
Posted by The Literary Melting Pot in Book News, Historical Fiction, Reedsy Discovery, Reviews on September 18, 2020
A gripping tale of love, murder, and betrayal in antebellum North Carolina. Based on a true crime.
In 1853, Reverend George Carawan was arrested for murdering the timid schoolteacher Clarence Lassiter in the small town of Rose Bay, North Carolina, for supposedly seducing his wife. The subsequent trial was a media sensation at the time, with the story being reported in newspapers as far as London, England. The idea of a well-respected preacher shooting an unarmed schoolteacher would have been enough to gain an audience’s attention, but Reverend Carawan was thought to have done many more sinister things in his lifetime, all of which he found necessary in order to maintain his position of power and wealth in the community where he had made a name for himself.
Beneath the Splendor tells the story of what might have happened to propel these tragic events just as the corroded foundation of the South began to crack in the years before the Civil War.
A frightening and well-written story!
When I read the synopsis, I became an instant fan! I have heard a version of this story, as I am a southerner, and I was excited to receive this book.
Taylor has brought an old tale to life with a few twists, a wonderful cast of characters, and a writing style that captured every ounce of my attention. This haunting tale invoked my deepest emotions and I felt a connection with the heroine, though it took a while-she earned my love slowly due to her naivete. Written by a true Carolinian, there were several aspects of life that were relatable, and the setting was almost like a memory. This is something I take to heart, as each southern state has its own idiosyncrasies and not all natives can depict them so eloquently.
The paranormal was flawlessly introduced and continued to remain a pivotal part of the story. There are a few points of view, which enhance the story, instead of hindering the flow, and the ending wraps up very nicely.
I must add that the Reverend was a great character, and as a horror fan, I feel he belongs on screen.
All around, it was brilliant! I will read it again, a couple of times.
I highly recommend to fans of historical thriller, historical paranormal, historical fiction, historical horror and everything along those lines!
Thanks go out to Reedsy Discovery for an advance copy of this fabulous book! My review, as always, was an unscripted and honest opinion.
ABOUT THIS LITERARY CHEF
Having grown up in the South, there was rarely a story told in my family that didn’t involve the paranormal or supernatural, and this is reflected in my work. I prefer writing Historical Fiction with Gothic elements but also enjoy Fantasy and Science Fiction in historical settings.
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Fortune’s TURMOIL Review
Posted by The Literary Melting Pot in Historical Fiction, Reedsy Discovery, Reviews on September 18, 2020
1st July 1916. Battle of the Somme. After seven days of preliminary bombardment 140,000 British soldiers assault the German front line on a fourteen-mile front from Serre in the north to Maricourt in the south. At 0730 hours Sergeant Fortunatus Berriman of the Somerset Light Infantry clambers out of the trenches near The Nab to race across no-mans-land amidst the machine-gun, rifle and shell fire at the head of his platoon of men. He is broiling with hatred, hellbent and headlong into violence, motivated not by patriotism or loyalty to his men but single-minded vengeance directed at 2nd Lieutenant Richardson, his commanding officer and nemesis. Somewhere up ahead, through the smoke, bullets, bombs and trenches his officer is fighting with the first wave of infantry. Nothing is going to stand in his way, not even the German army. He will get his revenge before a sniper’s bullet finds its mark, the perfect cover for a well-deserved execution.
My Personal Layman’s Review-Me being me
The author’s writing style is superb. He could probably write school-worthy history books that would actually capture the attention of the usually bored-out-of-their-mind teens/college students. My great-great uncle suffered from severe PTSD and I thought of him, frequently, while reading this novel. The horrors, the hate, the death, the desperation, the spirituality, and the paranormal; all of it hit home for me. I felt this book. He writes like he was there and he pulled me in with him.
I was raised on the wars of 20th century, as most of my elders were veterans, so this novel immediately caught my eye. I highly recommend this novel for lovers of Historical Fiction, Military Historical Fiction, and WWI Fiction. There are triggers, for those in need of warning.
I was moved by the writing. The vivid detail put me in the story, as if I was a bystander witnessing the events, personally. Being one whose heard first-person accounts of WWI, this was on the mark; the author is brilliant and his research is evident.
Some scenes are utterly gut-wrenching, and I couldn’t help but feel completely heartbroken for our characters. At other times, I was absolutely furious, as I was reminded of society’s checkered past and how it dealt wrongly with the effects of the war. It was dark in a way that most war novels need to be, but it has uplifting moments that even out the flow. The spiritual aspect was introduced beautifully, and the battle scenes were literary adrenaline.
As a whole, it’s a written spectrum of events that when brought together, make a beautiful read
I received a complimentary copy via Reedsy Discovery-a fabulous way to discover extraordinary authors. This is my honest opinion and unscripted review.
About This Literary Chef
Writer, historian, family history researcher, battlefield tour guide, wargamer, husband, father and home office hermit, D G Baulch lives in North Somerset surrounded by books, paintings, artefacts, uniforms and weapons from the First World War period. He spent his childhood years in Street, Somerset, attending Millfield School where a passion for writing was cultivated. Dusty boxes in the attic still contain half-finished short stories, printed on a dot matrix printer, using fledgling word processing software in the days of the ZX Spectrum and BBC Model B computers.
In 2013 he led his first tour of the battlefields of Belgium and France, uniting relatives with the stories and graves of great uncles and great-grandfathers. As interest surged during 2014-2018, he conducted battlefield tours throughout 2015 then changed focus from singular research to concentrate on the Battle of the Sambre, 1918, organising and hosting a large commemorative event, gathering relatives of the dead in the village of Locquignol, France on 4th November 2018.
Having absorbed so much from the stories of the fallen, a work of fiction on the subject became a reality in 2016 when the “sergeant in a shell hole” concept was born.
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Review! Searching for Gertrude by @dehaggerty
Posted by The Literary Melting Pot in Book News, Historical Fiction, Reviews on January 23, 2018
While growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Rudolf falls in love with the girl next door, Gertrude. He doesn’t care what religion Gertrude practices but the Nazis do. When the first antisemitic laws are enacted by the Nazi government, Gertrude’s father loses his job at the local university. Unable to find employment in Germany, he accepts a position at Istanbul University and moves the family to Turkey.
Rudolf, desperate to follow Gertrude, takes a position working at the consulate in Istanbul with the very government which caused her exile. With Rudolf finally living in the same city as Gertrude, their reunion should be inevitable, but he can’t find her. During his search for Gertrude, he stumbles upon Rosalyn, an American Jew working as a nanny in the city. Upon hearing his heartbreaking story, she immediately agrees to help him search for his lost love.
Willing to do anything in their search for Gertrude, they agree to work for a British intelligence officer who promises his assistance, but his demands endanger Rudolf and Rosalyn. As the danger increases and the search for Gertrude stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago.
How far would you go to find the woman you love?
This was my first time experiencing a novel written by this author, and it was a memorable one.
I’m a geek when it comes to the greatest generation, and I tend to over-analyze books set in the era. However, I’m also a true fan of romance. Haggerty blends the two beautifully, making this a mesmerizing novel that can’t be put down.
The entire story is entrancing, the setting is perfect, and the trials and tribulations our characters endure are believable. Historical events are a pivotal part of the story, instead of being thrown in as background noise, and they’re intelligently written. There’s never a lull, and the author puts you in that time and place. I was hooked from the beginning and just hated to put it down!
Perfect book for fans of Historical Romance, and lovers of the era.
*I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
About This Literary Chef
Release Day! LOVE’S COURAGE by Elizabeth Meyette @efmeyette
Posted by The Literary Melting Pot in Book News, Historical Fiction, Reviews on January 9, 2018
She had to leave him to save her father.
He had to follow her to save his heart.
Jenny Sutton leaves Williamsburg, Virginia and Andrew Wentworth, the man she loves, and sets sail for British occupied Manhattan to tend to her dying father. Aboard the Destiny, Jonathon Brentwood makes a request of Jenny that will entangle her in the network of spies serving the Patriot cause. With her father already under suspicion, Jenny’s activities must be hidden from the watchful eyes of British troops. But she has caught the eye of British officer Lieutenant Nigel Ashby, who is aware of her sympathies, yet offers her protection through marriage. Only by accepting his proposal will Jenny avoid the hangman’s noose … and lose Andrew forever.
Desperate to join—and protect—Jenny, Andrew Wentworth agrees to deliver messages to Patriot troops on his journey to New York. His route brings him face to face with those suffering under British rule. The fight for independence and his desire to reach Jenny become intertwined.
Arriving in Manhattan, Andrew is arrested as a spy by the British officer coercing Jenny into marriage. She may be saved from the gallows, but will Andrew?
As war rages around them, Jenny and Andrew must find the courage to fight for their new country’s freedom and their own eternal love.
What an exciting novel!
While I’m a fan, this author never ceases to amaze me. Time after time, she produces a solid story line, with the perfect setting, background, beginning, middle and end. Intrigue, love, death, and even espionage are perfectly written. The anticipation kills me, but doesn’t torture me-that’s when you know you’re in the hands of expert. Sensual situations are pleasant, very tasteful, and very satisfying. Villains are appropriately placed and perfectly evil.
Everything was spot-on, here. From the apothecary to the weather, Meyette’s historical knowledge shines beautifully. The characters are lovely, and I felt their heartbreak, as well as their triumphs. Growing up a few miles behind the Cornwallis House, and raised in an historic town, made me quite familiar with this era. Reading this novel brought it all back to life again. I couldn’t put it down!
Such a brilliantly written novel, with a plethora of redeeming qualities! Definitely recommend!
I received this novel in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
**As usual, I must warn of triggers-violence, death, murder, sexual situations, and war are present**
About This Literary Chef
Author, blogger and believer in dreams-come-true, Elizabeth Meyette fell in love with books as a child when her sister read her Goldilocks and the Three Bears. “She had me at ‘Once upon a time…’,” Elizabeth admits. A native of upstate New York, Elizabeth now lives in West Michigan with her husband Richard. She retired early from teaching to pursue her passion: writing. “Yes, I hear voices in my head and I give them names and call them characters.”
Check out her other FABULOUS novels-You’ll love them!
Amazon Author Page
Review: Forever Gentleman by Roland Colton
Posted by The Literary Melting Pot in Reviews on July 13, 2017
Publisher: Anaphora Literary Press
Release Date: July 11, 2016
In a style reminiscent of nineteenth-century authors, Forever Gentleman is a sweeping saga of suspense, romance, mystery, and music. Travel back in time and experience Victorian London at its best and worst—a city of beauty and brilliance, and a city steeped in filth and despair. Meet Nathan Sinclair, a struggling young architect and gifted pianist who lives in the two vastly different worlds, mingling in high society while dwelling in suffocating debt and poverty. While performing at a gathering of London’s elite, Nathan meets Jocelyn Charlesworth, a breathtakingly beautiful but temperamental celebrity heiress. He is smitten, though she publicly humiliates him; their paths will intersect again in a most shocking manner.
Full of unexpected twists and turns, the book races towards a thrilling climax that will determine Nathan’s ultimate destiny.
A wonderful novel for lovers of classical music and historical fiction.
The story line here captured me so immensely, I lost track of time, and reality, on several occasions. I was quick to put the world on hold until I could finish the sentence I was reading. It’s terrible that some just don’t understand the power of a good book, and this is definitely one I recommend. I was reminded of several works of classical music that I’d forgotten years ago, and gifted the title of undiscovered melodic treasures.
The characters are intriguing, and Mr. Colton’s writing is wonderfully versatile. Setting is true to the Era, there’s no unnecessary filler, and I hated to put this down.
I received a copy of this wonderful novel in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
*Due to my illness, this review was well over-due, and my apologies go out to Roland Colton AND Paula Margulies*
PICK UP A COPY OF FOREVER GENTLEMAN:
ABOUT THIS LITERARY CHEF:
An experienced trial attorney and musician, Roland Colton attended the University of Utah on a baseball scholarship, graduating cum laude in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1978, where he received scholarships and awards for academic excellence. An avid pianist and composer, Colton performs for public and private gatherings around the world. He resides in Southern California and France. Forever Gentleman is his first novel.
Beauty of the Beast by @RachelLDemeter
Posted by The Literary Melting Pot in Book News, Reviews on March 28, 2017
Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.
A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST
Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.
A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE
Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…
Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.
Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.
Disclaimer: This is an edgy retelling of the classic fairy tale. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
🎬 Book Trailer 🎬
🥀 Review 🥀
Once again, this author delivered an extraordinary novel!
I am an avid fan of Beauty and the Beast, but I feel that Rachel Demeter has completed this story for adult women.
Adam and Isabelle are imperfectly perfect.
An extraordinary adaptation of the original bedtime story, Demeter writes with a sense of realism that brings you closer to the characters and their beautiful tragedies. The true nature of the story is elevated to a more mature level with remarkable skill, making this an intense read that’s impossible to put down. I simply love this novel, and I’m convinced that the author lives and breathes historical fiction, as it is definitely her forte.
The characters are enchanting, the story is engrossing, and the ending wraps up beautifully! You will not regret reading this novel. A MUST READ!
🥀 Excerpt 🥀
~ The East Tower ~
Arms sprang out from the darkness. They spun her full circle and slammed her body against the king’s portrait. Isabelle gasped, more in shock than from pain, as she stared into Adam’s deformed face. The lantern flickered behind his massive form, casting his cloaked body in silhouette. But she saw enough to know he was far from pleased. Rage and frustration radiated from his body like a palpable force.
“I warned you to stay out of here,” he said, his voice dangerously cold and deep. Those rugged vocals vibrated against her body and seeped into her marrow. “What part of forbidden didn’t you comprehend?” His voice lashed out from the darkness like a hurtled knife, and the word “forbidden” seemed to whisper another meaning altogether. Isabelle tried to answer but failed to find her voice. Indeed, her vocal cords had turned to solid ice, as numb and cold as the blood rushing through her veins. She couldn’t breathe; she felt like she was suffocating.
“My mother gave me that musical box on my fourth birthday,” he said, the sensual lull of his voice causing the fine hairs on her nape to stand erect. “And now your recklessness has destroyed it. Have you nothing to say?”
“I—I’m sorry.” He offered no reply; only the ragged sound of his breathing and the hammering blizzard broke the silence. “Please—I didn’t mean any harm.”
She struggled under the weight of Adam’s colossal body and battled to free herself. He merely gave a low chuckle and pressed her firmly against the portrait. He looked otherworldly at that moment, like an angel of death seeking vengeance. Both beautiful and monstrous, his cool, sapphire eyes overflowed with warring emotions. In spite of his harsh and ruthless exterior, she detected a quaver in his voice and saw that his large, cloaked shoulders trembled. The darkness in his soul cast a shadow that embraced her; as she peered up at him, she knew he was drowning in the turbulent waters of a past time.
“What a disappointment,” he went on, his voice growing deeper still, mocking her words from so many days ago, “You’re like any other woman.”
“I—I’m sorry. Please, Adam. I—” Her gaze shot past his body and over the wreckage of a past life. She thought of her private chamber again—of the stale perfumes and outdated garments.
Her flight or fight instinct seized hold of her. She attempted to scramble free, but he merely grabbed her shoulder and whirled her back against the portrait. Gloves wrapped his hands; his long, silk-clad fingers grasped her shoulder and kept her firmly in place.
He stood intimately close.
Far too close.
As close as Raphael had been that night.
“Going somewhere, ma belle? After you’ve worked so hard to find my East Tower?”
Hands like two steel bands held her wrists in place. Hot breaths, which faintly smelled of wine, seared her cheeks and assaulted her senses. Her breasts flattened against the pressure of his strong chest, and she felt that same chest swell and deflate in perfect sync with her own. One large hand slipped down her elbow and glided across her extended arm. The lush material of his gloves drew a shudder from her heaving chest. His breathing grew more ragged, shallower, and the erratic beat of his heart banged against her own.
Anger and desire warred on his face, twisting his features into a mess of both monster and man. “Find anything of interest, aside from my musical box? Come, come. You went through such great trouble to get here,” he asked, his voice now threaded with both anger and something else.
Yes, Isabelle recognized that something else. It was the same note that had entered Raphael’s voice that night…
She attempted to duck under his arm, but he moved swiftly, capturing her in the crook of his elbow. Reeling her toward him, he emitted a low, haunting chuckle that swelled the eastern tower to its rafters. She was back where she’d started—pinned against the portrait, Adam’s body serving as a flesh-and-blood blockade.
Hunger radiated from him, enfolding her in a current of sizzling power. His silk-clad hand grazed the curve of her breast as it moved down her body in a painfully slow caress. Even more alarming was her reaction to him. Her treacherous body responded with a crush of hot and cold pulsating waves. Then he whispered a taunt in her ear, and his liquid baritone slid down her backbone like honey; it swirled inside her, finding its home in her most intimate area.
He leaned closer still. His face’s uneven skin brushed against her neck, the black waves of his hair tickled her chin… His thick arousal expanded against her, reminding her of what he was capable of—and of her sheer vulnerability.
His lips teased the base of her throat. Cursing her traitorous body, Isabelle gasped at the gentle scraping of his teeth. His tongue and lips tormented her throbbing pulse—just barely, stirring her skin in a mere ghost of a touch.
🥀 Meet the Author 🥀
Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of fourteen years. She enjoys writing poignant romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and explore the redeeming power of love.Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul.
Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness.
Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.
🥀Enter the Giveaway🥀
Blog Tour Stop & GIVEAWAY! Obsession by Helen Hardt
Posted by The Literary Melting Pot in Book News, Reviews on July 22, 2016
Book: Obsession (Steel Brothers Saga #2)
Author: Helen Hardt
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 19th July
Jade Roberts is in love with Talon Steel but no longer welcome in his home. While she resolves to move on, she still longs for the passion she and Talon shared…and when her boss asks her to dig up information on the Steels, she’s only too happy to comply. Talon and his brothers are hiding something, and Jade is determined find out what it is.
The moment Talon saw Jade he wanted her, ached for her, craved her…and now his desire has become his obsession. He knows she deserves better than his broken soul, but he can’t stay away from her, and he finally confesses his love. If he and Jade are to have a future, he knows he must make peace with the dark shadows and horrors of his past.
But as Talon begins his journey of healing, Jade uncovers some startling secrets…
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I thoroughly enjoyed this read!
When it comes to a hook, this author’s a genius! The story line contains extremely deep content, which acted as an anchor, keeping me glued to the pages. The characters are believable, the angst palpable, and the sensual scenes are erotic, but tasteful. The hero is one I kind of hate to love, but it’s inevitable. With alternating POVs, I found this an intriguing story that packs a dramatic punch!
**There are triggers, for those in need of caution.
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
ABOUT THIS LITERARY CHEF:
USA Today Bestselling author Helen Hardt’s passion for the written word began with the books her mother read to her at bedtime. She wrote her first story at age six and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to being an award winning author of contemporary and historical romance and erotica, she’s a mother, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an appreciator of fine red wine, and a lover of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. She writes from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her family. Helen loves to hear from readers.
Review Blitz! Witch of the Cards by Catherine Stine
Posted by The Literary Melting Pot in Book News, Reviews, Uncategorized on May 26, 2016
Witch of the Cards by Catherine Stine
5/23 – 5/27
Fiera was born a sea witch with no inkling of her power. And now it might be too late.
Witch of the Cards is historical, supernatural romantic suspense set in 1932 on the Jersey shore. Twenty-two year-old Fiera has recently left the Brooklyn orphanage where she was raised, and works in Manhattan as a nanny. She gets a lucky break when her boss pays for her short vacation in Asbury Park. One evening, Fiera and her new friend Dulcie wander down the boardwalk and into Peter Dune’s Tarot & Séance, where they attend a card reading.
Fiera has always had an unsettling ability to know things before they happen and sense people’s hidden agendas. She longs to either find out the origin of her powers or else banish them because as is, they make her feel crazy. When, during the reading, her energies somehow bond with Peter Dune’s and form an undeniable ethereal force, a chain of revelations and dangerous events begin to unspool. For one, Fiera finds out she is a witch from a powerful sea clan, but that someone is out to stop her blossoming power forever. And though she is falling in love with Peter, he also has a secret side. He’s no card reader, but a private detective working to expose mediums. Despite this terrible betrayal, Fiera must make the choice to save Peter from a tragic Morro Cruise boat fire, or let him perish with his fellow investigators. Told in alternating viewpoints, we hear Fiera and Peter each struggle against their deep attraction. Secrets, lies, even murder, lace this dark fantasy.
ONLY 99¢ FOR A LIMITED TIME!
I enjoyed this witchy novel!
This is an excellent read for fans of H/F and the occult. Setting is detailed expertly, and the tempo progresses with each page nicely. I’m not particularly fond of the hero, but he started to grow on me towards the end. I’m a sucker for the details, anything including witches, and historical fiction. This was my cup of tea.
A fun read!
ABOUT THIS LITERARY CHEF
Catherine Stine’s novels span the range from futuristic fantasy to paranormal to contemporary. Her futuristic thriller companion novels Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire are both indie award winners. Her paranormal-horror YA, Dorianna won Best Horror Book in the Kindle Hub Awards. Her YA contemporary Heart in a Box is an Amazon Top 100 in Teen.
She also writes new adult fiction as Kitsy Clare (see her separate GR Kitsy Clare page for 18+). Her Art of Love series featuring artist Sienna Karr, includes Model Position and Private Internship.
She suspects her love of dark fantasy came from her father reading Edgar Allen Poe to her when she was a child. Learn more at www.catherinestine.blogspot.com,www.catherinestine.com, and on her Catherine Stine and Kitsy Clare FB author pages.
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