Robin -Book Review

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From New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff, the definitive biography of Robin Williams – a compelling portrait of one of America’s most beloved and misunderstood entertainers.

From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. He often came across as a man possessed, holding forth on culture and politics while mixing in personal revelations – all with mercurial, tongue-twisting intensity as he inhabited and shed one character after another with lightning speed.

But as Dave Itzkoff shows in this revelatory biography, Williams’s comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt, which he drew upon in his comedy and in celebrated films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Fisher King; Aladdin; and Mrs. Doubtfire, where he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation to bring to life a wide range of characters. And in Good Will Hunting he gave an intense and controlled performance that revealed the true range of his talent.

Itzkoff also shows how Williams struggled mightily with addiction and depression – topics he discussed openly while performing and during interviews – and with a debilitating condition at the end of his life that affected him in ways his fans never knew. Drawing on more than a hundred original interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as extensive archival research, Robin is a fresh and original look at a man whose work touched so many lives.

My Thoughts:

I remember where I was, when I found out that Robin Williams had died. I even cried a little, the only celebrities death I’ve ever cried over, aside from Johnny Cash. So of course, in order to understand Mr. Williams a little further, I asked to review this book. I’m so glad I did! It’s a great look into his life, both the good and the bad.

About the Author:

Dave Itzkoff is the author of Mad as Hell, Cocaine’s Son, and Lads. He is a culture reporter at The New York Times, where he writes regularly about film, television, theater, music, and popular culture. He previously worked at Spin, Maxim, and Details, and his work has appeared in GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired, and other publications. He lives in New York City.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions stated above are my own.

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A Most Noble Heir -Book Review

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Synopsis:

When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl’s heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.

Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope–believing that once their marriage is sanctioned by God, Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between pleasing Hannah and living up to his father’s demanding expectations.

At every turn, forces work to keep the couple apart, and a solution to remain together seems further and further away. With Nolan’s new life pulling him irrevocably away from the woman he loves, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.

About the Author:

 

Susan Anne Mason

Susan lives in a suburb near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she works part-time as a church secretary. She is a wife and the mother of two amazing kids, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). In addition to writing, she likes to scrapbook and to research her family history on-line. You can connect with her on Facebook or on her website http://www.susanannemason.net.

My Thoughts:

Well, pretty much anything that reminds me of Downton Abbey, I’m like, yaaaaas! This has a very familiar ring to it (Matthew Crawley, anyone?) and I gobbled this book up in no time!

I was expecting this book to be cheesy (I don’t know why, I guess that’s just me), so I was pleasantly surprised when it was not! I loved Nolan’s journey from stable hand to Earl, and his relationship (or strained relationship) with Hannah.

This is such a fun and easy book to read, I highly reccomend it if you are/were a Downton fan!

You can get your copy on Amazon here.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Bethany House. All opinions stated above are my own.

Surviving ‘Uncle Hitler’ -Book Review

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Synopsis:

“…the author is a legend for all that she survived and held on to her faith thru it all. Remarkable and inspiring story.” — Kevin and Shana Scott

[UPDATED AND REVISED FOR 2017]  Dorothea Wollin was just a young girl when American bombs demolished her German town. Uprooted overnight, she and her family found themselves on a journey of survival across Europe.

“Many people bury their memories so they don’t have to deal with the pain. For whatever reason, my mother buried hers. I was hard-pressed to get any stories from her. She was not one who shared easily. However, one night was different. It was many years after the war, in 1987, and I was visiting my family in Germany. I felt there were things Mother and I needed to talk about, and I pressed for discussion. I was pleasantly surprised when she stayed up until the wee hours sharing memories.”

A true story of a little girl’s quest for meaning in a dark world that led to faith in Christ, and to a freedom greater than that of country or politics.

“What I want most for my story to convey is that the Lord led me through the trials and tribulations of my life in order that I could find meaning, joy, and peace. Because I am approaching the end of my life, I want to inspire my readers to question their own choices, priorities and values in order to find peace with the Lord and joy in their hearts.” — Dorothea Wollin Null

This is my story.

My Thoughts:

How powerful a person’s testimony can be. Really, there is no human force on earth quite as persuasive. Dorothea’s story is no exception. Stories like hers need to be told, before they are forgotten. And that is how I can summarize this book: unforgettable.

“In our living room, there was a picture of Adolf Hitler on the wall. We called him ‘Uncle Hitler’.”

I especially love when books like this include family photos. If you are interested in WWII from a unique Christian German perspective, then this is a great read for you.

You can get your copy on Amazon here.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from BookCrash. All opinions stated above are my own.

Rush -Book Review

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“RUSH transports us smack dab into the middle of the secret world of sorority rush. We find ourselves behind the scenes with a provocative peek into the world of sorority sisters and the beloved House staff who work tirelessly on their behalf. Lisa Patton has penned a powerful and relevant story infused with raw emotion and the beating heart of her sassy humor. I adored this unforgettable novel that will both surprise you and capture your heart.” – Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop at Water’s End and The Idea of Love

Set in modern day Oxford, Mississippi, on the Ole Miss campus, bestselling author Lisa Patton’s RUSH is a story about women―from both ends of the social ladder―discovering their voices and their empowerment.

Cali Watkins possesses all the qualities sororities are looking for in a potential new member. She’s kind and intelligent, makes friends easily, even plans to someday run for governor. But her resume lacks a vital ingredient. Pedigree. Without family money Cali’s chances of sorority membership are already thin, but she has an even bigger problem. If anyone discovers the dark family secrets she’s hiding, she’ll be dropped from Rush in an instant.

When Lilith Whitmore, the well-heeled House Corp President of Alpha Delta Beta, one of the premiere sororities on campus, appoints recent empty-nester Wilda to the Rush Advisory Board, Wilda can hardly believe her luck. What’s more, Lilith suggests their daughters, both incoming freshman, room together. What Wilda doesn’t know is that it’s all part of Lilith’s plan to ensure her own daughter receives an Alpha Delt bid―no matter what.

For twenty-five years, Miss Pearl―as her “babies” like to call her―has been housekeeper and a second mother to the Alpha Delt girls, even though it reminds her of a painful part of her past she’ll never forget. When an opportunity for promotion arises, it seems a natural fit. But Lilith Whitmore slams her Prada heel down fast, crushing Miss Pearl’s hopes of a better future. When Wilda and the girls find out, they devise a plan destined to change Alpha Delta Beta―and maybe the entire Greek system―forever.

Achingly poignant, yet laugh-out-loud funny, RUSH takes a sharp nuanced look at a centuries-old tradition while exploring the complex, intimate relationships between mothers and daughters and female friends. Brimming with heart and hope for a better tomorrow, RUSH is an uplifting novel universal to us all.

My Thoughts:

Not generally something I would find interesting enough to read, but I’ll admit it had an element of charm that I liked. It was hilarious, which is probably what kept me going. I loved it.

About the Author:

LISA PATTON is the bestselling author of Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter, Yankee Doodle Dixie, and Southern as a Second Language. Born and raised in Memphis, Lisa attended the University of Alabama, where she was in a sorority. The proud mother of two sons, she lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband and a little Havanese pooch named Rosie.

 

Walls of Silence -Book Review

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Walls of Silence: a stunning historical thriller you won't be able to put down by [Wade, Ruth]

Walls of Silence – A truly unmissable historical psychological thriller

The patient has a story that isn’t told and which no one knows of. It is the secret, the rock against which he is shatteredCarl Jung

The Great War is over but for Edith Potter an equally devastating conflict is about to begin.

She is unhinged by a secret so terrible her conscious mind doesn’t acknowledge it.

It is 1927 and Dr Stephen Maynard is using the new science of psychoanalysis to restore her sanity.

From his first meeting with her in the lunatic asylum, Dr Stephen Maynard is determined to bring her back to reality. During the long challenge, her disturbed behaviour forces him to confront his limitations – already severely stretched by the presence of someone prepared to use whatever weapons they can to ensure she maintains her silence.

What everyone is saying about Walls of Silence:

“Parts of this story I found were dark and disturbing especially the opening, but that’s what drags the reader in.” Gemma Myers – Between The Pages Book Club

“This book has such a beautifully creepy undertone that keeps you just waiting for the other shoe to drop.” Ashley Gillan – (e)Book Nerd Reviews

“I adored this book, it’s a strange word to use but it kept me gripped, and kept guessing what was going to happen next as all is not what it seems.” Claire Stanley – The Secret World Of A Book Blog

“An interesting and thought-provoking read!” Kate Noble – The Quiet Knitter

“Walls of Silence is an entirely unique, compelling and gripping novel that explores mental health, psychiatry and the complexities of trauma.” Beverley Scott – Beverley Has Read

“Walls Of Silence is one of those slow burners that with a build-up of intrigue, keeps you turning those pages.” Sarah Hardy – By The Letter Book Reviews

“A wonderful story of a woman’s struggle with life told in the most exquisite way.” Alexina Golding – Bookstormer

“It’s unnerving, it’s shocking and at times it’s disturbing.” Katie Jones – Katie’s Book Cave

“I love historical fiction so books set in this era are normally a winner with me and this one is superb!!” Donna Maguire – Donnas Book Blog

“Ruth Wade’s characters have left a very impressionable impact on me, where I am still getting a wave unbelievable emotions.” Susan Hampson – Books From Dusk Till Dawn

 

My Thoughts:

What is more intriguing than a historical psychological thriller?! Not much.  This was a very addictive book, I’d recommend it if you like thrillers.

About the Author:

Ruth Wade

A part-time lecturer teaching creative writing at local colleges and academies, Ruth Wade spends the remainder of her working week researching and writing historical crime novels. Weekends can find her either learning to dance the Argentine Tango in Cambridge or deep in the woods of Hertfordshire shooting a longbow. She was once the proud owner of a ruin perched on a mountainside in Spain’s Sierra Nevada, toiling the summer months stopping the place from falling down and tending the adjacent vineyard. These days she confines her physical labour to re-pointing the flint walls of her country cottage.

Ruth Wade also writes as BK Duncan. Under that name her historical crime novel Foul Trade (the first in a series featuring May Keaps, a 1920’s Coroner’s Officer) was a finalist in 2016’s The People’s Book Prize, and she was shortlisted for the Beryl Bainbridge First Time Author Award.

 

Walls of Silence: a stunning historical thriller you won't be able to put down by [Wade, Ruth]

The Vanishing -Book Review

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The Vanishing by [Tobin, Sophia]

synopsis:

‘Think Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre, but ten times darker, and you have The Vanishing … as dark and eerie and gothic as the Yorkshire Moors it is set on. One to curl up by the fire with on a windy night’ Stylist

On top of the Yorkshire Moors, in an isolated spot carved out of a barren landscape, lies White Windows, a house of shadows and secrets. Here lives Marcus Twentyman, a hard-drinking but sensitive man, and his sister, the brisk widow, Hester.

When runaway Annaleigh first meets the Twentymans, their offer of employment and lodgings seems a blessing. Only later does she discover the truth. But by then she is already in the middle of a web of darkness and intrigue, where murder seems the only possible means of escape.

Already a Sunday Times bestselling author with her first novel, The Vanishing confirms Sophia Tobin as a major talent. Stunning, twisting historical fiction for all fans of Jessie Burton and Tracy Chevalier. 

‘Undeniably page-turning’ Mail on Sunday
‘Entertaining’ Times
Vivid, absorbing and wonderfully gothic, with shades of Sarah Waters and Emily and Charlotte Brontë’ Kate Riordan
Brilliantly Brontë-esque. Perfect reading for a stormy night’ Anna Mazzola
‘A vivid sense of the period … which stays with the reader long after the final page’ the i
‘The plotting is skilful, with a network of lies being woven so that no one, characters or readers, can be sure of the truth’ Daily Express
‘Atmosphere aplenty and some real surprises’ Daily Mail 
‘Echoes Wuthering Heights with its setting and sense of intrigue’ Red
‘An atmospheric tale of betrayal and revenge’ woman&home
‘A thrilling, atmospheric page-turner’ Metro 
‘Playful and menacing, The Vanishing is a pitch perfect evocation of a classic nineteenth century Gothic novel which confirms Sophia Tobin as a writer of the highest calibre’ William Ryan, author of The Constant Soldier

About the Author:

Sophia Tobin is Library Secretary for the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths’. She previously worked for a Bond Street antique dealer for six years, specialising in silver and jewellery. Inspired by research she made into a real life eighteenth-century silversmith, Tobin began to write her first novel, The Silversmith’s Wife, which was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize, judged by Sophie Hannah.

My thoughts:

What an amazing book! It was so dark and thrilling, I read it in one sitting. I completely neglected my laundry, but it was worth it!

You can get your copy here.

The Vanishing by [Tobin, Sophia]

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.,

The Lost Castle -Book Review

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The Lost Castle: A Split-Time Romance by [Cambron, Kristy]

Synopsis:

Broken-down walls and crumbling stones seemed to possess a secret language all their own.

What stories would they tell, if she finally listened?

Ellie Carver arrives at her grandmother’s bedside expecting to find her silently slipping away. Instead, the beloved woman begins speaking. Of a secret past and castle ruins forgotten by time. Of a hidden chapel that served as a rendezvous for the French Resistance in World War II. Of lost love and deep regret . . .

Each piece that unlocks the story seems to unlock part of Ellie too—where she came from and who she is becoming. But her grandmother is quickly disappearing into the shadows of Alzheimer’s and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family’s history. Drawn by the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty—a castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale—Ellie embarks on a journey to France’s Loire Valley in hopes that she can unearth its secrets before time silences them forever.

Bridging the past to the present in three time periods—the French Revolution, World War II, and present day—The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged in the hearts of men, and of an enchanted castle that stood witness to it all, inspiring a legacy of faith through the generations.

‘Cambron does it again. However, this time she tackles three time periods. Take a family legacy spanning three eras, blended with an enchanted castle and you have the latest split-time romance from Cambron.’ (RT Book Reviews, 4 stars)

About the Author:

 

Kristy Cambron is an award-winning author of Christian fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping series. She is a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at ministry events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations.

Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

To stay connected, visit: http://www.kristycambron.com

My Thoughts:

This book was a perfect story of the past and present combining. I personally love old houses, houses that reeked with character and history. Houses that told stories with every nook and cranny, creak and groan.

This book was so precious, I know I’ll read it again and again.

You can get your copy here.

The Lost Castle: A Split-Time Romance by [Cambron, Kristy]

I got this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.

Hotel on Shadow Lake -Book Review

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Hotel on Shadow Lake: A Novel by [Tully, Daniela]

Synopsis:

Suspenseful and compelling, Daniela Tully’s Hotel on Shadow Lake is at once an intricate mystery, an epic romance, and a Gothic family saga.

When Maya was a girl in Germany, her grandmother was everything to her: teller of magical fairy tales, surrogate mother, best friend. Then, shortly after Maya’s sixteenth birthday, her grandmother disappeared without a trace, leaving Maya with only questions to fill the void.

Twenty-seven years later, her grandmother’s body is found in a place she had no connection to: the Montgomery Resort in upstate New York. How did she get there? Why had she come? Desperate for answers, Maya leaves her life in Germany behind and travels to America, where she is drawn to the powerful family that owns the hotel and seemingly the rest of the town.

Soon Maya is unraveling secrets that go back decades, from 1910s New York to 1930s Germany and beyond. But when she begins to find herself spinning her own lies in order to uncover the circumstances surrounding her grandmother’s death, she must decide whether her life and a chance at true love are worth risking for the truth.

“An intricate read-it-in-one-sitting mystery–cum–family saga…this is a story about murder, greed, love (won then lost), and, above all, intrigue.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Tully offers the reader an epic story and emotional intimacy, with rich characters plunged into a mysterious thriller that spans continents and generations. I couldn’t put it down.” ―Uli Edel, director of Last Exit to Brooklyn and Body of Evidence

“Daniela Tully has written a captivating romantic thriller that spans decades, continents, generations and a world war. It’s a story of love, tragedy and intrigue that vividly illustrates the unyielding grip that the past holds in shaping the future…and the enduring power of love.” ―Lee Goldberg, #1 New York Times bestselling author and the writer/producer of Diagnosis MurderMartial Law and Missing

A fascinating tale of what it felt like to be a woman under the Third Reich and of one family’s long hidden secrets.” ―Elisabeth Gifford, author of The Sea House

“An engaging and beautifully told story of love and the strength of family ties which will captivate and entrance all readers.” ―Claire Allan, author of Poppy Shakespeare

About the Author:

Daniela was born in Germany, but has lived all over the world, including Mexico, New York and Dubai. As a film-maker she has been involved in projects such as the critically-acclaimed Fair Game, box-office hits Contagion and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as well as the Oscar-winning The Help.

My Thoughts:

When I read that this author worked on making the film, The Help, which is my favorite book/film combo, it was like a movie recommending a book.

This was a very suspenseful read which had me hooked from the beginning. I was intrigued by all the family drama, murder and the love story was heartbreaking. A must read!

You can get your copy here.

 

 

Hotel on Shadow Lake: A Novel by [Tully, Daniela]

I got this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.

Eagle and Crane -Book Review

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Eagle & Crane by [Rindell, Suzanne]

Synopsis:

 

Two young daredevil flyers confront ugly truths and family secrets during the U.S. internment of Japanese citizens during World War II, from the author of The Other Typist and Three-Martini Lunch.

Louis Thorn and Haruto “Harry” Yamada — Eagle and Crane — are the star attractions of Earl Shaw’s Flying Circus, a daredevil (and not exactly legal) flying act that traverses Depression-era California. The young men have a complicated relationship, thanks to the Thorn family’s belief that the Yamadas — Japanese immigrants — stole land that should have stayed in the Thorn family.

When Louis and Harry become aerial stuntmen, performing death-defying tricks high above audiences, they’re both drawn to Shaw’s smart and appealing stepdaughter, Ava Brooks. When the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and one of Shaw’s planes mysteriously crashes and two charred bodies are discovered in it, authorities conclude that the victims were Harry and his father, Kenichi, who had escaped from a Japanese internment camp they had been sent to by the federal government. To the local sheriff, the situation is open and shut. But to the lone FBI agent assigned to the case, the details don’t add up.
Thus begins an investigation into what really happened to cause the plane crash, who was in the plane when it fell from the sky, and why no one involved seems willing to tell the truth. By turns an absorbing mystery and a fascinating exploration of race, family and loyalty, Eagle and Crane is that rare novel that tells a gripping story as it explores a terrible era of American history.
“Suzanne Rindell takes to the heavens in this glorious story of two daring aviators during the Great Depression. She’s written an epic love story set against a time of upheaval, suspicion and change. A magnificent novel from a great writer.” Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Kiss Carlo

“Wildly ambitious and filled with heartbreak (I love heartbreak), Suzanne Rindell’s third novel mesmerizingly pilots us through the Depression, the 1930s, Pearl Harbor, and the love one fierce young woman has for two very different aviators. Passionate, profound and an absolutely daredevil act of imagination.” —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times-bestselling author of Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful World

“In this blazing saga about a flying circus, Rindell performs death-defying plot twists that race toward the shocking conclusion. Eagle & Crane is a majestic historical novel that is profoundly relevant in today’s world.” —Fiona Davis, author of The Address and The Dollhouse

“A white-knuckled historical mystery and collision course of cultures, Eagle & Crane threads a fascinating tale through the half-silenced world of Japanese internment in America. Timely, expertly researched, and provocative.” Dominic Smith, New York Times-bestselling author of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

“Elegantly interweaving a lyrical love triangle with the spectacle of Depression-era barnstorming, the plight of Japanese Americans during the Second World War, and a bitter family feud spanning generations, Eagle & Cranepoignantly plumbs still deeper waters: how far loyalty and friendship can be tested, and what it means to be an American.” Lyndsay Faye, Edgar-nominated author of Jane Steele and the Timothy Wilde trilogy.

About the Author:
Suzanne Rindell will receive her PhD in English literature from Rice University in spring 2018. She is the author of the forthcoming historical mystery, EAGLE & CRANE (July 3, 2018), as well as THREE-MARTINI LUNCH (2016) and THE OTHER TYPIST (2013). THE OTHER TYPIST has been translated into 15 languages and optioned for film by Fox Searchlight Pictures. She divides her time between California and New York City and is currently working on her next novel.
My Thoughts:
I really feel like I got an intimate look inside an American family. I love anything set in the Great Depression, and am always intrigued by how people and families stood up under all the mental and physical stresses. This was a great story of that time, and the American spirit that got a whole country through it.
You can get your copy here.

Eagle & Crane by [Rindell, Suzanne]

I got this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.

Fawkes -Book Review

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Fawkes: A Novel by [Brandes, Nadine]

Synopsis:

 

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

About the Author:

Nadine Brandes is the author of the award-winning Out of Time Series, and her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she’s not busy writing novels about bold living, she’s adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. For more information, visit her online at NadineBrandes.com, or follow her on Twitter (@NadineBrandes), Facebook (NadineBrandesAuthor), and Instagram (NadineBrandes).

My Thoughts:

A great book if you are wanting to read fantasy! I found the plot to be a little trope-ish, but it was a very fun story.

Pre-order your copy here.

Fawkes: A Novel by [Brandes, Nadine]

I received this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.