In WHEN WE WERE BRAVE, we find a conflicted SS officer, Wilhelm Falk. Who risks everything to escape the Wehrmacht and get out the message about the death camps. Izaak is a young Jewish boy whose positive outlook is challenged daily as each new perilous situation comes along. American citizens, Herbert Müller, and his family are sent back to the hellish landscape of Germany because of the DNA coursing through their veins. In the panorama of World War II, these are the high-stakes plots and endearing characters whose braided fates we pray will work out in the end.
A fresh, humorous, and timely YA novel about two teens conceived via in vitro fertilization who go in search for answers about their donor.
Milo has two great moms, but he’s never known what it’s like to have a dad. When Milo’s doctor suggests asking his biological father to undergo genetic testing to shed some light on Milo’s extreme allergies, he realizes this is a golden opportunity to find the man he’s always wondered about.
Hollis’s mom Leigh hasn’t been the same since her other mom, Pam, passed away seven years ago. But suddenly, Leigh seems happy—giddy, even—by the thought of reconnecting with Hollis’s half-brother Milo. Hollis and Milo were conceived using the same sperm donor. They met once, years ago, before Pam died.
Now Milo has reached out to Hollis to help him find their donor. Along the way, they locate three other donor siblings, and they discover the true meaning of the other F-word: family
First, I would like to say a thank you to Net Galley for giving me this book as an ARC to read. I was very excited about the approval, my opinions, however, as always are my own.
I wanted to like this book more than I did, that is not to say it was terrible, but for me it just hit a middle ground road for me. The concept of this book and the overall plot was very good and interesting. The idea of a family that has two siblings whom were conceived by sperm donors. Wanting to know where you come from is a very human emotion. Even those of us who know who both of our parents are often wishing to know more, to dig back into the past and find it all out. For that I applaud this book and for the message that it gives throughout it is wonderful and that is where most the 3 rating comes from me.
Where it fell short for me is that much of it just feels incomplete. There were places where the book could have gone deeper found another level. SO overall ,I am just a little on the fence with this one, it was a good enough read, but not one I am likely to pick up again. I might take a look at future works from the author though all the right things were there just put together a little wrong.
My Gemstone Rating:
Remember the places you touched me.
The parts of Mira Cillo that Ben touched are etched on his soul.
Palm. Hair. Chest. Cheek. Lips. Throat. Heart.
It was the last one that broke her. After her death, Mira sends Ben on a quest for notes she left in the seven places where they touched—notes that explain why she and her sister, Francesca, drowned themselves in the quarry. How Ben interprets those notes has everything to do with the way he was touched by a bad coach years before. But the truth behind the girls’ suicides is far more complicated, involving a dangerous infatuation, a deadly miracle, and a crushing lie.
There are some books that when you go into them you have fairly high expectations, for me this was one of those books. Unfortunately, it didn’t really live up to what I hoped it would, I tried, I really did, but even with that said it doesn’t make it a bad book. It could just be that this book was not my personal cup of tea in general.
Two young sisters are found wrapped together, clutching one another at the bottom of a quarry, the question then becomes how did they get there in that place together? The premise of this read is solid, it promises for intense reading and at times discomfort for the reader and on that it does not disappoint and it lives up to the title of the girls being broken. The cover of the book is also haunting and beautiful at the same time, yes you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but sometimes a good cover really can be an added bonus.
The way the book unfolded and the letters we see through Ben’s eyes is interesting, but for me it just was not interesting enough. The story goes back and forth in time and there are times that on its own made things a little harder to stay connected. There are books out there that can do that two different time lines game fairly well and one’s that can’t for me this one fell into the can’t area. Then there is the over detailing on things. This is what for me caused my attention to wane from the story. While the writing is beautiful when I get to many details thrown at me, I feel as if I can’t imagine the world for myself. I like to feel as if I can picture some of the story in the way that I want to picture it and that is where I get a disconnect. I also honestly found Ben to be more than a little bit creepy, but that could have been what the author was going for.
So at the end of the day this book was not the worst I have ever read by any means, but it just falls into the meh area for me. I am sure other readers will like it better so I wouldn’t call it a complete pass, it will depend on what kind of writing you really enjoy.
I would like to thank the Publisher for allowing me to have a digital ARC from NetGalley of this book. This review is completely my own and honest opinion and has nothing to do with getting the ARC for free.
My Gemstone Rating:
An ancient city. A wondrous invention. A perilous journey.
The epic sequel to the incredible debut novel The Iron Ship.
Deep in the polar south stands a city like no other, a city built aeons ago by a civilisation mighty and wise.
The City of Ice promises the secrets of the ancients to whomever can reach it first. It may prove too little knowledge too late, for the closest approach of the Twin in 4000 years draws near, an event that has heralded terrible destruction in past ages.
As the Kressind siblings pursue their fortunes, the world stands upon the dawn of a new era, but it may yet be consumed by a darkness from the past.
Industry and magic, gods and steampower collide in the captivating sequel to The Iron Ship.
I have to start this review by saying I have not read the first book in the series. When I saw this book on Netgalley I got so excited by the description I overlooked that it was book #2. So some of my thoughts on this book spring from that which is my own fault. Now with that said, on to the review.
This is an absorbing book that takes place in a world that is complex, rich and absorbing. It did take me a little longer to get into this book than I would have liked, but I suspect that comes from not reading the first book. I was a little confused as to everything going on in this world, but eventually I did get settled in and I enjoyed the book a great deal. I plan on going back and reading the Iron Ship and then revisiting this story so see more things in context.
This book is simply one of those kind of books that seems to sprawl out before you in one grand adventure. It is the kind of book that allows you to feel as if you are in the pages, in that world with the characters and not just an outside reader. I feel that this fantasy world ranks right up there with the likes of Middle Earth and Narnia. I couldn’t personally develop any “feelings” towards the characters in this book, but I feel that might change as I delve deeper into the series. This book is simply a very enjoyable read and the land in which it takes place is so well described it feels like a place I could go to.
There is a huge cast of characters within the book and they all seem to be getting ready to have some kind of convergence when the series comes to an end. While the large cast of characters makes it interesting, I feel it is also the reason I couldn’t connect with anyone. At the end of the day, this is a book worth reading and a series worth getting excited about. If you like fantasy I think you will enjoy this book, it made me want to make like Bilbo Baggins and yell that I was going on an adventure!
My Gemstone Rating:
Penniless and disgraced, Adelaide Wentworth is feeling rather desperate. With nothing left to lose, she and her sister, Louisa, flee to Lake Geneva with Adelaide’s lover, the infamous poet Julian Estes. There, Louisa hopes to persuade Bayard Sonnier—celebrated writer and her former lover—to advance Julian’s career. He is their last hope for salvation.
At the Villa Diodati—the place that inspired the writing of Frankenstein sixty years earlier—Louisa plots to rekindle her affair with Bayard, while Adelaide hopes to restore her fading love for Julian by being the muse he needs.
But soon, secrets are revealed, passions ignited, and hidden talents discovered. Adelaide begins to imagine a different life. Confused, she turns to Giovanni Calina—Bayard’s assistant and a man with his own secrets and deep resentments—and the two form a dangerous alliance. No one leaves unscathed in this richly imagined, emotionally nuanced tale of passion, ambition, inspiration, and redemption.
I want to thank Net Galley and the publisher for allowing me to get an ARC of this book. I will admit that it was the cover which drew me in first, but the description kept me interested and the book and the book itself that made me keep reading.
This is one of the most unique books I have had a chance to read in a while and the tapestry of characters is rich and interesting. If you are a reader who is also very interested in writing and the entire process it has you are really going to enjoy a drop of ink because it is all about the process of writing and the characters who are writers while of course also giving you a nice dash of history and romance too. If you are looking for a happily ever after kind of romance this is not the book for you, I am just going to say that now without giving away any major spoilers.
The year is 1876 the place is Lake Geneva in Switzerland, at a Villa where famous writers Lord Byron and Mary & Percy Shelly stayed some 60 years ago. It was this Villa where Frankenstein and his Monster were born. There is a curious collection of characters gathered here this time as well, Bayard the famous writer, Giovanni his assistant who is trying to claw his way up the social ladder, Estes, who is, well, in my opinion a useless poet who likes his drug flask way t0o much and the Sisters Adelaide and the rather insane Louisa.
You get plotting and scheming and controversy and sometimes of course scandal. Overall, I really enjoyed the book it was fun and entertaining and the historical backdrop was nice. Other times I could not help but roll my eyes a little and sigh, some of the drama that Louisa caused was just over the top and Adelaide well she was not much less crazy at times then her sister. The fact that so many people didn’t really seem to notice all the drama was also a bit curious and yet those people had no problem showing up and surrounding the famous writer. The trope of the grumpy ole writer who hated being surrounded like that was probably my least favorite of the bunch. However, when it comes to complaints that is really a small one as far as things go.
This book really was one that I enjoyed a great deal. It had supernatural theories and fun playing along as well as humor, romance and history. I have always adored the idea of writing a book in the old way with a dip or fountain pen on parchment paper. So this one was bound to be a fun, enjoyment for me. The ending really was not overly satisfying for me, but it was realistic and I understand that sometimes realism has to win over the happily ever after.
My Gemstone Rating: