The Night Flyers (History Mysteries #3) by Elizabeth McDavid Jones

The Night Flyers (History Mysteries #3) by Elizabeth McDavid Jones
Publisher/Year: Pleasant Company Publications
Format: Paperback
Pages: 149
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads

Summary

It’s 1918. Pam Lowder and her papa raise the best homing pigeons on the North Carolina coast–homers with the rare ability to fly at night. While Papa’s away in World War I, a stranger with a foreign accent comes to town. Soon Pam’s best birds start to disappear, and Pam is sure the stranger is stealing them. Instead, she finds evidence of something much worse. Could the stranger be an enemy spy, threatening everything Pam holds dear–even Papa?

What I thought

I will never be able to get over how American Girl made such an impact on the historical fiction genre for young girls. I truly believe that they are one of the biggest reasons why I became such a history lover and why, to this day, historical fiction remains one of my preferred genres.

But anyway, enough rambling.

This was a great story that I read in an afternoon. I remember reading it when I was younger and enjoying it, and reading it as an adult, I still very much enjoyed it. Jones has a way of driving the story forward with a mystery that even as an adult, I wasn’t able to solve. I grew fond of Pam, and I appreciated how her story offered a glimpse into the time period. Plus, I liked how that “glimpse” was historically accurate and how it tied into the historical text at the end. Not to mention that Jones’ writing was beautifully descriptive–I mean, I was there with Pam in the woods and in the swamp.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I’d recommend this one if you are looking for a great historical fiction for the young reader in your life…or if you are a young reader yourself!

Know Me Well (Wishful #3) by Kait Nolan

Know Me Well (Wishful #3) by Kait Nolan
Publisher/Year: Kait Nolan, 2015
Format: E-book (Nook)
Pages: 221
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads

Summary

Welcome back to Wishful, Mississippi, full of eccentric characters and southern charm, where author Kait Nolan delivers another heart-warming story of a strong, successful woman and the equally strong man who learns how to be her partner.

Liam Montgomery is the last person who’d call himself a hero, but he does have a tendency to try to save the world. Now that he’s left the Marine Corps and returned to Wishful, he feels out of place and unsure of what comes next. He does know one thing: The girl who used to look up to him like a brother is all grown up. No way he can see her as a little sister now. And she won’t give him the time of day.

Riley Gower isn’t holding out for a hero. In fact, a knight in shining armor is the last thing she wants. She’s been watching her mother chase that fairy tale for most of her life, with Riley the one left to pick up the pieces of unhappily ever after. Running Wishful’s downtown pharmacy is a dream Riley’s worked toward for years. Now that the business is finally hers, the realities of the current economy have made it seem like the dream is falling apart. So when her mother calls, expecting yet another rescue, Riley feels like she’s spread thinner than the last pat of butter at Sunday dinner.

It’s hard enough for a woman like Riley to admit she could use a hand, but mixed up with the embarrassment of a childhood crush and the devastating attraction sizzling between them? No way. Liam is determined to help, but taking down insurgents is less complicated than infiltrating Riley’s defenses. This will require reinforcements. And a plan.

What I thought

For being a Kindle freebie, I will give this book credit–it was a cute, steamy small-town romance that I actually did enjoy reading. I was a little nervous when I found out that this was the third book in a series, since I haven’t read the first two, but I needn’t have worried–this works perfectly fine as a standalone. I will say, though, that after having read this installment, I would absolutely read more of this series.

While Know Me Well is certainly not an earth-shattering read, sometimes it’s nice to sink into a light and easy, feel-good story. Riley and Liam were perfect for each other, and I thought that their romance was absolutely adorable. Riley was a strong, independent heroine, and Liam was the perfect gentleman, and I loved watching them come to terms with their feelings about each other.

One of the other parts of this book that I thought was kind of fun was that the side characters were just as enjoyable to read about. I definitely would like to read some of their stories in the other books of this series.

If you are looking for a heartwarming but all kinds of steamy small-town, Southern romance, look no further than Wishful, Mississippi!

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
Publisher/Year: Little, Brown and Company, 2018
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 370
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads

Summary

Guard your mortal heart.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black comes the first book in a stunning new trilogy filled with twists and enchantment, as one girl learns the meaning of true power when she finds herself caught in a web of royal faerie intrigue.

What I thought

You know what one of the best feelings in the world is? The feeling when you love a book so much that you can’t even put into words why you loved it so much. For me, this book was pure perfection. If you had asked me to describe my ideal book, it would be this one. I knew from the moment I held this book in my hands that I was getting ready to fall in love.

Holly Black has managed to write a story that feels like I’ve opened up an old book of fairy tales and stepped inside. The writing is luscious and gorgeous and intoxicating. I absolutely hated to put this book down. I wrote down at least 20 quotes–I just couldn’t get over how stunning Holly Black’s writing is. Upon finishing this book, I could have flipped to the front and read it all over again–that’s how much I loved it.

Not only that, but this book was also the perfect amount of “dark” to be a true fantasy story of the Fae. The deception and the trickery and the cruelty felt less Disney and more Grimm–and I lived for it! All of the characters were perfectly complex and untrustworthy, which was so great because it led to so many plot twists that I never saw coming.

At this point, I’m just gushing. Suffice it to say that The Cruel Prince will be one of my top reads for the year. If you love fantasy and the Fae and dark, twisted fairy tales–read this book!

Midnight Blue by Simone van der Vlugt

Midnight Blue by Simone van der Vlugt
Publisher/Year: William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 327
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads

Summary

Amsterdam, 1654: Against the backdrop of Holland’s Golden Age, a dangerous secret threatens to destroy a young widow’s new life

Following the sudden death of her husband, twenty-five-year-old Catrin leaves her small village and takes a job as a housekeeper to the successful Van Nulandt merchant family. Amsterdam is a city at the peak of its powers: science and art are flourishing in the Golden Age and Dutch ships bring back exotic riches from the Far East. Madam Van Nulandt passes her time taking expensive painting lessons from a local master, Rembrandt van Rijn, and when Catrin takes up a brush to finish some of her mistress’s work, Rembrandt realizes the maid has genuine talent and encourages her to continue.

When a figure from her past threatens her new life, Catrin flees to the smaller city of Delft. There, her gift as a painter earns her a chance to make a living painting pottery at a local workshop. Slowly, the workshop begins to develop a new type of pottery to rival blue-on-white imported Chinese porcelain–and the graceful and coveted Delft Blue designs she creates help revolutionize the industry. But when tragedy strikes, Catrin must decide whether to defend her newfound independence, or return to the village that she’d fled.

What I thought

I have really been on point with my historical fiction picks lately, and Midnight Blue is no exception. This was an excellent read and one that I enjoyed immensely.

Following along with Catrin’s story, I felt an array of emotions, and she quickly became dear to me. I couldn’t help but root for her along the way. She showed such strength and pragmatism at times, but she also had a softer side that she had no issue showing, too. I loved the story and following along her journey. I don’t know much about Dutch history, but the setting here came to life for me. This is one of the more unique books I’ve read, and for me, this plot will stand out for some time. It was just so refreshing to read something different for a change–and especially such a beautiful story. This is truly exemplary historical fiction at its best. I loved being transported to a completely different time period and especially being able to learn about one which I previously knew nothing about. Also, I (sadly) haven’t read much translated fiction, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that although the writing here was simple, it was still evocative and easy-to-read. Everything flowed so well!

Overall, this was such a great historical fiction–beautiful story, captivating heroine, and unique setting. If you are a fan of the genre, I couldn’t recommend this more!

Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom

Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom
Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 370
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads

Summary

A man must risk his life and make a dangerous journey into his secret past to fulfill a promise and rescue a friend.

Jamie Pyke, son of the master of Tall Oaks plantation and his kitchen slave, is passing as a wealthy white aristocrat in Philadelphia. His secret identity and even his life are threatened when he is compelled by a promise to travel back to the South–where he is still being hunted as an escaped slave–to rescue a beloved young boy named Pan who has been kidnapped and sold into slavery. Pan is unprepared for the brutal life of the slave quarters until he finds an ally in the compassionate nurse, Sukey, and she hatches a plan to help him escape through the Underground Railroad. Jamie manages to locate Pan and Sukey just as the ruthless slave hunters are closing in on him. Together, the three make a run for freedom, but there is a grave price to pay.

Confirming her extraordinary storytelling talent, Kathleen Grissom has written a novel that is at once a breathtaking thriller, a tragic love story, and an inspiring testament to our essential need for freedom that casts “glory over everything.”

What I thought

It’s been several years since I’ve read The Kitchen House, but reading Glory Over Everything certainly reminded me why I love Kathleen Grissom’s writing so much. I just adore good historical fiction, and if you’re also a fan of the genre, this is one you won’t want to miss.

One of the things I enjoyed so much about this book was simply the writing. Kathleen Grissom’s writing is so atmospheric that I just got sucked into the story. The story builds slowly in the beginning, but then it hit a point where I found it impossible to put down. I couldn’t read fast enough for fear of what was going to happen to these characters.

Another aspect of Grissom’s writing that I loved was how evocative it was. Going into this one, especially after having read The Kitchen House, I knew it wasn’t going to be an “easy” read. And I so appreciate the fact that Grissom didn’t try to sugarcoat the horrors and brutality of slavery. I often read with tears in my eyes–both because of the appalling way that humans were treated and also because of the strength and hope they held onto in spite of that.

Additionally, I love Grissom’s writing of Jamie’s character–I felt it was very interesting what she did there. I didn’t always like him. In fact, there were many times I did not. But a character doesn’t always have to be “likeable.” They’re still human, and we are not always likeable. Jamie’s internal dilemma with his own heritage and his outward demeanor to others at times was fascinating to me, even if it did make me cringe at times. And by the end, there was definitely some growth evident. I’m certainly curious about Jamie’s future.

Before I end, I also want to add that I just love Pan and Sukey–two wonderful characters that I know I’ll carry with me.

In the end, even though I can see some loose threads that could be potential future stories here, I do feel satisfied with the end. Of course, at this point, I’d read anything Katheen Grissom writes. You don’t need to read The Kitchen House prior to reading this, but I highly recommend that you do. I can’t praise this enough. If you’re looking for an absorbing historical fiction, look no further than Glory Over Everything.

Daughters of Darkness (The Willoughby Chronicles #2) by Meg Hafdahl

Daughters of Darkness (The Willoughby Chronicles #2) by Meg Hafdahl
Publisher/Year: Inklings Publishing, 2019
Format: e-ARC
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads

Summary

Daphne Forrest and Edwin Monroe forget their past shared trauma by building a life in the big city. But the death of Doris Woodhouse pulls them back into the strangely enigmatic town of Willoughby. Surrounded by the familiar gothic landscape and its dark underbelly of secrets, a mystery unfurls, revealing a catalyst set in motion long ago. One that has caused a unique evil to lurk in the hearts of Willoughby’s citizens. A shocking truth once confronted by protective mother, Doris Woodhouse, and the dashing Holden Small in the winter of 1961.

Daphne and Edwin in the present, and Doris in the past, come to fathom the terrifying reality behind the bucolic edifice of Willoughby. Will Daphne be able to save herself and the town she has grown to love? Or will Willoughby’s evil infect her own heart?

What I thought

One of the coolest things about being a part of the bookstagram/book blogging world is getting the opportunity to work with authors. Obviously I love reading, and I love talking about the books I’ve read, but I can’t actually fathom writing one. It goes without saying that there is nothing more exciting to me than when I get to interact with authors and become part of the process of sharing their book with the world. It’s even more exciting when it’s an author whose work I love, which is why I was thrilled when Meg Hafdahl contacted me about her newest addition to the Willoughby series.

I enjoyed Her Dark Inheritance so much that I couldn’t wait to dive into Daughters of Darkness. And it did not disappoint! Except for the fact that now I’m over here dying for book #3! I don’t want to say too much about the plot, for fear of giving anything away, but it was truly a joy being back in Willoughby with my favorite characters. Daphne has become one of my favorite protagonists in the horror genre, and I’ve enjoyed watching her character grow so much. And Doris! I loved her role in this installment, and that’s all I’m going to say about that. Besides the characters, I also loved the town of Willoughby itself. Hafdahl brings the town to life so much so that it feels like an entity in its own right. And I so appreciate that she doesn’t immediately reveal all of Willoughby’s secrets at once. Not only does that leave me looking forward to the next book, but the unknowing leaves the reader with the most delicious, sinister feel while reading.

Once again, I have nothing but good things to say about Meg Hafdahl and her writing. As the books in the Willoughby Chronicles become darker and more evil rears its ugly head, I’m enjoying these books more and more. Daughters of Darkness proves once again that Meg Hafdahl is a strong addition to the #ladiesofhorrorfiction authors. And that final chapter? It’s killing me–I’m dying for book #3 already!

**Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC copy of this book from the author, Meg Hafdahl, in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinions presented here.