Posted in 4 Stars, Book Review

Review: In Another Life by Julie Christine Johnson

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Genre: Historical Fantasy, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebook Landmarks
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Formats Available
Kindle, Paperback, Audible

Summary:

Three men are trapped in time. One woman could save them all. 

Historian Lia Carrer has finally returned to southern France, determined to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. But instead of finding solace in the region’s quiet hills and medieval ruins, she falls in love with Raoul, a man whose very existence challenges everything she knows about life–and about her husband’s death. As Raoul reveals the story of his past to Lia, she becomes entangled in the echoes of an ancient murder, resulting in a haunting and suspenseful journey that reminds Lia that the dead may not be as far from us as we think. Steeped in the rich history and romantic landscape of rural France, In Another Life is a story of love that conquers time, and the lost loves that haunt us all.

MY RATING: 📚 📚 📚 📚

I have to be honest, this was one of those books I snagged from Netgalley mostly because of the cover. It’s lovely, isn’t it? That, coupled with a quick scan of the synopsis including the words “historian” and “ancient murder” and “rural France” had me scrambling for the request button. It sat in my queue for longer than I anticipated, since work on This Dread Road and the two courses I’m taking have pretty much obliterated my free time, but I finally got around to it last week.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Most books are either commercial (meaning they’ll be popular and sell well) or literary (meaning they’ll be discussed in literature classes). This book is both. It has everything people love from time-traveling romances, which are somewhat en vogue, but at the same time prose and subject matter is poignant and elevated. I was entranced within the first few pages, and my interest only grew from there. I am shocked and amazed that this is a debut novel!

Ms. Johnson’s research into medieval French history is evident, but this is not one of those books with a list of prerequisite reading. She manages to present a ton of information in a way that does not feel like a history textbook (although as a historian, I would have been fine with that). I came away from the story interested in learning more about the Cathars, and yearning for more. I hope there’s a sequel!

The reason for a four star rating rather than five: I ended the book still rather confused about what exactly had transpired, vis-à-vis the wandering souls. Were they time travelers? Were they truly reincarnated, as in born as children, or were they given new fully formed bodies? Why are there two Raouls? Are there portals to the past anyone can pass through? Even without really understanding the machinations of all this, though, I came away feeling satisfied and yearning for more.

Recommended for: fans of historical fantasy, time-travel, and romances that don’t necessarily have HFN/HEA endings.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


About the Author

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Julie Christine Johnson is the author of the novels In Another Life and The Crows of Beara. Her short stories and essays have appeared in several journals. She holds undergraduate degrees in French and Psychology and a Master’s in International Affairs. A runner, hiker, and wine geek, Julie makes her home on the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington state with her husband. Visit http://www.juliechristinejohnson.com for more information on Julie’s writing.

 

 

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Posted in 5 Stars, Book Review

Review: Walker Texas Wife by Melissa Storm and K.M. Hodge

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Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Publisher:  Blue Crown Press
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Formats AvailableKindle (paperback coming)

Summary:

Their lives are perfect . . . if only from the outside.

At first glance, the residents of Herald Springs lead charmed lives. But behind the dazzling smiles and inside the large brick homes, they all have their secrets. Most are harmless, but then again Annabeth King never did quite fit in. 

This newest neighbor is harboring a special secret of her own, one that could prove deadly. Will the members of the “drink and gossip” club figure out what Annabeth’s working so hard to hide before disaster comes knocking? 

With Storm’s signature bitter-sweetness and Hodge’s thrilling intensity, Walker Texas Wife offers a fast-paced, addictive romp that fans of Desperate Housewives and Pretty Little Liars will find themselves falling hard and fast for. This debut in the new Book Cellar Mystery series will leave you wondering just how well do we know our neighbors after all? 

MY RATING: 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚

I don’t usually read mysteries or thrillers–in fact, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve finished a book in either genre over the past ten years. But I’ve long admired K.M. Hodge for her social media presence and her involvement in online writing communities, so I was delighted to get the opportunity to sample her work.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but Walker Texas Wife still managed to exceed my expectations. It’s like Southern Gossip Girl for grown-ups, which is something I need in my life now that I’ve finished watching that show. The complex characters are wrapped in mystery from the get-go, and the story move along at just the right pace, starting off at a jog and ending in an adrenaline-pumping sprint. As soon as I finished reading the last paragraph, I wished the next book in the series was available.

I would definitely recommend this book to any avid readers of the genre, or for women like me who normally don’t read thrillers. I think you’ll like this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.