Book Review and Blog Tour: Then Came The Thunder

*Book Review at Bottom of Page


Then Came the Thunder by Rachael Huszar

Publication Date: July 2, 2021
eBook; 160 pages

Series: Three Willows, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fantasy


Jessalyn Joy loves her husband, but she can’t help the feelings that arose when he volunteered for the Union army. When he comes back to her in a box instead of on his feet, those feelings complicate even more.

Jessalyn’s mourning period is cut short when something begins to attack the livestock in their small town, and greater dangers begin to threaten their provincial life. Thrown together with the new reverend, one of her own students, and a strange man somehow related to her husband’s passing, Jessalyn must find a way to stop the evils that threaten her husband’s first and ultimately last home.

Set in the Southwestern home front, Huszar blends a taste of fantasy into a startling down-to-earth world, creating a high stakes adventure for this strong female protagonist and her band of amateur sleuths.

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About the Author


Rachael Huszar kept her life steeped in stories from a young age, and she began her own journey in story-making when she reached adulthood. In the time since, she has taken up swimming, roller skating, and consuming tabletop RPG streams. She spends the bulk of her time with her dog, Silo, and works full time as a designer in Dallas, Texas.

Website | Instagram | Goodreads


Giveaway

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The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on August 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Then Came the Thunder Giveaway

BOOK REVIEW

This is a fascinating story that appears to be a Western, but is so much more. Jessalyn Joy’s husband has been killed in the Civil War, and she is still in mourning when she meets Sam Brooks, a stranger who needs a place to stay. Jessalyn is also distracted by a number of strange livestock kills in the town of Three Willows. Three Willows seems like any Civil War era western town, but it holds a secret, and the element of fantasy that is thrown into the story makes this Western unique. The author has a great ability to create and build a mystery, and the relationships between the characters are dynamic and real. There is also a touch of comedy at times. I would recommend this story to readers of both Fantasy and Western fiction, and those, like me, who love genre mashups.

I received a free copy of this book via HF Virtual Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

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#Book Review: The Accidental Suffragist

BOOK DESCRIPTION

It’s 1912, and Helen Fox is a factory worker living in New York’s tenements. When tragedy strikes in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Helen is seduced by the Suffragist cause and is soon immersed, working alongside famous activist

As Helen’s involvement with the cause deepens, she encounters myriad sources of tension that test her perseverance: estrangement from her husband, who is blindsided by his wife’s sudden activism; ostracization by neighbors; unease at working side by side with wealthier suffragettes; and worry about her children as she leaves them to picket the White House in Washington.

The narrative spans World War One and concludes with the triumph of 1919. In a time when the obstacles for women, from any background, were insurmountable, Helen discovers her voice as an independent woman and dreams of equality in a male-dominated society.


BOOK REVIEW

This is gritty historical fiction set in a time when women had few rights, and their fight for the right to vote would get dirty and even bloody. The protagonist, Helen, is a poor housewife in New York City who also has to work and eke out a meager existence for her family. She has just lost her daughter in a factory fire and her whole family is hurting. She stumbles into a job with the Suffragettes, who are fighting for the right to vote for women. Her husband’s actions puzzle me throughout the book. He is a piece of work who is supposed to love her deeply, but 21st Century women will probably not see any evidence of that. He stands as a symbol for what the average man thought and did at that time. Helen’s actions show tremendous growth throughout this book, but not as much growth as I would have wished. That being said, I think that this is a very real depiction of what life would have been like for women of that time period, and although I would have liked Helen to stand up to her husband more, that is probably not realistic. Women of that time period were treated like property, and it did not change overnight.

The description of the protest in Washington DC and what happened afterward is as realistic as it is horrifying. The Accidental Suffragist is the very definition of real historical fiction. This is no fairy tale. This book is about the suffering and subjugation of women in American in and prior to the early 20th Century, and the blowback, indignation, and violence that resulted from their fight to rise above it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Galia Gichon

About the Author:

Widely quoted in The New York Times and more, Galia Gichon spent nearly ten years writing financial research for top investment banks before launching Down-to-Earth Finance, a top personal financial advising firm in New York.

Galia is the author of My Money Matters, a personal finance book which received notable press from the New York Times, TODAY Show, CNN, Newsweek, Real Simple and more. Galia Gichon consistently leads seminars for Barnard College where she has taught for 13 years, and other organizations. She is an avid angel investor focusing on women-led and impact startups and actively counsels startups through accelerators.

Readers can connect with Galia on InstagramTwitter, and Goodreads. To learn more, go to: https://www.galiagichonauthor.com

#Audiobook Review: Once There Were Wolves

This review is of the audiobook, provided to me by MacMillan Audio. 

Once There Were Wolves is the tale of two sisters, one of whom works with endangered wolves. Inti Flynn comes to Scotland, along with a team of wildlife biologists, to reintroduce gray wolves into the Scottish Highlands. She brings her twin sister Aggie, who has suffered horrible abuse, with her. Inti is met with anger and fear from the neighboring farmers who are afraid the wolves are going to attack their sheep. When a farmer is found dead, suspicion falls upon the wolves, and maybe Inti herself.

This is a beautiful book that gives us a peek into the lives of gray wolves, and the difficulties of introducing them back to their native habitats. Inti has a special and fascinating gift or curse, which allows her to understand the wolves and her fellow humans on a very intimate level. She has mirror touch synesthesia, which causes her to physically feel the pain and sensations of others, including animals. Aggie’s withdrawal into herself and Inti’s ability to communicate with her twin is touching and real. The murder mystery is intricate and nuanced, with many twists and turns. 

The audiobook narrator, Saskia Maareveld, did a wonderful job with all the characters, taking on different roles and accents with ease.

My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Once There Were Wolves will be released August 3, 2021.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charlotte McConaghy

​Charlotte McConaghy is an Australian author living in Sydney. She has a Masters Degree in Screenwriting from the Australian Film Television and Radio School, and a number of published SFF works in Australia. 

Her novel MIGRATIONS is her first foray into adult literary fiction, published in North America by Flatiron Books, and by Penguin Random House in Australia and the UK. It is being translated into over 20 languages, and adapted to film. 

Fuelled by her love of nature and her interest in stories of fierce women, McConaghy’s newest novel, ONCE THERE WERE WOLVES, is about a biologist charged with reintroducing wolves to the Scottish Highlands in order to rewild the landscape and bring a forest back to life. It will be released in August 2021.

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MY INSTAGRAM POST

I recently started spending some time on my previously neglected Instagram account, and I’d love to get some more followers and “likes” over there, so there is a link to my Instagram post for “Once There Were Wolves” in the photo above, and if you have an Instagram account, please follow and I will follow back.

#Book Review: Project Hail Mary

Ryland Grace wakes up to find himself hurtling through space, his crewmates dead. He is the only one left who can save humanity from extinction. But right now he cannot remember his name or his mission. Will he be able to save Earth alone? Will he have to?

This is a very well written, riveting story by Andy Weir. I was captivated immediately, even during complicated scientific explanations that somehow became an intriguing part of the story. The gravity of the situation doesn’t hit you at first, but slowly Weir draws you in as Ryland gains more and more awareness. The addition of another character leaves you on the edge of your seat as the fate of Earth hangs in the balance. The conclusion is satisfying in itself, but makes you wonder if there is more to come. 

I truly feel that Andy Weir is becoming an absolute Science Fiction genius for the 21st Century, much like Heinlein and Asimov were for the 20th Century. With successes like The Martian, Artemis, and now Project Hail Mary, he is well on his way.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Weir built a two-decade career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full-time. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of such subjects as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail. He lives in California.

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Book Review: The Devil Whispered

In the near future United States, Retired Special Forces Commander Jacobi Slate is investigating a brutal murder committed by his former boss, Admiral Ben Oaksley, who has admittedly killed his beloved wife, Mary. As Slate’s investigation continues and more strange murders occur, he begins to suspect that this is tied to his past and that someone in the background is pulling the strings.

This is a thrilling cyberpunk detective noir story with well developed characters and an intriguing premise. It shows a future America even more enmeshed in technology and describes what could be the results of that. I liked the first-person detective noir approach as told through the eyes of a veteran of many wars. This is not your traditional detective noir, as there is a strong female main character, Risa, who definitely proved herself tougher than any of the others, even our protagonist. As indicative of the noir genre, the lines between right and wrong are blurred and the protagonist is well meaning but flawed. The cyberpunk element is crucial as we see technology becoming more and more enmeshed into human life. This is an action-packed novel with revelations that are eye-opening and thought provoking.

I would recommend this to any fans of the the cyberpunk and detective noir genres.

This was another great book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can borrow it for free. It is also available to purchase outright for only 99 cents at the link below.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shawn Starkweather

Shawn lives in Massachusetts with his wife and the handful of childhood stuffed animals that they’ve been unable to part ways with, even despite the awkward situation in which it occasionally puts their house guests. He wields a coveted Associates of Liberal Arts degree from Greenfield Community College in an overly enthusiastic, flailing manner, and puts it to work writing both fantasy and science fiction stories. Using subliminal codes and hidden messaging carefully placed throughout his books, he plans to captivate the minds of his readers and insidiously manipulate them into purchasing subsequent releases. 

As a novelist, musician, graphic designer, and a purveyor of fine games, Shawn is often confused about exactly who he is when he wakes up in the morning. It’s been said (by him) that perhaps he embodies all of these things so equally that a singular definition could not comprehensively impart a satisfactory description. With your support, and a sufficient demand for more novels, he secretly hopes that he’ll have no choice but to formally acknowledge the prevailing label of ‘author’ and spend the rest of his days providing a sense of wonder and adventure to everyone who helped him solidify his nebulous identity.

Shawn’s Website

The Choice I Made

REVIEW–BONNIE READS AND WRITES

Julie’s mother has had a stroke, and for weeks her father has said she is doing fine, but when Julie arrives for a weekend at their family’s Wisconsin resort, Wood Violet, she finds that her mother is not doing well and is not mobile. Despite the objections of her husband Tristan, Julie decides to stay and help out with her mother and the business for the summer. When she meets teenage Margaret, who is staying in an abandoned cabin and searching for her biological mother, Julie develops a connection with her. She also reconnects with her old friends, including her ex-boyfriend Chase. But secrets and lies come to the surface. Will it break them all apart?

This is was nice family story about supporting each other in the hard times and what happens when you don’t. Margaret’s search for her mother with Julie’s help is interesting. Julie’s connection to the woods, the cabins, and the area are heartfelt and believable, as is her strong desire to protect her family. However, the character Tristan is quite over the top. There were surprises that were not all that hard to figure out, but all in all this was an enjoyable family story with a touch of mystery and romance. Three and a half stars, rounded up to four.

I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cynthia Ellingsen

Cynthia Ellingsen is an Amazon Charts bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction. Her books feature heartwarming characters and strong family connections, often with a touch of mystery. The Starlight Cove series, her best-known work, is available on audio and has been translated into several languages.

Cynthia began her writing career as a screenwriter in Los Angeles and now lives in Kentucky with her family.

https://www.cynthiaellingsen.com/

https://www.facebook.com/cynthiaellingsen

https://twitter.com/CynEllingsen

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Buy Links:Amazon: https://bit.ly/2PwDulR

Apple: https://apple.co/2IOUVem

Kobo: https://bit.ly/34arE59

Google: http://bit.ly/3qfMHvs

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The Kitchen Front

BOOK REVIEW

The Kitchen Front is a wonderful book which feels like a World War II based combination of Downton Abbey and the Great British Baking Show. In Fenley Village, England, 1942, Ambrose Hart is reluctantly looking for a radio cohost. His bosses have decided they want a local woman who can help listeners find the best uses for their food rations. A cooking contest begins, and the winner will be Ambrose’s co-host on The Kitchen Front radio show. The four contestants are Audrey, who is trying to raise three sons and wallowing in a mountain of debt, Nell, a kitchen maid who is tired of her poor treatment, Lady Gwendoline Strickland, the haughty grand lady of the manor, who is both Nell’s boss and Audrey’s sister, and Zelda Dupont, an English girl turned London-based French chef who has been forced to cook in a British factory and is not happy about it. As the show progresses, each woman’s life begins to change forever.

I immediately connected with the characters and the story. The “upstairs/downstairs,” “Downton Abbey” type relationship is demonstrated by Lady Gwendoline, Sir Strickland, and their cooks and other staff. The radio show cooking contest reminds me of a World War II radio version of the Great British Baking Show. For the contest, each contestant has to provide a starter, a main dish, and a dessert, all on different episodes of the show. All of the recipes for the contest, plus others mentioned in the story, are included in the book. We are given a window into each contestant’s life, both before and during the contest. Audrey is a grieving war widow. Gwendoline is a neglected wife of a strict and domineering nobleman. Zelda is pregnant and abandoned by the child’s father, and Nell is a young girl who wants to get out of the bonds of service. Interesting tidbits about food and history are included, such as why British sausages are called “bangers,” and how some villagers would run to “Anderson shelters,” to escape the bombings. We even get a little education on World War II era planes. I enjoyed every minute of this book, read it in one day, and will read it again. 

If you love cooking and cooking shows, World War II fiction, and strong female characters, you will enjoy this book.

The Kitchen Front will be released on February 23, 2021. I highly recommend it.

I received a free copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Ryan

Jennifer Ryan is the author of National Bestseller THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR, THE SPIES OF SHILLING LANE, and THE KITCHEN FRONT. Her writing has featured in Literary Hub, Moms Don’t Have Time to Write, The Daily Mail, The Irish Times, The Express, BBC Online, YOU Magazine, The Simple Things Magazine, and Good Reading Magazine. Previously a book editor with The Economist, DK, and the BBC, she moved from London to Washington, DC after marrying, and she now lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two children. Her novels are inspired by her grandmother’s tales of the war in Britain.

JENNIFER RYAN’S WEBSITE

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Accusing Mr. Darcy

Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet both find themselves guests of the Kendall Family at a month-long house party in a grand estate in Derbyshire.  Elizabeth is implored to attend by her cousin Rose Kendall, and Darcy is a friend of Rose’s husband Nicholas.  Darcy is immediately captivated by Elizabeth, but knows he is expected to marry a woman of greater means.  When a murder occurs on a neighboring estate, and then one of the Kendall’s guests is attacked, the evidence appears stacked against Mr. Darcy.  Will Elizabeth listen to the murmurings against Mr. Darcy, or will she rally to his side?

This is a compelling take on Pride and Prejudice, combining the classic love story with a murder mystery in a new and different setting. Not all of the original characters make an appearance in this variation, but the characters presented are interesting and well developed. This is not a typical Pride and Prejudice variation, but the attraction between Elizabeth and Darcy is palpable, and the conflict between them is well done. The addition of the murder mystery takes this variation to a new level. Miller has an amazing ability to create a fascinating but horrifying villain and provides a back story for the murderer that is chilling and captivating.

Fans of both historical romance and mysteries will enjoy this new take on a time-honored love story.

I downloaded this book on Kindle Unlimited, where KU subscribers can borrow the book for free.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelly Miller

Kelly Miller is a native Californian and Anglophile, who made her first visit to England in 2019. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she can be found playing the piano (although like Elizabeth Bennet, she is errant when it comes to practicing), singing, and walking her dogs. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their many pets. A Constant Love is her fourth book published by Meryton Press. The first three are novels: Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic sequel with a touch of fantasy; Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic variation; and Accusing Mr. Darcy, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic mystery. Kelly’s blog page is found at http://kellymiller.merytonpress.com, her Twitter handle is @kellyrei007, Instagram: http://kelly.miller.author, and she is on Facebook: http://facebook.Author.Kelly.Miller

NEW RELEASE

Kelly has a new novella that has just been released. It is called A Consuming Love: A Pride and Prejudice Variation. The Amazon Description is below:

The methodical world of rich, proud Fitzwilliam Darcy is in chaos: a country lady of modest origins has utterly captivated him.

The knowledge that Elizabeth Bennet is an unsuitable match fails to diminish Darcy’s fascination for her, nor does his self-imposed distance from the lady hinder her ability to intrude upon his thoughts at all hours of the day. What can solve his dilemma?

When circumstances compel Darcy’s return to Hertfordshire in assistance of his friend Mr. Bingley, he must confront his unfathomable attraction to Miss Elizabeth.

In this “Pride & Prejudice” Regency novella, one afternoon spent in company with Miss Elizabeth Bennet is enough to make an indelible and life-altering impression upon Darcy, setting him on a rocky course towards the fulfillment of his desires. Will Darcy attain happiness, or will his ingrained pride be his downfall?

A Consuming Love is only $3.99 on Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited subscribers can borrow it for free. Link

Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers

Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers is the second  book  in  the  “A  Woman  of  World  War  II”  mystery series by Tessa Arlen. Although it is the second in a series, it can be read as a standalone. It is 1942 and Poppy, employed by the London Crown Film Unit as  a scriptwriter during the war, is sent to work on location at an airfield.   The film she is working on is about       the  Air   Transport Auxiliary   pilots,   or   “Attagirls.”   This   amazing   group   of   female   pilots    flew  many   different types   of   planes   and   transported   them    to    airfields    all over Britain during    World War II. Sometimes  these  transports  occurred  during  severe  weather  conditions.  Poppy begins to work on the film and starts to get to know this intriguing group of talented and professional female pilots. When two “Attagirls”  are  killed  in  accidents  during  seemingly  routine  flights,  Poppy  and  her boyfriend Griff begin to investigate.

This was such an interesting read, especially since I had never heard of the “Attagirls.” The history of these brave  women  is  fascinating, and the author provides more facts about them in a historical note at the  end of the book.  The  murder  mystery  is  well  done,  with  many  twists,  turns,  and  red herrings.  The  villain is not easy to figure out, so the reader is surprised at the end. The characters are compelling and well developed. Our heroine, Poppy, proves to be a witty and clever sleuth. Her relationship with her boyfriend Griff is complicated at times, but that just makes it more interesting. This is a great combination of World War II historical fiction and cozy mystery. I would recommend this book to fans of both genres.

The first book in the series is Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders.

I received a free copy of this book from Berkley Publishing via Netgalley for Historical Novels Review. My review is voluntary.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tessa Arlen is the author of the critically acclaimed Lady Montfort mystery series—Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman was a finalist for the 2016 Agatha Award Best First Novel. She is also the author of Poppy Redfern: A Woman of World War II mystery series. And the author of the historical fiction: In Royal Service to the Queen.

Tessa lives in the Southwest with her family and two corgis where she gardens in summer and writes in winter.

Comes The War

Comes The War by Ed Ruggero is Book 2 in the Eddie Harkins series. It is April 1944, and the allies are preparing to invade France. Lieutenant Eddie Harkins is in England  and  is  on  orders  to  join  the  Office  of  Strategic Services  (OSS)   when   an American   civilian   employee   is   murdered.   Eddie   finds   himself    in  charge  of  the investigation,   but   his superiors   settle on   a   suspect   very   quickly.  Ordered  to  close  the  case,  but doubting the guilt of the  accused,  Eddie  continues  his  investigation.  He  is  aided  by  his  driver,  Private Pamela Lowell, a smart and resourceful ally.

This was a fascinating look at the Allied forces in WWII England in 1944 prior to D-Day.  It combines a   fictional murder investigation with actual World  War  II  history  in  a  compelling  way.  The  political  fights  between    the    commanding   generals    and   the    “air”     vs.”ground”     war     philosophy are    intriguing. It contradicts  some  of   the   history books    on    the effectiveness  of  the  air  campaign  during  the  war.    It  speaks of Major  General  James  Doolittle, whose  bombing raids  may  have  caused thousands of unnecessary deaths with  no real strategic wins. I also learned that General Dwight D. Eisenhower was so upset by the  pushback  from  the Army Air Force and Royal Air Force generals against his plans that  he  threatened  to  quit  his  command and return  to the United States just a few months before D-Day. I have read many books set in World War II, but this one really made me want to read more about the strategic military history of the day.

The characters are well developed, and the  murder  mystery  and  investigation  are  interesting  and  engaging, with  many  twists  and  turns.  I  would recommend  this  book  both  to  fans  of  World  War  II  history  and fans of crime/thriller fiction.

I received a free copy of this book from MacMillan/Tor-Forge via Netgalley for Historical Novels Review Magazine. My review is voluntary.

Comes The War was released February 9th, 2021. The link to buy is below.

ED RUGGERO’S WEBSITE

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