I am C.M. Mills, an avid book lover looking for the next good book. I usually read fantasy and historical fiction. I’ve started branching out into thrillers. I’m not the biggest fan of purely romantic books. Sure, put it in a book, but it shouldn’t take the place of a good plot. I am willing to give any book a try. I enjoy reading nonfiction, too. Most of the nonfiction books I’ve read are memoirs, but I’d be willing to give other types of nonfiction a try. I’ve slogged through terrible books and will put up with a lot before I give up on a book.
Some things that I love in a book: a map (if needed), a pronunciation guide (if needed), a reason to care about the characters, and suspense to keep me going. Give me a connection to the protagonist. Authors get brownie points if the villain has a relatable motive, or has a unique stance.
Some turn offs include: introducing too many characters at once (looking at you Game of Thrones), characters with difficult names to pronounce (a pronunciation guide can offset this), not enough character relatability, boring plot, not enough action, etc.
I do enjoy a sappy romance, but it drives me nuts when the characters won’t admit their feelings (yes I know it can be a plot point, but don’t let it be the main plot point), or have again off again relations (it can get annoying). Also too many steamy scenes cause me to skip or skim over book.
Some of my favorite books include The Book Thief (for its writing style and humor despite being a WW2 setting book), Redeeming Love (a slightly predicable romance/historical fiction set in during the California gold rush), The Last Sin Eater (a historical fiction focused on an unusual British Isle tradition) , Immanuel’s Veins (a unique take on vampirish/angelic lore set to a historical fiction book), The Lord of the Rings (a dense read but so unique), Harry Potter (magic, cause why not), and The Chronicles of Narnia (for the world within). These are the first that came to my mind. I have so many more that I’ve enjoyed.
Some of my favorite authors include Francine Rivers (for her takes on historical fiction interwoven with classic tales, also has some sappy romantic books), Ted Dekker (for his unique thrillers and ability to keep the reader interested), Paula Brackston (for her historical fiction and use of worldly magic), Arturo Perez-Reverte (for his descriptive historical fiction use of vocabulary), and Elizabeth Camden (for a sappy love story and use of historical fiction). These are the authors I usually gravitate towards.
Feel free to send me recommendations and requests. I’d love to hear about other genres, books, and authors. I’ll try my best to read those books as soon as I can. My room is a partial library of unread books. Also feel free to ask me questions. I’ll respond as soon as I can.
Plot: Seminary professor, Augustine Knox, has been called to find and authenticate some biblical scrolls and letters about Saul of Tarsus. When he arrives, Augustine learns that others are on the trail of the letters. The others will stop at nothing to get the letters. How will Augustine find the letters? Will the others searching find them first? Will they take Augustine out of the equation? Or can Augustine find a way to stop the others? If he finds them, how can he keep them from falling into the wrong hands? Two thousand years ago, a young man, Saul, is studying to be a priest. He’s a bright man and a quick learner. But he’s also proud and eager to show off what he knows. His toughest decisions are deciding which school to attend, and how to impress a girl he likes. At school, he soon surpasses his peers. He becomes prouder and more arrogant. His friends soon find others to spend time with. After school, Saul finds a seat on the Sanhedrin. Saul promises to deal with the growing Christian population. Stephen is first target. Then, on the way to Demascus, he is blinded by a light and hears Jesus. But will he listen to what Jesus has to say? Or will he stay stuck in his old ways? Will the Christians trust him?
Rating: 4.0 – a well written book about history and mystery
Opinion: This was an interesting mystery surrounding a biblical story. Most Christians know at least a little about Saul, turned Paul. I enjoyed learning about one of the greatest, if not thee greatest, early Christian leaders. I didn’t know much of his past before Stephan and the road to Damascus. It provided a lot of insight on how Saul got to where he was. It also gave an interesting theory to what he describes as ‘a thorn in his side.’ The story is split in two, one part following Augustine and the other following Saul. The changes take place at the starts of chapters, which makes it easier to follow. While Augustine’s story focuses more on his relationships with his parents, there is still enough mystery to keep the story interesting. It was interesting because they story includes the police in a more logical way than other stories I’ve read. I enjoyed the little Italian phrases to see how much I could understand, as it is a related language to Spanish. If you’re looking for a good part historical fiction, part mystery, then I’d recommend this book. This is also a great book for those who are looking for a biblical story and learning more about Saul of Tarsus.
Titles: 1 – Stalking Jack the Ripper, 2 – Hunting Prince Dracula, 3 – Escaping from Houdini
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Mystery
Plot: 1 – Audrey Rose Wadsworth is an apprentice under her uncle in 1888 in London, England. She is studying forensic science through opening up cadavers. Her apprenticeship is frowned upon as she is of noble birth. Another student, Thomas Cresswell, is apprenticing with her. Not long after she starts, some starts murdering prostitutes on the West End of London. Her uncle has been put in charge of finding out what happen to the women. The people are calling the murderer Jack the Ripper. Audrey Rose helps as best as she can. But her family is falling appart. Her father has been sent to the country for his health. Her brother is constantly coming and going because of his schooling. Can Audrey Rose and Thomas clear her uncle’s name? Can they solve the murders? Who is the murderer? Who is Jack the Ripper? Can she keep her family together? Or will she accept her fate in society? Or be swept away by Jack the Ripper?
2 – Audrey Rose and Thomas are on their way to Romania for a position at a forensic science school. They take the Orient Express to closest city. But along the way, someone is murdered. He was impaled with a stake to the heart. Then Audrey Rose and Thomas read that there are rumors that Vlad the Impaler, more famously known as Dracula, has come back from the dead. Then they learn that the school is in Vlad’s former castle. Audrey Rose is the only girl in the class. No one thinks she has the ability, or should be, to be there. Then, right before classes start, another student is murder. The student has been drained of blood and has two puncture wounds on his neck. Audrey Rose and Thomas learn that the student was the cousin of the crown prince, who is also attending the school. They learn that more have disappeared after some time. The two put the pieces together and learn that Romania’s royal family is being targeted, being murdered and threatened. Audrey Rose and Thomas must hurry to help before the crown prince disappears or is killed. But the school’s headmaster is keeping a very close eye one everyone. No one is permitted to leave their room after the headmaster’s ward disappears, then found dead. Who is behind the murders? Has Vlad really come back to life? Or is someone making it look like he’s come back? Can Audrey Rose and Thomas help? Will professors let them help? Can Audrey Rose and Thomas stay at at the school? Or will they be forced to leave?
3 – Thomas and Audrey Rose have earned themselves a holiday. They take a luxury ship, the RMS Etruria. After dinner, there is a carnival show. The ring master, only known as Mephistopheles, promises mayhem. During the performance, a girl is murdered right next to Audrey Rose when the light are out. This starts a search for murderer. Audrey Rose goes under cover to gain the carnival performer’s trust. She gains Mephistopheles trust first. He sweeps her off her feet. Audrey Rose’s heart is torn as she learns sleight of hand and her part in the show. Each night, someone new is murdered, or found dead, all of them women. No one is certain of how’s committing the murders. Not even Thomas, with his impressive deduction skills can figure it out. Everyone in the troupe has motive and access to the weapons used. Few people in the ship’s crew, including the captain, have a motive as well. Even some of the passengers have a motive. With no where to escape, everyone is becoming scared. Who could be doing this? Is someone in the troupe, ship’s crew, or passengers? Can they solve the murders before they arrive in New York and the murderer escapes? Who will Audrey Rose chose, Thomas or Mephistopheles? Can Audrey Rose and Thomas still work together?
Rating: 4.0 – a great mystery series with some sappy romance
Opinion: I was searching through books at Target when I spotted the first book. I was quickly swept away by the mystery and history. I kind of had an idea of who committed the murders in the first book. The other two were more cleverly crafted and I had a harder time figuring out who did it. The second one had a strong creepy vibe. With the whole Dracula idea, it made sense. There was lots of bats and spiders and dark turns in the book. There were a few times I thought ‘wait, what?! that was unexpected.’ Once or twice there were completely gross parts. In the third book, there were lots of misdirections, as it focuses on magic. There was lots of stuff going on because the voyage was one seven days. I felt bad for Thomas and Audrey Rose to work everything out, but don’t get a chance to because they’re more focused on solving the murder. There is a fourth book coming out soon. I hope they are able to talk through more of their problems in the next one. I hope it’s not one of those ‘we’re not gonna talk about our problems, but act they never happened’ series. It’s good for young adults, or anyone for that matter, to read about realistic relationships. People need ways to learn what healthy relationships look like, too. This was a great series to read. I’d probably say this is good for high schoolers, and upper middle school, and up because of the topics dealt with and how the author describes the murder scenes. It’s not as descriptive as it could have been but proceed with caution. I enjoyed the mysteries greatly and parts of history included. Liberties were taken and the author admits to that. But the author tells a great story and knows what she’s talking about. She defiantly did her research. I recommend this series for those who enjoy a great murder mystery and historical fiction.
Title: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of Mary Dodd
Author: Jim Fergus
Genre: Historical Fiction
Plot: Mary Dodd has been sent to the asylum in 1875 after being found with a man before she was married. She loved the man and had children with him. During this time, the government is setting up a deal with the Cherokee Native Americans. They hope for peace and want to send 1,000 women in exchange for that. A friend of Mary’s in the asylum, a nurse, helps Mary forge a letter supposedly written by her father and another by her doctor. The letters say Mary is a fit candidate for the program. Mary is accepted into the deal and is set to leave some time later. Mary sets out with a small portion of the other women under the protection of the US Army. Along the way, Mary befriends a captain and begin to fall in love. They part ways after a night of passion. The Cherokee meet them and the men want to see which ones they like the best. The women are prepared for a night of ceremony. Mary is chosen by the Cherokee chief and spend the night together. Slowly, the women grow accustomed to Cherokee life. They learn the language and customs. The women help translate for the Cherokee when they meet with the US Army. The longer the women stay there, the clearer it becomes that the US government doesn’t plan on completing their deal. As the women’s due date draw near, the Cherokee move to their winter grounds. They prepare a house for the women to give birth. But not long after the women, the US Army comes. They attack the Cherokee. Who will survive? Will anyone escape?
Rating: 3.5 – a good book about the US, Native American dealings during the westward expansion
Opinion: Overall, I enjoyed this book. I felt like it was well researched. Mary is a great leader and is sent away for being seemingly ahead of her time. She is kind and very willing to help others. Mary is allowed to help translate translations between men. She finds a high place among the Cherokee. I have always been intrigued by the differences between the lives of the white people and Native Americans. Women are allowed to do more and are held in a higher regard among the Native Americans than their white counterparts. In this way, Mary seems more adapted. She is annoyed by the ways of men after spending time among the Cherokee. She works hard to become integrated into the tribe. She learns the language quickly and does well. She seems like someone to aspire, too. The one thing I din’t love about this book was that the ending felt a little rushed. Everything went along at a steady pace until the end. The ending was a little confusing for me and confusing. Though what was happening was confusing, it can make sense from that point of view. It could’ve set up for the sequel, which I have yet to read. I enjoyed the book overall, so I plan on reading the sequel soon. This is a good historical fiction book about the clashes between the US Army and Native Americans. It’s a good read for those who enjoy historical fictions and learning about different parts of history.
Plot: Teresa Mendoza is the boyfriend of a drug smuggler. He works in Sinaloa, Mexico and flies the planes. Teresa’s life is shattered when she receives a call from a friend named Guero. The only time that phone would ring was if her boyfriend was dead. Now the dealers are coming for her. Now she must run or die. Teresa makes her own choice, a third option. She works her way through the world of drug dealing. But everyone is against her, not believing a woman could ever survive. Teresa proves them all wrong. Soon, Teresa is working her own business in the drug dealing world. She’s running the show of a small corner in Spain. But running your own business doesn’t come without making a few enemies on both sides of the law. An old friend returns with a warning and a promise. The local and international police offer a deal. In Teresa’s world who can be trusted? Will the police keep their end of the deal? Will Teresa? What does her old friend really want? Can he still be trusted? Can Teresa keep all she’s worked for? Or will it all come crashing down?
Rating: 4.0 – a good story about the darker side of life
Opinion: This was an interesting read. Arturo Pérez-Reverte did an amazing job researching what goes into that side of life. This is a gritty book and not a style of book I’m used to reading. It’s gritty and dark. Though I still found the book enjoyable. There were a few scenes I skimmed as there were a couple steamy scenes. I’ve enjoyed other books by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, so I thought I’d read this one. This book was an interesting read. I enjoyed learning about different ways of life. I learned the behind the scenes life of the dark side of life. It keeps you reading. I finally got to learn some curse words in Spanish, as well as a few slang words. I learned Spanish in college and high school, so my Spanish is more formal, and clean. As with some books, not every single word is in English. They leave some of the cursing and slang in Spanish. Some of the slang doesn’t translate as well, so they left it in Spanish. The book has also been made into a couple TV shows. I haven’t seen either of them, but want to some day. Though it’s not a book I normally read, I really did enjoy it. I learned a lot about a different way of life, the dangers of that life, and some not-academic Spanish. It’s a good book for those who don’t mind learning about the other, darker, side of life.
Plot: Elizabeth Hawkins is a young girl when a sickness has come over her town in the early 1600’s. Her mother is desperate to save herself and her daughter. She makes a deal with a mysterious man who lives in the forest. A man known as Gideon Masters. But for the deal, both mother and daughter are saved. But the townspeople accuse Elizabeth’s mother of witchcraft. For that, she’s hanged. Elizabeth seeks out Gideon for help. He teaches her about the ways of witchcraft. She learns much, but soon is terrified of what she sees on winter’s night. Elizabeth flees. This enrages Gideon, who vows to make Elizabeth his. In modern day England, Elizabeth Hawkins lives a quiet life as an herbalist. There, she meets Tegan and slowly opens up to her. Elizabeth starts to teach Tegan about witchcraft. But memories of her long life come back to haunt her. Signs of Gideon start too reappear. He’s stalked her across time. Will he succeed? Or can Elizabeth find a way to free herself of him? Can she keep herself safe? Can she keep Tegan safe? Or she will be another casualty?
Rating: 3.7 – an interesting take on history and immortality
Opinion: I enjoyed this book. Though it wasn’t one of my favorites by Paula Brackston, it was still a good book. It had an interesting take on immortality. Elizabeth and Gideon’s immortality was explained in a way that was easy to understand and not an overly drawn out explanation. The book was interesting because it jumps back and forth in time. Luckily, it takes place mostly at chapter breaks. As the story progresses through time, the story deals with some famous moments in time. The story has a unique take on certain time periods. I’ve always enjoyed stories that take a unique spin on common things. This story does this a lot. While this story plods along more than some of Paula Brackston’s other books, there is still a fair amount of mystery. I was trying to enjoy the story, but could still see some things coming. I enjoyed this book and it’s unique takes on history and immortality. This is still a good story for anyone who enjoys historical fiction, magic, and mystery.
Plot: Michael Hosea has recently come to California searching for gold during the California gold rush. But Michael’s different from the other miners. He holds tight to his Christian faith and refuses to lose his soul to the gold fever that’s taken so many men. Not long after coming to California, he meets Angel, a prostitute that’s captured his heart. She’s strong willed and stubborn. She’s hardened her heart to the world. Michael meets with her every night, just to talk. Angel is skeptical of Michael. When she becomes sick, Michael takes her in, buying her from the brothel’s owner. As soon as she is well, Angel runs away from Michael and all he offers. But she has no where else to go and returns to Michael. Michael starts to show Angel the farmer’s lifestyle. Angel soon comes to enjoy that life. But her past is always gnawing at her. Michael and Angel’s neighbors are slow to trust her. That she can really change. But they cannot deny the change when Angels accepts Christianity. Something happens that makes Angel run back to the city. But instead of returning to her old life, she chooses to help those who have the same background as her find new life and new skills to better their lives. But Michael is searching for her. Will Michael find her? Will Angel stay in town? Or will she will return with Michael? Can their neighbors forgive her?
Rating: 4.5 – amazing story of love and forgivness
Opinion: This is still one of my favorite books. Yes, it’s sappy and a little predictable, but still a very enjoyable book. Francine Rivers did an amazing job putting her own twist of the biblical story of Hosea and Gomer. Hosea was a prophet of God. Gomer was a prostitute. Their story is the same of Michael and Angel, with the exception of the time era. Francine Rivers researched the time period for this book and it showed. It is an amazing story of forgiveness. It it the story of following what God asks of us, no matter how hard that may be. I had such a hard time putting it down. I read while in college, and while working part time. I didn’t want to put it down after reading it on work breaks or if class was starting, though I always attended class and returned to work. As with Francine Rivers other books, this one tugged at my heart. It made me feel so attached to the characters. It broke my heart when the characters were hurting. My mom also suggested this book to me because it’s one of her favorites as well. I would highly recommend this book for those who love historical fiction, Christian fiction, and sappy romance books.
Title: Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
Authors: Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
Plot: The apocalypse is close at hand. According to angel, Aziraphale, and demon Crowley, it’ll start in 11 years. They found the antichrist born in Tadfield, England. But the thing is, Aziraphale and Crowley don’t want the apocalypse to happen. They’ve grown too attached to Earth to let it go. They watch the baby antichrist grow up. On the child’s 11th birthday, when his hellhound is supposed to show up, nothing happens. The child they’ve watch grow up is not the antichrist. They have no idea where he is. Now the hunt is on, both heaven and hell are looking for him. People on Earth are looking for him as well. Agnes Nutter’s descendent, Anathema Device, has prophecies regarding the apocalypse and is waiting for the signs. Witchfinders are looking for her, and any other witch they can get their hands on. Adam Young is a 11 year old boy who enjoys playing with his friends and his dog that he got for his 11th birthday. After his 11th birthday, Adam starts to realize that he has some strange powers. He can manipulate things and people. Strange weather phenomenon start to happen over his town of Tadfield. Will Aziraphale and Crowley be able to stop the apocalypse? Or will they give in to their natures? Will Adam learn to control his powers to start the apocalypse? Does Anathema wish to stop the apocalypse? Will she be able to protect herself and others? Or will the Witchfinders stop her first?
Rating: 4.0 – a good story filled with satire and very good points about life in general
Opinion: This was a very interesting story. I was a bit confused about the plot line at first. It seemed a bit jumbled to me at first. It ended up being a story with different plot lines that all come together at the end. Though there are a few pieces of the story that are there to just explain what’s going on around the world. It was filled with satire as well. I got a chuckle out of it. The ending of the book makes some very good points about life. And it all comes from the mouth of 11 year old Adam. It’s a simple logic that makes sense about a lot of tough points about life. It’s not to most biblically accurate book. But that’s part of the satire of the book. It still brings up some points about life as well. It made me wonder all the things about prophecies and future predictions. We’re not mend to understand everything about life and the future. I enjoyed this book. I didn’t think it was a great as the hype made it out to be, but I did like the book. Amazon Prime made it a short series. I have yet to watch it so I can’t compare it to the book. It’ll probably be one of the next series I watch. If you like fantasies with multiple plot lines and some good points about life, then I highly recommend this book.
Plot: Lydia Pallas is a translator with the U.S. Navy in Boston. She’s content with her life of calm and certainty after a chaotic childhood. Her parents passed when she was young, then she grew up in an orphanage. Not long after she’s settled into her new life, her talents catch the eye of Alexander Banebridge. His friends call him Bane, if you can call them friends. Bane asks Lydia to help translates some documents for him. He won’t say what they are or what they mean to him. Bane offers a fair amount of money and she reluctantly accepts. While Lydia works on the translation, Bane’s past catches up to him. They find out what Bane is doing and try their hardest to stop him. They discover that he brought Lydia into the plot and go after her as well. Bane has a soft spot for Lydia. Now he must choose; save Lydia, or save himself. What will Bane decide? Can they both escape? What is Bane after? What do the people of his past want with him?
Rating: 4.0 – a great historical fiction with a hint of mystery and sappy romance
Opinion: This was the first book I’ve read by Elizabeth Camden. I made me fall in love with her books. I love that she intertwines historical fiction with mystery and romance. I highly enjoy that there are hints of Christianity of her books, too. This one has more depth to its mystery I feel like than some of Elizabeth Camden’s books. I bought it because of the fact that the main character is an interpreter and is a historical fiction with some mystery. It’s a combination that I always love in books. It’s why I keep reading her books. This book is no exception. It kept my interest the whole time. I was not disappointed at all. I enjoyed the mystery of this book. It brought two unlikely people together and had them find ways to work together and overcome difficulties together. There are realistic relationships in this book. I like that about Elizabeth Camden’s books. The relationships including hardships and working through them. This book is no exception. If you’re looking for a good historical fiction with mystery then I highly recommend this book.
Plot: Mark Watney has just woken up on Mars after being knocked uncounsious during a Martian storm. His crew left him there as they were evacuating, thinking he was dead. He had a piece of antenna in his stomach. That, with the blood that seeped into the suit, saved his life. Now he must find a way to survive on an inhospitable planet for four years. NASA notices one of the rovers moving and see that Mark Watney is still alive. But all they can do is wait and watch. They have no way to communicate until they notice Mark taking a rover away from the HAB (living place for the astronauts). That’s when they remember Pathfinder. With Pathfinder, Mark Watney and NASA start to help him find a way home. But with everything going against Watney, can he survive long enough for a rescue to reach him? NASA tries to send Watney food, but that fails as well. How will Watney survive? He has his homemade potato farm, but how long will that last? Will Watney survive long enough for a rescue to reach him? Can a rescue even be mounted to save him?
Rating: 3.5 – a very scientifically accurate book about a stranded astrounaut
Opinion: This was a new style of book for me. It was a great book and I enjoyed it plenty. It is very factual. Though it was very scientific, it was written in such a way that I could understand it. When it got super scientific, it made my brain hurt a little. But then Mark Watney would make a snarky comment and make me smile. Mark Watney is very snarky. It made the book that much better. With all of the bad luck that happened to Mark Watney, I’m glad he never really lost that sense of snark and wit. With the snark came a foul mouth. It was as bad of a foul mouth as I was expecting. It was the standard to emphasis his mood or situation. The intro of the book has become one of my favorite intros ever, and that’s saying a lot. I’ve read plenty of books. This book has also been made into a movie. The movie does a great job of representing the book. Though the movie does add a little more to the ending of this book. Which I really appreciated. I would’ve liked a little more closure from the book. The movie also used quotes from the book, which I always appreciate. It also remained fairly close to the book. Obviously, few things were left out. Some of the more technical science parts were left out, the some of the foul language, and some of the snark. If you’re looking for a good science factual book, then I recommend this book. It’s great for anyone one who loves a snarky narrator, too.
Plot: Cadi Forbes in a young girl living in a small Appalachian Mountain town during the 1850’s. The families all come from Wales and have brought Christian traditions, and a few Welsh, with them. One is that of a mysterious man, called a Sin Eater. His burden is to take the sins of those who have recently died onto himself. He lives in the mountains above the town and is only allowed to enter town when he hears the bells tolling for someone who died. When Cadi’s grandmother dies, she finally gets to meet the Sin Eater. The only thing is that, no one is allowed to look at him, otherwise they’ll be cursed. Cadi hears his sad voice at the funeral and ignores all warnings and looks at the Sin Eater. A few days later, an outsider enters their little valley, preaching Christianity, true Christianity. Her friend Kai and her start secretly visiting the preacher. But Kai’s father forbids it. Anyone who goes to hear what the preacher says is punished. This starts Cadi’s journey into learning more about the outside world, and about the town’s mysterious past. What happened to the town at its foundation? What is the town hiding? Who is the Sin Eater? Why is he the Sin Eater? Will anyone hear what the preacher has to say? Will the preacher be allowed to stay? Or will he be forced out?
Rating: 4.5 – a good historical fiction with mystery
Opinion: I highly enjoyed this book. I definitely had a hard time putting it down. It was interesting learning about different parts of the past that you don’t normally hear about. I enjoyed learning about what other cultures brought with them when they emigrated to the States. As usual, Francine Rivers tugged at my heart with this story. It was a good coming of age story and forgiveness. It tells a lot about holding onto secrets and the pain and damage they can cost. Francine Rivers does a great job holding the reader’s attention. It’s easy to get lost in the book. I have yet to be disappointed in a Francine Rivers book. This one is no exception. Though it was the shortest one I’ve read by her, it still delivers a heart felt message. There’s also a low budget movie based off the book. It does a good job portraying the book and is a good adaption. It leaves a few things out and changes a few things, but that’s no different than any other book. I was okay with the changes that they made. The acting wasn’t amazing, but they did a good job with their characters. If you’re looking for a good historical fiction book that will tug at your heart, than I highly recommend this book.