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Introduction

Hello all!

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.

The Woman in the Green Dress – Tea Cooper

Title: The Woman in the Green Dress

Author: Tea Cooper

Genre: Historical Fiction

Plot: Fleur has just received the news that her husband, Hugh Richards. has died on Armistice Day of WW1. A Mr. Littlyton has informed her that Fluer’s inherited all of Hugh’s properties and money. She’s slow to accept the inheritance because she thinks Hugh’s still alive. Fleur decides to go claim Hugh’s things in Australia. But all is not what it seems. The more Fleur learns about Hugh’s past, the more mysteries she uncovers. What happened to Hugh’s properties? Was Hugh really who he said he was? Can Fleur uncover all of the secrets of the past?

Rating: 3.5 – a slow start but interesting historical fiction

Opinion: This was an interesting historical fiction. It took me a while to figure all of the characters out. Some of the names are similar and are introduced pretty quickly. It was fine once I got all the characters sorted out in my head. The book also started out slowly. It took a while for the plot to get going. Part of the reason was the plot jumps back and forth between 1919 and 1853 and had two different stories. It took me a while to figure out how much the stories connected. It ended up being a lot more than I thought it would. Overall this was a good book, a little confusing at first, but a good book. It was interesting to learn more about a different country’s past and origins. This is a good book for anyone who loves history.

Project Hail Mary – Andy Weir

Title: Project Hail Mary

Author: Andy Weir

Genre: Sci-Fi

Plot: Dr. Ryland Grace is humanity’s last hope. He just can’t remember it yet. He wakes up from a coma lost and confused in a spaceship. Dr. Grace starts doing some tests to see what’s going on. He learns he’s not only in space, but in another galaxy entirely. As his memories return, he learns he’s on a mission to find out why a different star isn’t reacting to the Astrophage, what people are calling space algae that’s causing our sun to dim. He needs to find out what to do about the Astrophage in order to save humanity. Soon Dr. Grace learns he’s not alone by the sun. There’s an alien spaceship right next to him. But is the alien friendly or aggressive? Can Dr. Grace still find a way to save humanity?

Rating: 4.3 – an accurate sci-fi with lots of humor

Opinion: This was a great book. This author is fast becoming one of my favorites. He combines accurate, and could be possible, with humor. Some of the humor is sometimes language learning based, not the stupid kind, but the funny relatable kind. The rest of the humor is sarcastic, which I love. There’s lots of science (and from what I stand it’s very accurate) but it’s easy to understand. There’s some humor mixed into the book as well. The alien race doesn’t have good eyesight and has evolved to use music and sound to learn about its environment and to communicate. I found it interesting that, before the characters learn to communicate, that all of the alien’s speech is written as music notes. I wish there could’ve been music lines to go with it so I could know which sounds where being made. I could figure out the rhythms and see that some sounds went up or down but not which sounds were being made. I absolutely loved this book and would highly recommend this book for anyone who loves sci-fi and humor.

Artemis 4-6 – Lindsey Stirling

Here are Artemis Issues 1-2, and 3

Titles: Artemis Issues 4-6

Author: Lindsey Stirling

Artists: Emily Chow, Rodrigo Luff, Damination, Anna Maria Navaja, Yato, Matt Krotzer, Zeablast

Genre: Fantasy, Comic Books

Plot: Issue 4 – Artemis has been captured by the goddess, Nyx. She’s convinced Artemis that if she helps Nyx she’ll really be helping everyone. If Artemis doesn’t help, she’ll kill her Uncle Sol. Artemis resigns and helps Nyx round up the rebellion leaders. Artemis knows where the rebellion is located and takes Nyx’s army there. While she is rounding everyone up, she finds their leader who happens to be her best friend. What will Artemis do next?

Issue 5 – Artemis has found hope again. She’s decided to help the rebellion. She frees her friend, Cece, and others. Together they start looking for the gulag where the rest of the rebellion is being held. But Nyx’s army is there blocking their escape from the gulag. Will Artemis and her friends be able to escape?

Issue 6 – Artemis and her friends have escaped the gulag. Now she must figure out how to defeat Nyx. Luckily, she’s learned about her past. She knows who she truly is. Nyx tries hard to keep her power, and her plan is nearly complete. Artemis’s power has grown and soon overwhelm Nyx. Her family able to rejoin her and helps trap Nyx so the true balance can be returned to the world.

Rating: 4.0 – a good conclusion to the series

Opinion: This was a great ending to the Artemis series. This has been a great series about learning about self worth. There will be people who knock you down, but there will be friends who still see your worth. There’s also been leaning that it’s not always about destroying the bad guys but finding a balance in life. Light can’t exist without dark. Good still conquered evil, but didn’t destroy it. I loved the artwork in this book. It was very beautiful. I found it interesting that each type of person has their own color of speech bubble. It made knowing who was talking easier to figure out. This series is great for anyone who enjoys comic books and enjoys Lindsey Stirling’s music.

The Lost Apothecary – Sarah Penner

Title: The Lost Apothecary

Author: Sarah Penner

Genre: Historical Fiction

Plot: Caroline finds an old apothecary bottle while searching through the mud of the Thames during a failed anniversary trip. That sends her on a search for the original owner of bottle. During this time her husband shows up out of the blue. He tries to talk to through what happened and earn her favor. When he gets hospitalized, the police suspect Caroline because of what they find in her notebook. Will her husband pull through? Did she poison her husband? Can Caroline and her husband work things through?

Nella is an apothecary who specializes in poisons. She once helped heal people but after a betrayal, she’s turned to poison. Eliza, a maid asks for help for her mistress. During her mistress’s vacation, Ella asks to apprentice under Nella. She’s hesitant to accept Eliza’s help. Eliza tried to help with a lady with a mistress problem. When the poisoning goes wrong. The police start searching. Nella and Eliza panic. Both look for solutions for ways out in different ways. Will either of the solutions work? Or will the police find them first?

Rating: 3.5 – a good historical fiction book

Opinion: This was a good historical fiction. It wasn’t one of my favorites. While it was interesting, I wasn’t too interested in the story. Part of me wishes it had been two separate stories. That way the author could’ve dove deeper into both stories more. I wish I could’ve learned more about Nella and her past and learned more about what to Eliza at the end of the story. Caroline’s was well done but I wish I had a little more back story for her, too. While this story was interesting I didn’t feel as connected to the characters as I normally would like. I loved the idea but wished I could’ve learned more about the characters. This is a good book for anyone who loves a different side of history.

A Dream Within a Dream – Mike Nappa & Melissa Kosci

This is book 3 of the Coffey and Hill series.

Title: A Dream Within a Dream

Authors: Mike Nappa & Melissa Kosci

Genre: Thriller

Plot: Samuel Hill has gone missing. Trudi Coffey knows he’s on a mission, but nothing outside of that. An FBI agent, police chief, and a traitor CIA agent all seem to think Trudi knows what Samuel’s up to and where he is. She tells them all no, but they’re keeping tabs on her. Out of the blue, Samuel appears and tells Trudi he’s after a art forger, called Dream, who knows where some stolen art was hidden. Dream was forced into the business by the Irish mob. Then starts the game of cat and mouse. Who’s going to find Dream first? Who can help him figure out the missing pieces of his memory? Who will find the missing art first? Did Dream really commit the crime he’s accused of? Or was he framed?

Rating: 4.0 – a good thriller of cat and mouse

Opinion: This was a good continuation of the Coffee and Hill series. Though I wish I’d reviewed the first two books before I read this one. The main characters referenced some characters in the first two a couple times. But the more they talked about the past cases, the more pieces I remembered. This book was more steady paced with less lulls than the first two books. There were flashbacks thrown in which threw me for a loop at first. Most chapters have character viewpoint switches. Each chapter backtracks a moment from the last chapter. That bugged me a little at first, but then I enjoyed it because it let me follow along easier as things got more complicated. I wish the ending wrapped everything nicer. The ending seemed a little messy to me. Most things were wrapped up, but I’m not sure I believe the endings. I hope there’s another book in the works that answers the few questions I still have.

Found Things Series – Paula Brackston

Titles: Book 1 – The Little Shop of Found Things, Book 2 – Secrets of the Chocolate House, Book 3 – The Garden of Promises and Lies

Author: Paula Brackston

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Plot: Book 1 – Xanthe and her mother, Flora, have just moved to Marlborough to start a new life with their own little antique shop. Xanthe has always had a connection with some of the items in their antique shop. While exploring their new back yard and garden, Xanthe discovers a little shed like building. When she steps inside, she’s transported back in time. Xanthe soon learns she must help an innocent girl escape her fate in jail. But how can she help? Is there anyone she can trust? Can she return to her own time?

Book 2 – Xanthe’s learned she can time travel. She finds a new object, an centuries old chocolate pot, not long after she’s settled back into normal life that calls to her. When she returns home with the chocolate pot, she sees a vision of an old friend in trouble. Xanthe returns to the past to help him. But he’s not there, but in jail. In the past she also meets new friends and makes some enemies. Can her new found friendship help defeat her new enemy to save her old friend?

Book 3 – Xanthe’s been working on her time travel skills while she waits for the next object to call to her. She’s also preparing to meet Fairfax again. He’s becoming stronger since their last meeting. Xanthe can only guess at what Fairfax wants. But when he starts attacking Xanthe’s family and friends, she has no choice but to tell them what’s really been going on. Then Xanthe finds a wedding dress that calls to her. It could be the clue to help stop Fairfax. With the help of her family and friends, Xanthe may finally have all the pieces she needs to stop Fairfax once and for all. But will it be enough? Or will Fairfax achieve all he desires?

Rating: 4.3 – a good time travel series

Opinion: This was a great series. This has a great combo of fantasy, historical fiction, and sappy romance. The time travel doesn’t too technical or too detailed but gives the reader a good sense of how the time travel works. It’s never overwhelming with details or info dumps at certain points. The romance in the series is sweet and sappy. It’s meant to look like a real relationship. I wish the ex-boyfriend had more of a tie in to book two. He just shows up at the beginning, appears once in a while, then disappears at the end of the book. I enjoyed the historical fiction parts cause it’s about different times than what I’ve read about. It talks about the daily lives of more ordinary people instead of the nobility. This is a slow building series that ends in some sort of cliffhanger at the end of every book. There’s a fourth book in the series and I’m having a hard time waiting for it to come out. I’m curious to see how the authors ties everything up. I really enjoyed this series so far and would recommend this series to anyone who likes historical fiction and fantasy.

My Wish for You – Katheryn Hahn

Title: My Wish for You

Author: Kathryn Hahn

Illustrator: Brigette Barrager

Genre: Children’s Book, Picture Book

Plot: A mother dreams of all the things she wishes for her daughter. She dreams of all the life lessons her daughter will learn and how she can comfort her daughter. The mother wishes her daughter to have courage, believe in herself no matter what the world says, stay curious, and for so many more things.

Rating: 4.5 – a sweet book about a mother’s love

Opinion: This was a super sweet about about a mother’s love. It’s what every mother would want for her daughters. The pictures are super beautiful, too. I was looking through some of the classroom books when I found this book. I flipped through it when I had a moment and found the beautiful message inside. It talks of so many things that mother’s wish for their daughters and lessons they’d like to teach them. I’d recommend this book for any mother or any classroom.

Between Two Shores – Jocelyn Green

Title: Between Two Shores

Author: Jocelyn Green

Genre: Historical Fiction

Plot: Catherine Stands Apart is a half French, half Mohawk trader near Montreal, Canada during the French and Indian War. All is well with the trading post her and her father run until an old friend, Samuel, returns. Then the French army arrives and asks all able bodied women to help tend the fields while the men are away so the people of Montreal don’t starve. Catherine is hesitant but agrees. When the army finds out that Samuel is British, serving off a debt to Catherine’s father, they demand he help. While working in the fields, they learn valuable information. In confidence, Samuel tries to convince Catherine to escape with him. Reluctantly, she agrees. They learn more about each other’s journey during the five years they were apart. Can they make peace with each other? Or will their past and secrets tear them apart?

Rating: 4.0 – a good historical fiction book about the French and Indian War

Opinion: This was a great historical fiction book about a part of history I’m not as familiar with. I never got the chance to learn much about colonial life that didn’t center around the American colonies. There was a bit of common French phrases that were included in the book (as the book takes place in Quebec and Montreal), but were translated right after or easy to infer given the context. The one thing I that took me a minute to understand was that Catherine often called her dad by his first name. I might have missed reading that but I caught after a little bit. The ending of the book was bittersweet and was almost sad, but was written in a way that I was okay with how the book ending. This is a great books, it’s got lots of good history and some sappy romance, though a little bittersweet.

Summer of Dreams – Elizabeth Camden

Is book is a short story connected with From This Moment

Title: Summer of Dreams

Author: Elizabeth Camden

Genre: Historical Fiction, Short Story

Plot: Evelyn White wants to prove to her general father that she’s capable of going to college to study engineering. She’s building a water pump for her greenhouse but doesn’t know how to power it for long periods. Clyde Brixton has been assigned to help Evelyn build the new water pump to work off some demerits at West Point. At first Evelyn is resistant to his help, but slowly she warms up to Clyde. Can Evelyn get past her fear of being a military wife? Can Clyde work off enough demerits to graduate from West Point?

Rating: 4.0 – a sweet, sappy romantic and historical fiction short story

Opinion: This was a super sweet romantic historical fiction book. I enjoyed learning about how military life worked and a little bit about engineering. Evelyn’s fear off marrying someone in the military was understandable considering her past. I so badly wanted Clyde to succeed, which he did, just not in the way I expected. I needed a super sappy book after the last book I read, and this book was what I needed. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes sappy romance and historical fiction.

Ariadne – Jennifer Saint

Title: Ariadne

Author: Jennifer Saint

Genre: Fantasy, Greek Mythology

Plot: Ariadne is a daughter of Minos, strict ruler of Crete. His legend is being the ‘father’ of the Minotaur, the half man, half bull. Minos demanded sacrifices in human form from Athens to satisfy the Minotaur’s need for meat. Then Theseus comes along. Ariadne is smitten with him. She helps Theseus escape the Minotaur’s labyrinth and kill the Minotaur. The two of them escape the island, but they’ve abandoned Ariadne’s sister who wanted to escape with them. Only Theseus abandones Ariadne on the island of Naxos. When she’s about to give up, a ship appears carrying Dionysus. Dionysus agrees to let Ariadne stay and care for the island. He proves he’s not like anyone else Ariadne’s ever met. But will it last? Is it a god’s trick? While she thrives on Naxos, her sister grows up under Theseus watch and married him once she comes of age. No matter how hard she tries, she’s never happy. Will the girls get their happy endings? Or will the men ruin everything again?

Rating: 3.6 – a different take on the legend of the Minotaur

Opinion: This was a good take on a classic Greek myth. But instead of focusing on the myth, it focuses more on the aftermath of the myth and all of its consequences. It’s definitely not the happiest book I’ve ever read. Just when I thought it’d have a happy ending, it changed course. A happy ending would’ve been nice, but that’s Greek mythology. Something that bugged me about the book was that the characters didn’t really seem to learn from their mistakes. Ariadne kind of does but her sister doesn’t. Overall I did enjoy this book. It’s a different spin on a classic tale. It’s not the happiest, but it’s still a good story. I’d recommend this book for anyone who enjoys new takes on mythology.

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