BLOG TOUR! || Amber Eyes


ABOUT THE BOOK
Destiny can be cruel.

Darkness retreated from the light of the scarlet moon, but has since grown even stronger. The Mistress of Shadows has found a new pawn—one that may be the key to unlocking the door to her underground prison. Now evil threatens to escape its shackles and destroy the land.

In the aftermath of loss and betrayal, Jayden’s fight with the enemy still isn’t over. But while she isn’t sure she can stop the Mistress alone, leaving her friends might be the only way to keep them from being consumed by the darkness.

With lives hanging in the balance—and no time for error—can Jayden make the right choice?

Purchase Links

 


REVIEW
WARNING: Possible Spoilers

{The Basics}
First of all, this is the SECOND book of the Children of the Blood Moon series.  It is not a stand-alone novel, and yes, you must read the first of the series FIRST. To read my review of Scarlet Moon, click here! With that said, while the first book only received four out of five stars from me, this novel is a definite five out of five!  I understand that Scarlet Moon was the debut novel of author S.D. Grimm, and while I enjoyed it immensely, she went above and beyond on this second addition.  

In Scarlet Moon, the characters were certainly likable and relatable -- but in this most recent story, they were even more developed and fleshed out.  I kept yearning to know more and more about them.  TELL ME ALL THE SECRETS!! Some you liked more than others, of course, and others you wondered what exactly is your part?? So good.  And the reason for the title: Amber Eyes. . . OHMIGOODNESS.  That character is probably the most intriguing and mysterious of all.  Can't wait for the next book!!!

{Spiritual Content}
As I mentioned in the review for Scarlet Moon, "The Creator is our God-figure in this story.  And there are so many mysteries in His creation and His people.  The talents given to the Children of the Blood Moon could include anything from speed to reading/feeling another person's emotions, to strength, to shapeshifting, to healing abilities, etc. etc."  

There are a race of women, known as Healers who keep their own code and live in isolation from the rest of the world.  healers heal by absorbing the pain of their patients into their own bodies, and transferring their own strength (as well as that of the injured) into the injuries -- thus, healing things as minor as a cut to as deep as a scar.  The deeper the wound, the more strength and energy it takes from the Healer.

The Mistress of Shadows is the ultimate villain of this tale, and the characters do all they can to prevent her minions from finally releasing her from her underworld prison.  Her powers are far-reaching, the closer her people are to accomplishing their goal, and she can more easily taint the hearts and minds of those she wishes.  

Faith plays a relevant part in these stories.  As does revenge.  And many will come to learn the hard way which one prevails.

{Violence}
A man kills a hostile giant by beheading it (after a bit of battle).  Someone (various characters) are ALWAYS pointing a sword at some untrustworthy person, or someone they deemed untrustworthy -- and with just enough pressure to draw a little blood.  (Honestly, that almost became annoying, simply because it happened SO OFTEN.)  

One man kills a messenger of their enemy in cold blood -- the man was simply an unlucky messenger, who was genuinely and obviously terrified, but couldn't be allowed to live because he had seen the rebel camp. . .  

A woman (definitely on the evil side) tortures a man for seven weeks, never healing him completely with her special ability as a Healer.  No details, but once freed from his bonds, he crawls through his own blood toward her begging for healing, and becomes her personal henchman.  That same man's stomach is cut open later in a fight -- he's kneeling on the ground holding his "entrails" before his mistress heals him from the fatal wound.

A girl is killed.  A young man beheads a prisoner in a fit of rage.  He's fueled by revenge, and viciously attacks the remaining enemy soldiers.  A man stabs a captured woman (an assassin) through the abdomen and up into the lungs (she dies, of course. . .).

{Language; Alcohol & Drugs}
None.

Ale and pipe tobacco are common things in the taverns.  A young girl drinks a little too much ale at a Summer's End feast, making her a little tipsy.  (Her brothers send her to bed.)

{Love-y Content}
Jayden still has feelings for Ethan, [SPOILER!!] whom she believes is dead, although he's not. . . *GASP*  They both come to terms with each other and FINALLY talk it out.  Ryan, her almost-betrothed, releases Jayden in good faith, as they both realize they are more suited to a genuine friendship -- Ryan is not friend-zoned, I promise!  He is the one to release her feelings, he loves her, but he sees Jayden loves Ethan in a different way.  Ethan and Jayden kiss intimately, nothing further. 

{Conclusion}
There's so much more goodness I could share!! But I can't give ANYTHING away.  I will say this though, it's a bit of a cliffhanger. . . Where's the next book????  

There was so much more world-building and character development in this novel -- I greatly enjoyed it.  We dove deeper into the characters and their backstories, we learned more of their weaknesses and loves, and we experienced the value of faith, friendship, sacrifice, and utter loyalty in the face of ultimate evil.

READ THESE BOOKSSSSS!!!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
S. D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction, which is to be expected from someone who looks up to heroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman, has been sorted into Gryffindor, and identifies as rebel scum. Her patronus is a red Voltron lion, her spirit animal is Toothless, and her favorite meal is second breakfast. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency, her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog, and you can learn more about her upcoming novels at www.sdgrimm.com


Social Media Links


 Calling all book readers! Join author S.D. Grimm as we chat about her fantasy novel Amber Eyes on January 30th from 8 PM to 11 PM EST (6 PM CDT and 5 PM PST). Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with SD, games, and giveaways. Special guests Nadine Brandes, Lindsay A. Franklin, and Sara Baysinger will also be sharing their books and joining in the fun.

RSVP Today


GIVEAWAY!

Want to dive into a new world? Enter to win a signed copy of both Amber Eyes and Scarlet Moon, a grimmlie dragon of the dragon on the cover (made by the author), a charm bracelet (made by her Captain America), and a $10 amazon gift card. (US only. Sorry!)

>>> Entry-Form <<<


BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, January 22nd   
Tuesday, January 23rd  
Wednesday, January 24th   
Thursday, January 25th   
Friday, January 26th   
Saturday, January 27th    
Monday, January 29th  
Tuesday, January 30th
Wednesday, January 31st
Thursday, February 1st
Friday, February 2nd
Saturday, February 3rd
Monday, February 5th

What's in a Name?

How was your Monday, my friends?
Mine was a lovely, rainy one.  And to end it, I've got just a couple, unique names for you today.

Enjoy.  :]

Zaina
F | Arabic
zah-EE-na (possibly), or ZAY-nah (English)

The feminine form of Zayn, which means "beauty, grace."


Annora
F | English (rare)
ǝ-NOR-ah, ANN-or-ah (possibly)

Medieval, English variant of Honora, which is ultimately derived from the Late Latin given name Honorius, meaning "honour."





What do you think?  I rather like these two, graceful, feminine names.  Do you have a character they might fit??

Hopefully, next Monday I'll have the usual number.  Still getting into the hang of things, y'all.  :]  
Any requests??
Have a lovely week!

Names & meanings via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

What's in a Name?

It's a new week, my lovelies!
How's your Monday progressing?  Today marks the halfway point of January - WUT?? And also my little brother's 22nd birthday.  :]  

In my attempt to accomplish my goals/dreams for this year, I give to you a new set of names!
Enjoy.
Jarran
M | English (modern), Hebrew
JAIR-ann (possibly)

Possibly derived from Jaron, either an invented name most likely based upon the combination of Jarred and Darren; or a variant transcription of the Hebrew name Yaron, meaning "to sing, to shout."


Wren
F | English (rare)
REN

From the English word for the little songbird.  It is ultimately derived from Old English wrenna.


Rían
M | Irish, English
RIE-ǝn, or REE-ahn (possibly)

The Irish form of Ryan.  The given name Rían possibly means "little king."

Jorah
M or F | Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, Literature, Near Eastern Mythology
JO-RAH, JOR-ah

Ultimately from Yorah, a Hebrew name which allegedly means "autumn showers."







Names & meanings via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

Do YOU Have a Dream?

Regarding my writings and stories and numerous WIPs and concept ideas. . .


Buuuuuuuuuuttttt. . . In order to pursue said dream, one must actually STRIVE to make it happen.  We all know books don't write themselves.  It takes the pens and minds of the authors to create the treasures that are stories.

Accountability works wonders.  
And that is why I'm sharing my hopeful to-dos with you here.

(Just a fancy word for "goals")

COMPLETE FIRST DRAFT OF NOYA
I had originally hoped to have this done last December.  But after the hectic-ness of NaNo, followed closely by Christmas and then New Years, I decided to hold off until January or February.  Honestly, I am glad I waited.  It would have been added stress to the holidays, and I probably would've gotten nowhere.  And now, we're nearly halfway through January!

It is my ultimate goal to publish Noya's story, a retelling of Beauty & the Beast.  This will most likely NOT happen this year, but I can at least strive towards completing the first draft.
REVISIT SAFIA'S STORY
My first REAL WIP.  
Like many aspiring authors, I've had countless story ideas that have come to nothing, but Safia's story was the absolute first that I actually took seriously.  I created an entire fantasy world (based on our own), I thought up some awesome characters that I simply fell in love with, and I have written more words and chapters and beginnings than in any of my other stories (the same world that Noya's story takes place - just in a different country).

This would be the biggie.  That's why I thought I would begin with a more simply story like Noya, based on the beloved faerietale, to pursue publication.  One with not as large a plot or word count as it would seem Safia would become.

Who knows?  Perhaps this story will one day evolve.  My goal with this objective is to at least revisit my story world and its characters and see what needs happening.  :]
BLOG WEEKLY - 3x
Blogging is definitely a passion.  I love coming here and sharing my thoughts and little inspirations with you all.  I have always felt that I speak more eloquently through my pen (or keyboard) than I do orally.  Does anyone agree? *raises hand*

It's my objective to blog at least three times every week.  
MONDAYS - Name posts!
WEDNESDAYS - Book Reviews
FRIDAYS - Writing Tips/Inspiration

Seems easy enough.  But that leads to my last objective for this year. . .
ORGANIZE MY TIME
There are so many things that take up my time.  I've tried to limit how often I'm on my phone and social media:  From the noonday meal to 7:00 or 8:00 in the evening.  There's absolutely NO NEED to check statuses, photo feed, or the latest listings on my favorite thrifty apps throughout the ENTIRE DAY.  In setting limitations, this gives me more time to focus on what is necessary:  my daily devotion with God, reading the books I've been provided with for reviews, working on new items for my Etsy shop, and starting up some of my old hobbies again - like embroidery, sketching, and photography.

This is a definite MUST.  
Time flies, as they say.  I want to make the most of it!
That's just a few goals I've whittled down for this fresh new year of 2018.  I could name so many more things I want to do.  Will I accomplish them?  I hope so.  If I don't, for whatever reason, I hope I can say "I gave my best.  Here's to the next year!"

Have a lovely weekend, my friends!

Book Review | Scarlet Moon

Scarlet Moon
Children of the Blood Moon #1
S.D. Grimm

Gilead Publishing | October 21, 2016
Fantasy, Christian, Clean Fiction

{GoodReads}
The hunted Feravolk are counting on Jayden, a seventeen-year-old, dagger-wielding, storm-detecting orphan, to save their race. Maybe they should have thought of that before they killed her family.

The land of Soleden is dying because the sorceress queen hunts and kills the people who cared for all nature, the Feravolk. Through their special bond with animals, the Feravolk have become more than men. Faster, stronger, masters of camouflage and stealth. Only a Deliverer born the night of the Blood Moon can save them from extinction.

According to prophecy, Jayden is a Deliverer, but it’s not a destiny she wants. She has no sympathy for either side. The Feravolk killed her family, so they can die for all she cares. And fighting the queen with nothing but daggers and her special abilities—storm predicting—is a suicide mission. Destiny can pick someone else.

Except hiding from destiny proves difficult; Deliverers attract powerful Protectors. Jayden’s is one of the Feravolk, so he can’t be trusted. But he makes her feel safe. Makes her want to save his race. If she chooses to keep hiding, he’ll remain one of the hunted, but he’ll protect her even if it means his death if she faces the queen. Making the right choice has never been so excruciating, especially since the prophecy says nothing about the Deliverer’s success, or survival.


> > > > > > > > > > < < < < < < < < < <
Be ye WARNED: Possible Spoilers!

{The Basics}
By far, this is one of the best, clean, warrior, fantasy novels I've read in a long time.  I loved the characters, the story world, and the plot was quite gripping.  There's huge value given to the love of family, the loyalty of friends, and the importance of one's choices in following what they call their "Destiny Path."

In this tale, we generally follow the POVs (point-of-views) of four different characters: Jayden, Ryan, Ethan, and Logan -- with Jayden as the MC.  Of the four, three of them are Children of the Blood Moon -- simply put, this means they were born the night of a Blood Moon, which marked them for life and gifted them with various talents.  Among the Children, four are destined to be Deliverers, and are prophesied to deliver the realm of Soleden from the hands of the wicked Queen Idla, and ultimately the Mistress of Shadows.

I could go on, but I think I'd rather you just read for yourself.  :]  No need to spill the spoilers!

{Positives}
Jayden grew up the only girl among four brothers.  They care for her and watch out for each other, and anyone of them, including their parents, would die for the survival of the others.  There is a beautiful sense of family in their relationships with one another, and the love and humor is evident. 

Jayden doesn't want anyone to die for her.  Eventually, she determines to do anything in her power to save those she loves and to rid their world of evil.  No matter the cost.

A young man surrenders voluntarily to save a friend and her mother.

{Spiritual Content}
The Creator is our God-figure in this story.  And there are so many mysteries in His creation and His people.  The talents given to the Children of the Blood Moon could include anything from speed to reading/feeling another person's emotions, to strength, to shapeshifting, to healing abilities, etc. etc.  

There are some known as Whisperers (women of great wisdom and age), who always seem to know more than what they let on.  They communicate through the whispering trees and their wisdom abounds.

The Feravolk are known as a race who bonds with animals, thus their senses are exceedingly keen.  They are masters of camouflage -- very similar to the Elves of other stories. 

{Violence}
This is no la-dee-dah romance novel, I can tell you that.  There is an abundance of blood, gore, sword-slashing, daggers, beatings, bruisings, cuts, gashes, and so on.  An entire family is killed in their valiant attempt to protect their daughter/sister.  They are each viciously cut down by swords and stabbings and slashes to the throat -- though they do their best to hold their own and by their loved one enough time to escape.   

The Feravolk are blamed for the raids on multiple towns and villages.  But in actuality, it is not the feared race -- protectors of the forests and life -- but the soldiers of the evil queen, who burns each village and takes the Children.

Several men surround a young man and begin beating him with kicks and punches.  He survives with bad bruising and broken ribs.  

Lots and lots and lots of battles, one-on-one combat, and sword/dagger fights.  A soldier's arm is cut off in a fight, throats are slashed, people stabbed clean through the body, etc. etc.

Revenge is touched upon, and characters are faced with the questions: "What do you fight for?  What's worth fighting for?"

{Language; Alcohol & Drugs}
None.

A tavern serves food and drink.  There's the smell of tobacco.

A man is poisoned by the venom of a black lion -- an evil winged creature from the Mistress of Shadows (basically queen of the underworld), and, while he is [SPOILER] healed from the near-fatal poison, a tiny bit of the dark venom taints his heart.  Because of this he hears voices that call to him to give in to the evil.

{Love-y Content}
Warning!  There is a bit of a love triangle in here. . .  Ethan and Jayden are definitely attracted to one another.  She, though, was originally to be betrothed to Ryan, brother of Ethan.  I love how they still love and will fight for each other, and while there is still tension because of this, they seem to want to work it out.

In the tavern, a young barmaid catches the "groping eyes" of all the men; one grabs her arms asking for a "little peck."

We see the "aftermath" of a spoiled, smirking prince, son of the queen, who had defiled a young servant girl. . . (we see her sitting upon his bed, disheveled with eyes red from crying, wrapped in silken sheets).  Many men in the same evil palace are known for their greedy, leering personalities and abusiveness to women.  [Apologies, but that particular scene needed mentioned.  No details, mind you, but it is definitely implied as to what happened.]

{Conclusion}
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised!  I did not have a clue what to expect with this novel, but immensely enjoyed it and have already begun the sequel!   Stay tuned for a review of Amber Eyes, the second novel in the Children of the Blood Moon series on January 26th, where it will be featured here by your truly as part of a blog tour.  :]

I will add this, however, while I greatly enjoyed the characters, the story itself, and the fantasy of it all, I began to grow tired of the constant skirmishes and sword-fights.  Almost to the point where there were so many in such a short amount of time, I found myself skimming through much of the description.  However, don't let that stop you from adding this to your TBR list! This is simply my opinion, and I enjoyed the tale regardless.

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I was provided a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

What's in a Name?

It's been so long since I've shared a Name post.  This will be the first of 2018!  How exciting. :]  Since last I posted one of these particular posts, I've gathered some new monikers I believe you may like.  Enjoy!


Reid
M | English
REED

From a surname, a Scots variant of Reed, from the Old English possibly meaning "red" (usually a nickname given to one who has red hair or a ruddy complexion) or "clearing" (given to one who lives in a clearing in the woods).





Parisa
F | Persian
PAH-ris-sah, pa-REES-ah (possibly)

Meaning "like a fairy" in Persian.


Finnigan
Irish, English (modern)
FINN-ǝ-gǝn

Variant of the Irish surname Finnegan, meaning "descendant of Fionnegan." Fionnegan is a diminutive of the Irish word fionn (or finn), meaning "fair" or "white."






Nadia
F | English, French, Italian, Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian
NA-DYA (French), NAD-yǝ (English), NAHD-yǝ (English), NA-dyǝ (Russian)

Variant of Nadya, a diminutive of Nadezhda, meaning "hope" in Slavic.  This name gained a boost in popularity from the Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci (1961-).






Names & meanings via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

One Good Thing || & A Blog Tag #MyFirstPostRevisited

Happy Saturday, all!  
You've made it! You've survived to see the weekend! God is so good, is He not? :]

Something my in-laws have started when we're all together at the dinner table is to name one good thing that happened to you during that day/week.  All too often, we focus on the negative and what does it do to our mood?  Y'all know the answer.

So.  What is one good thing that has happened to you this week?

For me, I received a beta manuscript for a sweet lady's soon-to-be published historical fiction novel.  It's her debut, and she contacted me (having heard of yours truly through some of my extended fam), asking if I'd be willing to be a beta reader.  Of course, that was a definite YES!  So, I'm excited to begin reading her story in the coming weeks.

> > > > > < < < < <



Another thing for me:  I been tagged!  Thank you to Catherine, of The Rebelling Muse, for passing this on to me.  It's been AGES since last I've participated in such a thing.  

Anyways, as a disclaimer, this tag will be extremely brief on my part.  Simply because the very first post I ever published on this particular blog, way back in 2012 O___O was a greeting and invitation to my "Grande Opening."  Previously, I had blogged on a different site called Maidens of Virtue - shared by myself and my two younger sisters.  It's still up to see, but sadly no longer active.

{RULES}
1. No cheating. You must highlight your first post. Not your second post, not one you love...the first post only!
2. Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it, or if not, set loose a bunch of ladybugs on them)
3. Cut and past your old post into a new post or reblog your old post. Either way, NO EDITING.
4. Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
5. Tag five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.
6. Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog (don't just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
7. Feel free to cut and past the badge (picture) to use in your post.  (I took the liberty of re-vamping the original tag image, because I felt it was too difficult to read - at least for me. . . No offense at all to the designer!)
8. Include the "rules" in your post.



> > > > > < < < < <

So, here goes:

Welcome to the grande opening of my new blog!

I decided to create a new place in which to write, journal, review books and films, and record other such awesome and interesting stuff about myself.  I would eventually like to post a short story or two each month as well.

So, stay tuned and come back for a visit!


Sarah


> > > > > < < < < <

O___O

There ya have it!  See? kinda boring.  But still, it gives me a look at the past to see how much my writing and blogging has grown over the years.  I have written much, I journal some, I still review books (that has CERTAINLY grown), and I'm still pretty awesome.  I have posted a short story (though now if I go back and read it again, I'm sure I might gag a little at my poor writing. . .).  

Anywho. . . moving on!

Now's where I get to tag others.   *Mwahahahaha*  If I don't tag you, don't take it personally -- go on and do it!  But lemme know, I'd love to read yours.  And if I do, don't feel obligated!  Please. :]

Tag! You're it!
1)  Christine @ Musings of an Elf
2)  Jameson @ Lovely Whatevers
3)  Katie Grace @ A Writer's Faith
4)  Ivie @ Ivie Writes
5)  Caroline @ Of Stars & Ink-Stained Things

> > > > > < < < < <
Enjoy!

"That is SO cliche." || How to Keep Your Stories Fresh

I recently read a post on The Orphan Protagonist Cliche: Why is it Still Used? - and it started up the wee cogs in me brain a-thinkin'.


WHY?  Well, because I am so guilty of this. . . My WIP, Safia, is this way. . . But I also have a concept story that's been in my head for a year or two now, as well as some excerpts on paper, about an orphaned girl who becomes the youngest prima ballerina at one of the largest, internationally-known ballet companies in the world.  So yeah.  She is an orphan, raised in an orphanage (a good one, mind you, with people who actually loved her - which also happened to fail in finding a family for her. . . [CLICHE]), where she discovered her passion for ballet.  Once she comes of age, she moves, rents an apartment for herself and her giant wolfhound, and. . . this part of the plot is rather unclear, but there's a chance she must give up her dreams for a while and help this top secret, secret agent, and they possibly fall in love, and he drags her in on some kind of dangerous adventure, and. . . well, ya know. . .

Anyway. . .  The post I read certainly got me thinking.  Why is it so much easier to simply do away with the parents (or at least one), allowing your protagonist full control of their own lives, than to actually have characters with good, strong parental relationships?  Simple.  The article said it best:  ". . .One of the easiest and most convenient ways to get rid of that authority which would otherwise prevent the children/teen MCs from going on their perilous adventures is to kill the parents before the book even starts."  And it is so true.  You see it in numerous books and films:  Harry Potter series, basically all faerietales (or a majority of them), Storm Siren series, The Chronicles of Narnia,  Disney's Frozen, Big Hero 6, Guardians of the Galaxy, Lilo & Stitch, and Avatar: The Last Airbender, just to name a few.  I'm sure we could add more.  :]


So, what should we do?


Or so to speak.  (Even that phrase is beginning to sound a little cliche.)  

Think OUTSIDE the norm.  Add flavor to the characters and their backstories.  Maybe the antagonist of your story is actually the parent of the MC (main character), and don't they know it!  Can they then lead their wicked parent to the good side? Or is there no hope? (That could be a terribly sad tale, or tweaked into a rather lighthearted, humorous novel - a great idea to try!)

What if your protagonist recognizes that his/her parent(s) have a great store of knowledge and decide to bring them with him/her on their great adventure to uncover stolen treasure, hack a spaceship, or solve a murder mystery?

I believe this one has been done a time or two, but maybe your MC's ultimate mission is to rescue his/her parent from parentnapping  kidnapping or voluntary surrender.  And all along the way they learn just who their mum or dad really is.

There is no limit to your creativity - except, of course, it be yourself.

I love Pinterest, y'all.  Here's some more ideas just cuz:





Spice it up!
But keep in mind there are instances where possibly no other options exists for your particular story, and your MC's adventure must begin without parents in the picture.  Whatever the case, be unpredictable.  Make the story YOURS.


So, what of you, me lovelies?
How would YOU spice up a story, recreate a cliche, or choose to be unpredictable? 
I wanna know!

Book Review | The House on Foster Hill

The House on Foster Hill
Jaime Jo Wright

Bethany House | November 21st, 2017
Christian Fiction, Thriller, Murder Mystery

{GoodReads}
          Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather's Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house's dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide. 
          A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy's search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives--including her own--are lost?


> > > > > > > > > > < < < < < < < < < <
Be ye WARNED: Possible Spoilers

{The Basics}
This book was. . . INTENSE.  If you are one who enjoys the mysteries with murderers, stalkers, romance, and danger, then you may enjoy this page-turner.  While I did not like Kaine and her overall personality (or her character in general, really), nor did I care for Ivy much at all, the story was entirely intriguing and had me hurrying to the end.

Both women have their issues, and each have their own way of working through them, but in the end they find hope, as well as the faith they have allowed to fade thanks to their circumstances.  Ivy is exceedingly stubborn, and trouble seems to find her at every turn (or she literally walks right into it, rather foolishly).  Each have had their experience with the death of a loved one.  The loss has made them bitter, Ivy more so than Kaine.  And Kaine has wrestled with far more than simply the death of her husband -- her marriage was struggling, due to her failing to let go of the past and truly embrace the man who loved her unconditionally.  She blames herself for diving into her job and all the baggage that it entailed, instead of learning to be and being the loving wife her husband needed.  He was faithful and wholly loyal, up to his death -- giving her all the space she thought she needed.  And that is what hurts her the most.

Two years later after Danny's death, Kaine moves to Wisconsin, hoping to start afresh.  But it seems her bad luck follows her trail, like the stalker who broke into her California home multiple times to move objects as a scare tactic.  She takes a chance and purchases an old, historical house not too far from her grandfather's hometown.  Little did she know the realtor had lied through his teeth and sold her an abandoned, good-for-nothing house that was literally falling apart and held some rather morbid secrets of its own.

{Positives}
At complete rock bottom, and on the last bit of her rope, Kaine drives to a gas station for a chocolate bar (because chocolate solves most everything).  It's here she meets an unlikely friends in the plump, station manager who looks at the bright side of everything and definitely lives up to her name -- Joy -- and her special needs daughter.  Joy serves as a comfort to Kaine in her time of need, and Kaine feels safe and cared for, learning again what it's like to be loved and eventually to love again.

Kaine's sister is an unwavering rock for her, even as she is back in California.  She allows Kaine to heal in her own time, but also pressures her to live again.  Grant may have a part in that.  She finds a good friend in him, and most likely more.

In the early 1900s, Ivy also eventually learns not to dwell on those who have gone before, nor to hold useless grudges on those who were once dear to her, and she too begins to live again.

{Spiritual Content}
One character seems to have a connection to the dead. . . she names a dead girl as if "[the girl] had whispered it to her spirit."  Since the death of her brother well over a decade ago, Ivy has kept a journal to record the memories of the dead.  The townsfolk often whisper of her as odd or strange or obsessed with such things.  But in her mind, it is a simple way to remember that life is fragile.  From that tragic day on, however, her faith has faded.  And she hasn't prayed to God since Andrew's death.

{Violence}
In the early 1900s, a woman is murdered by strangulation and her body stuffed into a hollow tree.  Another woman is assaulted and nearly killed by an assailant.  We learn later that they are not the only women to have endured abuse, although the one was the first to have been killed.

In the present day, Kaine's husband is killed in a car accident.  It was labeled an "accident" but is later found to have been murder.

As mentioned before, Kaine has suffered the mind tricks of a stalker.  We learned of her reports to the police back in California that the man would enter her home to frighten her.  [SPOILER] As a result of her former job as a counselor of sorts for women who are abused, Kaine made many enemies in their boyfriends/husbands, and we learn that her stalker was one of them.  Due to this, Kaine is extremely paranoid and frightened.  Especially when it seems her stalker has followed her to Wisconsin. . .

The Wisconsin stalker scares her with a photo of her dead husband in an upstairs room of the house she just bought.  Another time, he paints in red her late husband's name on the windows.  And follows her as she rushes to the safety of her car, leaving red handprints on the rear window.

A man threatens a woman with a gun.

{Language; Alcohol & Drugs}
None.  Slang "darn" used at least once.  Someone mutters "a stream of curses" in frustration.

A man is drugged, causing his death in a car accident.  Possibly some mention of wine, but I don't quite recall. . .

{Love-y Content}
Kaine is quite attracted to Grant, the artsy, handsome, modernly-bespectacled man, who seems a little too perfect, in my opinion.  I honestly cannot think of a single flaw or issue he had. . . He volunteers at an animal shelter, works as a professor (I think), among a couple other things around town, and just seemed too perfect a character.  But all in all, he was a good friend to Kaine, offering support and protection and his own home after every frightening episode.  (Nothing happens between them in his house, I promise, he's quite the gentleman.)  They hug and relax.  Kiss at once, maybe twice.  At one point, Kaine thinks he looks almost "sexy" in a sweatshirt simply because it was him wearing it.  It's implied they want to see where the relationship will go in the future.

ALSO, PLEASE NOTE this novel deals with human trafficking.  More specifically, sex trafficking, in which [SPOILER] Foster House has been used as a midway point for such an operation.  Many, many girls suffer there, one dies.  We don't read of specifics, no worries.  The subject is approached as an abomination, rightfully so, and characters work to stop its evil.

{Conclusion}
A definite thriller.  I have no other description.  It was a rather enjoyable page-turner, although I didn't really fall in love with any of the characters.  But it earns four out of five stars in my opinion.  And I'm not gonna tell you whodunnit.  You gotta read and figure it out for yourself!  :]

16-18+


I was provided with a copy of this novel
in exchange for my honest review.

Welcome, 2018


Happy New Year, dear ones!  
I hope each of you had a marvelous Christmas celebrating our Saviour's birth, and enjoying the blessing of family and friends.

This year has been a good one.  I'll spare you a lengthy wrap-up as the Hubs and I are leaving soon for lunch with my side of the family, and later to spend the evening with his.  :]

I learned much in 2017 -- too much to put into words, really.  As a wife now for one year, three months and counting, I will say the Lord has blessed me greatly.  I have an amazing husband and best friend who stands by me in my ups and downs and has wholeheartedly served as my Encourager.  God is so good.  Sometimes that little phrase may be a little over-used, but I mean every word every time I say it.  He has provided for me and my man this entire year, and I know we will be cared for in 2018.  

It's a new chapter that's beginning!  Believe it or not!  I have many "goals" I'd like to strive toward this new year.  And while I have no idea what my King has in store for us, I know it's gonna be GREAT.


So here's to 2018.  
May our Lord bless you as you strive for His perfection and live for Him each and every day.  May your faith be strengthened.  And may you be a Light.

Happy 2018, y'all.