Mine by Angela Christina Archer

This historical romance will have you turn to any friends, family or loved ones nearby to gather up into your arms, and hold them tightly for as long as you can.

What’s it About? 

War continues to rage in Europe, with no end in sight, people in the occupied countries are suffering and starving. One of those places is one of the Channel Islands off the coast of France. A part of the United Kingdom, the residents of Guernsey are the only British citizens facing occupation by the Deutsches Heer.

The promise of love.

Deep in the middle of the German occupation, life for Evelyn and Henry is nothing but a perilous journey, as though walking a tightrope, between survival and starvation. Through the trials of every day, they also find joy, marriage, and the notion of starting a family. But having children during war and while under German rule can be complicated, and Evelyn must face a few hard choices when it comes to keeping those she loves safe and alive.

The promise of beginning again.

Newly wed, and still working on Halifax Farms as a land girl, Amelia comes face to face with a loss of her own. With her husband off to war and the discovery she’s carrying a child, she follows the tugging feeling to continue her education and dreams of becoming a journalist. When tragedy strikes, not once, but twice, however, Amelia must head down a path she never thought she’d take, and one she doesn’t know if she’s ready for or truly desires.
Two sisters. Two promises. One bloody war that changes their lives forever.

First Impressions

This was another emotional addition to The Promises Between Us series. In my review of book one I mentioned how nobody was off limits when it came to the travesties of war. This second novel certainly underscores the truth of that reality, but we just have to wait around a bit longer for the tragedies to hit. For so much of the book I was just waiting around in agonized anticipation for the other shoe to drop, and sure enough! We see a domino effect of people being impacted and torn apart by war, and one scene in particular left me a bubbling mess of tears. Here’s to hoping the other folks lounging around my apartment’s pool simply thought I had sunscreen in my eyes.

From Guernsey to Halifax Farms

Once again, the principle pathway of this book presents us with alternating scenes of life for the Ashton sisters as they try to find love in the midst of war. An interesting break with book one is that where Amelia once provided a sense of movement and changing scenery compared to her sister trapped on Guernsey, Amelia instead spends most of this second book in one location. Her travel from Guernsey across the English Channel, and multiple train rides to different places in England has now landed her working as a land girl at a country farm. Most of this read involves long stints regaling us with Amelia’s daily chores on the farm compared to Evelyn’s daily life in occupied Guernsey. The fact both sisters are essentially stuck in one place with such limited opportunities for movement left this sequel feeling somewhat linear in terms of plot.

That is of course until we reach the latter half of the book when developments once again start impacting our characters. These sisters are finally successful in sending word to each other about how their lives have changed so much since they last said farewell years before at the Guernsey port, and how love has brought a small glimmer of happiness to their existence. It’s also the first definitive confirmation for Henry to realize that Amelia moved on with someone else after leaving him, and Amelia discovers that her sister and former beau have fallen in love. I don’t want to spoil what comes of these discoveries, but let’s just say their reactions couldn’t have been more different. We can’t help but question if these two sisters and their husbands will survive this terrible war, and if they do what kind of greeting will they have upon seeing each other again?

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: The Promises Between Us, book 2. I’m eager to see how everything will come together for the third and final book.

Final Impressions: While this series certainly highlights the fragility of life, it also does a fantastic job of demonstrating why it’s important to take chances to live every day to the fullest. What struck me most was seeing how true this was for our characters, as they had no idea how much longer this war would last. We as the readers certainly have the end date constantly in the forefront of our minds, but our characters don’t know if the war will end in a month, or if German occupation will be their new reality forever. Some choose to give up amidst such uncertainty, but others live by the mantra to seize the day.

Smut Level: These young ladies have become married women, and enjoy moments of passion with their respective husbands. However, we only see a few kisses before the scenes fade to black, and never witness their bedroom antics in full detail.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. 269 Pages. 

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THIS SERIES?!?!?! Seriously, I want to know how it’s possible that something which started out so strong could fall so far from its original excellence. It’s almost like a completely different author has taken control of the last 2 books I’ve read.

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After I finished reading the previous book in this series, The Fiery Cross, I put a plea out to the blogosphere for someone to assure me that the series would get better. Book 5 was so ridiculously slow and boring, with an unnecessary amount of historical detail which was completely irrelevant to the overall plot, and I wanted to know that it was simply an anomaly. I now understand why nobody replied to that inquiry. Astonishingly, I think things have actually gotten worse.

Firstly, the book is simply too long. There is no rhyme, reason, explanation or justification that this book was over 1000 pages. Here is a general note to authors everywhere: if your book can be sold in both an abridged and unabridged version, that means it’s too long! When someone can literally cut your book length in half without losing any of the storyline, you have a big problem.

Nothing of any importance happens for so much of this thing! I had to ask myself numerous times what the actual plot was, and for the most part I never had an answer. I think my most common outburst throughout the book was, “What does this have to do with anything?!?!” If something of mild interest did happen, it was either never fully explored, or we’d skip ahead 3 months in the story as if it never happened at all. I felt that there were a lot of issues which remained unresolved when all was said and done. It wasn’t until almost 3/4 of the way through the book that we have some form of a distinguishable plot with actual direction. The action comes on so quickly though, seemingly from out of nowhere, and then the book ends just as abruptly. It’s supposed to end on a “Oh no they didn’t!” kind of moment, but I think I just yelled out, “I don’t care!!”.

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This was the first audiobook I ever listened to, and it took me about 4 months to finish. The reason I chose to listen to this book instead of read it is because book 5 was so mind-numbingly dull that I figured I’d finish this one quicker if I could listen to it. Towards the middle of the book I was getting ridiculously frustrated because the story wasn’t going anywhere, and I had the urge to start skimming. But how do you skim an audiobook? Simple! You just increase the listening speed. Sure, it took some getting used to, but after a while I acclimated to listening to it at twice it’s normal speed.

I had been listening to this book for a while when the second half of the Outlander TV series started up again on Starz. It was so weird to get really excited for Saturday nights to come around so I could lose myself in the wonderfulness of the TV show, and then dread having to listen to the book again on my walks to work. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced so much emotional whiplash in my life.

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Overall this book left me feeling frustrated, disappointed, and seriously questioning why I even bother putting up with the series anymore. I only have 2 more books left, but I just am not looking forward to putting myself through the torture of another one. These last two books have been such a drain on my soul, that I feel like it’ll probably take a whole year before I can pump myself up enough to reach for that next book. Yet oddly enough, I still consider myself to be an Outlander fan. I loved the first 4 books, and the first season of the TV series has blown my mind. I’m just having a hell of a time making it to the end of this series.