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Song of Sacrifice by Janell Rhiannon

Song of Sacrifice (Homeric Chronicles 1) by Janell Rhiannon

The heart of the Trojan War belongs to the women.
Mothers and daughters; wives and war prizes, whisper to us across time… …remember our songs alongside the mighty men of myth.

As the Age of Heroes wanes, the gods gamble more fiercely with mortals’ lives than they ever have before. Women must rely on their inner strength and cunning to survive the wars men wage for gold and glory.

Clytemnestra of Mycenae struggles for control of her life after Agamemnon ruthlessly rips it apart. Leda of Sparta survives a brutal assault by Zeus, shouldering a terrible secret in silence. Penelope raises Ithaka’s sole heir alone, praying for Odysseus’ swift return. Thetis, the sea nymph, despairs of her son’s destiny and resorts to forbidden magic to save him. Hecuba of Troy mourns the loss of her second son to a dark prophesy. And Shavash of Pedasus prepares her daughter to marry the greatest warrior who ever lived.

In a world where love leads to war and duty leads to destruction, the iron hearts of heroines will conquer all.

Sing, Muse, sing their song of sacrifice… (publisher)

This is the first book in a series of retelling the Trojan War. I went into it expecting to love it but instead feeling kinda meh.

This book concentrates on the time before the Trojan War. At the time when Paris and Achilles are born up till Paris steals Helen. I admit that I’m not a huge fan of Paris and there was too much Paris. Part one is pretty much all Paris and I thought it was too much in a book that is supposed to be from the women’s point of view.

I never fell for any of the characters, and I’m usually Hector fan girl. The story keeps jumping all over the place trying to tell everyone’s story. And there are so many people. Would have preferred to focus on fewer characters.

2,5/3

Published: Janell Rhiannon (December 28, 2018)
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

reviews

The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood

The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates 1) by A. K. Larkwood

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn—gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due. (publisher)

Csorwe is an Oshaaru and her people worship the Unspoken One. Csorwe is a Chosen Bride, someone who will be sacrificed to the god on her 14th birthday. But on the day of the sacrifice, a stranger called Belthandros Sethennai makes her an offer that she can’t refuse and helps her to run away.

Sethennai is a wizard in exile and has his own reasons for helping Csorwe; she can help him to return to his land.

I have mixed feelings about this one. It had good things and then the not so good things. But it’s not a bad book by any means, especially for a debut.

I liked the world-building and it’s impressive but there is quite much to take in. The book is divided into several parts and I liked the first part most where it focuses on young Csorwe. But the transitions between parts were somewhat awkward with time-jumps. Fast forward a few years and suddenly she is all trained to fight. Then 5 years have passed, and she has worked with Tal for 5 years and they hate each other. We’re missing huge chunks of her life and I didn’t connect with her, or the others, because so much happens behind the scenes. It just made me detached from the characters.

It dragged a bit in the middle and I felt the book could have been shorter. And if I’m honest, the most boring thing was Csorwe’s love-interest Shuthmili. She’s a super talented wizard who must be kept safe. And who had a non-existing personality. I just couldn’t understand why her?

I realize that I’m making it sound worse than it was because it wasn’t bad. There were lots of good things in it. But I really wanted to like it more. And since this was a debut book, I’m interested to see where the author will go from here.

3/5

Published: Tor Books (February 11, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

reviews

The Light After the War by Anita Abriel

The Light After the War by Anita Abriel

It is 1946 when Vera Frankel and her best friend Edith Ban arrive in Naples. Refugees from Hungary, they managed to escape from a train headed for Auschwitz and spent the rest of the war hiding on an Austrian farm. Now, the two young women must start new lives abroad. Armed with a letter of recommendation from an American officer, Vera finds work at the United States embassy where she falls in love with Captain Anton Wight.

But as Vera and Edith grapple with the aftermath of the war, so too does Anton, and when he suddenly disappears, Vera is forced to change course. Their quest for a better life takes Vera and Edith from Naples to Ellis Island to Caracas as they start careers, reunite with old friends, and rebuild their lives after terrible loss.

Moving, evocative, and compelling, this timely tale of true friendship, love, and survival will stay with you long after you turn the final page. (publisher)

Vera and Edith are two Hungarian Jews who escape a train bound to a concentration camp. They end up in Austria, hiding in a freezing barn. After the war, hearing none of their families survived, they go to first to Naples then Ellis Island and finally Caracas, Venezuela. There they try settling to live and find job, love, and sorrow.

What I found interesting was that it was set in the aftermath of the war and seeing the refugees trying to find life after the Holocaust. The only thing about the war is through flashbacks. The story is based on the experiences of the author’s mother. And I’m wondering how much is true and how much fiction. Because the book felt more like romance than historical fiction and there were just too many coincidences to be believable.

It was an easy and quick read and I loved reading about the aftermath of the war. And how people were trying to learn how to go on with life after such horrific times.

3,5/5

Published: Atria Books (February 4, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: Publisher

reviews

Cartier’s Hope by M. J. Rose

Cartier’s Hope by M. J. Rose

New York, 1910: A city of extravagant balls in Fifth Avenue mansions and poor immigrants crammed into crumbling Lower East Side tenements. A city where the suffrage movement is growing stronger every day, but most women reporters are still delegated to the fashion and lifestyle pages. But Vera Garland is set on making her mark in a man’s world of serious journalism.

Shortly after the world-famous Hope Diamond is acquired for a record sum, Vera begins investigating rumors about schemes by its new owner, jeweler Pierre Cartier, to manipulate its value. Vera is determined to find the truth behind the notorious diamond and its legendary curses—even better when the expose puts her in the same orbit as a magazine publisher whose blackmailing schemes led to the death of her beloved father.

Appealing to a young Russian jeweler for help, Vera is unprepared when she begins falling in love with him…and even more unprepared when she gets caught up in his deceptions and finds herself at risk of losing all she has worked so hard to achieve.

Set against the backdrop of New York’s glitter and grit, of ruthless men and the atrocities they commit in the pursuit of power, this enthralling historical novel explores our very human needs for love, retribution—and to pursue one’s destiny, regardless of the cost. (publisher)

Vera Garland is grieving the loss of her father. When she is clearing her father’s things, Vera finds some letters that reveal a family secret. While trying to get revenge, she befriends Jacob Asher, a jeweler, who has secrets of his own.

Born to a privileged life, Vera wants to work as a journalist and feels strongly about the suffragette movement and women getting the right to vote and getting paid the same as men. Vera has a troubled relationship with her mother, a society matron, who doesn’t understand her choice to work.

Vera was an intelligent, sometimes impulsive feminist who was ahead of her times within her circles. I liked her but didn’t always agree with her decisions. I would have liked to learn more of a fellow journalist, but I liked Asher and Vera’s lawyer cousin Stephen.

While I enjoyed the book, I feel it didn’t live up to her previous books. But I haven’t read a book by her that I didn’t like.

3,5/5

Published: Atria Books (January 28, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: Publisher

reviews

The Child of Auschwitz by Lily Graham

The Child of Auschwitz by Lily Graham

It is 1942 and Eva Adami has boarded a train to Auschwitz. Barely able to breathe due to the press of bodies and exhausted from standing up for two days, she can think only of her longed-for reunion with her husband Michal, who was sent there six months earlier.

But when Eva arrives at Auschwitz, there is no sign of Michal and the stark reality of the camp comes crashing down upon her. As she lies heartbroken and shivering on a thin mattress, her head shaved by rough hands, she hears a whisper. Her bunkmate, Sofie, is reaching out her hand…

As the days pass, the two women learn each other’s hopes and dreams – Eva’s is that she will find Michal alive in this terrible place, and Sofie’s is that she will be reunited with her son Tomas, over the border in an orphanage in Austria. Sofie sees the chance to engineer one last meeting between Eva and Michal and knows she must take it even if means befriending the enemy…

But when Eva realises she is pregnant she fears she has endangered both their lives. The women promise to protect each other’s children, should the worst occur. For they are determined to hold on to the last flower of hope in the shadows and degradation: their precious children, who they pray will live to tell their story when they no longer can. (publisher)

The book is about Eva and Sofie who first meet at the Theresienstadt concentration camp. They end up on the same train to Auschwitz, each with her own agenda. Eva wants to find her husband and Sofie wants to find her cousin who hid her son.

When Eva realizes that she is pregnant, everything changes. It’s not safe to be pregnant in a place like Auschwitz. Not the best start to life and I guess it’s down to a certain amount of luck too.
The friendship between Eva and Sofie was a great thing to see in a place like that.

The book has two timelines: the present which is 1942 and the past in 1938. The past chapters weren’t necessary in my opinion and skipped those a bit but otherwise, I really enjoyed the book and it’s well written.

3,5/5

Published: Bookouture (November 8, 2019)
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley