Review: What the Wind Knows (Amy Harmon)

What the Wind Knows
Author: Amy Harmon
Publication Date: February 1, 2019 (Hardback), March 1, 2019
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In an unforgettable love story, a woman’s impossible journey through the ages could change everything…

Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.

The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.

As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?


I feel the need to come clean a bit before I get into my review because I think my thoughts will help some readers decide if What the Wind Knows is for them. I’m a big fan of Amy Harmon’s writing, but I was on the fence about reading this book. I am not a huge historical fiction or fantasy fan. I read both only occasionally. I might not have read it if I hadn’t received an ARC. In a way, that forced me to read What the Wind Knows and I’m extremely glad it did.

What the Wind Knows had my attention from the very beginning. I thought it might take me a bit to get into the story, but it didn’t at all. I became addicted from the first chapter. I loved Anne’s connection with her grandfather, Eion, and how the story was built around the things he shared with her. I was actually more drawn to this relationship than to the love story. There was just something so sweet and pure about their relationship and the closeness they shared. I treasured the moments they had together.

Not that I didn’t enjoy the love story. Anne and Thomas’ connection literally transcended time. I loved how their relationship took time to develop and for their love to blossom. Normally, a time travel relationship would leave me with all sorts of questions. This one did that as well, but not so much that I fixated on them or couldn’t believe in their love. Anne and Thomas’ love story was epic for sure.

Besides the relationships in What the Wind Knows, there were so many fascinating historical gems. I know Amy Harmon took liberty with some things, but I still felt like I learnt a great deal. I really had no idea of what Ireland had gone through in the early 1900s. It was fascinating. I did get a tad bogged down with some of the details, but they all fit so well into this story.

Oh! I really, really need to stop and applaud Amy Harmon for a moment. Not only did she add historical events, she took on some every day activities in the past and showed Anne’s wonderment of them. These little things are always the things I am intrigued by. Or rather I should say they are the things that make me happy I live in the present day. I loved that those little mundane things were talked about.

Overall, What the Wind Knows is a fascinating read. Amy Harmon has once again convinced me that she can write any genre and I will want to read it.

Purchase links:

Available Now:

➜ Hardcover: https://amzn.to/2QoYmYi

Pre-order Now:

➜ Kindle: https://amzn.to/2NyJsQq
➜ Paperback: https://amzn.to/2CCbA0I
➜ Audio: https://amzn.to/2N2SfuG

About the author:

Amy Harmon is a Wall Street JournalUSA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now being published in eighteen different languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah.

Amy Harmon has written thirteen novels – the USA Today Bestsellers The Smallest Part, The Bird and The Sword, Making Faces and Running Barefoot, as well as the #1 Amazon bestselling historical From Sand and Ash, The Queen and The Cure, The Law of Moses, The Song of David, Infinity + One, Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her novels The Bird and the Sword and From Sand and Ash were Goodreads Best Books of 2016 and 2017 finalists.

Find Amy online:

Website: www.authoramyharmon.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoramyharmon
Facebook fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/amyharmon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aharmon_author
Instagram: https://instagram.com/amy.harmon2/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Amy-Harmon/e/B007V3HXUY
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5829056.Amy_Harmon
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/amy-harmon
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/P5AJP
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authoramyharmon/

Review: The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie

The Raging Ones
Series: The Raging Ones, #1
Authors: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Publication Date: August 14, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds.

Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday.

Until the day she does.

Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.

Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.

With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.


I requested The Raging Ones from NetGalley solely because it was written by Krista and Becca Ritchie. I didn’t even read the blurb. If I had, I might not have requested it. I’m not a science fiction or fantasy fan. I try to avoid books in those genres. I’m happy I didn’t read that blurb because I would have missed out on something wonderful. Krista and Becca Ritchie may be known in the contemporary romance world, but they’re taking the YA science fiction world by storm with The Raging Ones.

The writing in this book was exceptional. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the science and fantasy details of the story. I was immediately pulled in and engaged with the setting and characters. I loved the plot. It was so different from anything I’ve read before. I adored Franny, Mykel, and Court. They had such a special connection and how it was woven through the story was so cool. The supporting characters were all very interesting and had important roles to play.

I loved everything about The Raging Ones. If I could have stayed up any later, I would have read this book in one day. It was that fascinating to me. I loved how the action built. The ending — well, let’s just say I didn’t see that coming. It was perfect! I cannot wait to read the next book in this series! Bravo, Ritchie twins!

Review: Folsom by Tarryn Fisher & Willow Aster

Folsom
Series: End of Men, #1
Authors: Tarryn Fisher, Willow Aster
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The nation as we know it is a thing of the past.

With the male species on the verge of extinction, a society called the End Men is formed to save the world. Folsom Donahue is one of twelve men whose sole purpose is to repopulate the Regions. The endless days spent having sex with strangers leaves Folsom with an emptiness no amount of women, money, or status can fill.

Until Gwen.

Gwen has wanted a child for as long as she can remember, but when she finally gets a chance to have her own, she uncovers a long hidden truth. The injustice she sees moves her to help save the men whom no one else believes need saving.

A forbidden love, grown in a time of despair, ignites a revolution.

Folsom and Gwen, torn between their love for each other and their sense of duty, must make a choice. But some will stop at nothing to destroy them.


I have so much to say about Folsom, and I think the best way to do that is to break this review down piece by piece for you. Here we go!

The collaboration: Tarryn Fisher and Willow Aster’s writing melded perfectly together. I couldn’t tell where one author ended and the other began. That’s exactly what I’m looking for when two authors write a book together. Their writing was flawless and kept me wanting more.

The setting: I’m not a science fiction or fantasy reader. I’ve read several of the most hyped dystopian series and liked them, but they’re not books I normally gravitate to. I was surprised by how much I loved the dystopian setting of Folsom. The age of women was so unique and so cool. I was surprised by how interested I was in it.

The story: It was so unique! It’s the age of woman and there’s not enough men. They’ve all died off with the exception of the End Men. These guys move yearly to new regions to try and impregnate as many women as possible. They’re hoping to create baby boys to help carry on the human race. Folsom is moved to the Red Region where he meets Gwen. Their meeting changes the way both of them think about the End Men and how society is living. I loved it!

The characters: Folsom’s job was a little disturbing at times (that’s just coming from a monogamous woman’s thoughts), but I enjoyed reading how his feelings about it changed over time. I loved how he was with Gwen. His true personality came out then. Gwen was a spitfire. I loved how she stood up for her beliefs. The rest of the characters, good and bad, fit the story well and added some really good drama.

The love story: It’s hard to imagine falling for a man with such a promiscuous job, but Gwen’s attraction to and immediate bonding with Folsom made it easy to accept. I loved how falling for Gwen brought the spark back to Folsom’s life. It was so different, yet so sweet. I adored them together. I wanted more time with them that way.

The surprises: There were several, and I wasn’t expecting them all. I loved being surprised – especially by the ending! I wasn’t expecting it to turn out the way it did. I am so excited to read the next book!

Overall: If you’re a fan of these authors, you will like Folsom even if dystopian novels are not your thing. I’m proof of that. Folsom was an addictive read that kept me turning page after page. I loved everything about it.

Review: Iluminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae
Series: The Illuminae Files _01
Authors: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.


Umm….My mind is pretty much blown from reading this book. Excuse me as I try to make any sense in this review. It’s probably going to be one big ramble!

Illuminae was pure genius. Everything about it was amazing. I loved the way the story was presented. The format was so very smart. It made the story fast-paced and easy to become engaged in. I credit the format for making me, a non science fiction fan, a lover of this book. Well, the format and the characters.

I absolutely loved Kady and Ethan. I was amazed at how well I got to know them and how well developed their characters were despite Illuminae not being told directly from their point of views. Their communications were probably my favorite in the entire book. I couldn’t help root for them. I also loved every supporting character I got a glimpse of throughout this tale.

Honestly, I have no clue what else to say. Illuminae had been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for over a year. I’m pretty mad that I let it sit all this time. It is totally worth any and all hype it’s received. Don’t be like me and wait any longer to read this book. Push it up to the top of your TBR list now.

Now, excuse me while I go purchase Gemina.

Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Publication Date: August 16, 2011
Publisher: Random House Audio
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?


I know what you’re thinking. Deanna read a YA science fiction novel??? Yes, yes I did. Well, actually I listened to it, but same difference. And I had so much fun doing it, too. I know, I’m just as shocked as you are.

One of the problems I have reading science fiction is that I’m just not interested in the topics many of them contain. I’m not into stories about science or the future of technology. I’m definitely not into aliens, zombies, or any of the other things that cross between fantasy, horror and science fiction. I don’t like reading about the world ending. So, why would I want to read Ready Player One? First, I saw the cover and was drawn to it. Second, I read a lot of great reviews. Third, I heard about the multitude of 1980’s references. Fourth, Will Wheaton narrates the audio version. It was pretty much the 80’s and Will Wheaton thing that made me give it a try.

Ready Player One was a fantastic book. I was obsessed with the story from the minute I began listening to it in my car. I would find myself sitting in my drive way long after I had returned home. I’m very happy I chose the audio version of Ready Player One. By listening to it I wasn’t overwhelmed by the amount of information I was being given. There was so much to take in, and I think I would have been easily overwhelmed by everything if I was reading it. All the information would have slowed down the pace of the story, but it didn’t in this format. Plus, Will Wheaton did an amazing job narrating. I actually pictured a younger version of him as Wade while listening.

As for the story, it’s really something you need to experience for yourself. It’s wrapped around a future video game called the OASIS and Wade’s quest to win its creator’s fortune. I loved how the story progressed and how action packed it was. The amazing number of references to classic video games and 80’s pop culture were really cool. I wasn’t a teenager like Halliday was in the 1980’s, but I was alive, and I absolutely loved every reference to the decade I got.

I’m not sure what else to say about this marvelous book other than I think you should listen to it, too. Rumor has it a Ready Player One movie is coming, and I’m excited to see what they do with it.