Book Review: The Number of Love By Roseanna M. White

The Number of Love Cover

Blurb:

The Toughest Puzzle She’ll Have to Solve
Might Be the Wishes of Her Own Heart

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network–field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack German telegrams for hints of the enemy’s plans. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, she discovers for the first time in her life that numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the quick and brainy Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer. Margot and Drake will have to team up to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.

General Thoughts:

The strength of this story was in the characters. The author is good at creating complex and unconventional characters who are likeable and relatable. The story follows Margot, who’s a numbers girl decoding secret messages in the Great War of 1917. I have to be honest, I found it challenging to follow her communication in numbers, but overall, I understood her ambitions and view of the world.

I like the progressive spirit Margot had and how her newfound friendship with Dot and Drake—siblings, challenged that. She was the woman not interested in marriage and family, but mathematics, yet Dot and Drake forced her to consider one over the other, and if she could have both.

The story is full of subtle suspense and intrigue, starting with the questionable death of Margot’s mother. During the war, fear loomed that the enemy was threatening their territory with things like anthrax, so this lead Margot to go on her own investigation on the real cause of her mother’s death.

In addition, there’s another man (the antagonist) after Dot and Drake, avenging his brother’s death—the result of Drake’s actions (unintentional). This forced the three’s relationship to develop, and in the end, Margot was left to decide where she wanted her future to go.

Strengths, weaknesses?

As mention before, the characters’ personalities and beliefs were clear strengths. Each of the main characters, even secondary characters, was unique, distinguishable, and surprisingly likeable, in the case of the protagonist. With the protagonist, I understood his reasons for vengeance and even sympathize with him (though I did not agree with it).

For weaknesses, Margot’s use of numbers to communicate and understand things was confusing and threw me off at times. From a bird’s eye view, I knew what her mission and motivations were, it just took me longer to reach that.

Recommendation:

Yes, I would recommend this story. I believe it will appeal to those who like historical fiction, especially during the wartime era in Europe. Also readers who like character driven stories of people who are unconventional and bold, will enjoy this as well.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars. The story was evenly paced. I didn’t feel any lulls, and each chapter served a purpose. The characters were well developed and it looked like the author spent a good amount of time making them unique.

***This book was given to me by Bethany House for an honest review.***

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Everybody’s Good

Everybody’s Good

Everybody’s good
No one ever wanted to be bad
Everybody’s right
No one wanted to be trapped
In the darkness of night

What if we started the same
What if we wanted nothing, but the plain
What could not be traded or bought
What couldn’t die, what couldn’t rot

Everybody’s good
No one ever wanted to tear down
What should have always stood
No one wanted to fight
They only wanted to survive

What if we started the same
What if we thrived on the simple and mundane
What if there was nothing to lose
By giving our last coins to a fellow man

The truth is…
Everybody once was good
No one ever wanted to be bad
No one ever wanted to tear down
What should have always stood
No one ever wanted to fight
They just wanted life, someone to care, be aware
That they’re still here, that they exist, that they just only
Want to live

© C.A. Barnes

Go Find Her

TTC 1

Go Find Her

Just do what you say you’ll do
Just live the way you think is true
stop feeling sorry for yourself
Stop running around, begging for help

Go find her
Go find the girl from long ago
Go find her
Where the calm winds still blow
Stop trying to be someone else
Stop trying to prove your worth
While your dreams lay on the shelf
Go find her
Follow the light
And be that girl long ago
Who was free

Just chase the uncharted unknown
Just go where only few have flown
Stop crying, fretting on thing you can’t change
Stop wasting time rearranging the same old things

Go find her
Go find the girl from long ago
Go find her
Where the calm winds still blow
Stop trying to be someone else
Stop trying to prove your worth
While your dreams lay on the shelf
Go find her
Follow the light
And be that girl long ago
Who was free

Dream
Take the time
Walk in sunshine
The day will be all right
She dared to see
Everything
She dared to be
A girl who was free

Go find her
Go find the girl from long ago
Go find her
Where the calm winds still blow
Stop trying to be someone else
Stop trying to prove your worth
While your dreams lay on the shelf
Go find her
Follow the light
And be that girl long ago
Who was free

© 2019 C A Barnes

I’m Tired

TTC Banner 2

I’m Tired

A man lost his job
I’m tired
Been trying to find one for years
Now I’m uninspired

She might leave him today
I’m tired
There’s nothing more he can say
Why bother

A woman filed bankruptcy
I’m tired
Thought college was gonna set her free
Now she doesn’t know who she wants to be

No more mom and dad she has
I’m tired
Gone are days when she could laugh and play
In a world full of mystery

There’s talk about another war
I’m done
Don’t understand anything anymore
Still waiting for that utopian door

Been waiting to live for ten years
I can’t no more
I’ve cried all my tears
Now I have nothing left to fear

I’m done
Hearing it all
I’m tired
Of absorbing the falls

Oh, I’m tired
Uninspired
I’m in need of a revival
When life’s no longer about survival

© C A Barnes

Book Review: Between Two Shores By Jocelyn Green

Between Two Shores Cover

Blurb:

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval would rather remain neutral in a world tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the Seven Years’ War against her wishes when her British ex-fiancé, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel claims he has information that could help end the war, and he asks Catherine to help him escape.

Peace appeals to Catherine, even if helping the man who broke her heart does not. But New France is starving, and she and her loved ones may not survive another winter of conflict-induced famine. When the dangers of war arrive on her doorstep, Catherine and Samuel flee by river toward the epicenter of the battle between England and France. She and Samuel may impact history, but she fears the ultimate cost will be higher than she can bear.

General Thoughts:

This author is all about the details, and that’s a good thing. From the very first chapter, I was thrown into a vivid world in mid 18th century America. I could feel the tension a high turmoil environment brought for Catherine, her family, and Samuel.

Catherine, a French-Mohawk woman, was caught between her French side and Mohawk side of the family. With the death of her mother, she made the decision to go to her French father, leaving her siblings behind. This isolated Catherine for a while, especially as she struggled to gain acceptance from her father, who showed very little of it. But when Englishman Samuel came into the picture as her father’s servant, they forged a friendship, which later turned into love.

Eventually Samuel escaped with the promise of reuniting and marrying Catherine, but that never happened. However as war ravaged on, he returned as his father’s servant, which led to greater challenges for Catherine, such as learning to forgive him for his failed promise and helping him flee once again from her father to deliver information that could end the war, in the British’s favor.

I like how the author created complicated characters. They weren’t predictable, knowing everything and having everything under control. This led to many surprises, especially on Samuel’s end. Catherine was the most compelling character to me, because she had the hardest battle to overcome: accepting reality and learning to forgive. This led to some self-reflection on my part. I considered my own reality, realizing that no matter how brave, strong-willed, or determined one is, there are some things one can’t control or change, especially in regards to people. However, one can always overcome and grow.

I will say the ending was bittersweet to me. I believe things ended as best as they could, giving what was revealed about the characters and plot. However, there were some things I wished wouldn’t have happened between Catherine, her family, and Samuel, which if you read the story, you will understand what I’m referring to. But then again, the story depicted the reality of a war-torn, high conflict world, so to me, it’s representation was believable.

Recommendation:

I would recommend this story to readers who enjoy historical fiction, especially American history. The author definitely did her homework, not holding back on the reality of the time period (mid-1700s). I also think readers who are looking for realism, characters who don’t always get a happily ever after, but who still reach a light at the end of the tunnel will like this book as well.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars. This was a well-written story. The author was vivid in her world building and character behaviors. As I read each page, I could easily visualize the scenes and feel the tension. As a story that includes war, it can be a little graphic so for readers who are sensitive to this, they should be aware. Nevertheless, reading the story is worthwhile as it delivers a strong message of acceptance and forgiveness.

***This book was given to me by Bethany House for an honest review.***

Book Review: In Places Hidden By Tracie Peterson

In Places Hidden Cover

Blurb:

The search for her missing brother leads to the most dangerous part of the city . . .

Camrianne Coulter’s brother Caleb is a successful San Francisco attorney. But when three months go by without a word from the usually communicative Caleb, Camri boards a train to the booming West Coast city to find out for herself why he hasn’t written. When she arrives at his home, nobody seems to know where he is, or what has become of him.

Camri’s search for her brother leads her deep into the political corruption of the city–and into the acquaintance of Patrick Murdock, who Caleb successfully defended from a false murder charge. Getting to know this handsome Irish contractor challenges all of Camri’s privileged beliefs, but Patrick is unshakably loyal to her brother, and he seems to know more about what happened to Caleb than anyone else. As the two edge closer to the truth behind Caleb’s disappearance, they risk angering the powerful forces that control the city. Can Camri trust Patrick to protect her from the dangers that lie hidden in San Francisco’s backstreets?

General Thoughts:

I’ll start by saying that Tracie knows how to create authentic characters, characters who are believable in terms of what they say and do, and even how they speak. If nothing else, I enjoyed getting to know Camri and Patrick, even secondary characters such as her friends, Judith and Kenzie, and their caretakers, the Wongs.

In short, the plot centered on Camri traveling to San Francisco to find her lost brother Caleb. Upon her arrival, she met and quickly befriended Judith and Kenzie, who were embarking on their own mission to find lost relatives. They decided to stick together and support each other’s endeavors, first starting with Camri.

The women lived together in Caleb’s abandoned house, getting jobs and using their funds to survive and support the search for Caleb. Camri pretty much ended up doing the searching, looking into Caleb’s life and relationships, which eventually led her to Patrick.

To me, the strength of the story wasn’t in Camri looking for Caleb, but in how she developed as a person. Camri was quite progressive for her time, which was the early 1900s. She was all about women’s rights, fighting for them to get a proper education, advance their careers, and especially vote. In her dialogue with Judith and Kenzie, she was quick to challenge their ideas of wanting to get married and be homemakers. She believed every woman should want more.

This caused her to clash with them, including Patrick, but through some self searching and understanding their life stories, she came to realize that as smart and progressive as she was, she still had a lot to learn that could only be done through listening to people and taking the time to walk in their shoes.

With this, and the goal of finding Caleb, this made for an enjoyable read. I got through it fairly quickly and was happily surprised how things turned out with the Caleb situation. I think the author succeeded in keeping things unpredictable.

Recommendation:

Yes, I would recommend this story for those who not only love historical fiction, but who are interested in character development, seeing an internal transformation that can enlighten one to think about their own self and the world around them.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars. I found this story to be a fairly good read. The plot was well developed without a predictable ending, and I like how believable the characters were. Especially where Camri and Patrick’s relationship was concerned, I like how the author made them acknowledge that though they loved each other, they still needed to get to know each other before rushing into things.

Almost There

Sketch Sky

Almost There

Just one more step
Almost there
Just one more day
I won’t care
Of days gone by
Dark seasons of my life
Of lack, of being alone
With nothing
Not even a home

Just one more breath
Almost there
Just one more night
I’ll be all right
The sun I see
The songs I hear
Many other say
Will come my way
I’ll seize that day

Just one more try
Almost there
Just one more fight
I’ll be there
Victory, I’ll finally see
No more misery
Or woe is me
The joy I find
Will spread with time
To those who’ve face
The darkness I’ve known
I’ll show them how
To get right out
And then they’ll say
The words I now claim

Almost there
Almost there
Just one more fight
I’ll be there
Out of the dark
In the light
I’ll seize that day
It’ll soon be mine

© 2019 C A Barnes