High Violence, Low Language, Low Religion, Moderate Romance, Two Stars

A Whole New World

I confess I love getting into new worlds, being sucked into a fantasy so removed that I can just escape. However, if the world created by the author doesn’t have some common threads with reality it can be too hard to see yourself there and connect with the characters.

The world Somaiya Daud creates in Mirage is fascinating, but the words were so far removed from reality that I had a hard time remembering who was who and where was what.


“In a world dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated home.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty―and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.”

The timeline was a little confusing as well. I know there is such thing as too much detail of the past, but this almost had too little. I often was unsure if things they were mentioning were recent events or happened decades ago.

I’m not always turned off by violence, but this was a bit much, right from the get go. Though the overall story was interesting and in the genre of books that I like, the details were distracting enough to pull me out of the story again and again.

I’m a bit of a sucker for a well written make out session and the author did a wonderful job with the romance. The author described their emotions and interactions to create several swoon worthy scenes, but I never found myself completely immersed in the world she created. –A.B.

Low Language, Low Religion, Low Violence, Moderate Romance, Two Stars

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

I’m such a sucker for a pretty cover. I know they say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, and yes I’m aware that that’s usually in reference to people, but I totally do; for books, I try really hard not to do it with people. A cover can easily pull me in or turn me away. This cover is adorable, I really love it. However I did not love the book.


Standing before Feldstone Manor, site of so many happy memories, Rose Davenport feels nothing but dread. Her family’s annual visit to the stately home was once brightened by her friendship with the earl’s youngest son, William, but everything changed the day his elder brother was disinherited and William became heir to his father’s earldom. From that moment, William made it clear he has no interest in continuing an acquaintance with Rose. Heartbroken, she sets out to prove that she will simply not be ignored—or outdone—by the arrogant future lord of the manor.

When his elder brother marries for love, William’s entire life changes in an instant. He does not have the same option to marry whom he chooses, and he must let go of the feelings he has harbored for his dear friend, Rose. He steels himself against her annual visits, determined to keep his feelings for her a secret. But when he makes the hasty promise to marry within six months, he never dreams that his actions will lead Rose to impulsively undertake the same challenge

I try really hard to find the good in what I read because I know how scary it is to put something out there for people to respond to. But I also have to be honest. I’m usually a huge fan of books from this time period and this trope. The friends to more with a wrench thrown in the middle always provides for good tension and emotionally driven moments. However I had a hard time getting past the wrench.

The crutch of the whole book was that Rose was unsuitable. I spent 60 percent of the book too distracted about why she was unsuitable that I couldn’t fully appreciate the rest of the story. When I finally understood William’s point of view and his situation his actions made complete sense, however the catalyst for his actions was his father, which made me confused all over again. For that time period, with a man that uppity, the man would not have associated with a family so closely year after year if their daughter was that unsuitable.

There were some tender parts and the setting was described beautifully but the plot just left me confused and the characters were more obtuse than endearing. There was very little character growth, and the resolution between the two didn’t even come about from growth, but third party involvement leaving the characters very one dimensional.

This is a debut novel for this author and I don’t always love every book from even my favorite authors so there’s a chance I could love whatever comes next from Esther Hatch. 

Giveaway, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Two Stars

Cup of… Soup

I love books with witty banter in them. The intellectual sparring is not only entertaining, but amps up the romantic tension quiet nicely. I anticipated a lot of witty banter from the premise of this book and the plot sounds adorable. The book is very clean, but not really my cup of… soup. The witty banter came across more like verbal onslaughts  which were too harsh to create any romantic tension.

The characters were written authentically with genuine problems and interesting backgrounds. I couldn’t reconcile however the two sides of Jack. I kept hoping for a satisfactory explanation for his behavior but was left feeling like the Jack at the end was a completely different person than the jerk through out the book and there was no bridge to connect the change.


“Sea turtles may be endangered but after an encounter with marine biologist, Jack Brandon, nothing will stop Sara Hart from naming her deli, Turtle Soup. When Jack takes a job at the Georgia Aquarium, Sara finds the environmental poster boy at her door, hungry and carrying a chip on his shoulder. Neither thinks the other has what it takes, until a scuba class reveals what lies beneath the surface.”




Author Danielle Thorne

Danielle Thorne is the author of classic romance and adventure in several genres. She loves Jane Austen, pirates, beaches, cookies, antiques, cats, dogs, and long naps. She does not like phone calls or sushi. A graduate of Ricks College and BYU-Idaho, Danielle saw early work published by Every Day Fiction, Arts and Prose Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, and… you get the idea. Besides writing, she’s edited for both Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing. Her growing blog, The Balanced Writer, focuses on writing, life, and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Currently, Danielle freelances as a non-fiction author, copywriter, and editor, while waiting to hear from readers like you through her website. During free time, which means when Netflix is down, she combs through feedback and offers virtual hugs for reviews. Her next historical romance is coming soon.




Giveaway Details

Ends 10/8/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


a Rafflecopter giveaway