Top Ten Historical Settings

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they post a new Top Ten list prompt. This week’s theme is Top Ten Historical Settings you love to read about. Not sure if I can come up with 10, but here goes….

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Audiobook Review – The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners by Libba Bray
Narrated by January LaVoy

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)


Goodreads description: 

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

Genre: Paranormal / Historical / Mystery / Thriller / Young Adult
My Rating: ***** (5 of 5 stars)

“There is a hideous invention called the Dewey Decimal System. And you have to look up your topic in books and newspapers. Pages upon pages upon pages…” ~ Evie O’Neill

First off, I have to say that I was ABSOLUTELY RELIEVED to find out that this is, in fact, the first book in a series – I did not want to say goodbye to these characters. I picked it up from the library on a whim, and was so glad that I did. I now have a hold placed on Lair of Dreams (book #2), and can’t wait for my turn to listen to that one too.

Evie O’Neill is a seventeen year old flapper with a gift – the gift of “reading” an object to discover its owner’s secrets. After an impromptu reading at a party gets her in trouble at home in Ohio, she is sent to live with her Uncle Will in New York. Her uncle runs a museum of the paranormal, and is called in by the police to help look into a string of unusual murders. Hoping to secure a permanent place in New York, Evie joins her Uncle Will’s team and helps investigate.

Libba Bray has done a wonderful job of transporting the reader back to 1920’s New York. I could almost see the flapper dresses and cloche hats, and hear the music and the clinking of glasses in the speakeasy clubs. The book would be worth reading for the glimpse into the past alone, but it has so much more to offer. Mystery, danger, secrets, powers, music, romance – I could go on and on!

I listened to this book, rather than reading a print edition, and I would highly recommend it. January LaVoy did an amazing job of bringing each character to life with his or her own voice and inflections. This was no small feat considering the size of the cast of characters she had to work with! I hope she will continue to read the rest of the books in this series as they are published.

If you’ve read The Diviners, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


The Edge of Nowhere by C.H. Armstrong – Book Blitz

Hello all! I’m happy to be promoting the historical fiction novel The Edge of Nowhere today. I haven’t had a chance to read this one yet, but it has some wonderful reviews on Goodreads, and it is going on my ever-growing TBR pile! If you’re a fan of historical fiction (or any other type of fiction!), be sure to check this one out.


Visit the Book Blitz site for a list of participating blogs.

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Guest Post / Giveaway (ENDED)- Phyllis Edgerly Ring author of The Munich Girl

DSCF3564I am pleased to present a guest post today from Phyllis Edgerly Ring, author of The Munich Girl. This historical novel has some great reviews on Amazon, and Phyllis has graciously offered to give away a signed copy of the novel to one lucky reader. Be sure to enter the rafflecopter giveaway (US only- ENDED) while you are here! And now I’ll turn the blog over to Phyllis….

UPDATE: The giveaway winner has been selected – congratulations K L ! You should have received an email from me asking for your shipping address.

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Book Review – The Mine by John A. Heldt

The Mine by John A. Heldt

The Mine (Northwest Passage #1)Description from Goodreads:

In May 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can’t use, money he can’t spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of swing dancing and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

Northwest Passage #1

Genre: Fantasy / Time Travel / Historical Fiction
Rating: *** (3 of 5 stars)

The Mine is a story about a young man’s accidental journey from the year 2000 into the past, just prior to WW2. Joel Smith and his friend Alan take a detour during a road trip, and discover an abandoned mine. A determined Joel decides to investigate, leaving his friend, and his timeline, behind him. Arriving in 1941, he eventually befriends a young man named Tom, and joins Tom’s circle of friends and family.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Joel near the beginning of the book, when he first arrived in the past. He seemed to take almost everything in stride, with no strong emotion struggle, and no real refusal to believe what was happening. I had a hard time accepting that, but it could be because I don’t think that it is how I would have reacted in his situation! 🙂

The author did a great job of making you feel that you were there in pre-war 1941, however. As I was introduced to Tom and his friends, I became more and more invested in Joel’s situation, and in his developing romance. I felt that he did mature somewhat as the story went on, and he realized what harm his advanced knowledge of the war and of Tom’s future could wreak. As close as he had grown to his new comrades, he really struggled with the decision to stay or go once the opportunity to return to his own time finally arose.

All in all, I enjoyed this story. While it may have been a little slow to start, it developed into a sweet story of friendship and true love. Fans of time-travel romance should like this one, and the next 4 books in this series!

**Disclaimer – I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review**

About the Author:
John A. HeldtJohn A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at

Connect with John online:
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Guest Post – Richard Baker, Author of Cao Bang

I’m please to have a guest post from Richard Baker today. He is the author of Cao Bang, an historical fiction novel available from Amazon. I normally read and review authors’ books myself when they contact me, but I am not a fan of this particular era and subject matter. I didn’t want anyone who might be to miss hearing about this book however. As you’ll read below, Richard Baker has the experience and personal knowledge needed to make this a very realistic piece of fiction! Please join me in welcoming him to The Book’s the Thing. – Erika

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Review – House of Thieves by Charles Belfoure

House of Thieves by Charles Belfoure
House of Thieves: A Novel
Available September 15th 2015 by Sourcebooks Landmark

***Don’t miss a chance to win a copy in the giveaway hosted by Sourcebooks – ends September 30!***

Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating **** (4 of 5 stars)

How far would you go to save the life of a loved one? That’s the question that architect John Cross is forced to ask himself after being confronted with evidence of his son’s gambling problem and subsequent debt. The amount is more than his son, or he himself, could ever hope to repay. To keep his son from being killed by the gang holding the debt, John uses his specialized knowledge of local buildings to help the gang plan burglaries, with the understanding that with each job, some of the debt will be forgiven.

I admit that I was expecting a little more of a mystery element after reading the blurb, but even without the mystery this book takes you on an enjoyable trip to the past. The story takes place in New York, 1886, and is rich with descriptions of society life, rat baiting, etiquette, gambling dens, and almost anything else you might want to know about the time period. I did like the way that almost every member of John’s family, without his knowledge, flaunted tradition and expectations to pursue happiness in their own way, even though to be found out would have meant their ruin and social outcast. It was hard not to root for them even when you knew they were doing wrong.

If you are a fan of historical fiction (or if you enjoyed the movie Gangs of New York 🙂 ), then I highly recommend this one.

Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.