Mini-Reviews: Firelight, The Mystery of Drear House, The Crown


Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.


Title: Firelight (Darkest London #1)

Author: Kristen Callihan

Genre: Steampunk, Paranormal Romance, Historical Romance

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Once the flames are ignited . . .

Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family’s fortune decimated and forced her to wed London’s most nefarious nobleman.

They will burn for eternity . . .

Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it’s selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can’t help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn’t felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.

Review: What an amazing book! Firelight is a great read, filled with historical details and original steampunk elements. Archer and Miranda make an interesting couple. Archer has been cursed, and Miranda has a powerful gift to control fire. The characters match well together, and they have an unique style to interact. This is one of the few historical romances that stands out from the rest. It’s really good, and has solid writing.

The Mystery of Drear House

Title: The Mystery of Drear House

Author: Virginia Hamilton

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

A black family living in the house of long-dead abolitionist Dies Drear must decide what to do with his stupendous treasure, hidden for one hundred years in a cavern near their home.

Review: This is a great mystery novel for young adults. The most interesting part was Drear House itself. It’s a labyrinth with secret tunnels and hideouts. The pace is quite fast, and the main character Thomas is the kind of protagonist kids can easily relate to. An intriguing, quick read.

The Crown

Title: The Crown (Joanna Stafford #1)

Author: Nancy Bilyeau

Genre: Historical Mystery

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

In this debut historical thriller, an aristocratic young nun must find a legendary crown in order to save her father’s life and preserve all she holds dear from Cromwell’s ruthless terror. When novice nun Joanna Stafford learns her rebel cousin is condemned by King Henry VIII to be burned at the stake, she makes the decision to break the sacred rule of enclosure and run away from her Dominican Order in Dartford to stand at her cousin’s side. Arrested for interfering with king’s justice, Joanna, along with her father, Sir Richard Stafford, is sent to the Tower of London. Joanna’s father is brutally tortured by Stephen Gardiner, the Bishop of Winchester who leads the Catholic faction bent on saving England’s monasteries from destruction. In order to save her father, Joanna must submit to Gardiner’s will and become a pawn in the struggle between religious extremes. Gardiner forces Joanna to return to Dartford Priory with a mission: find the long hidden crown worn by Saxon King Athelstan in AD 937 during the historic battle that first united Britain. Gardiner believes the crown itself to possess a mystical power that will halt the Reformation. Uncovering only dark betrayals and murder at Dartford, Joanna flees with Brother Edmund, a troubled young friar, and with time running out, their hunt for the crown leads them through royal castles, to Stonehenge, and finally to the tomb of the mysterious King Athelstan under Malmesbury Abbey. There Joanna learns the true secret of the crown, a secret tracing all the way back to Golgotha and the Relics of the Passion. Now, as Cromwell’s army of destruction advances, Joanna must finally determine who to trust and how far she is willing to go to protect a way of life that she passionately loves.

Review: The Crown was just an ‘okay’ read. The writing wasn’t all that great, and the book seemed to try too hard to hold on to historical events, and mix them with the plot, as if the plot was predicted by the historical events, and the other way around. The back cover compares this book to Philippa Gregory’s work, but Gregory has a lot more attention for detail, and manages to provide better character sketches. All in all, just okay.

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