Shaken to the Core by Jae

I am a huge fan of Jae’s work. I wholeheartedly believe she is one of the best at creating well rounded stories and interesting characters. Her newest novel is no exception. Set in San Francisco under the backdrop of the California earthquake of April 18, 1906. This earthquake ranks as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time, and thus caused ninety percent of San Francisco to catch fire. The historical aspects of this novel are riveting, but what really makes this story jump off the pages is the characters of Giuliana Russo and Kate Winthrop. Their interactions, their story, their adventures just felt real, they grabbed your heart and just would not let go.

Giuliana Russo is a migrant of Sicily. Giuliana and her older brother left their homeland to seek a better life. They didn’t dream of coming to California to become rich or famous, no they just want to provide enough money to send home so their mother and young siblings have enough food to eat. Work a few years in America, save up and then head back to their homeland. Her older brother, Turi, works the boat and Giuliana helps him sell his catch. Unfortunately their plan for a better life and a chance to return home is destroyed when Turi become deathly ill and suddenly passes away. Giuliana is now alone, and forced to find any work she can, and that is where she will meet Kate and becomes the maid to the Winthrop family.

Kate Winthrop is seriously wealthy. Her family owns a large shipping company and Kate has never wanted for anything that money can buy. She does however want her freedom. Kate is not happy buying fancy dresses, or entertaining the fancies of a suitor. No, this independent, spirited woman wants to make her own mark on the world. Photography is her passion, and she is dead set on working for a newspaper. Her photographs will speak for themselves no matter her gender.

Kate and Guliana become fast friends and allies. Both women are struggling to find their place in the world and they see that in each other. They also see beyond the veneer of poor immigrant and rich socialite. As their friendship takes off, so does the raging fire. These two women are thrown into perilous situations and adventures that are heart-pounding and quite frankly scary as hell. Their relationship is breathtakingly beautiful, timid but also very brave.

You cannot go wrong reading this one. This book is amazing! The historical aspect, the adventure and the romance are all done marvelously. Jae hits it out of the park with this one! For what its worth, Jae if you read this humble review, please write a book about Dr. Lucy Hamilton!

I was given this book by Ylva in return for an honest review.

5 out of 5 stars

Shaken to the Core
by Jae


Broken Wings by L.-J. Baker

Broken Wings by L.-J. Baker is a fantastical tale involving fairies and dryads. As much as it is a fantasy and romance this book deals with some pretty hefty issues as well. Everything from life as an illegal immigrant, class differences, and especially abuse. All of these subjects are discussed in an interesting way that brings depth to our characters, and gives the story dimension.

The main character of the story is a fairy named Rye Woods. Rye works two sometimes three jobs as a laborer to pay the bills and to keep her teenage sister Holly enrolled in her nice private school. It is very difficult for Rye to make ends meet. Everything Rye has ever done is to protect and raise Holly. You see, Rye escaped from Fairyland as young adult woman, and as she escaped she took her kid sister with her. Rye fled after being forced to renounce being gay and facing harsh punishments and torture. Rye’s past has caused her to have very low self-esteem and she has a ton of internal baggage.

Flora With is a dryad (which apparently is tree nymph person, I had to Google this) who is well known for the artistic tapestries she creates. Flora has done well for herself financially and lives a luxurious lifestyle. Flora is immediately attracted to Rye, and pulls out all the stops to get Rye to notice her.

Rye and Flora jump into a sexual relationship very quick. This relationship is the first in many years for Rye and as amazing as it is, it brings up a lot of issues Rye struggles with. She doesn’t want to feel like she owes anyone anything. Even a simple gift of dinner out from Flora causes her to struggle.

While I loved the interactions between the characters the amount of struggle and communication issues became overwhelming to me. Rye while being very intelligent could be quite dense sometimes. Her lack of communication skills with both Flora and her sister became tedious sometimes.

Overall the story is well written and interesting. I enjoyed it being a very modern day tale but in a fantasy setting. I will say the last few chapters were very good and really sealed the book for me.

3.75 stars

Broken Wings
by L-J Baker