Tag Archives: time travel romance

My Thoughts on Anna Belfrage’s Graham Saga Book Five: Serpents in the Garden

Serpents in the GardenSerpents in the Garden is book five in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series. It’s been an interesting ride in following along with this family and their adventures in history, with Alex coming from modern times and incorporating pretty well in to Matthew’s 17th Century world, all things considered.  As they’ve moved on now to the New World, and as the present keeps appearing into the past, we see how both times collide. Then, there are the new characters introduced and assisted in each novel that really make each story unique. Yet, there is also a seamless feel to them as well.

As this is book five, we start to see more of their children as they grow, and in this novel we experience watching Jacob and Daniel find their career paths, Ian and his wife Jenny struggle, people out for revenge due to Matthew’s actions, and more. The life of Matthew and Alex is always full of love, but also outside conflicts and the violence with others who believe they’ve been wronged heat up in this book as much as the sexual scenes. If you love a lot of action and steamy romance, this book will keep you turning the pages!

There’s always feisty and independent Alex, and loyal and patient Matthew, and though they do get into tiffs now and again, they have a deep love that transcends all the plots of all the novels. But the romance part isn’t what draws me to her books, it’s that she’s written a well-done novel of time travel that features Alex fitting in and making a life in history. I enjoy her deep character development. It’s been exciting, as a modern woman, seeing Alex travel from my period and into all the various tumultuous periods of history. Seeing the struggles of life during these travels through her eyes, is enlightening.

Anna is a wonderful storyteller and her books are always well-written. This series is definitely one you’ll want to collect with its sweeping saga of prose and its elegant and gorgeous covers. You could probably start with any of them and enjoy the story, the way they are written, but I definitely thinking buying the whole set is worth it if you like historical romance with a twist.

Serpents in the Garden, Synopsis~

Serpents in the GardenPublication Date: March 1, 2014
SilverWood Books
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

After years of hard work, Matthew and Alex Graham have created a thriving home in the Colony of Maryland. About time, in Alex’s opinion, after far too many adventures she is really looking forward to some well-deserved peace and quiet.

A futile hope, as it turns out. Things start to heat up when Jacob, the third Graham son, absconds from his apprenticeship to see the world – especially as Jacob leaves behind a girl whom he has wed in a most irregular fashion.

Then there’s the infected matter of the fellow time traveller Alex feels obliged to help – no matter the risk. Worst of all, one day Philip Burley and his brothers resurface after years of absence. As determined as ever to make Matthew pay for every perceived wrong – starting with the death of their youngest brother – the Burleys play out a complicated cat and mouse game, and Alex is thrown back into an existence where her heart is constantly in her mouth, convinced as she is that one day the Burleys will achieve their purpose.

Will the Burleys succeed? And if they do, will the Graham family survive the exacted price?
Serpents in the Garden is the fifth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

Graham Saga Titles
Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution (coming August 2014)
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest

Buy the Book~

Amazon CA
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Kobo Books

Author Anna Belfrage, Biography~

Anna BelfrageI was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.

I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive …

Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.

For more information, please visit Anna Belfrage’s website. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/serpentsinthegardentour
Tour Hashtag: #SerpentsintheGardenTour

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Hands of Time, by Irina Shapiro, First in Her Time Travel Romance Series

Hands of Time, by Irina Shapiro, is the first book in her five-part time travel series, the fifth part just being made available to the public this week. It’s more of the plush romance, think 1980s Harlequin-esque tone, and is best for women readers who primarily enjoy bawdy romance without much historical substance. There is a huge market of women who purchase these kinds of book and it should be marketed primarily to them for best return.

The protagonist, Valerie, is an American woman who is visiting a shop seeking a tourist-like gift when she comes across a beautiful clock. Instantly, she is transported back to the early 1600s. I agree to read this book as I was enticed by the clock being a time travel element. I always love the thought of historical pieces being linked to people and places of the past. I love when they are used in books for people to discover they are even more than what they thought they might have been or for a history mystery to be decoded or solved.

Being such a huge fan of time travel, either to the past or the future, and historical time travels with touches of romance and emotion are fun to read, I was hoping for more of an exciting plot. She did have a small family mystery, but didn’t allude to this until halfway through the book.

Unfortunately, though the writing is decent, it’s average. It’s easily read and the grammar is on point, but there just isn’t the emotion there. It wasn’t like the The Time Traveler’s Wife to me. It didn’t suck me in and make me burn to read it late into the night. There wasn’t any historical plot, no driving mystery that was alluded to throughout the book beyond the reader wondering how the clock transported her. There was not much exclamation or surprise by any party of what she was doing there. This seemed odd. Though she did try to include into the setting what life would be like in the 1600s, and the setting of the old castle-like home very quaint and lovely to think about, she just didn’t seem “misplaced” enough.

The book started abruptly with everything falling into place, without Shapiro really fleshing out the emotions of each character introduced or giving Valerie time to be aghast at her mysterious drop into the 1600s and the life of an English noble home.  I felt an initial spark of desire between Valerie and Alec, one of the brothers vying for her attention as she conveniently is holed up in their home, but she extinguishes that straight away upon that first meeting. After that, Alec becomes a rather crass character to me. Valerie sleeps with Finn rather quickly and without first creating any passionate romantic suspense for us. It’s somewhat tacky–its sexual parts–and it’s sex without eroticism.

I hate giving any criticism to authors, I know how that feels, and most readers and authors know that, but as a professional writer and editor myself, I just have to be totally honest. I wish no harm to Shapiro and commend her for living her writing dream and creating so many books on her own. My advice, if she asked, would be that she could re-work her content to be much more emotionally driven as the writing foundation is there. If she could connect her characters emotionally with the reader and put some suspense into it as well, the series would reach a wider audience. Her female lead should be stronger and more independent for me to enjoy it.

I bet until then she’ll get 5 starts from the faction of romance readers who read this type of romance (think Amanda Scott downsized) in a several hour sitting and want more….. and then 1 or 2 stars from the readers who are reading historical fiction works that are highly researched, absorbing, and emotional. You can decide which you are and let that be a way for you to know whether you should purchase this book, or the series. Maybe the rest of the series gets better with her time spent writing.

Her book covers and content could be updated and probably help her make more money, as readers would be attracted to more vibrant and readable covers. Also, her website does not make clear what order the books go in besides the fifth. I imagine she is trying to independently do this all on her own and again, I applaud her for living her dreams. But I’d love to see her modernize her brand a little more.

I’ll be giving her 3 stars on other sites. This means I liked it and it’s average in accordance to the really bad stuff I’ve read (and won’t even spend my time talking about) and the really amazing bestsellers I’ve read. It’s decent writing and an average romance. Female readers who love a good steamy romance, with a love triangle and a curious protagonist, will enjoy Hands of Time.

The Hands of Time, Synopsis~

The Hands of TimePublication Date: December 7, 2011
Merlin Press

When a young American woman vanishes without a trace from a quaint fishing village on the coast of England only one person knows the truth, but he remains silent, allowing the authorities to search for her in vain, safe in the knowledge that she will never be found. As Valerie’s bereft sister returns home alone, she struggles to understand what happened and come to terms with her terrible loss when she suddenly stumbles upon a clue that might finally shed some light on her sister’s disappearance.

Meanwhile, Valerie Crane finds herself transported to the year 1605. Terrified and confused she turns for help to the Whitfield brothers, who take her in and offer her a home despite their misgivings about her origins. Both Alexander and Finlay Whitfield fall in love with the mysterious woman who shows up on their doorstep, creating a love triangle that threatens to consume them all. Valerie must make her choice, deciding between the brother who will lead her down the path of destruction or one who will give her the love she couldn’t find in her own time.

Purchase the Book

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Hands-Time-Book-ebook/dp/B006JRO9WS

Author Irina Shapiro, Biography~

Irina ShapiroIrina Shapiro was born in Moscow, Russia, where she lived until she was eleven. In 1982 her family emigrated to the United States and settled in New York. Due to her love of reading, Irina was able to pick up English very quickly, and was an honor student throughout her school career.

After graduating from Bernard M. Baruch College in 1992 with a Bachelor’s degree in International Business, Irina worked in advertising for two years before shifting her focus to Import/Export. She worked her way up to the position of Import Manager in a large textile house before leaving the work force in 2007 to focus on her autistic son.

It wasn’t until Irina had been at home for some time that she began to write. Eventually the characters began to take on a life of their own and have conversations in her head, and once she started writing her musings down the stories came easily enough. Irina incorporated her love of history and travel into her writing to create a rich and detailed background for the characters.

Since then Irina has written eight novels. Book five of The Hands of Time Series, Shattered Moments, is available as of January 7, 2014.

Irina Shapiro lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

For more information, please visit www.irinashapiro.com. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/thehandsoftimetour
Tour Hashtags: #HandsofTimeTour #IrinaShapiro #HFVBT

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I was provided a free .pdf of this book in return for an honest review, which I’ve given.

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