The Winter Over

I started Winter’s Tale a couple of years ago, but never finished it. I got about 1/3 of the way through and was just so utterly bored that I gave up. And for the 2017 book challenge, I had to have a book with one of the seasons in the title, so I made the commitment to giving it another shot. And, obviously, by the title of this post, I didn’t do it. I just finished 2 700+ page books and am working on another (IT….wow….just wait for that review) and I just couldn’t make myself try this book again. So, I headed to my kindle to see if I had another book that would qualify. Thankfully, through the Kindle First program you get with Prime, I had The Winter Over downloaded and ready to go. Fortunately, this was just a mere 300+ pages. Totally doable.

I really hate cold weather. I live in a relatively warm state and I can barely stand the winters. So books about cold weather really make an impact on me. And this book oozes frigidity. Not just the cold weather, but the characters themselves are standoffish and cold to each other. You know something suspicious is going on really quickly. The story revolves around a science expedition in Antarctica where they are transitioning between the summer season where there are dozens of crew members to the bare bones winter season with just over forty members. Just before the last flights out, one of the members is found dead, outside frozen to death. And let me just say this book isn’t about monsters or aliens or anything supernatural. The book is very straightforward and you know early on that people are the natural enemy. There is a mystery to be solved and the author, Matthew Iden, gives you a lovely trail of breadcrumbs to follow to figure out just what in the hell is happening.

I truly selected this book simply for the title, but I really enjoyed it. I’m a big fan of a well written thriller and this is one. I was able to solve a few of the mysteries along the way, but overall, was pleasantly surprised with how everything turned out. This is a new release, and I recommend you get your hands on it. Be sure to bundle up first because the icy descriptions can permeate your brain, sending you into the shivers.

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The Historian

Here’s another book that has been on my to read list for quite some time. When the 2017 book challenge came out, I noticed I needed a book of letters. Unless I know of a title right off the bat, I head over to Goodreads to search for books that might fit this category. I discovered there aren’t a ton of books of letters, however, this one fit. All I knew about this book before starting was that it was about Dracula.

At over 700 pages, it does take some time to sink into the story. You have a young girl and her father who live in Europe and travel quite a bit for the father’s job and once she is old enough, he begins to tell her a story of his youth. Unlike most stories, this one involves vampires. The father, Paul, spent a good chunk of his early adult days searching for the tomb of Dracula. His mentor, Professor Rossi goes missing, and Paul decides he’s going to find him. Along the way he meets Rossi’s daughter, Helen, and the two of them embark on the quest. All this information is revealed via letters Paul has left for his daughter. You see, Paul has gone missing as well, and his daughter uses the story in the letters to try to find him. So you also have a story within a story going on here.

Once you really get into the meat of the story, it flies by really quickly. And it’s not about vampires really. Sure, Dracula’s tomb is the ultimate quest, but it really is just about solving problems, finding people, and searching for a treasure. I would consider it a quest book more than a vampire book. If you’re looking for vampires, might I recommend The Passage trilogy by Justin Cronin. Overall, a really good read and it moved much more quickly than I was expecting it to.