A VVivacious Review: Ocean of Secrets by Jerry Sacher

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Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5
 
Ocean of SecretsAndrew Elliot finds himself caught in an unwilling engagement which is bound to get him trapped in a disappointing marriage.
 
Mathew Ahearn, lost after his parents’ deaths, finds himself desperate for a new start in his life.
 
These two men from very different strata of society find themselves together on a journey from Southampton to New York aboard the RMS Titanic.
 
The blurb of this book is what really had me interested in this story. Because once you reveal that the MCs are aboard the Titanic there is just something tragic that attaches itself to the storyline.
 
This book had a certain novelty attached to it seeing as this is the first story I have ever read about the Titanic which is kind of what drove me to start and finish reading this story. But it should also tell you something else and i.e. the fact that the Titanic is the hero of this story. Because almost all the things I liked about this book are somehow related to the Titanic. Also more than following the journey of the characters we are also following the journey of this ship right from where it was created in Belfast, Ireland to its maiden voyage from Southampton which it never got to complete.
 
The plot and writing in this book are not very nuanced. Things are pretty plain from the starting; nothing really catches you with surprise. I guessed all the turning points of this book before they happened, which on one hand means that the events of this story lend themselves to future events but on the other hand with things being so forthright it is hard to find the story very interesting.
 
Andrew was quite irritating probably because all the time he spent on the Titanic not in company of Mathew he was either trying to get away from his current engagement or was being reprimanded to pay attention on the now and here seeing as he was so lost in his thoughts. Which yeah is okay the first few times but by the tenth time you start wondering if the guy ever really pays attention. Also his storyline was a little too transparent from the beginning.
 
Mathew is a twenty year old lad who finds himself in a difficult position but he just wants to get away and start a new life far away from everything he has ever known. Mathew’s story was actually interesting but his story pretty much wraps up in the first few chapters and later on the plot focuses more on Andrew. Personally I would have liked to have read more about Mathew’s time as a steward aboard the Titanic.
 
Overall what really lets this story down is the fact that the love story between these two characters is a little too unbelievable. I mean if they had probably spent a little more time together before they were professing their love for each other, it would have made their love a lot more believable.  The plausibility of their love story is a bit hard to swallow literally because these two go from catching glimpses of each other to talking for 2-3 minutes at a time to making love and this all happens in the span of five days.
 
Also another thing I found a bit unbelievable was the number of people who were okay with Andrew’s homosexuality, I mean personally I would have expected more caution and disgust if just for appearance sake back in the 1912.
 
I guess if I had to summarize I would say the Titanic is the clear hero of the story and dominates the story line. Everything else feels and probably is secondary to the legend that is the Titanic. Personally as a love story this book sorely lacked development even though I liked how the story ended.
 
Cover Art by Bree Archer. I loved the cover of this book, it is really pretty.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 200 pages
Published April 18th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634768221 (ISBN13: 9781634768221)
Edition Language English

A BJ Review: ’Til Death Do Us Part by Addison Albright

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Rating:  3.25 stars out of 5

Til Death Do Us PartHenry and Sam Miller-Greene are living the dream. They love their careers — which afford each of them opportunities to travel to exotic locations — they love their home, Sam’s caring family, and each other. They disagree on the subject of adoption, but are fully committed to each other in marriage … ’Til Death Do Us Part.

The dream is shattered when Henry’s plane crashes and he’s presumed dead. But four people — Henry, two other men, and a child — survive undetected on a remote, small, and insignificant island. Will Sam and Henry’s love be able to survive, as well?

Henry fights to endure in harsh conditions, never knowing when disaster will strike. Sam struggles with his loss, but with help moves on with his life. Will Sam be able to put aside his new love when he reunites with Henry?

I love this sort of story, had been looking from something with this scenario, so for me the story was gripping enough that I finished it in one day to see the conclusion. The descriptions of how they survived on the island were very detailed and obviously very well researched. I enjoyed the story quite a bit, but there were several things that kept me from LOVING it as much as I really did want to.

The survivors did seem to have it remarkably easy on the small island, it wasn’t hard to find water and the supply stayed consistent, there was very little sickness or injuries over the extended length of time they were there. It’s mentioned how dangerous even small injuries can be, and yet there was a mention of blistered hands but no mention of complications from it nor how it was dealt with.  And when we do see one rather serious injury, the care was mentioned but not in depth, and the recovery was pretty much glossed over with no lasting consequences from the injury. They explain how they washed their teeth, but never that anyone had a tooth issue in all that time despite all the fruit sugar and stuff.   

My connection to the characters never felt close I’d find in books that fully engage me. A few days after reading it, I have a hard time to remember them. I wanted to feel more attuned to their emotions and desperation and trauma than what I did. Too much was told than shown, I think, which kept me at a distance from them. And the dialogue often felt unnatural.

Also there were frequent flashbacks to Henry and Sam’s relationship prior to the separation. I think this was meant to make us feel closer to them as a couple, but since it was in the past, I often felt compelled to skim and get back to current matters. The jumping around from present with each guy, then back to the past didn’t work well for me. A little touch once would have been enough for me, I’d actually rather have seen the relationship with Nash develop more rather than the rather cursory depth it was given.

Before they were rescued, despite the lack of depth to the characters, I was invested in the story and would have given it at least a four. But after the rescue, my feelings changed rather quickly. The character’s reactions after the rescue and the dialogue (often times they all seemed to just spout words without even thinking) really changed the heart of the story for me. Because I came to dislike all of them at a time when I should have been feeling for them intensely. All the back and forth, lack of thoughtfulness towards each other and what was said, just pulled me out of the story and made me hardly care.

One character just suddenly dropped off without even a final conversation on page, making me doubt if the other was ever truly in love with him. Basically, the angsty drama I had expected at the end didn’t materialize, it all felt distant. Also, I enjoyed the little boy, Buddy, and his storyline, but again it’s conclusion also so easy and left me wanting just that bit more depth and angst.

Lovely cover is lovely, perfect for the story.

Sales Links:   JMS Books LLC | Amazon


Book Details:  

ebook, 212 pages
Published April 3rd 2016 by JMS Books, LLC
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersHenry Miller-Greene, Sam Miller-Greene settingSeattle, WA (United States)
Honiara (Solomon Islands)
Hawaii (United States)

Jerry Sacher on the Titanic and the Inspiration Behind ‘Ocean of Secrets’ ( author guest blog )

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Ocean of Secrets

Ocean of Secrets by Jerry Sacher
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art by Bree Archer

Purchase Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Jerry Sacher here today to talk about Jerry’s latest novel, Ocean of Secrets.  Welcome, Jerry.

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My name is Jerry Sacher, and my newest novel, Ocean of Secrets, releases on Friday, April 29th, 2016.
Andrew Elliot, the son of a Scottish Nobleman, is sent to America accompanied by his fiancé and her brother. But theirs is no love match. Andrew’s family insists that he marries to ‘cure’ him of his feelings for someone else–the son of the caretaker on his father’s estate.
 
Matthew Ahearn, newly orphaned, dreams of Texas and cowboys. He lands a job as a third class steward on a ship bound for America, and it is there that his and Andrew’s worlds collide. The two men–and their secrets–are brought together, lost in the magic of an ocean voyage, one that will always be remembered.
 
The year is 1912, and they’re about to board R.M.S Titanic…
The book will be available both on Dreamspinnerpress.com and Amazon.com
OceanOfSecrets_FBbanner_DSP (2)
Jack and Rose; Edith and Edward of Noel Coward’s Cavalcade of 1933; Lady Marjorie Bellamy on Upstairs Downstairs. What did all of these fictional people have in common? The sinking of the Titanic played a major role in their stories… So why did I choose to write another story about the sinking of the Titanic?
I have been interested in the Titanic since first grade, when I was first able to read a book about the ill-fated liner. The stories of the passengers and crew who were there have always fascinated me. I always wanted to write one of my own, and to tell in my own way a story that, until now, hasn’t been told: the romance between two men with the great ship as the background of their world.
There was known to have been at least one gay couple traveling on the Titanic: a young man in second class named Albert Fynney, who was accompanied by a male companion named William Gaskell. Both of them were the subject of many rumors that had circulated prior to boarding the liner.
A first class passenger, noted artist Frank Millet, wrote to a friend back home from the ship from the last port of call–Queenstown, Ireland–describing “A queer lot of people” and “Plenty of our kind” of people among the passengers. Who could he have been talking about? My antagonist, Andrew, is befriended by Mr. Millet. Could he have met someone like Andrew and written to his friend about him from the ship? It’s possible.
The story begins with Andrew Elliot, the son of a Scottish nobleman, engaged to a woman he doesn’t love, and being sent to America aboard the Titanic, chaperoned by her brother. The hasty match has been arranged by Andrew’s parents in hopes he will get over his feelings for a young man on the family estate, and to keep the family from scandal.
On the Titanic, he meets a young crewman named Matthew, who has secrets of his own. The lives and fates of all of them are thrown together on the night of April 14, 1912. Who will survive?
Here is a short excerpt:

 

 

          “Come on, jump and I’ll follow you!” He shouted above the rumbling noise that was coming from all around them. Matthew held onto Andrew’s hand for a brief second, squeezing, and each, giving the other silent encouragement. Then Matthew jumped, Andrew watched him hit the water that was now only a few feet below. Andrew took a step off the edge of the deck and leaped. The water was bitterly cold, like a thousand knives being driven into his body. He could barely breathe, but he had to find Matthew. Andrew looked behind him as the lights blinked and went out and the ship towered above him in the darkness. People were jumping, splashing near him, crying out.

          He thought he heard someone calling out his name,so he swam toward the sound. He only got a few feet away, when he found himself being showered with pieces of glass, wood, and scraps of metal and sparks; the screech of tortured steel drowned out all other noise, except the voice that persistently called out his name. An arm reached out, grabbing at him and pulling him under, but he somehow managed to break free. He came up next to a collapsible boat with a handful of people inside huddling together and watching the scene unfold in front of them. Andrew hung onto the side of the boat and followed their gaze.

I hope you enjoy reading Ocean of Secrets…

There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages about writing historic fiction. The biggest advantage for me is the research. Since I enjoy history I get to read about a lot of time periods that I had previously known nothing about. Being interested in the Titanic I discovered a couple of things I didn’t really know before. Only the more expensive cabins in first class had a private bathroom/water closet. The rest were shared facilities. There was no fresh water to bathe in, only hot and cold salt water.

In 1912, even though there were telephones, phonographs, and motion pictures, slang phrases or common expressions varied from place to place. Much like today, a word that means one thing in America could have a different meaning in England. So it was difficult not to let modern words or phrases slip in to the dialogue while I was writing Ocean of Secrets.

In writing a story I’m more of a planner. I will first complete a biography of all the main antagonists and protagonists, and then once I’ve given them a back story, than I’ll set up an outline, although the charters will tell their own story once you type in the first sentence.

My favorite characters are Andrew Elliot and Matthew, plus Jeremy Haniver from my first novel: The Saint of San Francisco.  I love them and I think I identify with them because all three of them are trying to find their way through life, and they emerged through conflict with confidence that none of them knew they possessed…

A little about me: I currently live in Chicago with my husband, Dean, and our two rambunctious cats, Monty and Nicky. I’ve been actively writing full time for the past six years. I’m interested in Titanic and all periods of history, and I have also published a novel set during the Russian Revolution.

My other works include: The Saint of San Francisco. The Rosary and the Badge. Noble’s Savior, and Fair In Love.

You can follow me on Twitter at @jerrysacher1 and on Facebook on my The Saint of San Francisco page. Keep up with me on my website, JerrySacher.com, for more news about Ocean of Secrets and my other projects.

Thanks,
Jerry Sacher