Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

The DeepFrom Goodreads:

‘The world is never-ending.
I never realized just how much space there is – how far and wide the water around our island stretches out. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I may have believed that a second Wall ran around Tresco, containing the infinite waters so we wouldn’t all wash over the edge and plummet down into the depths.’

Leia and Walt are on their way to the Other Side, where the legendary land of Cornwall awaits them. Tony, their new friend, has told them that all wars of the past have been forgotten and the citizens of Bodmin and Dartmoor live in peace. People adhere to the tenets of an old religion that preaches forgiveness and non-violence.

However, Walt and Leia soon discover that even a peace-loving, ideal society like this one may have its flaws. While on a forbidden trip to Exeter, the old city of their ancestors, the two Islanders discover more about the new world than they ever bargained for.

Secrets run dark and passions run deep in this thrilling conclusion to the Island novella series.


This third and final installment of Minkman’s Island series is just as good as those that come before it, and as Leia, Walt, and their family and friends leave the island to see what is beyond their horizons, the novel takes a more sinister turn. I really enjoyed this final conclusion, and the ante is definitely way up in this novel as evil lurks within Bodmin and Dartmoor.

Leia and Walt continue to be my two favorite characters of the series, though I truly enjoyed Alisa and Saul as well. And as they all get themselves into trouble, they must find a way to flee back to their own settlement across the water before it’s too late. Greed and power are a very real threat in the real world, and as Leia and Walt find out, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Though some of the adventures of the characters seems a little far-fetched to me, I also have a limited imagination and sometimes can’t pictures events within my head well enough for them to compute. Regardless, this fantastical novel definitely kept my attention and I enjoyed it very much.

This is a very innovative story, and it liked it very much, especially whereas the other installment in the series are novella length, and this final installment is that of novel length, adding more depth to the story and giving readers a broader scope of the world as it exists within the pages of this fun series. Four and a half stars.

4.5 stars

I was given this novel by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Kindle | Nook



18402115From Goodreads: The first memory I have of my grandfather is of a moment that we share together.

I’m sitting on his knee looking out over the harbor. Grandpa is smoking a pipe. He points at the horizon. “Look, Walt. Our ships are out there. And one day, another even more beautiful ship will appear at the horizon. A mighty ship to take us all away. And Annabelle will be at the front deck with open arms, inviting us all to join her on board.”

“Why don’t we sail to her ourselves?” I want to know.

“Because she promised she would come,” granddad replies. “And in that promise we trust. It’s only the Unbelievers who think they can do everything themselves. They have no faith in the Goddess.”

Walt lives in Hope Harbor, an island community that has put its trust in salvation from across the sea. The townspeople wait patiently, build their ships to sail out and welcome the Goddess, and piously visit the temple every week. Horror stories to scare their children are told about the Unbelievers on the other side of Tresco.

But not all is what it seems. Walt has questions that no one can answer, and when his best friend and cousin Yorrick is killed in an accident, he digs deeper to find out the truth about the origins of Hope Harbor’s society… and the secrets of the temple.

Return to the world of The Island and discover what Walt’s life was like before and after he met Leia!


If you’re like me, then you probably really enjoy novels that give you the “other” side of the story—the same story from a different character’s point of view.  Take Stephanie Meyer’s Midnight Sun, or Marata Eros’ A Brutal Tenderness, for examples.  In Twilight we learn everything from Bella’s point of view, but in Midnight Sun (what’s available, anyway), we are given the same information through Edward’s eyes, which is fantastic, in my opinion.  The same is true in Eros’ A Terrible Love series, giving readers Jess’ point of view in A Terrible Love, and Cass’ in A Brutal Tenderness, bring the story full circle and allowing readers to ascertain the thoughts and feelings of the quiet and brooding Cass, even adding in some differing situations, and taking us back into the worlds we love so deeply.

The same is true for The Waves, the second novel in The Island series by Jen Minkman.  When I first read The Island this past Spring, I was a little disappointed because the story seemed a little pushed, though I liked it overall.  The characters in this first novella were a bit flat, and everything resolved itself just a little too easily for my liking.  However, with the publication of The Waves, Minkman fleshes out the original story, making it much more concrete and filling in the holes left behind by The Island, but doing so through the eyes of a side character in The Island, Walt.

On the island, there are actually two differing groups of people residing, set apart by a vast wall.  Both sides have extremely different ideology concerning where they come from and whether or not they will ever be saved, and they both put their trust in relics such as books.  However, the sides have grown so distant that no one really knows anything about the other anymore, and so they stick to their own knowledge and teachings, fearing the unknown.

Leia grew up on the “Unbelievers” side (though she and her people would never call themselves that).  They believe that every man is for themselves, that children must raise themselves away from The Parents, and that they are completely alone in the universe—there is nothing across the vast space of ocean, and no one will ever come to “save” them.  Walt grew up on the “Fools” side, though again, he and his people would never refer to themselves as that.  They believe that the goddess will one day send her people across the ocean and come for the people on the island, so they hold out hope and wait for the day they may glimpse a ship.

Sound intriguing?  It is, and The Island, book one in the series, focuses on the story of Leia as she questions all that she knows.  But, like I said, I thought that first novella needed a lot more explanation and fleshing out.  The Waves, thankfully, does just that, presenting the story from Walt’s point of view, a “Fool” on the other side of the wall, and it mirrors events in both stories, giving readers the “other side” of the story, which I thoroughly enjoyed!

Picking up a few years prior to events in The Island, we meet Walt and his cousin as they begin to question all they know of Hope Harbor.  Why not build boats and try to see what’s on the other side, if anything, of the ocean? Why must they wait until a ship comes for them?  These questions, and information Walt’s cousin unearths in the vast array of books only a few chosen are allowed to read, ultimately lead to Walt’s cousin’s death… and the Unbelievers did it.  But did they?  As the novella continues to unfold, it begins to parallel events we read about in The Island, showing us what Walt was thinking when he first met Leia, where he took her book after returning home to his side of the island, who he spoke to, and how both the Fools in Hope Harbor and the Unbelievers on the other side decide it is time to confront their beliefs; after all, is it ever smart to only allow a select few the power and knowledge to lead a people?

Overall, The Waves adds a lot to the original story, and this glimpse into the other side of the island is exactly what was needed to make The Island complete.  I highly recommend you read both novellas together in order to get the entire story.  Four stars.

4 starsI received this novella from Netgally in exchange for an honest review.

et cetera
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