Book Review: I, James by Mike Hartner + Guest Post & Giveaway

Title: I, James
Author: Mike Hartner
Series: The Eternity Series #2
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Eternity4Popsicle Publishing
Pulished: September 16th 2014 
Page Count: 285 pages
Format: eBook
Source: From Kate Tilton & author in exchange of an honest review

James Crofter was ripped from his family at age 11. 
Within a year the prince was a pauper in a foreign land. 

Is nature stronger than nurture? And even if it is, can James find the happiness he so richly desires? 
*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 4/5 stars
I, James is another great historical fiction that follows almost side-by-side the tale of I, Walter (for a while).  Mike Harter spun another wonderful adventure at sea and on foreign countries, but this time, instead of only being an adventure of seeking a better future (like Walter's), it's about Walter's son, James, who is forced into a life of slavery and abuse as he's kidnapped by his uncle at the age of eleven.

While I loved I, Walter, I have to admit I enjoyed I, James a lot more. James story drew me in from page one and I grew quite attached to him. His personality and strength is admirable and his values hardly falter from good. Drifting through his tale was tough and inspiring at the same time, and I loved how this character was compensated for his great deeds and smart thinking.

Another great thing that I loved was Rosalind's point of view. It was nice to step into the mind of another character who was just as brave and strong as James. They were destined for each other and I really liked how they effortlessly fell in love. As they journey together, they have more than their fair share of struggles, but I'm glad that until the very end, their love doesn't die down.

Ugh, but the ending, it tore my heart (whywhywhy??). Hate that I can't spoil it to you because I really, REALLY want to. Just so I could rant and relieve my feelings. But oh well. I can only say that jealousy is a fickle thing. 

Overall, I, James was an extremely satisfying read to finish off my year. Never a dull moment and upon finishing it, I even felt rewarded (and sad, did I mention that?). Maybe I'll never set foot on a ship in the likes of I, James or come even close to a journey as his and Rosalind's, but in these pages, I felt like the journey was all mine.

And on a more personal note:

Because my native language is Spanish, I always get thrilled when books mention the language or even have characters speak it. I feel a closer connection to it than I normally would,  even though I'm not from Spain (though I'm obviously a Spanish descendant).

That's what makes me like Mike Hartner's books much more. They don't shy away from diversity, and not only because of Spanish characters, but because it shows many more cultures that other books don't get close to. It's a nice change of air and I know now that I will always find that in his tales. :)
And now on to Mike's wonderful guest post that tells a bit more about his books!

Differences between writing I, James and I, Walter
I was asked the question, “What differences were there in writing I, James vs. writing I, Walter?”

The answer is that there were a number of similarities, and yet there were also a number of differences.

One similarity is that they are both memoirs, and coming of age stories. 

The first difference is that Walter’s story was written from an old man’s ability to look back at his life. And thus, it came off as he succeeded in everything that he did. A few readers even commented on how much ‘luck’ Walter had. And I agree with them, to a certain degree. But, we have to remember it is Walter that is telling his story. So, he’s humble enough to gloss over some of his successes and the work that they required, and he’d do the same thing for the problems he overcame in winning.

James’ story, really, starts when he is kidnapped from home. And the reader, and in fact me as a writer, gets to go through these life-changing events as they happen to James. So, rather than being told from someone looking back, it’s told real time.

A second major difference is that I, Walter is 90% Walter’s voice. That is, 90% male voice. Or at least, that’s how I as the writer will characterize it. And I, James is not. I, James has a very capable female character in Rosalind. And the story is 50% told from James’ POV and 50% from Rosalind’s. And Rosalind’s voice comes out very loud, and plays an important role in nearly everything that they do. She is a strong, capable female. To which a friend of mine looked at me and asked, “Hmm… a strong, capable, female. We don’t know any role models for that, do we?” And if you can’t hear his voice dripping with sarcasm, you’re the only one.

A third difference, though it is less obvious, is the action. Walter left home at age 11 voluntarily. James was kidnapped – ripped from his home unceremoniously. Walter therefore was capable of charting much of his own path. Admittedly, he stumbled upon some very good things…his friend Bart being one of them. But he did that at his own pace and during his own time. His son however was thrust into service on the boat that he was a prisoner on, and then the plantation, and the boats afterwards. 

Finally, in I, Walter the book is written around Walter, and it surrounds what happened to Walter. In I, James, I have tried to weave the story of James Crofter, as well as the story of Rosalind Roth Caufield together. Their story is somewhat like a “Y” in that two separate stories come together with the force of two people aided by serendipity.

These are the major differences I have found. For me, writing I, Walter was a learning experience. Writing I, James meant challenging myself yet again, without writing a cookie-cutter repeat of the same story. I hope that my readers and reviewers will consider I, James a worthy successor.

 About the Author 

Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.

Find him online:   Website | Twitter | Facebook

Enter the rafflecopter below to win either a kindle copy of I, Walter (the first book in The Eternity Series) or I, James! There will be two winners, one ebook provided by Mike Hartner (thank you so much!) and one by me. This is open internationally and giveaway ends January 11th at midnight. Good luck!


  1. Sounds interesting. I'm just not sure it's something I'd be interested in. Great review though! :)

    1. Yeah, this books is more for YA Historical fans and those who enjoy sea adventures. But it can surprise any reader ;)

  2. Oh now I'm even more excited to read I, James!