Saturday, November 7, 2015

Dawn Mist

By: Karla Brandenberg

Kundigerin, book 3 in the series, continues the story of our favorite baker, Marissa (Maitland) Harper and her brother, Max, who is a Huter de s Geheimnisses (keeper of secrets). We meet a few (not too many) friends, all brought together because of their abilities. When one friend is revealed to be evil, he is destroyed and killed. But by whom or what was this evil demon? Neither Marissa or new friend, Giselle (also a Kundigerin-one who knows/sees psychic signatures left by events) can get a reading on this new apparition. Was it his long lost brother or is this a new entity to the powers they have inherited?

I was, once again, immersed in the story. The plotlines are easy to follow. She has created characters and physical descriptions eloquently, without overwhelming the reader. This is my favorite of the series thus far because by this time I am totally involved with the characters. AND this book is far from my regular genre.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Emerald Brooch (Celtic Brooch series Bk#4)

By Katherine Lowry Logan

Kenzie Wallis-Manning (U.S. Army-Intelligence retired) returns to her London flat, where she is doing her thesis on Winston Churchill, to be greeted by the postman with a package for her and a call/lecture from her alcoholic father, who continues to live in the regimented world of an Army officer and expects her to do the same. All she wants from him his love or, at the very least, acknowledgment of pride in her accomplishments. She leads a solitary life with only PTSD as her companion. Eventually she opens the box to find an emerald brooch. A touch of the clasp and it opens to reveal a Gaelic incantation which, like her predecessors takes her into the fog and leaves her in war torn London a fortnight before D-day. With her military training she gets along with the help of Molly whom she met while looking for some light and information (like what is the date). 
In Scotland, her brother is fed up with the police and calls friend and mystery novelist David McBain for help. He and fellow time traveler (The Sapphire Brooch) JacK Mallory soon learn of the existence of yet another jeweled brooch and they research and use one of the other brooch's to go to WW-I London. The crafting of how this came about is genius. Meanwhile, Kenzie uses her intelligence expertise to go work at the top secret Bletchley Park, home of Turling's code breaking center.
The personal relationships of the well developed characters contains some internal demons that are dealt with through love from friends and relations, especially Kenzie who uses her internal strength and pain to overcome being in a different kind of battle, and how coming to love will assure her independence. Like Sapphire, this is full of action and some steamy romance (no explicit sex).
In this flawlessly crafted novel, I was immersed in the story. She achieves a high level of sophistication that does not insult the reader. She has created endearing characters (that we now know well) and physical descriptions with intelligent literary language.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Delightful-One Scandalous Kiss

By: Christy Carlyle

How far would you go to save your (deceased) wastrel father's business? Sometimes keeping a deathbed promise isn't the best road for a girl to follow. But Jess has integrity enough to do just that, keep his bookstore at all costs. What he also left her was his massive debt.
When an opportunity to earn enough to bring the bank note current-she accepts. A little r I check girl is upset that the handsome Viscount would not dance with her, he barely acknowledged her and now he needs to be taught a lesson-brought to his knees, and it is Jess who will bring him down...'the best laid plans' and all that.
As things fall apart in her comfortable, albeit sheltered world, she is rescued by an unlikely ally and taken to the estate of said Viscount. He needs to wed a very wealthy heiress (don't they all) before the roof caves in around them. Enter: rich heiress from America-to play 'dollars for title'. But there are temptations for all at this engagement-house party. And the heiress and Viscount cannot seem to keep their eyes focused. The rake friend, the little rich girl that got her feelings hurt (Yes, she showed up too!) and the well intentioned, busy body aunt are of no help.

You will thoroughly enjoy reading this, the first of the series, roller coaster ride into happiness.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Rogue Knight (Bk2 Agents of the Medieval Warriors series)

By: Regan Walker

I was honored with a beta-copy for preliminary review. I was not compensated.

To start, kudos to our author for prefacing the story with a map and the 'Characters of Note'.
William the Conqueror-the Norman King continues ramped devastation in his quest to rule all England, in this case especially York. An uprising by locals and supporters of Edgar AEthling, saxon heir to the throne of England is imminent. The rebels are led by Maerlswain, a Danish nobleman and father of Emma of York.
Emma has a big heart and is an important support to the citizens of York. She has her 'family' consisting of two orphans, an aging man servant and a cook. Eventually the daughter of York's swordsmaker, in order to ensure her safety from the Normans, joins her group.
Sir Geoffroi de Tourani of Talisand (The Red Wolf's Prize) leads a troop to fight for King William. In a chance meeting they function within both sides, and together in a sweet romance.
King William is intent on teaching the rebels a lesson to show his power, which Ms. Walker describes with intense excitement, but not gruesome. As understated as Emma is she mingles with some Normans as the final showdown commences, and valiantly plays a pivotal role.
This is a flawlessly crafted novel. An exciting continuation of an important time in English history, yet this does not read as a text. Regan Walker achieves a high level of intellect

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Red Wolf's Prize

By: Regan Walker

I was thoroughly enthralled reading for this author. I was given no compensation for this review.
The Red Wolf's Prize is an intelligent and very well written lesson in the history of medieval England in the time of William the Conqueror, not like a text book. The author takes you into the action with her vivid physical descriptions of the local scenery, the devastation of war and, mostly, the characters, what was happening to them, you could feel what they were feeling. With the trepidation Serena felt when the Norman King William I gave her, as part of a gift, to Renaud 'Red Wolf', along with everything that belonged to her family and the city of York, and how she connived and fought to save her freedom. I could feel her futility and the attraction they both felt in their battle of wills. The excitement kept moving without overwhelming the reader with de trop facts and characters. It was so refreshing to have a hero that, although ruthless on the battlefield, is romantic, kind and playful otherwise. This is the first in the series and Regan Walker has started out with a stellar manuscript. I am now reading her other books while awaiting the second of this Medieval Knight series-Rogue Knight

Monday, September 7, 2015

To Tame The Wind

By:  Regan Walker

A refreshing twist on the American Revolution as told from France and England's POV. The historical aspects of this well written book educate, while entertain. It does not read as a text book, as some historicals do, but incorporates true events into the storyline. The reader lives the events along with the characters. The drama and vivid physical descriptions take the reader into the action. You can feel the wind and the jouncing as you stand on deck. You can smell the sea and the warehouse where prisoners were kept. 

This is the story of Claire Donet, who was hidden from life in a Paris convent. All her life she asked why she could not be at home with her father, under the tutelage of a governess. In her early teens she makes a late night escape to fill a need to experience real life, until a young student follows her and later the young girl dies of pneumonia. On her death bed Claire, out of guilt, vows to live the life of a teaching nun as the young girl had wanted to do. She was safe in this life but she never forgot the golden god.

Captain Simon Powell, bastard son of nobility, lives his life fighting his was out of the stigma. The only thing his father ever did was leave him money enough to buy his first sailing vessel, the Abundance. Later he bought the Fairwinds. He was safe in his life as a privateer.

Their lives change the night she is determined to see what a masquerade ball is all about but finds herself up a tree as a golden god has baisers et caresses below-that is until she falls...their eyes meet and il est le destin.

Two years later his ship and crew are taken by Jean Donat, pirate turned privateer (for the French and Americas). The only way to get both back is by taking his est le destin.

What follows is a cat and mouse game of wits between two privateers of opposing sides, who love the same woman.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Sapphire/Ruby Brooch (Celtic Brooch triology Bks.1&2)

Kathryn Lowry Logan introduces us to her Celtic Brooch Triology. It is well written in the class of Ciji Ware and Susanna Kearsley. She has mastered the characters and story line without insulting us with repitition and junior high level prose.

Katerine "Kit" MacKlenna is a paralegal in Lexington, Kentucky (2012). She was found, as a new baby, on the MacKlenna's front porch wrapped in a blood soaked, lace shawl held closed with a ruby brooch. She learns of the pin's powers in a letter from the man who raised her, upon his death. It also explains the apparition she has seen since she was 10 years old. She hopes going back in time will lead her to her true parentage and identify the ghost like image she sees.

She prepares her covered wagon, oxen and her thoroughbred horse. She says the incantation and is transported through the amber light to 1852 Independence, Missouri. Right away she meets her ghost, Cullen Montgomery, attorney, wagon train boss and the most incredibly handsome man she has ever met. Kit baffles him with her beauty, brains and brawn. She is inspirational in her fortitude while moving back and forth between the two centuries. But this is a story of love of family, friends and the passionate love of Kit and Cullen that transcends time.

The Light Behind the Window (aka The Lavendar Garden)

By: Lucinda Riley

This is a pleasant surprise! It runs the gamut of emotions; happiness, sadness, terror, love, hate, empathy, remorse, deception, courage and a cast of characters that learn lessons and play many roles in order to survive the terrors of the Nazi invasion of France.  

Emilie de la Martinieres, the last of this great family has taken on the restoration of their Gassin chateau near the Cote d'Azur with the help of Gerard Flavier, the family notaire. She lost her father Edouardo, a rare book collector, as a young girl and now at age 25 she has lost her socialite (not so motherly) mother Valerie.  The sale of her mother's Paris apartment and jewels will pay for the renovations but it is all quite emotional for her.

A 'chance' meeting introduces her to the charasmatic Sebastian Carruthers who very quickly engratiates himself to her sadness and overwhelming list of decisions. (*Reviewer's note:  I have yet to understand/accept the young girls of the pre-war era 1) allowing a man to take them home alone and 2) allowing them to use terms of endearment or touch them within the first day of knowing them...especially when they have not been properly introduced by someone they know and trust...but on with it.) He says he owns an art gallery in London.  It does not take long for her to fall in love with and marry him. Then his demeanor changes and he is spending more time in London and on business trips, that she is not allowed to attend, and then he begins the abuser's mantra; turning what is said to his benefit.  

The biggest lie is that his paraplegic twin brother, Alex, lives in a seperate wing of Blackmoor. Sebastian tries to make her think he is caring for his brother and he is addicted to drugs and alcohol, which makes him unpredictable and mean. But she soon learns he is self-sufficient and very intelligent, and he owns half of Blackmoor. He has spent a lifetime being bullied, manipulated and abused by his brother.

She goes to visit the life long vintner at her chateau and he tells her the exciting, horriffic and emotional story of Constance Carruthers, the boy's grandmother.  When her husband went off to war and she was working as a clerk at MI-5, she was recruited to work within occupied France. Her initial contacts did not meet her and she was forced to go to a non-Section F name given her.  Edouard de la Martinieres, a high ranking, clandestine, DeGaulle operative.  He took Constance into his home as his cousin where she stayed for the war under the watchful and scrutinizing eyes of the Nazi's.  

Colonel Falk von Wehndorf took an especial interest in her much to her disgust.  He, also, had a twin brother, Fredrick who falls in love with Edouard's blind sister, Sophia de la Martinieres