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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Review: Storm Clouds Rolling in by Ginny Dye

The first book in a series.  Carrie Cromwell has grown up on a Virginia plantation so she is used to the comfort of a privileged life and she’s an independent thinker. Slaves have always been a part of her lifestyle, but the older she gets the more she questions whether slavery is right or wrong. The story gives us both sides of the slavery issue including the rationalization many southerners made (using the Bible as their foundation) that helped them remain morally okay with it. Carrie also has dreams of being a doctor and as the tension mounts between North and South and the time draws near for beginning of the civil war, she must make some difficult decisions regarding what she believes and the young man she is drawn to who is from a similar wealthy circumstances. The author gives interesting historical background that helps the reader understand Virgina’s position during the civil war the moral struggle many people faced. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: By Eastern Windows by Gretta Curran Browne

A unique historical romance that focuses on a male main character, Lachlan Macquarie. The book begins in Scotland with Macquarie as a young soldier, then moves to India where he rises through the ranks of the English military. He meets the love of his life, lovely  Jane Jarvis who has been raised in India but the happy marriage is short-lived. When tragedy strikes, Browne makes us feel Macquarie’s agony in the loss of wife and the horrific ordeal he faces following her death in China. Toward the end of the book he is given a second chance at love with Elizabeth, a young Scottish woman who has loved Lachlan since the first day she met him.  Browne writes with great sensitivity and a gift for making the readers experience life through her main character’s eyes to the fullest sense. Though I have never been to India, it felt like I was there. This is the first in a series and I hope to read more. I give it five out of five stars.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Book Review: Susanna and the Spy by Anna Elliot

Susanna Ward’s grandfather cut her father off from his inheritance years ago because he disapproved of his marriage. When  her father dies, she is forced to see work as a governess. Ok. This is not the newest plot in the world, but it’s a mystery and therein lies the different. Her grandfather meets with a mysterious death which a stranger indicates might have been the result of murder.  She resolves to impose on her relatives residing in her grandfather’s estate and ask to stay with them, determined to learn if the stranger’s accusations are true.  Before she is welcomed into the household, she stays overnight in the local inn during which time a  wounded man, running for the authorities seeks refuge in her room. Could he be the famous Captain Clark rumored to be the leader of a local smuggling ring?  This book is heavier on the mystery than the romance. I had a little trouble believing a young lady would keep getting up and having adventures in the middle of the night, but despite that it was a wholesome and fun fantasy read.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Book Review: Treasure Me by Christine Nolfi

Birdie Kaminsky is the daughter of con artists and is herself a petty thief but once you learn how difficult her up bringing is you'll grow a soft spot for her. Having moved from place to place in order to keep one step ahead of the law (partly her fault and partly her parents) all she really  wants is a place to belong and  to fill the void in her life where love should be. She also wants
Petty thief Birdie Kamisky wants to go straight but the odds are against her. She's the daughter of con artists who are always on the run. It's difficult to change when she has no real skills.

She arrives In Liberty, Ohio in hopes of tracking down treasure she's heard exists, the story of it has been passed down through her dysfunctional family. But she gets more than she bargains for when she arrives and has to share an apartment along with a handsome  down-on-his-luck reporter. She takes a job as a waitress in the local cafe where the treasure is believed to be hidden. 

I found this to be a charming story about two messed up people who want to straighten out their lives and find a place where they belong and it's also filled with humor and some pretty fun and quirky characters. A very fun and sensitive read. You'll fall in love with Birdie. I give it four out of five stars.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book Review: Georgiana Darcy's Diary: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Continued by Anna Elliot and Laura Masselos

I'm a big Austen fan and I love Pride and Prejudice so my fear was this would be a feeble attempt at sequel. I was pleasantly surprised. Georgiana Darcey, Mr. Darcey's younger sister, is now 18 years old and in love with her co-guardian Colonel Fitzwilliams.

 Elliot and Masselos do a great job fleshing out some of the peripheral characters from the first story including Georgiana and introducing new ones. I especially like the way Georgiana takes sickly Anne de Bourgh (Lady Catherine's daughter) under her wing. Watching Georgiana and Anne blossom is fun. Of course there have to be some villains and Wickham returns for an encore and there's an additional one I don't want to giveaway. A very fun read. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Book Review: Standing Stones by Beth Camp

This first book in a promising series, takes place in 19th century Scotland in the Orkney islands at the time of the Clearances. It was a time when wealthy landowners were changing their mode of land management and ruthlessly throwing tenants off the land.

When Lord McDonald takes over the estate of Westland and its holdings, he's determined to make improvements and increase his income to match the holding of his prosperous brother. But the extreme changes he makes brings even more hardship to the tenants of his lands when they are already struggling to survive. These include increased rental fees and bringing in a new breed of sheep, and forcing the fishermen to alter their boats at their own expense. With only an eye for profit, the new lord doesn't care that the people who serve him aren't able to make the rent and many are going hungry. When he brings in some thugs to enforce his decrees, it is more than the people can bear. Those who stand up to him including Mac, the eldest son in the MacDonnells clan, face harsh consequences.

This saga follows the plight of the McDonnells and their loved ones. What a great story based on true facts, though the characters are fictional. It increased my awareness of great wrongs that have been done in the past and the people who weathered these storms. I give it five our of four stars.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Book Review: Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings

Anne Tillerton is similar to Annie Oakley. She's a dead shot  with a gun and for the past few years has made her living as a buffalo hunter. But when Nick Lovelace comes to the aid of a passenger on a train during a hold up, Anne ends up saving Nick's life.

Anne's sordid history includes killing her husband. We learn later it was a kill or be killed situation and she suffered abuse and the loss of a child. All she wants to do is come to town to find a cook, but instead she ends up caring for an abandoned orphan child and helping Nick in the process.  There couldn't be more of a mismatched pair but when the two are thrust together and it's interesting to see the relationship develop. It was refreshing to meet up with a female historical character who wasn't the stereotyped damsel in distress. I truly cared
about Anne and Nick is noble guy. The one issue I have is that Jennings has Anne using powdered baby formula which, according to what I've researched, didn't come into use much later. I give it four out of five stars.