Book Review: Copper Sky by Milana Marsenich @milanamarsenich @book_glow

16544640“No one had ever been there when she needed them.”

1917. Copper Camp of Butte, Montana.  Growing up as an orphan and losing her twin sister to a murder at the age of 10, Kaly Shane had a lot of ghosts and a lot of secrets.  Over the years she tried to live a decent life, but now as a prostitute living on her own in a destitute area of town, she finds herself pregnant by the man who murdered her sister.  But did he?  What really happened that night and what secrets will she find out about her family?

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Book review: The Outlander by Gil Adamson (9780061491344)

0061491349.01._SX140_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_This book is not to be confused with Diane Gabaldon’s Outlander.  In fact Adamson’s The Outlander is an amazing and interesting adventure into the Canadian wilderness by newly widowed Mary Boulton who is running from her brothers-in-law because she killed her cruel and unfaithful husband.  The finely written prose about Mary’s quest for peace is very addicting.  So much so I read this book from cover to cover in two days.  The characters are fascinating, mysterious and so real.

I had heard about the many book awards and great reviews this first novel had received and couldn’t wait to read it.  It did not disappoint.  A very unique look at Canada at the turn of the century!

Book review – Drinkwater: A Sobering Tale About A Medieval Knight by Otto Scamfer (9781438234915)

“It (Alcohol) brings out the devil in some men and takes their soul away,” Emery answered staunchly.  “I’ve seen many a good man ravaged by the drink.”

Winston is a disgraceful alcoholic (or drinkwater) and presumed murderer of his father, Lord Tabor.  Cyrus Everett is Lord Tabor’s bailiff who falsely accuses Winston of murdering his father and almost murders Winston as well.  However, Winston is taken in by an old man, Emery, who nurses him back to health and teaches him how to defend himself with a sword.

The story is predictable showing how Winston learns to stay away from the drink, becomes a knight and plans his revenge against Cyrus who is wreaking havoc on Winston’s family and village.

I normally enjoy medieval tales, but I just did not like the main character and it spoiled the whole story for me.  I found Winston to be a fool, even when he became a knight and I didn’t think he deserved the lordship or the girl he professed to love because I felt that the men who helped him did most of the work for him.

All in all I found the story and the characters to be quite boring.

Book review: Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4 series) by Diana Gabaldon (9780553714524 – Book on CD)

This is the fourth book in the Outlander series and Claire and Jamie’s new adventures are in the Americas.  They travel with Ian Murray (Jamie’s nephew) to North Carolina where they meet Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta at River Run.  Even though Aunt Jocasta wants to leave Jamie her estate, he prefers to settle at Fraser’s Ridge which it is more secluded and something he can call his own .  Of course, Claire and Jamie  run into Indians and bears on the way and meet interesting characters as well.

In addition to Claire and Jamie’s story, Brianna (Claire and Jamie’s daughter) and Roger Wakefield MacKenzie (distant ancestor of Dougal MacKenzie and Gilles Duncan) join the adventures by doing some time travel themselves.  Brianna goes back on her own from the 1970’s to the 1770’s to warn Claire and Jamie about a historical fact that she finds out and Roger discovers where Brianna has gone and and follows her.

Of course I love this series, but I thought the whole Jamie/Roger misunderstanding and the search for him took too long.  However, that won’t stop me from continuing on to the next in the series, The Fiery Cross.  As always, Davina Porter is a fantastic narrator and I recommend trying out the books on CD.  They are excellent!

Book review: A Land Beyond Ravens by Kathleen Cunningham Guler (9780966037166)

In Britain’s Dark Ages, Marcus ap Iorwerth is a master spy and swordmaster who manipulates kings, warlords and the church to keep his family and his people safe as well as saving Britain as a whole.

Claerwen, Marcus’s wife, has the sight and what she sees haunts her every day as  she  tries to decipher the dreams before it’s too late.

This is the fourth book in the Macsen’s Treasure series and my first book from Kathleen Cunningham Guler.  Though it is true I was able to pick up the book and get the gist of Marcus ap Iorwerth and Claerwen’s story, I think I would have preferred to read the series from the beginning.  This would have allowed me to get to know the characters much better and truly understand what they were going through.

With that being said, I found this to be a thoroughly researched and intriguing book about the rise of King Arthur told by the people around him.  The pronunciation guide/glossary at the beginning was also very helpful for the many Welsh names and phrases.  The book is available at Amazon.

Thank you to Kathleen Cunningham Guler, Review Direct and Bardsong Press for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Book review: The Last Estate by Conor Bowman (9781579622039)

Christian was heir to the oldest winery in Gigondas, France.  He lost his brother, Eugene, in the war and his ruthless and unfeeling father is grudgingly leaving the vineyard to Christian at the expense of Christian’s freedom and peace of mind.  At his mother’s insistence, Christian will graduate from school before helping his father with the vineyard, but little did anyone know that his favorite teacher and secret love, Miss Vivienne Pleyben, would change his destiny forever.

This is a love story that lasts through time, adversity and hardship.  I read this fairly short book in one sitting.  The writing is lyrical and the story simple and Mr. Bowman captures the essence of the characters and their will to survive.

Thank you to Mr. Bowman, The Permanent Press and especially Early Reviewers for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Book review: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (0385335970-Book on CD)

This wonderful story continues.  I admit I was a little leery about the beginning because it started in the 1960’s with Claire’s present life and was too slow in my opinion, but when it returned to Claire and Jamie’s adventures, I felt at ease once again.

If you really want to feel the experience, get the book on CD (33 of them).  Davina Porter’s mastery of the accents is superb!

On to Voyager for me! (on CD of course)

Book review: Lion’s Pride by Debbie Jordan (1432703307)

It’s been a long time since I have read a great Western and Lion’s Pride fills the void.

Sheriff Paco Alaniz is investigating the murder of Don Santiago Castillo de Leon who is a wealthy and cruel land owner in Arizona with lots of enemies.  The Don’s wife Dona Margarita is now free of his abuse which Father Ramon (who is in love with Dona Margarita ) has kept secret for many years.  Will Father Ramon’s guilt tear him apart?

Some of the renegade Mormon polygamists, headed by Prosper Hanson,are rebelling and Prosper’s enemy, Jacob Strong, has returned the same day of the Don’s murder to take something that belongs to Prosper.  Will Jacob find out the secrets that his wife and former love have hidden from him for years?  Will Prosper follow through with his threats?

Will Sheriff Alaniz find the murderer before the rogue mountain lion does it for him?

This story captures you from the start with the well-developed characters and the great Western theme.

Thank you to Ms. Jordan and PR by the Book for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Book review: Dance Night by Dawn Powell (9781883642716)

This is an American coming of age novel set during the Depression Era. It explains how hard people worked to make a living and the dreams they had to live better.

The memorable establishments called the Bon Ton Hat Shop, Bauer’s Chop Shop and Delaney’s Saloon and Billiard Parlor are true to the era and the characters are well-rounded and very human.

Dawn Powell had 13 books published in her lifetime and she considered Dance Night, published in 1930, to be her best work.

I have to agree that this book is memorable and it leaves me with a sense of longing to read more of Dawn Powell’s books.

Book review: Hunter, a novel by Campbell Jefferys (9781845493332)

Was Australia a haven for Nazi’s?

The book starts out with the story of a young, wounded soldier named Peter who deserts the German army in WWII to find refuge with a Polish couple. He is destined to leave Europe and moves to Australia to start a new life under a new name.

This is also a coming of age story in the present about a young teen named Eric who is trying to fit in at his new school on the coast of Australia. He has issues with his parents who fight incessantly and he finds that surfing and Pepper, a cool surfer girl, are his new passions.

Peter and Eric meet and form a new bond that is full of secrets and a creepy man named Baum threatens to expose Peter even though he has a notorious past of his own.

This was a good, not great, read. It exposes the secret that Australia and other countries harbored Nazis and members of the Nazi party after WWII where “few were hunted down and none were caught and put on trial.”

Book review: The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain (9780679723257)

Yes, I read the classics, too.  A tragic love story where a drifter falls in love with a married woman, they plot to kill her husband, their lust gets in the way of common sense, and it ends in tragedy. A very lurid, short story of 1930’s noir that holds the reader to the end.

Book Review: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe (1401340903)

Getting past the unusual design of the book, I found Connie’s and Deliverance’s stories very interesting.  This is a fiction novel that has some historical facts about the Salem witch trials.  I was expecting the historical element, but the suspense element was a nice surprise.  Connie is working on her dissertation and comes across an old “recipe” book that connects her to the past and to Deliverance Dane, an accused Salem witch.  Little does Connie know that the book will put her in danger as well.

Book Review: Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin (9780385344135)

This book is fiction, but reads like a biography.  Melanie Benjamin did a great job of combining fact with fiction and/or speculation as to the relationship between the very real characters of Alice Liddell Hargreaves (aka Alice in Wonderland) and Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll).

Their relationship was disturbing at best.  Apparently, Rev. Dodgson had a preference of photographing young girls in sometimes inappropriate attire and inappropriate positions.  The author found that the real relationship between Alice and Rev. Dodgson suddenly stopped when Alice was around 11 years old and Ms. Benjamin using speculation as to what really transpired between them.  Whatever it was, it seemed to ruin Alice’s reputation and not only prevented her from marrying the man of her dreams, but to “settle” for a man who loved her for who she was.

Alice lived with the label of Alice in Wonderland for many years and her life seemed to be filled with sadness which she unconsciously tied to the Lewis Carroll’s book.

A very well-written book that I couldn’t put down.

Book review: Winter in June by Kathryn Miller Haines (9780061579561)

a9f88ec6560661a9839d1e45ae78f358Third in the Rosie Winters series, Ms. Haines takes us to the South Pacific during World War II. Rosie and gal pal Jayne have joined the USO and are headed to the South Pacific to try to find Rosie’s ex-boyfriend, Jack, who is missing in action (MIA). The minute they step foot on the boat, the dead body of an actress/former WAC (Women’s Army Corp) is found shot and lying in the water.

What a start to an enthralling ride. Rosie and Jayne are wonderfully witty and downright stubborn in their pursuit of finding Jack, and their having to deal with military higher ups and movie stars—all who have something to hide–is an especially difficult challenge. The military slang was a delight and the USO events on the islands were memorable.

The historical settings seemed well researched and the characters had a down-to-earth realness to them, but the story was a little too neat and convenient when all those familiar faces were popping up in the same place. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and would like to go back and read the first two books in the Rosie Winters series.

Book Review: And This Our Life: Chronicles of the Darcy Family: Book 1 by C. Allyn Pierson [0595448445]

0595448445.01._SX50_SCLZZZZZZZ_If you like Pride and Prejudice, you will enjoy Ms. Pierson’s And This Our Life which continues the lives of the Darcy and Bennet families.

It starts with Ms. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s marriage and has Ms. Bennet helping Miss Georgiana Darcy find her way in society.

Ms. Pierson’s historical research is superb and she catches the essence of time and place.