Top Ten Tuesday – Series to Start & Finish

Don’t you love a good series? It means that even when you finish a great story, you know it will continue with familiar characters you’ve grown to love.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt regards book series. It is supposed to be a list of series that I haven’t started yet, but I also decided to include some series I have started but haven’t finished.

SERIES TO START

Elite Guardians by Lynette Eason

Although i enjoy romantic suspense it is not my go-to genre. But I keep reading amazing reviews and recommendations for this series and it has me intriuged. With a focus on a female bodyguard agency and comparisons to author Dani Pettrey (whose books I love) I think I will enjoy this one.

The Jacobite Chronicles by Julia Brannan

Although I read tons of historical fiction, I don’t often find a series set during the years of the Jacobite rebellion. Although I have yet to read a book by this author, with the first title Mask of Duplicity currently free on Kindle I have no excuse not to check it out.

Mended Heart Series by Varina Denman

I have heard amazing things about this contemporary women’s fiction series set in my home state of Texas. The setting alone interests me and since I already own two of the three titles I have no excuses.

Southern Heart Series by Janet Ferguson

I love southern fiction and this is another series I keep hearing great things about.

Vikings of the New World by Heather Day Gilbert

I don’t run across a lot of Viking fiction. It is a time period and culture which intrigues me and this series is based on real historical figures. The sad thing is I actually own both of the books in this series and haven’t yet read them.

SERIES TO FINISH

I have started each of the following series, but have made it no further than the first book.

The Everstone Chronicles by Dawn Crandall

I read the first title of this American historical series and loved it. I keep hearing from reviewers how much they love the heroes of this series, so I really need to keep reading so I can meet them!

Drew Farthing Mysteries by Julianne Donaldson

As a fan of the classic film series The Thin Man, this book series is right up my alley. I love the idea of a new Nick and Nora expanded to include a friend to form a threesome sleuthing trio. And it’s set in 1930’s upper class England so, you know, it’s pretty much my perfect world. With all the recent historical murder mystery adaptations showing on Amazon and Netflix someone needs to bring this one to the small screen.

Penned in Time by Pepper Basham

Ya’ll. I’ve read the first title of this series and Basham’s other books as well. I love her writing and I am kicking myself for not having read the remaining two books in this series.

What’s in a Name by Eryn Scott

I discovered Eryn Scott last year when I read A Chance for Sunny Skies which ended up on my end of the year best books list. If the remaining two stories continue with the quirky characters I’ve grown to love, then this series may become a favorite.

The Chancellor Fairy Tales by Poppy Lawless

I loved the whimsical slightly mystical feel of the first book in this series. Plus, who doesn’t love re-imagined fairy tales?

Do you have a favorite book series you would recommend?

Book Review – Gilt Hollow

SUMMARY

Shortly after the death of her father, Willow Lamott also loses her lifetime best friend Ashton Keller. Although Ashton has been convicted as a killer and locked up in juvie for four years, Willow continues to stand by him and defend him to a town which is eager to believe the worst of their founder’s grandson.

When Ashton is released early, he returns to Gilt Hollow determined to prove his innocence and exact revenge if not justice. Ashton, who was convicted on the testimony of former friends, believes he has been abandoned by everyone who loved him including his best friend Willow and treats her with contempt. Willow resents and is angered by his attitude towards her, wondering if she has been wrong about her faith in Ashton all along.

Ashton’s quest for vengeance and Willow’s weakness for the boy she grew up loving, eventually draws them together in a reluctant partnership to find out the truth of the night that ruined both their lives.

REVIEW

I’ll be honest. I chose to read Gilt Hollow because the cover grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. Although, the Young Adult genre is one I am slowly exploring and learning to love, it is not generally my first choice for reading material. This book also fits well within the genre of romantic suspense which I delve into occasionally, but not often.

Still Gilt Hollow is a book that I couldn’t put down!  One thing I do love in fiction is a gothic mystery and this definitely had the atmosphere of one, despite being a contemporary tale. From the rundown, somewhat eerie Victorian mansion abandoned by Ashton’s family when they also abandoned him, to the malevolent, anonymous actions threatening Ashton and Willow,  this story definitely has a spooky feel about it.

Gilt Hollow is a quirky, artsy town, which I really enjoyed visiting despite the darker undertones and secrets brewing beneath its surface. Having grown up in the Bible Belt it’s hard for me to imagine a place where yarn-bombing trees, dreadlocks and hippie culture would be the norm. Besides her staunch defense of Ashton, Willow stands out in her school because she is more traditional in nature, with a classic preppy style and a serious, studious personality.

Usually in stories like this the misunderstood, potentially dangerous boy or girl is from the wrong side of the tracks. I liked how the author did the unexpected by making Ashton the scion of a wealthy family with deep roots in the community who is nurtured by and bonds with Willow’s average American family.

Despite both of them feeling abandoned and rejected by each other, I loved how Willow and Ashton’s former bond and understanding of each other brings them back together. In some ways, their story breaks my heart because they each suffered from the dual tragedies of her father’s death and Ashton’s conviction, neither of which they had any control over. When they needed each other the most, they were torn apart.

I also experienced anger at how Ashton was convicted and the way the town treated both of them considering they were fourteen at the time of the initial events.  This anger allowed me to understand and empathize with Ashton’s desire for revenge, even if I didn’t agree with it.

Overall, this is a book that transported me to another world and also stirred a lot of emotions in me. These are a few of the markers of what I believe makes a good story and this is one which will haunt me for a while. After I finished this book, I realized that it is written by an author I have heard of before, but never read. After finishing Gilt Hollow, I will be checking out Lorie Langdon’s much lauded co-authored Doon series.

For images which inspired this novel check out the author’s Pinterest page. And don’t pass up the chance to read this unusual story!

 

Ten Great Father Figures in Books

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme is a Father’s Day related freebie.

I have been blessed to have loving, supportive men in my family, including my dad, grandpa, uncles and cousins. So in honor of the wonderful men in my life and Father’s Day, I am sharing ten of my favorite fathers and father figures from stories I have read.

FATHERS

Major Reginald Aubrey & Stone Thrower of The Pathfinder’s Series

These two fathers broke my heart. They are bound together by the reckless act Major Aubrey commits when he steals the infant son of Stone Thrower and passes him off as his own. Aubrey loves his adopted son as his own but is tortured by his awful secret. Indian warrior Stone Thrower wrestles with rage, bitterness and unforgiveness and longs to be reunited with the son he never met. Both are fathers with heavy burdens that do not lessen as years pass. When Stone Thrower’s other son forms a connection with Aubrey’s adopted daughter everyone all their secrets are brought to light.

General Seamus Ogilvy of The Mistress of Tall Acre

Seamus Ogilvy has been away fighting for America’s independence. But he misses his home and his young daughter. When he returns he contracts a marriage for the sake of convenience to give his daughter a mother. Seamus may not always know how to connect with his young daughter, but oh how he wants to. With the help of his new wife he works hard to show Lily Cate how much he loves her despite his absences.

Case Walker of The Walker Family Series

Case Walker is a wise sage and the patriarch of the close knit Walker clan. He dispenses wisdom, compassion and understanding so easily and his grown children honor and depend on him. He is a widower who acts as both father and mother and is actively involved in his community. Everyone should have a Case Walker in their life and I really hope that he gets his own love story.

Oscar Marshall of The Covered Deep

Although Bianca Marshall’s father has very little “face time” in this book, his understanding and encouragement is pivotal to her ability to pursue her dream and the adventure that follows. He is a father who knows how to let his daughter spread her wings.

Richard Duvall of the Cheyney Duvall, M.D. Series

Richard Duvall is a man of wealth and privilege, but that doesn’t prejudice him against his only daughter becoming a doctor to the underprivileged in the years following the Civil War. Not only is he a loving, supportive father, but he is also an exemplary husband and human being which gives any man interested in Cheyney very high standards to live up to.

Jake Phillips of the Savannah Series

Another man of comfortable wealth and privilege, poor Jake is often caught between a wife and daughter who constantly misunderstand each other. He love his high-maintenance, image conscious wife, but also encourages and smooths the way for his daughter to pursue her dreams of being a journalist.

STEPFATHERS

Oliver Stewart of Baroness

Although Oliver appears in the first book of the Daughter of Fortune series, it is not really until the second, Baroness, that we see his fatherly instincts exhibited on behalf of a step-daughter who resents him. When his wife and Lilly’s mother dies, he works even harder to reconcile with the only remaining woman in his family.

Jake Finley of The Charmed Life Series

When Bella’s mother marries, she is uprooted from her privileged life in Manhattan and thrust into the foreign world of small town Oklahoma. Poor Bella has extreme difficulty adjusting and resents her mother’s new family, but her step-father is patient and kind while not being afraid to set boundaries for this spoiled girl.

FATHER FIGURES

Jack Sloane of The Red Door Inn

Widowed Jack Sloane only wants to fulfill his wife’s dream of opening a Bed & Breakfast on Prince Edward Island. But when he runs across a woman who looks in dire need of help, he offers her lodging and a job decorating his B&B. His nephew and contractor isn’t at all pleased and highly suspicious, but Jack insists on acting as a father figure for both.

Jack Cornwall of Prairie Fire

This Jack has been grievously misunderstood, but that’s partly due to his own poor choices and behavior. In reality, he only wants to protect his young nephew from the brother-in-law he never liked and also offer a stable home to his mother and sister who have been traumatized by the long years of the Civil War.

 

Author Spotlight -Amy Leigh Simpson

I love discovering authors who I’ve never read before. If they happen to be indie publishing their debut novel then I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot.

Amy Leigh Simpson was such a discovery for me. I can’t even remember how I first found her, but after reading her first title I knew I had found an author who would have a permanent place on my auto-buy list.

Simpson writes adrenaline pumping, heart rate raising, romantic suspense stories. I can’t determine which element is the most intense and surprising, the romance or the suspense. If you are one who usually guesses the villain in a mystery, you will find it isn’t so easy in Simpson’s novels. And if you like a clean but passionate romance then you won’t be disappointed.

She currently has two books published and a third one in the works for her Girl Next Door series. Learn more about this author at her Amazon author page or her Facebook author page.

When Fall Fades

Sadie Carson is an expert on unfinished business. Five years after the derailment of her dreams she’s just barely existing, using her job as a hospice nurse to give others the one thing she can’t seem to find-closure. So when her elderly neighbor Charlie, a brilliant conspiracy nut known for harassing the FBI, is murdered, Sadie suspects Charlie might’ve been onto something and intends to make sure someone solves the mystery of her friend’s death, even if it’s her.

The feisty little blonde may have found the victim’s body, but FBI Special Agent Archer Hayes has no intention of letting some nosy civilian interfere with his investigation. The guilt he feels is bad enough. The last thing Archer needs is another distraction to haunt him. Especially one as beautiful and beguiling as the girl next door.

But throw in a mountain of hoarded evidence and suspiciously coded journals and the case takes a puzzling turn toward a decades old conspiracy cover-up from World War II-one only the victim’s closest confidant can help untangle. Sadie and Archer reluctantly join forces to decode the riddle of secrets Charlie carried to his grave. Or did he? Someone is after a dangerous truth. But to uncover it or bury it is a question that leads the unlikely pair on a quest for redemption that lands Sadie in the cross-hairs of a desperate killer. And when the dangers of the past and present collide Archer must fight to save the life of the woman he’s falling for . . . only to discover he might be the one in need of saving.

From Winter’s Ashes

Hopelessly unlucky in love and a target for tragedy, Joselyn Whyte hardly leads the charmed life you’d expect of an heiress. When she becomes the mark of an arsonist, the last person she expects to ride to her rescue is her nemesis—the man who sealed her fate as a frigid and lonely “Snow Whyte.”

Firefighter Finn Carson might talk a big game, but behind the swagger and the dimples is a man tormented by a mistake that cost a life. When a force stronger than his stubbornness pulls him off the bench and into a 5-Alarm fire for a miraculous save, Finn decides the key to his redemption lies with the Ice Princess he loathes. But the price to freedom from the guilt and nightmares might be too steep if it means bartering with Joselyn’s father by posing as her boyfriend—her safety and the ruthless billionaire’s senatorial campaign hanging on the combustible edge of a decade old grudge.

When secrets from the past resurface, the ruse and reality collide and threaten to thaw their heated rivalry—turning hate into something that terrifies them even more than the cunning predator with a bent sense of justice.

Book Review -From Sand and Ash

SUMMARY

When young Angelo’s mother dies, his father sends him to live with his grandparents in Italy who are employed by a wealthy Jewish businessman. Still grieving, Angelo is befriended by the precocious daughter of the house, Eva Roselli. Eva and Angelo grow up together much like a brother and sister, but they both know the feelings between them run deeper. However, Angelo is determined to be a priest and Eva is set on a path to be an accomplished violinist, so despite occasionally betraying their feelings for one another, they each pursue their chosen vocations.

Everything changes when WWII breaks out and Italy allies itself with Germany. Angelo’s duty to God and the priesthood are challenged by his mission to keep not only his beloved Eva safe, but also their shared loved ones. Things only become more complicated when they both get involved in the Italian underground working to save and rescue Italy’s Jewish population.

REVIEW

I recently read and reviewed my first book by Amy Harmon and was blown away. I didn’t expect that she could write another story I would love even better, but she has done so with From Sand and Ash. Honestly, no words I could give you would do justice to the beauty and poignancy of Eva and Angelo’s story. I have read other WWII stories, but none quite like this one. The setting in Italy and the perspective of the war from the Italian perspective is unique. Particularly since many Italians were not in favor of the war and were dragged into it by bad leadership. Also, the fact that Italy surrendered to the Allies in 1943 which then made their former ally Germany, their new enemy, gives an interesting twist to the story. Even though they expected to be liberated, they experienced the opposite as the Germans moved in, occupied the country and then began oppressing and torturing the Italian people. War stories can become a little too dark for me sometimes, but Harmon does a great job of balancing the horror with hope.

I also loved the uniqueness of Eva and Angelo’s inter-faith relationship. Harmon took an unlikely handicapped man, ordained to be a priest and turned him into a romantic hero. Not only that, but the usual dynamic is turned upside down, because Eva and her family are wealthy Jews with Angelo’s Catholic family acting as both employees and surrogate family. I liked how Eva acted as the aggressor many times, fighting for their love to have a chance, with Angelo taking the path of strong resistance and self-sacrifice.

This is such a beautiful story not only of romantic love and denial between a couple of different faiths, but also of the depths and strength of the human spirit in times of extreme fear, chaos and horror. Sometimes, the agony of the world can seem overwhelming and it is hard to know what to do, when every action seems so small. But From Sand and Ash demonstrates that although we cannot save the whole world, we do what we can to offer hope, to save one at a time. Every life matters and the sacrifices that Eva and Angelo make for their loved ones and strangers shows the depths of their courage and the true cost of love.

Though very religious types might find things to quibble with in this book, I thought the author did an excellent job of weaving in the history and meaning of both the Jewish and Catholic faiths without becoming preachy.  I learned new things about both faiths that I had never known before. It is particularly interesting, that according to the author’s notes, the survival rate of Italian Jews was 80 percent, thanks to the work and sacrifice of Italian citizens and the Catholic church who hid and protected them. Contrast that with the 80 percent mortality rate of other European Jews.

CONCLUSION

I feel so inadequate in reviewing this story that so seriously impacted me. Even the title has unsuspected depths and meanings which I am still meditating over.

My big takeaway from this story is the power and diversity of love. The love of family for which we willingly sacrifice, the love of life and righteousness that forces us to act on behalf of others even at great risk to self and the purity of love which motivates self-sacrifice and denial and also overcomes enormous differences and great evil. I believe this is a story that I will have to read multiple times to experience and to learn its’ total depth and impact. And I won’t mind that one bit.

From Sand and Ash is available on Amazon. Don’t forget to check out the author’s inspiration board on Pinterest for images relating to this story.

Top Ten Tuesday -Books to Look Forward To

I’ve never been much of a list maker, but I am really enjoying the Top Ten Tuesday prompts shared by The Broke and the Bookish.

Some of the prompts are easier than others. Today’s list of the Most Anticipated Books of the Last Half of this Year is one of the easier ones. In fact, the only hard part about it was paring my list down to ten….okay eleven.

1. Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

I’m a fan of this Iranian born author who writes about Biblical characters. This one is about Lydia who is briefly mentioned in the New Testament. I can’t wait to see how Afshar fleshes out her story.

2. High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

Breslin wrote one of my favorite novels ever (For Such a Time), so I’m excited to read her third novel set during WWI which is not a time often covered in novels.

3. Jane of Austin by Hilary Manton Lodge

I love the cover of this one, plus I love anything Jane Austen related. I’m curious to see how Lodge reinterprets Austen.

4. Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig

Reading a Kendig novel is like drinking a triple espresso, my heart races, my skin tingles and my stomach butterflies go wild. I’m looking forward to the second book of this military action series.

5. Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden

Historical fiction is my favorite genre and I appreciate how Camden always gives her heroines such unique jobs, interests and personalities. This one about competing news agencies is sure to teach me something new.

6. The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere

A debut novel, it’s historical fiction set in London. I’m always excited to try new authors, especially when they write in my favorite genre.

7. The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

I’ve never seen a story summary quite like this one. I’m very curious to see what the author does with it. And since this is the author’s debut I’m interested to see if the writing is as cute as the cover.

8. Lady Betrayed by Tamara Leigh

My favorite author of medieval fiction, and one of the few I buy and read as soon as each title is released. So yes, I’m counting down the days until this one releases in August. This is a re-write of one of her earlier releases.

9. Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

One of my favorite authors of early American (pre-Revolutionary) stories. I would read the phone book if Lori Benton wrote it. And this gorgeous cover is a step away from her previous books. I want to hang it on my wall.

10. Then There Was You -Kara Isaacs

I have total cover love for this one. But I also like the premise of a fish out of water with some added culture clash and interesting back stories for both of the main characters. It’s got me totally intrigued.

11. A Name Unknown -Roseanna M White

Historical fiction with a (fake) historian for a heroine and a German hero? Yes, please! Plus, I’ve yet to read a novel by White that I didn’t love. And the cover has books on it. Books!! So many favorite things here that I don’t know if I can wait until it’s July release.

Top Ten Tuesday -Summer Titles

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt with The Broke and the Bookish is a summer reads freebie, so the list can be anything related to summer. 

I decided to list ten books I’ve read which have Summer in their titles.

1. Just One Summer

A YA anthology by some of my favorite indie authors, it tells the stories of four best friends. A quick and easy but well-written read.

2. Second Chance Summer

Author Morgan Matson is a bit of a wunderkind in YA fiction. I love how her young characters are forced to deal with adult issues and this story of a teenage girl watching her father die is no exception.

3. Summer by Summer

Heather Burch is one of my must-read authors and I enjoyed this YA novel about two teenagers who end up stranded together on an abandoned vacation island.

4. Summer of Dreams

I adore Elizabeth Camden’s historical fiction stories. This little prequel novella does not suffer from it’s short length. I love how Camden’s heroines have unique jobs and interests. You can download this one for free.

5. Barefoot Summer

One of my favorite contemporary authors, I’ve never been disappointed by Denise Hunter’s books and this is one of my favorites.

6. Summer Snow

Nicole Baart is an author who makes you think and feel. This is the second book in a trilogy about  Julia DeSmit whose life has its’ challenges.

7. Quaker Summer

One of the first books I read by author Lisa Samson, who always challenges me and pushes me outside of my comfort zone.

8-10 Summer Harbor Series

Okay, I cheated a bit, listing a series rather than book titles. Also, this is the second appearance on today’s list of author Denise Hunter. But her novels are just so sweet and I really like this series about three brothers from Maine.

Bonus: A New Shade of Summer

And for good measure here is a new release I am looking forward to, coming out when else, but summer?

Top Ten Tuesday -Book Mothers

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and the Bookish is a Mother’s Day freebie.

The impact of a good mother and the way they enrich our lives is impossible to measure. Their sacrifice, love, compassion, nurturing heart, strength and commitment is what creates a beautiful future for the world through the children they raise. Mothers are true super heroes deserving of all the love and gratitude they receive.

I realized as I was going through my books, that the majority of them do not feature or mention mothers. If they do, it is as a very small supporting character. So today, my top ten is a list of book characters who could benefit from a good mother, whose lives would have been different with a mother’s love. Sometimes, the only way to measure the value of something is by the lack of it.

1. Raleigh Harmon of the Raleigh Harmon Mysteries

Although Raleigh had a loving understanding relationship with her father, it was cut short. Unfortunately this forensic geologist has never had a strong connection with her mother. This fragile relationship has only become worse as her mother’s mental health has deteriorated and Raleigh has been forced to put her in a mental hospital. She continues to reach out to her mother despite it all, but Raleigh has suffered the ache of the lack of understanding between them.

 

2. Joselyn “Snow” Whyte of From Winter’s Ashes

Nothing has been the same since the early death of Joselyn Whyte’s mother. It was the catalyst which turned her life upside down for the worse and put a barrier between her father and herself. Despite the outward appearance of a wealthy, privileged life, the truth is that Joselyn was left all alone to care for her ailing grandmother, dragged out to act as a trophy for her father’s ambitions, broken by the loss of her first love and an attack which left her suicidal. Now, someone is trying to kill her. Joselyn desperately needs the love, support and understanding of a mother, but she has to carry on without it.

3. Sebastian Jeffries of A Light in the Dark

Ever since his mother’s death when he was a child, Sebastian’s life has been spent on the run with his abusive father. Sebastian trusts no one and fears letting anyone close to him lest they discover the darkness of his life. When Tish Ransome reaches out to him, he thirsts for the normalcy of her loving boisterous family.  Her cheerful persistence just may change his life, if he can ever forgive himself for what he remembers of his mother’s death.

 

4. Faith Prescott of Intermission

Faith is not like her athletically gifted and beautiful sibling, but she has a talent all her own. Unfortunately, her mother not only doesn’t appreciate her artistic talents of the theater, but is determined to mold her into her siblings’ image. This comes in the form of unfair restrictions, extreme criticism and verbal abuse which her weak father does nothing to curb. Faith does her best to show her the respect she hasn’t earned nor returned even though her mother seems to hate everything about her. Faith just wants the freedom to be herself and prove that she is the responsible daughter her mother can’t see.

5. Dane “Cardinal” Markowski of Talon

Dane is one of my favorite male characters ever, maybe because although he was born Russian, he is an American spy. Dane’s life was changed forever when he saw his father murder his pregnant mother. Following that his father, who is a General of the Russian army, tries to mold him into his image, through abuse and deprivation. Dane’s memories of his mother’s death haunt him and along with the loss of his sister, he isolates himself particularly from women.

 

6. Cameron Tate & Shaye McCormick of The End of the World

Without parents, both Cameron and Shaye end up in a foster home which more closely resembles a house of horrors. Unfortunately Shaye suffers the worst of if it while also trying to protect the younger children in the home. Despite her lack of a mother, she does her best to mother others. When Cameron arrives he acts as her only friend and tethers her to a cruel world she would rather leave.

 

 

7. Maria Vazquez of Far Side of the Sea

Although Maria is raised with the influence of other women on her father’s California hacienda, the death of her mother causes Maria to believe that she is a curse to others. Maria is allowed to run wild and believing herself beyond redemption she makes some unfortunate decisions which seemingly ruin her life and her chances with the only man she has ever loved.

 

 

8. Feya Broon of Within the Veil

Feya’s life changes completely upon the death of her mother. Her father drinks his life and wages away and as the oldest sister she becomes the caretaker and appointed provider of her younger siblings. Her desperation to fill their hungry bellies leads her into theft and the custody of an English palace guard who must transport her across Scotland to be sentenced.

 

 

9. Shiloh Buchannan of Birdie Saves the World

Even though he has defied the odds and the gossip to become a successful billionaire, Shiloh Buchannan is still trying to live down the shame of being from the wrong side of the tracks. His memories of his drug addicted mother along with the neglect and abuse he suffered still haunts him. While the things he had to do to survive have irrevocably scarred him. Yet he still holds out a faint hope that innocent Birdie O’Brien, whose family betrayed him, will be able to see beyond his past.

 

10. Maggie Montgomery of Just Between Me & You

After witnessing her mother’s drowning, Maggie runs hard and fast from the memories which haunt her nightmares. Not only does this event ruin her relationship with her father and sister, but she becomes careless with her own life. Now, she has to return home to become the guardian of her drug addled sister’s daughter. But her memories of her own mother hinder her ability to mother her niece and to reconnect with her only remaining family.

 

11. Jude Keller of The Passion of Mary-Margaret

I honestly can’t think of a worse mother in any story I’ve ever read. Jude Keller would have been better off having no mother at all, than the one who raised him. Without giving too much away, her treatment of Jude leads him into a life of degradation and shame, driven by the shadows of things no child should ever suffer. Yet, even with all he suffers, it is love which will redeem him.

 

 

I like to think that had these characters’ mothers lived or been decent parents, their lives would have been less traumatic and challenging. And yet, their lack of a loving mother makes their stories all the more interesting and rewarding.

Have you read any books in which the lack of a loving mother significantly impacted the main character?

 

 

 

Book Review -A Moonbow Night

SUMMARY

Tempe Tucker is still reeling from a devastating event which led to the death of her fiance and the crippling of her brother. Thanks to a separate incident her father is wanted for the murder of a land surveyor and remains in hiding.

Into this fractured life walks Sion Morgan, another land surveyor from the same company as the man her father murdered. He arrives with his crew at the Tucker family’s Moonbow Inn along the banks of the Cumberland river, in the Indian territory of Kentucke.

Morgan is in need of an experienced guide to lead his crew through uncharted territory and Tempe has the knowledge and skills to do so.  Initially, she refuses, but at her father’s insistence Tempe is soon leading this group of men into the wilderness to chart the land, create maps for future settlers and also lead them away from her father.

However, the eastern states are at war with Britain for their freedom and Kentucke is still a dangerous place for white settlers and surveyors whom the Indians deem as a threat to their way of life. The Indians are determined to wipe out not only the few white settlements that have survived, but also the men charting the land who make it possible and enticing for settlers to continue to brave the potential dangers in exchange for land of their own.

Tempe and Sion find themselves in the middle of this conflict and will need all of their bravery and skills to not only complete their job, but also to survive. They must also both come to terms with past traumas and decide whether or not trusting each other is worth the potential pain they may experience.

REVIEW

I don’t know if words can do justice to this intricate and detailed story. Laura Frantz has been a must read historical fiction author for me since her debut novel The Frontiersman’s Daughter. Frantz is a Kentucky native and many of her books are set in her home state. A Moonbow Night is no exception.

Although this story is filled with danger and moments of action, it is surprisingly slow moving. This is actually a good thing as it gives Frantz time to develop the setting, history and characters of early day Kentucky making it all come alive. It is obvious that the author has done in depth research of daily life during this time period and she weaves these details in seamlessly allowing the reader to live and breath a way of life lost to time.

A Moonbow Night is not just a book, but a portal to another world, to the days where the American frontier is still new and untamed, claimed only by nature, animals and the Native Americans. It gives a good understanding of the challenges white settlers faced as they moved West as well as the shifting political issues and attitudes which affected both these settlers and the Indians who were rightly afraid of losing their own way of life.

Although I tend to prefer a little more romance in my historical fiction and Frantz generally delivers, in A Moonbow Night, the romance of Sion and Tempe takes a back seat to their own unresolved traumas and the practicalities of their daily tasks. That’s not to say there is no romance at all, it is just not the main point.

If you are a fan of historical fiction or films like The Last of the Mohicans, then you will most likely love A Moonbow Night. The tale does tend to move at an unhurried pace, but you will be rewarded with the rich experience of the early American frontier.

This book is the author’s latest release but is currently available at Amazon for a greatly discounted price. I encourage you to buy the book here.

Also, check out the author’s Pinterest page for images and inspiration for A Moonbow Night.

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Judging a Book by It’s Cover

There are many reasons I will read a new book. The most important one is if it is by an author that I already love. The second reason is if the book cover catches my eye. They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, but I say sometimes you can and I’ve found some very good stories this way.

So once again I’m linking up with The Broke and the Bookish and joining their Top Ten Tuesday prompt about Cover Themes. And once again I am interpreting their prompt to suit myself.

Here are some books which I chose to read because the covers grabbed my attention (and by the way I enjoyed them all). As you can see, as usual, my list exceeds ten because I just can’t help myself.

 

As I look at these books I can see that I am drawn to pretty and interesting fonts, covers with greens and blues, those where the sun has bleached the picture a bit and also those with unique images.

What type of covers draw your eye? Have you ever read a book simply because you liked the cover?