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Mystery, drama, oh my!

Newest novel by Lynn Austin

Book three in the Restoration Chronicles!

Welcome to Burton Book Review!

Historical fiction and Biblical fiction, reviewing since 2008

My epiphany of 2015

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Mar 28, 2012

Review: Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot


Paper Roses (Texas Dreams #1) by Amanda Cabot
Published January 1st 2009 by Fleming H. Revell Company
Paperback, 378 pages ISBN13: 9780800733247
After reading Cabot's latest, I borrowed this from the local library!
Burton Book Review Rating:

The future stretches out in front of Sarah Dobbs like the pure blue Texas sky. Leaving the past behind in Philadelphia, mail-order bride Sarah arrives in San Antonio ready to greet her groom, Austin Canfield, a man she has never met but whose letters have won her heart from afar. But there is one problem--he has died. And Sarah cannot go back East. As Sarah tries to reconcile herself to a future that is drastically changed, Austin's brother, Clay, struggles with his own muddled plans. Though he dislikes working on the family ranch and longs for a different life, Clay is driven to avenge his brother's death. But something between them is growing and neither Clay nor Sarah is ready to admit it. Book 1 of the Texas Dreams series, Paper Roses will sweep readers into the Hill Country with a tale of love and loss, closed doors and beautiful possibilities that will leave them wanting more.
I borrowed 'Paper Roses' from the library after I read (and loved) Amanda Cabot's 2012 release 'Summer of Promise'. This story is set in Ladreville, Texas, and I was disappointed to learn that Ladreville was purely fictional. Being a historical detail reader at heart, this felt like a small cop-out, though I am sure many pure fiction readers wouldn't have noticed. I was hoping to learn a bit about the state of Texas, instead it is more of a general nuance that I could get from the story.
With that negative out of the way, on to the next one. The story was predictable and slow paced. And with that out of the way, let me state for the record I did enjoy this story. The character of Sarah Dobbs is expertly written, with her flaws and her strengths, and the love interest of Clay was a typical stubborn man set in his ways. The faith aspect was a bit more evident here than I noticed in 'Summer of Promise', as both Sarah and Clay feel that God was cruel to have taken their loved ones away. It takes healing and kindness from others for the two to be able to abandon their hurt and open themselves to God.

The plot line centers around Sarah running from a shunned life to a brand new adventure in Texas, yet her groom to be was murdered just before she got there. Clay is the groom's brother, set on the path of revenge and once that is done he also hopes to flee his life and move to Boston. Sarah and Clay respect each other but refuse to see how well they could be matched, although the reader knows from the start that there has to be something in the future for Sarah and Clay. Supporting characters are plenty, with the townsfolk of Ladreville and of Clay's household, with Sarah's little sister Thea following along.

A strong theme was the dislike between the Germans and the French who make up the town of newly settled Ladreville, and there are thefts and a few deaths that start to peel away at the town's security. Clay and Sarah must team  up to discover the truth behind the evil of the town, and in doing so, they also end up risking everything. There were some really intriguing plot lines that would satisfy those looking for a lazy historical romance and a bit of shady mystery, with a strong theme of redemption.

I look forward to the rest of the trilogy, as some of the same characters of Ladreville will be revisited in 'Scattered Petals' (2010), and 'Tomorrow's Garden' (2011).

Mar 26, 2012

Review: Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble


Blue Moon Promise  (Under Texas Stars #1) by Colleen Coble
Thomas Nelson, February 14, 2012
Historical Christian Fiction
Paperback 320 pages
E-galley provided by the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:3.5 Texas Stars!
Lucy Marsh has lost everything but her determination to provide for her brother and sister. When she realizes her father's death was no accident, she decides to accept a proxy marriage in order to get her siblings out of harm's way. But trouble follows her to Wichita Falls, Texas, and nothing there is as she expected.
After seeing Blue Moon Promise reviews elsewhere, I was thrilled to be able to snag this as my first ebook via NetGalley from Thomas Nelson publishers. It is a quick read at 320 pages, and the overall story is told well. At first, you are quickly and somewhat uncomfortably crash landing into the story as young Lucy Marsh finds herself penniless with two siblings to care for, but we are then swiftly carried off into her world as she travels to Texas to meet her new husband Nate.
With a few convenient twists, we find there is a family feud betwixt Nate's and Lucy's extended families, but luckily they each have the power of prayer and intelligence to see them through the tough times. This is a love story as well as offering mystery, fear and the fortitude to trust in oneself and loved ones.

The characters of Lucy and Nate are easily likable, and they fit well together along with Lucy's siblings Jed and Eileen. Their family unit has the power of love and respect to hold them together, yet the forces of old family squabbles threaten the peace of the new family. Colleen Coble is a gifted storyteller- I couldn't put this one down.  Although I would have loved a little more dimension to the characters, it was the interesting historical setting of ranching life in the year 1877 with the element of suspense which kept the story fresh. This is a clean historical romance which wholeheartedly embraces faith in God, and I look forward to perusing Colleen Coble's massive backlist as well as anticipating the next installment of the Under Texas Stars series.

Mar 25, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia from A girl and her books (formerly The Printed Page) where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. Mailbox Monday is now on tour, and this month’s host is Diary of An Eccentric. Visit all other Mailbox Monday posts at her blog for the month of March!


My giveaway ended this weekend, and the whole point of obtaining followers didn't exactly work out so I grabbed some of those books and I went to HalfPrice Books and traded them in.

I purchased:
Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell (2009) I read some reviews of this one, and it was said to be centered around tough and surprising plot lines and that it is well-written and thought provoking. This is not Amish fiction, although the cover evokes that feel. The brief synopsis gives it little justice:

In Stoneybrooke, Massachusetts, Susannah Phillips obeys the rules.
Dress the right way. Believe the right things. Live the right life.
But when love interferes, she faces a choice:
Follow the rules or follow her heart.


She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell (2010) I picked this one up because of the back cover touting the era of the Gilded Age..
For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage in the late 1890s, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city's most eligible bachelor. Yet Clara wonders if this is the life she really wants.


The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen  (Winner of 2011 Christy Award for Historical Romance) After reading Klassen's newest release, The Lady of Fairbourne Hall, (one of my favorite reads of 2012!) I knew I had to find every single Klassen novel ever written.
Miss Mariah Aubrey, banished after a scandal, hides herself away in a long-abandoned gatehouse on the far edge of a distant relative's estate. There, she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she knows how--by writing novels in secret.
Captain Matthew Bryant, returning to England successful and wealthy after the Napoleonic wars, leases an impressive estate from a cash-poor nobleman, determined to show the society beauty who once rejected him what a colossal mistake she made. When he discovers an old gatehouse on the property, he is immediately intrigued by its striking young inhabitant and sets out to uncover her identity, and her past. But the more he learns about her, the more he realizes he must distance himself. Falling in love with an outcast would ruin his well-laid plans.
The old gatehouse holds secrets of its own. Can Mariah and Captain Bryant uncover them before the cunning heir to the estate buries them forever?

And I was lucky to have a friend pass on some goodies, and here is a sampling:

The Glass Harmonica by Dorothee E. Kocks (2011)
Dorothee Kocks steals intimate details from American history to craft a novel of sensuality, ecstasy and music that reads at the pace of a thriller.Young Chjara Vall is exiled from Corsica sold as a servant to an opium addict in Paris. Music paves the way for her to flee with Henry, her love, to post-revolutionary America.
Read Arleigh's review at http://historical-fiction.com/?p=4387


The Golden Hour by Margaret Wurtele (2012) I've had my eye on this one for a while!..
In this stunning debut set in the summer of 1944 in Tuscany, Giovanna Bellini, the daughter of a wealthy aristocrat and vineyard owner, has just turned seventeen and is on the cusp of adulthood. War bears down on her peaceful little village after the Italians sign a separate peace with the Allies-transforming the Germans into an occupying army.
Read Arleigh's review at http://historical-fiction.com/?p=4345



The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd (2012)
The author of To Die For returns to the court of Henry VIII, as a young woman is caught between love and honor.
Juliana St. John is the daughter of a prosperous knight in Marlborough. Though her family wants her to marry the son of her father’s business partner, circumstances set her on a course toward the court of Henry VIII and his last wife, Kateryn Parr.



Mr. Bishop and the Actress by Janet Mullany (2011)
Janet Mullany, Little Black Dress's historical star, returns with another fantastic Regency page-turner.

What could be more important than a lady's reputation?Although initially alarmed by their unconventional ways, strait-laced Harry Bishop is content in the service of Lord Shad and his family. But when he is sent to London to rescue Shad's wayward relation from debt and self-destruction, he also has the dubious honor of dealing with the man's illicit lover - troublesome actress Sophie Wallace. A man of dignity and decorum, Mr Bishop is desperate to disassociate himself from the scandalous Sophie. Unfortunately, avoiding her proves harder than he could ever have imagined and soon she's causing him all kinds of bother...



And last but certainly not least, an e-reader from a generous friend made its' way to my house.. this one is a Pandigital Novel tablet, and it takes some work arounds and technical patience to go forth and conquer.. but after a few nights of wigging out with its' medieval Android firmware, I think we will learn to be fast friends. I have already read one e-galley off of NetGalley! Thank you to my best blogging buddy! =)

Mar 23, 2012

Review: Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale


Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale
Mulholland Books, March 25, 2012
Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
304 pages Hardcover
978-0316188432
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating::Creepiest 4.5 Stars EVER

Mark Twain meets classic Stephen King--a bold new direction for widely acclaimed Edgar Award winner Joe R. Lansdale.

May Lynn was once a pretty girl who dreamed of becoming a Hollywood star. Now she's dead, her body dredged up from the Sabine River.

Sue Ellen, May Lynn's strong-willed teenage friend, sets out to dig up May Lynn's body, burn it to ash, and take those ashes to Hollywood to spread around. If May Lynn can't become a star, then at least her ashes will end up in the land of her dreams.

Along with her friends Terry and Jinx and her alcoholic mother, Sue Ellen steals a raft and heads downriver to carry May Lynn's remains to Hollywood.

Only problem is, Sue Ellen has some stolen money that her enemies will do anything to get back. And what looks like a prime opportunity to escape from a worthless life will instead lead to disastrous consequences. In the end, Sue Ellen will learn a harsh lesson on just how hard growing up can really be.

Oh my creepiness. This is a crazy fun story in a sick kind of way - and if you go for that sort of thing, this is absolutely awesome. It's a Stephen King macabre style of a tale that doesn't let you sleep once you get past the initial set up. I admit, since this is not my normal sort of thing the last few years, I was a bit taken aback for the first fifty pages or so. What we've got here are themes of abuse and poverty set in East Texas somewhere circa the Depression and then a whole lot of Scary Sh*t.

A thriller being what it is, I can't really give out too much of the story because you'll be thrilled for yourself once you get your trembling hands on this one. But I will tell you it is the story of some teenagers who set out on the murky Sabine River escaping their cruddy lives (so they think) to head out to California to bury their murdered friend May Lynn. The narrator's speech of Sue Ellen was a bit rough to get used to, but in those days she didn't get much of an education. I was bothered by the tone of the book simply because of the abusive/violent culture that I had to get my head wrapped around. Once I did that, I was totally scared speechless and had to keep reading to see which evil would find them first: the evil enigma of the legendary Skunk the murderous human tracker or Sue Ellen's crazy family folk with the crooked lawman.

Along for the journey with Sue Ellen are friends Terry and Jinx (and May Lynn's ashes and a bunch of money). Terry, "a sissy boy", holds them all together. And Jinx was the "colored girl" who sure had some colorful thoughts that she had no reason to hold back. I even found myself laughing out loud at Jinx. Add in the crazy folk chasing them, and we've got ourselves a page turner. I have a new found respect for lard cans. Slipped in throughout are revelations of faith, death and family bonds. Somehow, I loved it. Stomach twisting kind of love, that is.

Mar 19, 2012

Review: Baroness (Daughters of Fortune Series, book 2) by Susan May Warren


Baroness
Baroness (Daughters of Fortune Series, book 2) by Susan May Warren
Summerside Press; March 6, 2012
360 pages paperback
978-1609366315
Review copy (I begged for it!) from the publisher, many thanks!
Burton Book Review Rating:4.5 stars!


What could they possibly want when they already have everything? Two daughters of fortune have been handed all the makings for storybook happily-ever-afters. The only problem is, they don’t want to live fairy-tale lives. But when forced to decide, will they really be able to abandon lives of ease and luxury for the love and adventure that beckons? Coming of age in the turbulent Roaring Twenties, each woman sets out to find romance—on her own terms. But at what cost will she find her happy ending?
After devouring book one of the series, Heiress, I could not wait to get to the next installment of the Daughters of Fortune series. And after reading Baroness, now I can't wait for Duchess! This is a series that you definitely need to read in chronological order, because there is always a bit of mystery and suspense with these Worth and Price families (and death) which would be too muddled for the reader jumping in the middle with Baroness.

Heiress began with two sisters Esme and Jinx, and now we have the story of their daughters Lilly and Rosie. My one complaint about the novel were these names- both flowery and short- which made me take a few moments to decide which one was which during the story. The two cousins were supposed to be polar opposites, aside from their stubborn streak which they inherited from their mamas. We follow their poor decisions in alternating fashion throughout the story, which was why the similar names were distracting for me when we switched to the other cousin.

The flapper lifestyle was the cat's meow. Long cigarette holders, short dresses, strings of pearls, stockings rolled at the knees while dancing the Charleston. But Lilly was the one who longed for the quiet Montana ways among the buffalo, while Rosie embraced the vogue of the era. Rosie's one ambition was to see her name in glittery lights. Rosie takes a walk on the wild side and meets up a mobster who promises her this, but the seedy life attached to him has major consequences for Rosie, forcing her to run to Chicago. She could hide for only so long, which becomes the climax of the story with their showdown.

While Rosie is trying to secure her ambitious future, Lilly finds herself among the hotshots of the skies as a wing walker in an air show. She wants nothing to do with her socialite family in New York, or the family newspaper Chronicle where her mother wants her to work. Both of the cousins refuse to see the childishness in their stubborn ambitions to find themselves, and it takes major catastrophes and faith in God to bring their families back together again. I loved the supporting characters in the ball player Guthrie, a flying ace Truman, and ever-present is Oliver from Heiress who is the glue that holds them all together. With this well-written adventure we are treated to mystery, suspense, romance and subtle spiritual guidance all set against the tantalizing backdrop of the Roaring Twenties.

Leaving us with a jaw dropping ending, we eagerly anticipate the next novel which continues Rosie's story. Will she ever be happy with who she is, or does she have to sell herself out to be the movie star of her dreams? I love this edgy inspirational series, and those who like historical romance with a dash of thrill will love the Daughters of Fortune series as much as I do.

About Susan:

Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of thirty-five novels with Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill and Summerside Press. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she's also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.  
  
Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women's event and retreat speaker, she's a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer's workbook From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you! She is also the founder of MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.  
  
After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota's beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.   

Mar 18, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia from A girl and her books (formerly The Printed Page) where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. Mailbox Monday is now on tour, and this month’s host is Diary of An Eccentric. Visit all other Mailbox Monday posts at her blog for the month of March!

Last week I got a few goodies that I wanted to share.. a bit of everything! And where to begin! Illusion & Cove both look awesome! I had read a sneak peek of the first chapter of Illusion, and I was hooked. Can't wait to get to it. (There will be a giveaway coming for it also with my review, so stay tuned!)

ILLUSION (March 6, 2012) by Frank Peretti
Dane and Mandy, a popular magic act for forty years, are tragically separated by a car wreck that claims Mandy’s life—or so everyone thinks. Even as Dane mourns and tries to rebuild his life without her, Mandy, supposedly dead, awakes in the present as the nineteen-year-old she was in 1970. Distraught and disoriented in what to her is the future, she is confined to a mental ward until she discovers a magical ability to pass invisibly through time and space to escape. Alone in a strange world, she uses her mysterious powers to eke out a living, performing magic on the streets and in a quaint coffee shop. Hoping to discover an exciting new talent, Dane ventures into the coffee shop and is transfixed by the magic he sees, illusions that even he, a seasoned professional, cannot explain. But more than anything, he is emotionally devastated by this teenager who has never met him, doesn’t know him, is certainly not in love with him, but is in every respect identical to the young beauty he first met and married some forty years earlier.
They begin a furtive relationship as mentor and protégée, but even as Dane tries to sort out who she really is and she tries to understand why she is drawn to him, they are watched by secretive interests who not only possess the answers to Mandy’s powers and misplacement in time but also the roguish ability to decide what will become of her.
Frank Peretti has crafted a rich, rewarding story of love and life, loss and restoration, full of twists and mystery. Exceptionally well written, Illusion will soon prove another Peretti classic.


The Cove (April 10, 2012) by Ron Rash
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Veteran novelist Rash (Serena) knits his newest rustic yarn in North Carolina during WWI. Located near the hardscrabble village of Mars Hill, the cove is shrouded in superstition, “a place where ghosts and fetches wandered.” Nearby, the alienated Laurel Shelton lives with her wounded war veteran brother in an isolated cabin. While out doing laundry by the creek one day, Laurel discovers Walter Smith, an illiterate, mute flutist en route to New York City, who has been incapacitated by hornet stings. As she nurses the mysterious Walter back to health, Laurel begins to fall in love. “Waiting for her life to begin,” she clings to Walter and the future he represents. However, local Army recruiter Chauncey Feith threatens to ruin all that Laurel and Walter hope for. A rabid anti-German agitator, he begins to suspect that Walter is not who he claims to be. Driven by fear, patriotism, and bloodlust, Chauncey progresses from arrogant drunk to a craven yet dangerous force. The gripping plot, gothic atmosphere, and striking descriptions, in particular of the dismal cove, make this a top-notch story of an unusual place and its fated and fearful denizens."

To Marry An English Lord (March 15, 2012) by Carol Wallace and Gail MacColl
Reissue from 1989
From the Gilded Age until 1914, more than 100 American heiresses invaded Britannia and swapped dollars for titles--just like Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, the first of the Downton Abbey characters Julian Fellowes was inspired to create after reading To Marry An English Lord. Filled with vivid personalities, gossipy anecdotes, grand houses, and a wealth of period details--plus photographs, illustrations, quotes, and the finer points of Victorian and Edwardian etiquette--To Marry An English Lord is social history at its liveliest and most accessible.


Empress of the Seven Hills (April 3, 2012) by Kate Quinn
I didn't expect this one to come.. I still haven't read the others.. but I did agree to an upcoming guest post =) Powerful, prosperous, and expanding ever farther into the untamed world, the Roman Empire has reached its zenith under the rule of the beloved Emperor Trajan. But neither Trajan nor his reign can last forever . . .

When Trajan falls, the hardened soldier, the enigmatic empress, the adventurous girl, and the scheming politician will all be caught in a deadly whirlwind of desire and death that may seal their fates, and that of the entire Roman Empire . . .



From Paperbackswap:
Shannon: A Novel (February 2009) by Frank Delaney
In the summer of 1922, Robert Shannon, a Marine chaplain and a young American hero of the Great War, lands in Ireland. He still suffers from shell shock, and his mentor hopes that a journey Robert had always wanted to make—to find his family roots along the banks of the River Shannon—will restore his equilibrium and his vocation. But there is more to the story: On his return from the war, Robert had witnessed startling corruption in the Archdiocese of Boston. He has been sent to Ireland to secure his silence—permanently. As Robert faces the dangers of a strife-torn Ireland roiling in civil war, the nation’s myths and people, its beliefs and traditions, unfurl healingly before him. And the River Shannon gives comfort to the young man who is inspired by the words of his mentor: “Find your soul and you’ll live.”

At The Mercy of The Queen (January 2012) by Anne Clinard Barnhill
A sweeping tale of sexual seduction and intrigue at the court of Henry VIII, At the Mercy of the Queen is a rich and dramatic debut historical about Madge Shelton, cousin and lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn.

At the innocent age of fifteen, Lady Margaret Shelton arrives at the court of Henry VIII and quickly becomes the confidante of her cousin, Queen Anne Boleyn. But she soon finds herself drawn into the perilous web of Anne’s ambition.

Desperate to hold onto the king’s waning affection, Anne schemes to have him take her guileless young cousin as mistress, ensuring her husband’s new paramour will owe her loyalty to the queen. But Margaret has fallen deeply in love with a handsome young courtier. She is faced with a terrible dilemma: give herself to the king and betray the love of her life or refuse to become his mistress and jeopardize the life of her cousin, Queen Anne.


Mar 15, 2012

Here comes another Philippa Gregory novel!

Ya love her or hate her... but ya gotta read her.. ;)
Spotted on Amazon:

Coming August 14 2012:

The Kingmaker's Daughter (The Cousins' War) by Philippa Gregory
In The Kingmaker’s Daughter, #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory presents the riveting story of Anne Neville, her sister Isabel, and their ever-changing fortunes.

     The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the gripping and ultimately tragic story of the daughters of the man known as the “Kingmaker,” the most powerful magnate in England through the Cousins’ Wars. In the absence of a son and heir, he uses the two girls as pawns in his political games, but they grow up to be influential players in their own right. In this novel, her first sister story since The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory explores the lives of two fascinating young women.
     At the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne grows from a delightful child brought up in intimacy and friendship with the family of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, to become ever more fearful and desperate when her father makes war on his former friends. Her will is tested when she is left widowed and fatherless, with her mother in sanctuary and her sister married to the enemy. Fortune’s wheel turns again when Richard rescues Anne from her sister’s house, with danger still following Anne, even as she eventually ascends to the throne as queen. Having lost those closest to her, she must protect herself and her precious only child, Prince Edward, from a court full of royal rivals.



So are you going to read it? I will definitely try to get a copy! My summer just won't be complete without some fun Gregory reads! And I do know that I have always disliked The Kingmaker.. will Gregory humanize or demonize him?

My other reviews of the Cousins' War series and Philippa Gregory books can be found here.

Mar 14, 2012

For the LOVE of Reading! Extra Special Giveaway!


 

I started this blog a few years ago when I was on a one way street to Tudorville. Anne Boleyn, King Henry and his other wives, and the Wars of the Roses OH MY! I just could not stop myself. A few years later I am finally branching out and getting into some more "comfort" reads which are (for me) novels that read faster and yet still offer satisfaction when I am through with them...stories that have themes of character development, perhaps some suspense, and always a historical element.

The genre of Inspirational Fiction has a fine line between Historical Christian Fiction and even historical romance .. and these are all sub-genres that I may have raised an eyebrow at a few years ago. I didn't realize how interesting and emotive these reads could be! I only have the Historical Novel Society to thank for opening up this world to me. Authors like Julie Klassen, Tamera Alexander, Tracie Peterson, Anne Mateer, Deanne Gist, Sarah Sundin, Amanda Cabot and Laurie Alice Eakes have all been introduced to me by the Historical Novels Review magazine for which I review for. I am so eager to share with you these stories! Most of the reviews for these books will be published when the next magazine comes out in May.. but the ones I have reviewed for the March magazine are posting now pretty much on a weekly basis.The reviews that have been posted on the blog I have linked to.

I realize I have gathered the followers that I have via my love for the Tudor era, so I would like to get the word out in the streets of the blogosphere that I will be reviewing all sorts of historical reads.. like the Historical Christian and Inspirational Fiction reads. I also want to let you know that the novels that I have read thus far are not pushy on the faith aspect, so if you are on the fence because of fear of being preached to, please don't shy away. Give it a try. If you want some stories that incorporate a bit of love, romance and a historic atmosphere, try some of these out.

I'll need some help getting some new lovers of Historical Christian Fiction/inspirational historical romance this way.. so here are some giveaways to throw out there.. these are gently read used books I received for review for the Historical Novel Society Review magazine.

This is a Spread the Love Follower giveaway.. the more followers I get, the more giveaways I will hand out!


USE THIS IMAGE TO POST ON YOUR BLOG SIDEBAR, linking to this post!
At the time of this post, I have 466 Followers...
If I get to 480 followers:
Giveaway Prize One for one lucky follower:


Love on the Line by Deanne Gist
Words Spoken True by Ann H. Gabhart
Heart's Safe Passage by Laurie Alice Eakes

If I get to 500 followers:
Giveaway Prize Two for a second lucky follower:



Where Wildflowers Bloom by Ann Shorey
Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

Get the word out about the giveaway, and don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect!
   

The only mandatory entries are a blog post comment with your email address, and follow.
Ends 3/24, open to USA. My wallet can only handle so much with the shipping fees.
BUT of course extra entries are available (my very first RaffleCopter Giveaway!!)

If you don't see the rafflecopter form, hit the READ MORE link below to enter for more entries via Rafflecopter

Forever Amber Read A Long

With the piles and piles of review books that I feel like I have been drowning in, I decided to make a true effort to read something of my own personal library. Yet, the only way to do that was to physically pencil it in my calendar.. and with a little help from my friend.. the Forever Amber Read A Long was born!


Please visit HF-Connection's Sign up post here..

The Reading starts soon!

This historical romance was first published in the 40's, so there is a strong chance your local library will have it.. unless they have banned it!!

I can't wait to see what all the hub-bub was about! Hope to see you at HF-Connection!

Mar 12, 2012

Review: A Parliament of Spies: A Mystery by Cassandra Clark


A Parliament of Spies: A Mystery by Cassandra Clark
Minotaur Books, January 31, 2012
320p hb $25.99
ISBN 0312595743
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally written for Historical Novels Review Magazine
Burton Book Review Rating:Three stars

Description:
All the danger and intrigue of 14th-century England spring to life in this "compelling" (Publishers Weekly) series about the brave, incorruptible Abbess of Meaux.
Abbess Hildegard may consider herself  “just a nun with no useful skills or connections,” yet her loyalty and intelligence have brought her to the attention of King Richard II himself—not the safest place to be, when the king has enemies on all sides. As Hildegard wrestles with her role as a spy in the parliament that is hastily gathering at Westminster, Cassandra Clark shows us the human side of history, giving readers new reason to follow Publishers Weekly’s rallying cry: “Medievalists rejoice!”


This fourth installment featuring Abbess Hildegard is a historical mystery set against the tumultuous times during the reign of Richard II in the 14th century. The Abbess of Meaux series focuses on Hildegard and some of her loyal friends as they try to uncover various treasonous and murderous plots. The mistrust between the barons and the King are emphasized as Hildegard investigates the mysterious deaths that occur around Archbishop Neville’s retinue. The Archbishop trusts Hildegard with secrets and relics as she progresses through England looking over her shoulder for her husband who was once declared dead.

While there certainly could be interesting history to Hildegard’s character, newcomers to the series are left wondering who exactly she is. While one would believe the term “abbess” as referring to a devout person, the actions of Hildegard do not represent the trait although her thoughts portray her doubts of faith. The dramatic times of unrest in which Henry Bolingbroke made a name for himself were downplayed enough to make the entire story appear dull and lackluster, as the connections of the commoners and the nobles very slowly unraveled. The tone of the book suggests well researched material, but the lack of empathy for the characters makes it a tedious read and the generalization of the politics and characters did not live up to the story’s full potential. The novel is best suited for those readers who have introduced themselves to Hildegard with one of the previous works by Cassandra Clark, with a prerequisite of knowledge of the political machinations among the factions surrounding Richard II’s courtiers.

Mar 5, 2012

Review: Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin (Wings of Glory Book #3)

Can be read as a stand-alone, makes me want to read the others!
Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin (Wings of Glory Book #3)
Revell, August 2011
427 pages, paperback
Christian/Historical
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally posted in Historical Novels Review Magazine
Burton Book Review Rating:3.5 stars
Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

Filled with daring and romance, Blue Skies Tomorrow will capture readers' hearts.
Helen Carlisle is almost the merry widow, until secrets of her heroic husband who died in WWII start coming back to haunt her. Helen was always happiest doing volunteer work, yet she worked for a paycheck which became commandeered by her in-laws. Wanting to leave the stressful situation behind, Helen strives to better herself and her situation. Ray Novak, older brother to the Novak brothers featured in previous Wings of Glory books, is happiest being a pastor. With a war going on, Ray feels obligated to face his fears of combat and signs on for combat duty where things take a drastic turn.

What could have been a wonderful relationship developing between Helen and Ray becomes close to impossible given all the obstacles that continually worked against each of them. As a woman in the forties, Helen faced issues of the times such as the plights of women and black people, while Ray ended up fighting for his life in his enemy's hands. Sundin's writing is fluent and natural, with a story of many facets that is entertaining and emotive. World War II enthusiasts would learn a bit from Ray's experiences, while the romantic reader will enjoy the journey of Helen and Ray. Enjoyable enough to make me want to look up the first two novels in the series.