Monday, March 2, 2015

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

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

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

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

The Light Behind the Window (aka The Lavendar Garden)

By: Lucinda Riley

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Inspiration of Dreams

My dreams occur on several levels. Because of medications, my ‘real’ dreams are far and few. The most recurrent dream I am standing on the cliffs overlooking the North Sea. Below the surf is crashing wildly against the rocks that were once part of the cliffs, and the wind sends up the cold spray against my face. Over my left shoulder is a stone cottage atop a single hill. Light reflects in all directions off the original glass in the small windows, and there is white smoke puffing out between blasts of wind. My peripheral vision is drawn to the green tinged door that appears to be made of wood from old ship hatches. Over my right shoulder is what is left of Slains castle. The tower remains intact and the Countess of Erroll is still standing in front of the floor to ceiling windows of the main room. I join her in scanning the horizion waiting for the first sighting of a bright white sail. We will be on watch for eternity, or as long as I dream. Occassionally a ship will anchor and we will be visited by a handsome man of the sea.

But I have other dreams that are not from the subconscious. They things I feel passionately about and are from my soul. They appear to me in consciousness and ‘twilight’. These dreams include doing away of many things including: young girls wearing too short, too tight, boustierre and strapless dresses (especially in daylight hours of non-celebratory atmosphere), men wearing baseball caps everywhere, over-use of the word F–K, the government giving our money to other countries that would not lift a finger for us. I dream of a life with no reality television and, especially, no Kardashians.

But my dream this week is for cessation of the middle east wars so our people can come home. I dream of strength and peace, and I send best wishes to all of you for a prosperous and productive 2015.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Beauty Mark

By: Jan Moran

In reviewing, I don't like to tell the story because we want you to read it. I was honored to receive an advanced copy to read and review. I was not compensated nor was there any bartering of services.In this, the second of the Hostile Beauty series, Beauty Mark, we experience the personal and professional trials of Escarlata "Scarlett" Sandoval, an intellectual property attorney at Marsh and Gold law firm in L.A. She is acosted by her immediate superior while on an overseas busienss trip. Afterwhich he toys with her, knowing she is up for her partner interview in a week, and won't do anything to ruin that. Followed by a spokesperson blatently ruining the meet with their new client, with no plausable explaination. Then there are a series of dangerous and deadly attempts on her life, again unexplained. Until she sees a newscast in a bar.Personally, she has grown up with Johnny Silva, the handsome and ever so charming, bow-tiie wearing matre'd of Hollywood's Polo Club. He is at one with the movers and shakers of the community. He has grown up, and been in love, with Scarlett since childhood. Now, when she needs him most, he is there and the fright of her life has unleashed her true passion for him. I loved the way the author brought this into what was happening. It was a flawless transition for one emotion to another. Scarlett is also supported by the stars of book one "Flawless" Verena and Lance, Fianna Fitzgerald and Dahlia Dubois.

I am thoroughly enjonying this series. I am on my second read. The way Ms. Moran has written this, it is easy to read. You are not overwhelmed with characters-she makes up for it in drama. I don't have to go back to check something written to see if it is explained previously. This is a series you will read every year, and enjoy it every time. I look forward to Book Three.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Sapphire Brooch (Celtic Brooch Triology #2)

By:  Katherine Lowry Logan

I was honored to be asked to Beta-read this manuscript. I was not paid or reimbursed in any way for my services or this review. It is a true record of my feelings, as per my copious notes.

Sapphire follows Ruby as catalyst to transport whomever can open the stone and recite the Gaelic incantation. With the Ruby, it was to the overland trek of the pioneers. Kit MacKlenna meets her cousin Abraham, aka Braham, and his lifetime friend and law partner, Cullen. She falls in love with Cullen and decides to stay in the past with him.

In Sapphire, Dr. Charlotte Mallory of Richmond VA spends much of her spare time in Civil War re-enactments. She is considered very knowledgable of the era. One such re-enactment weekend, of the Battle of Cedar Creek, she recieves a box in the mail from an Edinburgh legal firm. In her hurry, she puts it aside until a break when she opens it, recites the incantation and is transported back into the middle of the real  Battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864. After she acclimates herself, she recalls a certain General would be injured and so looks for, and finds, him. She cared for him until his death, with Gen. Custer at the bedside for his friend. Then she is summoned by Gen. Sheridan, who says he will burn down her family plantation, thus changing the family history, if she does not go to Chimborzo prision and rescue a Major Michael Abraham (Braham) McCabe. When she finds him, his abdominal wound is life threatening and the only thing she can do is take him back to her 21st century hospital, where longtime friend, Ken, does the surgery. Her brother, Jack help. Braham quickly recovers and begins to acclimate. His cousine, Kit, told him of her time travel. He inadvertently learns some Civil War history and the fate of President Lincoln.

What follows is a fight to save President Abraham Lincoln from assassination and preserve the history of the Civil War and the Mallory family.  It is a very exciting love story and point on history of the War, and some true characters that will make you scream. I did some independent reading of certain events she covered that sparked my imagination, and I just needed to know more.

The development of the ARC's and movement between the Civil War, at its worst, and the 21st century are not confusing. The history is not like reading a text book but an actual part of the action.  I had a few surprises as the outcome of some characters turned out to be beyond what I imagined.  Most of all...myself and you readers will love the final courtroom scene. It was and additional and unexpected scene that no one could have written better.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Magical World of Books/The Writer's Journey Roadmap

Unlike most of you, I’m sure, books did not play a role in my young life. My life was the desert, the mountains and the kids. A large group of us were together from grade school through high school. In the summer we lived at Crystal Pool in the day and “the park”, a one block lot next to the elementary school. It had several grassy knolls just perfect for clique meetings or clandestine trysts. In the winter we took ot he desert to follow the trails made by the Army bivouac troops or up to the mountains to ride horses or ski. That would be followed by a picnic and rollicking in the dunes of White Sands Missile Range.
I am not saying my life was devoid of books. I recall staying with a distant uncle who gave me a large book bound in orange leatherette, I thought it so elegant. I treasured it and even slept with it. I also remember always enjoying the feel of carrying my school books, and excitement as I turned the pages. Never did I envision them being such an important part of my life.
After school I did not touch a book for a decade, until I met my would be husband. He would tell me about the books he was reading, one per week. Our first date was on a cold rainy weekend so I went to the bookstore-I was in heaven with all the empty, beautifully bound journals, my weakness, and then all the books-what to choose. I purchased the first two Bourne epics by Robert Ludlum. Luckily, Tom had two couches. I filled the coffee table with munchies and we spent the entire weekend reading-great first date.
I have been reading and collecting books since that weekend, and I am now half way through my second book. I treasure the friendships I have made as a result of books.
What of “the kids”? They are still in my life. We keep in touch on social media and have reunions every four years, and I always bring books to give as gifts.

Laura Davis says
Nancy, what a great description of a unique first date between two compatible readers. How wonderful to establish that kind of easy comfort right from the beginning! Thanks for sharing this story. I could really see your Uncle’s gift and imagine you treasuring it.

This felt very cozy Nancy, thank you for sharing!

Jane says
Dear Nancy,
What a happy, healthy outdoors youth you were privileged to enjoy, near the amazing White Sands hill dunes! That is one of my favorite places in the US.
I was moved to be reading the magical tale about the beautiful book your Uncle gifted to you, and how you curled up with your treasured book in bed at night. Then the perfect date with the right guy for you.
Thank you for this lovely writing.

Beverly Boyd says
Hi Nancy,
I loved your description of life in the desert exploring with your friends.
A good read!

Miriam says
Nancy, I love your merging of your ‘loves’, the ‘beautiful, bound journals’ and the books, which became a beautiful way to connect with your now husband. Thank you for sharing this!

Judy says
Nancy, I enjoyed your piece and giggled as I read of your first date with your husband. My husband of 30 years and I shared a similar experience and to this day we still read aloud to each other. This line….”beautifully bound journals, my weakness,” shouted to me and further anchored me in your piece. Well done. Thank you and I look forward to more.

Nancy, I loved hearing about your first date. The idea of lounging on a couch and reading Bourne books and snacking sounds like heaven to me. Thank you for sharing.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Paris Apartment

By: Michelle Gable

Undoubtedly the best book I have read in years. Appealing to those who love to read about Paris, fanciers of art history or antiques and, of course, love. This chronicles the history and discovery of the magnificent apartment of the demi-mondaine Madame Marthe de Florian (Mathilde Heloise Beaugiron), her years at the Folies and as muse to the Belle Epoque portraitist, Giovanni Boldini. The 9th arrondissement apartment was sealed up (from the Germans) over 70 years ago and discovered in 2010 when Sotherby's Continental furniture specialist, April Vogt, went in to discover it was packed with priceless furniture and art, including the never before seen Boldini portrait of Marthe that sold at auction for $2.1 million euros.  

In a bookcase were her journals. She has a lively sense of humour (I laughed so much) like when she first becomes acquainted with "le penis"..."it is really quite ridiculous, this creature", and her first paramour Msr. Buree' makes his fortune in bat guarno (bat shit)...she laughs, I laugh.

April is working with estate solicitor, the oh-so-french, Luc Thebault (of course ladies), who is as luscious as his name and accent. He is uncooperative, then cooperative, then rude, then flirtatious thus keeping "Avril", who already has a rocky marriage, in a continual befuddled state but they soon develop a symbiotic relationship and he lets her read the journals. The banter between them is endearing, the attraction undeniable, the respect surmountable.

There is a sisterhood between our heroines, April and Marthe. Both share the need for excitement/entertainment but their own personal demons/insecurities keep them from truly enjoying life. One uses men to achieve a rich life style and acceptance (or was it love?) from Parisian society, but is controlled by the men who have the pursestrings (she did not love) and the artist who holds what love she has to give plus the baby. The other searches for fulfillment and the love but is a slave to the memory of her mother's slow demise and the neglect she feels because of her father choosing to be with her mother over her, then sells all of her mother's things. This spills over to her husband who starts their marriage with a pre-nup, a gregarious ex-wife and infidelity.  Both women find a man who emotionally supports them until their lives evolve.

You will not be disappointed with this wonderful work of literature. I am a fan.