Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Book Reviews for June 2008

Bloodstone Castle
Mirella Patzer
ISBN-13: 978-0978486525

Bloodstone Castle stands sentinel on the shores of the Ligurian Sea. Secreted somewhere in its dungeons is an ancient Roman treasure of immense value. Contessa Morena of Bloodstone Castle possesses a mysterious bloodstone pendant, the only proof the treasure exists.

Since childhood, she has been promised in marriage to Duke Ernesto of Savona. Ernesto is a desperate man, a gambler who has lost his family's fortune, a man who resorts to murder, not once, not twice, but three times to keep from paying his debts and to hide his dirty secret. Marriage to the lovely Morena will make the treasure his and restore his power and desperate circumstances.

After the brutal murder of his father, Duke Amoro of Genoa swears two oaths. The first is to avenge his father's death. The second is to honour his father's dying wish and wed Morena of Bloodstone Castle and end the violent feud with between their two families. He severs his affair with his mistress, Laria, and departs for Bloodstone Castle to propose to Morena. But Morena refuses to marry him. Her life thrown into chaos, Morena must choose between obligation and honour, truth and lies, good and evil. She must honour the betrothal her father arranged with Ernesto. Amoro continues to try to convince Morena otherwise. Ernesto arrives at Bloodstone Castle to claim his bride, but finds Amoro there. The two men confront each other with much animosity.

Then, when the murdered body of Morena's father is brought home, Amoro helps her with his burial, then her and takes her to his home in Genoa. He is fiercely protective over her. This angers Morena at times because she insists upon her independence. While she is conducting an act of charity, she notices Amoro's men following her. As she tries to escape, she falls from her horse and is taken back to Amoro. When Amoro agrees to allow Morena full independence, they set a wedding date. Laria and Ernesto meet and together they plan to separate Amoro and Morena.

On the day of the wedding, Morena falls into the clutches of Ernesto. Amoro arrives to rescue her and the two men agree to battle each other - winner gets the girl. Ernesto cheats and Amoro is held prisoner. Morena realizes her love for Amoro and to save his life, agrees to marry Ernesto. Laria is free to pursue Amoro again. But Amoro continues to refuse Laria. When Laria learns that Ernesto plans to kill Amoro, she aids Morena in a daring rescue to Amoro and his men.

In medieval Italy, two men face each other with ruthlessness and intensity. Enter their world of splendour and depravity, of passion and wickedness. It is Italy's most dazzling and dangerous age, and as Duke Amoro of Genoa and Duke Ernesto of Savona match wits and cunning, it is a dance the death to decide which one of them will win the hand of the beautiful Countess Morena and the hidden treasure of Bloodstone Castle.

Sarah's Journey
ISBN: 978-1-897559-01-7
Available from http://www.eternalpress.au/
Cherokee, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance

Sarah Collins leaves on a wagon train only to be ambushed by Indians. When she finds she is alone in the middle of nowhere, she searches for a town before she runs into anymore Indians. Nathaniel Grey Wolf Elder had done some scouting and traveling with the army. He would do anything to have a home and saves every penny he makes to buy a piece of land.

Sarah Collins remembers the war cries that sliced through the air, killing everyone on the wagon train. When she is left defenseless, she later awakes to find she has been rescued by an Indian. Wolf finds Sarah after she has been snake bit and does everything to save her. She learns he is a half-breed, his mother an Indian, his father, a white man. He will take her to Independence but informs white people can be hateful to those who are with an Indian. He has a good friend, Miss Maggie that will give her a place to stay. Sarah and Wolf form a very close relationship but others are determined to destroy. Can temporary traveling companions find love in each other’s arms to make a difference in the world?

Sarah’s Journey is an incredible adventure into the life and loss of those that lived during rough times. The hatred, prejudice and hardships many faced were an everyday occurrence. I liked Maggie and was glad there were a few people as kind as she. The rift between Wolf, the white men, and Sarah, is very well written. A great plot, rich characters and a stunning tale hard to let go, Ginger Simpson has a way of allowing the reader to share in the great adventure in this recommended read that really pulls at the heartstrings. Be prepared for an awesome read.

Movie Girl
Author: Christina Hamlett
Outskirts Press
$11.95 US
ISBN: 9781432718541
Reviewer: Yvonne Perry

Have you ever liked someone so much that you began assuming they shared your affection and admiration? This type of mental outlook clouds our reality and causes us not to see what is really happening around us. The relationship with the person who was truly meant for us doesn’t have a chance to blossom because we are so attached to the outcome that we can’t see past what we think should happen. This is the case with Laurie Preston in Movie Girl.

The story begins when the would-be lovers are barely teenagers. Laurie falls in love with Artie the first time she sees him and begins to pursue her dream of marrying him. However, Artie is oblivious to her feelings for him. He hardly knows she exists. The nonchalant coincidentally-on-purpose meetings she sets up to “run into” him are more clumsy and accidental than she planned, and he doesn’t gets the message. Instead, he has her write a poem for his girlfriend, whom Laurie assumes is none other than herself!

Being the youngest in a family of writers, Laurie has a natural talent for writing and everyone at school knows it. Therefore, when Paul Revere High School is awarded a grant to allow the school to film a movie, Laurie is the sophomore chosen to write the script. From asking him to be on the writing committee to playing the lead role, Laurie tries everything to get the unsuspecting future-father-of-her-children to notice her—she even joins the high school chess club in an effort to sit next to him.

Once the script begins to take shape, Laurie’s infatuation for Artie becomes more and more obvious. With names like MacArthur Wedlock and Lauren Trueheart and the setting in the fog-shrouded moors, the committee has to help open her eyes to a better storyline.

Hamlett uses the book as a teaching tool. Not only is there a lesson in the moral of the story, and take-home value demonstrated in family relationships, but the reader also learns something about writing for screenplay and how it differs from writing a book. A book is written with great detail given to imagery, plot, character, and scene. A screenplay has a special formatting with a lot of white space and only minimalist description other than to say who enters when and where.

The truth about Artie comes out in a heart-breaking manner, but it also opens Laurie’s eyes to an even greater truth. The friend she has been ignoring and continuously pushing away is almost lost before she realizes what a treasure he is.

Christina has developed her story well and told it in a manner that both adults and teenagers will appreciate. While the story is set among teenaged characters, it deals with such a mature topic that anyone, any age can benefit from the reading. It gives adults a glimpse into what teens deal with; it gives teens a reminder to utilize family dynamics and allow the adults who love them to play an active role in their daily triumphs and frustrations.

The story has a happy ending with many lessons learned. I highly recommend this book.

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