Whisper of Magic by Patricia Rice

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Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/25FBBRb

The newest book in the Malcolm-Ives family saga reached the shelves just this week, with the release of Whisper of Magic.  In the previous book, Magic in the Stars, we were introduced to Erran Ives, the barrister of the family.  It was during our introduction that Erran’s behavior was becoming a bit withdrawn but the reasons behind those actions were not explained until now.

Erran Ives, a barrister by trade, was trying to protect his client, a family that had been wrongfully evicted from their home.  During the impressive court room arguments, Erran is bewildered by everyone’s actions when he lets loose his own forceful emotions through his booming voice.  When all is returned to normal, the ruination of his career and his own defeated self-esteem is his shadow.  With his brother, the Marquis of Ashford, in need of the family’s townhouse, Erran must ask the tenants to relocate but is having difficulty in connecting with the Baron or his representative.

Celeste Malcolm Rochester has lost her father and now as the eldest child of Baron Rochester, a distant relative of the Ives-Malcolm’s through the lineage of Sir Trevelyan Rochester and Lady Lucinda Malcolm.  For those of you familiar with the previous Ives-Malcolm series, Lady Lucinda Malcolm had a gift of prophetic visions within her paintings and had at one time painted a questionable portrait of Sir Trevelyan.  Celeste, her siblings and a few loyal friends and servants are struggling to do what they can to combat their father’s cousin who is trying to illegally take over his estate.

Erran, Lady Azenor, and several other Ives family members join forces to aid their Rochester family in the race to prove Lord Lansdowne’s claim to the estate is fraudulent.  As Lord Erran and Lady Celeste band together, they find themselves facing magic, fertility ceremonies and a common magical gift they share.

It is wonderful to read these newest Ives-Malcolm relatives.  I also enjoy how the author, Patricia Rice does make references to the past Ives-Malcolm pairings as the ancestors of the current characters. Ms. Rice also employs her characters and interweaves them so that you are treated to reading of the characters from previous books, such as Lady Azenor.    I find this always enjoyable and believe it pulls the story together.  Lady Azenor played a large role in this story and having her stand out against the stoic Ives men is richly entertaining with her magical oddities and sense of style. There is always fun, strange magic, a budding romance and of course the bad guys to defeat.  Patricia Rice is an author that will intrigue, captivate and in the end keep you breathlessly anticipating the next story.  You just can’t get enough of her magical romances.

 

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The Magnolia Duchess by Beth White

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Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/1TO1vOI

Beth White writes a story that is intriguing in its complexity.  She writes of a family in Florida that has no ties to England as the Revolutionary War moves forward. This is a family of brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles that will hold onto that familial bond through generations and separation.

Fiona lives in Florida with her Aunt, Uncle, cousin and brothers after her parent’s death.  She is close to her cousin Maddy who is a widow thanks to the war and to her very distant cousin Sehoy. Upon hearing the devastating news that her twin brother, has been taken as prisoner by the British Fiona is shocked to discover a British soldier washed upon the shore.  What is more shocking is this soldier is a childhood friend and secret love of hers.  What to do with a British soldier, friend or not, is a dilemma as ill feelings toward the British escalate.

Charlie has no memory of why is there and what he may have been sent to do.  Is he a British soldier with ties of allegiance or is he actually a spy. As the intrigue builds and the romances for three of the women in the family blossom where will they end up?

The war comes to their door with suspicions rising of happenings on each side, but this family will hold strong to their faith in God and in one another. Men and women will fight together to protect their home and each other.

The war and its intrigue fought in Florida with a family of mixed heritage…French, Creek, Spanish and African is a very interesting story.  Throw in spies, corrupt leaders, pirates and plain American spunk and your attention is caught. You will no doubt enjoy this book and the strong characters who will hold on to God and will do what they believe to be right when confronted with war.  The characters are written with depth to their personalities which add to the enjoyment of this book.  This is the third book in the Gulf Coast Chronicles.

 

 

Chakana:Encounter in the Sacred Valley by W.E. Lawrence

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Chakana is sure to ignite a thrill seeking, page turning adventure for any history buff or Indiana Jones enthusiast.  A story that is very similar to the treasure seeking Indiana Jones in which the enemies are those of the Nazi regime and ruthless art smugglers.

Our hero is James Fleming a British spy trying to infiltrate the art smuggling ring near Peru in order to find how the Nazi are gaining treasure used to fund their movement.   While undercover James finds himself rescuing a young woman from his past…..one he owes his own life to.  She also happens to be the one he never forgot!

Kate Rhodes is a policewoman from Ohio who is suspended from the force just about the time she receives a mystery package from her brother, Nicholas Rhodes, who is leading an archeological dig in Peru.  Following her brothers directions, she takes the artifact to a local professor and friend, Dr. Charlie.  Kate and Dr. Charlie decide to go to Peru and when they get there they are soon immersed into the world of art smugglers and corrupt police. As Kate is being chased by the bad guys, she is rescued by a man that seems familiar and is shocked when his identity is revealed.

When James and his new allies (Kate, Nick and Dr. Charlie) decide to locate the lost treasure before the enemies get it, they never knew they would be challenged with such danger and intrigue from a society long dead.  As Kate and James follow the clues they find themselves wishing they could be together but knowing their lives are meant to go in different directions.  Knowing they must sacrifice their own dreams for the sake of thousands of lives, Kate and James race against time to find the treasure in order to keep the Nazi’s from winning.

I wasn’t sure what to expect exactly with this story as I have never read anything by this author. I was captivated by the adventure and quickly associated it with Indiana Jones but British style!  It was interesting to read such a strong female character from a male writer….points to the author!  I also noticed the author placed emphasis on the psychological issues for the characters.  By this I mean he explains the emotional reasoning behind some of the actions portrayed or perhaps those not taken.  The characters were all well done and enjoyed.  The story kept my attention until I finished the last page.  I am looking forward to reading more books by the author.

I received my copy through Netgalley in exchange for my review.

Amazon Link:   http://amzn.to/1R9Gec0

Counted With the Stars by Connilyn Cossette

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Other than Francine Rivers trilogy, The Mark of the Lion, I have not been drawn in to a Biblical historical fiction, as I have with Counted With the Stars, by Connilyn Cossette. When a writer weaves a story that makes me feel as if I am there with the characters, that I can imagine with vivid clarity the picture that the author is creating then I know I have a book that will remain with me long after the last page. When I have found a book that makes me think of my relationship with God because I see in these characters something that I wish I had and feel such a pull to find then I know I have found a writer,a book and a story that I will re-read many times over and will be in my thoughts for some time to come. Counted With the Stars is a story that fits all of this.

Kiya is a young Egyptian girl who is thrust into a world she had taken for granted all her life. When her father is financially destitute he sells her into slavery to a man she once considered a family friend, but will now serve his wife in defeat. Raised to worship the gods of Egypt she has no idea that the Hebrew God, Yahweh, has a plan for her that will take her from the lands of her birth, from her father and from the life she knows. When faced with slavery beneath those she considered her equals and living alongside those who where once beneath her, Kiya finds herself alone and not a part of either group. When a Hebrew slave girl, Shira befriends her, Kiya is exposed for the first time to Yahweh. Not ready to forsake her gods, Kiya is stricken with the same pain as the other Egyptians as Yahweh pours down his wrath with plague after plague. With the last plague set to fall upon them, Shefu, a man once her friend now her master, sets her on the path to follow the Hebrews while taking her Mother and handicapped brother with her. As she follows the Hebrews, she learns that she has been set upon this path not by Shefu but by the hand of Yahweh.

This amazing story will make you realize the power of God and how even in our lowest times, He will protect you, that he will love you and he will accept you. I love these characters and the journey they traveled. Shira’s story is due out in October and I am very excited to read it as well.

I truly recommend this book as one to read this year. It is a moving telling of those who experienced the Exodus in seeking their freedom from oppression and the ability to follow Yahweh. The story doesn’t focus on the kings or priests of Egypt, but that of the Hebrews and those Egyptians such as Kiya, her Mother Nailah, and her brother Jumo.

One of the last questions the author asks in her enclosed study guide is which characters you wish to know more about. My answer to that is see closure between Kiya and Shefu. Kiya found her answers with her Mother and Father, but there is a sadness that Shefu must live with and answers Kiya must know. This is of course my opinion, but my answer all the same to the author’s question.

 

 

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/208i3RM

The Sacrifice Stone by author Elizabeth Harris

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This story was captivating!  From the beginning until the end I never put it down because it was so interesting.

This is a story of the past meeting the future and the story that brought the two eras together.  The story is divided into parts which offered a glimpse of the story as it was told by the characters whether past or present.  In 175 AD a young boy is the pawn for vengeance and a catalyst that will change how the future will remember them all.

Beth, Joe and Adam are three present day individuals whose lives are intertwined with the story of St. Theodore a young boy who legend says became a Christian martyr after being killed by a Roman soldier.  Joe is a student of theology and working on his thesis regarding early Christian martyrs especially regarding St. Theodore reputed to have been killed by a Roman soldier who cut his throat which lead to St. Theodore healing throat issues.  Beth is Joe’s sister.  Beth had always been treated as less important than Joe by their father.  Her dreams where always thwarted by her father’s archaic behavior of which Joe mimicked.  Beth agreed to travel to France with Joe to help him with his research.  It was in France that they met Adam who was working on a film documentary on the Romany Gypseys.

Beth begins to see shadows and images as well as sensing the presences of someone around her.  She soon learns that Adam isn’t there solely for the Gypsy research but for the images that a certain Roman soldier has plagued him with.  Determined to find the truth, the pair work together regarding the story of St. Theodore and his accused killer.

Sergius Cornelius Aurelius is a Roman soldier in the year 1756.  He has known the life of a soldier for most of his life.  When his personal life offers tragic loss, he becomes more of a loner.  When a chance encounter with a young boy accused of theft, Sergius saves the boy and takes him home.  Theodore and Sergius bond more as adopted son and father.   Threats from the past soon have Sergius defending his life and his religious beliefs but it becomes apparent too late that Theodore may also be in danger.  Sergius reaches across time and beyond death to protect himself and Theodore.

This historical story was filled with imagery of the Roman Empire and how their blood lust was the cause of so many innocents meeting their deaths in the arenas.  Christians were sought after as favored sport to the Lions while the Roman citizens cheered.  The author depicted this ruthlessness while remaining true historical views of the time period.

I was more enthralled with the parts of the story regarding Sergius and Theodore than the present day characters.  The author did a fantastic job of blending the two time periods to create her story.

Elizabeth Harris seems to write her stories in this style of past and present working together to resolve a wrong from the past.

Amazon Link:   http://amzn.to/1TqJODk

The Romanovs by author Virginia Crowles

Publication Date: July 13, 2015 Publisher: Endeavour Press 217 Pages

Publication Date:
July 13, 2015
Publisher:
Endeavour Press
217 Pages

I have always enjoyed history in school, college minor, and personal pursuits but I have never been exposed to the Romanov history as I was with this book.  My knowledge of the Romanovs was limited to perhaps a mentioning of Peter the Great, Alexander I, and even Rasputin but never to the depth I was afforded while reading Ms. Crowles, “The Romanovs”.

For a book of only 217 pages I am amazed at the fact that over 300 years of Romanov history was presented.  Beginning with the first Romanov and ending with the unfortunate demise of the entire family of Nicholas II.  Of course, I believe the purpose was to offer the highlights of each reigning Tsar with careful thought of not overwhelming the reader with confusing points and information which the author performed admirably.

The Romanovs were a family of mixed characteristics…intelligence to simple, weakness or strength, madness, cruelty, extravagance to minimalism. It appeared that cruelty was by far a prevalent trait.   The number of murders against their own family members was atrocious and brutal in form.  Court secrets, rebellion and intrigue lead to fear and lack of trust of nearly everyone including family.  Virginia Crowles explains how each of the Tsars impacted Russia, whether by advancement or decline.  Perhaps the most impact, in my opinion, was offered by Peter the Great and Alexander I.  I appreciated the fact that the women were not left out of Ms. Crowles presentation.  Not only were there women who ruled Russia directly, but where strong in character who stood beside their husbands and had a huge impact on decisions.  Another strong aspect that was raised by Virginia Crowles regarding the Romanov lifestyle was the numerous adulterous affairs by both husband and wife and the fact these affairs seemed to be endured and accepted without argument.

Virginia Crowles gives us a historical rendition of the Romanov family that is clearer understanding of these Russian rulers.  Her resources and footnotes were precise and helpful with regard to a few of her points.

I received this eBook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  I truly recommend this historical account for any history buff.  I was fascinated by all of the information Ms. Crowles provided.  I especially recommend this read with the current DNA tests that are being done regarding the bodies suspected of being Nicholas II children.  This would be great background to understanding the the importance of this situation.

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/25gRkJG