Friday, February 20, 2015

Flight of the Sparrow

Title: Flight of the Sparrow Author: Amy Belding Brown Publisher: Penguin Pages:331

From Amazon:
She suspects that she has changed too much to ever fit easily into English society again. The wilderness has now become her home. She can interpret the cries of birds. She has seen vistas that have stolen away her breath. She has learned to live in a new, free way.... 

Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1676. Even before Mary Rowlandson was captured by Indians on a winter day of violence and terror, she sometimes found herself in conflict with her rigid Puritan community. Now, her home destroyed, her children lost to her, she has been sold into the service of a powerful woman tribal leader, made a pawn in the ongoing bloody struggle between English settlers and native people. Battling cold, hunger, and exhaustion, Mary witnesses harrowing brutality but also unexpected kindness. To her confused surprise, she is drawn to her captors’ open and straightforward way of life, a feeling further complicated by her attraction to a generous, protective English-speaking native known as James Printer. All her life, Mary has been taught to fear God, submit to her husband, and abhor Indians. Now, having lived on the other side of the forest, she begins to question the edicts that have guided her, torn between the life she knew and the wisdom the natives have shown her.

Based on the compelling true narrative of Mary Rowlandson, Flight of the Sparrow is an evocative tale that transports the reader to a little-known time in early America and explores the real meanings of freedom, faith, and acceptance.

I will be honest. I just couldn't deal with the gore and violence of this book. I am sure it is historically correct, and therefore, I place the blame with me, the reader- not the author. The author has produced a well-written account. I just can't take the violence and gore. However, enthusiasts of this time period would probably love this book. It's just a little too violent and graphic for me.

Read this book if...
*you love historical novels
*you love novels of early America
*graphic violence and gore don't bother you

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past by Sharyn McCrumb

Title: Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past Author: Sharyn McCrumb Publisher: Abingdon Fiction, 2014 Pages: 157

When I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. I am a huge fan of Sharyn McCrumb's Ballad Novels, and I dearly love Appalachian fiction. Although this is a bit different from McCrumb's other novels, it is still a pretty good book. I LOVE that she goes into detail about how the original Appalachian people celebrated Christmas. (One thing I love about Sharyn McCrumb is that she values and celebrates the Appalachian culture.)
I was expecting a great deal of suspense- McCrumb's other works keep you on the edge of your seat. This one was more easy going. It did point out the difference in the natives of Appalachia and the summer people. Their lack of appreciation and understanding of the native culture is well illustrated here.
Mostly this book meanders slowly through two separate plots- a summer family has renovated a local mansion and feels that it is haunted. They seek Nora's psychic abilities to remedy the situation. Meanwhile, Sheriff Spencer Arrowwood and Deputy Joe LeDonne must serve a warrant on Christmas Eve in an area that is not known for its appreciation of the legal system.
Fans of McCrumb will not find the usual suspense, but they will find familiar characters in a light-hearted novella.

Read this book if...
*You love Sharyn McCrumb's other works
*You love southern fiction
*You love Appalachian fiction
*You love Christmas stories

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ghosts of America 5,6, & 7 by: Nona Lautner

Title(s): Ghosts of America 5,6,&7 Author: Nina Lautner (Kindle Editions)

I chose to review these together since they are all pretty much the same format and I read them back-to-back.  I enjoyed each of these books. As soon as I finished one, I ordered another. The books consist of true accounts of paranormal experiences from everyday people who send their stories to the Ghosts of America website.
 For the most part, these stories are entertaining and interesting. Of course, there are the occaisional stories that fall flat due to the writing style of the contributor. (I just LOVE (NOT) the ones that say "and there was even more, but I will save that for another time...") Another time??? Hello?? If it is a part of the story, tell it now! Fortunately, these minor irritations are few and far between. For the most part, these stories are sincere and well- told. A must for the lover of true paranormal.


Ghosts of America- Deep South by: Nina Lautner

Title: Ghosts of America - Deep South Author: Nina Lautner Publisher: Amazon Digital Services Pages: 193

As a fan of true paranormal stories and a lover of any stories that take place in the south, I had to try this book. I was not disappointed! The stories range from intriguing to downright scary. I recommend this book to anyone who loves true ghost stories. 

The Oleander Sisters by: Elaine Hussey

Title: The Oleander Sisters Author: Elaine Hussey Publisher: Harlequin Mira Publication date: 2014 Pages: 338

In August, 1969, Biloxi Mississippi prepares itself for disaster as Hurricane Camille lurks on the horizon. As Beth (Sis) Blake and her family prepare themselves for Camille's approach, a disaster of another kind poses even more threat. Beth's sister, Emily, is engaged to marry a man that everyone else despises. Where Emily sees a new start for herself and her illegitimate son, her family sees evil lurking behind a too-slick smile.
Sis has been self-appointed caretaker and guardian for her younger siblings, Emily and Jim, since their parents died in a car crash when Sis was fourteen. Raised by their grandmother, Sweet Mama, and her best friend Beulah, the three Blakes grew up in a pink Victorian by the sea and in Sweet Mama's Bakery/ Cafe. Sis has put aside her own dreams in order to make sure Emily and Jim achieve theirs. Now it is 1969 and, as Emily embarks on her own wedding, Sis sees her own chances at love slowly fading away. Will the return of a childhood friend bring fresh hope?
As Camille lurks on the horizon, Sis' life is turned upside down. Jim returns from Vietnam and is no longer the brother she once knew. Emily is hiding more than fresh bruises, and, scariest of all, Sis discovers human bones buried beneath the roses in Sweet Mama's yard!
When tragedy strikes and Emily's life hangs in the balance, the Blakes pull together against Larry, against Camille, and against long-buried family secrets.

I enjoyed this book. I was immediately drawn into the story with Sis' horrifying discovery underneath the roses. Although the outcome is fairly predictable, the story is still enjoyable and the characters are likable. I loved the strong women in the story and the strong devotion to family. Both of these are true southern characteristics. The story was both suspenseful and heartwarming. A great beach or vacation read, I recommend this story to lovers of southern fiction.

Read this story if....
*you love southern fiction
* you love stories of family
*you love stories about strong women

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Palmetto Moon: A Lowcountry Novel

Title: Palmetto Moon: A Lowcountry Novel Author: Kim Boykin Publisher: Berkley Pages: 320 2014

From Amazon:
June, 1947. Charleston is poised to celebrate the biggest wedding in high-society history, the joining of two of the oldest families in the city. Except the bride is nowhere to be found…

Unlike the rest of the debs she grew up with, Vada Hadley doesn’t see marrying Justin McLeod as a blessing—she sees it as a life sentence. So when she finds herself one day away from a wedding she doesn’t want, she’s left with no choice but to run away from the future her parents have so carefully planned for her.

In Round O, South Carolina, Vada finds independence in the unexpected friendships she forms at the boarding house where she stays, and a quiet yet fulfilling courtship with the local diner owner, Frank Darling. For the first time in her life, she finally feels like she’s where she’s meant to be. But when her dear friend Darby hunts her down, needing help, Vada will have to confront the life she gave up—and decide where her heart truly belongs.

This is a sweet, fairy-tale type story. It isn't entirely believable, but sometimes we all just want a happy ending. The characters were a little flat and stereotypical. The main character was not really likable- spoiled and self absorbed, she takes a job as a teacher but conveniently never steps into a classroom for the entire novel. That being said, this is a cute, fast beach read. It isn't bad at all. It isn't deep, but it isn't meant to be. When you need a light, quick, simple read with a happy ending, this is the one.

Read this story if...
*you love southern fiction
*you love fairy tales
*you love quick, light reads
*you love a happy ending

Madam: A Novel of New Orleans

Title: Madam: A Novel of New Orleans Authors: Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin Publisher: Plume Pages: 321 2014

 From Amazon:
When vice had a legal home and jazz was being born—the captivating story of an infamous true-life madam

New Orleans, 1900. Mary Deubler makes a meager living as an “alley whore.” That all changes when bible-thumping Alderman Sidney Story forces the creation of a red-light district that’s mockingly dubbed “Storyville.” Mary believes there’s no place for a lowly girl like her in the high-class bordellos of Storyville’s Basin Street, where Champagne flows and beautiful girls turn tricks in luxurious bedrooms. But with gumption, twists of fate, even a touch of Voodoo, Mary rises above her hopeless lot to become the notorious Madame Josie Arlington.

Filled with fascinating historical details and cameos by Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and E. J. Bellocq, Madam is a fantastic romp through The Big Easy and the irresistible story of a 
woman who rose to power long before the era of equal rights.

I truly loved this book. The authors take you inside the life of a prostitute in New Orleans in the late 1800's. I actually learned a lot about this fascinating world. Although the story is called Madam, it really tells the story of Mary Deubler up until she became Josie Arlington, the madam. It stops before her life as a madam really began. I would love, love, love to read a sequel- to see what her life was like as madam and how it changed. This is a fascinating look at a different side of New Orleans . It was very hard to put down.

Read this book if:
*You love novels set in New Orleans
*you love stories of Storyville and the seedier side of the city
*you love historical fiction with a true basis