Wednesday, 21 December 2016

A Rebel Among Us - J.D.R. Hawkins

Renegade Series Book Tour

A Rebel Among us is the third book in the Renegade series. This time we are faced with a little bit of a change of pace. Although the civil war still rages on, David is no longer fighting on the battle field. Instead he finds himself stranded in enemy territory. 

A Rebel Among Us by J.D.R. HawinsA Rebel Among Us

After David Summers enlists with the Confederate cavalry, his delusion of chivalry is soon crushed when he witnesses the horrors of battle. Shot by a Union picket, he winds up at a stranger’s farm. Four girls compassionately nurse him back to health. David learns his comrades have deserted him in Pennsylvania following the Battle of Gettysburg, but his dilemma becomes much worse. He falls in love with the older sister, Anna, who entices him with a proposition. To his dismay, he must make a decision. Should he stay and help Anna with her underhanded plan, or return to the army and risk capture?

My Review

A Rebel Among Us is much longer than the first two books in the series. It manages therefore, to cover much more story line than those books. David is now left deep in Union country, injured and alone he is taken in by a farming family. Despite their political differences, he starts to fall in love with Anna, the oldest daughter of the family and she returns his feelings.

Things are never going to be straight forward though, as the war still rages on. David lives in constant fear of being discovered as a Confederate soldier. I don't really want to give too much away, but he has some hardships to get through before the end of the war. 

As with the other books, the period is brilliantly painted and we journey with David, and share the struggles that he has to face. There were a couple of scenes in the book that I thought were a bit unnecessary and didn't really add to the plot. On the whole though, this was a great read and I was dying to know what would happen to David and Anna as I got towards the end. 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A Beckoning Hell Fire - J.D.R. Hawkins

Renegade Series Book Tour

Having read the first book in the Renegade Series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, I was very keen to get stuck into the second book, A Beckoning Hell Fire. I really wanted to know what would happen to David Summers and his family, after the events of the first book.

A Beckoning Hell Fire

A Beckoning Hell Fire by J.D.R. HawinsDuring the bloody American Civil War, the stark reality of death leads one young man on a course of revenge that takes him from his quiet farm in northern Alabama to the horrific battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania.

On Christmas Eve 1862, David Summers hears the dreaded news: his father has perished at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Reeling with grief and thoughts of vengeance, David enlists and sets off for Richmond to join the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.

But once in the cavalry, David's life changes drastically, and his dream of glamorous chivalry becomes nothing but a cold, cruel existence of pain and suffering. He is hurled into one battle after another, and his desire for revenge wanes when he experiences first-hand the catastrophes of war.

A haunting look at the human side of one of America's most tragic conflicts, "A Beckoning Hellfire "speaks to the delusion of war's idealism.

My Review

At the end of the first book, we learnt that David's father, Hiram, had died.David is already desperate to join the fight and find adventure. With the added draw of avenging his father's death, it's not long until he sets off to join the army himself.

David convinces his best friend Jake to come with him and join the cavalry. David and Jake soon learn that was isn't the wonderful and glorious adventure that they imagined and that war is a terrible thing. Not only are they faced with death and destruction on the battle field, but the soldiers are starving and living in terrible conditions. 

As with the first book, the period and events are really well portrayed. As David faces more trouble, danger and heart break, we are with him every step of the way. Hoping that somehow he will find a way through this terrible nightmare.  I quickly devoured this book, desperate to know what would happen to David and his beloved horse, Renegade.

Once I reached the end of this book I was keen to read on to book three and find out what would become of David. If you like historical fiction, I'm sure that you will love this series.

Monday, 19 December 2016

A Beautiful Glittering Lie - J.D.R. Hawkins

Renegade Series Tour

I have to admit that prior to starting the Renegade series, I hadn't got a great deal of knowledge about the American Civil war. My knowledge of American history full stop is a little patchy, so I wasn't totally sure about the subject of these books. Luckly though, I got to read all three books in the series recently. Here's my review of the first, A Beautiful Glittering Lie.

A Beautiful Glittering Lie

A Beautiful Glittering LieIn the spring of 1861, a country once united is fractured by war. Half of America fights for the Confederate cause; the other, for unification. Rebel forces have already seized Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, a new Confederate president has been elected, and the Constitution has been revised. In northern Alabama, a farmer and father of three decides to enlist. 

For Hiram Summers, it is the end of everything he has ever known. After Hiram travels to Virginia with the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment, he is quickly thrust into combat. His son, David, who must stay behind, searches for adventure at home by traipsing to Huntsville with his best friend, Jake Kimball, to scrutinize invading Yankees. Meanwhile, Caroline Hiram s wife and David s mother struggles to keep up with the farm as her world revolves around the letters she receives from her husband, whom she misses dearly. 

As Hiram and his son discover the true meaning of war, they soon realize that their choices have torn their family apart. In this historical tale, the naivete of a young country is tested, a father sacrifices everything to defend his home, and a young man longs for adventure regardless of the perilous cost. Civil war tore families apart, and many of those families fought to stay together every step of the way. 

My Review

I really enjoyed this book. I may not know a great deal about the American Civil War, but it really didn't matter. I found myself easily transported to the time. The characters were well written and the story really drew me in. 

In this first book, there is equal focus on the father of the family, Hiram, and his son, David. For Hiram, the war is about signing up and fighting, while for his son remains at home and takes care of the family. David longs to do his part and take part in the adventure, fighting for his country and beliefs. Hiram is soon faced with the harsh realities of war and quickly comes to see that it perhaps isn't all glory and excitement.

The conditions that the soldiers are faced with are well portrayed, and the hardships and dangers that the family left behind have to cope with, are well depicted. I was soon drawn into the story and the issues that they all faced. The story moved on at a great pace and I finished this book quickly, even though the storyline and events were quite complex. I was gripped and had to find out what would happen next. 

I'm really looking forward to the next books in the series. 

Monday, 12 December 2016

Love's funny that way - Pamela Burford

Love's funny that way by Pamela Burford
I love a good romance series, so I was thrilled to get the chance to read the Wedding Ring Series by Pamela Burford. The first in the series Love's Funny That Way has just been released.

Love's funny that way

When four high school friends promise to find husbands for one another if any of them are still single at age thirty, they have no idea how complicated the pact will make their lives twelve years later! Book 1 of the Wedding Ring matchmaker series is Love’s Funny That Way.
The Prospective Bride: Raven Muldoon, hypnotherapist by day and aspiring stand-up comic by night. She realizes her matchmaking friends have made a grave mistake—and that’s no joke.
The Prospective Groom: Brent Radley, a blind date who appears to be perfect husband material… until Raven meets his sexy-as-sin younger brother, Hunter, owner of the local comedy club. Did her pals pick the wrong brother?
The Hitch: Hunter is no choirboy, but not even he would steal his brother’s girlfriend, no matter how tempted he might be. But how committed is Raven to Brent, and he to her?

My Review

As I said in the beginning, I love a good romance series and the wedding ring is certainly that. These books follow four friends, Raven, Charli, Sunny and Amanda who are all turning 30. Back in high school they agreed that if they weren't married by the time they were 30, then the other three would find each one a husband. Raven is the oldest of the group and so the first to turn 30.

I think that one of the things that I enjoyed the most about this book, is that it didn't follow the often common theme of a much older hero. In fact in this case, Hunter, is actually younger than Raven. He isn't the man that she's been set up with, but it soon becomes clear that he is the man that she is meant to be with.

Raven and Hunter do their best to keep apart, Raven because she must keep dating the chosen man, in this case Hunter's older brother Brent for three months. For Hunter, it's a case of family loyalty, he can't even consider falling in love with the woman that his older brother is dating. 

As the book progresses, everything gets sorted out and people end up with who they are supposed to be with. Along the way, Raven discovers her hitherto undiscovered talent as a stand up comic and with Hunter's help faces her fear of performing. 

All in all, this was a funny and fun read and highly recommended. I'm really looking forward to the next books in the series. I'll be reviewing those here too. So if you're looking for a great read, I'd check it out now.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Christmas at the Contraband Cafe - Liberty Bell and Scarlett Brodie

Christmas at the Contraband Cafe

Christmas at the Contraband Cafe

Chloe Charlesworth has had the week from hell. Not only did she have her dream job as a fashion journalist, snatched away from her, then her aunt breaks her leg. So, Chloe leaves London on a mercy dash to Rum Cove in North Yorkshire to help run her aunt’s businesses, the Contraband Café and trekking centre. Chloe imagines she will be simply popping in to check that her aunt has the right help, but when she accidentally poisons her aunt’s horses and argues with the local vet, she feels obligated to help out with the numerous Rum Cove’s Christmas events, which all centre around the Contraband Café. But, Chloe is desperate to get back to London, move in with her boyfriend, Marcus, and find another journalist’s job, the only trouble being that he doesn’t seem too keen on the idea.
Rum Cove, an old fishing village, is undeniably beautiful and the locals very friendly, except for the local vet Luke, who is appallingly rude and arrogant. Thankfully Marcus decides to visit and Chloe soon realises that she has some serious decisions to make. A sparkling, Christmas romance.

My Review

I always love finding a new book by a British author (or in this case authors). Finding a book that was set in an area that I know, was an extra bonus. My grandparents lived in Bridington, so the North Yorkshire coast is an area that I'm familiar with, although it's been years since I was last there or in Whitby.

I have to admit that when the book began I didn't really warm to Chloe, she was silly, self centred and rather vacuous. Fortunately she improved once she had left her job in London, although it wasn't an overnight transformation. Once at her aunt's house she made became the city girl in the countryside, fish out of water and made one or two mistakes. Things were quickly rectified and Chloe began to fall in love with the cafe and the village.

Overall I enjoyed this book. There were a couple of things that I wasn't totally sold on. The actions of the villain in the piece were a little rushed and I didn't really understand why he'd done what he did. My other slight problem was that there's a bit of a cliff hanger at the end of the story. I want to know what's going to happen next, but I'll have to wait for the next book. The event that lead up to this cliff hanger are possibly a little bit (in my opinion) out of character for the hero, but I suppose that will depend on what happens next.

If you're looking for a fun, quick and lighthearted romantic read, then I don't think that you can go far wrong with Christmas at the Contraband Cafe. Just be aware, that you're probably going to be left wanting to know what happens in the next book.