Blood Moon

I won Blood Moon, by A.W. Gryphon, in a Goodreads giveaway two months ago, in May. After a month of waiting, I contacted the author to make sure that my copy hadn’t been overlooked or lost along the way. She was very nice and said that she was sending it out via FedEx the next day. So I waited, for another month. I contacted the author again, letting her know I never received my copy, asking if maybe the book was available in e-book format, if that would be easier to send. Once again, I received a very nice reply, and she said that the book had been sent via FedEx and that apparently the package had been opened, marked “return to sender,” and was now at my local FedEx facility.

I hope I didn’t bother or annoy the author too much, but based on the synopsis and other reviews of the book, it was one I definitely wanted to read! So, after picking up the book, I devoured it in a single day. I wasn’t disappointed.

For seven-year-old Amelia Pivens, The Craft had always been a part of her life. And then she witnessed her mother’s murder during a Wiccan ritual. At that point, she summoned every entity possible in an attempt to save her mother, but it was too late.

Her father took her back to London and they didn’t speak of The Craft for many years. Amelia wanted to leave that part of her life behind her anyway. She grew up as a “normal” British girl, found a career she loved at an art gallery, and fell in love with Wolfgang, a German musician. It seemed that her life was finally coming together, until on her birthday one year, Wolfgang was hit by a black town car, fatally wounding him. She never stopped grieving his death. A short time later, her father became very ill, giving her a letter just moments before he died. Now, completely alone, Amelia was forced to turn back to The Craft, whether she wants to or not.

Many years ago, a legend was born about the coming of “The One,” a witch who would have ultimate power and who would be able to end the civil war between the witches and a group known simply as The Organization. This witch would be of the blood line of an ancient High Priest and High Priestess, coming from one of their children, twins separated at birth. Amelia’s friends, Jeremy and Summer, believe she is “The One,” but whether they are right or wrong will be determined on Amelia’s 28th birthday, Samhain, under a full blood moon. She will be forced to take a stand and witches everywhere will be affected by a final battle.

However, as Amelia’s power and intuition grows, much is unclear and nobody is who they seem. Has Amelia misplaced her trust? Have her attempts to release the past and let go of her feelings of anger and desired revenge for her husband’s death, in order to prepare herself to possibly accept the power, actually worked? The end of the book definitely had some twists in it, and I’m very much looking forward to the next chapter of Amelia’s story.

The story is set in modern times, but is rich in historical references. I don’t know much about Wicca or The Craft, but it did seem as if the author was very informed and had researched everything in her book. The book did have much magick in it, but it was almost more of a mystery or suspense novel when reading. But no complains. I very much enjoyed the book. It is considered the first book in the Witches Moon trilogy. I don’t know when the next book may be available, but it’s definitely on my to-read list.

The Poppet and the Lune

It seems like I haven’t had much reading time lately! I just got a promotion, and I’ve been working lots of hours lately too, (96 hours in 10 days…in a row). I am ready for a day off! Anyway, in the few small spare moments I’ve had over the past week and a half, I managed to read another book I won from Goodreads.

I found The Poppet and the Lune, by Madeline Claire Franklin, simply enchanting. It tells the story of the patchwork girl, a being born of a witch’s magic, and her quest to discover her true name and what she really is. Along the way, she meets Faolin, a wereman, (much like a werewolf, except he turns back into a man during the full moon while remaining a wolf the rest of the time). Faolin becomes her traveling companion and friend. His quest is to discover how to be human again.

The patchwork girl and Faolin have a few adventures together. Faolin saves the girl from Father Time, who is attempting to steal some of her memories, and the patchwork girl saves Faolin from Prince Baylis, who is gathering magical beings in an attempt to become one himself. But their greatest adventure of all is discovering themselves and embracing who they are and what that means.

When I was about 50 pages in, I thought that the book read like a self-published novel. It didn’t take me long to determine that that was exactly what it was. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing. The story did seem to meander a bit, seeming not to “get to the point.” Some parts of the book could even be short stories in themselves. Also, I wanted a bit more character development. I wanted to care more about the patchwork girl and Faolin. I wanted to experience heart wrenching moments between them as they discovered their relationship.

That being said, I very much enjoyed this book. It was definitely entertaining to read. And I did care about the characters, that’s why I really wanted more from them. I do look forward to any future projects from the author.

The Promise of an Angel

I just finished reading A Promise of an Angel, by Ruth Reid, another book I won from a Goodreads giveaway. This is a debut novel by this new author, and she is also a full-time pharmacist, which gives me further hope for my future. (Have I ever mentioned that I’m a pharmacist?)

Judith Fischer’s plans for her life basically include marriage and children. She is finally about to turn 19 years old, which is old enough that her parents will allow her to begin courting. On the day that she expects Levi Plank to ask her parent’s permission, her younger brother Samuel falls from the roof of the barn and is injured. Judith sees a strange man by Samuel’s side and later learns that he was an angel. However, no one in her community believes that she has seen an angel, including her own family. No one, that is, except Andrew Lapp, the bishop’s son, who risks being shunned himself by befriending Judith when his father has forbidden that he see her.

The community distances itself from Judith, believing that she is making up stories. However, Judith has faith and is unwilling to tell her community anything other than the truth. Andrew stands by her side and supports her, even at risk to himself. Finally, the bishop is given reason to believe her and Judith gets her happy ending after all.

I’ve always been interested in the Amish. I think I’d enjoy being Amish for a few days, but I’m not sure about a lifetime. I haven’t read much Amish fiction, but I’ve enjoyed what I have read, especially this book. I’ll definitely keep my eyes open for Ruth Reid’s second book in her Heaven on Earth series.

A Young Wife

I received an Advance Reader’s Edition of A Young Wife, by Pam Lewis, through a Goodreads giveaway. From the moment I began reading, I was completely engrossed. While mostly a serious read, it was also a quick read and very entertaining.

Minke van Aisma, 15 years old, is chosen by an older wealthy man to travel to Amsterdam to care for his dying wife. The day his wife dies, Sander DeVries proposed marriage to Minke within days they sail to Argentina. Minke doesn’t really know her husband’s business details, but she believes he is a merchant and will open a store when they reach Comodoro Rivadavia. Minke is completely in love with her husband, even after his true colors begin to show.

Shortly after reaching Argentina, Minke discovers that she is pregnant. She loves being a mother to their son Zef, and is excited when she learns that she is pregnant again. Her husband does not seem to share her enthusiasm. Soon, Minke’s sister Fenna arrives from the Netherlands, very unexpectedly, but it turns out that Sander has sent for her, claiming she is to help Minke with Zef. On one of her daily trips to the beach, riders appear and kidnap Zef before her very eyes. Inquiries are made, but with no results. Sander claims to get a confession out of a young man, one of Minke’s only friends, and kills him. He must leave Argentina immediately. He and Fenna go to New York, to find work and set up a house. Minke is too advanced in her pregnancy to travel, so remains behind with Sander’s physician uncle, Cassain.

After Elly is born and is old enough to travel, the three go to New York. Terribly excited to see her beloved husband, Minke is left disappointed at her frosty reunion. Knowing something to be amiss, she soon discovers exactly what. Conditions not what she expected, she is forced to find a job. With the help of her employers, she unravels the mystery of what happened to her first child, Zef.

In the acknowledgements, Pam Lewis explains that this book is loosely based on the events of her grandmother’s life, who was also born in the Netherlands, moved to Comodoro Rivadavia, and subsequently New York. There is no other information provided about the similarities between the lives of Minke and her grandmother, but I would be interested to know more. While the story was also a coming of age story for Minke and about how she found her own strength and independance, the personal cost was also quite high. (However, Minke was only in her 20s at the end of the book, with plenty of time for a lifetime of happiness.) I can only hope that the grandmother’s life began on a happier note.

I enjoyed the story and the writing style. There were also a few emotional scenes, but I felt that these could have been improved with more in depth character development. There were also characters that I would be interested to know more about, but as that information was not necessary to the plot, I understand why it was left out. Also, I felt that the end was a bit abrupt. I will assume that Minke has a happy ending, (not that the book ended unhappily, quite the opposite), but a bit more confirmation of that would have been nice as well.

Overall, A Young Wife, is a book I very much enjoyed. It actually reminded me a bit of Honolulu, by Alan Brennert, in that it was about a young wife coming to America with a less than ideal family situation. Anyway, full of adventure, a bit of mystery and romance, A Young Wife held me captivated.

Southern Comfort

Since I’ve read as much of A Song of Ice and Fire as I can, (excluding a sample on GRRM’s website), I decided I better get back to reading the books that I’ve won on Goodreads. I was looking for something much lighter and a quick read. Southern Comfort, by Fern Michaels, won that spot.

Tick (short for Patrick) Kelly, lost it the day his wife and children were murdered. The former homicide detective moved to Mango Key, Florida and became a beach bum and writer. Kate Rush, a DEA agent, has had it with her official job and the personal sacrifices it has required, and moves back to Miami. However, another intriguing job presents itself and Kate can’t pass it up. Lawrence Tyler, Kate’s former boss and the son of the governor of Florida, has come to the end of his career and is willing to deal with a blackmailer in order to possibly save his reputation.

Most of the story centers around “that place” on one end of the island of Mango Key. The fortress appears abandoned, but there is definitely something going on in there, and Tick, Kate, and Lawrence are all ready to find out what.

This book could be considered part mystery, drama, and love story. I found the story interesting but predictable and the characters memorable or lovable but shallow. And there were some heartwarming moments as well. This isn’t the type of book I usually read, but it served its purpose. It was definitely a light, quick read and was entertaining as well.