Wishes Under A Highland Star #NewRelease @m_morganauthor

It gives me great pleasure to host a fellow Wild Rose Press author here today with a brand new release! Mary Morgan is not only a talented writer but is also very supportive of others. So, without further adieu, I turn my blog over to Mary!

Hello, Jan! I’m delighted to be on your lovely blog today to celebrate my new book, Wishes Under a Highland Star. Since I love a good party, I’m going to take you and your readers to a special feast. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

A Midwinter Feast

Come journey with me as I whisk you away to 13th-century Scotland for a Midwinter feast. You arrive at Castle Taloch, a mystical realm within the Highlands of Scotland. These people are part-Fae, and their Scottish bloodline is steeped in ancient Celtic mythology. Though they respect the new religion that has swept across their land, the Fae continue to honor the old ways. Midwinter is a celebration of light and warmth here within the castle. The doors have been left open for all to enter in peace. Once you step inside, you are drawn to the holly boughs with ivy, bay, crimson-berried yew branches, and fragrant bunches of rosemary twigs.

The torches cast a welcoming light as you proceed onward. As you enter the Great Hall, you observe the boisterous laughter and gaiety. A bard is recanting a tale between the aging Holly King (representing the darkness of the old year), and the young Oak King (symbolizing the light of the New Year). Some of the older lasses have chosen to weave a sprig of holly onto their gowns, and they nod at you in passing.

Candles illuminate the hall in a soft glow as you make your way toward the feasting tables. The elder Fae men and women are seated at a longer table near the hearth. Ale and mead are flowing, along with the tempting dishes you survey as you take your place. The aroma of food teases your senses as your gaze drifts across the table. Should you choose the wild boar stuffed with onions and cabbages on a large trencher? Yet there’s the salmon with dill springs set on another. Perchance you would prefer the spiced apples and damson tarts?

The minstrels begin to play a lively tune, and a few of the couples rise from the benches to join in the merriment…

Sneak preview of a Midwinter feast from Wishes Under a Highland Star

“Aine’s musical voice could tame even the wildest beast,” observed Glenna.

Alex coughed into his hand to squelch the laughter. Recovering, he said, “Or any hardened warrior?”

This time, Glenna laughed. She touched his arm. “Even the fiercest beast can find comfort in a luring song.”

One of the women waved in their direction, and Glenna responded with her own. “Enjoy the feast, Holly King,” she teased, making her way across the hall.

Alex watched the woman depart and then resumed his study of Aine. Pushing away from the wall, he made leisurely strides around the tables toward her. Her attentive audience were doing their best to encourage another song. But when she caught his gaze, Aine rose slowly from her chair.

He dipped a slight bow. “I enjoyed your song.”

“I am pleased, Holly King.” After placing her lap harp on the chair, Aine rested her hand in the crook of his arm.

Sorely tempted to guide his leannán out of the hall to spend some time alone with her, he refrained and led Aine to a table where others were engaged in a lively discussion about the morning battle and games of strength.

After settling into her chair, Aine leaned near him. “Ye look magnificent in the dark blue tunic.”

Slipping his hand under the table, Alex grasped her fingers. “More clothing from your uncle. And ye are a vision of beauty, my Aine.”

Her gaze roamed his features. “I so wanted to please ye tonight.”

Alex squeezed her fingers. “Why tonight?”

She covered his hand with her free one. “Because I wanted ye to see the woman and not the lass who likes to fashion blades.”

Tilting his head to the side, he commented, “Have I not mentioned, I love both? Ye are soft—yet forged with steel.”

Joy bubbled in her laugh and shone in her eyes. She gestured outward. “Did ye taste the bread filled with nuts and honey?”

Alex dropped his hand. “Nae. I have recently arrived.”

Quickly tearing a portion of the bread apart, she placed the piece on his trencher. Pointing to the salmon, she nudged him. “The sauce is mixed with rosemary and onions. Rowena even used wild garlic in the turnips.”

“Did ye assist in making these tempting fares?” he asked, picking up a blade and spearing a slice of boar.

She snorted, then quickly recovered. “I confess, the kitchens will not be my strength, unless ye ask me to chop vegetables.”

“I did enjoy the one bite of bread this morn. And ye did make a tasty porridge the other day,” he reminded, taking a bite of the meat.

Two rosy stains appeared on her cheeks. “Aye, a first.”

Alex choked on the piece of boar, recalling the pleasurable morning in the gatehouse.

Aine swiftly poured him a cup of mead. “Here,” she urged, shoving the cup into his hand.

Grateful for the liquid, Alex proceeded to drain the contents.


PLUM TARTS aka…DAMSON TARTS

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup finely chopped almonds

3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into small pieces

1 egg yolk

2 pounds firm, ripe plums, pitted and quartered lengthwise

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine the flour, almonds, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and the egg yolk. Mix by hand or with an electric mixer, until crumbly.

Press 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture in an even layer into the bottom of a 9 1/2-inch springform or tart pan. Arrange the plums in the pan, skin side down to form a flower pattern; begin at the outside and work your way in.

Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture evenly over the plums. Bake the tart for 40 to 50 minutes, or until it’s lightly browned and the plum juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer tart to flat plate.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

**Damsons are a small purple-black fruit similar to the plum

During this time of year, I usually find plums at farmer’s markets or order online.

Blurb:

As chieftain for his clan, Alex MacFhearguis struggles with the burden of an unwanted responsibility. With the midwinter feast approaching, he flees his castle to find comfort and solitude within the forest. Yet on his quest, Alex stumbles into a world filled with magic, mysteries, and a woman with beguiling eyes who could capture his heart.

When half-Fae Aine Fraser makes a powerful wish, her simple request unlocks the magic she possesses and brings forth a Highlander into her world. Though the man has lost all his memories, she finds her attraction growing for this brooding warrior with each passing day. Unable to deny her feelings, Aine risks everything when she confesses her greatest secret.

Can a beauty who wished for a champion tame the beast of Leòmhann Castle?

I just want to add that I had the privilege of reading an ARC of this book and you can find my 5-Star review HERE!

Universal Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/31DeYa

About the Author

Multi award-winning paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.

Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic and Norse mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.

If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of fantasy, then travel back in time within the pages of her books.

Connect with Mary here ~

Website/Blog:  https://www.marymorganauthor.com/

Amazon Author:  http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Morgan/e/B00KPE3NWI/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaryMorganAuthor/

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/m_morganauthor

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8271002.Mary_Morgan

Pinterest:  www.pinterest.com/marymorgan50/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marymorgan2/

October #BookReviews! @AmberDaulton1 @Virgilante @LBroday @bohemienneivy @m_morganauthor @JacqBiggar

I read some fabulous books in the month of October and am happy to share my thoughts on them with you!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

Belle Hamlin lives to perform on stage, singing, and playing guitar. She’s tough as nails and has built thick walls around her heart, determined never to let anyone in. That is until she discovers she’s pregnant. A one-night stand with a sexy mechanic, Benjamin Starwell, changes her life.
He’s the father.
I love that she told him. I’ve read so many stories where the woman tries to go it alone and not tell the father, so Belle’s bold honesty is refreshing. The tumultuous and passion-driven course their lives take is riddled with obstacles. A drug lord, a jealous ex-boyfriend, and an even more jealous singing rival cause all sorts of life-threatening situations for Benjamin and Belle. I rooted for them all the way. They worked so hard at trying to build a relationship based on having a child together, but in the process, fell in love. The author threw plenty of hardships their way and kept me engaged and interested. The sex scenes sizzle. While there may have been a tad too many that did nothing to move the story forward, they were hot and graphic. The personalities of the characters are well-defined and three-dimensional. Belle’s snarky attitude fit her perfectly, and Benjamin’s undying loyalty endeared him to me. There are other characters in this story I enjoyed. I know this book is a part of the Onyx series, but it works well as a standalone. If you like a romance filled with action, angst, and hot sex, you will enjoy this book!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

In the sixth book of The Hat series, Lizzie and The Hat face an evil nemesis determined to destroy The Hat. The Midnight Rambler is on a mission and using any means he can to accomplish it, including infusing fruits and vegetables with his evil power, turning them into vicious monsters who bite and destroy humans.
The first clue is when Lizzie stops at a roadside fruit stand to make a purchase. When she has to run for her life, there is no doubt another monster is on the loose and must be destroyed. The story only ramps up from there. The reader is introduced to Ray, a creation of Professor Lagamorph. Ray is a Frankenstein-like entity made from mixed-up, mismatched human parts and pieces. His very existence is in danger because now the Professor is missing, and he’s running out of the medicine required to keep him alive. The author did a great job of tying the kidnapping of the professor into the evil villain, The Midnight Rambler.
We see another softer side of Lizzie in this segment of the story when she falls for Ray as they join forces, along with The Hat, to try and find the professor and eliminate the Midnight Rambler.
As in all of the segments of this story, we get glimpses of Lizzie’s role in the band, Lizzie and the Pythons. Those are always entertaining, as is Night Bump Radio. This is an urban fantasy that is over-the-top bizarre, funny (at times), and a deadly race to destroy evil. This book, as with others in the series, is a standalone. If you like urban fantasy with a dabbling of magic, you will no doubt enjoy this story!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

A man so scarred he hides in the darkness. A town dying. A doctor determined to save them all.
That’s what you’ll find in this poignant story about losing all hope, only to find it again. Jericho tried to save all the children in the fire. He couldn’t save Hope, and it torments him. He carries scars deep in his heart that match the horrendous ones on his face. People call him a monster. Yet, in the dead of night, he goes around town helping those who need it. Folks awaken to mended fences, food on their porches, or medicine they can’t afford. The new doctor in town follows him one night and witnesses his deep grief as he places a hand-carved wooden angel on the grave of a child.
Jericho has only one trusted friend. That is until Kathleen O’Shea makes it her mission to help him. This is such a heartwarming story and perfect for the Christmas season. Broday’s talent for wringing every drop of emotion out of a story will have you rooting for Jericho and holding your breath as more and more people die. I highly recommend it!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

There are so many things I loved about this book. The storyline is fantastic. Who couldn’t love a story with King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot as side characters, not to mention the Elves of Avalon? The tale opens with twelve-year-old Issylte getting prepared to meet her widowed father’s betrothed. She’d much rather be riding her horse across the fields of Ireland than dressing like a royal princess. The joining of King Donnchadh and Princess Morag of Scotland creates a powerful alliance between the two kingdoms. But things take a quick turn when Issylte meets Morag.
Morag’s exquisite beauty doesn’t hide the iciness of her touch and the evil in her eyes. Two years after the royal wedding, Isslyte’s father is called away on business. It is during his absence, Morag makes her move, first sending away Isslyte’s nursemaid who’s been with her since birth, which breaks the young girl’s heart. That’s only the beginning of Morag’s devious actions. When Isslyte is escorted on a ride through the forest by two guards, they reveal the evil queen’s plot to have them kill her and bring her back the girl’s heart. But the guards are unable to perform such a horrific act, and Isslyte flees into the forest. It’s the beginning of a long journey for her.
The story bounces back and forth between the castle of Tintagel and an ambitious young knight, Tristan, who is the heir to the kingdom of Cornwall, ruled by his uncle, King Marke. Tristan competes for a chance to travel to King Arthur’s court and become a Knight of the Roundtable. It is there he trains under Sir Lancelot and becomes a fierce warrior. The story takes a long way around, covering several years as Isslyte struggles to avoid death. People Isslyite loves, get killed along the way. She is forced to change her name first to Eglantine, then to Lilee. As the years pass, she is trained by fairy witches and becomes a gifted healer. Her powers grow to great proportions, and she develops the gift of sight. It is in a vision she knows her father, the king is dead. She must regain the throne. But how? She is but a young girl with no army. The story culminates close to the end when Tristan is brought to Lilee to be healed, and they finally come together. The author does a fabulous job of describing the settings as well as showing incredible knowledge of herbs, oils, and healing gemstones. The ending of the story segues into the next book, and I will look forward to reading it. My only critique of this story is that it seemed too drawn out with some repetition that could have been tightened up. For a debut novel, it’s fantastic

PRE-ORDER LINK

MY REVIEW:

I received an ARC of this book via BookFunnel, and I am so glad I did. Just as I have come to expect from Mary Morgan, she has woven a tale that kept me glued to the pages.
Aine is half fae and half human. She lives in a protected realm with her uncle and brother. But she longs for more. She wants to see the other Scotland and walk among humans. Even though it is forbidden, she uses her magic to make her wish under a star. The results are immediate and met with violence from her brother. Alex, chieftain of a Scottish clan and brave knight, stumbles through the veil in response to Aine’s magic. Aine’s brother promptly delivers a hard blow to the man’s head, and he is unconscious. At Aine’s insistence, they take him to Castle Toloch to heal. When Alex awakens, he is more than puzzled, and he has no memory of who he is or how he got to the castle.
I don’t want to leave any spoilers here, so I won’t get further into the plot of the story. But I will say Mary crafted three-dimensional characters that I had no trouble visualizing or falling in love with. She is also an expert at writing medieval settings mixed with magic. I loved everything about this book, from the odd quirks of each character to the intricately woven storyline. Aine was my favorite character. Even though she is a woman, she prefers working with the forge creating quality weapons rather than toiling in the kitchen chopping vegetables. She’s strong-willed and headstrong and filled with passion. Just what the brave knight needs. But will the gods allow them to be together, half-fae and human? You’ll have to read the story to find out. I highly recommend it. The book is currently available for pre-order and releases on December 5th.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This is such a great story with deeply flawed characters, dysfunctional family dynamics, and a love that won’t die. Renee is back home after two years of no contact. She fled without a word to anyone following her father’s suicide. It’s not until the last part of the book that the author lets the reader see why she carries such heavy guilt. Izzy, her younger sister is left to pick up the pieces after their father’s death. Not only does she take on the responsibility for their younger brother, Benjamin, but she also becomes their mother’s caretaker as cancer claims her vitality. Izzy holds a strong resentment toward Renee for abandoning them when they all needed each other. And it’s the death of their mother that has brought Renee back to the small town. The author does a great job of setting this story up, designating different chapters for different points of view, including Simon whose heart was shattered when Renee left. Of all people, she should have confided in him. But the reason she didn’t is shown in an early scene. If only. That’s what I kept thinking throughout the story. If only they’d each put aside their pain and egos and talk. But if they did, the story would be over. It kept me engaged and turning the pages. I love stories that delve into the human psyche and show many different responses to the same pain. The only reason I didn’t give this story five stars is the ending left me hanging. I needed some resolution, especially with Ben, and I didn’t get it. I needed to see a short scene after the near-drowning episode. I understand the author is setting this story up for the next one, but even just a few lines of dialogue between the siblings would have satisfied me. Nevertheless, it garnered four stars from me.

**********

That’s it from me for October. I hope you found something that intrigued you!

#NewRelease! Rorik by @m_morganauthor #Medieval #Scotland #ClanoftheSutherlandWolves

I am thrilled to welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author, Mary Morgan to my blog today! She is a wonderful writer and has a new release to tell you about.

Hello, Jan! I’m delighted to be visiting your lovely blog today and talking about my new release, Rorik, The Wolves of Clan Sutherland, Book 2. Let me share a wee bit of my journey to Orkney and Scotland which helped to inspire this series.

During our trip, several years ago to Northern Scotland and the Orkney Islands, my husband and I were fortunate to have a personal guide escort us. David Ladd was exceptional in his knowledge—from referencing the names of flowers in the most obscure places to the wildlife and history, especially during our travels on Orkney. He took us on an amazing adventure, oftentimes off the well-worn path, revealing spectacular vistas. I shall always treasure our time with him and for allowing me to crawl into the Tomb of the Eagles in South Ronaldsay, Orkney. For a few hazarding moments, I worried David and my husband when I had trouble getting out of the small tomb. Was I worried? No.

Before I entered, rain and wind pelted us on our mile walk up the hill. Once I crawled inside the small tomb, I stood and encountered utter silence—no howling wind and no rain leaked through the crevices of stone. It was as if I entered another time and place—literally. Here were my immediate reactions within this cairn: Peace. Stillness. I am not alone.

Let me explain further about the Tomb of Eagles…

Located above the dramatic South Ronaldsay cliffs, the Isbister Chambered Cairn—better known today as the ‘Tomb of the Eagles’—is one of Orkney’s top archaeological sites. Discovered by a local farmer Ronnie Simison in the 1950s, the Stone Age tomb revealed an amazing collection of bones and artifacts, placed here some 5,000 years ago. Among the human bones, there were many talons and bones of the white-tailed eagle.

The Tomb of Eagles played an important part in the book. I took my experience and wove it into the story and through the first book, Magnar.

For Rorik’s story, I brought the Seer of the Orkneyjar Isles (Orkney) to Scotland. Not only was Ragna a seer, but also a Völva—a wise woman. Seers held high status in Viking society. They were treated with great respect when they came to help a household or settlement in distress. Even the God Odin consulted the seers.

In my story, Ragna converses with the Goddess and has the ability to connect with the birds and animals. With her magical powers, she can become one with them. Then I had to consider the landscape in Northern Scotland which was vastly different than the Orkneyjar Isles.  

Here are Ragna’s first impressions as she steps onto Scottish soil…

Her body trembled. How Ragna loathed traveling across the wide-open water. She glanced to her left at the towering cliffs of dark stone. The waves crashed behind her, and she resumed her progress slowly.

Bending down, she dug two fingers deep within the gritty shore. Coldness seeped into her skin as she tried to get a sense of this country. Others whispered to her from the land—ancient and unfamiliar. Wild and strange this Scotland. Never had Ragna considered leaving the Orkneyjar Isles.

Until recently.

To this day, I continue to process all my emotions and experiences from my travels to Northern Scotland and the Orkney Islands. The land continually calls me to return home.  


Blurb:
The Dark Seducer is known throughout Scotland as a man who charms many women into his bed. Pleasure is his motto as he obtains information for his king. Yet Rorik MacNeil harbors one secret buried beneath his heart of steel. An unfulfilled conquest plagues both man and his inner wolf, and Rorik would rather suffer death’s sharp blade than confront his greatest fear.
 
As the Seer for the Orkneyjar Isles, Ragna Maddadsson confronts an unknown destiny when she travels across the North Sea to Scotland. In her quest to deliver a message from a powerful vision, she fears the warrior will not listen. If Rorik ignores her warning, Ragna must find a way to forestall his impending death. If unsuccessful, she risks having her heart cleaved in two. 
 
To unravel their true fates, Rorik and Ragna must trust in the power of the wolf.  

Excerpt:
 
If he could, Rorik would remain on this boulder by the river for the duration of the evening and into night. His stomach growled in protest, and he realized he had little food this day. He reached for his aleskin and took a sip.
 
Even the thought of entertaining Hallgerd left a hollow ache within. “For all I ken you might have the face of a goat.”
 
Rorik sensed the intruder’s approach behind him before the first footstep sounded. He lifted his left hand and rested it on the hilt of his sword by his side.
 
“I happen to cherish the faces of my goats, though they are stubborn creatures.”
 
The ale soured in his gut. “Seer.” He released his hand from his sword and continued to stare outward.
 
When silence greeted him, he dared to glance over his shoulder. Wariness from her all-knowing eyes reflected at Rorik, not the bitter coldness she often imparted to him. “Why have you come?”
 
Ragna lifted her chin. “I have a message you must hear fully.”
 
Shrugging, Rorik resumed his gaze outward. “Then speak your words.”
 
Again, the woman remained silent. Rorik pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration.
 
“Do you not deem it best to put on your tunic?” she suggested, stepping closer and brushing the garment against his arm.
 
Slowly, Rorik lifted his head to look at her. Even her words sounded different. They were almost a plea, not filled with terse venom. A rosy stain had blossomed on her ivory cheeks, and her breathing appeared labored. He pondered two things—either his naked form disgusted her or perchance appealed to her. Surely, she despises me, nothing more.
 
The barb he wanted to fling out at her became trapped on his tongue. He guzzled deeply from the aleskin. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he dropped the empty skin next to his sword and swiftly got off the boulder.
 
Ragna gasped and clutched his tunic to her breasts. Yet she did not avert her eyes.
 
He dared to move toward her.
 
Her eyes widened and she stumbled back, dropping his tunic.
 
Rorik reached out and grabbed her hand, preventing her from falling. The contact of her skin against his sent a tremor of warmth up his arm. This time, his breathing became labored while he stared into her gray eyes. He found no hatred there—only beauty within their depths. His gaze traveled down to her full red lips, partially open and begging to be kissed.

Buy Links:
 
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B093Y2FG9K/
 
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Rorik-Wolves-Clan-Sutherland-Book-ebook/dp/B093Y2FG9K/
 
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rorik-Wolves-Clan-Sutherland-Book-ebook/dp/B093Y2FG9K/
 
Amazon: AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Rorik-Wolves-Clan-Sutherland-Book-ebook/dp/B093Y2FG9K/
 
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rorik-mary-morgan/1139405450
 
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/rorik/id1566954806
 
 
Author, Mary Morgan

About Mary Morgan

Award-winning Celtic paranormal and fantasy romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.

 
Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. It wasn’t until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling by writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.

If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.

Connect with Mary at these places:

Website/Blog:  https://www.marymorganauthor.com/

Amazon Author:  http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Morgan/e/B00KPE3NWI/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaryMorganAuthor/

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/m_morganauthor

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8271002.Mary_Morgan

Pinterest:  www.pinterest.com/marymorgan50/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marymorgan2/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mary-morgan

Audible: https://www.audible.com/author/Mary-Morgan/B00KPE3NWI

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-morgan-2634a77a/

May #BookReviews Part 2 – @stacitroilo @m_morganauthor @ErskineCaldwell

This is Part 2 of my May Book Reviews and I am thrilled to share my thoughts on these three books with you!

Life in the Colorado mountains isn’t easy for immigrants Anita and Ottavio Notaro, particularly when they’re isolated on a hillside and barely speak the language. Anita is carrying their first child, and Tav works many long, hard hours away from home. This isn’t the American dream they were promised; this is a brutal life on the frontier. Tav has been saving money to make their lives easier, and he stumbles on a windfall. The only problem is, he isn’t the only one who knows about it. Trouble befalls these two humble Italians, threatening their livelihoods—and their lives.

A strange posse made up of fellow countrymen ride to their rescue. But will they get there in time?

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:


This short story sets the stage to begin the Medici Protectorate Series and after reading this introduction, I will be reading the rest of this series. The story gripped me from the first word on the first page to the last. A young Italian couple living on the rugged frontier in the Colorado mountains is struggling to survive. Ottavio and Anita Notaro have one dream and that is to return to their beloved homeland. Anita is heavy with their first child. Ottavio works hard and when he finds a treasure that will pay for their trip back home, he is overjoyed. But he isn’t the only one who knows about the treasure. The tragedy that befalls Anita and Tav is heartbreaking. This story is written in rich narrative, heavily descriptive, and filled with emotion that drips off the pages. It includes folklore, history, and even a touch of mysticism. I am anxious to dive into book one of the Medici Protectorate Series to see what happens next!

Known as the Barbarian, Magnar MacAlpin is a fierce ruler for those under his command. As leader of the Wolves of Clan Sutherland, his loyalty and obedience lies with Scotland. However, the king’s last demand is not something Magnar will tolerate.

After Elspeth Gunn’s brother the Chieftain of Castle Steinn is murdered, she flees with her nephew, and finds safety amongst a band of men who are rumored to be part wolf. When the king forces her to wed a heathen Northman, she fears losing her heart and soul not only to the man, but the beast as well.

In order to restore peace to a shattered clan, Magnar and Elspeth travel a treacherous path that challenges their beliefs. When evil seeks to destroy ancient traditions, will Magnar be compelled to restrain his wolf or allow him free to protect those he loves?

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:


This is the first book in the Wolves of the Clan Sutherland series. Set in Scotland in 1206, this story combines history, magic, folklore, and myth with reality. Magnar is the powerful and undisputed leader of the Sutherland Wolf Clan. All members of the clan are part man, part wolf but their power is in controlling the beast that resides within. They are fierce warriors and loyal to King William of Scotland. It would take a special kind of woman to win Magnar’s heart, to love both him and the wolf, and that woman is Elspeth. When her brother, Chieftan of Steinn castle, is murdered by heathen Northmen, she escapes taking her small nephew with her. Little Erik is now Chieftan by default, at the age of 7. Starving, she steals bags from two horses, never suspecting she has stolen from the king. When she and the young chieftain are brought before King William, he offers shelter and protection. He then commissions Magnar and his clan to go and rid the castle of the marauders. But to bring peace to the clans, the King orders Magnar to marry Elspeth. What starts out as a cautious and untrusting marriage soon turns steamy. This is a fantastic story with layers of side plots, including a twin brother unknown to Magnar. The two are destined to clash. This author did a fantastic job of weaving all of the layers together seamlessly and depicting the time period perfectly. I devoured the book and am now anxious for book 2, Rorik. If you love a steamy romance from that time period in the setting of Scotland and the Orkney Islands, this book is for you! If I could give it more than five stars, I would!

Single father and poor Southern farmer Ty Ty Walden has a plan to save his farm and his family: He will tear his fields apart until he finds gold. While Ty Ty obsesses over his fool’s quest, his sons and daughters search in vain for their own dreams of instant happiness—whether from money, violence, or sex. God’s Little Acre is a classic dark comedy, a satire that lampoons a broken South while holding a light to the toll that poverty takes on the hopes and dreams of the poor themselves. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Erskine Caldwell including rare photos and never-before-seen documents courtesy of the Dartmouth College Library.

KINDLE PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I have always been a huge fan of Erskine Caldwell’s writing and lucked out recently in finding several of his books in a half-price book store in Dallas. I bought all of them and am now rereading them. I started with “God’s Little Acre.” This book was first published in 1933 and there is no way on earth this book would be published in today’s social climate. Erskine depicts poverty, attitudes, and social separations perfectly in this story. It opens with Ty Ty Walden digging deep holes all over his small Georgia farm. He is convinced there is gold under the ground. Two of his sons help him daily with the digging while sharecroppers make a half-hearted attempt to farm the land that isn’t riddled with holes. Because Ty Ty is a god-fearing man, he has designated one acre of his farm as God’s little acre with all profits realized from that acre to be donated to the church. However, when he thinks he is close to finding gold on that acre, he moves it. 🙂 Caldwell had such a distinct style of writing. The dialogue is original and true to the times and demographics of the story. Phrases such as “and that’s a fact,” follow many conversations. The loose morals of the women in this story are depicted in such a way that is believable but not offensive (at least to me.) As the story unfolds, there are two major plots. The first being gold fever and the second being a different life that depends on the cotton gin running to survive. When the big wigs shut down the gin to starve out the workers, Ty Ty’s son-in-law takes the matter into his hands, determined to push past the guards, turn the power back on and return his people to work. It doesn’t end well for him. This book could possibly be classified as a tragedy, or perhaps as a high-drama, but at best it is the work of an author who dared to blur the lines and be boldly “real.” Caldwell’s greatest strength is in portraying three-dimensional characters and what motivates each. He writes from multiple points of view (a no-no in today’s literary world.) It is a classic no-holds-barred novel. If you have a weak stomach or strong social morals, this book is not going to be for you. But if you want to explore the writing genius of Erskine Caldwell, it’s a great place to start. Interestingly enough, the story is classified on Amazon as dark humor, classic humor, and literary satire. In my opinion, none of that fits. I will be making my way through the collection that I purchased. On a final note, Caldwell died in 1987. Thank goodness the publishing houses didn’t decide to keep publishing new work using a ghostwriter after his death.