Title: Waterfall (River of Time #1)
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Publisher: David C. Cook
Format: ebook ($.7.39) Paperback ($9.99)
Length: 384 pages
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Genre: young adult historical romance, time travel
Summary: Gabi and Lia Betarrini are used to traveling the world with their archaeologist parents. They’ve spent summers in Italy ever since they can remember, but since their father’s death, their mother has thrown herself even more into her work. Her latest discovery brings them to ancient Etruscan tombs. Even though they know it’s off-limits, the two girls sneak into one of the tombs while their mother is pre-occupied. Inside they find handprints painted on the cold stone wall, but the handprints are warm to their touch, and when both girls touch the prints at the same time they are sent careening back through time into the 14th century, where they find themselves in the middle of a medieval skirmish for territory.
The problem is they land in that time a few days apart, so they have to find each other again. With two warring families fighting over that territory, it becomes a difficult prospect. Add to that an incredibly good-looking medieval lord with a jealous fiancee’, an evil rival lord who would love nothing more than to take over their castle, some well-played strategies, and two vicious she-wolves. They’ll be lucky if they can make it back to their own time in one piece!
Review: It keeps you fully occupied from start to finish. So action-packed! It’s written in first person, so you get an in-depth view of the main character and all the challenges she goes through that help her grow into her role as the savior of Siena. The plot keeps moving, never a moment for Gabi to rest. There were a few places I would have liked more description, a few places there was more telling than showing, but then again, the story was moving at a steady pace and the extra description might have interrupted the rhythm.
Recommendation: It is a great book for any age group if you like adventure. A little romance, but nothing you wouldn’t want your eleven year old to see. Good clean fiction. Loved it! Gotta give it five quills:
This is the first of three novels in the series, plus there are two companion novellas. I’ve purchased all the others and have them waiting on my Kindle! Good stuff!
Title: Shadows on the Sand
Author: Gayle Roper
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Format: E-book (also available in paperback)
Release Date: July 19, 2011
Genre: Christian Romance/ Christian Suspense
Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Waterbrook Multnomah, Christian Books Distributor
Summary: Carrie Carter and her sister Lindsay run a small cafe in Seaside, a resort town on an island off the New Jersey coast. Things are just starting to wind down after the busy summer — the vacationing crowds are dissipating and the cafe is settling back into the company of their year-round regulars.
One of those regulars, Greg Barnes, makes Carrie’s heart do a happy dance every time he comes in. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to know she exists other than to serve his usual bacon and eggs in the morning (and he doesn’t even like eggs). That is until he starts to realize he has noticed her more than he planned.
When the body of Carrie’s murdered dishwasher turns up and her young waitress disappears, the peace of Seaside is turned upside-down. It seems everybody is hiding something, some secret demons from the past. While Greg’s demons threaten to destroy their new-found love, Carrie’s past comes back to haunt her as well, throwing her faith and life as she knows it into turmoil.
Review: Shadows on the Sand is a well-written mystery with lots of moving parts. The visual description of the setting paints the scene for the reader. The characters are well-developed, though sometimes their reactions to the circumstances are a little less intense than it seems would suit the situation. The story deals with several different human issues: murder, grief, abuse, faith, deception, guilt, anger, forgiveness, loss and love. The author brings all these strands of the story together at the end into a clear resolution without any loose ends, weaving in the tenants of faith and incorporating the theme of “for everything there is a season” from Ecclesiastes.
With that being said, I will add I could have lived without the Twitter sequences. They were inextricably entwined with the plot but felt awkward and a bit contrived to me — though they did make for great comic relief in the more intense moments. And they were the path through which rescue came several times, so I can’t say they are without merit.
As far as the climax of the story, I was white-knuckling the Kindle for a few minutes, but given the seriousness of the scene, the intensity could possibly have been knocked up a notch or two. Overall though, a satisfying ending.
Recommendation: I had a difficult time putting this one down. The suspense, the mystery and the love story came together to create a good reading experience. Readers who enjoy good mysteries will not be disappointed. For Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper I offer four quills:
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. You can buy the book or read a sample here.