Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

Devil in the Countryside is a story about the most famous werewolf investigation in history, brimming with intrigue and war, love and betrayal, and long-kept vendettas.

It’s 1588, the height of the Reformation, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside. There are reports that the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg has returned to a once-peaceful land. Heinrich Franz, a cold and calculating investigator, is tasked with finding whomever — or whatever — the killer might be. He’ll need all the help he can get, including that of a strange hunter who’s recently stumbled into town. Though they’re after the same thing, their reasons are worlds apart.

And through it all, a priest tries to keep the peace among his frightened townsfolk, while a young woman threatens his most basic beliefs.

Review:

Exciting. Thrilling. And brimming with adventure, Devil in the Countryside is a historical suspense novel with the twist of paranormal. Because it is based on the true historical werewolf hunt, it is different than most werewolf-containing novels, though it still has it’s fair share of heart-stopping moments.

The characters are all very-well developed and so different that the story always seems to have a fresh take on the mysterious murders. There are a few instances where cursing is used frequently, as well as some sexual comments/actions that are in the bars of the small town. Because this takes place during the Reformation, there is a lot of religious talk between the Protestants and the Catholics, the fighting gets escalated between the two parties, and there is a lot of talk of “devilry” and black magic.

So overall, I really did enjoy this book and learning a bit about the werewolf hunt (because my curiosity had me reading some documentaries at the same time) and this might be a good side-read if you’re studying the time of the Reformation.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to readers older than 15 years of age.

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Rated:

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Conquests: Hearts Rule Kingdoms by Emily Murdoch

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

England, 1069.

The nation is still recovering from the Norman invasion three years earlier – and adjusting to life under its sometimes brutal new rulers.

A young girl trembles in the shadows of what was once her home.
Avis is homeless and penniless, and with no family left alive she is forced to become a ward of Richard, the Norman lord who has taken her home. But when King William decrees that Norman lords must marry Anglo-Saxon women Avis must make a terrible choice.
Either marry the repulsive Richard or take a else chance on another Norman, Melville, a man she has never met.

Soon she realizes that survival in a time of turmoil and war depends of putting aide the prejudices of the past And if she can do so, kingdoms and hearts can still be among her ‘Conquests’.

Review:

A beautiful romance that captures the trials, pain, and confusion of a noble marriage during war, but also the love, commitment, and dedication that is sometimes brewed out of arranged marriages.

I fell in love with this story from page one! Avis is an incredibly strong main character, with all of the charm, wit, and sass that could be desired to fulfil such a powerful role. Hers and Melville’s story is one that is enchanting and memorable, and also illustrates how valuable communication is in a relationship.

There is some mild language, sexual comments, thoughts, and actions (though no scenes), and the details of the war can become very gruesome. However, though these things are present, they do not come very often at all, and are mild when they are included in a scene.

Thus, I give Conquests, 4 out of 5 stars and look forward to more of the author’s work in the future.

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Rated:

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A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

A featured classic novel.

The Synopsis:

In 1918 Ernest Hemingway went to war, to the war to end all wars. He volunteered for ambulance service in Italy, was wounded, and twice decorated. Out of his experiences came A Farewell to Arms. Hemingway’s description of war is unforgettable. He recreates the fear, the comradeship, the courage of his young American volunteer, and the men and women he meets in Italy with total conviction. But A Farewell to Arms is not only a novel of war. In it, Hemingway has also created a love story of immense drama and uncompromising passion.

Review:

A Farewell to Arms is a classic novel that many authors, readers, and literature-loving humans greatly enjoy, not only for the story contained in the pages, but also for Hemingway’s unique way of capturing the story. Most of Hemingway’s novels are well-known and again, most are quoted often.

In this particular novel, our focus is on the Lt. and his love as they go through a brutal war in Italy. The graphics and dialogue as we read this book bring the war to life in ways that only Hemingway could do and keep us compelled to read more.

As for the content, the language usage can be very vulgar at times and the romance is very sexual. There are no scenes in which the romance is shown clearly to the reader, however the conversations that the couple has can be decently descriptive.

Overall, this book is one that possibly can only be enjoyed by fans of Hemingway’s style and I recommend it to be kept at an audience of Seniors in high school or college students. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

 

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Rated:

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PURCHASE FROM AMAZON

Checkmate Run by Allen Alexander

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

The KGB agents are vicious, and they are closing in… His odds of escaping are bleak… Will he prevail although everything is muddled in a treacherous love triangle? Whom can he trust? The inevitable checkmate could bring him freedom … or death.

Checkmate Run is an adrenaline rush of a story about a precocious young man’s deadly struggle to survive the brutal Soviet regime. Alex Loevsky is a medical student and an inspiringly rebellious poet. He becomes enmeshed in a breakneck battle against the rampant cruelty of the totalitarian state, where just the desire to think freely is nearly a crime on par with treason, and being born Jewish is more than a mere hindrance. Alex aspires to be a physician. Despite his top academic standing, he has to overcome unspoken rule that aim to restrict the number of Jews entering medical school.

His life becomes a death-dealing game of chess; he needs to remain one step ahead of his ruthless opponent–the KGB’s Second Chief Directorate–and must win the game in order to survive.

Review:

Checkmate Run is the story of the author’s own life and his escape from Russia, yet it is written in first person just like a fictional story and is extremely engaging. The way the author writes is so beautiful, reading much like poetry and allows you to visually see everything that happens throughout the book.

Unfortunately, there were many things that I didn’t care for concerning content; just in the prologue and chapter one, I counted around 5 cuss words, some very insulting, and the sexuality present actually caused me to put the book down, all before chapter 2! It was just too detailed and crossed far too many lines for my audience.

So, although I was really interested in the author’s story as well as his writing, I would have been more pleased had he left out the language and kept the sexuality at hints without showing us every little thing that happened.

So I am going to rate Checkmate Run 1 out of 5 stars and do not recommend it to any of my followers.

Rated: *

 

The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever–if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

My Review:

In The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder, the readers are thrown into a world of fun suspense and mystery very similar to that of Sherlock Holmes. It is set in the early 1900s in Canada and is a light read however containing enough suspense to keep you reading.

The characters are all charming in their own unique ways as well as extremely likable. Readers who enjoyed Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden as young girls are certain to enjoy these women detectives who seem to always jump headlong into trouble. Their interesting disguises and witty conversations are sure to entertain the readers to the point of laughing out loud.

The storyline is quite engaging and mysterious though I can’t say that it was unpredictable. There were a few parts surprising yes, however the main plot was fairly easy to figure out; though this made it more fun to read because we could focus more on the characters rather than the plot. It is also completely clean, save a few mentions of “the opposite sex” or “scandalous clothing” (which is referring to women prancing around in trousers or skirts that reveal the ankles).

Overall, I immensely enjoyed The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder and look forward to more books in the coming series. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Rated: * * * * *

Series: Herringford & Watts Mysteries; book 1