Tag Archives: Amazon

Ruins of an Old Church Destroyed During the Spanish Civil War

Review: The Guardian of Secrets: And Her Deathly Pact

The Guardian of Secrets: And Her Deathly Pact by Jana Petken is a family saga detailing the lives of María Martinéz de Amo’s kin.

Celia Lives on the Prosperous Merrill Farm in Kent
Celia Lives on the Prosperous Merrill Farm in Kent

Told through a series of narratives from her family’s journals, María’s story spans two generations. As all properly told stories should go, the tale starts at the beginning.

María’s young mother Celia lives on the prosperous Merrill Farm in Kent, England with her father Peter. It is Celia who first starts writing journals to chronicle her life. Both Celia and Peter are quite taken with a handsome and charming visitor named Joseph Dobbs, and within a short time Celia marries Joseph, and Peter makes his son-in-law the heir to Merrill Farm.

Joseph is not what he seems. He is a drinker and a gambler. His destructive and spiteful ways are a dark thread throughout Celia’s life.

Celia flees to Valencia and Starts a Better Life
Celia flees to Valencia and Starts a Better Life

Celia flees to the orange groves of Valencia, Spain with her infant son and starts a better life. She marries Ernesto, the wealthy owner of La Glorieta estate. Despite loving Ernesto and having a family (which includes María and her twin sister Marta), it is the early 1900s and civil war consumes Spain. Ernesto and Celia go into exile in London while María, along with her siblings and friends, stay in Spain.

What follows is a fascinating and detailed story of María’s war experiences. Some events are oh so sweet, while the brutality and injustice of other events are an outrage. Jana Petken did a splendid job with the interesting narrative about Spain’s civil war—no boring history book here. Sometimes the characters made poor decisions or took ill-advised actions.  Lita wanted to give them a good talking to and set them straight—that is the greatest fun of reading well-written fiction. The outcome of Joseph’s last revengeful stand is satisfying, to say the least.

Gentle Readers who enjoy settling in with a long story about an interesting family would enjoy The Guardian of Secrets: And Her Deathly Pact. Just don’t join Joseph in a game of poker. The stakes are murderously high.

The Guardian of Secrets: And Her Deathly Pact on Amazon US

The Guardian of Secrets: And Her Deathly Pact on Amazon UK

The Guardian of Secrets: And Her Deathly Pact on Goodreads

Jana Petken on Goodreads

Jana Petken website and blog

Meteor Impact

Review: The Dark Days

The Dark Days: End of the World – Episode 1 by Ginger Gelsheimer and Taylor Anderson is a YA thriller about teen Claudia Sheeplord and the end of the world via asteroid.

Tongue-In-Cheek Wedding at the End of the World
Tongue-In-Cheek Wedding at the End of the World

Claudia has been skeptical about the blather over the past month about the killer asteroid that will slam into the Earth and raise the tides ten feet higher. Or two miles higher. Whatever. She is flying to Denver for her brother’s tongue-in-cheek wedding at the end of the world. At least she meets a new friend sitting across the airplane isle, Ben Willoby.

Then the asteroid hits the Earth in a double-whammy strike that all but swats the jet out of the sky. A sickening nosedive, followed by the pilot’s frantic acrobatics in inky-black skies, is the start of Claudia’s adventures. Getting out of Denver’s demolished airport is trivial compared to the world’s oceans paying the Mile High City a deadly visit.

Events Preceding the Dystopian World in the Hunger Games
Events Preceding the Dystopian World in the Hunger Games

This sweet panic-filled short story tells the events that preceded the dystopian world in the Hunger Games.

It starts so normally from a teen girl’s sensibilities in the first few pages, and turns into a desperate scramble of survival with Ben and other survivors at the end. Hunger Games fans would love this well written taster story. The action should also satisfy the Gentle Readers who like white-knuckled thrillers. Before jumping in, be sure you put on winter boots and have your rubber ducky ready.

The Dark Days: End of the World – Episode 1 on Amazon US

The Dark Days: End of the World – Episode 1 on Amazon UK

The Dark Days: End of the World – Episode 1 on Goodreads

Ginger Gelsheimer on Goodreads

Ginger Gelsheimer website

American Civil War Soldier With His Horse

Review: Terms of Surrender

Terms of Surrender by Lorrie Farrelly is a historical western romance about a former captain in the confederate army, Michael Cantrell, and his search for redemption in the ranch lands of Wyoming.

Civil War Battlefield Horrors Had Broken Michael’s Spirit
Civil War Battlefield Horrors Had Broken Michael’s Spirit

In the months following the American Civil War, the battlefield horrors have broken Michael’s spirit. He saw his beloved brother Gavin fall, and heartache consumes Michael. With nothing left of his life except for his warhorse Jet, a saber, and an army issue Colt Navy revolver, he rides Jet to the western frontier.

Annie Devlin has overwhelming cares for such a young horse rancher. Her parents are dead and she struggles to make a home for ten-year-old brother Robbie. Annie’s powerful neighbor Elias Randolph covets her family’s pastureland, and he pulls dirty and deadly tricks to get her to sell.

Annie’s Neighbor Covets Her Family’s Pastureland
Annie’s Neighbor Covets Her Family’s Pastureland

Fate brings Michael to the siblings’ rescue when Randolph’s henchmen attack the two on their way home with a mud-stuck wagon of supplies. Michael wins this skirmish, but is near-fatally wounded.

Annie takes Michael home and tends the fallen confederate captain. Bringing him back from death’s gate is just the first of their harrowing adventures to protect the ranch.

Love blossoms between the northern woman and southern man, but the War Between the States is not over for some. Despite advice from Gavin’s ghost, the cards are stacked against Michael finding redemption and love in the Wild West.

Terms of Surrender is a tender love story about a couple in a harsh world. The tale unwinds through Michael’s eyes, and at times his anguish brought Lita tears. The romance was sexy and delightful, and the bad guys were ooh, so despicable. The scene descriptions were vivid and done well. At times Lita shivered from the chilly kiss of the Wyoming wind.

Gentle Readers who enjoy westerns and spicier romances would like the story. For others who love immersive worlds, just saddle up and ride on in to Terms of Surrender.

Terms of Surrender on Amazon US

Terms of Surrender on Amazon UK

Terms of Surrender on Goodreads

Lorrie Farrelly on Goodreads

Lorrie Farrelly blog and website

Psychic Magical Powers and Past Lives

Review: Outview

Outview by Brandt Legg is a coming-of-age fantasy about a teenager named Nathan Ryder and his struggles learning modern-day psychic magic.

Nate's Mother Committed His Brother to a Mental Hospital
Nate’s Mother Committed His Brother to a Mental Hospital

Nate has suffered for a year from paralyzing nightmares. In these night terrors he runs from enemies, but they always catch and kill him. He struggles to live a teen’s normal life with his best friends Kyle and Linh, but his father died four years ago and Nate feels responsible. The loss estranged him from his mother. Even worse, she sent his brother Dustin to a mental institution two years ago and she refuses to let Nate visit. Now the worsening nightmares have convinced Nate that he is going crazy like Dustin.

Kyle and Linh sneak him in to visit Dustin. They discover a lucid older brother who guides Nate to seek out their Aunt Rose and investigate their father’s death. Nate learns from Rose that his nightmares are the forerunners of exceptional psychic powers. His innocent Internet search about their father alerts a clandestine government agency. This agency, lead by an Agent Fitts, will stop at nothing to acquire Nate and his growing powers.

Nate Could Read an Entire Book in Seconds By Holding It Between His Palms
Nate Could Read an Entire Book in Seconds By Holding It Between His Palms

Outview is a dandy fantasy thriller. Woven throughout was an intricate and well-designed fantasy world of psychic powers and government shenanigans. Lita wished that she could just pick up a book, hold it closed between her palms, and absorb its knowledge the way Nate could.

The story’s ever-growing plot dangers made for an absorbing read. Brandt Legg used a deft hand in creating teens that were a pleasing blend of naïveté and intelligence. The story also had a nice balance of description and dialogue that kept things moving. Lita very much enjoyed the detailed descriptions of psychic magic, but some Gentle Readers might find them too lengthy for their tastes.

Outview is one of those excellent stories where Lita wanted to give it more than five stars. She cannot wait to read the sequel, Outin. Since Lita cannot absorb a book through her palms like Nate, she will read Outin from her Kindle the usual way.

Outview on Amazon US

Outview on Amazon UK

Outview on Goodreads

Brandt Legg on Goodreads

Brandt Legg website

Alice Invites Lita to a Mad Tea Party

“Wrath” Takes Honorable Mention in Readers’ Favorite Contest

Lita is delighted to tell Gentle Reader that the 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest named Wrath, Prequel to Tredan’s Bane as the Honorable Mention Winner in its Fiction-Short Story category.

Wrath, Prequel to Tredan's Bane - Honorable Mention Winner in the 2014 Readers' Favorite International Book Award Contest
Wrath, Prequel to Tredan’s Bane – Honorable Mention Winner in the 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest

Readers’ Favorite gives readers a resource for quality book reviews. Their annual book award contest offers authors the opportunity to gain recognition and exposure of their books.

This year, Readers’ Favorite honored one of Lita’s Enchanters of Sye stories. They named Wrath, Prequel to Tredan’s Bane as an Honorable Mention Winner in their annual book awards contest. Here is their 5 star review of Wrath.

Lita rushed over to Alice’s place to tell her good friend the news. “I am so discombobulated,” Lita said. “I forgot my handkerchief. I feel like a hobbit setting out on a grand adventure!”

As Usual, the Cake Made the Girls Grow
As Usual, the Cake Made the Girls Grow

Alice insisted they celebrate with a mad tea party. As usual, the cake made the girls grow, bump their heads on the ceiling, and giggle.

The tea from the bottle labeled “Drink Me” shrunk them to the size of dormouse. Then  they played the game of I Spy Things That Start with the Letter M until it was time for Lita to go home.

Readers’ Favorite reviewers have said kind things before about Lita’s stories. One reviewer described Wrath as “Lita Burke brings a magical world to life with a deft and economic use of words and imagery that is really quite remarkable.” Another reviewer gushed this about Tredan’s Bane: “The story is very intriguing and, at the same time, exciting.”

The award-winning Wrath, Prequel to Tredan’s Bane is now FREE on Amazon US, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. Don’t wait—indulge yourself now with some tea, cake, and Wrath.

Wrath on Amazon US

Wrath on Amazon UK

Wrath on Smashwords

Wrath on Barnes & Noble

Wrath on Goodreads

Wrath on LitaBurke.com

Read more about Wrath in “Finalist in 2014 Readers’ Favorite Contest.” Don’t stop after reading Wrath. Continue your visit in Lita’s Enchanters of Sye fantasy world. Find out more about Tredan’s Bane, read the back cover blurb, revel in Chapter 1, watch the book trailer, and then have Tredan’s Bane join Wrath on your Kindle, Nook, or iPad/iPhone.

Winter Vineyard Thriller

Review: The Field of Blackbirds

The Field of Blackbirds by Thomas Ryan is a thriller about Jeff Bradley, a former New Zealand military man, and his dangerous quest to find a missing friend.

A Dispute Over a Family’s Vineyard
A Dispute Over a Family’s Vineyard

Jeff’s business associate Arben has travelled to Kosovo to see into a dispute over his family’s vineyard. Jeff gets a message from his panicked friend, and then suspects the worst when Arben disappears.

In a swirl of corrupt officials and honest friends who are almost impossible to tell apart, Jeff looks for Arben in the post-war city. Double crosses and shadowy events turn Jeff’s search into a dangerous plunge into the Kosovo bitter weather to find the truth.

The Field of Blackbirds is a well-written journey of desperate people struggling to regain their humanity in the soup of crooked local politics. Mixed in was a ghost intelligence agency on a relentless pursuit of an international terrorist.

A Swirl of Corrupt Officials and Honest Friends
A Swirl of Corrupt Officials and Honest Friends

The taut plot had twists to the end. Thomas Ryan’s well-drawn characters made Lita cheer their successes and also doubt their motives. The story’s sense of place was so well-defined that at times Lita felt the numbness of Jeff’s gloveless hands, and she wrinkled her nose at the sour odor of fear.

The Gentle Readers who love thrillers that make them stay up all night would enjoy The Field of Blackbirds. Be sure to wear gloves while reading this book to keep Kosovo’s frigid winter from nipping your fingers as you turn the pages.

The Field of Blackbirds on Amazon US

The Field of Blackbirds on Amazon UK

The Field of Blackbirds on Goodreads

Thomas Ryan on Goodreads

Thomas Ryan website and blog

Fey-Folk at the Lily Pond

Review: The Water Lily Fairy

The Water Lily Fairy by Mary Ann Vitale is a children’s fantasy about a fairy that brings secret gifts to a village.

The Fairy Hides in Plain Sight
The Fairy Hides in Plain Sight

One day a group of fairies fly by a pond filled with water lilies, and a curious fae lingers to see the playing children. She folds her skirt just so and hides in plain sight because she looks like a closed lily. The children are from such poor families that the fairy wishes there was something she could do to ease their dreary lives.

She stays hidden at the pond and overhears the grumbling of the villagers during the day, and then through the night scatters gifts in the streets to satisfy their wishes. For three nights she leaves increasingly wondrous presents. The fairy then does something unexpected.

The Water Lily Fairy is a simple story gently told. The book brims with lovely and colorful illustrations. It is a perfect book to read to a wide-eyed child before bedtime to bring dreams filled with shimmering fairy magic.

The Water Lily Fairy on Amazon US

The Water Lily Fairy on Amazon UK

The Water Lily Fairy on Goodreads

Mary Ann Vitale on Goodreads