29 August 2014

Solsbury Hill by Susan M. Wyler, Book review

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade (April 1, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594632365
  • Also available in KINDLE format


The windswept moors of England, a grand rustic estate, and a love story of one woman caught between two men who love her powerfully—all inspired by Emily Bronte’s beloved classic, Wuthering HeightsSolsbury Hill brings the legend of Catherine and Heathcliff, and that of their mysterious creator herself, into a contemporary love story that unlocks the past.

When a surprise call from a dying aunt brings twenty-something New Yorker Eleanor Abbott to the Yorkshire moors, and the family estate she is about to inherit, she finds a world beyond anything she might have expected. Having left behind an American fiance, here Eleanor meets Meadowscarp MacLeod—a young man who challenges and changes her. Here too she encounters the presence of Bronte herself and discovers a family legacy they may share.

With winds powerful enough to carve stone and bend trees, the moors are another world where time and space work differently. Remnants of the past are just around a craggy, windswept corner. For Eleanor, this means ancestors and a devastating romantic history that bears on her own life, on the history of the novel Wuthering Heights, and on the destinies of all who live in its shadow.

Haworth, Yorkshire - Source HERE)

Emily's signature
(Photo source HERE)

My thoughts:

Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights novel has captivated the heart of generations of readers with its love triangle of Heathcliff, Catherine Earnshaw and the ever gentlemanly Edgar Linton. 

I always felt it surprising that a spinster such as Emily could have written this most explosive love story so Susan M. Wyler' Solsbury Hill was most enticing. Here was a plot set in modern days reflecting the deepest and tempestuous love story. 
However the storyteller failed to capture my attention because of her writing style which I can only describe as bumpy. 

There are similarities in the themes, motifs and symbols in both stories but in this modern version of one of the deepest loves recorded in English prose, I felt a definite disappointment. Perhaps it is because it is one of my favourite stories but neither Eleanor or her childhood friend Miles held much of my attention and I struggled to finish the story. 

That said a third protagonist named Meadowcarp with his comely and solid outlook on life made it a bit sweeter along with the colourful locale. I know very few people who are reluctant to read a good Gothic novel set in the wild Moors and despite my personal lack of enthusiasm, I suggest you check it out for yourself.

I give it 3 stars for my part.

Meet the Author:


Susan M. Wyler is a writer, a poet and historian, with advanced degrees in cultural history from UCLA and Oxford University, she’s traveled the world, speaks four languages, is a teacher of yoga and meditation, a writing teacher and an editor of fiction. Her poetry has been published in Onthebus, Spillway, and the Shenandoah Review.  And in collaboration with the inspired painter Deloss McGraw a collection of her poetry, published by University of Oklahoma. Solsbury Hill is her fourth novel, her first to be published.
Additional information can be found (HERE)
Note to Readers: This was a gift and all opinions are mine only!

28 August 2014

When Calls The Heart, DVD review

  • Studio: Word Entertainment
  • ASIN: B00MEA938Y


With Billy Hamilton now out of the picture, life for Elizabeth is starting to return to normal. Still feeling guilty about being duped by Billy, Elizabeth again tries to apologize to Jack. And while Jack does his best to smooth things over, his clumsy wording only offends Elizabeth, putting Jack back in the doghouse. Elizabeth vents her frustrations to Abigail, who not only lends a caring ear, but also shares a tasty pastry.

My thoughts:

This delightful series has our full attention! Hallmark's adaption of Janette Oke's Christian novels reminds us of such classics as 'Little House On The Prairie' and we have enjoyed the wholesomeness of the stories produced by Michael Landon Jr.

For those of you who have not yet the opportunity to see an episode, When Calls The Heart is the story of a 19th Century young teacher with a privileged background whose first classroom assignment is in a small coal mining town.

And if like me you have been watching every episode until now, you probably found Second Chances to be the best of all episodes with friendly Mounty Jack struggling to find a way to express his feelings for lovely Elizabeth. 

Let me add that the Special Features are not to be missed if you want an in-depth idea on how
the series is produced!

When Calls The Heart reflects the sort of family entertainment we hope to see more on the screen: it brings wonderful messages to one and all and features stunning scenery and beautifully detailed costumes.

5 Stars!

About Word Entertainment:

A leader in the music industry for over 60 years, Word Entertainment, a Warner/Curb company, is a unique, comprehensive entertainment company comprised of multi-faceted artist service departments including publishing, merchandising, booking, and online initiatives.

I received a copy of this DVD title from Edify Media Inc/Word Entertainment to review . I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

26 August 2014

A Day In An Islander's Life...

Monday morning...

The island is waking up...

The neighbours are refreshing themselves...

The only way off island is by boat but rest assured, this mode of transportation is only occasional...

Summer blooms...

First ferry to arrive to the island...

Return to the mainland...

Not much traffic as you can see, our car + 1...(en route for supplies)

Goodbye Island for a little while (back on the 4 pm!)

Leaving with a wonderful quote about Life being rich...

"In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a good deal more than we give, and that it is only with
gratitude that Life becomes rich."

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer~

22 August 2014

The Almond Tree by Michele Cohen Corasanti, Book review

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Garnet Publishing; First Edition edition (September 30, 2012)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859643297
  • Also available in KINDLE format


Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ichmad Hamid struggles with knowing that he can do nothing to save his friends and family. Living on occupied land, his entire village operates in fear of losing their homes, jobs, and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other.
On Ichmad's twelfth birthday, that fear becomes reality.
With his father imprisoned, his family's home and possessions confiscated, and his siblings quickly succumbing to hatred in the face of conflict, Ichmad begins an inspiring journey using his intellect to save his poor and dying family. In doing so he reclaims a love for others that was lost through a childhood rife with violence and loss, and discovers a new hope for the future.
Reminiscent of The Kite Runner and One Thousand Splendid Suns, this is an uplifting read, which conveys a message of optimism and hope.

My thoughts:

A poignant story that will reach out to those of us who yearn to see the Middle East conflicts resolved peacefully once and for all. You might call me a dreamer but after reading this powerful if provocative novel, I believe now more than ever it can be done.

Michelle's stunning first novel takes no sides and gives no quarter in this novel. Her clear and concise writing reflects a deep understanding of a situation thought to be explosive at the best of times. Yet there is hope despite the heinous horrors of war and the decidedly selfish views of those involved. Amongst those hurting are the innocents as always.
Still, Arabs and Jews lived peacefully in Palestine for generations and with God's help, it will happen again.

That said, I must also point out this is purely a work of fiction reflecting greatly the point of view of the author and if a reader notices any discrepancies in the historical or political facts, let it be remembered this is just that: a work of fiction. 

The main protagonist and his family might seem extraordinary in their love for each other and their peaceful approach compared to the average Palestinian featured daily on the news yet we must believe they are more the norm than the exception. In doing so we are able to believe in this tale of love, honour and duty.

It would be remiss of me not to point out that graphic details are included in this novel, not unlike daily news sadly yet the author managed to imbue a sense of hope of such a magnitude, you will begin to believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

A story of survival amidst injustice, The Almond Tree will stay with you I imagine just like it will with me. Don't miss it!

5 Stars!

Note to readers: Due to graphic contents, recommended for mature readers only!

Meet the Author:

Michelle Cohen Corasanti has a BA from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a MA from Harvard University, both in Middle Eastern Studies.
She also holds a law degree. A Jewish American, she has lived in France, Spain, Egypt and England and spent seven years in Israel.
The Almond Tree is her first novel.

Visit her website (HERE)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author as part of it's promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

19 August 2014

In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin, Book review and Giveaway Info

  • Series: Wings of the Nightingale (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (August 5, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800720834
    Also available in KINDLE format


Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.

Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don't want to go. Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?

Sarah Sundin seamlessly weaves together emotion, action, and sweet romance into a tale that transcends time and calls us to believe in the power of love.

(Photo source HERE)

My thoughts:

IN PERFECT TIME, Book 3 of the Wings of the Nightingale series written by Sarah Sundin was once again, everything I hoped for. There is no denying this talented Christian author knows her craft: she regularly offers her readers a beautiful story set in the tumultuous years of 
WW 2, highlighted with excellent research and heart warming characters. 

And once more, her male character will reach out to hearts all over the world with his solid charm, his insecurity and his deep yearning for making something of himself. Army Air Force Flight nurse Kay Jobson is part of those dreams, and a joy he will not allow himself to accept in his life until God shows him otherwise. 
In no time you realize C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper needs His Heavenly Father now more than ever if he is to win this particular lady!

I found it delightful that Sarah manages to insert past characters in her stories leaving us to feel her story develops as in real life with all its ups and downs, so much more vivid since her novels are crafted against the WW 2 background, a time of much heightened emotions.

I never tire to read the latest offering of this talented storyteller who brings clean entertainment you will find yourself heartily recommending to friends and family without worries! 

5 Stars and thank you Sarah! You're the best!

Note: Her Waves Of Freedom series is coming up in Summer 2015. Watch for it!!

Meet the Author:

Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. The Wings of the Nightingale series (With Every Letter, 2012, On Distant Shores, August 2013, and In Perfect Time, August 2014) follows three World War II flight nurses as they find love, friendship, and peril in the skies and on the shores of the Mediterranean. The Wings of Glory series (A Distant Melody, A Memory Between Us, and Blue Skies Tomorrow) follows three brothers who are B-17 bomber pilots during World War II.

Sarah also has one husband, three children, an antisocial cat, and a yellow lab bent on destroying her writing career. When she isn't driving kids to tennis and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women's Bible studies. 
She belongs to American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. In 2011 she received the Writer of the Year Award from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Readers Choice Awards and was featured on Booklist's Top Ten Inspirational Fiction List for 2010. 

Please visit Sarah's website at http://www.sarahsundin.com for additional information!

(Photo source HERE)

Transporting a mule on a C-47? Just read Sarah's novel to see what happened!

Landing page:


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • The Wings of the Nightingale Series (With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, and In Perfect Time)
Note: Giveaway ends on the 24th!


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from LITFUSE as part of it's promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

17 August 2014

Wake by Anna Hope, Book review

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (February 11, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812995138
Also available in KINDLE format


Anna Hope’s brilliant debut unfolds over the course of five days, as three women must deal with the aftershocks of World War I and its impact on the men in their lives.

Wake: 1) Emerge or cause to emerge from sleep. 2) Ritual for the dead. 3) Consequence or aftermath.

London, 1920. The city prepares to observe the two-year anniversary of Armistice Day with the burial of the unknown soldier. Many are still haunted by the war: Hettie, a dance instructors, lives at home with her mother and her brother, who is mute after his return from combat. One night Hettie meets a wealthy, educated man and finds herself smitten with him. But there is something distracted about him, something she cannot reach. . . . Evelyn works at the Pensions Exchange, through which thousands of men have claimed benefits from wounds or debilitating distress. Embittered by her own loss, she looks for solace in her adored brother, who has not been the same since he returned from the front. . . . Ada is beset by visions of her son on every street, convinced he is still alive. Helpless, her loving husband has withdrawn from her. Then one day a young man appears at her door, seemingly with notions to peddle, like hundreds of out-of-work veterans. But when he utters the name of her son, Ada is jolted to the core.

The lives of these three women are braided together, their stories gathering tremendous power as the ties that bind them become clear, and the body of the unknown soldier moves closer and closer to its final resting place.

(Photo source :The Unknown Warrior being transported back to Britain from France, 1920)

(Photo source: Coffin of the Unknown Soldier resting on a cloth in the nave of Westminster Abbey before the ceremony at the Cenotaph and its final burial)

My thoughts:

An emotional charged debut novel highlighted against a post WW 1, Anna Hope's rendering of the Unknown Soldier's origin and the trauma experienced both on the front line and the home front is nothing but haunting.

The beginning of WAKE will definitively stay with me as naive as it sounds, I never thought exactly how nations elected a chosen candidate for their unknown soldier memorial. I remember however the solemn faces of veterans as they filed one after the other to pay their homage to one of their own.
Soldiers on both sides endured inhumane conditions to carry out their tasks!

Despite excellent research and a desire I believe to show the impact of the war on many levels, Anna Hope's narrative confused me so often I had to put the book down repeatedly. I will give her credit though for describing the heart wrenching yearning of the many mothers who wondered what happened to their sons in the horrors of trench fare.
I also felt she did a credible job in describing the atmosphere of a nation in need of closure. Thus the details of the steps leading to the internment of the unknown soldier and its emotional impact on men and women attending is to be noted.

(Photo source: Cenotaph 1920 - Crowd paying their respect to the Unknown Soldier).

None of the protagonists were memorable enough to be thought of little more than fillers and I cringed at the tawdry motives behind unnecessary scenes.  

I remind myself that in such stressful times, who is to say how each of us would react?!

Don't dismiss it too lightly however! We have come a long way in admitting the extent of PTSD (Post Traumatic Syndrome Disease) but need to remind ourselves more than ever its full magnitude on civilians as well as military personnel.

For that reason, I still give WAKE 3 stars!

Meet the Author:

Anna Hope is an English writer and actress from Manchester. She is perhaps best known for her Doctor Who role of Novice Hame. She was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, and Birkbeck College, London. 

Note: This was a library loan and all opinions are mine only!