Book Review: Winter Solstice Winter by E.J Squires

In the land where ruthless Vikings and ominous shape-shifters roam free Eiess usurps the Northlandic Throne and suspends the seasons on Winter Solstice.

Lucia, heir to the Northlandic Throne, is taken prisoner and wastes away in one of the castle’s towers.

Ailia, a peasant girl, goes missing, and wakes up in a glacier cave months later with no memory of how she ended up there.

Soren, one of the Sentinors sent to defeat Eiess, has failed in saving Lucia and in defeating Eiess.

As Eiess continues to amass her forces, preparing for the battle to end all battles, Ailia, Lucia and Soren are about to discover that their lives are intertwined behind a veil of lies. Determined to take back the throne, they begin to form an alliance, but their mission to overthrow Eiess is stalled when the lies surface.

And when a forbidden love flourishes between two, anger, jealousy and duplicity arises, causing one of them to betray the others – a betrayal which puts their lives and the lives of humanity in grave danger.

Winter Solstice Winter by E. J Squires pulls us into the land of the Vikings a bloody time in history that was full of battles and excitement and in this version shape shifters. Nothing is as simple as it seems when you are battling an evil Empress and the three heroes of the piece Eilia, Lucia and Soren find themselves deeply entwined. But can they overcome the love and jealousy that comes between them in order to rise up and not only reclaim the throne of the lands but save all of humanity?

This book is going to grab every reader from the first page and hold you until the last, which is how it was with me. E.J Squires is a new author for me but one that I look forward to reading a lot more of because of the depth of work that clearly shows in this book. The binding love between Lucia and Soren will bring anyone who loves a historical romance in, but the story is really so much more than that. Layer upon layer has been created with this book to make it utterly entrancing. I may be going a little horn tooting in this review but I feel that strongly about this book, anyone who loves fantasy, history and love is going to love this book and I highly recommend it. The one and only complaint I have about the book is that it ended! I look forward to more of this saga for sure.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: The Miners Lady by Tracie Peterson

When Chantel Panetta’s younger sister claims to be in love with Orlando Vittorio, Chantel knows there is no hope. The Panettas and Vittorios have been sworn enemies for decades, and young love cannot heal the deep wounds between the two iron-mining families. Yet, unable to resist Isabella’s pleas, Chantel agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando…only to have a run-in with Dante, Orlando’s brother. The older, more handsome one.
Chantel can’t deny the attraction that flares when she’s with Dante. But when a tragedy occurs at the mine, is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved? Or will Chantel’s hope for love be buried amidst decades of misunderstanding?

This was not my favorite of this series, for me it just seemed to be missing some of the spark from the first two and it took me a long while to cozy up to the characters in this book. I think the only one I mostly liked from the start was Orlando. I did not dislike the book but out of the three I have read from this series this was my least favorite. It was not overly memorable for me, just kind of an okay read that probably won’t stay with me to long. It does have some interesting Romeo and Juliet style moments though between the feuding families.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory

Philippa Gregory presents the first of a new series set amid the deadly feuds of England known as the Wars of the Roses.

Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.

The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.

With The White Queen, Philippa Gregory brings the artistry and intellect of a master writer and storyteller to a new era in history and begins what is sure to be another bestselling classic series from this beloved author.

The war of the roses has always been something that I enjoy reading about. How a family so powerful for so long came down to nothing but bitter war. Philipa Gregory does another good job with this one and I enjoy how she chose to write the characters. The history is good for the major plot points but of course because it is historical fiction she does take some liberties but I found that they worked well within the story.

Overall this one goes in the I am happy I read it category. If you are a war of the roses fan this is one to go with for sure. If you don’t know much about the era you may still enjoy it but might not understand it *as much*. This is a good start to the cousins war series.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray

Sorceress. Seductress. Schemer. Cleopatra’s daughter is the one woman with the power to destroy an empire…

Having survived her perilous childhood as a royal captive of Rome, Selene pledged her loyalty to Augustus and swore she would become his very own Cleopatra. Now the young queen faces an uncertain destiny in a foreign land.

The magic of Isis flowing through her veins is what makes her indispensable to the emperor. Against a backdrop of imperial politics and religious persecution, Cleopatra’s daughter beguiles her way to the very precipice of power. She has never forgotten her birthright, but will the price of her mother’s throne be more than she’s willing to pay

In this second book of the Cleopatra’s Daughter Series we see Selene start to really come into her own. Once she is married and away from the Evil Octavian (I won’t even start on what he did to her on her wedding night) she starts to find her own way. She reveals in the power she has as a Queen to make peoples lives easier, she has a beautiful Daughter with her Brother Helios (modern minds don’t judge this was common in Egypt) and her magic really is coming to itself as well.

I loved this book and can not wait to read more. Of course I have my personal wishes and wants whenever I read a book from this era (more Antony!) but truly this was a well written story. There is not much really known historically about Selene besides her parents and she was a Queen in her own right. So it is interesting to watch the path she walks, eagerly towards getting Egypt back in the name of her Mother, but is that really what she wants?

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Scandalous Lord, Rebellious Miss by Deb Marlowe

The Wicked Lord DayleCharles Alden, Viscount Dayle, is intent on reform, having misspent his youth on hard living, soft women and outrageous pranks. Forced by circumstance to hold a title he never wanted, he’s determined to live up to his noble name.

The Unconventional Miss Westby

Sophie Westby is the last woman who should attract his interest. And yet she comforts his battered spirit, captivates his wary mind and tempts him with her exotic beauty. But the reformed rake cannot cause another scandal–can he?

This book is exactly what you would think it should be, a typical formatted bodice ripper. Reformed Rake, lovely Lady and in the end they fall in love. Moreover I positively love this book for being what it should be. While it follows the formula that you see in bodice ripper books it is still unique and so enjoyable. There were times I wanted to clout both characters around the ear and say “COME ON NOW YOU KNOW YOU NEED TO BE TOGETHER”. I love that Sophie is who she is and does not apologize for it and I positively love how Charles goes about declaring himself in the end. That made me smile the most in this book. If you want a fast and enjoyable read I would say pick up this book it was such fun.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: The Lost Letters Of Aquitaine (Alais Capet #1) by Judith Koll Healey

The only thing I felt was a strong hand around my neck, another around my waist, and — before I could cry out — I smelled the thick, sweet scent of a mandrake-soaked cloth. Unforgiving hands clapped it against my face, and all went dark.

Alais, the king of France’s sister, is abducted while on her mission for the wily Eleanor of Aquitaine, the former Queen of England, to retrieve hidden letters that, in the wrong hands, could bring down the English king. In exchange, the French princess was to receive long-heldand dangerous information. Now Alais, along with help from the very intriguing leader of the Knights Templar, must unravel a tangled web of family secrets and lies.

I love historical and I love mystery within them, however this was not my favorite book. The plot was a bit convoluted to me and I did not like the writing style. Now even though I did not like the style itself the words were well written. I just think the plot needed some more rounding out so you could feel more involved with it. Personally I also think there needed to be a bit more character development to make you enjoy Alais a bit more. Not a bad book just not the best one for me.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he’s forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man’s daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he’s haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind–a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the person is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna’s outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?

Okay friends who know me..get laughing at the title of this one out of your system.

Now onto the review. Bethany house seems to have a habit in of being the one with..missing F’s and some various other letters in the books with the Early copies. Again another one I happily got from Net Galley which I am happy for but gah it is hard to read the word coffee over and over again without the f’s. Hopefully it has been corrected in the final copy.

Jo and her family are the kind I can see myself sitting around with and enjoying some good laughs. They are hard working ranchers, although Jo’s Dad and her adopted Uncles were once outlaws. They however were not the kind that ever harmed anyone and only took enough to survive and for the last 16 years have been reformed, except when Silas steals Crockett Archer off a train for his Daughters birthday. Yes I personally laughed at that as well.

Crockett ends up forgiving his kidnappers and because what happened to him basically lost him the job he was going after takes up preaching in the small local church that Jo was so desperately trying to find a preacher for. It seems a little bit idealistic but it fits with the character we learn about Crockett and brings the whole story together. This was a good read with enjoyable characters that I am going to remember for a while.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Trouble in Store by Carol Cox

Fired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort: the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin. But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he’s not about to let some obstinate woman with newfangled ideas mess up all he’s worked for. He’s determined to get Melanie married off as soon as possible, and luckily there are plenty of single men in town quite interested in taking her off his hands.
The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn’t want her to marry up with any of them. He’s drawn to Melanie more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store unexpectedly offer positive results.

But someone doesn’t want the store to succeed, and what used to be just threatening words has escalated into deliberate destruction and lurkers in the night. When a body shows up on the mercantile steps–and the man obviously didn’t die from natural causes–things really get dangerous. Can Melanie and Caleb’s business–and romance–survive the trouble that’s about to come their way?

This was another fun read fro Bethany House. It was the first one that I have read by Carol Cox and I have to say that I enjoyed her writing style. Melanie is the kind of Lady I picture I might have been back in the days of the wild west. She sets her mind to a task and goes for it, not letting anyone stand in her way and is determined to be a woman of independent thought and means. While she may have despaired at her initial loss of job at the start of the story she did not dwell on it long and picked herself up and headed off to make the best of life that she could.

Caleb and his son Levi made me laugh several times and overall this really is a fun, fast read. Again there seems to be some editing issues with the missing of the letters F in almost every circumstance like the last Bethany House read that I read, but I did get an early copy so again hopefully it is corrected in the final draft. It did not take away from the writing and plot of the book making it a good, not overly complicated read.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: The Quarryman’s Bride (Land of Shining Water #2) by Tracie Peterson

Emmalyne Knox and Tavin MacLachlan were destined to be together…until the tragic deaths of Emmalyne’s youngest sisters. Family tradition mandates that the youngest daughter should remain single to care for her parents in their old age, and now that daughter is Emmalyne. Her father unyielding, Emmalyne surrenders to her duty, heartbroken. Tavin leaves town, equally devastated.

Years later, Emmalyne’s family moves, and she and Tavin meet again. Their feelings for each other are as strong as ever, but their painful past and Emmalyne’s father still stand between them. Soon both families are in the midst of the growing conflict rising between the workers at the granite quarry that Tavin’s father owns and operates. When a series of near-fatal accidents occur, Tavin must figure out who is behind the attacks before someone gets killed.

Bound by obligation, yet yearning for a future together, can Emmalyne and Tavin dare to dream that God could heal a decade-long wound and change the hearts of those who would stand in the way of true love?

This is the second in a series of books by Tracie Peterson that takes place in 1800’s Minnesota. I am always drawn to books that take place in my home state because I tend to know the places they are talking about and can understand much of the culture and trends that are going on. Emmalyne’s family is of Scottish origin and has a lot of the old traditions, like the one that forces her to take care of her parents and give up the engagement to the love of her life Tavin.

The story itself for this was one good, and emotional taking a lot of turns and a family as well as the people as individuals all learned how to grow and love. The biggest lesson learned by this book is that it is never to late for love. Whether it is love of a man and a woman who wish to marry, or the love of a father. I am looking forward to reading the next of this series, because the characters are so enjoyable and loveable. Tavin by far was the one who I most connected with.

My one and only complaint and I am sure it is because I got an early copy from Netgalley (very glad to have it as well!) is that there were a lot of formatting errors that needed correcting. F’s were missing among other things. Otherwise it was a perfect read.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: The Secret Bride (In The Court of Henry VIII #1) by Diane Haeger

Mary Tudor, the headstrong younger sister of the ruthless King Henry VIII, has always been her brother’s favorite-but now she is also an important political bargaining chip. When she is promised to the elderly, ailing King Louis of France, a heartbroken Mary accepts her fate, but not before extracting a promise from her brother: When the old king dies, her next marriage shall be solely of her choosing. For Mary has a forbidden passion, and is determined, through her own cunning, courage, and boldness, to forge her own destiny.

The Secret Bride is the triumphant tale of one extraordinary woman who meant to stay true to her heart and live her life just as her royal brother did- by her own rules…

Mary Tudor is one that is not often talked about unless there are whispers about her marriage to Charles Brandon, or they are talking about her not overly historical portrayal on The Tudors. Diane Haeger creates a great story of the events of young childhood through to adult hood of Mary Tudor and it all takes place from her point of view. From the loss of her Brother Arthur, to her parents to watching as her Brother becomes a fine King in his own right, but then also begins down the path that he is most remembered for. How many Mistresses and Wives he had.

The story is solid and entertaining weaving a good amount of fact with in the fictions to keep it very interesting. There are a few points that drag on a little bit slow but over all it is an entertaining cover to cover read. A good read for the Tudor era.

My Gemstone Rating:


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