Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Tainted Coin - a Kregel review

Medieval fiction has never taken my interest in the past. However, in the last couple of years, I've had the opportunity to read and review two of Mel Starr's novels in the Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series. Since then, I've read the series up to current release, and I hope to read more! What I like most about this series of books is the magnificent detail that goes into the novels. When I can feel the weather, smell what the character smells, and sense the tension that Hugh experiences, that's the mark of a great book!

The Tainted Coin is the fifth novel in the series. (You can read my reviews of the third and fourth novels.) Hugh de Singleton is the main character. Hugh is a surgeon and a bailiff. Much of his daytime activities revolve around these responsibilities. However, now he also is a father. His beloved Kate and he now have an infant daughter.

The story begins as Hugh makes the discovery of a badly beaten man at a nearby church, where he also discovers that the priest there is a former enemy of his! The enemy, thankfully, is a changed man and helps Hugh in trying to help the beaten man. The injuries sustained are too much for the man, however, and his last words are, "They didn't get me coin."

Hugh goes on a quest to find out what happened to the man, who happened to be a chapman selling goods. When the search gets personal, though, Hugh realizes that he must protect his family.

If you would like to read the first chapter of this novel, Mel has a copy that you can read here.

About Mel
Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He graduated from Spring Arbor High School in 1960, and Greenville College (Illinois) in 1964. He received an MA in history from Western Michigan University in 1970. He taught history in Michigan public schools for thirty-nine years, thirty-five of those in Portage, MI, where he retired in 2003 as chairman of the social studies department of Portage Northern High School. Mel married Susan Brock in 1965, and they have two daughters; Amy (Kevin) Kwilinski, of Naperville, IL, and Jennifer (Jeremy) Reivitt, of Portage, MI. Mel and Susan have seven grandchildren.

I received Unhallowed Ground as a complimentary gift in exchange for review from Kregel Blog Tours. My comments and opinions are my own.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Love Finds You in Glacier Bay Alaska - a Launch Teammate review

I was honored to be selected to be a Launch Teammate for Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska, a novel written by authors Tricia Goyer & Ocieanna Fleiss.

I always find it extremely fascinating when I read a book that is co-authored. In many how-to writing books I've read, I've seen  suggestions to never co-author, because of the problems that often ensue. I often wonder, "Does one person do the writing and the other edit or do they swap chapters and equally write?" And of course there are many other questions I harbor in my mind about co-authored  novels. :) I won't bore you with those, though. No matter who did the writing and editing, LFY in Glacier Bay, Alaska, was beautifully done. (I'm going to abbreviate the story's title to "LFYGBA" from this point on in this entry, just so you know.) The writers did a beautiful job of capturing the scenery, making the characters feel like I could see them in my mind's eye, and the inclusion of the drenching rain felt palpable!

In this novel, there are snippets of letters tucked in that add to the story. This is a hard thing to accomplish seamlessly, but the authors did so magnificently.

Singer Ginny Marshall comes from a troubled home. Scars of cigarette burns on her back and memories of the only foster family who ever loved her buried with their tragic death, Ginny is looking ahead at the possibility of a promising career in music. With a stunning contract ready for her signature that promises to launch her into fame, Ginny is unsure. Wanting to talk to someone who understands her, Ginny flies to Glacier Bay, Alaska, to seek the advice of her former fiance, Brett Miller. When she finds that Brett is off traipsing through the area and can't be contacted, she develops a closeness to Brett's grandmother and an appreciation for the close-knit community. During her wait for Brett to return, Ginny absorbs herself in a box of old letters written by an early missionary to Alaska named Clay, and Ellie, the woman who moved there to be the governess of his motherless children.

This was a brilliant story line with precious characters and a tale that will tug at your heartstrings.

I've been given a copy of Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska, in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own.