Carina by Alison Morton

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Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the entire Roma Nova series, I eagerly opened up the new installment, Carina.  This installment takes place between the first two books of the series and finds Carina tasked to apprehend an alleged traitor in Quebec and return her to Roma Nova.  A straightforward task for a member of the elite Praetorian officer corps.  However, things turn out to be a bit more complicated and she is  plunged into a web of deception and intrigue.  The author has given the reader another gem of a tale with her usual fast paced style, believable scenarios and the real sensation that Roma Nova could exist in the modern world.  When I started reading Carina, it was with the thought that I would take my time with this novella, as I was also reading a couple of other books that had review deadlines looming.  Hah! I was so engrossed and taken in by Alison’s skillful creative abilities, that I finished Carina in two sittings.  So, dear readers, help yourself to another 5 Star entry to the Roma Novan catalog.

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The Last Legionnaire by Paul Fraser Collard

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Ahh, home sweet home.  Jack is back in London; back with his mother; back to Mary.  Settled in and working at the gin joint owned by his mother, life has taken a turn for the good for Jack – or has it? The part of London Jack inhabits has it’s own problems, ones that Jack cannot overcome; ones that drive Jack back to The Devil. If you have followed along with Jack Lark, you know that there is one thing that he is good at, killing.  In The Last Legionnaire, Jack finds himself in another war, ostensibly to find a man and get him out of harm’s way and back to England.  A simple enough mission.  Yeah right.  The author has once again crafted a fast paced, emotional drama that had me pulled in by the end of chapter one.  The horrors of war are laid bare in this French versus Austria/Hungary tussle.  The methods of battle that Jack is used to have been changed by the rifling of musket barrels and cannon.  Massive destructive power now enhanced and much more deadly.  Jack is back in his element, though the price is steep; mentally and physically.

A superb tale full of surprises, and certainly entertaining awaits you dear reader. 5 Stars

The Reaper’s Touch – The Ripper Legacies Book 2 – by Robert Southworth

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A gripping sequel to say the least.  With the identity of The Ripper still unknown, the author throws out tantalizing hints and creative plot twists, capturing the mood and emotions of everyone involved.  Fast paced action, engaging characters; a tale replete with the sights and sounds of London; it’s vibrancy and it’s decadence.  I was taken in once again by Mr. Southworth’s grasp of the facts and his creative touch on one of the more ghoulish murder sprees London has ever experienced.  Another facet of this tale I like is that the mystery of who is The Ripper hasn’t been solved yet, and that means there will be a third book – that is a good thing to look forward to.  4.7 stars

The Abbey of Death by Steven A. McKay

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Will Scarlett, outlaw, wolf’s head, violently tempered right hand man to Robin Hood, has been pardoned for his many sins and crimes but cannot find peace within.  Donning the robes and tonsured hairstyle, he becomes a monk.  In a wonderful bit of story telling, the author has taken an account of a troublesome group of monks who basically disregarded their vows and ran wild, causing strained relations between the townsfolk and the local abbey.  Brother Scaflock(Scarlett) finds that old habits die hard even as he begins to find some of the peace he’s been seeking.  A tension filled tale worthy of being the final episode in the author’s very fine Robin Hood series, The Forest Lord. 4.3 stars

 

A Shape on the Air by Julia Ibbotson

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An intriguing mystery awaits you, dear reader.  Time slipping to the 5th century, parallel lives, a Dark Age village in Britain.  The story drew me in as Viv, and her friends unravel the secrets of her strange experiences.  Well written, characters you can believe, twists and surprises, and a lovely descriptive touch make this two era tale an excellent choice whether you like mysteries, or a bit of post-Roman British historical fiction.  I highly recommend this.. 4 stars.

The Berlin Affair by David Boyle

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An interesting tale about the British Intelligence attempt to crack the German coding system known as Enigma.  Xanthe Schneider is a young American studying in England where she meets a member of Parliament who subsequently ends up in Berlin.  Is he betraying his country?  Xanthe is recruited to find out.  The story is entertaining as she makes contact with him, but conflicting emotions cloud her ability to do the job she was sent to do.  She also attracts the attention of the Gestapo and that element is a prime plot line that reaches a rather stunning conclusion.  All in all the story is well written and researched.  My only real complaint, valid or not, is that the book is too short.  Other than that it is a good read and I would recommend it to anyone interested in a spy thriller taking place in 1940 Berlin.  3.7 stars

 

The Scribe’s Daughter by Stephanie Churchill

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When I first saw this book popping up in discussion via a Facebook group I belong to, I decided that I wanted to read it even though it is not historical fiction but rather a historical fantasy tale.  So, I put it on my radar to be read when time allowed.  However, the forces of the universe deemed it was time when I won a copy of the book, and so as to not disrupt those forces, I disrupted my schedule instead; gladly as it turned out.  It is a gripping tale that held my interest from the beginning and kept me thoroughly entertained.  The main character, Kassia is struggling just to survive day to day living with no real prospects for the future.  Then a stranger appears and offers her a job that will pay enough to see her and her sister Irisa through for quite a while.  What she doesn’t realize is that this sets off a chain of events that changes her life forever.  The story is compelling, the characters are well written, the imaginative settings and differing cultures the author conjures up make this a truly excellent read.  Part of the blurb for the book states that Kassia is a thief. That is certainly true as she stole my heart along the way.  4.3 stars  I am looking forward to the sequel.