Friday, February 28, 2014

Healer of Carthage by Lynne Gentry

Genre: Fiction

Pages: Soft Cover

Publisher:  Simon and Schuster

Reviewer:  Virginia Armstrong

Jags: 7 

First-year resident Dr. Lisbeth Hastings is overworked and sleep-deprived when her father summons her to his archaeological dig site.  It’s during her visit at the Cave of the Swimmers in northern Africa that she falls through a hidden portal, casting her back thousands of years to the ancient city of Carthage.   Finding herself the subject of a slave auction, she must put her trust in Cyprian Thascius , a legal advocate for the Bishop and a hidden Christian.  Thrown together, they must contend with many obstacles in their path fight for the freedom of themselves as well as their household.  Can their love possibly survive the onslaught that awaits them? 

Healer of Carthage is a story that intertwines present day life, especially that of medicine, with the tumultuous past.  It is a time of religious persecution, slavery and disease without medicine.  The story encompasses faith, love, betrayal and courage. 

The writing style is done in perfect form, flowing nicely from page to page.  The content is somewhat disappointing as the characters did not come to life as well as they could have, nor did the ambience of the past fill the pages.  Still, the story is worth the read, filled with growing romance, suspense, and a journey to the past.  

The Jag Review has received a free copy of this book from Howard Books, for our honest review. The opinions expressed here are our own. 

Vow Unbroken by Caryl McAdoo

Vow Unbroken by Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Fiction/Christian Romance

Pages: Paper Back 

Publisher:  Howard Books Simon & Schuster

Reviewer:   Jean Eastwood

Susannah Baylor’s vow is to never marry again without her father’s blessing. She hasn’t seen her father in over ten years and doesn’t even know if he is still alive. He has never answered any of her letters.
Susannah is a cotton farmer in Texas and lives with her young daughter Rebecca and nephew Levi who are a tremendous help with the farming and chores. It is time to take the cotton to harvest and get enough money to make it through another year. The local cotton buyer renegotiated on his original offer from 4 cents a pound to now only two cents a pound. Susannah told him that was way too low of a price to pay. She decided to load her cotton and hire a helping hand by the name of Henry Buckmeyer to take her family and cotton to the town of Jefferson where they were paying 6 cents a pound. 

There definitely is an adventure waiting to be experienced in this book. I could not put the book down for more than a day, and could not wait to find out what happens next. Henry, Susannah, Levi, Rebecca and Blue Dog begin a long suspense-filled journey of two mule-driven cotton-loaded wagons over hills and rivers, fighting off wolves, drunks, thieves, gypsies, bad weather and snakes to get to Jefferson to sell their cotton.

Once they get there, the cotton buyers have bought enough cotton and will return in nine days. Henry saves the day by selling the mules, making deals with the locals, and getting their cotton to New Orleans where they get 10 cents a pound for their cotton. With the money they get, they travel to Memphis, Tennessee to see Susannah’s father and get his blessing to marry Henry whom she has fallen in love with and he with her. Her father is still alive and gives his only daughter his blessing to marry Henry who has become “born again”. They get married at her father’s home in Memphis while visiting him. 

Excellent read! Easy to read and follow, keeps your suspense and can actually make you cry! Loved it!

The Jag Review has received a free copy of this book from Howard Books, for our honest review. The opinions expressed here are our own. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Thief by Stephanie Landsem

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: Paper Back 

Publisher:  Simon and Schuster

Reviewer:   Virginia Armstrong

6 Jags

Mouse is the best thief in all of Jerusalem.  It is with his help that Nissa, a young Jewish woman, is able to keep a roof over her family’s heads and food on the table.  Shouldering the responsibility for her blind brother and negligible parent’s, Nissa has gained a sharp tongue and fighting spirit.

Longinus is a Roman Centurion in the Judean Providence, haunted by the death of his best friend and desperate to avenge him.  Staking the precious sword that once belonged to his father, he must find the thieves that are causing havoc in the marketplace.

As Longinus seeks Mouse, and Nissa tries to conceal him, a mysterious stranger comes to town with the ability to miraculously heal the people.  It is during this time that Nissa and Longinus are pulled together unexpectedly, and thrown into the spiral of events that lead to the mysterious stranger’s arrest, trial and crucifixion.  

The Thief started out very well.  Mouse and Nissa were especially lively and engaging characters, keeping the reader wanting more of them.  Once Jesus made an appearance, the story veered too far for this reader.  Perhaps being all too familiar with the stories of the bible, I already had a mental picture of certain characters imagined and revisiting it through the eyes of another did not sit well for me.  For this reader, the merging of biblical and fictional characters did not merge as well as I would anticipate.  As for style, the author definitely has a flair for writing.  Her characters are lively and engaging, keeping the reader wanting more.

The Jag Review has received this copy of this book from Howard Books for our honest review. The opinions expressed are our own. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki

Genre: Histoical Fiction 

Author:  Allison Pataki

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster

Reviewer:  Virginia Armstrong

Rating:  9

The Traitor’s Wife is a story of war, hope love and betrayal.   As America is fighting for its very freedom during the Revolutionary War, Socialite Peggy Shippen, swayed by thoughts of royalty and riches, has placed her loyalty with the Brits.

After being abandoned by Major John Andre, she sets her sights on General Benedict Arnold.  A man crippled from war and twice her age, Arnold falls for her cunning and deception.  After they are married, Peggy becomes even more calculating as she teams up with Major John Andres once again.  Believing a life of royalty awaits her, she convinces her husband to betray America and the freedom it offered.

Clara Bell, Peggy Shippen Arnold’s maid, is privy to the conspiracy.  With her belief in the nation at hand, and refusing to lose the freedom it offered, she must risk everything and intervene in the plot before the Red Coats take control of West Point and capture General George Washington. 

The Traitor’s Wife is a very good read.  It merges fact with fiction, keeping your mind open to various aspects of Benedict Arnold’s life and the events that led up to his act of treason.   The question being, was Peggy Shippen Arnold the mastermind behind it?  Perhaps we will never know, but Allison Pataki  does an excellent job of humanizes and bringing about another perspective into Arnold’s life. 

The story is filled with engaging characters and universal emotions that can never be dated.  Everyone should read this book.

The Jag Review has received this book from Howard Books, for our honest review. The opinions expressed here are our own.