Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fun Halloween Story for All Ages

Length -  350 Pages 
Chased by a vengeful witch, hunted by an undead corpse, and guided by a secretive preacher, a boy must protect a magical lantern that can either save Boston . . . or destroy it.

In October of 1730, young Rip Van Winkle sneaks into a graveyard and comes face-to-face with the ghost of William Blaxton, the first settler of Boston. Warning Rip that the city is in danger, Blaxton gives him a mysterious gift: a pumpkin lantern with power over life and death. Before fading into midnight, the ghost tells Rip to take the lantern to Feathertop, a mythical pumpkin-headed scarecrow.

Pursued by Mistress Hibbins, a witch of terrifying power, and hunted by the nightmarish Midnight Minister, young Rip must rely on the aid of Jonathan Edwards, a stern and secretive preacher, and Nathaniel, a talkative, know-it-all raven. Guided by the magical light of the lantern, Rip races across New England to find Feathertop, save Boston, and become a most unlikely hero!

From the bestselling, award-winning author Seth Adam Smith comes The Pumpkin Lantern--a fantasy novel influenced by the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Lloyd Alexander, and C. S. Lewis. Loaded with humor, action, suspense, and fascinating American history, The Pumpkin Lantern is also a poignant fable about faith, family, and the power of life over death.

Book Purchase Link: Amazon

My thoughts: 

A touching tale about finding a place to belong and facing the darkness life often throws at you. Though the style was a bit hard to get into at first, I found I really enjoyed this tale that was part adventure and part fable of hope and light. Set in the early-1700s, in the Boston area, the author weaves a tale reminiscent of C.S. Lewis and the classic fairytale tradition that embed rich meanings into wondrous stories that capture imagination.

The book does have some pacing issues, especially the events leading up to Charity’s fate, but fits with the storytelling style. Also, some grammar and punctuation errors were distracting, but didn’t detract too much when I read it aloud to my toddler. It provided a great message, and an entertaining way to prepare for Halloween. We both enjoyed the illustrations that showed the settings and characters, which were fun to explore. I especially connected with the Van Winkles warm relationship and their willingness to open their hearts and homes to the children who most needed them. As someone who struggles with depression, I really liked the message of becoming the person one was born to be and overcoming the bleak darkness that often overwhelms. Definitely will read to my kids as they get older.

I recommend for middle-graders that want magical journeys, and families who enjoy reading uplifting tales together.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sheriffs of Savage Wells Review

He's the most fearsome sheriff in the West. A force to be reckoned with. The stuff of legend.

So is she. . . . May the best sheriff win.

Paisley Bell knows the eccentric people of Savage Wells. From the absentminded shopkeeper who always thinks she's been robbed to the young man who has returned shell-shocked from the war, Paisley has compassion for them all. When the sheriff up and leaves town, Paisley steps up and assumes the responsibility, partly because she loves the work, but also because she needs the income to take care of her sick father. So when the town council decides that the position of sheriff should really go to a man, Paisley finds herself fighting to prove that she's the perfect candidate for the job, even though she wears a skirt.

Cade O'Brien is heartily sick of shooting people. In his many years as a lawman, Cade has seen his share of blood and violence. So when he answers an advertisement for a sheriff job in the sleepy town of Savage Wells, he believes he's found the peace and quiet he's always desired. But when he discovers that his biggest competition for the job is a woman, he begins to question his decisions.

Tension between the two begins to sizzle when both Cade and Paisley realize the attraction they have for each other, but when Paisley's former beau shows up in town, along with a band of bank robbers, the blossoming relationship between the two sheriffs is tested. They will have to work together to thwart the bank robbers and keep the town safe.

My Thoughts:

Four out of five stars

Sarah Eden is one of my favorite clean romance authors of all time. Her writing is full of wit and heart that blends together into a beautiful tale that sweeps me up, no matter if it is contemporary New York, a country estate in Regency England, or the wilds of the Old West. Her careful research and brilliance shines in every story that draws me in from start to finish. 

Savage Wells hooked me from the start, despite my usual lack of connection to westerns. The town, with all its quirky people, is hard to not love from the moment you walk into a jailhouse festooned with ribbons and run by a female sheriff. As for the characters, Paisley and Cade both brought their own unique viewpoint to the tale. They both are trying to find peace after violent pasts and heartbreaks.  Their relationship is full of tension and banter as they both vie for the position of sheriff. I love that Paisley doesn't give up, even when she feels beaten or the task overwhelms her. She pushes up her sleeves and does what needs to be done. Cade's respect for her and the people of the town swayed me over to his side as well, so I wanted both of them to get what they wanted. The ending was perfect with a solution figured out and some pieces left slightly undone to leave me wondering about Paisley and her town after I shut the book. 

The romance was great, but the mystery and stakeouts were even better. Usually I can guess who the culprits are, but I'll admit I was surprised when the shootout took place on who was on which side. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of deception, hard work, and, of course, love. Each character tugged on my heartstrings as I read about this town that where so many people had faced opposition and learned to rise above it. Wonderful!

Source: I was given a free copy of this book as part of a blog tour. 

Content: Clean, some references to violence in other towns, and a brief shootout.