Book Review: Ghost from the Past: A Romantic Thriller by Sorcha Macmurrough

5.0 out of 5 stars Vulnerable and Betrayed

I really loved the dark, scarred, brooding hero in this gripping book. The hero’s major issues with the heroine make him oscillate between him being made to believe, by the agents pulling his strings, that his former fiancee had betrayed him and tried to murder him, versus trusting to love amid the most dire situation they have suddenly found themselves in.
Surrounded by double agents, and convinced she isn’t telling him the whole story, he is constantly being forced to choose between love of country and duty, and the woman he has never forgotten, or never stopped loving, even after all those years, and all the things she’s been accused of.

In the end, the bad guys are exposed for who they really are, but it is certainly a game of cat and mouse.

As for the writing, the characters are strong enough to keep the pages turning, and the plot, based on chemical weapons, is a topical one, though it was written long before 9/11.

This is far better than the absurd puerile Plum novels, which are wooden and one note, or some of the top names on the bestseller’s lists-that one about the killer dolphins a couple of years ago was so bad, Fatal Tide, it was laughable were it not for the hefty price tag attached to any of these books.

The setting, the Pacific Northwest, Portland, Oregon, in fact, is depicted so clearly I feel like I am right in the middle of the action.

For an author who specializes in British historical fiction, (which I have read, and LOVED!!!) this is an excellent effort at the popular US romantic suspense genre. Enjoy!

297 words

This book is available in PDF from HerStoryBooks:


Book Review: A Dark Champion

A Dark Champion (Brotherhood of the Sword, Book 1)
by Kinley Macgregor

1.0 out of 5 stars Hopelessly confused muddle

This is supposed to be the first of the Brotherhood of the Sword books, but first of all, she mentions characters from her other books, from some novella or other that she wrote as part of a book with other authors, and secondly, she says she covered the first part of the story in a book that does not exist so far as I can find it. So the whole thing is confusing from the outset.

The trouble is that there is then so much of this back story- of the ‘he is friends with Simon, also known as Sin,’ and ‘hates Damien because…’ variety that it is confusing, tedious, and waters down the little romance there is in the book.

The hero, as a result, never really gets moving in the book, and becomes so much more dull as a hero compared to the villains of the piece. The whole Brotherhood of the Sword, presumably to help each other, seems to be pointless in a lot of respects when we find out that the villains are amongst them and the so-called Brotherhood are actually all killing each other off.

All of the hero’s duties mentioned so that he has no time for a wife, are what, exactly? He never leaves the castle!

The whole issue of his brother and his sexual preferences is done to death, and never once is the fact that he is a murderer addressed! He just says, that’s okay, you are my brother and I love you. Sodomy was totally sinful in those days, though since there is never once any mention of these people having any religion, it too is lost as a conflict point upon which the action could hinge, or be escalated, meaningful. This was supposed to be the Middle Ages. All the opportunities for really deep conflict and characterization are completely lost.

The whole issue of the heroine falling in love with a warrior is over almost before it’s begun, again because there is no believable context. These people break all ten commandments with gleeful abandon, which is kind of odd for Crusaders, supposed Christians, to want to do.

The book is weighed down with secondary characters or mentions of them for so short a novel, but when we really need them they are not there!! The Heir to Jerusalem vanishes from the book completely with little logic, and then we are supposed to find out what happens to him in the next book in the series, (first chapter included at the back of the book) when he has made hardly any impression. This is just plain bad writing and planning. The couple’s love-making in the jail whilst being spied on by the voyueristic Damien is just gross.

This book has no medieval content-they are all ‘electrified,’ ‘mesmerized,’ and they talk like teens down at the mall. There are no sumptuous or relevant details of medieval life, and there is a decidely disgusting hidden patriotic message that seemingly tries to justify the current war in America which most readers would find repellent.

If you are going to write medievals with a message, keep to facts and truth, not melodrama, and certainly not this propaganda with offensively modern outlooks which devalue both time periods.

I certainly am not going to waste my time on this sensationalist bodice ripper of a series. The blurb on the back of the book was completely misleading. This may well be trying to set up a series, but as a romance it fails completely. Very disappointing.


Book Review: At Risk by Patricia Cornwell

2 out of 5 stars


The trouble with a successful author’s work being treated like a publisher’s ‘product’

This ‘novel’ should have stayed a short serial, because it is so thin on plot, there was really no point in trying to blow it up into a full book just for the sake of the with a hefty pricetag, let alone as a hardcover, when it would at best merit a slim paperback.

Winn the main character stars out fantastic, and we love his gran, though it is pretty silly to have her ‘solve’ the crime in some sense. But then Winn goes on the wild goose chase, and the whole book goes to hell in a handbasket.

Every detail the author gave to provide characterisation at the start of the book as they all lurch into action, and manage to go to it with all of the liveliness of cardboard. Once again, the author is thin on motive, and the whole thing smacks of “Phew, glad I got that out of the way!”

All of her most recent books have felt like that–I know her topics are seldom cheerful, but where is the fun, the wisecracks, of the early Kay, Marino and so forth?

It is a shame that Cornwell has descended into the dark realms of despair with her most recent books, but it is not surprising if she is expected to churn and grind out her next book like a hack writer meeting a deadline.

Definitely give this a miss, and her ones where the serial criminal is a werewolf-I mean, I ask you.  Just like sex is supposed to sell, sensationalism is supposed to as well, but this is a real waste of everyone’s money, time and effort.


Book Review: Call Home The Heart by Shannon Farrell

5.0 out of 5 stars Romantic Times Review


Widowed by a shooting accident on her honeymoon, Muireann Caldwell discovers that her wastrel husband has left her penniless, and almost homeless. She now faces returning to a smothering family or charting her own course with the crumbling Caldwell estate.


Deciding to tackle Barnakilla and its mountain of debt, Muireann turns to the handsome, capable Lochlainn Roche, her late husband’s estate manager, for support.


Lochlainn worries that with Augustine dead, his lifelong home will be forfeited, especially if the young widow decides to run home to Scotland. But he’s surprised by the strength Muireann displays and grows to admire her courage and determination. She grows to love Barnakilla as much as he does. Dare he hope she returns the love he has found for her?


Ms. Farrell weaves a wonderful tale of survival and love that defeats seemingly insurmountable odds. It is refreshing to see a heroine with such strength and common sense, and a strong hero who actually believes she can have it! CALL HOME THE HEART is a story you won’t want to put down.



The Sink or Swim Money Program: The 6 Step Plan for Teaching your Teens Financial Responsibility

With increasingly high debt becoming a bigger problems in families every year, it is more important than ever that parents teach their children to be financially responsible.

Given the current economic crisis, with no end in sight at the moment, you can’t start acting too soon to tackle your family’s debt, and actually not only get out of debt, but start building wealth for the future.

While every child is different, and some can learn to be responsible with money at a younger age, parents should definitely make sure to teach their teens how to handle money before they are in college or out on their own.

In The Sink or Swim Money Program, John E. Whitcomb takes parents through a 6 step plan for teaching teens how to be financially responsible.

In Mr. Whitcomb’s book, he takes a humorous look at teaching kids the value of money and making them responsible for their own money and purchases.

Here are a few of the ideas his book focuses on:

* Calculating a budget

* Work out a contract between you and your teen

* How to plan ahead

With this system, the main point is that the teens are given a set amount of money that is to cover their basic needs, that you would normally pay, such as food, clothing and other necessities. It is a trial and error method, where the kids are given free rein on their money, and will quickly learn what they can and cannot do with it.

In addition to the lessons on spending, the book deals with planning for larger expenses, such as college, cars and insurance.

It also includes sections on checking accounts, credit cards and tips on saving and earning extra money, with lesson plans and sample contracts.

If you’re concerned about your own finances, you will benefit from this book as well. If your in good shape but concerned about the current economic crisis, this book will be a good tune up for your situation. If you are in good shape but want to do better in the future for you and your whole family, you and your teen can go over the book together to help work toward that goal.

And best of all, you will also be working toward you teen achieving financial independence, and a secure future for him or herself, and succeeding generations.

The Sink or Swim Money Program: The 6 Step Plan for Teaching your Teens Financial Responsibility