Monday, 17 October 2016

Wings on Her Heels by Angelika Schwarz

Wings on Her Heels
A Romance/Suspense Novel
By:  Angelika Schwarz
Publish Date:  August 25, 2015, Indie Published
Genre:  Young Adult, Romance, Suspense, International
Pages:  341
Source:  Amazon Purchase

What is a beautiful young woman from Massachusetts doing on a desolate mountain range, somewhere in Europe, running for her life? Melanie leaves her sheltered Boston suburban life and takes on a temporary job in Germany. Presented in the 70’s Hippie era, Melanie and her roommate Anne discover Europe together.

High on life and living the dream in cosmopolitan Munich, Melanie can’t believe her luck. To complete her happiness, Richard, a successful architect, turns her head with his fascinating and adventurous charm. But then her good fortune takes a sudden turn. Her sweet journey transforms into a tainted mixture of fear and despair.

Who is Richard Von Hallenburg really?

Tender romantic moments, depicted from the stormy shores of Cape Cod to the lush, German, cornflower fields, provide cutting contrasts to the intriguing entanglements of love, friendship, betrayal and murder. Who and why would anyone want Richard and Melanie dead?

Can the Raincoat Lady lead Melanie on to the right path, or is it too late?
Wings on Her Heels is initially a novel of young Melanie grabbing an amazing chance to work in Europe for a few months before settling down into marriage with Tony, and a job. This is a dream for many and Melanie decides to grab it, so if you’ve ever wanted to do Europe, check out this novel.

This is initially a fun, humorous and adventurous escapade as Melanie and co-worker Anne from New York take on Munich and the ski slopes.

This ends up being quite a journey. When we marry, it’s often difficult to see exactly what we’re getting into.

This is a great story to read for reminiscing the path we thought we wanted to take and took, but things turned out unexpectedly anyway. I really liked the overall viewpoint that the things we are drawn to may not be what are ultimately in our best interests. Still, there’s a little bit of what I call the Anna Karenina syndrome here in that the longed for dream of a young woman doesn’t end the way we’d all like it to. I’d like to find a story of a woman who gets her Count Alexei Vronsky and it works out fantastic, but maybe the story would be boreing?

Written in an easy reading nostalgic way, you will enjoy the humour, poignancy, and warmth of this satisfying story of a young woman sorting out what is truly important to her in life. 4.0 Stars!

Angelika loves to travel, and write, and you'll find her on the internet at these links:

Grab your copy of Wings here!

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Edge of Faith by Marissa Campbell

Avelynn #2 – The Edge of Faith
By:  Marissa Campbell
Publish Date:  September 26, 2016, Indie Published
Genre:  Viking Romance, Early Medieval
Pages:  302

It's the year 871. Charges of treason, murder, and witchcraft follow Avelynn into exile as she flees England with Alrik. Arriving in Wales, they find refuge among Alrik's friends in the Welsh nobility. Cast out by his half-brothers, Alrik seeks to regain his honor and earn favor with the gods. When war threatens, Alrik embraces gold and the opportunity for his crew to become mercenaries, aiding the Southern Welsh kings in their fight against Rhodri the Great.

Desperate to return home, Avelynn seeks to find a way to prove her innocence, but she is pitted against Alrik as their desires for the future clash. With battle looming, Avelynn's faith in their relationship is further tested through a bitter struggle with Marared, a jealous lover from Alrik's past. Marared's threats turn deadly, and Avelynn runs afoul of magic and sorcery, causing her to question her beliefs and role as priestess.

When Avelynn and Alrik are betrayed, Avelynn is captured and Alrik is charged with regicide. The two become separated, a chasm of greed, deceit, and ambition driving them apart. In an act of harrowing faith, Avelynn will stop at nothing to find her way back to Alrik and break them both free from Wales's bloodthirsty grasp.

The Edge of Faith is a crispy written medieval action tale that draws you right into the fast-paced sequel to Avelynn 1.

Avelynn is determined from the start to remain true to her people despite the fact that she’s had damning accusations thrown at her in the previous book that she’s escaped from and is working to clear up. Luckily she has Alrik, her Viking lover, and his boatload of warriors to support her, but they are faced with powerful hidden forces that are determined to undermine them.

The major theme is underhanded ambition and the many threads it weaves through the plot and characters. This is really well done by the author and many times I was surprised at the turn of events and wondered how Avelynn was going to come out ahead. She’s an excellent female MC as she’s very determined, independent and courageous. She’s also very experimental sexually!

I like how the author shows that although women of the time didn’t appear to wield much up-front power, through their use of intelligence, secret herbal knowledge (avoiding pregnancy, or poisoning problem people), various types of magic, and selective secretiveness (the men don’t have to know everything), they nevertheless managed many things to their liking and advantage. Avelynn herself is very clever in uncovering the truth about how she was defamed.

Avelynn is pagan and her faith is not well accepted at the place/time. She’s however very dedicated to the Goddess and even goes to make a dangerous offering to her at a special site. I thought her pretty brave to do the ritual all night all alone. I really liked the old nature magic, though not particularly blood sacrifice.

The story reveals many social conventions of the times and I was interested to see that they used a type of automatic fire starter of sorts. You get a good sense of how people dressed, and what their homes and meals were like. I’m reminded of shows like The Last Kingdom, and to some degree, The Vikings, as they share common threads and even historic persons. If you enjoyed these shows, be sure to check out this series.

The ending is a very exciting crescendo as we learn the truth of several things through an unexpected twist I didn’t see coming at all that ties into all the characters. I found the outcome really satisfying, even though there will be a book 3. The extensive use and explanation of pagan rituals and witchcraft portrayed through the book also makes this a great medieval Halloween read. Medieval historical fiction fans will love this. 4.6 Stars!

Marissa Campbell is a published freelance author, and co-author of the award-winning, spiritual self-help book Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day. She is a proud member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America, Writer’s Community of Durham Region, and local critique group B7. When she is not writing, she is busy looking after her wonderful children, spending time with her fantastic husband, hanging out with her awesome friends, teaching yoga, dancing, laughing, and having fun!
Grab your copy here:

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