Tag Archives: historical

REVIEW: “Sentimental Journey” Has The Right Ticket For Romance

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Review:

Romance is ageless. From Adam and Eve to Antony and Cleopatra to Prince William and Kate Middleton . . . the world loves lovers. We can now add another couple to the list – Catherine Wilson and Johnny Danza.

“Sentimental Journey” is a historical novel set in World War II, weaving a tale of love lost and broken hearts but also of hope, compromise and following dreams. The book was originally published by Harlequin in 1990. However, it’s as good twenty years later as it was back then – thanks to Ms. Bretton’s wonderful ability to pen unforgettable love stories.

I enjoyed the details of this era. As I flipped through the pages, I found myself transported to another time and place, mesmerized like a small child curled on the floor at my Grandmother’s feet, listening to her recant a story from her youth. Ms. Bretton’s writing style boasts a familiarity and comfort that wraps around you like a warm blanket on a chilly afternoon.

I especially liked the tug of war between Catherine and Johnny as they struggle to define  personal identity as well as carve out parameters in a fledgling relationship . Johnny wants his future wife barefoot and pregnant but Catherine has discovered new independence running her father’s business. History reveals this was a common occurrence following the war when women were forced out of their homes to perform  factory jobs once held by their husbands, fathers and brothers. When the soldiers returned home, many women did not want to fall back into their old lives. They tasted independence, tested their abilities and found new self-esteem. And they liked it.

This is such an enjoyable story. I heartily recommend it to fans of mid century historical romance or anyone wanting a tantalizing story to whisk them away for a few hours on a “sentimental journey”.

SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

Home Front

Book One

Barbara Bretton

bretton_sj_cover_2700px (2) 2Genre: World War 2 Romance

Publisher: Free Spirit Press

Date of Publication: October 15, 2014

ISBN: 9781940665078

ASIN: B00MT9H93Q

Number of pages: 347

Word Count: approx. 70000

Cover Artist: Tammy Seidick

 

Book Description:

Before they became The Greatest Generation, they were young men and women in love . . .

It’s June 1943. From New York to California, families gather to send their sons and husbands, friends and lovers off to war. The attack on Pearl Harbor seems a long time ago as America begins to understand that their boys won’t be home any time soon.

In Forest Hills, New York City, twenty-year-old Catherine Wilson knows all about waiting. She’s been in love with boy-next-door Doug Weaver since childhood, and if the war hadn’t started when it did, she would be married and maybe starting a family, not sitting at the window of her girlhood bedroom, waiting for her life to begin.

But then a telegram from the War Department arrives, shattering her dreams of a life like the one her mother treasures.

Weeks drift into months as she struggles to find her way. An exchange of letters with Johnny Danza, a young soldier in her father’s platoon, starts off as a patriotic gesture, but soon becomes a long-distance friendship that grows more important to her with every day that passes.

The last thing Catherine expects is to open her front door on Christmas Eve to find Johnny lying unconscious on the Wilsons’ welcome mat with a heart filled with new dreams that are hers for the taking.

“This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.”

–Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Available at Amazon  iTunes  Kobo  BN  Smashwords

Read a Sneak Peek:  http://www.barbarabretton.com/sj.shtml

About the Author:

brettonA full-fledged Baby Boomer, Barbara Bretton grew up in New York City during the Post-World War II 1950s with the music of the Big Bands as the soundtrack to her childhood. Her father and grandfather served in the navy during the war. Her uncles served in the army. None of them shared their stories.

But her mother, who had enjoyed a brief stint as Rosie the Riveter, brought the era to life with tales of the Home Front that were better than any fairy tale. It wasn’t until much later that Barbara learned the rest of the story about the fiancé who had been lost in the war, sending her mother down a different path that ultimately led to a second chance at love . . . and to the daughter who would one day tell a little part of that story.

There is always one book that’s very special to an author, one book or series that lives deep inside her heart.  SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY and STRANGER IN PARADISE, books 1 and 2 of the Home Front series, are Barbara’s. She hopes they’ll find a place in your heart, too.

www.barbarabretton.com

www.barbarabretton.net

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorbarbarabretton

Twitter: www.twitter.com/barbarabretton

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Barbara_Bretton

October & Horror: A Perfect Blend (MARTUK . . . the HOLY Review)

Martuk … the Holy

Book One

JONATHAN WINN

Martuk-ebook-cover-Tim-2-TwitterGenre:  Horror, Literary Horror

ISBN:  978-1480035690

ASIN:  B007HPQPV4

Number of pages:  446

Word Count:  89,000

Cover Artist:  Timothy Burch

Amazon    BN   Smashwords

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BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In a crowded Left Bank cafe, an immortal man sits, the phantoms crawling near, the heat of their whispers stinging his cheek …

and Martuk … The Holy begins.

One thousand years before the birth of Christ, a golden god damns Martuk with a kiss. In a land ruled by a wounded king, life everlasting steals his mortality from the bottom of a golden cup. Finally, generations later, a Messiah who has the power to heal breaks under the weight of Martuk’s demons, stumbling to his death defeated by darkness.

From his home in modern Paris, he writes, his memories lush, his words evocative. Revisiting his impossible life, he vents his rage and shares his loneliness. From bloody battles with a demon he cannot escape to the ghost of a beauty who haunts him still, this is his story.

This is Martuk … The Holy.

REVIEW:

If you enjoy books with a new twist on a familiar plot similar to Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code”, then you will most certainly love “Martuk . . . the Holy” by Jonathan Winn.  This intense, gripping tale will keep you turning pages, biting fingernails, and re-evaluating your beliefs until the final sentence.

I’m not sure if Winn’s book can be classified into a single genre . . . or even a sub-genre. It’s multi-faceted and that’s part of the appeal. The fact  Martuk . . . the Holy is a debut novel is impressive beyond words.

Martuk is a tormented immortal with roots in ancient history. Before you start thinking Adrian Paul and the TV series, “Highlander”, let me assure the differences are vast. Martuk . . . the Holy is a dark story filled with demons, angels, beastly abominations, horror, sexuality, violence and a provocative biblical twist. All that adds up to a fascinating, complex read that will thrill most readers and upset a few. Be warned . . . it’s not easy reading.

At times, you might feel confused because there’s a lot going on. The story covers past, present, future and can jump scenes before you’re emotionally ready.  Martuk is written in first person, told in flashbacks and flash forwards because he’s a seer. Winn’s ability to transport the reader to various periods in history as well as build a fantastical world filled with breathtaking detailed imagery is astounding. Even scenes with horrifying violence transmit a beauty that both sickens and beguiles.

At this time, Martuk . . . the Holy averages 5 stars on Amazon. Add my 5 stars to that ranking.

Invest your time in this book. Authors like Jonathan Winn are a rare treat.

EXCERPT:

His scream brought me back.

The blackness lifted again, those Beyond the Veil disappearing again. I was on the stone again. He was straddling me, his hands on my throat. Again.

I opened my eyes.

Above me, he sat, his mouth open in another loud scream, a roar, the pain of his loss obsessing him, driving him to hurt me.

He bent low, his sweaty face inches from mine, the skin flushed red and dripping with sweat. Shaking his head, he caught his breath, his eyes wide with disbelief as I died and came to life again and again, his mind, still blunted and thick with wine, not comprehending the impossible.

He roared again, the spit rolling from his mouth to stain my lips and run down my cheek to tickle my ears.

I tried to move. Tried to breathe. Tried to escape. But it was useless.

I didn’t have the strength.

Yes, my demons had left me. I suffered, losing life, the Veil so near yet so far, tempting me with its peace, its quiet. Abandoned by my strength, the human in me unable to escape this man’s anger and rage, his brutality.

He lifted my head and smacked it against the stone, the thwack rippling over my skull, my eyes closing, the burning pain stealing my breath.

I had endured this once, long ago. So long ago. Trapped and held by cruel hands, my head hitting the stone with a crippling thwack while the stars twinkled above.

He tightened his grip around my throat.

Where were you? I silently asked. Oh my God, my demons, where were you?

My chest was on fire, my lungs burning, every bone hurting, every inch of skin screaming for release, for relief, for surrender.

The darkness was coming again.

Help me.

There they stood, Those Beyond the Veil, their faces pressed close, watching me.

Help me, please.

They stood near suddenly, watching. Impassive. Unresponsive.

Having slipped into the Fog to move among them once again, I could see their unfinished forms wandering, their shapes shifting like a delicate fog. There were noses and chins, perhaps eyes, arms and legs and torsos and breasts. There were children and parents. Parents of parents. Some watched closely, the fragile gaze curious and afraid. Others stood in the distance, lost in the dreams of a life once lived. I didn’t know.

But they were shapes. Listless, ineffective shapes.

I thought of the altar lifetimes ago. How they had abandoned me then. The poisoned brew at my lips. The smell of blood. The smell of fear. The warmth on the soles of my feet as the darkness wound its way up my shins, my thighs, whipped itself around my waist and crawled up my chest as I drank and drank and drank.

I gasped, the air filling my lungs as I came back to this world. The world of stone and roaring fires, smoldering bodies, and an angry beast driven by anguish choking the life from me. This horrible reality ripping me from the Fog once again.

He was resting, this beast. Still straddling me, he fell forward, leaning forward, his weight crushing as, his chest on mine, he rested his forehead on the stone as he caught his breath.

He would stir again. I knew this. And the frustrating cycle would begin again. I knew this, too. I would suffer, my chest exploding, tears washing my cheeks, his drool slipping from his lips to slide down my chin, the pain of death endured yet again.

I need my demons. The restless, useless Dead couldn’t help me. I need my demons. I needed my strength. My power. To live, to rise up and seek revenge. To slaughter this man who had killed my angel. Who had brutalized her, leaving her for dead on the side of the road, in the dirt, the leaves, the grass and the trees. I needed that impervious strength I possessed lifetimes ago.

To hurt him the way he had hurt her, I needed my demons.

On the verge of exhaustion, he lifted himself, his eyes heavy, his skin sweating in the glow of the fire. He still sat on me, breathing deeply, his chest rising and falling, his shoulders slack.

Glancing to the side, his eyes focused and saw his dead daughter charred black, her flesh red and raw. And then his wife in the water, her flesh scorched, her skull red and raw, the fine dark hair burned away. His sons, his dead sons, laying peacefully as if in sleep, their heads awkwardly twisted.

The grief returned.

His face crumpled in tears, his chin trembling, the sobs struggling to escape as a shudder of pain rippled through his shoulders. He swallowed, paused, shaking the emotion away. He then turned to me, his eyes no longer heavy, his breath no longer ragged, his chin no longer trembling, his shoulders strong and straight.

He bent low, his lips almost on mine, and roared, his open mouth easily covering my face from the dip in my chin to the top of my nose. And then he sat up, his hands around my neck.

Lifting my head, he brought me close, looking at me for a moment, watching me. Wondering, perhaps, how I, this weak nothing of a boy, of a young man, a beardless, smooth, skinny young man, could possibly have killed so many so quickly.

The tears threatened again. He swallowed before snarling, gritting his teeth. And with my face still so close to his, he screamed again.

Yes …

Just as my own tears came again, just as I lost all hope of this nightmare ending, just as I surrendered to the darkness swallowing me once more, the peace of the Veil taunting me with a quiet I can never claim as my own, they came.

Look …

The Whispers inched near, the heated breath slipping over my skin, the darkness, their darkness, their blessed darkness, the effective, terrifying darkness of my demons, clouding the air as his thumbs tightened around my throat.

We are here.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Screenwriter, playwright, actor, and now award-winning author, Jonathan Winn was born in Seattle, WA, and currently divides his time between the East and West coasts.  Martuk … The Holy is his first book.

Blog – http://martuktheholy.com

Twitter –  http://twitter.com/Jonathan_Winn

Facebook – http://facebook.com/MartukTheHoly

Spring Break Must Reads – Day 6

7 books in 7 days . . . .Spring Break Must Reads!

Day 1 – Her Highland Champion by Alexa Bourne

Day 2 – Moonlight on the Nantahala by Micheal Rivers

Day 3 – Legends of Tsalagee by Phil Truman

Day 4 – Two Moons of Sera by Pavarti K Tyler

Day 5 – Mending Fences by Lucy Francis

Day 6 – Sharpshooter by Kit Prate

I’ve heard Westerns are making a comeback, which surprises me since I didn’t realize they’d gone away. I like the Old West. While living in Arizona, I became entranced by lanky cowboys in worn boots and a duster. That probably explains why some of my favorite movies are Westerns. Books . . . not so much. Contemporary cowboys transfer well to the page if you’re writing romance or erotica. But historical westerns are a different animal.

Kit Prate nailed it with Sharpshooter. She’s a storyteller first, which is important for this genre. She knows how to take clichéd characters (good guys, bad guys) and make them believable while weaving in classic old-fashioned values, moral code and strict sense of justice.

This is a coming of age story about young Clete Benteen. He’s only 14 years old when his father’s murder forces him to grow up in a hurry. Intent on seeking revenge, he must also find a way to provide for his mother and siblings. As a sharpshooter, he can do both by riding for a power hungry judge with a band of hired guns. Ms. Prate does an excellent job demonstrating the youthful folly of a teenager who is dealing with serious life issues, but never allows the tale to sound like a dime store novel.

It’s a short story, only about 7000 words, but that doesn’t interfere with the quality of this author’s style.

Sharpshooter by Kit Prate