Before And Again is a tale of loss, acceptance and new beginnings, published in 2018.
Author: Margaret Skea
Published: July 2018 by Corazon Books
Category: Historical Fiction, Saga, Book Review
1598. The French Wars of Religion are drawing to an end, the Edict of Nantes establishing religious freedom in all but Paris.
For the exiled Adam and Kate Munro, the child Kate carries symbolizes a new life free from past troubles, despite their lingering nostalgia for Scotland and the friendship of the Montgomeries.
Author: Margaret Skea
Published: May 2017 by Corazon Books
Category: Historical, Saga, Fiction, Book Review
Eleven years on from the Massacre of Annock, the Cunninghame / Montgomerie truce is fragile.
For the Munro family, living in hiding under assumed names, these are dangerous times.
While Munro risks his life daily in the service of the French King, the spectre of discovery by William Cunninghame haunts his wife Kate. Her fears for their children and her absent husband realized as William’s desire for revenge tears their world apart.
The Stewart family finds its heart and soul in a broken-down vacation home amid the Southern Atlantic lowlands. As they welcome their second daughter, Austin, into the world, they soon discover a rare cancer that will riddle her little body for more than a decade, the battle against which becomes a defining component of their family.
An Acre of Fools is Aden James’ powerful and haunting portrayal of a father’s unwavering love and hope in the face of his daughter’s descent into drug addition – until it becomes too much to bear, causing him to renounce everything he thought he believed in. A character driven story which unfolds with much drama and unpredictability as the wedge between family members is driven ever deeper. Continue reading
On the day Jennifer Green was born a pile of stones was placed alongside her scale of life. A few were the dark gray of sorrow, but most were a pale blush color. The largest stone was the rose hue of a sunrise. That one would be placed on the scale the day she married Drew Bishop. Even more brilliant but a wee bit smaller was the pink stone glistening with specs of silver. That one would bring Jennifer a baby girl named Brooke. The Keeper of the Scale smiled. Seeing such happiness laid out before him was pleasing to his eye.
Since the beginning of time The Keeper of the Scale has kept happiness balanced against sorrow for the lives under his protection. But even the Keeper has no control over the outcome of events from the intertwining silver threads linking strangers and events to one another, so there was nothing he could do to alter the consequences of a random thread. Continue reading
Dive into the secret, ancient, powerful world of two New Orleans families, the Deschanels and the Sullivans…
From USA Today bestselling paranormal author Sarah M. Cradit comes Myths of Midwinter, Volume 6 in the bestselling witches family saga, The House of Crimson & Clover. Not a standalone story, Midwinter’s plot makes the most sense only after having the prior volumes.
The threads of fate weave the Deschanels and Sullivans down perilous paths, as a centuries-old warning emerges: Seduction to sinners. A legacy in splinters. Beware, the myths of midwinter.
The author’s note at the beginning of this book explains that although there were cliffhangers at the end of the previous story, this is as series and as such sometimes needs storylines to evolve in order to drive the story forward. In this story, characters who weren’t centre stage previously are brought to the fore in order to tie storylines together. With that in mind I was prepared not to have all the answers and conclusions to existing events.
Lauren Weatherly is given the task of supervising Quillan Sullivan’s work, or rather the lack of it, at Sullivan and Associates, the family’s law firm. Quillan doesn’t want to waste time working when he can spend it enjoying himself. Although he doesn’t yet realise it, Quillan has a rare gift which, coupled with his feelings for Estella Broussard, who loathes him but will use him for her own ends, land him in serious danger. Continue reading
Two dynasties clash for power. Only one empire can emerge. In a time now legend, a sacred vow united the Farværdig and the Tuatha Dé Danann. One race born of fire, the other risen from nature. Together, they enjoyed centuries of peace and prosperity, under the protective blanket of this hallowed oath. But when war came to the doorstep of the Tuatha, the Farværdig turned their backs. Expelled from their lands, those Tuatha who were not extinguished went into hiding, later re-emerging in secret as the Quinlans. The broken vow took its toll on the Farværdig, dividing the race into two factions: those willing to fall to heel of new restrictive laws, and rebels determined to restore the peaceful values of their kind. In the midst of years of strife that follows, a Prophecy emerged, promising hope. Unite the races once more, and right the ancient wrong. As the shadows of age and myth are exposed, the Deschanels find themselves deeply enmeshed in this war. Their bloodline and futures closely intertwined with both races, each member of the family must uncover their own vital role in fulfilling the Prophecy or risk decimation.
Empire of Shadows opens with Anasofiya, Finn and Aidrik’s search for Finn’s grandfather’s house in the Scottish highlands. They are desperate to find shelter in time for Ana to give birth. Finn’s strong connection with nature is growing rapidly, thanks to Aidrik and finally, with some assistance, they find the house in a clearing in the forest. Limited by the fact Empyrean blood causes babies to grow rapidly and, as in a few weeks the child’s appearance will be that of a young man, this was their only option.
They stay for nearly three months as Ana recovers and the now adolescent Aleksandr continues developing.
“I wish we could stay forever.” Aleksandr sighed, as they eased down next to him. Their son, now a man. It happened before Aidrik could process the way his soft head felt in his hands, or ingrain the sound of baby giggles to memory. he knew this sensation must be worse for Anasofiya, although she said nothing to him on the matter.
The narrative alternates between several groups ~ Nicolas and those family members at Ophélie ~ Finn, Ana and Aidrik with Agripin and the Empyrean Senetat ~ and Amelia and Jacob in Ireland.
As Ophélie is being readied to house and educate as many Empyrean children as possible, Nicolas is feeling inhibited by events. Knowing he will follow through with his commitment doesn’t make things any easier, being responsible for others is completely out of his comfort zone and he struggles with unfamiliar emotions. The Deschanels, and Oz, are all involved in the project and have their individual tasks. The uncertainty of what is to come and the unpredictability of how long much longer Ophélie will stay under the Empyreans’ radar is affecting them all.
The threat of the Eldre Senetat hangs over Aidrik, Finn, Ana and Aleksandr. As Aidrik appeals to Agripin, the son of the Empyrean emperor, for help, Amelia and Jacob begin to learn about their destiny and past connections. Shocking events in Ireland take them to the edge and beyond. All the family members need to use their enhanced resources like never before. Lives are on the line.
Empire of Shadows weaves together storylines, past and present, and a lot of questions are answered, even as more arise, in a turbulent and highly charged narrative. The situations the characters find themselves in are dangerous and challenging in the extreme and the parallel storylines keep the fast paced narrative flying along, tragic and terrible as it unfolds.
The relationships and characters, and there are lots both new and old, are detailed and defined and considerably more developed. The writing and plot line are incredibly imaginative and involved. The continuation of the druid storyline and Amelia and Jacob’s story is one of my favourites and the mythology aspect is an added bonus. A fascinating continuation of the saga.
My thanks to Sarah Cradit for sending an ARC in return for an honest review.
Fortune follows the Fontenot twins as they dance through their enchanted life among the New Orleans elite. Guests of honor at their revered family’s Mardi Gras krewe ball, they look forward to a night of mischievous fun.
It’s the night of the Fontenot Mardi Gras ball and twins Remy and Fleur Fontenot, one with the gift of fire and the other with the gift of ice, are plotting their evenings entertainment. Remy gets a little more than he bargained for when he tries to add Anne to his list of the evenings conquests, and learns a valuable lesson. Fleur will use whatever means she can to get her way, even if it means involving her young brother. But things don’t quite go according to plan.
She had no doubt the short red dress with a feathered hem would do precisely what she told Remy she’d intended. But rather than Henri’s eye, she hoped to catch the attention of Clancy Sullivan, once again. Last time she wore this dress, she’d left a lasting impact on him. Much like the one he’d left on her.
A fun and entertaining short story adding more to the characterisations of the members of the Deschanel clan, with several of the characters from The House of Crimson and Clover making a brief appearance. We catch a glimpse of Remy and Fleur’s special talents, too, and those of their younger brother, Teddy, with a touch of the supernatural.
I was given an ARC by the author in return for an honest review.
Jonathan St. Andrews has spent seventeen years content to live in his quiet, secluded world. Popularity never more than a passing thought, friendships would inevitably lead to disappointment when others realized he was every bit as awkward on the inside as he seemed on the outside. With high school graduation right around the corner, Jon sets his sights on a career in medicine, spending his evenings at his father’s side learning the family business.
As part of the House of Crimson and Clover series, this is the back story of Jonathan St Andrews and helps us understand how and why Jon developed into the dark character we meet in The Storm and The Darkness. This can be read as a stand alone short story but if you enjoy family sagas with a difference, I highly recommend The House Of Crimson and Clover series.
Jon St Andrews is the antithesis of his younger brother, Finn. Jon, reserved and unpopular, with an inability to relate to people in general. Finn, easygoing, friendly and cheerful. At seventeen Jon also has a complicated relationship with his father, who assumes Jon will follow in his footsteps and become a doctor. Jon is torn, wanting to please his father but terrified of the close contact with people being a doctor would entail.
For Jon, it was his inability to connect with other individuals. Or, as his father put it, Jon’s unwillingness to learn how to deal with people.
When Jon and Carla Edgewater, who he has known all his life but has always ignored him, form the unlikeliest of friendships it opens up a part of Jon that has always been suppressed. As their relationship develops the threat from Carla’s jealous and controlling boyfriend escalates and spirals towards an outcome none of them could ever have predicted.
Somber and compelling, this story highlights how Jon’s life was changed forever and why he evolved into the man he eventually became. But it does allow some empathy and compassion for Jon, the man. It’s a shocking tale of malicious intent causing untold and irreversible harm which has a knock on effect through the years.
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Ana Deschanel flees New Orleans for the family house on Summer Island, Maine. She can’t forgive herself for something she’s done and, although she’s very close to her cousin, she can’t even confide in Nicolas.
Finnegan St. Andrews has lost everything. His perspective on the world is forever changed.Anasofiya Deschanel no longer knows who she is…or what. She longs both for what she has, and all she has left behind.Aidrik the Wise has vowed to do anything for his evigbond. As he watches her life force slowly ebb, he begins to understand the sacrifice he must make to save her.All three individuals are bound by love, promises, and the undeniable threads of fate.
The Deschanels have serious issues to confront and deal with, not least finding Ana and Aidrik before any harm befalls them. Nicolas has passed on his inheritance to Ana and so to her son. But the baby must be born in wedlock. Will Finn, Anne and Tristan find Ana and Aidrik in time? And will Finn and Aidrik come to terms with the knowledge they both love Ana and she them.
There’s a lot of character development in Bound. Nicolas is growing up and taking his responsibilities more seriously and even if his self-confidence has suffered a blow there are still flashes of the old Nic. And Ana, in spite of everything that’s happened to her, is finally comfortable with who she is as her emotional tug of war is resolved. I love that Finn is as steadfast as ever and never wavers in his determination to reach Ana.
Although some matters are cleared up this book sets up the excitement and uncertainty of what will happen with the Empyreans. As always, Sarah Cradit’s writing is so evocative and visual and Ana and Finn’s story is quite emotional. The descriptions of Wales are so detailed, I could almost feel as though I were there, shivering in the cold. I love reading or listening and being transported by wonderful writing, right into the middle of the story.
The Deschanel Curse, dormant for a decade, has returned with a vengeance. Seers across the family are coming together, hopeful the Deschanel Magi Collective can solve this malediction that has plagued the family for nearly two centuries. But how do you combat the blood oath of a grieving mother? As the body count rises, it becomes apparent that strength, love, and ancient power provide no protection from destiny’s cruel hand.
Broken and dispirited, the Deschanel family reels under the weight of a family curse. Lives were torn asunder, as their numbers diminished. Amidst their pain, another prophecy takes shape. One laid by the ancient druidic Quinlan clan, in a time long forgotten. Seers across the family have borne witness to fragments. Distraught by the loss of her soul’s true love, Amelia begins to dream of an unknown man and a woman, designated by fate to live their story over and over again, throughout time.Now, destiny reaches across the centuries.
And Jacob, oh my goodness, Jacob. Overtaken and overwhelmed by his own belief that Amelia is lost to him forever, he takes desperate measures. Nothing, not even his family disaster, could ever bring him so low.
“The night you woke up, you said you’d destroyed me. That you swore to give me a better life than the one my family left me with, but instead you’d ruined it. You didn’t destroy me, Amelia.” Now his other hand also held her face, as he kissed her trembling mouth. “You saved me.”
The more I read of this series, the more Sarah Cradit’s so very imaginative storytelling, tense and gripping, and wonderful characterisations draw me in, so completely, to the lives of this fascinating family. The future is still precarious and there is still the Empyrean confrontation hanging over them, but have the families put the worst behind them? I can’t wait to find out.