Saturday, August 31, 2019

#Sci/FiFantasySaturday #BootsAndBlades

Title: Boots and Blades
Author: C. L. Kraemer
Genre: Fantasy
Book Heat Level: 1

Buy at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble


A warrior gnome and a handsome warrior put their skills to work to find vanishing children.

BLURB: Boots & Blades

An ancient evil from the old country has arrived in the high desert of Oregon. Gnome children are vanishing then re-appearing, showing various stages of traumatization. Tiamoon, warrior gnome, will put her skills to use alongside Killian, a handsome warrior, also in need of a cause.

EXCERPT: Boots & Blades

High Desert, Central Oregon

Killian stared at the rise of rock from the desert floor. The emerging sun tricked the sky into revealing pink and blue streamers across the horizon exposing the severe lines of craggy mountains. Pine trees scented the air, and the slightest hint of sage tickled his nose.
“Where are they disappearing to? They’re much too young to be running away.”
“Master Killian?”
The young man turned his blue gray eyes from the mountain to answer. “Yes, Ms. Luna. What can I do for you?”
“Are you sitting out here at this early hour worrying about the young ones?” Luna’s black hair was braided down her back and she sported a shawl bright with her clan’s colors. She handed the young man a steaming cup of coffee. “I hope you don’t mind black. I’ve yet to milk the goat.”
Killian flashed her a seldom seen smile. “Ms. Luna, you make the best coffee in the desert. Black is fine.”
Taking up a spot next to him on the porch, she turned her attention to the mountains admiring the soft colors of rose and tan springing to life in the morning sun. “What is it that haunts you so?”
“The illogicality of it all.”
“Aye, I figured that. It is indeed illogical. The children are too responsible to leave unannounced, yet they are snatched from their beds in the middle of the night with no clues.”
Killian sipped the wicked black brew and allowed the liquid to spike his taste buds. The brilliant light of a new day was caressing the landscape and warming the air. “The kinders disappearing are not inclined to run off. They are the eldest and most reliable. These missings make no sense. They don’t happen in the same area or at the same time. They’re completely arbitrary and being so—random—has given me pause to find a method. If I were to discover a pattern, the recovery would be simpler.”
Luna watched the anguish distort his handsome young face. His blue eyes clouded to a dark grey when he spoke of the missing children, and his normally full mouth stretched to a tight slash across his face.
“I don’t wish to sound cruel, but none of these are young ones of your own family. Why take their absence to heart?”
Killian relaxed his scowl a bit, and a smile began to touch his lips. “Because it is they who will be the leaders of our clans in but a few short years. I had hoped to retire my sword someday to warm my boots by a fire. Having a mate and young ones around isn’t such a bad idea.”
He automatically sipped his dark brew. It would indeed be nice to warm my feet by a fire with a mate and children. The problem being I’ve found no person who makes me think in such terms.
“Well, I must admit, Master Killian, I never would have thought you to be the settling type.” She picked up his cup, returning from the kitchen minutes later with fresh coffee in the container.
“Neither had I, Ms. Luna, neither had I, however, aside from our missing young ones, there has been no conflict between the clans, nor have the Others tried to interfere in our affairs in a very long time. It is a good thing for many but for me, what good is a warrior without a war?”
Luna could only agree with his forlorn assessment; what good, indeed, was a warrior without a war? “Maybe a solution will arrive in the near future. You never know.”
Killian shrugged his shoulders. Who knew indeed?

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Friday, August 30, 2019

#Friday'sFeaturedTitle #SafariMoon

Christine young

Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 3

Safari Moon by AnnChristinePublisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Full Length (154 pgs)
Rated: 5 Stars
Reviewed by It's  Raining Books

Funny and Sweet

Imagine, if you can, our hero, sound asleep and dreaming a delightful, erotic dream. Suddenly he is awakened by an almost naked, sexy woman, walking into his bedroom accompanied by her pet skunk.

And that is how Safari Moon begins. I chuckled to myself as I continued reading. It seemed that he, a wild life photographer, put an ad in the paper for an assistant, but somehow his Grandfather changed the ad and it now stated that he was desperately in need of a wife. Immediately our handsome, confirmed bachelor is surrounded by a bevy of giggling, panting, eager women wanting to marry him.

How he plans his escape from all the desperate women involves an old friend he gets to help him. Since the friend is presently engaged to someone else and doesn't really want to get involved, it's more than a little complicated. They arrive in Alaska, planning on pretending they are an item. Then Grandfather and Grandmother arrive. The story continues with much laughing on my part, and many misunderstandings, especially when the fiancé shows up.

The story is funny and complicated due to the fact that each of the two main characters are trying to pretend that they really don't care about each other. And since neither is able to keep his or her hands off the other, the story becomes hilarious.

Safari Moon is not your typical romance, and I really loved it.

BLURB: Safari Moon

Solo St. John, a wildlife photographer, is preparing for a trip to Alaska. Suddenly, Solo finds women of all sorts invading his privacy, his home and his office, all cooing nonsense words and blatantly throwing themselves at him.  Solo doesn't know why, and he has no idea how to rid himself of the persistent women.  He finally decides to beg a favor of his best buddy Nyssa Harrington.  

Excerpt: Safari Moon

Solo St. John was in the middle of an erotic dream about his buddy, Nyssa Harrington, when the click of his front door shutting brought him to instant alert mode. 

Solo looked up, caught a flashing glimpse of a good deal of naked flesh; long legs, perfectly rounded derriere, and a waist he could span with his hands. The intruder's long blond hair curled around her shoulders an inch above the ties of her bikini top.

Then he saw the skunk. He blinked twice. 

This woman and the skunk were not the subject of his brief and very strange dream, a fantasy that made his mind speed along at sixty in a residential zone. This was someone he had never seen before and he resented the intrusion.

"Hello," she cooed seductively from his living room. "Will you come out and play?"

The skunk stuck a black and white head around the open door to his bedroom. A second later the animal turned and lifted his tail before disappearing into the living room. 

Solo was out of bed and pulling on his jeans before the count of five. Yet in that short time, the lady in question, along with the skunk that was now exploring his fireplace hearth, had taken over his living room. 

The lithe, supple blond sported an expensive camera, and all the while the lady in question babbled nonsense words.

"I'm willing, able, and eager." She posed for him, a pose meant to entice. 

"You're insane?" He hesitated then said to the lady, "Get that animal out of here!"

"I read the ad in the newspaper for a wildlife photographer, and I wanted to be the first one here." She smiled and tugged on a leash which was connected to the skunk. "Juniper is my pet. She's deperfumed or whatever." 


He had never, to his recollection, set eyes on this woman. Frozen stock-still in his bare feet between the bedroom and the living room of his rustic forest retreat in the hills outside Sisters, Oregon, Solo St. John was completely, utterly baffled.

After all, he had placed the ad in a few of the most widely distributed papers in Oregon. That was two days ago. Yesterday, having second thoughts and knowing he didn't want to train an assistant, he pulled it. Although none of this made sense, instinctively, he knew she told the truth. The ad was the cause of this phenomenon in his cabin.

"Come here and play." Posing seductively once again, she beckoned him with one slim index finger. 

Why didn't he want to play? Wouldn't any normal, warm-blooded American male dream of waking up to an almost naked blond bombshell in his living room? Wouldn't that male want to play?

Why didn't he feel turned on and excited. Why didn't he fantasize about what would happen if he obeyed? All those lush curvaceous parts on display didn't interest him in the least.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

#GottaHaveFayth #HistoricalRomance

Title: Gotta Have Fayth
Twelve Dancing Princesses Book Six
Author: Christine Young
ISBN: 978-1-62420-373-2
Genre: Historical Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4

Buy at: Amazon


Fayth Graham unexpectedly meets a man with sparkling gray eyes and an infectious grin, Jarret Kingsley, who gets more than he bargained in the beautiful debutant.

BLURB: Gotta Have Fayth

A regal beauty with raven hair and piercing blue eyes, Fayth Graham is unwilling to parade herself in front of the wealthy Lords of England during the season. Seeking a means to dissuade any man wishing to wed her, she seeks a way to ruin herself for marriage. When she unexpectedly meets a man with sparkling gray eyes and an infectious grin, she decides this is the man who will keep her from agreeing to obey.

He returned from six months at sea, looking for a few nights of pleasure with a willing lass, but Jarret Kinsley got more than he bargained for when he met a beautiful debutant who responded to his kisses with a wild innocence that touched his heart. Yet the obstacles looming between them might rip them apart. Both had vowed never to marry, so when consequences of their dalliances got in the way, Jarret would have to choose between the life he's always desired and the woman he loves more than life.

EXCERPT: Gotta Have Fayth

            “You’re frightening me. I don’t understand anything you’ve been telling me right now.” For a moment, Fayth closed her eyes, realizing she’d pushed him too far. She didn’t know how to remedy this. “I apologize if I’ve done something to change you.”
            “I stole your innocence instead of keeping you safe.” His voice sounded bitter to her. “I wanted you for myself, only myself, without acting on what was in your best interest.’’
            She focused on Jarret, blinked and smiled slightly. “If you remember, I asked you to ruin me,” she murmured, hoping the truth would help. “I wanted you the instant I saw you.”
            “You had no idea what would happen in the aftermath of the tempest we created. I did. The pain I feel at the thought of what I’ve put you through is an agony I’ve never felt before. You trusted me without reservation, yet I’ve brought you nothing but challenges you never asked for and compromised you so thoroughly there is no way to rectify the situation.”
            “You’ve misconstrued everything about me,” she murmured, wishing he would give her credit for some intelligence and understand she had no misgivings. “I wanted everything we did with all my heart. You should have no regrets unless you regret me.”
            “I’m a bloody fool.”
            “Then I’m a blithering idiot,” she told him, unwilling to make this about him. “I’m a willing and eager partner in everything we’ve done. Perhaps you are a bloody fool if you still think this is all about you.”
            “I could’ve stopped us before we were buried in lies. Nothing will happen to me and I knew it. The town will ostracize you, and they will applaud me and my manly prowess.”
            Fayth smiled and touched Jarret’s hard jawline. “I won’t let you dictate what I do and you’ve always known that fact. You’ve gone far beyond what we discussed in the beginning. I’ve no expectation of marriage, nor do I want any part of the institution that involves weddings and a commitment to obey.”
            Jarret’s mouth flattened. “I’m going to leave and let you have what you’ve made damn clear to me, your independence.”
            “I don’t want you to go, you hard-headed man. I want you to make love to me and hold me in your arms. I don’t want that to end.”
            “I can’t do that without the commitment you will never make. There is no other choice for me. This has become a living hell.”
            “I can still be your mistress.” She’d wanted that from the beginning. “I’ll wait for you and I won’t betray you in anyway. Not like your father betrayed your mother.”


Their attention once again was directed to the entrance. A young woman stepped through the door. Jarret’s mind centered on her face; she was so beautiful he couldn’t keep his jaw from dropping. She could have been the largest woman he’d ever seen, but her face seemed angelic. Gorgeous. Stunning. Yet she was petite with coal black hair, intricately coiffed with a few tendrils framing her cheekbones. She wore a travelling dress that had seen better days, but it didn’t distract from her slim delicate figure.
He swallowed hard and his breath caught in his throat. He wasn’t sure he could speak. “I want her. Gotta have her. Tonight.” Maybe my fortune is changing for the best.
“What did you just say?” Logan turned to stare at Jarret.
“My wishes for this evening have just been answered. This is the woman I’ve been waiting for. The next lady who will find my bed and enjoy all the pleasure she deserves.” Jarret rose, striding to the enchanting vision.
He reached her, feeling for the first time he could remember, tongue-tied. The air around her was filled with the scent of lemons. “Can I help you?” He touched her elbow, gently guiding her to the corner of the room where he’d been sitting. He couldn’t resist her aqua colored eyes or the tilt of her chin. When she moistened her lips, all he could think was that he had to taste them, breathe in their essence.
She stared at him, appearing a bit bewildered. “I...”
“I...” One eyebrow rose and the smile inside him grew realizing this woman, whoever she was, would be his next affair. All that remained was convincing her. He didn’t think that would be too difficult.
“I need directions.” She said, her voice assuming a note of command, yet at the same time breathless.
“You entered a tavern for directions?” he queried skeptically. “Then direction you will have.” His heart pounded in his chest, a sudden heat sweeping through his body. More than willing to give instructions to the captain’s cabin of his ship.
She let him lead her across the floor and pulled out a chair for her. “This is...” he began, only to shift his attention from his friends to this gorgeous lady.
“Fayth,” she said.
"And I'm Jarret Kingsley."
An easy peace swept through him. Gotta have Fayth. He touched the top of her hand with his. Its softness sent a warm shimmer spiraling straight to his heart.
“Fayth, a beautiful name,” Logan said, grinning at Jarret as if he knew his intentions.
Jarret slanted him the best hands offlook he could manage. Logan appeared to receive the message, and Drake downed his second pint, signaling for another.
“Kingsley, if I haven’t missed the clues, I believe your wishes for tonight have been granted.” Drake told him. Guess you won’t be going with Logan and myself.”
Now I just have to convince my lady. “Don’t the two of you have somewhere to go?” Jarret asked, nodding his head in the direction of the door.
Fayth slipped her hand from beneath his and placed it on Jarret’s arm. “I came in here for help. Can you help me?”
“Of course, directions where?” Jarret asked, knowing where he wanted her but still trying to figure out the details.
“To my new lodgings. I’ve been travelling for days and I’m confused. I’ve never been in London and I thought...”
“No fears. I’ll make sure you get where you want to go.” Jarret had every intention of taking her wherever she pleased but only after he knew her better, intimately.
The pint of ale Jarret had ordered for her appeared. She licked her lips and stared at the glass. “I don’t know if I should drink that.”
“Only if you want to. I can get you water or wine. The water is horrible, but the wine might be better if it comes from Logan’s vineyard in Bordeaux.” Jarret ignored the conversation between his two best friends. Without listening, he knew what it was that they talked and laughed about and he didn’t care, knowing he was smitten he wasn’t about to deny the emotion.
“I’ll try this.” She sipped the cold brew, a strange expression appearing on her delicate features.
“What do you think?”
“Good.” She licked her lips, and he wanted to follow the path of her tongue with his fingertip.


Historical, Romance, Regency, England


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

ForeverHis #HistoricalRomance

Forever His by Christine Young
Excerpt Heat Level: 
Book Heat Level:

August 30, 1895
Near Buffalo Creek,
South Dakota

REVIEW: Forever His

Isolated in their cabin, they discover their love for each other and learn to trust. But the trust is shattered when Jacob learns she is married to his sworn enemy; the man who left him in the desert to die.

EXCERPT: Forever His

More than a half-dozen men and one woman were gathered in the sage-patched backyard of the run-down shack. So far not one person made a sound as they watched Chavez wield the whip, stripping the flesh off his back.

If Chavez weren't so angry and seeking revenge of his own, he would probably have just had him shot. Revenge was a powerful motive. Chavez wanted Jacob to suffer, to yell before he died. It seemed Etta Barringer did too. So far Chavez was toying with him, taunting and teasing him, cutting an inch here, ripping an inch there, not doing much damage but making mincemeat out of his back.

Jacob hadn't made a sound yet, not even a sharp, indrawn breath. He wasn't about to even though he knew Chavez would get impatient and start slashing. There was no hurry. Chavez had as long as he wanted. No one save Etta knew where he was, no one would come looking for him, at least not until the sun went down. By then Chavez would be done with him, and he would either be dead or buzzard-bait. For the life of him, he couldn't figure why Etta would hand him over to Chavez. She had always been Pinkerton to the core, yet she had betrayed him once before. If he survived this, he meant to have answers. He'd move heaven and earth to search out the lying Etta Barringer and find out exactly what she had against him.

The pain of betrayal at the forefront of his mind, and vows of revenge against the instigator of this kept him going. He focused on the woman's laughter and the scent of lemons that permeated his soul.

He had been taken by surprise. Still, he didn't go down easily. It took all of Chavez's men to get him bound securely to the post in back of the shack. And of those men, not one came away from the encounter without a scratch. Blood from the multitude of small cuts Chavez had inflicted ran in rivulets from his back, pooling on the parched thirsty ground, soaking into the dirt, staining it. 

He stood, his head proudly erect and that seemed to draw anger from Chavez. The grip of his fingers curled around the top of the post, the only sign of Jacob's pain--and fury.

The first real stroke of the whip felt like a red-hot branding iron searing across his back. Jacob didn't flinch, nor would he as long as he could hear her laughter or smell lemons floating languidly on the breeze. He wished he could see her, stare into her beguiling, green eyes until she knew he'd never stop hunting for her. Fury at his own weakness rose, and the anger he felt deep inside simmered, because she'd always attracted him. Ever since she showed up in a small town in Oregon, seduced him then drugged him and left him to sleep off the opium-laced whiskey, she'd fascinated him.

Concentrate on her--on what you're going to do when you find her again . . . 

Christine Young has done it again in this historical romance. The blizzards, betrayal, deceit and a ruthless bandito like Chavez made this a great romance.

Melinda for Night Owl Romance     5 out of 5

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

#TellTaleTuesday #ShantyGold

Author: Jeanne Charters

Genre: Historical Fiction
Book Heat Level:  3

REVIEW: Shanty Gold

Shanty Gold
Jeanne Charters

By Tracy A. Fischer for Readers’ Favorite
5 stars out of 5

In a fantastic read by debut author Jeanne Charters, Shanty Gold, the story of a young Irish girl, Mary Boland, will captivate readers from beginning to end. Taking place in 1849, the story begins with Mary being found almost dead alongside a road. The great famine is in full swing, and Mary had just buried her mother and sister, both of whom succumbed to starvation. Mary needs to find her father, and is determined to get to Boston to do so. She ends up getting assaulted by the crew of the ship carrying her to the New World, but is befriended by a young black slave boy. Together they survive the long journey and make it to the New World, where they hope their dreams will come true.
I so enjoyed reading Shanty Gold. Author Jeanne Charters has done an absolutely wonderful job in creating a story line and characters that her readers will connect with, relate to, and continue to think about long after the book is done. If that isn't a hallmark of a wonderful writer, I don't know what is. When I picked up Shanty Gold, I intended to only read a few chapters and then pick up again the next day. Well, several hours late into the night, and I was finishing the last page. I simply could not put it down. Any reader who enjoys historical fiction or simply a great read would love Shanty Gold. I highly recommend this book, and I am certainly hopeful that author Jeanne Charters is already hard at work on her next book. I, for one, will be waiting for the next offering from this author.

BLURB: Shanty Gold

In 1849’s famine-ravaged Ireland, thirteen-year-old Mary Boland is found lying mostly dead on the side of the road to Cork Harbor, Queenstown, Ireland. She just buried her mother and baby sister after they both died of starvation. Now she is headed for Boston to find her father— no matter what. Raped and beaten by the evil crew of The Pilgrim’s Dandy, she is rescued by a fifteen-year-old Negro slave who had been used in like manner for some time and had vowed to throw himself to the sharks that very night. Together they survive the harrowing two and a half month trip, helping others as well. Their friendship is the key to the new world for both of them, carrying them through hardships and trials, and eventually to happiness.

EXCERPT: Shanty Gold

Chapter One

May the road rise to meet you.

August,1849, County Cork Ireland

Near dawn, others join me on the walk to Cobh. Silent stragglers they are, a man, a woman, and a wee boy, dragging behind them paltry gatherings from a lifetime of poverty. At first, their presence is a comfort, but the shuffling feet send dust into the air and me mouth turns to sand. I spy a pond in the distance and crawl toward it, but the water's mostly mud. Back on the road, me three companions are gone.

I fall onto the stones. You win, Ireland. Killed me like me kin, you did. 'Tis a relief to quit this hopeless effort. Time drifts by. So this is how it feels to die, is it? Not so bad.

Lying there, I drift into unconsciousness, but suddenly there are hands, hard hands tugging under me arms and pulling me over a rough rail into a wooden cart. That gobsmacks me brain some, I'll tell you. I thought I'd left such things as splintery carts behind me. I close me eyes and fall into sacred sleep. The sun is high in the sky now, so time has passed, but I don't know how much of it. I yearn to straighten me legs, but boxes cram every inch of space. A blacksmith's anvil digs into me spine.

Sweet smells of wildflowers drift into the cart. 'Tis the wondrous scent of summer in Ireland. Could I move, I'd pick some to slake the hunger gnawing me belly, but I'm too tired.

A woman speaks, "Look, Tim. The road to Cork City. We could kiss the Blarney stone." She laughs. "That'd do us well in Canada."

Canada? She hums a Gaelic song Mam used to sing. It lulls me back into sleep, but the noisy caw of herring gulls jolts me awake. Da once said, "Blast those birds. Had I a gun, I'd shoot them all out of the sky."

This day, I'd do the same.

The hands shake me awake. "Girl, who are you? Where are you headed?" He is elderly, nearly as old as me father, with at least thirty years etched on his face, so I try to give a respectful answer.

"Mary Boland, sir," I say, shocked by the rasp that is me voice. "I was walking to Cobh, but…"

"The blessings of St. Brigid are with you this day, Mary," the woman says in a voice soft as a lamb's coat. Her face glows with kindness, like saints on holy cards. She strokes the hair from me eyes. "That's where we're headed as well. But the Cork harbor is called Queenstown now, not Cobh. To honor Victoria's visit."

I close me eyes again. Who's this Victoria?

Bits of their talk mix with the sounds of the squawking gulls. "She's just a child, Tim. Why is she be traveling to Queenstown alone?"

"Let her rest, love. Lots of children have tried to get to the ships. Most don't make it. She's a lucky one."

Night darkens the sky,and rain pounds on me back. A blanket lowers over me, and I sigh in gratitude.

As the sun reddens the East again, I sit up, wincing at the soreness in me hip. Biting wooden splinters out of me hands, I glance up and see them staring back at me. A grin feels silly on me face, but 'tis the best I can do.

"So, you're Mary Boland, are you?" the man says.

"Yes, sir."

"We're Tim and Moira Donahue," she says. "Call me Moira and him, Tim," she gestures toward the man.

It is unseemly to call someone her age by her first name, but I'll do as I'm told. I don't want to get kicked from this wagon. "Thank you, I will, Moira." 

"How old are you, child?" Her voice is sweet as soda bread.

"What year is this?" I say, knowing that sounds ignorant. "No one in me village kept a calendar."

"It's 1849, girl," Tim answers.

"Well, I was born on St. Patrick's Day, 1836, but I'm no good at ciphering." I blush, knowing how stupid they must think me.

"You're thirteen-years-old then," he says.

Thirteen is it? My, I'm nearly grown.

"Where are your mother and father?" Moira asks.

I brace me heart against the telling. "Da sailed for America a while back. He said he'd send money for us to come over. We never got it, though. I think the landlord stole it."

"I wonder if he even survived the trip," Tim whispers.

Me heart stops. "You think me da's dead?"

"Nah, girl. He's probably fine." His deep tone reminds me of Da's when he held me on his lap while reading from Gulliver's Travels.

"And your mother?" Moira asks.

I don't want to remember, but must. "Mam died a week ago, along with the baby, Ellen." 

The woman's eyes are brimming when she looks at me again. "I'm so sorry," she whispers. I can tell she means it.

"What was your village?" Tim asks.


"Ah, lovely place," Moira says. "On the Great Ocean."

"Aye, 'twas lovely," I answer, as images wash over me, green rolling hills, whitecaps and white sails, salmon jumping to the nets, sheep, friends, parties, and family– most of all, family. The memories threaten me speech until hot anger rescues me tongue. "It's lovely no longer. The ships there fly British flags now."

Tim grunts. "Since that hoor's melt English Pope let Henry the Eighth invade us seven-hundred years ago."

"Hush with your blasphemy, Tim," Moira hisses, then turns to me, "How did your mother pass?"

I brace me heart against the telling. "Before he left, Da sold his fishing boat and nets and bought oats to last us till he could earn money for our passage. When our sheep died, we had no wool to ship to England. The landlord burned our cottage."

"Most of our village was burned out this past year," Tim says, shaking his head. "All that remains there are a few pitiful huts and the landlord's grand house. We knew we'd be next." He turns to face me. "Why did you not go to the nuns?"

"Mam wouldn't hear of it. 'Bolands don't take charity,' she said,and meant it."

He shakes his head like maybe his mam was proud, too.

"When Mam made her mind up, there was no changing it. So I found us a cave." I shiver, remembering, and then hug meself so I can go on with the awful next part. "It was cold and wet in the cave. Da had given me his revolver before he left and trained me to use it. I was a good shot. I sold the gun for peat to warm the cave. Then, Mam got the dysentery. I couldn't make it stop though I tried all the old remedies. I think it was from spoilt soup the British gave us at the soup kitchen."

Tim's murmur is harsh. "Bastards! If they can't kill us by starving or burning us out, they poison us with their putrid gruel."

"I tried to make Mam better," I say, swallowing a moan, "but nothing helped."

Moira touches me cheek.

"When Mam's milk dried," I say, straightening me back, "the baby passed quick. Mam died soon after. I think her heart was broken." The fury of watching them die returns in a rush. Then, the anger turns to grief. Tears won't help, but that doesn't stop them. I brush them away. I never cried, not even when I took the gold cross from Mam's fingers and fastened it around me neck. Not when I dug their graves with me hands and laid them there together beneath the hawthorn tree. Not when I took the boots from Mam's feet and pulled them on me own. Not even when I covered the two of them over with the stones.

At once, the memory flips me sadness to wrath,and I nearly scream. I think of Da's words: “Meter your temper, Mary. Me mother was an O'Brien. The O'Briens have Banshee blood. Save your rage for those who deserve it.

These dear people do not deserve it. The cart is quiet for a time. I think we all are deep in our own memories, but then, Tim says, "You walked all the way from Kinsale? That's at least thirty miles from where you fell."

"I'd have made it the whole way,but, once down, couldn't wake up. I'd have died for sure if you hadn't come upon me."

Moira climbed into the back of the cart and wrapped her arms tight around me shoulders. "Ah, love," she croons, rocking me like a báibin. The kindness of her touch nearly sets me weeping again, but I set me jaw tight as a badger trap. She taps the man on his shoulder. "Tim, give me a bit of that bread and the water jug. The child is starved to bone."

When she hands me the bread, I try to chew slow. Mam said you could pick out a lady from a shanty girl by the way she ate. But the hunger makes me swallow too fast, and the bread sticks in me throat. I hiccough like a common drunkard. "Excuse me, please. I ate too quickly."

"That's all right, Mary. You're hungry. The good Lord sent us to help you," she answers. "Things will be better now."

I lean back against her. Her arms feel good, almost like Mam's. "What was your village?" I ask, and then take a swig from the water jug, careful not to let it dribble down me chin.

"Killarney," she says. "We held on through the first year, but when the potatoes came up black again, we couldn't produce our quota of grain. It was only a matter of time 'til our cottage would be ashes.

"We've booked tickets on the Sheridan, a ship headed for New York. Cost us dear, four pounds each, British sterling. It's all we had left. We sail tomorrow." She turns me around and looks deep into me eyes. It's as if she's looking for me soul itself. "What ticket did you book?" she asks.

Can I trust her with the truth? Will they put me back on the road if they know I haven't a farthing in me boot, let alone money for a ticket?


Shanty Gold
Jeanne Charters

Reviewd by Amanda Roberts
5 stars out of 5

I loved this book. Most of the book takes place in Boston as two youngsters try their best to survive in a new and strange world. The book tackles hard issues such as rape, murder, slavery, race, and gender in a frank but beautiful story.

The story is so well-written I found myself unable to put it down. I just had to know what would happen to the characters. How would they survive in such a harsh world at such young ages? The story is a happy one, but it isn’t sappy or contrived. The story feels very realistic and it is clear the author did a lot of research.

The book is not a romance but is a historical novel, though there are romantic elements. The book is appropriate for teen readers.

Shanty Gold is the first part of a planned trilogy, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books.

I am the coordinator of Irish Cultural/Educational programs at an Irish Center in The Capitol of New York State.  I had a special interest in reading Shanty Goldsince the author Jeanne Charters is presenting her book at our September 23rd 2015 meeting. I was not disappointed since the book is a great story about the experiences of many of our Irish relatives who came to the United States at the height of the Irish Famine 1845 to 1855, the coffin ships many found transport in, the rape and slaughter they faced, and finally the perseverance needed to survive in Boston Massachusetts where no Irish need to apply for jobs. The central characters Mary Boland and Kamua Okafor, a black boy, had similar horrendous experiences from a society with rampant prejudices. The book achieved its purpose better in many ways of getting you in touch with the Irish experience compared to a lecture covering the same topics. I look forward to the two books which are to follow completing this trilogy of Irish immigrant pain, strength and success. Books like this prove that historic fiction can be one of the many avenues to enjoy the culture and history of people.
John W. Carswell