Tales from the Treasure Trove Volume I

Tales From the Treasure Trove, Volume I, A Jewels of the Quill Anthology. “Jaded” {reincarnation romance} by Barbara Raffin (Dame Jade), “Sex with the Man in the Moon” {romantic suspense} by Christine DeSmet (Dame Moonstone), “The Ruby Kiss” {contemporary vampire romance} by Jaye Roycraft (Dame Ruby), “The Amethyst Angel” {traditional romance} by Karen Wiesner (Dame Amethyst), “Peridot Moon” {futuristic romance} by Julie Skerven (Dame Peridot), “Emerald” {contemporary fiction} by Debbie Fritter (Dame Emerald), “Diamond Magee” {contemporary romance} by Sherry Derr-Wille (Dame Diamond), “The Topaz Locket” {paranormal romance} by Carrie S. Masek (Dame Topaz), “The Best Kind of Opals” {western romance} by Alice Blue (Dame Opal), “Bloodstone Cure” {paranormal romance} by Cassie Walder (Dame Bloodstone), “Garnet’s Light” {romantic suspense} by Liz Hunter (Dame Garnet), “The Turquoise Mask” {paranormal romance} by Jane Toombs (Dame Turquoise).

I have to admit this review has been a challenge for me to write.  Most anthologies that I read have some kind of reoccurring theme that keeps the author’s story type similar, such as all ‘It happened at Midnight’ or ‘One Dance’ but this collection’s theme is gemstones, which gave the authors free reign to write whatever the wanted, and they did. I personally have a love/hate relationship with short story collections.  I love them because I get a chance to read new authors without the time investment of a full novel, nothing is worse than getting to the middle of a book and realizing that you dislike it. However,  I hate anthologies because when you find a great story with great characters, your time with them is over way too soon. Also, sometimes I don’t like the stories.

This book has something for everyone, and I mean everyone. The collection includes a western, paranormal futuristic, reincarnation, contemporary traditional, and others.  Obviously I can’t write a review of all the stories because it would make this posting huge so I have just mentioned a few.

The first story, Jaded, is set in contemporary times with ghost that appears to the heroine. This was a story that I would have liked to see longer, the minor characters staying at the boarding house were entertaining and I would have liked to see more of them.  It was a good story but felt a little rushed, it could have been longer and better developed.

The Best Kinds of Opal is a western with three brothers who travel from back East to the West in pursuit of opals for their parent’s jewelry shop.  Upon arriving to the western city they engage in a fist fight with some locals, who they then become buddies with.  (There is no understanding men.) The buddies convince them to go fishing with them and the buddies bring along their sisters and cousins, who all happen to have the word ‘Opal’ in their name.  The brothers start to suspect they have been set up by their parents but by this time they don’t really care because they have started to like the girls. The buddies were funny and I giggled several times while reading the story.

The Amethyst Angel, is a bit of a heart-jerker.  The heroine is a doctor who works at a hospital that specializes in children who have terminal diseases.  You get to know one of the small boys who is a patient there and see they way he impacts the doctor’s life for the better before he loses his battle with cancer.

It was a good read with a good glimpse of a bunch of different authors. It was interesting to read how each of the authors was able to incorporate a gemstone in each of the stories.  I have to admit I giggled when I read the name of the girls as being Opal as I was expecting an Opal mine with the story being set in the wild west.  Just be aware that most of the stories rate as a 5 is graphic detail. This review is also posted on Classic Romance Revival.

ISBN:1-59374-373-4

Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press

Released: March 2005

Page Length:366

Type: eBook

Rating: 5

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Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

photo_10618_20091215I read somewhere that some books are “comfort reads”, you know, those books you reread a hundred times and end up purchasing more than once because you wear your copy out.  Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings is a “comfort read” for me.  The first time I read it was in high school, I remember purchasing it at a bookstore, at random, and devouring it within two days (no mean feat considering the size of the novel). I have destroyed two paperback copies and am now working on destroying a hardbound copy (give me time and I am sure I will end up with a copy on my ereader as well).  I reread the series at least once a year, if not more.

Publisher: It all begins with the theft of the Orb that for so long protected the West from an evil god. As long as the Orb was at Riva, the prophecy went, its people would be safe from this corrupting power. Garion, a simple farm boy, is familiar with the legend of the Orb, but skeptical in matters of magic. Until, through a twist of fate, he learns not only that the story of the Orb is true, but that he must set out on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger to help recover it. For Garion is a child of destiny, and fate itself is leading him far from his home, sweeping him irrevocably toward a distant tower—and a cataclysmic confrontation with a master of the darkest magic.

Pawn of Prophecy is the first book in the Belgariad Series, a collection of five novels.  The novel begins with a boy, Garion, living on a farm with his aunt raising him.  One night, he and his aunt are forced to leave in the middle of the night to meet up with others, chasing someone who stole something but no-one will tell Garion exactly what and who they are chasing.  Garion slowly starts to realize that his aunt and the group they have met up with are very important politic figures and that what they are chasing after will change the course of history.  There is magic but it is all carefully bound by rules, which appeals to my logic nature (how you can have something as powerful as magic without careful rules to control it?!).

David Eddings does a fabulous job of giving each of the lands in the novel their own culture and history.  The world Eddings’ created is influenced by the seven Gods that exist, with each of the different lands ruled over by a specific God and taking on the characteristics of that God.  For example, the God Nedra loves gambling and chance so his followers are always making deals with each other, their God, and their culture revolves around money.

His characters are very distinctive and very witty.  Eddings cohesion of the history of the land, its people and the impact of that history on the ongoing story is unparalleled.  It is like reading Tolkien without all the boring parts (I mean really, do we really care what EVERY tree looks like in Tolkiens’ world?!).  I highly recommend it and give it a rating for violence, not sex.

Rating: 2

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Sorcery and Celia, or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

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Sorcery and Celia, or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer is the first book in a trilogy.  The book takes place in Victorian England but magic exists.  Most of the book is told through letters between two cousins, Celia and Kate.  It took me a minute to get used to the writing style since both characters speak in first person because they are personal letters that are written but once I got used to it the story flowed easily.  Kate is in London partaking of the London Season while Celia is in the country which is why the women are writing to each other.  Right after Kate arrives in London she is mistaken for another character and is almost killed by poisoned chocolate.  Kate and Celia spend the rest of the novel trying to figure out why she was almost poisoned and as they get closer to the answer both their lives are threatened numerous times. During the investigation both women meet men who start to play a large part in the mystery and in their own lives.

I love the friendship the two women share and the bond that exists between them that is evident in their letters.  It is nice to see such a friendship between two strong women.  I also love the women’s attitude toward their family members.  It reminded me of my own crazy family, where an aunt drives everyone nuts but you love them anyway.  The story brings to light the foibles and weaknesses the two women have in addition to their strengths and I couldn’t help but think of the saying that we admire people for their strengths but love them for their weaknesses.  It is the way the women handle their weaknesses, while acknowledging them, that make the characters so endearing (in addition to their great wit).

This is one of my favorite series and I have read it several times.  I highly recommend it the entire series.

Rating: 1

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Forest Born by Shannon Hale

photo_7226_20090705I recently read the fourth book in Shannon Hale’s incredible Books of Bayern series. I first read Shannon’s books back when she had just published her second book, Princess Academy. I had dealings with Shannon for some time and was very impressed with her. Forest Born, the fourth book in the series was great. I have to admit it had been awhile since I read the previous books so I reread River Secrets before starting Forest Born. I had forgotten how much I liked the character Razo. Razo’s insecurities about his own worth and not understanding why he was asked to accompany the group on the ambassador trip really hit home for me.  How often do we doubt our own worth or feel insignificant when compared with everyone else?

Forest Born is about Razo’s younger sister, Rin. I like Rin’s character, she is very impressed with the strong women in her life and only sees how strong they are now, not how they were before this point, which is how life is. I love how Rin can see some of each character in herself, including the protaganist but it is Rin’s choosing to be a strong good person that makes her that way.  Spending time with Enna, Isi and Dasha again is great and I loved seeing the three of them interact together.

I disliked how Rin seems to focus on one major event in her life so much and she keeps living through that moment again and again. I ended up feeling like we had reviewed what had happened before and I didn’t want to continue to relive that moment when so much other events were going on.

I was very surprised by the main protagonist, definitely not what who I was expecting. I love it when an author is able to surprise me as much as Shannon did in this book.

I would suggest that anyone wanting to read this book start with the first book in the series, The Goose Girl. You don’t have to read the previous books to understand this book because you get enough of the back story to understand what is going on but, I think the story is more enjoyable if you have experienced where all the main characters have come from and seen how they have come to this moment in time.

This book gets One because there is some brief light kissing.

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