Goddess Fish: "Jessie’s War" by Meggan Connors Book Review/Giveaway (ends 4/26) U.S./Canada

By Ruth on April 10, 2013 in book, review
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Jessie’s War

by Meggan Connors

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BLURB:

She’s about to become a pawn in a brutal game between nations…

The American Civil War has raged for more than ten years. The outcast daughter of a famous inventor, Jessica White has struggled to salvage what little remains of her life. Then, one cold winter night, the lover she’d given up for dead returns, claiming the Union Army bought the plans for her father’s last invention. But he’s not the only one who lays claim to the device, for the Confederacy wants the invention as well. Both sides will kill to have it.

…And only he can save her.

As an agent for the Union Army, Luke Bradshaw is a man who will use whomever and whatever is at his disposal in order to complete his mission. An attack by Confederate soldiers ensures that Jessie will turn to him for help, but Luke can’t help but wonder about the secrets she keeps–and if those secrets will ultimately prove fatal.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excerpt:

Someone knocked, and Muha’s tentative barking turned hysterical.

Taking her revolving shotgun back down, she crept to the lever that would pull down the shutters and arm the Gatling gun mounted to the rooftop.

“Go home, sheriff. Not talking to you today.”

“It’s not the sheriff.”

Her hand froze and the shotgun clattered to the floor. Gooseflesh dotted her arms and her pulse quickened, a frantic rat-a-tat-tat like a hail of bullets, as her body recognized what her logical mind denied.

The room went quiet. Muha sat with her ears pricked up, her tail thumping cautiously against the worn pine floor. The wolf recognized the gravelly voice, too.

The knock became more insistent, sharper. “Please open the door, Jessie.”

It was a dead man’s voice.

She struggled to fill her lungs with air as the pine door shook beneath her visitor’s heavy fists. Those hands would be big and strong and ridged with calluses. Her heart twisted painfully in her chest, and she tried not to think about them. Or their owner.

She’d gotten over his loss just like she’d gotten over all the others.

With trembling hands, Jessie picked up her shotgun and rested it against the wall. Her legs leaden, she walked to the door and put her hand on the knob, but hesitated.

She’d dreamed of this moment for years, of this man walking back into her life.

Now she couldn’t bring herself to let him in.

“Please. It’s freezing out here.”

She turned the knob, and Luke Bradshaw stood in her doorway, the brim of his hat heavy with snow, and small flakes clung to the dark lashes fringing his silver eyes.

He was as tall as she remembered, towering over her as he stood on her sagging front porch, bringing with him the scent of smoke and sulfur and snow. A black slouch hat covered his head and rested low over his eyes, and a black duster swirled around his bright-spurred boots. The silver six-shooter on his left hip glittered in the low light, and a large, black satchel was strapped to his broad back.

Muha pushed her head past the door.

Luke gave her a lopsided smile and took off his hat. “Hi, Jess.” A scar she didn’t remember ran through his right eyebrow, and another creased his chin. He held his hand out to Muha and scratched behind her grizzled ears, the way he always used to greet her. He handed her a piece of jerky, and despite the long years, a friendship was immediately rekindled. “There’s a girl.”

“Luke.” Jessie reached out to touch his cheek. The stubble of his unshaven jaw was rough beneath her palm, and his skin was cold. Her fingers trembled as she traced his lips, his breath warm against them.

He kissed her fingertips.

Dead men didn’t breathe or kiss a girl’s fingers. Dead men didn’t leave as boys and come back as men. Dead men didn’t come home with new scars or shiver with cold.

“You’re alive,” she whispered.

“Yep.”

His sweet, boyish smile melted her heart, and something inside her, denied for far too long, splintered and howled in despair.

She slapped him.

The crack echoed in the empty, snow-lit darkness behind him. Jessie stepped back to slam the door on this would-be ghost who had the gall to walk back into her life and act as if he’d never left.




My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Let me say first that I wanted to like this book more than I did and give it a higher rating.  Please take my words with a grain of salt because Meggan Connors is a fantastic author, and the story she has woven will appeal to romance and steampunk lovers out there.  Understand that this is merely my opinion, and that is the beauty of living in this great country of ours.

When I read that this was story mixed the Civil War with steampunk elements, I was intrigued.  I have only read one other steampunk novel, so I was ready to tackle this one.  And I will say that the steampunk elements are somewhat intriguing.  They are truly only a small part of the story, but it does make for an interesting read.  Add two great characters:  Jessie and Luke, and you have an amazing story of espionage, history, native American culture, and romance.  It was a clever spin on a well-known part of our country’s history.

My early complaint came as a result of extending the Civil War.  I don’t mind people taking liberties with historical fiction, but this is something that I felt should not have been tampered with.  I didn’t mind the technology aspects, but the War ended in 1865.  Yes, I understand that the country did not immediately recover, but the War was over.  I wish that hte author had placed this story within the actual confines of the Civil War.  I believe the story would have been just as effective.

Although I am not marking it down for this, I cannot give this book my clean romance stamp of approval.  The profanity was distracting and way too much, in my opinion.  I also felt that much of the dialogue was not specific to the time period of the story.  I could have done without the details of the bedroom, but at least most of that was between a married couple.

I am giving this is a 3.5 star rating.  It was a difficult decision, but I truly struggled with the ending of this story.  I’m not going to spoil the ending for you, but I guess I felt it was very much over the top and way too weird.  A lot of Native American culture came out, but I think this goes beyond this to almost a paranormal incident.  I wish it had ended differently than it did, but then I’m not an incredibly incurable romantic–sappy romantic, that is.  Again, I’m not putting anyone down, but I just could not buy into the story.  I would venture to say that a good share of women will thoroughly enjoy this book, but it was not my cup of tea.  However, I have no problem commending the author’s writing style and idea for the story.  There were many times I could not put it down because it was pretty exciting.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.




AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Meggan Connors is a wife, mother, teacher and award-winning author who writes primarily historical and steampunk romances. As a history buff with a love of all things historical, she enjoys visiting both major and obscure museums, and reading the histories of the Old West and the British Isles. She makes her home in the Wild West with her lawman husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow, or with her nose in a book. Favorite vacation destinations include the sun-kissed hills of California, any place with a castle or a ghost (and both is perfect!), and the windswept Oregon coast.

Links:

Twitter: @megganconnors

Buy Links:

http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=220

Meggan will be awarding a silver pocket watch pendant and a cameo choker, and a signed paperback copy of The Marker, her historical romance to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. (US/CANADA ONLY).  Follow the entire tour for more chances to win.

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