Under A Blackberry Moon

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Title: Under A Blackberry Moon
Author: Serena B. Miller
Publisher: Revell
Published: October 15, 2013
Pages: 352

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Moon Song, a recently widowed young Chippewa woman, stumbled into nearby lumber camp looking for shelter from the harsh winters just days after giving birth alone in the northwoods. Once summer hits, Moon Song realizes that she can’t stay amongst the rough and tumble world of white lumbermen and so she leaves along with the camp owner’s best friend who is going to accompany her on the long and treacherous journey back to her people.

Skypilot came to the lumber camp to escape his Southern background and to find a new career after her completely failed at preaching. Skypilot has always liked Moon Song so it’s no trouble to escort her back home, or so he thinks. What was a simple back and forth journey, turns into a long revealing journey for both of them and he begins to view Moon Song in a different light then he did before. If only that didn’t come with it’s own set of problems.

When disaster strikes off the shore of Lake Superior, Moon Song and Skypilot must rely on each other to survive the danger of the wilderness. The deeper they go into the forbidding woods, the closer they become and attraction begins to spark. But their cultures are so far apart and with bad memories, distrust is rampant, but maybe love is enough. One of them must decide if love is enough for them to leave everything they’ve ever known.

Will love conquer all or will their love crumble under the pressures of society? Will Moon Song leave her world to enter his or will she refuse to leave where she is welcome? Will Skypilot leave his world to live with the Chippewa or will she decide that she isn’t worth the massive change? Will the differences be too much for them and will they walk away or will they fight the pull or them to separate and love each other for life?
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Serena Miller is a fairly new author for me and I’ve noticed a pattern in her books that is a bit more unique than her counterparts. She likes to focus on strong females that don’t need a man to do everything for them instead of the usual damsel in distress type heroines. Though I don’t know if I could read these kinds of books all the time, I do think that it is very refreshing every once and a while to have a woman as the strong character in a book.

The romance in this book is a bit unique and yet still romantic in a weird way. I found Isaac Ross, aka Skypilot, to be a unique kind of guy. He struggled with feelings of inadequacy but mostly he just loved seeing Moon Song in her element instead of resenting her for doing what he couldn’t. That along with more situations on both parts set up a sweet yet romantic romance that made my heart sing. There wasn’t much in physical affection but watching feelings grow and seeing the lengths each went to made up for that.

The back cover of this book does nothing to really prepare for the story that this book is. I mean you know that disaster strikes and they have to rely on each other but just how much they do doesn’t hit you until they actually have to. Also, there’s a good quarter of the book that you aren’t set up for before hand and it makes it unexpected but endearing further cementing this book in my mind. I loved this story line and the journey that I got to go in with these characters. It really came alive for me.

The characters in this book are complex and interesting. Moon Song is very unemotional and though at time that can come across as hard, it fits her and overall her character seems realistic and lovable. Skypilot isn’t what I imagined and is definitely not your typical fictional guy, which makes him stick out and be completely unique. The other characters both good or bad seem to have a niche that makes them lovable and understood and adds some depth to this book.

Serena Miller didn’t really impress me with her last book but despite that, I had high hopes for this book because of the topic and Serena not only met my expectations she surpassed them and I am completely satisfied with her newest novel. This book put her on my “favorite” list and I look forward to seeing what else she has in store for me. I highly recommend this book.

Overall, great book with a unique romance and group of characters. Great for readers who like books about American Indians. This book is best left to the adults and not given to kids but maybe mature teens can handle this one. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary cop of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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Slow Moon Rising

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Title: Slow Moon Rising
Series: Cedar Key
Author: Eva Marie Everson
Publisher: Revell
Published: June 1, 2013
Pages: 384

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Cedar Key has long been a place of rest, healing and release for the Claybourne family. But it’s also the birthplace of a dark secret that’s tearing their family apart from within. Everyone in this family had unique struggles and secrets that they keep and each have a journey they must go through to conquer their secrets and be released from the darkness haunting their lives, but the journey to that point is long, hard, and filled with many tear along the way.

Join the strong Claybourne women – Anise, Kimberly, Jayme-Leigh, Heather, and Ami as they face heartbreak, misunderstandings, and pain to bring reconciliation with each other and renewed love into their lives. Cedar Key had long been a place to turn to in times of confusion, loss, and hurt. They go their to get their spirits renewed and their hearts restored. Cedar Key is part of their journey and not all of it is easy.

As these women start down their journey, none could have anticipated how hard it would be or how much yet would lean on their family to help them through their times of trial. No one could’ve anticipated how hat those trials would’ve been or how much healing would happen along the way, but one thing thy do know is that a family isn’t made up of the secrets but how you survive them.

Can Anise win over her new family or will she be forever shunned? Can Kimberly overcome her husband’s choices or will she forever be scarred by her husband’s choices? Will Jayme-Leigh recover from a life altering disease and decision or will she be resentful about it forever? Will Heather’s journey help her heal from a problem or will she end up similar to her mother? Will Ami be able to forgive her dad and herself or will the guilt engulf her until she dies?
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The one thing I love about Eva Marie Everson is that she is a master at creating characters that captivate and capture your heart. These characters were no different than the last book in this beautifully heartbreaking series. She manages to create such realistically broken characters and create a story that’s heart wrenching yet hopeful and full of healing too in every story she crafts and I love the complexity and uniqueness of every story she weaves.

Each character had their own set of struggles to overcome and I could relate to every character in some way. Even when I couldn’t relate I still felt for every character in the story. Each struggle was something that became real for me. I felt the weight of the secrets they carried and felt their frustration and sorrow. I have no idea how the author manages to do it but it amazes me every time I read one of her lovingly painful books.

The setting is perfect too. What a better place for healing and peace than a place like Cedar Key. It sounds like an idyllic small town and the perfect place to go if you need some time and space to think or even to just be. I can imagine what the town might look like and how many people have found healing there. I don’t know if this place exists but it’s my wish to find a place that I can escape to just like Cedar Key.

The storyline is a mixture of problems ranging in severity and duration but each is special and a common problem. Though there was possibly too many characters I never felt too confused as to who was who (except for the husbands, those were hard to keep track of), but I did find that the amount of characters made some of their journeys shorter than I would’ve liked. It’s also written in first person, but in this book’s case it fit so perfectly that I actually enjoyed it.

This author captured me with her amazing characters with the second book in this series and I had to come back for more. This story is no different and made the characters real for me. I love this author’s gift for characters and that’s why I will be reading more from her in the future ad hopefully enjoy them as much as this one.

Overall, this is a great book about struggles and family. There was a but too many characters which cut all their stories a bit short but I still enjoyed it and recommend it. I recommend this to people who like books that are more about family secrets and the drama that comes with them. Keep this book away from your kids, teen and children alike, and leave this one strictly for the adults. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*