“The hunt for the Mad Wolf’s daughter” by Diane Magras

5 stars ***** 2019. Kathy Dawson Books (Penguin Random House LLC). 275 p. (Includes Glossary and Author’s Note).

TheHuntForTheMadWolf'sDaughter“The hunt for the Mad Wolf’s daughter” is a companion to “The Mad Wolf’s daughter.” When last we saw Drest she was on the run with Emerick and her family, chased by his evil uncle who wants him dead. Her adventures begin anew in the village where she, Emerick, her friend Tig, and her family have sought shelter. Drest narrowly escapes capture by a knight who wants the 30 pounds placed upon her “wolf’s head,” which she later learns means that anyone who sees her has permission to kill her for the reward.

With Emerick unable to travel for 5 days due to his wounds, Drest is appointed to watch over him with Tig while her family evades capture until he’s healed. Instead they are forced to flee when the villagers learn of her wolf’s head status. Once again they are adrift in the woods, planning ways for Emerick to avenge himself on his uncle, and regain his title as Lord of the castle.

On their way to doing that Drest rules the show, battling foes for Emerick and managing to escape capture at every turn. Through it all the love she, Emerick, Tig and her family have for each other is foremost as they save each other’s lives. Together they return to the castle in triumph, where he knights her in front of the castle men, her family and villagers from afar – knowing this unusual knighthood will raise eyebrows and cause discontent among his men.

I was so sad when this book ended, as I couldn’t put it down and wanted Drest’s adventures to continue. I hope the author sees this review because I want her to start writing a book 3 for Drest that will tell more about Merewen, allowing them to finally acknowledge each other as mother and daughter. I also hope book 3 will include marriage between Drest and Emerick. Though she’s just 12 years old and he’s just 16, perhaps book 3 can take place a few years in the future so it won’t be cradle robbing for them to marry.

If you haven’t yet read “The Mad Wolf’s daughter,” make sure to read it first so you’ll understand more about the characters and why Drest and Emerick are on the run. Then when you read book 2 you’ll be just as excited as I am for Drest’s adventures to continue. You won’t be disappointed. I guarantee it.

Highly recommended for ages 9 to 14.

“The Mad Wolf’s daughter” by Diane Magras

5 stars ***** 2018. Kathy Dawson Books (Penguin Young Readers Group). 280 p. (Includes Glossary and Author’s Note.)

TheMadWolf'sDaughterA ship filled with knights ready for battle surprises twelve-year-old Drest and her family while they’re sleeping. Her father (nicknamed the Mad Wolf and leader of their war band) and five brothers are kidnapped. Drest is determined to rescue them from their castle prison but, before leaving, rescues Emerick (a badly wounded 16-year-old knight beaten and left for dead by another knight) planning to trade him at the castle for her family’s lives. She and Emerick don’t hit it off but, as they travel through the brutal Scottish countryside, they slowly begin to trust each other.

Though she later finds out Emerick is really Lord of the castle, and ordered the attack on her family, Drest refuses to abandon him. Together they make it there, only to have Drest imprisoned by his knights. She manages to escape, rescue her family and foil another attempt on Emerick’s life.  Now they’re all on the run, pursued by Emerick’s uncle who wants him dead so he can become Lord of the castle.

Magras’ debut novel combines historical fiction, adventure, suspense and cliffhanger endings. Words native to this medieval time in Scotland fill the character’s dialogue as well as humor. I love it! One section I found especially amusing was on page 44 when Emerick argued with Drest that he’d be rescued. In answer she looked at the ocean and said, “I don’t see anyone. Wait, there’s a duck. I think it’s coming to save you.” 

Highly recommended for ages 9 to 14.


“Bourne & Tributary” Lisa T. Bergren

Rated 2 stars ** River of Time #3.1 and 3.2. ebook. 2012. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Includes photographs.

Bourne&TributaryThese two novellas, told in alternate voices, continue the Betarrini sisters’ life in medieval times.

In “Bourne,” an elusive band of assassins from Firenze are roaming the countryside seeking the death of the brothers-in-arms that had come to Marcello’s aid in the recent battle. With Luca as one of their targets Lia jumps into She-Wolf mode, with the same devil-may-care attitude for adventure displayed in earlier books by Gabriella.

In “Tributary,” readers are introduced to young and beautiful Alessandra Donatelli, a Fiorentini peasant girl. While out hunting, she is injured and taken to the Castello for healing. Marcello has been charged by her suspicious father to keep her safe until his return in 5 days. Unbeknownst to him, Alessandra is planning on doing some spying while a secret plan is afoot to use her to destroy the Sienese forever. It’s only a matter of time until Gabriella and Lia find themselves in another battle for their lives.

Despite not wanting to read any more of the series, I will have to find out what happens to the sisters in the SUPPOSEDLY final book “Deluge,” due out in late Spring. Hopefully Bergren will fix the grammatical errors encountered in this self-published book, as well as make sure not to mix up her characters as she did with Lord Barbato and Lord Foraboschi in a couple of places.

The adventure for the Betarrini sisters is nonstop in these two novellas, probably thrilling Bergren’s 12-17 year old fans but growing tiresome for me.



“Torrent” Lisa T. Bergren

Rated 4 stars **** River of Time, book #3. 2011. David C. Cook. ebook. Includes Discussion Questions,  Historical Notes and After Words.

TorrentIn the midst of the battle, the Betarrini women escape to the Etruscan tombs. They plan to negotiate the time warp to allow them to return to the future to save their father from the accident that killed him. Once they’ve managed to convince him they are not crazy, he enters the tomb with them and they are transported back to medieval times.

In the year they’d been gone (despite it only being an hour and a half real time), both Castello Forelli and Paratore have fallen to Firenze. The group ultimately finds Marcello settled in the former Rossi palace in Siena, but Fortino has been imprisoned. The only trade to be considered is Gabriella herself, which Marcello flatly refuses to accept.

True to style, Gabriella convinces him she can be used as bait, and that they could get Fortino released as she will manage to escape. Instead she winds up captured, taken far away, and promised in marriage to Lord Greco. It will be up to Marcello and her family to try to rescue her once again. So begins a series of adventure after adventure that will leave everyone reading the book scratching their heads in bewilderment as to how one character could manage to survive so much.

I was not as happy with “Torrent” as with the other books in the series because Gabriella’s continued devil-may-care “I’m gonna go ahead and rescue everybody cos I’m the only one that can do it” attitude really stared to get on my nerves. She seriously could not seem to get how much danger she was putting herself and others in, as she continually threw herself into harm’s way. It seemed like Bergren went a little overboard in having her get captured more times in this one book than in the other two put together.

Her 12-17 year old fans will probably forgive her, especially with a couple of novellas to continue this SUPPOSEDLY last book in the series. I really, really dislike when authors don’t keep their word and END a series as they’d promised. I liked it since it, supposedly, tied everything up in a final knot but will leave it up to you to decide if You Want to Read it or Not.

“Cascade” Lisa T. Bergren

Rated 5 stars ***** River of Time, book #2. 2011. David C. Cook. ebook. Includes A Chat with Lisa Bergren, Discussion Questions,  Historical and Factual Notes and Acknowledgments.

CascadeThis amazing series, set in Italy in 1342, continues where book #1 stopped. At the end of “Waterfall,” when we last saw Gabriella and Lia, they had been forced to return to modern times due to Gabriella’s poisoning.

“Cascade” opens with the sisters trying to convince their mother of what had happened, while the now healed Gabriella urges her to return with them to the past as she wants to be with Marcello. Mrs. Betarrini decides to trust their judgement and returns to medieval times with them. Once there, the girls are reunited with the very handsome Marcello and Luca.

However things are not well with Marcello and his men. Their Fiorentini enemies are determined to retake Castello Paratore while also overtaking Castello Forelli and overthrowing Siena. Capturing the She-Wolves of Siena (Gabriella and Lia) are also part of their plan, and it is only a matter of time before Gabriella, her mother and Lia will be in the fight of their lives.

“Cascade” is a great, action filled read which will delight Bergren’s 12-17 year old fans, while also bringing in new ones. I look forward to the next book “Torrent,” to find out if Marcello, Gabriella, Luca and Lia get to live happily ever after.

“Waterfall” Lisa T. Bergren

Rated 5 stars ***** River of Time, book #1. 2011. David C. Cook. ebook. Includes Discussion Questions, an Interview with the Author, Acknowledgements, Historical Notes and a Bibliography.

WaterfallFifteen-year-old Lia and seventeen-year-old Gabriella’s mother is an archaeologist of Etruscan tombs in Italy. They’ve been warned to never go into any of her tombs or touch anything but, bored with the lack of interesting things for teenagers to do in the small village, they disobey and sneak into a tomb. While exploring they find a set of mysterious hand prints that, when touched, managed to suddenly transport them back to medieval times.

Rescued from a battle as she emerged from the tomb by the very handsome Lord Marcello, Gabriella seeks refuge in his castle. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with him, as he’s betrothed to another, but fate has a way of stepping in where we least expect it to be.

As Gabriella seeks to find Lia, who had become separated from her on their time travel journey, readers are soon awash in humorous and historical accounts of the lives of lords and ladies along with their knights (and everything associated with the 1300’s) as seen through Gabriella’s modern eyes.

Gabriella discovers many differences between her former life and her current one, managing to overcome difficulty after difficulty in her quest to continue with her charade as the Lady Gabriella Betarrini of Normandy, while seeking Lia and a way back to her own time. Adventures and battles line her path, along with jealousy, fear and love. “Waterfall” is very well researched, quite exciting, and a very interesting read for ages 12-17. I look forward to reading book #2 “Cascade.”