Friday, April 18, 2014

Canyon of Danger and River of Peril by Susan K. Marlow

  • Series: Goldtown Adventures (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications (October 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0825442966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825442964

Jem Coulter’s pa, the sheriff of Goldtown, is away on a trip to deliver a prisoner to Sacramento, and he has left Jem in charge of the ranch—along with Aunt Rose, that is.
No sooner is the sheriff gone then trouble starts—a dead calf, a mysterious stranger, and then Pa’s horse, Copper, and his prize rifle are stolen. And Pa’s deputies seem unconcerned.
Jem and his cousin Nathan find Copper’s tracks end at a dark canyon up in the hills. Jem remembers an old Indian legend Strike-it-rich Sam is fond of retelling about people disappearing and no one ever seeing them again. What is the real story of the canyon of danger? Have thieves found the perfect hideout?
Readers ages 8 to 12 will be entertained by the adventurous spirit and historical lure in this fast-moving series that teaches about life in the post–Gold Rush days of 1860s California. Quick-paced plots and unforgettable characters make these books fun for the whole family.

My take on this book:
History really comes to life within the pages of the Goldtown Adventure Series written by Susan K. Marlow. While I didn't read the first two books in the series I had no problems diving right into Canyon of Danger which is book three because the author provides enough background information so that I really didn't feel lost. Jem Coulter's dad is the sheriff in Goldtown, so when he has to escort a prisoner to another town he leaves Jem in charge of the ranch for two weeks. It's a job that should be pretty easy because he is going to have help, but it doesn't take long for things to start to go awry. When a calf turns up dead, Jem thinks it's a wolf and decides he will set up a stake out and shoot it, only thing is he gets trigger happy and shoots the first thing that moves and that turns out to be a person. When he gets the injured man to the barn he asks his aunt Rose to help. Jem and his little sister ride to town for medicine, but more trouble awaits when their horse Copper along with their dads rifle is stolen. Can Jem find his stolen property?
Short easy to read chapters, and a page turning adventure made this a story that I didn't want to put down. While it's geared toward 8-12 year olds I think anyone who enjoys reading about the wild west will enjoy this one. It seemed that if it could go wrong it did for Jem, and that kept me wondering what might happen next. I really enjoyed the illustrations that I found peppered through the pages of the story, I felt they captured the essence of Jem and his adventure. While this book can be read as a stand alone, I really want to go back and read the first two because I enjoyed this one so much.

River of Peril:

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Series: Goldtown Adventures (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications (February 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0825442974
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825442971

Jem Coulter thinks his family is just on a sightseeing trip to the big city of Sacramento. Then armed bandits hold up the stagecoach for the secret stash they’re carrying: gold for the Union Army fighting the distant Civil War! Suddenly war isn’t so far away; it’s right there on the road to Sacramento, with Jem’s father, the sheriff of Goldtown, fighting against the rebel army’s Knights of the Golden Circle.
When the family finally reaches the city, they think they’re safe at last. Setting out to see the sights, Jem, his sister Ellie, and their cousin Nathan make a new friend. But is Henry the pal they think he is? With a father who is a die-hard Confederate, could Henry be in cahoots with the thieves?
River of Peril gives readers ages 8 to 12 the fast-moving, exciting adventure they’ve come to expect in this series, as well as a glimpse into the history of post–Gold Rush and Civil War life in 1860s California, with stagecoaches, steamboats, stowaways—and lots of gold!

My take on this book:
In River of Peril Jem the civil war is going on, but it seems pretty far away to young Jem, that is until his family decides to take a trip to Sacramento. Another great adventure awaits with the fourth book in the Goldtown Adventures series. History truly comes to life within the pages of these well written stories that are sure to appeal to young boys, but honestly young girls just might enjoy reading the adventures of Jem, while learning a bit about history as well. I think that the historical information that the author provides at the end of each story enhances the story, and provides a real look at the timeperiod. While each book can be read as a stand alone story I think that if your like me you are going to want to read the entire series. Recommended for youngsters or the young at heart who enjoy a historical tale filled with mystery, suspense and the many adventures of Jem.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

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