Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Canyon of Danger and River of Peril Goldtown Adventures #3 and #4 By Susan K. Marlow (with free study guides to download)

Canyon of Danger (Goldtown Adventures #3) by Susan K. Marlow:

About the book: 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 thoughts:   I found Canyon of Danger a book rife with boy-adventure, learning to mature and trust, and boys being adventurous boys. Jem's adventures involving trying to shoot the wolf that killed one of their cattle and instead shooting a man, of having his horse and Pa's rifle stolen, of trying to find the thieving rascals will keep the reader glued to the pages. The exciting rescue and revelation at the end is predictable but still great.

A terrific read for boys 8-12 or girl's, too. Boys will love it for the all-boy feel it has in the character development and super high level of adventure that is sure to enthrall and entertain.

I recommend this and the others in the series for home, school, and public libraries.

Study (Enrichment) Guide for Canyon of Danger (download a free PDF)


River of Peril (Goldtown Adventures #4) by Susan K. Marlow

About the book: 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 nso 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 thoughts: Well, I found this book an absolutely delightful read. I felt thoroughly engrossed in Jem's adventures involving the stage holdup gang, the rescue of a stranger on the dock, their being in peril on the river (hence the book's title), and the exciting wrapup of the story at the end.

A terrific read for boys 8-12 or girl's, too, if they don't mind it not being "girly." Boys will love it for the all-boy feel it has in the character development and level of adventure.

I recommend this and the others in the series for home, school, and public libraries.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of the books from Kregel Publishing in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.


  1. Wow, these sound filled with adventure. He really shoots a man when trying to shoot a wolf? That is heavy. I'll keep my eye out for these. Thanks for including them on the Kid Lit Blog Hop - I'm hopping along. :)

  2. I'll have to remember these books for my 8 and 10-year-old. Thanks for the recommendations.

  3. These sound like good fun books. I like historical fiction and the period, so I'll keep an eye out for them.

  4. Her books sound like a good way to immerse the reader in history as well as getting them turning pages! Thanks so much for including your review at the Kid Lit Blog Hop!


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