Monday, February 24, 2020

“Pregnant Mail Order Bride
and her Brave Sheriff”
by Florence Linnington

After Kateri’s abusive husband died, everything they had owned was claimed by others in order to pay off his gambling debts. Kateri had pretty much given up all hope for the future when the letter from the Sheriff of Evergreen arrived. He had seen her ad in a mail order bride catalogue and written her. She took the little she had & left the next morning on the long train ride to meet him. But even that trip turned out to be more difficult than she had hoped. Her native american heritage often made her a target for abuse, and this trip was no exception.

Christopher, the Sheriff of Evergreen, a unique town where both native american and white settlers lived in harmony, working together to make everyone’s lives better, was glad that Kateri had answered his letter and traveled out to join him. He had been heartbroken and lonely for too long before he met her. His attraction to her was pretty much immediate, but will they be able to get beyond each of their own insecurities and other issues? And when a number of other large problems spring up, will it all be too much for the two of them to be able to find their way together or will it cause them to go their separate ways?

This was another entertaining and interesting tale by Ms. Linnington. She is an excellent storyteller and I have enjoyed each of her books a great deal and this one is no exception. She has a wonderful way with showing how her characters deal with their pasts (or sometimes try not to deal with them), and how they find a way to move beyond those problems and find a new future, despite whatever issues they started out with.

Her tales are hopeful stories about how people can overcome the problems of their pasts and build new and better futures. One of the things I enjoy about her tales is that while I know they will most likely have a happy ending, the journey in getting there is often difficult without being unreasonable in either the problems or the solutions they find. While I can predict that the story will have a happy ending, it is the getting to that happy ending that I always enjoy reading.

Monday, February 17, 2020

"The Wicked Stepmother" by Ashley Beale

This was an interesting and enjoyable twist on the familiar Cinderella story. While most of us are familiar with the tale of Cinderella, this one is told from the perspective of the “wicked stepmother.” It was fascinating to see what turned her from a kind and loving woman into someone who was only concerned about herself and the future of her own two daughters. Had things happened differently, I could easily see her as someone who might have grown to be more caring and understanding of her stepdaughter. Under different circumstances, she might even have come to appreciate and care for her as she obviously does her own children. But things being as they were, I can understand what it was that caused her to become so bitter towards the girl who she saw as the reason her life had not gone as planned.

While I loved the story, I do wish it had gone through another round or two with an editor. The book was clearly spell-checked, but quite often the wrong, but correctly spelled word was used instead of the one that was supposed to be there. Also, there were some sex scenes contained within the story that might make it a bit inappropriate for younger readers.

Friday, February 14, 2020

“The Fairy Tale Bride” by Emma Ashwood

Bella was very young when her parents were killed in a fire that had been accidentally started by her uncle. She didn’t remember how the fire had started, only that it had taken the lives of both of her parents. Her uncle’s family took her in, but she grew up as more of a household servant than as a member of their family.

Her life was never easy, and then her uncle ran into some questionable businessmen who convinced him that he could solve several of their money problems by “selling” Bella as a mail order bride and sending her to marry a rancher in Montana whether she wanted to go or not.

This was a very quick read and I finished it in one sitting. I enjoy reading mail order bride stories, and this was a fun one. It was not quite Cinderella, but the similarities between the two were there and easy to notice for anyone looking. The book could have used a little more proofreading, but was still a very enjoyable tale.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and would gladly read more books by this author in the future.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Perfectly Poisoned Anthologies Presents: Asylum

This was a fascinating collection of stories that took place inside the Barrow Haven Asylum. While the majority of the residents seemed to come from upper class families and were often placed there by their families for a number of reasons, (one possible example: to hide an inconvenient pregnancy.) Some of the residents did have more serious problems. One common diagnosis for women was “hysteria.” Hysteria appears to have been a sort of catch-all diagnosis for pretty much any sort of behavior considered inappropriate by a husband or other family member, thus requiring a person to be hidden away from society until such behavior could be appropriately “corrected.”

Treatments were often cruel and quite painful. In today’s world, such “treatments” would more appropriately be called torture but were considered both normal and appropriate given the time period and the circumstances. While there were those working within the Asylum who honestly sought only to help and cure those placed within their care, there appeared to be just as many who seemed to relish the opportunity to hurt their charges. Clearly, if one had to be hidden away in an Asylum such as this one was, it paid to be among those in the wealthier class. They were generally better treated and able to afford much nicer rooms and more privileges.

I enjoyed reading about the many different men & women who resided within Barrow Haven, and I believe others will also enjoy the variety of tales told by the various authors who have participated in this collection. I know I was fascinated by the number of different reasons a man or woman could be confined in an institution such as Barrow Haven. Some were willingly residing there, while others had been forcibly confined for any number or reasons by their families

A few of the stories may be a touch more adult oriented than would be appropriate for younger readers, but then in general I don't believe this to be a collection intended for younger audiences.

Monday, February 3, 2020

“Valentine Eliza” by Katie Wyatt
(Frontier Valentine Romance Series)

Eliza and her son had lived with her brother and his wife after the death of her first husband. But lately things had become extremely uncomfortable for her there. Her brother’s wife could not have children and decided that she wanted to raise Eliza’s son as her own. A marriage was arranged for Eliza, expecting that she would agree to marry the abusive man chosen for her and leave her son Tom behind.

Unwilling to do either of those things, Eliza accepted a marriage proposal from the Sheriff of Far Water Grove and fled her brother’s house in the middle of the night with her son. A part of her feared what she would find there, but anything had to be better than being forced into an abusive marriage and losing her son.

This was a very quick, easy read. I finished the book in one sitting. The story was quite sweet and had only minimal typos in the book. I enjoyed reading it, but there was one thing I would have liked to know more about. The author refers to those having fought or who were fighting in the war. I am assuming she was referring to the civil war, though it was not made clear. I would have liked to know for certain whether or not that was the war she was talking about. I also would have been interested in knowing which side the characters had fought on.

Monday, January 27, 2020

“Lost Girl” by Chanda Hahn

In a secret facility, children are being experimented upon in the hopes to give them powers that will make them grow into superior soldiers. But some of the scientists in charge have come to realize that this facility is not something they want to be a part of when the current generation is ruled a failure and plans are made to start all over after destroying their “failed” experiments. Unwilling to be a part of something that will kill innocent children, a few of the scientists decide to help as many as possible escape from the Neverland facility.

Wendy has no memory of her previous life at Neverland, she only knows that she has night terrors and nightmares that she doesn’t understand. She also sees shadows that don’t behave the way that shadows should, though no one else seems to see these things and often believe that she is hallucinating or even a bit crazy. But the truth is that she isn’t crazy or hallucinating. So what is really going on, and why can’t she remember anything of her life from before she met the people who eventually adopted her?

I really enjoyed this story. It was a very unique twist on the Peter Pan story. I loved how all the familiar characters were involved, from Captain Hook and S.Mee to Slightly and all the other lost boys.

I was greatly amused at the role that J.M. Barrie played in the story. I am very glad that I picked this one up to read and will continue on with the rest of the series to find out what will happen next in this retelling. I truly enjoyed the twist that the author took in writing this tale, and how she made it all seem to be something that could take place in the “real” world. Recommended.

Monday, January 20, 2020

“The Gender Game” by Bella Forest

Set in a future where humanity has almost destroyed itself, the people have split into two separate societies. On one side of the river was the Kingdom that was designed and ruled by men. Women who are born in or chose to move to Patrus had no rights. They were little more than the property of their husbands or fathers. Women who broke the law in Patrus, even unintentionally, were often executed by hanging.

On the other side of the river was the Queendom designed and ruled by women. Much of each society was similar, save that in Matrus, it was the men who had no rights. If they failed their testing at the age of 8, boys were sent to the mines and forced into a life of hard labor. Criminals in Matrus were also executed, though they were killed by injection rather than at the end of a rope.

After her brother failed his testing, Violet often found herself in trouble and grew up in “Juvenile Facilities” working off her time in repetitive and mind-numbing tasks. If she could stay out of trouble, she would eventually be reintegrated into Matrus’ society. Unfortunately, trouble always seemed to find her. After her latest infraction, she expected to be killed, but instead was recruited for a task that if successful, would be of great assistance to her country. If she succeeded, she was even promised a reunion with her brother. She simply had to retrieve an item stolen by Patrus that was of great import to Matrus without anyone from Patrus realizing she had been sent from Matrus after it.

This was a very interesting story that has been sitting on my kindle waiting for me to have a chance to read it. I really enjoyed it, and am very curious as to what will happen in the next book in the series. While this one doesn’t exactly end on a cliffhanger, it is near enough to one that I feel almost compelled to continue on immediately with book 2 so that I can find out if Violet is able to be reunited with her brother, or if there is more going on in these two countries than even those living there are aware of. This story was well worth my time to read. I am only sorry I waited so long to get around to it!

“Pregnant Mail Order Bride <br>and her Brave Sheriff” <br>by Florence Linnington

After Kateri’s abusive husband died, everything they had owned was claimed by others in order to pay off his gambling debts. Kateri had...