Monday, October 19, 2020

"The Mother's Helper" by Brenda Maxfield

This was a sweet short story about Nancy,  a young Amish woman who was staying with a relative’s family, helping them out after they'd had a new baby. It was a situation designed to try and give her some space and time away from the sister that she felt had betrayed her.


This was a very quick read, but one that I wish had been longer. I feel like I was just getting to know the characters when the story ended. I wanted to know more, but then isn't that the problem with most short stories? I guess I'll just have to track down the next book in this series if I really want to know what comes after the ending of this story.


Unfortunately, that means I can't say too much in this review without giving away the whole story and the ending. So for now, about all I can say is that I enjoyed it and am curious to see what happens next. I believe that it is something that others might enjoy reading as well.


Monday, October 12, 2020

"Ghosted By You" by Tiegan Clyne

Miller College's Parapsychology Department is the home of an investigative television show known as "Ghost U." The show centers around a group of university students from the school who research paranormal activity and seek to prove the existence of real ghosts, helping out the residents of potentially haunted locations in the process of solving whatever mystery they are facing.


This time around, the network that supports the show has decided to add a new dynamic to the cast, having hired a female psychic to assist the 3 male investigators, hoping to shake things up and add some new excitement to the show. But at least one of the cast members hates the idea of psychics, believing them all to be fakes who hurt others more than they ever help anyone. Can this new group find a way to actually manage to work successfully together?


I really enjoyed this story. It had a number of interesting twists that added to the excitement within the book.  I do need to warn readers that this is a reverse harem story, containing some rather detailed sexual encounters. It was all very well written, but it does mean that this book is not appropriate for younger readers.


The story is well put together and did keep me interested throughout. Character conflicts that developed were well explained and made perfect sense in relation to the rest of the story.


All in all, I was glad to have read this book, and the ending teaser for the sequel has me looking forward to the next book in the series. If you enjoy reverse harem stories, or tales that have a hint of a darker twist to them at times, I think you would enjoy this one.


Monday, October 5, 2020

"Mail Order Bride and the Gift of Children"
by Florence Linnington

 After the nearby town's mine collapse killed most of the men, the women of the area were left behind with children they needed to find a way to support. In most cases, the best option turned out to be to become a mail order bride and try to start again somewhere else.


Eliza found herself fortunate to marry a man who worked & lived in the nearby town of Evergreen. But what neither of the couple realized was that through a missing part of the page where her ad seeking a husband had been located, he was unaware that she came into the marriage with two children.


This misunderstanding set the stage throughout the book for future difficulties and other misunderstandings that wind up making their relationship and ability to trust each other much more difficult.


As always with Ms Linnington's stories, I truly appreciate the fact that no matter the difficulties they encounter, and in this case there were a great number of issues for the family to overcome, that the book will end happily for all involved.


The story is, as always, well written and something to be enjoyed. Anyone who enjoys a good mail order bride story should enjoy this one as well.

Monday, September 28, 2020

"Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine"
by Michael A. Gordon

When Barnaby Brown and his mother moved to the United States from England after she received a job offer that was too good to refuse, he was at first understandably upset. But in a short amount of time he was once again finding his way, making new friends, and coming to enjoy his new home and the family that he now has the chance to get to know as well.


Soon after moving into his uncle's house, Barnaby & friends discover that his Uncle Finch had invented a time machine, and they manage to convince the man to take them back in time to see some historical events. 


It seemed safe enough, until while in the past Uncle Finch is taken prisoner by Nazi soldiers during WWII. Barnaby and his friends are able to get back to their own time, but they can't leave Uncle Finch in the past. Out of necessity, they need the help of Barnaby's mother and her boss, who owns a weapons development company, to return to the past with them to rescue Uncle Finch without accidentally changing history. What could possibly go wrong?


This was an interesting young adult story that contained some rather interesting twists along the way. The first thing I liked about it was that it allowed the reader to experience some pieces of history without feeling like they were being taught a lesson in school.


The story itself was fun, creative, and entertaining. It was well written and easily held my interest throughout the tale. And for anyone worried that this book was just one big history lesson, worry not. There was much more to this tale than just a couple of short trips into the past.


The plot of this book takes an interesting turn into the realm of science fiction/fantasy. At this point, I don't want to say too much about what happened, but I will say that it added an unexpected twist that enhanced my overall enjoyment of the story. It also sets things up for an interesting next book in the series.


If you enjoy books with a touch of history, adventure, science fiction/fantasy stories, and time travel adventures, you might want to give this one a try. It should be right up your alley.


Monday, September 21, 2020

"Creature Feature: A Horrid Comedy"
by Steven Paul Leiva

 This book is set in 1962, focusing primarily on Kathy Anderson, a young actress who has been playing the role of Vivacia, the Vampire Woman on the television show "Vivacia's House of Horrors" for a local Chicago station. But now she is ready to move on to a new phase in her life after a short vacation to visit her parents. But all is most definitely not what it first appears in the quiet little town of Placidville. And monstrous fun has taken over.


I really enjoyed this book. I grew up watching shows like “Son of Svengoolie” and MSTK 3000” on WGN out of Chicago, which played the same sort of shows as would likely have run on Vivacia's late night show. This book was funny & with the occasional aside from a narrator inserting commentary about things happening in the book, just like the sort of things that happened in the late night monster movies that I watched when I was younger.


I found this to be a very fun book to read. It was quite funny and had the feel of being curled up watching an old monster movie on TV in the wee hours of the morning. It even had me wanting to argue with the characters just as I did back when watching those old creature feature movies when I was younger.


I'm very glad that I read this book. If like me, you grew up watching old monster movies on shows like “Son of Svengoolie” and “MSTK 3000,” then I believe you'll enjoy this book too. I would say to definitely give this one a try. Recommended.


Monday, September 14, 2020

"Fairytale: A Modern Fairytale Anthology"

This is a collection of fairytale retellings. But be warned, this is definitely not a collection of stories that is meant for a younger audience. Several of the tales contain rather explicit and detailed sexual encounters. As such, be warned that this book may not appeal to your tastes if you prefer the "fade to black" scenes that are often used in young adult stories. This is a collection of adult fairytales. 

 There are times when I prefer the young adult versions, but in this case I did enjoy reading all of the stories in this anthology, sex scenes and all. The stories were interesting as well as entertaining. I read and enjoyed each of the authors' unique takes on the fairytales they have recreated as their own. 

Some of the stories may someday become parts of larger tales about their chosen characters, and I think that if I come across them in the future, that I would enjoy seeing where else the author chooses to take the characters I read about here.

This is a book meant for those who enjoy more adult versions of the tales they may have heard as children or who enjoy a new twist on a familiar old tale from their childhood. If that describes you, I would recommend giving this collection of interesting stories a try

Monday, September 7, 2020

"The Perrault Vow" by Addie J. King

 Janie Grimm and her fiance Aiden are planning their wedding, which will take place at their house. As if that wasn't stressful enough, Janie & her housemate Mia are taking the Bar exam. And of course, a magical mystery in the form of a long ago hidden pair of glass slippers being left on the steps of their house, as if they were meant as a wedding gift, falls into their lap during the middle of it all.


This book centers around the tales of Charles Perrault, the french writer that many might more easily recognize under the name of Mother Goose. I grew up reading those tales, though the versions I read as a child were likely not as dark as the original tales.


In this book, Perrault was a human who had become aware of the dangers of many magical items & beings. He had gathered & hidden away as many such items as he could, including the glass slippers. So now Janie & her friends need to figure out how the shoes arrived at her door, who left them there, as well as what to do about all of it. Unfortunately, the one person who knows the truth of what took place back in those days is bound by a magical vow not to reveal the location of the hidden items.


I enjoyed reading this story. I have always enjoyed fairy tales and the many variations that I have been fortunate enough to come across over the years have always been entertaining. While this book may have been centered around the tale of Cinderella, it also included a number of other recognizable fairy tale references worked into the story.


Ms. King has succeeded in holding my interest in this book, as well as in the previous ones in the series. I would gladly return to read more of these books if she were to decide to continue on with the series, but given what is shared in the epilogue, I doubt that she currently has plans for this series to continue. 


If you enjoy reading twisted fairy tales or stories of the faerie realms, I do recommend giving this book, as well as the previous ones in the series a try. I found them all to be very enjoyable.


"The Mother's Helper" by Brenda Maxfield

This was a sweet short story about Nancy,  a young Amish woman who was staying with a relative’s family, helping them out after they'...