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!

Monday, January 13, 2020

"Mail Order Bride's Baby
and her One-Arm Indian" by
Florence Linnington

When Mr. Wilson at the Orphanage Rachel had grown up in & currently was teaching at began to have rather roaming hands and making other threats, she knew it was well past time for her to find a new home. She had placed an ad in a mail order bride catalogue and had been exchanging letters with a farmer by the name of Motega. His proposal came at the perfect time to allow her to escape unmolested.

But just as she was leaving, a baby was brought to the orphanage. The orphanage did not have the ability to accept and care for an infant. Unwilling to abandon a child in need, Rachel decided to take the baby with her and hope that the farmer she was about to meet would accept both of them.

What she didn't know was that he was an Indian. As were so many white settlers of the time, Rachel was not ready to be the bride of someone so completely different from herself.They needed each other in order to be able to survive through the harvest and beyond, but could they come to accept each other as well as their different ways of doing things? And what about the prejudices of the townsfolk? That alone could easily be enough to destroy any hope of a new life, let alone one in which they might find their way together.

This was a fascinating story of how even those who think themselves so completely different can come together and find that maybe there is more to a person than how they first appear. I enjoyed seeing many of the characters in this story, including but not limited to Rachel and Motega, learn this lesson.

I believe Ms. Linnington's story ideas continue to improve and develop in depth and complexity, while still retaining the sweetness that first drew me to enjoy reading them. I look forward to reading her next tale.

Friday, January 10, 2020

"Daughter of Time" by Sarah Woodbury
Narrated by Laurell Schroder

I found this to be an interesting audiobook to listen to. Meg and her daughter find themselves in a car crash, except that instead of waking and finding themselves in a damaged car, they found themselves far in the past in medieval Wales. Uncertain if they will be stuck in the past or might someday find a way to return, Meg and her daughter must learn to survive and thrive in Prince Llwellyn’s household.

How does one find wind up starting in a car crash in Pennsylvania only to wake up in a castle in Medieval Wales, surrounded by people who have always lived there? Meg has no idea if she and her daughter will ever find a way to return to where she came from. And then she finds herself falling in love with the medieval Prince of Wales.

I enjoyed listening to this story. The Narrator did a very good job (as far as I could tell since I don’t speak Welsh) with pronouncing the names of the characters from both time periods. It was not at all difficult to tell from her narration which character she happened to be portraying at the time.

All in all, I enjoyed the story as well as the narration and will be looking for the next book in the series, (This was a prequel to the series and made for a fun little introduction to a series I had not previously had the chance to enjoy.) I will look for the next book in the series to see where the story goes next, Though whether I will wind up reading it on my kindle or listening to the audio version remains to be determined.

Monday, January 6, 2020

“Night (Hero Society Book 4)”
by Jessica Florence

In the 4th book in the Super Hero Society series, Esme’s twin brother Eli lay dying of Leukemia. She has the power to heal him, but each time she uses her abilities leaves her own life is shortened in exchange. Eli refuses to allow her to save his life at the expense of her own. And though it breaks her heart to do so, she honors his wishes and allows the leukemia to end his life.

Years Later, Esme is working as a nurse. She has befriended the Hero Society and often helps them out when they need medical aid, though she hasn’t shared the knowledge of her own abilities with them.

One of the doctors at the hospital, Dr. Dorian seems to enjoy tormenting Esme for some reason. He often appears to take great pleasure in simply driving her to distraction. And while he claims to have no interest in her, eventually the two do become intimate, seeking pleasure from each other’s bodies without emotional attachment. At least that is what they keep telling themselves. But what happens when one of them starts to feel something more?

Like the rest of the series, this book captured my interest and held it until the end. It was a very fast read for me as I did not want to put the book down! Also like the others, it is also not really appropriate for younger readers due to the sexual language and encounters in the book. While not graphically detailed experiences, they are still a bit more than is meant for younger audiences.

I enjoyed this book as well as this series. It hooked me and kept me coming back for more. I believe others will enjoy it as well. I’m very glad I gave this series a chance. I believe others will be too.

Friday, January 3, 2020

"The Bargain: a Short Story"
by Clara C. Johnson

This was an interesting little YA short story about a young woman whose family is going through a very difficult time. Her mother is extremely ill, her father is working himself far too hard to try and make ends meet, and Ada has had to leave school, giving up her dream of becoming a teacher in order to help take care of her younger siblings.

And when her father is fired from his job, things turn desperate. If something doesn't change soon, the family will starve within a few weeks That's when a fairy comes to Ada and takes her to meet her master who has an offer for Ada. Her decision could save or doom her family. But either way, her life will never be the same again.

I enjoyed this short little tale. It really makes you stop and think, did Ada make the right choice? Or did she really even have any choice at all? I thought it was an interesting little tale and fun to read.

Monday, December 30, 2019

"Before the Shattered Gates of Heaven:
Shattered Gates Volume 1 Boxset"
by Bryan S. Glosemeyer

When a human turned 18, they were given a choice between two potential lifepaths. They must choose one immediately, and that choice cannot be undone. In the case of the book’s main character, her two choices were to become a “hen” and give birth to broods of children for the rest of her life or to enter the pit. Those who chose the pit fought battle after battle in an attempt to earn a name. For on this world, humans were considered less than nothing. But if they won 9 battles in the pit, they were given a name and became considered a Servant.

Being a Servant with a name gave one a chance to earn more rank and glory for their masters. But just as likely as earning rank among the Servants, was the probability of being killed in battle. But for the main character, the chance to see the stars and be seen and recognized by the Gods was what she wanted. It was what she was raised to desire and all that she knew. But what would happen if something began to make her question everything she had ever known?

This was a well written science fiction book. I liked the concept of a race of humans who had spent generations believing that the Gods would only see and honor them with a name if they were able to prove themselves worthy. Many succeeded, but many more died. And what happens when something finds a way to make one question that their lifelong belief in the Gods is false? What becomes of them then? And where do they go from there.

I liked how this book followed the path of one human and showed us how and when she began to come to question those long held beliefs. It wasn’t an easy thing for her, nor should it have been. But it was a fascinating story. And it was very interesting watching how she grew and evolved over time. The author did an excellent job of showing how a desire for something more than what one has already known can influence how a person reacts under a number of different circumstances as well has how the things we have been taught to believe can also shape our lives. I enjoyed reading this story and I think others will likely enjoy it too. Recommended.

Friday, December 27, 2019

"The Mail Order Bride
and her Children's Hope"
by Florence Linnington

After Emily’s Husband had died in an accident, the townsfolk seemed to take issue with a woman running the Mercantile by herself. They didn’t bother hiding the fact that if they had any other option that they would start taking their business elsewhere. Not having any other offers, she accepted a proposal from a rancher who had answered her ad in a mail order bride catalogue. He had 3 children of his own and needed someone to help raise them after the death of his own wife several years earlier.

Neither Emily nor Levi truly wished to marry again, but they both needed help raising their children and this seemed like the only option available to either of them. However they also had to deal with 5 children who weren’t happy about the joining of their families as well as the fact that none of them were truly open to the changes that would need to take place in order for them all to truly become one family. Add in a mother-in-law who was very vocally opposed to the union and things appeared doomed from the start.

Can they possibly find a way to accept not only each other, but each other’s children and find a way to bring everyone together into one family instead of two sides constantly fighting and sabotaging any attempts to make the marriage work?

I enjoyed reading this book. Ms. Linnington did a wonderful job of showing how difficult it can be to unite two families when no one seems willing to listen to what anyone but they themselves want to believe. This story was well thought out and well written. It showed a true understanding of how being unwilling to trust or assuming the worst in someone before giving them a chance can bring about additional problems that may not have really been there originally.

I think this was one of her best books yet and am very much looking forward to seeing where her next one will take us. Recommended.

“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...