Thursday, February 14, 2019

"Valentine Emma"
(Frontier Valentine Romance Series)
by Katie Wyatt

Waking up after the stagecoach accident, Emma found herself all alone. She didn’t know what had happened to the other passengers or where she was. But with the weather getting colder, she only knew that she couldn’t remain there if she wanted to survive. She had been on her way to meet her intended husband when the stagecoach was attacked by bandits. A kind gentleman sitting next to her had urged her to hide under the seat when they were attacked as the bandits seemed to be looking specifically for her. It seems to have worked as she was not found.

Cassidy had waited at the station for Emma to arrive, but she never showed. He could only assume that she had changed her mind and decided not to marry him after all. It seemed a miracle when the distressed, injured, and nearly frozen woman wandered into town the next day, alive and still wanting go marry the man with whom she had been exchanging letters. But who was the stranger who seemed to also be looking for Emma, and what did he want with her?

This was a sweet little Valentine Romance story that can easily be read very quickly. (I read the entire story in one sitting.) I would have enjoyed it more had it been a bit better edited, as I caught a number of dropped words as I was reading, but overall it was still a fun read and very appropriate for Valentine’s Day. While it is the third book in the Frontier Valentine Romance series, I don’t believe anyone reading it will feel lost if they choose to read it as a standalone selection.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Monday, February 11, 2019

"Totem Magic: Going MAD"
by John "Griff" Griffin

There is a magical population that works and lives alongside the mundane world. Non-magical beings are unaware of the existence of magical beings. And in the magical world, mages “go MAD” at about the age of 12 or 13. It is when they gain control of their magic and begin to learn how to use their abilities. Most mages have totem animals that they are called to try to protect from extinction. This is not an easy thing to do in the best of times, much less in a way so as to not let those without magic discover the existence of those who do possess it.

This book centers mainly on two young future mages who are on the verge of”going MAD” and gaining their full powers: Vulchy and his best friend Jasmine. Jasmine’s father is a member of the Gravitas, a group that governs the mages and helps keep their world secret from those without magic. Many times they also try to help out humanity however they can from behind the scenes. But even among those with magic, there are forces of good and evil, and when Jasmine’s father is kidnapped, Vulchy and Jasmine need to find and rescue him before his latest invention can be used to help destroy humanity instead of saving it.

I really loved reading this book. It is aimed at a young adult audience though I believe it would appeal to readers of all ages. The author not only did a fantastic job of writing his characters and drawing in my interest almost immediately, but he did an amazing job with the editing/proofreading of his story.

I learned a lot about the various animals involved in this story, most of which are currently on the endangered species list. The magic used and involved in this book was fun and very entertaining. I think most readers will want to keep reading until they’ve finished the story (as I did.) The author has clearly done his research when it comes to the animals we encounter in his story and their abilities as totem mages. I learned a lot about a number of animals that I am unlikely to run across as well as their habitats and what is causing them to become endangered and facing extinction.

While like global warming, this is a theme throughout the book, it is not written in such a way as to make the reader feel like a lesson is being forced upon them. Instead, it I felt like while I did learn a great deal, it was done in a gentle manner that entertained at least as much as it educated. I truly enjoyed reading this book and believe that others will too. I hope that the author is able to continue on with this series as I would love to read more about both the Totem Mages we were introduced to in this book as well as about others we have yet to meet. Recommended.

Monday, February 4, 2019

"Day (Hero Society #2)" by Jessica Florence

A High school Football hero with a promising future as a professional football player ahead of him, Leon’s future fell apart when he gained his abilities in the middle of the game. Unable to know what was happening to him, he wound up causing the accident that left his best friend paralyzed from the waist down. With both his future and his best friend’s future destroyed, Leon cannot manage to shake his guilt over the accident or to find a way to forgive himself.

Then one night he meets a mysterious young woman and two of them connect in a way that neither has ever truly connected with anyone else before. After a single evening getting to know each other, the two get married. Unfortunately in the morning Leon has no memory of what had passed the night before, or who the woman sharing his bed was. Legally, they will need to wait 30 days before the law will allow them to annul the marriage. But Lilith wants to stay married to the man she fell in love with the previous night. Can she find a way to remind him of how perfect they were for each other?

Not long after that they are discovered by both the relatively new Hero Society as well as that group’s counterpart… run by a man named Emmanuel. The Hero Society wants them to join and help save the world. But Emmanuel would be just as happy to destroy them and to steal Leon’s powers, killing him in the process.

I really enjoyed reading this book and found it almost impossible to put down. It is quite an enchanting and at times very sweet tale. I do wish it had gone through another round of editing before publishing, as a little more “cleanup” would have greatly improved my reading experience, but despite any typos I ran across, the story did draw me in enough to keep me wanting to read it nonstop all they way through. And with the teaser for the beginning of the next book in the series that I read at the end of this book, I really can’t wait to pick up the 3rd book in the series (“Dusk”) to see where the author will take the story from here. It promises to be just as interesting as this book was to read.

Just be warned, that while there isn’t graphic sex in the book, there are sexual encounters that make this book a little inappropriate for younger readers.

Friday, February 1, 2019

"The Strange True Tale
of Frankenstein's Creator Mary Shelley"
by Catherine Reef

How much do you know about the woman who was most famous for having written Frankenstein? I was surprised to learn just how much I didn’t know about her life. She was raised to be highly intelligent and questioned pretty much everything. All of her life she was surrounded by a great number of authors, poets, and other highly educated people. She was a free thinker and while is most famous as the author of “Frankenstein”, she wrote a great number of other books, poems and essays as well.

I found her life fascinating, and at times quite heartbreaking. She didn’t always follow conventional standards, and while she did wind up married to the man who was the love of her life, when she first met him he was already married to someone else. Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley possessed what can be described as an epic love for each other, though at times their lives together were also quite tragic.

Much of their lives together could be considered scandalous. They ran the complete gambit of emotions, from happy and exciting to lonely and heartbreaking. I won’t spoil their story for you. It is something you really should read for yourself. But I will give you one interesting fact that I had not previously been aware of… you’ll just need to read the book yourself if you want to know the rest of the story behind it…. When Mary Shelley had been dead for a year, her son unlocked her portable desk to discover the remains of her husband’s heart inside. I know that after reading that fact, I couldn’t put the book down until I learned the rest of the story behind it!

Monday, January 28, 2019

"The Void Place" by Scott Telek

The epic tale of the legend of King Arthur, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table continues in this third installment of the series. Uther Pendragon is the High King in this book, and his biggest problem seems to be that he feels that while he may be the king, his rule is determined primarily by the knowledge given to him by Merlin. As time goes on, he begins to see himself as no more than a pawn who is doing Merlin’s will without any choice in the matter of his own. He has come to believe that even his decisions were predetermined by the man who knows all that is to come and all that has come before. As such, is he really the king? How can he have free will if Merlin already knows everything he will do?

Doubting himself, he begins to resent Merlin and all that he represents. And he finds himself wishing to be free of the devil’s son to rule things as he would rather than in the manner that he believes was predetermined for him. Learning that the greatest achievement during his reign that he will accomplish is to hold the place for a great king to come, one he will never have the chance to meet, begins to send Uther into a state of depression from which it seems he is doomed to remain in until the end. After all, if he is meant to be nothing but a placeholder for someone else, how can any sort of greatness be his own?

But then he meets Igraine, the wife of one of his loyal knights. Igraine comes to represent everything that Uther wants but cannot have. She is truly in love with her husband and supports him in every way possible. Uther comes to believe that he can never be happy without her. He must have her love or he will surely perish. His obsession with the honorable wife of one of his knights nearly tears the kingdom apart. And for those familiar with what happens next in the legends surrounding Arthur’s conception, there is little surprise in how it comes to pass.

The actions and thoughts of the characters are very well portrayed in this book and certainly the best part of the story being told. We gain great insight into all of them and how they react to the circumstances surrounding their actions. I greatly enjoyed seeing how they played off of each other, as well as how they handled the feelings of being controlled and manipulated by those surrounding them.

There is a great deal more to this tale that I don’t want to spoil for you, for it is well worth reading. I have long loved reading stories about King Arthur and the rest of the round table, and this book as well as the series as a whole thus far is no exception. Arthur may not make an appearance until late in this story, but he will be a major part of the next book in the series. I am looking forward to seeing where Mr Telek takes this tale next on his journey through his series. It has been a very enjoyable tale thus far, and one that seems to improve with each book he adds to his series.

I have heard that Mr. Telek has an extensive 25 book plan for this series, and if the rest of them are as enjoyable as the three that I have been fortunate enough to read thus far, it should be quite an impressive series. I look forward to seeing where it goes from here as each successive book does seem to improve on what has gone before.

I hope you will give this one a chance, especially if like me you enjoy Arthurian tales. I know I’ll be waiting impatiently for the next book in the series to be released.

Monday, January 21, 2019

"The Bride Ship" by Regina Scott

Allegra Banks Howard has escaped from Boston Society with her daughter Gillian. What had once seemed to have been a privileged life had seen and felt like more of cage for both her and her daughter once her husband Frank had been killed in the war. Now, in an effort to free them both from the restrictions imposed by her parents and their friends, Allie has taken her daughter and seeks a new life in Seattle.

Allie, her daughter, and a number of others are seeking something new, something that will be hers and that she won’t allow another man to control or take from her and Gillian. However first she must manage to get to Seattle without being forced back to Boston, as well as to find a way in which she will be able to support herself in such a small frontier town with little other than the skills she was taught while she was a debutante. Unfortunately, the skills she does possess are ones that most all of the women making the trip also possess.

And then, of course, there are the men seeking to either marry her or send her back to her well-to-do family where she would be expected to marry again. And when a former suitor, her late husband’s brother shows up to try to convince that Seattle is not the place for her, can she convince him that it is exactly where she needs to be?

I enjoyed this book. It was a nice quick read as well as being something that brought a smile to my face. It was nice to see a main character in what is essentially a mail-order bride story who was not solely wanting to become a bride again.. I really liked seeing Allie stand up for her right to not be forced into another marriage as well as her right to raise her daughter as she sees fit. For someone raised to behave in a certain manner, that isn’t always an easy thing to do.

Friday, January 18, 2019

"Uninvited" by Carol Buhler

On a distant planet inhabited by several peaceful native species, a large ship falls from the sky to land on one of the plains, starting a fire that had the potential to do a great amount of damage. The ship had come from the distant planet of Earth, which had been previously unheard of by the natives, and was carrying colonists intending to settle there to start new lives on a new home. The fact that the colonists hadn’t been aware that the planet was already populated didn’t matter. They had nowhere else to go and no other way to get there.

The peaceful natives accepted the arrivals, and made agreements with the Humans from the ship so allowing them to remain and build their homes. But as kind and peaceful as the natives were, Humanity has almost never been the same. More and more humans kept arriving to live on this new world. It seemed as if Earth had a never-ending supply of those seeking to relocate, and they always seemed to want more than they already had. How long can this continue? And what will happen to the peace-loving natives whose planet is being invaded by these selfish humans? Can the two groups manage to find a way to coexist? And if not, what can be done about it?

This was the second book that I’ve read by Ms. Buhler, though this book takes place many years before the other book of hers that I’ve read. It sets the stage for her following books and explains how much of what follows in the book “Lillith” comes about. I enjoyed reading both of these books and am very much looking forward to finding out what will happen with the rest of this series.

Ms. Buhler has put together a well thought out, unique world with rules unique to her world. Both books were well thought out & the story flowed naturally from beginning to end. I enjoyed them enough that I had trouble putting the books down to sleep at night. I will very definitely be looking for and continuing to read the other books in this series/world. Recommended.

"Valentine Emma" <br>(Frontier Valentine Romance Series) <br>by Katie Wyatt

Waking up after the stagecoach accident, Emma found herself all alone. She didn’t know what had happened to the other passengers or whe...