Wednesday, February 28, 2018

"Rose of Anzio, Book Three: Desire"
by Alexa Kang

This is the third book in the Rose of Anzio series. Anthony and Tessa are both in Italy fighting in the war. Anthony is a Lieutenant and Tessa is a nurse serving the same division. As they are both in high combat zones, their lives are almost constantly in danger, if not from the enemy soldiers, then from bombs being dropped on their locations. Even the medical units are not safe from the regular bombing runs from enemy planes.

Their duties often keep them unable to see each other as well as in combat danger. Anthony’s situation is often made worse by a Captain who is so obsessed with capturing a German soldier by the name of Klaus, even to the point of not caring about the loss of his own troops. How is Anthony to keep himself and his men alive when their own Captain isn’t concerned about the loss of his men’s lives?

While Tessa’s life may not be in as imminent danger, the bombing runs over their mobile hospital unit are still plenty dangerous. And then there is Jesse, the medic assigned to Anthony’s unit. He is caught in the middle... friends with Anthony and secretly desperately in love with Tessa. Jesse would do anything to win her heart, but she is unaware of his feelings for her. She thinks of him only as a friend.

This book was easily as captivating as the first two in the series. It showed us a more in-depth look into the lives of the men and women fighting overseas during WWII. We get to see both the good and the bad parts of their daily lives during the war. I loved this book and can’t wait to see how the author will finish the series off in book 4. She has added in so much detail and emotional twists and turns to the plot that I honestly never wanted to put this book down. I very strongly recommend reading this one, especially if you have already read the first 2 books in the series.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

"Soul Guardian" by Dawn Doyle

Bethany has long been haunted by her dream guy. He only exists in her dreams, but those dreams are in many ways more real than anything else. Oh, she has dated a number of men in her lifetime, but all of those relationships have ended badly. If only this mysterious man who haunts her dreams were real, for surely he is the perfect man for her.

What Bethany doesn’t realize is that her dream guy does exist. He is her soul guardian. His entire purpose is to keep her safe, though she can only see him in her dreams. Her body is aware of when he is near, experiencing erotic hot flashes from his closeness, though she is unaware of the cause of these hot flashes. Then the seemingly impossible happens. Bethany is murdered but awakens in the body of a woman who was dying after she had been in a car crash. It appears to everyone else as if a miracle has occurred, bringing her back to them. However everyone around her believes she is Rosie rather than Bethany. She looks and sounds like their Rosie, though her memories are not Rosie’s... they are Bethany’s. And adding to her confusion, she can now see and hear Ren, though no one else seems to be aware of his presence.

This is not a book meant for younger readers as there is a good deal of very descriptive sex contained within. I’m not really much of a fan of long, explicit sex scenes, and I admit I did skip over a number of pages within Bethany & Ren’s encounters, but I did enjoy the story that surrounded them. The book contained very few typos or other errors and was well written. Overall, I found this to be a very entertaining and enjoyable story; one that I am glad that I took the time to read.

Monday, February 19, 2018

"Let Me Fall" by Lilly Foster

This is primarily the story of Carolyn and Jeremy. They knew each other when they were young, but after he was transferred to a school that specialized in helping dyslexic students, they lost touch for many years. During their junior year of high school, they both find themselves in the same school and have a chance to once again get to know each other.

This was the fifth book in the series. I had not read any of the others, so found myself playing a bit of catch up with events briefly mentioned from the previous books in the series. While it did leave me feeling a little confused at times, in general enough information was given to reveal what had previously happened in the characters lives that left them feeling and reacting the way they did. The writing was well done and had very few typos or other errors. And while I am certain that others will enjoy this book more than I did, it wasn’t really one that truly appealed to my tastes.

This book struck me as primarily a high school drama with a message. There were a lot of sexual encounters between a number of members of the “popular” crowd. Some of them seemed random, many happened when the characters were more than a little drunk, and there were a few times where some of the characters woke up naked together and not certain if they’d actually had sex or merely passed out together. These were mostly not romantic encounters and the language involved a lot of the cruder or less pleasant terminology for sex. Not my general preference of terms, but given the circumstances, it was essentially appropriate.

Personally, I didn’t much enjoy the backstabbing natures of the popular kids who were some of the main characters. Bullying and tormenting each other while pretending to be good friends, while it does happen in schools, gets old really quickly to me. And while I’m sure some bed-hopping also happens, in this book it seemed to go hand in hand with the bullying and fake friendships. This behavior grated on my nerves before very long. And when it led to the inevitable consequences of such behavior, I had been expecting it for it for some time.

I was a bit surprised that all of this seemed to take place in the first half of the book, leaving me wondering what was left to happen after the character “falls.” It is at this point, in my opinion, that the real story of the book begins. While some of what happens in the first half is necessary to read if we are to understand the second half of the book, I wish it could have come a bit sooner. I much preferred the second half of the book. This part was more of a redemption story. Here is where the characters find their inner strengths and rebuild their lives. It is this story that I enjoyed more than the story of Carolyn’s “fall.” I do recognize that without the bad that happened to her that the good would never have followed, but I much prefer reading redemption stories myself.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

"Re: Camelot Part One:
The Descendant of the King" by E.C. Fisher

On the Planet of Avalon, The story of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table had their Origins. Merlin’s power was given to him by the Great White Dragon Mursix before she died. Merlin’s mission was to teach others and to protect Avalon from the evil power and minions of the Great Black Dragon Zyagus.

Many years later, a young boy is magically transported to Avalon and the familiar story of King Arthur begins. But after a Merlin has a vision abut a time when evil will again threaten the planet of Avalon, Arthur is returned to his own planet, for someday his descendants will need to again fight the evil that once threatened the world.

This is the story of one of Arthur’s descendants, unaware of his heritage, returning to Avalon from Earth to once again save the world from evil. On Earth, King Arthur’s story has long been told as fiction. Arthur’s descendant grew up listening to and reading the tales of King Arthur and his brave knights, never knowing that it was more than just a story.

This was a short book, only 8 chapters long, but it was very well written and I loved reading it. It is a very quick read, but one that I considered time well spent as I have always enjoyed Arthurian tales. My only complaint about this book was that I wanted more. I guess I’ll just have to wait for book two to be released to find out what happens next in this story. If you like Arthurian tales, I recommend giving this one a try.

Friday, February 16, 2018

"Things You Can't Take" by Erin Lockwood

This book begins with a Trigger Warning. It contains a rape as well as behavior that can only be described as that of a sexual predator as he gets bolder and bolder over time.

This was the story of two girls, Abigail and Kessia. The two met at the filming for a commercial and soon became best friends. Abigail winds up making a career as a successful actress while Kessia becomes her confidante, companion, and personal assistant.

Pete Hallman is the producer of the show that Abigail worked on. He has always given Kessia an uneasy feeling and touches her rather inappropriately when no one else is paying attention... a behavior that only gets worse as time goes on. While Kessia does her best to avoid being anywhere near him, she is not always able to avoid him or his unwanted attentions. Being young, she convinces herself that she is imagining the inappropriate contact and never says a word to anyone; not even to her best and most trusted friend Abigail.

This was a very powerful and emotional story. At times I wanted to shout at the characters that they needed to talk about what was happening. If they had talked to at least each other, Kessia would likely have realized that she was not imagining things. Pete’s behavior was sexual assault. At other times I wanted to cry for them.

This is a subject that needs to be talked about. At the end of this book the author includes contact information for a number of organizations that are there to help assault victims of all kinds. This story should be shared so that others who might experience such behavior in their lives will know that they are not alone and that help is available both before and after the behavior has progressed to an actual rape.

This story has encouraged me to talk to my own daughter to make sure that she knows that if she ever experiences any sort of behavior that makes her uncomfortable, that she should talk to a trusted adult about it. We are here to help, but can only do so if we are aware of what is or has been happening.

I strongly recommend reading this book as it can be very enlightening both with regards to sexual predators hiding their behavior just enough to not get caught and as a reminder that help is always available if we just know to look for it and aren’t afraid to ask for help.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

"Stealing Mercury" by Charlee Allden

Mercury and his brothers were genetically engineered gladiators, destined to fight over and over again until they were killed in the Arena. Known as Arena Dogs, their lives were not their own. They were bred for fierceness and trained to kill. When their Masters lied to them, promising that if they gave a good show that his pack members would be allowed to live but then delivering a verdict of death instead, Mercury and his brothers rebelled.

After a failed attack on the Masters by Mercury and his pack mates, they were to be sent to a hunting ground where humans would pay for the opportunity to hunt them down and kill them like the animals many believed then to be. The pilot hired to transport them there, however, is given a counter-offer. She will be paid by a third party to look the other way when the ship is boarded and her cargo is stolen instead. When the “pirates” fail to show for the rendezvous, Samantha reaches the conclusion that she can’t leave these men in the hands of the cruel and abusive guards or allow them to be hunted down as prey. She needs to find a way to help them.

Reading this book, I found myself taking my time as I read it and savoring my enjoyment of it. This is not a book meant for younger readers as there are some rather adult sex scenes (often involving 2 men and 1 woman) written within. I’m not usually a big fan of books involving a great deal of sex, but I did really enjoy this one. I felt that it was tastefully handled and not overwhelming. It involved romance and love rather than just sex and lust.

Some books are so enjoyable to read that I find myself rushing through them, desperate to see what comes next, but this one is one that I just wanted to take my time reading and enjoying. Everything flowed together and built naturally. The main characters’ emotions were clearly defined and made perfect sense throughout the book. I’d definitely recommend this one. I know I loved reading it and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series as well.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

"A Queen's Spy" by Sam Burnell

This was a historical fiction novel set in 1550s England. Henry VIII is dead and his son, the young King Edward VI is dying. King Edward’s chief adviser, The Duke of Northumberland has been trying to hide that fact from the rest of the court, for with the death of the king, he will lose his power and influence. If Edward dies childless, the throne will pass to Henry VIII’s eldest daughter Mary and should she have no children, after Mary’s death it will pass to Henry VIII’s younger daughter Elizabeth.

This was a tumultuous time in England, for HenryVIII, EdwardVI, and Elizabeth were Protestants whereas Mary was a devout Catholic. Having a Catholic Queen was not something many of the nobility wanted, whereas many others were waiting impatiently with the hope that soon Mary would be supporting Catholicism in England.

The main characters and plots in this book seemed to revolve around the Fitzwarren family. Richard, Robert, half-brother Jack, and Cousin Harry, There is a lot of animosity among them for more reasons than I can explain here.

This was a longer book than most of the ones I have read lately, but I enjoy historical fiction. This book does have quite a lot of history contained within. For some, it might occasionally get a bit confusing if you are not already familiar with what was happening politically in England at that time. I enjoyed reading about the history as well as the fictional aspects that filled in the details that we were not around to experience firsthand, though some of what I would have liked to know more about (Lady Jane Grey, the 9 day queen for example) was not given much attention, although given the length of the book, I can understand why such details were not as prominent or as well detailed. I also would have preferred for the book to have been a bit better edited. There were a number of typos and other errors within that I wish had been caught and corrected before publication.

One of my favorite parts of this book was actually the Author’s Note at the beginning. The insights into the creation of this book were quite entertaining and had me both amused and at times groaning in sympathy. If you enjoy historical fiction, then I think you will likely enjoy this book. But you should be aware that it is longer than many might be used to reading these days. If a 400+ page book is too long for your tastes, this might not be one for you. I, however, did enjoy it a great deal.

Friday, February 2, 2018

"Witch Hunter: The Rise to Power" by Dawn Doyle

On her 18th birthday, Diana’s Aunt Alison gives her a locked chest with seemingly no way to open it. What is holding it locked is magic that will only allow it to open for Diana. Even her aunt doesn't know what is hidden inside. It is at this point that Diana learns that she is a witch, and that her parents (who had entrusted her care to their friend Alison should anything happen to them) had magically bound her powers to protect her until she was old enough to learn to control them.

Now that she knows the truth and has been given the trunk that her parents (who had been killed in a car crash a few years earlier) left for her, her magic is no longer bound. Diana must find a way to learn to control it or risk causing serious harm to anyone or anything nearby. When she is angry or upset, these powers are often very difficult to control. She has had storms suddenly blow in out of nowhere and once accidentally set her aunt's clothing on fire, leaving the woman brutally scarred after they managed to put the fire out.

And then one day a few years after Diana has moved into an apartment with two of her friends, things got even stranger. When she was out dancing one evening with her roommates, a Hunter found her. He was from the magical realm where Diana was born, and had been tasked with finding and killing the last witch.

This was an interesting story that I enjoyed reading. It was well written with very few typos. There were a variety of different races of magical beings, (elves, trolls, goblins, humans, as well as a number of others) all with their own strengths, weaknesses, and personalities. The characters came across as “real” people rather than stereotypes, and reacted in ways that made sense rather than feeling contrived. I found this book fun to read. In my opinion, It’s definitely worth it to give this one a try. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Firefax by A. M. Vergara

During the Revolutionary War, there are rumors of a city of gold that is hidden on an island whose location is known only to the Firefax fam...