Monday, August 27, 2018

"Millard Fillmore,
Master of Steam: Episodes 1-4"
by Robert E. Vardeman

Millard Fillmore had been President of the United States when the White House was destroyed in an explosion. Having survived, he has been blamed for the deaths of those caught in the explosion and is being hunted down by a man seeking revenge as Millard tries to find the one being who can prove his innocence.

This book was different than the books I have previously reviewed in that rather than being written as one continuous story, it reads as if it were an old television serial. (If any of you are familiar with an old show called the “Perils of Pauline,” that’s what the manner in which this story is told brings to my mind.) I quite enjoyed the style, complete with brief advertisements as if this was printed in a magazine. The ads as well as the story episodes were all very entertaining and fun to read.

The steampunk nature of the book worked very well with this style of storytelling. And after the 4th adventure the author has thrown in a bonus story that was just as much fun to read as the 4 episodes of the Millard Fillmore portion of the book. I would recommend this one as I found it to be a fun break from a lot of my usual reading material. I will have to look for more books in this series at some point. As I said, it was fun to read and I can only assume that if there are more of them that they will also be just as entertaining.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

"Someone to Watch Over Me"
by Sky Sommers

Victor wasn’t a good or kind man. He was a controlling and abusive boyfriend. He’d behaved this way with all of the girls he had been involved with in the past and hadn’t changed when he was dating Grace. When he lost his temper this last time, he went beyond his usual behavior and she began to fear for her life. But due to a fatal car crash, Victor was the one who lost his life instead of Grace. It was also the beginning of his chance to atone for his past by becoming a guardian angel.

Gabriel was a guardian angel who had been saving lives for almost 900 years. In the multitude of known dimensions, he and Victor are only two of those tasked with saving lives and keeping the balance between good & evil from tipping too far in the wrong direction. What makes it difficult is that on many of those worlds, they cannot openly display their abilities or even tell their charges who or what they truly are, let alone why they have arrived in the nick of time to save them from almost certain disaster.

This was a fascinating book. I loved the interplay between the guardian angels and their charges. Watching one trying to solve the mystery of who was trying to kill the girl he was tasked with protecting and why she was being targeted very definitely held my interest. And another angel needing to turn his charge into a “princess charming” in an attempt to bring her and the love of her life together had me quite amused watching his attempts to convince her to change her usually poor behavior.

The author is from the U.K., so I had to occasionally remind myself that their spellings are often slightly different than what I am used to seeing here in the U.S., and I did catch a few typos in the book. But overall I greatly enjoyed reading it. It kept me entertained throughout the story.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

"Her Broken Song" by Florence Linnington

Zeline LeBlanc is an opera singer with the Bourbon Street Opera House in New Orleans. Having just been given a leading role, she goes out to celebrate and winds up drinking a little too much that night and is late once again for rehearsal the next morning. Unfortunately for her, this is the last straw for the opera’s director and he fires her on the spot. Having spent most of her life training for the opera, she has no idea what to do now that she is no longer employed there. She decides to go and visit her aunt in the town of Pathways in Wyoming Territory.

Wyoming is very different than anything Zeline has seen before. The land is much more wild and open than where she has lived, and there seem to be far fewer women living there than men. It doesn’t take long before she decides she wishes to remain in Pathways, if she can find a means of supporting herself as she can’t expect her aunt to take her in forever. She will either need to find a job or a husband if she wishes to stay.

I liked this story better than many of the mail-order bride stories I have read. This one has an interesting twist and some complications that Zeline will have to overcome that I have not seen in many others of this type of story before. While it does tend to follow the same basic storyline that most mail-order bride books follow, it is the additional twists and turns in this one that truly make it a fascinating read.

I did run across a few errors originally reading this book, though after speaking to the author about them, she assures me that she has gone back and corrected them before publication. This was an excellent story and one I would gladly recommend for anyone to read.

Monday, August 13, 2018

"Rebecca Steele: Chasing a Dream"
by Joanne Patterson

While on a trip to Miami, Becky and her friend Emily wind up watching an air show where they briefly meet several handsome men with the show that they would have loved to have the time to get to know better. However they are on their way back to their hometown and doubt they will ever see them again. When they returned home, not expecting to ever see the men again, they learned that the air show was scheduled to perform in Nashville the next day.

The pilot that Becky had briefly met in Miami was not at the air show she & Emily watched the next day, but she met another man who invites her to visit him at another performance in another town. Once there, Becky meets Johnny Monroe, the handsome pilot who had caught her eye in Miami. It’s not long before they begin seeing each other regularly, with Becky travelling whenever she can to meet him at other air show performances.

I found this book to be extremely well written and well edited. However during the first half of the story I became annoyed with the main character as she seemed to have not much self esteem, choosing to follow Johnny around the country so that she could stay with him in his hotel rooms, and then feeling hurt when he didn’t call to invite her to visit him. (She was clearly not the only woman he had waiting for him around the country, and in my opinion he appeared to simply be using her for sex. But then she was also clearly also doing the same with him.)

Choices made by the both Becky & Johnny had me questioning why I was reading this after a while, but it turned out that I was glad I did continue reading all the way to the end. Becky seems to have found herself and became a much more interesting character during the second half of the book. There was a twist at the end that wound up turning my opinion of the book completely around. It made the story worth reading to me. Would I read another book about what happens in Becky’s future? With the way this book ended, yes I would.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

"Wolf Trek" by Maria J Estrada

This is an entertaining novella that I finished reading in one sitting. It is set in a post-apocalyptic future where there is great danger in the world. Resources are scarce and hard to find. In what towns that still exist, people must trade for items rather than purchase them with cash. Life may be harsh in this future, but there is still love and ready assistance. But the biggest danger comes from what appear to be werewolves. Those who have succumbed to this disease must be killed and their bodies burned as they cannot be cured.

Summer Hunter is someone who hunts down those who are infected to keep others safe. He travels with his 2 sons, Saad and Jak. They are happy together, though life is not easy for them. But there is something unusual about Saad’s younger brother Jak. Lately he has been very quick to anger and almost too violent when something angers him. He hasn’t been bitten or infected, so what is happening to him?

This was primarily the story of Saad and how he must deal with everything happening around him. It was a very short tale, but very interesting. I would have liked to know more about what will happen to all of them in the future, but I suppose I will need to wait for another book to be released about them. This book could have used another round of editing, but most of the errors I ran across were minor. I enjoyed reading this story and will be keeping my eyes open to see if the author decides to continue these characters tale in the future.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

"Brink" by Cameron Coral

Ida Sarek is a soldier in the war against the Heavies, an alien force that has invaded and has been trying to destroy the existing population. She will be finishing her time serving as a soldier soon and returning to civilian life. During her time with the military, she has been working as a medic helping to save whatever lives she can. But she has a secret, one she has kept hidden even from her fellow soldiers. Ida is more than just a medic, she is a healer who has the ability to often bring someone back from the brink of death.

Once she is again a civilian, Ida finds herself living in the town of Spark City. It is a small, relatively isolated town that has suffered from the ravages of the war. Trade with other towns is nearly non-existent, and jobs are few and far between. Living among the human population are numerous types of hybrids that were created from various human/animal DNA combinations. Ida has tried keeping mostly to herself, but that is becoming increasingly difficult as she can’t find work and a young neighbor girl seems determined to get to know her.

It becomes impossible to stay hidden once the corrupt town mayor, who is dying, discovers her secret and sends people looking for her. Knowing she has the power to heal him and save his life, he is determined will have her help whether she wishes to give it or not.

This was an interesting dystopian, post-apocalyptic novel. I enjoyed reading this author’s view of a possible future for humanity. We get a peek at how even though many things are different, people are still relatively unchanged in their attitudes towards others. It was a good book and I’m glad I took the time to read 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...