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.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

“Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say”
An Anthology Edited by Rhonda Parrish

This was an anthology of stories focusing more on Mrs. Claus rather than her husband, Santa. There are quite a number of fascinating versions of the famous female in this collection of stories. Some are more homey, others are warriors, and some aren’t human. But all of the stories in this collection are well written and enjoyable.

I will warn you that some (though not all) of the stories may be a bit more on the adult side than may be appropriate for younger readers, but for those who don’t object to a more adult story, they will enjoy them just as much as they will those stories that are more suitable for younger readers as well.

I truly enjoyed reading these stories. The plots were unique and varied. They showed that Mrs. Claus is more than just a woman who stays home, bakes cookies, and supports her husband Santa. She has the potential to be so much more than that. I think that anyone who takes the time to read them will also enjoy them. I know that I did.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

"While you were Dreaming"
by Celeste Bradley

Vicar John Barton has been working hard trying to find a way to forget his broken heart. The woman he had hoped to marry had fallen in love with the brokenhearted local Lord. It was almost impossible to be upset with the man who had allowed the love of John’s life to heal his heart and marry her. After all, how could the Vicar blame him? Bernadette was a wonderful woman and deserved nothing but happiness in her life. Unfortunately, it still left John with an aching and lonely heart.

Then one day a near tragedy struck and Vicar Barton found himself saving the life of the Lady Emmaline when her carriage nearly fell off the bridge into the frozen river below. Emmaline and her cousin Miss Gray were on their way to spend the Holiday visiting with Lord and Lady Matthias. Was Lady Emmaline the one destined to find love with the Vicar? Or is this just another opportunity for love to pass him by yet again?

This was a very sweet and enjoyable Christmas story with some fun little twists in the tale. I enjoyed reading it and watching the characters discover their own feelings as well as seeing how the time period expected them to act in regards to those feelings. After all, love was often considered to be secondary when compared to whether or not someone was considered a good match. Vicar Barton was someone who could be considered an acceptable match for Lady Emmaline, though she would likely expect him to seek a more prestigious position in London through his family connections rather than remaining in the small village parish in Haven. Nobility didn’t always have as much freedom to follow their hearts as those who were considered commoners did. But what was his heart telling him was right?

I would recommend giving this sweet holiday tale a try. I think most people will enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

"Holiday Hooligans" by Constance Barker

In the small town of Knockemstiff, Louisiana, Christmas is in full swing and has been for a while. Decorations are up all over town and everything appears quite festive.

At the Pleasen Teasen Hair Salon, they are planning on decorating once they have closed for the day. It makes for a fun evening, but when they return the next morning all their decorations have vanished. And not only that, but it looks like someone has gone around town and pulled a “Grinch” by stealing and getting rid of everyone’s Holiday decorations. Who would do such a thing and why?

This was an entertaining little holiday story, but it really did need to have gone through another round or two of editing. Had it been a little better edited before I read it, I would have definitely enjoyed the story much more.

The story the author shared with us was presented in an intriguing manner with characters that were well developed and was clearly part of a continuing series. As a fun little mystery series, it works quite well. I enjoyed it and will likely look up other books from this author in this series at some point in the future.

Monday, December 23, 2019

"The Poseidon Network" by Kathryn Gauci

To put it mildly, WWII was a harsh time for everyone around the globe. Life was particularly difficult for those living in areas occupied by enemy forces. In such areas there were always pockets of resistance and secret networks connecting those groups fighting to free their homelands.

This book focuses mainly on the story of some of those working among the resistance groups in Greece. The lives of the people there were particularly difficult, especially when the undercover forces began to suspect that there was a traitor in their midst reporting back to the germans. Can they discover if there truly is someone in the resistance who is working against them, who the traitor is, and how their reports are being delivered to the enemy before all of the resistance's efforts are undone? And all this must be accomplished without giving away their suspicions and while still managing to accomplish their own mission.

I enjoyed the story told by Ms. Gauci. The historical aspects were clearly very well researched and the plot was well thought out. Seeing how the resistance operated while undercover was truly interesting and I enjoyed seeing the historical notes as well as the directions on how to make a few of the drinks mentioned inside the story at the end of the book. It is always fascinating to see a bit of the reality behind the historical fiction in any book.

Monday, December 16, 2019

"Blood Roses" by J.A. Cummings

Rowena Glass and her familiar, Grendal, are on vacation at the Bermuda Island Monster Resort. It is a vacation that she very much needed after her metaphysical bookstore and crystal shop were burned down. She had refused the sexual advances of a local pastor and he had turned his church members against the witch living in their town. She had escaped the fire with her life and her familiar, but nothing else.

At least her insurance had left her with enough money to take a luxury vacation in the Bermuda Triangle where no humans were around to torment her, and where she could simply rest and relax for a while.

At least, that is, until she attends a masked ball where she meets a handsome vampire who captures her heart and who needs help to be freed from his mistress. Can Rowena find a way to help to free Lucius from the vampire who had turned him so very long ago? And at what cost?

I enjoyed this story a great deal, as I have many of the other books published by Ms. Cummings. The tale told here was captivating & easily held my interest throughout the entire story. If she continues with other books in this series, I would definitely look forward to reading them.

My only complaint was that I wish the book had been given another pass by the editor/proofreader as there were a few more typos than I am used to seeing in her books. Regardless of that fact, I did greatly enjoy the story and will gladly read more of them if she continues with this series.

Monday, December 9, 2019

"The Amish Widow:
The Amish Secret Widow's Society
Book 1" by Samantha Price

Emma Kurtzler has recently lost her husband. He was killed in a construction accident because he had not been wearing his safety harness. Emma is feeling quite lost without him. Uncertain of what she will do now, she soon becomes friends and part of a group or widows within her small Amish community. At virtually the same time, she has a real estate agent trying to get her to sell her farm. It seems the man already has an interested client for the property. But Emma has no wish to sell. And that’s when things start taking a turn for the worse and causing her to ask questions about a number of the people who have been her friends and neighbors for years. Can the Widows’ group help her come to terms with Levi’s death? And can they help her to find the answers to the questions she has begun to ask?

This was an interesting little mystery. It was a quick read and I thought it very entertaining. I felt that it could have used another quick pass by an editor or proofreader, but overall the story itself made up for the small errors that I noticed. I enjoyed the plot and will likely look for more books in this series in the future. For those that enjoy Amish themed stories, I would recommend this one. As I mentioned above, it was a fun, quick read.

Monday, December 2, 2019

"Spinning Time: A Time Travel Romance"
by D.F. Jones

Julia Boatwright has just turned 21 years old. Her parents are throwing her a very elaborate birthday party. They hope that she will fall for one of the proper young men that were invited, but Julia finds them all pretty much the same as each other. In other words, rather boring. But the handsome young man who had arranged to be hired as extra waitstaff in the hopes of meeting her, him she finds fascinating. She knows her mother will definitely not approve of the thought of Julia dating him, but she doesn’t care. And when he eventually proposes to her, she immediately says yes.

But then things take an unfortunate turn when Julia falls through a random hole in time and finds herself suddenly quite a bit in the future. She doesn’t understand how she got there nor does she know how, or even if she can find a way to return to the past that was her home. Everything she knew seems to be gone or changed, and all she wants is to return to her beloved Phillip. But can she return? Or will that wind up changing history?

I enjoyed this story. At first when I started reading it, I kept thinking about far too many “but what if…” thoughts that seemed as if they might cause plot holes. However the author had already seemingly thought of each of those same problems and they were dealt with pretty much as soon as I came across them. She did a very good job of explaining and dealing with such questions well before they actually became an issue. I was very impressed with how she handled the problems that often seem inherent in many time travel stories.

On top of all of that, the story was fun and entertaining. It dealt with a number of twists thrown in by the author in ways that worked quite well the tale being woven. Overall, I enjoyed reading this story.

Monday, November 25, 2019

"Upon the Flight of the Queen"
by Howard Andrew Jones

Things have grown quite desperate for everyone. The Naor are attacking and winning the war, claiming the lands won for themselves, but destroying as much as they claim and control. When the Naor take over a town, the people there are turned into slaves and used as blood sacrifices. The town of Alantris’ defences have been breached and it has become clear that the town will not survive, but can the Altenarai who have been defending the town manage to find a way to rescue and save more than a few of the people living within the town? And what about the other towns that are also under attack by the Naor? How can the country as a whole defend against Naor dragons that can destroy whole sections of walls with no more than a roar?

There are a number of strange things happening in the background of this story that involve the hearthstones. What exactly are they, and are they truly helpful or is there a danger to using them? And why is the queen willing to throw away and betray ancient alliances and promises to collect as many of them as she can? What is she hoping to do with all of the hearthstones that she has been collecting? And why is it apparently more important to the queen than the safety of her own people seems to be?

This is an exciting book with a lot of plot twists and turns. There is a great deal going on in this story and it kept me entertained and wanting to see what will happen next. It is an intricate story with a plot that still contains secrets to be discovered by the reader. I am definitely looking forward to book 3 in this series to find out the answers to some of the questions I discovered in this book. This book focuses a great deal on the resistance efforts of the people as well as the continued defense and strength offered by the Altenarai who defend the people.

The version I read was an uncorrected copy, which did contain a number of typos. I expect that a majority of those typos will be corrected before the official release date. But even if they are not, the story is still excellent and very enjoyable. I am looking forward to book 3 in the series to find out about how it will come to a conclusion.

Monday, November 18, 2019

"Deadly Act" by Mary Stone and Bella Cross

Kylie Hatfield works at Starr Investigations as an assistant to the P.I. Often, however, she forgets to mention the fact that she herself is not yet a licensed Private Investigator when speaking to potential clients. This often tends to get her in trouble in a number of different ways.

Kylie is accompanied most everywhere by her very large dog, Vader. She is also quite attracted to Vader's dog trainer, Linc, though she finds him as annoyingly frustrating as he appears to find her. Her efforts to solve a case on her own often seem to wind up including him in the trouble she very quickly finds herself in.

I found this to be a fun little mystery involving a main character who appears to wind up attracting trouble more often than not. But in this case, she finds herself quite literally in the middle of more trouble than she was prepared to handle.

This book was one that quite easily held my interest and had me wanting to know what would happen next. Kylie is a very likeable main character with very human flaws and an overwhelming desire to help those who may be in trouble. In my opinion, it makes her more relatable than characters without such human flaws.

I recommend giving this book a try if you're looking for a fun and entertaining mystery to enjoy. I'll be continuing on with reading this series.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Scarred Mail Order Bride
and her Lonely Bachelor"
by Florence Linnington

Leanne Robinson had almost completely given up hope of having any sort of a happy life. She had been left permanently scarred and injured in the fire that took the life of her father, and things seem to have gone downhill from there. She had been working as a nanny for a family that did not appreciate her nor did they treat her well. But when she received a letter from the mail order bride company that she had placed an ad with, she begins to once again have hope that things are finally looking up.

Unfortunately, the letter she received appears to have been lost in the mail for the past six months. Could the man who had written her possibly still be in need of a wife? And if she shows up and he’s no longer interested, what will she do then? She doesn’t have an answer to that question, but she feels it is a risk worth taking.

This was the story of Theo and Leanne. I enjoyed watching the two of them overcome a number of problems as they are trying to find a way to deal with more than a few losses that each has experienced in their lives. Both of them may have started out as “broken”, but with a little help they just might be able to help each other overcome their own previous tragedies and find a new way to move forward in life.

I enjoyed reading their stories a great deal. As with her previous books, Ms Linnington has woven a fascinating tale of two people who each need help, but who do not know how to ask for it, or even what it is that they are truly seeking.

Monday, November 4, 2019

"No Treats for Charlie" by Tiegan Clyne

When a male witch takes revenge for the wrongs he feels were committed against him, he does so by punishing all witches and not just those who had actually done something to wrong him. Can Matilda and her familiar Charlie discover a way to both stop him and undo the harm he had already done to a number of witches?

This was a wonderful Halloween novella that focused on a witch that no one respected and her familiar, the one no one else thought was "pretty" enough to want. I really enjoyed this story. Ms Clyne has given us a very well written story, one that managed to tug on this cat lover's heartstrings.

If you're looking for a quick but fun Halloween story, I recommend giving this one a try. I don't think you'll regret it.

Monday, October 28, 2019

"Hitched: the Top Ten" by G.K. DeRosa

Kimmie-Jayne is the bachelorette in a television show called “Hitched” that is being filmed in a secret location. The twist revealed to her earlier during filming was that all of the bachelors who are competing for her affections are supernatural creatures who were disguised as humans until the “big reveal.” It had been thought that the ”accidents” that had been happening would stop after the reveal took place. Unfortunately, not only didn’t they stop, they became even more deadly. Clearly someone doesn’t want the show to succeed, but no one seems to be sure who that might be or what their reason is for sabotaging the show.

Kimmie continues to get to know the men in the competition and seems to be developing feelings for each of them. But one thing she must keep in mind is that she will need to eliminate 5 of them soon, so she must find a way to decide which 5. And of course, she also needs to survive the deadly accidents that keep happening as well. There are more twists threatened before the end of the show, but she’ll just have to deal with those twists once they’ve happened.

I enjoyed reading this book. It was well written and well edited, as well as being very entertaining to read. I was never really a fan of the bachelor/bachelorette television shows that have aired as reality TV the past, but I did enjoy this spoof on those shows. This book managed to catch and hold my interest, and I will be continuing on and reading the next book in the series as well.

Monday, October 21, 2019

"Time Tunnel: The Twin Towers"
by Richard Todd

This book starts off with a mysterious craft crashing in what will eventually come to be known as Area 51. The government rushes to cover up the fact that the type of craft that crashed appears to have not been from Earth and contains 4 seemingly alien bodies. But what is it really? And where did it come from? For many years these questions have plagued society. Area 51 has become legendary, and people both do and don’t believe that there is a huge conspiracy to cover up the truth of the matter.

This book supplies another fictional possibility as to what may have happened. And what could happen because of it. What if the events of the past could be changed? Could we fix what should never have been allowed to happen in the first place? And if we did, what would be the new outcome?

This was a very interesting book. It follows history closely enough that at times it is almost difficult to tell what really happened as opposed to what the author fictionally created. The biggest complaint I had about the book was that many of the pages that were pictures of documents or letters were a bit difficult to read on my kindle. By necessity, the photo text came through too small for my tired old eyes to sometimes see clearly. If read on a tablet or larger device though, I doubt that the reader would have the difficulty that I did. And even though it was at times difficult for me to see some of those pictured documents clearly, with only a little effort I was able to read them.

The story was well told and at least once my eyes were tearing up because of what I’d read. The ending left me really wanting to know what happens next. I have questions that I am dying to have answered, but that I can’t ask in a review as it would give away too much of the story. It really is better to read it yourself. I would recommend this book to anyone who sometimes wonders “what if something had turned out differently.” I believe it was well worth the time it took me to read it. I will definitely be looking for the next book in the series.

Monday, October 14, 2019

"History of the First Queen" by Mark Miller

This was the tale of Nyssa, who came from very humble beginnings and who found herself thrust into a new world one day while seeking to escape from those who always made her life miserable. How was she to know that the grand adventure she would soon find herself a part of, if successful, would save the world that was destined to become her own.

This is the fourth book in the Empyrical Tales series, and in my opinion it is the best one in the series that I’ve read thus far. In this book, we get to see not only how Nyssa arrives from her own world into Empyrean, but how she grows to become one of the land’s four Queens. I found it to be a fascinating tale that also introduced us to a number of characters that we’ve already met, though we had previously seen them at a later point in their lives than we often find them in this book.

Through much of the story, Nyssa is lost in a strange world and must find her way through numerous situations made more difficult by the fact that she has absorbed deep magical energy that seems to be causing her to bounce back and forth in Empyrean’s timeline. She never knows when she will skip around in time or when she will find herself afterwards.

I really liked that this tale is told in the manner of someone reading a book about how Nyssa became the first Queen. The story (both the one we read as well as the one read to the children in the castle), was well written and very entertaining. There were numerous twists and turns in the story that kept me guessing all the way until the end of the book.

This story was clearly well thought out and flowed very well, even while dealing with a girl who found herself skipping randomly back and forth through time. While that could have made it difficult to follow, it was well enough written that I had no problems keeping track of whether Nyssa was in the past, present, or future of Empyrean. And though I won’t spoil it for you, I absolutely loved the ending.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys intricately designed fantasy worlds containing a rich history that clearly shines throughout the story.

Monday, October 7, 2019

"Escaped Mail Order Bride
and her Redeemed Husband"
by Florence Linnington

Catherine and her step brother Guss had been living with his father since the death of Catherine’s mother several years earlier. However it was a far less than ideal situation. Hershal was often drunk and physically abusive. Catherine had been taking most of his beatings and abuse to keep Guss safe, but when Hershal began trying to touch her inappropriately, she knew that both she and Guss had to leave as soon as possible.

After exchanging a number of letters with a man in Colorado that had answered her ad in a mail order bride catalogue, Catherine left town with Guss as soon as Mr. Jeremiah Beals began to speak of marriage. She was so desperate to find a better home for the two of them that she didn’t even wait for Mr. Beals to propose. She and Guss simply snuck out of the house one night while Hershal was still asleep and left to go meet the man she hoped would marry her and take care of both Guss and herself.

This was another wonderful book in this series from Ms. Linnington. She is very good at describing the hardships of a less than ideal life and then comparing and contrasting said life with a much better situation in another part of the country. As always, her stories leave me smiling at the end, after having watched her characters be put through the wringer on their way towards what they hope will be a happy ending.

I enjoy her stories a great deal, and I believe that anyone who enjoys an often heart-wrenching mail order bride story will also enjoy this book.

Friday, October 4, 2019

"The Graveyard Book" Audio Book
written and read by Neil Gaiman

This was the story of Nobody Owens, whose parents were murdered one night. During the time his parents were being murdered, their young toddler had managed to wander off and escape, becoming lost by those striving to kill his entire family. Luckily for him, he was found and rescued by the residents of the local cemetery. Over the years of his being raised by the dead, he was unaware that the man who had killed his family was still looking for him. He had been hired to kill the entire family, and allowing even a small child to escape was unacceptable.

Nobody (or Bod as he is called) has many adventures and has quite a number of friends in the cemetery. It is not the life that many would have sought for their children, but it is not one that left Bod feeling as if there was anything missing from his life.

I enjoyed listening to this story as it was read by the author. I had no difficulty in differentiating between the various characters as the storyteller did an excellent job with the voices.

I would recommend this audiobook to anyone who enjoys reading or listening to YA stories, as well as to anyone who enjoys Neil Gaimen tales.

Monday, September 30, 2019

"Arthur Rex: Dux Bellorum"
by J.A. Cummings

Arthur Pendragon has been acknowledged by many as the High King. But not everyone is ready to accept him as such, and he must fight to subdue those who oppose him. War is here, and there is no avoiding it. He has much to do if he is to win and retain his kingdom. Arthur inspires loyalty and respect in many, but not everyone is ready to consider him a friend, let alone their king. He is still young, and while he is very inspiring, he also still has much to learn before he can become the man he is destined to be.

When looking at the page count, one might be hesitant at first to pick it up, but don’t let the length of this one scare you away from reading it. Once you start reading, it doesn’t feel like it is anywhere near as long as it claims to be. The story really grabs you and sucks you in, making this a very difficult book to put down.

This was the third book in this series and upon finishing it, my first thought was “Wow!” Most folks know by now that I really enjoy reading a good King Arthur story. Well, this one was probably one of the best I’ve read in quite a while. This author has definitely put her own spin on the myths and legends that surround Merlin, Arthur, Guinivere, and all of the Knights of the Round Table, while at the same time retaining the familiar aspects that we would expect to see in any Arthurian tale.

I do need to warn anyone reading this book that there are some rather graphically detailed sex scenes as well as a rape contained within these pages. (It is definitely not a book meant for younger readers.) But the more adult scenes were all very necessary parts of the story and not something that could have been left out or ignored. (There is more that I would like to say about this, but doing so would give away too much that you really do need to read for yourself. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.)

Ms. Cummings clearly has a talent for teasing us throughout her story with hints of what is likely to come in the future without really giving away any specific details. The characters are extremely well written and will make you want to laugh and cry with them, and the ending of this book will leave you waiting impatiently for book 4. Highly recommended, especially for those who enjoy a good King Arthur tale.

Monday, September 23, 2019

"The Blacksmith Queen" by G.A. Aiken

"When the Old King dies, his sons immediately begin killing each other as well as anyone else who could possibly challenge them for the throne. Then they learn of a prophecy which claims that one of the Smythe sisters will be confirmed as the next queen by the Witches of Amhuinn. Everyone assumes that daughter is Beatrix, as she appears the one best suited to someday becoming a queen. And suddenly, the Smythe family is in danger from the brothers who want to kill the girl who might claim what they see as their throne as well as from the one who might marry her instead of killing her. But what happens when the Witches declare that both Beatrix and her sister Keeley will be queen?

I received this book as a prize from contest. I do not believe that I had ever read any of the other books written by this author and started reading it to pass some time and found myself so drawn into this story that I just couldn’t put it down until I finished it. (With so many wonderful books available, that doesn’t happen too often for me these days.)

I found the book to be both entertaining and amusing, It made me laugh and want to cry for the main characters equally. I loved the interactions between the various siblings and their parents. It was obvious that this author was quite familiar with family squabbles and arguments between siblings of all ages. Every time I thought I had pretty much figured out where the story was going, the author threw in a new twist that made the story even more enjoyable.

I realize that this book may not be for everyone, and the reader should be aware that there is one somewhat descriptive sex scene that might not be appropriate for younger readers. But this book made me smile quite a bit as I read. I think that others will also find it just as entertaining as I did. It had everything, conflict, romance, humor, betrayal, and the closeness of family. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series. Recommended.

Friday, September 20, 2019

"Phases of Change: A Shifter Anthology"

This anthology contains a collection of shifter tales ranging from Felines and Wolves to Sharks and Squirrels, as well as everything in between. The stories were very unique and were fantastic teasers into the beginnings of many different series. I found them all to be extremely entertaining and enjoyable.

As expected, some of the stories involving the many different types of shifters tended a bit towards the more adult aspects of the stories, making some of them rather inappropriate for younger readers. But both the more adult and those stories that were appropriate for younger audiences were something that I greatly enjoyed reading. I would recommend this anthology for anyone who wants a taste of several different types of shifter stories to enjoy.

I’d say to give this one a try, you might find a few authors you both recognize from other stories as well as some that are new to you that I believe are worth taking the time to try some of their other tales.

Monday, September 16, 2019

"The Marilians" by Beth Worsdell

As they continued to save the Earth from nearly being destroyed by humanity, you would think that things would start to calm down, at least a little bit. Unfortunately, a race of beings known as the Marilians have decided to attack the Earth and make it their own. Their usual pattern involves invading and taking over other planets, draining them of all life and resources, then moving on to start again with yet another planet. Neither the humans nor the Angels currently on Earth approve of this behavior and are determined to work together to stop the Marilians this time and save Earth once and for all.

But even with advance warning, can the two races working together manage to save the planet and those who reside on it? Can any amount of preparation and weapons practice really be enough for what they will face once the Marilians arrive and the fight to save Earth and those residing there begins?

I read the adult version of this book (which is not appropriate for younger readers, though there is also a YA version for those who prefer reading something without the rather detailed sex scenes that are included in the adult version). It could have used another round with an editor/proofreader, but the story itself was very compelling.

I found the beginning to be somewhat calmer than the second half of the book. Once the Marilians arrive on Earth, things almost immediately reach a point where the reader just won’t want to put the book down! And the ending of this book will likely have you wishing you didn’t have to wait for the author to release part 3! I know I’m still sitting here thinking about the way it ended and am dying to know what happens for the people of Earth next. (Trust me, there is so much more that I really want to say about the ending, but I do not want to spoil it for anyone!)

If you enjoyed reading book 1 in this series, you really won’t want to miss reading this one, and I expect that we will all be waiting impatiently for book 3 in the series to be released.

Monday, September 9, 2019

"Hitched: The Bachelorette (Book 1)"
by G.K. DeRosa

Aspiring actress Kimmie-Jayne Starr has an audition for the leading role on a new reality show called “Hitched.” If she gets the part, she will be playing the role of a woman seeking to fall in love and marry one of 25 young men seeking to win her hand. As with most reality shows of this type, she expects it is all faked and merely entertainment. But the 25 men who will be competing for her hand in marriage are all extremely handsome, and any one of them could easily be any woman’s idea of male perfection.

There is also something very strange going on with the show, and someone clearly doesn’t want Kimmie-Jayne to survive to the end. She begins receiving threats, and when that doesn’t scare her off, “accidents” that would easily kill her begin happening during the group dates with her suitors. And that still isn’t the strangest thing about the show or the secret “twist” that she’s not supposed to know about yet.

This was a very fun little story that was well written and well edited. I enjoyed seeing the interactions between characters and watching the attempts to keep the show’s secrets from Kimmie-Jayne until it was time for the big reveal. I am more than a little curious about where the story is going, as well as about what will happen at the end of the show when it is time for her to pick one of the bachelors to marry.

As I said earlier, it is a fun idea that captured my interest and I am looking forward to finding out who is seeking to sabotage the show as well as to who the “winner” will be. I will definitely be continuing on with this series in the future as I enjoyed reading book one. If you’re looking for something lighthearted and fun to read, I recommend giving this book a try.

Monday, September 2, 2019

"Urban Magic: Hungry, Young & Clever"
An Urban Fantasy Anthology

This collection of urban fantasy stories has been put together with the intent to support the American Library Disaster Relief Fund. All sales of this book will help to support libraries to recover after natural disasters. In my opinion, that fact alone makes this book a must have for anyone who loves reading and appreciates all that a local library may have offered them over the years. I do not know if this book is a limited release only or one that will be permanently available for purchase on Amazon, but I would recommend not waiting to find out.

I found the 11 stories within this book to all be very well written and fun to read. Some of the stories I might have enjoyed more than others, but each one was very entertaining. Each story was an original and complete story, as well as being an introduction into a series written by one of the authors involved in this project.

I enjoyed seeing these new works from a variety of authors, many of whom I had not previously had a chance to read before. They were fun and exciting, and I am glad I had the opportunity to read each of them. I will be very interested in seeing more of these authors in the future, and will enjoy looking up some of the other books in the various series that were selected for this anthology.

I do recommend this book, and not solely because the purchase of this book will support a very good cause. I believe that those who enjoy fantasy and urban fantasy stories will enjoy reading these stories as well.

Monday, August 26, 2019

"Mail Order Bride's Baby
and her Mismatched Rancher"
by Florence Linnington

Abby Hustley was ready to give up her life as a singer to accept a proposal from Sam Sayler, a man who owned a ranch in Colorado. What she didn’t know was that the mail order bride agency had mixed up her photo and story with someone else’s information. So when she arrived with her infant son Teddy, it was quite a shock to the man who most definitely did not want a family. To say he handled the news poorly was an understatement.

As always Ms. Linnington has written a very interesting tale of how two people who have never met can come together and possibly find love… if they can both overcome a number of obstacles that seem destined to drive them apart.

I have enjoyed each of Ms. Linnington’s stories that I have read thus far. They are all well written and very entertaining, and this one is certainly no exception. I expect that anyone who, like me, enjoys a good mail order bride romance, will also enjoy this story.

Monday, August 19, 2019

"The Dead of Summer:
A Piper Blackwell Mystery" by Jean Rabe

While attending the county fair with her boyfriend, Piper finds herself thrust into the middle of a major crisis. One of the rides malfunctions and breaks apart, causing a number of injuries & some deaths before it completely falls to pieces. So much for a relaxing evening at the fair. Piper & all of the other department staff are immediately on duty, helping to rescue injured fairgoers and investigating what happened and who, if anyone, was at fault. But this is only the beginning of the problems Piper faces in this story.

The next day, one of the other members of the Sheriff’s department discovers that the owner of the local comic book store, Sam Silver, has been gruesomely murdered in his own home and several other of Sam’s regular customers have gone missing. There seems to be no motive behind this murder, and the more they look into it, the stranger the case seems to become. Between these two problems, Piper and everyone else involved with the Sheriff’s office are kept quite busy.

This third book in the Piper Blackwell series is every bit as addictive as the first two books in the series were. The story told kept me reading far longer into the evenings than I should have been and was full of enough twists and turns to keep me guessing as to what was really happening. Every time I thought I had a reasonable guess, something more fell into place to start making me look at it in another way.

Who was Sam Silver, and why would anyone have wanted to torture and kill the local comic store owner? Ms. Rabe has once again written a fantastic tale that will likely keep others as just as engrossed in the story as I was. If you like mysteries, I strongly recommend giving this one a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

"When the Leaves Begin to Fall"
A Romance Anthology

This anthology contains romantic stories written by 9 different authors. I found each story to be unique and very interesting. While a few of the stories could have used another round with an editor/proofreader, they all held my interest and made me want to keep reading through to the end.

One of the things that I really liked with this anthology was that each story seemed to focus on a different aspect or type of love and romance. Each story in this book was well worth the time I spent reading it. One thing I do feel the need to warn the reader about is that a few of the stories have some graphically descriptive sex scenes within them, and thus not all of the stories in this book are appropriate for younger readers.

Another thing to be aware of is that this book is only going to be available for a very limited time. The proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charity. It is a very good cause and well deserving of the support it will receive from the sales of this book.

If tales of romance interest you, I would definitely recommend picking this one up before it is gone!

Monday, August 12, 2019

"Journey to Where" by Steven Paul Leiva

A group of scientists have a rare opportunity to use a supercollider to test out a theory they have been working on. Unfortunately for them, something goes horribly wrong with their experiment when a jealous former colleague secretly changes one number in an equation, attempting to cause their experiment to fail. What happens instead is something quite different than expected, and they all find themselves waking up in a world full of dinosaurs.

What happens when these scientists find themselves somewhere that humans had never evolved? Instead, the dinosaurs had risen to prominence and were now the dominant intelligent species on the planet. Can they manage to find a way to survive in this new world? And will they ever be able to find a way back to their old existence?

This was definitely a fun book to read. The author has created a very interesting and unique world full of intelligent dinosaurs and where humans as we know them have never existed. Seeing how the trapped humans learn to overcome many of the problems that stem from the language barriers gave a unique perspective on what happens when our lives are suddenly, drastically, and completely altered from what we had previously known.

I enjoyed seeing how the characters dealt with the problems and challenges of finding themselves suddenly in a world full of intelligent dinosaurs who spoke a different language from themselves. It was fascinating to see them trying to prove their intelligence to a species that shared no common history or language.

Overall I found it to be a very well written and compelling story that I believe others will enjoy as well. I know that I really enjoyed reading it. Recommended.

Monday, August 5, 2019

"Arthur Rex: Ex Lapis" by J.A. Cummings

This book begins with a scene that those of us who enjoy tales about King Arthur and his knights are very familiar with. We get to see a young Arthur Pendragon reveal his true birthright by travelling to Londinium and pulling the sword from the stone when everyone else has failed. As expected, there are some who immediately acknowledge him as their king, while others refuse to believe that it is more than merely a trick to have “Merlin’s puppet” seated upon the throne. And so, it seems that war is inevitable.

In this book, we see a combination of both the familiar stories and an original take on the legend shared by Ms. Cummings. King Arthur is a wonderful tale that has been described in many ways by many writers, but I enjoyed this version. Here, we see how he was not immediately prepared and had to train hard in fighting, battle tactics, as well as study diplomacy and negotiations before he took charge. And while he was always calmer and more determined than those around him, he also knew enough to know how much more he still needed to learn and was prepared to work hard to do so.

One thing for the reader to be aware of is that like the first book in the series, there is a good deal of rather descriptive sex in this book. I believe that all of it was a necessary part of this story and describes how Arthur grows to become the man he is destined to be, but some might find it to be more than they were looking for in an arthurian tale. It is definitely not a story meant for younger readers

This book takes us into the early reign of King Arthur, still in the days when he was fighting to unite the kingdom and find a way to make it a better place for everyone, not just those rich and powerful enough to have whatever or whomever they wished. I enjoyed reading this author’s take on what to me is a fairly familiar tale. (I have long been a fan of Arthurian stories in their many different incarnations.) I greatly enjoyed reading it and I believe that others will as well. I am looking forward to seeing where this author decides to take this tale next. Recommended for those who enjoy King Arthur stories.

Monday, July 29, 2019

"The Outlaw Mail Order Bride
and her Hardened Hero"
by Florence Linnington

Alice was trying to change her life. She no longer wanted to run with an outlaw gang, but Willie refused to let her go. He’d declared that she was his and that he would kill anyone who got in his way. Not wanting to be with Willie or to bring suffering to anyone else, Alice decided to run away and to keep running for as long as she possibly could. She answered an ad from a preacher seeking a wife and journeyed out to the town of Calico as the first stop in her escape. Her plan was to stay for a little while and then move on, but she found herself falling in love with Gabe. Can she really just abandon him and continue to run? But what if Willie finds her? He’s made no secret of the fact that he would kill to keep Alice to himself.

I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy. I really enjoyed the story, but the early version that I received contained a number of errors. I contacted the author and let her know about the ones that I was finding and she replied, saying that she was looking into them and making corrections. Once she completes those corrections (which should be before publication, but likely after I read the book), it should be even more enjoyable than the version that I read.

Before the author’s corrections, I would give this book 3 stars because of the errors that needed fixing. But once those corrections have been made, I would rate it at 4 stars because I really enjoyed the story that was told.

Monday, July 22, 2019

"A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" by S.E. Meyer

Montana Moon has been staying with Lonewolf, the man deemed a wanted criminal that she was supposed to be hunting, But during the course of her stay, she has learned the truth about him and his supposedly criminal actions. He has actually only been trying to help save humanity.

Eating the fresh grown food that he gives her, Montana’s health and mental acuity have improved. In fact, her whole being feels clearer and much more alive. But while she has learned a good deal of the truth about what is truly happening, there is obviously still much to learn and even more work to be done if she is to save everyone else.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a fascinating dystopian story involving a disease that no one seemed to be sure where it came from and that apparently has no cure. Once it strikes, a person must regularly undergo expensive “treatments” to keep it at bay. But what if there is another way to deal with it, one that the government doesn’t want the public to know about?

This book did have a few more typos than I noticed in the first book, but the story more than made up for them. It kept me reading through to the end, and my only real disappointment with it was in realizing that the third book in the series still has a bit of time before it’s release date. I will definitely be looking forward to being able to get the third book in the series and learning about what happens next for Montana Wool.

This was a book I really enjoyed reading and I think others will too, especially if you enjoyed the first book in the series. Recommended.

Monday, July 15, 2019

"One Can Heal" by Clara C. Johnson

I’m not usually much of a reader of poetry, but this was an emotional collection of poems that seem to highlight the high and low points of the author’s life. Some of the poems shared with us here really spoke to me and held great meaning, while others I wasn’t really certain what to make of them. As I mentioned, I don’t tend to read very much poetry and have never attempted to write a poem myself. As such, I have a hard time putting into words a review of a collection of poems.

I did enjoy reading the poems as well as the insight into the author’s life that they gave, but I suspect that those who regularly read poetry will find even greater meaning and understanding in this collection than I did. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy reading this collection, (Believe me, I did enjoy it), only that poetry isn’t something that I often tend to reach for when looking for a book to read.

I believe that those who are more familiar with poetry collections than I usually am will find even greater meaning and enjoyment in this collection of very emotionally charged poems, but even if not, I do think there is something within this collection for anyone looking to find a poem that resonates with something in their own lives.

Monday, July 8, 2019

"Indian Mail Order Bride
and her Insecure Marriage"
by Florence Linnington

Kimmimela was a member of the Lakota Tribe. When she learned that she was to be married to Mahkah, the son of the tribe’s chieftain, her heart sank. It was known that Mahkah had not been kind to his first wife before her death, and Kimmimela had hoped her father would have chosen a different husband for her as she desperately did not want to marry Mahkah.

Given that she was not given a choice in the matter, she had little hope of escaping the arranged marriage until a trader who passed through happened to stop by to do business with her people. She took the opportunity to ask him to take her away and help her find somewhere that she could find work and a place to live. When they showed up at his nephew’s house, Flynn was not happy with the idea of Kimmimela living with him, but agreed to let her stay until his uncle could find her another place to go. (Like many other people of the time, Flynn did not trust any indian.) Can he and Kimmimela overcome their distrust of each other and at least co-exist together peacefully? Or is this situation simply a disaster in the making?

As usual I enjoyed the story this author told. I did run across a few small typos, but in the past Ms. Linnington has been very good about correcting them as soon as they are caught so I expect that most of the ones I saw have already been fixed. Her story flowed beautifully and everything the characters did to get from point A in their relationship to point B made perfect sense. I enjoy reading a story where you can see the characters grow and change as the story continues, and this was a very good one for that. I look forward to reading her next book in this series.

Monday, July 1, 2019

"Suffocating Secrets" by E.A. Owen

Life has not been easy for Trevor and his family. And though things finally seem to be improving for them, there is still much happening that almost seems as if the curse they had struggled to end is still affecting this family. But is it really the curse, or is there actually something more sinister going on?

This was the sequel to ”A Curse of Torment” and continues the story of Mary, her son Trevor, and his daughter Isabella. It seems as if they will finally find happiness in their lives now that the curse has been lifted. But with everything they have lived through, can happiness truly be found? What if it wasn’t only the curse they had to overcome?

The story told by the author drew me in and definitely held my interest. It could have used another round or two of with an editor, but it was still well enough written to hold my interest and make me want to find out what was truly happening. I don’t often read thrillers, but I did enjoy the tale woven by Ms. Owen. It kept me guessing and trying to figure out the ending before I finished it. And while I may have guessed at some of what was happening, I did not completely figure out everything happening within this book before the end.

Fair warning though, there are some adult scenes in this book, so it might not be appropriate for younger readers. But for those who do read this book, I believe it will keep them guessing about it until they reach the end.

Monday, June 24, 2019

"Reborn Series Box Set" by S.L. Stacey

“Reborn”

When Siobhan, Anna, and Jimmy saw something glowing in the distance during a party at a local farm, they did what you’d expect most teenagers would do and went to investigate. What they found appeared to be an injured man. He seemed confused and called Siobhan by the name of Psyche. When he reached out a hand to touch her, something strange happened when she took his hand. She ran off to hide in the woods as a pair of butterfly wings grew out of her back. Later that evening, when the three of them returned to try and help the stranger, he was gone.

Years later, while in a college sorority, Siobhan again encounters the man from the woods. It seems he is a teaching assistant for her “World Myths and Legends” class. But what happened to him that night in the woods? He claims that he is Eros and she is his wife Psyche, now returned to him. But Siobhan has no memory of anything he is claiming. Could he really be the Olympian God Eros? And if so, what is he doing teaching a class at her college?

I enjoyed this romantic tale involving multiple Olympian Gods. It has definitely captured my interest and made me want to find out what happens next. I did catch a few small typos while reading, but not enough to really distract from the story. Be warned, there are some sexual situations in this book that while not overly graphic in detail are likely still a bit inappropriate for younger readers.

“Relapse”


This second book in the series box set continues the tale begun in the previous book. We get to see more of these descendants of the Olympian Gods. Siobhan and her sorority sisters now know the truth of their heritage, and while embracing this legacy are also dealing with finding new potential members who also are descended from the gods. But there are new problems brewing that they must also deal with.

I enjoyed this book as well as the first one. I found the story quite entertaining. It drew me in & kept me reading later into the night than I should have. Like the first book, I do feel the need to warn the reader that a good deal of sex does take place in this book. And while it is not extremely graphic, it might make it inappropriate for younger readers.

“Revenge”

This was an interesting shorter tale focusing on another of the university’s greek houses, the Alpha Rho Sorority. It was nice to see that as diverse as humanity had become over the generations, that there more than one house contained members who were also descended from the gods. It was also interesting to see what happens when one of their members is looking for revenge for perceived wrongs and how they deal with it.

“Reclaim”

This book focuses mainly on the descendants of Nike and their work as Guardians, protecting humans from the gods who might seek to use them as pawns in the upcoming battle to take control of Olympus. I enjoyed reading this one and seeing how the gods in their “human” personas dealt with their daily lives while keeping secret their true mission to keep both worlds safe from the interference of the gods on humankind.

“Rectify”

This story is told from the point of view of Apate. At times parts of it overlap a bit with the other books in this set, but without attempting to combine them all into one very long story, there really isn’t any other way to tell Apate’s story without losing parts of her tale or parts of the other books I read before reaching this one.

I think that within this series so far, this story was my favorite one. All of them were very interesting and enjoyable to read but I believe this one had the most unique perspective from among any of the characters we have been introduced to thus far. The author showed us a side or Apate that none of the other books in this set did. I appreciated being allowed to see this other side of her and hope she will appear again in another book by this author. But as with the other books in the set, there is a good deal of sex throughout, making it somewhat inappropriate for younger readers. I, however, am looking forward to seeing this series continued in future tales of the Olympian Gods and their descendants.

Monday, June 17, 2019

"The Finest Challenge" by Jean Rabe

In this, the third book in the Finest trilogy, Kalantha has made her way back to the Palace and been reunited with her brother. She has learned much about the evil assassin birds who have attacked them repeatedly and brought him a book that explains much of what was previously unknown to them. Meven has realized that he was manipulated into starting the war, and that it is up to him to find a way to end it.

But Bishop DeNogaret is not yet done with his scheming and his plans to take control of the world. His minions are still actively working to see that he wins in the end. Can Kalantha & Meven manage to find a way to stop them and return peace to the lands?

Of the three books in this trilogy, I believe this one to be my favorite. Not only was it well written and well edited (many of the typos I noticed in the first two books were not present in this one.) Had I not needed to put the book down to sleep at night, I likely would have just read it straight through to the end.

The characters in this book were very interesting as well. While Meven was often oblivious to much of the way the world worked and treated people, his sister Kalantha was often forced by circumstance to see the things he never noticed. She saw how people in different areas of town treated those around them, or how the women were often assigned more and harder tasks to complete than the boys who were given much more freedom in their daily lives.

And while I won’t spoil the ending for you, I enjoyed the manner in which the author wrapped everything up and closed the story. For me it was a very satisfying ending to a very interesting series. Recommended.
"TheFin

Monday, June 10, 2019

"Dusk (Hero Society #3)" by Jessica Florence

Echo Cross’s parents were killed on her 16th birthday and she barely managed to escape being murdered as well. Why they were killed, she didn’t know. But it was also the day that she discovered that she had the power to transform into different animals. Until then she had been just an ordinary, average teenager living in her parents home on the reservation.

Years later, Echo is now a detective on the Seahill police force. Once again she manages to narrowly escape being killed by someone who has discovered she has unique abilities and who has left her nearly dead as they sought to learn more. While she does manage to escape, she is left so weak that she very nearly dies anyway.

If it weren’t for a kind man who found and rescued her, she would have not have survived. Thanks to his care she slowly managed to heal, but unfortunately seemed to be stuck in the form of a cat. It wasn’t until Phillip Griffin and his sister Rose arrive from the Hero Society to talk to him about his cat that anyone realized that she was actually much more…. As was the man who had rescued her.

Like the book before it, this story drew me in and kept me reading until I finished it. This has been a fascinating series so far and I am very much enjoying seeing how it will play out. Not everyone seems to appreciate the help of those gifted with special abilities, and in this book we learn that there are those who posses a type of magic as well. Each new part of the story adds something else to draw in the reader and makes me want to know what will happen next. I am looking forward to learning more about what is happening and where the story will take us.

One thing the reader does need to be aware of is that this is not a story meant for younger readers. While the sex in the book is not graphic, it is very clearly a part of the story and sometimes a little more descriptive than may be appropriate for younger audiences.

Monday, June 3, 2019

"A Curse of Torment" by E. A. Owen

Death and misfortune seems to follow and haunt Mary’s family. While there have been times of happiness in her life, they always seem to be immediately followed by multiple tragedies. Somehow she seems to be spared from the accidents that follow and steal all sources of happiness from her over and over again. But why? Will it ever end or is her family doomed to have their moments of happiness continuously destroyed in the worst possible ways?

I don’t often read books that seem to focus so much on the unfortunate things that happen in one’s life, and to have them happen over and over again through several generations made me begin to wonder if there really was a point to everything happening to this poor family? After a while there was a clear pattern and I could easily predict what was coming next or when happiness would turn to disaster.

In the end I did learn reason for the misfortunes that haunted this family. But after such a big buildup, to me the ending almost felt like it came too quickly. I felt as if everything were too neatly wrapped up in a bow to end the story. And as odd as this may sound, it doesn’t change the fact that I did keep reading to the end. Despite the fact that I saw much of the story coming, I enjoyed it enough to decide that I do want to read the sequel.

I don’t think that this story is for everyone though. One of the major plot points involves a young girl being raped and getting pregnant by a man who was supposed to be watching over her when her parents were away. (This event is not depicted in the book, the reader only learns about it after her pregnancy is discovered.) Still, it might be a bit of a trigger point for some and thus I felt a need to mention it.

Something about this story definitely stuck in my brain and keeps rattling around in there, making me think about it again as time passes. I’m not entirely sure that I can really explain what it is that keeps me thinking about it, but I will be continuing on and reading the next book. Maybe then I’ll be able to understand what it is about this story that has struck me so strongly. After all, a good story is one that keeps the reader not only engaged at the time, but thinking about it after they’ve finished reading it, right?

Monday, May 27, 2019

"Werewolf Nights" by Mari Hamill

Wereville’s claim to fame is their annual Full Moon Festival. Legend has it that the town’s population were originally descended from both scandinavian werewolves and werewolf hunters. Every year during the festival people dress up as either a werewolf or a Hunter and act out imagined scenarios of things that might have happened hundreds of years before. When a movie company chooses Wereville as the location to film the 3rd movie in the “Yellow Fangs” movie series, the townsfolk hope that the movie will bring in more tourism to the town and help keep everyone from needing to close up shop and move elsewhere.

Catherine runs the town’s bakery. She has had a rough life. First, the man she loves seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth never to be heard from again. Then, after marrying the man who had pursued her all through high school, he apparently dies in a boating accident after having run through Catherine’s inheritance and been accused of embezzlement. Now, she is struggling to pay her bills and keep the bakery going.

When the woman cast as the movie’s leading lady suddenly quits and leaves town without notice, the director decides to cast a local in the role instead. Catherine auditions and is chosen for the part. It seems to be a role she was destined to play as it was based on one her ancestors who married a man that legend claims was attacked by a werewolf on his wedding night. His love for his new bride was so strong it was said he remained and has waited for her return ever since, Is Catherine to meant to take the place of the werewolf’s lost love? Can she save both herself and any others who come across this cursed being before they are either killed or become werewolves themselves?

I enjoyed reading this story. The cover artwork and the setup for the story reminds me of old monster movies that I used to watch on TV when I was a kid. I believe this was the author’s intent when writing this book. It worked out very well and I found the story quite entertaining. I could very easily picture the scenes described in the book as if I were watching it instead of merely reading it. I found it to be a fun and entertaining story.

Monday, May 20, 2019

"The Bullybuster" by Clay Cormany

It began with Trevor Newsome being pushed down a stairwell at school. He was a notorious bully and had been terrorizing others at the school for quite some time. Then Colt Miller, another bully, was attacked and his nose broken in the boys bathroom. Each of them claimed to have been attacked by a robot, though their descriptions of their attackers didn’t match. Nor was any robot found anywhere nearby, so where was this mysterious device? And despite a thorough search of the school, how was no such robot found? And most importantly… who had built it and who was using it to attack the school bullies?

This was a very interesting young adult tale that dealt with high school bullying in a very realistic manner. It was also an entertaining mystery as the main character Owen needs to help his aunt, the school’s new principal, find the robot and those responsible for using it to attack other students before anyone else is hurt or possibly killed in a future attack.

This tale showed how often bullying goes unreported by both the victims as well as witnesses for many reasons. It also shows what can happen when those being bullied have had to deal with more than anyone should have to deal with on a daily basis. The results can cause devastating issues that the victims must often face every day for the rest of their lives.

What happens when the victims of extreme or repeated bullying stand up to or seek revenge against their tormentors? This book shows one very real possibility of what could happen. Given how quickly robotics are becoming a part of our everyday lives, I could easily see high school students, and possibly even middle school students, being capable of building a “bullybuster” to help solve their problems with school bullies.

I found this a well-written story, though the book did have a few issues of extra spaces appearing in the middle of words here & there. It caught and held my interest throughout the book. I would definitely recommend reading this story to anyone. So many kids in school are bullied every day and whether the reader was or wasn’t a victim or a bully in school, I believe they will still find it worth their time to read. Recommended.

Monday, May 13, 2019

"Of Wolves and Sheep" by S.E. Meyer

In the future, it is very important for people to get their “treatments” every week to avoid dying of Fleishman’s Disease, something that had been affecting more and more people each year. Those who couldn’t afford the highly expensive treatments for the disease would soon die from it, though more than likely they would be banished before then to live beyond the wall with the others who had been previously banished for one reason or another.

Montana (Anna) has lived her whole life inside the wall, following the rules and working her way up to become a Homicide Detective just as her mother had done. But now she is learning more about her mother’s murder as well as many other things. Can she, along with the one known as the Lone Wolf, solve the mystery of who had killed her mother and why before Anna winds up in the same position herself?

I really enjoyed this novella. It was well written and well edited. This book begins a fascinating series that drew me in & held my interest throughout the entire story. While only a fictional tale, it contains enough realistic behaviors and reactions to various stimuli that it is easy to see how what happens in the story could very easily begin to happen in today’s world. The ending of this book though is what truly makes me look forward to reading the sequel once it is released. (I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I’ve already pre-ordered my copy!)

If you enjoy dystopian fiction that contains enough of a parallel to things happening in today’s world, then I strongly recommend reading this book.

Monday, May 6, 2019

"A Queen's Spy" by Sam Burnell

Young King Edward of England lay dying, and with his death Lord Northumberland was about to lose the power over the country that he had obtained through his manipulation of the young monarch. In an effort to retain his control over the crown, Northumberland attempted to have Edward change the succession.

Instead of the having the crown passing from Edward to Henry VIII’s eldest daughter Mary (a devout Catholic) and should she not bear any children then to her sister Elizabeth (a protestant), through the altered succession, the crown would first pass instead to Lady Jane Grey and any children she should bear. Let’s just say that in the end, things didn’t quite turn out as Northumberland had hoped they would.

This was a stressful time for everyone involved. Religion was very important to the direction the country would take, and which religion that would be depended on who sat on the throne. Quite often, attempts to control which Queen would be the one ruling the country ended poorly for those attempting to influence the outcome.

This book seems to center mainly on the Fitzwarrens and their attempts to help influence the outcome of who will ultimately control England’s future. Richard Fitzwarren appears be willing to support whichever side will offer him the biggest reward for his help and support. Yet at the same time, his friendship to Elizabeth seems to compel him to seek to protect her. Which side he is truly supporting (Mary’s, Elizabeth’s, or merely his own), remains to be seen.

While I did enjoy reading this book, I do need to warn the reader that it is a very long book (778 pages to be exact.) It could have used a bit more editing/proofreading in spots. Parts of the story seemed to move more quickly than others, but the intertwining stories of the main characters and how they related to each other throughout was interesting enough to keep me reading. Though I will admit that at times I did feel the book continued for longer than I might have prefered, I’m not really sure where the author could have attempted to break this into two separate books. It may not realistically have been possible as ultimately it was truly one story.

Would I continue on and read the next book in the series? Most likely. Despite this one being a very long book, the characters and their interactions were quite interesting and did hold my attention enough to make me want to know more. And the ending of this book also held my interest and left me wanting to know more about the Fitzwarrens, as well as their relationships with Mary, and Elizabeth.

So ultimately, yes I did enjoy this book. If you don’t mind long historical fiction novels, chances are you will too. But if, on the other hand, you prefer shorter novels then very likely this one might not be your cup of tea.

Monday, April 29, 2019

"The Christmas Carousel" by Annabel Allen

When they were 16, Eric, Ashley, and Mark were among the best of friends. But when Mark’s grandfather passed away, everything changed. Mark’s grandfather had left his entire estate to his grandson in a trust. Mark’s guardians had been hoping to sell the property, but upon learning that they couldn’t, they still refused to allow Mark to remain living in the town. Instead, they insisted that he should attend an expensive school elsewhere. It would be 10 years before he would return to what had once been his childhood home.

When he did return, it was with the intent to sell the estate that had long ago held so much joy both for him and the rest of the town. When his grandfather had still lived, the town had held holiday celebrations at the estate. With his passing, the estate was closed down and the property became an overgrown, abandoned mess.

Ashley couldn’t understand why he was selling and leaving her behind once again. She remembered the fun they had all had before his family had moved. And even after the passage of all that time, she was still very much in love with Mark. Yet he seemed to vary between wanting to be around her and desperately trying to run away from her. The question was, why?

This tale was sweet and romantic. I enjoyed reading it. It carries with it the unspoken warning that sometimes you can risk your own happy ending by trying to always put others’ desires ahead of your own. What in many circumstances might seem to be the right thing to do can just as easily have the wrong outcome.

Monday, April 22, 2019

"The Mail Order Bride
and her Barren Shame"
by Florence Linnington

Ruth has had a rough life. In her youth, she lost the ability to have children of her own, then the factory where she was working was destroyed in a fire. After that, she decided to start her life over and accepted a marriage proposal from a man in California. She journeyed with a wagon train to meet him. Unwilling to wait any longer than necessary for her to reach him, Harrison decided to meet the wagons on their way to town. He was quite eager to reach his bride and start his family life with her and their future children.

But what Ruth found herself unable to tell him was that she would never be able to give him the children he craved. It was a secret that gnawed at her and one she knew that she needed to tell him about before it was too late, yet with each passing moment, it became more and more difficult to tell him the truth. She had already fallen in love with him and feared losing him the moment he learned that she could never give him a son.

There were many other things she could help him with, and many other ways in which she could help to make their life together better and stronger, yet knowing the one thing she could never offer him was what he desired most in the world, would he still want her or would it destroy any chance of lasting happiness between them?

I enjoyed reading this story. Ruth was a strong woman in her own right, though her fear of losing Harrison was very real and quite understandable. At this point in history, much of a woman’s perceived worth depended on her ability to give a man a family. When one does not share the impossibility of future children with the man she is about to marry, what is the chance that the man she loves will still consider her worth marrying? The two of these characters went through some rough times in their early relationship and I enjoyed watching them try to work through their problems to find their way together.

I did run across a few typos as I read, but they were generally small. And really, what book these days doesn’t seem to have at least a few typos that make it through the editing process? The story was interesting and took place in a new setting with different characters than I have run into in the previous books that I have read from this author. If this is the start of a new series by her, I look forward to seeing more of these books in the future.

"Creature Feature: A Horrid Comedy" <br>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 ...