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.

Monday, April 15, 2019

"Conspiracy of Lies" by Kathryn Gauci

Sarah’s mother Claire, suffers her second heart attack after apparently reading a newspaper clipping about the death of an elderly German man that someone had sent to her from France. Sarah wasn’t familiar with the Frenchman who had sent her mother the notice, nor the man who had passed away. She was certain though, that this was what had triggered her mother’s most recent heart attack.

After recovering and being released from the hospital, Claire decides that she would like to visit France and would like her daughter to accompany her on the trip. Surprisingly, it is not the usual places that most tourists wish to see, but rather she wishes to visit somewhere she hasn’t even spoken of in her daughter’s memory. And once there, Claire begins to tell her daughter the tale of her life during WWII, a story that she has never even mentioned before.

Claire’s tale is one of love and heartbreak. Claire had been in France before the war had truly started, and had spent a number of years working various other jobs before finding herself in a unique position and being recruited to work with the Resistance as an undercover agent against the Germans. It was something Sarah hadn’t been aware of as well as the start of an amazing tale of her mother’s strength and bravery during a time of great hardship and loss.

I enjoyed reading this story. There was enough detail and expressions in the various languages used in the area at that time to bring the readers truly into the story and make them feel almost a part of what was happening. There were a few small typos that I ran into here & there, but not enough to really disrupt the flow of the action.

The story told by Claire to her daughter draws both Sarah and the reader of the book in and makes them want to know what happened and how it will all end. It has the reader both wanting Claire to get the happy ending, while at the same praying for her to succeed in completing the mission she has been assigned. And all the while, it seems to be fairly clear that the two possible outcomes are likely to be completely at odds with one another.

I am glad that I had the opportunity to read this book and will definitely be looking forward to the chance to read other stories by Ms. Gauci. She tells a very entertaining historical fiction tale in this book, and I hope to read more of her books in the future.

Monday, April 8, 2019

"Ghostly Paws" by Leighann Dobbs

When the town librarian is killed early one morning, everyone in town is left stunned. No one could understand why anyone would want to kill sweet, harmless Livinia. And when Lavinia’s ghost starts appearing inside the bookstore to tell Willa that she needs her to find the murderer, what else can Willa do? No one else seems to be able to see or hear any of the ghosts in the town, and Willa just can’t say no.

Fortunately, Willa has the help of her cat Pandora, though having not had Pandora in her care for long, Willa is as yet unaware of just how much help Pandora can be in these ghostly matters. There is magic and mystery afoot in Mystic Notch, and with it comes the age old battle of good versus evil.

I enjoyed this story. It was a fun and interesting little mystery that I found very entertaining. And as a “cat mom” myself, I loved the interactions between the house cats, the feral cat colony and the people who think they are caring for the animals (though as is often the case when one is partnered with a cat, it is usually the cat that is truly in charge.)

I think anyone taking the time to read this tale will find it as fun and amusing as I did. It is a very quick read and quite entertaining. I will be looking up more books in this series to continue reading about Willa, Pandora, and the other residents of Mystic Notch again soon. You can count on that!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

"In His Protection" by P.L. Harris

Melody Maddison is trying to solve a mystery. While going through her deceased mother’s belongings, she discovered a picture of her mother holding a newborn baby that was not Melody nor either of her older siblings. So who was this child and why had they never known about her?

When she begins asking questions about the baby, Melody starts receiving warnings to stop looking. And when she keeps investigating, those threats turn into attempts on her life. What is it that she has stumbled across that someone is willing to kill to keep from being discovered? Fortunately for Melody, Noah St. Reeve has taken it upon himself to keep her safe while they seek to learn the truth about her mother’s past.

The plot of this book grabbed my attention from the very beginning and held on until the end. I really wanted to know what would happen next as I read this tale. I do need to mention that there is one somewhat detailed sex scene in the book that is not really appropriate for younger readers.

The book itself could have used another round of editing/proofreading as there were more typos in the book than I would have liked to have seen while reading it. I discussed many of them with the author and she is attempting to have them corrected before final publication. If she is able to do so, I would rate this book one star higher on Amazon & Goodreads than I have currently given it. But make no mistake, this is a story that I do consider worth reading and did enjoy.

The story told by the author was well woven and very interesting. I enjoyed reading it and am interested in learning more of what is happening in Burrum Ridge as well as the secrets that everyone seems to be keeping from Melody’s family.

The teaser at the end of this book leading into book 2 in the series has also already captured my interest. I am looking forward to seeing what will happen in the next book when it is released. If you enjoy a good romantic suspense tale, I would recommend giving this series a try.

Monday, April 1, 2019

"The Finest Choice" by Jean Rabe

Kalantha has run away from her brother Meven and the bishop yet again. She isn’t aware of it, but this act of defiance has managed to save her life. Had she done as was expected of her, she would never have arrived at the religious settlement to which she was being sent.

The bishop needs her dead if he is to retain control of her brother’s rule. Meven has unknowingly been controlled by the bishop and used as a pawn in his evil schemes for a long time, with the bishop working from behind the scenes to rule the country as he sees fit.

Kal has never been one to do simply as she has been told, and having had a taste of freedom, even though things have not been easy, she cannot simply roll over and give in. She feels a need to find out who has sent the assassin birds after her and why, and though finding such information is not easy, she keeps looking. Can she find her answers before they find her? And what will happen when she learns the truth of who is behind all the hardships and killing that has been stalking her family before it is too late?

I very much enjoyed reading this story, though I do wish it had gone through another round or two of editing before publication. Although the story was amazing, there were more typos than I am used to seeing in this author’s books.

I am planning on continuing to read this series as I really want to know how it will end. There are plots within plots in this story and I am very interested in seeing how it will all come together in the end.

Monday, March 25, 2019

“Arthur Rex: In Principio ” by J.A. Cummings

Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with the legends and stories of King Arthur. But this version has a quite unique perspective on the boy who will one day become King.

Arthur was left by the druid Merlin to be raised and protected within Sir Ector’s household. With no idea who his birth parents were, Sir Ector’s family is the only one he has ever known, and even Sir Ector did not know who Arthur truly was. He only saw him as a child who was to be raised with his own family.

I do need to include for those reading this book a trigger warning as well as warning that this is not a book meant for younger readers. At one point, a young Arthur is brutally beaten after unsuccessfully attempting to stop the rape of another boy. At this point in history, rape of either sex was unfortunately a fairly common practice as those who were strong enough to take what they wanted often did so without concern for anyone but themselves.

Seeing his friend suffer through being raped sets the stage for Arthur’s future sense of how everyone should be treated, no matter who they are or what their station in life is meant to be.

I found this a fascinating story with a very original look into how the young Arthur will grow to become the great King Arthur of legend. It was well written and catches the reader’s interest from the very beginning. And while I did catch a few typos as I read, overall I felt that the book was well edited with excellent writing that made it quite difficult to put down.

All of the characters one expects to find in an Arthurian tale are there: the Ladies of the Lake, Merlin, the many Knights we have come to recognize as part of this story, and even the beginnings of those who will likely play a much bigger role in the next book in this series.

If you enjoy a good Arthurian tale, this is one you won’t want to miss. While it does contain a few scenes that are a bit graphic in their content, those scenes do fit with the nature of how life was at that point in history and are critical to showing how a young Arthur develops and grows into the man he is destined to become. Without them, it would not have been as clear as to why he believes so completely in what is right or wrong, despite how those around him seem to see things differently. I will definitely be waiting to see where the author takes this story next when book 2 in the series is released. Recommended.

Friday, March 22, 2019

"The Guardian" by Sara Mack
Audible version read by Sarah L. Colton

Emma has just lost the love of her life and is facing the nearly impossible task of learning to continue living without him. They had known each other for almost their entire lives. To have lost him in a car accident so suddenly, how could she be expected to go on? Her depression was so severe that her parents were at a loss as to how to help her recover and managed to bring home her closest friend to try and help her work though it.

Then Emma starts hearing James speaking to her. Was she going crazy? Was she imagining his voice simply because she missed him so? Or was there something more going on? Could he actually be talking to her? And if so, how?

Overall I enjoyed listening to this audiobook. It was well written and and the narrator did an excellent job of bringing the characters to life for her listeners. Each of the voices was unique and distinct enough to not confuse any of the characters with another. And as much of this story dealt with Emma trying to recover from a tragedy, her emotions were so clearly rendered that parts of the tale made me want to cry for her pain. I do, however, need to offer a trigger warning to those listening to this tale as at one point in the story there is a rather violent attempted rape that takes place.

There is a slight problem with the chapter numbers. While the chapters do continue in the correct order, when listing them at the beginning of each subsequent chapter, the book goes from Chapter 8, to Chapter 7, and then continued counting up from there. The listed chapter numbers continued through in the correct order and number. It was only in the narration of the numbers where they were incorrectly listed.

I believe this is a story worth listening to. It has definitely sparked an interest with me to learn more about the rest of the trilogy as well. I will have to look for the next book in the series to find out how Emma continues on her road to recovering from the loss of her true love, as well as to wanting to learn more of what comes of his journey as while may have died, he is not completely gone from her life. Recommended.

Monday, March 18, 2019

"The Girl and the Clockwork Cat"
by Nikki McCormack

Maeko is often referred to as a “street rat.” She lives on the streets of London, stealing and doing whatever else she must in order to survive. It is not an easy life and it often seems that everyone is against those who seem to have no other way to survive.

Yes, there are workhouses, orphanages, and jail cells where most street kids wind up spending a lot of time, but these are usually worse options than the streets themselves and are rarely somewhere anyone would choose to willingly go. The local police force, or “Literati,” seem to take a particular dislike to the “street rats” and are far too often rather violent when arresting them and taking them to one of their holding facilities.

When Maeko escapes being caught by the authorities after a botched robbery attempt, she soon finds herself in possession of a cat with a mechanical leg and in the middle of a mystery involving a number of murders that seem to be following both the cat and searching for the man who had created it. She is drawn into the hunt for the missing man and soon finds herself as one of those being hunted. Her life is soon as much in danger as that of the man so many are searching for.

I greatly enjoyed reading this book. The descriptions of what Maeko went through on a daily basis to keep herself fed, sheltered, and free of the Literati and other dangers made sense. When you need to do just about anything to keep yourself alive, you put up with a lot more horrific circumstances than you might otherwise be willing to tolerate. Maeko often had to do just that and worse.

This was the first book in a trilogy, and I am very much looking forward to continuing on with this series and finding out what further trouble Maeko will have to survive while on London’s streets. Recommended.

Monday, March 11, 2019

"On Bended Knee" by Celeste Bradley

Lysander Worthington had come home from the war “broken” inside. He could barely function and was prone to horribly uncontrollable rages where he couldn’t always remember what happened during those times. His mother was seriously ill & the doctors didn’t seem able to help her. As her condition worsened and it began to appear that death was imminent, Lysander was sent to find his missing brother Pollux and bring him home.

As he passed through a local festival in Yorkshire searching for a blacksmith to repair his horse’s shoe, Lysander had a run-in with a very angry Ram. And while he managed to keep everyone else at the festival from being hurt when the festival shelter collapsed, he wasn’t so fortunate when the building’s roof fell on top of him.

This was the sixth book in the Wicked Worthington series, though I had not read the previous five books in this series. I’m afraid that in the beginning this was a bit of a problem for me as I knew none of the characters or their histories before that point. It left me more than a bit confused as to who was being spoken of or what had been happening up to that point.

As I got farther into the book, I began to pick up some of the things I had missed out on by not having read the beginning of the series, and began to enjoy the story being told more and more. By the end of the book I was glad I did finish reading it, though I still felt a bit like I had been playing catch-up throughout, sometimes successfully, sometimes less so.

This book also could have used another round or two of editing. I encountered a number of typos that I would have liked to have seen caught before publication. Overall though, I did wind up enjoying the story and will likely seek out the previous books in the series to learn at least some of what I felt like I had missed.

My recommendation for anyone just starting to read this series would be to try to read the first 5 books before starting this one if you have not already done so. While it is possible to figure out much of what has gone before if you truly do not wish to wait to finish reading the others first, I believe you will enjoy the story more by reading them in order. Also, please also be aware that this is not a book meant for younger readers as there is a rather descriptive sexual encounter in the story.

Monday, March 4, 2019

"For the Killing of Kings"
by Howard Andrew Jones

For years, the Altenerai have been the protectors of the realm. Many people dreamt of joining their ranks someday, and though the war that made the names of quite a number of their members become almost living legends, there were just as many if not more who were lost, either through death or disappearance. Some believe that the days where one could earn fame and glory as a member of the Altenerai are gone, and currently the queen seems to favor a new corps comprised of mages rather than soldiers as the main defenders of the realm.

When N’lahr’s famed sword Irion is accidentally discovered by one of the Altenari to be a fake, some of the most capable of the realm’s defenders are soon found murdered. Something treacherous seems to be going on in the kingdom, and amidst this mystery someone is killing anyone who realizes things are not as they should be. Soon Kyrkenall, one of the most famous of the remaining Altenari, and Elenai, a squire, find themselves on a quest seeking answers with many of their companions hunting them down and trying to kill them before they can learn the truth.

I greatly enjoyed reading this book. The intricate twists and turns of the plot were fascinatingly complex and well thought out, many of which I honestly did not see coming. The growth of the characters was progressive and reasonably earned as they faced challenges that made them start to see things in new perspectives as they sought to find the answers to questions they did not yet know to ask.

I did find a couple of typos in the book, but they were small and far between. In general, the editing of the book was excellent and I often found myself simply reading and enjoying the story rather than noticing if there were other typos as I read.

At this point, about my only complaint is that I’ll need to wait for the next book in the series to be released before I can find out what will happen next. While the book does not end in a cliffhanger, there is still a lot remaining to be discovered. And given some of the plot twists that were happening, I really want to know what else is coming their way! I will very definitely be looking forward to the release of book 2 in this trilogy. Recommended.

Monday, February 25, 2019

"The Finest Creation" by Jean Rabe

While most might consider humans the dominant species on the planet, they are secretly being guided by the members of the Finest Court. These members appear to their charges in the form of a highly intelligent horse, though most humans don’t notice anything unusual about them, The Finest Court are favored by the Creators and are charged with aiding those they guide to become better than they might be otherwise.

Two young people, a brother and sister, seem to be unaware that they are at the center of a plot that could change the course of life in their country. Someone wants this brother and sister dead, though who that is or why they are so determined to assassinate these children remains unclear. Can the newly assigned Finest guide and protect his charges from those that seek to do them harm? And with his own mentor killed before he can truly be assigned and have his task explained, can this Finest manage to find a way to not only keep his charges safe from those seeking to bring about their deaths, but also to discover the truth behind what his task was meant to entail?

I enjoyed this story a great deal. The twists contained within were well crafted and kept me guessing about what was really going on. I truly enjoyed reading this story and am looking forward to seeing what happens in book 2 in this series, though I felt that this one could have benefitted from one more round of editing/proofreading as I caught a few more typos in the book than I am used to seeing from this author. Overall, it was still a very enjoyable story and one I am looking forward in reading more about in the sequel.

Monday, February 18, 2019

“Earth’s Angels (Adult Version)”
by Beth Worsdell

As the Earth died, it’s waters, land, and air poisoned, the animals and insects dead, humanity had thought the end was finally here. And for many, they were right. However an ancient race of aliens had visited the planet countless times in Earth’s history. They seemed to consider themselves a sort of caretaker of worlds and had helped humanity many times in the past. They managed to arrive in the nick of time to attempt to save many and to restore life as a whole on earth.

They possessed technology and abilities far beyond what humans were familiar with and began the long, slow process of healing the people, repopulating the animals & insects, and cleaning the waters, land, and air of the planet to make it once again habitable. It appeared that the planet would survive and eventually might thrive again, especially if those living on it could learn the lessons that many before them had ignored.

But there was another problem. The previous world that the Angels (as the humans called them) had saved contained a very violent species, one far worse than humans had ever been. And this race had decided that instead of remaining on their own planet and trying to improve things, that they were going to travel to Earth and take over that world instead. So now in addition to healing the planet and all its inhabitants, the Angels need to find a way to aid in Earth’s defense while still working to bring the planet back from the brink of extinction... if it can still be done.

I really enjoyed reading this story. While I can’t speak for whether or not an ancient alien race would come and rescue us if the end were here, the problems that led up to what happens were entirely plausible and very real. I could very easily see what happened to the Earth in this tale happening here as well. It may not be too late for us to fix a lot of the problems that nearly destroyed the planet in this story, but it will take a lot of effort from humanity to even begin to reduce the damage already done.

One thing to be aware of is that this is the Adult version of the book. There are a number of scenes that take place that involve sexual encounters that are inappropriate for younger readers.

This was also the first book in a new series. It was well written and very entertaining. I am glad that I had the chance to read it and will be watching for book 2 in the series when it becomes available.

I also enjoyed the fact that at the end of the story, the author includes a number of ways in which we can help to heal our own planet and improve things for humanity now, rather than simply waiting and hoping that someday a kind race of aliens will arrive to save us from our own mistakes.

One thing I did appreciate about this story, was that given the subject, it would have been very easy for the author to have written in a story scolding our race for its foolish past, but that was not the point of this tale. It was a story of kindness and redemption. A story of new possibilities and starting over. I appreciated the tone that she chose to use in this story and am looking forward to seeing where she will take her story from here.

Please Note: I've learned from the author that there is also a Young Adult version of this book available for anyone looking for something that is appropriate for younger readers.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

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

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

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

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

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Monday, February 11, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 4, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 1, 2019

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 28, 2019

"The Void Place" by Scott Telek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 21, 2019

"The Bride Ship" by Regina Scott

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 18, 2019

"Uninvited" by Carol Buhler

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

"Lillith" by Carol Buhler

Long ago, on a distant world, humans came and settled. They were initially welcomed by the natives, who happened to be highly intelligent creatures who mentally bonded with another from a species similar in form to humans, though not quite the same. It was a mutually beneficial relationship that seems to have worked well for centuries. But humans being as they are, eventually things between the races began to sour. The natives came to realize a need to hide themselves from the humans living on the planet and managed to erase themselves from all human memories.

For centuries, the differing races lived on the planet, with the humans completely unaware of the existence of anyone other than themselves living there. It seemed to work well for the natives, however as time passed, the human culture evolved and changed. Also during that time the natives slowly began to die out, their populations stagnating and not being replaced by new births. If such a trend were to continue, what would happen to the natives who depend on their bonded partners? Can they survive such changes, and what can be done to reverse what is happening?

Is it time to once again give the humans a chance to show that they have changed? And have they truly changed or have they merely survived whatever is preventing the native population from having children and continuing on?

I found this to be a very interesting story in a completely original world created by the author. I had a difficult time putting this story book down at night as I really wanted to know what was going to happen next in this multigenerational tale. Ms. Buhler has done a fantastic job in creating a very unique world and populated it with a just as unique people.

The problems faced by those races are ones that make sense in the context of the story. After all, when one people cut themselves off from everyone else, eventually they will stagnate and stop moving forward. And when that happens, there will inevitably be a lot of problems that must be dealt with if they are to have any chance of survival.

I believe this book will appeal to readers of all ages. It may be geared more towards Young Adult readers, but the story is well enough written that anyone should be able to enjoy it. It was the first book in an existing series and I do plan on continuing on to read more of this series in the future. It has certainly caught my interest and I can’t help but want to know both what will happen next as well as whether or not the native species can find a way to solve their childbirth problems, as well as whether or not they can learn to live with and trust the humans living on their planet once again.

Monday, January 14, 2019

"The Indian Bride and her Scarred Farmer" by Florence Linnington

Ceeh’eenesie is a young Arapao woman whose entire extended family has died from a fever that swept through their camp. She needs a new home, but knows that she is unlikely to find refuge in any nearby town due to her native american blood. Too many people feel that anyone who not white needs to live on one of the reservations that has been set aside for them. Unfortunately, such places are rarely good places for anyone, and not being allowed a choice in the matter is often a bitter pill to swallow. But what else can she do? Where can she go?

A trail guide who knew Ceeh’eenesie’s grandfather promised the man just before his death that he would help her find her a place where she could belong. And so he brings her to a farm on the outer edge of town, hoping to convince Michael Briggs to take in the young Arapaho woman. But Michael doesn’t trust anyone easily. He has also been hurt badly in his youth, and those injuries have left him scarred both physically and emotionally. Even if he can be convinced to take in Ceeh’eenesie, can there ever be even the slightest trust and understanding between them? Do these two nearly broken souls have any chance of even a simple friendship between them?

As always, I find Ms. Linnington’s Seeing Ranch Series to be a wonderfully enjoyable read. This one was particularly so. The problems faced by the characters in the story are so different than ones any of us are likely to face today, and thus not something I had ever truly considered before. I believe this one to be her best book in the series to date. I hope you will give it a chance as I consider it well worth the time spent reading it.

Monday, January 7, 2019

"The Darkest Hour: WWII Tales of Resistance -- An Anthology"

“The Darkest Hour: WWII Tales of Resistance -- An Anthology”

This collection of novellas written by a group of authors has created a very powerful collection of WWII stories for their readers to enjoy. Each story evokes quite the collection of images that stand out in their own way from each other. Each story is as good or better than the one before it. I had a hard time putting this book down to sleep at night, but I cannot regret any sleep lost while reading these amazing tales.

Some of these stories left me crying, while others were very inspiring in their messages of hope and a refusal to give up. The stories are placed all over the world and show us what life was like during WWII for those living in those countries during the war.

I loved reading this book and would strongly recommend it to anyone as a great collection of historical fiction stories and one well worth reading. Give this one a chance. You won’t regret it. Very Strongly recommended.

***All proceeds from this book will be donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Don’t miss out on this one.***

Bubbe’s Nightingale” by Roberta Kagan

As the first story in this anthology, I have to say that this was a very powerful way to start the book. Ms. Kagan‘s story starts off with an elderly woman finally telling her story of what it was like to live during the War to her granddaughter, how she managed to live and eventually find love after her family was forcibly relocated to the Warsaw Ghettos. I found myself crying while reading this story. Recommended.

“Catriona’s War” by Jean Grainger

When Catriona’s father disappears while he is on an undercover mission for the resistance, she is recruited to take his place and finish what he started. Some readers might have a slight problem with the fact that some of the story is written in French, but as Catriona was recruited because of her tri-lingual abilities, I felt it added to the story’s ability to draw the reader in.

“Reluctant Informer” by Marion Kummerow

What do you do when the Gestapo decides that they need you to spy on someone and inform them of illegal activities, when you just want to mind your own business and try to survive the hard times you are living in? And when the arrest your husband to coorce your assistance, can you even consider not helping them any longer?

“Killing the Hangman” by Ellie Midwood

Can a pair of the Czech Resistance manage to assassinate the mad many believe cannot be killed? Or will he survive and manage to kill them instead?

“The Moon Chaser” by Alexa Kang

Yuan Wen-Ying has the opportunity to set in motion a plan that will take down he Japanese commander who slaughtered masses of people in Nanking. But can she do it if it will also destroy the one who is willing to stand by her side through it all?

“Enemy at the Gate” by Mary D. Brooks

How can a scared, frustrated 13 year old girl find a way to to help the Resistance when everyone keeps telling her she is too young to fight?

“The Occupation” by Deborah Swift

A young British woman living on one of the Channel Islands, learns her German husband has been drafted and will be fighting for the Nazi Army. To make matters worse, neither she nor her best friend (a jewish woman) were able to evacuate before the island was occupied by the Germans. Can they find a way to survive what follows?

“Code Name Camille” by Kathryn Gauci

A young woman joins the Resistance fighters in France. But it appears there may be a traitor to their cause among the group. Can the one betraying the group to the German occupiers be found before their group is caught and killed?

“V for Victory” by John McKay

Can a young boy help to restore Freedom and Honor to Paris in the face of Nazi oppression?

“Sound of Resistance” by Ryan Armstrong

When an American teenager loses his mother in a break-in at his house, he is sent to Live with his uncle, a high ranking and sadistic Nazi leader. This story comes with a trigger warning. The harsh language and abuse in the story does serve a purpose, but my be a bit much for some readers.

"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 point...