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.

Wings of Ink by Angelina Steffort

Anya, after spending years in a Tavrasian Prison expecting to be killed, is instead given to the Crow Fairies. She is now to become the brid...