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!

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

While attending the county fair with her boyfriend, Piper finds herself thrust into the middle of a major crisis. One of the rides malf...