Monday, November 30, 2020

"War Girl Ursula" by Marion Kummerow

 Living in Berlin during WWII was definitely not easy. Ursula Klausen had been planning to marry her fiance Andreas Hermann, but had hoped that he would be at the wedding with her. Unfortunately, with him not able to be granted leave from the Front, the two of them were married in absentia, so that if the worst were to happen, Ursula would still be entitled to a widow's benefits.

I found this to be a fascinating story. I have read other WWII novels before, but not many that take place in Germany with Hitler in power and from the German’s perspective. It provided quite a different point of view than I was used to seeing in regards to a war that is being experienced by the women and families who are left at home during the bombing raids and the other problems that must be faced every day.

This book was very well written. I truly enjoyed seeing the way the characters grew and progressed during their lives in a war-torn country where everyone is always suspicious of everyone around them. 

I would definitely recommend giving this book a chance if you are at all curious about what life was like for the women living in Germany during WWII. It gave a very unique perspective without falling into a stereotypical feeling that simply one side or the other was bad, but rather let us see how those living through it at the time may have seen things. It left me curious enough to want to continue on with reading the other books in this series.

Monday, November 23, 2020

"Good Sam" by Dete Meserve

Kate Bradley is a news reporter who is usually assigned to the disaster stories and other tales of misfortune. It is not the type of assignment that brings a reporter much in the way of notice or fame, but it is something she seems to be good at reporting.

But everything changes when she is assigned to follow the story of an anonymous Good Samaritan who has been leaving large amounts of cash for people who desperately need the help, but without any sort of reason given or seeking any word of thanks or acknowledgement for his good deeds.  And soon other random people seem to be following Good Sam's example and quietly helping others around them in whatever small ways that they can.

I enjoyed reading this book a great deal. Though the main character often questions whether or not "Good Sam"  has ulterior motives for his actions, she seeks out the truth as to who Good Sam is and why he is giving away such large amounts of money to complete strangers without wanting anyone to know about it. In today's world, we often hear the sad & depressing stories, but much less rarely do we get to hear about the happy and heartwarming ones. And in my opinion, we could all use more happy and heartwarming stories like this one these days.

It should also be noted that this book has been made into a Hallmark Channel film. I have not yet been fortunate enough to see it myself, but after reading this book, I will be keeping my eyes open for the chance to watch it the next time it airs.

If you enjoy heartwarming tales with a bit of a mystery behind them, then you definitely want to give this book a try. I don't think you will be disappointed, and it just might give you something to smile about in these often dark and depressing times.

I hope everyone will have a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday and will try to remember to be kind to both friends and strangers over the upcoming holiday weekend as well as during the rest of the year.

Monday, November 16, 2020

"Peace Talks" by Jim Butcher

After a few years away from this popular series, Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden is finally back!  It's no secret that this has been a favorite series of mine for quite a while, and the first thing I can say is that this book doesn't disappoint.

As the title suggests, the main plot of this book involves peace talks involving all the supernatural nations who had previously signed the Accords and will also include the Formor at this gathering. This alone is a big event, but add in the fact that there are members of the White Council who want to hold a vote about possibly rescinding Harry's status as a full wizard and that's only the beginning of the trouble that he will have to face this time around.

In this book, we get to see almost every character from the supernatural world that we have gotten to know in the previous Dresden novels, plus a few new ones. There is so much going on in this tale that it kept me spinning with each new problem encountered. (And trust me, as usual Dresden has to deal with more than just a few of them at once, all without ruining the upcoming peace talks.)

If you like a story with a complicated enough plot to keep you guessing at things, Harry Dresden stories, or paranormal interactions among a variety of beings, this book will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat and reading later into the night than you'd intended. I highly  recommend giving this whole series a try.  Be warned though, that the ending of this book leads you immediately into the next one in the series. So if you're like me, expect to need to run right out & buy that one too.

Monday, November 9, 2020

"Displaced" by Bridget E. Baker

There is a society hidden among the human populations of the world who are so much more than most people could ever believe. For one thing, they live thousands of years longer than a human's life normally lasts. They are the descendants of Eve, who was once expelled from the Garden of Eden.

Chancery is the twin sister of Judica. And many among this society think that as the elder twin, she should have been killed at birth as had been the tradition for thousands of years, but surprisingly her mother had refused to do so. And when something happened that caused their mother to declare Chancery as her heir instead of Judica, their world was suddenly turned upside down.

This was a very interesting young adult novel that deals with all the emotional turmoil that every teen seems to go through, as well as quite a few other issues and problems that no one should ever have to face. 

I enjoyed reading this book a great deal. It was well written & easily held my interest all the way through to the end.  It managed to show that not only are things not as simple as merely being black and white, but that the many shades of gray in the world often make life not only more difficult, but more interesting. 

I'm looking forward to reading the next story in this series to see what happens next. This is very definitely a series that I will be continuing to read.

Monday, November 2, 2020

"Irish Mail Order Bride
and her Guarded Suitor"
by Florence Linnington

 Lorna and her younger sister Caitlin had moved to America hoping to find a better life, but instead found one that was even more difficult than what they had left behind. Those who were Irish, it seemed, were hated and treated quite poorly and often wouldn't be hired simply because they were Irish. 

Nearly at the end of their ropes, Lorna is thrown a lifeline when someone turning her away from an already filled job explains to her about the possibility of becoming a mail order bride, and before long Lorna and her sister are soon on a train to the town of Evergreen where Lorna will marry a shop owner named Peter.

As with her other books, Ms Linnington has woven an interesting tale of two people from different walks of life who are brought together to see if they can find a way to make a life together, perhaps even finding love if they are lucky.

In this case, not only do Lorna and Peter have much to overcome if they are to make a life together, but they have the added difficulties involving a man from Peter's past and some townsfolk who are prejudiced against the Irish and who will do almost anything they can to drive Lorna & her sister away.

This book had a number of interesting twists that added a great deal to the story. And of course, one of my favorite things about Ms Linnington's books involves my being able to trust that they will end happily, no matter how unlikely that may seem at times.

"Irish Mail Order Bride and her Guarded Suitor" by Florence Linnington

Monday, October 26, 2020

"The Drowned" by Kevin Partner
and Mike Kraus

 On what started out to be a beautiful summer day, many people began their day enjoying the nice weather at the beach. Unfortunately for most of them, something had already been set into motion that while meant to help save the world, could very well wind up almost destroying it.

The ocean water levels around the world suddenly all began rising quite drastically, sending anyone who was able, running for higher ground and struggling to stay ahead of the rapidly rising water. Some were successful, but most were not.

This first book tells us the tale of what caused the waters to rise and how those who escaped the initial danger managed to survive in a vastly different landscape than most had ever lived in before. I found it to be a fascinating book, and one that was often hard to put down.

It was well written and easily held my interest throughout the story, leaving me wanting to know what would happen next. There are still many unanswered questions and characters struggling to reach lost loved ones they hope to find alive somewhere. Many other folks were left simply hoping to find a safe haven somewhere that also could provide enough food and drinkable water to allow them to survive, while still others resorted to piracy and other atrocities to get by.

I am definitely interested in seeing where this story goes next. I think it would also be of interest to anyone who enjoys apocalypse or disaster stories, or possibly  those with an interest in potential end of the world scenarios. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to read this book and will be looking forward to the next one in the series as well.

Monday, October 19, 2020

"The Mother's Helper" by Brenda Maxfield

This was a sweet short story about Nancy,  a young Amish woman who was staying with a relative’s family, helping them out after they'd had a new baby. It was a situation designed to try and give her some space and time away from the sister that she felt had betrayed her.

This was a very quick read, but one that I wish had been longer. I feel like I was just getting to know the characters when the story ended. I wanted to know more, but then isn't that the problem with most short stories? I guess I'll just have to track down the next book in this series if I really want to know what comes after the ending of this story.

Unfortunately, that means I can't say too much in this review without giving away the whole story and the ending. So for now, about all I can say is that I enjoyed it and am curious to see what happens next. I believe that it is something that others might enjoy reading as well.

Monday, October 12, 2020

"Ghosted By You" by Tiegan Clyne

Miller College's Parapsychology Department is the home of an investigative television show known as "Ghost U." The show centers around a group of university students from the school who research paranormal activity and seek to prove the existence of real ghosts, helping out the residents of potentially haunted locations in the process of solving whatever mystery they are facing.

This time around, the network that supports the show has decided to add a new dynamic to the cast, having hired a female psychic to assist the 3 male investigators, hoping to shake things up and add some new excitement to the show. But at least one of the cast members hates the idea of psychics, believing them all to be fakes who hurt others more than they ever help anyone. Can this new group find a way to actually manage to work successfully together?

I really enjoyed this story. It had a number of interesting twists that added to the excitement within the book.  I do need to warn readers that this is a reverse harem story, containing some rather detailed sexual encounters. It was all very well written, but it does mean that this book is not appropriate for younger readers.

The story is well put together and did keep me interested throughout. Character conflicts that developed were well explained and made perfect sense in relation to the rest of the story.

All in all, I was glad to have read this book, and the ending teaser for the sequel has me looking forward to the next book in the series. If you enjoy reverse harem stories, or tales that have a hint of a darker twist to them at times, I think you would enjoy this one.

Monday, October 5, 2020

"Mail Order Bride and the Gift of Children"
by Florence Linnington

 After the nearby town's mine collapse killed most of the men, the women of the area were left behind with children they needed to find a way to support. In most cases, the best option turned out to be to become a mail order bride and try to start again somewhere else.

Eliza found herself fortunate to marry a man who worked & lived in the nearby town of Evergreen. But what neither of the couple realized was that through a missing part of the page where her ad seeking a husband had been located, he was unaware that she came into the marriage with two children.

This misunderstanding set the stage throughout the book for future difficulties and other misunderstandings that wind up making their relationship and ability to trust each other much more difficult.

As always with Ms Linnington's stories, I truly appreciate the fact that no matter the difficulties they encounter, and in this case there were a great number of issues for the family to overcome, that the book will end happily for all involved.

The story is, as always, well written and something to be enjoyed. Anyone who enjoys a good mail order bride story should enjoy this one as well.

Monday, September 28, 2020

"Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine"
by Michael A. Gordon

When Barnaby Brown and his mother moved to the United States from England after she received a job offer that was too good to refuse, he was at first understandably upset. But in a short amount of time he was once again finding his way, making new friends, and coming to enjoy his new home and the family that he now has the chance to get to know as well.

Soon after moving into his uncle's house, Barnaby & friends discover that his Uncle Finch had invented a time machine, and they manage to convince the man to take them back in time to see some historical events. 

It seemed safe enough, until while in the past Uncle Finch is taken prisoner by Nazi soldiers during WWII. Barnaby and his friends are able to get back to their own time, but they can't leave Uncle Finch in the past. Out of necessity, they need the help of Barnaby's mother and her boss, who owns a weapons development company, to return to the past with them to rescue Uncle Finch without accidentally changing history. What could possibly go wrong?

This was an interesting young adult story that contained some rather interesting twists along the way. The first thing I liked about it was that it allowed the reader to experience some pieces of history without feeling like they were being taught a lesson in school.

The story itself was fun, creative, and entertaining. It was well written and easily held my interest throughout the tale. And for anyone worried that this book was just one big history lesson, worry not. There was much more to this tale than just a couple of short trips into the past.

The plot of this book takes an interesting turn into the realm of science fiction/fantasy. At this point, I don't want to say too much about what happened, but I will say that it added an unexpected twist that enhanced my overall enjoyment of the story. It also sets things up for an interesting next book in the series.

If you enjoy books with a touch of history, adventure, science fiction/fantasy stories, and time travel adventures, you might want to give this one a try. It should be right up your alley.

Monday, September 21, 2020

"Creature Feature: A Horrid Comedy"
by Steven Paul Leiva

 This book is set in 1962, focusing primarily on Kathy Anderson, a young actress who has been playing the role of Vivacia, the Vampire Woman on the television show "Vivacia's House of Horrors" for a local Chicago station. But now she is ready to move on to a new phase in her life after a short vacation to visit her parents. But all is most definitely not what it first appears in the quiet little town of Placidville. And monstrous fun has taken over.

I really enjoyed this book. I grew up watching shows like “Son of Svengoolie” and MSTK 3000” on WGN out of Chicago, which played the same sort of shows as would likely have run on Vivacia's late night show. This book was funny & with the occasional aside from a narrator inserting commentary about things happening in the book, just like the sort of things that happened in the late night monster movies that I watched when I was younger.

I found this to be a very fun book to read. It was quite funny and had the feel of being curled up watching an old monster movie on TV in the wee hours of the morning. It even had me wanting to argue with the characters just as I did back when watching those old creature feature movies when I was younger.

I'm very glad that I read this book. If like me, you grew up watching old monster movies on shows like “Son of Svengoolie” and “MSTK 3000,” then I believe you'll enjoy this book too. I would say to definitely give this one a try. Recommended.

Monday, September 14, 2020

"Fairytale: A Modern Fairytale Anthology"

This is a collection of fairytale retellings. But be warned, this is definitely not a collection of stories that is meant for a younger audience. Several of the tales contain rather explicit and detailed sexual encounters. As such, be warned that this book may not appeal to your tastes if you prefer the "fade to black" scenes that are often used in young adult stories. This is a collection of adult fairytales. 

 There are times when I prefer the young adult versions, but in this case I did enjoy reading all of the stories in this anthology, sex scenes and all. The stories were interesting as well as entertaining. I read and enjoyed each of the authors' unique takes on the fairytales they have recreated as their own. 

Some of the stories may someday become parts of larger tales about their chosen characters, and I think that if I come across them in the future, that I would enjoy seeing where else the author chooses to take the characters I read about here.

This is a book meant for those who enjoy more adult versions of the tales they may have heard as children or who enjoy a new twist on a familiar old tale from their childhood. If that describes you, I would recommend giving this collection of interesting stories a try

Monday, September 7, 2020

"The Perrault Vow" by Addie J. King

 Janie Grimm and her fiance Aiden are planning their wedding, which will take place at their house. As if that wasn't stressful enough, Janie & her housemate Mia are taking the Bar exam. And of course, a magical mystery in the form of a long ago hidden pair of glass slippers being left on the steps of their house, as if they were meant as a wedding gift, falls into their lap during the middle of it all.

This book centers around the tales of Charles Perrault, the french writer that many might more easily recognize under the name of Mother Goose. I grew up reading those tales, though the versions I read as a child were likely not as dark as the original tales.

In this book, Perrault was a human who had become aware of the dangers of many magical items & beings. He had gathered & hidden away as many such items as he could, including the glass slippers. So now Janie & her friends need to figure out how the shoes arrived at her door, who left them there, as well as what to do about all of it. Unfortunately, the one person who knows the truth of what took place back in those days is bound by a magical vow not to reveal the location of the hidden items.

I enjoyed reading this story. I have always enjoyed fairy tales and the many variations that I have been fortunate enough to come across over the years have always been entertaining. While this book may have been centered around the tale of Cinderella, it also included a number of other recognizable fairy tale references worked into the story.

Ms. King has succeeded in holding my interest in this book, as well as in the previous ones in the series. I would gladly return to read more of these books if she were to decide to continue on with the series, but given what is shared in the epilogue, I doubt that she currently has plans for this series to continue. 

If you enjoy reading twisted fairy tales or stories of the faerie realms, I do recommend giving this book, as well as the previous ones in the series a try. I found them all to be very enjoyable.

Monday, August 31, 2020

"Kitty Confidential" by Molly Fitz

 When trying to get an ancient coffeemaker in the office to work, Angie is accidentally electrocuted by it instead. When she awakes, she discovers that the cat who was there for the reading of his owner's will is sitting on her chest and complaining… and that she alone can understand everything he is saying.

Octo-Cat, as she soon starts calling him, tells her that his human had not died of natural causes, but had instead been murdered. Now he needs her to help him both prove that fact and to bring the killer to justice.

This was a fun little cozy mystery and a great introduction to the "Pet Whisperer P.I." series. Belonging to several cats myself, I enjoyed seeing Angie and Octo-Cat become acquainted & learn how to live with each other as they work together to find a killer.

The author did a great job of showing the true behavior of a cat at both his best and his worst, as well as how even someone who may claim to not really like the cat at first can rapidly realize that they do love the little fuzzball after all. (Just ask my husband, a man who at first merely tolerated my cats, but eventually came to be claimed as "her human" by one one of them.)

I enjoyed this book and will very definitely be continuing on and reading more of the books in this series. Recommended for anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries and fun cat tales.

Monday, August 24, 2020

"Andromeda's Reign"
by K.S. Haigwood & Anne Conley

In the beginning of this book, Andromeda has gone with Ace to train as an Alpha in Las Vegas. Her pack will be under the authority of her Beta for the next month while she is gone, though they can easily contact her should the need arise.

That month will be a difficult one with Andromeda fighting against the growing feelings she is feeling for Ace & trying to hold onto her love of the vampire (Pheonix). But is that even possible or will she wind up falling for Ace? And if she does, are any of those feelings real? After all, she and Ace seem to need to stay close enough to physically touch each other or they both suffer.

Like the first two books in this series, I enjoyed this one. Watching Andromeda learn more about herself as well as Ace, his pride, and what it means to be the Alpha of a group was something I greatly enjoyed. Like anyone else does in life, everyone in this story made mistakes. Whether those mistakes involved feelings or knowledge shared/kept secret, it made the characters all the more relatable.

I loved the ending and the surprise contained therein, but it feels like there is another book in the series that has yet to be written. (At least I'm assuming it has yet to be written as I couldn't yet find it on Amazon.)

And while yes, the ending did wrap up my questions from this book, it left me very much wanting to find out what will happen in the next one. I want to see how the characters will deal with the new challenges & difficulties that they were left with at the end of this book. Clearly, I'll just have to wait to see what happens once the next book comes out, and I will be waiting as patiently as I can.

Monday, August 17, 2020

"Burdened Mail Order Bride
and her Reserved Widower"
by Florence Linnington

Jane has not had an easy life. Raised in an orphanage and from there winding up homeless, marrying an abusive man, and once again finding herself about to be homeless after her husband died, she sought a way out as a mail order bride.

Unfortunately, it turned out the man who paid her way out west was not seeking a wife, but women he could trap into becoming saloon girls working for him and forcing them into selling their bodies to his customers. 

But luckily a kind piano player rescued Jane from this deceitful and cruel man bringing her to the nearby town of Evergreen where she could work at Cassidy's saloon, a place where the women were paid & treated well, and where they didn't sell themselves to the customers.

I enjoyed reading this story. Unlike in some of her other books, we were given the chance to see the ways many women who were unfortunate in how their lives had progressed sometimes were forced to resort to in order to support themselves when they didn't have a man to protect and care for them.  It showed us a sometimes darker side of the lives people were often forced into through a lack of other options available to them.

And yet, despite the harshness of life, as with her other stories, I had to believe that this story would have the happy ending that I have come to expect from Ms. Linnington's tales. This book did not disappoint me, though there were many twists and turns that Jane needed to overcome that some of Ms Linnington’s other characters have never needed to face.  

As with her other books, if you enjoy a good mail order bride tale, I would suggest giving this one a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Monday, August 10, 2020

"The Bunyan Barter" by Addie J King

Shortly before Thanksgiving, Janie Grimm and her housemates are awakened in the middle of the night by a very large man in a red flannel shirt chopping down the tree in her back yard while sobbing about someone having been taken. 

 After calming everyone down and realizing they are in no danger from their late night visitor, everyone returns inside to start up the coffee, breakfast, and call up the rest of the F.A.B.L.E.S. group to come and help solve the mysteries involved in this tale. 

 This book was centered around mainly American Legends and Tall tales. In this case Paul Bunyan's blue ox Babe has been kidnapped and someone is threatening to kill him if the apple heir is not brought to a meeting happening on the American Holiday. There's just one small problem… no one knows who the apple heir is, where exactly the exchange is supposed to take place, or what the real motive behind it all actually is. 

 This time around, we get to see & learn about a lot of those who are featured in American tall tales and legends. Most of the new characters encountered were ones that I had grown up hearing about, plus a few that were new to me. The ones that I was familiar with were portrayed much as I would have expected them to be, with enough extra personality added in so as to not have them come across as solely one dimensional characters. 

 I enjoyed this story, as well as the emotional conflicts that were happening as part of the secondary background tale, allowing us to see all the characters as fully developed individuals with problems of their own to deal with while they were busy trying to help solve magic and legend-based troubles. 

I believe that anyone who enjoys tall tales or stories of legendary historical figures will get a kick out of reading this one. I myself found it a very fun story to read and one that contains a great deal of emotion.

Monday, August 3, 2020

"Shadow of the Champion"
by Clara C. Johnson

After her adventure in “Rise of the Champion,” Serra was given the title of Champion of Adhelm and sent immediately on a mission to arrange a peace treaty with the Queen of Crelia. But as always, nothing is ever simple or goes as planned.

From the very beginning, Serra and her companions run into one problem after another, and at first it even seems as if they made the voyage from Sostar for nothing. But it appears that fate is finally on her side when an opportunity presents itself that could prove Serra's worth to the queen and maybe even give her a chance to accomplish her mission.

This story takes quite a number of unexpected twists along the way, sometimes helping Serra move forward on her task for the queen, and other times causing her to fall back several steps & almost needing to start over from scratch.

But each encounter, whether helpful or problematic for the characters, kept me reading and wanting to know what would happen next and whether or not Serra would be able to solve the queen's request and accomplish her mission, or whether they would have to return home unsuccessful in brokering peace between the two countries. (But don’t worry, I won’t spoil the ending for you.)

I think readers will enjoy this book, especially if they read and enjoyed the first book in the series. As in the first book, the author has woven a story that made me want to keep reading to find out what would happen next. I'm already looking forward to reading the author's next book to learn what will happen in the third book in this series as I have definitely been enjoying it so far.

Monday, July 27, 2020

"The Amish Bachelor" by Samantha Price

Isaac Fuller was content with his life as it was. He worked in his father's company and planned to take over from him someday. He had also been dating Mary Lou for the past two years. His life seemed pretty close to perfect.

But then one day he walked in to find a woman he didn't know sitting at his computer and doing his job. And then Mary Lou started pressuring him to set a wedding date… something he just wasn't ready to do yet.

This was an interesting and sweet Amish Romance tale. It starts out simple & deals with a man whose world is rapidly being turned upside down, seemingly all at once. Can he find a way to regain control of his life without making a bigger mess out of everything?

I enjoyed reading this book. While I was able to guess at most of what happened in the plot, I still enjoyed it. The story was well written and interesting. It was a nice relaxing weekend read. And it left me interested in reading more of the books in this series in the future.

Monday, July 20, 2020

"The Dead of Jerusalem Ridge" by Jean Rabe

This is the fourth book in the Piper Blackwell Mystery Series, and the first thing I need to say about it is: Wow! This book starts out with Piper crawling through a muddy forest tracking someone, and the action doesn't let up any from there.

As expected, there is a murder that Piper and her deputies need to solve, but there is also so much more happening. And in the middle of everything else, Piper finds herself dealing with the awful after-effects of what was supposed to be a harmless paintball game with friends that wound up going horribly wrong. And it left her trying to figure out what exactly had happened. It was a question that weighed heavily on her mind, haunting her memories in a way that she just couldn’t let go of without some understanding of what actually went so wrong that day.

I love how Ms. Rabe gives us such full, well rounded characters and isn't afraid to show them dealing with a good number of very personal issues while still managing to keep the story on track, as well as keeping her readers drawn completely into trying to figure out who committed the murder and why.

As always, her book was very well written and practically impossible to put down so that I could sleep at night. (The ending even left me with a smile.) If you enjoy reading mysteries, I highly recommend giving this one (and the whole series) a try. You really won't regret it.

Monday, July 13, 2020

“The Gender Secret” by Bella Forrest

This was the sequel to “The Gender Game”

Violet has been set up to be used as a pawn by both the Matrian and the Patrian societies. She is being blamed for the murder of the Matrian Queen as well as the attack on the Patrian King. As such, it seems that both societies are now after her and the egg that she had successfully retrieved. Why this egg is so important even she doesn’t know, but it seems that both sides desperately want it and are more than willing to kill her to acquire it.

On top of that, Viggo is left to believe that she has betrayed and tried to kill him as well. So when the Patrian King makes him an offer to go find and retrieve her, is it any surprise that he would agree to join the hunt for the girl he had been falling for?

I really enjoyed reading this book and had a very difficult time putting it down to sleep at night. I have been totally hooked on this series and can’t wait to see where it goes after the end of this book and what we learned within it. (There is definitely much more going on here than first appears, but I won’t spoil that surprise for you.)

Monday, July 6, 2020

"Shamed Mail Order Bride and Her
Ex Outlaw" by Florence Linnington

Odette was used to living in luxury & getting everything she wanted. But suddenly she was told by her parents that she would wed Mr. Hawthorne, a boorish self-made man whose only apparent redeeming factor was that he was rich. It was a marriage that did not appeal to Odette’s image of how her life was meant to unfold, but it seemed that she was to have no say in the matter.

Odette cannot bring herself to accept this mannerless man as her fiance despite her parents’ wishes, and runs off to the town of Evergreen to marry a farmer, believing that anything had to be better than being forced to wed Mr. Hawthorne. But is she truly prepared for the harsh reality of what life in a small Wyoming town is really like?

Once again Ms. Linnington has written an enjoyable tale about two people starting out as strangers who appear completely unsuited for each other can come together, embracing those same differences to slowly discover a true and honest love.

Even though I know when starting to read a new one of her stories that things will end happily , I enjoy seeing how the characters overcome their challenges along the way to discovering their happiness together. And in this case, both Odette and Wyatt have a number of obstacles between them. Seeing how they get through it all is what makes me enjoy their story.

"Midnight Moonrising" by
K.S. Haigwood & Anne Conley

As if learning she was a werewolf, that her husband had been the pack Alpha, and that because she had killed him she was now the Alpha wasn't enough, Mena has been having a mental battle with her wolf. A battle that she appears to be losing by the fact that her wolf has been able to take control of Mena's body almost whenever she wants, regardless of what Mena desires.

It doesn't help that Mena loves a vampire by the name of Pheonix, but her wolf can't stand him and instead wants Alex, the detective who is trying to find the person who murdered Mena's husband. Being mortal, the detective is unaware of the existence of werewolves, vampires, or witches & must not be told the truth. Add to that the fact that some of her pack have rebelled & do not want Mena to be their Alpha, and there seems to be more than enough trouble for her to overcome in this book. But honestly, that's just the beginning. From there the hits just keep coming.

I liked this book a lot. It was fast paced and kept throwing surprise after surprise at me as I read. Parts of the book could have used another round of editing, but the story more than made up for that. But do be warned that this is not a story meant for younger readers as some of the details are a bit graphic.

I enjoyed the twists this story took & am looking forward to seeing where the authors will take this story next. I will definitely be continuing on by reading the next book in this series.

Monday, June 29, 2020

"Dream Angel" by Jo Wilde

Every few years, Stephanie (Stevie)'s mom would suddenly up & move the two of them from one tiny town in the middle of nowhere to another one somewhere else that was equally as remote, and where they would have to start out all over yet again. This time it had happened on her birthday, with her mother whisking her away from the few friends she had made without even a real chance to say goodbye.

But this is where things started getting weird. In the expected small town in New Orleans where they wound up, Stevie became friends with an older woman who could speak with the dead. There were also the usual "frenemies" in her new school, as well as a boy who may not be what he seemed.

There was a lot going on in this book. The plot twists started almost from page one and kept coming all the way through to the end. And every time I thought I had something figured out, I soon learned that I was wrong.

I liked the way that the author included a bit of southern slang when the appropriate characters were speaking. It added another level to the writing in the story that I appreciated. I do, however, wish that the book had undergone another round with an editor as it would have cleaned up a lot of the other issues I encountered.

Overall though, I did enjoy reading this book. As I mentioned above, the plot twists kept me guessing as to what was about to happen and the true motives of the characters all the way to the end of the book. And to tell the truth, I'm still not entirely certain that I really understand what was happening in the end. I think that I'm going to need to read the next book in the series to actually grasp the truth behind all the twists as well as to see what will happen next.

Monday, June 22, 2020

"Residuum: Ghosts of Southampton (Book 2)" by I.D. Johnson

This was the conclusion to Meg and Charlie's story. After almost losing the chance to find love with each other, they had both survived the Titanic's sinking and Meg’s introduction to Charlie's family. Life has not been easy for them, and became less so after having barely survived the Titanic. Now, they need to survive their engagement party and let the world know that Meg was still alive. After that, they will need to deal with Meg's past before they can face a new future together.

Like the previous two stories in this series, I greatly enjoyed reading this book. The author did a very good job of letting us see into the heads of her characters as they came to grips with what they have lived through and find a way to deal with the trauma that was left behind.

Each of the books in this series were very hard to put down at night. These stories are ones that I think anyone who has enjoyed the rest of the books in this series will also want to read.

One small warning, however, part of the trauma that one of the characters must deal with involves her having grown up in an abusive home. While I don't believe there was anything graphically described in this book, the reader should be aware that dealing with being a trauma survivor is one of the themes of this book.

In my opinion, it is a story that is well worth reading.

Monday, June 15, 2020

"To End All Wars" by David Tallerman

In the middle of WWI, Forrester is leading a raid against the German army. It doesn't seem to be going well for him, and after calling for a retreat back to their side of the front, Forrester is hit by a bullet in the leg.

While struggling to make it back alive, there is an unusual light in the night sky. After that, everyone he stumbles across on both sides of the front appears to be sleeping. Gas masks didn't protect from the effect, and Forrester isn't able to wake any of the sleeping soldiers.

When found by his fellow soldiers, Forrester is quickly taken to a recovery center, where he quickly realizes that something is not right. He is constantly locked in his room & kept isolated from the other patients in the house. And then the instances where everyone around him falls into an unwakeable slumber start happening. Clearly there is more going on than he is being told about. But what is it?

This was a fascinating story. The farther I read, the more the story pulled me in. There is so much more going on here than just a tale of WWI, and while I would like to delve more into what is happening, I don't want to give away what is clearly a major plot point of the story.

There is a cost to war that goes beyond the toll it takes upon a person, but when something happens that could possibly end not just the one battle, but potentially stop all wars, is there any price that would be too high to be worth no more wars? And who gets to decide what is right or wrong? And also, who would be willing or able to stand up and do what is right, no matter the cost?

This story really made me think. After all, is there too high a cost for peace? And when is one being's suffering worth the cost or is it too high of a price to be paid? These are only some of the questions that this story made me think about. I found it to be a well written tale & one that I am glad that I had the opportunity to read. I believe that others will too. Recommended.

Monday, June 8, 2020

"Wonderland Woes" by Addie J King

First they received donuts with the phrase "EAT ME" written in frosting on them, then a bottle of wine with the phrase "drink me" showed up, then there's a white rabbit in the yard. What's next?

It seems that a trip to Wonderland is likely the next destination for Janie and her friends and family. But why? What is going on in Wonderland that is about to require their help. And exactly how similar or different are the rules of Wonderland from the realm of faerie that they are already familiar with?

As a long time fan of fairy tales I was highly entertained by this story and the very unique spin that the author placed on a story that many have likely read (or who watched the Disney Animated Movie) as children.

I enjoyed the author's take on the familiar characters and her descriptions of what has likely happened in Wonderland since Alice had first visited there oh so many years before. All the outrageous characters I expected to see appeared in this story in often unexpected ways.

As with her other books in this series that I have read so far, I enjoyed this one as well. It was great fun to see the familiar characters grow and watch how they dealt with new and unexpected challenges. If you enjoyed her previous books in this series, you should enjoy reading this one too.

Monday, June 1, 2020

"Big Beautiful Mail Order Bride
and her Lost Man" by Florence Linnington

Rosalind's father has recently passed away, leaving her with his rather large gambling debt to pay off. Unfortunately, as he had gambled away any savings they may have once had, she has no way to do so, though one of the debt collectors seems to be interested in making a bargain for her virtue in exchange for the debt payments.

Unwilling to accept such an offer, she attempts to find another option as a mail order bride. To her pleasant surprise, a man named Cassidy is looking for a woman to marry, and almost immediately Rosalind flees from her home seeking the hope of a new life, even if she isn't exactly what Cassidy is likely expecting to show up.on his doorstep.

I've said it before, I enjoy Ms. Linnington's stories. She always provides us with interesting characters that seem like they may never connect, often due to one or both of them hiding something important about their past. In this case, Cassidy had not mentioned that he has a son or anything else about his past, and Rosalind's picture in the catalogue was extremely out of date from her current appearance. And of course, there was also the unpaid debt that she ran away from.

Watching the two of them getting to know and trust each other, as well as seeing how Rosalind learns to connect with Casey's son Dillon, a boy who at first resents the idea of another woman replacing the mother he never knew, was also entertaining.

Ms. Linnington is very good at delivering interesting and inspirational stories of couples coming together, often having to learn how to trust again, and eventually (despite all obstacles in the way) finding love. I have always enjoyed that I can count on her to provide me with a happy ending, no matter what may come first. And in this book, as with her others, she once again does not disappoint. It was a fun and inspirational tale that I most definitely enjoyed reading.

Monday, May 25, 2020

"Titanic: Ghosts of Southampton Book 1"
by I.D. Johnson

Charlie and Meg have been betrothed for a while, but they have never met in person. Though she was born to a wealthy family, after her father's death Meg's life has never been easy. When the opportunity for her to run away from everything arrives, she escapes with her lady's maid/best friend & their family aboard the Titanic's maiden voyage.

But again, nothing is ever simple. Meg and her chosen family soon run into Charlie aboard the ship. But as he has never met Meg in person, he doesn't realize that the woman he met among the third class passengers and has begun to fall in love with was in reality his fiancee.

As with the prequel, this book grabbed my interest & held on tight. We got to learn much more about Meg's life as she grew up, and I feel that I need to warn anyone triggered by either child abuse or sexual abuse about this book. While it is not graphically described, it is made quite clear what has been happening to Meg for years. And as in the prequel, this is a very important part of the story and is not something that could be left out.

This story was well crafted. I particularly liked the portrayal of the historical characters that were known to be aboard the Titanic's maiden voyage as well as the fictional characters created for this story. The personalities of everyone came through very clearly. I particularly enjoyed seeing the character of history’s famous Molly Brown shine through so clearly. All in all, this book was well worth reading. I honestly couldn't put this book down! Recommended.

Monday, May 18, 2020

"The Andersen Ancestry" by Addie J. King

Janie and her best friend Mia are once again beset by strange things happening to them. This time, it seems that the Sea Witch has escaped from the fairylands and is determined to take her revenge on the descendants of Hans Christian Andersen. Her first target appears to be Mia, though why, neither of them is really certain as Hans Christian Andersen never had any children.

This was a fun story, especially for those who grew up loving old fairy tales as I did. Ms. King has written a fascinating story involving not only the characters from her previous book, but introducing us to others who look to become important in future stories within this series. She also managed to weave in a variety of tales and characters from many of Hans Christian Andersen's stories in unique and interesting ways.

I enjoyed reading this book & learning more little tidbits about Hans Christian Andersen than I had previously known. (If you’re like me, you probably grew up watching the AMC musical about Hans Christian Andersen. I know I still love watching it whenever it is on & find myself singing along with the characters on the TV. ) It was a fun story and kept me entertained throughout while watching Janie & Mia deal with the Sea Witch and her curses, as well as the other problems that always seem to come up as they are trying to solve the big problem in front of them.

I'm looking forward to continuing on with this series and discovering what the focus of the next book will be. If you enjoy twisted fairy tales, I would definitely recommend giving this series a try as Ms. King has done a fantastic job of incorporating in a number of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales into this story.

Monday, May 11, 2020

“Accepting the Moon" by K.S. Haigwood

After Mena confronts her husband of 12 years about his cheating on her, and after a very loud argument during which he strikes her, Mena flees from him. She doesn't know where she's going, only that she needs to escape. In her attempt to get away from her husband, she encounters a man by the name of Jaxon, who isn't what he appears to be any more than Mena's husband was.

And now she needs to deal with not only the fact that her husband was cheating on her, but that his attack has left her to deal with a good deal more after-effects than one would normally expect. Her life is never going to be anything close to what it had once been ever again, and she must learn to navigate the new world she has suddenly found herself thrust into.

I enjoyed reading this short prequel story. It was well written and quite enjoyable to read. (I finished it in one sitting.) This paranormal fiction tale grabbed and held my interest all the way through. I can't wait to see what will happen with the supernatural tribes involved in this story and will definitely be continuing to read the rest of this series.

This was a great starter story for this series. I think anyone who is looking for something involving werewolves & other paranormal beings will enjoy it. I know I did.

Monday, May 4, 2020

"The Flower of Chivalry" by Scott Telek

The story of King Arthur and his knights of the round table has fascinated readers for ages. This book is no exception. This is the fourth book in this series and begins strong & I felt finished even stronger. I had a very hard time putting it down to sleep at night!

In this book we get to learn what Arthur's childhood was like. It begins with both Arthur & Kay as infants being raised by Sir Ector and his wife. We are shown how the boys grew & we are given great insight into both their character as young children and what likely caused them to grow into the men they are destined to become.

Reading this book left little doubt in my mind as to why, as they grew, that they came to make the choices they made, all while clearly letting us see the differences in their personalities and why those differences existed that explains so much about each of them and their differences, despite being raised as brothers.

We get to see what lessons they learned along the way to turn them into the legendary knights that almost everyone is at least somewhat familiar with. We also see many of the other characters who will become central to this story before most of them will have truly ventured far on their journeys in life.

Most of us can guess as to one of the major events at the end of this book, though I won't give you the specifics of what happens in this review as each version of this legend is spun a little differently by each author who takes the task of telling it upon themselves.

What I will say is that this is one that you really don't want to miss out on reading. The story told is well written and very enjoyable. It is well worth the time spent reading it and you won’t want to put it down. I am very definitely looking forward to the next book in this series. Highly Recommended.

Monday, April 27, 2020

"Limped Mail Order Bride
and her Dejected Cowboy"
by Florence Linnington.

Cora knows it is time to make her own way in the world & that her parents can no longer continue to support her, though she knew they would try to if she stayed. So when she gets an offer of marriage from a man out west, she accepts it and leaves to marry a man she has never met.

She knows he has aspirations of becoming town mayor, and as such he needs a beautiful bride by his side when that happens. It is because of this fact that he does not care about the severe limp that so many other men had rejected her over. But shortly after meeting him, everything falls apart when he suddenly loses everything & can no longer afford to get married.

Cora had met only one person in town, and desperate with nowhere else to go, she makes her way to Ogoe Ranch in the hopes that Rachel and her family might need some help and provide her with a place to stay.

I enjoyed reading this book just as much as I have the rest of Ms. Linnington's books. The story was a heartwarming one about learning to accept yourself as you are and learning that the faults you see in yourself might not be even noticed by those around you.

Not only Cora, but a Ranch hand named Derek must learn these lessons before either of them can hope to find any sort of happiness in either of their lives. The question is, will they be able to do so?

As always with her stories, this is a well-written tale about finding a way to overcome our own self-created obstacles. And like her previous books, I enjoy knowing that I can expect a happy ending no matter what difficulties the characters must overcome to get there.

Monday, April 20, 2020

"Prelude: Ghosts of Southampton"
by I. D. Johnson

Meg's father has realized that his wife has been trying to get rid of him and has taken steps to protect his young daughter and to arrange for her future. He makes an agreement with a good friend and business associate for Meg to marry the other man's son once they have both come of age. In the event of his death, his will leaves control of his business to Meg's husband, though her uncle will continue to run things until then.

And while Meg's life should have been one of extreme privilege and comfort, unfortunately it was anything but happy. Readers should be warned that Meg is abused by her uncle from a very young age. While this is not graphically depicted in the story, it is clear what has been happening to her and may be a trigger point for some readers. But this is an important plot point in the story and leads to actions taken by the characters in this, and likely the next, book in this series. As such, it cannot be ignored.

As described by the title, this book was the prequel to the novel "Titanic." While it may not be absolutely necessary to read this book to fully understand the story in the next book, I believe it gives us an important insight into the characters' motivations. I believe reading this book will enhance the experience of reading the rest of this series.

Monday, April 13, 2020

"Choosing Sides" by Karen Meyer

Gilbert Freeman is a young man who is unhappy with his current life. His mother has passed away and he always seems to be at odds with his father lately. Gilbert really wants to return and finish his schooling, but his father needs him to stay and work full time with him on the farm.

Things keep getting more and more tense between the two of them, until one night Gilbert decides to leave the farm behind and move to Westerville and find his own way in the world.

This was a book that I truly enjoyed reading. It takes place in Central Ohio, near the area where I currently live, so while the specific locations mentioned may no longer be present, the towns mentioned still are.

The story in this book is based on a few events that occurred during the temperance movement in the 1800s in Ohio. I found this story to be well written. It drew me in and made me want to keep reading to see what would happen to Gilbert and to see where he would end up once all was said and done.

One of the things that I enjoyed most in this book were the author notes at the end of the story. I loved not only having had the chance to enjoy her tale, but getting the chance to learn about the historical events that inspired it. I would recommend reading this one, especially if historically inspired stories interest you as they do me.

Monday, April 6, 2020

“Ditch Lane Diaries Collection: Books 1-4”
by D.F. Jones

Today’s review is of a 4 book box set. I read each of the books in the series and have reviewed them for you separately so that should you prefer to read the books individually, my review might appeal more than simply one where all the books may have been reviewed together as one.

One thing to be aware of, each of the books in this collection do contain some scenes that may not be appropriate for younger readers.

"Ditch Lane Diaries Collection: Ruby's Choice"

Ruby's Choice is the first book in the Ditch Lane Diaries Collection. In this book, we learn the beginnings of where and how the girls first received their gifts. Ruby, the girl that the first book focuses on, has dreams of the future.

In this book we also meet Reed & Brent. Ruby is attracted to both of them, but discovers that Brent is being tormented by a demon. Can anything be done to help free Brent from his tormentor?

I enjoyed this book a great deal. It was set in the 1970s and the author did an excellent job of giving her tale a distinct 1970s feel. The slang used by the characters and other descriptions really made me feel like I was back in the 1970s that I had grown up in. The author really did an amazing job in setting the atmosphere for the series.

"Ditch Lane Diaries Collection: Anna's way"

This was the story of Anna, another of the girls who had found a secret cave and received a gem and special powers. Anna's power was the ability to heal almost any injury or illness. She could not always prevent death, but a desire to learn how to heal with medicine and science, as well as her gift sent her to medical school in Florida. But can her relationship with Jerry survive their separation? A separation made more difficult by another woman who wants Jerry to be hers instead.

This story starts in the 1970s and continues into the 1980s. I enjoyed the feel of the time period that clearly comes through in Ms. Jones writing. The story is well told and very entertaining, as well as well-edited/proofread.

"Ditch Lane Diaries Collection: Sandy's Story"

As mentioned in the title, this is primarily Sandy's story. It explains why Sandy's family moved to Tennessee when she was young and shows us how the group first met and became friends. It also lets us know more about how Sandy's power of Clairvoyance works.

Sandy's connection with her guardian angel has always been closer and more open than that of the rest of the Campbell Ridge group and their angels. And while this has often proved to be a good thing, it does present its own problems. Can Sandy & Baldric find a way to overcome these challenges and find their happy ending, or are they doomed before they ever had a chance?

Like the other two books, this one was very well-written and well-edited. What I've read so far has been a joy to read & definitely gives me plenty of reasons to continue reading this series.

"Lee's Lesson: warrior Angel"

This was the fourth book in the series, though it goes back to before the other three books were set, and begins with Lee’s family in the 1950s It explains how everything related to the Chosen/hybrids began. As one reads through the book, there is necessarily some overlap in the storylines of this book and the first three in the series. I definitely appreciated all the added details each book gives us in order to flesh out the series and each character's stories as a whole.

One thing to be aware of, each of the books in this collection do contain some scenes that may not be appropriate for younger readers.

Each story in this collection has been wonderfully written and are very enjoyable and entertaining. While it did take me some time to get through all 4 books in this collection one right after the other, I did enjoy reading all of them. The author did a fantastic job with making each book feel appropriate to the time period in which it was set. Recommended.

"War Girl Ursula" by Marion Kummerow

  Living in Berlin during WWII was definitely not easy. Ursula Klausen had been planning to marry her fiance Andreas Hermann, but had h...