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.

“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. S...