Monday, June 27, 2022

"The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood

This was a tale that takes place in the country of Gilead, though that wasn't what it had always been called. The country had started out as a democracy, but over time many in power had turned to extreme religion, turning the country into a theocracy where women had no rights, their possessions were taken from them and turned over to male relatives, they were no longer allowed to hold any job outside the home, and many other changes began to take place as well.  It started out as a slow decline that many didn’t see coming in the beginning, but soon spiraled out of control as the religious extremists took control.

In the end, women who were capable of bearing children were forced to become surrogates & bear children for those who could not get pregnant to raise as their own. Little choice was given to these women, and the other options should they continue to refuse were far worse.

I decided to read this book because of the many parallels between this fictional story and much of what is happening in the real world today. It is a story that seems as if it should be impossible, but there are many women who have just been stripped of some of their rights by those in power, and there is a clear path from that to many other rights being stripped away as well in the name of religion. For a fictional story, the parallels between what happened in this book and the world today are uncomfortably real and painfully clear.

I believe that this is a book that should be read at least once in your life, especially now, though I'm sure many will not agree. Beyond that, I will only say that I found this to be a very powerful cautionary tale of what can potentially happen even in a world where so many are still fighting to hold on their rights and to improve their lives and the lives of others. It may be a fictional tale, but I could see it could very easily become reality under the right circumstances.

Monday, June 20, 2022

“Blades and Bridesmaids” by Trixie Silvertale

In this most recent addition to the Mitzy Moon series, Mitzy is missing Sheriff Harper who is away at an extensive FBI training session (or as Mitzy calls it “FBI sleepaway camp.” But never fear, Acting Sheriff Pauly Paulson, who doesn’t exactly get along with Mitzy, is filling in for him while he is gone. Now, Mitzy and Paulson are forced to work together when Odell’s niece and her bridal party are being stalked in the woods while on a bridal party camping trip. Camping is not something that Mitzy is familiar with, and she and Acting Sheriff Paulson need to be able to work together well enough to rescue the missing girls before they wind up dead. Can the two of them manage it?

I really enjoyed reading this story. (I read it in one day.) There is a lot going on, and watching Mitzy and Acting Sheriff Paulson learn to work together and rely on each other in the woods was a very interesting story. We got to learn a lot more about this secondary character and her history and motivations that we haven’t gotten to see before, and it truly adds to the enjoyment and understanding of the character. And while this may be Mitzy’s mission to rescue the girls, this time she isn’t the only one who gets to be the hero of the story.

There is also a secondary plot in this one involving Mitzy and her “Sheriff too hot to handle.” I don’t want to say too much about that story since it is just, if not more entertaining and enlightening as the main part of this book. It is definitely just as much, if not more fun to see the trouble this plot twist causes the two characters as well as the lessons learned from it. And I am definitely looking forward to seeing what trouble they will all get into for the next book in this series. 

Monday, June 13, 2022

"The Academy of Beasts" by Becca Fanning

Fiona was rescued from a fire that killed her family. The rescuers believe that she is a shifter who simply hasn't experienced her first shift yet. If she is, it's news to her as she believed herself to be, like those who raised her, completely human. Now, she's in some mysterious academy full of various animal shifters and feeling completely lost. 

This was an interesting little short story that I picked up while it was free on Amazon, believing it to be a full book. (It turned out to be only 63 pages.) The story was interesting, but ended on a cliff hanger and far too soon. While I will admit to being curious as to what happens next, I probably won't continue on with the series as I expect that the other books are also far too short for me to feel they're worth the expense for me to buy them. (I finished this one in a couple of hours at most & was left feeling like there should have been much more.) 

The series has 40 books in it and it appears that each book is $3.99. If each of those books is also only about 63 pages, it's not worth it for me to want to buy the rest of this series, no matter how much I respect how hard the author may have worked on it. I'm happy to pay more for a full length novel, but not for something that feels more like a sample or a teaser to me. 

But I'll keep my eyes open in case the series ever goes on sale. The concept was interesting, though there were a few dropped words here & there. It just wasn't interesting enough for me to want to buy 39 more sets 63 pages for almost $4 each. As much as I love a good story, I'd rather buy a $10+ novel than a $4 short story.

Monday, June 6, 2022

"The Bride's Shame and her Miracle Baby"
by Florence Linnington

On her way to the train station, Maribelle runs across an abandoned infant. She knows the man she is leaving town to meet and marry does not want any children, but there isn't time to take the baby to an orphanage without missing her train, and just leaving it would mean certain death for the poor thing.  So she does the only thing she can do & takes him with her, deciding to raise him as her own.

As expected, when seeing an unmarried young woman with a baby, most people assume the worst about her. Even her potential husband seems to believe her a liar at first. But he does need someone to help keep his homestead running, which means either hiring help or getting married, so Edward gives Maribelle a chance to prove herself useful before deciding whether to send her back east or not.

Like Ms. Linnington’s other books, there is a common theme running through this one as well…assumptions cause more problems than being honest with one another from the beginning, and if not resolved soon enough can ruin potential relationships as well as reputations or even lives.

I enjoyed reading this one. Maribelle is a strong character, and given what she both has been through & will face in this story, she needed to be. Anyone who enjoys mail order bride stories, historical fiction with a bit of romance, or any of Ms. Linnington's other books is sure to love this one as well.

Firefax by A. M. Vergara

During the Revolutionary War, there are rumors of a city of gold that is hidden on an island whose location is known only to the Firefax fam...