Friday, September 29, 2023

"Over the Falls with Gabby and Maddox"
by Steve Altier

Gabby and Maddox are siblings. Maddox is on a baseball team and Gabby is in dance classes. Secretly though, she yearns to play baseball like her younger brother does, while at the same time not wanting to hurt her mother's feelings by telling her she'd rather play baseball than dance. Then one day their parents surprise them with a vacation trip to Niagara Falls, and the family goes on their adventurous vacation to New York.

This was a sweet chapter book meant for young readers. Gabby and Maddox get to explore Niagara Falls, learn some of the fun and interesting history of the great landmark, and make some new friends along the way. This was a very sweet story that shows and teaches some history of the falls in a fun way as well as shows that girls can do anything that boys can do.

I received an Advance Review Copy of this book and enjoyed reading it. My daughter is currently too old for this book, but I think she would have enjoyed it when she was still young enough for it.

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Monday, September 25, 2023

"So we Stay Hidden" by Nick Savage

Vampires, Werewolves, and more. In West Haven, it seems that they secretly live among the humans. But the reason behind why they keep their true natures hidden isn't because they are evil. In fact, other than having a medical condition that makes them what they are, most people don't know that they aren't human. And just like anyone else, their lives are just as difficult at times, with the same highs and lows as anyone else. They may be different, but they are not the monsters some think they are.

I am going to start off by recommending you begin this series with book 1, "Us of Legendary Gods" as I believe a new reader might feel a little lost if they don't. That said, this book was just as enthralling as the previous one. Someone is hunting the Legends, but why seems to be the question. 

If you enjoyed the first book in this series, you'll want to read this one. The twists and turns will keep you wanting to know more. Parts of this story are as heartbreaking as the previous book was. This one doesn't end on as much of a cliffhanger as the first book, but it will leave you wanting to read the next one. 

One thing hasn't seemed to change though, and that is that people, whether what one might consider "normal", human, or monster, really aren't all that different from each other. But more often than not, all most of them seem to see are the differences rather than the similarities.

If you like stories involving Vampires, Werewolves, or other beings, and that are as much about who they are as the story is about what they are, then give this series a try. I don't think you'll regret it.

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Friday, September 22, 2023

"Brigid of Ireland" by Cindy Thomson

Born the daughter of a slave, and separated at a very young age from her mother, Brigid was herself a slave in her father's household. But her life would take her beyond what she was born as, and her faith and kindness would help bring many into the Christian faith in Ireland.

This was a historical fiction novel about the life of a woman who would come to be known as Saint Brigid. It's an interesting tale and one that I enjoyed reading. It gives great insight into the life of a Christian woman living in what was at the time still as much a pagan country as it was becoming more and more Christian. 

I enjoyed reading this, and I think anyone curious about Saint Brigid or what life was like for Christians in a pagan country long ago would enjoy this book. Be aware that religion is, of necessity, a very large part of this book. (You can't really separate religion from the life of someone who was declared a Saint, now can you?) So if you do not enjoy books that are heavy on religion then this book may not be for you. But if you enjoy historical fiction, or books involving someone with a strong religious faith, then you will likely enjoy this book.

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Monday, September 18, 2023

"The Wizard if Menace" by Erin Johnson

When a singer at the Faire is murder by Excalibur, the sword belonging to King Arthur, Laidey's cat familiar, Mort, is soon blamed for the murder, and if she can't find the actual killer, it's almost certain that he will be executed. And at the same time, it seems that if they can find a way to summon an unknown descendant of the person who had cast the curse that had doomed all of them to remain trapped in the Renaissance Faire, it may be possible to end the curse, freeing them all.

This was a fun cozy mystery. The link to the  Arthurian legend, made me smile. (I've always been partial to King Arthur stories.) There were several interesting twists along the way in this story that kept me trying to solve both the main part of the story, as well as the secondary story, both of which intertwined beautifully.

I received a review copy of this book and have enjoyed not only this one, but all of the previous books in this multi-author, shared-world series. If you have enjoyed any of the previous books in this series, enjoy cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist, or Renaissance Faire themed tales, then you will enjoy this book. I'm looking forward to seeing if, in the next book, the residents of the Faire can break the curse and go their separate ways, or if they will remain trapped for the remainder of their days.

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Friday, September 15, 2023

"Novantis" by Megan Mackie

Veronica, crown princess & heir to the Emperor of Novantis, had secretly signed a marriage contract with Nicholas, the Duc de Montreaux. Their two houses have long been rivals, but the two of them hope to unite and end the hostilities between their families.

However when after a ball, there is an unexpected pirate attack on the Palace that kills the emperor and kidnaps Veronica, the airship she is on is struck by lightning. She and everyone else on board are presumed dead. Thus making her betrothed, Nicolas, the Prince Regent. But as she isn't dead, she soon is led to believe he set her up so that he could steal her throne. The pirates who had attacked the Palace were, after all, led by a member of his family.

I read an Advance Review Copy of this book. This steampunk story captured and held my interest from beginning to end. It is full of everything you might expect from an adventurous tale: love, betrayal, intrigue, pirates, treachery, and secrets.  What more could anyone hope to find in such a complex, well written story? I know that I really enjoyed reading this one and will be keeping my eyes open for book 2 in the series.

This book is being released as a web exclusive story on the Yonder app. If you enjoy well-written steampunk  stories, you won't want to miss this one. Ms. Mackie is an excellent storyteller, and I am looking forward to getting to read what happens next in this series. I'll definitely be keeping my eyes open for other books by this author as well. (If this book were available through Amazon, I would give it one of my rare 5-stars on its review.)

You can find this book on Yonder by following this link:

Monday, September 11, 2023

"BloodLaw" by Blaise Ramsey

Alastair Maddox is the Chicago ADA during a time when crime is running rampant. There are turf wars between Capone & other rival Mob bosses, and never mind the cops, lawyers, and judges who are on their payrolls. Prohibition Chicago was a rough time, but Alastair is determined to help clean up his city. He is not, however, prepared for Alexandra DeLane, a woman who seems to wrap most everyone around her finger with no real effort. And despite being accused of several violent killings, she somehow escapes from custody, though she seems to become more than a little obsessed with Alastair. A fact that will only cause quite a number of problems for many people. DeLane, it seems, is a vampire.

This was a book that fascinated me with its historical setting as well as its supernatural twist. One can only imagine what might happen in a book where the forces of "good" and "evil" are battling for Mob territory as well as both for and against the law. I enjoyed this story a great deal. 

As can be expected in a book involving the Mafia as well as vampires, there is more than a little violence in this book. (It was an unfortunate reality of the time period in which this book is set and would necessarily be included, even had vampires not been involved.)

I received a review copy of this book. If you enjoy historical fiction set in the 1920s prohibition era, vampire novels, or ones that involve the mafia, then I think you'll want to check this book out. I enjoyed reading it and I think you would as well.

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Friday, September 8, 2023

"Abused Bride and Her Adopted Baby”
by Florence Linnington

Caroline was married to an abusive husband named Leland. Her best friend Anna, pregnant and unmarried, died in childbirth after making Caroline promise to raise her baby. Knowing that to stay with her husband meant that eventually her adopted daughter would also be subjected to Leland's abuse, Caroline places an ad in the matrimonial times & eventually is proposed to by a farmer in Kansas. Wasting no time, she accepts and runs away believing that she left no clues behind as to her whereabouts. Unfortunately, she was wrong.

I received a review copy of this book, and like all of her other books, this story drew me in as it painted a vivid picture of a woman desperate for a way out and a better life for both herself & her child. Caroline took a leap of faith, knowing that the man she was traveling across the country to meet and marry could easily be as bad as the husband she fled from. Of course, if you've read Ms. Linnington's other books, then you have probably already guessed that Henry, the man Caroline left an abusive husband for is a kind and gentle man. And that after some difficulties and other problems, this book will have a happy ending.

This book does offer a message of love and hope, as well as trying to show that honesty is always the way to go, even if being fully honest with someone can be terrifying. It does not exactly resolve the issue of Caroline’s having already been married to Leland when she married Henry, but I choose to believe that Henry believed Caroline’s marriage to him was more valid than one to a man she felt a need to escape from. And given that the doctor seems to have recognized the fact that she had been abused & commented on how she was not the first to move out west for a fresh start, that Henry wasn’t the only one to accept her despite her initial lack of forthrightness about Leland.

If you have enjoyed any of Ms. Linnington's other books or if you enjoy mail-order bride stories, then I believe that you will enjoy this book.

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Monday, September 4, 2023

"All the Faire's a Stage" by Nova Nelson

Sir Olivia is a fallen Angel who is trapped in a cursed Renaissance Faire. All of the performers are magical beings, though many didn't know of their heritage until they ate some cursed candy while they bought from a shop there & have not been able to leave ever since. In fact, those who knew them before they were cursed no longer have any memory of them. It is as if they had never existed outside of the faire. In this book, one of the actors performing Macbeth is killed while onstage using her dagger. Now, Sir Olivia must find the real killer before the wrong person is blamed and possibly executed for the crime.

This is the 7th book.  I have read the first 6 books in this series and I have enjoyed them all so far. Each of the three authors contributing to this shared world series have done a fantastic job. Nova's characters, highlighted in this tale, are well developed, and the moral dilemma that this angel must deal with when partnered with a dove (formerly her wings) who possesses a penchant for petty theft are entertaining.

I'm not going to tell you exactly what the moral dilemma is (as that would be a spoiler) or why she must face it herself, but it involves a very interesting twist that could change the Faire for more than just herself and her wings, but for everyone else as well.

I received a review copy of this book. I believe that if you have enjoyed the previous books in this series, if you enjoy Renaissance Faires, or if you have enjoyed other books by Ms. Nelson that you will enjoy this one too.

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Friday, September 1, 2023

"Daughter of Serpents" by Sydney Wilder

Marissa is a half Naga raised in an orphanage by a woman who had made a promise to her husband that she would never turn away a child. But it has always been quite clear that she would have preferred not to have had to raise a reptilian child. Marissa has always had to hide who she was, and at 18 was forced to leave the orphanage To make her own way in a society of humans who would likely kill her on sight if they knew what she was.

Most humans consider reptilians as mindless beasts because they do not speak & cannot communicate with the humans. But the truth is that the two are more alike than anyone realizes. And it is looking like it won't be long before the humans and reptilians will soon be at war. And only Marissa and a reptile-loving distant royal, Arthur, seem to be interested in preventing it.

I found this book very interesting. The various varieties of reptilians are based on actual reptiles. And the behaviors of people when confronted by snakes in the real world is quite accurate to that of people confronted by the reptilians in this book. The story hooked me from page one, and I will definitely be looking forward to reading book 2 in this series when it becomes available.

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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...