Review: The Liberty Bride

The Liberty Bride The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

MaryLu Tyndall writes a fairly good story. The premise is very good, the characters are well-developed. The love is not forced or rushed. Motivations in this story are well done for the most part. However, once again, like others in this series, it is too modernistic. Why are authors running away from historical facts and historical realisms. It is so sad that we have to water down history so much in order for "younger" readers or rather "modern" readers to get into the stories. If you don't mind reading a modern romance set in historical Revolutionary War time, then this one is for you.

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Review: As the Tide Comes In

As the Tide Comes In As the Tide Comes In by Cindy Woodsmall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this book. It was quite a different sort of read. Slowly, the plot opens up and you finally understand this young woman -- I really hate flashbacks, I mean really hate them -- finds her kin and accepts the challenge of raising them. Flash forward and we have a multi-generational cast of characters that, in my opinion, are too many to keep track of comfortably. However, the story is quite intricate, and if you are serious about it, you discover an unusual premise that is a bit refreshing even with flashbacks.

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Review: Haddie's Guild : Prairie Mystery

Haddie's Guild : Prairie Mystery Haddie's Guild : Prairie Mystery by Peggy Ryan Hembree
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a refreshing and quite extraordinary read and premise. So different than most murder mysteries and faith is interwoven. Nicely done. I'll be looking for more by Hembree.

The characters were very well done--each with his/her own voice, and no stepping on each other. Great editing job, too. Loved the characters--even the villains. Not overdone and very well done whodunit. Kept me guessing.

The love story is sort of different, too. We're in the middle of this one where Joe got scared of commitment then thought better of it. Sometimes it is nice not to have to go through the on again off again junk that most romances follow. Usually, I dislike the way most authors try to weave romance into mysteries or thrillers. This one is very well done. Great job, Peggy! I'll be reading more :)

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Review: The Patriot Bride

The Patriot Bride The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It was okay. While I like most of what I've read by Kimberley Woodhouse, this one didn't impress me that much. I am a stickler for history and when an author takes liberties with real history it is off-putting to me. The characters seemed a bit too modern for me to have actually taken place back in 1776. It just isn't a true historical fiction book in the real sense of the genre. The romance is disjointed and rushed.

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Review: Rattles, the Barn Cat Misfit

Rattles, the Barn Cat Misfit Rattles, the Barn Cat Misfit by Arlene White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My granddaughter, 4, liked the story well enough, but it didn't have enough pictures for her. It is a sweet story.

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Review: A Missing Madonna

A Missing Madonna A Missing Madonna by Cicely van Straten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an insightful look at Christianity in Uganda. I would recommend this read for lots of reasons. It is definitely written from a Catholic point of view and gives insights to the warmth and deep love of God of the Uganda people.

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Review: Stratagem

Stratagem Stratagem by Robin Caroll
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great one from Robin Caroll.

She grabs the reader and won't let go. I live very close to New Orleans, and Caroll really gets NOLA. There is a great flavor about the city that a lot of authors try to capture but don't. Caroll does.

Story premise is very good. Murder of an ex-wife and multiple culprits have motive to do her in, especially her ex-husband. Just the kind of gumbo mix that gives a lasting taste and satisfaction.

I won't spoil it for you, but I double dog dare you to figure this one out before the end. It's a great puzzler.

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Review: Stuck in Manistique

Stuck in Manistique Stuck in Manistique by Dennis Cuesta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of the most fun books I've read in a long time.

It's unique in premise as well as the myriad of characters, some quirky and some with definite depths that I look forward to exploring in later books.

One of my favorite things about this book is the way Dennis Cuesta deals with death. Mostly it is the death of people hardly known, or not known very well. An aunt dies and leaves all her possessions to her nephew. What's so dramatic about that? A lot, and you'll be so glad you picked up this book to find out why.

I'm giving it four stars because I wasn't thrilled with the beginning. It was rather boring. I put it down, and then went back to it because I said I'd review the thing. I thought it would be a skim through, but instead, it gripped me in throws of laughter and sadness and surprise and at times made me want to have a sit-down talk with a character or two to get them set on the right track. You'll figure out who I'm talking about when you read the book.

Lively characters move the story along. Some just float in and float away, but isn't that how people do when they stay at a bed and breakfast? No one actually stays for long, but somehow things happen and some people change their minds, some people actually see the real benefits of being stuck in Manistique.

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Review: Trauma Recovery - Sessions with Dr. Matt: Narratives of Hope and Resilience for Victims with Ptsd

Trauma Recovery - Sessions with Dr. Matt: Narratives of Hope and Resilience for Victims with Ptsd Trauma Recovery - Sessions with Dr. Matt: Narratives of Hope and Resilience for Victims with Ptsd by Matt E. Jaremko
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a gutsy book. I say that because not many readers like creative non-fiction where scientific points are made then illustrated with fictional illustrations. I know because I wrote a book using that format and didn't seel many copies. But I didn't have the credentials that Matt Jaremko has illustrated with the alphabet behind his name.

I'm not a therapist, nor am I someone who can really judge well what will help most people as they recover from trauma. So many people deal with it in so many different ways. I am a Christian who always goes to the Great Physician for healing--but I have had therapy a couple of times in my life to deal with some terrible issues. That's why it is always a good idea to leave that door open.

One of the purposes of this book is to help people understand how therapy works, and how it can help them deal with post traumatic stress disorder.

This book takes several different situations in fictional form and tackles the handling of PTSD in each situation. Because the situations are so varied, anyone suffering from PTSD will find pearls of wisdom and insights. There are some very good helps/resources in the back for you to walk through the kind of therapy that is depicted in this book.

I liked the book. I really liked the laymen's presentation so I could understand what was being depicted. I was very disappointed that faith wasn't presented as a major part of the healing process--but I didn't clarify that aspect with Dr. Jaremko before agreeing to review this book. So, that wasn't factored into my ranking. I liked it, but I didn't feel a deep connection with any of the people in the group therapy. Maybe it was the way the characters were depicted. I don't know. Maybe because it is so very difficult to write non-fiction with fictional illustrations to bring home the point.

Don't let that scare you away from the book. It can definitely be helpful to anyone that has suffered, is suffering PTSD and to those who are close to a person suffering PTSD.

I received this book from Dr. Matt Jaremko. This is my honest opinion of the book.

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Review: Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales: A Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology

Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales: A Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales: A Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology by H.L. Burke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pretty good read overall.

The first story nabbed my attention with the first sentence. Loved it and it is worth buying the book. It set a really high standard for the rest of the stories, and for the most part they all lived up to it. Just one story I couldn't get into so didn't finish it. But the rest were good. That is high praise because I'm not generally a fantasy fan.

You don't have to like cats to love these stories. I have always had a cat for a pet and now I have two. They keep me laughing all the time, and these stories have some great chuckles in store for you. Yep, a worthy buy.

I received my ARC from the authors in eBook format. This is my honest opinion :)

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Review: The Secluded Village Murders

The Secluded Village Murders The Secluded Village Murders by Shelly Frome
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm glad I didn't know that Shelly Frome is male before I read this book. I have sort of a prejudice against male writers trying to get inside female heads and making the character believable. Female writers trying to get inside male heads gives me almost the same shudders, but not quite.

Therefore, I was surprised when I went to review this book and there's a photo of the author! A professor no less. While there wasn't quite the kind of female introspection in this story as in stories written by females, I thought it was the stiff-upper-lip type of British through processing. I like that writing style so didn't think much of it. That's the only difference I can tell.

If you don't like British style humor, or British style mysteries, then you won't like this book. The humor comes from the characters, and they are quirky, and they are wonderfully developed. I've met people just like these, and it was clear from the outset that Frome understands elderly people very well. After seeing his photo, I now know why. There is a great small town flavor about this story with all the small town secrets and busybodiness, too. It is a wonderful combination.

The story drags in a few places, but don't skip them because you'll miss some important clues. One thing I like about this book is the reader is given all the clues necessary to solve the mystery. Another thing I liked is that I figured it out, but not too early.

A most satisfying read.

Five of five stars.

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Review: A Printer’s Choice

A Printer’s Choice A Printer’s Choice by W. L. Patenaude
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This has a bit of a slow start. Instead of starting with the murder, we are with the one man who can reason with the human-like printers. Then we backflash and jump heads a bit. It isn't so much confusing but quite disturbing to the reading flow. I wasn't gripped by this story because the characters didn't seem full-blown, living color to me at first, so I didn't care about the murder or the man who was going to solve the mystery.

However, the story grows on you. If you keep at it you'll find some literary gems that lend a good flavor to this story. There's a brief moment when I was transported back to my college campus movie night, blankets on the grass, the smell of mosquito repellant and the strains of 2001 Space Odessy, and Hal's voice ringing into the night air. Those are the almost human Printers that brought that memory back.

This is more a study in human condition than a murder mystery, in my opinion. I wanted to read it because of the mystery. Found a different kind of story, and it was enjoyable, just different.

Received this book from Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

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Review: The Murder at Redmire Hall

The Murder at Redmire Hall The Murder at Redmire Hall by J.R. Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been having lots of fun watching several different British cop shows, one of my favorites is DCI (Detective Chief Inspector) aka Boss Banks. This book reminded me of that show. The top detective is quite personable, even though he is a DI and not DCI, and his trusty DS, detective sergeant explore the murder of Lord Redmire.

I found the characters are all distinctive and believable. In fact, the blending of characters and their subsequent reactions to situations, and add to that the mystery of the room, and it almost made me not really care whodunit. Just an enjoyable read. Not a lot of English slang so it is very understandable. There is some dry wit (my favorite kind of humor).

Four of Five stars for making me not really care whodunit, which is the purpose of a murder mystery!

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Review: Caught by Surprise

Caught by Surprise Caught by Surprise by Jen Turano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found myself laughing out loud several times while reading this delightful story. It is the 3rd, and you'd probably do best reading the first 2 before this one because the cast of characters is gigantic. So gigantic that you might get lost like I did.

We have two main characters (MC). Temperance and Gilbert who grew up together, went about their separate lives, and then were thrown back together by her evil-minded cousins. At least for most of the book they are evil-minded.

There is some great writing here as well as pretty good plot development. However, the problem is there are too many characters to wrap your head around if you didn't read the first 2 books. It felt like this book was the wrap up so there were lots of story threads that had to be knotted and woven back into the tapestry of the overarching storyline. In some places the thing is extremely predictable. In other places, the story is quite surprising and full of humor. There is a slight mystery going on in the background. But don't worry there isn't one strand or thread left undone.

I got to what I thought was the perfect ending and realized there were several more chapters. Again, this was for the first 2 books. This might be a good way to write to sell books. I don't know. There was quite a bit that didn't interest me.

However, from the very first page the reader is drawn into a delightful story about two people who do not know they love each other, lots and lots of money, parents killed in the Amazon jungle, evil cousins, and several eccentric, peripheral characters that give you a few belly laughs.

Received this book from Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

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Review: Justice Betrayed

Justice Betrayed Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very well written!

Love the premise of an Elvis week in Memphis. You don't really get a great feel for Memphis the town, but Patricia Bradley does an excellent job of characterizations. These are real Southern people in a big city (not like New York, but not small town, either). Believable characters in a stand alone story, even though it's the 3rd in the series. I didn't get lost or feel like I missed something, or even like I started reading in the middle. That is hard for a writer to do, and Bradley does it well.

Suspense is good, maybe not edge of your seat, but you find out as Dect. Sloane finds out, so you can detect along with her. I really like that. You've also got a nice romance that walks along with you. The romance isn't the main focus, but it is a nice sub-story that lends interest.

The mystery is good. Also rare these days that a mystery author plays by the rules. Nothing is held back for a "surprise" ending. If you pay attention, you'll know whodunit. But that doesn't detract from the story or the mystery.

One thing I don't like is for an author to get into the head of the murderer for a chapter or so. Why? There was really no point here, either. Motive for murder is totally different than the reason why someone is capable of murder (or even has committed murder before). Motive is a driving force. It's compelling and must be believable. Here motive is believable, but it is a little blurred. Yet, that blurring is rather compelling as well. Sorry for the mixed signals here, it's just that I'm waffling between the extra info and if it was really necessary to move the story along, or if it was kept because it was good writing and very suspenseful. Don't know. So you'll have to get the book and find out for yourself. If you form an opinion on it, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know.

Received this book from Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

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Review: Lost Solace

Lost Solace Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lost Solace is a good read. It isn't hard science. It has a lot of heart. Opal is a believable character, and the AI is quite fun. There is a great deal of tension and some scary parts. All good and woven well together.

One irritating factor is that we've got a mystery to the reader, but the MC Opal and the MC Clarissa (AI) know the answer. That just doesn't work for me. If the MC knows, then the reader should know. The people after Opal know. Everyone in the story knows what Opal wanted and needed, but the reader is left in the dark about it. That seems more like an underhanded ploy for suspense than good writing.

However, we are taken on a roller coaster ride with lots of action when the "bad" guys show up. Lots of suspense and tension when gravity does what comes natural to it. Plus there is the interaction between Opal and Clarissa that adds some pretty good spice to the stew.

Oh and the language is a bit rough.

Four of Five stars.
Received this book from NetGalley This is my honest review.

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Review: Burden of Proof

Burden of Proof Burden of Proof by DiAnn Mills
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this is one of DiAnn Mills' best novels ever. The tension, the characters, the stakes, the story take a grip on your heart and never let go.

What's great is these characters are believable, so much like real life characters. There's a little humor, a lot of suspense, some seemingly impenetrable mystery, and a desperate, handsome, loving father who is trying to figure out why it's all happening. He draws FBI special agent April into the fray--or rather his baby daughter does.

What's not to like about this story?

Romance is good.
Suspense is good.
Mystery is good.
It's a page-turner. So you won't go wrong by purchasing this book.

Five of Five stars.
(Received this book from Netgalley. This is my honest review.)

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Review: Brilliant Disguise

Brilliant Disguise Brilliant Disguise by Mary Anne Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quite a good read, although it drags a bit in the middle. This is one mystery/romance that works well. The blend of it works well. However, telling the story from 2 main POVs limits the tension on the Whodunit part of the book. There isn't really enough given during the investigation to indicate Whodunit except at the very end. But it was done well because the reader finds out as the MC finds out. I hate it when a character finds out something but the author keeps it a secret to reveal at the end. That really bugs me.

So the characters are developed well. You care about what happens, although the beginning the MC has a basic mental breakdown that seems to evaporate almost immediately when the 2nd MC appears. Not quite, but almost. Not all that believable.

All in all, a good read.

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Review: Darkwater Secrets

Darkwater Secrets Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Robin Caroll does a pretty good job of depicting New Orleans the way I know it. Daughter lives there with hubby who grew up there. The novel captures the flavors and people fairly well.

From the first page, I was captivated with the premise and story line. However, the romance part of it whines through the whole book. You know right off who is mooning over whom. But they just make cow eyes at each other without really noticing. I found that very irritating. It is very similar to the hash rehash that a lot of authors do when characters are trying to make a decision about something. You keep covering the same ground with them and it moves forward at the pace of glaciers, and about as interesting as watching ice melt.

However, the mystery is very good, and extremely intriguing. Well done, Robin, well done.

Got this book from Netgalley, and this is my honest review about the book.

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Review: Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man

Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man by Lynn Vincent
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was incredibly impressed with the attention to detail and the wonderful narrative that just drew me in immediately from the first page. It is rather intensive, and there are several points of view that made it a little hard to follow at first, however after a few chapters it was easier. This is true history, not fiction, but written in novel-type prose. Excellent job authors! Thanks for the opportunity to learn about the Indianapolis!

Received this book from Netgalley for honest review.

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Review: Thief of Corinth

Thief of Corinth Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a joy to read. I know quite a lot about 1st Century Roman culture and this is very authentic. No missteps, and what a joy, no modernisms. Yea!

Even though no modernisms, the dialogue and narrative are understandable, no Greek syntax. (Read an authentic translation of The Odyssey and you'll understand what I mean.)

Not only are the characters well developed, but they actually grow in maturity. That's very hard to do when writing. Most authors tend to develop characters with one voice and the character stays there. Here Tessa Afshar allows the first person voice to mature from teenage to full woman, to learn what is truly important in life. Also Justice (one of the MCs) has the maturity to hold back until the young girl matures. Great development plot point.

The plot is simple and complicated at the same time. There are numerous things going on, and quite a tangle that is unwoven in surprising ways. This is not a predictable romance. And the motives of the characters are as varied as the characters. Some surprising revelations happen.

I was enthralled.

No hash rehash of angst.
No character stepping out of character or being forced. Each flowed naturally on the page.
The pace is fairly fast, although there are some motives/actions of one or two characters that don't ring quite true, but I'll let you figure that out yourself.

Good reading. Wonderful faith truths woven through out. I recognized Dionysius the Aeropagite was a real person in 1st Century. I recognized the name, but Dionysius was a common name. Not until Ariadne found out her brother had been invited to become a Aeropagite did I know it was really him. Then I thought Justice might be the Christian Justice that helped Paul--not in this book though, although it still could be him.

[spoiler alert] I liked the way Paul healed the papa (forgotten his name). It was miraculous, but not walk on water miraculous. That fits so well into how some healings happened--Paul left Trophimus sick in Miletus. No explanation, just a sentence in Ephesians.

Five of five stars. A worthy read

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Review: Goodnight Wishes!

Goodnight Wishes! Goodnight Wishes! by Leea Baltes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a sweet story with beautiful illustrations. Leea did a wonderful job depicting this story. Plenty to look and and discuss.

Being a believer in Jesus and through whom all things were created, I hesitate to highly recommend this book because it trembles on top of the fence with wishes (hence the name of the story) and prayers of the mama mouse. The stars and moon do tell the mama that the blessings come from the one who created them, but most of the story is about wishing with all your heart, and blessings coming after wishing and doing as much as you can.

Without getting into deep theological reasoning here I can see how this book is perfect for those kinds of discussions that Christians want to have with their children even as young as three years old. It is sure to draw out questions as long as you make sure your child is getting the message you want her or him to hear.

This book can go either way... just a fun, sweet story with a wonderful happy ending, or a way to talk to your child about belief in God the Creator, prayers, and how blessings do come from prayers when faith is exercised.

I am going to read this to my granddaughter who loves Jesus with all her heart even at 3 years old. I am going to talk to her about the difference between wishes and prayers. I think it is a great discussion starter which is why I gave it 4 stars. If it had greater emphasis on God than on wishing on the moo, I would have given it 5 stars.

I really love the illustrations!

I received this from the author. No exchange agreement was made. This is my honest opinion.

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Review: Ashes of Glass

Ashes of Glass Ashes of Glass by E.J. Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A refreshing of the Cinderella story with a faith foundation. Very nice. Good writing, character development, and interesting intrigue. I quite enjoyed this novel. It is a fairly quick read, and isn't as predictable as it might seem.

You'll enjoy getting to know Ella, who is a scullery maid promoted to chamber maid. She is a very good girl with some very unsavory characters out to see to her harm.

I received this book from the author, and this is my honest review.

4 of 5 stars

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Review: When Hearts Rekindle

When Hearts Rekindle When Hearts Rekindle by Janet Syas Nitisk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had forgotten what it is like to hold a real paperback in my hands to read. This book brought back all those old (and tender feelings) of staying up late, and reading in my bed. Great memories.

This is a good romance, third in the series, but very stand alone. Didn't feel lost even once. It has a very interesting premise. Broken relationship creates need to get away and do something else. And that something else is going to nursing school and meeting a new fella, a fella that is good, kind, thoughtful and lovely to love.

Nursing school in the 1890s was extremely viable. At one point in the 1890s there were more women in the medical field than men. That is when medical schools started restricting registrations of women into the school, and that is when nursing school registrations swelled. The historical aspects of this novel are very good and accurate. So read on history buffs!

Nitisk does a great job of giving good reasons for the two main characters to fall in love with each other. That is something that isn't exactly rare, but it isn't exactly run-of-the-mill either these days. I was glad to see not only those reasons, but also a strong faith aspect in this novel. The characters have a lot of challenges to face, they grow, they grow up, they make mistakes, and they live life. I also like the way Nitisk uses anticipation to keep the pages turning. Of course, the build up to the climax gives you a blatant clue as to how it all turns out, but I won't go there--you need to read that for yourself.

There are some problems with the editing, though, typos and some grammar errors. I do mention those because being an editor these errors are like neon signs to me. They are story flow dams that need a blast of editing to break it all loose so the reader can hit the rapids.

I was talking to a publisher a few days ago, and he still has a disdain for indie published books. At the top of his list were these same kinds of errors. Anyone reading this and who is an indie author, please get your work professionally edited. It truly will lift you from being just a good writer to being a great writer.

Nitisk is a good writer. As you read, you can smell the dirt and grime, feel the heat and cold wind, smell the cigar smoke--that is good writing. Great writing is creating a wonderful river-like flow for the reader where you rush through the rapids, slow down through the deep water, and splash in the shallows. That's the kind of ride that keeps readers buying books

Four of five stars. This book is worth the money, and you'll enjoy the read.

I received this book from the author. This review is my honest opinion.

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Review: Sam: The Cat Without A Tail

Sam: The Cat Without A Tail Sam: The Cat Without A Tail by Gloria Lintermans
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful illustrations, quite colorful and attention keeping!

The story moves quickly and with the interactions among the cats, it lightly delves into the realm of self-esteem and how others can make one feel unwanted because of differences. The story also touches on how differences makes you unique and suited for different achievements.

Really good story for discussing these complicated issues with young ones. I can't wait to read it to my grandchildren.

I also like how Gloria subtly points out using our skills to do for others helps put self-esteem in the proper perspective.

I read the eBook version and it works very well as an eBook read.

The author gave me this book, and my voluntary review is above.

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Review: 3 Hour Dad

3 Hour Dad 3 Hour Dad by Adam T Hourlution
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having birthed two babies and the pregnancies were normal but highly uncomfortable, I find it very hard to believe that a highly active woman was completely unaware she was pregnant and still be thin enough that friends and family had no clue either. However, I take him at his word. Nothing but the truth -- and love -- could change a person's heart this much. There are all kinds of miracles, aren't there?

This is an entertaining peek into one man's push over the edge into fatherhood--literally three hours notice that he would be a father to a bouncing baby.
I imagine there are lots of men who secretly feel the exact same way Adam did about children, but are afraid to voice it aloud. But this gives you insight into the thought processes a man races through to find all that tender love a baby showers into his heart.

A humorous, yet touching read. Whether Adam and his Lindsey want to admit it or not, God had a huge hand in providing them this bundle of love and life. A very good read for ladies to get a peek at how their man might be feeling about having children. A great read for men to see how one little baby can change a heart and soul into tender but protective mush.

Received this book from the author; voluntary review is above.

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Review: Serial Rites

Serial Rites Serial Rites by Cortez Law III
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cortez has produced a marvelous insight into some intriguing characters and a horrific serial killer case that needs solving quickly before more victims die.

These characters are very well developed to the point you can almost predict how one will react to a situation...almost. There are quirks in every human, and without God's controlling hand, we all flounder. Some even flounder with God's presence in their lives. Cortez does a wonderful job highlighting those contrasts in this story packed with action, surprising twists, faith, leadership, and matching wits with a vengeful and twisted psychopath.

Parts are so real, you can tell he's either lived the life or his research is ocean deep. You definitely won't be bored with this novel.

When I read books, it is difficult to impossible for me to turn off my editor mode. I can't help it. I did find some story logjams. There are some cultural references that may not be clear to you. However, the humor and the personalities override those problems. Another story flow jam happens when the dialogue is so cryptic that you can't understand what was just said. There were a lot of places where this happened. Some typos may have caused that problem, but not all. Also there are some sentences that are not clear enough to understand.

Setting all that aside, the story is good, the characters are very believable, the faith factor flows generously throughout making this a joy to read. It really is worth the money.

I received this book from the author so that I could review it for him. This is my honest opinion.

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Review: A Defense of Honor

A Defense of Honor A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An amazing story. Great premise, and a subject that I have not seen or read about in any novels -- that's up in the thousands of books read over my ummmhumm years of reading.

I'll skip over the story overview. Lot's of other reviews to read for that.

Hunter delivers a fast-paced romance that is not fluffy but has some strong pillars lifting it up from the rest of the pack. Romance, a little suspense, a little mystery all add up to good reading fare.

The only problem I had was that every in novel I've read with an English backdrop that has a character named Kit, the Kit was a man. I had to adjust my brain to that, then I was on a good ride.

I never did wonder what happened to the noblemen's byblows. In fact, some kings and noblemen recognized their boy-children, but what happened to the girls? I could tell the Hunter did some great research. She dealt well with the threads of faith and God's control in the lives of believers. I also like the fact that both character knew God, just didn't have the personal relationship very well developed.

The whole reading experience was very, very good. This is the book that backed up my reading queue because, frankly I savored it. Not very often does a well-written novel such as this come my way. I had to savor it.

Received this from Netgalley. No exchange agreements were arranged. This is my honest opinion.

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Review: Together Forever

Together Forever Together Forever by Jody Hedlund
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really did like this sequel. The first one was superb, this one had a lot of hashing/rehashing of character angst. I like a book's plot to move forward not stay in first gear, move to second, and then go back to first gear. I did finish it, though, and for me to plow through all that angst says a LOT for the writing of Hedlund.

I liked the insight into the orphan trains and the people who placed those orphans. I really didn't know that these placers went back to check on the children placed. That was a new piece of history that I didn't know. Good to know.

Historical tidbits through out this story are very interesting. Characters from the first book are interspersed in this one except we delve deeper into Marianne's story who I thought was a brat in the first one.

I think this story is written to be a stand alone--I don't think you have to read the first in order to enjoy the second.

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Review: The Fashion Designer

The Fashion Designer The Fashion Designer by Nancy Moser
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here is a great sequel to Moser's first one, The Pattern Artist. Loved the characters then, and still love them. Sometimes it's nice to find out What Happened Next!

Characters were developed well in the first one. This one, it's kinda difficult to develop them even more. There were mentions of characters in the first book that are developed more in this one. Quite interesting. Since i read the first one, it's hard to tell if you really need to read the first one to get everything in the second. Although there was some rehash from the first, so I doubt reading the first is a must.

The plot moves along at a steady pace. The difficulties the characters must overcome are completely different, and that is what makes this book as interesting as -- maybe even a bit better -- than the first. Good reading all around. Five of five stars.

Received this book from Netgalley. No exchange agreements were made for this honest review.

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Review: The Abduction

The Abduction The Abduction by Ester Lopez
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The story was good, the premise was extraordinary, but the plot integration leaves a lot to be desired. Loved the set up, but with no explanation of why the girl mis-identified Adam as Dram (the criminal she was chasing for 10 years) was confusing. Then the Ah-ha moment that they looked exactly the same except for age. Should have taken note on the fact Genesis didn't look closely enough at the young man to see he wasn't the older man. That says a lot about her character.

As an editor, there were a lot of plot holes, and some plot point mistakes that make this hard to read. I thought we'd put behind us the days where females made stupid decisions. If a person has been chasing criminals as a bounty hunter for 10 years -- even if it has only been 1 criminal -- this person would have rubbed elbows with other criminal types for 10 years and would/should be able to see through motives and traps. My suspension of belief went out the window.

Romance rarely mixes well with adventure. It is extremely hard to do it well. Most of the time, main character A likes main character B's body and face and falls into "love" that is really lust. It is basically the same thing here. There is no reason why Adam should fall in love with Genesis except those chemistry fizzes that fizzle out. Plenty of reasons Genesis should fall for Adam as he is kind, caring, honest, and high integrity level (keeps promises). But she doesn't know that right away, so why fall in love? It doesn't make any sense. They aren't together long enough to get to know each other well enough to fall in love.

The premonitions are a contrivance that doesn't work all that well. They don't help Adam so, why have them? Therefore, plot ploy doesn't work well or move the story along. They don't create tension. However, the telepathy does work, and I really like the way it's sort of learning how to walk for Adam.

Faith in God is not really explored until about half way into the story. There are some aspects of this part of the story line that are really good. I like that we don't have to wonder about who God is. But, bolding the Vaedra words just detract from the story flow. Using 2 different words for napkin is not necessary and leaves the reader wondering why use 2 different words? The Vaedra language is not part of the story, so skip over those mind traps.

Here is a bit of advice for the author and other newbie authors out there: When writing adventure, or mystery, or suspense, keep the kisses and fondling well toward the end of the story. Give each character plenty of reasons to fall for each other and your readers will love them, too.

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Review: Broken Chain

Broken Chain Broken Chain by Julia David
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonderful love story with a very unusual "hero." I love Ben, but he drove me crazy. Margaret had some things to learn as well. Great character development, great journey toward love, and the song lyrics at the end are beautiful.

Great story premise. I'm not sure how I like Ben's relationship with Nadine, but it is so true how young people confuse love with those chemistry fizzies. But Ben finally sees the light not just about what love really is, but also sees himself through the eyes of God.

I know there are a lot of folks who buy into other people's opinions thinking that is truth. I didn't learn how false that is until my divorce driving back from Arizona. It was as if God embraced me, enfolding me in His hand and told me that the only person I needed to worry about pleasing was Himself. What a freeing moment that was. Especially when Bible study showed me I was acceptable to Him the instant I took His Son into my heart as my Savior.

I have never seen this fact illustrated in a work of fiction before. Great insight.

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Review: Song of Blood & Stone

Song of Blood & Stone Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wonderful, intriguing, great story premise, and good writing combine to make this novel a good read. However, there are some factors involved that you need to be aware of. There is a graphic rape scene about 17% into the book. There is also some graphic, and nasty violence.

Just beware.

Character development is very good. There is quite a bit of backstory, and I'm not sure how crucial that is for the rest of the story, although it does help to develop the characters and motivations.

Well written and well turned phrases, in some places rather lyrical. This is just more adult fare than I am used to and that is why I couldn't go past the 20% mark. So it this review is not all it should be.

I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This review was published here and on Upon Reflection simultaneously. Tweeted and Facebooked

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Review: Terminal Core

Terminal Core Terminal Core by Lynn Steigleder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Terminal Core has been described in other reviews rather well, so I'll skip the story premise except to say that it is the most original I've read since "Stranger in a Strange Land" ages and eons ago. Unlike space westerns such as "Firefly" by Joss Whedon, this novel has beasties and alien species along with humans. This is a combo sci-fi, horror, and western. Intriguing combination, however the science is extremely light.

It is a very interesting read, but there are a few problems that I hope the author, Lynn Steigleder, takes to heart. The number of characters and their backstories are almost insurmountable to consume in one novel. This book would make a tremendous outline for a 3-book series where the characters are explored so the reader can learn to love (or hate) them. Character development is okay as it is, but trying to get to know them and care about what happens to them is almost impossible because there are so many of them. They are likable for the most part.

About the short chapters and jumping around in points of view (POV). The problem isn't necessarily head jumping for the POV, it is that there are zero transitions from one jump to the next. When an author tells a story from several POV, there should be a one-sentence to one paragraph transition that leads into (causes a question to rise in the reader's mind) the next character's POV. For a smooth story flow transitions are crucial unless the abrupt change is intentional to cause tension as part of the story flow. There is a lot of jumping around in this novel and it makes for a choppy sort of flow. Sometimes this works very well in this novel as the action starts to speed up. Other times it is frustrating.

However, if you don't really care about writing craft and just want to read an unusual sci-fi/horror/western, then this is good reading fare for you.

I received this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review. This review was published simultaneously here on Goodreads and on my review blog Upon Reflection: http//

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Review: The Finistu Connection

The Finistu Connection The Finistu Connection by Terry Higham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Talk about a very unique sci-fi story! You've got a wonderful experience coming.

Terry Higham has crafted a lovely sci-fi romance, and has handled the problem of space travel in an extraordinary twist. It's worth reading just for that... but that's the cart before the horse so to speak.

We've got Jane, a detective in England who has a weird murder to solve. And we've got Ianu who is from the planet Finistu who committed the not-homicide (it's only a homicide if a human kills a human), so I guess this would be aliencide by self-defense.

There are quite a few UK colloquialisms that I, as an American, didn't understand. Those did not become a story-flow dam, though. I think because the story is so good, you just overlook things that get in the way. There were some typos and grammar errors, not story-flow dams either. However, some gave me "reader's pause" trying to figure out what was meant.

The romance is quite intriguing because it is between Ianu and Jane. I like the way Higham handles the burgeoning romance, the way each one considers the cost of such a romance. I also like the way the attraction between the two is handled that sets up truly great anticipation for a culmination of the romance. And then we have a delightful handling of that--would it be interspecies?--marriage.

Go get your copy! It's well worth your time and money to read this book.

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Review: Son of a Predator

Son of a Predator Son of a Predator by David Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can identify with David Davis and what Todd Davis, the sociopath, put him through. I wish everyone who has been a victim of this kind of abuse could read this book. It is a culmination of a lot of experiences and how David wrestled with his feelings and how he finally overcame the abuse.

It is a different kind of abuse that is rarely talked about and very rarely recognized. The co-dependency is another problem that very few victims recognize they are suffering from. I especially loved how David's faith helped him to overcome. Few people in the Hollywood circuit have the courage to do so. However, the content can be extremely helpful to anyone who lives with, works with, or has a relationship with a bullying sociopath. Todd is not just a narcissist, but a man without a conscience, and has no real inkling of right from wrong. Those kinds of people are extremely dangerous, and very manipulative.

David Davis paints the picture well. However, the 4-star review instead of 5-stars is because the book really, really needs some professional editing. There are typos and grammar errors, but those are not story-flow-dams. It's the wordiness, and passive tenses that bog down this memoir. After the first three incidents/trips, the reader gets the gist of just how horrible Todd Davis is. Also, there is a question of motivations behind the book.

David says the main motivation is to help anyone trapped in this kind of relationship. Perhaps it would help others to read a little more about how to overcome and a little less of the abuse, although I do get it that it takes the brilliance of a search light in order to recognize what one is living through at abnormal. So, maybe I'm wrong on that score.

Anyway, after overcoming something similar with my ex-husband who finally did see the light and with the help of Jesus, turned his life around, I can certainly identify with David's pain and with his joy of overcoming. I'm praying for you David.

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Review: Chipless

Chipless Chipless by Kfir Luzzatto
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great premise for sci-fi fans and dystopian fans. The story centers around a man raised in a pristine, disinfected world where people are controlled by seeing things/feeling things that really aren't there such as pastoral scenes outside their city. (I wondered why people didn't want to go sit under the trees and enjoy the meadow scents wafting to them on gentle breezes, but they doggedly go to work every day in the City. However, everyone in the City is told what to do and how to feel and what to smell and what to work on, etc.)

The characters are very well developed with unique characteristics. I think Kfir Luzzatto did a great job with developing and overcoming Kal's disorientation after his chip blitzes out in a physics experiment. Amber, the other main character, is equally well-developed. Even though she plays tough, she still has a softness about her and a bit of naivety that works.

The story bogs down a little in the middle of the book, gets a bit wordy on their quest to reach Freeland. But the pace picks up quite a bit as Kal and Amber work to keep Freeland free.

All in all it is a good read. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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Review: The Weaver's Daughter

The Weaver's Daughter The Weaver's Daughter by Sarah E. Ladd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the Netgalley copy I received in exchange for my honest review, there are several mistakes in continuity, typos, and a lot of wordiness. This is published by Thomas Nelson, so I doubt you'll find those same gaffs, but there were enough to jar my reading pleasure so bear that in mind in reading this review.

I really liked this book. The story is one of prejudice, greed, principles, and how loyalty can be blind, with romance interwoven as tightly as a 400-thread count sheet.

The premise is a good one taking place within the context of the beginning of industrialized fabric milling and weaving. Interesting backdrop for the romance between the offspring of two warring families--sound familiar? Fortunately, the end is not as heartbreaking as Romeo and Juliette.

I found it very difficult to suspend belief that a supposed independent woman could be so gullible and blinded by loyalty to her father who tossed out her brother when he went to work for the rival family's mill. The father had such a hatred for this rival family, it spoiled his character. I just think it shouldn't have taken so long to discover his duplicity. But, they do say that love is blind. Maybe loyalty becomes a habit and is blind as well.

The characters are well-developed, even the supporting cast right down to housekeeping and kitchen help. There is enough action to keep one riveted through the long passages of character angst, second-guessing, and fretting over what was and what will be. Hopefully, good editing will remove a lot of that hashing and rehashing.

The setting is in England in a tiny town close to the moors. So you know the damp cold is deeply biting, but when reading this you don't really feel the cold, or taste the era. To the author it is just place and time with no elaboration or thought to helping the reader settle into the time, the place, and the feel of the environment. There are quite a few misuses of words. For example Ladd uses "banter" for a serious discussion. That kind of word misuse really bothers me. So I skipped over a lot of, what I thought of as, unnecessary pages of dialogue and especially narrative. But I did read to the end.

Anyhoot, the story line and story flow is pretty good, and it seems the historical accuracy is also pretty good. Although, I still don't know what shearing sheep has to do with the gig-mills, or why millers and weavers are so different. Still, you'll enjoy the character development, but if you are into period drama and well-described historical settings--you won't get it here.

All that said, I still give it four of five stars.

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Review: Refugees

Refugees Refugees by R.A. Denny
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I agreed to review this book because the author said, "Since you enjoyed "Cast of Stones" perhaps you'll enjoy my book "Refugees." I adored "Cast of Stones." But this book is nothing like that. Disclaimer: Received this book from the authors in exchange for my honest opinion.

Creating you own world for fantasy or sci-fi is really hard work. I appreciate more than you know how hard. Denny did a great job creating the world and each of the regions each of the characters resided. I enjoyed that very much.

Denny started this series very well, tremendous suspense and heartless cruelty. It set the stage for a good story... except the follow through was too plodding to really care about the characters. As an editor, it is much better to start the story with one or two characters and add other characters as the first character meets them on his/her journey to save the world. Denny didn't do that. Each character is a main character and had his/her own introduction so the reader could understand the region and customs of each wildly different main character. This plot tactic was jolting, had no transitions, kept me from caring about them as a reader should who needs to be involved in the story.

The writing is good. Descriptions are very good. World building is good. Premise is good. Character building could use some work. Story flow and editing need more work.

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Review: No Less Days

No Less Days No Less Days by Amanda G. Stevens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What would it be like to never die from a terminal illness or gunshot or crippling disease or bone-crushing accident?

Amanda Stevens explores the answer to that question. She is an excellent writer who creates believable worlds, believable characters, and satisfying stories.

In this first in a series, Stevens develops a complicated story of life longevity that squeezes tension into every muscle. The premise is intriguing. There's a handful of people who have been living for about 150 years, and no matter what happens to them, they can't die--even a 8,000-foot fall into a rocky canyon.

The characters are very 3-dimensional with quirks and complications that have solidified the faith of some and twisted the perversions of one. You can't help but care deeply about each one, especially the handsome, book-loving, book store owner, main character, David Galloway.

Five of five stars. Enjoy your romance with David... or is his name John?

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Review: The Rogue

The Rogue The Rogue by Lee W. Brainard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love science. When sci-fi is packed with good science, I'm in reading heaven. This is a great premise and much better executed and believable than most end-of-world story plots. Quite frighteningly believable. All the science fits together very well. Very interesting that the Rogue is coming from the Seven Sisters (Pleiades) in Taurus. Everything seems to happen in Orion these days, so I was pleased to see Taurus pop up.

But this book proves the norm of real-science/fictional stories however. Most science-based novels are top-heavy with science and very weak on character development, and have a rather disjointed story flow with zero transitions from one point of view to the next. That kind of writing makes it very hard to get caught up in the story and really care about what happens to the characters.

Brainard does a pretty good job with helping you to care about the characters. The most likable one is Woody, although it was tough to figure out who he was at first. Introducing Ariele first and then switching to Irina would have been okay except the two characters that were supposed to be so opposite (Ariele = free spirit, hippy-like, Irina = conservative Christian) actually acted so similar I couldn't tell them apart until well into the story. Also, beyond them being athletic, they had very few physical features and no speech patterns that were different so they blended together.

The flip-flop in time and characters at the beginning is very confusing. I guess I was just supposed to know that the description of the two women at the beginning was giving me clues at how different the characters were so I could tell them apart. Good plot point that didn't come off at all. Another bit of confusion is the lack of transitions from one POV to another. The itallics helps to differentiate between characters' thoughts, but then head-hopping drives me crazy anyway, so I might be prejudiced in that regard.

Brainard throws in news about happenings in the Middle East that could literally be taken from this morning's paper. These things did not move the story along at all, had no effect on the characters, and did not provide any tension, story line, or flashpoints in the story. I know they were to provide a set up for conflict later in the story. It would be much better for the story flow if Brainard had just left that out and introduced all that when it actually matters for the story.

This is a really good story premise. With a bit of old-fashioned developmental editing and character development, this will be a terrific series.

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Review: Beneath Copper Falls

Beneath Copper Falls Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought I had reviewed this book. But then I get a notification... ACK! I'm sorry Colleen, I mishandled this!

I loved this story. It was captivating, and held my interest all the way to the last page. Colleen has a great knack for keeping the pages turning. Suspenseful, some places humorous, and believable/lovable characters. All round good writing!

Five of five stars. Thank you Colleen and Netgalley for giving me this book to review in return for my honest opinion.

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Review: My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele's Journey

My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele's Journey My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele's Journey by Amanda Barratt
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was okay. I did enjoy the history of Niagara Falls, I've always wanted to go there.

This story brought me to the every edge of suspension of belief. You have to suspend belief in a lot of books that are supernatural or fantasy or sci-fi, but you'd think you wouldn't have to do that with historical romance.

A young woman saddled with the cares of holding an estate together while the brother spends it away, it's just unbelievable to me that this woman who apparently has a great head on her shoulders would traipse off to America leaving her spendthrift brother behind to ruin the estate. She couldn't depend upon her mother because apparently she didn't have a brain or any gumption. How dumb is that?

While this chit is in America, I'm worrying about the estate back home. The story didn't mesh with me.

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Review: Judah's Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees

Judah's Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees Judah's Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees by Angela Elwell Hunt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great historical novel from Angela Hunt.

This novel is a great stand alone (I never knew there was a 1st book until I started writing this review!) Angela weaves this story with history, romance, family and Jewish traditions with tremendous skill. There is intrigue, humor, 2nd-century BC daily living as well as war tactics. She also gives great insight into how Antiochus Epiphenes terrorized the people of Judah.

Just plain great writing. If you like historical accuracy blended into family saga well, then this series is for you.

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Review: Ricochet Joe

Ricochet Joe Ricochet Joe by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't know if others had this same problem because I haven't read any other reviews, but the "in-motion" feature didn't work well with my android Kindle app. It was a distraction.

The story, on the other hand was really good. Typical Dean Koontz. Loved the premise and the way he whips me around with all the twists and turns. Just a good, rainy afternoon read!

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Review: The Lacemaker

The Lacemaker The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very good historical romance.

I love historicals and this one is no exception. There is a pathos in this story that hits the heart. When a beautiful daughter is so disregarded by her father that he literally forgets to take her with him in his escape... that is really cold.

Very good writing, very good story premise, perhaps there could have been greater attention to absolute correctness in etiquette of the colonial period, ways of addressing loved ones and others. And perhaps a little more attention to descriptions of dress, etc. Otherwise this is an interesting and worthy read.

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Review: Oath of Honor

Oath of Honor Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really liked this book even though the story flow dragged a bit in the middle.

I can appreciate how difficult it would be for a sibling to discover something about another sibling and be torn apart between love and duty. But here's the thing that seemed a bit implausible to me--and I might be wrong about this--but if your brother is a Christian, and you've known him your whole life and you trust him implicitly, why struggle with what he asks you to do?

Believability isn't a word, but it should be when it comes to novels. Setting aside belief in the implausible, this book and the writing is very good. There are a LOT of characters that I'm sure will be developed in later books of the series, and these characters will be very interesting.

The romance is a bit on the light side, and the character development of the two main characters suffers because of the huge amount of other characters. I think Lynette should take a tip from Law & Order -- go light on trying to develop characters that don't move the story along quickly. Otherwise, it's a good story.

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Review: A Soldier's Song

A Soldier's Song A Soldier's Song by Irene Onorato
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A really good inspirational romance. It has a bit of humor, a bit of suspense, and a lot of heart.

The story is woven around two people who have some issues to deal with (who doesn't?), and I think this is probably a good male POV character. Not all romances have a good male POV. Irene does a good job by giving each main character a reason to fall in love with the other. There's real meat to the story.

The story flow is a bit slow in places, and there is a bit of rehashing of motives. Just because we humans in real life think about our problems every day and sometimes to excess, we readers don't need that particular kind of realism. The rehashing didn't become a story dam, but came close for me.

Good story premise, and good writing.

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Review: Burgundy Gloves

Burgundy Gloves Burgundy Gloves by Julia David
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a jewel.

The characters are very well developed, and there is a lovely romance that develops nicely, too.

The story line has a good flow to it so that the pages keep turning. I like that kind of novel. The faith that runs through the story is just right, and a bit different coming from the male point of view. There was a bit of overkill on the angst part, and a bit of rehashing--but that goes with the kind of story this is dealing with amnesia. You'll have that.

There's a touch of humor that brings the story to life. Description is very light. You don't get a good feel for the dense woods, nor can you "smell" the wood smoke, nor do you "feel" just how cold the river water is. Some flowers noted are blooming in the wrong season... but, if you don't care about that stuff like I do, you'll get engrossed in the story and forget about it.

Worthy read, and worth the money.

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Review: The Veil

The Veil The Veil by Blake K. Healy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I do not doubt a bit that God gives us gifts solely for us to use for His glory, some of the things depicted in this book are not quite biblical. However, Blake makes sure on every page that the reader understands this is all for God's glory. He takes no accolades for himself. That's good.

I also know for a fact that angels and demons are all around us. I also know that the way Blade sees some demons working in this physical world are testified to from others (not me personally, because I've only seen one demon/Satan in a vision).

However, if you really want to see how angels and demons work, this is the book for you not for any other reason but that Blake gives God all the glory. That is the mark of a true believer.

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