Review: Home: Interstellar: Merchant Princess

Home: Interstellar: Merchant Princess Home: Interstellar: Merchant Princess by Ray Strong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took me awhile to realize why I wasn't getting into the story. The premise is really exciting, and the obstacles are intriguing. There is a conspiracy going on that is extremely far-reaching.

The technology is very light. I like real science in my sci-fi, so this was a tiny stretch for me.

So what was the deal? Why couldn't I care deeply for these misplaced children who were facing enormous psychological and physical problems?

The story was told in a style that had no passion. I read a newspaper and get more passion. I didn't feel like I was right there with the characters because it seemed the author didn't care all that much for the characters. The reader can't smell or taste or feel much of what's going on because the story is told from an atmosphere as antiseptic as space is a vacuum.

When the inciting incident of a story happens in the backstory, it is very difficult to get into the story.

All that said, I liked it but it didn't make me hungry for more.

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Review: Meow Matrimony

Meow Matrimony Meow Matrimony by Lisa Lickel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this story. I love cats, so the cat aspect was really fun. But something was sort of missing and then I realized this is book 2 of a series and I had missed book 1. That must be where the character development happened, right? Because there isn't much character development here.

There is a lot happening in this story, which makes it feel like real life. But sometimes it felt like clutter clouding the issue of the mystery, and the mystery every so slowly was solved. Nothing fast paced here, and a lot of distractions. Distractions are not all bad, either. However, the main thing was character without much development so they seemed more cardboard rather than alive and lively. That is why it gets 3 stars instead of 4 or 5 stars.

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Review: A Perfect Silhouette

A Perfect Silhouette A Perfect Silhouette by Judith McCoy Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good story premise. Excellent historical read. Characters are fairly well developed and the romance is good. Trust issues, Faith issues, and Class Status issues are themed.

I really enjoyed this story and the historical depiction of the workings of a textile mill. After I read this book, I ran across a couple of seasons of The Mill, a BBC production inspired by true stories of an 1840-50s textile mill in England. The depiction was so similar to what I read in this book. I was further impressed.

The major thing that kept this from being a 4 or 5 star read is there are quite a few unresolved problems -- widowed sister and family-what happened to them? The hero gave up his pampered son place to find out from a worker's POV what working a textile mill was like and what needed changing - nothing was resolved here about the changes.

People are complex and, of course, meet Jesus in many different ways. One character gets tied up with Jesus in buttons and bows without any real reason why. We all have motivations and this woman's motivation of selfishness and snobbery was not addressed. Just too much fairy tale resolutions that kept this book from being a really good satisfying read.

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Review: The Noble Guardian

The Noble Guardian The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a stand-alone, this story is top notch. While it may be a trilogy, it does not depend upon the previous books, very straight forward and quite an excellent read.

As a historical read, it left a lot to be desired.

There were far too many modernisms in dialogue ("save your drama," "suit yourself,") and narration that would jerk me back to the present. There were no rubber pants back in those days, so the sheer work of hygiene would be almost insurmountable on a road trip because diapers were rarely changed and the waste was not washed out. The smell would have been unbearable in a closed in coach. Historical readers care about this kind of thing.

This is the problem with today's historical romance. No one seems to care about historical accuracy and authenticity--such as an upper class lady going cross country without a lady's maid or companion. For Regency times, this would be enough to completely ruin a woman's reputation to the point of equating her with harlotry. Griep did a good job of making the reader believe going back was impossible and the only way was to go forward not matter what awaited. But--servants and the lower class innkeepers and merchants were just as snotty as the upper class. No innkeeper would allow a woman traveling by herself to have a room. That would ruin his reputation as a good place to stay.

Pardon my little rant here but no gentleman of those times would consider taking a gentlewoman on a trip like this without a maid or companion. Samuel is written as a gentleman and sharply compared to a born gentleman who doesn't act as such. This puts it in the realm of a fairy tale, but wait! Even fairy tales keep princes in their correct social status.

However, the storyline and the romance was pretty good. So if you don't care about authenticity, you'll enjoy the read.

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Review: A Silken Thread

A Silken Thread A Silken Thread by Kim Vogel Sawyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a historical read, this one is top notch. Sawyer does excellent research. Each character has just enough backstory to broaden the culture aspect of the different classes and motivations of the characters. Very well done.

The settings and descriptions are also woven intricately into the narration adding to the overall interest aspect of the book.

However, there are so many characters with motivations to explore that it feels just a bit jumbled. Although, the main characters are very believable and act/react according to their traits. That part is satisfying. So all in all, it is a worthy read.

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Review: Synapse

Synapse Synapse by Steven James
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this book.

I adore Sci-Fi. I grew up reading sci-fi and all the techy things that go with it. Almost no tech stuff to bite into in this story, but lots of stuff to think about. However, I couldn't get over the fact that an AI has no soul, therefore an AI doesn't need Jesus to save something he doesn't have. The question of who can and who can't believe is a non-sequitur. So when the premise of the book became a non-factor, I lost all interest because I just didn't care about the characters.

What irritated me the most was all the different points of view. That came off to me as a trick Just-To-See-If-I-Can-Do-It kind of trick. To me it spoiled the whole flow of the storyline and was the main reason I quit reading the book, not the content nor the lack of character development.

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Review: Breath of Joy!: Ah, Autumn

Breath of Joy!: Ah, Autumn Breath of Joy!: Ah, Autumn by Kathy Joy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here are the best thoughts gathered in one enticing place that will bring back memories and spark new ones.

Quite an intriguing picture book. I am honored to have been chosen to review Kathy's book 2 in the series. What an amazing cache of beautiful Autumn moments. Perfect for your coffee table, to start conversations, or just to walk through and savor.

Highly recommend this book. It's a keeper!

5 of 5 stars

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Review: The Killing Tide

The Killing Tide The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Try as I might, I could not get into this story. I think it is because I really did not like Gabby at all. I've been a journalist and the things Gabby did are things that could have gotten me fired from my job. Recklessness as depicted here and in other things such as movies and TV is not admired in journalists and reporters. So be aware of that mindset when you see I gave this only two stars.

Please understand I really enjoy Dai Pettrey novels. She's a great writer and good researcher, but she fell down on this one. But then everyone has a right to fail at least once.

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Review: More Than Words Can Say

More Than Words Can Say More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quite a good story with a great premise that is fairly believable. I know our frontier women had a lot of gumption, and this book shows it.

The characterizations are very good. You get a feel for each character and they act within character. However, there are some modernisms that distract. You can tell this is the 2nd in a series because what happens in the first book is mentioned quite a lot. I didn't read the first one so I thought I was being fed quite a bit of backstory. Then I caught on. It isn't distracting and what happened in the first book doesn't build in the 2nd book. It's a stand-alone.

I think the only thing that would make this book better is if the main characters would quit rehashing their feelings and move along. Certainly, the reader doesn't need reminding every chapter. Cut some of that out, or at least think it in different way sheesh.

Above all that, though, it is a very good story and worthy of reading. I gave it 4 of 5 stars.

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Review: King's Shadow: A Novel of King Herod's Court

King's Shadow: A Novel of King Herod's Court King's Shadow: A Novel of King Herod's Court by Angela Elwell Hunt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I adored Angela's book about Joseph in Egypt. This one I'm not too keen on. It switches points of view so often my head was spinning. I really hate that. However, Hunt is a good researcher and I plowed on.

There are a LOT of great reviews of this story so I won't tell you what it is about. Characterization was not up to Hunt's normal quality. It was often difficult to remember who was telling the story, and it is hard to flip back to the beginning of a chapter to see whose POV I was into. So I gave up. Keep that in mind when you see I gave it 3 stars.

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Review: An Officer's Vow

An Officer's Vow An Officer's Vow by Penny Hampson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this book! Great writing, super character development. Reminded me a lot of Georgette Heyer's books. The premise is different enough that it holds your interest. I highly recommend it for content, situations, characters, and storyline.

This one is well worth the money and is a keeper.

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Review: The Persian Gamble

The Persian Gamble The Persian Gamble by Joel C. Rosenberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I see I'm one of the very, very few who took exception to a few things that bogged the intensity of suspense down to a slow crawl in this story. Of course, the front said that it was the unedited version.

It is not like a Robert Ludlum-Jason Bourne story. There is a lot of action, but there's too much backstory that cuts the tension building and dashes cold water all over the story that's heating up. There is a TON of backstory that really bogs the story down. It isn't necessary. It does not move the story along. There is no need whatsoever to try to instill pathos for someone that will be killed in the next few pages. Suspense thrillers are not that kind of read.

However, I found this book to be extremely engrossing. When the suspense and tension was allowed to build, it built to pressure cooker hot. When that happens you will read far into the night. But... There's also a lot of switching around from American, to Russian, to North Korean, to Iran.... YIKES! I didn't know what part of the world I'd be in when I finally turned the light out. Frankly, I skipped over a lot of that so I could get back to the story. And didn't miss a thing that I had to go back for.

Warning! A RANT: I got it from Netgally, and I'm tired of publishers throwing books on Netgalley without the first bit if editing. Come ON people, give reviewers something to rave about. Don't make us stumble around for something great to say about a story when taking a week to give the thing a first edit would make these books shine like a diamond.

Marcus Ryker is back with a bang! And what a bang! He takes enormous punishment to get the job done, and of course, he does. The suspense is really good -- especially the trip to North Korea. I really like books where the hero has to overcome impossible odds, and this book delivers that kind of ride (if you can wade through all the stuff going on that does not move the story along.

4 stars for storyline minus a star for too much back story.

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Review: Life, Death and Cellos

Life, Death and Cellos Life, Death and Cellos by Isabel Rogers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually thought this was a murder mystery in the English style. Not.

However, it was enjoyable up to a point. I adore anything written across the pone. Well almost anything. This was a LOT like a soap opera, even though there was a stolen cello -- and what a cello!

The characters are very British, quite deliciously staid and a little stiff -- but not all of them. If you like character driven stories that are well written, you'll like this book.

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Review: Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction Chain Reaction by Rebecca York
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great book. Great story flow. Fast-paced suspense. As many twists and turns as your heart desires. Great character development.

There was a little drawback when Lily Darnell believed a person over the phone over her husband of years. That felt very contrived, but as the story unfolded I guess it was necessary. That said, the characters are believable and the premise is very believable.

If you like suspense/action/one-man-wars (actually it is man+woman-war against the mega corporate giant with top secret government contract, then you'll love this book.

Five of five stars.

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Review: The Night Window

The Night Window The Night Window by Dean Koontz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I adore anything written by Dean Koontz. This is no exception.

The last in his series with Jane Hawk with all kinds of frightening and chilling little brain invaders. What a climax!!

Dean has a special way of writing that ignites the imagination. After reading this book I was ready to quit going out in public but join a self-defense class.

The book is packed with suspense, and quite terrifying because it really is plausible. Anyway. the plot winds up all the plot strings ties them up and fills in all the plot holes where Dean left you hanging. You really do need to read at least one of the previous book -- recommend at least the first one -- to completely understand everything going on. He brings back a few characters and gets rid of the bad guys in a very satisfying way. All the characters have tremendous development, and it seems like they like to come visit you in the dark of night. It's like you can't stop thinking of the story, even when it's over. Sigh.

Most excellent and satisfying read. Highly recommend.

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Review: The Heiress Comes to Town

The Heiress Comes to Town The Heiress Comes to Town by Janet Syas Nitsick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book from the author, and I am happy to review it.

This is an excellent premise for a historical romance. The characters are distinct and believable, and I can feel Nina's desperation to get away from her controlling father.

The book is well-written, although as an editor there are lots of things I could suggest such as removing a couple of modernisms (which it has been a few weeks since I read it and now can't remember them). Modernisms are things the characters say that are from modern language. And there is some wordiness that seems to dam up the story flow at times.

However, that said, the story is a good one, and fairly fast-paced. You get a good feel for Victorian small town America, but there is a lack of nosy-ness of neighbors that always goes with small-town life.

The main characters are well-developed. The supporting cast could use a little fine tuning. Mrs. Green seems kindly at first, then rather dictatorial, then fiercely loyal...

I recommend this book, and give it 4 stars out of 5.

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Review: The Cleaner

The Cleaner The Cleaner by Paul Cleave
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very good story, but some of the foul words detract from the story. They don't add anything to move the story along... and it's a lazy way of depicting character flaws/degeneration.

However, it reads believable at what an aging, wanting-to-get-out-of-the-business assassin might do/feel. Fast action, but there are some holes left in the story -- possibly to be filled in in the next in the series.

I'll have to think hard to see if I want to read the rest of the series, though.

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Review: Convergence

Convergence Convergence by Ginny L. Yttrup
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have tried and tried to read this book that is written in present tense. I wish I'd know it was present tense before I ordered it, because I wouldn't have. It takes a special type of author to write in present tense well so that you don't notice that it's present tense. This one shouts, "Hey, I'm present tense. Pay attention to me and not the story."

So here's the warning, if you have a problem with present tense--don't read. If you don't mind present tense then you might have a problem with this book because the editor did not understand that all the verbs should not be present tense because of the nuances of dialogue and narrative. It takes lots of practice writing in present tense to make it unnoticed and part of the story structure. Present tense in this story isn't a foundation but a red flag waving in the breeze of the story. Therefore it makes getting into the story hard, and concentrating on the story harder.

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Review: An Unexpected Redemption: Book One of the Romalo Legacy Series

An Unexpected Redemption: Book One of the Romalo Legacy Series An Unexpected Redemption: Book One of the Romalo Legacy Series by Emily Hamsher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The premise of this book is as old as jealousy and the ache for love. Well developed characters with believable flaws.

It is a worthy read. There are some eyebrow-raising words that don't add anything to the storyline. I don't mind an author using foreign words, They just need explaining in the text, and some of these are not, so what good are they?

Hamsher does a very good job in helping the reader to feel Lucian's pain, and understand his need. There is a lot of reason given for why Lucian falls head over heels for his brother's betrothed, but no reasons for why she should return his love. I have a problem with that. Huge problem. Just because a man has great shoulders and a handsome face and a bad-boy attitude/lifestyle doesn't mean that a girl should fall in love with him. The spiritual gift of mercy usually confuses the compassion raised by another's hurting heart with love. I'm not sure Hamsher did a good enough job with that. It's troubling.

However, there is a lot of good to be said about how Adelina reacted to anger from another. It's a complicated issue and Hamsher did very well with that.

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Review: Plains of Exodus

Plains of Exodus Plains of Exodus by Robert J. Burnett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read sci-fi every time I can get my hands on one. This one was a nice surprise.

Fairly well written, some typos etc. I received and read an ARC from Netgalley so hopefully those were fixed before the pub date.

Jonah, the main character was very well developed. The supporting cast, not so well developed. But that is how the trends are going these days. I do hope if there is a sequel, the other characters are given a bit more body.

The premise of this story is great. Earth is gone, but gone for so long it is rather an afterthought. Then the chance for not just one planet home but several. There is a whole new galaxy to explore. Cool.

This is an exciting read because it isn't the general, usual fare for sci-fi. Nicely done. Looking forward to more from Burnettt.

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Review: The White City

The White City The White City by Grace Hitchcock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those books it is really hard to rate. The story is very good, it is romance with some thriller/suspense with that old-fashioned detective work thrown in. However, the detective work is rather slapdash, and the back cover blurb gives a totally wrong impression. This is only based, or rather, inspired by true crime. Some writers and make true suspense and true romance work well together. This one fails on the suspense "promise" but delivers on the romance promise.

The serial murders were committed by the person depicted in this story, but I'm quite sure they were more heinous than depicted here. Frankly, if one wants to read Christian romance then that's what one picks up to read. If one wants to read true crime, then that is what one picks up to read. This was hyped as true crime and wound up being romance with a little mystery thrown in. There was no build up to the very real danger faced by our little heroine.

Winnefred is a fun leading lady... a rather plucky well-developed character. Jude, the police detective assigned to protect her is only slightly less well developed. However, I do believe the writer character, Percy, was well done. Percival is a defined character that has some excellent quirks, but on the whole, some of the situations in this story feel/read a bit contrived.

However, I did enjoy the story and because of that I give it four stars.

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Review: Earth Quarantined: Book 1 of Earth Quarantined series

Earth Quarantined: Book 1 of Earth Quarantined series Earth Quarantined: Book 1 of Earth Quarantined series by D.L. Richardson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a very well-written book with believable characters and some great twists to keep the pages turning. It wasn't edge-of-your-seat, but close. The way Richardson developed the alien characters was masterful and frightening. I'm really surprised, though that after being with humans for so long, not more of being human rubbed off on them.

Character development is a hot-button with me and these characters are a gaggle of very humanized, 3-D characters. They all have motives, and each is set to achieve the goal. When these goals clash, a lot of tension prevails.

Really nice touches with technology, scenery, and different settings really come alive.

I highly recommend it. because of all of the above and because the premise is very different from the norm. Good reading experience.

Five of Five stars

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Review: The Driver

The Driver The Driver by David Nuckles
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am not a fan of flashbacks at all. This storyline has all the qualities of flashbacks when the main character flips from one storyline to another--what actually happened and what the Driver might imagine is blurred. The premise is rather fantastical and hard to set aside disbelief.

The author tries to answer the question: "Can a person be in two places at once."

Actually, halfway through the book, the author had proven only that the Driver was on auto-pilot or had zoned out. Then the other half of the book the Driver is trying to dissect his movements to see if he actually saw what he saw or not. That was kinda interesting.

However, the whole thing was spoiled by the several pages of regurgitated research the author does that leads the reader to think this book is going to be about THIS and it is actually about THAT. And, to me, THAT was a bit disappointing.

Two of Five Stars.

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