Book Review: Her Thin Blue Lifeline: Indigo Knights Book I by A.J. Downey

Her Thin Blue Lifeline: Indigo Knights Book I by A.J. Downey

A Romance Novel published by Second Circle Press (06/28/17)

Summary:

Chrissy Franco just won a major case, but not everyone is happy about her success. Someone posts her home address online and it only takes one nut job to take everything away from Chrissy. Tony McCormick is the police detective called to the scene and the one to find Chrissy barely alive. Chrissy won’t be able to feel safe again until the culprit is caught and Tony won’t rest until he finds the man terrorizing Chrissy.

Keywords:

MC, Bikers, Lawyer, Courtroom, Victim, Shooter, Apartment, Defense, Clients, Innocence, Romance, Blame, Guilt, Recovery, PT, Cop, Damsel in Distress, Strong Female Character

My Review:

I felt for Chrissy. She is the woman everyone relates to at night walking home alone. Or on a dark street alone. Her story is why some people lock their doors at night. She is the woman with the target on her back for no reason other than because she hit a man’s ego. I felt for her and her feelings of terror and PTSD. I wanted her to recover and to pick up the shattered pieces of her life in a happy ending.

This book is such a true reflection of what people and women go through in this world where we are never truly safe. When something so terrible happens, like it did to Chrissy, the person might never fully recover – physically and mentally. Chrissy is so brave to stay in that city and to work as hard as she did in her physical therapy. She did nothing to deserve what happened to her. The author gave so much life and power to Chrissy. She wasn’t your typical damsel in distress.

I liked seeing a different kind of motorcycle club than the Sacred Hearts series and can’t wait to see where AJ Downey goes next.

This novel was published by Second Circle Press on 06/28/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

A.J. Downey’s Blog

Goodreads

Facebook

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Book Review: The Watch & Wand: The difference between science and magic is a matter of perspective (Project Gene Assist Book 2) by Allie Potts

The Watch & Wand: The difference between science and magic is a matter of perspective (Project Gene Assist Book 2) by Allie Potts

A Science Fiction/Cyberpunk/Dystopian Novel published by Axil Hammer Publishing (12/5/17)

Summary:

A worldwide economic collapse has left society in shambles with only basic technology. Stephen is able to connect to what’s left of the grid to play a video game with a stranger. What’s left of tech is easy for Stephen to manipulate. It’s not enough to sneak off to play games online and Stephen longs for excitement. That’s exactly what he gets when he has to go to town to get parts. He meets a girl on the run from the new government enforcers – the Watch.

Keywords:

Genetic Engineering, Science and Technology, Rivals, Technology,  Future, Dystopian, Survival, Dark Ages, War, New Government, Towers, Grit, Magic, Evolution, Economic Collapse, New Order, Salvation, Friendship, Romance

My Review:

I was immediately immersed in this post-apocalyptic world. First the focus was just in Stephen’s barn as he connects with a stranger through an online video game. Then the world expands as we see Stephen’s home life “off-the-grid” on the farm. We don’t linger there long before Stephen is off to find parts to fix the grid and our world expands a bit more as we see what a typical town looks like. The world continues to expand as Stephen’s adventure continues and his problems increase.

Stephen was a great character. He underwent a significant change throughout the story. He was willing to take a chance on the strange girl and help her, not expecting anything in return. She, Bean, was also a character I immediately took a liking to in this story. She had many secrets and I liked the mystery that surrounded her. Stephen and Bean together made for a great team and the romance that built between them felt very natural and sweet. Their romance was not the focus of the story, which I appreciated. The story remained focused on Stephen and his goal and the overarching plot that kept sweeping Stephen up in its grasp.

The world felt full. The technology and world building were explained adequately. The only parts that was harder to understand and appreciate fully were the magical element, but I thought the author did a good job integrating the fantasy element into the story and the world.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this novel. This is my honest review.

This novel was published by Axil Hammer Publishing on 12/5/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Allie Potts’ Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: For the Love of Christmas by Starla Huchton

For the Love of Christmas by Starla Huchton

A Sweet Romance Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (10/30/17)

Summary:

Santa has polar flu and needs a replacement, but Mr. Klaus only has a daughter, Meri, and she hasn’t married yet. Meri loves reverse engineering toys. She loves Christmas. She loves her family. It is up to her to find the new Santa, but she only has a few weeks to find the right man to fit the job. Brett Dunning has not celebrated Christmas in 7 years, since his wife died giving birth to his daughter, Holly. If the magic of Christmas points to Brett, will Meri be able to convince him to give the holidays a chance again?

Keywords:

Christmas, Santa, Santa’s Daughter, Tradition, Family Business, Snow, Holidays, Single Parent, Romance, Love, Friendship, Magic, Holiday Spirit, Choir, Baking

My Review:

This story is a bit unbelievable with the whole’ Santa is real aspect,’ but once you get over that, it’s a wonderfully sweet romance. The characters were simple, yet fully developed and full of personality and quirks. This is a family friendly romance – sweet for the holidays.

Meri is the perfect daughter, friend, and wife. Is it the magic of Christmas and her family history that makes her smell so sweet, gives her super sympathy and loads of patience, and all around makes her perfect? Brett is more down to earth and realistic as a person. He loves his daughter, but can’t get over his love of his late wife easily.

Every scene with Holly in it was beautiful. I loved how Meri and Brett both interacted with her and how alive she felt as a young child. The doting love that both Brett and Meri gave to Holly was wonderful and endeared both Meri and Brett even more to me as a reader.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 10/30/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: The Tchaikovsky by E G Sergoyan

The Tchaikovsky by E G Sergoyan

A Mystery/Thriller Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (11/16/16)

Summary:

Diane is not thrilled to be representing Dr. Moon in court again, but at least the case is interesting. Dr. Moon is accused of kidnapping a young girl. The case should be cut and dried, but according to Dr. Moon, he had to take the girl to an audition across state lines so that she could play The Tchaikovsky violin Concerto in D major in order to release her late music teacher from possession of her body. And Dr. Moon is a psychic.

Keywords:

Violin, Possession, Erhu, Tradition, Tchaikovsky, Obsession, Perfection, Music, Lawyers, Accusations, Psychic, Accusations, Frustration, Ghost, Spirit, Con Artist, Trial

My Review:

What a story! It didn’t take long to suck me into this story. The buildup and pacing was phenomenal and the characters were so interesting and compelling. The magical realism/unearthly/ghostly part of the story wasn’t overwhelming or unusual in its treatment.

I loved the back and forth opinions on Dr. Moon. Is he a con artist or is he the real deal? Do people believe in spirits, ghosts, and possession? What is really wrong with Jane? Though I didn’t wish for Jane to be plagued by anything, I was amused that the drugs prescribed by a ‘real’ doctor weren’t working for her and made everything worse.

Diane and Dr. Moon’s relationship was interesting and I loved their first encounter on the street. Both characters, and all the other characters in fact felt full, real and well-developed.

The ending was amazing and I loved how the author handled the subplots of the story. Everything came together so remarkably!

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC 11/16/2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:

E.G. Sergoyan’s Website

Book Review: Unchosen by Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins

Unchosen by Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins

A Dark Fantasy Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (10/10/17)

Summary:

“There’s no more ifs. There’s no more maybes.” (Page 104).

Everything went wrong when the chosen one died. Had they horribly misinterpreted the prophecy? Their world will now be under Xaramor’s rule for thousands of years, but there may still be hope for the chosen one’s four companions to still save the world.

Keywords:

Powerful Females, Diversity, Epic Fantasy, Fight, Prophecy, Tragedy, Death, Baba Yaga, Doom, Hope, Travel, Tower, Magic, Healing, Battle

My Review:

I noticed. The chosen one may have been your typical young male, but those left behind were the most diverse cast of characters. I appreciated so much this fact that two of the main four characters were powerful females with their own distinct personalities and abilities (Celeste and Noriko). The other two main characters were also diverse in their own ways as well (Nils and Hobie).

I liked how the chapters had their own POV and we got to see the unfolding of the world from different voices and get a little more inside the main characters’ heads.

I enjoyed the breadth of the world that the main characters traveled to accomplish their missions – the book had a definite Lord of the Rings vibe – even if for most of the action they didn’t really have one distinct mission. How to stop Xaramor? You can’t just stop him!

This book turned “the chosen one” trope upside down and showed how sometimes prophecies can be misinterpreted. Finally, a realistic plotline! They didn’t always get it right on the first guess – which is where mayhem and battles ensued. Although there’s lots of death and violence, this book isn’t bloody and gory.

I’ve never read such a good and well written middle – but I did sorely miss the traditional beginning, middle and end of a “chosen” one fantasy. This book was a deviation from the norm. It was fun and different. I loved the Baba Yaga scenes.

The book featured a truly epic final battle – worthy of the slow, slow buildup from the beginning of the end in the beginning to the end of the end at the end.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC 10/10/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Jeffrey Cook on FreeValley Publishing

Jeffrey Cook’s Facebook

Book Review: Dragons of Frost and Fire by Susan Brown

Dragons of Frost and Fire by Susan Brown

A Fantasy Novel published by Susan Brown (05/23/15)

Summary:

Kit is relentless in her search to find her mother. She KNOWS that her mother is still alive. She will do anything – brave the cold death-dealing wilderness of Alaska by herself – to find her mother. It’s been a year since her mother disappeared, but Kit won’t give up. The magical knife tells her that she still has time to save her mother, she just has to figure out what the small town of Silver Claw is hiding and how the secret of the town is related to her mother’s disappearance.

Keywords:

Magic, Sorcery, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Family, Small Town, Secrets, Dragons, Genetic Mutation, Alaska, Wilderness, Survival, Blizzard, Storm, Magical Object, Friendship

My Review:

Kit is a larger-than-life character. Her need to find her mother is so all consuming in her mind. She believes with all her being that her mother, even after a year lost in the Alaskan wilderness, is still alive. That amount of conviction blows my mind. Her passion and devotion to her search is very endearing. She cares so much about her family and her mother. I wanted her to succeed!

The mystery of Silver Claw kept drawing me in. As much as Kit, and I as the reader, wanted to like some of the townsfolk, the suspicion was ever present on the surface. What did the town do to Kit’s mother? What were they hiding about her disappearance? Why did her lab notes disappear? What did she find out? The mystery is well paced in this story and the clues were gradually revealed and well placed.

The fantasy elements didn’t play a major part in the plot of the story. A magical knife did help Kit and was evidence to the fact that her mother was still alive. The ending did contain quite the fantasy reveal. This book appealed to me quite a bit because it focused on the characters and the secret that Silver Claw kept hidden within its residents. This is a fantasy book for non-fantasy readers as well as fantasy readers.

This novel was published by Susan Brown on 05/23/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Susan Brown’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Falling Into Flight by Linda Jordan

Falling Into Flight by Linda Jordan

A Science Fantasy Novel published through Metamorphosis Press (3/27/15)

Summary:

Caer was the first person born into the post-apocalyptic Seattle with wings. In a world where buildings are grown and ballets are performed in the air, Caer fits right in with her dance company. She only wants to dance, but fate has other plans.

Keywords:

Wings, Evolution, Arts, Dancing, Air Dancing, Flying Ballet, Creativity, Building, Architecture, Family, Future, Apocalyptic, Romance, Soul Mate, Dreaming, Corporate, Corruption

My Review:

A new take on post-apocalyptic fiction! I absolutely love the crossover that happens when science fiction meets fantasy and this book was a wonderful example. Buildings can magically grow and people can be born with wings in this society. These two aspects are uniquely distinct for this world, but they both grew out of the post-apocalyptic history of the world.

I love books set in Seattle and it was interesting to see which parts were ‘underwater’ and which parts were ‘new.’ In this world, there are still high-rises (because buildings grow). I would have liked to see more detail (science) into how they grew buildings, how they killed buildings, and everything in between for this new technology.

The details of the air ballet were incredible and I felt like I was right there in that building watching that performance. I wish air ballet existed today.

The storytelling was smooth and the world building was unique. I wouldn’t mind reading more fantasy by Linda Jordan.

This novel was published through Metamorphosis Press on 3/27/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Linda Jordan’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Sammy and the Devil Dog by Susan Brown

Sammy and the Devil Dog by Susan Brown

A Middle Grade Novel published through Yellow Farmhouse Publications (9/21/17)

Summary:

Sammy can’t seem to get to school on time or stay away from trouble. She can’t let bullies go unanswered. When she finds an abused dog, without hesitation, she decides to save him. The dog is still a puppy, but has a lot to learn to be a nice and good dog. Sammy will go to great lengths to save him.

Keywords:

Dog, Puppy, Dog Training, Aggressive Dog, Animal Abuse, Bullying, Standing Up, Speaking Out, Family, Mother-Daughter Relationship, Friends, Friendship, School

My Review:

Sammy’s faults are her strengths. She doesn’t always fit into society the way she’s supposed to. She would rather save a helpless animal than be on time to school. She is misunderstood by those around her and yet she still sticks up for what she believes in. She is a person and a character that everyone will root for. Her moral code is so strong that she doesn’t think twice about helping someone else, but sometimes those actions can be quite selfish. She can’t help everyone and sometimes in the process of helping one person or animal, she is hurting someone else.

This book showed so many realistic characters and situations. I was right there with Sammy as she found Jack. I was still right there with her when she thought about her mother and what she wasn’t getting from her mother. I felt like I understood Sammy’s perspective so completely, and yet she is still a child with a lot of learning to do. As an adult reading this story I can also understood the mother’s point of view and sympathize with both mother and daughter.

This is a great read for kids and adults, especially if they’re reading it together. The characters showed a lot of growth.

This novel was published through Yellow Farmhouse Publications on 9/21/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Susan Brown’s Website 

Book Review: House Divided by Jami Deise

House Divided by Jami Deise

A Contemporary Humorous Fiction Novel published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. (11/08/17)

Summary:

“…because like every other working mom in America, the logistics of day-to-day suburban life with school-age kids fell squarely on my shoulders.” (Kindle Locations 393-394).

Erin and Jack are married with two kids. They both have careers. They have opposite political views. They can leave all the politics at work. That is, until Erin loses her job and Jack gets an amazing job offer – as the star of a very politically-centered show. The new money means Erin can be a stay-at-home mom, like Jack’s always wanted her to be. Erin never wanted to be a trophy wife, but jobs are slim for democrats. Home life is just as busy as work life, but without a career, Erin doesn’t really know who she is anymore.

Keywords:

Humor, Politics, Republicans, Democrats, Organizations, Working Mothers, Stay at Home Mothers, Family, Husband and Wife, Kids Activities, Soccer, Work/Life Balance, Politically Correct, Career, TV, Republican TV

My Review:

So many times during my read of this novel, I grew frustrated with Jack because Erin did all the work in the house! Gah! If Erin wants to have a career, she should be able to have a career! This book made me frustrated! Frustrated for Erin and her situation, how people treated her and thought about her, and how Jack disregarded her wants and dreams.

My life is so different from Erin’s life. I learned so much about the chaos of working motherhood, stay-at-home parenting, living above your means, trying to keep up with the upper class, and so much more! This book had so many world building details and insights into the lives of these unique characters. I felt like I learned so much!

This book was so entertaining! The dialogue was spot on. The writing style was immersive, eloquent, and smooth. The storyline made sense . The characters were detailed and interesting – flawed and everything.

I loved this story and the writing style and can’t wait to read the next book from Deise.

I received an ARC from the author and this is my honest opinion.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. on 11/08/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Jami Deise’s Website

Facebook

Book Review: Shy Ways by Susan Griner

Shy Ways by Susan Griner

A Middle Grade Novel published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. (08/28/17)

Summary:

“I wanted a day off from being part Japanese, part anything.” (Page 145).

Sarah doesn’t like her new home or her new school. The other kids call her mean names because she’s half-Japanese. She wishes she would stand up for herself and speak up, but every time she doesn’t say a word and sometimes cries instead. When the plant where her father and most of the town works has an accident with a chemical leak, it will affect Sarah’s entire family and the whole town. Sarah will forget all about the mean, ignorant comments at school when her mother falls into a deep depression. Taking charge, Sarah will have to find her voice and help her mother.

Keywords:

Sisters, School, Mean Comments, Bullying, Japanese-American, Bi-Racial, New School, New Town, Small Town, PTSD, Racism, Chemical Pollution, Depression, Mothers, Family, Growing Up

My Review:

The story really picks up after the incident at the plant, but we see such a change in Sarah’s home life from before the accident to after. Sarah herself goes through quite a transformation from the beginning of the book to the end. She grows up a lot for a young girl and learns quite a few lessons – like standing up and saying something when someone says something ignorant and mean. She also learns to embrace her mother and her ethnicity, even though it isn’t a part of her life at all except for her heritage.

Both Sarah and her sister were so true to their ages that I could picture them clearly as the kids they were. The young one blurts out whatever’s on her mind and the older one tries to do what she thinks she’s supposed to or follow social norms.

This is a great example of a book of diversity – drawing on issues that kids face when they grow up as second generation Americans.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. on 08/28/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Susan Griner’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter