Book Review: The Future of Our Past (The Remembrance Trilogy #1) by Kahlen Aymes

The Future of Our Past (The Remembrance Trilogy #1) by Kahlen Aymes

An Romance Novel published by Telemachus Press, LLC (04/19/12)

Summary:

Julia and Ryan have been friends for years. Secretly each is interested in more of a romantic relationship, but neither will bring up their feelings. Neither wants to risk their strong friendship, until they’re about to move to opposite sides of the country. After revealing their true feelings, they start their long distance relationship.

Keywords:

Medicine, Doctor, Romance, Friendship, Long Distance Relationship, Unhealthy Relationship, Jealousy, Sex Scenes

 

My Review: SPOILER ALERT

It takes about a sentence to summarize what this book is about because this book lacked a plot. There was no real problem to solve, only the idea of navigating a long distance and jealousy. If you like reading lengthy passages about the cutesy love between couples, the frustration at being apart for weeks and months from your loved one, jealousy over interaction with the opposite gender, and sex scenes then you may enjoy this book. For me, it was a meandering overly worded romance full of too many sex scenes and too much “I love you,” and “I love you more” fluff. The only real action was the hard-to-read unhealthy jealousy Ryan felt for Julia’s interactions and relationships with her male coworkers. This is portrayed as normal but it is an unhealthy amount and expression of jealousy! I should have put this book down but felt compelled to finish and find out if anything was going to happen in the end. Where could this book actually go?

To create this series, the author finally launches into a tight sequence of action in the last few chapters and then ends abruptly in the middle of a scene to promote a cliff-hanger and get you to read on to the second book. The pacing throughout this novel was terrible. I will not be reading any more books by this author. I was especially turned off by the usage of a surprise pregnancy to push along the action. I’m quite fed up with romance novels using pregnancy, especially a surprise pregnancy, as a source of conflict. This book even uses the pregnancy to tear the main female character away from a promising career move (which the main male protagonist was against because everything is about him and what he wants). The ending was a disappointment.

Halfway through I started to consistently skim through all the mushy dialogue back and forth between Julia and Ryan because nothing new was being said and it felt like it was just filler dialogue. I also skimmed through the sex scenes because after the buildup to the first one, the rest were just not that interesting.

The one thing the author did that kept me reading at all, was the excellent buildup of expectation prior to the initial sex scene. The longing that Julia and Ryan felt for each other was palpable and felt very real.

This novel was published by Telemachus Press, LLC on 04/19/2012 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 2.50

Links for more information:

Kahlen Aymes’ Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Tailwinds Past Florence by Doug Walsh

Tailwinds Past Florence by Doug Walsh

A Time Travel Romance/Adventure Novel published by Snoke Valley Books (01/22/19)

Summary:

“It was the nature of cycling to have your emotions dictate the pace.”

Kara had always wanted to travel the world by bicycle but Edward is too caught up in his work to take several years out of his career for this shared dream vacation. The day Edward loses his job is the day he will commit to cycling around the world with Kara, and not tell her why he changed his mind about the adventure of a lifetime. Little by little she will suspect something is going on with Edward as they race around the world together. Not only is Edward keeping secrets, but they keep discovering other mysterious travelers along their route.

Keywords:

Travel, Adventure, Marriage, Secrets, Cycling, Journey, Partners, Time Travel, Discover, Escape, Love, Mystery, Weather, Workaholic, Dream Adventure, Soul, Eternal Love

My Review:

Is it really possible to cycle around the world? What happens if you start too early in the season and are stuck cycling in the snow, mere inches from trucks and cars on the road? I was immediately hooked on the premise of this story and quickly dove into the plot of the book and the tension between Edward and Kara that was present all along. From the very beginning of the story, where Edward kept his first secret from Kara, I could tell that the tension was going to increase until all the secrets unfurled. And yet, the cute things that they did together and their easygoing nature made me root for their marriage from the get-go. What was going to happen to keep them together or to finally push them apart as a couple?

Meanwhile – they encounter various difficulties along their route, not to mention the fact that Edward keeps pushing them past their original pace, racing to a finish line only he can see. I wanted to yell at him to just come clean! He knew all along what Kara valued and yet he obstinately kept justifying his actions by telling himself that he wanted to provide for her, blindly ignoring the fact that that’s not what Kara wanted. And Kara wouldn’t talk to Edward about her misgivings, only expressing her anger when Edward blatantly changed something about their route. It’s easy to blame them both for lack of communication because it’s not always easy to talk with those you love.

At first I didn’t care to switch plots and characters from the young cycling couple to Alessio but soon realized the importance of Alessio and appreciated his perspective. He was at times both funny and rude! It was quite hilarious to read some of his scenes.

I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of the difficulties of cycling and traveling along lesser used paths and through smaller towns. The author was very adept at providing all sorts of tension, from the couple’s relationship, to the setting, to the addition of the mysterious men that kept appearing along their route.

This novel was published by Snoke Valley Books on 01/22/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Doug Walsh’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Otterby’s Child (Anthym Quest: Book One) by Victoria Bastedo

Otterby’s Child (Anthym Quest: Book One) by Victoria Bastedo

A Fantasy novel published by Amazon Digital Services (11/22/2019)

Summary:

Moonlight must find the ninth son of the ninth son of the ninth son before it is too late. Legend tells that this prophesied child will be the one to save Moonlight. Each night the bells toll, signifying that another day has passed and the child has not been found. Yet, fourteen years later, the steadfast and determined soldier Kye finally finds the boy. As three generations approach Moonlight’s gate, the question in everyone’s mind is not whether the boy is truly the ninth of the ninth of the ninth, but whether the town is really in any peril and what such a young teenager can do to save it.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Mythical, Otherworldly, Fighting, Quest, Water, Legend, The One, Boy, Change, Family, Friendship, Soldier, Citizen

My Review:

If you don’t have the time or inclination to read epic fantasy, but you still want elements of high fantasy, then Anthym Quest may be for you. Anthym, the ninth son of the ninth son of the ninth son is mysterious, the unusual sibling and an unlikely hero who begins as a sarcastic teenager but must mature rapidly as he undergoes a fantastical change.

I really, really liked the concept of the ninth son of the ninth son of the ninth son and of a town that could be swept out to sea like in the movie Frozen. Evil is out there, somewhere. Are the Mere evil? Are the townsfolk evil? Is the possibility that the entire town could be swept under water evil?

I tend to prefer stories with a classic beginning, middle, and end story structure but Anthym Quest: Book One reads more like a prologue where the problem is described and the heroes are gathered for the journey ahead, much like the lengthy beginning of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 11/22/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 3.75

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

SnoValleyHobbit

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

 

Book Review: Prose Before Bros (Green Valley Library Book 3) by Cathy Yardley

Prose Before Bros (Green Valley Library Book 3) by Cathy Yardley

A Romance published by Amazon Digital Publishing (11/05/19)

Summary:

Thuy Nguyen is fully supportive of her best friend, Maddy… Even when Maddy returns to her childhood small town to become a farmer whilst pregnant and no baby-daddy insight. Small towns can be very judgmental and the local biker gang is no exception. It isn’t just the biker gang that harasses Maddy and Thuy, but one in particular is keen to bump into the duo of women. Maddy’s brother is a loyal member of the biker gang and he will have to decide between helping his sister or staying with his biker family. And Maddy can’t keep her eyes off of him but she knows intimately how impossible and dangerous a relationship with a biker can be.

Keywords:

Multicultural, Interracial, Library, Small Town, South, Romance, Contemporary, Motorcycle Club, Gang, Money, Inheritance, Siblings, Family, Love, Sex, Danger, Redemption, Loyalty, Fighting, Violence

My Review:

I absolutely loved the fact that Thuy is a librarian and has a great love for books, reading, and introducing others to the world of literature. I especially enjoyed the parts involving her talking about her love of books, how reading influenced her childhood (in a good way) and how she values those who value reading and books. The scene with Thuy talking to Drill about books was hilarious and even though his reaction seemed too good to be true, it was such fun to watch them bond over reading.

Thuy may seem like an innocuous librarian, but she is full of solid backstory and backbone. She is sweet and kind yet fierce and loyal. I loved how protective she was of Maddy and how close the two of them are in their relationship. I like how their friendship is such a strong bond. They are family. They support each other and don’t doubt the success of each other. I would have tried to dissuade Maddy from running a farm, but Thuy is with her best friend 100% on her decisions and is willing to learn how to be a farmer. She’s willing to give up her old life, her old job, her old way of doing things to be with Maddy through thick and thin.

I had to warm up to Drill. Just like it took time to warm up to that name, it took time to warm up to him as a character. A lot was stacked against him. Being part of a notoriously violent gang that doesn’t allow its members to talk to their ‘former’ family just seems childish. They have questionable morals but Drill proves that he’s ready to live a life less violent. He shows Thuy, his sister, and his MC family that he has changed over the years and I really liked seeing his transformation.

I was really worried that the ending couldn’t live up to the buildup and climax, but I was pleasantly surprised by the twist – which seemed obvious afterwards – and I was not let down at all. The resolution was very satisfying.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Publishing on 11/05/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

Book Review: Santiago’s In Trouble by Victoria Bastedo

Santiago’s In Trouble by Victoria Bastedo

A Mystery Romance novel published by Amazon Digital Services (08/08/2019)

Summary:

“Santiago is where adventure meets truth and superheroes come to the aid of the homeless. Santiago, in a way, is my life here in Seattle.”

Jacoby lives a normal life. He works the night shift as a guard. He helps out with a local Christian group. But soon his calm life will be thrown into chaos when a mysterious letter shows up claiming something about an inheritance, the lady upstairs is in trouble and needs his help, and a stranger keeps calling him racist names. What is going on and how will Jacoby respond to the accusations against his family, his upbringing, and his ethnicity?

Keywords:

Romance, Friendship, Sleuth, Mystery, Seattle, Queen Anne, Superhero, Humor, Adventure, Racism, Inheritance, Family, Brothers

My Review:

This is the ninth book I’ve ready by Victoria Bastedo and every book has been better than the last. Every book set in Seattle (Mini-Droids and Tea, Black Poodle Over Seven Hills) has been utterly enchanting. This book in particular, and the other books set in Seattle, very much reminds me of the charm, ease of reading, and mystery of Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple.

This book was a simple, meet-cute novel full of witty dialogue set against the lovely hills of Seattle’s Queen Anne and the surrounding neighborhoods. Santiago’s in Trouble was a charming fast read with a well-developed mystery surrounding the main character: Jacoby.

I loved the fact that Vivienne was a writer and placed herself into troubling situations in order to fully understand her female sleuth heroine: Santiago.

This book was centered more on Jacoby and his mystery and life than on Vivienne. This book also features strong Christian ties, though it works with the characters and the situations. The book itself is a sweet romance and does not go any further than gentle hinting at sex.

I absolutely enjoyed all the scenes and dialogue that included Jacoby’s cousin.

There were moments where I yelled at Jacoby for not being more interested or invested in the “mysterious inheritance.” Sometimes I wonder if there really are people out there who wouldn’t be curious about an inheritance.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 08/08/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

SnoValleyHobbit

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

 

Book Review: Ship of Fools: A Geek Girl Rom Com (Fandom Hearts Book 6) by Cathy Yardley

Ship of Fools: A Geek Girl Rom Com (Fandom Hearts Book 6) by Cathy Yardley

A Romantic Comedy published by RYW Publishing (07/30/19)

Summary:

Previously on Fandom Hearts…. Cressida left the safety of the bookstore to hunt for real live treasure with an almost-stranger. States away, she is having an emergency agoraphobic attack. Rachel has the means to get to Cressida quickly, by borrowing her ex-high school sweetheart’s family plane. Rachel only hesitates a moment before making the call. Ten years later, Ren breaking up with her, still hurts.

Ren never got over Rachel. He was pressured to break up with her so that he could focus on his schooling and career path that would eventually lead to him taking over the family business. Rachel’s phone call out of the blue brings up all sorts of nostalgia for Rachel and their relationship. Is she still the same woman he broke up with ten years ago? He has to find out and pleads for a date with Rachel.

Rachel feels obligated to thank Ren in person for helping Cressida, but she is also curious whether he’s grown as a person. Is he still putting family obligations and career aspirations first in his life or does he have room for a new relationship?

Keywords:

Friendship, Romance, Sisters, Family, Trust, Book Shop, Risk, Fear, Workaholic, Family Business, Private Car, Rich, Old Flame, Family Obligation

My Review:

I absolutely adore the Fandom Hearts Series. I love reading about the characters and how their lives intersect. I love how I get to know more about each of the main characters as they star in their own novels and as we read about them in all the other books. Ship of Fools has been my least favorite of the series. It lacked the wow factor of the other novels. I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. The Frost sisters did not let me down, but the romance between Rachel and Ren just wasn’t satisfying in the same way as all the other sisters’ romances were. The happy ending a bit bittersweet and left me wanting.

I wonder in what direction the Fandom Hearts books will go after this latest installment. All Frost sisters have found relationships outside of each other and they are moving on with their lives. I really would like more of Cressida’s story in the future. Cressida is my favorite character because she is the most vulnerable and most unique.

This novel was published by RYW Publishing on 07/30/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

Book Review: Love Songs, Detours, Et Cetera (Senior Year Sweethearts Book 1) by Starla Huchton

Love Songs, Detours, Et Cetera (Senior Year Sweethearts Book 1) by Starla Huchton

An Contemporary YA Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (04/14/19)

Summary:

On the first day of her senior year of high school in the small town of Highland, Iowa, Trina gets to school before any of the other students so she can volunteer and help the teachers. Trina bumps into the most popular and best looking boy on that first day. Is it her imagination or is he trying to follow her around school? Trina has one best friend in the entire school and everyone else either ignores her or makes fun of her and her mom. Why would Ethan give her the time of day?

Keywords:

Romance, Love, Friendship, High School, Sewing, Costumes, Musical, Alternative Lifestyle, Family, Best Friends, Senior Year, Volunteer

My Review:

Starla has a way with building amazing characters. I felt like I was Trina. She blends into the background and does her own thing but isn’t afraid to voice her opinion and stand up for herself. Trina drives an old car and has dreams of going places, specifically leaving her small town. Though I’ve never really been in a small town, I felt like I understood entirely the feeling of being unique and standing out in Highland, Iowa. I loved Trina’s interactions with her mom, with her best friend, and with Ethan. Trina’s voice was distinct and she knew what she liked, who she liked, and what she wanted.

The dialogue was clever and realistic and mesmerizing. I couldn’t get enough of it.

The romance was perfectly developed and I loved being inside Trina’s head with her nerves and her anxieties throughout it all. I especially loved Ethan’s reactions to Trina’s anxiety.

Ethan was also well developed as a character. He had a robust life outside of his interest in Trina. He had his own wants and dreams as well as his own faults and problems. I really enjoyed the complication of Emmaline, Ethan’s younger sister in the story as well.

The details of costume building and theater were super fun and I really liked how at this particular high school the theater nerd was the most popular kid in school.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 04/14/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Playing Doctor: A Geek Girl Rom Com (Fandom Hearts Book 5) by Cathy Yardley

Playing Doctor: A Geek Girl Rom Com (Fandom Hearts Book 5) by Cathy Yardley

A Romantic Comedy published by RYW Publishing (01/27/19)

Summary:

Cressida has been agoraphobic for years, but she has her safe place in her house and she’s been taking baby steps venturing outside the house in a friend’s RV. The only problem is that the landlord wants to sell the house and unless Cressida and her sisters can come up with the money fast, they will have to move. Cressida will have to brave leaving the house in order to save it. She thinks she knows where she can find a hidden treasure that one of  her favorite authors left as a treat to his fans. Now all Cressida needs is someone to drive her and the RV across several states to find this treasure.

Noah has been a fan of Cressida and the treasure hunt for years. He spends his free time looking for the treasure. All that money could fund schooling for him to be a doctor and take some of the pressure off his hard-working immigrant mother. Nobody has gotten closer to finding the treasure than Cressida. Noah has always wanted to meet her but never took action until the son of the famous author threatens to report Noah’s mother to ICE. Noah will put everything aside to save his mother and will say anything and do anything to get Cressida to help him find the treasure. They plan to split it 50/50, but with both keeping secrets from the other, their tenuous trust might not last long enough to see the payout.

Keywords:

Treasure Hunt, Journey, Agoraphobia, Friendship, Romance, Sisters, Family, Trust, Road Trip, RV, Books, Clues, Book Shop, Risk, Fear

My Review:

Every time I read a book by Yardley, I seem to finish the book in one sitting and wish that I had more of her books to read. The Fandom Hearts series is especially a series I love to read because it’s set locally, the characters are full of personality, and the stories are larger than life.

I loved Cressida’s story in this book, as well as Noah’s story. They are both diverse characters. Cressida is agoraphobic and Noah is the son of an immigrant. I loved that I got to see the difficulties that mental illness and immigration play in this story. I think Yardley did justice to her characters and their backgrounds.

The treasure hunt aspect gave me Déjà vu. Was I reading about Ready, Player, One’s author Ernest Cline and his treasure hunt for the DeLorean? I laughed when Yardley mentioned this specific treasure hunt in the book.

The story was captivating, the characters were delightfully diverse and developed, and the writing style was flawless. I can’t wait for the next Fandom Hearts book if there is one!

This novel was published by RYW Publishing on 01/27/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

Book Review: Ms. Behave (Fandom Hearts #4.5) by Cathy Yardley

Ms. Behave (Fandom Hearts #4.5) by Cathy Yardley

A Romantic Comedy published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (09/30/18)

Summary:

After years of being away, Simon is back in his hometown of Snoqualmie while working on the hit TV show Mystics. 12 years is a long time, but some things don’t change. Simon’s best friend, Mallory, never left Snoqualmie. They were friends in school and are friends still, but is there something more growing between them?

Keywords:

Actor, Snoqualmie, Issaquah, Bookstore, Fans, Romance, Family, Loyalty, Sex, TV Actor

My Review:

This was a fun quick read. As always, Yardley’s writing style and story pull you in and you can easily finish this short book in a day.

I loved both Simon and Mallory. Simon is quiet and keeps to himself, even though he is an actor on television. Mallory was never understood growing up and even now is sometimes thought of as an outsider. She is accepted for who she is among her small group of geeky bookstore friends, but not everyone can accept that she’s bisexual. Simon always thought she didn’t like him growing up because she was only into women, but after finding out the truth, he won’t know what to do. I wanted to sock him over the head for being so dense when he found out Mallory was bisexual, since he can only think of himself in the moment, but eventually his winning nature shines through.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on 09/30/18 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

Book Review: A Sudden Gust of Gravity by Laurie Boris

A Sudden Gust of Gravity by Laurie Boris

A Romantic Suspense Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (11/07/15)

Summary:

Christina grew up practicing magic tricks with her father the magician, but now she is a mid-twenties waitress. She is a bit anxious to get on stage after what happened to her father. It is also nearly impossible to pick up a gig as a female magician. After an impromptu visit to a magic shop, the opportunity to work as the assistant to Reynaldo the Magnificent drops into her lap. Should she take the job? Will being a pretty prop to a some other magician even lead to her own career in magic?

Keywords:

Magic, Magician, Magic Shop, Assistant, Juggling, Act, Performance, Street Magician, Practice, Public Park, New Relationship, Struggles, Art, Male-Dominated Career, Sleight of Hand, Anxiety, Doctor, Talent, Ego, Showman

My Review:

This book packed a punch! I love a book that I emotionally react to, even if that emotion is frustration. I was frustrated with Christina for giving up on a dream. I was frustrated with Christina for then pursuing that dream, but getting sidetracked. I was frustrated with the magician. I was frustrated that Christina was not accepted as a female magician. I was frustrated that Christina had to be a pretty prop in order to be a magician’s assistant. I was frustrated with Reynaldo. I was so frustrated that I kept reading with a mad intensity, completely engaged in the very real characters and the developing story.

The characters were mesmerizing. Christina was so strong and such a great lead; however, her flaws pushed her into questionable decisions. Why would she stay with Reynaldo? Boris shows us the progression of a relationship from attraction to dissolution so realistically and so well. Reynaldo was such a unique character as well. We had glimpses into his mind now and then that were so fascinating. Why would he do the things he did to Christina? Devon, the Korean-American medical student was the crack in Reynaldo and Christina’s relationship, that kept pushing and pushing. Devon’s relationship to his nephew was such a relief to read after Reynaldo and Christina, like a breath of fresh air.

Though this book presents a love triangle, it is done so cleverly that you feel like you are reading some fresh new type of romance.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on 11/07/15 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Laurie Boris’s Website

Goodreads