Review for Of Love and Vengeance by Louise Lyndon

of love

My Rating: 4.5/5

Author:  Louise Lyndon
Title: Of Love and Vengeance

Genre:  Romance/Historical Fiction

Background:

Amazon Description:
orced to marry Lord Aymon to ensure her young nephew’s survival, English Lady Laila vows undying hatred for the Norman she holds responsible for the deaths of so many innocents. Discovering Aymon has committed an act of treason gives her the chance to seek vengeance he deserves. But can Laila let Aymon die at the hands of the king once she learns the truth?

A hardened Norman warrior, Lord Aymon has lived through atrocities no man ever should. With the invasion of England over, all he wants is a quiet life and a wife who will give him heirs and obey his every command. Instead, he finds himself wed to feisty and outspoken Laila. But when she learns the truth of his treasonous act, can Aymon count on her to keep his secret?

Opinions:

Of Love and of Vengeance is a historical romance set during the Norman Conquest. For fans of Medieval England, romance novels, and historical fiction, you would probably enjoy this well-written book.

The two main characters are Laila and Aymon. Laila is a spunky young woman who is strong and caring. She holds a bitter resentment towards Normans who are responsible for the many innocent lives of her family and serfs. She is not a submissive lady, rather she challenges authority when she does not feel it is right. She cares for the those around her – even if they are enemies. Aymon is very similar to Laila. He also has a strong and caring personality. He’s a Norman and bastard brother to the King. He has a duty to his King, but he also has a moral conscience. He carries secrets – some of which are dangerous.

Throughout the book, the characters must face secrets, stereotypes, and trust issues. Laila and Aymon are wed early in the novel, and they must overcome all three as they learn more about each other. Not only do these two characters face these challenges, but other characters, as well. Their friends, servants, and enemies have their own secrets that cause trust issues and enhance stereotypical actions. This brings adventure into the story. The King’s men are after some stolen property and are searching Tynte – Laila’s home. Aymon knows about it and tries to keep his new home safe. However, danger lurks around the corner.

The only complaint that I have about the novel is the bad guy is pretty much one dimensional – completely bad. All in all, I really enjoyed this story.

Review for The Lightbearers by Nora M. Garcia

the lightbearers

 

My Rating:  3/5

Author:  Nora M. Garcia
Title: The Lightbearers

Genre:  Science Fiction

Background:

Amazon Description:
THE LIGHTBEARERS is the story of an ancient Egyptian King and Queen, Akhenaton and Nefertiti, who have been reincarnating together for the past 3300 years. They have been entrusted with the mission of The Lightbearers, whose responsibility is to be guardians of the human race and to enlighten any whose path they cross. Through reincarnation, during each of their lifetimes, they strive to overcome violence, greed and injustice and in each lifetime they leave pockets of individuals with whom they have shared their secrets of life and death. They have also been ascribed with the powers of telepathy, astral projection and psycho kinesis. They are highly evolved and highly enlightened.

Discovery of their innate mystical powers is facilitated by the assistance of an alien being who introduces them to the mission of the Lightbearer. Through a series of flashbacks two of their previous lifetimes are revealed beginning in Ancient Egypt and including 17th century France where they switched genders.

The story unfolds in the 21st century where Jean Crystal, Nefertiti’s incarnate, has been kidnapped by Dr. Natas, whose plan for world domination has been temporarily disrupted by Jean and her husband George, Akhenaten’s incarnate. Jean and George have discovered a secret about Dr. Natas experimental school, a school completely computerized and robotized.

Jean is held captive on a laboratory table by a motion sensitive laser directed toward her central nervous system. Not realizing this, upon awakening from a narcotic sleep induced by the doctor, she attempts to move and is suddenly wracked by a mind numbing pain. The more she moves the more pain she receives. By astrally projecting herself she is able to overcome the pain and investigate her circumstances. George has already been assassinated and while awaiting her own demise, George pays Jean a visit in the lab, assuring her of their eternal vow to each other. Jean is very shortly, thereafter, assassinated. Upon the joyful reunion of their spirits on Petite Terre, a tiny island just off the Normandy Province of France, Jean and George plan their return. While it is possible to determine their gender and the time in which they return, they cannot predetermine their identities. They must pick a place, a time and a signal by which they can find and identify each other in their subsequent lifetime. In this particular lifetime, their favorite song was “Imagine” by John Lennon and so on the first Monday of October, 2024 at 12 noon, they decide to meet outside the computer science building on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles. She will find him sitting under a tree near the building with a guitar strumming “Imagine”.

Their reunion takes place 20 years later, albeit not without a hitch. Together they set out to rescue the United States from Dr. Natas’s well-placed plans, he has already begun to execute.

This book is for people who enjoy:

  • Science Fiction, pre-dystopian, romance novels
  • The idea of reincarnation
  • Futuristic settings but also flashes back to the past – namely Egyptian and French Industrial Revolution
  • The concept of using your mind to achieve many things
  • Purely evil bad guys

This book is not for those who hate:

  • Rushed endings – a high building climax with a rushed execution
  • Minimal resolution explanation
  • One dimensional bad guys
  • Long dialogue

Review for Viking Fire by Andrea R Cooper

roses2

My Rating:  4/5

Author:  Andrea R Cooper
Title: Viking Fire

Genre:  Historical Fiction/Romance

Background:

Amazon Description:
856 Ce, Ireland is a land of myth, magic, and blood. Viking raiders have fought the Irish for over half a century. Rival Irish clans promise only betrayal and carnage.

Kaireen, daughter of Laird Liannon, is suddenly forced into an arranged marriage with her sworn enemy, a Viking. She refuses to submit. With no mention of love, only land and the protection of her clan, she endeavors to get her betrothed banished from her country. Will love find its way around her stubborn heart?

Bram, the Viking, finds himself without future or inheritance as a younger son in his family. A marriage to the Laird’s daughter would grant him land if he swears fidelity and if his men will fight along with the Liannons against any foe – Irish or Viking. However, the Laird’s feisty daughter only holds animosity for him and his kind. Is marriage worth the battle scars of such a relentless opponent?

With the blame for a rival laird’s death treacherously set against the Liannons, Kaireen and Bram must find a way to lay aside their differences as an unforeseen darkness sends death snapping at their heels.

Sensuality Level: Sensual

Opinions:

Kaireen is a headstrong lady who doesn’t shy away from challenges. In the beginning of the book, she is against marrying Bram – a Viking – because she doesn’t trust him or them. Vikings have been ravaging the coasts of Ireland. She believes the marriage is a rouse for the Vikings to take their land and enslave/kill the people. For the time period, Kaireen is outspoken – which gets her in trouble. When tragedies strike, she finds out what Bram is really up to.

A neighboring clan has sworn peace with Kaireen’s family. However, trouble begins to brew within the walls. The bad guy(s) in the book are just that bad. They are not too multi-dimensional. Within the story, something else is going on underneath everything: Elva does not always act as a servant should. But, what exactly is going on? In summary, the book has some mystery, adventure/fighting, and romance.

The romance in the book is fairly standard for this time period: The defiant girl doesn’t which to marry but cannot get out of an arranged marriage. Bram is not a bad person as the reader learns fairly quickly. However, there are times when he forces himself on Kaireen such as kissing her – despite her saying no. Granted, this was probably common for the time period, but I’m not a fan of making it seem romantic. It’s technically sexual harassment. Regardless, Kaireen doesn’t seem to be upset by it, so I let go.

If you like historical romances set in Ireland/Vikings, you might want to try this book.

Standalone or Part of a Series: Standalone

Review for Clove and the Twins by Nicoletta Barrie

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My Rating: 5/5 [child rating]

Author:  Nicoletta Barrie
Title: Clove and the Twins

Genre:  Children’s Adventure

Background:

Amazon Description:
This Labrador Dog Story begins with Channel and Bezel Sini, ten-year-old spokesgirls for Dogs Forever – a Dog rescue. They knew their involvement in an advertising campaign for homeless dogs would be exciting. But not until they adopted a feisty dog, a labrador named Clover did they realize just what a rollercoaster ride it would be.

One night prior to the start of the campaign tour, the twins are awakened by Clover talking in her sleep and making running motions with her legs. Bezel and Channel wake up Clover who explains that she was separated from her dog family on Christmas Eve when a terrifying outlaw she calls Red Eyes tried to capture them in their home in the Chicago trainyard. Clover was successful in luring Red Eyes away from her family, but in the process she hopped on a freight train headed for New York City.

The girls eventually discover that Clover is one of the Cloverleaf Dogs, a line of dogs who, legend has it, rescued people and pets during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

The Dogs Forever advertising campaign serves two purposes for Clover and the twins. The first is Dogs Forever’s goal of raising awareness about homeless dogs. And the second is more personal. When they get to the last destination, Chicago, Bezel and Channel have the personal goal of helping Clover find her dog family.

What surprises and frightens Clover and the twins right out of the gate is that they are followed from city to city on the tour by a man in the crowds. As it turns out, Red Eyes did not give up when Clover escaped from him in the Chicago trainyard, and he is determined to capture her again.

Opinions:

This book is geared towards children, but I think an older audience might enjoy it, too. The story is easy to follow and has enjoyable characters – such as Clover, a talking dog. When Clover gets separated from her family due to an unsavory man, she must find her way back. With the help of two twins, they have to figure what happened. The twins learn a few lessons along the way. The story also brings about the importance in responsibility, caring, and loyalty. The story leaves off for another adventure. Children who like adventures and dogs should like this book.

Review for Witchrise by Victoria Lamb

witchrise

My Rating: 4 /5

Author:  Victoria Lamb
Title: Witchrise

Genre:  Paranormal

Background:

Amazon Description:
Only one witch can rise above the coming storm

When Tudor witch Meg Lytton receives an unexpected legacy—her mother’s magical wand, ring and spellbook—she has no idea her future happiness is in danger. For the witchfinder Marcus Dent is back in her dreams, and he will use any weapon to gain her newfound powers for himself.

Now Meg must discover the secret of Invictus—her mother’s magical ring. Summoned back to Hatfield, she knows a battle is coming. But Meg is no longer alone in her struggle against Dent. Surrounded by her friends, she faces her greatest challenge head-on: losing Alejandro, her beloved. For it seems the Spanish novice has been keeping secrets from them all.

Powers clash and hearts break in the spellbinding third book of The Tudor Witch Trilogy

Narration: First Person through Meg

Standalone or Part of a Series: Third book of a trilogy

Opinions:

**May contain spoilers for the prior two books**

[First of all, I have to admit that this was my own fault when I put in to win the book off of Goodreads. I did not realize that this book was part of a trilogy – and in fact, the last book. I have not read the first two books. Therefore, this review is based solely on me reading the last book as a standalone – which can be done. The only downside – besides missing what really happened in full detail from the other two books – is that the characters already knew each other and built relationships. I was unable to get the full effect of that in the last book.]

The story continues to follow Meg, a witch, from Tudor England. Meg tends to be outspoken and unwilling to yield in a man’s world – including magick. She must face Marcus Dent, a witchfinder, who has been given magick unintentionally by Meg herself. He is power hungry and a straightforward bad guy. Meg also has to deal with her love interest, Alejandro, who wants to marry her but does not want her to keep her magick once married. Richard, John Dee’s apprentice, continues to love Meg. At points, she is confused about Alejandro and Richard. I might have missed a few things in the other books, but the love side of the story seems to be fairly obvious rather than a complex love triangle. Elizabeth (currently exiled by Queen Mary) is a little weak for what I pictured her. She shows her royalty periodically in the book, but not the spitfire that I would imagine her to be.

The story moves along swiftly. Many things happen in the book. I have a feeling it was very similar to the last two books with action. It includes magic, deception, fights, and spying. Because this is the final book, Meg must decide her fate – magick or love – and defend that against Dent and the witchfinders.

Review: A Pius Man by Declan Finn

a pious man

My Rating: 3 /5

Author:  Declan Finn
Title: A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller

Genre:  Thriller

Background:

Amazon Description:
As the head of Vatican security, Giovanni Figlia must protect a new, African Pope who courts controversy every other day. The Pope’s latest project is to make Pius XII, “Hitler’s Pope,” a saint. Things haven’t gotten better since the Pope employed American mercenary Sean Ryan.

Then a body fell onto the Vatican doorstep.

Soon, a pattern emerges– people who go into the Pius XII historical archives are dying. Each time, a priest has been in the background– a priest close to the Pope. One of the victims was an al-Qaeda operative, drawing Scott “Mossad” Murphy of Israeli intelligence to Rome.

Soon, Ryan, Murphy and Figlia must join forces to unravel the mystery around the Vatican, as even the man Giovanni is supposed to protect looks like a suspect. To get out of this alive, they must discover if Hitler’s Pope was a Nazi collaborator, or a pious man.

Narration: Multiple

Opinions: A Pius Man is a very action-packed book. Something is always happening in the story and parts make me wonder how some characters are alive after a scene. Fighting is used throughout the novel, as well as, incorporating history. The new pope – Pius XIII – wants to canonize Pope Pius XII. However, as people gather evidence about the deceased pope, whether for the canonization or for other means, they wind up dead. Eventually the background about Pius XII and whether or not he supported the Nazis comes to light. Multiple people arrive at the Vatican – to help with the canonization, to investigate with the recent murders, to spy, etc. These characters all contribute to the multiple viewpoints – abundantly so. Furthermore, the author uses multiple names to refer to each character. This can be confusing throughout the book. I’m not good with names, so having to remember the different names/profession titles for each character slowed down my reading. Having so many people in the narrative also takes away from their own development. Yes, they all have backgrounds and characteristics, but it felt very thin or spread out rather than being in depth.

Standalone or Part of a Series: First book in a trilogy

Review for Dangerous Reflections by Shay West

dangerous reflections

My Rating:  4/5

 

Author:  Shay West
Title: Dangerous Reflections

 

Genre:  Young Adult

 

Background:

Amazon Description:
Alexis Davenport wants to go home. She hates her new school, her mother for moving her away from her friends, and her father for walking out. To make matters worse, Alex is haunted by images of strange girls reflected in her mirror. It’s bad enough juggling homework, a relentless bully, boys, and a deadbeat dad; now, she must save the world from an evil presence hell-bent on changing the past – and our futures. Who knew her A+ in history was going to be this important?

Narration: Third person through Alex

 

Opinions: This book is about a fifteen year old girl who finds out that she can travel back time through mirrors – usually an inopportune times. Therefore, the story should generally appeal more the younger young adult audience.

 

Some good things about the book include: Obviously the time travel. Alex is unsure how she able to go back in time, but whatever it is, it can take her to different times and countries. Luckily, for Alex that she is a wiz on history. Unlike usual history lovers that have a particular era that they focus on, Alex loves everything. The concept of having an evil man trying to change history and Alex has to save the day so history stays the same gives the story a new twist. It is also easy to read and moves quickly.

 

A few things that could have been better for me: This book ends in a cliffhanger. The protagonist and antagonist never confront each other in real life. The book ends without resolving her family’s situation. I feel like part of this should have been resolved in the first book. It doesn’t feel like many things are tied up by the end – like it should have been a chapter ending not a book. Also, I think there is an inconsistency with Alex’s movie taste – unless she lied to the one boy.

 

Overall, I think young adults who like history and time travel might enjoy this book. It’s a fun, quick read.

 

Standalone or Part of a Series: First Book in a series

 

Review for Alternate Currents by Arleen Alleman

alternate currents

 

My Rating: 4 /5

Author:  Arleen Alleman
Title: Alternate Currents

Genre:  Mystery

Background:

Amazon Description:

“Author Darcy Farthing is living in Washington, DC, with her fiancé, Mick Clayton. They are enjoying a much needed respite from trauma and crime fighting while preparing for a wedding and a romantic cruise. Everything changes when an alarming phone call halts their plans. A good friend, Charlie Scott, has mysteriously disappeared–the apparent victim of an abduction.

Against Mick’s wishes, on an impulse and without much thought of consequences, Darcy flies to Seattle to help Charlie’s partner, Don, and their daughter, Penelope, cope with the loss. She is worried about Mick’s negative attitude about the couple and worries that he is prejudiced toward her friends. As a result, she finds herself reevaluating the direction of her personal and professional life.

Soon after her arrival in Seattle, she becomes immersed in the unfamiliar world of domestic partnerships, birth surrogates, and assisted reproductive technology. Don and Charlie, who became unlikely heroes in the first novel in this series, Currents Deep and Deadly, have their lives turned upside down by elusive kidnappers with no apparent motive. At the same time, their well-intentioned decision to pay a surrogate to bear their daughter for them turns into a nightmare, when the biological mother returns after eight years, claiming that Don and Charlie are not Penelope’s fathers as they believed, and she wants her child back. This revelation sets in motion a series of tragic events that threatens to destroy a parent-child bond, and worse.

Before the police and FBI are able to solve Charlie’s kidnapping, an even more devastating case materializes when Penelope also vanishes. The FBI and Seattle police detectives frantically look for clues. In the process, they implicate a local antigay organization and its leader, two local business owners who are being harassed by antigay demonstrators, a flamboyant stalker who is obsessed with Don, and the birth mother herself. There is no hard evidence against any of the suspects, and the leads are curtailed when two of them are murdered. The authorities are no closer to finding Penelope and now worry that she has been abducted by a vicious killer.

In the midst of turmoil surrounding Penelope’s birth status and abduction, true to her nature, Darcy tries to help her friends. When she ventures into the midst of the case by conducting a freelance interview with a local clergyman, she is nearly killed in a vicious attack by an unknown assailant. Mick rushes to her side and soon overcomes his reluctance to get involved with Don and Charlie’s plight. Together they try to gather information to help solve the case. Before the hostility ends, Don also becomes a victim and then a hero, and Mick must fight an unbalanced killer intent on revenge.”

Narration: Multiple Third Person/First Person – Darcy

Opinions: First off, I think Amazon summarizes this book very well without giving away much of the mystery. I have not read any other books to this series, but it doesn’t matter that much while reading. The story briefly mentions a crime that took place while on a cruise. However, this isn’t part of the focus for this story. This story addresses several things. First, it focuses on gay rights and society. Being a hot topic in today’s society and the passing of gay marriages, this book shows the different views and/or stereotypes associated with it. Second, it addresses complexities of surrogate and other types of conception/adoptions among couples. Third, it deals with crimes, because after all, this is a mystery novel. I think all three were well written in the book. I like the fact that you had the two radical sides represented in the story but also the everyday people in it – for both the gay rights and surrogacy. I have not read that many books with these topics, so it is interesting to read a mystery about them.

Two things that slightly bothered me in the book: Mick’s initial reaction and change in that reaction seems to happen very suddenly. Perhaps, I have missed something from one of the other books with this personality? Also, I don’t want to reveal any spoilers in this review so I’ll state say it like this: two parts of the mystery are solved a little too neatly. It is like a happy coincidence than figuring things out a harder way – which I know can happen in life but I usually expect differently with books.

Overall it is a nice mystery book.

 

Standalone or Part of a Series: Part of a series but can be read as a standalone

Review for Shiver on the Sky by David Haywood Young

shiver in the sky

My Rating:  3.5/5

Author:  David Haywood Young
Title: Shiver on the Sky

Genre:  Mystery

Background:

Amazon Description:
Owen Tremaine is in more trouble than he ever imagined. 28 years old, the founder of a software company in Corpus Christi, Texas, he thought work-related burnout was a major crisis. After walking away from his company, he’s spent a year trying to reinvent himself as a private investigator, living on a houseboat. Which he realizes is a fantasy that’s not really working out, but he doesn’t want to admit that to anybody…yet. Maybe a few more months will turn the tide.

But then, on a lazy summer afternoon, a good friend gets killed on Owen’s houseboat, and Owen finds his body. The police think Owen’s girlfriend may be involved. She’s missing, and so is Owen’s former business partner. Who, judging from the blood left on his floor, may also be dead. Then there’s the kidnapping of a local child. And…it turns out that not everybody involved is, strictly speaking, human. Which Owen also never saw coming. Magic? Really?

Owen’s new skills get a workout. Now he’s dealing with what used to be his own cutting-edge software development company, a police detective who takes a personal interest, some downsides of recent anti-terror legislation, and…a surprising discovery about local Native American history. You know, the magic thing. Turns out extinction is more complicated than it first appears.

But hey. Owen’s still got friends. Too bad he doesn’t know as much about them as he thinks he does….

Opinions:

Narration: Multiple Third Person – Mostly through Owen

The story starts out fast paced as Owen stumbles upon a murder of his friend, Leon, on his boat. Owen has to deal with his friend’s death but also has to convince the police that he is innocent. His girlfriend is missing and so is his jeep. A little girl is kidnapped and there are more murders to follow. His old job is somehow connected to the recent crimes. Owen must discover what is going and clear his name. He gains some friends and help along the way to finding out what is really going on. What he finds out shakes his rational mind.

The story ends fairly well but leaves room for a following book. Owen is the most developed character in the story and mostly the voice for the book. The book also takes the views of other characters, including the villains. Although this story contains some fantasy, it has a strong mystery element which might appeal to different readers.

Standalone or Part of a Series: First book in a series

 

Review for Highlander Avenged by Laurin Wittig

highlander avenged

My Rating:  4.5/5

Author:  Laurin Wittig
Title: Highlander Avenged

Genre:  Scottish Historical Romance

Background:

This book is the second Book in the Guardians of the Targe series. Please be aware that spoilers for the first book – Highlander Betrayal – may be in this review.

Amazon Description:
Although the English king tried to wrest it away, the Highland Targe—ancient relic and protector of Scottish lands—still lies safely in the hands of clan MacAlpin. But for how long?

Jeanette MacAlpin trained her entire life to become the next Guardian of the Targe, but that duty has now fallen to her cousin Rowan—a duty Rowan can’t seem to master. Fearful for her clan’s future, Jeanette seeks the solace of a sacred wellspring, and there encounters tawny-skinned Highland warrior Malcolm MacKenzie.

Wounded in battle, Malcolm is desperate to regain the use of his sword arm and strikes a deal with Jeanette. In return for her skills as a healer, Malcolm will advise the MacAlpins in their resistance against the English. And when he can once again swing a blade, he’ll return to the ranks of the Scottish army to fulfill his duty as a soldier.

But as passion grows between the golden warrior and the fair-haired healer, duty collides with love. Will they follow their hearts, or will clan loyalties keep them forever apart?

 

Opinions:

Narration: Third person – mostly through Jeanette and Malcom

Character Development: The two main characters of the book, Jeanette and Malcom, are introduced with problems right off. From the last book, Jeanette’s mother was killed by the English spy, and Rowan (her cousin) has become the next Guardian of the Targe. She feels lost and unsure what her future holds. She grew up learning how to manage the stone, but now her cousin has taken that away from her. Her home is literally in shambles, and with the threats of the English coming back, she has a lot on her plate. When Malcom is introduced, he is injured and very close to a life-threatening infection. He is confused from the battle he fought in months before. He is supposed to be the leader and excellent fighter for the King. He is also to become the next chief of his clan. However, after battle that almost left him for dead and abandoned, he is not well physically. His hand does not work as it should and his infection keeps returning. As the book progresses, the relationship between Jeanette and Malcom grows. Jeanette learns more about herself and hidden abilities that question the chronicles that have been passed down through many MacAlpin generations. Malcom learns about making choices and how there is something more out there than fighting. They each help each other grow into a stronger person.

Plot Development/Flow: The story flows well. At first it might be a little slow as the characters are built up and the past book is reviewed, but everything starts picking up speed when English soldiers enter the picture. In this book, more is learned about the Targe, but also more questions are raised. I liked the how Jeanette and Rowan worked together and the support of Malcom in the turn of events. The story leaves off for another story to follow.

Standalone or Part of a Series: Second book in the Guardians of the Targe series.