Reviews of other books

Reading is a pleasure and rarely do I come across a book that I can’t finish. Whether the books are amazing or just okay, I admire anyone who has the tenacity and determination to write and self-publish their own work. These are a few reviews of books that I have read and enjoyed.

Flower Shields - C.A. King

Flower Shields – A Four Horsemen Novel Book 1 by C.A. King

THE BLURB: Meet the four horsemen: Michael, Gabrielle, Uriel and Raphael. For centuries their job has been to guard the gates of hell, making sure they never open. Without the keys, there was never any real threat. That’s about to change. There are rumours on the horizon that demon followers unearthed scrolls that explain exactly how to find the lost keys. This new battle is a race to see which side locates them first.

Michael couldn’t care less about the love story behind how and why the world was created. In fact, nothing matters to him other than keeping the gates to hell closed. If one of the lost keys ever fell into the wrong hands, all humanity would be doomed. He’s not going to let that happen – at any cost.

Tara’s life is nothing short of a disaster. She’s managed to flunk out of college with about the same amount of dignity as every relationship she’s been in. The only constant in her life has been her love for flowers. When she’s attacked at work, a stranger comes to her aid. Michael might be good-looking, but he’s also arrogant, bossy and crazy. He’s also her only chance to figure out who attacked her and why. Should she follow her heart and trust him – or listen to her head and run?

4.5 Stars: Historical supernatural is not my go-to genre, however, I read the blurb and found myself intrigued by the prospect of a modern twist on creation, certainly intriguing enough to find out more.
I have to say, I really enjoyed this story. Sweetly romantic, the often humorous dialogue was fun and felt very natural, the characters were very likeable, and I get the feeling this could be a great series.
My only criticism would be that it felt a little rushed. To me, it felt a little short, or maybe I was just too engrossed, but I thoroughly enjoyed this story and although this is my first read of C.A. King’s novels, it won’t be my last.
Looking forward to the next in the Four Horsemen series. Well done!

****

His revenge

His Revenge by John Howell (Book II of the John Cannon Series)

THE BLURB: There is no way out as John Cannon either becomes a traitor to America or causes thousands of innocent people to die if he refuses to co-operate.  America loves John Cannon, its newest hero, and the President wants to present him with the highest civilian medal for bravery for saving the Annapolis midshipman from a terrorist plot to destroy them. While in Washington for the award ceremony, John unwillingly becomes an accomplice in another plan by the same group to attack the credibility of the US President and the stability of the worldwide oil market.
The second John J Cannon Thriller moves from a barrier Island off the coast of Texas to Washington DC, then to Northern California, and finally to Ecuador. John is on the receiving end of an offer he cannot refuse. His avowed enemy Matt Jacobs now wants John to help him shake the reputation of the US in the world political arena. If John refuses, Matt plans to murder innocent Americans including John’s latest relationship. John’s only way out is to pretend to go along with the plan and hope for a miracle. Buy this book if you want plot twists, suspense, a fast paced story, and plenty of thrills.

4 Stars – I read ‘MY GRL’, Mr. Howell’s first book in the John Cannon series and wanted to read this one to find out what happened to Mr. Cannon.

This action thriller picks up where ‘My GRL’ left off. Although not listed as a series, ‘MY GRL’ is book one of the John Cannon Series and should, in my opinion, be read before ‘HIS REVENGE’ to give the reader the foundations necessary to enjoy this story all the more.

Enjoy it, I did. Despite moments where things were explained a little too much for my taste, which spoilt the flow a little bit, it was a solid read.

The main character, John Cannon, is a lovable hero with a dry wit and a good heart, if a little naive and unconventional at times.

One of my favourite lines… “You’ll have to excuse him; he has no manners.” Nicely done, Mr. H.

Off to read the next one. (Our Justice)

****

JH - My Grl

My GRL – A John J. Cannon Thriller by John W. Howell

THE BLURB – John J. Cannon successful San Francisco lawyer takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly-purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body of the attractive young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now stands between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

3 Stars – An enjoyable read.  There is a laid back, relaxed feel to the main Character John Cannon. His dry wit is enjoyable and there’s a lot to like about the story, location, and the characters. It’s not an edge of your seat, nail biting thriller, but it’s definitely an enjoyable read. Written in first person (my favourite) I had high hopes for this story after reading the blurb and I love a good thriller. However, for me, the lack of contractions made it a very stilted read, breaking the natural flow, especially in the dialogue. Changing this aspect alone would instantly breathe life into the narrative. People just don’t talk or read without contraction. (Unless you’re the Queen or a presenter for Pathe News). I found there was more telling of the story than showing which often repeated a given fact and, for me, did slow the pace down considerably.  Having said that, I did want to keep reading to find out how the plot would unfold, and John Cannon is a very likeable character, which is why “His Revenge” and “Our Justice” John Howell’s follow up books involving John Cannon are already downloaded and on my TBR list. Definitely worth a read, folks.

***

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Love’s Child – An award-winning romantic mystery novel by author Lizzie Chantree.

THE BLURB – Friendship, loyalty and deadly secrets.
Jemima Trent is desperate to have a designer baby to keep up with her socialite friends, reconnect with her work-obsessed husband, Lucas, and regain some respect from her domineering father.
Something curious is happening and the number of women able to conceive each year is in decline, but no one seems to know why. Dr Cole believes that the answer can be found in a warehouse full of delinquent teenagers, where David Love and his pregnant girlfriend, Tilly, have been hitting the headlines for turning youngsters’ lives around. Dr Cole’s violent and callous employer will stop at nothing to discover the reason behind their success and why girls at the warehouse are able to fall pregnant.
Jemima finally tries to step out of her father’s shadow, but discovers they are more alike than she could ever imagine. David and Tilly vow to keep their secret, but have the lessons of the past been learnt and is the world ready for the truth?
Lies, deceit and betrayal, all in the name of love!

3-Stars – An enjoyable read.
From the blurb, I was expecting a more angsty, emotional read. Designer babies, secrets, lies, deceit and betrayal got my reading juices flowing, building an image that sadly, didn’t really materialise.
I loved the concept, it’s a cute love story, and despite my previous comments, it’s an enjoyable read. But, it didn’t really draw me in and grip me as I had expected it to. I didn’t feel any emotional connection to the characters and, for me, the suspense was lacking. I realise from the other reviews that my opinion is not that of the majority, and who am I to disagree! Maybe I’m just hard to please.

***

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Adventure for the Joyful Spirits! The legend of three heroes by Adam Lynch

THE BLURB – 3 heroes embark on an epic quest to defeat Xuohs, the former archangel of the arts. They journey through many lands that have been transformed by the evil lord’s powers–such as green oceans with giant anglerfishes, mystical forest-mountains with werewolf tree-nymphs, and valleys of rainbows and berries with talking roaches. They have a long journey ahead of them, but these cute and quirky characters enjoy every minute of it.
Adventure for the Joyful Spirits is a story of adventure, exploring new worlds, meeting usual characters, and 3 heroes with extraordinary powers who face godly foes.

5 Stars – A Fabulous Fantastical Adventure from Start to Finish. I don’t normally read this genre and yet, Adventure For The Joyful Spirits truly is an adventure and a delightful read.
“Holy Apple Cranberries!” (I quote) This story is packed with detail that inspires visual imagery and takes you on a magical journey from start to finish.
The three brave young warriors, Eydis Virtue, Tait Astron, and Asmund Cranite embark on epic magical quests to defeat the master of illusion, the villainous Xouhs, encountering strange and wonderful characters and landscapes along the way.
A great family read that delivers clean and fun packed adventure for all. Cap’n Hammerhead, just one of the many great characters, is very funny and very amusing if read aloud using his wonderful pirate’s accent! (Yep, that’s what I did!)
If you love fantasy and fairy tales you’ll thoroughly enjoy the wonderful imagination of Adam Lynch. Well done!

*****

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Jem by Michelle Abbott

THE BLURB – Two injured, stubborn souls meet unexpectedly. Will they save each other from their demons or have they been too damaged for too long to see past the pain?
Growing up, all Jem knew was hatred and the pain from his father’s fists. Taunted by the kids at school, he was alone, until a girl with carrot coloured hair sat next to him.
She smiled.
She listened.
She cared.

She was his angel, and he knew he’d love her forever. But Jem’s father hurts him in a way he never expected by taking him away from her.
Now eighteen, scarred inside and out, Jem trusts no one and has worked hard to ensure he’ll never be helpless again. But then he runs into his angel. The only problem is she doesn’t recognize him. Jem needs her to remember him, to show him that their time together meant to her what it did to him. For once in his life he wants to have mattered to someone, to her.
Devon is attracted to the muscular, tattooed, pierced hottie standing by the pub quiz machine. That is, until he punches a guy clean across the bar for daring to touch him. She’s had her fill of violent men and intends to avoid this one at all costs.
This is a standalone, new adult contemporary romance. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

3 Stars – As other reviewers have already amply explained the plot, I shall move on to how the book impacted on me as a reader.
A second chance romance was what initially drew me to this story, but sadly I found that it lacked on delivery. The premise, although not an easy subject to tackle, should have been an emotional rollercoaster of a read, and yet for me, it wasn’t. Mostly this was due to the “telling” of the story. First person point of view (my favourite) should give the reader the ability to infuse with the characters, to get to the heart of them, and to feel their emotions. For me, it felt detached and stilted. Being from the UK, I understood the location very well, and I had no problem visualising their surroundings, but the constant use of American terminology throughout, became confusing, especially as all the main characters were British so I can understand why other reviewers have brought this issue up. Having said all that, I respect what the author was trying to accomplish, it’s not a bad little story and worth a read. It’s just a shame as it could have been so much more.

***

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Waterlilies Over My Grave by Patricia A Guthrie

THE BLURB – YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE DEATH STALKS YOU IN EVERY CORNER. After a nasty divorce, Psychologist, Annabelle O’Brien moves across country to take a job in the resort town of Lake Nager. Her ex-husband psychotic psychiatrist, Duncan Byrne, follows her with deadly intentions. Her only hope is a burn-out and hostile Detective, Mark Driscoll, who she’s recommended take a mandatory vacation. To the horror of both, he’s assigned to protect her.
After a series of attacks threaten her and two ladies who resemble Annie are murdered, a town is held hostage with fear, and Mark and Annie must work together to catch the killer before he catches them.
Water Lilies Over My Grave is a psychological suspense novel about relationships; good ones, bad ones and obsessive ones.

4 Stars – With the months of hard work and angst that go into creating a novel such as this, I always think it should be savoured, enjoyed, and explored to its fullest. However, I read it in two days because I was keen to know what happened next! It’s a page turner.
The voice of Duncan was deliciously dark and malevolent with just the right amount of dry humour. All the female characters were nicely crafted, and Mark didn’t disappoint as the male hero. The author’s love of animals is obvious as we’re introduced to Lady a fabulous canine character, and for me, I could see the landscape of Nager and the lake very clearly. A nice story well told. Well worth a read.

****

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If I Break (The complete series) by Portia Moore

THE BLURB – The complete If I Break Series Bundle. Includes If I Break, Before I Break, Almost Broken and Beautifully Broken. This is not your typical happily ever after…
Lauren Brooks wants to do three things: Escape the small town she grew  up in, get accepted to her dream school in Chicago, and graduate without drowning in debt. Now she’s working her ass off to do just that.
With a full course load and a waitressing job at one of the hottest night clubs in Chicago, she does not have time for distractions; namely ones who only want to get into her pants. She’s been burned before. Only a fool goes for a second round… With just two semesters left until graduation, everything’s on track. Until she meets Cal. Enter distraction.
At six-foot-two, with ebony hair, deep grey eyes, and a smile that could only hide an agenda, she knows he’s trouble. And for the first time in her life, a little trouble might be just what she needs.
No. What she wants. It isn’t like she’d ever marry the guy. Until she does.
What she thinks will be her happily ever after, is only the beginning. Cal has a secret. One that makes loving him come with a price, and being his wife cost more than she bargained for.

5 Stars – This series was recommended by a friend, but other than that I went in blind. The subject matter was something I hadn’t known anything about before I read these books, and I found Portia’s approach to it very well executed. The intricate love story and the main characters were likeable and compelling, even sometimes irritating, but provoking emotion is what a good story teller wants to achieve. Cal’s POV. (He had the cheekiest dialogue) was my favourite. Although the style was a bit sticky in places, I really enjoyed the stories and wanted to keep reading to find out what came next. Well done, Ms Moore. A great series, which I thoroughly enjoyed and will recommend.

*****

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Bound by the Summer Prince by Mistral Dawn

THE BLURB – The Summer Court is in an uproar. The king has just been executed for unpardonable crimes, and the queen is prostrate with grief over his loss. This leaves the Summer kingdom bereft of true leadership; a problem which is compounded by the fact that the laws of Fairie require balance to be maintained by having a male and a female ruler for both Season Courts at all times. Uaine, the Summer prince, is the only one who can put things right, but he is without a mate. Knowing that he must take a bride quickly, for the sake of his people, even though he is struggling with his own feelings of pain and anger over his father’s treachery, he goes for a walk in a forest near the palace to try to clear his head and determine how best to choose a female to rule beside him.
While walking Uaine discovers a human female running loose in Fairie, which is against the most basic tenets of Fae law. Furious at one more problem he must deal with, he takes her prisoner and locks her in the dungeon; only to discover later that she is his soul-mate. The magical bond between them means they are meant to be together forever, but humans can’t feel the magic of Fairie. Will Uaine be able to win her heart and convince her that she can trust him to keep her safe from all the dangers of Fairie…including himself?
Roni is a human con woman and petty thief. Having run afoul of the local crime syndicate in the city where she is staying, she finds herself running for her life. Trouble is no stranger to her, but when she falls through a hole in a wall and finds herself in a world with carnivorous trees and rocks that eat people she realizes she may have found more of it than she can deal with. Rescued/arrested by the prince of the Summer Court, it doesn’t take long for her to formulate a plan to use him to get herself home. Unfortunately for her, she soon finds that her heart, which she had thought long ago turned to stone, has begun to feel the love she has been playing at. Will she be able to overcome a lifetime of caution and allow herself to follow her heart? Can a criminal love a cop? Please be aware that this book contains explicit sexual scenes, depictions of BDSM, and anal play. If these things disturb you, then this may not be the book for you.

3 Stars – For lovers of fantasy worlds where elves and fairies dwell in magical kingdoms, the forests are quite literally alive, and where anything is possible, this will be an enjoyable read. Roni (Veronica) is a feisty character thrust into this magical parallel world, and on the whole she’s a like-able character holding her own in a strange new world. But sadly, I didn’t feel an emotional connection to the hunky, male hero, Uaine. Mr Spats, however, is adorable. For me, the descriptive dialogue was very lengthy in parts, and I was surprised to see the use of parentheses in fiction. However, on the whole, a pleasant read and I’m sure fantasy enthusiasts will really enjoy it.

***

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Below the Beltway (The Beltway modern millionaire romance series – Book 1) by Taylor Marsh

THE BLURB – This is a contemporary millionaire romance starring Alex Gantry, who’s a very strong woman . Alex is an elite personal life coach who leaves the glitter of Hollywood to join her best friend Berkley Banks, whose high-profile new media marketing company is located in the Washington, D.C. area. One thing Alex is hoping to leave behind is Brian Marks and their long-term relationship of convenience because they’re both workaholics and Alex has decided she wants more. Brian Marks is intent on changing her mind.
Maybe Washington, D.C. will change things. Because as good as Alex is at coaching professionals in how to balance work and their personal life, she’s been doing a bad job of it herself.
Enter the romantic hero, the somewhat younger and somewhat married environmentalist and greenpreneur T.J. Gale, one of Banks & Associates hottest new clients.
His (hopefully) soon-to-be ex-wife refuses to leave the picture, which wouldn’t be a problem if her notorious father weren’t nursing a personal grudge against his son-in-law.
Love and rejection, the male ego, the competition for power, and a woman whose life is at a turning point at the same moment she meets a man who’s going through the same thing.
Not all love begins smoothly. And not everything is as it seems.
The Beltway is a land teeming with marshes, bald eagles, bunnies, a spectacular waterway paradise and wildlife Adventureland, whose human occupants are looking for power and ways to get it while trying to navigate the human appetites of lust, love, and greed without being drowned by their enemies in the Beltway swamps. Prepare to be aroused.

3 Stars – I quite enjoyed this book. The main characters were fun, Alex and Berkley share some witty banter, and the sexy hero with a heart, T.J., is kind, considerate, and of course, drop dead gorgeous! Brian Marks, a shady remnant of something Alex left behind in L.A. lurks in the background poised to throw a spanner in the works, and as the plot moves on you feel drawn to a climax that sadly (for me, at least) fizzles out.
I was left with too many unanswered questions and wondering if I’d missed something. The book isn’t listed as part of a series, and if it isn’t then I fear the author may have rushed to complete what should have been a much more satisfying read. Having said that, my opinion is just that, my opinion, and it’s worth a read to make your own minds up. (The listing has been amended since my review!)

***

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Swan Song by Robert McCammon

THE BLURB – Something flashes in nine-year-old Swan’s brain, telling her that trouble is coming. Maybe it’s her mother, fed up with her current boyfriend and ready to abandon their dismal trailer park and seek a new home. But something far worse is on the horizon. Death falls from the sky—nuclear bombs which annihilate American civilization. Though Swan survives the blast, this young psychic’s war is just beginning.
 
As the survivors try to make new lives in the wasteland, an evil army forms, intent on murdering all those tainted with the diseases brought by fallout. When Swan finds a mysterious amulet that could hold the key to humankind’s salvation, she draws the attention of a man more dangerous than any nuclear bomb. To rescue mankind, this little girl will have to grow up fast.

5 Stars – I found this book in a charity shop while I was living in spain a bazillion years ago. It’s a big old book and the cover really caught my eye. I wasn’t expecting to finish it, but once I started reading, it really grabbed me. The multi-layered story is compelling and I loved all the characters. The imagery you get in your mind while reading it really keeps you riveted, and I confess to having read this book at least four times. I had to replace it when it got drenched poolside on holiday a few years ago and I still have a paperback copy today which I am going to read again. Love, Love, Love this book. x;-)
Robert McCammon, you rock!

*****