I have been so busy getting finished with the final story for the Bonnie Isles Trilogy - Should Monarchs Stumble - that I have totally neglected reviewing the stories I have been reading.
I listen to most books using a text to speech feature, and I'm allowed to do this while at work - driving a delivery van around town. That's the only way I've been able to "read" so many books.
Now that I have the book "in the can" and the posters and banner made for the Florence Festival of Books, the Complete Trilogy formatted, uploaded and ordered, I can take a breather and catch up on some reviews. They're not going to be very detailed reviews, but you'll get the idea as to whether and how much I liked them.
Without further ado - several reviews, in no particular order.
From Fire Into Fire by Normandie Fischer - ★★★★★
I enjoyed this tale of two spies and their son very much. I have not yet read Two from Isaac's House, but I certainly will if this book is an example of the writing. (I have already procured it, but haven't started it, yet.)
This clean read is bittersweet, exciting, and full of interesting perspectives on the Israeli - Palestinian conflict.
Content rating: This is a PG-13 read all the way. Totally flinch free.
Revolution by Adrienne Dunning – ★★★★★
What a sweet, fun read.
It's hard to miss with this sweet tale in which a ghost and feisty grandmother who team up as protectors/matchmakers for a woman running from an abusive fiance and a widower still aching for his lost love.
Content rating: PG 13, except there is a theme of domestic abuse - while I'm not opposed to kids knowing that that kind of abuse is NOT okay, it might be a trigger for some.
Shenanigans (Love, Sex & Magic #1) by T.B. Bond ★★★★
Fun story. Jackson makes a great book boyfriend. He's almost too good to be true, but I like my heroes like that.
I liked Edward, and the premise that all the sisters have boys names. It's going to make for a great series, I think. I'd say this is a bit of a serial - the story is not entirely wrapped up, and I expect to hear more about Edward and Jackson in other installments.
This has some fully depicted, graphic love scenes, so I would call it R-rated, but there is far more story than sex, so the sex scenes are not the driving force of the book. I don't remember the language being too coarse, but a quick search did reveal some f-bombs, so that is in keeping with the R-Rating, too. Language and Sexual content.
I think I read that this book has been overhauled, maybe since I got my copy (I'm working through a huge TBR) so hopefully the small errors that were littered throughout have been corrected.
My Name is A’yen (A’yen’s Legacy #1) by Rachel Leigh Smith - ★★★★★
I thought this was a wonderful book. It deals with a lot of tough topics - slavery and rape for starters - and has LGB themes to it, and yes, one questions the motive of one character who is only present in the story as a memory. (Some would call him a pedophile - but as this is Sci-Fi, I chose to believe that A'yen's people age faster than humans.) There are things in this book that will trigger some readers.
But the story is full of hope and perseverance and healing and learning to trust. The world building is exquisite, in such fine detail that I really felt I could understand the world I was reading about. I loved A'yen's strength and character, and I felt for him and the torment he experienced. I loved Farran's character, too. She was just as strong as A'yen and dealt with much of it alone, while he had so many friends to help him. For a long time, I wasn't sure he deserved her, until he got is head out of his you know what and saw what a great woman she was.
There are some sex scenes with a mostly closed door, and definite references to both hetero and homosexual love and abuse. It is not easy to read about the things that happen. I'd have to give it a PG-17 rating, for violent and sexual content. I think the language was pretty clean. A quick search revealed 0 f-bombs.
The Healer’s Rune – Lauricia Matuska - ★★★★
3.5-4 stars. (Can't make up my mind.)
I had the problem that I sometimes have with new adult, where I dislike the main character because she is so real. She's got a temper, and it almost makes her a strong woman, but it gets in the way of her listening to people who are trying to help her. The story also makes me uncomfortable, because it showcases the worst in people--pettiness, letting fear dictate your words and actions, and throwing others under the bus to save yourself. I spent the first 3/4 of the book not sure I was going to like it at all, but in the last 1/4 it started to come together, and I can see that it is actually working for the story.
I think I have more to say about this, but I need to process it some more, and write more when I have more time. Suffice to say it was well worth reading, and I will probably seek out the other books in the series when they come. A book that makes you uncomfortable isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Across Our Stars: Hamish – by A. Payne & N.D. Taylor - ★★★★★
5 stars all the way.
This is a fantastic follow up to Across Our Stars: Victor. The pacing is quicker and the action sequences more kick-butt.
I wanted to give a shout out to tell you all this sci-fi novel is great. If you like Sci-Fi that is more character-driven than technology-driven (although there is plenty of cool tech to read about) with complex characters and a twisting conspiracy plot, then this is the story for you!
Murder at Twin Oaks by C Z Bracket - ★★★★★
This was a very fine, clean cozy mystery. I liked the progression and the introduction of the various suspects and the investigation. I thought the resolution was good, though I may have missed some of the finer nuances since I was listening while driving.
I liked the rebuilding relationship with Victoria and the detective. I wondered by she didn't give her colleague a chance, though. I might have missed something, but I didn't really get why that was a non-starter as far as she was concerned. He seemed intent on firing something up with her.
The other thing I didn't quite get was why the clues kept getting sent to her. I wasn't satisfied by the explanation at the end. Again, maybe I just missed it, but those were enough to lose that full fifth star. I do look forward to reading more Victoria James Mysteries.
Content rating: this is a clean read. PG-13 - Any violence is off scene, although there is brief mention of some disturbing occurrences.