“American Solace: An Awakening, a Far Future Coming of Age Mythic Fantasy” by Jonathan Cook

American Solace: An Awakening, a Far Future Coming of Age Mythic Fantasy

 “American Solace: An Awakening, a Far Future Coming of Age Mythic Fantasy” by Jonathan Cook tells the story of Little Owl's journey to find his true totem, the guide for his life. His uncle fears he will receive a war totem if he follows through with the Rite of Passage, and Little Owl will be sent off to battle long time southern enemies. Instead, his uncle suggests he go on a vision quest: an ancient ritual likely more dangerous than the Rite of Passage. Little Owl buckles under pressure and enters the Rite of Passage for fear of humiliation. He rejects the totem given to him, and prepares himself to set out on his vision quest. He has secret plans and reasons of his own for going. He faces impossible odds and intense dangers but reconnects with his old friend, War Chief's daughter, Willow. What he learns is important to saving his people, and it unveils part of the mystery of how they entered the present from the end of the last age. 

Jonathan Cook brings to life a world that teeters on the brink of familiar, and I could believe it was real. Little Owl and Willow were most likable and I enjoyed getting to know them through their struggles, failures, and triumphs. The story had moments of intense action, life threatening conflicts, and it included vivid, thought provoking descriptions. I saw things through the eyes of Little Owl, and figured them out as he did. Willow's fierce loyalty to Little Owl, her bravery and skill as a warrior made her a commendable lead female. I appreciated the sweet simplicity of their falling in love. The fate of  Little Owl's people has only just begun to be revealed. Mystery lingers, and after reading “American Solace: An Awakening, a Far Future Coming of Age Mythic Fantasy,” I look forward to finding out what happens next.


“The Dumont Brand” by Kathleen Rice Adams

“The Dumont Brand” by Kathleen Rice Adams combines two short stories about the Collier family of Texas before and after the Civil War. In “The Big Uneasy,” Patriarch Edson Collier has arranged a marriage between his eldest son, Bennett and Josephine Lapierre, a southern belle of New Orleans. Edson is ill and wants to see Bennett settled and producing heirs before he passes away. Josephine is willing to travel to Texas and marry a man she doesn't know; she's fleeing from her own past. When she arrives, Edson's younger son, Amon escorts her to the Collier home. She finds herself falling for her intended's brother. The Collier family has skeletons in their closets and Bennett has political aspirations. When he returns home to marry Josephine and the bones come crashing out of their hiding places, it's too much for him and he stalks off cursing his family and vowing never to step foot on the property again. It leaves Jospehine and Amon free to marry. When we meet Bennett again in “Making Peace,” he has been ravaged by war as a Confederate soldier. He returns to the Collier place, and finds Maggie Fannin squatting on a piece of their land. He regrets his actions toward his family before the war, and he's taken with Maggie. He overlooks her past; he wouldn't have been capable of that before the war. He helps rebuild the shack she's claimed as her home, and she gives him the strength to face his family.

Kathleen Rice Adams told Edson's story cleverly and with emotion. His deep affection for Jenny, a woman of color was obvious. It was not merely a sexual convenience, it was an affair of the heart. In the time frame of the story that made him a strong man. The relationships between the Collier men were layered and complicated. It teetered so that I couldn't decide if it was love or hate. Loyalty was a constant. In the first story I was drawn to Amon and liked his character. It was difficult to like Bennett, even though there were reasons for his behavior. The second story put a new perspective on Bennett and compelled me to forgive him for his previous actions. The romance between Amon and Josephine was light and sweet, but Maggie and Bennett were sizzling and intense. The two stories were a perfect combination and complimented each other well. I highly enjoyed “The Dumont Brand” and recommend Kathleen Rice Adams. 


“Peaches” by Kathleen Rice Adams

“Peaches” by Kathleen Rice Adams is a short historical romance centered around the Christmas holiday. Ruth Avery and her boys have taken over the school house that neighbors Whit McCandless's ranch. Whit has no time for the holiday festivities or anything social because a ranch won't run itself. He has little patience for Ruth, and in his opinion, she'll never be able to mind a bunch of the town children when she can't keep track of her own. Whit's aunts are meddlesome but mean well. They work to throw Whit and Ruth together in hopes to ignite a spark. Ruth's first impression of Whit is callous and harsh, but his actions betray his demeanor. She wasn't looking for romance, but there may be holiday magic in the works.

Kathleen Rice Adams is fast becoming a new favorite author for me. She succeeded in entertaining with her touching story about Whit and Ruth in “Peaches.” I found depth in this short story that didn't seem possible to achieve in so few pages. Ruth and Whit were well developed, and the minor characters were filled in enough to make the whole town believable. Whit came off one way, but as the story unfolded, I learned his secret reasons for his intolerance to peaches, and with ease, the author made me want to comfort him. Ms. Adams turned Whit inside out, had him do things outside his grumpy nature, revealing his true heart, and made me see him in a whole new light. I rooted for him to find peace, and to do something about his feelings for Ruth. The attraction between Whit and Ruth was bold, I was aware of it, and still it sizzled in the background until suddenly, there it was - front and center. I loved the story and the way it came to life. I highly recommend “Peaches.” 


“The Last Princess of Meigen” by Rachel A. James

“The Last Princess of Meigen” by Rachel A. James is a historical romance. Princess Alena was not of royal birth, and her father-in-law believed she'd bewitched his son into marriage. She had married the prince for love alone, and after he died, she was left as a servant to the King. Alena suffered from a breathing affliction which strengthened the king's belief she was possessed. When the King forced her to enter a marital agreement to unite two kingdoms, she traveled to Angularem to meet her betrothed. She found herself captivated by a physician who treated her breathing illness, and had to choose between what her heart wanted and loyalty to her king. Her king had been known to be vicious, and deceptive, and he held Alena's son to force her to comply with the marriage arrangement. She struggled to find her own strength and purpose in order to free herself and her son from the king's grip.

Princess Alena lead a happy life while her husband was alive. Once he died, she wasn't comfortable in her role as a princess and the constant struggle she felt trying to fit in, trying to find a purpose and be useful was sad. While helping the physician at Angularem and learning medicine, she blossomed; it expanded her character, transformed her and made her stronger. When she was faced with her father-in-law's presence, she battled to hold on to the person she'd become. I liked that person she became, and her strength in standing up for herself and her loved ones. I applaud the author. Alena could have been the rescued damsel, but Ms. James went a different route that required a heroine. The other characters were interesting: a wickedly evil father-in-law stirred trouble, a pregnant princess Teagan was proficient with a longbow, a betrothed king Niall still mourned his wife. I was captivated enough by Teagan and Niall to read more and look for other books by Ms. James. I enjoyed this book for the sweet love story between Alena and Sherwin, and for the other elements of excitement, treachery, and deceit. I recommend  “The Last Princess of Meigen” by Rachel A. James.


Soul Chaser: Raven's Journey by Nicholette Campbell



 Life as we know it follows a clear course: a person is born, goes through life, and dies. We are not given the choice to deviate from this routine. But what if we were?
 Soul Chaser carries readers to a world where sixteen-year-old Raven Bishop must struggle with this choice time and time again, not for her sake, but for the sake of others whose lives she can save by repeatedly relinquishing her own.
 The decision to die, and die over and over again, however, is not an easy one for anyone to make, let alone a girl who barely lived her own life--but the fate of Raven's soul depends on it. Will she make the right choice?

I would rate this book 3.5 stars. The unique premise for this novella enticed me: sparing children from the pain of death by dying over and over again yourself - ingenious. I had to purchase it. The idea that innocent young people would be spared ugliness and pain and simply move on to a better place would bring a small comfort in this crazy world. 
Raven's struggle in completing her destiny was interesting, but her task and her goals were hard to understand at first. I felt there could have been more behind the story about why she wasn't supposed to feel emotions for the children. How soul chasers were chosen eluded me as well. Soul Chasers chose their successors, but who made a good soul chaser? How did they know when it was time to choose a successor? Why was Raven chosen? 
The focal point of my confusion in this book was when I read in the description "not for her sake, but for the sake of others whose lives she can save by repeatedly relinquishing her own" - I thought she'd literally save their lives and the children would continue to live on if she suffered death over and over again. 
There was a ton of emotion packed into little over fifty pages in this story, and even though Raven wasn't supposed to feel emotions, the author succeeded in making me feel them. That was especially true with the death of Elijah. 
Overall, I enjoyed "Soul Chaser" and would recommend it as a distinctive thought provoking short read. 

'Americans Bombing Paris' by Thomas Bartlett


'Americans Bombing Paris' by Thomas Bartlett was a pleasant surprise. If you're not prone to reading political books, please don't fear this story. The political backbone is centered around the United States vs. Iraq and the people caught in between, but the flesh and blood of the novel is the romance between Johnny and Naya. The act of throwing stones- a childish prank, you think? I was shocked by the turn of events and how Johnny and his friends' attempt to give the mighty pause snowballed into something unexpected, something more than they had considered possible. The story is brilliantly navigated through Johnny's memories and keeps the reader teetering between the intense chaotic destruction of fiery explosions as the bombs go off and the burgeoning relationship between Johnny and Naya leading up to France ignoring warnings not to continue trade with Iraq, therefore being punished with the bombing. I was entertained by Mr. Bartlett's unique voice and strikingly vivid descriptions, and he succeeded in dazzling me with the conclusion. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

A copy of this book was supplied by the author in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.


"Horses" by Gemma Watts

Helpful and informative book for animal lovers or those curious about horses. Many fun facts I hadn't known, and tidbits of knowledge that could come in handy in the future. Could be a reference for a child writing a report, or anyone writing anything who wants to talk about horses and have it feel natural and real. I purchased this book for my nephew to read. 

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Chasing Xaris by Samantha Bennett


Chandler Bloom starts her day like every other—on her surfboard and away from her smothering grandparents. It’s the only way she’s been able to cope since the hit-and-run that killed her parents two years ago. But when a shark nearly turns Chandler into breakfast, a loner surfer named Ari saves her life. Which is great, except that he also triggers new questions about her parents’ deaths. Before Chandler can ask him more, Ari disappears.

Desperate for answers, Chandler decides to track down Ari with the help of her best friend Jordan, a surfer guy who’s totally in love with her. The search leads to Ari's home—a hidden island that can only be found with a form of light called xaris. But Chandler isn’t the only one searching for the island or the unearthly elements found there. Her parents died protecting it, and if Chandler doesn’t come to grips with what she’s really chasing, she could be next. (YA inspirational urban fantasy)

A little mystery, kind of sci-fi, with a dash of young love. I enjoyed Chandler Bloom's search for the truth about her parents' death and the hunt to prove that shark slayers weren't just a myth. She was strong, inquisitive, brave, and impulsive - a mixture that got her into trouble at times. I enjoyed the book and recommend it.

I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


Emerald Eyes by N. Michaels



After years of fighting the pressure of becoming a neurosurgeon and continuing her family's famous legacy, Katherine Slav's father has had enough of her partying. He cuts her off financially, leaving Katherine to fend for herself. Finding a job is a priority. Finding Eric Miller is a bonus – a bonus that quickly proves to be impossible to resist. How can she have the only man who denies her every step of the way? How can she seduce her boss without losing her job? Struggling to ward off feelings that go beyond professional, Eric tries to keep Katherine at arm’s length, but the more he’s around her, the weaker his resistance becomes. Discovering Eric’s secret and baring her own, she fights for her new-found love with everything she’s got, but will it be enough to banish the darkness in Eric’s life? Is having Eric Miller all she thought it would be? Will Katherine be enough?

I enjoyed some things about this book. The chemistry sizzled, but the whole premise that Katherine was running away from becoming a brain surgeon was too much. Was she smart enough, patient enough, determined enough? Not sure about that. I didn't like her at first. She turned over a new admirable leaf by trying to make it on her own in the world, almost. Eric, the boss, hot and cold, untouchable and then unshakable. I liked the weird relationship between Eric and Eliza, and the secrets that unfolded there. It added a good dose of psycho to the story. I had mixed feelings all the way through. I didn't realize it had the BDSM element, and sometimes it can be off-putting.


Tame A Wild Bride (Tame Series Book 3) by Cynthia Woolf

Rosie Stanton climbed on a west-bound train to become a mail order bride. She wants to escape her brother and wicked sister-in-law. Tom Harris sent for Rosie, but he doesn't want a real wife. He's been burned by love and only wants someone to care for his two children and cook and clean for him. So, when Rosie wants more children, there's a problem.
Rosie is strong and capable, and doesn't complain. She's also determined to win Tom's heart so that she can have children of her own. I enjoyed the love story between the couple. The scheming kidnapping plot added a different element and helped Tom realize what he stood to lose if her didn't give in to Rosie's wish for a real marriage.
One thing I didn't understand was Rosie's need to be married when she had money of her own, lots of it.
An easy read.