Review of Promises and Primroses by Josi S. Kilpack

Promises and Primroses by Josi Kilpack

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Book Review of Promises and Primroses by Josi S. Kilpack

I always get excited when I hear that Josi Kilpack has another book out! She has such a fun writing style, and is good at allowing the reader into the hearts and minds of her characters. She has written about a wide variety of characters in different settings, and they always seem to become some of my best friends. When I heard about this new book I may have done a little happy dance. The cover art is beautiful, the title is fun with alliteration, and I couldn’t wait to meet the characters and delve into this world of primroses. So what did I think? Find out in my book review of Promises and Primroses by Josi S. Kilpack.

Blurb:

“Lord Elliott Mayfield has done his best to take care of his family, first his siblings and now his nieces and nephews. Unfortunately, he sees this new generation moving in the same direction of bad matches and scandalous relationships as the last. In hopes to change their course, he establishes a ‘marriage campaign’ to motivate them to improve themselves through making respectable matches. With his heart in the right place, what could possibly go wrong?

Peter, Elliott’s eldest nephew, thinks the entire idea is ridiculous. A widower with two young daughters, he simply needs a governess, not a wife. Julia Hollingsworth certainly has the credentials and the experience, but is altogether too young and pretty for such a job. So why can’t he stop thinking about her?

Julia loves working as a governess, despite the objections of her mother, Amelia. And as it turns out, Amelia has a lot to say about the Mayfield men—none of it good. But Julia dismisses the rumors of ruined reputations and instead concentrates on helping Peter with his children and his fledgling business in canine husbandry. His kindness and gentleness is endearing—and increasingly attractive.

But Amelia, whose heart was broken thirty years ago by none other than Elliott Mayfield, is determined to prevent any relationship from blooming either between Peter and Julia—or between herself and Elliott.

Hearts and history collide as both couples must face their pasts and decide if risking it all is worth the promise of new love and a new future.”

My Book Review:

Hahaha! Can you imagine your uncle coming to you and proposing that he will give you a very large gift (money or something else) if you decide to settle down and get married to a respectable person? I have to admit that it might be tempting–as long as I already had a fiancée. It might be a little weird otherwise. People just don’t talk like this anymore. Of course parents want their children to marry good people, but thankfully it’s not the same as it used to be. Again, thankfully, women have a lot more options now than they did back then. I’m so glad that times have changed on that one!

I love Julia’s character. She’s so sweet and tenderhearted. I loved how cute she was with the little girls in the story. It was fun to read about the tea parties, the games, and the love she had for them. I liked that she thought independently, she didn’t care what her mother thought, and she did what she thought was best for herself. After learning about Julia’s mother, I don’t blame her for wanting to get out from her mother’s thumb.

Peter seems like a good man. He may be a little too blinded to see what’s important sometimes, but I think he has good intentions. It was interesting learning about the dogs and some of the care that went into them. I know that scandals in families still happen, but thankfully, I don’t think they affect the whole family for generations like they used to. Peter worked very hard to prove himself despite his family’s reputation, and I liked that he put that effort into rising above his circumstances.

I liked the easy-going writing style of this book. It’s well written, has great character development, and is a sweet story. I did think it was a bit predictable and a little cheesy in parts, but honestly, that’s what I want in a romance. Right? Love stories need a little cheese and a few “awwww” moments! It’s fun and entertaining, and I enjoyed it. I liked how it all came together, and how the characters fit together in the story. It’s a fast, easy read; I read it in a couple of days, and loved that I could get sucked into this fun world of promises and primroses.    

Content Rating GContent Rating: G (It’s clean! There’s no profanity, violence, or “intimacy,” except for a few brief kisses.)

Age Recommendation: YA and up

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Promises and Primroses Blog Tour

 

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2QO44D2

 

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A Heart Revealed by Josi S. Kilpack The Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack  Forever and Forever by Josi S. Kilpack
 

Book Review of Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard

Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard

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Book Review of Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard

I have to admit that I have been naïve. I’ve heard of things going on, but I always thought that it couldn’t really be true. People can’t really be that evil, right? It only happens in the movies, right? Unfortunately, it does happen. Too often. And not necessarily in some faraway land; it’s happening all over the world. Children and women are being sold into slavery. But this slavery is a different kind of slavery from what we’ve learned and studied about. These women and children are being sold, yes sold, into human trafficking. It’s absolutely horrifying. Find out more in my book review of Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard.

Blurb:

“In the 1800s American South, Harriet Jacobs is enslaved and tormented by a cruel master. He relentlessly attempts to force her into [an intimate] union, and, when rebuffed, he separates her from her children and spends a lifetime trying to coerce her and then recapture her when she escapes to freedom. Jacobs outwits her tormentor and eventually reunites with her children, works in the cause of abolition and reform, and helps newly freed slaves with education and aftercare.

In 2009, Timothy Ballard encounters a grieving father in Haiti whose three-year-old son has been kidnapped and sold into slavery along with thousands of children who were orphaned after an earthquake devastated the country. He pledges to track down the missing child and leaves his job at the Department of Homeland Security to establish Operation Underground Railroad to infiltrate black markets in human trafficking, liberate victims, and provide a comprehensive aftercare process involving justice and rehabilitation for survivors.

Slave Stealers alternates these two riveting stories, weaving them together to expose the persistent evil of trafficking and sexual exploitation that has existed for centuries—and inspiring us to find a way to end it. Filled with heartbreaks and triumphs, miracles and disappointments, hair-raising escapes and daring rescues, this gripping book provides insight to this terrible evil and the good that can be done when caring people step up and stand in the light.”

My Book Review:

Wow. I read this book in two days. I couldn’t put it down. It pulls at every piece of humanity, motherhood, teacher, Christian, and sister that I have. And then some. I’ve read quite a bit about slavery and the Civil War, and I’m astonished every time by the brutality and inhumane treatment that the slaves endured. It’s incomprehensible. And then I learn that it’s happening today. Yes, today. And not in some place far, far away, but way too close to home. It may look slightly different, but there are many similarities between the transatlantic slavery of old and modern-day slavery.

I loved how Timothy Ballard wove the two stories together. It was seamless. It was powerful. Like everyone, I’ve heard of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas. I have learned about Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Unfortunately for me, I have not been as well acquainted with Harriet Jacobs. What a story! I loved hearing her story and learning about her. She was an amazing woman who inspires me to never give up, to stand up for my beliefs, and to take a stand against slavery.

Timothy Ballard also has an amazing story. He has seen and experienced so much. I also enjoyed learning about his story. He is such a good example of being a good citizen, of being compassionate, and of being aware of the needs of others. I love that he has dedicated his life to resurrecting the Underground Railroad. He uses many of the same principles today that the people who ran the original Underground Railroad used in the 1800s. His writing style just sucks you into the story. It brings the story to life.

Although old and modern-day slavery are heavy topics, Timothy Ballard does a great job of pulling out the inspirational moments. Instead of feeling weighed down and depressed after reading this book, I absolutely felt inspired. I want to help. I cannot imagine what those children and women have to endure, and Mr. Ballard has such a way with words that he broaches hard things and turns them into teaching moments. His writing is full of energy, it’s authentic, and it is bold. He doesn’t mince words, but it’s not off-putting; in fact, it has the opposite effect.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the modern-day conductors of the Underground Railroad. Their stories are also powerful and vulnerable. It’s very telling how highly Mr. Ballard thinks of them. Once again, it’s inspiring to hear what many of them have overcome, and how they have reacted to those heartbreaking situations.

I loved this book so much! I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to read and review it. I highly recommend Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard.

Content Rating RRating: R (There isn’t any profanity in this book, but it’s discussing human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. It is full of adult themes.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2xdnE2P

 

Slave Stealers Blog Tour

 

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Women of the Blue and Gray by Marianne Monson Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand  the immortal life of henrietta lacks
 

Book Review of The Caseroom by Kate Hunter

The Caseroom by Kate Hunter

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Book Review of The Caseroom by Kate Hunter

Wow! Two books about 19th century Scotland in two days! And to make it even better, it’s also two strong, female Scottish women in two days as well. After reading these two books I know more about the situation of women in 19th century Scotland than I ever thought I would. These two women live very different lives, but their fight for women at that time makes them one in cause. Once again, I’m thankful for women like Iza and Jess that paved the way for the rights women have today. What was Iza’s story? Find out in my book review of The Caseroom by Kate Hunter.

Blurb:

“Set in the thick of workers’ lives in Edinburgh’s thriving print industry, The Caseroom follows Iza into the arcane world of the caseroom where she learns the intricacies of a highly-skilled trade.

As one of some 800 Edinburgh women who for a few decades did so, she becomes a hand-typesetter, work that had been, and was to become once more, a male preserve. Despite hostility to the cheap labour that women represent, Iza persists in work that allows her to feed her imagination on books. But holding on to her trade means hardening herself to the needs of those she loves. And when the men’s union moves to eliminate women from the caseroom and a We Women movement forms to oppose them, there is no middle ground. Torn between class and gender loyalties and embroiled in a bitter labour dispute, Iza must choose sides.”

My Book Review:

In all honesty, before I read this book I had never heard of a caseroom. I had no idea what it was or what it was used for. Oops! You’d think someone who loves to read and proofread would know some of the history of printing. But, no. Everything about the caseroom was new to me. I didn’t know what any of the tools were or what they were used for. The names of the different jobs there were also brand new to me. Needless to say, I learned a lot from this book.

I liked the writing style of the The Caseroom, and I thought it was well written. Most of the characters were well developed and seemed realistic. I couldn’t decide how I felt about Iza. Sometimes I liked her a lot, and sometimes she bothered me. That sometimes happens in real life, though, I suppose. I did admire her for her bravery in standing up for women’s rights. Just working in the caseroom was enough to make some of the men angry, including her brother. She persevered, though. Even without her brother’s blessing she went to work. I loved her determined attitude.

Iza’s family seemed, for the most part, like a good family. They had their problems, but seemed to usually work them out. Each of the family members brought a unique angle to the story.  I also liked her co-workers Netta and Margaret. Roddy Mac was a character that I never trusted or liked, for some reason.

I liked that this story was based on “the author’s father’s family history.” The story happens to be “based on real events and features some actual historical characters.” I think that it’d be fun to write a story about my ancestor’s lives.

The one thing that was hard for me with this book was the language. The author uses terms for things that I’m assuming were appropriate for the time period. I guess it’s a good thing, but consequently, I didn’t understand a lot of the book. Even my Kindle couldn’t define the words, so that’s not a good sign. I think it would be a great story for people who know the language a little better than I do.

Content Rating RContent Rating: R (Profanity, including at least one “f” word. “Intimacy,” including scenes and innuendos. A couple of characters died.)

Age Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2Pk6tnz

 

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The False Men by Mhairead MacLeod The Lost Family by Jenna Blum  A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner
 
 

The False Men by Mhairead MacLeod

The False Men by Mhairead MacLeod

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Book Review of The False Men by Mhairead MacLeod

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that takes place in 19th century Scotland. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be a woman during that time. It would be so confining to not have control of your life. Why anyone would think that a woman should not be able to choose her own path is beyond me. Reading this book made me especially grateful to live where I live in this day and age. It also made me thankful for all the women that went before me that have gotten us to this point. I hope you enjoy my book review of The False Men by Mhairead MacLeod.

Blurb:

North Uist, Outer Hebrides, 1848

Jess MacKay has led a privileged life as the daughter of a local landowner, sheltered from the harsher aspects of life. Courted by the eligible Patrick Cooper, the Laird’s new commissioner, Jess’s future is mapped out, until Lachlan Macdonald arrives on North Uist, amid rumours of forced evictions on islands just to the south.

As the uncompromising brutality of the Clearances reaches the islands, and Jess sees her friends ripped from their homes, she must decide where her heart, and her loyalties, truly lie.

Set against the evocative backdrop of the Hebrides and inspired by a true story, The False Men is a compelling tale of love in a turbulent past that resonates with the upheavals of the modern world. 
 

My Book Review:

I haven’t ever been to Scotland, but I’d like to go! It sounds like such a beautiful place. The author did a good job describing the setting. I could totally picture the layout of the land with the homes and farms. The descriptions made me want to go there; so I think they did their job!

I liked the writing style of this book. It was a little hard to figure out what was going on in some places because I’m not familiar with the language, but the more I read the easier it became. The writing is engaging and full of heart. Jess’ heart. She should have been born in the 21st century because she was a bit much for everyone else in the 19th century to handle. Jess believed that she could make a difference, and women didn’t really get that opportunity at that time. She thought she should be able to make her own decisions about her future, and that wasn’t really a thing either.

What Jess decided to do surprised me, and it took the book in a whole different direction than I thought it would. Jess is a great character. She is strong, opinionated, a bit crazy, and full of heart. Her character is well developed and realistic. It’s too bad she just didn’t fit in her time period. I’m sure it was women like her that got the ball rolling, though. I thought that all of the characters were well developed. Patrick, Catherine, and Lachlan were especially well developed, along with Jess’ father.   

Overall, I liked this book. I loved traveling to Scotland via The False Men Express. Maybe someday I’ll be able to actually travel there, but for now, I’m good reading about it.  

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, including at least one “f” word. “Intimacy,” including scenes and discussions about it. Violence including fighting, and the death of several characters.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2wpd7lz

 

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the book thief by markus zusak the nightingale by kristin hannah  The Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack
 
 

Women of the Blue and Gray by Marianne Monson

Women of the Blue and Gray by Marianne Monson

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Book Review of Women of the Blue & Gray by Marianne Monson

When I was in high school, I took AP history from an amazing teacher. Her name was Kristie Pitts. Because of Mrs. Pitts, I passed the AP history test. Not only did she teach me about American history, she served as an example of an amazing woman. Mrs. Pitts was intelligent, engaging, compassionate, and caring. After I took her AP history class, she opened a new class. I am proud to say that I attended the very first Women in History class at my high school. It was an amazing class! We spent hours reading about the accomplishments of women in American history. There were women I had never heard of that accomplished so much. I loved that class, and I still look back at that time with fondness. I wish we had had this book back then! It would have been a great addition to the class. If you’re out there, Mrs. Pitts, this book review of Women of the Blue & Gray by Marianne Monson is dedicated to you!

Blurb:

“Hidden amongst the photographs, uniforms, revolvers, and war medals of the Civil War are the remarkable stories of some of the most unlikely heroes—women.

North, South, black, white, Native American, immigrant—the women in these micro-drama biographies are wives, mothers, sisters, and friends whose purposes ranged from supporting husbands and sons during wartime to counseling President Lincoln on strategy, from tending to the wounded on the battlefield to spiriting away slaves through the Underground Railroad, from donning a uniform and fighting unrecognized alongside the men to working as spies for either side.

This book brings to light the incredible stories of women from the Civil War that remain relevant to our nation today. Each woman’s experience helps us see a truer, fuller, richer version of what really happened in the country during this time period.”

My Book Review:

I have always loved learning about history, especially American history. The Revolutionary War is my favorite, but I also enjoy learning about the Civil War. I haven’t ever read a history book devoted solely to the contributions of the women of that era. When I heard about this book from the publicist, I immediately jumped in. Yes, of course I’ll review it!

I’m so glad I did. It is such a good book! I read it almost all in one day because I couldn’t put it down. I found it fascinating to learn about each of the women portrayed in the book. Although some women helped in conspicuous ways, others served in the background, never gaining recognition for her service. Some women worked as nurses and tended to the wounded, and others sacrificed their homes to the armies. I found it fascinating that women disguised themselves as men and fought on the front lines.

This book is very well written. The stories are engaging, and the women come to life on the page. There are some well-known women like Harriet Tubman and Clara Barton, and then there are lesser-known women like Anna Ella Carroll or Cornelia Peake McDonald. I love that women of all backgrounds, colors, and sides are discussed. It doesn’t matter whether the woman is from the North or the South, is black or white, or is Native or an immigrant, each played an important role.

I learned so much from this book! It was fun, and yet sobering, to look into the lives of each of these women. The amount of research Ms. Monson must have done is staggering. This book is well thought-out, well researched, and well written. Women of all kinds are highlighted, and there’s no judgment regarding her viewpoints.

I highly recommend this book for all junior high and high school American history classes, and for personal libraries. It’s important to remember the past so we don’t repeat it. And it’s important to hear voices from all sides. I loved hearing from these women! I’ll end with a quote from Ms. Monson because I think it sums everything up quite nicely:

…people on every side often need, more than anything else, an opportunity to be heard. They need to be heard even if they don’t look like us, think like us, and especially if they disagree with us. They particularly need to be heard if the dominant discourse tends to ignore their voices.

Sometimes, I think one of the most important acts of kindness we can do for one another is to listen—really listen—to each other’s stories.      

Content Rating PG-13Rating: PG-13 (No profanity and no “intimacy.” This is a book about the Civil War, so there are stories of atrocities, death, disease, fighting, etc.)

Recommendation: YA and older

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2nRA9wr

 

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Book Review of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

The Poppy War by RF Kuang

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Book Review of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

I had heard a lot about this book from other book bloggers, so I put it on hold at the library. It took awhile, but I was finally able to pick up the book. This book had such high ratings from everyone, so I was excited to read it. What did I think? Did it live up to the hype? Check out my book review of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang to find out.

Blurb:

“When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to study at the academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who always thought they’d be able to marry Rin off to further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was now finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in the Nikara Empire—was even more surprising.

 But surprises aren’t always good.

Being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Rin is targeted from the outset by rival classmates because of her color, poverty, and gender. Driven to desperation, she discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over her powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For even though the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied the Nikara Empire for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people in the Empire would rather forget their painful history, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away.

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god who has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her her humanity.

And it may already be too late.”

My Book Review:

So, what did I think? Well, honestly, I have very mixed emotions. I kept reading. I kept turning pages, so that means something. The writing style is engaging and it sucks you into the story. I thought the character development was really good. The characters come to life on the page, and that always makes a book better because you’re invested in the characters. At the beginning, especially, I found myself routing for Rin. I understood why she wanted to do well on the test.

I’m not sure why I didn’t put this book down. It was intriguing, but more in a watching-a-train-wreck sort of way. There were many things in the content that I just didn’t like; I especially didn’t think they were appropriate for teens to be reading. While Rin was studying she would harm herself; she said the pain helped her. As a mom, I definitely don’t want my daughters or sons reading that and thinking it’s ok to self-harm. No, no, no, no.

I got that it was a military training facility, and so I understood the fighting and practicing, but what I didn’t like was the use of opioids (hence, The Poppy War). We have enough trouble right now with people being addicted to opioids; I don’t think our teens need to see fictional characters using them to find gods. I just didn’t like that whole premise, and it’s a huge part of the story.

When I read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, I finished and felt sick to my stomach. I just felt yucky. That is also how I felt when I finished this book. It’s not happy or inspirational–it’s dark and disturbing. I was intrigued, but it didn’t live up to the hype. I especially don’t think it’s appropriate for YA. This book definitely wasn’t for me. However, if those things don’t bother you then you’ll probably enjoy it.

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, including dozens of “f” words. There isn’t an “intimacy.” Violence including war atrocities, rapes, murder, bombings, fighting, and the death of many characters.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 2.5/5

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2OM3tQF

 

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Book Review of Dead of Night by Michael Stanley

DEAD OF NIGHT by Michael Stanley

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Book Review of Dead of Night by Michael Stanley

I don’t know anything about rhinos! I’ve seen them at the zoo, and I know they live in Africa. That’s about it. Oh, and I know they have horns. I know that people take elephants’ tusks for the ivory, but I didn’t realize that rhinos’ horns are also in demand. Who knew that rhino horns could be sawed off and regrown? Interesting, right? I hate to admit that I learned a lot about rhinos from this fictional story! It’s quite the story too! I hope you enjoy my book review of Dead of Night by Michael Stanley.

Blurb:

“When freelance journalist, Crystal Nguyen, heads to South Africa, she thinks she’ll be researching an article on rhino-horn smuggling for National Geographic, while searching for her missing colleague. But, within a week, she’s been hunting poachers, hunted by their bosses, and then arrested in connection with a murder. And everyone is after a briefcase full of money that may hold the key to everything.
 
Fleeing South Africa, she goes undercover in Vietnam, trying to discover the truth before she’s exposed by the local mafia. Discovering the plot behind the money is only half the battle. Now she must convince the South African authorities to take action before it’s too late. She has a shocking story to tell, if she survives long enough to tell it…
 
Fast-paced, relevant and chilling, Dead of Night is a stunning new thriller that exposes one of the most vicious conflicts on the African continent…”
 

My Book Review:

Wow! What a ride! I got sucked into this book from the very beginning! Crys is one tough chick! And she’s brave…or stupid. I’m still not sure which. When she doesn’t hear back from her hopefully-more-than-friend Michael, she starts to worry. She calls into National Geographic and they haven’t heard anything either. So she goes to Africa to finish the story and to hopefully find Michael.

She should have stayed home. Going to Africa proves difficult, and puts her in a lot of danger. She has some amazing adventures, and then she has some terrifying experiences. Crys is a great character. She’s written and developed well, she’s relatable, and mostly realistic. Crys tends to act and then think, which proves detrimental in many instances, and it made me cringe. I like that she’s a strong female character. She’s smart and tough.

When she gets to Africa many other characters are introduced. They are also well written and well developed. Most of them have a hint of uncertainty about them; you’re constantly wondering if they’re the good guys or the bad guys. Sometimes they may even be a bit of both! I liked that, though. It adds a hint of mystery and tension that keeps you reading. Just be prepared—the bad guys are scary!

One of the things I liked most about this book was learning about the situation with the rhinos. I’d never really thought about rhino horns being sold on the black market. And I had NO idea that you could saw a rhino horn off and it would grow back! I learned a lot! I don’t know how much is true and how much is fiction, but it did shed some light on the topic for me. It’s sad how integrity is lacking in some people. They’ll do almost anything just for the dollars attached.

This book is fast-paced and action-packed. Crys gets herself into several sticky situations, and somehow she always ends up where the trouble is. I liked the writing style a lot; I enjoyed the descriptions of the African landscape, and thought the dialogues were realistic and unforced.

The thing I didn’t like in the book were the torture scenes. There was one scene that was brutally graphic. It was disgusting, and reading it made me sick to my stomach. I skipped some of it because it was way too graphic and detailed for my taste. There was at least one other torture scene, but it wasn’t quite as bad.

I couldn’t put this book down! It may or may not have been the wee hours of the morning when I finished this book. One.More.Chapter. I’m not sure if we’ll see more of Crys, but I hope we do! And as a side note, the authors are male. Many male authors do not write good female characters. I didn’t feel that way in this book; I thought they did a good job.

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, including many “f” words. “Intimacy,” including innuendos and references to rape and specific male body parts . Violence including graphic murders, fighting, a graphic torture scene, and the death of several characters.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Dead of Night blog poster 2018 (3)

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2vxtxI6

 

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Jade City by Fonda Lee Twisted Prey by John Sandford 
 
 
 

Book Review of Cash Valley by Ryan K. Nelson

Cash Valley by Ryan K. Nelson

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Book Review of Cash Valley by Ryan K. Nelson

I graduated from Utah State University—Go Aggies!—which is located in beautiful Cache Valley, Utah. It really is beautiful. There are mountains on both sides of the valley with many fields and lots of open space. It has grown significantly, even since I attended school there. My husband and I wish we could have stayed, but there weren’t enough jobs. When Ryan Nelson contacted me earlier this year about reading his book, I had a long list of books I had already scheduled to review. Knowing it was about Cache Valley, though, I couldn’t resist. It’s taken me awhile, but I finally read it. I hope you enjoy my book review of Cash Valley by Ryan K. Nelson!


Utah-State-University-aerial-small  Utah-State-University-Old-Main-vertical-small  

 

Blurb (from Goodreads.com):

 

“When FBI Agent Alex Travis receives an anonymous phone call on a September morning in 1954, with a tip concerning the now cold case of the Cache County Bank robbery, it has his undivided attention. The tip leads Travis to the top of the secluded Green Canyon in Logan, Utah, where a young man named Jack Pepper proceeds to tell a story. It spans the two years from the time of the robbery, when he and his girlfriend, Kate Austin, stumbled upon the crime of the century for the Cache Valley. Travis must decide if he is dealing with the suspects or the victims of one of the largest bank robberies in U.S. history.

To get the answers, it will take one more trip up the canyon, to the entrance of the Spring Hollow Mine, where the daylight ends and the cold dark begins.”

 

My Book Review:

This book hooked me from the beginning. Agent Travis of the FBI receives an anonymous phone call. The caller says he has a tip about the Cache County Bank robbery, which is Travis’ case. The caller doesn’t give any information except to tell him where to meet this mysterious person. Agent Travis is perplexed. Should he trust this caller? Does he need to take back-up or is he ok to go alone? In the end, he decides to go alone.

I like Agent Travis’ character. He seems like a good, hard working, decent guy. His character is well developed and likable. I did think the part in the beginning where he is telling his wife the history of Sardine Canyon (the canyon you drive through to get to Logan from Salt Lake City) was cheesy and unnecessary. When Agent Travis meets Jack, the whole thing is still a bit mysterious, which I liked. As a reader, you don’t know if you should trust Jack or not.

Jack’s character is a bit more mysterious to start off. As you learn his story, you begin to trust him. However, in the back of your mind you’re still wondering if you should trust him or not. I liked how he was written in that way. Then later, when Kate comes into the picture, you start to see more of the full story. I liked how the plot unfolded like that. I also liked Kate a lot. Her character is also well developed, likeable, and realistic.

The whole plot line seemed mostly realistic. There were a couple of parts that I thought were a bit of a stretch, but they made it more exciting to read. I liked how it all came together in the end; everyone kind of ended up where they should have.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I liked reading about the canyons; it made me want to take my kids up there and do some exploring! And if you’re ever up on the USU campus, make sure you get some Aggie ice cream; it’s the best!!

Content Rating PG-13+Rating: PG-13+ (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy.” There’s some violence, though. It includes murder, an almost-rape, fighting, and the death of at least one character.)

Recommendation: 16 years-old and up

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2LTAsVt

 

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An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown  Twisted Prey by John Sandford
 
 

Book Review of Jade City by Fonda Lee

Jade City by Fonda Lee

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Book Review of Jade City by Fonda Lee

On Twitter a few weeks ago, I read a tweet by someone who said that Jade City was a life changing book. Wow! How could I not add it to my TBR pile? I want to read it if it’s life changing! So I pushed aside a few books that I should have been reading, and picked this up. I liked it, but was it life changing? Read my book review of Jade City  by Fonda Lee to find out.

Blurb:

“Jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. It has been mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—and for centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their magical abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.”

My Book Review:

As I stated above, someone on Twitter posted that they thought this book was life changing. That’s quite a statement. To me, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo was life changing, and I find that hard to beat. But I thought I’d like to read it to see for myself. It starts off right in the action. A couple of boys decide they want to steal some jade off of a man in a restaurant. Right from the beginning you know how valuable jade is.

As the story goes on, you get to meet the main characters. Lan and Hilo Kaul, although brothers, are very different. Lan is the leader of the clan, and Hilo is the one who keeps the peace—pretty much by showing a strong arm of violence. There are a lot of characters, and it took me awhile to figure them all out. The names are not difficult, but different, and it would take me a minute to place some of them.

Lan and Hilo have a sister. Her name is Shae. She has chosen a different path than they have, and has chosen not to wear jade or be a part of clan leadership. There are other characters, but these are the most important characters. I thought the author developed the characters very well. They each had individual personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and flaws. You could tell they were family, yet they were their own selves. I liked that they each had their own voice.

The story felt a bit confusing at times, but overall it flowed well, was exciting, and very unique. I haven’t read a book with a similar story line, and I always like that. It does take a minute to figure out the workings of the clan and the layers of leadership, but once you figure it out you’re good to go. Although there was a lot of fighting, there was also strategy and smarts behind the clan’s actions.

Part of the story reminded me of a line in The Incredibles. It’s when Syndrome has Mr. Incredible cornered, and he says, “I’ll sell my inventions so that everyone can be superheroes. ‘Everyone’ can be super! And when everyone’s super…’no one’ will be.” That same philosophy comes into play in this book—only with jade. If everyone can safely wear jade, then what will happen to the clans? Will they be needed or important? Will they still hold the power they now do? I found that aspect to be quite interesting and thought-provoking.

Did I find this book life changing? No, I didn’t. I did enjoy it though. I liked the characters a lot, especially Shae. Hilo was a bit too intense for me, but I also liked Lan a lot. Anden was also an interesting character. I felt bad for him, but I also didn’t. It was weird. He’s in a difficult place, but at the same time, he has a hard time accepting who he really is instead of where he’s come from. That whole thing was also quite thought-provoking.

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, including many “f” words. “Intimacy,” including scenes, innuendos, and prostitution. Violence including war atrocities, murder, bombings, fighting, and the death of several characters.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 3.5/5 (I lowered my rating from 4 because of all the profanity and graphic “intimacy” scenes.)

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2Oujuvi

 

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Book Review of Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen

Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen

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Book Review of Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen

I have so enjoyed reading the Proper Romances. Yes, some of them are a bit cheesy, but I like not needing to worry about improper situations popping up. It’s refreshing to read stories without the distraction of the profanity as well. This is a fun one; I like the steampunk twist to it. I think it adds a fun and different angle. And you know I love a good retelling of the fairy tales! With all that, I hope you enjoy my book review of Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen.

Blurb:

“Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a deep sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date—after a year, she will fall asleep forever. And the year is almost up.

In a desperate attempt to find Malette—the witch who cursed her—Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett’s private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she’s traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England. Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other.

Filled with suspense, intrigue, and plenty of romance, Kiss of the Spindle is a steampunk Sleeping Beauty story. It is a race against the clock as Isla and Daniel try to hunt down the elusive Malette before Isla’s death-like sleep becomes permanent.”

My Book Review:

I’ve always loved Sleeping Beauty, and this book is a fun twist on that well-beloved story. I like the writing style of the book. It flows well, is easy to read and understand, and is a fun, entertaining read. The characters are well developed. I thought the author did a good job of making them realistic. They each have their strengths, weaknesses, flaws, and talents. I liked that there was a hint of mystery in each of them at the beginning, and that you learned more about them as the story went on.

The steampunk aspect of the book adds a fun twist. I liked the descriptions of the airship, the telescribers, and the automatons. If I could really have my way I’d have a Samson to clean my house, do my laundry, and drive my kids everywhere. Haha! Wouldn’t that be amazing? It’d be like having your own personal butler or something. I’m all for that!

I liked the story line as well. It was creative and unique, which I’m always glad about! I thought Isla’s curse could have been a little worse, but I understood how it affected her job and livelihood. It still could have been a few more hours or something, though. I thought it was sweet how Daniel worried about her so much. The side stories with the other characters were interesting, and the twist of how they fit together was a bit surprising. It’s comical that all the men fall for Isla. You feel like you could mop the floor with their drool. Come on boys! Pull yourselves together! I liked that Isla is a strong female character, but she also has her vulnerable moments.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. It’s a fast, easy, entertaining read. It’s not going to solve the world’s problems, but it will give you a few min of respite from those problems. It’s a bit cheesy in a few parts, but I love a bit of cheese with my romance, so it’s fine. If you’re looking for something deep and mind blowing, this isn’t your book, but if you’re looking for a fun beach or summer read, look no further!

Content Rating PG+Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity in this book. There’s no “intimacy” except for some kissing. It does include some violence as they fight a massive shapeshifter.)

Recommendation: YA and up

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2KK4U4A 

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