I read some fabulous books and short stories in the month of July and will share them in no particular order. I didn’t post the blurbs, but there are links to each book, if my review piques your interest.
I am an avid reader and I have never read a book like this one. It gripped me from page one! The book opens with four teenagers, bound together by friendship and by blood who are inseparable. Morgan and her younger sister, Jenny are dating best friends, Chris and Jonah. Everything falls apart when Morgan discovers, at seventeen, she is pregnant. Fast forward sixteen years. Morgan and Chris’s daughter, Clara is a bright teenager with a sarcastic sense of humor much like her mother. Life is good, except that Jenny now has a son, and Jonah has returned since Jenny has named him as Elijah’s father. Things are strained between Morgan and Jonah because she was so hurt when he disappeared sixteen years ago without another word after she told him she was pregnant with Chris’s child. The events that unfold next are devastating. The family is ripped apart, not only by death but by a betrayal of the worst sort you can imagine. Morgan and Clara spiral downward, their relationship barely civil, while Jonah deals with his own grief and anger as well as a now motherless infant. Clara finds a much-needed friend in a fellow classmate, Miller, and defies all the rules. That’s as far as I’m going with the book description. I’ll tell you what I loved about it. I loved that each chapter is written from a different character’s point of view. Ms. Hoover allowed the reader to see inside each one’s head and feel their wild and uncontrolled emotions without what could be referred to as head-hopping. The relationship dynamics are deep and believable. The way each character handles what has happened is unique and while I grew frustrated with Morgan at times, as she allowed the tension between her and Jonah and her and Clara to go unfixed, I still loved her and empathized with her. This is an easy read and it gets an easy five stars from me!
When I met Rorik in Magnar, Book 1 of the Wolves of Clan Sutherland Series, I didn’t like him much. So, how could The Dark Seducer redeem himself? I had to read to find out and wow, did he ever! The year is 1206. Rorik is a member of the royal guard committed to serving King William of Scotland by seducing women into his bed and learning secrets that aid the king.
Part man, part wolf, Rorik, and the others in his clan sometimes struggle to keep the beast that resides within under control.
One of the things I loved most about this story is how the author went deeper into the edicts of the wolves and their true magic that far exceeds what I learned in book 1. Even more compelling is when the wolf that resides in Rorik, chooses to bond with the only woman strong enough to unlock the steel bars around Rorik’s heart. And not just any woman, but Ragna, a Seer, who carries tremendous power and magic from the Goddess. When these two forces come together it is nothing short of explosive!
There is so much happening in this book with intriguing interwoven characters that all play an integral part in the unraveling.
Both Rorik and Ragna are forced to face their past, their chosen paths, and gain an understanding of how to learn to live with themselves. Only then could the two of them even consider opening their hearts and minds to love. I won’t leave any spoilers here. I will just say this book was riveting from start to finish and I devoured it! This book gets 5 Stars from me!
Where to start! This is a story that captured me from the beginning. It has all the elements I love – human flaws and emotions mixed with fantasy creatures. Callum, at the age of fourteen, was hired on the Brid Clarion King’s ship as a cabin boy. When their nets captured a merrow, daughter of Panmar, the sea witch, the sailors celebrated, taunted, and laughed at the captured merrow as she slowly died. All except Callum, who anguished at the merrow’s sorrow. As the sea roiled with the anger and revenge of the sea witch, he lunged forward and cut the net, releasing the merrow. But it was too late. She was already dead. What follows this event is the setting for the entire story. A bargain with the sea witch set Callum’s destiny in motion. In exchange for human sacrifices to the sea witch, Callum and his ship, the Windwraith, is the only vessel the sea witch allows to traverse over the merrow trench, and he becomes known as the Ferryman. He is the lifeline between two warring nations, Haf Killik and Brid Clarion. Haf Killik is ruled by queen Caspia and Brid Clarion, King Thayne. The only thing that will end the bargain with the sea witch and make it possible for other vessels to sail is the blood of royalty. This story has moments of heartbreaking anguish and sorrow coupled with jaw-dropping surprises. The author does a fantastic job of world-building. Her descriptive phrases bring the story to life. Through her words, I can clearly see the floating city of Haf Killik, rusting sea vessels joined together with ropes and chains. It is a compelling read and I devoured it, staying up way past my normal bedtime to finish. The ending is satisfying and left me feeling hopeful for the future of this fictional world. I highly recommend it! 5 stars from me!
This is such a great short story and a wonderful addition to this author’s Diasodz series. Valerie has come of age and she can now begin training. Her older sister is one of the trainers. But, handsome and virile Nolan, who is a master trainer catches her eye in more ways than one. However, love is forbidden among these warriors who will fight to preserve the Diasodz. Battles ensue. Limits are tested, both physically and mentally. Powers are enhanced as these warriors embark on a mission that leads them into mortal danger.
This is an entertaining read and is a standalone story. The author did a great job of world-building. I felt as though I was there with Valerie, feeling what she felt, and enduring great pain as she fought to live. Set in the 1600s, this story has all the elements of fantasy, mythology, and human emotions to keep the reader engaged. It earned 4 stars from me.
Set in Ireland, this short story is a journey into a close relationship with two brothers, Jamie and Ian. They shared everything, even a dream. They want to build a motorcycle. So, with miscellaneous parts, they build a bike they call a franken-cycle as it lives up to its name. But that lights a spark and they decide that before Jamie enters the university, they want to take a road trip and see the country. They work hard, save pennies and finally have enough to buy two motorbikes. The trip changes Jamie’s life forever and most of the story is his reflections in a dream-like state. Every incident is in the past except for the final bus ride and final scene. The story ends on a hopeful note. While this is a different way to tell a story, it works for me and I enjoyed it and gave it 4 stars.
When Chance Mancini discovered she could not have children, the one thing her husband wanted more than anything, she did what she thought was best and disappeared. But Gavino didn’t give up that easily. It took him three years, but he finally found her. The author takes us inside the sexual world of dominant and submissive with this couple and some scenes are explicit. What I took away from it was the pure joy and beauty in the act with no desire or intention to ever physically hurt the other. Instead, it was all about pleasure. After Gavino convinced Chance he had never stopped loving her and explained where he’d been during the three years of her absence, she is sure they belong together and that the dream of having a large family was not hopeless. This story has a happy ending. I liked the way the author got inside the psyche of each of the characters, showing the feelings and inner conflicts. It was a quick and easy read with a satisfying ending. I gave it 4 stars.
This is such a heart-wrenching and nail-biting story about child trafficking. When young Lily is grabbed while riding her tricycle, her mother, Rose, is devastated. Rose had only dozed for a minute, but a minute was all it took. The author wrote this realistic short story in such a way, that the emotions from the mother and the child are felt strongly. I won’t leave any spoilers for this short story. While it’s not for the squeamish, it’s a quick easy read and does have a satisfying ending. I gave it 4 stars.