Review: The Broken Saint by Mike Markel

The Broken Saint CoverThe Broken Saint by Mike Markel
Published April 2013 by BooksForABuck.com

Description from Goodreads.com:

“When Maricel Salizar, an exchange student from the Philippines, is murdered, Detectives Karen Seagate and Ryan Miner interview the university provost, Al Gerson, who was hosting Maricel. The detectives later discover that Gerson, a devout member of the LDS church, served his mission in the Philippines when Maricel was born. But Maricel was involved with a gang member with a violent past, and Gerson’s own son, a schizophrenic who routinely goes off his meds, has fallen hard for Maricel.

The case leads to a collision between Detective Seagate, who knows that everyone who breathes lies, and her partner. Ryan Miner, a devout Mormon, seems unable to put aside his disgust with Gerson, convinced he is not only a hypocrite but also a killer.

“In this third book in the Seagate and Miner series, I wanted to set up a serious conflict between my two detectives, and a fellow parishioner who goes astray tests Ryan Miner’s ability to do his job,” Markel explains. “I also wanted to convey some aspects of actual police work not covered in TV police procedurals or in most cop novels. I hope that readers will be gripped by the dramatic parts and be forced to think about the disturbing parts.”

“I like mysteries with real-world content and realistic characters, rather than perfect cops who are the best at everything. Karen Seagate, an intermittently recovering alcoholic who has lost her family, is recognizably human and deeply flawed. Now her only relationship, with her young Mormon partner, is in serious jeopardy.”

My thoughts

The Broken Saint is the third book in the Detectives Seagate and Miner Mystery series. In this installment, Detectives Seagate and Miner must solve a murder of a young co-ed exchange student from the Philippines. The investigation hits close to home for Miner, a devout Mormon, when one of the key suspects turns out to be a devout member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Miner’s objectivity is compromised, and his squeaky clean persona gets a little tarnished. Ironically, it is Seagate that has to maintain a level head as things progress.

Detective Karen Seagate is a good cop, but she will win no awards for mother of the year and likes to lose herself at the bottom of a bottle. At this juncture, however, she seems to be on the straight and narrow. Surprisingly, it is Ryan Miner that struggles to maintain his composure during this investigation. Contrary to his by-the-book mentality, he struggles with the deceit and hypocrisy of a fellow parishioner. At times it gets the best of him and causes conflict with Karen. But ultimately, they are partners and see each other through the rough patches.

As the evidence unfolds, it keeps the reader guessing. There are several viable suspects, and it is difficult to figure out whom the killer really is. The book moves along at a good pace keeps the reader engaged.

If you enjoy a good detective novel, give it a shot. This is my second Seagate and Miner novel, and I’d be inclined to spend some more time with them.
three and a half star rating

Review: The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen

The Last Town on Earth CoverThe Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen
Published August 2006 by Random House

Description from Goodreads.com:

“Set against the backdrop of one of the most virulent epidemics that America ever experienced–the 1918 flu epidemic–Thomas Mullen’s powerful, sweeping first novel is a tale of morality in a time of upheaval.

Deep in the mist-shrouded forests of the Pacific Northwest is a small mill town called Commonwealth, conceived as a haven for workers weary of exploitation. For Philip Worthy, the adopted son of the town’s founder, it is a haven in another sense–as the first place in his life he’s had a loving family to call his own.

And yet, the ideals that define this outpost are being threatened from all sides. A world war is raging, and with the fear of spies rampant, the loyalty of all Americans is coming under scrutiny. Meanwhile, another shadow has fallen across the region in the form of a deadly illness striking down vast swaths of surrounding communities.

When Commonwealth votes to quarantine itself against contagion, guards are posted at the single road leading in and out of town, and Philip Worthy is among them. He will be unlucky enough to be on duty when a cold, hungry, tired–and apparently ill–soldier presents himself at the town’s doorstep begging for sanctuary. The encounter that ensues, and the shots that are fired, will have deafening reverberations throughout Commonwealth, escalating until every human value–love, patriotism, community, family, friendship–not to mention the town’s very survival, is imperiled.

Inspired by a little-known historical footnote regarding towns that quarantined themselves during the 1918 epidemic, The Last Town on Earth is a remarkably moving and accomplished debut.”

My Thoughts

This book was recommended to me by a friend. It takes place around 1918 at the time of the flu epidemic in America. It’s about a town called Commonwealth that tries to quarantine itself from the outbreak. Ordinary people that live in the town volunteer to guard the only road leading in so no one can enter and infect the residents. And if anyone chooses to leave, they cannot return until it is deemed safe. Although avoiding influenza is the catalyst for the story, it really becomes a story about how you can’t save people from themselves.

The town of Commonwealth was founded by Charles Worthy and his wife. They own a timber mill and employ the majority of the families that live in the town. The town is not like other towns. There is no mayor, no sheriff, and no post office. And it is founded on equality for everyone. Decisions are made at town meetings with majority rule. The town itself is only two years old when the flu outbreak hits the country.

The flu outbreak happens around the time the first World War is coming to an end. Because the majority of the townspeople work at the lumber mill, the men are considered essential workers and therefore, eligible for reprieve from the draft. However, they are still required to report to the draft board for final determination. The war only complicates matters once the quarantine begins.

Had everyone in the town unanimously voted to quarantine the town, the story might have turned out differently. However, not everyone thinks it is the best course of action. But, majority rules and so they all agree to abide by the decision. Ordinary men volunteer to take shifts guarding the only road into the town. It is such a small, remote town that no one actually considers what would happen if someone tried to enter. Ultimately, the quarantine sets off a series of events that lead to distrust, destruction, and death.

One of the volunteer guards is Phillip, the 16-year old adopted son of Charles Worthy, owner of the mill and founder of the town. He is a central character in the story. His experiences and decisions place a great weight on his young shoulders. In addition, as the quarantine continues, the town folk that had depended on one another begin to turn on each other. People begin to steal; people begin to lie; and people begin to blame. And outsiders become suspicious of why the town will not allow anyone to enter. In the end, human nature shows itself, and no one is left unscathed.

This is a good read. It is a quiet book that draws you in until you need to know how it plays out.

book rating of 4
Buy The Last Town on Earth: A Novel on Amazon.com today!

Review: Every Precious Thing by Brett Battles

Every Precious Thing coverEvery Precious Thing by Brett Battles
Published November 9th 2011 by Amazon Digital Services

Description from Goodreads.com:

“It was supposed to be a fun weekend, a celebration of a marriage and growing family. Alan Lindley couldn’t have been happier…until his wife Sara disappeared.

Asked by a mutual friend to help look for her, Logan Harper is sure he’d discover a wife who simply wants out of the marriage.

What he finds instead is a woman who didn’t exist, a diabolical plan, and people who would do anything to keep it a secret, including taking the life of the person most important to him.

What would you do for those precious to you?”

My thoughts

This is the second book in the Logan Harper series. I did not read the first book, but I did not feel like I was missing anything by reading this one first. This story line stands all on its own without needing prior knowledge of the characters.

The story is about a woman who goes missing under very bizarre circumstances. Everything that happens indicates that she orchestrated her own disappearance, but why is the big question. Enter Logan Harper; his father, Harp; Barney; Dev; and Pep—an unlikely band of heroes.

The story unravels bit by bit and moves along at a good pace. It keeps the reader engaged and eager to find out why Sara left. As each new piece of the puzzle is revealed, a scam so twisted unfolds which leaves you feeling horrified and yet convinced that it could absolutely happen.

From the endearing characters to the well-developed plot line, this novel is a great read. Anyone who enjoys the “amateur detective” type novels will enjoy this series.  Logan Harper will certainly have a place in my book list.

book rating of 4
Buy Thing (A Logan Harper Thriller) from Amazon.com today!

Review: Dirge by Grant Palmquist

Dirge coverDirge by Grant Palmquist
Published November 2012 by Grant Palmquist

Description from Goodreads.com:

“Sterling Davis has everything a man could want—a big house, a fancy car and more women than he can handle. But someone lurks in the shadows, waiting to take it all away, and when she does, he’ll have to face death and worse to get it all back.”

My thoughts

So this is my third Grant Palmquist book I’ve read and reviewed. The first book I read was A Song After Dark. Loved it. It was dark; it was disturbing; and it was brilliant. To this day when I think of Zach, it makes me shudder. The second book I read was Permanent Winter. This was the author’s foray into the supernatural. This tale about a world with vampires left me a little cold, but it did have some redeeming qualities. When I was contacted by the author about possibly reviewing Dirge, I was curious to see where this would fall and gladly said yes.

The brief description on Goodreads.com does not even begin to describe Sterling Davis’ life and death experiences. Excuse my language here, but in his real life, Sterling Davis is a dick—plain and simple. He lives life fast and easy. His motto is lots of money, fast cars, and even faster women. Of course, this lifestyle leads to his demise, and then the real fun (said tongue in cheek) begins. The reckoning.

At the end of his hedonistic existence, Sterling finds himself in a sort of purgatory. He is met by a guide named Moloch who accompanies him on the first leg of his journey. He explains to Sterling that this is his one and only chance at redemption. He must pass the test to be reborn or spend an eternity in Hell. At some point, Moloch leaves him and the rest is up to him.

After some time alone, the last part of Sterling’s journey is spent with his soul mate—a woman he’d never met during his lifetime. The pair must face demons, lost souls, strange animals, and challenges of hunger and thirst. They teeter on the brink of determination and despair. The reader really has no idea which way it will go. And as a reader with previous experience of Palmquist’s novels, I knew it could go either way. This is not an author of the “happy ending.”

As with all of his books, Palmquist is very adept at depicting the gruesomeness of characters and their actions. He is a master at creating the mood. Even now as I am writing this review, I feel the heaviness and the filth and grime of this in-between world.

There is one thing about the story that seemed incongruous. Sterling’s journey is about redemption. It is a time of self-discovery—where he is supposed to learn all of things that are completely opposite of his existence on Earth such as love, selflessness, gratitude. In essence, all that is good. And yet every trial and tribulation he faces wreaks of death and destruction and requires that he fight and kill in order to be saved. In my mind, those are not actions that should be rewarded. I kept wondering if his actions were going to really pay off in the end, or would he learn that there was a different way to win without the violence.

So in the end, what happens? Does the devil get his soul or does he earn the right to try again? I invite you to read it and find out for yourself. While A Song After Dark still remains my favorite Grant Palmquist novel, I liked Dirge better than Permanent Winter.

three and a half star rating
Buy Dirge from Amazon.com today!

Review: Defiant Heart by Marty Steere

Defiant Heart coverDefiant Heart by Marty Steere
Published April 2013 by Penfield Publications

Description from Goodreads.com:

“Two extraordinary characters. One unforgettable love story.

In the spring of 1941, young Jon Meyer’s family dies in a tragic accident, and he is sent to live in a small Indiana town. He arrives to find himself unwanted and shunned.

Mary Dahlgren is the mayor’s daughter. A pretty girl, she could have the pick of the boys in town, including Vernon King, the star of the vaunted high school basketball team. To the chagrin of her friends, though, Mary has always been more interested in books than boys. That is, until she meets Jon.

But Jon and Mary are kept apart through the efforts of Mary’s father, who perceives their relationship a threat to his political aspirations, and Vernon, to whom Jon is a rival for Mary’s affections. For months Jon is subjected to a painful ostracism. Then, just when the young man’s earnestness and perseverance begin to win over many of the townsfolk, and it appears that love may conquer all, tragedy strikes.

As the country is caught up in war, so too are the young lovers swept up in events beyond their control, leaving both fighting for their very lives. If, against the odds, they are to be together, each will need to find the strength, the courage and the resourcefulness that beat only in a defiant heart.”

My thoughts

Defiant Heart is a gem of a book. It is a love story with some truly heart-wrenching moments. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I cheered. If you are a fan of Nicholas Sparks, you will be a fan of this novel by Marty Steere. The writing is wonderful. The author draws the reader in right from the beginning. The characters are wonderful and the story line unfolds flawlessly.

This novel takes place in the 1940’s just before and during World War II. Jon Meyer is the main character. His story is one of loss, prejudice, courage, strength, hope, and love. Jon must overcome many obstacles, but through it all remains the remarkable individual that he is. He is smart, polite, respectful, proud, and loyal. The relationships that develop between Jon and his grandmother, Mary Dahlgren, Ben Wheeler, Walt Gallagher, and the men he served with in the army are wonderfully developed. He quickly wins over the reader, and you can’t help but root for him.

Mary Dahlgren is the perfect complement for Jon. She is intelligent, independent, and beautiful. She is a good judge of character and has a good moral compass. Mary also faces much adversity in the story, and she is betrayed by those closest to her. And yet, she remains true to herself and Jon.

I love books that evoke strong emotions. There were times I was so angry and frustrated by the events that occurred. Other times I was filled with such warmth. There were many anxious moments. And a few times I was moved to tears. One of the most-well-developed aspects of the book is the relationship between Jon and his grandmother. It was masterful how that evolved.

This is one of those books you find yourself thinking about long after the final chapter has been read. The characters stay with you, and you wish you could visit with them longer. Kudos to Marty Steere.

(I received a free copy of this book for review.)
5 star rating
Buy Defiant Heart from Amazon.com today!

The Way by Kristen Wolf

The Way coverThe Way by Kristen Wolf
Published July 2011 by Crown Publishing Group

Description from Goodreads.com:

“Anna is a fiery tomboy living in ancient Palestine whose androgynous appearance provokes ridicule from the people around her and doubt within her own heart. When tragedy strikes her family, and Anna’s father—disguising her as a boy—sells her to a band of shepherds, she is captured by a mystical and secret society of women hiding in the desert. At first Anna is tempted to escape, but she soon finds that the sisterhood’s teachings and healing abilities, wrapped in an ancient philosophy they call “The Way,” have unleashed an unexpected power within her.

When danger befalls the caves in which the sisters have made their home, Anna embarks on a hazardous mission to preserve the wisdom of her mentors by proclaiming it among ordinary people. Her daring quest and newfound destiny reveal, at last, the full truth of her identity—a shocking revelation that will spark as much controversy as it does celebration.

Anna’s story is one of transformation, betrayal, love, loss, deception, and above all, redemption. Readers will cheer for this unforgettable protagonist—and for debut novelist Kristen Wolf, whose beautifully written book both provokes and inspires. A compelling mix of history, myth, and fantasy, The Way is a fascinating exploration of the foundations and possibilities of human spirituality.”

My thoughts

I love reading historical novels about women in biblical times. So when I found The Way, I was very excited to read it. I found the premise intriguing and not unlike some other books I’ve read and really enjoyed. However, this book did not deliver as well as some others.

My favorite part of the book was when Anna was in the caves with the sisters of The Way. Although Anna kept herself apart from the sisters, she learned what it meant to live in The Way. The sisters’ teachings were so profound and inspiring. They understood and honored the role of nature, Mother Earth, and their place in the universe. It was unfortunate that their teachings were done in secret and could not be shared with the world except by wanderers who feared for their lives if they were found out.

It was interesting how Anna became Jesus. And I understood how she was uniquely positioned to bring the teachings of The Way to a broader base. However, the story moved much too slowly in the beginning. The author spent a tremendous amount of time leading up the time Anna comes to live with the sisters. And then, once the sisters leave the caves and Anna begins her life delivering their teachings through Jesus, it seemed to gallop toward the finish line. I wished more time was spent on this part of the story. I felt like the author didn’t know how to get Anna through the trials and tribulations Jesus bore and still keep her gender a secret. And so the ending felt rushed and not as well conceived as the rest of the book.

There were definitely moments in this book that resonated with me, but I didn’t love it. I’m glad that I read it, but I would recommend others over this one for the genre.

book rating of 3
Buy The Way: A Novel from Amazon.com today!

Book Review: Where the Sun Don’t Shine by Alex Metcalf

Where the Sun Don't Shine coverWhere the Sun Don’t Shine by Alex Metcalf
Published June 28th 2011 by Restless Ego

Description from Goodreads.com:

“Where The Sun Don’t Shine is the story of Marley, a once successful Hollywood player who’s tumbled so far down the ladder of success that he’s got almost nothing left. Just a one room apartment on Venice Beach and a fragile relationship with his 16 year old daughter.

Marley’s at the end of his rope when he gets a phone call from an old producing partner who wants to throw Marley some work. Which sounds great until Marley realizes that the work is tracking down a missing actress. An actress who may or may not be dead. Every instinct Marley has tells him to walk away. But the lure of easy money is the single thing that everyone in Hollywood has in common.

Marley finds himself thrust into the back alleys of the film industry. Into a nexus of porn, kidnapping, studio politics and the dream-dead denizens of modern Hollywood. Struggling to do the right thing, and to be a father to his daughter, Marley soon finds that everything is at stake: His future, his daughter, even his life…”

My thoughts

This novel is about the seedy side of Hollywood—the has-beens and the wanna-bes. Metcalf does a great job painting the scene and his characters elicit emotion from the reader.  The story is one of broken dreams, squandered success, and misguided individuals. Altogether, the Hollywood dream seems a nightmare.

Much of the story takes place in an area of Venice Beach—a place that is just as much a has-been as the main character, Marley. It has more than lost its luster since its heyday. From the sorely neglected Greene and Greene-style Craftsman where Marley lives and works to the rattletrap beach shacks and boardwalk of tattoo parlors, souvenir shops, and marijuana dispensary, there is an air of surrendered resignation to the passing of time and the inevitable effects.

The cast of characters in this novel leave a lot to be desired. That’s not to say they are not intriguing and well-developed because they are. I just mean that I wouldn’t want to spend much time with any of them. Marley, the main character has some redeeming qualities, but he makes a lot of his own problems. He tends to operate on impulse and doesn’t think things through thoroughly. He is a perfect example of a good thing gone wrong. He has a crappy relationship with his daughter, no love life, no money, and some pretty shady characters for friends. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Buzz, Marley’s ex-partner that screwed him over years ago and is now a coked-up steroid-using producer wanna-be; Marina, Marley’s ex-wife and self-proclaimed spiritual counselor and feminist; Stanley, Marina’s Russian body-builder husband; Erin, Marley’s manipulative sixteen-year-old daughter; Red, a possible love interest; and Milo, a sadistic/masochistic messed up in the head mind freak. There are additional minor characters that round things out, but you get the idea.

As much as I despised and feared some of the characters, there were others that I found myself being drawn to and wanting to shake them back to reality—like Cindy, the young girl who fell prey to Milo. And although I had little respect for Marley, somehow, I liked him. He is a perfect example of an individual that had everything and pissed it all away. He created his own circumstances; but in the end, I felt hope for him—that he might find his way and the sun just might shine again on his little corner of Venice.

All in all a good read if you don’t mind glimpsing the underbelly of the land of sunshine.

book rating of 4
Buy Where The Sun Don’t Shine from Amazon.com today!

Review: Vigilante by Claude Bouchard

Vigilante cover
Vigilante by Claude Bouchard
Published April 2009 by Claude Bouchard

Description from Goodreads.com:

“Montreal . . . the long, hot summer of 1996. . .

. . . and in the dark of night, moving like a shadowy wraith, a vigilante prowls the city’s streets.

The targets of his bloody rampage: the worst of the worst.

Murderers. Gangbangers. Rapists.

Six months. Sixteen murders. The harried police are still without a clue . . .

. . . until the day they receive an email from the assassin himself.

Lieutenant Dave McCall, head of Montreal’s Special Homicide Task Force, needs help to crack the secrets of the killer’s taunting message. He calls on an expert–Chris Barry, who runs a security firm specializing in computer communications.

Together, McCall and Barry launch a grim quest to track down a man who preys on predators–an urgent quest to bring this remorseless killer to justice.

But whose justice will prevail: theirs–or the vigilante’s?”

My thoughts

Vigilante is a suspense novel designed to keep the reader guessing. As the title indicates, it is about a man who takes it upon himself to bring unsavory individuals to justice—in the form of death. At the start of the novel, the reader is given a glimpse into the past which sets the stage for the vigilante’s behavior. However, the actual identity of the vigilante is kept secret throughout the book.

The author introduces several characters that could easily be the killer. All of the suspects are involved in solving the case in one way or another. Is it the police detective that dabbles in computers as a hobby? Maybe it’s the young, successful COO of the major security corporation assisting the police on the case. Or perhaps it’s the computer programmer assigned to track the email communications. All three have the opportunity and the skill set to pull off the killings and the communications.

The author succeeds in keeping the identity under wraps, but at times I was a little lost as I tried to keep track of the wives, the cars, the time of day, and whereabouts of the characters as I tried to guess who the vigilante was. The trick is to keep the reader guessing without causing too much confusion. There were a few times when I felt a little exasperated with the jumping from one character to the next and trying to keep up.

The two most prominent characters are police lieutenant Dave McCall, and Chris Barry, executive vice president and chief operating officer of CSS, Inc. Both men are very likeable and complement each other well. The cast of characters is rounded out by wives, McCall’s team of detectives, and employees of CSS, Inc. Oh, and the bad guys, of course.

I liked the book well enough. But it had no lasting effect on me.  At the end I had a moment where I wasn’t sure they had really gotten the right guy, but I think that was intentional. I’m still not sure, but I don’t ponder it or feel the need to go back and try to figure it out.

Vigilante was Bouchard’s first novel and one of a series of five that featured McCall and Barry. I like the pairing, and I’m seriously thinking about adding the next book, The Consultant, to my already mountainous pile of books yet to be read.

book rating of 3
Buy Vigilante (VIGILANTE Series) from Amazon.com today!

In My Mailbox

In My MailboxIn My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It’s a fun way to
exhibit the books we’ve recently acquired.

The Twisted Ones cover
The Twisted Ones by Vin Packer
Published December 2011 by Prologue Books

Description from Goodreads.com:

“WHY DID THEY KILL? These were nice kids, model kids. They didn’t wear leather jackets and roam the streets in wolf packs; they didn’t steal and mug for dope. For kids, they were well mannered and quiet. They were attractive and nicely dressed. You’d have welcomed them as next-door neighbors.

Yet…one raped…one murdered…one killed by fire

What got into them? What dark thoughts tormented them when they were alone at night?”
Buy The Twisted Ones from Amazon.com today!


The Ninth Step
The Ninth Step by Barbara Taylor Sissel
Published August 2011

Description from Goodreads.com:

“A novel of timeless love, loss, and family and the steps we must take for forgiveness.

Livie Saunders is fluent in the language of flowers; she taught the meanings to her fiancé, Cotton O’Dell, but then Cotton vanished without explanation on their wedding day forcing Livie to learn the language of desolation. Heartbroken, she buries her wedding gown beneath a garden pond and she resolves to move on, but there are nights when she slips . . . into a sequined red dress and a pair of stiletto heels, a stranger’s bed, a little anonymous oblivion that is not without consequence. Still, she recovers a semblance of ordinary life and imagines herself content. After all, Cotton told her to forget about him. Livie even maintains a friendship with Delia, Cotton’s mother, whom he also abandoned without a word of explanation.

Then, six years later, an unsigned card and a bouquet of irises signal Cotton’s presence, but his reunion with Livie isn’t as joyous as he had hoped. While she struggles to forgive him, Livie can’t hide her own past and how she has changed since Cotton left.

Meanwhile, Cotton is still haunted by the crime that caused him to flee…a crime for which the legal clock is still ticking. For a moment, it seems they can both forget the past and rebuild their lives together, but then Cotton goes missing again.

Time telescopes, avenues of escape close, and as lives hang in the balance, choice teeters between mercy and revenge. And a decision that will take only a moment will carry the consequences of a lifetime.
THE NINTH STEP is a story of redemption, of being brought to your knees to face a monstrous error and somehow finding the strength to make it right. Even if that effort breaks your heart, endangers your freedom, and ultimately threatens your life.”
Buy The Ninth Step from Amazon.com today!


Thicker Than Water cover
Thicker Than Water (Blood Brothers, #1)
by Greg Sisco
Published October 2011

Descriptive from Goodreads.com:

“Tyr and Loki are not your teenage sister’s vampires. Their skin is not covered in glitter. They do not drink the blood of possums instead of humans. They view humanity as a secondary species; they have mastered the skill of manipulating and seducing women; and if you find yourself in a room with them, don’t expect the opportunity to say goodbye to your loved ones.

Since the Crusades, the Blood Brothers have waged war on all things wholesome. They have terrorized mankind with their hedonistic and brutal theatrics every night for a thousand years.

Thicker Than Water, the first novel in the Blood Brothers series, spans from Tombstone, Arizona in 1893 to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1999. After Tyr sparks a feud with his domineering brother by impaling him to a wall and abandoning their relationship, a story unfolds weaving together vampires, brothel owners, gunmen, prostitutes, and buckets of innocent blood in a twisted orgy of sex, murder, revenge, romance, betrayal, and brotherly love.”
Buy Thicker Than Water (Blood Brothers Vampire Series) from Amazon.com today!


Trojan Women cover
Trojan Women: A Novel of the Fall of Troy
by Byrne Fone
Published May 2010

Description from Goodreads.com:

“Trojan Women re-imagines the war at Troy in the voices of the women who are seen but rarely heard in Homer’s Iliad. Among them are Chryseis whose capture by Achilles leads to the devastating plague brought upon the Greeks, Briseis, a minor player in the Iliad, but a major one in this book. From within the beseiged city of Troy, Hecabe, Queen of Troy, Andromache, Hector’s wife, and Kassandra, Hecabe’s and Priam’s daughter, whose prophecies of the terrible end of the city no will believe, look from their walls and see the terrible threat that will destroy them. And of course Helen, the pawn over whom the war is fought and because of whom the thousand ships were launched, waits to see who will win her and what her fate will be.

For Homer, Troy was no myth and the war that destroyed it was real, an event that has resonated down the ages from the time that Troy’s walls were razed by Agamemnon to our own. Trojan Women is both a deeply personal and an epic story of the women whose stories are noted only in passing by Homer, but who were the primary victims of this violent clash of culures that has come down to us an an example of the horrors of war.”
Buy Trojan Women: A Novel of the Fall of Troy from Amazon.com today!

Review: Morning Star (Ethos #1) by Desiree Finkbeiner

Morning Star cover
Morning Star (Ethos #1) by Desiree Finkbeiner
Published June 2012 by Hydra Publications

Description from Goodreads.com:
“When a mysterious stranger interrupts Brianna’s mundane routine, her eyes are opened to the dark underbelly of reality… immortal rogues, ancient conspiracies, prophetic revelations, savage tribes, mammoth dragonflies…

She’s thrust into a race for her life when Kalen, a warrior from Ethos, discovers that she is harboring a secret… a secret that he’d give his life to protect.

There’s just one little problem… they are tempted by a forbidden romance, which threatens to compromise a divinely appointed mission. They are faced with a choice… love eternal, or the end of the world…”

My thoughts

I am truly on the fence with this book. I actually sat down and made a list of what I liked versus what I didn’t like. Overall, I liked the concept of the book, most of the characters, and the magical world the author created. What I didn’t care for was the more literary aspects such as the writing style and the way the story was told. I also found it very hard to follow some of the details about Ethos and the fae.

I really like Kalen. He has a deep understanding of who he is and is true to himself. He has a good heart and strong sense of loyalty, responsibility, and dedication to his purpose. He believes in love and family and commitment. He is a warrior and holds a prestigious rank and yet somehow manages to be humble. He is a faeman and although he is sensitive and loving, he is still very masculine and strong.

Brianna, on the other hand, holds little interest for me. She is in college, but somehow she seems younger to me. She falls hard for Kalen very quickly and runs off with him when she barely knows him. When she gets to Ethos and discovers her part in the legend, I somehow expected some sort of transformation—not physically so much as intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually. I expected her to grow up some and become wiser and more mature. But, perhaps it is her immaturity and youth that allow her to be the pure spirit that is necessary to fulfill the prophesy.

I really enjoyed the author’s depiction of Ethos and its inhabitants. I could really visualize its beauty and wonder. The creatures such as the booyahs and tach mahs as well as the dragon flies made it very interesting. I also enjoyed meeting the maighdean mara and the lost tribe of Ethorians. The author is very adept at describing the characters and their clothing and surroundings.

I think the author has a wonderful imagination and created a wonderful myth. But I don’t like the way the story was told. And I mean that literally. I feel that too much of the story was told by the characters instead of unfolding in front of the reader. Much of the time, until the characters arrived in Ethos, the reader was talked at, with too many details and information delivered via conversation instead of letting the reader experience it. Once the characters arrived in Ethos, that changed a bit and the story became more of an experience than a legend to be told.

I also felt that the writing was very simplistic. It read like it was being told by a young girl. I think the story would’ve benefitted from a little more sophistication. It would have had more depth and seemed more authentic. I also had difficulty keeping up with the stages of life in Ethos—mortal, immortal, minion, guardian…what?! I just couldn’t keep up with all of it. How they earned their magic; how they became immortal; how they procreated. I also had a hard time following the bit about the lost tribe and their role in all of this. Luckily, the beauty of Ethos and the events that occurred kept my mind occupied enough that I just let the other stuff go.

So as you can see, there was much I liked about this book, but also things I didn’t like. It would probably be a great read for a young teenager.
book rating of 3
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