Helicopter Adventure Prison Survival Family Struggle
A Private Heaven is an adventure-filled drama based on a true story. Like Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It, this is the story of two brothers as opposite as Cain and Abel.
When Dave, the impulsive, younger brother completes his tour of duty in Vietnam, he moves his young family to Newfoundland, where he embarks on a challenging, often dangerous career as a helicopter pilot. Dave’s older brother, a six-foot-four, muscle-bound convict, has Hollywood good looks, a charming smile, and a serious penchant for violence.
With the stunningly beautiful island of Newfoundland as one backdrop and the Oklahoma State Penitentiary as the other, A Private Heaven is brimming with helicopters, rescues, icebergs, poachers, a prison rodeo, and even a prime minister’s wife.
Dave quickly learns the harsh realities of bush flying and wonders what will explode first-his fragile marriage or his beat-up, antique helicopter.
The stars faded as I stood on the breezy deck of the small oceangoing ship that ferried passengers, cars, and freight between Nova Scotia and the Island of Newfoundland.
A Private Heaven by Dave Eagleston
I usually do not read anything autobiographical or semi-autobiographical. They do not hold my interest. But, for some reason, A Private Heaven caught my eye when I read the author’s email. I did go back and forth on if I wanted to read it before I said yes. I am glad I did because A Private Heaven was a thoughtful, sad, and well-written book that kept my attention.
A Private Heaven is told in dual storylines with two different points of view. The first storyline (the one that starts the book off) is Dave’s, and it is in 1st person. The second storyline is Marve’s, and it is told in 3rd person. I had no issues with keeping track of the book when it went between storylines. The alternating POV’s made it easy.
The pacing of A Private Heaven was medium. It took me a couple of days to read the book. The book did have some lag in the middle of the book, but it quickly got back on track and stayed on track to the end.
I did learn more than I ever wanted to know about helicopters and flying them in A Private Heaven. I’m not complaining. I knew that this book was about a helicopter bush pilot from the blurb. But, I am saying that if helicopters came up as a Jeopardy subject, I would know how to answer them!
I thought that Dave’s life was exciting. He followed his dream by moving to Canada and, through hard work and sacrifice, he made that dream a reality. What I liked the most is that his bad times were not glossed over. All the struggles that he and his wife had been clearly outlined. But, also clearly outlined, was the steps that he took to fix them.
I thought that Marve’s life was tragic. It was hard even to imagine Dave and Marve as brothers. There was a point in the book where I thought Marve was going to go straight, but boy, I was proven wrong. I cried during his last chapter.
I enjoyed the end of A Private Heaven, if though I thought it ended abruptly. The follow up (not quite an epilogue). It detailed precisely where several vital characters were today. I loved seeing how these people prospered!!
A Private Heaven was an exciting and compelling read. It was medium paced with a fantastic storyline.
I would recommend A Private Heaven to anyone over the age of 16. There are some scenes of drug use and child abuse. There is one scene where the hero is criticized by someone who was anti-Vietnam War. There are some mild language and mild violence. There are scenes where Marve is incarcerated.
Trigger Warnings: Homophobia, Transphobia, Domestic Violence, Rape, Incest, Violence, Drug Use, Alcohol Use, General Violence
What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?
One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.
Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.
They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died.
The death of vivek oji by akwaeke emezi
The Death of Vivek Oji is one of the best books that I have read in the past six months(I would say year, but it is only February). I could not put the book down; that is how much I liked it.
I will admit that it took me a chapter or so to get into the book’s rhythm. But once I got the rhythm, the book went fast. There was no lag and no excess storyline. That made for a delightful read.
The Death of Vivek Oji is written mainly from the 1st person perspectives of Vivek and Osika. There are some 3rd person chapters written when describing the events around specific events in Vivek’s life (mainly their death and their mother’s meetings with the Nigerwives). Some people might have an issue with that, but I didn’t, which surprised me. I was quickly able to follow when the book switched perspectives and people.
The author did a great job of showing how repressed Nigerian culture was for gay/trans people. The main scenes that stand out to me were when Vivek grew their hair out, and their parent’s first response was to cut it. Vivek was not allowed out because of how they looked. Their aunt had a preacher beat them to “get the demons out.” It was heartbreaking to read.
I felt for Osita the entire book. He loved Vivek with his whole heart but couldn’t share that love with the world. Instead, the small group of friends Vivek and Osita had known. It must have been so tiring to live like that. My heart hurt for him.
There is sex in The Death of Vivek Oji. I won’t lie and say that it isn’t graphic because it is.
The end of Vivek Oji’s death was one of the rawest that I have read to date. I am not going to get into it, but it was intense. I do like that Vivek’s parents finally understood their daughter and honored her. But, it was the final scene with Osita that made me cry. That poor, poor man!!
The Death of Vivek Oji was a fantastic book to read. It was fast paced and was able to deliver a heavy plotline with the grace that it was due. I am actively looking for other books by the same author to read!!!
After much thought, I will recommend The Death of Vivek Oji for anyone over the age of 21. There is a scene of attempted rape. There is talk of domestic violence. There is deadnaming. There is graphic sex.
When Lainey becomes trapped in a burning building with her almost-divorced husband’s body, Brody rescues her just in time. And when she realizes the killer is now after her, she takes refuge at Brody’s Montana ranch.
Lainey and Brody have been fighting their attraction for years. But as the barriers between them fall, Lainey rescues Phoebe, a runaway teen, from the compound where her husband died. Now they’re forced to focus on Phoebe and an invisible threat.
Whoever murdered her husband has eyes on Lainey. Will their fragile new family survive a desperate predator? Can they protect Phoebe, identify the killer and find their happily ever after?
Lainey is looking for her ex-husband to serve him divorce papers. Knowing that he was working as a security guard at a compound, she heads there. Instead of finding him, giving him the forms, and leaving, Lainey finds his body. She is then assaulted and left to die in a burning building. Lainey is saved byBrody, a rancher who happened to be in the area.
Under suspicion of her ex-husband’s death, Lainey is forced to move in with Brody when someone tries to break into her house, and the police don’t do anything about it. Deciding to stop at the compound to see if any clues could clear her name, Brody and Lainey find a tween scavenging for food. Deciding to take Phoebe in, Lainey and Brody realize that even a well-fortified ranch can’t protect Lainey from whoever is after her.
Brody andLainey also have to deal with their growing feelings for each other. Both of them have good reasons for wanting to take it slow.Lainey, it is because her husband physically abused her.Brody, it’s because his ex-wife played games with him. Also,Brody has a secret, and he is afraid that ifLainey finds out what it is, she will reject him.
Will Lainey find out who is after her and why? Will Brody trust Lainey with his secret? And will Phoebe be safe?
Once Removedis the love story of Lainey and Brody. What I liked aboutOnce Removedis that it wasn’t an InstaLove story. Lainey and Brody had known each other for a couple of years before anything happened. Lainey was Brody’s accountant, and their attraction grew over the years instead of over a couple of weeks. Now, saying that, the book did move fast when it came to the relationship. Lainey and Brody were living together for a couple of days. But the author allowed their romantic relationship to grow.
The mystery/thriller angle of Once Removed was well written. The author kept me guessing who was going after Lainey and why that person was doing it. I did have a small suspicion, but that was proven wrong when the bad guy was revealed.
Phoebe’s storyline was well written, and I loved how the author merged them towards the end of the book. It also pulled on my heartstrings. The pain that Phoebe was feeling was transparent. Her gradual acceptance of Brody (and more immediate acceptance of Lainey) was heartwarming. I liked that the author didn’t get into graphic detail about the abuse and neglect that Phoebe endured. The little snippets that were shared were enough to make me go teary-eyed.
I also liked that the author chose not to go into details about the abuse Lainey endured. Yes, she talked about it, but it wasn’t graphic. I also liked that the author chose to tackle a problem regarding law enforcement and domestic violence. Instead of her ex being reprimanded, the sheriff’s office closed rank around him. They ignored what he was doing until they couldn’t. Sadly, this is more common than what we think, and I am glad that the author chose to showcase it.
While Brody’s secret wasn’t necessarily a bad one, it was still significant. I won’t go into what it was, but I could understand why he was hesitant to call DCF about Phoebe.
There is sex in Once Removed. It was tastefully written, and nothing was graphic. I did have to laugh in the events leading up to Brody and Lainey having sex. There were a couple of near misses with Phoebe that made me go, “Yeah, I can relate. “
The end of Once Removed was your typical mystery/romance. The reveal of the bad guy did surprise me. Only because it wasn’t who I thought it was going to be. The author also set up the next book in the series perfectly. And the epilogue was PERFECT!! I loved it!!
Once Removed was a fantastic romance/mystery. It was fast-paced with a mystery that the author kept me guessing until the end of the book. I cannot wait to read book 2!!
I am going to recommend that no one under the age of 21 read Once Removed. There is talk of spousal and child abuse (not graphic). There is an attempted murder at the beginning of the book and an attempted kidnapping at the end. There is sex, but nothing explicit.
Everybody dies. Nobody leaves … Award-winning author Scott William Carter returns with his tenth novel, a spellbinding tale of a man who bridges both sides of the great divide.
After narrowly surviving a near-fatal shooting, Portland detective Myron Vale wakes with a bullet still lodged in his brain, a headache to end all headaches, and a terrible side effect that radically transforms his world for the worse: He sees ghosts. Lots of them.
By some estimates, a hundred billion people have lived and died before anyone alive today was even born. For Myron, they’re all still here. That’s not even his biggest problem. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t tell the living from the dead.
Despite this, Myron manages to piece together something of a life as a private investigator specializing in helping people on both sides of the great divide–until a stunning blonde beauty walks into his office needing help finding her husband. Myron wants no part of the case until he sees the man’s picture … and instantly his carefully reconstructed life begins to unravel.
The first time I met Karen Thorne, I’d just clicked yes on two tickets to Honolulu for the holidays.
ghost detective by scott william carter
Ghost Detective had an exciting and somewhat sad plotline. Myron Vale, a Portland Oregon detective, was shot in the head during a robbery. That left him with an interesting side effect after he woke up from his coma. He can see and talk to ghosts. After a bit of an adjustment period, Myron has made peace with his unusual ability. He has also become a PI for the ghosts (use your imagination).
Myron agrees to take on Karen Thorne’s case when she asks him to look into her death and check on her husband. Hoping that her case would be open and shut, Myron is in for a surprise when he sees who her husband is. But obstacles are being thrown in his way by both the living and the dead. But with the help of his deceased wife and with the help of his former partner, Myron is determined to find out if Karen’s death was accidental and find where her husband is.
I enjoyed reading Ghost Detective. I liked that the author took a paranormal mystery and added a different spin to it. There were some parts (and characters) that I didn’t like, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of reading the book.
The book itself was well written with a fast-moving plotline. There were some predictable elements to the book, but those happened mainly at the end of the book. There was a bit of lag in the middle, but the book recovered quickly.
The mystery angel of Ghost Detective was well written. The author was able to keep me guessing at who killed Karen and the motive (which was silly whenrevealed). Also, Myron’s shooting was tied into that mystery. I won’t tell how but it made that angel very interesting.
There were some things I didn’t like about Ghost Detective. I was not too fond of Billie (Myron’s dead wife), and she drove me batshit crazy for most of the book. I figured out her secret, well, most of it, early on. I felt that she was keeping Myron from moving on with his life. Plus, she knew more about his investigation than what she was letting on, and that drove me CRAZY!!!
I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 16. It is a clean book (no sex or kissing). There are some scenes with ghosts who died in gruesome ways (scalping, shot, drowned are a few examples).
Do you like paranormal mysteries? If you do, what are your favorites? Let me know!!!
Trigger Warning: Violence, Death of a parent, child abuse (talked about)
Craving a gritty, kickass heroine? If you like guns, magic, & heartbreaking drama, you NEED this book!
Helena Martin doesn’t know who she hates more, the sorcerers who fired the magic-laced bullet or the gang-lord master who used her mother as a shield. It’s not the price she expected for escaping magical slavery, nor is the unstable power now pulsing in her veins.
Caught between her former master’s hunters and the Guild Sorcerers determined to kill them, she finds a safe haven at a dog rescue willing to take in a different kind of stray. But Helena’s newly-unleashed power is a beacon for her enemies. And they’re threatening the first place she’s ever thought of as home.
Before I start the Unleash review, I want to let everyone know that I will change up how I do my reviews. The whole beginning/middle/end of the book wasn’t working for me. So, enjoy the new format!!
Unleash is the story of Helena. Helena and her family were magical slaves for a gang lord, Gwydain. When the book starts, Helena, her cousin, and her mother were waiting to be rescued by Guild Sorcerers and Enforcers. As part of a deal, they would help take down the Gwydain and get their freedom back. But it didn’t quite go down as planned. Helena’s mother was killed by the Guild that was supposed to help them.
Those first few chapters were tough to read. The desperation and then terror that Helena felt was palpable. She was forced to watch as Gwydian murders a girl and uses her blood to prime spells. She is forced to act against her will when Gwydian is being attacked. She is forced to watch as her mother is shot by the people who were supposed to her. It was overall sad and a little overwhelming to read. I usually don’t get overwhelmed by events in the book (I have a pretty thick skin), but in this case, I had to take a break from reading. I had to gather myself because I identified with Helena.
Helena’s flight to Minnesota broke my heart. She was forced to leave her mother behind and run. Then, she decided to part ways with Morgan. While it was a smart move, it still broke my heart even more for her. She was 17, alone and scared to death of what would happen next. Meeting Krista and Jaesung was the best thing that could have happened to her.
The pacing of Unleash slowed down considerably after Helena met Krista and Jaesung. After the frantic, almost manic pacing of the first few chapters, it was a relief to see the book go to a much slower pace.
I liked that Helena shielded Krista and Jaesung from what was going on with her. They knew something was up, but they weren’t sure what it was. I also liked that Jaesung and Krista’s reactions were natural when Helena told them a very watered-down version of what happened to her. What I mean by watered down was that she left out all the magic and shapeshifting. She stuck to the bare bones of what happened.
I did think it was a little ironic that Helena found sanctuary, and then employment, at a dog rescue. Why ironic? Well, Helena was forced into being a shapeshifter by Gwydian (her flashback to that was sad). Her shapeshifter form is an Irish Wolfhound. I also thought it was smart that she kept with Krista and Jaesung. The Guild wouldn’t attack her while she was with “mundanes.“
The different types of magic were explained in Unleash. There was a cultural mishmash of the magics used. There were Hindu, Asian, and Celtic featured. I also liked that the author gradually explained the magical part of the book. It gave me time to process what was told.
The secondary characters were well written and fleshed out the story. Krista was one of the main secondary characters that I loved. She was loud and brash. But she was also one of the kindest people in the book. She had a softer side, and when it was revealed what was going on with her, my heart broke.
Let’s talk about Jaesung. He was Korean, having emigrated to the US when he was nine years old. He did Martial Arts (that scene at the wedding was AMAZING). He never gave up on Helena, even when he knew there was more to her story than what she was telling. I think I fell a little bit in love with him during the book. He was gentle and, most importantly, he listened. I wish I could pull him out of the book and clone him….lol.
Helena and Jaesung’s romance was a gradual thing. The author snuck bits and pieces of how Helena noticed Jaesung and how she felt safe with him. There were several near kissing scenes until that hot scene in the bathroom. What I liked is that their relationship didn’t feel forced. It felt natural and realistic (well as real as a YA Paranormal book will feel).
After a calming middle of the book, it picked up its pace again. It didn’t get a frantic as it did at the beginning of the book, but it was pretty fast paced. Helena learned much more about why Gwydain had made her family slaves. I will say that I was surprised by everything that was revealed by the Guild. All I could feel was astonished by what was revealed. A lightbulb went over my head because it made sense why Gwydain was doing what he did.
The real MVP of the last half of the book was Jaesung. He learned about Helena’s past and was cool with it. That did surprise me because I know if I found out that magic was real, I would be flipping out. He also tried, stress tried, to protect Helena several times. I felt he dealt with what happened to him at the end of the book pretty well, to be honest. I would have been flipping out about that too.
The end of the book was pretty good. I was a tiny bit disappointed by what happened to Gwydain. But he got what he deserved. The author did wrap up all storylines, except a couple, and I figure they will feature in the next book. There was enough left open at the ending for me to want to read book 2.
Overall, Unleash was an excellent paranormal YA book. It was fast-paced with a lot of different representation in the book. I am eager to read book 2. I would also recommend this book to anyone over the age of 16. There are graphic violence and talk of child abuse (Helena remembers sleeping with her father at 9 to stop a gang member from raping her). There is some kissing, and Jaesung and Helena have sex. But it is not graphic.
Purchase From: Amazon as Free eBook(currently free on Amazon, B&N and Kobo)
Trigger Warning: Very Mild Violence
A new standalone series from USA Today bestselling author Kylie Gilmore about the irresistibly sexy Campbell brothers (and a tomboy sister) who find love with the help of the matchmaking leader of the Happy Endings Book Club. Get your happy ending!
She’s on top… When superstar actress Claire Jordan researched her role for the Fierce Trilogy movies, she never expected the bond she feels with the author and her romance book club aka The Happy Endings Book Club. Soon Claire finds herself confessing her secret longing for a regular guy—no more egocentric wealthy players—and the book club is all too ready to help. In disguise as a regular girl, she’s all set for a date with book-club-approved Josh Campbell.
He’s on top… Billionaire tech CEO Jake Campbell is weary of gold-digging women, especially the glamorous superficial types. So when his identical twin Josh calls in a favor asking Jake to step in as him on a date, Jake figures one of Josh’s cute girl-next-door types might be just what he needs. One night of passion with the sweet girl-next-door leaves Jake wanting more, except she seems to have vanished.
Sometimes a Happy Ending is just the beginning.
Claire Jordan went by a lot of names—hottest actress under thirty, sexiest woman alive, Duck Lips (that was her brother)–buy she’d yet to be called, um, slut.
HIdden Hollywood by Kylie Gilmore
Beginning of Book Impressions:
I was excited to read Hidden Hollywood for several reasons. First, I love contemporary romance. Second, the blurb for the book had me wanting to read it. And, the last reason, I needed a book that I didn’t have to concentrate on. The last couple of books I have read had complicated plotlines and characters. So, I needed a book that would refresh my brain.
What also attracted me to the book was the cover. I thought it was sweet and straightforward. I also figured that the book would reflect that. Let’s say that it did, and it didn’t.
Hidden Hollywood starts with Claire Jordan, America’s hottest actress, meeting with her book club. Claire is producing and starring in a movie based on the book written by one of the book club (which is why she got invited). At this point, I liked Claire. She was funny and sweet. She was also kind of desperate. She refused to date within Hollywood’s A list, and because of that, she hasn’t dated in a year. Add that the books she is making a movie out of having a cult following, and people believe that she and the leading man have a thing. Madison and Hailey come up with a great plan. Hailey has a single man friend, Madison’s brother, who will take Claire out on a date. All Claire has to do is show up in disguise and enjoy herself. Sounds so simple, right. Yeah.
Then the book introduces Jake Campbell, the billionaire owner of a tech company. He is disillusioned with dating women because, drumroll please, all they want is either his money or sperm (yup, I just said that!!). I should mention that Jake is the brother of the man going on the blind date with Claire. His identical twin brother. His brother, Josh, wants Jake to do a twin switch with him. Jake goes on the blind date with Claire and Josh goes on a friend date with Hailey (Hailey is blackmailing Josh into escorting her to weddings but that is another story). As I read that, I thought: “Well, this could go well.”
Surprisingly it did. Jake and Claire hit it off. Claire was in disguise the entire time. I was surprised by that because they went paddleboarding. I mean, what if she fell off and got wet? Her cover would have been blown. Honestly, I was waiting for that to happen, but it didn’t. I enjoyed seeing Jake and Claire interact in those scenes. They were themselves and not the people that they had to become.
After Jake and Claire had sex, everything started to fall apart (in my eyes). Claire booked it, and Jake was left feeling used. He tried to find Claire, but because she used a fake name, he had no luck. Both Hailey and Madison were not talking either. On the other hand, Claire felt awful for leaving Jake but thought she had no other choice.
I wasn’t happy with how the middle of the book started. Claire and Jake find out that they both lied to each other. After that, it was like the characters had a personality shift. It was bewildering to read. Claire was this lovely, shy person in the first half of the book. To see her morph into someone self-centered and egocentric messed with my head. I felt the same way about Jake. It took me most of the book’s middle to get used to the “new” Claire and Jake.
I did like that the rest of Jake’s family (biological and otherwise) were introduced. I could see the other ten books in the series being written when Jake talked about his brothers and friends. I got very excited to read the other books.
Jake and Claire’s relationship was rocky during this part of the book. Mainly because neither of them was willing to bend. I eye-rolled a lot during this part of the book. I also kept muttering, “Gonna lose him/her if you keep acting this way.“
I did like seeing how a movie set was run. The addition of Blake as Claire’s evil co-star was perfect. He tried his best to undermine the movie’s production and acted like a man-child whenever he was in the picture. The only time he crossed the line was when he tried to bum rush, Claire. Thankfully, her bodyguard did his job.
The romance between Claire and Jake did seem nonexistent. I do think it was because they had to sneak around to go on dates. That took some of the oomph out of the romance for me.
End of Book Impressions:
The end of Hidden Hollywood seemed rushed. I say that because everything happened so fast. My head was spinning, and I had to go back and reread specific passages to make sure that I got everything right in my head.
Claire turned into a red carpet fairy godmother. Seriously, she did. She invited the book club to the premiere of her movie and handed dresses and shoes over to them. I giggled while reading those scenes. They were also super sweet, but they made me laugh. Why? Because no woman would give up a pair of shoes that are worth $3k. Just saying.
I wasn’t thrilled with how Claire and Jake’s relationship went from casual to serious within a few chapters. That just screamed Instalove to me. Plus, the way they went about saying “I love you” irked me. There was no passion. It was like, “Oh, BTW, I love you.” and they went on with their lives. I don’t know why it irked me, but it did.
The end of Hidden Hollywood was cute. I loved how the author wrapped up Claire and Jake’s love story. I’m not sure who the next book is going to be about. Either it is Hailey or Madi. Either way, I am sure it is going to be a cute story.
My Overall Thoughts on Hidden Hollywood:
I went back and forth with Hidden Hollywood. I loved the romance and thought the writing was excellent. Several humorous scenes made me laugh. At the same time, Jake was “meh,” and Claire rubbed me the wrong way. But, I was able to overlook those two things and enjoy the story. What I also liked is that the book didn’t go into graphic detail with the sex. There was detail, but nothing that would make someone uncomfortable.
I would recommend Hidden Hollywood for anyone over 21. There is sex, very mild violence, and some mild language.
He locked himself away from the dark, but in the Magpie King’s forest nowhere is safe…
Lonan is an outcast, accused of letting the monsters that stalk the night into the homes of his fellow villagers. Now, he will not rest until he wins back the heart of his childhood love and reclaims the life that was stolen from him. However, locked safely in his cellar at night, in his dreams Lonan finds himself looking through the eyes of a young prince…
Adahy has a destiny, and it terrifies him. How can he hope to live up to the legend of the Magpie King, to become the supernatural protector of the forest and defender of his people? But when the forest is invaded by an inhuman force, Adahy must rise to this challenge or let the Wolves destroy his people.
Watching these events unfold in his sleep, Lonan must do what he can to protect his village from this new threat. He is the only person who can keep his loved ones from being stolen away after dark, and to do so he will have to earn back their trust or watch the monsters kill everyone that he holds dear.
They Mostly Come Out At Night is a Dark Fantasy novel from Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series. If you like Neil Gaiman and Patrick Rothfuss then you will love this captivating, dangerous world in which ordinary people struggle to find their place in a land ruled by stories.
Start reading today to discover this epic tale of dreams, fables and monsters!
Splintered wood, teeth and claws, blood in the night.
They Mostly Come Out at Night by Benedict Patrick
Beginning of Book Impressions:
I was pretty excited to read They Mostly Come Out at Night. Honestly, this has been the most exciting that I have been reading a book in a long time. I couldn’t wait to see what this book would be about. You know what? I wasn’t disappointed!! They Mostly Come Out at Night ended up being what I thought it would be and then some.
The book started fast and kept up the pace until the middle of the book. It took me a couple of hours to get through the first half of the book. That is a good thing seeing that I read before bed. I had to make myself stop reading because I needed to sleep.
Several things are revealed in the first half of the book. I am going to bullet point them with brief explanations. If I wrote paragraphs, this review could get lengthy, and we wouldn’t want that, would we!!
The main characters. Lonan, the village outcast, and Adahy, the heir to The Magpie King’s throne. Out of the two, I liked Lonan the most. Even though the village shunned him, he was a good person. Plus, he was the only person who knew who and what Jareth Quarry was. Adahy, I liked him, but I thought he was weak and not fit to take over The Magpie King’s role.
The Knacks. Everyone in Lonan’s village had a Knack. Everyone, except Lonan. It was another blow and another thing for people to taunt him over.
Adahy’s relationship with Maedoc. Maedoc was Adahy’s whipping boy. If you don’t know what a whipping boy was, click here. To me, it was a warped relationship, but Adahy honestly thought that Maedoc was his friend.
The folklore (fairy tales) that were included instead of regular paragraphs. It gave so much background into The Magpie King and the different Animals that certain groups of people took their names from (Mouse, Owl, Wolf). I liked that the author gave the reader a chance to make up their mind on how much was right with the folk tales.
By the end of the beginning of the book, some details were starting to come out. Lonan wasn’t responsible for anything, and Adahy wasn’t ready to become King. I was still trying to figure out how Lonan and Adahy were connected but was coming up blank.
The pace of the book did not slow down during the middle of the book. It picked up. I was left on the edge of my seat during several scenes.
Again, there is so much going on in this book; I will bullet point it to keep it straight.
Jareth’s campaign against Lonan starts to unravel, and Jareth’s Knack is revealed. Jareth’s hatred for Lonan is also disclosed. I wasn’t surprised at what was revealed. I was saddened, though.
Adahy’s quest to become the next King Magpie. I thought it was nuts. I also thought that bringing Maedoc with him was, well, not well thought out.
The introduction of The Pale Woman. Talk about someone who freaked me out!! A faceless woman who kept the flower that Adahy needed to become the MagpieKing. My spidey sense started tingling because Mother Ogma had mentioned her in a previous chapter.
Branwen gradually starting to talk to Lonan again and Jareth’s insane reaction to it. I got why he acted the way he did but still.
The reveal of Lonan’s Knack. I wasn’t surprised at what it was, but I was still confused about how Lonan and Adahy were connected.
Maedoc’s betrayal of Adahy. I should have seen it coming. But I didn’t, and it was a shocking way to end the middle of the book.
There were more folk tales about The Magpie King. But there were also a couple of stories about The Mouse King. Those tales foreshadow what was going to happen between Maedoc and Adahy.
End of Book Impressions:
The end of the book was fantastic!!! I loved that They Mostly Come Out at Night kept up the blisteringly fast pace. There was a twist that I didn’t see coming and one that I did.
I liked how the author brought Adahy and Lonan’s stories together. Any confusion that I previously had gone away when their connection was explained. It made total sense.
The Jareth angle of the book was ended at the beginning of the end of the book. I loved seeing that he got what was coming to him (sorry, not sorry). I also liked that the villagers went out of their way to make things right with Lonan. The only thing that wasn’t resolved was Lonan’s relationship with his mother. I figured that she came around with the rest of the village.
I am not going to go into the rest of the book. All I will say is that Lonan became what he was meant to be. But that came at a high cost. That final scene with Mother Ogma broke my heart.
My Overall Thoughts on They Only Come Out at Night:
I enjoyed reading They Only Come Out at Night. The dual storylines with small chapters of folk tales kept my attention. The lore was fantastic and made me want to know more. The characters were well written, and the plotline was fast-moving. There was no lag.
I would recommend They Only Come Out at Night for anyone over 16. This is a clean book (no sex).
Sometimes the only way to salvation… is to take a leap of faith.
What would you do if you had no place to go and no one you could trust?
“The lyrics are about you, Lena,” he confessed, and I watched his mouth as the tip of his tongue moistened his lips before he leaned his head down. Then those beautiful lips were on mine, soft, tender at first, then his tongue glided over my lips, breaking the seal. My pulse throbbed and quickened as his tongue swirled around mine. Taking and controlling, and… and I wanted this, needed his touch. I went limp in his embrace, and the heat rose under my skin, my body vibrated against his strong powerful one. Was this really happening?”
Jackson Beaumont prides himself on being a nature-loving, guitar-strumming, carefree sort of guy. When the mysterious Lena Benton walks into his bar looking scared and defeated, it’s not something he can ignore. He’s immediately consumed by concern for her and driven by his desire to help. She’s just so beautiful. So wounded.
After being shuffled from one foster home to another growing up, Lena Benton dreamt of finding her prince charming. When the captivating Troy Harington sweeps her off her feet shortly after high school graduation, she’s certain she’s found her happiness. Unfortunately, Troy’s true colors surface shortly after their marriage and things turn ugly. Lena only has one choice. She has to leave him. She has to run…
Lena’s escape has brought her to Jackson, and he clearly wants to be there for her, but can she trust anyone again after what she’s gone through? And will Jackson be able to help her heal without losing his heart?
18+ due to sexual content and mature subject matter.
He opened the front door.
Beautifully Wounded by Susan Griscom
I am going to start with the trigger warning to start this review. Usually, I will touch upon TW’s at the end of the book. But, because of how this book begins, I feel that it is appropriate to put it at the beginning.
I am not going to mince words. Beautifully Wounded starts with Lena being raped and beaten by her husband when the rape fails (because he loses his erection halfway through the rape). I won’t lie, it is very graphic. But, it set the pace and the mood for the first half of the book.
Lena’s flight from Troy was heartbreaking but empowering. I felt her terror and urgency as she fled. She was terrified that he would find her. She was terrified of what he would do. She did everything to throw him off her trail. She cut up credit cards, abandoned her car, used a fake ID that her best guy friend gave her, used cash to buy a new car, and drove as far as she could with her injuries. It was breathtaking and made my heart pound. I was on the edge of my seat that first couple of chapters because of the unknown.
Then Jackson was introduced. Not a lot was said about him except that he owned a local bar with his brother, Brodie. That was fine with me because all of my attention was on Lena and her flight from Troy. When Lena walked into the bar, her appearance caught Jackson (and eventually Brodie’s) attention. Jackson, who had a soft heart of injured animals and people, took one look at her and decided that she needed his help. He brought in an ex-Army medic/current firefighter to look at her. That is when the extent of her injuries was shown. Broken ribs, a concussion, bruises everywhere, and one eye was swollen completely shut. Even Doc (the firefighter) was horrified. I was fighting back the tears during that scene. I made these weird snuffly noises that my husband took notice of and asked if I needed a tissue.
I liked that Lena was learning to trust Jackson. What I loved was her instant connection to Rufus (his hound). She spilled her secret to him, unaware that Jackson was listening outside her door. It was a heartwarming scene that again made me fight back the tears. That poor girl.
By the middle of the book, though, Jackson did start to creep me out. He began to become obsessed with Lena. I understand wanting to help. He helped so much and in so many ways. He set it up so Lena could file for divorce without disclosing her location. He helped file for a restraining order (including taking her pictures). He got her clothing and someone to dye her hair. He. Was. Always. There. When he started falling for her, I was like, “Oh no honey, please. Wait until she’s healed.” But he didn’t.
The middle of Beautifully Wounded focused on Lena’s healing process and her emerging relationship with Jackson. I liked seeing her regain her self confidence and self-worth. The little tidbits of her life with Troy left me shaking my head. What made me shake my head, even more, was that she witnessed her mother being abused and then killed by her abuser while she was growing up. Lena thought she knew what she was looking out for, but instead, she got blindsided. I truly felt awful for her.
I liked seeing her and Jackson connect on a deeper level. Seeing her fall for Jackson was sweet, but at the same time, I felt that she didn’t need to fall into another relationship. But, thankfully, Jackson took it super slow and allowed Lena to call the shots.
Their relationship did heat up during this part of the book. But nothing happened until after Lena received her divorce papers.
Jackson was still acting creepy. He had this whole “I’ll let her come to me” vibe, but he moved her into his and Brodie’s house and spent all of his time with Lena. And, again, I didn’t blame Brodie for blowing up at Jackson. I did feel bad that Lena had to overhear it, though. Brodie did apologize, and Lena did tell Brodie that she was sorry, even though it was Jackson’s fault.
There was an undercurrent of anticipation regarding Troy. And it wasn’t the right kind. I kept wondering when he would turn up. I didn’t blame Lena for wanting to run. She was terrified that Troy would hunt her down and kill her.
End of Book Impressions:
The last half of Beautifully Wounded was insane. So much went on in a few short chapters. I couldn’t read it fast enough.
Jackson and Lena’s relationship went to the next step, which wasn’t awful in the grand scheme of things. In book time, two months had gone by, and they spent everyday together. So, when they had sex, I wasn’t grossed out. I was still a little skeeved by Jackson, but even that went away. You could tell that he cherished Lena.
Lena’s worse nightmares were realized when one of her best friends (pre-Troy) came to the bar and let her know that Troy knew where she was. Then it was a waiting game as to when he would show up.
And yes, Troy did show up. My heart was pounding for Lena during those scenes because of what he was saying to her, where he was taking her and what he would do to her (implied). I will say that Rufus was the real MVP during this part of the book. That nice, sweet dog lost his SHIT when Lena was taken. And I ugly cried when Jackson caught up to Lena and Troy, and he saw what happened to Rufus.
Of course, there was a confrontation between Jackson and Troy. In my mind, I called it the battle between Good and Evil (because it was). There was a point where I was concerned for Jackson and a little WTF. Jackson was an ex-cop. He should have known how to take someone down. Yet, he didn’t, and it frustrated me. It was who took Troy down that took me by surprise. It also took Brodie by surprise (he was way too late).
The epilogue was fantastic. I liked seeing where Lena and Jackson were a year later. Oh, and Rufus’s fate was disclosed!! I also loved the lead into Brodie/Gabby’s story.
My Overall Thoughts on Beautifully Wounded:
I enjoyed reading Beautifully Wounded. It had a fast plotline with characters that will stay with you after the book is finished. I will warn that there are parts of the book that are hard to swallow. Some parts are unrealistic. But, it didn’t affect me. Instead, it made the book more enjoyable to read.
I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book. There is graphic violence. There is a rape scene at the beginning of the book that is graphic. There is sex, but that is not graphic.
The only future Vallachia could have imagined, as well as her wonderfully simple life disappears when she finds herself in a struggle to figure out the rules of a strange new world.
She longs for her old life and the one she truly loves remains out of reach, as she embarks on an inconceivable journey.
Vallachia quickly finds herself on the wrong side of a brewing battle for vampire domination. Not knowing who to trust could have fatal consequences … for millions of people.
We ran swiftly through the forest.
Of Lords and Commoners by Lynne Hill-Clark
I am one of those people who’s impressions of books start with the covers. The cover of Of Lords and Commoners on Goodreads wasn’t much to look at. Black that faded to brown with a family crest under the title and gold words. It was very plain and didn’t give any clue about what the book was about. So visually, it was a nope for me. Fortunately, the blurb made me think twice about reading it.
Of Lords and Commoners is set in the Middle Ages. The first half of the book takes place in Vallachia’s village in the Carpathian Mountains. It doesn’t say precisely where but if I had to guess, Romania. Considering what I have read/know about the Carpathian Mountains, it was an excellent location for the first half of the book.
The book did get off to a slow and somewhat dull start. It was a struggle to get through the first couple of chapters. Once I got through them (once Lord Chastellain and Elijah arrived), the book picked up the pace.
I did feel bad for Vallachia. She was being forced into an impossible position: having to choose between Teller and Elijah. Teller was her childhood love. Elijah was the Lord’s son, who she was developing feelings for. But at the same time, I didn’t quite believe that she was allowed to choose who she was going to marry. It was the Middle Ages. Women didn’t get any say in anything. So for her father to have such a progressive view didn’t ring right to me.
The vampire angle of the book was interesting. I liked how the author stayed true to vampires’ fundamental myths and tweaked them a little bit. The author also added small things that made sense, like flying and swimming under the water. Oh, and the whole not being able to enter a church? Not happening in this book. Vallachia was able to enter several churches after being turned.
Speaking of Vallachia being turned, that was a pivotal scene in the book. Everything that happens from then on is connected to what Lord Chastellain did and what Elijah did (or in this case didn’t) do. I couldn’t believe what I was reading!! Of course, Vallachia’s relationship with her father, brother, best friend, and Teller took a significant turn.
Of Lords and Commoners hit some lag in the middle of the book. There was so much going on that the plotline started to stagnant. Fortunately, the author was able to breathe life back into the plot.
I felt terrible for Vallachia during this part of the book. She had to come to terms with being a vampire and getting involved in vampire politics. She also had to deal with her feeling for both Teller and Elijah. She didn’t have it easy at all.
I didn’t agree with Vallachia returning to her home village. I get that she had serious feelings for Teller, but she was protected with Elijah (safety in numbers). I also didn’t agree with her telling Teller that she was a vampire. His reaction was what I thought it would be. Honestly, it made me dislike him. Of course, then Lord Chastellain showed up and did what he did. That, in turn, forced Vallachia to turn Teller, who then did something unforgivable. But even that didn’t end Vallachia’s feelings for Teller. I did a considerable WTF when she still said she loved him. Seriously????
Interestingly, there was a subplot line about vampire rebellion that started in Constantinople. I wish the author had spent more time describing where the vampires live and even the city itself (there were a couple of well-written scenes, but it left me wanting more). It is that plotline that kept the book moving along. When Vallachia went to Denmark and then London (after she turned Teller), there was so much intrigue!!! There was also some LGBTQ+ representation in the book, which I enjoyed.
End of Book Impressions:
The plotline for Of Lord and Commoners worked itself out. There was new life breathed into the plotline by the increased attacks of the vampire revolution. That sent Vallachia, Elijah, and their friends on missions (for lack of a better word) to other countries to recruit allies. Because of that, I felt that the plotline picked up steam and was fast until the end of the book.
I wish that Teller had made an appearance. I was left wondering what was going on with him. Like Vallachia and her friends, I thought that he was behind the strange vampire-like sickness plaguing people. But that was proven wrong. He just poofed, and I wasn’t a fan of it.
I didn’t like how Vallachia’s brother died. Not going to get into it, but it was wrong!!! I was very frustrated at that.
The author did an excellent job of wrapping everything up by the end of the book. But she left enough unwrapped (the love triangle between Vallachia, Elijah, and Teller and the revolution) to read book 2.
My Overall Thoughts on Of Lords and Commoners:
I enjoyed reading Of Lords and Commoners. While the book was slow to start, did lag in the middle, and had the plotline stagnant at times, it managed to capture my attention. I liked the characters (except for Teller). I did think that it was a little progressive for the time it took place in (Middle Ages), but I soon forgot that. It was just an overall good YA book to read.
I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book. There is graphic violence. But it is a clean book. There is no sex and only a couple of kissing scenes.
Chastity didn’t take a teaching job in France to find hers, but a woman can dream, n’est ce pas?
If the father of one of her students—the Viscount Charles Jean Anne Monorie de Brase—is the best local example of princes, Charming or Otherwise, Chastity is ready to put aside any thought of falling in love again.
As much as she would prefer him to keep his distance, it seems there is no avoiding each other. With the ongoing pressure of a repentant ex-boyfriend, a nefarious drug dealer, and an art heist that spans the decades, Chastity and the viscount are thrown together by circumstances she would soon rather forget.
As the intimacy between Charles and Chastity deepens, they must decide if their love is enough to bridge the gap between their disparate worlds, and if happily ever after can exist outside of fairy tales.
I was pretty excited to start reading A Noble Affair. I have had it sitting on my TBR since October 2018, and I figured that it was time to read it. Plus, the blurb got my interest. Well, I have to say I wasn’t impressed by the first half of the book. There were zero sparks of romance between Charles and Chastity. Instead, it went the exact opposite direction. There was so much animosity between the two that I was taken aback by it.
Chastity’s job as a school teacher was fascinating, but there was little focus on it. Instead, there were a couple of student/teacher meetings, where she accused Charles’s son of doing drugs. Her proof, a whiff of marijuana here and there. I hardcore eye-rolled at that. Frankly, I found her annoying that first half of the book. She led her baby daddy on about being in a relationship. The only thing that I remotely agreed with was that she allowed him to meet their son.
I didn’t care for Charles either. He was an absent parent who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) talk to his son about his slipping grades. Instead, he was focused on his work, appeasing his mother and his girlfriend. There was no mention of what he did for work during the first half of the book. This is important come the middle of the book.
Louis, Charles’s son, was also introduced. I was “meh” about him. I understood why he acted the way he did, but at the same time, I wanted to shake some sense into him. Things got a bit dicey towards the end of the first half of the book.
There were a bunch of secondary characters thrown in during the first half of the book also. I had issues keeping track of them because of how the chapters were written. There was no lead in the next character. Just, bam, here it is. At times, it made no sense. Also, clue in that secondary storyline was introduced while this all happened, and my head was spinning.
Chastity and Charles’s romance (or lack of one) was still going strong by the book’s middle. She thought he was an uptight idiot, and he returned the favor. It was kind of amusing to read, though. Their interactions were painful to read. I kept thinking to myself, “And where is this romance?” because there was ZERO.
Instead of the book picking up speed, it faltered, big time. I kept waiting for something to get the book moving. It did happen, but it took forever for it to happen. There were points where I was going to put the book down.
Louis’s storyline because more interesting. There was some intrigue about his dealing, his schoolwork, and him owing the dealer money. I did feel bad for the poor kid because he was in over his head. He was willing to do anything to pay back the money.
The storyline about the art heist was interesting too, but there were some flaws in it. Add in that Louis’s dealer is also the person behind the new heist, which made me go “Hmmm.” Only a couple of chapters sprinkled in the middle of the book explained what happened there.
End of Book Impressions
Chastity and Charles’s romance finally picked up. But weirdly, it was after her son was hit by a car and put in a coma. Guess who his neurosurgeon was? Charles. I was just as surprised as Chastity was when that was revealed. Like I mentioned above, I thought he lived off a trust fund or something like that.
There was still no sparks between Chastity and Charles. The author did try, but their romance didn’t come across as believable. Even the kiss that they shared was “meh.”
The storyline with Louis and his drug use finally came to ahead. Charles finally talked to him about it. I don’t know who was more relieved, Louis or me. It took an entire book for Charles to get around to doing it. It was a lovely scene but long overdue in coming.
The secondary storyline about the art heist ended excitingly. There was a neat twist to that plotline that made me go “No way.“
My Overall Thoughts on A Royal Affair
I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. As a romance, there should have been at least some sort of spark between the main characters. There wasn’t, and it felt fake at the end of the book. It wasn’t believable.
The book’s drug use angle was ridiculous, but I liked how the author chose to show Louis battling through the situation he got himself in. When Louis found himself getting in too deep, he turned to his father. The same father should have been more present in his life.
I loved the art heist storyline. I was shocked at who was behind the heist. I knew that it was the same person supplying Louis his drugs, but I didn’t know his identity. I had a holy crap moment when that happened. Talk about a surprise.
I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read A Noble Affair. It is a clean book. There is no sex and a couple of brief kissing scenes. Several scenes got violent, and a couple where Louis is high. But nothing explicit.