Review of Defect

Book Cover

Purchase from Amazon: Defect

Defect by Ryann Kerekes

Book Description (from Amazon)

Locked in the mental ward on her sixteenth birthday, Eve Sterling doesn’t think things can get any worse. They can. After failing the mindscan procedure that predicts future crime, she’s deemed a Defect and subjected to endless psychological and physical testing as the government tries to determine what’s different about her.

The one bright spot is military guard, Will. He’s gentle with her when no one’s watching and suppresses a smile whenever she defies their challenges. Will’s lessons begin to dance dangerously close to knowledge she shouldn’t possess, like what’s beyond the fenced compound. Though it’s forbidden and Will would be killed on the spot if they’re discovered, they steal away moments together. With her very life on the line, Eve has to decide if she can trust the guard she’s falling for.

DEFECT, young adult romance takes place in the near-future.

It is a survivalist love story.

Book Review

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Welcome to the future where “The Medical Revolution” has created a segregated society that categorizes citizens into a new social stratus:   “Sleeper,” “Reject,” and the rare “Defect.” Technology has enabled the government to perform a “mindscan” on all individuals when they turn sixteen. The purpose of the mindscan is to identify individuals who have a criminal mindset, mental disorders, or medical diseases and to isolate them from the general population.

Now, forty years after the revolution, students are taught that “removing flawed humans from the mating pool…is a way to cleanse society of both mentally inadequate beings.”  The results of your mindscan determine your place in society. Sleepers are deemed fit for society, while Rejects are sent to military training. Defects, well, the government doesn’t want to recognize Defects, but those rare few identified as such are locked away where they undergo further testing.  Those unfortunate few who are not categorized as Sleepers lose their freedoms and can never return to their families or the life they once had.

When the story opens, it’s Eve Sterling’s “sweet sixteen” birthday, and she is accompanied by her mother to have the required mindscan. We experience the events of the story from Eve’s point-of-view, and this is effective in allowing us to care about Eve along her journey. By only having Eve’s perspective, the author kept my interest because I was never certain of who Eve could trust. When she chooses to confide in another character, I found myself cringing, wondering if that was a wise decision.

As Eve undergoes the procedure, her thoughts center around her mother’s advice: “Guard your mind.”

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Eve’s results indicate that she is a Defect.  At first she doesn’t understand what that means, since there are only two well-established categories: Sleepers and Rejects. Talk of Defects is kept hushed.  She later learns that to be labeled a Defect means that the mindscan failed to read her mind. Eve, finally, begins to see the significance of her situation and the potential threat she poses to the government:

“Their technology didn’t work on me-I wasn’t sick, I wasn’t a criminal-but rather than admit that I’d somehow outsmarted them, they chose to lock me up and throw away the key. It fills me with rage.”

Initially, Eve spends her time either being tested or taking medication that forces her to sleep or just zone out.

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Will is a trainer for Rejects who are forced into the military training program.  Early on, it is obvious that he sees something in Eve.  Aware of her current, dismal existence, he helps her by  persuading  his superior, O’Donovan, to allow Eve to train with them.

O’Donovan and Will appear to doubt her abilities, since her physicality immediately puts her at a disadvantage.  She’s slightly over five-feet in height and weights around 100 lbs. Eve is aware that “… neither of them believes I can actually do this-become a fearless soldier-but I desperately want the chance to prove them wrong.”

Thus, Eve begins rigorous training for which she is grossly under prepared. She is immediately thrown into the midst of a training program where others are far ahead of her in their skill level.

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As Eve struggles to complete the training, she must deal with some unexpected obstacles:

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Will is a formidable trainer who easily intimidates the new recruits. However, he takes a special interest in Eve, helping her outside of the group’s training routine. He spends extra time training with Eve, taking her hiking in wooded areas, and teaching her survival skills.

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Eve is skeptical of Will at first: Will is “the one person here…who seems to be looking out for me, and I still haven’t figured out his motive.” Even with doubts, Eve senses that he is a good person. She admits,  “…his gaze could level you, and when he’s standing close, it’s like all the air’s been sucked from the room. Intense? Yes. But I’ve never felt scared of him.” Will is a strong, silent hero who keeps Eve guessing about his feelings toward her.  At times, the intense attraction between the two is so overwhelming, I squirmed reading about it, especially the scene with Bad Company playing “Feel Like Makin Love” in the background.

Through their time together, Eve and Will fall for each other. The first time Will kisses Eve in the privacy of his dorm room, she exclaims,

“Will floods my senses. Just his physical presence overwhelms me. The stubble on his jaw, the feel of his strong hands against me, it’s all completely new and electrifying. “

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Eve is an impressive heroine in the book. At the age of sixteen, she is forced into situations that she never imagined. Her world has been shattered, but she refuses to allow others to break her either emotionally or physically. She endures and conquers every obstacle set before her.  Unfortunately, her success only puts her in greater danger. Rena, one of the guards who is sympathetic to Eve’s situation, warns her: “You are flaunting their failure with you right in their faces. And trust me, people are noticing.”

Once Will and Eve become aware that Eve is in imminent danger, they make a plan for Eve’s escape.  Will is willing to put his own life at risk by helping Eve. He wants to save her life, and she wants to save his by persuading him to leave with her.  His decision to leave is questionable. But Eve has no choice if she wants to survive.

The suspense builds as Eve seeks to escape and find safety with a group of Radicals, individuals who escaped during the revolution to live apart from society in the wilderness.  Can Eve stay strong if she leaves Will behind? Can they find their way back to each other?

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Can the government continue with their illusion of promising a better way of life?

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The conclusion of the story was unexpected for me. I really expected more of a descriptive and developed resolution. There is so much material for expansion, and, before I reached the end, I just knew there would be a sequel. However the author chose an epilogue to wrap up the story. Readers who dislike books with cliff-hangers will probably find this a satisfactory conclusion.

Adults and young adults (YA’s) can appreciate the provocative questions explored in this book, regarding governmental control and individual freedom.  As I read, I couldn’t help but notice the parallels between this government and the German dictatorship of Adolph Hitler, who wanted to eliminate “flawed” individuals from society to create a superior Aryan race.  I can’t help but think of the well-known quote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” –George Santayana.

Rating:

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About Ryann Kerekes

Official Website of Ryann Kerekes

Goodreads Profile

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Ryann Kerekes has a suggested song playlist  for the book on her website; however,  here are some songs that came to mind as I read this book:

Pink Floyd “Comfortably Numb (Live 8)”

Bad Company “Feel Like Makin Love” –can’t forget this one!

Iced Earth “Dystopia (Official Video)”

“Enter the nightmare, this future does implore,

A techno city state, a prison nothing more.”

                                    ***

“With our technology, we’ll always keep you safe.”

****

Future past signs pick one

From the mouths of babes:

To leave a comment, click the small green link “Leave a comment” located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Cover Reveal for Edge of Always by J.A. Redmerski

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Author: J.A. Redmerski

Publisher: Hachette Book Group

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age Group: New Adult

Expected release date: November 5, 2013

Pre-order on Amazon: The Edge of Always

 Pre-order on ITunes

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He was taking the long road. She was taking the road to nowhere. It just so happened that they led to the same place…

Five months ago, Camryn and Andrew, both dealing with personal hardships, met on a Greyhound bus. They fell in love and proved that when two people are meant to be together, fate will find a way to make it happen.

Now, in the highly anticipated sequel to THE EDGE OF NEVER, Camryn and Andrew are pursuing their love for music and living life to the fullest as they always swore to do. But when tragedy befalls them, their relationship is put to the ultimate test.

As Camryn tries to numb her pain, Andrew makes a bold decision: To get their life back on track, they’ll set out on another cross-country road trip. Together they find excitement, passion, adventure—and challenges they never could have anticipated.

Sexy. Daring. Dangerous. THE EDGE OF ALWAYS takes you on a ride you won’t forget .

THE EDGE OF ALWAYS Excerpt

Camryn shrieks and I start laughing as we dash away from the cows and toward the car.

“Awww, shiiiit!” I yell when I step in a huge pile of it.

Camryn cackles with laughter and we both practically stumble the rest of the way through the field, me trying to scrape the shit off the bottom of my shoe while running at the same time and Camryn’s flip-flops getting caught on the ground trying to keep up with her feet.

“I can’t believe that just happened!” Camryn laughs as we finally make it back to the car. She arches her body over forward and props her hands on her knees, trying to catch her breath.

I’m out of breath, too, but I still relentlessly scrape the bottom of my shoe on the asphalt. “Dammit!” I say, rubbing my foot back and forth.

Camryn jumps up on the hood of the car, letting her legs hang over the front. “Can we finally say that we did it?” she asks with laughter in her voice.

I stand still finally and catch my breath. I look at her, at how beautiful and bright that smile of hers is and I say, “Yeah, babe, I think we can safely mark it off our list.”

“Good!” she says.

Then she points behind me. “Do it on the grass,” she says with one side of her mouth pinched into a hard line. “You’re just spreading it around doing it like that.”

I hop over into the grass and start rubbing my foot back and forth again. “Since when did you become an expert on shit?”

“Better watch your mouth,” she warns, getting into the driver’s seat.

“What are you going to do?” I taunt her.

She starts the Chevelle and revs the engine a few times pressing on the gas. There’s a cruel gleam in her eyes. She props her left arm across the top of the open window and next thing I know she’s driving slowly past me.

I give her the warning eye, but her grin just gets bigger.

“I know you won’t leave me here!” I shout as she goes past me.

Surely she wouldn’t….

She gets farther away and at first I call her bluff and just stand here, watching her get smaller and smaller…

Finally, I take off running after the car.

About the Author

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J.A. Redmerski, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of THE EDGE OF NEVER lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children and a Maltese. She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Web Site

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Before you read The Edge of Always, you should read the first novel The Edge of Never

Edge of Never book cover

Book Description

Sometimes life takes you off course . . .

Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett thought she knew exactly where her life was going. But after a wild night at the hottest club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she shocks everyone-including herself-when she decides to leave the only life she’s ever known and set out on her own. Grabbing her purse and her cell phone, Camryn boards a Greyhound bus ready to find herself. Instead, she finds Andrew Parrish.

Sexy and exciting, Andrew lives life like there is no tomorrow. He persuades Camryn to do things she never thought she would and shows her how to give in to her deepest, most forbidden desires. Soon he becomes the center of her daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But there is more to Andrew than Camryn realizes. Will his secret push them inseparably together-or destroy them forever?

Purchase from Amazon: The Edge of Never

Review of Apocalyptic Moon (After the Bane)

Book Cover

Purchase from Amazon: Apocalyptic Moon (After the Bane)

Apocalyptic Moon (After the Bane)  by Eva Gordon

Book Description

Dr. Dora Adler’s life has been in disarray since the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, but when she gets bitten by one of the undead, her whole world is turned upside down. Held captive in a secret underground lab, the tall, muscular hunk in the next cell is her only hope for salvation. Unfortunately, he claims to be a werewolf. Yeah, and she’s supposedly a witch. Dirk Gunderson is an alpha Arbor pack werewolf. Captured and collared, he’s sold to the zombie lab in hopes his blood serum can create a vaccine. He needs to escape, but now without the hot little brunette witch. In the midst of enemy werewolves and the hordes of undead, Dirk and Dora’s sexual tension ignites a blaze hotter than the desert highway. Along their journey, they battle the inevitable: a werewolf must never take a witch as a mate.

Book Review

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Take a zombie apocalypse and weave in werewolves, shape-shifters, witches, unpredictable magic, and you have a fantastical and engaging story that surpasses the a typical paranormal novel!

The story begins in the midst of a zombie outbreak, also called the “Z-phage pandemic,” and four months later, there still isn’t a vaccine to neutralize the infection. Not only are law enforcement, scientists, and medical personnel working to control the zombie infestation, but werewolves are behind the scenes forming alliances with each other to ensure their survival.

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 The tone of this novel is unusual compared to some other zombie apocalyptic novels where seriousness and tension surround the characters who live daily in constant fear for their lives. Although Gordon certainly acknowledges the gravity of the situation, she has created characters who are trying their best to adapt to their new reality. The characters’ use of deadpan humor and sarcasm provides an element of relief in this chaotic world.

 

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Dr. Dora Adler and Dirk Gunderson are the main characters narrating the events that unfold. Having dual first-person point-of-views help the reader connect with and care about what both characters are forced to endure. This POV also allows the reader to become immersed in this tumultuous world where Dora and Dirk form an unlikely alliance for survival.

Dora is a physician who screens new patients showing possible signs of the infection. While assessing a patient in the emergency room, Dora is attacked and bitten by a newly-turned zombie.
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She knows the inevitable is about to happen. She has become infected from the bite and will soon turn into a zombie. Like other patients who are infected, she will be quarantined in a secure area located in the hospital basement, where she will never be seen again. All she will do is wait for a bullet to the head.

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Surprisingly, Dora appears to be immune to the infection. Because she shows no signs of turning, she is quickly whisked away to a secretive, government operated underground facility called “Lab Zero” where scientists work tirelessly to learn more about effective methods for killing existing zombies and search for a cure.

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Initially, Dora feels safe and secure in this safe haven, where she can positively contribute in developing a vaccine. However, she is kept in a bulletproof glass cell where she is constantly being poked with needles and continually tested to make sure she is still immune to the virus.  Over time, realizes she has become a prisoner held against her will. Now, she just wants to escape the confines of this restrictive environment.

Hope for obtaining her freedom ignites when she meets the strong, handsome Dirk Gunderson with his flaming red hair and the “most intense eyes she’d ever seen. Light blue with tawny flecks of gold around his pupils. Feral eyes. Her skin prickled as if he was predator and she the prey.” Indeed, this look foreshadows the truth about Dirk. He is a sexy alpha werewolf who dresses in leather and rides a Harley when outside of his pack’s compound.

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(Okay no red hair here, but you get the gist of sexy!)

Dirk is second in line to become leader of his pack, and to prepare for his future, his uncle wants him to find a shape-shifter mate. However, Dirk is “a confirmed player. Born to be wild and never bound to any female, at least for more than a night or two.”

 

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While searching for the werewolf hunter who slaughtered most of his family years ago, Dirk finds himself captured by the very hunter he seeks. Instead of killing him, the hunter sells him to Lab Zero for testing, since wolves are immune to infection caused by zombie bites.

 What the hell are you hunting

Although Dirk is surly and brooding in his captivity, he can’t help but notice the lovely, brunette, Dora, situated in the cell next to his. The two pass the time engaging in flirtatious banter where they begin to learn more about each other.

During their conversations, three relevant bits of information emerge. First, Dora learns to accept that werewolves do in fact exist, contrary to everything she has been taught.

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Second, Dirk figures out Dora is a powerful Aradia witch, whose powers are slowly emerging. Dora is shocked at this discovery:“This can’t be happening. I’m sitting here, listening to a werewolf tell me I’m a witch.”Dora considers the possibility that she is losing her sanity.

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Finally, because she is a witch, Dora is able to reach out with her mind and communicate telepathically with Dirk. Their combined abilities prove vital in their successful escape from Lab Zero.

When the opportunity presents itself for escape, Dora and Dirk must battle armed security guards

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And hordes of zombies swarming everywhere
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Fear of being attacked by zombies enables Dora to realize she does have magical abilities that she can call upon when put in dangerous situations. Although she has had no formal training in using her magic, rhyming seems to work for her some of the time. For example, when she gets trapped in a bathroom with zombies, she calls out “Abracadabra with so many zombies in sight, do let me escape by flight.” Her intention on escape along with the rhyme allows her to levitate to the ceiling until Dirk comes to her rescue. He tells her, “Good thing you have your witchmacallit going on.” The unpredictability of her magic definitely keeps the story interesting and unpredictable.

Once they manage to escape, Dora is determined to reunite with her brother and niece, while  Dirk wants nothing more than to bring her back to the pack’s compound where she can stay safe and then look for her family. He knows his pack will be overjoyed to have Dora because of she is both a physician and a witch. However, it’s not just her abilities that keep Dirk from abandoning her; it’s their growing attraction to one another:

“Since meeting her, he thought of no one else. She made him feel an entire range of emotions from fierce protectiveness to utter joy. This couldn’t be right. He was supposed to take a werewolf or another shifter as a mate, not a human and definitely not a witch.”

The sexual tension between the two reaches its peak when they finally confront each other about their mutual attraction. I really appreciate how both are honest with each other, instead of playing games and denying their true feelings, for fear of rejection. They admit the truth, even though they know it’s wrong to take their relationship to a level beyond friendship.

Dirk: “We talk now Dora, how do you feel about me?”

Dora: “Lupine or not, you’re the hottest guy I’ve ever been with. My wolf in shining red fur armor. I know you need to find the right mate and I’m human and of the witchy variety which makes your life and mine complicated.”

Dirk: “Everybody has a complicated life. Without you, life is meaningless.”

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After this admission, their passion for each other can no longer be denied. When they become intimate, Dirk impulsively sets into motion irrevocable changes that will change their lives forever.

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Can Dirk and Dora find a way to be together in the midst of the overwhelming obstacles they face?

Besides killing zombies,

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Dirk and Dora must deal with a kidnapping, enemy wolf attacks,

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a jealous she-wolf who wants to be Dirk’s mate,

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and the inevitable process of adapting to a changing world where nothing may ever be the same again.

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Throughout the book, the author subtly addresses thought-provoking themes for consideration. Do our own self-interests create the potential for devastating consequences that impact the lives of others?   How can we adapt in a world that we no longer recognize? Can we put aside our differences and unite for the greater good of humanity?

Apocalyptic Moon (After the Bane) is an action-packed adventure with plenty of drama and suspense for all of the paranormal adrenaline-junkies out there. Peppered with witty, dry humor to alleviate some of the most contentious moments, the novel will keep you spell-bound and clamoring for more. The good news, a sequel is in the works!

Rating:

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Book Trailer

About the Author

Official Website of Eva Gordon

The Bestiary Parlor: The Musings of a Zoologist Turned Author

Goodreads Profile

music blue black round 50Music to Complement the Book

REM “It’s The End of the World as We Know It” (Lyrics by Ted Agee)

Steppenwolf  “Born to Be Wild” (Lyrics)

Eagles “Witchy Woman”

Guns N’ Roses “Paradise City”

Lenny Kravitz “American Woman”

Whitesnake “Is this Love”

Steve Miller Band “Abracadabra” (Lyrics)

Queen “Another One Bites the Dust”

For Fun

The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

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The Zombie Combat Manual: A Guide to Fighting the Living Dead by Roger Ma

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My interest in zombie apocalyptic fiction is a result of my addiction to The Walking Dead (TV show on AMC)

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Feel free to leave comments or contact me if your a Walking Dead fan as well!

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Nifty Zombie Gadget:

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To leave a comment, click the small green link “Leave a comment” located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Cover Release for Jennifer’s Becton’s New Southern Fraud Thriller

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At Fault
Southern Fraud Thriller 3
Coming April 1

Operating on an insider’s tip, Julia and Vincent must go undercover to infiltrate an organized fraud ring led by a cruel, manipulative boss. But the closer they come to identifying the size and scope of the organization, the more they realize that their source has withheld vital information, causing them to make errors in their investigation—errors that may have grave consequences for an innocent victim.

Meanwhile, Vincent and Julia must both confront mistakes from the past that could rise up to destroy their hopes for the future. Vincent’s tenuous relationship with his son is tested once again. And now that Julia’s search for her sister’s rapist has finally paid off, how will Tricia and the rest of the family react to the news that she has been hiding her investigation from them all?

Will Julia and Vincent unravel the fraud ring before someone innocent gets hurt? Will they be able to keep their families together? Will they cling to the belief that they have done right, or will they begin to see themselves as people At Fault?

Click here to view Jennifer Becton’s web site

Purchase from Amazon here: At Fault (Southern Fraud Thriller 3)

Southern Fraud Thriller Series:

Book Cover Absolute Liability

Book 1

Buy now from Amazon: Absolute Liability: A Southern Fraud Thriller

Book Cover Death Benefits

Book 2

Buy now from Amazon:  Death Benefits: A Southern Fraud Thriller (Volume 2)

To leave a comment, click the small green link “Leave a comment” located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Review of Fighting For Flight (Fighting #1)

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Purchase from Amazon: Fighting for Flight (The Fighting Series)

Fighting For Flight (Fighting # 1) by Jamie Salsbury

Book Description

What happens when in order to win, you’re forced to lose? The only daughter of an infamous Las Vegas pimp, Raven Morretti grew up an outsider. Liberated from the neglectful home of her prostitute mother, she finds solace as a mechanic. With few friends, she’s content with the simple life. Flying under the radar is all she knows and more than she expects. Until she catches the eye of local celebrity, UFL playboy, Jonah Slade. Weeks away from his title fight, Jonah is determined to stay focused on everything he’s trained so hard to achieve. Undefeated in the octagon, he’s at the height of his career. But resisting Raven’s effortless allure and uncomplicated nature is a fight he can’t win. Jonah trades in his bad-boy reputation and puts his heart on the line. But when her father contacts her, setting in motion the ugly truth of her destiny, Jonah must choose. In a high-stakes gamble where love and freedom hang in the balance, a war is waged where the price of losing is a fate worse than death. Will the hothead Jonah be able to restrain his inner fighter to save the woman he loves? Or will Raven be forced into a life she’s been desperate to avoid?

Review

Jamie Salsbury’s debut novel Fighting for Flight is a New Adult romance that should not be overlooked!  The setting for the novel is glitzy, “sin city” Las Vegas, Nevada, which is quite fitting given many of the unsavory elements involved in this book.   The author opens with a prologue that is so descriptive and well-written that I am immediately immersed into this fictitious world where love is a rarity and people are viewed as commodities. I am compelled to continue reading where the story jumps ahead to twenty years later.

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The central characters are Jonah and Raven, two individuals who run in completely different social circles and who, most likely, would never have met if they both didn’t share an interest in classic cars. The story is told in present tense from both Jonah’s and Raven’s point-of-view.  I found this effective, as using the present tense provided a sense of immediacy to the story and intensified the suspense, keeping me engaged until the end.

Jonah “The Assassin” Blade is a celebrity MMA fighter who is actively training for an upcoming championship fight. He has worked hard his entire life to reach this moment and plans to win against his undefeated opponent. Jonah has also established a reputation as a man who never gets attached to any one woman.  Sex is as far as the relationship will go for Jonah, and sexual  conquests come easy for him, given his fame and good looks. He never takes a woman home with him, and he never stays overnight.  In his mind, “Just the thought of having some needy chick hanging on my arm, making me buy her crap, taking up my time with her petty issues about girl shit makes me shiver.”

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Jonah’s attitude slowly begins to change after he meets twenty-year-old Raven Morretti, a quiet, beautiful, and independent young woman who now lives on her own, after severing ties with a mother who  has always withheld affection and neglected her only daughter. Although Raven knows who her father is, she has never had any type of relationship with him. He has shown no inclination to get to know his daughter. Thus, Raven has never experienced the joys of having a loving, supportive family where she feels safe and protected.  Now, Raven, an automotive mechanic by trade, sports a tattoo of  birds in flight across her back. I think the tattooed birds are ravens and symbolize Raven’s own  journey of overcoming her confining environment, where she has been unable to thrive and propelling her forward, so she can be proactive in taking control of her future.  This flying motif is used effectively and consistently throughout the book, and readers learn early on that Raven’s journey really has only just begun.

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When Jonah drops by a local garage looking for a mechanic to help him restore a ’61 Chevy Impala, he is pleasantly surprised to find that Raven is just the mechanic for this job. Their visual appraisal of each other, upon first meeting, reveals the sexual chemistry bubbling below the surface.  Raven is stunned when she gets a close-up look at Jonah and can’t help but notice his “well-muscled arms are covered with brilliantly colored tattoos that beckon to be touched.”

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Likewise, Jonah also finds himself fascinated with Raven: “The way she walked out the garage all rolling hips and sex. I had to cross my arms over my chest to keep from reaching out to trace the dip of her collarbone.”

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However, after meeting her, Jonah finds that instead of merely lusting over Raven’s body, which is typical for him, he keeps picturing her face with  “the aquamarine color of her eyes, so unique I had to fight from getting lost in them.”

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As the two work together over the next week, restoring the Impala, they both move beyond their superficial attraction to find a genuine interest in each other. Their friendly banter establishes a level of trust where they both are able to share their deepest secrets. Raven painfully reveals that her mother is a prostitute working for infamous pimp, Dominick Morretti, who fathered her. Her fear that Jonah will reject her now that he knows the truth reveals just how deeply her sense of self-worth has been affected by her childhood circumstances.  Hearing the pain behind her confession only brings out the alpha in Jonah, who longs to care for and protect this beautiful, lonely girl.

“Look at me Raven…You’re unlike anyone I’ve ever known. You’re kind, smart, funny, gracious…I want you. And that includes everything that makes you who you are.”

He wants me. This amazing beautiful man wants me. Have I ever felt wanted before? A lone tear rolls down my cheek.

Jonah and Raven’s relationship is so intense and they fall in love so quickly, I’m caught off guard. It just doesn’t seem realistic to me. Can you really fall in love with someone you’ve only known for a week? I suppose it is possible, but I think at this point they are more in lust with rather than in love with each other.

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I think their intense passion for each other and growing intimacy provide a level of comfort and emotional stability that has been lacking in their lives . Raven craves love and attention since she has been denied that all of her life. Jonah offers to give her that:

“Baby I promise you that you’ll never want for physical contact again.” He bends down and his hazel eyes narrow into mine. “I’ll make it my life’s mission to make up for every single second you were neglected.”

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When Jonah lost his father at the age of twelve, he became emotionally detached, determined not to get too close to anyone again, unwilling to risk further heartbreak and loss. Raven awakens feelings in him that he has long suppressed:

“I was cold. Dead on the inside from the time I heard about my dad’s accident. Never felt anything outside of kicking ass or a killer hit in the octagon. Fighting gave me my breath, but you brought me back to life.”

Then, the unthinkable happens. Dominick contacts Raven and finally wants to meet with her. Raven’s hope that he finally wants to be a part of her life as a father is crushed when he reveals his true intentions. His character is so sinister, it is unimaginable to believe the cruelty he is capable of inflicting upon his daughter after she turns twenty-one.  Raven is beyond devastated:

“And just like that, right when my life starts looking beautiful, it disappears like a mirage in the desert.”

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Later, Jonah finds Raven in her apartment curled up in a fetal position. woman in fetal position She tells him, “It’s over…My life, no matter what happens is over.”

Jonah is determined to save Raven. He won’t let her go. He is willing to sacrifice everything he has worked for his entire life for this woman he loves:

“You’re a part of me now. I’d do anything for you. I’ll fight for your life as I’d fight for my own.”

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The major conflict is whether both Dominick and Jonah will each hold up their end of the agreement they have made over Raven. The suspense increasingly builds to a surprising climax that literally left me holding my breath until the heart throbbing conclusion. Can their love survive the struggle they must endure? How far will Raven and Jonah go to stay together?

Fighting for Flight is a beautifully written, sensual romance that depicts the passion of one couple to fight against fate and shows the length people will go to in order to save someone they love. The theme of sacrifice is examined not only through Jonah and Raven’s relationship, but also in the secondary characters’ lives as well. The author has created a tightly woven, unified plot that provides a satisfying conclusion.

Rating:

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About the Author

Jamie Salsbury’s Profile on GoodReads

music blue black round 50 Music to Complement the Book

This playlist comes straight from songs mentioned throughout the book:

This song is a selection chosen by SoulMusik69 and myself  for the championship fight:

To leave a comment, click the small green link “Leave a comment” located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Book Promotion: The Order of The Black Swan (Collected Tales, Books 1-3)

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The Order of the Black Swan (Collected Tales, Books 1-3) by Victoria Danann

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Genre: Contemporary Paranormal/Fantasy Romance

Publisher: 7th House

Heat Level: Steamy

Word Count: 313,000 words

Buy Links

Amazon: The Order of the Black Swan COLLECTED TALES, Books 1-3 (Black Swan Anthology) | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Smashwords

Book Description

Discover a world of adult fantasy where modern day knights of a secret society interact with an alien, a witch, a demon, a psychic, a berserker, a most unusual vampire, werewolves, elves, and fae. Fairytales intersect adventure, romance, and emotion proving that true love can find you in the strangest places, even when you’re least expecting it, even when you’re far, far from home.

 These are single titles presented in a bundle, the first three installments of the serial saga presented in anthology form. Included are:

Book 1:  My Familiar Stranger:Romancing the Vampire Hunters  (Nominated for best paranormal romance of 2012 by the Reviewers’ Choice Awards.) Released April 2012. 241 reviews on Amazon. 663 ratings on iTunes.

Book 2The Witch’s Dream: A Love Letter to Paranormal Romance  Released October 2012. Only available on Amazon. 111 reviews.

Book 3:  A Summoner’s Tale: The Vampire’s Confessor  Released February 2013. Only available on Amazon. 56 reviews.

All three of the single titles have been in Amazon’s TOP 100 in their category EVERY DAY since release.

 Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.

*****

Book Trailers

My Familiar Stranger

The Witch’s Dream

A Summoner’s Tale

*****

Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Adventure you will not put down, By Christine Merritt

This review is from: The Order of the Black Swan COLLECTED TALES, Books 1-3 (Black Swan Anthology) (Kindle Edition)

“This series is written beautifully and with intelligence. Reading them together is the way to go – one story ends with the beginning of the next book picking right up where the last ended. I’ve read the three books separately MORE THAN ONCE. Having the three bundled together is brilliant.

5.0 out of 5 stars Romance, vampires, werewolves – WOW, By Elizabeth Nix

This review is from: The Order of the Black Swan COLLECTED TALES, Books 1-3 (Black Swan Anthology) (Kindle Edition)

“While you can read these books as stand alones, this series is best read in order as they’re the continuing story of one group of the people of the Black Swan unit. There’s travel from other dimensions, a new outlook on vampires, elves, sexy warriors, romance, what more could you want? Each book is a bit different from the others as they deal with the lives and loves of these people and the trials they encounter. It’s a great series by a new writer.”

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Series!!!, By Cynthia J

This review is from: The Order of the Black Swan COLLECTED TALES, Books 1-3 (Black Swan Anthology) (Kindle Edition)

“I received a complimentary copy off the series for review, and simply could not put it down! The story grips you from the first page, and keeps going non stop. The characters are well developed and she manages to seamlessly weave fantasy, sci fi drama and romance into a very good read. I found myself tearing up at times, laughing out loud at others. I highly, highly recommend this series, can’t wait for the next!!”

About the Author

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For the past fourteen years, Victoria has illustrated and authored Seasons of the Witch calendars and planners and written several non-fiction books. She owns 7th House Publishing and contributes to its enterprises. In addition to art and writing, she plays Classic Rock music (keys, rhythm guitar, vocals) and manages one of Houston’s premier party bands. Married. Four children.

UPCOMING PROJECTS: The fourth book in the serial saga, Moonlight: The Big Bad Wolf, will release on the full moon May 25th.

Connect with Victoria Danann

Website: http://www.VictoriaDanann.com

Blog: http://VictoriaDanann.me

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vdanann

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/vdanann

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Review of Not His Type (An Opposites Attract Romance)

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Purchase from Amazon: Not His Type (An Opposites Attract Romance)

Not His Type (An Opposites Attract Romance) by Lisa Crane

Book Description

Brooke Valentine is working two crummy jobs to pay off her late grandfather’s medical bills and back taxes on his house. A freak accident leads to the loss of both jobs and leaves Brooke at the mercy of her new neighbor, Travis Cooper. Brooke can’t figure out why Travis is being so nice—anyone can see he’s way out of her league!

Travis Cooper sees Brooke as a little sister who needs someone to look out for her. When his friends ask what’s going on between them, he assures them—repeatedly—that Brooke Valentine is definitely not his type. But if she’s not his type, why can’t he seem to stop kissing her?

Enter Brooke’s new boss and friend, Jazz Valenzuela, with a scheme to make Travis jealous. But what will happen when Travis finds out it was all a fake?

Review

To say that “Bunny” Brooke Valentine is having a “bad” day is quite an understatement as we are introduced to this harried young woman, who works two jobs, attends school at the local community college, and barely makes enough to support herself.  Once she rushes out the door, she gets caught up in a series of unfortunate events that end with her new next door neighbor, Travis Cooper, rushing her to the hospital, where she wakes up twenty-four hours later after undergoing major surgery.

Travis doesn’t know anything about Brooke except that she sold him the lot next to her where he has just completed the construction of his house. It is due to his construction work, that Brooke is injured, and he feels responsible for her misfortune. While Brooke is in the hospital, Travis searches through her cell phone contacts to inform someone about Brooke’s accident. In this endeavor, he learns that her grandfather has passed away, her employers are only concerned about replacing her, and her mother, whose stripper stage name is “Satin,” could care less about her daughter’s well-being. Travis feels obligated to assist Brooke while she is in the hospital; he takes care of her dog, takes messages for her, and discovers that she has financial troubles, which he finds puzzling since he just paid her a significant sum of money for the ten acres of land he purchased from her.

Even after Brooke is released from the hospital, her troubles continue. She comes home to no electricity, a mother who is only interested in what money Brooke can provide, and a lousy fast food job where the manager lets her keep her job only so that he can sexually harasses her.  As a reader, I just found my jaw hanging open for the first quarter of the book because it just seemed hard to believe that someone could have such ongoing bad luck.  Furthermore, many of the secondary characters, such as Brooke’s mother were presented as selfish, shallow stock characters who were motivated only by their own self-interests with little regard for anyone else’s feelings. Sure, I can expect this from one or two characters, but from practically all of them?  Initially, Travis and Brooke are the only ones depicted with any sort of sensitivity and decency.

I almost stopped reading by this point because the plot and characterization seemed too unrealistic, but the prospect of Brooke and Travis’s burgeoning relationship kept my interest.

Brooke is a strong, independent woman who is used to being self-sufficient and is, therefore, reluctant to accept Travis’s help. She has trouble believing someone who barely knows her would be so willing to help, and she is suspicious of his motives:

“In Brooke’s experience nearly everyone had an angle, a ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude; and far too often …she had been the one on the losing end of those types of situations.”

She is also certain that Travis’s offer to help is not because he’s interested in her. She quickly surmises that he is a man “who could walk into a room and have just about any woman of his choosing.”  She sees herself as short, plain, chubby, and unsuccessful compared to the type of women she assumes Travis would date. She isn’t the type of woman who is overly concerned with her appearance and she tends to wear bargain clothes that are too baggy for her that she gets from thrift shops.  She is self-conscious about her appearance and the clothes allow her to keep others from taking notice.

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Brooke’s low self-esteem causes her to continuously question his interest in her as anything other than platonic.

I like that Brooke doesn’t play the victim; circumstances knock her down, but she pops right back up and keeps going. She refuses to passively sit by, pitying herself, and allowing Travis to take care of her.  Even though she is still in pain from her injury, she goes out and finds a job at Babycakes, a bakery owned by Jazz and her husband Riley and begins working immediately so that she won’t have to rely upon anyone else.

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Travis is a Marine who, after serving three tours of duty overseas, decides to start his own security firm working from his home beside of Brooke. The picture of the combat boots on the book’s cover obviously symbolize Travis’s role in the book.  Initially, I thought it was a poor cover choice since the plot focuses less on Travis’s background and profession and more on his learning to embrace his growing feelings for Brooke, who supposedly is so not his type. After closer examination, though, I think the combat boots symbolize Travis’s character. He is a man who is used to being in charge, in taking care of others, and in living his life with integrity and honesty.  Of course, he isn’t going to ignore his neighbor and her troubles, even though his friends wonder why he is so determined to have a presence in Brooke’s life.

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Ironically, even though Travis values, honesty, throughout most of the book, he refuses to be honest with himself. He genuinely likes Brooke, especially after he realizes that she is a compassionate, giving person, who has sacrificed her immediate future to pay off substantial debts left by her deceased grandfather and to continue financially helping a mother who has never been there for her emotionally or otherwise. He eases into a friendship with Brooke by teasingly calling her “Bunny girl” and “Cupcake,” and he always finds ways to be around her.

He tells Brooke that all he wants is her friendship, nothing else.  He also tells her employers, Jazz and Riley, “She’s kind of like a little sister now, I feel like I should take care of her. She doesn’t have any real family.”    Yet, Travis’s actions betray his words.  He flirts with Brooke and even shocks himself by initiating a kiss:

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 “And what a kiss! Travis hadn’t intended to kiss Brooke – ever! But as soon as his lips met hers, he felt a bone-melting heat flood through him.”

And as we discover, one kiss just isn’t enough.

Their attraction to each other is obvious , yet the central conflict is that both continue to refuse to acknowledge their mutual  attraction. Brooke “knew without a doubt, that she would be hurt.  How could she not be when she was falling in love with the man?”  And as Travis’s friend, Will, reminds him, “Your type is tall…Your type is thin and sexy and gorgeous! Your type is blonde or redhead. Your type is definitely not short, plain, and plump!”

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Once Brooke confides to Jazz about her feelings for Travis, Jazz sets a deceptive plan into motion to get Travis to really take notice of Brooke to take their relationship to a romantic level. The climax reaches its peak when Travis discovers the truth, and both he and Brooke are forced to decide what kind of relationship they really have and whether they want to move towards a future together.

The theme of the book centers on looking beyond the obvious and superficial aspects of a person; indeed, the book clearly shows that physical appearance does not always make one desirable. Furthermore, we shouldn’t let our expectations dictate how we feel about others.

This was an okay read; the plot isn’t unusual, and the outcome is predictable, which I expected going into the book, and that is fine.  Overlooking the exaggeration of characters and some of the unrealistic aspects of the book that I mentioned earlier, I found Brooke and Travis’s relationship to be incredibly sweet, just like those cupcakes with the chocolate icing and orange liqueur that Travis cannot resist. It’s a “feel good” story that will leave you with a smile.

Rating: 

Sunny-icon revised 40Sunny-icon revised 40Sunny-icon revised 40

music blue black round 50Music to Complement the book:

James Taylor “You’ve Got a Friend”

Faith Hill “This Kiss”

REO Speedwagon “Can’t Fight This Feeling” (live)

recipe box 50Recipes:

Here is a recipe for Orange Liqueur Cupcakes similar to the ones described in the book; yes those that set off the sparks between Travis and Brooke!

 

To leave a comment, click the small green link “Leave a comment” located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Review of The Pride

PrideBookCoverSnagitThe Pride by Patricia Morse

Purchase from Amazon: The Pride

Book Description

Six brave Americans heard their calling after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Evie, Lexie, and the Four Fellas courageously volunteered to become super-human hybrid warriors, to aid the United States against her war on terror. Little did they know, sometimes the terror comes from within.  The Pride will take you on a cross country journey full of action, suspense, and even a little romance, as Evie, Lexie, and their brood take on an enemy that none of them could have seen coming.

Review

Let me start this review by stating that I chose not to finish this book; therefore, my review is premature and should not necessarily deter others from giving this book a chance.

I downloaded this book, excited about the premise. Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, the military takes a select group of soldiers from various branches of the military and each undergoes a transformation that combines lion and human DNA to create “super soldiers”  known as The Pride. Two of the central characters, Lexie and Evie, are females, and the point of view switches between them (as far as I read).  In many of the military suspense novels I have read, the protogonists are male, so I was looking forward to the story told from a female perspective.

For me, a good story will grab the reader’s attention and pull them into the fictitious world created. The book begins with Lexie describing how she feels upon waking from her transformation and providing background information to set up the plot. I found the exposition behind the story’s permise to be lacking.  Why choose to use lion DNA?  How did scientists and doctors know this would work?  What are the benefits, the risks for everyone involved?  I just learn that it happened. Lexie says, “I stared at myself in the mirror, hardly recognizing the face staring back at me. My hair was luminescent and golden, my skin flawless and glowing, and my eyes the color of emeralds. I guess the combination of lion and human DNA makes for a nice package.”

I use that quote to lead me into the second issue I have with book, the portrayal of Lexie.  She is self-absorbed about her physical appearance and constantly stares at herself in the mirror. As a woman, I understand the desire to feel attractive, and there is nothing wrong with being feminine. However, the way she thinks just doesn’t mesh with the idea of a warrior.  For example, on the group’s first mission, they are doing reconnaissance, and Lexie complains about her situation: “I hated reconnaissance missions with a passion. I’m more the maini, pedi, shoe shopping type of a gal.”  Several paragraphs later, she goes on to say, “Anything was better than laying in pine needles and mud. I’d never get the dirt out of my hair.  I didn’t know why we were here, and I didn’t care….Besides recon isn’t my role in the pride. I seduce the prey and the others flock in for the kill.”  Okaaayy, I’m left wondering how in the world did she make it as a marine with that mindset?

Lexie does make a good point, though…she and I both are unclear about the purpose of the mission and why they are there. The pride members  don’t seem to have a concrete plan for completing this mission. Again, I may be premature in saying this because I didn’t read far enough, but as a reader I wanted more information and details by this point.

My final issue with the story that stopped my reading progression is that the author told me what was going on rather than showing me. In an online article called “Showing Versus Telling,” Pamela Rice Hahn explains the difference between the two:  “Showing in a story merely means that you’re allowing the reader to participate in the events rather than just rattling off what happened. When the reader participates, it creates involvement-he or she can see the events unfolding, and then is left wondering what is going to happen next.”  Hahn then provides a great example of narrative that tells and is then revised to show. I’ll include the link for the article at the end.

I am not one to give up on books very easily, and I try to read the entire book before forming an opinion. However, as I get older, I value my time more, and there are so many other books out there waiting to be experienced.

Other readers’ expectations may differ from mine, and they may find the book enjoyable and satisfying. The plot certainly provides a creative angle on fighting the war on terrorism, so try it to see if it appeals to you.

Link to article

Showing Versus Telling

Rating

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To leave a comment, click the small green link “Leave a comment” located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Review of Tall, Dark, and Fearless

Tall Dark and Fearless Cover

Purchase from Amazon:Tall, Dark and Fearless: Frisco’s Kid\Everyday, Average Jones (Hqn)

Tall, Dark, and Fearless by Suzanne Brockmann

Book Description

“Frisco’s Kid” Being a Navy SEAL is more than a career to Alan “Frisco” Francisco-it is his whole world. So when a bullet wound threatens his future in the Navy, he is determined to achieve a full recovery…all on his own. But his lovely neighbor Mia Summerton has other plans for him. She can’t mend his wounded body, but can she heal his heart?

 “Everyday Average Jones” All her life Melody Evans has wanted to marry a plain average man who doesn’t take risks. But when the foreign embassy is taken over by terrorists and she’s rescued by a daring Navy SEAL, Melody blames the extreme circumstances for their ensuing passion. When it comes to ordinary, Harlan “Cowboy” Jones is anything but, and their encounter leaves Melody with a little more than just memories…

 

Review

Tall, Dark, and Fearless by Suzanne Brockmann comprises two stories about Navy Seals who are part of the elite Alpha Ten squad.

The first part of this book: “Frisco’s Kid” centers on Lt. Alan “Frisco” Francisco who was injured in an operation five years ago and has been in intense physical therapy to recover from a knee injury that has left him disabled.  Readers follow him as he mourns the loss of being an active duty Navy Seal who has been dedicated to saving and protecting others.  The central conflict is whether Frisco can accept the fact that he can no longer serve in the field but still serve in other capacities.

Frisco is angry and bitter after he is released from the VA hospital and returns to his apartment to wallow in his despair. He is forced to walk with a cane and endures constant pain as he continually pushes himself to try to regain his former mobility.  He withdraws from his world feeling that he is just an “empty shell” of the man he used to be. However the unexpected entrance of his neighbor Mia and his five-year-old niece, Natasha, who is forced upon him while his sister is in drug rehab.  Mia initially wants nothing to do with Frisco because of his cynical attitude towards life in general. He feels frustrated that he is forced to ask for help and has to rely on others to assist in taking care of his niece. Frisco and Mia’s relationship starts out rocky but as they gradually get to know each other, Mia finds herself drawn to this man who carries so much emotional baggage:

 “He was everything she didn’t need. His wounds so deep and so catastrophic. She could handle his physical limitation… It was his emotional baggage-the bitterness and anger he carried with him-that had the bulk and the weight to engulf her and drag her down too.” (pg 209)

The plot is further complicated by a villain who kidnaps Mia and Natasha forcing Frisco to call upon his former teammates for help.  A powerful story that reinforces the concept that you are only helpless if you refuse to ask for help.

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The second story in this book is called “Everyday, Average Jones” and focuses on Lt. Harlan “Cowboy” Jones who is part of a rescue mission that brings home three hostages who have been help captive by terrorists in a foreign country. Cowboy takes responsibility for assisting one of the hostages, Melody Evans in returning to the U.S. As they work together to escape, Melody grows to trust and depend upon Cowboy to keep her safe.  The attraction between them intensifies, and once the rescue mission is complete, Cowboy and Melody spend six passion filled days together before Melody returns home, and Cowboy is sent on another mission. Melody enjoys their time together but considers this to be just a fling, and she has no plans to continue seeing Cowboy ever again. She tells her sister, Brittany, “What I felt for him wasn’t love. It was hero worship.”

Jump ahead seven months later and we find that Melody has become pregnant with Cowboy’s child. She plans to keep the child but does not tell Cowboy about the pregnancy. She’s up to being a single mother. However, over these past seven months Cowboy realizes he doesn’t want to let Melody go. When the team is sent to Virginia for a training assignment, Cowboy decides to look Melody up.  Eventually Cowboy discovers that he is going to become a dad and the central conflict resolves around whether he and Melody should marry for the sake of the child. Melody believes that passion and lust are not enough to make a marriage work, while Cowboy believes that a child needs a father in his or her life.  The story line isn’t original, but what makes the read enjoyable are the ways Cowboy tries to convince Melody to give him a chance.  He takes a rather unconventional approach to try to woo Melody.

Rating: 

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Related to Suzanne Brockmann

Suzanne Brockmann Website

Goodreads Author Profile

Music to Accompany the Stories

Here is a song that may help readers relate to what Frisco was going through during his darkest time:

Here’s a song for Cowboy and Melody  “Forever Don’t Seem that Long” by Tracy Allen

*Thanks to Soulmusik69 for musical selections that complement the book.

 

To leave a comment, click the small green link “Leave a comment” located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Review of Safe Haven

Safe Haven book cover

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Purchase from Amazon: Safe Haven

Book Description

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful, yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But as Kate begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her…a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards…and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

Review

Nicholas Sparks is a bestselling romance author with a dedicated following. Safe Haven is not his latest publication as it was released in 2010, but it has had a resurgence of interest since the book was made into a movie this year.

After suffering years of physical and emotional abuse from her husband, Katie Feldman has managed to escape the marriage with the hope of starting a new life. After bouncing from state to state, she decides to stay awhile along the coast of North Carolina in Southport.

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However, Katie is all too aware her stay may only be temporary as she must hide from her unstable police detective husband. Kevin. Although she lives in constant fear of being found, Katie manages to find a job as a waitress and she finds a place to call her own, a small cottage nestled in a secluded part of the town where she can maintain her privacy and heal from her physical and emotional scars.

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Katie isn’t looking to make friends or to become a part of the community. Her goal in Southport is to remain as inconspicuous as possible and save money in case she needs to run again. Her isolation is short-lived when Jo moves in next door and slowly eases her way into Katie’s life. Through her caring and supportive nature, she coaxes Katie into revealing bits about her past.

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Another Southport resident, Alex, also seems determined to become a part of Katie’s life. Alex is a widower with two small children who owns a country store on the outskirts of town. He cannot help but notice the lovely Katie whenever she stops by the store to shop. Alex is curious about Katie’s skittish nature and evasiveness when he tries to engage her in conversation. He senses Katie wants to be friendly but is too scared to do so. During one of her visits, Katie intervenes when Alex’s son becomes endangered. Her involvement during this crisis causes Alex and his children to reach out to Katie, to encourage her to become a part of their lives.

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This is a big step for Alex, since he is only now beginning to consider getting involved with another woman since his wife died. But Alex sees something in Katie, and although he knows she has secrets, he still wants to take a chance with her to see where the relationship will take them.

The pacing of the novel is slow in order to show the development of Katie’s relationship with Alex and his children. As they get to know each other, their mutual attraction grows, and Alex’s children are accepting of Katie, and she comes to care for both them.  Yet, Katie is still afraid to become too involved with this family because of the dangers from her past. Early in the relationship, she tells Alex, “…I do want to see you and it scares me because I know deep in my heart that you deserve someone better. You deserve someone you can count on. Someone your kids can count on. Like I said, there are things you don’t know about me.”  Katie doesn’t think Alex will want to continue their relationship once he knows the truth, but she believes that Alex deserves to know about her past. The flashbacks to significant episodes in Katie’s marriage describe a vibrant woman who eventually crumbles under the control of a selfish husband who uses criticism and violence to keep his wife submissive. Although, she has been traumatized from the marriage, Katie is a survivor, a strong character who refuses to succumb to a life of pain and loneliness.

To Katie’s surprise, Alex is understanding and even accepting of her situation and vows to keep her secrets in order to keep her safe. Alex is an admirable man who isn’t afraid to put his heart out there for the woman he has grown to love. He is open and honest about his feelings for Katie, which is refreshing.

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As predicted, Kevin eventually tracks Katie to Southport, and even as he searches for her specific location, he remains in a perpetual state of drunkenness. His extreme mood swings leave readers wondering whether he will kidnap Katie and bring her home or kill her since she has betrayed him by leaving and being with another man. Throughout, the novel, we get Kevin’s point of view about his marriage to Katie whose birth name is really Erin until she obtains her new identity.  Although at times Kevin becomes mournful and cries about losing Erin, it is hard to feel much sympathy for a man who is bullies and physically assaults a woman without accepting responsibility for his actions.

Kevin’s arrival in town builds towards a suspenseful and dramatic climax that impacts the future of Katie and Alex. Just when you think you have the ending figured out Sparks throws you for a loop with neighbor Jo’s role in the story. The ending leaves you reaching for the Kleenex, yet feeling optimistic about rare second chances we may be fortunate to be given in our lifetime.

Rating: 

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Related to Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks Official Website

Goodreads Author Profile 

Safe Haven Movie Trailer (Movie Released February 2013)

I’m a North Carolina native, and although you might consider me biased, I do believe Southport is a great place to visit and vacation.

Learn more about Southport, North Carolina: Southport

For some great recipes check out the online magazine Our State: North Carolina