Prude by Jordan S. Gray


Prude by Jordan S. Gray
Labeled: Book One
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (270 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

Rebecca Washington is a girl in control. Well, at least when it comes to acing her college classes. The rest of the time, she seems to be at the mercy of everyone else. Like when she’s dumped in front of her peers, hit on right afterwards by a jerk for some stupid bet, and then paired up with the same jerk for a lit project.

In order to maintain her perfect GPA, Rebecca will need to give a stellar presentation while ignoring the prodding eyes that will be staring at her. When her partner, Derek, starts to ease her fears of public speaking with his laid back attitude, she’s forced to confront her new feelings about him and his charming smile. Rebecca knows falling for a guy who teases her for being a prudish nerd can only end badly, but what if it’s just another thing out of her control?

Rebecca Washington is your “typical” smart girl, good grades, attention to detail and a love life that fits neatly into an organized schedule. In fact, the schedule is so neat that her boyfriend decides that old married couples have more spontaneity and publicly breaks up with Rebecca, drawing her much unwanted attention. This includes attention from a strikingly handsome man in her British Literature class. With her life in chaos, Rebecca’s friends try to help her see there is more to life than just class and good grades.

Prude is a look at life from a controlled perspective, that is, until life becomes uncontrolled. Rebecca finds herself drawn to Derek, who happens to embody the exact opposite of everything that Rebecca is interested in. As the story unfolds, we see the many different layers of Derek and this lines out much more in Rebecca’s true search for herself.

While I enjoyed the psychological complexities of Derek; Rebecca had some subtleties of her own that come out throughout the book. Shayler and Ansley, Rebecca’s best friends since high school, make many appearances throughout the book, but I feel that we only get to know them on a superficial level. Even with Rebecca’s point of view throughout the story, we only get a glimpse of what makes up her persona. I felt that by the end of the book, I knew more about the backstory behind Derek and his character development than I did even with Rebecca being placed as the main character.

Some scenes of the book felt strained and rushed, almost as though there was a race to get to a more interesting part coming up. There were several stereotypical occurrences and some stilted dialogue which disrupted the flow of the story from time to time. The story development and plot twists did fit well, but still felt a bit forced.

Overall the story had a general easy to read flow. While I felt the overall character development and backstories could have been stronger, the core plot and twists throughout the story did make for an interesting read romance.

If you are looking for a fun story to give you a glimpse into the world of a prude, then be sure not to miss Prude!

Her Montana Millionaire by Crystal Green


Her Montana Millionaire by Crystal Green
Publisher: Silhouette/Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (256 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

FROM LIFE IN THE FAST LANE…
New York socialite Jinni Fairchild would take care of her sister, even if that meant sacrificing, temporarily, her jetset lifestyle for the wilds of Rumor, Montana. No limos, no parties, no haute couture — she was barely surviving. Until she met Max Cantrell.

TO SLOW AND EASY.
Tall. Dark. Gorgeous. And rich as Midas. Jinni knew how to handle men like him. With one flirtatious smile, she would have him eating out of her manicured hand. Except Max had his own agenda, one that involved long talks, gentle kisses and an unhurried sensuality that tempted this city girl to stop and smell the roses — with him!

MONTANA MAVERICKS: THE KINGSLEYS
Nothing is as it seems beneath the big skies of Montana

I don’t believe I’ve ever read a story where the heroine is so blatantly stereotypical – on purpose. She knows she’s got the looks, the charm, the style and the attitude and Jinni flaunts it for all she’s worth. She’s also used to having no problems getting men to propose and her saying ‘yes’. The heroine just has this little issue with commitment; the ‘yes’ never turns into ‘I do’ – until Max. He makes her question her sense of self. It’s that process and how Ms. Green wrote the journey that made this novel so engaging and charming. I actually liked Jinni and got the greatest kick out of her internal dialogues. She’s actually pretty funny.

Max is a loner, a man scorned, a single dad with a kid he can’t seem to reach – you know, the perfect tortured hero? Getting into his head allowed me to understand that the strong man people see from outside doesn’t give the whole picture of just who Max is inside.

Being in both their POVs was positively humorous especially when they took turns teasing, seducing, bantering and employing tactile innuendo; they basically drove each other crazy with lust. Even though I tagged this as spicy, I’d call it ‘spicy-lite’ because the culmination, when it finally, FINALLY happened, had just enough description to say the door was open and to assure readers that they were compatible in all the best of ways.

Max has a romantic streak in him a mile wide and I think Ms. Green had quite a ball imagining all kinds of toys, pursuits and eccentricities a millionaire might have if he indulged in flights of fancy. As over the top as some of them were, I give kudos to the author for creativity that invokes the word – FUN.

Max’s son, Michael is a plot/conflict mover. He’s on stage enough to be a pivotal player. As for Max’s brother, I’m not sure what to say about him. Actually, I’m not sure if I should add as a tag a ‘sci-fi’ aspect, or something. Guy is like an absentminded professor and his … discovery is the stuff of those old B movie horror flicks – totally implausible but fun. At least he’s a good guy. I’m disappointed that his loose end wasn’t tied up. I wonder if that means he will have his own story? I’m going to have to do some research because I simply can’t leave him where this book left him.

Her Montana Millionaire was pure, enjoyable escapism that was a pleasure to read. I had fun and I think its charm could be appreciated by many fans of romance.

I think a story that leaves you smiling is a good thing. Her Montana Millionaire does that.

The Ghost and Mrs Miller by Sandra Tilley


The Ghost and Mrs Miller by Sandra Tilley
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (359 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Libby Miller is a good Southern girl, and good Southern girls know the rules. But fate has no rules. On her nineteenth wedding anniversary, fate whips up a tornado of turmoil when Libby finds her husband Neil in the arms of his assistant. But the storm’s not over. Neil flips his BMW, and Libby comes home to find his ghost in the dining room. How is Libby supposed to grieve and move on with Neil’s ever-present, meddling ethereal presence in her life?

With her twentieth high school reunion looming, Libby finds herself torn between two men from her past. One man promises passion and a new beginning, and the other wants to pick up where they left off. Neil stirs up a maelstrom of mischief, making it almost impossible for Libby to sort through the rubble. Libby anticipates a confrontation between her two suitors–not a shadowy stalker who chooses the reunion as his setting for a showdown.

In Libby’s quest for independence, she rejects the one man who can save her. Can she compromise the price of her freedom, or will it cost her a second chance at love and put her life in danger?

On the night of her nineteenth wedding anniversary Libby discovers her husband has been cheating on her. After ramming his shiny white BMW with her tatty old car, she drives home with her mind in turmoil. Her children are away so she is able to give in to her emotions, but a knock on the door brings her more bad news. It’s Eli, a police captain who is also a a childhood friend. He has come to tell her her husband, Neil has been in a crash and has not survived the accident.

With most stories this would be the end of the matter, Libby would move forward and find a new love who her kids would adore and all would be well. This story is different as Neil refuses to move on to the other side. He haunts Libby who can’t help herself taunting him about his indiscretion. This leads to many humorous moments when friends look at her weirdly as she talks to Neil, who they cannot see.

There’s also the stalker who keeps driving past her house which is in a gated community. Eli tries to help and also helps with various tasks around the property, but another childhood friend is also interested in Libby. For a believer in ghosts this is a very apt story about what could happen when a husband dies at what he considers the wrong moment in his life. There’s also the question, does Neil approve of her moving on, or would he like her to remain true to him? Good read with a nice twist to the story.

Mothers and Other Strangers by Gina Sorell


Mothers and Other Strangers by Gina Sorell
Publisher: Prospect Park Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (320 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

“My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man’s child, she accepted.”

Thus begins this riveting story of a woman’s quest to understand her recently deceased mother, a glamorous, cruel narcissist who left her only child, Elsie, an inheritance of debts and mysteries. While coping with threats that she suspects are coming from the cult-like spiritual program her mother belonged to, Elsie works to unravel the message her dying mother left for her, a quest that ultimately takes her to the South African family homestead she never knew existed.

I don’t know where to start on my review for this book. The author’s writing style captured me from the very start of the novel. This is a well written book that includes a wondrously structured plot of suspense. I couldn’t help but feel for Elsie as she opened up revealing various pains that all seem to have generated from the soiled relationship with her mother. Elsie has made the best of her life, but with the recent death of her mother, Rachel, old wounds start to open up and Elsie is challenged to face not only her demons but also her mother’s.

Elsie is a strong young lady who, even though she lacked her mother’s love and approval, still seemed to get through life. No, she wasn’t perfect and she had her faults but I guess that’s what made her so easy to connect with. She was a teen performance dancer, she dealt with being anorexic, she loses her best friend but gains the lead dance role. Any mother would be proud to have a daughter with such a successful early career. That’s one thing, even after finishing the novel I still didn’t understand why Elsie’s mother treated her like she did. She was her mother’s only child and yet in a way Elsie was motherless. Elsie’s self-pity is so strong that she’d rather be alone in the world; pushing away the one man that loves her beyond measure.

Elsie’s ex-husband Ted is her stronghold and voice of reason. I enjoyed reading their story. I was sad to read that Elsie’s willingness to give up and free Ted, but I was glad and found it touching that Ted’s love continued during the bad. I was glad Ted is true and consistent in Elsie’s life and that even though they are divorced he still took time to answer her calls and to help her when he could.

I enjoyed the writing style and the voice of Elsie as she looked for answers in finding herself and along the way making sense to find answers to her life. Her mother’s death didn’t necessarily mean an end, but it seemed to give Elsie strength and purpose. As I mentioned earlier, I still didn’t understand Elsie’s mother’s reasons for her actions and way of mothering. The many years that her mom had ties with the Seekers was strange to me. This part of the story is different and I tried thinking of some other reason that could put a wedge between a mother and a daughter; I guess Rachel’s deep involvement with the Seekers is good enough reason for a wedge. Reading about a cult-like religion is something new to me and it worked for this story.

I highly recommend this story for readers who enjoy going deep into a character’s emotional life where their story remains long after the you’ve turned the last page.

Where Danger Lies by Donna Del Oro


Where Danger Lies by Donna Del Oro
The Jake Bernstein FBI Series, Volume 3
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Suspense/Mystery
Rating: Spicy
Length: Full (278 pgs)
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

FBI Special Agent Jake Bernstein is recruited to help investigate two apparently unrelated cases while on medical leave in San Diego. A female officer assigned to Naval Base Coronado has been killed and a Muslim woman is viciously beaten and left for dead.

Meg Larsen is in San Diego pursuing additional teaching credentials but is interested in becoming an active volunteer and helping Jake in his investigations. She’s more than ready for Jake to commit to her and give her a reason to alter her career plans but also gets drawn into the danger that surrounds his cases.

Jake must use his training and skill to keep everyone safe but there’s a chance that even if he’s successful in solving the cases, his relationship with Meg may be a fatality.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. I haven’t read the first two in the series, so I worried a bit about being able to understand the undercurrents between characters and the backgrounds and such. While I do think my experience with the story might have been richer if I’d read the others, and I would have understood Meg and Jake’s relationship more fully, I never felt lost during my reading of this book.

The plot was solid and interesting. The author does a good job with red herrings and mysteries and leaves the reader wondering just which way is up. There are plenty of misleading clues, along with solid ones, so we are just as deceived and confused as Jake and his NCIs are. It takes some sorting and sleuthing to figure it all out, but the mystery definitely comes to a satisfying ending.

The romance, for me, wasn’t the strongest part of the book, and this may be where my not having read the first two stories may have put me at a slight disadvantage. In the beginning, it seems as if Meg doesn’t trust Jake (she grills him a bit about whether he was with another woman when he traveled for work) and that made me not like her as much as I wanted to. Of course, we’re in Jake’s POV and can see that he wasn’t being unfaithful, and can also see how he feels about Meg, so that may be part of that, too. I was already on his side and didn’t like Meg questioning his loyalty.

There were some odd word choices, and some phrasings throughout, that were a bit awkward for me. It’s very likely a personal issue and may not bother most readers, but they did pull me out of the story on occasion.

That said, I really did like Jake and enjoyed watching him (with help from a few other folks) unwind the mystery of the murder and assault. He’s a good, honorable guy with plenty of smarts (and looks) and made a great hero for this romantic suspense novel.

All-in-all an enjoyable read. I do wish I’d read the first two books, but only because I really liked Jake and wanted to know more about him and his background. My TBR pile is incredibly tall, but I may have to add the first two Jake Bernstein books to the top!

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Everything We Left Behind by Kerry Lonsdale


Everything We Left Behind by Kerry Lonsdale
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (327 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

Two months before his wedding, financial executive James Donato chased his trade-laundering brother Phil to Mexico, only to be lost at sea and presumed dead. Six and a half years later, he emerges from a dissociative fugue state to find he’s been living in Oaxaca as artist Carlos Dominguez, widower and father of two sons, with his sister-in-law Natalya Hayes, a retired professional surfer, helping to keep his life afloat. But his fiancée, Aimee Tierney, the love of his life, has moved on. She’s married and has a child of her own.

Devastated, James and his sons return to California. But Phil is scheduled for release from prison, and he’s determined to find James, who witnessed something in Mexico that could land Phil back in confinement. Under mounting family pressure, James flees with his sons to Kauai, seeking refuge with Natalya. As James begins to unravel the mystery of his fractured identity, danger is never far behind, and Natalya may be the only person he can trust.

This story is the sequel to Everything We Keep and I’m glad the author chose to write Aimee and James’ story from his perspective because I’d been fascinated to know what really happened to him.

All is answered in this book. James is now Carlos, a widower with two boys and living in Mexico. As the story unfolds…it’s told in both the present and past as we learn what happened and how he ended up in a fugue state.

Aimee is now married with a child and I thought perhaps the story would focus on their reconnecting but instead it takes different course and the suspense deepens when his brother is released from prison. He was the catalyst for the drama surrounding James’ disappearance and in this book; he’s trouble with a capital T.

I thought this had more of a page turning quality to it than the first one and found myself reading more as I got farther into the book. It’s got a ticking clock quality to it and I found the characters really compelling

I obviously won’t give away the ending but let’s just say these two books have turned me into a die-hard fan of Ms. Lonsdale.

I strongly suggested reading the books in order to appreciate the sweeping and suspenseful story line.

Forever Wicked by Nina Bangs


Forever Wicked by Nina Bangs
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (400 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Sparkle Stardust wishes she could take back the angry words she threw at Ganymede. Now the man she loves has left her and is on a collision course with death if she can’t stop him. When she finally tracks him down, Sparkle discovers he has stirred up more trouble than both of them can handle.

Ganymede storms from the Castle of Dark Dreams determined never to return. He vents his anger by creating chaos around the world, certain that the mayhem will drive Sparkle from his mind and from his heart. It doesn’t work.

But when a powerful enemy from their past threatens Ganymede and Sparkle, they stand side by side to protect their lives, their castle, and their love.

The conclusion of a story arc is always a joyously sad event. I mean, you finally get the satisfaction of seeing how everything comes together, usually in a big, dramatic event and it’s joyous and exciting because you’ve waited for it for what feels like forever. The sad part is because it’s concluded. The good thing about Forever Wicked is the happily ever after is one fans have been waiting for, for years upon years and it seems Ms. Bangs decided all hands should be on deck, so to speak. It was really awesome to see the ‘plants’ are still doing well. *grin*

The most fascinating revelation about Sparkle and Ganymede is their origins. That was something I never, ever saw coming. In the Castle of Dark Dreamsseries the two protagonists were always Cosmic Troublemakers – they wrought various forms of destruction and misery on worlds and on Earth. It’s what they did and what they were. However, throughout the series I saw them slowly morph into something else besides destroyers and troublemakers and this novel explains why. It was very cool. Actually, it was kind of sad too, and shocking. It’s that element that leads the plot into twists and turns that does Ms. Bangs justice.

As far as the romance goes between Sparkle and Ganymede, it starts off bumpy because they kind of broke up with each other in the previous novel. I say ‘kind of’ because it was more a matter of hurt feelings than either one not being in love with the other, so there was a lot of healing and attempts at reconciling in the first part of the story. It’s the threat they face and the realization that they are stronger together than apart when faced with the biggest fight in their long lives that brings them back together.

In fact, all of my favorite characters where brought back to play important parts in the final, dramatic and exciting conclusion. Seeing them again sparked an interest to read the whole series from beginning to end and relive why I enjoyed this series so much. The variety of personalities always kept the story arc fresh and interesting.

Anyone who has read Ms. Bangs’ works knows that humor is a big part in the lives of her characters and that remains true in Forever Wicked. Yes, there are sexy times to show that Sparkle and Ganymede are still hot for each other but it’s lightly sprinkled throughout the book. The main focus is on the plot, the characters and their personalities, and how they suddenly understand the meaning of ‘family’ – of which is an incredibly important component to the conclusion of the story arc.

I suppose this book could be considered a standalone story because the focus is on the two main characters but I strongly believe that the potential impact is greatly enhanced for fans of the series. With that in mind, I’d lean towards it not being truly a standalone read. Ultimately, it’s reader’s choice.

Forever Wicked was a tale worth waiting for. I am satisfied with their happily ever after and the story told to get there. It was pure Sparkle and Ganymede just as I’ve known them to be, but with more depth and surprises. I’m a happy reader.

Knights of Stone: Calum by Lisa Carlisle


Knights of Stone: Calum by Lisa Carlisle
Highland Gargoyles Book 5
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (188 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

When a short-term mission turns into a battle between love and duty…

Calum lives for thrills both on and off stage as lead singer of the Knights of Stone. During a night flight, he witnesses a dragon chasing a pegasus and his gargoyle instincts kick in. When the rescued pegasus turns out to be a beautiful shifter named Arielle, he sets off on a dangerous mission to help her.

Arielle never should have wandered from her pegasi herd. Not only did she attract the attention of a dragon who wants to steal her magic, but they’ve ended up lost in another realm. If she even makes it through the night, how will she ever return home?

Calum and Arielle’s chance encounter in the Scottish Highlands turns into something more. Can Calum help Arielle return to her realm, when he wants to convince her to stay?

For a hot Highland shifter series set on a mystical isle shared by gargoyles, tree witches, and wolf shifters, meet the brothers in the Knights of Stone today!

Calum swore he’d never fall in love.

Calum relishes being the lead singer in this brothers’ rock band, and all the female adoration that comes with it. However, it no longer seems to be enough. Lately, he’s been feeling increasingly restless. One night while Calum is out flying seeking peace, he comes across a deadly dragon chasing Arielle, a pegasus shifter. Despite Calum’s bravado and swagger, he is a protective and caring man. He doesn’t hesitate at all before intervening. I admire his bravery. Calum and Arielle survive the encounter, but Arielle is far from being safe. Pegasi are highly sought after for their magic, and there are those who would use Arielle for personal gain. Can Calum keep Arielle safe and help her find a way back to her own realm?

Calum and Arielle have the makings of a great couple. They are both adventurous spirits and have excellent chemistry. I enjoyed watching them get to know each other. Even though their relationship progresses at lightning speed, Ms. Carlisle makes it seem completely plausible. The sexual tension between Arielle and Calum is intense, especially when he’s on stage singing. It is always great seeing the brothers rock, but it is clear Calum is performing just for Arielle. Before he knows it, Calum has fallen in love with Arielle, but they are literally from two different worlds. Will he be able to let her go when the time comes?

I’m glad I had the opportunity to return to the world of the Highland Gargoyles. It gets better with each book as Ms. Carlisle introduces more interesting characters and creatures. I can honestly say that Arielle is the first pegasus shifter I’ve ever encountered! I can’t wait to see what Ms. Carlisle has in store for the next installment of this series.

Knights of Stone: Calum is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It is the fifth book in the series, but it can be read alone without difficulty as Ms. Carlisle makes everything clear. Fans of steamy paranormal romance should definitely give this book, as well as the others in the series, a try.

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare


When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (376 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

If you think all prologues start the same or follow a pattern, then I think you might be pleasantly surprised by this novel. I had to read the beginning twice only because I was vastly amused and greatly entertained. It was so fresh, inventive and kind of charming that if the story continued as it started, I believed I was in for a grand read. I was right, and I loved it.

First, kudos to whoever came up with the title of When a Scot Ties the Knot because it snagged my attention immediately. I appreciate clever titles.

I also liked the author’s use of descriptions and analogy. I specifically admired her use of the ‘message in a bottle’ reference. However, the poem was a bit … well it was giggle worthy only because of who was reciting it. I can envision the audience’s reaction and it makes me smile.

What is fascinating is the conflict of the heroine. It’s daunting in its scope. It’s the very thing that caused this whole twisted, surprising journey and I think it’s perfect. No one seems to understand the severity of Maddie’s affliction and after a few stunning examples, the hero finally gets it. Logan is truly hero material.

Of course, Logan doesn’t see himself as a hero. He just does what he believes is right, is just and is for the best for the people in his care. The fact that a man who started off life with the conditions he survived to become man of honor and integrity made his happy ever after that much more sweet. I adored Logan. There is no greater testimony to his worthiness to be called hero than how he dealt with Grant. I was impressed.

Maddie was fun to read about. I liked her talent, her views on life, her goals and her dreams. I even liked the lobsters. The greatest thing about When a Scot Ties the Knot is how Maddie and Logan brought out the strengths in each other to balance their weaknesses, whether real or perceived. They were wonderful together, and that includes under the sheets, eventually.

This novel has so much to recommend it that I am not sure what else to add. I’m so glad I read it, I had fun; I enjoyed the dialogue, the interaction with all the secondary characters and the tone of the book. There were a few things that might be implausible but that was no match for the sheer perfect of the rest of the novel. If asked, I’d recommend reading When a Scot Ties the Knot in a heartbeat. It’s a romance with substance, just what I like.

The World Without Crows by Ben Lyle Bedard


The World Without Crows by Ben Lyle Bedard
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (400 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

In 1990, the world ended. A disease turned people into walking shells of themselves. Zombies. Most of them were harmless, but some were broken by the pressure of the disease. The cracked became ravenous killers whose bite infected.

To escape the apocalypse, Eric, a young, overweight boy of 16, sets off on a journey across the United States. His plan is to hike from Ohio to an island in Maine, far from the ruins of cities, where the lake and the fierce winters will protect him from both Zombies and the gangs that roam the country.

Along the way, Eric finds friends and enemies, hope and despair, love and hatred. The World Without Crows is the story of what he must become to survive.

For him and the people he would come to love, the end is only the beginning.

The end of the world means that things change-the true humanness of humanity comes forth.

The World Without Crows is a fascinating look at the change in world dynamics when Vaca B turns people into zombie-like husks of their former selves. Eric is a teenager with a very poor self-image. After the death of his mother, Eric leaves everything that he has known to travel towards an island in Maine where he hopes to find safety.

Along the way, Eric meets several new friends and they form a group desiring the same thing, safety. Unfortunately, there are gangs, ragtag military groups and other that look to profit from those that might show a little too much trust. Eric and his friends face danger and the risk of death throughout the entire journey.

The World Without Crows speaks to the authors understanding of human nature and the psychology of the individual. Ben Lyle Bedard does a fantastic job at bringing each character to life-and each character has an amazing back story and life before the Vaca B-each life is filled with dreams, desires and loss. The description and journey that the author brings forth causes the reader to become fully immersed in the world that the characters live within. This new world is enough to create a frightening realization for the reader-this reality is something that could happen in today’s society.

The interactions between characters both verbal and non-verbal are descriptively explained by the author. In fact, some of the best conversations of the book are explained through the actions of the characters rather than by dialogue alone. The author spends a great amount of time describing the world around the characters, I found that I found that I could completely relate with the actions and choices that each character made, even though some were certainly for the worse.

As each character becomes more near and dear to the reader, there is the reality that this character may not make it to the end. With the disease of Vaca B so prevalent and with it so easily transmitted; the reader can become so totally involved in the story and not realize that when a character is facing death, that he or she has become a part of the reader’s identity.

I highly recommend reading The World Without Crows–this story will haunt you at night when you realize the depth of humanity is much more shallow than you ever imagined.