Camelot Games by Oliver F. Chase

Camelot Games by Oliver F. Chase
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (418 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

When a secret political machine maneuvers California war hero, Scott McHale and his beautiful activist wife, Angie into running for political office, an entirely new and frightening evil is unleashed upon the American public. As the wildly popular Latino couple’s success and independence grow, hidden kingmakers quietly put into play a plan designed to plunge the nation into chaos. Nothing and no one is out of bounds. Treachery and treason, murder and manufactured mayhem propel an unsuspecting Scott and Angie closer and closer to the Oval Office. But when Scott goes off script, he suddenly vanishes in a smokescreen of sexual innuendo and scandal. A bereft and bitter Angie is left behind to continue their golden legacy alone. Will she discover the truth in time to prevent civil war?

How close is the United States to the brink of civil war? The answer may surprise you.

Powerful individuals stand behind major corporations and influence the power play of American government. When Scott McHale is tapped to take up political office, he finds himself caught in the movement of a political shift that challenges everything he knows and his love for his country. When things begin to spiral out of control, Scott goes missing and his wife, Angie, steps up to take the lead in the reshaping of the American political landscape.

Camelot Games is an extremely well researched, deeply thought out and fantastic journey of choices that shape the United States of America. The political climate, the deep unrest and the desire to change the future is often seen in popular media today. Oliver F. Chase brings these ideas forward with the backing of a corporate superpower. Divisions begin within the political landscape immediately and the media is used as a tool to propagate the destruction of the United States.

Oliver F. Chase uses intense dialogue, deep backstories, and powerful characters to shape the story. Deep plots run throughout the story and the author sets the stage for each character shaping his or her own destiny with very real thoughts, concerns and fears. The author also leaves no stone unturned when narrating from the top of the hierarchy to those that are working in the trenches to change the world.

I found myself deeply engrossed in the story, making a connection with each character. The fantastic storytelling by Oliver F. Chase makes it so that the characters are fully formed-even characters that show up in small parts have very real life stories behind them. Even the hackers infiltrating the government systems have backstories and these are elegantly told so that the reader can understand why they have done what they have.

You don’t want to miss Camelot Games by Oliver F. Chase; this will cause you to take a long hard look at how the political system is set up!

The Bloom Girls by Emily Cavanagh

The Bloom Girls by Emily Cavanagh
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (256 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

A tender, heartfelt story of three sisters, their late father’s painful past, and the power of forgiveness.

When the news of their father’s death reaches them, sisters Cal, Violet, and Suzy Bloom have to set aside their own personal crises, and their differences, to gather in Maine. Responsible Cal, the oldest and closest to their dad, is torn between taking care of her family and meeting the demands of a high-pressure law career. Impulsive Violet, the estranged middle child, is regretting a messy breakup with a man she’s just now realizing she truly loves. And Suzy, the sweet youngest daughter, is anguishing over a life-altering decision.

Arriving in their father’s small coastal town, the Bloom sisters can’t help but revisit the past, confronting the allegations against their father that shattered their family nearly twenty years earlier. As they try to reconcile different versions of their childhood and search for common ground, they’re forced to look at their father’s life—and their own lives—with new eyes, or risk losing all they hold dear.

Nothing brings families together like the death of one of their own. Even when the family is fragmented and scattered, everyone will turn up for a funeral. However, when family is reunited, all the skeletons thought to be long buried are dug up and held under the lights for inspection. The Bloom family is no different.

When their father dies, sisters Cal, Violet, and Suzy come together to make arrangements and face their past. While all three know that there were accusations of impropriety leveled against their father while he was a teacher, none of them know the whole truth, only their own piece of the puzzle. As the truth comes to light – not only about the accusations made against their father, but the truth of his life after his divorce from their mother – the sisters are forced to reconcile what they’d known with what they now know. It’s not an easy task for any of them, since they’re each dealing with their own crises and baggage.

In a lot of ways, I can relate to the sisters. Although my dad didn’t have any deep, dark secrets when he passed, my younger sister had such a different take on the man he’d been than I had as the older sibling. Talking about our childhood shed a lot of light on things for both of us. So, watching how Cal, the oldest, and Suzy, the youngest, worked through things was fascinating to me. Violet, the middle child, was the one with the most to assimilate and accept, however. I did love how they each managed to take their anguish over their loss and use it to begin to work through the issues in their current lives. The one downside to this story was that there was so much sadness in their childhood, things that they didn’t know or understand, that caused them to not only push away from their father, but also from each other. It makes me wish they could have figured these things out long before they lost their father. But, in the end, that they figured them out while they still had each other, gave the story enough of a happy ending that you didn’t leave it feeling down. You feel hopeful for their future, even if you do feel for the missteps of their past.

The Bloom Girls is a slice of real life. Families are complicated and complex creatures that harbor many secrets and harsh truths that are often ignored for a variety of reasons. It shows the many facets of a grieving family and how relationships evolve over time and distance. A bittersweet and heartwarming story of estranged sisters finding their way home again.

Bullied By The Boss by Sam Crescent

Bullied By The Boss by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (157 Pages)
Other: M/F, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Rex Donovan is an asshole. He gets what he wants, and right now he doesn’t want Nora Covington as his PA. After screwing all the other women who’ve worked for him, Rex doesn’t know how to handle Nora. She’s the type of woman that men don’t screw around with, and she’s also one of the hardest working women he has ever known. But instead of showing her any appreciation, he treats her like shit.

Nora hates her boss. He’s a horrible person. After a particularly bad incident in the office, she goes looking for a new job. She doesn’t want to work anywhere else, but she can’t take anymore.

But then an argument fuels a moment of passion between them, and for Rex there is no backing down. He wants her, and he’s going to have her, even if no one can know.

But secrets only last so long, and when Rex’s temper gets the better of him, all could be lost. Nora is pregnant with his baby, and now wants nothing to do with him. Is there any way for him to win her back?

Bullied By The Boss is a steamy stand alone novel by Sam Crescent. I always love her books and the vivid characters that she brings to life in my imagination. This one was extra hot and very emotional. This story was a definite page turner for me.

I’ve never wanted to smack the hero as bad as I did Rex for being so mean to Nora. Sam Crescent has a special talent for giving her readers a bad boy alpha hero who they will want to see redeemed. In the beginning Rex acted awful toward Nora. I hated him and so did Nora. I smiled when she finally stood up to the bully. It was then that Rex realized the real reason behind his actions is because he had been attracted to her all along. Nora was a nice girl who went out of her way to help everyone. She did not make it easy for Rex to earn her trust or her forgiveness. I liked that about her. It showed her strength.

Sam Crescent’s writing was especially good on this one. The fast flowing story captured my attention on the first few pages. I loved the vivid characters, although with Rex it was more of a love to hate feeling. As usual, the hot sex scenes had me fanning myself. There was also an interesting appearance by Alaric from The Enemy’s Daughter.

I liked everything about this book.

Life in A Supermarket Basket by Michael Evanichko

Life in A Supermarket Basket by Michael Evanichko
Publisher: Crimson Cloak Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (176 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Alstroemeria

Vincent fidgeted as he waited in the ten-items-or-less lane, for he clearly had more than ten items in his dainty, little basket. As the line of impatient shoppers grew he was sure he’d be publicly humiliated for the sin of supermarket disobedience. The practice of stoning would resurface, only frozen Cornish-hens would be launched at his large frame instead of stones. If only he knew in a mere 7.34 minutes he’d be visiting the afterlife after being hit by a car, he would’ve checked his minor anxiety attack at the customer service counter.

As Vincent’s spirit rose above the mayhem, so too, did each of his purchased items, as each of them triggered a remarkable and occasionally embarrassing memory of his past. He was forced to examine his current state of unhappiness as he awaited answers to the lingering questions: Would his life end in the parking lot of his favorite grocer? Would he be accurate in the belief that heaven was non-existent?

Life in a Supermarket Basket contains elements of drama, suspense, romance and mystery, while narrated with sarcastic, comedic undertones by the protagonist, Vincent. It has elements of a Mitch Albom novel with touches of Augusten Burroughs-like humor. Each chapter is named after one of the grocery items, and begins with an illustration that foreshadows the events within the chapter. Life in a Supermarket Basket creates an environment completely relatable to a mainstream audience. Who hasn’t tried to sneak through the express lane with more items than allowed? Are heaven and the afterlife for real? And finally, we all have poignant food memories that piece our lives together like a puzzle.

Life in a Supermarket Basket follows the main character Vincent on his journey away from his average and sad middle aged life. After an accident at his local grocer, Vincent is forced to look back on his life in this humorous novel through the ghosts of grocery lists past.

The main character Vincent is a relatable man in his 40’s who has lost sight of what he really wants in life. As the reader travels with Vincent through his epiphanies of the past, an interesting picture is painted of a man who wants so much more.

Though the editing was a bit off at times, it did not take away from this oddly inspirational journey. References to religious beliefs were realistic and not at all preachy. This is not a conventional story about life and life after death, but rather it urges the reader to continue the journey through many strange and exciting twists.

The humorous quality of this fiction novel is definitely found within the pages. With Vincent there is no hiding the gritty details of life, and it is refreshing to see that one man’s discovery of soy milk can be another man’s discovery of self-worth.

A puzzle that comes together piece by piece, Life In A Supermarket Basket lived up to it’s excellent description. I would recommend this novel to anyone who wants a witty read that wraps up eloquently. No ends are left untied and it may just give readers their own grocery store epiphanies.

The Cajun Doctor by Sandra Hill + Book Giveaway!

****Leave a comment on this review to be entered to win a print copy of the book (US Only). Drawing will be held July 21, 2017 and the winner notified via email. Good luck!****

The Cajun Doctor by Sandra Hill
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (328 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Dr. Daniel LeDeux and pilot Aaron LeDeux travel to the swampy bayous of Louisiana, where they discover a long-lost family. The usually stoic Daniel, a burned-out pediatric oncologist, is especially startled by the interfering LeDeux matriarch, Tante Lulu, bless her crazy heart, who wastes no time in setting him up with local rich girl Samantha Starr.

Scarred by a nasty divorce from a philandering New Orleans physician, Samantha has sworn off men, especially doctors. When Samantha’s step-brother gets into serious trouble, she must ask Daniel for help. But Samantha faces even more trouble when the handsome doctor casts his smoldering Cajun eyes her way.

The steamy heat of the bayou, along with the wacky matchmaking efforts of Tante Lulu, a herd of animal rescue rejects, including a depressed pot belly pig, and some world-class sexual fantasies create enough heat and humor to make both Daniel and Samantha realize that love and laughter can mend even the most broken heart.

Tante Lulu, thunderbolts and St. Jude are back to help another clueless couple find their destiny in order to fall in love in the latest novel from Ms. Hill, The Cajun Doctor.

When I refer to destiny, the hero, Daniel had actually found his but lost his way. The beginning shows just how deep and dedicated is his compassion for his patients. The loss of a special one cut so deep, Daniel was emotionally crippled and in pain and he retreated in the only way he knew how. It just happens to be in a new location with a whole host of new, challenging and unusual people that won’t leave him to wallow for long.

Because Daniel is so self-focused he totally misconstrues his reaction to Samantha. For a certainty, the heroine does the same so the result is like watching two courting porcupines. As we all know, those spiny critters do manage to produce little porcupettes so I knew it was only a matter of time before Daniel and Samantha realize they are perfect for each other. Until that point is reached, their journey is fraught with entertaining, emotional, surprising and sometimes suspenseful events, and some were even adorable. Okay, when referring to the heroine, make that hugely adorable because she ends up being a foster mother to the most madcap, unusual and quirky characters; the best ones being Clarence and Emily – grins and chuckles abound.

There are quite a few personalities from past novels showing up to give this latest story the flavor of community, continuity and love. Everyone is connected in some way to Tante Lulu. It’s her belief in St. Jude that guides her with assurance, confidence and a guarantee that those she loves, and those she takes to calling family, will find love and love will overcome any and all obstacles. That includes obstacles, internal and external conflicts that my two favorite obstinate people keep tripping over. Even the FBI can’t hide from Tante Lulu.

Eventually, as all good romances do, Daniel and Samantha realize the sparks they’ve been experiencing are from a totally different emotion. Once they figure out that their sexual chemistry is off the charts, they explore it with gusto while they both think that they’re savvy enough not to read too much into it. That’s the ultimate denial, isn’t it? And romance readers know exactly where that is going to lead. Yep, a very satisfying and happy, happy-ever-after ensues and I loved every minute of it.

The Cajun Doctor is a wonderful mix of love, drama, family and hope. I sniffled when Daniel’s personal story arc came full circle. This novel touches base on healing, trusting and people who bring out the best in each other. It has charm, wit and totally engaging. Pick up your own copy and see why Ms. Hill’s Cajun heroes are all that.

The Pastor’s Husband by Tiffany L. Warren

The Pastor’s Husband by Tiffany L. Warren
Publisher: Dafina
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (337 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Felicia Caldwell has a great job, a healthy bank account, and stunning good looks. But she longs for a husband and family to go along with it. So when charismatic superstar pastor Nya Hempstead declares that partnership is on its way, Felicia is elated—until her life becomes filled with more curses than blessings. Five years later, someone has to pay—and that someone is Nya. Soon, Felicia is moving to Dallas and joins the church led by Nya and her co-pastor husband, Gregory…

In the eyes of the public, Nya and Gregory have the perfect life. But their marriage is feeling the strain of Nya’s success. While she’s hitting the talk show circuit and the bestseller list, Gregory is fading into the background. It’s no surprise he enjoys the fawning attention of new church member, Felicia. Little does he know her intentions are far from pure. And as she infiltrates the pastors’ lives it will take a team of prayer warriors and heavenly intervention to save their relationship—and their ministry. Along the way, will they remember the mission they started with?

In the eyes of the public, Nya Hempstead and Gregory have the perfect life. Felicia Caldwell was unemployed and alone until pastor Nya spoke blessings into her life. Sometimes what we think are blessings may not be.

The storyline grabbed my attention from the start, and continued to develop and hold its steady pace. The author’s talent is shown with the twists and turns that kept the story going. The character development is near perfection. The look into a large scale ministry is realistic. The marriage between Nya and Greg is relayed as a relationship that could actually be real. Their bond is tested and their marriage feels the strain of Nya’s success by either distance or outside elements that could be deadly to their marriage. Greg could be perceived as being jealous of Nya’s fame. To me he stood true in voicing his concern for Nya as she was surrounded by association that wasn’t in line with their spiritual walk. I admired Greg and his being committed to his marriage. But there was one point when he did disappoint me in taking Felicia’s side. Nya seemed naive to the path she was heading towards in her association with Lady Sandy and also naive in leaving her husband alone so much while she traveled; leaving him to build the ministry that they planned and started together.

Felicia Caldwell is a story in herself. I knew this was going to be an interesting tale when she stated that she believed that God blessed her with a married man. From that point on Felicia’s life and hopes of her happily ever after went all wrong. As Felicia sees it, Nya is to blame for her misfortunes.

Something that I took from this book is that just because we think something is a blessing, doesn’t mean it is a blessing from God. Nya’s reasoning is that her fame was a blessing but when she mislead others in her prophecy to Felicia, and her not being able to tell Lady Sandy no along with neglecting her husband’s needs all shows that maybe it’s not a blessing but a distraction. Felicia perceived her losing weight and getting a job as a blessing and those very well could be, but when she saw her relationship with a married man as a blessing she took something divine and made it repugnant.

I enjoyed the book. The entertaining plot combined with the moving characters makes this one that I would highly recommend.

The House on Devil’s Bar by Jessie McAlan

The House on Devil’s Bar by Jessie McAlan
Publisher: Cousins House
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/suspense
Length: Full (161 pgs)
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Rose

The police verdict of a woman’s accidental drowning in the Mississippi River does more than set tongues wagging in the small Missouri town of Klim; it starts a flood of cancellations that threaten to sink Rona Murray’s bakery and events business. And blacken her good name. Determined to save both, she starts her own investigation to prove she and her property are blameless. Barbara Lindborg had stopped by Linn House to consider renting it for a party. Yet, when Rona returned from accepting a delivery, the woman had vanished.

Rona’s preliminary search for Barbara yields nothing more than suggestive footprints on the Bar. Did the woman accidentally fall into the river? Was she pushed – and if so, why? A later hunt reveals Barbara’s cell phone in the woods. How did it get halfway up the hill if the woman drowned a hundred feet below? The phone’s camera holds snaps of Klim, its residents, and the Bar. Do any of these hold a clue to her death? Or did her and Rona’s earlier conversation about history and treasure have a different meaning?

Suspects and motives pop up like bubbles in yeast. Is Matt, an employee, still bitter about his and Barbara’s divorce? What about Rona’s own ex, Johnny? Is he trying to drive her out of business, or is his current girlfriend, Crystal, jealous of their relationship and trying to eliminate the competition? A bit like calling the kettle black, for Crystal seems very friendly with Frank, the bad boy neighbor. Frank isn’t lily-white, either. He dislikes Rona; is he behind the pranks on her property or mixed up in Barbara’s death? It isn’t until Rona’s life is threatened one stormy night that she learns the killer’s identity and her true feelings about Johnny.

This is the debut of author Jessie McAlan, the first book in a series, and I’m already looking forward to the next one. I love amateur detective stories, and this one hit all the right notes for me. A spunky hard-headed heroine (who sometimes gets a little too independent and thus gets herself into trouble), a great cast of supporting characters, and a mystery for us to puzzle out along with her. And, she did a good job with this one—there were plenty of red herrings for us to follow and, I have to admit, I was surprised at the “bad guy.”

There were a couple of inconsistencies within the book but not bad enough to mar my enjoyment of the book (the curse of being an editor in a former life). Being the first in a series that centers on a small town, there was a lot of introducing of characters which is necessary and was well done so as not to overwhelm the reader, yet I got a little confused when the heroine, Rona, used a nickname while speaking to her best friend, but used her given name the rest of the time. At first I thought she had introduced a new character.

The house on Devil’s Bar and the river itself were almost characters in the book themselves. I wish there had been more information about the house itself. Maybe it will play a larger part in subsequent books. I liked Rona a lot and absolutely loved her ex-husband, Johnny. It sounds as if their divorce was a matter of act in haste and repent in leisure, because they still very definitely have unfinished business. I’m also looking forward to getting to know the other residents of Klim better.

Kudos, Ms. McAlan.

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An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (320 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton’s Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy’s favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other . . .

Adventure, romance, sex… perfect for escape reading. What free woman would trade in her freedom to carry out her passion for justice?

This is a well written book with a unique plot. Elle Burn is a unique woman by a lot of means. Courageous is the word that I would use to describe her. Elle is a freed slave going undercover to get information to the Union to help defeat the Confederates and she also has the ability to remember everything that she read and see. So her gift helps in the service that she does for the Union. This isn’t a book where I found myself necessarily liking a particular character or even connecting with one but if I had to pick one it would be Elle. She is courageous, she is selfless and for her to face the dangers in the fight to end slavery as well as becoming involved in forbidden love is a woman that is truly bold.

While undercover Elle meets Malcolm McCall. They both have a lot in common. Malcolm has his personal reasons for helping the Union. During their mission to help the Union Malcolm happens to see Elle and finds himself attracted to her. As the story goes on their attraction and passion for each other grows. Another thing they both have in common is that they read and quote Shakespeare and Sun Tzu. I like that they have similar things to share and draw closeness on.

The story is summarized and told so well but it seems there is more telling than showing. I enjoy a good historical read but I felt this storyline center more around Elle and Malcolm’s growth into a relationship as well as their active sex life. Their personal relationship took away from the story line. There wasn’t a balance of romance and historical events. Even though Elle and Malcolm didn’t have it easy in trying to be with each other, the story doesn’t offer much as to the suspense of the outcome. I could predict that the outcome would be in the best interest of Elle and Malcolm. I think this would have been a good story without the sex-capade.

This is an extraordinary story, but probably doesn’t offer a realistic historical outcome.  For this reason I would recommend this to readers that enjoy an escape but aren’t exceptionally choosy about historical accuracy.  It also offers readers a sensual romance with a happy ending.

Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner

Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (398 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.

Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.

As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah? Once upon a time, Sharlah’s big brother saved her life. Now, she has two questions of her own: Is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will it cost her new family before they learn the final, shattering truth? Because as Sharlah knows all too well, the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.

Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives.

A double murder at a local gas station and Telly Ray Nash’s foster parents are found murdered. Has Sharlah’s brother killed again?

I can always count on Lisa Gardner for a suspense thriller and she did not disappoint me. Her normal style of descriptive details is ever present, so that I feel that I am there physically and also in the character’s head. I really liked the idea of FBI Profiler Pierce Quincy and Rainie taking in a foster child… and what a match. Sharlah is so receptive to the profilers training and mindset. With her family history, I think she admires the role that her foster parents chose as a career and towards the end of the book she actually puts to use the things she has learned from her foster parents.

I did get a little lost when the details started being revealed. I wanted to make sure I understood how things tied in together and I didn’t want to miss anything so I reread a few chapters. Once I was clear, there was that feeling that a Lisa Gardner book gives me; that moment when I’m reading and I ask myself “how did she come up with this idea” followed by “how did she put it together to play out so smoothly and still keeping the suspense intact”? I applaud and thank her for giving readers a book that offers a satisfying story.

I enjoyed Sharlah and Telly’s voices in the book. Even though Sandra and Frank Duvall are deceased, the way Telly spoke of them warmed my heart. That they took Telly in and gave him support, acceptance and guidance on being a man was wonderful. With foster parents like the Duvalls, Telly’s past doesn’t have to determine his future. Even though Telly hadn’t seen his sister in years he still has the big brother qualities to protect his sister. This story is bigger than Sharlah and Telly. It’s almost a case of deja vu of being in a family that causes Telly and Sharlah to take action to save both of their lives. The story is told in a even pace, with action and suspense and it ends with no loose ends. I would like to read future books about Sharlah to see how her life with Quincy and Raine turned out.

Of course I recommend this book! For readers that enjoy suspense, family closeness and even family disfunction, characters that draw you in or simply even if you just enjoy reading a good book.

Equus by Rhonda Parrish (editor)

Equus by Rhonda Parrish (editor)
Publisher: World Weaver Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary, Historical
Length: Full Length (331 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

There’s always something magical about horses, isn’t there? Whether winged or at home in the water, mechanical or mythological, the equines that gallop through these pages span the fantasy spectrum. In one story a woman knits her way up to the stars and in another Loki’s descendant grapples with bizarre transformations while fighting for their life. A woman races on a unique horse to save herself from servitude, while a man rides a chariot through the stars to reclaim his self-worth. From steampunk-inspired stories and tales that brush up against horror to straight-up fantasy, one theme connects them all: freedom.

Featuring nineteen fantastic stories of equines both real and imagined by J.G. Formato, Diana Hurlburt, Tamsin Showbrook, M.L.D Curelas, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, VF LeSann, Dan Koboldt, J.J. Roth, Susan MacGregor, Pat Flewwelling, Angela Rega, Michael Leonberger, Sandra Wickham, Stephanie A. Cain, Cat McDonald, Andrew Bourelle, Chadwick Ginther, K.T. Ivanrest, and Jane Yolen.

What it means to be a horse, unicorn, or other horse-like creature is about to be redefined.

In “A Complete Mare,” a girl named Vez discovered that she was part Norse deity after that part of her bloodline activated and her body began to change. What I liked the most about her transformation was her reaction to it. There was so much time spent developing Vez’s personality that her reaction to her previously unknown lineage made perfect sense. I wouldn’t have expected her to behave in any other way.

While I enjoyed all of the tales in this anthology, some of them could have used some more development. For example, the main character in “Different” travelled a long distance and spent a great deal of money to ask a unicorn to heal her disabled daughter. The unicorn’s response wasn’t anything like she had expected it to be. While I loved the premise, I couldn’t help but to wonder why the main character hadn’t spent more time researching how unicorn healings work. It’s one of the first things I would have done in that situation, so it struck me as odd that someone would go through all of that effort without figuring out in advance what to expect from such a journey.

One of my favorite stories was “Rue the Day.” Gaylene, the main character, was a unicorn trainer who regularly rode into battle with her unicorns. When something threatened to end her career forever, she had to decide how to respond to it. While I figured out what was going on in Gaylene’s life pretty quickly, but that only made me more curious to see how her dilemma would be resolved. This could have easily been expanded into a full-length novel. With that being said, I was satisfied with how it ended.

Equus should be read by anyone who loves everything equestrian.