Vessel of Power by Michelle O’Leary


Vessel of Power by Michelle O’Leary
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (389 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Lia must stop the elemental prince at all costs. Prince Destin is searching for the Vessel of Power, an object containing the might of the gods. His soulless father will use it to destroy their world, starting with her family. Lia will do whatever it takes to protect the Vessel, except she can’t seem to end this magnetic prince of fire. Destin won’t let anything stand in his way, even a gorgeous changeling with mayhem on her mind. He’s determined to prove his worth as son and heir by retrieving the Vessel for his father. Lia challenges him at every turn, but he burns whenever he’s near this tantalizing changeling. Torn between loyalty to family and desire for one another, Destin and Lia struggle to find the right path. Can they save their world and each other? Will finding the Vessel bind them together or drive them apart forever?

Lia has a very good reason to keep the Vessel of Power hidden.

Lia was prepared to do anything to stop Destin from finding the Vessel of Power, but one glance at the elemental prince gave her pause. Instead of a ruthless, power hungry royal, Destin is much more human than Lia ever could have imagined. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, Lia and Destin aren’t as different as they seem. If only they’d stop fighting long enough to realize it.

Lis and Destin have an antagonistic relationship right from the start as they have opposing views on the Vessel. Lia professes to want the Vessel to stay hidden to save the world from destruction, but Destin and his cousin, Rune, believe Lia has a much more personal reason for wanting the Vessel to remain hidden. It is very interesting to watch Destin, Lia, and Rune interact. Lia alternates between helping Destin escape the clutches of his uncle and putting her own stumbling blocks in Destin’s path. Even though they are on opposite sides where the Vessel is concerned, it is clear that Lia and Destin have great chemistry, and I couldn’t help but wonder how long it would take them to realize they’d be stronger together than apart. I do think that their relationship was rushed. It just seemed like one minute they were fighting and annoying each other and the next they were in love. I would have liked to see more of a transition between those extremes.

Rune is by far my favorite character. I liked him immediately, and he is consistently a bright spot in this tale. Rune is so much fun, and he always lightens the mood at just the right time. I found myself smiling every time he opened his mouth. Even Lia, who doesn’t open to others easily, can’t help but like him.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to read Vessel of Power. I hope that Ms. O’Leary has plans for a sequel because I’d love to spend more time with Rune, Lia, and Destin. Fans of fantasy romance won’t want to miss this novel.

Autumn Falls by Delia Latham


Autumn Falls by Delia Latham
Paradise Pines #3
Publisher: Pelican Book Group
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (243 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Autumn Warren and her friend Cecily determine to have one last hurrah before the crazy whirl of planning Cecily’s wedding. Autumn reluctantly agrees to lay off the barbed comments about her friend’s imminent move to Italy (for no better reason than that Cecily fell in love) and the girls rent an apartment at Cambria’s Paradise Pines Lodge for the entire fall season.Autumn’s reluctant agreement to remain silent regarding her friend’s upcoming marriage, in no way indicates a change of heart about letting a man into her own life. She’s watched enough friends get married and divorced to sour her on the subject of love and the sanctity of marriage. (Autumn isn’t exactly a religious person, but she doesn’t believe in divorce, and seriously…given the current divorce statistics, why even risk it?)But when she meets Russ Amundsen and his adorable daughter, Dalynn, she finds herself in danger of losing her carefully guarded heart. And what is it about the mysterious Miss Angelina Love—who may or may not own Paradise Pines—that makes Autumn believe her heart never stood a chance once she set foot inside the lodge?

Autumn doesn’t believe in love.

Autumn spent her youth watching marriages fall apart, and she vowed never to give her heart to a man. With her friend Cecily by her side, Autumn has avoided any serious romantic relationships. Now everything is changing. Cecily is engaged and planning on moving to Italy. Autumn can’t believe her best friend is about to fall into the trap of love and sets out to talk her friend out of marriage by going on one last vacation together. However, all Autumn’s plans go out the window once the pair arrive in Paradise Pines.

Autumn and Cecily have a close friendship and they’ve clearly spent years making great memories. I can understand why Autumn would be afraid of losing that. Though I have to say that Autumn’s plan of talking Cecily out of her marriage always struck me as selfish. Autumn didn’t seem to have any specific objections to Cecily’s fiancé. In fact, I’m not sure she’s bothered to find out much about him. Autumn isn’t trying to save Cecily from a bad marriage. Deep down, I think Autumn is just afraid of her relationship with her best friend changing.

Things begin to change the moment Autumn arrives at Paradise Pines and runs into Russ. Their first encounter is far from pleasant, but it isn’t long before the two find themselves drawn to each other. Unfortunately, Russ hasn’t had much luck in the romance department either. His divorce has left him with control issues that he struggles with daily. With Russ’ stony persona and Autumn’s skewed view of romance, they don’t appear to be a likely couple at first. However, I enjoyed watching them gradually break down each other’s barriers as they fell in love.

Miss Angie, the proprietor of Paradise Pines, is a wonderful person. She exudes gentleness and kindness and is very easy to talk to. She shares her Christian faith freely but never forces it on Autumn. I must say I truly enjoyed watching Autumn come to know God. The moment when Autumn finally opens her heart is simply beautiful.

I really enjoyed reading Autumn Falls. It is the third book in the Paradise Pines series, but it stands alone very well. It is a sweet, uplifting novel sure to delight fans of inspirational romance.

A Deep Thing by A.K. Smith


A Deep Thing by A.K. Smith
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (375 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

What was her husband hiding in the jungles of Mexico?

Rocked by her husband’s tragic death, Kendall Jackson strives to put her life back together. But Ryder, her nineteen-year-old stepson, is bitter and wants nothing to do with her. And she can’t keep the grief at bay. Sometimes, it’s so strong, she wonders if life is worth living.

A call from a cave diver in Mexico gives her hope of mending the relationship with her stepson. Before his death, her husband arranged a diving expedition as a birthday gift for his son. Kendall persuades Ryder to honor his father’s last wish.

From the campus of Western Maryland College to the woods of Camp David and the caves of the Yucatán, Kendall and Ryder take a journey to discover what her husband worked so hard to hide, and to protect his treasured secrets from falling into the wrong hands. The choices they make will decide their fate and the future of others. Will they risk everything for the truth?

Does Kendall really want to know the truth?

When her husband, Tim, died, Kendall lost the love of her life. Nearly two years later, just as she’s ready to move on, Kendall stumbles onto information that brings to light Tim’s secret life. As Kendall digs deeper into the past, she discovers a conspiracy much larger than she could have imagined. With people of questionable integrity pressing her for information, is there anyone she can trust?

Kendall is a likable character. She’s strong and vulnerable at the same time. Her longing for Tim and her simultaneous need to move on is intense. My heart ached for her as she tried to balance her budding desire for a new man with the deep love she still felt for her dead husband. She is always a swirling mix of emotions, and that made her feel very realistic.

This story is compelling, but not something I raced through. The suspense of this tale comes from not knowing who to trust. As I read, I was always trying to puzzle out the motivations of each character. Even characters that seemed infallible proved to be weak at times. I was never quite sure who was truly trustworthy.

I never really warmed up to Ryder, Kendall’s step-son. Like Kendall, his emotions have been chaotic since Tim’s death. I can certainly understand that, but Ryder makes it hard to like him. Kendall is very patient and kind to him, but he treats her very harshly. I will say that I saw glimmers of hope in him, but never felt a solid change in him. I want to believe that he will be a better man from now one, but I’m just not sure.

The ending is surprising and mostly satisfying. I think the conclusion is in part open to interpretation, specifically the epilogue concerning Ryder. I can’t say much without spoiling the story, but I will say that the reason I’m not completely sure of the ending go back to my misgivings regarding Ryder and his character. I don’t think I would have any doubts about Ryder’s actions and motivations if I were more certain of his character.

I enjoyed reading A Deep Thing. The characters are interesting, and the plot is compelling. Readers looking for a good suspense should give A Deep Thing a try.

Chatel’s Vision: A Cheetah Princess Story by Glenn McCorkhill and Joan Conning Afman


Chatel’s Vision: A Cheetah Princess Story by Glenn McCorkhill and Joan Conning Afman
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full length (191 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

When a stranger shows up at the door of her parent’s rundown farm, Chatel hopes her dreams have come true. But he seems consumed with a desire for wealth and power, and shows little interest in her.

However, his arrival will sweep her up into an epic adventure across Futurah, with her loyal pet cheetah at her side. She will encounter a king and queen on a desperate quest, accompanied by their own cheetah and a handsome young man who hopes to make her dreams a reality.

The young man who shows up at Chatel’s door isn’t exactly the prince she’s always dreamed of.

Chatel desperately wants to be rescued from the dull life she leads on her family’s farm. When a rich young man shows up, she hopes her fantasies are about to come true. Unfortunately, the man isn’t who he seems. Chatel and Teekay, her pet cheetah, sense something isn’t right and it isn’t long before Chatel finds herself caught up in a royal struggle for power, one that could cost Chatel her life.

I really like the premise of Chatel’s Vision. The world the authors have created is vivid, realistic, and easy to imagine. However, I don’t feel that I got to know any of the characters very well. The story is told from several characters’ viewpoints. The transitions are smooth and never confusing, but the characters are not as rounded as they could have been. Most of the characters, except the villain of course, are likable, but they never truly came to life in my mind.

Chatel is a sweet, brave young woman, and I was pleased when she met a young man worthy of her affections. However, their romance is rushed, and they become serious extremely fast without knowing much about each other. I just feel that it was wrapped up much too quickly. Despite my issues with the human characters, I absolutely love the cheetahs, Kiboli and Teekay. In fact, they are my favorite characters. I found myself laughing at their antics and holding my breath when they were in danger. Kiboli and Teekay’s families are lucky to have such loyal friends watching over them.

Chatel’s Vision is an enjoyable read. It is part of a series, but I believe it stands on its own very well. Mr. McCorkhill and Ms. Afman have provided enough background information that I never felt lost. I recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, fun book.

The Girl at the Bar by Nicholas Nash


The Girl at the Bar by Nicholas Nash
Publisher: Fireflies Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (390 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Rebecca, a brilliant cancer researcher, disappears after a one-night stand with a neurotic man with a questionable past.

Her sudden disappearance in the midst of a high-stakes quest to cure cancer between two rival billionaires sets into motion an inexplicable chain of events as the bodies start to pile up.

No one knows why she disappeared. The race to find answers ensnares everyone around her, one of whom is a deeply disturbed psychopath lurking in the shadows.

Is Rebecca still alive? What happened to her? Who did it? And why? Questions about her vex everyone looking for answers. No one can be trusted and no one is above suspicion…

Is everyone a suspect, or a target?

Rebecca’s disappearance seems fairly simple at first. She has a one-night stand with a questionable man, Ragnar. The police are sure he’s up to no good. However, the deeper the police dig into Rebecca’s life, it becomes clear that no one is exactly who they seem. Suddenly the police have too many suspects and no clear answers. Then one by one people involved with Rebecca start to die. The police believe there is a slim chance Rebecca might still be alive. Will they find her before the killer claims another victim?

The Girl at the Bar is an intense mystery. I particularly enjoyed watching the investigation into Rebecca’s disappearance and the subsequent murders unfold from several different points of view, including the police, a private investigator, and Ragnar, Rebecca’s one-night stand. It was interesting to see how different the methods and avenues pursued by each of the characters were only to end up at the same conclusion. Would they have solved the mystery sooner if they had all worked together?

At first, I had no idea who the culprit was. It literally could have been anyone. The only person I never seriously suspected was Ragnar. I did question his motives a bit at the beginning, but as the story progressed it became clear that he truly cares for Rebecca even though he barely knows her. The way they meet is very entertaining.

I was able to figure out who the killer was mostly by process of elimination, especially after characters started dying. However, the motives of the murderer weren’t clear until the very end. There are several chapters from the killer’s point of view, and they are disturbing. I must add that this book contains graphic violence, some torture, sexual content, and some explicit language. Readers sensitive to this content are forewarned.

At times, I felt that the dialogue was stilted, and certain characters behaved in odd or unnatural ways. I also encountered some minor typos throughout the book. However, the mystery is compelling enough that these didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment of the story.

Overall, I enjoyed reading The Girl at the Bar. The characters are fairly likable, and the pacing is very good. Fans of intense mysteries should certainly give this suspense a try.

Reborn by Jane Ederlyn


Reborn by Jane Ederlyn
Princess of the Blood #1
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full length (354 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Marie Josette d’Orgemont, cousin to Louis XVI, watched in horror as a rogue creature took her husband’s life before turning on her. A powerful vampire swept in and spared her life, but she never suspected surviving meant immortality or the price she’d have to pay to protect her surviving son.

Centuries later, in Miami, with her family on the verge of extinction, Marie is preoccupied with the continuation of her human bloodline. When she meets sexy and persistent Odin Ulfsson, his icy-blue gaze and burning touch are hard to resist. Will a forbidden romance with the Nordic werewolf be the key to her happiness, or will it set in motion a wrath that endangers not only her last human heir but her entire existence?

Abby is the only family Marie has left.

Immortality has never been a blessing to Marie. The only thing that makes life as a vampire worth it is the ability to watch over her human descendants. Unfortunately, Abby is the only human relative she has left, and Marie is determined to protect her at any cost. Marie and Abby’s life has never been simple, but they have a routine that works for them. Nothing could have prepared them for Odin.

Marie and Odin have an intense relationship right from the start. Their attraction is instant, which puzzled me a bit since the circumstance under which they met was quite dangerous, and yet both were more focused on their sexual attraction to each other rather than the danger they were in. That being said, they have sizzling chemistry. Odin comes on a little strong for my taste at times, but it is clear he has a good heart and he never crosses any forbidden lines. Marie and Odin are both strong personalities, and they certainly have the potential to be a formidable couple.

Abby is probably my favorite character in this romance. She strikes me as a young, intelligent, down-to-earth woman. She’s very relatable, and I enjoyed watching her trying to find her way in a world full of supernatural beings. I never warmed to her relationship with John. I found him annoying and insecure. I’d really love to see Abby and Egon, a werewolf, explore the spark of attraction between them. A relationship between a human and a werewolf would be complicated enough, but by the end of the story, it is revealed that Abby is about to experience life altering changes. I sincerely hope that Abby and Egon don’t walk away from the possibility of a wonderful relationship.

Reborn is a thoroughly enjoyable paranormal romance. The pacing is excellent, and I’ve grown to care about several of the characters. I look forward to reading the next installment in this series.

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.

Trouble Cove by Nancy Lindley-Gauthier


Trouble Cove by Nancy Lindley-Gauthier
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (194 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Far from the all the action of World War I, in a charming tourist’s spot on Cape Breton Island, Elizabeth Eames has stumbled into the most wonderful man in the world. She’s landed herself in a world where wealth reigns supreme; where any eligible bachelor would meet her mother’s aspirations. Of course, she’s dead set on the one she’s certain should not be mentioned in her letters home. Actually, there’s a lot she’s not mentioning. Something is not-quite-right at the grand resort Oceanside, but Elizabeth isn’t giving up her one great chance…

Will Elizabeth’s time in Cape Breton be the adventure of a lifetime, or a huge mistake?

Elizabeth’s job at the Oceanside resort isn’t exactly her dream job, but, as her mother hoped, it has placed her in the midst of some very wealthy and well-connected bachelors. However, as Summer gives way to Fall, Elizabeth becomes convinced that something sinister is going on at the resort. Many of the guests are lingering long after the resort should have closed. They all have their reasons, but Elizabeth is skeptical. Are some of the guests up to no good, or is Elizabeth simply imagining things?

Elizabeth is a delightful character who finds beauty and magic in the world around her. She has a vivid imagination, and I enjoyed watching her create wonderfully detailed stories for people and places she encounters. While her imaginings might not be entirely accurate, they are certainly entertaining. I hope she never loses her ability to perceive the world in such a creative way.

Elizabeth’s heart is set on Daro from the moment she meets him. Unfortunately, he is neither wealthy nor well-connected. None of this matters to Elizabeth, and while she knows a future with Daro is unlikely, she endeavors to spend as much time with him as possible. I would have liked Elizabeth and Daro to have a stronger, more well-defined connection. It is abundantly clear how Elizabeth’s feels, but Daro’s feelings and intentions are a bit of a mystery until very close to the end of the story. However, I’m confident that they have the potential to be a great couple, and their happy ending is well deserved.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Trouble Cove. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a sweet, historical romance with just a hint of mystery and danger.

Retribution Ridge by Anna Willett


Retribution Ridge by Anna Willett
Publisher: The Book Folks
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (159 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

A small hiking group in the wilderness – with bloody revenge for company

Milly has barely spoken to her sister Judith in years. They hardly exchanged a word at their mother’s funeral. They could not be further apart.

So when Milly gets an invitation to go on a hiking trip, she hopes it will be an opportunity for reconciliation. Inviting her school-friend Harper along with her for support, the small party head off together into the bush.

What awaits Milly is far from just a bracing hike in the wilderness, but an unexpected encounter with the past. The form it takes is revenge. But who is enacting it against Milly, and why?

One night changed Milly and Judith’s lives forever.

Milly and Judith used to be close, but one foolish mistake shattered their sisterly bond. Ten years later, the death of their mother has sparked the desire to reconnect. Milly is nervous about Judith’s invitation, but willing to try. Unfortunately, from the moment Milly arrives for the hike, something seems off. Judith isn’t acting like herself. Milly pushes aside her discomfort and convinces herself that her uneasiness is simply a result of her and Judith’s estrangement. Milly should have listened to her instincts. The past is lurking in the shadows of the wilderness. Will Milly and Judith escape unscathed or more damaged than ever?

The author has an amazing hand at writing suspense. I found little to fault with the storyline itself.  However, I’m sorry to say I didn’t find any of the characters very likable, particularly Judith and her girlfriend Harper. I always felt Judith was keeping something from Milly. Unfortunately, my suspicions were confirmed, and it made me dislike her even more, especially because Judith has knowledge of Milly’s somewhat fragile state of mind. Once everything is revealed, Judith’s actions and Harper’s complicity are completely inexcusable. By the time they express remorse, it is already too late. Judith and Harper’s actions have placed them all in the path of predators who have no intention of letting any of the women leave the trail alive.

I think Milly is the most likeable of the bunch. While I never truly warmed up to her, I did feel a great deal of sympathy for her. Milly is far from perfect, and she certainly has mistakes she needs to atone for, but she went out to meet Judith genuinely hoping to mend their broken relationship. The tension between the sisters is heartbreaking. There is so much distrust between them that every word spoken is analyzed and second guessed. I kept thinking that a conversation between two mature adults could have fixed this. They could have gone to therapy or had some kind of counselling. A hike in the wilderness seemed like an ill-conceived plan from the start, but I respect Milly for leaving her comfort zone and accepting Judith’s offer.

Despite my issues with the characters, I must say that Ms. Willett did an excellent job of building and maintaining suspense throughout this page-turner. From the moment the group sets out on the hiking trail, the danger is palpable and only increases as the story progresses. The pacing is quick and very well done. Ms. Willett does a great job of blending snippets of the past in with the present so that it all comes together seamlessly in the end.

Retribution Ridge is definitely one of the most intense stories I’ve read in a while. Fans of suspense should certainly give this thriller a try.

Dragon’s Trail by Joseph Malik


Dragon’s Trail by Joseph Malik
The Outworlders, Book One
Publisher: Oxblood Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (436 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

“I didn’t come here to sell my soul. I came here to buy it back.”

Once dubbed “The Deadliest Man Alive,” Jarrod Torrealday is a former Olympic saber hopeful and medieval weapons expert banned from competition for killing another fencer in a duel. He now scrapes by as a stuntman and technical consultant for low-budget fantasy films.

A young sorcerer from another world offers Jarrod the gig of a lifetime: adviser to the war council for a magical realm teetering on the edge of collapse, with a foreign army massing just beyond its borders.

Swept into a treacherous and deadly world of intrigue and conspiracy, Jarrod soon learns that the enemy mastermind is also from Earth, and has laid the foundations for a new kind of war.

Jarrod has nothing left to lose.

Jarrod’s life is in shambles. At the height of his career, he lost it all and has been in a tailspin ever since. When Crius, a sorcerer from another world, approaches Jarrod with the opportunity to be a hero again, he gladly accepts. Fortunately, Jarrod isn’t going alone. His good friend Carter, also an exceptionally skilled warrior, is invited as well. Together they have the power to turn the tide of war.

Jarrod and Carter adapt to the medievalesque world of Gateskeep very quickly. While they are well versed in the weaponry and armor of that type of civilization, I would think that knowing about it would be quite different from actually living it. They did have quite a bit to learn, but they acclimated to their new surroundings just a bit too easily for my taste.

Jarrod is a very likable character. He doesn’t tolerate bullies, and he never hesitates to stand up for those in need of his help. His fighting and weaponry skills are far beyond anything the people of Gateskeep have ever seen. While many are impressed with Jarrod’s skill, others seek to eliminate him immediately. In fact, Jarrod finds himself in so many fights that I began to wonder if he would even live to see the war. However, Jarrod wins practically every conflict he becomes tangled in. Ordinarily, I would say this is unrealistic, but Mr. Malik makes it seem completely plausible. As if his skill in combat weren’t enough, Jarrod also has the brains to back up his brawn. He has the ability to analyze his enemies and predict their next moves on the battlefield and off. As I read, I eagerly anticipated his confrontation with the sorcerer.

Perhaps the most striking thing about his novel is Mr. Malik’s attention to detail. Absolutely everything, the fights, weaponry, people, animals, weather, etc., is described meticulously making this strange new world feel very concrete and realistic. Consequently, I feel that this is not a book to race through. It is a book to savor and soak in all the details.

I highly recommend Dragon’s Trail. I thoroughly enjoyed following Jarrod and Carter’s adventures in Gateskeep, and I look forward to the next installment in the series. Fans of fantasy would do well to pick up a copy today.