Touch the Wind by Janet Dailey

Touch the Wind by Janet Dailey
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Recent Historical, Romance, Action/Adventure
Rating: 2 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

All her life, beautiful Sheila got what she wanted. Now she yearned for the raw passion of a man beyond her reach, a violent, mysterious outlaw whose followers adored him. A lion of a man who held her for ransom—a man who would trade her for a fortune in gold. But Sheila wanted only him—with all the reckless longing of her body and soul.

Janet Dailey is a word weaver and master storyteller.

This isn’t the first book I’ve read by Janet Dailey and won’t be the last. I’ve loved many of her books. This one is a fantastic story, with sweeping narratives and moves along at a great pace. The writing is good, and I didn’t want to put it down.

That’s not to say it was my favorite book. There are certainly triggers in this book. I must say I liked Sheila and seeing her humanized. At the beginning of the book, she’s a bit of an ice princess, but also yearning so much for something she’ll take anything to get it. She was a bit one-dimensional, and I liked seeing her grow. That also said, I didn’t care for the hero or the way she was treated. There are scenes of abuse, scenes of violence and I never quite got the connection between the hero and heroine. She was better off with him in some ways than her husband, but in other ways…I wasn’t so sure. I wasn’t a fan of the hero, that’s all.

I have to also add this is a book from 1979. It reads like a book of that era–it’s a bodice ripper and there is certainly an air of almost toxic masculinity. Keep that in mind while reading. It’s meant to be over the top, hyper masculine and raw. To some, this might be a bad thing, but others this might be the fantasy type of hero they want to read about.

If you’re looking for something of that era, something hot and with a touch of romance, then this might be the one for you.

Get Back by John Harris

Get Back by John Harris
Publisher: Callaway Arts & Entertainment
Genre: Historical, Recent Historical, Music, Non-Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The most anticipated book in more than a decade by the legendary band, The Beatles: Get Back is the official account of the creation of their final album, Let It Be, told in The Beatles’ own words, illustrated with hundreds of previously unpublished images, including photos by Ethan A. Russell and Linda McCartney. Half a century after the 1970 Let It Be album and film, this milestone book coincides with the global release of Peter Jackson’s documentary feature film, The Beatles: Get Back.

The book opens in January 1969, the beginning of The Beatles’ last year as a band. The BEATLES (The White Album) is at number one in the charts and the foursome gather in London for a new project. Over 21 days, first at Twickenham Film Studios and then at their own brand-new Apple Studios, with cameras and tape recorders documenting every day’s work and conversations, the band rehearse a huge number of songs, culminating in their final concert, which famously takes place on the rooftop of their own office building, bringing central London to a halt.

The Beatles: Get Back tells the story of those sessions through transcripts of the band’s candid conversations. Drawing on over 120 hours of sound recordings, leading music writer John Harris edits the richly captivating text to give us a fly-on-the-wall experience of being there in the studios. These sessions come vividly to life through hundreds of unpublished, extraordinary images by two photographers who had special access to their sessions—Ethan A. Russell and Linda Eastman (who married Paul McCartney two months later). Also included are many unseen high-resolution film-frames, selected from the 55 hours of restored footage from which Peter Jackson’s documentary is also drawn.

Legend has it that these sessions were a grim time for a band falling apart. However, as acclaimed novelist Hanif Kureishi writes in his introduction, “In fact this was a productive time for them, when they created some of their best work. And it is here that we have the privilege of witnessing their early drafts, the mistakes, the drift and digressions, the boredom, the excitement, joyous jamming and sudden breakthroughs that led to the work we now know and admire.” Half a century after their final performance, this book completes the story of the creative genius, timeless music, and inspiring legacy of The Beatles.

Have you ever wanted to know how the recording of Get Back really went? Want to be an insider at the sessions? Then this book takes you there.

I’m a huge Beatles fan. Have been my whole life. I live for the next tome about their work and love the unreleased weird sidetracks, plus the tracks that show how far the song ends up going during the creation process. This book is a lot like that. There are pieces of undiscovered treasure in the conversations and interesting things to learn about the band.

It’s also a bit sad. I thought I knew a lot about the band, but I didn’t realize how much the band was breaking apart during the recording of this album. This book touches on that tension. There are entire pieces of conversation written as dialogue and the exact words from each member are there. It’s sad because there were definite cracks in the foundation of the band and like many groups, no one wanted to deal with said cracks.

If you don’t have time to sit through the entire Get Back tv special, then this might be a good alternative. There are a lot of photos. Since this was a documentary, there is a lot of insider info and little held back. It’s worth a read.

If you’re looking for a Beatles fix, then this might be the book for you. Check it out.

Waiting On A Friend by Megan Slayer

Waiting On A Friend by Megan Slayer
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Recent Historical, Erotic Romance, Paranormal, Holiday, LGBTQ
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

King Mason doesn’t want to spend another year alone. He loves his job at the men’s shelter, but there has to be more from life than work. He’s seen the pretty blond man around the community and can’t wait to make a move at the Christmas street party.

Randall Stevens has big plans for Christmas 1980, and all of them involve meeting King Mason. He’s fallen hard for the man, and his wish is to take things to the next level. Christmas Eve just might be the night — except some wishes are meant to go sideways. Can Start Me Up help provide the solution he and King need?

The drug Pfizer makes is quite expensive and not everyone can spend levitra 10mg the money for it. This drug will act as a safe guard against clotting viagra without buy prescription impacts. India has state-of-the-art Hospitals and the well qualified doctors. viagra online online ED is also known cheapest viagra from india as male impotence. King had spent the year working hard at his men’s shelter to try and drown out his pain and sorrows over a hurtful break-up. Now that it’s Christmas-time he’s hoping to not end the year alone. Randall had left his family and old life – one in the closet – behind and while he was nervous and felt lost something about King, his strength and confidence drew Randall. Can they find some magic this Christmas?

I enjoyed this Christmassy short story. While a few of the previous couples are mentioned in relation to the potion store Start Me Up this book can totally be read as a stand alone and I had no problems following along with it having not read any of the previous stories. I enjoyed that despite the short length of the story the author gave a fair bit of time at the start to properly introduce King and Randall’s characters, this helped me get a good feel for what they’re like and where they are at in their respective lives so as they slowly became more attached to each other their relationship felt more realistic and understandable to me.

I was pleased the author managed to explain most of the “magic” or paranormal aspect of this story without info-dumping or bogging the pace of the plot down. It was quite unconventional but I enjoyed it and while I feel readers will definitely need to suspend their disbelief – Christmas magic and a bit of “love conquers all” is never a bad thing in a romance story to my mind.

Readers looking for an intensely erotic story might not be satisfied with the two quick sex scenes. Personally I felt the blossoming relationship between King and Randall, as well as the paranormal/magical element to the story and the rest of the plot was more interesting and important than a second or third sex scene between the two men. Especially considering the short length to the story I feel the author managed to balance all these elements really well – but for an “erotic romance” even though the sex was steamy and sensual I could understand if this might not be satisfying for everyone.

Christmassy and full of magic and the first blush of a new relationship I enjoyed this happy and short story.

Bread Bags & Bullies: Surviving in the 80’s by Steven Manchester

Bread Bags & Bullies: Surviving in the 80’s by Steven Manchester
Publisher: Luna Bella Media
Genre: Recent Historical, Mainstream Fiction
Length: Full length (267 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

It’s the winter of 1984. Twelve-year old Herbie and his two brothers—Wally and Cockroach—are enjoying the mayhem of winter break when a late Nor’easter blows through New England, trapping their quirky family in the house. The power goes out and playing Space Invaders to AC DC’s Back in Black album is suddenly silenced—forcing them to use their twisted imaginations in beating back the boredom. At a time when the brothers must overcome one fear after the next, they learn that courage is the one character trait that guarantees all others.
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This hysterical coming-of-age tale is jam-packed with enough nostalgia to satisfy anyone who grew up in the ‘80s or at least had the good fortune to travel through them.

This was just fun. That’s the first word that comes to mind. Although it is set in the 80’s, I don’t think there is a person of any age who couldn’t identify with various happenings or maybe I should say shenanigans. The actual format of an event of the 80’s might have been a little different but the same problems, even the same complaints still exist.

Steven Manchester wrote a memory story for some of us and a good fiction story for those of a different age. A belly-laugh type story full of fun and hard times too. Somehow people made them fun then, managed with what they had, while others before them thought they were spoiled.

Mr. Manchester’s “boys” or the three brothers in his story are a great depiction of how siblings interacted in pretty well every era.

A good read that evokes a lot of memories and a really good picture of the 80’s which is an era I don’t see as much literature on.

The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis

The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis
Publisher: Dutton/Penguin
Genre: Recent Historical, Women’s Fiction
Length: Full Length (352 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City’s creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and poets who have called it home—a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage. Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics. A Red scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for Communists, with those in the entertainment industry in the crosshairs. As the pressure builds to name names, it is more than Hazel and Maxine’s Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship, and even their freedom.

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Snooping, concern and McCarthyism… oh my!

This is my first book by Fiona Davis and I’m glad I got the chance to read it. I’ve been on a binge reading recent historical and historical novels, especially if there’s a period in history that interests me. This one did because I enjoy the 1950s. This book deals with women handling the highs and lows of the McCarthy era.

The plot is interesting. A pair of women living in the famed Chelsea Hotel in New York with the artists and artsy types. One is an actress and the other a playwright. Interesting, right? I mean, I read Trumbo and have done reading about that era. There’s a lot to work with.

But this book deals more with the characters, not so much the time period. The Chelsea Hotel becomes a character, which is neat because it becomes more of a person than a thing. I liked that aspect. The characters of Hazel and Maxine left a little to be desired. I wanted to like them. I wanted to root for them, but they seemed a bit too one-dimensional to me. Now other readers might love them. They just didn’t strike a chord with me. It was more like reading diaries or the everyday lives in detail, rather than being drawn into the story. Again, it might just not have been the right book for me at this time.

It’s a good enough book that I suggest you try it for yourself. You might love it. It might be the read you’re looking for. Give it a shot.

The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard

The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Recent Historical Fiction
Length: Full Length (363 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee has sprung up in a matter of months—a town of trailers and segregated houses, 24-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war, but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders.

The girls spend their evenings socializing and flirting with soldiers, scientists, and workmen at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. June longs to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York who oversees the lab where she works and understands the end goal only too well, while her beautiful roommate Cici is on her own mission: to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government’s plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June’s search for answers.
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When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.

A different look at the way things were in Oak Ridge.

I picked this book up because it’s on the list of books we’re considering reading for the local reading group. I’d read The Girls of Atomic City and enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to this take on Oak Ridge. I’m glad I picked up this book. Really. I have some quibbles with it, but it’s a quick read and an interesting point of view on life at Oak Ridge.

One of my quibbles is with the characters. I didn’t really root for any of them. I didn’t see any of them–save for a secondary one–as someone I’d like to have for a friend. I did get emotionally involved in the story, so that’s going for the book. I wanted to clunk a couple of the characters on the head. But the thing is, some of the characters were rather immature. I get they were young when they arrived at Oak Ridge, the naivete, and in some ways negativity, made me want to skip pages.

Still, this is an interesting take on what the people went through in Oak Ridge. Racial bias, loose-lips-sink-ships, being wary of everyone…it’s vividly told.

If you’re looking for a book that’s different and involves the work at Oak Ridge, then this might be the book for you.

Trouble in Paradise by Kate Hill

Trouble in Paradise by Kate Hill
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Recent Historical, Suspense/Mystery, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (65 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

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Set in the 1980’s, we are immediately thrown in the action when our heroine walks into a bar, looking for a specific someone whose help she needs. She finds him, but in his drunken state, she isn’t sure what use he will be to her after all.

Grace is a strong character, both physically and mentally. R.C. has his demons chasing him, which have influenced the decisions he has made in life. Something about Grace challenges those demons, making him want to help her. They head off to a private island, unconnected to the rest of the world, with a very loose plan on what to do once they get there. Of course, things don’t go according to plan, when their host appears to be in China on a business trip, leaving his wife in charge.

This book had an Agatha Christie feel to it as the various guests each have their own reasons for being there, and their behaviour once they arrive. Although I was invested with the two main characters, there wasn’t much about the others to help me connect to them. Only one or two are mentioned in detail, and I do like hearing about others. Especially when it’s a limited number of characters in the first place.

Well written, with a smooth pace, this is a great little adventure/mystery story with romance too. This book is the perfect length for a lunch-break book, or one to read in the bath. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and have no hesitation in recommending it.

Save It For Me by Emma D Fallon

Save It For Me by Emma D Fallon
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Recent Historical
Length: Short Story (61 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Tom and Caroline met on a summer day in 1965 in Ocean City, New Jersey. He was a soldier about to be sent to Vietnam. She was a divorceé whose future was uncertain. For just one night, they gave each other everything . . . and then said goodbye.

But not all goodbyes are forever.

Six months and many sizzling-hot letters later, Caroline and Tom are together again, this time in paradise. Tom’s R&R feels like heaven on earth, a place where war doesn’t exist. Neither of them want these seven days—and nights—to ever end.
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For one week in Hawaii, the past is irrelevant and the future is forgotten as two lovers share their hearts, their souls and their bodies under Pacific skies.

Two souls who need to be together finding their place, but for how long?

I picked up this book for two reasons: first, because I wanted a short read and second, because I liked the cover art. I’m glad I picked it up. The author packs a lot in a few pages and the story flows well.

I’m not wild about first person POV, but this one held my attention well. I enjoyed reading about Tom and Caroline. While I haven’t read the other books in their series, I wasn’t lost and am looking forward to the next story.

This story has a lot, and I mean a lot, of sex in it. That’s not a bad thing. I knew these characters cared about each other, so I liked reading the sexy parts.

The one thing that seemed a little off for me was the emotion in the story. Don’t get me wrong. I like short stories and hot books. But this is a snapshot in their relationship. The other books most likely help add to the emotion in this one, so maybe try reading those first.

Still, it’s a good beach read and I’m glad I chose it. Worth the read! Check it out.

The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins by Aletta Thorne

The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins by Aletta Thorne
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Historical
Length: Full Length (151 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Halloween, 1982. MTV is new, poodle perms are the rage, and life just might be getting better for Alma Kobel. Her ugly divorce is final at last. Her new job as chef at Bright Day School’s gorgeous old estate is actually fun. But the place is haunted—and so is Alma’s apartment.

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First impressions definitely aren’t always accurate.

What a hilarious main character Alma was! She could find a funny spin to anything that happened to her, from surprise health inspections at work to her strange and complicated interactions with her ex-husband. Some of the things that happened to her would have seriously annoyed or even frightened a lot of people. I loved the fact that she was able to quickly shake so many of those memories off with her fabulous sense of humor.

The only criticism I have of this story has to do with how quickly the romantic relationship in it heated up. Both of the people involve in it were so cautious and meticulous in other areas of their lives that I never would have expected them to move as fast as they did. Yes, I definitely wanted to see them end up together, but it felt a little odd to me because it didn’t feel consistent with everything else I’d learned about them. With that being said, this is a minor complaint about something I enjoyed quite a lot.

The world building was really well done. I especially enjoyed figuring out what ghosts were and weren’t capable of in this universe. Since nobody was given any instructions after they died, Bartholomew had to learn what he could do and what the consequences of those actions would be on his own. Him slowly discovering his abilities and limitations as the plot moved forward made it difficult for me to stop reading. I always wanted to know more about what the afterlife was like for him.

The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins was as spooky as it was sexy. It should be read by fans of erotica and ghost stories alike.

Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar
Publisher: Cemetery Dance Publications
Genre: Recent Historical, Mystery/Suspense, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (180 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told… until now.

There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974 twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong (if time-rusted) iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.

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One day, a stranger calls to Gwendy: “Hey, girl. Come on over here for a bit. We ought to palaver, you and me.”

On a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat like for a suit, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat…

I have to admit I’m a Stephen King junkie. I am. I’m also a bit of a short story junkie, too. When I saw this book at my local library, just sitting there unassumingly on the shelf, I had to sneak a peek.I mean, why not? So I picked it up. I’m glad I did. This was a quick read and even though it’s short, when I had to put it down to deal with life, I didn’t have to do a bunch of rereading to catch back up.That’s the good thing about this short story. There isn’t a lot of rereading that needs to be done if you have to walk away.

Gwendy is an interesting character. She has an awesome power within her and within the button box. Will she use it? Will she succumb? Will she get a big head from the power? I liked that Gwendy is relatable. There are things that made her more than she was, but I liked her human-ness. Now I would’ve been more than a little freaked out if some random guy wanted me to sit with him. Even more if he’d have offered me a box. I don’t know how Gwendy did it, but she did.

I liked how she grew through the story, too. The creep factor isn’t as strong in this story, which was nice for me because I wasn’t looking for a freaky story. But might be a turn off for others. There are plenty of characters and some are hard to keep straight, by the end, I felt like I knew them all. My heart bled at the end. I won’t give away spoilers, but it’s a tad gut-wrenching.

If you want a recent historical story with more than few twists, then this might be the short story you’re looking for. Oh and try a chocolate. I hear the detailing is fantastic.