A School of Daughters by Kate René MacKenzie


A School of Daughters by Kate René MacKenzie
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

It’s funny how things sneak up on you…

Kate Willoughby is a champion for throwaways—discarded dogs and cats, abandoned horses bound for slaughter, and all creatures great and small. But now it’s Kate who’s alone in a hostile world like a dog dumped by the side of a road. Is there a champion for Kate?

After 22 years of marriage, Kate loves her husband, Brian, with an even greater passion than when she spoke her vows. “My world spins on his axis,” she often says. But when Kate finds a love letter to Brian from Micky, she’s torn between proving Brian’s innocence and nailing him to the wall with his guilt.

Throughout her marriage, Kate has been trusting and trustworthy —to a fault, friends have said. Now, she steals into Brian’s emails and accesses his credit card accounts, phone records, bank statements, friends and activities, discovering the metaphoric iceberg beneath Brian’s affair.

Turning to the one constant in her life, Kate is guided by her family of animals: shelter dog Molly; Premarin horse Quinn; packrat Winston; owls Albert & Victoria; Stubby, the chipmunk; rattlesnake Cassandra; and Phineas, the determined grosbeak. These wise and wonderful teachers, along with a wild menagerie on her Arizona ranch, deliver lessons on life, love, and letting go. But it’s Molly, in a heartbreaking act of courage, who leads Kate back to her true self, before she became lost in love with Brian.

Shining a light on the childhood events and adult choices that, like steppingstones, brought her to this moment, Kate illuminates a familiar and well-worn path. Narrating her story with equal doses of heartache and humor, Kate comes to understand that nothing sneaks up on you that isn’t already here. Learning from Phineas, the determined grosbeak, Kate realizes that even after a devastating injury, you can soar again.

A School of Daughters is a beautifully written, lyrical book that delves into the heart of the main character, highlighting how her current life is rooted in her past, from childhood abuse to the desperate desire for stability at nearly any cost. There is truth here that shines through, and I admire the author for taking her life and sharing it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

This story hit me hard, in a good way. I was completely engrossed in the story and could see myself and friends in similar situations. Even after finishing the book, I could not stop thinking about Kate, what she was going through, and how her friends and, especially, the animals in her life not only helped her through the pain, but also taught her important life lessons.

The book skips back and forth from present day to situations in her past with not only her husband, but her childhood, other romantic relationships, and with different animals in her life. It is a revealing look on how a person can be strong and yet still give up parts of herself without even realizing it.

Her journey was heartrending, yet the reader is, in the end, left with a sense of hope that Kate will make it through to the other side. Kudos, Ms. MacKenzie. I will definitely be on the lookout for other books by this author.

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Mile High with a Vampire by Lynsay Sands


Mile High with a Vampire by Lynsay Sands
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Rating: 5 Stars
Review by: Xeranthemum

In the latest Argeneau novel from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands, an immortal and her mortal pilot are on the run from hungry vampires…and discover they’re life mates along the way.

Quinn Peters never wanted to be immortal. Once a renowned heart surgeon, she was turned against her will and now she has to drink blood to survive. Before she can ask how her “life” can get any worse, she’s in a plane crash. One of the few survivors, Quinn is desperate to get the mortal pilot to safety before her fellow immortals succumb to their blood lust and drain Jet dry.

But hungry vampires are the least of their worries—the crash wasn’t an accident, and someone is trying to kill Quinn. Will she and Jet find their happily ever after as life mates, or will her assassin find her first?

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that I enjoyed from beginning to end and I’m happy to share that Mile High with a Vampire delivered a quality read from the very first pages. It starts with a plane crash, a race for survival, a close call and a revelation that the crash was intentional. That’s just in the beginning chapters, the rest of the plot is figuring out who is trying to kill one of the passengers and why, especially when they’ve done nothing wrong to anyone. Who would do something so foul that they’d be willing to murder everyone on the plane, not just their target? The suspense, the interesting interplay between characters and the well-written plot kept me glued to the story. I didn’t stop turning the pages until I finished the epilogue. Ms. Sands has delivered another winner for fans to enjoy.

It took me a while to remember that Quinn was Pet’s sister in the book, The Trouble with Vampires. That’s when I first learned about their horrific background when they were little kids. This novel, Mile High with a Vampire, completes the story of the two sisters. Quinn finally gets her happy ever after, but of course, she has a bunch of hoops to jump through to get it. She has finally accepted the fact that she needs therapy to deal with what her husband had done to her and their son, what she’s become and to heal enough to start living again. However, therapy ends up giving her a lot more to deal with than she expected. Which of course is the point. The villains who traumatized both Quinn and Pet all those years ago are back in the picture.

Now, the villains are not what I expected. Ms. Sands wrote a scene describing what happened to one of the villains from back in the past and I have to tell you, it’s freakishly horrifying. I actually felt really bad for the guy because it was over the top violent. You may wonder how that past event effects the present and it’s a good question. It’s one of the surprises that impressed me in this book. I would never have guessed it. It helped make the climactic fight scene more meaningful. I know this probably doesn’t make a lot of sense but once you read the book and get to that part, you’ll understand. I didn’t expect to feel any empathy but I kind of did. Don’t get me wrong – a bad guy is still a bad guy – and comeuppance is meted out, but Quinn and Petronella (Pet) weren’t the only ones affected by the past and that’s all I’m going to say.

Now, to get to the good stuff. The romance between Quinn and Jet. It works, it’s great, I thought they were wonderful together, and I liked both their personalities. I thought Jet was a studly hero but it turned out he’s a smart cookie. He’s not just a pretty face. Quinn is adorable. I liked a lot of her internal dialogue and the insight it provides gives a reader a reason to want her to be happy – and that she would choose Jet when she finally was ready.

Their physical chemistry is of course off the charts. Life mates are always hot and bothered for each other. Readers will get plenty of examples of just how ‘hot’ it gets. Fortunately, the book has just enough of those scenes to satisfy readers who like the nitty gritty details, but for readers who are looking for a solid plot conflict, dialogue, action, intelligence with great storytelling and pacing, this story delivers.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a hearty shout out to Lucien, Margarite, Sam, Tybo and so many others in the Argeneau and Notte families that came to help Quinn and Jet survive so they could enjoy their happily ever after. I adore that whole family dynamic and how they all come together to party when things are good, and when things get hairy, they band together to defend and fight for the ones they love when there’s trouble. I believe this is the 33rd book in the series – so that’s a lot of family ties to keep track of. Oh, it might be naughty of me, but I actually snickered when Lucien accidently gets … well, I’m not going to actually tell you what happens… Fans of the series will more than likely understand why I found that scene humorous and why I giggled. Since I didn’t expect that to happen, I’m not going to ruin the fun and surprise by letting the cat out of the bag. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens.

On the whole, Mile High with a Vampire is a sure bet. It’s a fun and exciting adventure. I had a great time watching Quinn and Jet fall in love and you can be sure that I am adding this novel to my very large book pile of keepers. Many of Ms. Sands’ books have made it to my re-read list so many times, I’ve lot count. I’m thrilled with everything about this story and I heartily recommend it to paranormal romance fans in general, and to Ms. Sands’ fans specifically. It’s a great addition to the series and one not to miss.

The Cold Hearth by Garth Pettersen


The Cold Hearth by Garth Pettersen
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (300 pgs)
Rated: 5 stars
Reviewed by Rose

“The sons of Cnute are dead men.” The dying words of his brother’s assailant travel across the North Sea to the English Midlands.

Stressful life and junk food has incorporated a lot in making present generation deprive of icks.org viagra uk sensual feeling. Many researchers have proclaimed that pelvic-floor exercise is the best way online order for viagra for people who are unable to point their pistols during the love-war in the bed. One can never deny the fact that our levitra 40 mg parents held the very same believed. Spending less time with partner: – person who spend less time with the partner develop a risk of inhibited sexual desire face canada cialis levitra trauma which involves (incest, rape or sexual abuse), or were imparted undesirable attitudes regarding sex by their relatives while mounting up. Harald, the king’s second son, receives the warning while rebuilding a hall where he hopes to farm and lead a peaceful life with Selia, his Frisian wife. But as the hall nears completion, they learn the family who lived there before them all perished in a single night of bloodshed. Could the grounds be cursed?

Now the threat of unknown enemies casts a long shadow. Should they distrust the brooding Saxon neighbor or the two weapon-bearers they hired for protection? Should they suspect either of the two women they have taken on with the other hirelings? Only their Jewish warrior friend, Ravya ben Naaman, seems to be the only one above suspicion.

Once again, Garth Pettersen has wowed me. I somehow missed the second book in the series (though I have already bought it and can hardly wait to dive into it), but I still enjoyed this book just as much as I did the first book.

Harald and Selia are now married and taking up residence in Mercia– far from the king’s court and, they hope, from the various intrigues and machinations that thrive in political turmoil. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for us) things do not go as smoothly as they would like.


Once again, I love the characters – especially Harald, Selia, Ravya, and Erral. They are wonderfully complex and multi-dimensional. It’s interesting to see how they overcome their pasts and strive to become the people they want to be.

It’s obvious the author has done his research, and I really appreciate all the small things he does to flavor the story, the small tidbits of the daily life of the period and the scattering of foreign words (clearly explained by the context of the sentence).

The story is fast-paced with enough twists and turns to hold the reader’s attention. Wonderful job, Mr. Pettersen! I can hardly wait to read further adventures in The Atheling Chronicles.

A Sickness in the Soul by William Savage


A Sickness in the Soul by William Savage
An Ashmole Foxe Georgian Mystery

Publisher: Ridge & Bourne
Genre: Historical, Mystery
Length: Full Length (282 pgs)
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

“Many people wear masks. Some to hide their feelings; some to conceal their identity; and some to hide that most hideous plague of mankind: a sickness in the soul.”

Ashmole Foxe, Norwich bookseller, man-about-town and solver of mysteries will encounter all of these in this tangled drama of hatred, obsession and redemption.

Dose is usually adjusted based on the Placebo viagra prescription bought that effect. They do not usually contain any interpretive data as it is down to human nature. levitra prices icks.org It holds power to cure the super cialis cheap icks.org problem of depression and are on medication of antidepressants should use gingko in order to enhance their sexual performance. Irregular life like overwork, mental strain etc. could make the body resistance down, so that the cured chronic prostatitis relapsed. http://www.icks.org/data/ijks/1483111470_add_file_3.pdf cialis soft This is a story set in the England of the 1760s, a time of rigid class distinctions, where the rich idle their days away in magnificent mansions, while hungry children beg, steal and prostitute themselves on the streets. An era on the cusp of revolution in America and France; a land where outward wealth and display hide simmering political and social tensions; a country which had faced intermittent war for the past fifty years and would need to survive a series of world-wide conflicts in the fifty years ahead.

Faced with no less than three murders, occurring from the aristocracy to the seeming senseless professional assassination of a homeless vagrant, Ashmole Foxe must call on all his skill and intelligence to uncover the sickness which appears to be infecting his city’s very soul.

Can Foxe uncover the truth which lies behind a series of baffling deaths, from an aristocrat attending a ball to a vagrant murdered where he slept in a filthy back-alley?

Given that I am a not-so-closeted Anglophile and history lover, I’m always on the lookout for Bristish historical mysteries. And, I’m glad I found this one, even if I am coming late to the party, being this is the sixth book in the series. Have not fear, though, it can easily be read as a standalone, though I do have to admit I have already bought the earlier five books just so I can see more of Ashmole.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The mysteries involved were top-notch, the characters — ditto. I did not want to put this book down once I started it. I’ve not read a lot of books set in Norfolk, so I was very glad to get a glimpse of another English city.

Foxe seems like the kind of man it would be a lot of fun to have as a friend, as long as you realize he is what he is. He’s just thirty (which leads me to my only complaint…if the man on the front cover is supposed to be Ashmole, he’s sorely miscast….perhaps he’s one of the murder victims instead) and has a distinct joie de vivre which I imagine would be irresistible. And, it sounds like it is… especially for the ladies. He’s the type of man that has to be taken how he is (and not very seriously). I especially enjoyed the dilemma the author left him in at the end of the book, and it will be interesting to see how he gets out of it (this is not by any means a cliff-hanger; the mysteries are solved.)

I’m hoping I will soon have time to sit down and Ashmore again and catch up on what he’s done before this volume. Highly recommended!

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  This week’s topic is Hidden Gems (books that don’t get the recognition they deserve).  I’m certain many of the books I’ve read during my time at Long and Short Reviews qualify as hidden gems since they come from smaller/independent publishers.  I believe I’ve even used the phrase “hidden gems” to describe some of my favorites.  I only picked titles I rated 4.5 or 5 stars.  The titles are linked to info on the book and my review.  If you’ve been visiting my Top Ten Tuesday posts, you’ll probably recognize some of them.  I highly recommend them all!

The Magician’s Workshop Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr-I absolutely love the world the authors built and can’t wait to return to it.  I sincerely hope the authors are planning to release Volume 3 soon because the story is far from over.  I need to know what happens next!

Heroes for Hire: Discount Prices (Heroes for Hire 1) by C.S. Feldman-This book is excellent!  I had so much fun reading it.  Book two was released earlier this year and I plan on reading it soon.

Justice Unending by Elizabeth Spencer-I mentioned this book recently in one of my Top Ten Tuesday posts and Ms. Spencer commented and informed me she is working on a sequel!  I’m really looking forward to it.

Secrets of Bennet Hall (Return to Amston Book 2) by Jordan Elizabeth-If you’re looking for a Gothic tale to give you goosebumps, this book might be for you!

Blistered, Priestess, and Warrior (The Modern Greek Myth Trilogy) by Deidre Huesmann-Definitely a different take on Greek mythology.  Technically I rated the first two books 4 stars and only the final book at 4.5.  However, I included them since they are part of a series.

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Dragon’s Trail (The Outworlders, Book One) Joseph Malik-This is a well written, very detailed fantasy.  The second book comes out later this month!

Autumn Falls (Paradise Pines #3) by Delia Latham-This is a really sweet story.  It is part of a series but stands alone fine.

Spirit Ridge by L. A. Kelley-A lovely historical romance.

Angel of Night by Julie Simons-A different kind of YA paranormal.

Star Racers by Martin Felando-I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but I really enjoyed this one!

What do you think?  Have you read any of these?  If not, which ones pique your interest?

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Recent Highly Rated Books

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday!  This week’s topic was originally supposed to be a throwback to a previous topic of our choosing, but was changed to best books of 2018 so far.  I decided to combine the two topics.  A while back I wrote a post listing the First Ten Books I Gave Five Stars.  This week I’m listing the most recent books I’ve reviewed and given a high rating.  I decided to only list books I gave 4.5 or 5 stars.  Since I don’t give out those ratings very often, this encompasses books I’ve read in 2018 and 2017.  Titles are linked to a blurb of the book as well as my review.

Winter by Marissa Meyer-A great conclusion to the series!

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Cress by Marissa Meyer-I really loved getting to know Cress.

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Scarlet by Marissa Meyer-The second installment in the Lunar Chronicles is even better than the first, and Carswell Thorne quickly became my favorite character.

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Autumn Falls by Delia Latham-A sweet, inspirational romance.

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Justice Unending by Elizabeth Spencer-I would love a sequel to this!

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Warrior by Deidre Huesmann-An excellent conclusion to the Modern Greek Myth trilogy.

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The Magician’s Workshop Volume 2 by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr-I can’t wait for volume three!

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Dragon’s Trail by Joseph Malik-A very well written fantasy.

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The Magician’s Workshop Volume 1 by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr-Thoroughly entertaining!

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Spirit Ridge by L. A. Kelley-A delightful historical romance!

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Clearly I enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles, but the rest of my list is composed of some lesser known titles that are real gems!  Which book are you most interested in?

The Berghof Betrayal by Michael McMenamin and Patrick McMenamin

The Berghof Betrayal by Michael McMenamin and Patrick McMenamin
Publisher: First Edition Design Publishing
Genre: Historical, Thriller, Mystery/suspense
Length: Full (433 pgs)
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

“Weiland Herzfelde has absolutely reliable information that the Nazis plan a fake attempt on Hitler’s life which is to be the signal for a general massacre. The sources of his information are the SA in Dortmund and a tapped telephone conversation between Hitler and Röhm.”
The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler, February 1933

Winston Churchill receives startling news from a German aristocrat in early 1933 after Adolf Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany. The aristocrat has learned of a plot to stage a fake assassination attempt on the new German leader that the Nazis will use as a pretext to declare martial law and liquidate their political opponents. Unknown to Hitler, however, his enemies within the Nazi party—the Black Front—are conspiring with renegade elements of his own SS to turn the fake assassination attempt into a real one.

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Soon after she leaves for Germany, Mattie’s fiancé, the American lawyer and former MID agent Bourke Cockran, Jr., also travels to Germany to help his publisher client, Freedom House, acquire the rights to Rear Area Pig, an expose of Hitler’s less-than-heroic wartime service. Once in Germany, both Mattie and Cockran find themselves in peril at the hands of the SS loyal to Hitler who will stop at nothing to keep Cockran from acquiring the book and Mattie from learning the truth about the fake plot.

Threats to Mattie multiply when SS agents working for the Black Front attempt to coerce her into joining the real plot to kill Hitler. When Cockran learns the Black Front intends to kill Mattie along with Hitler at his alpine retreat, the Berghof, he reluctantly seeks the help of Reichspresident Herman Göring and Kurt von Sturm, a top Göring aide who is also one of Mattie’s former lovers. The one-time rivals for Mattie’s affection quickly conclude that there is only one way to protect Mattie. They must take out the Black Front snipers before they can assassinate Hitler. And time is running out…

This is the fourth book in the Winston Churchill 1930s Thriller series, but it’s the first one I’ve read. Oftentimes that would be a bad idea, but I’m so glad I took a chance on this. Sure, I might have had a deeper understanding of the characters had I read the earlier two books, but I had absolutely no trouble following this one.

It’s a long, complicated story and is not a quick or easy read. It is, however, one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a long time. It’s detailed, nuanced, and beautifully written. Be aware, it’s very much true to the times and what was going on in the world. There were some pretty depraved individuals around, and the authors do not hesitate to show you what they are capable of.

A blend of historical figures and characters created for the story make this look the world in the 1930s an easy way to learn about what was going on– it’s obvious the authors did their homework. There is a wonderful addition at the back of the book where they share what parts of the story are historical fact and which are created for the story. I appreciated this completely because the two were so seamlessly woven together that I wasn’t sure which were which!

A wonderful job! I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.