Belle of Eden by Sofia B. Ashford

The Belle of Eden by [Sofia Ashford]

From what I understand, Belle of Eden is the debut novel of Sofia B. Ashford.

I received an ebook copy of this story in exchange for my honest review, and I have to say that I was disappointed in the story.

The book blurb states that Belle is rescued from the noose by Commodore Craven and his son, Benjamin, and asked to assist them in their search for the Garden of Eden and the salvation it promises.

Therefore, I expected a story about finding the Garden of Eden and salvation.

However, the book is quite depressing as the majority of the story is about the life bleeding out of Benjamin, and his life seems to ebb and flow throughout the story.

In addition, Belle is a pirate and has a lot of pirate enemies, and everywhere they go, some of her enemies show up and there are battles. In the beginning, most of the battles end quite quickly, but late in the story, the battles take longer and become bloodier.

Ms. Ashford also writes of the Garden of Eden and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, as one and the same thing, which they are not.

And, for those who like happy endings, I will warn you that you may be disappointed in the ending of this book.

I give Belle of Eden by Sofia B. Ashford 3 stars.

Heart of a Runaway Girl by Trevor Wiltzen

Heart of a Runaway Girl by Trevor Wiltzen

As a Book Reviewer, I received a Free ebook copy of Heart of a Runaway Girl (A Mabel Davison Mystery), which is the debut novel of Trevor Wiltzen.

About the Book:

Mabel Davison is doing her best to raise her son, daughter, and niece, while running a motel and diner in a small mountain town. Mabel has a heart for people, and one day she notices a young couple in a back booth having an argument. The next thing she knows the town sheriff is telling her the young girl was brutally murdered and he has arrested the young black boyfriend that was with her in the diner.

Mabel is certain the boyfriend didn’t do it, and she starts poking around trying to find out who did, but it isn’t long before she pokes the local drug traders and makes some enemies. The sheriff tries to convince her to keep her nose out of things and says she needs to focus on taking care of her kids and her business, but Mabel cares to much to let an innocent man go to prison. But what she finds placing her and others in danger.

My Review:

Mabel Davison is a very likeable character with a big heart. She’s the kind of person everyone wishes they knew and called “friend”. She works hard and loves harder. She believes in truth and justice and personal rights and freedoms.

Trevor Wiltzen has done a great job with this first mystery novel in the Mabel Davison Mystery series. The story and characters are believable, and the small mountain town could be almost anywhere in 1980s America. Mr. Wiltzen draws the reader into the lives of Mabel and her family and soon the reader is rooting for Mabel in her determination to get to the truth. Things get intense and keep the reader on the edge of their seat, turning pages as Mabel faces some of the drug traders and heart-stopping danger comes to Mabel’s door.

Heart of a Runaway Girl is an outstanding debut mystery novel with a lovable amateur sleuth as the main character. I enjoyed the twists and turns that kept me guessing as to “whodunnit” til near the very end. I look forward to reading more Mabel Davison mysteries in the future.

I will mention that there is some violence in this book, but it is not graphic. There is also some profanity, but it is used sparingly and the characters who use it wouldn’t be as believable without it. The story also shows that Mabel believes in God, but this comes out in little bits and pieces and is not dwelt upon or preachy.

I give Heart of a Runaway Girl 5 stars.

Bag of Lies by Ricky Dean Wyrick

As a Book Reviewer, I received an Advanced Reader Copy of Bag of Lies, the debut novel by Ricky Dean Wyrick. for my honest review.

At first, it appears to be a historical fiction book set in the Civil War era. But, as you continue reading, a unique twist reveals this isn’t a historical fiction story about the North vs. the South.

Bag of Lies takes you on a journey and plunges you into the middle of a Civil War where it is sometimes hard to figure out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Michael and a handful of his friends are soldiers in this war, but as friends become enemies and strangers seem like friends, Michael isn’t sure whom he can trust. Michael is sent on a special mission and is afraid of failing. As he attempts to accomplish his mission, more clues as to the true setting and actual story are revealed as Michael faces many struggles and challenges.

There are a couple scenes where Mr. Wyrick head hops, causing the reader to reread a paragraph or two to figure out whose point of view that particular section is coming from.

Ricky Dean Wyrick has woven a very unusual story with interesting twists and turns. Bag of Lies is the first book of a series. The end of Bag of Lies offers enough resolution to satisfy the reader, but also leaves a hint of things to come to whet the reader’s appetite for the next book in the Broken World Series.

Bag of Lies is a well-written, unique story. It is a tale of war, courage, friendship, betrayal, and much more. There is also an inspirational aspect to the story, and there is some mild profanity. If you’re looking for a Civil War story unlike any you’ve read before, I suggest you pick up Bag of Lies. You’re in for a treat!

In my opinion, this story is suitable for middle grade through adult.

I enjoyed Bag of Lies and look forward to the next book in the Broken World Series.

I give Bag of Lies by Ricky Dean Wyrick 4 stars.

Dancing With a Royal by Tomi Tabb

As a Book Reviewer, I received a free copy of Dancing With a Royal by Tomi Tabb for my honest review.

Dancing with a Royal by Tomi Tabb is the story of an up and coming ballerina, Clara Little, in Los Angeles, California who is invited to replace a star ballerina in “The World of Ballet” showcase in England. An unexpected meeting with a handsome man at the airport in Los Angeles leads to another unexpected meeting with the same man in England, Prince David, the Duke of Leeds, a workaholic member of the Royal Family and eligible bachelor. Sparks ignite and the story becomes a sweet romance, and as the romance builds, it soon becomes a heartwarming love story.

Dancing with a Royal by Tomi Tabb is the best book I’ve read in 2021 so far. Tomi Tabb did a fantastic job of creating, not just likeable, but loveable characters — characters that made me smile, that had me cheer for them, that had amazing chemistry, and whom I would love to meet and spend a day with in real life. Ms. Tabb also wrote so well about what it’s like to be hounded by the paparazzi, I could easily sympathize with the characters. Ms. Tabb didn’t just create engaging, delightful main characters, but her secondary characters were just as well written.

This story was definitely a character driven story, but also had a very interesting plot line that kept things moving, and just enough description to paint a picture of the many settings in the reader’s mind.

This book and its characters will live in my memory and heart for a long time, and I look forward to reading the next book in Tomi Tabb’s “Unexpected Royals” series as soon as it’s available.

I highly recommend Dancing With a Royal to anyone who loves a good sweet romance or heartwarming love story, and I give this book 5 stars.

Songwriter Night (a musical romance) by D.G. Driver

Songwriter Night by D.G. Driver

As a Book Reviewer, I received a copy of this book for my honest review.

Songwriter Night by D. G. Driver is a very unique story. I found it engaging and entertaining.

About the Book:
Trish is new in Nashville, TN. She’s chasing her dream of becoming a songwriter in the Country Music capitol of the U.S.A. Not long after she arrives, she sits in a coffee shop working on some lyrics when she meets Lyle. Lyle is a native in Nashville, but he, too, is chasing the elusive songwriting dream. He’s struck by her voice as he hears her humming a tune he’s never heard before. They talk a little and he invites her to the house, he shares with a friend, for their monthly Friday night “songwriter night”. She accepts.

From there, the reader is introduced to a small group of artistic people who all have a love for writing, mostly music. What an interesting group it is.

My Review:
D. G. Driver created a very simple plot line. It lacks the usual intensity, but there are some conflicts that keep the reader turning pages. The writing is also sparse on descriptive setting details, but there is enough for the reader to envision the two settings where the story takes place. Another uncommon aspect of the book are the descriptions told of the characters’ actions.

The best thing about this read is that the characters are each so wonderfully distinct in personality and voice that they each paint their own quirkiness in the reader’s mind. They also fascinate and bring an occasional chuckle and an occasional groan.

A very unique fun thing about this book is that D.G. Driver has included the original songs that each of her characters share at “Songwriter Night”. She even has them recorded for audio readers to actually hear. I didn’t receive the audio, but Ms. Driver has samples on her website that I listened to and I was impressed at the quality of the recordings. Made me almost wish I’d have gotten the audio.

After reading the story, I read the information about Ms. Driver at the back of the book. That’s how I discovered why this story is so unusual and written the way that it is. In addition to writing, Ms. Driver is also very involved in theater, or was until Covid shut down live theaters. When that happened, Ms. Driver, who also thoroughly enjoys listening to cast albums of Broadway musicals, got the unique idea to write a book/audiobook in this one-of-a-kind, (as far as I know), story.

If you love cute romance stories unlike any others you’ve read, you’re sure to enjoy Songwriter Night. If you are an artist or someone who appreciates the arts of music and writing, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this story as well. If you’re just someone looking for a fun, quick, easy read this book’s for you too.

I give Songwriter Night 5 stars.

The Holiday Bride by Claire Sanders

The Holiday Bride by Claire Sanders

As a Book Reviewer, I received a free copy of The Holiday Bride by Claire Sanders for my honest review. The Holiday Bride by Claire Sanders is the second book in “The Masons of Brightfield” series. Ms. Sanders continues to write great sweet romance stories with a touch of humor, and this novel even included a bit of a mystery.

In The Holiday Bride, Andrew Mason has been in love with Hildy for years and finally believes it’s the right time to let her know his feelings for her. However, one problem after another prevents them from building a relationship, including another man. Hildy believes the other man would be perfect in her father’s eyes. However, Andrew, in his jealousy, stumbles across some incriminating information about the other man. This information takes Andrew on a fascinating journey to find out more with the hopes of winning Hildy in the end.

Ms. Sanders creates captivating characters that feel like friends. She paints pictures with her words and brings many smiles and occasional chuckles to her readers’ lips. She creates a plot with a pace that keeps the reader turning page after page late into the night.

The Holiday Bride is original in that Andrew is the main character, although we get plenty of Hildy’s point of view as well. It was very interesting to follow Andrew’s point of view in this story and I came to value the originality of Andrew’s character. He was engaging, unique, intelligent, and lovable.

After reading the first two books in “The Masons of Brightfield” series by Claire Sanders, I have become a fan of Ms. Sanders books and look forward to reading more.

I give The Holiday Bride 5 stars.

The Baseball Bride (The Masons of Brightfield) by Claire Sanders

The Baseball Bride (The Masons of Brightfield Book 1) by [Claire Sanders]

The Baseball Bride by Claire Sanders is a delightful story. It is my favorite genre — Sweet Romance, and as a Book Reviewer, I was given a free copy for my honest review.

This tale is set in 1910. Abigail Mason has grown up with three brothers and a father who loves baseball. Being the only girl, of course she wanted to do whatever her brothers did, and her father taught her how to play baseball right alongside her brothers.

But as Abigail begins to think about marriage, she decides it’s best to put her baseball glove away and focus on pretty dresses and being more dainty. She catches the eye of the town’s doctor, who begins courting her.

This book is well written and I simply couldn’t put it down. The characters were believable and I quickly felt as though I knew them. Being a girl who grew up in a neighborhood of boys, I grew up playing wiffleball, similar to baseball but with a plastic bat and ball. And, though, I grew up in a much different time frame, I, too, found a time to put the game aside to become a young lady. But having had that similar experience, I could relate to Abigail.

I loved Abigail’s relationship with her brothers and parents. The good-natured banter between her and her brothers brought smiles and chuckles as I read. Abigail’s relationship with the town doctor faced challenges and struggles.

Ms. Sanders did a great job of resolving the conflicts and wrapping up the ending. This was definitely a feel-good story with enjoyable characters. I give this book 5 stars and look forward to reading the rest of the Masons of Brightfield series. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys sweet romance stories and baseball.

Extraordinary by Starr Z. Davies

56008807. sy475

A New Kind of Super Hero Story

Extraordinary by Starr Z. Davies is the third and final book of the Powers Series. While the first two books were compelling reads, Extraordinary was a very good ending to the series. As a Book Reviewer, I received a copy of this book for my honest review.

Extraordinary is written in Bianca’s point of view and because of that, many of the scenes throughout the story are well-known to the reader. But this time the reader gets to see things through different eyes, thoughts, emotions, and actions. While this may make this novel seem less compelling, it is very helpful in understanding some of the things that happened and why they happened as they did.

In addition to that, there are several scenes in the last third of the novel that the reader was not aware of because the character, whose point of view the first two books were told from, was not present in these scenes. These particular scenes are filled with lots of action and fighting for those of you who loved the many scenes of action and fighting in the first two stories. Starr Z. Davies’ decision to include Bianca’s perspective in an entire novel helped to really tie all three books together and give the series a good solid ending.

If you like stories of superheroes with a sci-fi flavor with lots of action and fight scenes I highly recommend the Power series by Starr Z. Davies. You may even gain a new perspective on super powers by reading these books.

I give this book 4 stars.

Unique (Power Series Book Two) by Starr Z. Davies

Just like Ordinary, the first book of the Power Series, Unique by Starr Z. Davies was a fast-paced, page-turning story filled with action and fighting. The fight scenes are not gruesome in any way.

Ugene returns in this book, still battling Paragon because of their immoral and illegal activities as they continue to mislead the people of Epis. Still one of the few without a super power, Ugene shows over and over again that he can be just as formidable an opponent as anyone with a super power.

Ugene connects with each of his friends in a special way, and it was enjoyable to watch as their relationships developed, especially his relationships with Enid and Celeste, the most interesting character and the most unique relationship of all.

The ending of Unique was bittersweet and solid.

One thing I would like to point out is that in Ordinary, Ms. Davies very briefly mentioned that one of the characters had been in a gay relationship. In Unique, these two characters are reunited. However, the relationship is a very minor part of the book and really has very little to do with the storyline, and the only affection exchanged by the two is a hug.

Once again, I received an ebook copy of Unique by Starr Z. Davies for my honest review, and once again, I was not disappointed as I pushed my bedtime to the last possible minute each night because I didn’t want to stop reading. Unique also gets a 5 star rating from me.

Mercy’s Refuge by Rita Gerlach

Mercy's Refuge by [Rita Gerlach]

Another historical romantic fiction story, Mercy’s Refuge by Rita Gerlach takes the reader back to 1620. This book was inspired by William Bradford’s ‘Of Plymouth Plantation’.

Many of the characters in this novel are based on real life individuals, some of whom were Pilgrims who traveled to America on the Mayflower. However, the main character, Mercy McCrea is a fictional character, who interacts with other fictional characters, as well as the characters based on real people, especially while sailing on the Mayflower.

Mercy’s Refuge is a wonderful story that takes the reader back in time, first to England, then as danger threatens Mercy’s life, to Holland, where she finds comfort and acceptance among the Separatists who fled England’s king, and eventually, aboard the Mayflower to sail to the New World — America.

Rita Gerlach’s rich descriptions and accomplished storytelling draw the reader in to join Mercy’s journey through heartbreak and danger to love and refuge.

I have been a Rita Gerlach fan for about three years now. Historical Romantic Fiction is my favorite genre and Rita Gerlach is one of the best Historical Romantic Fiction writers I read. If you are a Historical Romantic Fiction reader, I highly recommend Mercy’s Refuge. Not only are Ms. Gerlach’s descriptions rich and her storytelling outstanding, but her characters are well developed, and her books do not rely on profanity or explicit sexual scenes to tell the wonderful stories she does.

I purchased this book for my own collection and chose to write my honest review without a request by the author or anyone representing her.