Love Costs by E. B. Roshan

Love Costs (Shards of Sevia Book 3) by [E.B. Roshan]

As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of Love Costs by E. B. Roshan. Love Costs is Book Three in Ms. Roshan’s The Shards of Sevia Series and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

Love Costs takes place in Sevia. Radoslav, the brother of Anna from previous books in the series, is working as an interpreter, after some of the Tur people surrendered to the government and are placed in Camp Peace. These people were promised that they would be relocated somewhere in Europe.

Dunya and her brother, along with an orphaned baby Dunya has taken into her care, are staying in Camp Peace. One day, Radoslav sees Dunya through the fence. She has pink hair and a shiny smile that catches his attention. In a conversation with her, she expresses concern for her missing cat.

Radoslav, his heart torn by the situation that Dunya is in because of the ongoing fighting in their country, decides he wants to do something to make her smile again. So he goes back to her neighborhood, which is a dangerous place for Sevian people, and Radoslav is Sevian. He wants to find her cat for her.

Once again, E. B. Roshan constructs a story with interesting characters facing dangers and difficult decisions in a war-torn country.

Radoslav, because I remember him from a previous book in The Shards of Sevia Series, was definitely a character of interest to me. A character I cared about and wanted to see find some happiness.

Although this story was engaging, I felt as though it lacked the depth and suspense of the other books in The Shards of Sevia Series. The story was definitely worth reading, and I don’t know if it’s because I actually read this book out of order, but I didn’t find the danger as suspenseful in this book or the characters in the story to have the depth the characters in the other books in the series had.

However, it’s still a well written book and it’s important to the series and I still recommend that readers who like suspenseful stories, stories of different countries and cultures, and stories of life struggles read this book. And if you’ve read the first two books in The Shards of Sevia, don’t skip this one.

I give Love Costs (Book Three in The Shards of Sevia Series) by E. B. Roshan 4 stars.

The Search for Synergy by Brett Salter

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The Search for Synergy is the first book in The Talisman Series by Brett Salter and as a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy. This is my honest review, and I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

The Search for Synergy is a delightful fantasy tale of two young men who must learn to work together to rid the world of the evil lurking in the Void. Rome and Julian have unusual abilities and Rome has just discovered his. Julian is excited to find out about Rome’s abilities and is eager to use his own in accord with Rome’s to fight the evil. However, Rome needs some convincing.

Mr. Salter has created a unique story in The Search for Synergy. This entire story seems to take place in present day United States, but reaches back into the times of knights and dragons. As Julian and Rome develop their abilities and learn to work together, with the help of Mr. Jones, they eventually battle evil creatures.

The two young men come from very different families and have very different personalities, both of which add a bit of humor to the story.

The only thing that was a bit problematic to me was that the book has some spelling and grammar errors, but they were easy enough to overlook as I was engaged in Rome and Julian’s lives and the battles facing them.

The characters and circumstances they face kept me turning pages as Rome and Julian developed their abilities and fought evil creatures while learning more about their abilities and the history surrounding them. I finished reading this book in just three days because it gripped and held my attention and engaged me in the story and the characters’ lives.

The ending includes enough resolution to satisfy the reader, with enough of an open end to promise another great adventure with more evil creatures for Rome and Julian to battle.

This book is a fun easy read that I recommend to middle grade readers and up. Anyone who enjoys fantasy stories with unique characters and story lines that include battles and a bit of humor, will enjoy The Search for Synergy by Brett Salter.

I give The Search for Synergy by Brett Salter 5 stars.

The Farmer’s Daughter by Lisa R. Howeler

The Farmer's Daughter: Book One in The Spencer Valley Chronicles by [Lisa R. Howeler]

As a Book Reviewer I received a free ebook copy of The Farmer’s Daughter by Lisa R. Howeler and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review of this book.

The Farmer’s Daughter by Lisa R. Howeler is Ms. Howeler’s debut novel as well as the first novel in her “A Spencer Valley Chronicles” series. It is the story of the Tanner family with the main focus on Molly Tanner. The story takes place in a small town and on the Tanner family’s dairy farm in rural Pennsylvania.

Times are tough and many of the local farmers are struggling to continue their farming business, and as Molly watches several family friends sell their farms and move on to something else, she begins to grow restless, wondering if farming is all she will ever know. Then Alex, Molly’s brother’s friend and her father’s farmhand begins to show a romantic interest in Molly. This makes Molly uncomfortable as she wonders why he would be interested in her. Like many women in the world, Molly suffers from a low opinion of her physical appearance. The romance that develops between Molly and Alex is sweet and very touching and both characters grow within themselves as their relationship grows.

An accident on the farm has the entire Tanner family wondering how to save the farm and keep it running financially.

I enjoyed everything about this story. Ms. Howeler is a very talented storyteller who obviously knows about farming and the struggles that come with it. In addition, she knows people, and I mean really knows people, not just on a surface level, but deep down inside. Her characters are so well developed and their struggles are so real. As I read, I was reminded of one of my favorite T.V. shows from my childhood, “The Waltons”. Ms. Howeler’s characters and the struggles they faced were reminiscent of the Walton family and their struggles. But, in addition to the struggles, the loving bond of family and the strength of that bond shines through.

Ms. Howeler also did a very good job of creating her setting. She painted pictures in my mind of cows and fields and the barn. One scene includes the birth of a calf and the description gives the reader a very clear picture, not only of the birth, but of the importance and meaning of new life.

I found myself so involved in the lives of the Tanner family and cared so much about what happened to them that they became part of my group of friends and I found the ending bittersweet as I wanted to see how things would turn out, but at the same time, was hesitant to say goodbye to such rich, engaging characters.

The ending doesn’t resolve every aspect of the story, leaving the reader the promise of another story to come, and I look forward to reading the next book as soon as possible. The characters and their circumstances in this story sometimes made me smile, sometimes laugh out loud, and once made me cry. A story that evokes these kinds of emotions are the stories I love best and the ones that will live in my memory.

I highly recommend The Farmer’s Daughter by Lisa R. Howeler to anyone who loves to read stories that touch your heart and that show what it’s like to live with a family that has its struggles but works together to get through them. None of the characters are perfect. They are very much like any of us and are very realistic, which makes the story all the more meaningful.

I will add that there are some steamy romance scenes but nothing in detail and nothing overly explicit.

I give The Farmer’s Daughter a 5 star rating.

Army of the Cursed by Karim Soliman

Army of the Cursed (War of the Last Day Book 1) by [Karim Soliman]

Army of the Cursed by Karim Soliman is the first book in his War of the Last Day series. As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of this novel and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

Though this is the first book in the War of the Last Day series by Karim Soliman, it is not his first book. He also wrote the Tales of Gorania series, which tell the story of Gorania, the world in which the Army of the Cursed takes place. Army of the Cursed by Karim Soliman is an epic fantasy novel with a complex world, lots of characters, and a battle that could end the human race and destroy Gorania.

Though their are many characters in the story, and all play an important role, three characters are key to the storyline. Leila, who gave up her right to be Crown Princess of Murase because she longed to be a mage and had been studying for it for years; Nardine, the Crown Princess of Bermania, who struggles to get along with her mother, Queen Rona. Nardine hears a rumor that her father was close to finding a weapon against the immortal demons and so begins to try to find out what happened to his unfinished work. Far away in the northlands of Skandivia, Halgrim is told of a lie that changes the path he had planned to take to a path that leads him to war with the Army of the Cursed.

Mr. Soliman did a great job creating a complex world with lots of interesting characters and intertwining their lives. His writing is easy to follow and the plotline is full of intrigue, action, and battles.

The only thing I struggled with was the pacing of the story. I think the plot dragged in the last third of the book and thought the war with the Army of the Cursed could’ve happened sooner and brought the story to its conclusion earlier. However, I liked the world and the characters enough to keep me reading to the end. And, as I have only begun reading fantasy stories in the past couple years, diehard fantasy readers may not have a problem with the pacing of this novel. It is my understanding that epic fantasy novels are lengthy.

I would definitely read the the next book in the War of the Last Day series when it becomes available because I am invested in the lives of the characters, especially Leila and Zahra.

I give Army of the Cursed by Karim Soliman 5 stars because of his talent with building the world and tying the characters from so many places altogether.

Frogtown Pandemic by Lief Olson

Frogtown Pandemic- Part I (Frogtown Series Book 1) by [Lief Olson]

Frogtown Pandemic Part 1 is the first short novel written by Lief Olson. I purchased this book as it sounded intriguing to me, so the author did not request a review from me, but I have decided to share my honest review of the book on my own.

Mr. Olson wrote this book during the 2020 world pandemic and published it on June 4, 2021. This book is a quick easy read, and Mr. Olson includes historical events, as well as quotes from the founding documents of the United States. He not only includes issues in today’s world, but also issues from our history, dating back to the American Revolution.

His historical facts are accurate and the story is interesting. There is an ongoing battle between the Toads and the Frogs, with the Frogs representing the patriots who battled against “taxation against representation” and more.

Though it only took me four days to read it, I can’t say that I was really drawn into the story or that I really enjoyed it, as it was clear that Mr. Olson wrote the story quickly, and my assumption as to why would be that because it includes a viral pandemic, he wanted to publish it because of its current and timely material. However, because he wrote it quickly, it also appears that he didn’t employ the help of an editor before publishing. It includes many grammatical errors and breaks the long-standing rule, in the writing world, of “show, don’t tell”. The majority of the story is told.

However, despite the lack of edits, Frogtown Pandemic is worth the read if you enjoy history and engaging your brain in thoughts regarding conservative political theory and past and current events.

I give Frogtown Pandemic 3 stars.

Jiving With a Royal by Tomi Tabb

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As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of Jiving With a Royal by Tomi Tabb and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review of this book.

Jiving With a Royal is the second book in the Unexpected Royals series by Tomi Tabb. It is another entertaining, fun, clean romance story. Amanda Collins is Clara Little’s best friend, so when Clara’s fiance’s best friend shows up, Amanda isn’t quite sure how to act. She’s only been following his life, through the media, for years and has had a crush on him just as long. But now, he’s here in the flesh, in her apartment.

Amanda is a delightful character. She loves to cook. She loves Disney World and I Love Lucy. Eddie has never met anyone like her before. His life has been filled with troubles he’s trying to put behind him, and Amanda’s free spirit approach to life intrigues him.

Tomi Tabb is a talented author with a gift for creating delightful, relatable characters. Her stories are well written and I have enjoyed both books in her Unexpected Royals series and continue to look forward to more clean, fun romance stories by Ms. Tabb.

If you are an American who finds the British Royalty fascinating or you just enjoy lighthearted romance stories, you’re sure to love Jiving With a Royal by Tomi Tabb.

I give Jiving With a Royal by Tomi Tabb 5 stars.

The Red Button by Keith Eldred

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As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of The Red Button by Keith Eldred and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

The Red Button by Keith Eldred is a unique work of fiction as it is written as a prequel, of sorts, to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Mr. Eldred has written an account of Ebenezer Scrooge’s life that explores his relationship with Belle, prior to becoming the grumpy miser we know from A Christmas Carol.

Mr. Eldred’s story is written in a very similar style as the classic A Christmas Carol, and fans of the original Dickens classic will be delighted to follow Ebenezer Scrooge through his meeting Belle, becoming interested in courting her to their engagement, and, of course, to the ending of the relationship, all while also following an interesting idea of Mr. Scrooge’s business dealings that made him rich. In addition, readers will follow how his line of thinking changes from the beginning of the book to the end of the book, as well as how he enters into a business relationship with Jacob Marley and becomes the grumpy miser, all of which make this book flow easily into the original Dickens classic that has become so known and loved.

Mr. Eldred has included an unlikely character that plays a part in this story, and that is the Red Button. He also created an unusual relationship between Belle and her mother. These two things make the story quite unique, adding Mr. Eldred’s original touch.

I enjoyed reading The Red Button by Keith Eldred, as A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens has always been, and still remains, one of my favorite Christmas stories of all time. And I will say, I read The Red Button carefully, as I looked for the connections to the original classic that I felt were important for the book to truly be acceptable to readers, like me, who love Dickens’ original classic, and I was pleased with the connections Mr. Eldred made.

If you are also a fan of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, I encourage you to read The Red Button by Keith Eldred. Mr. Eldred’s story may not include some of the most beloved characters or some lighthearted moments as the Dickens original, but if you like to explore the possibilities of literature’s best known characters’ lives, like Ebenezer Scrooge, I think you will enjoy The Red Button.

I give The Red Button by Keith Eldred 5 stars.

Wolves of Adalore by Morgan Gauthier

Wolves of Adalore (Mark of the Hunter Book 1) by [Morgan Gauthier]

Wolves Adalore is the debut novel of Morgan Gauthier. It is also the first book in the Mark of the Hunter series. As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review or any review.

Crispin and Salome have been raised by Zophar after their parents died. Now they must prepare for battle with their sister, Niabi, who has been ruling Adalore from the White Throne. She is responsible for many deaths. She was ready to turn her rule over to her son until tragedy struck and brought out her cruel nature once again.

It has been about 200 years since a hunter has been seen in Adalore or its surrounding lands, so no one believes a hunter exists. However, Zophar, Crispin, and Salome are assured, by a Seer, Harbona, that it is the Year of the Hunter and there is a hunter, and it is one of them.

As the four begin their journey to Adalore, they come under attack twice. Then they separate into pairs and later reunite.

Wolves of Adalore is a very well written fantasy novel. It has also been well edited. There are many characters, but it is easy to follow the characters. Morgan Gauthier made clear connections between the characters as well. It is a novel of good vs. evil.

I enjoyed this story and I love Zophar, Crispin, Salome, and Harbona, as well as Salome’s guardian, Adonijah. Morgan Gauthier not only created lovable characters, a story that kept me turning pages, and an interesting setting, but she writes engaging dialogue between characters, especially Adonijah and Salome, which adds some light-heartedness to the story.

My only disappointment in this novel is that just as they are about to enter into the battle the story has been leading up to, Ms. Gauthier brings the story to a close. However, it was not a complete cliffhanger, and I am grateful for that. I will look forward to reading the next book in the Mark of the Hunter series by Morgan Gauthier for I want to know who wins the battle and what happens to my favorite characters.

For my sensitive readers, I will mention that there are a few profane words within the story.

If you enjoy an engaging fantasy story with very likeable characters, I encourage you to read Wolves of Adalore.

I give Wolves of Adalore 5 stars.

The Spring Bride (The Masons of Brightfield Book 3) by Claire Sanders

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As a Book Reviewer, I received a free pdf copy of The Spring Bride (The Masons of Brightfield Book 3) by Claire Sanders. This is my honest review, though I was not required to write any review of this book.

Once again, I was engaged in the lives of the Mason family. The main characters from the first two books of The Masons of Brightfield still made appearances, though this book focused mostly on George Mason and a woman named Greta.

Greta was known in Brightfield as Greta Franklin, married to a traveling salesmen who never seems to come home to Greta. As George’s other siblings find their special someones and begin to marry, he wonders if he’ll ever find the right woman. Then he meets Greta and hires her as his part-time bookkeeper for his new business. He becomes very attracted to her.

The story continues as the mystery of Greta’s husband becomes part of the main story line. The Spring Bride is another wonderful clean romance by Claire Sanders, whose Mason family characters are so endearing, as I read each book, I feel like I know these characters personally. They are wonderful characters and the Masons of Brightfield stories are wonderfully crafted and well edited.

The Spring Bride is an unusual romance story with a very unique premise. The mystery, suspense, and unexpected twists and surprises kept me turning pages from the first page to the last. There is also a sprinkling of humor in the book, which adds to the fun of reading it.

However, there was one thing I found a bit disturbing, and that was in regard to a minor character named Damir. Ms. Sanders’ characters are usually very forgiving and fair in dealing with one another. Therefore, near the end of the book, in a discussion between Greta and her father, I found it disturbing that there was an unforgiving attitude in regard to Damir due to a circumstance involving Damir and another character. The unfairness came in Greta and her father’s attitudes that the other character involved in the circumstance was completely innocent in the situation which is what disturbed me, as in any argument or wrong doing involving two people, each person or character is responsible for their own choices and actions.

The disturbance, though, in no way makes the story less enjoyable. I still love the Masons and their spouses, and I still look forward to reading the next book in the series when it becomes available. Also, I think the Spring Bride is my favorite of the three already written because it is so unique, and, in my opinion, goes to a deeper emotional level than the first two books in the series.

If you love good clean romance stories with wonderfully developed characters and a plot with unexpected twists and surprises, you’ll enjoy The Spring Bride. And, though, each book can be read as a stand alone, I highly recommend that you read them all.

I give The Spring Bride (The Masons of Brightfield Book 3) by Claire Sanders 5 stars.

Glad Tidings: A Flash Fiction Advent Calendar by Angie Thompson

Glad Tidings: A Flash Fiction Advent Calendar by Angie Thompson is a unique book. It is a collection of Flash Fiction stories, each based upon the very first Christmas – the time of Jesus Christ’s birth. Oh, none of the stories actually retell the Biblical account, but each of these Flash Fiction stories tells a story that has something to do with Christmas or the themes of Advent, Christmas, and what we receive when we accept and know Jesus Christ – hope, faith, joy, peace, and Christ.

The stories include a variety of characters, just like you and me, in different environments and different circumstances who experience the themes of Christmas, from the young man who had been adopted into a family in the old west and feared he’d never marry because of the possibility he came from “bad blood” to the family that struggled to make ends meet but loved each other and did their best to also take care of an older sibling with special needs, to the family with a child dealing with cancer, and many others – all real life situations, written into fictional stories, told from the perspective of an author who took the time to look at each situation through the eyes of Christ and Christmas to offer readers hope, faith, joy, peace, and Christ.

I will treasure this book of Flash Fiction stories and I look forward to reading them through the upcoming Advent season this year (2021). I encourage you to consider doing the same, or just read the book in one sitting and let it warm your heart and give you hope in whatever you might be dealing with right now.

I give Glad Tidings: A Flash Fiction Advent Calendar by Angie Thompson 5 stars.