Song of Echoes by R. E. Palmer

As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of Song of Echoes by R. E. Palmer and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

Song of Echoes is a fantasy novel and there were times it reminded me of Lord of the Rings. However, R. E. Palmer included a lot of history to build the world and explain the current happenings in the world in which Song of Echoes takes place.

The story moves back and forth between the happenings in the lives of his two main characters, Elodi, the Lady Harlyn, and Toryn, a farm worker from a village. Elodi has recently taken on a leadership role in one of the five realms, following her father’s death. Toryn has reached the age where he is to go to serve the Archon in Archonholm. The Archon has been responsible for keeping the five realms safe for years. However, a complication changes the course of Toryn’s life and, instead of going with his friend to join those leaving for Archonholm, Toryn goes off in a different direction with his friend and mentor, Hamar.

Though the story has some battles and action and I found the characters interesting, the pace of the story seemed to drag at several places and it took me much longer to read this book than most books I read, but I was interested enough in the characters and what was happening to press on to the end. I enjoyed Song of Echoes solely because of the main characters, which I feel R. E. Palmer did a good job of creating, developing, and putting them in situations that made me care and want to keep reading to see what would happen to them.

I give Song of Echoes by R. E. Palmer 4 stars.

Lies in Bone by Natalie Symons

Though Natalie Symons is a successful playwright, Lies in Bone is her first novel and as a Book Reviewer I received a free ebook copy. This is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

Lies in Bone is told through the eyes of a teenage girl who lives in a dysfunctional family. She also has a younger sister. The story is set in a small town in Pennsylvania in the mid to late 1980s. The characters are well developed and Ms. Symons seems to have knowledge of what it’s like to be a teenager in difficult circumstances, as Frank is very well written, very realistic, and believable.

Though well written, I found the story’s pacing slow. It held my attention enough to keep me reading because Ms. Symons did a good job of gaining my sympathy for the main characters. I continued reading because I hoped to see their lives change for the better.

However, I was disappointed that not a single character in Slippery Elm seemed to have any happiness in their life. They were all struggling or causing problems for other characters. I disliked all of the profanity in the story, especially when it came from the mouths of children. There were also characters in the novel that I felt were represented in the extreme or in a stereotypical or negative way, with no characters from those particular people groups being represented in a more favorable light.

Though the ending of the story had clear resolution, if you like happy endings, I’m afraid you won’t really find it here. Probably the most disappointing thing was that the biggest conflict that happened in the story didn’t bring about the redemption I had hoped to see.

So, all in all, though the story was very well written and had well-developed characters, I found the story disturbing and depressing. Therefore, I give Lies in Bone by Natalie Symons three stars.

Pointe Shoes and Sugar Plums by Tomi Tabb

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Pointe Shoes and Sugar Plums is a novella by Tomi Tabb. It ties in with her “Unexpected Royals” series. As a Book Reviewer I received a free ebook copy of this novella and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

Pointe Shoes and Sugar Plums gives us a little more of Jenna’s story. Jenna is mentioned in Ms. Tabb’s first book in her “Unexpected Royals” series – Dancing with a Royal. It is near Christmas and Jenna hopes to be chosen as one of the five dancers who will be chosen, from her school, to dance in The Nutcracker ballet.

Tomi Tabb does an excellent job of explaining the life of a ballerina or a dedicated ballet student. She is obviously very knowledgeable on the subject. Ms. Tabb also includes some of the male dancers who are the partners of these ballerinas, and Jeremy is Jenna’s counterpart and has been for quite a few years.

Pointe Shoes and Sugar Plums is a wonderful story that gives the reader an inside look into the ballet. It is also the story of a dancer coming of age and a blossoming romance.

I enjoyed Pointe Shoes and Sugar Plums and hope that Ms. Tabb will write more about Jenna and Jeremy in an upcoming story as I feel as though, in this novella, there story has just begun.

I give Pointe Shoes and Sugar Plums by Tomi Tabb 5 stars.

Designing for a Royal by Tomi Tabb

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As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of this book. Designing for a Royal is the third book in the “Unexpected Royals” series by Tomi Tabb. It is the story of Clarissa Lee, an up and coming fashion designer in London and Patrick Nelson, the Lord of Renbrook. Both Clarissa and Patrick have been greatly hurt by people they have loved, and both struggle to trust again, but when they meet, there’s definitely an attraction.

Tomi Tabb has done it again. Just as in the first two books in her Unexpected Royals series, she has created characters the reader will love and be happy to invest their time in their story. In addition to Clarissa and Patrick, there are other characters that add to the story—some you will like and some you may dislike. Tomi Tabb’s characters always endear themselves to readers.

In Designing for a Royal, Ms. Tabb has included an unexpected twist that adds suspense and a bit of mystery to the story. However, I did feel this particular subplot in the story could have been wrapped up better. I had my suspicions and kept waiting to find out if my suspicions were correct. It wouldn’t have mattered to me if I were correct or not, I was just looking for full closure on this subplot. Ms. Tabb did wrap it up, but it didn’t have that “finished” feeling.

Even with that one piece seemingly missing full closure, I must admit, I again greatly enjoyed the story of Designing a Royal and, once again, Ms. Tabb’s mains characters will live on in my memory. I highly recommend Designing a Royal to anyone who enjoys a good, clean romance story with some humor mixed in. I also highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys stories about modern day royalty, although all of Ms. Tabb’s characters are fictitious. As a matter of fact, I recommend all three books in the “Unexpected Royals” series. Each can be read as a stand alone. However, there are character ties that connect each book.

The Captive by Julie Coulter Bellon

The Captive (Griffin Force #1) (Team One) by [Julie Coulter Bellon]

The Captive by Julie Coulter Bellon is the first book in her Griffin Force series. It is the first book I have read by Ms. Bellon, but it won’t be the last. The Captive is the story of a hostage situation – the hostages are an American diplomat and the daughter of a notorious Algerian hostage negotiator. Former Navy SEAL Jake Williams heads a task force to rescue the hostages. Joining the task force is another daughter of the Algerian hostage negotiator, Mya Amari, who will do anything to bring her sister home.

Amid rescue plans that don’t go as planned and flying bullets, romance starts to bloom between Jake and Mya, but they must focus on the mission.

Julie Coulter Bellon is knowledgeable of military missions, top government agencies, and hostage negotiations. She is talented in creating characters her readers will care about and want to walk through the dangers with them to see if they’ll come out safely. Ms. Bellon has crafted a well-told story filled with tension and suspense and has woven a blossoming romance in the midst of a crisis.

This story does contain some violence but it is minimal and is not graphic. The romance is clean and also minimal, and there is no profane language.

As a reader who enjoys a tense suspense novel from time to time, I must say I turned the last page of The Captive, wanting to immediately pick up the next book in the Griffin Force series to keep reading.

I highly recommend The Captive by Julie Coulter Bellon to anyone who enjoys a story based on a situation that could happen in today’s world and is filled with tension, suspense, danger, and excitement, with a bit of romance.

I give The Captive by Julie Coulter Bellon 5 stars.

A Thousand Forevers by Joan Fennell Carringer

A Thousand Forevers: Inspirational Fiction (The Angel Craig Series Book 1) by [Joan Fennell Carringer]

A Thousand Forevers is the first of Joan Fennell Carringer’s “The Angel Craig” novels. She apparently wrote several books that include “The Angel Jack” prior to this novel, and though they are tied together, each can be read as a stand alone. This is the first book I have read by Ms. Carringer.

A Thousand Forevers is an Inspirational Fiction book and clean romance story. The novel begins with Ida receiving bad news which she determines to keep to herself. She also determines not to let it prevent her from enjoying her life.

When Ida and her friend, Nora, take a trip, it turns into quite an adventure when they rescue an elderly woman who believes in miracles and having fun. Ida begins to wonder if God might give her a miracle so that she would feel free to reveal her true feelings for someone.

Despite a handful of spelling and typographical errors and a couple instances of head-hopping which cause the reader to pause, A Thousand Forevers is a delightful story full of adventure, fun, and clean romance. It is an easy read with a message of hope and faith. The story also explores the power of prayer.

Readers who enjoy characters dealing with realistic problems, fears, and doubts, who learn valuable lessons, will enjoy A Thousand Forevers. Anyone looking for a story that includes humor and romance and a positive message will like this book.

I hope to read more of The Angel Craig novels, as well as The Angel Jack books by Joan Fennell Carringer and I give this book 4 stars.

The Glass Bottom Boat by Laura Thomas

The Glass Bottom Boat (Flight to Freedom Book 1) by [Laura Thomas]

The Glass Bottom Boat is the first book in the “Flight to Freedom” series by Laura Thomas. It’s a romantic suspense story. The main characters are Madison and her sister, Chloe. The story is set in Jamaica. The ladies are there for Chloe’s “destination wedding” to Nathan, but there’s a lot more in store than a wedding.

The early chapters of the story focus on Chloe and Nathan and their upcoming wedding. There are some scenes where Madison begins to suspect someone is watching her. A threat of danger grows closer as Chloe’s wedding day approaches, and the suspense begins to intensify about midway through the book keeping the reader on the edge of their seat.

The Glass Bottom Boat is a sweet, clean romance with a clear Christian message as Madison, having a new found faith, sends some one or two line prayers to God during her struggles which helps her faith in God to grow. Luke, a missionary, spends time talking with Madison and encouraging her in her faith as well. However, all of the Christianity is done tastefully and is not overdone or preachy.

Laura Thomas did a great job of creating characters the reader cares about and in creating a story line that hooks the reader and keeps them turning pages to see what will happen next. She also throws in a couple twists and surprises. The book has been well-edited and is free of grammatical and typographical errors.

I highly recommend the Glass Bottom Boat to readers who enjoy a clean romance story with a suspenseful story line.

I give The Glass Bottom Boat by Laura Thomas 5 stars.

To Save a Life by Michelle Wright

To Save a Life (A Star Creek Christmas Book 1) by [Michelle Wright]

To Save a Life by Michelle Wright is the first book in Ms. Wright’s “A Star Creek Christmas” series. It is a clean, sweet romance story with endearing characters that have hearts for helping others.

Kayla works in a library and as Christmas approaches, the library begins planning programs for kids and families. Kayla, who experienced lymphoma as a teen, suggests having fundraising activities to support local charities that help people and that help children going through cancer. Her suggestion is approved and the planning begins.

Ben, one of Kayla’s coworkers finds that helping Kayla plan fundraising activities is a way to get to know her outside of the library.

Ms. Wright is a talented writer who has created a setting that could be anyone’s hometown and characters facing real life challenges. Her characters feel like friends and it is easy for the reader to get caught up in their lives – to laugh with then, hurt with them, and cheer them on.

The only thing I struggled with in To Save a Life were the typographical errors that frequently distracted me.

To Save a Life by Michelle Wright is a feel-good story and when the reader reaches the end, it’s almost disappointing to say goodbye to Kayla and Ben. Participating in their lives is fun and engaging. If you like reading romance stories with a touch of humor about characters, that could be your friends or family members, who handle life’s struggles with courage in a hometown setting, you will definitely enjoy To Save a Life (A Star Creek Christmas Book 1) by Michelle Wright.

I give To Save a Life by Michelle Wright 4 stars.

Keira by Kate Willis

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As a Book Reviewer, this is my honest review of Kiera by Kate Willis. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review. This is the first book or story that I have read by Kate Willis, though it is not her first nor her only publication.

Kiera by Kate Willis is a novel about a young woman who is facing the military draft during a war as soon as she reaches her eighteenth birthday. She has no desire to leave her family and friends and have her life change so completely. She and her parents and brothers pray that God will provide a resolution to this problem.

Though I liked the story and it held my interest and kept me turning pages, I found it difficult to determine a time period for the book. The lifestyles of the characters could very well take place in the present day. However, the mention of checking the weather daily to see what the level of radiation is before going outdoors makes it seem as though it could be in the not-too-distant future. Ms. Willis also mentions her main characters using “devices”, which are clearly electronic technological devices, to access information and contact friends and family. No specific name was given to any device, though they didn’t seem like anything other than today’s laptops, tablets, and cell phones. Each was always referred to as “the device”. Nor was there ever any clear description or information regarding the war that is taking place in the story.

However, Ms. Willis did a great job creating well-developed characters that the reader can relate to, like, and care about. The internal and external struggles of the characters are what keep the reader engaged and turning pages. The reader walks through the struggles with Kiera and her family and with Brennan Stewart, both empathizing and sympathizing with them, and hoping they will have a happy ending.

There isn’t really a romance in this novel, but there is definitely a love story in this book. By that, I mean, it is a very slow developing deep love between two of the characters. It isn’t sensual. It is a deep, pure love, unlike what the modern world views as love.

The ending of the story is a bit confusing. The words “The End” appear at the bottom of page 279, but there is one page following that, where a scene involving a minor character takes place, and it isn’t clear why the scene is there. It almost seems like a set up for a second book, but there is no mention of an upcoming book or that Kiera is part of any series.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, as I fell in love with the characters and I cared about them. Ms. Willis really did a wonderful job writing her characters, and they are definitely the heart and soul of this story, making it worth reading.

If you like character driven stories and like getting attached to and involved in the lives of a novel’s characters, you will definitely like Kiera by Kate Willlis.

Kiera is a Christian Fiction book and is a clean story – no profanity, no explicit violence, and no explicit intimate scenes. This novel is acceptable for both Young Adult and Adult Readers.

I do recommend Kiera by Kate Willis to readers who prefer character driven stories, and I give Kiera by Kate Willis 4 stars.

Reluctantly Yours by Jessica Marie Holt

Reluctantly Yours: A Granny Matchmaker Romantic Comedy (Granny Pact Book 1) by [Jessica Marie Holt]

As a Book Reviewer, this is my honest review of Reluctantly Yours by Jessica Marie Holt. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

Reluctantly Yours by Jessica Marie Holt is a delightful, humorous clean romance story. Ellie and June have been friends forever and have shared many adventures and made many memories together. However, now they are facing what may be the greatest challenge they have ever faced. But they have a plan – the Granny Pact.

Ellie’s grandson, James, is unmarried, as is June’s granddaughter, Sarah, and these grandmothers have vowed to help their grandchildren’s romantic happiness along, whatever it takes. But James and Sarah aren’t so easy to convince, and these two have a past that their grandmother’s don’t know about, which complicates everything.

If you enjoy clean sweet romantic comedy novels, you’ll enjoy Reluctantly Yours by Jessica Marie Holt. The delightful scheming grandmothers are endearing as they try to help their grandchildren fall in love, as they both want what’s best for their grandchildren, and the thought of actually being family after all these years is appealing to them as well. Their antics to influence this romance are humorous as their grandchildren begin to wonder what is wrong with their grandmothers.

James and Sarah aren’t easily convinced that romance is in the cards for them, but they make some attempts at spending time with each other just to humor their grandmothers. However, their past continues to prevent any new blossom of romance. Will they be able to put the past behind them?

Jessica Marie Holt has created realistic characters with flaws and weaknesses and real-life struggles. They could be one of your family members, one of your friends, or maybe one of your neighbors. This story and its characters are engaging and will live on in your memory even after you turn the last page and close the book or e-reader.

Reluctantly Yours by Jessica Marie Holt is well written and fun to read. It’s a quick, easy read.

I give Reluctantly Yours by Jessica Marie Holt 5 stars.