The Fallback Plan

 

Esther has just finished college and moved back in with her parents. Recognizing that her childhood is now over, she realizes that the next stage in her life is ready to begin. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know what that next step is. Pushed into a babysitting job by her mother in an attempt for her to do something other than eat cereal in her pajamas, she spends a good portion of her time imagining that she is the mother of her charge and the lover of her charge’s father. The rest is spent smoking pot with some friends and sleeping with the guy she is attracted to but doesn’t like.

Leigh Stein’s The Fallback Plan is nothing if not consistent. Mirroring the main character’s aimlessness, the book drifts along without any real purpose. Perhaps those in a similar situation would find the book enjoyable, but it is hard to rally for characters who are apathetic about their own selves.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Kade

Nine months ago, Kade Ryland was investigating a fertility clinic for the FBI. Now a baby sharing his DNA has shown up and he discovers that the other agent who had worked the case disappeared. It’s a race to find his previous partner and figure out how and what happened in Delores Fossen’s novel, Kade. Answers aren’t easy to come by or easy to accept, and what Kade and Bree find out will change their lives forever.

Kade is a different kind of romance novel. The main characters don’t have sex and never have. They focus mainly on the case and marginally on their child. The fast paced story line drives to the finish but the ending twist seems rather pat and more typical of a romance novel. I have to call out the marketing team on the book’s cover: someone dropped the proverbial ball.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers has it all: a strong plot, well developed characters, political intrigue, nuns as assassins, and a unique take on religion.

Ismae has always suffered. Given away in an arranged marriage to an abusive man, she barely escapes with her life. Seeking help from the herbwitch, she is smuggled to a secluded convent, one which serves the god of death. There she finds that not all nuns are soft-spoken servants. The Daughters of Mortain are skilled assassins, serving their lord. Ismae, herself, has been called by Mortain and excels at her new profession.

Along with learning about poisons and weapons, the young apprentices also learn about how to use their womanly ways in the service of death. While it seems stereotypicla that every book must focus on the sexuality of teenage girls, based on the tenor of the rest of the book, I can only assume LaFevers was making a statement through this.

While the book drags through parts, the overall story is darkly compelling.

 

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

The Shadowing

Callum Scott is predominantly a normal boy. He does well enough in school, plays rugby, and keeps a low profile. The only problem is that for as long as he can remember he has seen ghosts. Now his premonitions are growing and he is being chased by a large creature from another place. Life is about to get interesting.

Adam Slater’s The Shadowing: Hunted would be a mediocre paranormal young adult novel with characters who are screaming to be further developed. However, he has managed to weave new aspects into his brand new paranormal series which may just set the foundation for a great story.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

The River Witch

 

A haunting tale of loss and healing, Kimberly Brock’s debut novel, The River Witch, is ripe with talent, showing both depth of plot and characters. Roslyn is broken. A car crash ended her ballet career. A miscarriage ended the chance at a family she wasn’t certain she wanted, leaving her feeling alone and confused. Set on an island in Georgia, where Roslyn has gone to seclude herself from the world, Brock has managed to portray a diversity of Southern culture to a group of readers with no personal experience of it. The book is bold and rash while bringing mixed tears of joy and sadness. If this novel is an example, Brock’s career is very promising.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

 

Bane: Book Two of The Coven Series

Having previously fled from her over-controlling father and the other witches of the dark coven, Jax Pherson is on the run again. Leaving those she cares about behind in an attempt to protect them, she and another rebelling witch, Egan, are on the search for a way to stop their families and covens. Gaining allies along they way, Jax and Egan realize that they can’t beat the evil alone.

Bane is the second book in Trish Milburn’s The Coven Series. While there were definitely aspects of the book that kept the story line of the series going with necessary scenes, the overall quality of the second book wasn’t to par with the first, White Witch. The plot meandered about and character development seemed stalled at the beginning before picking up towards the latter half of the novel. The book is short and still enjoyable to read but leaves readers hoping Milburn comes back stronger in the next installment.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Hidden Paradise

Lou Connelly is a young widow and Jane Austen scholar. Having lived alone in her despair for the past year, two dear friends ask her to come review their new period vacation retreat…one in which guests are encouraged to find pleasures where they may. Forced to choose between living in the past or living in the present, whatever the decision, Lou will never be the same.

Janet Mullany’s Hidden Paradise is an intriguing mix of historical fiction and erotica. Without being hard core, the sex scenes are definitely hot and steamy with switching partners and even a brief male/male experience. The decent plot holds a driving book full of orgasms and humor.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Cold Light

Mothers will do anything when it comes to saving their children, including setting out on a suicide mission. Emma’s daughter has been stolen by raiders and no one is going after them. Emma makes the choice to set out before an in coming storm. She faces raiders, animals, and the ever pressing mist that threatens everything it touches. She is joined on her journey by a diverse cast of characters devoutly loyal to her, and in the end, there will be a choice.

Cold Light, by Traci L. Slatton is a dystopian novel with a constant flux of action. Though well written, I found the premise of the mists to be unbelievable and the ending to be too pat. A decent read, the book didn’t have me clamoring for another book in the series.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

The King’s Damsel

Forced into servitude at court by the man who bought her guardianship, Tamsin Lodge must serve the young Princess Mary Tudor. Her guardian’s plot to secure a a position with the king and better his financial status is not the only plot afoot, and even the young princess is not safe from the dealings throughout the kingdom. Her loyalty for her mistress, along with her life, will be tested as she enters the games being played by a cast which includes King Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn. In order to save those around her and hold onto her beliefs, she must sacrifice herself.

Kate Emerson’s historical romance, The King’s Damsel, proves provoking among the romance genre. With history weaved in, the book is a fast-paced story with more drama than romance and more political manipulations than errant love scenes. While a romance novel in essence, this will appeal more to fans of historical fiction. An enjoyable read with an ending which finishes a bit abruptly, The King’s Damsel shares a view of 1500 England aristocracy.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

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