Reviews

Book Review: Where in the Dark

Where in the Dark (A Cydney Granger Thriller Book 2),

 by Karen Millie-James

Publication: King of the Road Publishing Limited; September 4, 2017

where in the darkAbout the book: 

Two envelopes. Two Holocaust survivors. Two anonymous bearer
bonds each worth one million pounds. Corporate forensic
investigator, Cydney Granger, with help from beyond the grave,
enters a world previously unknown to her to unravel the truth
behind a web of secrets, lies, corruption, blackmail and hidden
Nazi loot as new horrors of the Third Reich come to light.

Still struggling to come to terms with the apparent death of her
husband, Captain Steve Granger, five years’ earlier, Cydney puts her
personal feelings to one side and is determined to bring to justice
an escaped Nazi criminal, Adolf Weissmuller, living under the assumed
name of Albert Whiteman, whose son is about to run for the US
presidency. Can Albert ever make amends for his crimes against
humanity, or are some actions beyond forgiveness …?

Will Cydney, along with her trusted and tough protector, former
sergeant, Sean O’Connell, also uncover the truth surrounding
her husband?

The consequences of Cydney’s investigations, stretching back
before WWII, are far reaching with the potential to bring down a
banking dynasty as she faces insurmountable odds from which
there is only one final solution.

The dramatic follow-up to The Shadows Behind Her Smile,
a compelling debut which takes the reader from the heart of Cydney’s
corporate world to the ruins of war-torn Damascus and where men
will stop at nothing to achieve their goals.

My Review:

Who, What, When, etc. 

Where in the Dark is the second novel in the Cydney Granger series, and once again brings a ton of secrets, crime, and suspense. After the death of her husband Steve years earlier, Cydney is living with her teenage twin children and her husband’s best friend, Sean, who promised Steve he would look after his family if something happened to him. Cydney’s romance with George has bloomed and they are a happy family together. 

Cydney’s close friend/father figure Rupert is back this time and refers his friends and Holocaust survivors Harold and Alfie to Cydney when they each receive one million dollar bearer bonds in the mail. The investigation into the bonds takes Cydney to West Virginia in search of who mailed the bonds and why, while Sean is investigating whether or not Steve is really dead. 

Cydney is once again contacted by spirits that not only aid in her investigation regarding the bonds but help her solve the puzzle regarding her supposedly deceased husband. 

Thoughts and Reactions

Let me begin with trigger warnings regarding this novel. There is a great deal of content regarding the mistreatment of the Jewish people during WWII. Although relevant, Karen Millie-James did a great deal of research and included this detailed research regarding the treatment of those held in concentration camps throughout the novel. 

Now, let me attempt to explain how incredible this novel is without giving spoilers, of course. Where in the Dark is a suspense/thriller, but at a higher level with a complex plot and extremely complex characters. Once Harold and Alfie contact Cydney regarding the bonds, things quickly begin unfolding leaving a trail of puzzle pieces.

The bonds are traced to a bank in West Virginia, but one that also had branches in Germany at one point. That bank is owned by an Albert Whiteman, who used to be known as Adolf Weissmuller when he was a member of the Third Reich. At ninety years old, Albert has been confessing the sins of his life and trying to seek some sort of forgiveness, however, Albert’s Nazi ties risk the future of the bank his family built, as well as his son’s future – his son being the Governor of West Virginia with plans to run as a Presidential candidate. 

Running parallel to the investigation into the bonds is the investigation into whether or not Cydney’s husband is still alive and being held by a unit of the Special Forces. Sean has been helping and caring for Cydney and the children since Steve’s “death,” but now a tension rises between them as he tries to learn what has really happened to Steve.

Back to my assertion earlier about this being a higher level suspense thriller, there is nothing simple or easy about the plot of this novel. Karen-Millie James crafted very detailed sub-plots that not only enhance the story but make it completely fascinating. Don’t get me wrong, this is a difficult read at times and not a novel that you will breeze through quickly. However, everything is tied together seamlessly as she slowly reveals the whole picture.

Something I enjoy and respect about Millie-James’ writing is her characterization. Regardless of how secondary a character appears, her writing ensures that you can see and hear this character, in addition to knowing a great deal about them. There are no blanks or question marks after reading this novel or her previous novel, based on her impeccable character development. 

On a personal note, I have even more respect for the author and her writing because of the amount of research that went into this novel. Being that I am in the United States and in Virginia (right next door to West Virginia, for those not from the U.S.), Karen Millie-James asked me questions that seemed so mundane, yet it all made since once I read the novel, such as, “what would someone in West Virginia call their father and grandfather? or What do you know about West Virginia politics?)

Not only is the novel outstanding, but it is based on research, as well as, personal family history of Karen Millie-James and her ancestors. Anyone interested in an intelligent, thought-provoking suspense/crime thriller, Where in the Dark should be placed at the top of your TBR. 

*Many thanks to the author for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Pre-Order Where in the Dark on Amazon!

Learn more about Karen Millie-James by visiting her web page. 

 

Reviews

Book Review: To Say Goodbye

To Say Goodbye, by Lindsay Detwiler

Publication: Hot Tree Publishing; September 24, 2016

to say goodbyeAbout the book: 

Feisty Sophia never shies away from life. Playful, romantic, connected—her marriage was the thing of fairy tales. But when tragedy strikes, Sophia is left to pick up the pieces of her life.

After leaving the army, Jackson is ready to start afresh. But when he returns home, his life spirals out of control.As Sophia and Jackson find themselves in each other, they start to see redemption is possible. 

Trying to piece together a new life, they must answer the question: Should they forge a life together and say goodbye to their pasts completely, or should they loyally go their separate ways to avoid heartache?

My Review:

I came across To Say Goodbye on NetGalley a few weeks ago and for some reason, this one just called to me. This was my first time reading Lindsay Detwiler and it was an amazing love story.

Sophia is a beautiful, vibrant woman that has experienced the tremendous loss of her husband Tim. She has a wonderful family and is part-owner of a salon with her best friend Stella. Jackson has returned from the Army and experiencing his own difficult losses in addition to losing Tim who was his best friend when they were growing up.

Sophia and Jackson’s losses are similar and different at the same time, however, they instantly seem to be drawn to and relate to each other because of their grief. As Jackson and Sophia get to know one another, the reader learns more and more about Sophia and Tim’s past, Jackson and Tim’s past, as well as, Jackson and his ex’s past. The characters are so well-developed and relatable, and the author’s descriptions make it easy to picture the characters and settings in your mind while you read. 

The main theme of this novel is grieving and overcoming loss, however, it strongly depicts moving on and being open to happiness again after tragedy. Grief looks different to everyone and feels different to everyone. There is no set time table for grieving, but it is important to continue living and finding joy where possible. This was so incredibly sad at times, yet so moving and uplifting also. The love, care, and respect portrayed in To Say Goodbye was incredible, as were all of the various characters. It was a raw and honest fast-paced story that I could not put down. To Say Goodbye is an exceptional piece of women’s fiction that everyone should read. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase To Say Goodbye on Amazon!

Learn more about Lindsay Detwiler by visiting her web page!

Reviews

Blog tour, review, & giveaway: Rum Runner

Displaying RumRunnerTourBanner-1.png

 

Displaying Rum Runner_FINAL_RGB.jpgRum Runner
Tricia Leedom
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: July 18th 2017
Genres: Adult, Adventure, Romance

Perfect for fans of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Janet Evanovich, this action-packed debut from a fresh voice in contemporary romance offers a sexy and comedic take on love, adventure, and what it means to trust your heart.

English socialite Sophie Davies-Stone has been longing to meet her father since she was a little girl. When he sends her a mysterious medallion and asks her to forward it to him in Miami, she can’t help herself from doing something totally un-Sophie-like. Rather than mailing it as instructed, Sophie hops on a flight to Florida.

But the family reunion never happens. Instead, Sophie is attacked and almost kidnapped by her father’s enemies. Her savior is Jimmy Panama, a cocky and annoyingly handsome former Navy SEAL. Sophie isn’t the only one who’s annoyed. After years of trying to find a way to pay back his CO, Jimmy never thought his debt would get him mixed up with his commander’s uptight, British daughter. He just wants to put her on the next flight home and get back to his low-stress life in Key West, but fate has other plans.

As Sophie and Jimmy embark on a heart-pounding adventure through Key West and the Caribbean, Sophie finds herself falling for the snarky American. Still, her head says Jimmy is all wrong for her, and the more she finds out about him – and her father – the more uncertain she is about who she can trust.

One thing is clear. Sophie is in way over her head, and her greatest adventure might be her last.

The Key West Escape Series

1. Rum Runner – Releases July 18, 2017!

2. Bahama Mama – Coming January 2018!

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

My review:

I am so incredibly excited to be a part of the Rum Runner blog tour and share my review of this outstanding, debut novel by Tricia Leedom. Rum Runner takes the reader on a romantic, action-packed journey from England, to Florida, to Jamaica, and more! Sophie is a wealthy socialite in London who has received letters from her father over the years, but hasn’t met him. When he sends her a medallion and asks that she ship it to a hotel in Miami, she decides to deliver it in person instead, hoping to meet her long-lost father Mitch Thompson. However, upon arriving in Miami she learns that Mitch is not there, but instead she finds Jimmy Panama. A smooth-talking, handsome friend of her Dad’s who is there to pick up the package as a favor. Thus begins a crazy, fast-paced adventure as they try to find her father and try to stay alive. 

Let me start with Jimmy Panama, the swoon-worthy boat captain, ex-Navy SEAL, possible criminal, etc. Besides his crazy sex appeal, he flirts constantly and is hilarious with the one-liners. I absolutely fell in love with him, in case you haven’t already figured that out!

Sophie’s character was also fabulous but in different ways. Initially, she appears as the snooty rich girl that wouldn’t even jaywalk, much less go on the run from drug lords. However, the author masterfully reveals more and more of Sophie as the novel progresses, almost where it seems Sophie is learning about herself at the same time as the reader. She faced and conquered so many fears and obstacles throughout this novel that it leaves you with the overall feeling of, “wow!”

There are several other key players in this story, just enriching the already entertaining and suspenseful plot. Obviously I won’t include spoilers, but be prepared to be shocked, surprised, puzzled, and every other fantastic emotion that accompanies this genre of novel. The chemistry between Sophie and Jimmy is undeniable and I loved it, but it’s the repeated dangerous situations that kept me on the edge of my seat that made me fall in love with this novel. I thought this one sounded good when I signed up to participate in the tour, how much fun I was in store for!

Tricia Leedom’s debut novel reads like that of a well-seasoned novel. Her characterization and vivid imagery will propel you to the Keys and beyond as you get lost in this action and adventure novel. You know what the best part is? There is a part 2 scheduled for release in 2018!! I hate having to wait that long, but if the follow-up is anything like the debut, it will be worth the wait! This is the next must-read on your list!

*Many thanks to Xpresso Book tours and Tricia Leedom for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

GIVEAWAY!

Enter below for a chance to win:

  • Conch Necklace
  • Dreaming of the Sea Necklace
  • Starfish Hair Barrettes
  • 10 pc Drink Stirrer Set
  • Peach Quote Beach Tote
  • Rum Runner Signed Copy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Displaying Tricia.jpgAuthor Bio:

TRICIA LEEDOM enjoys traveling to exotic destinations and having torrid love affairs with hot, dangerous men… even if it’s only in her own mind. When she’s not writing romantic adventure novels, she reads voraciously, tweets compulsively, and fangirls over a TV show based on her favorite book series. Tricia earned her BA in Creative Writing from The University of Tampa and her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Her favorite authors include Diana Gabaldon, J.R. Ward, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Karen Robards, and Johanna Lindsey. She lives in Southwest Florida with two very spoiled dogs. Follow Tricia on Twitter and Instagram @tricialeedom

Goodreads / Instagram / Twitter

THE TOUR

July 3rd
A Quaintrelle In The City >> Guest post
Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!  >> Review
Ingrid’s book blog >> Review
The Genre Minx Book Reviews >> Review
Smada’s Book Smack >> Review

July 4th
underneath the covers >> Excerpt
T’s Stuff  >> Interview
Rolling with the Moments >> Review
To Be Read >> Review

July 5th
Book Lovers 4Ever >> Excerpt
blogs and coffee >> Guest post
Book Sniffers Anonymous >> Excerpt
Reads & Reels >> Review
Dandelions Inspired >> Review

July 6th
WickedGoodReads >> Excerpt
The Avid Reader >> Interview
The Unrated Bookshelf >> Review
Padme’s Library >> Interview
The Mystery Corner >> Review

July 7th
Full Moon Bites  >> Guest post
OMGReads >> Review
Dreamland Teenage Fantasy >> Review
A British Bookworm’s Blog >> Review

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Reviews

Book Review: Syn’s Broken Journey

SYN’S BROKEN JOURNEY (BROKEN PIECES BOOK 5), BY KELLY MOORE

PUBLICATION: APRIL 26, 2017

syn's journeyAbout the book: 

As the last unattached member of the Nolan family, Syn is ready to risk everything for a mission he’s been assigned to.  He’s military born and bred.  He loves two things – his country and his family.  When it comes to love, he’s kept his distance.  He’s watched his brother and his cousin settle down with families of their own and he’s more than content to play a role in their lives, but not give his heart away to any one woman.
 
Journey Valeur has had nothing but heartbreak.  She fell for the wrong man, blindly following him, and it cost her dearly.  She has no intent on ever giving her heart away again.  Now, she’s hell-bent on revenge, but she has become the hunted, wanted for murder.  She’s kept herself well-hidden, deep in the mountains of Utah, until one man is sent to find her.
 
Syn meets a beautiful woman on a train on the way to his mission.  She lights a fire in him like he’s never felt before.  They have a brief encounter, but he lets her go to stay focused on the mission at hand.  Little does he know, their paths will cross again.
 
Syn has to decide whether or not to trust the story Journey is telling him.  If he chooses to believe her, his mission becomes lethal for both of them.  Syn will put everyone he loves at risk and his own life on the line for her.  To save her, he will dodge bullets, cross borders, and defend her against a high-ranking military official.  He’s taking on a deadly game that could easily be his demise.
 
Journey will have to make a choice to go it alone or trust a man again or be forced back into a life of terror.

My Review:

So, it’s no secret how much I love Kelly Moore and all of her novels, and Syn’s Broken Journey exceeded all of my expectations! This is book 5 in the Broken Pieces series and focuses on Syn (Jacksyn) as he takes on an unusual mission as requested by a high-ranking General. Unlike Steel and Gray who are have married the loves of their lives and have babies, Syn is still a bachelor who has never been in love. Everything changes while on a train to Utah and Syn spots Journey across the bar. He’s instantly captivated by this woman, which has never happened before. He assumes he’ll never see her again, but soon they are trying to work together to bring down a criminal.

As always I have developed a huge crush on the male character in one of Kelly’s novels. It happens every time, just can’t help it. When I think of Syn, I think of a “manly man,” who is strong, sexy, muscular, fearless, intelligent – just all of it! Besides being a big, sexy tough-guy, Syn also has an enormous heart and does what he can to do right by others, especially those he loves. Syn and his family are extremely close as always and are each willing to do anything to protect each other. 

Journey was a little different for me… I had moments where I really felt like I connected with her, then I would change my mind, then I would like her again, and so on. I can’t put my finger on why, but I think her character was so untrusting that it made me reluctant to trust her. Does that make sense? Journey was definitely tough and self-sufficient being the leader of a hidden compound and community, and her soft side was revealed eventually, but I still felt like she had a wall up throughout the novel. Journey’s uncle Noah stole my heart immediately and although her brother Trav went back and forth for awhile, he ended up proving to be a good and trustworthy man. 

If you recall my review of the last novel, Pieces of Gray, I fell in love with Kell (now Gray’s husband) and his character was just as incredible in this novel. Without even knowing Journey, Kell trusted Syn and jumped right in to help with Journey and the overall mission, repeatedly putting himself in difficult situations such as cramped quarters, darkness, etc. that reminded him of his time as a POW. 

Once again, Kelly Moore has created an action-packed, emotional, and romantic story that is difficult to label as one particular genre. She includes a little of everything in her novels making it appeal to the reader regardless of their normal preference. There’s military stuff, bad guys, weapons, romance, sexy scenes, sweet family scenes, and so on. Kelly’s writing style continues to amaze me with the complexity and pace of the plot and development of characters that makes you feel like you are there and part of their family.  I have learned that when I sit down to read one of Kelly’s novels, I won’t do anything else until I’ve finished the entire thing, and I know I will absolutely love it. 

Syn’s Broken Journey should be available around April 26th and I cannot recommend it enough, although starting at the beginning of the series will add to the enjoyment and provide more understanding of the characters and their lives. 

*Many thanks to Kelly Moore for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Learn more about Kelly Moore by visiting her web page.

Think Syn’s Broken Journey sounds good? Check out my reviews of the other novels in the Broken Pieces series!

 

Reviews

Book Review: Pieces of Gray

“Pieces of Gray” (Broken Pieces Book 4),

by Kelly Moore

Publication: January 7, 2017

pieces-of-gray

Synopsis: Would you risk your life for someone that you love? Would you risk theirs?

Gray Milby was a badass sniper in the Army. She was held captive deep in the jungles of China for two years. She left behind the only man she has ever loved believing that he was dead until now. She risks her life and others to rescue him, returning to the place where her own nightmares come from.

Captain Kell Crew has survived four years of torture, being held captive in a cage. Physically he survived, mentally he will never be the same man that Gray remembers. In order for him to survive again, she has to make the choice of giving him up once more.

A year later they accidently meet again and Kell is drawn to every part of her being. He feels he remembers Pieces of Gray, but how is that possible when he has never met her before? All he knows is that he wants her.

Gray has tried everything to move on with her life and forget about her love for Kell. He forces his way back into her life and she can no longer push him away. Her love for him is too deep. Being with him risks his own life. Their love for each can destroy them both.

Someone else is lurking out there waiting to seek revenge. He just might kill them both.

My Review:

If you follow my blog you already know that I am a Kelly Moore nut having read the first 3 books in the Broken Pieces series, as well as, her stand-alone novel, Next August. And yes, I loved them all. I am trying to be more objective when reading and reviewing regardless of whether I previously loved or disliked an author’s work. However, there is no way to contain my love and excitement for Pieces of Gray!

We’ve read about the parents and we’ve heard Steel and Ady’s story, but this time the focus is on Steel and Syn’s cousin, Gray. As we learned in the last novel, Gray joined the military just like her cousins, where she became an expert sniper. After being captured and tortured in a POW camp, Gray finally gets out and gets home, thinking that the love of her life – Kell Crew – has already been killed.

A few years later, Gray is informed that there is a chance Kell is still alive, so she and Syn risk their lives to find the camp and rescue any prisoners alive. Luckily, Kell makes it out but is a changed man both physically and mentally after 4 years of torture. Back in the U.S. at a military hospital, the doctor’s have run out of options with the exception of an experimental procedure with PTSD patients where their time in the military is erased from their minds and replaced with other memories. The only catch, Gray must stay away from him to avoid triggering his old memories. Kell would get a new life and work as a private detective with her cousin Syn, assigned as his “handler” to ensure that the treatment is effective and the memories don’t resurface. Although she’s lost Kell again, Gray tries to carry on until one night they see each other in a restaurant and Kell is immediately drawn to her. As he tries to get to know her and get more involved in her life, she tries to push him away for his own good, but eventually she can’t fight how they feel for one another. Because of her inability to resist Kell, it results in challenges and hardships for everyone. 

I already loved Gray in the last novel, but was absolutely crazy about her character in Pieces of Gray. Gray is beautiful, caring and feminine, but is also a brilliant and intelligent Veteran. Being raised with her two male cousins and having a Dad that taught her how to handle a gun early in life, Gray is not some petite little flower unable to take care of herself. However, she also has a very sweet and adorable relationship with her cousins Steel and Syn who always want to keep her safe while still remembering that she is an equal. Through Gray’s flashbacks, we learn all the wonderfully sweet, romantic and heart-breaking details about Gray and Kell, what happened before and what happened after they were captured. Moore guides the reader on a journey of the love that developed between them, as well as, their devastation after being captured and separated. Gray’s strength and will were tested repeatedly throughout the story, honestly making me crazy just wanting everything to work out for her. 

Kell is my new book character boyfriend. From Gray’s first flashbacks until the end of the novel I loved everything about that man. I don’t know what else to say. No seriously, I loved how Moore developed his character showing the strong soldier at the beginning, then revealing the prisoner he had become over 4 years, and then the various changes and phases he went through after being rescued. Not only did it address possible effects of PTSD, Moore also demonstrated the difficulties and challenges when one person remembers their love and one does not, almost reminding me of one person of a couple developing dementia or Alzheimer’s.  One thing that definitely could not be ignored was the amazing chemistry between Gray and Kell, but also the continued bonds shared between Gray and her family. 

Something I both love (and sometimes hate, lol) about Kelly Moore is that her writing is so gripping and so realistic that you forget you are reading a book! It feels as if you are right there and a part of everything – both good and bad – but then you reach the ending and realize that it’s over and you’re snapped back into reality! There are never any lulls in her writing, no dull moments that seem to drag, but instead contains non-stop dialogue or action strengthening your personal investment in the characters. It’s impossible not to feel the emotion, concern, fears, joy, and love among this family and the characters in this novel, just as in the 3 previous novels in the series. Once again I have started and finished one of her books within a few hours, completely getting lost in the incredible story with all of its hardships and celebrations. Pieces of Gray is full of romance and suspense, but as always with Kelly Moore, it’s just an outstanding work of fiction that is an absolute must read. 

*Many thanks to the author for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Learn more about Kelly Moore by visiting her web page.

Pre-order “Pieces of Gray” on Amazon. 

 

Reviews

Book Review: Catch a Falling Star

“CATCH A FALLING STAR (SHOOTING STARS SERIES BOOK 1),”

BY LEAH DOWNING

PUBLICATION: FULL NET ENTERPRISES; MARCH 13, 2016

cfs-ebook-cover-front-onlySynopsis: 
Set against a backdrop spanning from the Canadian tundra to the red carpets of Hollywood, Catch a Falling Star follows Lauren St. Germain as she tries to carve out a fresh start after being cleared from charges that alleged she had assisted in a homeland terrorist attack. In an attempt to feel normal again, Lauren quiets her world by steering clear of media and immersing herself in yoga. This results in a practitioner position through her Los Angeles yoginis–teaching actors for an upcoming film. This is where Lauren meets film star, James Bayer, and her new life, that of a recluse, becomes threatened by one, simple obstacle: attraction.
But if no one finds out about us, then no one gets hurt…right? This question has remained on repeat in her mind since that one night under the prophetic Northern Lights. This relationship could cost Lauren everything–most of all her privacy and hard-acquired peace of mind. Is James worth that risk?
This multi-layered plot will keep readers captivated to the very last line.

My Review:

I’m not sure what I was expecting exactly when I started reading “Catch a Falling Star,” but this novel ended up being much more than I originally thought it to be. This novel follows Lauren St. Germain who is in the process of healing and rebuilding her life after a military base explosion that the was accused of assisting with. Trying to find peace within herself, Lauren agrees to join her two friends on a cruise to train actors in yoga for an upcoming movie. Here, Lauren meets the famous and devastatingly handsome British actor, James Bayer and starts to feel passion and desire again for the first time in a very long while. After a trip north together to visit her Inuit relatives, Lauren thinks that things are over between her and James. Once she returns to her Malibu condo she decides to go back to her old career of top-security government clearance and investigating, while also deciding to start dating someone new. But when her and James reconnect and that undeniable spark is still there, everything quickly changes for Lauren, both good and terribly bad. 

Let me start by saying there are a lot of subplots to this novel – but in a great way. Lauren is battling guilt and trauma from the explosion that injured her and her husband – not sure if he died or they divorced later, I never could tell??  Lauren is rediscovering her heart, emotions and sexuality but repeatedly expresses feelings of guilt or has flashbacks to her husband Collin. Healing is part of her plan to visit the north when she  goes on a dog-sledding trip and undergoes an intense “cleaning ritual” to rid of the curse of a supernatural force “Djinn.” The “Djinn” part was confusing, but from what I’ve gathered it’s a dark force with a leader, Iblis, who lends insight to the Taliban. Lauren’s husband pissed them off, so they vowed revenge on Collin and his loved ones. Anyhow, this poor woman endures a lot of crap in this novel, demonstrating incredible strength and the ability to shrug things off, but I can’t go into all of that because of spoilers. 

James is handsome, adorable and wants to be known for good acting in good roles. Initially, I was leery of his intentions with Lauren, but that quickly went away. He proved his love and devotion repeatedly throughout the novel. Although, he did have frequent “broody, pouting actor moments,” he was still quite yummy! Other characters are Lauren’s Yogi friends Derick and Thom, a guy Eric that Lauren dates, James’ manager Matt, and a makeup artist Nina. Some of these people are good, some are bad, but I don’t want to spoil that either! 

As much as I absolutely loved this novel, I was somewhat frustrated by the abrupt ending and the incredibly confusing epilogue – that I re-read 3 times to make sure I was following. There was also a preview for the next book in the series which confused me even more, making me question my overall intellect, lol! With that being said, I highly recommend this novel to anyone that likes fiction with a little bit of romance, a little bit of supernatural, and a little bit of military/government. I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of another book, movie, t.v. show, anything that I could compare this to, but I have nothing. 

“Catch a Falling Star” is completely unique and original 🙂 Even more impressive is that this is author Lean Downing’s first novel. Her writing style, dialogue, imagery, and subplots make you feel as if you are reading work from a seasoned author, not a first-timer. She possesses an incredible ability to provide vision and insight into her characters, bringing them to life and reeling the reader in. She mixes real-world highs and lows with things that require a little more imagination, all wrapped up in a perfect package. I absolutely loved this book and am crossing my fingers that the author will want me to read and review the sequel in the near future! 

Purchase “Catch a Falling Star” on Amazon.

*Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Reviews

Review: Escape From Afghanistan

Escape From Afghanistan, by Nathan Sessler

Publisher: War Writers’ Campaign; September 18, 2015

escape

We have experienced travel nightmares in our lives, but imagine finishing up a tour in Afghanistan and everything that could possibly go wrong, goes wrong, as you try to make it home.  “Escape From Afghanistan” is a short story by Nathan Sessler detailing his trip back home to the United States and how wonderful it is to finally get home.

Sessler started preparing for his departure well in advance, as instructed, but the day he arrived at the airport, he discovered that nothing had been confirmed and his tickets had been canceled.  Thus begins Sessler’s waiting, begging and pleading in a string of airports in attempts to get to North Carolina. Sessler’s journey includes flying into Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, to Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, to Germany, to Atlanta, to Charlotte, and then home.  Along the way, he encounters people that are rude, but also people that are kind and helpful.  He goes through a rocket attack on a runway and at one point has to catch a ride aboard a C-17 cargo carrying only caskets holding deceased soldiers. After several airports and many days of waiting and hoping, Sessler finally returns home to North Carolina.

“Escape from Afghanistan” is a short story that is very well written and includes hope, humor, happiness, anger and frustration.  Sessler has provided an honest depiction of trying to get home from a foreign country, but still reminding us of what to be grateful for and when you just need to laugh! Initially, I wished there were more to this story, but after reflecting on it for a while, I realize that he said what he needed to say. Sessler’s descriptive and vivid language will pull you into the story while also making you feel as if you are right there witnessing it all. I thoroughly enjoyed this different perspective of soldiers’ lives who are deployed overseas, and definitely recommend this short story.

Visit War Writers’ Campaign page to learn more about the author and the War Writers’ Campaign: http://www.warwriterscampaign.org/#!2015-authors/c17yf

*I received a copy of this short story from the author in exchange for an honest review.