Review: VIRGO’S VICE by Trish Jackson

Virgo's ViceVIRGO’S VICE by Trish Jackson

Soul Mate Publishing (October 21, 2015) Romantic Suspense/Thriller

Lexie King lands a job on the film crew for a reality survival show. She’s spent her whole life dealing with the symptoms of PTSD due to abuse. When her abuser ends up as one of the contestants on the survival show, it’s too late for Lexie to turn back. The contestants and the film crew are air-dropped into a remote area of Africa. When they realize the director and the rest of their supplies are not coming, they scramble to make a shelter and find food. When fellow contestants start turning up dead, they literally scramble to stay alive.

This story is unusual in that the story is told from several points of view, and even though the main characters voices are the dominant voices, I found it unnecessary to have every contestant speak in their voice. In my opinion, the story would have been stronger by using only first person.

I did like the structure of the plot and the twists and turns one expects in a suspense. The author’s take on what could happen in a remote place was interesting, especially given the fact the contestants come for a survival reality show and end up fighting for their lives.

I recommend this story to readers who enjoy survival shows.

Review provided by Jackie McMurry for her column Jackie’s Jargon in the November 2015 edition of The Book Breeze.

Review: SAVE MY PLACE by Olivia deBelle Byrd

Save My PlaceSAVE MY PLACE by Olivia deBelle Byrd

Mercer University Press (September 10, 2014) Historical Romance

Olivia deBelle Byrd takes the reader on an emotional ride with the ever hopeful heroine, Elisabeth Belle Sterling, a Southern woman through and through. The book is based on the real life events of a friend of the author and told from Elisabeth’s point of view. The book starts with Elisabeth’s proclamation that she will be a spinster. She’s only twenty-two, but she’s determined to stay a spinster after her college boyfriend dumps her right after graduation. She believes nothing can sway her, that is, until she meets Kincaid Patterson on a blind date.

Kincaid is a West Point graduate with a dark past, but he’s attentive towards Elisabeth and she soon discovers love can be hers again. When they married half-way through the book, I wondered what conflicts the couple would have to face and then the news came that Kincaid was being sent to Vietnam.

This seems like enough of a conflict—Elisabeth is naturally lonely and misses him like crazy. And then the author layers in some great news (I don’t want to spoil the plot) only to lead into the most difficult tragedy Elisabeth will have to face. Save My Place is a story of faith, hope, and unconditional love. The narrator’s voice is compelling and leads the reader through a maze of highs and lows in a manner that had me feeling what she felt—laughter, relief, frustration, anger, love and loss.

Review provided by Jackie McMurray for her column Jackie’s Jargon in the November 2015 edition of The Book Breeze.

Review: JESSICA JONES on Netflix

UnknownNetflix has brought us another great series.

I started streaming Netflix when I heard they had picked up Longmire and ultimately produced a great season.

First, let me tell you that I didn’t grow up on graphic novels.  Haven’t read a one of them so I’m no expert on the Jessica Jones saga.  I did binge watch the series over the Thanksgiving weekend so my opinion is based solely on what Netflix produced and I think it’s gold.

Krysten Ritter, the dark, sultry Jessica  whose victories come at a great cost, is brilliant.  She keeps the character balanced between darkness and determination.  She struggles to push people away from her for their protection them while desperately needing their support which they step up and give at every turn.

Mike Colter plays Luke Cage, another reluctant hero and romantic interest for Jessica.  The sex between them carries all the pent up passion that two tightly wound heroes can muster.

Rachel Taylor does a wonderful job of holding her own in this mix.  Though she has no super strength or abilities, her super power is loyalty, and faith in her friend/sister, Jessica.

David Tennant plays the big bad mind controller Killgrave and the former Doctor Who does not disappoint.

Eka Darville plays the kind hearted neighbor whose character arc makes the longest journey from nice guy to junkie, to betrayer, to nice guy.

Carrie-Ann Moss plays Jeri Hogarth, the shark of an attorney, who expertly displays the usefulness of a shark in this sea of chaos.

Rosario Dawson, one of my favorite actresses, shows up in the last episode but I doubt it’s the last we see of her character.  She’s the connection to another super hero.

The storyline was compelling and frantically paced, direction first rate and award worthy acting.

This first season ends with the door wide open for much more to come.  Let’s hope that Netflix receives the encouragement to continue this amazing “Defenders” adventure.

Have you watched it yet?

New Releases

51dMOnGHgKL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_AWAY IN A MANGER A Molly Murphy Christmas Mystery by Rhys Bowen Released Nov 17, 2015 by Minotaur Books It’s Christmastime in 1905 New York City, and for once, Molly Murphy Sullivan is looking forward to the approaching holidays. She has a family of her own now: she and Daniel have a baby son and twelve-year-old Bridie is living with them as their ward. As Molly and the children listen to carolers in the street, they hear a lovely voice, the voice of an angel, and see a beggar girl huddled in a doorway, singing. Bridie is touched by the girls’ ragged clothes and wants to help. They give her a quearter only to watch a bigger boy take it from her. Molly quickly realizes that these children are not the usual city waits. As Molly looks for a way to help the children she gets drawn into an investigation that will take her up to the highest levels of New York society.

51InJrQEWjL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ORNAMENTS OF DEATH A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery by Jane K. Cleland Released Dec 1, 2015 by Minotaur Books Christmas lights twinkle throughout the cozy coastal town of Rocky Point, New Hampshire and Prescott’s Antiques auction venue has been transformed into a winter wonderland for Josie Prescott’s annual holiday party. Josie is especially excited this year – Ian Bennington, a recently discovered distant relative, will be joining the fun. the party is a success and Ian is a hit. It gives Josie an unexpected thrill to have family – and unexpected dread when he vanishes along with two 17th century miniature portraits..Determined to find Ian, Josie uses her knowledge of antiques to track the miniatures. In doing so she learns the true meaning of Christmas – and the true meaning of family.

Unknown-1WHAT YOU SEE by Hank Phillippi Ryan Mystery/thriller Released Oct 20 by Forge Why would a father abduct his own child? A wedding is planned in Jane Ryland’s family, but there’s a disaster instead. Nine-year-old Gracie -who was supposed to be the flower girl-has been taken by her stepdad. Where are they? Is the girl in danger? Reporter Jane Ryland learns there’s a limit to the bond of family-and learns to her peril what happens when loved ones are pushed too far. Meanwhile, Detective Jake Brogan’s got a doozy of a case. Solving the case should be easy, but the pictures and surveillance video lead him to a dark conspiracy of extortion and stolen lives. Jane and Jake must explore where their loyalties llie – to each other? To their families? To their careers?

Review: Adult Coloring Books

61nxQbGy7vL._AA160_DOODLE ART ALLEY BOOKS by Samantha Snyder Here’s a great gift idea for the kids and the kids-at-heart in your life – Doodle Art Alley Books. They come in 7 designs/subjects to inspire, uplift and generally deliver good feelings.

Volume One – Imagination Will Take You Everywhere

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Volume Two – Mistakes Are Proof That You Are Trying

 

61EcMh+WpsL._UX160_The one I received for review is Attitude is Everything. Yes, I’ve been coloring. Yes, I’m having fun. And yes, it does relieve stress.

So what’s your favorite medium? Felt tips, colored pencils or crayons? Me? I’m a crayon gal all the way. Love the smell. So grab whatever your heart desires and put a smile on your face and some new art on the refrigerator!

It looks like this is the year of adult coloring books!

 

51GLpQTr2QL._AA160_CREATIVE HAVEN OWL COLORING BOOK by Marjorie Samat Released June 2015

 

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THE OFFICIAL A GAME OF THRONES COLORING BOOK by George R. R. Martin Release October 2015

 

 

51YnpuOLgaL._AA160_CREATIVE HAVEN CREATIVE CATS by Marjorie Samat Released May 2015

 

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THE OFFICIAL OUTLANDER COLORING BOOK by Diana Gabaldon Released October 2015

 

61WohABiOHL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_And coming in 2016 … DOCTOR WHO COLORING BOOK by Price Stem Sloan Released Feb 16, 2016

New Releases

CF - Rogue Wave (2)ROGUE WAVE An Emma Winberry Mystery/Adventure By Helen Macie Osterman Mystery Released Sept by Oak Tree Press.

Emma Winberry and Nate Sandler, her significant other, plan a vacation on a sailboat on the Caribbean. Emma has misgivings about the trip and discusses it with her Guardian Angel who tells her there will be trials ahead. Follow the characters through the world of storms at sea, piracy, drug lords, and heroism to the pulse pounding conclusion.

 

choosing carter coverCHOOSING CARTER By cj petterson Mild Contemporary Romantic Suspense Released Sept 17 by Crimson Romance.

Bryn McKay has always tried to save her brother from his risky choices, but a near-tragic truck accident landed him in prison and her in the hospital. Now, a year later, he’s converted to radical Islam and escaped, vowing revenge. To clear her mind, Bryn goes on a rafting trip with her best friend, naturalist and outdoor guide Carter Danielson – and she wouldn’t mind if things turned romantic. Unfortunately, Carter is a recovering alcoholic who shies away from commitment. That is, until the two of them stumble across her brother and must flee for their lives. Will Carter figure out where his heart lies, or will Bryn face her biggest fear: watching someone she loves die?

Miss RufflesMISS RUFFLES INHERITS EVERYTHING by Nancy Martin Cozy Mystery Released Nov 3 by Minotaur Books

Rich and flamboyant Honeybelle, the most colorful character in Mule Stop, Texas sudenly dies a suspicious death and enrages the whole town by leaving her vast fortune to the most underserving recipient: her dog. The incorrigible Miss Ruffles is a Texas Cattle Cur, not a cuddly lapdog, and when Honeybell was alive, Miss Ruffles liked nothing better than digging up Honeybelle’s famous rose garden after breakfast, chasing off the UPS man before lunch and terrorizing the many gentleman callers who came knocking at cocfktail hour.

Review: CLOSER TO THE HEART by Mercedes Lackey

Closer to the Heart / Book 2 of the Herald Spy by Mercedes Lackey ~ DAW, October 2015 ~ 5 Stars

Blurb: Mags was a Herald of Valdemar. But he had once lived the brutal life of a child slave. When he was Chosen by his Companion Dallen, his young life was saved, and he slowly adjusted to being well fed, educated, and treasured as a trainee in the Herald’s Collegium at Haven. Singled out by the King’s Own Herald, Mags would thrive in his secret training as a spy. His unusually strong Gift—an ability to Mindspeak and Mindhear anyone, not just others who were Gifted—made him a perfect undercover agent for the king.

Sequel to Mercedes Lackey’s Closer to Home, this adventure continues Mags’s journey as Valdemar’s herald spy.

Review: A former child slave who worked as a miner, Mags has grown up since being chosen by Dallen, a charming, but slightly arrogant white horse or Companion. Mags attended school, the Collegium, with other new student Heralds, made friends, became a champion in the athletic, but brutal game of Kirball, fell in love with Amily and now works as a Herald-Spy to protect the realm of Valdemar. His adventures fill several books, yet each can also stand alone, a tribute to Lackey’s skill as a writer, but where is the fun in that?

By this point in the series, new engaged Mags and Amily are committed to each other. What they want to do is get married and have some time together. However with a civil war brewing in an adjacent country, Mags must continue spying for the Crown and Amily must perfect her skills as a newly chosen advisor to the King. Readers familiar with Lackey’s work will recognize that it may seem odd to have a young woman barely out of her teens tell an authority figure what to do, but this is a frequent occurrence in the the series. What does seem odd to me is the reappearance of Rolan, the Companion who chose Amily. Yes, he’s immortal, so why doesn’t he avoid mistakes?

Perhaps, it could have been made clearer that he is at the start of his career as the Companion to the ‘King’s Own’ and will learn more before he appears in later stories. It felt a bit contrived that he accepted the apparent accidental death of the former advisor, Amily’s father so quickly in the previous book, Closer to Home. Rolan chose Amily to succeed him. It seemed as if Rolan should at least discover if the man was truly doomed. Yes, for the purposes of the plot, it worked – but why not have a different Companion choose Amily? It still isn’t clear why she must be the most trusted advisor to the King, but perhaps it will become clearer as this series progresses. One of the joys in Valdemar is the fact that while Companions may look like beautiful, telepathic white horses, they don’t suffer from the everyday problems that equines do in the ‘real’ world such as colic and after spending a week nursing a sick pony back to health, it is wonderful to escape to such a fantastic place. Add in the fact that there is very little stall mucking and more horse owners would undoubtedly join me there.

Despite this weakness, the story works. Mags and Amily both build networks of spies since each knows that knowledge is power. These two likeable, smart, strong characters will engage readers as long as the series does, especially when they head off to find the traitor fomenting a war in their homeland. The ensemble cast is so well depicted that readers will want to see them as heroes and heroines of their own tales, not simply supporting characters. The same goes for the setting. Lackey describes the city and country well enough that long time followers will recognize familiar landmarks, yet newcomers will also feel at home.

Mags and Amily’s adventures don’t end on the last page of the book. Of course, there are hints of more to come, but this was an enjoyable visit to a beloved world.

Review provided by Shannon Kennedy for her column Shannon’s Space in the November 2015 edition of The Book Breeze.