Books on Deck: Memories & Secrets, by Diane Winger

_Memories&Secrets_ebook-coverA year after her husband died, Deborah is still deeply torn over her role in his death, but there’s no one left whom she can confide in without breaking a solemn promise. The prospect of a month-long visit from her only grandchild feels like an opportunity to begin her arduous climb out of the twin burdens of grief and guilt.

Ashley is no longer the cheerful, confident tomboy her grandmother remembers. No one realizes that the death of a student at her high school – a boy she barely knew – has cut her to the core. Ashley’s secrets are weighing her down, undermining her future, destroying her friendships.

Two damaged people, fifty years separating their ages – neither expected their summer visit to be transformative, but life is sometimes full of surprises, some courageous, some grave.

In this novel filled with sadness and laughter, with fear and courage, two people turn to love to lift them beyond their painful memories and secrets.

Book on Deck: Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni

BoudiccaWhy is The Morrígan’s raven crying? Only Britons with hearts for true liberty know!

In 43 CE Roman conquest of Britannia seems all but certain — until a chance meeting between King Prasutagus of the Iceni and a runaway slave of royal decent from the Aedui tribe in Gaul changes the fate of the British islands forever.

Rise up for liberty with the true story of Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni and discover one of the most inspiring stories in history!

Based on the accounts of Roman historian Tacitus and supplemented with archaeology presented by the BBC. Told through the eyes of a 5th century mother and daughter facing the Saxon invasions.

Books on Deck: The Gift-Knight’s Quest, by Dylan Madeley

Gift Knights Quest“Chandra had yet to fathom why Jonnecht could not have lived and ruled for many long years, or why it was so urgent that she ascend immediately.”

Chandra never asked to rule Kensrik, but fate took a strange course. Known as a usurper and sorceress by most and traumatised by all that has transpired, she is forced to make use of the few loyal allies she has in order to hold together her restless empire. In an attempt to identify and defeat the conspirators who inadvertently landed her in power, Chandra risks putting the lives of many in mortal danger, as well as her own.

Derek is an aimless wanderer – the youngest in a lineage that has long fallen from nobility. He finds himself summoned by tradition to serve a family historically considered his bitter enemy. As he journeys down the same path a fateful ancestor once travelled, he struggles with personal demons and begins to reconsider his loyalty to the mission.

Duke Lenn found one true cause in love and it cost him everything. His legacy shaped the present in which Chandra and Derek find themselves. Now their choice will shape the future of Kensrik…

The Gift-Knight’s Quest is set in a new and vividly imagined world, written with delicate prose that will allow the reader to explore with their imagination. Inspired by authors such as Michael Moorcock, J. G. Ballard and Roger Zelazny, it will appeal to fans of fantasy and historical fiction.

Books on Deck: Mary Queen of the Scots, by Laurel A. Rockefeller

Mary Queen of the ScotsQueen Mary Stuart was one of the most beloved and controversial women in Scottish history. The granddaughter of King James IV and his wife Margaret Tudor, Queen Mary’s status as heiress-apparent to the English throne paired with the violence of the Scottish Reformation set the stage for one of the most dramatic and poorly understood lives of the 16th century.

Mary Queen of the Scots tells Mary’s true story, focusing primarily on her reign as queen of Scotland, celebrating her life more than her death, and showing us all why she was truly a woman ahead of her time.

Book Review: Artifice – Nights of Shadow (Book One), by Lianne Miller

ebook cover-webEliza Ross isn’t who people think she is. In fact, Eliza Ross isn’t who she thinks she is.

The old saying is that the truth will set you free, but there are some things more compelling than truth. Eliza Ross finds those things in Dmitri Markov, a man sent to plague her–or so she thinks.

I’ll have to try to write this carefully to avoid spoilers, because I know readers will want to experience this book the same way I did. What I will say is that Lianne Miller handles this genre very well, allowing the reader to see the world through the confused eyes of an unreliable narrator and without the intrusive framework that many authors insert into this particular type of story. In this case, Miller’s deft handling makes it all work, and as Eliza learns more about herself, so do the readers.

Hospitalized with an unusual medical condition, protagonist Eliza questions her ability to function and make sense of the world around her, but she knows something isn’t right. She is correct, and it will take time for her, and the reader, to peel back the layers of intrigue about what’s really going on, and who the people around her truly are.

The pacing of this story is strong, and as to the mystery, the reader is left guessing, knowing, certain, and then … Well, why don’t you see if you figure it out, too? ;-)

I cannot wait until Book Two comes out!

Want to read Artifice – Nights of Shadow on your Kindle? (Trust me, you do!) Get it here, or read the book blurb below.

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Books on Deck: Grounded, by April Scott-Goss

grounded_blue coverDaydreaming of the dragon he singlehandedly killed, Trilium Bishop is finally returning home for good, when suddenly the aircraft carrying both his knights and their families is routed off course and Trilium is forced into a deathly path that leads far from home…

When Trilium Bishop turned twenty-one and was sworn in as Master of Dena, he made his first executive decision – to leave the planet. Gathering his brother, Kalin and fellow knights, he made his way across the galaxy administering diplomacy and judgment upon various societies. To the Council of the Old he left behind instructions that his youngest sibling, Titus, should rule in his place once he is “of suitable age”. The Council in turn opted to wait indefinitely on making this ruling.

For Titus, a student of the order with the hereditary “gift” of being able to read minds, came the understanding that none, including his father the Old Master, deemed him “suitable”. As time passed, Titus’ resentment grew and he conspired with others to stage a coup d’état but in secret, he devised a plan far worse than betrayal.

Books on Deck: Rebel Song, by Amanda Clay

Rebel Song KINDLE

The once prosperous European kingdom of Arelanda has been plagued with poverty and corruption since the failed rebellion tore it apart. Now, rebels stir again in the capital’s underbelly, vowing to depose the monarchy and overturn the unjust government.

Seventeen-year-old Rogan Elwood, son of a rebel leader executed for treason after the first rebellion, has borne a tainted legacy his entire life. As he is pulled deeper into conflict, Rogan must face his calling in the future of the rebel cause—waging his want for peace against his desire for vengeance. Everything changes when he falls for Elyra—beautiful, idealistic and determined to bring Arelanda a better future. She also just happens to be next in line to the throne—if the corrupt Minister General doesn’t beat her to it.

Caught in the midst of a budding civil war and surrounded by enemies on every side, Elyra and Rogan must fight to save themselves and their country—and choose between each other and their duty.

Book Review: Dragon Zoo: Apocalypse, by Martyn Perry and Simon Carter

Dragon Zoo: Apocalypse, by Martyn Perry and Simon Carter

Dragon-Zoo-Apocalypse-Book-CoverDragons and London: those two things alone were able to get me excited about reading this book. First off, for those of you Anglophiles who want to know if the London in this book is accurately rendered, yes, it is. I worked in and around London for a decade, and I could picture the streets through which the characters walked.

Secondly, if you want your protagonists walking, fighting, and fleeing through London streets teeming (teeming, I say!) with dragons, this is definitely the read for you.

This is a fast-paced young adult novel with an emphasis on action and strong visuals. Sensory image is vividly detailed and the fight scenes (is it right to call it a fight scene when most of the characters are flame-throwing, scale-wearing, ripping, shredding, and tearing quadrupeds?) are intricately plotted out. There is a lot of attention to detail in this book, but it doesn’t drag. Looking for action, action, action, and dragons? Make some action yourself, and grab this book.

Parents: This is a good one to engage a less reading-enthusiastic young adult. It can be read in bite-sized chunks and the action is interspersed throughout to help maintain the pace. Don’t be surprised, however, when your reader gets to the cliffhanger at the end (blast you, Dragon Zoo authors–I need closure!) and demands you go to Amazon immediately to look for other books. Be aware, the book contains gore, very mild romantic interest, and some PG-13esque profanity.

Want to read this (and more!) Dragon Zoo titles on your Kindle? You can grab them all here, or read the back cover below.

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Book Review: Her Sweetest Downfall, by Kellie Wallace

Her Sweetest Downfall, by Kellie Wallace

her-sweetest-downfall-mock-3London during the Blitz, and the bombs aren’t the only thing destroying lives. Read of wartime romance and loss in Her Sweetest Downfall.

Viola Craft’s marriage is one of duty and heartache, and desperately trying to please her older husband, Vernon. Despite all of her efforts, however, he still wants the one thing that she cannot–and will not–give him. This book is the slow-motion tumble of lives under siege.

At times, Her Sweetest Downfall was challenging to read. Not because of any problems with the writing; much the contrary. The difficulties between the protagonist and her husband are well-rendered, and her indecision about what to do with her life in the face of societal constraints is painful and frustrating.

Readers will find themselves hoping Viola and those around her make the right choices and may feel a little heartbreak themselves. I guarantee there will be two points in the book that make readers stop and re-read, thinking that events couldn’t have turned out that way. These lost opportunities add a sad realism of the book, however.

That said, without giving too many spoilers, the book comes to a satisfying, if unexpected, conclusion. Readers will find Her Sweetest Downfall a poignant read, at times a little frightening, but in the end, Viola’s downfall may also be her salvation.

Want to read Her Sweetest Downfall yourself? You can snag it for Kindle here, or read the back cover below:

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Book Review: Fallen Angel, by Ella Scarsdale

Fallen Angel, by Ella Scarsdale

Fallen Angel CoverFallen Angel is a story of romance and redemption. Arianna, a thief blackmailed into becoming a courtesan and spy, is cast into court life–and the arms of her king. 

Although I love reading, ever since I began a graduate degree it has been hard to find the time–or honestly, make the effort–to sit down and read. Fallen Angel made it easy for me to shake off the end of my semester, and was a pleasurable re-introduction to the world of “fun” books!

Fallen Angel is a nicely detailed romance that didn’t feel like it was following the obvious path from boy sees girl/boy pursues girl/girl and boy end up arching loins/insert crisis here/tah-dah, wedding bells! The characters had some depth (and some sense!), and the romantic scenes were written more with the heart than the wandering hands. I am certain that anyone who has been drawn to another person will identify with these characters and their desire to be together, as well as their need to face their pasts and insecurities in order to do so.

It was easy to root for these characters. Arianna was a likable protagonist. Her character was human and plausible; flawed but trying. King Casper, likewise, was relatable. The fact that both needed to find redemption in each other was a refreshing change, as so many novels in this genre seem to focus on rehabilitating the big, bad, misunderstood man. My only wish for this book is that it were longer, as I curled up and read it in one sitting. (That is the biggest compliment I can think to offer, as I haven’t sat still to read a book in a single sitting in years. Thank you, Ella Scarsdale!) This would be a perfect beach read or rainy-day read.

Interested in reading Fallen Angel for yourself? You can grab it for your Kindle here, or read the back cover below:

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