Book Review: A Husband for Christmas by Paty Jager

Do you ever stumble across a book that looks good, download it to your Kindle, and then never get around to reading it?  Just me?  Okay.  I’ll work on that.

At some point, I downloaded A Husband for Christmas by Paty Jager.  The only real reason I didn’t get around to reading it right away was that I don’t really like reading Christmas stories at any other time of the year than December. But when I found myself in a bit of a book hole just after Thanksgiving, that forgotten download was around to save the day!

a husband for christmas cover

Note:  I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  I will always give you my honest opinion on something before linking to it.

From the Cover:

Shayla Halsey wanted to be home for Christmas, but never imagined her travels would include spending the night in a brooding stranger’s cabin. Snowballing events cause her to look inside herself and recognize maybe it wasn’t being home she wanted as much as it was to have a home.

Mace Walker has his life in order and doesn’t want it disrupted again. Yet, when he discovers a woman stranded in the snow, he has to help her—despite her overbearing and reckless fiancé. In a matter of days, Shayla turns his life upside down and forces him to decide if he should leave town or face the consequences.

What I Loved:  A Husband for Christmas is a novella, so it’s a nice quick read.  It’s the final in a series, but it stand well enough on its own that I didn’t feel I was missing out by not having read the rest of the books.

The characters, if a bit stereotypical, have very distinct personalities.  It’s easy to distinguish between them, something I always appreciate in a book.

When it comes to descriptions and scenery, I definitely felt as though I was transported to Oregon in 1904.  To make it even better, this was sprinkled in throughout the story so that it was never overwhelming or boring.

What I Didn’t Love So Much:  Honestly, there isn’t much!  As mentioned above, a few of the characters were stereotypical, but that’s something that’s difficult to develop further in a shorter book.

Rating and Recommendation:

This is a great book for anyone who enjoys historical romance.  The Christmas element was there, but not so much that you couldn’t read it any time of the year.  It’s a sweet book with a happy ending (yay!) that I highly recommend.

Five golden stars isolated on white background

Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

 

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Book Review: Bridge of the Gods by C.J. Rose

Hey, everyone!  I hope your new year is going great!  As usual, I’ve been using this time to get some things back on track, and I’ve dropped the ball on my blog over the last several months.  So, to kick things off, let’s get back to book reviews!

Bridge of the Gods: A Generation Son Chronicle (Generation Chronicles Book 1) by [Rose, C.J.]

Note: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  I will always give you my honest opinion on something before linking to it.

I recently finished Bridge of the Gods by C.J. Rose.  This book was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review.  Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

Move over Percy Jackson; Luthor McAlester is here. Bridge of the Gods, the first book in the Generation Chronicles series, follows Luthor McAlester, a teenage boy living in San Diego, California. His father, dying when he was a child, left him to become man of the house, to care for his mother and younger sister. On his 18th birthday he discovers a power that has been held dormant until now; unsure what to do with it in the absence of his father’s guidance. His best friend Gwen, who claims to be oblivious, knows more than she is telling. With just the help of his best friend, can Luthor figure out how to use his power and help the Gods like they ask? Or will the lack of guidance from his father prove to be more than Luthor can handle?

What I Loved:  I’m always up for a coming-of-age story that holds some magic in it.  My favorite books are those that take real-world people and inject something different and extraordinary in their lives.  The idea of a boy who finds out he’s descended from the gods definitely fits that bill.

What I Didn’t Love So Much:  Unfortunately, I really didn’t enjoy this book much at all.  While the author definitely strove to jump into the action, I wish we could have had more of an established normal before things started.  And on the other side of that, even though the main character was seeing a change in his life right away, I was pretty bored by most of the book.  There was a lot of waiting, thinking about things, and reading.

Much of the wording seemed too stiff and formal for teens, and yet at other times it was far too lax.  I would’ve liked to see more consistency with this, though that’s not one of the main issues.

Bridge of the Gods really needs more editing.  Quotations around dialog were misused, there were missing words, and the tense wasn’t consistent throughout the story.  This makes it very difficult to get absorbed into the story.

This book is very similar to Percy Jackson.  While I understand that popular books often inspire authors, I felt it was a little too similar on some aspects.  I also feel that this book would be a lot more enjoyable if I had all this mythology memorized.  It was too hard to keep track of the characters, and even though some of the mythology was inserted here and there to help with the backstory, it was difficult to follow.

Rating:  Guys, I seriously don’t like to leave a bad review for anyone.  It breaks my heart as a fellow author, and I feel bad, but I just didn’t enjoy this book at all.  I had to force myself to read it to the end, because I didn’t feel it was fair to write a review without doing so.  It could be something incredible with a lot of development, but it’s just not there for me right now.

Golden star

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Interested in having your book reviewed?  Contact me.  Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list for news and more!

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September Book Giveaway!

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time once again to win a free book!  This month, is J.S. Frankel’s Outcasts.  Just click here!

outcasts

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Game Review: Exploding Kittens

The title sounds terrible, but this game is fast and fun!  Even if you don’t think you like card games, you’ll probably end up liking this one!

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Note that there are two version of this game.  One is safe for families, which is what we bought since we have kids, and the other is NSFW.  There’s also an expansion pack called Imploding Kittens.

Objective:  Don’t find an Exploding Kitten unless you have a card to defuse it.  The last person who doesn’t get blown up wins!

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Ease of Play:  Very.  There are only so many moves you can make, and you can even refuse to play a card if you want.  The most difficult thing about this game is that you draw a card to end your turn instead of drawing at the beginning.  Some cards will force the other players to draw two cards (increasing their chances of drawing an Exploding Kitten) or allow you to skip your own turn.

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Fun:  Quite!  It’s a simple game, but we were squealing when we thought we might get an Exploding Kitten!  The artwork and humor on the cards only adds to the game.

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Rating and Recommendation:  If you like a simple game with a little bit of suspense that allows you to sabotage your friends, and if you like hilarious cat humor, then this is the game for you!  5 out of 5 stars.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Be sure to check out the monthly giveaway!  Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list for news and more!

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Book Review: Always Darkest by Jess and Keith Flaherty

What’s better than winning a book giveaway?  Maybe finding out that it’s a paperback (because I’m just an old-fashioned girl, after all)?  Or that it’s signed?  Or that it’s just really, really good.  Always Darkest was all of that and more.

From the Back Cover:  

Everybody loves a hero.
Everybody loves an antihero with a heart of gold.
Nobody loves a demon.
Nobody but Mal Sinclair, though she doesn’t know it.
Ben was just looking for a vacation from hell, but wound up finding his life’s purpose instead.
Always Darkest, Book I of The Arbitratus Trilogy, draws you into a world of angels and demons walking among us, a world where good and evil are not absolutes. An ancient prophesy sets the stage, but the players will decide the outcome.
And the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Always Darkest

What I Loved:  While I can’t say that I’m usually into the demons-and-angels genre, I really got sucked in by this book.  The premise was highly intriguing, especially as I started to get about a quarter of the way in.

One of the main characters is a demon, but he’s a surprisingly likable demon.  He’s easy to relate to, and I found myself rooting for him early on.  (What does it say about me that I’m on a demon’s side?)  But that was the case with several of the characters.  They had distinct personalities that made them memorable and delightful.

Interestingly enough, the book is written from an omniscient point of view.  This isn’t something I’ve come across very often, and I think it takes a lot of talent to pull it off successfully without making it seem like the author had just forgotten what POV he or she was using.  But the Flahertys really make it work.  It not only helps the depth of the book unfold, but also seems incredibly relevant considering the subject matter.  (Is God, in his omniscience, witnessing all of this?)

The descriptions are just wonderful!  I truly felt like I was in the story, whether I was meeting a character or exploring a new place.  Here are a few of my favorites:

“She had once been almost forbiddingly beautiful, but whatever she had been doing had corrupted her exterior and she was beginning to resemble her true nature; her former rich colors fading to grey, her teeth sharpening, her skin starting to crepe and sag.  She had all the warmth of a pit viper and made no secret of her contempt for demons.  The unblinking way she stared at him made Ben certain she was fantasizing about turning him inside out and leaving him hanging from a tree at midnight.”

“She spent some of her early years around New Englad, was born in Boston, but she had no memory of real time here, save for a vague sense she would like the smell of a Christmas tree in the house, and she might want to try her painfully underdeveloped artsy side by paining with her dad when the leaves changed.”  (Honestly, this is just a small part of about two pages that made me feel as though I was completely immersed in autumn.  Crisp air, sweatshirts, and hot coffee.  I loved it.)

“Life, after all, was cruel, and no one had ever promised him the afterlife wouldn’t be.”

I also have to say that any book that makes several mentions of Star Trek and mentions one of my favorite dishes to make that nobody has ever heard of (cassoulet) gets several points in my book.

What I Didn’t Love So Much:  Right at first, it’s a little difficult to keep track of the characters because there are so many demons, fallen angels, and other various roles.  Fortunately, this clears itself up after the first couple of chapters.

Also, I think this book might make a little more sense to me if I knew more about the Bible, but that’s all on me.

Most of all, I just hated that it had to end.  I’m ready for the next one!

Rating and Recommendation:  5 stars

If you like intrigue, romance, ancient history brought to life, fantastical creatures, great dialogue, battle scenes, and the way you feel in the pit of your stomach when the seasons change, then you’ll love Always Darkest.

If you don’t like any of that, then you must be dead.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Be sure to check out the monthly giveaway!

Interested in having your book reviewed?  Contact me.  Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list for news and more!

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  I will always give you my honest opinion about an item when linking to it.

 

 

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The 90s are Back! Making Nice with Generational Appropriation

Little black backpack purses.  Chokers.  Cute dresses with big black combat boots.  Ringer tees.  Welcome to my teenage years…and apparently those of my kids as well.

I was overwhelmed by the 90s elements I noticed when I went to the mall a few weeks ago with my girls.  As I looked at my own daughter with her short overalls with one strap undone, I realized just how much my own past had snuck up on me.  (There’s a nice little splash of the mid-to-late 80s in there as well.)

thumbs up

At first, I thought it was great!  I loved seeing my  daughter dress the way I always wanted to.  I remember how my mom loved it when I wore bell bottoms as a kid.

But then I had to wonder how my parents’ generation actually felt about us when we walked around in our flared jeans with our hippie sunglasses and wore happy faces and flowers on everything.  Sure, the clothes were somewhat similar to what they had worn back in the 60s, but they weren’t born of any actual culture or trends that related to those times.  We hadn’t lived back then, and we didn’t know the significance of it. Were we taking anything away from that era by mocking it, or were we honoring it through imitation?

I didn’t think about it at all back then, but I am now.  For me, life during that decade was incredibly heavy and real.  Sometimes it was a good thing and sometimes bad, but it was a very vivid experience for me.  If I heard a 90s song on the radio, I remember just how much it impacted me when it was brand new. That doesn’t mean someone else can’t enjoy it, but I just don’t see how it can mean the same thing to them.  And the cargo pants, Skecher boots, and baby tees were just as significant.

The really interesting thing is that I can’t tell you just what made it all so significant.  I remember Operation Desert Storm, Lorena Bobbitt, the O.J. Simpson trial, and Dolly the sheep, but I don’t know how much these things actually affected me.  I honestly think it was more about the trials and tribulations of just being a teen and figuring things out, which is a difficult thing for most people.  Still, it’s hard to really say.

When we were prancing around in our velvet shirts and platform shoes, did the older generation wonder how we could possibly know what it was like to go through the civil rights movement, the first moon landing, or the assassination of JFK?  Or were they just happy to reminisce over their childhood?  (I mean, they didn’t have Facebook constantly asking them to take the ultimate Friends quiz or count down a list of the top toys from their youth.)

friends

I don’t know the answers.  I just know that my daughter dresses like Daria, and I think it’s adorable.

daria

 

Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Be sure to check out the monthly giveaway!  Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list for news and more!

 

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Book Review: A Class Apart by Susie Murphy

Romance, drama, suspense, and beautiful scenery reign supreme in A Class Apart by Susie Murphy.  I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and I can’t wait to tell you about it!

a class apart

From the Cover:  It’s 1828, and Ireland is in turmoil as Irish tenants protest against their upper-class English landlords.
Nineteen-year-old Bridget Muldowney is thrilled to return to the estate in Carlow she’ll inherit when she comes of age. But since she left for Dublin seven years earlier, the tomboy has become a refined young lady, engaged to be married to a dashing English gentleman.
Cormac McGovern, now a stable hand on the estate, has missed his childhood friend. He and Bridget had once been thick as thieves, running wild around the countryside together.
When Bridget and Cormac meet again their friendship begins to rekindle, but it’s different now that they are adults. Bridget’s overbearing mother, determined to enforce the employer-servant boundaries, conspires with Bridget’s fiancé to keep the pair apart.
With the odds stacked against them, can Bridget and Cormac’s childhood attachment blossom into something more?

What I Loved:  A Class Apart is a breathtaking piece of historical fiction that made me turn the pages so fast I thought my fingers might catch on fire.  The descriptions completely transported me.  The characters were clear, believable, and relatable.  There is genuinely something happening in every chapter, so this isn’t a tale of ladies sitting in the parlor and gossiping over tea.  The story encompasses the real truths that the people in Ireland had to face in their time, weaving a heartrending tale that’s impossible not to read.

I usually make notes as I read a book when I know I’m going to review it, but I didn’t want to put this book down long enough to do so.  There’s so much more I wish I could say about it, because A Class Apart deserves heaps of praise.  It’s a true testament to the fact that indie authors can and do take pride in creating literary art.

What I Didn’t Love So Much:  Nothing!  That it ended, maybe?  I want more!  Since this is noted as the first book in a series, I can’t wait for the next volume!

Rating and Recommendation:  If you love to see a place and time in history come to life, if you love romance, glorious prose, and a read that will keep you on your couch well past the time you should have gotten up to make dinner, then A Class Apart is for you.  I wish I could award more, but I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Be sure to check out the monthly giveaway!

Interested in having your book reviewed?  Contact me.  Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list for news and more!

Once A Wanderer Cover - ebook

 

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