Wake of Vultures (The Shadow, #1) by Lila Bowen

Series:
Source: Netgalley
Wake of Vultures Book Cover Wake of Vultures
The Shadow, #1
Lila Bowen
Paranormal Romance; Urban Fantasy; Fantasy
Orbit
October 27th 2015
audibook; e-book
342
Netgalley

This story started off really promising with the introduction of the heroine Sixteen-year old Nettie Lonesome. She was a biracial girl living on a ranch with a couple she called Pap and Mam. According to Pap and Mam, no one including her biological family wanted this half black, half native American girl, so they took her in and tolerated her.
One day, a visiting man attacked Nettie at the ranch and when Nettie stabbed him, the man turned into ash. This opened her eyes to a whole other world of lurking monsters such as vampires, chupacabras, skinwalkers (shapeshifters) etc and altered Nettie’s understanding of her world.
Nettie runs away from the ranch and joins a new Ranch, the Double TK, but lives there as a man named Rhett. After a series of events sends her running away, Nettie begins her true destiny hunting monsters, most specifically the Pia Mupitsi (the Big Cannibal Owl) rumored to steal babies and turn them into monsters too.
I am not sure how I feel about this book. In the beginning, I thought I would be taking a journey with a girl who lived as a man because she didn’t like what women had to do to survive if you were poor like her. Those women worked in saloons, or were basically subservient to mean drunken men like Pap. Nettie knew she never wanted to be treated with so little regard, so she chose to live as a man. But soon after she arrived at the Double TK, the story shifted to a paranormal story with Nettie as the chosen hunter or the special one. So, it became less about Nettie, the teenage girl trying to figure herself out in her community, to Nettie the one prophesied to destroy an evil monster, the Pia Mupitsi.
The subplot that I was most interested in pertaining to Nettie’s gender identity issues as well as her establishing her own way as a rancher breaking horses. That plot took a backseat to the search for the supernatural monsters. The story just veered off for me and I didn’t have the same enthusiasm as with the first part of the story.
I was never able to decide if Nettie was truly transgendered or was she living as a man because in that time period, women were at the mercy of men. The audiobook was enjoyable and the reader was treated to the history of Nettie which made her current mindset more understandable.
I wish the author had split these into two books, letting us know Nettie as a girl first. She was smart, resourceful and suspicious of everyone.  Definitely an interesting western and how far someone women went to protect their virtue or even. There were many themes in this book so perhaps it’s a situation of treating the reader on too much.
I just don’t know how I feel about the paranormal aspect about this book. It’s definitely not the traditional PNR. I thought there was excellent writing and the author put forth a lot of research. It was clever, creative and imaginative. The second half just didn’t click with me right now .

<i>*Special Thanks to Orbit Books via Netgalley for the ebook given in exchange for an honest review

Audiobook Review: Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Narrator: Nick Podehl, Teri Schnaubelt
Say Goodbye for Now Book Cover Say Goodbye for Now
Catherine Ryan Hyde
Historical Fiction, Romance
Lake Union Publishing
December 13th, 2016
audibook; e-book
366

On an isolated Texas ranch, Dr. Lucy cares for abandoned animals. The solitude allows her to avoid the people and places that remind her of the past. Not that any of the townsfolk care. In 1959, no one is interested in a woman doctor. Nor are they welcoming Calvin and Justin Bell, a newly arrived African American father and son.

When Pete Solomon, a neglected twelve-year-old boy, and Justin bring a wounded wolf-dog hybrid to Dr. Lucy, the outcasts soon find refuge in one another. Lucy never thought she’d make connections again, never mind fall in love. Pete never imagined he’d find friends as loyal as Justin and the dog. But these four people aren’t allowed to be friends, much less a family, when the whole town turns violently against them.

With heavy hearts, Dr. Lucy and Pete say goodbye to Calvin and Justin. But through the years they keep hope alive…waiting for the world to catch up with them.

This story grazes upon on a number of sensitive subjects. There was the issue of a female doctor, Lucille “Lucy” Armstrong, whose husband left her as her professional standing exceeded his. In addition, her adolescent son resented her because of her work schedule. Adding insult to injury, Dr. Armstrong was lacking in respectable patients as many people in the rural area of Texas refused to be treated by a woman. Then author also deals with the issue of child abuse and abandonment as the reader was introduced to the life of twelve-year-old Pete Solomon. When Pete took pity on an injured wolf dog and got help from a ten-year-old black boy Justin Bell to carry the dog to Dr. Lucy, the author introduced animal abuse, racism and hate crimes into the story.

I enjoyed how the author weaved the story together although I felt she didn’t really delve deep into any of those issues. It was enough for the reader to consider each character’s plight and how they dealt with their lot in life. These four people were outcasts or not part of the acceptable society’s circle, but they found in each other an anchor. Many times, people say blood is thicker than water, but many families are “chosen” or “formed” by necessity. This was one of those times that a makeshift family provided love, acceptance, support and encouragement in a situation where it was badly needed.

Once I started this book, I didn’t put it down. It wasn’t exactly tear inducing but there was a small dose of angsty. I definitely had an emotional connection to the characters because I felt bad for Pete, Justin and for Calvin and Lucy as a couple. That journey to lasting love certainly touched me. There were different kinds of love expressed in this book and it made up for the pain and hatred shown to the characters. There was an encouraging evolution in this book that gave me hope for society today.

I didn’t give this book a five-star rating because while the author did a great job developing the heroine Lucy as well as Pete, but I had a surface grasp on Justine, his father Calvin and Pete’s father. I would have liked more information regarding Pete’s father, especially from his own perspective. Still, this book was really a moving and poignant read.

*Special Thanks to Lake Union Publishing via Netgalley for the e-book given in exchange for an honest review.”

Ezi

Trial by Fire by B.A. Tortuga

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

TrialByFireLGTrial by Fire by B.A. Tortuga 
Series: Dreamspun Desires
Release Date: March 15, 2016
Pages: 228 Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon ARe

One Aussie. One Texan. One baby. One hell of a fight.

When his sister and her husband are killed in an accident, Aussie cattle station owner Lachlan McCoughney rushes to Texas to rescue their infant daughter, Chloe. He expects to find his niece living in squalor with the Sheffields, a rodeo family.

Instead, Lachlan finds Holden Sheffield, a salt-of-the-earth cowboy running a huge business operation. They want to explore their mutual attraction despite the many problems thrown their way, and together, they must find a way to give Chloe a new family and find a love that spans thousands of acres and two continents.

four-stars

I reckon I should tell y’all how sweet this story is and it was. So sit back and lend this ginger your ear for spell.

I am not going to go into great detail with my review on this book. I am a firm believer that telling you what happens in the book, things that made me surprised should be left to each individual reader so I am gonna hit a few points and let sleeping babies lie in the arms of adorable, rugged and sexy cowboys. You ready? You best get your aww faces on…

When Holden’s twin brother Landon and sister in law Addie die in a plane crash, Holden becomes the one to care for his niece Chloe being left guardianship over the little baby.  But as much as Holden loves his niece,  he is a bit in over his head with running his cattle business,  taking care of a baby, dealing with his aging parents and then a fast talking Aussie comes into the picture with a punch or um,  yeah.

Lachlan, said Aussie, has been searching for his sister Adelaide who ran away from the oppression that comes with the family business only to be met with bad news. She died in a plane crash with her husband, leaving behind one baby girl. When Lachlan arrives in Texas determined to meet his niece and take her back with him, he realizes this family he judged on reputation alone, might not be the worst place for Chloe.

No one knew how he felt but this man right here.

Now, I know I said to get your aww faces on, which is true but this was also a bittersweet story when you remember the catalyst that has brought Holden and Lachlan together with Chloe between them. There is loss here, for both men and both families and that loss, it’s presented in a lovely way that allows the reader to feel and also heal.

This is a story about family and a story about doing what’s best for the greater good and that good is baby Chloe. I loved how she was front and center for the story and how much love she draws to her. Holden is a great daddy, he will move the world for his niece and make sure he does everything in his power to do right by her late parents, even if that means pushing away her relatives from the Land of Oz.  And then you have Lachlan who has come to Texas, determined that Miss Chloe needs to be with her mother’s family, that they have lost so much of Addie already, they cannot miss out on being a part of her daughter’s life.

The men have a rough beginning with one another and yet they are able to put that all behind then and focus as much on the now but not letting go of the past that has brought them together. During a argumentative family moment,  a storm hits that leads to an acknowledged shared grief, where a small touch ignites more than either man know was there and sets the barn on fire… Mmm Hmm. But then, you know things happen and regardless of guilt or innocence, these two cowboys are put to a painful task that makes them lean on each other in more ways than one.

Trial by Fire, or as I like to call it, two cowboys and a baby, was a sweet, steady and yet wild ride that teaches you about second chances and the true meaning of family. Get your aww faces read to watch an Aussie and a Yank fall head over spurs for a tiny baby girl as they fall into each other’s arms.

“Do you think it’ll ever be less odd? Life, I mean.”

“I think we’ll find a new normal.”

 

 

About BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

Justice Healed by Olivia Jaymes

Justice Healed by Olivia JaymesSeries: Cowyboy Justice Association 02
on 2013-12-08
Pages: 265
AmazonB&N
You can’t go home again, but if you do, pretend you want to be there.

Dr. Madison Shay has left Chicago and moved back to her small town roots to take over her father’s medical practice. She’s not the skinny, gawky red haired, four-eyed girl any longer but it sure feels that way. She still remembers the painful teasing from her classmates and always feeling like she didn’t belong. She wants this time to be different but deep down she knows she’ll never be part of the cool crowd.

Sheriff Tanner Marks might have been the captain of the football team years ago but things aren’t as rosy now. He has a son who hates him, and an ex-wife who is about to marry a man Tanner thinks might be a criminal. He doesn’t really have time in his life for a woman. Considering the things he’s done in his past, he’s not sure he deserves one either. He can’t help but feel envious of his friend, Seth Reilly, though. He found the love of a good woman. Is it too much to ask that fate send him someone as well?

Madison and Tanner aren’t looking for love but it feels like the town has other plans. They keep finding themselves thrown together and it’s not unpleasant in the least. In fact, they’re starting to enjoy themselves. There just might be a future for them after all.

When a drug war between two cartels breaks out, their little town is caught in the crossfire. Tanner will call in every favor he can, from the five cowboy cops he trusts most in the world, to keep his town and the woman he loves safe. He’s going to show the bad guys what cowboy justice really means.

Publisher’s warning: This book contains hot sex scenes between a sexy small town sheriff and his very lucky woman, including action in the shower, on the kitchen table, and in front of a roaring fire.

Series description:
The Cowboy Justice Association is a group of six lawmen in Montana who work together to keep the peace. If only they could find that peace in their own lives.
four-half-stars

In the series sophomore effort, Sheriff Tanner Marks would like a romance but isn’t sure he deserves it or has time for one. He’s trying to keep his son from repeating his mistakes as a father and husband; the drug dealers are getting bolder in his territory; his ex-wife is marrying a criminal and; he’s starting to think retirement might not be such a bad thing at his age.

Dr. Madison Shay thinks of herself as the four-eyed, geeky, gawky, awkward 14 year old redhead she was teased for being as she grew up, except now she has a medical degree. Tanner comes to see Madison’s father, for care after a bar fight but Madison’s on duty. Tanner thinks that just fine. He also thinks Madison’s grown into that height and hair just right.

Town wedding planner, Sherry goes through the eligible men in town as she and Madison play a game of pretend matchmaking and lament Madison’s lack of a love life. Sherry decides Tanner would be perfect for Madison and gets the whole town to help get them together. Neither Madison nor Tanner is too upset about it since they like each other already.

Tanner’s obligatory monthly meeting with the other small town sheriff’s in the area to hash over common problems and help each other out as needed, gives the reader a chance to look over these rugged lawmen and pick a favorite. For this outing, both the vigilante and the drug cartels are heating things up and leaving bodies in the boy’s backyards.

This undiscovered gem of a mature series has plenty to recommend it. There are well developed characters, worthwhile drama, action and suspense. It also has just enough humor to make you smile. The leads are generally over 30, the sex is steamy (and in this read very safe sex), plus the story is relatively fast paced, interesting and well written.

Semper Fi by Keira Andrews

Semper Fi by Keira Andrewson November 11th 2014
Pages: 320 pages
Amazon • (Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
The war is over. The battle for love has just begun.

As Marines, Cal and Jim depended on each other to survive bloodshed and despair in the Pacific. Relieved to put the horrors of war behind him, Jim went home to his apple orchard and a quiet life with his wife and children. Knowing Jim could never return his forbidden feelings, Cal hoped time and an ocean between them would dull the yearning for his best friend.

But when Jim’s wife dies, Cal returns to help. He doesn’t know a thing about apple farming—or children—but he’s determined to be there for Jim, even as the painful torch he carries blazes back to life. Jim is grateful for his friend’s support as he struggles with buried emotions and dark wartime memories. Then Jim begins to see Cal in a new light, and their relationship deepens in ways neither expected. Can they build a life together as a family and find happiness in a world that would condemn them?

Note: Contains scenes of violence and post-traumatic stress.
three-half-stars

I loved how realistic the book felt given the time period. It chronicled the friendship of two men who met as they joined the marines together from the state of New York. It alternated POV, Past vs. Present.
Calhoun Cunningham was the privileged son of a Banker, but all his life he couldn’t live up to his father’s expectation. So one day, he decided to spite his father by joining the military. There he met Jim Bennet, a husband and owner of an apple orchard. They became instant friends and even a life line during their time in the war.
After the war, Cal returned to his high rise apartment, intending to join the family business, while Jim returned to the apple orchard. When Cal found out his best friend Jim’s wife passed away and there was an awful storm that affected Jim’s orchard, Cal went to help Jim get his feet on the ground again.

The long Cal stayed at Jim’s farm with Jim’s two young children, the stronger his feelings grew. After Cal found that Jim returned his feelings, Cal was elated until Jim told him that he wasn’t willing to lose his children over their unnatural love. Homosexuality was still a crime punishable by time in prison as well as loss of custody. Jim’s 9 year old daughter and 4 year old son had already lost a parent, and Jim couldn’t risk getting arrested for feelings not accepted in society. My heart ached for these two guys as they had to make painful decisions and sacrifices for love and family.

Good writing, good pace and good story telling. I like the author didn’t make it appear that Jim and Cal’s relationship was acceptable. In fact, it was very clear that their society was very intolerant. I like how Jim struggled and agonized about his desires versus his responsibility as a father. I also loved how Cal fought hard to find a group/family or someone to belong to. There was angst, but there was realism to the story. It was sweet, and it was sad. Most of all, I thought of all those who aren’t free to love the person their heart chose

About Keira Andrews

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”