Monday, June 22, 2009

Stumbling and Mumbling by Tamara Amanda Bryant

Book Info:
Genre: Poetry/Autobiography
Publisher: Create Space
ISBN: 1442190442
To Purchase: Amazon Link

Bryant’s poems are bold, provocative, and highly emotional. Her words do not stumble or mumble at all, but paint powerful scenes that are sometimes beautiful and longing and other times gritty and raw with a razor sharp edge. The sheer force of emotion drives her writing, and as a reader, you can tell that her words are products of life experience.

Cryptic enough to be universal, there are an infinite amount of interpretations that the reader can make, drawing parallels to their own experiences. You feel her pain, her pleasure, her fear along with your own. As she says in the back of her book, you are not alone. Bryant succeeds in that endeavor, creating a collection of jewels that cut as well as sparkle.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Watery Deep by Roxanne Smolen

Book Info:
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: SynergEbooks
ISBN: 0-7443-1635-9
To Purchase: SynergEbooks Store

Natica Galos is a colonial scout for new worlds, searching for places that can sustain life. She is haunted by visions of a man from a previous mission who died in her care. Although it wasn’t her fault, Natica blames herself for his death, and the battle scarred memories get in the way of her job and her friendships. Burnt out from overwork and guilt, she returns to her home planet to celebrate her sixteenth birthday. Her friend, Impani follows her uninvited, and together they go after her long lost twin brother, entangling themselves with pirates, a sea monster, and much more.

The Watery Deep is a creative and original story with an interesting blend of fantasy and science fiction and a great sense of adventure. The characters are feisty, emotional, and real, with shifting dynamics between their friendships and alliances that makes for suspenseful reading!

I particularly enjoyed the tumultuous friendship between Natica and Impani, two girls from very different backgrounds with very different strengths and weaknesses. There is spitefulness, jealously, and underneath it all, caring and compassion as they sort out their own problems with themselves and their world. Teenage angst abounds in full throttle, which makes every scene a delicious read.

Natica’s home planet of Naiad is full of vibrant imagery and alien atmospheres. Almost entirely covered by water, the cities float on coral, the taxis are air boats, and devious pirate gangs roam the waters. It is one of the most creative worlds I’ve ever read about, and makes the story all that more intriguing.

Complete with romance, adventure, shifting alliances, and good family values, The Watery Deep is an excellent story for all ages.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

McShannon's Chance by Jennie Marsland

Book Info:
Genre: Romance/Historical/Western
Publisher: Mystic Moon Press
To Purchase: Mystic Moon Press Bookstore

Beth Underhill is a city girl in the highest sense. The niece of a famous racehorse breeder, she was raised with a lofty upbringing by her Aunt and never asked to do a chore. Her dresses are fancy, and her manners are impeccable. When her Aunt passes away, the estate falls to her cousin, who wishes to sell it immediately, putting Beth in a precarious situation. With enough money to get her through five months and no more, she is desperate. But she is also strong willed. Instead of waiting for her cousin to select his idea of a respectable husband for her, she applies to Trey McShannon’s add for a wife and travels out west to meet her destiny.

Trey McShannon is a practical frontiersman. Having fought for the union at a young age, he’s seen war and death, and his life experiences have changed him into a quiet, mysterious man. He needs a sturdy wife to help him run his household, someone that is not afraid to do hard work and get dirty. When he sees Beth Underhill, and learns of her famous lineage, he fears he has made a mistake. But he is also drawn to her, and realizes that there is more to her pretty face and high pedigree than meets the eye. She’s also a talented artist, a dutiful worker, and shares his love of horses.

McShannon’s Chance has a wonderful historical flavor to it with picturesque writing and scenes right out of a western. Marsland captures the image of a lonesome frontier that is both beautiful and dangerous. Her writing is realistic, but at the same time it has a grand sense of adventure and romance. The pacing is steady and sure, allowing the reader to savor each scene.

Marsland takes her time to tell the tale, setting up a sweeping historical romance with characters that have so much detail and depth they could be anyone’s own ancestors. It reminded me of my favorite series growing up, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Like Dr. Quinn, Beth is a strong female character with honor, compassion, and patience. She works hard to earn her life beside Trey, and her rewards are immense.

McShannon’s Chance is an ideal historical romance escape! I found my soul soothed and my heart warmed by Marsland’s writing and I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys an excellent historical romance with real life characters and a western flavor.