Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Torture, Politics, and the Cost of War: "Before Sunrise" by Sienna Mynx

For military wife, Kennedy Flanagan, letting go had not been easy. Learning to let go after the tragic death of her Navy SEAL husband in the Afghan War has proven to be "mission impossible." But after five long years and countless hours of tears and healing, Kennedy has moved on.

"Killed in Action?" No! Liam Flanagan is alive! A special ops team uncovers the location where he had been held prisoner and Liam has a second chance at life. However, five years is a long time. Soon life deals another blow. His wife has remarried and his daughter calls another man he hates "daddy."

Caught between the past and the realities of the present, Liam and Kennedy fight for the love they've had and forgiveness for all they have lost. "Before Sunrise" promises to make you a believer in the "happily ever after" we all deserve.

This is one of those novels that deals with circumstances and situations that are very much a part of American life, that tells a story with characters and contexts that are real and robust, weighty with authentic emotion and the hurts of a reality that few of us can ever know and for which we are beyond thankful that we don't.

It is the story of two people who shared a love that is one of those rare "forever" kinds of connections, an intimacy that connects souls and not just bodies. It is a love that began under a set of circumstances that few parents would condone, and yet these two people knew instinctively that their love was real and that no one or nothing could prevail against it. And then comes the Middle East conflict on the heels of September 11, 2001, and Liam and Kennedy are caught in the vise of politics and terror. They had weathered family disdain and disapproval; they had been true to their plans and goals and Kennedy had completed her college education as Liam had promised her father. Now she was three months pregnant and Liam is ordered on a top-secret mission. That is the last Kennedy heard from her husband and just weeks later is told he has died.

There's so much going on in this novel that is could truly be called a saga. The flashbacks throughout give the reader a glimpse of Liam and Kennedy's beginnings, the growth of their love and the tensile strength of their relationship. Even in the misery and messiness of Liam's homecoming, the reader is aware that there are bonds holding these two together that are mind-boggling in their strength, in their reality. The reader is also gifted with insights that tell of the depth of Liam's loyalty to Kennedy, his willingness to open his heart to their daughter who refers to him as her "daddy from heaven." He is loyal to a fault to his SEAL buddies, bound to them with ties that have stood the test of overwhelming human challenges and which will stand the test when pushed and pulled with politics and those greedy for power.

This novel is so powerfully written that the reader finds one's brain and consciousness seared with the images of past loving and present pain. It is so beautifully written that one is ever aware of hope that is diluted with pain and joy that is buffeted with anxiety and anger. The author never backs away from the realities of PTSD, from the anger and disappointment Liam feels when he realizes that he might lose his family, the anger he feels that his wife has given herself to another, that his daughter has formed a father/daughter relationship with one of the men he dislikes most. Yet the reader is equally aware that even in the darkest moments of Kennedy's grief and pain over the situation that confronts them all, she never waivers in her determination to re-establish her marriage with Liam and prove to him that he is indeed her "one and only love."

You will seldom read a story of love that will be this powerful, nor encounter characters that will reach into your insides and squeeze your heart with such abandon. There were moments when I just had to put the book down so that I could get a handle on my emotional responses. I found myself pulling so for Liam and Kennedy and still having to watch them stumble and fumble through attempts to reconnect, to re-establish that firm footing that had preserved their marriage through some very difficult challenges. It was hard to watch them deal with Liam's anger, and to see him wrestle with denial over his PTSD issues--his unwillingness to seek help, his fear that to do so would make him weak, his need to do whatever it took to keep Kennedy and his daughter in his life, knowing that his anger alone would eventually drive them away.

Lastly, in all of this there was that overriding awareness of Liam and Kennedy's deep humility and gratitude for having one another again, in spite of all there was that was keeping them at odds. There was anger at those who would misuse their relationship, who would make Liam a "sacrificial lamb" on the altar of political expediency, and watch another person in Liam's military circle seek to destroy his love for Kennedy and even his life as cannon fodder for her obsession with power.

This is not a contemporary romance any of you should miss. Newly published in December, 2011, it is new and at the fore of what is going on in our world. It is also a very raw look at the challenges our warriors face, before they deploy and the realities of what they become as they serve our country and its foreign objectives. I proudly give it a rating of 5 out of 5.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Since When Does Fate Make MY Choices? "Panther's Prey" by Leah Brooke

Bailey Knox knew the good price she paid for her new bar came with consequences, but she didn’t count on nearly getting killed before she could even move into the place, which was also her new home.

Waking up to the two complete strangers who have saved her, she’s alarmed at her overwhelming response to both of them. Marcus Brand and James Archer are different from any men she’s ever met, but she didn’t realize how different. Shape-shifters don’t exist. Then they tell her something even more remarkable. She is their mate.

She fights the emotional pull, even while reveling in the passion that only seems to grow stronger, passion that just can’t be ignored. Neither can the attacks. When black panthers save her life once again, the trio must hide the truth from the rest of the world while struggling to come to grips with their own destiny—and overcoming the danger surrounding them.

Leah Brooke is known for her cowboy series set in Desire, OK as well as a number of other well-received works that are favorites among her fans. So when I realized that she had published the first novel in her new paranormal series I was delighted to read it with an eye to reviewing it. As is common with many who write paranormal romance, this is a menage relationship between a human woman and two panther shifters who are now in a pack of sorts, one that is sort of finding its way in the matter of mating and long-term relationships. In light of the fact that Marcus and James were orphaned at an early age and that only one other mating possibility has arisen in the years since the massacre of their parents and the other pack leaders years earlier, Marcus and James are finding their way through the difficulties of managing their own feelings as well as dealing with the surly and uncooperative human on whom their mating instinct has fixed itself.

Let me start by saying that I thought James was really quite a good guy. He was the kind of person who was willing to deal realistically with the difficulties Bailey had accepting them as shifters as well as mates. He seemed more willing and actually more of a personality type to simply roll with the punches, figuring out how to calm Bailey's fears and objections to their mating, calmly and patiently dealing with her resistance to the fact that shifters existed, and to try to find a way through the emotional and lifestyle barriers to their becoming mates.

Marcus, however, is a different story. He appears to have been cursed with the artist's temperament, one that seems to need to struggle with life as it is in favor of life as he would like it to be. He is hot-tempered and actually very resentful that Fate has made his mating choice for him, angry when his sexual attraction to Bailey drives him crazy, and taking out his anger on both Bailey and James. He's just one angry dude!! I can understand his feelings, but I had difficulty that his resistance to the mating and his acceptance of this change in his future went on and on and on. Enough already. What will be will be, as the song goes, and neither James or Bailey deserved to be made victims of his temper repeatedly. In fact, he is very late in admitting his attraction might be a good thing, that he might actually have developed a genuine affection and love for this difficult woman.

And then there's Bailey. Oh my, what a piece of work. To be fair, considering her background, her total shambles of a life up to this point, her absolute need driving her to be in total control of her life and everything having to do with her life is understandable. Her inability to accept the existence of shifters is another matter. How many times does she have to have full grown panthers in her bedroom, lying next to her on the bed, saving her from her enemies twice, and so forth? Come on, lady, give it a rest. It is really beyond the pale that she is so resistant to believing what is right before her eyes. Her acceptance of James and Marcus as her mates is more understandable. Here is a woman who simply doesn't DO relationships, and certainly not relationships that are not of her own determination. Everyone she has trusted in the past has let her down, and in spite of the overwhelming sexual attraction she experiences with these two, she knows that good sex may be good sex in and of itself, but that isn't necessarily any guarantee that any long-term commitment from James and Marcus is trustworthy. Also, as Marcus also is constantly denying his deeper feelings and pushing Bailey away when they are not locked in an embrace, she has no assurance that Marcus will ever accept her and if that is the case, then she wants little if anything to do with him.

Now I really like Leah Brooke's writing and I have been a fan of her writing many times over. But I have to say that this book irritated me more than I expected and I was just a little disappointed with the protracted adversarial nature of these relationships and I simply got tired of all the wrangling. Did I understand what might have been behind all the upset? Definitely. Did I understand that resolving such deep life issues is often difficult? Absolutely. But in a novel where time is often compacted anyway, I just got tired of reading about their on-again-off-again attraction/upset/acceptance with each other, especially with Marcus and Bailey, that in the end, I didn't have a very good reading experience. I also didn't ever feel that the issues behind all the attacks on Bailey over her ownership of her bar were very clear, and the antipathy of the local sheriff just added more negativity to the story. Perhaps that was the author's intent--this is, after all, a story about some individuals who are really struggling with overwhelming odds in their lives. I tried to let that fact temper my response to this book, but I really wasn't very successful.

As a fan of Ms Brooke's work, I am more than willing to wade into her other books in this series as they are released. But I am afraid that this is the first of her books to which I simply can't give a rave. Even so, I plan to go back and try to read it again. Perhaps I was so excited about having another of her books that I wasn't prepared for a story that is as dark as this one turned out to be. In any event, I give it a rating of 3 out of 5.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day, 2012--Won't You All Be My Valentine?

Well, it's Valentine's Day and I have to admit forgetting that it was approaching until I received a box from 1-800-Flowers by UPS yesterday with a beautiful bouquet of day lilies from my Honey. What a lovely surprise, but it did remind me that this fun and for many, important day was upon us.

History tells us that there was indeed a St. Valentine, a Roman soldier who lived a couple of hundred years into the Christian Era and who converted to Christianity. Before he was martyred, he was the epitome of kindness and caring, very different from the expected demeanor or persona of a Roman soldier.

Most of us remember Valentine's Day from our childhood and our yearly trips to the grocery store or Wal-Mart or some such retail venue to buy our big bag of Valentines so we could make them out and be prepared to give one to each of the kids in our homeroom class. As I recall, they were silly, often cheesy little two-liner sayings that inevitably ended with: "Be My Valentine." Most of us couldn't even figure out what that meant until we got closer to our teen years when the youthful crushes on another human being made us delighted and miserable all at the same time with newly discovered hormones in all their glory.

I wonder now if we don't get caught up in the greeting card frenzy just a little, but I do know that most people who have a significant "other" try to remember that person in a quality and authentic way. I never remember receiving a really expensive gift on Valentine's Day, but just being remembered and treated to that something special really meant a lot, especially when our kids were little and I felt like such a sexless drudge a good deal of the time. It's a wonder my Honey kept me around.

Just yesterday I read a really cute novella from one of my favorite authors, Cat Johnson
entitled Valentine Cowboys. It is no secret that I would probably love this book, sight unseen, as I really like cowboy romance as well as fine all of Cat Johnson's writing to be really fine--readable, good stories, balanced action, and characters that live as real people. And like all her stories, it brings real people into love situations that resonate with all of us. Two cowboys remember their experience when in 5th grade and their respective crushes on the same little girl that sat near them in the back row. Both received a message: "Meet me behind the monkey bars and I will give you a kiss." The boys missed out on the kiss when they began fighting over who was going to kiss her first, and from that time on decided they would never allow a woman to come between them again. Now, 12 years later, they again are in the presence of that little girl but now she is all grown up, and for one of those cowboys, the feelings come to the surface, feelings that haven't manifested themselves for over a decade. Yet, their friendship has matured and they are best buddies and neither man can conceive of a future without their friendship. So they make a proposition to their long-ago heart throb: Take us both or we walk away. It is a fun read, one that will probably take any reader back to those long ago elementary Valentine's Day traditions, possibly to our own heart throbs and remembering school chums who made our hearts zing just a little bit, no matter how young we were.

We all have our memories, and few of us have had some old school chum become a love interest later in life. But it's a fun thought, and its a novella that is beautifully written and which embraces the idea that those childish experiences could conceivably become the foundation for a mature relationship later in life.

I hope this Valentine's Day is a good experience, that re-visiting memories is a good thing, and if by some act of fate your heart is hurting this day, give it time . . . there's lots of love in the world and lots of people who can fill those empty places with friendship and kindness until that special someone comes along. Won't you all be my Valentine?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside, And That's Especially True in Alaska!! "Edge of Survival" by Toni Anderson

Dr. Cameran Young knew her assignment wouldn't be easy. As lead biologist on the Environment Impact Assessment team, her findings would determine the future of a large mining project in the northern Canadian bush. She expected rough conditions and hostile miners--but she didn't expect to find a dead body her first day on the job.

Former SAS Sergeant Daniel Fox forged a career as a helicopter pilot, working as far from the rest of the human race as possible. The thrill of flying makes his civilian life bearable, and he lives by his mantra: don't get involved. But when he's charged with transporting the biologist to her research vessel, he can't help but get involved in the murder investigation--and with Cameran, who awakens emotions he's desperate to suppress.

In the harsh and rugged wilderness, Daniel and Cameran must battle their intense and growing attraction while keeping ahead of a killer who will stop at nothing to silence her...

I really like stories set in the cold and stark wilderness of Alaska and its surrounding areas. Perhaps that is due to really loving sdome of Jack London's stories that we read during my school years. In any event, this story is stark in its background, unadorned living with only the bare necessities of human existence, and the kind of surroundings that insist that all who venture there be sure to make good decisions because there just may not be a second chance. This novel features the story of a young and attractive environmental scientist who is charged with judging the activities of the oil company employees so that they do not violate the environment or those animal species that are endangered. No doubt her efforts are not readily received and almost from the get-go her life is in danger. Bring in our hero--a man who is wounded in spirit and body, whose military career as a British Special Ops soldier was cut short by an unscrupulous officer and his own personal decision to leave the military as a way of protecting its honor and tradition and reputation. Now he is a charter pilot flying his helicopter as a way of making his existence bearable. Meeting up with Cameron Young threatens his carefully orchestrated life, boring though it may be. She's sexy and cute, sassy and forthright, but she doesn't want to get involved, until she realizes that she has sacrificed her personal life, her personal thoughts and needs, to her career. Now she wants to "seize the day" and Daniel seems to be her best option right now.

This is a complicated novel that is full of really different people with their personal idiosyncrasies, their strange habits, their own efforts to dodge the realities and responsibilities of mature living. There's a dead body and accusations flying through the air as to who might be the killer. There are law enforcement officers who bring their own take on life to the story, full of their own sets of personal problems and career snafus. There are a few native characters who have a very different viewpoint of their homeland and when all these characters with their individualities and personal quirks come together, the story gets interesting, suspense-filled, and its all spiced up with some hot loving.

I have really enjoyed this author's work in the past and was delighted to have the opportunity to read this novel. I've made no bones about the fact that some of my favorite romance novels have that added tension caused by a really good murder mystery. Ms Anderson has brought tension, twists and turns to this story, so much so that the ending really caught me off guard. That's not really easy to do. So I found this novel to be compelling and kept my interest from start to finish. I actually read it in one sitting. The excellent story and the really fine writing testify to this author's command of the writing task. And after all, when a serious romance reader encounters a story that just keeps the heat turned up, it's the best of all literary worlds. I hope you will seek this one out and enjoy it as much as I did. I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Christmas May Be Gone, but the Love Lives On! "Holiday Kisses" by Alison Kent, Jaci Burton, HelenKay Dimon, and Shannon Stacey

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...Love!

A man gives the gift of trust and receives a second chance at love in return. A woman helps to heal the wounded heart of a soldier. A couple finds that true love knows no distance. And a young widow learns that there can be two great loves in a lifetime. Love, romance and passion come together in this collection of four seasonal shorts.

Anthology includes:

This Time Next Year by Alison Kent

A Rare Gift by Jaci Burton

It's Not Christmas Without You by HelenKay Dimon

Mistletoe and Margaritas by Shannon Stacey

"This Time Next Year" tells the story of two people who have vastly different plans for their future. Dillon Craig is a doctor returned from Afghanistan and who is trying to heal from the inner wounds of losing so many to war wounds. He is "hiding" on the mountain where Brenna Keating's grandmother lives in the Carolinas. Brenna is a nurse who has long wanted to travel and work in medical clinics throughout the world and has already signed on for a year in a foreign setting. (Her parents were committed to the same kind of medical missions and so she comes by this naturally.) Yet as badly as Brenna wants to be with her grandmother for Christmas, she is stranded in a blizzard with Dr Dillon as her only refuge. This is a love story, right? So we won't be surprised that they were attracted to one another and then acted on that attraction. But the crisis that is always lurking in the background is Brenna's plan to go overseas and Dillon's determination to stay on his mountain and tend to the families there. What starts out to be your usual love story does not turn out that way. It's a great story and very touching as each of these people come to a greater understanding of themselves.

"A Rare Gift" by Jaci Burton tells the story of two people who have known each other for years but who are separated and essentially made unavailable to one another by the presence of the ex-wife--the former Mrs. Kent, Cassandra. The big problem is that Cassie is Calliope's sister and Calliope has long had a crush on her former brother-in-law. Wyatt is nearly struck dumb by Callie's mature self--he always saw her as a pimply-faced kid, and now he realizes that she is hot, hot, hot. Yet the spectre of her sister looms between them. This story seems to get worse, and then get better, and then gets worse again. It certainly kept me on the edge of my chair as I hoped that these two could find their way back to each other. Callie is sassy and doesn't seem willing to accept the eventualities of life and just let Wyatt go. No--she is going to do whatever she must, and it is Callie's "doing" that gives this story its verve and vitality and the sparkle that makes the love story live as it possibly would in real life.

"It's Not Christmas Without You" by HelenKay Dimon. There's an old saying, a rhetorical question of sorts that asks: "How are you going to keep them down on the farm after they see Times Square?" So it would appear with the hero, Austin, a botanist who works his family's tree farm, and Carrie, a girl who is wildly in love with Austin but whose dream job is at an art museum in Washington, D. C. that lifts up and celebrates women's artistry. No matter how much she has loved Austin in the past, no matter how many times they reconcile and then break apart, the museum job and her life in Washington, D. C. interferes. Now Austin is making one grand gesture, a final attempt to woo Carrie away from her grand experiment and get her to come home at last. She ain't goin' to do it, so there!! It's a story that begins and ends with their crisis, a story that highlights how people can genuinely love one another and yet their lives just don't seem to run in the same direction. I must admit that I wasn't sure that here was a solution for these two, and I don't think the ending was a well-done as it might have been. This author is so good--she writes from the heart with wit and sensitivity to real people and their difficulties and joys, and while I was happy with the ending, I felt that it came at me too quickly and the resolution to the problem was all of a sudden there. Probably just me. Anyway, I loved the story and was vastly entertained by it.

"Misteltoe and Margaritas" by Shannon Stacey. Claire and Justin are a couple that are bound together by their deep and abiding friendship. Each had been close to Claire's husband and Justin is very open (in his thoughts) that Claire would have been wooed by him rather than her husband if he had seen her first. Since Brendan was his best friend, he backed off, and supported the lovers through their wedding and brief marriage. Yet his heart was always Claire's and now that two years have passed since her hubby's death, Justin wants to bring Claire into a different kind of relationship with him. In some ways this is the most emotionally charged story of the four but it is a story of hope for the future. I found it very touching and am honest when I say that this, like the other Shannon Stacey stories I have read, connected with me on a very deep level.

Like a number of holiday stories I have read and review this year, this is a collection that will entertain and resonate with romance fiction lovers no matter what time of the year the reader may indulge. Yes, the setting is holiday in nature. But the sentiments, the situations, the real human circumstances and feelings are all pertinent to any time of the year. This anthology is worth the time and effort to read, and I hope you will avail yourselves of the entertainment. I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

This collection was released by Carina Press in December, 2011.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Could Most of Us Even Remember our First Love? "The Christmas Cookie Chronicles: Carrie" by Lori Wilde

Come join a meeting of the First Love Cookie Club

"On Christmas Eve, if you sleep with kismet cookies under your pillow and dream of your own true love, he will be your destiny.""

Carrie MacGregor doesn't believe this--not one bit. She might be a "paid up" member of the Cookie Club and the local Sweethearts Knitting Club, but she's not about to give in to the forced ho-ho-ho of the season. And why? Mark Leland. When he left town he broke Carrie's heart. Now, the local-guy-made good is back, hosting the reality show "Fact or Fantasy."

Fact: Mark broke her heart. Fantasy: her friends think they'll be getting back together. But could the magic of a Twilight, Texas Christmas make Carrie's secret dreams come true?

Once again we encounter a wonderful holiday story that may seek to embrace the miracles and wonder of a Christmas season, but which is really, at its core, a delightful love story. But as most mature adults will testify, the road to true love seldom runs smooth, and so it is with Carrie, a woman whose first love left her, their home town, their brief, weekend-long marriage, and left her with eight years of silence. Mark was the man who stole her heart, who gave her a sense of belonging, and then disappeared even though he left her with promises that somehow never came true. Now Mark is a famous TV personality and host of a reality show dedicated to debunk local myths throughout the United States. The producers have now focused on Twilight and its myth that one can and will be re-united with one's true love when a penny is cast in the town fountain or one sleeps with these special cookies under one's pillow. Carrie is prepared to testify that it is all foolishness.

This is a story of two people who have gotten off the emotional track even to the point that they have strayed from their life goals and plans. Carrie is now a successful business owner but inwardly she is bitter and disappointed. Mark somehow knows that while he has the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, complete with arm-candy women and sumptuous life style, he knows in his heart that what he has always wanted to write is a novel. He is a journalist at heart.

I found this story to be a delightful read, one that reminded me of those days when I wondered what path my life would take. It introduces the reader to fun characters and a town which has built its entire social calendar and economy on this business of lovers finding each other. I had the sense that I was once again experiencing some of the feelings that made Carrie's days depressing, her persistent sense of disappointment over Mark's betrayal of their love, and her almost palpable loneliness. Yet underlying the obvious negatives of Carrie's personal experience was also a layer of optimism which even Carrie's unhappiness couldn't erase. It's a holiday story, to be sure, but it is a love story that will entertain and be a fun read at any time of the year. I had not read any of Ms Wilde's work recently, but was excited to be re-acquainted with her style, her evident story telling ability, and a story that left me with the sense that this is a story that will leave readers with that satisfaction serious readers experience when completing a really good story.

This is a book you'll not want to miss. I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

The Kindle edition of this novel was published in November, 2011.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Romance in the Midst of War: Deadly Descent by Kaylea Cross

Devon Crawford is an officer; Air Force Pararescueman Cam Munro is enlisted. Dev flies medical evacuations; Cam jumps into danger zones to save lives. Dev wants to return home from Afghanistan with her heart untouched; Cam will do anything to win the woman he loves.

Reaching for happiness in a war zone is the last thing Captain Devon Crawford plans, but she can't ignore the feelings she's hidden for so long. Cam's sexy charm and wicked kisses weaken her resistance, but she's too afraid of losing him to give in.

When Dev's helicopter and crew are shot down and set up as bait by a notorious warlord, Cam risks all to save the team. What he doesn't know is that the trap is set for him....

* * * * *

Just as readers were inundated with stories that grew out of past wartime venues, so we are experiencing a number of fine fictional efforts set in the midst of the Middle East conflict in Iraq or Afghanistan. This story takes readers right into the war action through the experiences of a Black Hawk helicopter pilot whose mission is primarily rescuing wounded soldiers. It is an incredibly dangerous assignment, and yet Capt. Devon Crawford feels that sense of power and the adrenaline rush each time she lifts off the pad. Yet the certainty of war's hurt and possible death is never absent. Add to the danger from attacks by the enemy as she is hovering over the landing zone, weather can often play a role that may mean the difference between life or death to everyone concerned.

Now Devon must wrestle with her own inner demons: her decision to turn back to the base rather than put her craft and crew in mortal danger because of deadly fog has now given her the sense that she was partly responsible for the man she had been dating before she was deployed to Afghanistan. Even though she was preparing to break off the relationship, her sense of deep guilt is keeping her from feeling OK about her almost overwhelming attraction to his friend, Cam. It is the kind of survivor guilt many experience because of the deadly nature of war.

This story is full of colorful characters, all of whom are really special people, skilled and ready to do their duty, but still dealing with that underlying reality that any one of them might not return from the next mission. Cam and Devon are kept apart by the fact that one is an officer and the other enlisted, by their continuing struggle over Ty's death, by being deployed on missions at different times of the day, and eventually, by needing medical care that means that they are separated by thousands of miles. Yet throughout there is that connection with all the characters--the bonds that develop when human beings find themselves in this kind of pressure cooker circumstance.

I had not previously read any of this author's work but I am looking forward to this continuing series as well as looking up other works available. The story is well-written, the plot and storyline are interesting from start to finish, and the insertion of passages which bring the reader into the thoughts of the enemy keep the tension at a consistent level. This book is definitely a "keeper" and one that is well-worth reading. Even though all war stories bring in the crisis of battle, this book seemed to have a fresh feel about it. I felt that I had been privileged to share the characters' experiences in a way that has not always been the case. I hope you will find time to enjoy this book. It is really good! I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

This novel was released in September, 2011, by Carina Press.