August 22, 2022 10:44 AM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of July, I read four full-length novels, a novella, a novelette and two children’s books. While everything was good, there were only two that I gave five stars to, and out of those, only one that is available as a stand-alone book that would be easy to award as a giveaway prize. That book happened to be one of the children’s books. It’s a non-fiction picture book that introduces young readers to the concepts of social justice and activism. It discusses why people might sometimes choose to march or protest, specific reasons for marching, and how it can actually help affect change. The book is written in simple, easy-to-understand, yet powerful, language that is accessible to early elementary readers, but I believe the concepts could still engage older elementary students as well. I love how diverse the book is, both in its illustrations and the types of marches that are included within its pages. As I was reading, I could easily recognize many actual marches within the illustrations, so I was thrilled to find that the author had included a glossary style list at the back of the book that details those marches. It not only mentions the names of the marches, but it also refers back to the page where the illustration is found and includes a couple of sentences describing what that march was all about. This is the part that older kids might really enjoy learning about, and that parents or educators could expand upon with further lessons. Overall, I thought this was a great book for teaching children about these very important parts of our American history. In fact, it’s so good, I could scarce believe that it’s the author’s debut book. That’s why I’m naming Tessa Allen’s Sometimes People March as my July Book of the Month. If you enjoy books that teach little ones about civil rights and social justice, then you should definitely give this book a try.
Tags: Tessa Allen
July 26, 2022 12:42 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During June, I read four full-length books, one novelette, and two children’s books. While none of them rated below four stars and several were excellent reads, only one romance received five stars from me to be featured here. It’s by a long-time favorite author and the second in one of her older series that I’m just now getting around to reading. Jasper is a member of an army regiment that fought in the French and Indian War. They were allegedly betrayed by one of their own members, leading to an Indian ambush. Jasper and several of his fellow soldier were captured and tortured by the Indians with some of them dying while in captivity. He’s now continuing the investigative work started by the hero of the first book, trying to ferret out the turncoat. However, the story opens with him being jilted at the alter by his fiancee, the second time he’s been thrown over in less than a year. As he’s trying to process this turn of events while nursing a hangover, he’s approached by a woman he vaguely knows who proposes that he marry her instead. Knowing that he genuinely wants to wed and produce heirs and having no desire to go through the courting process all over again, he figures, sure why not? Little does he know, though, that Melisande made her bold proposal because she’s been in love with him from afar for six years and sees this as her last chance to possibly snag the man of her dreams since he barely seems to know that she exists. She’s thrilled when he accepts, but she has no intention of letting her feelings for him be known. Melisande herself was cruelly jilted many years ago, and after surviving the pain of that lost love, she has no desire to make herself that vulnerable again. However, she’s determined to seduce her new husband so that the notorious ladies’ man doesn’t stray from her bed. Jasper harbors some secrets of his own from his time in the military that he doesn’t want his genteel wife to know, so it takes time and patience for each of them to open up. In the meantime, they burn up the sheets together and soon Jasper is as crazy about Melisande as she is about him. But when Jasper’s investigation hits an unexpected nerve with someone close to them, it may put them both in mortal danger.
Tags: Elizabeth Hoyt
June 23, 2022 11:02 AM Posted by juliannadouglas
During May, I read four full-length novels, one novella, and one novelette. All but the novella rated four stars or higher, but there was only one book that received the full five-stars from me to be featured here. It’s a contemporary, royalty romance that is a beautiful fairy tale melding of Wakanda, Cinderella, and The Prince and the Pauper. Years ago, when they were very young children, the goddess decreed that Prince Thabiso of Thesolo and Naledi were to be betrothed, but not long after, Naledi’s parents fled the country, leaving everyone thinking that they’d betrayed the throne. Thabiso still remembers Naledi and has never quite given up on finding her. When his assistant gets a hit from a genetics testing site, it looks like they’ve finally succeeded. What they don’t know, though, is that Ledi’s parents died in a car accident shortly after they moved to America and she was raised in a series of foster homes. She’s now working two jobs while attending grad school, studying epidemiology. When Thabiso shows up at the restaurant where Ledi works and she mistakes him for the new waiter, he decides to play along, hoping to get to know her as a commoner before dropping a bombshell on her about her heritage and her being a future princess. However, the longer he plays the game, the more guilty he feels and the more he fears how she’ll react. But every time he tries to tell her the truth, they keep getting interrupted, until she finds out in the worst possible way. Ledi no longer wants anything to do with Thabiso, but when he offers her the opportunity to study a potential novel illness that has broken out in Thesolo, she can’t resist. The more she learns about her home country, the more she falls in love with it, but although a part of her still cares for Thabiso, forgiving him for his deception and trusting him again are another matter. Not to mention, the mystery illness may also prove a threat to their burgeoning love.
Tags: Alyssa Cole
May 15, 2022 04:54 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During April, I read four full-length novels, two short stories, and one children’s book. All of them rated four stars or higher, but aside from one of the short stories, which is already available for free, the only one that received the full five-stars from me to be featured here was the children’s book. It’s a middle-grade, mystery, adventure story about Stanley Yelnats who believes that his family is cursed because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. Whether they’re actually cursed is up for debate, but they’ve certainly had a run of bad luck, the most recent of which is Stanley being falsely accused of stealing a valuable pair of sneakers. The judge gives him the choice of going to jail or going to Camp Green Lake, a boy’s reform camp. Stanley chooses the camp, thinking it will be the better of the two options, but at camp he quickly discovers that every day each boy is required to dig a hole that is exactly five feet in diameter and five feet deep. The people who run the camp say it builds character, but when he finds a small gold tube, he quickly realizes that the Warden and her cronies are actually looking for something, probably something valuable. Along the way, Stanley also makes friends with a loner nicknamed Zero, whom he teaches how to read. The two boys help each other out, and eventually through a series of misadventures, they finally discover exactly what the Warden is up to.
Tags: Louis Sachar
April 17, 2022 05:22 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During March, I read four full-length books, a novella, and two short stories. There were a few of so-so reads among them, but overall, most of them were quite good, with two receiving five stars from me. However, one stood out slightly above the other. It’s an erotic, historical romance, the first I’ve read by this author and the first in a planned quartet, that received a lot of buzz when it was first published quite a number of years ago. Passion is a widow who endured an unhappy marriage. While browsing the exhibits at the Crystal Palace one day, she’s rescued from being clobbered by a falling potted palm by a man who awakens a side of herself she’d thought lost. His mere touch inflames her in such a way that she can’t resist the pull of his allure, so when he draws her behind an ornate screen, she eagerly accepts all that he has to offer. They make love right there in the museum and make plans to do the same for the next few days. When Passion’s visits to the Crystal Palace come to an end, Mark insists that they must continue to see each other and starts climbing the trellis to her bedroom window every night. Soon, their encounters deepen far beyond mere sex until they both know that they don’t want to live without one another. But Mark is being blackmailed by a social-climbing commoner who has dirt on his mother. He doesn’t care much about the woman who birthed him, but if the information gets out it would hurt his brother as well, something he’s determined not to let happen. But the price that’s being exacted from him is nothing short of marriage to the vile blackmailer’s daughter. Mark plans to do what he must to protect his family, while hoping to keep Passion as his mistress. But when Passion discovers that his betrothed is none other than her own beloved cousin, she can’t bring herself to continue their affair, leaving them both brokenhearted.
Tags: Lisa Valdez
March 20, 2022 05:04 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During February, I read five full-length books and two short stories. There were a couple of so-so reads among them, but overall, most of them were really good, making my decision as to which book would be named my Book of the Month a little harder this time. Ultimately the one that came out on top is a paranormal romance by a favorite author that’s part of a favorite series of mine. This one follows SnowDancer wolves Indigo and Drew. Indigo is a dominant female and a pack lieutenant, while Drew is the pack’s tracker. Drew has been crazy about Indigo for a while, but she’s been trying to keep their relationship friends-only. She worries that getting involved with a male who is both younger and less dominant could lead to disaster. But tired of waiting for her to come around, Drew pulls out all the stops to prove to Indigo that she’s the only wolf for him. Meanwhile, the threat from Pure Psy, the Psy faction that’s determined to maintain Silence no matter the cost, is rising, and Indigo and Drew discover evidence of a Psy incursion onto SnowDancer land. With the help of their alpha, Hawke, and the rest of the pack, they must figure out what the Psy’s new game is and stop it before serious damage is done, but a climactic battle with the Psy could put Indigo and Drew’s relationship in jeopardy before she’s even had a chance to decide whether he’s her perfect mate after all.
Tags: Nalini Singh
February 20, 2022 04:36 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During January, I read four novels, two novellas, and three short stories. It was kind of a mixed bag with about half of them not even reaching four stars for me. There was only one book that received a five-star rating from me to make it eligible to be featured as my Book of the Month. This author’s books have consistently received this honor so I’ve featured her work several times before. This one is a paranormal romance roughly long novella or short novel length, so meatier than a short story but not quite as involved as the main novels of the series it comes from. It’s about Azagoth aka the Grim Reaper, who is in charge of Sheoul-gra, the world between the human realm and Sheoul, and a kind of holding tank for the souls of demons and other evil beings. Azagoth has lived a rather lonely existence, trapped in his own realm, and is tired of being alone. He’s decided that he wants a mate and demands that Heaven send him one. Lilliana is the angel who shows up for the job, but given a choice between two unsavory scenarios, she didn’t have a whole lot of say in the matter. However, she’s offered a chance to get out of the deal and earn redemption for her “sins” if she finds and steals a time-traveling device which Azagoth possesses. When she first arrives, Lilliana thinks that Azagoth is a jerk and has every intention of finding the device and getting out as soon as possible, but the longer she stays and the more she gets to know him, the more she sees Azagoth’s gentler side and begins to fall for him. But when he discovers her original intentions, he may not be so forgiving.
Tags: Larissa Ione
January 18, 2022 04:35 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During December, I read four full-length novels, three short stories/novellas and one children’s book. All of them rated four stars or higher, but only one received the full five stars from me to be featured here. As it happens it was the children’s book, which is a heartwarming, middle-grade, holiday story about a little homeless puppy who goes around town, saving lives, helping people in need, and spreading Christmas cheer during the holiday season. I loved how the puppy is still able to give love and help the townspeople to feel better, even though he is so very lonely himself after getting lost from his canine family. I found this to be a great object lesson for humans in that if we can rise above our own hurts and find the love in our hearts to help others, it might just make us feel better too, not to mention it was a great example of the real spirit of Christmas.
Tags: Nicholas Edwards
December 18, 2021 04:14 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During November, I read five full-length books and one short story, but only one romance received the five-stars from me to be featured here. It’s a paranormal romance in a long-running favorite series by a favorite author, and it was a blast to read. Thousands of years ago, Yenreith and Verrine were the best of friends and were starting to become more than that, but lacking confidence due to her inexperience, Verrine pulled back a little from their romantic relationship. Yenreith, instead, was seduced by Lilith and slept with her on a whim, but little did he know that their tryst had created the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Eventually Yenreith’s memory was erased and many years later, he became the Unfallen Angel known as Reaver. Although heartbroken by his actions, when Verrine found out about the children, she vowed to always look after them and keep them safe, something that she accomplished by willingly becoming the Fallen Angel known as Harvester and working her way up through the ranks of Sheoul to become their Watcher.
Tags: Larissa Ione
November 23, 2021 04:30 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I completed five novels, a children’s book, and two short stories during the month of October, but only one full-length romance garnered five stars from me. It’s the third book in a serialized set of novels that follows wealthy CEO Stephan Coleman and Brianna Reeves, the young woman he rescued from horrific abuse by buying her from a man who’d enslaved her as a minor. The previous book had ended on a cliffhanger with Brianna’s dad, who’d had a hand in her being sold into slavery, showing up at her door while Stephan was at work. This book begins with the outcome of that encounter, which unfortunately traumatizes Brianna and forces her to deal with more of her troubled past. The remainder of the story follows Stephan and Brianna through roughly another month of their lives together as Stephan patiently and gently works through Brianna’s fears and helps her to come out of her shell and be more comfortable around other people. She begins to see more of her childhood friend, Cal, even though he and Stephan don’t entirely get along, and meets his girlfriend, Jade, as well as spending more time with their friend, Lily. Stephan and Brianna also talk more about a possible dom/sub relationship down the road and what that might look like, while Stephan still faces censure from multiple fronts for his lifestyle. Stephan continues his investigation into Ian, Brianna’s former slave master, and with the help of his CFO, finds some incriminating evidence, but along with it, he’s also outed for buying her freedom. Despite all the challenges they’ve face, Stephan and Brianna’s love has only grown, but this information getting out, along with nasty allegations from her father, could destroy the beautiful life that they’ve been building together.
Tags: Sherri Hayes