Thursday, December 31, 2015

Jacqueline's review of Battlefront: Twilight Company (Star Wars) by Alexander Freed

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of --
Battlefront: Twilight Company (Star Wars) by Alexander Freed

Overall star rating --- 3.5

About the book:

Among the stars and across the vast expanses of space, the Galactic Civil War
rages. On the battlefields of multiple worlds in the Mid Rim, legions of ruthless stormtroopers—bent on crushing resistance to the Empire wherever it arises—are waging close and brutal combat against an armada of freedom fighters. In the streets and alleys of ravaged cities, the front-line forces of the Rebel Alliance are taking the fight to the enemy, pushing deeper into Imperial territory and grappling with the savage flesh-and-blood realities of war on the ground.

Leading the charge are the soldiers—men and women, human and nonhuman—of the Sixty-First Mobile Infantry, better known as Twilight Company. Hard-bitten, war-weary, and ferociously loyal to one another, the members of this renegade outfit doggedly survive where others perish, and defiance is their most powerful weapon against the deadliest odds. When orders come down for the rebels to fall back in the face of superior opposition numbers and firepower, Twilight reluctantly complies. Then an unlikely ally radically changes the strategic equation—and gives the Alliance’s hardest-fighting warriors a crucial chance to turn retreat into resurgence.

Orders or not, alone and outgunned but unbowed, Twilight Company locks, loads, and prepares to make its boldest maneuver—trading down-and-dirty battle in the trenches for a game-changing strike at the ultimate target: the very heart of the Empire’s military machine. 

Book creation ratings -- Max. total of 30 possible --
Overall total, out of 30 --  26
-- Story & characters -- 8
-- Cover & title -- 8
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
The events of this book take place after the first Star Wars movie, no. 4, and right at the beginning of the 5th Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes back.  If you're a Star Wars fan, then you should enjoy this book; it's a well written book. But, if you're not a Star Wars fan, or familiar with the first 3 movies, you might not enjoy the book. Also, if you don't like violence or battles in a book, then this book would definitely not be for you. Having said that, . . .

This is an excellently written book with engaging characters to follow, and a storyline that fits into just before and at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. It starts out with a battle, and continues with battles throughout the book. Yes, Vader does make a brief appearance; too up close and personal for some of the characters. There is one character in the book that I think is Han Solo, and Princess Leia is mentioned. Does not have a happily ever after ending, but then hey, this is Star Wars, and we aren't to that point yet.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- science fiction, Star Wars
Age recommendations -- 18 plus
Sex content rating -- none
Violence rating -- extreme, is a book about a galactic war

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Author's Amazon page

Author's website

Author's Twitter

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Rich's review of The Shyness Cure by Christopher S.

Reviewed by -- Rich M.        

Book Review of -- The Shyness Cure: How to Overcome Shyness, Social Anxiety and Boost your Confidence Step by Step by Christopher S.        

My overall star rating --- 2 
       
About the book:
In The Shyness Cure, you will learn specific step by step strategies that will help you to confront and interact with others with ease and freedom. Many people though suffering from simple shyness or even social anxiety disorder, are stuck in their condition because they don't understand what is causing it and what triggers their emotional and physical reactions.  

Book creation ratings:
Overall total -- 12 out of a possible 30        
-- Story & characters -- 1        
-- Cover & title -- 3        
-- Editing & formatting -- 8        
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
First of all, a book on a "cure" for shyness probably doesn't enchant potential readers when it's written by someone using a pseudonym. "Christopher S." Really? His Facebook name is "Christopher KDP", so he is either really shy himself, meaning his book doesn't work, or he thinks this is as touchy a subject as erectile dysfunction. The book is all basic common sense. True, most folks don't have that, but there's not a lot of information here.        There's supposedly some sort of "shyness algorithm" that the author goes over. Would be interested to see it, but it wasn't in the free copy I downloaded from Amazon. And it's not nearly interesting enough to bother going back to see if there's an update. This book is your typical "get rich"-type of e-book: No real substance, common problem, net-scoured information, and a lot of self-promotion on Facebook. If you're reading the book and find you have to "practice" social situations, as the book suggests, I would suggest a career manning a lighthouse or a morgue or some other career not involving social activity. You don't practice that - you get in and do it. Sheesh.        

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- Self-Help (allegedly)        
Age recommendations -- Adult        
Sex content rating -- None (thank Raptor Jesus)                
Violence rating -- None        

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Jacqueline's holiday review of The Christmas Bargain by Shanna Hatfield

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of --
The Christmas Bargain: (A Sweet Victorian Holiday Romance) (Hardman Holidays Book 1) by Shanna Hatfield 

Overall star rating --- 5


About the book:
Luke Granger is about to get more than he bargained for…

As owner and manager of the Hardman bank, Luke Granger is a man of responsibility and integrity in the small 1890s Eastern Oregon town. When he calls in a long overdue loan, Luke reluctantly accepts a bargain in lieu of payment from the shiftless farmer who barters his daughter to settle his debt.

Philamena Booth is both mortified and relieved when her father sends her off with the banker as payment of his debt. Held captive on the farm by her father since the death of her mother more than a decade earlier, she is grateful to leave. If only it had been someone other than the handsome and charismatic Luke Granger riding in to rescue her. Ready to uphold her end of the bargain as Luke’s cook and housekeeper, she isn’t prepared to marry Luke as part of a crazy Christmas bargain.

Book creation ratings:
* Max. total of 30 possible *
Overall total, out of 30 -- 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
Absolutely awesome book that you'll enjoy reading at Christmas time or any other time of the year. The author does an excellent job of bringing to life not only the town of Hardman, but the lively characters as well. The story she spins will simply draw you in and wrap it's arms around you. Needless to say, I simply loved the book, and it was a fun and refreshing read. Just the thing for your holiday reading.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- historical western romance, christmas
Age recommendations -- 17 plus
Sex content rating -- very mild
Violence rating -- mild

** The author's links **

Amazon

Amazon author page

Facebook page

Website

Jacqueline's holiday review of An Outback Christmas by Louise Reynolds

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of --
An Outback Christmas by Louise Reynolds

Overall star rating --- 3

About the book:
It's just a few days before Christmas but you wouldn't know it at Carrie Holt's remote outback home. Not only has Carrie turned down all invitations to spend the festive season with friends, she's cancelled Christmas entirely. For Carrie, Christmas holds nothing but sad memories.

Meanwhile, handsome architect Adam Davidson has planned a special Christmas camping trip with his son, Tyler. But a huge storm sends Adam and Tyler straight to Carrie's door, desperate for help.

With the property cut off from the only road out, Carrie is forced to play host to these strangers – the last thing she wants at this time of year. As Christmas draws near, Adam and Carrie grow closer. But with so much tragedy in her past, will Carrie be able open her heart again and rediscover the magic of Christmas?

Book creation ratings:
* Max. total of 30 possible *
Overall total, out of 30 -- 19
-- Story & characters -- 4
-- Cover & title -- 7
-- Editing & formatting -- 8
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
The book never really does come together. At first, he's a neglectful dad, then mom is the one who is neglectful and he's all the kid has. The characters aren't very well defined, and the book isn't Christmassy at all. Plus, there is a sad note throughout the book. The ending of the book leaves tons to be desired. It is a very short book, and would have been better if the author had made it longer and told the whole story.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- contemporary romance
Age recommendations -- 18 plus
Sex content rating -- mild
Violence rating -- none

** The author's links **

Amazon

Amazon author page

Facebook page

Website

Twitter

Monday, December 21, 2015

Jacqueline's holiday review of Christmas Cravings by Emma Hamilton

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of --
Christmas Cravings by Emma Hamilton

Overall star rating --- 2.5

About the book:
How could everything that seemed so right suddenly have gone so wrong for Mia? Snow is on the ground and Christmas lights twinkle in the German Christmas market. The warm, spiced wine is just right, but there's still one key ingredient missing from her romantic dream. Will Mia's Christmas turn out to be sugar and spice and all things nice - or a deflated soufflĂ© of loneliness and regret?  

Book creation ratings:
* Max. total of 30 possible *
Overall total, out of 30 -- 16
-- Story & characters -- 4
-- Cover & title -- 5
-- Editing & formatting -- 7
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
I tried to get into this book, but I never made it. The book is a very disjointed read and has way too many flashbacks. Flashbacks are a touchy thing to do in video, and should be used sparingly in a book. Also, there's too much drinking in the book. The main character seems to spend most of the book remembering and drinking. All the characters seem to spend way to much of the book getting drunk.

It reads like an unfinished novel, and probably caters to those who have read the rest of the books in the series. If you haven't read the rest of the series, don't get this book then; as it's not a very good book at all if you know nothing about the rest of the series. It's not really a stand alone novel, and not too Christmassy either.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- romance
Age recommendations -- 18 plus
Sex content rating -- none
Violence rating -- none

** The author's links **

Amazon

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Jacqueline's holiday review of All Wrapped Up by Kimberly Kincaid

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of -- All Wrapped Up by Kimberly Kincaid

Overall star rating --- 2 stars

About the book:
Talk about a hot lead…
Christmas is coming to Pine Mountain—and it has a way of stirring up memories, good and bad. Nick Brennan may manage the Double Shot bar smooth as good whiskey, but his past is a hot mess. When he runs into a burning building to save a little boy, some people start thinking there’s more to his heroism than holiday spirit. And then the local reporter assigned to the story turns out to be gorgeous Ava Mancuso, the girl who got away.

Ava knows what it’s like to have a past. But the changes she’s seen in Nick since she knew him do more than set off her natural curiosity—his warm eyes and gruff charm have her instincts fired up. Still, all the chemistry in the world doesn’t erase history, even when Nick invites her to his little sister’s mistletoe wedding. Does he have a heart under all those secrets? Or is this going to be just another Christmas past?

Book creation ratings:
* Max. total of 30 possible *
Overall total, out of 30 -- 19
-- Story & characters -- 5
-- Cover & title -- 7
-- Editing & formatting -- 7
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
Let me start my review by saying that I had a hard time getting into this book, and never really did connect with it. I thought this book was a Christmas romance book, but it's not really. It begins with with the main male character, Brennan, rushing into a raging fire to rescue a kid. You won't find out the real significance of this till the end of the book. Then, the first one-third of the book is about the rescue, and reporters wanting to interview him, and him dodging them. Not particularly gripping.

One of the reporters is an old love of his who took a powder on him and suddenly disappeared, Ava. So the middle of the book pretty much centers around him and Ava, and them getting reacquainted, and them thinking lustful thoughts about each other. And yes, there are a couple of rather steamy sex scenes in the middle part of the book.

The last 1/3 of the book is Brennan reconciling with a tragic incident from his firefighter past, and him and Ava working things out. The only Christmas connection is that Brennan's sister's wedding is on Christmas, and that has only a brief appearance in the end of the book. Set the wedding on any other day or time of year, and no Christmas connection at all. I've read lots of Christmas romance novels, and sorry, but this one doesn't measure up in that department.

Another thing that I didn't care for about the book is that the author seems to overdo it some in describing surroundings and what the character is thinking. Sometimes, between dialogue, I lost track of what was being talked about due to the lengthy 'in their head' passages; and had to backtrack to remind myself of what was going on.

If you label this book as fiction, and a book about firefighter trauma, then it's a decently written book. But I just don't think it fits in the Christmas romance department.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- firefighter fiction
Age recommendations -- 18 plus
Sex content rating -- a lot, sex scenes, lots of lustful thoughts
Violence rating -- mild

** The author's links **

Amazon

Amazon author page

Facebook page

Website

Twitter

Friday, December 18, 2015

Jacqueline's holiday review of Do You Believe In Santa? by Sierra Donovan

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of -- Do You Believe In Santa? by Sierra Donovan

Overall star rating --- 5 stars

About the book:
What grown woman claims to have seen Santa Claus? Mandy Reese, for one—on a very special Christmas Eve when she was eight years old. These days, Mandy works at a year-round Christmas store in Tall Pine, California, where customers love to hear about her childhood encounter with Saint Nick. But when Jake Wyndham arrives in town—charming, gorgeous, extremely practical—Mandy faces a dilemma. Deny what she saw, or let Jake think she’s sugarplum crazy?

Jake scouts hotel locations all over the country, but he’s never met anyone quite like Mandy before. Her warmth and sparkle are irresistible, but…meeting Santa? Really? Jake’s no Scrooge but he’s definitely skeptical. Then again, there are all kinds of things Jake never experienced until he came to Tall Pine. Like autumn snow. Mind blowing kisses. And the magic of falling head-over-heels, madly in love…

Book creation ratings:
* Max. total of 30 possible *
Overall total, out of 30 -- 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
The author has written about the most perfect Christmas romance novel that you would ever want to read. It has all the elements you would want in a Christmas novel, and you get that definite holiday feeling when reading it. You are transported to the small California town of Tall Pine, where our story takes place. The main guy and girl characters are great, as is the whole story. It's just perfect, with an ending you'll love. It definitely left me wanting more. If she should write a sequel, I'll be all ready to read it. If you want a Christmas romance novel to read over the holidays that oozes the holiday spirit, this is your book. A must read holiday romance.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- Christmas romance
Age recommendations -- 18 plus
Sex content rating -- moderate
Violence rating -- none

** The author's links **

Friday, December 11, 2015

Jacqueline's holiday review of His Housekeeper's Christmas Wish by Louise Allen

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of -- His Housekeeper's Christmas Wish by Louise Allen

Overall star rating --- 5 stars


About the book:
'Tis the season for mischief!

Accidentally colliding with Tess Ellery on the icy streets of Ghent is definitely not how resolute bachelor Alexander Tempest, Viscount Weybourn, intended to start the festive period. He may have mistaken her for a nun, but there's nothing innocent about his reaction to Tess's delicious curves…

When Tess is left stranded, Alex is honor-bound to take her home…as his housekeeper! And despite his long-held rule of spending Christmas alone, Tess's vivacity soon has this brooding lord determined to make all her Christmas wishes come true!

Book creation ratings:
* Max. total of 30 possible *
Overall total, out of 30 -- 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
I loved this book. Before Christmas is even mentioned, the story has a Christmasy feel to it. It's a great story with an awesome ending. I loved all the characters, and the author brings them to life so well. For some reason, Dickens came to mind when I was reading this. This is one of those hard to put down books. This book goes down as one of the best, and most enjoyable Christmas romance books that I have ever read. I look forward to the rest of the series that starts in this book.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- historical Christmas romance
Age recommendations -- 18 plus
Sex content rating -- moderate
Violence rating -- none

** The author's links **

Amazon

Amazon author page

Facebook page

Website

Twitter

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Jacqueline's holiday review of The Captain's Christmas Bride by Annie Burrows

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of -- The Captain's Christmas Bride by Annie Burrows

Overall star rating --- 5 stars

About the book:
Wrong man…

Lady Julia Whitney is at her wit's end. Her perfect beau just won't propose! But she's struck upon a plan to ensure her marriage by Christmas. Between masquerades and mistletoe, she finds herself fully compromised…by the wrong man!

…Right husband?

Captain Dunbar cannot believe he's fallen for this chit's game! Now he must marry society miss Lady Julia with nothing to connect them other than incredible passion. But he's about to discover that the best Christmas presents come in surprising, and delightful, packages!

Book creation ratings:
* Max. total of 30 possible *
Overall total, out of 30 -- 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
A young lady tries to arrange a situation where the man she is in love with will have to propose marriage to her. But alas, all goes awry when she ends up being found compromised with the wrong man. The Captain had only come there to check up on his little sister; instead, he ended up with a wife. That's how the book starts, and it keeps up the pace too.

This is an excellent book, well deserving of every star that I've given it. Want a spicy historical romance novel to curl up with this Christmas? Then this is your book. I loved the characters, the story, the setting, everything! This is a wonderful book, and the author has crafted a most delicious story. I would read and recommend her writing any time.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- historical romance
Age recommendations -- 17 plus
Sex content rating -- moderate
Violence rating -- very mild to none

** The author's links **

Amazon

Amazon author page

Facebook page

Website


Twitter