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review 2017-07-26 01:52
Review: When I Need You by Lorelei James
When I Need You - Lorelei James

Life for Rowan Michaels has always been fairly straightforward: first comes her son and second her career. There isn’t room for anything or anyone outside her family. Yet, befriending Jensen Lund makes her realize she is missing something in her life, and he could be the perfect fit. Breaking down walls can be scary, but Jensen may be worth it.

 

Coming off a near-career-ending injury, Viking’s starter Jensen Lund has a new outlook on life, one that involves interests after his football days are over. So even though Rowan Michaels breaks all of his rules for dating, Jensen recognizes she, and her son, are special enough to break the rules. 

 

When I Need You is another wonderful love story in the Need You series. Lorelei James knows how to capture my heart; her characters are honest, caring, wonderful people who love with their whole being. Jensen and Rowan may not believe they are the perfect fit for one another because of self-imposed rules and rocky histories, but Ms. James shows readers how they are actually two halves of a whole.

 

While I love pretty much every aspect of When I Need You, it is the fact that Ms. James creates a strong bond of friendship between Rowan and Jensen and then grows the romance slowly, that gives their story a solid foundation. I loved that external factors aren’t used to create conflict. It would have been so easy to use Jensen’s past, his fame, the no fraternization rule, or any number of other issues to drive a wedge between the pair. Yet instead, the author gives her characters inner-strength and integrity to examine their own choices and life decisions, then make the changes necessary to be happy. Both Jensen and Rowan are kind, giving, caring people, and the author uses this to bolster their romance, rather than take advantage of it to cause problems.

 

When I Need You focuses on Rowan and Jensen’s romance. Shared in first person, alternating POVs, there is little room to develop an external plot; however, the author does sew seeds for future couples and books. I found that I enjoyed remaining focused on the couple, seeing all aspects of their fledging romance, understanding their fears and concerns, and applauding their courage to open up with honest, heartfelt dialogue. It drew me in and kept me glued to the pages of my ebook.

 

Lorelei James has scored another touchdown with When I Need You. Overall, the Need You series is a winner, and you will not be disappointed picking up these standalone romances. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist… you’ll see when you read the book!)

 

My Rating:  A, Loved It

Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About

Review copy provided by publisher.

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review 2017-07-26 01:51
The Amish Face the Technological Apocalypse with Grace
When the English Fall: A Novel - David Williams

I'll admit I was trepidatious about being assigned this novel to review at first. Much as the setup is catnip to me -- a fresh take on technological shutdown and societal collapse? Sign me up! -- I have a real thing about how the Amish are sometimes portrayed. They're sort of infantized and fetishized in a lot of contexts, like they're just these adorable weirdos who don't have electricity. Not to get too far into it, but any religious group who practices shunning is on my shit list, and that goes for Scientology as well. But! The Amish are no monolith, like any group, and embrace a number of societal ideals I find admirable, non violence being the main one. Anyway.

 

David Williams managed to sidestep all of my fears, and spin a compelling tale. His main character, Jacob, is not without faults, but his very active engagement with the rough realities of the technological failure of the English (that's us, to them) is deep and thoughtful. A very good book. 

 

 

My latest at B&N Sci-fi & Fantasy

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review 2017-07-25 20:19
"Canadian West: When Calls the Heart" by Janette Oke
When Calls the Heart (Canadian West #1) - Janette Oke

I'm not a fan of the description on the back of this book. "Beth discovers that [Wynn] also has determined never to marry." Okay, we don't get to that part until page 164 (out of 221). It doesn't make sense for this information to be made known before reading it. To make things worse, for a portion of the book, we are supposed to believe that Wynn is already married (though it's obvious he isn't, even without the poor description, which brings me to my next point).

It was frustrating how naïve Elizabeth could be. First she couldn't figure out that Higgins was planning on marrying her, despite his aggressive flirting. Then she took ridiculous precautions to protect herself from "wolves" -- they're animals; not zombies! Next she couldn't stand the mice in her house, but couldn't stomach any methods of getting rid of them. Then she couldn't figure out why a man named Wynn Delaney would have an interest in a child named Phillip Delaney. And when she finally realized that there was a family connection, she couldn't imagine any other connection between the two beside father and child. Like, she thought Wynn was married with children and flagrantly flirting with her in front of everyone in town including his wife, despite otherwise being a respectable man. How is it that she's so sensitive to flirting except when it came from Higgins, anyway?

(spoiler show)


Also, normally, I hate it when people complain about a book (or movie) being "preachy" because I feel like they're being overly sensitive and acting like they were tricked into reading a "Christian" book despite the fact that the description of the book was very open about the spiritual content. However, in the case of When Calls the Heart, "preachy" is an accurate description. Whether that's a bad thing or not, I don't know. I felt like it was a bit unnatural, like it switched to the author speaking directly to the reader instead of conversations within the story.

I did still enjoy it. Though I couldn't tell you why. I do love Wynn Delaney's name. There's one good thing. Haha. Doesn't it just roll off the tongue? Anyway, I'll continue the series, but there are other Janette Oke books I'd recommend rather than this one.

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review 2017-07-14 17:12
When the English Fall: A Novel - David Williams

This was a very entertaining book which told of the apocalypse from an Amish view. The "English" are people who do not follow the Amish order. It dealt a lot with the Amish order and only mentioned what was going on with the "English". 

Written from Jacob's diaries, the story tells of Jacob's daughter having "spells" and repeating the phrase "The English are Falling". Suddenly, his daughter gets better, but doesn't stop talking about when "The English are Falling". When one night Jacob and his daughter are watching the skies and a plane drops out of the air, crashing miles away, his daughter says "And now it has begun". Cars stop on the road, the lights of Lancaster are not burning anymore and everywhere is eerie and pitch black.

The story tells of how the Amish are sending food and supplies to the local city and others things that the Amish do to help their fellow mankind. All is well until everyone finds out that this phenomenon is not going to be solved in a few days, it's here to stay.

The was a very entertaining debut by David Williams and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The ending led me to believe that there is more coming in this series, however, I could be wrong.

Thanks to Algonquin Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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review 2017-07-13 18:54
Child Soldier
Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War (CitizenKid) - Michel Chikwanine,Jessica Dee Humphreys,Claudia Dávila

If he’d only listened to his father, Michel wouldn’t have lost part of his childhood but what he experienced with the rebel soldiers will never be erased from his mind. Michel was five when he was taken with his best friend Kevin by a group of rebel militia while they were playing basketball after school. His father told him to come right home after school but Michel ignored his father words. Military vehicles were a common sight so when they pulled up alongside the court, the boys disregarded them. When boys in ratted clothing emerged setting off their firearms, the boys fell to the ground. Thrown in the back of their trucks with other boys, they went for a ride. They were soon going to be initiated into the militia’s army. Michel tried to stand up for himself but that only led to him becoming the example in the group. The militia used a variety of means to get their recruits to obey including drugs, force, amputation and of course, death. Michel was forced to perform many actions that horrified and ashamed him as the weeks passed in the countryside. Scared, Michel wanted to go home but the recruits were under constant supervision. Finally, Michel sees an opportunity to escape. As he surfaces to the outside world, Michel emerges a changed individual. He is no longer an innocent child, he has a story that no one else has.

 

I thought this was a terrific graphic novel memoir that communicates a great story. The illustrations were wonderfully done, not overly dramatic but using facial expressions and other means, the story is presented nicely. I liked the variety of text fonts that were used as I thought that added to the drama of the story. It is 1993 and there is political turmoil occurring in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Michel is in the middle of it. I was surprised how young Michel was when this story took place. I felt that Michel’s father placed too much responsibility on Michel’s shoulders as I read this novel. Michel’s father is a human rights lawyer and an activist and since Michel is the only son in the family, his father tells him what he wants him to do should the police arrest him. His father had many good words of wisdom that he tells his son and I had to wonder how far Michel would take his father’s advice, his father was a man and Michel was now a child of eight. I felt these expectations were a bit high for a child so young. I did appreciate how this novel talked about the country before the fighting began and why the fighting is taking place. I felt this knowledge set the story up before Michel’s drama began. I felt a good connection with Michel throughout the story and I felt closure at the end. At the end of the novel, there is a current photo of Michel and a short narrative about what Michel is presently doing. There is also a question and answer section about Boys and Girls in War and what individuals can do about it, which I thought was very interesting and thorough. The author also included a list of a few other resources individuals can check out if they are interested in child soldiers. This graphic novel is worth checking out.

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