April Book Reviews

Happy May! Time for some reading!

April was a month of catch up on my to-do list, which included resuming my Jane Fonda workouts from 1985 (before some of you were born!) That means I’m not reading on the treadmill anymore, but I still made time for some great books!

April book reviews include my 4 and 5 star reads of a western romance, a military romance, an afterlife time travel fantasy, a serial fantasy, and a horror anthology.

Click on the covers for Amazon global links.

*****

The Seal’s Temptation by Jacquie Biggar

Another awesome action/romance mash-up from Jacquie Biggar, and this one ranks toward the top of my favorites. After a disastrous mission and rescue, the seal team is taking a breather at the peaceful cattle ranch of Chief Seal Frank Stein. Maggie is among them, still suffering from the trauma of her time undercover with the Mexican cartel. While the attraction between Frank and Maggie heats up, all is not well at the ranch as cattle disappear and calves are slaughtered. Drug smugglers and a couple of escaped convicts are causing trouble, and the team can’t help but get involved.

What I loved about the book was the depth of the characters, the whole team. This isn’t a light romance with the usual tropes. No drama queens or kings in this read. These people have serious lives and histories. They’ve risked their lives for each other, and friendships and loyalties run deep. The relationships are grounded in multi-layered emotions, in the maturity that comes from age and from facing hardships together. Personalities are well developed, and there’s a strong sense of history. Maybe part of that is because…

This is Book 7 in the series, which probably wasn’t the best place to start. There are 6 books that provide a lot of backstory and relationship building before this one. The book did read well as a stand-alone, but that said, it makes sense to start at the beginning of the series, to get to know the characters and learn their stories chronologically. It took me a bit to catch on, but then I was hooked.

To be honest, I skimmed the few sex scenes, but I did fall for the romance and action and characters. The pace moves along quickly, and I enjoyed the skilled and well-edited writing. I may have to skip back to book one and start at the beginning. Highly recommended to readers who love a military romance mash-up.

*****

Gwen Slade, Bounty Hunter by Sandra Cox

Gwen is a female bounty hunter in the old west of Kansas, and she has a problem when Jordie Kidd saves her young brother. She’s grateful, but Jordie has a bounty on his head. He’s also handsome and a nice guy. Gwen and Jordie form a temporary alliance as they hunt down the Rondo brothers, a lucrative bounty that will solve a lot of problems for them both before they go their separate ways.

This western is half romance with many of the familiar conflicts and longings that romance readers love. It’s also half action and adventure as Gwen and Jordie meet up with the brothers one at a time and bring them to justice. Readers who enjoy gunfights, danger, and hard rides will find plenty to hang their hats on.

The pace is good and becomes even better as stakes increase near the end. The plot is straightforward, but there are a couple twists too that I didn’t see coming. I enjoyed all the characters. They were well-rounded with strengths and flaws, believable emotional lives and motivations. Gwen is tough, insistent that she can play in a man’s world, but she also must rely on Jordie despite her independent streak. Trust me, all kinds of sparks fly.

This book is well-edited and has something for readers of westerns, readers of romances, and readers of both! Highly recommended.

*****

Dead of Winter, Journey 3 by Teagan Geneviene

Journey 3 continues with the same mystery, action, and beautiful descriptions of the two previous episodes. Zasha seeks the golden runes belonging to the mysterious staff in her possession. Emlyn runs away from the religious zealots who are determined to put her on trial, and she encounters the strange silver man who has visited her dreams. Finally, she connects with the Deae Matras.

The first half of this journey is still introducing characters, building the backstory, and developing the world. The action takes off in the second half with Emlyn’s flight. Emlyn continues to be my favorite character and her ability to see into the world of the dead is intriguing. I loved the scene with the silver spirit/man. There is still a lot to learn about who he is and what Emlyn’s role will be, which makes me eager to read onward.

The pace is moderate during the first half and picks up significantly as the journey progresses. The details incorporated into the descriptions are well researched and many of them are vivid as well as beautifully written. Characters are distinct and have well-rounded personalities, especially the women. Readers who have gotten this far will likely be hooked. I’ve already started Journey 4 of the serial. Recommended for readers of epic fantasy.

*****

Eternal Road by John Howell

Samantha has been dead since childhood, and when James is killed in a car accident, Sam becomes his guide, tasked with leading him to his eternal home. Don’t count on deep religious overtones or run of the mill theories about the afterlife in this book. The story quickly becomes a fantasy time-traveling “road trip” where Sam and James participate in key historical events such as the shootout at OK Corral, the battle at the Alamo, and the invasion of Normandy, to name a few. They also travel two thousand years into the future.

For most of the book, the plot rambles from event to event while the ultimate goal of reaching James’ eternal home takes a “back seat.” The tangents are interesting and details seem well researched, though loosely connected to the overall goal. The debonair Devil has his hand in the mix, and the sexual relationship between Sam and James offers intermissions between the tenser time-traveling activities.

Both Sam and James are well-rounded characters. Their relationship feels genuine, and the dialog flows naturally. Because Sam and James are already spirits, they aren’t in any mortal danger and they experience little fear. Other emotions, like grief and sadness, play a small part until the end when some of the more satisfying and heartfelt aspects of the story take place. This isn’t a deep philosophical read, but if you’re looking for a jaunt through time with two companionable friends, this will do it. Recommended.

*****

Wings & Fire Anthology: an anthology

I seem to be reading a lot of horror short stories lately. This generous collection of 24 stories from 16 authors fits the bill. There’s a wide range of tales here from a realistic and utterly gruesome home invasion to evil magic and fantasy. There are vampires, werewolves, zombies and, monsters in the woods. Some stories are shocking, others are clever, and there’s even a laugh or two.

As true with most anthologies, I enjoyed some stories more than others, but all were well written and cleanly edited. My favorites are usually those tales that offer something highly clever or original. A few that I thoroughly enjoyed: An Unsolvable Problem or Not, Abraham’s Theory on the Paradigm of Choice, Mary, The Classics, and The Great Potoo. Recommended to readers who are seeking a variety of horror short stories.

*****

Happy Reading!

226 thoughts on “April Book Reviews

  1. saree says:

    Super cool review. I am going to read Bounty Hunter and Dead of Winter

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Resa says:

    Lol! Sometimes I think I like reading your reviews more than reading books!
    Best is seeing Teagan & John getting reviewed here.
    I especially adore Tegan, and what I have read of her writing.
    I haven’t read any of John’s books, But I like the idea of Eternal Road. Also, he has those vicious guard dogs that are fun to visit.
    Never mind having read all of these books, you have put a lot of thought and effort into this entire post! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] May 1st, D. Wallace Peach shared a collection that includes her lovely review of Journey 3, The Fever Field.  A snippet, […]

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Utkarsh says:

    nice ..!! I will try to read these books too soon !! beautiful work by you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Prior... says:

    Enjoyed your selection of book reviews and really like the way you add notes about recommendations at the end of each review
    .
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Some absolutely fascinating new books out there, thank you for such a fantastic introduction Diana. The cover on John Howell’s book really caught my eye , it’s outstanding! Have lovely day dear friend! 🌹

    Like

  7. An interesting collection of reviews… Please check out my blog that I have just started… I wish to get your feedbacks that encourages me to write more…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Joweda says:

    Thanks for the reviews. They’re indeed awesome. I’ve learned how to write a book review.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Queen says:

    The collection is interesting🖤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I always enjoy reading your reviews, Diana. Action and romance seem to be an attractive combination for Jacquie’s and Sandra’s books. I know Teagan did in-depth research behand the Journey. I enjoyed John’s book and good to know a sequel might be in the making. I’m a little late to comment because something needed my attention. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Miriam. You aren’t late to comment…. and look at me, very very late on replying. It’s a busy time of year. I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day, my friend. Hugs.

      Like

      • We came to Portland on Saturday and will stay until Friday. We went to the zoo on Mother’s Day. My daughter and her hubby signed up to fill the cancellation slots for the vaccine. They got their second shot yesterday.

        I hope you had an enjoyable Mother’s Day.

        I’ll listen to your reading of Liars and Thieves tonight. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • Congrats on the second shot for your daughter and her hubby. Yay! I’m glad you got to enjoy the family over Mother’s Day. Yes, the reading! I haven’t even been there yet. In a couple of hours… I’m so far behind. Have a great day, my friend.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’m having relaxing time with the grandkids. Autumn goes to school three days a week. She’s home tomorrow and I’ll be doing some projects with her. Nora is learning new things every day. It’s fun to be with them.

            Your reading is terrific. I can see you’d do your own audio book, Diana!

            Liked by 1 person

            • My grandson is on the part day school attendance also. It makes it hard for my daughter to work, but I think some school is better than nothing. And thanks for listening! No audiobooks in my future. But it was huge fun to record the snippets. Thanks so much for listening! You’re the best!

              Like

  11. alexcraigie says:

    Great reviews, as always! I didn’t realise that Teagan’s fourth Dead of Winter book is ready and so I’m off to get that. I’ve loved the other three and it occurs to me that I’ve been meaning to write reviews for the second and third and have forgotten to do so. Must rectify that! Thanks for these, Diana.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just saw that number 5 is out. And I owe her a review for number 4. Lol. I’m getting more and more into the story, Trish, and enjoying it. Thanks for the visit and have a wonderful day, my friend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Your review and writing got me interested in all the books, despite the fact that romance is far from my favourite reading subject. However, I might end up looking up Eternal Road. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not a romance reader either, Otto. But when the romance is combined with a other plot lines, I find it adds an interesting layer to the story. And I like mature romance over young love/lust. My age showing. Lol. Thanks for the visit and have a great day. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Erica/Erika says:

    You have a knack for writing great reviews, Diana (no surprise to you😀) Reviews have been in my radar since I had a recent conversation on this subject. You entice the reader, yet fairly and kindly describe the book and the genre. Thank you. Adding more to my TBR list, especially with camping season upon us.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Erica! Somehow I missed this comment. So sorry. I’m glad you enjoyed the reviews. I try to make them fun as well as give a good idea of the highlights of the book. I’m glad I’ve helped beef up your TBR list. Happy Reading, my friend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. […] Head over to read Diana’s reviews for Jacquie Biggar, Sandra Cox, Teagan Geneviene, John Howell and Dan Alatorre: Myths of the Mirror April Book Reviews part two […]

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for sharing the reviews, Sally. I have a lot of catching up to do about a bit of an unexpected break. I’ll be over soon to say hi and do some reading! Have a wonderful day, my friend. Hugs.

      Like

  15. ezgisugunes says:

    I just found this blog and i like it very much!! im trying to improve my English and i learned new words with your writing. Thanksss. I’ll read all your articles💞💞

    Liked by 1 person

  16. All of your reviews of these books must be right on, because of the two books I’ve read from your list here – I agree with all that you’ve written. Teagan’s series is so much fun, and I always look forward to the next one. I’m on Book 4 now. And John Howell’s Eternal Road was fascinating to me. I love his imaginative twist on souls who work together to help the living…and to escape the devil. I think John is working on another adventure with James and Sam – I hope so! Thanks much, Diane.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. noelleg44 says:

    Thanks, Diana. I’ve been meaning to download Teagan’s book, so you gave me a boot in the rear!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Claire says:

    I remember my mum doing Jane Fonda workouts! How do you find reading on the treadmill? It sounds like a great way to burn calories whilst reading rather than sitting on my bum with a book. Have a great week of reading! My WWW post is here: https://wordywitterings.com/2021/05/05/www-wednesday-wednesday-5th-may-2021/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the visit, Claire. 🙂 I made me daughter do it with me on Mother’s Day. It was so funny and your comment reminded me of that. I figured out how to make my phone read to me, but my treadmill/elliptical work outs were easy – no bouncing kindle. Sorry about the late reply. I’ll be over soon to visit. Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Sandra Cox says:

    What a lovely surprise. Thank you:) I’ve read about four of your books now and can say without hesitation I’m a D. Wallace Peach fan:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • So sorry for the VERY tardy reply to your wonderful comment, Sandra. Somehow you got spammed. Thank you so much for reading my books and, of course, for writing some wonderful stories. I’ll have another review in my June round up. Keep the books coming!

      Like

  20. Duke Dahl says:

    Interesting books, nice reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Wonderful Diana.. some of my favourite books and I have Jacquie’s waiting for me soon. As always amazing reviews and thank you for sharing..hugsx

    Liked by 4 people

  22. ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Ms Frances says:

    I am just now reading “Dear of Winter, Journey 2, I will get to Journey 3 soon. A very impressive list of good books, OH Where is the time to read all of the good books! ! ! ? ? ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for the comment, and I apologize for missing it! You got spammed for some reason. And yes, where does the reading time go?? There’s never enough. Have a wonderful week and Happy Reading!

      Like

  24. Teri Polen says:

    You’ve been reading more horror lately, and I don’t fell like I’ve read enough, lol. Teagan’s series is on my radar, and John’s book was an amazing journey. Congrats to the authors!

    Liked by 4 people

  25. You do such a great job reviewing by really painting a complete picture of the style of writing from each author!! I happen to be starting Teagan’s Dead of Winter Book 3 and appreciate the review as I continue that journey from 1 and 2.

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply to Teri Polen Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s