Posted in reviews

Blood and Silver by Vali Benson Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young girl must find a way to save her mother from a nefarious Madame in the town of Tombstone in author Vali Benson’s “Blood and Silver”. 

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The Synopsis

What is a twelve year old girl to do when she finds herself in the silver boom town of Tombstone, Arizona, in 1880, and her only home is a brothel and her only parent is a drug-addicted mother? If she is Carissa Beaumont, she outsmarts the evil madam and figures a way out.

After tricking the madam, Miss Lucille, into summoning a doctor for her mother, Lisette, she discovers that Miss Lucille has been drugging her. She and the kind doctor make a plan to try to save Lisette by dosing her down on the drug.

Doctor Henderson tells Carissa that the only source for the drug is a Chinese immigrant named China Mary, who lives in Hoptown, at the other end of Tombstone. Carissa has no choice but to go to the powerful woman for help. Many say that China Mary is the one who really controls Tombstone.

China Mary admires Carissa’s brave spirit, and uses her influence to get her a job at the new Grand Hotel, which will free Carissa from her many duties at Miss Lucille’s. She will work along with Mary’s twelve year old niece, Mai-Lin. The two girls become fast friends.

Then, disaster strikes, and the two girls must work together to stay alive.

With a host of colorful characters and meticulous attention to period detail, Blood and Silver is a story of the best and worst of human nature, the passion for survival and the beauty of true friendship.

The Review

This was a fast-paced, intricate character study and intense YA historical read. The author does a great job of focusing on character development within the narrative, and the historical nature of the novel was very well researched and integrated naturally into the book as well. 

The story takes off immediately from the very first pages, with a murder leading to Carissa’s discovery of her mother’s condition and the lengths Miss Lucille will go to secure her business. The young woman risks it all to save those closest to her, and historical fiction and YA fans will love the intricate way the setting plays into the character’s arc and the narrative overall. 

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The Verdict

A must-read novel, author Vali Benson’s “Blood and Silver” is a truly one-of-a-kind read. The historical fiction YA adventure is filled with a gritty Western theme and does a great job of giving a voice to people who are usually relegated to background characters in the typical Western novel, making this a wonderful read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Vali grew up in the Midwest. She now lives in Tucson with her husband, two sons and grandchildren.

After graduating from the University of Illinois, Vali started and sold two successful businesses before she decided to pursue her real passion of writing. She published several articles in a variety of periodicals, including History Magazine before she decided to try her hand at fiction.

In April of 2020, Vali published her first novel, “Blood and Silver”. That same month, she was also made a member of the Western Writers of America.

Website:

Amazon:

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53167218-blood-and-silver

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/RealValiBenson/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Posted in reviews

The Faithful (#2) – A Mimosa Tales Adventure by Linda Thackeray Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

The folks of Mimosa must endure a harrowing journey as they face a shocking enemy in an attempt to save lives in author Linda Thackeray’s “The Faithful”, the second novel in the Mimosa Tales Adventure series. 

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The Synopsis 

“Well, she’s the greatest pig alive. About a month ago, she saved my wife and kids and me from our burning house by waking us up in the middle of the night just in time to escape without any harm! She’s like one of the family. A couple of weeks ago, our youngest fell into the river, and the pig dang fished him out just in time to save him from drowning! She’s one of a kind.”

“Okay,” the travelling salesman accepted the accomplishment of this particular porcine but hadn’t had his question answered. “But that don’t explain what happened to her legs?”

“Well now,” the farmer declared. “When you got a pig that great, you don’t eat her all at once.”

These are the words ringing in Marshal Kris Jensens’s mind when he and the lawmen of Mimosa, led by Winn Tuner follow the trail of missing homesteaders, thought to be lost deep in Apache Country. Driven to the ominous Owl Valley where not even the Apache dare walk, they discover the homesteaders may have met a fate worse than death by a monstrous evil festering within its deepest reaches.

Now it’s up to Kris and his men to reach civilisation and warn everyone, that what lies in Owl Canyon has been there for almost 300 years and is hungry…

The Review

A grittier tale that ups the ante of the first novel, author Linda Thackeray has crafted a shocking tale that blends history, horror, and the old west into unique narrative readers will instantly fall in love with. The story puts sheriff Kris Jensen and his allies in the clutches of a dangerous threat, one that defies human morality in ways none of the characters thought possible. 

The author does an outstanding job of using the narrative and story to highlight the cultural differences between so many different civilizations, and how savagery exists on all sides, as well as empathy. The conquests made by Europeans is felt deeply as the results of their conquest is felt in what befell a specific group of people fleeing their bloody invasion, and what those events drove them to become. 

The novel’s greatest strength comes in the character development, especially between Kris and Winn, who have endured a rift in their friendship since the events of the first novel. The chemistry and pain between them are put to the test when faced with the unspeakable horrors waiting for them on this rescue mission. 

The Verdict

A must-read novel, this is a fantastic sequel to an addicting Old West-style novel series. A fast-paced, engaging and one of a kind read, author Linda Thackeray’s “The Faithful” is a powerful follow-up narrative and heightens the character’s growth overall moving forward. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in a village in Malaysia and delivered by underpaid midwife, and Ann, an irritable new mother (who wouldn’t be after 48 hours in labour?), X was named by a deranged grandmother with too much creativity for her own good. Once out of her pain-induced stupor, Ann decided to give her new daughter a proper middle name to avoid the risk of being put into a home later in life.

And so, she was called Linda.

Linda was an unremarkable child, save a few notable incidents, the discovery that a pot lid is not a substitute for Wonder Woman’s tiara (five stitches), four-year old don’t need to shave (no stitches but lots of toilet paper) and utility truck drivers are not necessarily qualified operators of their vehicles (seventy stitches).

At eight, Linda received religious enlightenment when she saw Star Wars at the Odeon Theatre and hence began her writing career.

For many years, the cages of various pets in the Thackeray household were littered with pages from Linda’s scribblings. Subjects usually ranged from whatever science fiction show was on television or at the movies. There was lots of Star Wars.

At 17, Linda moved to Sydney, Australia and was disappointed it was not occupied by Paul Hogan types with big knives and croc skin jackets but pot-bellied blokes with zinc cream and terry towel hats. Linda’s father (also known as that bloke who buys me stuff to piss mum off when she’s mad at him) settled in the town of Young, a community of 6000 people with no movie theatre.

Linda survived this period in the wilderness by raising kangaroos and writing original works but eventually got saddled down with the necessities of life and though she continued to write, work came first. Work, HBO, comic books and rent. It’s a kaleidoscope.

Even the kangaroos left out of boredom.

In 2014, Linda decided to start writing seriously again. Mostly because Australia’s strict gun laws make it very difficult to ‘go postal’ in the workplace. Moving to Woy Woy, which is Aboriginal for ‘Big Water’, she’s dipped her toes into the Indie pool and found she needs a pedicure. Her books are labours of love and championed by her friends on Facebook.

Eventually Creativia Publishers, appalled by Linda’s inability to conduct any marketing, offered to publish her books out of sheer exasperation.

Supported by two cats named Newt and Humphrey, she spends her days trying to write novels while having unclean thoughts about Michael Fassbender and Jason Statham, sometimes together.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0867RKWG5/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0
Author Site: https://lindathackeray.wixsite.com/authorsite

Posted in reviews

The Hanging (#1) – A Mimosa Tales Adventure by Linda Thackeray Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A man on the run finds himself and a ragtag group of people the only line of defense in a plot of revenge between a local cattle baron and a local judge in the Old West town of Mimosa in author Linda Thackeray’s “The Hanging (#1) – A Mimosa Tales Adventure”. 

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The Synopsis

Welcome to Mimosa.

Struggling to survive in the savage land of the Territory, Mimosa is beset by dangers common to the harsh realities of the Old West.

When former gunslinger turned marshal, Kris Jensen arrives in town with his band of misfits, it is up to them to defend Mimosa from greedy land barons, outlaws and Indians angered by broken treaties.

It is an unlikely place to find salvation, but that is precisely what Kris and his men discover in Mimosa.

When local cattle baron William Cahill swears revenge on Judge Evan Davis for the execution of his nephew, it sets off a deadly plan of vengeance against the judge and those he loves.

It is up to Kris and his misfits to keep Holly Davis, the beautiful editor of the Mimosa Mirror, from harm before Cahill can put a noose around her neck.

The Review

An adventurous, gripping western tale, author Linda Thackeray has perfectly captured the setting and tone of the Old West and the fight for survival that came to those who ventured out into those territories. The complex nature of protagonist Kris Jensen makes for a compelling story, as his instinct to flee from an impossible situation with no hope of escape conflicts with his sense of duty to lead the band of misfits he finds himself paired with and the choice to save innocent lives, including Holly Davis. 

The author demonstrates a perfect understanding of the narrative and genre by creating a setting that becomes just as much of a central character to the story as Kris Jensen or any of the other characters. The gripping story really shone through in this book, making for a gripping Western that didn’t waste time in capturing the reader’s attention.

The Verdict

A fast-paced, action-packed, and driven narrative, author Linda Thackeray’s “The Hanging”, the first book in the Mimosa Tales Adventure series, is a must-read novel. Filled with great world-building, a great cast of characters and a firm handle on the genre overall, this is a great read for anyone who loves a good Western adventure. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in a village in Malaysia and delivered by underpaid midwife, and Ann, an irritable new mother (who wouldn’t be after 48 hours in labour?), X was named by a deranged grandmother with too much creativity for her own good. Once out of her pain-induced stupor, Ann decided to give her new daughter a proper middle name to avoid the risk of being put into a home later in life.

And so, she was called Linda.

Linda was an unremarkable child, save a few notable incidents, the discovery that a pot lid is not a substitute for Wonder Woman’s tiara (five stitches), four-year old don’t need to shave (no stitches but lots of toilet paper) and utility truck drivers are not necessarily qualified operators of their vehicles (seventy stitches).

At eight, Linda received religious enlightenment when she saw Star Wars at the Odeon Theatre and hence began her writing career.

For many years, the cages of various pets in the Thackeray household were littered with pages from Linda’s scribblings. Subjects usually ranged from whatever science fiction show was on television or at the movies. There was lots of Star Wars.

At 17, Linda moved to Sydney, Australia and was disappointed it was not occupied by Paul Hogan types with big knives and croc skin jackets but pot-bellied blokes with zinc cream and terry towel hats. Linda’s father (also known as that bloke who buys me stuff to piss mum off when she’s mad at him) settled in the town of Young, a community of 6000 people with no movie theatre.

Linda survived this period in the wilderness by raising kangaroos and writing original works but eventually got saddled down with the necessities of life and though she continued to write, work came first. Work, HBO, comic books and rent. It’s a kaleidoscope.

Even the kangaroos left out of boredom.

In 2014, Linda decided to start writing seriously again. Mostly because Australia’s strict gun laws make it very difficult to ‘go postal’ in the workplace. Moving to Woy Woy, which is Aboriginal for ‘Big Water’, she’s dipped her toes into the Indie pool and found she needs a pedicure. Her books are labours of love and championed by her friends on Facebook.

Eventually Creativia Publishers, appalled by Linda’s inability to conduct any marketing, offered to publish her books out of sheer exasperation.

Supported by two cats named Newt and Humphrey, she spends her days trying to write novels while having unclean thoughts about Michael Fassbender and Jason Statham, sometimes together.

Paperback: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Linda_Thackeray
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00NE63G76
Author Site: https://lindathackeray.wixsite.com/authorsite

Smashbooks: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1014398

Posted in reviews

Terminal Core by Lynn Steigleder Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A surreal and thrilling blend of science fiction, horror and westerns comes to life in author Lynn Steigleder’s novel Terminal Core. A group of ragtag fighters with haunted pasts must put aside their mistrust of one another to save the human race and their dying world. Here’s the official synopsis:

Aon, a solid core planet made from the priceless and most dense element in the galaxy, caladium, is under silent attack. Plans are made by off-worlders to dissolve the unbreakable core using crude oil obtained from 19th century earth. Once the oil is refined, the byproduct, gasoline, will soften the caladium, allowing it to be collected. It is soon discovered the core is made from living beings created from caladium itself. The off-worlders employ a band of corrupt inhabitants to carry on this work. They find themselves in a constant struggle with a small coalition of Aonians bent on saving their home world. Both factions clash with the indestructible core creatures. With horrendous beasts one step behind and deadly pitfalls ahead, the coalition struggles to finish its journey, hoping to insure their races’ survival.

I absolutely loved this read. The blend of the science fiction setting with some pretty vicious and horrific creatures that made it feel like a creature feature horror story. The inclusion of the western style setting helped integrate the characters well, with each one harboring a dark secret that could easily turn friend into enemy or foe into ally. The complex western world was filled with backstabbing, lying, cheating and death, making this an intriguing read to say the least. The book itself flowed smoothly, keeping an even pace throughout. One of the biggest highlights however was the extensive world building, shifting the story from the planet Aon to the western age of 1800’s Earth and beyond.

Overall this was a fantastic read. Full of life, death and adventure, this was a unique and creative read that cannot be missed. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Terminal Core by Lynn Steigleder today!

Rating: 8/10