Guardian Angel by D

Nice sized short story, I thought, when the download finished quickly. But I had overlooked the “1” in the URL, and together with parts 2-9 you get a novel almost half the size of the bible.Luckily for me, the story starts with an angel describing her job and the glitches that occur, and how these are handled. Thus I was hooked before I realised that it’s about falling in love with a best friend and walking away from it. Otherwise, I’d probably have put it down with a sigh and looked for something else to read — and would have been wrong for the second time. It’s much more than that.

Charisma Tagherty has her goal in life defined: she wants to be the first female president of the United States. In college, she gets to room with Brianna Walker. The two become best friends, and after  graduation they take some months time out to travel Europe together. Bri falls for Chari, but, knowing
that a lesbian affair would kill Chari’s political career, walks out on the relationship.

Why this is regarded as important enough for the heavenly forces to not only send an angel to intervene, but an entire team of them, remains unclear until close to the finish, but in fact there is more to it than D. lets on for a while. Twenty (earth) years later, Guardian Esmeralda and her soul mate Saphira, along with another number of angels, get assigned with setting things right.

Bri accepts to temporarily fill the chair of a senator fallen ill, and so meets Senator Tagherty for the first time after their separation, and both of them are, shall we say, less than thrilled. Which leaves their guardians with enough work to despair.

That should do for pointers. You get a set of well rounded protagonists with very believable support characters, some refreshingly irreverent language (caveat to those who cannot take religion with a pinch of humour), and a high level of drama — I admit to having used up a stack of tissues. However, “The Storyteller’s Cardinal Rule is in effect.” You also get a thoroughly well crafted storyline with quite a few hints discoverable only in retrospect.

Well worth the reading time (and the tissues, as well)!

Falling from Grace by Ann McMan

If you don’t believe in coincidence, or cannot at least make believe, this story may well not be for you.Grace Wagner is far from over from being dumped (for a younger woman!) by her partner, Denise. And she is so not looking forward to attending her best friend Rizzo’s birthday party on Halloween — in full costume. Besides, the flight to San Francisco costs a fortune.

Said flight turns out to be somewhat rewarding, when Grace meets Abby Williams. The two women “click”, and (surprise, surprise!) meet again at Rizzo’s party. They spend the night after together (but if you’re looking for steam, look elsewhere).

Well then, are we being treated with a happy ending? No, we aren’t. But… After having lost contact with one another, they meet again. And it’s at this point that Ann asks her readers if they want to read more about this (not yet) couple. She wanted to only write a short story, but the plot somehow got out of hand. Of course, I voted YES!!!

Ann is currently busy with a sequel to “Jericho”, so it might be a while.

Well worth reading, driven by fast, intelligent dialogue (which I’m beginning to think of as the authoress’s special talent).

The Pocket Watch by Cheyne Curry

I’ve always said that I don’t review stories I don’t like. I’ll make an exception, this time. It’s not the story that’s at fault, rather my ability to deal with angst and an ending which is not so happy.

When Jenna looks out of her window at the working place of her partner in the 95th storey of the World Trade Centre, everything seems to be OK. Five Minutes later… yes, we’re talking about 9/11. Jenna is a fire fighter, and of course she heads out to see if she can help in the face of catastrophy, all the while worrying about the fate of her partner, Brynne.

The story puts the reader right in the middle of the chaos: confusion, dread. sheer physical exhaustion, narrated from Jenna’s point of view. It takes some nerve to read, and I cannot help but wonder how Cheyne felt writing it.

There is a shift in perspective at the end, something I don’t usually appreciate. It is necessary in this case, though.

I am of two minds whether to suggest reading The Pocket Watch, or warn against it. But then, the people involved did not have the choice, but had to live or die right there.

Brilliant, but depressing.!_files/The%20Pocket%20Watch.pdf

Betrayal by t.e.brehm

A very short story that I almost didn’t read to the end — if you are a grammar nazi like me, you’ll also flinch at incoherent use of tenses. But I would have missed an interesting ending.

Devlyn is Sylvia’s best friend, and is there for her, when Sylvia finds her partner of ten years in bed with another woman. Devlyn has also been secretly in love with Sylvia for a long time. Oh no, not that plot again? Well, give it one more try!

For one thing, it’s rather unusual that the author manages to tell the story without having Dev speak a single word. For another, there’s a twist at the end that came quite unexpected for me.

A nice return on a few minutes’ investment of your reading time.

Blood and Honor by Windstar and Zee

A good friend of mine kept sending me emails telling me that I just had to read Blood and Honor and I kept sending her emails back saying that I already had too much on my reading plate and I just couldn’t do it. Well, I finally broke down and decided that I’d at least read a few lines and see if it caught my attention. Wow. Did it ever!

I’ve heard several times from numerous readers that Windstar and Zee have some very good stories out there and that I really need to give them a try but I never did. After reading Blood and Honor, I can see what all the fuss is about. This epic fantasy story was nearly impossible for me to put down. The battle scenes, in particular, I thought were fantastic. There were a few issues that I had, particularly with names changing. One woman changed from Valeria to Valerie to Valarie and back again so many times I had to force my brain to stop noticing. Lots of grammatical stuff but the story was so good that it was a tiny price to pay to join Torrin and Luna and the rest of the women on their journey. One plot piece that really made me groan was the fact that neither of the main characters seemed to figure out who the next queen was going to be. Believe me, the readers figured it out immediately and it became a little frustrating at times when the characters couldn’t figure it out. Especially since the prophecy is talked about repeatedly. You’ll see what I mean.

But, again, this was GREAT! Really enjoyed it. I mentioned to some friends that I would love the chance to edit this and then have it sent to L-Book for publishing! So good.

I was told that I now have to read Selene and Nix and it’s sequel, Rezan. I didn’t know that I should have read these first but I was assured that it wasn’t necessary since they all can stand alone.

Happy reading!

Deja Vue by Dee

This is the story of Sara and Lee. But no, it’s about Sarah and Leah… oh well. The story comes in two parts, anyway, the first of which ends unexpectedly, but is being taken up again later.

Sarah, an American medical doctor, meets Leah, an English professor of Ancient Studies, over a spilt cup of coffee while they both are on a holiday in Greece. After the initial awkwardness they decide that they like each other enough to spend some time together.

But here’s why Sarah spilt her coffee in the first place: “This tourist looked and sounded like the woman in her dreams…” And this is also where Part I comes into play.

I am not usually into stories with a strong “supernatural” (for lack of a better word) element, but Dee evokes such a delight at the developing relationship between Sarah and Leah that I could take that part in a kind of “icing on the cake” – attitude. The way she describes the growing friendship, the Grecian surroundings, made me want to spend some time there, too — preferably with someone as nice as the protagonists are.

Very nice, satisfying, and romantic. You get your time’s worth reading this.

Nature of the Beast by Cheyne Curry

Caprice Gallagher is a fan of Hannah Brishen. In fact, she has a crush on the tall singer, but who hasn’t? Caprice would never dare approach Hannah at a concert, too much competition making the effort not worth the probably humiliating result.

It comes as a big surprise, then, when Hannah initiates a contact, and not just for a quicky backstage; in fact she seems relieved and a little incredulous at learning that Caprice is single. She begins to court her,
and the reader sighs in blissful expectation of a romance unfolding.

Why then did Cheyne put out an explicit warning about violence and intensity?

There’s this woman, Annie, Hannah’s Ex, who cautions Caprice, “Be Careful. She’ll hurt you.” Apparently she is in violation of a restraining order, but then she also seems frightened by Hannah…

It turns out that Hannah likes to be in control, to put it mildly. She also likes increasingly rough sex, and so the relationship goes on a downward spiral.

The story does, thankfully, not end in dispair, but it is not what I would call a comfortable read. Don’t misunderstand, it is excellently written, meeting the high standards I’ve come to expect from this authoress. But the subject matter may not be for everyone. As Cheyne herself says, “If it helps raise awareness, then I guess there was a reason my muse made me go to the dark side.”

You have been warned. Other than that, highly recommended reading.