The Book Review Club!
I’ve been exploring the Kindle Unlimited offers on Amazon, and I’ve been happy with everything I’ve found. This has become an affordable way for me to feed my voracious book reading habit. For book reviewers like me, this is an excellent way to read books. It’s also a great way for authors to up their readership and still get compensated for the read. If you have your book available through Kindle Unlimited… thank you! Now, let me introduce you to some novels I absolutely loved! ❤
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Survival of the Fittest (the Crossroads Trilogy Book 1)
Xhosa is the leader of a tribe of “other” humans. In fact, she’s an anomaly among her species, as most women only gathered food and cared for the children. The author describes Xhosa as being taller than most men in her tribe. She’s also fearless and strong, like a man. When a group of homo sapiens threatens her tribe of homo erectus people, she realizes her people cannot just stand and fight for their homeland. In order to survive, she leads her people on a journey to search for a new land. Along the way, other tribes of homo erectus people join her quest. Xhosa calls the other people “Big Heads,” and together they search for a safe place to live.
“Survival of the Fittest” is a well-researched novel. The author, Jacqui Murray, does an outstanding job of capturing what life could have been like when homo sapiens were emerging as the dominant human species. I love stories of the ancients, and this book does not disappoint.
This is the first novel in a trilogy and I’m hooked on the characters. There is a spiritual synchronicity between Xhosa and another character that adds a delightfully pagan touch to the story. I couldn’t help myself. I had to read the next two novels in the series.
The Quest for Home (The Crossroads Trilogy Book 2)
“The Quest for Home” picks up where “Survival of the Fittest” left off. The central theme of the second book is to find a safe place for the people filled with plenty of food so they can survive and flourish once again.
Along the way, we’re introduced to smaller tribes who’ve banded together for safety. When these tribes merge with Xhosa’s people, a power struggle develops between the leaders of the different tribes. The result leaves Xhosa’s role as leader undermined, which makes delivering her people to a safe home more problematic.
Yet, Xhosa meets all the challenges head on! A true leader, she carries the weight of all the people’s problems. In order to survive, she must also combat the internal battles that threaten her leadership.
What really keeps the story going is how the main character’s inner conflicts seamlessly flow within the story line to ramp up the tension. It was this attention to detail that I enjoyed most.
Each contender for the leadership of the tribes has his own distinct personality, which includes a major flaw that becomes his own biggest problem. Once you include the natural threats of weather and geography, cannibals and other tribes who want the people dead, you’re left with high octane tension. I loved this book and can’t wait to read the next in the series.
Against All Odds (The Crossroads Trilogy Book 3)
At long last, Xhosa and the people, who comprised several small tribes traveling together, arrive at the base of the Pyrenees mountains. Throughout this journey, they encountered insurmountable dangers along the way, including the weather and the rough terrain. Through it all, they persevered.
These hunters and gatherers took only what they needed to survive. Not only did they face danger from the animals they preyed upon, but the people often became the prey of others, Big Heads, and cannibals! But there is great unease amongst the people. The clash between Nightshade and Thunder is inevitable. What will become of Xhosa and the people?
Jacqui Murray’s meticulous research enabled a fictional account of the many aspects of ancient man’s probable lifestyle. She portrays their communication as a type of sign language, which made total sense to me. The connection between ancient men and wolves showed that the two animals (man and wolf) benefited the most from their union. Throughout history, the use of herbs and plants as early medicines are well documented. In fact, there is a thread of a “manifest, destiny-like” belief system portrayed in the book, which hints at the possibility that man was destined to traverse and settle the lands far and wide.
Is this all there is to the story? I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
A Voice in the Silence
Drea, a widow, is still grieving the loss of her husband Rob, her soulmate. Lost and alone, Drea struggles to move on. She tries grief counseling, but that doesn’t help her one bit. Then one day, three incredible animals become part of her life, changing her world in ways she never imagined.
Just as Drea’s life changes for the better; she realizes that she’s being stalked by a serial killer. Scared, she turns to Adam, her husband’s best friend. He’s a police officer whose wife has also passed. With the help of the animals, Adam sets out to protect Drea. But there are some things about the animals that Drea hasn’t shared with Adam. Yet…
Plus, there is Drea’s grief to cope with. Can she let go of Rob and move into a future with Adam?
Speculative fiction is always a fun read, but this author’s creativity knows no bounds. There was plenty of tension, including some paranormal activity, that made the story feel unique. The animals make this story shine! Yet, this story is really about Drea, an older woman rediscovering love. This was the perfect summer read!
Maggie’s Fork in the Road (Montana Bound Series Book 2)
I read the first book in this series, (set in Michigan) last year and loved it! For whatever reason, I got sidetracked from continuing the series. Book two, “Fork in the Road” does not disappoint. Chloe and Maggie’s dog, Bones, make this story fun, along with Glad, Maggie’s mother. I enjoyed how Maggie and John’s relationship progressed, even though the progress was painfully slow.
There was a fun visit to Chicago where Maggie and Chloe attend her mother’s photoshoot. Another character to watch for is John’s father, who turns out to be a rugged Montana cowboy.
Maggie’s indecision makes her an interesting character. Considering the issues with her first husband, it’s understandable that she had a lot of things to deal with. Could she be a mother to Chloe? What about her teaching career? You can’t help loving her and that is why I had to find out if she ever makes it to Montana!
Maggie’s Montana (Montana Bound Series Book 3)
“Maggie’s Montana” provides a lovely ending to the trilogy. John and Maggie’s relationship takes center stage in this novel, and all I can say is, it’s about time! Maggie finally comes to grips with her indecision and joins John and Chloe in Montana. There are some lovely scenes and descriptions of Montana’s Big Sky Country.
I know it was a hard decision for Maggie to give up her life and career in Michigan and move to Montana. However, the series was really about Maggie deciding to build a home with John and Chloe. I felt like the book dragged once they were all together on the ranch. Yet, I loved these characters. I’m glad I read this series through to the end.
A Montana Bound Christmas: Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays (Montana Bound Series Book 4)
Just when I thought the series was over, Bradley added another book. Book 3 gave us our much expected happy ending and now, in this fourth and final book, we get one last time to spend time with John, Maggie, and Chloe by spending Christmas in Montana with them.
This book alternates each chapter with a different point-of-view character. It was interesting to read the thoughts of the other characters.
There’s a mystery to solve which adds some necessary tension to the story. If you love Christmas stories, this is a must read!
I’m an eclectic reader, but I enjoyed each of these books. There is something here for everyone! Enjoy!
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