My Review of The Last MacKlenna by Katherine Lowry Logan

The Last MacKlenna (The Ruby Brooch)The Last MacKlenna by Katherine Lowry Logan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Following my review of The Ruby Brooch, I was delighted to be offered an Advance Review Copy of The Last MacKlenna, a romance that picks up the story of Elliot Fraser, CEO of MacKlenna Farm, and introduces Meredith Montgomery, owner of a vineyard in California.

Once more, I was enthralled, but for very different reasons. This is a more mature romance that fearlessly explores cancer, psychological damage, and loss. It is a story that sensitively lays bare our fears as we look to the future beyond the pinnacle of a career and examines our response to the hard knocks life can throw our way.

I use ‘our’ deliberately as Katherine Lowry Logan delves into a health issue that many will have encountered in one way or another. Cancer is an emotive subject, often inspiring a heroic response in those it touches, and always forcing its victims to face their deepest fears. In this respect, the Last MacKlenna is a truly touching story that will resonate with many, even though the hero and heroine live in a privileged world where their coterie can compare the size of their respective corporate jets.

Both Elliot Fraser and Meredith Montgomery are financially independent, hardworking, and successful. They’re also at a time in their lives where they desperately need to put their priorities into perspective. And despite the benefit of past experience and the painful moments they have already endured, they are just as vulnerable as any inexperienced twenty-year old when it comes to the emotions of the heart—even more so, because they are scared of getting hurt, or of being disappointed, or worse, of being the one that disappoints.

What I loved most about this story was the gradual piling on of tension as fresh traumas emerge from the wreck of a romance built far too quickly on the shifting sands of mutual attraction and blatant lust. I couldn’t rid the lump in my throat as I watched a car crash of ‘hopes and dreams’ falling to Elliot and Meredith’s self-doubt and fears as they encounter a mountain of obstacles blocking their path to true love. Sometimes, life has to kick really hard to force an adjustment in thinking. This story kicks hard!

A wonderful, heart-stirring read, The Last MacKlenna can be read as a standalone novel, but I especially enjoyed the glimpses back to the family mystery unravelled in The Ruby Brooch. It was very satisfying to discover the other side to Cullen and Kit’s legacy.

Overall, a solid five stars.

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I am assured this is being published very soon!

My Review of The Ruby Brooch by Katherine Lowry Logan

The Ruby BroochThe Ruby Brooch by Katherine Lowry Logan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A beautifully crafted romance across time

It is rare for a story to capture my attention so quickly, but this proved to be the perfect holiday read. Kit, a modern young paramedic, horse owner/racer and heiress to a fortune, is feisty, lovely, humble, and wonderfully stubborn. She has recently lost her parents and has discovered a Celtic brooch that can take her back in time on a quest to discover her true parentage. There she meets the devastatingly attractive Cullen, guide to an Oregon wagon trail, lawyer, and a well-off gentleman who knows his own mind. Naturally, sparks fly.

This story is one of those family saga romances that spans generations, but in a unique time travelling way. Twenty-first century clashes with 1852 Western-style. Feisty, modern heroine causes big trouble for handsome, virile hero, who cannot help but fall in love. Misunderstanding, circumstance, and cultural differences are bound to stand between them and true love. Everything a good romance needs. Even better, it is beautifully and intelligently written, the characters are well-drawn, and with the developing romance intricately woven into a family mystery, I could not tear myself away. I loved every second of this read.

Time-traveling romance just added itself to genres I want to read. Best of all, I see there are more brooches to enjoy!

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2 reviews of Nick Sansbury Smith’s books from The Tisaian Chronicles

The Biomass Revolution (The Tisaian Chronicles #1)The Biomass Revolution by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A thought-provoking and prophetic insight into Earth’s future

The BioMass Revolution is a fascinating, sombre, and ultimately inspiring story of man’s fight for survival post nuclear war, set at a time when a semblance of civilisation has re-emerged from the ashes.

It took me a while to sink into this story due to the extended collection of viewpoints that include two main characters who thread through to the end. Give it time. The numerous characters present an overview of the different factions in a war between revolutionaries and the now dominant State that controls the energy source, Biomass. These layers are needed to give the reader an awareness of the different factions manoeuvring together for the uplifting climax and convey the ever present threat of death. There are a couple of twists: one relationship twist that I suspected, and one relationship, right at the end that I did not, but with no foreshadowing that I could find looking back.

The story’s strength lies in its understated horror of the aftermath that follows nuclear war. The author ably shows how human ideology can easily diverge depending on personal interests. If you are top of the chain in a state that has carved a reasonable standard of living, self-interest easily translates into protecting your followers—electorate/citizens—within a thinly-veiled dictatorship. Anyone outside the inner circle of power is redefined as the enemy. Compassion and human kindness to fellow man is forgotten. This is man at his cruellest. The hope in this story is that when poverty and destitution and suffering eventually do seize the opportunity for revolution, there are still those living the good life who will rise up and defend the unfortunate against the unacceptable.

Even though it was disconcerting to have so many characters introduced then go, as the story progressed, I appreciated the numerous layers being laid one upon the other as the culmination of a revolution approached.

Overall, this book is a frightening insight into what lies in store for mankind if we continue to raid Earth’s resources and allow corporations (that exist today) to control access to our basic needs for survival. I can highly recommend this book.

(On as a verified purchase.)

Squad 19 - Prequel Volume 1 (The Tisaian Chronicles)Squad 19 – Prequel Volume 1 by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(This is a review of a collection Squad 19 and A Royal Knight – Prequels Volume 1 & 2 (The Tisaian Chronicles), which I got from as a verified purchase. You have here my combined review for both!)

A thoughtfully crafted glimpse into the motives of two men on opposite sides of a war

I so enjoyed these two short tales in this precursor to The BioMass Revolution, a book I read and reviewed first. The stories delve into the lives of two warriors from opposing sides of a war and both are very satisfying reads, opening up new dimensions to two characters in the main story to follow.

This first story, Squad 19, neatly uses the origin of a necklace to both introduce the revolutionary leader of Squad 19 and what he stands for. Obi Hepe is experienced, tough, cares for those under his protection, and is utterly committed to his cause. His story neatly foreshadows a twist in The BioMass Revolution, and although I still feel it should have been foreshadowed at the time, it nicely satisfied my curiosity.

A Royal Knight - Prequel Volume 2 (The Tisaian Chronicles)A Royal Knight – Prequel Volume 2 by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
The second story (see Volume 2), A Royal Knight, introduces Captain McNeil, charged by the State to bring down Squad 19. He is experienced, tough, cares for those under his protection, and is utterly committed to his cause.

Herein lies the beauty of the two stories: Two men on opposing sides who are both likeable and principled, both a leader and a hero. Which man is on the side of right is a matter of perception. The reader (at least, I did) will naturally side with the revolutionaries, but seeing Captain McNeil’s version of events, nicely sets the stage for the humane and intelligent outcome in The BioMass Revolution.

Read both books and find out for yourself. I applaud the author for the points made by these two short stories. Five stars.

Review of sci-fi romance: Dreams of the Queen (The Brajj, #1) by Jacqueline Patricks

Dreams of the Queen (The Brajj, #1)Dreams of the Queen by Jacqueline Patricks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well-developed characters and a diabolically evil scheme.

Disclosure: I received this book free. I am providing an honest review.

Dreams of the Queen is a fun science fiction story that neatly mixes in military adventure with some erotic romance and some not-so-erotic, but still graphic, horror.

A group of humans made up of six military and six scientists explore a wormhole and discover that nothing is what it seems on their new world. Certainly nothing like their scientific leader, Cass Baros, had anticipated, except perhaps in her weird dreams.

The story is full of interesting and flawed characters. Unfortunately, I didn’t take to Cass, the main character. She irritated me—her reactions too selfish and irrational at times. I regret to say I found her fate most fitting. Julian, her fiancé, was a character that I thought exceptionally well developed throughout the story. I loved Jaemon (a brajj warrior), and Captain Lewis, the team’s military leader. Every now and again the story jumped between characters in a way that could be confusing. There are some intense scenes, but because Cass didn’t hook my sympathy, I wasn’t too emotionally involved, although I really connected with Captain Lewis’ frequent frustration with his charges.

The plot is great, and the story slowly and steadily unveils an exceptionally diabolical scheme. “Predictable” outcomes do not materialize as expected, and although I did correctly predict the identity of Master, the main villain, the scale of his evil is shocking. Also, there were so many possibilities for his existence, it was a relief to have the why and how of things laid out at the end.

I enjoyed the flowing writing and Ms Patrick’s dialogue is exceptionally natural, stand out good against several books I have recently read. The action scenes were realistic and well-drawn; my only criticism being that the level of detail was such that what must have been seconds of time seemed a lot longer. Also, I’m not a fan of events retold from another point of view and I had to stop myself skimming these parts (only a couple) as the author did have a purpose to them.

Overall, I highly recommend this book and I’m very interested to see where this series leads next. I notice there is a book focused on Captain Lewis. Excellent!