The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann

The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann

The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann

4 out of 5 stars.

The Breath of Dawn begins with Quinn Reilly and the mysteries her past holds. But as the story unfolds, Quinn Reilly’s secrets come to light. Four years ago Quinn testified against Markham Wilde, a successful con-man,  which put him into prison. But those four years went fast and he’s out on parole. Markham is out of prison a year early, and he wants revenge  for all the wrongs done to him by Quinn Reilly; he is willing to do anything to get it. Anything.  Can Quinn find a way out of her troubles or is everything going to cave in on her? Will she ever be free from Wilde’s ceaseless hunt? And can she hold her own against the beguiling Morgan Spencer and his enchanting daughter? Or will she lose her heart as well as her fight against Markham?

Morgan Spencer is a broken man. One moment he was perfectly happy; he had a beautiful wife, an angelic three-month old daughter, a good relationship with God, and financial success. What more could a man need? In the blink of an eye its all shattered; one car accident and it was taken from him. Now a widower with a two year old, Morgan is but a shell of what he once was. He had finally gotten his true love back after fifteen years of wandering, and in two seconds she was taken from him. Forever. How? Why? Questions reverberate deafeningly inside his head and heart, and his only desire is to find an escape from them. Rick and Noelle’s ranch is that place of escape. Quiet and alone, Rick Spencer’s ranch is now Morgan and Livie’s (Morgan’s daughter) home; a roof over their heads at least. No place has been truly home for the success guru since Jill died, but he and his daughter have survived, and he has even written a few very successful books to pass the time. Yeah, things are going pretty well considering all that happened to Morgan; that is until Quinn Reilly shows up, and with her arrival, the thawing of his frozen heart. In his opinion, it hurt less frozen, but against his will, the vertically challenged elf sneaks her way into his life and possibly into his heart. But how can he forget Jill? Can Morgan find a happy ending or is that reserved for fairy tale endings only?

The Breath of Dawn was really good in my opinion. I thought that it was well written and unfolded well; it was a good concept that was well executed. I think my only beef with it was Morgan. I loved that man, albeit fictional man, so much in A Rush of Wings and The Still of Night. I couldn’t care less about the female characters in those two books; all I wanted was Morgan! In The Breath of Dawn however, I felt more distant. Yes, I know the Morgan I knew in the past books was different from this one because of the things he went through, but I just couldn’t connect with him or the romance like in the other two stories. Maybe it was because he was older or that he had loved Jill so fiercely and then lost her, and that Quinn was a new love interest. I know that people are widowed and then get remarried all the time, but I guess I just can’t wrap my mind around that concept. Other than that, though, I think that The Breath of Dawn was a very good read. It had intense moments that spurred you on, and cute moments too. Overall, Kristen Heitzmann produced another wonderful novel.

P.S. I had written a review prior to reading The Breath of Dawn on goodreads.com. I had just said (complained actually) that poor Morgan had been through enough and that Kristen shouldn’t torture him anymore. And guess what! Kristen Heitzmann (I think) replied. Now, this is just a theory because she had “Kristen” as her profile name, and it was also before The Breath of Dawn’s release. So, if it was her, I feel pretty honored and find it cool that she reads peoples posts/emails about her books. This is what she said, “Trust me, Katie, trust me ~ Kristen.” The morale to this story is to watch what you say on the internet; you never know who’s listening… 😀

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Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

hemlock kathleen peacock

“Hemlock” by Kathleen Peacock

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Hemlock is a murder/fantasy fictional book that is the beginning of a new series/trilogy. Hemlock holds lovely characters that will capture your heart, an enjoyable heroine, and some…werewolves? A deadly virus has been created by someone and it is causing humans to be turned into werewolves.

Hemlock begins with Mac’s best friend, Amy’s, funeral. Distraught over her friend’s eerie death, Mac feels broken and guilty. If only she had kept her plans with Amy instead of studying, her best friend would still be here, still be safe. But Mac isn’t the only one who feels guilty; Kyle, the faithful protective friend blames himself for not picking up his phone when Amy called for help, and Jason, Amy’s boyfriend and a trouble maker, blames himself for saying something that made Amy get out of the car, and then letting her walk away alone. Alone…

All of them feel responsible in one way or another for Amy not being there now; the three friends, who once there were four, are wracked with an undeniable guilt that for some, is turning into anger and revenge. But little do they know that there is more to Amy’s death than a freak occurrence; murder was its purpose, and it was not done completely by a werewolf. Someone wanted Amy dead. Can the three friends stick together long enough to find Amy’s true killer, or will the rifts caused by her death be too much to forgive, too wide to heal?

Mackenzie is funny and cute, but has a darker past. Hank, her father, was a criminal and abandoned her when she was very young, and she is now taken care of by her older, and certainly less wizened, cousin, Tess. With the loss her best friend, and the withdrawal of her other friend, Jason, Mac feels very alone in this big bad world. Lucky for her, she still has her other best friend, Kyle, to look after her. Or does she? Mackenzie’s world begins to crumble with some new revelations concerning Amy’s death, and Jason’s joining the Trackers. Kyle is a mystery too! Is anyone who she thought they were, and can the truth somehow be even worse than the lies she has been fed for months? The answer is, “yes.”

Kyle is smart funny and sweet, but despite his and Mac’s deeply rooted friendship, he has some secrets of his own. Can Mac and Jason be trusted with a secret as dangerous and hard to keep as his? If he tells them, can they find it in themselves to forgive him for lying, and still love him despite his dark secret? Or will the shadows and secrets Hemlock breeds within itself destroy not only him, but everyone he loves?

Jason is the bad-boy of Hemlock. He’s been friends with Kyle since third grade, and is friends with Amy and Mac. Ever since Mac came to town three years ago, his happy little bubble has been a little different, somehow fuller and better than it had been. But after Amy’s death, and the secrets he has kept from Mac, it will be hard for him to trust her not to hate him because of the truth. And why does everyone look at him, or at least Kyle and Mac, like he’s some psychopath for wanting revenge for what he/she did to his girlfriend. Well, maybe they are right. But can he let go of his desire for revenge and realize that he is losing the only two people left in his life who love him before they too are lost forever?

Wow! Hemlock was fantastic, and is in my top ten favorite books. Peacock has a gift for writing and creating likable and “real” characters that reach out to your heart and threaten to never let go. I was enthralled from beginning to end, and I enjoyed that the plot was well planned and finished as strong, or stronger, than it began. I did guess a few things, but when you assume that everyone is a killer, you have a greater chance of being right! I enjoyed the twists and turns that Kathleen takes her reader through, and I felt that I was involved in the story somehow; I just felt like I was there with them, watching it all happen from the not-so-far-away sidelines. Also, there was nearly zero language, which was fantastic. I am longing to read the next book that will continue thee three friends’ stories.

Renegade by J. A. Souders

renegade

Renegade by J. A. Souders

A low 3 stars out of 5.

Renegade is set in the utopian society of Elysium, a community of people who created an underwater haven. But little do these people know that their “haven” who dwell underneath its ocean’s depths that there are secrets that run deeper than the ocean floor. Evelyn Winters is the Daughter of the People, daughter of Mother, the founder of precious, safe Elysium. Although she tries and tries to be good, Elysia always seems to disappoint Mother at ever turn; but Evelyn never realizes this fact. Someone has kept Evelyn under the impression that she has a “condition” that causes her to lose most of her memories, but soon she finds that it isn’t a condition at all but a medically induced amnesia.

At time passes and secrets are revealed Evelyn wonders if she will ever be able to remember who she was; but does she really want to know? Will a day come when she remembers who this boy in her dreams is? Will her memories come back, putting the missing peaces back into place, allowing her to find the person who did this to her? And who is this Surface Dweller? Is he someone she can trust or is he like all the others, someone with secrets that can hurt her?

J. A. Souders had a great concept going; but Renegade just didn’t do it for me. While reading Renegade, I felt very disconnected from the characters and I thought that Evelyn and Gavin’s relationship wasn’t very authentic. They had, what a week or two at most together and their somehow in love? I have seen other authors really create good love stories that were formed over a shorter period of time, but that felt very “real.”  I just did not feel that way while reading Renegade, and I was actually more interested in Timothy, who really is not in it more than a few pages;  I liked him a much more than I did Gavin.
On top of not feeling very attached to any of the characters, I was left wanting with the society. There were times when you got a glimpse of it but it was not well developed in my opinion (I am wrong most of the time, so don’t take my word for it).  I found myself just grazing the pages, and I never felt “involved” or even interested in the story.

There is one last thing I want to say and then I will shut my trap: I felt that it was a little “Hunger Games-esk” with how bloody it was. Too much for my taste ( I do have a small tolerance for such things, so it might not be that bad for others, but still). I hope that in the next book Souders developes her society more, and that, I think, could really add a lot to her series’/trilogy’s depth.

All said and done, I didn’t hate this book. It was fairly well written, it just was not “my” kind of book. I think that a lot of people might like this book and enjoy J. A.’s characters, but they just weren’t for me. I do appreciate that there wasn’t much language (as I remember), and that and the fact it wasn’t badly written deserves a low 3 out of 5 stars. (Yes, I am just that picky.)