2018 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge · Book Reviews

Ride the Wind by Lucia St. Clair Robson


I first fell in love with this book when I was around 14, which honestly was probably too a little too young to be reading this book…LOL. It probably held the title of favorite book for many years and is still in my top five. I’ve been meaning to re-read it for several years and finally managed to work it in to my schedule. I was determined not to skip ahead or to just read the parts I knew I felt like reading – I was going to re-read the book in its entirety this time.

It was somewhat different than I remember. The last time I read it had to be probably over ten years ago and I know I skipped through a lot of it. The premise for the story is the life of Cynthia Ann Parker, a young girl captured by the Comanche and raised among them, eventually marrying a great chief and raising several children before being recaptured by her family. As a historical fiction, there is some creative license taken and her life among the Comanche pieced together by old passed down stories, history, research and imagination. The author builds a very real and believable life for the young girl and what it may have been like for her among the Comanche. I doubt it is how it actually happened, but that is not the point of historical fiction. What I had forgotten about, was how many secondary and even tertiary story lines are wound throughout the book. There are sections that follow the girl’s family, a US Marshall, a squad of rangers, other members of her tribe, and even from the perspective of an Indian chief of an enemy tribe.  It sounds hard to follow, but the author wove it so seamlessly together it is not a problem. You get a whole variety of views, beliefs, events, and interactions from the time frame and what life was really like. Some of it is particularly brutal, some heart-breakingly sad, some joyful, and others just brutally honest everyday life.

You learn a lot about the time frame, Comanche life, Comanche politics, the fighting against the Indians, political moves and promise breaking in Indian politics, and the views and beliefs of several different types of people at the time. I find it a difficult, but rewarding read, even though it ends sadly. All the characters are relateable, reminding you of someone. The story line is easy to follow and makes sense. The events make you emotionally invested in the book and the characters. With getting to see both sides of the time frame, it can be difficult to hate the various characters in the book.

I’d recommend it to anyone interested in Native American life, western history, classical fiction, or a historical story with a small romance in it. The romance is not explicit at all and is only alluded to once. Mostly it is just a heavily emotional book with characters who are extremely well-developed, a story line that builds strongly, and a book that will make you remember what was in it.

My rating:

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Book Reviews

SEAL of Approval (SEAL Series #1) by Jack Silkstone


I always have a good time reading about dogs and their handlers in books, so this one looked interesting. It was shorter than I expected, but then again it’s a Kindle book so I shouldn’t have been very surprised. That being said, it was longer than most novellas but not quite so long as a regular book.

The story follows Mike and Ali. Mike is a SEAL whose dog gets injured by taking a bullet meant for him. The wound is decently bad, but his temperament changes which is the worst problem. They take the dog to Ali who is a specialist in traumatized dogs. As she works with Axe, she and Mike begin to fall for each other. In steps Mike’s SEAL team to administer a selection test to see if Ali can live up to being a SEAL’s wife. On top of this, a Mexican drug lord is after Mike and decides to use Ali to get to him. What ensues is a varied series of events that is just one bad thing after another. There are some funny moments, some scary moments, some sweet moments, and some annoying moments.

I was hoping for more story line about Axe and Mike, showing everything the dog can do and how they work together. This kind of got glossed over because the dog was injured and there was a romance. The selection process story line was kind of annoying in my opinion because I’d be livid if it was me. The Mexican drug lord story line I don’t think integrated well because the story was so short. This could probably have been made into a full length book with more depth to the story line and more complex characters.

I read there was a sequel, but I don’t think I was as invested in this book as I needed to be to read the sequel. The team-mates weren’t well-developed enough to have me interested in their future and it seems the sequel continues to focus on Mike and Ali, who I feel like I’ve read enough about. If the characters were more complex and interesting I think I would have bought and read the sequel. As it is, I won’t be doing that.

My rating:

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Book Reviews

Rachel’s Guard (The O-Line, #2) by Jillian Jacobs

Rachel's Guard B.C.

This is the second book in the O-Line series by Jillian Jacobs. The series followers the members of the offensive line of the Manchester Marauders football team. I didn’t actually read the first book because I picked this book up through a Kindle sale. The story follows Warren “Bronco” Murray’s search for answers after his grandmother lets slip she killed a man named Thomas whom Bronco thinks is his real father. The love interest is Rachel Harris, a private investigator and mystery writer, that I picked up was introduced to Bronco in book  one. The two team up to discover the truth of Bronco’s heritage. They uncover some nasty family secrets and it’s just one crazy turn after another. The secondary story line through the whole book is Rachel’s obsessive mission to find her brother who was kidnapped by the Russian mafia when she was about eight.

The story lines intertwine and work off of each other throughout the book. You have Bronco putting everything he can into a relationship with Rachel and Rachel holding everything back because she doesn’t want to get hurt. I can say honestly this book kept my attention. There was always a lot going on and twists and turns everywhere. That was also the problem. There was no downtime in the book, no time for the characters to process and deal with things emotionally. I felt that the emotional growth of the characters was basically non-existent because it was one thing after another and then they would just have this emotional epiphany. There didn’t seem to be any real processing of emotional issues or discussions on how to deal with anything. It was just “oh I shouldn’t do that anymore” and then that was it.

I think if the book had been lengthened and the two story lines worked a little more separately it would have helped. There needed to be a break in the book. Reading it felt like a race in constant sprint instead of either a slow meandering through the story line in order to savor it or a hike that had a few twists and turns but could take your time. Overall it wasn’t bad, I just think it needed a little work and finessing. I actually thought the story lines were quite interesting and would like to go back and read the first and next few books in the series but I need a little bit of a break. It was a little tiring to read from all the stuff going on in the book.

My rating:

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