Review: Redemption of the Beast (Outside the City #3) by Amylea Lyn

Standard

Rating: 4 stars

Redemption of the Beast coverIt’s been 15 years since the City Dome fell and Owen Sanders returned home with his small twin brothers, Micah and Lucah to the Katrian village where he lives with his mate, Maltok, co leader of the Katria.  And while Lucah recovered from their shared ordeal, Micah’s health still suffers from the effects of the gassing he took as a child.  But one thing has stayed constant, other than his love for his brothers, and that would be his love of Sashan, the Katrian warrior who found them escaping from the City and carried him back to the village.  For all 15 years, Micah has loved Sashan but the shy, hermit like warrior stays away from Micah and the village, visiting infrequently.  From Sashan’s actions, Micah concludes that it is his physical weakness and small size that repulses Sashan, and he despairs of ever having his love returned.

Sashon is a gentle and troubled  warrior who is still trying to recover emotionally from the events of the past.  Emotionally and physically abused by his twin brother, Rashon, he was still devastated when the identity of the betrayer was revealed.  Further solidifying his guilt and pain was the fact that Sashon delivered the blow that killed his brother.  His emotions in turmoil and his guilt overwhelming him, Sashon feels unworthy of the one person he loves and who he knows to be his mate, Micah.

Then Micah is kidnapped and Sashan must put away all his fears and guilt to rescue his mate, discover who is behind the kidnapping, and how the City and its Planners are involved.  The race is on and Micah’s frail health puts his life in jeopardy.  Will Sashon find the redemption he seeks when he finds his mate?

Redemption of the Beast is the third book in this addicting and sometimes frustrating series, Outside The City,  by Amylea Lyn.  First let’s go over the highlights and wonders that make me return book after book.

Amylea Lyn has created a remarkable universe for her series.  We are on a planet of various geology and climes, but humans (as such) have retreated to a Domed City that was created by the Founders, their creation race, and now never venture outside because of the rules of their society and their fears of the creatures and plants that live there.  A race of felines called the Katria (various species from tigers to lions etc) live in villages outside the Dome and are at odds with the rulers of the City.  Book one, The Nature of the Beast, gives us a general outline for The City, its culture and homogeneous human inhabitants.  They all have light blue eyes, white blonde hair, same physical structure and anything outside of that norm, including honey blonde hair is looked down upon. Along with the marvelous Katrian culture, Lyn brought an amazing element of plant symbiosis in Raine, another important character.  This merger of human and plants is so enthralling and potent that I still cannot stop thinking about all the possibilities that can occur in future plots.

Book two, The Beast’s Promise, saw the fall of the Dome that protected the City and isolated its citizens. It was brings back a secondary character of Owen Sanders, his mate Maltok and Owen’s quest to find and save his twin brothers. It is also our first glimpse of Sashan.  We are given further information as to the Founders and their purpose on the planet, just fascinating as the author starts adding additional layers to her universe and the series story lines.  By the end of this book, we are clamoring to know more about the twins and she gives it to us in book three. However, there is no mention of the  plant symbiosis that drove the first book, sigh.

Redemption of the Beast continues to enlarge our knowledge of the planet’s inhabitants as it now adds a race of wolf shifters called Wolfrik to the mix and an explanation as to their (and the Katrians) existence. Sashan, a character that captured our hearts along with the twins now gets his story and that of his mate.  The addition of the Wolfrik shows that the Founders had a larger role for all the species involved, we just don’t know what it is yet.  There are more betrayals, twists and turns along with the angst and sorrow I have come to expect from this series.  But Lyn always balances the pain with the joy of a mate bond concluded and the suspense of a new bond yet to be revealed.  Amylea Lyn always sets the stage for the next in the series by the end of the current book. So we know that Lucah’s book is the next to come.

Combine the author’s terrific plot ideas with her ability to bring her scenes to life with vivid and powerful descriptions, and you have a series that compels you to read them like an addictive treat you can’t stop eating.  But there are also frustrations here as well that make me grind my teeth even as I devour each page of the story.  Most of it would be assuaged if Silver Publishing would do a better job at editing their stories.  Mistakes such as “on” when it should be “of”, and other errors similar in nature are noted but what really makes me crazy is things like the sentence below:

“I would know where I was going if you hadn’t broken my (blank), you little piss ant!” (spoiler word removed)

Now, yes you can call someone a piss ant although with that usage it should be pissed ant.  I suspect (and hope) that the editors knew the word was pissant  for an insignificant or contemptible person or thing.  Or use piss-ant, that’s ok too.  Both come from pismire, a 14th Old English term for ant. Yes, spell check wants to divide it, not so the dictionary. Still a human editor relying on knowledge and not a machine should know whether you want it to mean an angry arthropod or someone of no consequence. By the way, the word piss came from the smell emanating from an ant hill, good Jeopardy question.  Now you know.

And another is that when talking about a treaty between the Wolfrik tribe and the Katria, it is proposed between two negotiators to send the wolf shifter healers to the Katria and Katrian hunters to the Wolfrik to help them hunt.  Huh, because wolves are such bad hunters?  Either we are missing some necessary information, or this doesn’t make sense give the wolf shifter backstory the author supplies us with.

Anyhow let’s return to my qualms about editing errors and mistakes because I know there are some of you thinking that this is nick picking and you might be right.  But when something, whether it is suspect language or punctuation, stops you mid sentence, interrupting the story for you, then it becomes important,  It has provided a distraction away from the author’s narrative, impeded the proceedings, and the momentum is lost for however long it takes to get it back, not good when it happens during an “aha” moment.  Frustrating or as I call it, the “argh” moment.

But even with those issues, I can’t stop reading this series.  Lyn’s lively, layered characters will stay with you, their backstories will haunt you, and the predicaments they find themselves in amuse and terrify you.  Amylea Lyn leaves me wanting more and wanting to know more about the universe she has created and the beings that populate it.  This is a terrific series and with the right editor, it could be a 5 star series that the ideas deserve.  Either way, if you are new to the series, start at the beginning book and work your way through.  It is the only way to make sense of the characters and the situations they are involved in.

Here are the books in the order they were written and should be read:

Nature of the Beast (Outside the City #1)

The Beast’s Promise (Outside the City #2)

Redemption of the Beast (Outside the City #3)

Cover design by Reese Dante.  I love the design with the exception of the blond haired model, something about him seems off and ruins it for me.  Otherwise it is ok, love the tiger and the mountains as well as the model at the upper left corner.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and the Week Ahead in Reviews

Standard

sláinte! Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  To start your St. Patrick’s Day, here is some great music from Brogan’s Bar in Ennis, Ireland to get you fired up!

Half Irish, half Scottish, I love this day and today the weather has gone along with the program and seems particularly Irish. Overcast, damp, but not too cold, perfect for marching in parades all over the nation.

I have travelled to Ireland several times and found the leaving of it always comes with a crease in my heart, as though even my cells know that we are saying farewell to home.  My first time visiting with my high school daughter was both a delightful and revelatory, her feet seeming to find paths that she should not know where there.   My nights were filled of dreams of seals and shores and music carried along the winds over gorse covered hills, studded with stone.  And on the penultimate day, Heather and I were hiking in a verdant forest, far away from any others or so we thought.  And then we heard it, or heard them more accurately.  First the sounds of a waterfall, the roar getting louder the closer we got.  But what really made that day magical was the sounds of piping coming from high overhead.  We craned our necks to see where it came from and finally we found him, standing on a rock ledge, eyes closed, bagpipes swelling as he lost himself in the music he was playing.  We listened for a while and then quietly left, rejuevenated and enriched by a magical experience shared before she left for college.  One of my finest memories.

So day I hope for the best for all of you, of laughter shared, of love found and family held close. And as this website is, mostly, devoted to books I will leave you with a quote from an Irish author:

“As a writer, I write to see. If I knew how it would end, I wouldn’t write. It’s a process of discovery.”
– Author John McGahern

Here is the week ahead in book reviews:

Monday, March 18:                An Unconventional Union by Scotty Cade

Tuesday, March 19:                 Never A Hero by Marie Sexton

Wed., March 20:                     Redemption of the Beast by Amylea Lyn

Thursday, March 21:              Family Man by Heidi Cullinan

Friday, March 22:                   Nights in Canaan by Kendall McKenna

Sat., March 23:                        Natural Predators by Neil Placky

So, that’s the week.  Have a safe and wonderful St. Patrick’s Day.  Forego the green beer, that’s gross anyway and have a Irish Manhattan, so much better!

Hurricane Sandy Relief Organizations, Donations, Plus the Week Ahead in Reviews!

Standard

Brrrrrr, it’s gotten cold here in Maryland.  While most of Maryland got very lucky with respect to Hurricane Sandy, she brought the artic air from Canada down with her swirling air masses so we have 3 ft of snow in Western Maryland and our ski resorts are very  happy indeed to get a jump on the season. Our fall ended with the roar of winds and rain as the remaining autumn color fell with the torrential rains.  We might actually have a real winter once more. And looking at all the fallen leaves and branches, I am reminded that people not that far away desperately need our help.

My thoughts and hopes go out to all those in need in New York and New Jersey.  The devastation is unbelievable and Hurricane Sandy’s impact on human lives continues to widen along with the death tole.  There are several reputable organizations that are accepting donations to the Hurricane Sandy relief effort.  The Red Cross is one of them.  The American Humane Society is another.  I have a list below that will link you directly to the organizations accepting donations.

One close to my heart is the Ali Forney Center for housing homeless GLBTQ youth in NYC.  It was badly damaged. Here is the link.  Every dollar counts.  If you can spare $1 or $5, everything is needed, everything helps. However you can help, even if it is just re-tweeting the call for donations, all assistance is appreciated and direly needed.

Red Cross

Ali Forney Center  Housing for Homeless for GLBTW Youth

ASPCA

Humane Society of the United States

So, turning away from the subject above, here are the books I am reviewing for the upcoming week.  Don’t be surprised if I throw in some extras. Without further ado:

Monday   11/5/2012:                         How To Raise An Honest Rabbit by Amy Lane

Tuesday   11/6/2012:                         One True Thing by Piper Vaughn and MJ O’Shea

Wed.         11/7/2012:                         But For You by Mary Calmes

Thursday 11/8/2012:                         Ralston’s Way by Talia Carmichael

Friday      11/9/2012:                          Long Hard Ride by Talia Carmichael

Sat.           11/10/2012:                        Back To Hell by Amber Kell, Whispered Secrets and Hidden Eyes by Amylea Lyn

Review of Solid As Stone (The Brotherhood #1) by Amylea Lyn

Standard

Rating: 4 stars

Dr. Wesley Folcomb is on a plant finding expedition in the Amazon when he is given a message.  He must return home as his mother has died.  Although Wes knew it was coming, she had MS, he is still devastated.  His father was killed in a laboratory accident when he was 6 and his mother was all he had. At home, he is cleaning out his mother’s things when he comes across a box containing his father’s research papers and notebook and makes a shattering discovery.  His father , Dr. Steven Folcomb had been pursuing a cure for MS and inadvertently created a serum whose sideeffects enhances a human beings natural abilities.  Given doses of his serum, mice became stronger, healed faster, became in fact super mice.  A government agency started funding his scientific work,and he accepted hoping he had found a cure for his wife’s MS.  The last journal entries told  Wes that his father had found out that the government was using his research on human subjects to his utter horror.  Steven Folcomb  took pictures of the children used as test subjects and vowed to end the project the only way he knew how. Wes’ father destroyed all his notes and samples and then blew up his laboratory with himself in it. Now Wes finds himself in possession of the only copies of his father’s work. What is he going to do about it?

Wesley Folcomb is targeted for assassination but instead finds himself kidnapped and in the company of the men used for experimentation by the secret agency. The six men, banded together as brothers by their common experience, have been searching for a way to reverse what the drug did to them and Wes is their only hope.  Six men. Stone, Fury, Blade, Trigger, Ghost, and Locke.  All bearing the scars, physical and emotional, as Agency lab subjects.  Now they have escaped.  Their new mission is to take down the Agency and everything it stands for.  So when Stone starts falling for Wesley, he is shocked to find that Wes returns his feelings.  But the Agency is hot on their trail and when Wes is abducted, Stone and his brothers risk it all to get him back.

The first book in the new Brotherhood series by Amylea Lyn lays down the backstory for all the characters involved in the series.  We understand Wesley’s history, given a peak into his father’s thoughts through his journal, and get to know a young man intent on solving world hunger.  Naive, honorable and idealistic in the best way, he is also slight of stature and something of a nerd.  It seems very realistic that he would switch his mission from searching for solutions for hunger to righting the wrong his father’s research instigated.  He also offers a nice physical contrast with respect to the Brothers.  For the most part, they have a muscular framework, tall and represent a number of racial types.  One is Asian, one Hispanic, another Black, one Nordic and so on, as though the Agency wanted to see how each race would react to the drug.

Lyn gives us a great framework for the series to build on and each member of the Brotherhood is going to get their own storyline.  From all indications,  Fury is next.  Fury is almost as important to the first book as Stone and Wes.  He is the outside commentator to their relationship. Wes and Stone’s growing intimacy only serves to highlight his lack of one as well as his belief he is not deserving of happiness.  I hope that  the author will delve further into each man’s character and their relationship with each other.  The bits she offers up here are really intriguing, making me want to know more.

My only real quibble here is the instant love between Stone and Wesley.  If you are building a series, you have time to show a deepening of attraction and growth in their relationship.  That would have been far more interesting and realistic than believing a man used only as an assassin, who has grown up regarded  as a thing to be experimented on would instantly trust the son of the man who created the horror they have lived through.  That is much harder to buy given the characteristics Lyn has presented us with.  I hope their romantic relationships gain the authenticity that the Brotherhood demonstrates with each other.  I am certainly looking forward to Fury’s story and the next step to take down the Agency.

Cover:  cover art by Lee Tiffin. I think this is a terrific cover.  I love the choice of models as well as color and fonts.

It’s Football Season and I’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, the Week Ahead in Reviews and A Cocktail

Standard

It’s Labor Day weekend here in the States, a time to hunker down and celebrate the end of summer.  For some families this means a last dash to the beach or the start of school. It is also the start of football season.  It’s the start of tailgating parties, stadium crowds and team colors.  Mine used to be red and yellow, the colors of the  Washington Redskins, my family’s team.  It all started with my Dad.  He loves the Redskins.  We have been fans through thick and thin as they say.  I can even remember Dad taking me to a Redskin home game when they were coached by Vince Lombardi. That was 1969.  My dad and his friend Tom Cox had a group of season tickets and when one of “the gang” couldn’t go, Dad brought me.  What a thrill.  Redskin fans are beyond fanatical, they are legendary.  And every game, RFK shook from the ground to the rafters with their fervor.  I will never forget it as long as I live. Screaming until I was hoarse, the people towering around me as all stood to watch a play on the field and then the ride home, Dad’s either thrilled because we won or furious with a loss. Later on, the ride home included Dad listening to Sonny and Sam (that’s Sonny Jurgenson and Sam Huff) dissect the day’s game.  We had Redskin blankets, hats, and scarves.  We went through the George Allen and Jack Pardee years before we arrived at the Golden Age.  That would be owner Jack Kent Cooke, affectionately known as The Squire, Bobby Beathard the GM, and Joe Gibbs, the Winningest Coach of them all.  From 1981 to 1992, we basked in the glory that was the Redskins and quite frankly made up for all the years it took to get there.

But 10 years ago, the Squire died and Dan Snyder bought the team.  I hung in there as long as I could but the soul went out of them that day.  Dan Snyder single handedly has ruined the Redskins for me (and many others).  How can you back a team when the owner sues it’s fans? When die hard season ticket holders could no longer afford their season tickets because of the economy (some losing everything), the Redskins sued their fans to recover the costs of the passes, even a grandmother living on retirement! No other team did that. Made the headlines, they recanted, a bit.  Still did it though.  Then a small free newspaper takes Dan Snyder to task over his actions.  He sues the newspaper!  I guess free speech is not to be tolerated in Snyder territory.  On and on it goes, one man’s arrogance and bad karma wiping out half a century of fans adoration and goodwill.

And now I give up.  I won’t root for them any longer.  Some will say the very name “Redskins” is cursed.  Perhaps they are right. It’s long past the time to retire a name offensive to so many.  Maybe I will look around for another team to root for.  The Ravens don’t do it for me.  I like the Packers and the Saints.  So who knows?  In the meantime, I have the Capitals and Ted Leonsis to cheer for.  And The Washington Nationals have risen above their “Natinals” days to become an inspiration and a team worthy of cheering for and not just because they are winning, but winning in the right way!  Go, Nats!   Without football, perhaps I will have more time to knit, certainly to read.  And reflect on the past.

This coming week’s reviews are:

Monday:                      Solid As A Stone by Amylea Lyn

Tuesday:                      Gambling Men, The Novel by Amy Lane

Wednesday:                Jewel Bonds series by Megan Derr

Thursday:                    One Day At A Time by Dawn Douglas

Friday:                          Summer Sizzle by Berengaria Brown

Saturday:                      Vocabulary Gone Bad Looks at Sexy(Not) Dirty Talk or Spank Me Harder, Bunny Poo!

Our last summer cocktail to finish out the summer this Labor Day weekend for those of you in the States is the Sidecar!

The Sidecar. 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 lemon wedge
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) Cognac
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Cointreau or other Triple Sec orange liqueur
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) fresh lemon juice
1 cup ice

Directions:

Spread superfine sugar on small plate. Rub lemon wedge halfway around rim of chilled martini or coupe glass. Dip moistened side of glass in sugar to lightly coat outside rim of glass. Set aside.
In cocktail shaker, combine Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice. Add ice and shake vigorously until well chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into prepared martini or coupe glass and serve.

Review of The Beast’s Promise by Amylea Lyn

Standard

Rating: 4.25 stars

When Owen Sanders was forcibly taken from the City, he left behind 6 year old twin brothers in the care of his grandfather.  Living with the Katria, cat shifters, has given him a new perspective on the City and the life under the Dome. All he had heard from the authorities in the City about the Outside was lies and he has found love with Maltok, Co Alpha of the tribe he’s living with.  But his happiness is marred knowing he left his brothers behind and he can’t rest until he knows what has happened to them in his absence.

Maltok knows his mate is unhappy but is stunned to find out about the family Owen has left behind.  When Owen asks for Maltok’s help in returning to the City, Maltok agrees if Owen will fully bond to him upon their return.  Owen agrees and then feels guilty, first from putting his love in danger and then not telling Maltok how much he loves him before asking him for help.

Both set off for the City, and the misunderstandings between them grow with each step they take.  Heartbreaking surprises and danger await them within the Domed City.  Owen and Maltok must come together to save Owen’s family before they can have the future together they both desire.

The Beast’s Promise is the second in the Outside The City series from Amylea Lyn.  Nature of the Beast is the first in the series and the stories should be read in sequence in order to fully understand the back stories and societies mentioned.  The Beast’s Promise picks up before the epilogue in the first book, which is a little confusing in itself.  The author assumes that one has read the first novel, so there are scare descriptions of the dystopian society Owen came from and little of any physical descriptions of the Katria here.

Raine and Ash from Nature of the Beast appear here but are naturally relegated to secondary status. But those tantalizing glimpses of Raine’s gift appear here to my endless frustration.  It’s like dangling a piece of Godiva chocolates in front of a chocoholic.  Tsking away here.  But that said, Amylea Lyn’s characters, action and wonderful plot more than made up for it.  The author did a terrific job of pulling me into her world, enmeshing me into the plight of those who live within a Domed City, separated from nature and the world around them.  This is an old plot device that Amylea Lyn has made fresh again by populating it with beings I cared about,  political  and racial grievances within the tribe that mimic those within our own society, and a good old fashioned mystery that moved the pace quickly forward.

My enjoyment of the story was partially reduced by florid  or repetitive writing in terms of physical descriptions, especially of Maltok.  There is a mention of heaving chests, luxurious mane, and golden orbs, for a while there I thought Fabio was back.  And of course, there were Owen’s “shining blue gray eyes, soulful blue gray eyes”and more. But as the story progressed, the writing evened out so it didn’t really interfere with my enjoyment of the book. While I wish that the author would find new ways to describe a character’s physical appearance other than starting with the eyes, her strength is in creating characters that we care about, and then carefully constructing a world or worlds for them to inhabit.  Just a lovely job.

By the end of the book I was ready for another, hopefully featuring the twins, Lucah and Micah, two very endearing characters.  Once again, Amylea Lyn left me wanting more of each character she introduced while leaving me with the impression that the next book might be even better.

Cover: Cover Artist is Reese Dante. IAnother great cover in this series.  The young blond model in front is certainly in keeping with the descriptions of Owen.  With the lion graphic in the background, it pulls everything together. Love it.

Available from Silver Publishing, Amazon and ARe

Review of Nature of the Beast Outside The City #1 by Amylea Lyn

Standard

Rating: 4.25 stars

Raine O’ Kelley was different. Inside the Domed City conformity was the rule, starting with your physical attributes.  White blond hair and blue gray eyes, that was the norm, but not Raine.  His hair was the color of gold and his eyes were a deep green.  The fact that he varied from the norm was enough to guarantee that no women would ever choose him as a husband.  He wouldn’t even be employed if his influential father had not interceded with the government to get him a job.  He was too different even for his father, and his father knew his deepest secret, the manner in which Raine was truly, criminally different.

In a society where nature was outlawed and any possession of vegetation considered a felony, Raine could communicate with plants.  He could make them grow, and they sang to him.  In fact, plants were as necessary to Raine as was oxygen and blood.  His mother was gifted or cursed in the same way and because his father loved her, he allowed her a plant or two even though the government forbade it. When she died, his father removed all the plants only to watch his son sicken and fade. His father brought one back but only because Raine was the last link he had to the woman he loved.

Now Raine works for the government and hides his gift behind locked doors in his apartment, where his bedroom has a living carpet of grass and forbidden plants take up  all available space.  Then he is found out and sent to prison for life.  Abused daily by the guards and with no contact with plants, Raine starts to die.  The guards throw him to The Beast, a fearsome monster kept to dispose of prisoners and a miracle happens.  The Beast protects him, takes care of him.  The Beast turns out to be more a tortured man than animal and the two are drawn together.  When Raine discovers The Beast comes from Outside the City, and that the guards intend to kill them, escape becomes paramount.  Will their relationship hold firm in the face of obstacles both inside and outside of the City?  Or will animalistic nature of The Beast destroy their bond first.

This story both frustrated and delighted me.  Amylea Lyn’s Domed City is a dystopian society that we have seen before.  A city ruled by an oppressive government is walled off from all nature.  It’s inhabitants live a grey life in a grey city under a dome that let’s in very little light.  While the idea is not original, the author does a wonderful job with her descriptions of the uniformity of city life and its denizens.  But where she shines is in her creation of Raine O’Kelley.  Raine’s life force is entertwined with plants, energy and love flowing between them.  So vivid are the description of Raine’s interaction with nature that the story dimmed as the plot took a different direction.

The Beast is Ashlon, lost son of the chief of the Katria.  One of his own people betrayed him, and he was taken into captivity by city guards. Ashlon has been tortured and beaten for years in the prison under the City. His memory of his life outside has dimmed and his Beast has taken control in order to survive.  The prologue tells the story of Ashlon’s capture from his POV and gives us a strong introduction to the Beast.  Ashlon’s confusion and rage comes through so beautifully that it was a little jolting to have him disappear after the Prologue. Chapters pass by before we see him again.

Raine has obtained his seeds and plants through the black market and I loved the glimpses we are given of the nature underground that manages to survive the Government interdict.  When Raine’s secret garden is discovered and he is arrested at work,  he manages to send a message to an anonymous source who wisks away his plants before the guards can destroy them.  What a tantalizing glimpse into a forbidden section of  society.  I wanted more, much more of this plot line.  Instead, we get Raine convicted of his crime and sent to prison, where he is gang raped each night, and forced into a work detail by day.  Not surprisingly, Raine starts to die.  A trip to the infirmary becomes a death sentence and a trip to The Beast’s cell.

Raine’s introduction to the Beast is a little muddled as his thoughts seem surprisingly clear for someone as sick and abused as he is. Previous descriptions show Raine broken and fading from the nightly sexual abuse by the prison guards but that seems to disappear inside The Beast’s cell. As both men become aroused by close contact with each other, I kept waiting for an appropriate response from Raine that would be in keeping with that of a rape victim.  It never happened.  There is a few fleeting mentions, once when Raine and The Beast are attacked by the Head Guard, and one in the village, but then it goes away completely.  And with that lack of reaction, the character of Raine became less real in my mind which was a shame as he is such a unique creation.

The plot redeems itself as the two main characters flee the prison and the City.  Again, the author rewards us with lush descriptions of the Outside and Katrian life inside their village.  But each time Raine’ gift comes forward in neat, creative little ways, I mourn the loss of a totally different plot and wish the story had taken a different turn.  Especially during a major fight towards the end, where the symbiotic nature between Raine and the plants comes to the fore.  I loved this!  And it was such a strong part of the plot that the shifter side of the story seemed a little mundane.

So while I did enjoy this book, the shadow of a greater one lurking behind it kept me from giving it a higher rating.  I look forward to more books by Amylea Lyn and the fulfillment of the promise of an extraordinary story shown here.

Cover: Artist: Reese Dante.  The cover is terrific.  From the terrific graphics to the font style, the cover design both delights and informs you of the story within. Great job.

Available from Silver Publishing, Amazon and ARe.

Mustard Pork Roast and the Week Ahead

Standard

Warm and misty and frustrated here in Maryland this morning.  All week I had  been hearing about the moon.   That it was going to be spectacular!  The closest to Earth it has been for a while and that it would appear freakin’ HUGE in the night sky.  I made my preparations.  Camera ready? Check.  Chair at hand? Check!   Finally dark?  Check!   Moon?  Uh, hello? Moon? That would be no!   As in not even a hint of light in the night sky! Nada, zip, nothing!  Clouds?  Yep, plenty of them.  But no moon.  It didn’t help to turn on the evening news and have the chirpy meteorologist post pictures of a fantastic Moon while dishing out his sympathy to those poor smucks (me) who didn’t get to see it due to  CLOUDS not forecast the evening before!  It will be 29 years before the Moon will be that close again and I will be ancient.  But you can rest assured I will be out in front looking for that damn Moon!

I am not the only one here in a frustrated state.  Out back in our small fish pond sings a lonely Leopard Frog.  He made it through the winter and the perilous visits of our Great Blue Heron only to croak out his status as the lone stud of the tiny pond.  Lately he had been croaking less. I guess he didn’t see much cause to continue.   Than I got out the small blue fountain from the shed, assembled it, and filled it with water, confident that our last  frost is gone for the year.  I didn’t notice it had attracted a visitor until later that afternoon.  Sure enough our lonely frog had taken a journey over to the new addition in the garden and found true love.  Here is the photograph to prove it:

Who knows if this love affair will continue?  It  might be very final if he doesn’t get his ass off that elevated fountain and back to the safety of the pond where he might be lonely but will also stay alive! I will let you know what happens.

 

So tonight is a wonderful pork recipe.  The house smells delicious when it is cooking and this dish is always so easy and great tasting.  It calls for pork tenderloins but works just as well with a pork roast.  The sauce isn’t heavy so it works well in spring and summer too.  Thanks to Laura Calder again!

Mustard Pork:

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pork tenderloins (about 8 ounces) or pork roast about 1 or 2 lbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
About 3/4 cup Dijon mustard (plain or grainy) I use a combination of both
1 shallot, minced
1 cup dry white wine (use a good wine, I like a Sauvignon Blanc)
1 cup  creme fraiche or sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

Rub the oil in a roasting pan. Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper and rub the pork all over with the mustard. Set it in the pan and pour in 1/2 cup water. Roast until the pork is tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes. (If the water evaporates in the pan, add a little more.)

Remove the pork to a serving dish and keep warm. Fry the shallot in the roasting pan on the stovetop. Deglaze with wine and boil to reduce by half. Stir in the sour cream or creme fraiche and rosemary, and reduce to sauce consistency. Check the seasonings. Slice the pork, pour the sauce on top and serve.  This dish has become a go to recipe here.  You just can’t go wrong with Mustard Pork.

Finally, let’s get to the week ahead shall we?

Monday:                                     Review of Battle of Hearts by Valentina Heart

Tuesday:                                     Review of Fairy Gift by J. K. Pendragon

Wednesday:                               Review of Marathon Cowboys by Sarah Black, our Spotlight author

Thursday:                                   Review of Nature of the Beasty by Amylea Lyn

Friday:                                         Review of The Beast’s Promise by Amylea Lyn

Saturday:                                     Bloggers Surprise as I have decided which book to go with yet.

 

So have a great week.  Check out the latest Vocabulary Gone Bad if you haven’t already! FF and I will see you soon. That’s frustrated frog to all of you.