Saturday, June 19, 2021

Saturday is Horror Day #16 - The Hills have Eyes part 2 (1984)

 The Hills Have Eyes 2 (1984)


While headed to a race, a group of bikers make the unfortunate decision to go off the beaten path in order to save time and get to the race before it starts. However, they soon find themselves being stalked by some of the locals, who just happen to be a family of survivalist inbred cannibals

Can this end well for anyone?







You know the saying, stupid is as stupid does. That pretty well sums up this film. Stupid people doing stupid things. Another saying goes You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes. That applies here as well. The decision to take a short cut despite posted signs that warn travelers not to leave the paved road was a terrible one. Especially since they are familiar with the story of the family who came to an untimely end there and they actually know of the survivors. Not to mention that one of the people with them is actually a member of that family! She should have known better, right?



On top of an unbelievable plot, add poor acting and a terrible script. While Papa Jupiter died in the first film, apparently his brother, The Reaper, has come to take his place. He doesn't speak, just grunts a lot, unlike his nephew, Pluto, whom I don't remember speaking very much in the first film. The plot is contrived at best, and unbelievable. Hard to believe Wes Craven is responsible for this garbage.

I don't recommend watching it, seriously. I gave the first film 3 stars. I'll give this one a shaky 2 stars, maybe even 1.5. These people deserved to die for being so stupid. But not the dog. I hope the remake of this franchise is better. I'm going to give it a go.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Book Review: Taboo by Jo Tannah

 

Taboo               


Authors: Jo Tannah

Publisher: eXtasy Books

American release date: September 16, 2016

Format/Genre/Length: Kindle/Multicultural Romance/384 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

 

Zach Parker’s best friend, Margaret Maxfield, is getting married, and he’s to be the man of honor. But that’s not what has him stirred up, excited, and scared – all at the same time. No, it’s the thought of seeing Margaret’s dad again. Zach has been in love with Tristan Maxfield forever. As a kid, he set his desires in the category of never gonna happen. But so much has happened, including Tristan and Amanda’s divorce, as well as Tristan coming out of the closet. That is a definite game changer. Not to mention, it’s been five years since he’s set eyes on the man.

Zach wants to be with Tristan so badly he can’t stand it. But what about the repercussions? What will Margaret and her brothers say if they do hook up? Zach practically grew up with them. Not to mention that Tristan and Zach’s dad are best friends and partners in the very successful law firm where Zach plans to work some day. Will Zach’s parents accept his feelings for Tristan, considering the big difference in their ages, and who Tristan is to them?

Tristan has always liked Zach, but seeing him after five years… something just clicks inside of him, a feeling he can’t describe. Yes, he wants Zach, but it’s more than that. And just when he has decided to label himself as a perv, he realizes the feeling is mutual. Should he act upon it?

This book is about a romance that many in society frown on because of the age difference between the two people involved. But age is just a number. And being close in age is no guarantee of anything. I loved these two guys from the beginning and was rooting for them to get together on a permanent basis. They are so hot and sweet and romantic. The sex scenes are also very hot, and the author has a very smooth, enjoyable voice. The ex-wife is a true witch and a major…. Well, let’s just say she sleeps around a lot and leave it at that. And word to the wise – don’t mess with Zach’s mom or the people she loves. She will mess you up!  lol

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Book Review: Monster Perfect Edition, Vol 2 by Naoki Urasawa

 

Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 2    


Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 21, 2014

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Horror/402 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

A burglar named Heckel breaks into the home of the late councilman, intending to loot it, when he runs into Tenma. At the sound of sirens, however, they both make a hasty exit, Tenma following the burglar, to his dismay. When he learns that Tenma is a doctor, Heckel has a brilliant idea of how they can make easy money. Tenma isn’t interested until he finds out Heckel saw the councilman’s murderer, and makes him tell where he is. It turns out that the guy isn’t Johan, but Johan has left a message for Tenma. How did he know Tenma would be there?

With Heckel’s help, Tenma is kidnapped and led to a wounded man and ordered to help him. But the conditions are so primitive, Tenma doesn’t believe he can do it safely. Tenma has a decision to make. Afterward, he goes to East Germany and visits the home of the late Lieberts in the company of a real estate agent as he attempts to glean information about the current owner. The realtor has none to give but points him to a neighbor who does remember the Lieberts and the twins they adopted. This was news to Tenma. The orphanage was located at 511 Kinderheim, but it’s abandoned and very spooky now. A nearby woman guides Tenma to a man who once worked in the welfare ministry, who is fostering a little boy. Tenma bonds with the boy and promises to bring him a soccer ball. Things get ugly fast and Tenma turns to the system for help.

Tenma takes the child, Dieter, with him and gives him directions on how to find the good orphanage. But Dieter refuses to go and insists on following Tenma, so he has little choice but to look after him. He runs across a drunken man who has injured himself and takes him to the doctor’s house but the doctor is away so Tenma treats him himself and leaves. When the doctor returns, he is furious and tracks Tenma down. When the police arrive, he covers up for Tenma and tells the officer to have his mother come in soon, because she’s ill. Concerned about her, he takes Tenma to the woman’s house and Tenma talks her into letting them in. But she soon collapses and Tenma has no choice but to operate, or she’ll die. Will her son, the policeman, see it that way, or will he just see a man who is wanted for murder?

Detective Lunge is obsessed with finding a connection between a murdered prostitute and the late councilman. He is so obsessed that he neglects his wife and daughter. Tenma’s ex calls on him, demanding to know when he will arrest Tenma. And when he informs her that it wasn’t Tenma, it was Johan, she tells Lunge that Johan is just one of Tenma’s personalities!

Tenma runs into an ex-cop, one of the men who killed Herr Maurer and the journalist, who finally admits the truth about the murders, and about the Baby. Apparently Nina Fortner/Anna Liebert has been looking for Johan, and the Baby intends to use her as bait, for his own reasons. Meanwhile Heckel and Dieter uncover a plot that could potentially kill a lot of people.

There is nothing boring about this volume of Monster. Edge-of-your-seat action all the way through. Nina wants to finish the job she started years ago, and Tenma wants to right the wrong he committed by saving the monster’s life as a child.  Maybe he sees Dieter as a form of redemption, which is why he can’t just leave him. Also, I think he realizes that Dieter is wise beyond his years and has seen much that he should never have seen.

This book has some memorable characters, a great plot, and the artwork is awesome! Some of the people remind me of those in Twentieth Century Boys, but is that surprising? Same artist. I look forward to reading the next volume.

 

 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Wednesday Briefs: An Unholy Alliance #3 (1.3)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day ! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts. 

Charlemagne finds himself in a bit of a situation. Not only has he drained another person of too much blood and killed them, but a stranger says he knows what Charlemagne is! What to do, what to do, what to do! See what's going on in this week's chapter of An Unholy Alliance. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

An Unholy Alliance #3 (1.3)

“How old do I look?” I countered, although that wasn’t really what I wanted to say, but those were the first words to fall from my tongue. I’m not really what you might consider a smooth talker, although I can be when circumstances warrant. Such as when I’m charming a blood donor out of their precious red fluid. Although some might argue that the spice is life, with vampires it’s all about the blood. And perhaps calling them donors is stretching the definition just a little bit.

I held out my hand in order to keep this stranger at arm’s length, although that was probably not necessary, considering the corpse that lay between us was effectively performing the same function.

He stopped in his tracks. Well, his lower half did. But he proceeded to lean across the dead body as if having this conversation in the middle of the night, in the midst of death, was the most natural thing in the world. Which it certainly wasn’t. Shouldn’t have been, anyway. For either of us. If he just wanted to move closer to me in order to keep from being overheard, he was wasting his time. I have excellent hearing. Comes with the territory.

And if he had any other motive, such as becoming intimate with me on any level, he was really wasting his time.

And why I hadn’t just removed myself from this situation by now was a complete mystery to me, one I couldn’t even begin to explain.

“I know you’re a vampire,” he said in a confidential tone, completely ignoring the question I’d only half-heartedly expected an answer to, not that I really cared what he thought. But his words confirmed that he did indeed think he knew what I was, and the fact that he looked neither terrified nor intimidated was also confusing. How many people do you know who would confront an alleged supernatural being with the knowledge of their existence and not have the common sense to be scared of the consequences? I find that akin to confessing to someone that you know they are a murderer without bothering to consider that admission could get you killed. Because murderer, yeah.

Not that I was about to admit to what I was just because he guessed correctly, either. This wasn’t a quiz show, and I wasn’t about to give out prizes for right answers anytime soon.

I gave him my best disdainful look, one I’d been practicing for many years (having learned from one of the best).  Strangely, he made no move to draw back from me, his eyes locked on mine in some strange sort of staring contest. His youthful grin appeared even wider now, due to proximity, but his eyes, in contrast, seemed filled with ancient wisdom.  

 “And I know you’re nuts,” I countered. “Where are your keepers and how long ago did you break out of the asylum?”

Whatever retort he’d been about to make (and I’m fairly confident his reply would not have been very convincing) he seemed suddenly distracted and began to reach toward my chest.

“Ooh, that’s pretty, can I see?”

Without thinking, I hissed at him, even as I pulled back, baring my fangs in the process as I defensively clutched the object in question. “Don’t. Touch. That!”

“Sorry,” he instantly apologized.

Just then the moon, which had been playing peekaboo with the heavy clouds, chose that moment to make an appearance, illuminating his rather puppy dog-like eyes. His hand frozen in position, as if he was afraid to move. “I won’t touch it, I promise. It’s just beautiful, that’s all. I’ve never seen a cross quite like that. I mean, it’s almost circular. And I don’t mean to be rude but that’s the last thing I’d ever expect to see a vampire wearing. Kind of ironic, don’t you think? Doesn’t it hurt you or something? Where did you get it?”

Such a plethora of questions. Personal questions. Ones I was not particularly inclined to answer. Yes, this cross was mine and it was beautiful, and woe betide anyone who tried to take it from me.

Before I could articulate those sentiments, however, I became aware that someone in the house had awakened. A light snapped on somewhere inside. It was only a matter of time until they came looking for the young man at my feet and we would be discovered. We had to get out of here. Now. And by we I meant myself and my late dinner companion. Tyrone was free to do as he pleased.

 “I don’t know about you, but I think we should take the car and get the heck out of Dodge.” He seemed to have read my mind, recalling his hand with a last longing glance at my cross, which I still cradled protectively.

Correcting him with the information that we were nowhere near any place called Dodge seemed inane at best. And it was quickly becoming a moot point, anyway, as I could hear voices coming from inside the house. Time was running out. I could ditch Tyrone later, but for now necessity insisted we make our escape together while the getting was still good.

Wait a moment. Scratch that. Why couldn’t I just throw the body in the back seat and just take the vehicle for myself? I knew how to drive, had been driving for years, despite not having an actual license of my own. Why bother, when fake ones were so easy to manufacture?

Moving with great vampiric speed, I tossed the corpse into the back seat and vaulted behind the wheel, reaching for the keys, which should have been dangling from the ignition.

They weren’t.

“Move over now. I’ll drive.” Tyrone stood just outside the window. The car keys glittered in his hand. I just didn’t have time to argue. At least that’s what I told myself as I scooted over and he took my place.

When exactly had I lost control of the situation?

 to be continued

Now go visit the other Briefers and see what's up!

Cia Nordwell

Denise Wyant

 

 

 

 

 


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Book Review: Monster: Perfect Edition, Vol 1 by Naoki Urasawa

 

Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 1     


Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 15, 2014

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Horror/426 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

Tenma is a doctor whose life seems perfect. The Japanese doctor came to Germany to learn from a brilliant German hospital director, and he has become engaged to the man’s daughter, Eva. But this life is a façade, as he begins to learn. His fiancé is selfish and narcissistic, and her father only cares about the hospital making money rather than saving lives. In fact, the director has no compunction about taking credit for Dr. Tenma’s work, and his daughter tells Tenma that it is her father’s right to do so.

Dr. Tenma performs a grueling operation on a famous opera singer, although a Turkish laborer arrived before him and also needed Dr. Tenma’s attention. But the doctor was told to operate on the singer and the doctor who performed the operation on the laborer failed to save him. The grieving widow spots Tenma and wails that if he had operated, she would still have her husband and her child would have a father. Tenma’s fiancé’s Eva’s response to Tenma’s self-doubts is “Some lives are worth more than others.”

It’s1986, and Germany is still divided. An East German trade adviser defects to the west, and he, his wife, and two children settle in Dusseldorf. One night the police are called to their house to find a horrific scene. Both parents are dead, the son has been shot, and the daughter in shock. The boy is rushed to the hospital and Dr. Tenma is called in. As he is about to go into surgery, he receives word that the mayor is ill and needs Tenma to perform his surgery. He’s ordered to do so by the director. But, remembering how he abandoned the Turkish laborer who then died, Tenma decides to save the boy and tells them another doctor can save the mayor as it’s a simple procedure. He saves the boy but the mayor dies.

Tenma, who was once on a fast track to success, is now ostracized by all and told he will never amount to anything. The police are impatient to question the young girl who was the only witness to the tragedy, as her brother is still in a coma. They persuade the hospital to allow the girl to be brought to the brother’s room in the hope she can help bring him around, against Dr. Tenma’s medical advice, but this doesn’t seem to matter anymore. And that does not end well when the director and two of his flunkies are found murdered, and the children disappear from the hospital. Dr. Tenma has no choice but to step up and take charge in the midst of chaos.

Fast forward nine years. Someone is targeting and killing middle-aged childless couples, but why? Inspector Lunge of the BKA is assigned to the case. He ends up following a clue to Dusseldorf, where Tenma is now head of surgery and his former fiancé has become a whining, demanding drunk with three failed marriages behind her. One of Tenma’s colleagues urges him to get back in the game and at least date, but Tenma isn’t really interested in anything but saving people. He saves the man who Lunge is interested in, and the man tells Tenma about a monster who makes him do things. When the man goes missing from the hospital, Tenma has an idea where he is and finds him, along with the so-called monster, who he is horrified to learn is someone whose life he saved nine years before.

Tenma realizes that he is responsible in some measure for what the monster has done. Plus he needs to save the sister from her brother, and begins to search for her. In the meantime, a young woman named Nina, unaware that she is adopted, and knowing nothing of her past, has been receiving strange messages from someone, as well as flowers. His latest email says he wants to meet her on her 20th birthday at a particular location. Meanwhile, Lunge has become convinced that Tenma is the murderer and will stop at nothing to prove it.

I’ve been meaning to read this series for some time. It’s by the same author who brought us Twentieth Century Boys, which I am still reading, and love. Monster is amazing. It has an extremely interesting story line you don’t often see in manga involving a serial killer. The hero, Dr. Tenma, is not only personable and cute, but he has standards and principles, which all doctors should have. Believing  he is responsible for unleashing the monster on the world by saving his life, he wants to do something to correct that mistake. At this point, I’m not sure if he plans to talk him out of killing or if he is capable of taking the next step and ending the monster’s life. We shall see.

I didn’t like Eva, his fiancé, from the beginning, and my dislike of her is only growing, as well as for the persistent, obstinate, and single-minded Lunge, who wants to solve his case one way or another.  You have to feel for the sister who has everything dumped on her when she has been so happily clueless and she is forced to relive the horrible memory of what actually happened the night her parents were murdered.

This is a great first volume, looking forward to more of the same.

 

 

 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Virtual Book Tour: Constellations by Patricia Leavy

 Good morning everyone! Please welcome author Patricia Leavy to Full Moon Dreaming! She is here to tell us about her new release, Constellations. Patricia will be awarding a signed set of 3 novels: Shooting Stars, Twinkle, and Constellations, to two (US only) randomly drawn commenters via Rafflecopter during the tour. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!



 

Constellations

by Patricia Leavy


 

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GENRE:   Women's Fiction/Romance

 

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BLURB:

 

Constellations follows Tess Lee and Jack Miller after three years of marriage as they navigate the meaning of love and family over a series of holidays. Tess is a wildly successful and world-famous novelist. Her inspirational books explore our innermost struggles and the human need to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Jack is a former federal agent. After spending decades immersed in a violent world, a residue remains. Both healing from past trauma, together they have finally built the life they wish to live. What will happen to their blissful union when Jack’s childhood family resurfaces? When Tess and Jack visit the Millers for Christmas, how will insecurity, a sense of missed opportunities, and the need for redemption test their relationship? When a terrible accident threatens everything in an instant, will they learn the true meaning of unconditional love? Their loved ones are along for the ride: Omar, Tess’s sarcastic best friend who calls her Butterfly; the female president of the United States, with whom Tess talks politics and bakes cookies; Joe, Jack’s friend from the Bureau who understands the sacrifices he’s made; Bobby and Gina, their younger friends who never fail to lighten the mood; and the Miller family. Constellations is a novel about family – those into which we’re born and those we create – the human desire to belong and feel connected, the true nature of intimacy, and the power of love to heal and redeem. Written as unfolding action, Constellations is a poignant novel that moves fluidly between melancholy, humor, and joy.

 

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EXCERPT:

 


The next morning, Bobby, Gina, Joe, and Luciana thanked their hosts profusely for an unforgettable experience and then flew back to DC on Tess’s jet. Omar and Clay spent the next two weeks enjoying their luxurious honeymoon at the Four Seasons, meeting up with Tess and Jack several times. They spent the last day of their vacation at Tess and Jack’s house.

 

The foursome lounged on the beach under umbrellas, and Omar said, “Butterfly, do you want to take a walk?”

 

“Sure,” she said, rising. She slipped on her oversized straw hat and took Omar’s hand. They walked along the ocean’s edge, letting the warm water splash across their feet.

 

“You look so relaxed,” Tess said.

 

“Well, I’ve had two weeks of nonstop sex, days spent lying on the beach, and a steady flow of rum cocktails; who would have guessed that it’s a relaxing way to live?” Omar said with a smile. “Oh, and the ninety-minute massage I had yesterday wasn’t too shabby either. Don’t tell Clay, but wow, my masseur was quite the bit of man candy. If I weren’t married, I tell ya.”

 

Tess giggled. “Was the wedding and honeymoon everything you imagined?”

 

“More,” he replied. “I can never thank you and Jack enough for making everything so wonderful.”

 

“There’s no need. We’re so thrilled for you and Clay. When I see the two of you together, I could burst with joy.”

 

“That’s because you know how alone I felt for so many years. Only people like us could really understand,” he said. “Of course we’ve always had each other, which has been a lifeline in every way, but having someone to grow old with, someone to wake up with every day, it’s immeasurably special. I’ve had a lot of happiness in my life, sometimes more than you, ironically because I’ve so enjoyed your spectacular life. But happiness and contentment aren’t the same. Dare I say, I truly feel at peace now.”

 

Tess squeezed his hand.

 

“I knew you would understand,” he said.

 

“I was telling Jack the same thing recently. When you’ve had to take care of yourself for ages, you don’t take it for granted when you find someone you can count on to always be there. I think that’s why the connection is so strong between me and Jack. People don’t understand why we’re always so affectionate, but from the first night we met, we both knew the other had gone without a certain kind of love, that we had each survived unspeakable pain and loss. From the very beginning, we made an unspoken decision to just love each other with everything we have.”

 

“You make it look easy.”

 

“It is easy,” she replied.

 

“Watching the two of you these past few years is what really pushed me to make my commitment to Clay official. I’ve seen the change in your eyes, and I guess I wanted to experience it too.”

 

“I’m so glad you have it,” she said, smiling.

 

“You know, I was thinking about how you said our senior year Christmas together was your favorite holiday until you met Jack. Perhaps it was more sacred than I realized, that toxic, all-American meal of ours notwithstanding.”

 

She smiled.

 

“Promise me something, Butterfly.”

 

“Anything.”

 

“Promise me we will always have this,” he said, holding her hand in his and giving it a squeeze. “We will always have us, together with others and quiet moments alone.”

 

She stopped, hugged him tightly, and whispered, “Of course. Now you promise me the same.”

 

“I promise,” he whispered, squeezing her tighter.

 

When they parted, she said, “Are you ready to get back to our gorgeous men?”

 

“Well, I do love watching how they glisten in the sun. When they come out of the ocean all wet, holy hell.”

 

They both laughed.

 

“But I think I could use a little more time alone with you, Butterfly.”

 

She smiled. “Me too.”

 

 


 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Patricia Leavy, Ph.D., is a bestselling author. She was formerly Associate Professor of Sociology, Chair of Sociology and Criminology, and Founding Director of Gender Studies at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. She has published over thirty books, earning commercial and critical success in both fiction and nonfiction, and her work has been translated into many languages. She is also series creator and editor for ten book series with Oxford University Press, Guilford Press, and Brill/Sense, including the ground-breaking Social Fictions series. Patricia has received dozens of accolades for her books. Recently, her novel Film won the 2020 American Fiction Award for Inspirational Fiction, her 3-novel set Candy Floss Collection won the 2020 American Fiction Award for Anthologies, and her novel Spark won the 2019 American Fiction Award for Inspirational Fiction and the 2019 Living Now Book Award for Adventure Fiction. She has also received career awards from the New England Sociological Association, the American Creativity Association, the American Educational Research Association, the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, and the National Art Education Association. In 2016 Mogul, a global women’s empowerment network, named her an “Influencer.” In 2018, she was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame and SUNY-New Paltz established the “Patricia Leavy Award for Art and Social Justice.” She has residences in Maine and Massachusetts where she lives with her husband, daughter (when she’s not away at college), and her dog. Patricia loves writing, reading, watching films, and traveling.

 

Website: www.patricialeavy.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WomenWhoWrite/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/patricialeavy



 

Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Constellations-Patricia-Leavy-ebook/dp/B0932N2DWZ/

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1) You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have?

 

If I pick my husband, daughter, or best friend, the others will be offended. I thought about picking my dog, Daisy, because she’s a sweetheart, but she’s not the best conversationalist. So I’m going to go with Kiefer Sutherland. He seems like a fun guy and I bet he has great stories. But since I don’t actually know him, I’d bring along my iPod in case I made a mistake and need to tune him out.


2) What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other?

 

Not on the internet, so I’m going to keep this private.


3) When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot?

 

I always start with a character—someone I can see and hear in my mind as if they were an old friend. I become invested in telling their story. Plots are secondary. My novels are all character-driven.

 

4) If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?

 

Sarah Jessica Parker. It would be a pretty boring movie though, since I spend most of my time wearing sweats and sitting alone writing.


5) Who’s your favorite horror villain and why?

 

Charles Logan from the TV show 24. He’s terrifying because he’s probably not so far off from some politicians.


6) Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?

 

Yes, but I’m writing it anyway. It’s a novel I’ve been working on for many years about three women at a crossroads in their lives, but really, it’s a dark story about betrayal in small town America. It’s different from my other novels. People may not be ready for it, but look out, it’s coming anyway.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Book Review: How to Find a Princess: Runaway Royals #2 by Alyssa Cole

 

How to Find a Princess: Runaway Royals #2        


Authors: Alyssa Cole

Publisher: Avon

American release date: May 25, 2021

Format/Genre/Length: Kindle/Multicultural Romance/399 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

Makeda Hicks thinks her life is going well… until her girlfriend dumps her, and the store she works for fails to promote her in favor of the woman Makeda trained and then fires her. She calls her Grandmore to cry on her grandmother’s shoulder, and Grandmore suggests she move back in with her for the summer and help her run the Golden Crown, her B&B. What her grandmother doesn’t know is that Makeda helped the girlfriend before this last one with a business loan which she has ended up being stuck with and she can really use the money, so why not? The downside is having to listen to Grandmore’s stories about a long ago liaison with a supposed prince (ie not Makeda’s grandfather) which resulted in Makeda’s mother and which makes both her and her mother of royal lineage. Makeda is beyond tired of hearing that fantasy, especially since her mother abandoned her because of it.

Beznaria Chetchevaliere works for the WFM – the World Federation of Monarchists – as a  junior investigator. During her performance review, her pathetic excuse for a superior has many criticisms for the way she does her job, although she is actually really good at what she does. She has a feeling this review won’t end very well when he asks her about her Ibaranian heritage, and her interest in the story of the lost queen. He knows that Beznaria’s interest lies in the fact that her grandmother, who was the Grand Dame of the Ibaranian Guard at the time of the queen’s disappearance, was blamed for that disappearance and had even accused of having killed the queen, although that was never proved. Beznaria is determined to clear her grandmother’s name, as she knows Henna Jeta would never have done anything so dishonorable. Now the members of the Ibaranian heir team are swamped with claims of pretenders to the throne. Surprisingly, her pompous boss asks Beznaria to investigate and gives her some leads to follow in the United States. Of course she agrees to do so, but it doesn’t take long for her to realize these leads are all bogus. Why is he determined to keep her from discovering the truth? She decides to do her own investigations, and these lead her to Makeda Hicks.

Makeda’s first impression of Bez is far from favorable, especially as the investigator broke into the house and snuck up on her while vacuuming. It becomes even less so when she learns who she is and what she wants. Makeda wants nothing to do with this whole ridiculous theory of her being a princess, since that is what drove her mother away to begin with. Her delusions of royal blood and being more than she was and less than what she should have been, which was a mother to Makeda. But Bez is most persistent, and she takes a room at the B&B, so it’s not like Makeda can avoid her. And, if she’s being honest with herself, she doesn’t exactly want to. There is something about Bez which draws her, even if she is fighting that feeling. How long can she resist the investigator’s wish to take her back to Ibarania as their princess? And how long can she resist the $15k being offered just to show up and submit a claim, whether true or not?

The second book in the Runaway Royals series is just as good as the first. There’s a lot going on in this book, more than just about finding a princess. Makeda is generous to the point of allowing herself to be used by people. She never stands up for herself to say what she wants, as if she’s worthless unless she’s doing something for someone else. Beznaria marches to the beat of her own drummer. She is very driven, especially when it comes to those she loves. If she believes in the path she follows, then she’s not above circumventing the rules to obtain the outcome she perceives to be the right one. She doesn’t lie, but she sometimes omits some of the details. These two fit together perfectly, and watching them come to that realization was priceless.

Alyssa Cole’s characters are wonderfully drawn, whether the main protagonists or their family and friends. I loved the crew of the cargo ship they traveled on. They seemed like people I would love to know. Her stories about royalty are beautifully detailed and she has created quite the world, beginning with the Reluctant Royals series and continuing with the Runaway Royals. I hope there are many more of these stories to come. I am so on board for this! Many thanks to my kid Sarah for turning me on to them.

Highly addictive stories that you will love!