Superheroes to the Rescue … Their Kids Too

Deb’s Dozen: Superheroes retired, but children inherit power. Leia moves and sets things afire.

Mindfire presents a fascinating story. Retired superheroes? Good vs. evil and still fighting? Their children inherit superpowers? Steadham presents a well thought out premise. Leia discovers she can move things with her mind. Unfortunately, she can also cause things to burst into flame—a problem because her temper runs wild on occasion. And she starts hearing a voice in her mind. And the voice converses with her.

As the story progresses, we meet the superheroes, some of whom, like Black Fox, still patrol. And we discover Leia’s heritage, which leads to discoveries about her parents and other relatives. Her mother, one of the bad superpowers, watched over and guarded her daughter as Leia grew up. Once the powers are discovered, chaos ensues. Trust, distrust, hurt feelings, accidents, prejudice erupt. All the evils of today come into play. I enjoyed learning about the characters and came to care for Leia and her friends.

A speculative book with Christian overtones, Mindfire weaves in the concepts of prayer and forgiveness and redemption through the characters’ dialogue. Although violent at times, the book shows the necessity, and the characters agonize over their actions or actions forced upon them.

If you like spec fiction, I can recommend Mindfire as a very different but very enjoyable read. Four stars.

MindfireAllen Steadham previously created comic books and webcomics before he started writing novels. Married to Angel, they have two sons and a daughter. Allen and his wife are also singers, songwriters, and musicians. They live in Central Texas.

The author gave me a copy of Mindfire, but I was in no way obligated to write a review.

Challenge, Mystery, Romance–an Entrancing Tale

Deb’s Dozen: New name, new location, new challenge. Will a new Grace ensue too?

Seldom have I been drawn into a book as deeply as by Noah Bolinder’s My Promise. Bolinder made me think at every turn, wondering about his intent and the meaning of the tale.

We’re introduced to a young woman named Grace Kelly—appropriate as she was born and raised just down the street from the Grace Kelly. However, Grace changed the order of her name on her license from Fiona Grace Kelly to Grace Fiona Kelly. Why, we wonder, would she have done that? Perhaps in envy or admiration of the more famous Grace Kelly?

Her high school sweetheart, Jack, who after writing a sweet song just for her, dumped her with no explanation, breaking Grace’s heart. At a Taylor Swift concert, a mysterious CD with the numbers 22-2-10 written in red ink on the cover somehow appears in her purse. She then receives an even more mysterious letter from Royal Roads University with a card enclosed saying 22-2-10. The island awaits you.—the same number written in the same red ink. Grace decides to look up the University.

And off Grace goes on the adventure and challenge of a lifetime. She enrolls in Royal Roads, located on an island off the West Coast of Canada. She finds a place to live and a somewhat eclectic roommate, Kara. An enrollee in the School of Business, but Grace also decides to try for Arts 155 “a unique opportunity to participate in an experimental course.” At Freshman Orientation, the president, reading her name tag, mentions she’s on the list of approved students for the course.

And mysterious describes the class. Students must agree to sign a contract they will not miss classes and they have given up the right to withdraw from the class once they’ve signed. They also agree for personal information to be used in publication. Grace signs.

As the year goes on, Grace goes to classes, parties occasionally on weekends, and ponders the purpose of Arts 155, where they seem to mostly watch movies. Given a difficult challenge by the professor later on in the course, Grace goes to him for help. He willingly explains more to her and when queried says she was the only one who asked for help.

I kept reading and reading—from the title, I assumed a romance with the professor would ensue. And a romance the story is, but not the usual sort of romance. You’ll enjoy getting to know Grace and Kara, the professor and the other students in the class. Persevere in reading, even when you’ve no clue where you’re going. As T. S. Eliot once said, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will to be arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” Five stars—a highly recommended read.

My PromiseNoah Bolinder, to quote his bio, graduated from Royal Roads University with a BA in Professional Communication. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia, enjoys making YouTube videos and traveling the world. Find more about Noah at NoahBolinder.com.

Summer Romance in Savannah–Aaah!

Deb’s Dozen: A Summer Romance, Luxurious Estate, Beautiful Art—-Brothers Vying for Her Attention

A summer romance becomes the best beach read. Melody Carlson’s Under a Summer Sky meets all the criteria of the romance genre. Girl crushes on boy, boy ignores, but his brother her best pal. They grow up. Now boy interested in girl, she ignores him, brother still looking out for her. Throw in a summer job in an art gallery, a Vampira-like assistant, a neglected teen, a Southern city, and you have the perfect formula.

The great thing about romances is the more they are alike, the more they are different—a dichotomy that seems unrealistic but plays true here. Nicole Anderson, an art teacher, looks forward to summer. However, her mother volunteered her to help a friend manage her art gallery while the friend takes a cruise with her husband. Included in the job—living in their estate where the bathroom outsizes Nicole’s apartment at home. The two brothers she palled around with as a teen just happen to be the sons of her mom’s friend. The gallery assistant with whom Nicole will be working resembles Vampira, with a personality to match.

Nevertheless, the summer, fraught with possibilities and with pitfalls, portends to be interesting at the least. The conflict with the assistant, the attention of the two men exasperates Nicole. However, you’ll enjoy Under a Summer Sky, exploring the city of Savannah, and cheering for Nicole all along the way. Worth the read. Four stars.

Melody Carlson has written more than two hundred! books with sales over 6.5 million! She’s received the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational category for her many books. She and her husband live in Oregon.

Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing, gave me a copy of Under a Summer Sky, but I was in no way obligated to write a review.