'Writing for me is not about speeling, grammar or punctuation – that’s why we have editors.... No, writing for me is the ability to capture a story and put it in words.' - Fantasy Muse
Strong Convictions: An Emmett Strong Western (Emmett Strong Westerns Book 1) by GP Hutchinson (Author)
In 1876 the seemingly impossible happened in San Antonio, Texas--Emmett Strong, a prodigy of a pistolero, accidentally shot his own young wife in a showdown gone awry.
Five years later, death again visits Emmett's family. And now, want to or not, he's going to have to overcome his reluctance to draw his six-gun if he's to catch and bring to justice the crazed gunman who murdered his brother. The pursuit of his brother's killer takes him all the way to Nevada's Comstock country where the assassin has taken refuge with rich and powerful kin.
Among the many unforeseen situations Emmett encounters in Nevada is forbidden love when he falls for Li Xu, the fascinating daughter of Chinese immigrants. But before the relationship has time to bloom, Li Xu disappears--kidnapped along with five other young women.
Can Emmett afford to leave off the chase of his brother's murderer to search for and rescue the women? Can he afford not to? With success hanging on quick thinking and quick shooting, can he take one last shot at both love and retribution?
I don't read many westerns. It's not that I don't like them, it's just that I find it hard to find my type of western. And if you ask me what that is, I'd struggle to tell you....hmmm.. that's probably why I don't read many westerns.
Anyway, after not reading one for a year or so, I was in the mood to read about a good ol' fashioned gunslinger, and after trawling Amazon for days looking for the right book, I finally found it - Strong Convictions: An Emmett Strong Western.
The book opens up with Emmett Strong losing his wife, not by anyone else's hand, but more tragically by his own. And that opening chapter almost instantly drew me in and left me wanting more.
Then after a few years later, Emmet, now a Texas Ranger, loses another loved one, this time it's his brother. The story then follows Emmett, as he tracks down his brother's killer, along with the aid of his brother-in-law, Juanito, and an Englishman called Sikes.
I have to say, I really enjoyed this book and it was quite an informative read for me to see how the wild west was in 1876. The author touches upon the treatment of women, races, and slavery. You get a real sense of how harsh it was during those times.
GP Hutchinson paints a broad picture in vivid words when he describes the surroundings from Texas to California. I could close my eyes and imagine myself riding through one of those dusty, western towns.
I thought the charters were well written and Emmet, is a strong, stoic gunslinger, but is suffering from the tragedy of shooting his wife, and you get to see indecision and self-doubt plague him, which I thought was good, as it showed he wasn't invulnerable.
There is romance in this novel, which truthfully I thought was a bit superficial, and didn't seem believable to me, but I'm glad it wasn't the eye-rolling sappiness you often come across nowadays.
This is a very well written western that paints an alluring picture of 1876 California. I'd recommend this book to those who wish to escape to a different time and place, with a hero you can root for and villains you can jeer at.
Out of 10 Stars:
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Radiance (Wraith Kings Book 1) by Grace Draven.
~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.
~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.
Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.
The story is a bit like Romeo and Juliet, in that you have two sets of people who have an extreme dislike/fear of each other.
On one side there is the Gauri, who are basically humans, and then on the other side are the Kai, who are similar to humans, but have grey skin, claws and are more animalistic in their nature. Both sets of people however are seeking an alliance to defend themselves against a mutual enemy, and what better way then unifying the two kingdoms through marriage. Enter the Gauri King's orphaned niece, Idiko, and the 2nd son of the Kai King, prince Brishen.
I thought the opening chapter was compelling, and instantly drew me into what was a brilliant fantasy romance book. Idiko, the niece, and Brishen, the prince, instantly developed a believable connection between each other, and despite how ugly they found each other, both characters infused light hearted humour into their relationship which I enjoyed reading.
I did fear this book would turn into one of those cliche romantic books, where there's plot twists only to drive the (eye-rolling) romance between the characters, however, the author managed to get the right blend between the romance and fantasy, with some interesting plot ideas.
Overall I enjoyed the storyline, just as much as the two main characters, who both felt real and relatable. I could actually envision their interaction in my mind, something that I can't say too often about when I read romantic fantasy novels.
So, if romance is not your thing, then you still might want to give this book a try, as there is other aspects to this story, such as action, political scheming and magic.
But if you do enjoy a healthy dose of romance in your fantasy, then I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Out of 10 Stars:
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