The Queen & the Cure


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Release date: May 9, 2017

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There will be a battle, and you will need to protect your heart.

Kjell of Jeru had always known who he was. He’d never envied his brother or wanted to be king. He was the bastard son of the late King Zoltev and a servant girl, and the ignominy of his birth had never bothered him. 

But there is more to a man than his parentage. More to a man than his blade, his size, or his skills, and all that Kjell once knew has shifted and changed. He is no longer simply Kjell of Jeru, a warrior defending the crown. Now he is a healer, one of the Gifted, and a man completely at odds with his power.

Called upon to rid the country of the last vestiges of the Volgar, Kjell stumbles upon a woman who has troubling glimpses of the future and no memory of the past. Armed with his unwanted gift and haunted by regret, Kjell becomes a reluctant savior, beset by old enemies and new expectations. With the woman by his side, Kjell embarks upon a journey where the greatest test may be finding the man she believes him to be. 

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The Queen and The Cure, Amy Harmon - Print

Cover design: By Hang Le –




About the author:

Amy Harmon is a Wall Street JournalUSA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now being published in fifteen different languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah.

Amy Harmon has written eleven novels — the USA Today Bestsellers, The Bird and The Sword, Making Faces and Running Barefoot and the Purgatory series, as well as From Sand and Ash, The Law of Moses, The Song of David, Infinity + One, and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her recent release, The Bird and the Sword, is a Goodreads Best Fantasy of 2016 finalist. 


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The Bird and the Sword

The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Mythology & Folk Tales


Overall Rating: 4.5 (xoxo)

The Bird and the Sword

Quick Summary: Lark is special in a land where special means a death sentence. In their quest for equality, the kingdom has decreed that anyone who has special gifts must be put to death. With her dying breath, Lark’s mother tries to protect Lark by tying her fate to her father’s and telling her to pull back her words. Years later in an odd turn of events, Lark is singled out by the young King. Despite her muteness, Taris, the King, finds her useful to have around. As the two of them try to overcome a common enemy, they will discover that there is more to them than what meets the eye.

I love love love love love this book. I would give it 5 stars except that I’m not sure I could re-read it. It’s very emotional and powerful. There is a dazzlingly array of imagery, symbolism, and metaphor.

In some ways, I read this book at a critical time. While I’m not sure Amy Harmon intended the social criticism, I can’t help but make parallels to our lives today. Americans are experiencing a re-awakening in some ways. Regardless of political affiliation, there’s been an increased sense that what happens politically matters to people on a daily level. And for some, the changes they’ve seen are scary; they are matters of life and death.

While there are no direct allusions to our current political climate, how could there be when the book was released in May 2016 and was conceivably written well before that date, I’ll try to share a bit of the connection in my mind. Here’s a quote: “Corvyn was weak, but he wasn’t evil, though I wondered if weakness wasn’t just as dangerous. The weak allowed evil to flourish.” This sentiment strongly echoes Elie Wiesel’s speech, “The Perils of Indifference.” Here’s an excerpt from the speech:

“Indifference elicits no response. Indifference is not a response. Indifference is not a beginning; it is an end. And, therefore, indifference is always the friend of the enemy, for it benefits the aggressor — never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten. The political prisoner in his cell, the hungry children, the homeless refugees — not to respond to their plight, not to relieve their solitude by offering them a spark of hope is to exile them from human memory. And in denying their humanity, we betray our own.

Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment.

And this is one of the most important lessons of this outgoing century’s wide-ranging experiments in good and evil.” (Elie Wiesel, 12 Apr 1999,

This also ties into another quote from the book, explaining how the persecution of those with special gifts is justified: “convinced that equality could only be realized if no one was special, and the power of the words was eradicated.” Again there is a connection to Wiesel’s speech. He says, “What is indifference? Etymologically, the word means ‘no difference.’ A strange and unnatural state in which the lines blur between light and darkness, dusk and dawn, crime and punishment, cruelty and compassion, good and evil.” Equality cannot come by subsuming difference. Indeed, it is an “unnatural” state because humans are not carbon copies of each other. I won’t go into this more, because I want you to read the book .

This theme of specialness, of unique gifts, is one that is explored throughout the novel, and is one that resonated deeply with me. There are many other themes, including the biggest one about the power of words. I could write on and on about this book. And that’s probably the number one reason why I enjoyed it so much. There is something “more” to it that I fall in love with.

Of course I love the characters too. There is action and adventure to complement the philosophical component too. And the fantastical nature of the whole plot is great. I love being transported to the Kingdom of Jeru.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $5.95)

$6 is a lot for an e-book, at least it is to me. But, this is a really, really good book. So while you should probably check your local library for it first, if they don’t have it, please spend the 6 bucks to buy it. You won’t regret it!

Something else you might enjoy:

I don’t think there is another book out there like this. Not with the kind of allusion and metaphor layered on top of myth. If you want another book like this, you’ll have to read more of Amy Harmon’s work. I recommend The Law of Moses. You can read my book review here.

Saving the Hero


The Unfinished Heroes Series by Kristen Ashley
Contemporary Romance

The Unfinished Heroes Series is a series about anti-heroes, or, more accurately, heroes who don’t know that they are heroes to someone/anyone. There is a lot of dark stuff in this series, chief amongst it all is the unconventional sex. Because of that all of the books have an XXX rating from me, although they vary in intensity. Currently the series is on sale ($1.99 each instead of $3.99 each book) in anticipation of the fifth and final book, Sebring, being released January 11, 2016. I am reviewing the books in order so the stories can be fresh in our minds when Nick’s is available. If you haven’t picked up these books, now is a great time to do so!



Overall Rating: 4.5 (XXX)

Quick & Dirty summary: Raiden Miller is a hometown hero, especially if your hometown happens to be Willow, CO, where Hannah Boudreaux has lived her whole life. Hannah didn’t fall in love with Raiden the hero, though; she fell in love with Raiden the 10-year-old boy at her grandma’s annual BBQ during a game of tug-of-war. Raiden doesn’t notice she exists, until suddenly, he does and sweeps her off her feet. But Hannah knows that what you see isn’t all that you get with Raiden, not after surviving a war. Hannah knows she’s got her work cut out for her, and despite her Suzie Homemaker appearance and lifestyle, she knows she’s got what it takes to walk through the fire for her man.

This is my favorite book out of the four books released in the series. Deacon comes a close second, but this one takes the cake. Typical of me, it’s probably because Hannah is the slightly dorky, super cute heroine who isn’t ashamed of herself that I totally relate to. She knits, makes homemade preserves and takes her grandma to church every Sunday. Not a lot of that screams sexy, but she is, and I love Kristen Ashley for that. The relationship between Hannah and Raiden isn’t easy, but it is straightforward. There are a few bumps in the road, but nothing that seems like artificial drama. The book is mostly about how two totally different people settle into each other. How they learn to take each other the way they are, with no intentions of changing them. I like that.

Plus, one of my favorite quotes from any book, any genre is from this one. The first time I read it, I knew it was the truth put in a way I’d never heard of before. “…To be a mother,” Mrs. Miller says, “you get to create these tiny little living, breathing dreams that grow up to be splendid things” and every time I look at my kids, I think that’s the truth (223). There are tons of other quotes that I love from this book, which is yet another reason to savor this one. The wisdom of Grams, Spot the cat’s hilarious antics, and Raiden’s words of love all make the novel delightful.

This is the sweetest of the Unfinished Heroes books, and from what I’ve seen of the Sebring reviews the fifth book isn’t going to change that. It’s still dark, it’s still thrilling, but Hannah gives it a coziness that tempers Raiden’s struggles. The book is kind of like Hannah’s front porch, and after you read the novel, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $1.99 sale; $3.99 regular)

Something else you might enjoy:
Okay, you’ve already seen that you need to read the other books in this series. If you’re interested in a book about a war hero struggling with his demons, then you might also enjoy Heaven and Hell, written by Kristen Ashley (if you click on the link it takes you to my review of the book), or you can try Making Faces by Amy Harmon, a young adult novel that is so gripping and powerful, you won’t notice the absence of sex (again, if you click on the link from the title, it will take you to my review of the book).
View all my reviews

Beautiful Characters in Making Faces

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Contemporary Romance/New Adult


Overall Rating: 4.5 (xoxo)


Quick & Dirty summary: Ambrose Young is beautiful, strong, and smart. Fern Taylor knows because she’s loved Ambrose since she was a girl. Fern knows that Ambrose could never love her because she’s too plain with her bright red hair and crooked teeth. Ambrose is Hercules, Superman and the Tin Man all rolled into one, but mostly Ambrose is confused. When he enlists after September 11, he travels to Iraq with his four closest friends, never thinking that he’d be the only one to return. Neither Ambrose nor Fern know how to overcome their insecurities as they try to discover who they are as young adults.

I knew going into this book that young men were going to die. They always do in a story about war and it kills me every single time. This time was no different and I openly sobbed with this book. I also enjoyed this book so much that I read it straight through in one day. And I say this as a mother of two with a job outside of the home. Still I spent my late evening into middle of the night reading this book. It’s amazing!

What I wasn’t expecting was the tight-knit community the story is set in that deepens the emotion. The way Harmon describes each of Ambrose’s friends make them complex secondary characters. I liked some of them and I disliked some of them, and that’s how 18-20 year old boys are—sometimes they are loveable and sometimes they are jerks. And because they are such vivid characters, their families become alive as extensions of them, and their families are extensions of the community so there is a depth to the sorrow of lost life.

Added to that is Fern’s cousin Bailey. Oh my goodness he is such a beautiful character. He really adds so much to this storyline about death and God and justice. After all, how is it fair to take the lives of such beautiful young men? And how can God exist if a great person like Bailey is destined to die in his 20s from a degenerative disease? The parallels of the struggle are illustrative of the major theme that the novel addresses.

So why not a 5 star review? This story was so emotional for me that I’m not sure I can read it again. I think I said this about Amy Harmon’s other book I’ve reviewed, The Law of Moses. Additionally, this novel more overtly addresses this larger issue of God and justice in a way that was, perhaps, overly ambitious. While I appreciate her willingness to face this issue, I’m not sure it was completely resolved for me. I was still hoping for more in the end, despite the sweet epilogue. That being said, Harmon deals with such difficult issues with a sweetness that is inclusive rather than dogmatic or preachy.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $4.95)

Absolutely yes. It’s a beautiful book and one I actually bought myself.

Something else you might enjoy:

I’m not happy with this recommendation, but I’m going with it for right now. I enjoyed this book a lot, it’s just that I’m not sure it’s the best recommendation following this book. But I’m going with it for now, as it has a similar beauty and the best theme. It’s Amanda Quick’s With this Ring, a historical romance with an overlay of mystery and suspense. Try it out.

The Law of Moses

The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

Contemporary Romance/Suspense


The Law of Moses


Overall Rating: 4.5 (sXe)


Quick & Dirty summary: Moses was named because he was found in a laundry mat. The news was filled of his abandonment by his drug-addicted mother, especially since she was found dead three days later of an overdose. It haunted Moses, especially because he was born addicted to crack. Georgia meets Moses when he’s 18 and has one year left of high school. As neighbors, they spend the summer together—Georgia chasing after Moses, Moses pushing Georgia away. But they fall in love that year, only to have a traumatic experience tear them apart. Seven years later Moses returns to town and discovers secrets he didn’t know he had.

This is a heartbreaking novel. (Slight spoiler alert) In fact, if you read the synopsis of the novel on Amazon, you think the loss is about Moses, but after you finish the novel, you realize it’s about someone completely different. I cried my eyes out, and the only reason I didn’t give it a 5 star rating is because I don’t know if I can read this book again, I was that devastated. This was one of those books where I stayed up late to finish it because I couldn’t handle not knowing.

One of the best parts of this book is the paranormal aspect of it. It makes the heartbreak all the more intense, but also hopeful. This isn’t the kind of novel that breaks you, but rather it helps to give you a perspective on loss that can carry you through tough times. This is also a very mature romance. While reading about Moses and Georgia when they are teenagers is sweet, there is something beautiful about the way they handle life’s heartaches. It’s so real. Life is never easy, but love can always carry you through.

There is an excellent quote about faith that I find so insightful. Moses thinks: “People like religion but they didn’t want to have to exercise any faith. Religion was comforting with all its structure and its rules. It made people feel safe. But faith wasn’t safe. Faith was hard and uncomfortable and forced people to step out on a limb.” And isn’t that the truth, not just of faith, but of love also? This, to me, is the crux of the story. Who doesn’t want to read a story where this is the major theme?

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $4.95)

Yes, I have never been so glad I paid for a kindle book until now (okay, that’s a bit of hyperbole, but you get what I mean). It’s well worth five dollars, and I may have to buy the paperbacks in hopes to meet the author. She is amazing!

Something else you might enjoy:

Nothing comes to mind. I’m still in awe. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series The Song of David.