Sweet Barbarian

Sweet Barbarian, a fantasy/romance including considerable erotic activity in e-book by Jayla Jasso.
Plot: Valamir Braga is a Visigoth warrior who has been wounded, captured and is in chains in the castle of opponent clan leader Jovimus in Gallia Aquitania in the year of 483. His brother Andaric has just been beheaded and he is next. The iron door opens and Glismoda, Jovimus’ wife enters and says she will free him if he swears fealty to her and when her husband is killed in his ridiculous wars, she will bring him back and they will rule supreme. He knows she is a cold, uncaring person who is sexually attracted to him, but with no choice agrees. She is a Druid High Priestess with enormous occult skills, mixes some of his blood with special oils, delivers an incantation and he disappears. He awakens on a mountain in snow and cold, gradually begins a descent and finally collapses near a cabin in 2015 Colorado. Karly, the cabin owner’s Chihuahua disturbers her by barking furiously. She investigates and discovers this huge, muscular, sparsely clothed man literally freezing to death. Reacting instinctively, she manages to drag him into the house and save his life. His education and ‘modernization’ follows along with a gradually increasing love for this hulk who simultaneously expresses the same feelings and is an impressively and unbelievably thoughtful and ‘caring’ individual. Unfortunately, Karly still cannot commit because of her bad treatment by Shawn, now a drug abuser, whom she met and married while both were in the service. His continued insistence she return to him causes him to take action which adds another element to the story, as do actions by her brother Josh, close friend Macy and a few others, AND another (expected) occult session.
Discussion: The author has presented a story with an interesting plot and characters that lovers of fantasy and romance should most readily enjoy – a hulk who is thoughtful, respectful, faithful and sexually fulfilling on mutually acceptable terms. The pace is good and the gradually evolving learning process is well handled. The amount of explicit sexual activity is a little repetitive, but no doubt will be acceptable to many.

5* for the fantasy/romance aficionado.

The Word

The Word
ISBN: 9780692369005, Serpentine Books, an e-book by Hubert Crouch is a multi-plotted legal thriller on subjects most pertinent in today’s headlines.

Plot/Characters: Two prominently integrally woven main plots – 1) legal action against a fringe religious group led by Ezekiel Shaw, a self-centered, marginally psychopathic leader that pickets in a viciously demeaning manner, but deemed acceptable as free speech by supreme court decree, the funeral of a woman soldier killed in action fighting in Afghanistan; 2) the attempt by a new and talented reporter Leah Rosen under constant threats initiated by the lawyers to publish an article detailing fraud perpetrated by collusive activity between their law firm and an insurance company. Associated conflicts: The virtual protagonist, Jace Forman, a highly successfully profiled lawyer attempting to gain retribution for the disrespect shown the soldier, is assailed with troubles stemming from his son Matt’s belief that he was responsible for his mother’s automobile accident, and his subsequent activity; threats by his long-term and indispensable paralegal Darrin Mackenzie to leave him because of jealousy with respect to a superb woman P.I. Jackie McLaughlin important to the case; his former law firm, Hadley and Morgan, whom he left because of unfair treatment is attempting ‘payback’; as well as ‘normal’ difficulties with discovering necessary supportive evidence. Darrin’s sister Megan, with whom she has a close relationship, simultaneously is involved with marital problems disconcerting to her; Jackie also is working Leah’s case of personal threats. Numerous additional characters – Eugene and Janice Hanson, mother and father of their late-in-life only child, the dead soldier; Christine and Cal Connors, the lawyers involved in Leah’s case; Mike Randazzo, a shadowy unprincipled P.I.; Jamie Stein, an unprincipled insurance executive; Abe Levine, Leah’s boss; ‘Sister Rebecca’ and her daughter ‘Sister Mary’ (Maddy); numerous others who variously play smaller to highly significant parts in the constantly evolving complexly integrated plots and sub-plots.

Discussion/Conclusion: The author, a highly successful trial attorney, has produced one of the best legal thrillers this reader ever recalls having read. The plot/sub-plots are numerous, as are the characters but all simultaneously are so beautifully integrated that there are no ‘hitches’ whatsoever. The flow not only is smooth but fast moving as well and the characters have life. Additionally, the author has NOT fallen into the technically laden, often long-winded trap that so often catches other writers of books with legal plots. In this reviewer’s opinion, any reader who enjoys legal thrillers should NOT miss this one.

5* A MUST READ if you enjoy books with a legal theme.