Monday, February 29, 2016

Night of the Bonfire

My print copy of Night of the Bonfire by Kevin Scott Olson was given to me as part of a giveaway done by the author.

Kevin Scott Olson has created an action/adventure in the truest sense with Michael Quinn. Night of the Bonfire is the second book I have read featuring this character and I am hooked. Great action/adventure, suspense, fast cars, fast women, sleazy bad guys; they're all here.

Quinn is the cool tough guy hero in the mold of James Bond, Dirk Pitt, Roland Deschain, Jason Bourne, Bernard Samson, and Ryan Cawdor to name a few. I think the character of Michael Quinn could enjoy a run comparable to Cawdor given the type of story line author Olson employs.

In true hero fashion, Quinn gets his butt kicked, then kicks bad guy butt, completes the mission, gets the girl, and generally saves the day. Along the way he has all the fun toys to play with. At times things get to looking pretty bad for our hero, but in the back of our minds we know he will come through okay (I mean come on, it's his book after all!)

Night of the Bonfire is good escapist reading. Is it War and Peace ? No, but we already have one of those.

So, if you want to kick back with a fun, exciting read, you'll get that with Kevin Scot Olson's newest Michael Quinn action/adventure Night of the Bonfire. Enjoy!


Monday, February 22, 2016

Christ Came From Croydon

My e-version of Christ came from Croydon was provided by author John Redstone for review.

Christ came from Croydon is a dystopian story set in the financial world of the near future. It takes some of the friction of current events to one plausible conclusion. It highlights the theme of "haves vs have-nots".

I don't know if it was meant to be a commentary on the current social structure of the world, but it can easily be taken that way. There is no one in this world that can be trusted. Backstabbing (and frontstabbing, my word), treachery, torture, murder, sex, drugs (no rock 'n roll), oppression, and injustice permeate this world. It is a very dark and unpleasant existence. There is hope of course, "Christ" is in the title after all.

Although there is no information as to whether this is the first in a series, the story does lend itself to further development. But it can just as easily stand alone as is. It's a matter of how much the author wants to tell the reader versus how much he wants the reader to come to their own conclusions. Not a cliffhanger ending, but easily continued.

Christ came from Croydon is not a light read; one, because of the subject matter itself, and two, because the story is very complex. Lots of twists, turns and intrigue. The reader has to pay attention or they will find themselves lost.

I liked Christ came from Croydon a lot, not for the escapist reasons I usually look for, more for ties to current events. Most readers will find a viewpoint presented here that they can identify with. Myself, as a Christian; the hope. There are views that support socialism, short of that, the justification for a French type Revolution is also present. Preppers will say "See, see!  Occupy Wall Street types will say "See, see! Political reformers will say "See, see! And of course, Christians will say, "See, see! As I said, a little something for everyone.

If you are in the mood for a more tense, and possibly, topical read, I suggest Christ came from Croydon by John Redstone could be just what you are looking for. Enjoy!


Friday, February 19, 2016

Red Rising

Disclaimer: I won a copy of Red Rising by Pierce Brown in a Goodreads give away.

I have been on a run of exceptionally good books recently and Red Rising has admirably extended that streak. This is a fabulous read. Red Rising is the first in the Red Rising Trilogy, Followed by Golden Boy and Morning Star. I look forward to finishing this series in the future.

The book at hand is an excellent first installment. Although Red Rising is setting up future books, it does a fine job of relating a compelling story of its own. Many times first installments spend so much time setting up what is to follow, the story suffers. Not so here. As the reader will see, the genre of "Dystopian" fiction only partly describes this work. Red Rising Is Dystopian yes but like other giants in the genre it is so much more. The story starts somewhat reminiscent of Hunger Games, but quickly veers into a world all its own, and any similarities to other works in the genre are erased.

The beginning is heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking, immediately hooking the reader and providing a character to root for. As in any engrossing story, there are good guys and bad guys aplenty to love and hate. Sometimes simultaneously. Author Pierce Brown masterfully creates a complex and terrifying world full of brutality, beauty, honor, deceit, and political intrigue.

There is of course, violent action (lots of it), extreme brutality, treachery, people stripped of their humanity, strong conquering weak, all the examples of mans' inhumanity to man any reader could want.

Balancing the horror of the society they live in, the characters are able to find some semblance of personal connection. Some can love, others don't know how. But as always there are those who can still find humor in there bleak existences.There is so much going on here it is hard to adequately describe without resorting to spoilers, but you know by now: I don't do spoilers.

I would like however, to share a quote from the book that spoke to me. I don't think it will be a spoiler, but it is powerful, so powerful that I remembered what page it was on when I finished the book. And it came fairly early. In my copy, page 124.

"Society has three stages: Savagery, Ascendance, Decadence. The great rise because of Savagery. They rule in Ascendance. They fall because of their own Decadence"

Whew, that's heavy. (I hope I don't get in trouble for quoting that here, but I think it the most powerful statement in Red Rising).

Red Rising by Pierce Brown, blew me away. I expect the rest of the trilogy will as well. Enjoy!


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Dark Destiny

Author Thomas Grave sent me an e-version of Dark Destiny to review.

First, Thomas Grave is a great name for an author writing about Death/ The Reaper. It just fits.

More important, this book is really good! Grave brings so many twists and turns to the afterlife and spirit world it's mind-boggling. Soul Hierarchy? Really? I hope I get to go straight to the light.

Archangels? Seals? Shades? Dudes to seriously not mess with. But then again, neither is Death. Political treachery and manipulation even in the afterlife. Dark Destiny is indeed a wild ride. Plenty of action, violence, teenage angst, love, romance, self-sacrifice, greed, lust for power, moral dilemmas, and just plain weirdness. This is one active book, the first in a series, so hang on!

Dark Destiny is, naturally, well... dark. But not so dark as to feel oppressive. There is comic relief, young love, and the strangest plane between Heaven and Hell (though they are not identified as such) you will ever see. It is a fast paced book yet only covers three or four days of present day. There are some flashbacks for development. For me there were no excess words, the story was focused and on track throughout. I look forward to what comes next.

For a wild and exciting ride through the spirit world, I highly recommend Dark Destiny by Thomas Grave (oh that name). Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Victim

Usual disclaimer: Given a print copy of The Victim by Eric Matheny in exchange for an honest review. Fortunately, I have not been asked for a dishonest review yet.

First, let me say I am not generally a legal, or for that matter a mystery, reader. That said, I found The Victim to be a completely entertaining read. The story is very complex. The main character is not a good guy, but then, neither are most of the rest of the characters who populate this book. It is interesting that a book filled with so many unlikable, or at least, unsympathetic characters in the legal profession was written by a lawyer.

Eric Matheny weaves a twisted story of murder, revenge, murder (yes I meant to say that),conspiracy, duplicity, sex, treachery and legal maneuvering. Not being a lawyer myself, I cannot speak to the accuracy of the depiction of the legal profession, but I didn't find them particularly complimentary.

The Victim is somewhat slow to develop but builds in intensity and complexity throughout. There were plenty of twists and turns. When I read, I don't try to guess what is going to happen next, I just go along for the ride. Good thing here because I doubt I could have guessed much if any of the way the story unfolded. I finished the second half of the book in one sitting. The pace was fast and the action riveting, I just couldn't put it down.

All the plot lines are concluded satisfactorily, not a true happy ending, but, an appropriate ending. My reaction at the conclusion was: Whew! The Victim is not a "feel good" book in my estimation. It is dramatic, very dramatic, and at times even heartbreaking. Definitely entertaining and definitely worth reading. Enjoy!


Friday, February 5, 2016

The Alignment: Silent City

I'm not sure how I came to have an e-version of The Alignment: Silent City by H.G. Suren, It isn't in my downloads file but appeared on Kindle. I know I didn't buy it so I guess this is the disclaimer.

This book is awesome! It reminds me so strongly of the old Twilight Zone. For me, it started kind of slow, and then just took off. It definitely has that eerie, suspenseful quality that kept me hooked. It is the first in a series, and if the rest are this good, bring em on!

Like a good story of this type The Alignment: Silent City does not give away the location where it takes place. You kind of get the feeling it may be a Middle Eastern locale from the main characters, but other little details come forth that contradict this assumption. The characters drive the story and the focus is on their emotions and interactions. Just enough environmental detail to advance the story but not dominate it. I sat in a quiet little corner and just enjoyed the heck out of it. It is a pretty fast read when you get into it.

If you are a fan of creepy, eerie, suspense  H. G. Suren has written the book for you, The Alignment: Silent City. I highly recommend you read this book! Enjoy!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

New Megiddo Rising: An Apostates Novella

New Megiddo Rising was given to me by author Lars Teeney after I had read and reviewed Apostates.

New Megiddo Rising is actually a prequel to Apostates. It lays the ground work for the epic tale Apostates is. It does give back story for many of the characters we know from the previous book. As a prequel it might be a little too superficial in its treatment of the characters we know. I don't think it really advanced my understanding of the characters.

Unfortunately, a lot of the editing and proofreading issues that were present in the first book are also present here. Although, to be fair and honest, not nearly as prevalent this time around. The word quarry is the intent where query is used, which I admit did bug me a lot.

I do not wish to appear unduly harsh in this review. Overall New Megiddo Rising is an extension of a very good story line and I am glad I got to read it. As I said in my review of Apostates there are many directions this story can be taken, and I hope Mr. Teeney is continuing them as I write this.

But I also have to be honest with myself, you, and Mr. Teeney; for me New Megiddo Rising just did not live up to its "sequel". I do think it is worth reading, and I think that you will like it if you liked the first book. Enjoy



Usual disclaimer: I was given a print copy of Powerless by Tim Washburn for review.

As the title (and cover) imply, Powerless is the fictional account of a world wide collapse of the power grid caused by solar activity.

Author Tim Washburn takes an every-man approach to the story. It is not sensationalist doom and gloom like we see in the media today.  It is however, a very sobering book for that exact reason. Powerless, while pointing out how a government may handle such an incident, focuses more on how the average person is impacted. It does not preach about our reliance on electrically powered technology, but shows the effects.

No secret that I like post apocalyptic stories, so Powerless is right up my alley. Washburn does not rely on mass rioting and savagery to highlight the disintegration of society. He instead focuses on individual characters experiences. Some do okay, others not so much. A good balance, not an all is lost kind of story. The primary characters are honorable, even the politicians (remember, it's a fictional account). The bad guys don't get center stage.

I suppose a reader can see Powerless as a "message" book, but I don't read it that way. I read it as and action/adventure story with good characters, a believable plot, and a very entertaining presentation. Yes there is violence, but not exceedingly so. And of course there is romance and even sex (not violent, or rape). It will make you think: What would I do...? I don't think this book will inspire a wave of "prepperism", but then again?

Powerless by Tim Washburn is certainly worthy of a look. Enjoy!