Friday, December 18, 2015

Bridge Through Time

I have just finished Bridge Through Time by Scot Spotson which was given to me in exchange for a review.

Bridge Through Time is a different take on the time travel genre, at least I thought so. I enjoyed it quite a lot. It brought up the question of how a person could change the course of their life if they went back to their own youth and relived their life. It deals with the consequences of those changes and the psychological difficulties that ensue. It demonstrates how one life touches so many others.

This is only a part of the overall story though. It is also a story of applied physics. There is enough high tech speak to please tech geeks, but not so much as to overwhelm non-techies like myself.

It is also a story of alien contact, human weakness, political correctness and familial relationships. It is a complex story that does not read overly complex. Author Scot Spotson took a topic that can easily turn into science speak that only a physicist can understand and made it accessible to the less science minded readers among us. I like that a lot.

I think Bridge Through Time will appeal to a broad audience who like action, scientific sci-fi, fantasy,and "what if" type stories. I think you will find this book worth your time. Enjoy!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Galaxy of Empires: Merchant Wars Episode One

I won a print copy of Galaxy of Empires: Merchant Wars Episode One in a Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway.

This is part of a series of Galaxy of Empires books. A little research showed several different titles, and more than one series under the Galaxy umbrella.

It was an interesting story set in space involving competing merchants, shady governmental(?) entities, and omnipotent beings.

There are some editing problems which I have shared with the author so I won't spend too much time on them here, hopefully the author will take heed. Suffice to say there are some errors, most disturbing to me, names changing by the end of the story.

The story line itself was interesting enough to carry a series. This entry is 72 pages. If that is the format for the series, it could work well. Lots of action, and intrigue. Space opera fans will probably find a lot to like here. Enjoy!


The Navarre Brotherhood

Author Tammie Wunsch provided me with a print copy of The Navarre Brotherhood for review.

Before writing my review, I Googled: Navarre  Brotherhood to see if this was a real organization or a figment of Ms. Wunsch's imagination. The first page of results were all related to this book and I didn't search any further, so I will proceed with the belief that it is her construction. Although it is well presented enough to be based on a historical group, oh well.

The important part is this book is great! Being as interested in Templar stories as anyone these days, I approached The Navarre Brotherhood with mixed expectations. It would probably be interesting because it was about the Templars. But it could also be a cheesy story taking advantage of the Templar legends to make a buck.

Have no fear readers, it is NOT a cheesy story at all. It is a well written, fast paced adventure in the truest sense of the word. The heroine grabs your sympathy immediately. The hero takes a while to be identified which I found a nice twist. The story takes the reader on a globetrotting adventure with plenty of complications thrown in to keep us on our toes.

There is a nice blend of comedy and drama. The bad guys are really bad! The good guys are not so single minded that they ignore the beautiful locations they find themselves visiting.  If author Wunsch's characterizations are accurate, the Scots are a lusty bunch of people. The characters don't miss an opportunity for adult activities, though not in a graphic or even mildly offensive way. You won't have to be embarrassed for your pastor to see this book on your coffee table.

The nice thing about The Navarre Brotherhood for me is that it isn't just a retelling of Templar legends, it's a character driven adventure story. There is a lot of story line that is not strictly Templar. There is action, adventure, romance, torture, comedy, sex, violence (no rock n roll). It is a fun read all around. Enjoy!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

In Sheep's Clothing

Author L.D. Beyer sent me a print copy of In Sheep's Clothing for review.

In Sheep's Clothing is a very good book. I don't normally read a lot of politically oriented books. My personal intense dislike/distrust of politics and politicians tends to make me read political fiction as non-fiction. That's just me.

In Sheep's Clothing, for me, started off a little slow, but it sure made up for that as the story unfolded. Lots of action, adventure, intrigue, and politics(Shudder). A large part of the story is set in North Idaho, I happen to live farther north of the setting in Idaho. Although fantastical, the story is believably written, a demonstration of author Beyer's ability as a writer and, I'm sure, researcher.

The characters in this book are for the most part developed well enough to understand their motivations to good or bad, not a lot of ambiguity. I think this is a good thing, having to spend too much time understanding motivations can take the energy out of an action oriented story. Beyer balances the need to understand the characters and keep the story moving at a brisk pace.

Another great change for me is the lack of typo's. Lately, even in print books I'm finding more and more mistakes. I don't know if this is due to my increased scrutiny as a reviewer or a lack of rigor in proofreaders. Either way, In Sheep's Clothing had only two that jumped out at me. I wouldn't normally even point them out but one, to me, was funny enough to be memorable.

Mr. Beyer, I haven't lived in Michigan, but here in Idaho we refer to those brown/tan animals with antlers as "deer" not "dear". Funny mistake.

The biggest negative for me, and granted it is negligible, is after being taken on a wild, twisting, turning, ride building to the great climax, I would like to have more of an epilogue. The ends were all tied up neatly but too quickly for me. This is a personal thing. I really like to hear more about how things go after the crisis has been resolved. This doesn't diminish the story at all it's just a personal preference.

If you are a fan of the action/adventure genre(you know who you are) in general or the political action adventure specifically, In Sheep's Clothing by L.D. Beyer is a good way to spend some time. Enjoy!


Thursday, December 3, 2015


The usual disclaimer: Kelly Mitchell sent me an e-version of Wildcard in exchange for an honest review.

Wildcard is a very intricate story. It is a tech-lovers delight, more technological wizardry than you can shake a stick at. For me, too much tech, I found myself at times completely confused by the descriptions of the nano technology being used. I thought to myself: Even Sheldon Cooper couldn't follow this. Of course a real physicist probably could, but I am nowhere near a real physicist. If I was I could have asked for his help.

I really got into the story when tech took a back seat to human(?) relationships. I particularly liked LuvRay Chose. Not surprising as he was, in my mind at least, the most non-technological character in the book. The highly technical aspects of the book probably contributed to my feeling the story was somewhat disjointed and confusing. I tended to kind of space out when things got too technical. I feel like I missed the main point of the book. Almost all of the characters were transformed in some way by the end of the story, and I often didn't see the justification to the story line to support the action.

Parts of the story were very compelling, I enjoyed the interactions with Hazel and the Old Man and the peacefulness of the center.

I guess all I can say here is that I am not the target audience for Wildcard. For the reader who enjoys the high tech world, Wildcard will provide all the tech you could want. There is plenty of action and adventure as well. Military and political intrigue abounds. There is humor, pathos and even sex. So, if the high tech world is your playground, I think Wildcard by Kelly Mitchell, will be right up your alley, or data port if you prefer. Enjoy!


Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Truthseeker

Free book, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada.

The Truthseeker by Eric Stockwell is an awesome book! It has action, adventure,myth, magic, blood, guts and gore, and dead burnt bodies (remember Alice? No, she's not there but I couldn't resist the reference).

The story is a biographic account of your (my) previous life. My question is: Who told Eric Stockwell our secret? The Truthseeker is a many layered story involving a wicked goddess, demons, magical entities and you(me). It is a quest, a coming of age, and a set-things-right story all at once. It is also extremely funny and irreverent.

The ending has quite the twist, and a question for all of us to ponder. You know I'm not big on message books, but the message here is in that final question, so I can live with it. If it was contained elsewhere in the story I ignored it.

Although Eric Stockwell remains a mystery: no picture, no author blurb, no nothing, He has given us a truly fun read. I highly recommend The Truthseeker. Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Raven of Dusk: Transcendence

Author Anthony Greer provided me a print copy of The Raven of Dusk: Transcendence for review.

This book is an interesting blend of medieval, present, and even futuristic elements. Knights, queens, castles, cell phones, gun blades, and air shuttles.

Plenty of action, and political intrigue.  The Raven of Dusk: Transcendence the first in the The Raven of Dusk series. There are several intertwining story lines to enjoy here. A father and his estranged son, a woman in trouble, a girl whose intelligence separates her from her peers, a man seeking vengeance, and a man living under the weight of his family history.These themes are skillfully woven into a remarkably coherent and easy to follow narrative. Although you know how much I like cliffhangers, the ending of this book was not too abrupt, I was more or less ready for it.

The negative is, once again, proofreading. There were more mistakes than should be found in a print copy. Since there is a barcode and price on the book I surmise (not assume) that this is not a galley or arc. If it is my apologies to the author. But, misusing words like "passed" instead of "past" and the like should not make it into a final version. Fortunately these were not so numerous as to interfere with my enjoyment of the book. But you know me, typos and other errors are a "button" for me and I have to comment.

Errors aside The Raven of Dusk: Transcendence is a very good read that I think you will find entertaining (and isn't that why we read in the first place?). Enjoy!



Thursday, November 12, 2015

Last Bastards Standing

I was offered the e-version of Last Bastards Standing by author Sienna Cassedy for review.

This was a weird experience from start to finish. Most important of course is that I really enjoyed this book. It's like no other book I have ever read, but more on that later.

When author Cassedy sent the mobi file for Last Bastards Standing, it came without a cover or title page and identified as "unknown". The only identification was the copyright date and the authors name. Strange on my e-reader to see the listing; Unknown-hbib. That's how the book lists on my device. Add to that the fact that there was no listing for Last Bastards Standing on Goodreads (there is now, you're welcome) but there was on Amazon.

Anyway, on to the book. As I said, unlike any book I've read before. It is told like a first person report of the goings on of the main character who is either extremely angry, extremely arrogant, or a self defined member of the intelligentsia who believes she is above the mundane mortals of the world. She may just be bat-crap crazy and knows it. It is probably a case of all of the above.

The reader is taken on a bizarre trip through the world Sal occupies, meets an assortment of people who normally go unseen, or at least unacknowledged in society. Sal often (usually) takes her anger/ superiority out on the lesser/ better mortals she encounters (including sometimes, the reader). She is a walking ball of contradictions, self-hate and self-importance.  

This book is not a happily- ever- after kind of book, but it is a funny, irreverent, and at times, touching story. I was somewhat disturbed to find out why I like meat, oh well. The story does end with a cliffhanger (bastard), you'll have to read the book to understand this reference (it's not an insult). There are a lot of cultural references, many involving music and books, most of which I got.

So, if you like edgy, intellectual (or pseudo-intellectual) stories you too will probably enjoy Last Bastards Standing by Sienna Cassedy. Of course it may just be that she is poking fun at all of us. Either way, enjoy!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Fortress of the Demon

Fortress of the Demon by Scott Tomasheski was given to me in exchange for a review.

When I first received my copy of Fortress of the Demon I was quite surprised that Nancy ( the person who sent me the book) included a separate paper listing the errors in the book. I don't expect they will do this for the mass market, but I consider it a class action to provide it for the reviewer.

I really enjoyed this book. It is a wild ride through time, space, technology and adventure. It is part of the Time Defenders series. A lot of fun.

The technology described was mind boggling as was the pace of the story. I really had to pay attention as characters operated in multiple times almost simultaneously. I am not a physicist so I can not speak to the theoretical accuracy of the story, but I don't really care.

The main character, at least she is in my mind, is referred to variously as Bartolomea, Barty, Doamna. and Mrs. A, Atherton. Of course in the flow of the story she appears at several different ages ranging from 28 to 90. At any age, she is an accomplished fighter, tactician and strategist, probably the smartest person in her world and perhaps the deadliest.

The villain, Baron Hookfinger is as dastardly as they come, with apparently  no redeeming social value.

The Time Defenders adventures take them to several wheres and whens around the world. It's easy to root for the good guys and hiss at the bad.

I recommend Fortress of the Demon by Scott Tomasheski to anyone who wants to read a book, not for a message, not for social commentary, but just for fun. Enjoy


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Otto Black

I was given an e-version of Otto Black by Alexandru Parvu in exchange for an honest review.

I did not finish this book, so I will not attempt to give it a full review here. I only write this because it was posted on Goodreads that I was reading the book.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Loyalist To A Fault

I won a copy of Loyalist to a Fault by Evan Munday in a Goodreads Giveaway.

I fear I may be in trouble here for a couple of reasons; first, author Evan Munday, in the first chapter of Loyalist to a Fault mildly (and good-naturedly) chastises readers who have not read the first two books in The Dead Kid Detective Agency series, and second, the Barnes and Noble website, where I also post reviews when able, lists Loyalist to a Fault as for 8-12 year-old readers, Amazon also lists it as a children's book.

I, sadly, have not read the first two offerings in the series, and I do not fall in the audience target age range.

If this truly destroys the credibility of my review, oh well, because I enjoyed this book immensely. The narrator often speaks directly to the reader making them an insider to the story. I think this is great and makes an already funny story even better. The adventures of our heroine, October Schwartz, are too much fun. Though maybe not to her.

As the series title divulges, our human detective, who is in the ninth grade, is aided in her sleuthing by several non-living entities (ghosts). They of course have many (mis)adventures on the way to resolving their mysteries. Think Scooby-Doo meets Nancy Drew, meets Saved by the Bell, meets Rocky Horror (the narrator).

There are many pop culture references which the target audience is probably too young to get, so author Munday provides a helpful guide explaining those references. Shows how old I am, I understood most of the references without the guide.

I would advise whomever is in charge of such things, to reconsider labeling Loyalist to a Fault as for 8-12 year-olds. I think adults, at least those who still possess a sense of humor, will have fun reading this book. Seeing the book described as a children's book may discourage them from checking it out. This would be sad indeed, we all need a good, clean, fun read from time to time.

Loyalist to a Fault  is not serious (did I get that point across yet?), if you want serious, read War and Peace, if you want light-hearted fun, read Evan Munday's Loyalist to a Fault. Unless you are a full on grinch you'll like it. Enjoy!


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Andee The Aquanaut: Guardian of the Great Seas

Guardian of  the Great Seas, book one of  the Andee the Aquanaut Trilogy was given to me in e format by the author, Simon James House, for review.

Although at 60 years old I am not the target audience for this series, I did enjoy the book and I think in a few years my grandchildren may well enjoy it too. It is certainly interesting to see where children's fiction has gone since I was that age. Subject matter is much more "mature", authors now respect that children do not need to be fed watered down stories. At least this seems to be the approach of author Simon James House.

Guardian of the Great Seas deals with some fairly intense themes while maintaining a verbal level appropriate to the younger reader. There are of course, messages woven into the story but not in a heavy-handed way. It is, for the most part, upbeat and positive. It is a fun story that young readers can enjoy and fantasize about, being a part of.

I am not sure exactly at what age the author is aiming this book, with its length (160 pages), and some more mature themes, I would advise adult readers to consider the maturity level and attention span of the children with whom they wish to share this book. I don't mean to suggest that Guardian of the Great Seas is in any way a harmful book for children to read, but I am a former counselor, so my mind just naturally looks at things from that point of view.

Guardian of the Great Seas is a fun book that children will enjoy, and we all want children to foster the love of reading that so many of us possess. Enjoy!


The Watchers

I won a copy of The Watchers by Ashley Jensen, in a Goodreads Giveaway. Score!

I am continuously amazed at the level of talent the authors I find through Goodreads and Indie View demonstrate. The quality of the books I have read from indie authors is just incredible. How the big publishing houses ignore all this talent is beyond me. Ashley Jensen is one of those authors to whom I refer.

The Watchers is a very entertaining work. I believe it is the first in The Dead Sea Trilogy. The author has her work cut out for herself to equal or top this story. The main character, Aella, is an impressive heroine, though not necessarily in the classic tradition. Think Sheena meets Temperence Brennan, great fighting skills, brilliant mind, not so much on the people skills. A truly "flawed" leading lady, who many would label as a "bad guy", but is the only one who can solve the problem at hand. A great conflict.

There are great action sequences, Bible references, mythological parallels and cultural stereotypes. No sex, but you'll have to read the book to find out why. The way The Watchers developed, I expect there will more of Aella's backstory shared in following installments. I look forward to this as she is quite the interesting character.

Ashley Jensen does a great job of blending characters who inhabit a spiritual realm with people in the mundane world. It is at times hilarious, witnessing the "culture-clash". There is a lot going on in this first book to hold a readers interest. It took me less than 24 hours to finish.

If you are in the mood for a different kind of action/adventure story. One with a female heroine. The Watchers by Ashley Jensen should fill the bill admirably. Enjoy!


Friday, October 30, 2015

Montmartre Stairs: A Paris Love Story

Montmartre Stairs: A Paris Love Story, by Douglas Warren, came to me in the usual way, in exchange for an honest review.

This was a very different read for me as I don't usually review straight romance stories. But I'll admit, I really enjoyed this book. It took me a while to get past the feeling that something paranormal was about to happen. It is a straight forward whirlwind romance, the problems the lovers face are those of the real world only. Montmartre Stairs turned out to be a pleasant change from the darker book that I usually read.

Author Douglas Warren has not changed me into a big fan of the romance genre, but, he has shown me that an enjoyable story can be presented that is just a nice happy story. Of course there is some conflict and uncertainty to be overcome. There are good guys and bad guys, as well as personal agendas to deal with. Perhaps even more important than the main love story for me was the personal evolution of the main male character.

Though I can in no way claim any expertise when it comes to the romance genre, I can certainly claim Montmartre Stairs: A Paris Love Story is a very good book. I enjoyed it and believe true fans of the genre will as well. Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Prince of Conjurers

Usual Disclaimer: Free book yada, yada, yada.

Prince of Conjurers by Laurie L. Bolanos has to be listed among the best books I have read since I started reviewing. This book is just plain incredible.

I knew within the first few pages that I was going to love this book. The story is so compelling, spanning generations, cultures and continents. Set mainly in New Orleans, Prince of Conjurers tells a story of love, hate, good, evil, actions and their consequences. It is supremely complex without being confusing. Characters you know from other stories are woven into this riveting story. The Phantom of the Opera and Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau are main characters. Having never read Phantom of the Opera, I can't comment on how closely tied Prince of Conjurers is to that classic story.

At times I thought "I know where this is going", and sometimes I was right. But I quickly realized that this is where author Laurie L. Bolanos wants me to go. Then she would pull the rug out from under me as if to say "Gotcha". Predictable yet unpredictable at the same time. I thought I had the ending all figured out and in her way Bolanos blew me away with a twist I had no clue was coming.

Prince of Conjurers is a story of ultimate love and sacrifice, jealousy, revenge, privilege, desire and destiny. I just can't say enough about how enjoyable and entertaining this book is. As usual I have not looked at other reviews for Prince of Conjurers, but I expect they are similarly complimentary.

I read Ms. Bolanos' bio on Goodreads and Prince of Conjurers is the only book listed. If this is indeed her first or only book, what a debut! I hope this is not the only story she has to tell us.

If you like historical fiction and romance with fantasy, magic and cosmic undertones, you are going to love Prince of Conjurers by Laurie L. Bolanos. Enjoy!


Saturday, October 24, 2015

November Keys

Authors Brian and Michael Turner gave me an e-version of November Keys in exchange for a review (honest of course).

I liked this book, it didn't blow me away, but it was a pretty good read over all. First of all, and most important, the story was good, most characters were well developed, and interesting. There were fantasy beings that I had never heard of, always a good thing, and some very sneaky bad guys. Many of the characters were quirky and quite funny.

The story is set in England. Surprise for me as Keys immediately makes me think of Florida. Some of the colloquialisms were not familiar to my American ear. Not a bad thing by any means, just different.

My biggest problem with November Keys was a lack of balance. This is a story with a strong fantasy/mythological aspect still set in the "real" world. While the mythology was hinted at early in the story, it was so downplayed as to almost pass unnoticed. They didn't really appear in force until halfway through the book, then they were center stage. It just read a little abrupt for me. This may in fact have been the authors plan, but for me it was too much of a turn all at once.

The other thing that bothered me is a convention used by many authors, so I chalk it up to personal choice. When events in a story are leading to an important even climactic moment, many authors will then skip past the moment and reveal it in the past tense. Not my favorite story telling device: Here comes a big event and oops, it's over. Again, personal preference.

This is the debut offering from this father and son team. I think they show potential. November Keys is a good book, if a little clunky at times. I did enjoy it and I think other fantasy readers will as well. So, enjoy!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Iron Rage

No Disclaimer! I actually bought this book!

I admit it, I really like the Deathlands series, and Iron Rage is no exception. I own, and have read, between 90 and 100 of the books. I'm always on the lookout for the ones I am missing.

Iron Rage fulfills all the requirements for a Deathlands junkie. Action, action,and more, action. Graphic violence of the kind that, I think, discourages people from relying on vilence to solve their problems. The companions, as usual, try to avoid conflict, but surprise, they aren't allowed to. So in true Deathlands fashion they kick ass and don't bother with names.

Speaking of names, Iron Rage contains one of the great character names ever: Ermintrude Strank. Awesome name. Iron Rage takes place mainly aboard various ships. I tend to prefer when the companions are set in predark cities. But not every book can do this I guess.

Although I don't believe the Deathlands books are meant to be social commentary, they do promote the virtues of loyalty, friendship and integrity.

So, no these books are not great literature, but they are a lot of fun to read. If you are an action fan you will like Iron Rage. If you haven't read a Deathlands book yet, be prepared to be hooked. Of course you have 120+ books to catch up on. Be of good cheer however, because most of the books are stand alone stories so you can read them as you find them. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Soul Stone

Usual disclaimer: Given the e-book of The Soul Stone from author Jamie Marchant in exchange for review.

The Soul Stone is the second book in The Kronicles of Korthlandia series. I have not read the first book. Not a problem if you haven't either. Marchant does an excellent job of catching up the reader without rewriting the first book, which would bog down the story.

The Soul Stone is an awesome book for the epic fantasy reader. For me it has all the elements of an epic quest-type story. I wouldn't necessarily categorize it as a true quest, but it does involve one. As in any good fantasy, Author Marchant has incorporated, action, horror, sword & sorcery, myth, humor, love, compassion and selflessness. No wonder the book is 400 pages!

I new within the first few pages that I was going to love this book, it hooked me that quickly. The final chapters of the story, the true quest, were riveting. It was getting late, but I had to finish, there was just no way to put the book down!

There are many compelling characters so well developed that the reader will feel the emotions being expressed. Some are evil, some heartrendingly selfless, and others that will have you rooting for their cause. It speaks to the talent of an author to deftly weave the stories of so many characters and keep the book interesting, and the reader involved

I thoroughly enjoyed The Soul Stone by Jamie Marchant and highly recommend it. Enjoy!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Where Death is a Hunter

Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer, I was given a copy of Where Death is a Hunter by Christopher Stookey in exchange for my honest review.

Where Death is a Hunter is a medical mystery/ thriller. I'll admit, not the usual genre I read, but I liked this book very much.

The book tells the story of an anesthesiologist accused of negligence resulting in the death of a surgery patient. Told from the POV of the accused, it is a taut well crafted story. I was surprised how quickly I finished the book. It held me from cover to cover, and I finished it in a day. Length is not criteria for me when choosing a book, as I have mostly unlimited time to devote to reading. But for some, reading time is more limited. Where Death is a Hunter will not devour large blocks of elusive reading time.

I did not realize that author Stookey is in fact a doctor until about half way through the book. Though full of medical jargon, Where Death is a Hunter is not so technical that it is hard to understand. Definitely not written just for medical types, easy to read with out feeling "dumbed down" or condescending.

I heartily recommend Mr. Stookey's book Where Death is a Hunter to fans of thrillers in general and medical mysteries in particular. Enjoy!


How to Stop Wildfire

Author Sarah Sunday sent me an e-version of How to Stop Wildfire for review.

This book was a fun read. The file I received was, I hope, not the version that was put into print form. Quite a bit of proofreading was needed. A common problem nowadays, words were not misspelled, but incorrectly used, left out, etc. It seems too much reliance on spell check and auto correct may be the culprit. I try to separate editing issues from story, but sometimes the errors are so prevalent they take away from the enjoyment of the story. This version was right on the edge. Word to the wise;use a proofreader other than the author (fresh eyes). 'Nuff said.

These issues aside, How to Stop Wildfire is a lot of fun. It is a wild mix of sci-fi space fantasy, Greek Mythology, Egyptian Mythology, revenge, conquest, megalomania, technology and politics. That probably doesn't cover it, but it gives an idea of what's in store for you in this book. There is tragedy and triumph, humor and drama, sadness and euphoria enough to satisfy any reader. Sarah Sunday's universe is populated by the most interestingly diverse group of characters I have spent time with in quite a while. Hades ( yeah, that Hades) and Cyclone are absolutely hilarious. I dare you to not at least snicker when you encounter them. At times I thought to myself, "This Universe still exists by sheer luck alone!"

How to Stop Wildfire is the first of a series. It looks like it will be a great series to follow. These characters are just plain fun.

I think How to Stop Wildfire will be enjoyed by anyone who likes sci-fi, humor, and sometimes downright absurdity(in a good way). This is one of those books where the reader wants to ask; How did you ever come up with this story? It demonstrates a wildly creative mind! Anyway, Enjoy!


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Einstein's Beach House

Author Jacob M. Appel gave me a copy of Einstein's Beach House for review.

This book was better than most I receive with regards to editing, very few, if any, typos, misused words, etc.

But I have to say, Einstein's Beach House, was just not for me. I don't consider myself a dummy, but I guess I am not cerebral enough to understand this book. To me, the stories built the reader up in anticipation of the climax, then just kind of fizzled. Not bad, don't get me wrong, just kind of "ok the story is over, next!"

Appel does paint good word pictures. Detail and character building are spot on. I just found myself saying, "I just don't get it". There were humorous, sad, heartbreaking, and compelling portions of the story. For me, it was just those pesky endings.

The best comparison I can come up with by way of example is; remember the Twilight Zone, the viewer was taken for a ride that, at the end, had a twist you didn't see coming. The stories in this book were similar, with out the twist at the end.

Einstein's Beach House is a well constructed and presented book. I'm sure there is an audience for this book who will appreciate and enjoy the stories. They will understand the message. I do wish Mr. Appel good luck with this book and recommend it to readers who enjoy more cerebral works.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Reveal for Spark by Holly Schindler

I am helping with the reveal of Holly Schindler's Spark 
I was unable to post the artwork she sent me, sorry.
Below is info on the book

Holly Schindler’s Spark:
When the right hearts come to the Avery Theater—at the right time—the magic will return. The Avery will come back from the dead.
Or so Quin’s great-grandmother predicted many years ago on Verona, Missouri’s most tragic night, when Nick and Emma, two star-crossed teenage lovers, died on the stage. It was the night that the Avery’s marquee lights went out forever.
It sounds like urban legend, but one that high school senior Quin is now starting to believe, especially when her best friend, Cass, and their classmate Dylan step onto the stage and sparks fly. It seems that magic can still unfold at the old Avery Theater and a happier ending can still be had—one that will align the stars and revive not only the decrepit theater, but also the decaying town. However, it hinges on one thing—that Quin gets the story right this time around.
Holly Schindler brings the magic of the theater to life in this tale of family ties, fate, love, and one girl’s quest to rewrite history.
“In my hometown, the restoration of a former movie theater on the town square provided the genesis for my new YA novel, SPARK. Who among us hasn’t dreamed of seeing their name in blazing neon across a gigantic marquee? Let me invite you to dim the lights and draw back the velvet curtains—let your imagination run wild as you enter my fictional Avery Theater, where literally anything goes…”
—Holly Schindler
Holly Schindler is the author of three previous YA novels: PLAYING HURT as well as the critically acclaimed FERAL (starred PW review) and A BLUE SO DARK (starred Booklist review, ForeWord Book of the Year silver medal, IPPY gold medal). A writer of books for all ages, Schindler’s MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, has made the master list for children’s book awards in Illinois, South Carolina, and Alabama. She is also a hybrid author, having independently released comedic women’s fiction (FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS) and the forthcoming PLAY IT AGAIN, her adult follow-up to her YA PLAYING HURT. She can be reached through her author site:, and hosts special sneak peeks and giveaways for subscribers of her newsletter:
Spark “Premieres” May 17, 2016, but you can buy your “tickets” now. Links to pre-order -
Add to your TBR list -

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Gods of Blood and Bone

Gods of Blood and Bone by Azalea Ellis was given me in e-format in exchange for a review.

I knew within the first few pages that I was going to love this book. I was immediately caught up in the story. Basically, people are abducted and implanted with devices that put them into a "game" where they are forced to participate in vicious activities, if they are not successful they die, in the game and real life.

The author, Azalea Ellis, does a fantastic job of keeping the reader involved with little to no information about who the bad guys actually are. There were twists and turns I did not see coming.The characters were believable and sympathetic. I found myself emotionally attached to some of the characters, and was in turns angry, fearful, heartbroken, and happy with them.

The main characters are young adults. Sometimes that is not all that appealing to me because in other stories I've read adults are portrayed as lacking the ability and intelligence to effectively deal with the situation at hand.

There is justification for the youth of the main characters here that makes sense to the story line. There are adults actually included, and they have important, crucial parts to play.

There was a lot of action, sometimes graphic, woven together with humor, suspense, intrigue and intelligence. Although a strong action oriented story, it didn't rely on just battles with bad guys to keep the reader interested. There were times when thinking/ reasoning was how the characters resolved situations making a balanced and more believable story. The ending caught me by surprise, but made perfect sense. There is room for more in this story line, and I believe more is on the way. I hope so anyway.

From The author's Goodreads bio, it seems as Gods of Blood and Bone is her debut book. If this is not true, my bad. If it is a debut effort, it was a fantastic way to start, if not, it's still a fantastic book. I look forward to reading more from Azalea Ellis.

If you are a fan of action/ adventure/ fantasy, you will enjoy Gods of Blood and Bone. I urge you to check it out. Enjoy!


Saturday, October 3, 2015


I received a copy of Breakout by Kevin Scott Olson because I asked for one!

This book is great! I read it in one setting. Well, it's only 35 pages long, so...
But I am already hooked. I can't wait to read more of the exploits of Michael Quinn.

Basically it's military/espionage action story.

I really wish this book had been longer, I can't say how long I will be willing to follow a series 35 pages at a time. But, for now, I'm in! Great action, violent to be sure, but not so graphic as to spoil the story. The focus is on story, not gratuitous graphic violence, glib (read: stupid) witticisms, puns or other crutches often used in the genre.

My biggest complaint? The story's end. That was cold Mr. Olson. I don't do spoilers so you'll have to read the book to see what I mean.

If you like military-type action reads Breakout, is definitely meant for you. Enjoy!


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Woven Myths: A Slice of Quietude

Woven Myths: A Slice of Quietude by Sharon Cho was offered to me for review.

I was intrigued when offered this book because it featured female lead characters and was an action oriented story.

It was very refreshing to read a story with strong female characters that didn't reduce male characters to inconsequential idiots led around by their genitalia.

Yes, I get it, the main characters were building a same-sex relationship, and according to the authors acknowledgements, the book is an attempt to support same-sex relationships. Fine by me. I'm not gay, I don't really care if anyone else is. It's none of my business. I don't support the abuse of any group of people based on their beliefs, The most I have the right to say is I agree or disagree with their beliefs.

I know this is not the place for discussing my personal beliefs on any topic, but since the author offers the topic as an important aspect of her work, I couldn't ignore it and feel I had adequately reviewed her story.

A Slice of Quietude was for me, a great way to present such relationships in a nonthreatening and nonjudgmental way. The reader is not bludgeoned into accepting the characters relationships or even focus on them.

The story, at least as I experienced it, was more of a "buddy" action/ adventure. As in any action story, each character brought their own strengths and weaknesses to the group. There was humor, fear, danger, selflessness, camaraderie, and yes, romance.

A side comment: most action/ adventure/ quest type stories I have read almost always present an odd number of characters undertaking the quest. Usually five or seven. It has been so prevalent that I considered it a convention. So I was surprised by this book having four adventurers in the group. Nothing bad, just different.

If I haven't made it clear yet, I really enjoyed A Slice of Quietude. It was an exciting, packed story. The story line was complex enough to hold my interest and keep me involved until the end. Author Sharon Cho does not spare her characters because of their gender. They experience, and inflict, terrible violence. Cho gets down to business in painting a mental picture of the combat sequences. She paints wonderful pictures of the people and places her characters encounter, She supplies explanations of the mythic beliefs which guide the storiy.

So, If you want to read a story which supports same sex relationships A Slice of Quietude works.
If you want to read an action filled adventure, A Slice of Quietude works. If you want to read a good escapist fantasy novel without having to dwell on heavy social issues, A Slice of Quietude works.

Any way you slice it (get it?), A Slice of Quietude is a good time. Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Broken Dreamer

I finished reading an e-version of Broken Dreamer by H. Dhillon. I was given a copy in exchange for a review.

This book is a very quick read, on my e-reader it came in at 65 pages. But, WOW what an intense 65 pages!

Without giving anything away, it is the story on a man coming to terms with the direction his life has taken and working to restore his integrity. It is not a lighthearted read by any means, but I think many people will identify with the main character. How many people have looked back on their lives and thought, "this isn't the way I had planned it"? The main character in Broken Dreamer is confronted by life events which force him to ask this question.

Mr. Dhillon wrote this story in an interesting format. It reads almost as a stream-of-consciousness kind of monologue. It is a first person account voiced directly to the reader, I really liked this format. There is a lot of strong language, something I usually am not impressed by. However, in this setting it makes sense. Sometimes emotions are so intense there is no other way to express the depth of despair being experienced. So, be prepared, there are numerous f-bombs dropped.

In the final analysis, Broken Dreamer a powerful redemptive love story. I think it would be hard to not be moved by the journey of the main character.

If you are up for a short, but extremely powerful, few hours, Broken Dreams by H. Dhillon is the ticket. Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Apostates

I was recently given an e-version of The Apostates by LarsTeeney in exchange for an honest review.

I have a lot to say about this book. So, most important; I liked it. It's a great story! It shows what can happen in a society that unquestioningly accepts what its political and religious leaders feed them. I was somewhat  worried when I started the book because the author warned that the reader may be offended by some of the content. Well, I am a Christian and (I believe) a Patriot and I wasn't at all offended, mainly because I don't consider myself to be a mindless recipient of religious or political information. But wait, I'm supposed to be reviewing a book here.

The Apostates is a well told story with compelling characters, it is dark and heavy reading, but considering the topic, I guess that is to be expected. It is a very long book. It took me considerably longer to read than usual. All I'm saying is: Don't pick The Apostates as a quick read that you can plow through quickly, be prepared to spend some time here. That is not a bad thing. The story is worth the time you will spend with it.

I received an early version of the book so I won't focus on editing problems as I expect those either have been, or are in the process of being, corrected. The Apostates is the debut offering by Lars Teeney and reflects some of the difficulties inherent in a new book, so I am willing to look past those errors and focus on the most important question. Is this book worth my precious reading time?

The answer is a resounding, Yes! Mr. Teeney is good at building tension, holding interest, and making the reader be interested in what happens to the characters. As regards the length of the book, I think that the story line relating to WWII could have been a novel in itself. There was enough detail and story there to stand as either a prequel to or companion of the main book. Although interesting and very well written, I don't feel it was essential to the over all flow of the story. I did enjoy this part and am glad I read it. I wouldn't want it to go away, but offered as another book in a series would be better for me.

One thing I forgot; a character in this book drives a 1968 Dodge Charger. Only the greatest car ever made! (Personal opinion, but it's my blog and I can say it if I want.)

Seriously though, The Apostates touches on many genres; history, politics, religion, romance, action adventure, horror, scifi, technology, military, need I go on? It also evokes many and varied emotions as the reader connects with various characters.

A book this long invariably leaves natural openings for sequels. One that screams sequel to me is the story of Angel. I would love to read the continuation of her story (are you listening Mr. Teeney?). There are other characters whose stories would make good reading as well. And, of course the main story is not necessarily finished.

Lars Teeney represents what I love about where I have been led with this blog; a fresh voice with a new focus who doesn't appear to be pumping out stories to satisfy a publisher. I have found that the literary horizon is so much broader that I ever imagined! It is authors like Mr. Teeney and the many others I have reviewed here that have enlightened me. So thank you for that.

As I reread my review here, it seems to me that it reflects the book, I hope that I have adequately shown that The Apostates operates on several levels. When you read this book I expect you will experience it on many levels.

Enjoy The Apostates, I think you will like it.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Re-post: Ebenezer Scrooge: Ghost Hunter

I am re-posting my first review on this blog to help in the event currently under way for Ebenezer Scrooge: Ghost Hunter.

Go to the following link to enter the give away for a $100 gift card from Amazon

Ebenezer Scrooge: Ghost Hunter

Hi! This is the first post at my new blog (I hope it works).

The first book I want to review is Ebenezer Scrooge: Ghost Hunter, by Jaqueline Kyle.

I gave this book 5 stars on goodreads .com. I had entered a giveaway for the book when I found it in the firstreads giveaway. When Ms. Kyle acknowledged my entry, I told her how much a fan I am of any story based on A Christmas Carol. She offered me a pdf copy of the book since it is not yet available in print.

I had the honor of posting the first review of this work. I don't want to repeat word for word the review I posted at goodreads, you can read it there.

But I want to say here; This book is great! Ms. Kyle did such a seamless job of blending her words with Mr. Dickens that I couldn't tell where he left off and she began. She wove new storylines for the characters while remaining true to the original story. For me she made Scrooge a more sympathetic character. She included many of the details which appear in the different film versions of the story.

I read this book start to finish in one day, with only a break for dinner, it is that good. I found the interaction between Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past to be exceptionally exciting, it really grabbed me.

Ebenezer Scrooge: Ghost Hunter is expected to be available September 1, 2015., from PYP Publishing Group.

So, I know the book is not available yet, but watch for it, it will be worth your time.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Stones of Saldea: The Rebirth of Galadrin

Stones of Saldea: The Rebirth of Galadrin by Colin M. Vaughan is another one of those books I won in a First Reads Giveaway, That took me a long time to receive. Apparently the author had some issues at print time that delayed the process. Stuff happens, thanks Colin for following through and getting me my copy.

I thought this was a very good book. It was well written, with just enough humor so that I didn't feel bludgeoned by the story. It's pretty graphic and dark in places. I enjoy "dark" stories, but if they stay in that mode too long they become too oppressive and leave me in a dark mood. Stones... is well balanced. There is humor, as I said, some romance, honor, bravery, duty, loyalty, beauty, and tranquility. Mr. Vaughan does a very good job of balancing these many facets of the story in such a way as to not lose the main thrust of the story: Good vs Evil.

Stones... is the first in a series. I like how the book ended, you know more is coming, but it doesn't leave you hanging. I always like this in a series. If, while reading I get the feeling that I'm going to be left with a cliffhanger, it tends to distract from my over all enjoyment. When the story is left at a more natural breaking point, I finish feeling more satisfied with the story. Personally I think that cliffhangers can be used to cover a weak story. Not always of course, but I think it takes more talent to end an installment of a continuing series without the cliffhanger. This doesn't mean each installment has to be a stand alone by any means. Okay, enough editorializing, back to the review.

Stones... is engaging and entertaining. I really liked the interplay between human and nature. The subplots are interesting and serve to bring the characters alive. It is a multi layered story which kept me involved the whole way. Although the story stresses the alliance of man and animal, I didn't see this as a disguised eco-comment. I appreciate this, I find "disguised" messages annoying and story killing. (There I go again! Sorry!)

Bottom line good book, worth the wait I had. I look forward to the next installments. If you like action/ adventure, humor,and good vs evil in your reading you will certainly enjoy Stones of Saldea: The Rebirth of Galadrin. Enjoy!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Mine

Disclaimer: The Mine by John A. Heldt was given to me in e-form in exchange for a review.

I enjoy most books I review because, lets face it, I chose them. I don't accept books that don't interest me. That said, The Mine is among the books that I have enjoyed reading and reviewing the most.

This kind of surprised me because although I generally enjoy time-travel stories as part of the greater sci-fi genre, they are not what I usually seek out. What I was initially told about this story was enough to pique my interest.

The story went so far beyond that initial interest it's hard to explain. The Mine is so moving, it just captivated me. It starts out as a mostly comic buddy story and evolves along the way into a great love story. As my review guidelines state, I don't review straight romance stories. The Mine is nowhere near a straight romance story. It is light-hearted and  yet deeply serious at the same time. The romance that grows throughout the book is truly a treat to witness.

The main character is faced with a great dilemma; to use or not to use the knowledge of coming events to his advantage. I believe the author strikes a good balance here. The main character also matures as the story progresses. He understands the responsibility inherent in the knowledge he holds.

All of this set in a more innocent and simple time. I wouldn't spoil the ending for anything, but the story sets it up so well that only the most jaded reader would not find it incredibly moving.

If the reader is a fan of comedy, adventure and yes, romance, The Mine is a great way to spend some time. I believe you too will be captivated by a beautifully told story that will make you smile and leave you with a good feeling. Enjoy!


Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Fire Sermon

I won The Fire Sermon as part of a First reads give away quite some time ago but didn't receive it. After contacting Francesca Haig to let her know I finally received the book.

I'm glad I took the effort to track down The Fire Sermon this is a good book! It hooked me emotionally as well as intellectually. A post-apocalyptic story (one of my favorite kinds) which forcefully details the depravity humans can sink to in their treatment of each other.

There is a lot of action, adventure (though that may be a misrepresentation, read terror), intrigue and just plain nastiness. Balancing this (thankfully) are moments of true tenderness, love and compassion. I invite you to read The Fire Sermon for yourself to see how it works out.

I'm unsure if this is meant to be the launch of a series. It does end in a way that allows for such. Not a cliffhanger ending (thank you), but an opening for more. Personally I'd like to read more about these characters.

My biggest criticism would be that the antagonist side of the story is not that detailed. We see in great detail what the protagonist is experiencing and it is very well done. I suppose the story is about her after all, but a little more detail about what her "enemy" is doing would have been nice. The antagonist story is of course there but not in a way that explains it as well.

That said, I still think this is a great book, well written and engaging. My criticism, though valid, did not diminish my over all enjoyment of the story. It kind of worries me that Ms Haig could come up with such a frightening scenario for the future (she seemed like such a nice lady in her bio). Okay, I'm joking, but it is a scary story.

The Fire Sermon is definitely worth your time. Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Walk in Flesh

The e-version of Walk in Flesh by Peter Bailey was given to me in exchange for a review.

The premise of this book is a twist on the usual assassin type story. Neil is an assassin, but the way he works is the twist. (You know I don't do spoilers, so you'll have to read the book to know what the twist is.) Walk in Flesh sci fi with political intrigue and current world events. Political ethics(?) are explored as are fundamental Islamic tradition. Male archetypes are employed to show the conflicts of Neil and how these are exploited.

Walk in Flesh ties all of this into an exciting action/adventure. This is a tight story with a limited number of characters who are integral to the plot. Not a lot of different people to keep track of. I believe this serves the action/adventure format well. The plot can more easily support the action.

I really liked this book! A relatively easy read, it moves along at a rapid pace. It took me on a wild ride of emotions. The sympathetic portrayal of the lead female character was endearing, I couldn't help but root for her.

There is a little bit of psychological drama, but not overpoweringly so. As a retired psychotherapist I don't really care to read books with a heavy psychological plot. Been there done that. Enough here to tell the story without bogging it down.

Peter Bailey did an excellent job of keeping the story focused and moving. I recommend Walk in Flesh to anyone who enjoys action stories, it will keep you involved to the end. Enjoy!


Monday, September 7, 2015

Sword of Honor

Sword of Honor by David Kirk was a first reads giveaway prize.

The historical time of the Samurai has always been a favorite of mine.About thirty-five years ago I studied a form of martial arts. I studied Eishin Ryu Iaido for a few years in Southern California. 

Without being taught his history I was familiar, through my studies, with the name of Miyamoto Musashi. 

Mr. Kirk uses the western form of name presentation; given name/ family name in his book. Although not an impediment to my enjoyment of this book, it never ceased to sound wrong to my ear to have the main character referred to as Musashi Miyamoto instead of the reverse as I learned of him. Kirk does explain this in the intro to Sword of Honor so it can't be counted a error.

This book is great! The glimpse into medieval Japanese society is interesting. 

Without spoiling the story, Musashi is opposed to the Way, Bushido, the subservience of the Samurai to a Lord. This book is fiction, so I can't attest to any historical accuracy related to Musashi's thoughts or actions. The story is exciting and heart-wrenching at the same time. There are several characters forced to deal with self-doubt about how they fit into their world. This makes the story more believable to me, and the various characters more sympathetic. 

Sword of Honor is at once a story of  self-discovery, love, compassion, and cultural evolution, set in a time when personal freedom did not exist. There is plenty of action for those interested in sword fighting. The author does a good job of describing how the katana is used in combat.

The copy I was given is a bound galley, so I assume the few typos I encountered either have or will soon be corrected.

Sword of Honor will be enjoyed by anyone interested in the time period, the culture of medieval Japan, or just coming of age stories. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think you will too. Enjoy!


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Even Peons are People: Interplanetary Justice

I have just finished reading Even Peons are People: Interplanetary Justice in an e-book format.
I was given this book in exchange for a review.

Even Peons are People: Interplanetary Justice is a combination of several genres; space sci-fi, action adventure, murder mystery,military, legal and political intrigue. And well combined I might add.

The author using the name D-PAK has crafted quite an interesting tale. Lots of drama and action with a healthy dose of mystery as well. We know who done it, how he done it and where he done it, but we don't know why he done it. That is the crux of the story.

There are word spellings  and one particular sex scene that point to D-PAK'S UK roots. But that is just an observation, nothing really to do with the story.

There are several twists and turns as one would expect with a politically based mystery. I read the second half of the book in one sitting. The pace and excitement kept building to the climax, keeping me riveted to the story. The main characters built in complexity as the story progressed and were well developed by the end.

Constructive (I hope) criticisms; First, I trust this version is not the final edit as there were more than a few typo type errors. Second, there were a lot of notes explaining unfamiliar words and tech labels.This in itself was not a problem. It may just be that I am not well versed in using the e-format, but trying to go to the end of the book and find the note then get back to the story was difficult for me. I ended up not reading the notes. Those are the only things that jumped out at me. Again, this may just be my inexperience and would not bother anyone else.

It is a very enjoyable read, and I highly recommend it to readers of the genres I listed. Definitely a read worthy book. I think you will enjoy it!


Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Circle Around Forever

I received an e-version of A Circle Around Forever in exchange for an honest review.

This is an awesome book! It's kind of hard to describe without giving away spoilers (which you know I hate).

Author Robert K. Swisher Jr. has told an epic tale of life, love, and deep emotion in a generation spanning story that will at times break your heart, fill you with rage, lift you to heights of joy, lower you depths of despair. What more could you ask from a book?

The characters are so compelling you can't help but experience many mixed emotions about each of them. It is at times a very painful book to read, and I feared I would not be able to finish it because of the emotions it stirred in me. I think this speaks to the skill of the story teller, to wring such powerful feelings out of a reader is a true gift. Obviously (and happily), I did finish the book. And, I am so glad I did!

The joy and subtle humor of the ending is too delicious to miss. I can't express adequately how emotionally satisfying A Circle Around Forever is.

Readers of my reviews will undoubtedly see that I generally give positive reviews of the books I read (why shouldn't I? I only read books that interest me), but A Circle Around Forever went well beyond mere enjoyment of a book. It truly touched me emotionally. There is really nothing I can add to this review that would be of value.

I strongly encourage you to read A Circle Around Forever, but be prepared, it may well be to you what it was to me, more than just a really good book. Enjoy!


Bone Box

Author Jay Amberg offered me an eversion of his book Bone Box in exchange for an honest review, so here goes!

The story is set in a Turkish archaeological dig. Most of the main characters are well developed and complex. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized what the relationship between the main male and female characters would be (ha-ha, no spoiler).

The overall mood of the book was maintained throughout, even as characters relocated and interacted with new characters.

I can see how fundamental religious readers could find things they disagree with or may even be offended by. My response to them would be: It's fiction!

The premise; a long buried archaeological find which could set the world on its ear, is not necessarily new. But Bone Box is a refreshing story that I found to be unpredictable and entertaining. There is plenty of action, adventure, murder and mayhem for the most jaded action reader. 

The locale, while obvious in the context of the story, was interesting to me. I've not read many books set in the desert climes of this book. Amberg did well to convey the feeling of day to day life in the area. Not so much the social aspects, although they are there, but how uncomfortable the climate would be for non-locals.

The action and intrigue of Bone Box held my interest until the very end.

I think this will be an enjoyable read for any action/adventure reader. Definitely worth the read. Enjoy!


Warrior Lore

Warrior Lore was provided to me by author Ian Cumpstey in exchange for an honest review. Lucky for him, it's the only kind I write!

Warrior Lore is a collection of English translations of Scandinavian/Norse Mythology and epic poetry. Being of German descent, I was immediately interested in reading this work.

The collection obviously represents a tremendous amount of work. Translating with an eye to maintaining the integrity of the original seems to me to be a true labor of love.

Author Cumpstey is not the "creator" of the tales told here, so I can't speak strictly to his writing as such. But, I can express my respect and admiration for his academic effort. The humor, heroics, pathos and grandeur of these stories speak for themselves.

I greatly enjoyed Warrior Lore, and recommend it to anyone with an interest in mythology and stories of epic and heroic deeds. Enjoy!


The Curse of the Neverland

I won The Curse of the Neverland in a First Reads giveaway.

I think this book is intended more for females than males, but I still enjoyed it.

The story is a continuation of sorts of Peter Pan. The heroine is Peter Pan's granddaughter. A great premise for the story. Author Lindy MacLaine does a good job of connecting the new story to the classic.

A lot of message here, especially for girls. The author has even included discussion questions at the end of the book. The story concluded: The end of book one. So I expect there will be more to come.

Young girls will probably love this, and forthcoming books, immensely. Woven into the lessons of teamwork, self confidence, and friendship are; action, humor, and anger.

Although, as an older male, I am clearly not a part of the target audience for The Curse of the Neverland, this was still an enjoyable read.

As I said before, it is targeted at a younger female audience. I do think it will be a welcome and valuable addition to that genre. I recommend it for that audience. Enjoy!



My copy of Infernous by Zachary R. Zinn is the result of a First Reads giveaway.

Infernous is a very interesting work. It's the story of  demonic possession from the point of view of the possessed rather than just a witnessing of affected parties. This was new for me. Books I've read from this genre don't usually focus on the victim's understanding of their experience.

I enjoyed Infernous. At 83 pages it was a very fast read (it only took me an hour). It was fast-paced and action packed. There was no part of the story that lagged for me. It's not a story that will probably stay with me for a long time, but it was a good quick read.

Infernous is a dark story. It's not a feel good story. Everyone does not live happily ever after.(hope that is not too much of a spoiler)

My only criticism is that it may be too short. I didn't really get to know/connect with characters.

If you enjoy dark scary stories, Infernous works on those levels, and I think it would be worth your time to read. Enjoy!



I received a copy of Wysteria by Howard D. Beebe as a First Reads giveaway.

I don't really have the words to say how much I loved this book! Wysteria explores the world of lucid dreaming. I know very little about this topic, but I know this is a good book.

It is one of the most positive and uplifting stories I have read in a while. The author weaves a tale of fantasy, romance, action and adventure. Many questions about the nature of dreaming, and the dream world, are explored.

There are good guys, bad guys, and in between guys. Goddesses, nymphs, immortals and everyday people. The story is so well told that my disbelief was immediately suspended and I was completely engrossed in the story. It moves along at a good pace. Even at 350 pages I read it in a matter of a few days. Wysteria is one of those books that you will be sorry has ended.

The book is written in such a way that a sequel is possible, but personally I don't think I would want one. The story is complete as is. Anything more would seem to me to be just more words. Of course I could be wrong, I'm not a writer, and Mr. Beebe has proven to me he is a word-master.

Wysteria is a story you will feel good after reading. I highly recommend it. Enjoy!



Friday, August 21, 2015

The Protocols of Uma

The Protocols of Uma was provided to me as an ebook in exchange for an honest review. So, here we go.

I did enjoy this book. It read like it was doing a lot of set up for things to come. The story was interesting enough to hold my interest and whet my appetite for more. There are a lot of unresolved questions, and since it is the start of a series, has a to-be-continued kind of ending.

There are multiple story lines to follow, several different characters. None of which are there merely there to take up space. Each has their own story, their own motivation, and their own integral part of the story. Not a lot of action as yet, but again I felt this book was laying the groundwork for the next book(s) in the series.

I have connected to several characters and eagerly await the opportunity to see what comes next. I found Protocols..., to be more cerebral. I caught myself asking questions, such as; why did they do that? How did they expect to maintain this? I usually accept a story as it is presented, so this reaction was different for me. Not better or worse, just different.

All this to say, Protocols of Uma is a good book, the time to read it. But, be prepared to get caught up in a series that will keep you wanting more, and having to wait for the next installment. (I'm not the most patient person in the world but, what ya gonna do?))



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ardalia:Turquoise Water

Turquoise Water is the second book in the series about Ardalia, introduced in The Breath of Aoles.

As a sequel, Turquoise Water is absolutely great! The characters continue to grow and evolve with the story. This doesn't always happen. Often, sequels merely place the same characters in a different setting. Not here.

Turquoise Water not only continues the story began in Breath of Aoles, but elevates it. All the characters are expanded, developed more fully, and held true to their nature. The story builds in action, anticipation, and complexity. New characters are introduced as the story builds.

You know by now I try not to do spoilers, nut the fate of their world is in jeopardy.

I gave Breath of Aoles 4 out of 5 stars only because the ending was fust too abrupt for me. Not so this time. I gladly give Turquoise Water a full 5 stars. I still have that general disappointment at having to wait for the finale, but it was much smoother this time. If you can say that for a continuing story.

Turquoise Water, is not a stand alone book by any means. You need to read Breath of Aoles, to completely understand and enjoy Turquoise Water. But hey, I said the first book was great so go for it!


Friday, August 14, 2015

Braile House

Disclaimer: I won Braile House in a first reads giveaway.

Braile House is a seriously good horror story. Author James Wayne King (interesting last name for a horror writer) created a wonderfully scary story. He intertwined several characters story lines into one epic tale of supernatural terror. Of course the story is far from a one-dimensional horror story. King weaves in just the right amount of humor, action, adventure, romance, and yes, sex, to keep the reader engaged and not just stuck in the overall darkness of the story.

Covering a span of some 20 years, Braile House shows evils intrusion into the lives of several otherwise disconnected people. The dark mood is carried and intensified throughout. Even in the "lighter" parts of the story, the reader knows the evil is not far away.

The only down side for me is that, at times, the story is a little disjointed. Perhaps it is just me, but occasionally I had difficulty knowing which character was talking. I sometimes had to read several sentences to know whose story line I was in. This is a minor criticism as it didn't happen that often, but for me it did happen. This is the only reason I did not give the fifth star.

I recommend Braile House to any lover of a good scary story. It held my interest and I'm guessing it will hold yours.


Sunday, August 9, 2015


I just finished reading Godforsaken by Suren Hakobyan. I received an e version of this book in exchange for a honest review, so here it is.

I really enjoyed this book. At first I wasn't sure about this book. I often fear that books focused on angels, demons or other paranormal type themes are designed to proselytize a particular religious viewpoint. I didn't get that feeling from Godforsaken, If that is author Hakobyan's intention here, it got by me.

What this book does have is a compelling story. Action, intrigue, sibling rivalry, family politics, romance, a little sex, are all woven into a story where the reader (at least me) doesn't know for sure who the good guys or bad guys truly are. The only character I could root for completely was the heroine Lily. Everyone else was a mixture of conflicting motivations and virtues/vices.

All of this makes Godforsaken a roller coaster of a read, twists and turns, ups and downs, but always building in anticipation.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint, Godforsaken is part of a series. Unfortunately, the story is not resolved in this book. Fortunately, there is more to read in the next book. I look forward to it.

Godforsaken is a story well worth reading if you enjoy the themes I've already listed.

I recommend Godforsaken. Enjoy!


Monday, August 3, 2015

The Voyage (The Osteria Chronicles #2)

First things first. I received an eformat copy of The Voyage through firstreads.

Now, to the important part. This book is awesome! The story kept my attention throughout. I studied mythology in college a hundred years ago so I had some understanding of the characters prior to this reading.

The interactions of the gods and mortals was inspired. Seeing the gods behaving badly was a treat. This is not a kids version of Greek Mythology. Pretty racy at times but not too graphic. A good adult read. Not just for the sex, but for the intricate interweaving of story lines and character development.

As for the next installment in this series, two things:
One, we're going to need more rating stars, and
Two, Is it ready yet?!

I can't wait to read the conclusion to this trilogy 

Ardalia: The Breath of Aoles (Ardalia #1)

I really loved this book!

I received a pdf version of this book from the author. That is why it took me so long to read, I had to read on my computer.

The story is great. Lots of adventure, action, some romance. The main character's coming of age is great to follow. He is overcoming the arrogance of youth, and realizing other cultures often have much to offer. I don't usually go out of my way to read "message" books. This didn't have the feel of a message story. The lessons are well integrated into the story.

The author has great descriptive skill. There are subplots, twists and intricacies enough to satisfy the most jaded of readers. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

The only reason I did not award the fifth star in this review may seem petty or unimportant to some. I didn't give it solely because of the ending. I understand this book is part of a series, I get it. But, the ending is just too abrupt for me. The action of the moment was resolved, so it is not a classic cliff-hanger as such.

All around a great read. I recommend this book.


Ascension Denied

First, the disclaimer. I won this book in a first reads giveaway.

Now about he book. WOW! What a ride. This story has it all; comedy, drama, suspense, intrigue, action, you name it. Political corruption in purgatory...awesome!

I loved this story. The characters were very well developed. The story was intricate and interesting. Fallible angels, flawed administrators, and quirky denizens made this a highly entertaining read.

I hope the E.A,A, Wilson has more stories planned for these characters. I look forward to them.

This is most definitely a book worth reading. I expect to hear much more from this author.




Yeah it was a freebie through first reads.

Trespassers has it all; humor, drama, suspense, action. A well written, tight story with strong character development. Each character has their strengths and weaknesses, making them more believable and sympathetic.

The story grabbed me on the first page and held me throughout. It is one of those books that keeps you reading until the end with anticipation. The story builds to a more than satisfying conclusion with a few twists thrown in for good measure. For me, one of those books you are a little sorry to see end.

Trespassers would make a great movie.

I hope to read more from these authors, they know their stuff! Thanks guys for a great read.

Mike Siedschlag

Exodus (Shadow of the Mountain #1)

Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer. I won this book in a firstreads giveaway.

Wow, the Exodus as experienced by an Egyptian. What a great premise. I don't know if any other author has done this. This was a first for me.

One might think that this would make the story less than complimentary to Judaism. Quite the contrary, it reinforces the Judeo-Christian belief. I was so impressed by the passion, compassion and sympathy with which the story was told. To experience the story as Egyptian commoners endured the Ten Plagues without really knowing why was very powerful. The people were paying for their Pharaoh's arrogance.

Obviously this is a work of fiction. Caleb, the main character is a Biblical figure but not in the detail presented here. Cliff Graham has crafted a plausible backstory rich in detail. A true story of redemption.

I will be watching for more books in this series. This book is incredible!


Revealing Hannah: The Myth of Cassandra

This book is fantastic!

Oh yeah, I received Revealing Hannah as a firstreads giveaway.

There are a few typo's in this book, but I don't know if this is the finished product or not. It looks like the proofreader got so engrossed in the story they forgot to watch for mistakes. It happens.

I like it for so many reasons. There is depth to the characters, they surprise me at times. They evolve and grow as the story progresses.

The concept od gods behaving badly is one i've read before, but i've not read a story where (spoiler alert) gods from two different cultures mix it up.

Anyone who has read my reviews knows I don't get all that excited by the "message" of the books I read. I know they all have them, but I prefer they not beat me over the head with preaching their message. Revealing Hannah works well for me in that respect. I'll let you read the book and find the message for yourself.

There is intrigue, both political and psychological, unrequited love (lust), sexual tension, humor (lots of humor) and the lampooning of social convention. This book contains all of these elements, and more, without locking into any one of them as the main vehicle for telling the story.

For me, at times the book is laugh out loud funny. At other times it is heartbreaking. It is great sci-fi fantasy. A true heroine-against-her-will fights gods, demons, social convention, boys, parents and herself to save the world. What more could you want?

I almost forgot. What I like most about this book is... THE ENDING! So many books, especially serials tend to resolve the crisis and end the book. If your lucky you get a one or two paragraph epilogue. Not with Revealing Hannah, the author does a great job of getting the characters home and back into their real lives. As a reader, I feel this is truly finishing the story. Thank you Laura Fedolfi for giving me a satisfying conclusion.

Intelligent, witty and fun. Read this book, you won't be sorry.


Fall of a Demigod

I received this book in the mail yesterday. I won it in a firstreads giveaway.

This book is really really good! The back of the book says that this is Mr. Martinez' first romance. Great job! You should write more of these.

I intended to give the book a quick look to get the idea of what to expect. I wound up reading the book cover to cover (it's short-about 86 pages or so). It grabbed me right away and held me til the end.There was action a plenty, but it is ultimately a love story.

I don't usually read "romance novels", don't get me wrong, I like romance as a part of a story. I just prefer it be a part of the larger story, not the main focus. In Fall of a Demigod there is no doubt the love story is the main focus. But the author wove the action in so skillfully that I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I read and reviewed another of Mr. Martinez' books and was pretty harsh on the editing so I was a little nervous about how Fall of a Demigod would read. Well... there were a few problems here and there, but they did not interfere with the story at all. A smooth, fast-paced read.

Mr. Martinez has demonstrated what a great storyteller he is. I recommend this book to romance and/or action readers, you won't be disappointed.


The Ungifted Elf

Disclaimer: I won this book in a Firstreads giveaway.

I am reviewing this book/short story on two different levels.

First (and foremost), the story. Good story. It held my interest and engaged me, making me care about the characters and what happened to them. A good mix of action/adventure and introspective narrative. I think it is appropriate for middle aged readers. With only a couple of exceptions focused on sexuality that are not explained well enough for a young reader to understand. They weren't graphic but could lead to some confusion.

I think this story could be expanded into a full length novel and even be a platform to launch a series around these characters. I would be interested in following the adventures of Eckxio. Will he reconnect with Daneera? Will we learn more about Nana? There seems to me to be adequate fodder for future writing.

Second, The mechanics of the book. It's hard to identify what exactly is going on here. At times it reads as though it was not written originally in English. A kind of clunky translation. Or, perhaps, it was edited by spell check and auto correct. Many incorrect words (spelled correctly) such as "vanish" where "vanquish" was probably meant, "from where it came from", "retrieved" instead of "retreated".

These are mechanical problems which can be remedied with proper editing. I understand how difficult editing a book can be as I have helped in that process recently. These problems unfortunately detracted from my overall enjoyment of the story. It was impossible to maintain a comfortable flow of reading because I had to keep trying to figure out what the proper word should be.

Mechanical issues aside, I truly enjoyed the story and look forward to reading more of A.J. Martinez's work.

Shadow Out of the Sky

WOW! This has got to be one of the creepiest books I have ever read!

I got a pdf of the book when Brick Marlin (great name) offered me an e-version through firstreads. Unfortunately I don't have an e-reader so I had to read the pdf on my laptop.

This was probably good since I like to read in bed. I'd have never gotten to sleep! Or, would have had nightmares for sure.

Since this pdf was probably not the finished product, there were a few typos and such, but they did not detract from the overall effect. This is one seriously, grisly, horror filled story. A wide variety of characters to root for or against; some good, some, not so much. Intertwined through the terror was a thread of ultimate justice, but this did not read as the "message" of the book.

If you like your horror graphic, grisly and nonstop, This book is for you.

You've been warned!

Thanks Mr. Marlin, great book.

Mike Siedschlag

Blue Lights In A Jar

I didn't know what to expect when I started to read this book.

I received a pdf copy from the author through first reads. He included Blue Lights in a Jar along with the book that originally caught my attention, Bonus!

Blue Lights in a Jar is hard to categorize, it takes religious tenants and explores them in a slightly skewed way. Kind of like the old Twilight Zone. Concepts like Purgatory, Death and Heaven were central to a suspenseful story. The characters were engaging and sympathetic. Though not preachy it was somewhat of a morality tale. It is a well crafted story, action oriented with twists and turns I didn't see coming. Characters to root for, and against.

Unlike the other book I've read by this author, Blue Lights in a Jar was not gruesome. It was still unsettling and spooky in its way, but not terror filled. More of a thinkers spooky. It made me think about my life and what awaits me in the afterlife.

I thoroughly enjoyed Blue Lights in a Jar and recommend it to anyone who likes to think while they read. Not deep philosophical thoughts, but as the comedian used to say; "Things that make you go hmm".

Mike Siedschalg

Number of the Beast: Paladin Cycle, Book One (Paladin Cycle #1)

I recently received this book in both audio and print formats as part of first reads.

I started with the audio format as that was the first one I was given. I was enjoying it but it was hard to find time to just sit and listen. When I received the print version I switched to that.

This book is everything promised; suspenseful, sexy, violent, graphic, twisted, mysterious, romantic and demonic, but mostly... entertaining! I really got into this story. There is so much in this book, Max Redford and Lita Stone have created not just a universe, but a "multiverse" bringing several planes of existence together to tell this story.

I don't like to write spoilers in my reviews, so suffice to say I loved the prologue by God, and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. I wasn't able to predict too much of what was going to happen in the story. I have my ideas about some of the characters in the next installment of the story. But now I have to wait for the next book... oh well.

So, if you like your reading to be a maze of action, adventure, violence, sensuality, romance, politics and intrigue, this book is probably for you.

I recommend this book highly while echoing the authors warning: Mature content: adult language, graphic (sometimes twisted) sex, gore and violence (Quoted from the back cover). I'll admit, this warning almost scared me off. I'm really glad it didn't, although I would suggest you not play the audio version in front of your pastor, priest or rabbi.

So thank you Mr. Redford and Ms. Stone for this great book! I look forward to the rest of the story.

Mike Siedschlag

He Who Walks in Shadow (That Which Should Not Be #2)

Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer... I received He Who Walks in Shadow as a first reads winner.

I really liked this book (hence 4 stars). It is action, adventure, horror, mystery, a little romance, and a few other adjectives that escape me at the moment.(creepy, eerie, historical, paranormal, demonic)

It was even educational; I learned what omphaloskepsis means. (If you already know my hat's off to you).

He Who Walks in Shadow hooked me from the get go. I often caught myself reading as fast as I could as though the story might move on with out me. I would have to tell myself to calm down, that the book wasn't going anywhere without me. It kept building in excitement and anticipation and did not fail in achieving a satisfying climax. While caught up in one of these manic reading episodes, I was reading before bed as I often do, I was so engrossed that I kept reading until I could literally not keep my eyes open. I had about 30 pages left and was so disappointed that I couldn't stay awake to finish!

This story, presented as the journals of several of the characters, blended very well. I have read other books where this style comes across choppy and somewhat difficult to follow. Not so here.

For me this book was a true page turner from the beginning. I don't often say this even for books i really like. I found myself looking forward to the time I could get back to the book.

High recommendations. If you like any of the genres this story crosses, He Who Walks in Shadow is worth the time you'll spend with it.

Mike Siedschlag