Saturday, December 31, 2016

Zero One, Zero Two: We Are All Dead

I won a print copy of Zero One, Zero Two: We Are All Dead by Amanda Baker in a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway.

Zero One, Zero Two is a scifi story, but probably not like you are used to. It certainly was not what I was expecting. It is told as a memoir mixed with current action. There is also a healthy amount of poetry mixed in as well. I am no authority on poetry style, all I can say is that it is not nursery rhyme, every line rhymes, poetry.

Also a commentary on human history, a very cynical and angry commentary. A "glass is half empty" kind of commentary, or more accurately; the "unfairness that some people didn't even get a glass" observation. It seemed to be trying to make me feel guilty for ever enjoying any amount of success when others weren't so fortunate. I can't (or won't) say that the commentary is wrong, or even that I necessarily disagree with it, but I do maintain that it is negatively skewed.

But as a story, Zero One, Zero Two is well presented and entertaining. Dystopic society and an exaggerated reliance on technology have had their way with humanity. Again, I'm not well versed in poetic style, but I did enjoy most of the poetry included. The story is well focused and the main character is sympathetic. It is a tale told during a particularly bleak period and there is little reprieve from that bleakness. But there are some brighter moments. A good thing for me or the book would have been just too depressing.

So, although my review may sound more negative (and that is the tone of the book), I did enjoy it and am glad to have read Zero One, Zero Amanda Baker. The book is 125 pages long, so it is a quick read. If darker commentary is your thing you'll like this book. Enjoy!


Friday, December 30, 2016

Devil's Vortex

Don't have to write a lame disclaimer; I actually bought this book!

Devil's Vortex, penned under the house name James Axler is the 125th Deathlands book and the final installment of the series. Note: The final installment not the finale. Sadly, for fans of the series we get no closure, no happily ever after, no peace for the companions. Not at all thrilled with Gold Eagle for just leaving us hanging.

The book itself is a good representation of the series. Devil's Vortex was for me a great comeback after the disappointment of the last book. As usual I do not know who the actual author was, or indeed if they have written any others in the series. We are back to the companions being in control of their own situation. Plenty of brain splattering violence, just like we've become accustomed to in The Deathlands. A little reminder here and there of how hot Krysty is and what happens to men who see her naked against her will (it doesn't end well for them).

I was amused by the authors tip of the cap to Lerner and Loewe's Paint Your Wagon, naming one of the main ancillary characters "Mariah" (they call the wind...). Nice touch. The kind of thing I often enjoyed throughout the series.

I was a bit surprised that the story was set in the Black Hills near MT. Rushmore without mentioning the big base in that mountain which was the focus of an earlier book (no, I didn't bother to look up which one). The story has Indians (excuse me, Native Americans) fighting among themselves, whitecoats behaving badly (they are whitecoats after all), and of course, our old friends kicking butt and not needing to take names.

Devil's Vortex is disappointing in that it doesn't conclude the story line, but I have a feeling the author did not know it was such (bad Gold Eagle, BAD!).

For some time the Deathlands books have been my secret (sort of) indulgence. I have always liked to fantasize about being the "last man on earth", so I'm sad to see the series end. Fortunately for me, there are still about 20 of the books in the series that I have not yet found or read, so I guess I'm not really done with the series.

If your a fan of Deathlands, Devil's Vortex by the ever non-existent James Axler will satisfy your need for a fix of post-apocalyptic violence and mayhem. Enjoy!


Monday, December 26, 2016

Chase: The Hunt for the Mute Poetess

I received an e-copy of Chase: The Hunt for the Mute Poetess by Thomas Dellenbusch, for review.

An interesting side to this review; The book itself is a "movie-length-story" meant to only take a couple of hours to read. Its origin is Germany and the story has been translated into English (very well by the way). Currently an English language web site is under construction. The German site is MeinKopfKino, in English literally; My Head Movie Theater. Comfortable translation; My Theater of the Mind. Seriously similar to the very blog you are reading right now eh?

On to the important part; How is the book? Fear not, it's very good. Chase... is a fast paced action story the reader can easily see in their minds eye. It's taut and well organized, flowing like a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Good-guys vs bad-guys, martial arts, a secret force capable of cracking any fortress (think IMF and Mr. Phelps), a hunt for hidden secrets, Mafia and other organized crime (politicians), and a little romantic tension round out a fun and entertaining read. As in a movie as opposed to a traditional novel, we don't get a lot of backstory on the characters, only what is necessary to the plot. All the detail is focused on the current story., if I understand correctly, a part of a series of movie-length-stories meant to be read in this fashion. I don't know if the characters in this story will be ongoing, although this story could easily be serialized. I would personally like to read more of Rique (The main character) and his teams' exploits.

Author Thomas Dellenbusch has the ability to write a full story with enough detail to move the tale along but not so much as to slow down the reader. Chase... is not meant to be a book to get lost in for days, but to entertain the reader who needs to treat themselves for a couple of hours, like a plane, train, or automobile trip. Or as I did, in bed before going to sleep. In that case be sure and leave yourself time because you probably won't want to stop, and you'll wind up staying awake to finish the story.

Thomas Dellenbusch has great concept here with the movie length story format, one that fills a real niche in the reading world. Chase: The Hunt forth Mute Poetess is a great introduction to the genre. Enjoy!


Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Zombie Christmas 2

I won A Zombie Christmas 2 by Anthony Renfro in a Goodreads Giveaway.

First I have to admit; I read A Zombie Christmas 2 out of order. I try to read books in the order I receive them, but with Christmas only a few days away I decided to read this Christmas themed book right away. Apologies to other authors awaiting reviews (in my defense, A Zombie Christmas 2 is only 61 pages long so it won't slow things up too much).

Actually A Zombie Christmas 2 only takes up the first half of the book, the second half is entitled The Dead of Winter. These two stories are part of (at the time of this printing) a six part series of zombie themed short stories.

Our hero, Mike (good name) is on a mission to rescue a six-year-old boy stranded in a zombie filled city. You'll have to read the book to find out how he goes about his mission. Graphic violence (of course it's graphic, c'mon, zombies? Hello) A little sex (short story authors always seem to end their stories right when the sex is going to happen!) not particularly graphic.

The Dead of Winter (nice play on words, Mr. Renfro) is the tale of two men tying to make it through a night in a zombie filled city. Actually a few good survivalist tips here. Zombie violence, no sex (two men; not that there's anything wrong with that, but thank you), and zombies on skis (never heard of that before). My kind of twist at the end.

A Zombie Christmas 2 By Anthony Renfro, a good fun (yeah I said fun) zombie read. Enjoy!


Friday, December 23, 2016

Shift World

I won a print copy of Shift World by Christopher W Gamsby in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

Shift World was for me a very different kind of fantasy read than I am used to, and different is a good thing in this case.

In this instance "Shifters" are people who can move between worlds. The worlds are geographically the same, but technologically different. Here the difference is that the world that can be shifted to has metal, and is inhabited by various monsters, where the "main" world does not have the metal (or the technology to produce it anyway), and the shifters make a living bringing it between worlds.

A stylistic tool author Christopher Gamsby utilizes here, even if not original to him, is still very impressive. There is a fair amount of dialogue in the story and rather than relying on; Slart said, or Nort said, or Karp (the main character) said, our author puts each characters dialogue in a different font. When you see italics you know it is Karp, no one else. Each characters has their own font, making the dialogue flow fantastically. An aspect of the book I enjoyed greatly.

Written with a knights in armor kind of flavor, Shift World definitely qualifies as an action/adventure fantasy rather than a quest story. Graphic violence, only hinted at sex and a bit of coming of age (or coming into their life roles). Our characters have to come to terms with some uncomfortable truths (and that is all I'm going to tell you, read the book).

The book is still in need of a little editing (things like; one "dons" their armor, not "dawns" their armor) not riddled with such errors, but prevalent enough to warrant another look.

I have to say the ending was a little flat. The story built the necessary tension throughout, moving towards a grand finale, but kind of left me going "Huh"? Not bad, but not really living up to the story in my opinion. More anti-climactic.

Overall the pluses far outweigh the minuses, so I think action/adventure or fantasy readers will find Shift World by Christopher W Gamsby a worthwhile read. Enjoy!


Friday, December 16, 2016

The War of Spells (The Averot'h Saga Book 2)

Author George Mazurek sent me a print copy of The War of Spells for review.

The War of Spells is the second book in the Averot'h series. I don't know how many books are planned for the series, but if they are all as good as the first two, I trust there will be many more to come.

No spoiler, the book (as is its predecessor) is about a world where magic is commonplace. What I really enjoy is the way magic is treated as just a fact of life. Other stories I have read in the genre have made magic such a big to-do that it can overshadow the true story. We don't have paragraphs leading up to the actual casting of a spell, they just do it, and get on with the story.

The War of Spells supports and expands the story begun in book 1. It gives us some historical background of Averot'h as well as continuing the stories of the main characters. This is a lot to accomplish when the reader realizes the book is only 147 pages long. It is a taut well paced story that kept me engaged from start to finish. Although I don't think The War of Spells can be deemed a "stand alone", the story is sufficient unto itself to be read this way. But I will caution readers here that the experience will be so much richer if they read City of Wizards first.

Even though The War of Spells is a fast read, it does not lack for excitement, adventure and action. There is violence (sometimes graphic), sex (not too graphic), romance, love, honor, human (rather, wizardly I suppose) foibles and weaknesses, dishonor and deception and Dragons (I like dragons). Author George Mazurek does a fabulous job of moving the story along without the reader feeling rushed or cheated. He does not gloss over story line. He provides rich detail. Relationships are complex and the characters are well developed.

Jiri (George) Mazurek is a Czech writer still living in the Czech Republic. I mention this only because though not identified, who ever translated the original Czech language story into English did a fabulous job, it most definitely does not read as though it has been translated from a different language.

The War of Spells is an entertaining second installment in what is developing into a great fantasy series. I look forward to more from George Mazurek with this series. Give it a shot, and I'm confident you will too. Enjoy!


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Lake of Fire (The Apostates #3)

I was given an e-copy of Lake of Fire by author Lars Teeney for review.

Having read the first two books in the Apostates series, I was looking forward to reading the conclusion of this trilogy. There were a couple of particular characters I was interested in following. Author Lars Teeney delivered an entertaining story, with a truly surprising ending.

There are a lot of characters (I mean a LOT of characters) to keep track of. This has of course been the case throughout the series, so nothing new there. Albeit minor, this would the biggest negative I find in this book. It was sometimes difficult to keep track, especially as names for the former rebels have changed. Again minor in the big picture and would probably be even less of a problem if the reader has access to all three installments and could read them closer together.

The only other drawback is the presence of typos and errors (always the bane of e-books). Not an overwhelming number, but enough to interrupt the flow of the read.

Now on to the positive; My favorite character was the 1968 Dodge Charger owned by Ayane Inoguchi. I know, an inanimate character, but it is an awesome car. The things it can do beyond just being a Charger (the coolest car ever made) make it a cooler character than KITT. Personal opinion, but then that's what a review is, isn't it?

Lake of Fire is a great blending of dystopian government, seriously advanced technology, and post-apocalyptic survival. In most books each of these aspects lead to the next. Here Teeney has kept them all alive and well in his story. He demonstrates what could happen in the vacuum left in the wake of rebellion, all the different factions vying for dominance.

The ending, as I hinted at earlier, is a real surprise that I can't see how any reader could see coming. Much to my enjoyment the epilogue does a good job of bringing a solid end to the story, so, kudos to Mr. Teeney for giving us closure.

Lake of Fire is a fitting end to an overall excellent story. Readers of complex, multi-genre, unpredictable fiction will find intellectual stimulation and literary satisfaction with Lars Teeney's epic tale of rebellion, dystopia, technology and societal disintegration. There is ultra-violence, some sex, and diversity enough to satisfy any reader. Enjoy!


Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Gentleman

Disclaimer first: I won my copy of The Gentleman by Forrest Leo in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

Set in Victorian London, The Gentleman is the tale of a poet (Lionel Savage) who's opinion of himself exceeds that of most of the people around him. He is a lazy, self indulgent fop who has married for money and is now dealing with the ramifications of that ill-conceived decision.

An encounter with The Gentleman (the character, not the book) sets Savage on one of the most incredible and hilarious adventures I have read in a long time. He is surrounded by the most eccentric cast of characters you'll ever hope to meet; a lawyer (the editor of the story), an explorer of places no one else can find, an inventor, a remarkably liberated younger sister, and of course, the Gentleman. Together they begin a quest to recover Savage's wife Vivien from Hell itself (you'll have to read the story to find out how she becomes trapped there).

My wife noticed that I was laughing out loud while reading The Gentleman and it's true. Author Forrest Leo masters the dry wit of British humor. He sets the tone with the Editor's Note at the beginning of the book. Since I am not sure of the legalities involved in quoting I won't copy it here. But I will say: It is priceless.

The group of adventurers (questors? goofballs?) take in stride as completely natural some very bizarre occurrences. They are at times stumped and perplexed by their circumstances, but never overwhelmed by the extraordinary situations they deal with. They apply their own logic to the illogical and continue on their merry way.

The climax was very satisfying (did I really just say that?), I wasn't expecting that end at all.

If you enjoy dry humor as much as I do, and are in the mood for a farcical adventure that will make you laugh out loud, I strongly urge you to give The Gentleman by Forrest Leo a read. You won't be disappointed (at least I don't think you will). Enjoy!


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Child of Slaughter (Deathlands #124)

The Deathlands books are one of my guilty pleasures. There are 125 books in the series and I own and have read about 100 of them.

Child of Slaughter is the second to last book in the series. It ended with #125 last November. Unfortunately Child of Slaughter sent the signal to me that the series was running out of steam. I have always enjoyed the series, the action has been good, the violence over the top, and the stories interesting.

Child of Slaughter does not hold up to that tradition for me. It just kind of fell flat. It read to me like the author was just going through the motions. The story line has been used several times. Basically the companions have been separated and have to find their way back together again.

I know that the series has been written by various authors over the years and I don't know how many were penned by this particular author, but he sounded tired.

I hate to be a downer on this book, but I think true fans of the Deathlands books will feel let down as I did. Bummer.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Flames of the Immolated (Ardalia #3)

Alan Spade sent me an e-copy of The Flames of the Immolated (Ardalia #3) for review.

As the title (Ardalia #3) suggests, this is the third and final installment in the Ardalia series (I'm so smart I scare myself sometimes). Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the first two books The Breath of Aoles (#1) and Turquoise Water (#2), I was eager to read the conclusion. Mr. Spade provided an exciting conclusion to his trilogy.

The Flames of the Immolated continued the stories of several characters we met in the first books. As I said in my review of the second book, the characters continued to grow, no flat, stale characters here. The complexity of the story is incredible, balancing so many story lines and maintaining a coherent story is a real achievement.

The Flames of the Immolated is most definitely not a stand alone story. Refreshing yourself by skimming the second book would probably be beneficial, of course I didn't do that and I don't think I suffered for it. The story is so rich with unique characters both good and bad that I was left in awe of Alan Spade's imagination. That one writer could come up with such a variety of beings to populate his story just blows me away, let alone the fact that he is able to weave them all into such a riveting story.

The trilogy is a "quest to save the world" story that actually involves the whole world, not just a small corner that many of the worlds inhabitants don't even know about. Everybody knows what's going on.

The story is full of action, violence, horror, evil, good, love, romance, loss, redemption, magic, greed, dog and cats living together (okay, not that), but you get the idea. So much more than can be shared in a short (yeah, yeah) review.

Alan Spade does not spare our emotions at all. There are emotional highs and lows, no one is safe, no one can rest on their past achievements, and no one gets things the way they want them. This kept me as a reader on my toes, forget trying to predict the story.

Finally (yes I'm almost done), My favorite part of the book is the final two chapters, not because they were the climax, but because they weren't. So often quest stories end with the end of the quest. I'm always grateful to the authors who give us a strong epilogue. Even though the last two chapters are not officially designated as such, they are a completely satisfying epilogue. So, huge (YUUUGE) thanks to Alan Spade for The Flames of the Immolated. Enjoy!


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Game Over

Derek Edgington sent me a print copy of Game Over for review.

I'll start by saying I was a little intimidated by Game Over because I am not a gamer. I was afraid the book would be difficult for me to understand. Thankfully this was not the case. There may have been a few references that got by me but that didn't impact my enjoyment of the story.

Game Over was a very different reading experience. The ability to interact with the story was new to me (I died...A LOT). The story itself is a real wild ride. Our hero, Ekko, has been recruited to beat the system so to speak. The barriers he encounters are beyond imaginative, they are bizarre and ingenious. Derek Edgington's creativity is in a league of its own.

There is a lot of graphic violence, but hey, it's game violence so it's okay, right? No sex, not even cyber-sex, but lots of passion and even romance. The twists and turns, divided and hidden loyalties. Intrigue, opulence, elitism, changing alliances, vivid characters, suspense and surprise. I dare you to accurately predict the ending of this book.

Derek Edgington has proven with Game Over that he is no flash in the pan writer. Further proof that main stream publishing is missing out by not paying more attention to indie writers.

Even if your a non-gamer like me, you'll find Game Over by Derek Edgington an immensely entertaining read. Enjoy!


Friday, November 11, 2016

A Boy Nonetheless

I was given an e-version of A Boy Nonetheless by Robert Denis Holewinski in exchange for a review.

A Boy Nonetheless the story of a boys life told in "narrative poem format". I admit I don't know exactly what that means other than it was presented like a poem that didn't rhyme (except for one chapter). So obviously I can't comment with any credibility as to the format.

But I can comment on the story itself: it's good.

The story of a young boys life told from various views; himself, teachers, friends, etc. It is at times heart breaking, heart warming, irritating, and comforting. It was for me powerfully emotionally evocative. In a few short lines author Holewinski paints a complex picture of a life.

As I have stated in other reviews, I don't spend a lot of time looking for the "message" in the books I read, I want to be entertained. I won't try to analyze A Boy Nonetheless from either a literary or psychological perspective. That is your job as the reader. But as I said; it did move me emotionally. I will say I was somewhat surprised at the ending (although I can't really say what I was expecting), but I also can say I could not suggest a better one.

A Boy Nonetheless by Robert Denis Holewinski is a short read but a good one. Enjoy!


The Cruelty

I won an advance readers edition print copy of The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom, in a Goodreads first reads giveaway.

The Cruelty at first reads like it is going to be another coming of age teen angst kind of book. That is so wrong. What we actually have is the engrossing tale of a seventeen year old (at least at the beginning) girl who in the quest to rescue her father, kicks ass, takes names and leaves bodies in her wake. She lands in the middle of a spy versus spy world and has to learn quickly how to survive. I'll let you read for yourself how she does.

Scott Bergstrom does an excellent job of spinning a believable story out of an unbelievable premise: a seventeen year old taking on professional spies and big time bad guys. It works well, the author tells the story in such a way that I didn't find myself saying "yeah right". He advances the story methodically and logically suspending our skepticism and disbelief before we even realize it has happened.

The Cruelty is a fast paced action/adventure thriller with aspects of coming of age in a very different way. There is extreme violence, terror, espionage, the horror of human trafficking, gangster activity, globetrotting, high school drama and even budding romance. Pretty much everything a reader could want.

The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom is not set to be officially released until next year (at least acording to my copy), but is currently available as an e-book. Lucky for me, I got an early print copy (neener, neener). Whether you wait for a print version or get it now as an e-book, I suggest you put this book on your to read list, and then read it! Enjoy!


Monday, November 7, 2016

The Class of '59

John Heldt sent me an e-copy of his latest book; The Class of '59 for review.

I have had the pleasure of reading all of Mr. Heldt's books to date. The Class of '59 maintains the level his readers have come to expect. You might think that at 9 time travel books, he might become predictable or stale, but you would be wrong!

I am always surprised (and grateful) that these books, divided into two series; the earlier Northwest Passage and the more recent American Journey, stay so fresh and entertaining.

Telling the story of the meeting and subsequent relationships of two young women from 2017 and two young men from 1959, The Class of '59 focuses even more on the characters than earlier stories have. There are no Geo-political or natural disasters to deal with. We stay with the time travelers for the whole story. I enjoyed getting to see them just be themselves, dealing with their own particular situations. The focus is more on emotions, young love, high school drama, and the culture shock of moving between 1959 and 2017.

Minor spoiler alert! We have active time travel in both directions.

Even though I don't usually try to guess where a story is going to go, sometimes I can't help myself. I thought I had The Class of '59 pegged a couple of times, I missed the mark. I got the ending completely wrong. Given the time frame, I expected Southeast Asia to be involved, wrong again. But, as usual, Heldt ties the whole story into the greater series seamlessly.

John Heldt continues to remind me of why he has a solid spot on my short list of favorite authors. He consistently gives me good wholesome (and yes, that is very important to me), stories that rely on plot and character development. Sometimes readers just want to enjoy a book and feel good at the end. John Heldt is my go to author when I'm in that kind of mood.

The Class of '59 by John Heldt is the latest in his growing line of books that will entertain and uplift the reader. If you haven't read this authors work yet, I strongly encourage you to give him a read. You won't be disappointed. I believe he will become one of your favorite authors too. Enjoy!


Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Shackled Scribes

Author Lars Teeney gave me an e-copy of The Shackled Scribes for review.

Having read and enjoyed two other books by Lars Teeney (both Apostates books), I was quite surprised by The Shackled Scribes. It was not the Lars Teeney I was expecting; talk about changing up your style-Whew!

The Shackled Scribes is at once, serious fantasy and demented dystopia. It rates a 12 on the 10 point "EWWW!" scale. It is a tale of slaves, masters, and how symbiotic this arrangement can be.

The Shackled Scribes does not spend much time moralizing on the rightness or wrongness of the slave/master situation, or the addiction used to keep the slaves willingly subjugated (therein lies the EWWW factor). It is what it is for the most part.

In an interesting twist, the heroine of the story (at least in my mind) does not get all that much print. She has a major impact on the story line but does not spend that much time as the focus of the book. Different, but I found it a great way to tell her story.

The society is as dystopic as they come, but very few of the participants have any real problem with that. This is another departure from the main stream of the genre. Usually there is a large segment of the society that has been marginalized/oppressed/victimized and are active in their opposition to the ruling class. Not so here.

The Shackled Scribes by Lars Teeney shows what a talented writer (though fans of The Apostates already know this) our author is: to write something so totally different from his usual work. If I wore one, my hat would be off to him.

Little sex, some violence (not particularly graphic), lots of story, mega ewww. The Shackled Scribes is truly unlike any other book I have read, and I read a lot. If you can handle being grossed out a bit, I think you will agree with me. Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The One Man

I received an ARC of The One Man by Andrew Gross for review.

To sum up before I start: WOW! WHAT A BOOK! It is so good that I wrote it in as my vote for book of the year on

Most who read my reviews know I am not given to hyperbole, but this book is awesome. It is not an easy read in that it deals with a very gruesome topic; the Nazi death camps of WWII.

I don't generally read books of this type because, I know that what happened in these camps was one of the great examples of mans inhumanity to man (to put it into sanitized language) and I don't really need to spend time there in my reading. More real is that it represents the most horrific evil most people can imagine. Enough commentary, back to the book.

With The One Man, Andrew Gross has written a story of history, action, despair, cruelty, love and honor. In his authors note, Gross explains how the book is fiction yet based on true events and people. Even the knowledge of this after the fact, did not change the effect the book had on me; I was that moved. Not having experienced any such place, nor talking with anyone who has (I met a woman once who had a number tattooed on her forearm. She admitted it was from a concentration camp, but wouldn't talk any more about it), I can't speak to the accuracy of the account of life in Auschwitz, but the images of horror presented, burn those images into the readers mind.

Our hero (faint praise) Nathan, a Polish Jew, infiltrates Auschwitz to rescue a physicist. Okay, that is the main story line. The stories that intertwine are incredibly moving. The ideals of honor, and love are so well developed, they just blew me away. There is political intrigue, military action, espionage, even a little sex. You should read The One Man for yourself to see how it all works out, I think you'll be surprised.

Gross's characters are very well developed, even the Germans are portrayed (for the most part) as humans, some conflicted about their actions. Not to say the author lets them off easy, but I didn't read the story as anti-German or even pro-Jew. It is a tale of honor in a time where to abandon ones personal honor would be the easy way to go. At its core The One Man is a story of family honor and is decidedly uplifting in the final analysis (deep, huh?).

But seriously; If you are up for a powerful story that will move you emotionally (it sure did me), I strongly recommend The One Man by Andrew Gross. You won't be disappointed. Even though it may sound a little strange, I still close with; Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Rebecca Tree

Author Michael Abramson sent me an e-copy of Rebecca Tree for review.

Rebecca Tree is your not so basic political thriller. I say not so, basic because author Michael Abramson has not stayed with the normal conventions of the genre, at least as I understand them.

Although I am going to point out problems I had with Rebecca Tree, I did enjoy the book.

The political aspects of the story are secondary to the actual main theme of the book. Rebecca Tree is actually a family dysfunction story set in the political world. As an a-political (anti-politician) reader I can not credibly comment on the political machinations detailed in this book. I do expect they are not far removed from reality, if the are indeed removed at all.

Our main character (I personally can't call her a heroine), is Rebecca Tree, a high powered business woman coerced into running for president. Yes, she wins, no spoiler there. If she didn't win there would be no book.

Rebecca is portrayed as the "good" person in the story. She is two shades shy of an ass-kicking super-heroine. But for me she came across more as an uncooperative, semi-self indulged, petulant mini-tyrant. She, at times does not work and play well with others. But in true super-heroine fashion she is effective.

We are constantly told of the ecological catastrophe the country is experiencing. The loss of two billion bird species during Rebecca's life time, flooded states and the rich and powerful taking advantage of the situation. This story line is hit a bit hard for me since little is offered to remedy the situation.

Along with the not so subtle preaching on the environment, we do get a good story of a politically and morally corrupt family. Rebecca is the person tasked with somehow saving her family and along the way, the country.

The ending was rather abrupt. We witness the beginning of the resolution of the family story line and the story stops there. Resolution of the political  story is kind of hinted at but not really. I don't know if Rebecca Tree is the start of a series, it could be continued from here.

Looking back at this review it reads a bit on the negative side. I really don't mean it to be so. Rebecca Tree is actually pretty entertaining,  it did hold my interest,  There is plenty of action (read graphic violence), intrigue, love, romance, sex, heartbreak, political maneuvering, loyalty, honor and duty.

Boiled down, the real negative for me is that Rebecca is just not that sympathetic a character. At times I rooted for her, but at others not so much.

Readers who like stories where there are not necessarily clear cut good guys and bad guys, but there is good action, political twists and turns and strong emotional scenes, will find Rebecca Tree by Michael Abramson an entertaining read worth their time. Enjoy!


Monday, October 17, 2016

The Dark Hills Divide

The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman was the last audio book I listened to on my recent road trip. It was read by Aasne Vigesaa.

More in my comfort zone, The Dark Hills Divide is a fantasy story set in the Land of Elyon, a land separated from the surrounding forests by high walls.

Our heroine Alexa is a twelve year old who, of course, is not content to accept the admonition to avoid knowledge of the outside (if she did accept it we wouldn't have a story now would we).

At the heart of the story  The Dark Hills Divide is a mystery. Alexa does not know whom she can trust, and she has a lot to learn along the way.

As a fantasy, there are magical and mythical components to the story. I would expect it is categorized as a middle grade story. The violence is not graphic, there is no sex, and no bad language. There is still evil, people get injured, and all is not as it seems.

If forced to identify a shortcoming (negative is too strong in this instance) I think the character of Alexa is a little too advanced/mature for the age she is presented as. She is able to converse on an adult level with too much ease for a twelve year old in my humble opinion, but that is minor to the overall story.

Of course as a middle grade fantasy/adventure, The Dark Hills Divide does carry a message or two, but I'll leave that discovery to you.

The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman and read by Aasne Vigessa, is a good light middle grade read(or in my case listen).  A great story for younger readers. Enjoy!


Map of Bones

On my recent road trip I listened to Map of Bones by James Rollins on audio cd.

This unabridged audio book was performed by L.J. Ganser.

At 15.75 hours this book took two days of driving to complete.

The story is somewhat reminiscent of Angels & Demons or Da Vinci Code. It is a somewhat grisly adventure pitting fanatic religious orders and government agencies against each other. Built around the Catholic Church history of dispersing the body parts of saints and religious icons to consecrated churches, the story becomes a worldwide hunt for what amounts to a terrorist organization.

There was enough intrigue to hold my interest while racking up the miles on my odometer. This was my introduction to James Rollins' work (my wife is a fan and chose the book) and interested me enough to check out more of his work.

Map of Bones is apparently somewhat of a departure from Mr. Rollins usual work. I found it entertaining and enjoyable enough for my road trip, although it is a little on the long side. There was of course the romantic interest, but it felt a bit like an add-on. A good read for fans of espionage type stories, some secret technologies but not overly reliant on them.

Over all an entertaining accompaniment on a long, long drive. Enjoy!


Unlucky 13

I recently took a long road trip and Unlucky 13 by James Patterson was one of the audiobooks my wife and I listened to while driving.

I have not read or listened to any other of James Patterson's books so I can't compare the quality of this versus other of his works.

Unlucky 13 is apparently part of the Women's Murder Club series.

There were three story-lines to resolve here, but in my mind only two were truly resolved. The argument could be made that the third was, but so obliquely as to be missed. Perhaps I am being somewhat unfair, as listening to such a detail oriented story while driving may not have been the best way to encounter this work. The beginning and middle of this story held my interest, but the conclusion was, for me, less than satisfying. The epilogue just didn't leave me feeling complete.

Bottom line, I'll just leave it at; I was less than impressed.


Island of the Dolls (World's Scariest Places #4)

Author Jeremy Bates gave me an e-copy of Island of the Dolls for review.

Island of the Dolls is #4 in the World's Scariest Places series.

Set on the real world Isla de las Muencas, Island of the Dolls is a good scary read. A mixed group of characters travel to the island to film a documentary. They of course immediately get caught up in the local legend of evil goings on.

Jeremy Bates does a good job of painting a mental picture of an exceedingly creepy setting. The story is told through the viewpoint of alternating characters.

We have a little bit of everything in this story; murder, mystery, madness, romance, sex, violence (besides the murder), and of course most of all, horror. Some of the scenes are absolutely terrifying (dolls--shudder).

Island of the Dolls alternates between historic and present day settings full of cruelty and abuse. The Nuns are particularly nasty. Interpersonal conflicts among the main characters keeps the reader from ever feeling comfortable. Mismatched couples and macho b.s. only add to the atmosphere of the story.

Since I don't do spoilers it is difficult to give too much detail, but suffice to say there are enough twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes. Some developments were predictable, but not enough of them to label the story as such.

Island of the Dolls lives up to the designation of  one of the "World's Scariest Places" (maybe higher that #4 for me), and Jeremy Bates has woven a scary tale around the legend of the place. Enjoy!


Monday, October 10, 2016

The Girl Who Drank The Moon

I won an ARC of The Girl Who Drank The Moon  by Kelly Barnhill in a Goodreads firstreads giveaway.

Although The Girl Who Drank The Moon  is actually aimed at a much younger audience than me, I enjoyed this book a lot. It is an easy read with wonderful imagery. The scary parts are not too scary and love rules the day.

All the characters (except the mean ones of course) are lovable and comical. I would love to hang out with Fyrian and Glerk. Then characters are well developed for younger to middle grade readers. The main story is simple enough for younger readers (or listeners) yet had enough depth to keep this old coot interested.

At 386 pages it might be a bit long for some younger readers, but would be a great story to be read to a child or grandchild. I think it would pique their interest and the word pictures author Kelly Barnhill paints would  definitely spark imaginations. Eating starlight was for me, one such word picture.

The Girl Who Drank The Moon has a few lessons scattered throughout, but I liked that they were not so dominating of the story that they got in the way. The lessons are subtly woven into the narration and advance, rather than interrupt, the story.

So, although The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kally Barnhill is aimed at a younger audience, I do believe that adults will find this a fun book to read with or to their younger story lovers. Enjoy!


Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Slave Planet

Author Seven Steps sent me an e-copy of The Slave Planet for review. Unfortunately, the file did not transfer to my e-reader properly, and I had to request another copy. Sure glad I did.

The Slave Planet is the story of a dystopian society (at least for the men/ slaves). That is my classification, the book is not necessarily marketed as such. What else would you call it when one group (in this case women) enslave another (men).

Social problems aside, The Slave Planet  is a love story (more accurately, several love stories) where the characters respond to natural physiological/biological urges (don't worry the book is nowhere near that clinical). The crux of the story is that men and women are naturally attracted to each other (yay!).

The story is full of action, political intrigue, murder, and of course, romance. The characters are believable and sympathetic (except for Arees; believable yes, sympathetic, no), and I found myself rooting for Nadira from the start.

As I said; The Slave Planet is a romance, but we know romance is not my usual read. This book has so many things going for it that I did not feel I was reading out of my preferred genre. The evil politicians were as ruthless and cold-hearted as they come. Our female author does not go easy on her portrayal of female characters at all (does that sound sexist?). The book title Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus is apparently true; the slave planet in question is Venus, and there is a hint of what Mars is about (shudder).

The Slave Planet crosses genres so easily that I find it hard to categorize. I guess that is what publicists and merchandisers are for. For me it just means that Seven Steps is a very good story teller. Bottom line, isn't that what we're looking for?

I was so caught up in the story that I didn't pay attention to the battery level in my e-reader. In the midst of the climax I had to recharge the device. What a drag!

The Slave Planet by Seven Steps is the first in a trilogy definitely worth following. Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Madam Tuplip

Author David Ahern provided me with an e-copy of Madam Tulip for review.

Madam Tulip is the fun and often funny story of a young woman trying to make a career as an actress. She is the daughter of the seventh son of a seventh son (I believe that is the lineage) and has the psychic abilities that come with that distinction. There we have the crux of the story.

Our heroine, Derry, develops the character 'Madam Tulip" a fortune teller, to make a little money at a party for the rich and famous. She unwittingly gets caught up in the unpleasant schemes of the beautiful people, and has to rely on her own wits and psychic abilities to protect herself and her friends.

Madam Tulip takes place in a world where no one seems to work a traditional 9-5 type job. Derry's unusual world is filled with struggling actors, artists, and now, the super rich and famous.

Of course you know that I don't give out a lot of story info because it's better if you actually read the book. I mean David Ahern did go to all the trouble to write it. At first I thought, okay this is going to be a light read, and it is for the most part. But I found myself really caught up in the action and was quickly engrossed in the story. The excitement of the conclusion kept me riveted. A well balanced tale that twists and turns, keeping the reader guessing.

Madam Tulip does cross a few genres and can be read from several different viewpoints. On one hand it is a madcap romp through the world of non-traditional people (rich and not so rich). But it can just as easily be read as an action/adventure, murder (or attempted murder) mystery, with a little organized crime tossed in for good measure.

Set in Ireland, Madam Tulip was just an all around fun read for me. The vocabulary is decidedly not American and I will admit there were a couple of words that I didn't know, but that added to the flavor (flavour) of the story. Not much in the way of sex, some violence but not overwhelmingly so, marital discord, family dysfunction and friends who are not who they appear to be.

So, humor, action, mystery readers will all enjoy Madam Tulip by David Ahern. It is the opening offering in a series that should be fun to follow. Enjoy!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Revealing Hannah The Myth of Arachnae

Author Laura Fedolfi sent me a print copy of Revealing Hannah The Myth of Arachnae  for review.

Laura Fedolfi has hit another home run with this installment of the Revealing Hannah series. The first book; The Myth of Cassandra set the bar high. Arachnae clears the bar with room to spare. I don't think it absolutely necessary to have read the first book to understand this one, although if you haven't, you've missed a great story.

Our heroes, and less than heroes, get involved in one of the most convoluted adventure/mystery tales I have had the pleasure of reading. The Olympian Gods are back and as neurotic and conniving as ever. Just like politicians, the assorted deities have hidden agendas, plots and schemes to bring down their enemies and enhance their own power.

Hannah, tasked with keeping tabs on the activities of these once mighty gods (think Star Trek's prime directive), is at the very heart of the intrigue.

We have helpless gods, snarky gods, manipulative gods, evil gods, lovable demons, trapped witches and other mythological beings. We even have a few humans! Hannah continues to grow into her place in the pantheon of Olympian subterfuge. She has a new best friend I hope we see more of, and her love life is much improved.

Revealing Hannah The Myth of Arachnae brings, at different times, a feel of political thriller, mafia crime, corporate greed and women behaving badly. There is also romance, sex (finally), creepiness (I hate spiders, Arachnae hello) and fun.

Once again, Laura Fedolfi has earned my gratitude for the way she ends the story. She does such a great job of putting the characters back into there regular lives, not just abruptly resolving the main story line then leaving the reader without a feeling of true resolution. This is one of my favorite things about her writing.

I really enjoyed Revealing Hannah The Myth of Arachnae by Laura Fedolfi. I'm pretty sure readers will like this second offering in the series. Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Devious Debutante

Ursula LeCoeur provided an e-copy of The Devious Debutante for review.

The Devious Debutante  is the third book in the Love in New Orleans series. I had my doubts about accepting this book for review as I don't generally read straight up romance. Fortunately (for me anyway), The Devious Debutante has much more going for it than straight up romance.

The setting, New Orleans, was the first thing to attract my attention. The second; the story line about a treasury agent trying to bust an opium smuggling cartel in the 1880's. Romance is still the story here, a particularly ardent, and at times, steamy romance. Fans of the genre should have no doubt that The Devious Debutante  is first and foremost a romance.  But there was enough action to keep even an old grump like me interested.

Ursula LeCoeur is the pen name for a mother-daughter team who borrowed the name Ursula from I believe, their cat. I note this because they write scenes of sexual activity that I could never have even mentioned in front of either of my parents (the times, they are a-changing, nod to the Byrds). Oh yeah, there are scenes of graphic sex within. Also drug use and graphic violence. Sex, drugs but no rock-n-roll (it's 1886). There is humor, high fashion, shameless flirting and general silliness.

A strong willed young lady (is there any other kind?), an overbearing father (ditto), a love besotted treasury agent, and the young lady's lifelong male friend are the main characters of our story. They are well realized and entertaining. Having not read any of the rest of the series, I do not know if these are recurring characters or not.

The Devious Debutante by Ursula LeCoeur was a fun read romance fans should like. Enjoy!


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Sword of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder's Secret, Book 2)

I was given a print copy of Sword of Deaths, by Christopher Mannino for review.

Sword of Deaths the second book in The Scythe Wielder's Secret trilogy.

Although no great plot complication is resolved in Sword of Deaths, I still liked this story very much. It focuses on character building, maturing the main characters. A good thing considering our heroes are teenagers, a time of rapid changes both physically (especially for Suzie, oops, Susan) and emotionally. The story does span a few years after all. I was actually worried that the characters would remain stuck in their original molds, not growing and changing, both as a result of the situations in which they find themselves, and their physical maturity. I mean what do we really expect; one female and thousands (millions?) of males? Did we think no one would notice, or take an interest? Puh-lease!

The story line is advanced without just repeating the formula of the first book. There is plenty of the action, violence, and intrigue we expect from this story, while developing the main characters, making them, for me at least, more interesting. There is a little more exploration of their sexuality. Expecting the characters to remain prepubescent innocents in the world of deaths just would not be reasonable or believable. So, hats off to author Christopher Mannino for letting the characters grow with the story.

Don't misunderstand, by focusing on the development of the characters Mannino does not let the excitement diminish. All our favorites from book one are there, 'mentals, pompous, weird, and just plain goofy teachers. There is heart break, love, murder, mayhem, mystery and chaos enough for all.

The big negative for me is (drum roll please), the cliffhanger ending. Sorry Mister Mannino, I just don't like 'em.

The big plus? Mini spoiler; the dragons are making their presence known. I found Sword of Deaths by Christopher Mannino to be a great continuation of the story and bridge to what I expect will be an exciting conclusion to the story. I look forward to the finale. Enjoy!


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pigeon Blood Red

I was given a print copy of Pigeon Blood Red by author Ed E. Duncan for review.

 Pigeon Blood Red is a story of double crossing, double dealing, marital infidelity, organized crime, sex, lies and ultimate honor. The honor surfacing in sometimes unexpected places.

The title, Pigeon Blood Red, refers to a sapphire necklace (not a dead bird), around which the story revolves.

It is a light and thoroughly enjoyable read. I say light not because the story is frivolous or shallow, but because it is a straight forward, good guy bad guy tale. We know who's who, and why; the story is in how it all comes together at the climax. The characters are well developed enough to elicit our sympathy, respect, or disdain, depending on the circumstance.

Pigeon Blood Red is the first offering in a trilogy. I do not yet know the title of this trilogy, but author Ed E. Duncan promises to bring us more tales involving these characters. There is plenty of action, intrigue, violence, intimidation, sex and romance to keep us hooked. I finished the book in one day, it held my attention that well.

Pigeon Blood Red at 238 pages, is not particularly long as books go, but Duncan packs a lot of story into those pages. Readers in search of a tight, well written, good guy versus bad guy, crime/action/adventure will find Pigeon Blood Red  by Ed E. Duncan, an engrossing story that will keep them involved to the end. And like me, they will find themselves eagerly awaiting the next installment. Enjoy!


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Waves of Reprisal

Malcolm Little provided me with an e-copy of Waves of Reprisal for review.

I am always up for a good post-apocalyptic read and Waves of Reprisal is a good post-apocalyptic read.

Waves of Reprisal  is set in the area of what was once France and Germany. I say was once because unlike many post apocalyptic stories Waves of Reprisal  takes place almost thirteen centuries post apocalypse. Long enough for the pre-apocalyptic society to pass into myth and legend. We actually start the story with the apocalypse, but it is treated more as an intro so we don't spend a lot of time there.

1266 years later our hero, Hanyma (Ha-nee-ma), is engaged in a blood feud with a merciless marauder, Tulock,  part of a group dedicated to the domination of the world. This group is responsible for the death of Hanyma's family as well as her entire village. Her goal is to stop them from destroying more villages.

Whether by luck or design (the reader can draw their own conclusion), Hanyma begins to uncover ancient technology, becoming a reluctant hero and leader.

Hanyma's world is a brutal place for sure, but she does find the opportunity to make friends and comrades along the way.

Waves of Reprisal  is the first in a series. While not a cliffhanger ending (thank you Malcolm Little), there are plenty of questions left to be answered in future books. This story is definitely action oriented, but this does not mean other themes are ignored. Relationships given prominence as well. Yes, there is even budding romance.

Although ancient technology is at the core of the story, author Malcolm Little does not bog us down with techie info. I like this as I am no techno-nerd. We do have the aforementioned ancient technology; Robots called Synthoids, pulse-pistols, gamma-rifles, clones and technological fortresses. We also have talking wolves, bears, and other large animals (we have not yet been told exactly how these abilities have come to the animals).

So, basically we find that the world is again on the cusp of destruction, setting the scene for a battle for the future of humankind.

Malcolm Little has painted a picture of a brutal yet beautiful world, with well developed characters we can root for and against. The possibility of redemption and renewal exists. I personally am interested in what happens with the wolves.

If, as I do, you prefer your sci-fi to lean more towards fantasy than techno, Waves of Reprisal  by Malcolm Little is the ticket. Enjoy!


Friday, August 19, 2016

The Mirror

John A. Heldt gave me an e-copy of The Mirror because I enjoyed The Mine  and The Show so much.
He did not ask for a review, but I'm going to anyway.

John Heldt immediately joined my list of Indie authors who deserve more attention by publishing houses when I had the pleasure of reading his first book in the series, The Mine . Another of those authors who make me glad I was introduced to indie books.

Kind of bittersweet today, The Mirror is the fifth and last installment (as far as I know), in the Northwest Passage Series. I purposely waited a while to read this book because it is also the only book by Mr. Heldt that I had not yet read. I knew it would be good so I wanted to tease myself. By the way, I was right, The Mirror is great!

The Mirror is a fantastic finale to the series. Any member of the series' Smith family, you have to wonder when it will be your turn for a trip through time. Heldt always pleases. Although the series follows some of the same characters through the series, he gives us new settings and situations that keep the story fresh. My favorite character throughout the series has been Grace Vandenberg (now Smith).

Heldt is such a great story teller and with The Mirror he only solidifies my opinion. The story becomes a multi-generational adventure for twin sisters Ginny and Katie Smith (yeah Those Smiths). We also get a bit of reincarnation added to the mix this time (time, get it? Ok, sorry).

The Mirror twists the story by starting in the future (very near future) and traveling past us to the 60's. Yes, I was there and I do remember them. As I have come to expect from John Heldt, I got a heart-warming tale with humor, heartbreak, history, tragedy, love and romance. It was fun to revisit a time on the cusp of cultural change. The sexual revolution had not yet started, but our time-travelers come from a more relaxed time. There is more sex in this book (again reflecting the time setting), but it is tastefully presented.

Because of the time frame of The Mirror, there is also more social commentary. I'll let you find that on your own. As always, Mr. Heldt ties up the loose ends nicely, yet unpredictably, by the end of the book. As I said, bittersweet. It has been so much fun to read this series, I kind of hate to see it end.

Once again I say; If you want a well written, good, fun, clean adventure, The Mirror by John A. Heldt is for you. I highly recommend the whole Northwest Passage Series as well as his newer American Journey Series. 

John A. Heldt is definitely an author to follow. Enjoy!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Death of Anyone

D.J. Swykert sent me a print copy of The Death of Anyone for review.

The Death of Anyone is a detective story most definitely written for adults. The language and details of the crimes committed are not for the timid. The last time I heard language this coarse was 40+ years ago when I was in the Army.

The crimes committed in The Death of Anyone are so heinous I had a hard time reading about them. I don't have a problem reading violent books, but the sickness of the crimes (rape, murder) committed in this book are intense. Fortunately for me. author Swykert does a good job of balancing other more palatable story lines to give the reader a break from the intense emotions stirred.

Our hero, a female cop, Bonnie Benham, is one of the toughest characters of any gender you are likely to encounter. Lead detective on a serial murder case, we see how her life as a cop has impacted her personal life.

We learn a bit about forensics, police procedure, and political power, as we follow progress in the case.

There is a strong romantic story line to balance against the evil of the crime, and on a somewhat humorous level, we find that most police strategy sessions happen over meals (no doughnut jokes). These folks go out to eat a whole lot more than I do.

The Death of Anyone is not a light read. It is tough, gritty, and in your face. I was not surprised to learn that D.J. Swykert is a former 911 operator. His depiction of police seems to be believable, though I am certainly no expert on the subject. He has given us a well written story of; crime, violence, murder, investigative procedure, romance, and sex. It is a no-holds-barred story which kept me reading til well after my bedtime. In fact I stayed awake quite late to finish.

D.J. Swykert has given his audience an intense ride in The Death of Anyone. Readers of the crime/thriller genre should find this offering satisfying. Enjoy!


Monday, August 15, 2016

Fated Memories

Joan Carney, author of Fated Memories sent me a print copy of her book for review.

Fated Memories is a time-travel adventure with a healthy dose of mystery and romance added for good measure.

Our hero, Kitty, is an interesting character; a socially insecure woman who has the ability to kick-ass and take names if push comes to shove. And of course, push seems to come to shove throughout the story. Kitty, teamed with Mags her cousin, and Mags new friend Simon, complete our time-travelling trio.

With many issues and questions swirling about our trio, they find themselves unexpectedly shunted to the year 1861. They become involved in The Civil War while trying to understand what has happened to them. Some of the romantic interests are identified early on but others take longer to develop (I felt bad for John Gruber).

There are a lot of twists and turns keeping the story interesting and the reader involved. I'm not big on trying to predict what's coming when I read, but when I did think I knew what was coming I was usually wrong. Fated Memories does a good job portraying the everyday life of the soldiers of the time. Many books and stories tend to romanticize the topic. Joan Carney dispels any notion of romanticism quickly, instead painting a gritty picture of a life of deprivation and discomfort.

Past-life memories play a major role in Fated Memories. That's all I am going to say about that.  As is the case with other books in the genre that I find most enjoyable, Fated Memories does not concern itself with the physics of time travel. The characters aren't overly concerned with altering history, they are just trying to stay alive.

There is violence (c'mon, it's set in the Civil War), sex (both consensual and non), humor, fear, tragedy, compassion, love, tenderness and spiritual renewal. What there isn't; political opinion, moralizing, racial comment, or social agenda. Fated Memories is set in the Civil War, but is not a "Civil War book" if that makes sense.

Aside from the high quality of the story, Fated Memories is a book whose author has taken the time to produce a quality physical copy of the book. There are very few mistakes, yes a couple, but very few, This is of great importance to dedicated readers; we get in a rhythm when reading (at least I do) and too many glaring errors break that rhythm. So, hats off to authors like Joan Carney whose work shows attention to that detail.

I found Fated Memories by Joan Carney to be wonderfully entertaining read. I really enjoy reading a book that focus on telling a good story, not trying to sell a social agenda. We get enough of that garbage with social media. Books are for fun, for me, Fated Memories was fun. Enjoy!


Friday, August 12, 2016

Lost Prophecy: Awakening

Author Kimberly Bernard sent me a print copy of Lost Prophecy: Awakening for review.

Lost Prophecy: Awakening is the first book in the Lost Prophecy series. I think it does a pretty good job as a first installment. I do think it is aimed a younger audience than me, but it is still a very enjoyable read. As usual in YA stories, it takes a while for the adults to get on board with the situation, but they do finally get it.

First, let's start with the very minor negative. For me, the dialogue comes across as a little bit too formal for teenagers. I'm not saying it should be slang filled or profanity laced, it's just a little stilted and uncomfortable at times. Okay, that's it for the negative.

Positives: Our hero, Nick, although resentful that his parents (adults) don't believe him, he is still respectful (for the most part, he is a teenage boy after all).  I find it encouraging that the teens in Lost Prophecy: Awakening  do not speak to adults as is often the current fashion, ie; cursing, disrespectful and basically in a manner that would have gotten a few of my teeth removed had I talked to my parents in such a manner (Obligatory editorial comment). Kudos to Kimberly Bernard for giving us likable characters on both sides of the age gap. Also, my biggest compliment to the author: She resolved a major question and was still able to keep us involved in the ongoing story line (read; wanting to read the next book) without having to resort to a cliffhanger ending. It is always nice when an author is able to do this. That shows me she has confidence that the strength of her story will keep readers interested.

Lost Prophecy: Awakening is an adventure/mystery which takes our characters to some pretty exotic locales painting a vivid mental picture (theater of the mind don't you know). As I said, Lost Prophecy: Awakening is probably aimed at a young adult audience, I wouldn't have a problem letting younger (middle grade) readers read this book. The language is appropriate for all ages while the story line is sophisticated enough to appeal to older readers (like me). It's fun and exciting, yet still clean (good job Ms. Bernard). There is action, violence (not graphic, more threatened), possibly budding romance, academic bad guys, supportive yet at times clueless parents, and smart, resourceful and intelligent teenagers.

Lost Prophecy: Awakening by Kimberly Bernard is a good, fun, clean read, good for all ages, Enjoy!


Thursday, August 11, 2016


Author L.X.Cain sent me an e-version of Bloodwalker for review. I wish I didn't have to always write a disclaimer, but I guess it's required (heavy sigh).

Bloodwalker is basically a murder-mystery, but there is nothing basic about it. Set in middle Europe (Hungary and Romania mostly), our story follows the lives of an itinerant circus and at the same time a group of Bloodwalkers. For your information, Bloodwalkers are those women who have historically been the caretakers of the dead, preparing them for burial. There are more things they are capable of, but that is part of the story you need to read for yourself.

Those who are familiar with my reviews know that I don't deal in hyperbole or overly effusive language. But I have to tell you folks, this book is nothing short of awesome. Cain weaves a tale of such horror and darkness that the reader can't easily put it down. To label Bloodwalker a "page-turner" is to damn it with faint praise. It is riveting.

So many themes are integrated into the story so well it amazed me. Issues of murder (of course), mistrust, self confidence, mans inhumanity to man, forced marriage, spouse abuse, personal redemption, superstition, love, loyalty and justice, just to name some (I don't think  got them all). You may think that with so many themes the story might become off as preachy, fear not, it doesn't. What it does come off as is; one hell of a good book.

Bloodwalker also gives insight into the culture of circus performers and workers. These people live by their own code of honor and loyalty. It is in fact this code that is at the very heart of the story. Our hero Rurik and our heroine Sylvie stick to their individual codes of ethics throughout the story. They won't, and don't, compromise these principles. It's nice to read a story where the main characters do not have situational ethics no matter what.

Bloodwalker is a good horror story, not just in the evil that men do sense, but also in the real there are grotesque monsters out there. The geographic setting for the story is perfect. Think the eerie atmosphere of Dracula, Frankenstein and other such horror classics; dark, creepy and spooky.

Bloodwalker has not yet been released (current scheduled release date: Oct. 4) so I am not able to post my review in all the familiar places yet. I believe it is available for pre-order at Amazon.

I have not had the pleasure yet of reading any other work by L.X. Cain, but wow, Bloodwalker was a great way to be introduced to this author. This book is a must read. Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Making Angel

Making Angel (Mariani Crime Family #1) penned (Digitized?) by Amanda Washington was given to me in e-format by the author for review.

First I must say, Amanda Washington is a very clever (maybe even sneaky) author. She managed to weave a romance into a Mafia story.  We all know I'm not much for straight-up romance stories. Making Angel is a terrific blend of action/adventure and romance.

Going strictly off the title, I expected "Angel" to be a female (yeah I know, sexist old fart) so I started the book surprised, yep, Angel is a guy (D'Angelo).  No secret now,  Making Angel is not your typical shoot-em up mafia story. It is a well rounded tale of crime, technology, familial loyalty and yes, romance.

Our hero is a very like-able guy, especially considering his place in the local Vegas mafia hierarchy. Even though a strong story-line is the romance he becomes involved in, I enjoyed the almost equally strong "buddy" story-line (Angel and his body guard Bones).

The characters are well developed and believable. It would be easy to fall into the genre stereotypes of mafia characters. Ms. Washington deftly combines in Angel, confidence and business acumen with almost schoolboy goofiness and ineptitude in matters romantic. I find this a much more appealing character than a suave, does everything right, seducer of women.

Making Angel, although full of drama, life and death situations, deep emotional conflicts, violence, crime and corruption, is still able to leave the reader with a light-hearted feeling. I think that is a testament to the authors ability to tell a good story.

Making Angel (Mariani Crime Family #1) is actually the second book (numerically) in the Mariani Crime Family trilogy. Book 0 may be a "prequel" who knows. I do know that the installment I read was very good, so I expect the rest is as well.

If you are more concerned with reading a well told story than what specific genre it occupies, Making Angel is the book for you. Enjoy!


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Trapped In A Hall Of Mirrors: How the Luckiest Man in the World Became a Spy

Trapped In A Hall Of Mirrors  by Michael Connick was sent to me in print format for review.

This book is, according to the title page, "based on true events". Author Michael Connick has a background of working with the intelligence community and has provided us with a exciting and often hilarious fictional account of that background.

He does not tell us what parts are real and what are his own invention. I guess if he did he would have to kill us, and I believe it is usually considered bad form for an author to kill his audience.

Trapped In A Hall Of Mirrors  brings to mind Get Smart meets James Bond. Only the reminder that the story is based on actual events keeps me from taking the story as a complete spoof. I think it was the tv show M*A*S*H that coined the term "screwing up in reverse", and that seems to have happened quite a bit in the case of Stephen Connor (our hero). He at times irritates, aggravates, puzzles, perturbs and downright pisses-off several major intelligence agencies around the world.

In the end, we have to say "Thank God he was on our side". Connick has a great time pointing out the twisted logic that often holds sway in the intelligence community as a whole ("our side" didn't often appear to be that much more logical in their actions).

I didn't really take Trapped In A Hall Of Mirrors as and indictment of, or comment on, the state of intelligence agencies in general. I take it as a fun peek behind the curtains, so to speak (the bad guys really shouldn't have paid any attention to that man behind the curtain).

Michael Connick hinted at another story for another book (okay, he didn't hint, he came right out and said it), I hope he chooses to tell us that story as well.

There is some violence (fairly graphic), some sex (fairly un-graphic) and almost-sex (he does get the girl, or does she get him?), but most of all good bureaucratic silliness.

For a good, quick (158 page), fun read, I recommend  Trapped In A Hall Of Mirrors by Michael Connick, I think you'll like it. Enjoy!


Friday, August 5, 2016

Lies & Alies The Blessed Trilogy Book 1

 I was given a print copy of Lies and Allies by author Jonathan Lenahan for review.  I'm not sure if the copy I received is an ARC or the finished product. It reads as well as any finished product, hardly any mistakes. But the things I have not seen in other books; no page numbers, and no printing at all on the spine, make me wonder. No big deal you understand, just things that make me go hmm (nod to Arsenio).

Before I get started on the nuts and bolts of Lies and Allies I should just go ahead and say, I really like this book.

As the title informs us, Lies & Allies, The Blessed Trilogy, Book 1 is the first book in a new epic fantasy trilogy. At its heart this is a quest story, but unlike others I have read, the companions in this story are nowhere near a cohesive group and they remain that way through most if not all of the first story. In fact, one of the characters is almost completely unlikable. None of the companions fall in love with each other (or anyone else), at least by the end of this installment.

Our heroes have basically been coerced into taking on a suicidal quest; kill a King and Queen. No spoiler, it's on the back cover of the book. Making the quest are; a former general, a priestess, a mercenary (Rake, rogue, just plain jerk?),his simple associate, and a timid man imprisoned for his magic ability, five in all, a good quest number.  Along the way, all sorts of unsavory characters get involved usually to their own detriment.

Lies and Allies is replete with political intrigue (lies), unwilling partnerships (allies), magic (the blessed), extreme violence, hinted at sex, torture, vengeance, compassion, and even love (filial).
As any good quest goes our heroes have to contend with several discomforts, from mild to downright horrible. Very good action sequences keep the adventure moving along nicely. The characters are much more developed and much earlier than in other quest adventures. The story is definitely character driven, we see the interpersonal conflicts played out in great detail. They are an integral part of the story, not just a weak hinted at side story.

Praise for author Jonathan Lenahan; he has shown he knows how to end the first entry in the trilogy without resorting to a cliffhanger. Not much more frustrating to me as a reader than to be left hanging and having to wait who knows how long to read the next part of the story. Lenahan is able to resolve enough of the story to let us feel satisfied, yet is also able to keep us hooked, looking forward to the continuation of the story (Three cheers for Jonathan Lenahan!).

As usual, I have not given much in the way of story detail. I figure, if I tell you the whole story, you don't need to read the book. That would be a shame. Lies and Allies by Jonathan Lenahan should actually be read, not just read about. If your a fan of the quest, magic, politics, and general entertaining adventure, do yourself a favor and start this trilogy. Enjoy!


Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Apostates Book Two: Remnants

Author Lars Teeney sent me an e-version of The Apostates Book Two: Remnants for review.

Obviously being "book two" denotes that it is the second in a series (clever of me huh?). The Apostates Book Two: Remnants follows the story of the Apostate rebellion. It's no spoiler here to say the Apostates won (more or less) otherwise would we really need a sequel? So now we follow the characters from the first book as they try to re-establish the country in the power vacuum that they have created.

There are several groups, secular and religious, who wish to fill that vacuum. Although still an action oriented speculative fantasy, The Apostates Book Two: Remnants focuses more on the political machinations of those who still have personal agendas they are trying to fulfill. Have no fear, there is still plenty of action. Graphic violence is very much present (plasma blades are awesome!) as there are always advocates of violence to achieve their ends

Lars Teeney is very good at giving us characters that are well developed. He does not give us "comic book" characters. The good guys are not knights in shining armor who never ever make mistakes, and the bad guys are equally not one dimensional.

What I like most about this second book in the series is the continuation of the story beyond what could have easily been  left as it was in the first book. The rebellion was over and everyone lived happily ever after is often the way such books end. Mr. Teeney has given us in essence an extended epilogue and kept us involved in the story.

The story line of my personal favorite character has not yet been resolved, and appears that it will figure prominently in book 3. I look forward to that.

Biggest positive for me? The 1968 Charger is still tearing up the road! Although why it has to be owned by such a nasty character is unfortunate. I hope it survives book 3.

The only negative for me were the times when the story was being told in a flash back type format. A stylistic device we have all seen before. It usually takes me a few sentences to realize; oh, I'm back in such and such a time. This doesn't hurt the story, and is, of course, a legitimate format to use, I personally just sometimes struggle with it. I do better when there is a note that we are now in a different time frame. But again, that is just me.

If you liked The Apostates (book one) I think you will really like The Apostates Book Two: Remnants.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Final Roman Emperor, the Islamic Antichrist, and the Vatican's Last Crusade

The Final Roman Emperor, the Islamic Antichrist, and the Vatican's Last Crusade is the fourth, and final, installment of authors Thomas Horn and Chris Putnam's research into Biblical Prophesy. 

In order to more fully study Biblical Prophesy the authors delve into the details of cultural relevance by way of non-biblical prophesies. Islamic, Pagan, Freemason as well as Christian Prophesies are presented in detail to support their hypotheses and predictions.

I haven't been this unsettled by a book since I read On the Path of the Immortals, the third offering by Horn and Putnam. What I always come away with is gratitude that I have faith in God and Jesus Christ to sustain me. If the author's research is even remotely correct, then we see that there is no human institution to put our faith into.

Whether you are a spiritual person or not; whether you believe the information that Horn and Putnam present, an honest reader will admit that this book is well documented. The authors do not make 'off the cuff' claims. They support everything, providing copious amounts of supporting references. The Final Roman Emperor, the Islamic Antichrist, and the Vatican's Last Crusade at 363 pages is not particularly long as books go, but 751 references for the information they present are documented. That impresses me. 

As I said; The Final Roman Emperor, the Islamic Antichrist, and the Vatican's Last Crusade is not particularly long, but it is very involved. It is not an easy read by any stretch. I consider myself fairly well educated, but this book was at times very difficult for me to follow. Of course this is in part due to the topic at hand. The Final Roman Emperor, the Islamic Antichrist, and the Vatican's Last Crusade focuses on end times prophesies (not a light topic to be sure), examining the prophecies of many differing sources. They present the striking similarities between Christian, Muslim and Judaic prophesy. 

The authors present often damning evidence that the Catholic Church is involved in some very disturbing activities (understatement of the millennium!), and they back it up with many many references and quotes from various Pope's themselves.

Horn and Putnam document so many Pagan, Occultist and down right Satanic practices in the founding of America, as well as ongoing such practices, It makes one wonder how the Pledge of Allegiance can make the claim "One Nation under God". 

The Final Roman Emperor, the Islamic Antichrist, and the Vatican's Last Crusade makes a seriously disturbing prediction for the near future in America. The manner in which they support and defend this prediction, in light of current world events, makes it truly alarming.

If you at all are concerned about the current state of affairs in America, and indeed the world, The Final Roman Emperor, the Islamic Antichrist, and the Vatican's Last Crusade is well worth the read. It will make you think, and quite probably make you more than a little uncomfortable. 

I usually end my reviews with the word "Enjoy!", but that just doesn't seem appropriate here. I didn't "enjoy" this book but am very glad I read it.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Little Leg Work

I won a print copy of A Little Leg Work by Royce Leville in a Goodreads Giveaway.

I have to first give credit to author Royce Leville for having the ability to take a topic (cannibalism) that most people (myself included) find abhorrent and turning it into a humorous story.  A Little Leg Work is a very funny story.

Although there is no indication noted in the book, it is pretty clear to me that Royce Leville is British. We find many words with the British spelling, but then again, the publisher is identified as being in Hamburg, Germany, so who can say for sure. I only mention this at all because a character in the book drives a Mercedes and the author shortens this to "Merc". Which, any American car guy knows means Mercury (both fine cars, but hardly interchangeable). This is the only language difference that is seriously noticeable.

Leville keeps the story light by not focusing too much on how the "humce" (read the book) is acquired, but on the goings on of all the characters, and how easily they slid down that slippery slope into gruesome activities.

 A Little Leg Work is not graphic, even the sex. In fact, for me, one of the funniest parts of the book is how a fetus (foetus, as the author spells it) experiences sexual activity by its host.

Author Leville uses footnotes to provide snide asides about various characters and situations. I found this a very funny way of keeping the story light.

For a short time I actually worried about what it says about me that I could find such a topic funny (but I did, call me a ghoul if you want, but it was funny). I got over it, but it may be that I won't go out for Italian for a while.

The other thing that struck me was the presence of a "Travel Page" at the front and again at the back of the book. It is a place to document the travels of the book through different readers. Kind of a neat idea until two pages later when we find the admonishment "that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated..." (??).

The real lesson to be taken away from  A Little Leg Work by Royce Leville is: Never trust a vegetarian! Enjoy!


Sunday, July 10, 2016

At This Hour, Lie At My Feet, All Mine Enemies

Author Mark Rounds provided an e-copy of At This Hour, Lie At My Feet, All Mine Enemies for review.

I'm going to start right off with the biggest problem with At This Hour, Lie At My Feet, All Mine Enemies : it has a CLIFFHANGER ENDING! AAAAAARRRRGGH!

Actually, I can't really complain about the ending because Mr. Rounds warned me when he sent me the book. So, I guess I'll have to let it pass, THIS TIME. Once again, I know, very big of me.

Seriously though, At This Hour, Lie At My Feet, All Mine Enemies is an awesome follow-up to the first book in the series, Hell Is Empty And All The Devils Are Here. Mr. Rounds introduces new characters to add to the story, for me, keeping it fresh and interesting. This go around the story has a much more military focus. I'm not usually a big reader of militaristic stories, but this one works for me. Our original characters do take a bit of a back seat for most a while, but that is where the story went so I don't see it as a negative. Some of the original characters were expanded and made more important over all.

The characters, both military and civilian act in ways that seem realistic to me. The zombies? Who knows, being zombies and all. Although fairly long at 476 pages, At This Hour, Lie At My Feet, All Mine Enemies moves at a good pace an held my interest all the way through. I didn't feel the story bogging down at all.

I read the entire book in three days, so you know it grabbed me pretty tight, and didn't let go. The last third of the book was absolutely riveting. I just couldn't put it down.

As I wrote in my last review of Mark Rounds' work, He is truly one of the writers that make reading Indie authors worth the effort. I just don't see him remaining Indie for very long. Ok, enough gushing.

At This Hour, Lie At My Feet, All Mine Enemies has lots and lots of great action sequences, good character development, no sex to speak of, and about a gazillion zombies getting wasted and many more in need of wastement. (Yeah I made up the word, I can do that, it's my review)

I highly recommend At This Hour, Lie At My Feet, All Mine Enemies by Mark Rounds to all readers of action/adventure/zombie/apocalypse/military/survivalist (I think that about covers it) books. You won't be disappointed. The only question is: How long to we have to wait for part three? Enjoy!


Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Prophecy is book #90 in the Deathlands Saga by James Axler, although Amazon mistakenly lists it at #89. I don't care, do you?

Yes, we all know James Axler is a "house name" at Gold Eagle. There have been several different writers of these books. It doesn't take a whole lot of detective work to find the actual authors name, but I'm not that interested. If you are, go for it.

Prophecy is so different from other entries in the series as to have little in common with them. I mean, they don't hardly kill anyone in this book. What's up with that?

This book is more a tale of Native American Spirituality, than it is a survivalist action/adventure. I did miss the shoot'em up aspect I expect from Deathlands. But, this being said, Prophecy itself is a pretty darn good book.

Cawdor and the companions were not the focus of the story, they were just a convenient tool to tell basically a Native American story. Three tribes trying to live up to the destiny set for them by legend. I tend to like stories about Native history. The author does bring the story back to the Deathlands theme at the end.

Die-hard Deathlands fans may be disappointed by this installment due to the lack of general mayhem. But if given a chance, and judged on it's own merits, I think the reader will find Prophecy a very entertaining book. Enjoy!


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Who You Work For

A print copy of Who You Work For by Anthony David Mitchell was given to me for review.

Who You Work For is not an easy read. Not because of difficult language or concepts. It is the story of a young man raised to be a weapon. Call it brainwashing, indoctrination or whatever sinister motive you like, our main character Thomas Moore, is no doubt the creation of a twisted mind.

Moore is an assassin, and a pretty successful one, that is until he is given a job that falls outside his usual parameters.

Who You Work For is a very dark read. Without getting into details that would spoil the story, we do sympathize with Moore as he loses control of his well ordered world. Although he has a warped sense of justice, we know he is doing the best with what he has been given.

Personal insight here: Moore is actually a weak minded individual who is manipulated by many of the people he comes in contact with. He believes he is strong willed, and in some small aspects of his life he is, but for the most part he is led around by the nose. Presented as a man who would be more comfortable in a earlier time period in the U.S., Moore is so inept in social situations as to be a poor fit in any society. Again these are personal views, Mr. Mitchell may well claim I missed his point altogether.

For the main character, Who You Work For is a tragic story of misguided intentions, unrequited love, and general confusion.

Author Anthony David Mitchell does do a good job of setting this dark, depressing, world-going-to-hell-in-a-hand-basket tone. He is very adept at showing the sick and twisted underbelly of "civil" society, while taking the reader on a twisting, turning ride that will tie their sense of fair play in knots.

The difficulty in reviewing  Who You Work For is that it is well written by my standards (whatever that means) and engaging, but it was for me, a very depressing story. It got my hopes up, but ended, in my mind, tragically.

For me, this re-enforces why I stay away from "psychological" novels in general. As a former psycho-therapist, these type of stories are difficult for me. I tend to read too much into them. For some reason I am unable to sit back and accept the story for what it is on its surface. In defense of Mr. Mitchell, Who You Work For was not presented to me as a psychological novel, and may well not be intended as such at all. I know there is an audience who likes this type of story, and I don't mean to imply that I think they shouldn't. I apologize that this paragraph was more about me that about the book, but I don't want to appear to be unfairly critical without explaining why.

If you are a reader who likes delving into the dark psychological aspects of a twisted story of flawed people in a flawed society (and I know many of you do),  I think Who You Work For  by Anthony David Mitchell will be a very satisfying read for you. Enjoy!


Monday, June 27, 2016

Last Years Resoultion

I was given an e-version of Robert Lampros' Last Years Resolution for review.

Last Years Resolution is a quick, thoughtful read focusing on the book of Revelation from the Bible.

We follow the early manifestations of the end of days as experienced by a famous writer. He is a God-fearing man who actually listens to God. He is not immune to the effects of some of the judgments visited on mankind, but as an obedient Christian, he is not consumed by them.

At the same time, Last Years Resolution is a love story. We witness the growing relationship between our writer and his new found lady fair.

Throughout all the turmoil, our couple maintain their love of and obedience to, God. The benefit of doing so is clear throughout the story.

I realize I'm sharing more of the actual story than I usually do. But I find it kind of necessary with this particular book.

Last Years Resolution is a well written, clean, Christian story. One of the more thoughtful depictions of a popular theme. It is not an over the top horror-fest, but it is not sugar-coated either. It portrays situations that a large portion of the Earths population believes will occur at some point in time, and shows the benefit of being properly prepared.

Last Years Resolution by Robert Lampros is a non-sensationalist telling of  Biblical Prophesy. Those readers interested in such a topic will find this telling both entertaining and faith affirming. Not a bad feat to accomplish. Enjoy!


Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Journey

Author John Heldt gave me an e-copy of The Journey for review.

The Journey is actually the second book in John Heldt's The Northwest Passage series. As this is the sixth book authored by Mr. Heldt that I have reviewed, it is obvious that I did not read the series in order. In the case of The Journey, it is not a problem.

What surprises me about Mr. Heldt's work is how he has avoided the trap of his series becoming predictable or formulaic. While all of his books are "time-travel" stories, he brings fresh new plots and situations to each. The Journey represents the shortest time traveled (so far anyway) and has been one of the most compelling of Heldt's books for me. There was little if anything in this book that I was able to predict. The climax was nothing short of stunning.

Set in a more contemporary time frame, The Journey will take many readers back to their own youth, making the book more relate-able from the perspective of understanding the time into which our main character is thrust.

The story is tight and allows us the chance to consider what we might do in the same situation. (Minor spoiler alert) What would we tell our younger selves given the opportunity.

This offering of Mr. Heldt's craft has more sexual activity than most of his others (probably a consequence of the time frame), and definitely focuses on the changing mores of the culture at the time. There is also romance, teenage drama, and as always a little history in the mix.

I have enjoyed all of John Heldt's writing so far, but The Journey is a standout from even his usual high quality. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip through time courtesy of Mr. Heldt and recommend The Journey to any reader of time-travel, sci-fi, fantasy, or anyone who just wants an entertaining, fun, blast to the past. Enjoy!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Extraordinary Temptation

Patrick McCusker provided me an e-copy of his book The Extraordinary Temptation in exchange for a review.

The Extraordinary Temptation starts out as what the reader thinks is going to be your basic archaeological treasure hunt adventure. It quickly disabuses that notion. Our hero (the archaeologist) has found (though he doesn't know it immediately) The Crown of Thorns, yes that crown of thorns.

An unscrupulous businessman (you'll have to read the book to get the connections) steals the crown, and finding a desiccated piece of flesh, attempts to clone it. No spoiler here, this is all in the blurb.

The story takes a turn into the macabre and delves deeply into eeriness and horror at this point. The ending brings us back to a Utopian hope.

I don't recall a book that has prompted such visceral reactions in me as I read. I have read many books which have affected me on an emotional level to be sure, but The Extraordinary Temptation went well beyond those.

There are some questionable turns of phrase that were difficult for me as the story is told with British vernacular. The only one I feel pretty sure of commenting on, is when the term "First Nations" is used to identify Native Americans (the former is a Canadian designation not American). Minor, I know but there you go.

For me this story divides itself into three distinct parts. We have the set up in a mundane (not boring) manner, things unfolding the way we would normally expect them. Then we move into the horror, serious horror, that forces us to think about some really unsettling ideas. Questions that quite frankly, scare hell out of me.

The Extraordinary Temptation ends on a much more hopeful, as I said Utopian, note. It still manages to leave us with much to consider. Over all I ended up with a somewhat uneasy feeling.

Author Patrick McCusker has given us much to think about in The Extraordinary Temptation. This is not a lighthearted piece of fluff to pass some time with, it is a story that will probably grab you and take you, for a while at least, into a very uncomfortable place. A unique read is probably the best way to describe it. A very good unique read for sure. Just not an easy one. Enjoy!