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!