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!