Friday, April 21, 2017


I was given an e-copy of Runespeaker (Bonesaw #.5) by author Mila N. Sankale for review.

Runespeaker is a short fantasy read which judging from the full title is a part of a series. Checking the authors goodreads page does in fact identify a Bonesaw #1.

Over all Runespeaker was an interesting read. We start out directly in the story with no set up, the story just is happening. Not a bad concept but a little confusing because we don't really get right away why the story is what it is. We have a character in prison without much to tell us why she is special. In fact we only get her story in small bits. I found myself confused at times because it read like I should already know the back story. The .5 in the title made me think it might be a prequel written after the main series started. However according to the release dates published on goodreads this isn't the case.

The heroine of the story is apparently a very specially gifted person with abilities few people possess in her world. Although she has these tremendous abilities, she comes across as not very strong at times. She seems to be controlled by circumstance rather than controlling circumstance. She doesn't even seem that well respected by the very people who want her help.

Runespeaker is an interesting story, but for me it was just too bare bones. I needed more backstory as to how the current situation came to be. It is there, but the reader has to get it in too many small bites. Kind of took some of the fun out of it for me. It may well be that I am just not well versed enough in Runecasting or reading to fully grasp the concept here.

Runespeaker by Mila N. Sankale left me wanting more story. As a college writing professor once told me, "more words". The story is good (I did finish it after all) I just needed more words. Enjoy!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Change of Heart

I received a print copy of Change of Heart from author Daniel Side for review.

Having recently read The Reedsmith of Zendar from Mr. Side, I looked forward to checking out Change of Heart. Though not a fantasy like the first book, Change of Heart shows me the range and talent that Daniel Side brings to his work.

Change of Heart is a contemporary thrill ride that fights pigeon-holing into a particular genre. It is, at least to me, an action story. But the argument can easily be made that it is a political, medical, organized crime and even a romantic, thriller. Heavy emphasis on thriller no matter where you categorize it.

Our hero, Patrick is a guilt ridden father trying to do the right thing despite his associations with the less than savory elements of society. He makes a deal with the Devil (actually a politician; same thing) to provide long term medial care for his daughter.

Our heroine, Katherine is an investigative journalist trying to make a difference.

How they get thrown together is the crux (and therefore a spoiler) of the story. They have to contend with a sociopath politician, a cougar drug dealer, and all of their minions. And, they don't particularly trust each other.

Needless to say, our hero is more than well prepared to take care of himself, and our heroine is, when it counts, no pushover either. The romance that eventually blossoms between them is hampered by secrets they keep from each other. Secrets that would be to you, prospective reader, spoilers so don't ask me I won't tell.

Change of Heart does take a bit too long for me to get to the action, but when it does, hang on. It is a wild ride that will not disappoint action fans. Patrick and Katherine are caught between two organizations; one criminal, one political (same thing), who are ostensibly working together, but really not so much. The twists and turns come rapid fire turning the plot on dime repeatedly. Not much predictable here.

Change of Heart by Daniel Side has graphic violence, somewhat graphic sex, and enough action and intrigue to keep the reader hooked until the surprising, and very satisfying, conclusion. In short (yeah I know, too late for that) a very good read indeed. Enjoy!


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts was given to me by author David Ahern in e-format for review.

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts is the second book in the Madam Tulip series. I found this entry as good a read as was the first. Psychic Madam Tulip is the alter ego of Derry O'Donnell, a perpetually starving actress. She finds herself employed as the fortune teller at a party given by British royalty (no not the Queen, a bit lower on the royal roster). Her psychic abilities get her caught up in cloak and dagger goings on.

I like the Madam Tulip books because of the way all the players are presented. Derry is psychic, no big deal (at least to her). Her mother is a delightfully pompous art dealer, her father an equally delightful artist. The ongoing feud between her estranged parents is seriously funny. Her best friend Bruce is an ex-seal and by the way, gay. Though his sexuality rarely plays much of a part in the story.

A little different from the first book, Madam Tulip herself does not actually appear that much. Madam Tulip's appearance at the big party is kind of a sideline. This does not, however, take anything away from the story. The action and intrigue we enjoyed in the first book are here as well. A cleverly twisting plot sprinkled with psychic clues, gives us an entertaining mystery with just enough humor [(humour, it is a British oriented story after all) (a Scots (Roddy Piper said Scotch is a drink, Scot is a person) author is still British, right? I'm such an American) to keep the tone from getting too heavy and oppressive.

David Ahern does a great job of keeping the characters fresh and the story exciting. It is a wild ride and the minor royals are as goofy as anyone else.

No sex (don't really want too much detail on Bruce's activities, not that there's anything wrong there), apparently Derry is too busy getting caught up in mysteries for any amorous activities. Some violence (there are bad guys, and we all know how they are), not overly graphic.Enough twists and turns to keep mystery lovers hooked. Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts by David Ahern is an all around good read. Enjoy!


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Phoenix Island

I was given a print copy of Phoenix Island by John Dixon by the publisher, Gallery Books. They sent me this book as an apology for not sending another book in a timely fashion.

It took me a while to get to this book because it didn't go through my usual channels. I have to say, I have mixed reactions to Phoenix Island. The book is apparently the inspiration for a tv show (at least that's what the cover says). I haven't seen the show and it doesn't really matter since I am reviewing the book not the show.

Phoenix Island is a good action/adventure. No lulls or slow passages, the action is nonstop and over the top. There is a romantic interest which softens the overall story a bit, but not much. It is a hard bitten, militaristic, testosterone filled ride.

With the exception of the main character Carl, most of the players in Phoenix Island are pretty one-dimensional. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it pretty much goes with the macho-military style of the story.

I said earlier that I had mixed reactions, so here we go: The story is exceptionally sadistic. When books go over an invisible line for me, it tends to turn me off. I was counting on an ending which would make the journey worthwhile, and I did get that, but I almost quit reading with about 100 pages left because it was just so cruel. The unrelenting cruelty probably more accurately describes what I have a problem with. I don't have a problem with graphic violence (Phoenix Island has that in abundance), or graphic anything for that matter. My personal limits don't change the fact that Phoenix Island is a well written book, good descriptive and engaging story telling. The action grabs the reader and doesn't let go. Even though I had my own issues with the tone, the story did keep me interested, so what can I say?

So if you are a fan of over-the-top, militaristic, action, and don't have too much of a problem with sadistic cruelty, Phoenix Island will fill your needs. Enjoy!