November 20, 2017

SERIAL K by Brian Gallagher

SERIAL K is an exciting thriller written by Brian Gallagher.

As soon as Craig Breedlove gets hold of his vast inheritance after the unusual death of his father and suicide of his mother the day after his father’s death, he puts his nefarious plans to action that is to pay tribute to the greatest serial killers in history. Diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, Breedlove had spent three years in juvenile detention prior to his diagnosis giving him ample time to come up with the most diabolical plan that will make him the greatest serial killer of all time.

After emulating Robert Hansen in Anchorage, Breedlove moves to Spokane to pay tribute to Robert Lee Yates, Jr, then on to Salem, Oregon for a modified reproduction of Randy Woodfield killing. By the time the crimes are discovered to be interconnected, Breedlove is on to his fourth victim.

FBI Special Agent and part time fiction writer Ryan O’Callahan is assigned to the case and teams up with his ex-wife FBI profiler Lea Pucci. As they hunt down the serial killer, the couple gets to spend time together and begins to consider possibilities regarding their unusual relationship. Meanwhile, bodies are piling up and they are nowhere near the identity of the perpetrator.

The book is told in the third person perspective and is a real deal thriller fiction complete with graphically depicted scenes. Never once deviating from the plot, the author builds up the premise by introducing a depraved character performing terrible crimes that ultimately escalate to egregious atrocity. With a relatively fast pacing, the book is a real page turner with sporadic love and romantic scenes to break the intensity of the action.

The characters, both main and minor, are developed with just sufficient back stories to substantiate their roles. The conclusion, though not the usual kind of ending I go for, offers a temporary closure that leaves a slight feeling of discontent that may make some readers want for more.

What I like most about the book is the unpredictability. Halfway through the story, the author introduces a new twist and throws in additional characters making the flow of the book more difficult to guess.

Despite the few typo errors that I noticed, I enjoyed this book a lot and I recommend it to crime and thriller fans. Some violent and gruesome scenes, however, may not be suitable for young readers.

Congratulations to Brian Gallagher (@GallagherAuthor) on such a great book! For more books by the author, click HERE.

SERIAL K was an Book of the Day on November 16th. You may check it out at Online Book Club.    

November 17, 2017

Programmed To Kill by David J. Murray

Programmed to Kill is an exciting and suspenseful thriller written by David J. Murray.

David Mainwaring is a retired teacher, a model citizen and a seemingly ordinary Vietnam veteran. Unbeknownst to other people including his own family, however, David is more than just ordinary and his feats in Vietnam as a member of the elite Special Forces Unit are unbelievably overwhelming. So, when an unscrupulous lawyer pays a group of hitmen to take David out and kidnap his family, the lawyer is ill-prepared for what he unleashes.        

David, together with his three other Vietnam Veteran friends who come to honor a pact they made years ago to assist when any of them or his family is in danger, retaliates with unimaginable intensity. Their slick maneuvers, however, are not lost on a dedicated police inspector, who is a Vietnam Veteran himself just like David and his friends.

Told in the third person perspective, this is an exciting book that will keep the readers on the edge of their seats in painful anticipation. While the readers would definitely root for David as he brings down the monsters who harm his family, the moral implications of his actions might give them conflicting emotions. The author successfully keeps the suspense at ultimate level until the last page of the book giving it one full blast of climactic ending.

Never deviating from the main plot, the author subtly supplies the back stories to justify the characters’ skills and finesse. Moreover, graphic descriptions of scenes make the readers feel more like watching a movie than reading a book. The author successfully creates admirable characters that it may be difficult for some readers to decide for a favorite. Though David is the most logical choice, I personally find it difficult to choose between Police Inspector Simmons and Alice Mainwaring.

What I like most about the book is the realistic take on a person’s thirst for revenge; the unleashing of the beast which I personally believe is inside everyone and the aching need to get back at the person who hurt him, see that person suffer and feel good about it. This book is the perfect depiction of ‘an eye for an eye’ which may sound unchristian but somehow liberating.        

However, I feel like the characters of David’s three veteran friends are less-developed than they should be considering that they are major players in the story. Moreover, there are so many noticeable errors within the entire book including misspelled words, missing or improperly placed punctuation marks, incorrect word usage and typos.  

Still, I enjoyed this book immensely and I recommend it to fans of suspense and thriller. Some scenes, of sex and violence, however, may not be suitable for young readers.

Congratulations to David J. Murray (@djyarrum1) on such a great book!

Programmed to Kill was an Book of Day on November 13th. You may check it out at Online Book Club.

November 10, 2017

The Divinity Bureau by Tessa Clare

The Divinity Bureau is a dystopian thriller written by Tessa Clare.

The world is in chaos. Water is scarce. The air is polluted. Jobs are rare and low paying. So, Roman Irvine considers himself lucky to work in the Divinity Bureau as an IT Technician. The Divinity Bureau is in-charge of controlling the population explosion by randomly electing a certain number of people to die of lethal injection every quarter of a year.

As an ordinary employee who is dependent to the bureau in order to survive, Roman does his job seemingly indifferent to the bureau’s activities. That is until he sees April McIntyre’s name on the list.

In addition to a quite interesting premise, the book offers a beautiful romance that defies the law. It is told in alternating first person perspective between the two protagonists. The book is an easy read with consistently casual and conversational tone. References to futuristic inventions like the Mobiroid, BIONs and CLEO may excite some readers.  

However, I find the back stories on the founding of the Confederal Districts a little vague. There are also some questions that I find unanswered. Moreover, though Roman for me is a very relatable character with his financial problems and needs, April is not my ideal female protagonist. I find her a little insensitive and uncaring towards her family. Furthermore, though the ending is how I hoped it would be it feels incomplete because of the unanswered questions. Finally, I noticed too many errors (if you free tomorrow, fill the silence my cutting my vealI can select the which) in the copy I read which made for a difficult reading experience.

Still, it was a very interesting read and I enjoyed it.

Congratulations to Tessa Clare (@tessaclaretdb) on such an enjoyable book. 

November 4, 2017

The Hands of Ruin: Book One by Dylan Lee Peters

The Hands of Ruin: Book One is the first in The Hands of Ruin two-book series written by Dylan Lee Peters.

Trying to have a relaxing time with her jawhar Reego, reclusive zul master Ah’Rhea accidentally hears of an incident about a little girl, improper use of zulis and the election of a new zul master to address the issue. But just as the zul master starts to contemplate on the gravity of what she just heard, her attention is caught by an unusual activity which, unmistakably, means a summons for a particular zul master, her.

Meanwhile, Aschburner twins Zigmund and Zera just meet with their uncle Rainart for the first time. Though he knows they are better off with their uncle than anywhere else, Ziggy instinctively doesn’t like the limping and drunk stranger who takes them in. Little does he know that his dislike will grow even more intense in just a few short days.

With two separate plotlines told in alternating sequence, this book is initially confusing. Though both plots are equally interesting and the readers are kept in suspense anticipating how the plots will converge, there are too many scenes which I find irrelevant to the story and which the book can do without.

The book has fast-pacing and vivid, albeit dark, descriptions. Some characters are more developed than others, and some who play important roles in this book are left undeveloped. I believe, though, that the author has plans for them in the second book. Just as the two plots are getting interesting, the book ends in cliffhanger leaving a lot of questions unanswered. That gives the ending an incomplete and unsatisfactory feeling.

Still, I enjoyed reading the book and I find the premise very intriguing. Other science fiction and dark fantasy fans may find it interesting.

Congratulations to Dylan Lee Peters (@dylanleepeters) on such an intriguing book. For more books by the author, click HERE.   

November 1, 2017

Brave and Funny Memories of WWII By a P-38 Fighter Pilot by Lyndon Shubert

Brave and Funny Memories of WWII By a P-38 Fighter Pilot is an entertaining and heart-warming book written by Lyndon Shubert.

Unlike common stories about WWII, which tell of the horrors and the ravages of war, this book features a few light hearted even funny, albeit still frightening, events that took place in the author’s life during the war.

The author begins his story the night he received his order and said goodbye to his beloved wife whom he wasn’t sure he would see again. He was first based in Foggia, Italy in the 82nd Fighter Group, 97th Fighter Squadron to fly the greatest fighter plane of WWII, the P-38 Lockheed Lightning.

Because of his flying skills (at least as assumed by the 82nd commanding officers) combined with unelaborated ‘incidents’ of misconduct, the author was eventually transferred to the 15th Air Force Headquarters in Bari and was assigned to the 154th Fighter-Recon-Weather Squadron whose job was to scout and report (by radio) the up-to-the-minute weather conditions at potential targets to help the Headquarters decide if bombers were to be dispatched or not.      

This is a very entertaining book about the experiences of a fighter pilot during the war. It is also a thin slice of history, seemingly insignificant but part of history nonetheless. The author wrote his story as he would tell it personally, with passion and a substantial amount of humor. That makes the book, and the experience itself, sound amusing and fun. The readers know, however, that there is nothing amusing or fun about the war, and I commend the author for sharing his story in such a light hearted manner because I assume that he did it deliberately to lighten up a dark part of his life that only a veteran like himself would understand.

Congratulations to Lyndon Shubert on such a great story! For more details about this book, click HERE.       

October 31, 2017

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost by Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost is the second book in the Kitty Hawk Detective Agency Series created by Iain Reading.

Kitty is so excited. Her dream to fly around the world is about to come true, thanks to the generosity of her sponsor, Charlie Lewis whom she met with his brothers during her expedition in Alaska.

After a short vacation with her parents, Kitty finally begins the first leg of her journey in her trusty and newly-modified De Havilland Beaver seaplane and lands at Key West, Florida. Just like ordinary tourists, Kitty has a look-around and even joins the tour at Ernest Hemingway’s house.

After befriending the Johnny Depp look-alike tour guide at Hemingway’s house, Kitty visits Fort Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas National Park and accidentally comes across a suspicious activity that involves mysterious glowing lights, ancient shipwrecks and sighting of the great Ernest Hemingway himself and his boat the Pilar.

Just like the first book in the series, Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold, this is an exciting, suspenseful and very informative Young Adult Fiction novel. But I find the pacing of this book faster and the scenes more suspenseful. I also notice that Kitty got more matured and, if possible, more daring and more stubborn. I think she also got less self-conscious and more comfortable in her own skin and more confident in what she can do.        
I simply love the lessons on ancient Spanish treasures especially the meaning of the symbols and markings on the silver bars. Apparently, this is another well-written, well researched and well referenced book by the author.

Congratulations to Iain Reading (@IainReading) on another amazing book! For more books in this series, click HERE.      

October 28, 2017

We Won't Forget You Mr. McGillicuddy by Ira L. White

We Won’t Forget You Mr. McGillicuddy is a touching and relatable book about love and family written by Ira L. White.

Gilbert McGillicuddy is an eighty-nine year old World War II veteran suffering from dementia. He lives in Ancient Adult Singles Apartments a few blocks from where his son, Robert, lives. Robert, a widower just like his father, is a radical and passionate blogger who writes about politics, racism and poverty among other topics.

When Robert’s daughter Ruby gets pregnant and the baby’s father turns violent, Robert urges his daughter and his twelve-year old granddaughter Sapphire, to live with him. Together, they await the baby’s arrival, take care of Gil and try to make both ends meet.

Meanwhile, a vindictive former FBI informant, whose plans Robert foiled forty years ago, discovers Robert and his family’s whereabouts. Consumed by four decades of hate, the man schemes to exact revenge on Robert’s unsuspecting family.

Told in the third person perspective, this is a touching book that describes the struggle of an ordinary family to stay together and make do with what they have. It also portrays the dreadful mental illness, dementia, and how it affects not just the patient but the entire family. Moreover, the book paints a vivid picture of a family trying to get along despite the generation gap wedging them apart. Though I initially find the side stories irrelevant, I eventually begin to appreciate their inclusion and their significance to Robert.        

The author successfully creates well-developed and relatable characters. Gil, the gregarious and charming war veteran who is gradually losing his memory; Robert, the radical blogger who fights for what he believes in; Ruby, the mother who wants what is best for her children; and Sapphire, the teenager who needs a father figure but finds her traditional grandfather too strict.

The best part of the book is the realistic depiction of an ordinary family trying to get by with how little they have and still manage to stay together and for each other in every challenging situation.  

However, though the ending leaves a hopeful and optimistic feeling, I prefer a more definitive conclusion to the book.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book and I recommend it to readers who like stories about family and familial love.

Congratulations to Ira L. White (@irawhite11) on such a great book!

We Won’t Forget You Mr. McGillicuddy was an Book of the Day on October 24th. You may check it out at Online Book Club.    

October 25, 2017

Hunting Nora Stone by Colin Weldon

Hunting Nora Stone is a suspenseful techno-thriller novel written by Colin Weldon.

Nora Stone is a drifter taken from the streets by the black ops division of the CIA. After a series of ultra-expensive biological modifications, she is turned into an advanced and sophisticated bioengineered and unstoppable lethal weapon. However, a sliver of her lost memory finds its way to Nora’s consciousness and the once docile weapon of war turns against her creators to get back what they took from her.  

A contingent led by former Navy Seal Eddie Conrad is sent to hunt down Nora Stone. But it seems like she doesn’t need to be hunted, nor does she need any form of persuasion. She is actually going back for all of those who turned her into what she is now.

This is an action filled and suspenseful techno-thriller that will keep the readers hooked as the author dangles a giant question mark at the beginning chapters. The readers have no choice but to read on as Colin Weldon very gradually unravels the secrets of Nora Stone and her creators.  

While the subject of the story is primarily about protocols, command and subordination, the themes include revenge, loyalty, ambitions and, ultimately, love. The author creates intriguing main characters and endearing minor characters, my favorites being Former MI6 Head Gordon and US President Royo.

However, I noticed several obvious errors within the entire book including misspelled words, incorrect usage and missing words. Apparently, this book will benefit from another round of editing.

Congratulations to Colin Weldon (@colinweldon) on such an enjoyable read. For more books by the author, click HERE.  

October 19, 2017

Refugees by R.A. Denny

Refugees is Book 1 in the Mud, Rocks and Trees Book Series by R. A. Denny.

Emperor Zoltov, the ruler of the Tzoladian Empire, secretly meets with Bladar, the leader of the Sparaggi Horsemen, for a long-sought prophecy which speaks of three seals, an heir, and the end of the emperor’s reign.

The seals in the prophecy are entrusted to three individuals from different parts of the empire: a Webby, a Glider and an Armored. With the birth of the new star, these three young individuals leave, albeit in various unexpected fashion, the lives they have always known to follow their destiny.     

This is an intriguing and exciting first installment of a fantasy book series. I find the premise unique and genuinely interesting. The author successfully creates a completely different world and populates it with fascinating characters. Each of the three main characters has distinct personality complete with special abilities and admirable qualities.

The plot, including solid backstories, is unraveled in gradual manner alternately between the points of view of the main characters. Suspense and excitement are, at all times, at high level making the book difficult to put down.

As typical and even expected in book series, the book has cliffhanger ending. Since I prefer standalone books, whether single work or part of a series, for me, the ending feels a little incomplete. Still, I enjoyed the book a lot and I recommend it to fans of the fantasy genre.   

Congratulations to R. A. Denny on such a great read! For more books by the author, click HERE

October 17, 2017

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts by David Ahern

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts is Book 2 of the Madam Tulip Book Series created by David Ahern.

When part of Dublin’s Palace Theatre collapses, out-of-luck American actress Derry O-Donnell finds herself unemployed again. To help with the fundraising to hasten the repairs on the Palace Theatre, Derry teams up with her mother to organize a celebrity art exhibition. The auction reunites Derry with supermodel Marlene O’Mara and gets herself booked in an engagement party in an English stately home as Madam Tulip, fortune teller to the rich and famous.

Derry, together with her friend Bruce, travels all the way to England and meets with the Dowager Countess of Berkshire, a former chorus girl at the Palace Theatre. They also meet with the Earl of Berkshire, his two daughters Lady Charlotte and Lady Bryony, Lady Charlotte’s fiancĂ© Torquil and the family’s curator, Sebastian.

However, just when Derry and Bruce are starting to get settled, they find themselves caught in the middle of a gruesome and threatening situation. Derry’s gift, as subtle as it is, offers very little help and it’s up to Derry and Bruce to go around the situation they find themselves in.

Just like the first book, Madam Tulip: An Irish Cozy Mystery, this is just as exciting and just as enjoyable. The author’s description of the affluence of the English aristocracy arouses envy in a common reader like myself. Unlike the first book, however, I find this to have a slower pacing while not all newly introduced characters are well-developed. The ending, though, is quite a blast and I like it a lot. Finally, I’m expecting for Madam Tulip’s ‘gift’ to be more developed by now but it seems like I have to wait for the next book in the series to find out.

Despite my issues, I enjoyed this book immensely.

Congratulations to David Ahern (@DaveAhernWriter) on another great read! For more books by the author, click HERE.