December 31, 2017

The Golden Helm by Victoria Randall

The Golden Helm:  More Tales from the Edge of Sleep is a wonderful collection of beautiful short stories written by Victoria Randall.

The book boasts of twelve interesting stories most of them quite thought-provoking, some are amusing and entertaining, while some call for self-examination.

Though I enjoyed reading all of them, my favorites include The Golden Helm, Parenthood by Choice Inc. Invests in a Time Machine, Edith’s Gift and Scent of Evil. These stories present choices. Through these well-conceived and well-written albeit relatively short stories the author portrayed situations in which the protagonist is given choices that test his/her character.

While I find the Incident in the Library and Dragonfire quite amusing and entertaining, Apple Seed and Influence are somehow thought-provoking, whereas Dinosaur Voices, Beyond the Cavern of Madmen, Silent Presence and The Unicorn in the Garden carry serious and profound messages.

The book, ultimately, displays the author’s writing skills in both the fantasy and science fiction genre. The stories are all easy to read and understand and with the book having various themes including power, morality, fear, freedom, kindness, influence, ingenuity, moral values and humanity, all of them leave something to think about.

Congratulations to Victoria Randall (@Entlover27) on such a great collection!        

December 23, 2017

Crossing the Line by Elle Knowles

Crossing the Line is a touching book written by Elle Knowles.

Helena is having trouble with Jim, her husband of thirty years. He seems to be always unavailable for her and is spending too much time with his associate. With three grown up children, a granddaughter and another grandchild on the way, Jim and Helena have too much to lose, so, Helena tries her best to pretend that everything is alright with their marriage by always justifying Jim’s unacceptable behavior.

However, things get from bad to worse when Helena discovers questionable transactions in their bank account and starts digging for more evidence of Jim’s wrongful actions.

This is a story about a strong woman’s attempt to save her marriage. This is a book about family, love and friendship among others. The author successfully depicts how far a woman would go to protect the most important thing in her life, her family. The plot, though not extraordinarily original, is eye-opening. It is touching and moving and some readers may find it relatable.

The author creates an admirable protagonist in Helena. She is the epitome of a strong, determined and independent woman. Her strength keeps her family for as long as she could while her determination leads her to the truth and sets her free.

The writing is generally spontaneous making the book an easy read. However, I find the pacing a little slow and the narrative too detailed that some parts sound unnatural. Moreover, there are some misspelled words (like then instead of than and Alley instead of Allie) though only very few are still noticeable.

Still, I enjoyed this book and I find Helena a memorable character.

Congratulations to Elle Knowles (@knowleselle) on such a touching book. For more books by the author, click HERE.

December 13, 2017

Hatching the Phoenix Egg by Joel Horn

Hatching the PhoenixEgg is the second book in the Mare Tranquillitatis Series created by Joel Horn.  

The story of the Lost Coast Rocket continues with the indefatigable Ken O’Brien’s launch in a one-way trip to Jupiter aboard Tranquility. With a limited life span of ten years, Ken resigns himself to a lonesome existence away from everything he loves the most including the green-eyed girl he has loved for most of his life.

However, a great and welcome surprise arrives, courtesy of Akira, when Ken least expects it. Now, he has a choice. But the felicity brought by that choice is cut short with the discovery of something bigger than everything Ken has ever known.

Ken is faced with a dilemma that no man has ever faced before. The immensity of the possible consequences weighs heavily on his soul as the future, or lack of it, of his beloved birth planet rests on his shoulders.

This is a suspenseful science fiction novel with some apocalyptic scenarios. Scenes vary from the sinister outer space, scalding desert to the unforgiving wilds. Just like the first in the series, this book features numerous themes including love, friendship, faith, loyalty, determination and perseverance.

For me, the most important part of the book is the emphasis on life and enjoying it to the fullest with the ones we love. The author subtly reminds us of the things we easily take for granted like time, friends and home, that we forget the value of until they are taken from us.

Needless to say I enjoy this book even more than the first. Except for some space and physics jargons which are totally foreign to me, I like everything about the book and though I don’t consider myself a fan of Ken’s I admire his tenacity and determination and I believe that if I were put in the same situations, I would do the same things he did.

Congratulations to Joel Horn on another great and enjoyable book! For more books by the same author, click HERE,                                       

December 3, 2017

The Yoke by Darrell Dunham

The Yoke is a touching and inspiring book written by Darrell Dunham.

Since his mother’s accident, Barnabas Mitchell’s life has become a constant struggle and a series of hardships and difficulties. Just when it seems like it wouldn’t get any worse, his father left and never came back. Barnabas buried himself in his studies and did very well in school. Unlike other kids his age, Barnabas had only a few preoccupations that gave meaning to his life: taking care of his mother, writing on his journal and playing basketball.  When his mother died, Barnabas lost faith in God and in people. He fell into depression. However, out of love and respect for his mother’s memory, he soldiered on.

Bill Cushman is the good looking and charming son of a rich and influential man. He is lazy and arrogant, thinks highly of himself and less of other people. He never works for what he wanted. He cheats his way through it, uses other people to get it or simply asks his father to do something about it. Wherever Barnabas goes, Bill unexpectedly shows up and makes life harder for Barnabas than it already is.

This is a wonderful and beautifully written book about one man’s struggles and unwavering determination to live a respectable and honorable life despite the seemingly endless difficulties. It is an inspiring tale of love, courage, perseverance, integrity and faith. It shows how a man with nothing to show for himself but his work ethics and credibility can make it through and be among the best in what he does. Moreover, it depicts how God works in mysterious ways by sending someone the worst person to bring out the best in him, and using the most unlikely person to bring about the change that the best and finest people could not.

The author creates admirable and endearing characters including Sam Schultz and Kyle and Sarah Williams. In the end, however, I find Stephanie Schultz my favorite. She is patient, smart and kind and she lives by her faith through and through.

The part I like the most in the book is when Barnabas was presented a choice between ending his financial difficulties for good and doing what is right without any indication of getting anything in return. For me, it was the greatest manifestation of honorability.

However, I find some parts of the narration a little bit unnatural for fiction. Moreover, as especially mentioned in the book, a part of the court case was somehow too technical and might cause some readers’ interest to falter.

Despite those issues, I enjoyed the book immensely and I recommend it to those who are looking for inspiration and to those who simply want to feel good.

Congratulations to Darrell Dunham (@DunhamAuthor) on such a marvelous book!            

The Yoke was an Book of the Day on November 28th. You may check it out at Online Book Club.

November 29, 2017

A World Without Color by Bernard Jan

A World Without Color is a touching novella written by Bernard Jan.

The book chronicles the last three difficult, sad, but love-filled days the author shared with his beloved cat of fourteen years and nine months. How he kept his vigil over someone he loved the most as he watched him go gradually, painfully but bravely.

More than the cat or the pet, this book is ultimately about love in its unconditional form. It depicts the extent of a person’s attachment and affection to a non-human and the love that transcends the boundaries of the species. Moreover, it describes the beauty of unreciprocated action in the name of duty and obligation as a manifestation of love. Finally, it presents the ultimate choice someone has to make: either to carry the burden of being the angel of death to the one he loves the most for the rest of his life by putting an end to the agony and suffering of his beloved or to wait for the end to come on its own as he watch the love of his life expire swiftly and painfully.  

However, this novella may be understood and totally appreciated only by readers who have the rare opportunity of experiencing that same kind of love the author felt for his cat. Regrettably, not all people, pet-owners included, have that same intimate and passionate relationship with their pets.

Congratulations to Bernard Jan (@BernardJanWorld) on such a touching novella! For more books by the author, click HERE

November 27, 2017

The Burgas Affair by Ellis Shuman

The BurgasAffair is an international mystery and crime novel written by Ellis Shuman.

Ayala Navon is an Israeli intelligence analyst in Tel Aviv. Boyko Stanchev is a Bulgarian detective from the State Agency for National Security.

When a tourist bus exploded at Burgas Airport killing five Israelis and the Bulgarian driver, the Burgas police and its Israeli counterpart teamed up to investigate the bombing.

As a senior detective, Boyko felt let down when he was paired with the Israeli woman. Ayala, on the other hand, found Boyko arrogant and sexist. However, in the wake of the horrific terrorist attack, they have to work out their differences in order to get to the bottom of the case.

The book has a very promising start with, initially, a fast pacing. It has a solid plot with rich and substantial back stories told in vivid flashbacks. Indication of possible romance between the main protagonists lends a light hearted feeling to an otherwise serious and horrible bombing story.

However, with the introduction of back stories, the initially fast pacing slowed down reducing the level of suspense. Moreover, between the male and the female protagonists, I found Ayala a more likeable character than Boyko. There was simply too much to dislike with the male main character. Furthermore, though the ending was quite satisfactory, I found it a bit inconclusive. Finally, I noticed errors within the entire book which are thankfully very few.

Nevertheless, it was a great read, interesting, informative especially about Israeli culture, and suspenseful.

Congratulations to Ellis Shuman (@ellisshuman) on such an enjoyable book! For more books by the author, click HERE.

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 DivinityBureau 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-38Fighter 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’sGhost 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 ForgetYou 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 fiancé 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.      

October 8, 2017

Have Amber - Will Travel by Keith Vlasak

Have Amber – Will Travel is a fantasy adventure novel written by Keith Vlasak.

Standing five feet eleven inches tall, Paige Dylan is simply not a typical college student with her beauty queen looks and Medieval Longsword Champion title. That’s probably because she’s not typical at all, nor is any of her two brothers and two sisters.

Unlike other ordinary children of ordinary families, the Dylans secretly go on exciting quests they call ‘adventures’ as they are magically transported in another place and time. Unlike their previous quests, however, this time, they are not transported to Camelot but in ancient Egypt. What more, they bring along with them Paige’s classmate Steve Webber and her Introductory Writing 101 teacher, Professor Dettman.

More than exciting, this is a very informative book about the gods and goddesses of Egypt as well as ancient Egyptian religious beliefs. Moreover, the book realistically depicts the relationship between siblings especially the behavior of each child. How the oldest always feels responsible for the younger ones and how the younger ones lash at the older ones trying to find out how far they can go. The fighting scenes are superbly described and the setting is magnificently reproduced in words. The characters are well developed and at some points relatable, especially Paige.  

However, though I enjoyed the book a lot, history lessons and all, I think the entire book is heavy, in fact too heavy, on details, considering that the target audience is young adult. I also find the pacing too slow. Moreover, the plot raises too many questions that are left unanswered and for a standalone novel, it gives the reader an incomplete and, somehow, unsatisfied feeling at the end of the book. Despite those and a few noticeable errors (like it’s eyes and I can count you instead of I can count on you), this is a very enjoyable book.

Congratulations to Keith Vlasak (@keithvlasak) on such a great book. For more books by the author, click HERE. 

October 2, 2017

Forged in Fire by Fraser Scott

Forged in Fire is Book 1 of The Godewyne Chronicles created by Fraser Scott.

Rollie, the grandson of the elusive Ranulf, the only blacksmith in the village of Wickenshire, is hiding something in his pocket. A mysterious stranger commissions him to forge a Druid token out of a mysterious metal. Believing it to be a nice break from his usual job of forging nails, he accepts the commission and now keeps it a secret from his grandfather. But Rollie is not the only one with a secret. His grandfather, Ranulf, himself is not being completely truthful.

Meanwhile, the court jester is serving time in the dungeons and while he is contemplating on his precarious situation, Lord Aderland Maculinus is rounding up the nobles against King Godebert.

This is a fast-paced, intriguing and exciting first installment of a promising fantasy book series. The language used, though informal for its medieval setting, makes for easy reading. Narration and descriptions of scenes are vividly done with a touch of both wit and sarcasm and dialogues are fitting for each character. The author successfully builds up intrigue and mystery to keep the readers hooked.

However, for readers like myself who prefer standalone books whether part of a series or not, the ending of this book might be taken as less satisfying than it should be. Without resolution to any of the conflict presented or answer to any of the questions, it gives an incomplete feeling. Moreover, I find it difficult to connect with any of the characters, probably brought about by reservation because of the secrecy and mystery surrounding the characters.

Still, I enjoyed this book a lot and I believe other readers will enjoy it as well.

Congratulations to Fraser Scott on such a great book!