January 29, 2018

Dawn of Chrysalis by Sam B. Miller II

Dawn of Chrysalis is the exciting second installment of the Origin of F.O.R.C.E. Series created by Sam B. Miller II.

After the failed invasion of planet Earth by the Chrysallaman Empire, another possible threat is detected. This time, it comes from a race with even more advanced technology and weaponry than the fearsome and extremely arrogant Chrysallamans.

While Whatsit and other members of F.O.R.C.E. go on a mission to gather information about the invaders that threaten to wipe-out the entire Chrysallaman race, Dr. John Heinbaum and his team are busy modifying weapons and developing technology in the ultra-secret laboratory hidden in the dessert. With very little information on what they are up against, however, humans must work with the Chrysallaman colonists for a better chance at success against their common enemy.

If I like the first book in the series, Origin of F.O.R.C.E, I like this second installment even more. With space travel and space fighting, the book is a real-deal suspenseful science fiction novel featuring laser beams, bubble shields and artificial black holes.

Moreover, the author features not only the friendly, accommodating and compassionate side of the humans but also the vindictive, duplicitous, and treacherous attributes, that, along with a tad of romance, effectively thickens the plot. My favorite part of the book is the complicated friendship between the eccentric and egotistical Astro-Physicist Dr. John Heinbaum and the red-haired hellion and weapons specialist Capt. Jerome McPherson. Reading about them is so much fun.

However, in addition to the several noticeable errors within the entire book, I find the physics part too technical for me. Though I believe the physics cannot be helped, another round of editing should be considered.

Congratulations to Sam B. Miller II (@SamBMillerII) on another enjoyable book. For more books by the author, click HERE. 

January 23, 2018

Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue by Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue is the exciting Book Three of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series created by Iain Reading.

Kitty’s flight-around-the world adventures continue in Iceland, the land of Vikings, volcanoes and ice. As she arrives in the capital city of Reykjavík, Kitty is greeted by Konrad Cooper and his beautiful family. Konrad is a resident of Iceland and is a friend of Charlie, Kitty’s friend and benefactor.

Just when Kitty is enjoying the pristine beauty of the Icelandic landscape, strange but delicious food and Icelandic hospitality, she is caught in the middle of an intrigue that throws her on the path of an environmental activist, a psychic, a paper plane enthusiast/researcher, dangerous criminals, corrupt government official, mystical beings and forces of nature.

More than the exciting and suspenseful scenes: the running, the shooting, the chasing, etc. I enjoyed not only the physical description of Iceland but also the information about the culture of this beautiful country. I am particularly amazed with Mannanafnanefnd or The Icelandic Naming Committee, the governmental body that regulates which names are allowed in Iceland. I would never know about that if not for this book. Another surprising information is the belief of the Icelanders in mystical beings like elves, trolls and hidden people. I’m from a superstitious country myself so I appreciate the respect that the Icelanders bestow on mystical beings.

Moreover, if I like Kitty Hawk in the first two books, I love her in this third installment. She is portrayed not only as a young but skilled pilot but also as a smart teenager with genuine interest in everything around her, dauntless and willing to try something new, and most importantly kind and self-sacrificing that she is willing to put her life at risk for the safety of others. She is undoubtedly a present-day teenage heroine that young people may look up to.

Aside from the difficult pronunciation of a few Icelandic vocabularies, which I believe can't be helped, and a few typo errors, I like everything about this book. I recommend it to young and adult readers alike.

Congratulations to Iain Reading (@IainReading) on another great book! For more books on this series, click The Kitty Hawk World.  

January 18, 2018

Curses of Scale by S.D. Reeves

Curses of Scale is an exciting fantasy novel written by S.D. Reeves.

The book starts with a druid on the run to finish a ritual to save his wife from a terrible curse. It, then, flashes back to his fifteen-year old wife, Niena, who wants so badly to be a bard, which is against her grandfather’s wishes.   

Attacks of a dreadful fire-breathing dragon throw the Empire into chaos and propel Niena through the fey realm. Guided by the lord of the fairies, Niena discovers things about herself she never knew before, first of which is the secret of the lyre she has in her possession.

Meanwhile, Niena’s grandfather, an army veteran, is on her trail with a few hunters leading a group of refugees. More than the safety of the people he is leading, he wants to be reunited with her granddaughter.

This is an exciting and action-filled fantasy novel with a very promising premise. Told in the third person and in alternating perspective between the druid Calem, Niena and Niena’s grandfather Marny, the book boasts of vividly described settings and moving and exciting action scenes. Unexpected revelations await the readers and the book culminates in a satisfactory ending.

However, I find the initial chapters too confusing making the story difficult to follow. Moreover, I find the pacing inconsistent that while some parts are exciting and suspenseful, other parts are dragging because of some details which I find either irrelevant or scrupulously described and that other readers may find too verbose. Furthermore, though the ending is very much to my liking, it leaves some questions unanswered. In addition, I find the use of figurative language, particularly that of personification, a little overdone. Finally, it feels strange to find the words ‘college and taxi services’ in the period described in this story.

Still, I find this book very enjoyable especially the action scenes, which make reading feels like watching a movie, and of course the unexpected revelations.

Congratulations to S.D. Reeves (@SD_Reeves) on such an enjoyable book! For more works by the author, click HERE. 

January 12, 2018

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington by D.J. Swykert

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington: I Live in TwoWorlds is the first in the Maggie Elizabeth Harrington Two Book Series created by D.J. Swykert.

Maggie Elizabeth is a sweet, loving and responsible thirteen year old girl who lives in two worlds, the real world and the dream world. She lives in the real world where her mother is dead and her father hardly talks to her. She lives in her dream world where everything is exactly how she wants it to be.

In an era when children are seen not heard; when girls learn to cook, sew and do household chores; and when wives wait for their husbands at home, Maggie Elizabeth questions the norm and struggles to break free by saving a pack of wolf cubs from a bounty hunter, with the help of Tommie Stetter, the love of her young life.

Told in the point of view of a thirteen year old girl in the 1890s, this is a poignant and memorable story of a motherless girl with only her grandmother to mentor her in womanly skills. The author successfully depicts the longing and confusion of a girl whose father prefers talking to God over talking to his daughter. Moreover, the story shows how Maggie Elizabeth, deprived of her father’s love but with her own heart full of love for others turns to a pack of wolf cubs, cares for them and does everything in her power to save them. Finally, the author realistically portrays the candor, audacity and intensity of young love. Anybody who has fallen in love at a young age could relate to Maggie Elizabeth: the power of a glimpse with unspoken promises, the weight of a smile that conveys everything the heart feels, the potency of first kiss and the prick of jealousy.

For such a relatively short book, the characters are remarkably well-developed that they almost seem real and living beings.

Congratulations to D. J. Swykert (@djswykert) on such an enjoyable book. To learn more abot Maggie Elizabeth and Tommie Stetter, check out Alpha Wolves.

January 9, 2018

Srepska by Lucas Sterling

Srepska is an international political and financial thriller written by Lucas Sterling.

After a cyber-attack that paralyzes the payment system in Kenya, Fredric Ulrich of Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German intelligence agency, is sent to Budapest to investigate. Besides getting nearly killed, Fredric discovers a plot of Srepska, a criminal cabal, to launch a massive cyber-attack to destabilize the economy of the United States.

Not knowing whom to trust, Ulrich acts warily but chooses to stay in the US to watch everything unfold.

Meanwhile, Lars Christopherson receives an offer too lucrative to refuse. As he works on the job, he comes across with Ulrich and they, themselves, become targets of a powerful cabal wreaking havoc in the mightiest country in the world.   

Told in the third person perspective, this is an exciting political and financial thriller with a great and timely plot. Subjects include cybercrime, blackmail, kidnapping and unexpected partnership and friendship. The book is, all in all, an easy read and given the realistic description of the panic caused by payment system failure a very interesting reading material.

What I like most about the book is the likelihood that something like this would happen anytime in any country. It displays how dependent we have become to online transactions and the paralyzing effect it would have on our daily lives. It sends various messages for readers to contemplate on.

However, though it is for the most part fast-paced and thrilling, some parts are somehow dragging. Moreover, I find the characters less developed than I hoped. It seems like the author focused more on the protagonists’ professional skills and abilities, military training and law degree but less on personal life. That makes it somehow difficult to connect with the characters. Finally, given the action-filled and suspenseful chapters, I find the ending less climactic than I expected.

Still, I enjoyed this book immensely. I find it a little scary which I think is part of the author’s objective in writing the novel. I recommend it to fans of political thrillers and cybercrime novels.

Congratulations to Lucas Sterling on such an exciting book!   

Srepska was an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day on January 2nd . You may check it out at Online Book Club.  

January 8, 2018

The Bellringer by William Timothy Murray

The Bellringer:Volume 1 of The Year of the Red Door is an exciting adventure and epic fantasy novel written by William Timothy Murray.

Robby Ribbon is a nice and fine lad in Passdale and the pride of his equally fine parents. When his cousin, Kingsman Ullin Saheed Tallin, asks him to perform a most unusual errand, Robby is eager to oblige. However, a few wrong turns along the road and an unfortunate encounter places him in an old fortress where he finds the Great Bell of Tulith Attis. Completely unaware of the significance of his actions and even of his mere presence at the old fortress, Robby inadvertently rings the bell and starts a series of events that will change not only his life but the fate of the entire Seven Realms.

Told in the third person perspective and with a consistently steady pacing, this book is an epitome of a great epic novel with no dull part or scene right from the first page down to the last. It features multiple themes including love, friendship, honor and courage among others. Settings and scenes are vividly described in minute details giving the book a movielike feeling.

Moreover, the author creates endearing, admirable and unforgettable characters first of which, of course, is Robby Ribbon, the kind albeit naïve bell ringer, a responsible son, a loyal friend, a faithful lover, and someone who always tries to do the right thing, a quality he got from his honorable parents.

What I enjoyed most about the book, besides the interesting plot and the delightful characters, is the concept of living with honor, credibility and high morals, as is the case of the entire Ribbon family. Mr. and Mrs. Ribbon are probably the best parents a child could have, the perfect neighbors and natural leaders. From these two characters alone a reader will learn a lot about how life is supposed to live.

It is, indeed, one great book. It is interesting, intense, exciting, unpredictable and undoubtedly well written. I recommend it to fans of fantasy novels especially those of The Lord of the Rings.

Enjoyable as the book is, however, it is not an easy read. It requires full attention to details, vast vocabulary and a healthy imagination to enjoy it to the fullest. Furthermore, reference to abuse and some violent scenes may not be suitable for very young readers.

Congratulations to William Timothy Murray (@WilliamInfodesk) on such a great book! For the next book in this wonderful series, check out TheNature of a Curse.

The Bellringer was an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day on December 29th, 2017. You may check it out at Online Book Club.

January 1, 2018

My 2018 Book List

I have read 135 books in 2017. As a book reviewer, most of those books are by independent authors while a few are mainstream books which I read for fun an amusement. This year, I made a short list of only 10 books to give space for other and most likely books by indie authors. If you are a book author, you may want to add your book on this list. 

1. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
2. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
3. Gone by Michael Grant
4. The Girl on the Train by Tate Taylor
5. The Timekeeper by Mitch Albom
6. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
7. The 9th Life of Louis Drax
8. The Lost Lullaby by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller
9. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray 
10. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Yes. There are two classic novels on my list and yes I seriously want to read them. 

Anyways, here is the list of books I read in 2017. You may click the title for the review of a particular book. Mainstream books, however, are not reviewed, basically because I do believe they don't need it.

1. The Key by Marianne Curley
10. Winter by Marissa Meyer
26. Indeath by Cornelia Funke
38. The Shadows of Olympus
41. Nightlord Sunset by Garon Whited
48 Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
50. The Apostates Book Three: Lake of Fire by Lars Teeney
51. Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer
55. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
56. The Necromancer by Michael Scott
59. The Dramen Lore by Mukta Sharma
61. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
69. Domestic Violence in Lebanon: A Depth Psychological Perspective by Maysar Sarieddine
71. The Sleepwalker Tonic by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller
75. God Without Religion: An Alternative View of Life, the Universe and Everything by Dr. Michael Arnheim
77. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
80. Furthermore by Tahere Mafiti
84. Living in Light, Love and Truth by Kaye Iliopoulos
86. Harry the Happy Mouse by ngk
93. We Are the Ants by Shawn David Hutchinson
97. Origins by Dan Brown
103. Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
112. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
120. The Timekeeper by Mitch Albom
126. Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin
129. Superhighway by Alex Fayman
132. Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven