Immurement (The Undergrounders #1) by Norma Hinkens

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It is the year 2069, six years after the Earth’s core overheated, causing a meltdown.  In the Sawtooth Forest of central Idaho, a group of survivors has formed an underground community which is split up between 8 bunkers that are connected by a shared tunnel.  These are the Undergrounders.

Derry Connelly is 16 years old and she lives in one of these bunkers with 23 other survivors.  Her mother died on the day of the meltdown and her father is the camp drunk who hasn’t been able to cope since.  There is also her older brother, Owen, 18 years old.  Owen has become a master hustler and a leader among those who keep the bunker running smoothly.  Rounding out the family is Derry’s trusty dog.  She doesn’t go anywhere without her collie, Tucker.  One of the other people of importance in Derry’s life is Jakob Miller, her boyfriend.  Jakob’s the same age and hails from a clan of Separatists aka Septites.  The Septites are a non-violent religious sect who also reside in the underground bunkers.  They are sure not to approve of the relationship between Derry and Jakob.  Then there is Big Ed who is Derry’s closest friend.  Big Ed is a mountain man with a troubled past.  He moved off the grid decades ago; after the one world government with its sovereign leader was formed to supposedly tackle global warming.   Mason is a recent newcomer among them, an ex-military man who seems to be hiding something.  Derry doesn’t trust him.

 The Undergrounders spend their nights hunting and scavenging and their nights in the underground bunkers hiding from the Sweepers.  The Sweepers are those who come in eerily silent ships that hover over the mountains and suck people up inside, never to be seen again.  They aren’t sure who or what the Sweepers are but they are sure they don’t want to find out.  With the most recent disappearance haunting them, tensions are beginning to escalate among the Undergrounders.  There are rumors of a snitch among them who is selling them out to the Sweepers.  Soon Owen and Jakob have disappeared and it is feared that they have been taken by the Sweepers too.  Derry feels she has no other choice… accompanied by Big Ed and Mason, she leaves the bunkers and sets out to find Owen and Jakob.

On their journey into the unknown, this small group will confront a great deal of danger, many unwelcome realities and possibly the final end of mankind.  At a tender age, Derry has already been through some pretty tough losses.  Now she will grow aware that there are many other fears to face down.  She will need to examine her conceptions of good versus evil and she will struggle with her choices in a world where all this exists.

This is a well-written and fast-paced read featuring everything from rogue killers to mad scientists.  If you read a lot of dystopia, you might wonder if this is just another blip on the radar.  I know I did at first.  No worries, this book turns out to be a great action-packed adventure with some unexpected twists.  It crosses many genres and is sure to appeal to a wide audience from young adult to old.   I really enjoyed the story and I’m looking forward to reading the second book.

Immurement is billed as the first book in a young adult dystopian trilogy and it is the 1st place Winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Fiction 2016.

I want to thank the author, Norma Hinkens for providing me with a copy of her book.  This is a fair and honest review.

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Echo Volume 2: The Taste of Ashes

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My previous review of Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter

SYNOPSIS:

When mankind resettled on Echo over 1200 years ago, they were led into darkness by the Regime.  Enforcing the Regime’s policies is the job of the Department of Enforcement.  As part of this department, it is the job of Kish Atriya and his elite unit of Enforcers to take down any Dissidents that have fled the Regime’s policies.

In this volume, Kish and his team have been sent into one of the areas known as the Wastes.  The Wastes are made up of the less savory types in society such as rapists, cannibals and gangs.  An assignment to the Wastes is a life-threatening escapade and they will face danger at every turn.  As if this assignment weren’t dangerous enough, Atriya knows that he has pissed off some powerful people in the Regime.  Most likely the higher-ups have fixed it so that he won’t make it out alive.  But Atriya was born to be a warrior and when the going gets tough the tough get going.  Even with the knowledge that his partner and his team are against him, Atriya must be true to who and what he is.  While logic tells him to do one thing, his instincts dictate another.  In the process of this one harrowing day, Atriya will have to make some life-altering decisions and he will find out what kind of man he really is.

MY THOUGHTS:

 Volume 2 takes off with a bang!  Atriya hits the ground running and the entire volume continues along at full speed.  Atriya’s every thought and maneuver is described in minute detail.  This is not a bad thing!

We are in Atriya’s head as he goes into a hyper-alert state and blazes away at enemies left and right.  Add in some really cool enhanced technological weaponry and armor, a terrifying Enhancile and lots of tension between the main characters and…oh man, this is getting good!  The author states that he loves to thread everything with hidden significance so pay attention!  Although it wasn’t yet out when I finished, I am so far behind on my reviews that the next volume has now been released.  It’s called Echo Volume 3: The Dialectic of Agony and I’ve snatched it up!

Warning: Contains language and violence.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I discovered this author through his blog on WordPress and I recommend you check it out.  Kent Wayne can be found at dirtyscifibuddha.com

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North of Here by Laurel Saville

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Miranda has suffered a shocking loss of all she’s ever known and she’s desperately trying to find her way back to happiness.  When she goes back home and starts spending time with her family’s handyman Dix, she thinks she may have found what she needs.  Dix knows exactly who he is and he’s very comfortable in his skin.  He is calm and peaceful and she finds comfort in his company.

David is a rich kid who has rebelled against his upbringing.  He has created a new persona and taken a new name to go along with it.  Now known as Darius, he reads a lot of romance in order to hone his skills as a seducer of people.  Darius fancies himself a foster figure and he founds a commune to take in wayward souls.  Darius’s commune is called The Source and it’s a bit reminiscent of L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology.

Time reveals that Miranda’s troubles are more deep-seated than we know.  She is completely the opposite of Dix.  She picks at everything around her, she’s constantly irritated by her life and she just cannot find inner peace. As her relationship with Dix begins to fall apart, she is drawn to Darius and taken with his outlook on life.  She wants to participate in the work he does at The Source and feels that it may give her life new meaning.  But Dix is concerned about Miranda spending time with Darius.  He begins to wonder what’s really going on out at The Source.

<i>North of Here</i> is an exploration of the human psyche.  Whether a person is born rich or poor, they still need to find what might bring true happiness and purpose to their life.  Ultimately happiness comes from within.  People need to explore their inner psyche in order to understand who they really are and where they fit into the world.  While this book makes a good point, I just wasn’t overly enthused.  The overall atmosphere was somewhat dreary and I just didn’t find that one thing in this book that will make it memorable for me.  The whole commune thing is overdone and I’m so bored with it.  I think this one would really depend on each individual reader.

I won a hardcover of this book and another one from Magdalena Johansson’s book blog A Bookaholic Swede.  As you know, there are a lot of blogs for book reviews because those of us who are readers love to share our discoveries.  In this big world of book reviewers, Magdalena is among the truly superb!  Please check out her blog.  I promise you’ll love it!

I want to thank the publisher (Lake Union Publishing) for providing me with a copy of this book through A Bookaholic Swede’s blog contest for an honest review.

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Bone War by Steven Harper

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It is from the Fates that Danr and his friends have learned that every action, every decision, every act, no matter how small, will cause ripples throughout the world and twist the future down a different path. Now the future of that world is in jeopardy once again when one of the three Fates is kidnapped by the wicked Elf Queen.

The two Fates that are left enlist Danr to find the missing Fate. But first he must find a legendary sword known as the Bone Sword. The Fates will also need Aisa’s help during this dark time. Danr and Aisa will be separated from their companions but in the end all characters will converge as this trilogy comes to an end.

This final book in the trilogy wraps things up on a more serious note and brings into question Danr and Aisa’s continuing relationship as the Fates cause them to examine life and the future. All of the loose ends are nicely tied up, giving us a final showdown between Death and Queen Vesha, and most of all, letting us know what on earth will happen with Aisa. Girl has so many options!

The Books of Blood and Iron is a series that follows in the footsteps of other great fantasy works, with all of the expected characters, but Steven Harper has given us a fresh perspective on these characters. I have to say I liked them a lot! Well most of them (I really wanted to smack the Elf Queen). The Norse-based mythology is very well done. I also really liked the way the author addresses the growing pains of a new love and how two people will handle the obstacles put in their path. This is an enjoyable series full of adventure and well worth the read.

I want to thank the publisher (Berkley Publishing Group) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

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Blood Storm by Steven Harper

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“I am Prince Hamzu, son of Kech and Halldora, TruthTeller from Under the Mountain, Nephew to Queen Vesha of the Stane.”

A man of many names, Hamzu, TruthTeller, Trollboy, Danr;

Danr and his companions are the renowned heroes of the Battle of the Twist.  They have united Kin, Stane and Fey when it was believed the three would never live together in the same city.  Danr is hated by many and adored by many, but all he really wants is to be left alone.  He longs to become a farmer and lead a calm, predictable life with his lady love, Aisa.

Aisa is troubled.  She loves Danr but now she has seen his monster unleashed, and the memories haunt her.  While she is also being hailed as a hero, she finds herself being carried along in the wake of Danr and his friends, taking her further away from her dreams of the ocean.  Her dreams keep calling to her and she’s becoming restless for more.

Danr and Aisa first visited Death last year when she sent them after the Iron Axe.  Death rewarded them handsomely and she has since called for Danr and company’s assistance a few times.  Now as Death sits knitting, she tells Danr of the power of the shape, a gift once wielded by the Kin before the Sundering, sacrificed in order to destroy the Axe.

Danr longs to find the power of the shape, for with it, he could become fully human and live a normal life.  But others want the power of the shape just as bad.  They will force Danr to find it whether it is for his use or theirs.  Before it’s over Danr and Aisa will have to confront a giant wyrm known as Grandfather Wyrm, along with the Three Gardeners, the Fates known as Nu, Tan, and Pendra.  They will find themselves sailing the stormy seas, and Aisa will actually get to see those mermaids she’s longed to keep company with.

This is a fun romp with characters that I’ve grown fond of.  The series is just travelling right along on the high seas of adventure…and you know it’s gettin’ good when the mermaids show up!

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Iron Axe by Steven Harper

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In Steven Harper’s The Books of Blood and Iron series we are introduced to a world where trolls, dwarves, and giants are known as the Stane; elves, sprites, and fairies are known as the Fae; and humans are known as the Kin.

The main character, Danr is 16 years old, his mother was Kin and his father was Stane.  When Danr was brought into the world, his mother was frowned upon for the birth of her half-troll child, and she was forced to accept work as a thrall to an unkind farmer.  Danr has suffered the cruelties that the world has to offer by being born as socially unacceptable and touted as a monster.  Now his mother has passed away and he desperately misses her.  He also knows that he must never forget to abide by the one piece of advice she always gave him, which was not to unleash the monster inside him.

One of Danr’s few friends in the village is Aisa, who is a couple of years older than Danr.  Aisa has also suffered a hard life.  She was sold into slavery by her father and after being a slave to the elves in Alfhame, she is now a slave to a man named Farek, who sexually abuses her.  Aisa hides from the world by keeping herself covered from head to toe in a dark cloak and never allowing her face to show.  But she dreams of one day travelling to the South Sea, healing the sick and earning enough money to buy a small boat so she can sail out among the merwomen and regain her face.

As these two try to escape the harsh realities of the life they’ve been given, a series of unusual events takes place which will change their paths.  Rumors are heard that the Stane have come down from the mountains and killed some villagers.  Now those villagers’ spirits are haunting the village and cannot be laid to rest.  As the rumors spread that the hated Stane are responsible, Danr’s place in the village becomes precarious.   Danr decides to flee the village and he sets out to find the truth behind the rumors and to learn more about his Stane heritage.  Danr is joined in his travels by Aisa and a new friend, Talfi, who bears no memories of who he is or where he came from.  Danr’s quest brings the group into contact with Death herself, who tells them that they must recover a powerful weapon known as the Iron Axe in order to tip the balance of the world back to its rightful place.  As they pursue the Iron Axe, they also wind up on a deeper quest for the truth about themselves and the world around them.

Iron Axe features strong, loveable characters that each have their own personal struggles.  It is written in a straight-forward, no frills manner.  Harper has also effortlessly included gay characters within the story.  While the story at times seems simplistic, the characters have been through a lot of darkness.  Told in the style of traditional fantasy, the story moves along at a good clip and comes to a satisfactory end, with two more books to follow in this series.  I can also easily see this as a graphic novel, appealing to young adults and adults alike.  If you’re looking for a good book with a Beauty and the Beast crossed with a Norse-type Mythology vibe, you will enjoy this one.

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Gaslight Grimoire: A Steampunk Collection by K.C. Finn

Book Blurb

Enter a whole new world of possibilities…
Expert storyteller K.C. Finn ventures into the Victorian world of steampunk fantasy for this brand new collection of tales, featuring everything from classic fairy stories, to cautionary horror fables and thrilling new adventures.
Suitable for readers of all ages, this anthology contains eight brand new stories and three much beloved reprints, as well as the full-length novella of MIRA AND THE MAW, featuring Mirabelle Blake: Victorian Zombie Hunter.
Prepare for a world like no other: a world filed with dragons, magic, fairies, ghosts, beauties, beasts and, perhaps most importantly, cogs and steam!

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My Thoughts

This is a great collection of short stories featuring many wonders of the fantasy world.  I was initially drawn to the very cool cover when I spotted this book.  Little did I know that it would also prove to be some of the best steampunk reading that I’ve read to date.  Since I am not that big on short stories, I wasn’t sure about it.  But each story proved to be a delight all its own and in this day of all of the never-ending series, it was actually quite refreshing to read these.

About the Author

K.C. Finn was born and raised in Cardiff, South Wales, where her love for storytelling grew at a precociously young age. After developing the medical condition M.E. / C.F.S., Kim turned to writing to escape the pressures of disabled living, only to become hooked on the incredible world of publishing. Kim spends most of her time locked in the writing cave with an obscenely large mug of tea. When not writing, she can be found pursuing her PhD in Linguistics, watching classic British comedy, or concocting evil schemes in the secret laboratory in her attic.

I would like to thank the author, K.C Finn for providing me with the ARC through the LibraryThing Giveaways program for an honest review.

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Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art by Phoebe Hoban

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Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art is an oft repetitive and scattered account of the life of the ‘80s Neo-Expressionist painter, Jean-Michel Basquiat.  Basquiat was the first contemporary African American artist to become an international star.  In this book, the author draws from interviews with ex-girlfriends, friends and peers of the art world.

Sweeping from Jean-Michel’s middle-class upbringing in Brooklyn, NY to the height of ‘80s decadence in Manhattan, this book is as much a portrait of the excess of the times as it is of Basquiat himself.  During the heyday of clubs such as CBGBs and the Mudd Club, Basquiat toiled alongside other fellows of the arts such as Julian Schnabel, Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Longo, Francesco Clemente, David Salle, Sandro Chia, oh and of course let’s not forget Andy Warhol!  If you were around during the heyday of the 80s a lot of these names will be familiar to you.

In his school years Basquiat became one of the star illustrators in the school yearbook and newspaper.  This is where his oft-used pseudonym SAMO was born in an essay about a bogus religion.  After leaving home at 15 years old, Basquiat put his artistic talents to use by scrawling cryptic graffiti all over Manhattan under that same pseudonym.  Around that same time he collaborated with his friend Michael Holman, who is now an award-winning writer, director and producer, creating the industrial band, Gray.  By the time he started painting, Michel had already become a steady presence in the underground art/rock scene of Manhattan.  In the decade to follow he would not only become a legendary artist, he would become a victim of the times and die of a heroin overdose at 27 years old.

Although Basquiat is remembered as charismatic, kind, gentle and loving by ex-lovers and friends, they all talk frankly of how he was also a very pained and isolated spirit.  He would unwittingly sabotage his relationships, both personal and professional.  He had a fear of betrayal and he could not maintain emotional bonds, often driving people away with his behavior.  He was not tactful, was very selfish and could sometimes be offensive.

“The one word that applies to JeanMichel is ‘excess.’ The one word is ‘more.’ If you asked JeanMichel what he wanted, the answer would be ‘more.’ He was never happy. He was obsessive about everything. He wanted more, whether it was people, or food, or drugs.”

On the professional side, he yearned for and eventually got recognition by Andy Warhol, working alongside him at one point, but eventually sabotaged that relationship as well.

As the new money of the eighties was being rapidly invested in art, art dealers were continually trying to exploit him.   He was being pressured to produce painting after painting non-stop.  John-Michel hated the ever-increasing demand on him and couldn’t take the unending pressure of being treated like a commodity.  Some of this can be seen in the art he produced as he layered meaningful messages within each piece.  It is during this time that his paintings seem to become somewhat repetitive.

Basquiat’s art also reflected his passion for language, knowledge, pop culture, music and other things he obsessed over such as being black and his own death.  In the end, Basquiat left behind an enduring legacy in the art world.  The importance of his work, in terms of financial worth and historical relevance, has increased dramatically in the decades since his death and within the eighties generation of painters, Basquiat alone has consistently set records for the prices paid for his paintings sold at auction.

I was very interested in reading about Basquiat and I should have liked this book.  Being a child of the 80s, I absolutely loved the music and art of that decade.  I recognize that it’s got to be hard to splice all the info contained in this book into a comprehensive timeline and it definitely shows.  The book was poorly constructed, jumping back and forth through time and becoming very repetitious.  In the end, it sounds like Jean-Michel just got tired of the same old, same old, and that’s exactly how I felt reading about it.

I want to thank the publisher (Open Road Integrated Media) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

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Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

 

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When the bruja meets her dead, she will welcome them. She will open her heart and know her true potential. —The Deathday, Book of Cantos

In less than two weeks, Alex will turn 16 years old.  Alex belongs to a Latino family of powerful witches known as brujas/brujos.  Their magic develops at puberty but so far all attempts to reveal her bruja powers have failed.  Now, as she turns 16, Alex’s family plans the Deathday ceremony that all brujas are given at that age.  Her family will gather in ceremony to wake the spirits of her ancestors, and Alex will receive their blessings, allowing her magic to grow and reach its full potential. Without the blessings, bad things can happen.

But Alex has been keeping a dark secret from her family and she has no intention of becoming a bruja.  At the Deathday ceremony, as her dead ancestors are summoned, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her bruja powers.  The spell turns disastrous and her whole family vanishes.  Now Alex must find a way to bring them back.

In the company of the young and mysterious brujo, Nova Santiago, Alex travels to another realm known as Los Lagos.  Los Lagos is the land of in-between.  Alex will need to confront a creature that lives at the heart of the land known as the Devourer.  The Devourer feeds off of the Tree of Souls, collecting its power throughout the month and then turning it to raw energy at the eclipse.  Alex will find her family at the Tree of Souls but she must do so before the next eclipse.

As Alex and Nova traverse the evils of Los Lagos, they learn that their powers are stronger when used together.  But Alex isn’t quite sure who Nova really is and whether he can be trusted.

Labyrinth Lost is a young adult fantasy with definite tones of Beautiful Creatures.  It says so in the blurb and that couldn’t be more accurate.  It is full of the usual teenage angst that accompanies that time of life when you are trying to figure who you are and how you will fit into the world around you.  But this book does have a few new things to offer.  The characters are drawn from a diverse pallet, with multi-racial characters and a gentle look at bisexuality as Alex comes to realize that she is attracted to Nova, yet she is also attracted to her female friend Rishi.  The author also draws from both Latino and Spanish Caribbean influences by incorporating aspects of the Day of the Dead and Santeria.  So there’s a little something for everyone to identify with here making it a very contemporary take in the young adult world.

I want to thank the publisher (Sourcebooks Fire) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

 

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His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

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His Majesty’s Dragon is the first book in the Temeraire series by author Naomi Novik.

Will Laurence is the successful naval captain of Britain’s HMS Reliance.  Laurence comes from well-to-do family, he’s patriotic to the core and he’s got his sights set on getting home to propose marriage.  Little does he know that his life is about to undergo a drastic change.

The HMS Reliance has captured one of Napoleon’s French frigates and seized its cargo.  Included in the cargo is an unhatched dragon egg which will hatch before they make land.  In Britain and France, dragons are a valuable asset.  A dragon and its handler are assigned a crew and form part of the Aerial Corps used in combat against the enemy.  It is common knowledge that the dragon’s handler has to be a person that is present at its hatching, and he must be able to harness the dragon.  One of Laurence’s men must be willing to give up his life at sea and go into aerial combat with the dragon.  His man Carver is picked to be that person but much to Laurence’s chagrin, when the baby dragon hatches it has different ideas.  The baby dragon chooses Laurence to be the one that harnesses him.

Laurence names the dragon Temeraire.  When he hatches he is already very knowledgeable.  He began learning the languages of those around him while he was still in the shell.  Did I tell you that these dragons talk too?  Temeraire in particular, takes great interest in learning as much as he can and loves nothing better than having a book read to him.  Laurence is charmed by the little fellow and enjoys his company immensely.  But being Temeraire’s handler means that he will have to give up his navy career and become part of the aerial corps.  He also realizes that his station in life will now be much different and he won’t be able to make that marriage proposal.

With Napoleon’s forces drawing close, her Majesty’s forces rally to defend their country.  The question is whether Captain Will Laurence will be defending it from the air or the sea.  Can Temeraire be convinced to accept a new handler?

Captain Will Laurence is a likeable character; he’s a stand-up guy who is well-bred, young and successful, a man you would want by your side in a time of need.  Temeraire is absolutely delightful.  His enthusiasm for learning and everything around him is infectious.  That said, this is definitely an introduction to a series of books and a lot of this book is just fleshing out the story to come.  It’s a fun premise with the combination of humans and dragons set against the background of the Napoleonic Wars.  I enjoyed it and I plan to continue reading.  I am certain that this series has a lot more to offer.

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Vici by Naomi Novik

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Vici is a short story introducing us to the world of Naomi Novik’s Termeraire series.  It is considered Book 0.5 of the series.  If you are interested in reading this series, start here and you will get a perfect little glimpse of what you’re getting into.

You can find this story by going to at Fantasy Magazine.  It was originally published in the anthology titled The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy edited by Jack Dann.

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Worst Journal Ever by Spencer Clark

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Its Spencer Clark’s first day of the 8th grade and he and his class are asked to write a journal about their summer experiences.  Spencer is a little put out.  How on earth can he show off his amazing writing skills with this lame topic?

“It was official, I was about to begin writing the worst journal ever.”

Spencer decides he will put his own spin on the journal by telling a different story.  With a lot of sarcasm and 8th grade humor, Spencer Clark tells his fantastical version of the first day at a new school ala Groundhog Day, rehashing the same day over and over with the most popular girl by his side.

I bought this book for .99 cents from Amazon at the author’s urging.  I personally wasn’t at all enthused about the story line of this book.  There was no depth here and it all seemed rather unoriginal and juvenile to me.  I did finish it because it’s a quick read and I don’t do DNFs often.   I’m sure it might be entertaining to another 8th grader, just not my cup of tea.  Now if Spencer Clark is actually an 8th grader then I might have to reevaluate the quality of the writing.  I’m just not clear whether that is the case.  As Spencer would say:

“Fine, I’m weak sauce.”

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Jem: Lessons in Living by John Donald Middleton

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Like a lot of providers, John Donald Middleton spent many years wrapped up in his work, on the road a lot, and drinking quite a bit.  His family had grown used to him being unpredictable and unreliable.  When John’s drinking escalated to a crisis point, it was time to seek help.  He entered a recovery program.

As John entered his retirement years, he began to realize that he hadn’t been the father or the husband that he should have been.  In conjunction with his recovery, John begins mending fences between himself and his children.  When one of his sons gets a new puppy, a pug named Jem, John begins to spend a lot of time playing “grandpa” to the delightful little dog.  John has had many dogs come and go throughout his life but Jem captures his heart like no other has before.  Not only is Jem good therapy during his recovery, but spending time with Jem, gives John’s life purpose.

SPOILER ALERT –> SPOILERS BELOW (more…)

Guilty Minds by Joseph Finder

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Guilty Minds is the third book in Joseph Finder’s Nick Heller series.   Please check my archives if you are interested in reading my reviews of books one and two.

Investigator Nick Heller has had some harrowing cases so far and he comes into the ring fighting on each new case.  His clients are usually very rich and powerful and if there’s one thing Nick has known since childhood, it’s that the rich and powerful usually have secrets.  Nick might be a little paranoid but he’s pretty sure there’s always a lie at the bottom of each case he takes on, and once he uncovers that lie, that’s when he’s really onto something.

Nick agrees to return to Washington D.C. to meet with a mysterious client who won’t reveal his identity or any details until Nick meets him in person.  His client is revealed to be Gideon Parnell, senior counsel at Shays Abbot.  Gideon is the ultimate Washington insider and power broker with friends in high places.  His dear friend, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, is about to have a gossip rag publish a scurrilous story involving the judge’s relationship with an escort.  Parnell wants Nick to derail this explosive story before it gains momentum.  But when the call girl is killed and political scandal is certain, Nick once again begins to search for the truth behind the lies he’s been fed.

Nick Heller continues to be a strong, many-faceted and likeable lead character.  The books in this series are real page-turners; escapist thrillers that touch on contemporary topics and investigative techniques.  Joseph Finder’s writing is excellent and he keeps the energy level high.

I want to thank the publisher (PENGUIN GROUP Dutton) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

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Buried Secrets by Joseph Finder

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International investigator and ex-Special Forces Operative, Nick Heller was first introduced to us in Joseph Finder’s Vanished, the first book in the Nick Heller series, which I did a review on back in September of 2016.  Here’s the link if you are interest in reading it:  Review of Vanished by Joseph Finder

In Buried Secrets, we rejoin Nick Heller a few months later and he has moved from Washington D.C. to Boston to open his own investigative agency.  Nick has brought along his old work associate Dorothy, who is an ex-NSA employee and a digital forensics expert.  He has also hired receptionist and office manager, Jillian Alperin.

When an old family friend comes to Nick for help, Nick can’t say no.  Marshall Marcus is the richest guy in Boston.  He was employed Nick’s mother when his father, Victor Heller, went to prison, and treated her and her sons like family.  Now Marshall’s daughter Alexa has gone missing, and Nick agrees to try and locate her.  The case also brings him into contact with an old flame, Diana Madigan, who works for Child Abduction Rapid Deployment.

The story switches back and forth from Nick’s POV to the POV of Marshall’s daughter, Alexa.   Alexa is in the hands of a man she thinks of as “The Owl,” who is her only lifeline to the world.  His power over her is absolute.  He has buried her alive with very little food and water, and sends horrifying live video feeds to her family over the internet.  Here the reader feels every moment of Alexa’s terror as if we were there with her.  This kidnapper thrives on the fear he sows and as I read, I got chills down my spine.

Nick knows that he must find Alexa because her time is running out, but he soon begins to realize that Marshall has been sandbagging him.  He has become involved with some very bad people and his reluctance to tell the truth may cost him his daughter’s life.

Nick Heller is a boldly drawn character and I have a feeling he’ll be around awhile.  He’s one of those that you shout out loud rooting for.  He never takes anything at face value, operating at full speed and he absolutely does not take any crap from anyone.  But Nick isn’t just a hardcore macho man; he genuinely cares about people.  We see this side in his relationship with his nephew Gabe, a surly teenager that Nick is especially fond of.  Nick and Gabe have some typical adult/teenage banter with Nick constantly jibing him about his taste in music.  Nick much prefers the twangy guitar licks of “The Titan of The Telecaster,” Bill Kirchen.  Somehow in my book this makes him even more interesting.  We also get a glimpse of Nick’s love life as we find out more about his former relationship with the new character, Diana.  Most of us that read these series know that the heroes usually go through relationships like water.  So far in the first two books, it’s hard to tell if that’s the case but I don’t mind reading more to find out.  These are enjoyable, fast-paced reads.

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Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

26863057In 2012, I picked up The Theft of Swords – Volume 1 of The Riyria Revelations, which contains the first two books of the series, The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha by Michael J. Sullivan. I found the books to be quite good and continued on with the series. By the end of the series I had become an avid fan along with a ton of other people and Michael J. Sullivan’s books continue to rank in my favorites. Michael started out writing stories for his children and he now has a huge fan following. He is very involved with his fan base and his books are continually at the top of the Best Sellers in Fantasy. Let me tell you, it’s well-deserved.

Age of Myth is book 1 of The Legends of the First Empire series by Michael J. Sullivan. The book starts off with an Author’s Note for those who have read the Riyria books, noting that this series is set three thousand years before the events in those novels. But let me clarify that you don’t have to have read those series prior to reading this one, although I highly recommend you read them some time very soon.

For Herkimer and his son Raithe, life on their side of the river in Dureya is not fruitful. Dureya is a barren land and their clan is hungry. So one day Herkimer and Raithe dare to cross the river to hunt and they end up getting caught slaughtering one of the deities’ deer. The deities are those who are called the Fhrey, the most powerful in the land and known throughout as immortal beings.

In Dureya, Herkimer is the only man to wield a sword—a metal blade. Herkimer is known as Coppersword and he is a feared and respected man. Because Herkimer fought on the side of the Fhrey for over 30 years against the GulaRhunes, he thinks his indiscretion of being caught with weapons on their side of the river may be excused. But that’s not the case, and in the ensuing fallout, Raithe’s father Herkimer is killed by one of the Fhrey, Shegon. Raithe then grabs his father’s blade and in turn strikes Shegon. Raithe is shocked to learn that although the Fhrey are very long-lived, they are not immortal, as myth would have it. Shegon now lies dead at his hand and Raithe’s life, along with everyone else’s, will forever be changed when the world learns that the gods can indeed be killed.

It’s the end of one era and the beginning of another as Raithe finds himself on the run in a strange land with one of the deity’s servants, Malcolm, by his side. As they venture into the Crescent Forest, Raithe realizes that although Malcolm professes to think of his life with the Fhrey as if he were a slave, rather than a servant, he has really led a pampered life compared to Raithe. The two make very off-kilter traveling companions, with the self-effacing Raithe now becoming a legend, accompanied by his hilarious sidekick, Malcolm who takes delight in embellishing Raithe’s feats in order to further his fame as Raithe of Dureya, “The God Killer.”

Raithe and Malcolm make their way into the village of the Mystic Dahl Rhen, where the chieftain, Reglan of the House of Mont, currently rules Clan Rhen. They are brought before Reglan’s wife, Persephone, the Lady of the Lodge. Persephone has lost her first son at birth, the second to sickness, and recently the only one who had grown to adulthood was killed by Grin the Brown. Now, as these two newcomers arrive in Dhal Rhen, Persephone learns that Reglan has also fallen to the bear known as Grin the Brown while seeking revenge for their son’s death. But Persephone will need to put aside her grief to become a leader to her people.

There is also another recent arrival to Dahl Rhen, a girl named Suri, who is accompanied by a white wolf named Minna. Legend has it that Suri was stolen as a baby by the crimbals, creatures of the forest. In Suri’s case, she somehow got away during her first year of life, and was found and raised by Tura. A child fortunate enough to get away from the crimbals is known as a malkin because they are never quite right again. Suri is indeed an unusual girl, one of those naïve and mysterious characters that I find utterly captivating. She has mystical abilities and talks to the trees. Her latest visions have led her to seek Raglan in Dahl Rhen to let the chieftain know that “we’re going to die.”

These are just some of the great characters we are introduced to in Age of Myth, which is the start of an epic six book series. No one builds unforgettable characters, both male and female, like Mr. Sullivan and I cannot wait to see what happens next. Which leads us to the other great thing about Michael J. Sullivan, and that is, as with the Riyria series, the entire series is already written. What that means for us as readers is that we won’t have to wait years for the next book in the series. They already have scheduled release dates. Yippee! I can’t tell you what this means to me! I’m sure a few of you fantasy readers know who I am referring to when I say “oh come on already” whilst I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of the next book in the series. I know I can name two series that fit this scenario right off the bat! (Note: Not included in the two, but one author who can be excused for this is Robert Jordan, who was diagnosed with a terminal illness while writing his series and did sadly pass away.) Oh but, I got off on a soapbox rant, didn’t I? Back to the subject at hand–>as I said in the beginning of my review, I am always so happy to pick up a book by Michael J. Sullivan, and this book was certainly no exception to that rule. Sullivan is an extraordinary talent in the world of writing and I am confident that if you read his books you will absolutely agree. I didn’t stop with getting the ARC of this book. I actually purchased an autographed copy from the author’s website. Not something I usually do but I have become that much of a fan. I want to read these books over and over and over again Read Age of Myth, you’ll love it!

I want to thank the publisher (Random House Publishing Group- Ballantine) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

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Italian: Learn Italian: A Guide To Learning The Basics of A New Language

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This book is exactly what the title says it is. It’s easy to understand and my mom and I sat around and had fun attempting to use our Italian. This is a book that will teach you the basics you need to get around on that dream vacation to Italy and you can learn it in a very short time! The layout of the book is very easy to understand, taking you through the basic structure of the Italian language and how to use it in a sentence. If you are looking for a quick introductory guide to Italian this is the perfect book for you!

I want to thank the author, Jenna Swan for providing me with the ARC through LibraryThing’s Giveaways program for an honest review.

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Beyond the Ice Limit By Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

First off let me say something I didn’t know prior to reading this, but should have, since I’m a long time Preston & Child fan. Beyond the Ice Limit is a sequel to The Ice Limit published in 2000, which I have somehow missed reading to this point. That being said, Beyond the Ice Limit is an enjoyable read whether you read it as a stand-alone or a follow-up.

26245817The events that took place in The Ice Limit are well outlined as a historical lead-in to this storyline. Those events involved the head of Effective Engineering Solutions, Eli Glinn, who is also Gideon Crew’s boss. Eli Glinn and his team tried and failed to recover a meteorite off the coast of South America. The mission was a disaster from start to finish, revealing that the whole crew was in way over their heads, and that what they were messing with was not your average meteorite.

Now, five years later, Glinn wants Gideon to participate in a new mission, not to recover the meteorite, but to destroy it. As usual, Glinn isn’t putting all his cards on the table with this new assignment. But Gideon knows enough about working for Glinn now, to know that his life is in peril. What the hell, he’s not long for this life anyway, right?

So…a fun (or is that harrowing?) new adventure begins. I’ve always found thrillers that take place on the sea really keep my on the edge of my seat! The confined state of a ship, submarine, or any other seagoing vessel is just plain scary to me if you’re trying to get away from something! This one isn’t an exception.

As I’ve said in my previous reviews, this series has grown on me quite a bit and it’s pure escapism. A fun read from start to finish. The only tiring thing that each of the Gideon Crew books has in common is that whoever winds up being Gideon’s romantic interest doesn’t seem to have a storyline much past that book, á la James Bond. But Lincoln and Child always give us a solid read, with a thrilling and adventurous storyline. These authors have a talent for making you feel as if you’re right in the thick of the adventure.

I want to thank the publisher (Grand Central Publishing) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

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Billy Maddox Takes His Shot by Jay Lemming

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Billy Maddox reports for his new job as a Border Patrol agent in Nogales, Arizona.  He is a young man who is still trying to find his niche in the world, but is being a Border Patrol agent to right choice for Billy?

When Billy was a child growing up on a ranch in Cochise County, Arizona, his younger brother was killed in a shootout between the Border Patrol and drug mules from Mexico.  His father Hector came to hate the illegals that crossed his land, and eventually drew publicity for shooting one of them in self defense.  After that, his mother and father sold the family ranch and retreated to Tucson, and Billy’s family was never the same again.  Billy was brought up to hate Mexicans and the death of his brother became a taboo subject in their household, leaving Billy with a lot of inner turmoil and anger.

Billy is now 23 years old, married and has his own child.  He loves his family and wants to be a good husband and father, but his hot temper has kept him from being able to successfully hold down a job.  His wife has grown impatient with his failures, and she has given him one last chance to make things work before she takes their young son and leaves.

With all this baggage hanging over him, Billy embarks on his new career, trying to fit in and make a place for himself.  He knows that he could be setting himself up for a great failure, and he will need to fight his demons every step of the way.  Then, just when tensions at home get even worse, Billy finds himself exposed to the very real dangers of being a Border Patrol agent when he and his partner are pursued by drug traffickers and caught up in a deadly shootout.

When I read the description of this book, I was very interested.  I am an Arizona native, born in Tucson and this, along with the fact that the border situation is an ongoing controversy for all of us who live here in Arizona, grabbed my attention right way.  Even though the book takes place in 1999, immigration is still very much a hot topic across the country, as witnessed in the recent presidential election.  America’s population has become very torn on their feelings towards illegal immigration.  I was very surprised to find that the author, Jay Lemming doesn’t live anywhere near the border.  But he has done his research, and he does a great job here of touching on some of the opposing perspectives when it comes to illegal immigration.

There’s a lot to like about this book.  As I’ve said, it’s culturally and politically relevant to our times, but the fact that it’s about a border patrol agent also makes it unique.  There is also a riveting action scene.  But what I liked the most is that the author takes a keen look at the American family dynamic.  He touches on the very real human emotions, insecurities and struggles that take place within families.  I was very caught up in how Billy’s family and friends interacted with each other.  Even though the story is told from Billy’s POV, I felt as if I could relate to each and every person and what they were feeling.  This book is well worth the read.

I want to thank the author for providing me with a complimentary copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.

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The Lost Island by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

19162709The Lost Island is Book 3 in the Gideon Crew series.

Gideon has wrapped up his latest mission and he is ready to jump right into the next one. At this point, there’s no question that he will go on working for Eli Glinn at Effective Engineering Solutions. This time he will be utilizing skills from back in the days before he became a nuclear scientist.

There’s a special exhibition at New York’s Morgan Library; the Book of Kells, the finest illuminated manuscript in existence and Ireland’s greatest national treasure. Ireland’s government is reluctant to let the manuscript out of their hands and has insisted upon the highest security measures during the exhibit. Gideon has been tasked with a seemingly impossible assignment; he must steal a single page from the manuscript.

Gideon started stealing from art museums and historical societies when he was a teenager. He knows that every security system is vulnerable, either through technology or social engineering. He will have to use all he knows to turn the impossible to the possible. It is pure entertainment to read as he once more puts his skills to work to obtain his goal.

Having accomplished the impossibility of stealing the page, Gideon then learns from his employer that there is an ancient Greek map hidden under the illumination. This map leads to more than your ordinary treasure.

“The manuscript in question was an early Greek geography, and it described various legendary wonders of the world. Among these was a most intriguing place: an island ‘far in the West, where the earth meets the sky.’ The geography went on to mention a ‘great cave overhung with laurels on the face of a cliff far above the sea.’ There, the manuscript claimed, a ‘secret remedium could be found, the source of eternal healing.’

So now, in the company of his new partner Amy, Gideon sets sail into the dangers of the Mosquito Coast. Their encounters will be life-threatening but they must find out where the map leads and what strange wonder lies at the end. It just might be a priceless discovery that could change the world and possibly save Gideon’s life.

Having read other reviews of this series I have to say I disagree with the harsh criticism that I’ve come across. The authors have drawn from many different areas in this series and they continue to entertain. I have been a diehard fan of Preston & Child for a couple of decades now. So far, the Gideon Crew series has been much lighter fare than the Pendergast books, and each one has been good fun. They delve deeper into the main characters with each book, and at this point in the series, I felt a difference. It seemed to me that the storyline more closely reflected the sense of mystery and adventure I first felt with these authors back when I read Relic all those years ago.

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Vanished by Joseph Finder

8418806Joseph Finder’s Vanished is the first book in the Nick Heller series.

Nick Heller is an international investigator working for the high-powered intelligence firm, Stoddard Associates.  His current assignment: locate the missing cargo which was part of a shipment belonging to the Traverse Development Group.  But when all signs point to the case being wrapped up too tidily, Nick just isn’t buying it.

Coinciding with Nick’s case, his estranged brother Roger is kidnapped.  Nick’s relationship with his brother was shattered by their rich father’s highly publicized arrest and imprisonment.  But Nick has stayed close to Roger’s stepson Gabe.  For Gabe’s sake, Nick has to find Roger and protect his family from further threat.

As Nick delves further into the two cases he finds out that his employer may be involved a high-level cover-up and that his brother, Roger has been hiding a few secrets of his own.

Nick Heller is an intense and likable character.  Having been a Special Forces operative, he is tough and street savvy.  Nick also has a reputation for being able to see around corners.  He goes into a case like a dog with a bone and doesn’t give up.  He utilizes many of his past connections to help with his investigations and he’s not afraid to step outside the law when necessary. His circle of friends is a handy group to know and the author provides us with some in-depth knowledge of their investigative techniques.

In the vein of a fine John Grisham novel, Vanished is a brisk thriller that introduces us to a new hero with a lot of depth.  If you are in the mood for good, page-turning escapism, give it a try!

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The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

Book Blurb:

In “The Passage” and “The Twelve”, Justin Cronin brilliantly imagined the fall of civilization and humanity’s desperate fight to survive. Now all is quiet on the horizon but does silence promise the nightmare’s end or the second coming of unspeakable darkness? At last, this bestselling epic races to its breathtaking finale.



”The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?”

The Twelve have been destroyed and the hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew and daring to dream of a hopeful future.


But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy – humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.

Just reading that will leave you dying to crack the cover if you’ve been waiting! On we go!

In The City of Mirrors, which is the final book of The Passage Trilogy, Cronin starts us off with an excellent recap of the first two books in the trilogy. However, if you haven’t read the first two books of this trilogy, you absolutely should before reading this one. This trilogy is an epic and although each book probably can be read as a stand-alone, I don’t think you would get the full impact. 

It’s now twenty years after the events that took place at the end of The Twelve and we start out by getting caught up on where each of the beloved main characters are, and what they have been up to. I liked that. Of course, we are dying to know this stuff, why would we keep reading otherwise? Note: In the second book of this trilogy, my excitement was somewhat dampened when a lot of stories with new people were started. What ever happened to some of those people anyway? Although it did end up coming together, there were times when I was just dying to get back to the characters from the first book. So here we are!

SPOILER ALERT——-
Peter has mourned the loss of Amy but he still has dreams of her each night. He has gone on to become a great leader in Kerrville, where the surviving humans are flourishing. New generations have been born and mankind is starting to feel safe again. People are beginning to think of expansion and life outside the gates. Peter’s son Caleb and his family are among those that are moving on.  

But both Lucius and Michael know that the danger isn’t over. The threat to mankind is still alive. They have joined forces and are working to save the human race. But first they need to let everyone know what they’ve been up to, and try to convince everyone of the threats still to come.

After all, there is still one of them out there. Zero, aka Tim Fanning, who was the first to contract the vampire virus and became the father of them all. Alicia, having suffered a ravaging loss, knows Zero is out there, she can hear him in her head. She prepares for battle and makes her way to him in New York City. But before the battle begins, Alicia is given the full life-story of Fanning which is a novel in itself. Fanning’s tale is a tragic story of love and revenge. It is so beautifully told, yet I still found it hard to feel sorry for Zero.  

In the end, our heroes must come face to face with Zero. Will Fanning’s human past allow him to have any mercy, or will the monster that has become Zero prevail? There are some very heart-wrenching endings for some of those we’ve come to love in this story. I really didn’t know what to expect, but let me tell you there are some surprises here and I wasn’t all that thrilled with the way some characters were wrapped up. This many pages into this epic tale, I was looking for a little more payoff. And let me tell you, each and every time you think this story has come to an end it doesn’t!

I did like the epilogue although it’s a bit lengthy and overdone. The journal, the island, the archaeological finds were riveting. But we don’t really care about the characters in the epilogue, and Cronin takes us so far into their story that it makes me wonder if he has plans for them in future books. And you see, that’s just the trouble with these books, too many stories within the story. I get that it’s hard to span so many years and come up with thousands of pages for a trilogy but there were just too many times that the story veered off in unexpected directions. Another negative is that some of the romantic relationships just didn’t gel for me. Throughout the books I did find the origin of the virus interesting, and I thought that the connection between the vampires and their progeny was a quite believable premise, but I wasn’t especially fond of the dream sequences that took place in these books. There are those between Amy and Carter, Amy and Peter, etc. I just never bought into these. But I guess that’s why they call it fantasy, right?  

Are you confused about whether I liked it? It would be an understatement to say that I have mixed emotions about this book. I was very conflicted about rating it at all. I think the impact made on each individual reading the trilogy will be profoundly different. Personally, I really liked The Passage, thought The Twelve was just ok and The City of Mirrors has left me flailing somewhere in between. So… do I love Cronin’s writing or not…. hmmmm….. actually I do! His writing is so masterful that it keeps you reading even though you may not always like where you end up. He evokes a roller-coaster ride of emotions and isn’t that what great authors strive for? Bottom line, this series IS a classic and I will be reading future books by Cronin.

I want to thank the publisher (Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

  

Whispers in the Mist by Lisa Alber

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If you read the review I wrote just prior to this, you’ll see that it was for the first book in the A County Clare Mystery series. Whispers in the Mist is Book 2 of this series by Lisa Alber.

I thought the first book was a quick read but not well-developed and I wasn’t wholeheartedly enthused about reading book two in the series. But I’m glad I did. To me the tone of this book was so different that I felt as if I were reading a completely different author. In this book, the characters are fuller, richer. The atmosphere soaks you in. From the time you read the book blurb, you can tell that this book is much different from the first:

There’s a whisper in the mists

In Lisfenora, Ireland, a strange fog has rolled in off the Atlantic. Along with the fog comes tales of Grey Man, a predatory faery of local lore who snatches innocent souls into his deadly gloom.

And with the mists come murder

When a teenage boy dies in Detective Sergeant Danny Ahern’s arms, Danny finds himself pursuing his own grey man, a killer who becomes more elusive the closer Danny gets to the truth. A mute woman may be the key to solving the murder and helping Danny heal his own broken life, but first she must unlock the memories from her past.

Part psychological suspense, part mystery, Lisa Alber’s haunting tale of family secrets and broken love won’t let you go until the final twist.

We are introduced to new characters that are well-developed and sympathetic this time. I even like Merrit McCallum a bit better than I did in the first book. She seems like a kinder, less self-involved person because she shows more compassion in this book. But let me tell you, I really like the character of Danny Ahern and for me he is the real star here. As I read, I was so caught up in his emotions and the turbulence of his life. I’m super anxious to see where Lisa Alber takes us next and I do hope it has more to do with Danny Ahern and the new characters we’ve been introduced to here.

Everything about this book is much more haunting and will stay with me longer. I did figure out who the murderer was early on but the details behind who, what and why made for a good story that kept me reading. This one is more in the tradition of a good Tana French or Maeve Binchy read, and this time I did get that comfy, cozy feel that I love when reading books that take place in Ireland. The jump in this author’s writing talent from one book to the next is astonishing. If Lisa Alber’s writing keeps improving like this, she will be at the top of the best-seller lists in no time.

I want to thank the publisher (Midnight Ink) for providing me with the ARC through Netgalley for an honest review.

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Kilmoon by Lisa Alber

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It’s June 28, 2008 and the setting is Northern California where we are introduced to Merrit McCallum who is staring at the empty syringe lying beside her on the rug.  Beside her is dead body of the man she called father.  Her mother committed suicide years before.  Merrit is feeling guilty, lost and possibly irredeemable.

With her mother’s journal in hand, Merrit travels from California to Lisfenora, a small town in Ireland.  She arrives during the annual matchmaker’s festival that the small town is so well-known for.  Merrit has big plans to meet her real father, Liam Donellan who is known as Liam the Lion, The Matchmaker of Lisfenora.

Upon arrival, Merrit bides her time while trying to figure out how to introduce herself to her father.  She reads snippets from her mother’s journal hoping to unravel the secrets of the past.   As the matchmaking festivities get underway, Merrit braces herself to meet her father.  But things quickly go awry.  Merrit is being blackmailed by Lonnie, and when Lonnie turns up dead, all signs point to her as the murderer.  Her troubled past is catching up to her and she has learned that she’s not the only one who claims to be Liam’s long-lost biological daughter.  Merrit finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and mystery as she struggles to uncover the truth behind what kind of man her father really is.

Kilmoon is a tale of murder, lost love and people yearning to feel like they belong somewhere in a world where life has taken a lot of unexpected turns.  I can’t say I was completely hooked.  It was a fair read but Merrit is just not a very likeable character and I don’t think that the book ever really answered the matter of whether she murdered the man who raised her.  The uncertainty of this creates a main character that is a bit shady and it’s difficult to feel sympathy for her plight.  The town drunk, Marcus, whom Merrit has befriended is a more sympathetic character.  I also didn’t find Liam to be the charismatic character that he was cracked up to be.  Apparently he lost a lot of his charm through the years.  The most interesting character to me is Danny, the town Garda officer, who has been assigned to work the murder, but also has strong loyalties to Liam.   Pay attention to this character, he is the real star.

I also generally love any books set in Ireland.  Something about the atmosphere touches my soul, and I usually settle in comfortably, feeling at home.  However, the atmosphere here lacked depth and didn’t give me that cozy feeling.

I read this book because I got the ARC of the second book in the series, Whispers in the Mist, from Netgalley.  Having already moved on and read the second book (review to come), I can tell you that the series is worth sticking with.  I liked the second book so much better.  Kilmoon is a quick read and worth reading for the introduction to the A County Clare Mystery series.  The characters and atmosphere of Lisfenora become much stronger as the series expands.

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The Fold by Peter Clines

Okay folks, this one’s a page-turner!  I was hooked, line and sinker! 0807161831b-1

First and foremost, Mike Erickson is such an interesting protagonist!  Mike has an eidetic memory, also called a photographic memory.  What was the most unique here is the author’s descriptions of the way Mike’s brain works using “ants” to gather, categorize and file away what he takes in (can you say jealous? LOL!).

Mike has made the decision not to live his life being looked at as “different.”  He wants to live just like an average guy, no fuss, no unwanted attention.  He could have a very high paying job and has been offered such a few times through the years.  But Mike is happy being a high school teacher and that’s that.

Then his old friend, Reggie, the one that keeps trying to recruit him, comes calling again.  Reggie works for the government and he oversees funding for a secret project.  The secret project involves teleportation!  No way!  Mike finds it hard to believe that people are buying into this.

A team of scientists are working on a new invention called the Albuquerque Door.  The Albuquerque Door is run by computers and magnetic fields and creates a fold in dimensions, thereby transporting someone or something to another dimension.  This makes traveling from one dimension to another as easy as crossing the street.

The question is, should the funding go on.  The project doesn’t seem to be coming to fruition quick enough.  There are questions about whether the scientists working on it are hiding something.  This could be a huge discovery.  But is it safe?  Reggie talks Mike into going out to California and taking a look.  What Mike finds when he gets there is beyond his wildest dreams.

My inner circle of readers had very mixed reviews on this one and I wasn’t sure what to think going in.  I am a bit behind on my reviews and sometimes I find that’s not such a bad thing.  I finished this one almost a month ago.  So here I am several weeks later and I find that I’m still thinking back on this book and liking it more each time.  That’s how this book sits with me.  I really liked this character and this is such a well-written book.  Peter Cline takes us on a very fun and interesting ride!

 I want to thank the publisher (Crown Publishing) for providing me with the ARC through Blogging for Books for an honest review.

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"If they do not write the kind of books we want to read, we shall have to write them ourselves." -C.S. Lewis

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Reviewing from the bottomless pile of LGBTQIA+ books

Read, Sav, Read.

| B.A. in English. | Writer. | Lover of books. | 2017 Book Count: 57. | Currently Reading: Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon. |

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"If they do not write the kind of books we want to read, we shall have to write them ourselves." -C.S. Lewis

From Top to Bottom Reviews

Reviewing from the bottomless pile of LGBTQIA+ books

Read, Sav, Read.

| B.A. in English. | Writer. | Lover of books. | 2017 Book Count: 57. | Currently Reading: Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon. |

kayleighsblogs

Be who you want to be

Ink Drops Books

book talk

Chris Via Book Reviews

An independent book enthusiast and reviewer

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