Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Review: The Silent Girls – Eric Rickstad

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016
The Silent Girls
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Witness Impulse (January 27, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062351540
ISBN-13: 978-0062351548
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Synopsis:

Harland Rath is pulled into the investigation when a young girl disappears. He begins to suspect a serial killer, but no one else can be convinced.

Characters:

Frank Rath – Former Police Detective, now Private Investigator.
Harland Grout – Newly promoted Detective on the Canaan Vermont Police Force.

Review

This was a very involving novel. There’s the one main plot involving Rath, there’s a subplot involving his missing daughter, and a lead-in plot obviously for the next novel involving a man he put in prison for serial killing. The action was pretty well paced out, and the plot was interesting, and a little more planned out then in a lot of novels lately.

You could to witness the characters grow and change. Rath learning to trust his daughter more. Grout learning to be a better detective. This is definitely not a novel though for the easily offended. The main plot line involves a very controversial subject that some readers might find offensive. That would be on the subject of abortion, abortion protestors, and all that is connected.

If the subject matter, and the strong language and content doesn’t offend you though, you’ll find it’s a well written, well planned out novel. I recommend it to all thriller fans out there. Be sure to drop in and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Eric RickstadEric Rickstad is the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Globe & Mail Bestselling author of THE SILENT GIRLS, a #1 bestselling Nook and Kindle novel heralded as intelligent and profound, dark, disturbing, and heartbreaking. His latest novel is LIE IN WAIT. His first novel REAP, a literary suspense novel, was a New York Times Noteworthy Novel. He lives in his home state of Vermont with his lovely wife, daughter, and son.

He is represented by Philip Spitzer of the Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Lauren at Harper Collins for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: A Ghostly Murder – Tonya Kappes

Thursday, January 14th, 2016
A Ghostly Murder
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Witness (September 29, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062374931
ISBN-13: 978-0062374936
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Synopsis:

Once again Emma Lee finds herself trying to help a recently departed spirit solve their murder in order to cross over.

Characters:

Emma Lee Raines – Undertaker and communicator with the dead.
Mamie Sue Preston –

Review

This is the fourth and unless things change, final entry in Ms. Kappes Ghostly Southern Mysteries, and like all the rest was a blast to read. As a reader of the whole series, I’ve been able to watch the characters grow. The Emma in this book has much higher self esteem and is more comfortable in her role.

Each of these books, while connected, can also be read as standalones. However, each book will kind of spoil the one prior by mentioning some of the events that occurred, so if you get the chance to read them in order, I’d do so.

I’d rate this for all ages, as there doesn’t seem to be much objectionable outside of the murder, and the violence from those attempting to stop Emma’s investigations. However, none of the violence is graphic, and is more along the lines of what you’d find in a Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew story.

If you like cozy mysteries with a sense of humor, grab this series. Be sure to drop back in and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Tonya KappesFor years, USA today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been self-publishing her numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plotlines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Lucy at Harper Collins for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: A Ghostly Demise – Tonya Kappes

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016
A Ghostly Demise
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Witness (August 25, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062374915
ISBN-13: 978-0062374912
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Synopsis:

Once again Emma Lee finds herself trying to help a recently departed spirit solve their murder in order to cross over.

Characters:

Cephus Hardy – Recently departed.
Emma Lee Raines – Undertaker and communicator with the dead.

Review

This is the third entry in Ms. Kappes Ghostly Southern Mysteries, and like all the rest was a ton of fun. Emma Raines, and the cast of characters are just enjoyable, and the humor just adds to the storyline. As a reader, I really get the feel of this small town, and really like all the oddball characters.

Like all the rest, there are various subplots involving Emma’s grandmother, her run for mayor, and someone trying to sabotage her campaign. The grandmother out of all the characters, is one of the most fun. None of the characters are really cookie cutter, but each has their own distinct appearance and likeability factor.

If you are into cozy mysteries with a sense of humor, you’d love this series. I can’t think of anything objectionable in it. So check it out and be sure to let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Tonya KappesFor years, USA today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been self-publishing her numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plotlines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Lucy at Harper Collins for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: Spy Trade – Matthew Dunn

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
Spy Trade
Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Witness Impulse (September 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062441426
ISBN-13: 978-0062441423
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Synopsis:

A CIA Veteran is captured by terrorists. They threaten to kill him if a specific prisoner is not released within a given time frame.

Characters:

Will Cochrane – Special Agent
Patrick Bolte – Director of a join CIA-MI6 task force.

Review

When two people are captured and threatened with death by Terrorists, Patrick Cochrane is forced to seek help to find them. He pulls Will Cochrane into his plans. Cochrane’s journey then takes him across the continent of Europe and into Russia.

I’m not 100% sure what I think of this book. While it seemed a very accurate spy novel, I just didn’t get it. Perhaps my mind was on other things at the time. The author is apparently very well qualified to write about the subject of spies, as he was involved in that type of job.

I have another in this line to read, and perhaps I will be able to better follow it. I didn’t hate this novel. I like the characters. The story seemed a bit cliché’d but then in the end had an unexpected twist. Perhaps the length of this story made things move a little too fast. It was technically a novella, and was only about 178 pages in length. It wasn’t until about the last 20 or 30 pages where I began to understand what the whole point of the story was.

While I didn’t fall in love with this, I do intend to give Mr. Dunn’s novels a second try with The Spy House. I think for fans of real life spy type novels, they’d probably love this. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I was just kind of left neutral.

But check it out if it’s your type of genre, and let us know what you thought about it.

About the Author

Matthew DunnAs an MI6 field officer, Matthew Dunn recruited and ran agents, coordinated and participated in special operations, and acted in deep-cover roles throughout the world. He operated in highly hostile environments, where, if compromised and captured, he would have been executed. Dunn was trained in all aspects of intelligence collection, deep-cover deployments, small-arms, explosives, military unarmed combat, surveillance, and infiltration.

Medals are never awarded to modern MI6 officers, but Dunn was the recipient of a very rare personal commendation from the secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs for work he did on one mission, which was deemed so significant that it directly influenced the successful conclusion of a major international incident.

During his time in MI6, Dunn conducted approximately seventy missions. All of them were successful. He lives in England.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Pamela at Harper Collins for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Nation of Enemies – H. A. Raynes

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015
Nation of Enemies
Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Witness Impulse (October 6, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062417703
ISBN-13: 978-0062417701
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Synopsis:

In a future society, people are chipped according to their health status. Those who don’t meet a certain standard are lesser citizens. But Reverand Charles Mitchell has a plan to overthrow all that. He will use any means necessary.

Characters:

Dr. Cole Fitzgerald – Chief of Emergency Medicine, Masschusetts General Hospital
Steven Hudson – Owner of Hudson Funeral Homes.
Sebastian Diaz – FBI Special Agent.
Chris Renner – Diaz’s partner.
Charles Mitchell – A Fundamentalist Minister with a dark past.

Review

I found this to be a very well developed and plotted novel. It shows one direction a country can go if it bends to religious fanaticism. Charles Mitchell is under suspicion by the FBI for suspected involve in previous acts of terrorism. Agent Dr. Cole is assigned to go under cover in Mitchell’s Patriot church.

At the same time, Dr. Cole Fitzgerald is trying to find a way to stop the government from implanting the chips in people. His wife was forbidden entry into another country as she didn’t match the proper limits for good health based on her chip and ratings number.

Fitzgerald and Diaz are brother in laws, and will soon find themselves having to work together to stop Mitchell’s dark plans. But how many people will die before they succeed, to find out read Enemies of the Nation.

This book may offend some religiously inclined as it doesn’t look favorably upon the fictional church within it. There is also some strong language, and violence that would not be appropriate for young children, so like most books I review, this one is for older teens and adult audiences.

Overall, I’d recommend this novel. It definitely had one of the most interesting plots of anything I read recently.

About the Author

H. A. RaynesH.A. Raynes was inspired to write NATION OF ENEMIES by a family member who was a Titanic survivor and another who escaped Poland in World War II. Combining lessons from the past with a healthy fear of the modern landscape, this novel was born. A longtime member of Boston’s writing community, H.A. Raynes has a history of trying anything once (acting, diving out of a plane, white water rafting, and parenting). Writing and raising children seem to have stuck.

Nation of Enemies

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Anwesha at Harper Collins for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Aftermath – Chuck Wendig

Thursday, December 17th, 2015
Aftermath
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: LucasBooks; Original edition (September 4, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 034551162X
ISBN-13: 978-0345511621
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Synopsis:

The second death star has been destroyed. The people of the galaxy are free, or are they? Wedge Antilles is on a mission when he is captured. A ragtag bunch is tasked with rescuing him and discovering what the secret meeting of the Empire is all about.

Characters:

Norrra Wexley – Survivor and veteran of the Battle over Endor.
Wedge Antilles – Pilot and General of the Rebel Alliance
Rae Sloan – Imperial Captain of the Ultimatum

Review

If you look at Amazon you’ll see many negative reviews of this book. Many people are upset that the Expanded Universe all Star Wars fans knew was trashed in favor of a new Canon. This novel which essentially negates a fan favored series, therefore was not well received. However, I think those reviews are unfounded. I found this book to be a lot of fun. While there were none of the major characters we’ve grown to love, with the exception of Wedge Antilles, there were a lot of new characters.

These new characters are placed into the Star Wars universe, and fit well. One of the most memorable is a repurposed battle droid. All of the characters were fun, and there were some interesting and exciting action scenes.

One of the interestng aspects was seeing how the defeat of the Empire is seen throughout the galaxy. There is a lot of denial left in all those who served the Empire. They refuse to believe the stories of the Emperor’s death. For those who’d lived life under the thumb of the Empire, it’s as if they are living in a dream too good to be true, and they also have their doubts. This is covered well in the thoughts and feeling of the characters.

Overall, for a kickoff and bridging novel between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, I thought this novel did a great job. As the first book in what is supposedly a trilogy, I liked it and look forward to the next two. There are some things that may be objectionable to some audiences, such as the introduction of a gay character. However it is done subtly.

If you’re a fan of Star Wars and want to find out what occurred after Episode VI, then check out Aftermath. Be sure to drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Chuck WendigChuck Wendig is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath, as well as the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, and the Heartland YA series, alongside other works across comics, games, film, and more. A finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the cowriter of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus, he is also known for his popular blog, terribleminds.com, and his books about writing. He lives in Pennsylvania with his family.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Lost Stars – Claudia Gray

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
Lost Stars
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (September 4, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1484724984
ISBN-13: 978-1484724989
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Synopsis:

The Star Wars original trilogy as seen through the eyes of two childhood friends.

Characters:

Thane Kyrell – Son of a privileged family on the planet Jelucan.
Ciena Ree – Daughter of a lower class family on Jelucan.

Review

This is a story I absolutely loved. You follow these two characters, from their initial friendship as children, to adults when their friendship blossoms into love. You see the effects of the Empire on their relationship, as one is drawn further away from the Empire while the other is drawn to stay loyal. While a short story, it manages to travel through all the stories of the original trilogy, while bringing a Romeo and Juliet type spin to the saga.

For all the readers out there who are Star Wars fans, or not necessarily fans, but like romantics stories I think this is a book you’ll enjoy. Aimed towards young adults, there is nothing really objectionable in it in regards to content or language.

About the Author

Claudia GrayClaudia Gray has worked as a lawyer, a journalist, a disc jockey, and an extremely poor waitress. Her lifelong interests in old houses, classic movies, vintage style, and history all play a part in creating the world of Evernight.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Weapon of a Jedi – Jason Fry

Thursday, December 10th, 2015
Weapon of a Jedi
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (September 4, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1484724968
ISBN-13: 978-1484724965
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Synopsis:

Set between Episodes IV and VI, this story involves Luke Skywalker seeking out a lost Jedi Temple.

Characters:

Luke Skywalker – Rebel and Jedi in Training

Review

I liked this one. Like others, it was the third in the standalone stories featuring the original 3 characters. It’s geared towards young adults, like others in the series. While I liked it, there were parts that were rather confusing. I think the most blaring is that it seems as if Luke hasn’t met Yoda at this point, yet he is undergoing Jedi training, and seems way more powerful than he did in Return of the Jedi. That to me is a major drawback in the story.

Other than that, I think it was a good Star Wars story featuring Luke and filling in some of those spots between movies. I’d rate this as safe for all ages, and it would definitely appeal to the Star Wars fan both old and new. Drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Jason FryI’m the author of The Jupiter Pirates series, published by HarperCollins. In the first book, Hunt for the Hydra, we meet Tycho, Yana and Carlo Hashoone. They’re crewers above the privateer Shadow Comet, siblings and competitors. Each wants to be the next captain of their family’s starship — but only one of them will be chosen.

The Jupiter Pirates is part high-seas adventure and part space-age epic — I’ve had a blast writing the series and can’t wait to share it with people. Officially the Jupiter Pirates books are for kids 8-12, but readers far older than that will enjoy them too.

As for me, I’m a writer, editor, and occasional journalism consultant based in Brooklyn, N.Y, where I live with my wife Emily, my son Joshua and about a metric ton of baseball cards and Star Wars stuff. I’ve written more than two dozen Star Wars books and short stories for publishers including Random House, DK, Scholastic and Disney Books. Before striking out on my own as an independent writer, I spent more than 12 years at The Wall Street Journal Online, where I wrote the Real Time column about technology and co-wrote The Daily Fix, a daily roundup of great sportswriting. I co-write Faith and Fear in Flushing (www.faithandfearinflushing.com), a blog about the New York Mets, with my friend Greg Prince.

If that seems like an odd mix, well, I think so too. But one way or another, I’ve written or worked with writers nearly all my life. It’s all I ever wanted to do, and I’m profoundly grateful that I’ve been able to do it.

Whether you’re writing about a far-off galaxy, a nearby baseball team or the promise of technology, the path to becoming a successful writer is the same: Write every day, learn from other writers and from good editors, push your writing to make sure it’s as clear and engaging as possible, and value every form of writing you get to do. And be nice.

For more on the Jupiter Pirates, drop by jupiterpirates.com. For more about me, see my personal page at www.jasonfry.net or visit my Tumblr at jasonfry.tumblr.com. Thanks for reading!

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Moving Target – Cecil Castelucci & Jason Fry

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015
Moving Target
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (September 4, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1484724976
ISBN-13: 978-1484724972
Order book here:

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Synopsis:

Set just after Episode V, Princess Leia leads a team of rebels on a Decoy mission while the rebel fleet groups near the second Death Star.

Characters:

Princess Leia Organa – Rebel Leader.
Nien Nunb – Sullustan Pilot

Review

This was another in the series geared towards younger readers. I comes in at about 135 pages. I thought it was very interesting to see some details on what was going on as they prepared the attack on the 2nd Death Star. This gave you a glimpse in some of the rebel missions, and some of the other characters behind the scenes.

Being as it’s geared towards a younger audience, I’d say it’s appropriate for all ages. For Star Wars fans, or new fans, this is one you’ll enjoy.

About the Author

Jason FryI’m the author of The Jupiter Pirates series, published by HarperCollins. In the first book, Hunt for the Hydra, we meet Tycho, Yana and Carlo Hashoone. They’re crewers above the privateer Shadow Comet, siblings and competitors. Each wants to be the next captain of their family’s starship — but only one of them will be chosen.

The Jupiter Pirates is part high-seas adventure and part space-age epic — I’ve had a blast writing the series and can’t wait to share it with people. Officially the Jupiter Pirates books are for kids 8-12, but readers far older than that will enjoy them too.

As for me, I’m a writer, editor, and occasional journalism consultant based in Brooklyn, N.Y, where I live with my wife Emily, my son Joshua and about a metric ton of baseball cards and Star Wars stuff. I’ve written more than two dozen Star Wars books and short stories for publishers including Random House, DK, Scholastic and Disney Books. Before striking out on my own as an independent writer, I spent more than 12 years at The Wall Street Journal Online, where I wrote the Real Time column about technology and co-wrote The Daily Fix, a daily roundup of great sportswriting. I co-write Faith and Fear in Flushing (www.faithandfearinflushing.com), a blog about the New York Mets, with my friend Greg Prince.

If that seems like an odd mix, well, I think so too. But one way or another, I’ve written or worked with writers nearly all my life. It’s all I ever wanted to do, and I’m profoundly grateful that I’ve been able to do it.

Whether you’re writing about a far-off galaxy, a nearby baseball team or the promise of technology, the path to becoming a successful writer is the same: Write every day, learn from other writers and from good editors, push your writing to make sure it’s as clear and engaging as possible, and value every form of writing you get to do. And be nice.

For more on the Jupiter Pirates, drop by jupiterpirates.com. For more about me, see my personal page at www.jasonfry.net or visit my Tumblr at jasonfry.tumblr.com. Thanks for reading!

Cecil CastelucciSmall Girl. Big Party. Author of the novels Stone in the Sky, Tin Star, Odd Duck, The Year of the Beasts, First Day on Earth, Rose Sees Red, Grandma’s Gloves, Boy Proof, The Queen of Cool, Beige and The Plain Janes/Janes in Love. Former indie rocker known as Nerdy Girl and Cecil Seaskull. DIY filmmaker. enfant terrible. modern 21st century flapper.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Smuggler’s Run – Greg Rucka

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015
Smuggler's Run
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (September 4, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 148472495X
ISBN-13: 978-1484724958
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
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Synopsis:

Set immediately after events of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. Han Solo and Chewbacca are sent on a rescue mission for the leader of a band of Rebel reconnaissance troops.

Characters:

Han Solo – Human and Captain of the Millenium Falcon
Chewbacca – Wookiee and Co-Pilot of the Millenium Falcon.

Review

This was a very short novel of about 95 pages. As such it’s a rather quick adventure featuring Solo. This was one of the Young Reader novels released as part of the new canon in the Star Wars Universe. The plotline was rather simplistic, but the characters felt very similar to those I’ve know since 1977. It definitely kept with the Star Wars tradition of storytelling. As it is aimed for younger audience, I’d say it’s acceptable for all ages. For old Star Wars fan or new, pick this up, and drop by and let us know what you though.

About the Author

Greg RuckaGreg Rucka was born in San Francisco on a dark and stormy night (really, we checked), and then raised on the Monterey Peninsula of California, an area known to the locals as “Steinbeck Country.” He came to writing early, entering his first short-story contest at the age of nine and stunning both his parents and himself by winning first prize in the competition. Thus encouraged, he continued writing, and couldn’t win another contest of anything to save his life, at least until Whiteout: Melt won Best Limited Series at the Eisner Awards in 2000. He won another Eisner for Gotham Central: Half a Life in 2004 and now sleeps with his Eisners beside him, on their own pillow, much to the despair of his wife and children.

Greg attended Vassar College undergraduate. He had a splendid time, and thanks the institution for the education which he is now, gleefully, squandering. After Vassar, he attended USC for his Master’s Degree. He didn’t much like USC. The best thing about USC was that he and his wife got to live in a house that he could pretend Philip Marlowe had visited. Probably to beat someone up.

After USC, they moved to Oregon, and resided in Eugene for a time, and yes, that’s really the town’s name. Named after Eugene Skinner. But the town’s called Eugene. The butte, that’s called Skinner’s Butte.

He has two tattoos, five earrings, and a motorcycle. He doesn’t ride the motorcycle anymore, but he has it, because the battery is now dead and it sits in the garage hoping, one day, to find a good home.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.