Pandora Syndrome by April Wahlin – My Review!!

Pandora Syndrome – My Review!!

Pandora Syndrome Cover

Pandora Syndrome: Stories of Ithiria popped up in my recommendations not too long ago. Though I’m not a vampire story fan, I read the blurb, and added it to my TBR list. Here are my thoughts.

Synopsis (from the author):

After being shot outside a club on her twenty-first birthday, Pandora Todd, aka Dora, finds herself in the bed of a handsome stranger with a pair of snake-like fangs. Now, instead of a hangover, Dora wakes with an intense hunger for blood and the strange ability to control all things dead, a distinctly un-vampire trait. Unfortunately, just when Dora grows accustomed to the vampire aspects of her eternal life, she finds herself targeted by a rival necromancer. Soon, Dora becomes wrapped up in a plot that will shape her past, present, and future.

What I liked:

First, I enjoyed this book! April Wahlin did a great job of taking vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other horror denizens and made them more human than monster. It was an interesting way to make the story different from others. Seen through the eyes of Dora, the story follows her transition from new adult to vampire – something she doesn’t particularly like to be. Pandora Syndrome also handles Dora’s relationships with other supernatural beings in a humorous and entertaining way. All told, a fun read!

What I didn’t like:

I only have two minor complaints about Pandora Syndrome. First, the story moved a little slowly in places. Second, the cliffhanger ending. I know, personal preferences, but that is why they are minor complaints.

Overall impression:

April Wahlin did a good job with her characters, the story, and building a supernatural world superimposed on Los Angeles. A few slow spots and the cliffhanger ending bothered me a little, but not enough to knock the rating. If you like supernatural stories, read this one!

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with April Wahlin:

Find April Wahlin on her Amazon Author Page, Goodreads, and her website. Check out her books (and maybe buy one or two), and leave a comment or a review!

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The Traveling Man (The Traveler’s, #1) by Michael P. King – My Review!!

The Traveling Man – My Review!!

The Traveling Man Cover

Every now and then, I like to read a crime thriller. I ran across The Traveling Man (The Traveler’s, #1) by Michael P. King and put it on the TBR list. Here is my review!

Synopsis (from the author):

In a life-and-death contest among criminals, even the most cunning may not survive…

The Traveling Man and his wife have built a life for themselves conning criminals and getting away scot-free. But when their latest scheme to sell contaminated land goes south, they find themselves in a cat-and-mouse game with the crime boss who’s turned the tables on them and the partners who’ve betrayed them.

Are you ready to take a walk on the wild side?

What I liked:

The Traveling Man was a fun read! Lots of action, plot twists, great cons, and betrayals kept me guessing what was coming next. Add to the mix the innocents caught up in the game, the oddly ethical bent of the Traveling Man, and it’s a winning combination.

What I didn’t like:

Despite the good parts mentioned above, the book did bog down a few times as The Traveling Man and his plans fell apart. I had issues with some of the dialogue as well.

Overall impression:

The Traveling Man (The Traveler’s, #1) was an enjoyable read. The cons were flawed enough to be believable, the characters’ amoral enough to pull off their scams, yet Rob (the title character) had an ethical side. If you’re a fan of crime novels, read this one. Please note there is sex, violence, and strong language.

My rating:

4 Stars

Connect with Michael P. King

Find Michael P. King on his Amazon Author Page and his Goodreads Author Page. While you’re there, check out the rest of his books (and maybe buy a couple) and leave him a comment or a review!

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Bump Time Origin by Doug J. Cooper – My Review!!

Bump Time Origin – My review!!

Bump Time Origin Cover

I read all of Doug J. Cooper’s Crystal Series and enjoyed them immensely. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I added his new book Bump Time Origin to my TBR list when he released it. Here is my review!

Synopsis (from the author):

On his twenty-fifth birthday, Diesel Lagerford is visited by a twenty-six-year-old version of himself. His look-alike spins impossible tales of their shared future, claiming they have dozens of “brothers” from parallel timelines who can visit each other using a T-box, a machine they bankroll with lottery winnings. He introduces Diesel to the incredible Lilah Spencer, the T-box operator, and Diesel falls head-over-heels in love. But during his travels across timelines, Diesel learns that Lilah will soon die under suspicious circumstances. Devastated, he joins his brothers in a race to save her. Can they solve the mystery of her death before it’s too late? And will their unusual solution play out over time in the ways they had anticipated?

What I liked:

As with the Crystal Series, Bump Time Origin was a well-written and entertaining read. I enjoyed the different take on time travel and the conscious effort to alter the time continuum. Diesel and Lilah were good characters, and the relationships between the brothers added a lot to the story. Ciopova (the AI) made the perfect amoral character. I won’t go into that (no spoilers), but if you like sci-fi and time travel books, read this one!

What I didn’t like:

I appreciated Doug J. Cooper’s efforts to keep the Diesels straight, but it will still a little difficult to follow at times. Other than that, not much to complain about with Bump Time Origin!

Overall impression:

Bump Time Origin was a well-written piece if sci-fi! With an interesting take on time travel, romance, and great AI, read this one!

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with Doug J. Cooper:

Discover Doug J. Cooper and all of his books on his Amazon Author Page or his website. Visit, check out his work, and maybe buy a few for yourself!

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The Set Stealer by Jonathon McElhaney – My Review!!

The Set Stealer – My Review!!!

The Set Stealer Cover

It’s time to head back to the fantasy realm. This time it’s The Set Stealer by Jonathon McElhaney, a book from a fellow Georgia author and one that showed up in my Amazon recommendations. Read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

A Set is a gift. A power that one can bring from within themselves and manifest to change the physical world. Everyone has at least one, ranging from the mundane to the all powerful. That is, everyone except Kayla. But when her father is murdered in front of her, Kayla is sent on a collision course with destiny as she is forced on an adventure to discover not only who killed her father but who she is. Searching within herself, Kayla must find her own power – even without a Set to protect her – and save not only herself but the world she loves.

What I liked:

Overall, The Set Stealer was a good story. I liked Kayla’s character and her quest for knowledge. The pace of the story was good, and there was plenty of action with plenty of blood and violence to go along with it. The training sequences interested me, and the final battle added an interesting twist. If you enjoy dark fantasy, add this one to your TBR list.

What I didn’t like:

At times, especially in the battle scenes, the book seemed more like a superhero battle than a fantasy novel. I would have liked to have more information on exactly what a set is and why the sets manifest themselves so differently in each person. Lastly, The Set Stealer could have used another pass by the editor.

Overall impression:

I liked the book! Good characters, lots of action, intrigue, and Kayla’s quest made for an enjoyable read. On the downside, my biggest issue was the book could have used additional editing. However, if you like action filled fantasy, read this one.

My rating:

3.5 Stars (rounded to 4 stars)

Connect with Jonathon McElhaney:

Find Jonathon McElhaney on his Amazon Author Page or his website. Visit, look around, and maybe pick up a book for yourself! While you’re there, please consider leaving a comment or a review.

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Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers #3) – My Review!

Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers #3) – My Review!!

Blood Relic Cover

I read the first two books of the Paranormal Peacekeepers series by Lucretia Stanhope and thoroughly enjoyed them. I added Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers #3) to my TBR list a while back and finally got a chance to read it. Here are my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

When a string of dead witches points to the illegal practice of making relics that eternally drip with magic blood, Alice is called to go deep into the vampire underground. The mission plants her as the lead on a military targeting squad, serving a branch of the PPK she despises. To reject the task means the blood of witches on her hands. To succeed means her and Amarok will never be simple ambassadors again – if they ever were.

With her and Amarok one step closer to serving the military division of the PPK, she finds comfort in her new, albeit temporary, partnership with the vampire Matthias. While balancing their own evolving relationship, Matthias prepares her for what she will see in the blood dens.

Once she steps into the seedy world where ruthless vampires pay to play with magic blood it is quickly clear that everyone underestimated the vampires’ cravings. Can the power she keeps hidden from her keepers save her life without changing it into a life of service not worth living?

What I liked:

After reading the first two books, Alice is like an old friend that you are eager to catch up with and find out what she’s been doing. Amarok and Matthias make great foes and love interests for her, and Alice’s growth into a complex woman continues. Lots of action and intrigue with this one and many twists and turns kept me interested throughout. If you like dark fantasy, Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers#3) is your kind of book!

What I didn’t like:

Despite the action, there were a few slow parts in the book. In addition, Alice’s quandary over who she loves got a bit repetitive.

Overall impression:

I enjoyed Blood Relic (Paranormal Peacekeepers #3), though not as much as the previous books. This one is quite a bit darker, with more violence and blood, and delves deeper into sexual situations that the other books. Overall, an entertaining read for dark fantasy fans!

My rating:

4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 stars)

Connect with Lucretia Stanhope:

Find Lucretia Stanhope on her Amazon Author Page or on her Facebook page. Discover more about the Paranormal Peacekeepers and her other books (and maybe buy a few). While you’re there, consider leaving a review or a comments!

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Rings of Polaris Collection by Paul Alan – My Review!!

Rings of Polaris Collection – My Review!!

 

Rings of Polaris Cover

Science fiction shows up in my recommendation occasionally and when they do, I take a good look at the blurb before committing. Rings of Polaris Collection by Paul Alan looked good and I added it to my TBR list. Here are my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

Masterfully crafted by Paul Alan, the ‘Rings of Polaris’ series fuses science fiction, dystopian fiction, and action – in an adventure giving Arthur C. Clarke a run for his money.
Readers are invited to strap in with Jason and Rebel Lexis on a mission across the vast wasteland that was once Earth to the surface of Mars. While nobody will deny science fiction’s timeless popularity, both readers and critics are currently crying out for wholly-unique new narratives that don’t succumb to recycling of the “same old” concepts.

What I liked:

Rings of Polaris had the interesting characters, cool, technology, and galaxy-altering intrigue that I enjoy in science fiction novels. Jason and Rebel Lexis fill the characters’ role nicely, especially Rebel Lexis’ emergence as an almost human syn. Jason has enough baggage to allow him to be a brooding hero. The tech on the ships was a bonus. With plenty of action, a touch of mystery, and a bit of time travel, the book entertained me!

What I didn’t like:

I thought the book could have used another round with an editor. I usually don’t comment on particular words or writing style unless it throws me from the story. In Rings of Polaris, the word ‘albeit’ was overused and, after the first couple of appearances pulled me from the story. In addition, I felt there were some rambling parts that didn’t connect with the story as a whole.

Overall impression:

Rings of Polaris Collection had some excellent good sci-fi elements. Good characters, solid technology (including the syns), and the intrigue all make for an entertaining read. Sci-fi fans will enjoy it!

My rating:

3.5 Stars (rounded to 4 stars)

Connect with Paul Alan:

Find Paul Alan on his Amazon Author Page and his Facebook page. When you visit, please consider leaving a review or a comment and maybe pick up a book or two!

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Myths of the Mirror by D. Wallace Peach – My Review!!

Myths of the Mirror – My Review!!

Who doesn’t like dragons? For me, a fantasy novel with dragons will always have a place on my TBR list! When I received the recommendation for Myths of the Mirror (Dragon Soul Quartet #1) I added it to my list. Here is my review!

Synopsis (from the author):

In the distant mountains of the Mirror, exiled skyriders fly dragons in the old Way, merged in flesh, blood, and bone. Twenty years past, they fought for the freedom of the valley’s dragons … and lost.

Imprisoned in the stone lair, the captive dragons beat their webbed wings and thrash serpentine tails. They tear their flesh and batter their bodies against the black bars of their cells, iron grating against iron. The once peaceful creatures howl, tormented by spine and spur, their fury matched only by their despair.

Treasa, the daughter of exiles, seeks the secrets of a hidden past and a father she never knew. Gifted with visions, she glimpses pieces of years long lost and a veiled future that only raises more questions. The dragons visit her dreams, laden with contradictions that tear at her heart—for one day she sails in unfettered flight, her arms thrown wide, and the next she writhes in tortured darkness, desperate to be free.

The lair’s black-garbed riders sense the dragons’ growing savagery. Yet Conall longs to grasp their power, to subdue them and soar. He will endure the reek, filth, and terror of the lair to earn his right to fly. With a heart encased in steel, he masters the weapons of compliance to see his will done. At the cost of the woman he loves.

Then, a curved talon rends flesh and dragon scale, rattling against white ribs. Blood falls like rain and the world shifts. Treasa and Conall must decide who they are and what they stand for. Thus the battle for the dragon soul begins again. Alliances form, old myths are revealed, and new myths are born.

What I liked:

First, I enjoyed this book! The imprisoned dragons fueled much of the story and intertwined everyone’s lives and actions into a great story. The characters were good, the writing flowed smoothly, and the story had a nice pace. Romantic elements abounded throughout the book, which only added to the depth of the tale. All told, Myths of the Mirror (Dragon Soul Quarter #1) was an excellent book!

What I didn’t like:

The only thing I didn’t like in the book was the ongoing lack of communication between Treasa and her mother. I can’t really say much about it without adding spoilers, so you’ll just have to read the book and make your own decision.

Overall impression:

Myths of the Mirror (Dragon Soul Quartet #1) by D. Wallace Peach had all the elements for a great fantasy novel. Good characters, a downtrodden dragon population, romance, intrigue, and a good plot line made it a book I truly enjoyed. If you like fantasy, try this one!

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with D. Wallace Peach:

Find D. Wallace Peach on her Amazon Author Page or her website. Check out the entire Dragon Soul Quartet and discover more about the author and her books!

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The Scholar: The Genoa Chronicles, Book 1 by J.J. Anders – My Review!!

The Scholar: The Genoa Chronicles, Book 1– My Review!!

The Scholar Cover

I admit that I’ve not really listened to an audiobook in its entirety until I received an Audible gift certificate. I chose The Scholar: The Genoa Chronicles, Book 1 by J.J. Anders and narrated by Marnye Young as my introduction to audiobooks. Read on for my review.

Synopsis (from the author):

Anna is clearly different from others. With obvious physical differences and powerful abilities, she’s never quite fit in…anywhere. Having no knowledge of her parents, she sets out to discover her true origin. On the run for most of her life, she’s become a master at eluding capture, even a little cocky, you might say. When a sticky situation forces her hand, she hitches a ride with a wizard, who whisks her away to another world where, according to him, she’d been exiled from as a child. This new magical place seems oddly familiar as Anna discovers powerful enemies and treasured allies on her quest for answers. The dangerous journey thrust her headlong into the arms of Kriston, who finds himself caught between sworn-duty and insatiable curiosity.

What I liked:

First, I liked the story. Anna had some great adventures and met many interesting characters and creatures. The rock trolls were my favorite, though the huge horses were a close second. Secondly, I enjoyed Marnye Young’s narration. The various voices she used impressed me.

The book has many of the classic fantasy elements like a quest, cool creatures, adventure, and a touch of romance. The Scholar: The Genoa Chronicles, Book 1 moved along briskly and had enough action to keep my interest. Overall, a good book.

What I didn’t like:

I didn’t find the audiobook format to be a favorite. While Marnye Young did a great job narrating the story, I missed putting my own imagination into the story. The story itself, though entertaining, seemed a bit disjointed to me and jumped around more than I liked.

Overall impression:

The Scholar: The Genoa Chronicles, Book 1 audiobook was entertaining and beautifully narrated. Although I didn’t enjoy the audiobook as much as I would an ebook or physical copy, it made a couple of flights enjoyable. As far as the story goes, it’s a good one! If you like fantasy, give this one a try!

My rating:

4 Stars for the book

5 Stars for the narration

Connect with J.J. Anders:

Find J. J. Anders on her Amazon Author Page or her website. While visiting, consider leaving a review or a comment, and maybe buy a book or two!

Connect with Marnye Young:

Find Marnye Young on her website, check out the books she’s narrated, and maybe pick one up for your listening pleasure!

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Making History by Bruce Polky – My Review!!

Making History – My Review!!

Making History Cover

 

A friend recommended Making History by Bruce Polky and I added it to my TBR. Read on for my thoughts about this sci-fi novel. 

Synopsis (from the author):

One little decision can get you killed, or something worse.

Dav jumps from planet to planet in Safe Space selling computer hardware, whether people need it or not. His life starts to fall apart when his Personal Assistance Device crashes. Like every citizen of Safe Space, his PAD’s been his ID, wallet, phone, and more, from the time he was six years old. Without it he can’t travel, can’t work, can’t even buy lunch!

Under Government law, every citizen must carry their PAD at all times, and any modification is illegal. Leaving it unattended will set off alarms, even calling it bad names will get you fined, or result in a visit from the Protectors.

Marsy, a black-market tech, can fix his machine, but her work has attracted the worst possible attention. Marsy is dragged off by the Protectors, kicking and screaming till the last. Dav gets out, but the Protectors know who he is and that is not a good thing. His new PAD is much more than he expected. Through it, he gets a glimpse of what lies behind Safe Space and the rigid control of the Government. Everything he has always known about life is challenged. If the Protectors find him, they will remove him for what he has discovered. He must learn to work with the new capabilities of his upgraded PAD to survive, but this device plays by its own rules, and it could kill him even faster!

His only option is to hunt for Marsy. She can tell him what this damn thing is, and maybe together they can uncover what the Government is hiding.

Or maybe humanity’s whole future has already been decided.

What I liked:

First, I liked the story! A nice mix of science fiction and dystopia with a few little twists along the way kept my attention. Samuel (our resident computer inhabiting Dav’s PAD) was an entertaining character. Dav himself was a good character, too, though I liked Samuel better. Marsy and Garth added nice background, but the story revolved around Dav and Samuel. The discoveries Dav and Samuel made and government control of everything showed the dystopian side of the book. All told, a fun and entertaining novel!

What I didn’t like:

For me, the science fiction wasn’t futuristic enough. Yes, the PADs were cool, but from a technology perspective, not much different that tablets and phones available today. The space travel was cool, but the habitats, again were not so futuristic.

Overall impression:

Making History by Bruce Polky entertained me! Dav and Samuel’s adventures and the secrets they uncovered made for an interesting and thought provoking book. While it could have been heavier on the science fiction, the story kept me interested. If you enjoy sci-fi with a nice mix of dystopia, read this one!

My rating:

4 Stars

Connect with Bruce Polky:

Find Bruce and his book on his Amazon Author Page. While visiting, consider leaving a comment or a review and maybe pick up your own copy of Making History!

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The Black Fox: Run for Your Life by Gordon Bickerstaff – My Review!!

The Black Fox: Run for Your Life – My Review!!

The Black Fox Cover

A while back, I read the first of Gordon Bickerstaff’s Lambeth Group Thrillers, and gave Deadly Secrets 4 Stars. When The Black Fox: Run for Your Life appeared in my recommendations, I added it to my TBR. Here is my review.

Synopsis (from the author):

Zoe Tampsin is resourceful, smart and Special Forces-trained, but she has been given an impossible mission.

She has to protect scientist, Gavin Shawlens, from assassination by the CIA, and discover the secret trapped in Gavin’s mind that the CIA want destroyed.

As the pressure to find Shawlens escalates – the CIA send Zoe’s former mentor to track her down and her fate seems sealed when he surrounds Zoe and Gavin with a ring of steel. With each hour that passes, the ring is tightened, and the window for discovering Gavin’s secret will shut.

Zoe is faced with a decision that goes against all of her survival instincts. If she is wrong – they both die. If she is right – she will discover the secret and become the next target for assassination.

Run for your life…

What I liked:

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I like thrillers. The Black Fox: Run for Your Life has all the elements for a great thriller. Lots of action, plenty of plot twists, and a large-scale conspiracy blend to make this an excellent read! Zoe is a great character, a believable operative, and her talents are fully on display in the book. Gavin plays a central role as the pair struggle to stay alive and solve the mystery of why the CIA wants him dead. No spoilers from me, so you’ll just have to read this one to find the answers!

What I didn’t like:

I had a couple of complaints about the book. First, Gavin was such a weak persona in this book compared to the first book of the series. Secondly (and admittedly this is personal bias as a former submariner), the submarine parts seemed a bit farfetched.

Overall impression:

The Black Fox: Run for Your Life entertained me from start to finish. With tons of action, good characters, lots of plot twists, and an interesting finish, I enjoyed it. If you like thrillers, try this one! 

My rating:

4.5 Stars (round to 5 Stars)

Connect with Gordon Bickerstaff:

Discover Gordon Bickerstaff and his book on his website and his Amazon Author Page. While you’re visiting, consider leaving a comment or a review. I know Gordon Bickerstaff will appreciate it!

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