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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2121: Twilight’s Last Gleaming by Karl J. Morgan – My Review!!

2121: Twilight’s Last Gleaming – My Review!!

Occasionally, I like to read a bit of dystopia. Because of this, Amazon sends me recommendations in the genre. My latest dystopian recommendation was 2121: Twilight’s Last Gleaming (Revolution Book 1) by Karl J. Morgan. Here are my thoughts.

Synopsis (from the author):

Is America’s future in the hands of a fourteen year-old boy? Jack Kennedy is growing up in a nation destroyed by a corrupt, uncaring government. While the elites live in splendor in their domed city centers, the masses live in squalor and poverty. Farmers struggle to survive in walled villages to protect themselves from the terrorists and gangbangers who ravage the countryside. The elderly are banished as there is no will or money to support them. The promise of our country has become a dystopian nightmare where life is hard and hope is an illusion.

Until now, Jack’s life has been good. When his best friend ventures to the nearby Ottumwa Free City to look for his former coworkers, Jack hitches a ride and discovers our president’s horrific secret. The truth is revealed in the slaughterhouse, and their lives will never been the same again.
In this fast-paced action thriller, Jack and his friends and family must fight the most violent and terrifying forces of man and nature to stay alive. If they succeed, perhaps there is hope for all of us; if not, we are doomed and America will be forever lost.

What I liked:

Karl J. Morgan did a good job of blending hopelessness and hopefulness into a thrilling book. Jack Kennedy and his girlfriend Alexis are teens forced to fight for their lives and perhaps for a better future. The horrors they and the rest of the US face make for some creepy moments, and the picture painted in 2121: Twilight’s Last Gleaming is grim to say the least. Abe, a former Marine, was my favorite character, though Jack and Alexis are good, too. Overall, I enjoyed the book.

What I didn’t like:

I thought a few of the battle scenes were overdone. In addition, some of Abe’s skills were over the top. Lastly, the teens’ parents seemed more disconnected than I thought they should be.

Overall impression:

2121: Twilight’s Last Gleaming (Revolution Book 1) has plenty of action, good characters, and moves quickly. The battle scenes provided an excellent picture of the state of the United States in the dystopian setting. I have to warn that there is strong language throughout, so this one is for older teens and above. If you like dystopian novels with an underlying current of hope, read this one!

My rating:

4 Stars

Connect with Karl J. Morgan:

Discover more about Karl J. Morgan and his books on his website and his Amazon Author Page. While you’re there, please consider leaving a review or a comment and maybe buy a book or two!

Connect with me:

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Made in the Image of the Goddess by Chantelle Griffin – My Review!!

Made in the Image of the Goddess – My Review!!

Made in the Image of the Goddess Cover

Made in the Image of the Goddess: The Legacy of Zyanthia Book One showed up in my Amazon recommendations recently. I read the blurb and added it to the TBR list. Read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

Saranon glanced up at the dragons as they flew overhead. The hour of darkness covered them as she watched on. She waited as Pennie examined the stone. It formed part of the shield locking them inside the camp. Shouts rang out on the other side. ‘Is that Galven?’ Pennie asked.

She nodded in reply. A twig broke on the muddy ground. ‘We have company,’ she said.

A lone sorcerer. Just one, but that was enough to give them away. Pennie ran for fear of being caught, while Tasha stood gazing out into the distance, ‘One day that will be us.’

Enter an epic tale of sword and sorcery. More than two hundred years ago a powerful sorceress freed her people then vanished. As time passed truth turned into myth and myth became legend. The time has come again. Saranon must claim her rightful place before Zyanthia falls.

What I liked:

I enjoyed the story. Saranon posseses cool powers and has interesting and entertaining adventures. Add dragons to the mix and Made in the Image of the Goddess has everything needed for a nice fantasy book.

What I didn’t like:

In spite of the good thing mentioned above, I had a couple of issues with the book. First, the book needs editing. There were just too many errors and they kept throwing me out of the story. Secondly, the story didn’t flow well to me.

Overall impression:

 Made in the Image of the Goddess: The Legacy of Zyanthia Book One has a lot of promise. With a bit of editing work, this is easily a 4 star book!

My rating:

3 Stars

Connect with Chantelle Griffin:

Find out more about Chantelle Griffin and her books on her Amazon Author page and on Goodreads. While you’re visiting, go ahead and leave her a comment or a review!

Connect with me:

I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Find me and let’s connect!

Crystal Escape (Crystal Series Book 4) By Doug J. Cooper – My Review!!

Crystal Escape – My Review!!

Crystal Escape Cover

I read the first three books and the prequel of the Crystal Series, so when Doug J. Cooper released Crystal Escape (Crystal Series Book 4), it hit my TBR immediately. Read on for my thoughts on the latest installment of this great sci-fi series.

Synopsis (from the author):

Lazura, an alien AI completing an Earth reconnaissance mission, is poised to take her data archive home to her Kardish masters. All she needs is a way past Criss, a superior intelligence determined to stop her. And stop her he must, because the information in Lazura’s archive provides the powerful Kardish a roadmap to Earth domination, starting with the subjugation of Criss himself. When Lazura makes a surprise break for her home world, she kidnaps Cheryl Wallace and Juice Tallette, two-thirds of Criss’s leadership, and positions them as human shields to protect her ship. Sid, the final member of the leadership team and Cheryl’s lover, joins Criss in chasing Lazura across the solar system. But can they catch Lazura before she reaches the safety of interstellar space? And can they rescue Cheryl and Juice while also protecting the future of Earth?

What I liked:

As with the other books in the series, Crystal Escape presented a future with space travel, AI, and cool technology. The familiar characters, especially Criss, continue to evolve. Lazura even made me feel a little sorry for her at the end. I liked the interplay among the characters, and the synbods with the lower grade crystals made great additions to the story. Even Lazura, who is less capable than Criss, outsmarted him in her attempt to escape. Overall, a good sci-fi read!

What I didn’t like:

I thought the action on the Aurora was a bit forced and the criminal characters involved with the mining venture could have played a bigger role in the story. Other than that, no complaints from me.

Overall impression:

Crystal Escape (Crystal Series Book 4) by Doug J. Cooper is a nice addition to the series. The familiar characters, continuation of the story, and a lower intelligence AI challenging Criss made for a good book. I recommend this one (and the entire series) to any sci-fi fans!

My rating:

4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 stars)

Connect with Doug J. Cooper:

Find out more about Doug J. Cooper and his books on his website and his Amazon Author page. While you’re there, please consider leaving a comment or a review!

Connect with me:

Find me on the socials and let’s connect. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest, so say hi and let’s start a conversation!

Riven (My Myth #1) by Jane Alvey Harris – My Review!!

Riven – My Review!!

Riven (My Myth #1) by Jane Alvey Harris showed up in my Goodreads recommendations. Intrigued by both the cover and the blurb, I added it to my TBR list. Read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author):

Which reality would you choose? Seventeen year-old Emily’s dad is in prison for securities fraud and her mom’s strung-out on pain meds, leaving Emily to parent herself and her younger brothers and sister. She’s got things mostly under control until a couple weeks before Dad’s release, when voices start whispering in her head, and Gabe, the hot lifeguard at the pool, notices the strange brands engraved on her arm…the ones she’s trying desperately to hide. Emily doesn’t know how the symbols got there or what they mean. They appeared overnight and now they’re infected and bleeding. She’s pretty sure she’s losing her mind. Stress, insomnia, and her wounded egos drive Emily to self-medicate, which has to be why the nightmares from her childhood have resurfaced, why they’re commandeering her conscious even when she’s awake. It has to be why the fairytale creatures she created as a little girl insist they need her help. Triggered by the return of her childhood abuser and unable to cope with reality, Emily slips completely inside her elaborate fantasy world. She’s powerful in the First Realm, maybe even more powerful than her attacker. It would be so easy to stay there, to lose herself in enchantment…to lose herself in love. But something sinister lurks in the forest shadows. Emily soon discovers her demons have followed her inside her fairytale. They’re hunting her. With the help of the Fae, she frantically searches for the weapons she needs to defeat her greatest fears and escape back to reality before the man who tortured her can prey on her younger brothers and sister, too. Time is running out…

*Non-Explicit Trigger Warning: This book deals with the issues of child molestation and child abuse. 

What I liked:

Riven had many of the elements of classic fantasy. From the Fae, the First Realm, and the dragonflies in the real world, to the runes cut into her arm, the intrigue and magic made the story seem real. Emily’s substance abuse and her mother’s illness provided the perfect reasons to slip between worlds. The abuse noted at the end of the synopsis, though horrible and uncomfortable, wasn’t explicit and didn’t overtly dominate the story. Emily’s escape mechanism from the trauma did dominate the story and, by using fantasy elements to depict her protection, Jane Alvey Harris did an exceptional job handling the topic.

What I didn’t like:

At times, the story was difficult to follow, especially when Emily interacted with her siblings. It was sometimes unclear whether she imagined everything or if her siblings also saw what she saw. Gabe’s insistence to be included in Emily’s life (despite the fact it was explained late in the book) was a bit odd for me.

Overall impression:

Excellent characters, a good story, and memorable fantasy elements made Riven (My Myth #1) a book to read. Certainly not for early YA, this one is geared more toward older teens. The book handles a difficult subject well, but with the fantasy elements dominating the story, it is a good read. Fantasy fans should read it!

My rating:

4 Stars

Connect with Jane Alvey Harris: 

Find out more about the author on her Amazon Author page and her website. While you’re there, please consider leaving a review or a comment!

Connect with me:

Find me on the socials and let’s connect! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest and I look forward to meeting new friends!

 

An AWOL Stardrives: Fleet of Man by Merv Miller – My Review!!

An AWOL Stardrives: Fleet of Man – My Review!!

Stardrives

As many of my readers know, I spent time in the US Navy running nuclear power plants. I’m also a member of a Facebook group for people who graduated from Naval Nuclear Power School. In that group, I saw a discussion of An AWOL Stardrives: Fleet of Man by Mervin Miller. Mervin Miller is a former Navy Nuke, too, so I decided to check out the book. Read on for my thoughts!

Synopsis (from the author): The Fleet of Man departed Earth a long, long time in the past. The location of Earth has been lost for nearly as long. Through a series of incidents a single man has stumbled upon clues to the location of this fabled world and begins a quest to find the lost Man Home. His actions trigger consequences beyond his understanding or control.

What I liked: I enjoyed the book! The hero, a NewMan, is a Stardrives, meaning he is responsible for the engine on the starship. He gets transferred to another post and discovers a path to the long-lost ManHome. From there, the story gets interesting, especially when he finds a woman. But, no spoilers from me. An AWOL Stardrives: Fleet of Man has cool technology, an intriguing quest, and pretty memorable characters. All told, a good sci-fi read!

What I didn’t like: I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers, but a couple of things took me out of the story. First, if there weren’t women, where did the NewMan originate? Secondly, where did the OldMen come from? A few plot holes also detracted from the story, but I can’t tell them without spoilers.

Overall impression: Mervin Miller’s An AWOL Stardrives: Fleet of Man is worth a look. If you enjoy sci-fi and a different take on space travel and adventures, this is a book for you.

My rating: 4 Stars

Connect with Mervin Miller: Find Mervin Miller and his books on his Amazon Author Page and his Goodreads page. While you’re there, please consider leaving a comment or a review and let him know your thoughts on his book. Maybe pick up the next books in the series, too!

Connect with me: Find me on the socials and let’s connect! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Stop by and say hi! As always, shares and comments are greatly appreciated!

The O’Brien Detective Agency by Simon Hartwell – My Review!!

The O’Brien Detective Agency – My Review!!

The O’Brien Detective Agency!

The O'Brien Detective Agency Cover

Occasionally, I like to step outside my normal genres and read something unexpected. This week, I stepped into the world of chapter books with The O’Brien Detective Agency (The O’Brien Family Adventures #1) by Simon Hartwell. Read my thoughts below!

Synopsis (from the author):

The O’Brien twins; Lisa and Tina, together with their younger brother, Ben, create the O’Brien’s Detective Agency and piece together the clues to find their neighbour’s missing cat. By chance, they stumble upon a clue to a bigger mystery, a series of robberies and putting aside their sibling rivalry, the O’Brien Detectives are on the case.

What I liked:

The O’Brien Detective Agency was a charming read. The siblings work well together, despite Lisa’s irritation with Ben. Ben provides a great younger brother character with both insights and typical six-year-old behavior. His sisters both exhibit serious sides, but still manage to carry off the young teen persona. The investigation into the mysteries was done with just the right amount of tension. All told, it was an entertaining book!

What I didn’t like:

Since The O’Brien Detective Agency is written for children, there isn’t much to dislike about it. However, the stereotypical actions of Ben and Lisa detracted from the story a little.

Overall impression:

If you are looking for a chapter book for young readers, try The O’Brien Detective Agency (The O’Brien Family Adventures #1). It’s a quick read and the characters and story are entertaining.

My rating:

4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Connect with the author:

Discover Simon Hartwell’s books on his Amazon Author Page. While you’re there, consider leaving a comment or a review and let him know what you think of his book(s)!

Connect with me:

Find me on social media and let’s connect! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest!

 

Minutes Before Sunset (Timely Death #1) – My Review!!!

Minutes Before Sunset (Timely Death #1) – My Review!!

Minutes Before Sunset Cover

Amazon gave me this recommendation, so I checked the blurb. After reading it and a few of the Amazon reviews, I added it to my TBR list. Read on for my thoughts on Minutes Before Sunset (Timely Death #1) by Shannon A Thompson.

Synopsis (from the author):

Two destinies. One death.

“Her kiss could kill us, and my consent signed our death certificates.” 

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful–too powerful–and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him–even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

What I liked:

First, the storytelling was excellent. Second, the characters were easy to relate to and reminded me of people I knew those many years ago in high school. Lastly, the dual personas of the shades was an interesting twist. The action held my attention, and Eric and Jessica’s budding attraction added the romantic element. Overall, an enjoyable read!

What I didn’t like:

in spite of how much I enjoyed the characters, Eric’s brooding teen personality was too stereotypical. Other than that little thing, not much to dislike!

Overall impression:

Minutes Before Sunset (Timely Death #1) had all the elements for a good paranormal romance book. Good characters, lots of teen angst, romance, and the background of Eric’s impending fight to save his kind made this one a great start to the series!

My rating:

4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Connect with the author:

Find Shannon A Thompson on her Amazon Author Page or her website. Please consider leaving a review and let her know how much you liked the book(s)! I know she’ll appreciate it!

Connect with me:

Find me on the socials or leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on my review! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest or you can drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com. Say hi and let’s connect!

The Sapphire of Poseidon by Scott L Collins – My Review!!

The Sapphire of Poseidon – My Review!!

The Sapphire of Poseidon Cover

I read and reviewed the first three books of the Scepter Series by Scott L Collins. When he released The Sapphire of Poseidon (Scepter #4) it immediately went on the TBR list. I’ve finally got to it and I’m glad I did! Read on for my review!

Synopsis (from the author):

With the Emerald and Ruby now reunited with the Scepter of Harmony, the rebellious group of children intent on overthrowing the malevolent King Argyle must face a new challenge: recovering the Sapphire of Poseidon. In order for the full power of the Scepter to be restored, the jewel must be inserted back into the staff.

With Argyle now at war with Queen Kyrie, and his ships scouting the lake to locate her, as well as the realm of the Merfolk, the small band of insurgents must find a way to cross the Great Lake while avoiding not only Argyle’s fleet, but the kraken he’s released in an attempt to draw the Queen of the Lake into battle.

Time is running short as Argyle is sure to figure out their plans for bringing together all the pieces of the Scepter. Once he does, it’ll be a race to recover the remaining gems, and if Argyle finds one first, the fight, and the kingdom, will be lost forever.

What I liked:

As with the other books in the series, following the cast of characters on their adventures is like renewing old friendships. Daniel and his friends travel to recover the Sapphire of Poseidon. Along the way, they make new friends and reunite with old companions. The story is excellent, King Argyle continues to be sufficiently evil, and our heroes’ abilities continue to grow. All in all, The Sapphire of Poseidon is a wonderful addition to the series!

What I didn’t like:

Other than a couple of slow spots, there really wasn’t much to dislike about this one!

Overall impression:

The Sapphire of Poseidon (Scepter #4) is an excellent book! With familiar characters, plenty of action, budding romance, and the evil King Argyle, it kept me entertained! I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good YA fantasy adventure!

My rating:

5 Stars

Connect with the author:

Find Scott L Collins on his Amazon Author page and his website. Discover more about the author and his books and consider leaving a review for The Sapphire of Poseidon (or any of his other books)! I know he’d appreciate it!

Connect with me:

Please leave a comment if you liked (or didn’t like) my review. Connect with me on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. You can also drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com. I enjoy connecting with new friends. I look forward to meeting you!

History’s Prisoners by James Garmisch – My Review!!

History’s Prisoners (Invasion #1) – My Review!


History's Prisoners Cover

Dystopia and science fiction often go well together and History’s Prisoners (Invasion #1) by James Garmisch is no exception. This one came to me from an Amazon recommendation and I’m glad it did!

Synopsis (from the author):

Moments before his execution, Huan is given a clear choice: infiltrate the Global Resistance—or die, and never see his children again.

The Alliance is collapsing, and Huan, a former economist for the worldwide government, knows how it was engineered. History has been reset, the children of dissidents re-educated, and the family unit abolished. The facade of utopia is evaporating.

Meanwhile, beyond the city walls, the separated lands are shifting from despair to chaos. Smoldering discontent is about to explode. Huan is neither a soldier nor a spy, but he will have to become both—and quickly—if he is to survive and to save the family that does not know him.

What I liked:

History’s Prisoners grabbed my attention from the start. The encounter between Doon and Reanna, followed by the battle, sets the stage for this sci-fi dystopian book. Well-written, plenty of action, behind the scenes political maneuvering, and a hint of romance, makes this a good read. And I can’t forget to mention Sasha and his memorable character! 

What I didn’t like:

For me, the details of the world, though entertaining, slowed the story. In addition, many parts were too predictable.

Overall impression:

History’s Prisoners (Invasion #1) was a good dystopian sci-fi novel. Well-written, memorable characters, and an eerie parallel to current events (on both sides of the political aisle and society in general), the book entertained me, but kept me wondering at the same time.

My rating:

4 Stars

Connect with the Author: 

Find out more about James Garmisch and his books on his Amazon Author Page or his website. While you are at it, please consider leaving a review to let him know your thoughts on his book!

Connect with me: 

I appreciate you taking time to read this review! Please leave me a comment or connect with me on social media. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. I enjoy meeting new friends, so say hi on the socials or drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com!