I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence. The story is set in 1942. There are three primary characters. Frenchman Tristan Marcas, German Erika von Essling, and French SOE agent Laure d’Estillac
The Germans are looking for the last of the alleged sacred Swastikas. They believe Germany will easily complete the conquest of Russia once they have it. Of course, not all within the German hierarchy believes in the paranormal solution. Enough in power do to aggressively continue the search. The British for the most part, think the Swastika’s magical ability is rubbish. However, they want to pursue any available options to disrupt German war efforts.
Marcas is still operating deep undercover as a double agent. His romantic interest in von Essling continues to grow. He continues to pursue the last of the Swastikas. There is a connection between the last Swastika and the Romanov Royal family. The trail to the Swastika leads Marcas back to London.
I enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 308-page WWII era thriller. This is very much an ‘Indiana Jones’ type of tale. It is pure entertainment. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.
If you have an interest in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest.
The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 540 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.
The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.
I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains Violence and mature Language. The story is set in the far future. A deep space mission is assigned to the starship Alchemon with its crew of 9. They are to investigate the odd biosignature on a distant planet.
Lea Marsa is a last-minute addition to the crew. She has been certified with strong psychic abilities. The story is split between Marsa and the Captain of the vessel, Ericho Solorzano. Masa’s psychic abilities begin to affect the crew. This, along with the life-form they encounter, creates life and death situations for them.
I enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 377-page science fiction novel. I have to say that something about the novel felt ‘off’ to me. Some of it almost had a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ atmosphere, but it was written as a serious story. The chosen cover art seems appropriate for the novel. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.
I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The story is mostly set in contemporary Wales, though some also takes place in the eastern US. The primary character is Rare Book Authenticator Carys Jones.
Jones enjoys her books, especially Dark Age manuscripts. One of her better clients has been committed to a mental hospital due to his odd actions. He makes her an offer she can’t refuse – his rare book collection if she will assist in deciphering the clues in a very old journal. But it isn’t just an academic exercise, her client believes that the clues will lead to King Arthur’s tomb.
There is an urgency to their effort as it quickly becomes apparent that there are others after the same goal and they are more than willing to use force to find the tomb. She begins to question her own sanity when she starts to ‘see’ the monk who wrote the journal. However, without his ‘advice’, she would not be making progress. Jones must reluctantly return to Wales to continue the search. There she has to face her long-estranged father and she unexpectedly becomes involved with a Welshman.
Will she be able to unravel the clues in the journal? Can she avoid the clutches of the others seeking the tomb? Will everyone she has involved in her quest survive?
I thoroughly enjoyed the 10+ hours I spent reading this 337-page adventure thriller. I liked both the characters created for this novel and the plot. There is adventure, suspense, and a touch of the paranormal. The plot does have a twist or two which I enjoyed. The cover art is OK, but I think something tied to the plot would have been better. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.
Book Reviews – “Victoria Marmot and the Meddling Goddess” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Virginia McClain (http://virginiamcclain.blogspot.com). Ms. McClain has published six novels or novellas. This is the first of her “Victoria Marmot” series.
I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains lots of Mature Language and some Mature Situations. The story is set in the contemporary US, but one that has magic. The primary character is seventeen-year-old Victoria Marmot.
Marmot has just begun her Senior Year at a new school in Flagstaff, AZ. She is living there alone in the house that her parents left her in their will. She is struggling to get through the first day in a new school when things start to go strange in a big way. While camping alone Gwen, a beautiful redheaded girl, pops up naked at Marmot’s campsite saying that she is Virginia’s “Narrator”. Then there is Edik, the young man in her class that turns out to be a vampire.
From that point, the story of Marmot’s life really begins to get crazy and she begins a quest. She finds she has magical abilities. She discovers that she has a sibling. She is attracted to both a boy and a girl that are helping her.
I thought that the 3.5+ hours I spent reading this 269-page young adult fantasy were interesting. The character of Victoria Marmot is colorful. She does make a good main character, though she is far from what I would call normal. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 3.5 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.
I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set about ten years ago, mostly in Kentucky. The primary character is seventeen-year-old Lia Haddock.
Haddock’s mother has been acting strangely. Over 300 people have disappeared from a research center in Limetown, Kentucky. Among them are Haddock’s uncle, Emile Haddock, who she barely remembers. Young Haddock is an aspiring journalist and finds herself compelled to seek answers to the disappearance.
She finds that her parents have been keeping secrets from one another and from her. She finds a mystery surrounding her uncle. She finds that she is not the only one seeking Emile Haddock.
I thoroughly enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 304-page science fiction mystery. I had not listened to the podcast when I read this novel, but have now. The story is a little odd and borders on the paranormal. I would recommend reading it before listening to season 1, but even afterward it will be of value to the fan of the Limetown podcast. It does explain a lot of the backstory for what happens in season 1 of the podcast. I am not a fan of the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.
Book Reviews – “The Iron Codex” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by David Mack (http://davidmack.pro). Mr. Mack has published nearly 40 novels. This is the second novel in his “Dark Arts” series.
I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set the contemporary time frame, but in a slightly alternate world, one with magic. The primary character is Russian Anja Kernova who has been hunting former Nazis in South America.
There are three other principal characters: The American Cade Martin who works for British MI6, but who is now under suspicion because he has been disappearing; The German Briet Segfrunsdóttir who now serves as the master magician of the Pentagon’s top-secret magickal warfare program; and the Spanish Father Luis Roderigo Pérez of the Monte Paterno Monastery who has been studying White Magic for the Catholic Church.
World War II has been over nearly a decade. Kernova is using her abilities to hunt Nazis. She comes into possession of the Iron Codex that contains many magical secrets. That causes her to be the target of pursuit by agents of the Vatican, Russia, and others. Complicating the situation is the effort by a cabal led by Dragan Dalca to open the way for demons.
Kernova calls on Martin for help. Both Segfrunsdottir and Pérez are drawn into the fray on the side of Kernova. There are many competing groups all wanting to control the Iron Codex for different agendas.
I enjoyed the 12 hours I spent reading this 375-page alternate history fantasy. I found this novel a little hard to read without having read the first novel in the series, but it wasn’t too bad. I thought that the plot was interesting, mixing magic and spies. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.
As it turns out this short story is a tale of Thanksgiving dinner with a very dysfunctional and magical family. If you have had ‘issues’ with your family this past Thanksgiving, read this short story and you will begin to look back at your Thanksgiving dinner more fondly.
The Coldharp/Hoffman family was preparing for their annual Thanksgiving celebration. A few folks were coming from out of town, while others were making an appearance from the ‘other side’. It started out well, but things began to fall apart. You know how it is – plates flying apart, silverware flying and bending, and kids being sucked into a cartoon program on TV.
I thoroughly enjoyed the 32 minutes I spent reading this seasonally appropriate fantasy short story. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.
Book Reviews – “Pretty Waiter Girls” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Greg Alldredge (https://www.greg-alldredge.com). Mr. Alldredge has published three novels, with this being the first in his “Helena Brandywine Adventure” series.
I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in 1899 San Francisco. The primary character is young Helena Brandywine.
Brandywine is a wealthy young woman who is educated and who has grown up protected somewhat from the seedier and more brutal side of life. Her step-father, the general, has been away for many years and she has been without her mother for most of her life. She has Sigmund and Lane to assist, guide, and protect her.
Brandywine fancies herself as a detective after the popular stories she has read. When a friend approaches her about the disappearance of another young woman, Brandywine dives into the investigation. That investigation takes her to Chinatown and opens her eyes to what is really going on in the strata of society beneath her station. She also finds herself drawn to a San Francisco Police detective and encountering one dangerous situation after another. She also begins to learn much more about her parents. They are not exactly who she thought they were.
I enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 317 page steampunk mystery. I liked the characters in this novel, and the willingness of the author to see primary characters be killed off. I was not expecting the supernatural thread, but I still enjoyed the novel. I will look forward to more novels in this series. I like the cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.
Book Reviews – “The Fallen” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Eric Van Lustbader (https://www.ericvanlustbader.com). Mr. Lustbader has published more than 45 novels. This is the second in his “The Testament” series.
I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in Europe with the primary character being Braverman “Bravo” Shaw, head of the Gnostic Observatine sect.
A series of events take place that seem to herald the End of Days. A man finds the long hidden Testament of Lucifer in a remote Lebanese cave. Shaw, along with his blind sister, Emma, and Fra Leoni begin the chase to retrieve the Testament and stop the End of Days.
I enjoyed the nearly 11 hours I spent reading this 352 page Paranormal Thriller. I have been a long time fan of Van Lustbader, but this novel seemed to fall short for me. It felt a little “raw’, in the need of “polishing”. While the second in a series, this novel stood well on its own. The cover art is OK, but doesn’t really give a feel for the story. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.