Tag Archives: Book Review

Book Review of “The Fifth Vertex”

51JcSIkWFtL._AA160_“The Fifth Vertex” was published in 2014 and was written by Kevin Hoffman (http://www.kshmusings.com). While Mr. Hoffman has published several technical books, this is his first fiction book, and is the first of the “Sigilord Chronicles” series.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are instances of Violence. This Young Adult Fantasy novel is set in another world. Most of the technology is medieval, but there are hints that in a distant past civilization was more advanced.

Urus Noellor, is a young man just at the end of his military training. He is capable, but being deaf he is unable to pass the stringent tests required to graduate. He is branded as one of the ‘culled’, marking him as an outcast. Out of no where, his city of Kest is besieged by four armies.

Goodwyn Stom is Urus’ best friend and is also in warrior training. Unlike, Urus, he passes his tests with flying colors. When the city is besieged, Goodwyn finds Urus and together they search the dark tunnels beneath the castle for Murin. Murin is an odd stranger they had just met, but one that seems to exert unusual powers over those around him.

Upon finding Murin, he enlists Urus and Goodwyn to help him find and protect a vertex hidden deeper under the castle. Murin explains that the Blood Mages are behind the armies threatening Kest. They wield strong magical powers that require blood. The Blood Mages have to be stopped before the five vertexes are destroyed. If the vertexes are destroyed, then the Blood Mages will be set loose upon many different universes.

Cailix is a young woman who has grown up as an orphan. Finally settled in as the ward of a Monastery, her world is torn apart when a Blood Mage shows up. He forces the monks to reveal where a map of the vertex locations is, then, taking Cailix with him, leaves only corpses behind. The Blood Mage senses something in her and begins to tutor Cailix in magic. She plays along, but only long enough to escape.

Soon, Urus, Goodwyn, and Cailix find themselves together. Not only are they bound to each other through their common hatred of the Blood Mages, but they find that they each have abilities that they had never dreamed of.

I like that this fantasy does not have Elves and Dwarfs for a change. The plot is not very unique – evil rises, forces of good gather together to oppose it, the ‘good heroes’ suddenly gain magical powers and beat down evil. There is a thread of GLBT romance that appears in the story, though it is not a significant part. I liked the Briene, who are are a race of short statured builders, who spend most of their time beneath the ground. They bring a Steampunk like source of gadgets to the story. They made me think of the old TV series Fraggle Rock for some reason. I did enjoy the 7.5 hours I spent reading this story and give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Sherlock Holmes, The Missing Years: Japan”

“Sherlock Holmes, The Missing Years: Japan” was published in 2015 (March) and was written by Vasudev Murthy (http://vmurthy.blogspot.com). Mr. Murthy has published 5 books.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘G’. This Mystery novel is set in the late 1890s in the time after Sherlock Holmes was thought to have died at the Reichenbach Falls.

Dr. John Watson receives a message from Holmes, who he thought was dead, asking him to come immediately to Japan. Watson sets off and encounters death and intrigue along the long way from London to Japan. Reuniting with Holmes, they evade Moriarty’s minions and fight to make their way to Tokyo. Watson learns that Holmes has undertaken a mission for the Japanese government to thwart plans by the Yakuza and Moriarty to dominate Europe.

Now, they must avoid capture and get the vital information to the Japanese government. If they fail, not only will Japan fall, but so will the governments of Europe.

The story was written much in the same voice as the original Sherlock Holmes tales. Several ‘letters’ were included in the story attempting to add background information, but I often found them distracting and confusing. While a classified as a mystery, there was really little mystery in the story, but more of an adventure. I did enjoy the 6 or so hours I spent reading the story, though it was not as good as the originals. I give this novel a 3.5 (rounded up to 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Tibetan Cross”

“Tibetan Cross” was published in 2014 and was written by Mike Bond (http://mikebondbooks.com). Mr. Bond has published 5 books.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are instances of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. This Thriller novel is set in several locals around the globe in the years following the end of the Vietnam War. The primary character is Sam Cohen.

Cohen is a young American who is living as a free spirit, eeking out a living in the Himalayan mountains. He and some friends are hired by a fellow American to act as guides into the mountains. Along the way Cohen and his friends discover that the Tibetans accompanying them are transporting guns and the components of a nuclear weapon.

Those behind transporting the weapons kill some of Cohen’s friends immediately. When the shooting begins Cohen and friend Paul escape into the hills. With pursuit close behind, they split up. This begins a long chase across the world.

Cohen is able to stay one step ahead of those after him, and contacts friends for help. Those after him are ruthless in their efforts to find him and to remove any evidence of the nuclear weapons. Many of those Cohen has sought help from are left dead. Cohen is able to flee to the Mediterranean, eventually making his way to France.

Along the way he meets Claire, who he is attracted to, but Claire has secrets of her own. Cohen finally reunites with Paul, and they return to America to confront the power behind those who are after them.

There was a lot of good action in this novel, but there was also a lot of philosophizing and slow spots in the novel. This was very much the story of the American CIA being evil and willing to stop at nothing to keep a secret. There is a lot of political commentary embedded in this novel, as I have found in Mr. Bond’s other novel “Holy War”. I frankly had to struggle to stay with the novel to the end. I give this novel a 3 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “The Suicide Exhibition”

“The Suicide Exhibition” was published in 2015 (March) and was written by Justin Richards (http://www.justinrichardswriter.com). Mr. Richards is the author or co-author of more than 50 novels.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are instances of Violence. This Science Fiction WWII Thriller novel is set in the early days of World War II. The primary characters are Major Guy Pentecross, Sarah Diamon and Leo Davenport.

Leo Davenport is a noted actor, but once WWII has broken out he uses his skills to work behind German lines to gather intelligence. He  finds himself part of a German dig at a burial mound in France. He realizes what the Germans have found are important to the war effort and returns to England with what he has been able to steal from them.

Major Guy Pentecross has seen action on the continent and was wounded in the withdrawal from Dunkirk. His wounds kept him from returning to active duty, so he has taken up a position in the Foreign Office. Pentecross’ language skills has made him an asset, which often involves him with captured German airmen.

Sarah Diamond has split loyalties, with an American mother and British father. She has been a flyer for some time, and is now doing what she can for the war effort by ferrying aircraft for the British.

Colonel Brinkmann runs a very secret group that is charged with focusing on the more paranormal research that the Allies know is being carried out under the command of Himmler. Working closely with the Unclassified Artifacts department at the British Museum, they have tracked members of the German SS as they explore and loot ancient tombs at various places. they score a cough when they are able to get Davenport on a German dig. Pentecross and Diamond stumble across what Brinkmann is doing. But instead of arresting them, Brinkmann recruits them onto his team.

As they learn more, they find that the Germans are on the trail of what appears to be remnants of an advanced civilization hidden in ancient tombs. Their concerns quickly change from the Germans finding new weapons, to what they may have awakened in their digs.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nine hours I spent reading this novel and look forward to more in the series! There is a lot in this plot to remind you of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. I thought that this has been a good kick-off to what appears to be a very exciting series. I like the plot centered on WWII with more than a touch of Science Fiction. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Myth and Incarnation”

“Myth and Incarnation” was published in 2014 and was written by K. Scott Lewis (http://www.innerworldsfiction.com). Mr. Lewis had published 7 novels, with this the first of the “Ahmbren Chronicles” stories.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are instances of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. This Fantasy novel is set in a different world than our own. The primary characters are Kaldor, Sidhna, Valkrage, and Aaron.

Koldar is 14 when the story begins, training as a wizard. He is expelled from the academy and abandoned by his family. Aaron, a paladin sent out by the High Wizard, finds Koldar. Aaron offers to take Koldar to the High Wizard to complete his training.

Along the way they find Sidhna, a human-elf halfling. Sidhna is posing as a wizard, but is really a witch. Aaron detects that Sidhna is the second of three he has been sent out into the world to find and bring to the High Wizard. Aaron agrees to make a detour to help Sidhna and the crew of the ship they are sailing on confront and kill a dragon.

Valkrage is a Watcher, an elf sent into the world to track down sorcerers. In a confrontation with a group of sorcerers, he is captured. To his surprise he is saved by Meridna, who is also a sorcerer. Even though Meridna has a dark side, Valkrage agrees to travel with her to find out why sorcerers are being called together.

Aaron, Sidhna, Koldar, Valkrage and Meridna all meet at the site where the sorcerers are being called together. The dark forces are rising and only the High Wizard with the help of Aaron, Sidhna, Koldar, and Valkrage are going to be able to stop them. They find that the sorcerers are being called together by a dragon. The sorcerers are to prepare the way for the rise of the dark.

Aaron, Sidhna, Koldar, Valkrage and Meridna flee to the High Wizard to prepare for the coming battles. Over the following several years Sidhna, Koldar, and Valkrage are trained to become powerful wizards.

I found this story incredibly long. Some parts were fast paced, but others dragged on forever. The book only has 610 pages, but it seemed much longer than that. The bulk of the story covers about a decade in time. At first I thought this was going to be a Young Adult book, but I would say that it is not. The plot has many twists, turns, and surprises. There is a bit of Romance and more than a bit of LGBT relations. There are also many secrets that are exposed over the course of the story.

After the long, drawn out build up to the ending, I thought the the book ended abruptly. I give this novel a 3.5 (rounded up to 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Avenger”

“Avenger” was published in 2015 and was written by Chris Allen. This is Mr. Allen’s fourth book and his third in the “Alex Morgan Interpol Spy” series.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are instances of Violence, Mature Situations and Mature Language. This Thriller novel is set mostly in contemporary Hong Kong and Belize. The primary character is Alex Morgan, former British paratrooper and now with a clandestine branch of Interpol.

I have not read the first two novels in the series, but this novel stands well on its own. Morgan is just finishing up an operation in Africa, when he is rerouted to Hong Kong to help fellow Interpol agents. The clandestine operation gets busted and Morgan is thrust into a battle to survive. Morgan continues the investigation of these human traffickers after they are tracked to Belize. Morgan travels to Belize and before long is in the thick of things once again.

This is a very ‘James Bond’ like Thriller novel. I enjoyed the 6 hours I spent with the novel, but it did not keep me on the edge of my seat. The plot was OK and the characters were about what you expect from this type of story. I give this novel a 3.5 (rounded up to 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “The Fixer”

“The Fixer” was published in 2014 and was written by Terri “T. E.” Woods (http://www.tewoodswrites.com). This is the first book in the “Justice” series. Ms. Woods has written three novels. The eBook is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free in advance through https://www.netgalley.com for review. This is a mystery / thriller and I would rate this novel as ‘R’ as there is Mature Language and Violence. The novel is written in the third person and is set in and around Seattle, Washington and Olympia, Washington. The primary characters are Mort Grant, Lydia Corriger and The Fixer.

Lydia is a psychologist in private practice in Olympia. A beautiful but troubled woman, Savannah, unexpectedly walks into her office one day. Lydia tries to help Savannah, but Savannah is not very forthcoming. Savannah alludes to being responsible for bad things happening to people. Lydia begins to investigate Savannah to see if what she has been saying is true.

Mort Grant is a Seattle, Washington Police Detective. He is still dealing with the loss of his wife of many years as well as the unknown condition of his long missing daughter. Mort gets a call from his journalist son asking for information on a suspicious death. During their investigation, they hear of an assassin know as The Fixer.

The Fixer is an assassin with high standards – any target she takes must be guilty of some grievous wrong and have evaded justice. A recent assignment has gotten out of hand and now exposure of her identity is being threatened.

As the story evolves, Lydia, Mort and The Fixer are all drawn together. I have read all three of Ms. Woods novels in the “Justice” series and enjoyed each and every one. This novel took me just over 7 hours to read. The characters were each well developed and you felt like you knew them. The plot was fast paced, keeping up my interest through out. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “The Unforgivable Fix”

“The Unforgivable Fix” was published in 2014 (October) and was written by T. E. Wood (http://www.tewoodswrites.com). This is the third book in the “Justice” series and Ms. Woods third novel. The eBook is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free in advance through https://www.netgalley.com for review. I would rate this novel as ‘R’ as there is Mature Language, Mature Situations and Violence. The novel is written in the third person and is set in and around Seattle, Washington. The primary characters are Mort Grant, Lydia Corriger and Allie Grant.

Mort Grant is a Seattle, Washington Police Detective. He is still dealing with the loss of his wife of many years as well as the unknown condition of his long missing daughter.

Allie Grant is Mort’s daughter. She disappeared years ago, but suddenly has reappeared on the run from her boyfriend and others in the drug business.

Lydia Corriger is a psychologist recovering from a gunshot wound to the head (Happened in the first novel “The Fixer”), who has finally reopened her practice.

Allie is afraid of her boyfriend as well as a Russian who he indirectly attached. She comes home and asks her father for help. Mort works with DEA and FBI to get her immunity in return for information on the drug business of her boyfriend. Mort asks Lydia to provide Allie a safe haven until arrests have been made.

Mort is ecstatic that his long missing daughter has returned home and is willing to do anything to keep her safe. He works with the Feds to capture Allie’s boyfriend, and tries to deal with them to keep her from serving time. Meanwhile, Allie is living with Lydia. Lydia is happy to help Mort, but she finds Allie much harder to accept. Lydia is also struggling with a child abuse case she is working on, as well as the demands of supervising a graduate student on his clinical hours.

The bulk of the story surrounds the efforts to arrest Allie’s boyfriend, the interaction between Allie and Lydia, and Lydia’s pursuit of the child abuse case. As with the other novels in this series, there are two mysteries that are being addressed. I thoroughly enjoyed the nine hours I spent reading this novel. The characters were well developed, you were able to get to know each. The story was engaging, it was relatively fast paced, keeping the reader interested. Though I had guessed at the “mysteries” before they were exposed in the story, I still thought that they were good plot twists. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “The Lost Prince”

“The Lost Prince” was published in 2013 and is the first of the “Star chase” series. It was written by Saxon Andrew who has published more than 30 books. The eBook is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free through https://www.bookbub.com. This is a Science Fiction novel and I would label it as a Space Opera. In fact it reminded me quite a bit of books written by E. E. “Doc” Smith (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._E._Smith) in the 1930s – 50s.

I at first wanted to stop reading the novel, but I held on and I am glad that I did. This is not a deep novel with rich characters. Once I accepted that and took it for the pulp fiction story that it is, I enjoyed it.

Prince Britain Ian Montgomery is one of the few surviving Royals. Most of the others were killed in an attack by the Rebels. The story follows Ian as he avoids both the Rebels and the Union who are looking for him. As he hides, Ian makes friends and develops an interest in a young woman.

As he and his companions struggle to find a way to oppose the threat of the Rebels, they discover the first evidence of non-humans. The struggle soon changes from opposing the Rebels, to finding a way for humanity to survive and remain free.

The novel contains near constant action. It could easily have been a Saturday morning serial thriller with each episode leaving the reader on the edge of their seat. As mentioned before, the characters are not very deep. I found it odd too that multiple times “inferred” was used instead of “infrared”. On the whole I enjoyed the 4.5 hours spend reading the 272 page book. I would rate this somewhere between PG and R, only leaning towards the R for some violence. I rate this book a 4 our of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “The Red Hot Fix”

“Red Hot Fix” was published in 2014 (June) and is the second novel by Ms. Terri “T. E.” Woods in her “Justice” series. The eBook is available at Amazon.

I was given early access to the book for review through https://www.netgalley.com. This mystery/suspense novel takes place in Seattle, WA. The writing was well paced, never letting the reader get bogged down.

The story picks up after the first novel “The Fixer”. It is centered around Mort Grant the chief of detectives for Seattle PD, the chief of forensics Jimmy DeVilla and detective Micki Petty. They are working the “Trixie” serial killer case, but making little progress.

The murder of a wealthy man occurs that is meant to look like a “Trixie” murder, but clearly is not. The detectives follow leads trying to not only identify the serial killer, but the copycat murderer as well.

In a somewhat side story, psychologist Lydia Corriger returns from the first novel. She has moved to a remote community to recover from her gun shot wound. Mort consults with her off the books as to the character of the serial killer. Things are not as peaceful as she had hoped in her new home. She has stumbled upon troubling events and is torn as to how to respond.

I enjoyed this book and give it a 4.5 out of 5. There is plenty of suspense, action and mystery. I thought each character was well developed and responded dynamically to the events around them.