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Reviews Written by
bookblogger (Columbus, OH)

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Phoenix
Phoenix
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A fast paced fire fighter thriller, 14 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Phoenix (Kindle Edition)
Phoenix by A.J. Scudiere is a tough book to summarize without giving away something important to the plot. It's about a firefighter trying to figure out some truths about his past. There are some relationship issues, family secrets, fires, tragedies, and triumphs.

Jason Mondy was a great character to me. I've read some other reviews that say he wasn't a character that people could relate to, but for me it was easy. He wasn't a guy that was great in the spotlight and didn't really seem to go for large social situations. He had his friends and firehouse family, but he really didn't seem to understand certain social interactions. That is very easy for me to understand so I found him easy to empathize with on his journey of discovery.

I thought the plot pacing of the story was done very well. There were parts that pulled away from Jason's mystery a bit, but I thought those did a pretty good job of helping to develop a better feel for the man. I also thought the reveals of the layers of mysteries were spread just about perfectly to really sink their hooks into you right when you started to wonder what was really going on. There were some that I saw coming and some took me totally by surprise.

The only real negative that the book held for me was the large number of characters. There were a lot of firefighters that were introduced at the beginning of the book and a few more throughout. Sometimes these characters were addressed using their first names and sometimes their last which made it a bit difficult for me to keep track of them all through the story. The major players in the book weren't difficult but some of the smaller characters had me a little confused from time to time.

Overall I really enjoyed the book and will be checking out more from this author in the future. I understand she has some audiobooks and that is something that I will look into for sure.

Review copy received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Traveler's Rest
Traveler's Rest
by Jonathan Marcantoni
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Not my usual preference, but a worthwhile read for sure., 26 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Traveler's Rest (Paperback)
Traveler's Rest by Jonathan Marcantoni seems to have originally started out as a collection of short stories and somewhat still has that feel. As the book begins Tony is down on his luck and fully addicted to heroin. The story progresses with Tony getting clean and a friend wanting to take him on a trip across the country to discover themselves. Then there is a jump to a old man talking to waitress in a diner in Cuba, then there is a look at a man trying to survive the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans. All of the disparate elements start to come together as the book progresses, but I'll admit to being a bit confused right off the bat.

This book is written primarily from the view point of the downtrodden. The journey that all of these people take shows that there are options available. There are some scenes depicting powerful emotions and that even when people are at their worst some will still do the right thing, even at a high cost to themselves. Even when all hope seems lost it can be found in the strength of good people.

Review copy provided by the author.


The Madman Theory
The Madman Theory
Price: £7.31

4.0 out of 5 stars What if Nixon had won the 1960 election?, 25 Sept. 2012
This review is from: The Madman Theory (Kindle Edition)
The Madman Theory by Harvey Simon is being released in October in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the book Harvey puts a small twist on the election of 1960 by proposing the Nixon was the winner instead of Kennedy. The book then follows the actions that Nixon's "Madman Theory" of political power playing lead to.

Personally I'm a bit young to really remember much of the Cold War and didn't know a ton about the Cuban Missile Crisis going into the book, but my limited knowledge did not take away from my understanding or enjoyment of the book.

I have always enjoyed history so this book held a lot of appeal to me. I was not disappointed in what I found between the covers of this one. While the book does not cover any actual battle, it does an excellent job building the tension of the men who were in the position to make the decision on whether or not to start a fight that could have led to the end of life as we know it. Nixon is shown as a thoughtful man who is riddled with insecurities, making him feel the need to prove how tough he really is to those around him. This makes the threat of war seem even more frightening, not knowing if he would order the nukes launched just to prove how tough he is.

This book is an excellent read for people who enjoy history and especially alternate timeline reading. Well done Mr. Simon.

I received a copy of this book from a literary agent in exchange for an honest review.


Innocent Darkness (Aether Chronicles)
Innocent Darkness (Aether Chronicles)
by Suzanne Lazear
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of potential, too much romance for me., 11 Sept. 2012
The premise of Innocent Darkness had me very excited. The idea of mixing steampunk with the world of faeries is fantastic, and the book started out very strongly . Unfortunately my interest in it faded a bit as the book progressed. Early in the story there was a lot of the technology that seems familiar in the steampunk genre. The deeper I got into the book though the more that faded and romance took over the story. While that is not a bad thing, it really does not work for me personally.

The characters weren't bad and Noli's neighbor was probably my favorite. The way the realm of the Fairie were linked was an interesting twist that added a unique level to the book. Overall there were a lot of positives to the book just not enough to overcome the romance angle for me.


Laid Hold The Dragon
Laid Hold The Dragon
by Richard Shury
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.95

4.0 out of 5 stars The world has ended but some still struggle to survive., 28 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Laid Hold The Dragon (Paperback)
Laid Hold the Dragon is a very unique story. I wasn't really sure where the book was going for a good portion of it, but I was very interested in finding out. The book starts out with what seems like a post apocalyptic landscape. It then flashes to a future that could easily spin off of the world today. The book transfers back and forth occasionally revealing a little bit more of how the dark future came to be until eventually the stories merge.

The book has an almost poetic feel to it at times, especially early on. While the core of the story is familiar with a post apocalyptic feel there is a lot of stuff to set this book apart. There is a bit of a spiritual feel to the book in the contest between good and evil, there is also a totally different feel to the post destruction world. I really can't even identify what made it stand out as so original to me. The survivors belong to a few different groups. There are the thugs who have formed gangs and rule territory through fear, doing whatever they want and taking whatever they can. There are also people who live a hidden life. They sneak around and scavenge whatever they can find to build useful items and have a bit of an underground trade system set up. The level of technology is a bit more advanced than we currently have and the successful scavengers are ones who can take the parts to build higher level tech.

This is a pretty great read. There is a lot of action, good characters, the spiritual aspect works very well, and the pure originality all make this a great choice to pick up. Richard Shury is an author to keep an eye on.

Review copy provided by the author.


Strangers in the Gale (Children of the Three Suns Book 1)
Strangers in the Gale (Children of the Three Suns Book 1)
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A solid first time offering from an author to keep an eye on., 28 Aug. 2012
Strangers in the Gale was inspired by author Joe Occhipinti's time living among the indigenous tribes of the Andes Mountains. The theme of the book reflects the respect he gained for a people living life the way that they have forever without the interference of larger more technological peoples.

The book takes place on a planet that is largely covered with oceans and often has storms that make what happens on Earth seem like a gentle spring rain. Bernardo is a League scientist who is traveling to this planet help with the exploration of the new species of plant life. While simply doing his job he meets up with an old school colleague who has an agenda that she is keeping secret from everyone. She believes the planet to be inhabited and The League is covering it up for their own reasons.

Bernardo is sucked into her agenda when he finds out what atrocities The League has perpetrated on other planets, including the virtual enslavement of an entire race. Together they must avoid the attention of the people who will arrest them and remove them from the planet while trying to find out the truth and help the indigenous people.

I really enjoyed this book. It has solid characters, a good plot, solid pacing, and a surprising amount of action. This is a great offering from a new author and I look forward to seeing what else is on the way.

Review copy provided by the author.


By Sword and Star
By Sword and Star
Price: £4.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Can a rebellious prince save his kingdom?, 28 Aug. 2012
This review is from: By Sword and Star (Kindle Edition)
By Sword and Star is a story involving anthropomorphic characters. The main character is Prince Tiran, a unicorn of the royal family. The enemies that have taken his family and heritage from him are the elk lead by Roden.

The elk and unicorn characters seem to be pretty much human in behavior. The other species exhibit more animal characteristics especially the wolves and squirrels. I actually really enjoyed those two groups and the parts that they played. The wolves are a bit more primitive, living in caves, struggling to survive the harsh environment. The squirrels are more of an elite fighting group using their crazy agility to give them an advantage in combat.

The story itself is pretty familiar with the lost prince coming for revenge against the rebellious noble who killed his family. The animal characters are what really set the book apart from all of those other stories. This book only took me 2 days to read so it's a quick, but enjoyable read. This book should work well for general fans of fantasy, but especially for people who enjoy the anthropomorphic subgenre.

Review copy provided by the author.


Journeys of Wonder, Volume 1
Journeys of Wonder, Volume 1
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A great anthology for fans of horror/suspense, 28 Aug. 2012
Journeys of Wonder, Volume 1 is an anthology of horror/thriller fiction by three authors. These stories lean more toward psychologically thrilling than what has become standard blood and guts horror. I'll admit that I am pretty unfamiliar with the genre in general so I can't really compare it to anything else, but it is a good quick read for fans, or people on the fence about the genre. These are well written stories that go by quickly and give you a good taste of what will be offered in the future editions. This collection is well worth the meager investment it takes to get your own copy.

Review copy provided by an author.


Awakening Evarun (Part I of VI)
Awakening Evarun (Part I of VI)
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The first chapter of an illustrated serialized novel., 28 Aug. 2012
Awakening Evarun is the first part in a seven part series. It tells the story of a man hiding on the streets trying to avoid the attention of the wizards who rule and their dragons. When he is noticed by their minions a young boy leads him to "safety" and beings to change his life dramatically.

This is the first book I have read the is broken into serialized portions and I don't think it works really well for me. The story just starts to get going and this chapter ends. I will say that I was starting to get interested in the story and I'm very curios to see where it goes, but I really dislike waiting for sequels and it seems like this series will have a lot of that. If the book is released at a single unit after all of the smaller sections are released I would be interested in picking that up. Overall 3.5 stars for the enjoyment of the story and the less enjoyable format of the release.

Review copy provided by the author.


Zen's Heritage (Zen Chronicles Book 2)
Zen's Heritage (Zen Chronicles Book 2)
Price: £2.22

4.0 out of 5 stars Arawn's Quest continues, 28 Aug. 2012
Zen's Heritage is the second book in the Arawn's Quest series. Picking up where the first book left off the group of adventurer's still strives to collect the power stones they need to complete the item that will return Arawn's people to the proper dimension.

This book really does a lot with the interplay between characters. Zen has a secret that he has been keeping from the others and it becomes harder and harder for him to keep it. There are also a few new races that get introduced in this story. They add more depth to the world that the story takes place in and are pretty interesting. The Elementals continue to be an issue causing more obstacles for the group while trying to stop them from completing their quest.

This series is developing at a good pace, balancing the action with the exploration of the world. I'll be keeping an eye out for the rest of the series and the other offerings Ed has coming.

Review copy provided by the author.


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