Month: June 2018

Review of ‘Dark Return’

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Having just completed a rescue mission for Stop Human Enslavement Now (SHEN), former assassin, Leine Basso, is asked to check up on a case of children missing from a refugee camp. On what she thinks will be a routine mission, she meets a street waif who has witnessed a murder and is being pursued by the killers and decides to help the young girl get to safety. The routine check at the camp turns into anything but, and Leine and her new charge find themselves on the run from a shadowy figure running a human trafficking ring with a deadly mission. They make a big mistake when they make a try for Leine—now, it’s her or them, and she has every intention of surviving.

Dark Return by D V Berkom is without doubt, the best Leine Basso thriller to date. Like its predecessors, it’s chocked full of blood-chilling action, and it skillfully merges two of the world’s greatest evils, human trafficking and terrorism, in a tale that will grab you by the short hairs and not let go.

Basso at her baddest—don’t miss it. I received a complimentary copy of this book.

I give this one a solid, resounding five stars.

Review of ‘Countering Hate’

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As humans, we’re all born the same, yet some people grow up to lead peaceful, productive lives, while others turn to destructive, often murderous pursuits. The question: why and how does this happen?

In Countering Hate, Bob Pearson and Haroon K. Ullah look at how people learn to hate and offer some prescriptions on countering this development. They show how, through silence and apathy, society contributes to this process of looking at other people negatively through the lenses of gender, race, or religion, a process that develops during the formative years up to the age of about 25, and how the use of soft-power tools by governments rather than reliance on military responses is the best approach to dealing with the phenomenon.

Rather than doing what many people do, which is, wonder briefly why they hate us, and then turning back to the local sports broadcast, the authors suggest that every citizen, but, most importantly, government officials, must take a proactive approach to countering hate and extremism.

If you’re a government official, this is a must-read. Heck, if you’re just a common citizen who wants to be better equipped to understand and deal with these issues in your own community, it’s also a must-read.

I received a free copy of this book. I give it five stars.

Review of ‘Airships, Crypts & Chocolate Chips’

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Things have gotten both better and worse for Imogen. Her bakery is thriving and she can now openly acknowledge her relationship with Prince Henry. On the negative side, though, she must spend time with his awful family. Just when she thinks things could get no worse, her wayward brother, Horace, a member of the Badlands Army, approaches her and her colleagues with an offer they can’t refuse—because he uses threats—break some prisoners out of the impenetrable prison of the Water Kingdom.

Airships, Crypts & Chocolate Chips by Erin Johnson is book five in a series that I’ve come to love. The author takes us on a madcap journey as Imogen and her friends take on an impossible mission, one that will change the future of Imogen and the magical kingdom that she has come to call home forever.

While this can be read as a stand-alone story, it would be far more interesting if you went back and started reading with book one—just a suggestion, but you’ll thank me for it if you do. Nonstop action, suspense, and double-dealing in a story that will have you chuckling and shivering by turns.

I received a free review copy of this book. Another five-star offering from an outstanding author.

Review of ‘Peaceful Night Poetry’

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Do your kids have trouble falling asleep? You could try giving them a glass of warm milk before bedtime, or, even better, you could read some of the fantastic poems in Piaras O Cionnaoith’s Peaceful Night Poetry. A brief, but fascinating, little book of poems and excellent artwork, it will not only help your little one fall asleep peacefully, but it’s a good way to stimulate young minds and instill a love of reading and poetry. As a bonus, along with the poems and art, the author provides ten useful tips for a good night’s sleep. This is truly a great book for ages 3 to 103, that everyone will enjoy.

I give it five stars.

Review of ‘Seattle Reign’

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Retired police detective turned private eye, Pat Ruger, is at a crossroads. He’s still getting over the murder of his fiancée, adjusting to his new girlfriend, and wondering what he’ll do with the rest of his life. When a local poet, a friend of his new flame, is murdered, she asks him to look into it. Like a firehouse dog at the sound of the alarm, he jumps to it. From Denver to Seattle, he finds more than the change in weather to be a bother, though, when he stumbles upon a North Korean plot to steal American art, and his protégé, Jake, is kidnapped by the art thieves.

Seattle Reign by Jack Huber is book number five in the Pat Ruger series, and, unfortunately for those of us who have come to love the slightly over-the-hill detective, reads like it’ll be the last. Non-stop action as Pat goes from dodging murderous North Koreans to saving a group of young girls from being sex-trafficked to rescuing Jake. Shorter than the previous books, it is nonetheless a good read, that will leave you satisfied that all is right with the world—except for the fact that it seems that Pat is getting out of the PI business. Oh, what will Pat Ruger fans do?

I received a free copy of this book, and give it four stars—mainly because there doesn’t appear to be a sequel in the works.

Review of ‘700 Jokes, Brainteasers, Tongue Twisters, Knock Knock Jokes For Kids’

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Do you need an ab workout, but don’t want to do a lot of crunches and get all sweaty? You might try laughing. This little book, which takes about an hour to read if you take it slow—and, I recommend raking it slow—will give your abs a great workout. Although the title says that it’s for kids, an old graybeard like me will still find it amusing enough to get a good ab tightening. In fact, I’m not sure that everything in this book is really appropriate doe kids, not the younger ones anyway. Do they really need to know that an intergluteal cleft is a butt crack? Maybe I’m a bit of a prude due to my age, but this is not a factoid I’m likely to share with my grandchildren. This is a truly funny book, though, and the brainteasers will exercise your mind as well as your body.

Even the author’s name, Justin Jelly, is funny.

A nice addition to your book list; it’s just too bad it’s not also in paperback. I give it five stars.

Review of ‘Three Strikes, You’re Dead’

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At a rustic resort outside Leavenworth, Washington, PI Eddie Shoes is looking forward to enjoying a weekend getaway with her mother, Chava. Out for jog, she runs across an injured man. Then a forest fire starts, and the man dies before she can get him to safety, and she comes very close to being consumed by the fire herself. Before he died, though, he asked her to find his ‘abducted’ daughter. What is Eddie to do? In order to honor the dying man’s request, she has to defy local law enforcement, and work with her father, a mob ‘clean-up’ man. But, that’s Eddie, she always keeps a promise, even if it kills her.

Three Strikes, You’re Dead by Elena Hartwell is an exciting read. Eddie’s race against the all-consuming flames was so deftly written I could feel the heat, and boy, does this author know how to throw curve balls in the clue department. There was no cheating, though, because the real culprits were introduced early. It’s just that she planted enough false, but credible, clues to keep you looking in the wrong direction.

As I said, it’s an exciting and fun read (well, I didn’t say fun, at first, but it was). Don’t miss this one. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I give it four and a half stars.

Strangely, for the second time, Amazon.com is rejecting reviews of a book, with the notice that there was strange reviewing behavior. I wonder if this has to do with the publisher or the author. I’d appreciate hearing from any readers who’ve had similar experiences.

Review of ‘Factor Man’

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When I review a book, I usually do one of two things; if I’m not captivated by the first chapter I stop reading and give it, at best a tepid review or I don’t review it at all, or I skim through the rest, and give it my best shot at an honest review. With Matt Ginsberg’s Factor Man, though, my technique was turned on its ear. I was thoroughly hooked on the book from the first few paragraphs but found that skimming was not an option. I had to read it slowly and carefully, absorbing every word, lest I miss some crucial piece of information. For the first time since I started reviewing books regularly (again, after a long hiatus) I found myself reading every word.

The cast of characters in this book is a long one, and each character is given full play. The reader is not only shown their actions and words, but their motivations, desires, and fears. From William Burkett, a savvy tech journalist who introduces Factor Man (FM) to the world; the Chinese spy, Janet Liu, who wants to destroy FM in order to save h er beloved country; as well as an eclectic assortment of characters, major and minor. But, the most intriguing character, the one from whom the title is derived, is FM himself. A scientist with a strong sense of integrity, caught up in a complex politically motivated world, his only wish is to do the right thing, and survive the experience.

This book has it all—in spades! A hero who has the world arrayed against him, he has to learn spy tradecraft, while preparing the world for his discovery of ‘God’s algorithm’, a code that will make obsolete all efforts at keeping electronic files secret. Can he survive long enough to attend his ‘coming-out party’, or will his secret die with him? If you want to know the answer to that question, I strongly recommend that you get a copy of this book and do what I did—read it carefully. It will change your views on Internet privacy and government’s concern for the welfare of its citizens in fundamental ways.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I give it a resounding five stars!

Review of ‘One Shot’

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Jack Shot is a young man without a care in the world. He has a job as a bartender, lives in one room above the bar, and his biggest challenge is whether or not to let his beautiful co-worker know that he has the hots for her. Then, his life takes a left turn and is never the same. A poem he wrote for his co-worker has changed into an enigmatic riddle. When the riddle later is shown to correspond to real life events, Jack finds that he’s somehow been tapped to be made privy to future events, which he must stop, or people will die. As the mystery deepens, he finds that he must confront demons of his past to stop the most horrific event, and he only gets one shot at it.

One Shot by Brian Gates is, in a word, entertaining and amusing—no, wait, that’s three words, or two if you ignore the ‘and.’ Confused? This story will do that to you. Funny and frightening in turn, it’ll keep your interest right up to the last word of the last page (actually, the period, which is the last thing in the book). Gates knows how to pique your interest and keep you guessing—and reading.

Received a free copy of this book. Loved it.

For some strange reason, I was unable to post a review on Amazon.com–something about possible strange review behavior. Not sure what’s happening, but hope it won’t affect availability of what I found to be a thoroughly entertaining read.

I give it five stars.