Month: October 2019

Review of ‘Waiting For You’

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If you’ve read Lynda McDaniel’s Appalachian Mountain mystery trilogy, you’ll enjoy her prequel, which gives the back stories of Vester Junior ‘Abit’ Bradshaw and Della Kincaid. Waiting For You is a short read, spanning the years 1981 to 1983, giving the background on Abit, resident of the small North Carolina mountain town of Laurel Falls, and Della, a free lance writer from Washington, DC. Abit is a bit slow, so his father takes him out of school because he decides that it’s a ‘waste of time,’ leaving Abit nothing to do but sit in a chair outside his father’s general store and watch the world go by. Della, recently divorced, is tiring of being the ghoul friend, who finds herself writing nothing but stories about the darker side of life, and is coping with the suicide of her best friend.

The two stories proceed side-by-side, independent of each other, but moving inexorably toward an encounter between the two when Della decides to see ‘in the flesh’ an area she’s previously written about through long-distance research.

There’s no mystery here—after all, it’s a prequel, right—but it will still grab and hold your interest. If you’ve not read the trilogy, Waiting For You will only make your introduction to the trilogy all the more pleasurable.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Like the trilogy, it is masterfully written, and despite being short, packed with profound insights into the human condition. Don’t miss it. Oh, and I give it five stars.

Review of ‘Dakota Burn’

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Jerked away from sunny L.A. to the bitter cold of North Dakota, Leine Basso, former assassin, and now fighting human trafficking for SHEN, joins Derek van der Haar, former poacher, now also on the hunt for those who traffic in children, in an operation to bring down a notorious child sex trafficker in one of the oil boom towns of the Dakotas. The closer they get to their prey, the more dangerous it becomes, as they learn that high-powered men all over the country are behind the heinous happenings, and they will stop at nothing to continue raking in their dirty dollars.

Dakota Burn by best-selling author D.V. Berkom is without doubt the best, and most gut-wrenching Basso thriller yet. Bodies fall along with criminal empires, as Leine and Derek face almost insurmountable odds in their quest to bring justice—of the final kind—to men who have zero respect for life.

If you’re a Leine Basso fan, as I am, you’ll love this book. A strong, determined female heroine who not only competes in a man’s world, but prevails. This penetrating look at the problem of human trafficking in the United States, where most of the population seems unaware of its existence, will open your eyes and leave you breathless in awe.

I received a complimentary copy of this latest Basso magnum opus, and once I started reading, time stopped, but I didn’t until I’d read every last thrilling word. Do yourself a favor—don’t let this one get away.

Review of ‘A Knight to Remember’

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Lucy Merriweather thinks she’s met the man of her dreams. Simon Grey is an English lord, and he owns an old castle, so despite the doubts beginning to creep into her mind, Lucy allows herself to be talked into a trip to England. From their arrival, though, the doubts begin to grow stronger, and she finally decides that marrying him is a bad idea, and she tells him so. That’s when the wheels come off her rather predictable life. Pretending to accept her rejection, Simon gets her drunk and talks her into a ‘fake’ wedding, just for old times sake. The ‘fake’ wedding turns out to be real, and Lucy learns, to her dismay, that ‘until death do us part,’ has a literal meaning, when Simon announces that he plans to kill her to lift the curse from his castle so he can get rid of it and enjoy his wealth. As they struggle, Lucy finds herself falling, and she wakes up surrounded by armed knights and under the bloody body of a dead man. The leader of the knights, a rough, tarnished knight, William Brandon, takes her under his protection, and from there, her problems multiply like rabbits. She has to deal with being 700 years in the past, being thought a witch because of her alien dress, speech, and manners, a traitor within William’s household, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Simon, and the unfortunate fact that she finds herself falling for the roughshod William

A Knight to Remember by Cynthia Luhrs is a time-travel romance with generous dashes of medieval violence and stink, but also with a more than generous helping of humor as Lucy and the past come to grips with each other.

An enjoyable read. While it has a five-star theme, there are a few glitches (mostly typos) that cause me to give it four stars.

Review of ‘Altered Destinies’

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Bain, the bastard son of a lord and a healer, is acknowledged by his father and set up a path to make him the eventual inheritor of his father’s estate. Even though he has no desire to rule in his father’s place, he is determined not to let his father, his mother, or his people down. In the domain of Lord Danza, Bain meets Phaera, Danza’s feisty only child, who is more interested in pursuing her calling as a healer than immersing herself in the inanity of court life. When the two meet, sparks fly, but their mutual interest in healing brings them closer. Phaera’s father has promised her that he will never force her to marry, but when the ambitious and unscrupulous young Mathune, who, in addition to his plans to take over all the kingdoms, sets his eyes on her, Danza feels that he has no choice but to betroth her. From here, the plot thickens. Bain, despite his humble, and questionable, origins, is seen as a s suitable alternative to the cruel Mathune. With the help of a young lord whose sexual preferences are tolerated, but not welcomed in the kingdoms, and the indomitable Phaera, Bain organizes a force to confront Mathune.

 

Altered Destinies by Yvonne Hertzberger is a riveting novel that is hard to assign a genre classification to. Part epic adventure, part dystopian future-earth, it nonetheless will grab your imagination, and keep you entertained for page after exciting page. Hertzberger is a master at creating alternate, but realistic environments and characters that you can love—or hate—with equal measure.

 

Although this is billed as perhaps her final novel, one can only hope she’ll relent and thrill us with further adventures of Bain and Phaera.

 

I received a complimentary advanced review copy of this book, and I give it five stars without hesitation. You’ll be doing yourself a great service by snatching it up as soon as it’s released.

Review of ‘Shadow File’

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Alex Vane’s friend was killed by private contractors working for an intelligence-corporate conglomerate. Alex exposed the killers, but the system survived, as did the man directly responsible for his friend’s murder. Now, his friend’s widow, an expert hacker, is threatening to bring down the entire government private security contractor system if they do not comply with her demands. She asks Alex to come to Cuba to help her, where he finds himself conflicted. While he knows that some in the system are corrupt, he doubts the wisdom or rightness of destroying the entire system to punish them.

Shadow File by A. C. Fuller is a compelling read that, while fictional, is all too close to how some of the private government contractors work in real life. Heart-pounding action on almost every page. A worthwhile read.

I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Once Broken’

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Jackie Martin felt abandoned after her father died when she was ten. As she grew older she became attracted to flawed men, leading to a relationship with Tony Salvucci, who abandons her after she become pregnant. She raises her daughter alone, determined to salvage her self-esteem and get revenge against Tony. Once Broken by D. M. Hamblin follows Jackie’s life over forty hears, as she learns the meaning of love and forgiveness, and how to live for the future regardless of the problems of the past.

A moving book that will, in places, move you to tears.  I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Blame the Devil’

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DI Julian Fleetwood is assigned the case when the blood-drained corpse of a schoolgirl is found in London. In the course of his investigation, he meets Varya Dean, the daughter of a slain police officer, who has a brilliant mind, but troubled emotions. Working together, they discover a dangerous cult which threatens not just their lives, but their sanity.

Blame the Devil by L. K. Moore is a riveting mystery with more than a slight touch of the paranormal that will hook you from the opening paragraphs, and not let go until you reach the surprising ending.

For either mystery or paranormal fans, this is a must read.

I give it five stars.