Wickedly Spirited by Deborah Blake

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Kindle price $1.99, release date September 19, 2017, available for pre-order!

This book is marketed as a romance, but honestly it reads as more of a YA magical adventure, though I do realize Wickedly Spirited is part of a series, so I’m absolutely certain (after having read this story) the other pieces of the world Deborah Blake has built for her readers are more romantically involved. As a matter of fact, the next bit of story will be released in November 2017 (Titled Dangerously Divine). But, as is, this story can standalone and I would easily recommend it to my fifteen year old daughter.

The story revolves around sixteen year old Baba-Yaga (witch) in-training, Jazz, after having been adopted by her mentor. Behind her mentor’s back, Jazz tasks herself with restoring immortality to The Riders, companions of the Baba-Yagas. With the help of her mentor’s dragon-cat, Koshka, Jazz ventures into the Otherworld to gather ingredients to help her out.

There isn’t much to add because this is a very short read, one which I really enjoyed because sometimes I’m really too busy to get too involved in what I’m reading, regardless of how enjoyable it might be. Those of you who are busy during the day and have jobs and lives beyond the internet probably understand what I mean. The premise of the story is nice, the characters are all great, if not surreal (reminiscent of late nineties dramedies), and knowing there’s more coming in just a few months–rather than years, as with other book sequels–is a treat.

I can give my recommendation for this book without having to mull it over because it’s an easy YES. A person can read this story while they fold their laundry. Kindle gave it a bit over an hour and a half, so great to read while you’re in a waiting room or having morning coffee. I really am glad I stumbled upon this.

I am going to make sure to get a copy of Dangerously Divine as soon as it’s released because I really would like to know what happens to Jazz next. Without going into too much detail, Wickedly Spirited sort of leaves you wondering.

PRE-ORDER WICKEDLY SPIRITED FROM AMAZON HERE!

TO PRE-ORDER DANGEROUSLY DIVINE (BROKEN RIDERS NOVEL, A) FRO

M AMAZON, CLICK HERE!

DANGEROUSLY DIVINE

Available for pre-order. Release date November 28, 2017

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Clade by James Bradley, A cautionary tale.

clade.jpgAdam is in Antartica, marking the passage of the solstice. Across the globe, his wife Ellie is waiting for the results of her IVF treatment. So begins the story of one family in a changing world, where the apocalyptic mingles with the everyday; a father battles a biblical storm; an immigrant is mysteriously drawn to the art of beekeeping; a young girl’s diary chronicles a pandemic; and a young man finds solace in building virtual recreations of the dead…

Let’s be honest, this book was bound to come to my view one day and I’m glad that it did because I happen to absolutely love time travel or alternate reality type stories. This goes beyond that–it follows a family through the expanse of time, so readers get to enjoy a great story that explores both science fiction and something of a family drama. As far as I can see, it isn’t part of a series, either, so for those who enjoy single stories (instead of having to read multiple novels in order to get the full view of the characters and their plights), this is a great fit.

I have never read any of James Bradley’s other works, but I feel like I might. My to-be-read pile is absolutely huge right now, but I’ll make room and I would imagine that after reading Clade, others will too. He’s a good writer, but some of the characters weren’t as strong as I would have liked. He did, however, deliver a great premise and he followed through until the very last chapter. The climate change cautionary tale James Bradley has written for us is certainly thought provoking.

If you would like to find out for yourself, I found Clade by James Bradley on Amazon, but you can also buy it from Titan Books.

Dark Immolation by Christopher Husberg

husbergA new religion is rising, gathering followers drawn by rumors of prophetess Jane Oden. Her sister Cinzia—once a Cantic priestess—is by her side, but fears that Jane will lead them to ruin. For both the Church and the Nazaniin assassins are still on their trail, and much worse may come.
Knot, his true nature now revealed if not truly understood, is haunted by his memories, and is not the ally he once was. Astrid travels to Tinska to find answers for her friend, but the child-like vampire has old enemies who have been waiting for her return. And beyond the Blood Gate in the empire of Roden, a tiellan woman finds herself with a new protector. One who wants to use her extraordinary abilities for his own ends…

Here’s the thing, kids. I read the first book in this quintet and wasn’t impressed. I didn’t even mark a review or rating on Goodreads or Amazon because I was that unimpressed with the story. Husberg is a good author. I like his style and I like his characters, but the plot in his novel, Duskfall, I disliked. But, I always approach novels with an open mind, particularly when I know the writer behind it can actually write and can create very believable characters. Characters were never an issue for me in Duskfall, FYI. So, with this all being established, I’ll get on with the review for the subsequent novel (the second in a quintet, I’m told), Dark Immolation.

As was true in Duskfall, Dark Immolation’s characters were great. That’s always key in a good story. I can’t read a book if I really could care less what happens to the people (or creatures) in it. If I can’t imagine them, if their dialogue is vague and generic, or if I just really dislike them, I’m not going to keep reading. One of Christopher Husberg’s strongest writing abilities (in my opinion) is that he can flesh out characters with an insane amount of skill. I’d like to buy him coffee and discuss this, but I’m sure that would border on stalker behavior and maybe he has a blog instead.

I feel like Christopher Husberg’s storytelling has improved since Duskfall. I enjoyed the feeling of dipping your toes into the waters of theology throughout this story and I enjoyed questioning my own thoughts as I read. I also like that when reading anything he has written (applies to both Duskfall and Dark Immolation) there is a good balance in the writing. Not too much dialog, but just the right amount. Not too much description, but just enough. Not too much this, nor too much that…See what I mean? He never lost my interest due to over stimulation or under stimulation. That’s important for me.

I would recommend this book. Heck, I’ll recommend the entire quintet (though, as of right now, subsequent books are not available yet). Just because Duskfall didn’t do it for me doesn’t mean it won’t some of you.

If you’re interested in seeing for yourself, hop over to Amazon and check it out. Read more reviews, if you so wish to do.

Empire Of Time by Daniel Godfrey

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For fifteen years, the Romans of New Pompeii have kept the outside world at bay with the threat of using the Novus Particles device to alter time. Yet Decimus Horatius Pullus—once Nick Houghton—knows the real reason the Romans don’t use the device for their own ends: they can’t make it work without grisly consequences.
This fragile peace is threatened when an outsider promises to help the Romans use the technology. And there are those beyond Pompeii’s walls who are desperate to destroy a town where slavery flourishes. When his own name is found on an ancient artifact dug up at the real Pompeii, Nick knows that someone in the future has control of the device. The question is: whose side are they on?

This novel is the second in a series. I read the first and enjoyed it, but I think I prefer the second book to the first, which is something I rarely experience.

In this second book, we get to follow Nick Houghton as he has become Decimus Horatius Pollus, the ambassador for New Pompeii as he and other citizens of New Pompeii are faced with the Novus Particles device, which can alter time.

The novel is fast paced, nitty, gritty, and comes with the teasing promise of maybe a third book. As it appears the author knows what he is doing as far as creating great characters, I hope that he continues with this series and, in doing, sates my curiosity. I want to know just where Daniel Godfrey is going next. More direly, I want to know where Nick Houghton is going in the future. Is there a third book coming or are we to be left wondering? Perhaps the ending was sufficient for other readers, but not this one.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this novel (and I would imagine you do because it’s fabulous), hop on over to Amazon and give them your money. But, buy New Pompeii first because it’s great, too. The link for that one is at the top of this review.

 

Forever And A Death by Donald E. Westlake

I’m going to give you a quick background on Donald E. Westlake. It’s a whopper. Ready? Here goes…

Westlake was a crime novelist hired by Hollywood producers working on James Bond movies to write a script. The story he came up with was about a Western businessman seeking revenge after being kicked out of Hong Kong when the island was returned to Chinese rule. For political reasons, the film was never made. But, Westlake held on to it like the absolute prize it is. And I’m thrilled that he did. It was published an entire decade after Donald E. Westlake’s death, so I feel sort of sad he didn’t get to enjoy the story’s success, but that is neither here nor there.

Honestly, if this book could be made into a film now, I would be pleased. But, onto my thoughts!

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I have absolutely nothing to be critical of here. There is no complaint to be expressed. This book was an absolute joy to read. Absolutely, positively, wonderful to escape into the pages and plot. Drama where drama need be, comedic relief (yes, I was shocked, too, but if you have an odd sense of humor like me, it’s there!) where comedic relief need be, and I expected nothing less from a man who was such a legend in his day.

If I could change any one thing about this book, I wouldn’t. I don’t get to say that often, either, so please photocopy this as a reference. Just kidding. Don’t do that.

If you’d like a copy of this gem, please do buy it at any book retailer, but for quick reference, here is the AMAZON LINK. 

Netherspace by Andrew Lane and Nigel Foster

Released: May 2, 2017 from Titan Books.

I have to admit that when I first opened the box containing this book, I immediately yelleNetherspace.jpgd out, “Oh, so it might be like the movie Innerspace!”

It is not like the movie Innerspace. It’s like this:

Aliens came to Earth forty years ago. Their anatomy proved unfathomable and all attempts at communication failed. But through trade, humanity gained technology that allowed them to colonise the stars. The price: live humans for every alien faster-than-light drive.
Kara’s sister was one of hundreds exchanged for this technology, and Kara has little love for aliens. So when she is drafted by GalDiv – the organisation that oversees alien trades – it is under duress. A group of colonists have been kidnapped by aliens and taken to an uncharted planet, and an unusual team is to be sent to negotiate. As an ex-army sniper, Kara’s role is clear. But artist Marc has no combat experience, although the team’s pre-cog Tse is adamant that he has a part to play. All three know that success is unlikely. For how will they negotiate with aliens when communication between the species is impossible? ~From Titan Books

Picture a world forty years after first known  contact with aliens was made. Now, stop picturing it because it’s not going to be anything close to how Andrew Lane and Nigel Foster have imagined it to be. But, you fine people know that I don’t go into long details about the books I’ve reviewed and I won’t give spoilers. I will say that I quite enjoyed this story and I am really looking forward to there being more books in the series. Like, really looking forward to them.

The writing is nicely blended. I don’t know how author teams usually split authoring duties when two people work on one novel because I, personally, couldn’t do it. But, it appears that the duo has managed to bring out the best of abilities in each other and pour it into a wonderful, original story. Kudos, fellas. Characters in the story are believable, real, well-fleshed, and Sometimes just really easy to get to know. Descriptions of time and place are great, but not overwhelming or ridiculously long.

I would gladly recommend this novel to friends and family. If you would like to buy your own copy (because I’ll be keeping mine), here are the links you’ll need:
Buy NETHERSPACE from Amazon.com.
Buy NETHERSPAC from Titan Books.

 

Mike Hammer–The Will To Kill by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins

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“Mike Hammer is an icon for our culture.” – The New York Times

Every now and then I like to toss a crime fiction novel into my to-be-read pile and this one fell into my lap. Most people already know that there are already several Mike Hammer books available. I, however, was unaware because crime novels are actually not my meat and potatoes. Crime novels are more like a delicious foreign delicacy for me. I discover new crime authors about twenty years too late, but I’m okay with that as long as you, as my blog readers, understand that it’s not my everyday. Since I have read The Will To Kill, though, I have been checking into buying the others and I made it a point to buy and read some of the really old Mike Hammer books before I wrote this review. I can’t stand the idea of having just one book from a series, set, or group. It drives me mad. I also couldn’t see writing this review not knowing anything about Mike Hammer or Mickey Spillane’s vision of his character.

 

Taking a midnight stroll along the Hudson River, Mike Hammer gets more than he bargained for: a partial corpse on an ice floe. The body is that of a butler who spent the last years of his life working for a millionaire—also now deceased—and his notoriously privileged children.

Were both master and servant murdered? Captain Pat Chambers thinks so. But to prove it Hammer must travel to upstate New York to investigate the dead man’s family, all of whom have a motive for murder, and one of whom who has a taste for it.

-Blurb from Amazon.com

I wasn’t disappointed with this book, but I wasn’t blown away, either. It was everything I enjoy in a crime novel. There was a murder mystery to solve, complex and believable characters, crisp, clear language, and someone even says, “Jeez Louise!” somewhere in the story. The real amazing feat within the pages, however, is not in the story itself, but in the writing. Somehow, Max Allan Collins was able to take Spillane’s Mike Hammer stories and create new ones to match seamlessly. He was able to mask his own writing style as Spillane’s, making the two authors of one voice.

I can’t think of one single thing to gripe about with this novel. And, if we’re being honest, I always look for something to gripe about because I want to be sure to give my own readers the honest truth about the books I read. THE WILL TO KILL is one case where what you see is truly what you get. You buy the book looking for a great Mike Hammer story and that’s what you will receive.

To buy THE WILL TO KILL by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins on Amazon, click here! 

To buy THE WILL TO KILL by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins from Titan Books, click here!