Toni

The way I see it

"The Shadow", by Ty Patterson

The Shadow: Action Suspense Thriller (Warriors Series Shorts Book 3) - Ty Patterson

“Book #3, in the Warriors shorts

This 3rd novella is a fast-paced adventure filled with action introducing two wonderful characters Bear and Chloe. These two have charmed and entertained us numerous times in the main series “The Warriors”. It was nice to see where they came from, how they met and when they joined the elite group lead by Zeb Carter. 

Bear is hired to protect a high profile criminal, a routine job….or so he thought. Excellent storyline of only 56 pages, packed with never ending action, suspense galore….and of course captivating to no end. Mr. Patterson knows how to tell a story in ways that can only hold us captive till the last page. This novella compliments beautifully the main series.

I never was one for short stories till I received novellas from Mr. Patterson they are tremendously well-done…….

"The Bookworm", by Mitch Silver

The Bookworm: A Novel - Mitch Silver

This story is a bit of everything, a mystery at its base, a tad of political shenanigan to captivate us, some known historical figures to pique our interest (Kennedy, Hitler, Churchill and the French physician Nostradamus) oh…to put a smile on our faces, thinly disguised are our 2 maverick and colourful leaders in a cameo role. To top it all off which is the base of this novel is a conspiracy to keeps us on our toes. With a soupçon of reality and a big dose of fiction we have one ambitious novel that should please most readers.

The setting mainly plays out in Moscow but changes locations between London and Alaska. The mystery features Larissa Klimt, who is a professor of Geopolitical History and her twin brother Lev, who works in Alaska monitoring the oil fields. The plot comes to life when Lara (Larissa) is asked to translate six audio recordings done in the 1940’s from English to Russian and find the book, subject of the recordings. What she hears is just the beginning of her troubles…the book (Bible) contains a false prophecy of all time. Through a series of circumstances Lara and Lev become entwined in the hoax and are pulled into danger and the world of espionage…..

I have mixed feeling about this book. In great parts I liked it a lot and in others I found it dragged so much I was losing interest. It took too much time to get going although I do admit lots was happening but everything seemed to turn in circle then suddenly action and suspense kicked in and voilà you just reached the end. As for the characters they missed colours but were OK in their roles but lacked the credibility and motive to push the mystery forward and make it captivating. I liked the premise, the story is great and interesting and some of the side bars are also very good “ the Bookworm mystery”, “Conception Day”, “King takes Queen”, Lara’s events with her ex-husband the Russian spy just to mention some…..(I let you discover all this). 

This novel may not have been my favourite of all times but it was worthwhile passing time reading it nevertheless. 

I received this ARC for review from Pegasus Books via Netgalleys 

"The Watcher", by Ty Patterson

The Watcher: Action Suspense Thriller (Warriors Series Shorts Book 2) - Ty Patterson

Book #2, in the Warriors shorts

This second story may be short 52 pages or so but is packed with suspense from the opening page and keeps us glued to every word till its final sentence. Zeb Carter is in poverty stricken area of Cape Town, South Africa when he is approached by a child…. a gang is harassing his family, he needs help …. 

Of course this is a fast read, action packed and well- written. It has a very interesting subject matter around drugs and child trafficking organisations and a warrior to save the day. This short story fits well between the main Warriors series and I enjoy squeezing it in my spare time. Till next time “In the Shadow”, enjoy…

"The Shining", by Stephen King

The Shining - Stephen King

The Shining #1

“The Shining” is the story of Jack Torrance, who is employed as the caretaker of the gargantuan Overlook Hotel in Colorado one winter. With his wife and son they hoped to spend the winter season in peace and stitch up their fractured family.

The book was first released in 1977 then made into a movie starring Jack Nicholson, just the best choice to play the main character here. I haven’t seen the movie but in the book Mr. King goes to great pains to show Jack as a good man that is simply pushed into fantasy or hallucination. Because I received its sequel “Doctor Sleep” as a gift I needed to know how this horror all started.

For 416 pages, the tense and atmospheric story centers on the family saga. Their encounters with apparitions are very visual, leaving a picture in the mind that may be scary for some and totally ridicule for others. Not only it is a very dark story, with every turn of the page things get worse and worse in the haunted resort, it also borders on the fantastical with plenty of over the top scenes rife with violence and supernatural. For some, Mr. King may be a master entertainer no matter how ridiculous his tales are or how frightening they may be, well perhaps for them but this horror did not gel with me, I simply had trouble getting through this mess. The author gets so bogged down in tedious descriptions and exposition, the story is so overwritten I fast lost interest. Don’t forget, pay attention, not only does the narration rotates between the three members of the Torrance family it is also taken over by many other characters, some human and some not so human. 

I didn’t think this book was scary at all despite the considerably large cast of ghosts and creepy critters and the great amount of violence at every page. This is a tedious read, it just drags on and on, so stubborn was I nevertheless made it to the end even if I was bored to death…..evidently not my type of book. 

"Zulu Hours", by Ty Patterson

Zulu Hour: Action Suspense Thriller (Warriors Series Shorts Book 1) - Ty Patterson
Book #1, in the Warriors shorts

“Zulu Hours” is the first in a series of short stories featuring Zeb Carter and is definitely a prequel to the main Warriors Series.

I always said I wasn’t a fan of short stories but here I stand corrected. 49 pages of brilliantly writing and engaging storyline that bring us back to where it all started. If you are already familiar with the Warriors series reading this prequel will answer most of your questions. If you want to start at this point, this book will give you a sample of what to expect and all you need to go forward.

Even with 49 pages we have a good storyline filled with action and great characters. We find out how Zeb’s group came together and how with Broker became important assets to the Agency. 

1993, Mogadishu, Delta Force operative Zeb Carter meets Mohammed Jama, a vicious warlord…..and the action moves on from there….
 
 

 

"Prussian Blue", by Philip Kerr

Prussian Blue (A Bernie Gunther Novel) - Philip Kerr

Book# 12, in the Bernie Gunther Mysteries

This story moves back and forth between Nazi Germany in 1939 and the French Riviera in 1956. We follow Gunther match wits with German officials in two suspenseful stories that at first seemed to go their own ways but meshes nicely by the end. Mr. Kerr brings once again a renewed life to the monsters of the Nazi era and at the same time gives us a thrilling adventure, a deadly cat and mouse game in the French countryside….

Nothing is more frustrating for a cop with a conscience than to work under the Nazis and not end up in prison. “Prussian Blue”, swings around between a plot that trails the reluctant Gunther’s from France in the 50’s being pursued by his old enemies of the Reich, narrowly escaping the noose by doing dirty deeds to save himself. Then the plot brings Gunther to the days when he worked for Martin Bormann to clean up a messy situation at Hitler’s vacation home before he shows up for his birthday celebration in a week. The two plots go back and forth.

Mr. Kerr has a real talent in capturing the mood and misdeeds and once again brilliantly created a whodunit to bring the horrors of life during the Nazi’s regime. The shrewd and acute interpretations of facts blended with fiction makes for a believable depiction. The research and the accuracy of the historical setting can only match the best of the best authors; Mr. Kerr is definitely a master. I am a huge fan of Bernie Gunther and have devoured in gulps of fright and pleasure all of them to date. The plot is an entertaining adventure that takes in high crime, scandals, fraud, drugs and murder and features one of the most successful anti-heroes in crime fiction, Bernie Gunther: a WW1 veteran, a Kripo detective during WW11 who now roams the world like a wanted criminal. Gunther is not a young man how long can he stick around….only Mr. Kerr knows…but in the meantime I will be faithful to him….

I like this book but on the down side, although the pacing is steady it lacks the suspense I was hoping for. It is a bit overwritten, descriptions of people and places and long paragraphs stretch the plot over many pages unnecessary, making a meaty book to read. 

Good story but not one at the top of my list

"King of Swords", by Russell Blake

King of Swords - Russell Blake

Book #1, in the Assassin series

This is one brutal and heart-stopping novel I read in a long time. In “King of Swords” we are taken on a violent journey through drug cartel of Mexico. This thriller is definitely not for the fainthearted, it is a blend of facts and fiction and strange enough, we will never know where the truth ends and where Mr. Russell’s inspiration kicked in, the fine line between is a little fuzzy.

This thriller is cranked up on steroids and has left me gasping and cringing more often than not. The storyline is very graphic. It captures the casual savagery of the ordinary men engaged in extraordinary brutality. Thousands of good and bad people die every year caught in violent confrontations. The author wanted to highlight the psychological making of a monster and he perfectly achieved his goal in his storyline. The pacing is high-velocity I couldn’t help but to follow the tempo by furiously flipping the pages so captivated by the goings- on. El Rey, the main character is a cold blooded killer and assassin operating in Mexico who would work for both the cartels and the police depending upon the situation. Romero Cruz is the police captain on El Rey’s tail and with panoply of interesting side players adding to the thrill, we can only be smack into an exciting saga. Reading this book is like watching a Die Hard movie. It is extremely well- written, full of nasty stuff, fast-paced (I think I said this many times), violent, enthralling….

This thriller is an excellent cat and mouse game full of gritty details. I loved it. 

"The Westhampton Hurricane", by gerald J. Kubicki and Kristopher Kubicki

The Westhampton Hurricane: Colton Banyon Mystery  #27 (Volume 27) - Kristopher Kubicki, Gerald J. Kubicki

Book # 27, in the Colton Banyon Adventure/Mystery series

When Mr. Kubicki sent his book for review he told me “You will like this one”, he was perfectly right. This one turned out to be one of my preferred Colton Banyon books to date.

This book follows the same pattern as most of them starting with a prologue taking us back in time and giving us a bit of history and a tad of speculation. It is followed with multiple short and captivating chapters and finally ends with the usual author’s notes telling us that most of his story is a fruit of his imagination and as always the events and facts are true but have been enhanced to fit the story. 

But what a story, Mr Kubicki brings us back to when Colton Banyon was in his late teens living in Westhampton, the year is 1966. It opens after a hurricane struck and smashed part of the Island and destroyed some houses. Colton with his friend Dale decided to explore the surrounding but what they found was the military standing guard. They are young and fearless and a little pocking around couldn’t hurt….and the weekend long adventure commences…. 

This book is a fun read, not taxing at all with clear and concise wordings. Of course we should be entertained with this mystery and not take it too seriously. In reality, the German U boat mentioned was never found and archaeological societies have discredited anything to do with the Phoenicians. What I enjoyed particularly is the turn down tone the mystery has: no ridiculous fantasies, no nit-wit oversexed women, no big bang and jump over the moon action the previous installments gave us. It is a plain very subdued story writing in a very captivating manner. It doesn’t leave out intrigue, plenty of it throughout. For fans of this series, you will finally know how (Wolf) and Colton met. 

Although this book is part of a series starting with this one would be a good move, it works well as a stand-alone novel. I think young people could enjoy this one also.

"Pacific Reaper", by Carmen Amato

Pacific Reaper: An Emilia Cruz Novel - Carmen Amato

Book# 5, in the Emilia Cruz Mysteries

In “Pacific Reaper”, Emilia confronts a death worshiping cult and takes us once again inside Mexico’s drug war. The setting is Acapulco, a breathtaking and deadly city where Mexican cartels battles for control and more politicians that you can imagine are in the drug lord’s pockets.

Murder victims are sacrificed to Santo Muerte. Looking into gruesome and ritualistic murders Emilia takes us to another level of suspense. This character-driven mystery is hard to put down. The author has raised the stakes for her protagonist by forcing her to face vicious members of the cartel while appeasing her superiors and politician and making peace with her colleagues (Emilia’s continual battle). As the investigation progresses and more clues fall into place, more blood is shed and more is revealed. The novel pulls no punches. 

This crackling multi-faceted story is well-written, is most captivating, one that keeps a steady pace and holds the attention from the get-go. We also have new revelations about the main character, her family and the people she associates with, adding a nice personal touch. I can well imagine this scenario happening in the real world this is both scary and fascinating at the same time…..You have done it again Ms. Amato providing your readers with hours of entertainment. 

The author is an ace storyteller and one of my favourite authors. I wish to thank you Ms. Amato for the gift of your book for my enjoyment. These are my thoughts I have not be asked to give a positive review.

"Operation Hail Storm", by Brett Arquette

Operation Hail Storm - Classroom Edition - Brett Arquette

Book #1, in the Hail series

If you are a die-hard fan of thrillers that uses detailed technology of drones and military equipment to intricately detail a plot you will find all you wish for with “Operation Hail Storm” and much more. This captivating story has multi-billionaire Marshall Hail, the main character, using his vast resources to fight a personal vendetta after losing his family in a terrorist attack.

Although well done, this thriller has a level of technology details all through that is quite overwhelming, maybe it is a bit too technically challenging and rather overly done at least in my books. Once passed all those terms we are into a cleverly laid and executed plot with characters we come to know in minutia details. Alongside Hail is Kara a deadly CIA operative who plays the female lead. The drones in Hail fleet are piloted by elite video gamers and MIT graduates we meet some of them in their unique roles. This interesting high-tech story includes super tankers with cinemas, high class restaurants and all the goodies found in upper class hotels, not forgetting all the fire power found on naval ships and plus. The experience may be over the top but is quite exciting to read.

This thought-provoking thriller that uses drones as a way of assassination may have a slow start but the originality and the constant alternate action between Hail’s ship, what happens between US Security Council and Hail (the USA Executive’s problem- solver) and what happens in North Korea make for a very captivating read hard to put down. Yes, the pacing does pick up and becomes fast and furious…or was I so much into this story that I couldn’t help swiping pages at a rapid pace to see what would happen next. Excellent story.

I wish to thank the author for providing a review copy of his book. 

"Noble Intentions: Season One"by L.T. Ryan

Noble Intentions: Season One - L.T. Ryan

Book # 4 in the Jack Noble series 

This thriller is a collection of five episodes sort of standalone stories that are smoothly meshed into one volume. This series follows the story of Jack Noble, an assassin for hire who practices his art with a clean conscience and he does it for the money.

The main characters:

Jack is an awesome cold blooded killer: rather smart, somewhat funny and definitely you want him on your side but deep down he has a heart of gold. Bear is his best friend, this guy has a soft spot also although don’t step on his toes. Clarissa is the only one that can keep Jack and Bear straight and can keep up with them. Mandy plays a good part in this story also, she the little girl that the group took under their wings. 

The setting:

As in many thrillers the story brings you to different countries, where you hear different languages and meet good people and a lot of bad ones.

The story in a few words: 

Jack stop to help a lost child moments before he's supposed to complete a deal with one of the east coast's top crime bosses? This is a decision that places Jack in unfamiliar territory. He's become the hunted and finds himself in a race against time to save those closest to him.

My thoughts:

This is a fast-pace suspense full of nonstop action, a bit far-fetched but captivating if you not squeamish with all the killings you will surely have a hoot reading this book. The style is rough and saccadic but this didn’t bother me after all it is mainly a story of killers, don’t forget these guys don’t pussyfoot around. I love all characters even brutal ones can be likable. The author knows how to develop an exciting plot with well-drawn characters to pull us in from start to finish. I would say it is a gripping page-turner

"Hamfist Down", by G.E. Nolly

Hamfist Down!: Evasion, Survival and Combat in the Jungle - G.E. Nolly

Survival and Combat in the Jungle

Book #2, in the Adventures of Hamilton “Hamfist”Hamcock

This novel is based on actual events about air combat in the Vietnam War. This series follows Air Force pilot Hamilton “Hamfist” Hamcock as he evolves from an inexperience lieutenant to a seasoned combat pilot flying aircraft in the skies of North Vietnam. This series is dedicated to American military veterans.

The tone is harsh after all this is war with Special Ops and Green Berets all over the place, this is scary as hell. The first sentence you hear “getting shot down sucks”. For those not familiar with terms this novel is a bit hard to follow it contains a lot of operational details about mission to fetch people from hostile jungle. Although it is a bit romanticised, the experience is inevitably tough and exciting, of course Hamfist does manage to get shot down, get extricated, escape unscathed and have a burgeoning romance with a Japanese beauty…hey why not, many men did have a distraction. The jargon is taken from experience of the time and place and Hamfist characterisation fits both the hardboiled soldier and the sensitive men he really is. He tells his story with humour and with some profanity. He is quite crude at time. Hold your breath, the tempo is fast and furious so much action fills the pages while we follow the day to day activities of the pilots. This is a gritty and gruesome time and such a captivating read.

Although I started this series with book 2 not knowing what had previously happened did not put me at a disadvantage but this story did pique my interest to backtrack and get book 1 “Hamfist Over the Trail”.

Love this one

"All She Left Behind", by Jane Kirkpatrick

All She Left Behind - Jane Kirkpatrick

This historical fiction is a carefully researched blend of historical events using real people. The story is about Jennie Pickett and her struggle to become a doctor in the 1870’s Oregon. 

This tale is an amazing journey in a time where women physicians were shun by society. For Jennie to become a doctor she had to surmount imaginable obstacles: her dyslexia and a difficult husband and son. She first learned homeopathic treatments with herbs and oil and practiced her art at every occasion with passion. After her divorce from her husband, she met her second husband, a wonderful man who gave her all the encouragement and the push needed to become a doctor. We follow her life through a bad marriage and a good marriage.

This story is told in a smooth narrative one that easily pulled me in from the first chapter. I wanted Jennie to succeed and have a wonderful life. She is portrayed as a strong and determined person regardless of her disabilities and the tragedies in her life. We have a lot of surprises along the way to keep us flipping the pages. 

This is a captivating story of over-coming tragedy and poor choices, personal and family challenges and never losing hope. It is also a story of love. Beautifully written this novel is hard not to like.

“All She Left Behind” is based on a true story

I received this ARC from the publisher Revell via the Early Reviewer Program for an honest and unbiased review.

"Environmentally Friendly", by Elias Zanbaka

Environmentally Friendly - Elias Zanbaka
I was provided a copy of this book by the author for review. Not knowing the author or the book I had hoped for a decent war against Mother Nature and an exciting cop chase in just a few words. 

This short story unfortunately did not deliver. Maybe being only 20 pages was not enough to have development and sustained a storyline that is exciting. I was more of a mish-mash of scenes happening out of the blue. Reaching the end didn’t come fast enough for me. Too many times I had to reread twice some lines to understand the passage in order to grasp what was going on. Some words were cut mid-way or were missing. This book needed editing badly. Maybe if the author would have taken time to stretch his story the result could have been quite different. 

I am not a fan of short story this one is the proof why….
 
 

 

"The Devil's Crucible", by Ian McKenzie-Vincent

"The Devil's Crucible - Ian Mckenzie-Vincent

This is a highly imaginative global adventure about climate changes. Whether you believe what is told or not one thing for sure Mr. Mckenzie-Vincent’s views will have you ponder….can all this dome and gloom really happen one day ….

True facts in this story are events that happened in the past but again are all of them the results of climate change or simply normal occurrences. Indeed deforestation is a big factor and mismanagement of our resources an even bigger one. To bring his points across and to shake us into taking action, the author has given us a horror story of tsunami, earthquakes, forest fires, air and water pollution, hurricanes, corporation greed and world corruption, any disregard of our ecosystems etc. all events that has or could happened and by extrapolating the effects he brought the what is and what if to life. Although I think he is preaching to us I nevertheless agree this is a very scary vision. 

We may not love what is said and find it to be over the top but as extremists do this is a story that pictures a dim future with its many graphic scenes telling us to wake up and take responsibility. Yes, this should make us open our eyes wide and realise that dumping raw sewer in our water is not helpful, killing or capturing endangered species for pleasure and destroying the ecosystem for gain is totally inacceptable. Although the subject may be dark it is nevertheless told in a captivating manner with lot of suspense and action. It progresses smoothly and keeps the pace going till the conclusion. The players are the run of the mill but don’t hold that against them they act their part beautifully. The narration is simple and clear after all a strong message is being told. Over- all a good story.

This novel is no longer available at well-known online book stores in North America , too bad I think this book is well worth passing time with….

"The Life She Was Given", by Ellen Marie Wiseman

The Life She Was Given - Ellen Marie Wiseman

Set in the 20th century, this very emotional tale weaves together the stories of two women. Alternately we follow Lilly Blackwood, a young albino girl who has been kept in a secret attic room most of her life till one day her mom sold her to a traveling circus freak show. Once there we are in the circus world, with all the good and bad. We jump two decades later, with Julia Blackwood returning to the family farm where she will soon discover the attic’s dark secrets ….

The story is very touching as we slowly discover the disturbing and frightening things done to Lilly and the kind of life she had hidden away in an attic for years and how she must have felt to be sold by someone she loved to an unscrupulous man running a circus. Undeniably Ms. Wiseman did extensive research to recreate the circus life, its slang, performers and their superstitions, animals training and shows, their behaviours including noises and most of all, how the freak shows was run and how important and lucrative this sideshow was, not forgetting the presence of fraudulent medium star performer who was the highlight in many ways. In graphic scenes, the story also explores how the circus animals were treated or mistreated. 

The story overlaps with Julia taking over her family’s horse business and slowly the secret that binds the two lies at the heart of the tragedy…..Moving between Lilly’s and Julia stories the authors has portrayed two extraordinary and very different women with exceptional life filled with family secrets, tragedy, hope and joy. Their stories displayed a mix of emotions that can possibly drain some readers. Both characters are compelling as well as the myriad of vivid secondary players even the evil ones. All roles were played perfectly.

This engrossing tale is written in short chapters using contemporary language and keeps a steady pace throughout. “The Life She Was Given” is a page tuner almost impossible to put down.

I received this review copy from the publisher via Netgalleys .

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