Friday, June 30, 2017

Seven Trees of Stone: Thirteen Days of Midnight Trilogy Book 3

by Leo Hunt
reviewed from e-reader

Please keep in mind that this review is written from an Advance Reading Copy and is not the final product.

A fantasy and an incredible adventure for teens and young adults (as well as this grandmother!)

A couple of young college students are about to witness an extremely unusual event. Will they survive it? First there were the White Swans, hundreds, thousands or more, where did they all come from and what are they trying to do? Not only that but later, where did they go? Very peculiar, at some point they all just disappeared again flying backwards. I love this story already.

This adventurous race against time in the dead of winter is not only hazardous, it is probably even deadly. Who or what is Mr. Berkeley? What debt does Luke owe him and just how dangerous is he or it?

This New Years Eve promises to be the strangest ever, and perhaps the most dangerous. Luke and his friend Elza notice something very weird, fog that is creeping and moving; what is it made of and what is creating its movement? An odd thing in the sky appears to be green flashes, sometimes blue (is that lightning?) Luke and Elza who attend a different college in a new town are desperately trying to get to Dunbarrow to Elza's house where she has bound it with a hazel safety barrier.

It is New Years Eve and everyone is celebrating in the town centre of Dunbarrow. But not all of the celebrating seems right. In fact, they seem to be overtaken by such riotous cheer as to appear to be suffering a plague of insanity! Will New Years Day last forever? Is this the end of Dunbarrow? Not everyone seems affected though, Luke and Elza have just met up with old college friends who don't seem so much crazed, but more nervous and scared, and decide to go with them to Elza's house.

This book is the final novel in the trilogy. The trilogy itself is Thirteen Days of Midnight (Thirteen Days of Midnight#1) began when Luke was just starting college. The second is Eight Rivers of Shadow (Thirteen Days of Midnight #2) and from what I've seen in the final book is a fantastic adventure of twists and turns. This review is based on the final book, almost done, just waiting for the final polishing before publication. If you enjoyed this review, be prepared for the release Seven Trees of Stone in August 2017. From my perspective it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, the first two books are already released, and ready to join the reader for the beginning of the adventure.

I really enjoyed this book, wish I had read the first two in the trilogy, but unfortunately didn't see either one. It would have made this one fantastically exciting.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Tough Case to Crack (A Nuts About Nuts Cozy Mystery Book 1) by Cindy Bell

author Cindy Bell
review from e-reader

Got to keep an eye on that squirrel, he's a smart one!
There's a newbie in town and she's about to turn the quiet town upside down; or at least what she finds while renovating the shop she just bought just might. With lots of work to do in a limited time, Kerri Gale is ready to put in a hand or two to help the people she hired with the workload. Unfortunately, this almost took the head of the news reporter Steve Newis when a slip of the crowbar sent a board flying in Steve's direction when she took a crowbar to the next floorboard.

An interview for the press could help her get known when her shop opens for business, but among things to be done first is replace the floorboards. Some introduction! But Steve has other things in his mind, like getting to know the new girl in town on perhaps a bit of a personal level. On the business side, the reader learns quite a bit about Kerrie, but also some of the town history as well as the history of the store, good and bad. Let's hope she doesn't get nightmares knowing a murder was committed there, but a long time ago. Who killed Len? Why wasn't he killed in the shop, but at home? Some ties just don't fit.

What is that horrible buzz coming from the shop? Kerri brought Harry breakfast but he can't hear over the saw, neither can she, and no wonder, the saw is running but Harry is dead. What possible reason could there be for Harry to be murdered, for murdered he is, with the saw cord wrapped around his throat. When will this all end?

A find will make her nervous, a visit from police will make her angry and slow her down. From what she has heard there is little interest in most that goes down in this town as far as the police are concerned. They are having trouble connecting the previous owner with a crime, nor was the break-in at his house particularly noted. A messy little clean-up job in both places, both involving broken glass, at two vastly different times. Hmm. Would that be coincidence? What are the police doing about any of it?

Next, Kerri gets home to what appears to be an unlocked house, though she knows she locked it. Is Cashew, her dog, alright? Surprise! The visitor is her grandfather, who always has secrets but is a lot of fun. At least he has made dinner. Does he know about the money? Is he another person who seems to know too much about what has happened. What a surprise to learn her grandfather is moving to town. He has always seemed mysterious and fun to be with.

If the day weren't nutty enough, a squirrel has just grabbed a large bag of Kerri's nuts from her shop, which will be named Nuts About Nuts. Got to keep an eye on that squirrel, he's a smart one! By now, everyone seems to be jumping in the fray...except the police. Her handyman, the newspaper reporter, her grandfather...What's with her grandfather, anyway? Whatever he is or was, he is now retired, isn't he?

Next on the agenda, solve a crime. Nine o-clock and all appears to be well, for a house-breaking. In the meantime, Kerri has something else up her sleeve. There are twists and turns in the latter part of the book, how could there not be with so many people in the mix? Two wonderful recipes also included.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

UnCommon Origins: A Collection of Gods, Monsters, Nature and Science (UnCommon Anthology Book 2)

collected by P.K. Tyler
reviewed from e-reader

UnCommon Origins, how completely this describes this rare mix anthology. Several very short stories that can blow your mind, others that are just weird, and others seem based on some normalcy until you reach the crux. One war story caught me off guard because I'm sure I have heard of the making of the product before, I think it could be truth.

I liked the summaries given at the beginning of each new story. These macabre stories are certainly versatile, not alike in any form except to suspend belief. Differing in such a way as to make the reader want to carry on.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Blood Orchids (Lei Crime Book 1)

author Toby Neal
reviewed from e-reader

A unique story, not easily categorized. Neither completely cozy nor completely hard-boiled, but a passionate tale of a child with a stolen childhood who is struggling to be a strong woman in the worst of circumstances. That said, I really enjoyed the book for all its changes in Lei's life. Taking place in Hawaii, Lei is a police officer seeking a better position to allow her to do the job she knows she can do...if only her past horrors would leave her mind alone.

A woman who is obviously full of fun when she is not feeling overwhelmed, part of her future with the police relies on her appointments with a psychiatrist. I feel they are a pretty good match, both unusual but able to recognize the whole person each is. I enjoyed their meetings. Then there is romance, a 'will she won't she' type of thing due to her terrorized past. It's a little confusing as to who has had the most horrific past. I think my favourite character is Lei's rottweiler, super guard dog. In fact, I really liked the early characters in the book. On the other hand, working in crime, Lei finds herself at the mercy of stalkers, murderers and pedophiles, if not related to her past, she finds them in her cases, and eventually in her present.

The real suspense begins about the middle of the story after the preset of the book. Scenes from her past overlap current scenes, the connection she could and should have with Stephens is overwhelmed by her fears, he fears for her life with the chances she takes, but he seems to understand why she takes them. I really liked this, the first in the Lei Crime series, with so much going on, it is interesting what I did manage to glean from the story. Different, but in a pretty good way. Past history in Lei's life plays a role of its own, but she appears to be overcoming much of the past by the end and looking forward to a better future. I think Toby Neal is onto a solid series and look forward to more.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Policewoman

author Justin W.M. Roberts
reviewed from e-reader

If you can follow different languages, dialects, and/or accents you may learn a lot of sayings which can add to the enjoyment of this book; if you like action, blood and guts as well, you'll find it in spades in this book. The story begins with a shocking scenario. But then, what can one expect from a war against drug cartels which are waging war as narcoterrorism? Expect the unexpected.

Author Justin WM Roberts has obviously done a tremendous amount of research to cover such distinctly different countries, jurisdictions and dialects, especially as this story takes place in the near future (2026) and mainly in three countries, Indonesia, Britain and Ireland, hence the need to understand the dialects and languages. The speed of various actions is enough to take your breath away. This is high stakes war on the cartels, and never seems to stop for a breather. Even the training is extreme. People are seconded from one jurisdiction to another in constant motion. The book starts in Indonesia, with the main character Sarah, Chief of Security in the police force POLDA Metro Jaya. Sarah is a strong, athletic woman, a person who will fight with everything she has to crush the growing drug problem wherever it is manufactured and sold. The cartels have grown exponentially in several countries, narcoterrorism. She has been seconded to Britain and is at the airport ready to board, not realizing she has just passed an enemy coming from the UK to Indonesia. Sarah's older brother Tony is also a major player with the Indonesian Air Force, currently against the Indonesian Cartel. Both are deeply invested in their work.

This battle between the various forces and the cartels is high speed, extreme action and violent; it rarely seems to stop, but those who have been chosen to fight are highly skilled, highly decorated. There are real people mixed in the story with the assumption that by this time in history Prince William is King, Prince Harry is involved in the fight. I learned a lot of interesting things in this book, quite apart from the deaths and maiming, and surprisingly, for the shock factor and the obvious casualties. I was mesmerized at times, I must have been, because I wasn't putting the book down. I was very interested in the training, the tactics, and the coding. I enjoyed the camaraderie whenever there was time for it. I enjoyed the various dialects and took an interest in working them out from what I already knew. Though the book was necessarily difficult at times, it's no more so than any international war story. Weaponry changes through the decades, accessibility changes, coding changes, body armour changes, threats change, but killing does not change, when you are dead you are dead. Nothing can change that. However, this is not a war between countries. It is a war to end a process, a process that is killing people on its own, especially youth, in this case it's name is MDMA, known as Ecstacy. Exceptional thriller.