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The Expatriates: Book One: Song of the Sending
The Expatriates: Book One: Song of the Sending
Price: $3.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool Magic and Adrenaline-Pumping Action, October 20, 2014
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I love books that portray people in special relationships with animals, and in The Expatriates Jim Wales has a way with animals – he can talk telepathically to the tiger he cares for at the carnival. Soon he finds himself taking advice from a bird. That bird is trying to tell him something important ...

It turns out Jim and his good friends Charlie and Sam are in great danger, hunted by evil mercenaries from another world. When the mercenaries show up at the carnival and commit a horrific atrocity, Jim is stirred to action. Soon he realizes that saving their own skins will mean returning to that other world and confronting the forces of evil.

Jim is endowed with far more powers than he realizes, so this is a voyage of discovery for him. He thinks he is on a quest to save his mother, and avenge his brother, but along the way he learns the stakes are much higher than the problems of one family.

The story is told in a beautiful, flowing style full of colorful images and adrenaline-pumping action. There is magic in Jim’s world, but it takes time for him to understand its power. He’s a hero I loved from the beginning, and his epic struggles kept me glued to the page.


Army of Worn Soles
Army of Worn Soles
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ukrainian Freedom Fighters and History Repeating Itself, June 21, 2014
“All Quiet on the Western Front” was required reading in high school, and I remember being moved to tears by that account of the life of a common soldier in the killing fields separating France and Germany. This gripping historical novel by author Scott Bury takes the action to the Ukraine in World War II, following the dreadful experiences of a few poorly equipped soldiers as they are hemmed in by the Germans and their relentless killing machine.

Seas of mud conspire with faulty, outdated weapons to make the Ukrainians’ situation more and more desperate. The only thing holding them together is their fierce personal bonds, forged in school days and reinforced by their common language and culture. Their Russian commanders seem oblivious to the hopelessness of the situation, or else resigned to it. The Ukrainian soldiers experience moments of blank terror as they stare down certain death. Ahead of them the German mechanized divisions keep rolling forward, crossing rivers, their turret guns blazing, seemingly invincible, while behind them their superiors keep a lookout for deserters, guns at the ready.

With the fighting in Ukraine today, as Russia exerts its power in the Eastern part of the country, “Army of Worn Soles” could not be more topical. The seeds of the defiance we see in today’s Ukrainian soldiers were surely sown by the grandfathers who gave their lives seventy years ago. History is doomed to repeat itself, a message that comes through loud and clear in this short, beautifully written novel.


Cat Vs. Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat
Cat Vs. Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to Apurreciate Your Cat's Needs, April 30, 2014
I’ve had my two kittens for a year now, and had the chance to observe their behavior and be mystified numerous times. This book unlocked the mysteries. I learned what they mean with their different sound utterances, how their territorial instincts play out in my apartment, and common mistakes to avoid with the litter box. The book is clear and concise, and made easy reading. My only quibble is that sometimes the author, who is a veterinarian and feline behaviorist, seems to think cat owners should completely arrange their lives around their cats, and your apartment should become a 5-star cat hotel. I’m not prepared to go that far, but I’m happy to understand them and appreciate their needs better.


Ethan Justice: Incendiary
Ethan Justice: Incendiary
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Entertainment in this Thriller, February 22, 2014
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This is the third installment in the Ethan Justice thriller series, and although I liked the other two books a lot, this one satisfies on a higher level. The plot revolves around an English mafia figure named Nelson who is bent on enlarging his territory in southern Spain – drugs, prostitution, murder. Nelson’s idea of fun is getting beaten to a pulp by a prostitute, so you can imagine how he treats underlings who double-cross him, or simply deliver poor performance.

Ethan Justice and his girlfriend, Savannah Jones, work for the secret anti-terrorist organization Earthguard. The action starts immediately with a gas explosion and somebody shooting at their vehicle. Ethan’s sister Rachel happens to be in Madrid to put on her first fashion show, and soon it appears she might be a target of the bad guys.

Although Savannah Jones and Rachel get on famously, Ethan and his sister bristle in each other’s company. The tension between them is interesting, especially when Ethan finds himself feeling responsible for her safety.

The entire story takes place in Malaga, then Madrid and its environs. I loved the car chase scenes and all the technical stuff, using iPads to create local area networks on which a bomb could be detonated – cool stuff like that. But there is plenty of hand-to-hand combat as well, as Savannah has to find a way to survive when facing terrorists and serial rapists. Ethan Justice has many strengths, but marksmanship is not one of them, which makes for some humorous moments.

Alternating between Ethan’s point of view and Nelson’s, the book proceeds at a heart-thumping pace. Although I felt I knew how it would probably turn out, there were surprises at every turn, and twice as many surprises in the last fifty pages, just what I like in a thriller.

Incendiary is a wild and thrilling ride from start to finish, with that rare balance between nerve-wracking action and snarky humor. It’s a quick read, but one of those rare books that sticks in your memory.


Titanian Chronicles: Journey of destiny (Volume 1)
Titanian Chronicles: Journey of destiny (Volume 1)
Price: $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Bewitching Fantasy, October 28, 2013
I've finished my romp through fantasyland in the Titanian Chronicles, and it was such a pleasure to while away a few evenings in this strange and beautiful world. Wolflang and his elvin friend Afeclen set out on a quest which takes them beyond the borders of their peaceful land of Tebelligan. Little do they imagine the dangers that lurk in those forests.

Wolflang leaves behind his fiancée, Lenna, and the first moment I knew for sure I was going to like this book was when Lenna set out after them, alone. Foolhardy, to be sure, but the female characters in this book only seem weak because of their traditional demeanor. The truth of it is they’ve got plenty of fire in them, as Lenna proves early on their journey.

I love immersing myself in a fantasy world in which the names are unfamiliar, the plants do strange things, and animals come along that look and act in unpredictable ways. The lawfabex is such an animal, and every scene contains more surprises.

The heroes encounter one dire obstacle after another in this world filled with thieves and barbarians. They have to learn new rules, and Afeclen has to remain focused on his quest.

In the second half of the book I could not bear to put it down, despite the late hour, as different threads began to come together, and the fully developed characters found themselves in full action mode. The friendships between the characters are proven true again and again, as when Wolflang gives his horse to Oomla, giving the story a satisfying richness.

I very much enjoyed The Titanian Chronicles, and regretted having to leave this bewitching world. It seems like the kind of book that would lend itself to a sequel, so I’ll be watching for that.


OCEAN OF FEAR
OCEAN OF FEAR
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Original, Sharp Witted Thriller, August 3, 2013
This review is from: OCEAN OF FEAR (Kindle Edition)
This is a marvelous thriller with all the elements thriller readers crave - tough but likeable characters, gripping action, exotic locations. The plot is unusual, and several added twists which I can't elaborate on without spoiling it, make the book a real original.

There is a blond hunk at the center of it all, Baxter Cruise - his name is so perfectly Santa Cruz, surfer dude. He's mildly bad, with his spamming racket, but redeems himself one hundred fold, and turns out to be a normal guy with feelings and a conscience and smarts on top of it all.

FBI agent Claudia Seagal is tasked with solving the initial murder. As she systematically works through the evidence, which leads her closer and closer to Baxter, we realize that she is another one of the walking wounded. You can't not like her, and the stage is set for a couple of characters who might just put their ghosts to rest and get on with life, if only they can survive this roller-coaster ride of a deadly, crime-filled international adventure.

The revealing window on the inner psyche of these two characters kept me reading even more than the action-filled plot. I found their mutual yearning to be utterly believable. This human touch makes a satisfying counterpoint to the many details of a technical nature that are part of the story, which serve to amplify the effect of the frightening imagination of the criminals.

All in all, a whopper of a thriller - highly original, structurally impeccable, lovable characters, and sharp-witted dialogue all the way through. Thoroughly enjoyable!


Ethan Justice: Relentless
Ethan Justice: Relentless
Price: $3.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serial Killer With Comic Relief, July 17, 2013
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On the basis of the first Ethan Justice book a few months ago, I was primed to pick up the sequel. To my surprise, I liked this one even better.

Recovered now from their last showdown with evil (book 1), Ethan and his detective (and sometimes romantic) partner Savannah Jones are just plain two of the nicest yet most interesting private detectives I've had the pleasure of encountering. Their insecurities with each other, and when facing off against some really nasty enemies, are both endearing and maddening, at times.

Unfortunately, Ethan may be a first-class fighter, but he's a lousy shot. This makes for some welcome comic relief more than once in the novel. Gorgeous, dark-haired Savannah comes from the wrong side of the tracks, compared to prep-school graduate Ethan, but she's plenty smart and plenty resourceful. It's a pleasure watching these two try to sort out their own relationship, with an awkwardness that's downright comical.

Crime thrillers, it's often said, stand or fall on the depth and complexity of the villain. Ethan's nemesis in "Relentless" could hardly be more gruesome or sadistic and yet at the same time brilliantly manipulative. I like to read while eating, but not the descriptions of this villain as he disposes of the bodies! Epic battles result in the London borough of Twickenham. The book builds to an extremely satisfying ending which contained several surprises. Highly recommended!


Shadow Man (Smoky Barrett Book 1)
Shadow Man (Smoky Barrett Book 1)
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Rich and Complex Serial Killer Mystery, July 16, 2013
This is a fantastically rich and complex serial killer mystery with deep, flawed characters and a high-wire plot. I could not put it down. Shadow Man deserves comparison with Stieg Larsson's "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" or Jo Nesbo's "The Snowman". Frightening, riveting, a compelling read. A friend recommended Cody McFadyen, and I'll be back for more.


The Bones of the Earth (Dark Age Trilogy Book 1)
The Bones of the Earth (Dark Age Trilogy Book 1)
Price: $0.99

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A World of Magic and Beauty, Bone-Crackingly Real, July 12, 2013
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I love books that take me to another place and time. I devoured "The Mammoth Hunters" by Jean Auel, and when I started reading "Bones of the Earth" by Scott Bury I suddenly, happily found myself back in a world long before modern times, when the tools were rudimentary, and people lived in a close and intense and often dangerous relationship to the Earth. Set in the 6th century C.E., "Bones" is the story of a young warrior, Javor, living in the Carpathian Mountains, round about where Ukraine, Romania and Hungary share borders.

The hard-scrabble existence of these people is described in exquisite detail, their huts, their food, their weapons, their superstitions. The book begins with a fertility ceremony in which the young (fertile) members of the tribe are brought together to get going on the mating process. But in this book, scenes of haunting beauty are quickly replaced by violent pillaging at the hands of brutal raiders. The raiders lash out and kill indiscriminately, and take two of the young women with them. Javor and his friend set out to try and rescue the women. Their triumphant return from this impossible mission hints at Javor's magnificent potential, as well as the supernatural danger that lurks in the deep forest, and foreshadows some of the themes of the book.

Rather than take you through the many twists and turns of the plot of "Bones" I would like to simply tell you what is magical about this book. Javor is an immensely likeable hero, flawed, unique, strong, courageous. Photius the mystic, an older man, Javor's mentor, is a fascinating character study and full of surprises himself. Danisa, the young woman they rescue along their travels in dangerous, dragon-infested parts, provides a female foil to keep Javor in a perpetual state of longing and existential confusion. The dynamics between these three main characters are constantly shifting, and perfectly intertwined with developments in the plot. The characters are three-dimensional, and sparks fly in their dialogue.

Another strength of the book lies in the monsters. The dragons play a key role on "Bones," but these dragons were continually surprising me. Anyone who loved "Eragon" and the two sequels will revel in the discovery of the lesser known "Bones of the Earth," which is a superior read. And there are other monsters, here, many other monsters ... truly those were dangerous times Javor lived in.

All the way through the book, unexpected things kept happening, and by the conclusion of it I was so immersed in Javor's world, I almost couldn't stand for it to end. The perfect summer reading escape, whether for adults or teens, a richly drawn portrait of 6th century customs and traditions, a rip-roaring series of attacks and carnage and brutality, tasteful yet bone-cracking real, "Bones of the Earth" is a unique sensation. I urge the author to finish the sequel. This story MUST go on. I believe it was foretold ...


Ethan Justice: Origins
Ethan Justice: Origins
Price: $0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great suspense and interesting characters, June 22, 2013
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I've just finished Ethan Justice: Origins by Simon Jenner, and have to say I loved this unusual book. The characters are well developed and the plot continually surprised me with its many twists and turns.

I enjoyed watching all the crazy developments in the relationship between hapless hero John Smith and the beautiful Savannah. The evil dude at the center of the story, Fisher, is also well fleshed out, a pleasure to see. So often in thrillers the antagonists are two-dimensional cartoon figures.

A highlight of the book is the snarky dialogue, whether between John and Savannah, or when John adopts a certain accent. He was so good at it, I found it convincing and entertaining as well.

Reading Ethan Justice: Origins was time well spent, and I'll certainly be looking forward to the sequel.


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