Darkness and Blood #bookreview

First sentence: Pablo de Silva, ex-CIA agent, awoke from the restless sleep of a man on the run.

About the story: When a former American spy, Pablo de Silva, and his former handler, Stuart Bishop, discover top-secret information, they must use their wisdom and wits if they want to remain alive.

My thoughts: Darkness and Blood is the sequel to Haberman’s The Killing Ploy. While I thought its predecessor was an interesting read, I felt Darkness and Blood was so much better. It seemed Haberman had a better handle on the characters. While some of the dialogue didn’t always seem like what CIAs would say, it didn’t put me off. It was more developed in this book than the first.

My only complaint while reading is that there were times in the narrative when I had to re-read a sentence. I like italics to show when a character is thinking. To me, it helps separate the dialogue and the narrative, making the scene more clearly. There weren’t a whole lot of italics within the story, except for when someone speaks French.

As always, the backdrop of the story was great. It took me from the comfort of my own home and I felt I was there along with Pablo and Stuart.

Darkness and Blood was a quick and fun read. I love spy novels and this didn’t disappoint! Although it is a sequel, I don’t think it matters in which order the books are read. The plots are completely different and we get to know enough about the characters in the second book to thoroughly enjoy it.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Does it interest you? Buy it here!

*For more reviews, visit: Angela Kay’s Books*

A little bit about the author:

A University of Texas graduate, Steve Haberman pursued legal studies at UCLA before embarking on a career as a legal assistant. Profitable stock market investments made travel abroad possible, and he has since visited Europe extensively and frequently, including London, Paris, Prague, Berlin, as well as Milan and Budapest. Many of these feature as settings in his two e-book novels. “Murder Without Pity,” a murder mystery with tragic echoes from the past, occurs in Paris. “The Killing Ploy” (with heavy overtones of “fake news” before that was topical) is set partially in several Continental capitals. His two works in progress, “Darkness and Blood,” the sequel to “The Killing Ploy,” and “Winston Churchill’s Renegade Spy” also use foreign locales. He is presently planning another three month trip abroad for research on a fifth thriller, this one set in the post World War II apocalyptic ruin of the German capital.

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The Killing Ploy #Bookreview

  • Title: The Killing PloyThe Killing Ploy by [Haberman, Steve]
  • Author: Steve Haberman
  • Print Length: 265
  • Publication Date: May 8, 2012
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Suspense, Mystery, Thriller, Espionage

Pablo de Silva is a former CIA tracker and shooter who is being haunted by the memory of his last mission, when he failed to save the lives of a fellow agent and lover. In this present day, he’s been trying to work through his failure, but it isn’t so easy when his colleagues are holding him in such low regard because of such failure. When his former boss calls him home on a new assignment, he quickly begins to realize that he’s fallen into a dangerous web.

The Killing Ploy was an interesting read. For the first half of the story, though, I found myself slugging through. The characters weren’t rounded out as I liked and a lot of the times the dialogue didn’t quite fit who they were as people. And while the scenery was developed wonderfully in the narrative (marvelous job at that. Coming from somewhere that doesn’t travel to exotic places, I felt I was there), there were a lot of times when I felt the sentence was incomplete. For example: She could remember their panicky flight out to the terrace, stumbling down the steep bluff, and struggling up some dunes to her Mercedes. After that, though, a fog as to why they had escaped to RCB.

I can see what the author is saying in the last sentence, but it, like many others, don’t really sit that well with me.

The second half was much better than the first. I can see a better grip on the writing and details. While the dialogue still wasn’t up to par, I found myself getting a little more into the story, wanting to find out how it would end.

Overall Rate: 3 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, click here.*

Biography

Steve Haberman

A University of Texas graduate, Steve Haberman pursued legal studies at UCLA before embarking on a career as a legal assistant. Profitable stock market investments made travel abroad possible, and he has since visited Europe extensively and frequently, including London, Paris, Prague, Berlin, as well as Milan and Budapest. Many of these feature as settings in his two e-book novels. “Murder Without Pity,” a murder mystery with tragic echoes from the past, occurs in Paris. “The Killing Ploy” (with heavy overtones of “fake news” before that was topical) is set partially in several Continental capitals. His two works in progress, “Darkness and Blood,” the sequel to “The Killing Ploy,” and “Winston Churchill’s Renegade Spy” also use foreign locales. He is presently planning another three month trip abroad for research on a fifth thriller, this one set in the post World War II apocalyptic ruin of the German capital.

Unelmoija: The Dreamshifter #bookreview @elleboca

  • Title:  Unelmoija: The DreamshifterUnelmoija: The Dreamshifter (Weeia Book 1) by [Boca, Elle]
  • Author: Elle Boca
  • Print Length: 208
  • Publication Date: November 24, 2014
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction

Amy is Weeia. She doesn’t know much about the Weeia race, only that they are superhuman with special abilities. In Unelmoija: Dreamshifter, Amy is beginning to learn more about her own Weeia ability. As she discovers more about her powers, she learns someone is trying to kill her. To save her life, Amy must rely on a mysterious stranger who both attracts her and repels her, as well as her father she’d never met.

After reading Elle Boca’s Weeia Marshalls series, then reading this book, I can honestly say that she’s grown as a writer. Unelmoija: Dreamshifter is her first novel and also the book that introduces us to the Weeia universe. I liked the idea behind the Unelmoija universe, and I also liked most of the characters. The only thing about Amy that I wasn’t too crazy about was that it seemed as though she was a little too happy-go-lucky. Even in danger, I couldn’t really feel her trepidation. I also felt she struck a friendship with Duncan a little too quickly after deciding that she didn’t trust him. I think it would have been better and more intriguing if Amy and Duncan showed their obvious attraction, but struggled with feelings that were developing.

When I first started Dreamshifter, Amy was acting like normal people do, then the narrative throws in something about a kidnapping of her and her mother, which, as the story progresses, never got fully explained. I had gone back to the very beginning of the book to the table of contents and began to flip through, thinking I may have missed the prologue or something. But, I didn’t, which made me feel as though I was thrown into something I should have already known. Sometimes the way the dialogue was written confused me.

*For example: “I can see your mind is set.” I’d won the first battle. I kept quiet, as the situation was uncertain.*

In that scenario, it’s Duncan who is speaking. Then, in the same paragraph, it jumps into Amy’s first-person narrative. There were a lot of instances about that.

I think this was a decent beginning to the series. It isn’t my favorite, but I did like the premise. And as I said earlier, Elle Boca does grow as a writer. All series needs something to get the ground running, and Dreamshifter does the trick. I would be interested to see where Amy goes now that she’s learned more about Weeia and her powers. Maybe the questions I had in the first book are embellished in the ones after.

Overall Rate: 3 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, click here.*

River Rising (Carson Chronicles Book 1) #bookreview @johnheldt

  • Title: River Rising (Carson Chronicles Book 1)River Rising (Carson Chronicles Book 1) by [Heldt, John A.]
  • Author: John A. Heldt
  • Publication Date: September 18, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance, Time Travel

Meet the Carson family. The eldest of five siblings, Adam, comes across a letter written by his mother. In that letter, he finds that his parents, who had disappeared months before, did not actually vanish. Rather, his mother provides him with evidence that she and her husband, found a time portal in which they walked through in search of adventure. But, something went wrong. Now, it’s up to the Carson children: Adam, Natalie, Greg, and twins Caitlin and Cody, to find their parents and bring them home.

This is definitely my favorite of John A. Heldt’s novels. It’s the same in many ways, yet it’s different. It’s the same in a way that we read the adventures the characters have: they travel through time, make friends, fall in love. It’s different because in the previous novels (I’ve only read The American Journey series), which everything ties together in the final book, we learn about different characters with ties of the same professor. Here, it seems as if the series will continue the Carson family in search of the same thing: reuniting their family.

Because of this, we’re left with a cliffhanger, living it open for a second book. This isn’t to say that we’re left hanging. River Rising, full of love, heartbreak, adventure and action, ties almost everything together. It just leaves us eagerly waiting to continue the journey.

As usual, the writing is engaging and keeps us on our toes. My only grievance is the dialogue. Having read another series by the same author, I’ve come to be familiar with the same style in the dialogue, when I wish it would be different. Here’s an example. Throughout this book, and the previous series, the dialogue is similar to this (this is not necessarily the exact dialogue):

“I have something to give you,” Adam said.

“What is it?”

“I’ll show you,” Adam walked inside the house, then returns with a box. “I want you to have this.”

Or…

“They didn’t,” Hank said. “They didn’t tell me much of anything.”

In the first example, my thought is that if you’re going to give someone something, you don’t need to tell them you’ll show them. A “allow me a second to retrieve it” would have sufficed, and to me seem more realistic. The second example is that there is quite a bit of repetition in the dialogue. Normally, this wouldn’t bug me, however, the same happened throughout the previous five novels I’ve read. And with both the future characters and past characters doing it, it leaves little room for character growth.

However, the dialogue issue aside, I did truly love the story. I love how the author gradually includes real-life tragedies into the narrative. My eyes refused to leave my Kindle as I read the ending. Although some things were predictable, I did find several shocking moments.

I look forward to learning more about the Carson family and following them onto their next adventure as they search to reunite.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, click here.*

Biography

John A. Heldt

John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.

Silent Fear #bookreview @SterlingGate @MorcanJames

  • Title: Silent FearSilent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes) by [Morcan, Lance, Morcan, James]
  • Author: Lance and James Morcan
  • Print Length: 708
  • Publication Date: September 21, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

Wow! This is definitely one heavily involved book! Silent Fear is based on a True Crime that took place in Gallaudet University between 1980 and early 2000s. In the book, not only does Detective Valerie Crowther has to deal with solving a series of murders inside London’s university for the deaf, but she ends up quarantined after one of the students falls victim to the Monkey Flu. The good thing is the killer is looked in the school as well. The bad thing is that there are more than 400 suspects that Valerie must weed through.

I felt the characters and the setting really shined. I truly liked Crowther. She’s a strong woman who cares deeply for those around her, whether or not she wants to admit it. She was once married to Chief Superintendent Mark Bennett and as a reader, it was obvious that they really cared for one another. The only thing I didn’t care for was the continuous mentioning that Bennett was Crowther’s ex. I was reminded too many times within the narrative and the dialogue. The supporting characters were interesting and kept the story moving along.

The writing was tight. We’re given a lot of information (more than 400 pages worth), but keeps you intrigued and wanting more. In fact, I had misplaced my iPad during the course of this reading and after the initial sadness of losing my iPad, I became disappointed that I couldn’t finish the book. I had a PDF copy given to me by the authors, so it wouldn’t have worked on my Kindle. Thankfully, I did find my iPad and sped through the story. I couldn’t put it down.

Packed with drama, suspense, action and surprises lurking around every corner, I definitely think this is worth the read for anyone loving thrillers and/or British crime novels.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, click here.*

The Silver Horn Echoes: A Song of Roland #bookreview

  • Title: The Silver Horn Echoes: A Song of Roland
  • Authors: Michael Eging and Steve Arnold
  • Print Length: 334
  • Publication Date: July 22, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Mythology, History, Historical Fiction

After Roland learns of a new threat to the Frank Kingdom, he must fight his way to victory and to protect King Charles, who happens to be his uncle, the brother of his mother. Additionally, Roland must find a way to bring to justice, the murderer of his father.

First off, I have to be honest and say I don’t usually read or even watch any kind of war stories. Secondly, I have to be even more honest and say wow! This book held my attention from the time I started reading until I finished. There was so much going on…however, not in the way it was confusing. As I read, I became so engrossed with the characters. I knew who I liked and I knew who was evil. Roland was a young man and you can see how he grew as time passed. Amidst the death, destruction and betrayal that came with the war, Roland and his company held onto their Christian faith, which I loved to read most of all.

The narrative was so descriptive, I could almost smell the blood, taste the dirt and hear the clatter of sword against sword in my mind’s eye. It was as if I was there. I started out as taking notes of what I liked and didn’t like, but in the end stopped because I could pause long enough. As it was, I had to force myself to stretch out my reading because I wanted to enjoy every minute.

Was there anything I didn’t like? I can’t remember it because I was too engrossed in the story, the relationship, the whole shebang.

Although most books I read these days are from my Kindle app, I certainly wouldn’t mind to one day purchase a hard copy. This is an epic tale that would be fun to read on a cold day sitting by a fire…in my opinion.

The authors deserve every single praise they get for the making of this book. I certainly can’t remember loving a book so much.

Here is an interesting bit of trivia I learned from one of the authors: the cover artist hand painted the cover to Song of Roland. He’s an artist in LA who has done work for D.C. Comics.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Smells Like Weeia Spirit #bookreview @elleboca

  • Title: Smells Like Weeia SpiritSmells Like Weeia Spirit (The Weeia Marshals Book 3) by [Boca, Elle]
  • Author: Elle Boca
  • Print Length: 350
  • Publisher: Poyeen Publishing
  • Publication Date: March 24, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Marshal Danni Metreaux is back with handsome Sebastien Poyager and this time they have to uncover several mysteries that intertwine with one another. Beginning with an incident at the Académie Superieur de Goin, Danni and Sebastien soon realize that something deeper is at play when more and more Weeia begins acting strangely.

As always, Danni is independent, snarky, strong-willed, and likable. I found her even more so in this book since she has finally settled into her life as a Weeia marshal in Paris. In the beginning, we see how much of a kind heart she has when she assists a family in need although it goes against regulations. Her independent attitude does change, as it would for many women, the more she becomes involved with her boyfriend, Iaen.  Sebastien is a definite worthy friend to have…he’s smooth talking, handsome and loyal to his family and friends.

If you’re worried about reading the third book in the series, having not read the first two, don’t, because within the dialogue and narrative, all the things you need to know will be explained. However, I found several unnecessary repetitions about what Weeia marshals do, or who a character is…I’d skim over because I’d remember it from earlier in the same story.

My main problem with this book isn’t even the plot point…it was Danni’s relationship with Iaen. They meet in the second novel, Weeia on My Mind, and quickly fall for one another. As I read through the passages including Iaen, I found him too…perfect. It would have been nice to have a little bit of annoyance from Iaen. After all, several times, Danni has to bail on him when he’s planning something special. Sure, it’s her job, but, still. The mysterious Iaen we met in the second book is all smiles and understanding every single time Danni runs off.

Some of the dialogue, or even the narrative, can be a bit cheesy for my tastes and not really fit the characters I’ve come to know, but the story behind it is still an enjoyable read for any fantasy fan.

Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars

Biography

Elle Boca

Elle is the author of the Weeia urban fantasy series about superhumans. The Unelmoija series is set in Miami. In the Garden of Weeia, a novella, is set in Portland, Maine, and her newest Marshals Series is set in Paris, France. Growing up the only child of a monkey mother and a rabbit father she learned to keep herself entertained and spend time reading.

Seekers of Earth (The Guardian Knights of Terra Book 1) #bookreview

  • Title: Seekers of the Earth (The Guardian Knights of Terra Book 1)Seekers of Earth (The Guardian Knights of Terra Book 1) by [Pratt, Kyle]
  • Author: Kyle Pratt
  • Print Length: 186
  • Publication Date: March 17, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Space Opera

Let me start by saying that Seekers of the Earth is a novella, rather than a full-length novel. It serves as an introduction to its sequel, Recall the Earth.  In just 186 pages, the novella opens with action and does not slow down the pace. Lucas Baldwin is on his first deep space training mission when he encounters a girl that may or may not be crazy. When Lucas learns that the girl is speaking English, a dead language, he finds himself sucked into a web of treason that may get himself, the girl, and others killed. Despite the dangers he is facing, Lucas plans on figuring out what is fact and what is fiction.

Seekers of the Earth was a well-written prequel to the series. There was a lot going on in a short amount of pages, but doesn’t leave you confused as to who was who or what was going on. As I read, my mind was filled with questions which gradually became answered.

Be warned for those who don’t like cliffhangers. This novella does leave you hanging, but fear not…the book is already available on Amazon! I highly recommend this…if you enjoy science fiction and space opera, you won’t be able to put it down.

Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, click here.*

Biography

Kyle Pratt

Kyle Pratt is a bestselling author of speculative fiction. His latest full-length novel, Braving the Storms, is the third book in the Strengthen What Remains series.

Through Many Fires, the first book in the post-apocalyptic series was released in paperback, Kindle and on Audible in August 2013. Within two weeks the novel appeared on the Kindle Science Fiction Post-Apocalyptic list, reaching #10, and reached #1 on the list on December 2, 2014. Through Many Fires has earned its way to the #1 spot on the Kindle Dystopian and Military list, and #39 on the Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense list.

Kyle grew up in the mountains of Colorado and earned an Associate in Arts degree from Mesa State College in Grand Junction. When money for college ran low he enlisted in the United States Navy as a Cryptologic Technician. “I thought I would do four years and then use my veteran’s benefits to go back to college,” he once said.

His first assignment was with a U.S. Navy unit at the Royal Air Force base in Edzell, Scotland. While on leave in Israel he met Lorraine from Plymouth, Devon, England and married her the next year. Together they spent the remainder of his twenty-year naval career traveling across the United States from Virginia to Hawaii and on to Guam, Japan and beyond.

Even before he retired from the service he wrote short stories. In July of 2012 his debut novel, Titan Encounter, a science fiction space adventure, came out on Kindle and later in paperback. His second book, Final Duty – The Speculative Fiction Novelette was released in January of 2013.

Today, Kyle and Lorraine live on a small farm in Western Washington State.

Website: http://www.kyleonkindle.com

In the Company of Wolves (Of Witches and Werewolves Book 2) #BookReview

  • Title: In the Company of Wolves (Of Witches and Werewolves)In the Company of Wolves (Of Witches and Werewolves Book 2) by [Barclay, Cory]
  • Author: Cory Barclay
  • Print Length: 350
  • Publication Date: September 15, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Supernatural, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Thriller

In the Company of Wolves is aptly named. We return a few years after the events in its predecessor, Devil in the Countryside. We already know a few of the characters and are introduced to a new set of interesting ones. The entirety of the book follows the perspective of four in particular: Rowaine, a female pirate; Gustav, a man in the search of revenge; Sybil, a refuge trying to earn a safe life with her family; and Hugo, Sybil’s younger brother who is trying to find his way in the world. Each character wants something and in order to get something, they must fight for survival, bloodshed and betrayal.

I must say I enjoyed the first book a tad bit more, however, this one still deserves the rating of five stars. It kept a steady pace, and offered a few surprises you don’t see coming. As I did in the first book, I enjoyed Barclay’s way of descriptions. It’s so vivid, it’s as if I’m seeing the scene unfold.

My only issue is that sometimes the obvious tends to be stated through the narrative. Maybe it’s just me, but for example, in the beginning, one of the characters begins stuttering when he speaks. After I read his dialogue, I thought, “OK, he stutters.” Then in the next sentence, the narrative explains the fact that he stutters. There were a few more instances, but it wasn’t so much that it would knock any points off.

As always, the characters were well-developed and I enjoyed learning about most of them, especially Hugo. As a young boy trying to find his place in the world, he goes in a direction that surprises him and he’s unsure about. I’m sure many of us can relate to that in real life.

It’s not needed to read the first book before this one, though I highly recommend it. While, yes, the first one may have its flaws, it was a truly excellent introduction to the series. In the Company of Wolves, however, does give you the background you’ll need to appreciate the story.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, click here.*

Biography

Cory Barclay

As far back as he can remember, Cory Barclay has always loved the “big picture” questions. How much knowledge did humanity lose when the Library of Alexandria was burned down? Why has the concept of Heaven remained intact, in one form or another, throughout most of human history and how has it impacted life on Earth?

And even before that, when he first began writing stories in grade school, he’s been fascinated with histories and mysteries. Whether Norse mythology, the Dark Ages, or the conquests of great leaders, Cory’s been that kid who wants to know what’s shaped our world and write about it. Especially the great unsolved mysteries.

So Devil in the Countryside was a natural for him.

Born and raised in San Diego, he graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied Creative Writing and Modern Literary Studies. He’s also a songwriter and guitarist, and – no surprise – many of his songs explore the same topics he writes about – the great mysteries of our crazy world.

Devil in the Countryside is his second novel and he’s hard at work on its sequel.

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