Category Archives: Book Reviews

The Blue Chameleon

The Blue Chameleon: The Life Story of a Supercop by [Cinquanta, Daril]

Retired Detective Daril Cinquata gave decades to the Denver PD. He earned commendations, awards, and medals throughout his career. He meted out justice by arresting thousands of felons. He was a hard-working cop who played on the edge of legality to ensure that justice has been served. Even the best TV cops never play by the rules. His adherence to the law and commitment to the service for all was admirable and used as an example. However, not everyone liked his brand of justice. Many people would have liked to see him fail. This only worked to increase his thirst for justice.

The author plunges the reader into a fast-paced world of police work and the politics that lace the police force. You will get a first-hand account of actual events during Detective Cinquata’s service. You will get an insider’s look. This book is like being cast deep into an intense episode of NCIS where it is all action and tough-talking detectives. The narration is so vivid with clear descriptions and masterful settings that the reader will take a virtual walk through the precincts and have a bird’s eye view of crime scenes throughout the book. From the tone of the book and spirit that lurks within the pages, you can feel the passion that one man had for his work. You cannot help but admire his bravery. At the end of this book, not only will you greatly appreciate Detective Daril Cinquata but also have a newfound respect for any man in blue.

The way this story is told, with all the rough cuts and the gruff way only a cop can speak, you will feel like the author is narrating the story in person. He has done nothing to mask the true cop in him. There is a certain honesty in this book that is simply unmistakable. The story of this man’s life and the events throughout his career are told with absolute frankness and transparency. The events are corroborated by local news stories. So honest that he does not hide his imperfections either. He regales the reader with an embarrassing account of being caught pants down (or at least open). The author is not afraid to show his blemishes. He is not afraid to admit that he was scared at times, to reveal his vulnerabilities. This adds a layer of excitement and reality to this book. It lets the reader connect with the author and the story in a special way.

Rarely do we get to see an unairbrushed version of police work. The Blue Chameleon is simply a gem. Kudos for his enthusiasm and commitment to the job. Utmost gratitude for allowing an inside look into a decorated detective’s service and life in the force. The Blue Chameleon is definitely worth a read.

Pages: 322 | ASIN: B075BP3XXN

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Wounded

Wounded by [Burgess Jr., Ben]

Some scars will destroy everything in your path. No one understood this better than Samantha. After being a heartless and disengaged person for most of her life, she has no remorse about what she does to other people. She is perfectly fine deceiving and targeting women. That is until she meets Sasha, who upturns her entire life. Sasha loses some important people in her life for the simple reason that she loves Samantha. However, Sam’s past and her scars will ruin everything. Isis died but who will Samantha be now? Can she make it having lost a chunk of her heart? Can love truly improve a person?

Ben Burgess Jr writes Wounded with a passion that will make you feel the characters devastation. It is sad to watch Sam be the person she is, knowing full well she could be different. The stories of Sam’s childhood are told with vivid emotion and pain that the reader cannot help but empathize with a person who is still a scarred little girl inside. Even when she messes up, the reader still remains on her side. This book will keep you hoping that love will finally show up and conquer all. When you think it finally has, unseen twists will have you reeling.

It is evident that Samantha’s character took time to sculpt. She is deeply complex and multidimensional. This only increases the frustration when other characters do not see these sides too. She is an extraordinarily broken person but the enthusiasm with which she executes her bitterness is inspiring. The friends, among other supporting characters, are developed enough to make them interesting but allow Sam to remain the driving force in this novel.

The emotive way in which this book has been written, along with a vibrant use of language, makes the writing simple yet captivating. However, I felt like the story was wrapped up a little too quickly. I wanted to see more of the process that led to Samantha’s change and I felt like the death of Isis should be broken down as we simultaneously witness the birth of a new Sam.

This book pulls you in right from the beginning. You will find yourself hoping for a better Sam right from the first page. Wounded will inspire an emotional investment. After this emotional roller-coaster, at least you will get a happy ending.

Pages: 224 | ASIN: B07TT13N13

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Legend of the Storm Hawks

Legend of the Storm Hawks (Rootstock Saga Book 1) by [Leonard, L.H.]

Legend of the Storm Hawks by L.H. Leonard is a culmination of fantasy, prophesy and politics. It’s a story filled with intrigue as the characters embark on a journey backed by prophecy and tinged with uncertainty. The characters are rich and well crafted. Nigel is a politician holding so many strings that it is almost inevitable when it all unravels. Sethlyan has been told he and his brothers, Aengus and Gaven have significant roles to play when the time comes but really, his gifted wife Isobel and their impossible family is his main focus. All these men have interests to protect and for each noble intent, there exists a force intent on blocking its fruition. Politicians, religious leaders, and clan leaders are each looking out for their own interests and although there are attempts at alliances, not many interests align. Before there are any resolutions there is betrayal and there is war. There is also what looks like the fulfillment of prophecy. Men thought dead are still alive, babies are being borne of women who should not be fertile and one religious zealot has managed to find broad-based support for his cause. Still, the cycle has to continue. No one knows how it will all play out, despite the supernatural gifts some of them possess.

I enjoyed everything about Legend of the Storm Hawks. The setting was unique and captivating and breathed life into the characters as well as their station in life and their heritage. The themes of family, politics, and xenophobia are presented interestingly considering the time period is closer to medieval than modern. The point is that anyone can relate to the different struggles the characters go through to protect themselves and their families.

The story is consistently engaging as each event led seamlessly, and sometimes surprisingly, into the other. The plot is complex, and one can appreciate how the author fits it all together, but not so complex that I couldn’t follow it; the depth of Game of Thrones without the overwhelming complexity.

My only concern would be the wait for the next installment since the anticipation of seeing what happens next is not about to wane. The characters really grow on you and you want to see what happens next, even if everything seems to be at a standstill, for now. Legend of the Storm Hawks will effortlessly suck you into it’s world and leave you wanting more.

Pages: 562 | ASIN: B0826XRYCY

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Crimson at Cape May

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Darrell has a lot going on. He’s made a name for himself as the football coach of the local high school team. It’s quite possible he has finally met the love of his life, but he’s still dealing with being accused of providing steroids to his players. Just as he begins to hope things will take a turn for the better, the supernatural starts to take over and he starts seeing ghosts. Darrell, not wanting to admit a ghost is foremost on his mind, attempts to live his day-to-day life, but it’s not  working.

Darrell, the main character of Randy Overbeck’s Crimson at Cape May, is doing all he can to overcome the accusations laid against him. His current situation has put any future he might have with Erin on the edge of ruin, and the ghosts that plague him are relentless. He is struggling to overcome the stigma that now hovers over him while he battles the dark looks and cold stares from the townsfolk with whom he once traded pleasantries. In addition, Darrell is concerned about a connection between one of his troubled players and the new ghosts he has seen in Cape May.

One of the most fascinating aspects about Overbeck’s books centered around main character, Darrell Henshaw. As he moves from place to place, spirits are drawn to him and each one seems to know about the other. Overbeck uses this amazing trait to flawlessly move from one book to the next and seamlessly connect subplots.

I appreciate the introduction of Cassie. She brings a down-to-earth feel to the ghost story that spans the length of the book. Darrell is, for all intents and purposes, the one on whom the story-line relies. Cassie, however, somehow grounds the book and gives readers a truly relatable character. She questions her decisions, struggles with a low-wage job, and is conflicted about her own place in this world. She breathes a new kind of life into an already fascinating story.

The tragic subplot surrounding the young football player, Josh, and his sister, Josie, brings everything into perspective. As Darrell and Cassie team up to find out more about the ghosts plaguing them both, they are actively solving a missing persons case about which no one else in town seems to care. Along with Cassie’s story-line, Josie’s story makes the book engaging and palpable. No one wants to imagine what can happen to a young person who has run away or been abducted. The fact that the town is so hush-hush about her disappearance makes this reader’s heart skip a beat.

With both elements of mystery and suspense, readers across genres will find this second book about Darrell Henshaw intriguing. Overbeck includes just enough romance to appeal to readers who require complicated relationships in their reading as well. I thoroughly enjoy the style Overbeck uses and highly recommend Crimson at Cape May to anyone who has not tried his work before.

Pages: 357

Safari

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Safari: Poetry by Angela Khristin Brown is a collection of more than a dozen poems that focus on both the historic and modern struggles of Black people–from slavery to Civil Rights and the terrible circumstances that Black communities continue to face today.

I liked the poems that included historical facts. My favorite poem was the one titled Black Power that recalled a number of milestones in the Civil Rights movement. There were a few names mentioned that I was not familiar with, and I was interested to research further to learn more beyond what was relayed in the poems.

I enjoyed reading the poems in the book that had inspiring and encouraging messages about persevering against adversity and having pride in oneself (including A Rose and Brown Skin Girls). Other poems took a much harder view of the subject matter, relating how far the situation still falls short of an ideal world.

The author used a variety of different styles in the poems. Many of the poems included slang or texting abbreviations which made them more relateable to a younger audience. However, it might be confusing for some readers to fully grasp the author’s meaning. And there were issues with typos in several of the poems. I really enjoyed this thought-provoking collection and recommend it for readers who enjoy poetry with a powerful meaning.

Planet of Gods

Planet of Gods (Enigma Book 1) by [Crane, David]

Planet of Gods by David Crane is an exhilarating and intelligent sci-fi adventure set in the depths of space. The protagonist is a man called Peter Blackwood who is on the verge of retirement in the year 3500 AD. He’s looking forward to a relaxing and joyful life away from the stress that marked his earlier years. But those hopes are dashed when he’s suddenly captured and sent to an alien planet via a hyperspace tunnel. The new planet has a social divide and is filled with unrest. Through strange circumstances, Peter finds himself in the middle of all this turmoil. Using his military skills and expertise along with a diverse range of supporting characters, Peter navigates and revolutionizes this strange new world.

What impressed me the most about Planet of Gods is the unique and realistic touch to all of Peter Blackwood’s experiences. Although the novel takes place in a world that is vastly different from our own, the reactions and thoughts of the protagonist are perfectly captured to convey a sense that this character is real. I could picture myself thinking and doing the same things as Peter Blackwood, and that’s a pretty refreshing aspect to find in a book.

Although this is can be considered a dystopian novel, I didn’t find it unnecessarily dark or moody. The story is punctuated by a diverse assortment of exciting missions and varied characters that are constantly cropping up. The author manages to create a hard-boiled science fiction story with a thrilling plot. I enjoyed the rich history of the planet, making it an intriguing character on it’s own rather than just a backdrop.

Peter Blackwood as a character gave me strong Jack Reacher vibes. Both are middle-aged, ex-military men always finding themselves the unlikely heroes of their situation. Although I enjoyed the humanity in Peter’s character, he could be cold and calculating but also empathetic and sensitive. Although I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending, I am eagerly looking forward to the next installment in the series. This is an exceptional read that will be enjoyed by any fan of science fiction adventure stories.

Pages: 231 | ASIN: B007FL0KO8

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Transference

Transference by [Keaton, B.T.]

In B. T. Keaton’s Transference, sci-fi and technology take center stage as the reader is led through a thrilling story with incredible characters. The reader is introduced to Barrabas, whose words and actions confirm that he is among the most impressive character to follow. Barrabas is confident. He introduces himself with contentment and boasts of his actions. I like how the author created this particular character as it was difficult to predict what his next step would be. He takes pride in being the most infamous thief to grace the earth since Jesse James, compares himself to Robin of Locksley and talks about his prowess. It is comical that even though Barrabas appears a braggart that’s full of himself, I still found him exciting. He is one of those characters I’m glad the author created.

I like the time travel concept in the book. The author takes us to the year 2102. The people living in that era are lucky, as man has come up with a way that makes them live forever. ‘Transference’ is the process through which one can experience eternal life. Thanks to technology, this method involves moving a soul from one person to another. I enjoyed reading about the transference process and the author’s creativity really shines in these moments.

One reason I liked Barrabas was his tenacity. His character was solid and aggressive when necessary, but also cunning and knew when to trick people to his advantage. Reminding me of Malcolm Reynolds in the show Firefly.  Barrabas was no stranger to controversy, he rubbed people the wrong way and was unfortunately exiled to a mining colony far away from home. Even while in deportation, Barrabas never ceased to amaze me. Jovian was another fantastic character that I liked. The man commanded the masses through his dominion and controlled every part of the colony. His relationship with Barrabas made them a great pair in the story.

The suspense in this novel is something that is constantly building due to the mix of mystery and ever present anticipation of danger. Transference seamlessly incorporates action and drama with satire and excellent narration to make a story that is persistently compelling. Transference is an electrifying sci-fi thriller that uses interesting characters to drive a story that is ultimately, I think, about  the purpose of life. We see the extent people go to avoid suffering and how humans innovate for survival. This is an exceptional story that I would recommended to readers who enjoy gritty dystopian fiction.

Pages: 404 | ASIN: B082WPHTHH

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Badajoz

BADAJOZ: Sometimes you find the truth. Sometimes the truth finds you. by [DE VAL, MIKE ]

Badajoz is an area near the Spain-Portuguese border. Gordon Stone had never guessed that he could ever have a connection with that part of the world. You would think that by 60 you know everything there is to know about your lineage. However, Gordo discovers something new about his family at 60 years of age. The death of Mrs. Harrington throws his entire world in disarray. His retirement was supposed to be relaxing but that changed one morning. How will he handle this new information?

Badajoz is a story about one man who thinks he has everything in check. This is an interesting account of one man’s journey to discovering a side of himself he has not known about for 60 years. It is a thrilling tale of history, politics in the 1930’s and family.

Mike de Val has sculpted a story provide a different view of history. Badajoz is a masterfully written book with simple language and vivid descriptions. From the wet lycra to the whistling wind and even the image of Extremadura. In the beginning, when he gets back from cycling, you can feel the passive-aggressive tension in the room as Gordon and Emily bicker as only an old married couple can. The author ensures that the reader has everything they need to build mental images of the scene being set with vivid descriptions that feel effortless.

The characters in Badajoz come alive once you start reading. Gordon says that he is a semi-retired teacher because teachers never really stop teaching. This is so typical of teachers and also very typical of Gordon as we have come to know him. All the characters are properly introduced and remain distinctly true to their personalities throughout the novel.

It is amazing how history has been woven into this fictional story. You learn things but you also enjoy the events of Gordon’s life. This book will grab your attention from the moment you join Gordon as he watches the sleepy librarian to the moment he becomes ticked off with Manuel. You will remain rooted and supportive as he grieves his wife.

This book is complex, interesting and surprising. You will invest in this story emotionally and love the adventure. You might love Mrs. Harrington more for opening this can of worms.

Pages: 281 | ASIN: B082QWFPRN

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