Category Archives: Three Stars

1 Law 4 All – Gator

1 Law 4 All - Gator by [Billy Angel]

1 Law for All – Gator is the third installment of a Billy Angel’s political thriller series. This book is a suspenseful crime fiction story set in modern times. There are two storylines that this book follows; Dominica and her upcoming nuptials, as well as the Fair and Freedom Foundation, which is an organization consisting of mostly millennials who fight against voter fraud. They have sought help from the 1 Law for All Foundation as the organization has drawn attention from dangerous people. With the backdrop of a wedding and the action-packed dangers of the political waters, Gator country is in trouble.

There is a lot to unpack in this book thrilling book. It felt like an alternate timeline to our current situation in the U.S. There was great detail put into the the plan to tamper with the election by the Democrats in this high stakes political thriller. They were heavily involved with having votes changed by various nefarious means, Russians were involved, and there was even mention of Clinton conspiracy theories at one point. All are uncanny portrayals of the extreme views both sides take in todays turbulent political climate and that same tension is successfully reflected on the page in Billy Angel’s riveting thriller. I appreciated how well thought out the plan was to commit election fraud as it made it feel real, which allowed me to get further invested in the story and the characters. This story utilizes right-wing conspiracy theories to great affect. Those theories in our current political climate can be dangerous and delegitimize our democracy, but Billy Angel, like any good fiction writer, asks the question of ‘what if’ and sets his story on a path that is entertaining.

1 Law for All – Gator is an intriguing fictional take on election fraud, even introducing nanobot technology at one point, which having a bit of science fiction infused in the story was surprising but welcomed. It was this futuristic take on how to change the votes that I enjoyed. Fans of political thrillers that like complex storylines and well orchestrated action scenes will enjoy this well written book.

Pages: 335 | ASIN: B08HVG8PT1

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Random Summer Storms: Book Three – Family


Dee is a surfer who has lived an eventful youth. Managing to survive one dangerous scenario after another, she has pretty much experienced it all. From swimming with Orcas to experimenting with drugs and trying to outwit known criminals, Dee and her friends knew no boundaries. Her summers were filled with one breathtaking encounter after another. She recalls these times fondly and describes the thrill associated with each of their close-calls with an unmatched level of nostalgia. As the years passed, Dee’s family grew and her family meets with their own challenges and successes. Theirs is a life many would look upon with amazement.

Random Summer Storms, by Denise Ann Stock, is the third book in contemporary fiction a series. Main characters, Dee and Ian, have a past rooted in turmoil. They have known nothing but drama since their youth on the coast of California. Wishing to leave their past behind and begin a new life, Dee and Ian set their sights on Florida for their fresh start.

Stock’s third book in a series is, by and large, a narrative. With few exchanges between characters, Random Summer Storms reads more like a memoir than a story with a clearly-defined sequence of events. Dee, the narrator, relates a detailed description of every family member’s activities and challenges. From her own husband and children to her extended family members, she paints a clear picture of each one’s celebrations as well as their business dealings, legal or otherwise.

Random Summer Storms is written in a unique style. While I prefer more dialogue in my realistic fiction, I enjoyed the feel of the memoir. I would have appreciated a little more organization to the story as I felt like it was a bit aimless at times, which left me with questions. This family fiction story felt as though it contained a little bit of everything, there was a motley collection of striking dilemmas and curious conflicts.

Random Summer Storms has the potential to be a truly engaging story, but I felt like the characters are not given an opportunity to flourish in a well-developed plot. Had Random Summer Storms been touted as memoir-esque and edited to read in a more diary-type narration, it could have been quite a fascinating piece of literature.

Pages: 252 | ISBN: 1952269474

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Lost Universe

Captain Patrick and his team are out to find the end of the universe, and they believe they have arrived at their destination. But they are not prepared for what’s coming next. Upon arrival, they receive news from aliens that earth and all its inhabitants have been vaporized. It turns out the captain and his three crew members are the only humans left in the entire universe. Now the Federation must protect these people and help them start a new race on a new earth. But there’s more to all this than meets the eye. Humans hold a deep secret that affects every creature in the universe. Now different forces are jostling to lay hold on it. What’s this secret, and to what length would the powers that be go to extract it from the last known humans?

Keith Brandon’s Lost Universe is a sci-fi novel that is brimming with activity and all of it is wrapped in an intriguing story line. Brandon sets up shop on extraterrestrial worlds. He takes us on a journey through the universe and tickles the imagination with accounts of aliens, spaceships, psychic powers, and advanced technology.

Keith Brandon builds his story around the common existential questions – who are we? Why are we here? And where did we come from? Interestingly, in his book, it is not man that’s asking these questions. In fact, it’s man who has the answers to them, buried deep in his subconscious. I find this interesting because it’s as if Brandon is saying if we looked deep enough, we’d discover the answers to these questions within ourselves.

Alongside the central theme, he also tells a story about leadership, unity in diversity, tolerance, and communal cooperation. Not to worry, all the convoluted conspiracies and cool alien tech transformed what would have otherwise been a snooze fest into a bubbling tale.

I like Brandon’s simplicity. It made the book easy to read. He also doesn’t try to cram so many details into the story. Instead, he keeps things concise and I could get through the book at a decent pace. With only a few grammatical errors here and there, the story was overall engaging. While Brandon weaves an engaging plot, I wanted to dig deeper into the exotic worlds he’s created in this book. Science fiction fans looking for a space opera brimming with adventure will have plenty to enjoy in this story.

Pages: 302 | ASIN: B07QWB8GJB

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Crown of Crowns

Crown of Crowns by [Clara Loveman]

As a daughter of one of the ruling families of Geniverd, Kaelyn has never known anything outside of her life of privilege and protection. She begins to realize the depth of that privilege when she meets Roki and learns more about the struggles of the common people. Through personal tragedies and charitable work, Kaelyn’s life changes drastically in just three years, but she is unaware that the changes are about to escalate quickly, and in ways she could never have imagined. Suddenly faced with more power and knowledge than she thought existed, Kaelyn has to become the savior Geniverd didn’t know it needed.

Crown of Crowns by Clara Loveman takes place on a dystopian-esque planet named Geniverd where disease has been nearly eradicated, natural births are against the moral code, and machines do every job previously held by humans. The ruling class, with royal families on each of the six continents, live in luxury and are insulated from any of the problems faced by the rest of the population. Kaelyn never questioned the traditions that her family, and the other elitists, followed until her mid-teens when she realizes just how much of a division they have actually created within the world and the majority of the people. At that point, Crown of Crowns moves the narrative along at a breakneck pace, as Loveman introduces a barrage of situations that forces Kaelyn to quickly mature, as she struggles with an ever-changing worldview. The story is a smooth and easy read for the most part, although the language occasionally reverts to almost adolescent type slang, which is jarring and a departure from the overall competent tone of the book.

Crown of Crowns deals heavily with the theme of morality, and the idea of doing what is right versus doing what has always been done. Kaelyn makes it clear early on that she believes tradition isn’t always what’s best, especially when a majority of people are suffering as a result. Her beliefs form initially from a place of selfishness (tradition would keep her from being with the person she loves) but as she grows and learns more about the world, she sees that genuine change is necessary for the people to thrive. 

Reading Crown of Crowns right now was also incredibly interesting because there were key plot points that reflected issues in our current society, namely an unforeseen pandemic and severe social unrest caused by years of disregard for the “common” people. The characters were engaging and I was invested in discovering what Kaelyn would do next, however, the book ends abruptly, leaving loose ends and questions to be answered in a followup novel. Crown of Crows is an epic dystopian fantasy novel that will entertain young-adult fans.

Pages: 238 | ASIN: B08BJGNHT7

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Now It’s Inescapable

Bill Mccausland’s Now It’s Inescapable depicts the psyche of a drug-addicted physician. Through his main character, Glen, he tells a relatable tale of how easy it is to slip into addiction, especially if you’ve lived a life full of adversity.

From the outside, Glen seems to have an incredible life. With his own practice and a beautiful wife, he appears to be the epitome of health and success, a stark contradiction to his real circumstances. As we read from chapter to chapter, his life unravels right before our eyes.

The author doesn’t depict Glen in the best of light. In many ways, he seems to be the villain of the story; reckless and unaffected by the way his addiction impacts those closest to him. On the other hand, his wife Julie is painted as the ever-supportive but highly enabling spouse. However, ultimately it is revealed that the two of them have a dangerous codependency that only births destruction. Interestingly, neither is purely evil nor purely good; each one has their own demons to fight.

This story mirrors real life by attempting to explain the complex multilayered nature of the human soul. By telling the story through the main character’s perspective, the author seems to bring us so intimately into his life. We not only see what Glen does but also why he does it and the mental process that leads to his decisions. Great details are given about all drivers of Glen’s addiction, giving us a fuller understanding of him.

However, the book contains some grammatical errors and inconsistencies that make it hard to get through this otherwise interesting story. There is also a lot of use of grandiose terms and long winded dialogues that don’t feel natural.

That aside, I do acknowledge that the author does a great job of expressing important themes through the book. The outstanding ones are the role that family dynamics play in adult dysfunction and the cyclic nature of life. Ultimately, I do believe that with a little bit of polishing, this story has the potential to be a fan favorite.

Pages: 245 | ASIN: B07GC72TTL

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Blessed Beyond Measure

Blessed Beyond Measure: Getting back to the Basic of what we were called to be by [K. Denise McQueen]

There are many life lessons to be learned from the Holy Bible and messages readers and believers can apply to their most trying situations. From relationships to remaining faithful believers in Christianity, the Bible can sometimes be difficult to interpret, and some passages have as many interpretations as they have readers. Blessed Beyond Measure, by K. Denise McQueen, is one woman’s work based on scripture and life experience. From being virtuous to having a forgiving spirit, McQueen covers a vast array of life’s dilemmas head-on and with scripture in mind.

Blessed Beyond Measure, by K. Denise McQueen, is filled with quotes from the Bible as well as quotes from inspirational speakers like former President Barack Obama. In each of McQueen’s chapters, she tackles an ethical dilemma or an aspect of relationships based on scripture and adds her own opinions throughout. Though I don’t agree with some of her thoughts on making sure the man is the one making decisions in the household, she does make some valid points about self-worth and being humble.

I was expecting a book rooted in the Bible and focused on general life advice but found this to be more of a text designed to advise women in their relationships. Peppered throughout the book is valuable commentary on self-respect, how to treat others, and how to live a life with purpose. The bulk of the book is centered on the choices one must make in order to begin a romantic relationship and how to maintain a strong marriage.

With a few organizational and grammatical issues aside, I think that Blessed Beyond Measure has strong messages that come from the heart, each of them valuable in different ways and K. Denise McQueen’s passion for life and faith shines through every chapter. This is an inspirational book that motivates readers to live a God first life.

Pages: 90 | ASIN: B07C33V2Z4

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Oink and Gobble and the Missing Cupcakes

Oink and Gobble have very little in common, but that doesn’t stop them from being the best of friends. No matter what others on the farm may say about either of them, they manage to ignore it and live happy-go-lucky lives. When Oink’s cupcakes go missing, the two best friends set out on a mission to find the culprit. With Gobble’s love for logic and Oink’s overactive imagination, the pair is bound to solve the mystery–with some light-hearted moments along the way.

Oink and Gobble and the Missing Cupcakes, written by Norman Whaler and illustrated by Mohammad Shayan, is a children’s book filled with humorous moments between farm animals and best friends on their way to solving a mystery. Bright and colorful illustrations clearly convey the story line and further add to the plot. Included is a page with the names of each farm animal complete with labels.

I enjoyed this book, but I felt like the story line belongs in a book for children ages 2 to about 6 while the verbiage and some of the exchanges between characters I think might be above the heads of most children in that age group. I enjoyed the asides and the humor injected into the dialogue but found it more appropriate for older readers. I would recommend the plot of the story for young children, but the narrative is much more fitting for young adult readers.

Well-written and superbly illustrated this book will bring a smile to readers’ faces. I think this book is best read with parents or teachers as it presents many learning opportunities. Oink and Gobble and the Missing Cupcakes is a fun and funny picture book.

Pages: 30 | ASIN: B07YN4W37Q

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Beasts

 

Beasts by [Angelina Kanan]

Beasts by Angelina Kanan is a classic example of the paranormal werewolf genre. Selene Knight is an alpha struggling to find her place in the world after the tragic death of her sister. For years she has run away from her past, but she is unable to continue avoiding it when an increase in wendigo sightings forces her to pay a visit to her brother, which also means having to encounter her estranged father and the bitter memories of her childhood home. Add the stress of a burgeoning relationship with her elusive mate, and Selene has a lot on her plate.

Beasts contains elements that will please fans of werewolf romance, including a mysterious and sexy mate with a tragic past, and an abundance of conflict stemming from the politics within and between packs. While the story line is enthralling, I was left wanting more from the scenes meant to be exciting, tense, or romantic. While the old adage “show, don’t tell” could be used here to draw readers further into this imaginative world. Much of the narration is devoted to explaining the relationships between characters and how those characters feel, as well as how Selene herself feels.

The most compelling character is Selene; as a female alpha who leads a small pack and is plagued by a host of demons from her past, readers will root for Selene to succeed. Her mate also proves to be an interesting character, with the question of his identity being the first of many mysteries Selene unravels as she gets to know him. Also strong are the connections between Selene and her deceased sister, as well as her brother. These sibling relationships, filled with love and loss, are touching. The rest of the characters blend together. Brett is the “sassy male friend who loves clothes and makeup” stereotype, while the other members of Selene’s pack come to the foreground when they are important to the plot.

The strongest aspect of this book is the plot, which presents some interesting conflicts and surprising reveals. Many readers will likely enjoy the relationship between Selene and her handsome mate.

Pages: 212| ASIN: B088TFBHJL

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