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Cyclops Conspiracy: An Adam Weldon Thriller

Cyclops Conspiracy: An Adam Weldon Thriller by [William McGinnis]

Writer William McGinnis says that Adam Weldon is his favorite character, and indeed he does feature in a number of McGinnis’s action tales. Weldon is a MacGyver type – an ex-Navy SEAL who can turn any tricky situation to his advantage. Unlike MacGyver, however, he does so with a gun in one hand and in the other, an encyclopedic knowledge of how to kill someone bare-handed, Jack Reacher style.

In Cyclops Conspiracy, Weldon teams up with his girlfriend, Tripnee, an FBI sharpshooter, and an alluring drone expert called Sophia. Together, they set sail to prevent World War III.

The action takes them around the Greek Islands and, eventually, all the way to the White House as they attempt to foil the plans of Islamic extremists set on jihad. McGinnis clearly knows his way around a yacht, and most of the action takes place in and around boats, either theirs or those of the terrorists. The limited space on the boats makes for claustrophobic and interesting fight scenes, and clever escapes which the author takes full advantage of.

There is little description of the islands or the coastlines as seen from the water. The plot could be set just about anywhere there is a sea. McGinnis draws on the Cyclops / Greek mythology connection as well.

Throughout the book, the people are beautiful and the bad guys are very bad; the men are tough and resourceful, the women are mesmerizing. Tripnee and Sophia can little more than tolerate each other, a friction caused by jealousy over the attention of Weldon. This is a cliché that offsets the two strong female protagonists. Where there are scenes featuring Sophia attractively tinkering with her guns, I would have enjoyed seeing them be more integrated and vital to the plot.

While the characters were engaging and perfect vehicles to deliver entertaining action scenes, I look forward to seeing them developed further in future novels as they’re interesting characters, but I feel we’re only scratching the surface.

For fans of action-adventure novels there is plenty of violence and threat and lots of shooting with heads disappearing into red mists and a clever twist at the end. Cyclops Conspiracy is a thrilling action novel that will appeal to fans looking for a straightforward story with relentless action.

Pages: 179 | ASIN: B08YXDYB7N

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Primeval Origins: Light of Honor

Primeval Origins: Light of Honor (Book #2 in the Primeval Origins Epic Saga) by [B.A. Vonsik]

Light of Honor begins when paleontology-archaeology grad student Nikki and her professor are aboard the Wind Runner, escaping from international organizations intent on hunting them down before they uncover more secrets from the past and future. It’s an action-packed beginning and does not waste any time dredging up the details of the past book. In the previous book, Nikki had explored the distant past by inhabiting the body of Rogaan, a teenager who was found in stasis in her archaeology dig. This time, she learns about a humanoid race called Evendiir and its connection with Rogaan. It’s a rush to disentangle the puzzles both these artefacts have created before Nikki gets hunted down.

This is a sweeping and dramatic story that just swoops you out of wherever your mind currently is and takes you to magical faraway lands. It is definitely an intense read that digs into the details, even going as far as giving us the make and style of the secondary character’s shirt. However, I think this is to be expected from an epic fantasy read that is building a fully realized world. It really allowed me to see, hear, feel, and experience new worlds, whether past or present.

I would say it is similar to the first book, Paths of Anguish, in terms of pace and suspense but the tone is darker. It has a deeper and more gritty atmosphere. There is an element of psychological thriller to it which really just made it all the more better. Watching Aren and Nikki struggle with their memories and piece together an increasingly complicated puzzle was an extremely satisfying process. Nikki and Rogaan definitely grew on me more in this book as they had to tackle some complex moral dilemmas that really allowed me to understand the way they ticked. It was incredibly easy to root for them after watching them struggle and be vulnerable.

I don’t think it’s necessary to read the first book in the series to enjoy this one but it would be a good idea to get familiarized with the vocabulary and dialect of the ancient world. There’s also some Easter egg-ish storylines that were continued or wrapped up from the first book. Light of Honor is a thrilling fantasy adventure read that knows where it’s going and takes the most entertaining path to get there.

Pages: 294 | ASIN: B0186PBOIC

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When A Rook Takes The Queen

When a Rook Takes a Queen is a fascinating high-steaks political thriller following intriguing characters trying to gain control of Chicago. When the progressive mayor of Chicago is murdered just outside her home, the hit is a mystery. Nonetheless, the race is on between the most powerful members of Chicago’s society to gain control of the city and its inhabitants. Another high stakes race is also on to figure out who killed the mayor and the violence plaguing the city. Intrepid reporter, Lawrence McKay is on the case with his sharp-witted staff, but it seems there is also another brave journalist competing for the same story, one beautiful Talia Bowerman. As if there was not enough trouble in the city, mob boss, Tony DiMatteo, has big plans for his territory and with the help of a crooked priest at his side, he might succeed.

When a Rook Takes a Queen is full of wonderful details and twists that haunt the reader through every page. The details and small nuances are not too wordy, yet provide essential pieces of atmosphere and mood that allow the reader to feel as though they are observing events in real time with the characters. One of the additional aspects of the novel that makes it so unpredictable is that all of the characters appear to believe themselves to be making the best choices or doing the right thing, which makes it difficult to determine who is a “good guy” or not. There are many storylines woven together in the book that are told in exquisite detail, weaving together a narrative with just enough dramatic irony to excite the reader without giving the plot away.

The novel also shows a surprising reflection on the real world of politics and policing in large cities such as Chicago. The book showcases the strained relations between minority groups that have been systematically oppressed and officials who too often are not held accountable for their actions without villainizing either side. Although the conflict between these two groups is not the heart of the book, it is addressed with respect and understanding in these relevant times.

When a Rook Takes a Queen is suspenseful, enrapturing, and at times, humorous. It will surely keep readers up at night as I was. It is a book that examines both the cold cruel world of politics and the very human and vulnerable people in that race. I highly recommend this book for a bit of escapism and intrigue.

Pages: 403 | ASIN:  B08RY8G4L3

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Rose’s Thorn: A Joe Erickson Mystery

Rose's Thorn: A Joe Erickson Mystery by [Lynn-Steven Johanson]

Rose’s Thorn is a wonderfully suspenseful and creative murder mystery. The plot centers around everyone’s worst nightmare: a seemingly quiet town turned into a hunting ground for a dangerous predator. Someone is violently abducting, raping, and killing the town’s young women, but there are so many clues that are missing. Not even the town’s police force is exempt from suspicion. Joe Erickson and Destiny Alexander must work together to create a profile of this vicious killer and put him away. But they have some chemistry of their own to spice up the plot.

Rose’s Thorn is fantastically woven with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing and on the edge of their seat. Each character is introduced in an artful and believable manner that gives the reader a sense of who they are right away. Even if that character does not stay in the story for very long. The action scenes as well are very compelling; it comes quickly and with heart-pounding intensity. There is also an element of dramatic irony that will make the reader want to shout at the characters and tell them what is going on! The characters are realistic and most are likable and relatable which makes the story that much more enjoyable.

It is a funny coincidence that a lot of these characters have names beginning with “J”. Joe himself is a unique take on the hardened cop in that he is not overly so. The audience is able to relate to Joe and see how he is affected by events and emotions unlike the common version of the trope, but we still get the sense that he is a tough guy who will get the job done. Even the minor characters who make small appearances are unique and realistic which draws the reader into the book even further as it appears to be completely plausible.

Rose’s Thorn is a riveting crime fiction that lures you in with a seemingly simple yet complex murder mystery and delivers an absorbing investigation for those that love police procedurals. I loved the plot, the characters (especially the strong female co-lead, Destiny), and the twists and turns. Author Lynn-Steven Johanson has written an thriller that anyone, teenage and up, could enjoy at any time. Just be sure to lock the door!

Pages: 271 | ASIN: B085SX5WNN

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Don’t Give Up on Me

Don't Give Up on Me (An Otter Bay Maine Novel) by [Jodi Artzberger]

Don’t Give Up on Me begins with Amanda facing a deadly situation. After being attacked, officers are called to the scene which is the catalyst for an old flame to come back into her life. Ryker left Amanda heartbroken so long ago, and Amanda, rightfully, wants nothing to do with him. Amanda is left with no choice when he’s tasked with leading the investigation and keeping Amanda safe. Amanda is forced to deal with a man she has tried hard to forget, and old feelings come bubbling up to the surface. Can Amanda accept this man back into her life, and into her heart?

Don’t Give Up on Me is a riveting romance novel that explores an array of emotions that come with having your heart broken and your life threatened. Amanda is certainly dealing with a lot, and her inner turmoil and angst is something that kept this book consistently entertaining. Amanda is a bit naïve at first, but I enjoyed the slow evolution of her character.

The relationship between Amanda and Ryker added a much needed boost to this overall mystery novel. I would categorize this book as a lite-mystery, as its focus is on the compelling characters  within and their dramatic relationship. Jodi Artzberger explores themes of forgiveness, our relationship with God, and how people change through life experiences. These are powerful messages delivered in heartfelt moments throughout the book.

Amanda and Ryker have an intriguing history together. And exploring that history, and their current predicament, is the one thing that kept me coming back to this book. This story reminds me of a Lifetime made for TV movie; where the drama is palpable and the suspense is high. Jodi Artzberger has written an engrossing romantic thriller with an infusion of Christian ideals that makes this perfect for anyone looking for an exciting, but ultimately uplifting, read.

Pages: 228 | ASIN : B07WZ2R8X7

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Journey to the Children of Bwola Dances

Journey to Children of Bwola Dances by [Amaya]

Amaya’s Journey to Children of Bwola Dances is an important book that shows how life is different for people in different parts of the globe. The book may be fictional but some of the events that are mentioned in the chapter have historical significance. The reader is taken through a world of war, extreme violence, drama, politics and rebel groups. The narration is raw and expressive giving the impression of events happening in real-time. Amaya’s writing helps one draw comparisons on how policies are made in western countries compared to other countries in the world. In the book, we see the adverse effects of war and how certain demographics get to be affected. Children and women are the most affected groups when war erupts.

It is a shame how young boys were recruited to fight in the war, robbing them of their innocence and a chance to grow up like other kids. The story is set in Australia and Uganda later on. The Lord Resistance Army (LRA) is rebelling against the Ugandan government. This is a story of pain, brutality, vengeance, hopelessness, power, and lack of humanity. You will get emotional on some pages especially when you read about the struggles of child soldiers. We follow as two teens with completely different backgrounds meet through fate and bond as they share past experiences. One teen, the Australian, is used to a different way of life but it is the difference that makes them key characters in the book.

The events that preceded the abduction of Bob and Samantha were not only disturbing but also upsetting to follow. Through the characters, we see how governments respond to calls of help when their citizens are in danger. The book is not just filled with agonizing stories. We follow beautiful customs and cultures in Africa and how they make societies blend. Reading about the Ladongo dace and how men and women lined up to celebrate a successful hunting trip gave me joy. I visualized how happy the dancers were when celebrating their success. The Lord Resistance Army was an evil group. The aggressive raids the group made and the damage it caused was unnecessary if the people had embraced civility. Through their actions, we learn the importance of having a stable government that ensures the rule of law is adhered.

In Journey to Children of Bwola Dancers you will learn about family dynamics, the power of a united people, the impact of poor governance and many more topics that are related to current events in the world. Amaya’s writing is excellent and her characters in the book were well developed. This book is not just a great thriller and drama novel but also a nice learning tool for readers who enjoy historical fiction stories.

Pages: 215 | ASIN: B07XTDVHWS

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Survivors of the Sun: A post-apocalyptic thriller

Georgia hasn’t exactly had it easy since marrying Nathan. Leaving her home in Australia and taking on the role of wife and stepmother has been a challenge to say the least. However, when Georgia is saddled with keeping her husband’s precocious and entitled niece and her own two stepchildren on an afternoon when she would rather be working on her own jewelry business, life takes a turn she and the children could never have predicted. As she watches her stepson’s hair mysteriously stand on end, Georgia gives it only a passing thought. Soon after, Georgia and the members of her household find themselves fighting for their very lives.

Mia Kingslie, author of Survivors of the Sun, has absolutely hit it out of the park. Her thriller, set in the present and focusing on the extreme likelihood that the world has been hit with an electromagnetic pulse, is phenomenally well-written and gripping in every way possible. Kingslie’s characters, her plot, and the conflicts within are clearly drawn with stunning visuals.

Georgia, the book’s main character, draws on sources of strength most of us could never imagine. When she realizes she has likely outlived her husband everyone she knows, she picks herself up and heads, literally, for the hills with the children and their dogs in tow. After witnessing the horrifying deaths in their city, Georgia somehow manages to concoct a feasible plan for escaping their home with the needed supplies. She is a force with which to be reckoned, and Kingslie builds on her set of skills as the chapters advance. Georgia represents every man, woman, and child living through apocalyptic times learning to adjust as each new set of challenges is faced.

The introduction of Lola into the traveling group makes the entire plot that much more engaging. Lola, a force in her own right, adds an element of unique humor to an otherwise dark and heavy storyline. Her backstory is one that makes her even more endearing to readers.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Georgia’s relationship grow and flourish with her stepchildren, but more intriguing was the evolving dynamic between Georgia and her niece, Deedee. To watch Georgia grow as a maternal figure was quite amazing. As a parent myself, I found it fascinating to see through her eyes as she begins to find ways to work around Deedee’s idiosyncrasies.

Kingslie writes the most fantastic descriptions of post-apocalyptic terrors. From diseased bodies to the overwhelmingly eerie pictures of stalled cars, silent skies, and ravaged homes. Kingslie’s writing style is highly effective in creating a scene for her readers of almost instant devastation.

Were it possible to give Survivors of the Sun 10 stars, I would do it in a heartbeat. That being said, I can’t hesitate to give it 5 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to find a book that takes hold of your imagination and refuses to let go, but that’s exactly what Kingslie has managed to produce. I fell in step with Georgia and her ragtag crew from Chapter 1, and any fan of apocalyptic thrillers will do the same.

Pages: 743 | ISBN: 1720066493

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