The fifth installment of the Reverence series, Voice of a Crimson Angel, by Joshua Landeros is both an intimate and thrilling look at the lead up to his debut military science fiction series. Julissa Marconi’s life was pulled apart after her husband went into a coma. Her relationship with her daughter is on the brink of falling apart, friends have disappeared from her life, and the only solace she finds is at the bottom of a bottle. This all changes when Dr. Neeson offers her an open door to change her life and with the help of allies like Captain Halsey, and she grabs the opportunity to fight. The ever-scheming Chancellor Venloran has his own designs afoot for the expansion of the United Nation Republic.
With this new trilogy Landeros is giving background and context for his series, while also showing that the ever present villain of Venloran has been around for a long time in all of his power. If you’ve already read all the way up to Ballad of Demise, then this is another superb excuse to dive back into this torn apart world of super soldiers and war.
Landeros still manages to deliver on his strengths of dialogue and action. The beginning of this novel might start slow, but it picks up that familiar fast pace I have become accustomed to from this writer. Still heavily leaning into the military science fiction legacy, Landeros uses this to full effect in the near future of the United States and pushes it further with the backstory development of characters we haven’t either met or gotten fully developed in past stories.
While, the ending clearly makes room for a sequel, the novel itself is still satisfying on its own merit. It will be a treat to see where this new series goes and if there is something new waiting for us at the end, which we can hope. This stage setting series should please fans of the books and of science fiction in general with the way it keeps to the best tropes, while making fresh the well trampled ground of such narratives. Landeros keeps pushing his world deeper and expanding the horizon of both the characters and story line while managing to give readers a ride they won’t soon forget.
Pages: 207 | ASIN: B079H4FBKS
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Everyone has secrets…but mine will get you killed.
I go by many names. Today, I’m Ariel.
I have a secret. One that I can’t tell.
A secret that can get you killed.
I’ve spent the last few years looking over my shoulder waiting for them to find me.
I know they are looking for me.
And then I meet him.
He makes me want things I’ve never thought possible.
He comes with no compromises as his kisses ignite something inside me.
He shatters my illusions, demands to know the truth.
Can I trust him? Can I let him in? Do I have a choice?
I see it now.
She’s hiding something.
Ariel doesn’t exist.
She panics when I walk through her front door.
I’ve never seen anyone so afraid and I refuse to leave her like this.
Not only does she ignite a fire inside me, she sets off every protective instinct I have.
And then she vanishes into thin air…
I will do everything within my power to find her, to bring her home.
*** A full length novel with a happily ever after, no cliffhanger, and plenty of steam. ***
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The Nightbreaker follows a paladin named Daniel as we’re introduced to the conflict between the gods of darkness and light and their conflict on the Mortal Plane. What made you want to write this prequel novella to your Broken Pact Trilogy?
Daniel has a major impact on the history of the Mortal Plane. His secret affair with Lio is the catalyst that directly leads to Lio’s fall and the creation of the Grey God’s Pact. Without Daniel, the world as we see it in the Broken Pact trilogy wouldn’t exist. Without spoiling too much of the next book in that trilogy, Daniel and what happened to him plays a larger role in the story, and how Trent and Ren deal with their own parallels to the Paladin hero.
Daniel is on a mission to defeat Rexin before he plunges the Mortal Plane into darkness. Do you feel that Rexin is Daniel’s antithesis, or did you want them to compliment one another?
I first came up with the story as my spin on the classic dragon-slayer tale where a hero must travel away from the kingdom to kill the beast that threatens to destroy it. Daniel is a conflicted character though, as he struggles with the nature of his birth and the way that he is viewed by society. It made sense for Rexin to be a physical manifestation of the darkness that Daniel sees in himself. In order to overcome this external force he doesn’t just have to banish his own darkness, but accept it and use it.
The battle of good vs evil is a theme we see often in fantasy. Do you think the Gods of Darkness and Gods of Light represent this contrast or is there a grey area?
I’ve tried to take the classic good vs. evil tale and add grey areas within each of the factions. Lio, the villain of the Broken Pact trilogy, is a fallen God of Light, who only fell because of his love for a mortal and his natural desire to avenge him. Daniel commits an objectively evil deed at the end of The Nightbreaker to defeat Rexin the Blasted. Although the Gods of Light and the Gods of Darkness represent that classic dichotomy, the individuals who makeup and serve those groups fall into somewhere between good and evil in their personal morality, which makes their interactions all the more interesting.
What is one thing that people point out after reading your book that surprises you?
I’m usually surprised at many of the little world-building details that people pick up on. I try to seed references to other stories and events in the world that I have planned so that sometime in the future when those stories are written the whole series will feel like a more cohesive whole. It’s a really cool feeling though when people catch some of those now, and ask me, “What’s up with that? When do I get to find out what that meant, or who they were talking about?” My answer: keep reading.
In the years before the Grey God’s Pact, the Gods of Light and the Gods of Darkness waged war upon the Mortal Plane. Fighting alongside them were armies of men and monsters. The Champion Daniel, a Paladin of the Light, leads a band of warriors into the wilderness to defeat one such being, Rexin the Blasted, before the creature engulfs the entire Mortal Plane in an endless darkness.
Daniel, scorned for his heritage as the child of a rapist, must first come to terms with his own identity and what he is willing to do in the name of the greater good. Sometimes wicked deeds can destroy wicked things.
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The resistance fighters have suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Chancellor Venloran. With many of his enemies dead or imprisoned, the Chancellor is ready to move to the final phase of his scheme: The International Summit. The historic event is just hours away, drawing leaders from all over the world to the United Nation Headquarters in New York City. Venloran believes peace through dominance is at last at hand.
At the same time, Will is hell bent on launching an assault on that very night, though the remaining troops are weary and few in number. The renegade cyborg has the help of tech experts Alex and Bri, along with pilot Gabriella, but the opposition may be more than they can handle. Awaiting any threat are the Chancellor’s deadliest soldiers, among them the cyborg hunter Aliss Howard and Will’s very own former superior officer, General Kane. Looming in the back of Will’s mind is the reality that innocent people will have to die to see his vengeance finally realized.
As both sides prepare to collide, none are aware that an unscrupulous politician, Secretary General Vanzetti, is eager for the bloodshed to begin.
Check out the finale of the End of Knighthood Arc and prepare for a thrill ride. The Reverence Series transcends the science fiction genre and will entertain readers of horror, war, fantasy, and even the western.
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Susan Joy Clark’s Action Men with Silly Putty features two comrades in the toy business on the adventure of a lifetime. Clark’s main characters are best friends who are attached at the hip and one another’s voice of reason. Jack Donegal and the book’s narrator, Andy Westin, set off on their journey to uncover the mystery of a mistaken identity and to find out what the heck is so important about the teddy bear from 1915 that Jack purchases at an estate sale in San Francisco. From their company, Out of the Box Toy Design, to breakdowns of Picasso’s private escapades to the Salvador Dali special–it involves eggs and a toast–Action Men with Silly Putty is filled with eccentricities at every turn and brimming with mystery!
I have always been a mystery fan and jumped in headfirst wanting, wholeheartedly, to love Action Men. I wasn’t disappointed. Jack Donegal, a character with every quirk imaginable, is as interesting a central character as I have seen. He appears as an amalgamation of whimsical leads from a handful of stories throughout the years. Incredibly well-read, dead set on having a plethora of alternatives to the traditional curse words, and a virtual fount of knowledge, Jack leads Andy on a wild ride with Andy doing little to challenge each subsequent request. Clark has given readers a vivid personality in Jack Donegal who is impossible to forget.
It’s fairly clear from the beginning that Jack is the book’s focus, but, for me, Andy sets the tone of the entire story. His obvious frustration juxtaposed with his allegiance to Jack is highly relatable. Readers will find common ground with Andy as he fights the urge to question his best friend while simultaneously appeasing him. I thoroughly enjoyed the repartee between the two and give full credit to Andy for the book’s future success.
Clark is consistent with her depiction of Jack as the absent-minded professor type character. She bestows upon him the same qualities that make one Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory the lovable and appealing guy he is. Andy, faithful to Jack to the bitter end, has some truly fantastic lines. Clark brings laugh-out-loud moments via many of Andy’s thoughts: “I thought of that famous photo of Albert Einstein, the one where he was sticking out his tongue and looking anything but genius, and felt reassured…slightly.”–my favorite line in the book as Andy reveals his never-ending stress over Jack’s idiosyncrasies.
I am giving Action Men with Silly Putty by Susan Joy Clark 5 out of 5 stars. Clark’s success with the business partners-turned-private investigators team of Donegal and Westin is tied up neatly in her narrator. As the solution to the mystery of the teddy bear is pursued through colorful secondary characters and unique settings, Andy simply shines. Clark is eloquent, creates one scenario after another to engage readers in her comedy team’s plight, and helps to define a new niche in the mystery novel. In addition, the path to the mystery’s solution is peppered with pop culture references which will appeal to a broad range of readers.
Pages: 214 | ASIN: B00Y49AUXU
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Misty Hayes, author of The Outcasts: The Blood Dagger Volume: 1, is handing readers a unique take on the vampire stories of late. Her main character and narrator, Larna Collins, relates a tale deeply woven in history, family secrets, and bloodlust. Larna, quite the social outcast in her high school, graduates and embarks immediately on a mission to find her estranged father in England. Using her father’s journals and her own burning desire to find answers to her endless string of questions about his sudden disappearance, she leaves Texas just as her lifelong friend, Corinth, reveals his desire to be more than a tried-and-true confidante.
The Outcasts: The Blood Dagger Volume: 1 is written to appeal to young adult readers, but is so exceptionally written and full of wit and wisdom it easily resonates with a much larger audience. The idea of the socially downtrodden heroine is not a new one, but Hayes manages, quite successfully, to fashion Larna Collins into character unlike any readers will encounter within other books in the same genre. Larna is thoughtful, and the reader is privy to all of her emotions, anxiety, and, ultimately, her pride and power.
Character development appears to be Hayes’s forte. Dropping little hints throughout the plot, the author draws robust images of each character from Paul the Volkswagen/taxicab-driving vampiric sidekick to Gabriel–the devil incarnate. Each of Hayes’s characters adds a rich element to the story, and she masters the plot twist with the best of the action/adventure writers out there.
Hayes provides a captivating mixture of budding romance and action sequences. In addition, she takes literary risks with her characters’ fates. She, by no means, sticks with what the reader expects. At every turn, Hayes delivers something new and unexpected, but more than appreciated. The tension between Corinth and Larna and the ever-present question of romance between Larna and Alastair keep the reader guessing from beginning to end.
Hayes offers an originality with her presentation of the vampire tale. She successfully juxtaposes the deteriorating architecture of old England with present-day Texas and tosses in a healthy amount of technology and modern references–all easily within the schema of the young adult audience. Those expecting to find the vampires of the Twilight series will be pleasantly surprised to find a quite different vamp sketched before them as Hayes offers up a down-to-earth creature with far-reaching abilities and deep-rooted emotions.
I am giving The Outcasts: The Blood Dagger Volume: 1 a solid 5 out of 5 stars. Hayes offers a well-written, smooth read which mesmerizes readers from the first paragraphs. The relatable struggles of its main character, Larna, take an unexpected turn early on and pull readers in for a ride like no other. Hayes will soon find herself with a growing fan base yearning for more from Larna and her crew. By giving her audience the story they want with a cast of characters far-removed from those of the typical vampire tales, Hayes has succeeded in paving the way for her band of outcasts.
Pages: 356 | ASIN: B077XL9WHH
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Sometimes the past declines an offer to stay back there. Past lives will often come right around to haunt and demand closure.
Braxton Snow left his village life behind. He often feels out of place in the big city but no matter. He loves his Furlton life. He may have been a village boy but the city has embraced him. His life is not perfect but he loves it still. His private investigation practice feeds, clothes and houses him. He is dating a beautiful white tail jackrabbit. His family would never accept Joanna, to them she would be dinner. However, this is not a matter of concern. His family is not part of his life anymore. She is beautiful, funny and she cares about him, which is all he wants out of a life partner.
Braxton’s life is pretty silent save for the occasional exciting case. One day Catharina Nelson seeks him out for his investigation services and the course of his life changes, unbeknownst to him. The red fox hires him to find Oscar Sullivan. Oscar is an archeologist who is looking into the mystery of the hairless apes which has gone extinct. The case seems pretty open and shut but in the preceding days, it gets more and more complex. For one, Braxton is not the only one searching for this man. This would not be a problem if both parties were on the quest with the same goal in mind.
With the case’s complexity comes danger. Soon, Joanna becomes a target for these dangerous characters. Braxton finds himself back in the hands of the family he abandoned and is not well received. This is a problem not only because of their treatment of him but also because they are a threat to his beloved’s life.
How far will Braxton have to go to save his fiancé? Will they survive the trip through the glacier?
Danny Estes presents a book filled with mystery and suspense. The characters are animals but the reader will barely notice their animal quality. This is due to their deeply illustrated personalities. The story is captivating and gripping and every description is vivid. The opening of the book gives us a look into Braxton’s life and grounds the background so that it becomes believable. You get a sense of his usual routine, which makes the case coming his way much more exciting, because you understand what he’s left behind.
Braxton Snow is written in first person narrative which is quite impactful to the reading experience, but it’s still an easy read that I enjoyed because of it’s unique perspective. The tone is informal and lighthearted. Conversations between Braxton and Joanna are especially heart-warming and so ordinarily special.
Braxton Snow P.I. is targeted at a wide audience exclusive of children. Don’t think that this story if for kids just because there are animals in it. This is a thrilling adult story for anyone who enjoys action, mystery and fantasy along with some steamy romance. This book is an enjoyable read. Definitely deserving of five stars.
Pages: 203 | ASIN: B073TGWGYS
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A wave of crime grasped center stage at the beginning of the volcanic summer. The often abused by police, misused by society, shunned, and stereotyped patrons of the “hood” decided that their reparations would no longer be paid by the normal “Smash and grab”. Gun laws had changed. Stiffer penalties and mandatory time was a constant reminder whenever, The Felony Lane Gang clocked in. Blue collar crime was now at an all time low. White collar crime was their new way of life. Three siblings stormed into a world of destruction when the youngest known as Crackaboi decided to part ways with his modest upbringing. For the love of her baby brother Glory unknowingly stepped into a web of drugs and exotic entertainment. Tjohnnie, the oldest and the coldest felt a need to protect his siblings. After losing their parents to unfortunate circumstances, TJohnnie secretly led two lives. A college football player by day. A counterfeiter and money launderer for the Infamous Seminole Indian Tribe by night. Tired of the gruesome torture for hire jobs, Crackaboi teams up with a longtime friend and brutal killer Lil Turk. Together they mastermind the greatest heist in United States history. Surpassing Al Capone and Jon Gotti, the ruthless duo targeted every financial institution that was federally insured. Their lavish lifestyle enticed other potential members. Dodging the Feds, ducking the local authorities and slaughtering anyone who wandered down their path, they notoriously became known as, ” The Felony Lane Gang”. With crooked cops on their trail, the street rogues decide to take on one last heist. Crackaboi and Lil Turk burglarize a century old abandoned warehouse, in search of a quarter of million dollars supposedly stashed inside an old safe. They embark on a journey that leads to their beloved Glory, on life support fighting to stay alive. A bloody street-war against the Mexican Cartel Assassins and a trail of bodies that lead down a sea of destruction. With ties to the Illuminati and a billionaire oil tycoon, the double steel door safe tightly held secrets that would send chills through a psychopath’s spine.
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Icarus, by David K. Hulegaard, is the first book in the Noble Trilogy and is the captivating account of Miller Brinkman’s investigation into the disappearance of one Jane Emmett. When MIller, a former deputy-turned-private investigator is approached by young Jessie Fryman, Jane’s best friend and confidante, he reluctantly, and unknowingly, involves himself in an age-old conspiracy rooted in the U.S. government and spanning the continents. Brinkman, a writer himself, is reunited with his true love, Charissa Burke, after a 15-year separation and is able to easily pick up where they left off a decade and half ago while working together to find Jane, identify the men in black, and discover a truth neither of them could have imagined exists.
Set in December of 1947 in Ashley Falls, West Virginia, Icarus, has all the makings of the tale of a wayward P.I.–at first glance. Random mysterious notes appear for Miller, gradually revealing bits of information hinting at Jane Emmett’s true fate. From the greasy spoon diner to the crooked small-town sheriff, Hulegaard has managed to include it all. Don’t jump to conclusions, though. Hulegaard has knocked it out of the park with this first in a series. Even with its little homages to the private detective pieces of old, he has fashioned a unique take on the mystery and has crafted a plot like no other.
Miller Brinkman is one in a long list of memorable characters, and the author paints exceptional pictures of each and every one. Beginning with Jane Emmett, herself, Hulegaard draws the most tangible sketches of his cast. Alyssa Noble, the seemingly small cog in what becomes a much larger wheel of inconceivable circumstances, is drawn so effectively in the narrative she seems to almost stand upright on the pages before the reader’s very eyes.
Hulegaard is phenomenal with the English language–truly. I don’t often find a book of this genre I feel compelled to complete in a single sitting, but Icarus, without a doubt, takes this title. There is much to be said for an author who can rope readers in within the first paragraphs–Hulegaard does just that.
One of the most compelling elements of Hulegaard’s work is his finesse with the flashback. Placed at intentionally strategic points throughout the book, they give insight–but not too much–into Jane’s whereabouts and the seriousness of her predicament. Each perfectly-timed detail in the backstory revolving around Jane’s disappearance sets the stage for a thrilling read. In addition, the author creates a beautiful blanket of emotion around Miller and Charissa with snippets of their conversations from years gone by.
Without a second’s hesitation, I am giving Icarus 5 out of 5 stars. Any mystery fan, fan of science fiction, or lover of the private detective style of writing of the 40s will lose him or herself quickly in this piece. There is no doubt in my mind Hulegaard is going to see a huge return on the investment of time he has placed in his Alyssa Noble series. Icarus is simply stunning–a must-read.
Pages: 233 | ASIN: B01MTZZVZA
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