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Treasure Fever

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Lexa Tantaros sure can stir things up. To some, she is a thief. To herself and possibly Agent Max Finley, she is a woman on a worthy cause. A cause to let the world see the treasures contained within. The story follows the wanted archaeologist as she searches for the treasure of El Dorado. It will take blood, sweat and tears to get there and gather all the necessary clues. Governments are after her, but she’s not fazed. Will she be successful in her mission? Can El Dorado be found or is it merely fable?

James McPike has created an action thriller that takes off quickly and does not slow down. He takes the reader on a journey across Peru, keeping you on the edge of your seat. One minute you think they’ll definitely be smoked out. The next minute has them hurtling down an abyss. The story has so much character, and the plot is encased in excellent prose, with just the right amount of drama.

The character development is ingenious. Lexa is a woman who can charm anyone. She’s not fazed by much even when bullets are flying. She only seems to be a little frazzled in the last moments before she is placed on the ledge where she is to plunge to her death. I always enjoy a strong female protagonist that emotionally develops throughout the story. Max is torn between his service to country and his instinct about Lexa. I enjoyed watching these characters interact.

While the history between Max and Lexa is obviously of consequence, it seems like Max gives in to Lexa too easily. It feels like there should be some sort of struggle before he trusts her so blindly. With Max being a self-proclaimed best, right? He leaves her unattended on the very first night he finds her. This is quickly forgotten though as the reader is taken on the adventure through Peru. Also it seems like the end may justify those initial actions.

This is a short but engaging read. You can feel the palpable chemistry between the characters. There is a sort of James Bond-ish ending which is absolutely delightful.

Pages: 173

jamesmcpike.webs.com

 

Forgotten by the Sun

Forgotten By the Sun

Amika is a senior in high school, looking forward to graduating and being done with high school. She is the run of the mill kid, not in with the cool kids, not the kid that gets picked on. Everything is status quo, till the Welkins family arrive. Soon Amika, and her friends Nikki and Andrew, become friends with Rhayne, Quade, Damien and Trinity, as well as their “aunt” Suzanne. But Amika finds out that the family is not as it seems, they’re actually vampires. Dating and falling in love with Rhayne introduces Amika to the fact there are multiple worlds that coexist on different planes. From these worlds different creatures like demons can enter the human world and cause trouble. How can Amika and Rhayne develop a relationship being so different? Can Amika understand the unique situation that Rhayne and his family are in?

When I started reading this novel, my first thought was oh, another vampire book. Oh, look this family shows up out of nowhere and they are amazingly attractive. However, after this introduction to the Wilkins family, the similarities to other teen romance vampire novels ends. I was pleasantly surprised to find unique character makeups, a completely different plot structure than I usually see with teen romance or vampire stories. Celeste Eismann has developed a world where vampires and other paranormal figures exists but the twists, she puts into it with Forgotten by the Sun makes her novel unique. This is also the first in a series, so I’m interested to see where the next book takes readers.

The is a relationship between Nikki, Andrew, and Amika is similar to what you would find in close knit friends. Nikki and Andrew are always at each other and Amika is the peacemaker. This sets up the story for how Amika ends up interacting with characters later in the novel. Amika wants to help, she wants to fix things. It is in her nature to go out and ignore her own well-being. Amika is a very complex character and the foreshadowing in the novel indicates she is going to do important things in later books.

Rhayne and his family are interesting, and we get some of their back stories of how they became vampires and where they’re from. They also have their own quarks, especially Quade. I suspect some of the internal conflicts that are eluded to will take center stage in later novels. Overall this novel felt like an introduction to a bigger series that is yet to come. You meet all the key players and get some background, but the novel ends just as the real excitement begins.

Pages: 1543955282 | ISBN: 1543955282

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Chasing The Red Queen

Chasing the Red Queen by [Glista, Karen]

Chasing the Red Queen opens with the recently turned 18-year-old Donja, a self-proclaimed goth who is uprooted from the normalcy of teenage life. Her mother remarries, giving Donja a new home, a new father and a new stepsister. What starts out as an angsty teens tribulations quickly shifts to darker elements as violent murders begin to hit close to home. New characters emerge, friendships are made, and lovers unite exposing a history of supernatural elements and family secrets Donja never expected.

Karen Glista offers an urban fantasy with a dash of crime, horror and steamy romance all set to the backdrop of vampire lore. A perfect weekend read for those favoring the genre. The author also provides new components to these otherwise over told stories with well researched historical content and fleshed out explanations for the mystical aspects. The mix of first nation cultural and detailed locational history give a fresh twist to this vampire romance which kept me intrigued to the very end.

I found Donja to be likable as the main character. Although the constant reminder of her gothic reputation is repeated one too many times, otherwise her emotional response and reactions are believable throughout the story. I adored the character development between Donja and her stepsister Makayla, from beginning to end they share a bond that unites them through a roller-coaster of emotional events.

Unlike Donja, where she shines in the first half of the book, her counterpart Torin unfolds as the main player towards the end of the book. Once Torin takes center stage I found myself more invested in his story and the account of his mysterious past as well as that of his kind.

I felt that the timeline was a little vague; how much time did everything take, was it days, hours, weeks? I also felt that their were quick leaps in character changes (ie. Frankie, I didn’t know what was happening to him until it was already over). These are the only minor things holding the book back. 

However, the story surprised me with well thought out action scenes and gritty dialog. While some secondary characters faded into the background a few shown through and had my full attention. Chasing the Red Queen is a quick read with an equally fast-paced plot, yet will still give the reader enough time to establish a connection to the story, characters and paranormal features.

Pages: 277 | ASIN: B079KJFJW8

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Osteoporosis and Osteopenia: Vitamin Therapy For Stronger Bones

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Osteoporosis & Osteopenia: Vitamin Therapy for Stronger Bones, by Bryant Lusk, is a comprehensive guide to bone health. The author discusses the link between lifestyle choices, age, gender, and eating habits (largely vitamin intake), and bone health.

Interestingly for a book of this subject matter, Lusk seems to have gone the ‘choose your own adventure’ route for his writing technique. Readers can choose between intensive study modes and brief overviews to ‘get the main idea’, and there are ways to achieve a hybrid approach that sits somewhere between the two extremes. It is a fantastic idea on the writer’s part to include that kind of flexibility for his readers, and it is a tool that will likely help this work reach more people than most other books on the subject.

The driving principal behind this work is, of course, to educate. To that end, the author goes to great length to discuss each topic as fully as necessary. The book is laid our in bite-sized chunks, each one focusing on a particular aspect of the overall topic. For example, there is a chapter on zinc, one on vitamin D3, another on liver and kidney health, and many more. Included in each section, there is information related to standard vs vegetarian diets, guidelines for how much and how often various vitamins should be taken, information on inhibitors that adversely affect the given vitamin or mineral, and then personal advice from the author.

An example of the type of background information provided for each of the mineral and vitamins can be found at the start of each chapter. You’ll see the vitamin or mineral’s impact on the human body in list form. Not only for bone-related issues but for all others as well.

One of the most useful parts of each chapter is the ‘how much and how often’ section. Here, the author goes into the recommended daily dosages of the various supplements, all the time adjusting for different types of people living different types of lives. Then, a convenient table is provided to show what types of foods contain said vitamin or mineral and how much would need to be consumed in order to absorb enough. Then, another table showing differences between common supplements, along with which are best and which to avoid. A short discussion about how to inhibit and enhance absorption is then held before advice from the author and finally moving on the next chapter.

This book is certainly important and is full of wisdom that is not always easy to find in such a digestible package. In fact, in all the years I have researched the effectiveness of supplements, I’ve only come across a handful of texts as well balanced as Osteoporosis & Osteopenia: Vitamin Therapy for Stronger Bones. This book is going to go into my collection as a reference book that I will frequently visit.

 

Shadow Resistance

Shadow Resistance by [Cyprian, B.J.]

Dom is a computer engineering genius in her own right. Rose’s instincts when it comes to human behavior are fine-tuned. Layla has the gift of an incredible memory. All three women are true forces with which to be reckoned and phenomenally good at their jobs. When Dom, a virtual recluse, is approached for help in solving a violent death, the lives of the three women quickly become entangled. Dom, Rose, and Layla reiterate that we are all one quick internet search away from an interaction we may or may not want.

B.J. Cyprian, author of Shadow Resistance, has created a world effortlessly blends fantasy and realistic fiction. With the elements of advanced artificial intelligence looming large in Dom’s storyline, readers are treated to science fiction laced with humor and heavily layered with relevant current events. While I’m not a fan of most historical fiction novels, I more than appreciate the references Cyprian includes in her characters’ story lines. Especially effective is the way in which the author works in the black and white doll experiment into Rose’s subplot. Cyprian knows how to hit readers where it matters. This is just one of the aspects of her writing that helps make her book so worthy of praise.

The entire scenario involving SARA is quite amazing. I don’t want to call SARA a character as it were, but I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention how incredibly fascinating her contribution to the book actually is. At times, Dom almost plays second string to the artificial intelligence she herself created. The back-and-forth between the two is entertaining to say the least and simultaneously frightening. To think that SARA is Dom’s only connection with the outside world is, in many ways, sad. In introducing Dom as somewhat of a hermit, Cyprian has given a certain richness to Dom’s story line and made her views of injustice all the more fiery.

Cyprian does a beautiful job of weaving history into every aspect of her plot. Page after page, she seamlessly meshes mentions of countless historical figures into the dialogue between characters. From impromptu history lessons given by Rose to the background revealed by Rose and Robert’s visit to Larry’s apartment, the book feels less like a lesson in history than a conversation on the front stoop of an elderly neighbor.

This unique work of fiction is a must read for anyone seeking technologically-based crime dramas. In addition, Cyprian’s work holds a special appeal for those who appreciate historical accuracies and current events woven throughout their fiction. The more I read, the more I found Shadow Resistance qualifies as a mystery. It’s impossible to fit Cyprian’s work into one slot–and I’m not sure I want to. It deserves a category of its own. Kudos to Cyprian on an outstanding first novel.

PagesL 648 | ASIN: B07NQKYGVP

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Fragments of A Journey, A Fistful of Life

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One thing that makes this book unique is the arrangement of the words. I sometimes had the feeling I have when reading poetry. Jose De Koster is an easy writer. I can’t describe the arrangement in the book as entire prose, or partly poetic, what I know is that the author told his story in a distinct way, making his work exceptional on all levels. I first fell in love with the pictures in the book. The self-portraits, oil on hardboard images and oil on canvas were all beautiful pieces of art. My favorite was the painting of ‘The Lonely Artist’. A picture is truly worth a thousand words. It did not stop there – Jose De Kroser also added pictures of his family in between his writing. I know I spent a good part of my time just looking at the pictures.

The author first introduces us to his life through his mother’s words. The mother encouraged him to keep writing as she had hoped he would become a journalist. Jose De Koster fell in love with words at a very tender age. Through this book, one gets to know that he felt art and literature on a spiritual level. I feel a little connected to the author when he mentioned four of his favorite authors. Pablo Neruda, Marina Tsvetaeva, Osip Mandelstam, and Anna Akhmatova are the four literary icons the author mentioned. I love that he mentioned the first two as I too adore their works. The author’s narration confirms what a gifted writer he was. I enjoyed reading through as he talked about living in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.

Jose De Koster narrated his story wonderfully. The authored adored his mother and treated her as the most special being. He equally loved his father and brother Ed, but the love he had for his mother was something else. I enjoyed reading on the bit where he discussed faith. It did not come to me as a surprise when the author wrote how he grew up as a Roman Catholic; his mother’s faith, not following his father who was Lutheran. Religion was an important aspect in their lives back then. I loved the memories he shared in regard to the Catholic faith he followed when young.

Fragments of A Journey… A Fistful of Life is a lovely memoir. The author’s recollection of his childhood complete with pictures attached is beautiful. The best thing about Jose’s life was the love they had in the family. His life was simple yet he was able to live to the fullest. His writing is matchless and admirable. The book is both short and interesting that one can complete in one sitting.

ISBN 13: 978-0-646-98150-5

Available at

www.FragmentsByJoseDeKoster.com

 

The King of Halloween & Miss Firecracker Queen: A Daughter’s Tale of Family and Football

The King of Halloween & Miss Firecracker Queen: A Daughter's Tale of Family and Football by [Leachman, Lori]

The King of Halloween and Miss Firecracker Queen, written by Lori Leachman is the story of American Football coach Lamar Leachman from the perspective of his daughter. It follows a coach’s journey from professional player to high school coach to National Football League coach. We see the impact this has on his wife and two daughters. It is a uniquely feminine glimpse into what was ultimately a man’s world – where winning was everything!

Leachman writes of how her father’s chosen profession had an impact on herself and the life of her family. One impact was the geographical impact, always moving to where the job opportunities lay. The family had to move numerous times and she documents the effect this had on the children, in particular. They had to constantly make new friends, and learn the social mores in each new community. The children’s closest friends were often the children of the other football coaches. She describes how they were tough kids, they were coaches’ kids.

Leachman provides an interesting view of Black Civil Rights and how views differed among places. Her view of mixed race friendships were simple; if she liked someone she would be their friend. That of course, contrasted with the views many adults at that time had. She describes briefly living in Cartersville and being confronted by “Blacks Only” signs at the theater and the confusion she felt when she realized African Americans weren’t allowed to swim in the pool. This must have been a bewildering time for a young girl who was immersed in the professional world of football – where African Americans were respected for their skill.

Although her father’s career may have had some negative impacts for her, as she gets older she realizes that her lifestyle had some benefits. Leachman recounts the day she realized her family had some money to spare – something a lot of families did not have.

Tragically the person impacted most by his career choice was the coach himself. Leachman describes how her father’s mental capacity began to decline, and how he was eventually diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy attributed to injuries he received during his career.

This memoir is cleverly written, as it progresses through we see Leachman begin to understand her father’s talent as a coach, she recognizes his skill and determination and love for his wife and daughters. The only criticism of the book would be that on one occasion Leachman jumps back and forth between decades which interrupts the flow of the story.

This memoir is an interesting insight to the life of a professional coach, his dedication to the sport, and the impact and experiences for both him and his family.

Pages: 230 | ASIN: B07BRSTNNZ

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Soul Dark: Chosen

Lukas is unlike any other boy. Not a boy but not yet a man, Lukas has been hit with more loss, more trauma, and more inexplicable realizations than most adults experience in their lifetimes. When his grandmother takes him under her wing and begins to train him, Lukas is inundated by her pleas to not forsake the Goddess. Lukas, overcome with the pain of the loss of his parents, the tragic eradication of almost everyone else he loves, and left alone in the world with a new acquaintance, turns his head again and again from his Goddess, defying his grandmother’s wishes and, possibly, putting much more than his own life at risk.

E.L. Reedy and A.M. Wade present a most unique set of characters in  their young adult fantasy, Soul Dark: Chosen. Lukas, the book’s protagonist, is almost overshadowed by the authors’ vivid descriptions and fantastic choice of dialect and idiosyncrasies given the secondary characters. Jacob is a standout in my book. For as meek and mild as the authors initially portray him, he shines like a light from the pages, and he easily steals each scene from the other characters.

As a reader, I more than appreciate a story with numerous twists. Though not a huge nor especially unforeseen twist, I was glad to see the integration of the “knowing” character with introduction of Matthew. Those types of hidden gems in a story make all the difference; Reedy and Wade have this technique down to an art in this book.

One of the more gripping scenes in the book is the moment Lukas meets the old man, Theo Deville. The authors paint a stunning scene when the two lock eyes. Their dynamic is imperative to the success of the overall story line, and it is within this moment in the book that the authors set that tone. I found myself rereading that section more than once.

I found the breaks away from Lukas’s own dramatic situations between the chapters to be quite effective. By taking readers, if momentarily, to another realm, Reedy and Wade are able to keep the momentum of the plot and continue to build interest as the story plays out. These brief interludes serve as important reminders to readers that Lukas is not yet out of the woods, and his true test is always just around the next corner.

I don’t doubt that someone else will make this comparison, but I feel Soul Dark: Chosen can be likened to a modern-day The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The underlying theme of faithfulness, loyalty, and good versus evil are apparent from beginning to end. A strong cast of characters who all rely on one another and are driven closer and closer together through shared traumas is not a new concept, but it is one that Reedy and Wade seem to have given new life.

Not many authors can successfully combine modern day settings with those of ancient times to bring to life a book filled with both action and humor. Reedy and Wade have more than accomplished that task.  I highly recommend Soul Dark: Chosen to any reader interested in young adult fantasy and looking for a book with a well-placed and strong  theme of faith.

Pages: 246 | ASIN: B07P2L6655

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The Scopas Factor

The Scopas Factor by [Panettiere, Vincent]

When Mike Hegan’s last case ends tragically, the detective hopes to put everything behind him. His girlfriend instead brings him along on a hopeful job opportunity to a small town in north California and little does he realize the web forming there to ensnare them both. Hegan finds himself thrust into the middle of a kidnapping and double homicide. When a link that is too close to home provides a lead, Hegan decides that he must dive deeper if he is going to get to the truth. Antiques, forged art, and foreign drug dealers all come together to make an on-your-toes mystery.

Hegan is your typical somewhat damaged detective from the noir tradition. He is a well-rounded character and is interesting to follow as he attempts to piece together these varied elements into a conclusive solve. The emotional depth that Panettiere can bring out, because of how personal this mystery becomes is impactful. The reader can feel a certain amount of distress from Hegan as he continues to struggle to figure it all out. Hegan made this story such a joy to read and it is my hope that these books become more serialized as they go along. It would be interesting to see how he develops over time.

Panettiere’s mystery is an expansive novel that straddles the fence between a mystery and thriller. The length of this novel works against the suspense, since some of the more filler passages work against the tension built in the story. But this is made up by his poetic prose, beautiful descriptions and clever dialogue. But at times I felt the pace of the story slowed because of this, this may be the only mark against him, since all the other elements of Hegan’s arc coinciding with the plot arc was brought together quite well by the end.

Recommended for readers of thriller mysteries. Based on some of the more aesthetic qualities to this story, such as the forged art and antiques, those who enjoy such stories would not be disappointed either. This novel establishes Panettiere as a solid new writer in the mystery genre and I look forward to more of his work.

Pages: 310 | ASIN: B07JP69TH3

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Rest Assured, It Will Be Interesting

John Fennell Author Interview

John Fennell Author Interview

Raven and the Code Book follows Raven as she must secure a code book containing a world changing secret. What was the direction that you wanted to take this book that was different from the first two books in the Raven series?

I mixed in two characters and a special flying machine from the John Vacara series to add a different flare to the story line. I wanted the reader to experience Raven Anderson as they have come to know her, but I wanted the story line mixed up to keep it interesting.

Raven Anderson is a femme fatale secret agent who uses her skills, intelligence and sex appeal to get the job done. What were some new areas of her personality that you wanted to explore in this book?

I wanted Raven Anderson character more defined in this book. I think the reader now has a better perception of her personality, her dreams and why she shunned Naci from her life for over a year. She has learned that she may need to change her life direction as she gets older. I haven’t decided what she will evolve into five or six volumes from now, but rest assured, it will be interesting.

If Hollywood came knocking who would you cast as the lead characters in your book?

Raven – Gal Gadot. Naci – Matt Damon.

What are you currently writing and when will it be available?

A book magnet designed to intertwine both Raven Anderson and John Vacara series. It will explain the background and lay out the future for both series. This will be available late spring 2019 and will be available in electronic version only. It will be free. The next Raven Anderson book is Raven and the Psychiatrist, a story in the world of human trafficking. The next John Vacara series is Nadia’s Return. A very personal look at perhaps the world’s most sought after agent with a slight twist of scifi. these should be out late fall 2019.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Raven teams up with world renown assassin Morgan to seek revenge on her former employer, The Foundation, for not letting her bring closure to her beloved Uncles death. The Foundation put Raven in their sights because she went rouge, a policy that her lover, Naci, tried to change. Morgan and Raven organize an auction that bring together world leaders and a rouge scientist, Falcon-X, who will sell to the highest bidder, an advanced breakthrough in travel. Things don’t go as planned at the auction, Raven must protect Falcon-X and hide him. During their travels to Raven’s bunker, Falcon-X reminds her of something very important. Raven’s uncle Bill, although passed, sent her a signal in old film clip that saves her life. She must protect herself and all those around her, after the devastation Morgan creates in her life. Raven must find out the reason for her uncle’s death and who’s really on her side. She, along with her deceased uncle, put an end to, Raven Gone Rouge.

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