Koritt Diviak is assigned a mission he would rather not go on. He goes to Earth anyway and ends up crashing in the Afghan dessert. He attracts the attention of two people who are on their own missions. Lieutenant Lavender would love to use the U-10 recovered from the crash site to protect his troops against terrorists and militia. Lincoln Frost also comes into the picture with a desire to get the same elite weapon for his superiors who supposedly plan to use it for the safety of the American citizens. It is quickly discovered that all three have to fight each other for their interests. Will any one of them come out unscathed?
U-10 is an action filled science fiction adventure story that meshes fantasy and reality into one medley of literary excitement. The plot is well sculpted and executed. No holes are left especially regarding the functionality of the tech. Speaking of which, the gadgets in this book are straight out of any sci-fi enthusiast’s imagination. They are simply out of this world with high adaptability and power. It only makes sense that everyone is willing to go to such great lengths to be in possession of it.
Koritt is your typical veteran soldier. He will follow orders despite his feelings on the matter. He will fight and keep to the mission objective above all odds. Frost is also a typical lackey for the man. These characters are all introduced to the reader with such vivid descriptions that you can almost put a face to the image created in your head. Strong characters make for a strong story. They carry the story and ensure that the reader is engaged. They each work so hard for their mission that they do not realize just how intrinsically similar they are.
The story remains fresh up to the very end with engaging dialogue that supported the plots movement. It remains consistently exciting and lively throughout which makes for a quick pace.
U-10 will keep you at the edge of your seat and anxious for the next twist in the plot. I enjoyed the simplicity with which the story is told as well as the brilliant tone that rarely leaves a dull moment.
Pages: 458 | ASIN: B07W864RY3
Tags: action, adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, Sam B Miller II, science fiction, story, The Most Ingenious Technology in the Galaxy, U-10, writer, writing
Murtairean: An Assassin’s Tale (Dal Cruinne Series Book One) by Jenn Lees is a fantasy story set in a medieval society with lords at war for power. Vygeas, a former assassin with the gift of heightened senses and perception, is locked in a cell in Lord Ciaran’s dungeon. Charged with desertion when he refused to kill innocents, Vygeas now faces hanging. But he is offered a stay of execution and a chance to win his freedom if he completes one final task–to kill a corrupt merchant on the Isle of Eilean. On the road to Eilean, Vygeas meets Leyna, a woman searching for the assassin who killed her parents. She is intent on exacting revenge. But when their convictions are tested, will either Vygeas or Leyna succeed in their aims?
Murtairean: An Assassin’s Tale is filled with intrigue and treachery, drawing me in from the very first page. The author’s descriptions of the setting and people painted a vivid picture of the story in my mind. I suspected early on in the story that Vygeas was the assassin who had killed Leyna’s parents, and I was interested to find out how she would react when she finally learned the truth. I don’t want to give away too much, but things are not what you expect. Leyna’s feelings are understandably confused, especially since she has come to like Vygeas and he has shown himself to be a good man deceived by lies.
Both Leyna and Vygeas are likable and sympathetic characters even though they have done bad things in their pasts and continue to walk a dark path. I enjoyed reading the interactions between Vygeas and Aiden, and the touches of humor that it added to the story.
But there were a few places where I would have liked more detail in order to fully understand the characters’ motivations. When Vygeas killed Elyse he did so because of Drostan’s threat to make her suffer a life worse than death. But I didn’t think there was enough details given to make it feel as though such a drastic action by Vygeas was truly justified. Why was he convinced that Drostan would follow through? I felt that it should have been elaborated on so that it was clear why Vygeas felt that he had no other choice. And it was never really explained why Drostan seemed to bear a personal grudge against Vygeas. Also, why would Lord Cairan bother with such as elaborate ruse to eliminate Vygeas when he could have just killed Vygeas outright? Needless to say, I was invested in the story.
The story ends on a happy-ish note, but Lord Ciaran is still a threat who must be stopped. The mention of dragons in the epilogue intrigued me. The series is definitely one I’m interested on continuing because of the intriguing characters and enthralling world.
Pages: 139 | ASIN: B07ZWQMZ4W
Amulet’s Rapture finds Catrin, a princess of Britannia, a warrior, and a druidess ending up a slave to a Roman. How did the initial idea for this novel develop and change as you were writing?
The overall story idea is based on the legacy of Mark Antony and Cleopatra but with a Celtic twist. The inspiration for the primary character, Catrin, is Boudicca, a warrior queen who united the British tribal kingdoms in a rebellion against Rome in 61 AD and almost succeeded in kicking them out. Originally, Amulet’s Rapture was intended to be the first book in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. However, after receiving feedback from critique groups, editors, and agents, I decided to start the story earlier in ancient Britannia so readers could better understand what Catrin lost when she is enslaved. Fantastical elements were also added to give the story a flavor of the Celtic and Roman cultures through their mythology and legends.
I always enjoy your character development in your books. What were some obstacles you felt were important to Catrin’s development in this story?
The key as to what obstacles Catrin must overcome in the story is highlighted in Chapter 4: Roman Training. In a scene, Catrin has a vision of her dead father who tells her what she must do to become a warrior queen to take back her kingdom from her treacherous half-brother, Marrock. She must summon stamina from nature (her own inner essence) to endure hardships of slavery and rigors of training with Roman soldiers. She must learn how to deal with both enemies and friends. She reluctantly embraces her corrupt and cruel Roman master like a stern father from whom she learns how to maneuver through changing political winds, transforming her weakness into strength. Most of all, she must understand how her utmost trust in those she loves is a double-edged sword that can be used against her. Though she deeply loves Marcellus, her Roman husband and ally, she must ultimately face and overcome obstacles by herself. She can only rise above unfortunate circumstances by understanding herself and by harnessing her inner darker forces to survive and to seek vengeance on those who have maltreated her.
In Amulet’s Rapture, Catrin transforms from a naïve fifteen-year-old girl into a worldly young woman who must forge her own destiny. This book sets the stage for the next book when she must ally with former enemies and friends to confront Marrock.
What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer when starting this book?
My goal was to write a quality book within a year of the last released book, Dagger’s Destiny. I strove to write the best story I could by having the manuscript thoroughly critiqued and professionally edited and formatted. The story must have a unique theme and character development that resonates with readers. I was open to revising the original plot whenever it was inconsistent with the characters or was headed in the wrong direction. For example, I changed the last chapter in Amulet’s Rapture because the original ending was not in keeping with Catrin’s transformation. The revised ending threw a wrench in the plot of my next book, Skull’s Vengeance, but I consider this a challenge to add new twists in the overall tale.
Although Catrin is the rightful heir to the Celtic throne in Britannia, she is lucky to be alive. After witnessing the slaughter of her family at the hands of her half-brother, who was aided by the Romans, she is enslaved by a Roman commander. He disguises her as a boy in the Roman Legion with the belief that she is an oracle of Apollo and can foretell his future. The sole bright spot in her miserable new life is her forbidden lover Marcellus, the great-grandson of the famed Roman General Mark Antony.
But Marcellus has been wounded and his memories of Catrin and their secret marriage were erased by a dark Druidess. Though Marcellus reunites with Catrin in Gaul and becomes her ally as she struggles to survive the brutality of her Roman master, he questions the legitimacy of their marriage and hesitates to help her escape and retake her kingdom. If their forbidden love and alliance are discovered, her dreams of returning to her Celtic home with Marcellus will be shattered.
Marley and Richard have only just met, but the spark is there, and it is real. Things begin to move quickly when Richard comes to work in the same business as Marley. In addition, he is strangely close to their new manager, Ross Gilmore. The buzz in Marley’s office is all about Ross and the wealth that he has accumulated. However, Marley’s sights are set on Richard, and she is much less concerned about his association with the new man in charge. With dreams of marriage, a family, and a horse farm of their own, Marley and Richard set out to make a life together. Something… just a little hint of something… isn’t as simple as it seems.
Marley Faces Reality, by Lesley J. Mooney, is the story of Marley Bollane, a young woman working hard and waiting patiently for her turn at love and a family. Unlike many in her peer group, Marley has chosen to remain a virgin until marriage. She doesn’t realize how quickly that marriage will arrive when she meets Richard. Their relationship moves quickly and all seems well. There remains something quite unsettling about Richard’s friend and business associate, Ross. Marley can’t shake the feeling, but she also can’t put a name to it.
The underlying and brewing drama is drawn out well throughout the book. Mooney keeps readers guessing and makes it interesting to watch Marley try to piece together the clues she begins to pick up along the way. Marley’s life with Richard moves along at a rapid pace, and the reader becomes easily absorbed in all of their triumphs.
Though the main characters’ lives move along quickly in the first few chapters, it takes a while to get to the meat of the story. When it finally happens, the author brings readers in headfirst. The drama is well-planned, multiple characters are impacted, and Marley is still clueless enough to keep readers yearning for more. When she fails to notice the changes in her children and the impact her brother-in-law has on their lives, readers become irate for her.
Ross, who begins the book as a mystery, becomes quite the villain, and does so fairly abruptly. He returns in one way or another throughout the plot. Whether he is in a face-to-face confrontation or whether previous dealings with him come back to haunt Marley and Richard’s little family, Ross is always there. His presence helps make the book much more than the romance it seemed at the outset.
There are some points in the beginning of the book where the dialogue feels a bit wordy. Some of the exchanges between characters feel much more like narration than genuine exchanges between two characters.
Readers who enjoy an element of romance in their thrillers will find Mooney’s work satisfying. Mooney has created relatable characters, a dramatic story-line with multiple twists and turns, and a heroine to be remembered.
Pages: 276 | ASIN: B07ZNC36XG
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Tags: 50 shades of truth, action, adventure, author, author award, book, book award, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nonfiction, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, science fiction, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Revenge I Will Have follows Navy SEAL Jake as he’s tasked with a new mission, but finds his psychotic ex-girlfriend embroiled in the mission’s objective. What was your inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
At the conclusion of my first book, “Sleeping with a Wall Street Banker,” I found myself thinking about both Jake and Jessica. Where would Jake go? How would he react? What would Jessica do as a criminal on the run but also burning with hatred for those she feel betrayed her. Jake reacted by retreating to where he felt safe, a refuge. Jessica, consumed by hate, by seeking out a partner for revenge. Both characters were catalysts for the plot, similar to putting two combustible agents together, you eventually get a reaction. In this case Jessica caused the reaction that set the plot in motion because of her blind hatred
Jake is an interesting and well developed character. What were some ideas that guided his character development?
No one wants to read about a wimp or a sad self-absorbed character who is moping around, crying in their beer. Jake had misfortune fall upon him and he pulled himself up, like people do every day because they don’t have a choice. People are intrigued by characters with strong personalities, their strengths, flaws and idiosyncrasies. The reader can relate to them because they have flaws and quirks as well. I’m surrounded by strong personalities, most notably my husband who also has more than his share of lovable and funny idiosyncrasies
Jessica and her emotional issues were consistently intriguing. What were some themes you wanted to capture in her character and relationship with Jake?
Jessica allowed her emotional issues to overwhelm her to the point she was no longer in control. She thought she was pulling the strings but in the end, she was the one who was being used. Her hate blinded her to see through the obvious
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m actually formulating a sequel to Revenge. Without giving away the plot, the Bat’s terrorist network, funded by a foreign government, is planning retribution against Jake by staging what could be a cataclysmic attack on the US while also targeting members of Jake’s family for death, specifically his invalid mother and his brother who is a Roman Catholic priest. There are geopolitical twists and turns and new plot angles that will have the reader on edge. The Bat’s friends find they bought off more than they could chew by going after Jake’s family.
Mired in grief over the recent murder of his girlfriend, Alice, at the hands of his psychotic ex-lover, Jessica, former Navy SEAL turned Wall Street banker Jake Logan is suddenly called back into action. While his team’s primary target is internationally known terrorist financier Asyd Omar Batdadi, a.k.a. “the Bat,” the mission soon becomes personal for Jake when he learns that Jessica—a dangerous woman with dissociative identity disorder—is wrapped up in the plot. In fact, Jake’s connection to Jessica is the very reason he has been reactivated as a SEAL.
Their efforts to capture or kill Batdadi and his associates soon take Jake and his fellow SEALs to various locations in Europe and the United States, but the wily terrorist manages to elude them at every turn. In the midst of their hunt, they learn that, with Jessica’s help, Batdadi is plotting a bold terrorist strike on American soil. For Batdadi, it is an act of revenge for America’s interference in the lives of his Middle Eastern brethren, a chance to put himself in the “terrorist hall of fame” alongside names like Osama Bin Laden. For Jessica, it is the ultimate form of payback against the journalists whom she holds responsible for ruining her life and her future with Jake.
Battling a ticking clock, international criminal masterminds, and his own grief, Jake strives to transform his troubled relationship with Jessica from a liability into an asset, his only hope of saving thousands of innocent lives—not to mention his soul.
The Underground follows a wolf pack alpha male in an alternate Seattle who seeks the downfall of his overlord. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?
The Underground was inspired by a single question I asked myself while in a half-fainted state on an uptown city bus with no air conditioning on one oppressively hot and humid afternoon: What would it take for a werewolf to survive in today’s world?
It gave me a lot to think about. Assuming humans are just as hostile to paranormals as they are in the literature, our werewolf’s primary concern would be keeping his true nature secret. Still, he can’t just wall himself away from humans—he needs a job, a place to live, and what have you. Would he have friends, knowing that everyone who crosses your path is a potential enemy? What lies would he have to tell to keep humans from finding out what he is? When the change comes, what does he do? He can’t go hunting humans in the city—that would be suicide. So…what? Those questions are just the tip of the iceberg, as they say.
Parker and Kurt were both well developed and interesting characters. Who was your favorite character to write for?
I really don’t have a favorite between the two. I love all my children equally! What was most interesting about writing the two is how they developed into such different characters. Yes, Parker’s from a rural-esqe part of the southern U.S. and Kurt’s a German aristocrat but it’s not just that. For example, their speech patterns are so different, aside from Parker being a potty-mouth! There’s a formality to Kurt’s speech that’s absent from Parker’s and everyone else. It’s almost as if I don’t have to use dialogue tags or other indicators as to who’s speaking. You can tell when Kurt’s speaking just from his language.
I loved the idea of exotics and the whole world of paranormal creatures you’ve built. What were some themes you wanted to explore in your world?
While mentally building the world for The Underground, I realized that world is our own. Human bigotry against paranormals abounds. Paranormals are hunted by humans and marked for execution. That’s no different than anyone who’s persecuted because of skin color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or identity, or any other difference the majority perceives as dangerous and undesirable. That leads to the question of what would happen if the downtrodden decide they’re not going to take their lot anymore? History tells us the answer. Oppress a people long and hard enough, they will rise up. And the results won’t be pretty. There’s so much more to these themes, too. I’ve even written an essay about it.
Are you still working on the Sequel to the The Moreva of Astoreth? How is that coming along?
Yes, The Moreva of Astoreth’s sequel, When Gods Die, is still in the works. Since Moreva was released, I’ve been assaulted by major real-life issues that necessitated putting Gods on the back-burner. Moreva is getting a major overhaul—new cover and a deep edit—and once that’s finished, I can go back to Gods. Of course, I can’t say for certain when it’ll be finished. Deadlines and me really don’t mix. But the plan is to have Gods published by the end of summer 2020. One reason for taking so long is I have to write a novella, The Final Victim, which I’ve promised to people who sign up for my newsletter. Victim is set in The Underground’s world and bears a strong relation to it but it’s not a part of The Underground’s story. Call it a companion book.
In an alternate Seattle, communities of “exotics”—shapeshifters, witches, elves and vampires—live among the murderous human population and are ruled over by the cruel vampire Master, Kurt. The powerful alpha male of the werewolf pack, Parker Berenson, is one of the Master’s enslaved servants and he would like nothing more than to hasten the downfall of the vampire overlord who stole his love, the beautiful mage Garrett Larkin. But in a night city already on the razor’s edge—in the midst of a spate of bloody murders—Parker’s passionate encounter with a stunning interstellar assassin could upset the very delicate balance and ignite a war neither exotics nor humans can survive.
Cooperative Lives is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a mystery, suspense, and romance as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
Organically. I began with humble aspirations: to publish a thin collection of stories about various fictionalized neighbors. Their only shared aspect was their abode, a storied New York co-operative. These were simple tales with simple twists: a compulsive planner who locks himself out of his well-equipped apartment during a blackout; a man who exasperates his wife by, with daughter in tow, routinely ignoring Walk/Don’t Walk signals, only to watch his wife mowed down while observing the rules; an aging fund manager who commits an egregious act of negligence but is saved from ruin by the words on a long-forgotten pack of cigarettes. Other stories involved skiing accidents, medical malpractice, writer’s block – a mishmash of themes and occurrences.
The connections came slowly. What if the woman in the second story is saved by the aging money manager? What if the man in the first story was grieving the loss of his family? What if the second family knew the man? What if they both had children?
The book became more character-driven – how New Yorkers deal with the universal challenges of raising a family, making ends meet, preserving relationships, surviving medical ordeals, and growing old. The protagonists were sufficiently varied in age, background and income to address the questions from multiple perspectives.
Also, their eventual interaction enabled story arcs. What if the aging fund manager didn’t, in fact, correct his error in time, and somehow involves the man whose wife he saved? What if there’s a reason the man in the first story lost his family, and that it ties all the protagonists together?
The finished novel did indeed cross many genres, but so, alas, does life.
What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
9/11 and the financial crisis were such specks in time, separated by a scant six years, but they had an intense, lasting impact on the New York and New Yorkers I knew. My goal was to craft a series of short stories that captured New York in transition – from a wild, frenetic, forward-looking community where lawyers, bankers, artists, corporate managers, and theatrical executives (i.e., my neighbors) toiled their way up the ladder, traveled without fear, raised families without fear, and retired in relative comfort and privacy, to one spooked by uncertainty, laid bare by overzealous media, and devoured by the very financial system they created. A tall order – best approached one short parable at a time.
It took me seven years to pull the novel together, to narrow my admittedly subconscious, sweeping vision down to a simple whodunnit. But I was committed to publishing before my 60th birthday, the only writer’s promise I kept. Had I allowed myself another seven years, who knows where the novel would have taken me?
Your characters were all varied, unique, and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind the characters development?
I’m not sure I had ideals, at least not consciously. The characters were montages of people I knew – some alive, some dead. Their thoughts were frequently mine, but they were basic, the logical extension of where and how each scene was set. If there was a goal, it was to make the characters genuine, so persuasive I could sneak in plot liberties and still seem plausible – a magician’s sleight of hand. Heaven knows if I succeeded.
Part of making characters genuine is making them nuanced. In the “real world,” the only world I know, there are precious few saints and even fewer demons. An argument, by definition, has two sides, and everyone, including a seven-year-old child, is complicated.
I am a huge fan of American comedies from the thirties and forties, including those of Frank Capra. He quoted Konstantin Stanislavski so liberally I thought, until now, that he wrote this, “There are no small parts, only small actors.” Truth. Watch any Capra film. Every role makes an impression, even the uncredited, unspoken ones … because they are so real. It was surely not an ideal but a commitment; each of my characters had to be genuine.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
Cooperative Lives took me seven years to write, edit and publish. I would love to publish my next volume within five. The locus will be contemporary New York and many of characters will be over forty. There will also be water, lots of water.
A landmarked midtown Manhattan address. Carnegie Hall and Central Park at your feet. Three hundred units. Thirty-two full-time employees. Five hundred neighbors. You’ve hit the big time. Joined the elite. But what do you know about them, the neighbors? Have you ever met them? Really engaged with them? Or do you gaze down in the elevator, the same way you do on the subway and the street?
Oh sure, you’ve heard a famous writer lives on the fourteenth floor, a retired US senator on the eighteenth. You’ve witnessed so many Broadway impresarios glide through the lobby you’ve lost count. But what about your real neighbors – the couple in 7H, for instance, or the family in 8B? Did you know they once harbored the most wanted fugitive in America?
No? It was in the papers for weeks; nearly tore the co-op apart. Even that famous writer on fourteen got involved. And all because an M7 bus side-swiped a resident-shareholder while turning down Seventh Avenue.
You’re busy? Oh, I’m sorry. Just thought you should know something about the co-op’s history. And buy more insurance, lots more; I’ve got a friend named Stanley.
Heart Land by Kimberly Stuart is a contemporary fiction story about Grace Kleren, a struggling design assistant in New York who aspires to be a fashion designer. But instead of receiving the promotion she expects, she ends up being fired. With no job and no way to pay her bills, she is forced to return to Silver Creek, Iowa, the town she left ten years ago. However, she’s determined to find a way to earn enough money to move back to New York and prove herself as a fashion designer. But after reconnecting with her first love, Tucker, will Grace’s dream change?
Heart Land is a story that was a joy to read. I won’t ruin the ending for you, or how Grace and Tuckers relationship ends, but I’ll say that it was one of my favorite endings for a book this year. Especially after the ladies of the sewing circle had come together to help her with her new business, which brought much-needed money into the area. I’m glad that Grace didn’t turn her back on them. All of this was delivered eloquently with a bit of humor, which I enjoyed.
Although I liked the main characters, I felt that there were a lot of unnecessary secondary characters in the beginning of the book, since most of them were not mentioned again later in the story. And Grace was not shown in the best light when she is first introduced and she ducks out early on the photo shoot the day before she expected to get a promotion. Although that was not the reason she got fired, it could have easily gone that way, and she thoughtlessly risked the very thing that she supposedly wanted the most (can you tell I’m invested in the characters).
When Grace first returned to Silver Creek, I didn’t like how she often acted like a sulky teenager rather than a women in her late twenties just because things in New York had not gone the way she’d imagined and she wasn’t happy to be returning to Iowa. Ultimately she recognized this fault in herself and did not continue the same behavior for too long. I enjoyed her character transition, although it took her a while to realize what was really important.
This is an exceptional story that explores the power of love and connection to people and places.
Pages: 321 | ASIN: B078MDDLFB
Eva is isolated, and that is by her own choosing. She is the sole survivor of a lineage of werewolves. Avoiding others like herself and steering clear of humans, she has managed to keep away from everything posing a threat to her very being. Eva is strong and a force to be reckoned with. Deegan has met his match in Eva. A werewolf himself, he is not part of one of the most desirable clans. When forces beyond his control begin to rule him, he finds himself on the verge of giving in and giving up. Whether either of them realize it or not, Eva just might be the answer he didn’t know he was looking for.
The Fate of Wolves, by Tarrant Smith, is the second in The Legends of the Pale series. From cover to cover, Smith delivers insanely well-drawn characters and enough moments of levity to keep this paranormal romance moving along at a brisk pace. Never does Smith’s work lack. As the author bounces from one subplot to the next and back, she keeps readers on their toes and deeply involved with each of the main characters and their tragic lives.
Eva is simply amazing. Smith’s descriptions of both her wolf and human halves and how the two are often at odds is captivating. I am oddly fascinated by characters who choose to isolate themselves, and Eva is a prime example. There is so much to be explored in characters like Eva whose mental anguish is so tangible.
I would be remiss if I didn’t address Smith’s opening lines. It’s not often that I rave about the beginning of a book, but in this case it’s a must. From the first sentence, Smith had me hooked. I am not always one to pick a fantasy, but when I do, I lean toward those with characters who shape-shift. There comes with these characters a certain fascination that I don’t get with those in other fantasy novels. The mere mention of werewolves is enough to catch my eye, but Smith snags readers like me from the opening paragraph when she states that werewolves are, indeed, not mythical.
Smith has a unique take on settings. She places her clan in present day. At first, I was a bit taken aback, but I realized as I read that it completely works. It’s not the fact that their human halves are technologically savvy that makes or breaks a book of this genre, it was the inner turmoil of characters like these that makes them timeless.
Anyone who enjoys down-to-earth main characters in their fantasy series will be taken with Deegan and Eva. The entire cast of characters created by Smith is deserving of readers’ adoration for that matter. Humor is a big part of Smith’s writing and adds to the depth of her characters. I highly recommend this book to readers across genres–it’s a must-read.
Pages: 254 | ASIN: B07YG7NZ35