Paperboy – Book Review

Paperboy: A Dylan Tomassi Novel is the first novel in Dan Romanello’s Dylan Tomassi series. This novel covers the early years of Dylan, starting with his childhood, sliding through his high school and college years, and ending in his thirties. The author gives us a good chunk of Dylan’s life to learn about him, his friends, and his family long before the real action begins in the books.

So I’ll be honest upfront. I found the first chapter of Paperboy to be slow, and it was not till the second chapter that I started to get into the book. However, I am not one to give up on a book; even if I find the first chapter slow, I work through it to finish it. More so when it’s a review copy, an author or their managers have gone out of their way to provide. So, Paperboy does get more interesting as Dylan’s story starts to work itself out. Aside from what I felt to be a slow start, I should state that there are implied sexual situations in this novel, so if you are uncomfortable with that, you should avoid it.

Now on to some more entertaining aspects. Even beyond Dylan, the main character, the characters are well-created with personalities and responses that come off as real people. In addition, the story progression, while drawn out, is entertaining. I hope, however, that the next novel will have more excitement. Yes, I enjoyed this one enough to read the next. While I may complain about the pacing, in the end, we are given an excellent story with well-crafted characters that pull you in, even if it takes a couple of chapters to do it.

Fool Her Once – Audiobook Review

Fool Her Once by Joanna Elm is an exciting thriller about a reporter, Jenna, who scores the story of her life at the beginning of her career. She had intended to interview the girlfriend of a long-deceased serial killer in hopes of finding out what the woman had seen in him. Instead, she ends up digging up a whole new story when she finds out the woman had a son with the serial killer. As expected, as the story comes out and the truth about the past of the woman and her now adult son comes out, the lives of the story subjects are quickly ruined, sending their lives into chaos as Jenna goes back to her own life with only a bit of knowledge of the drama she caused. Twenty years later, Jenna has been married, has a family, and settled in a lovely New England home with her husband and daughter, where they run a comfortable little coastal inn. However, she has discovered that the drama she induced years ago will return quickly to haunt her.

Fool Her Once, as stated above, is an exciting thriller. This fast-paced story kept me interested with turns I did not see coming. Sure, I could guess a few ending aspects, but that did not detract from the thrills of discovering how it happened! This book has a non-linear story. The author naturally leads us through the drama of the modern-day personal conflict of the characters but also takes the time to bring us back to the moments of the past that were essential to the lead-up. This allows us a full view of the entire story. Seeing the issues of the past play out gives us a much clearer picture than we would get with simple explanations from characters. Speaking of characters, we are given well-rounded, deep-thinking individuals whose mental illnesses and paranoia are so realistic I found myself wondering who the real antagonist of this story was.

I also listened to the Fool Her Once audiobook, which was read by Rachel Fulginiti, whose fantastic voice acting brings life to each character. I suggest looking at the audiobook if you plan to enjoy Fool Her Once.


Straight for the Kill – Book Review

Straight for the Kill by Winter Austin is a thrilling mystery in the small town of Juniper, Iowa. It stars many characters, including Shireff Elizabeth Benoit and Depyty Lila Dayne, the main characters. These two powerful female characters trudge through the complicated aspects of a cold case, suddenly becoming very hot as a similar murder turns up twenty-five years later. This complex case hits closer to home as it involved relatives of the Shireff and the Duputy family and friends. This page-turner culminates in a bloody ending that left me excited at every turn to read the finale.

Winter Austin has produced one hell of a book. Not only is the story exciting and one I found myself easily lost in, but the characters are so perfectly normal they feel real. Sure, they have been through complicated histories and a lot of violence, but their flaws and personalities make them feel they are dealing with their issues and natural ways. No one nearly gets killed and walks away from it without some kind of emotional scarring, and each of Winter Austin’s characters has plenty of it. Some hide it, and some learn to live with it, but it is there and makes them feel real.

The story itself is exciting. We learn through the various sheriff department officers what they learn as they go and how their family and friends have been tied to this dreadful crime for decades. Each hint and assumption the character makes leaves the reader wondering if what they have learned is true or if there will be some sudden twist of events in the end. Now, full disclosure, I could guess who the antagonist was. However, I had just learned how they were tied to the story at the end!

If you enjoy thrillers with strong female characters, I suggest you pick Straight for the Kill by Winter Austin. I will pick up more of Austin’s work once I have the time.

Game Changers of the Apocalypse – Book Review

Game Changers of the Apocalypse by Mark Kirkbride is undoubtedly a colorful novel. Your usual zombie Apocalypse made more confusing and complicated by a break-up weeks before a wedding, a printer spitting out a story of the future, and honestly, a day that just keeps getting worse and worse, and we have the book. That seems like an oversimplified synopsis of this book, and it certainly is, but it is tough to give you more details without filling the first paragraph of this review with spoilers. Nevertheless, this was one of the more entertaining Apocalypse books I’ve read in the last few years. And there have been a lot of them in the previous few years.

The main thing that stands out to me about Game Changers of the Apocalypse is the characters. Greg and Polly, the main characters, are so messed up and stuck in their heads that you can only think of them as real people. Fictional characters are very rarely this flawed. At the start of the book, I will admit I found Polly insanely annoying. However, as the story progresses, it starts to make sense. Polly and Greg seem so emotionally at odds that it’s a wonder they managed to stick together long enough to get engaged. But how many times have we thought that of real couples?

Like with most fiction stories, this one requires a certain level of suspension of belief to enjoy. However, even if you do not believe that there is some omnipotent being that could end the world and write about it, you can certainly feel it in this novel. It is evident from the start that someone watches the main characters throughout the ordeal, challenging their every step and rewriting when they think they have escaped. An odd concept for an end-of-the-world story but an exciting and original idea.

Pick up Game Changers of the Apocalypse for a zombie game-changing read.

Mandate: Thirteen – Book Review

Mandate: Thirteen by Joseph J. Dowling is an exciting dystopian novel. Like many of these books, this one centers around the dropping fertility rates of the human race. An ultra-conservative group has control of England, and due to the rapidly dropping rates, they released a new law, all females thirteen years and older must be checked for hormones and the ability to carry children. When Micheal Randell’s daughter Hope is marked as fertile, he goes as far as he can to keep her safe.

When I first saw the offer to review this book, I thought, oh boy, another one of these. Female infertility blame dystopian future has been done a lot. However, Joseph J. Dowling’s take on this popular genre is well done. While much of the focus is on female infertility, everything from birthing schools to baby farmers, there are also several instances when it is stated that males are also to blame. I found this to be a satisfying change to an often worn-out concept. Another pleasing difference in this book compared to many of its kin of a similar genre is that the main characters are father and daughter. So instead of being given a single view from a female perspective, we are also given the additional complications of a strained father-daughter relationship. Anyone who has et sort n a teenager can recall how complicated parental relationships can be.

While I touched on it briefly above, I will go into more detail here. The father-daughter relationship between Micheal and Hope is realistic, in all its ups and downs and half-thought-out comments. No man can entirely comprehend what a young teenage girl is thinking, and no young adolescent girl has any idea what a middle-aged man is thinking. This leads to several complications throughout the story that feel as though they could have been witnessed in real life.

So the real question is, is Mandate: Thirteen worth picking up? Yes. Refrain from letting the similar-sounding story fool you. Joseph J. Dowling’s take on this popular genre is a breath of fresh air.

Darcy Lane – Book Review

Darcy Lane by James T. Graham is an exciting novella following the journey of Elise Rose, a young woman fresh out of a mental health unit, as she tries to cope with her childhood trauma and the difficulties of readjusting to the world after two years in a medical facility. I will state from the beginning this novella is dark. It starts on a particularly dark note and remains pretty level with this first violent act for the remainder of the story. So if you have any qualms about murder, child negligence, or alcoholism, I strongly suggest you avoid this. However, for everyone else, this simple yet intriguing story will keep you wondering what will happen next.

James T. Graham’s writing is simple to follow. He does not use needlessly large words to describe the very dark and complex situations that Elise goes through. This is good and allows the reader to focus more closely on the problems. A reader with experience in mental health issues, either firsthand or through someone else, may quickly recognize Elise going through some very common and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Graham has done a great job displaying these mental complications without making them seem cartoonish, a common issue with many writers regarding certain mental illnesses. Now moving on from the mental health aspects of this novella, the plot is entertaining and moves rapidly. I found myself constantly wondering what was going to happen next.

Pick up this book if you want an entertaining and quick read.

Inhuman Acts- Book Review

So when you spend most of your time reading and reviewing books you find that there are very few truly original feeling stories these days. Most authors take an idea that’s been done and put their spin on it. This is simply how it goes these days. As they say, its all been done before. Except perhaps it hasn’t. With Inhuman Acts by Brooke L. French you will not experience this issue. Was all that set up necessary for me to tell you that Inhuman Acts is an original story worth picking up? Damn right it was, allow me to explain.

So when you read the back cover of this delightful book the first thing you may think is, with zoonotic diseases creeping in to humans are we dealing with some kind of zombie novel? Or perhaps, is this concept hitting a bit too close to home with the virus scares of the last few years? Well to answer the first question, no we’re not dealing with zombies here, we’re dealing with living people affected by rabies! Which is highly unlikely to happen in real life. And if you are worried about this book bringing up reminders of COVID, I wouldn’t worry much, the infected animals and people in this book are not experiencing any similar. You can still get that delightful reading escapism from this fantastic novel.

Now that I have covered that lets cover a couple other things. So characters, how do they feel? They feel real. Their personalities, jobs, internal conflicts, its all real. While we may not all be cops or ecological scientists, but the characters are written in a way that we can certainly understand the issues they are going through in this story. The story itself? Fantastic, and a must read. A curious thriller with just enough description to make you cringe and shiver but not be able to put the book down!

Pick up Inhuman Acts by Brooke L. French, and tell your friends to do the same!

The Shadow of the Mole – Book Review

Shadow of the Mole by Bob Van Laerhoven is another exciting novel by a skilled writer. Taking place in France in 1916 during some of the bloodiest fighting of the first world war a group of soldiers find a man claiming to have no memory in an abandoned mineshaft. They soon refer to him as The Mole and a curious collection of questions arises. Why does he have no memory? Why does he think himself dead? Where did he come from? Why is he so close to the field of battle? Of course, as usual, I will not ruin the story by answering any of these questions for you. Go read the book, but it is exciting to see how each of the characters, including the Mole, are displayed.

I was not entirely sure how I was going to like this novel, I usually avoid stories involving real wars, as I are a bit on the sensitive side, however, having read a book by Bob Van Laerhoven I decided I would do myself a discredit if I did not read it. And even more luckily, they offered me an audiobook. This allowed me to not only enjoy the story but also experience and amazing narrator which honestly helped me understand many of the French words this book has, and it has a lot of them, on a level that I probably would not have grasped if I was just reading it myself. 

The Shadow of the Mole is a must read, or listen, for anyone looking for an exciting war time thriller.

You can check out Bob Van Laerhoven’s twitter here!

And my previous review of Bob Van Laerhoven’s work here .

Corrigendum: A Dr. Sean Nolan Mystery – Book Review

Corrigendum: A Dr. Sean Nolan Mystery by E W Johnson M D is the latest in a series of books that I have picked up to read. Corrigendum follows Dr. Sean Nolan as he attempts to deal with a mystery arising from the death of a teenage girl who has signs of severe abuse. This naturally unravels in to a complicated web of human trafficking that has its claws dug deep even in to the highest position of society. Dr. Nolan and his friends seem to be up against hopeless odds.

Now I know what you may be thinking. This is part of a series! Why would I read this one before picking up the others? While I certainly suggest always reading a series you think you may enjoy, and not only because it supports the author but to get a good feel for the adventures of the characters. However, with Corrigendum by E W Johnson M D you can simply dive in with this book if for some reason you do not desire picking up the previous ones. Johnson gives you plenty of information on Dr. Nolan’s previous adventures and his relationships with his friends and family that you do not have to break the bank on the entire serious, though I would suggest you do. 

I suggest Corrigendum to anyone who enjoys a thrilling mystery story!

You can find this book on Amazon with this link!

The Bones of Amoret – Book Review

The Bones of Amoret is an exciting thriller by Arthur Herbert. The story follows a west Texan doctor in the early 80s as he tries to deal with being tied to a crime that could not only ruin his own life but the lives of his family and the desperate Mexicans he helps cross the border. These exciting conflicts, as well as others, make this book a real page-turner.

The Bones of Amoret by Aurthur Herbert is foremost a murder mystery. When a well-known figure in town goes missing and evidence aims toward a local doctor, the man goes as far as possible to prove that he had nothing to do with the man’s assumed murder. This, of course, leads to an exciting culmination that leads to an ending that honestly left me a bit surprised. Up until the twist, I expected the culprit to be someone entirely different. This excited me even more because there are very few books I cannot guess the ending to these days. It happens when you read often.

Alongside the exciting and shocking well-written tale, the story is exciting throughout the entire telling. Given to us from the point of view of the main character who lived through the whole ordeal as he shares it with someone. As such we get a wonderful internal dialogue about the whole ordeal giving The Bones of Amoret the last kick it needs to be one of the most exciting books I have read this year.

I strongly suggest The Bones of Amoret to anyone who is looking for an exciting mystery with a great twist ending.

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