Category Archives: Reviews

Choice Cruise Lines – Book Review

Choice Cruise Lines by Jack Kregas is one of those novels that makes you stop and think. To consider what sort of choices, you would make if they diagnosed you with a terminal illness and actually had a choice whether or end the suffering or die slowly. Following the lives of several characters as they cope with these thoughts, we find various points of views and even the mentality of the men who start a most novel of ideas.

Choice Cruise Line is both a normal cruise and one where people go to end suffering before it gets to the hardest point. While they are still sane and capable of making the choice themselves.

The story obviously touches on dark subjects of death, and the legality and moral rightness of human euthanasia, so clearly this is not a book for the faint of heat, but it does not go in to death, it covers the subject from the point of view of those who will be slowly inching towards it. 

After finishing this book, I spent some time wondering if I would take, or offer, such an option to relatives I have seen die in slow and painful ways. As this is just a book review, I will not go in to that, but it certainly makes one think.

Is Choice Cruise Lines a good book? Yes, it is an amazing book, but go in to it with an open mind and you will enjoy it!

Bloodstone: The Curse of Time Book 1 – Review

Bloodstone is the first novel in The Curse of Time series. It follows the life of Amelina as she tries to adjust to the tough life of a teenager, while also dealing with the fact that her family and the house they live in seem to be cursed. Amelina takes it upon herself, and her gift for using crystal magic, to purge this curse from her loved ones.

Bloodstone is an entertaining novel, well written with interesting characters. Its chapters are short and quick reads, making this a perfect ‘one more chapter before bed’ book. A quality that kept me up late the two days I was reading through this book.

The author does a wonderful job of capturing the drama of the teenage life, keeping up the tension between friends over topics that are relatable to anyone who remembers their teenage years.

Naturally, as this is the first book of a series there are several questions left unanswered, though the author did a wonderful job of wrapping up the main story of this book, I have high hopes that future additions to the series will answer questions that are left hanging like the proverbial loose strings.

So is Bloodstone worth reading? Yes, a fantastic option for fans of contemporary fantasy. Pick it up and enjoy the haunting life of Amelina. I know I am craving more.

The Family Man – Book Review

The Family Man by Anna Willett is a fantastic novel following the story of an Australian police detective Veronika Pope as she and her team do their best to solve a case that has been cold for years after a video containing the torture of four people in found in a couples attic while the renovate thier new home.

The story focuses mainly on Veronika and her peers as she tries to pull the pieces of a complicated and dark, cold case. The villain they are after, while dead, was a very deranged man who seemed to have very little issue treating those around him with the foulest of intentions. I will not go further in to the story to avoid spoilers, but some it is a dark tale.

The characters of The Family Man are all well written with backgrounds that fit well in to the story as a whole. The main character, Veronika, is a well developed female character. While described in an attractive person, there is no forced love story to take away from the police work. And while there is some implied romance, it is a strictly background story. This gives more focus on the characters intelligence, leading to an impressive female lead, which can be fairly difficult in darker novels.

So is The Family man worth reading? Most certainly. Pick up this novel to get your cold case mystery thrill and so much more.

The Numbers Game – Novella Review

The Numbers Game by Miles Watson is a novella following Maurice a RAF pilot during World War II. While he is a capable pilot, Maurice is more interested in numbers and figures. A mathematician to an almost oppressive point, he takes comfort and depends entirely on these numerical facts. Disregarding the other variables in life, such a luck. 

Feeling himself secure in knowing when everyone, even himself, will finally die in the complicated war, he finds himself in an odd place when things do not work out exactly as expected.

The Numbers Game is a great novella, worth picking up if you have a few hours to kill, or just in general looking for a great read. The main character’s obsessive fascination with numbers feels real. Who would not be clinging desperately to whatever they can hold on to during one of the bloodiest wars in history? Even in times a peace, people in hard times need something to cling to.

Pick up The Numbers Game if you are interested in historical fiction. This WWII tale will keep you interested till the end.

Ronin Cleans His Room Like a Ninja – Book Review

Ronin Cleans His Room Like a Ninja is a children’s book by Chris Roy. It is about a little boy who does not like being told what he has to do. So while his parents are on a trip and he is left in the care of his uncle, his uncle suggests Ronin use his desire to be a ninja to clean his room!

I read this story on the Kindle and have to say that it was an excellent choice. Amazon provides an excellent way to view the book, making each image and page of text show up individually, giving you a little adventure to swipe through while you go through Ronin’s bedroom cleaning ninja training.

The story is cute and you leave it with a smile, plus the effect of the book certainly gives some fun ideas to try to get children to clean their room, just like Ronin did!

Chubby’s Tale – Children’s Book Review

Chubby’s Tale The true story of a teddy bear who beat cancer, is adorable. It is a children’s book written by Carola Schimdt whose books I have covered one of her books before I will link that review at the end of this one if you are curious. 

Chubby’s Tale is a delightful children’s book about a little teddy bear who feels sick and seeks the help of doctor toys in the store he lived in while he waits to be purchased. It is close to Christmas time, and he wants to make sure he can be purchased for a happy child.

The story easily holds attention, from Chubby feeling sick to his cure, cancer, particularly Leukemia, is explained simply for a child to understand, as is bone marrow transplant. These difficult subjects are covered in a warm narration. In addition to the excellent story and information the artwork is cute and warm. 

So is Chubby’s Tale something to read to your child? I think so. I also think it would make a fantastic stocking stuffer this holiday season.

Here is another work by Carola Schimdt.

The Four Suitors – Book Review

The Four Suitors by Sophie Jupillat Posey is a wonderful fantasy romance novel following the life of a spoiled princess who, after having her well for many years, is suddenly put in to the care of four suitors who are tasked with the duty to educate her. The one who does the best to be her husband. A strange demand, even in this fantastical world.

The Four Suitors is a solid fantasy novel, the world is well designed with some clear and solid world building elements. The universe is touched on briefly, showing that the author has put some serious thought in to even the various planets of this novel’s universe, not just the various countries needed for the novel. As world building can be a daunting task, it is always good to see it done well.

The characters in the story are also interesting. The main character in particular is shows some intense development, which everyone wants to see in a major character, though admittedly at the start of the book I found her to be such a repulsive child I also put the book down for a few hours, however, she does grow on the reader as you progress through the story.

In short, The Four Suitors is a wonderful fantasy novel with enough romance to get you that romance kick you are searching for. Pick it up, the read is very worth it!

Oliver of the Silver Hand – Short Story Review

Oliver of the Silver Hand is a story by S. Marie Diegutis. It is a short story and prequel to the Dragon Hatcher series. This short story combines commonly known myths and legends such as Merlin and dragons, along with the author’s own characters. This gives the story an interesting feeling of originality while using the wizard we all know from Arthurian legends. This short story is certainly an entertaining one.

Short stories can be a little difficult, particularly when they are attached to a larger series. An author has to connect it to the larger story, while also giving us enough information in the single short story to stay interested, instead of just wanting to skip it and go pick up the novels it’s attached to. Thankfully, with Oliver of the Silver Hand, Diegutis keeps you interested. Tidbits of information are given to us, though enough is left out to make the reader want to pick up the series when it is available. I know I will be looking look for this series when it comes out.

As touched previously, the story uses the Arthurian character Merlin. This is done well and interestingly using lessor known stories about the magic man having a sister, which ties him to Oliver, the main character as his brother-in-law. The Merlin in this story is certainly not limited to the wise and carefully guiding character we are used to, he’s a bit of a drunken playboy in this story. An interesting take on the character and worth reading. As for the other characters of the story, they are equally worth reading about, though of original creation.

As stated before, Oliver of the Silver Hand is a prequel, so there are questions left out that make one want to read the rest of the series. Such as more about the dragons and their various abilities, as well as some of the main character Oliver, who even so early in the series seems to have a huge history that could be fun to learn about.

Over all, Oliver of the Silver Hand is worth reading, and should be picked up by fans of fantasy. Hopefully, the rest of the series will be as entertaining as it’s prequel!

I got my copy of Oliver of the Silver Hand on Reedsy Discovery! https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/oliver-of-the-silver-hand-a-fantasy-short-story-prequel-in-the-dragon-hatcher-urban-fantasy-series-s-marie-diegutis#review

Devil in the Red Dirt – Book Review

The Devil in the Red Dirt is a historical fiction novel by Michael P. Smith taking place in Australia in the mid-60s. It follows a corrupt detective, a damaged but well meaning detective and an aboriginal man who had lost his identity as they search the gorgeous and troubled physical and mental landscape of Australia seeking the demented killer of innocent children who seems to have people in power covering their tracks.

The Devil in the Red Dirt is an excellent read. It covers some incredibly difficult topics ranging from racism to child abuse to death and drug use. These difficult topics are covered in all their filthy detail, making sure this novel not for the faint of heart. If any of the topics mentioned this book easily disturb you, this book is not for you. However, I found the disturbing nature of the story made it an excellent work of fiction, and more so, an excellent mystery. Smith does an excellent job of leaving you wanting to know more and how this villain will pay for their crimes, or if the morally bankrupt society they live in will win out!

As stated before, The Devil in the Red Dirt is an excellent, though very dark, novel. The story is well written and the main characters, who are all well rounded and twisted enough to feel real. The side characters are equally intriguing. Smith has provided us with a cast of colorful and realistic criminals, creating a fantastic display of the Australian criminal world in the 60s. Even when the story slips away from the main characters, you can find yourself still interested in the activities of the background cast. This means the story avoids the dull and mind numbing side stories that can often pop up in a novel’s supporting characters. The lives of each person mentioned form in to a wonderful over arching tapestry of human failings.

The Devil in the Red Dirt is an excellent book that fans of historical fiction, crime, or mystery could enjoy. Though don’t go in to it if you’re too squeamish about the dark side of the human species.

I got my copy of Devil in The Red Dirt from Reedsy Discovery https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/the-devil-in-the-red-dirt-mike-smith#review

The Descent a story from Ékleipsis the abyss – A Review

This time of year, October, if you are reading this at another point in time, I like to seek out scary and thrilling reads to get in to the seasonal mood. So upon being asked to review one story from Ékleipsis the abyss, a collection of short stories by Tamel Wino, I thought, hey great timing! After taking a very brief look at what was offered, I agreed to read and review The Descent, a story about a pilot who risks his life to save someone from certain death and finds himself needing to seek that thrill again. That sense that he is defying death by the skin of his teeth.

This is a short story, so a lot is packed in to the page count. The main character, Chris goes through some serious emotional ups and downs. He is a naturally selfish person, ending up always putting himself before everything else, even when he seems to have everything in order, he ends up back tracking to his selfish ways. This story is told in the first person, so the tale is all from Chris’s point of view. You briefly hear his opinions of the side characters. They are as colorful as one can assume after getting to know the main characters.

Now as for the thrill Chris seeks, and readers of horror often look for, oh, oh you will get it! You will get it in the most jaw dropping way. This story was amazing, and it ended with me on the edge of my seat. This is well worth the time to read. When I have a chance, I will go back to read the rest of the stories in this book as well!

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