Friday, 23 December 2016

A Beautiful Glittering Lie - J.D.R. Hawkins

                A Beautiful Glittering Lie is a historical fiction novel set during the American Civil War. Not being from the States, I have bare bones knowledge of this event in history so I found the author’s detailed telling of events and way of life during this time to be very interesting. The book provides both historical facts and a look at the conditions that both the soldiers and the citizens lived in during the Civil War. I found that some of the facts became rather dry and dragged the story down, although I do realize that they are essential to the story. For the most part, the story is told from the side of the Confederates. I’ve really only ever read information from the other side so I found it very interesting to read the alternate viewpoint. I can’t say I have changed my mind about which side I would have supported during the war but it did open my eyes as to why the Confederates felt the way they did. I found the pace of the book quite slow and I struggled to stay interested but for anyone who is a Civil War buff, this book would make for some entertaining reading. The characters are well developed and realistically written. I enjoyed the variety of personalities in the book, such as David who just wants to be like his dad and fight, and his dad, tough as nails even in horrible conditions. It can be difficult to have a lot of characters and make each one a worthwhile part of a book but the author manages to do this well throughout the whole story. For me, the pace was a bit slow but I realize the author had to do this in order to keep the realism of the story. Sometimes action sequences have to be sacrificed. Overall, I did learn a lot from this book, even with it being fiction, and I will look for more books by this author.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

When Darkness Comes - John Anthony Miller

When Darkness Comes is a historical thriller set during the German occupation of Paris in 1942. Jewish people were being exterminated at increasing rates in what was to become the most horrific genocide in the history of mankind. Mr. Mille takes the reader into the lives of a group of people who helped the Jews escape before being sent to almost certain death in concentration camps. The book opens with a look into the events and traumas in these people's lives that brought them together to work for the Resistance. Nobody is ever quite who they seem and the phrase "Never trust anyone" is never truer than in this story. I can usually predict character twists but there are a few here that I definitely wasn't expecting. I wasn't sure how the story was going to unfold as I started to read this book and I wasn't really taken in with the style of writing. As I kept reading, I found myself caring for the characters and becoming more engrossed in the various twists and turns of the story. It almost seemed like the author settled into the story and the writing style smoothed out and became really good. The characters are well developed and realistic in their actions and dialogue. The intensity of their situations and surroundings was vivid and made me realize just how touch-and-go life was for people during World War Two. Mr. Mille wrote every character so well that even the vilest Nazi was given a certain amount of humanity. The story is fast-paced and told through multiple viewpoints so the reader is never left bored with one character. There is a satisfying ending that, unfortunately, makes it clear that there won't be a sequel, although the author writes about the future for everyone...that is, those that make it to the end of the book. I really enjoyed this book. It's perfect for anyone with an interest in the human side of the War and those people that saved so many lives, not just the facts and dates. I read this on my ereader and it formatted well with good editing. The cover gives a hint to what the story is about and enticed me to choose this as a book I wanted to read. An excellent and enjoyable book!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Korian and Lucy Short Story Part II

                This short story is part two in the Cult of the Cat Short Story series that is a precursor to the book Daughter of the Sun. As the author tells the reader at the beginning of the story, it is very imported to read the Daughter of the Sun first and then Part One of the short story series because otherwise nothing read will make sense. This short story is a very quick read and, in my opinion, I’d rather read all of these short stories together in one large book. I read Part One quite a while ago and have forgotten much of what happened. It is essential to remember what happened in the first one in order to appreciate the story continuity in the second one so this was a problem for me until I remembered the first story.
                This short story continues the love story of Korian and Lucy as they struggle to be together and overcome not only their disapproving families but also the curse hanging over Lucy’s head regarding anyone she falls in love with. It is a well written story with interesting characters and relationships that are believable and realistic. I always enjoy Zoe Kalo’s writing and this short story is no exception. My only qualm is that I wish all of these great stories were combined into one novel.

Friday, 25 November 2016

No Safe Place - Steven M. Roth

                No Safe Place is a thriller from the Trace Austin series written by Steven M. Roth. It opens with the President of the United States making the decision to infect vacation hot-spot Fort Lauderdale, Florida with a virus that quickly infects and often kills the citizens, thus imposing a quarantine on the area. This is all done as an experiment to see what would happen and how people would react should it happen for real in a terrorist attack. Blaming the sickness on terrorists, the United States government imposes martial law on Fort Lauderdale and life for the citizens quickly turns into a situation of eat or be eaten. Trace, his wife, son and Nanna happen to be visiting the area and end up in the Quarantine Zone. Trace previously worked for the government as a computer hacker and an elite soldier so he starts trying to find out what is really going on while trying to also get his family out of the area.
                This is a very fast paced story and one that was almost scary due to the fact it could very well happen, considering how things are in our world today. The author’s viewpoint of how people would react seems very accurate and the situation of martial law at a resort town was very realistic. The author seems to have put a lot of thought into how life would be under restrictions of this type and the fear that people would feel, making them act irrationally. There are quite a few characters but Mr. Roth does an excellent job of introducing each one and giving them back stories that differentiate them from each other. They are all multi-dimensional and realistic and there are a variety of personalities, each acting differently under the circumstances. It is quite interesting how different types of people deal with the stress of such a situation.
                I loved this book and the action and thrill factors made it hard to put down. It is a fast and easy read. I read this book in digital format and it formatted well. Editing is also done well. The cover is typical of the thriller novels out today so it didn’t really sway my decision to read the book one way or the other.

A Ghost Hunter's Guide to the Most Haunted Historic Sites in America - Terrance Zepke

                If you’re someone who is interested in the supernatural and also enjoys traveling, then you may want to check out this book written by journalist/parapsychologist, Terrance Zepke. This book is just one in a series of travel books called Most Haunted. I’ve previously read and enjoyed A Ghost Hunter’s Guide to the Most Haunted Places in America so I knew that I would enjoy this book as well. Ms. Zepke takes the reader on a trip across America and visits some of the most well-known haunted historic sites. It is a quick and easy read with lots of fun and entertaining facts that won’t end up boring the reader. Sometimes travel guides can be monotonous, often filled with useless information, but the author keeps things short and to the point for each site while still providing enough information about ghost sightings to keep the reader’s interest piqued. Pictures and maps are provided for each site as well as any pertinent information, such as the cost to visit the site as well as the distance and travel time to the site. At the end of the book there are some fun quizzes about the information in the book to see what the reader can remember. If I ever have the chance to visit America, I hope to see some of the sites mentioned in the book and hopefully see a ghost or two. The site’s history I was most surprised with was the Hollywood sign. I had no idea it was haunted by a young lady who committed suicide there. Of course the areas where many people were killed are full of ghosts and I’d love to visit these sites as well, as they are written about so well in the book. This book is perfect for the budding ghost hunter and I hope sometime in the future the author will write about haunted sites outside of the United States. 
                I read this in the digital format on my ereader and it formatted well. The pictures were clear and distinct. The editing in the book was also well done. The cover was quite eye catching as well. I look forward to reading more books from this series and maybe, one day in the future, I will get to experience a ghost siting at one of these places.