Category Archives: Uncategorized

Book Review – A Prairie Homicidal Companion

A Prairie Homicidal Companion – The Best Landon To Date!

Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Brian Landon
Format: Kindle, Paperback

After the on-stage murder of aptly named “Unlucky Larry” at the Fitzgerald Theater, detective Doyle Malloy is on the case.  What he finds is much more complex and personal than he would have ever imagined. Threads to his investigation point to a potential serial killer!  But a killer that had been put away and died years ago by Malloy’s own father.  So who could be perpetrating these new crimes?  Or was the wrong person convicted years ago.  Doyle must know.  Unfortunately, the danger is much greater than any of his previous investigations and when his Malloy’s girlfriend is kidnapped and his friend grievously injured, Doyle wonders if he is in over his head.

Brian Landon’s private investigator “Doyle Malloy” is a wonderfully rich character and previous installments in the series feature his unique foibles and humorous way of solving murders almost by accident.  As such, the mysteries themselves were the background vehicle to showcase Malloy’s unique Midwestern Pink Panther-esque style.  But in “A Prairie Homicidal Companion” not only does Landon stay true to Malloy and the quirky humor he is known for, but the serial killer and solving the mystery is in itself a very compelling story.  With this work, Landon has really stepped up his game and taken the Malloy mysteries to an entirely new level.  If you have read previous works by Landon, you are sure to be pleased with this latest volume.

“A Prairie Homicidal Companion” is the best in the series, in this reader’s opinion.  I can’t wait for the next one!

Book Review – Getting a Flat Belly Sucks

Getting a Flat Belly Sucks – Quick Tips and Reminders for those Battling the Bulge

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Maurice D Chuka
Format: Kindle

At the beginning of each new year, more gym memberships and exercise equipment are sold than at any other time.  Why? Well, clearly most of us would like to be in better shape.  But a few months into the year (sometimes weeks!) the motivation is gone – the treadmills become clothing holders and gym memberships go unused.

In “Getting a Flat Belly Sucks”, Maurice Chuka shares with readers those all too familiar excuses that will guarantee failure in the battle to loose weight and various tips to stay motivated.  This is a brief book which serves best as a quick set of reminders of those keys to success many of us already know but need to be prodded to follow.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.

Appologies!

Hey everyone,

Sorry for not having posted reviews for a few weeks.

I have been traveling quite a bit and found myself behind on my goals.

I’ve finished reading three new books and simply have not yet penned their reviews.  Apologies to these authors.  My plan is to have them done and posted after the holiday weekend sometime next week.

Thanks for everyone’s understanding!
Todd

Book Review – Glacial Eyes

Glacial Eyes – Well Written and Entertaining!

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: J.K Walker
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Waking up naked lying covered in leaves in the middle of the forest, Jamine (Jazz) Bedeau, struggles with foggy memories from the night before.  How had she gotten here?  Local law enforcement wonder the same thing as she quickly learns that the boy she was with is found dead supposedly slain by some type of large predator.  But soon Jazz learns the awful truth – she had killed him – but not as herself.  Something was a part of her she had not know of before and didn’t want to admit.  Without any parents or family to turn to, Jazz is lost until she is contacted by others like her. Unfortunately, they are not all friendly, and Jazz finds her friends and herself in mortal danger.

In a young adult market full of vampire novels, J.K. Walker’s “Glacial Eyes” is a nice change of pace in the paranormal teenage category.  Told in first person from Jazz’s perspective, I enjoyed her as a protagonist.  She is thoughtful, humble, powerful, but emotionally damaged given her difficult past.  While not nearly as dark as the Hunger Games, Jazz has traits reminiscent of Katniss Everdeen which is high praise in my book.  Walker’s writing style is crisp and engaging and his characters pop off the page.  If I have any compliant at all, it is Jazz’s main love interest – Logan.  I liked his character, but I found his accent distracted me from the story instead of pulling me into it.

Overall, I found myself stealing moments throughout the day in order to finish another chapter and very much enjoyed this guilty pleasure read.  “Glacial Eyes” is part of the “Salt Lake After Dark” series which follows the main characters through each of their respective first person narratives highlighting each of their powers.  I look forward to the next book in the series!

Note 1: While I make it a rule not to comment on other people’s reviews, I will make an exception in this case as one reviewer has noted that this is a “kids book”.  Likely not everyone has the same definition of what age a “kid” is, but for me it would include children under twelve and if others are considering Glacial Eyes for kids in this age range, I would caution that there are explicit scenes that could be inappropriate for this age group.

Note 2: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.

Book Review – Frat House of the Dead

Frat House of the Dead – Great Teaser for the Salt Lake After Dark Series

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: J.K Walker
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Deciding how to celebrate Halloween can be a challenge for some, but given its prominence for Wiccans, Rachel Wood felt more pressure than most.  Especially since, as a young witch, potions and such were’t her thing.  Instead melding technology with witchcraft was her passion.  Resigned to spend All Hallows Eve with the latest video game, Rachel gets a call from her friends who talk her into attending a local frat party.   Together they were quite a motley crew – a witch, wereleopard, katsune, and nurse!  But at the party they  find the guests are all acting a bit odd.  More than a bit odd – crazed.  In fact – Zombified!

J.K. Walker’s “Frat House of the Dead” is a fun, fast paced novella introducing some of the characters from his “Salt Lake After Dark” paranormal series.  I made the mistake of reading this before reading Glacial Eyes, the first full length novel in the series, as the action in the novella takes place after the events in the novel.  However, even though I read them “out of order” this book stands on its own and it did not detract from my enjoyment of either work.  This novella skews more toward the horror genre vs Glacial Eyes which is more paranormal action/romance.  It reads like it was fun to write and feels like a gift to readers who are fans of the series and just can’t get enough of these characters.

I too am now a fan and look forward to future books!

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.

Book Review – Wired

Wired: Fun, Fast Paced, Innovative

Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Douglas E Richards
Format: Kindle

Brilliant scientist Kira Miller discovers a breakthrough that will change humanity forever – the ability to substantially increase human intelligence.  Unfortunately, it comes with horrifying side effects – psychotic megalomaniac tendencies.  After her secret is stolen, she finds herself framed and on the run from a government that believes she is terrorist enemy number one.

Or is she really being framed?

Has her enhanced intelligence allowed her to create a scenario so complex that “normal” humans can’t appreciate whatever master plan she has created.  David Desh, former special forces, is contracted to find Miller at all costs and he must answer this very question. The wrong answer has dire consequences not only for himself but for all of humanity.

Douglas E Richards “Wired” is simply a fun book to read.  Are their items one could argue with on the science – sure – but for the most part Richards keeps everything consistent throughout.  There were wonderful plot twists and turns and each time I was certain I knew who the good guys were, something else would happen that would shake my confidence.  This, along with a Dan Brownesque pace, kept the kindle pages moving.

I also appreciated the “limits” Richards put on the technology which was a brilliant move.  Without them, this high concept novel could have degenerated quickly.  I don’t know how Richards could write a sequel (perhaps a prequel would be easier), but I’d pick it up in a heartbeat.

Review – Cell Wars

Cell Wars: A Hilarious yet Heartwarming look “Inside…”

Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Adam Fox
Format: Kindle

Working tirelessly as head of the “Immigration and Foreign Object Office” (IFOO), Bill decides it is finally time to take a vacation and get away from it all.  You see, Bill is one of the many workers responsible for making sure their host – Brian – stays in good health and lives a nice long life.  But as Bill travels through heart junction, spends some time with workers in the Liver and throws back a few at “The Singing Sphincter” bar, Bill sees that not all is running so well within Brian.  Years of poor food choices, lack of exercise and a high stress job have caused multi system problems as well as led to something so dark and evil it could be the end of Brian.  Unable to make his host change behavior in any meaningful way, Bill decides to do the unthinkable and leave the host and try to communicate with Brian’s spouse to see if the solution lies within her.  What Bill finds there is something both wonderful and unexpected.

Adam Fox’s “Cell Wars” is an imaginative, hilarious, light, yet heartwarming tale of the life and the “battles” that take place every day within our bodies.  The characters, their environment, and voice are spot on and the premise so unique that the pages fly by.  I enjoyed how Fox painted a perfectly detailed environment within Brian and used this unique perspective to then contrast the “new world” explored within the spouse.  The connection between the two hosts’ activities, behaviors, and beliefs and how they translate internally especially given their different genders is highly entertaining as well as telling when it comes to overall happiness and health.

Cell wars is a great, quick read, and readers will enjoy the journey.  For the price, this is an incredible value that should not be passed by!

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.

Book Review – Dead of Winter

Dead of Winter – Bad Spirits in the Alaskan Wilderness

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: D.V. Berkom
Format: Kindle

Hiking alone in the wintery Alaskan wilderness, Kate Jones witnesses an execution style murder.  It is then she realizes that the life she had escaped five years earlier had caught up to her.  Running out and stealing money from her south-of-the-border drug-lord boyfriend had turned into a life sentence of constant moving and looking over her back.  How he had found her she didn’t know, but what she did know is that to stay alive she would once more have to stay one step ahead of her fate.  But can she save those around her as well as herself?

D.V Berkom’s Dead of Winter is the first book in the second series of books that pick up where the Bad Spirits series left off.  Berkom’s writing is crisp and fast paced.  Her descriptions are so refined and precise I could almost fell the chill and tension Kate experienced each step of the way.  Action packed with a heart pounding rate, this brief novel is like a episode of 24 and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.

I enjoyed this series even more than the first as Berkom has added to the action by introducing some depth through a romantic interest.  The pacing is balanced well with no hint of the dues ex machina elements that were occasionally found in the first series of books.  The Kindle price is an unbelievable value.  You won’t be disappointed if you check out this series.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.

Book Review – Getting Well for the First Time

Getting Well for the First TimeDecades Long Battle with PTSD


Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Paul Rice
Format: Kindle

Having suffered a physically abusive childhood, author Paul Rice recounts his decades long battle with managing his life and relationships due to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).  Having tried a number of different treatment methods over time, he is now “Getting Well for the First Time”.

One can see through Paul’s writing his desire to understand the truth of why he suffers from PTSD and what to do about it.  He spends considerable time helping the reader understand the clinical reasons for the disorder as well as the resulting behaviors including imprinted conditioned responses to feelings of dissociation from self.  It reads as if writing the book was a cathartic experience for Rice and ironically the clinical and somewhat academic presentation throughout feel like a result of PTSD.  

Rice explains in great detail his exercise regimens and how he came to them as a result of physical therapy to treat the after effects of his abuse.  He also explains his method of investing and the success he has had with this by leveraging his emotional detachment from his condition and following a disciplined investment approach.

Overall, this book was an interesting glimpse into PTSD via the eyes of someone looking to make sense of their condition and find a way to cope.  I wish Mr. Rice the best of luck. Getting Well for the First Time is $0.99 on Kindle.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.


Book Review – Next Time We Steal the Carillon

Next Time we Steal The Carillon – Middle Grade Mystery

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Louie Flann
Format: Kindle

Teaching criminology at Braxton University, the last thing Professor Palma thought was that his academic skills would be put to the test when the school’s prized artifact is stolen just before homecoming.  Being located in a small Midwestern town, Palma could hardly believe anyone would steel such an artifact.  Where would they fence such a treasure?  Together with his students Jason, Ralphy, and sisters Monica and Veronica LaMonica, Professor Palma races against the clock to find the stolen artifact.

Louie Flann’s “Next Time We Steal the Carillon” is a tween mystery that reminded me of a cross between the series “Unnatural History” that aired briefly on Cartoon Network and the movie “Young Sherlock Holmes”.  This is a nice family mystery that has interesting characters, a few plot twists, and overall good clean fun.  Flann takes the reader into the life of a Midwestern university and its small town characters.  There are twists and turns that loosely connect the plot but in my view they are provided more for the readers enjoyment and introduction to many of the strange goings on in town than plot advancement.

While the action takes place at a university, I think the target audience for this is more the 9-12 age range.  Priced at $2.99 on kindle this is a bargain middle grade ebook read.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.