"A Luminous Future” starts off in a small village named Lupoaia with the Securitate (police) coming to take Flonta Pavel away as his young son and wife watch helplessly. The mom unfortunately suffers a miscarriage, and it is noted that the phrase “you are coming with us” will become a recurring theme in this book. As it was, and the father is deemed a CHIABUR, an “enemy of the people”. No, he wasn’t killing people or even hurting them…under the communist regime he was considered an enemy because he was “rich” (rich being used very loosely here). He had 2 people that worked for him a few months of the year, therefore in the eyes of the communist government he was some sort of tycoon. Crazy! So many times while reading this book I found myself shaking my head in disbelief or lifting my jaw up off the floor because it was so incredible. But there were also times that I laughed and smiled and genuinely felt the emotions of the characters. I think the grandpa Toderea was my favorite, but they were all amazing and wonderfully drawn. I am very pleased that their story was told and I hope others read and find enjoyment in it like I have.
Just when I’ve thought I’d read it all, something comes along and totally blows my socks off! It isn’t often that I am genuinely impressed by an Indie author, as so many of them make the same mistakes over and over (too much ‘telling’, info dumps, poor editing…) but this was not the case with “Blood Skies” by Steven Montano. Right away I was pulled into this dark and twisted future/fantasy world he created (set in the time “AB”—“After the Black”) when the world is nothing like we know it to be, dark and evil creatures rule the lands, magic is everywhere, and humans are at the bottom of the food chain. It was absolute gripping storytelling and I am really excited to read the rest of the “Blood Skies” series!!
Apparently “Angel’s Gate” by Andrew J. Rafkin is based on a true story…well, I don’t know if that is true or not, but nevertheless it is a darn fine book! Of course having the element of it being “true” definitely adds some panache to the story. The plot, one of some ordinary Joes pulling off a HUGE financial heist is one we all can relate to. But what made this book really special in my mind was the various narration tracts the author used, showing different perspectives of the characters and what they were thinking, and occasionally pulling away to give an overview of the story at large, like detailing other crimes (the Luftansa Heist), or murders, or events of the day…almost docu-style, full of facts and informative, but not as dry. Very, very good.
I’m really picky about books that I give five stars to and this one hovered around a four for me until the end… and the fact that even a week later (when writing this review) I’m still thinking about it and told my mom she had to read it. So I think I’ll be giving it a five! I looked over the review I wrote for this author’s other book “Along the Watchtower” and was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the elements I was so impressed with in that one were clearly present in “Daughter of Sea and Sky”: mainly his ability to create emotion without writing overly emotional or sappy scenes. Just genuine reflection. There is a sense of gentle restraint, not the overly dramatic and contrived antics of someone trying to “create” a reaction or emotion. Everything that happens feels real and authentic, even if it bordered on a tinge to ‘sweet’ at times. It was balanced nicely by darker elements. I’m glad I read this one and will know to be on the lookout for more David Litwack in the future!
Each of these stories, although all different in regards to the plot, they were all very, very good. The writing is top notch, and the editing nearly flawless, but I was surprised to see several instances of two speakers in one paragraph. But the details Mr. Parsons uses in his writing… they are just great and really show the characters (and their motivations) and the dialogues were some of the best I’ve read. Very natural and authentic. The tales range from being light and humorous to unexpectedly dark, even painful at times. But they all share an element of the human condition that is fascinating and heart-warming. Well done.
"Flight of the Black Swan” is the fifth installment of the acclaimed “Birds of Flight” series by J.M. Erickson, and even though it is shorter than the previous 4 novels (this one is a novella), it lacks nothing in the way of story, character development, action, and entertainment! This whole series is just by far one of the most original and just flat out interesting thriller/suspense/spy series I’ve ever read— the writing is superb (love the strong word choice and frequent use of literary infusion), and there are enough descriptions where you can picture everything perfectly…more “intelligent” than many others I’ve read, I think because of the strategies and planning and cat and mouse-ish behavior of the characters. This almost seems like it could be a movie or a miniseries… Looking forward to the next one as soon as it’s out!
firstly, I must commend the author for not only keeping this series going, but actually making it better as it goes along…. Too often I feel that series lose their tight grip on me as I go on, or the author loses some steam. However, in this case I feel like the story and plot is getting better and better as more pieces fall into place, and more crises explode, keeping our attention riveted throughout. This is a series that should be read in order (1-ALBATROSS; 2-RAVEN; 3-EAGLE; 4-FALCON) because the story and characters all build on one another. But it is one of the better written series I’ve come across, and keeps getting better. Looking forward to BLACK SWAN!
this powerhouse of a story by K.N. Smith is equally packed with action and emotion, and is sure to please even the pickiest of literary readers for its fine quality of prose and a meaningful and attention-grabbing plotline. I felt a great connection with the characters, and thought the narrative was clean and crisp, descriptive, but not overdone – although I suspect some may feel differently. Great writing and a bold attempt at capturing many important themes and elements made “The Urban Boys” a hit for me. Hope this author continues writing these types of books because she certainly has a knack for it. Eager for the next one as the journey of the boys continues on! 4 1/2 stars
Fast-paced, well written and creative, “Gol” (Legends of Ansu book 1) from J.W. Webb is an absolute must-read for fans of novels such as Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Merlin, Mists of Avalon, etc. “Gol” holds its own with the top-notch writing and plot structure, and an exciting, varied cast of colorful characters and plenty of magic and thrills to go around. There are some familiar tropes here (as with most fantasy), however, I feel Mr. Webb did a great job of bringing in a unique voice and making the story wholly his own, and giving it a fresh feel. I didn’t feel like I’ve read this million times before. A few things, I thought at times there was way too much “telling” instead of showing. Not too bad, but some parts dragged toward the middle. But an engrossing story with near perfect editing, and I’m ready for the next one!
fun and entertaining, this read by J.W. Webb blends well-known fantasy tropes and new ideas and the result is something quite unique, yet very comforting and readable! “The Shattered Crown” is the second book in the “Legend of Ansu” series, but the way it is setup it can be read first or second, as the first really is just more of a prequel (but very good, check it out!) But in my opinion there was a bit of a decline in tension and stakes from book one to book two, and even though I gave the first one 5 stars I’m only giving this one 3 because I thought some parts felt really rushed, especially toward the end, like everything was quickly summed up, but it will still continue on in the next book. I just didn’t get the closure/satisfaction that I like, and even though I did enjoy it, I’d prefer a more focused, coherent plot with a satisfying ending… even if there will be another book to follow.
another fantastic read by Nik Olsen. Like the first one, the pacing was decent, with adequate action and elements of danger and mystery, and the book just flew by very quickly for me. I have mentioned before that I’m not particular about prose in general, and I appreciate the lovely manner of storytelling that was employed by the author. Reads very literary and even beautiful, even when covering ugly scenes. Very true-to-life, like you can tell that Olsen knows well the subjects in which he writes. Like the first book it definitely had complex plot development and characters who just come alive in Ben and Joe (with the addition of some notable newcomers) and a terrific wide ranging supporting cast. There is nary a ‘dull’ part, and plenty of high stakes at hand to keep us engaged throughout, and an unexpected ending to the climax. I like how ‘big’ this book feels, in terms of geopolitics and locales and cultures. A riveting read and while it’s not perfect, it’s very eye-opening and entertaining.
I personally think that this book would make an excellent book club choice as there are just so many topics we can talk about and dissect deeper (war! Politics! Religion! Etc, Etc….) There are so many different angles and subjects to talk about, not even getting to the dynamic characters who bring the book to life. I liked how the author utilized multiple points of view so we are able to experience the different characters worlds and be really inside their head. A great find… I love discovering new authors, and Nik Olsen will certainly be one to watch!
I didn't want to finish “The Lost Prince”, but I mean that in a good way. I just didn't want to have to stop reading and have The Legends of Ansu series be that much closer to ending. I have really lost myself in these books over the past several months, and I have been continuously surprised with how much I love it and thought the plot was great, even though I'm not normally so in love with how Fantasy as a whole is written. I usually find it a tad bit boring/cliché when it comes to the world-building in this genre, and I'll admit it...the weird names usually throw me for a loop, and the sheer number of characters who come and go always gives me vertigo. However, the way the lives of the main characters in this story were interwoven into each other was so interesting, that I couldn't help but enjoy reading every last bit of this book. It also possibly helped that I could (I think) pronounce most of the names. The world building was vivid, and for once I could actually envision the scenes as they unfolded, feeling like I was watching a movie. Great action throughout, and the ending is making me wish the next one was already published. Because now it is time for war!
No lack of explosive drama here! Try and be bored reading this… just try. I dare ya! But seriously, this was one roller coaster ride that I was not expecting. It’s a fast read, one I finished in just a few settings, and the brisk narrative is perfect tempo for a book of this genre. Mr. Beller uses great word economy and doesn’t bore us with too many unnecessary details. Fast, focused, and to the point, “Not Black and White” is a frighteningly realistic look at what happens in our country and how corrupt and unethical many political entities and people can be. It’s all just a big game, and one that is fascinating, and somewhat depressing to read because it is clear that much of this is all too real, even though this book is supposedly ‘fiction’. Riveting and addicting, “Not Black and White” is sure to please fans of political thrillers and contemporary drama.
just a heads up…when starting “Earth Angel” make sure you don’t have anywhere you need to be or anything you need to do because you won’t want to stop reading until you’ve finished it all!! Trust me on this! The book starts off with an intriguing beginning that established the ‘fantasy-other-worldly’ existence and Lucy’s future quest, and the solid world building just keeps going from there. The main characters are so well-developed and fully realized, I feel like I know them personally. I think what I liked the most about this book was just the overall feel Stephanie Woods managed to create where it felt intimate, like a close friend was telling me this really awesome story that I didn’t want to stop listening to. There are some surprising twists and some parts that really catch you off guard… but that just made the book even more amazing. Totally unlike anything I’ve read before and I read a lot, especially with YA fantasy. There are some traditional elements here, naturally, but I thought that Woods did a terrific job of making the story feel like something we haven’t seen a million times before (rare in this genre!). I could see this having cross-genre appeal so even if Young Adult/ New Adult paranormal fantasy isn’t your fave, the terrific scene-building, suspenseful and thought-provoking plot, and engaging, authentic characters will appeal to a wide variety of readers, and I can’t wait for the next one to be available. Recommend.