mkafka

Smashwords book reviews by mkafka

  • A Glimpse of Heaven on July 12, 2020

    Olivier Bosman creates a new career for former Detective Sergeant from Scotland Yard, John Billings. The first time Billings was heard of was in the novella “Death Takes a Lover” and from there it grew to a four novel series the “D.S. Billings Victorian Mysteries” based in London in the 1800’s. Bosman centers Billings new career around the society of “The Sons of Cain and Daughters of Lilith” and ancient Hebrew text from the Bible. It will take him into the world of the occult and magic which he had dealings with at Scotland Yard. Since Billings departure from Scotland Yard he struggles to make a new start as a private investigator. He hasn’t even advertised his new endeavor and has hopes that clients just may find him. He does get and an assistant who wants to be a private detective, Bartholomew Trotter. Trotter has a very different personality and demeanor from Billings. He’s organized which is a plus for Billings but Trotter is reluctant about taking Billings job offer. With not even an advertisement Billings mysteriously finds himself with two cases that lead him into the world of the occult and magic. With one minor mistake and a case of a dead women cross, Billings finds the newly promoted, D.S. Samuel Clarkson at his door. Even though, they work together on the case is this really a healthy decision made by Billings. He has two vices: one is morphine and the other Clarkson. Billings is overly enthusiastic and can now feel free to work cases the way he want’s, but Clarkson takes his time and is by-the-book. As the case becomes more bizarre and horrific Billings finds himself in danger and face to face with a strange and vile villain. Olivier Bosman brings an excellent tale of horror, shock and intriguing subject matter to the pages. Along with Billings there are some returning characters from the “D.S. Billings Victorian Mysteries”. Clarkson is still a puzzle to me. He’s a sharp detective but seems naive at times. Even though he admits he knows Billings secret, I still think he’s totally clueless about Billings. A new character, Wolf Augustus is interesting. As a scholar of ancient languages and hunter of manuscripts he’s sure to keep Billings intrigued. I can’t go without mentioning Tilly who’s such a great comfort and companion to Billings. “A Glimpse of Heaven” was a page-turner for me and just as entertaining as the “D.S. Billings Victorian Mysteries”. Olivier Bosman did not disappoint with this fresh and exciting new undertaking. I’m excited to to see what Bosman just may have in store for Billings. I’m really craving the next installment to “A John Billings Mystery” series!
  • The Penitent Pirate on Sep. 24, 2020

    Jules Radcliffe transports the readers back to Port Royal during the 1600’s. The adventurous tale on the high-seas continues with: Thomas “Perry” Peregrine, Gabriel Quinn and Captain Black Wolf. Gabriel Quinn has lingering guilt and nightmares about the torture and abuse suffered at the hands of Spanish spy, Carlos o Chacal in Monte Gris. He’s feeling less of the dominant man that he is. His matelot Thomas Peregrine has been patient and has tried to help Quinn as much as possible but their physical relationship is waning. Black Wolf hasn’t been the same since the death of Charlotte Roussel, La Calotte Rouge. He’s been excessively drinking, has the shakes, not remembering and has gotten rude and making questionable decisions. It’s noticeable to Perry right away. Black Wolf has even taken to bedding the Beau, Captain of Night Hawk, Raphe Ashburn, ex-lover of Quinn’s. Black Wolf has gone so fas as to agree with Asburn to have Quinn as sailing master on the Night Hawk and Perry remaining on the Audacious. Perry learns of the a devious plan between the English and the Dutch set in motion by his evil nemesis, Captain Thistlebottom. Taking the information to Black Wolf causes an immediate change to be executed, splitting up Perry and Quinn too soon. Once at sea, Perry starts to feel he’s very much part of the crew, but plans take a turn for the worse. Perry put’s his life on the line and just as quickly the crew members find a way to turn on Perry. Will Quinn turn on Perry too? I just don’t know how Jules Radcliffe does it but she’s created another fantastic, page-turner for the “Pirates of Port Royal” series. Just when I think I know Perry, Quinn and Black Wolf there’s still many secrets and eye-openers in this epic tale. Of course, lot’s of danger, epic battles, jealousy, betrayal, strong pirates that have a soft side too. There’s a sweet bundle of joy that will have Perry revealing a very important secret to Quinn. I think it’s important to once again mention the “Author’s Note” that adds important historical information that’s very relevant to the “Pirates of Port Royal” series. I highly recommend “Penitent Pirate” and will wait patiently for Jules Radcliffe to deliver more excitement in December 2020, with book five “Pirate’s Revenge”.
  • The Puritan Pirate on Sep. 24, 2020

    Jules Radcliffe creates another journey on the high-seas with the second installment of the “Pirates of Port Royal”. She again writes an historical and adventurous tale of pirates in the year 1664. Lt. Thomas Peregrine has been given orders to join Black Wolf’s ship the Audacious. He’s not at all happy about it and knows he’s being used to spy on the pirates. Thomas is somewhat of a stuffed shirt but that’s because he’s hiding his true self. But one thing that is truly sad about him, he doesn’t connect with others and it leaves him friendless. When the loss of a crew member occurs Peregrine goes on a drinking binge, which he doesn’t realize almost leads to danger for him. Lucky for him or maybe not, master Gabriel Quinn shows up in the nick of time and basically rescues him. Peregrine and Quinn definitely have some friction going on between them. This one night of drinking leaves Peregrine wide open. Jules Radcliffe does an amazing job at writing and describing: the ships, the ports, the fights and all the colorful pirates. She makes you feel like you’re actually right there on the ship and stopping in all the ports. As with the first book “Pirates Promise” there’s interesting information at the books end with “Author’s Note”. There are also two more books that I’m watching for: “Pirate Master” and “The Penitent Pirate”. From what I gathered, it seems these two books are being re-edited and hopefully they’ll be released at some point.
  • Pirate Master on Sep. 24, 2020

    Jules Radcliffe creates another journey on the high-seas with the second installment of the “Pirates of Port Royal”. She again writes an historical and adventurous tale of pirates in the year 1664. Lt. Thomas Peregrine has been given orders to join Black Wolf’s ship the Audacious. He’s not at all happy about it and knows he’s being used to spy on the pirates. Thomas is somewhat of a stuffed shirt but that’s because he’s hiding his true self. But one thing that is truly sad about him, he doesn’t connect with others and it leaves him friendless. When the loss of a crew member occurs Peregrine goes on a drinking binge, which he doesn’t realize almost leads to danger for him. Lucky for him or maybe not, master Gabriel Quinn shows up in the nick of time and basically rescues him. Peregrine and Quinn definitely have some friction going on between them. This one night of drinking leaves Peregrine wide open. Jules Radcliffe does an amazing job at writing and describing: the ships, the ports, the fights and all the colorful pirates. She makes you feel like you’re actually right there on the ship and stopping in all the ports. As with the first book “Pirates Promise” there’s interesting information at the books end with “Author’s Note”. There are also two more books that I’m watching for: “Pirate Master” and “The Penitent Pirate”. From what I gathered, it seems these two books are being re-edited and hopefully they’ll be released at some point.
  • Acquainted with Vice on July 15, 2022

    At twenty-two, Dallas has his life in order. He’s somewhat shy but has a few friends, Taylor and Carolyn. Dallas has worked hard through his college years and has one more to go and after that, maybe culinary school. He’s always has a job and has paid his tuition, rent and bills without any help. The smartest move he made was separating himself from a controlling and dysfunctional family. His roommate Carolyn and him are very close. Dallas is pretty much an adopted brother and Carolyn has always watched out for Dallas. He works so hard at college and his jobs that he never has time for vacation or spring break. Carolyn and boyfriend Taylor invite Dallas to come along to Taylors family cabin. It was the best “no cost” vacation Dallas would ever have. Dallas is ready to go but Carolyn and Taylor are sleeping in. With directions and keys to the cabin in hand Dallas heads out. When Dallas arrives, he finds it’s more than a cabin and comes complete with a boarder. Lee Porter, forty-two, has just had his life turned upside down. Lee’s a fairly good businessman and had it all. But his long-time, open marriage has come to an end with one slip of an agreement. Divorce final and finances split, he finds himself staying at the secluded cabin, preparing to start over again in the city. Dallas’ and Lee’s introduction is certainly awkward! Maybe the company will be good for Lee and maybe Dallas won’t feel like a third wheel. Siobhan Smile creates a steamy romantic, love story with a touch of drama. It brings out the inner strength, support and trust that Lee and Dallas share in a growing relationship, regardless of their age. Dallas is especially a surprise in how he reacts to Lee and vice-versa, it’s a change on what’s suppose to be normal. All is not easy for Dallas and Lee as they make decisions about their own relationship. Will Lee be able to accept a different concept when it comes to the relationship? There’s concern for when to tell the “kids” Taylor and Carolyn. There’s drama with Dallas’s parents and Lee’s ex-Brand. There’s a nice little group of supportive secondary characters: Dallas’ boss, Edwin and co-workers Lila and Felix. Lee’s business partners Tom and Loren and Lee’s ex-girlfriend and Taylors mother, Taria. “Acquainted with Vice” is for those who love to be entertained and like that things are not always normal. I was totally entertained and my curiosity had me turning every page to find out where this wonderful relationship would take Dallas and Lee. I’ll be watching for more heartwarming stories from Siobhan Smile!
  • Resurrection Men on Oct. 02, 2022

    During the late 1800’s when the University of Michigan Medical School ran low on cadavers, Arthur Tor became a “resurrection man.” Attending the University on a scholarship, he’s determined to be a doctor. Of course, Doc Naegele and Dr. James Herdmann are well aware of what Arthur does. In having first hand experience in anatomy, cadavers are needed, most cadavers are that of paupers and prisoners. When cadavers aren’t readily available, Arthur goes to the cemetery and seeks out freshly dug graves. Grave robbing is dangerous, if caught the penalty is harsh. Jesse Fair is a gravedigger at the Hamilton Cemetery in Ypsilanti. He lives in a little shed at the cemetery and knows where every grave is. During a burial, he immediately recognizes Arthur as a resurrection man and he’s pretty sure he can get money or something else from Arthur. As Jesse and Arthur strike a deal, a friendship starts to form. Jesse eventually get’s to witness what Arthur goes through after a “Dark Round.” Arthur also inspires Jesse to want to do better and he takes on a new job. He goes to work for Mr. McKay the furniture/undertaker. Arthur Tor and Jesse Fair come from two different stations in life. Jesse is from a wealthy family. He had everything, except support and love from his family, especially his mother. He knew the life that his mother would plan out for him and that was not what he wanted and ran away. Arthur’s family struggled, he was loved, but lost his mother, brother and sweet sister, Sally. His father worked, drank but had no other desires. Arthur at the age of twelve, watched his sister suffer and made a decision that causes him to carry guilt that darkens his soul. All is not safe for Arthur. Judge Harold Winter holds a long time vendetta again the University, especially Dr. Herdmann and Doc Naegele. The Judge also has Constable Turner watching Arthur closely. Winter want’s to find any reason to close down the University. He also want’s to find any way to destroy Arthur. For Jesse, he finds himself being faced with his mother, Vanessa Fair and brother Michael. They’ve come to drag him back to Baltimore by any means necessary. Jesse and Arthur will find their lives in threatened and placed in danger. Will they be able to escape those that want to ruin them and destroy what they both found with each other? Steven Harper’s “Resurrection Men” was a story I got immersed in from the start. Just the historical 1800’s subject matter and how: the medical school, grave diggers, “resurrection men,” and undertakers all have a connection. This was a very well written, detailed and descriptive story of the study of anatomy and the embalming process. The story also brings out: danger, suspense, hatred, grudges, humiliation, manipulation, bribery, and homophobia. It also takes place at a time of misunderstanding of the medical world. Arthur did nothing wrong. He was always willing to come to anyones aid and helped those who had a last wish for their suffering. I really liked the relationship that forms between Arthur and Jesse it’s beautiful, emotional and romantic. There’s also those times of doubt and heart ache and hope for a forever. With Arthur and Jesse, there’s several great secondary characters: Billy Cakes, who Jesse took under his wing and gave Billy an opportunity to help his family. Olive Bentwood and Matilda Jones, who are very important and bring a second romance to the novel. Matilda also bring the historic Ypsi-Ann railroad connection into the story. Kelvin McKay and his wife who gave Jesse a new job and a new experience. Richard Bellford, who was just a friend to Arthur. And the demise of Michael Fair and the sadness it brings. I highly recommend “Resurrection Men” it’s a cross between historical fact/fiction and romance. My first time read by Steven Harper and I was totally impressed!