A fast-paced thriller, high on adrenaline and abundant in bio-chemistry, Vector: Tradecraft: Phase Zero has it all!

I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Vector: Tradecraft: Phase Zero

When researcher Jawad Khattib gasps his last breath on the Massachusetts General Hospital floor, the Department of Homeland Security wants answers—especially after a preliminary autopsy suggests he died of radiation poisoning. What exactly was Khattib working on? And who was he working for? DHS Agent Lee Jansen is rushed to Boston and paired with expert toxicologist Dr. Emma Hess to crack the case. All evidence points to the creation of a dirty bomb, but the clues seem too clean, too obvious. During the course of their investigation, they discover the horrible truth. This new weapon is far more deadly than anyone had expected. It isn’t just capable of killing hundreds—it’s capable of killing hundreds of thousands. Can they stop what’s been set in motion by a madman with a dangerous secret before it’s too late?

About the Author:

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Michael Shusko, MD, MPH, FAAFP, FACOEM, was raised in Long Branch, NJ. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1985 after graduating high school.

Dr. Shusko cut his teeth in the military in the mid-1980s and early 1990s. As his first assignment, he attended the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, CA, where he studied Arabic. Upon completing his language training, he worked on intelligence and medical missions across the globe. He spent time in Liberia, served as a Marine during the first Gulf War, and worked for several years with the Defense Attaché’s office at the US Embassy in Kuwait.

After returning to the States in 1995, Dr. Shusko focused his attention on earning his bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from Rutgers University while studying Persian-Farsi at Princeton. He then transferred to the Navy Medical Corps and enrolled in medical school at Wake Forest University, obtaining his Medical Degree in 2002. He also studied at Harvard University, earning his Master’s of Public Health degree in 2013.

Dr. Shusko is a family medicine physician, an occupational medicine physician, and a preventive medicine physician. His Middle Eastern experience and language skills coupled with his background in special operations and intelligence keep him busy deploying around the world. He has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia, and has been awarded the Bronze Star twice for service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He currently lives in Japan with his wife and 17-year-old triplet sons.

My Thoughts:

Vector: Tradecraft: Phase Zero is a compelling fast-paced thriller that deals with the idea of a bio-chemical weapon that can end the life of hundreds of people easily. The plot is well thought out and right from the beginning, the foundation is set for an entertaining read. The reader is drawn into a web of secrets and deceit without ever knowing who is really involved and who isn’t.

Starting with the suspicious death of researcher Jawad Khattib, to the meeting of some brilliant minds, the author has created some wonderful characters with whom we can relate. Each one has their own story that has shaped who they turn out to be. The experience and expertise of the author in this genre and area are clearly distinguishable through his writing. The author has included a lot of technical information, be it medical, bio-chemical or even military but it is easy for the reader to understand this.

The protagonist is a strong character, though he has been dealt some serious blows in life and is trying to deal with it. Dr. Emma Hess on the other hand was a winner for me, along with Dr Sue. They are women with in-depth knowledge of their field of work and among the foremost. It was a pleasure to read about them and their role in this story.

This book has all the elements for a good action-packed entertainer and will certainly ensure that the reader gets pulled in for the ride. Who can be trusted and who cannot is one part of the major plot with some serious twists at the end, giving us a hint that there is more to this story.

Prepare yourself for a lightning-fast, fun, thrill-ride in Snatched by Alison Golden

About the Book:

Snatched (Diana Hunter #2)

What would you do if you discovered a dead body? Would you investigate? Try to solve the case before the police arrive?
Would you prattle on about theories regarding the murder, realizing you know almost too much about it? Would you put the handsome detective off balance so that he then accuses you of being the murderer? All before 9AM? No… surely no one would do that?

Clearly, you haven’t met Diana Hunter.

When embarking on an early morning run, Diana notices a man sitting on the ground reading a book. When she returns, she finds he hasn’t moved a muscle since she left her house. She checks him over and discovers that he is stone cold. Once the emergency services arrive, all equipped with a very good-looking, but pompous detective, Peter Hopkinson, she has to continually prove to the detective why she is not the killer while trying to solve the murder herself.

Will Diana find the murderer before the detective does, or will they both discover that something a lot more sinister is going on at Royal Bay Beach?

My Thoughts:

This story is fast-paced and a very quick read filled with interesting characters. The plot is convincing, starting with the main protagonist Diana, setting out for her morning run. On the way, she notices a person sitting under a tree near her building who has been sitting in the same position since she started her run. It is said that curiosity killed the cat, and though this is not literally the case, Diana finds herself in the position of explaining herself to the lead detective on the case. Add in the fact that he is not at all what she pictured detectives to be like and her wild imagination and we have an interesting chemistry between the two.

The author doesn’t dwell much into the background of the characters, only briefly providing information to fill in plot holes, making it a little difficult to understand them. Also, the whole story seems to happen very smoothly with no roadblock or any disturbances. This is not very realistic, but will still hold the readers attention. However, this doesn’t take away much and still ensures that the story is worth the read. The events unfold very quickly and Diana’s sharp mind prove to be an asset. It is nice to read about a female protagonist who is strong willed, inquisitive and extremely witty, piecing together facts to help solve the mystery.

Grab a copy of this short suspense filled mystery that most mystery lovers will enjoy!

Book Review: Ascendant (book 1) and Midheaven (book 2) by Rebecca Taylor

About the Books:

Ascendant (book 1):

Ascendant by Rebecca Taylor

When I was twelve, my mother disappeared. I was the first person to never find her. I’m sixteen now and she has never been found, alive or dead. I’m not the girl I should have been.

When Charlotte Stevens, bright but failing, is sent to stay at her mother’s childhood home in Somerset England her life is changed forever. While exploring the lavish family manor, Gaersum Aern, Charlotte discovers a stone puzzle box that contains a pentagram necklace and a note from her mother-clues to her family’s strange past and her mother’s disappearance.

Charlotte must try to solve the puzzle box, decipher her mother’s old journals, and figure out who is working to derail her efforts-and why. The family manor contains many secrets and hidden histories, keys to the elegant mystery Charlotte called mom and hopefully, a trail to finding her.

Midheaven (book 2):

Midheaven (Ascendant Trilogy, #2)

As Above, So Below

As the direct descendant of Francis Bacon (aka Shakespeare) Charlotte is the next Ascendant. She is destined to teach mankind the secret mysteries of alchemy.

If only she knew what those were.

With her father’s stone box, and her mother’s first key, Charlotte will quest around the world to solve the puzzle and reveal its secret.

Unless Emerick gets her first.

My Thoughts:

Since I read these books continuously, one after the other, I decided to post a combined review. In general, I enjoyed the premise of the story and the events that occurred to take it forward. The story is written decently and will ensure the reader continues on until the end. The author manages to build up some amount of mystery and intrigue.

However, the protagonist is decent at best, but she gets rather whiny and annoying. Her attentions are directed towards the two guys showering her with attention and she is torn between them in the usual cliched style. At times she comes across as shallow, and at others, someone with a strong mind. She sets out to find the meaning to the clues left behind by her parents. As the story unfolds, the reader is drawn into a world of drama, secrets, betrayal.

The story lacked in precise character development and a deeper premise than was there. It was easy to figure out what might happen next and the books did not make me want to keep turning the pages. Having said this, there are parts that are interesting and had potential. A stronger focus on the characters, creating complex personalities and a more interesting twist to the plot would have made it gripping. Though there was some adventure and mystery thrown in, it just made the story more confusing. It was just another book in the usual style of having a clue and trying to decipher it while also trying to keep it away from the bad guys.

Bottom-line: Read the book. You may or may not like it, but you can form an opinion by yourself.

Release Blitz: Amniwar by Adam Reese

amniwar


33957848Amniwar by Adam Reese

Genre: Science Fiction Suspense
Series: Amniwar Trilogy, Book One
Publication Date: February 21, 2017

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Humans are in danger of extinction due to the multiple world wars that have progressively shaken the fabric of society. The government discovers a leak, leading them to a Navy Captain’s son, Aaron Lambright. Their desperate actions to bring silence to the secret Aaron holds is only the beginning of a sinister plot to bring the nation kneeling before tyranny.

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Book Review: The Last Soul: A Reaper Novella (Reapers Book 1) by Lena Hillbrand

About the Book:

The Last Soul: A Reaper Novella (Reapers Book 1)

A nameless reaper finds the last living human and harvests his soul for her master, expecting the reward he promised–freedom. But Lucifer is a clever master, one who isn’t ready to let a subject regain free will easily. The reaper’s only hope is to find the angel who witnessed the harvesting and convince him to testify on her behalf. Without proof, she is at the mercy of Lucifer, and at risk of spending eternity in the depths of her own personal hell.

My Thoughts:

This is a short Novella which portrays heaven and hell in a different way. It is well written but took me a while to completely understand the context and characters. There are abrupt jumps or shifts in situations and character discussions. This makes it difficult to understand and may serve as a deterrent to reading this. The story talks of angels and reapers, and how Lucifer controls the reapers, focusing on finding and harvesting the last living soul on Earth. However, looking past the small flaws, this story is written in a fresh new perspective which makes it worth a try, especially since it is a very short story.

Book Blitz: Court of Vampires by Megan Linski

Court of Vampires
Megan Linski
(The Shifter Prophecy #1)
Publication date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Mythology, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Vampires and werewolves shouldn’t fall in love.

Lysandra was born for one reason; to kill shifters. Princess of vampires, the heir to Vlad Dracula’s throne and the last descendant of Princess Anastasia, Lysandra lives in a castle of witches and human slaves,engaged to a dark vampire prince and prophesied as the one who will end the war between vampires and werewolves forever.

Everything changes when Lysandra finds a dying werewolf. She takes him into her care and quickly falls in love, unable to explain the magical connection between them. If she’s discovered, she will be put to death. But how can she stop the war when her worst enemy is her true love?

A heart-stopping love story filled with shocking twists, Court of Vampires is a thrilling young adult fantasy that readers will devour over and over again. The legend of what really happened to the Romanov family is retold in Megan Linski’s newest haunting paranormal romance.

Goodreads / Amazon

 

Author Bio:

Megan Linski is the owner of Gryfyn Publishing and has had a passion for writing ever since she was a little girl. Her specializations are romance, fantasy, and contemporary fiction for teens and adults. When not writing, she enjoys ice skating, horse riding, and being outdoors. She is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and is an active fighter against common variable immune deficiency disorder.

In December 2016, Megan signed a deal with Amazon’s Kindle Press for her Kindle Scout Winner, Court of Vampires, due to be published 2017. You can find Megan at http://www.meganlinski.com, and receive a FREE book, The Witch’s Curse, by signing up for her VIP List there.

Megan Linski also writes under the pen name of Natalie Erin for the Creatures of the Lands Series, co-authored with Krisen Lison.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Book Review: Esper Files by Egan Brass

I received a free copy of this book from the team at Inkitt in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

When an experiment goes wrong In Victorian London, Espers, people with supernatural abilities are created. In order to counter this new potential threat, the Institute is set up to teach Espers how to use their abilities for good and how to hunt down those who want to use their powers for evil.

Gifted with a formidable but self-destructive ability, Nathan is one of the Institute’s top agents. When the evil Baron executes his plan of controlling the minds of London’s political leaders, peace is dependent on Nathan and his team.

Will he learn to control his powers in time to save the world? Or will he succumb to their self-destructive nature?

My Thoughts:

Wow! This is a gripping tale of people with special powers/abilities living in a world of normal humans and the problems they face. Think X-men, with an institute, a professor and a whole lot of children being trained to accept their powers and learn how to use them. But, even with this comparison, the story holds its own, with enough differentiation to not make it cliched or the same as any thing the reader may have encountered.

The author has created characters who will enthrall you and pull you along with them. The story is well written and descriptive enough to keep the images running in your mind as the scenes are happening. The fight scenes are wonderful and a lot of research and effort seems to have been dedicated to writing them as there is an obvious attention to detail. Nathan, with his copy cat abilities and James with his teleportation are the first we encounter of  the Esper’s followed by Freya and her brother. Their powers, unique in nature, drive a lot of the plot. Starting off with the creation of Espers and how they came to exist, details of when their powers are likely to manifest and how to identify an Esper, the author covers all possible angles.

The story moves quickly, almost single mindedly in a specific direction and comes to a climactic end, leaving enough room for the next book. A great adventure to take, this book will have the reader hooked until the very end and is a very enjoyable read! Having said this, I cannot wait to read the next book, which is slated to be released soon.

Book Review: The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud

What happens when you walk into a book fair, find books that you’d once read and then discover more books by those same authors? You’re right! You cannot help but be hit with a strong sense of nostalgia!

And once it kicks in, there’s no stopping the onslaught of memories.

It was this same feeling that prompted me to pick up this book by Jonathan Stroud. After all, my mind reasoned, it will be worthwhile coming from the author of the famous Bartimaeus series.

About the Book:

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., #1)

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .

My Thoughts:

A truly wonderful book and concept, this book will ensure that you are hooked from the first page. The story is divided into parts, jumping into the middle of the plot in the beginning itself, then looping back in time to give us some background and perspective, and then charging right on. The best part? All these seemingly unconnected situations all come together in the end and wrap the plot up neatly.

The characters are brilliant, smart, funny, naughty but with a depth that will surprise the reader. There is more to them than meets the eye and it becomes rather clear as we read. Anthony Lockwood proves to be something of an enigma, not only to Lucy but to the reader as well. He is charming for a youngster, conducts himself as well as the elders and still manages to hide some things from everyone. Lucy is likeable and strong, with a talent that far surpasses both the boys. Together the trio set out to make London a safer place, protecting people from ghosts. The climax and the sequences leading up to it are intense and perhaps the best part of the entire book, but what stands out is how every seemingly random situation has a connection in the end. Everything is vital to the plot and it helps to pay attention to even the smallest of details.

It felt really great to immerse myself in this story. The author, with his wonderful storytelling ability, vividly describes each situation and haunting. Every case that the trio take up, we are given a chance to imagine what is happening, sometimes we can even see it playing in our mind. This just points to the wonderful way the author has with words. The characters are well developed and the basis of the plot along with the back story of how the various agencies came into existence makes this book all the more interesting. The ending leaves us with just enough information to want to continue the series.

Overall, not just for the sake of nostalgia, but for the beauty of the story, I strongly urge all my fellow fans of fantasy, ghosts and mystery to read this book!

The year that was…

With just 3 more days for the year 2016 to end, I thought it would be great to take a look back at some of the books that I enjoyed immensely throughout this year. It has been a good year where books are concerned. As many of you who may follow me on Goodreads or are my friends there may know, I managed to complete my target of 60 books for the year which is quite a personal achievement.

Read on the know about my favourite books of the year (in no particular order). I have picked out the books which have left a profound impact on me in some way, however minor it may be. All the books mentioned below have been previously reviewed on my blog. I have included a part of the review for each book as well. Click on each title to be directed back to my review of the respective book.

Many of the books I will list are based on real life, and many are just children’s stories. However all of them have inspired me and helped quench my thirst for reading.

Many of the books mentioned below were given to me by the authors in exchange for an honest review, while others I found on Goodreads and jumped at the chance to expand my horizons and tastes. I was certainly enchanted and happy with my choices.

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  • Under the Pong Pong Tree by Hal Levey This is a refreshing read and a breath taking, heart  stopping account of life faced during the WWII, and a look at a smaller war that most would not comment on.
  • The minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes – This book not only chronicles the life of Billy Milligan, it brings out the psychology of the mind in relation to MPD as well as how easy it is for people to brand someone a charlatan or an attention seeker without really understanding them. Moreover, through the eyes of Billy’s personalities, we can form a picture as to why each one came to exist and how they played a part in his life. We are indeed afraid of the unknown and I believe this book gives us great insight into one of the mysteries of the mind.
  • The Ones That Got Away by Suanne Laqueur – This book only adds to the beauty of the story Suanne has crafted and will make the reader love it more. It will no doubt leave the reader with a heavy heart, but it was worth it. The characters and chapters that were created and written but got left behind or removed from the story are well worth the effort of writing them. Sometimes, as Suanne has mentioned, it’s better to just write what you think and then see the usage later on. The bonus insight into Erik’s younger days when his father was still there and after he leaves are wonderful and I hope Suanne uses this in a story sometime in the future. I will say this, everyone should, at some point, read The Man I Love and enjoy this story and world as much as I have.
  • Delbert – The Reluctant Spy (book #1) by Marko Kitti – The story is filled with adventure and lots of humor as we follow Delbert on his journey towards becoming an international secret agent. It is written in Marko’s unique style, something you’d already recognize if you are, like me, a fan of the Jesper Jinx series and the language is simple and easy to follow. Overall this is a new series from Marko that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. It is an easy and entertaining read, even for those who are much older but have perhaps forgotten to grow up, just like me!
  • Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde – The story teaches us to ask questions, to seek for the answers before making a judgement call, to think before one acts. This is a wonderfully written book and will tug at your heart strings in more ways than you can imagine. It teaches the reader so many lessons that I highly recommend this book to everyone.
  • Love Warrior : A Memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton – This memoir, teaches us all to be warriors. We can all do it, even when one hits rock bottom, one can only go upwards from there. The writing is wonderful and through this, Glennon expresses deep emotions, sharing a lot of her experiences with us. The memoir will pull the reader into it, making us experience every single emotion that the author did, and at the end, it will spit the reader out, a different person. The entire book will touch you in ways you will not expect and is worth the time spent reading.
  • Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero – To be honest, I had to put up a fight with my sane self (or conscience) to read the book and at times I had to pause for a while to let go of the emotions that were building up while reading. Sometimes the plot sows down, but the author does justice in the way she has described each scene and the setting of the story.
  • The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna – It is a short book, with exactly 4 stories and can be read rather quickly. It would make a wonderful read while traveling. I think that every person should read this book as there is a lot to take away from the stories. There is much to learn and the author conveys the same without sounding preachy. Focusing on women empowerment and the important role that women play, the author has largely depicted the trials that women face in their everyday lives.
  • An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur – Upon reading the summary/synopsis of the story, one can figure out much about the plot and thus I will refrain from explaining more about it for fear of revealing everything. This book is not just a simple story, it is a journey that the reader must prepare themselves to embark on with no chance of return. The story will touch the reader in ways that they would not expect and there will be no chance of putting the book down. Even after finishing it, for a time, the reader will feel as though there is a void inside them and they need time to fill it up again and feel whole. These are the kind of emotions that Suanne inspires in the reader through her writing.

    Life is an unpredictable roller-coaster ride and all we can do is choose the paths we want to take at each cross-road and then live with our decisions.

  • The Magician’s Workshop, Volume One & Two by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr – This book continues on in chapters from where the previous left off. The authors flawlessly craft the story to take us further and draw us in. They maintain the playfulness and style of expression which is quite refreshing and enhance the concepts and story. It is easy to experience everything with the characters and this is one of the main things that drew my attention.The style of writing, the description about each projection only add to the soaring imagination of the reader. A wonderful feat achieved successfully by the authors. Kudos to the work they have done and the time they have spent in creating this world.It has been a while since reading Harry Potter, that a series in this genre has kept me hooked. I will say it again and again that this is one mega awesome read! Keep projecting and I hope that the next book comes out soon.

Please do share your thoughts and book recommendations for the next year are definitely welcome.

Moving on from that, I look forward to 2017 being a much better year for books. I hope that you all continue to support me and give me the same love that you have shown this year.

Thank you all for your wonderful support and trust.

Happy New Year in advance!

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Book Review: Rule Number One by Rory Goodwin

About the Book:

Rule Number One (An Oswald Metzger Novella Series Book 1)

Set in Brisbane Australia, a disgraced Australian Football League Star is found dead on the day of his sentencing at the Brisbane District Courts in an apparent suicide.
Detective Baxter knows things aren’t always as they seem and decides to follow a hunch one last time before he retires. But before he can do that he also has one more score to settle.
Family man, Oswald ‘Ozzy’ Metzger is a regular bloke, loving father and committed husband driven by duty, love and honour. Following his heart and driven by what he believes in, being vegan, he doesn’t believe in violence but does believe in justice for the innocent.
Monica runs a crisis centre for women and children, when Detective Baxter comes asking questions she is faced with the confronting reality that all may not be as it seems.

My Thoughts:

This story is a novella, short and fast paced. When a Football player is found dead in the bathrooms of the courthouse, the day of his sentencing, an investigation is opened into the same. Speculation on whether it is a suicide or a murder are rife and in the midst of it all is Detective Baxter, whose aim is to wrap up this one last case before he retires.

In the course of the same, we meet Monica, who runs a crisis centre to help women and who knew the football player’s ex-girlfriend. What happens when you set out to investigate one thing, but while asking questions, you discover something more? The same happens as Detective Baxter follows up on a hunch. In parallel, we are introduced to Oswald, Monica’s husband. As a series of events unfold, the reader is taken on a journey with our very own serial killer with a conscience.

The story ends in quite a different way and this is one of the things that I enjoyed immensely about the book. The author went ahead with an unusual end. Of course some parts of the climax are cliche and expected, but for the most of it, the end was a good turn of events, making it worth the read.

As all the ends come together, the author gives us enough bait to keep us hooked on and waiting in the hopes that there may be another novella or novel to tell us what happens to Ozzy and Monica. The novella is good for a quick read and for those who enjoy the genre!