Month: November 2015

The Search for the Man in the Iron Mask by Paul Sonnino

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Description from Publisher:

“This book pursues an enduring puzzle that has stumped historians for centuries and seduced novelists and filmmakers down to this day. Who was the man who wore an iron mask and was kept in prison for years during the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV? Paul Sonnino brilliantly traces his decade-long quest to solve the mystery. He takes readers into the heart of the tiny nucleus of people who knew about Cardinal Mazarin’s massive wealth, corruption, and collections. This tiny group included servants who carried out orders that enable their masters to appear innocent and legitimate. Kings, queens, cardinals, ministers, valets, shady merchants, art collectors, bankers, princesses, jailors and judges all play their part—as one Eustache Dauger was masked and jailed for decades, simply because he knew too much and had some unsavory acquaintances. Using the Man in the Iron Mask as the thread, Sonnino weaves a fascinating tapestry of the world of the French court in the seventeenth century. Personalities, diplomatic intrigue, art collections, and a court trial that became an “affaire” are all tied together in this engaging and important work.”

My Review:

I really enjoyed this book, it was well-written and well researched. The author was able to keep it interesting and not be like a school essay. The only minor complaint I had was that it was too short and I wanted more. I liked how at the end the author includes a reference of the abbreviation and notes, it helped to cement the ideas in my head. I hope the author writes more for Historical Detectives as it was a fun read and I had wanted more. This book comes out January 5th 2016.

5 out of 5 stars

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Northwoods by Bill Schweigart

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Description from Publisher:

“Ex–Delta Force Davis Holland, now an agent for the Customs and Border Protection, has seen it all. But nothing in his experience has prepared him for what he and the local sheriff find one freezing night in the Minnesota woods.

Investigating reports of an illegal border crossing, the two men stumble across a blood-drenched scene of mass murder, barely escaping with their lives . . . and a single clue to the mayhem: a small wooden chest placed at the heart of the massacre. Something deadly has entered Holland’s territory, crossing the border from nightmare into reality.

When news of the atrocity reaches wealthy cryptozoologist Richard Severance, he sends a three-person team north to investigate. Not long ago, the members of that team—Ben McKelvie, Lindsay Clark, and Alex Standingcloud—were nearly killed by a vengeful shapeshifter. Now they are walking wounded, haunted by gruesome memories that make normal life impossible. But there is nothing normal about the horror that awaits in the Northwoods.  ”

My Review:

I loved the writing style of this book, and the story itself was great. It was well-written and the mythology was there and was fun to explore. The characters were people I could relate to and felt like real people. I also enjoyed the reference to Marvel Comics. It’s funny I thought that this book’s monster was going to be a sea monster of some kind but the monster did not disappoint. I kinda hope there’s more in this series with Ben and Severance hunting monsters together. This book is set to come out February 16, 2016.

5 out of 5 stars

Brood X by Michael Phillip Cash

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Description from Publisher:

“Seth is laid off from work. His wife Lara just found out they are expecting a baby this summer. Seth plans on documenting the entire pregnancy with his brand new digital camcorder. During an evening home watching television, the news reports that a swarm of cicada (Brood Ten) are expected to overwhelm the entire Northeast. Brood Ten is vicious and ready to invade. During a sweltering summer night, Brood Ten emerges and wreaks havoc with the electric grid, phone and cell service, wi-fi, food and water supply. Civilization as they know it is gone. Seth and Lara are thrown back to the stone age in their own home with trillions of cicada trying to deposit their eggs and breed. Fast paced and filled with tension, Brood Ten is the perfect summer read when you’re sitting outside listening to the cicadas sing.”

My review:

I never really thought of cicadas as something that was creepy but author Michael Phillip Cash did. I loved the two main characters Lara and Seth, they felt like a real couple that was expecting their first baby. As we got into the cicada invasion I could feel the panic and despite of the cicadas swarm had on the humans. In the climax of the book I really thought the cicadas were going to kill the main characters and their friend, the ending almost felt like something Stephen King would write. Some of the scenes where the cicadas planted eggs in people were so gross and well-written. Overall I enjoyed this book, it was a wonderful mix of horror and something that could happen in real life. This book is out now.

5 out of 5 stars.

The Battle for Darracia Books I – II – III by Michael Phillip Cash

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Description from Publisher:

“Struggling with his identity, 19 year old Prince V’sair must harness the power of the elusive Fireblade, the secret to a warrior’s heart, in order to overcome his uncle Staf Nuen’s lust for supremacy.”

My Review:

I had read the first two books in this series and really enjoyed them, I’m glad that they created a book with all of them in it. So this series is the third book from this author that I’ve reviewed and the third part of the series did not disappoint. The characters are all well-written and enjoyed their adventures. Michael Phillip Cash does not disappoint. I would recommend this series for anyone that likes “Guardians of the Galaxy” or Star Wars. This book is out now.

4 out of 5 stars

Pokergeist by Michael Phillip Cash

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Description from the Publisher:

“Sometimes life, as well as death, is about second chances. Luckless Telly Martin doesn’t have a clue. An awful gambler trying to scrape by as a professional poker player, he becomes the protégé of world famous poker champion Clutch Henderson. The only catch…Clutch is a ghost. Telly and Clutch must navigate the seedy gambling underbelly of Las Vegas learning to trust each other in order to win the elusive International Series of Poker, repair their shattered personal relationships and find redemption in this life and the hereafter.”

My Review:

This is the second book I’ve read from Michael Phillip Cash, I really enjoyed it. It’s mainly about a ghostly poker player named Clutch, and man do I feel bad for him we get to see the people he left behind, and a living character named Telly, I really liked Telly and felt I could relate to him. Overall I thought the story was well written and hope that there’s a sequel with the two main characters as I enjoyed their interaction with each other. This book is out now.

4 out of 5 stars

Girl Last Seen by Heather Anastasiu, Anne Greenwood Brown

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Description from Publisher:

“Kadence Mulligan’s star was rising. She and her best friend, Lauren DeSanto, watched their songs go viral on YouTube, then she launched a solo career when a nasty throat infection paralyzed Lauren’s vocal chords. Everyone knows Lauren and Kadence had a major falling-out over Kady’s boyfriend. But Lauren knows how deceptive Kadence could be sometimes. And nobody believes Lauren when she claims she had nothing to do with the disappearance. Or the blood evidence… As the town and local media condemns Lauren, she realizes the only way to clear her name is to discover the truth herself. Lauren slowly unravels the twisted life of Kadence Mulligan and sees that there was more to her than she ever knew. But will she realize she’s unknowingly playing a part in an elaborate game to cover up a crime before it’s too late?”

My review:

What an amazingly written story, the way it was written had me on the edge of my sit wanting to continue the story. That twist at the end was amazing, I thought something like that was going to happen but when it did it blew me away. The characters Jude, Lauren, Kady and Mason were all written as real people that aren’t all good or all evil. I’d love to read more from the authors and maybe see more in this universe. The book comes out March 1st 2016, I received a ARC from Netgalley.

Highly recommended! Especially if you liked Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

5 out 5 stars.

Magic Below by Laura J. Burns

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Description from Publisher:

“When Princess Ozma summons Zerie Greenapple and her friends Vashti and Tabitha, they have no idea what awaits. Tasked with infiltrating Glinda the Good’s palace, Zerie travels by water, Vashti by land, and Tabitha by air. Zerie transforms into a mermaid and enters the underwater realm of Aquaria, where she is met with impossible obstacles. Not only is Zerie’s concept of time put to the test, but soon her memory, values, and sense of self are also strained. Unsure whom she can trust in Oz, will Zerie’s magic ultimately be used for good…or evil?
For ages 9-13. The second book in the Bewitched in Oz series.
*A story of magical fantasy paired with many realistic coming-of-age elements will resonate with the tween audience *Compelling, fast-paced adventure *Protagonist struggles with friendship issues as well as romantic interests *Will appeal especially to fans of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz *Offers a new way of looking at the fantastical world created by L. Frank Baum  ”

My Review:

I received this book to read on Netgalley on November 12th and finished it November 13th 2016. I could not put it down, I loved this adventure, it had everything I wanted in an Oz story, there was magic, mermaids and a war between two very powerful women. I was a big fan of the first book in the series Bewitched in Oz and this book does not disappoint, I thought it was written really well and the characters were really fleshed out. I loved the way the author was able to describe the people and places in the story it made me want to see it for myself. great thing about the story is that since there is a war between two witches there was a tension going on where you wonder who’s spying on who and when someone is revealed to actually be surprised it was a surprise for me too. The way the book ends made me excited for a third book. This book is slated for release on March 1st 2016. 5 out of 5 stars.

 

Cleopatra by Ernle Bradford

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Description from Publisher:

“Cleopatra, the last Ptolemaic Queen, passed into legend, and history traduced and maligned her as an infamous woman, given to sexual excess and capable of every perfidy.

The truth was quite different.

She was a woman of infinite courage and political resource. From the age of eighteen until her death she had fought to free her country from the iron dominance of Rome and to secure its inheritance for the son of her first lover Julius Caesar. It was right that she should be buried in Alexandria, for in her spirit and in her ambition she was worthy of Alexander himself.

The subject of biography and tragedy, Queen Cleopatra remains a subject to which historians are attracted two thousand years after her glorious but doomed life.

Had Julius Caesar not been murdered, Cleopatra might well have become the empress of Rome and all the Mediterranean world, living to see it ruled by a Julian-Ptolemaic dynasty.

The ‘Queen of the Nile’ was seventeen when she took to the throne of Egypt in 51BC. This ambitious young woman, initially married to her younger brother and co-ruler Ptolemy XIII, watched the savage struggle between Caesar and Pompey, hoping that Rome would destroy itself in the process.

A politician as well a monarch, Cleopatra was determined to save Egypt from being overcome by Rome in its most Golden Age. Her political intentions were clear in her amorous conquests of both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. The latter was defeated at the Battle of Actium in 31BC.

Ernle Bradford uses ancient sources to piece together the life of the Queen, and reflects on portraits of her throughout history.

‘Cleopatra’ is a thorough biography of one of the most fascinating figures in history.”

My review:

It read more as an essay to me and not as a narrative and it was hard for me to get into the story, which is sad because I really enjoy learning about Ancient Egypt and their rulers. What I did like was that it was well researched and contained a great deal of information. I finished reading it on November 18th 2015. It’s available to purchase now.

3 out of 5 stars

Henchgirl by Rita Stradling

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Here’s a description from the publisher:

“The children of dragons and humans, the dracons, control eighty percent of the world’s governments. Humans worldwide are either subservient or prey. On the small vacation island of Mabi, humans call for war.

Sixteen year old Dakota Kekoa lives a double life. By day, she pretends to be a human to infiltrate Mabi Academy, a ‘human’s only’ high-school. At night, she works as a henchman for her draconic mafia family, utilizing her ability to steal and manipulate emotions.

Dakota’s life is not ideal but it is manageable, until the rich and famous half-dragon, Wyvern Manderson, shows up and starts sabotaging Dakota’s missions. And for some bewildering reason, he is always angry at her.

Within days of Wyvern’s arrival, Dakota is suspended from future missions and in desperate need of money. When Wyvern offers to hire Dakota to find his kidnapped human half-sister, she accepts despite knowing she’ll have to spend all day, every day, with Wyvern and his gigantic ego. This is not just any mission though; she is diving head first into the escalating conflict between humans and dracons. As more girls disappear and some are discovered dead, Dakota realizes her first honorable mission may also be her last.”

My Review:

I really enjoyed this story, I liked the universe created in this story. I’ve always liked the fantasy stories, and boy is this story packed with it, we have were-people, half dragon half humans. It’s not just a fantasy story it’s really more set in the real world and it’s very well written. The main character Dakota, felt like a full well-written character, and I felt for her struggles and what she felt was her responsibility to her family. I also liked that the supporting cast felt real and were fun characters. I can’t wait for the sequel and seeing more from the author. This book is set to come out on January 12th, 2016.

4 out of 5 stars

Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash

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Here’s a description of the book from the publisher:

“Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville. Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and life-long movie buff is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves and zombies, what could possibly go wrong?”

My Review:

Wow, I couldn't put this book down, the way the author wrote all the 
groups of characters you could understand their motives and felt real. 
The plot of the book was what attracted me to the book in the first place, 
it combined Jurassic park with monsters and made a wonderful story. There
 was something wonderful about the mix of humor and gory in the story that 
included family problems. I liked that we got to see the point of view from 
each group, the humans, the zombies, the vampires and the werewolves, each 
section felt like it had a different voice to it. Overall I would recommend 
it to anyone that likes horror stories. I received this book on November 
10th and finished the book on November 12th

5 stars out of 5