When I picked up The Bones of Others by Vickie McKeehan, I expected something different—and was not disappointed. McKeehan is known for spinning tales...moreWhen I picked up The Bones of Others by Vickie McKeehan, I expected something different—and was not disappointed. McKeehan is known for spinning tales of romantic suspense that push the boundaries of the genre, and this, a foray into darker, edgier suspense, is a terrific read. "Dark and edgy ... romantic suspense with a pulse-pounding pace."
Skye Cree—a survivor of a brutal abduction from a vile sexual predator—is the heart and soul of this story. Guided by a mystical spirit guide who reveals clues to her of the locations of abducted girls, she summons the courage to turn her horrifying life experience into a positive force for justice, all the while fighting the demons that have haunted her for years as she falls for a man for the first time in her life.
But while a love story at heart—and with heart—this story is so much more. With courage and inner strength that rivals Sigourney Weaver’s portrayal of Ripley in the Alien movies, Skye faces her ultimate test as she races against time to save a series of young girls from a horrific life of sexual abuse in a tragic human-trafficking ring.
The Bones of Others is not for the faint of heart. It deals with real issues and pulls no punches. Entertaining, often humorous, very touching, it has a pulse-pounding pace that will have you asking for more. (less)
When I began reading Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest To Go Over The Hill, I quickly realized two things. First, M. G. Edwards is a superbly talented writ...moreWhen I began reading Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest To Go Over The Hill, I quickly realized two things. First, M. G. Edwards is a superbly talented writer. Second, anything is possible.
This inspirational true story chronicles the day-by-day hiking trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. Fascinating by itself, the real story is the courage and fortitude of the author as he summons the will to confront not only the perils of the mountain, but a far more dangerous demon: a burning mid-life crisis.
At forty years of age, out of shape, and struggling with an unsatisfying and demoralizing career, Michael Edwards knew that something had to give. Life had to change. For many people, such frustration and fear is all too real and paralyzing. Better the demon we know, no matter how unhappy and unfulfilled we are.
Virtually overnight—well, several nights—Michael Edwards changed his stars. Tackling something as monstrous as a mountain, he overcame adversity, cold, heat, searing aches and pains, channeling all of these victories toward a single goal: to prove to himself that from this point forward, nothing could stand in his way. Not a mountain, not an unhappy life.
Read this book. Change your stars. It’s that good.(less)
When I was young (gas was a whopping 32 cents a gallon), I was enthralled by the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories created by Edward Stratemeyer. I may have...moreWhen I was young (gas was a whopping 32 cents a gallon), I was enthralled by the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories created by Edward Stratemeyer. I may have read every one of them. Nancy was smart, strong, and self-assured, with virtually endless resources at her fingertips—a teenaged superhero for her time. Let me assure you, Cassidy Jones is no Nancy Drew. She’s smart, yes, but more importantly, she’s real—a typical young girl in today’s angst-ridden society, just trying to grow up and find her way. Unlike Nancy, who was seemingly ten feet tall and bulletproof, Cassidy is an accident waiting to happen.
And happen it does. With an intriguing plot that captivates from the opening line, Cassidy leaps from shy-girl to super-girl, discovering amazing new abilities and going toe-to-toe with the Bad Guys, all the while fighting her own personal battles. The story moves at a breathless pace, with superb writing and compelling storytelling. You simply have to turn the page.
Elise Stokes is a fine writer, spinning a wildly entertaining ride from beginning to end. With a supporting cast of memorable characters, Cassidy Jones And The Secret Formula leaves you wanting more. It will appeal strongly to the young adult audience, but is so well written it will appeal to a far larger (younger and older) group of readers. The first book in the Cassidy Jones Adventures series, this is a remarkable debut that should be on everyone’s bookshelf. Which reminds me, I’ve got some old Nancy Drew Mysteries to dump off at the used book store—I need the space for the new kid on the superhero block, Cassidy Jones. (less)
Admittedly, I've never been a fan of books that involve drug lords, cartels, and exotic places. On the flip side, I can easily take up a seat, turn th...moreAdmittedly, I've never been a fan of books that involve drug lords, cartels, and exotic places. On the flip side, I can easily take up a seat, turn the lights down low and flip on an old "Miami Vice" episode (assuming it's still on somewhere in that thousand-channel wasteland we call TV). So when I began reading Russell Blake's "Night of the Assassin," I didn't know what to expect. All I can say is, I'm glad that I did.
This tantalizing thriller is a prequel to "King of Swords" (which I have yet to read, and most definitely will), and is an amazingly taut and telling origin story of "El Rey," the King of Swords. Blake goes to great lengths to immerse us in the rise of a trained assassin, giving us a unique look into his training and ascension as the world's most feared killer-for-hire.
"Night of the Assassin" is brutal and beautiful. Blake offers riveting and revealing details of the black world of the drug lords in the Colombian and Mexican cartels, showing us in-your-face violence, all the while writing with an uncommon flair that is exceptionally strong and fluid. I often found myself disgusted with the cruelty and the barbarism, but at the same time found myself utterly in awe of the author's style. It's a rare instance where one can be appalled by the material but so drawn by the writing one has no choice but to turn the page.
For those stirred by the grisly details of a frighteningly real underworld, "Night of the Assassin" delivers the straight goods. The more I read, the more fascinated I became. The book could be a textbook on the inner workings of the drug world, but a textbook that wildly entertains. I couldn't put it down. And for a guy who's never been a fan of this genre, well, that pretty much says it all. Highly, highly recommended. (less)
Let me start with this: Alex Miles is incredibly gifted and talented. He’s a wordsmith. A craftsman. A writer.
This entertaining compilation contains s...moreLet me start with this: Alex Miles is incredibly gifted and talented. He’s a wordsmith. A craftsman. A writer.
This entertaining compilation contains six stories that run the gamut of Gothic horror, science fiction, and dystopian society. An impressive debut, Miles’ voice is so strong it often rivals the early works of Clive Barker—he’s that good.
The first story, “Glory & Splendour,” is a disturbing tale of a world succumbing rapidly to decay. It is a deeply moving piece, of how we blind ourselves with distractions to the real dangers of our own crumbling world. Told in the first person, the protagonist has been forced into seclusion in his home, unable and unwilling to venture out into the chaos that envelops him. A mysterious stranger comes to the door, offering curious magic that can conceal the vileness of the outside world, and as civilization continues to decay, so too does the sanctuary of home, leading us to a gripping and telling conclusion.
“The Judge” is an instant classic. Society has been reduced to non-thinkers, putting law and discipline into the mechanical hands of a gigantic machine built a century before. The machine—a subterranean clockwork of cogs and wheels--rules without question; trials and punishment are meted out with nothing more than a printed receipt stating that judgment has been served. The story is rich and powerful, warning of the dangers of a technological society placing blind faith in its inventiveness—a wakeup call to us all.
“Deep Stitches” gives us insight into the human psyche, in particular, the black thoughts that at some level drive us all. Miles digs deep here, questioning our values and judgments we place upon one another. We are as a whole good and decent, and yet we wear masks, concealing our darker side. In a clever story of role reversal, “Deep Stitches” delivers a wonderful read.
Changing gears dramatically, Miles’ “Hitting Targets” strikes all the right notes with its cutting black humour. It tells the story a lot of us can relate to, featuring a life-weary real estate agent overcome with the banality of the everyday—the drudgery of work and a loveless, unfulfilling marriage. Reminding us that there’s hope somewhere along the line, “Hitting Targets” will appeal to every soul who has wondered, Is this all there is?
The last two stories, “Life Beggar” and “The Lotus Device,” speak to our desire for happiness and how we should cherish what we have right now. They are dark and brooding and thought-provoking.
Glory and Splendour is a unique collection that is both chilling and fun to read. Highly recommended. (less)