'Writing for me is not about speeling, grammar or punctuation – that’s why we have editors.... No, writing for me is the ability to capture a story and put it in words.' - Fantasy Muse

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Bullet Rain

Bullet Rain - A Nova Bartkowski Novel (Holly Lin Series) by Robert Swartwood


Front Cover



Synopsis


WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS 

Nova is a free man. Having just walked away as a non-sanctioned hit man for the U.S. government, he's purchased a classic Mustang to drive across the country. But when his car breaks down in the middle of the Nevada desert, Nova ends up in the small town of Parrot Spur. There's something strange about Parrot Spur. Something ... off. Maybe it's the fact the town is full of ex-servicemen. Maybe it's the fact the abandoned mine might not be abandoned. Maybe it’s the fact the knockout brunette in the bar is clearly more than what she seems. In the end, none of it matters. What matters — and what Nova is soon going to learn — is that in the desert, the only thing that rains is bullets. 


My Review


I do love a good action/thriller book, and I was - probably still am - a huge fan of the Jack Reacher books before Lee Child seemed to lose his way, and so every now and again I like to find a good action/thriller novel.

The story is about Nova, a recent ex-government hit man, who is on his way to California when the tires to his newly bought Mustang blows up. Stuck in the middle of Nevada, the closest place nearby is a small town called Parrot Spur, but something is not quite right with the threadbare town.
There is also another character called Jessica, a young woman, who is also a stranger to Parrot Spur but has her own reasons for being there. 

This is an action packed, fast paced book that I finished in one sitting. The story has enough pull to it that keeps hooked to it from start to finish.
The central character, Nova, is everything you want in a hero, but more importantly (for me) has a toned down sense of morals, which adds a bit grit to the book, as there's nothing more I dislike than the good guy being a saint.
The other character, Jessica, wasn't entirely the damsel in distress, she did need saving - at times - but her personality was strong and she wasn't timid in the face of danger.

I did mention Reacher at the beginning of this post, and there are some comparisons, mostly in the short, crisp writing style, and riveting action scenes, but I wouldn't yet put it in the same class as Reacher (the early books that is). However, there's no shame in that as many authors place Lee Child's works as the benchmark for their own books.

Conclusion


Fans of action/thriller, who are looking for something quick to read and like their hero to be more greyer than white, will enjoy this book. 

**I should add that there is an earlier book in the series, which I was unaware of before I read Bullet Rain, and there are hints to some of the characters in the 1st, but there was never any confusing points in the story and for me this book can be read entirely as a stand alone. However, saying that, it'd probably be more beneficial to start with book 1 No Shelter (A Holly Lin Novel).**


Out of 10 Stars:


8 Stars


Buy it here:


Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Devil's Mouth

The Devil's Mouth (Alex Rains, Vampire Hunter Book 1) by Matt Kincade


Front Cover




Synopsis


The only things Alex Rains cares about are rock ’n’ roll, classic cars, and killing vampires—that is, until he meets Carmen, a tough-as-nails cop who's hot on the trail of her missing little sister.

When the two join forces, they leave a trail of corpses across the desert as they race against the clock, hunting an ancient evil that’s preyed on the migrants of the American Southwest since the time of the Spanish conquest.

While Alex leads Carmen deeper into the deadly, secret world of vampire hunters and their quarry, a romance blooms that neither of them expected. But when it all goes wrong, Alex is forced to make a grueling choice.

An action-horror thriller from author Matt Kincade, The Devil’s Mouth is an adrenaline-fueled ride through the dark underbelly of America: a warped landscape of old motels, seedy roadhouse bars, and monsters lurking in the night.


My Review


I'm always a sucker (no pun intended) for a good vampire book and I wasn't disappointed.

The main protagonist is called Alex Rains who is a vampire hunter, and whilst tracking a vampire, he stumbles/saves a cop called Carmen, who is trying to find her missing sister.
The remainder of the book is spent trying to find her younger sister and along the way they deal with more vampires and their growing relationship.

I liked the main character Alex, he was an interesting person who had no special abilities but managed to more than hold his own against the vampires. His personality was quirky and I found him easily likeable. Simply put he's type of person I wouldn't mind hanging out with.

The main character, Carmen - the tough female cop - I wasn't so sure on. She said all the right things, did all the right things, but I was still left a bit unsure of her.

In terms of the plot, it flowed from one scene to the other seamlessly, and there was a twist in the story near the end that I admittedly did not see coming - it changed  the whole dynamics of the book and future books to come. Truth be told I don't think it changed for the better, but that's just my opinion.

There is a healthy dash of romance between the two main characters which I thought added little to the plot, but, saying that, near the end - due to the plot twist - their relationship sprouted an extra dimension to it, which does set it up nicely for the sequel.


Conclusion


A very well written urban vampire book that fans of the genre will enjoy. There is nothing new here, except for being a very well written story, from a talented author, who I am certainly going to keep an eye out for and very much looking forward to the sequel. 

Out of 10 Stars:


8 Stars


Buy it here:


Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Dragon of Time

The Dragon of Time: Gods and Dragons by Aaron Dennis


Front Cover



Synopsis


In a world where Dragons pose as Gods, one man with no past unearths their lies in the ruined kingdom of Alduheim.
Scar, the mercenary, seeks only answers, but those who hold sway in the world of Tiamhaal would have him fight for lies. After defeating a man who claims he follows the real Gods, Scar grows even more curious of his origins.
Is he truly this King Brandt of Alduheim? Were the Dragons really killed at the site of the old kingdom? And if so, how can they possibly be influencing the leaders of Tiamhaal?


My Review


The premise of the book is based on a warrior who has lost his memories and is trying to find out his past. Along the way he discover more about himself and who he is.

I found the start of the book to be rather slow and I wasn't instantly hooked. There just seemed to be too many names thrown in and I did get confused, but the story did pick up halfway through and I got the sense that the author grew into the novel both in terms of writing, world building and characterisation. Interestingly, the book reminded me a lot of greek mythology when it came to gods, goddesses and heroes.

For a self published novel I found the book without any typos of spelling mistakes and generally well edited.


Conclusion


I recommend this book for those who are interested in greek mythology but I do feel this author is still growing into his craft and so as a result the book feels more akin to a rough diamond than a polished one.


Out of 10 Stars:


5 Stars



Buy it here:


Saturday, 14 May 2016

Strong Convictions: An Emmett Strong Western

Strong Convictions: An Emmett Strong Western (Emmett Strong Westerns Book 1) by GP Hutchinson  (Author)

Front Cover




Synopsis


In 1876 the seemingly impossible happened in San Antonio, Texas--Emmett Strong, a prodigy of a pistolero, accidentally shot his own young wife in a showdown gone awry.

Five years later, death again visits Emmett's family. And now, want to or not, he's going to have to overcome his reluctance to draw his six-gun if he's to catch and bring to justice the crazed gunman who murdered his brother. The pursuit of his brother's killer takes him all the way to Nevada's Comstock country where the assassin has taken refuge with rich and powerful kin.

Among the many unforeseen situations Emmett encounters in Nevada is forbidden love when he falls for Li Xu, the fascinating daughter of Chinese immigrants. But before the relationship has time to bloom, Li Xu disappears--kidnapped  along with five other young women.

Can Emmett afford to leave off the chase of his brother's murderer to search for and rescue the women? Can he afford not to? With success hanging on quick thinking and quick shooting, can he take one last shot at both love and retribution?

My Review


I don't read many westerns. It's not that I don't like them, it's just that I find it hard to find my type of western. And if you ask me what that is, I'd struggle to tell you....hmmm.. that's probably why I don't read many westerns.

Anyway, after not reading one for a year or so, I was in the mood to read about a good ol' fashioned gunslinger, and after trawling Amazon for days looking for the right book, I finally found it - Strong Convictions: An Emmett Strong Western.

The book opens up with Emmett Strong losing his wife, not by anyone else's hand, but more tragically by his own. And that opening chapter almost instantly drew me in and left me wanting more.

Then after a few years later, Emmet, now a Texas Ranger, loses another loved one, this time it's his brother. The story then follows Emmett, as he tracks down his brother's killer, along with the aid of his brother-in-law, Juanito, and an Englishman called Sikes.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this book and it was quite an informative read for me to see how the wild west was in 1876. The author touches upon the treatment of women, races, and slavery. You get a real sense of how harsh it was during those times. 

GP Hutchinson paints a broad picture in vivid words when he describes the surroundings from Texas to California. I could close my eyes and imagine myself riding through one of those dusty, western towns.

I thought the charters were well written and Emmet, is a strong, stoic gunslinger, but is suffering from the tragedy of shooting his wife, and you get to see indecision and self-doubt plague him, which I thought was good, as it showed he wasn't invulnerable. 

There is romance in this novel, which truthfully I thought was a bit superficial, and didn't seem believable to me, but I'm glad it wasn't the eye-rolling sappiness you often come across nowadays.

Conclusion


This is a very well written western that paints an alluring picture of 1876 California. I'd recommend this book to those who wish to escape to a different time and place, with a hero you can root for and villains you can jeer at.
  

Out of 10 Stars:


7 Stars


Buy it here:


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Radiance

Radiance (Wraith Kings Book 1) by Grace Draven.


Front Cover




Synopsis


~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~  
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined. 
~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~ 
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.  
Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart. 


My Review



The story is a bit like Romeo and Juliet, in that you have two sets of people who have an extreme dislike/fear of each other. 
On one side there is the Gauri, who are basically humans, and then on the other side are the Kai, who are similar to humans, but have grey skin, claws and are more animalistic in their nature. Both sets of people however are seeking an alliance to defend themselves against a mutual enemy, and what better way then unifying the two kingdoms through marriage. Enter the Gauri King's orphaned niece, Idiko, and the 2nd son of the Kai King, prince Brishen.

I thought the opening chapter was compelling, and instantly drew me into what was a brilliant fantasy romance book. Idiko, the niece, and Brishen, the prince, instantly developed a believable connection between each other, and despite how ugly they found each other, both characters infused light hearted humour into their relationship which I enjoyed reading.

I did fear this book would turn into one of those cliche romantic books, where there's plot twists only to drive the (eye-rolling) romance between the characters, however, the author managed to get the right blend between the romance and fantasy, with some interesting plot ideas.

Overall I enjoyed the storyline, just as much as the two main characters, who both felt real and relatable. I could actually envision their interaction in my mind, something that I can't say too often about when I read romantic fantasy novels.

Conclusion


So, if romance is not your thing, then you still might want to give this book a try, as there is other aspects to this story, such as action, political scheming and magic.

But if you do enjoy a healthy dose of romance in your fantasy, then I can't recommend this book highly enough.


Out of 10 Stars:

8 Stars



Buy it here:


Sunday, 17 January 2016

Broken City (This Fallen World Book 2)

Broken City (This Fallen World Book 2) by Christopher Woods


Front Cover




Synopsis


Mathew Kade has taken cases to find missing people many times. He's taken cases to find items lost during the Fall of civilization after the Corporate Wars. He's investigated murders and thefts. But the search for a serial killer in the tunnels under a broken city might be the strangest case he's taken. With the help of a couple of Squires from the Society of the Sword, he is in pursuit of a deadly person who has been killing for more than twenty five years. Looks like Kade has his work cut out for him.


My Review


You can find my review of the first book - This Fallen World - here. In terms of the first book I thought it was fantastic and I hoped (prayed in fact) that Woods would do a sequel and lo-and-behold he has.

I normally don't read short books (less than 100 pages). In fact I really don't like short stories. But the first book was so, so, good I didn't care if it was only 10 pages long, I had to get more of the world Christopher Woods created and of the main character Mathew Kade - who is the definition of badass!

In the sequel, we learn more of the main character Kade, and also the post-apocalyptic world he inhabits. The storyline follows Kade as he investigates a series of gruesome murders where the victims have been torn apart. 
There are some fascinating and twisted concepts Woods created in his post-apocalyptic world and I loved it.

The writing is succinct and to the point, which may deter some away, like those who prefer more embellishment in their prose, but for me I found it perfect. Most times I like to read scenes where I'm not swimming in flowery description and dialogue which go on forever. Don't get me wrong some novels need that level of description just to make sense of the story but this book is definitely not that type.


Conclusion


If you like the idea of a main character who is basically Rambo, Chuck Norris, and Mad Marx rolled into one then this series is for you.

Out of 10 Stars:


9 Stars


Buy it here:


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Banshee Hunter

Banshee Hunt by Greg Curtis.


Front Cover 




Synopsis



James Henderson was once a proud cop. A detective. A husband and father. But then the world of magic came tearing into his world and that life ended.  
Now five years on he's a hunter. Tasked with tracking down rogue witches and wizards for the Illuminati. It's not the job he dreamed of. It's not the life he loved. His co-workers don't respect him. He's forever in trouble with his bosses. They even tried to take away his Sig and give him a magical toy gun! But it's a job and he's good at it.  
Then the banshee entered his life, and his world was turned upside down once again. Suddenly he had a whole new problem. And a question to answer. 


My Review



For those of you who follow this site will know that Greg Curtis is one of my favourite authors. I've probably read most of his books and each one was just as good as the previous. And so I didn't hesitate to buy his latest work titled Banshee Hunt.

The story follows James Henderson who was once a cop until his daughter get's kidnapped. He learns to his horror that his brother was the culprit, and can control people's minds.
From there James ends up becoming a bounty hunter for the supernatural world. He tracks down and captures rogue supernatural beings.

James Henderson, simply put, is my type of hero. I hate wishy-washy heroes who are indecisive and easily led by others. I prefer reading someone who knows what he wants to do, doesn't get beat up every time he's in a fight and is a bit of a loner.

In terms of the storyline, I really enjoyed it and the plot moved at a natural pace filled with action and suspense. There was also significant characterisation of the hero which you could see from the start of the book to the end.


Conclusion



It's been awhile since I read a book where I had to get to the end no matter what. Simply put, if you're a fan of urban fantasy, then give this book a try.


Out of 10 Stars:



9 Stars


Buy it here: