Friday, January 31, 2014

Crystal Ships by Richard Sharp

Posted first on Blog Critics as Book Review:'Crystal Ships' by Richard Sharp.

The sixties and the early seventies were a time of change. The air was rife with the indolent smell of marijuana, and free love and understanding were the rule of the day. The Vietnam War was in full swing, Kennedy was president, Martin Luther King had a dream, and young people felt a responsibility for the future of their world.  Music and Poetry seemed to stand the test of time, each with its own message, understood by those who looked deep enough.
Sure to evoke nostalgia, as well as bitter recriminations Chrystal Ships by Richard Sharp takes you back to a time of change.  He follows the lives of seven erstwhile friends on their own personal journeys during the time. Often even as they got older their paths crossed in strange ways. Yet through it all they maintain a semblance of friendships and often love.  Through the love of poetry to the depths of hell in war we are taken on a journey through the times.  We are transported back to a time, when we often hear things were simpler, yet as you follow along you will see that maybe they were not. The freedom to dream just seemed to expand the view of what was really happening.
Sharp does an amazing job of taking you back to the time of abrupt changes and political upheaval. He brings you the music of the day, and evokes a simple nostalgia. Why do we often hear of the simplicity of the time, when in all reality the era is a part of the evolution that changed the way we think and act.
His characters are so down to earth and likable you feel as though you may know them, or even have met them at some time. They are your friends and family, and you feel a stake in the happenings that shape their lives and world.
If you are interested in history, music, poetry, and politics and just enjoy a story well told, you will enjoy Sharps take on this special time in history. He delves into the problems and concerns of the time while bringing you the energy and the beauty as well.
This would be a great book for a reading or discussion group, there is a great deal of information and many would be able to add their own interpretation of events, rounding out a great discussion.
Rating 5\5
This book was received from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fairydust by Simon R. Taylor

Posted first on Blog Critics as Book Review:'Fairydust' by Simon R. Taylor.

In a world where disease is common and there is only one remedy, now under control of the ruling power, how do you save your family from sure death?
In Fairy Dust by Simon R. Taylor we are introduced to a word struggling to move forward.  The elves are slowly dying due to a natural crisis. They must find a hero, but only the most unlikely seems to be available. The White Fairy is the only one who can spare the answers to the extinction of the elves. But can Daniel a young man, enamored of the kings daughter, find the fairy in time.  When Maria, the Kings daughter, finds that Daniel has been chosen, she makes a decision to follow.
The King has already promised her hand to another, and is incensed, accusing Daniel of kidnapping. Daniel continues his quest, unknowing of all the trouble he has brewed. When he is saved by Maria, he is both ecstatic and relieved. Could she truly love him? As they move closer to the answers, little do they realize that they are being hunted? Both by the Kings men, as well as those who do not want the Elves to find an answer to their extinction. Can they escape the pitfalls and become the heroes necessary to end the scourge or is it already too late.
The story is unique, one where the Elves lives hang in the balance, and all depends on a particular plant that is now dying out. When the King commands the use of all for his own family, he sets a series of events in motion that are both strange and hurtful.  The King is not a good man, and makes an easily dislikable protagonist. His every move and plan is deceitful, and even his family suffers.
The personality of the different groups and individual elves keep you enthralled and pulling for Daniel to find the solution to their problem. Even as those you begin to care about hide their troubling disease, you begin to fear. Will they make it?
Taylor has written a story twisted with spite and evil, yet lightened it with a bit of humor as well. He has chosen to incorporate some rather unusual accoutrements to the work, some unlikely narration, different wording techniques, and a visitor that drops in occasionally. Some of this I found charming and other annoying, but the differing styles keep you looking to see what else is happening.
Regardless of whether you enjoy the innovative writing or not, the story is spellbinding and full of power.  The romance is fun, and the circumstances are dire. Not everything is as it seems and you will find romance, chills, and a bit of humor throughout.  If you enjoy the novelty of being pulled into the story you will find this up your alley. Taylor takes you on a journey you are sure to remember.
Rating 3/5
This work was received free from the authors publicist. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Rainy Day Killer by Michael J. McCann and Givaway

Posted first on Blog Critict as Book Review:'The Rainy Day Killer' by Michael J. McCann.

When a common courtesy sets the stage for a deadly menace, trust becomes a fleeting passage of feeling that makes your skin crawl. Who do you trust, or must you look at every gallantry as a snare.

In The Rainy Day Killer by Michael J. McCann, when Homicide Lieutenant Hank Donaghue is assigned the most recent homicide, he teams up with Detective Karen Stainer and FBI profiler Ed Griffin to find and stop this menace before he kills again. The rain seems to be what draws the killer, and he makes his choices accordingly.

For Karen Stainer, this is the worst time to be trying to find a killer. She is in the preparations for her wedding and tries to keep the distractions at a minimum. For her though that is difficult. Nothing about weddings belong in her comfort zone. The eye of the killer seems to zero in on her as a possible victim, yet she has no worries. He has no idea of what she is capable of. Can she stave off the killer and hold her fiancĂ©’s family at bay at the same time?

With an intriguing crime fighting duo that mix well, the procedural nightmares keep you guessing. Trying to keep the politics of the office from intruding on their case, and second guessing a psychopath from moving forward with another kill, they are racing against the clock to second guess his plans. McCann does a great job of taking you into the heart of the procedural nightmares that occur within precincts when people are trying to make a name for themselves. Sometimes just the slightest mistake can create a backlash that affects all in its path. The tension is tight and seamless.

Both Karen Stainer and Hank Donaghue are interesting and exciting characters. Hank is methodical and thinks things through, while Karen is bold and ballsy. They play off each other quite well, even with the event of the wedding throwing them off kilter.

If you enjoy mystery and thrillers, you will enjoy this work. If you are looking for a great crime team, than you have come to the right place. The interaction and the lead up to the finding of a killer keep you on the edge of your seat. The red herrings that litter the place keep you guessing up to the end.

This would be a great find for a reading group and a strong addition to your crime library. McCann scores well on this work. I look forward to following his crime duo in future stories.

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Michael J. McCann's Bio:
Michael J. McCann was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. He earned a B.A. (Hons.) in English from Trent University and an M.A. in English from Queen's University. He has worked as an editor and a project and training consultant and manager with the federal government. He is an author of crime fiction and supernatural thrillers. His Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel series includes Blood Passage, Marcie's Murder, The Fregoli Delusion, and The Rainy Day Killer. He is also the author of the supernatural thriller The Ghost Man and is currently working on another supernatural novel.

The Rainy Day Killer Book Summary:
A man in a business suit offers the protection of his umbrella to an unsuspecting woman, and several days later she turns up dead on a river bank, raped and strangled. The terrifying serial killer known in the press as the Rainy Day Killer is now hunting new victims in the city of Glendale ... whenever it rains.

Homicide Lieutenant Hank Donaghue leads the investigation as the killer begins to communicate directly to him through phone calls and grisly packages containing body parts of his victims. Assisted by FBI profiler Ed Griffin, Donaghue and Detective Karen Stainer pursue an elusive predator who leaves no physical evidence behind.

The timing couldn't be worse, however, as Karen Stainer's attention is divided between the investigation and preparations for her upcoming wedding. Distracted and uncertain about her future, Stainer is furious when she learns that the Rainy Day Killer has followed her to Virginia, where the wedding will take place, and that he intends to make her his next victim!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Raven's Tears, Book 1: The Raven and the Iris by Alesia & Michael Matson

Posted first on Blog Critics as Book Review:'Raven's Tears, Book 1: The Raven and the Iris' by Alesia & Micheal Matson.

Trust is often the most important part of any relationship. Yet there are times that real knowledge is impossible to garner due to length of time and knowledge. Is that trust then no longer the overriding factor for ‘love at first sight’ relationships?
Ravens Tear's, Book 1: The Raven and the Iris by Alesia & Michael Matson, takes us into the lives of Sir Vincent Soltaire, known as the Raven and Lady Angelique Blakesly, a wealthy widowed baroness. Angelique is a devout member of the Guardian Paladin church, known for its conservatism.  Raven knows a different side of her, hidden from the others. In public she is exactly what is expected of her station in life, beautiful, devout, and part of many ladies groups. In private Raven knows her to be someone very different.
Lovers in private, Raven finds he has fallen for her, yet he has nothing to offer. He is a known rake and is indentured and serving a term for burglary and extortion. His family has written him off, and he has continued on as playboy and rakehell. His relationship with Angelique is carnal and exquisite, and they both find themselves in an untenable situation. They have fallen in love.  Raven’s proclivities are well known and an open book, but Angelique has a secret that can ruin both their lives forever.  Can she save herself from her tormentor without losing all she has gained? Will Raven understand the situation and realities of her life, or will this be the crack that breaks them apart?
Raven is charismatic and strong, with a devious and yet sensual side that leads him into the underworld to meet and frolic with friends of his past. There are two sides to his nature, and you alternately find yourself impressed and yet at times horrified by his demons. Angelique is wonderful in many ways. She is beautiful, honorific, likable, and bad. And she carries a secret that could bring down society. Her heart has been won by Raven and her entire life hangs in the balance. Her fierceness is initially just a cover, and she must dig deep to find the true warrior she truly is. Their world is exciting and bold, with just the depravity necessary to make things interesting.
The theft of a beautiful gem brings the two together in a powerful crescendo, with Raven becoming the lead investigator as part of his indentured time and title. Will this be the end to their beautiful union? Can Angelique head off the disaster that is sure to follow?
The heat between the two is stormy, tempestuous and ‘rock your world’ over the top. The eroticism is strong and sweet, yet at times vulgar and explosive.
If you enjoy romance and mystery, laden with magic and erotic visuals this would be the book for your library. The characters are well written and the story holds you enthralled. Be prepared for both action and erotica for you will find that Raven and Angelique are both masters of the game.
Rating 5/5
This book was received from teh Cadence Group for review prurposes. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Russian Hill by Ty Hutchinson

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review:'Russian Hill' by Ty Hutchinson.

The internet offers opportunities to many, both good and bad.  Hidden within encrypted and locked rooms there is also a dark side, a place where stalkers dwell, hidden cavities of entertainment not meant for many. This opening of darkness draws a myriad of viewers as well as participants.
In Russian Hill by Ty Hutchinson, Abby Kane is on the case of some seemingly random murders. Gruesome and stylized, there seems to be random acts of posing of the victims as well.  No stranger to the dark side of humanity, FBI Agent and full time mom, Abby has decided that a dead hiker may have more to add to the strange killing spree.  The further Abby searches the more her theory seems absurd, yet she knows she is on to something. But what?
The more she digs the stranger the evidence, but can she find the answers to keep the killing spree from moving forward and out of their line of sight.  Only the perpetrators know where the next kill will happen, but will Abby lose her quarry as well as her case? Can she convince her team of the rightness of her theories before the killers escape and change venues?
Hutchinson has brought us back a tougher character in Abby, one who thinks more and delves further before putting herself forward.  Taking more care in her job, coming to terms with motherhood and having a family that cares has given her more depth, but has not lessoned her bravado. He has given her an imaginative mind that goes in directions other don’t appear to see, and she is back in our graces with a vengeance.
His version of the murders being played out is very deep and creepy. His murderers are both fascinating and yet appalling in their random sociopathic tendencies.
If you enjoy mystery and suspense, and enjoy a witty and gutsy protagonist you will find this book on the Abby Kane series fun and exciting. Yet there is that element of danger and evil that twists throughout creating at times, a tenseness that keeps you on the edge of your seat.  Each work  can be read either alone or with the series. You will find yourself intrigued by the unique thought processes and background of such a humorous and gritty FBI agent.  
Rating 4/5
This book was received free from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.