Monday, June 10, 2024

Firefax by A. M. Vergara

During the Revolutionary War, there are rumors of a city of gold that is hidden on an island whose location is known only to the Firefax family. The riches on this island could finance the entire war … if it could be found. But the Firefax family are actually a family of trained assassin's for hire, so convincing them to disclose the island's location is next to impossible. However, a rival assassin just might know how to get Murdock, the eldest Firefax, to disclose the island's location.


I read a review copy of this book, and the first thing I can say about it is that it was not what I expected. Yes, the family this book follows are assassins, but it is an interesting story that is not actually about their profession or their intended victims. It is about the family themselves. The characters are ones that you find yourself wanting to know more about. There is more to them than their being merely paid killers. They are actually quite a fascinating extended farming family... who also happen to be highly skilled assassins.


In a lot of ways, this is more of a story about family interactions and what they are willing to do to protect each other. Yes, there is actually a city of gold and rival assassins hunting for it, but it is the Firefax family that is the larger story, both in the American colonies, and in the city of gold, which just happens to be the home of a rather unusual religious cult. 


Reading it, it may seem to have a bit slow of a start to the story, but once you truly get into it, it quickly picks up steam. I can only assume that there will be a sequel to this story as it seems to end rather abruptly, leaving me with some unanswered questions. And so. I will be watching for a book two to be released to find out what happens next. I did enjoy reading this book. And if you enjoy historical fiction with a twist, I think you probably will too.


https://amzn.to/4caf06N (Amazon link)


https://books2read.com/u/bpn6L6 (Books2Go link to other vendors)



Amazon requires me to state that I have an Amazon Associates account that I use to generate the links to the books on their website. Purchasing something after following those links will earn a few pennies for me off the sale, though as of yet I have not earned anything from my Amazon Associate links.



Monday, June 3, 2024

Double Murder at the Grand Hotel Miramare
by Elena and Michaela Martignone

Two people are found murdered in a room at the Luxury Hotel, Miramare. Both both were employed by the countess, making her a suspect in their murder, and while she may have had a motive, Detective Bertᐟe does not think she was the one responsible for their deaths. But if not her, then who?

This novel, while fictional, is set in a historic, and famous, luxury hotel in Lungariva. I received a review copy of this book from the author and enjoyed reading it. The characters were each well developed and entertaining, and I enjoyed reading it. Honestly though, I think I found Detective Bertᐟe himself to be the most interesting part of this novel. His inner monologue and insights into the motives and behaviors of the other characters, as well as his outside relationships and hobbies made him a well rounded character and the largest part of what I enjoyed most about this book. 


For me, this was an interesting story with characters that I found memorable. While I did not see it as intense of a murder mystery as I am used to seeing in the United States, it was still quite enjoyable. The authors are from outside of this country (Italy, I think), and this is the first of their books translated into English, though not the first book in this series. I did enjoy this book, primarily because I enjoyed reading about Inspector Bertᐟe, and would not mind learning more about his adventures. I would rate this book as a solid 3.5 stars


If you enjoy murder mysteries that take place in foreign countries as well as in historic locations, then I believe that you will likely enjoy this book.


https://amzn.to/3yxXYRH (Amazon Link)


https://books2read.com/u/4EdoDE  (Books2go link to other vendors)


Amazon requires me to state that I have an Amazon Associates account that I use to generate the links to the books on their website. Purchasing something after following those links will earn a few pennies for me off the sale, though as of yet I have not earned anything from my Amazon Associate links.





Monday, May 27, 2024

April Hearses and May Curses
by Trixie Silvertale

When one of the local shops in Pin Cherry Harbor is ransacked and a magical item stolen, leaving the severely injured owner in the hospital, naturally her son hires Harper-Moon Investigations to solve the mystery of who attacked his mother and to make sure whoever it was winds up behind bars. His mother, being a woman who had held a long-standing mutual animosity with Mitzy’s “ghost-ma” and who was also a purveyor of the mystical arts, makes it doubly important that Mitzy and Eric are involved. Add in a some escaped prisoners and other old enemies/rivals returning, and this is quite a danger-filled adventure for the pair of private investigators.


I received an advance review copy of this book and, as always, Ms. Silvertale does not disappoint. This book kept me interested and reading from the page one, and I finished it within two days of starting it. Both Mitzy and Erick have their hands full solving this crime, and not only are both Mitzy herself and Erick in danger, but so are those closest to the pair. This is not merely a small crime or murder that they are trying to solve; the events unfolding, if not stopped, could have far reaching effects that go well beyond their town if it remains in the wrong hands. If Mitzy and Erick fail, allowing the one behind it all to succeed, there will undoubtedly be quite a few more deaths left in the wake of this evil force.


I apologize for being so vague as to what is happening, but I really do not want to give away any of the multiple twists and turns that take place in this book. If I did, that would spoil your enjoyment from reading and discovering everything yourself, and what fun is that? But trust me, if you enjoy cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist, have read and enjoyed any of the other books by Ms. Silvertale involving Mitzy Moon, former sheriff Erick Harper, their mystical friends and family, as well has the trouble that seems to follow them, then you will definitely enjoy reading this book. I would recommend giving it a try. And while you can likely pick up on much of what has gone before from the contents of this story, it will be much easier to truly understand some of it if you have read some of the previous books in this series first.


https://amzn.to/4a2axBM (Amazon Link)


https://books2read.com/u/4jMZBX (Books2Read link to other vendors)


Amazon requires me to state that I have an Amazon Associates account that I use to generate the links to the books on their website. Purchasing something after following those links will earn a few pennies for me off the sale, though as of yet I have not earned anything from my Amazon Associate links.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Wings of Ink by Angelina Steffort

Anya, after spending years in a Tavrasian Prison expecting to be killed, is instead given to the Crow Fairies. She is now to become the bride of the Crow King, which as everyone knows is a fate that is usually worse than death. But this is no longer the rule of the old king, where kidnapped brides were forced into marriage, but is it any better? For no crow bride has ever survived even a full year of marriage, but the question remains … why not? King Myron has decided that this will be the last time he will accept another unwilling bride. If Anya dies and the curse that all Crow Fairies live under remains unbroken, he will never try again.


But not all Crows want the curse broken, though they do wish to again be able to take their own brides. Most of them wish to continue in the ways of Myron’s father, back when every crow would steal away a bride at Ret Relah, with each of the women destined to be dead within a year. But others, like the current king, wish for things to change. He wants the curse to be broken, and a new era for the Crow Faeries to begin. Anya is their last hope for that change.


I received a review copy of this book and enjoyed it as much as I did the Quarter Mage series of books. This series takes place in a time after that series, though within the same world and includes a few of the characters that we met in that series. I do not believe it is necessary to have read that series to enjoy this one, though I do believe that it will increase your enjoyment of this book if you are familiar with what used to happen to the women taken as crow brides. 


I greatly enjoyed reading this book. I did correctly guess what was needed to break the curse before the end, but I suspect that since I knew more than Anya did about the curse, (given that I’ve read the other books in this world by the author) that she would have figured it out sooner had she had my knowledge. And yes, there is a reason why she couldn’t simply be told what was needed in order to break the curse, but you’ll have to read the book in order to learn about that for yourself.


This is the type of book that I enjoy and often wish I didn’t need to put it down to sleep or go to work, but alas, life only allows us so much free time to be able to read, right? I enjoyed reading this book, learning about the different factions among the crow fairies, as well as seeing some familiar faces from the other series. Watching each  of the characters grow and learn about each other, discovering that often their assumptions were very wrong, is something that I enjoyed about this book. If you’ve read Ms. Steffort’s other series and enjoyed it, then I can pretty much guarantee that you will enjoy this one too. It is an excellent fantasy book that explores a different side of another type of faerie. Recommended.


https://amzn.to/4b7KKcF (Amazon link)


https://books2read.com/u/4XjPKL (Books2Go link to other vendors)


Amazon requires me to state that I have an Amazon Associates account that I use to generate the links to the books on their website. Purchasing something after following those links will earn a few pennies for me off the sale, though as of yet I have not earned anything from my Amazon Associate links.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Black Ballad by Rick Heinz

This is an interesting new RPG (Role Playing Game) that can take place in virtually any setting or campaign. How is that possible, you may wonder? Well, as an explanation, have you ever been in a campaign where the entire party was killed? That’s where this campaign comes in. It takes place in the realm between life and a character’s final death. In a realm where the dead are awaiting their passage into either being resurrected or they are ready to pass into their eternal rest.


I read a review copy of this book, and it sounds like a well defined and easily adaptable adventure for players to explore if their characters have died, but they aren’t ready to give up and create new characters and would like to continue playing to see what might happen in the afterworld. It is easily adaptable to be used with whatever campaign or game system you and your group happened to be already playing.


It’s been a few years since I’ve played AD&D, but reading this rules system and adventure, it seemed very well explained and I can see how it can be adapted to other RPG systems. The adventure really sounded like a fun one to me, and there were multiple side quests and options for different outcomes depending on what choices the players make. There is no intended ending for this one. It is entirely up to the players as to who they choose to interact with and what they choose to do or not do. And there are outcomes that are well thought out and planned no matter which path your party chooses to take. There’s even an outcome for if they choose to do nothing at all and simply enjoy their afterlife in this realm that exists between life and death.


All in all, I was impressed by how well thought out it all was by the creators of this adventure/realm. It sounds like a very fun idea, and one that I could see quite a few people enjoying, no matter what types of players are in the group. I’ve played in adventures where everything went according to plan, as well as ones where it feels like the group “took a left turn in Albuquerque” and have gone so far “off-script” from what was planned for them that the Game Master had no idea how to get them back on track. But so far as I could tell, this one allows for that to happen and lets the players determine when and where the story will go.


All in all, if you enjoy playing RPGs, then this is one that I think you should consider giving a try. It definitely sounds like fun to me. Recommended.


https://amzn.to/3VD6BUw (Amazon Link)


https://4horsemenpublications.com/product/the-black-ballad-a-metal-infused-rpg-campaign-and-setting-perfect-after-a-tpk-chronicles-of-the-crossing/ (Link to the book on Publisher's website)


https://books2read.com/u/3yMZWv  (Books2Read link to other Vendors)


Amazon requires me to state that I have an Amazon Associates account that I use to generate the links to the books on their website. Purchasing something after following those links will earn a few pennies for me off the sale, though as of yet I have not earned anything from my Amazon Associate links.



Monday, May 6, 2024

Elixir of Life by Andrew Dulay

This was a  medical thriller dealing with life and death, involving the medical staff in a Saudi Arabian hospital, their patients, the people of the town, a group of men who arrange for the illegal buying and selling of human organs for transplant, as well as those who decide to sell one of their own kidneys.  This book deals with some tough issues, including alcohol addiction, rape, poverty, adultery, accidental death, and murder. For many very obvious reasons, this is not a happy tale, though it ends on a more positive note for some of the characters than it does for others.


I read a review copy of this book, and while I did enjoy parts of the story a great deal, there were other aspects that I had some problems with. It is a complex tale with what feels like four distinct, though often intertwining, plotlines going on. It is also a very, very long book--at the end of the story, my Kindle said I had read about 750 pages.


I also feel that this book could have possibly benefitted with another round of editing and definitely needed a proofreader's expertise as well. While everything was spelled correctly, there were a number of wrong words and incorrect forms of words (example: passed vs past and light casted shadows vs light cast shadows). 


One other item that I felt was a bit problematic for me (though others may feel differently) and that added to my feeling of this book being too long, was that at times it went into great detail on a transplant surgery. While I do understand that some of the plot does revolve around things that happened during surgery, the book often goes into great, specific detail involving the minutiae of the surgery. For me, it was much more detail than I felt like I, as a reader, needed or wanted to know. And in some cases, with me not having a medical background, it meant the involved items were meaningless to me. I felt that much of what I read was unnecessary and that leaving it out would have made the book easier to read and more enjoyable for me overall. 


As I mentioned, there were parts of the story I enjoyed a great deal. The characters were very interesting and their individual stories were often the parts that I truly enjoyed learning about. The author did a good job of interweaving several intertwined, but initially separate plotlines together, and those were some of what I found most enjoyable about the story. But with over 700 pages, I do feel that this book would have overall been better off had it been broken into two or three books, rather than keeping it as one extremely long novel. And as such, I feel that I must rate this one as 2.5 stars, for while I did enjoy parts of it, there was room for improvement, especially when it came to the editing/proofreading.


That being said, I do feel that those who enjoy medical thrillers that clearly contain a great deal of actual medical knowledge and expertise from the author will likely enjoy this book more than I did.


https://amzn.to/3y3V7iZ (link to book on Amazon)


https://books2read.com/u/baERqa  (Books2Read link to other vendors)


Amazon requires me to state that I have an Amazon Associates account that I use to generate the links to the books on their website. Purchasing something after following those links will earn a few pennies for me off the sale, though as of yet I have not earned anything from my Amazon Associate links.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Witch Of the Red Thorn by Maria DeVivo

In the town of New Haven Harbor, It has been three years since the last of the Salem Witch Trials ended. Reverend Boone is aging, and a new priest will soon be arriving to replace him. While Barbara and her sister are out in the woods collecting flowers to decorate the church, they come across What appears to have been a ritual sacrifice. Hoping that it isn't a sign that Salem's evils are now targeting their town, Barbara sends Tansy back with a warning not to reveal what they had seen. Then she returns to clean the site of the remnants left behind of the evil ritual before the new reverend arrives, hoping it was just someone's idea of a prank. But she will soon learn the truth.


I received a review copy of this book. It is the second book in the series and I enjoyed it a great deal. It is a rather dark tale that takes place in a time when there had been great hysteria over suspected witchcraft and devil worship. In this story, we once again find both. In the beginning, everyone in town appears to be good and godly people. And while many of them may be, there is always something hidden inside that doesn't quite follow the norms of society. And in this case, not only does that prove true, but there are also evil and demonic forces living among them. Some of whom are only beginning to discover their power.


I found this story very interesting. While It is book two in the series, it takes place both well before book one but also directly references some of the events in that book. Be warned, this book does contain a fair amount of graphic sex, violence, Satanic rituals, and gore. It is not a book meant for younger readers. 


But if you have read and enjoyed the previous book in this series, then I believe you will also enjoy this one. If you enjoy stories that, while not about the Salem witch trials themselves but that are similar and do reference them, or if you enjoy horror stories, then this book is one that you will Likely enjoy as well.


https://amzn.to/3PIpVvW (Amazon Link)


https://4horsemenpublications.com/product/witch-of-the-red-thorn-dawn-of-the-blood-witch-2/ (Link to the book on the publisher's website)


https://books2read.com/u/bwVW1Z (Books3Go links to other Vendors)


Amazon requires me to state that I have an Amazon Associates account that I use to generate the links to the books on their website. Purchasing something after following those links will earn a few pennies for me off the sale, though as of yet I have not earned anything from my Amazon Associate links.



Firefax by A. M. Vergara

During the Revolutionary War, there are rumors of a city of gold that is hidden on an island whose location is known only to the Firefax fam...