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review 2017-11-15 22:43
The Tower's Alchemist
The Tower's Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #1) - Alesha Escobar

I received a free copy of this book from the Author Marketing Club in return

for an honest review

 

.

 

"British intelligence wants her spying skills. A vampiric warlock wants to steal her powers. The Master Wizards who trained her want her dead…"

 

The Tower's Alchemist, the first book of The Gray Tower Trilogy,  has an authentic WWII setting among spies and resistance fighters in Denmark, France, Spain and, of course, London.

 

The protagonist, Isabella (aka Emelie and Noelle) is an alchemist, one of the magicians working with the Allies against Hitler's Black Wolves (a kind of supernatural Gestapo). I identified with her immediately, from the very first paragraph, and stayed with her all the way through - no changes of viewpoint, thank heaven (or rather, thank Alesha Escobar). There is, however, an array of well-drawn characters surrounding her, many of whom elicit our sympathy - indeed, our love - as they struggle on against a seemingly invincible foe.

 

A great read if you are a WWII buff (I am), especially if you also suspect that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes in this world than 99.9% of us are ever aware of.

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review 2017-11-12 20:15
What a Scary Book About what could happen to the United States.
Fire War (Fire War Trilogy Book 1) - Michael T. Murray

I really had the creeps when reading the book and when could happen here in the United States, if we had a President like the one in this book. The only reason the book didn't get a 4 or 5 rating is because it took along time to get exciting. It's so scary because you know that something like this could really happen. People disappear in this book with just a snap of a finger and it's in the middle of the freaking night, I mean whole families. Some come back but not as how they left. I thought Jackson was really blinded by the President and he knew something was up but just kept ignoring the signs. Until something happens and he has no choice but taking off his blinders. I am starting to like his wife Courtney more, but I think my favorite character is there older daughter Maya. Very interesting girl but she needs to be a little more secretive. I really wonder what's going to happen to her, Jackson, and the rest of the family. I have the next two books but I am going to take breaks in between each one. The last book I am Involved in a book tour for which isn't due up until the 29 of this month, so I have still have sometime before then. Again so far a very scary book that could very well happen in our future.

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review 2017-11-12 16:38
"Dancing With Shadows", by Adrian Churchward
Dancing With Shadows (The Puppet Meisters Trilogy) - Adrian Churchward
Book #2, in The Puppet Meisters trilogy

“Dancing With Shadows” is the second book dealing with state abuse of power featuring Scott Mitchell, a human rights lawyer. This sequel to “Moscow Bound” is a gripping and exciting read from start to finish. This time we have Scott on suspicion of laundering $250 million for the Chechen mafia and we follow him through a sea of untrustworthy characters from London, to different Russian cities, to Budapest and Malta in a cat and mouse game while he tries to prove his innocence.

Scott is the lead in this story but many characters we came to know in the first book are re-introduced and play important roles: Ekaterina, Gravchenko and Pravda. Ms. Churchward doesn’t shy away from introducing multiple new characters also. The plot has multiple threads to follow that need our attention and can be overwhelming but the author set the stage expertly by including a group of well-developed players, beautiful surroundings and a touch of gastronomy delights. No doubt, this gripping tale filled with unexpected twists and turns is well worth reading. If you enjoy a thriller rifles with conspiracy and danger and have a soft spot for some Anglo-Russian shenanigans, give this one a try. 

My thanks to NetGalley and to Silverwood Books for the opportunity to read this book
 
 

 

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text 2017-11-12 04:26
Reading progress update: I've read 153 out of 340 pages.
Fire War (Fire War Trilogy Book 1) - Michael T. Murray

Wow I would hate to live in that future, it's crazy because you have to get permission for going to a different state. The book I am not sure if I like it or not, it's definitely different, and the pledge of allegiance is very strange. So far I am not sure if I like any of the characters at all. Jackson the main guy character is ok, but so far he isn't really blowing me away. And the President of the United States is really creepy and I bet he's tyrant ( sorry if it's spelled wrong) as well. And I am not sure how I feel about Jackson's wife Courtney, I am not really liking her so far, so hopefully that will change. 

I did feel bad for Jackson for something that he had to do, but he really had no choice in the matter.

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review 2017-11-08 03:06
Surpasses it's predecessor and sets up a killer (and hilarious) conclusion
Communication Failure (Epic Failure Trilogy) - Joe Zieja

So, Captain Rogers has escaped with his life after saving the 331st Meridian Fleet from a takeover from almost all the droids on board, now he's been made acting admiral and is faced with a potentially bigger threat: the Thelicosan fleet -- the very fleet that Rogers' ships are to keep on their side of the border -- has informed him that they are about to invade. Given the size of the fleets facing off, this is an invasion that will not go well for the 331st.

 

So how is this would-be con-man, former engineer, and current CO going to survive this? He hasn't the foggiest idea.

 

Clearly, for those who read Mechanical Failure (and those who haven't have made a mistake that they need to rectify soon), whatever solution he comes up with is going to rely heavily on Deet and the Space Marines (the Viking/Captain Alsinbury and Sergeant Malin in particular) will be heavily involved. Malin has taken it upon herself to help Rogers learn some self-defense (even if that's primarily various ways to duck), the Viking is questioning every decision her new CO is making, and Deet is continuing his exploration into human behavior/consciousness (he's exploring philosophy and spirituality at the moment -- which is pretty distracting). Basically, if Rogers is looking for a lot of support from them, he's going to be disappointed.

 

It turns out that the Thelicosans didn't intend to send that message at all, what they were supposed to communicate was very different, actually. But before Rogers and his counterpart can find a way to de-escalate the situation, shots are fired, milk is spilled, and events start to spiral out of control. Which isn't to say that everyone is doomed and that war is inevitable, it's just going to take some work to keep it from happening. There are forces, groups, entities -- whatever you want to call them -- hawkish individuals who are working behind the scenes to keep these cultures at odds with each other, hopefully spilling over into something catastrophic. Which is something too many of us are familiar with, I fear -- and something that someone with Zieja's military background is likely more familiar with. The Thelicosans and Meridians discover who these people are -- and how they are attempting to manipulate the fleets -- and the big question is how successful they'll be.

 

We focus on three Thelicosans, but spend almost as much time on their flagship (The Limiter) as we do the Meridian flagship (Flagship). Grand Marshall Alandra Keffoule is the commander of the border fleet -- at one time, she was a star in the special forces, and now she's been assigned to the border fleet as a last chance. She fully intends on taking full advantage of this opportunity to make history and restore herself to her position of prominence in the military. Her deputy, Commodore Zergan, has fought alongside her since the special forces days and is now trying to help her rebuild her reputation. Secretary Vilia Quinn is the liaison between the Thelicosan government and the fleet. Quinn's development through the book is a lot of fun to watch -- and is probably a bigger surprise to her than it is to the reader, which just makes it better. Thelicosan culture is saturated in science and math, and is full of rituals that are incredibly binding and incredibly difficult for outsiders to understand. In many ways, the culture is hard to swallow -- how a society develops along those lines seems impossible. But if you just accept that this is the way their society functions, it ends up working and stays consistent (and entertaining).

 

Lieutenant Lieutenant Nolan "Flash" "Chillster" "Snake" "Blade" Fisk, the best pilot the 331st has is a great addition to the cast -- yeah, he's probably the most cartoonish, least grounded, character in Rogers' fleet -- but man, he's a lot of fun (and I think it's pretty clear that Zieja enjoys writing him). think Ace Rimmer (what a guy!), but dumber. Mechanical Failure's most cartoonish character, Tunger, is back -- the would-be spy/should-be zookeeper finds himself in the thick of things and is well-used (as a character) and is well-suited to his activities. Basically, I put up with him in the last book, and enjoyed him here. I'd like to talk more about Deet and the other characters here -- I've barely said anything about Rogers (he develops in some ways no one would've expected) -- but I can't without ruining anything, so let's just say that everyone you enjoyed in the previous installment you'll continue to enjoy for the same reasons.

 

Mechanical Failure didn't feature a lot of world-building outside life on the ship. Zieja takes care of that this time -- we get a look at the political situation between the various governments, and the history behind the four powers. Which isn't to say that we're drowning in details like George R. R. Martin would give us, it's still breezy and fast-paced. Still, there's a handle you can grab on to, some context for the kind of madness that Rogers finds himself in the middle of.

 

One of my personal criteria for judging books that are heavy on the humor in the midst of the SF or mystery or fantasy story is judging what the book would be like without the jokes. The Hitchhiker's Trilogy, for example, would fall apart in seconds (and few rival me for their devotion to that series). Magic 2.0 would hold up pretty well, on the other hand. The Epic Failure series would be another one that would hold up without the jokes. I'm not saying it'd be a masterpiece of SF, but the story would flow, there'd be enough intrigue and action to keep readers turning pages. However, you leave the humor, the jokes and the general whackiness in the books and they're elevated to must-reads.

 

There are too many puns (technically, more than 1 qualifies for that), there's a series of jokes about the space version of The Art of War that you'd think would get old very quickly, but doesn't -- at all; and Rogers has a couple of bridge officers that make the pilot Flash seem subtle. Somehow, Zieja makes all this excess work -- I thought the humor worked wonderfully here, and I think it'll hold up under repeated readings.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to see where Zieja takes us next.

 

Disclaimer: I received this book ARC from the author, and I can't thank him enough for it, but my opinion is my own and wasn't really influenced by that act (other than giving me something to have an opinion about).

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/11/07/communication-failure-by-joe-zieja
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