Tag Archives: must read

Curse of the Specter Queen by Jenny Elder Moke Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman living a quiet life in a bookshop after the loss of her father finds her world turned upside down after receiving a mysterious diary that leads her in a race to stop an ancient order hellbent on bringing a war unlike anyone has ever seen in author Jenny Elder Moke’s “Curse of the Specter Queen”. 

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The Synopsis

MAY THE HAZEL BRING YOU WISDOM AND THE ASPEN GUIDE AND PROTECT YOU…

Samantha Knox put away her childish fantasies of archaeological adventure the day her father didn’t return home from the Great War, retreating to the safety of the antique bookshop where she works. But when a mysterious package arrives with a damaged diary inside, Sam’s peaceful life is obliterated. Ruthless men intent on reclaiming the diary are after Sam, setting her and her best friend, along with her childhood crush, on a high-stakes adventure that lands them in the green hills outside Dublin, Ireland. Here they discover an ancient order with a dark purpose – to perform an occult ritual that will raise the Specter Queen, the Celtic goddess of vengeance and death, to bring about a war unlike any the world has ever seen. To stop them, Sam must solve a deviously complex cipher – one that will lead her on a treasure hunt to discover the ancient relic at the heart of the ritual: a bowl carved from the tree of life. Will she find the bowl and stop the curse of the Specter Queen, or will the ancient order bring about the end of the world?

Indiana Jones gets a refresh with this female-driven mystery adventure, set in the 1920s, full of ciphers, ancient relics, and heart-stopping action – the first in a brand-new series!

The Review

A thrilling adventure that blends the action and historical aspects of Indiana Jones with the emotional storytelling of the YA genre, this book excels at highlighting the historical fiction aspect that has made archeology the perfect pairing with action and adventure. As a longtime fan of history and culture, I loved the exploration of Ireland, namely things like the Druids and Morrigan. The blend of history with fantasy and sci-fi elements made this story feel both classic and fresh all at once.

The character development in this book is the heart of this story. From protagonist, Sam and her evolution from an emotionally scarred bookkeeper into a strong and resilient hero was fantastic to see unfold. While her relationships with her allies and against her enemies were powerful in so many ways, it was her friendship with Joana that really stood out to me. The contrast in these characters and their personalities and the evolution they undergo both emotionally and physically solidified the stakes of the novel and the hope their friendship brought Sam in order to face these threats head-on.

The Verdict

An adventurous, entertaining, and hauntingly-good action and historical fiction YA read, author Jenny Elder Moke’s “Curse of the Specter Queen” is a must-read book of 2021. The perfect blend of action, history, and fantasy, the story itself instantly draws readers in, and the characters are both relatable and inspiring to see tackle this narrative, making this the perfect summer YA read. Be sure to pick up your own copies today!

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About the Author

Jenny Elder Moke writes young adult fiction in an attempt to recapture the shining infinity of youth. When she is not writing, she’s gathering story ideas from her daily adventures with her two irredeemable rapscallions and honing her ninja skills as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Her debut novel, HOOD, about the daughter of Robin Hood and Maid Marien, will release from Disney/Hyperion in Spring 2020.

https://jennyeldermoke.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/curse-of-the-specter-queen-volume-1-novel-by-jenny-elder-moke

Better Together by Christine Riccio Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two sisters separated as children switch lives not only to escape the stresses of their own lives, but to reconnect with the parent they never had a chance to know in author Christine Riccio’s “Better Together”.

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The Synopsis

Freaky Friday meets The Parent Trap in this sparkling and heartfelt story about sisters, second chances, finding romance, and finding yourself.

Jamie’s an aspiring standup comic in Los Angeles with a growing case of stage anxiety.

Siri’s a stunning ballerina from New Jersey nursing a career-changing injury.

They’ve both signed up for the same session at an off the grid Re-Discover Yourself Retreat in Colorado. When they run into each other, their worlds turn upside down.

Jamie and Siri are sisters, torn apart at a young age by their parent’s volatile divorce. They’ve grown up living completely separate lives: Jamie with their Dad and Siri with their Mom. Now, reunited after over a decade apart, they hatch a plot to switch places. It’s time they get to know and confront each of their estranged parents.

With an accidental assist from some fortuitous magic, Jamie arrives in New Jersey, looking to all the world like Siri, and Siri steps off her flight sporting a Jamie glamour.

The sisters unexpectedly find themselves stuck living in each other’s shoes. Soon Siri’s crushing on Jamie’s best friend Dawn. Jamie’s falling for the handsome New Yorker she keeps running into, Zarar. Alongside a parade of hijinks and budding romance, both girls work to navigate their broken family life and the stresses of impending adulthood. 

The Review

This was the modern retelling of The Parent Trap that YA fans never knew they needed. A wonderful blend of classic twin-switching storytelling with more modern and emotionally driven character arcs that speak to many of the issues facing young adults these days. The author perfectly captures the raw pain and emotions between siblings, especially when faced with such heartbreaking circumstances as being separated from one another through a painful divorce or discovering one’s place in the world when you’ve felt incomplete for such a long time.

What really stood out to me in this book was the depth to which the author explored these characters. The concept of relationships was truly the key to this narrative, from the relationship each sister had with one another after all those years spent apart to the conflicted relationship they had with each of their parents, to the romantic moment each share with a new friend in their crisscrossed lives as the story progresses. The author does an incredible job of setting up just the right pace that highlights the rising emotional struggle these characters are forced to endure, and the theme of finding strength within the bonds of the family makes this story shine as the perfect summer YA read.

The Verdict

A masterful, emotionally-driven and engaging YA read, author Christine Riccio’s “Better Together” is a brilliant story and one of 2021’s “Best YA” contenders. With the balance of YA contemporary romance and a hint of magic, the story also has a wonderfully beautiful and heartfelt LGBTQ romance story that is the perfect read to begin PRIDE month. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Christine Riccio is the New York Times best selling author of Again, But Better. She’s been on a quest to encourage more humans to read since the third grade. No one really listened until she started making videos about books on Youtube in 2010. Now her channel PolandbananasBOOKS has over 400,000 book-loving subscribers. She makes comedic book reviews, vlogs, sketches, and writing videos chronicling the creation of her own novels. She’s also one of the three YouTubers behind BOOKSPLOSION- youtube’s longest running book club. Originally from New Jersey, Christine graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in Film and TV and now lives in Los Angeles, CA.

https://www.christinericcio.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/christine-riccio

On the Way to Casa Lotus by Lorena Junco Margain Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

What should have been a simple procedure to heal herself goes wrong and one woman must go on a journey of forgiveness and healing in author Lorena Junco Margain’s “On the Way to Casa Lotus”. 

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The Synopsis

Lorena Junco Margain—passionate art collector and devoted wife and mother—is already shaken after abruptly fleeing Mexico and relocating in the USA with her family while pregnant due to safety concerns. Then, she learns she has a tumor on her adrenal gland. Having long experienced unexplained symptoms of dizziness and lethargy that neither medications nor holistic or Ayurvedic treatments have helped, she embraces the news with tears of relief: with a simple surgery, she can regain her strength and joyful spirit. But fate can be mischievous, and to err is human—even for surgeons. Rather than improve after surgery, her condition worsens.

On the Way to Casa Lotus is the gripping true story of Junco Margain’s journey coming to terms with the permanent consequences of a surgeon’s devastating mistake. Mindful that even good people make errors and that vengeance would not mend her broken body or soul, she chooses instead to embark on a quest for peace and healing—beginning by seeking space in her heart to forgive.

Deeply compassionate, wise and poetic, On the Way to Casa Lotus lays bare some of the most poignant contradictions of the human condition, blurring the distinctions between guilt and neglectfulness, anger and sorrow, humility and shame, gratitude and despair. Rich with imagery and metaphors from the world of contemporary art, brimming with scenes from the author’s close-knit, abundantly loving Mexican family, the book plants a seed of hope that loss and pain can serve a higher purpose: one of promoting forgiveness as a force for personal and universal change.

The Review

This was a beautiful memoir that made a huge impact early on in the book. The author takes a really fresh and kind look at a terrible situation. Striking to find the balance between speaking up for oneself and forgiving someone who has wronged you can be a tricky thing to do, especially in this modern age where people can be vilified with the simple push of a button. It was refreshing to see the author’s perspective take flight in this book, highlighting the heartbreaking reality that no matter how good a person is, we are all flawed, and hating someone is never going to change that.

The author does a wonderful job of capturing so much within this book. From the author’s culture and the shock of leaving the life you know behind to find safety in a much different land, to the fear and frustration that can come with facing not only a difficult health diagnosis but a failed attempt at correcting that diagnosis, this book expertly weaves the author’s life and experiences together while finding the perfect harmony with the author’s message of hope and forgiveness. 

The Verdict

A heartfelt, emotional, and ultimately uplifting memoir that highlights the journey to overcome a great wrong and find peace in the wake of tragedy, author Lorena Junco Margain’s “On the Way to Casa Lotus” is a must-read non-fiction read. A thought-provoking story that speaks to so many of us, the author creates a great sense of pacing and imagery that brings their experiences to life wonderfully, and readers will be hard-pressed to put this book down themselves. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

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About the Author

Born and raised in Mexico (Monterrey and Mexico City), author, art collector, and philanthropist Lorena Junco Margain studied visual arts at Universidad de Monterrey before cofounding the Distrito14 gallery as a platform to amplify emerging Mexican artists. Soon afterward, she cofounded and curated the Margain-Junco Collection with her husband, Eduardo Margain, to support emerging artists, foster the art scene in Mexico, and promote awareness of Mexican art internationally. She also played an instrumental role in launching the 2015 Shaped in Mexico contemporary art exhibition in London. In 2008, Junco Margain was forced to flee Mexico with her husband, children, parents, and extended family due to concerns for their safety. Today she lives with her husband and three kids in Austin, Texas.

Déjà Doomed by Edward M. Lerner Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

The discovery of an alien installation underneath the lunar surface leads both the American and Russian moon teams on a race against time to unearth the secrets hidden under the moon’s surface, but neither realize the ancient evil they are set to awaken in author Edward M. Lerner’s “Déjà Doomed”. 

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The Synopsis

On the Moon’s far side, shielded from Earth’s radio cacophony, Americans are building a radio-astronomy observatory. Russians sift the dust of a lunar “sea” for helium-3 to run future fusion reactors. Commercial robots, remotely operated from Earth, roam the Moon’s near side in a hunt for mineral wealth. Why chase distant asteroids for precious metals? Onetime asteroids must lie close beneath the much-bombarded lunar surface.

Then a prospecting robot encounters a desiccated, spacesuited figure. An alien figure ….

Americans from the lunar observatory investigate. Near the original find, underground, they discover an alien installation. Lunar Russians, realizing that the Americans are up to something clandestine, send their own small team. Each group distrusts the other … even before the fatal “accidents” begin. By the time anyone suspects what ancient evil they have awakened, it may be too late―

For everyone on Earth, too. 

The Review

This was a fantastic blend of Cold War-era espionage and thriller storytelling with a twist of sci-fi and fantasy that readers of both genres will love. The pacing and atmosphere are apparent within the book’s first chapters, highlighting the awe-inspiring nature of exploring space while also highlighting the isolation and tension surrounding the pioneer of space exploration. 

What really stands out to readers is the incredible attention to detail that hardcore sci-fi fans will absolutely love. The story is rife with haunting atmospheres and engaging characters as the two teams of explorers highlight the growing tension between the nations they represent. The attention to detail the author shows even with the technology that the teams use to navigate and survive on the lunar surface is incredible to behold and delves into the sci-fi genre at full throttle.

The Verdict

A gripping, entertaining, and thought-provoking sci-fi thriller, author Edward M. Lerner’s “Déjà Doomed” is a must-read novel of 2021. A fantastic blend of character growth and haunting atmospheric storytelling, the pacing of the story and the tension that mounts not only in the teams as they search for what remains hidden but the suspense and action that takes place really elevates the story and highlights how powerful of a writer the author is. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

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About the Author

I’m a physicist and computer scientist (among other things). After thirty years in industry, working at every level from individual technical contributor to senior vice president, I now write full-time. Mostly I write science fiction and techno-thrillers, now and again throwing in a straight science or technology article.

https://www.facebook.com/EdwardMLerner/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/edward-m-lerner

Unclean Hands by James Rosenberg Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A struggling attorney finds himself in a contentious legal battle as the widow of a man accused of shoplifting is killed while being arrested, and as witnesses begin falling apart on the stand, the lawyer and the widow must fight to bring the truth to light in author James Rosenberg’s “Unclean Hands”. 

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The Synopsis

A contentious trial is imminent:

Rick Waterston’s legal practice is suffering. Although he’s stopped drinking, he can’t turn his life around. The ex is hounding him for past child support. His biggest client makes passes at him and there’s not a lot of money to spread around.

Emily Hawkins’ husband was killed while shopping at the local B & D warehouse store, accused of shoplifting and suffocated while being detained waiting for the police to arrive. To figure out the true story of what happened to her husband she hires Rick to sue the store.

Without any settlement offer, they are forced to take the case to trial where Rick has to handle the overbearing lawyers representing the store—the same people who fired him from his first job and sent him on his downward spiral.

No trial is predictable, but Rick must question his tactics when witnesses fall apart on the stand and crumble under intense cross-examination. The only hope of convincing the jury that shoplifters have rights is Emily who must stand her ground when confronted with her husbands’ dirty secrets.

The Review

A truly stellar and enthralling legal thriller, author James Rosenberg once again finds the perfect balance between his background as an attorney and the intricate depth he finds within his characters. The blend of each character’s integral role in the trial and the case overall with their own personal struggles, especially protagonist Rick and his haunted past, really helped the narrative flow smoothly.

In this day and age, the concept of lawful versus unlawful arrests and the demand for more accountability towards those accused of crimes versus actual criminals has never been higher. The narrative really does a great job of capturing this important societal theme, while also giving an original and unique spin on the story overall that will have readers hanging on the author’s every word. The pacing of this fits perfectly in the legal thriller genre, really setting up the case and making the reader eager to read as each clue is unraveled slowly but surely.

The Verdict

A brilliant, engaging, and jaw-dropping legal thriller, author James Rosenberg’s “Unclean Hands” is a must-read novel. The shocking final moments of the book’s legal battle will leave readers reeling as the truth is revealed, and the more personal and intimate moments with characters like Rick will keep the reader feeling more connected to the narrative overall. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

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About the Author

James Rosenberg is a 3rd generation trial attorney with plenty of stories to tell. Inspired not only by the courtroom stories his father and grandfather used to tell

him when he was a child, but also by the wild adventures he’s encountered through his own experience as a lawyer. 

James is fascinated by the intricate, interpersonal

dynamics of every trial he’s endured. Whether it’s the raw emotion on display in court, the tension in the air that builds until someone wins, or the impact that a

case’s decision has on the parties involved, James is always paying attention and keeping tabs on what’s happening.

In his debut novel, “Legal Reserves”, James flexes his creative muscle outside of the courtroom to share his stories, with a fictional twist, through the eyes of archetypes he knows well.

A native of Pittsburgh and a graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, James has been a trial attorney in Pittsburgh for almost 30 years. He started writing legal thrillers as a stress reducer and finds this creative outlet to be a fun and meaningful diversion from his day job.

When he’s not trying cases, he’s either dreaming up his next book idea, spending time with his wife and three kids, or both.

To contact James email Rosenberg@marcus-shapira.com or follow him on Facebook at 

https://www.facebook.com/RosenbergWrites/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/unclean-hands-by-james-rosenberg

Check out his website: www.JamesRosenbergAuthor.com

The Vineyard at Painted Moon by Susan Mallery Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A woman on the verge of losing the only family she’s known and facing a shocking new reality takes a gamble and pursues her own legacy in author Susan Mallery’s “The Vineyard at Painted Moon”.

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The Synopsis

MacKenzie Dienes’s life isn’t perfect, but it’s as close as she could ever hope to get. Her marriage to Rhys, her best friend’s brother, is more friendship than true love. But passion is highly overrated, right? And she loves her job as the winemaker at Bel Apres, her in-laws’ vineyard. So what if it’s a family business and, even after decades of marriage and incredible professional success, she’s still barred from the family business meetings? It’s all enough…until one last night spent together leads to an incredibly honest—and painful—conversation. Rhys suggests that they divorce. They haven’t had a marriage in a long time and, while he wants her to keep her job at Bel Apres, he doesn’t think they should be married any longer. Shocked, MacKenzie reels at the prospect of losing the only family she’s ever really known…even though she knows deep in her heart that Rhys is right.

But when MacKenzie discovers she’s pregnant, walking away to begin a new life isn’t so easy. She never could have anticipated the changes it would bring to the relationships she cherishes most: her relationship with Barbara, her mother-in-law and partner at Bel Apres, Stephanie, her sister-in-law and best friend, and Bel Apres, the company she’s worked so hard to put on the map.

MacKenzie has always dreamed of creating a vineyard of her own, a chance to leave a legacy for her unborn child. So when the opportunity arises, she jumps at it and builds the Vineyard at Painted Moon. But following her dreams will come at a high price—one that MacKenzie isn’t so sure she’s willing to pay…

The Review

The author has done it again, crafting a brilliant contemporary women’s fiction that delves into the emotional core of facing divorce, testing the bonds between not only friends but adopted family, and the oftentimes painful yet worthwhile effort that takes us towards the legacy and career we always dream of. The amazing family dynamics between MacKenzie and her husband’s family are incredible to see, and the drama of her own pursuits mixed with the ties she has to this family really elevates the tension in the character’s arcs. 

However, what really was amazing to see was the author’s attention to detail. The research and deep dive into the study of viticulture was a great addition to the depth of the protagonist and really showcased how well-rounded the narrative felt throughout. Add this with the incredible imagery the author incorporates into the narrative and readers will not be able to put this book down.

The Verdict

A brilliant, captivating, and entertaining read, author Susan Mallery’s “The Vineyard at Painted Moon” is a must-read contemporary women’s fiction read. Full of emotional storytelling and engaging character arcs that readers won’t be able to get enough of, this is a fantastic story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives―family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages. Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.

Social Links:

Website: https://susanmallery.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusanMallery 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/susanmallery 

Instagram: https://instagram.com/susanmallery 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/susanmallery/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/susanmallery 

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/susan-mallery 

Mailing List: https://susanmallery.com/join-mailing-list.php 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1335912797/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vamf_tkin_p1_i6 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-vineyard-at-painted-moon-susan-mallery/1136918902?ean=9781335912794 

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/the-vineyard-at-painted-moon-9781335912794/9781335912794 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335912794 

Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781488210488 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Vineyard-Painted-Moon/Susan-Mallery/Q840696538?id=7843731390040 

Target: https://www.target.com/p/the-vineyard-at-painted-moon-by-susan-mallery-hardcover/-/A-80128583 

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/The-Vineyard-at-Painted-Moon-Hardcover/508623296 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-vineyard-at-painted-moon 

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-vineyard-at-painted-moon/id1509949550 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Susan_Mallery_The_Vineyard_at_Painted_Moon?id=aL3eDwAAQBAJ 

Discovering The Colosseum: Between Myth and Reality by Mauro Poma Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author Mauro Poma takes readers on an exciting journey into the heart and history of the infamous Roman Colosseum in the book “Discovering the Colosseum”.

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The Synopsis

A fascinating journey into the world of the largest amphitheater in Roman history to explore its curiosities, stories, characters, animals, gladiators, and much more. . . The author will help you discover the tricks used by the Romans to build this giant of history, describe the atmosphere of the events, the animals employed, and their fate. Who was in the audience? How were death sentences executed? What happened in the hypogeum? With a compelling style the author will also describe the great and undisputed protagonists of the games: the gladiators. Where did they come from? Who were they? Why did they fight? Why did they keep their helmets on before being killed? Where did their blood go when they died? He will also take a look at some of the mistakes in the film “Gladiator”, starting with the famous gesture of thumbs down. . . Discover the Colosseum: a monument, once abandoned, that has given shelter to criminals and prostitutes. It has been transformed into a fortress and sacred place, a bomb shelter, and huge roundabout; it has also hosted millions of spectators in its time, along with visitors, tourists, pilgrims, and the many plants that grow within its unforgettable arches.

The Review

As a longtime history buff, I was instantly drawn to this book. One thing that has always fascinated me is the line that so often blurs between pop culture and entertainment and the facts of history, and the author does a great job of really delving into the real history and culture of the infamous Colosseum. 

The author does a fantastic job of balancing the statistics and facts of the Colosseum and its history, from the hunts and how the Romans would bring in the powerful animals featured in the games, with the more personal and approachable writing style that allows the reader to feel like they are in a conversation with the author, rather than being lectured or talked to. The landmark’s history just comes to life right off the page, really allowing the reader to feel transported back to the Colosseum at the height of its power. 

The Verdict

An informative, engaging, and thought-provoking history-driven book, author Mauro Poma’s “Discovering the Colosseum” is a must-read non-fiction book. The amount of history, culture, and facts the author provides to the reader complements the author’s natural and personable writing style and encourages the reader to want to visit this landmark for themselves. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born and raised in Rome, scholar of the Eternal City, Mauro Poma is a qualified tour guide of Rome, a writer and a lecturer. He has got two degrees: one in History and Conservation of the Artistic and Archaeological Heritage and one in Political Sciences. He is the author of the book “Discovering the Colosseum”, that is the revised and enlarged English edition of “Alla scoperta del Colosseo”. He works as lecturer at Dante Alighieri association, the most prestigious Italian cultural association in the world.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mauro-rometogo/

Owl and the Tiger Thieves (The Owl Series Book 4) by Kristi Charish Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A former antiquities thief turned lynchpin to the fate of the world in a supernatural civil war must find the legendary Tiger Thieves in an effort to stop the rising threat of the Electric Samurai in author Kristi Charish’s “Owl and the Tiger Thieves”, the 4th book in The Owl series. 

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The Synopsis

In this fourth Owl novel, Kristi Charish (The Voodoo Killings) melds sparkling fantasy with the grit of urban underbelly—with a detour through the world’s most spectacular cities. This is perfect for fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and fantasy lovers everywhere.

Through no fault of her own, Alix has found herself essential to the fate of the world as we know it. She didn’t mean for this to happen—she was quite happy being merely the notorious antiquities thief, and ex-archeologist, known as Owl.

However, years ago, Owl reluctantly entered the secret world of the supernatural. Her goals: complete one job, escape one bounty on her head, continue her thieving in peace.

Fast forward to today. Now, she has become a key player in a brutal paranormal civil war that is rapidly getting out of hand. The leader of one of these factions—a lethal opponent called the Electric Samurai—grows more powerful by the second. To stop him, Owl sets out to find the long-lost, legendary group known as the Tiger Thieves.

But will it be too little too late? One thing Owl misses about “normal” archaeology: there are few emergencies with thousand-year-old relics. 

The Review

This is what the fantasy genre is all about! While I am a newcomer to this series, the author does a fantastic job of drawing new readers and established fans of the series alike into the narrative. The blend of Indiana Jones-style character development with supernatural and fantasy-based storytelling is an inspired choice for the book. 

From what I understand of the previous books, this story flips the script on readers by making this story more personal. While previous installments focused on quest-based storytelling, the author takes readers on an emotional and action-focused adventure that sees the protagonist looking for an ancient order in an effort to rescue someone close to her from a deadly foe. The evolution of Alix as a character that sees her struggling with her desire to go back to being an antiquities thief but constantly pulled into this dangerous and deadly world of supernatural beings is what really draws the reader in and keeps them wanting more.

The Verdict

A haunting, action-packed, and entertaining read, author Kristi Charish’s “Owl and the Tiger Thieves” is the perfect next chapter in this growing supernatural and fantasy series. A must-read for fans of this genre, the blend of intrigue and mystery with adventure and a balance between mythology and character growth make this a fantastic book that you don’t want to miss. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Kristi is the author of OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS (Simon and Schuster Canada/Pocket Books), an urban fantasy about a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world, and THE VOODOO KILLINGS (Random House Canada), an urban fantasy/mystery about a voodoo practitioner living in Seattle with the ghost of a deceased grunge rocker.

She writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists, pop culture, and the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix. She’s also a co-host for the Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing Podcast.

Before becoming an author Kristi was a research scientist. She holds a BSc and MSc from Simon Fraser University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. Her specialties are genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology, all of which she draws upon in her writing. She is represented by Carolyn Forde at Westwood Creative Artists.

FB: http://www.facebook.com/KristiCharish…

AISFP Podcast: http://www.adventuresinscifipublishing.com/

http://kristicharish.com

Galen’s Way: A Starquest 4th Age Adventure by Richard Paolinelli Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Tackling award winning author John C. Wright’s “Starquest” series, author Richard Paolinelli explores the 4th Age of this saga as a lone mercenary must rescue a Princess who’s safety will determine the fate of the Andromeda Galaxy as he discovers his true destiny in the epic space-opera “Galen’s Way”.

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The Synopsis

A KIDNAPPED PRINCESS.

A FEARED MERCENARY.

AN EVIL EMPIRE ABOUT TO BE BORN.

The Princess Rhiannon of Salacia has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom on the fortress planet Nammu. Galen Dwyn, the most feared mercenary in the Andromeda Galaxy has been hired to rescue her and bring her home.

He will soon find himself on the run with the Princess and right in the middle of a web of political intrigue even as he begins to fall for the Princess. For her love, he will stand alone against the forces looking to establish a new, and very evil, empire.

Galen will look to keep her safe and bring the budding empire to a halt before it can gain a foothold in the galaxy. He will choose to do so the only way he knows how.

Galen’s Way.

Dragon Award finalist Richard Paolinelli takes us on a grand adventure in this space Opera offering set in the 4th age of Dragon Award winner John C. Wright’s Starquest universe.

The Review

A truly perfect and engaging sci-fi opera! The author has managed to capture the politics, the adventure, and the almost mythical quality of the genre. The sense of imagery the author includes really does an amazing job of painting a picture of the characters and various settings this story utilizes, and while I myself am not familiar with the original series from John C. Wright, newcomers will have no problem delving into this vast world the author has brought to life. 

The characters really jump off the page of this story. Galen Dwyn is the perfect blend of characters like Han Solo of the Star Wars franchise or Captain Malcolm Reynolds of the Firefly series, exuding confidence and steely-determination while boasting a blend of humorous interactions and deadly accuracy, and yet he also feels so much more complex and drawn out as a protagonist, which draws the reader in immediately. The backstory of humanity’s migration to the Andromeda and the sense of destiny that the story set’s up just really help the novel as a whole to coalesce, making for a fun read.

The Verdict

A masterful, adventurous, and engaging read, author Richard Paolinelli’s “Galen’s Way” is a must-read sci-fi epic that really encapsulates the space opera genre perfectly. Readers really get to experience the classic “hero’s journey” storytelling device and the larger-than-life mythos that this story explores will keep readers wanting more and more. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Richard Paolinelli began his writing career as a freelance writer in 1984 in Odessa, TX and gained his first fiction credit serving as the lead writer for the first two issues of the Elite Comics sci-fi/fantasy series, Seadragon. In 1991 Richard began his sports writing career at the Gallup Independent before moving on to work for the Modesto Bee, Turlock Journal, Merced Sun-Star, Tracy Press, San Mateo County Times and the San Francisco Examiner. He also served as an editor and photographer with some of the newspapers. He won the 2001 California Newspaper Publishers Association award for Best Sports Story while at the Turlock Journal.

In 2010, Richard retired as a sportswriter and decided to return to his fiction writing roots. He released two short stories – The Invited and Legacy of Death – as well as a full-length sci-fi novel, Maelstrom. In 2015, Richard completed nearly two years of research and interviews and published, From The Fields: A History of Prep Football in Turlock, California, chronicling 95 years of high school football in his hometown. One month later, the first book of the Jack Del Rio series, Reservations, was published by Oak Tree Press.

In 2016, Richard was one of a dozen authors selected to participate in, Beyond Watson, an anthology of original Sherlock Holmes stories and was one of 20 writers involved in a second Holmes Anthology, Holmes Away From Home, released in December. Perfection’s Arbiter, a biography of National League Umpire, Babe Pinelli, was released on October 8th. W & B Books acquired the Jack Del Rio series and released the second book, Betrayals, in November. The remaining two books in the Jack Del Rio series will follow in 2017 & 2018.

In January of 2017, Richard returned to his science fiction roots with the release of the novel, Escaping Infinity, and will release another sci-fi novel, When The Gods Fell, on September 4, 2018.

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