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So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff

Month

June 2015

Review: Summer on the Mountain by Rosemarie Naramore

Summer on the MountainSummer on the Mountain was the perfect book for me to pick up today. After going out in the predawn light to plant raspberries, I came in hot, tired, and sore (and covered in mosquito bites – this humidity has caused a huge influx of the nasty little buggers!) After a long hot shower, it was time to relax. And this was just the ticket.

Summer Windham loves her job working in an art gallery for her good friend and boss Gwendolyn Lawton. The only thing missing in her life is her painting. Her muse abandoned her when difficult clients put her through the wringer, trashing her self-esteem and self-confidence. Now, a year later, Gwendolyn is determined to bring back Summers Muse. And though Gwendolyn considers the Great Outdoors to be an anathema:

“When I took my vows, I promised to love and honor. I never said anything about roughing it in the wilderness.”

She sees an opportunity to get Summer painting again, and to get back into her husband’s good graces for running out on his sixty-fifth birthday (that whole “wilderness” thing), by sending Summer up to their family cabin to paint the cabin and lands that her hubby, Leonard, loves beyond measure. Summer loves landscapes – surely getting out into nature will help her find her center again?

Summer is excited at the idea of visiting the cabin, though she worries that her muse will never return. And the fact that her first day there is, to put it mildly, an unmitigated disaster, doesn’t bode well for her summer in the mountains. The local game warden, Gwendolyn’s youngest son, Jarrod, manages to cause her to fall into the freezing lake, accuses her of being a burglar, threats her with arrest, and generally leaves her standing around freezing in her sopping wet clothes while waiting around for the sheriff to come take her to jail for a litany of offenses he thinks she has committed. Well, how was she to know you aren’t supposed to fish without a license?! And if the big jerk would just call his mom and check, he would know that she wasn’t a burglar! Sheesh.

Devastating poaching, break-ins and robberies are bad enough, but being covered in poison ivy, suffering a nasty cold from having to stand around in freezing weather after a freezing dunk in the lake, and being chased by an angry mamma bear is bad enough, but the jerky warden next door is nearly as big a pain in the backside as all that combined. But when her cold passes to him, Karma is a beeotch. And my wicked grin made several appearances from that point on.

This is the first book by Rosemarie Naramore I have read. I may not get around to reading any more of her books any time soon – so many books, so little time – but I did enjoy this lighthearted romance with an undercurrent of the terrible things that humans do to animals all in the name of profit. Jarrod comes off from the first as a smug, self-absorbed jerk of the first water (He jumps to the conclusion right away that, since she isn’t a burglar, his mother must have sent her as her latest attempt at matchmaking. HA! “Honey, you’re a good looking man, and as your mother, I love you to pieces, but sweetie, you are an arrogant. . .”). Talk about sticking your foot in your mouth! But his love for the creatures and the land is vividly drawn and believable – and besides, he may be an idiot, but he is a gentle idiot – and maybe not such an idiot at all (if he can just get his head out of up there where it is dark!)

A relaxing book with suspense, mystery, some action, and a gentle, believable romance.

Review: Targeted by Katie Reus

“And I’ve fallen.

So hard.

I’ve hit the ground. Gone right through it. Never in my life have I felt this. Nothing like this. I’ve felt shame and cowardice, weakness and strength. I’ve known terror and indifference, self-hate and general disgust. I’ve seen things that cannot be unseen.

And yet I’ve known nothing like this terrible, horrible, paralyzing feeling. I feel crippled. Desperate and out of control. And it keeps getting worse. Every day I feel sick. Empty and somehow aching.

Love is a heartless bastard.”  – ― Tahereh Mafi, Destroy Me

Targeted: Deadly Ops, Book 1 | Katie ReusA bad start to a book can stop my read in its tracks, and this one started out, well, bad. Not because the writing is bad, it isn’t, but because I thought it was going to be just another series of bedroom calisthenics with no real story to back it up. Thankfully, the premise sounded promising, so I gave it a couple of chapters to see if it would be worth reading.

I am glad I did. Targeted surprised me – in a good way. The story, once you get past the immediate problem, is tightly written, well-paced, and surprisingly free of excessive nookie at the cost of story. That doesn’t mean that this isn’t a ‘romantic suspense’ – but it does mean that it is much more suspense than romance, which is just what I like.

The premise is interesting – not ‘Oh, I have never seen that before’ interesting, but though I have seen it done before, I have never seen it done this well before. Sophie Moreno had a hard life growing up. A very hard life, until she met Sam. Placed in the same foster home, Sophie and Sam form an unbreakable bond. But when placed separately for their last months in the system, and Sophie is brutally raped by her new foster father while her new foster mother stands by, Sophie is broken, unable to bear the agony and shame she feels. And the pain of Sam not being there to protect her from the monster. Contrary to what the sickos into BDSM think – Rape Is NOT Sexy. And Sophie is certain that no one will ever love her again. Not like Sam did, before she was brutalized. Turning her back on him, she sends him away, determined to protect herself from his disgust at what has happened to her.

Now, thirteen years later, Sam is no longer Sam but Jack Stone, an undercover agent for an undercover agency hidden within the NSA. Back from a grueling undercover operation in the bowels of a human trafficking ring, Jack just wants to rest, relax, and decompress. But his boss, Wesley Burkhart, Deputy Director of the NSA, has something different in mind. Something that will bring Jack right back to Sophie. For Sophie has seen something she shouldn’t – and a vicious cartel boss will do whatever it takes to track Sophie down and kill her. Now Jack is determined to protect her, while keeping his identity a secret. But their old bond is still there, and keeping his secret may destroy them both.

This book, the first in the Deadly Ops series by Katie Reus, shows promise. The action is well written, the characters intriguing, and the storyline kept me riveted. There were some continuity issues that had me scratching my head, but not enough to make me turn off my listen. I am hoping that the same issues don’t show up in the next book, Bound to Danger. These are the only two on Audible, but there are more in the series at Deadly Ops.

Sophie Eastlake does a beautiful job of narration. She has quite a catalog with Audible, including the Elder Races, Nikki Glass, and the Chicagoland Vampires series. I would have enjoyed listening to the book just for her narration.

If you are looking for a romantic suspense where the suspense is the star, you might give it a try. I wasn’t disappointed. Not a five star read, due to a couple of odd content issues, but a good listen nonetheless.

Review: Wild Card by Lisa Shearin

Wild Card (Raine Benares, #0.5)Not long ago I found Lisa Shearin through her SPI Files series books, The Grendel Affair and The Dragon Conspiracy. I enjoyed those books greatly, so nosed around to see if I thought I would like any of her other books as well. It made sense – if you like one series, you will in all likelihood enjoy the author’s other work as well. Looking at Lisa’s page on Goodreads, I noted that the first novella of the Raine Benares series, Wild Card (Raine Benares .05) was available, and was the perfect way to begin, especially as the audio is only $5.95. Besides, I like Eileen Stevens, the narrator, so I downloaded it from Audible to give the series a try.

I wasn’t disappointed. I like Raine. She is strong, though not overpoweringly so. While she is a magical elf, her magic isn’t of the “Blow them all up” type. Rather, she is a Seeker – she finds missing items, missing people, that sort of thing. Now, she has been asked to find the stolen jewels belonging to Lady Kaharit (listening on Audible means you can’t always know how things are spelled!) a high standing Goblin lady. Of course, who she is to steal them from is scary in its own right – and it leads to even scarier things very quickly.

Magic Lost, Trouble Found (Raine Benares 1) is playing on my tablet now! Oh, and the third in the SPI Series, The Brimstone Deception, is due out January 26, 2016 (Soooo Long!! :-() but I already have it on my “must have” list.

Help! Attacked By Horrible Book!!!

It starts with a P, ends with a Y, and has a USS in the middle. Yep. Ross is one of those, Lucy and Sabina’s mom is an overbearing bulldozer, the Church Ladies of Last Chance are determined that because the local whacko, Miriam Randal has said that Sabina can’t “find her man” until after Lucy is settled, Lucy and Ross have to get married RIGHT. NOW. Lucy is a spoiled rotten brat with an attitude and an obsessive need to control everyone and everything – especially the man she supposedly loves – and he lets her (see first sentence). Oy. I really. Really. Don’t like these people!!!

Well, except for Sabina. I like Sabina well enough in a way, but darn it, she lets everyone run rough shod over her while she wallows in guilt about something that happened when Lucy was thirteen – and it wasn’t even Sabina’s fault. Oy.

There is a secondary story here, about a possible eco terrorist group but, sadly, I only made it 35% of the way through the book before I rolled my eyes so hard I pulled a muscle and had to go lay down. Well, not really, but I couldn’t bear to read another word without bouncing my reader off the wall. And seeing as how my reader is brand new, that wasn’t going to happen. The characters are in their mid-thirties and still living in high school!

I hate to stamp a DNF on a book, but this one did me in. Immature doesn’t begin to describe it. Oh Well. At least the cover is pretty.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, I absolutely hated what I read of it.

Review: Measure of Danger by Jay Klages

“Hope dMeasure of Dangeroes not mean that our protests will suddenly awaken the dead consciences, the atrophied souls, of the plutocrats running Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, Exxon Mobil or the government.” – Chris Hedges

Jay Klages knows his stuff when it comes to the military, espionage, rouge military technology and the new and terrifying dangers our world faces today. I wanted to get that out there first, because I think Mr. Klages has a bright writing future. As far as this first book goes, I found a lot to like about it. But I just couldn’t quite ‘lock onto’ the story. It has a lot of the things I like about this sort of thriller. Action at warp speed, a quirky main character. But there were things I believe a good content editor could have really helped with. There were plot angles that simply didn’t work for me – they were too “coincidental”, too unbelievable, for a work with so much promise. I kept getting jerked out of the story with “Huh?” moments. The bland ‘cud munching’ attitude of the security around AgriteX bothered me, as did the oddball FBI reactions to Kade’s experiences and information he passed out to them. It just didn’t feel right.

I look forward to following Mr. Klages work. As a first book, the promise shines through, and I believe that with experience and a bit better management by Thomas & Mercer, his next work can receive a much better review.

This book was received from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

About Jay Klages

Jay Klages Jay Klages is a former military intelligence officer and West Point graduate who lives in Gilbert, Arizona. He attended the MBA program at Arizona State University, where he successfully deprogrammed himself for service in corporate America. He enjoys desert trail running and is particularly good at falling down.

Jay would love to hear from readers at jayklages@ymail.com, facebook.com/jayklages, or Twitter @JKlages. His author website is at jklages.com.

MEASURE OF DANGER is his debut novel.

Review: Montana Mistletoe by Becca Syme

Christmas in July? Well, I have been known to watch “The Santa Clause” and “The Santa Clause II” in July, so reading “Montana Mistletoe” tonight should have been right up my alley. I am almost embarrassed to say, not so much.

I simply couldn’t like any of the characters. Not. One. Gillian is a raving beotch – even if she is under pressure and comes face-to-face with her old flame, the raving was over-the-top. The ex, Mason, and his brothers came in to fill in as caterers for a fundraising party held for the Granite Peak, Montana Children’s Theatre. You don’t get but a few words from the brothers, but Mason comes across as a spoiled brat. The people Gillian works for? Caricatures of the pompous fat rich man and his top-heavy, trashy second wife. That was my issue with the whole story. As much as I wanted to like it – it was written as a fundraiser for the Kaleidoscope Youth Theatre in Bozeman, Montana, a hugely worthy cause, it feels like the author didn’t care enough about the theatre to write a story worth reading.

I received this book from the publisher for a realistic review. I just wish she could have written a better one.

If you would like to donate to the Theater, click on the logo to go to their site. I am sure the kids would love your support!!https://i0.wp.com/static.wixstatic.com/media/ee1462_b57c0f5b3e6e4b6c9b4bdd3a8ef1607a.png_srb_p_142_166_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srb

 

Review: The Juan Doe Murders by Noreen Ayres

“In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield.” – Douglas MacArthur

The battlefield. Blood and fear, hatred and death. But it isn’t only the battlefield where these things lie. Even here, in the arms of the supposed “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave” the roar of the battlefield shrieks aloud – carrying blood and fear, hatred and death to the innocent, the child, the weak wishing only for food, shelter, a new life.

As a Forensic Specialist, Smokey Brandon knows all about the horrors visited on those who can’t protect themselves. The children, the immigrants, the women and men who are lost and hidden. And California’s newest serial killer is the latest to prey upon the hidden and the vulnerable. Of course, in Orange County the whole Ideal is ‘cover it up, because it couldn’t ever happen in our perfect little rich-man’s world”. But the horrific mutilation of the first victim sets all Smokey’s warning signals flaring. And as the bodies of Hispanics pile up, it is a race to find the perpetrator.

Ayres is brutally realistic in her portrayals of the crimes, the characters, and the attitudes that make up the undercurrents of a deeper story – the immigration, sometimes illegal, of Hispanics across the borders from Mexico to the US. You are dropped right in on the first scene from the beginning, no build-up, no easing in. Just a mutilated young girl, left to rot in a filthy bedroom, in a filthy house.

This was my first Smokey Brandon. Her third book, after “Carcass Trade” and “A World the Color of Salt”. I fully intend to go back and read the first two in order to “catch up” as it were. Smokey is a very well rounded character, even jumping in in what could be called ‘the middle of the tale’ and I enjoyed not only her, but the other characters as well. The forensics and police procedure is believable as is the character of OC. If you are interested in a good forensic/police procedure with solid characters and storyline, this is a series to put on your reading list.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: Hopcross Jilly, A Graphic Novel by Patricia Briggs

hopcross“All the ancient classic fairy tales have always been scary and dark.” -Helena Bonham Carter

I should probably be embarrassed to say this, but here goes. I have never read a graphic novel. I know. Loser, right? But it is something that simply never really interested me. Oh, I read comics when I was a kid. I remember walking to the market when II was able to pull enough pennies together for a comic or two, and I cherished them. But I never really came across a graphic novel whose concept interested me.

When I was offered “Hopcross Jilly” for a review, it was a perfect opportunity to check out the genre and see what I thought with an author whose work I know I like. The fact that it also features Jesse, daughter to Adam Hauptman and step-daughter to Mercy Thompson, was a plus.

I must say, my personal feelings are mixed. That is the problem with building a picture of an authors characters up in your mind over time. If the picture you see, whether on screen or in print is different from what you expect, it can be disappointing. Adam didn’t look anything like I pictured him, though Jesse was a good fit. Mercy? Not so much.

Now the story, I liked that. Jesse has a really hard time in high school. Well, when your father is the Alpha of the local Pack, and the face of werewolves all over, kids can be vicious. Since kids can be more vicious than a school of rabid piranha anyway, add in the fact that your dad is Top Were and your life can be utterly miserable. That only gets worse when the pack finds the bodies of four children – then four more, then four more, and four more –  buried ritualistically on an abandoned farm. And when one of the bodies happens to be the aunt of the Queen Mean Girl in school, things get even worse.

I can’t say the graphic novel format was my favorite way to read the story – but that is personal preference, and has nothing to do with whether it was well done or not – because it really was well done. Anything from Patricia Briggs I can pretty much expect to be exceptional, and the art and storyline are just that. Simply a matter of taste, but if you like graphic novels, I will highly recommend this. I believe she also has other graphic novels out – give them a look if you are a graphic novel buff.

I received Hopcross Jilly from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: Project Nemesis by Jeremy Robinson

Project Nemesis: A Kaiju Thriller | [Jeremy Robinson]

“The end is near. I hear a noise at the door, as of some immense slippery body lumbering against it. It shall not find me. God, that hand! The window! The window!” ― H.P. Lovecraft, Dagon

Dr. Ichiro Serizawa: The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in our control and not the other way around. Let them fight. Godzilla, 2014
Dr. Niko Tatopoulus: This thing is much too big to be some lost dinosaur.
Godzilla, 1998

cthulhu
Cthulhu by John Dotegowski Click picture for Mr. Dotegowski’s website

“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”

Lovecraft would have loved this. Nemesis is Godzilla, Cthulhu, and “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman” all rolled into one – Destroyer God and sad victim not only of fate but of a rich, obsessive, vicious man. “Nemesis” is a monster, true. A monster created by science, at the behest of a human even more monstrous than Nemesis herself.

Photo courtesy of imgarcade.com

Of course, back when King Kong and Godzilla came to life, “The Bomb” was our greatest fear. Immense power, horrific death from the skies – the perfect structure for tales of horror. Now, Nemesis waltzes onto the stage, filled with fear, pain, and a deep need for answers. Even monsters need answers, and Nemesis more than most. For all she is a monster, possibly a God, she is lost, searching. But her search can kill millions. Of course, the military is shooting off all its toys, twelve AMRAAM and four Tomahawks have only succeeded in killing civilians so far – and Boston is her next stop. Which is worse? A terrified military blasting away, or a giant beast storming across the land? “Hulk SMASH!”

“Beware of Monsters”Nemesis – Jeremy Robinson

I got a huge kick out of this story. Narrated by Jeffrey Kafer, the story is a high octane tribute to all the 50’s monster movies we know and love. But it is also a denunciation of military incompetence, political ineptitude (yes, those are basically the same words – but military command and the political machine are basically the same thing, so . . .) and the horrific things humans will do given enough money and political and military power.

Jeremy Robinson has written a story for everyone from preteens to adults, delving into the human psyche, exploring our fears and bringing the past into the present. Nemesis is, when it comes down to it, an avenging angel, a Goddess of Vengeance, and I liked her – a lot. Jon Hudson, the hero of the piece, is the lead investigator for a special DHS department – Paranormal Investigations. Following up reports of Sasquatch is embarrassing – but trying to keep the rest of DHS under control, especially the smart-arse Boston lead investigator, is enough to make Jon bang his head against a wall. There is a lot of blood and gore, a lot of military action and military and political stupidity – and his ‘sidekick’ Sheriff Ashley Collins, is one kick-arse broad, so I was happy with that! There is fun and snarky humour as well, which is always a huge positive for me.

Grab it – it’s fun!

Jeremy Robinson (aka Jeremy Bishop and Jeremiah Knight) was born in the sometimes mysterious seacoast town of Beverly, Massachusetts. From a young age his father fostered a love for Science Fiction. He grew up on thick doses of Superman, Batman, X-men, Dr. Who, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Star Trek and Godzilla—creative fuel for the future.

He began his creative career as an illustrator for comic books and comic strips and worked on several small indie projects, but it wasn’t long before an epiphany struck—his art wasn’t just about creating images—it was about telling stories. Robinson switched gears to writing, first screenplays and then novels.

Robinson is the international bestselling author of more than fifty novels and novellas including XOM-B, ISLAND 731, SECONDWORLD, and the Jack Sigler thriller series. Robinson is also known as the #1 Amazon.com horror writer, Jeremy Bishop, author of THE SENTINEL, THE RAVEN and the controversial novel, TORMENT. His novels have been translated into twelve languages. In 2015, his novel PROJECT NEMESIS will be released as a comic book series from American Gothic Press/Famous Monsters of Filmland, and his Jack Sigler thrillers entered development to be released as a major motion picture. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife, and three children.

Robinson recently adopted the pen name, Jeremiah Knight for his two new post-apocalyptic story lines, THE HUNGER SERIES and THE BERSERKER SAGA.

Maybe you’ll be part of the next step? If you think so, contact Robinson via e-mail.

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