Book Review: Pandora’s Succession + Giveaway Winner

A new review by our external reviewer Sara MacTaylor for a book called Pandora’s Succession by Russell Brooks is ready to be read. Don’t forget to check out Sara’s Giftshop for some gift ideas for Christmas!

Pandora's Succession by Russell Brooks

Synopsis: CIA operative, Ridley Fox, never stopped hunting his fiancée’s killers—a weapons consortium called The Arms Of Ares. When Fox follows a lead to one of their top-secret bioweapons facilities in Chechnya, he barely escapes alive. However, he’s learned that Ares has weaponized a hyper-deadly microbe called Pandora. The trail leads Fox to Tokyo, where he teams up with an old flame and fellow operative, Nita Parris. Aside from Ares, they must contend with rogue agents who’ll stop at nothing to get Pandora. This throws Fox and Parris into a deadly game of spy vs spy, as they must rely on each other to locate the microbe. For if it’s unleashed, it could mean the end of humanity.

This book was a great first start to the series. The novel follows the main character, Ridley Fox, a secret agent, as he works to stop two separate rivaling organizations fighting for control over a deadly substance that would wipe out humanity. There are many twists and turns along the way, a variety of characters and organizations and locations.

Unfortunately, there is almost TOO much going on sometimes, especially at the beginning. I found it a little difficult to remember which character was which and which double agents worked for which organization, etc. I eventually got it sorted about halfway through the book and was able to enjoy it more.
The action is entertaining and I was eager to see where the story went, and I’ll be happily reading the next book in the series. I would like to see the story and the characters fleshed out more and think that this book is a great start to the series, and has set itself up well to continue the action and entertainment.

Book Rating:4/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and leave a rating on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in e-book format by the author to read and give an honest review.

Giveaway Winner: Trish Carlson


There is also another book on the block that you should check out if you haven’t heard of it yet. It is called Addicted To Hate by Lucia Mann and it is a great one! You can find it on Amazon or on her website: www.luciamann.com!

Addicted to Hate - Front Cover


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Book Review: Forgotten Soldiers

Woop woop its Wednesday! Made it halfway through the week 🙂 We have another review for you from our external reviewer Joseph Harrison. This one is called Forgotten Soldiers by Neal Sayatovich.

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SUMMARY:
If you like a story with lots of blood and gore, this story has it and more. The Templars Reborn have taken over America and forced everyone to accept their religion. Ten years
later Magnum or Mag for short is a councilman for a group fighting the Templars. He and his friends Mitchell and Michael raid a Templar weapons cache and are successful only through dumb luck. Mag’s exploits are heard about and he gets invited to another grove in New Hampshire where he meets up with Jace and Rachael. They also meet up with someone named Barclay who is with a group known as the Freelancers, another group fighting the Templars. They raid a prison in Canada where high profile prisoners are brought, but they find no one there. The two main prisoners are Annabelle Carson, whose father James was a high-profile Templar and whose uncle was Barclay. Alex Thompson, daughter to Charles Thompson, is the other prisoner. After the Canadian raid, Mag gets kicked out of his “grove” in Maine and some others in the group join him. They form their own resistance against the Templars. Mag falls in love with Alex. We are also told his real name was Nathan Walsh and he is hiding a secret that he keeps from the others, especially from Alex. There are many fights and skirmishes outlined in gory
detail. I don’t want to reveal what happens in the end so you will have to read it :).

The plot was pretty good, but I couldn’t get over the numerous grammar errors and unbelievable circumstances and outcomes the characters encounter. The main character didn’t come across very sympathetic; by the second or third chapter, he had already killed numerous people. All the characters either smoked or drank heavily and almost every page someone was either drinking or getting drunk or lighting up a cigarette.

CONS:
Just about every chapter has a detailed firefight. It was a little boring after a while. I think the author should have kept the fight scenes to a minimum and explained more in detail about the Templar philosophy and some of the characters. There are some storylines that are completely unbelievable; for instance; Mag seems like he falls in love with Alex before he even talks to her. The Mag/Nathan Walsh character was complicated, but some of the reasons he chose his courses of action were not explained. His mother killed his father and he blamed the Templars for this so why did he join the Templars? Editing was very poor. There were many grammar errors including word usage, incomplete sentences, capitalization, verb-noun disagreement.

PROS:
It read easily, I didn’t have a hard time with any of the concepts or plot developments. The details on some of the fight scenes were pretty realistic. The biggest appeal for me was finding out what was going to happen next in the story. On this point, the author did a good job of keeping me in suspense.

FAVORITE QUOTE: Barclay brushed him on the way to the parking lot, “I am checking out now.” In the scene, he had just blown up the room he was in, so it was funny in a sadistic type of way.

Book Rating: 2.5/5

You can find this book on Amazon!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.


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Author Interview: J.L Mulvihill

Hey bookworms, I joined a book tour and decided to do an author interview! This author is promoting her new Steel Roots Series.

About the author:  A California native born in Hollywood, J.L. Mulvihill has made Mississippi her home for the past seventeen years. Her debut novel was the young adult title The Lost Daughter of Easa, an engaging fantasy novel bordering on science-fiction with a dash of Steampunk, published through Dark Oak Press in 2011. The sequel to this novel is presently in the works.

Her Most recent novel, The Boxcar Baby of the Steel Roots series, was released in July 2013 through Seventh Star Press. Steel Roots is a young adult series based in the Steampunk genre and engages the reader into a train hopping heart stopping adventure across America. Book 2, Crossings released December of 2014.

She is also the co-editor of Southern Haunts; The Spirits That Walk Among Us which includes a short story of her own called Bath 10, and a fictional thriller involving a real haunted place. Her poem, The Demon of the Old Natchez Trace, debuts in Southern Haunts part 2, Devils in the Darkness.

J.L. also has several short fiction pieces in publication, is very active with the writing community, and is the events coordinator for the Mississippi Chapter of Imagicopter known as the Magnolia-Tower. She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA), The Mississippi Writers Guild (MWG), as well as the Clinton Ink-Slingers Writing Group.

And now on to the author interview that I conducted with her!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. How did you start writing?
I have been writing short stories and poems for as long as I can remember I just never saw myself as a writer so I never did anything with them. One day I had a very queer dream about being chased through the woods by a giant spider. That bizarre dream turned into my first novel, The Lost Daughter of Easa, which sold out at DragonCon in 2011 at its debut. I have been seriously writing ever since.

2. Who is your favorite author?
I have way too many favorite authors but I can tell you the authors that have influenced this series is L. Frank Baum who wrote The Wizard of Oz books and Laura Ingalls Wilder who wrote The Little House On The Prairie series. Some other great authors I admire would be Robert A. Heinlein, Mike Resnick, Terry Brooks, Nevada Barr, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, David Blalock, Kimberly Richardson, Michael West Alexander S. Brown and Stephen Zimmer and. Those are just a few of my favorites like I said I have so many it really is hard to pick.

3. What goes into your writing/planning process?
If I am writing a novel and/or series I plan out at least an outline of plot points. After that, I just go with it because I want the story to be as free and organic as possible. I do tend to do a lot of research of places, people, and things. Though I am writing fiction, I try to make the story as real and plausible as possible. Of course, there are no children eating trolls living in America, as far as we know but if you do your research you will find it is very possible that a carnivorous race of beings could very well have crossed the ocean hidden on the boats with the immigrants and settled down in caves and eventually abandoned mines in the United States.

4. What do you like about reading?
I like reading all genres as you can tell by the wide variety of authors I like. Any kind of a book that can take me away on an adventure either on earth or in space I love. Any kind of a book who can take me through a mystery and engage me in the game of who done it I enjoy greatly. Any story that can send shivers down my spine and quicken my heart with anticipation thrills me. Any kind of a book that can make me think about the world around me and the possibilities of what is and what could be amazes me. So, I pretty much like reading just about anything as long as it holds my interest which it will if written well.

5. Where is your favorite reading spot?
I don’t have a particular reading spot just anywhere quiet where I can immerse myself into the story. A good cup of tea and a cuddly blanket in my easy chair of my office is good. I do a lot of driving so Audiobooks work great for me as well, especially if it is a large series of books, for instance, The Game of Thrones series got me across the country and back.

6. What words of advice do you give to readers of your book?
Never stop reading because it opens the minds and feeds the soul. If you want to write then read everything you want to write about and then write your version of a story. Also, pay attention to your characters but they are so real and sometimes they will lead you down a better path of the story than you had planned on. Always be true to yourself and don’t jump on the bandwagon. Enjoy the adventure and find yourself along the way.


That’s all for this author interview! Feel free to answer some of the questions yourself in the comments below because I would love to know 🙂

You can find J.L Mulvihill on Twitter and Facebook.

Talk to you later bookworms.


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Book Highlight and Author Interview: No Turning Back

Here is another book highlight for a fantastic book called No Turning Back by Sam Blake! This is the third installment in the series.

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Synopsis: Orla and Conor Quinn are the perfect power couple: smart, successful and glamorous. But then the unthinkable happens. Their only son, Tom, is the victim of a deliberate hit-and-run. 

Detective Garda Cathy Connolly has just left Tom’s parents when she is called to the discovery of another body, this time in Dillon’s Park, not far from where Tom Quinn was found. What led shy student Lauren O’Reilly to apparently take her own life? She was a friend of Tom’s and they both died on the same night – are their deaths connected and if so, how?

As Cathy delves deeper, she uncovers links to the Dark Web and a catalogue of cold cases, realising that those involved each have their own reasons for hiding things from the police. But events are about to get a lot more frightening . . .

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

I’ve always need a basic framework to work to – I need to know where a book is going or I find it very hard to start. With No Turning Back I had lots of bits of plot but I wasn’t sure how they quite connected, so I took the advice of a writer friend of mine Alex Marwood and ‘wrote the stuff’. She sometimes writes forty thousand words of a story to find her way into it. I had a deadline looming so I literally wrote my way into the first draft – LOADS changed in subsequent drafts but I had the words on the page. With crime some level of plotting is essential – for me at least- so I leave the right markers in the story as I write.

What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

For me it’s getting the first draft done, getting off the blank page. Sometimes you have a very clear idea of what the story I about and it’s just a matter of finding the time to get the story written (a whole challenge in itself), but sometimes you’ve not got a clear path. With the first book you really do have the luxury of time to get it right, once you are under contract, the pressure mounts and you have to get it done – but equally your book is going to hit a book self and you need it to be the best work that it can be.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I wish I read more (I spend a lot of time, professionally, reading new writers books and that takes a lot of time) I love Karin Slaughter, Lee Child and Michael Connolly; of Irish writers I love Liz Nugent’s and Catherine Ryan Howard’s books. I look forward to every one of Jane Casey and Alex Barclay’s. I recently read CL Taylor’s The Fear and that was excellent. I love a book that packs a punch at the end and leaves you thinking.

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?

Title and cover are VITAL to sell a book. I run an event where I read about 300 submissions and after that many, a good title really stands out. It’s the same for the reader, there are so many books to choose from and a good title and a cover can tell you so much about the promise of a good book. I’ve loved my covers and I adore the title of the first in the Cat Connolly series, Little Bones. It was called The Dressmaker for many many years and we had to change it for publication but it took several inflential people hours and hours to try and come up with something. Nothing was working and then out of the blue one of the directors at Bonnier (my publisher) came up with Little Bones. I’ll be forever indebted to her – it’s the perfect title, and so obvious when you have it!

Which book inspired you to begin writing?

I’ve always written, I loved creative writing in school, but the book I love most is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Rebecca is one of the most sophisticated psychological thrillers ever written, and I’ve discovered, on the shelf of every female writer I know. Before domestic noir was a thing, du Maurier took us, and the new Mrs de Winter, to Manderley, to a house steeped in its ever present, but deceased mistress Rebecca. Multi layered, this is my favourite book of all time, it’s a thriller and a romance and has twists that make it utterly unforgettable. I collect first editions, and I holiday every year yards from Frenchman’s Creek. I just love it!

 

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What character can you relate to the most?

This had me racking my brain for awhile to come up with a character I relate to. I don’t know if this is the best choice but it was the closest I could think of. I would say that I relate to Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games but Suzanne Collins.

Now I am not nearly as strong as Peeta, but I was thinking more in his way of creativity and his nature he has about him. We both put all our energy into what we want to achieve and stay true to what we believe. I will be outgoing most of the time but also conserved and attentive at other times.

This was the closest I could come to a character that somewhat resembles me. I guess this just means I need to read more books so I can find a similar character to myself. Clearly we aren’t that similar because I couldn’t find much to write about our resemblances. I challenge you guys to find a character that is close to your personality. If you can come up with one, tell me in the comments!

Short but sweet post today on lazy Sunday! Talk to you soon bookworms 🙂

What is the first book you remember reading?

I don’t know about you guys but when I first learned to read, it was the most exciting thing in the world to me. I could explore anywhere through imagination an become immersed in different adventures all without leaving the couch or reading nook. The first full book I read that I can remember is the 1st book in the Magic Treehouse series.


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Synopsis: Where did the tree house come from?

Before Jack and Annie can find out, the mysterious tree house whisks them to the prehistoric past. Now they have to figure out how to get home. Can they do it before dark . . . or will they become a dinosaur’s dinner?

If you grew up in the 90’s, then you definitely have read these books. There are over 100 of them now, you would think that they would run out of adventures to go on but nope. I remember feeling so proud of myself for finishing this book all in one sitting. These books were great for learning to read. This probably started my obsession with having a treehouse.

Let me know what the first book you remember reading is in the comment below. Talk to you soon bookworms 🙂

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Series: Book Reviews

I started this series quite awhile ago and finally finished it this week. There were many breaks taken between each book which is why it took so long to finish. The first one took me the least amount of time because I read it during a breakup so I kind of used it to mentally distract me from my life (nonetheless it was pretty good). The second one was very slow for me and didn’t really have an exciting parts to keep me intrigued. The third and last book is what brought it all together for me though. I read this book on the way back from a trip to the Dominican and I don’t even remember most of the trip back because I had my nose in this book the entire time. They wrapped up the series very well and had me wondering what was going to happen to Jacob right up until the last couple pages. There was a lot of action and twists in this last book that I didn’t see coming which surprised me but kept me in it till the end.

Synopsis: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs. A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s  Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

Overall, the series was pretty good, I just wish the middle book had a little more sustenance to get me through it faster. The first and the last book were well done though so I am glad for that because I find a lot of series don’t have the best endings.

Book Series Rating: 4/5