Saturday, October 21, 2017

Current Thriller and Action-Adventure eBook Deals

Amazon Giveaway - In the Space of an Atom
Enter for a chance to win

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Ends the earlier of Nov 8, 2017 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules

The Everett Exorcism by Lincoln Cole
Preorder, Genre:  Fantasy-Urban Fantasy, Horror, Thriller-Paranormal
99 cents until October 31

Scarlett by Elle Klass
Preorder, Genre:  Horror, Suspense-Thriller-Crime, Thriller-Paranormal
99 cents until November 19

Becoming Hero (Comics hero shoots his author!) by Jen Finelli
4.4 Stars, 5 reviews, Genre:  Action-Adventure, Fantasy-Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi
$1.99 until December 29

Check prices before buying

Book Review: The Fallen Child by David Thompson

I Didn’t See this Coming from the Blurb

While a book’s cover may catch my eye, it’s generally the author’s synopsis that drives whether I hit the buy button or not.  With The Fallen Child, I read a synopsis describing a Walter Mitty-type character, living in his dream world as much as in the real one.  The book delivered on that front, along with the humor that’s implied – who ever heard of a serious dream world.  But the synopsis also mentioned that Adam’s illusions encroached on his reality, sending him on a journey with implications for the future of humanity.  It sounded like the stuff of a taut psychological thriller.  On that front, the book never lived up to the promise.

What The Fallen Child provided was a look at a man, Adam Reynolds, moving from a pointless, aimless existence to someone with purpose, with happiness, and maybe with a better understanding of life…or perhaps just a more elaborate misunderstanding of it.  Adam was drifting through life, until his adventures with Evelyn changed him.  Sounds heart-warming, and to a degree, it is.  But the story intertwines life and dreams, and life that’s stranger than dreams, in ways that are both confusing and familiar.  While the source of the confusion is apparent, the familiarity stems from the fact that the story is basically a modernized, retelling of a Biblical tale.  There are some heavy hints in the first quarter of the book, and by the midpoint, Adam and Evelyn are discussing the parallels openly.  But even with these philosophical and religious roots, it was hard to find much to ponder in its pages.

Overall, The Fallen Child has its moments, particularly in the touches of humor and Adam’s metamorphosis, but you’ll need to wade through strange dreams, some stranger than truth reality, and even a few imaginary friends to find them.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Walking for Words – The Cotswolds

“Walking for Words” is my irregularly recurring post about hiking, which I include in a blog about writing because it’s the source of my inspiration.  (OK, I know, that’s thin, but it sounds better than saying I included it because I can.)  This time, the hike was in the Cotswolds, a rural area in South Central England.

As the Cotwolds is crisscrossed with public footpaths, as is much of the UK, the possible routes are many.  The one I took was a 50-mile loop, starting and ending in Moreton-in-Marsh.

The area features beautiful rolling hills dotted with picturesque towns and villages.

Homes constructed from the golden-yellow Cotswold stone.

And plenty of pubs where I put away a few too many of these.

The trip ended with a visit to a local university, so now I can say in all honesty, ‘I studied at Oxford.’  I studied the outside of some of their buildings while I sipped a coffee in one of the local restaurants…but that’s studying, right?

Happy writing (and hiking),


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Book Review: The Grave Man by David Archer

A Decent, Feel-Good Book, But Not My Style

The Grave Man is the first book in the Sam Prichard Thriller series, introducing us to Sam, a private investigator and former police detective, now medically retired due to an injury sustained on the job.  We also meet Indiana (Indie) Perkins, a computer hacker of extraordinary skill, who I suspect is a recurring character.  Her skills have as much or more to do with Sam’s success as a PI as he does.

I have to admit I’m not a big fan of the down-home, somewhat macho, and trite-heavy tone of the book.  For example, early in chapter 1, Sam says, “Excuse me, sir, I ain’t no politician!  I prefer to be honest and work for my livin!”  The book plays on social stereotypes and urban myths to a significant degree.  And what’s with all the exclamation points?  It seems like the characters are always shouting.  The investigative procedures Sam uses are a bit simplistic as well.  If he thinks he has the upper hand, he threatens the witness/suspect, who then gives up everything he knows.  If Sam doesn’t have superior abilities, he tells the witness/suspect the gravity of the situation, and he caves anyway.  Don’t look to this book for a good police procedural.

As characters, both Indie and Sam strain the limits of believability.  Indie, for example, is the beautiful, single mother, educated at MIT but unable to find any job except working the counter at Dairy Queen.  Really?  She’s also the perfect cook and housekeeper, game for anything even when it involves having a gun put to her head.  And it’s truly amazing how in a matter of minutes, hacking primarily Facebook and email accounts, she can discover information on crooks that have eluded law enforcement for years.

While it may sound like I hated the book, I didn’t.  As a somewhat simple, feel-good, change of pace, it wasn’t bad.  And if the homey, slightly macho, too good to be true tone is what you seek, look no further.  You’ll find The Grave Man a worthwhile read.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Current Thriller and Action-Adventure eBook Deals

milijun: What would alien interaction really be like? by Clayton Graham
4.5 Stars, 44 reviews, Genre:  Action-Adventure, Sci-Fi
99 cents until October 12, 2017

A Honeybun and Coffee: Romantic Suspense with a Taste of Mystery (Honeybun Heat Book 1) by Sam Cheever
4.3 Stars, 226 reviews, Genre:  Action-Adventure, Romance-Suspense, Suspense-Thriller-Crime
99 cents until November 1, 2017

Double Forte (LeGarde Mysteries Book 1) by Aaron Paul Lazar
4.6 Stars, 68 reviews, Genre:  General-Literary, Cozy Mystery, Christian-Wholesome, Action-Adventure, Suspense-Thriller-Crime
FREE until October 31, 2017

For the Birds (Tall Pines Mysteries Book 1) by Aaron Paul Lazar
4.4 Stars, 43 reviews, Genre:  Romance-Suspense, General-Literary, Cozy Mystery, Action-Adventure, Suspense-Thriller-Crime
99 cents until October 31, 2017


Friday, September 29, 2017

Book Review: The Last Firewall by William Hertling

High Marks for Action in a Somewhat Overused Plot

There are technothrillers that chill you with a look at near-future technology gone wrong.  And there are ones that rock you with action that’s both real, near-term, and perhaps out there a bit.  The Last Firewall is solidly in the camp of the latter.

Catherine (Cat) Matthews is an everyday student (in a near-future world) with everyday concerns, such as boyfriends, and only a few quirks.  For one, she can see people’s data streams in netspace and sever them.  But when she’s pushed into a life or death situation, she discovers capabilities she didn’t know she had, starting her on a collision course with an Artificial Intelligence with designs on the world.  That course is littered with bodies and battles, waged with everything from today’s bullets to tomorrow’s massive cyberattacks.  Catherine is supported (and opposed) by a cast of interesting characters – other AIs, robots, the creators of Artificial Intelligence, human-AI hybrids.  Other than a couple of the villains, there’s hardly a human you’d recognize.  But all the same, they feel more real than you might expect, adding to the book’s appeal.

There are a few downsides.  For one, romantic inclinations in the heat of battle seem a bit out of place.  Cat discovering new capabilities just in the nick of time also gets a bit overused.  And the basic plot – an evil AI taking over the world is somewhat trite.  That said, The Last Firewall does that theme just about as well as any of them, blending an array of current and possible future network technology.

So, if you’re looking for a thought-provoking story on AIs and human coexisting in the future, you’re probably in the wrong place.  But if you’re seeking an action-packed battle to the end between a super heroine still learning her powers and an evil AI, The Last Firewall is for you.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Kindle Countdown Deal – In the Space of an Atom

Just 99 cents!  (Regularly $2.99)

Now until September 27

4.2 Stars

"…a fast and fun read, with just enough futuristic science and technology—and romance between the male and female lead"  Amazon Customer Review