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Today’s reviews are Books 18 & 19 of 30 for 2017. IRREPARABLE HARM, and AFTER: FIRST LIGHT.

While out riding the waves aboard La Niña our little cabin cruiser, I didn’t get in as much reading as I’d intended. Instead, I downloaded a large whack of Robert A. Heinlein books and spent my vacation partly on Earth, partly on Secundus,  and ended up on Tertius with the other members of the Long Family, which I joined years ago. Now, well rested by my vacation, I’m home again and ready to read, review, and write. Hope everyone else had as satisfactory a break from normal as I did.

Anyway, here are a couple I read just before leaving…

IRREPARABLE HARM ****

By Melissa Miller

This legal thriller captured my interest in the first page and held it all the way through. Sasha McCandless is a lawyer, small, smart, and dangerous. When she finds Federal Marshall Leo Connelly in her apartment, poor Leo wishes his current investigation hadn’t been responsible for what Sasha considers a B & E. Sasha, in eager search of a partnership with her law firm, is willing to do almost anything to achieve her goal… Even teaming up with Leo, whatever the cost, even when he insists she’s in danger and he’s the only one qualified to keep her safe. Safe from whom? Herself, him, or the bad-guys he’s certain want to do her harm–irreparably.
This well-written book has only one problem in my view—it’s too short. I was ready to read on and on, but then, there was no more. This seems to be a common thread now, so I’ll have to look for book 2… and 3… and 4… and so on–and believe me, I will. Sasha McCandless is a character easy to follow.

 

AFTER: FIRST LIGHT ***

by Scott Nicholson

I always enjoy a good post apocalyptic story that keeps me reading until well after bedtime. AFTER: FIRST LIGHT is written as a prequel to the series AFTER: — and didn’t keep me up long.

 

In this prequel Nicholson delivers a short-story with some well-defined characters and a credible threat. Following a solar storm of unbelievable ferocity, all electric and electronic devices on Earth are rendered useless. Billions die worldwide. This leaves the dwindling numbers of survivors wallowing in fear and disbelief, certain the “government” will fix everything soon—they need only wait. Those who do understand what’s happened know there is no government, there are no effective armed forces, and people are going to have to fend for themselves.  Those who do survive the panic-riots and the inevitable, zombie-like “Zapheads”.

The author’s concise method of introducing the problem, the aftermath, and those who try to survive—as well as those who can’t—are mostly likable enough for the reader to root for. This quick, but fairly good read dropped several points in my estimation by the author’s introduction of another danger that, to me, is not at all plausible.  Things were dire enough without his giving into the immature and creating zombies to please the kiddies. Too bad, Mr. Nicholson. I’d have enjoyed the series if you hadn’t tossed in something out of comic books.

 

 

 

 

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Book Reviews from Rider of The Waves, Living life as it comes, What writing's all about

Reviews #13 & 14 of 30 for 2017 Kena the Good Hyena / Kena la hiena buena, Books 1 & 2, by Gabriela Arellano

I’m delighted to feature these two bilingual children’s picture books, KENA THE GOOD HYENA / KENA LA HIENA BUENO.Kena Hyena

Similar in tone to the ever popular Berenstain Bears books, Books 1, Being The Best, shows how good behavior can make any child’s life run smoother, and that being selfish and boastful can lead to unhappiness at school.

The second book, When Dad’s Away, illustrates the way a child mKena 2ight feel abandoned and unloved when Dad has to go far away to work. But it also reassures the child that distance is no barrier to love.

But, more important to me, as a writer, is that the author has aimed her work at young children and their parents of two different linguistic groups. During my years in Costa Rica I was struck (unfavorably) by the small number of people of all ages I saw reading for pleasure. On buses, on park benches, on beaches, it seemed few read anything but school texts or newspapers. Even large bookstores featured little fiction—especially for children. This may not be the case in other Spanish speaking countries, but to find a book like this is a real pleasure regardless of where it might be read and enjoyed because not only does it encourage adults to read to their children, it will surely help English speakers learn Spanish, and perhaps vice versa. Though in my experience it was the “Gringos” (myself included) who needed to learn, far more than the “Ticos.”

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Book Reviews from Rider of The Waves, Living the Writing Life

Review # 12 for 2017 A Merciful Death ***** By Kendra Elliot

Merciful DeathA Merciful Death *****

By Kendra Elliot

Mercy Kilpatrick, an experienced FBI Special Agent, is called upon to return to the community where she grew up to investigate the murders of two men she once knew. She was raised to be prepared for the worst that could happen to society, but the society of her own family deserted her when she most needed their support. Fifteen years before, she left town at the age of eighteen and built a life for herself, apart from those she loved. Mercy hides her estrangement from her parents and siblings from her FBI partners, making her return doubly awkward because she’s on edge, nervous about being recognized and probably shunned. When she meets the new Chief of Police, Truman Daly, they begin to work together comparing notes of past and present. It soon becomes clear that the very events that drove her away in the first place have an intrinsic connection to the current victims, one of whom was Chief Daly’s uncle. Mercy has never told anyone the full truth behind her reasons for leaving home and family. But knowing Truman Daly has as much at stake when it comes to solving the mysterious links, she wants to come clean with him, but he’s a lawman, too, so she doesn’t dare.

Ms. Elliot paints a vivid picture if life in a “prepper” community, and the attendant stresses that lead to inevitable conflicts between different factions with the same goal in mind, but whose methods are at odds. Set in the countryside if eastern Oregon, this story brings to life the sights, sounds, and smells of an area she clearly loves. Highly recommended for fans of both mystery and romance novels, though the romance plays second fiddle to the crime-solving,

 

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Book Reviews from Rider of The Waves, Living the Writing Life

Reviews 8, 9, & 10 of 30, for 2017

Preserving Hope *****

Book 2 in the Aliomenti Saga By Alex Albrinck Preserving hope

Book 1 Reviewed this site

Suspend disbelief—and enjoy!

 

In Preserving Hope, Will Stark, a 21st Century man is carried forward in time beyond his own era, then taken back to the historical period one thousand years before his own birth. There, his task is to infiltrate an Aliomenti village hidden in a forest in medieval northern England. The Aliomenti had once been normal human beings, serfs, living on and farming the land, when a small group of men believed they could, with the right diet  of herbs to enhance mental abilities in their laborers, produce more intelligent, stronger, and better workers, thus increasing the profitability of their lands. This proved true, and the Aliomenti came into being. As a newcomer, Will must try to fit in with the villagers as well as help them toward their goals of mental, physical, and financial superiority. Though Will has been imbued with many of the strengths known to the Aliomenti as Energy, he must conceal this fact while helping improve their lot.

His main focus, though, is the security of a young woman, motherless woman, Elizabeth. Her safety is key not only to Will’s personal survival, but to that of an entire line of her descendants. Elizabeth’s father, Arthur, the highest-ranking man in the Aliomenti village, is cruel and his determination to maintain dominance over the others endangers Elizabeth’s life. All Will can do is protect her in secret, and help nudge the Aliomenti along the path he already knows they must travel. With his knowledge of future technologies and methods, he tries to guide them into becoming better traders and better builders, which will add to Arthur’s profits. If the village leader sees what can be done with hard work and ingenuity, Will hopes to reduce a portion of Elizabeth’s misery of some of her agony,

Arthur, however, is a selfish, stubborn man with no feelings at all for his only child…

 

Mason ***

Book 1 in the Remington Ranch Series Mason

No way to run a relationship.

 

Gina Delaney, successful photographer whose work is being shown in a posh, New York art gallery, needs to go back to Montana to help her elderly father move east to live near her. There are two major problems—her dad, Al, doesn’t want to sell the ranch he can no longer run, and Gina fears when she returns to make things happen the only way she sees possible, she’ll inevitably run into Mason Remington, the man who broke her heart ten years ago.

When Mason learns Gina’s back in town, he knows he won’t be able to stay away from her. It’s a small place. They’re bound to meet. When they do, of course things heat up like they always did before. Mase has no problem with this. He wants her. He’s spent the last decade wanting her. It’s clear her body has no problem with the desire springing to life between them, but she will not give in.

Gina can’t let herself succumb to the physical attraction she and Mason share. It would be wrong. She’s engaged to marry Liam, owner of the NY Gallery. Not only that, she cannot bring herself to trust Mason. What she heard him say about her just before she went off to college preys on her mind. Even if he does think he loves her now, what about his actions all those years ago? He claims not to know what he did to break them up, but she’s not buying that one.

When Gina’s engagement to the NY man falls through, Mason sees no further impediment to him resuming his affair with her, but again, she refuses to talk things out with him. As the story winds on, both Mason and Gina realizes they have a long way to go before than can reach Happily Ever After—but are they both adult enough to take the chance of accepting the person each other has become during their time apart?

I could have awarded more points but for Gina’s childish intransigence and Mason’s inability to understand he didn’t have to control everything.




 

Code Name: Money Man ***

By Mark Arundel Money Man Cover

 

“We want you to kill someone.”

 

The former elite SAS trooper has been kicked out of the army, the only real life he knows. He has no home, few friends, and no money. When the offer of employment comes from what might or might not be the Foreign Office, the ex-trooper is taken aback. Yes, he has killed before. But not the way an assassin might. He killed in combat, not in cold blood. However, the money sounds good, and he doesn’t have many options. Still unsure if he can do as he’s asked, he accepts the position and flies to Tenerife in the Canary Islands where the job is to be done.

From there, things go sideways. The action bounces from one cliff-hanger to another. None of the opposition that continues to crop up is who or what he thinks they are. With the truth cloaked in shadows and lies, the trooper only slowly begins to catch on: He’s part of a plot to expose a mole deep inside the British Secret Service.

This book would have a higher rating if the punctuation hadn’t been so lacking. Too few commas and periods created a tough trail for a reader accustomed to knowing who’s speaking, when he finishes a sentence, and when he begins another.

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Review # 5 of 30

This book is so good I hope everyone will reblog my review of it.

riderofthewaves

The Rainbow Virus *****

By Dennis Meredith

This is by far one of the best books I’ve read in the last twelve months. Robert Louden, a somewhat disfavored FBI agent has been getting crap assignments but when seemingly random individual citizens in California start turning up with inexplicable color changes; blue, red, green, orange, yellow, and shades in between, the suspicion grows that this may be the result of a strange virus. Then, a common element turns up; the newly “colored” people are all patients of an allergist who’s given them injections. rainbow-virusBut the allergist is as mystified as everyone else, so what can Louden do but go to work, as ordered, with the CDC? As Louden and the old CDC master, Doc, whose partner is the beautiful but unapproachable and unpredictable Kathleen Shinohara begin to gather facts and follow evidence, they realize little is what it first seems to be. The…

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Book Reviews from Rider of The Waves, Living the Writing Life

Review # 5 of 30

 

The Rainbow Virus *****

By Dennis Meredith

This is by far one of the best books I’ve read in the last twelve months. Robert Louden, a somewhat disfavored FBI agent has been getting crap assignments but when seemingly random individual citizens in California start turning up with inexplicable color changes; blue, red, green, orange, yellow, and shades in between, the suspicion grows that this may be the result of a strange virus. Then, a common element turns up; the newly “colored” people are all patients of an allergist who’s given them injections. rainbow-virusBut the allergist is as mystified as everyone else, so what can Louden do but go to work, as ordered, with the CDC? As Louden and the old CDC master, Doc, whose partner is the beautiful but unapproachable and unpredictable Kathleen Shinohara begin to gather facts and follow evidence, they realize little is what it first seems to be. The person who’s disseminating the virus—is he a prankster or a dangerously sociopathic microbiologist who does not have the world’s good health as his primary aim? When bullets, not aimed by the good guys, start flying toward the elusive skin-color-tinkerer, Team Louden has to consider that may Someone Even Bigger has an interest in this entire mess. But what interest? What aim? Good or bad? And worse, what Alphabet Agency might it be? Domestic? Otherwise? Those they thought the could trust, well, maybe they shouldn’t. But if this is all for real, it’s their duty to bring the perpetrators to justice before it’s too late–even if it means going against orders.

Though this is a serious book that warns of world-wide dire repercussions with terrifying possible outcomes if the virus is weaponized and not contained, it’s also extremely funny. As Meredith takes us through his delightful tale and turns nearly all of Denver into a multi-hued fruit basket (or maybe that should be ‘nut’ basket), the characters come alive and his rich sense of humor crops up over and over, leaving the reader smiling, grinning, and even laughing out loud with his quirky turns of phrase and exquisite timing.

Really, don’t miss this book.

♠♠♠

And now, not a review, but an announcement, My latest novel, CAVERNS, Book 4 in The Chronicles of Storn is now available pretty much wherever digital books are sold, readable on most, if not all, devices.

If you’re unfamiliar with the series, it starts out with REFUGE 2nd Edition, in which a dedicated group of scientists and others who care, plan to escape from a draconian Committee that oversees every aspect of life the settlers live on their accidentally-arrived-at new home planet, Storn. Storn is not what they were promised. The winters will kill them unless precautions are taken. Summers, as the planet swings too close to its primary, Magnus, are equally deadly. But somehow, those who care are determined to rescue a couple dozen extraordinary children whose talents terrify the committee. If the Refuge they plan proves inadequate, will the special abilities of the children be enough to save them all?

I you’re wondering, why a Second Edition, I needed to go back and make some changes so when the characters from The Group eventually meet up with those from the Dirtsider Troop, there is better cohesion. This series had been a long, ongoing work which I’ve enjoyed for some time. I hope readers will too.

REFUGE 2nd Edition IS FREE across the board. This link will take you to Kobo, Apple, Scribd, and many other venues. https://www.books2read.com/u/3LdK73

For Kindle, copy and past this link into your browser. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=node%3D154606011&field-keywords=Refuge+2nd+Edition

Next time, I’ll talk a bit about LIFELINE, Book 2 in the series.

 

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Book Reviews from Rider of The Waves, Uncategorized, What writing's all about

Reviews 3 & 4 of 30

Review: Blaming the Wind **

By Alessandra Harris

www.instafreebe.com gave me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Blaming the Wind is primarily the story of two couples, next-door-neighbors and good friends. Unfortunately, the novel, which is well-crafted as to plotting, grammar, spelling, and points of view, failed to hold my interest. I found my mind wandering throughout the tale of these people and their various problems. The trouble was, I did not like any of them. Each, in his or her owblaming-the-windn way, whined too much, was too self-absorbed, and showed little evidence of working to make life better. I found few uplifting moments, fewer reasons to cheer for any of the characters, and had to force myself to keep reading to the end.

One, a stay-at-home-dad, resents his wife’s success and in a way, seems to hold her responsible for his own unwillingness to find a new job, a different way of earning a living after an accident deprived him of his original career. For her part, the “successful” woman comes across as weak and indecisive and much too easily influenced by a charmer anyone with the good sense of a gnat should have spotted at ten paces. If she’d been starved for love at home, it might have made some sense, but she was not.

The other couple consists of a childless woman who wants a job almost as much as she wants a baby, but fears while she needs the first, won’t be able to cope with the second. Her outside influence, her mother, drags her down. Her husband, who likes to live well above his means, is frantically trying to hold onto his position as a sports agent so he can maintain the large house they can ill-afford.

The characters lie not only to themselves, but to each other, and to the peripheral personalities in the story, making for a typical “tangled web” that simply did not have to be if only they told each other the truth. Of course, if they had, there wouldn’t have been a story, but their numerous motivations seem thin and not strong enough to hang the plot on. Ms. Harris clearly has talent and potential as a writer, but this book doesn’t cut it.

Review:  The Day After Never ***

by Russell Blake

 

the-day-after-neverThis is a long, Post Apocalyptic series. Its main saving grace is that it doesn’t contain zombies. The world (read: The U.S.) as we know it, has all but disappeared thanks to a pandemic and the subsequent monetary and societal collapse. Anyone who enjoys a story that reads almost like an old-fashioned Western, shoot-em-up adventures will certainly find this series of episodes captivating. The author displays a keen knowledge of  battle tactics, guns, and fighting. The books are well-written, but they are only installments in an ongoing struggle for supremacy. None of them can be considered even close to stand-alone novels as each ends with a cliff-hanger which, if the reader is concerned enough, begs one to make another purchase. When I buy a book, I like to think I’m getting a beginning, a middle, and an ending, a resolution to the plot twists and the lives of the characters, not a requirement to buy another book to see what happens next. Because I liked Book 1, Blood Honor, and felt sufficiently involved with the characters, I did continue with the series. The next book. Purgatory Road, takes the story one step farther, but still offers no resolve. So, on to Book 3, Covenant. Again, no chance of closing the book with a sense of satisfaction because it, too, ends with a question as to how—and even if—the promised or proposed treaty will work to the betterment of the community. The inevitable cliff-hanger pushes us on to Book 4, Retribution. By that point, this reader was tired of Blake’s particular Post-Apocalyptic America, and declined to carry on with the characters and their (always) perilous journeys.

 

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