Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Fantasy Review: The Immortal Heights (The Elemental Trilogy #3) by Sherry Thomas

The Immortal Heights (The Elemental Trilogy #3)
by Sherry Thomas

In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis.
But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.

However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort…

Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough?

With The Immortal Heights, Sherry Thomas brings the acclaimed Elemental Trilogy to its breathtaking conclusion.

My Review:
This is a rather awesome ending to the trilogy. It had me guessing all the way to the end, and then some.

Their endgame is all or nothing and I particularly love how they push on and through despite some rather ominous revelations.

Anyhow, don’t want to spoil it. I’ll leave it as strongly recommended.

I borrowed this audiobook from the library.

About the Author:
Sherry Thomas writes both historical romance and young adult fantasy.

On the romance side, she is one of the most acclaimed authors working in the genre today, her books regularly receiving starred reviews and best-of-the-year honors from trade publications. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award.

On the young adult fantasy side, there isn’t much to report yet, her debut book, THE BURNING SKY, book 1 of the Elemental Trilogy, has received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and been named to the Autumn ’13 Kids’ Indie Next List.

Sherry writes in her second language. She learned English by reading romance and science fiction—every word Isaac Asimov ever wrote, in fact. She is proud to say that her son is her biggest fanboy—for the YA fantasy, not the romances. At least, not yet…

Author Links:
Twitter @sherrythomas

Books by this Author:

The Elemental Trilogy (this series):

Lady Sherlock Historical Mysteries:


The Fitzhugh Trilogy:

The London Trilogy:

The Heart of Blade:

I'm not exactly certain I found all of Sherry's books. Take a look at her Amazon page to discover more.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Apocalyptic Review: Glorious Appearing: The End of Days (Left Behind #12) by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

Glorious Appearing: The End of Days (Left Behind #12)
by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins

Thousands of years of human history stained by strife, death, and sin come to an end when the King of Glory returns to earth. The satisfying conclusion of the seven years of Tribulation covered by the Left Behind series portrays the return of Jesus Christ to earth in both glory and judgment. At the height of the battle between the forces of evil gathered at Armageddon and the remaining Christian believers at Petra and Jerusalem, nothing seems to be able to stop the Antichrist, Nicolae Carpathia. But God has another plan.

My Review:
This one was interesting. The authors really played up the comically evil ineptitude of Carpathia and Fortunado, though there are some chilling scenes as told through Mac’s perspective. The bit with Rayford seemed a little lackluster, and I suspect it was simply to illustrate the moment when all injuries are miraculously healed.

As for the changes to the planet and the details about the thousand-year reign, well, it actually sounds odd. Some of the things about the post-glorious appearing seem not so great, but the main characters are totally into it.

The perfectly smooth earth? Boring, I’d miss the mountains. The constant bible studies with commentaries in your head from Jesus? Disturbing. The casual acceptance of seeing neighbors and others being slaughtered by the word of God? Um, they’re still people! Have some sympathy. The waist deep blood in the desert as Carpathia and Fortunado make their way to the final meeting? Yuck! Also, how was the vehicle supposed to work in that?

Anyhow, it is not quite what I imagined it would be. A little bit of a letdown, to be honest. Lots of preaching, and most of the spontaneous destruction occurs while Jesus is doing just that.

About the Authors: 

Timothy "Tim" F. LaHaye was an American evangelical Christian minister, author, and speaker, best known for the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction, which he co-wrote with Jerry B. Jenkins. He has written over 50 books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Timothy "Tim" F. LaHaye was an American evangelical Christian minister, author, and speaker, best known for the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction, which he co-wrote with Jerry B. Jenkins.

He has written over 50 books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Jerry Bruce Jenkins is an American novelist and biographer. He is best known as co-author of the Left Behind series of books with Tim LaHaye. Jenkins has written over 185 books, including mysteries, historical fiction, biblical fiction, cop thrillers, international spy thrillers, and children's adventures, as well as non-fiction. His works usually feature Christians as protagonists. In 2005, Jenkins and LaHaye ranked 9th in Amazon.com's 10th Anniversary list of Hall of Fame authors based on books sold at Amazon.com during its first 10 years. Jenkins now teaches writers to become authors here at his website. He and his wife Dianna have three sons and eight grandchildren.

Books in this Series:

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Mystery Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) by Alan Bradley

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1)
by Alan Bradley

It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

My Review:
This is the first in a delightful mystery series featuring the precocious young detective, Flavia de Luce.

What I most enjoy about this book is the young detective herself. She’s rather overly interested in chemistry, especially poisons, and her asides on the subject are interesting. Besides that, she’s very good at getting herself into trouble, while all the while wheedling clues out of unlikely sources. All the while, she’s still a little girl, and she uses that to her advantage.

Besides that, I thought the mystery was quite good. Obviously, I don’t want to go into detail because discovery is what it’s all about.

I picked this up upon recommendation from a friend. I strongly pass on that recommendation to folks who enjoy a good, lighthearted mystery with some darker aspects.

I borrowed the audiobook from the library.

About the Author:

Alan Bradley received the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, his first novel, which went on to win the Agatha Award, the Barry Award, the Dilys Award, the Arthur Ellis Award, the Macavity Award and the Spotted Owl Award. He is the author of many short stories, children's stories, newspaper columns, and the memoir The Shoebox Bible. He co-authored Ms. Holmes of Baker Street with the late William A.S. Sarjeant. Bradley lives in Malta with his wife and two calculating cats. His seventh Flavia de Luce mystery, "As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust" will be published in the US and Canada on January 6, 2015, and in the UK on April 23.

The first-ever Flavia short story, "The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse" has recently been published in eBook format, as has his 2006 memoir, "The Shoebox Bible".

The Flavia de Luce Series (9 books):

I've already read several of these. They just get better.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Political Fiction Review: Never, Never and Never Again by K.M. Breakey

Never, Never and Never Again
by K.M. Breakey

Audrey is a starry-eyed Brit, Pieter a tenth-generation Afrikaner. At the height of Apartheid, they fall in love. A life of splendour awaits, but the country is shifting underfoot. The winds of change fan revolution, and Michael Manzulu's rage boils. He is hungry, and will risk everything to destroy his oppressor.

When white rule gives way, trepidation is tempered by precarious optimism. Mandela will make the miracle happen. Or not. Twenty-three years on, South Africa has suffered unprecedented decline. The country unravels and fear is pervasive. Fear of persecution, land seizure, slaughter. Pieter and Audrey march on. They navigate the perpetual threat. They pray the wrath will not strike their home.

Recently, voices of protest cry out, none louder than the bombastic scholar, Kaspar Coetzer. World leaders cautiously take note, but will they take action? More importantly, can they?

Never, Never and Never Again is a story of vengeance, greed and corruption. A story the world ignores, but a story that must be told...before it's too late.

My Review:
Never, Never and Never Again is the latest controversial read from K.M Breakey, told from the perspectives of multiple individuals spanning at least two generations in South Africa, from the final years of Apartheid through present day.

The author doesn’t hold back, delving fully into each of the characters, making them incredibly real and believable, both the good and the bad. It’s hard to tell where the voice of the author ends and the voice of the people in the story begins. It’s uncanny, and it’s one of the things I most enjoyed about this book.

Adding to that, I am impressed by the level of historical detail. The book swaps between history lesson and story, weaving reality and fiction together in a believable, disturbing, and dramatic way that entertains and teaches, all at the same time.

One thing I don’t like, though it’s linked to what I do like about the reality of the characters, is when the main White characters go into lengthy discussions about the awesomeness of Trump and how he’s the only one telling the truth, and that the media is only supporting the liberal point of view (worded much more harshly in the story). As someone who happens to hold some of the liberal values dear, it isn’t easy hearing this side of things. But I do get one thing, interference in another country’s path, even with good intentions, is a dangerous and delicate thing.

There’s a theme in this book that White people are under attack on a global scale with comparisons to other groups of people in the past who’ve found themselves disenfranchised and without a home or support. I truly hope that the predictions of this book don’t come true, and I’m not so jaded as to think that freeing one race should mean the downfall of another (an idea that comes through from the pages of this book), but there are some horrifying glimmers of truth in some of the things that happen in real life, things people say and espouse to believe, and this story weaves them right in, feeding that discomfort.

This is not a light read, but it is a fascinating one. There is a good chance that reading it will offend. Having read the author’s other books, I very much expected it would before I started, but also that I would learn something.

I really enjoyed it, and would recommend it to folks who are into stories featuring racial tension, social commentary, and even a touch of love story and family dynamics.

I received a review copy of this book from the author.

About the Author:
K.M. Breakey was born in Toronto and educated at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. He spent 25 years in Software Development before turning full attention to writing in 2016, with the success of his 3rd novel. Johnny and Jamaal fearlessly explores racial dysfunction in America, from perspectives you won't hear in mainstream media. His latest, Never, Never and Never Again, tackles South Africa's complicated history, from Apartheid, through Transformation, and into the chaos currently laying waste to this once-prosperous nation. In an age of mass media distortion and rapid erosion of free speech, Mr. Breakey sees fiction as a powerful vehicle to disseminate truth and expose lies.

He has also published Creator Class and The World Clicks. To learn more, visit kmbreakey.com.

Books by this Author: