Category Archives: Book review

Didi Oviatt reviews The Genie Hunt

The Genie Hunt

Author Didi Oviatt has posted this review of my latest book, The Genie Hunt. Here’s an excerpt:

I really like the main character, Buddy Vuncannon. … Buddy is placed in a situation where he’s forced to outsmart his opponents in law, as well as in crime, and the Genie. Through the struggle he thinks outside the box, and the way he is able to mentally navigate the situation at hand is genius. He’s very smart, always a step ahead.

I’m flattered! Be sure to pay Didi a visit, and read the rest of her review of The Genie Hunt.

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The Genie Hunt Puts A Supernatural Twist On The Usual Mystery Novel

Manhattan with a twist

Kate Seabury reviews The Genie Hunt in Manhattan with a twist:

The author does a great job at combining real-life scenarios with elements of fantasy. The novella reads like a combination of the television shows “Law & Order” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” The writing and content made it so I never knew what to expect; with each turn of the page came a new surprise and boy, does that make for fun reading. It was not at all a “horror” book, but rather a suspenseful mystery with a healthy dose of the supernatural.

I also enjoyed how Tuggle maintains the strong friendship between Buddy and Coot, even though the events in their lives seem to keep going from bad to worse. Even though everything happening could tear them apart, their bond never breaks. They remain loyal to one another and even are able to joke around and make the best of what is surely a terrible situation. I found myself endeared by their friendship, and I was rooting for them the entire time.

This was not my first M.C. Tuggle book–I reviewed a novella of his called “Aztec Midnight” sometime last year–so I knew there was going to be more to the story than what initially met my eye, but even I was surprised at the extent of the uniqueness and creativity which flowed from the beginning of the book to the very last page. I can confidently say I have never read anything like “The Genie Hunt” before, and I am looking forward to what Tuggle comes up with next.

Check out the entire review at Manhattan with a twist.

Twenty-four Days

Twenty-Four Days

I bought my copy and can’t wait to read it! That cover is thing of beauty. Here’s a synopsis:

An unlikely team is America’s only chance

World-renowned paleoanthropologist, Dr. Zeke Rowe is surprised when a friend from his SEAL past shows up in his Columbia lab and asks for help: Two submarines have been hijacked and Rowe might be the only man who can find them.

At first he refuses, fearing a return to his former life will end a sputtering romance with fellow scientist and love of his life, Kali Delamagente, but when one of his closest friends is killed by the hijackers, he changes his mind. He asks Delamagente for the use of her one-of-a-kind AI Otto who possesses the unique skill of being able to follow anything with a digital trail.

In a matter of hours, Otto finds one of the subs and it is neutralized.

But the second, Otto can’t locate.

Piece by piece, Rowe uncovers a bizarre nexus between Salah Al-Zahrawi–the world’s most dangerous terrorist and a man Rowe thought he had killed a year ago, a North Korean communications satellite America believes is a nuclear-tipped weapon, an ideologue that cares only about revenge, and the USS Bunker Hill (a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser) tasked with supervising the satellite launch.

And a deadline that expires in twenty-four days.

As America teeters on the brink of destruction, Zeke finally realizes that Al-Zahrawi’s goal isn’t nuclear war, but payback against the country that cost him so much.

The reader and pro reviews are simply red-hot:

Kirkus Review:

A blistering pace is set from the beginning: dates open each new chapter/section, generating a countdown that intensifies the title’s time limit. Murray skillfully bounces from scene to scene, handling numerous characters, from hijackers to MI6 special agent Haster. … A steady tempo and indelible menace form a stirring nautical tale

Here’s what readers say:

 – J Murray’s long anticipated thriller, To Hunt a Sub, is a satisfying read from a fresh voice in the genre, and well worth the wait. The time devoted to research paid off, providing a much-appreciated authenticity to the sciency aspects of the plot. The author also departs from the formulaic pacing and heroics of contemporary commercialized thrillers. Instead, the moderately paced narrative is a seduction, rather than a sledgehammer.

 – One thing I enjoyed about this read is the technical reality Murray created for both the scientific and military aspects of the book. I completely believed the naval and investigatory hierarchy and protocols, as well as the operation inside the sub. I was fascinated by her explanation of Otto’s capabilities, the security efforts Kali employs to protect her data, and how she used Otto’s data to help Rowe.

 – The research and technical details she included in this book had me in complete awe. A cybervirus is crippling submarines–and as subs sunk to the bottom of the ocean, I found myself having a hard time breathing. It’s up to Zeke and Kali to save the entire country using their brains. If you love thrillers, this is definitely one you can’t miss!

Available now on Amazon.

Dragon Hoard

Dragon Hoard

Cathleen Townsend’s Dragon Hoard and Other Tales of Faerie offers the reader the variety of adventures one expects from a well-edited short story collection, but manages to do so while also organizing the book around off-beat and entertaining twists on fairy tales and folklore. The appearance of characters from outside the standard slate of characters adds even greater variety and interest to the mix.

There’s also some refreshing variety in how Townsend tweaks these old tales, with fresh treatments of character, setting, and time. In some cases, such as the title story, “Dragon Hoard,” the faerie character is an old school dragon doing what dragons do, only in a modern setting. Bored with sitting on a vast treasure, the dragon consults a stock broker with the intent of leveraging his fortune into political power. (I wondered if the recent election may have inspired this delightfully wicked tale, but it was published in 2015.)

“Troll,” my favorite, features a very un-troll-like troll who yearns to enjoy a sunrise. Despite his love of beauty for its own sake, he’s still a troll, and knows the sunlight will transform his body into stone. The touching ending reminded me of John Hurt from The Elephant Man. A close second was “Faerie Travel,” an urban fantasy about a young runaway who meets beautiful but deadly faeries and a grubby and devious human.

In “BabaYaga.com,” we encounter a character from Russian folklore who’s set up shop in America. The old witch has partnered with a laughably sleazy salesman who learns that magic plus computers can be a deadly combination. I had to Google Baba Yaga to figure out the ending (bird tracks?), but you know, when the story interests you enough to make you want to learn about folk traditions outside your usual cultural sphere, that’s an added benefit. Another story worth special notice is “Gargoyle,” which manages to be both charming and sad.

Dragon Hoard and Other Tales of Faerie delivers a different kind of ride, offering scares, laughs, and tears. And, for the next few days, it’s free! Highly recommended.

A Few Reviews of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book 1 by Charles F. French

I just finished this book and left my review at Amazon. Now I know what all the fuss is about. Suspenseful and captivating!

charles french words reading and writing

wp-1476386546701-maledicus112“Maledicus is sure to be a literary horror classic. I was amazed to find that this story was not at all what I thought it would be. In this telling of good vs. evil, of bravery and self-sacrifice, we see a portrayal of the most constant of human struggles that death often defies through sheer force of will and therein lies the deeper meaning that brought this novel to life by the author, Charles F. French. Concurrently with the demonic theme is a well-thought out philosophical approach to horror, wrapped in an evocative story that will capture your fear and terrify you. This story is abundant with tantalizing details, unforgettable characters, and words that will not only touch your heart and mind, but also take your breath away. It is a completely riveting story with suspense, mystery, horror, bravery, and a great love that transcends time. You will not be…

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Traveling with The Travelers (Spring Break Edition): Road Trip Book “Mix Tape”

I loved these suggestions of books an author should pack for a road trip.

K.L. Kranes, Author

The end of the day today, somewhere between 2:00 and 4:00 pm, marks the beginning of Spring Break for many kids. And as the mother of a child in the Fairfax County public school system, that means it’s Spring Break for me too. (It’s much better to take off work than to spend the week watching your daughter skulk around the house with her phone and complain about being bored. We’ve got all summer for that.)

I am most excited to have 10 blissful days20170219_172644-v2 where I can read and write with reckless abandon! I can’t wait to keep working on the sequel to The Travelers and to take Volume 1 on another trip (It’s now been to NYC, Atlanta and Dallas).

However, we’ve also planned quite an adventure that involves a little road trip action. So, alas, it won’t be only reading and writing for me. (But I’ll find time to…

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A Bhikku’s Tale

A Bhikku's Tale

Here’s a new work worthy of your attention. Irish writer David R. Jordan’s second novella is out, and it’s a blast. I’m not sure exactly how to classify A Bhikku’s Tale, other than to say it’s packed with surprises, humor, and action.

Set in an alternate Ireland called Inis Fail (Isle of destiny), the central character is an easy-going monk, or bhikku, named Reilly. Though he spends most of his waking hours meditating, he’s not averse to the temptation of cigarettes and good, strong drink, or wearing Star Wars tee shirts on occasion.

But Reilly’s blissful world gets shaken when the Green Man brings terrible news: Sam the Sybarite (the spirit of luxury) is spreading the news of a marauding Chinese dragon bringing terror and destruction among the peasants and nearby townspeople. Reilly and the Green Man decide to visit the horned god Cernunnos, where they run into Sam, who verifies the news, and adds that Morpheo, the bringer of sleep and dreams, is riding the dragon. But why would a normally benign god do such a thing?

The four decide they need help if they’re going to confront Morpheo and stop him and his dragon. They recruit a shaman named Murray, a girl ghost named Tracy, and a snake. The team finds and, thanks to their mighty snake, destroys the dragon. But while they were preoccupied with the dragon, Morpheo managed to steal part of Cernunnos’ horn, giving the deranged, power-mad god control over nature. The threat is now worse than ever.

As I said, it’s a tough story to pigeonhole. Twisted fairy tale? A romping mash-up of several world mythologies? Read and enjoy this novella and decide for yourself. Whatever you want to call it, it’s thoughtful and entertaining.

A Bhikku’s Tale is now available on Amazon.UK