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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.

Book Review: The Management Style of the Supreme Beings by Tom Holt

“…do you believe in Santa Claus?”
Kevin paused for a moment before answering. “You mean, does he exist? Yes, he does.”
Jersey’s eyes opened wide, but he didn’t say anything.
“You sound awfully sure,” Lucy said. “That’s, um, unusual in a grown up.”
“Well, yes. Do you believe in the internal combustion engine?”
“What? I mean, well, yes. It’s not something you need to believe in. It’s just there.”
Kevin nodded. “They’re both equally miraculous or equally mundane, depending on whether you happen to know for sure.”

I wasn’t sure about this one at first… It started great, then slowed up a bit – which is what I’ve noticed about Tom Holt in the past. I struggle with him – he devises brilliant storylines that draw me right in but the build up takes time, and sometimes he loses me in the process. I’m SO glad I stuck with this one though – it was truly excellent!

The concept of a universe for sale to the highest bidder seems so sadly, hilariously, tragically possible right now… The world is an increasingly uncertain place, it seems, and things like faith and responsibility do seem to be rather up for grabs. Continue reading Book Review: The Management Style of the Supreme Beings by Tom Holt

Interview and Guest Post: Tyler Wandschneider, Author of Lockheed Elite

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to a fascinating author, Tyler Wandschneider, whose new book – Lockheed Elite – releases today. It’s on my To Be Read/Reviewed list, but you know I’m a bit slow on getting through my backlog of reviews lately, so the review will take a while to post. But I didn’t want you to have to wait to learn about the book or the author, so without further ado I give you an interview AND bonus guest post on writing a book. Enjoy!

The Interview

Where did your idea for Lockheed Elite come from?
(Smile.) I love the idea of life in space. When I picture it, I see life there as common as it is planet-side. Making a living in space would consist of many of the same things, just without the ground. All I had to do then was think about what kind of work should this crew do. What could give them the opportunity to get in the most trouble. Then I began exploring it and had a blast doing so. I felt that an experienced independent crew that ran on their own clock would give us the best crew to start with. The next step in that was to put them through a wringer.

When did you start writing Lockheed Elite?
In the summer of 2015. It began as a kind of episodic project. At first I envisioned long chapters that were a kind of short story in and of themselves; as if they were their own “episode” in a television series. Soon after I was asked to submit a sample of it for consideration on a serialized literature website. I did. And they accepted. And then the story took on more of a novel feel to the story.
Continue reading Interview and Guest Post: Tyler Wandschneider, Author of Lockheed Elite

Book Review Blurb: UNSUB by Meg Gardiner

“He took her,” James whispered. “But I can’t let him have her.”

What an extraordinarily creepy psychological thriller, full of obsession and madness and violence and the devastation that can trail in the wake of a quest for justice… The serial killer genre is well-established, and as a result, it’s getting more difficult to tell a tale that feels original in its telling. Sure, the crimes vary from book to book, but the concept – killer increases his intensity and violence, cop(s) risk ever-increasing stakes (mostly in the form of their family/relationships and sanity) as they struggle to save everyone, killer taunts and teases and eventually overdoes it and gets caught – is pretty standard fare. That’s true here too, to a degree – but it’s the execution (no pun intended) that really made Meg Gardiner’s latest stand out for me. The characters are fantastic – just the right levels of creepy obsession on the sides of both good AND evil. The plot is perfectly paced. The reveals come just often enough that you think you know what’s coming next. And the writing is marvelous – easy to read (in language, if not always subject matter – the violence and aggression can be tough to read at times, but not inappropriately so), thoroughly engaging, and full of dark insights into human nature that resonate long after their pages are turned. This is a captivating tale and well worth the goosebumps!

Book Review and Author Q&A: Before the Court of Heaven by Jack Mayer

Today you’re in for a treat – a review AND some background and insights from the author! I’m pleased to introduce Jack Mayer and his historical fiction, Before the Court of Heaven – a novel based on the true story of a fascist assassin which explores Germany’s transition from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich.

The Book
The novel is based on the true story of a fascist assassin, Ernst Techow, and his complex and harrowing redemption. Techow participates in the 1922 murder of Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau, the highest-ranking Jew in the Weimar Republic. The novel is inspired by the history of how Germany’s Weimar democracy became the Third Reich. Ernst Techow’s history is also the tender story of his inextinguishable passion for his first love, Lisa. The book has won thirteen book awards, and is a cautionary tale on how ordinary people can becomes complicit in extraordinary crimes.

The Review
This is a deeply affecting story. Mayer is a very talented writer, and he really brings the history alive. The flow and pacing are precise and pitch-perfect. The characters are thoughtfully and carefully presented and throughout the development of the novel, the reader gets a very real sense of the personalities behind the history. Continue reading Book Review and Author Q&A: Before the Court of Heaven by Jack Mayer

Book Review: Target Omega by Peter Kirsanow

“Many Americans, it seems more of them every day, expect comfort as an inalienable right. They think their government can and should provide a subsistence. These Americans are not our concern. It is the segment of America that expects nothing more than freedom that is our concern. The cowboys. The United States may have its problems, but it still exists. The Soviet Union does not.”

This was a great thriller… Mike Garin’s talents are exceeded only by his charms – charms that he wouldn’t recognize, but that readers instantly will. He is a superman who remains human; a hero with his feet on the ground. Kirsanow has written a protagonist who is a perfect blend of uber-commando and everyman – I don’t know how he managed to keep his elite special forces operator from ever feeling over the top or too specialized to be relatable, because this is a character who is, quite literally, at the top of his game. He doesn’t skip a beat when his entire team is slaughtered, when his enemies seem to constantly be one step ahead of him, or even when he can’t find a single person to believe in him… Of course he ultimately does find a believer in his tale – and she turns out to be as unique as he is. From there, the drama and intrigue grow even thicker on the ground until the ultimate confrontation delivers a one-two punch that is just as action-packed as the rest of the book.
Continue reading Book Review: Target Omega by Peter Kirsanow



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