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Saturday, November 29, 2014



Review of Daimones by Massimo Marino

Overview from Could Dan Amenta be the last man alive on the planet? Death has swept away the lives of billions of people, but Dan and his family were spared. By whom, and why?
Surviving, to give meaning to their lives, and looking for other survivors lead Dan to discover the truth about the extermination of the human race.
The encounter with Laura, a young and sexy girl of Italian origin, raises ethical and moral questions that had never touched the Amentas family before.
Other survivors force Dan to confront his past to find answers to the many questions.
The past and the present come together and upset the fragile balance, physical and mental, which allowed the Amentas to find a new meaning to their existence.
Dan discovers his final role in a plan with million years roots. Planet Earth is in the hands of an ancient power, and the survivors have to choose a future that has no past, or remain in a past with no future.

My Review:

The world ends not with a bang but with a whimper, or has it? Our main character Dan and his family wake up to find that everyone around them has inexplicably died. After driving back home, he must go in to survival mode and figure out the best way to take care of his family.

Miraculously, the Internet and other forms of technology still seem to be working so he attempts a Facebook ad campaign to see if any other survivors are around. He also conducts sweeps of the area while out looking for supplies to sustain his wife, himself and his daughter.

When he finds that there are in fact a few other survivors is he ready to deal with the consequences of an encounter with any of them? And what about the strange beings seen walking around the areas that seem to take an unnatural interest in the dead bodies?

The story is a first book in a trilogy and though I think I enjoyed this one, I really can’t see myself reading the whole series. I was somewhat disappointed in the ending to this one. I didn’t understand a lot of the scientific thought process that went behind it.

On the other hand, there was at least more closure in this story than you might find in my other novels in a series. I guess I just didn’t really get it. I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to give the ending away.

Unlike other reviewers I didn’t find the fact that the characters were scared of encountering other survivors when they hadn’t actually encountered any to be unbelievable. With all the looting and fear that would have accompanied these mass deaths I don’t think it would be unreasonable for the main characters to think someone might want to take the things that they had stored up in an effort to make sure that they too survive.

If you like science fiction or dystopian this book just might be for you. However if you are put off by sexuality or bad language you might want to give it a pass. I’d appreciate any comments you might have, particularly after you’ve read it.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Budapest House

The Budapest House: A Life Re-Discovered

Review of The Budapest House by Marcus Ferrar

Overview from A Hungarian Jew traumatised by the loss of half her family in Auschwitz returns to Budapest to retrace her roots. She discovers a dramatic personal history that enables her eventually to shed the burden of her past and move forward to a new life.
This is a true story of human beings caught up in the maelstrom of 20th century history – the Nazis, genocide, Cold War, dictatorship, and the struggle to make new lives after the fall of Communism.
Told with great sympathy and warmth, this well researched book brings history to life by recounting the experiences of ordinary men and women confronted with daunting challenges.

My Review:

The Budapest House is the story of Frances Pinter as well as the author, Marcus Ferrar. I think I picked this book up a few weeks ago and thought that it was going to be something else entirely.

It was nonfiction rather than fiction and it starts out a little slowly. The preface, I think, tries to explain the who mostly. It answers the question: Who is Frances Pinter? What is she like? I meanwhile kept wondering about the why and what. What is the Budapest House and why is it important? More importantly, why did I even pick up this book?

I confess I skipped over this part initially when I realized it wasn’t going to answer my question and went straight to chapter one. It seemed more interesting.

I discovered that The Budapest House is so much more than the story of a house; it is the physical embodiment of Frances’ quest to connect with her Hungarian and Jewish ancestry. We are told that she feels most at home in England though she spent much of her childhood years in the United States and Switzerland.

Somehow that lack of knowing leaves an ache in her to know more, to understand, what life was really like in Hungary for her family—both those who left the country and the ones who stayed behind. When she inherits the house of her grandparents made possible by her mother’s early death, she decides that now is the time to look, to ask, and to find out.

She finds out that she still has a cousin of two in the country and decides to ask them when she arrives in Budapest. She learns more that she bargains for while also being forced to deal with the house’s most notorious (and I think the only) resident, a man called Berkesi. He worked for the secret police during the years of Communism as well as writing Cold War spy novels that the Communists presumably approved of.

While Frances tries to complete the projects assigned to her by George Soros, she must now deal with his demands as she is forced to become his next door neighbor, a neighbor who is unwilling to move out.

She travels all over Eastern Europe for Soros but never forgets her beloved house. It may not be much to others but to her it is her history. She continues to return, year after year, hoping for the day when she will have that moment when something important dawns on her and she at last feels like she belongs.

There are parts of this book that intrigued me a lot but there were some that bored me. I don’t remember which chapter it was but it was somewhere in the middle. I had to force myself to pay attention. So I recommend this book only to those who don’t need constant action in their narratives. I learned more about Hungary in this book than I have known about it my whole life.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Reason to Live

A Reason to Live       

Review of A Reason to Live by Matthew Iden

Overview from In the late nineties, a bad cop killed a good woman and DC Homicide detective Marty Singer got to watch as the murderer walked out of the courtroom a free man. 
Twelve years later, the victim's daughter comes to Marty begging for help: the killer is stalking her now.
There's just one problem: Marty's retired...and he's retired because he's battling cancer. But with a second shot at the killer--and a first chance at redemption--Marty's just found A Reason To Live.

My Review:

Retired Detective Marty Singer of the D.C. police has settled down to a quiet life of early retirement due to his recent cancer diagnosis when he is once again thrust back into the police work he left behind. First he ends up smack dab in the middle of a fight outside of a coffee shop. Then he is approached, immediately following the fight, by former victim Amanda Lane.

Ms. Lane tells him that she believes she is being stalked by the man who killed her mother years ago and got away with it. That’s when he knows that she has him. This case has been eating away at him for years. He had always wanted a second chance at it and now it seems that he has it.

Against his better judgment, he agrees to take it on. Only he can’t do it as a cop. It is strictly protection detail only. While he’s at he’ll do a little behind the scenes detective work. The sooner he finds the killer, Michael Wheeler, the sooner his job as a body guard/unlicensed private detective is done.

But is he up to the job? He enlists the help of a few detectives on the force but after his first chemo treatment wipes him, he wonders how he can protect young Amanda if he can’t even stay awake during the day. He gives Amanda the choice to keep him on or get someone else and she chooses to keep him. He continues investigating and hopes that he won’t let her down.

The plot is the strongest feature of the story. It was engaging and kept me turning the pages wanting to know what happened next. The ending was also not what I was expecting but didn’t seem too much out of left field.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense coupled with believability. I lived in the D.C. area for a while and from what I know about it most of it seems to be accurate, especially the part about the terrible drivers. The only caveat is that there is some of strong language in here. If the story weren’t so good, that might have stopped me. Readers who don’t mind this so much would probably like this book.

Contains: strong foul language, including f bombs; some sexuality, violence

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hornet Flight

Hornet Flight       

Review of Hornet Flight by Ken Follett

Overview from "It's June 1941, and the low point of the war. England throws wave after wave of RAF bombers across the Channel, but somehow the Luftwaffe is able to shoot them down at will. The skies - indeed, the war itself seem to belong to Hitler." "But on a small Danish island across the North Sea, Harald Olufsen, a bright eighteen-year-old with a talent for engineering, stumbles upon a secret German installation. Its machinery is like nothing he has ever seen before, and he knows he must tell someone - if he can only figure out who." "With England preparing its largest aerial assault over, what Harald has discovered may turn the course of the war - but the race to convey the information could have terrible consequences for everyone close to him: For his older brother Arne, a pilot in the grounded Danish air force and already under suspicion of the authorities. For Arne's fiancee, Hermia, an MI6 intelligence analyst desperate to resurrect the foundering Danish resistance. And most of all, for Harald himself, because as the hour of the assault approaches, it will all fall to him and his friend Karen to get the word to England. And the only means available to them is a derelict Hornet Moth airplane abandoned in a ruined church, a plane so decrepit that it is unlikely ever to get off the ground." Pursued by the enemy; hunted by collaborators with almost no training, limited fuel, and no way of knowing if they can even survive the six hundred-mile flight, the two will carry with them England's best - perhaps only - hope to avoid disaster.

My Review:

I am happy to say that I am back with a Historical Fiction offering this week. Although I like to read a wide range of genres, Historical Fiction is my favorite. The only way to make it better is when authors sometimes combine the two.

However, that is not the case in the Hornet Flight by Ken Follett which is what I am reviewing this week. Our story begins in June of 1941 when it might have seemed that Britain stood alone against Hitler’s Nazi party which was bent on world domination.

The story seems to give almost equal time to all of the main characters therefore it is hard for me to pin it down to one protagonist. We start however with Digby Hoare. He works on the staff of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. And he along with the Prime Minister is trying to figure out how it is that the Germans have been able to annihilate them with such precision recently.

Enter the mission. The mission begins with Hermia and Poul. Hermia works in England while Poul is in Denmark, the country Hermia had just escaped from when the Nazis invaded. But when Poul is discovered Hermia must find someone else to take his place and she can think of no one else other than her fiancé Arne who she previously thought to be too happy go lucky for the job.

Arne’s younger brother Harald discovers the plot and realizes he can help since he has seen the German installation that the British are interested in. He demands to be included and gets his wish at great cost to himself and everyone he trusts.

Meanwhile Peter Flemming, a Danish policeman out to make a name for himself under the new regime, discovers the brother’s involvement. Having borne a grudge against the family for years, he is elated to now have a reason to strike his revenge. But will he stop them in time to prevent the British from gaining the upper hand in the war?

My verdict on the story is mixed. The main plus of course besides the interesting characters is the plot itself. The action kept me turning the pages and anxious to see if each character will live as the baton is passed to the next as Hermia herself scrambles to try to figure out who has it. It was very entertaining.

On the negative side, I had my doubts about the historical accuracy of the story and a quick Internet search did not help.  I am however still recommending it to those who are ok with a few f bombs and the sexuality that was in it. For me it was a bit much but not enough that I stopped reading the story.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Goddess Legacy

Goddess Legacy       

Review of The Goddess Legacy by M. W. Muse

Overview from Legacy Kore is an average seventeen year old with your basic insane crush on the hottest guy in school... rather Adin Shepard was the hottest guy in school before he graduated a couple of weeks ago. Now it's summer vacation and she's not sure when she'll get to see him again. Until he shows up at her surprise seventeenth birthday party. Cue saliva glands--it's time to drool.
But her giddiness is cut short when her guardian delivers an emotional blow, telling Legacy her mother hadn't died when she was baby, but that she'd left for Legacy's protection all those years ago. After the initial shock, she expects some story about how her mother was in the Witness Protection Program or something else just as crazy, but when she's told that her mother is a Greek Goddess and that Legacy is changing into one too, she thinks her guardian needs a trip to a mental hospital. Legacy a goddess? Um, yeah. Right. And her BFF is the Easter Bunny.
While trying to make sense out of something that was impossible to believe, Adin asks Legacy out on a date. She is thrilled that her fantasy might become a reality, but when she meets the new guy in town, River, she discovers everything isn't always as it seems, and the legacy she wants just might not be the legacy she is destined to have.

My Review:

Goddess Legacy is the story of one young girl’s journey on her way to become a goddess. Legacy Kore is seventeen years old when she hears the strange story from her guardian that she will become a goddess by her eighteenth birthday.

Dismissing it as crazy at first, Legacy, tries her best to continue on with her life, especially now that dreamboat Adin has asked her out. But when she meets River, another soon to be Greek god, things get even weirder. She also begins to wonder whether her parents are actually alive after all.

The story is an unusual entry into the Fantasy genre since we are dealing with deities rather than dwarfs, elves and fairies. It does however; feature the typical love triangle that we saw in Twilight and many others.

Legacy seems to have admired Adin all her life and thought her feelings were not returned but after her birthday she discovers that she was wrong. He confesses that he has liked her for a long time and so it seems that they might live happily ever after until River comes into the picture. He is the son of Legacy’s boss who also professes love for her and after realizing that she and River do share a bond, she wonders whether she will ever be sure about choosing Adin.

Meanwhile she is trying to work out what her role as a Greek goddess of the future will be and wonders whether or not she will ever she her mother again.

The plot of the story is a good one, even with the love triangle. I know it sounds weird but I am really sick of love triangle. I don’t know many people who are one so they often seem unrealistic and I keep wondering who are these women that can seem to make up their minds about who they want?

There are however, a few things that I don’t like. Some chapters, particularly the first one, seem to be too heavy with the backstory. I really don’t want to know the protagonist’s every thought, especially when they seem mundane.

Plus I agree with other reviewers that there is just too much about Legacy’s dates with Adin. I mean every minute detail is in there practically and it gets a little boring. I found myself skipping over those parts. I liked that they decided to take it slow in their relationship but we readers don’t really want to hear exactly how slow it is either. There should have been more emphasis on the Greek mythology, especially the part about Legacy’s boss trying to kill her, and less on every little touch between the lovers.

If you want a good, fast-paced, well developed story uses Greek mythology as a base; I would recommend the Sweet Venom series. I have already reviewed two of those books. I just discovered that the third has come out as well so I will have to check it out too.

So in summary, I would recommend this one only if you like Greek mythology or teen romances that are mostly a tease. And, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under fifteen. Let me know what you think.

Contains: some language and sensuality.