Showing posts with label action adventure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label action adventure. Show all posts

Book Review: The Vixen's Lead (Kit Davenport) by Tate James

The Vixen's Lead is the first book in the Kit Davenport series by Tate James.  This is a urban fantasy for adults that also fits well in the new adult niche. 

I want vengeance so badly that I can almost taste it. It's all I've ever wanted. So, I did what anyone in my unique position would do. I slapped on a secret identity and became an internationally renowned thief, known as The Fox. Nobody knows me. Nobody can catch me. Or so I thought. It turns out; I have what they want. Special abilities. And trust me, these abilities are coveted--and dangerous. Now, I don't know who to trust or where to go. Peril lurks on every corner as I try to uncover my past and origin. Teaming up with unlikely allies may be my only chance at survival or my biggest mistake. Only time will tell.

The Vixen's Lead started right in the midst of the action, with Kit stealing. At first it felt like a young adult adventure novel (since a private high school is one of the major settings) and I feared I was about to read yet another love triangle story. However, it was not long before I discovered that neither of these were true. Some young adults will enjoy this book, but I think it is better suited for new adults and adult readers. And a quick spoiler than some readers might appreciate- this series is not about a love triangle. Instead it is a why choose style romance. So depending on your preference for or against these I thought I'd let you know. Also, there is some serious abuse discussed so if you have related triggers when reading about trauma you might need to skip this one. 

I liked the world building, and while some bits are familiar to the urban fantasy genre, I liked some of the slightly different takes that James uses in the creation and revelation of the characters and the story line. Even at the end of the first book I feel like there are many more secrets and revelations about the world and the characters coming even though it already feels well built. I liked the handling of sensitive matters, and how honest the characters were about their relationships with each other. I am deeply invested in the characters, even more so than the danger and mystery, which is quite compelling. My biggest question is why it took me so long to get around to reading this book!

The Vixen's Lead is an engaging and entertaining read. I got sucked into the world, and as soon as I finished the first book immediately downloaded the rest of the series, and I am deep into the second installment. 

Book Review: The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman

The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman is a middle grade novel. When twelve-year-old Nick runs away from his uncle’s in the middle of a blizzard, he stumbles onto a very opinionated bookstore. He also meets its guardian, the self-proclaimed Evil Wizard Smallbone, who calls Nick his apprentice and won’t let him leave, but won’t teach him magic, either. It’s a good thing the bookstore takes Nick’s magical education in hand, because Smallbone’s nemesis—the Evil Wizard Fidelou—and his pack of shape-shifting bikers are howling at the borders. Smallbone might call himself evil, but compared to Fidelou, he’s practically a puppy. And he can’t handle Fidelou alone. 

The Evil Wizard Smallbone has complex characters and situations that kept me guessing for a bit, even with the amount of science fiction, fantasy, and mythology i have read. Nick has finally escaped a abusive house only to stumble into the care of the evil wizard Smallbone. He is made an apprentice and put to work doing all the menial tasks you might expect. However, there is much more the the wizard he works for than any might expect. the small town he lords over, and all its inhabitants are in his debt- but no one remembers why. Secrets and magic at at the heart of it all- including the wolves, coyotes, and bikers that want to destroy it all. Nick is not a simple boy, nor is Smallbones a simple wizard. They are much more than the stereotypical figures one might expect after the classic set up, and the other characters that play large roles in the excitement are all multidimensional as well. This includes the villagers, the bad guys, and even the pets and farm animals kept by Smallbones. I enjoyed the use of several creatures and ideas from mythology and fairy tales were used with different twists than normally seen. I also liked that I was genuinely surprised at a twist or two, but even when I expected an outcome it was done in a way that was completely enjoyable and worth the read.


The Evil Wizard Smallbone was so much more than I expected. The time between requesting a book from Netgalley and me reading it is sometimes long enough that I remember nothing of the initial blurb when I start to read, and this was the case here. I was very happy to discover a middle grade novel with complex characters, plot twists, and adventure. I can think of many readers, including reluctant readers that I will gladly recommend it too. I was so impressed with the character and world building that I am not ready to let go of this story at all. I am inspired to go back and read the previous books by the author. 

Book Review: Betrayed by a Kiss (An Unlikely Hero) by Kris Rafferty

Betrayed by a Kiss is the first book in the An Unlikely Hero series by Kris Rafferty. Marnie Somerville is sure Dane MacLain is just another bad guy. Her job as resident investigator at Whitman Enterprises is to track down the owners of delinquent accounts, but something about Dane’s case is off, and Marnie can’t resist a good mystery. The secret files and cover-up she finds after hacking her boss’s computer are more than she expected, and now she’s fleeing her former employer, right into Dane’s arms. Former detective Dane MacLain has spent the last year gathering intel against Whitman Enterprises, the company he believes responsible for his wife’s death. When a beautiful and intense woman shows up with information, Dane is willing to accept all she has to offer, especially when the help comes in such a sexy package. Caught in a deadly cat and mouse chase, Dane must do everything he can to protect Marnie as they run for their lives.

Betrayed by a Kiss is fairly fast paced, with plenty of danger and action. Marnie had been trying to go straight, only to discover that the company she worked for was worse than anyone she had worked with while she was growing up. Dane is a former cop that just cannot let go of the wrongs he knows exists, and whats to prove that they exist. They have each been through betrayals and danger in the past, but when Marnie tries to save Dane's life they end up working together to bring down Whitman Enterprises. I liked that we get to see Dane's daughter and sister, and that there is plenty of action and danger to keep things moving alone. I also like that Marnie seems to be a very complex character. She has a serious past and some crazy connections, but sometimes I felt like there must have been a previous book of something to connect people that seemed important to the story and had backstory that was not included in this story. The tension between our main players was high, and the intentions and decisions believable. It all fit together well, but I just did not connect to the characters or story, and found myself skimming over bits of the high action just to get to the resolution faster. I am not sure why the disconnect, there was nothing I can point to. It is perfectly possible it was my mood weather than the fault of the material.


Betrayed by a Kiss is one of those books that had everything, and should have been fantastic, but I just never really got invested in. There was nothing really wrong with it, but I never connected with the characters for some reason. It could have been just not the book I was in the mood for when I read it. I still cannot put my finger on what did not click for me. 

Book Review: Skeleton Island (Araminta Spookie) by Angie Sage

Skeleton Island is the seventh book in the Araminta Spookie series by Angie Sage. I have not read the entire series, I have only read book number one, My Haunted House, and book number six, Gargoyle Hall. I think newcomers could catch up quickly, but knowing some of the quirks of the characters beforehand does make the characters easier to understand. 

Araminta and her best friend Wanda are going on a school trip to Skeleton Island, a place rumored to be the site of a scary ghost shipwreck. And when the pair is stranded overnight, they discover that there might be more truth to the island's name than they would have preferred. Now some terrifying pirate skeletons are on the loose, and they want to take the girls down to Davy Jones's locker with them! Will Araminta, Wanda, and an unexpected friend be able to thwart the ghostly crew, avoid a watery fate, and maybe find some lost treasure to boot?

Skeleton Island is as entertaining and interesting as the previous books that I have read from this series. Araminta and Wanda are two very different girls, and best friends both because of and despite those differences. The have to deal with the normal school age struggles like family, bullies, and school work, however there is always a bit of a twist to Araminta’s view of the world. When they are stranded on Skeleton Island after a school trip the stories they had told about pirates, measure, and ghost seem to come true- but of course there is much more to the story than even they knew. I like that things are never as simple as they seem, and that smarts and compassion are what save the day.


Skeleton Island is a fun story with plenty of adventure and some scary fun. I think that readers that enjoy some spooky fun with their adventure will enjoy the read. 

Early Book Review: Prisoner of the Mind by Susan Staneslow Olsen

I am very fortunate to know a number of authors, which thus far I have avoided reviewing for because I did not want anyone to think positive reviews were biased, or if I did not like a book I was worried about hurt feelings or other complications. I am glad that I was asked by one such author, a coworker, to review and I agreed. Since we have fairly similar taste and fandoms I thought I would give it a go. Now I am both glad I did and disappointed that I did not read her work earlier. Finding another series to read is a double edged sword.

Prisoner of the Mind by Susan Staneslow Olsen currently scheduled for release in July 2016 and is the first book in a series. Rumors about the Kerasi and their violent society abound. Frustrated parents warned their children to stay in bed or a Kerasi might get them. They played marbles with real eyes, ate live toads the way decent people ate peanuts, and executed people just for walking down the street. The worst things Kerasi did didn’t kill you, but you wished they did. Aila Perrin knew that for a fact. A Union operative had been caught on Kerasím. The Kerasi returned him without incident. His mind had been tampered with, erased, until he didn’t have the sense to feed himself. When thirteen year old Aila finds herself abducted by the Kerasi, she has every right to be terrified for her life. But even bad things aren’t always what they seem, and as Aila is drawn deeper and deeper into the Kerasi’s plot, she can’t help but wonder who the worst offenders are; the patriots fighting to free their own people, or her own precious Union that wants to keep them down. Can Aila forgive her captors and save a race of people without sacrificing her own?

Prisoner of the Mind is the first in a series, so there is some serious world and character building.  For some reason the world building reminded me a bit of Jim Butcher's style, even though the world and plot are nothing like his works. Aila is an outspoken, intelligent girl that takes her privilege and independence a bit for granted. The Kerasi culture is one that depend heavily on a caste system, and women are typically thought little of. When Aila is kidnapped the two worlds collide and the reader gets to see both sides of the coin, the pros and cons of both the Union and Kerasi way of life. I liked that we get in the heads of several people, giving us a good glimpse of the big picture.  The cultures and personalities were very well described, but at no time was it overwhelming of boring. Aila grows up quite a bit in the story, as one tends to when held hostage, but she is not the only character that grows and changes. I think the connection she makes with those she comes in contact with, some of which were technically her enemies, and her understanding of the larger picture even though she is fairly young was somehow both realistic and hopeful. In fact, I think the state of the societies in the book show a realistic pairing of the fear and hope that seems inherent in humanity and politics. While there is a huge, important social statement here, the story is not heavy handed or preachy (which often happens) instead it is a fantastic story that just happens to say something huge to readers that are willing to listen.


Prisoner of the Mind had me think about the character and world long after I finish the book. I actually had dreams about the characters and had trouble letting go of them enough to get into my next read. I highly recommend the book, and cannot wait to see where the story goes from here. It is an all around great read that is both entertaining and thought provoking. 

Book Review: The 39-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton, Stig Wemyss

The 39-Storey Treehouse is a children's book written by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton, and the audiobook is narrated by Stig WemyssBoth formats have something to recommend them, but I will save that for the end of the review. This is the third installment in Andy and Terry’s book series about their ever-growing treehouse. While it is more fun to read in order, it is not necessary. The action and zaniness come through just fine without having read the previous book. The previous books are The 13-Storey Treehouse and The 26-Storey Treehouse.

Andy and Terry’s amazing treehouse has 13 new levels including a chocolate waterfall, a non-erupting active volcano, an opera house, a baby-dinosaur petting zoo, Andy and Terry’s Believe it or Else! museum, a not-very-merry merry-go-round, a boxing elephant called the Trunkinator, an X-Ray room, a disco with light-up dance floor, the world’s scariest roller-coaster and a top secret 39th level that hasn’t even been finished yet! Part of the unfinished treehouse is the "once upon a time" machine to help them meet their latest book deadline. But, as usual things go a bit awry and adventure ensues.

The 39-Storey Treehouse is the third installment of the series, and is just as funny as the previous adventures. I think the action in this book is actually a bit more intense than that of the previous books, although there is plenty of silly fun and entertaining illustrations (or wacky voice acting) as well. I got a kick out of the new inventions, and the new characters. The inclusion, and then un-inventing, of things like hot ice cream and a cross between frogs and hippos made my kids and I laugh more than once. I do not want to expose all the fun in this installment- just know that if you liked the humor and style of the first two books, this installment has all that and more.


The 39-Storey Treehouse is another winner for fans of silly reads with great action. If you (or your kids) liked the previous books and like illustrated chapter books then this book will keep everyone happy. My son keeps rereading this one, because he notices new or different details in the book every time!

Blog Tour with Excerpt and Giveaway: Synching Forward by W. Lawrence

Synching Forward by W. Lawrence

1st Place for 2015 Feathered Quill Award, Science Fiction/Fantasy
Finalist in the 2014 Book Pipeline Contest

Description:
--Travel to the future - it will only cost you everyone you love.--

Attacked and injected with a drug which slows his metabolism to a fraction of normal, Martin James becomes an unwilling time traveler who hurtles through the years. His children grow up, his wife grows older, and his only hope is finding the people who injected him in the first place- not an easy task when one day for Martin lasts four years. And while Martin James strives to find a cure before everyone he loves is gone, others are uncertain if his journey can be stopped at all.

W. Lawrence weaves a dystopian future filled with the best and worst of humanity, highlights the blessings and curses of technology, and pushes the limits of faith and hopelessness. Above all,Syncing Forward is a tale of one man's love for his family, and their devotion to saving him from being lost forever.



PURCHASE



Excerpt:
Bella’s sentences were all blended together, and before I could respond she was being pulled from the room by my wife. I blinked hard and flapped my eyelids to keep them from stinging and—hopefully—to clear my head. I tried yawning to pop my ears, thinking perhaps they were clogged. A second later Dave stood by the bedside, shaking my arm.
“Martin Martin are you okay can you hear me what’s wrong Buddy you’re not looking so hot can you please just say—” Dave was talking as if on fast-forward, his words riding one upon another.
“Slow down,” I started to say, trying to cut through their rapid speech and the concern on their faces. “I feel very strange—”
The nurse cut me off. My voice sounded raspy in my own head, and low-toned.
“Martin why are you talking so slow do you understand what I am saying?”
“Yeah, but you can’t talk so fast—”
“I need you to tell me what you’re feeling right now.”
I tried to get a word in edgewise. “I’m trying to answer, if you would let me—”
Amara had been standing in the doorway, watching the chaos from a distance after being yanked into the hallway by somebody on the staff. She ran back into the room with the hospital worker chasing after her. “Daddy why are you talking like that are you fooling around you’re fooling right come on Daddy tell the truth you are playing right you are pretending right Daddy?”
“No, sweetie, I’m not. I don’t—” I couldn’t even finish one sentence as the girls kept talking over me. The woman grabbed Amara with both hands and pulled her kicking and screaming from the room, her face flushed with anger as they rapidly sank backward toward the hallway. “Let go of my kid!” I tried to yell, but the command stalled in my throat and sputtered out like a whisper.
“Leavehimaloneleavehimalonenowstopit!”
“We’vegottotransporthimtothelabrightnow . . .”
“Wherearewemovinghimto?”
“Ma’amyouneedtocalmdownandtakeyourchildrenoutofhere—”
The room became a swirl of battered sentences strung together and overlapping. The doctors and nurses took the foreground, asking me questions, never waiting long enough for me to answer. For 
split seconds I could catch the movement behind them. Miranda was holding onto Amara now, dragging her from view. The hospital worker was bent over the crying face of Bella.
“Belladon’tworryyourfatherisgoingtobefinethesemenareheartohelphimit’sokayit’sokaydon’tbescaredcomeonlet’sgowithyourmomandsisterokay?”
“. . . thereisnosignofastrokewe’veplacedacalltoLangleyyesIunderstand . . .”
“. . . sealoffthisareafromvisitors . . .”
“. . . goingtoneedtotransporthim . . .”
Life turned sideways as they wheeled my gurney from the room and raced to the rooftop. Tears were building in my eyes again. I had to resign myself to quick glimpses of the world as I shut my lids and peeked from behind them when something caught my ear or moved me enough to rouse my curiosity.
By the time they got me into the medivac helicopter, I finally understood what Bruchmuller had injected me with. Those four syringes were the culmination of what these doctors had been researching. The world wasn’t speeding up; I was slowing down.
I had become the rat.






ABOUT THE AUTHOR

W. Lawrence's Website / Twitter Facebook  / Goodreads

W Lawrence was born in San Francisco, California, and moved two dozen times before settling in Pennsylvania with his extraordinarily patient wife and two precocious daughters. He wants a boy dog. He works in the world of corporate security as an investigator and professional interviewer/interrogator.

Lawrence is obsessed with 5K zombie runs, comes home empty-handed from hunting turkeys, and loves non-fiction books about pirates. He has no problem reconciling that his two favorite shows are Downton Abbey and The Walking Dead.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY






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Book Review: In the Company of Wolves by Paige Tyler

In the Company of Wolves by Paige Tyler is the third book in the SWAT series. While each book can stand well on its own, I find that having a little prior knowledge of the characters ahead of time, and how the SWAT team work with and relate to each other, makes the read even better. The first two books are Hungry Like the Wolf and Wolf Trouble.

There's a new gang of criminals in town who are organized and ruthless in the extreme. When Eric Becker, along with the rest of the Dallas SWAT team, ends up in the middle of a shootout, he immediately senses werewolves-a lot of them. Turns out, the new bad guys are a pack of wolf shifters. In a spray of gunfire, Becker comes face-to-face with the most gorgeous woman he's ever seen. Becker does the logical thing. He hides her and leaves the scene with the rest of his team. Jayna Winston has no idea why that SWAT guy helped her, but she's glad he did. Ever since she and her pack mates got mixed up with those Eastern European mobsters, everything had pretty much fallen apart. So what's a street-savvy thief like Jayna going to do with a hot alpha-male wolf who's a police officer?
In the Company of Wolves is as high action and suspenseful as the previous books in the series. Becker is a good alpha, but I do not really feel like we got any new insights into him. We get to see his house, hear how he was turned, and see what a great guy he is. However, I never really feel like we got to know him as much as we get to know Jayna. We get to witness her traumatic turning and get deep into the trouble her pack has found itself in. I feel like we get a better look at the inner feelings of Jayna and her packmate Meghan than anyone else. the action was high, the story was a page turner with me catching my breath on occasion. I enjoyed the book, I just felt less of an emotional understanding or attachment to the characters than I had hoped for. It was still a satisfying read, but not as enthralling as I expected.

In the Company of Wolves is a little different from the previous books in the series, because we do not get to see much of the SWAT team as a whole. However, we still get plenty of high action, danger, and werewolves. The characters and action are on par with the series so far, and i am interested to see who finds their One next.

Book Review: The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher

The Aeronaut's Windlass is the first book in The Cinder Spires series by Jim Butcher. The audiobook is narrated by Euan Morton.

The official blurb reads, "Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory. And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…"

The Aeronaut's Windlass is much more than the blurb leads you to expect. The story is written through multiple points of view, and while Captain Grimm is very important and a major player in the story there are also guard cadets Gwen Lancaster and Bridget Tagwynn who each have their own significant back stories and roles to play. There is also Gwen's cousin Guard Lieutenant Benedict Sorellin-Lancaster,  the young female Etherialist Apprentice Folly and her master, and last but far from least Rowl of the Nine Claws- a cat and Bridget's protector. Each character is multidimensional and faces their own trials as well as the mutual effort to protect their home from invading marines.  There is a good abount of world building, even more character development, and still more action. There are air abattles, street fights, fires, battles against powerful creatures and unknown forces. There is magic, technology, and good old fashion bravery at every turn. Very much a solid read that one can sink their teeth into, and very much something from Jim Butcher.

The Aeronaut's Windlass is a thick and impressive venture. Butcher manages to cover all the world building without overwhelming the reader. The amount of information about the Spires and society of the world introduced is covered pretty neatly. It is the number of characters and the depth of each that might be a little overwhelming to readers. However, as characters and their interactions are what makes a book for me, I was thrilled with the overall effect. To top that off there are so many battles and struggles, including those of sheer will, that never let the tension lessen. I am very much looking forward to the continuation of this series, though I hope Butcher keeps up his quality of the Dresden Files series as well.

Book Review: Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces by Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces is the 5th book in the Kitty Hawk series by Iain Reading. I absolutely love this series, but highly recommend reading it in order. that is more important with this installment than any of the previous books.  The other books could all pass as stand alones, but knowledge of the previous adventures really makes this one.

In this volume our teenage seaplane pilot and amateur detective Kitty Hawk continues her epic flight around the world. After meeting up with an old friend in the eternal city of Rome, Kitty Hawk unexpectedly stumbles (almost literally) into a bizarre mystery involving creepy disembodied voices, secret hidden rooms, unbreakable mathematical codes, ominous chain-smoking strangers and an array of plundered artworks by such famous masters as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Vincent van Gogh. With the help of friends both old and new, Kitty Hawk follows a trail of cryptic clues that leads her on a breathless tour across a quintessentially European landscape, from ancient Roman Italy to the darkest corners of Germany, Austria, and beyond. As with the previous books in the series, this new installment is filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history.

Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces is fast paced and intriguing mystery. Kitty and Charlie (who we first met in book 1) meet up in Rome and find themselves deeply embroiled in a new mystery. Missing masterpieces are noticed on the walls of a new friend's home. Soon a mysterious radio message, thieves, car and scooter chases, and a grand tour of several European cities keep the characters and the readers on the edge of their seats. I love that readers get to learn bits of history and obscure knowledge as we follow along with Kitty on her adventures. I also liked that this installment had a little less of Kitty talking to herself, and more of her thinking about some of the darker moments of our global history. I also like that readers that get really involved can easily google along and follow up with the resources and information included at the end of the book.

Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces is another fantastic installment to Kitty's adventures. if you enjoy mysteries, particularly those that teach real history along the way, this is a must read series. Middle grade readers through adult readers can fully enjoy this series and sleuth along with Kitty. I am both eager to see how Kitty's trip will end, and sad to know that it will.

There are currently 5 books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon GoldKitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's GhostKitty Hawk and the Icelandic IntrigueKitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic, and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces

Book Spotlight: The Shadow of the Revenaunt by Paul E. Horsmon



SYNOPSIS
The night before his Coming-of-Age, Ghyll and his two friends escape their castle on a clandestine boar hunt that will forever change their lives. The hunt proves a disaster, and with one of them badly wounded, they return just in time to see their island castle destroyed by macabre warriors from a dragon boat, and by flocks of fire-breathing birds. Ghyll's eighteenth birthday turns into a nightmare as they flee into the night.
Now begins an epic journey to find out who is trying to kill them – and most importantly, why?
Fortunately, they can count on the help of new friends, including a sometimes overly enthusiastic fire mage, an inexperienced paladin and a young beastmistress who is also a ferocious mountain lioness. It soon becomes clear that not one but several sorcerers want to kill them. Are those blackrobes really followers of a terrible, long-forgotten organization?
SYNOPSIS
And whose cold hand reaches across the boundaries of space and time to crush weakened Rhidauna?
How did his parents and brothers die? Where their deaths really accidents, or were they killed? These questions young Ghyll Hardingraud must answer before he can ascend Rhidauna's throne.
Ghyll’s search for the truth leads him and his Companions on a journey back to the past as he slowly unravels a dark conspiracy.
Once crowned, the young King Ghyll still has to finish the mission his dead uncle imposed on him. The journey takes him and his trusted friends through inhospitable lands and dangerous swamps to the endless steppes of Zihaen, looking for the Voice from the West. He discovers he isn't the only one. His vindictive enemy pursues him, aided by undead forces.

PURCHASE


The Author

Picture

Paul's  Website / Twitter Facebook Goodreads 

Paul E. Horsman (1952) is a Dutch and International Fantasy Author. Born in the sleepy garden village of Bussum, The Netherlands, he now lives in Roosendaal, a town on the Dutch-Belgian border.

He has been a soldier, a salesman, a scoutmaster and from 1995 till his school closed in 2012 a teacher of Dutch as a Second Language and Integration to refugees from all over the globe.

Being unemployed and economically overage, yet still some years away from retirement, he is a full-time writer of epic light fantasy adventures. His books are both published in the Netherlands, and internationally.

Early Book Review: Too Hard to Handle by Julie Ann Walker

Too Hard to Handle is the eighth book in the Black Knights Inc. series by Julie Ann Walker. It is currently scheduled for release on September 1 2015. I would not recommend starting the series here, as the main players have some serious back story that is very important to the story, along with a larger story arch that is just starting to get very intense. Readers that have already read the first book in Walkers newest series, Hell or High Water, will have even more recognition and satisfaction of the larger story arch.

Dan "The Man" Currington is back in fighting form with a mission that takes him four thousand miles south of BKI headquarters, high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. He's hot on the trail of a rogue CIA agent selling classified government secrets to the highest bidder, when Penni DePaul (who fans of the series will recognize) arrives on the scene. Suddenly the stakes are higher, and keeping Penni safe becomes Dan's number one priority. A lot has changed since former Secret Service Agent Penni DePaul last saw Dan. Now a civilian, she's excited about what the future might hold. But before she can grab onto that future with both hands, she has to tie up some loose ends-namely, Dan Currington, the man she just can't forget. And a secret that's going to change both their lives-if they can stay alive, that is.

Too Hard to Handle is a satisfying addition to the BKI series. I have been eagerly awaiting this story, to see Penni and Dan find each other again and see things through. Penni ending up in the midst of an operation that will lead then to the person responsible for the catastrophe that neither can forget is not completely unexpected, but is well done. There was high action and we get a look at how deep the corruption and evil causing so much trouble is rooted. The multilayered connections and changes of narrator could get confusing, I will admit to reading a couple passages more than once because of the differing perspectives and trying to figure out the larger puzzle before it all played out. While Penni does not reveal her big secret until the end, but I rather suspected what it was well before she finally revealed it. I think most readers will have the same experience with that part of the story, but suspense and efforts Penni and Dan make to come together that that a minor blip in my enjoyment.

Too Hard to Handle is a very well done addition to a very complex and realistic world created by Walker. While each book might be satisfying on its own, I would not recommend reading them as stand alones. The greater story is so well woven through the series that it would be a shame to read only part of it. I am looking forward to the continuation of this story, and how the rest of our BKI characters find their happy ever after. This is a must read for fans of Walker's work. If you love suspense, fast action, complex plots and characters, and hot love connections then I would highly recommend this series as a whole.
 

Young Adult Adventure Novels: Tales of Survival and Adventure for Teen Readers

Young Adult readers have many different media sources marketing to them today. Getting them to read can become increasingly difficult if they do not already enjoy reading. Adventure and survival stories are often the genre of books that will capture the imagination and interest of the more reluctant readers of this age group. Here are five of the best adventure books to offer your reluctant teen reader.


The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi offers readers a female lead on the high seas. The story that takes place during an 1802 transatlantic journey that turns mutinous and even more dangerous than expected. Thirteen-year-old Charlotte must decide whom to side with and find her courage in order to survive. This is a fantastic historical novel with a real feel for the time and place of the story as well as the emotions of the lead character. Thankfully, if your reader enjoys this book Avi is a prolific writer of quality historical and realistic fiction.

Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt is the first book in the Tillerman series. Four siblings must find a way to survive when they are abandoned by their mother in the middle of Connecticut. They struggle to find their great aunt in Bridgeport only to discover that she has past away and the home is not the safe haven that they had hoped to reach. This is a story of survival, family and discovering the history of where you have come from. If your readers enjoy this book, they can continue reading about these siblings in the six books that follow.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen focuses of thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson. He is riding in a two person aircraft when the pilot haws a heart attack and dies. Brian must crash land the plane then survive in the Canadian wilderness alone. He must plan ahead, survive and find his way home with only the hatchet his mother gave him as a gift, a tattered windbreaker and clothing. Life and death situations are frequent and Brian discovers how to move past self-pity and survive. Paulsen is a master of description and shows his skill in Hatchet. He also wrote several other books that fans of Hatchet would enjoy, such as Dogsong.

The Island on Bird Street by Uri Orlev brings World War II to life. Alex is on his own in a ruined home in the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw. He must find a way to stay hidden and survive. The book is an easy but enthralling read that really gives readers a human connection to the holocaust. Alex is a courageous and resourceful character that holds on to his faith that his father will somehow return. The Island on Bird Street is inspiring and everyone should have an opportunity to read it. Do not cheat and just watch the movie, the book is well worth adding to your permanent collection.

The Cay by Theodore Taylor is a historical novel that tells the story of eleven-year-old Philip fleeing his home when war comes to close to comfort. The ship is torpedoed and he is left blinded from the blast and adrift with a cat and black ship hand. They eventually make it to a deserted island where Philip learns to deal with his lost eyesight and grow to realize who unimportant skin color is. Philip grows as a person and becomes able to fend for himself despite his blindness. Survival, unexpected friendship and adventure on the ocean make the book a great read for young adults especially.