Book Review: Gods In the Ruins

Title: Gods in the Ruins
Author: E.R. Barr
Genre: Fiction; Historical Thriller
Year Published: March 21, 2021

Date Started: December 8, 2021
Date finished: December 10, 2021

This was one fascinating story. It’s about archeologist Fr. Daniel Aza and his friend, Swiss Guard Luca Rohner. Daniel was asked to investigate inscriptions on a tomb and invites his friend along. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding this tomb, and so much so that assassins were after them. There is a ring involved, one that was given to Daniel as a kid by his father. This ring carries some magical powers. There is also a political side to it, but not serious. It’s on the humor side which made the story all the more enjoyable.

I liked how the author opened the story with Daniel as a young kid. We learn about who he is and why it’s important to know him. As an adult, he is pulled into a situation he might not have been considered for if it weren’t for a certain language he was trained in as an archeologist. Personally, I felt Daniel came across very ordinary, but sometimes that’s what’s needed to create this type of story. He sort of just takes us through the story. Questions are asked/events are told and we observe these with Daniel. In the end, he ends up doing the right thing.

There is a lot going on in the story, and even though this is a fast-paced read, you have to really pay attention to the details. I’d have to say, I was most intrigued by the mash/mashing of the political figures, Christianity, and the Muslim religion. It was nicely done and had me smiling. I should also mention that the scene of the creature really had me. Most thrillers I’ve read don’t really go that direction. It gave the story a fantasy feel, which is something I love. If you enjoy stories about mystery tied with historical events or people with a touch a fantasy and humor, this one is it.

Who should read this book: If you enjoy historical stories with a bit of action, this one is pretty good.

Book Review: Rebels and Thieves

Title: Rebels and Thieves
Author: Russell Williams
Genre: Fiction; Crime Thriller
Year Published: December 29, 2018

Date Started: May 15, 2023

Date finished: May 17, 2023

This story follows Detective Rick Malone as he unravels the corruption behind an investment firm. Malone is a married man who’s having marital problems. His wife has expectations of him, but all he can think about is his work. When he finds out that one of his co-workers was murdered, plus a few other incidents that hit close to home, it ramped up his determination to take down the enemy. There were layers to the investment firm. The Russian mafia was determined to bank off this company and was willing to do whatever it took. Those who made the decision to work for the mafia found themselves in a tangled mess.

The buildup of this story was excellent. Rick Malone was well-developed and stayed true to his character. He was the perfect anti-hero. He took his job seriously and wanted to do his job well, but as far as being the perfect husband, it wasn’t so easy. His wife was a bit too demanding of him, plus the pressure from his boss and his dad added to his stress. There was so much coming at him, yet he was able to think straight and do what was right. He persisted and fought through it all.

This was one of my favorite detective crime thrillers. I loved how everything flowed and the characters had depth to them. The tension was there, the enemy was truly vicious. The pacing was on point. Nothing was given out, but nothing was withheld either. The story simply unfolded naturally and felt real. Loved everything about it.

Who should read this book: Anyone into crime thrillers who also enjoy a bit of family drama.

Book Review: Silent Thunder

Title: Silent Thunder
Author: Stephen C. Perkins
Genre: Sci-fi; Thriller
Year Published: February 12, 2023

Date Started: May 8, 2023
Date finished: May 10, 2023

This thriller kept me on my toes with all the wild things going on. The story follows CIA agent and assassin, Christopher Burell who uncovers an unusual creature/alien type living amongst humans. We go inside of a corporation who’s doing things they shouldn’t be doing. Christopher teams up with a few others to find the truth but there is so much chaos that it’s not as simple as it seems.

This was an exciting read full of action. I loved the political stuff thrown in. It was well done and created a truly chaotic, dystopian world. The detective work was excellent. I thought Christopher’s character development was on point. He stayed true to himself. He didn’t appear to know everything but he was good at his job. His assassin skills were great. I loved how he was portrayed. The other characters were also excellent. They didn’t have as much depth to them as I would have liked, but they all played well within the story. I also enjoyed how the story unfolded. It wasn’t pointed out right away, but I knew something big was going to happen. This kept me on my toes as I anticipated the outcome. Speaking of the outcome, it didn’t disappoint. Truly enjoyed it.

Overall, this book was action packed and moved at a pretty fast pace. It’s written well and hits all the spots of a sci-fi thriller. The author has a way of writing really exciting and fun thrillers. I’ve read his other books and have enjoyed them as well.

Who should read this book: Anyone who enjoys a fast-paces sci-fi thriller.

Book Review: Mother of Machines

Title: Mother of Machines: Carbon Sunset
Author: Tishaun Dawson
Genre: Sci-fi
Year Published: November 7, 2021

Date Started: December 21, 2021
Date finished: December 23, 2021

I’ve been wanting to read a sci-fi story with a female lead and this one came through. I didn’t read the first book, but based on some of the reviews it wasn’t necessary because it backtracked. I was still able to get the full story without reading it. The story is about Sanaa, a mechanic in the military. She learned about a government secret that she needed to tell the public. It was important that the people on earth knew the truth, so she did what she had to do and revealed this secret. The military wasn’t happy about it, so they tried to take her down. Being the one who controlled the machines, Sanaa had an advantage, but the military just wasn’t going to quietly go away. They were going to do whatever it took to get rid of her.

I enjoyed this story. The premise around robots and “aliens” was fascinating and gave it its own unique twist. The world building and character development may have needed a little bit more work on. I wanted to know more about Sanaa and why she made the choices she did. Her husband was on the quiet side, so it was also hard to figure out why she was with him and what his purpose was. At times, I felt like I had to fill in those pieces with my own experiences. I also found the idea behind the single person hero and a military that isn’t very intelligent a bit unrealistic. Thus, I gave this story a 4-star. Don’t get me wrong. This didn’t take away from the story. This was well written with a truly unique premise. I liked the main character and the fact that she was married and cared about the people. Overall, it’s definitely worth a read, especially if you’re a sci-fi fan.

Who should read this book: If you’re into sci-fi with a female lead or if you’ve never read a sci-fi with a female lead, you’ll enjoy this one.

Book Review: Significance

Title: Significance
Author: Tab Edwards
Genre: Nonfiction; Self-help
Year Published: May 13, 2022

Date Started: June 20, 2022
Date finished: June 21, 2022

This book focuses on life philosophies and how one should focus on the way they think and the things they do. The examples provided forces the reader to look at situations differently and to think about other meanings to those examples. The book contains quotes and references from scientists and philosophers who’ve studied the human behavior which provides the backbone to what the author wants the reader to understand. However, the science is not used as a theory or a study of, but rather, it’s used as a place to start philosophical conversations.

What I enjoyed about this book was that the author used Maslow’s Pyramid to begin some of his thoughts. It was very helpful to see Maslow’s law as a guiding tool for individual success. I also enjoyed how the author pointed out that it’s important to live to our fullest and to really focus on what we want in our lives to sustain happiness within ourselves. There were a few things that I really didn’t fully agree with though, and it could just be that I’ve misunderstood those points. Certain sections I felt contained negative undertones which I’m not sure if that was the purpose, but it seemed to belittle those who wanted to share their happiness. I’m of the mind that an individual has the right to enjoy their successes and achievements and are free to share it with whomever they want. It doesn’t mean they think they are better or more superior. It just means they are elated at having accomplished something. If other people are going to be sour (jealous) about someone else’s success, then it’s on them and they need to figure out what is making them so sour about seeing others succeed. I can understand the irritation with people on social media sharing every little detail of their lives (I agree, it’s too much and dangerous to the psych), but we don’t know their story. We don’t know if they are yearning for attention or if they have other underlying issues, but their cases are a little extreme and probably require help, which isn’t the same as someone simply being proud of achieving a goal.

Having said that, I am actually intrigued by this book. I found it to be excellent for debate and conversation. There were so many thought-provoking points that seriously had me thinking. The author touched on a lot of different areas of humanity which allows for an array of discussions.

Who should read this book: Anyone interested in understanding a different view on life based on philosophical thoughts.

Book Review: Silence in the Face of Injustice

Title: Silence in the Face of Injustice: A Vision of Mercy and Hope
Author: Gary W. Hardy
Genre: Nonfiction; Religious; Politics
Year Published: March 8, 2022

Date Started: June 25, 2022
Date finished: June 26, 2022

This book is about the injustice done to those who were wrongfully convicted of crimes involving sex. There is a ton of research and references in this book. It includes stories from a few sex offenders and how they were convicted wrongly as well as stories from the victims. It’s not a book to make you feel sorry for the wrongly convicted, or to even make you feel as though they should get a lighter sentence. It’s more so about a system that is corrupt, grouping all sex offenders, whether innocent or not, as all sex offenders for the rest of their lives. The book also covers how the author turned to religion to help him heal, and how he believes it could help others in similar situations.

The author’s research is well done. Parts of the book is read more like an academic book with data and charts to explain his points. It does touch a lot on religion but done so in an educational way and not at all preachy.

My overall feel is that this was a very educational book. I get the sense that there is something wrong with our justice system when it comes to something as black and white and as widely gray as sex offense. It definitely needs to be looked over and corrected. Grouping the innocent with those who are guilty is simply unfathomable. There is still so much to learn, especially in the area of psychology involving victims who become offenders. I’m glad the author wrote this book because it was an eye-opener.

Who should read this book: Anyone interested in learning about the American justice system and the unfairness in it that gets overlooked. It can also be beneficial to anyone interested in how religion can help heal those convicted wrongly.

Book Review: Thomas Jefferson Survives

Title: Thomas Jefferson Survives
Author: C.J. Hayek
Genre: Alternate Historical Fiction
Year Published: March 4, 2020

Date Started: June 30, 2022
Date finished: July 2, 2022

This is a story about an alternate history where Thomas Jefferson, through a special type of mushroom, slumbers waking up two centuries later to a world very different from what he is familiar with. He learns that his home is now a museum where people tour and learn about who he was and how he lived. He learns that some of the “facts” were not true and other “facts” were stretched a bit. The plot thickens when a group of criminals attempt to use technology to take over humanity thinking it would be wise to use Jefferson’s story to benefit their cause.

This was an interesting read. I found the historical facts throughout the book enjoyable. I also enjoyed the direction of the story. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I just couldn’t imagine how anyone could write an alternate world about Thomas Jefferson, but I’ve learned it can be done and done well. The writing style felt sort of mystery thriller and sci-fi military, which I found fit this type of storytelling perfectly. My only issue is that there were a lot of telling that could have either been eliminated or at least written as a monologue or something else. Other than that, it was a excellent.

I’ve always been a fan of alternate history and this one didn’t disappoint. Also, keep in mind that the story is not meant to be completely facts. It touches on facts but it’s fiction, so you have to take the story lightly. It’s meant to be enjoyed.

Who should read this book: Anyone who enjoys a little fun with alternate histories.

Book Review: Outsmart Your Addiction

Title: Outsmart Your Addiction
Author: Jason Giles M.D.
Genre: Nonfiction, Substance Abuse, Medical
Year Published: September 12, 2020

Date Started: July 7, 2022
Date finished: July 9, 2022

This book is about substance abuse and how to get a handle on it. It goes pretty in-depth on the psychology of the human behavior, the medical breakdown of how addiction impacts the brain and body, recovery, how addiction has become a huge medical and money craze in our society today, and so much more. The author shares his story of addiction and how he overcame it and became a substance abuse and addiction advocate to help those struggling through their recovery.

There is a lot of information in this book. At times it can feel like reading a medical journal. However, the author mixes his story—a sort of memoir/autobiography into it, so you’re both learning about him and all the medical jargon (and sometimes just plain medical terms) all at once. It’s extremely fascinating but overwhelming too. Substance abuse is a serious issue in our world today and this book provides very detailed information about how someone can become an addict and how difficult it is to recover. It’s also helpful that the author shares how he recovered and to prove that it can be done.

Overall, this was a good read. I found it very interesting how addiction works. I personally don’t have an addiction to anything, so for someone like me, looking at those who easily get addicted is a little strange. At one point the author mentioned that everyone has an addiction, something they can’t stop doing, or the more they do that thing the more they want more of it, but I can’t find anything I have not been able to stop doing, so a part of me finds it hard to believe that everyone has an addiction to something. However, I can understand that if you come from a place of addiction, you’d think everyone has an addiction to something. This is another side of psychology I’d like to understand more of. I think it’s great the author shared his story. I am drawn to people’s stories, their ups and downs, what they’ve overcome, family dynamics, etc. I would have loved to read more about the author, not so much about the medical stuff on addiction, but his emotional struggles with those he loved, those who knew of his addiction and guided him in the right direction, and those he was able to help or at least did all he could to help. The very minimal included in this book was what touched me the most.

Who should read this book: Anyone who’s interested in learning about how substance abuse can become a danger to oneself.

Book Review: The Maestro Monologue

Title: The Maestro Monologue
Author: Rob White
Genre: Self-help
Year Published: September 9, 2021

Date Started: July 12, 2022
Date finished: July 14, 2022

This is a self-help book to guide you to a more productive and satisfied life. It’s broken up into four parts and is very thorough about its purpose in each part. There are exercises in each part to help guide you through the process of finding your purpose and to get you to your happiness and continued happiness.

I really enjoyed reading this book and doing the exercises. The book reminded me of a seminar I attended a long time ago in which you have to look back to move forward. It’s the things in your childhood/younger years that are what’s holding you back, and in order to move forward and truly be happy with yourself, you have to revisit those moments and work through them because they have a lot of control over your choices in your current life. Sometimes we might feel that we are happy where we’re at but sometimes we are simply just kidding ourselves, but there’s no way of knowing one from the other. In order to know the difference, we have to allow ourselves to go into that vulnerable place and learn to turn the situation around.

There is so much to learn from this book. Even if you feel like you are at your happy place this book will open new ways to look at your current situation, your past, and your future. Any time you question your current situation, it’s always good to seek out guidance, and this book is an excellent book for that.

Who should read this book: Anyone looking to work on their happiness or just simply curious if they are truly in their happy place.

Book Review: Frankenstein 2035

Title: Frankenstein 2035
Author: Kev Freeman
Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy, Horror
Year Published: July 25, 2022

Date Started: July 29, 2022
Date finished: July 30, 2022

This is a story about a scientist named Beta who is on a mission to help cure her brother. She joins a group of other scientists with different specialties to locate a man who has been dead for 200 years. They believe they have the means to bring this man to life. For Beta, bringing this ancient man to life would mean a cure was achievable for her brother so she was willing to do whatever she could with her experience and knowledge to make it possible. Everything seems to be going as planned until it didn’t, and the situation turns extremely detrimental.

This was a fun read. The action and horror kept me on my toes. I was engrossed in it even though I’m not a huge fan of dark gory stories. This book was well written and very visual and kept me intrigued. I’m a huge fan of sci-fi and fantasy and this book hit the spot there. The description of the environment they were in was on point. I felt the chill and the cold and the freezing winds. I liked how the characters worked together as well as how they clashed. It was very realistic. This is a story that would make an excellent movie. It was truly well-done. The only thing I found that didn’t really grab me were the characters themselves, but that’s a personal thing. Overall, the characters were fine as they were. I would have just liked different depths to them.

Who should read this book: Totally recommend this book to anyone who likes books by Stephen King and movies like “Aliens.”