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: The Stroke of Winter

Title: The Stroke of Winter
Author: Wendy Webb
Genre: Contemporary fiction, murder mystery, gothic romance
Year Published: November 1, 2022

Date Started: October 22, 2022
Date finished: November 1, 2022

This story about a woman named Tess who wants to restore a home that belonged to her family. She learns some mysterious things about the house and the people (family members) who once lived in the house. It turns out that the house is haunted by a past situation and Tess is determined to find out what happened. Tess is also a mother who is raising a young teen on her own and just trying to make a living on her own so living in this house will be the beginning of her life as a single mother.

This book starts out with information about the past, about an artist related to Tess. In the present, Tess learns how the owner of the home ended up in the situation they did. There is also a love story between Tess and a man who lived in the town names Wyatt. The mystery of the “haunted” house unravels as the story progresses. Eventually, we learn the truth.

Initially, I thought this was an excellent contemporary fiction with a side of romance, but after realizing that it’s a gothic romance, I wasn’t really feeling it. It’s more so a murder mystery with a side of modern romance, and because of that I’ve changed my ratings from four to two. I didn’t feel any gothic in it. It did drag for a while and then picked up within the last three chapters where all the excitement was. The writing was smooth, and the weather played into the mood, which I enjoyed. However, to be honest, I never really understood Tess’s motivation. I didn’t understand why she wanted to know the story behind her grandfather and why it was so important to her. I guess in a sense, I didn’t understand the motivation or it’s importance. As for the relationship between her and Wyatt, that too was a little off. For a book with so much hype, I just didn’t feel it. It’s not a terribly bad book, it’s just not my cup of tea.

Who should read this book: If you’re interested in ghost or haunted house stories with a bit of soft romance, this would be a good choice. If you’re looking for a real gothic read, I’d say, stay away. You’ll be disappointed.

Book Review: Once to Die: The Other Side of Dead

Title: Once to Die: The Other Side of Dead
Author: T.S. Epperson
Genre: Fiction; Christian Suspense
Year Published: March 28, 2023

Date Started: March 20, 2023
Date finished: March 27, 2023

This story follows a homeless man named Perry. He’s a good man but just ended up on the wrong side of life. He wants success and he wants to get away from all the dangers he’s encountered. Tension builds and things happen around Perry that he can’t control. He’s desperate for the better life and finds himself at confession with a priest. Throughout the story, there are other sub-stories about a few other characters. These stories seem to somehow connect to Perry’s situation but because this is a series, it seems these stories will move to the forefront later on.

I enjoyed this story. This was my first time reading a Christian suspense/mystery thriller having to do with cops and robbers more so than detective. There is a bit of fantasy in it but done so that it doesn’t feel like it’s fantasy but more like spiritual magic. I loved loved loved the parts of the story where Perry meets and talks to the priest. I wanted more of this. It felt so real how Perry was frustrated and confused about his existence. The questions he asked the priest were questions that every person who’s struggling through life would ask. The priest himself questioned his own existence as well. It was wonderfully written.

There is a heavy Christian vibe to this story, but not in a pushy way or anything of the sort, and not for every character. It’s mainly around the main character but it’s part of his plot and necessary. You can probably pick up religious vibes from some of the other situations not having to do with the main character, but if you don’t pick it up, it would simply appear as though they were just bad luck situations.

There was only one thing that I felt could have been done better and this is just a personal picky opinion, but I thought the ending could have tied a few things together. There was so much going on in the story and so many characters’ stories to follow. Mind you, it was well done, but I would have liked to have at least one of the characters’ stories resolved or a subplot resolved.

Who should read this book: If you enjoy a good suspense/thriller that moves a bit fast and contain multiples storylines, this one is excellent.

Note: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway but the opinion is my own.

Book Review: Moonlight Beach: Murder and Magic

Title: Moonlight Beach: Murder and Magic
Author: Yuri Kiri
Genre: Murder Mystery; fantasy
Year Published: May 14, 2019

Date Started:January 2, 2023
Date finished: January 6, 2023

This story opens up with a murder and the detective is having a difficult time finding who did it. Alongside this murder story is a story about a few women and men who are into doing special drugs and calling on spiritual beings. The two stories eventually converge with all the pieces coming together cohesively.

What intrigued me most about this story was the fantasy aspect of it. Even though I don’t often read murder mysteries, I’ve often enjoyed them. This one was no doubt a great murder mystery. I also found humor in the writing which I enjoyed as well. Adding the fantasy element to it was like the cherry on top. I personally have never read anything like this, or if I did, it must have been ages go. I love fantasy and this one didn’t disappoint.

Overall, this book was well written with strong characters and a pretty good plot. I think a little more focus/depth on just a couple of characters would also make the story even better. The pacing was on-point for this genre. There were things about this story that I felt was not believable, like the doctor simply accepting the lung donation from the father of the child needing it. I had to really think about that. I have no idea how organ donation is done in real life (the actual process), but I have the feeling it’s probably a little more complex than showing up to the doctor with an organ. But you know, I did enjoy the idea of just being able to do that. The overall theme and conflict were nicely done. This is definitely a fun read and would be well worth your time.

Who should read this book: If you enjoy murder mystery with a bit of dark humor and fantasy, you’ll like this one.

Book Review: Life of Evil: A Reeves and Blake Thriller

Title: Life of Evil: A Reeves & Blake Thriller
Author: Robert Lalonde
Genre: Fiction, Detective Thriller
Year Published: June 25, 2021

Date finished: June 11, 2022

The is a detective thriller about a murderer who has a unique way of killing his victims. P.I. Frank Reeves is hard at work figuring out who the murderer is. His secretary, Sam who is working her way to become an investigator finds herself closer to the murderer than she imagined.

This was a pretty fast-paced read. The characters were thrown in almost all together, so it was hard to get into the story at first. I liked the idea of the story and how Sam worked her way to become an investigator. The murderer was hidden well. I couldn’t figure out who they were until the very end. That was done excellently.  Overall, this was a good read.

Who should read this book: If you’re into mystery thriller, detective, and psychological thrillers, this one is for you.

Book Review: You Have the Right to Remain Silent

Title: You Have the Right to Remain Silent
Author: Mark M. Bello
Genre: Legal Thriller; Detective Thriller
Year Published: April 12, 2022

Date finished: May 2, 2022

This is a murder mystery legal thriller about a case where a man was pretty gruesomely killed, and the key suspect is the wife. Zachary Blake is the lawyer on the case, and he doesn’t think the wife is actually the one who murdered her husband. Zach and his team tackle the detective work with Zach hiring Shari Belitz to work on a trial focus group to get answers that otherwise may have been missed. Everyone worked round the clock to get to the bottom of this case.

I’m trying not to give too much away because I think this book is worth reading and finding out who the killer is. The author doesn’t hide who the killer is. He subtly tells us who it is, but we still have to figure it out on our own. I loved that! Zach is one amazing lawyer. He knows who he needs to have work on the case, he doesn’t make quick conclusions or assume what-you-see-is-what-you-get. It was too perfect to have the wife be the primary suspect. Also, the doctor who watched over the wife knew a few things, proving that the wife didn’t do it, and I’m glad Zach listened to the doc.

The book was very enjoyable. The angle of the story from the lawyer’s perspective was unique and kept me intrigued. I liked how the author showed how well everyone worked together. They didn’t always agree but it all came down to proof, so even if someone thought they knew who the killer was, if they couldn’t prove it in any way, that theory was thrown out.

This was a fast paced read with lots of important information and knowledge about how the law works.

Who should read this book: This was an excellent read and I’d recommend it to everyone, especially those who love murder mystery or detective type stories. This angle (from the lawyer) is well done, and again, very unique in a murder mystery type of story.

Book Review: Terror on the Deseret Trail

It’s been awhile since I posted a book review. I’ve been reading and reviewing on Amazon, just not on my blog and Goodreads. Those reviews were only requested on Amazon. I am extremely backed up so I won’t be able to take anymore request at this time.

This book I just finished, “Terror on the Deseret Trail,” was a shocking read, but it was written so well that I couldn’t resist sharing the review. Let me know what you think if you get the chance to read it. Be warned though. It’s over-the-top gruesome, gory, and just foul.

Title: Terror on the Deseret Trail
Author: Jack Hazen
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adventure Thriller
Year Published: March 13, 2021

Wasn’t sure exactly what to expect but what a wild ride! This story is about a bunch of people. The main ones being Reuben Taz and a paleontologist named Hannah Monroe, and her group. At first, you’d think this was your average wild west story, but the further you get into it, the more you realize it’s one really crazy grown-up story with a bunch of strange and unique characters. Everyone has somewhere to go, and out in the west there’s a lot of land and a lot of bad things going on. It’s wise to travel in a group or at least with someone who knows how to shoot a gun or use a knife.

Reuben Taz is the most interesting character in the story. He has an agenda, and it’s to find and kill his father’s killer. However, he’s not anything you’d think him to be. He enjoys eating a good set of dainty toes. Aside from traveling with a whore named Rhonda for some time, a Mark Twain joins them and then a couple of other men later on. The group with the paleontologist consists of assistants, a handicap named Tiny Tim, an Arapaho princess named Sweet Water, and a few others. There were dinosaur bones out there in Utah and Paleontologist Hanna wanted to find them first. Helen James, a Pinkerton detective and a trans, later joins Hannah’s group. The detective was on a case about a kidnapped Mormon daughter and was set to find her. With all the chaos in the Utah and Nevada lands in the late 1800’s it was a very scary time to be traveling, but somehow these people were brave enough to do it.

I loved everything about this story. It was dirty, gruesome, disgusting, there was satire, dark humor, etc., and I enjoyed it all. I wanted so bad to give it five stars but there were so many missing open/closed speech quotes that I struggled somewhat as to when someone was speaking and done speaking. There were also a few misspells but not enough to distract from the story (definitely should get it edited though, it’s such an extraordinary story that I’d love to see it turn into a movie!). Definitely give this book a read if you enjoy settings in the wild west and deep dark themes and conflicts.

Who should read this book: If you’re into super crazy books with no limits, go for this one. Once in a blue moon, I simply just dig this stuff. This kind of book is meant to be taken lightly because it pokes fun at humanity.

Book Review: Fate is a Hunter

Title: Fate is a Hunter
Author: Susan Wuthrich
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Year Published: 2020

Date finished: July 13, 2021

Fate is a Hunter is a suspense thriller by Susan Withrich. The story is about a woman named Lydia who goes on a search for her husband and children. She hires a private investigator to help her find them, but it wasn’t as easy as she’d thought.

The story is fast paced and has three point-of-views. Lydia’s story is in first point-of-view, the husband is in third limited, and then there’s third omniscient where we’re able to see the story from afar. I found these point-of-views a little confusing because at times I wasn’t sure who’s story it was about. I didn’t think it was necessary to do multiple povs in this way. I also couldn’t really understand the motivation behind what the husband did, but it sounded like he was suffering from depression. The whole story just appeared pretty sad and heartbreaking.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read. I was curious to find out what happened with Lydia and her husband and was pleasantly surprised by the ending.

Who should read this book: Anyone into fast-paced suspense thrillers such as The Widow by Fiona Barter, Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.