Saturday, November 19, 2016

Liv Morris
Kiki Press
Romance / Comedy

Chicago 3rd baseman Brady Luck was living the high life. He had endless money, parties and women until he met the wrong woman who put a curse on him, a curse only the right woman can break. Cali Jones is a Physician's Assistant who is a huge Chicago (and Brady Luck) fan. Two chance encounters lead to an agreement neither one of them saw coming!

Let me start this off by saying I am a HUGE Chicago Cubs fan. I’m still riding the wave of their amazing season and jumped when I saw that Brady Luck was loosely based on Chicago Cubs 3rd baseman Kris Bryant. I have to admit my first impression of Brady Luck was not a favorable one. Arrogant, self-centered and honestly kind of a jerk he was not super likeable. The heroine Cali however is the complete opposite. Down to earth, hardworking and just plain nice she seemed like someone I would hang out with which is a huge plus in my book as it is easier for me to get into a story where the heroine is relatable. As the story moved on you started to see the two characters circle each other and eventually come together through a series of events that at times seemed a little farfetched (kind of like the Cubs winning the World Series until now!) but were fun.

As the book went on we started to see the characters develop and discovered a side of both of them that took me by surprise and added depth to the story. As the saying goes “You can’t judge a book by its cover” (side note- no complaints about this book’s cover) and if found that definitely applied to Brady Luck. HARD LUCK was an easy, quick, lighthearted read that overall was enjoyable. The end seemed rushed but still finished the story nicely. Overall I give it a 3 ½ stars and am looking forward to the next book in the Luck Brothers series!

Eliza Wise is a Travel Planner, and mother of 4 school age kids who started reading as an escape from reality and is now an active member of the Indie Romance Community.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Book Review: STRANDED - Bracken MacLeod

Bracken MacLeod
Tor / A Tom Doherty Associates Book

Bracken MacLeod’s STRANDED is a Twilight Zone novel. Rod Serling would be proud.

The Artic Promise is on a routine trip. The ship is stocked with food and supplies for an oil rig, Niflheim, in the Chukchi Sea. A brutal storm pounds the vessel, leaving the ship without communications, and once the storm passes, they find they are beset with ice.

Noah Cabot signed on with the crew. Working the sea was the way his family made a living for generations. The problem with this particular trip is that is father-in-law is in charge. William Brewster would like nothing better than to see his son-in-law dead.

Things only get worse when one-by-one the members of the crew come down with a debilitating illness. With limited supplies, and no way to signal for help, if they don’t come up with a plan quick, they could die. If they didn’t starve to death the below zero temperatures would kill them for sure.

In the near distance is an object. It could be the Niflheim. There’s only one way to find out. Volunteers will need to trek across the ice and investigate.

STRANDEDis gripping. The icy Arctic cold made me shiver while reading it. Hot coffee, or hot coco is strongly recommended reading the book. I don’t know how many times I had to cup my hands together and blow into them, just because I thought the frostbite might be getting me.

Noah’s back story is intense. The unexpected twists, and the proposed resolutions kept me flipping pages faster and faster. The climax seemed to last for chapter after chapter. There was no break in the tension. None. I read this fast, and am disappointed I finished. I want more.

Phillip Tomasso
Author of The Severed Empire Series, and 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Book Review: ALIEN MORNING - Rick Wilber

Rick Wilber
Tor / A Tom Doherty Associates Book
Science Fiction

The year is 2030. Peter Holman was a minor league basketball player. He enjoyed modest success, and fame until a knee injury took him out of the game for good. Left with few options, he took the money he had and invested in an up and comping technology. Sweeping. Connected to the web, viewers tune in to watch live, and pre-recorded feeds as Holman interviews athletes, hits the clubs, and peeks into his personal life.

For unknown reasons, when aliens make contact on earth it Holman they want as their spokesman. His audience following is exactly what they admire. Likeable, they feel he can inform everyone of the plans the S'hudonni have for the planet, and put anxious minds at ease.

It comes down to family, basically. Holman's past is a constant pull on his thoughts. A stern father who never thought him good enough, a sister who spent her life making bad mistake after bad mistake, and a brother who was always father's favorite. Holman knows truths, though, that he has kept to himself since he was a teen. Revealing the information would destroy his brother. The sibling rivalry between Holman and his younger brother is at the center of the story.

The sibling rivalry doesn't stop there. Alien representatives Twoclick and Whistle are at odds as well. The agreement prior to arriving on earth was how to divide the planet. Twoclick, a jovial and happy being is nothing like his brother, Whistle. While Holman works hard at putting earthling minds at ease about the aliens, Whistle destroys the peace, the trust, with aggressive actions that leave countries protesting, and rioting in the streets, putting the world leaders on high-alert.

Exposed to secrets about the aliens, and thrust into compromising positions with his family, Holman is forced to pick through the jigsaw pieces and find out how best to make everything fit! With proven superiority the S'hudonni race can not just cripple, but destroy the world in a war. If Holman can't gain control of the situation, billions of lives are at risk.

Rick Wilber's ALIEN MORNING was not what I expected. It was better. It was more.  His creation of Sweeping can't be far from happening. We're almost there with some of the shelf products, and apps available now. Wilber's narrative is engaging, and easy, descriptive, and tight. The characters are so precisely drawn, that all I wanted was more. More about Holman's past. More about his brother. More about his sister. I wanted more about the aliens. More. More. More. I cannot wait for the next installment in this series.

Phillip Tomasso
Author of The Severed Empire Series, and
The Vaccination Trilogy

Monday, November 14, 2016

Book Review: A HOUSE AT THE BOTTOM OF A LAKE - Josh Malerman

Josh Malerman
This Is Horror

I stumbled onto Josh Malerman quite by accident. (And I apologize for the stumble). I was in a reading group at work. The book, BIRD BOX, was the first title selected. I knew upon finishing that book that here was an author I'd follow.

The novella, A HOUSE AT THE BOTTOM OF A LAKE, was a fast read. One sitting. I couldn't move until I found out what happened next, and after that, and then reached the ending. Call it puppy love. A coming of age tale. Whatever you want, this story is what it is.

James and Amelia agree to go on a date. The awkward asking, and accepting were reminiscent of my own clumsy attempts at dating. Hard not to laugh, thankful it was the characters in the book experiencing the "trauma" and not me this time. (And whether I've gotten any better at the art remains to be seen).

Determined to do something different, James suggests the two go canoeing. Strangers. Canoeing. What could be more romantic? James knows. A second, less crowded lake. One away from the speedboats, and loud intoxicated teens in swim trunks and bikinis.

What is better than a quiet, out of the way second lake? Finding a hidden third lake. And on this third lake, under the surface of placid water they see a roof. Determined to explore the depths, the two find more than a roof. They discover an entire house.

It's their secret. They promise to adhere to two rules. No asking How. No asking Why. And then they explore. Every inch.

Only exploring every inch forces more and more questions. How did the house get there? How come no one else knows about it. Why are the laws of physics not applicable below the surface? The items on shelves, and on end tables remain on shelves, and on end tables . . . when by all rights they should be floating, or ruined by the water.

And yet they are not.

Worse. Who is walking around on the second floor? Why are the floorboards creaking? And who was that laughing at them?

Josh Malerman's latest work is chilling. I wanted more. Many times I found myself holding my breath while I was reading, but didn't realize it until I needed air. A HOUSE AT THE BOTTOM OF A LAKE was intense. The suspense is constant; the anticipation. The ending is heartbreaking, and necessary, with just a hint, a faint glimmer of hope. It was, in short, an awesome read!

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire series, and
The Vaccination Trilogy