#BookReview – Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1)Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga, #1) by Orson Scott Card is a military-based science fiction novel. It is the story of a child, known as Ender, a third, in a family of brilliant children. Ender is selected to military school after years of being monitored, just as his brother Peter and his sister Valentine had been before him. He is chosen because unlike Peter, he can kill, but doesn’t want to kill. He is chosen because unlike Valentine, he has compassion, but can make the hard choices. He is Earth’s greatest hope against the Buggers. Earth has already fought two wars against the Buggers, barely defeating them both times. A third war is coming. The Buggers learn quickly from their mistakes because they have a hive-mind. In order to defeat them, completely and for all time, the IF needs someone who can think and act like the Buggers. They’ve chosen Ender, but can he live up to their expectations?

Ender is brilliant. He thinks quickly and methodically. He understands strategy, he understands that in order to win, sometimes you have to break the rules and he is willing to do so. During his time at the military school, Ender is deliberately isolated from his school mates by Colonel Graff. Slowly though, he begins to earn friends and establishes himself as a military genius. By the time he enters command school, Ender is nearly broken. He’s tired of games, tired of the rules changing, tired of defending himself against those who wish to do him harm for his brilliance.

Back on Earth, his brother Peter and his sister Valentine have become famous as Locke and Demosthenes, respectively, who argue about political matters on the Webs. Peter has taken the more benevolent stance, gaining respect as a humanitarian. Valentine takes the more rebellious stance, but gains recognition far quicker than Peter. It is obvious that Peter’s intent is to some day take over the world, something not lost on Valentine who knows how sinister her brother can be.

With a visit from Valentine, Ender decides to go on to Command School and command. He discovers that all who are now under him are those friends he made at school. He is now trained by Mazar Rackham, the victor of the second war against the Buggers. It is now that Ender learns to think like the Buggers and discovers how to defeat them. As he prepares for his final exam at Command School, can Ender make the hard choice? Will he make it?

The novel ends with an introduction of sorts into the second book in the series, Speaker for the Dead. Ender carries a special parcel that he will some day deliver to a special place. He tells the story of the Hive Queen and speaks of her life and death. He publishes the story anonymously and it becomes a religion of sorts. It is a wonderful introduction to more of Ender’s world.

Of all the science fiction books I have read, Ender’s Game is the one I come back to again and again. I’ve read it at least a dozen times, but this is the first time I have listened to it as an audiobook. If you want the full experience of Orson Scott Card’s story, I highly recommend that you listen to it. The emotions I felt listening to it where much much more intense than when I read it.

This is a book that I would recommend to anyone who loves science fiction, military fiction, and it is even appropriate for teenagers. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under ten years of age because there is some violence in the book.

I’ve tried not to give any spoilers in this review, so hopefully you will still get the full benefit of the story when you read it yourself.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: Science Fiction, Military Science Fiction

Where to Purchase: Amazon Kindle | Paperback , Audible

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#BookReview – In Between by M.A. Fernandez

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In Between by M.A. Fernandez, a new adult romance. tells the story of a love triangle between Rachel, her fiance Ethan and Tom, a new lawyer at the firm where Rachel works. Rachel’s life seems to be on track. She has a great job and a fiance that she loves – although he is absent a lot due to his job. And then charismatic Tom enters the picture. Rachel is immediately drawn to him, but feels guilty every time she is around him because of Ethan. And yet, she cannot help herself from being drawn into Tom’s seductive web.

Fernandez weaves an intricate story of love, seduction, choices, and how one deals with the choices one has made. It is a story of hope, forgiveness, and redemption. With Rachel, Fernandez has created a character who is real and complicated. She is torn between her faith as an Adventist and her desire to be free to do as she wishes. Torn between her fiance and the world they can build together and her desire for unbridled passion. Rachel represents the woman of today. Women who want it all – the job, the family, and passion.

I would give this novel a five star except for two reasons:
1) it needed a bit more editing – there are some grammar mistakes that should have been easy to spot, but only a few minor ones, nothing that would detract from the story as a whole.
2) Ethan’s POV – I am not sure why Fernandez switched POVs in the story by introducing Ethan’s thoughts. The story was fine without them. It is Rachel’s story, after all. Still, this is but a minor distraction, although a distraction.

Rating – 4.5 stars

Genre: New Adult Romance

Where to Purchase: Amazon

Note: I was given a free copy of this novel for an honest and fair review.

#BookReview – Deadly Lies by Chris Patchell

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Deadly Lies by Chris Patchell is an unusual crime/thriller novel. It is told in two voices – Jill’s and Alex’s. Jill is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by her stepfather. Alex is a detective in Seattle PD. Although they are a married couple of five years, the two have been living separate lives as their jobs keep them both busy. While Jill has an affair with her boss, Alex works to find the killer of his ex-girlfriend’s sister and who has also threatened everyone Alex loves. Jill’s life begins to spiral out of control when her boss abruptly ends their affair and threatens to end Jill’s career. This leads Jill down a road of unfortunate and deadly events which further threatens her marriage to Alex and her personal freedom. Alex successfully tracks down the killer only to have the killer slip through his fingers a couple of times. Once Alex finally gets the killer in custody, he learns the dangerous, deadly game Jill has been playing. Then the killer is released and everyone’s lives are again in danger. Meanwhile, Alex has to decide what to do about Jill and as the two are in the middle of that confrontation, the killer shows up in an exciting, yet sad conclusion.

Patchell creates intriguing, solid characters. Jill is vulnerable, yet hardened from hatred of her stepfather. Alex is steady, loyal and honorable. Although I was shocked by some of Jill’s actions, I could understand why she did some of the things she did. Jill’s character, while not completely likable, actually became my favorite. Alex’s character seemed a bit naive at times, but Patchell set him up as such a good detective, I wasn’t at all surprised at how easily he discovered what Jill had been up to. The scene building was also well done, as were the characterizations, descriptions and settings. All in all, this was a complete package. If you want a great thriller that gives you some shocking, exciting moments, this is definitely the novel for you.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: Crime Fiction/Thriller

To Purchase: Amazon Kindle | Audible

Book Review – I Can Kill by Angela Kay

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I Can Kill by Angela Kay is an exciting FBI Thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat to the final scene. Kay weaves a chilling tale of a serial killer known as the Carnations Killer who delights in taunting FBI Special Agent Aidan O’Reilly, who has been chasing this psychopath for ten years and across numerous states. With over fifty known kills under his belt and back from a hiatus, the killer has moved his hunting grounds close to Aidan’s home turf and this time, Aidan has sworn to finally catch him. The killer’s MO is sadistic and cruel. He kidnaps blonde women, brutally beats them over a period of a week and then strangles them. He leaves them in easy to find locations, posed and dressed in a black dress with white carnations placed upon their bodies. Aidan is haunted by the women who’ve been murdered. His job is affecting his sleep and his relationship with his girlfriend. The killer is meticulous and clever. He never leaves clues, no fingerprints or fibers. As Aidan and his partner Shaun Henderson work the case, the killer continues to taunt Aidan with messages left at crime scenes. They finally get a big break in the case, but only because the killer has upped the ante – he’s kidnapped Aidan’s girlfriend and left a big clue behind. Can Aidan discover who the killer is and find Cheyenne before she becomes the Carnations Killer’s latest victim?

This is the third Kay novel I’ve read and she continues to delight me with her intricate characters, clever twists and surprise endings. I’ve yet to guess who the killer is until all the clues are in and she has revealed the killer. I am a huge fan of serial killer novels and this one does not disappoint. I love that Kay allows us into the mind of the killer and we get to witness his interactions with his victims as well as with his family. Oh yes, he has a wife, a daughter and holds down a job. Kay also does a wonderful job of character building with Aidan O’Reilly and those who interact with him – his girlfriend, his partner, and his bosses. Her scenes are well-written and described, sometimes almost too graphic and chilling (not for me, but for those who may be squeamish though). You can tell that Kay definitely did her homework on this novel. Although this is a quick read (306 pages), do not be fooled by it’s shortness in length. This novel is jammed packed with twists and turns and lots of surprises. I highly recommend this novel.


Note: I was given a free copy of this novel for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: Crime Fiction/FBI Thriller

Publisher: Stained Glass Publishing

Publish Date: March 30, 2018

To Pre-Order:

Amazon Kindle/Kindle Unlimited ($4.99/0.00) or Paperback($14.95)

Barnes and Noble – Paperback Only ($9.42)

Book Review – The Murder of Manny Grimes by Angela Kay

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The Murder of Manny Grimes by Angela Kay is much more than a murder mystery. It is a story about love, hope and redemption with a paranormal and Christian slant. When three young boys enter the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department to report a murder at the Columbia County Elementary School, Lieutenant Jim DeLong’s life and those around him will be forever changed. A fifteen-year mystery, the death of Manny Grimes, and a suspected murder/suicide are all tangled together in this thrilling novel.

Manny Grimes had information that linked the murder/suicide and the mystery from fifteen years ago together, and he paid for it with his life. As DeLong, his mentor Russ Calhoun, and the CSI team of Newman and Elliot set out to solve this murder, life becomes complicated for all of them. DeLong is driven by the voice of Manny Grimes to help him and he cannot let him down.He also discovers that his wife and Calhoun had an affair and it drags him down a spiraling dark hole of alcoholism and rage. His personal life is as twisted and mixed-up as the case before him is. The team soon discover that the murder/suicide might have been staged and that one of the victims’ spouses could be involved in the cover-up, but the case is much deeper than that. It involves a murder fifteen years in the past that was also covered-up. Somehow through this tangled mystery, Kay ties all of the ends together in a shocking conclusion.

What I enjoyed most about this novel is that Kay does an excellent job of weaving so many story angles together to form a cohesive, well-written mystery. She also does an excellent job with the personal angles of the story – between DeLong and his wife, the affair his wife had with Calhoun, the interwoven angle of all the families involved in Manny Grimes’ murder and the budding romance between Calhoun and Elliot. These characters are rich, and humanly flawed, making them believable. The police procedural is also well done in this novel.

The only angle of the story that would have normally warded me off is the Christian slant. As a rule, I do not read Christian novels. Not because they are Christian, but because they are normally preachy and not my thing. However, in this novel, it made sense. DeLong’s life was spiraling out of control and a few nuances of scripture gave him the hope and determination to get his life back under control. It was well done in this novel and not at all preachy.

The only flaw I discovered was a minor one – DeLong was checked into a motel when he left his wife Samantha, but in once instance, it became a hotel. With such a minor flaw, there is no way I am allowing it to detract points from my review. This is a solid novel and deserves to be read and praised.

Note: I was given a free copy of this novel for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre(s): Mystery, Police Procedural, Christian, Paranormal

To Purchase: Amazon

Book Review – Who Watcheth by Helene Tursten

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Who Watcheth is a mystery/thriller by the Swedish author, Helene Tursten. A serial killer is on the loose in and around Goteborg, Sweden. He watches his prey, building up a fantasy in his mind that he is in a relationship with the women, and then when they commit what he considers a sin, he kills them. He also leaves photos he’s taken of them committing the sin, a white chrysanthemum, and a note with a Bible verse on it days before he kills them. His M.O. is specific, he always uses a cord with knots in them to strangle his victims and leaves behind some telling clues. The one victim who got away recalled that he had an abhorrent odor about him. Irene Huss is a detective on the Goteborg police department and along with her colleagues, she sets out to find the killer. During the course of the story, Irene has some problems of her own with a woman who wants vengeance for the deaths of her children. She directly blames the police department and Irene in particular, adding an additional round of suspense to the story.

What I enjoyed most about the novel is the interactions that Irene has with both her husband and her colleagues. Her character is well-rounded and well-developed. The other characters are well-developed too. The story unfolds at a nice pace – not too slow or quick, just right. I also enjoyed the police procedural. The suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout and the attack scenes are well-written.

Unfortunately, I guessed who the killer would be long before it unfolded in the story because it was just so blatantly stereotypical, and he didn’t appear to be as sophisticated as I had assumed he would be. I won’t say more so as not to spoil it for other readers. I will let them make their own determination.

All in all, this is a well-written novel with a good plot, great characters and a suspenseful conclusion. I just wish the killer had lived up to my expectations so I could have given it a higher rating.

Note: I won a copy of this novel on Goodreads Giveaway for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Genre(s): Thriller, Mystery, Police Procedrual

To Purchase: Amazon

Book Review – Wind Catcher (Chosen #1) by Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef

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Wind Catcher (Chosen #1) is a Young Adult novel by the father/daughter duo, Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef. The reader is introduced to teenager Juliet Wildfire Stone whose life balances between two worlds, that of the rich and wealthy who attend an elite high school called Bartens and that of her Native American heritage. While Juliet tries to fit in at her new school, she is also taught the wisdom of her heritage by her grandfather, Sicheii. Along the way, you meet Juliet’s friends – Katie who also attends Bartens and has a father who will soon go to jail, Troy who is Native American and lives near the reservation and attends a normal high school, and Ella and Marton who are friends of Juliet’s from her former school. Juliet has a special gift. She hears voices and when she dreams, she has visions of her Native American heritage. All of this confuses Juliet, but soon becomes clear as a series of murders occur and are tied to her grandfather. Juliet and Troy embark on a journey to discover what the strange tattoos mean, why her grandfather is involved in a secret society and what all of it has to do with Juliet.

Wind Catcher takes the reader on a wild ride of fantasy, science fiction and Native American lore. As the story unfolds, the reader will learn about the Great Wind Spirit, Coyote, a demon, and the Seeker. The plot is complicated, but unfolds in a well-written series of events. Juliet is the Chosen and she must stop the Seeker, an alien, from destroying all she holds dear as well as Earth itself. The characters are all well-developed and even a bit complicated through their woven relationships. The Altabefs do an excellent job with settings, from Juliet’s school, to Slippery River, the town, and all of the vision worlds Juliet visits. The battle scenes near the end are exciting and well described.

What I loved most about this novel is the Native American lore sprinkled throughout the story. You can tell that the Altabefs spent an enormous amount of time researching it to make it believable, even though they do not link any one particular tribe or nation to it. I also loved the science fiction elements to this story, which the read will discover near the end.

Wind Catcher is one of the most original stories I have read. It has mystery, adventure and aliens. Who could want for more? I highly recommend this first novel in the Chosen trilogy for anyone who enjoys fantasy and science fiction. Although it is categorized as Young Adult, I believe even adults will enjoy it. I know I did.

Note: I received a free copy of this novel for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre(s): Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Native American Lore

To Purchase: Amazon