Thursday, November 21, 2013

'My Birthday, Your Gift'

So this year I turn the big 32 (shut up, that's NOT a typo and if you question me I will murder you in your sleep).  And even though it's my birthday I want to give YOU the present!  The gifts are eBooks from a few of my favorite authors.  All you have to do is enter the contest, send the correct information, cross your fingers, pray to Jesus, and hope against all hope that you'll win!  

The Contest:

- Pick a number between 1 - 25,000.
- The three closest answers will win.

The Rules:

- The contest starts 
November 25th, 2013.
- Only ONE entry per person per eMail.
- All contest entries must be sent to  
- Entries sent elsewhere will not be eligible.
- You must have an active iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, or Amazon Kindle.  Incorrect eMails will not be hunted down.
- The contest will end when I have three winners.
- Winners will be notified via eMail and you will have three days from the time I inform you that you've won in order to claim your prize.  
- eBooks may not be substituted.
- If you have any questions please send them to me -

The Prizes:
If you are chosen as the winner then you may choose from one of the eBooks/authors listed below.

‘With This Ring’

Click on the author's name and it will take you to their website, click on the title and you'll get a description of the book.

Monday, November 4, 2013

'The Ascendant' by Drew Chapman

I have an angel at Simon & Schuster who sends me boxes of books from time to time.  This book was amongst her latest offerings and it showed up at just the right time.  When I opened the book I found a form letter written by one of the editors giving this book glowing recommendations.  Immediately my "BS" meter clicked on because really, what do you expect an editor to say about a book they worked on?  

That it sucked?  That they should use better discretion when signing new writers?  That the only thing worse would be if Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts collaborated on a new series?  No, you expect them to praise and laud their new author like their the next Roman Emperor. So I'm always wary when I see high praise for a first time author with a new book, even an author who has quite the entertainment resume like Drew.  "Reader beware" right?

Well... not this time.  This time the book matches the praise given.  

Like the editor I couldn't put this book down.  It's blazing fast and it almost feels as if it's written like you aren't supposed to read it slow.  Did you ever wonder what the love child of Danica McKellar and Jason Bourne would be like?  No?  Yeah well... me either.  But for the sake of this review just go along with me.  Garrett Reilly is a numbers genius. Actually that's not entirely true. He's the type of numbers genius that other number geniuses hate. (Along with a majority of us normal intelligence folk).  

But Reilly has another amazing trait that stands out that causes people to hate him, he's a total dick. His intelligence comes with heightened sense of self and he's a master at using it. He has no problem getting into into a bar fight or getting into a barmaid. To him they serve the same purpose. He burns crazy amounts of testosterone while screaming and pumping his... err... fists. But no matter how uninhibited the barmaid or how satisfying the head butt, Reilly's first lust is numbers. 

Unfortunately, like most lustful endeavors, it'll get you in trouble. And Reilly is deep in it. He's seen a sinister numbers pattern in the U.S. treasury as well as something else a bit more ominous. Someone is trying to royally screw with the United States and the U.S. Military needs Reilly's help to track them down. 

Good luck with that.  

Reilly's bad attitude extends to most everything, but nothing faces his ire like the U.S. Military.  Even if one part of the military is a drop dead gorgeous woman with muscles and soft parts in all the right places. But will she use her womanly charms for good or evil?

The different forms of conflict that take place in this book are a thrill to read.  You never really know who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. Well, except for the enemy, we find out who those fools are pretty early. And the enemy in this book is pure-D ruthless.  They are waging a new war against U.S. and for a new war you need a new soldier. Their strikes are done with precision and while our leaders are bickering over who gets credit for what, our enemy is planning another surgical strike. And trust me here people, these strikes are bad. And by bad I mean "whoop-ass"!

Drew is a very good at not holding back when the story dictates a certain path. I enjoy writers who do that.  Now I will mention this; there will be times you will have to suspend a lot of "reality belief" when reading this book. It's not a bad thing per se, but if you read a lot in this genre there are a few places and situations where you're like "dude, seriously?"  BUT... this is a very fast read and the author can't cover every nuance, plus this IS a fictional story so... 

Reilly makes his decision and proceedes to piss off every big wig in our government while the enemy continues to launch more than a few devastating blows.  Part of the story takes place in another country and while you know the story lines will connect, you start to wonder if they'll connect. 

And then they do.  

The action taking place in the U.S. is thrilling enough, but the unrest happening across the ocean could almost be it's own story.  Man, if you think OUR politics and politicians are corrupt, call me after you read this.  

This book was so much fun.  Half geek, half testosterone, all action.

Friday, November 1, 2013

'Blood Crows' by Simon Scarrow

Twelve books in and Simon is still writing like he has something to prove.  After a bit of a Macro/Cato hiatus, Simon takes us back to the Roman legion with all the action and blood that we have grown to love.  And expect.  But this story had a weird... feel to it.  I read this book so pissed at Cato that I was actually rooting against him.

After having themselves soiled with having to do the bidding of Narcissus, Centurion Macro and Prefect Cato are finally able to do some "decent soldiering".  Unfortunately it's on the dreadful island of Britannia with all of the charm and luxury that she affords.  Caratacus is still harassing the Empire and the Emperor needs to put him down.  You know... especially since the Emperor stated "mission accomplished" a few years back. 

Caratacus and his band of barbarians are as brutal a group as Rome has fought.  Death on the battlefield is seen by most ancient tribes as the honorable way for a warrior to die.  However, if you're fighting Caratacus and happen to live through it, death might be seen as deliverance.  But despite the brutality of the barbarians, it pales in comparison to our new king of the ball, Centurion Quertus.  This is where my contemptuous for Cato begins and also where this exciting story starts to get even better.

Quertus is a soldier who takes immense pleasure in breaking the locals.  And by breaking I mean abject slaughter.  The twist here is that he's not entirely out of line with his orders, just his methods.  And he should probably take a remedial course on 'How to Treat Superiors 101'.  Prefect Cato has been ordered to take command of the fort and he finds he must fight the enemy as well as rogue Romans. 

Simon has written antagonist in his books before, but few have made me hate them the way Quertus did. I hated him with such fervor that I started to hate Cato for being... well... Cato.  Macro on the other hand was exactly what you would expect.  Matter of fact, near the end of this book he is put in a situation and well... shocking and brutal is all I can say.  I loved it! 

Through all the pain, broken bones, and spilt blood Simon still manages to show us the glory of Rome.  As I mentioned earlier, this is the twelfth book in the series and it's as strong as the rest of them.  Good can only shine if there is darkness.  With Caratacus roasting Roman soldiers on the outside and Centurian Quertus being an insubordinate ass on the inside, Cato and Macro are stuck in it.  Bad for our legionaries, good for us readers.  Simon Scarrow is a definite leader in the increasingly crowded field of Roman historical-fiction.  Books like this continue to prove that.