The Road to Omaha – A review

The Road To Omaha

Robert Ludlum

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126227.jpgRobert Ludlum’s wayward hero, the outrageous General MacKenzie Hawkins, returns with a diabolical scheme to right a very old wrong—and wreak vengeance on the [redacted] who drummed him out of the military. Discovering a long-buried 1878 treaty with an obscure Indian tribe, the Hawk, a.k.a. Chief Thunder Head, hatches a brilliant plot that will ultimately bring him and his reluctant legal eagle, Sam Devereaux, before the Supreme Court. Their goal is to reclaim a choice piece of American real estate: the state of Nebraska, which just so happens to be the headquarters of the U.S. Strategic Air Command. Their outraged opposition will be no less than the CIA, the Pentagon, and the White House. And only one thing is certain: Ludlum will keep us in nonstop suspense—and side-splitting laughter—through the very last page.


The return of Mackenzie Hawkins and Sam Devereaux is very welcome because the book is as good as the first. The plot is more outrageous, if that’s possible, and more complicated, but every aspect of the book is so well-written you can’t complain about it. The characters, all of them, are brilliantly done, and the interactions between them waver frequently between humorous and clever; no matter what the situation, they are believable and that’s important.

While not quite as dated as the first book, it does show it’s age, and that keeps it from getting more than 4*, nonetheless I really enjoy the book and would love to see it on the big screen. I can only wonder who would get the job of playing Mackenzie Hawkins, it would have to be someone who can project a very big personality – Johnny Depp playing Jack Sparrow springs to mind, although Depp would not be good as Hawkins.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

JK Rowling

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51NzsNx1JNL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg“‘Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard. Just stick out your wand hand, step on board and we can take you anywhere you want to go.'”

When the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and screeches to a halt in front of him, it’s the start of another far from ordinary year at Hogwarts for Harry Potter. Sirius Black, escaped mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, is on the run – and they say he is coming after Harry. In his first ever Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of death in Harry’s tea leaves … But perhaps most terrifying of all are the Dementors patrolling the school grounds, with their soul-sucking kiss …


JK Rowling continues with her fabulous series and doesn’t let anything slip. There are so any good characters in this series, and a couple of new ones get introduced in this book, both good, though I prefer Lupin to Sirius. It’s not just the characters that make this book and the series great, it’s the plot, with Harry’s life becoming both better and worse as he learns more about his parents and how they died, and the writing; there is a good level of descriptiveness to every aspect of this book, but nothing that overwhelms the story, allowing you to access what’s going on without anything getting in the way.

The best thing about this book, compared to the first two, is that the plot doesn’t revolve around Voldemort, there is a different focus, and I believe that keeps the series from becoming boring. If I have one real complaint about any part of this book, it’s that there seems to be a contradiction between one part of this book and something that was mentioned in The Chamber of Secrets: in this book a character says there’s no cure for being a werewolf, but in COS Professor Lockhart mentions performing a spell that gets rid of a werewolf curse.

I’m not sure if Rowling forgot what she had written in the previous book, or if she needed to change that in order to use a plot thread she had come up with.

Regardless of that one niggle, this is a very good book in a very good series.

The History Major – 60% off till Friday

The History Major: A Novella

By: Michael Phillip Cash

4.1* from 128 reviews

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“Wow, this was a wild story.” – Doris Lorr, NetGalley Reviewer
    
“Cash intermingles beauty and violence …It’s smartly ambiguous and open to interpretation, and some may delight in a second (or third) read.” – Kirkus Reviews
  
“Such an interesting story! Good writing!” – ver ver, NetGalley Reviewer

Book Description

After a vicious fight with her boyfriend followed by a night of heavy partying, college freshman Amanda Greene wakes up in her dorm room to find things are not the same as they were yesterday. She can’t quite put her finger on it. She’s sharing her room with a peculiar stranger. Amanda discovers she’s registered for classes she would never choose with people that are oddly familiar. An ominous shadow is stalking her.

Uncomfortable memories are bubbling dangerously close to her fracturing world, propelling her to an inevitable collision between fantasy and reality. Is this the mother of all hangovers or is something bigger happening?

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Are you superstitious?

The first Friday the 13th of the year is almost upon us, there’s less than 24 hours to go, and Screenshot_2013-09-13-08-05-30-1.pngfor the superstitious among us, that’s a problem because something bad is bound to happen – I’ve already taken care of my bad luck, I sprained my ankle yesterday and discovered a whole bunch of editing changes I made to my wip over the last few days haven’t been saved.

I’m hoping that that is all the bad luck I have to worry about and tomorrow will pass without incident, to help ensure that, I am going to do what I consider the most sensible thing I can. Outside of the appointment I have for tomorrow morning, I am going to stay at home and keep myself occupied with a good book; I won’t even risk papercuts because I’ll be reading on my Kindle.

If you’re thinking along the same lines as me, may I respectfully suggest you check out the books here http://events.supportindieauthors.com/ it’s an event being run by the SIA group on goodreads, which I’m a part of for the beginning of the year, and especially for Friday the 13th. There is a huge selection of books at bargain prices, in a wide variety of genres to suit all tastes, and for the day itself, many of the books are free, so take a look at what’s on offer and then fill your kindle, or your bookshelf, you won’t need to worry about another Friday the 13th for the rest of the year.

As an added bonus, you can get a warm fuzzy feeling from knowing you’ve helped to support independently published authors. Even if your budget won’t stretch to buying any of the books, you can show your support by sharing the event and helping to spread the word

A big thank you to anyone who does help support us all, no matter how you show your support.

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A preview of coming attractions

Now that 2017 has started, it’s time to look ahead to what’s in store, both personally and on the writing front.

Discounting the release of my first novel, 2016 was not a very good year, I had to have a major operation early last year for a burst appendix; it was good for losing some weight but I’ve seen put all that weight back on, and things didn’t improve after that. I intend that 2017 will be a much better year.

I’m not really one for resolutions, in my opinion they’re made to be broken; I do intend doing something about my waistline, though, that’s an issue I struggle with and which can’t be ignored. I need to lose some weight, so I will be eating a little healthier (mostly that means fewer cakes and chocolates) and getting a little more exercise, especially when spring arrives.

More important than my waistline, is my writing; I am currently editing my next novel, Written In Blood, a serial killer thriller set in a small village, which I hope to release in April. At the same time I am doing that, I am typing up the first draft of book 2 in my detective series, An Eye For An Eye, which currently has a release date of September.

I hope to get it out sooner, and I think it’s possible, but one of my goals for the year is to reduce my stress and anxiety levels; to that end I am avoiding the urge to put too much pressure on myself by setting hard to attain goals.

I also plan on releasing another short story later in the year, part of a serialised vampire story I’m working on; I have two parts of the story written, and a rough idea of where it’s going from there, but I need to flesh it out and get to work on it.

Outside of releasing new titles, I want to read 15 books in the next 12 months and reach the point where each of the titles I have available for sale is being bought at the rate of at least 1 copy per day. To my mind, that’s the first step towards making a living from my books, which is my ultimate goal.

With all of that said, I hope you have all had a lovely Christmas and New Year, and you got whatever it is you wished for, and the coming months are everything you could want.

Road To Gandalfo

Road To Gandalfo

Rodbert Ludlum

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road-to-gandolfoWar hero and infamous ladies’ man General MacKenzie Hawkins is a living legend. His life story has even been sold to Hollywood. But now he stands accused of defacing a historic monument in China’s Forbidden City. Under house arrest in Peking with a case against him pending in Washington, this looks like the end of Mac’s illustrious career. But he has a plan of his own: kidnap the Pope. What’s the ransom? Just one American dollar—for every Catholic in the world. Add to the mix a slew of shady “investors,” Mac’s four persuasive, well-endowed ex-wives, and a young lawyer and fellow soldier who wants nothing more than to return to private life, and readers have in their hands one relentlessly irreverent page-turner.


This is a pretty dated book now but don’t let that put you off because, despite not being sure whether it’s a comedy or a thriller, I really enjoyed it.

Mackenzie Hawkins and Sam Devereaux bounce off each other brilliantly as mistmatched and reluctant partners-in-crime planning the most audacious crime in history. The build-up to the crime, the planning and prep is detailed but written in a way that is both fun and interesting as ‘The Hawk’ – as Hawkins is known – blackmails a variety of criminal figures to raise the capital for his ‘operation’ and gets his lawyer into so much trouble it’s a miracle he isn’t killed multiple times.

What happens when they are ready for the biggest crime in history and what happens after is as good, if not better than the build-up.

Coming from the man who wrote the Jason Bourne books this is a very entertaining read, though it won’t be for everyone.

Through The Hostage – An Honest Review

Through The Hostage

J C Steel

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I was gifted a pdf copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and here it is.
66eda063584cf767f466eed013affaec79ca8003Khyria Ilan is a commander in the Cortii, the most elite mercenary organisation in known space. With a past she can’t remember, and commanders who would love to see her dead, her future is likely to be short: her command faces their ultimate test to prove their right to survive. When the odds are impossible, sometimes the only thing to do is play the game …
Through The Hostage is a complex sci-fi novel that, in my opinion, bites off more than it can chew. I really liked many of the characters J C Steel created; Khyria Ilan is flawed, and dangerous, and complicated, and very interesting, but it felt as though not enough was shown about her, from the beginning it’s revealed that pretty much everyone around her wants her dead, but at no point is a solid reason given, nor is it revealed why she has apparently abandoned her command. Jack is another interesting character, and I would have liked to have seen more of his efforts to learn about and understand this alien world he finds himself in.
Many of the other characters have an equal amount of potential, but it feels too much as if the reader only gets a surface view of things. There’s the suggestion of so much, but not enough detail to help the reader navigate this strange world.
Adding to my difficulties with this book are the details you do get about the organisation Khyria Ilan and her group are part of; I suspect J C Steel has limited military knowledge or experience because the group describes themselves as mercenaries, when everything in the book indicates they are in fact part of an army working for a council of some kind, and they undergo up to 10 years of training before taking a test to determine if they are fit to join the ‘army’ as a fully qualified unit (as someone with, admittedly limited, military experience, it seemed very unrealistic that what was essentially a platoon-sized unit would spend such an excessive amount of time in training before qualifying; training may continue after qualification but in general the training to qualify in an army is measured in months, not years, even for special forces units).
I found little in the way of tension in the book; all the way through the reader is told that Khyria Ilan is under constant threat of assassination, but the few attempts that take place happen off-screen – as it were – and seem so feeble as to be easily dealt with. Because of that, I found the book fairly flat; even when it finally reached the much-mentioned Crossing, there seemed little in the way of danger, and it was all over with far too quickly and easily.
I think with some work, this could be a very good novel, it’s longer than it really needs to be in my opinion, has themes that could be more fully explored, and it lacks enough tension to keep the reader hooked and get them concerned about the characters, but it does end with a very nice scene with Jack back home and unable to tell anyone about where he’s been and what he’s been doing and I’m pleased about that.