Day One

WritingI started reading a book. See? Already working on that resolution list. Should have put take more naps on that list because I immediately fell asleep. Not because of the book, mind you. It’s just a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I’ve been needing to catch up on my sleep. Can’t wait for bedtime!

I’m slowly filling up the bookshelves I built. I keep buying more books, and unpacking the boxes that have been stored away for years. I think I need to build another set of shelves. I have the materials. I’ll just have to draw up the plans and start cutting! Then I’ll have to buy more books. It’s a vicious cycle.

Back to the book I’m reading, I finally started to read Identity by Christa Yelich-Koth, and the subject of my next book review. I’m only a few months late. If you know me, you know how hectic it’s been the past few months. But now everything is beginning to settle down, life is getting back to normal, and work is returning to its usual routine. I’ll have to time to read, time to write, time to live a normal life.

I also have a ton of books that need reading. I seem to buy books, but I haven’t read most of them. I bought two more, ordered a third from Amazon, and I have a gift card to Barnes & Noble that is begging to be spent. I think I’ll use that to buy myself that new copy of The Lord of the Rings. I wore out my old copy.

I have a lot to do this year, and I’m looking forward to it. Have a happy 2017, and I hope you keep reading.


Book Review: Illusion


IllusionImagine waking up in an unfamiliar room, not knowing where you were or even not knowing your own name. This is the predicament our heroine finds herself in to start the book, Illusion, by Christa Yelich-Koth. Daith Tocc, a young woman and daughter to Jacin Jaxx, has been kidnapped, her mind erased, by Commander Trey Xiven, once second in command to her father.

Trey, trying to maintain the army her father established in order to impose peace in the galaxy, is on a mission to bring order to the chaos that erupted after Jacin’s death. Hoping his offspring may possess their father’s mental gifts,  Trey searched until he located Daith, wiping her memory, and testing her in the hopes that he could use her for his own ends.

The commander brings in his estranged brother, Dru, to test and guide her, to hone her skills. Though he’s uncomfortable with lying to Daith about her true identity, he’s drawn to her, the first woman that has interested him since his wife’s death. He’s torn between familial bonds, and his growing attachment to his patient, struggling to maintain some semblance of clinical detachment.

But with Daith’s power growing beyond what they had imagined, keeping her identity a secret from her becomes more difficult. Trey resorts to desperate measures to ensure she stays under his control, and no one’s life is safe while he attempts to bring peace back to the galaxy. He believes everyone is expendable, a small price to pay in order to free worlds from war, but will he be able to sway Daith? Will she stay and give up her hope of discovering who she really is?

When I started reading this book, it wasn’t with any sense of expectation. It was only because I agreed to read and review it for the author. It quickly became apparent that the book was well thought out, well-written, and was actually gripping. I became immersed in her story, needing to know what came next, needing to see what exactly Trey’s plan would be, and if Daith would regain her memory.

Illusion is a book whose antagonist believes himself to be the hero, while he plots and schemes, having no trouble killing those who stand in his way, including his own crew should they disappoint him in any way. He’s a tyrant rather than a leader. Daith, however, is a mystery to herself, discovering the truth of her powers as she is guided by the lies of a man who doesn’t care about her, except by how she could be of use to his plans.

As as sit here writing this, is occurs to me that Illusion is one of the better books I’ve reviewed. I read until I could no longer stay awake, and finished it as soon as I could. My only complaint is that I have to wait until the next book to come out to know what happens next. I came to loathe Trey while I rooted for Daith – and to a lesser extent, Dru – to be able to free herself from his grasp.

Christa succeeded in creating an interesting story, one that I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to read. It’s definitely one of my new favorites!


List of Book Reviews
Next review –
Previous Review – Levant Mirage

Book Review: Levant Mirage

Levant MirageA few months back Oliver shot me an email. I had given his previous book, Marsh Islandan honest and fair review. He asked if I would be interested in giving his new book a read, and possibly reviewing it for him. At the time, I had given up reviewing books, but since I had reviewed his book once, I thought why not. I replied that I would be interested and sent me a copy of his newest novel, Levant Mirage.

The book follows Adam Michaels, a Major in the Army, who after an incident on the battlefield sees his once promising career derailed as punishment. It’s not until an attempted kidnapping that his career is mysteriously rehabilitated, he’s promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, then summarily retired and sent on an undercover assignment, all stemming from a Ph.D. dissertation he worked on some ten years prior. His question is why?

He is thrust into a world of intrigue, of betrayals and half-truths, a world where he forced to survive by his skill, and blind luck. His life is put at risk, not knowing what’s truly at stake since those in the know refuse to tell him the whole story. He finds colleagues murdered, sees one assassinated in front of him. He soon uncovers the horrible truth, of a terrorist plot to use his technology to bring about the end of civilization as we know it.

Michaels is in a race to save America and mankind from a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions. He turns to his grandfather, a titan of industry, and familial friends to assist him, not knowing who else to trust. The normal rules of government and diplomacy no longer apply, so he enlists his former commander, a new representative in Congress to circumvent normal procedures. With annihilation closing, he puts everything on the line as he puts his last ditch effort to save humanity, battling traitors and saboteurs unknown, risking everything, including his life.

But will it be enough?

At first, I’ll admit, I had a hard time following what the story was about. Military and political intrigue, to be sure, but so what? Sure, there was a love interest thrown in to complicate the issue, but it would become clear what the story was about.

Levant Mirage is a story of its time. Oliver F. Chase wrote a timely novel of religious and political upheaval, of groups that would pervert the name of God in order to usher in their vision of the apocalypse and the world. There’s also the element of how the political game is played, a government that doesn’t trust itself, of various agencies holding on to secrets that threaten America’s survival, incapable of doing anything else but follow an obsolete protocol, to its own detriment.

At its center is the protagonist, whose research has been hijacked in order to create a world-ending weapon, and therefore is the only man who can save the world. As such, he becomes a target of terrorist groups and governments seek to destroy the west, especially Christianity and the democratic powers.

It’s a scenario that’s all too real given our time in history. There’s no lack of men and women who become radicalized and take up the anti-democracy mantel to betray their fellow countrymen. It’s a story that’s all too often on the evening news as of late.

While the book is a work of fiction, there’s enough truth that it is in a way a warning, that our freedom and our lives hang precariously in the balance. With this in mind, I absolutely recommend this book to all my readers. It’s gripping, chilling in its delivery, and leaves the reader on the edge of their seats, needing to know what comes next, and how the world could possibly survive.

I mean, from what I read, I’m sure I’d be dead, but I won’t hold it against the author. I just hope it remains a work of fiction.


List of Book Reviews
Next review –  Illusion
Previous Review – Ready Player One

My next review

I’m currently reading my next book review, Levant Mirage, which I hope to be done with tomorrow. Just in case, I’m pushing the review date back to Tuesday, February 2nd, just in case. I’m enjoying the book, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you. I want to give the review justice. The next book, Mirage, will be ready in time.

Book Review: The Protected

protectedWhen I first decided to tackle this review, I’ll admit to some apprehension. Most of the books I’ve reviewed have been fantasy, though a couple of erotica books worked their way into the mix. This is the first time that I chose a Christian novel to read and I came into it with my own prejudices and misconceptions against the genre in general. Most of the books I personally like involve the clergy, Morris West and his novels revolving around the papacy come to mind, but they are hardly Christian novels.

So I began to read and I tried find an angle of attack. How should I rate it? Do I compare it to some other books I’ve read? Do I rate it according to my own prejudices? All my fears and questions were quickly rendered mute by the novelist. I’ll be honest as I always am, and present as fair an assessment as my abilities allow.

The Protected is the debut novel from Brooke-Lauren Montgomery. I met Brooke a couple of years ago, in the fairness of complete disclosure, when I went back to finish up my college degree. We took two classes together, Advanced Grammar and Creative Writing: Nonfiction. I remember her stating that she had a book coming out and when I ran into her a few months ago, I asked her and I offered her to review the book. I’m breaking my own rule of reviewing the works of people I know, but I don’t really know her, so I guess I’m good.

The Protected follows the journey of Maryanne Gilmon, a college student who’s involved with a handsome and charismatic young man named Darren. Not much is known about Darren, but he’s a risk-taker and seems to have ample financial resources.The story is a progression from being away from God to her discovering and finally accepting God’s grace.

In her way are the usual temptations of the world, but none more persistent and aggressive as her boyfriend. An her side is the supernatural intervention of a young man she knows simply as Nememiah, a man who’s only the physical incarnation of her own guardian angel.

The more she tries to grow closer to God, the more Darren stands in her way, becoming a possessive and abusive, both mentally and emotionally. Darren is the embodiment of that which seeks to strip humanity away from the Lord, using whatever is at his disposal to do so. He threatens and sweet talks Maryanne, trying to lead her down a darker path, promising to stop at nothing, even destroying all her loved ones, in his mission to win her over. Is Maryanne’s new found faith strong enough to endure the trial she’s facing?

Brooke wrote a powerful book with serious themes. This isn’t the struggle of growing up in a world full of temptations but rather a book with serious consequences, of fighting against demonic powers in order to find salvation. At stake is either an eternity of grace and love, or eternal damnation.

I found myself being drawn into the story in spite of my reservations. I’m not an evangelical, I’m very private with my faith, a life-long Catholic, and I find casual conversation of God and Jesus to be distasteful. Brooke, in her novel, has no such qualms. This is a personal testimony of searching for and finding God’s grace, than in spite of all the Devil tries to do, God’s love is more powerful, and He will defeat the evil one. One must only have faith enough in Him to see the triumph.

Once I allowed myself to accept the book for what it was, was I able to begin to enjoy the story. It’s high drama, suspense, with more at stake than a person’s life. Truly, I felt fear and elation, and a peace when Maryanne chose to be born again. The author disabused me of my prejudices of the genre, that though it may not be for everybody, there are powerful stories to tell.

All in all, I decided to rate The Protected a full five out of five stars. It’s a very well-told story and I’m eager to see what else Brooke has in store for us. You can find the paperback version on Amazon or if you prefer an e-book, you can buy it directly from the publisher, Tate Publishing.

List of Book Reviews
Next review –  Ready Player One
Previous Review – The Dreamt Child