Posted in Audiobooks, Book Club Reads, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore

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*No Major Spoilers*

New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history–and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?

The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society–the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal–private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it?

“Poor people all think they deserve to be rich,” he continued. “Rich people live every day with the uneasy knowledge that we do not.”
Graham Moore, The Last Days of Night

This historical fiction novel was interesting to me because I’ve always had a fascination with the early inventors. The remarkable scientific leaps are amazing even for the times. Without these such inventors, we wouldn’t have things like the Internet, our smartphones and computers.

The mythos that surrounds Nichola Tesla is fascinating. How he was so far advanced for his time, and whether the government was conspiring to hide his inventions or ideas. Tesla is featured prominently in this novel, and I enjoyed how not only foreign in a fact that he is from another country, but foreign in how his intelligence far outpaces everyone else.

Paul’s adventure into this strange new world full of scientific wonders was awe-inspiring. How Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb and so many other inventions from the scientific community. I can understand Paul’s struggle to comprehend new technologies.

I would highly recommend this novel for lovers of historical fiction, early inventors, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and early lawyering.

Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW: Holmes on the Range (Holmes on the Range #1) by Steve Hockensmith

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*No Major Spoilers*

1893 is a tough year in Montana, and any job is a good job. When brothers Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer sign on as ranch hands at a secretive ranch, they’re not expecting much more than hard work, bad pay, and a few free moments to enjoy their favorite pastime: reading stories about Sherlock Holmes.

When another hand turns up dead, Old Red sees the perfect opportunity to employ his Holmes-inspired “deducifyin'” skills and sets out to solve the case. Big Red, like it or not (and mostly he does not), is along for the wild ride in this clever, compelling, and completely one-of-a-kind mystery.

“You can follow a trail without even knowing you’re on it. You start out just ambling, maybe get to thinking you’re lost–but you’re headed somewhere all the same. You just don’t know it until you get there.” – Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith

As much as you hear about how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective Sherlock Holmes affected pop culture, you really don’t see it much outside of the United Kingdom. I am thrilled to see a western twist on the Sherlockian mystery subgenre. It makes the western genre unique and intriguing, not knowing who’s behind the murder until the unveiling at the end of the novel.

The Amlingmeyer brothers are just trying to survive in the late 1800’s America. When they stumble unto a murder mystery too difficult to ignore, they are in for an adventure. Lives and reputations are at stake as Old Red starts to meddle in places where he doesn’t belong.

The unlikeliness of a poor ranch hand solving an intricate mystery made the Amlingmeyer brothers’ struggle to solve the mystery all the more difficult. Old Red was more of an illiterate Sherlock Holmes and Big Red more of a brother trusting his kin. Big Red and Old Red is the only family they have left, so there’s no other choice but to stick together when things get dicey.

I would highly recommend this novel for lovers of westerns, mysteries, and Sherlockian style storytelling. This novel will leave you guessing until the big reveal, and even then you may be surprised to learn the answer to the mysteries.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

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*No Spoilers*

When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.

“You are stronger than you think you are. You are not your thoughts. The only devil inside of you is the one you created yourself.”-Amy Lukavics, Daughters Unto Devils

I found this novel at my local library. After enjoying Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry, I thought I might give the Young Adult genre another chance. Now let’s see if Daughters Unto Devils will meet my expectations.

I am into the paranormal, I enjoy listening to ghost stories even though I scare easily. This novel is full of mystery and spooky tension. What made this better was the fact of how this reminded me somewhat of The Donner Party.

I felt like this book was hammering home the message of the spiritual war that is always going on. I felt bad for Amanda in the fact she had no control over her circumstances. She fell in love, and he abandoned her when she told him she was pregnant.

Overall, I felt like this was a good creepy historical fiction that chilled me. It not only had me question Amanda’s sanity but the whole prairies’. Once innocent things turned into demonic terrifying entities by the end.

I enjoyed this novel, I felt like the creepiness was made all the better in the fact that this was when we were still expanding west. Back then, mental illnesses were seen as demon possessions and other demonic entities.

If you enjoy HorrorHistorical Fiction, and Young Adult Novels then I think you will enjoy Daughters Unto Devils. This novel doesn’t have much action, it’s mostly tension and suspense until the climax. I hope my readers will like this novel as much as I had.

Read My Review of Rot & Ruin HERE

Check Out Other YA Novels I’ve Reviewed HERE

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Red River (Edge #6) by George G. Gilman

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*No Major Spoilers*

It was a jagged rip in his memory. In jail for a killing he didn’t commit, Edge is puzzled by the prisoner in the next cell. Where had they met before? Was it at Shiloh, or in the horror of Andersonville? This is the sequel to Killer’s Breed, an earlier volume in this series. We revisit the bloody days of the Civil War and incredible scenes of cruelty and violence as our young nation splits wide open, blue armies versus gray armies, tainting the land with a river of blood. And Edge was there.

My dad loves westerns, as I’ve stated in past reviews. This novel caught my attention because of the artwork on the cover and the fact that I grew up near the Red River that borders Oklahoma and Texas. I am not a Civil War history buff, but I thought I’d give it a try.

The title is more of a metaphor for how bloody and brutal the Civil War actually was. I’ve learned in college that the Civil War was more complicated than just the argument over slavery. It was about the seemingly unbalance between the northern and southern states.

I liked how Edge (Hedge in the flashbacks) was always getting into tight scraps, like being captured by Confederate soldiers and being taken to Andersonville. Through the horrors he and a few of his comrades had witnessed, Edge was able to trick his way out of the death camp.

The current day storyline was also enthralling as well. A double homicide, one of which just happened to be bad luck, and gambling don’t mix well. Edge is facing being hanged unless he can prove that he didn’t pull the trigger. That’s not the only obstacle in his way. People with power and big bank accounts want to see Edge hang for the deaths as well.

Overall, this was a nice and enjoyable short story. There was plenty of action, mystery, and Civil War history. I would recommend this novel for lovers of old westerns, historical fiction, and Civil War related fiction. Even though this novel is old, I think copies can still be found.

Learn More About Andersonville Here

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Infamous by Ace Atkins

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*No Major Spoilers*

In July 1933, the gangster known as George “Machine Gun” Kelly staged the kidnapping-for-ransom of an Oklahoma oil­man. He would live to regret it. Kelly was never the sharpest knife in the drawer, and what started clean soon became messy, as two of his partners cut themselves into the action; a determined former Texas Ranger makes tracking Kelly his mission; and Kelly’s wife, ever alert to her own self-interest, starts playing both ends against the middle.

The result is a mesmerizing tale set in the first days of the modern FBI, featuring one of the best femmes fatales in history—the Lady Macbeth of Depression-era crime—a great unexpected hero, and some of the most colorful supporting characters in recent crime fiction.

I am a big fan of 1920-30s era fiction, especially the gangsters and Prohibition Era stories. Even though most historical fiction romanticizes racial and sexism struggles, I still enjoy them all the same.

This novel mainly takes place in the Oklahoma/Texas area. I am from this area of the U.S. so I was familiar with the layout. It felt good to have Oklahoma represented in a novel about 1930s America.

I enjoyed how Infamous felt like a documentary about Machine Gun Kelley and the other gangsters he was associated with. The language used made me feel like I was right there with both the gangsters and the officers themselves.

If you are looking for a fascinating look into 1930s America, then I would highly recommend this novel. Infamous felt like a biopic of George “Machine Gun” Kelly and life as a whole in 1930s America. I enjoyed this novel of crime, betrayal, and survival in a Depression-era world.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

ARC REVIEW: Miao-Shan: The Awakening by G.A.M. Morris

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*No Spoilers*

**I was given a copy of this novel by the author**

***Miao-Shan: The Awakening will be hitting ebook shop January 15 2019***

When ten-year-old Chow Lei witnessed her parent’s brutal murder at the hands of Hong Kong Triad members she was emotionally scarred for life. Her grandmother adopted her and attempted to help Lei heal emotionally, but only when Lei joined a Shaolin Kung Fu school did any emotional healing occur.

After a year of training, her grandmother reluctantly agreed to send her to the Shaolin Temple. Lei had continued to improve at the Temple to further her Kung Fu training as well as learning compassion towards her peers. At the Temple, she was renamed Miao-Shan, from a legend about the Chinese Buddhist Goddess of compassion, Guan Yin.

This novel isn’t the kind of story I’d read often. I find the culture gap to be intimidating. However, with this novel, there is a helpful list of key terms and important historical events relevant to the story. Having that there helped me understand the slang terms and historical events of the time.

Watching Lei, soon to become Miao-Shan was fulfilling as well as entertaining. Watching her grow as a person who has seen things that no one ever should make her journey more relatable.

This novel has a cast of loveable characters. Even when the story shifts to the leader of the triad’s perspective, seeing where he started and how the triad brainwashed him makes him a more personable and likable character that’s easier to understand.

One of my favorite parts of this story is how Miao-Shan grew up at the Temple and gained a friend in a young boy named Lee. Even though Lee took the vow of celibacy when he became a monk, I wanted the two to be a romantic couple. They had really good chemistry, and their friendship was really heart-warming.

When you’re finished reading this story you won’t find any loose ends, everything wraps up nice and neatly and is presented in a likable and fulfilling ending. This was an entertaining read for all adults to enjoy.

All in all, I enjoyed this read. Sure it was a bit of a rough start getting used to the slang and culture of the story, but once I got the hang of it, I enjoyed this novel in its entirety. I would recommend this novel for lovers of martial arts, historical fiction, and Oriental literature.

Q&A with G.A.M. Morris

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