Book Review: The Fever by Thomas Fenske

Thomas Fenske, an independent author, contacted me to read and review his book. The blurb sounded interesting and I decided to give it a read as I do like to support indie authors.

Genre: Adult Contemporary

Blurb:

Sam Milton is just a typical, normal guy living an ordinary life until a chance deathbed confession changes him forever:

“There’s a gold mine out there … ya gotta follow the devil and look for the table, then turn around and you’ll see the why of it … I know it don’t make much sense but it ain’t supposed to until you get there …”

These words smolder in Sam’s soul for years and his obsession controls a life that is a solitary struggle for self and purpose. He works in secret, trespassing, lying, and doing whatever it takes to continue his quest.His long, lonely, and dangerous trips to the far reaches of West Texas cost him dearly in terms of time and money as he sacrifices love, friendship, and family pursuing his elusive goal.

When a solution to the riddle emerges … THE FEVER takes over and nothing, not even a new love interest, can stop him from recklessly planning another more challenging and perilous trip. He is certain that he will either find something out in the wilderness, or die trying.

My thoughts:

I opened the novel with quiet expectation and hope. Unfortunately i was disappointed. Even though the novel was written using correct grammar, it did fall short of my expectations.

I had two problems with Frenske’s storytelling. The most obvious to me was the repetitive nature of the novel. The story is written from three points of view and often a character would repeat what had already been stated. I found the repetition tedious and was often tempted to skim over the lines in order to pass over what had already been stated by another character; or by the main character’s ruminations of the past.

The second issue that I had with Frenske’s storytelling is that he would often tell the reader information that could be inferred. I am definitely a reader who prefers being shown and not told and felt that the author did not trust the reader’s prior knowledge and instinct in determining what could have happened in the past. Being told everything did not engage me in the story and I felt no connection to it at all.

The Fever is grammatically correct but it in no way encouraged me to feel any emotion. The 277 page novel could have been written as a much shorter story which could have left me feeling a lot more satisfied.

I give this novel a disappointing ⭐️ 1 star

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 94th in my book pledge for 2019)

Book Review: Pressure Point by Jessie Kwak

I was excited to read the third novel in the Bulari Saga by Jessie Kwak. As I admired the cover of Pressure Point, I itched to crack open the pages and begin reading.

Genre: Science Fiction

Blurb:

Peace demands its price in blood.

Jaantzen may have brought stability to the city of Bulari, but not everyone’s grateful. Allegiances are shifting sand, and he’s made a miscalculation that earned him a deadly new enemy — one who plays a viciously different game than the one Jaantzen is used to winning.

Jaantzen and his crew fight to gain the upper hand, but secrets buried in shallow graves are coming back to haunt them. And as Starla and Toshiyo edge closer to understanding the growing mystery that’s been dropped in their laps, their search is awakening darker things than any of them can imagine.

Peace comes at a price, and this Pax Bulari could cost Jaantzen everyone he loves.

My thoughts:

The pressure in Kwak’s story is definitely building in the third installment in Bulari Saga. The consequences of the action taken in the second novel are realised and the reader sees how the characters are figuring out how to deal with these consequences. What I enjoy is that the people in the story stay true to their character – each behaves as I would expect them too. I still have my favourites and I continue cheering them on as I read.

A little romance is developing in the story and it adds another dimension to the storyline. The romance shows that the characters are human and, as such, have feelings for one another. I am certainly curious to see where the romantic relationship leads; and whether it will change the decisions that will be made.

As with the previous two episodes in the story, Kwak’s pace is pitched perfectly. I could not help but turn the pages and found it difficult to put the novel down. And the end of the novel left me wanting more – I definitely cannot wait to read the next installment in the series!

In order to enjoy Pressure Point, it is important to have read the previous two novels in the series. But it is never to late to start reading from book 1! If enjoy reading science fiction and gangster-type stories, Kwak’s saga is one you need to pick up. You would enjoy the fast-paced tale with smatterings of humour and a touch of romance.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 93rd in my book pledge for 2019)

Book Review: Crossfire by Jessie Kwak

When Crossfire by Jessie Kwak arrived in the mail, I was so excited to read it that I placed it on the top of my TBR pile next to my bed.

Genre: Science Fiction

Blurb:

Trouble is dead. Long live trouble.

Killing the leader of a violent cult was supposed to make the city a safer place, but instead it created a power imbalance that’s left a deadly war raging in the streets of Bulari. 

When Willem Jaantzen is approached for help by local casino magnate Phaera D, he has the sinking feeling the only way to end this war is to betray the people he loves the most. And he’s starting to suspect that Phaera wants more from him than just his help. 

Whatever decision he makes feels like the wrong one. And as his goddaughter chips away at the mystery surrounding their latest discovery, bringing peace back to the Bulari underground is quickly becoming the least of his worries. 

My thoughts:

I could not wait to open Crossfire and continue reading more of the characters in the Bulari Saga. I was not disappointed and quickly became engrossed in the story.

In the second volume of the saga, readers get to know a little more about the characters that Kwak has introduced us to. My two favourite characters are definitely Manu and Starla. In Crossfire, I learn a little more about them and – to be honest – I want to know more! Both of them are shown as people who have experienced some difficult times. They are loyal and strong – and, like all people, have things on their mind and problems in their personal lives. Readers also get to know a little more about Toshiyo – the nerd in the story. I look forward with hope to learning more about her in the next installment of the saga.

Kwak has shared with us a story that is fast-paced and filled with action. I chose to read this novel during a time in which I could put aside all other obligations – a wise choice as I did not want to put the book down! The story picks up from where it left off in the first volume, Double Edged. Kwak adroitly moves the reader through the story with concise writing that creates images in the reader’s mind.

Crossfire is a story about the need to sacrifice personal desires for the good of the community. Jaantzen and Manu need to forsake their desire for revenge Of a sworn enemy in order to ensure that peace can be attained in their city. The reader does wonder, and hope, that their sacrifice is worth it and that Jaantzen’s plan to work with an enemy is fruitful.

As I read the last page of this novel, I wished I could read more. I will be waiting impatiently for the next volume. This fast-paced science-fiction story has me hooked!

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 62nd in my book pledge for 2019)

Blog Tour: The Blood Prince by Josie Jaffrey

Last year I discovered Josie Jaffrey, an independent author who has written a vampire series. I have loved The Sovereign Series thus far and look forward to its completion. I thought I would connect with Josie and ask her a few things I was curious about.
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The Blood Prince, the third in the Sovereign series, is being released 20 February. Can you summarise the story up until now in a few sentences?
In the last city on Earth, a race of vampiric Nobles rules over the remnants of humanity. Julia, a human server, has caught the attention of two Nobles: one who loves her, and another who has rather darker feelings. Meanwhile, a Noble named Cam is trying to save the city by bringing back its old king and queen, but the monarchs are more interested in finding their missing son than in ruling their subjects. Both Julia and Cam are looking for a way to liberate humanity, and that’s where The Blood Prince starts.

Without giving anything away, what can we look forward to in reading The Blood Prince?
There’s action, romantic tension, betrayal and an awful lot of zombies. As the book is the last in the Sovereign trilogy, it brings together all the threads from the previous books into a big, bloody climax.
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I have enjoyed reading your story up until now Josie. And one needs to wonder – why vampires? What sparked your interest in writing stories about them?
I’ve always loved vampires. I was a huge Buffy fan, following every season as they came out, and I eventually ended up reading a lot of vampire paranormal romance stories. However, there was nothing that EXACTLY hit the spot for the kind of vampires I was looking for. I wanted them scary, and I couldn’t understand why all the books I read had worlds in which vampires were present, but not in charge. That made no sense to me. If they were as strong and powerful as all that, I thought that surely they’d take over the world. That was my starting point for the Solis Invicti series, which led naturally into its sequel series, the Sovereign trilogy.
One thing I am always curious about is a person’s writing process. What is yours? Are you one who plans? Or do you build the story as you go along?
I spend months or even years thinking idly about a story before writing much down, but after that I usually take a week to write out a rough plan for where the story is going. That might only be a sentence for each chapter, or I might have entire scenes in my head that I want to play out in a particular way. Parts of the story always suggest themselves as I go along, and I end up drawing in all sorts of details I never imagined would be in the story. I often simply design the characters, then wind them up and see where they go. Frequently, I have to stop and replan a novel when I get a third of the way through, because I realise that it’s suddenly going in a completely different direction. I try to go with the flow rather than fight that!
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What can readers expect after The Blood Prince?

I’m going to be writing more in the world of the Silver, but not for a little while. I’m thinking about doing some prequel murder mystery stories set before the Solis Invicti series, so that’ll probably be the next thing I write in this world.

In the meantime, I’m busy working on projects that I hope to get published traditionally. Some of those are YA and some adult. The next thing I’m writing is a fantasy trilogy with a serial killer as the main character, which is something a little different, but still on-brand for me, I feel!
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I wish Josie luck with her future plans. If you want to learn a little more about the third book in The Sovereign Series, head on over to the other blogs on the book tour to read some reviews.
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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Cover Reveal: The Blood Prince by Josie Jaffrey

Today Josie Jaffrey, an independent author of Young Adult dystopian stories, has revealed the cover for her third book in the Sovereign Series.

I have read the first two books in the series – The Gilded King and The Silver Queen (click on the titles for my reviews) and loved them.

I am eager to read the culmination of the story and to find out what happens to my favourite characters.

What do you think of the cover for the third book?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Book Review: The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

I came across Josie Jaffrey, an independent author, on Instagram. After contact with her, she offered me a copy of her latest Young Adult fantasy novel, The Gilded King. As I enjoy this genre, I agreed to read and review her work.

Blurb:

In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well. Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world cannot accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape int the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside. But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained. Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight. One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.

My thoughts:

From the first page of this novel I was drawn into Jaffrey’s world and swept away by her prose. The world she has created is refreshingly different and, even though it does not exist, her description of the Blue (and later the Red) captured my imagination and allowed me to suspend disbelief. I fell in love with the characters Julia and Lucas – and grew to distrust other Nobles living within the Blue. As the story moved to a climax, I held my breath and hoped for the survival of my favourites. The writer expertly takes you through a range of emotions, and does not allow you to put down her novel and forget her story.

I loved reading The Guilded King. the first in the Sovereign series. As the story came to a close, Jaffrey left me on tenterhooks, anxiously waiting for the next installment. Her writing and storytelling has converted me into a fan and I know that I am going read everything that she has previously written. If you love fantasy fiction, you should seek out a copy of this tale – you will not regret it.

I give this novel ⭐⭐⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This novel was the 52nd in my 50 book pledge for 2018)

Book Review: Vengeance Wears Black by Seumas Gallacher

Last year, a couple of months before Christmas, I entered a giveaway on one of Susan Toy’s blogs, Reading Recommendations and I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the recepients to receive a book. My choice was an author I had not read before but had noticed around the blogosphere: Seumas Gallacher.

TIMG_7475he past two weekends has seen me reading the words in Vengeance Wears Black, a crime thriller. The novel drew me in from the first line and kept me interested until the last page. This fast-paced thriller centres around the character Jack Calder, an ex-SAS agent and security specialist. The action begins with a deadly grenade which is thrown into a Chinese restaurant in the West End in London at lunchtime, and continues into the world of the drug trade. Readers are taken from London to spots in Europe with Jack Calder and his ISP colleagues.

Reading this novel made me think of fast-paced Hollywood action movies. I turned the pages quickly and regretted the moments when I had to put the novel down. The second Jack Calder novel is one that I would recommend, especially if you enjoy reading fast-paced stories that are succint and full of action. I enjoyed this read and look forward to reading the next one featuring the former SAS agent.

Do you enjoy reading fast-paced thrillers?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

A Pair of Books

I have a pair of books on my TBR (to be read) pile that were written by bloggers I have followed for a few years now: T.B.Markinson at 50yearproject.wordpress.com and John Amici at fromthebartolinikitchens.wordpress.com.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
A pair of book written by bloggers. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

This weekend I decided I needed a break from working and planning my lessons. To relax, I made a cup of tea and opened T.B’s latest novel. I did not regret my action.

Did you relax a little with a book this weekend?

This post was inspired by Hugh’s Photo Challenge. The prompt this week is: pair)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Book Review: Claudia Must Die by T. B. Markinson

claudia_frontI have just completed the fourth novel by T. B. Markinson, Claudia Must Die. From the first paragraph of this story, I was hooked. I had all these questions in my mind as I was reading the first page: Who is this Claudia? Why was she being hunted? Why was she looking for a woman similar in appearance to herself?

As I read on, my questions were answered – but my curiosity did not wane. Claudia is a woman on the run: she has left her gangster husband taking a lot of his money with her. She finds a way out of her dilemma but her plan goes awry. Unplanned events happen one after the other and snowball into a solution Claudia never thought of happening.

I enjoyed this novel by Markinson and believe it to be her best yet. This story is different from the others she has written and yet the story has been well told. Markinson’s characters are believable and their actions realistic. Claudia’s original intentions may be suspect – and yet one grows to understand the reasons for her actions. I found myself flipping the pages of my reader quickly to see whether the end may be a positive one for her. For a light read that has a bit of thrill in it, I recommend Claudia Must Die.

To connect with T. B. Markinson, you can find her on her blog Making My Mark.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014