3 Stars
Tech Mage by Chris Fox
Tech Mage (The Magitech Chronicles #1) - Chris   Fox

I have no idea why I chose this book to read. I was skimming thru some books on Amazon and decided to try it.  Reluctantly I started reading the book when I forgot the book I wanted to read because I was at a place at work with no wi-fi.  I was really happy I chose to read it.


Don't let the 3 stars fool you.  For me, that's not a bad book, it's just not a memorable story, but it is entertaining. It has space pirates, a Confederate Militia not unlike the Star Wars saga, giant wyrms, and even larger Dragons, all intelligent and can do magic.   These are the bad guys trying to take over, well everything.  The good guys are different races, again sorta like Star Wars and some of these can perform magic.  There are different types of magic in this series, like Earth, Wind, and Fire (wait, that's one of my favorite bands) that people can perform and the more different forms of magic you can perform, the stronger and more dangerous you are.


So what we have is a space opera that is not based on tech but on magic.  Even the weapons are based on and made from magic.  Now you get the gist of what the book is about but I won't go further into it, as Doctor Who says, 'spoilers'.


I like this so much that I've already started the 2nd in the series, Void Wyrm and it seems to be just as good as the first book.


Tech Mage by Chris Fox

Book one in The Magitech Chronicles series

Sometimes I just have to say no.
The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

I try to stay with a story, and sometimes I'll set it aside and pick it up later and finish it.  I still might do that but my enjoyment factor just isn't with it on this book.  I was expecting more about mythology but this book is just drama, and I don't usually read drama unless it's crime, mysteries, thrillers, fantasies, and science fiction.  The Song of Achilles to me didn't fall into these categories.  We all know what happens to Achilles and this is about relationships with his friend and his mother.  Maybe another time, but I've got so much that I want to read.

Paradise Valley by C.J. Box
Paradise Valley: A Novel (Highway Quartet) - C.J. Box

First, about the series. Paradise Valley is in a series that has 2 different names, or to me, it has two different names.  Actually, it has three different names. So I really don't think this has any spoilers in it but it could so read at your own risk.


The First book, Back of the Beyond was a good enough book and the series was called Cody Hoyt series.  It was about an alcoholic detective that had lots of faults but took his job seriously.  Because of his demons, he was sort of a lone wolf and he became a mentor to Cassie Dewey.


The second book, The Highway, is the only book I've ever been pissed at.  Only George R.R. Martin can kill off one of the main characters but how do you kill off the character the series is named for.  Cassie Dewey comes in and finishes out the book as the protagonist.  I think this is where the Highway Quartet series comes in.


The third book, Badlands, took me a while to read.  I still hadn't forgiven box for killing off Hoyt, but Cassie Dewey really comes on strong in this book and makes this the 2nd book of the Cassie Dewey series.


Now we're at the fourth book in the Highway Quartet and a 5th Highway quartet is coming out later this year, so how is this a quartet. So let's get started.


Paradise Valley starts our really good for Detective Cassie Dewey when Cassie gets a lead on the serial killer she's been chasing, but things go really bad.  Not only does the serial killer have it out for her but the County District Attorney and the FBI want s her hide.  Now she has to go back to relying on what Cody Hoyt taught her on being a lone wolf.  This takes her back to the beginning.  To the Lizard Kings old stomping grounds.  Cassie is always one step behind the Lizard King and finally gets help and support from people she has never met.  Will this be the end of the Lizard King or the end of her.  Since there's another book coming out this year I think we can figure the answer out, but this book is a really hard journey.


This is by far the best of the series and worth reading the series.  Paradise Valley brings Cassie Dewey up to par with C.J. Box's breadwinner, Joe Pickett.  It is well worth the read.


4 stars for me.


Paradise Valley by C.J. Box

Book 4 in the Cassie Dewey series (to heck with the Highway Quartet, Cassie deserves her name on it.)


4.5 Stars
Wolf Pack by C.J. Box
Wolf Pack - C.J. Box

The Joe Pickett series is one of my favorite series I read.  I can never put an order to what my favorites are, but a new Joe Pickett comes out, it is my next read.  Hopefully, none of my other favorites come out at the same time.  That would just be pure hell.


Without getting into spoilers, wolf pack has different meanings other than just being the title.  At the end of the last book in the series, The Disappeared we find Joe fired from his Wyoming warden job by the Governor, but this being a Joe Pickett series, former Governor Rulon sees to it that Joe gets his old job back, along with a scandal for the new Governor and Joe gets a new boss.  He gets his old district back, his old badge number and a new truck and house since his old house had burned down due to arson.  These aren't really spoilers because you learn this in the first few pages of the book.


If you want to know about what the book is about then read the book cover.  Box comes up with things probably no other warden would ever come up against.  One thing about Box is that he is not the best writer you will come across.  Where he excels at is that he is a storyteller, like Craig Johnson.  His books are never too long, never padded with filler that starts to bore you, he just tells a story about Joe Pickett, his family, and friends.  I can't wait until his next book.


Wolf Pack by C.J. Boes

Book 19 in the Joe Pickett series

3.5 Stars
Evil Games by Angela Marsons
Evil Games - Angela Marsons

I had to put off my review because one of my favorite series had a new release and I had to read it.


Evil Games is an excellent book by Angela Marsons.  When I first started reading Evil Games I didn't think Marsons could make the antagonist work.  In this case, it would be a psychiatrist that would take patients that had gone through physical and mental trauma and nudge them into revenge against the person that hurt them.  Usually, that hurt ended with death.  Marsons does make it work and she creates one of the evilest villains I've read in a while.


D. I. Kim Stone is investigating crimes and Dr. Alexandra Thorne keeps popping up.  Kim just can't shake the feeling that something is wrong when revenge crimes keep happening and Alex is somehow involved in all the patients carrying out these crimes, all the time knowing that it will be impossible to implicate the Doctor in the crimes, I mean how can someone suggest a Doctor of these actions, much less prove that the Doctor was in concert with these people. When the Doctor finds out that Kim has caught on to her 'tests' the only thing she can do is make Kim one of her tests by getting into Kim's head.  I think in the first book review I did in this series I used cat and mouse to describe the interactions in Kim's investigations and that describes how it works in this book.  It's just the cat and mouse keep changing back and forth.


This is a most excellent book and becoming a very good series.  If you're into crime, thrillers and mystery books then this should be right up your alley.


Evil Games by Angela Marsons

D.I. Kim Stone series, book 2.

Reading progress update: I've read 55%.
Evil Games - Angela Marsons

Marsons has the title right.  The protagonist is one of the most evil I've read in a long time.

4 Stars
Silent Scream by Angela Marsons
Silent Scream: An edge of your seat serial killer thriller (Detective Kim Stone crime thriller series Book 1) - Angela Marsons

I love a good series and I think the D.I.Kim Stone series will be some good reading.


Angela Marsons gives us Kim Stone, damaged from watching her little brother tortured to death by his mother and a product of foster homes and institutions for kids between foster homes, with a touch of Aspergers thrown in from judging her communication skills.  Also, as with most people with Aspergers Syndrom, there are no grey areas in her life so she wants to be the perfect cop or her definition of a perfect cop which is not the way her superiors see it.


In Silent Scream she must investigate a serial killer and while searching for clues she uncovers three bodies in shallow graves around a torched institution for girls unwanted by society.  Marson writes a very good book and for the first book in a series gets us to know who Kim Stone is, but leaves us wanting to know more about her.  Marsons does not bog us down with all the procedurals involved in being a D.I., leaving a lot of room for gut feelings and solving cases. I really enjoyed this and the second book is to be started tomorrow or the next.


Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

D. I. Kim Stone series, book 1

3 Stars
The Nobel Lecture by Bob Dylan
The Nobel Lecture - Bob Dylan

This book is actually the acceptance speech that Bob Dylan gave when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016.


I was talking with a friend about Bob Dylan and his Nobel Prize came up and he loaned me his Kindle and I read The Nobel Lecture by Bob Dylan.  Later I found it on YouTube and you can listen to it here.  I cannot call it inspiring but it is worth time reading or listening to just like other recipients of any Nobel Prize.  Some people call it rambling, while others call it extraordinary, but it does reveal, at least according to Dylan why he became a songwriter and folk singer.


Dylan talks about four influences of his career, Buddy Holly, and the books Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and The Oddessey and how they influenced his writings, either knowingly or not.


I guess I'm going to have to listen a little differently when I listen to Tombstone Blues and Maggie's Farm in the future, to see if I can hear some of these stories in his songs, but I've never found the interest to read Remarque, like a journey I don't want to travel. I guess I know what I'll be listening to on my commutes to work next week.


If you're a Bob Dylan fan take the time to read or listen to his speech.  It does give you an insight into some of his influences.

The Song of Achilles: Reading progress update: I've read 53%.
The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

I'm not much into romance or love stories, but that is what this book is turning out to be.  There are a couple of writers I like that get a little into that, like Ilona Andrews and Ann Charles, but this keeps going between love scenes, adoration, then jealousy, then back again.  No action, except in bed (or cave).  Luckily now Achilles heads to war now, with Patroclus at his side, well kinda anyway.  If this book starts getting back to all the romance, I'll have to DNR it.


Can anybody tell me if Circe has this much romance in it? 

The Song of Achilles: Reading progress update: I've read 12%.
The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

I've never read anything by Madeline Miller, probably because of even tho I really love mythology I never read any mythology since high school, a lifetime ago in Alabama.  This is stupid on my part, but I'm always afraid I'll find something dry and too much like a textbook.  I have a small handful of these on my TBR list I keep in my head, but always end up reading fantasy, sci-fi's, thrillers, and I usually only read series.


I get a few newsletters that featured Miller's Circe and decided I really wanted to read it, but for the fact that I'm a stickler for reading things in order, almost an OCD quality I have, I've decided to read The Song of Achilles first.


At first, I really didn't know what to think about what seems one boy's infatuation with an older boy a boy the same age, but the story is great.  I'm doing the audiobook and Frazer Douglas' style for this book is told from the viewpoint of Patroclus and while Douglas is not monotonous, he has not been excitable in the short time I've been reading.  But it works really good for this story.


So far I'm really glad to have chosen or be chosen by this book. 

2.5 Stars
The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz
The Crooked Staircase - Dean Koontz

Well, I thought I liked this book but I think I watched more Netflix than spending time reading the 3rd Jane Hawk novel.  It's wasn't a bad read but I just felt it wasn't the book I should have been reading at this time.


Spoilers below.


This book is like the others in the Jane Hawk series.  Lot's of deaths, kidnapping and then there's Jane doing what she can to keep the Arcadians from taking over the country and then the world.  They do this by injecting nanotechnology into chosen people that will act as their slaves and do their bidding like in the book the Manchurian Candidate. This technology can be started and ended with a catchphrase, which was actually "play Manchurian with me" until they realized that Jane had figured this out.  These chosen are then left to do the work of the Arcadians without knowing they are living a life that they have no control over, sometimes just living a normal day-to-day life and then they might have to do something bad, like killing people and then committing suicide before they can be examined.  Some of these injected people are police, Senators, Supreme Court Justices and every organization in our national security alphabet organizations.  Jane also has to protect her 5-year-old son from being kidnapped and sold into slavery or murdered, which will also bring Jane Hawk in from the dark.


The Crooked Staircase opens with dueling chapters between Tanuja & Sanjay Shukla and Jane Hawk.  Tanuja and Sanjay are orphaned brother and sister that are beginning their book writing careers and are deemed too controversial to the Arcadians, that their opinions are too different from theirs to live.  Teams of law enforcement that have been injected try to track down the siblings.  The Jane side of the book is her trying to track down Arcadians and getting evidence to clear her name.  Later the Arcadians do a full court press to find Travis, Jane's 5-year-old son.


While this is a good cat and mouse book, never knowing who is the cat and who is the mouse, it can get a little monotonous.  The Jane Hawk series is pretty good so far, but I can't do like I normally do and just read straight through the series like a lot of series I have done in the past, so now I will switch up my reading a little.


The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz

Jane Hawk series, book 3.


3 Stars
The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz
The Whispering Room - Dean Koontz

This is a book and story I love.  This is a book I hate.  


Koontz has a really good story and a good idea for a nice series.  The only other books I've read by Koontz was the Odd Thomas series, and I loved most of it, but hey, I can't run around and be happy all the time.


This is a series about Jane Hawk, an FBI agent that is now public enemy #1.  She discovered very rich people doing their Pinky and the Brain imitation of someone wanting to take over the world.  The Whispering Room gets Jane further into the conspiracy and sets her eyes on one person that she believes is behind it all.  The story is really good and it keeps you interested in the book.


The bad part of it is something I've read in other reviews, and they are 100% correct.  Even the first book in the series was written this way.  The book is written like a TV show or movie.  Chapters, and I mean a lot of chapters are only 2 to 3 pages long, like changing scenes in a TV show.  There are very few chapters over 20 pages if any.  Since I've only read the Odd Thomas and don't remember it being like this, I don't know if this is how Koontz normally writes or if he is doing a project that he's trying to get in another medium.


I really enjoy the story and this is just a small nag, so now I continue on into the next book in the series, The Crooked Staircase.


The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz

Jane Hawk series, book 3

4 Stars
The Hunger Games, Book 1 by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games - Suzanne  Collins

There's not much to say about a book that has been reviewed, probably many here on BookLikes, that hasn't already been said. I'm mostly reading them and comparing the movies to the books and Suzanne Collins must have worked hard to get the movie really close to the book. It's been years since I've read the book and a week since I've watched the movie.


The Hunger Games is not my favorite YA series, that belongs to the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer.  The Hunger Games is probably 3rd after Artemis Fowl and then Harry Potter.  As for book series with movies, I think this will be 2nd behind the Harry Potter movies.  As for the Hunger Games as a whole, the only thing I didn't care for was Katniss's inner struggle of her love between Gale and Peeta.  But what's a YA without some first love interests.


As for the comparison, I've just cut and pasted what I have here and then added a little more about some of the differences.  Click here if you want to see the comparison.  Like I said reviews for all three Hunger Games books have been done many times and in many languages.  The Hunger Games book sold 4.3 million books in 2010 and jumped to 9.3 million in 2011.  In 2012 the sales tripled and now it's listed as 29 million in the U.S. alone.  The first movie in the series mad $694 million dollars, 2nd in the franchise.


All in all, I enjoyed both the movie and the book, Rating the book 4 stars  So now I move forward to the 2nd book, Catching Fire.

The Hunger Games, Again. 21%
The Hunger Games - Suzanne  Collins

When I started here at BookLikes, I started doing my blog again, LQLarry Reads, and on the books, I just probably do what a lot of people do, which is cut and paste what I post here.  I also like to compare books to movies and make some other observations.


The reason I'm choosing to read The Hunger Games series is that I walked into the room my wife watches TV and The Hunger Games was on so I lingered and watched about five minutes of it and left it behind.  I enjoyed all the movies and enjoyed the books by Suzanne Collins with this probably the first YA book series that I've read (make it second after Harry Potter).  So on my blog, I'll do just small comparisons and not really reviews since they're old and most everybody has read and watched both sets.


This will be my 3rd read of the 1st book, and last Sunday I watched the 1st 3 movies and last night I watched the 4th.  I enjoyed the movies and I'm enjoying the book, and the audiobook as well.

3 Stars
Little Sister by Mark Dawson w/ Mark Ridpath
Little Sister: A Group Fifteen Novella (Group Fifteen Files Book 3) - Mark  Dawson, Michael Ridpath

Little Sister is the last in Volume 1 of the Group Fifteen Files and has probably the least written about them. Usually, the protagonist is a member of Group Fifteen and the antagonist is a mercenary or government agency with an agent in Britain that was up to no good. This time we find Finley Karsh, the owner of a hedge fund company called Lochalsh Capital, being blackmailed by a former employee or at least attempted to be blackmailed but Karsh knows how to handle the situation, and he handles it with a historical luger. He handles it with murder. Karsh is in accompaniment with his right-hand man Jesse Brunner and their girlfriends Olya and Gudrún.  Olya gets suspicious and leaves her boyfriend Jesse when they return to London, but she cannot persuade Gudrún.to leave Karsh.  Keeping up?


Now enter the hero of our story, the big, and I mean big brother of Gudrún, an Icelandic native and former British SAS member Björn Thorsson now getting his masters at University College London studying old Norse and doing some language classes on the side. Enter Olya, a woman he never liked because of her influence on his younger sister, to get him to talk Gudrún into leaving Karsh.


Now to convolute my review more Karsh has a contract out on him from a rival mining company because they are both bidding on some mining project in a country nobody has ever heard of, so Group Fifteen is called in to protect Karsh, kill the mercenary with a 100% kill rate record and in the end save Queen, Country and the British way of life.


No more spoilers, the book is only 126 pages and takes a little over a couple of hours to read. Mark and Mark cram a lot into this little book and it comes out to be like the other books in this series, a little better than average read.


As for the books, if you have Kindle Unlimited you borrow the books for free or for a limited time buy the Volume for only 99 cents, which I did.  I wonder who gets the 99 cents?


I rate this book 3 stars.  Like I said it is a good read worth reading if you are into this genre,


Little Sister by Mark Dawson w/ Mark Ridpath

A Group Fifteen Novella (Group Fifteen Files Book 3)


3.5 Stars
Witness X by Mark Dawson w/ Scott Mariani
Witness X: A Group Fifteen Novella (Group Fifteen Files Book 2) - Mark  Dawson, Scott Mariani

This is the second novella in the Group Fifteen Files written by Mark Dawson with the help of some of his peers.  This book was better than the 1st, which wasn't bad and now I'll go the last as of this date, Little Sister.  All of these can be read for free on Kindle Unlimited at this time.


Witness X starts out with an attack on a woman for no apparent reason but when MI5 starts digging into everything they bring in the people that pulls the trigger, Group Fifteen.  Control, the man that oversees Group Fifteen calls for the one man that can get to the bottom of everything, Twelve, or the under suspension Bryan Duffy.  The reason Duffy is brought in is because of this attack was personal. The attack was carried out by a North Korean agency equivalent to Group Fifteen and espionage was a reason for them to kill anybody that would get in their way.


Dawson and Mariani pack 104 pages full of action and very little wasted space.  So far if this is a genre you like then I suggest this little novella series as "Group Fifteen Files, Volume 1" be added to your reading list if you want something quick to read.


Witness X by Mark Dawson and Scott Mariani

A Group Fifteen Novella (Group Fifteen Files Book 2)