American Magic
August 26th, 2019 by diane92345

What if magic is real? But kept hidden by a group as mysterious, and rich, as the Illuminati? When one member turns rogue, the lid is off American Magic.

Okay, I admit it, the plot sounds lame—except when you are actually reading it. The author manages to do a Dan Brown on a seemingly absurd plot like The DaVinci Code and makes it believable. Once you are over that hurdle, the same one the main character surmounts, American Magic is an exhilarating thriller. If you don’t mind some magic, I highly recommend reading this DaVinci Code-like thriller. I can already envision which actors will play Ben and Mack on the big screen. 4 stars!

Thanks to Emily Bestler Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

The Russian
August 3rd, 2019 by diane92345

If you like James Bond, you will love The Russian.

Rob Tacoma, ex-SEAL and former CIA operative, is called back to the CIA for a highly confidential and dangerous mission. The Russian mafia has killed Florida Governor Blake and New York senior Senator O’Flaherty within two minutes of each other. President Dellenbaugh is angry. He convenes a Senate panel that allows him to use the CIA on US soil and give the operative, Rob, a full pardon in advance. Basically, it’s a license to kill.

If you like action and don’t mind some graphic gore, you will love The Russian. The descriptions of the weapons, cars and planes are very detailed making you feel part of the action. However, the characters were not well developed. While Rob had some of his motivations explained, most of the other characters did not. They were only briefly described physically as a beautiful brown haired woman with great legs or an ugly and buff Ukrainian man. Great action with minimal characterizations equals 3 stars from me.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Secret Agent Brainteasers
May 10th, 2019 by diane92345

Secret Agent Brainteasers contains over 100 puzzles in a variety of types from logic and wordplay to algebra and geometry. The chapter introductions link the puzzles to skills needed by secret agents as illustrated with true stories from the British intelligence community from Victorian times through today.

I enjoyed the chapter introductions and could see the relevance of the puzzles to actual secret agent skills. The puzzles were great fun or deeply frustrating depending on their difficulty.

There are a couple of warnings. Since many puzzle answers involve words, the use of British spelling (i.e., armour vs. armor) may confuse non-Britons. Some of the puzzles involve a map or board and so are difficult to play on a kindle or tablet. An actual physical book (remember those?) will allow for working out the answers with a pencil (and probably an eraser) more easily.

Overall, Secret Agent Brainteasers will provide many hours of fun where you can avoid social media and the intrusive light of mobile devices. 4 stars!

Thanks to Quercus and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Silent Invasion
August 27th, 2018 by diane92345

In 1952 rural America, private eye Dick Mallet sees a strange light in the sky while looking for a missing person, Fanny Hobbs. The police find his car crashed into a pole and Dick nowhere to be found. Matt Sinkage, a reporter with a personal interest in UFOs, investigates Dick’s disappearance. Matt also thinks his neighbor, Mr. Kalashnikov, is a Russian spy. Silent Invasion 28is set in the fifties after all.

Written in 1986-87, the Silent Invasion’s plot seems dated with an obvious 80s paranoid perspective. I really tried to like the story. Unfortunately, I found it boring and slow-moving. Usually the artwork will keep me reading but I didn’t like that much either. I agree with the introduction that it takes a bit of time to get use to the “big foot” black and white art. I also didn’t connect with any of the characters. My issues may be related to just reading the fantastic Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, which is set in the same period. I would suggest reading that not this unless you’re in the mood for some 80s nostalgia. 2 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, papercutz.com, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: , ,