Happy Reading

Toni's bookshelf: read

The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep, #4)
Ape House
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Operation Napoleon
Walking Dead
The Sentimentalists
The Heretic Queen
The Midnight House
Cross Fire
Peony in Love
Finding Nouf: A Novel
City of Veils: A Novel
First Daughter
A Place of Hiding
Peter Pan

Toni Osborne's favorite books »

Sunday, December 27, 2015

"The Society of Orion:The Tayos Caves", by Gerald J. Kubicki and Kristopher Kubicki

Book 5, in the Society of Orion series

Book 16, in the Colton Banyon Mystery

In a nut shell this historical fiction/ sci-Fi/ mystery furthers the race against time to find the mythical weapons that have preoccupied Banyon and his team since the beginning of the series.

We have a short wrap up of the previous adventures to set us up and slowly but neatly we find the action back to South America, the gang looking for artifacts in the Tayos Caves. Of course nothing is simple when it comes to Banyon. As we tag along in this adventure we experience the weirdest happenings so far found in this series. Totally unreal and rather ridiculous but again we came to anticipate some kind of paranormal experience right from the start, wouldn’t we be missing out in the excitement otherwise. Again the Kubicki’s imagination went wild although I did find this latest saga to be less captivating and lacked the sharpness and energy I enjoyed in the previous installments. We have some returning characters with all their skills but found them rather low keyed this time. Maybe they are running out of steam…..or this series is……or I am….

“The Tayos Caves” disappointed me and definitely was not my top favourite Colton Banyon saga …some you win and some you lose.. It is the way I see it….

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

"The Visonary Mayan Queen:Yohl Ik'nal of Palenque" by Leonide Martin

Book 1 in the Mists of Palenque Series

Set in Palenque (ancient Lakam Ha) during the Maya Classic period (250-900 CE), this is the first of four story of Ancient Mayan Queens. Yohl Ik”nal is the first woman who ruled at the height of the Maya civilization.

It is evident the author’s passion with the Mayan civilization, its culture and cosmology. It must have taken Ms. Martin intense research as well as numerous queries with indigenous elders in order to write such a detailed account. The saga also revives the love of archaeologists and adventurers to uncover ancient cities in tropical jungles.

This is a hard book to follow and keep focus. As I was flipping the pages I saw myself in a class room with a passionate professor detailing everything to an extreme: headdress, costume, food, pathways, culture, ritual, agriculture, etc…you name it is all there vividly described in minutiae. This is actually the main reason it took for ever to move along…. This is one story that lack direction and drifts way too much. Names, dates and some passages are also in the Mayan language I guess the author wanted to provide some authenticity but it made it difficult to keep track and understand. I skipped too many of those passages and finally the story lost me.

This book may be excellent for some to gain a tad of knowledge about the extraordinary Mayan people but for those who wish mostly entertainment will find that the writing style overpowers the plot and the experience quite boring. Unfortunately I gave up mid-way….. This is one series that will please some and turn others away.

Not to say this is not a good book it simply was not for me. It is the way I see it.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

"1000 Yards", by Mark Dawson

In this 118 pages novella we meet John Milton, a ruthless, brilliant, lethal man sent to “clean up” when everything else failed….

This well-done plot sets off John’s career in North Korea as a crafty marksman. Even as a short story all the elements to make this a pager-turner are found: a captivating storyline, action-packed throughout, descriptive scenery at every corner, a cold blooded killer to rack up tension and many nail biting moments to keep us hooked.

Written in short chapters, “1000 Yards” throws a good punch and sets beautifully the mood for what is to come.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

"Behind You", by Ty Patterson

Book 6, in the Warriors series

Once again Mr. Patterson has imagined and created an exciting adventure for his protagonist Zed Carter and his crew. This latest is action packed, intense and has a very captivating scenario, a hell of a storyline that smoothly pulled me in and kept be hooked from page one. I must note that this series is getting better as it progresses. Nicely done …..

This series is well- written and provides a fresh plot with each installment of course along the way we are into the best action and graphic scenes we can imagine. This time Zed discovers a woman’s body in a remote part of the country while on vacation. He decides to get involved when it was discovered she was a journalist, raped and killed. Zed will soon find out that the people behind the murder are ruthless and well-trained individuals that will stop at nothing. Of course along the way the warriors will thrill us with their out of this world gadgetry and weaponry.

There are a lot of characters to keep track so be ready to slow somewhat you reading pace in order not to confuse them and miss out. If you let your imagination go wild and suspend believability you will enjoy this book to the maximum otherwise be warned this is a testosterone filled thriller with superheroes and terrible villains. The characterization is by far from being static, by integrating new players and giving the usual crew a different spin, Mr. Patterson keeps his series interesting.

Although it is always preferable to read a series in sequence in “Behind You” there is enough backstory to feel at ease to pick up at this point.

"A Dubious Crime", by Gerald J. Kubicki and Kristopher Kubicki

Book # 9, in the Colton Banyon Mystery

If you love a plot with silly twists and turns and lots of actions with the Dubious series you will be well entertained. Book 9 is no exception we are plunged once again into a complex and exciting plot that has us flipping pages at a rapid pace in order keep up with the suspense and see what is yet to come. This is another story that packs a lot of bang for its buck.

“A Dubious Crime” propels the team into a mystery of the secret facility known as Unit 731, Area 51, a sinister plot of the Indian mafia and an unimaginable chain of events. The Kubicki’s imagination has no limits. The style is witty, creative, intricate and fun to read. The plot and sub-plot are tightly- written and cover a lot in order to keep us on our toes and entertained till the last page. The original gang is there with all their expertise and once more their antics are out of this world and their dialogue has that wittiness we came to love.

Although part of a series, no fear if you start here this one could easily stand on its own two feet and will thrill you as it did me. Of course you need to be into action, adventure, history and paranormal to enjoy this series.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"The Methuselah Project", by Rick Barry

This is to be the most captivating book I read in a long time. Pulse –pounding action from page one, this fiction is so enthralling I hated to do anything else but flipping pages to see the outcome, it is simply that captivating. The story is quite original and starts during WW11 with Roger Greene, a fighter pilot, who becomes a study subject in the Methuselah Project by Nazi scientists after his plane was shot down behind enemy lines during WW11. It is also the story of Katherine Mueller, a freelance editor, living in Atlanta in 2014. Destiny eventually brings them together……..

The story moves from the time Roger is shut down to the present day and is told by the two players as the narrative switches back and forth between them. This is mixture of mystery and intrigue filled with chase scenes that all started with an experiment for longevity…..What a great thrill ride this story gives. Imagine languishing behind bars for 70 years and not aging at all, being able to escape only to be relentlessly hunted by the Organisation (bad guys) while trying to orient yourself and figure out all the modern gadgetry of the 21st century….The premise may be far-fetched and implausible in many ways but what it does well is to give us pause on some of the war’s atrocities. The characterization is well-done: Katherine is a real Southern belle and plays a good role especially when the chase is on. Our hero Roger is simply an ace, what else can I say.

“The Methuselah Project” is well-crafted to provide a bit of everything and captivated its reader from page one.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

"Smoke", by Catherine McKenzie

Where there is smoke there is fire and you will definitely smell it before it engulfs you…isn’t an unnerving and dangerous feeling to realize you may be in the wrath of nature and possibly you will lose everything….including your life. This somber topic is a portrait of people in an extreme situation. This mystery also focuses on a marriage in crisis and the people of a small community threaten by wildfire.

We find in “Smoke” a domestic drama that flows with ease and captivates us with vivid imagery. The narrative alternates from the perspective of two women: Elizabeth, an arson investigator and Mindy, whose son is suspected of setting the fire. The plot showcases the attraction of playing with fire and is the backdrop that runs throughout the pages. The characters are ordinary people thrust into extra-ordinary situations and Ms. Mckenzie knows how to makes every one of their move captivating in order to lure us till the very end. A good part of the book is setting the stage and introducing the main players but once into the beat the pacing picks up and the experience becomes a page-turner. This story is also a mystery with suspense and some unforeseen events to keep our attention on track.

Good story and an enjoyable read.

"Open Season", by Peter Kirby

Book 3, in Inspector Luc Vanier Mystery

I simply love this series and I am always eager to see what the author has in store for Inspector Vanier next case. In “Open Season”, Mr. Kirby has drawn his inspiration from current events and has explored troubling social themes in a gritty narrative of the plight of the vulnerable people he writes about.

This latest brings forward the sad case of human trafficking with Katya Babyak on a long journey into the sex trade and where she ends up in the hands of thugs who keep her prisoner. We have a converging plotline bringing a Guatemalan journalist fighting extradition while working on a story of illegal trafficking of sex workers in Montreal. Both women were trying to carve out a better life for themselves but ended up being exploited by criminals. The high level investigating team of Luc Vanier and Sergeant Sylvie Saint-Jacques brings the routine police procedural into a fast-paced and very engaging hunt with several intrigues. Mr Kirby touches the flawed Canadian refugee policy with a solid and suspenseful tale. Of course the author also added another layer of suspense with details of Vanier’s personal and romantic relationship.

“Open Season” , an edge of the seat thriller is definitely a deftly crafted and well told tale I enjoyed from start to finish and I agree with reviewers saying this is one of the best Canadian crime novels this year. Of course being a Canadian I may be slightly bias when it comes to Canadian authors and to any story set in my hometown of Montreal…:)