The Gene Wizards by Clare Blanchard: A brief, humor-filled, Fantasy that’ll make you think.


The Gene Wizards

The Gene Wizards

by Clare BlanchardSeries: Wizards Series, #2

Kindle Edition, 155 pg.
CB Books, 2019

Read: February 17, 2019

I’m having a hard time deciding what to put here—everything that I think about writing seems like a bit too much information. But I need to put something here or this Tour Stop will seem pointless.

So what can I say?

This is a strange overlap of SF, Fantasy, mythology/theology, and literary criticism. Throw in some laughter that goes along with 20-somethings and responsibility and I will.

The tone is more humor-filled than the first in the series (you aren’t required to read both to get it) Some of it is plain silly (there’s an initial burst of goofiness with name-based humor that disappears quickly, leaving only a handful of silly names), some is more advanced—all of it seems fitting. I know the initial novel attempted some comedic moments, but Blanchard is more successful here.

My complaint would be that there’s too much space devoted to and not enough to the plot/character development. A group of characters is focused on story (to be as vague as possible), and members of that group (and or prospective members) spend an awful lot of time talking about some stories and their place in contemporary thoughts. Both the Bible and the Western Canon are discussed here—sometimes provocatively, sometimes error-filled (sometimes both), occasionally offensive, never dull. Although I can’t help but think that we get too much of it and not enough plot.

After an initial bit of setup, it feels like the plot is then put on hold for quite a while before things shift to finishing the story. Not only does it feel like we spend too much time with the story-discussion (see last paragraph), it feels like we don’t get enough time with the plot of this novel. Without having the time to carefully look through things I’d roughly guess less than 50% of the novel is devoted to the plot (and even if I’m wrong when it comes to actual word count, that it leaves that impression says a lot). Which is a shame, because it’s more entertaining than the first novel in this series.

Thought-provoking, with a good bit of entertaining plot, a strong dose of humor, and a definite improvement over its predecessor. The Gene Wizards is a Fantasy novel unlike any you’ve read.

My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: The Gene Wizards by Clare Blanchard

Today is my day for the Book Tour for The Gene Wizards by Clare Blanchard, the follow up to Wizard Ring (that I talked about a month ago). Along with this spotlight post, I’ll be giving my take on the novel here in a bit. But let’s start by learning a little about this here book, okay?


Book Details:

Book Title: The Gene Wizards (Wizards Series #2) by Clare Blanchard
Publisher: CB Books
Release date: September 18, 2019
Format: Ebook
Length: 155 pages

Book Blurb:

It’s bad enough you’re from a family of rich bankers, without having to deal with secret genetic engineering factories in the Dakotas.

Especially when you wake up one morning after a tab of E and find you’re thinking in Hebrew.

Follow the adventures of the Vanpyre family as they wrestle with the Dark Side of money and power.

Brilliant, strange, and fantastic

“Deep…”; “Laugh out loud funny…..”

If you enjoy more experimental writing styles and brilliant writing …then this is the book for you.” 5 out of 5 stars, by J.S. Menefee, author of the Rephaim: Bloodlines series

 

About Clare Blanchard:

 Clare BlanchardOriginally from the North Yorkshire coast in England, Clare Blanchard spent half her lifetime in Czechia in Central Europe, where her books are mainly set. Inspired by noir fiction, her settings are often like another character in the plot. She writes crime mysteries and dark urban fantasy with a historical twist.

Clare loves beautiful landscapes and architecture, cross-country skiing, the wine of South Moravia, and of course Czech beer. When she’s not being literary she knits funky socks.

Social Networks:

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website ~ Instagram

Purchase Links:

Scribd ~ Kobo ~ Nook
The Gene Wizards will be reduced in price from $2.99 to $0.99 until 1st March 2020.

My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Hidden Steel by Stuart Field

Today is my day for the Book Tour for Hidden Steel by Stuart Field. Along with this spotlight post, I’ll be giving my take on the novel here in a bit. But let’s start by learning a little about this here book, okay?


Book Details:

Book Title: Hidden Steel (John Steel #2) by Stuart Field
Publisher: Next Chapter
Release date: December 25, 2019
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Length: 618 pages

Book Blurb:

In the UK, Detective John Steel is investigating the organization who killed his family. When he comes across information that something big is going to happen on the cruise ship Neptune, Steel goes undercover. He has fourteen days to figure out what is going to happen – and to stop it.

In New York, Steel’s NYPD partner, Detective Samantha McCall, is investigating a series of deaths. All seems run of the mill for the homicide detective until they find out that the deaths are somehow connected to the cruise ship John Steel is on.

McCall is convinced there is a mole in the department, but can she figure out who he is – and who he’s working for? Meanwhile, Steel is running out of options… and the clock is ticking.

About Stuart Field:

Stuart FieldStuart Field was born in the UK, in the West Midlands. He spent his early years in the army, seeing service in all the known (and some unknown) hotspots around the world. He now lives in Germany with his wife Ani. When not engaged in highly confidential security work, he writes thrillers which perhaps mimic his life-experience more than the reader would like to believe.

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.

San Diego Dead by Mark Nolan: A Modern-Day Privateer (and his dog) takes on a Powerful Drug Cartel


San Diego Dead

San Diego Dead

by Mark Nolan
Series: Jake Wolfe, #4

Kindle Edition, 348 pg.
2019

Read: January 30-February 3, 2020


Jake Wolfe is a former photojournalist, ex-Marine, ex-CIA asset, lawyer, Mafia “Made Man” and modern-day privateer. He recently saved the life of the new First Lady (before the election), and is on a first-name basis with her (and her husband). Men (who don’t want to kill him) admire him, women (who don’t want to kill him) swoon over him. But for Wolfe, none of that matters, as much as spending time with Cody, who is another Marine vet. Cody shares in most of Wolfe’s accomplishments—and gets the same reaction from men and women. The significant difference between the two is that Wolfe comes from Irish and Italian roots, and Cody is a yellow Labrador and Golden Retriever mix.

Together these two make a seemingly unstoppable force for truth, justice, and the American way. Apart they are capable but diminished, distracted, and less emotionally whole. Wolfe considers Cody a partner and makes it clear to any and all that they’re a package deal.

While on assignment for the Secret Service, the pair assassinates a man who provides boats for a Mexican Drug Cartel to smuggle drugs into the U.S. Around the same time a dear friend and fellow Vet crosses the same cartel, putting both men (and Jake’s girlfriend) in the cross-hairs pg of the leader of that cartel.

The cartel cuts a deadly and destructive swath from Mexico to L.A. attempting to eliminate these two, pushing the pair until they retaliate.

Most of the book is told from Wolfe’s point-of-view, with dips into the POV of his girlfriend or Cartel members. There are a couple of noteworthy sections told from Cody’s perspective—he’s closer to Crais’ Maggie than Quinn’s Chet in these, but he’s more thoughtful (and more human thinking) than Maggie. I wish we had a few more segments from Cody’s POV.

There are two paragraphs in which a ghost appears and saves the day. These two paragraphs have had me thinking far too much about them in contrast to the rest of the novel. They’re proverbial sore thumbs sticking out from the rest—but they also worked better than you’d think.

Recently, listening to interviews with Lee Goldberg, I was reminded of a genre that’s not really out anymore (and I’d totally forgotten about)—”Men of Action” or “Men’s Adventure.” These used to be at grocery stores, convenience stores and the like offering easy-to-read adventures featuring manly men doing manly (frequently super-patriotic) deeds, and deadly (and incredibly attractive) women. Years ago, Goldberg wrote a few of this type under the pen name Ian Ludlow—and now Goldberg’s protagonist of the same name writes that kind of book. See also: Mack Bolan, the Executioner; Remo Williams; and the like. Thanks to that reminder, I was able to see San Diego Dead for the return to that kind of story-telling and enjoy it for what it is. If not for that reminder, I’d have been annoyed, bothered, underwhelmed by the book. But realizing the inherent goals of this kind of writing, I was able to ignore that annoyance and channel it into reuniting such entertaining tropes/themes for contemporary audiences. It’s silly, cheesy fun—which is all it tries to be.

Would much of this work better if you’d read the previous novels? Probably. Does it work fine as a stand-alone? Yes. I’m not going to say that this is for everyone—it’s not (but what is?). If you (or someone you know) need a break from intense, serious, deliberate thrillers and could use solid action that places the emphasis on entertainment factor over all other considerations, give yourself a treat and check out Mark Nolan’s Jake Wolfe.


3 Stars

My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: San Diego Dead by Mark Nolan

Today I’m pleased to welcome the Book Tour for San Diego Dead by Mark Nolan. Along with this spotlight post, I’ll be giving my take on the novel here in a bit. But let’s start by learning a little about this here book, okay?


Book Details:

Book Title: San Diego Dead by Mark Nolan
Release date: August 31, 2019
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Length: 348 pages

Book Blurb:

Danger awaits Marine-turned-lawyer Jake Wolfe on his vacation to sunny San Diego and Cabo San Lucas. There he finds sugary white sand beaches, warm turquoise water, boat trips among gray whales, and … cold blooded murder.

It was meant to be a relaxing holiday for Jake and his adopted war dog, Cody, but violence erupts when he crosses paths with a criminal cartel urgently seeking to reclaim a deadly package.

Jake learns the missing item is a threat to US citizens and vows to stop the cartel from possessing it, no matter what vigilante justice actions he might have to take.

Time is running out and thousands of innocent lives are at risk. Will the two combat veterans be able to retrieve the dangerous item before the killers do? The clock is ticking, but Jake hopes that if anybody can help find the package, it has to be his highly-trained and ultra-intelligent dog, Cody.

Find out what happens next. Start reading the latest Jake and Cody thriller right now and enjoy another fast-paced stand-alone story by author Mark Nolan.

About Mark Nolan:

Mark NolanMark Nolan has spent much of his life near the seashore. He loves dogs and has often been called a “dog whisperer.” These interests are reflected in his novels where the main character lives on a boat with his highly intelligent former war dog.

 

Social Networks:

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: The Children of Never by Christian Warren Freed

Today I welcome the Book Tour for The Children of Never by Christian Warren Freed. I didn’t have time to read it for the Tour, but it looked like the kind of thing I’d like to promote and many of my regulars might want to read. So, along with this spotlight post, I’ve got a nifty excerpt to whet your appetite here in a bit. But let’s start by learning a little about this here book, okay?


Book Details:

Book Title: The Children of Never by Christian Warren Freed
Release date: July 30, 2018
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Length: 342 pages

Book Blurb:

The war priests of Andrak have protected the world from the encroaching darkness for generations. Stewards of the Purifying Flame, the priests stand upon their castle walls each year for 100 days. Along with the best fighters, soldiers, and adventurers from across the lands, they repulse the Omegri invasions.

But their strength wanes and evil spreads.

Lizette awakens to a nightmare, for her daughter has been stolen during the night. When she goes to the Baron to petition aid, she learns that similar incidents are occurring across the duchy. Her daughter was just the beginning. Baron Einos of Fent is left with no choice but to summon the war priests.

Brother Quinlan is a haunted man. Last survivor of Castle Bendris, he now serves Andrak. Despite his flaws, the Lord General recognizes Quinlan as one of the best he has. Sending him to Fent is his best chance for finding the missing children and restoring order. Quinlan begins a quest that will tax his strength and threaten the foundations of his soul.

The Grey Wanderer stalks the lands, and where he goes, bad things follow. The dead rise and the Omegri launch a plan to stop time and overrun the world. The duchy of Fent is just the beginning.

The follow up to the L Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future award winning short: The Purifying Flame, the Children of Never is an all new novel set in a world of raw imagination. Get your copy today!

About Christian Warren Freed:

Christian Warren FreedChristian W. Freed was born in Buffalo, N.Y. more years ago than he would like to remember. After spending more than 20 years in the active duty US Army he has turned his talents to writing. Since retiring, he has gone on to publish over 20 military fantasy and science fiction novels, as well as his memoirs from his time in Iraq and Afghanistan, a children’s book, and a pair of how to books focused on indie authors and the decision making process for writing a book and what happens after it is published.

His first published book (Hammers in the Wind) has been the #1 free book on Kindle 4 times and he holds a fancy certificate from the L Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. Ok, so it was for 4th place in one quarter, but it’s still recognition from the largest fiction writing contest in the world. And no, he’s not a scientologist.

Passionate about history, he combines his knowledge of the past with modern military tactics to create an engaging, quasi-realistic world for the readers. He graduated from Campbell University with a degree in history and is pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in Digital Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He currently lives outside of Raleigh, N.C. and devotes his time to writing, his family, and their two Bernese Mountain Dogs. If you drive by you might just find him on the porch with a cigar in one hand and a pen in the other. You can find out more about his work by following him @ https://www.facebook.com/ChristianFreed or on Twitter @christianwfreed.

Social Networks:

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Blog ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Operation Large Scotch: O.L.S. by Bill Flockhart

Today I welcome the Book Tour for Operation Large Scotch: O.L.S. by Bill Flockhart. Along with this spotlight post, I’ll be giving my take on the novel here in a bit. But let’s start by learning a little about this here book, okay?


Book Details:

Book Title: Operation Large Scotch: O.L.S. by Bill Flockhart
Release date: December 11, 2017
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Length: 331 pages

Book Blurb:

Fearing the Good Friday Agreement will effectively end the lifestyle his IRA terrorist cell has enjoyed for years, Michael Caldwell the leader of the 1972 Club (named after the Bloody Sunday Massacre) decides to turn his attention to targeting the UK Government economically. He launches an attack threatening to bomb the Scotch whisky industry unless the British Government pay the terrorists a £20m ransom.

Armitage Brown, Assistant Controller of MI5 is given the task of stopping the terrorist attack but is unable to get any information on the assailants as to how, where and when they are going to deploy their explosives if their demands are not met. He co-ordinates a strategy, using all the emergency services, to thwart the terrorists under the code name ‘Operation Large Scotch.’

Bothe the military and the intelligence services have been guilty of murderous acts going back over the previous eighteen years. John Johnston, a young Ulsterman, living thousands of miles away in South Africa, is determined to get revenge for the killing of his father in Belfast. With the assistance of Mossad, the Israeli Secret Service he releases information that will haunt both the British Military establishment and the terrorists.

Will MI5 succeed in preventing mayhem in various towns around Scotland?

About Bill Flockhart:

Bill Flockhart‘Operation Large Scotch’ is my first book and at my age (71) possibly my last. it reflects on my life in many respects having worked in a distillery in my early working life before digressing into financial services.

My interests are sport (especially golf, swimming and basketball, (the latter through my two sons who played at international level) and current affairs in our ever changing world.

I have always enjoyed a challenge, which producing a book has certainly proved to be, but I would recommend writing to the retired population as it certainly keeps your brain active.

Two years after publishing ‘operation large scotch’ I am delighted to release my second novel ‘She’s Not a Lovely Girl’ which is a sequel to my first book. I only hope it gives everyone the pleasure ‘O.L.S.’ did judging by the favourable reviews it received

Social Networks:

Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ BookBub ~ LinkedIn

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.