Book Reviews: The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas and Twinepathy by C.B. Cook @sherrythomas @BerkleyMystery

The Art of Theft
The Lady Sherlock Series #4
Sherry Thomas
Berkley, October 2019
ISBN 978-0-451-49247-0
Trade Paperback

Once upon a time, Sherry Thomas created the first of a retelling of the Sherlock Holmes adventures and, my word, what a charming series this is so far. Charlotte Holmes and Mrs. Watson are a delightful pair and they channel the original Holmes and Watson with a feminine aplomb that makes Sherlock himself much more accessible.

Charlotte is a successful detective, having solved numerous cases, but she’s going to have to become something of an art thief this time. The target is a particular very valuable painting but it’s the documents secreted on the back of the painting that she needs to obtain; if she can’t do so, her client will be ruined. Charlotte recruits her usual partners in crime, so to speak, and the merry band sets off to attend a masked ball and art sale at a certain chateau in France. Charlotte is the true brains of the group but she couldn’t pull this off without the able assistance of Stephen Marbleton and Lord Ingram, not to mention her sister, Livia, and the pragmatic Mrs. Watson.

There’s a great deal of fun to be had in this latest tale but the reader who’s new to the series should probably start with the first book, A Study in Scarlet Women, to enjoy the books to the fullest. If you’re like me, you’ll fall head over heels for Charlotte and company.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

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Twinepathy
IDIA #1
C.B. Cook
CreateSpace, July 2016
ISBN 978-1535201551
Trade Paperback

Twin sisters Brooklyn and Albany have always hidden their telepathic abilities, believing they’re alone in the world in that sense, until a small child shows up on the doorstep, a child who seems to be suffering from total amnesia. Before they can even begin to come up with a plan—although they instinctively know they need to hide the child from their older brother and parents for the moment—two strangers appear literally out of thin air and the world as they know it changes in an instant.

It turns out that superheroes do really exist, with various powers as Data and Blaze explain; Data is a glorified mind reader and is the head of a secret agency of superheroes, the International Defense and Intelligence Agency, while Blaze specializes in teleportation and illusion. Before this first meeting is over, the sisters have code names, and they’ve learned that the little girl, dubbed Maddie, is not the first victim of memory loss. Now, Albany and Brooklyn set out to solve the first mystery—who is Maddie and what is her story?

Twinepathy is a fun tale for anyone who enjoys superheroes and adventure mixed in with a puzzle and I recommend it for a few hours of entertaining distraction from our all too real world.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

Book Review: Time Reavers by Jacob Holo

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Title: Time Reavers
Series: Time Reavers #1
Author: Jacob Holo
Narrator: Tess Irondale
Publication Date: July 13, 2017

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Time Reavers
Time Reavers #1
Jacob Holo
Narrated by Tess Irondale
Holo Writing, July 2017
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

The monsters are real, and time is their weapon.

Fed up with bad teachers and daily fights with her sister, 16-year-old Nicole Taylor yearns for something better. Sadly, she’s in for a letdown, because the world ends next week.

Nicole discovers she has a rare gift. She can bend time around her and even stop it completely. With her powers awakening, she must face the Reavers: horrific killing machines that exist outside our time.

Plagued with nightmares and ambushed by monsters at every turn, Nicole has one chance to stop their genocidal invasion. With help from a chain-smoking pyrokinetic, a neurotic sword-wielding assassin, and an icy goth chick with a crossbow, she may stand a chance.

But the Reavers are tireless foes, and time is on their side.

The very first thing that came to mind when I started this audiobook was that Tess Irondale is one heck of a narrator. She had a rocking good story to work with but she goes way above and beyond most narrators. I have my favorites and, consistently, they all do terrific voices, distinctively and with energy and clear understanding of the characters. Ms. Irondale takes it a step further by doing amazing vocalization of other sounds; in this case, the story is full of roars and screeches and piercing screams and she does the best job with such sounds I’ve ever heard. I wonder if she had a sore throat after each recording session.

Now, as for the story, kudos to Mr. Holo who, first of all, seems to have the inside track on how a teenaged girl thinks and behaves. Nicole is refreshing and about as normal as she can be in her present circumstances. Daniel makes a nifty sidekick, if you will, and the other players are all just as interesting and appealing. And the plot? Well, put simply, these kids have to fight roving hordes of bugs. Bugs? Yes, bugs, the metallic, highly dangerous sort of insects that can freeze time and there’s literally something happening  in every chapter, so rapidly that there’s no time to get a real sense of place. That’s a little disconcerting but it somehow works in this tale, this fight for survival in which Nicole has discovered her power to manipulate time.

Time Reavers was just what I needed on a sleepy kind of day to wake me up and I thoroughly enjoyed this band of Tao guards as they fought to save the world, all with a snarky sense of humor. I do hope to see more of them in the not-too-distant future.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2017.

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About the Author

Jacob Holo is a former-Ohioan, former-Michigander living in sunny South Carolina.  He describes himself as a writer, gamer, hobbyist, and engineer.  Jacob started writing when his parents bought that “new” IBM 286 desktop back in the 80s.  Remember those?  He’s been writing ever since.

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About the Narrator

Tess​ Irondale​ is a professional audiobook narrator and voice actress, credited with bringing ​nearly ​5​0 titles to life. ​She ​specializes ​in ​Fantasy, Adventure, and Erotica, although ​her​ work ​has covered​ nearly every genre including Young Adult, Humor, Spirituality, ​LGBTQ, Sci-Fi, Self Help and ​Mystery​. ​She is on Audible’s in-house voice roster, and ​also works directly with authors through ACX.​ When not in the recording booth, she can be found hiking in the woods or hunkered over a crossword puzzle.

Website

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After discovering her ability to manipulate time, Nicole must fight
otherworldly insects preparing to attack the human world. Holo’s
(The Dragons of Jupiter, 2013) novel begins in a hectic rush, as
teenage Nicole finds herself seemingly the only moving person in a
world suddenly frozen in time…chapters rarely pass without a big,
life-or-death battle, which leaves the novel in a nearly
continuous intense state…—Kirkus Reviews

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Book Review: The Outlaw by Alan Janney

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Title: The Outlaw: Origins
Author: Alan Janney
Publication Date: May 28, 2015
Cover Re-issue Date: February 26, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

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The OutlawThe Outlaw: Origins
Alan Janney
Sparkle Press, May 2015
ISBN 978-0-9962293-2-6
Trade Paperback

From the author—

A masked vigilante stalks the streets of downtown Los Angeles, disrupting crime and rescuing movie starlets. After being spotted on security cameras and thrust into the national spotlight, he is pursued by both the media and powerful new enemies. Little does the world know the Outlaw is just High School junior Chase Jackson wearing a mask and wondering why his body is suddenly…extraordinary. 

The story continues in Book Two of the Outlaw Series. ‘Infected’.

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Psst. Have you noticed? Superheroes have taken over our world! They’re everywhere….comic books and graphic novels, movies, tv, action figures, Halloween costumes, you name it, even occasional books. I get into the movies and most of the tv shows but not so much all the other stuff which is probably why I decided to try this book, expanding my tastes you might say.

Chase is a nice young man, a superhero through no fault of his own. In fact, he reminds me quite a bit of Peter Parker (Spider-Man) because he also was a teenager who didn’t ask for his superhero status. Chase is a charmer in many ways but unsure of himself and his place. W get to really know this boy in all aspects of his life and I really enjoyed that. Football is his great love and I was transported back to my own high school days and those all-important games. Loads of fun then and now 😉 but Chase is more than just football and superhero stuff—he’s a normal kid with all the usual teenaged issues.

On the downside, I could really have done without the romance and Chase’s rather immature attitude towards girls.

The author chooses to be very limited in his public persona and that’s certainly his right but I do wish we could get more than just a glimpse into who Alan Janney is. For me, at least, that would add another dimension to this fun story. Failing that, I’ll look forward to Chase’s next adventures.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2016.

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Book Review: Dimorphic by Cy Wyss

DimorphicDimorphic
Cy Wyss
Nighttime Dog Press, November 2015
ISBN 978-0996546515
Trade Paperback

From the author—

It’s easy to become a superhero.

First, discover a superpower. It might take a while to get used to, though — especially if it’s something as weird as being your twin brother half the time.

Second, recruit a sidekick. Or, two. It’d be nice if they weren’t a pyromaniacal sycophant and a foul-mouthed midget, but you get what you get.

Third, and most important, hire a mentor — preferably not a vicious mobster with a God complex, however, this may, realistically, be your only choice.

Finally: go forth and fight crime. Try not to get shot, beaten, tortured, or apprehended in the process.

Good luck!

I’m a sort of 2/3 fan of the superhero world. I love some of the movies but not all, I love some of the TV shows but not all and I never read graphic novels and comic books. Haven’t read one of those since I was a teenager which, believe me, is not recent times. When I was offered the chance to read Dimorphic, I thought this could be a fun new way to partake of a little superhero action and, as it turns out, I was right.

Every superhero theme has to have a hook, a power that’s not commonly held, and it has to be used for good or evil. The superhero involved can have misgivings from time to time and question whether what he or she is doing is the right thing but, essentially, there’s no mixture of good and evil; it’s one or the other.

The hook here is that Judith can occupy her twin brother Ethan’s body and take advantage of his strength and physique to fight crime. That in itself is a nifty ability but the author makes it much more interesting by having Judith still be her normal clumsy self even while she’s Ethan. She also surrounds herself with a rather motley crew of sidekicks and manages to involve the FBI.

Mayhem and madcap action ensue and there’s much fun to be had in Dimorphic.  I enjoyed it a lot but, dang, I need to read something a little calmer now 😉

Note: a word of caution—if you’re particularly sensitive to vulgar language, this might not be a good choice for you. There’s a lot of strong language including the f-bomb and, while I usually avoid books that are rife with obscenities, it somehow didn’t bother me too much this time.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2016.

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About the Author

Cy WyssI live and write in the Indianapolis area. After earning a PhD in Computer Science in 2002 and teaching and researching for seven years, I’ve returned to the childhood dream of becoming an author. I better do it now because I won’t get a third life.

Behind me, I have a ton of academic experience and have written about twenty extremely boring papers on query languages and such, for example this one in the ACM Transactions on Databases. (That’s a mouthful.)

Now, I write in the mystery/thriller/suspense genres and sometimes science fiction. I know for some people databases would be the more beloved of the options, but for me, I finally realized that my heart wasn’t in it. So I took up a second life, as a self-published fiction author.

Online, I do the Writer Cy cartoon series about the (mis)adventures of researching, writing, and self-publishing in today’s shifting climate. I also love to design and create my own covers using GIMP.

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Book Review: Psi Another Day by D. R. Rosensteel

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Title: Psi Another Day
Author: D. R. Rosensteel
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: May 6, 2014

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Psi  Another DayPsi Another Day
A Psi Fighter Academy Novel
D. R. Rosensteel
Entangled Teen, May 2014
ISBN 978-1-62266-042-1
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

THERE’S A NEW SUPERHERO IN TOWN.

By day, I’m just another high school girl who likes lip gloss. But by night I’m a Psi Fighter—a secret guardian with a decade of training in the Mental Arts. And I’m about to test those skills in my first battle against evil.

BAD GUYS BEWARE.

When I was six, the Walpurgis Knights, our deadliest enemy, murdered my parents. The Psi Fighters put me into hiding, and all traces of my existence evaporated. Then I went through the most accelerated Psi Fighter training possible. And now I go to your school.

’CAUSE I WILL TAKE YOU OUT.

Unfortunately, so do the bad guys. My parents’ killer has sent his apprentice to infiltrate the school to find me. And everyone is a potential suspect, even irresistible new kid, Egon, and my old nemesis-turned-nice-guy, Mason. Fingers crossed I find the Knight before he finds me…

Confession: when I first heard about this book, I had no idea what a “psi fighter” might be. Now I know…sorta. Well, maybe not so much but here’s the thing—I don’t care, not in the least.

On the surface, this is a science fiction thriller masquerading as a mystery and a romance and the whole thing is wrapped up in a ton of humor. For anyone like me who loves crossgenre fiction, this has it all and I’m so glad I didn’t let my lack of knowledge of psi fighters get in my way.

Psi  Another Day is just plain fun, lighthearted entertainment that does precisely what it’s intended to do, entertain. Rinnie Noelle is full of snark and kickbuttness and I fell in love with her and the Kilodan and Andy and all the comic book superhero stuff they brought to each page. Yes, it really is like a great comic book and I don’t even like those things much ;-))

I do love superheroes, though, and I’m already thinking what a nifty movie this would make. Mr. Rosensteel has already given us a wonderful bunch of names to work with and I really hope he has lots of future installments in mind for us. I’m a fan for sure and Rinnie and the gang can’t come back soon enough for me.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2014.

About the Author

 

D. R. Rosensteel is a research consultant who had no intention of
writing anything but technical papers describing his theories of
metaphysical psychometry. But when a hoodied teen showed him a
device that turned her thoughts into weapons, and told him about a
secret society of protectors who trained her in their underground
Academy, he knew her story had to be written.

He has put his research on hold to document the adventures of a
girl whose face he’s never seen and whose real name he’ll never know.

 

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