Category Archives: Thriller

KNIGHT’S RANSOM – Review

Litercurious Book review

Knight’s Ransom Jeff Wheeler
Knight’s Ransom Jeff Wheeler
TitleKnight’s Ransom – The First Argentines
AuthorJeff Wheeler
Publisher47North (January 26, 2021)
FormatKindle, Paperback, Audiobook, Audio CD
Pages431
Genre Historical Fantasy, Coming of Age Fantasy,
Sword & Sorcery Fantasy (Books)
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/13154202529X / 978-1542025294

Currently Knight’s Ransom is Free-to-Read on Kindle Unlimited

AUTHOR

Jeff Wheeler is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He majored in History at the San Jose State University. He worked at Intel while attending college but retired early to write full time. Learn all about Jeff, his books, and his new projects on his website here.

SYNOPSIS

Knight’s Ransom is a fantasy book in the times of ancient knights, magic, and multiple kingdoms. The main character, Marshall Barton, is just a boy when he was taken as a hostage to ensure his fathers loyalty to the King. Claire, another hostage, nicknamed him Ransom just to annoy him, but the name stuck.

Ransom’s father disobeys the King, thus he is destined to be hung in front of his father’s Keep. The King, however, has a change of heart and takes Ransom into his household. When the King dies, Ransom is left to his own devices. He returns home only to be turned away by his own father.

What follows is a journey of hardship, pain, loyalty, honor and ambition for Ransom. He trains to be a Knight, and he becomes one of the best in all the Kingdom’s. He is “Fountain Blessed,” a term used for those who have a certain gift or “power,” with the innate ability to sense danger and the uncanny capability to fight.

The new King charges Ransom to look after his eldest son. Ransom is quickly intertwined in royal espionage, intrigue, political maneuvering and life-or-death battles. What follows is a tale for the ages.

CONCLUSION

Knight’s Ransom is a truly awesome book! I had trouble putting it down. It is full of Knightly Honor, sword play, jousting, loyalty and betrayal. This book has plenty of suspense, thrills, intrigue and action.

Written to please the fantasy reader, Knight’s Ransom has just the right amount of history mixed with magic and fantasy. The world that Jeff creates is described in a way that brings it to life in the reader’s mind.

I evaluate a book by the way it effects me. If I can see the world that a book creates in my mind, and keep thinking of it long after I put it down; then it is a very good book. I’ve already stared book two; Warriors Ransom.

I definitely recommend this book to all readers who enjoy historical fantasy revolving around knights, chivalry, kingdoms and massive battles.

Jeff Wheeler is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. His Grave Kingdom series was spectacular and now the First Argentines series is even better.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

OUR OTHER REVIEWS OF BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

THE KILLING FOG – Review

The Killing Fog is the first in The Grave Kingdom series. Magic, mystery, intrigue and betrayal are all included in this fantasy. Bingmei must use all her wit, skill, and abilities to stay ahead of the ancient entity determined to capture and kill her. With the help of her friends and colleges, she embarks on a mission of survival.

Keep reading

THE BURIED WORLD – REVIEW

This book continues Bingmei’s quest for survival. With the help of her friends, she continues a mission to evade the evil she unwittingly released in the first book. She has many adventures, experiences great loss and witnesses more unspeakable horrors.

Keep reading

The Eye of RA – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TITLEThe Eye of Ra ( Book 1 “Eye of Ra” series)
AUTHORBen Gartner
PUBLISHERCrescent Vista Press (February 1, 2020)
FORMATKindle, Hardcover, Paperback
FILE / PAGES3864 KB / 279
GENREChildren’s Historical Fiction / Children’s Egyptian Fiction / Children’s Archaeology Books. / Science Fiction
LANGUAGEEnglish
ASIN / ISBN 10/13B082WS8H4C / 1734155248978-1734155242

AUTHOR

Find out about Ben Gartner and The Eye of Ra series here.

SYNOPSIS

The Eye of Ra is the first book in the saga of Sarah and John. They are a preteen sister and brother who travel through time and experience all sorts of adventures and life challenging situations. Sarah is 12 and believes she is worldly. Whilst John is 10 and is more reserved and the “Little Chef” of the house. Together they make a great team of adventurers.

In this first installment, we are introduced to the siblings and their upcoming move from Colorado to Maryland. They experience all kinds of reservation about the move; the loss of friends and the unknown that lies before them in a new state. Sarah, the more adventurous of the two, is looking forward to the move. While John doesn’t want to leave his best friend and the only home he has ever known.

Prior to the move, the family goes for a hike up the mountain behind their house. Sarah and John go off on their own and find a cave. Of course Sarah wants to explore the cave while John thinks that is a bad idea. In the cave, they are astonished to find ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs on the wall. While tracing the Eye of Ra with her hand, Sarah accidentally transports the two to ancient Egypt.

Lost in the time of the Pharaohs, Sarah and John have to find a way back home. They meet a local boy, Zach, who takes them in while they are trying to figure out what happened and how to reverse it. While in Egypt they meet all kinds of people, learn about ancient Egyptian culture, and even help build the first pyramid! They even become temporary sleuths and uncover a local criminal. Along the way they have to deal with cobras, scorpions, and Nile crocodiles.

Will Sarah and John ever make it home? Will the criminal come after them? Will they ever see their parents again? Are they stuck in the land of sand forever?

CONCLUSION

The Eye of Ra is the introduction into the series. It is an entertaining and exciting historical science fiction story. In this first installment Ben Gartner sets the stage for the future adventures of Sarah and John. While it doesn’t have as much adventure as the later two books, it is a great beginning. Sarah and John experience life and death situations, criminals, venomous snakes and scorpions, and crocodiles. Along the journey we learn about ancient Egyptian culture, beliefs and their religion. Sarah and John learn valuable life lessons and more about their own strengths and weaknesses.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While it isn’t as fast paced or as crammed packed with adventure as the next 2 books in the series; I found it gripping and hard to put down. I read it in less than 2 days.

The Eye of Ra is recommended for children 8-12 years of age, but I believe people of all ages will be entranced by this series. If you like science fiction, time travel, ancient history, travel and adventure; then you will enjoy this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

OTHER BOOKS IN THIS SERIES

Sol Invictus – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleSol Invictus (book 2 “Eye of Ra” series)
AuthorBen Gartner
PublisherCrescent Vista Press (February 1, 2021)
FormatKindle, Paperback
Pages / File300 / 3901 KB
LanguageEnglish
GenreChildren’s Historical Fiction
ISBN 10/13173415523X/ 978-1734155235

AUTHOR

Find out about Ben Gartner and The Eye of Ra series here.

SYNOPSIS

Sol Invictus is the second book in the Eye of Ra series. It continues the adventures of its two main characters Sarah and John.

Sarah and John are pre-teens that are transported through time to the ancient Roman frontier. There they must unite the Roman Emperor Caesar Constantius with an enemy to save the time line and return home. This proves to be a difficult task since his enemy, the Alemanni teen Crocus, was made a slave after the Emperors soldiers killed his father. Crocus hated the Romans and only wanted revenge for his father death.

Sarah and John go through a lot of death-defying adventures to accomplish their task and return home. They fight in the arena, go on the run from the Romans, are turned into slaves, fight wild wolves and much more. The odds seem insurmountable, but they must endure if they ever want to get back to their own time and family.

CONCLUSION

Sol Invictus is an action-packed adventure into ancient Roman times. Mixed with a little history and a lot of imagination this book has it all for a young reader. There are ancient sword and shield battles, arena fighting with wild animals, chases through rough mountainous country, the defeat of capture and slavery, and the joy of friendship and camaraderie. This book has plenty to keep a young reader enthralled.

My only criticism is the constant referral to the first book in this series. My OCD wanted me to stop reading this book and start at the beginning of the series. Sol Invictus is a strong book and can stand on its own without the constant reminder of the previous book. If you can get past this little inconvenience, then you will truly enjoy this story.

My final thoughts on this book are: it is a great read. It has a lot of action and suspense, there are times of joy and sorrow, but overall, I’m glad I read it. Now, I must go get the first book, so I can appease my OCD.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank Ben Gartner, NetGalley, and Crescent Vista Press for affording me the opportunity to review Sol Invictus.

THE GREAT PET HEIST – Review

LITERCURIOUS BOOK REVIEW

TitleThe Great Pet Heist
Author/IllustratorEmily Ecton / Dave Mottram
PublisherAtheneum Books for Young Readers
(June 2, 2020)
FormatKindle, Hardcover
Pages256
GenreChildren’s Suspense / Thriller / Drama / Spy
Language:English
ISBN 10/131534455361 / 978-1534455368

AUTHOR

Emily writes under two names: Emily Ecton and Emily Fairlie. She grew up in Virginia and owned a variety of pets. She moved to Chicago and became a writer and producer for the National Public Radio (NPR) news quiz. She now lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. To find Emily’s webpages; click here for Ecton, and here for Fairlie.

SYNOPSIS

When Mrs. Food gets injured and must go to the hospital her little band of pets are left to wonder if she will come back. Afraid that they may have to go to a shelter if she is not able to take care of them; they decide that they must take matters into their own hands…or paws.

Will they live in the ducts, or the park, or will they have to support themselves? These are the options they must choose from. Of course, being wealthy has its benefits and so this merry little band decides to conduct a heist. There is someone in the complex with a stash of gold that they will soon acquire.

Oscar– Mynah bird and the brains of the outfit. He speaks a little human. He develops plans and strategies.

Walt – A black cat with cunning and stealth. When not preening himself, he is the backup for Oscar. He also has connections…Chad the Octopus.

Butterbean – Longhaired wiener dog. He is cause of the whole situation they are in. He conducts reconnaissance and information gathering.

Marco and Polo – Rats. They help with reconnaissance and observation.

Chad – Octopus. Great at moving through the apartment complex, opening doors, bottles and windows.

Wallace – Ex-pet rat. Now he lives in the apartment complex duct system. He is the guide.

Madison– Human girl. She is the temporary caretaker of the pets while Mrs. Food is in the hospital.

Mrs. Food– Elderly human. She is the owner of the pets.

Through careful planning and clever strategy, they execute the mission. Not all goes well, though, and poor Madison is kidnapped! Now they have to plan and execute a rescue mission. Will they save Madison? Will they have to go to a shelter? Will they have to live in the ducts or on the streets? You will have to read the book to find out.

CONCLUSION

The Great Pet Heist is beautifully written. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this daring tale. The plot is well constructed. The descriptions of the characters are exciting and detailed. The idiosyncrasies of the individual characters are spot on and humorous.

The illustrations in my copy were black and white, but they were very well drawn. Dave brings to life the characters in vivid detail. I only wish my Kindle was color. His illustrations are wondrous to look at and each one is its own work of art.

This is a great book to read to children. It is full of adventure, intrigue, mystery, danger, and adventure. I highly recommend this book.  

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

SPECIAL MENTION – ILLUSTRATOR

Dave starting drawing as a young child. He drew his first comic strip at the age of ten. He studied Design in college. His first paying design job was with a park creating posters and trail guides. His resume includes Designer, Senior Designer, and Freelance Designer. He is also an accomplished book illustrator. He lives in Ohio and has a daughter who has also taken an interest in drawing. See Dave’s webpage here.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Emily Ecton, NetGalley and Atheneum Books for Young Readers for affording me the opportunity to review The Great Pet Heist.

LITERCURIOUS CHILD FRIENDLY JOKE

Q. How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh?

A. Ten-Tickles (tentacles).

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

THE RAID – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleThe Raid
AuthorSteven Konkoly
PublisherThomas & Mercer (October 8,, 2019)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, Paperback, Hardcover, MP3 CD
Pages / File383 / 3091 KB
LanguageEnglish
GenreThriller, Suspense, Drama
ASINB07NQDDH3S

AUTHOR

Steven Konkoly is a Naval veteran. He attended the US Naval Academy and served eight years on active duty. He earned his degree in English literature. He is a Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and USA Today bestselling author. His chosen genre for his work is thrillers.

SYNOPSIS

The Raid is the second book originally in a trilogy; but on Amazon there is now a fourth book expected May 11, 2021. This book follows a year after The Rescue ended. Ryan, Brad, and Harlow find themselves once again at odds with a paramilitary organization south of the border.

When they go to investigate a suspected child trafficking organization, they stumble across an elaborate scheme to shuttle US military grade weapons into Mexico. What follows is a fuel driven fight for their lives. The Cartels want them dead; the military wants them dead, and the only one they can really trust is Senator Steele. Running for their lives while trying to counter the killing teams sent after them makes for an adrenaline pumping book.

CONCLUSION

The Raid is full of political backstabbing, cruel Cartel murder, a US military organization striving for military dominance and human trafficking. The Raid has everything, and more, a thriller needs to be successful. Steven Konkoly has crafted another masterful book which will keep the reader engaged from beginning to end.

In Tom Clancy style, Steven Konkoly has written a book on equal footing with some of the great thriller authors. This series is very well written. The plot is believable and exhilarating. The author does a great job creating the protagonist, the deuteragonist, the antagonist, and a variety of tertiary characters. The characters are well constructed and fully developed. The plot in conjunction with the characters flows well and guides the reader on an exciting expedition of mystery, murder, treason and much more.

My only complaint would be the ending fell a little flat. After an entire book of excitement and intrigue, the ending was a bit out of context with its origins and characters. However, the ending leaves open for another book with the same antagonist.

I heartily recommend this book to any readers who enjoy spy thrillers.

Click to read my review of The Rescue.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

HEART-SHAPED BOX – Review

LITERCURIOUS AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

TitleHeart-Shaped Box
Author/NarratorAuthor Joe Hill / Stephen Lang
PublisherShadow Mountain (Sep 8, 2020)
FormatAudiobook
Length11.1 Hours
GenreHorror / Thriller / Suspense
Language:English
ASINB002SQBG70

AUTHOR

To learn about Joe Hill, check out our authors spotlight here.

NARRATOR

Stephen Lang is an American actor, playwright co-artistic director. He received a Tony Award and the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor. He is best known for his role in Avatar. He has a long and distinctive film and television career. He has done voice-over work on video games and narrates a wide variety of audiobooks.  

SYNOPSIS

Heart-Shaped Box is a paranormal tiptoe though the life of a 50 something rock-star named Jude Coyne; aka Judas. Judas lives a semi-reclusive existence in Piecliff, New York. At the story’s inception, he has a small retinue consisting of his girlfriend Georgia and his loquacious Californian Personal Assistant, Danny.

Judas has a macabre occult and disturbing collection of objet d’art. At Danny’s suggestion, he decides to purchase another item for his assemblage from a popular online bidding site. It is an unusual item; as it is claimed to be a haunted suit. Unknowingly to Judas, the suit belonged to the stepfather of his dead ex-girlfriend. With the arrival of the artifact; a perfect storm of past and present events conspires together to propel Judas into a living nightmare.

The paranormal antagonist is a literal Swiss Army Knife of the supernatural realm. Craddock McDermott was the stepfather of Florida, who committed suicide after her breakup with Judas. The specter uses his life skills to bring hell into the head, heart and soul of Jude Coyne. In an all out blood vendetta from the grave; only the death of Coyne and his helpers will satisfy the lust for revenge. Judas seems ill equipped to defend himself. No matter how far or how fast he runs from McDermott, he can never escape. McDermott is not only behind him, but also in him; in his mind.

Florida’s decline after her breakup with Judas and the impact of subsequent events pulls at the heartstrings with just the right amount of pathos. I found the telephone call from Florida’s sister to be among the most chilling chapters of the book. Easy banter, quickly replaced with unrestrained vitriol and a promise of rightful revenge to follow.

CONCLUSION

Heart-Shaped Box is another winner from the pen of Joe Hill.

Overtly graphic, unflinchingly morose and disturbingly dark, the characters are perfectly sculpted. “The Devil is in the details,” as they say and this is never truer than when describing Heart-Shaped Box. It is every bit as much of a psychological thriller as a paranormal tale of terror. It is always unpredictable, atmospheric throughout with taut tracts that will haunt you in your dreams.

The narrator Stephen Lang was engaging and performed his role with some élan. He managed to bring a sophistication and an angle to the tale by enhancing the written word and bringing the characters to life.

Listening to Heart-Shaped Box, there is an inevitability and a fatality to the whole thing; a feeling that you are on an out of control roller-coaster in Christmasland. Most perverse of all is; you never want to jump off until the ride is over.

Does Judas manage to prevent the death of those who help or support him? I guess you will have to listen or read for yourself to find out.

The whole package works. Just lay back, listen and let the story take you with the help of a fine up and coming writer and a magnificent narrator. If you love skillfully written tales of horror with a twist why not let Heart-Shaped Box be your next audiobook journey? With Hill’s work, the chills come as standard.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

OTHER AUDIOBOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

PREVIOUS REVIEW OF A WORK BY THIS AUTHOR

Select image to read our review of NOS4A2.

THE RESCUE – REVIEW

LITERCURIOUS BOOK REVIEW

TitleThe Rescue
AuthorSteven Konkoly
PublisherThomas & Mercer (April 1, 2019)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, Paperback, Hardcover, MP3 CD
Pages / File390 / 4581 KB
LanguageEnglish
GenreThriller, Suspense, Drama
ASINB07GJL19B4

AUTHOR

Steven Konkoly is a Naval veteran. He attended the US Naval Academy and served eight years on active duty. He earned his degree in English literature. He is a Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and USA Today bestselling author. His chosen genre for his work is thrillers.

SYNOPSIS

The Rescue is the first book in a trilogy. It is about a former CIA operative, Ryan Decker, that now runs an international mercenary force specializing in kidnap rescues. On this particular mission things go incredibly wrong. Ryan finds himself being incarcerated and in constant danger of being assassinated. Everyone he knows and their families, have been murdered in the most vicious of manners. His own wife and son are dead, and his daughter refuses to acknowledge his existence. He is all alone.

Somehow, he gets released from prison early and this is where the book really takes off. With the help of a private investigator, Harlow Mackenzie, he tries to unravel what happened years ago. Harlow just happens to be a girl his organization saved from the Russian Mafia’s child trafficking ring years ago; she never forgot the man who saved her. Chased by the Russian Mafia and another Mercenary group, they struggle to survive and uncover who masterminded his downfall.

CONCLUSION

Full of political backstabbing, cruel Mafia murder, another US spy firm maneuvering for military dominance and human trafficking; The Rescue has everything a thriller needs to be successful. Steven Konkoly has crafted a masterful thriller which will keep the reader engaged from beginning to end.

I must admit that when I started reading this book; I was not that impressed. However, after only the first chapter, I could not put it down. Steven’s writing reminds me a lot of Tom Clancy. The mystery, intrigue and thrills are non-stop. The battle between not-so-good and evil is full of twists and turns, thrill and suspense.

If you like a good spy thriller, then this is definitely a book for you.  

Book 2 in this series is The Raid released October 8, 2019. Book 3 is The Mountain due to be released July 14, 2020.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

(These books are free to read or listen too with Kindle Unlimited)

Every thing’s Eventual – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Reviews

TitleEvery Thing’s Eventual                                             
AuthorStephen King                                         
PublisherScribner Reprint (April 17, 2018)     
FormatPaperback, Kindle, Hardcover, Audiobook           
Page464     
LanguageEnglish     
ISBN #1501197967     

Author’s Bio

The eponymous Mr. King, the author of a library of horror genre literature really needs no introduction, but just in case you spent the last 50 years on a meteor traversing the universe, I will give you the press junket introduction. Stephen King, is the child of a school teacher. It was Mrs. King who encouraged all of her children to read. Stephen King consumed literature like a man possessed. This compulsion continued through-out his life and even directed his choice of study as a young man. Whilst in academia he began writing professionally. He sold his early works for a pittance but as his skill and reputation continued, he became a much-loved horror writer of modern times. At the time of writing, Stephen King’s name is synonymous with the horror theme. Some people describe him as the King of Horror and it is hard to deny with his sky-high book sales. As this is Halloween it might be pertinent to mention that one particular story was inspired by paranormal events experienced by him and his spouse in a hotel in Colorado. King has spoken of it in the past and I encourage you to seek out his own account for more details.

Who will enjoy this collection of stories?

If you are looking for a read that disquieting, amusing at times, and frightening at others this could be a book for you this Halloween. King will take you on a sojourn into an alternative universe where things may not be as you imagine. He can take you from a hospital gurney to conversing with the Devil in the woods. Every story in this novella has something for everyone. If you aren’t a Stephen King fan already, perhaps this volume could turn you into one.

Synopsis

Everything‘s Eventual is one of many of King’s Novella’s. In my opinion, whilst this is not his greatest, it is not his worst. The series of stories span a wide gamut of characters and storylines, as you expect from a novella. What is special about this collection of stories is the expertise of the author in crafting the characters so well you can almost smell them.  The stories are so well described that you could be accompanying the characters as they transverse the plots.  One cannot help but be impressed by the sheer latitude of King’s vivid imagination. The stories are original and explore new aspects of terror. If you enjoyed King’s earlier work, such as Carrie, Salem’s Lot, or Joyland you will love this outing. My favorite of the bunch is 1408, or perhaps it is Riding the Bullet; no, it has to be Luckey Quarter.  

Conclusion

Everything’s Eventual was nearly 10 years in the coming preceded by King’s earlier novella Dreamscapes and Nightmares, and it is eminently comparable. In short, if you enjoyed the latter, you will love the former. The perfect Halloween read.