Category Archives: Book Review

Review: Queen of the Night Guild

Queen of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves 3)

by Andy Peloquin

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Fire has stolen everything Illanna has left to live for. The thief of the Night Guild, a brutal criminal organization, thought her freedom was at hand only to have the hungry flames destroy everything. Now all she wants is revenge.

She wants to find who in the Night Guild betrayed her to their rivals, the Bloody Hand. She will do anything to stop them, even if it means saving what she hates. Illanna has been driven to her limits. A woman with nothing to lose is a very dangerous thing.

Peloquin brings to a close his trilogy with an explosion. The pace never lets up from beginning to end as Illanna reels from one catastrophe to another as she struggles to piece together what is going on, trying to save what friends remain to her, and to get revenge upon those who have destroyed what she cares most for. The brutal world Peloquin created does not let up here in this final stage.

If you’re a fan of fantasy with great world building and mature themes, then you need to read Pelonquin’s writing. He delves into the dark reaches of the human soul to illuminate what glitter can be found shrouded by shadows of greed, depravity, and despair.

If you read the first books in this series, then you will not be disappointed by the ending. And if you haven’t read Pelonquin’s books, then you need to delve into this amazing Indie fantasy author!

You can buy Queen of the Night Guild form Amazon!


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Review: 13 Hours

13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi

by Mitchell Zuckoff with the Annex Security Team

Reviewed by JMD Reid

On September 11th, 2012, the US Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi, Libya came under attack by Islamic Militias. Four men died over the next thirteen hours as a fierce gunfight raged through the night in the volatile city. This book is not about the political, partisan controversy that has mired what happened in Benghazi, but the members of the GSR—Global Security Resource) civilian contractors hired by the CIA to protect their clandestine sites—as they fought to protect themselves and other Americans that night.

The book first lays out the groundwork, discussing the history of Benghazi for the last several centuries so you can understand how the events of that night trace their roots back in time. Then it discusses who the GSR are. All are ex-military drawn from Navy Seals, Delta Force, and one Marine. These are men who had families and could make good money for a few months work in distant corners of the world. They didn’t want to fight. They just wanted to finish their tour and get back home.

Like a good history, it connects you with the participants. You get to know the operators, two of whom died during a mortar attack that night, and Ambassador Chris Steven and Sean Smith, who perished when their diplomatic building was set ablaze while they hid in a safe room. The book draws you into real, living history, letting you draw your own conclusions about the controversy.

Any fan of military history, will find this book to be a great read. It recreates, as best as possible, a terrible night. It makes an event argued about over and over by politicians grinding their own axes into something real and personable, cutting through all the bickering and backbiting that has characterized the tragedy since.

You can buy 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi from Amazon.

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Review: Nyssa Glass’s Clockwork Christmas

Nyssa Glass’s Clockwork Christmas

by H.L. Burke

Reviewed by JMD Reid

It’s nearing Christmas, and Nyssa and Ellis want to make it something special. Nyssa, orphaned and raised by her thieving uncle, never had a proper Christmas while for Ellis it represented the family he lost in the car accident that left him crippled three years ago. As their relationship grows closer, both want to make the other happy.

And this leads to all sorts of tropey relationship drama as Nyssa wants to learn how to dance but keep it a secret. But when Ellis sees her with her dancing instructor, jealousy grows. While it doesn’t descend into horrible fighting, it does add a strain to this story. Out of all five of the Nyssa novellas, this is the weakest to me. For others who are more into the romance, they might really like this.

But even still, this story maintains its heart. It doesn’t have the life and death stakes of the other novellas, but it maintains that warmth and hope the others have. It is sweet reading about them trying to make the other have the best Christmas possible, struggling to figure out the perfect gift, and at the end, when they open up to each other, it’s rather beautiful.

Nyssa Glass continues to be a great series that fans of fantasy and steampunk of all ages will enjoy.

You can buy Nyssa Glass’s Clockwork Christmas from Amazon!

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Review: A New Goddess

A New Goddess

by Autumn M Brit

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Bek’kana is drive to do anything to free his people, the Ashanti, from the Goddess Myrrah’s curse. Mad with ambition, he will do anything to cross over into the Spirit World and gain his people, and himself, the power long denied them.

It’s up to our heroes to find stop him from entering the Spirit Gate, the last of the five gates still open. And they can’t close it. To do so would end all life on their world. Somehow they have to find the strength to fight back. And to do that, the need the Ring of Valian.

But the Ring was last seen heading into the Spirit Realm. It is a dangerous place for the living. Lavinia, Darag, Niri, Ria, and their friends will have to risk everything on a gamble that they can find the Ring and stop Bek’kana’s mad ambition.

If they can’t, the Ashanti will enslave their own people. Bek’kana will punish their people with his own race’s curse.

Autumn Brit weaves the thread she’s laid out in her first trilogy and the first two books of this series towards the climax. Everything has changed. Old enemies are now friends, once allies are now bitter enemies. The peoples of the world will all have to work together to bring an end to Bek’kana’s thirst for power.

This book peels back more of her world and reveals the underlining pinning of it. This is such a fast-paced and fun book to read. The stakes have never been higher, and the emotions have never been stronger. If you haven’t started reading Brit, then you need to pick up Born of Water and start reading this amazing series!

Fans of fantasy will fall in love with the writing of Autumn Brit! I can’t wait to see what new and imaginative worlds she’ll create next.

You can buy A New Goddess from Amazon!

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Review: Nyssa Glass and the Cutpurse Kid

Nyssa Glass and the Cutpurse Kid

by H.L. Burke

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Settled into their new life, Nyssa and Ellis have opened their own repair shop. They need this business to be successful as Ellis’s money is dwindling fast. But when they catch a pickpocket trying to steal Ellis’s possessions, Nyssa sees herself in the young boy, something Ellis recognizes. The couple adopts the boy, to give him a new life like Nyssa had from her dead mentor.

But the cutpurse entering their life couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Nyssa’s past has caught up. Her uncle, the man who turned her into a thief, appears. Not dead, like his criminal partners had claimed when they tried to use Nyssa, but in prison for the last decade. Thinking Nyssa must have quite the stash, he wants his cut.

And he’ll do anything to get it.

The theme of identity comes up over and over in these books, from the computer AI in the first novella, to the true identity of the young couple in the last book. Now Nyssa’s true identity as a thief is released to her new community by the man who made her into one. It’s a tense story as you watch all Nyssa and Ellis’s hard work to start over ruined by a greedy man who doesn’t understand the true meaning of family.

Like the other Nyssa Glass novellas, this one has heart that keeps you reading. Burke has really found magic with the characters of Nyssa and Ellis, and you want them to succeed against the obstacles laid out before them. Another excellent novella.

Fans of fantasy and steampunk need to check out this delightful young adult novella.

You can buy Nyssa Glass and the Cutpurse Kid from Amazon!

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Review: Nyssa Glass and the Juliet Dilemma

Nyssa Glass and the Juliet Dilemma

by H.L. Burke

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Nyssa Glass and Ellis Dallhart are trying to both leave their pasts behind and escape from their country. Nyssa, still wanted for murder, and Ellis stunned by his father’s work, just want a fresh start. The young couple have their opportunity, their new documents, and their tickets on an airship that will take them away from it all.

Only for another young couple to rob them and take their new identities.

Nyssa and Ellis will have to find a new way to escape the country as they become embroiled in a young couple fleeing the girl’s tyrannical uncle. Will this young Romeo and Juliet prove reliable allies, or will their own misdeeds cost Nyssa and Ellis everything?

What a great follow-up to Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors. Nyssa and Ellis make a cute couple, still in this awkward stage of their relationship, not sure what they really are to each other. More than friends, but not quite lovers. But they are in it together, dealing with the complication the young couple eloping have caused them. Ellis being in a wheelchair adds another dimension that allows Burke to come up with creative solutions to their problems. The pair compliment each other well. They’re both intelligent, but Ellis’s caution and Nyssa’s daring work well to balance each other and lead them to their success.

Another great young adult novella from Burke. Fans of fantasy and steampunk need to check out this delightful series!

You can buy Nyssa Glass and the Juliet Dilemma from Amazon!

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Review: Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors

Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors

by H.L. Burke

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Nyssa Glass is a young woman with a troubled past. Raised as a thief and a pickpocket by an abusive uncle, she found freedom when he died. With the sponsorship of Mr. Calloway, she received an education in engineering and a job in his repair shop. She just wants a peaceful life.

But everything changes when her past catches up to her. Someone needs her skills for a dangerous job. When she revuses, she finds herself on the run, framed for Mr. Calloway’s murder, and having no choice but to complete the job to salvage her own reputation.

She’ll have to enter the mansion of Mr. Dalhart, famed inventor of many of the steampunk technology of her world. No one has seen Mr. Dalhart, his crippled son Ellis, or the staff in three years. Everyone sent is has died.

Nysaa Glass will have to use all her skills to survive.

What a wonderful, young adult novella. Burke has created a very realistic steampunk world, blending Victorian England with devices that are almost like modern technology but are so different. Full of heart and warmth, as well as danger. Tackling such topics as identity and what it means to be human, Burke weaves a fast-paced tale that keeps your reading and rooting for her young heroine to uncover the truth of The House of Mirrors.

If you’re a fan of fantasy, young adult literature not steeped in vapid romance, or steampunk adventures, this is a story for you! Great for youths and adults.

You can buy Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors from Amazon!

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Review: Thief of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves 2)

Thief of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves 2)

by Andy Peloquin

Reviewed by JMD Reid

The Night Guild controls all crime in the city of Praamis. This brutal organization trains its members from childhood, pushing them through a gauntlet of pain and torment to harden them and make them hungry to steal, to kill, or do what else the Guild requires.

Ilanna survived their training. Now five years older from the events of Child of the Night Guild, Ilanna puts all her skills towards one task: protecting her young son. A son the Night Guild doesn’t know about. And she plans on keeping it that way. There’s only one way to do it. She’ll have to buy her way out of the Night Guild.

But the Night Guild doesn’t easily let go of useful tools. She will need to pull of a burglary of such prestige, of such wealth, to win her freedom. And Ilanna is nothing if not daring. She has a plan to not only destroy the most dangerous threat to the Night Guild in Praamis but to earn millions.

And it will require doing the impossible.

Peloquin shifts gears with this book. While the last one was more biopic, following GiRL from the age of seven until her early twenties as she has her ups and downs dealing with her rival, the brutal Sabot, this book is a heist thriller through and through. And with all the grimdark fantasy elements Peloquin is so skilled at balancing.

Thief of the Night Guild is a riveting read, keeping you following the intricacies of Ilanna plan as she has to overcome new obstacles, deal with dubious allies, and race against the clock to get everything ready for her window. Because if she doesn’t, more than she will pay the price.

Peloquin is swiftly joining my ranks of must-read fantasy authors.

I was given an ARC, but I liked it so much I bought the story.

You can buy Thief of the Night Guild form Amazon!


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Review: Gates of Fire and Earth (Game of Fire 2)

Gates of Fire and Earth (Game of Fire 2)

by Autumn Brit

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Bek’sah of the Ashanti cares nothing for the other peoples of Myrrah, willing to sacrifice all for his ambition to free his people from the goddesses curse and reclaim the power long denied him. But to do that, he needs to cross over into the Spirit World.

Lavinia, Darag, Niri, Ria, and their friends will do anything to stop that. The Gate of Water is closed, but three more are still open. The cost to sealing the Fire and Earth gates will be high, but it is better than the Ashanti wiping out all life.

War has once again come to the world, and the elementals will have to unite like they never have to face the dark threat of the Ashanti. Friends are divide and enemies now have to unite as the world is thrown into chaos.

Autumn Brit throws us right back into the action with Gates of Earth and Fire. After the buildup of book one to the explosive new war that descends on the peoples of Myrrah, Book 2 is action-packed. The Ashanti have never been more powerful. The series only gets better as she peels back more layers of her worldbuilding and advances the plot in new and exciting directions.

Brit builds on her past four books in this world to catapult the pace of this book forward. The characters have to race against time to deal with the mad Bek’seh. The series continues to be an excellent Indie fantasy read full of vibrant action and delightful characters as they struggle with new and dire threats.

I can’t wait to see how Brit will resolves this in the final book! But I am eagerly awaiting it!

You can buy Gates of Fire and Earth from Amazon!

I received this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review, though I had planned on buying it before the author sent it to me and have preordered it.


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Review: Happy Hour in Hell

Happy Hour in Hell (Bobby Dollar Book 2)

by Tad Williams

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Bobby Dollar (Doloriel to the heavenly host) is an earthbound angel, an advocate fighting to keep souls out of hell. After the events of the first novel, his life has been shaken up. He found love in the arms of the demon Casmira, Countess of the Cold Hands.

But she’s gone, taken back into hell by the Eligor, one of the Dukes of Hell out of jealous possession. Unable to let her go, Bobby embarks on a dangerous journey into hell itself. He will do anything to save Caz, even lose himself to an eternity of torment.

And even if he survives the trip through the layers of hell and finds her, he will have to contend with one of its most powerful ruler.

Williams paints a very bleak and disturbing hell. Like Dante before him, he takes you into the darkest pits. But Bobby, unlike Dante, doesn’t just witness the suffering and torment. He lives it. He has to experience the horrors day after day as he treks across its layers and meets its inhabitants. Williams shows the lives of those damned to suffering, how they survive, how they are tormented, how their dystopic societies work. Everything wears down the spirit and you suffer it with Bobby.

It is powerful writing and a great follow-up to the Noir detective novel of the first book. Williams takes his world into the fantasy quest with seamless effort. The journey through hell is one of the most macabre that I have written, with imagery that will haunt you. It is clear the author put a lot of effort into his imaging of how Hell would function, from its different classes of people, each with their own motivations and dreams, to the vagarious ways they are tormented.

Happy Hour in Hell is a dark, disturbing, and powerful read. Fans of Urban Fantasy need to check out his series and understand why Tad Williams is a huge name in the world of fantasy literature.

You can buy Happy Hour in Hell from Amazon!

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