Reading Fanatic Reviews

Science Fiction Thrillers

The Mountain’s Shadow by Cecilia Dominic

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Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Scribd, 24 Symbols, Mondadori, and Angus & Robertson

The Mountain's Shadow*

Pacing Off But Better Toward End

This is a quirky combination of paranormal urban fantasy and medical thriller. I felt like the pacing was a bit off. It started too slowly, spending much time on revealing background and slice-of-life moments rather than some good, gripping action. There is a lot going on in this book, so much so at times that it was difficult to keep everything and everybody straight. I particularly liked the science aspects of the story. While taking place in a fantastical setting, it still seems realistic. I thought that perhaps there was a little too much exposition, even though it was well done. I kept wanting more to happen in the first half, which is never good in a thriller. Still, I stuck with it, and I am glad I did as the pacing and action did pick up in the second half of the story.

Violet Souls by Abbey MacMunn

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Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Mondadori, Angus & Robertson, and Indigo (Chapters)

Violet Souls*

Violet-Eyed Aliens Among Us

How to classify this book… How about alien shifter romance thriller? Yes, this book has a lot going on. The heroine’s world is quickly rocked when she finds out that she is an alien. There is a bad guy after her because he craves power, and he needs her to get it. The heroin has a bonded mate, but she doesn’t presently know him or recognize him. But he knows and remembers her and seeks to protect her while helping her learn about their society and her powers. The book was a little awkwardly worded in places, but the author kept a book moving with lots of fast-paced action. I really liked Quinn and Lexie, the heroine’s little girl. Jane was a fun character, too. I hope we see more of all these characters as well as find out more about the home planet of Evox.

Eros Element by Cecilia Dominic

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Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Scribd, 24 Symbols, Thalia, Mondadori, Angus & Robertson, Indigo (Chapters), and

Eros Element*

Fun Steampunk Romance

Oh, my gosh! What a fun book. This was my first foray into steampunk, though I had heard of the subgenre before. This particular author is able to convey her characters’ thoughts and words well, sometimes with gravity (when needed) and deliciously dry humor (most of the time). The characters are well drawn with very clear goals and motivations. There’s no gore or violence, and the plot did have some unexpected twists and turns. I think I especially appreciated the interactions between the characters. I loved the budding Romance. Just a delightful quasi-historical romantic read.

Aldo by Betty Jean Craig

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Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Scribd, Smashwords, Mondadori, Angus & Robertson, and Indigo (Chapters)


Terrorism and Genetic Research

This book has so much going on! It is steeped in academia and germ-line genetic research. The author herself is a longtime professor at a university, so her insights into academic life ring true. At its core, this story is about who controls scientific research and to what end. It’s told in a very different way. It starts off as if it is a letter from the professor protagonist to her teenage son, but we actually see many perspectives, including the interactions of the Night Watch Facebook group that wants to make all genetic research, like the protagonist is working on, go away. There is plenty of suspense to keep the pages turning, and there is a hint of romance for those who like that in a thriller. The author seemed to have a good grasp of the science involved in this story. The characters aren’t super complex, but I find that acceptable in a thriller. I did find the switching back and forth between the Facebook posts and communications of the Night Watch and the narrative parts to be a little jarring, but the book was compelling enough that I wanted to see what happened next. If you enjoy thrillers that are strongly based in science (and especially genetics), you may very well enjoy this intriguing tale.

Tesla by Jason Walker

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Available at Amazon, Kobo, Mondadori, and Angus & Robertson


Would There Be Danger If What Was Hidden Was Found

Starting with an interesting scene where are Tesla, Edison, and Mark Twain meet with a secret group high up in the relatively new Eiffel Tower, having been invited by  Monsieur  Eiffel himself. The Tesla story is juxtaposed with a more modern one based around a spy named Darren and his wife who work for a secret arm of the CIA, operating as agents for the shadow government. Darren comes across some old original notes of Tesla’s. What will he do with his findings? Will they put him and his family in danger?

This book is written in the present tense, and in general, I think that is an awkward way to write fiction. And unfortunately, in this case, sometimes the other tenses required to show proper sequence of time weren’t chosen correctly around the ubiquitous present tense; this is one of the pitfalls of using the present tense. That said, this was still an interesting read, making the reader of ponder what unknown knowledge might be hiding out there, who are keeping it secret, and what it could mean if it was known.

In just a total aside . . . Since Mark Twain was the pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, I think it would have made an ironic twist to have the members of the secret committee him as Sam instead of Mark.



The asterisks (*) by the book title denote the source of the book copy.

One star = I received it as a free advance/review copy or directly from the author.

Two stars = I borrowed it through my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Three stars = I purchased the book outright (sometimes for free).

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