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Book Review: The Con Artist By Fred Van Lente
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The Con Artist
Paperback | Kindle
Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Tom Fowler
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release date: July 10, 2018

Mike Mason lives at conventions… literally. He loves the feeling of creating something from nothing, at the behest of fans of his art. When he arrives at the biggest con of the year, San Diego Comic-Con, he has to face his ex-wife and the man she cheated on him with, plus he’s hit with the news that his mentor, Ben K, has died. If only that was the worst of it! Spontaneous actions coupled with alcohol leaves Mike with little recollection of the night before. If only Danny hadn’t gone and died during that time! Now a suspect, Mike is on his own case, tracking down his alibi and sketching the clues. Can he elude the fuzz and various enemies long enough to solve the crime before he is arrested?

More below on The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente.

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Book Review: Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery
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Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery

Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery
Paperback | Kindle
Written by Andrew Schaffer
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release date: July 10, 2018

He doesn’t call. He doesn’t write. Joe Biden is feeling abandoned by his former bestie, Barack Obama, since the end of their administration. When a close friend is found dead on the train tracks, Amtrak Joe is compelled to follow up, especially when his name is among the dead man’s belongings. When his BFF finally shows up with pertinent info, Biden is on the case. He, Obama, and Steve, the Secret Service guy, embark on a super fun adventure. However, can Joe Biden get past his flat-left hurt in order to trust the Former President of the United States once again?

More below on Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery by Andrew Schaffer.

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Book Review: Brightly Burning By Alexa Donne
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Brightly Burning
Hardcover | Kindle
By Alexa Donne
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers
Release date: May 1, 2018

In Brightly Burning, debut author Alexa Donne takes the classic Jane Eyre tale and sets it in space aboard a starship in a dystopian future during an Earth ice age.

Orphaned at 7, then discarded by her uncaring aunt, Stella Ainsley lives on the starship Stalwart, where she works in engineering as well as helps educate the children. The Stalwart community is an impoverished one, subjected to water and food rationing and frequent power outages. Since Stella has no real passion for engineering, she decides to apply for governess jobs on other starships in the hopes of making a better life for herself. After several letdowns, the nearly 18-year-old Stella is hired to be both a governess and auxiliary engineer on the Rochester, one of the richer, private ships in the fleet. While she enjoys the comforts provided in her new home, there’s something strange about the Rochester and its 19-year-old captain Hugo Fairfax, a man who exhibits inconsistent behavior and is hard for the young girl to figure out. She hears laughter in the corridor at night and has witnessed several events that appear to be sabotage, yet no one else on board will corroborate her findings. To make matters worse, Hugo holds a secret that could alter Stella’s once-hopeful future, as well as threaten the survival of the entire fleet.

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Book Review: City Of Lies: A Poison War Novel By Sam Hawke
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City of Lies book review

City of Lies
A Poison War Novel
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle Edition
Written by Sam Hawke
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: July 3, 2018

I will give you this, the first line of this book is a wicked great start to City of Lies. The attention to detail is amazing, be it the landscape or the characters. And I will be honest, I am not always a fan of debut novels, as I find that they often lack refinement. This one, however, was leaps and bounds above the norm.

The premise is fairly simple: there is a family who has perfected the art of poison. Their job, for they are known as proofers, is to protect the ruling families from harm. The skills they possess enable them to detect or dispense these deadly chemical compounds with relative ease. But, as always, what you do not know can really hurt you. This is a lesson Jovan, and his sister Kalina, learns quickly as the companion and bodyguard to the heir apparent. But as he falls deeper and deeper into plots of intrigue and betrayal, he finds himself at his limits on who and what to trust. For even his closest confidantes keep secrets from him.

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Book Review: Go Home, Afton (Afton Morrison Series Book 1)
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Go Home, Afton book cover banner Afton Morrison

Go Home, Afton
Afton Morrison Series Book 1
Kindle Edition
By Brent Jones
Publisher: Self-Published via Amazon Digital Services
Release date: June 25, 2018

In Brent Jones‘s Go Home, Afton, a young librarian with a compulsion to kill turns to vigilantism to stop a serial rapist, but a dangerous person from her own past has returned to thwart her efforts.

Afton Morrison is a small-town children’s librarian with an urge to kill. Yes, kill. Ever since a teenage trauma, she’s been plagued with the need to hurt people, prompted on by Animus, the name she’s given to the voice inside her head that represents her darkest desires. Thankfully she’s been able to keep her feelings in check… until now. At 26, she’s finally ready to take her first life. But Afton is really a good person at heart, who’d rather help than harm. That’s why she decides to go the vigilante route, with her first target being an alleged serial rapist who so far has gotten away scott-free. But a dark figure from her own past has suddenly returned, shadowing her and hindering her plans with the possible intention of harming her again.

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Book Review: The Trials Of Apollo, Book Three: The Burning Maze
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The Trials of Apollo, Book 3: The Burning Maze book review

The Trials of Apollo: The Burning Maze
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle Edition
Written by Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 1, 2018

I did not read the first two books in this series. There, I said it. So when people dive into my review and start getting upset that I failed to catch something that I should have, I will fall back on this rather than a sword. The Trials of Apollo: The Burning Maze serves as a halfway point for the series and, as with all of Rick Riordan‘s books, enables first time readers to not feel alienated or unable to submerge themselves into his story.

I am not a constant reader of Riordan’s work but I will do my best to give you a glimpse of what I saw.

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Book Review: The Grey Bastards By Jonathan French
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The Grey Bastards book review

The Grey Bastards
The Lot Lands – Book 1
Hardcover | Kindle Edition | Audiobook
By Jonathan French
Publisher: Orbit Books
Release Date: June 19, 2018

I am a lifelong Dungeons & Dragons fan/player/aficionado and of all the races available for game play back in the day, my least favorite was the half-orc. But things change, folks. They really do. As I dug into The Grey Bastards, I was struck by the fact that my perception of the half-orc was just a single viewpoint that I had never explored fully. Well, thankfully, author Jonathan French did. And he did it with style in this first book of the planned Lot Lands series.

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Book Review: The Robots Of Gotham By Todd McAulty
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The Robots Of Gotham
Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
By Todd McAulty
Publisher: John Joseph Adams | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release date: June 19, 2018

The robopocalypse is coming in Todd McAulty‘s futuristic scifi tome, The Robots Of Gotham.

In his debut novel, McAulty takes us to the year 2083 where many parts of the world are now controlled by a fascist robot regime. After years of war, the United States is now divided, with many areas foreign-occupied, machine-controlled, and/or overrun by Venezuelan “peacekeeping” forces: There’s the Kingdom of Manhattan, a robot-controlled sovereignty; the Occupied States, an area of conflict controlled by the Machine Cabal; the United States Free Zone, which has an elected human President; and the Union of Post-American States, which has a human appointed leader.

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Book Review: The City Of Lost Fortunes (A Crescent City Novel)
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The City Of Lost Fortunes
A Crescent City Novel
Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
By Bryan Camp
Publisher: John Joseph Adams | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release date: April 17, 2018

In Bryan Camp‘s debut novel, The City Of Lost Fortunes, a reclusive New Orleans street magician and demigod with the ability to locate lost items is forced out of magical retirement when he’s tasked with solving the murder of the city’s god of Fortune.

Jude Dubuisson is a New Orleans street magician whose schtick is revealing the location of people’s lost items. Oh, and he’s also a demigod, thanks to the deity daddy he never knew. But after Hurricane Katrina tore through his beloved city leaving an overabundance of lost items in its wake, he’s been overwhelmed by his magical gift. The experience took something out of him, as it did to most of the city’s residents, leaving him without his usual swagger and knowing grin, prompting his retirement from the magical community. Unfortunately, he didn’t walk away six years ago scott-free – he still owes a debt to the Fortune god and it looks like now it’s being called in. An invitation to a divine card game ends with the murder of the Fortune god, and now Jude has been drafted by a former employer to find the killer. Who is powerful enough to kill a god and what is their motive? And how is Jude connected to all of this to begin with?

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Book Review: King Of Ashes (The Firemane Saga Book 1) By Raymond E. Feist
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King Of Ashes Raymond E. Feist

King Of Ashes
The Firemane Saga – Book 1
Hardcover | Paperback (Large Print) | Kindle | Audiobook
By Raymond E. Feist
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Paperback Release date: May 8, 2018

Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod! Raymond E. Feist has not only released a new book, but it is the start of a brand new series! As a connoisseur of all things Riftwar, Midkemia, and Kelewan, I am astounded to find that this new series is a whole new setting! King Of Ashes is the first novel in The Firemane Saga which takes place on the world of Garn. This takes epic to all new levels, as Feist’s previous setting is rich with depth beyond the norm. Will this new world match up to 30 books and 35 years of storytelling? We shall see!

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