Friday 30 June 2023

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Second Quarter 2023

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Second Quarter 2023

It has been a very good first half of the year, 269 books read, and 109 of them this quarter. A lot of really great reads, and a few new authors that I had not explored yet.  I have read just over a book and a quarter a day. I read 109 books this quarter, in comparison with the last 7 years:

     2022 – 110
     2021 – 104
     2020 – 85
     2019 – 102
     2018 – 102
     2017 – 112
     2016 – 36

So right about on par with most of the years. I can state again that looking back 2016 is a bit of an outlier as late that year I switched jobs and have since had much better work – life balance. In the spring of 2016, I worked through Brandon Vogt’s course Read More Books Now (now available on ClaitasU). The year before that I removed all games from my phone and tablet and my reading had doubled. 

But back to this quarter. By the numbers:

Books Read: 109
First Time Reads: 87
Fiction: 45
Non-Fiction: 64
5/5 Stars: 73

Here is my top ten fiction and non-fiction books of the fourth quarter of 2020.

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:
1. Books about Saint David of Wales       
A Miracle for David Patron Saint of Wales - Steffan Lloyd 
6. Books About Matt Talbot 
9. Books about Saint Patrick  
Bonus Books:
Top Ten Fiction Books:
1. Love at First Bite - Declan Finn
7. Solar System Series - Manual Alfonseca

Bonus Books:

My reading has been up over each of the last few years. And I thought last year would be a high watermark. But the beginning of this year was even better than last. Which I attribute in part to Brandon Vogt’s course Read More Books Now, removing all games but 1 brain game from my devices. And I was commuting to work on a bus and read on the bus every day. Working from home reading took a little more discipline.  

Note: I do not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists, they are sometimes in the bonus section. But if you want more options check out my favourite books year by year list. Or this year not to flood the list with one specific author.   

Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2015
Top Ten Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2018
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2019
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2020
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2020
438 - 2022
365 - 2021
317 - 2020 
392 - 2019
359 - 2018
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996

Thursday 29 June 2023

Operation Viginti - Manuel Alfonseca - Solar System Book 4

Operation Viginti
Solar System Book 4
Manuel Alfonseca
ISBN 9798395699695

This was an excellent read, and great story in this series. I understand that the series is completed but I cannot but hope for other stories set in this world. Each of the four novels is strong enough to stand on its own./ But this story teies the tree together and brings a long term conclusion to a number of issues going back to the first story Under An Orange Sky. But together they give us an interesting take on our future, and the purpose and morality of exploring and possibly terraforming other planets. I also found out from the author that another volume is loosely related to this trilogy, A face in Time: 1789-2089, which appears to take place between books 2 and 3, so of course I picked it up and added it to the reading list, but have not got to it yet. 

I have read a number of books by Manuel Alfonseca, across several series and some also some standalone stories; I have also read some of them more than once. I picked this one up as soon as it was released and moved it to the top of my ‘to be read’ pile. This series was brought back to my attention when working on a review of a different volume by Alfonseca. I am very thankful it did, for this book and series are excellent offerings from Alfonseca’s skilful pen. The descriptions of this volume states:

“At the end of Operación Quatuor, Terexa Viginti has discovered the mystery surrounding her life. From now on she must prepare to become the successor of the famous Quatuor as president of the Institute of the Brethren of the Holy Cross. She then discovers that Mars holds another secret that very few know about. Suddenly, Terexa Viginti becomes the successor of Irene Pinedo, the protagonist of the first book in the series. But the Government wants to seize Terexa to use her for their own purposes. Will Terexa be able to escape from the Government's wiles?”

The sections and chapters in this work are:

First part: Operation Viginti  
     A conversation with Quatuor 
     The colonization of Mars 
     Attack and defense 
     Dismantling the shelter 
Second part: Operation Two Terexas  
     Second transference 
     Terexa & Terexa 
     Identical, but different 
     Rome does not pay traitors 
     The ultimate test 
Third part: Operation Save the Martians  
     Planetary plans 
     Towards Callisto 
     Seventy-two hours 
     Suicide mission 
     Alone in the face of danger 
     Save the Martians

As mentioned this story ties together elements from the other three volumes in the series. They are:

In this story there are some major shifts in the government’s policies and practices, in part because of the work of the Brethren and the Sect. One as an influence for good and the other for evil and chaos. It was absolutely fascinating to read how Alfonseca handled having two AI’s but one based on a Catholic morality and one Humanist\Atheist and how they processed the same information and events. The concept of intelligent AI and how it would and could be used by government, both on secret missions and for nefarious purposes, and how some people can embrace and other reject self-aware AI consciousness is executed perfectly.   

But the biggest risk comes on a mission. A mission with a very surprising purpose and allies. The writing in this story is excellent. The pace is great. The characters are well crafter. And the plot is amazing. Again as I started reading this volume I could hardly put it down, that seems to be the case with most of Alfonseca’s works. And much like while I was reading The History of the Earth-9 Colony and Under An Orange Sky I often thought of other books that have had a great influence on me over the years. The three volumes that came to mind are:

Solaris - Stanisław Lem
The Space Trilogy – C.S. Lewis
Ishmael Trilogy – Daniel Quinn

I would love to see more stories set in this universe. But, the only thing I really hope for is that at some point we will get a volume with more information on the children of Irene Pinedo and Steve MacDunn from the first two volumes, and fill in some of the time gap between books 2 and three.

This was another amazing story from Alfonseca’s pen. This quadrillogy for me provides an echo of C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy; or his quartet if you include the partial story The Dark Tower. I was hooked from beginning to end. I could hardly put the book down. Manual’s writing in this story is excellent, even though I felt echoes of other stories again the way he has handled the material and the themes and consequences he presents are very well written. I was very surprised by the twists at the end, I admit I was completely taken by surprise, and in part that is why I would love to see more stories in the series. This story is a little more action, and mystery and less philosophy and theory than the other two stories in the series. I loved this story and have been telling my son about the book and series and he has now added it to his reading pile.

Alfonseca does his own translation work in this and other stories. I have said before that there is a certain sense of the works of Jose Saramango and Gabriel García Márquez in Alfonseca’s writings. This is an excellent science fiction story from a master storyteller and I can easily recommend it. A great story in a wonderful series.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Manuel Alfonseca in English:
Jacob's Ladder
The Ruby of the Ganges
The Last Dinosaur
Ennia in Faerie
The Heirloom of King Scorpion
Beyond the Black Hole
The Water of Life

The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Series:
Quetzalcoatl's Zahir

The Mystery of the Haunted House
The Mystery of the Sapphire Bracelet
The Mystery of the Honeymoon
The Mystery of the Egyptian Vulture Country House

Chronicles of the Magic Jigsaw Puzzle Series:
The Journey of Tivo the Dauntless
The Mystery of the Black Lake
The Silver Swan
The Secret of the Ice Field
The Lost Continent

The Chronicles of the Aeolian Family Series:

Human Cultures & Evolution
World Population: Past, Present, & Future
The Fifth Level of Evolution

Wednesday 28 June 2023

The Girl Who Would Live Forever - Rebecca Cantrell - An Ivy Corva Novel

The Girl Who Would Live Forever
An Ivy Corva Novel
ISBN 9798365738300

Several years ago, I read several of the stories in the Order of the Sanguines series co-written with James Rollins. Last year Yuletide Thrills caught my attention and was an excellent collection of short stories. After reading that collection I added several to my wish list including this volume. This was an excellent story. The subtitle of this story is An Ivy Corva Novel, so I can only hope this is the first in a new series. This was one of 2 I picked up right after reading Thrills. And I am committed to reading all of her published works, both those under this name and the two under the pen name, Bekka Black. This story was so hard to put down. 

The description of the book is:

“Ivy Corva’s first novel makes her the target of online trolls. As the threats get nastier and her address is posted on the Internet for all to see, she runs from her old life and moves to San Francisco to work for her friend Shelby.

But Shelby isn’t there.

Shelby threw herself off the Golden Gate Bridge right after their phone call to avoid her own demons: accusations of financial fraud and lying about her new immortality drug. As the world seeks to destroy her friend’s legacy, Ivy searches for the truth.

But when Ivy's trolls move from the virtual world to the real one and Shelby's foes close in, Ivy fears that the price for the truth will be her life.”

Some public praise for the novel includes:

“Rebecca Cantrell’s THE GIRL WHO WOULD LIVE FOREVER is a wildly Hitchcockian tale of friendship and murder set within the cutthroat world of biomedical research. It has a ripped-from-the-headlines authenticity and is written at a blistering pace that left me breathless. I defy anyone to anticipate the twists and shocking revelations in this taut mystery. It’s a pure adrenalin thrill ride.” 
     James Rollins bestselling author.

"A rollercoaster thrill ride! Cantrell's skill as a storyteller has never been more finely honed than in this novel...the book, told from Ivy's point of view, reflects her anxieties, wit, and razor-sharp humor." 
     Edge Media Network

I read this book while on a road trip with the family, there was a wedding and a memorial service. It was so hard to put the book away. I just wanted to keep reading. This is an intense tale, a thriller masterfully written. It is a mystery wrapped up in a quest to live for ever. No matter the cost, to oneself or others. 

Ivy Corva has come to San Francisco to do social medial and writing for her long-time friends Medical Tech Startup. But between leaving home and getting there her friend has committed suicide. She attends the funeral shortly after landing. But the pieces are not adding up. Shelby was running a tech startup to create a compound that would allow you to live forever or at least a much longer lifespan than currently. She wants to conquer the demons from losing her own mother to cancer, and she appears to have some great early success. But things are not always what they appear. Soon Ivy is under the protection of Tristan Walsh, Threat Specialist on the payroll of Shelby’s father Arthur Linton. Tristian has been watching out for Shelby and his care is at times intense. 

The story revolves around Ivy trying to figure out what really happened to Shelby, Shelby’s past all coming out include a sex tape when she was a minor. Tristan is trying to protect and guide Ivy. Ivy wants to know the truth, no matter the risk or cost. She really has nothing else to lose. Her career as a writer had been tanked by online trolls and threats. There are some excellent motorcycle scenes including an excellent chase. 

The characters are masterfully written. The plot is amazing. The pace is excellent. It was terribly hard to put this book down. To be honest I desperately want more stories with Ivy or Tristan or both. I really hope this is the beginning of a long series or even multiple series! This was such an excellent read even days later it is constantly coming to mind. I can easily recommend this it is a great novel. 

Books by Rebecca Cantrell:
Cigarette Boy and Other Stories

Joe Tesla Series:
The World Beneath
The Tesla Legacy
The Chemistry of Death
The Steel Shark

Hannah Vogel Series:
A Trace of Smoke 
A Night of Long Knives 
A Game of Lies 
A City of Broken Glass 
A Time of Night and Fog (Omnibus Edition)
Hannah Vogel Short Stories\Novella’s:
Cigarette Boy

As Bekka Black:
iMonster Series:

The Order of the Sanguines Trilogy with James Rollins:
0.5 City of Screams
2.0 Innocent Blood
3.0 Blood Infernal

Tucker Wayne Series with Grant Blackwood:
The Kill Switch
War Hawk

Malibu Mystery Series with Sean Black:
"A" is for Actress or "A" is for Asshat 
"B" is for Bad Girls 
"C" is for Coochy Coo 
"D" is for Drunk 
"E" is for Exposed 
"F" is for Fred 
"G" is for Groovy 

Tuesday 27 June 2023

The Way of the Cross According to Matthew- Father Eugene LaVerdiere, S.S.S.

The Way of the Cross According to Matthew
Father Eugene LaVerdiere, S.S.S.

The Way of the Cross According to Matthew- Father Eugene LaVerdiere, S.S.S.

During Lent in 2022 our parish did On the Way of the Cross with Saint Paul by Eugene LaVerdiere, S.S.S. and it was excellent. During research I found that Father LaVerdiere also wrote this Station and also ones according to each of the other Gospels. I was able to order 1 copy of each from Emmanuel Publishing. This was the third I have done and they are excellent. I try and pray a Stations each Friday of the year, and I strive to pray a Stations each day during Lent. The stations written by Father Eugene LaVerdiere, S.S.S., are:

The Way of the Cross According to John

I do not recount encountering the works of Father Eugene prior to that first Stations. But having look at the list of volumes he published I have added several to my wish list. I discovered that Father Eugene LaVerdiere, SSS, was a distinguished lecturer at Fordham University in New York and an adjunct professor at the Catholic Theological Union. He published numerous books and articles, he published works on Scripture on Luke from the New Testament Message series, The Eucharist in the New Testament and the Early Church, and The Beginning of the Gospel: Introducing the Gospel According to Mark Volumes 1 and 2. He was also the senior editor of Emmanuel magazine. The publishing company that produces this and the other Stations composed by him. The description of this volume is:

“Matthew’s Gospel is the story of Jesus, a shepherd for God’s people of Israel (2:6), whose name brought hope to the Gentiles (12:21). Matthew’s community, still close to its Jewish origins, had to choose between the synagogue, the people from whom they came, and the Church, the people now formed in Christ. Together in Matthew’s Way of the Cross we follow Jesus and his followers to Jerusalem and Golgotha, the Place of the Skull.”

A sample station is:

Third Station

Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time 

Cross bearer:
We adore you, 0 Christ, and we praise you.

Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

         You may be seated.

Jesus fell at Gethsemane, with Peter, the rock on whom he would build his church (16:18), asleep as Jesus prayed, unable to keep watch for one hour on this last night of Jesus' life. The Son of Man was about to be handed over to sinners, but Peter slept, even as the betrayer approached (26:36-46).

We had nothing to fear after all! But the day the magi brought news of a newborn king of the Jews and word of it raced through Jerusalem, it was no light matter (2:1-3). I did what was needed to keep order (2:7-8, 16). These days, you never know where news like that will lead. But nothing came of it.

A Scribe in Jerusalem::
Who were these magi to tell us about our newborn king? What was this star of which they spoke? When Herod asked where the Messiah would be born, we told him. We knew from the Scriptures he was to be born in Bethlehem. Thank God we did not follow his star! Look where it brought him and Simon bar Jonah.

The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light;

on those dwelling in a land of death light has arisen. - Matthew 4:16; see Isaiah 9:1

        Please stand.

Let us pray.

Christ Jesus,
when Peter fell, you fell.
Peter and the disciples followed you
as you showed the way.
When they stumbled and fell,
you did not leave them behind.
Though we fall over and over,
do not abandon us.
For this we pray to you, our Lord and Savior,
living and reigning for ever and ever.

I hope that sample station give you a feel for this version of this devotion. This is another excellent stations of the cross. I loved praying in on my own and would greatly enjoy doing it at church with a few different people playing the different roles. It was a great tool to pray and reflect upon it on my own. I look forward to reading the other stations by Father Eugene and some of his other books. I know I will return to these stations often. I just wish this and other volumes were available electronically, with my dual form of dyslexia I prefer eBooks so I can change the font, font and page colour to make books more accessible and easier to read.
This is another great resource for personal, family, or parish use. It is an excellent version of this devotion, I can easily recommend this volume.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan

For all other reviews of Stations of the Cross click here.

Books by Eugene LaVerdiere, S.S.S.:
A Church for All Peoples: Missionary Issues in a World Church
Acts of the Apostles
Dining in the Kingdom of God: The Origins of the Eucharist According to Luke
Fundamentalism: A Pastoral Concern
Invitation to the New Testament, Epistles II
Luke New Testament Message 5
The Annunciation to Mary: A Story of Faith, Luke 1:26-38
The Beginning of the Gospel: Introducing the Gospel According to Mark - Volume 1 (Mark 1-8:21)
The Beginning of the Gospel: Introducing the Gospel According to Mark: Volume 2 (Mark 8:22-16:20)
The Breaking Of The Bread: The Development Of The Eucharist According To The Acts Of The Apostles
The Eucharist in the New Testament and the Early Church
The Gospel of St. Luke
The New Testament in the Life of the Church: Evangelization, Prayer, Catechetics, Homiletics
The Psalms
The year of Luke
When We Pray: Meditation on the Lord's Prayer

Stations of the Cross:
The Way of the Cross According to John

The Way of the Cross According to Matthew- Father Eugene LaVerdiere, S.S.S.

The Way of the Cross According to Mark -  Eugene LaVerdiere, S.S.S.

The Way of the Cross According to Luke - Father Eugene LaVerdiere, S.S.S.

The Way of the Cross According to John -  Eugene LaVerdiere, S.S.S.

On the Way of the Cross with Saint Paul Eugene LaVerdiere, S.S.S. Cover

Monday 26 June 2023

Product Review Henson AL13 Razor

Product Review AL13 Razor

Well, this is a review I never expected to write. Recently my wife indicated she wanted to get me a new razor to try. It was the Al13 from Henson Shaving. I had not used a safety razor previously. Her boss had got one and swore by it. I was in need of new blades and could not believe how expensive they had become even at Costco. And with the money back guarantee I thought it would be worth a try. I ordered the Henson Al13 in Steel Blue, and also ordered the 100 pack of replacement blades. 

Being completely honest after my first attempted shave with the safety razor I was disappointed, or at least underwhelmed. But, based on all the praise the product has received on Facebook, and personal stories I have heard, from my wife’s boss who has always struggled with shaver burn and her manager who uses it for her legs. I had followed the advice on the Henson site and just shaved the way I normally would have, warm water, soak the beard, shave cream and long strokes. I figured I was doing something wrong and went looking for resources on how best to shave with a safety razor. I found this video from Executive Shaving in the UK and it was a life changer:

(Video shared with permission from Executive Shaving.)

I will be honest I watched this 17-minute video twice. And the instructions and advice made a lot of sense. My biggest mistakes were using long strokes, and just shaving once. Using the techniques in this video of short brisk strokes, and constantly adjusting the angle works wonders. And on most days I can get away with a double shave, once with the grain and once across the grain, but if I want a really close shave I do the two shaves with the grain and one across the grain. And this multi-pass method makes sense, I have been using razors with between 2 and 4 blades for over 30 years now. 

I can easily state that doing a multi-pass shave with the Henson AL13 provides the closest, cleanest shave I have ever had in my life. I have used almost every disposable or disposable head razor on the market. Several from Gillette, Schick, Wilkinson Sword, Bull Dog, and even Bic. I have tried almost a dozen electric shavers over the last 40 years, and with how thick and wiry my facial hair is they always felt like they were ripping the hair out. 

The Henson AL13 gives the cleanest closest shave of my life! It is also the most even shave of my life. I never realized how uneven the hair was cut using a multiblade razor. But I can feel the difference after every shave, and as getting ready to shave again even after 2, 3 and occasionally even 4 days. 

At the time I picked up this razor I was not sure it would work for me and did not pick up the stand. I wish I had. After using it for a few days and knowing how good it was I picked up a few accessories:

There are several options for both types of accessories. I like the Blade Bank I picked because it is a sealed container, and the whole thing goes in recycling when filled. The Cover I picked mainly because I liked the leather option over some other products.

My wife commented that the razor was heavy, but I had a special edition Mach 3 that was heavier and I actually preferred the heft. I also prefer a longer handle. But I have acclimatized to both initial concerns. 

I will state it again, the Henson AL13 provides the best shave I have ever received. It is as good as a straight razor shave; I have had occasionally at barber shops. It is a well crafter tool and I can see why they say it will last a lifetime. I can easily recommend this product, but highly recommend the video above before first use. I have been using this for over a month now and do not see myself ever going back. In fact, I have recommended we get one for when our son start shaving, and even that our 16 year old daughter give it a try. This razor provides the best shaves I have ever had, and I have been shaving for almost 40 years. I am thankful my wife suggested it and I encourage you to give it a try. And with the money back guarantee you have nothing to lose. 

Sunday 25 June 2023

Phoenix - Lori Janeski - Carter Files Book 1

The Carter Files Book 1
ISBN 9798365554344
eISBN 9798215427798

Phoenix - Lori Janeski - The Carter Files Book 1

I picked this up for three reasons. First author Declan Finn recommended it, and having read all of his books except one series currently out of print, I needed another read. Second I have been impressed by everything I have read from Tuscany Bay Books to date. And third the John Carter of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs were some of the first I read after I learned to compensate for my dual form of dyslexia. I loved the cover but did not read anything about the book specifically before beginning it. And it did not disappoint. The description of the book is:

“Humanity has colonized the solar system, but crime still doesn't pay. David Carter is one of the most decorated agents in the Interplanetary Police Forces, but for the last two years, he's turned reckless, throwing himself into his work—or into the path of a criminal's bolt pistol. As a specialist in deception analysis and interrogation, Veronique de Tournay has been right where she wants to be: a profiler in the major cases bureau, Division 7.

Unfortunately, the director has reassigned her to Special Agent Carter, and neither of them are happy about it. After they stop a devastating attack on Mars, meant to kill thousands and cripple interplanetary travel, Carter and de Tournay discover evidence of other subversive attacks in the system. With time running out, the reluctant partners may be the only ones standing in the way of a conspiracy that stretches all the way from Luna to the Saturn Space Station.”

If this volume had been written by Burroughs it would have been three separate stories. Even if it had been by Heinlien, Piers Anthony, Harry Harrrison and others I can think of both from classic Science fiction and modern writers it would have been spilt up into three separate volumes. The volume comes in at 560 pages for the eBook and 549 for the print editions. And it was an adrenalin rush from the first page. I could hardly put the book down, but a bust week at work and friends visiting from out of country forced me to savour this story slowly over time. And I am already itching for the next volume.

In some ways David Carter reminds me of Heninlin’s Lazarus Long, and in others Harry Harrison’s James Bolivar diGriz aka “Slippery Jim” and “The Stainless Steel Rat”. But it also brought to mind both Serenity and Firefly, there is definitely a space western and Mal feel about Carter’s character. His partner Veronique de Tournay is full of surprises. The characters in this story are amazing. The plot is excellent and runs at a breakneck pace nearly from beginning to end. You will find yourself cheering for Carter and de Tournay. The story is pack with great action, fantastic dialogue, tremendous suspense, and surprising plot twists. I appreciate greatly the name of Carter’s parent’s pub. And I love the fast talking Irish mom. This Irish Catholic Cop in space is masterfully executed.

The difference between this story and some of the classic sci-fi authors and books previously mentioned is world view. Janeski writes with a Christian or Catholic world view. And as such the story is much cleaner than many I read in my youth or that are available today. It is a volume I would not hesitate to give to my 15 year old son or even my 13 year old daughter. It is a much better story morally, and to be honest better written than much of what I read in my youth. In some ways this is space opera and in other police procedural or mystery novel. But no matter the category you put it in it is a fantastic read. Before I had even finished this book I looked to see what else Janeski had published, I already had the Planetary Anthology Luna but had not read it yet and also picked up the Freedom's Light: Short Stories anthology to tide me over until the next volume in this series releases. 

This is a book I can easily recommend and give my highest praise, for as soon as I finished it I put it back in my to be read pile to circle back and read it again. A great read for fans of science fiction, mysteries, crime procedurals or really anyone who just wants to sit down with a big book and enjoy a great story. C.S. Lewis once quipped that “No tea cup is big enough nor book long enough for me to be satisfied.” this one is close. Pick it up I am certain it will entertain!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!
For reviews of all books from Tuscany Bay click here.

Books by Lori Janeski:
The Carter Files:
02 Raven 

Contributed to:
Freedom's Light: Short Stories
Luna: Planetary Anthology
Space Marines III

Phoenix - Lori Janeski - The Carter Files Book 1

Luna: Planetary Anthology Edited Declan Finn

Freedom's Light: Short Stories Anthology