Salem’s Cipher | Thursday Reads

“Salem’s Cipher” by Jess Lourey

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I recently finished reading Salem’s Cipher and it was SOOOO good. And I’m not just saying that because Jess Lourey is one of my favorite authors and everything Jess writes is pretty much gold to me. This one took me awhile to finish, I started in December and just finished last week. Now, that isn’t to say that this book was hard to read or hard to get into, that is simply not the case, I just don’t have as much free time to read as I had couple years back, and I wanted to take my time with this one.

This book is such a thrilling game of cat and mouse full of history (think Da Vinci Code or National Treasure) and even some self-discovery and overcoming your fears.

The blurb:

A troubled codebreaker faces an epic plot reaching back through centuries of America’s secret history

Salem Wiley is a genius cryptanalyst, courted by the world’s top security agencies ever since making a breakthrough discovery in her field of quantum computing. She’s also an agoraphobe, shackled to a narrow routine by her fear of public places. When her mother’s disappearance is linked to a plot to assassinate the country’s first viable female presidential candidate, Salem finds herself both target and detective in a modern-day witch hunt. Drawn into a labyrinth of messages encrypted by Emily Dickinson and centuries-old codes tucked inside the Beale Cipher, Salem begins to uncover the truth: an ancient and ruthless group is hell-bent on ruling the world, and only a select group of women stands in its way.

I HIGHLY recommend Salem’s Cipher to anyone who likes mysteries, action-packed thrillers, or just books, period!

Purchase Salem’s Cipher on Amazon here

Connect with Jess on her Website, Twitter, and Facebook


Pandora’s Grave | Thursday Reads

“Pandora’s Grave” by Stephen England

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The blurb:

An American president who will do anything to win reelection. . .An Iranian leader who will stop at nothing to bring about apocalypse. . .An ancient evil, only waiting to be reborn. . .

High in the Alborz Mountains of northwestern Iran, an archaeological team disappears. American citizens are among the missing. . .

Days later, imagery from U.S. spy satellites reveals detachments of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps descending upon the site. . .

With the presidential election only months away, President Roger Hancock authorizes a covert CIA mission into the mountains of Iran. Their objective: rescue the archaeologists and uncover the truth.

With fifteen years in the Clandestine Service, paramilitary operations officer Harry Nichols is unquestionably the man for the job. He’s a tough, ruthless veteran operator. He’s led his men into harm’s way time and again. For him, it’s all about the mission. It’s all about the team.

He’s never seen anything like this before. . .

Drawn into a web of conspiracy that reaches half-way around the world and into the highest levels of the U.S. government, he soon finds that nothing is as it seems.

The mission itself is suspect. His team can no longer be trusted.  And a misstep means world war. . .

I met Stephen many years back when I started running the VFF twitter. “Pandora’s Grave” is the first of the Shadow Warriors series and where we meet Harry Nichols. It’s a thrilling ride and I highly recommend it.

And lucky for you, there are 2 more novels in the Shadow Warriors series, “Day of Reckoning” and the newly released “Embrace the Fire”!!!

Purchase “Pandora’s Grave” on Amazon or pick up a signed copy on Stephen’s website

Connect with Stephen on his website, on Twitter, and on Facebook

The Martian | Thursday Reads

“The Martian” by Andy Weir

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Space and space travel intrigues me. So a book about traveling to Mars is right up my alley. An astronaut being stranded on the red planet is scary. Much of the book is written in log entry form from Watney and what he does to help ensure his survival.

The blurb:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. 

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. 

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. 

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

This book way soooo good! I can’t wait to see the movie (I hope it lives up to the book).

Purchase “The Martian” on Amazon here

One Rough Man | Thursday Reads

“One Rough Man” by Brad Taylor

One Rough Man

My friend Ryan over at The Real Book Spy asked me to do a Throwback Thursday Review for his website, in which I gladly accepted. My choice was Brad Taylor’s “One Rough Man” and it actually took me quite some time to do since I wanted to do it in the format than Ryan uses and not just copy and paste the book’s blurb. Like I’ve said before, I’m not big on writing reviews because the words that I want to express don’t come to me. I gave it a whirl. And it came out pretty good. I sure hope it did the book justice because it is a fantastic thriller!

If you’d like to, you can check out my Throwback Thursday Review here

“One Rough Man” is the first in the Pike Logan series. And of course it is one of my favorites (the first ones always tend to be). I love Pike Logan, but I just might love Jennifer Cahill more. Even though she isn’t in Pike’s league, she proves that she can hold her own. Another reason for the love of this book, there’s a little archaeology happening (hello Indiana Jones – well, not really, but it’s fun). If you are a Flynn/Thor fan, and haven’t read Taylor yet, you need to!! And he’s not only a great author, he’s a really great person 🙂

The blurb:

They call it the Taskforce. Their existence is as essential as it is illegal. Commissioned at the highest level of the U.S. government. Protected from the prying eyes of Congress and the media. Built around the top operators from across the clandestine, intelligence, and special forces landscape. Designed to operate outside the bounds of U.S. law. Trained to exist on the ragged edge of human capability.

Pike Logan was the most successful operator on the Taskforce, his instincts and talents unrivaled-until personal tragedy permanently altered his outlook on the world. Pike knows what the rest of the country might not want to admit: The real threat isn’t from any nation, any government, any terrorist group. The real threat is one or two men, controlled by ideology, operating independently, in possession of a powerful weapon.

Buried in a stack of intercepted chatter is evidence of two such men. The transcripts are scheduled for analysis in three months. The attack is mere days away. It is their bad luck that they’re about to cross paths with Pike Logan. And Pike Logan has nothing left to lose.

Purchase “One Rough Man” on Amazon here

Check out Brad’s website here
Follow Brad on Twitter here
Like Brad on Facebook here

Check out The Real Book Spy here
Follow The Real Book Spy on Twitter here
Follow Ryan “The Rappologist” on Twitter here

I Am Pilgrim | Thursday Reads

“I Am Pilgrim” by Terry Hayes


I believe that I have mentioned this book in my blog in the past, but since I recently started Thursday Reads, I knew I had to share this one. This book came out back on May 27, 2014. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this and got the chance to read it earlier than that. And it blew me away. This one is on my To Be Re-Read pile.

Despite it being 700 pages, it is a quick read. I had troubles putting it down. And when I wasn’t reading, I was constantly thinking about it. And there were many times were I found myself rooting for the bad guy (seriously!).

The blurb:

A breakneck race against time…and an implacable enemy.

An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid. 

A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square. 

A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard. 

Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan. 

A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity. 

One path links them all, and only one man can make the journey.


Many events interweave in this ultimate game of cat and mouse, in which one man, Pilgrim, needs to solve in order to save the United States.

This is THE book!

Order “I Am Pilgrim” on Amazon here

Term Limits | Thursday Reads

“Term Limits” by Vince Flynn

TermLimits3(L) Cloak & Dagger Press     (M) Pocket Books     (R) Atria Books

Vince originally self-published this novel because he received rejection letter after rejection letter after rejection letter for it. The book did well and the success of his self-publishing landed him with Simon & Schuster, which would be his home for his entire career.

This book is among the top of my all-time favorite books and is my favorite Vince Flynn novel. I was introduced to the world of Vince Flynn and Mitch Rapp around the time that “American Assassin” came out. (It is a weird situation for me, because I was a fan, even though I hadn’t read any of his novels. I went to one of his signings and the rest is history.) I picked up “Term Limits” and read it and was blown away! Even though Rapp ins’t in this one, it is in the Rapp Universe. I quickly made my way through the series before Kill Shot came out the following year. Since then, TL is my favorite VF book hands down. It could partly be because it was the first book I read by him (which tends to be how things go for me). But, it’s #1.

Prior to this, I had never read any political thriller. My world consisted of YA, the “Murder, She Wrote series,” and popular titles at the time. It totally flipped my world upside down and I have found a love for other political thriller authors (Brad Thor & Brad Taylor, and many others). (Running @VinceFlynnFans on twitter has helped with this due to recommendations by fellow assets)

The blurb:

In one bloody night, three of Washington’s most powerful politicians are executed with surgical precision. Their assassins then deliver a shocking ultimatum to the American government: set aside partisan politics and restore power to the people. No one, they warn, is out of their reach—not even the president. A joint FBI-CIA task force reveals the killers are elite military commandos, but no one knows exactly who they are or when they will strike next. Only Michael O’Rourke, a former US Marine and freshman congressman, holds a clue to the violence: a haunting incident in his own past with explosive implications for his country’s future…

Even though this book came out in 1997, it is still very relevant to today’s world. It’s sometimes hard to just categorize Flynn’s books as fiction, they are more like faction (a mix of ‘fact and fiction’).

I highly recommend any Vince Flynn book. And while Vince is no longer with us, Kyle Mills has currently taken over the series, making it his own, but staying very true to VF and his characters.

Order “Term Limits” on Amazon here

Visit the official Vince Flynn website here
Like on Facebook here

Visit Kyle Mills’ website here
Follow Kyle on Twitter here

The Immortalists | Thursday Reads

“The Immortalists” by Kyle Mills

I actually just finished this book today! And it is good, oh so good.

The blurb:

Dr. Richard Draman is trying desperately to discover a cure for a disease that causes children to age at a wildly accelerated rate—a rare genetic condition that is killing his own daughter. When the husband of a colleague quietly gives him a copy of the classified work she was doing before her mysterious suicide, Draman finally sees a glimmer of hope. The conclusions are stunning, with the potential to not only turn the field of biology on its head, but reshape the world. Soon, though, he finds himself on the run, relentlessly pursued by a seemingly omnipotent group of men who will do whatever it takes to silence him.

This is a fast paced game of cat and mouse and a race against time, Dr. Draman trying to save his daughter, and “The Immortalists” trying to keep their secret safe. The odds are definitely stacked against Richard and his wife Carly who find themselves on the run with not a lot of money or support against this group of men who have unlimited resources due to the millions and billions of dollars and power they hold. Luck may have changed for the Dramans as they align themselves with another powerhouse and billions of his own, but this relationship could be one-sided.

Order “The Immmortalists” on Amazon here

Check out Kyle’s website here
Connect with Kyle on Twitter
Connect with fellow fans on the Kyle Mills Fans Facebook Group

The Catalain Book of Secrets | Thursday Reads

“The Catalain Book of Secrets” by Jessica Lourey

Jessie became one of my favorite authors since I discovered her Murder-by-Month series (which you can find on Amazon here) (she is under Jess for this series). CBS is a novel she started back in 2002, but it was then set aside, until 10 years later she rediscovered it, and finally finished it in 2012. It had been rejected by traditional publishers. Jessie decided to start a Kickstarter project for self-publishing it. I am proud to say I was her first donor! Well, the campaign was successful and on December 12, 2014 it was published. And take a look at this cover! It’s is one of my favorites. Top 3 for sure!

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Ok, so what is CBS about? Well, let me tell you! It’s a tale of a family of strong women, a family curse, and magic. If you are a fan of Practical Magic or The Craft, you will love this book.

The Catalain’s live in the little town of Faith Falls in Minnesota. The family home is the impressive Queen Anne mansion. Ursula Catalain is the current keeper of the Book of Secrets. Soon, the ghost of a man she murdered when she was 12 appears at her door in a new form.During this time, Ursula’s daughters Jasmine and Katrine are pulled back home. The Catalain women [Ursula, Xenia & Helena (her sisters), Velda (her mother), Jasmine, Katrine, and Tara (Jasmine’s daughter)] must band together to save Ursula and Jasmine from the dark family curse. Oh, and the town gets visited from snakes every few decades.

And while you in Faith Falls, be sure to stop by the bead shop, Stacy’s Beads, and visit with a friendly and familiar face 🙂

Jessie also wrote  companion novella called “Seven Daughters”. The blurb: Every one of Helena Catalain’s handmade candies carries magic, and that’s a problem for Meredith Gottfridsen. Awakening the 100-year-old feud between her family and the Catalains, Meredith forces peaceful Helena to fight to keep Seven Daughters, her famous candy store, and the beautiful Queen Anne mansion she calls home. When a massive ball of snakes overtakes the town, bringing with it knowledge and fear, Helena realizes the stakes are even higher than she imagined. Brimming with humor and heartbreak, hope and magic, this novella takes readers deeper into the world of the Catalains and Faith Falls, the snug Minnesota town that houses them.

Order “The Catalain Book of Secrets” on Amazon here
Order “Seven Daughters” Novella on Amazon here

Visit Jessie’s website here (P.S. I LOVE her website!!!)
Find her on Facebook here
Follow her on Twitter here

The Fate of Mercy Alban | Thursday Reads

“The Fate of Mercy Alban” by Wendy Webb

Grace Alban, along with her daughter, returns to her childhood home, which she has avoided for 20 years, due to her mother’s death. Long-buried family secrets return to the surface including old love letters and a lost manuscript that could lead to solving the mystery that surrounds a decades-old scandalous party.

So this one doesn’t involve a haunted house, but it involves a house with secret passageways. What fun! I’ve always wanted to live in a house that had a secret room.

If you haven’t read Wendy Webb yet, you should definitely pick up one of her books. I love her writing style and I have fallen in love with the stories and characters in each of her books. And they have surprise twists at the end. Her books are quick reads too. I averaged 2-3 days for each.

Purchase “The Fate of Mercy Alban” on Amazon here

Visit Wendy’s website here
Follow Wendy on Twitter here
Like Wendy on Facebook here

Check out my Thursday Reads for “The Vanishing” here
Check out my Thursday Reads for “The Tale of Halcyon Crane” here

The Tale of Halcyon Crane | Thursday Reads

“The Tale of Halcyon Crane” by Wendy Webb

So after reading Wendy Webb’s “The Vanishing” I fell in love with her writing style and purchased her other books: “The Tale of Halcyon Crane” & “The Fate of Mercy Alban”.

In “The Tale of Halcyon Crane” Hallie (Halcyon) James receives a letter notifying that her supposedly deceased mother, Madlyn, just passed away. Then her father, who has been battling Alzheimer’s passes away. So, she heads to a remote island in the middle of the Great Lakes where she realizes her family’s dark secrets and the history of the strange community of the island.

I loved this. And once again, it includes a haunter house, on a creepy remote island, with some strange characters. What’s not to love about it???

Purchase “The Tale of Halcyon Crane” on Amazon here

Visit Wendy’s website here
Follow Wendy on Twitter here
Like Wendy on Facebook here

Check out my Thursday Reads for “The Vanishing” here