Archive for November 16th, 2017

Puzzle Box, Volume 1


Puzzle Box, Volume 1 by Peter and Serhiy Garbarchuk

Multiplying my age by 6 then subtracting 6 produces the same result as subtracting 7 from my age then multiplying by 7. How old am I?

On my broken calculator with keys + – ÷ x =, the only functional number is 7. How can I get 34 to appear in the readout?

A country mints four denominations of coins, in whole numbers of cents. It takes four of these coins to make 21¢, or 24¢, or 25¢, or 26¢. What are the denominations of the coins?

These and almost 300 other mathematical puzzles appear in this original collection, devised by world-renowned mathematicians, puzzle creators, and devoted puzzle lovers. A unique puzzle project, it unites the efforts of a dozen authors, including software engineer Andrea Gilbert and Bram Cohen, author of the P2P BitTorrent protocol.

Seventeen different types of challenges include 3-D puzzles, chess puzzles, connections, dissections, foldings, geometrical puzzles, logic problems, matchstick puzzles, mazes, moving pieces, number puzzles, put-togethers, strimko, sudoku, visual puzzles, weightings, and word puzzles. The difficulty level of each puzzle is marked by stars, ranging from 2 to 5. Average difficulty level is about 3 stars, promising puzzle enthusiasts many entrancing hours of solving and enjoyment.

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My Review

5 stars

I am familiar with the Garbarchuk puzzles and absolutely love them. I have reviewed them in the past and when I was asked to review this book I jumped at the chance. Of course this book is filled with amazing puzzles that will appeal to everyone. There are 300 puzzles that will keep anyone entertained for quite a while.

I love how you might find a puzzle you zip through and answer within seconds yet another that seems simple can stump you for hours. I find that there some logic puzzles that I’m not really a fan of but I still find myself working them through, usually not successfully, yet still I plug away because I find myself drawn to them.

If you like puzzles you need to check out this book and others from the Garbarchuk’s. These are serious puzzle people.

I received Puzzle Box, Volume 1 from the author for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Fire War Trilogy

Fiction/Political/Science Fiction/Dystopian

Book 1: Fire War, published 10/3/2015
Book 2: Fire War II: Treason, published 3/31/2016
Book 3: Fire War III: Uprising, published 9/17/2016
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Fire War Book 1
“Man up,” he told himself. “Man up.” It was what his father always told him, and there was nothing more that he wanted than to be a man. So he took a deep breath, filling his nose with the scents of baseball and looked up to the sky, squinting a little.
It was a plane, not far from the blimp he noticed earlier; that was all. Nothing to be afraid of. A tiny sigh of relief escaped his lips as he saw the familiar shape outlined over his head, wings spread out against the sky.
It was the last thing he saw before the explosion ripped his small body apart with the force of a hundred suns. The quiet of thousands of lives extinguished in the blink of a second took over, disturbed only by falling rubble. The sun beat down again, hot and sticky, on what remained of Tom, his father, and all the others who had been unfortunate enough to be at Wrigley Field for the biggest game of the season.”
Late in the 21st century, the United Continental States of America is running smoothly.
Unemployment has been eradicated, terrorism is no more, and any internal dissent diminishes by the day. Most give credit to President Meyers, and many can no longer remember the last election, but it is a small price to pay to keep the country safe from the terrorist group Hariq Jihad.
Things aren’t as they seem, however, as Gunnery Sergeant Anthony Jackson is conscripted into the personal security detail of President Meyers. While the only thing he places above his country is his family, he begins to feel that not everyone is content with how things are. Even more, he begins to fear for his oldest daughter’s life as she begins to question the eroding personal freedoms and democratic rights. Considering that entire families have disappeared over the slightest infraction, one cannot be too careful.
Torn between liberty and safety, family and country, can Jackson balance his loyalties, or will he be lead to an explosive collision with the system he has dedicated his life to serving? In this explosive and highly acclaimed dystopian political thriller novel, the world you live in will never look the same again!
My Review
5 stars

Fifty or so years in the future, an act of terrorism has united the United States, Canada, and Mexico into the United Continental States of America (UCSA). Then the assassination of the Mexican president has put President Meyers in control of the UCSA. While in control, over the next several years, he has implemented several restrictions on freedoms and rights. But citizens seem to have accepted these restrictions if that means that they will stay safe from the terrorist group Harig Jihad, or Fire War.

We follow Gunnery Sergeant Anthony Jackson as he is teaching his sniper skills to others in the military, taking a hard shot, then becoming an aid for President Meyers. We follow along as his marriage falls and the relationship with his daughters is strained. But then his oldest daughter Maya starts asking about those freedoms and rights that have been taken away from them. It gets him thinking and then he realizes that Maya is starting to make herself a target for those that want to keep this information quiet. What is Jackson going to do when it comes to keeping his family or his president safe?

This book is full of dark possibilities. This is the story of a series of events that take our world today into a dictatorship all in the name of safety from terrorists. This is a great story of how easy it is to change people’s minds using fear. It happens all the time around us every day. Then using that fear start imposing restrictions in the name of safety. Then finally, if anyone brings up how much has been taken away or questions these actions, just have those few disappear. You wouldn’t want a couple of rotten apples ruining the whole bunch.

It is the perfect recipe for disaster. But the part that got to me was how blindly Jackson went along with everything. Even after he got thinking and heard the truth at the end. Argh!!! This is a great story, very frustrating, but well written.

This is a scary good story and one that I strongly recommend checking out. I can’t wait to get my hands on Fire War II: Treason.

Fire War II: Treason
Anthony Jackson, military veteran, member of the Presidential security team, father, husband, patriot and spy. His daughter safely recovered from a government detention centre, Jackson’s role as a spy for the anti government Apocolyte group is firmly cemented. All he needs to do is keep his head down, do his job, and get intel back to his rebel handler. But as Jackson’s suspicions about President Meyers are proven true, and the tasks he’s asked to handle become more and more immoral, his loyalties are becoming strained.
Where is the line between truth and lie? Between loyal citizen and blind follower? Between right and wrong? And who gets to draw that line? The Apocolytes are growing stronger, but Meyers is too, and only one of them can be the bad guy. But which? Jackson needs to choose sides, and he needs to do it fast. But in the end only the biggest tragedy of them all can force his hand.
His life will never be the same, his family will never survive, and his ideals can be shattered or overturned. Assassinations are all part of the job, he’s always dealt in lies and secrets. But now there’s something much more personal on the line: vengeance. Saving the world from terrorists is no big deal, knowing who the terrorists are is the real trick.

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My Review

5 stars

Anthony Jackson works on President Meyer’s security team. But the increasingly shady jobs that he does has him questioning his president. He also finds himself spying for the Apocolyte group, an anti-government group that is working on taking President Meyer out. He just does his normal job and relays information to the Apocolyte group. Jackson sees both sides to this battle and can tell that things are going to get worse. But which side does he help and how does he keep those he cares for safe at the same time?

This books has a lot more action than the first book. There are twists and turns that will keep you guessing. I did feel for Jackson. He knows that the president is a monster and his actions just keep reinforcing that opinion. But how much better are the Apocolyte’s? Both sides are gaining power and are gearing up for a large battle. But who could really know which side to take. Not everyone is completely good and not everyone is completely bad.

If that was not hard enough of a decision, Jackson’s family is involved. He learns the hard way that he cannot keep his family safe. But he has to be careful, acting out of emotion is not the way to go into this political nest of vipers.

I really enjoyed Fire War II: Treason. It’s a great story with lots of action that will have you rushing to see what is going to happen next.

Fire War III: Uprising
Anthony Jackson. Patriot. Spy. Widower. Still reeling after the death of his wife, Jackson is numbly training antigovernment troops. Confident that his role in political affairs has dwindled to being a glorified shooting teacher, Jackson is slowly trying to piece his heart back together. Until the call comes. The rebels are far from done with Jackson, and this time the promised reward is big and juicy: the Presidency.
As the world slowly falls apart, men fight and men die, and Anthony Jackson cannot simply watch. Something has to change, and someone has to change things, and deep down, Jackson knows that he’s the only man that can do the job. But as cities fall, the eternal question continues to burn in his mind: just who can he really trust?
In a world of lies and secrets, where even the ones you love can betray you, Jackson must find right and justice. Only then can he lead the country that he loves. If he survives that long.
My Review
5 stars

After everything Anthony Jackson has gone through, he just wants to train the rebel soldiers. He lost his wife and his world has been turned on end. But the rebels are not done with him yet. They need him again, the men that he has been training need a leader, and what better leaders than Jackson? Jackson doesn’t want to get into this fight again. He has already lost so much. But he also knows that this world is ending in one way or another. Something needs to be done and he is the best person for the job.

I have rushed through this series to see how everything was going to wrap up. Jackson is just broken after the death of his wife. But he knows that he has to step up if he is going to stop the president for good. But he still has doubts. The president has proven how evil he really is. But are the Rebels any better. Many people have joined them but do they really know the cost they will have to pay to end this nightmare?

I loved this series. It is well written and with today’s political events I can see it as a possible future. Where do you draw the line? When is it time to stand up? What are you willing to give up? Is it better to go along with the masses or stand up alone?

I see that you can buy the box set on Audible here. I see that a lot of people enjoyed Patrick Freeman’s narration. This is an amazing story and one that I strongly recommend checking out. This is one series that you need to add to your library.

About the Author

Perhaps you wouldn’t characterize the Finance Manager of your local automobile dealership as an Amazon best-selling author—until you get to know T.T. Michael. He has worked for the past decade at a Toyota Dealership in Illinois, but he is in the driver’s seat as the writer of, Fire War, a political thriller set in the year 2076. See what happens when the United States, Canada, and Mexico all join forces to make one super country. See more about him and his book Fire War at www.ttmichael.com
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Something Down There
Nancy Widrew
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Azure Spider Publications
Publication Date: November 15, 2017
Not all caves are uninhabited
Horror erupts when newlyweds, Karen and Jeremy, cross paths with members of a diabolical cult inside a West Virginia cave. Living below the earth’s surface has triggered mutations, rendering the cult members nearly infertile. Their leader, a wild-eyed, cunning brute, refuses to let the couple leave, believing they and their potential offspring hold the key to surviving underground. Are Karen and Jeremy doomed to spend their lives inside this sunless, subterranean wasteland, or do they escape before their minds shatter and their bodies betray them?
– [Name], Goodreads Reviewer

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Available now $3.99 only. Grab your copy today.

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Book Excerpt

Take an inside look on Something Down There with this thrilling excerpt.
Reaching into his pants pocket, he drew out a small leather case attached to a silver chain and dangled it before her eyes.
Karen grabbed it from his hand and looked it over as if she needed to make certain it was real. “I know I took the damned keys from the car,” she said. All the same, she felt a moment of relief at having a new set in her possession. That relief, however, ended in a flash.
With a powerful leap to a ledge above, Rahm crossed his arms over his chest like a dictator about to make a pronouncement. “They won’t do you any good,” he bellowed.
Jeremy swallowed hard, raising a hand to his throat. “W-what do you mean?” he said, reaching out for something to grab onto. Finding nothing, he spread his legs wide, feet flat on the floor, trying to maintain his balance.
Rahm, aware of the significance of this moment and wanting to ensure that it remained stamped in everyone’s mind, stood tall, chin out. “While you were sleeping last night, I climbed out and drove your car off a bridge. You will not be allowed to leave.”
Karen’s hands flew to her face. She began to cry and dropped to one knee. Protectively, Jeremy rushed to her side, encircled her in his arms, and pulled her close. He glared at this insane man, his new enemy, standing above. With hate etched in the dark hollows of his cheeks and in the lines of his furrowed brow, he said, “What do you mean? Why can’t we leave? You won’t get away with this!”
Rahm, a leader of few but a leader nonetheless, addressed his flock, gathering with solemnity about the pair, now unofficial members of the tribe, even if against their will. All eyes riveted up.
“You can’t leave because we need you. That is, we need your baby—the baby you will have, sooner or later. And yes, we will get away with it. You see, the harnesses are gone, and we dismantled the machinery that lowered you down. You will never be able to find your way out. Don’t even try. It would be suicidal.”
Karen stared at her husband, her jaw dropping in disbelief, as the horror of her predicament bore down with jackhammer force into her brain. Unless she and Jeremy were guided out, they were snared, trapped, condemned, damned. Without the candles, lanterns, or torches they couldn’t see the tips of their fingers, and even with their carbide lamps they wouldn’t know the way through this puzzling maze with its unknown levels and intricate network.
Jeremy’s nails dug into his wife’s shoulders. “Dear God,” he wailed. “We’re doomed, and it’s all my fault. Forgive me, Karen. Please!”
She looked at him blankly, then blinked, her breath coming in staccato bursts, piercing her lungs like wounds from a knife. She began to run blindly, crying, “Let me die! Let me die!”


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* Available for US Residents Only
Contest runs from November 1 – December 2, 2017.
Additional Giveaway
Join the Goodreads Giveaway and win a print copy of Something Down There (US Residents only).
Contest runs from September 19 – November 15. Click here to enter.

About Nancy Widrew

Nancy Widrew

Nancy Widrew was born and raised in NYC before settling in New England with her husband. She has two grown children and two four-legged furry ones, always a source of amusement. She has had short stories published in webzines and a print anthology. This is her first novel.
Follow Nancy Widrew on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nancywidrew

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