Book Review: Chasing Fate by Maria Miller

Book Review: Chasing Fate by Maria Miller

Chasing Fate, by Maria Miller is one those books that you just can’t stop reading. Both a mystery and an action adventure, Chasing Fate gave me an exciting read right from the first page. The lead heroine, Kate, is near the end of her senior year in high school, a typical teenager, who can’t wait to finish school. Why? He father, though wealthy and a well-respected businessman, is also an alcoholic, frequently terrorizing Kate and his wife. As the story begins, coming home drunk again, he ripped up Kate’s final term paper for her English class, a paper worth seventy percent of her grade. Kate has never told anyone about her home situation, claiming this time she didn’t write the paper. Her teacher gives her one last chance. Interview someone.

Wanting nothing to do with her father’s friends, she rebels and interviews a homeless bum in the park, there in New Orleans. Expecting nothing much from the man, she hears an incredible story. He was a Navy SEAL and a sniper, who has murdered many. However, on his last assignment, he stole a golden idol from a cave in the jungles of Ecuador, before shooting his partner, who was also supposed to shoot him. Now, the bum is remorseful, haunted by his memories, and wants to return the idol and receive forgiveness. Knowing that he cannot do it, he gives the idol to Kate, begging her to return it to its rightful owners.

Unsure how much of this tale is true, Kate takes a drawing of the idol to a local professor, who wants that idol at any cost! Worse, her English paper was discovered by a CIA official, who had ordered the SEALs to hit their last targets in Ecuador, in an attempt to cover up a secret covert operation of his. Now both men are after the idol and the CIA man wants her eliminated as well.

Kate’s onetime boyfriend, Jeff, rescues her just as two hit men are about to kidnap the unsuspecting teen. Mystified by this, Kate decides to return the idol to the bum in the park, but finds the bum missing and the park filled with men digging holes looking for something. Now, the situation turns deadly serious. Kate and Jeff flee their homes, intending to first get away from these men and later to try to return the idol themselves.

The two lead characters, Kate and Jeff, are well-developed and seem to me to be very real teens. In my opinion, the description of life with an alcoholic father is realistically portrayed and accurate, making the story seem very believable from the first pages.

The minimalist writing style combined with fast-paced action keeps the reader constantly moving through the pages! Although targeting YA, this novel is well worth reading by anyone who likes mystery and action-adventure. I give it 5 stars!


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My Review of the Puppeteer by Ian Miller

My review of the Puppeteer by Ian Miller.

Intense, riveting, thrilling, suspense — this novel is all those and one fascinating, complex mystery as well! Brilliantly conceived and superbly written, this novel will keep you guessing, figuring, wondering, and reading until the surprising ending. Ian combines tight action sequences with both suspense and an shroud of mystery.

The author’s book description is dead on: “When resource shortages, debt and terrorism threaten to bring anarchy to the world, one man sent on a mission to thwart hi-tech terrorism must find whoever is manipulating both terrorists and anti-terrorist forces to bring down governance. When he unravels the plot, his sense of honor is severely tested, but only unimpeachable honor can succeed.”

In my opinion, this is an understatement! When one looks at our own world situation today — with corrupt officials, with a global economy going bust propped up by newly printed money without any backing, with countries, states, and large cities spending far beyond their incomes, with greedy corporations looking only for profits, with barely one percent of the population holding nearly all the wealth and the rest struggling to get by, where the corporations and wealthy fund so many politicians, where global warming and dependency on fossil fuels never see workable, effective solutions — you can see how easily our world could become that in Ian’s novel. I was immediately stricken with just how his vision of a possible future could become our reality!

I began by saying this novel is a fascinating, complex mystery. It is that and more. I like a good mystery, but this one kept me contemplating guessing, and figuring chapter after chapter, as more clues were revealed — very well done! Careful, once you start reading this one, you are not going to want to stop until the end, so don’t start reading it at bedtime.

Ian’s writing is excellent. He’s found a perfect balance between action, suspense, mystery, and character development. I couldn’t help but notice that he’s from one of those “down under” countries, and I did have to look up a couple of words and learned that a “ute” is their word for a pick-up truck. While the action takes place in various countries around the world, a key location is the island group Les Îles Kerguelen, which I promptly had to look up on Google maps. So yes, I picked up a bit of geography as well as some unfamiliar words, all to the author’s credit, challenging me. Well done, Ian.

Ian left me with a heavy question to ponder: is this evil terrorist really a terrorist? The only criticism I have of the novel is its ending. I’m not sure that that outcome could really happen and that it would solve the societal problems, but that’s my opinion. What’s yours?

In short, I give Puppeteer, by Ian Miller a five-star rating and look forward to reading the sequels. He’s earned the rating!


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My Review of Saving Emma by Maria Miller

My review of Saving Emma by Maria Miller. Wow. What a story! I should begin by putting in a disclaimer. That is, if you believe the medical profession always knows best and never makes mistakes, that the FDA always has your best interests at heart, that the courts rapidly respond to inequities, that the newspapers and TV news reporters always deliver fair and accurate accounts of any story, then please don’t read Saving Emma, for you will be terribly upset. Seriously, I found this novel both refreshing and inspirational, and I was extremely impressed that someone would actually “tell it like it really is.”

The story line is precisely stated by the author in her “Book Description.” Young couple in love (Luke and Emma) get married after graduating from high school. He works hard to build up a business to support his family, but she get a nasty cancer and accepts traditional treatment, which doesn’t work. Luke discovers a different, unconventional treatment that has been proven to work, but finds it next to impossible to get Emma this treatment.

The battle to save Emma’s life is incredibly realistic on so many different levels. The medical profession often frowns on “alternative medicine,” sometimes quite harshly. The FDA and the major drug companies have a monopoly on dictating just what is “legal” to use. Just try to get your medical insurance to cover “alternative” medical procedures and drugs. (Did you know that it is against the law in our country to cure someone of an illness unless you are a registered doctor? Look that one up.)

My own father developed a form of cancer and sought “standard medical” treatment. At least he survived it, but had a very rough go. A friend of mine also developed the same form, but he sought “alternative treatments” and got his cured with no ill side effects, no radiation pellets in his body and so on. Thus, I found this novel hitting very close to home.

It is action-packed. I started reading and simply could not put it down until the end came! As the author presented the horrible situation that developed at the hospital and with the medical personnel, I found myself amazed that someone had the audacity to represent it so believably and realistically. But as I read on and saw how brilliantly the author handled the “press” and public opinion and reaction to Emma’s situation, I found myself cheering, “Exactly right!” The author has nailed this one down with a spike! I’m pleased that someone else knows the truth about the press and its treatment of truth and isn’t afraid to say so.

Enter the legal profession, as Luke frantically tries all avenues to save Emma’s life. Even this arena of our society is totally believable and realistically presented, no holds barred. I kept saying, “Come on, come on. You gotta save her.” The end of the novel came all too quickly for me.

Emotional? Saving Emma is that! But expect to have many different emotions stirred in you. I certainly did. Action? Absolutely. How can you not root for Luke to save Emma? (Me, well, I might have tried more “illegal” methods to save her.) Shocking? Yes, particularly if you believe what you hear on the news casts. Fast-paced? While there is one slow paced section, over all, it is quite fast-paced, particularly once Luke learns the truth about what’s happening to his wife. Disturbing? You bet it is disturbing and yet all too common in our society. The author certainly gives you something to think about, to ponder, and I believe that she wants you to take a look at our society and see if some of this might not be factual, although the story is fantasy.

I’m not an English teacher but I’d day that her writing style is rather simple and plain, easy to read.

I give Saving Emma a five-star rating. Thankfully, the author has the sequel to Saving Emma coming soon. I’m more than ready to read that one.

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