Tag: 3.5 stars

Release Day Review: 13 Billion to One: A Memoir by Randy Rush

13 Billion to One: Winning the $50 Million Lottery Has Its Price
Author: Randy Rush

Published:  Today, June 24, 2020
290 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
Dates Read: June 11-21, 2020

Book Description:

As a welfare kid who grew up in the streets, Randy Rush had to fight for everything he got and knew what it was like to struggle. So, when he was suddenly handed $50 million in tax free money, he vowed to use his new-found wealth to help others. But what he didn’t see coming was Jeremy Crawford.

In his gripping, adrenaline-packed memoir, Rush takes readers on his rocket-fueled journey after a trip to the corner grocer to buy food for his beloved cat, Conway Kitty, leads to the discovery that he has won Canada’s $50 million Lotto Max jackpot.

Soaring on a seemingly endless endorphin high, Rush spends the months following his win traveling, feeding his passion for rare sports cars, considering charitable causes, and splurging on friends — paying off their debts and even giving them a free place to stay in million-dollar homes. But his world comes crashing down when he discovers that Dave Crawford, a man he loved like an older brother and had generously provided for, has served him up to his con artist son, Jeremy — who scams Rush out of nearly $5 million.

Reeling from Dave’s betrayal and fueled by the discovery that the Crawfords are serial con artists who have devastated the lives of more than a hundred others, Rush embarks on a mission to take his adversaries down. But as his quest for justice drags on, his festering rage reaches a boiling point and he is faced with a choice: Let the Crawford’s cons destroy him, or re-focus his attention on doing good in the world and enjoying the enormous gift he has been given.

Jessica’s Review:

A bit of a ‘rags to riches’ story that takes a turn, 13 Billion to One is also a cautionary tale. Yes, we all occasionally buy that lottery ticket and fantasize what it would be like to win. But then we never actually win…. But what happens if you actually DO win?  That was why I wanted to pick up this memoir.  Winning the lottery is not all it is cracked up to be. 

Some of Rush’s circumstances were of his own fault.  He first wanted to not do any investments for a full year after winning. If he had stayed with his first thoughts, he would not have found himself in his circumstances.  He also came off a bit naïve and over the top with some of his early purchases and helping out of his ‘friends’.  So many people came off to him expecting multiple handouts. I get it, you want to help your friends out, but multiple times?  No, that’s taking advantage of his situation and possibly losing your friendship.

I never lost interest in reading this memoir. It was very easy to read, even when it came to the legal issues, and Rush tells us his story first hand.  Despite wanting to try and help Rush learn to say ‘no’ to people and pay attention to the many red herrings that showed up which he ignored, I had little empathy for him.  I did like how he shows us how he did end up using his money for the good of others in another country. 

A very cautionary tale that shows that the love/greed of money is truly evil and how winning the lottery is really not all you might think it may be.

Many thanks to the publisher Rantanna Media for granting me an e-arc to read and review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Sunday Series Review: Star Trek: The Mirror Universe Trilogy

Today Kim brings you a Sunday Series Review of Star Trek: The Mirror Universe Trilogy by William Shatner.

Books in the Series:
Spectre

Dark Victory
Preserver


Spectre
Published: April 1, 1999
384 Pages

Retired and happily married, Kirk believes his adventuring days are over. But as he returns to Earth for the first time since his apparent death upon the Enterprise-B, events elsewhere in the galaxy set in motion a mystery that may provide Kirk with his greatest challenge yet.

Dark Victory
Published: April 1, 2000
303 Pages

James T. Kirk returns to the mirror universe that was first seen in the original televised Star Trek, to engage in a battle with the cleverest and most dangerous foe he has ever encountered, his mirror universe duplicate.

Preserver
Published: April 1, 2001
420 Pages

In the Mirror Universe the tyrannical Emperor Tiberius, once captain of the ISS Enterprise, had great success turning captured alien weaponry to his advantage. Until, that is, his failure to seize the tantalising advances of the ancient First Federation. Now, in the more peaceful universe of the United Federation of Planets, Tiberius sees his second chance. And a new ally will help him take it – his alter ego for whom he has nothing but contempt – Starfleet Captain James T. Kirk. Honorable, idealistic and decent, James T. Kirk is many things Tiberius is not. But he is also a man deeply in love with his wife – and Teilani is dying. To save her life, Kirk is prepared to compromise his ideals and enter into his most dangerous alliance yet.

Battling Captain Jean-Luc Picard and a new generation of Starfleet heroes, Kirk must guide Tiberius to a long-abandoned First Federation base which conceals a power so great it will enable Tiberius to conquer the mirror universe – and his own. But on that journey Kirk uncovers long-hidden secrets that raise the stakes far beyond the mere survival of family and friends. At the heart of their quest, something else is waiting: an object from a civilisation whose technology is far more advanced than any Kirk or Tiberius could hope to acquire, placed there for Kirk’s eyes only by mysterious aliens who appear to have influenced life within the galaxy over eons of time – a message from the Preservers…


Kim’s Rating of the Series: 3.5 stars

Kim’s Thoughts on the The Mirror Universe Trilogy:

I did write a separate review for Book 1, Spectre. This review is for the series as a whole. I won’t rehash what I’ve already said, I love Spectre so much. I was so excited to continue on with the series. My review for Spectre is here.

Unfortunately, Books 2 and 3 do not live up to the awesomeness of Book 1. I felt like we switched from Shatner to his ghost writers. Book 2, Dark Victory, felt like nothing more than a placeholder. It existed just to give details so we would get what was happening in Book 3. Teilani turned into a completely different person and Kirk went from maverick to unhinged. I was also completely out of my league with the science. Normally, I can keep up in Star Trek. I get the basics and pick up things as I go. I know that a cloaked vessel emits tachyon particles and that’s the best way to detect it … but I can’t really tell you why it does or what tachyon particles are. Dark Victory went to a more advanced level that I knew I’d never be able to reach. It felt like a struggle just to understand what was going on half the time.

Book 3, Preserver, got better, but I was still disappointed. The story line that was developing in Spectre was what I wanted to read. But by the end of Preserver, we were in a completely different quadrant and I’m still not sure how we got there. Preserver dealt more with history than with science so I felt a little better on my own turf, but I really didn’t like how it made me question literally everything I had seen and learned from Star Trek up to that point. And the ending just felt incomplete, like Kirk lost who he was along the way.

Overall, I was just dissatisfied. I wanted to enjoy it, and I did enjoy parts, but Shatner let me down and I mourn what this series could have been!!

[Top]

Blog Tour: 30 Days in June by Chris Westlake

Today I am sharing my review as a part of the blog tour for 30 Days in June by Chris Westlake.  This is a crime thriller that has a serial killer!

Book Description:

On the 1st day of June 1988, the residents of south Wales were thrown into a state of panic when a married couple were brutally murdered in their own home. The killer, nicknamed Spartacus by the media, did not flee the scene immediately; instead, he stayed to carve Roman Numerals onto his victims’ chests.

This was the beginning of a month-long killing spree, each murder taking a step closer to home.

Seventeen-year-old Jeffrey Allen was to be the final victim, on the final day of the month. Instead, he became the only survivor, and the only real witness. The killings ended as suddenly as they began. Jeffrey relocated to London, changing his name, and his identity, to Marcus Clancy. His past life became merely a dark secret.

On 1st June 2018, 30 years to the day since the first killing, a mysterious figure refers to Marcus by his old name, through closing lift doors.

Is Spartacus back? If so, has he returned to finish what he failed to do thirty years ago?

And so begins 30 days of terror for Marcus Clancy, culminating in dramatic fashion on the final day of June.

30 DAYS IN JUNE is Chris Westlake’s third novel, and his first crime thriller. He is currently writing his second crime thriller and is on schedule to have it completed in 2020.

30 Days in June
Author: Chris Westlake

Published: December 15, 2019
359 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 9-27, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Jessica’s Review:

Sign me up: 30 Days in June is a crime novel about a serial killer during the month of June and the story also takes place in 1988 and 2018. The novel starts on June 1st, 1988 with a married couple and their sexually graphic adventures that take an unexpected turn for them.  Throughout the month of June the serial killer Spartacus frightens the immediate area until the final victim survives and then Spartacus disappears.

Fast forward thirty years and the survivor had moved and changed his name then one day he hears his old name, which starts him on a path he did not expect to go on. Is Spartacus back or is this some kind of copycat occurring exactly 30 years later? And if Spartacus in fact is back, what does he want after all this time?    

30 Days in June was a decent read for me. The premise is intriguing and you want to know if in fact Spartacus is back. I was not really attached to Jeffrey/Marcus, so I did not really care what happened to him.  He is an imperfect person and we see this over both time periods. Parts of the novel became a bit mind-numbing for me, but keep with it as when you get to the final few chapters, the story really gets moving and we have a final standoff  with a satisfying conclusion. 

Overall, 30 Days in June has its ups and downs but is ultimately worth it in the end! 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Blackwells

About the Author:

After completing a Creative Writing course in 2010, Chris Westlake’s short story, Welsh Lessons, was awarded 1st place in the Global Short Story Award (not bad for the first writing competition he had entered). He followed this up with 1st place in the Stringybark Erotic Fiction Award and 2nd place in the HASSRA Literary Award.

Chris has written three novels. 30 DAYS IN JUNE is his first crime thriller. He is currently writing his second thriller, on schedule to be completed in 2020. He is determined to write many, many more – his main regret is that he didn’t start writing earlier.

Chris considers himself to be a developing author. He is always looking to improve, to make his next novel even better than the last. He is continuously experimenting with different styles, different genres.

Contact Chris:
Email: You can contact Chris at chriswestlakeauthor@hotmail.co.uk. He would love to hear from you!
Website
Twitter: @ChrisWestlake2

This review has been brought to you via:

[Top]