First Book Reviews for 2020

Two Good Books–Recently Read

The Magus CovenantThe Magus Covenant by Toni Pike
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you like Dan Brown (as in The Da Vinci Code) you will like this. I only just got on to this book through reading a review on a blog post. I’m glad I did.

This is the first in the Jotham Fletcher series. He is a rector in an Anglican parish in Australia. His research into Simon Magus leads him to deliver a lecture in Rome. (Could not help but recall the Silver Chalice–where Jack Palance portraying Magus, believes he can fly. I saw it as a child).

Like Brown’s Logdon, Pike’s Fletcher gets embroiled in controversial sectarian elements within the Catholic Church. Unlike Logdon, Fletcher faces much more serious danger personally. So, this story is really stronger in that respect. I have never been a Catholic, so I have no preconceived notions, much less actual knowledge, of the possible intrigues within a 2,000 year old faith. Yet, I find it all very intriguing and perhaps potentially possible, (if somewhat implausible) given human nature.

Pike’s book follows the mystery/thriller precepts of plot/suspense progression well and builds to a climax with heightened tension and twists. If you like the genre, you will like this book–it’s well written.

The Ambassador Calls Twice (The Federation Diplomat Stories)The Ambassador Calls Twice by E.J. Randolph
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One should always review a book soon after, if not immediately, upon completion. Such has been my spring of brain fog that didn’t happen. After refreshing my recollection, I learned there are TWO books in one Kindle. OK, not really two separate books, but two different stories with all the same cast of characters that E.J. Randolph introduced in the first in this series about Federation Diplomat Kate Stevens.

Somehow I missed this one when it came out and then I learned it won a best eBook award in Arizona/New Mexico. It’s worthy of the award. It’s space opera for the 21st century–updated with hilarious friends and enemies. Vivid imagery of planets, people and more make it eminently readable. The description in the Goodreads summary needs no repeating here–that’s all you need to know. Well, you do need to know there’s no graphic sex or violence, just a well written story with believable but odd characters. Like the crew member who likes to eat meals that combine ingredients that might cause normal folks to upchuck. An AI (that runs the ship) that makes all sorts of interesting observations in discussions with Kate.

You know Kate will survive, but how she does it is still rendered suspensefully.

View all my Goodreads reviews

8 thoughts on “First Book Reviews for 2020”

  1. Enjoyed reading your reviews John, both books sound up my street. Though the food eaten by a member of the crew sounds alarming – I wonder what other members of the crew he adds to his meals –

    (I’ve lost my charger for my Kindle, I only hope it turns up soon …)

  2. Two fab reviews John. And I agree with you, reviews should be written while fresh in the mind after reading, but we can’t always find that time. So, perhaps I can suggest my method: I make notes and points after each reading session. By the time I finish the book, the story remains fresh in notes and highlights reminding what to include in the review. Also, I will share this in my review group on FB so Toni can see it 🙂

  3. Two terrific reviews John thank you.. Toni is in the Cafe and Bookstore so will share your review for her in one of the updates in the next couple of weeks. I am sure she is delighted. Thanks for introducing me to E.J. Randolph

  4. Hi John, Thank you so much for reading The Magus Covenant and for this excellent review. I’m so glad that you enjoyed it. Have a fabulous week. Toni

Comments are closed.