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Review of THE WAR JOURNALS: RESISTANCE by Cory Mccoy

 

The War Journals: Resistance by Cory Mccoy

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Genre: Action/adventure

Rating: **** Four Stars  

Estimated word count: 89,700 words

Availability    

Kindle:  YES   Nook: Yes  Smashwords: Yes  Paperback: No

Click on a YES above to go to appropriate retailer.

Author:

 “Cory is a Texas based author and screenwriter whose work is currently available on Amazon, Wattpad, and Smashwords. Among his work is The War Journals series and the forthcoming Guardians of the Deepest Light saga. Cory is also the man behind the curtain of the incredibly hilarious (and offensive) twitter,@GreatSkyWizard.”

Description:

“When Connor Jeffries finds himself in the middle of an attack at a department store, his heroic actions set him down a path that no man could have prepared for. A heat of the moment decision forces Connor to run. He flees with few resources and even less time, in order to draw the might of a massive army away from the city. Within hours he is being hailed as a hero, a seemingly inconsequential radio interview ignites a movement. Somehow he has become the symbolic leader of a group of freedom fighters called The Resistance. The group recognizes no authority, but their General’s. Little do they know, this man is quickly developing a dependency on pain killers and his mind is crumbling under the weight of his burden. Will he be able to pull it together and help his resistance turn the tide of this new war, or will he end up being a junky with a target on his back?”

My Two Cents:

If you’re expecting a wild action tale or remake of Red Dawn with this book, you’d be mistaken. On the other hand, you won’t be disappointed with what you find. While the story centers on an ex-super duper soldier accidentally building a resistance movement against invading Chinese troops, they spend surprisingly little time actually fighting and a lot more giving speeches.

The focus here is less on the war and more on the private emotional journeys the hero and his sidekicks take from mild-mannered civilians to merciless guerrillas. A string of betrayals and self-created disasters then keep the pressure ramped up and the fun going. You feel throughout that the guerrillas and the US in general would handily when the war, if they could only get out of their own way. The real enemy the good guys always struggle with isn’t a foreign army, but themselves and their own self-destructive tendencies.

Unlike most of these WW3 tales, the author gives and maintains a clear and coherent strategic narrative. Personally, I found the details of the broader war extremely far-fetched, but at least having a clear understanding of the “big picture” made for a more interesting read. While there are a number of technical errors with weapons and tactics, the author’s skilled handling of his complicated and self-destructive hero and well-fleshed out supporting cast overshadows such details.

Overall, the prose and style reads more like a screenplay than most novels. That’s neither good nor bad, but merely a taste preference. While I can’t give this 5 stars because of so many events and decisions stretching the realm of believability, there’s no denying that the story is pretty unique. All in all, a fun read that’s worth the time, even if it is not the most thought provoking.

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Wrath of the Fallen: An all active duty Army band

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http://www.reverbnation.com/wrathofthefallenofficial/song/19425965-curb-stomped

While this blog is mainly about helping veteran authors, I respect all the creative arts. If you get down with hard rock or metal, then I’d strongly recommend Wrath of the Fallen. It’s real death metal with some classic Rock (I’m feeling AC/DC) undertones. All members are active duty soldiers that tour whenever the Army and their ladies let them off the leash!

About:

Born from the Brigades of Fort Riley, KS, and it’s combat arms Soldiers, Wrath of the Fallen rises with impact and passion to destroy the opposition by formulating a mission of annihilation and painting a lyrical picture of military devastation and thirst for blood.

In 2012, Robert Gaines arrived at Fort Riley in Kansas and was seeking members for a project that would bring together Military Musician’s exclusively. He posted a message on Craigslist and within days, Jason Pollard, who was also new to Fort Riley, answered this call to duty. Charged with riffs and partial songs he had written over the past years during a chaotic Combat deployment cycle, Jason and Robert began working together and finished their first two songs in just a few weeks. With the first two songs completed, Robert again went to Craigslist to find the voice for the project. With not have much success in the search, Robert decided to take care of the vocals himself on the demoed version of the songs.

The name for the band was created by Robert, while battling ideas for the band and its direction. After discovering that his original title had been taken, Robert settled on WRATH OF THE FALLEN and presented the idea to Jason for his thoughts. With the title of the band locked in and the logo created later that week. Robert again went to the internet to find other members for the project, to make it an official band.

In December of 2012, Michael Uhlig answered the ad posted on the internet while still deployed to Afghanistan. Mike’s inquires and transmissions with Robert lead him to look up his profile on Facebook and discovered that he was the perfect fit for the Lead Guitar spot. Robert also discovered Geo through transmission with a mutual friend and after a quick audition found Geo to be the perfect candidate to be the voice of WRATH OF THE FALLEN. With everything except a bass player to bring the mix together, Robert sent forth friends in the local area to aid in the search. Thanks to Daniel Snuffer from “Snuff’s Heavy Metal Meltdown”, In April of 2013 Zach Thompson auditioned and secured his place amongst the other members. And finally, the final formulation and formation of WRATH OF THE FALLEN was cemented into existence.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wrath-of-the-Fallen
http://www.reverbnation.com/wrathofthefallenofficial?page_view_source=facebook_app

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January 6, 2014 · 9:18 pm

Review of Grey Wolf by Austen Brennan

Grey Wolf (Grey Wolf Series Book 1) by Austen Brennan

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Genre: Military Thriller

Rating: **** Four Stars 

Estimated word count: 165,000 words

Availability    

Kindle:  YES   Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO  Paperback: NO

Click on a YES above to go to appropriate retailer.

Author:

Austen Brennan is a young man from North Carolina with no military experience, but a deep interest in military affairs. This is his debut novel.

Description:

“World War III has begun, and the United States is invaded by an alliance of four countries determined to destroy everything and everyone in it. Three 15-year-old boys are thrust into battle after they meet up with a team of U.S. Army Rangers known as “Grey Wolf.” Soon they learn that in every shadow lurks a traitor, and that every ally might just as easily plant a knife in their backs. While the three young friends are determined to defend their country at all costs, none of them could possibly have imagined the horrors they will experience, the deception they will uncover, or the prices they will pay.”

My Two Cents:

From the description, you might be expecting a Red Dawn knockoff. Which you’ll get, but that’s merely an appetizer. This story has nearly everything to appeal to action junkies. From commando action to large-scale air and naval battles, there’s plenty of high calorie combat. Toss in the GI Joe-esque “Hands of Chaos” mystery people pulling the strings and we have a first rate mystery thriller as well. Roll that all together with the well-polished writing style and deep character development and you’ve got a must read on your hands.

That said, there are some weaknesses that dampen the fun considerably. The endless stream of betrayals get tedious. The surprise factor disappears after the fifth time some friendly turns traitor. More tedious was the constant teenage bickering and angst at the worst possible times. I get the realism that it provides; this is a great touch that kids turned guerrillas would often still act like kids… but the characters don’t seem to grow up throughout the story. They’re still as frustrating at the end as the beginning.

However, none of these issues keep Grey Wolf from being a fantastic read; this is still an addictive page turner. Definitely worth the time. Even though the main plot, WW3, is over, I still want to read the rest of the series. That alone is a strong sign of skilled writing!

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It’s stolen and I know it

A hilarious tribute to the Stolen Valor researchers from the good folks at Rangerup.com

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December 29, 2013 · 10:15 am

Review of 3 YEARS AFTER… by G. R. Mountjoy

3 Years After… (A Military and Zombie Apocalypse Series) by G. R. Mountjoy

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Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: *** Three stars  

Estimated word count: 44,000 words

Availability    

Kindle:  YES   Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO  Paperback: YES

Click on a YES above to go to appropriate retailer.

Author:

 “G.R. Mountjoy was born in Indianapolis, IN in 1974. He went to the Franklin Central High School and Graduated in 1993. Upon graduation he enlisted in the United States Army, and was stationed at Fort Bragg N.C. as a member of the Scout Platoon in 1/504 PIR. He spent 14 years in the Army with various assignments that included the Infantry, Aviation, and Recruiting. He has been stationed in Georgia, New York, North Carolina, South Korea, and on the island of Great Exhuma Bahamas. He medically retired from a simple kidney stone surgery gone bad. His interests include science fiction reading, movies, golf, and sports. He is an avid sports fan, loves the Chicago Cubs, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Indiana Hoosiers, Indianapolis Colts, and Alabama Crimson Tide. He is married to his wife and has a daughter with another child on the way.”

Description:

“3 Years After” is a story about a Special Forces team put together to help our nation in a most fragile time. The post 9/11 world has forced the United States government to develop new ways to fight and counter terrorism. During the initial testing of the latest technological breakthrough, Time Travel, a catastrophic failure occurs. This strands the test team three years into the future. They are greeted by a new world which has been decimated by war and infested by zombies.

Will the team and humanity survive?

Do they figure out what happened in time?

This is the new version that has been edited.”

My Two Cents:

Mr. Mountjoy really tries to give the reader everything at once: zombies, time travel, a commando story and post-apocalyptic world rebuilding. He comes agonizingly close to pulling it all off. With a bit more detail- the book is too short- this might have been an instant cult classic.

A mixed team of different high speed operators are assembled for a “secret project” that lands them 3 years into the future… just after the zombie apocalypse. They spend surprisingly little time worrying about that, shrug their shoulders and set off on a mission across the country to link up with the remnants of the US Government. Along the way they slaughter zombies by z-bucket full, of course. Where it gets really interesting is how they unite various bandit and survivor groups and inspire hope in the pockets of the scattered human resistance. A fun improvement to the simple survival tale.

What’s disappointing is that you never feel the warriors are in real danger. They’re armed to the teeth, are always conveniently given excellent intel ahead of trouble and are just way too lucky.

Now, the action is incredibly fast paced and does flow quite naturally, but when that speed is combined with the lack of real stress for the heroes I just couldn’t get really excited or emotionally invested. That said, the author’s character dialogue is spectacular. Earthy and real, without being over-the-top macho. I bet they’ll remind you closely of people you know.

All in all, an entertaining read. The flaws are not deal breakers; this book is worth the time. This book is one heck of a teaser for the rest of the series. I’ll most definitely read the next one.

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Review of PEACE WARRIOR by Steven L. Hawk

Peace Warrior by Steven L. Hawk 

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Genre: Military Sci-Fi

Rating: **** Four stars  

Approximate word count: 76,000 words

Availability:    

Kindle YES   Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paperback: YES

Click on YES above to go to the appropriate retailer.

About the Author:

“Steve spent six years as a Military Intelligence Specialist with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division before joining the ranks of corporate America. He has a B.S. in Business Management from Western Governor’s University and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). He has traveled extensively across the United States and, at various times, has lived in Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Massachusetts, California and Idaho. Steve Hawk currently resides in Boise, Idaho with his wife, Juanita. Together, they have a blended family of five sons… and two chihuahuas.

Description:

“It’s the mid-21st century when Sergeant First Class Grant Justice is killed during an ambush on an enemy tank column.

Six hundred years later, his body is retrieved from the frozen, arctic lake where he perished. Re-animated by a team of scientists, Grant awakens to a civilization that has abolished war. A civilization that has outlawed violence and cherishes Peace above all else. A civilization that has been enslaved by an alien race called the Minith.

Grant is humankind’s final hope against the alien menace. He must be the… Peace Warrior.”

My Two Cents:

On the surface, the central hero character, SFC Grant Justice, is just as much a gung-ho, space cowboy as that awesome name suggests. However, the author does a pretty good job bringing him back down to earth through oscillating bouts of overconfidence and self-pity. Creating a bad-ass hero is easy. Building one regular people can realistically identify with is a harder task.

The essence of Mr. Hawk’s story is fairly unique and intentionally funny. A time traveling soldier from the “barbaric times” is awoken by a “socially deviant” scientist over 600 years later. Against all odds, the author is able to pass this off as plausible. At least to us non-biologists. From there, our self-loathing John Wayne forces a sheepish world into a high-stakes battle against wild injuns… I mean aliens.

This is where the story becomes overly formulaic. There were several big twists that just lack the impact because they were a bit too predictable. Still, that’s an ancient complaint for most stories. The only real weakness of this tale is the length. Mr. Hawk wraps up the story arc and all just fine, but you’re still left unsatisfied. Belly not quite full and aching for seconds. Of course, isn’t that a hallmark of a good author?

FYI:

Well-polished novel. Especially for an Indie. The author mentions his second edition being “professionally edited.” I think it’s safe to say he got his money’s worth and so will the reader.

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The end of the Westboro Baptist Church and the beginning of real hate

Remember those psychotics in the Westboro Baptist Church? Well they get a brief cameo appearance where they come to a fun end in my new book Power Games. Here’s an excerpt:

…When the 21 gun goodbye blasted off, she was the only one in her circle that didn’t jump. The melody of gunfire inspired her more than any Bon Jovi song. Her rage ashamed her, but not enough to forgive. Not by a long shot. She thought she knew what hate meant, but then came something that made her lust for vengeance seem mild.

Those Westboro Baptist Church nuts were at the cemetery, but she hadn’t even noticed before. A curtain of bikers and other volunteers kept them separated from normal people. That was until the ceremonial shots rang out. With the cordon momentarily distracted, the freak show somehow slipped through that human wall and stampeded towards the soldier’s funeral. The four psychopaths waved their anti-gay and anti-American signs like battleaxes as they charged into the grieving family.

There were no cameras around. Too much going on all over the state for the media to be everywhere at once. Maybe that’s what drove these protestors over the edge. The church members didn’t just enjoy attention, they lived for it. Perhaps they didn’t feel so insane when in the spotlight. Or maybe it wasn’t even as complicated as that–they weren’t exactly stable to begin with.

At any rate, they halted around the coffin and screamed incoherently about how “God hates fags” and this poor boy was somehow going to hell because of it. No one stopped them immediately when they began spitting on the casket, because no normal person could have ever imagined such a scenario. The fallen soldier’s father recovered first from the shock. He released his nearly apoplectic wife and ploughed a meaty fist into the face of the closest freak.

A female protestor looked aghast. “You can’t do that! This is freedom of speech!”

Another Westboro member unzipped his pants and pissed on the coffin. “Yeah, that’s assault! You’re going to jail. You have to respect different opinions. We’re going to sue you people for all you’re worth! Fag loving Satanists!”

The last semblance of civilization left the assembled friends and family. Even the bikers hung back in fear. For a few minutes, that cemetery turned into Rwanda.

An old uncle yanked the peeing man back and slammed him head first into the ground. Others ringed him, kicking wildly. He wasn’t even unconscious when the sweet young widow of the desecrated soldier snatched his fallen sign, yanked down his pants and literally shoved the thick wooden post up his ass.

From grandmothers to teenagers, everyone got in on the action. Even the minister whipped his cursing, elderly Westboro counterpart upside the head with a thick leather Bible. Almost no one’s hands were bloodless…or feet, for that matter. Of course, it was a different story when the police arrived. A hundred witnesses swore the four unarmed, mutilated bodies had attacked them.

Obviously, a simple case of self-defense. The two cops first on the scene saw the crazy signs and remembered when they tangled with these assholes before. They both shrugged, took statements and let everyone go. The cops had far more pressing matters to attend to.

Sophie took careful note of the whole thing. For years, no one had ever been able to do anything about these insane religious fanatics. More than a decade of lawsuits, court injunctions and physical threats only emboldened them. But with a little direct action, these people permanently removed that thorn in the ass of humanity. Unfortunately, that was the only lesson she learned this day. But she learned it well.

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Games-Operation-Enduring-Unity-ebook/dp/B00G2H6DL0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1386323718

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Once upon a time in Iraq

Film of 2nd Bde, 1 AD in general and 2/6 Infantry in particular during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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December 17, 2013 · 1:38 pm