The Eagle And The Wolf

Eagle-and-wolfI have a confession to make. I read this book because I saw Peter Smalley’s name on it. The other books of his that I’ve read have been enjoyable, so I grabbed this without even reading the blurb. I saw a Swastika on it, and the Eiffel Tower, so I figured it was set in Paris in WWII, but beyond that I knew nothing.

It’s a story about Cecile, a French werewolf ballerina spy who falls for Klaus, a German officer who’s stationed in Paris after his plane is shot down and he can no longer fly. She’s not happy about being a werewolf, or a spy, or falling in love with the German officer, but it all happens to her anyway.

The pacing of the story is much slower than the stories I normally read. I think I was about 20-25% of the way through the story before the really interesting stuff started to happen. But the slow build worked really well in this story, and felt authentic.

In fact, it almost felt like the book was conforming to my own thoughts and questions as I went through it. An example: at one point I thought, “I’m surprised none of these German officers are being reassigned to other areas, where the war is going badly.” The next time I picked up the book, one of the officers headed out of Paris!

Here’s something else that I loved about the book, and I don’t think you will ever hear me say this about another book – I loved the werewolves. I HATE werewolves most the time, because they’re always the same mindless monsters when the moon comes out, they tear everyone apart, wake up naked the next day, and cry in a forest, their bodies covered in blood. Blah, blah, blah, they’re boring. And when the werewolf aspect was first introduced in this story, I had a flashback to when I was a teenager and went to see the movie An American Werewolf in Paris. I remember exactly nothing about that movie except that I hated it.

But the way werewolves were portrayed in this book was refreshing. While there is that “uncontrolled animal” aspect (especially for the males, it seems), it’s not always there. The wolf can be bargained with and controlled (with extreme effort). It’s almost an aside for the story. The main focus is on the occupation and the relationship between Cecile and Klaus, and the werewolf angle is a bit of flavour.

This story was thoughtfully put together with a real eye for all the important details that make characters and settings feel true. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the authors had gone back and looked through the phases of the moon to get the actual dates of the full moon right, because everything else is so authentic.

Aside from some minor issues that can be overlooked (“and and” or an extra word/missing word here and there), I really only have one thing that bothered me, and that was that the ending wasn’t an ending; it’s just a pause until the next book. When I got to about the 97% mark, I started dreading that was where the book was going to go. It didn’t feel like it was wrapping up at all. For a first-in-series book, I like more closure so I can stop and say, “Do I want to go on with this series?” and not feel pressure either way. Whether that ending is a triumphant victory, or a twist and failure doesn’t matter so much as the fact that it should end, with some extra ideas to make you want to read more. That said, I’m not sure if there was another spot they could have ended it cleanly, so maybe it needed to (not) end this way.

After thinking about the issue for a while, I think I nailed down why the non-ending here bugs me so much. It’s because the book doesn’t say it’s part of a series on the cover.

In this case I enjoyed the story enough that I want to see where it goes next, so I can let the lack of an ending slide. But I could see how it might annoy other readers who aren’t as invested in the tale.

About the Reviewer

ToxopeusRyanmedHusband, father, and researcher, Ryan Toxopeus spends his free time working on his epic fantasy trilogy, Empire’s Foundation. He started writing the first book, A Noble’s Quest, in 2010 and fell in love with all aspects of storytelling. He focuses on fast paced, character driven plots. His motto: “If I’m bored writing it, others will be bored reading it.”

Learn more about Ryan and his work at

Borrowed Time

Borrowed_TimeI love short stories. Unlike novels, with short stories I get an entire story in a single sitting, and they’re easier to fit into my busy life even during hectic times. In a good collection, I get ten or more good reads without having to shop for another book. So I was really happy to find this collection by Chad A. Clark.

A diverse and well executed collection of stories, the tales in Borrowed Time range from horror to weird to literary. My favorite story in the collection is the first one: Mist on the Highway. In the vein of Rod Serling and Ray Bradbury, it’s a story that rewrites itself as you read it, constantly making you secondguess your assumptions about what is really happening. It plays off the familiar, referencing ghost hitchhiker stories, but is certainly more than just another retelling.

Another story in the collection, Falling to Dark, was scary enough that I couldn’t read it at bedtime without unduly influencing my dreams. I had to put it away and try again in daylight.

I recommend it for readers who are looking for shorter reads and like variety in the subject matter.

About The Reviewer:

BRYANT-CroppedSamantha Bryant is a middle school Spanish teacher by day and a mom and novelist by night. That makes her a superhero all the time. Her debut novel, Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel is now for sale by Curiosity Quills.

Learn more about Samantha and her work at


dead-beefDead Beef is a terrible title. I wasn’t too sure I’d want to read it although I’ve read Eduardo Suastegui’s books, so decided to take a chance.

It turns out the books is pretty darned good, and I’ll read Pink Ballerina (another terrible title) since it’s part of the same series called Our Cyber World.

Enough on the titles. Mr. Suastegui can title his books however he wants.

My duty as a reviewer is to assure anybody considering reading this book they will not be disappointed. I can do that. The author has an extensive knowledge of computing and hacking. While I know some of what he describes is not today’s reality, he can make it believable and I trust his future vision is pretty accurate.

I also like the main character, Martin Spencer, being surrounded by a bevy of beautiful women. But like in the later Bond movies, they’re very dangerous women and do a heck of a job protecting Martin while he goes to cyber war against his best friend, Julian. Why is Julian being the bad guy here? He might not have much to say about it, but he still dukes it out via internet, satellite, and keyboard to his best ability. Will Martin save the world despite his friend’s best efforts?

Read the book to find out.

About The Reviewer

MarvaDasef200Marva Dasef is a writer living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation.

Marva has published more than forty stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with several included in Best of anthologies. She has several already published print and ebooks, and is now turning them into audio books. Six audio books are currently available.

Learn more about Marva and her work at