Book Review: A Call to Love

Are you one of those people who has uttered the phrase, “Oh, I’ll just adopt!” or suggested it flippantly to a friend?

As an adoption professional I hear that ALL THE TIME. I get calls asking if people can just “come look at the babies” as if I have them lined up in bassinets in some back office room somewhere. I get calls after every natural disaster asking if there is a need for families to take the orphans that must have resulted from the recent earthquake/tsunami/tornado/volcano/fire. I get asked about specific hair and eye color combinations as if you can build-a-baby like ordering a custom computer.
Author Julie Holmquist admits to making the “just adopt” comment. Then she actually did adopt. And she discovered there was no “just” about it.
A Call to Love is for anyone considering adoption and particularly addresses those coming from the faith-based “we feel called” perspective. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she addresses the fact that if you feel called you must ex…

Book Review: No Accountability

No Accountability by Keith Lawton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Keith was a little boy who was a victim of the system. He lost his dad in a tragic accident when he was 5, and his mum was deemed “unfit” to raise her boys due to her mental health condition. As a consequence, Keith bounced around from group home to foster home until he finally ran away and made something of himself. But of course, it should have never come to that. Abuses in the system were rampant and he was not the only victim.

No Accountability is a memoir from author Keith Lawton, and a follow up to his debut book No Photographs. It records details of his life - some based on his memory, some based on others or records he found - as he grew up in council care (foster care) in England in the 1970’s. As I work in adoption, it breaks my heart to see all the abuses in the system that is supposed to be a safety net for kids. I read most of his book as a sad little boy still longing just to know and belong, while being failed at…

Book Review: The Victor's Heritage

The Victor's Heritage by Anthony Caplan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Corrag is categorically unsatisfied with her choices in Democravia. She does not want to be put on the fast track to augmentation; the thought of her brain being accessible to the level of hierarchy it would be is unsettling. So she decides that a youth liaison to the Repho doesn’t sound so bad. What she doesn’t realize is the roller coaster she has just stepped on to will not stop until she comes full circle.

The Victor’s Heritage is the second in the Jonah Trilogy. The post apocalyptic thriller follows a teen character who I actually like, which is rare. She is thrown into an impossible situation and responds with fortitude and determination, and what most would consider quite a mature attitude for a teenager, although I certainly remember it from my own teenage years. While I would recommend reading the trilogy from the beginning, I did not find it hard to follow or requiring a large backstory to keep up, it was s…
The Genesis Portal by Matthew Carter
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Jasper is determined to find his dream girl, and he will travel halfway across the galaxy to do it, no matter the cost. But when he finds her, he discovers she is way more than a dream girl, and he’s not the only one looking for her.

The Genesis Portal is a classic case of a great story rolling around but poor writing execution. The text was full of fragments, wrong words, and several instances of transposing main character names (most frequently Sanya and Sola.) I was also somewhat frustrated by the character degeneration of Sanya, as she started out reading classic literature provided by her dream boy and once she is able to choose her own instead picks up a Vogue. Yes, I get that she is a 17 year old girl, but she could have been slightly deeper than average given her actual age. However, the science fiction aspect is intriguing, and I actually would have liked a little more back story between Sanya and Adam, rather tha…

Book Review: The Computer Heist

The Computer Heist by Michael P. King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

They’re Joe and Tess Campbell now, but they’re up to the same old tricks.This time it’s a pretty easy industrial sabotage job, but they are pretty sure that they are not being filled in on all the details. Will those details come back to bite them? It’s rare that they aren’t controlling all the minutiae but this one might have too much going on for even them.

The second book in the Travelers series, and follows married con artists on their latest job. While at first I found it a little hard to get into, once I did I couldn’t put it down. It has a classic noire feel, and I appreciated that all the character depth and flaws. If you are looking for a feel good romp, this is not it. But if you like a solid plot and interesting characters that don’t feel like they jumped out of a toothpaste commercial, this is well worth your time.

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Book Review: Banished Threads

Banished Threads by Kaylin McFarren
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rachel is really hoping to get her uncle’s blessing on her upcoming nuptials to Chase Cohen, but the journey to England has been difficult. When she gets there she is treated to a fancy reception…and an art heist, that is blamed on her uncle’s wayward granddaughter by marriage. Chase is determined to win that blessing, and true to his treasure hunting roots starts sleuthing all over the countryside for answers. Will his quest leave Rachel in the kidnappers’ clutches?

Banished Threads is the third of the “Threads” series following treasure hunters Rachel and Chase both in their difficult quests and growing love. Honestly, in my opinion this is the weakest of the three. Their personal difficulties were somewhat baffling for newly engaged lovers, and it all seemed to hedge on, well she’s pregnant and hormonal. This murder/mystery storyline was also a lot more involved and therefore had a lot more holes to pick at, and while the…

Book Review: Eternal Horizon: The Chronicle of Vincent Saturn

The Chronicle of Vincent Saturn by David Roman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Vincent Saturn is bored with his life. He doesn’t have any attachments and his job is not fulfilling anymore. Then he and his partner are assigned to investigate an actual UFO, and although he is not supposed to do anything but look at it from the outside, he decides that it’s worth a look inside - when was he going to get this chance again? What he finds launches the aptly named Vince Saturn into an intergalactic mission to save aliens no human has never enountered in hopes of ultimately protecting Earth, which is yet uncharted for them.

Eternal Horizons is one of those books that I feel like is a good try, but broadcasts a definite reliance on established sci-fi structures - in this case quite heavily on Star Wars - and a desperate need for editing. The grammar and in particular, synonym and tense, is wildly off the necessary grasp of dialogue writing, with my personal pet peeve being the repeated use of the w…