Showing posts from February, 2014

Book Review: FreeFormed Hybrids

FreeFormed Hybrids by Joe Vizanko
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First question - would someone from “outer space” actually randomly tell a person that he is going to prove to you he is “from outer space?” Sorry, that kinda bugged me. Anyway, FreeFormed Hybrids, by Joe Vizanko, starts out with an introduction of a humanoid alien, Joe, announcing his presence to his work buddy, Steve, via Mars rover. What begins as an assumption of first contact spins into a story about where we came from, why English is understood on most of the other human colonies, and how our brains got their double lobe. Most fascinating is that most other humans are “dampened” whereas Earthlings are “freeformed,” meaning our emotional centers have evolved into the fun-loving but highly volatile creatures we are today. Other humans have been altered because of the fear of emotion by our creators. Interestingly, dampened humans are not as intelligent as the average free-formed human, putting Earth at a distinct advantage …

Book Review: Cubbie Blue and His Dog Dot

Cubbie Blue and His Dog Dot - Book 1 by Randa Handler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cubbie Blue and His Dog Dot is a children’s story about a magical smurfish creature named Cobalt, and his dog, Dot. They inhabit one of the icebergs of Antarctica, called Cylon, in the land of Baltar (Battlestar Galactica homage perhaps?) Cobalt receives a gift for his birthday that transports him to the “real” world, where he is stuck. Fortunately he befriends three seven year old boys who care for him as he tries to make his way home, and nick name him “Cubbie Blue” because of his blue skin and small stature.

While a cute story for kids, I was somewhat put off by the illustrations, use of Papyrus font on the cover (personal pet peeve) and the abrupt end. I think that this is supposed to be book one in a series, and something at the end - a sort of “tune in next time” - would have helped segway rather than just simply stating, he is waiting for his chance to get back home. The End. However, I do think that…

Book Review: Close Your Eyes, Sweet Angel

Close Your Eyes, Sweet Angel by M.J. Winn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Close Your Eyes, Sweet Angel by M.J. Winn is a short story about a prostitute in the big city who keeps running into a child - at her “club,” in the stairwell of her apartment, and even somehow in her bedroom. She struggles to figure out why a child would keep turning up unexpectedly and who in the world would let their child into a strip club?

WARNING: There is sexual content in this book. It was well written and very descriptive but is not for those who don’t want to know about the life of a prostitute. I have to admit just reading the first few pages took my breath away with the description of how main character Chandra endured her job. Clearly Winn has talent as an author and I could see this in an anthology/compilation of character snippets or back story in a larger novel too, although this story stands just fine on its own. It’s one of those stories where you kind of have the ending figured out but not exactly, u…

Book Review: Wantin

Wantin by Truth Devour
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wantin, by Truth Devour (please tell me this is a pen name), is the first in a series detailing the life of Talia Parker, a young heiress who lost her parents tragically at the age of 6 and grew up in the care of her aunt and uncle in Australia. At the age of 21 her aunt and uncle give Talia her parents’ will (per their instructions in it) and she discovers that she is independently wealthy and immediately starts to travel. She travels to discover her past, travels to discover her present need for love, and travels to shape her future.

Along the way she meets many lovers (there is sexual description in the book) but none satisfies like the one she can never have. Much of her travel is her running from this unrequited love, and through it she discovers much about herself. I was impressed with the description of her emotional state, as well as the description of the other focus character’s, Brad. However because she goes through a string o…

Book Review: Churchill's Children - The Phantom Zeppelin

Churchill's Children - The Phantom Zeppelin by A R Grogan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Churchill’s Children: The Phantom Zeppelin is the first in a series of young adult novels by A.R. Grogan, a British author who currently resides in New York.

The series follows a boy named Christopher Finch (Kit), and his group of friends, who work undercover for Winston Churchill during World War II. Christopher is the son of a British diplomat and an American journalist, with a gift for languages. Because of his privileged upbringing and world exposure to different countries and languages due to his father’s assignments, he has a set of skills that most do not, particularly not most 12 year old boys, his age during this installment in the series. Of course, his knowledge of multiple languages proves quite the asset for a kid who is essentially assigned spy duties.

I loved the time period setting of the series and the author’s ability to write simply enough that most tweens and teens could underst…

Book Review: The Jewel Box

The Jewel Box by The Jewel Box by C. Michelle McCarty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Jewel Box is a novel based on the memories of main character, Cherie. It is largely composed of her fond recollections of her string of lovers and positive associations with a topless club called the Jewel Box where she was once a waitress in the late 60’s and early 70’s. It was at the Jewel Box that she met the love of her life, although their relationship was rather rocky with a lot of off again/on again drama.

Cherie is something of a tormented soul, always looking for the one silver bullet that will fix her life. The author’s talent lies in her character creation and ability to write complex characters. However, I will admit this gets a bit tedious at times, as she describes the string of dancers at the topless club in sort of mindless succession, and that translated to some of Cherie’s lovers as well. All of the characters she described were funny and quirky, but there were so many (both dancers an…

Book Review: God on Trial

I am super excited to be a new reviewer for Bookplex! I have grown up loving to read, and hope you enjoy the reviews. First up - God on Trial, by Sabri Bebawi.

“His mind raced like a baboon on steroids”

That pretty much sums up “God on Trial.” In his dramatization of a schizophrenic’s quest to hold God accountable for all the sins of humanity, author Sabri Bebawi explores some of the questions that leave many individuals - religious or not - struggling to come to grips with the world as we know it. If God is omniscient and loving, how can he allow abuses such as the main character endured such as childhood sexual assault, as well as global injustice like war or slavery? Indeed, one may ask how God could allow something like mental health conditions such as schizophrenia.

Interestingly to me, the author immediately jumps to the position that A) God does exist - for how can you put to trial someone who does not and has never existed, even if you have to try Him in absentia and B) He is …