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Showing posts from October, 2014

Book Review: The Quest of Narrigh

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The Quest of Narrigh by S.K. Holder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Connor wakes up in an frighteningly familiar place, a world he thought only existed in the computer game he was playing, Quest of Narrigh. How did he get there, and can he figure out how to get home to London before game over? Every boy who plays video games has dreamed of really being the hero of the game, but that reality is far more frightening than assumed.

The Quest of Narrigh is the first book in The Other Worlds series, and does a good job of setting the stage while leaving the reader wanting more. Author S.K. Holder artfully sets up characters and plot points, and I really appreciated the map of the world in the game, as well as the explanation of races and factions. I am one of those gamers who loves to take the time to actually read the back story rather than just scroll through it, and I think anyone reading this book will appreciate how critical that step is. If you are a fan of fantasy and/or role playing games t…

Book Review: Found, Near Water

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Found, Near Water by Katherine Hayton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Christine leads a support group for women, like her, who have lost their children. Some are known deceased, others are unknown. Over time the support group dwindled to a few women who became fast friends as they bonded over their shared grief. But what will happen when Christine, a victim support advocate, has to be there for a new mother who has also lost her child, and a curious psychic tells her that the child is dead, and the body will be found, near water? Will Christine be able to support her and deal with her own past and present, and will the women she calls friends still be able to rely on their own stories to get them through the ensuing scandal?

As a mother, one of the worst fears is that of your child being abducted, dieing of some horrible disease, or being killed in an accident. No parent should have to outlive their child, regardless of how old the parents or the child. I think that’s what made this books so…

Book Review: Death and Disapperances

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Death and Disappearances by Richard Smiraldi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Montgomery Clark, a struggling author who is lucky enough to come from a family who can afford to support a starving artist, is frantically looking for his missing wife, Petula Beaujolais. She stormed out after a spat and hasn’t been seen since. On his way to find her we meet many characters, some from the present and some not so present. Will he find her and reunite or will the worst be discovered?

Death and Disappearances reads like 1950’s film noire, with a bit of more modern sparkly vampire supernatural thrown in for good measure. The main characters, particularly the upper class socialite snobs, seem a little over the top to be believable, although terribly amusing. I have to admit the ending was a bit predictable, but I would have actually liked more monologuing by the eventual villain, particularly more about how/why Petula’s fate came to be. She reconciled the explanation a bit too quickly and cleanly with Mo…

Book Review: Hire Me or Fire Me

Although author Alexander McDonald seems to think that the first in his series of books, Hire Me or Fire Me, is a novel, it is pretty clear that he is writing more of a memoir of his life as a resentful Canadian immigrant from Scotland. As a young lad his parents moved the family for job reasons, and a young McDonald deeply misses his romanticized Scottish boyhood. The rest of the book details his dislike of Canada both in the school system and the employment situations.
As the title suggests, the bulk of the book focuses on his many jobs in the sales field, starting with the typical short-lived and ill-fated teenage jobs at a gas station, a funeral home and McDonalds, and continuing with cars and pharmaceutical sales. Largely, the book suffered from a lack of focus, as it seems to be a memoir posing as a novel, but also tries to bring in little tidbits of wisdom gleaned from the sales world and constant interaction with people. He can’t quite find the voice he wants, as it is largely…

Book Review: Meritropolis

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Meritropolis by Joel Ohman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Charley has just achieved a score of 118, one of the highest in Meritropolis. That score will afford him a lot of perks, but seeing a little girl about to be zeroed brings back memories of his brother, Alec, who was also zeroed as a child, and sends him into a blind rage. He saves the little girl, for now, but at the expense of his best friend, who is chosen to be put outside the gates in her place. Charley vows then and there that he will fight the System, because he knows all life is valuable, regardless of what the System dictates. But should he fight the system from within or attack from the outside? And are they really the only people left after The Event, or is that just another lie perpetuated by the System?

Set in the post-apocalyptic AE 12, author Joel Ohman explores what would happen if we were all assessed only by what we could contribute to society, and how we would make the decision that some are worth saving but others …

Book Review: Lights of Madness

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Lights of Madness: In Search of Joan of Arc by Preston Russell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As fascinating historical figures go, Joan of Arc ranks up there among the most inscrutable and the most tragic. Convinced that she was hearing the voice of God and a few saints, Joan of Arc took off to take back France from the English, and reinstate Charles VII to the throne. While she enjoyed early success, and even had the British on the run, she was eventually captured at Compeigne and burned at the stake in 1431 after a lengthy and far from fair trial. Eventually, Charles VII was successfully reinstated, he initiated a trial of reclamation to clear her verdict of heresy, and centuries later Joan was decared a saint in the Catholic Church.

Joan of Arc has been examined from many different perspectives and millieus. She has been the subject of theater, feminist essays, religious festivals, and medical models. Author Preston Russell begins with a blow-by-blow of her trial, and delves a little de…

Book Review: Lonely Heroes

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Lonely Heroes by Eddie Upnick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lonely Heroes, a spinoff to the Time Will Tell series, is set present day, so between Time Will Tell and Future Tense. The book follows Roger, a CIA agent who fashions himself as the American Bond. He proves his worth in an Iranian nuclear bunker, and is plucked from the planet by Defender to complete a special mission to prevent an alien race from destroying Earth. Aided by a couple super genius friends, including the lovely Zera, he is able to move up in mission status to help some off-world negotiations that don’t directly affect Earth….yet.

While I was intrigued by the plot of Lonely Heroes, I found the writing to be dry and unemotional, almost as if someone was describing a movie they had seen rather than immersing yourself in a good novel. It was mostly rote narration, even description of dialogue and actions rather than main character POV. I also thought that it was a bit unfocused, as the first part is almost all Earth and…