Showing posts from January, 2015

Book Review: Monarchs and Mendicants

Monarchs and Mendicants by Dan Groat
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gifford has got to get out of downtown St. Louis to flee the Hacker, an assassin who for some unknown reason targets the local homeless population. After discovering his friend, Raphael, cut to pieces he takes Tobias, Raphael’s faithful dog, and heads south, toward Benoit. There he finds a community and even somewhat steady work at the local brick yard, but also danger. Has the Hacker been tracking him? Who does the Hacker work for and why is he following Gifford?

Monarchs and Mendicants is a thoughtful tale that looks at the plight of the homeless through Gifford, a Veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and generally down on his luck guy. He is the homeless guy that no one likes to admit exists - not a druggie or a wino, or lazy, just trying to catch a break. You can’t help but be drawn to him despite his tough exterior, and root for him as he works to survive and eventually come out of his shell to do what he does best - …

Ultimate DIY Bundle Sale on Now!

You guys may not know how creative I'm not, but it is a sad, true fact. The closest I come is the occasional digiscrap, and those are entirely template based. However, I know that many of you are the Pinterest goddesses I aspire to be, and good for you. However, for the rest of us, there is easy to follow tutorials with step by step instructions that use small words and short sentences for those of us busy, sleep-deprived Mommy types. There aren’t enough hours in the day, right? With work, helping the kids with their homework, preparing meals, cleaning up after everyone and putting yet another load of laundry on, there’s very little time for sleep – let alone DIY and crafting!

But do you look at that bare wall in the den and that tatty tablecloth on the kitchen table, and just wish you had a few hours to do something about them? Or do you browse through those wonderful crafting successes on Pinterest and think to yourself that “one day” you’ll have a few more minutes to yourself …

Book Review: Solaris Seethes

Solaris Seethes by Janet McNulty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rynah has barely escaped with her life, as her planet’s magnetic force spins out of alignment. Her estranged grandfather’s ship, Solaris, is her only chance to escape. As it turns out her crazy grandfather was right about the prophecies and those old stones, and she must decipher the cryptic legends about them to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Fortunately, Solaris is far more helpful there than she ever imagined.

Solaris Seethes is the first book in a series that follows Rynah and her band of misfits across the galaxy in a ship with a personality all her own as she seeks to right wrongs and avenge her people. Not the most original sci-fi storyline, but still a good one. The plot and the characters are interesting, and the depth of the characters is well thought out, but the writing/editing really needs some work. There are really random parenthetical phrases throughout where it should be just basic description …

Book Review: Elements

Elements by Solomon Deep
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The idea of Elements intrigued me. Although fiction revolving around a journey to find oneself is certainly nothing new, Alan’s evolving from self-absorbed juvenile to world-battered optimist combines the qualities of introspection with life experiences in a very satisfying way. From the beginning when he dumps his girlfriend and just starts driving to the end when he has to pull himself back to reality in order to clean up his mother’s mess it is abundantly clear what is going on in his head and he processes it with his writing throughout. So while Alan is not exactly your knight-in-shining-armor sort of hero, he does sum up the irritation of adolescence and the discovery that the world does not revolve around you.

While the idea intrigued me and I loved the depth and diversity of the characters there were a few things that were a constant annoyance throughout. While seemingly trivial, I could not get used to the use of the metric mea…

Book Review: The Screaming

The Screaming by David Graham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Teenagers are mysteriously and creatively coming up with ways to murder their parents and commit suicide, and no one can figure out the impetus. When officer Dale Franklin with the Kansas City Police Department walks in on a gruesome scene and finds himself an unwitting extra in the deceased’s YouTube video, a multinational whirlwind investigation leads to his partnering with the CDC, MI5, and a boy genius from Kenya to uncover the reason these teenagers brains are shrinking and causing them to commit vile acts.

The Screaming is a thriller that is fast paced and graphic (for those of you with weak stomachs, this might be one to preview first.) Both the murder-suicides are written in gruesome detail, but also the scenes inside the teenager’s heads depict an awful environment that leads to their own destruction, which is necessary but intensely sad. While well written, I still found myself having to willfully suspend my disbelief…