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Showing posts from October, 2016

Book Review: Spinner

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Spinner by Michael J. Bowler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alex has a secret hiding behind his reputation as the wheelchair kid in special ed. He has always been able to “spin” people. His current foster mom is exploiting that, and he is determined not to let her get in the way of his friendships with the other special ed kids in his class. But when their beloved teacher gets murdered, just the way Alex saw it in his dream, he realizes that the people after him may exploit him far more than his foster mother ever dreamed.

Spinner is a paranormal story told from a special ed kid’s perspective, which does make it somewhat unique. I live the SpEd mom life, and I love seeing disabled children portrayed as heroes rather than useless. I also work in adoption, and enjoyed seeing that play a part in the story as well. Overall the story was a refreshing take on a relatively formulaic story - gates of hell have been unleashed and an unlikely band of misfit heroes must save the day - and the depth h…

Book Review: The Syndicate

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The Syndicate: Operation Valiant Exodus by E. Clay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clay is devastated that his wife is leaving him, especially now that it looks like his father is dying. On top of that, race relations in his small town of Blythe, TX, are simmering after the recent riots in Ferguson and Baltimore, and they have never been particularly progressive to begin with. When the local police chief starts to actually notice race issues because his son is caught up in the national events, will things change?

The Syndicate is a story of race, starting in the 60s with a black preacher in a mostly white town, all the way through today. It imagines a not so unlikely future and weaves a story of conspiracy and drama centered on this unlikely Texas small town. I really enjoyed the realistic set and dialogue, although I think I would have liked to delve more into the inner workings and backstory of the actual conspiracy story, or perhaps more of an explanation of the parties involved. I thought…

Book Review: Syphon

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Syphon: Guardians of the Fractured Realms by Chad Kunego
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Samuel - or at least that’s what they tell him his name is - wakes up in a hospital with a fantastic headache and a mysterious vambrace as the only indicator of who he might be. The two detectives assigned to his case are trying to help him figure it out, but when he mysteriously disappears - apparently surviving a toss 15 stories down - they are pretty sure there is something wildly out of the ordinary about to surface. They have no idea that could include the destruction of the world as they know it.

Syphon is a paranormal urban fantasy, that brings in some interesting historical and theological elements. I enjoyed the storyline although the memory loss was a bit overdone for someone of the power level of the main character, and there was a need for some more in depth editing (I started to think I should make a drinking game out of the typo “cloths” for “clothes.”) However the plot was interesting and …

Book Review: Conduct in Question

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Conduct in Question by Mary E. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Harry Jenkins is a small time Toronto lawyer about to step into some big time crime cases, not that he knows that yet. Upon taking what he thought was a nice referral from an attorney friend of his who needed to avoid a conflict of interest, Harry gets swept up in a money laundering scheme involving murder, international intrigue and weirdly, the estate of one of his recently deceased clients.

The first in a trilogy, Conduct in Question is a legal thriller that finds Harry as an intelligent dupe in the middle of a scheme not of his own making. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was happy to see that while the legal aspects were explained in plain English I didn’t feel like anything was dumbed down for the the reader. I felt for Harry as he wades through his own personal struggles, and for the family of poor Aunt Marjorie. The only writing critique I would offer is that sometimes it switched from person to person narrative oc…

Book Review: Vanessa Schierman, Ph.D. Witch

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Vanessa Schierman PhD WITCH by Sandy Nathan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Vanessa Schierman cannot stand the cover of the magazine NetWorth, she looks like an old hag. Well she is old, and she is a witch, but that’s beside the point. She is the richest woman in the world, and while she was raised to never discuss money in public, it’s high time they stop giving the world incorrect information about Will Duane. Plus, maybe he will notice her if she gets the attention of the public….

This book contains three short stories about a witch who is much more than a witch, but a scientist. Vanessa is quite a character, and these stories provide some background for a minor character in some of Nathan’s other Bloodsong novels. I really like authors who provide a rich and detailed back story for every character, as it really makes me feel like I’m getting to know them and their motivations which makes the whole series flow so easily. I’m looking forward to reading more from Nathan, as I have no made it…