Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Save By Roy:Patrick Roy and the Return of the Colorado Avalanche by Terry Frei and Adrian Dater

22115393I received [Save By Roy] as an advanced readers copy. I am a HUGE hockey fan and have the utmost respect for Patrick Roy(although as a New York Rangers fan I hate him with a passion.) I was really excited to read this books and I was not disappointed. It was well written and was almost like a written version of 24/7 on NHL network. It had insider points of view that regular fans don't get. The fact that Roy managed to bring this team to the playoffs after being almost last in the league the season before (only Florida was worse and they don't count) in the amazingly tough Western Conference was amazing. All hockey fans should read this book (even if Roy made you cry when you were younger.)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Goodnight, Alaska by Harry Manners

Harry Manners is the author of the Ruins Saga. I subscribe to his newsletter the Pendulum Gazette because I was so impressed by his story telling. As a bonus he put a short story "Goodnight, Alaska" in his newsletter.

It is the story of one mans inner dialogue at the end of the world. He has lost everything and knows he is going to die but it is his choice how to handle it. I was reminded of [Richard Matheson] and the voice and tone of [I Am Legend] which is such a classic and strong point of view, even if it is a little creepy. (The actual short story by the way not the really bad movie with Will Smith that was nothing like the actually story.) I feel that [Harry Manners] is, if not there yet, close to being on the same level as Matheson. I hope he never lets Hollywood destroy his writing.

Angels & Arrows by Reyna Hawk

16058685First off let me say paranormal romance usually is not my thing. Now that being said I really enjoyed [Reyna Hawk's] [Angels & Arrows] because it was not a typical paranormal romance. Yes that was part of it but there was cultural history and excitement as well. None of the "Oh woe is me my vampire boyfriend left me I am going to curl up and die." Maria is a fighter. A bit of a pessimist but really a fighter. It takes a bit for her to learn to trust and have faith but when she does evil spirits better watch out.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Disease by George Hamilton

18720447[The Disease] by [George Hamilton] was a medical thriller that pits government loyalty versus the good of humanity. I would like to say this was a post apocalyptic story  but sadly I can see events like this being possible today.

The characters of Olga and Ludmilla face choices that will not only affect them but possibly the entire world. The setting is an Eastern European nation while a pandemic rages. Ludmilla is a doctor and "Daughter of the Nation", while Olga her daughter is a dissident. Who can be trusted and what is the right choice are themes throughout this novel.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Lamp Series Omnibus(Books 1-4) by Jason Cunningham

21542102215428122154281322951217I received this book as a member giveaway through LibraryThing for an honest review. 

I was amazed by the characters in this series. They were so real but also had a uniqueness to them. [Jason Cunningham] did a magnificent job of taking you into the struggle between good and evil and showing you the shades of grey most of us get caught up in. [The Lamp Series Omnibus] as the name suggests is four complete novels that follow Violet, Levi, Jenny and Micah as they try to come to terms with what is right and wrong. Also they must decide how best to protect those they love.

As a comic book fan and someone who loves to read about struggles of conscience this series kept me coming back for more. I was vaguely reminded of [The Stand] except this was focused on one city.It is never made clear if it goes beyond. They mystery involved also keeps you on your seat.

[Cunningham] has written a must read for fans of many types of genres.

Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

18214414I really enjoyed the first Cormoran Strike Novel. This one wasn't as good. I am not saying that [Silkworm] was bad but it was a little over written. There were a few too many red herrings that took away from the plot. Also unlike [Cuckoo's Calling] i actually figured out the perpetrator before they were identified. Still a good read especially for mystery fans.

Monday, December 15, 2014

I Survived True Stories: Five Epic Disasters by Lauren Tarshis

21877182So anyone who knows me(or looks at my reading list) can see I love disasters. The [I Survived] series by [Lauren Tarshis] is a reading teacher's friend since it gets kids who don't read to pickup a book. I was really excited about [True Stories] because two of the events were little known (Children's Blizzard and The Great Molasses Flood) and two others were more contemporary. I liked the information given although I would love to see these written on a slightly higher level since I teach middle school.

I found it interesting that most of the sources that the author used were books I have read and have in my classroom. Hopefully I can use this book as a springboard to get kids to read something challenging just to learn more about it.

God of Ruin by Michael John Grist

23479319[Michael John Grist] concludes the adventure of Ritry and his chord in [God of Ruin]. Again, as with the previous two books in this sonata, it seems confusing an may be hard to follow at first. This should not be read without reading the first two books as there are many references to the previous Sonata's. If you want a futuristic thriller that will make you think you really should check these books out but remember start with number one [Mr. Ruins].

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Johnny Graphic and the Etheric Bomb by D.R. Martin

15711309[Johnny Graphic and the Etheric Bomb] by [D.R. Martin] was an incredible adventure. In the classic sense of serial adventures from the 1940's the young cub photographer, who happens to see ghosts and is 12 yrs old, has to save the world from a horrible new bomb. Along with his sister, Melanie and other friends, they travel the world to solve the mystery and stop destruction. 

As a teacher who just spent the past three weeks teaching about the making of the atomic bomb this book seemed to parallel that with a 'ghostly' twist. (I know bad pun.) I will be looking forward to reading book two. Also did I mention besides ghosts there are zombies. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Plague of Shadows(#1 in A Harbingers of Light Series) by Travis Simmons

23497944[A Plague of Shadows] by [Travis Simmons] was a very quick read. I really enjoyed the characters and the plot. I see it is called "A New Adult Dark Fantasy" but I do not see what makes it 'adult'. I usually equate that with content that I can't put in my classroom. I did not find any of that in this book. To me it was a simple battle of good vs. evil. I hope to read the next installment in [The Harbingers of Light Series].

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tides of Possibility edited by K.J. Russell (Various Authors)

22840405[Tides of Possibility] is a anthology of science fiction short stories. I really enjoyed most of the stories and a few I would hope to see full length novels expanding on the stories.

A few of note:[The Color of Silence] by [Mandy Broughton] about compassion. [The Woman Who Wanted to Play Havisham] by [Haralambi Markov] which message seems to be, be careful what you wish for. [Imaginary Numbers] by [Corinn Heathers] which I would really love to see expanded to a novel with more a back story.

[Teachable Moments] by [Brandon Crilly] seemed to be my favorite though. Perhaps I am biased as a teacher and the title is a term we are not allowed to have in the classroom anymore thanks to the testing culture. The idea of a former teacher doing what is best for young people and by doing that he teaches them the biggest lesson of life.

I will be looking for more works from some of these authors. I could have done without the poetry though.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Sham by Ellen Allen

22879003[Ellen Allen] in [The Sham] leaves you questioning throughout the story what is really going on. None of the characters in this book would be considered 'normal' but some are more malicious than others.

The story begins with Emily having a run in at the local park with some "mean girls", one who is her step Aunt Becky. The four girls have brought a young boy to the park and proceed to torture him. Em wants to stop them but is frozen. Out of nowhere comes Jack to stop the girls. Seems like a clear case of good vs. evil right? Not quite, Jack has his own secrets.

Soon the girls involved in the attack begin disappearing. They whole small town is in a panic. Who is to blame?

[Allen] does a fantastic job of creating a twisting story with an ending that you never see coming.

Screech Owls: The Boston Breakout by Roy MacGregor

20691397I had no idea that such an awesome series of books for young people existed! Of course as a huge hockey fan I am biased. I received [The Boston Breakout] free in return for a review and I can tell you I will be looking to purchase the rest. [Roy MacGregor] has created characters that you would find on any team but the Screech Owls are still a family even with all their quirks.

In this story they are playing a summer tournament in Boston. Their coach insists on making all trips educational, which most players enjoy. This trip they go to the aquarium. There are some animal rights activists there and one of the players falls under their spell. They get information about the plans of the group and have to act to stop it.

[MacGregor's] description of hockey is spot on and the addition of local history and some mystery makes these ideals books for young readers. I will be introducing my niece to them. Especially the one involving MSG. Go Rangers!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Out Of Tune by Various (Forward and edited by Jonathan Mayberry)

23471830This collection of short stories with has a interesting twist in that they are all based on traditional ballads. I really enjoyed the variety and the dark twist on all of them. Some of my favorites were "Driving Jenny Home" and "John Barleycorn Must Die". As a person who loves Irish and Scottish folk music these stories gave me a new perspective on the music I listen too. 

I will be recommending book. Especially to my friends with literature and music degrees.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz

12971664[No Safety in Numbers] by [Dayna Lorentz] is a well written YA novel along the common theme in this genre lately. The concept of survival has always been in literature but recently there has been a huge upswing in YA lit for dystopian and disasters. I personally enjoy it since that is what Ilike to read.

This book is the first of a trilogy that follows four different teenager as they try to survive and protect those they care about during a biological attack on a mall. I like how [Lorentz] gave voice to the main characters by alternating chapters. I can also see how three of the four characters are interconnected.

I look forward to reading the second and third books. I will be adding this book to my classroom library and recommending it

Friday, November 21, 2014

Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex,Jazz, and Murder and the Battle for Modern New Orleans by Gary Krist

20697466[Empire of Sin]by [Gary Krist] was an interesting account of the downfall of what I would have thought as the golden age of New Orleans. New Orleans was the last bastion of sin in the South during the Gilded Age in America. This was a time period when people were trying to live by Victorian standards and New Orleans went against them all. This was a war between cultures and depending who won, New Orleans was bound to be changed.

The book was well written. It started out really strong and the characters in the book were very colorful, more so knowing they were real people. This was a character driven non fiction which makes sense for New Orleans which had more than it's share. My only complaint was towards the end of the book [Krist] seemed to be quickly wrapping up some stories not giving the details that were present in the beginning.

I have recommended this book to quite a few people though. It was a much needed non-fiction fix.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

4836308[The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane] by [Katherine Howe] was a unique view of the Salem witch panic. Connie is a modern day researcher with an overly obsessive adviser. The summer after she completes her oral her mother asks her to get her grandmothers house ready to sell. She the house has been abandoned for quite some time and has a deep history to share.

This story shows how we never know the true depth of history, especially our own personal history. The mosaic that the intermingling character stories weave is a great driving force for this novel.

My one complaint was it was a bit on the predictable side but for a debut novel it is a must read.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Cat Who Spied On Me by Jane Oldaker

22236188This is the second [Arlo the Barncat] story I have read and although I enjoyed the first one [Arlo's Epiphany] I really enjoyed [The Cat Who Spied On Me]. As a cat lady I have a soft spot for cats ans [Jane Oldaker] creates very lovable characters. I just hope someday she will put them in a full length novel.

Dirge by Grant Palmquist

17352478When I started reading [Dirge] by [Grant Palmquist] I was wondering where he was going. I read [Azure] and enjoyed the characters and plot. This was just a telling of a male with no heart or soul who used up women like I drank water.

Then the story takes a turn and I realized it was setting the scene for the rest of the plot. As the idea is about changing your life through struggle and finding your soul. No religious stuff here just spiritual.

I like how I went from hating the main character and enjoying his suffering to hoping he succeeds. I would recommend this book to my ADULT friends. Emphasis on adult.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dominion by Doug Goodman

23300164[Dominion] by [Doug Goodman] was a fast paced adventure that I really did not want to put down. The concept that the natural order has been turned on it's head and suddenly humans are not the apex predator. The trek of a group of young people as they try to survive and find someplace safe keeps you wondering what will happen next. Not only do they have to fight the outside forces but the internal struggles within the group threaten to tear them apart. How much is survival worth?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Satan's Road by Theo Cage

22707212I always enjoy a good thriller.[Theo Cage] did a good job with [Satan's Road] but it was not as tight as some of the more experiences writer's works. The characters were good although there could have been more depth. Also there were some continuity issues with point of view (switching between first and third person). The action was pretty good and kept the story moving although there were  a few literary speed bumps. I would recommend this book though as a quick pleasure read and hope to read the authors next book. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ruin(Ruin Saga #1) by Harry Manners

22724590[Ruin(Ruin Saga #1)] is a futuristic battle between good and evil except you can't tell which side is which at the end. [Harry Manners] creates characters that I can see becoming old friends to me much like my favorites. Norman is the most complex since he seems to be stuck in the middle. Things are expected of him but no one is telling him the whole truth. It reminded me of [King's The Stand] and [Stirling's The Change Series]. This is a good thing since they are some of my favorite books. I can not wait to read more of the [Ruin Saga] and get to know these characters better.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bound by Bone by AB Bradley

23316720I really enjoyed [Bound by Bone] by [AB Bradley]. The character of Arthur begins as an anti hero but grows into his own when the situation calls for it and is stronger than even he thought. I like how the Aztec gods were used as well as the Day of the Dead. I often feel these stories are not given enough time, especially since we are on the same continent. This is very much a coming of age novel along the lines of [Riordan]. I will be recommending it to my school library and to many students.

King Ruin by Michael John Grist

23301029[King Ruin] continues the adventures and battles of Ritry and his chord. Just like the first installment the back and forth could get a bit confusing but was easier now that I know the characters. [Michael John Grist] is an incredible story teller and you feel as if you truly are there suffering through the trials with the characters. The overall theme of the book seems to be the battle of good versus evil and one mans own struggle to save his own soul. I look forward to the third installment.

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

16058610I read this book as part of a book club I am in. I really enjoyed the characters but I feel Crandall may have been trying to hard. The concept of a young child's whole concept of the world changing was a strong one though. I would recommend this book to people who like historic fiction.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Nighthawks at the Mission by Forbes West

22663920[Nighthawks at the Mission] by [Forbes West] is a modern day explorer/exploiter story. I feel there was a political statement about colonialism within the novel. It was an interesting read and would have received a higher rating if the characters were more consistent but they all seemed to have multi-personality disorder. I would also like to know more about her sister.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Out of War by Sara Cameron

884882[Out of War] by [Sara Cameron] is the story of the  Children's Movement for Peace in Columbia. It is a non fiction book written for lower readers. The high interest of the topic, especially to many ELL students, will be a help but the way the stories are told is dull and could be written better.

The Only City Left by Andy Goldman

22747592[The Only City Left] by [Andy Goldman] is a nice mix of fantasy and dystopia. The characters were very creative and the setting was fitting. I liked how Allin's goal was to see the 'top of the world' but that changed as he learned more about his past and the city. I definitely would recommend this book.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dystopia by Janet McNulty

20920579[Dystopia] by [Janet McNulty] is a modern version of [1984] and example of when good intentions get caught up in greed and people are too lazy to care. The characters were very well developed as well as their relationships. The whole idea struck me as what people in the old Soviet Union must have felt like. (I am a history nerd.) I feel the message is that no matter what if people are apathetic they will lose what means the most to them and sometimes standing up for what is right can be really hard.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Raven Boy by Kateryna Kei

18360853[Raven Boy] by [Kateryna Kei] was a classic adventure tale. The use of Norse names and, to an extent, mythology added a creative twist to the novel that is often not found in this genre. I would recommend this book to any of my students to read especially if they like adventure and romance.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

War of the Gods, Book 1: Kanati by Jonathan Penroc

22465643I enjoyed the character relationships in [War of the Gods, Book 1: Kanati] by [Jonathan Penroc]. There were points that could have been clarified more but overall it was a good book. I will read the next one in the series.

This is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky

17605483[This is How I Find Her] by [Sara Polsky] was a different take on dealing with mental illness for YA. Instead of the teen struggling with her own mental illness she is struggling with her mom who suffers from it. [Polsky] does a good job showing the struggles of those who love someone who has a mental illness in all different ways. I will be adding this book to my classroom library.

Mirrorfall by Grace McDermott

21209811[Mirrorfall(Require:Cookie Book 1)] by [Grace McDermott] was incredibly fun to read. There were so many side references to other things that some people might not get it was like having an inside joke with the character. Even the title [Require: Cookie] you will not get until you read this book. It is an action adventure for nerds. My favorite by the way was the "Avenue Q" reference. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

War Stories: New Military Science Fiction edited by Jaym Gates and Andrew Liptak

22704234As a military fiction fan and a sci fi fan this was the best of both worlds in one. I loved how most of the stories were from either a LBGT perspective or a female one. Also the various views of war from authors(and in a lot of cases soldiers), from not only different branches but different countries. There were one or two stories that were very difficult to read because their wordiness caused them to be pretentious and drag on(one in particular). Over all though I would recommend this book and would like to see some authors turn the short stories into full length books.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

In The After by Demitria Lunetta

12157407This had a twist I did not see coming! It was a well written YA post apocalyptic story but not what I expected. Since I read A LOT of this genre that is saying something. Well done! It was like the revenge of soylent green for us old or nerdy people(of which I am both). 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Once Upon an Ever After by Angela N. Blount

22305230The amazing adventure of Angeli continues. After her road trip to explore half of America and meet some people from online face to face she returned to Minnesota with a new sense of self, a stronger sense of faith, and a new long distance boyfriend. In [Once Upon an Ever After] [Angela N. Blount] shows that nothing worth having is easy but it doesn't have to be hard as long as you stand by what you know and believe. This is an incredibly well written and well told coming of age novel for today. I highly recommend everyone read [Once Upon A Road Trip] and [Once Upon an Ever After].

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

10365343I really wanted to like this book but it just wasn't there. The concept was good and there were glimmers of great character development but it seemed too much like "World War Z" and "I Am Legend", the movie versions which were not that good. Also the structure of the writing was more ADD than me....KITTY!...Oh, sorry but proves my point. With more structure and personality this books would have been much more enjoyable.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Giver by Lois Lowry

3636As a person who reads as much as I do and loves dystopian fiction it is surprising that I had not read [The Giver] by [Lois Lowry] before now. It has been in my classroom for years and on "my list" but I never got around to it. Now with it coming out as a movie(which I will never see because the book is ALWAYS better), I decided to read it. 

It reminded me of [Fahrenheit 451] by [Ray Bradbury]. The concept of a sterilized society without creativity has been around for a long time. [Lowry] puts the reliance of society's memory on a child. It becomes his responsibility to remember and protect them from their own history. The Sameness is their protection but at what cost?

Overall I enjoyed [The Giver] and hope all my students read it.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fractured Angel by Ken Williams

22839821This book was AMAZING! [Ken Williams] tells the inside story of working with the homeless in the backyard of the rich and famous. In [Fractured Angel] he draws on his own experiences to create a fictionalized account of a social worker, a mother, and a fifteen year old runaway all trying to cope with their demons. [Williams] has a way with storytelling and the empathy he shows for all his characters shows through in his words.

Survivors by James Wesley Rawles

10816296I really have enjoyed both books by [James Wesley Rawles] that I have read. [Survivors] describes people trying to survive and take care of those they care about after an economic collapse. Sadly this is a very conceivable idea. All the main characters were of strong faith and that was in important part of the story but not all were Christian which was a breath of fresh air.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

After The Darkness Omnibus: Episode 1-6 by SunHi Mistwalker

After The Darkness Omnibus: Episodes 1 - 6[After The Darkness Omnibus:Episodes 1-6] by [SunHi Mistwalker] is set in a dystopian world where it is always winter. There are some people of privilege who live fairly comfortably but that can be taken away from you for saying anything bad about the government. Those people are often killed or turned into mindless puppets to serve the higher classes. The story follows the entwining lives of one young girl and the "hunter" with a conscience who capture her and her young sister. The way they fight for life and what is right changes throughout the story. This was an enjoyable read with interesting setting and characters.

Americanisation by Angus Woodward

12369756I was sent [Americanisation] by the author [Angus Woodward] since I had read and reviewed another book of his. This one was much different but just as good. I loved the tone of snarkiness that the author uses to portray "typical" American life from the eyes of a new immigrant. Sadly I don't think it was far from the truth.

I have been lax.

I have been lax in posting but school has started. I have finished 2 books and almost done with a third so hoping I can get the motivation to write the reviews.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Azure by Grant Palmquist

18127883Society is perfect, or at least that is what the citizens of [Azure] are told daily. What they see and experience tells them otherwise. This futuristic novel is a modern day version of [1984]. The government wants to retain control and power so badly they are willing to sacrifice everyone. [Grant Palmquist] creates a eerie prospect of the future.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The London Project by Mark J. Maxwell

22858506If you like classic crime novels or science fiction you must read [The London Project] by [Mark J. Maxwell]. [Maxwell] does a great job creating this hybrid of genres without letting either overpower the other. The characters were people, not aliens or cyborgs. The crimes were real but involved futuristic technology. I look forward to reading books by [Maxwell], hopefully a continuation of the characters stories.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Broken Realms(The Chronicles of Mara Lantern, Book1) by D.W. Moneypenny

22527615I really enjoyed [Broken Realms(The Chronicles of Mara Lantern, Book1)] by [D.W. Moneypenny]. The combination of a real life disasters causing a crossover of dimensions was great. The character of Mara was intelligent and a little on the snarky side. The plot was very character centered and that drove the action. Sometimes there may have been too much detail of events but that was only a speed bump and nothing to really detract from the quality of the book.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bride of a Bygone Way(Beirut Trilogy #2) by Preston Fleming

13081181[Preston Fleming] has quickly become one of my favorite authors. With [Bride of a Bygone War] he hits another home run. The continuing action and intrigue of Beirut in the 1980's is conveyed in a fast paced yet humanistic manner. 

Any fan of spy thrillers or the action adventure genre definitely needs to check [Mr. Fleming] out. I will be awaiting the third installment of the [Beirut Trilogy] and any more works by this exciting author.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Zenith: The First Book of Ascension by Dirk Strasser

21219624[Zenith: The First Book of Ascension] by [Dirk Strasser] has some interesting characters that keeps the story moving. It seems to introduce the idea of light(good) versus dark(evil) along with the quest for enlightenment.

Twin brothers have to go on a journey to the summit of the mountain for enlightenment. The story focuses on one of the brothers journey. I would have liked to read a little about the other brothers struggles. It seemed that the idea of twins went by the wayside.

Overall it was a good fantasy novel that picked up pace as it went on.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mr. Ruins by Michael John Grist

MR-300[Mr. Ruins] by [Michael John Grist] is a mind twisting thriller through the tsunami ravages future. The main character Rit is a diver of minds and the plot goes back and forth between Rit and Me, who is currently on a mission with his "chord". If this sounds confusing, it can be, but this is how the tone is set for this novel and works very well with it. The future world created by [Grist] is one in turmoil and with no promise of a future and he portrays this emotion in his writing.

I look forward to reading more of [Mr. Grist's] books. It was a interesting journey. I recommend it to any fan of science fiction.

{At the time of this review the book is not yet published. It should be out in early August.}