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.