Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Broken Dreamer

I finished reading an e-version of Broken Dreamer by H. Dhillon. I was given a copy in exchange for a review.

This book is a very quick read, on my e-reader it came in at 65 pages. But, WOW what an intense 65 pages!

Without giving anything away, it is the story on a man coming to terms with the direction his life has taken and working to restore his integrity. It is not a lighthearted read by any means, but I think many people will identify with the main character. How many people have looked back on their lives and thought, "this isn't the way I had planned it"? The main character in Broken Dreamer is confronted by life events which force him to ask this question.

Mr. Dhillon wrote this story in an interesting format. It reads almost as a stream-of-consciousness kind of monologue. It is a first person account voiced directly to the reader, I really liked this format. There is a lot of strong language, something I usually am not impressed by. However, in this setting it makes sense. Sometimes emotions are so intense there is no other way to express the depth of despair being experienced. So, be prepared, there are numerous f-bombs dropped.

In the final analysis, Broken Dreamer a powerful redemptive love story. I think it would be hard to not be moved by the journey of the main character.

If you are up for a short, but extremely powerful, few hours, Broken Dreams by H. Dhillon is the ticket. Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Apostates

I was recently given an e-version of The Apostates by LarsTeeney in exchange for an honest review.

I have a lot to say about this book. So, most important; I liked it. It's a great story! It shows what can happen in a society that unquestioningly accepts what its political and religious leaders feed them. I was somewhat  worried when I started the book because the author warned that the reader may be offended by some of the content. Well, I am a Christian and (I believe) a Patriot and I wasn't at all offended, mainly because I don't consider myself to be a mindless recipient of religious or political information. But wait, I'm supposed to be reviewing a book here.

The Apostates is a well told story with compelling characters, it is dark and heavy reading, but considering the topic, I guess that is to be expected. It is a very long book. It took me considerably longer to read than usual. All I'm saying is: Don't pick The Apostates as a quick read that you can plow through quickly, be prepared to spend some time here. That is not a bad thing. The story is worth the time you will spend with it.

I received an early version of the book so I won't focus on editing problems as I expect those either have been, or are in the process of being, corrected. The Apostates is the debut offering by Lars Teeney and reflects some of the difficulties inherent in a new book, so I am willing to look past those errors and focus on the most important question. Is this book worth my precious reading time?

The answer is a resounding, Yes! Mr. Teeney is good at building tension, holding interest, and making the reader be interested in what happens to the characters. As regards the length of the book, I think that the story line relating to WWII could have been a novel in itself. There was enough detail and story there to stand as either a prequel to or companion of the main book. Although interesting and very well written, I don't feel it was essential to the over all flow of the story. I did enjoy this part and am glad I read it. I wouldn't want it to go away, but offered as another book in a series would be better for me.

One thing I forgot; a character in this book drives a 1968 Dodge Charger. Only the greatest car ever made! (Personal opinion, but it's my blog and I can say it if I want.)

Seriously though, The Apostates touches on many genres; history, politics, religion, romance, action adventure, horror, scifi, technology, military, need I go on? It also evokes many and varied emotions as the reader connects with various characters.

A book this long invariably leaves natural openings for sequels. One that screams sequel to me is the story of Angel. I would love to read the continuation of her story (are you listening Mr. Teeney?). There are other characters whose stories would make good reading as well. And, of course the main story is not necessarily finished.

Lars Teeney represents what I love about where I have been led with this blog; a fresh voice with a new focus who doesn't appear to be pumping out stories to satisfy a publisher. I have found that the literary horizon is so much broader that I ever imagined! It is authors like Mr. Teeney and the many others I have reviewed here that have enlightened me. So thank you for that.

As I reread my review here, it seems to me that it reflects the book, I hope that I have adequately shown that The Apostates operates on several levels. When you read this book I expect you will experience it on many levels.

Enjoy The Apostates, I think you will like it.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Re-post: Ebenezer Scrooge: Ghost Hunter

I am re-posting my first review on this blog to help in the event currently under way for Ebenezer Scrooge: Ghost Hunter.

Go to the following link to enter the give away for a $100 gift card from Amazon

Ebenezer Scrooge: Ghost Hunter

Hi! This is the first post at my new blog (I hope it works).

The first book I want to review is Ebenezer Scrooge: Ghost Hunter, by Jaqueline Kyle.

I gave this book 5 stars on goodreads .com. I had entered a giveaway for the book when I found it in the firstreads giveaway. When Ms. Kyle acknowledged my entry, I told her how much a fan I am of any story based on A Christmas Carol. She offered me a pdf copy of the book since it is not yet available in print.

I had the honor of posting the first review of this work. I don't want to repeat word for word the review I posted at goodreads, you can read it there.

But I want to say here; This book is great! Ms. Kyle did such a seamless job of blending her words with Mr. Dickens that I couldn't tell where he left off and she began. She wove new storylines for the characters while remaining true to the original story. For me she made Scrooge a more sympathetic character. She included many of the details which appear in the different film versions of the story.

I read this book start to finish in one day, with only a break for dinner, it is that good. I found the interaction between Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past to be exceptionally exciting, it really grabbed me.

Ebenezer Scrooge: Ghost Hunter is expected to be available September 1, 2015., from PYP Publishing Group.

So, I know the book is not available yet, but watch for it, it will be worth your time.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Stones of Saldea: The Rebirth of Galadrin

Stones of Saldea: The Rebirth of Galadrin by Colin M. Vaughan is another one of those books I won in a First Reads Giveaway, That took me a long time to receive. Apparently the author had some issues at print time that delayed the process. Stuff happens, thanks Colin for following through and getting me my copy.

I thought this was a very good book. It was well written, with just enough humor so that I didn't feel bludgeoned by the story. It's pretty graphic and dark in places. I enjoy "dark" stories, but if they stay in that mode too long they become too oppressive and leave me in a dark mood. Stones... is well balanced. There is humor, as I said, some romance, honor, bravery, duty, loyalty, beauty, and tranquility. Mr. Vaughan does a very good job of balancing these many facets of the story in such a way as to not lose the main thrust of the story: Good vs Evil.

Stones... is the first in a series. I like how the book ended, you know more is coming, but it doesn't leave you hanging. I always like this in a series. If, while reading I get the feeling that I'm going to be left with a cliffhanger, it tends to distract from my over all enjoyment. When the story is left at a more natural breaking point, I finish feeling more satisfied with the story. Personally I think that cliffhangers can be used to cover a weak story. Not always of course, but I think it takes more talent to end an installment of a continuing series without the cliffhanger. This doesn't mean each installment has to be a stand alone by any means. Okay, enough editorializing, back to the review.

Stones... is engaging and entertaining. I really liked the interplay between human and nature. The subplots are interesting and serve to bring the characters alive. It is a multi layered story which kept me involved the whole way. Although the story stresses the alliance of man and animal, I didn't see this as a disguised eco-comment. I appreciate this, I find "disguised" messages annoying and story killing. (There I go again! Sorry!)

Bottom line good book, worth the wait I had. I look forward to the next installments. If you like action/ adventure, humor,and good vs evil in your reading you will certainly enjoy Stones of Saldea: The Rebirth of Galadrin. Enjoy!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Mine

Disclaimer: The Mine by John A. Heldt was given to me in e-form in exchange for a review.

I enjoy most books I review because, lets face it, I chose them. I don't accept books that don't interest me. That said, The Mine is among the books that I have enjoyed reading and reviewing the most.

This kind of surprised me because although I generally enjoy time-travel stories as part of the greater sci-fi genre, they are not what I usually seek out. What I was initially told about this story was enough to pique my interest.

The story went so far beyond that initial interest it's hard to explain. The Mine is so moving, it just captivated me. It starts out as a mostly comic buddy story and evolves along the way into a great love story. As my review guidelines state, I don't review straight romance stories. The Mine is nowhere near a straight romance story. It is light-hearted and  yet deeply serious at the same time. The romance that grows throughout the book is truly a treat to witness.

The main character is faced with a great dilemma; to use or not to use the knowledge of coming events to his advantage. I believe the author strikes a good balance here. The main character also matures as the story progresses. He understands the responsibility inherent in the knowledge he holds.

All of this set in a more innocent and simple time. I wouldn't spoil the ending for anything, but the story sets it up so well that only the most jaded reader would not find it incredibly moving.

If the reader is a fan of comedy, adventure and yes, romance, The Mine is a great way to spend some time. I believe you too will be captivated by a beautifully told story that will make you smile and leave you with a good feeling. Enjoy!


Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Fire Sermon

I won The Fire Sermon as part of a First reads give away quite some time ago but didn't receive it. After contacting Francesca Haig to let her know I finally received the book.

I'm glad I took the effort to track down The Fire Sermon this is a good book! It hooked me emotionally as well as intellectually. A post-apocalyptic story (one of my favorite kinds) which forcefully details the depravity humans can sink to in their treatment of each other.

There is a lot of action, adventure (though that may be a misrepresentation, read terror), intrigue and just plain nastiness. Balancing this (thankfully) are moments of true tenderness, love and compassion. I invite you to read The Fire Sermon for yourself to see how it works out.

I'm unsure if this is meant to be the launch of a series. It does end in a way that allows for such. Not a cliffhanger ending (thank you), but an opening for more. Personally I'd like to read more about these characters.

My biggest criticism would be that the antagonist side of the story is not that detailed. We see in great detail what the protagonist is experiencing and it is very well done. I suppose the story is about her after all, but a little more detail about what her "enemy" is doing would have been nice. The antagonist story is of course there but not in a way that explains it as well.

That said, I still think this is a great book, well written and engaging. My criticism, though valid, did not diminish my over all enjoyment of the story. It kind of worries me that Ms Haig could come up with such a frightening scenario for the future (she seemed like such a nice lady in her bio). Okay, I'm joking, but it is a scary story.

The Fire Sermon is definitely worth your time. Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Walk in Flesh

The e-version of Walk in Flesh by Peter Bailey was given to me in exchange for a review.

The premise of this book is a twist on the usual assassin type story. Neil is an assassin, but the way he works is the twist. (You know I don't do spoilers, so you'll have to read the book to know what the twist is.) Walk in Flesh sci fi with political intrigue and current world events. Political ethics(?) are explored as are fundamental Islamic tradition. Male archetypes are employed to show the conflicts of Neil and how these are exploited.

Walk in Flesh ties all of this into an exciting action/adventure. This is a tight story with a limited number of characters who are integral to the plot. Not a lot of different people to keep track of. I believe this serves the action/adventure format well. The plot can more easily support the action.

I really liked this book! A relatively easy read, it moves along at a rapid pace. It took me on a wild ride of emotions. The sympathetic portrayal of the lead female character was endearing, I couldn't help but root for her.

There is a little bit of psychological drama, but not overpoweringly so. As a retired psychotherapist I don't really care to read books with a heavy psychological plot. Been there done that. Enough here to tell the story without bogging it down.

Peter Bailey did an excellent job of keeping the story focused and moving. I recommend Walk in Flesh to anyone who enjoys action stories, it will keep you involved to the end. Enjoy!


Monday, September 7, 2015

Sword of Honor

Sword of Honor by David Kirk was a first reads giveaway prize.

The historical time of the Samurai has always been a favorite of mine.About thirty-five years ago I studied a form of martial arts. I studied Eishin Ryu Iaido for a few years in Southern California. 

Without being taught his history I was familiar, through my studies, with the name of Miyamoto Musashi. 

Mr. Kirk uses the western form of name presentation; given name/ family name in his book. Although not an impediment to my enjoyment of this book, it never ceased to sound wrong to my ear to have the main character referred to as Musashi Miyamoto instead of the reverse as I learned of him. Kirk does explain this in the intro to Sword of Honor so it can't be counted a error.

This book is great! The glimpse into medieval Japanese society is interesting. 

Without spoiling the story, Musashi is opposed to the Way, Bushido, the subservience of the Samurai to a Lord. This book is fiction, so I can't attest to any historical accuracy related to Musashi's thoughts or actions. The story is exciting and heart-wrenching at the same time. There are several characters forced to deal with self-doubt about how they fit into their world. This makes the story more believable to me, and the various characters more sympathetic. 

Sword of Honor is at once a story of  self-discovery, love, compassion, and cultural evolution, set in a time when personal freedom did not exist. There is plenty of action for those interested in sword fighting. The author does a good job of describing how the katana is used in combat.

The copy I was given is a bound galley, so I assume the few typos I encountered either have or will soon be corrected.

Sword of Honor will be enjoyed by anyone interested in the time period, the culture of medieval Japan, or just coming of age stories. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think you will too. Enjoy!


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Even Peons are People: Interplanetary Justice

I have just finished reading Even Peons are People: Interplanetary Justice in an e-book format.
I was given this book in exchange for a review.

Even Peons are People: Interplanetary Justice is a combination of several genres; space sci-fi, action adventure, murder mystery,military, legal and political intrigue. And well combined I might add.

The author using the name D-PAK has crafted quite an interesting tale. Lots of drama and action with a healthy dose of mystery as well. We know who done it, how he done it and where he done it, but we don't know why he done it. That is the crux of the story.

There are word spellings  and one particular sex scene that point to D-PAK'S UK roots. But that is just an observation, nothing really to do with the story.

There are several twists and turns as one would expect with a politically based mystery. I read the second half of the book in one sitting. The pace and excitement kept building to the climax, keeping me riveted to the story. The main characters built in complexity as the story progressed and were well developed by the end.

Constructive (I hope) criticisms; First, I trust this version is not the final edit as there were more than a few typo type errors. Second, there were a lot of notes explaining unfamiliar words and tech labels.This in itself was not a problem. It may just be that I am not well versed in using the e-format, but trying to go to the end of the book and find the note then get back to the story was difficult for me. I ended up not reading the notes. Those are the only things that jumped out at me. Again, this may just be my inexperience and would not bother anyone else.

It is a very enjoyable read, and I highly recommend it to readers of the genres I listed. Definitely a read worthy book. I think you will enjoy it!