Monday, January 23, 2017

Othello Greene: The Story Begins

I was given a print copy of Othello Greene: The Story Begins  by Anthony H. Baltimore SR. for review.

This review is going to be somewhat different, I think, because for me Othello Greene: The Story Begins operates on several different levels, some of which I am not well versed in.

First and foremost the overarching theme of the story is action/adventure. Beyond that, the story also has a strong story line of Islamic belief. It also focuses on young love and Washington DC area black society and culture.

Being a white christian male living in the northwest mountains, it is clear that many of these thematic concepts are not within my particular area of expertise. I did however, in my career work with many black people and they never asked to be called African-American, so there it is. My use of the words 'black people" is not meant with any disrespect. Never the less my purpose for doing reviews is to share my reactions to the books I read. So here goes.

The over all story is great. Not mincing words, it is a strong, action oriented story. Technology, political intrigue, evil-want-to-take-over-the-world bad guys, several heroes (one main one: Othello), innocent victims, torture, sex, romance, all the things a good action story contains. The bad guys are just that; bad guys. Their political, religious or cultural identity is not the issue, they're evil and bent on world domination.

I was concerned when first offered a copy, that Othello Greene: The Story Begins was going to be a veiled propaganda piece for Islam (I don't care to read propaganda for any belief, including my own). Happily, this story is not that. Yes, the author is Muslim and presents Islam positively, but it is in the greater context of the story. Were it propaganda, I think I would have found insults or at least disrespect for Christianity and other religions mixed into the story. Not so.

A major portion of the characters are middle to upper class people located in the DC area. They are predominantly black, with a few white characters here and there. Obviously, as a 60+ year old white guy, I can't speak to authenticity of the culture presented. Again nothing offensive to any culture here. It seemed to me to be a mix of Boyz in the Hood, Leave it to Beaver and The Cosby Show. This is where the young love and much of the romance comes in.

This book is fairly long; 771 pages to be exact. Although no specific mention is made of follow up books, the title pretty much confirms it ...The Story Begins is a pretty good hint.

This book is also...BRUTAL. Very graphic scenes of brutality, well beyond the usual found in action stories. Also, very graphic scenes of sexuality, fortunately for me, consensual. I don't do well with rape or abuse of women.

The biggest negative for me? The usual, typos. Not misspellings but wrong words; form instead of from, where instead of were, for example. Perhaps a consequence of the length of the book, these mistakes became more prevalent as the story progressed. As I have said many times, not the end of the world, but disruptive to the flow of the story.

For a story that fell well outside my personal frame of reference I found Othello Greene: The Story Begins by Anthony H. Baltimore SR. a very engaging, action packed, read. Be prepared to spend some time with it, it is not a quick read. But if you like action, and all the things that go with it, you'll like this book. Enjoy!


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Melody's Key

Author Dallas Coryell provided me with an e-version of Melody's Key for review.

Melody's Key is your basic romance tale. We have our heroine, Tegan, tragically damaged in a previous relationship able to find true love. Basic premise.

The story is of course in how she is able to find and accept love again.

It is a nice heartwarming tale to be sure. If it were a movie it would be on Hallmark. There are plenty of bumps along the way to a satisfying conclusion (we know they belong together, but when will they see it?).

I don't usually read straight-up romance, it's just not my preferred genre. But I have to admit, Melody's Key is a pretty good story. Youngish love, building sexual tension, emotional healing, humor, tragedy, and even some silliness.

Positives: smart characters, intricate story line, with twists that are not necessarily predictable, good guys and bad guys, love and loyalty.

Negatives: a few unresolved issues. Why was Madison at the concert? How did Dad deal with the big news bomb?

I won't go so far as to say that Melody's Key by Dallas Coryell has made me into an all out romance fan, but I will say it is a good read, and true fans of the genre will find it very entertaining. Enjoy!


Friday, January 6, 2017

Vincent, Survivor: An Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy Thriller (Vincent Series Book 1)

I was given an e-copy of Vincent, Survivor: An Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy Thriller (Vincent Series Book 1) by O. L. Eggert for review.

Vincent, Survivor... was right up my escapist, apocalyptic alley; a group of average people trying to survive an extinction level event. This extinction level event is very different from the norm. No plague, no evil corporations, not even any zombies (by the accepted definition anyways).  Not really a spoiler; we are under attack by mythical beings.

There are many twists and turns in this story. The question is: Who can you trust when the excrement hits the oscillating appliance? Almost no one it would appear. Our hero, Vincent, is basically a jerk (insert a stronger adjective here if you wish, you won't be wrong) and unlike other such stories, he does not really overcome this negative aspect of his personality throughout the book. I personally did not think it was part of his rough, anti-establishment charm, he was just a jerk.

Vincent, Survivor... author O. L. Eggert keeps the action level high, the story doesn't lag at all. The twists add a touch of mystery for the reader to try and figure out.

The negative you may be asking yourself at this point? The language. The use of F-bombs (or derivatives thereof) do not particularly bother me, the overuse of them does. It just isn't necessary to the story. I'm not saying erase them all, they did set a tone and develop some of the characters, but excessive use doesn't help the flow.

As the full title tells us, Vincent, Survivor... is the first installment in the Vincent Series. It is a good start to a continuing story, and language aside, I am interested in reading more. Who knows? Maybe Vincent will mellow out over successive entries (but I kind of doubt it).

Graphic violence, minimal sex (talk mostly), mythic beings (good and bad), love and loss, and a mostly angry hero make up a very entertaining read. O. L. Eggert has started a good series with Vincent, Survivor: An Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy Thriller. Enjoy!