Friday, August 24, 2018

The Coyote

The Coyote: A Motivational Novel

I was given an e-copy of The Coyote by Steven Georgiou for review.

I've been stewing for several days about how to frame my review. I am somewhat fussy abut what I accept to review, I only accept books I think I will enjoy. I wanted to enjoy this one, it's the mindset I went in with.

So, here's the problem: The Coyote needs a lot of work. The coming of age story of Raki (The Coyote) is a good concept. But the story seems to be trying to talk to several different age groups at the same time. Not an impossible feat, but it didn't work well here. Beginning the book I though "this is a book I would have to read to my grandchildren" (the book was represented to me to be a children's book) because some of the language would be beyond their understanding. At times the vocabulary is more appropriate to a teen audience at best. Okay, not the end of the world.

Next, the story was highly repetitive, repeating backstory on characters way too much, even for young readers, got to be a bit tedious. 

The Coyote offers itself as "motivational". I didn't really see this until the final 10% or so of the story, and I was looking for it.

Of the hundreds of books I have reviewed I have only not finished one, at 40% complete I decided to add this one to that short list. It was just getting too hard to read. I actually put it down for a couple of days and started to read something else. Well, I happened to get a Goodreads notification from a friend whose opinion I greatly respect who "liked" that I was reading The Coyote. So I decided to give it another shot.

Sad to say for me it was a real grind. The climax was very disappointing. The story continuously hinted at the big confrontation to come and it, for me, fell flat. The resolution was just kind of an afterthought. The epilogue did not bring resolution to many of the side stories. It was the most disappointing for me.

What I came away with was the belief that what this book needs is an editor, and proofreaders. An editor could smooth out the rough and clunky spots and temper the redundancy ("ascended up the path"). Proofreaders would catch the mistakes (several) like random words inserted in sentences where they don't belong.

With good editing this could be a fun read. I like that the author wrote a full length book, long enough to really develop the story line. I also like that he didn't necessarily talk down to his audience, although he was guilty of over explaining at times.

I am more than willing (hoping) to find that I was sent an early draft of the story by mistake, It has happened in the past more than once. Easy to happen where computer files are involved. 

I truly hope such is the case here, because as it was presented to me, I can't work up much enthusiasm for this book.


Monday, August 6, 2018


Paradise: A Michael Quinn Short Story

Author Kevin Scott Olson provided a print copy of Paradise for review.

Another entry in the Michael Quinn series. Mr Olson continues to give readers exciting vignettes in this ongoing series. I've read most of the available titles (one is out of print, drat!). Paradise is tight, well written and engrossing. 

The problem? I want more (this one was only 35 pages, 35 great pages but I want more!). In the words of one of Michael Quinn's professional colleagues (a Mr. Bond played by Pierce Brosnan), "enough foreplay". Michael Quinn is a strong enough character to support a series of full length books. We have seen this in Night of the Bonfire. Please Mr. Olson, "May I have more"?

Length aside, a good read. Enjoy!


Dion: A Tale Of The Highway

Dion: A Tale of the Highway

Author Jonathan Maas gifted me this book a while back without expectation of a review, but hey it's what I do.

Dion: A Tale Of The Highway; what to say about this book. It totally blew me away! I personally like stories of a lone character on a quest, it speaks to my favorite fantasy of being the "last man on earth".

There are so many things going on in this simple precept: a lone man being forced to "Drive until this road ends, and then drive some more" (pg 24). 

Our hero doesn't remember who he is or why he is where he is, but he has some wild encounters along his way. In the beginning, the book started to sound like a treatise on climate change and I got a bit worried (not my kind of story), but it quickly left that tone behind. 

Dion: A Tale Of The Highway is pure fantasy, with so many underlying themes that those readers who enjoy dissecting such things will find a treasure trove here. We have the mythology of ancient gods, currant social conditions, far-flung cosmic connections, philosophy and the full range of human emotion.

I did figure out who Dion was early on, which tells me it was probably no great secret to begin with. Sherlock Holmes I'm not (but then a blind squirrel does find an acorn now and then, right?).

The writing is so evocative that I could watch the story unfold completely in my minds eye (since the title of my blog is "Theater of the Mind", this is right in my wheelhouse).

Dion goes to Hell and back (repeatedly) to complete the quest. There are various factions vying to control the outcome of his quest and Dion struggles with figuring out who is actually right. Author Maas does an incredible job of weaving together so many different ideas, emotions, and agendas into a coherent and wildly entertaining tale.

Having read Mr. Maas' two City of Gods books and enjoying them thoroughly (I gave them 5 stars each), I was stunned by Dion: A Tale Of The Highway, it caught me completely off-guard.  It breaks from City's mold and is such a strong story I have to say it is my favorite Jonathan Maas book so far. In fact I will go so far as to say it makes my top ten favorite books. When I had around fifty pages left to read, I actually forced myself to stop for the night. I just didn't want it to end. I prolonged my time in his world one more day.

Okay, enough gushing. Dion: A Tale Of The Highway by Jonathan Maas is an incredible read and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys mythic fantasy. You will not be disappointed! Enjoy!