Posts Tagged ‘Book Reviews’

Clovers by Samira Review

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I received a free copy of Clovers by Samira in exchange for my honest opinion.  You can find her novel here.  This will be a (mostly) spoiler free review.

Clovers by Samira is certainly a unique novel.  It’s the story that would have happened if Douglas Adams and James Joyce got together.  It reads like a side story in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, but would certainly be written in the style of Finnegans Wake.

Clovers isn’t for everyone, let me get that out of the way.  The author “Samira” uses a vocab heavy, alliterative, and disconnected style.  As an author myself I wish I had nearly the talent she does in putting lesser known vocab together.  The style the book is written is going to detract a lot of people from diving into the complete story.  It requires patience, imagination, and likely a dictionary.

That doesn’t make it a bad book by any means.  The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is one of my favorite novels of all time.  James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake was fascinating…if impossible.

The story itself is about culture, it only takes about an hour to read, and its worth it for those looking into something that will challenge them!

Error Code by R.K. Howard Review

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I was provided a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.  This review will be (mostly) spoiler free.  Please find out more about R.K. Howard here.

R.K. Howards Error Code feels like an episode in what should be a longer novel.  He introduces two dynamic characters with a lot of personality and just as soon as you’re beginning to really get behind them…it’s over.  Thankfully he set it up for future sequels, which is good because the story he crafts is excellent.

A husband and wife CIA team are on a mission, but not one from the CIA.  They have personal goals, vendettas, and ideology that they want to push onto the world in order to make it a better place.  The over arching theme isn’t that unique, but the characters within and who they are definitely are.

The wife is the star of the novel.  She is a sassy, clever woman with a dark side.  The husband is ex-special ops and has just the right amount of patience and virtue to keep her in check.  The entire story takes place within their home (mostly, they go out once) and revolves around a couple of a-typical bad guys.  This keeps the pace moving and the environment tight.

I do have a couple of (minor) gripes including the woman’s catchphrases.  She uses the term ‘anyfanny’ A LOT and by the end of the novel its cutesy appeal is gone.  She also reads like a woman written by a man who respects women but has never been one.  Howard does a great job portraying the main character, but misses a couple of steps trying to get into the trials and tribulations of ‘womanhood’ but not in a disrespectful way.  It read like an outsider looking in instead of an insider looking out.  She was still an exceptional character though and by all rights should one day be played by Melissa McCarthy.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in action, spies, thrillers, or comedies.  It’s a nice genre blend.

Review of Hokey Pokey Pirates by Peyton King (Guest Starring Azrael Hiler)

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I was provided a free copy of Hokey Pokey Pirates in exchange for my honest opinion.  This will be a (mostly) spoiler free review.  Please find more about Peyton King’s work here.

As you may know my six year old son reviews children’s books.  He had a glowing review for Hokey Pokey Pirates by Peyton King!

Azrael’s Review

The book was fun and I didn’t know that there were coloring pages!  I’m going to use my imagination and pretend that I’m riding on the pirate ship.  I have a cousin named Lexie like in the book I enjoyed that.  Lexie in the book is bossy.  The Hokey Pokey is a fun dance, Lexie and Charlie taught the pirates how to do it.  I think when the kids grow up the pirates will still know the song the way that they knew it from their grandma.  The pictures were pretty cool.  I would give it 5 stars!

Dylan’s Review

I like letting my 6 year old son review the children’s books, after all he’s the target audience.  Azrael was engaged in this book, which is pretty rare amongst the children books that don’t rhyme.  He liked the concept of pirates and actively did the Hokey Pokey with the characters.  I don’t think he grasped the wider meaning of the book, reminscince and values passed down, but that’s okay.  The only real quip I had was the pictures didn’t match the narrative.  There was a scene talking about pirate peg legs, parrots, and swords that didn’t show in the book at all.  Otherwise, good work by Peyton King.

Anne Montgomery’s ‘A Light In The Desert’ Is An Intriguing Look At PTSD

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I was provided a free copy of ‘A Light In The Desert’ in exchange for my honest opinion.  This will be a (mostly) spoiler free review.  Please find more of Anne Montgomery’s and her work here.

Anne Montgomery’s novel ‘A Light In The Desert’ is based on a true story.  I think that part is important because of how well researched the event as well as the area surrounding is.  The story itself is ‘small’ and what I mean by that is it only encompasses a couple of key characters in a small town.  The way that Montgomery paints the portrait of this environment and these people is precise and detailed.  It can be a little ‘academic’ at moments.  The average reader may have to look up a few words, but it’s worth diving into the dictionary.  …or the internet.

The most interesting character (in my opinion) in the novel was Jason Ramm, a veteran suffering from pretty intense PTSD.  He has settled in a small town trying to achieve some normalcy in his life when things get twisted upside down by a domestic terrorism incident.  Jason Ramm could be Jason Bourne in one of his many minor adventures.  He’s engaging but intelligent, suffering but charismatic, gentle but dangerous.

One of the more interesting twists in ‘A Light In The Desert’ is that it is split in two, with wildly different takes on the story happening around the characters.  As soon as you get comfortable with one set of characters another set, equally engrossing, dives in.  There is a lot of religious overtone in the story but presented in a realistic and digestable way.  Just as soon as it seems to be getting over the top or preachy it knocks the zealotry back to the ground with characters who think along the same lines as everyday people.

I do have some minor quips, the other main character, a pregnant teenager, is not nearly as interesting as Ramm.  Not underdeveloped, just not engaging.  A couple of side characters run along the lines of a stereo-type, but it doesn’t detract from the story.  The ending was a little abrupt, but only because Jason Ramm took a back seat.

Overall I enjoyed the novel and would recommend people interested in emotionally driven tales that doesn’t require romantic undertones to read it!

Scared of the Dark by Caroline Thornton – Children’s Book – Review

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Scared of the Dark Review

I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review done my son Azrael Hiler – Age 6

I thought that it helped kids
and let them know that nobody
has to be afraid of the dark because
there’s no monsters that live
on earth. I think that monsters,
or aliens, don’t belong here.
I think the book is really colorful.
I think it was a pretty book.
I like rhyming because it’s kind
of cool to me. And I think that
the book was a pretty awesome book
and that other kids will like it.

I think that bats, and noise, like
banging on the floor is scary.
I think that book is really cool.

I think that big kids might not like
it, but I think that they would
really get into it and like it in
the end. I think that if big kids
dreamed about it they might be scared.

I think that younger kids would really
like this book because it might help
them not be scared. Although the book
might scare them.

I recommend 5 stars! The End.

Dylan Review –

Caroline T writes a memorable and
fun children’s book in the spirit
of Dr. Seuss. I’m a sucker for
rhyming books and the good Doctor.

There were a couple of words that 7
and below may not fully understand
but it’s okay because I would recommend
this book be read aloud not alone.
In my opinion almost all rhyming books
should be read aloud.

The pictures were a little unimaginative, but
they captured my 6 year olds interest
so who am I to judge?

Azrael is the one who matters here and
he loved it! I would highly recommend it.

Anthony David Mitchell’s ‘Who You Work For’ is a Good Intro to the Thomas Moore Series

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I’ve been provided a free copy of ‘Who You Work For’ in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

This review will be mostly spoiler free.

Anthony Mitchell’s ‘Who You Work For’ is an interesting tale about a rough around the edges character that was a better fit in a different time and age. Thomas Moore is an assassin who was trained and developed by his father ‘Partner’. The novel is mostly set in the small town in which Moore lives and the changes his life suddenly makes.

‘Who You Work For’ is a mixed bag, it’s either a two or four star depending on the readers preference of genre. It reads a lot like a Coen Brothers meet Quentin Tarantino movie. There is a lot of unique dialogue and intense action sequences. That said, true to Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino style it has characters that don’t fit the time period and pacing that is sometimes hard to get behind. If the reader is a fan of these types of films/novels then they will likely be a fan of this novel. If the reader is not a fan of this style I would avoid it, not because it’s poorly written, but because stylistically it will wear you down.

I happen to enjoy those styles so I enjoyed the story. The biggest flaw in my opinion was the main character himself, Thomas Moore. He reads like a less interesting version of ‘Dexter’ and I don’t think that was intentional. There is a lot of internal thought processes but the character is both fearful and neurotic and it is difficult for him to interact with the everyday world. Sometimes inconsistently he interacts with the everyday world too well. This causes a rift in his characterization. He did grow on me through time, but it was hard to get behind him in the beginning.

The rest of the characters in the novel were well developed and interesting. They had motives and backgrounds that were engaging and lead the reader to want to know more about them. The small town setting was well developed and felt appropriately intimate and judging. The overall story was encompassing and well thought out. The ending was a bit quick but it is part of a series so I found it an adequate way to end the tale. Thomas Moore goes through a lot of emotional, logical, and physical trials and tribulations throughout the story so I am interested to see what happens in the next novel!

The 13th Paragon by C.A. Bryers Review

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The Odyssium World Opens With a Strong Action Adventure Tale!

I received a free copy of The 13th Paragon Part 1 Scrapper in exchange for an unbiased review.

This review will be mostly spoiler free – C.A. Bryers introduced us to a believable sea-faring post-post-apocalyptic world. I got the sense that Odyssium was once a technological marvel of mankind that was reduced to ashes. This isn’t where the story starts though, the story starts generations later when mankind has pulled themselves back together. Mostly. I enjoyed the way that the author peppered history into the novel without bogging the narrative down in it. Sometimes the history was subtle and other times it was blatant but it was never in the way.

Bryers also introduces several likable characters on what I would consider an engaging action/adventure story. There are several scenes of action that are well written that drive the narrative forward. He knew when to slow it down though and let the reader breathe again. A majority of the novel follows the character Salla Saar the captain of the Mayla Rose which is essentially a scavenger. An…active scavenger. Salla is an interesting character that is fun to follow. He isn’t your typical action hero but he does reflect courage in unique ways. His crew was also fun and playful in a believable way. Each member of the Mayla Rose made you want to learn more about them.

Wanting to learn more about them was one of the few issues I had with the novel. The characters, although written well, were one-dimensional. The feisty woman, the big best friend, the mysterious stranger, etc… It didn’t detract from the story, but Bryers did such a great job of building his world I hoped he would have found more time to develop his characters. About 3/4’s of the way through the book the most interesting characters fade away. It makes sense as you read it, but was disappointing to see them pushed away. I imagine they’ll be back for the sequel though.

The only other major issue I had with the novel was the antagonist(s). Their motivations never went further than we’re evil/mad for the sake of being evil/mad. It also seems that the world is quite ignorant to the massive amount of resources that have to be being used toward their shadowy organization. We see this in movies and other novels frequently, especially action/adventure, but I would have liked to see more dynamism in regards to the bad guys.

Overall I enjoyed the novel and look forward to reading the second in the series!

You can find a copy to purchase here

 

Joanna Bardsley’s The Memory of Blue Sky is a Successful Undertaking of a ‘Close-apocalyptic’ World

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The Memory of Blue SkyThe Memory of Blue Sky by J.M. Bardsley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Memory of Blue Sky

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Spoiler-Free – Bardsley’s The Memory of Blue Sky is a gigantic undertaking. Setting up a ‘close-apocalyptic’ world requires a great amount of detail and creativity. Thankfully Bardsley had this in droves. The Earth is in a bad way and author-ess Bardsley manages to keep the story relevant to its setting while maintaining a sense of nostalgia from a better time. The novel is a Science Fantasy that has elements of romance organically weaved in. The core cast of characters are well developed and human. They have flaws, fears, goals, and strengths that are realistic and engaging.

For those familiar with the series Final Fantasy this could be an epic chapter in its creative universe. The Memory of Blue Sky is by no means a fan fiction and is original content. I could not help but draw parallels between Bardsley’s world and Final Fantasy’s, in the best of ways.

The novel length can be intimidating to the average reader but Bardsley does a good job keeping the reader engaged and wanting to move forward. That said, with the incredible attention to detail on the world and the core cast’s interactions with it the ending did feel a bit rushed. If this series were to continue it would seem more complete, but it kind of comes to a screeching halt. If Bardsley would have peppered elements of the end throughout the second half of the story a little more it would have increased the amount of tension.

I am a firm believer that it is an author’s job to tell a story, it is an editor’s job to fix it. The Memory of Blue Sky was in need of a once or twice over from a professional editor. It is a HUGE undertaking and needed more time with a critical eye. I usually don’t like to pick on editing issues but they were noticeable. However the tale itself was well done and that is what matters more. Those that are a fan of Science Fantasy will eat this novel up. It will be a more difficult read for those not familiar with non-modern fiction. The world is created from scratch and those looking for a more ‘pure earth’ setting will be found scratching their heads on occasion.

I enjoyed The Memory of Blue Sky and with a critical round of editing it would get five stars!

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Olivia Mason-Charles ‘Paper In The Wind’ Is a Touching Tale About the Struggles of Autism

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Paper in the Wind: Peeling back the lifespan of autism in the wake of tragedyPaper in the Wind: Peeling back the lifespan of autism in the wake of tragedy by Olivia Mason-Charles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Olivia Mason-Charles manages to craft a tale that comes straight from the podium of a support group. In a good way. One can imagine the main character, the father of a girl with severe autism, giving a speech in front of dozens of people that know, are trying to raise, or are themselves people afflicted by autism. It is also the perfect length for this type of powerful speech. The story moves at an appropriate pace, goes over the crucial details, and still manages to bring forth a tale of strength and perseverance.

At first the father’s attitude was draining, until I was able to ‘diagnose’ it. The man suffers (in my opinion) from a case of PTSD. Spoiler free, I think hearing his tale, knowing that about him, will make it even more enjoyable.

The life of the father and his daughter Alexa was not a particularly easy, or pleasant one for most of their days. How they interact with one another, their friends, and their family is meaningful. It evolves. It is vivid. I would recommend this book to any fan of any genre. It’s a quick read and has a subtle power to it. Everyone can take something from it.

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