BOOK REVIEW: A terrific action adventure told by a natural storyteller. The artwork is excellent and wonderfully apt for the feel of the story. The graphic violence here is offhandedly dealt with, and it works. It’s just normal for these ninjas to fight, shed blood and kill. Incorporating that into a story about a bunch of kids was handled with just the right, low level of sensationalism. The individual characters were fun and interesting. Spending time in each of their heads makes for excellent reading and was definitely the best way to tell this tale. A handful of misfits trained, tested in battle and building into a tough little fighting force with an unknown mystic power on their side, their foes beaten but not defeated and planning their next move… Great stuff!
BOOK REVIEW: Good versus evil, but wait a minute – not so simple. Two victims of bullying suddenly being bestowed with awesome powers… What better test of character and inner strength than to see how they each respond? How these two youths are transformed (or not) by this ‘gift’ is handled in an intelligent and complex way. Understanding the origin and ultimate purpose of this force is shaping as an intriguing supernatural thriller. One aspect of this power I’m finding particularly interesting is the sensing/exposing/manipulating of people’s emotions, and how this sword is double edged, with the loss of control happening inwardly as well. This volume ends in a blaze of action – the scene set for who-knows-what next… The main characters here are young adults, but I’d recommend a youthful spirit of adventure is all that’s needed to enjoy this story.
BOOK REVIEW: The princess of good trekking across the kingdom to battle the darkness of evil. This is a well tried concept and is handled wonderfully right here in a fast moving tale. If you don’t spend a lot of reading time in fantasy, you can need just the right balance of description and action to hold your interest. It’s a completely foreign world, so you need to be informed of the surroundings. The characters are often creatures, so you need plenty of detail about who and what they are. I find it easy to get bogged down in all this description in fantasy stories, but that didn’t happen with The Darkness Of Gold. Not at all. I found the characters to be intriguing and the scenery vivid, yet the story moved quickly and kept me very much interested and in anticipation of what would come next. I ended up with an impression of a richly three dimensional kingdom, with a lot to the story remaining mysterious and untold. The different kinds of communities briefly encountered were fascinating and offered adventures for the imagination well beyond the scope of this quest. You find yourself wondering what was going on there as you’re passing by. I liked that. The action scenes were quite powerful and, again, vivid. I think the romantic element was sweet and in just the right proportion with the rest of the plot. I didn’t pick the ending. That was a good twist… To an occasional fantasy reader, this was quite a good Sunday’s entertainment.
BOOK REVIEW: Brooding, sinister, atmospheric…The feel of this book takes me back to the musty halls of the Hermitage Museum and the iron curtain mentality of the real Russia that still smoulders today. We are expertly pulled into this mood chapter one and never really get to crawl up out of it. The characters and plot – the mystery of Brodsky – kind of tumble in on top of us, abstract and disjointed at first, building and tightening as we crawl through the maze (walk the endless corridors of The Hermitage, the towering portraits of lives past eyeballing us)…. Yes, I found the setting here to be tremendously powerful. The mystery itself is classy and intelligent, and develops into a killer of a finale…. Try this one if you like your art-heist thrillers to be gritty, real, and steeped in history.
BOOK REVIEW: Interesting, believable characters and a fascinating look into history and ancient culture. This intriguing thriller pulls you in and builds steadily. It’s the kind of story that gets you thinking – calls on your intellect while stringing you along. The climax is hard hitting, the resolution warm and satisfying. As with all detective stories, you need a strong, likable lead character. Juan Morales works!
BOOK REVIEW: Full-on wit and intrigue… Standouts in this novel are the realistic characters and their dialogue, and an intelligent plot. The club of old men at the centre of things seem ordinary and innocuous. You are fascinated by their interactions and their minds, but you wonder where it’s all leading. You are actually pulled quite unsuspectingly into the intrigue – or perhaps it’s a case of the characters being so interesting and well written that you are distracted from the plot and freshly surprised by the way it steadily builds and escalates into a powerful political thriller. Yes, the strength of both the plot and the characters are quite impressive. I’d highly recommend this novel to readers who like an intellectual challenge to go with their serving of wit, humour and suspense.
BOOK REVIEW: I like the Braxians. From the opening scenes of this story it’s easy to imagine them. An alien race enslaved by humans. It’s easy to get on board with their plight and cheer for them. The conflict here is the kind that immediately pulls you into the fictional universe depicted. What transpires from there is a pretty good thriller and an excellent romance. We are given plenty to satisfy the appetite in this fast paced, action packed episode, and where we end up feels like it’s just the beginning. Classic sci-fi romance with a good serve of intrigue.
BOOK REVIEW: Assuming we don’t wipe ourselves out one way or another, what will the world be in 600 years? What will be our social structure? In what way will technology have advanced? Rune Logic is not far-fetched. The subtle descriptions and clever dialogue have us spending time in a world that is very believable. There is a range of well developed, highly identifiable characters around us. We are led on an adventure where pure logic clashes with emotion on a personal level as well as on a scale where millions of non-conforming citizens may need to be subtly done away with. This is a good read.
BOOK REVIEW: Meanwhile, in another corner of the universe… This sci-fi setting is like real. It’s actually quite brilliantly understated. When imagining the universe being depicted here, it’s as if there’s nothing to prove – as if it’s just a matter of fact that this place exists and we all know it. This is a powerful human drama and romance set elsewhere, not on Earth…. The depth in the story itself is also impressive. We can easily imagine the prequel, which would be potentially even more intense and dramatic. I quite enjoyed joining in at the tail end of a story, with lives already blown apart, and seeing everything come together…. An intelligent and nicely constructed read.
BOOK REVIEW: No BS. Straight shooting! Anyone able to match the clarity and concision of this guide in an approach to online freelancing would be well on their way to success. I read this with an open mind, thirsty for an understanding of what opportunities might exist in the field for me in semi-retirement. What I took from the book was a YES, but that there are no shortcuts. This step-by-step instruction manual identifies the pathway to establishing a potentially successful online freelancing business, detailing what you’re going to need in terms of attitude, approach and skill. It gave me the sense that the author has already pioneered the pathway and is shining a light to follow – that whilst there are no shortcuts, there are long, unnecessary and costly detours to be avoided. Every word is entirely believable and starkly logical. There’s a hell of a lot here that makes me want to know and learn more.
BOOK REVIEW: Cards on the table…Not being any kind of expert on marriage, it’s hard to say whether the topics addressed in this guide are comprehensive. They strike me as a package of important and useful things to know about your partner. Through open communication, you get to know each other better. I like the notion put forward here, that when you and your partner encounter one of the typical issues in marriage, you will be better equipped to address it if you have built a foundation by having previously discussed it. Sitting down together and opening up about a defined list of difficult and possibly embarrassing topics is obviously a useful exercise in itself – learning to communicate. This makes perfect sense. This book makes perfect sense.
BOOK REVIEW: What I take from Soul Searching is simplicity. Not that nature and human nature are anything short of vastly complex – but that the key is always simplicity. To stop and feel the truth settle over you. To give in to the simplicity of nature’s will… Of course, it is often so hard to see things clearly in life. This series of wise and insightful poems offer a lot of hope and comfort. They also ask some very meaningful questions.
Here are a list of my favourites: Board Game. No Regrets. Who Says? Old Soul. A Promise. Seasons of life. Forgive us Mother. The Whisperer.
And the individual ideas that intrigued me most:
Go on and Seek: Go on, dare yourself and then do. Your life owes it to you.
Nature’s Songs: The richness of a dark starry night. Silence, yet pregnant with promises of a new day….
Death: Her life she had lived it well, no soul she had hurt no lies did she tell.
Heartbeats: But feelings have a home in our hearts, good or bad.
Innocence: Touching in its simplicity.
Rewind Button: We cannot undo the moment that just passed.
The Well of Hope: She looks up, tired eyes searching for respite. Dried out clouds offer her no hope, no shade.
Rain: Finally it rained and the earth drank its fill.
Hope: Hope has left her heart. A place too dark for it to survive.
Seasons of Life: The soul, too tired to remember its past. Now sits in the dark, awaiting a new chapter.
Self Acceptance: Self acceptance can grow in the rockiest of gardens.
Self Acceptance: Your life meant just for you, and no other.
The Whisperer: The one that makes the glitter in gold. Overshadow everything else in the world.
BOOK REVIEW: Brilliance brilliantly presented… The title of this book is spot on. Inspiration and wisdom indeed. More of both than any one of us could probably consume in a lifetime. So what becomes important here is the layout and presentation, which is five star… Pick a field of knowledge from the table of contents. Click on it, flip a page or two, read a quote and soak in the brilliance of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Back to the TOC and click another…. This is a terrific selection of quotes, laid out and presented simply and intelligently. What a great pocket book to fill a spare moment here and there and get you thinking.
BOOK REVIEW: I’m just going to lead in with a word or two about Chapter 5: Lord Of Devil’s Night. Let’s make it two words: frigging awesome… Overall this is a varied line-up of creepy and erotic stories with a sometimes conversational tone that adds clever subtlety. Ratz in the Machine tells us to beware the nerdy nice guy, and has a surprising and quite brilliant shift from erotic to horrifying. The Hangin’ Tree, almost poetic, takes you down deep and has you wondering. The Bag Snatchers is freaky, imaginative, and nails the spirit of All Hallows Eve. Voices is the creepy, atmospheric one of the bunch, and A Grim Tribute is grim alright. It’s a seriously twisted tribute to a fairy tale that was little-kid-scary already. But getting back to Lord Of Devil’s Night… You know how it’s so great when you are right inside the characters head? Well perhaps you won’t want to be inside this particular guy’s head but you don’t have any choice. You’re pulled in and forced to experience a blend of eroticism and pain that is thematic metaphor on overload. And… well… good luck with that.
BOOK REVIEW: This story has a lot going for it in a number of ways. Awesome detail and imaginative ideas create a tangible and believable fantasy world – believable enough to pull you out of the real world that is. The heroine and hero both rock. You’re on their side from the start (although they’re on opposite sides) and you’re right there with them when all seems lost at the end. The emotional journey here is expertly crafted. It’s simple and true – a wonderful exposé of the power of love, including the flavours of lust and physical pleasure. The overall idea is tantalising with a touch of humour – life in the Men’s Tent looks pretty good to me… way to be imprisoned:) This is a captivating tale with an ending that tops everything I’ve mentioned so far.