Book Review “Fox In The City” Daniel Cabrera

This is the story of a fox–a fox named Tom. A fox who couldn’t in his wildest dreams imagine what it would be like to stand up on two. To behold and experience all the wonders of the world of man. The lights that light up the ground: The hum of the engines that roar and the fervor that engulfs everyone in the impassioned pursuit of happiness. Could he understand that the most amazing part is not in what we built?

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“Fox In The City” is the first book I’ve ever read that’s from a Fox’s perspective. The first part of the book was the most interesting to me since it goes through the daily struggles of being a wild animal left to his own devices. It was odd looking through that lense and I wish that part of the book was a bit longer. One, because I was really wrapped into it when it abruptly changed course and two because I’m just genuinely curious to see the author take it a bit further.

Tom meets Nora and she changes his life. Nora is a beautiful character and I loved everything about her. She was wise beyond her years and incredibly kind for all she had been through. It takes a special person to rise above hardship and thrive. Nora thrives and lightens the path of all around her. Her brutal honesty keeps Tom on his toes and gives him a thread to hold when all starts falling apart.

Tom’s introspection goes deep into what it means to be an animal but also what it means to be a human. Cabrera balances these sections well with his action scenes. One does not overwhelm the other and they exist in a nice harmony to keep the stories meaning as well as keep the reader engaged in the plot.

The only complaint I have about this book is it’s language is a bit choppy. Most of the story is very formal and it doesn’t flow the way it should. There was a time or two the choppy language pulled me from the story and damped my enthusiasm.  I would like to see Cabrera do another edit and smooth out some of the unneeded words and replace them with conjuctions to allow the story to flow much more smoothly.

Other than my one complaint, I very much enjoyed the story and loved how it appeals to such a huge age group. 4 stars!

4 star

The Technical Data:

Title: Fox In The City | Series: N/A |  Author(s): Daniel Cabrera  |Publisher: LULU.com / Publication Date: 7-17-2017 |Pages: 193 (Print) | ISBN: B0749S2XGW |Genre(s): Fantasy / Novella / Fable |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 8-15-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

Fox in the city Cover“The protagonist is well-imagined and its development will interest readers in many ways. It takes a lot of skill to create a story featuring compelling characters that readers can relate to, but it takes genius to write a fable that speaks straight to the heart of the reader, and Daniel Cabrera has just that. A very inspiring and entertaining story!” Five Stars—Reviewed By Divine Zape for Readers’ Favorite

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Book Review “Heirs Of Eternity” Franc Ingram

In a world of sword fights and supercomputers only the cunning survive.

The Twelve, a collective of A.I.s protecting the last of humanity on Euphoria, created hybrids to rule. The first generation proved tyrannical and divided the world into five fighting realms, so The Twelve created the Heirs of Eternity.

Oleana is a computer-human hybrid, created to locate and train the other three Heirs of Eternity, and unite humanity. She struggles to balance her violent past, addiction to alcohol, and history of failure, with the task of being a good mother and leader. She, and the other Heirs face an old enemy in the first-generation hybrid, Cornelius, who wants the world for himself, and new foes in a band of greedy warlords who thrive on the chaos.

With her world on the brink of collapse, and her son in danger, she can’t afford another failure. Oleana must let go of the burden of her past, keep her son safe, and complete the task she was designed to do, save the world.

Heirs Of Eternity Cover

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The “Heirs Of Eternity” is the tale of a vexed heroine doing her best to fulfill a prophecy and keep what’s left of her humanity and sanity. Oleana’s task is monumental and her enemies leviathans of power and greed. 

Oleana is as human as it gets. Never-mind the computer parts. She’s tragically flawed and draws the reader in with hooks to your heart. Her sacrifices make her selfless but her addiction makes her selfish. She’s the wisdom of the Heirs and through all her flaws her inherent goodness shines bright. Her love and loyalty are admirable. Her commitment to the cause unwavering. 

Lorn is the next character who stands out in my mind. He is wise for his years. His inquisitiveness charming. Seeing Oleana through his eyes is a reminder to all parents that our children don’t expect us to be perfect and their love is unwavering. Even in the face of our deepest flaws. I adored the relationship between Lorn and his mother. It somehow made the book feel more personal to me.

Ingram is a born story-teller. Her world is fascinating and her characters compelling. The action moves swiftly without sacrificing depth. All of her characters shine bright in their individuality. Their interactions intriguing and realistic. Ingram’s writing of her characters brings an authenticity that many new writers just can’t grasp. I was very impressed at the intensity of each characters personality and how real they felt in my mind. I’m looking forward to seeing more from her. Ingram has a unique approach to her stories that will grab and hold you like few others will.

The trials the Heirs face are tough and their task weighty. I enjoyed their journey thus far and will most definitely continue when the second book releases. 

4 stars.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: Heirs Of Eternity | Series: Euphoria Duology |  Author(s): Franc Ingram  |Publisher: Amazon Digital Services / Publication Date: 2-15-2017 |Pages: 280 (Print) | ISBN:  B01MTGJQXH |Genre(s): Epic Fantasy |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 4-19-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

Franc Ingram Author Pic

Franc Ingram is a Sci-Fi writer who loves to write about damaged heroines/heroes and extraordinary technology. Personally, Franc is an animal lover, having a lab mix named Mya. Franc loves planes, green tech, a fine white wine, good food and books of all genres. She lives and works in northeast Ohio. 

 “Heirs Of Eternity” is the first book in the “Euphoria Duology” series. The second book is set to come out December of this year! 

The Lord Of Salamander

I’m proud to bring some much deserved attention to a really amazing fantasy novel! “The Lord of Salamander” is filled with self discovery, perilous journeys and a young man who just might beat the odds! Intrigued? You should be! We enjoyed the tale so much that we rated it 4 stars! 

Check out our review and see for yourself!

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The Lord of Salamander Cover

After thirteen years of suffering, torture and blackness, an unknown land in desperate need of a hero will finally find their answer in one teenager.

Thirteen-year-old, Elijah Pendleton is a boy with no past. For as long as he can remember, he’s lived under the control of his abusive aunts in a small rural town where everything is deeply ordinary . . .

. . . until one day when his short life changes forever.

After a strange incident involving a cat and mysterious oak tree, Elijah will be put on the path of discovering his true identity, and begin the greatest journey into the heart of the unknown; through a world of legend and mythology that has been shrouded in mystery and suspicion over the many centuries. Through friendships, trials and tribulations, Elijah will have to find a strength he never knew could even exist to finally uncover the truth about himself and his missing parents, but there won’t be much time.

It won’t be long before the Black Prince forever cloaks the land in evil and blackness.

With the fate of millions resting in his hands, Elijah must find his place as the strongest who ever lived before it’s too late, and become the hero he was always destined to be.

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“The Lord of Salamander” currently has only 2 reviews on Amazon but both are 4 stars! This story is good for a variety of ages and would make a great gift for the reader in your life!

T H Alexander author pic

For as long as he can remember, T.H. Alexander has been enthralled with the idea of storytelling through writing. Throughout his rough adolescence, he discovered the power of books and reading through such works as Peter Pan, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and James and the Giant Peach and used these fantastical tales as an escape from his own harsh reality. 

But simply reading these stories wasn’t enough.

He carried with him into his teenage years the desire to go further and write a story of his own. After numerous failed attempts, when he was just fourteen, the right story would finally break through with the Lord of Salamander. Starting what eventually became the first draft of the novel when he was just a freshman in high school, T.H. would spend the next four years occasionally adding more and more to the story until the draft was finally completed in the summer of 2007. Since then, T.H. has edited, revised and rewritten the novel several times, the most recent taking place in 2016. He has also stepped into the Young Adult Horror genre with his gritty follow-up, Till Dawn, and has written numerous screenplays for movies and television. 

He currently resides in San Antonio, Texas where he works on the next installment of the Epic Salamander Trilogy, Return to Salamander, which he hopes to have released by the spring of 2019.

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Are you interested in reviewing this book? Let us know in the comments and we’ll connect you with the author!

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Book Review “The Scale” Mika Jolie

Twenty-seven year old, African-American, Minka Greene has to endure watching her twin sister marry the man she loves. Her weight is up, and her confidence is down. Not exactly the ideal time to meet the real man of her dreams. The Scale opens in Martha’s Vineyard with Minka attending Keely and Blake’s engagement party at Martha’s Way, the beautiful inn owned and operated by the tall, blond, tattooed man with the piercing blue eyes. It just so happens Jason Montgomery is also Blake’s childhood friend and the best man. Dealing with a whirl of emotions, Minka faints in Jason’s arms. When she wakes up naked in Jason’s bed after a night of passion, the Vineyard confirmed bachelor struggling with his own demons and the woman filled with self-doubt and pining for another man are joined in an experience that will change their lives.

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Sexy Alert! This book is so hot it’ll smolder and burn down your bookshelf! This couples chemistry is lava. It’s straight gasoline and matches! Jolie really knows how to kick romance novel butt!

Alongside being one hot romance novel, this book also addresses some pretty serious issues. Especially body insecurity and eating disorders. Kudos to Jolie for masterfully navigating these grave issues. 

Body insecurity plagues almost everyone at some point in life or another and Minka’s struggle came across so authentically that my heart ached every time she stepped on that scale or chastised herself. I love Minkas character. I loved being part of her journey. Jolie has real skill with connecting her readers to her characters on a deep emotional level. I found myself almost immediately emotionally invested in Minka and that only deepened the further I read.

Jason is also masterfully crafted. Jolie really dove into his character and his complexities were fascinating. Jason’s struggle with his past deepened his character and helped to fully flesh out who he was. He was a bit boorish at times but also very perceptive and achingly kind in others. I loved his approach with Minka’s body issues. 

The only setback I have with this book is the stereotypical gender roles. While most of Jolie’s character building is amazing, each time she threw in a stereotype the hold the story had on me loosened. People are individual and throwing in these “masculinity” stereotypes just tarnished the authenticity of the story. My main point of contention is that Jason had an abundance of sexual partners while Minka had considerably less. With her body image issues this narrative helps deepen her character but I found myself disillusioned with Jason’s promiscuity. I can understand he went off the deep end for a bit but that wasn’t the only time he had this issue.

This is otherwise a solid book and I enjoyed reading it.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Scale | Series: Martha’s Way  |  Author(s): Mika Jolie  |Publisher: My Happy Chaos Publishing  / Publication Date: 9-9-2015 |Pages: 300 (Print) | ISBN: B0156VKSK4  |Genre(s): Romance  |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 2-18-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

“The Bloodless – Awakening” Book Review

The year is 2100-something, Daniel Justice is just another geneticist working for GoD Laboratories, a big box, publicly traded biotechnology company. Then one day he proved that resurrecting the dead was not only possible, but economically viable. Back in the old days, this would have been a massive ethics debate, but in a world where religion is all but extinct, the conversation is a whole lot different.

Once someone is resurrected they are welcomed back into society with open arms, right? Wrong. They are shunned and treated like third class citizens. Abuse will only be tolerated for so long and when their patience is up, the resurrected population rises up and rebels against the very people who created them.

His coworkers are either dead or have vanished without a trace, but by a combination of luck and his own determination to live, Daniel escapes a similar fate. With the military already embroiled in an all-out war with Russia, it’s up to him and a small group of mercenaries to fight back against what is turning into a quiet genocide. Their survival depends on fending off overwhelming numbers of enemies that only desire death and destruction. Or does it?

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“The Bloodless” begins by dropping you right into the action. Right from the start your blood is pumping and your heart racing. Within the first few pages the characters quickly start to flesh out and the group dynamic forms quickly. It’s rare when I feel an immediate connection with any character, let alone an entire group of them. For someone who is fairly new to the novel game, Gibson does a good job building that bridge between reader and novel. That certainly isn’t easy but it appears that Gibson has a natural talent for it. If only he would of continued with that skill throughout the entire book. Instead, he does well in the beginning and misses lots of further opportunities to build later on.

“The Bloodless” initially comes across as another zombie story and that’s really too bad because while having zombie like attributes, the creatures that Gibson has created aren’t exactly zombies. For those of you who are heartily sick of the same zombie story being told over and over, let me quell your worries. “The Bloodless” is very unique and not at all a retelling.

The one area that I would like to see Gibson put some work into is transitions. When a new task is set before the team the writing is abrupt and I think Gibson is losing out on opportunities to world build and deepen his story line. This applies to the loss of characters too. There is a sense of sadness and loss but those feeling are only portrayed at face value. I would like to see Gibson take these events and use them to round out his characters. He is doing well on most all other avenues to build his characters but this one. Unfortunately, this is doing its fair share of damage and in doing so is keeping this book from being great. Without these corrections the book is still entertaining and I would label it “good”. However, without revision this book isn’t one that would stick with me for long. It lacks the depth.

The ending could also use a bit more work. This is another opportunity that Gibson should of used to deepen the readers knowledge of the world as well as give a bit more perspective into the whys of the worlds current standing. It appears that the main character is deep in the dark on most of the whys and his lack of perspective in some circumstances is a bit of a stretch. 

On the bright side, Gibson sneaks in a clever bit of foreshadowing. Those of us who picked up on it are looking forward to seeing it pan out.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Bloodless – Awakening | Series: The Bloodless  |  Author(s): Andrew Gibson  |Publisher: Amazon Digital Services  / Publication Date: 9-2-2015 |Pages: 230 (Print) | ISBN: B014VDN1PC |Genre(s): Science Fiction|Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 1-20-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

Book Review “The Mirage On The Brink Of Oblivion” Andrew M. Crusoe

synopsis

What if you could hold a memory in the palm of your hand?

In the Mirage, you can. Reachable only by leaving the physical body and entering the out-of-body state, the Mirage allows all within it to trade memories like souvenirs and create structures that defy physics. And now, after centuries, even the memory of the devastating Vakragha attack on their world has all but been forgotten, and most have lost touch with the physical world altogether.

Jyana is different. Driven by her desire to understand the natural world, she dedicates herself to studying the sea below Mirage City. Yet when she finds that the coral reef is being decimated by an unknown cause, no one will take her seriously, not even Torin, whom she loves more than anyone. Ambrosia supply shortages are getting worse, and Torin fears a crisis is brewing. Its formula a state secret, ambrosia gives architects the power to form colossal structures, and without it, their ancient civilization would surely collapse.

In the midst of this, everyone is shocked when a refugee from before the attack returns. Filled with questions, Asha has come with a secret mission which may destabilize their entire planet, causing the end of the Mirage itself.

A fast-paced, out-of-body Sci-Fi adventure, THE MIRAGE ON THE BRINK OF OBLIVION is the triumphant 3rd installment in the EPIC OF ARAVINDA.

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I would like to start this review with a few of my favorite passages from the book.
“To try, as best as we possibly can, to find the place where those three parts agree, because they all have something valuable to say.” 
“But what if you can’t find that space where they agree? What then?”
“Well, then you remember their strengths.”

“The Mirage On The Brink Of Oblivion” is the third book in the “Epic Of Aravinda” series. Want to see my reviews of the first two books? Click on the covers below.

the-truth-beyond-the-sky-cover The island on the edge of forever revised cover

Now that I am three books into this series, I have to brag on Mr. Crusoe a bit. The first book was really good and I enjoyed reading it. The second not quite as good and the message of “one” kind of took over the story. In this, the third book, Mr. Crusoe’s writing has started to gain some finesse and it’s been a real treat to watch him evolve as a writer. That alone is a fun reason to keep reading the series.

In “The Mirage” (shortened the title), a beloved character from the first book comes back in a very unexpected way. I definitely did not see that coming. I have been wondering about the fate of said person since they went missing. Needless to say, a lot of the loose ends from the previous books are beginning to be revealed.

A bad habit that Mr. Crusoe has with his dialogue is over explaining situations. There is no need to simplify every single event. I suggest trying to replace some of that dialogue with action scenes. Show us, don’t tell us. And PLEASE don’t repeat dialogue. I got it the first time. If you’re trying to update a new character through an old character just write “Asha filled her in”, or something like that. Don’t re-explain! Argh! That drove me nuts. That is really the only thing left for Mr. Crusoe to work out.

The “Mirage” was an interesting place. This is a great example of how much Mr. Crusoe’s writing has improved. The picture he paints of this ethereal world is fantastic. It sounds beautiful and magical. I would love to see this world brought to life in film or animation.

Learning more about Asha was a real treat too. Her character is growing and I’ve built a real fondness for her. She’s strong and intuitive but not egotistical. The relationship that her and Zahn are building is beautiful to witness. The bond between them grows stronger every page. They bring a new definition to “soul mates”.

Speaking of growing character, Zahn is getting wise and very philosophical! There are a ton of points that he makes in the story that stuck me right in the heart. Between him and Asha, they would make one heck of a governing system. I would like to see them move up the ranks.

The action in this story is steady and is paced well to keep you on your toes! The creative plot twists were surprising and interesting.

I still have a few questions that I would like more information on. The biggest is the Confederation. We really don’t know much at all about them. I would like to see that part of the story fleshed out more. How does it work? Who is in it?

I’m rating this 4 stars.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Mirage On The Blink Of Oblivion | Series: Epic of Aravinda  |  Author(s): Andrew M. Crusoe  |Publisher:  Aravinda Publishing / Publication Date: 7-20-2016 |Pages: 241 (Print) | ISBN: B01GWD5A4O  |Genre(s): Young Adult Science Fiction |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 12-10-2016 |Source: Copy from author.

 

Book Review “Bizzarma – How I Became A Hippy Without Really Trying” Douglas B. Wood

synopsis

Bizzarma is a true story that spans from the 1950’s “Leave it to Beaver” American Dream era to the political and drug charged 1960’s and 1970’s. Hyped by iconic musicians like The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan; Doug went where the wind blew him and experienced the world with LSD bright eyes. This baby-boomer fell into a world rife with discord and did his best to make his own mark on the era. Sometimes hilarious, very colorful and painfully honest – Doug narrates his life for the world. 

(Note: Since there is no summary on Amazon, I wrote my own version.)

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I would like to begin by making a few of my concerns about this book known. First is the cover, obviously it’s a lot of naked people. I hope that those who are in this picture were asked and approved this picture to be shared with the masses.While the picture is blurry and faces are not easy to make out, a picture like this could mean the end of someone’s career. I believe that the people in the picture were happy to be photographed all those years ago, but their opinions may not be as open now. I am also aware that most people in this picture are probably considered elderly and may not of been easy to contact. I strongly advise the author to choose a different cover. In my opinion, this cover is misleading and could turn away people who would otherwise of enjoyed the story. The person reading this would have to consider (due to the nudity) that this is not a book that can be read everywhere.  My second concern is that this book has no summary listed on Amazon and the book isn’t listed at all on Goodreads. These oversights will cost Doug exposure and make it hard for consumers to make informed choices. 

Doug has a real gift for storytelling and I love his style of narration. It felt very much like sitting in someones living room and having a conversation. I especially enjoyed the pictures! It’s always good to have a face to put with the name. (As long as its approved)  His disregard for the educational system is understood and I feel for all the adults in his life who were trying desperately to convince him to get his diploma. While the educational system has many flaws it is still an important institution in our society. I am too young to know much about how the educational system operated then but I can imagine that it, like now, had its flaws.

Another thing I would like to point out is the honestly with which Doug speaks of drugs. He clearly disregarded the long term or even short term risks while taking them and as a young man I understood that it was hard for him to think much past his current state. I wonder how odd it felt for him to write those passages in the story. Did he, as an adult, look back on his young self and cringe as most of us would today? He could have fallen deep into addiction but didn’t. When I speak of drugs, I am mainly talking about the LSD. I don’t consider Marijuana a drug, dangerous or addictive. 

Religion, to me, is another kind of addiction. I would like to thank Doug for his candor in explaining his delusions. Since he was deep in the thralls of LSD, I find it hard to take much of what he said about the “physic” at face value. What gets me is that while in the mental hospital, after coming down from the LSD, his delusions of religion persisted but the rest of his mind appeared sharp. I found that interesting and appreciate the look into that mindset that Doug gave.

One great lesson that I learned from this book was how we can change who someone really is in our minds. We create this ideal of who they are because we want them to be a certain way. Often these delusions are incorrect and very unfair to all parties.

Something I would like to see from this author is his perspective on  more current events. With his experiences, how does he feel about the direction the political winds have shifted? Maybe “The Baby Boomers Thoughts” or something fun like that. *hint* *hint* 

I enjoy reading memoirs. I enjoy learning about another person’s experiences. I enjoy riding along as they hit their lows and their highs. It’s fascinating to me to see how each person overcomes obstacles in different ways. 

Doug sounds like a very interesting person and his sense of humor is entertaining to say the least. What a personality!

4 stars!

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: Bizzarma – How I Became A Hippy Without Really Trying | Series: N/A  |  Author(s): Douglas B. Wood  |Publisher:  Alpha Graphics / Publication Date: 2009 |Pages: 244 (Print) | ISBN: B006KHPF5W  |Genre(s): Hippy & Memoirs |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 12-05-2016 |Source: Copy from author.

Book Review “Missing Mona” Joe Klingler

synopsis

Tommy has boomeranged back to his parents residence and a dead-end job after too many years in college. As he looks squarely at his next decade of life his smartphone convinces him the time is ripe for a change. A gift from his grandfather provides the means, so he embarks on the path of blues artists and beatniks before him–and hits the road.

He immediately meets a damsel in hitchhiking distress who says her name is Mona. Her presence persuades him that the bright lights and dark clubs of Chicago might be his kind of town. So on a summer Saturday night they settle into a fancy hotel overlooking the beaches of Lake Michigan.

On Sunday…Mona disappears.

But she leaves behind more than a sweet memory that involves Tommy in a brand new cash flow problem he never imagined. While trying to sort out how to stay on the right side of the law and get back on the road, he meets a young criminologist who helps him, a DJ who doesn’t, and a librarian who teaches him about the city, women, and the art of the makeover. After truth and lies are stirred like a blue martini, being assaulted by a pink monkey, and witnessing a drive-by shooting that drowns a Ferrari–Tommy is desperate to help Mona.

If he can find her.

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“Missing Mona” was a fun read. It took me awhile to really get into the story but once I did the suspense had me flipping pages to unravel all those loose threads! 

I have to admit that when I began the book I did not like Tommy. Not even a little. He seems like a grown man baby. He doesn’t at all seem to understand how privileged he is and he surely doesn’t appreciate it. I was more than a quarter into the book before I stopped sneering at Tommy and actually started to like him a little. His evolution as a character is one of the aspects of the book that I enjoyed the most. Because, let me tell you…if Tommy wouldn’t of started to change pretty early on there is a good chance I would of put this book down and labeled a DNF.

Beyond my immediate dislike of Tommy, the plot of “Missing Mona” is intricate and cleverly constructed. Most of the twists and turns took me completely by surprise while a few others were a bit predictable. 

Now, the supporting characters is what makes this book! Klingler did a fantastic job of building Mona, Marvin, Lizz, Kim ect… They each stand out and build on the Chicago setting making the location feel more and more authentic. For a mystery, this had one of the best casts of supporting characters that I have read this year. I really can not brag on this enough. Each time a new character came into play the story became more vibrant and dug its hooks further in. 

All in all, this book is cleverly written and fun to read. Klingler did a great job and this is a series I will follow in the future.

4 stars.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: Missing Mona | Series:  Tommy Cuda Mysteries  |  Author(s):  Joe Klingler |Publisher: Cartosi LLC / Publication Date: 10-23-2015 |Pages: 416 (Print) | ISBN: 978-1941156056  |Genre(s): Mystery & Suspense |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 10-20-2016 |Source: Copy from Author

About The Author

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Joe Klingler was born in the Great Black Swamp on a hot July day during a cold war. In primary school he read Four Wheel Drift. That led to a soap box derby car named Restless, two crashes, and a lifelong love of motion.

Images of Jimi Hendrix playing the U.S. National Anthem at Woodstock inspired pounding on a Gibson in a garage band influenced by local groups like the MC5 and Iggy and Stooges whose pioneering punk music he figured existed everywhere—though it was actually coming out of Detroit, Michigan forty miles to the north.

Joe read The God Machine by Martin Caidin, and started thinking about the nature of computation. He studied electrical engineering, spent time doing research in medical image processing, published academic papers, wrote a few patents. All of which led to an interest in special effects and the software that made them. He co-founded a company that was soon acquired, leading to a string of jobs for bigger and bigger corporations until assimilation by a billion dollar enterprise gave him the idea for a book—which he wrote while moving 525 mph bouncing between the coasts of North America.

That book led to RATS, his debut novel, which draws on the beauty of technology, its uses, misuses and abuses. And how the collision of human ideologies shapes its future—and ours. A minor character in RATS led to Mash Up: a rollicking ride with student musicians through San Francisco, Silicon Valley, social media and the minds of persons who use sharp knives to solve problems.

He currently resides in California with an iMac and a couple of motorcycles, and has recently released his third novel: Missing Mona. He’s fond of turbochargers, and loves his S1000RR.

To learn more, check out Joe’s website HERE.

Book Review “Animus – The Oldest Soul” Tiffany Fitzhenry

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Eve has no idea she’s the oldest soul on earth, with a pre-wired connection to every other soul on the planet and that the boy she’s mysteriously drawn to, named Roman, has been her soul mate, her love of nearly three hundred lifetimes–until he tells her.

But what Roman doesn’t mention is that the new genetic test called Animus will soon expose what she is to the whole world and that he’s being tasked with the impossible; steering her, into the open arms of another, a boy named Jude. She’ll learn that Jude’s the only brand new soul on earth; the one who’s come to change the world, and that the future of humanity rests in their intertwined destiny.

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First lines: “I’m lucky to be part of it, you know,” she nodded, looking for my agreement, but I sat still as a stone, studying her as she swabbed my skin with alcohol. “It’s actually really interesting!” she gushed to fill in the gap left by my silence.

“The Oldest Soul” is one of those books that is entertaining but also thought provoking. Putting aside the controversy of the existence of a soul and looking at the aftermath if there is a soul is more of what I felt this book was about. Not so much religion but more a weaving of science and myth. There are some quotes from the Christian Bible but for the most part I felt this story was more speculative fiction than anything.

Fitzhenry does a great job of world building in this book  but there are a few things that I think could be left out or delivered in a more organized way. Mainly, the bible quotes could stand to be edited out. It’s confusing within the context of the story. The Christian religion and reincarnation don’t walk hand and hand. As someone who is familiar with the religion, when Fitzhenry would drop a bible quote or have dialogue that referenced Christianity, it pulled me out of the book.  Instead of adding a thread of realism to the story it pulls away from the believabilty of it. Too many contradictions.

Eve needs to be fleshed out a bit more as well. Her personality comes across and bland and dry in most of the book. I really want to like her but I feel like I have more questions about her than answers. I feel the same with many of the supporting characters. 

The premise of this story is fascinating! The blurb caught my eye immediately and could definitely go on to be a best seller.  It’s a great subject for science fiction to flesh out. I really want to know more and will definitely keep reading. Fitzhenry has a goldmine here if she will do just a bit more tweaking to the story to fine tune it. The cover is awesome though! 

I’m giving it 4 stars.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Oldest Soul – Animus  | Series:  The Oldest Soul Triology  |  Author(s): Tiffany Fitzhenry |Publisher: Hierarchy Publishing / Publication Date: 10-20-2015 |Pages: 328 (Print) | ISBN:  978-1944216009 |Genre(s): Dystopian & Science Fiction |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-20-2016 |Source: Copy from Author

 

Book Review “Winter” Marissa Meyer

synopsis

The #1 New York Times Bestselling Series!

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.

winter-cover

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First lines: Winter’s toes had become ice cubes. They were as cold as space. As cold as the dark side of Luna. As cold as –

In true Marissa Meyer fashion, Winter is fast paced and full of action. There are twists and turns and friends in the least likely of places. Winter sets its hooks in you and holds on till the end.

Meyer’s creativity for reimagining fairy tales continues. Each character is well developed and at this point in the series…well loved.

Winter’s character is one of my favorite in the series. She is loyal. She is fragile but strong. She is intelligent and kind. She is fearless but very very afraid. Her character rang true. What a ruler she would of been had the cards been stacked in her favor. Her mental illness is explained in haunting detail. How frightening it must be to live inside her mind.

Cinder continues to surprise. She has overcome so much just to get to this point and Levana definitely doesn’t make it any easier now that she’s come this far. I have to admit I enjoyed each time Cinder and her crew one upped ol Levana. If ever there was a horrible person, she’s it.

I really enjoyed this book as the fictional story it was but there are a few things I dislike when it comes to morals.

First is the push to reveal Levana’s disfigurement from her burns. A woman is worth much more than her exterior and should be judged as such. The push for people to leave Levana based solely on her looks was annoying. There’s plenty of reason’s to leave Levana without making it about her “beauty”. I think this sends a bad message.

Second is what Cinder decides to give up at the end of the book. I don’t think she is giving it up for political reasons. I felt like this was her giving her all to a relationship where Kai gives up nothing. I think this damaged the character of Cinder that Meyer has been working so hard to build.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and I think Meyer used her pages well and concluded the book nicely.

4 stars

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: Winter | Series:  The Lunar Chronicles  |  Author(s): Marissa Meyer |Publisher: Feiwel & Friends  Publishing / Publication Date: 11-10-2015 |Pages: 832 (Print) | ISBN: 978-0312642983  | Genre(s): Science Fiction /  Fairy Tales |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-6-2016 |Source: Copy from Library