Book Reviews Channel

The Year of Loving – by Traci L. Slatton

Sarah Paige’s life is stressful. She has two daughters, and has very strained relationships with both of them. Her youngest, Alex is a high schooler who is constantly in trouble. Her oldest, Dani, is in college and seems to want absolutely nothing to do with her mother.

Sarah believes that her cantankerous, narcissistic, ex-husband, George Calhoun, is intentionally trying to turn their daughters against her. His attitude probably has something to do with Sarah’s second ex-husband, Clifton Perini, whom Sarah left George for. It feels like he wants to “make her pay” for that humiliation.

Clifton, on the other hand, gets along with Sarah. His beautiful, realist, paintings are the centerpiece of her art gallery. Her love of art makes her very selective about what she will display. The modern stuff other galleries sell simply will not do. As such, her gallery is on the edge of grave financial difficulties.

Out of the blue, Sarah accidentally meets a handsome man – in the goofiest “meet cute” I’ve ever read. There is an instant, smoldering, attraction between them. This impromptu moment turns out to be the start of Sarah’s “year of loving”.

The Year of Loving is what I would describe as a romance novel wi...

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My Year in Books – 2016

Goodreads is a social media site for book lovers.  People who use it can opt-in to a yearly challenge called “My Year In Books”.  It is a reading challenge that encourages people to read more books.  Each person gets to choose for themselves how many books they want to have read by the end of the year.

I like that this challenge is individuated.  You pick your own goal.  You spend the year competing against yourself to complete that goal.  One of these years, I hope to be able to successfully complete the challenge.

The first t...

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Things That Never Were – by Matthew Rossi

One of the things I love about books is that they are an excellent place to escape to when the real world seems dark and dire.  In Things That Never Were, Matthew Rossi gives the reader plenty of interesting, incredibly detailed, glimpses into what the world might have been like if you take what we know of history, twist it around, and see where it goes from there.

The full title of the book is: Things That Never Were: Fantasies – Lunacies –  & Entertaining Lies.  I like to think of it as a series of essays that could be described as “intelligent conspiracy theory”.  That being said, Rossi is not really trying to convince you that the essays in this book are factual (and this is where he differs greatly from actual conspiracy theorists).  These are “things that never were”, after all.   ….Right?

It took me a long time to read through Things...

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Blood Sky – by Traci L. Slatton

Blood Sky is the fourth part of The After Series.  I highly recommend that you read the first three books: Fallen, Cold Lightand Far Shore.  You will get much more out of Blood Sky if you take the time to read through the earlier portions of the story first.  Relationships are made, and broken, and sometimes repaired along the way.

Traci L. Slatton does a good job of reminding readers about the most significant things that happened in the previous books.  This is not meant as a replacement for reading them, though.  It is important that you “live through that” with the characters before jumping into the fourth book of the series.  One of the things I love about Slatton’s books is that she makes the reader truly care about what happens to the characters (both major and minor).

In Blood Sky, t...

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Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Camille Preaker works for a daily paper in Chicago that can be described as “second-rate”.  Her editor, Frank Curry (who is also a friend in a parental kind of way) sends Camille on her very first assignment.

A murder happened in Wind Gap, Camille’s hometown.  This wasn’t news, as the murder happened long enough ago to have already passed through the news cycle.  A pre-teen girl was found dead in a creek with a rope around her neck and all of her teeth missing.  Now, another pre-teen girl has disappeared.

Editor Frank Curry sends Camille back to Wind Gap, where she is expected to stay with her mother, as she investigates what happened.  Just the thought of returning home puts Camille’s mind back into unhealthy places.  She is freshly out of a stay in a psychological hospital, and it is clear from the start that returning to Wind Gap is going to do bad things to Camille’s mental health.

Sharp Objects is the perfect name fo...

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Ms. Marvel #3 – Super Famous (Part 3)

Ms. Marvel #3- Super Famous is the third part of a three part story.  You should go read part 1 and part 2 before reading this one.  This issue was published in March of 2016.

It’s hard to write about the third part of any trilogy without giving away too much.  I will say that the story line comes to a nice conclusion while leaving some things open just enough to perhaps be developed in future issues.

In this issue, Ms. Marvel gets to beat up some bad guys by using her superpowers.  One important part of this story is that Ms. Marvel ends up working with her best friend Bruno’s new girlfriend, Mike, on something very important.  Mike, like everyone else in Jersey City, knows who Ms. Marvel is – but she doesn’t have any idea that Ms. Marvel is Kamala Khan...

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Ms. Marvel #2 – Super Famous (Part 2)

Ms. Marvel #2 – Super Famous – is the second part of a three part story.  It was published in February of 2016.  You should read #1 before reading #2.

In this issue, Ms. Marvel returns to the office of the Hope Yards Development and Relocation Association for the purpose of doing some more investigating. Everything looks normal, until she finds some strange goo in a mini fridge.  That goo turns out to be a key part of the story.

In addition, Kamala Kahn is still struggling with social problems. She’s remained friends with Bruno (but absolutely does not want to meet his new girlfriend).  Her mother wants her to stop being Ms. Marvel now that a group is protesting the super hero...

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Ms. Marvel #1 – Super Famous

I recently started collecting the Kamala Khan version of Ms. Marvel comics.  I never had an interest in the original Ms. Marvel, but there was something about Kamala Khan that intrigued me.  I’d never heard of a female, muslim, teenage, superhero before – and I wanted to see what her adventures would be like.

Ms. Marvel #1 – Super Famous  is the first of a three-part story.  It was published in January of 2016.  There are two different covers for this particular issue, but the story inside is identical.

The main cover is...

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The Screwtape Letters – by C.S. Lewis

Years ago, a friend suggested that I read The Screwtape Letters. The only thing I knew about C.S. Lewis at the time was that he was the author of The Chronicles of Narnia series. I had a vague memory of the main points from the first book in that series, which I read when I was in elementary school. I remembered that it was a fantasy/adventure kind of story for kids.

It wasn’t until after I’d finished reading The Screwtape Letters that I did some research and learned that one of the most well known books by C.S. Lewis is called Mere Christianity and that the author converted to Christianity in 1931. Perhaps my friend, who is a pastor, had an ulterior motive when he suggested that I read The Screwtape Letters.

Years ago, ...

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Blueprints of the Afterlife by Ryan Boudinot

Blueprints of the Afterlife is one part science-fiction (from the not so distant future), one part dystopia (masquerading as a utopia in parts), and one part a story about the importance of knowing who you really are.

It’s a gigantic puzzle for the reader to put together, as told by characters in chapters that are juxtaposed out of context with chapters from the viewpoint of other characters. Some of the characters never meet each other, and yet, are connected in a string of events directed by a mysterious man named Dirk Bickle.

I love it when books make me think about how all the pieces fit together, rather than spelling it all out for me. This is one of those books that had me thinking about the “universe” it exists in, and how it functions (or dysfunctions), long after I’d finished reading the story.

It starts with Woo-jin ...

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