Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: BEYOND THE RAINBOW’S END by James Pitter

A collection of five short stories including a light-hearted and humorous critique of celebrity culture seen through the eyes of an acerbic journalist. A sinister tale about mind uploading and the consequences for those willing to risk everything in return for eternal life. A witty exposé about infidelity and excess within a pampered expat community. An amusing road trip that turns into the journey from hell. The dark narrative of a woman who's troubled past returns to haunt her and destroys the one she loves.




My thoughts: This is a collection of short stories.

The first one didn’t impress me so much. In fact, it was a little confusing. There was so much going on, which I guess mimics the life of a fashion photo journalist.

“A Digital Immortality” begins with the obituary of a quantum theory scientist and goes on to discuss man and science.

I can sense a hint of poignant perspective by the author with a dash of frank wit; however, I wasn’t too drawn to the stories. In fact, I found them to be quite daunting.

 

My rating: 2.5 stars

Review: DOING GERMANY: Book 2 by Agnieszka Paletta


After reading and reviewing Doing Germany (Book 1,) I was again given the opportunity to rate another one of Paletta’s work, the sequel.

My first commentary is on the title. Why use the same name for both books? I mean, I understand that Book 2 is the sequel, but wouldn’t it have been better to come up with a name for it, even something like Doing Germany Again or Still Doing Germany? I don’t know, having the same name for both is okay, I guess. I just would’ve done it a little different. That was my first impression anyway.

Like the summary states, this book picks up right where the first one left off. The girl’s still in Germany, except now she’s adding a baby and a new house to the mix.

Again, the reader is given the brief highlights to her life in Germany. We also have the return of “M” (I still think this guy should have a name.) Main character still babbles on with her Polish-Canadian-Italian-German point of view, which can be daunting. She continues making comparisons between life in Germany and life everywhere else. It almost reads like a How-to book.

Following the same format as the last, this is a diary/memoir of a young foreign mom. Although she still had that biting wit, I, personally, related to and liked the first book better mainly because I know nothing about children and this book deviated completely to the life of a mom.

Again, okay, but not too impressive.

 

 

My rating: 2.5 stars

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Review: THE JOURNAL by Jaqueline Francis

“Sometimes in life, a moment happens that changes everything. A first kiss. The birth of a
child. The death of a loved one. A moment that sets in motion a chain of events and changes
your life forever. For Adrian Hawk, one such moment was not too far away. His story begins and ends with a woman named Rodriqua...” (2)


This is the story of Rodriqua and Adrian, two people that started off as junior interns in the advertising business and worked their way to becoming the “deadly duo, a powerhouse, unstoppable when they worked together.”


I could relate to Rodriqua, especially when she felt like a “wild bird trapped in a tiny cage.” Growing up as a pastor’s daughter, she was never good enough and was simply “manufactured purely to complete the picture of the perfect life.” She is resourceful, resilient, and independent. Adrian, on the other hand, was a player, a walking sex god. This is definitely the odd couple—two different people with no similarities. You couldn’t see them as a romantic couple. Hell, you can’t even see them as a dynamic duo in the work force with their bickering banter and challenging views. But, somehow…it works. Like batteries, each has an opposite charge and when fused together, it works. 

Even though they work together, they are the best of friends, almost like a brother and sister. But could there be something more after all these years?

 

Well-written and witty, this is the sweet story of two people stuck in the friend zone. They like each other, they want each other, they fawn all over each other, but they are too afraid to be anything more.


This isn’t a want. This isn’t a need. This is an ache. I ache with wanting. I ache with need. I
ache until the pain finally leaves me feeling numb. I long for that numbness. It’s the only
time I feel like…I don’t feel.” (36)

 

“It was becoming more and more clear that their friendship was slowly mutating into some sort of beast; a beast that had trouble breathing and keeping his feet in one place.” (48)


The whole book revolves around the endearing bond and hidden desires of the two. Readers will understand and empathize with the characters—their motives, their feelings, their lusts.  You feel for them and hope that things work out. A wonderfully crafted story of longing and passion, one enriched with beauty and colorful language. It’s about the sheer agony of an unfulfilled fantasy.  A story of a convoluted, irrepressible, and frenzied love.  Reader will feel a vacuum of crazy emotions from start to finish. I admit the latter half of the book was too much with that major bombshell, which seemed to shatter the allure from the beginning. But it will definitely evoke sympathy and sensitivity. It may even have some reaching for the Kleenex.


Lovely, woeful, and poetic, this is a worthy literary novel.

 

My rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Review: THE EIGHTH DAY by Joseph John


We begin in NYC 2041. Shawn Jaffe has just received a strange message from a vagrant: “They’re watching you. Nothing you know is real.” He tells him that his name isn’t Shawn Jaffe. What? But before the mystery man could explain, he winds up dead.

Confusion and paranoia consume our main character as he stumbles into a cryptic paradox of unusual events and unanswered questions. Activate Delta? Was he some kind of Terminator with a chip in his head? How do you erase someone’s existence in a day?

 
As we delve deeper and deeper, it gets more and more complicated. And although the political and technological angle didn’t really interest me as much, story was crafted and executed well.


It’s good if you have the time to try to understand it.


My rating: 3.5 stars

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Review: P.I. PENGUIN AND THE CASE OF THE LOST LITTLE PENGUIN by Bec J. Smith


P.I. Penguin is back again!

This time the story takes on a Finding-Little-Nemo theme. The case is a search for a lost, little penguin in a zoo, so you have a colorful array of wacky animals.

In every single book, there is a reference on his missing parents, and it got me wondering if that case will ever be solved. It reminds me of my favorite show, Monk. It kinda makes you want to continue the series.  

These books definitely engage young readers and enrich vocabulary and funny rhymes that are pleasing to the ear.

 

My rating: 4 stars

Review: P.I. PENGUIN AND THE CASE OF THE BELL TOWER BANDIT by Bec J. Smith


P.I. Penguin is back on a whole new case.

This particular one was a little confusing.  There’s a bandit in the bell tower. What was he stealing though? Was he just trespassing? What was the crime? Did the bandit just disengage the bells? Not the world’s worst crime.

The pace in the story was a little bit slower than the previous. But again, readers will be regaled with fun rhymes and colorful illustrations.

 

My rating: 3.5 stars

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Review: A HAIRY TAIL by Jamie Campbell


Hannah loved school and was bored without it—just like me! Her mother told her to get out of the house and get a summer job; she finds one at an animal shelter.

Washing grungy, filthy mutts didn’t sound too appealing to Hannah…until she sets eyes on Harry, the cutest guy at the shelter. Perhaps this wouldn’t be so bad after all. But Harry isn’t the only one that has captured her heart; a stray dog named Basil also has a leash to it. Suddenly, Hannah makes it her mission to find the dog’s family.

The story is centered on Hannah finding Basil’s family. Hannah is a cute, clumsy teen most of us can relate to. And what was up with Hannah’s mom wanting her kid to be a party girl? Doesn’t she know that she’s not like that? Most parents would’ve loved that! Like Hannah said, “what’s so great about being normal?”

This is an adorable love story with a “Cinderella” ending. Great for romance and animal lovers!

My only issue was that it was too short.

My rating: 3 stars