Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Review: The Dispatcher

The Dispatcher The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*Audiobook

I'll admit that experiencing a novel via audio only is still very new to me. This is only the second book I've listened to without reading it first. The Dispatcher is an interesting, unique story, however, I am very interested in the origin of the premise on which the story was based - that murdered people 'respawn' 999 times out of 1000 - than the mystery of the missing Dispatcher. The dawn of the phenomenon is explained in a "glossed over" manner but I want to know the story from that point to where The Dispatcher starts. A lot more details and examples would make for a fabulous read/listen.

As for the story here, it is really good. The conclusion is realistic while still keeping the spirit of fiction for entertainment. The narrator, Zachary Quinto, has a soothing but appropriate voice to convey the events of the plot in the way I believe the author intended.


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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Review: The Silver Lining of Cancer: 13 Courageous Women Share their Inspirational Stories After a Life Changing Diagnosis

The Silver Lining of Cancer: 13 Courageous Women Share their Inspirational Stories After a Life Changing Diagnosis The Silver Lining of Cancer: 13 Courageous Women Share their Inspirational Stories After a Life Changing Diagnosis by Tracey Ehman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I never want to know the heart dropping feeling of sitting in front of a doctor and being told that I have cancer and could very well die from that terrible disease. The Silver Lining of Cancer: 13 Courageous Women Share their Inspirational Stories After a Life Changing Diagnosis is a collection of accounts of that very event and how thirteen different women chose to handle it. With a name like "The Silver Lining of Cancer" you can imagine that the stories are overwhelmingly positive and you would be right. Some accounts are more detailed than others, some more heart wrenching than others but all are inspiring in their own unique way. The author herself, Tracey Ehman, received her own devastating diagnosis and managed to not only beat the disease but create a vehicle for others in the same predicament to focus on positivity. I believe whether or not the disease is beaten physically, it can always be beaten mentally and that affirmative state of mind can make any outcome better.

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Review: Cursed: The Hunter Inside

Cursed: The Hunter Inside Cursed: The Hunter Inside by Casey M. Millette
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fantasy novel by teen author, Casey M. Millette, Cursed: The Hunter Inside has good bones that only just holds up the meaty 354 page body. Ms. Millette is a seventeen year old with a rather remarkable grasp of literature. Cursed: The Hunter Inside is in the vein of Lord of the Rings and/or Game of Thrones in terms of fantasy story. Overall this is a good book though it could be a little more streamlined plot-wise and at times the dialogue felt somewhat stunted and unrealistic. What this teen author holds in ability to create characters and creativity regarding the world the characters reside in is immeasurable and overshadows those negatives. This can be enjoyed, especially by younger readers, as is but it wouldn't take much to turn Cursed into a commercially successful series, catapulting Casey M. Millette into the fantasy fiction world wide stage in a leading position. I expect to see more from this talented author.

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Review: Debating to Win Arguments Mastery: The Debating Trilogy

Debating to Win Arguments Mastery: The Debating Trilogy Debating to Win Arguments Mastery: The Debating Trilogy by R. L. Greene
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Debating to Win Arguments Mastery: The Debating Trilogy isn't just a book about debate in the clinical sense; Two people at podiums arguing the intricacies of long forgotten, ancient, philosophical theories in front of an audience and racking up affirmative or negative points for the win. What Greene and Donovan have presented is an outline for simply dealing on a day to day basis with people who disagree with you while avoiding devolving into a preteen-esque word riot. I'm sure I'm not the only one made it to adulthood and realized grown ups are no different ego-wise than school children. Debating to Win should be senior year required reading because we all need the information and the heads up. As long as humanity exists, so will debate/difference of opinion and having the skills to handle yourself in a mature manner while wading through fake news, propaganda, outright fraud and difficult people in general can make life a lot easier.

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Review: The Last Gathering

The Last Gathering The Last Gathering by Norbert Monfort
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Last Gathering: Where Tragedy Takes a Twist Through Time by Norbert Monfort

This is a very short, just over one hundred pages, fiction novel in the genre of religion (specifically Christian, more specifically Catholic )/suspense/magical realism. In short, the main character is a 'lost soul' who has shunned God because she has had such a rough life. She is shown, through divine intervention, that all of her suffering was actually HER fault and how dare she expect a good and merciful God to shield her from pain that SHE caused. Magically this makes her believe and serve God again (this being where I see the magical realism portrayed in the novella).

Look, I'm not an atheist. I believe in... something. I don't know exactly what it is but at the core of whatever it is, is love. What I do know is it's not the vengeful at worst and neglectful at best God that any organized religion shoves down my throat. However, when looked at through the religious lenses of believers, I see the lesson/moral in the plot. Aside from some editing issues, I think the faithful would enjoy The Last Gathering and that alone earns the three stars.

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