Friday, July 19, 2019

Review: Thirteen Across

Thirteen Across Thirteen Across by Dan Grant
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If I had stumbled upon the summary of "Thirteen Across" by Dan Grant before I read it, well, I wouldn't have, for fear the entire novel would be as badly written. Of course, having done so, now I can decipher the synopsis, but it leads me to wonder how many potential readers might have passed it up out of sincere confusion.

"Thirteen Across" has been classified genre-wise as a suspense and medical thriller. I think the downright horrifying, unethical experimentation on human beings should be noted, perhaps veiled with a more diplomatic designation such as medical terrorism. It would also sit squarely under action, medical science fiction, and domestic terrorism labels.

Regarding the story, the 411 pages are surely responsible for many chewed fingernails. The plot is intricate, woven just the right way to carry the weight of the content. Characters are developed nicely and dialogue between them is well written. I won't go into more specifics to prevent giving too much away, but my final word on Thirteen Across is - I suggest you read the book.

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Review: Above The Grave: The Complete Series

Above The Grave: The Complete Series Above The Grave: The Complete Series by Andrew De Zilva
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Above the Grave is a graphic novel written by Andrew De Silva and Mitchell Hall. Yes, you read that correctly, this one is a graphic novel. A comic book. I am aware that the two terms indicate that there are differences between them, though the distinction remains a mystery to this novice. Anyway, I prefer the term graphic novel now, having finally read one. If you're missing it, I am rather proud of the accomplishment, especially considering the abstract horror I felt when I realized the genre I was diving into. As a graphic novel new recruit, it took me a good bit to acclimate my reading style to authentically experience Above the Grave. The nuts and bolts boil down simply enough; a clandestine lockup where super-naughtiest of villains are confined for the safety of the outside world and the evil hijinks some of its wicked detainees orchestrate.

As it turns out, I dig comics. Who knew? Despite more glaring editing issues than any novel should go to publishing with, I found the story engaging, characters well developed, and pacing of the action appropriately done.

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Review: The Beckoning of Beguiling Things

The Beckoning of Beguiling Things The Beckoning of Beguiling Things by Calinda B.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Beckoning Series by author Calinda B. begins with The Beckoning of Beguiling Things. Though I have never read any of her work before, I truly did not expect to be enamored by her writing so quickly. I mean, page two and there she is describing Las Vegas heat as "Satan's ball sack." I'm a fan, okay? Then, I realize that Marissa's pregnant sister is responsible for dragging her to Sin City, which already makes zero sense already based on my personal experiences and impressions these characters made on me so early in the book - #1 Pregnant women probably won't find much that is healthy for them on the Strip so why in the name of all that is holy would she choose there? and #2 Marissa strikes me as pretty much the opposite of a Vegas-weekend-trip-to-cut-loose kind of girl and shouldn't her sister be aware of that? Tidbits of reality such as those poking their uptight noses into my fiction aside, Beguiling Things runs the gambit in terms of adjectives to accurately describe the plot, but I'm going to list the ones bouncing around in my head anyway; modern, magic, funny, tragic, exciting and a healthy dose of fantasy. I'm looking forward to the follow-up.

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Review: The Admiral of Bolivia

The Admiral of Bolivia The Admiral of Bolivia by Chief John J. Mandeville
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Admiral of Bolivia
by Chief John J. Mandeville

Sometimes you're in the mood for a humorous tale full of slightly off-key characters making one questionable choice after another, leading to wild adventures that go beyond expectation. Stepping outside of your own day to day monotony and falling into a novel like this one is a pleasure every human being should enjoy from time to time. Chief John J. Mandeville offers just that sort of break with his comedic fiction novel, The Admiral of Bolivia.

New Yorkers are a special breed on their own, but the men and women of the FDNY are in a league apart even from those. Talk about characters, the real-life counterparts on which Mandeville must have based Mike, Mary and the rest have probably provided the author with more subject matter than he can fit into 30+ books. Take my often cynical word for it, Admiral will have you laughing within the first few pages and the merriment doesn't let up throughout the entire thing.

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Friday, June 28, 2019

Review: The Gauntlet: The Soppranaturale Series

The Gauntlet: The Soppranaturale Series The Gauntlet: The Soppranaturale Series by Ashley Pagano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"The Gauntlet: The Soppranaturale Series"
by Ashley Pagano

Vampires, faeries, witches, werewolves and shape-shifters all exist together in this paranormal thriller. A supernatural refuge masked as a hotel, The Soppronaturale, harbors these mythical entities who work together to keep the secrets of their magical realm from the rest of the world. Two faeries, Link and Ommily, take center stage in "The Gauntlet" and in no time the reader is dazzled by the hotel inhabitants, deeply invested in the conflict and anxiously anticipating the revelation of the fate of Link and Ommily. It has been a good long while since a metaphysical novel has been unique enough to keep my attention but Ashley Pagano pulled it off here. Everything from plot flow to character development and dialogue is spot-on in a vivid display of fiction writing talent.

Something that struck me as funny; does it seem silly to anyone else that an author has to put the obligatory "All characters and events in this story are fictitious" disclaimer in a novel about faeries and werewolves? The realities of a litigious society, I suppose.

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