Sunday, August 20, 2017

Under the Spanish Stars by All Sinclair

Title: Under the Spanish Stars
Author: Alli Sinclair
Genre: Romance
Published: February 1, 2016
Pages: 352
Goodreads

Synopsis

Charlotte Kavanagh’s beloved grandma Katarina Sanchez is gravely ill, so when she begs Charlotte to travel to her homeland in AndalucĂ­a to uncover the truth behind a mysterious painting, Charlotte agrees.  Taking leave from her soul-destroying job and stalled life in Australia, Charlotte embarks on a quest through Granada’s ancient cobble-stoned streets and vibrant neighbourhoods. There she meets Mateo Vives, a flamenco guitarist with a dark past, and through him she quickly becomes entangled in the world of flamenco and gypsies that ignites a passion she had thought lost. 

But the mystery surrounding the painting deepens, reaching back in time to the war-torn Spain of the 1940s and Charlotte discovers her grandmother’s connection to the Spanish underground. Who is her grandmother, really? What is Mateo’s connection to her family history? And why is finding answers to a family mystery turning into a journey of self-discovery for Charlotte?

Weighed down by secrets, betrayals and shattered relationships, Charlotte finds herself questioning the true meaning of heritage, family and love.

Review

I found an abandoned copy of this book on train I was taking to Spain, so I thought that it must be an informative guidebook. With that in mind, I stopped what I was reading to dive into this book. It is NOT a guidebook for nights out in Spain, so I felt like the entire thing was just a freakin' lie! 

In spite of the fact that the book wasn't what I thought it was going to be, it did end up sucking me in and making me hungry to try some real, authentic Spanish food (thank goodness I was already on my way to Spain!) It even made me want to visit some of the places talked about in the book, unfortunately I wasn't headed for Granada, so I didn't manage to visit any of them on my trip. 

The part of the story that really got to me was the mystery about Charlotte's grandma, and her role in the resistance during WWII. I absolutely love WWII era historical fiction, so that aspect of this story almost completely redeemed it for me after my initial disappointment with the contents. It definitely contributed to getting me sucked into the story and keeping me flipping the pages until I almost missed my stop on the train, which would have been awful. 

I could have done without the romance aspect of the story, because it was just a bit too fanciful for my tastes, and I wish there had been more talk about different places to see and eat in Spain, especially outside of Granada (Majorca would have been super helpful for me) since that's what I thought I was getting when I picked the book up. But for what it was, I guess it was already. 

I give Under the Spanish Stars three tasty tapas. 

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About the Author

Alli Sinclair is a multi award-winning author who spent her early adult years travelling the globe, intent on becoming an Indiana Jones in heels. She scaled mountains in Nepal, Argentina, and Peru, rafted the Ganges, and rode a camel in the Sahara. Argentina and Peru became her home for a few years and when she wasn’t working as a mountain or tour guide, Alli could be found in the dance halls dancing the tango, salsa, merengue, and samba.

All of these adventures made for fun storytelling and this is when she discovered her love of writing. Alli’s stories capture the romance and thrill of exploring new destinations and cultures that also take readers on a journey of discovery. 

Alli volunteers as an author role model with Books in Homes, promoting literacy and reading amongst young people.

To find out more about Alli, please visit www.allisinclair.com

Alternate Reviews

If you would like to read some legitimate reviews of Under the Spanish Stars, just click any of the following links.

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

Title: Jude the Obscure
Author: Thomas Hardy
Genre: Classics
Published: 1895
Pages: 310
Goodreads

Synopsis

In 1895 Hardy's final novel, the great tale of Jude The Obscure, sent shockwaves of indignation rolling across Victorian England. Hardy had dared to write frankly about sexuality and to indict the institutions of marriage, education, and religion. But he had, in fact, created a deeply moral work. The stonemason Jude Fawley is a dreamer; his is a tragedy of unfulfilled aims. With his tantalizing cousin Sue Bridehead, the last and most extraordinary of Hardy's heroines, Jude takes on the world and discovers, tragically, its brutal indifference. The most powerful expression of Hardy's philosophy, and a profound exploration of man's essential loneliness, Jude The Obscure is a great and beautiful book. 'His style touches sublimity.'—T.S. Eliot.

Review

I bought a copy of this book because I heard from some very smart people that it's the biography of Joood - Hooligan from Platypire reviews. Clearly she changed the spelling of her name some, but that makes sense for anonymity purposes and all that. And I know what you're thinking, this book was written in the late 1800s, it couldn't possibly be about someone as young as Joood - Hooligan, but obviously you're not aware that she's a Time Lord and can't be bothered with all that wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff. Proof that she's a Time Lord? When this book was written about her, she was a he. It's pretty obvious if you ask me. 

Now I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out why a Time Lord would allow someone to write a biography about them, even someone as exalted as Thomas Hardy, but it soon became clear that the autobiography is full of holes, because Jude was not really well known back then (which makes it even stranger that someone would want to write a biography about her/him in the first place, but I guess maybe s/he told Thomas some rather interesting stories that just didn't make it into the book). If you ask me, Jude comes across as a rather boring and very uninteresting character, which aside from the Time Lord thing completely matches up with my feelings about her/him in this time. I mean, s/he's on a quest for platypire world domination (which s/he obviously started in the late 1800s), but basically no one of importance even knows s/he exists. S/he probably should have chosen any other moniker than obscure back when s/he was palling around with Hardy. I mean, that's a real rookie mistake right there. 

In the end, I feel that this has given me some new insight into Jude, which will come in handy for my future plots against her/him, but this book was a real bore to read. I cannot recommend it, unless you wish to join me in defeating her/him, in which case, study this book, and then get back to me. 

I give Jude the Obscure two Daleks. 

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About the Author

Thomas Hardy, OM (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist, in the tradition of George Eliot, he was also influenced both in his novels and poetry by Romanticism, especially by William Wordsworth. Charles Dickens is another important influence on Thomas Hardy. Like Dickens, he was also highly critical of much in Victorian society, though Hardy focused more on a declining rural society.

Alternate Reviews

Sunday, August 13, 2017

As Wings Unfurl by Arthur M. Doweyko

Title: As Wings Unfurl
Author: Arthur M. Doweyko
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: July 19, 2016
Pages: 280
Goodreads

Synopsis

Applegate Bogdanski returns from Vietnam with a missing leg, a Purple Heart, and an addiction to morphine. He stumbles through each day, looking forward to nothing and hoping it will arrive soon. When he attempts to thwart a crime, he is knocked unconscious and wakes up to discover that people are once again calling him a hero, though he feels undeserving of the praise.

Apple returns to work and meets Angela, a mysterious woman who claims to be his guardian. Immediately, he feels a connection to her, which morphs into an attraction. But he soon discovers that Angela is much more than she seems.

Apple and Angela are swept up in a conspiracy that stretches through time and space. Together, they must fight to save everything they hold dear from an alien race bent on destroying humanity.

Review

I found a copy of this book on my parents bookshelves, probably because my dad is a huge science fiction nerd, and because the cover is mostly blue, I decided to steal it. I'm sure my parents won't miss it. They haven't noticed any of the other books I've swiped from their shelves in the past few months. 

I had a hell of a time getting into this story, which really sucks because I usually really like science fiction. This just didn't really feel like science fiction to me, except for the stupid aliens. But even that part of the story is set in the past, so it clearly didn't happen, and it's not ever going to happen because that time has already passed in the real world, which takes away about ninety-five percent of the fun stuff in science fiction. I mean, the possibility that we're going to have super cool spaceships and laser guns and live on other strange worlds is the reason to read science fiction, if you ask me, and this book really doesn't have any of that to it. I mean, shit, the only aliens it even talks about are trying to kill us. I guess I should at least be thankful that this dude named Apple saved the world from the aliens that the Men in Black won't let the world even know exist, but I just have a hard time accepting that it wasn't just a nuclear power plant meltdown that I saw. I mean, that's what the dude in the suit said it was. 

I will say that this was at least a fast read even though I had a hard time believing any of it. So for that I give it two cool spaceships. 

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About the Author

As a scientist, Arthur has authored 100+ publications, and shares the 2008 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for the discovery of Sprycel, a new anti-cancer drug. He writes hard science fiction, fantasy and horror. His debut novel, Algorithm, which is a story about DNA and the purpose of humanity, garnered a 2010 Royal Palm Literary Award (RPLA) and was published by E-Lit Books October 2014. He has published a number of short stories, many of which were finalists in RPLA competitions. A number of his short stories have garnered awards, which include Honorable Mentions in the international L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest and First Place in P&E Readers Polls. His recently completed Angela's Apple, a novel about angels who are not angels, won 1st place as Best SciFi Novel at the 2014 RPLA and will be published by Red Adept Publishing. His current project, Henry The Last, is about the last human being, a Lakota Indian cyborg. He lives in Florida with his wife Lidia, happily wandering the beaches and jousting with aliens.

You can find more about him, read his edgy science blogs, or enjoy his art work at www.ArthurMDoweyko.com

Alternate Reviews

If you would like to read some legitimate reviews of As Wings Unfurl, just click any of the following links. 

Reaped by Gracen Miller and Tina Carreiro

Title: Reaped
Author: Gracen Miller and Tina Carreiro
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Published: January 26, 2017
Pages: 266
Goodreads

Synopsis

WARNING: This is a work of fiction. Reaped is told through the eyes of the dark side. We understand the mythical and religious spin within this book may be hard for some to read. So if you fit that mold, please don’t be tempted to open the book. If suspending belief is something you have a hard time with when religious aspects are involved, please refrain from reading. This work of fiction is not to be taken seriously. This book was written from our creative view and intended for entertainment purposes only. The book was not written to be incendiary or inflammatory. So before you pass judgment, remember, that’s reserved for God. 

God ordered her to reap him… 

Forged by her father’s hand to reap at His command, Solas was God’s most skilled Reaper. Killing on command, she had never questioned His directives—until now. Too bad Loki’s heart isn’t as black as she’s been led to believe. That would make her job easy. But she cannot dismiss the goodness she senses inside him. Bewildered by her attraction to Loki, she still craves returning home, but knows the only way back into her homeland is to obey God’s order. As the lines between allies and enemies are blurred, she questions who is weaving the biggest deception… the legendary trickster god or her own father? 

But she can’t bring herself to swing her blade. 

From the moment she fell at his feet, Loki mistrusted Solas. His intentions were simple, to use her and send her on her way. Then he discovered she was cast out of her homeland after defying her father’s order to reap him. Intrigued by a woman that would stand against the supreme God, Loki offers her his temporary protection while nursing his skepticism. Many warriors from the heavens have been sent to kill him, but only one has come this close. She’s the perfect weapon. A threat not just to his life, but also to his family and everything he stands for. He should take her life, but he craves protecting her and the secret she harbors more. 

When you send a reaper to kill a god, don’t give her a reason to rebel. 

A tentative alliance between Loki and Solas is brokered, but misunderstandings strain their fragile relationship. Battles are won and lost, but can Solas escape her father’s will? Faced with hard choices, Loki will have to decide what’s important to him. Or can he pull off the ultimate trick and win their freedom? 

Review

My church's youth group has been actively campaigning to get this book banned everywhere, so I knew that I needed to read it before they succeed (and they will because they always do). It was not easy to sneak a copy of the book into my house because my parents are always checking what I'm reading and looking through my drawers and stuff, so while I was reading this book, I made sure to hide it in my older sister's room, that way if it was found, she'd get in trouble for it and not me. 

After reading this book, I must say that I completely understand why my youth group is working to get it banned. I was absolutely scandalized that the authors would glorify something that so clearly breaks one of the ten commandments! I want to ask them if they want to go to Hell when they die, because that's how you get sent to Hell when you die. Then on top of the fact that they're basically worshipping another God, they added kinky romance to the story. Everyone knows that angels are pure spirits and not kinky. This book is just an absolute abomination all the way around, and I'm sorry I read it. I'm going to have to confess my sin, and I will accept my penance, no matter how harsh it may seem, because I know I deserve it and will do whatever it takes to keep from being sent to Hell with these authors. 

I give Reaped, 1 million Hail Mary's, because that's how many the authors will have to say to redeem their immortal souls after writing this book. 

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Alternate Reviews

I was unable to find any blog reviews for Reaped, so you will just have to check out reviews on Amazon or Goodreads for some legitimate reviews. 

The Woods by Christopher F. Viceconte

Title: The Woods
Author: Christopher F. Viceconte
Genre: Literary Fiction
Published: July 11, 2017
Pages: 273
Goodreads

Synopsis

David Barnes returns home from boarding school, only to find that the life he left behind is completely different. Lost in a town he no longer knows, David falls into a downward spiral until awakened by a reality he never anticipated.

The first novel by Christopher F. Viceconte, The Woods is a contemporary coming-of-age story about struggling to find one’s place in the world.

Review

I picked up a copy of this book thinking that it would help me learn how to navigate the wilderness. You see, my husband and children are insisting that they want to go camping because they're basically heathens that have no appreciation for things like air conditioning and not being eaten alive by bugs. But I will do most anything for my kids, within reason, so I want to learn how to camp. This book, was no help at all in that respect. Honestly, it was about as helpful for learning anything about camping as Ass Goblins of Auschwitz would be for writing a research paper about the Holocaust. 

So once I realized that this book wasn't going to teach me how to camp, I tried to get into the story itself, and failed miserably. The book just made no sense to me. Like I don't think there was even a point to the story, or if there was, I didn't catch it. It seemed like it was just about a bunch of kids being stupid and doing illegal shit because they think it's cool, and I just have no interest in reading about stupid kids doing stupid shit. Like, there wasn't even anything really scary happening in the story, and looking at that cover, I kind of expected some scary (and honestly, just the thought of going camping terrifies me, because there are bears in nature, and bears eat people!) stuff to happen. This book was just an all around disappointment on every freaking level imaginable. 

Overall I give The Woods one leaking tent. 

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About the Author

Christopher F. Viceconte is a graduate of New York University. His favorite authors are J.K. Rowling, Bret Easton Ellis, Hermann Hesse, and Ian Fleming. He has lived on three different continents, enjoys standing in the sun, and has regular conversations with his two dogs. Visit his website: pleasegod.help

Alternate Reviews

I was unable to find any blog reviews for The Woods, so you'll just have to check out legitimate reviews on Goodreads or Amazon. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Snafu Fubar by Bob Dixon

Title: Snafu Fubar
Author: Bob Dixon
Genre: Humor
Published: October 5, 2016
Pages: 85
Goodreads

Synopsis

*****WARNING***** 
If you are easily offended, then this is NOT the book for you. Please put it down and back away slowly. However, if you have a warped sense of humor, please read on. 

In the town of Lost Hope, Florida reside two heroes unlike any others. These champions of justice go by the names of Snafu Fubar and General Nuisance. Nightly they patrol their fine city to protect it from evil's grasp. And by 'patrol' we mean they sit on a porch, appropriately nicknamed 'The Fucking Nuisance Cave', drinking beers, smoking cigars, and talking about sex.

Review

I found a copy of this book just sitting on a table at my local watering hole along with a plastic bag full of power strips and extension cords. The table was unoccupied when I arrived, so I assumed that the previous owner had no intention of returning for their things, so I took them home with me. Strangely enough, the bouncer tried to stop me from leaving with the power strips, but I convinced him that the other bouncer had said I could bring them in with me because I'd just been to Walmart before heading to the bar. Bouncers are so gullible, it's no wonder they fall for my fake ID all the time. 

Anyway, I'm a big bar rat, so I thought that I was going to have a lot in common with the main characters of this book, but these guys are just freaking idiots. I'm pretty sure they could get jobs as bouncers though, they should probably look into that. They'd maybe do more good that way than they do by sitting on their lame ass porch drinking beer all the time. 

Seriously, this whole story was freakin' pointless. It was even worse than On the Road by Jack Kerouac, and that book was probably one of the dumbest books I have ever read in my entire life, that is until this book came along and took the top spot. Honestly, it's no wonder it was just left on the table at the bar. I wouldn't have wanted to bother with taking this garbage home with me either if I'd known what was inside it. But we'll always have the power strips. 

I give this book 1 tequila shot. 

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About the Author

Bob Dixon is a two-time Guinness World Record holder for the World's Longest Cartoon Strip. He is the author and creator of a number of comic book titles for Pocket Change Comics, including Assassinette: The Mind Stalker, Psyco Duck, Jester's Dead, The Holy Knight, Riplash, Shadow Slasher, and Warzone 3719. Bob has written two children books, Rooty the Tree Troll and Holiday Bunny; two young adult books, Mouch and Company: The Dream Psychic and Rags and Ruins; and is the co-author of Will Jones' biography A Tough Call. Bob is also the Writer/Director of the movie Dr. Prozak's Office.

Alternate Reviews

I was unable to find any blog reviews for Snafu Fubar, so you'll just have to check out Amazon and Goodreads for legitimate reviews. 

Juniper Smoke by Sadia Ash

Title: Juniper Smoke
Author: Sadia Ash
Genre: Romance
Published: July 8, 2016
Pages: 610
Goodreads

Synopsis

In an age of casual hook-ups, can love survive the test of time?

Juniper and Kyle meet when she is dangling forty feet from a museum scaffolding. 

Juniper Mills is a straitlaced but sassy curator at a History Museum. Raised by her mother to hate men, she worries she’ll die a frigid scholar in a musty house with an army of cats and a lake of books.

Kyle Paxton is an intense and intimidating inventor of a successful micro camera from San Francisco. He schedules dating like his work—with robotic precision. This helps him cope with the dark memories of his ex-girlfriend, who still haunts him. Not looking for love, he only hooks up with Amazonian models. 

When he joins the museum board, Juniper falls for him. She wants him, but knows it's going to be as hard as catching the ocean in a teacup. Juniper becomes Kyle’s obsession, but the tragic secrets of his past cloud his feelings. 

Juniper manages to knock Kyle’s world off its axis and their galaxies collide in this very unfairy tale. But can they overcome their differences and stop a hateful and vindictive person from tearing them apart?

Juniper Smoke is a smoking hot read with fun twists, dark secrets and edge-of-your-seat drama. Nothing is as it seems and no one behaves as you would expect.

Review

When I visit museums, I like to buy a book from the gift shop, and at one museum I visited, this book seemed far more interesting than any of the boring old exhibits that I saw in the museum itself, so I was able to maintain my trend of buying a museum book without actually buying a book featuring the boring things from the museum. This book basically seemed like a godsend at the time. But boy was I wrong about that. 

I thought that I was going to really like this book based on the cover, because it's freaking badass. Unfortunately that's the only thing about this book that is badass. The main character, Juniper, is a mass of crazy contradictions. I mean she's supposed to be this chick that hates men, but she's worried about ending up alone AND gets a crush on the practically unavailable new guy? Yeah, no. That's not how hating men works. She clearly needs to take some more lessons from the feminazis around her if she thinks she's feministing right. I was just super disappointed in her portrayal of feminism. 

And then there's Kyle, who joins the board of directors for a museum and starts obsessing over one of the employees. I'm pretty sure that's against about a bajillion rules. It's at least a major conflict of interest. I really don't blame the person that was trying to keep them apart, because that was the right thing to do. 

I give this 2.5 ancient Egyptian vases. 

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About the Author

Sadia Ash is an art and history obsessed geek who loves all things British and literary. She has held jobs that always involved writing (and never math) in some way. She is currently working on two other novels and a film script. She lives in sun-drenched Cali with her husband and two bright kids.

Alternate Reviews

If you would like to read some legitimate reviews of Juniper Smoke, just click any of the following links.