Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas was a blast

Reading this book I smack my forehead at the fact that they still are milking a great authors name by claiming the book is based off of notes he kept.

Then placing his name under it, in an effort to sell it. A Memory of Light I read over the holidays, and I was looking forward to reading this massive 912 page work. However once into it, I was let down.

Filled with little gems of great writing, and with room in the story to have a great read, the writer tried to hard to write like Jordan, he tried to be the master of fantasy instead of simply letting it flow and making his own mark on it. Then again he made his mark and maybe that is the problem.

Filled with a potpourri of characters and scenes, the story is broad in scope but he drones on, filling the pages with long winded accounts, the battle scenes I admit were decent to read, and more in line with Jordan's style. However character development and readability just was not there.

Jordan's widow edited these works, and I think it is best she no longer does so. She tries to leave her husbands mark on something that he did not write. Yes the books are based on his notes and such. However also the books need to be BASED on his works, let the new author go with it, run with the story. Her control and obvious leanings are all over this work.

Thus this gets a well deserved, but could have been better...

3 stars

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Tale of Two Tales

A Tale of Two Tales by Valorie Veld. This book that teaches young kids that being nice and about friendship was a surprising read. The authors writings far outpace the drawings, which to me were more minimalistic that really the book deserved.

However saying that this was an amusing book, the writing was crisp and fun, and the author has a knack for really making things "work."

After calling the publisher they informed me that this author as her bio indicated was a teacher, and it shows. I would have to suggest this book to anyone that has a child going into a new school. This book in my opinion would make it a lot easier for them to deal with these types of changes.

This author gets a well deserved...

5 Stars

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Part of a series of books, this being the 9th, this one comes from my sisters daughter. Author Sophie Blackall amazes not only with this book but with the previous eight.

The books tend to teach younger ones to read better, have fun with math and science, and tells the adventures of the two main characters, which the books are titled.

The writing is fresh and interesting, and I was surprised at how I even got into them, even with my adult mind with all of its prerequisites and preconceptions.

The author tells her stories in a clean and interesting way, the story is fun and age appropriate for the audience, and she uses little tricks to keep her readers interesting. Always a little hint of what is in the next book, my sister told me my niece LOVED the books, and my niece confirmed it by badgering me with questions when I read it.

Due to the interactivity and cute and innovative storyline, I give this book a solid...

4 Stars

Authors Please

I have lately gotten a spate of books from publishers and authors who have used the chance to write and publish to suffer us through their own personal agendas.

When one writes, they write for the pleasure of doing so. Placing the words on the page to help tell a story, to send a message. Agendas are for revenge not for publishing. So please Mr. or Mrs. Author, leave the relational politics out of it all.

A Slice Of Time

This book by self described historian Dianne Griswold chronicles the history of and her experiences with a museum she worked for.

I love history, and I love books that tell little bits of history and the little stories of the behind the scenes goings on of these places. However, after reading this book I just have many issues with her writing.

First the storyline if you want to call it that is hard to read, her writing style tries to be grandiose and interesting and well... She just fails. Her wittiness comes across as being flat, and she lacks the inciteful wittiness that a book like this demands.

However what turned me off about this book the most, is the obvious animosity she has towards certain people in the book. When a historical book is used to express and indulge in personal agendas, then that right there ruins it. The author should have left out the pettiness and kept to the meat and interesting tasty potatoes of it. Overall this book had SUCH GREAT potential, however hit me wrong. So this book gets....

2 Stars

A Mewsing Haiku

This book by Sharon Lee is essentially a book of Japanese style poetry that is paired with pencil images. I purchased this from a small shop in Jackson when there at the suggestion of the publisher.

I am not into poetry that much, and I do not review much of it, however haiku is something I have always tried to wrap my head around as it is not what I would call 'normal' poetry. However I gave it a whirl.

Book design is standard, although I would like to have seen it a bit smaller, maybe a pocket edition would have suited this book better. However it is what it is.

The haiku is cute at time, centered around cats, and although I am not a huge lover of it, the book unfortunately did little to change my mind. I gave the book to my friend who is a self described poetry addict, and she agreed. The haiku is just flat, uninspiring... The artwork that went with it was cute, suited for the subject however the pairing just did not work. I overall just could not get into this book, and struggled with competing the review reading. I would be interested in seeing the authors regular non haiku poetry.

Thus I give a generous.

3 Stars

Monday, November 12, 2012

Border Books Franchises.

I wanted to rant a tad on Borders Books, and how they have so graciously treated those independent franchises who gave them business and trusted them.

The nail is in the coffin now on these people, as Borders has decided to yank their right to carry the name. Thus effectively pulling all distribution and purchasing ability from these locations. So in other words, they are forcing these stores to close down.

Borders was once my store of choice, then one here in Ann Arbor was wonderful, good people, people who cared about books. Service was spot on and so on. However now they are no more, they are gone and relegated to the annals of failed stores and ideas. Businesses fail, that is a fact of life, however when a store is FORCED to close over their name....... Well that just is horrible.

My Garden In June

My Garden in June by Author and self described poet Ellen Hajduk is another easy read by 2 Moon Press.

This book is small and odd sized, however the size suits the book fine due to its colorful nature and subject matter.

The book is essentially the authors poetry, and also her photography. The photography is nice to look at, clear and interesting. We actually read all four of a series, there are more coming. However this book is probably the best  of them all. Cover art and work is stunning, so image wise the author his a solid run.

However her poetry was flat to me, she attempts to dazzle and reflect, yet she doesn't deliver. Her poetry to me lacked interest and flavor, and really should have maybe even been left out, as the imagery is very nice.

I am torn on the rating, as if this was photos work alone, I would have given her a 4 star rating. However since the poetry is what it is, I have to give this book...

2.5 Stars

The Perigination of Bahltazar and the Phantom Rangers

Being back from a huge hiatus and with an eager eye, this is the first of many books that we are reviewing for your pleasure.

Gustav Tootikian is the author of this book, and after reading it I am a little confused as to a few things. However I will plod along.

The book was not an easy read. I hate to begin to crass, however the authors writing style attempts to be dark and mysterious and it comes across instead as wordy and in some cases even odd. His concepts and things he goes into, in the book lack for flavor and depth as he has no real background leading up to the events and such.

Character development was poor in my opinion, there was just nothing there when it came to his characters, there was nothing to love, hate or root for. I tried hard to like them, but there just was nothing there. Grammar and puncuation was fine, and spelling was fine. However again, the language he uses is at times confusing, and you will need a dictionary to read this, as he does not a very good job at educating the reader about his subject.

Overall I see the concept he wanted to get across, but he failed on delivery. So this book gets a flat rating of...

2 Stars

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fifty Shades of Gray the block buster phenomena by author EL James. I read this as everyone is in such a tissy over the books, and the other ones.

Well... I hate to be the show ruiner here, however what made me shake my head in bewilderment is how can an American college student, have such a bad habit of using British slang?

What bothered me was that it is actually an interesting story, however the author ruins it with a pre-canned selection of overused words, she repeats herself throughout the book constantly. This detracts from some actually good character development overall.

The hype over the book I am perplexed at where it came from? I think a lot of teenagers are reading this book on their kindles and nooks, and are reviewing it. I say this, as anyone with even a high school level of education would shake their head with the issues in this book.

The author uses the word "Geez" so many times in dialogue, I had to use my Kindle and check how many times. Well... 81 times it was used. Sheesh.. See I used this once in my review..

The connection between Ana and Christian is hallow, and based on sex alone. The author seems to try to use sex as a way to show two people care for each other. The BDSM scenes in the book are frankly badly done, and make me instead of aroused, make me shrug them off as blase'. As far as editing, I think I might have gotten a copy via Kindle that was not edited... Yes it is that bad. Word usage, grammar, over sued words, spelling, you name it, the gambit of issues are in there.

So to be fair, I am giving it what I feel is a very generous.

2.5 Stars
Diary of abuse my Mikeael Dikeman recently published by 2 Moon Press chronicles the life of the author as a little boy, and the extreme abuse he suffered at the hands of his very own parents.

I have to warn anyone before hand this was a very disturbing read for me. The author writes this book in what he calls "The childs voice" and at times this got into the way of the reading. I understand his point and purpose to this, however as a reviewer and also reader I would have preferred to just read it in his own words, as an adult.

However saying that, the book was interesting and frankly I think everyone ever convicted of child abuse should have to read it and think about the impact of their own actions. This author really went through a lot of stuff, and I shudder to think of that little boy, abused, alone and with no on to turn to.

Editing was good considering it was written in kids speak. Now kids speak or the voice of the child means the author write it in a way, where you get the impression the child themselves is telling you the story. So the story although progressing well and logically, is at a few points a little hard to read. However what this man went through is very hard to read, and I found myself with tears in my eyes at a few points. Story line progressed in a logical fashion, and made sense in the order he write the events.

Overall this was a gripping and shocking read. This book is not designed for kids due to content descriptions of abuse. However due to the overall package, the authors bravery at publishing this using his real name, and the way the publisher handled the work. I give Diary of Abuse a very well earned...

4 Stars

A servant of my country

Written by already published author Wendy Warwick White, this is an account of her fathers life while in the British military.

I found the book interesting, however the writing style of the author is odd in some ways. Her writing is stilted, and at times unnecessarily formal. I can tell she has very high opinion of her father, and deservedly so.

The book is well edited, and at first I was going to give it a minus due to some parts of the editing, however once I looked and thought more into it, it is obvious she is using British terms, and words.

A servant is a solid read, and I think it would appeal to most individuals who are into either military based books, English history, or even someone looking just for an insightful look into a world that not many individuals get to see too much of.

A servant of my country gets a solid...

4 Stars

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review IPad 3

I finally got my hands on the much hyped about, much loved by all Ipad 3.

I have had it now for two weeks, I have used it as a ebook reader, and also email client host, and also for some apps. I also have aggressively played with all of the features. To this I can keep this review very simple.

I am usually very happy with Apple products. I have a Mac Book Pro, I like it, I find it a great too for me to use. I also have a friend who has an IPad 2 and thus the following comments.

Apple let me down. The differences between the 2 and 3 and negligible. The increased power would never be noticed by 98 percent of users, and frankly the new screen, when compared side by side is not enough of a difference with this 20/20 eyesite to notice.

I think Apple was releasing this too soon, and the hype that has been plugged is simply the typical hype of those that have to have the latest and greatest toys. I think that what they hyped this to be caused a lot of dedicated Apple users to go out and blow money on a unneeded item. The Ipad 2 if you have one is something that you should keep. I would wait for Apple to truly release something new, not just a re-canned upgraded a bit replacement designed to make its "dedicated" user base to spend 500 more to Apple.

I give this product the following due to the fact that it is not enough of an upgrade to warrant tossing the IPad 2 and spending another 500. However if I ever do a review on how Apple tricks its users into being falsely loyal, then I would have done 10 stars.

2 Stars

Unfair Trade - Connor Woodman

This book was released in 2011 by aspiring author Connor Woodman, and claims that it will talk about the poor, and how larger businesses take advantage of the poor third world countries. The book struck a cord, and I think this author has it right.

The book is an easy read in that his writing style is easy to follow. He lays out his arguments with facts, that are easily researched and verified. I found something also impressive, as since he has an agenda, he however does not utilize that agenda in a way that uses skewed or inflated figures or information.

My only real complaint is that he plugs a company called Olam in the book, and I think this took away from his neutrality in this. A book like this, as well written as it was, and as well edited as it was it is a shame that he ruins it by adding a plug for a specific company. If he would have praised this company for its honorable handling of trade and the people, that would be one thing. However he plugged them in  away that made the reader wonder if he was receiving pay from them or some fee.

I do not now if that is the case, and am not saying it is. So due to this a solid five stars become a solid.

4 Stars

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

J.K. Rowlings new release

An opinion on Rowlings new book. Yes I know it is not out yet, and I know that so many people will be judging me for a presumptive opinion, however I am still going to offer it.

Good, bad or whatever. Her new and upcoming book is a Mystery read, this I think is going to be her failing. I LOVE mysteries, and I think she is capable of doing a great one, however I also think that she pigeon holed herself with the Harry Potter series.

People look to this author as Harry's author, and also would be expecting a more fantasy based book. I admit if I bet money on her last year, I would have guessed she would be writing a new book that would have expanded on the Harry Potter world, or maybe even some kind of prequel, where Albus and Hagred were at school.

I think Rowling is going to be a victim of her own success and franchise here. Yes she will sell millions, and maybe that is her goal. However also, I think she will run into an unfair harsh criticism of her new book as readers and reviewers alike are used to HP.

I wish her luck, and admit I am anxiously awaiting her new book. You can bet it will be reviewed here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Son Of The Widow

A Son Of The Widow by W.R. Acock is an interesting read actually about a soldier in the British Army during the Indian Occupation by the British. The book was written by his long forward relatives, and the name of the author is actually a Pen name used by them.

My initial impression of this book is that it is attractive to look at. Story line is interesting, and although I am not a fan of Military or historical books, it was interesting to read.

However the book fell flat in one area, the author(s) failed to make I think the main subject, (Acock) someone I could relate to on a personal reader level. They I think wanted to make the book about this man, and kept too close to the information at hand. I think it would have helped this book, if they would have added some more personal details about him. Due to this it actually made me want more.

However also there were gems in the book like part IV. Overall it was a great read..

4 Stars

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Curtains - Nicholson, Konrath, Wood

This is a series of short stories by three authors, the subject matter follows pretty much the same genre, horror, bloody and shocking. This is where they fall flat I think. Each story showcases a theme, mystery, suspense, crime etc. However in all reality they try to use outright gore to shock the reader into liking I think.

Now saying that, there were some interesting gems in here. The story titled "Watermelon" was something that really was kind of disturbing. However, there is where it stopped for me. Layer by layer they piled on the raw shock and awe in an attempt to pull the reader in, however instead they push and push the reader.

The biggest problem is that this book when it comes to the author Nicholson, is just a re-canning of short stories from another book he did. This is not original, and it is not labeled as thus on the cover, this I feel this is a trick on the reader. So if you follow this author, be ready for an upset as you are getting something you already have.

Editing wise the book has some issues, punctuation is lacking in proper form however it is also not too distracting.

If you are into books designed to shock via gore and not storyline, then this is the one for oyu, however due to the simple re-canning of Nicholsons work and the failure to let the reader know, combined with the hard gore and lacking backing storyline, I give this book a very solid.

3 Stars

The Hunger Games

This is what has been called the next Harry Potter. In all fairness I have to admit I have read the book and also seen the movie. (Stick with the book).........

Overall I enjoyed the read, the plot is interesting and new and the character development although shallow in some ways is interesting, and the plot makes up where CD is lacking. The author does a good job of making the visceral experience something to be savored. Her writing and dialogue gives the reader an easy escape into the world. However, I wish she would have spent more time on the main evil character, President Snow. Yes he appears in later books, I just think he could have been set better into the initial book.

Editing of this book is good, and there are only a few small plot issues that stand out, however they are so small I would be knit picking to point them out. Overall I see the book as a good read, not sure the wild fire take off of it, however I am just one reader.

I give it a solid

5 Stars

Yes it has been a bit

Sorry for my absence here on the huge cloud that is my book home. Due to my work, school and many other things I frankly have not been able to do much reading, however I have a ton of new books I have read now, and also it is time for some more awards. So thanks for staying by me those that are following the CAG.