Monday, July 17, 2017

Wish I Were Here by Erin Lavan

Wish I Were HereWish I Were Here by Erin Lavan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A rather feisty book from the start, Wish I Were Here by Erin Lavan is a rollercoaster ride of romance, drugs, theft, and redemption. This is a fairly short novel, but there is much packed into the story. Upon learning of the death of her ex Axel, artist Savannah goes on a bender and ends up in jail. Just how that happens is convoluted and confusing, but suffice it to say that she drank too much and let her artistic talents get the better of her. After an intervention of sorts, and some therapy, she ends up on the rear seat of her doctor's ride, and heads through Europe on the trip of a lifetime. A lighthearted read that encompasses many of the more exciting aspects of travel, as well as a trip through culinary delights, this is an entertaining, easy book. The protagonist Savannah is well described as the quirky artist character she is and carries the story along pretty well through candid conversations and self-criticism. Wish I Were Here is a fine debut from an up and coming author.

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Smoke and Tranquillity by Robert Swann

Smoke and TranquillitySmoke and Tranquillity by Robert Swann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Smoke and Tranquillity by Robert Swann is a novel written with a fast yet nuanced pace. We follow the story of a Simon Hunter, a wealthy man who has tried to use his money for good in the world. He tries to help people who cannot help themselves. Always looking to atone for the sins of his past, Hunter is a complex character, and aptly and thoroughly described. This story tells the tale of his most challenging task to date, to free oppressed people living under a violent dictator in west Africa. From changing his appearance to honing in on aspects of the local language, this is a complex mission for Simon. In addition, the terrorist aspect of the story makes the novel quite timely and relevant. This book is full of intrigue, espionage, American and British intelligence, blackmail and betrayal. Thoroughly entertaining with a gripping writing style and compulsive readability, Smoke and Tranquillity is highly recommended for a thrilling read.

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The Beacons I See by Ty Unglebower

The Beacons I SeeThe Beacons I See by Ty Unglebower
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Beacons I See by Ty Unglebower is such a revelation of a book. Vanessa is a young woman with a gift. She has a gift that allows her to see colorful auras around objects where promises have been made. This ability makes her a "promise seer"; a highly unusual trait and of whom there are only a few. Along with this gift, Vanessa is on the autism spectrum, though she is high functioning. When she takes a much needed vacation to her Grandmother's cabin to get away from the stressors of the world, she sees a colorful aura in the woods on the way. Bright purple, it is such that she has never seen before. This is an absolutely fascinating story, one which delves into a subject that few are familiar with. The author writes with clarity and respect, making no assumptions about Vanessa. She is such an interesting woman, it is a joy to read about her various gifts that make her special and completely unique. A strong recommendation for this book with an uncommon heroine.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mr. Memory and Other Stories of Wonder by Paul Michael Peters

Mr. Memory and Other Stories of WonderMr. Memory and Other Stories of Wonder by Paul Michael Peters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mr. Memory and Other Stories of Wonder by Paul Michael Peters is a meandering collection of short stories that range from an old man's recollections in Mr. Memory to a magical jacket to a vignette of photo taking in Savannah. The stories appear to be interwoven in some roundabout ways. Easy enough to read, these short vignettes are suitable for a quick read while enjoying a hot cup of something delicious, or enjoying while waiting for an appointment. Neither overly sophisticated or preachy, these stories are different enough to capture the reader's imagination. A solid collection that is worth exploring, this small collection of stories is recommended for a light and inquisitive diversion. The Mr. Memory stories are definitely worth reading, and are certainly the highlight here.

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The Watcher by Ross Armstrong

The WatcherThe Watcher by Ross Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Watcher: A Novel by Ross Armstrong is a novel written in a highly original format, almost like a journal. Lily the protagonist is speaking to someone, we just don't know who it is. As far as being a page turner, it doesn't get much better than this. For a compelling and quirky plot line, this novel exemplifies a standard of writing that is different and a level above the norm. This is not your typical murder mystery. There is a lot to see here, not the least of which is Lily's character, which is both fascinating and disturbing. She watches birds, then veers off into watching people across the way with her binoculars. What she sees will change her life. Sharp, clipped writing moves the action along nicely, and while not ultimately hard to figure the mystery out, the overarching result of reading this book is great satisfaction while scratching one's head a little. Highly recommend if you are looking for a unique novel.

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Something (Wisteria Book 1) by Shelby Lamb

Something (Wisteria, #1)Something by Shelby Lamb
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Something(Wisteria, #1) by Shelby Lamb is truly a gothic style YA novel that includes a lot of teen sex scenes, scary stuff, horror and great attention to every detail of every character. Frankly, this book may be a bit much for anyone under 18 years old, there are many scenes with sex, some self harming, and lot of suicidal behavior, including one actual attempt. There is plenty of death to go around too. This is a rather crazy mix of genres, some of it works, and some of it doesn't. The story follows Aubrey, a youngish, lost soul, with her pink hair, self abuse, and random sex with strangers. To say she is a mess is an understatement. She is at once being bullied, and yet seems somewhat fragile, while trying to act tough. The horror element in the novel is rather light, and that may appeal to some, as it is not over the top scary. The author has written this story well enough to warrant a second look at the next installment.

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