Thursday, May 8, 2014

Open for the Summer!

Real Talk: I went to school. I stopped reviewing. Summer now is upon us. Which means free time. Glorious Free Time. But I also need to rehash this page. I intend to read a lot this summer critically and for fun. I am not a reviewer for pay merely a lover of literature, and so it is often neglected for real world (i.e. feeding myself) concerns, but now I am back. I will post likes to past reviews on my fb page since they haven't been introduced there yet. I hope to now fully integrate social media into this blog in order to drive it towards being a better page/system in the next few months. Updates will be posted by next monday!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sorry About the Delay!

I will be posting a bunch of reviews once, my life quiets down some. I hope anyone reading this is having a great time reading and exploring the world.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Social Media and a Reading Challenge!

I have a facebook page. Here is the link feel free to check it out for updates and events!

https://www.facebook.com/LitReviews

Also I am issuing a challenge where for the next week I will be accepting reading suggestions. Either go to the fb event and comment or comment this post with:

Author's Name:
Publisher:
Publication Year:
Book Title:

I am excited to read your posts.

Pawnbroker by Jerry Hatchett

     Pawnbroker by Jerry Hatchet was published by Red House publishing. It would most align with the mystery/thriller tag. It would appeal to anyone who admires virtuous characters, good dialogue and a plot that keeeps you guessing, without seeming contrived.

One of the main reasons  that I enjoyed Pawnbroker was the characters and their development. They had reactions to situations that felt both real and relatable. I wanted to comfort them and berate them depending on which I felt they needed most. A prime example of a character that made me feel for them was Gray Bolton. Gray was a perfect portrait of a "good guy" archetype. He has grown a somewhat bitter in the entrance of the film from his career as a pawnbroker, but you soon discover he is still essential that fundamentally moral guy. otherever, fate seems to to have dealt him a bad hand. Despite the betrayal and trauma he faces, he maintains this air of morality. He is often faced with choices where temptation threatens to doom him, but always he fights back, and wins. It doesn't seem contrived,  because he is no "golden boy", just a man trying to stay on a narrow path against a relentless typhoon of trouble.Another intriguing character is his partner for the majority of the book, Penny. Originally set in as research for his lawyer, she is with him through thick and thin. A considerable tough woman that can hold her own a fight with words or fists, she admires the surprising goodness in Gray. She proves to be an interesting counterpoint as their banter and occasionally deep talk feels real and satisfying. These are not the only interesting characters, but by far the first developed and the most consistent focus of the book.

The plot was an incredibly sweeping plot. I felt it move and crescendo as it progressed. I could saw that reading it was like making a tapestry. You start out with the overall idea. Gradually, color and personality are added by way of interesting characters. Then, you add large detail, like the major plot turns which are surprising, but fit well into the overall picture. Finally, you tie together seemingly unrelated people and events to make this dramatic and comprehensive reveal. This book is full of Ah-Ah moments where you try and piece together the grand mystery of it all, aided by your omnipresent knowledge, all the while hoping the characters will discover the plot too. This scenario makes for a book that is immensely hard to put down.

On the negative aspects of the book, there are a few talking points to be considered. With all the broad sweeping lead up, it is quite easy to forget seemingly minor characters that turn out to be cataclysmic to the plot with a cast list as long as Pawnbroker's. Also, the writing style is conducive to skimping on character descriptions and location descriptions, so you never gain a clear mental image of anyone or place. The conclusion is interesting, but on whole felt to me cut short to soon.

Overall, it was a book that took its good parts and made a thoroughly readable book with intriguing dialogue, fast pacing and interesting characters.


Friday, July 5, 2013

14 by Peter Clines

I recently finished reading an interesting book along the sci-fi/ fantasy genre, called 14. It was written by Peter Clines and published by Permuted Press. It is not a publisher or author that I had heard of before, but I would like to get to know them better after reading 14.

To set up this review, I will give a brief synopsis of the plot. It centers around a seemingly average guy Nate that hasn't quite figured out what he wants to do for the rest of his life. His life changes when he is turned onto a nice rent controlled brownstone in Los Angeles. From there he begins to notice strange details about his new home and bands together with his fellow tenants to discover the truth. However, the truth is so much bigger than what they could have possibly thought.

Now given this premise, it is easy to see how this plotline could go in a plethora of different directions. However, the direction Clines takes is both familiar and startlingly new. He drops hints of classic science fiction names/subject matter and uses them to create a tapestry effect that is more than the sum of its parts. The overall development of the novel was seamless and effortless to read. It is what I would call a classic page turner. At no individual point, did I have to rage at the irrationality of the decision making of the characters, because they did their best with the knowledge. It does change perspective in order to give the reader a clearer picture of events, but is not jarring and it is clear who is the focus.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading 14 and have already started recommending it to everyone within earshot.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Shadow on the Crown (Advanced Reader's Copy)

Shadow on the Crown (Advanced Reader's Copy)

By: Particia Bradwell

Review by: Programmer

Shadow on the Crown is a historical fiction novel that centers around 1002 A.D. to 1005 A.D. It focus on Emma of Normandy's life and close companions.

It was to be honest a stereotypical historical fiction. Due to the historical nature of the genre, typically plots become very similar and meld together.  Particularly with a character with so much historical data missing form her life ( around 15 years from references according to the author), gave the author a lot of creative license, and therefore she could have taken some risks. However, it was the same plot line and scenarios you see in most historical novels. I was on multiple occasions wondering, if I had read it before.

The character development was very strange. The king's son was portrayed as around the same age as
main character Emma of Normandy and despite the overwhelming reasons not loves her. Yes, the main competition for his throne will come from Emma's womb, but he loves her. The worst part is that the basis of their relationship was never clearly established. It sprung from the earth from fully grown and ready to go. Otherwise, the characters, are merely plot devices meant to further the overall theme. They were not expected to really develop, and they did not strive overachieve.

It was an average historical novel, that was not expected to break the mold. It did however do an average job of filling it.