Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Kitchen Canary by Joanne Parsons


Kitchen Canary by Joanne Parsons
Publisher: Joanne Parsons (April 2017)
159 pages, eBook (provided by Publisher for review)
Book Rating: 4 Stars
Content Note: Includes Swearing , Violence, and Sexual Situations

This is the tale of a young reluctant immigrant, sent overseas to work as a domestic servant in order to send money back to her family in Ireland. We follow Katie on her harrowing voyage across the sea and her experiences as a badly treated domestic servant. This is a depressing, albeit realistic and clearly well researched story, that held my interest. I only wish the prose had flowed a bit more smoothly—there was something stilted and choppy about the delivery, but not so much as to be a real annoyance. I found the characters interesting, and I liked that even the bad characters were given a backstory that to some degree made their actions make sense. Interesting read!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Pearlman by David Russell


Pearlman by David Russell
Publisher: Bella Tulip Publishing (April 2018)
38 pages, eBook (provided by Author for review)
Book Rating: 3 Stars
Content Note: Includes Sexual Situations

Delving through space, time and apocalyptic visions, the unnamed hero explores the melding of Spanish and native cultures in Chile, while engaging in battle with legions. Legions of what and for what purpose I’m not entirely sure. Reading this was a bit like watching someone else’s dream (or nightmare)—I’m sure it makes perfect sense to them, but try to describe it to someone else and they immediate get lost. Many creative allusions and interesting correlations are presented, though much of the scientific analysis I didn’t exactly follow. Perhaps, better suited to a reader more inclined toward science fiction than me. Interesting and strange short read!

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Secret World of Callie Beck by Merrick Green


The Secret World of Callie Beck by Merrick Green
Veronica Mars - the TV series (Kindle Worlds Novella)
Publisher: Kindle Worlds (April 2018)
97 pages, eBook (provided by Author for review)
Book Rating: 5 Stars
Content Note: Includes Swearing , Violence, and Sexual Innuendo

Interesting Veronica Mars story involving a cult that appears to be involved in some sort of sex trafficking.  This story takes place during the Hearst College years of the show and features Veronica’s friends Wallace, Mac and Weevil. Fast-paced, intricately developed plot, that keeps you on your toes. There is a enough backstory included to be enjoyable for new readers, but not so much as to be burdensome. Entertaining short read!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Jilliand by Clare Gutierrez


Jilliand by Clare Gutierrez
Publisher: River Grove Books (April 2018)
310 pages, eBook (provided by Publisher for review)
Book Rating: 5 Stars
Content Note: Includes Swearing , Violence, and Sexual Situations

Jilliand—captive of the man she calls father, escapes years of abuse only to be captured by Viking raiders, but is lucky enough to find favor with the Viking Sea King Rurik. This story contains a love story (of sorts) but I wouldn’t classify this as a romance story. This is more a myth or legend about the heroine Jilliand, that tells of all her trials, tribulations and exploits. The story is told in the style of a person telling you a myth or legend, and I really enjoyed that. According to the author’s note at the end, many of the characters are at least, in part, based on real historical characters, which I felt lent to the overall realism of the tale. Rurik (Jilliand’s Viking love interest) is less a hero of the tale and more one of the things Jilliand must overcome. Jilliand comes through so much heartache and adversity in this tale, that it is probably not a read for everyone, but I loved her strength, her humility, and her helpful, caring nature. This story includes depictions of violence that are not for the faint of heart. A fascinating tale of a woman’s will to survive in a harsh world!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Comedown by Rebekah Frumkin


The Comedown by Rebekah Frumkin
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (April 2018)
319 pages, eBook (provided by Publisher for review)
Book Rating: 3 Stars
Content Note: Includes Swearing, Violence and Sexual Situations

This is a twisted tale of two families, one Jewish and the other black, forever connected by a drug-deal gone wrong, in which no one emerges unscathed. The blurb billed it as a dark comedy, but I found very little of comedic value in these pages. It was a rather depressing and, I have no doubt, realistic look at a world where entire families are ruined by one member’s bad choices and seemingly everyone is taking some sort of drugs. The characters were colorful and very vividly drawn, but there was little to like about them. There was also a lot of backstory given on characters that had little to do with the main plot, which I found unnecessary. I found the ending very abrupt and without sufficient resolution. I will say that it was very well written and it had an interesting rhythm that I enjoyed. Perhaps just not my cup of tea, exactly.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Scarlet Liter by Merrick Green

The Scarlet Liter by Merrick Green
Veronica Mars - the TV series (Kindle Worlds Novella)
Publisher: Merrick Green (March 2018)
89 pages, eBook (provided by Author for review)
Book Rating: 5 Stars
Content Note: Includes Swearing, Violence, and Sexual Innuendo

Great Veronica Mars story involving a convenience store robbery. Fast-paced and witty, with all the familiar characters. Fans of the show will enjoy all the references to people and events from various episodes (all of which are nicely annotated by the author at the end of the story). But the story includes plenty of backstory to be very enjoyable for readers new to the Veronica Mars world as well. Reading it felt just like watching another episode of Veronica Mars! Entertaining short read!

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat


The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (March 2018)
225 pages, eBook (provided by Publisher for review)
Book Rating: 4 Stars
Content Note: Includes Swearing and Violence

This is a story about Ethiopian immigrants living in Boston, and centers around a teenage girl who befriends/becomes obsessed with a charismatic middle-aged man who works as a parking lot attendant. As her involvement with this man grows, she finds herself at the center of things that are much more dangerous and far-reaching than she could have ever imagined. This story had a rambling, poetic quality that I enjoyed, and the characters were all wonderfully complex. Much of the story focuses on the complexity of various relationships and how our view of a person may change over time. Riveting read! My only complaint would be the beginning and the ending. The beginning I found very confusing, but later determined it was meant to be disorienting, before the story starts to unravel making everything clearer. The ending I thought was abrupt and maddeningly vague—I prefer a bit more resolution I guess. Nevertheless, a very entertaining story!