Saturday, June 13, 2015

Firefly: Ice Born: Book One --by P. M. Pevato

Fiction / Fantasy / Teen
298 Pages
5 Stars

I read this book a couple of times, in its rougher iterations, and am very impressed with the changes Ms. Pevato made. She listened to the suggestions her readers made, took the ones that were helpful, and discarded the ones that weren't, and ended up with a  well crafted book.

The story flowed from the snowy beginning through to the end. It was logical, as logical as teen witches and generations old witch hunters can be, and the ending left me wanting more. Fortunately, she has two more novels planned, and with any kind of luck will get Book Two finished, polished, and published before I forget Book One ;-) .

Pay attention to the chapter headings, as the POV shifts between the protagonist and the antagonist. Although it's usually easy to spot within the first paragraph, it's nice to have that heads up.

The characters are well developed, and the world in which they live, play, and work is equally well developed and believable. The imagery is beautiful, and I found myself wanting a blanket as I read. (It takes place in an alpine village in the winter, and I was cold.) I truly cared about some of the characters, and others, well—I wasn't supposed to like them.

One of the joys of Young Adult/Teen fiction is there is no gratuitous sex or violence, and for that reason, many adults take great delight in reading books written for younger folk. I truly hope adults wanting a good story will pick this book up and read it. And for the teens out there looking for a good paranormal not filled with horny werewolves and vampires, this is the one for you!

A unique story, and a fun read. Thank you, P. M. Pevato for writing this. And, please, hurry up with Book Two.

Cold Hard News --by Maureen Milliken

Fiction / Mystery

 310     pages
5 Stars

I was furnished a copy of this book for an honest review.

Mysteries are not my genre of choice, and when I was asked to read Cold, Hard, News I agreed, without much enthusiasm. I ended up reading it in a day!

The first thing I like about this book is the locale — Maine. A part of the country I've never visited. The second thing I like about this book is the protagonist, Bernie, a 40-something single woman who recently bought the little weekly newspaper where she was hired as a reporter when she first graduated from college. She had been gone a long time, and now that she's back to this little town, she's learning how difficult it can be to be from 'away' and come to live in a small cliquish town. She is not only the owner, but also the main reporter, and she has to be careful of what she prints as news — or earn the enmity of the locals, and lose their support. And Bernie has ADHD.

Pete, the new Chief of Police, is also from away. He was a homicide cop in Philadelphia and came to Redimere as the new chief. An outsider, he isn't exactly trusted, and has earned the enmity of at least one of his cops who thought the job should have gone to him.

The book starts off with the discovery of a body. Stanley has spent the winter buried in a snowdrift while the town thought he was at a cousin's in North Carolina. The ME rules the death as 'undetermined.' The townsfolk classify it as accidental, but little things keep niggling at the back of Bernie's skull.

In the last two years, there have been deaths that have all been called accidents, but they, in true mystery form, are somehow connected. I had a couple figured out, but I had a couple figured out wrong, too.

I really enjoyed reading a story with a strong woman protagonist, and one who, though she has a medical/psychological condition, chose not to use it as an excuse, but to live and work with it. It was interesting to see how she did it, and the book gave me a much better understanding of ADHD, what it is, how it affects people, and why my nephew is the way he is.

This is a stand-alone book, but I hope it's the first of many Bernie and Pete stories!

Buy this book. Read this book. Review this book.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep

Fiction / Science Fiction
328 pages / 1229 KB
5 Stars

Let's get the legalities over with right up front—I was furnished a copy of this book for an honest review.

I love short stories, especially SF/F and when asked to read and review this collection, I jumped at the offer. The anthology contains 26 short stories, of which I enjoyed all but two — which is really pretty good. And, no, I'm not going to tell you which two I didn't care for, because they might turn out to be your favorites.

Totally unfamiliar with the authors, I wasn't sure what to expect, but thought the adventure would be fun. It was. By the time I was half-way through the second story, The Rats, I was hooked. If they could keep the momentum up, it would be a 5 Star book. They could, and they did. And I was already telling friends to buy the book.

A few of the stories were predictable, all of the stories were well written, and worth the read. Some stories had a poignancy to them, some made me chuckle out loud. I absolutely love Keep Fighting Until the Machines Fall Asleep, and The Rats.

If you like Science Fiction, and want to read some of the 'new, up and coming authors' out of Sweden, I think you will enjoy this collection. As has been said, Science Fiction and Fantasy play well together. Often, they allow Horror to come in and play, too, but not for long, just enough to add some peppery influence to the spicy mixture.

The only things these stories have in common is they are all well written and they reside between the covers of the same book. This is not a themed book, so I can guarantee you won't get bored. Also, there are no dragons, no were wolves, and no vampires. There are just 26 well-written stories, some of which take place on other planets, some in other times, and all in your imagination.

I won't compare these authors to American authors, because, frankly, there is no comparison. Different styles, different cultures, and very different stories. I don't think any of the stories will give you nightmares should you read in bed before turning out the light, but they may give you food for thought as you cross that precipice into the little death.

Buy this book. Read this book. Review this book. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Nonfiction / Children

91 pages / 1485 KB
4 Stars

This is an interesting book about dinosaurs. Ms. Rose begins with some interesting facts about fossils, anatomy, diet, etc. Then she goes into each dinosaur, alphabetically. You need only click on the dinosaur in the Table of Contents to go straight to the page.

She explains how it was named, where it came from, and what it was. Each entry begins with a color picture that, if double clicked, is enlarged. The art is fantastic.

The entries are short, and informative; however, the switches from past tense to present tense are a little confusing. Explaining where and when they lived is good; telling us they live and eat and breathe here or there as if in the present day, might confuse some children.

Recommended with tense reservations.

Rabbits (Book 17) by Emma Child

Nonfiction / Children
38 pages /996 KB
5 Stars

I believe I've read every book by Emma Child, with the exception of the one on Spiders. I have greatly enjoyed reading her books (with the aforementioned exception), and highly recommend them to anyone with children in their life.

Her books are entertaining, well written, and great fun. This book on rabbits is no exception. She explains the difference between rabbits and hares. She tells how rabbits communicate. And she finishes the book with Funny Bunny Facts—one of my favorite pages ;-)

Do you know that pet rabbits can be trained to do tricks?
Do you know that the only part of a rabbit that sweats are its feet?
Do you know 'bunny talk'? Read her book and you'll learn how they communicate.

A delightful book, and highly recommended—for both the child in your life, and the adult who will have fun reading it, too.