August 26, 2013

Zoo by James Patterson

If you want a book that will keep you hanging on until the last page just for the madness that ensues throughout the novel – this one is for you.

The world as we know it is coming to an end. Man-made problems are coming back to haunt the human population.

The animal population is turning against the humans, and they are out for blood!

The concept of this novel is actually extremely terrifying. I suppose that is what Patterson does best though. When fighting against other humans, at least you have the advantage of language. Whether you speak the same language or not, there are usually universal signs to get your point across.

With animals, it is a whole different story. You don’t know what they are thinking at any time. And when they attack, you have no answers for why or what you can do to stop it.

Oz, the main character, has noticed a strange trend in animal behavior for many years. He has spent all of his money trying to share his discoveries but is constantly blown off and called crazy. It is the classic case of “This will NEVER happen to ME.”

Once animal attacks start happening all around the world and in really extraordinary circumstances, his findings start to get noticed.

After taking a trip to Africa, and encountering these tragedies first-hand, Oz has all the material he needs to prove that he is, in fact, not crazy after all.

This novel was sort of different for a Patterson book which was interesting at the beginning. But in typical Patterson form, he grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let me go until I closed the final cover.

It is interesting to read, and maybe it is not the most likely of scenarios, but it does make you think a little more about what we are doing to the Earth.

5/5 stars

You Are To Decide.., but Death and Rising Are Through Human Flesh by Walt March, Antony Sturdee, and Claire Glowen

I will start this by saying that from the title of this book, you can’t really figure out what it will be about. That is the case with some books, which is fine, but with this one it is different. Even after reading it I am not really sure what it was about.

I guess there was a main storyline; The main character is a detective. Tragedy strikes his family and others around him. The horror seems to be stemming from this mysterious book that was given to his wife and child. He and his partner Felix team up to try to solve the crimes.

Then there was the poetry that was thrown in the complement the novel. I think this was a good strategy in theory. It helped break up the story in to smaller and easier to read parts rather than having just a plain wall of text. Coming from someone who can lose interest easily if I am not given short chapters or some sort of a break in the chapters, I liked this concept.

The execution, though, I felt was very weak. Many times I was wondering how the poems flowed with the story. Other times I wondered if they were meant to fit at all or if they were just a small thought given to us from the main character. Some of them did fit and flow with the story, and when they did, it was enjoyable.
Then there was the non-poetry, non-main story line that consisted of just the thoughts of the main character on various topics often revolving around religion. When you decide to write on religious topics, it is really either hit or miss. There is rarely a middle ground that the stories fall into and I felt this one was sort of a miss. I didn’t understand how most of it tied in together, and the flow was just not there for me.

The writing in this novel was very, very formal. For me, if I am reading formal writing, I feel like I am reading a text book and it makes it hard to focus on the story line. I found myself getting lost often, but not really wanting to go back and reread the paragraph, page, etc.

The only thing that kept me hanging on until the end was wanting to figure out what the story was behind the mysterious book. Once I got to the end, I felt it was severely lacking and I felt like I didn’t receive a full story.

The concept behind this novel was pretty good, the execution missed the mark though.

2/5 stars. There was mystery to the story, but the thoughts didn't flow together. 

August 10, 2013

The Students Sold Us Secrets Volume One by Lee Mavin

The Students told us secrets is a collection of short stories that are written in the form of journal entries by students.

The narrator is an anonymous teacher who received these texts and compiled them in the process of evaluating student behavior of the generation. Behavior against each other, and behavior towards those in power such as teachers.

While this is a work of fiction, it is horrifying that many students, I’m sure, actually have the thought processes close to the ones in this collection. The stories themselves are full of horror, suspense, and gore, but the fact that these are not too far off from reality makes them even more terrifying.

I love short stories. There is just something about the way that they have to be told in such a limited amount of pages that makes them difficult. They can either be really good and well written, or you can leave them with the sense that you didn’t receive the full story and there is something missing.

Lee Mavin did a very good job of putting these stories together in a way that they flowed well together. I felt as though I received all of the details necessary to put the story together. It was well written, and it was a very interesting read.

5/5 stars
Click to purchase!

August 9, 2013

Pulse of Poetics by Joseph Labriola

Pulse of Poetics is a collection of poetry and analysis of said poems.

They cover many different topics and cover a large range of dates. You aren't getting poems from just one time period.

It takes you through the ever evolving forms of poetry, and there are also many different type of poems. There are very short ones, and there are longer ones.

I enjoyed the poems that were put together in this collection, some of the analysis sections seemed to drag on a bit longer than I thought was necessary though.

I feel as though fans on poetry and history would enjoy taking a look at this book.

I am not huge on reading about history, so some of this was not for me.

3.5/5 stars I found myself losing interesting at times, but the poetry collection they used made up for some of that. 

August 7, 2013

Remember Patience by Shawn Sandhurst

First off, I enjoyed that this book was written by someone close to home here in Illinois!

Now for the review:

When faced with the worst terrorist attack the United States has ever faced, what would you do?

For a small group of high schoolers from Ridgewood, Illinois, their plan is to travel to Turkey and join the Peace Corps to try to spread the word of God and the Bible to the terrorists.


Does redemption work on those whose souls are black and dead inside? Simon and his Little Js can only hope so, otherwise they could end up dead by the hands of a highly dangerous terrorist organization.

This novel reads sort of like a movie. It seems like a YA/teen movie where the young characters are the hero of a story. I believe it is written this way because it is not a 100% serious book, which is first seen through the different personalities of the characters.

If you like movies/books with young powerful lead characters, I believe this would be a good read for you.
What I really enjoyed about it was the short chapters, that will stand out to me in any book I read. I love that writing style, and I feel it helps keep my interest. I finished the whole thing in two sittings, it went pretty quick, and it wasn’t dull.

And don’t forget, Remember Patience.

5/5 stars. The writing style was great, and the story certainly takes you on a journey. 

August 5, 2013

The Spirit Keepers by J.S. Winn

If there is one thing that J.S. Winn can do well, that would be writing suspense novels. If you didn’t see my review for her previous novel Out of the Shadow, check it out after you read this! (Link)

The Spirit Keepers is a romance novel with a side of mystery and suspense.

It is about a woman named Sandy who packs up her belongings and moves from Philadelphia to New Mexico to take a teaching job. Carrying emotional baggage from her life in Philly, she must learn to adjust to the way of the tribe and try to fit in.

When one of her students and his family begin to be tormented by people in the tribe, she cannot help but get involved.

Along the way, she meets a fellow teacher, Ben, and they have instant chemistry that is undeniable.

He warns her that it would probably be best to stay out of the tribe’s business, but the independent woman that she is doesn’t listen to him.

She gets caught up in a mess that may kill her.

Will Sandy make it out alive and live happily ever after? Or will her concern others lead to her untimely death? You will just have to read to find out!

It was hard to put down, and its not very long. So, finishing it in a couple sittings is easy.

5/5 stars. It keeps you hanging on until the end to see who/what is behind the tormenting actions.  

August 1, 2013

Forever a Blackhawk by Stan Mikita

Since I love hockey, and I love my Blackhawks, this was obviously a great read for me.

It details Stan Mikita's home life as well as his life to becoming a hockey player and finally playing for the Chicago Blackhawks.

It is everything you would want from a sports memoir including statements written by former team mates as well as tons of pictures.

It is great to get a personal look at the life of a great Blackhawks legend and now a team ambassador.

If you are a hockey fan, or especially a Blackhawks fan, you need to pick this up.

5/5 stars

The Book of Jobs: What Steve is Doing on the Cloud by Skye Atman

By the title, I am sure you all can assume that this book is about Steve Jobs. You would be correct.

It is a work of fiction that explores Steve’s time in a place that is sort of like a heaven.

In his time there he learns the rules of the place, and encounters many famous figures along the way. His struggle is that he wants to figure out how to reincarnate sooner than his allotted time because he wants to make sure that his company is run correctly as long as the construction of their new building.

It is a fun book to read, very light-hearted and interesting. The writer did very good research to make it close to character for Steve and the others you meet along the way.

If you are an Apple fan or a fan of Steve Jobs, it could be a fun read to pick up. It isn’t very long, so it won’t devour a lot of your time.

5/5 it was fun. I found it entertaining.