Posts Tagged With: book review

Book Review: A Construct of Angels (Andrew Toynbee)

The Bookconstructofangels

A Construct of Angels

The Genre

Urban Fantasy

The Author

Andrew Toynbee has been writing in various genres since he was eleven years old, including publishing articles in various specialist magazines. After his first novel attempt became too big and unwieldy to manage, he changed tack and, in 2009, began work on A Construct of Angels.

The Plot

After accidentally triggering the spontaneous resurrection of a dead student, an ordinarily routine day for York-based paramedic Sara Finn erupts into a series of events that propel her on a terrifying journey, promising to forever change her pragmatic opinions of life and death. Sara finds herself caught in the crossfire between warring forces, powerful beyond human comprehension, that threaten to plunge civilization into hellish chaos and eternal darkness.

The Review

I quite enjoyed this book. The main character, Sara Finn (a pun on “seraphim”, which I love!), is feisty and determined and a great heroine in general. She has to deal with all sorts of unimaginable horrors over the six days leading up to the possible-Apocalypse, and even though the big bad guy goes so far as to invade her dreams and mess with her head, she stays strong and doesn’t bend to his will (well, not when it matters, anyway!).

I really loved the start of this book — a dark star driving people crazy, zombies rising from their graves, etc. It was a very cool concept, and I felt very grounded in her messed-up world. As the story progressed, I got a bit lost in what was happening; the book is quite long, and I feel the story lost its focus in the middle. The ending, however, was appropriately apocalyptic, and featured some great scenes (dancing zombies!) that effortlessly pulled me back into the story and the explosive finale.

A long read, but a good one if you’re a fan of urban fantasy or the angels vs. demons concept!

The Rating

4 out of 5 stars.

 

Click here to check out A Construct of Angels!

Click here to visit Andrew Toynbee’s blog!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Random, amusing K-POP video urging listeners to “Get your “cray” on”.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Book Review: Leather to the Corinthians (Tom Lucas)

Note: Tom sent me a print copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, so thanks Tom for the book and the opportunity to review it!

The Bookleather to the corinthians

Leather to the Corinthians

The Genre

Satire

The Author

Tom Lucas was born and raised in Detroit, and although currently enjoying the lack of snow and ice in Florida, remains a son of the post-industrial apocalypse. Throughout his childhood, Tom found solace in comic books, Star Wars action figures, movies, cartoons, and video games. His passion for story has carried him through his adult life. Tom is a college professor, author, blogger, poet, book reviewer, and spoken word performer. When not writing, Tom likes to drive fast and take chances.

The Plot

The General and his clown army are determined to defeat the King, mad ruler of the Village, who only cares about celebrity status and bling. The story follows several characters, with the main protagonist (sort of) being a young soldier in the General’s army who fights to survive the melee, losing his humanity along the way.

The Review

This was an interesting satire of American culture that had me alternatively laughing out loud and cringing. I really enjoyed the depiction of several major fast food corporations as actual military forces battling it out for control of the hapless citizens of the Village. The General’s clown army and his hellish Necro-crofts fascinated me, as did the church of the Big Red J — basically what happens when you combine religion with comic book enthusiasts. I found the church of the Big Red J both hilarious and brilliant — and it also unnerved me a bit, because it sounded like an awesome religion to me, even though it’s clearly not supposed to be!

The writing style is fascinating — Lucas writes as if he’s a televangelist, which, considering the concept of this book, is I think a really great choice on his part. Because of the writing style, I sometimes found the book a bit exhausting to read, as it’s quite intense.

I have two major gripes with this book. One is the editing — I found a lot of spelling/grammatical errors, which detracted from the reading experience for me. I was also annoyed by the lack of female characters. About 95% of the characters are men, and the only female characters (at least, from what I recall) are sex-crazed (or having to do with sex in general). I assume this was part of the satire — that the media paints women as sexual objects and nothing more, etc. etc. But as a female reader, I guess I was looking for something … more with the female characters.

All in all, a fun read — not a book for the faint of heart, but definitely one you might enjoy if you’re a fan of political/social satire!

The Rating

4 out of 5 stars

 

Check out the book here: http://readtomlucas.com/

 

Unrelated link of the day:

Very simple yet awesome website: http://www.rainymood.com/

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Book Review: The Friendship of Mortals by Audrey Driscoll

Next up in the awesome self-published authors series, I present to you my review of Audrey Driscoll’s The Friendship of Mortals. By the way, this book is currently FREE on Smashwords, so if it sounds intriguing, give ‘er the old download!

The Bookfriendshipofmortals

The Friendship of Mortals

The Genre

Literary Fiction / Sci-fi / Fantasy

The Author

Audrey Driscoll – a librarian and cataloguer, gardener and writer. She discovered the writings of H.P. Lovecraft many years ago, and after reading his story “Herbert West, Reanimator”, she began to wonder about Herbert – what motivated him to reanimate corpses? And thus the Herbert West trilogy began!

The Plot

Herbert West can revivify the dead – after a fashion. He persuades Miskatonic University librarian and aspiring alchemist Charles Milburn to help him, but risks their friendship for the sake of his experiments. When West prepares to cross the ultimate border, only Charles can save his life – if his conscience lets him.

The Review

The cover of this book does not do the story justice. This was one of the most fascinating and thought-provoking stories I have ever read. It’s told from the perspective of mild-mannered archivist Charles Millburn, but the real story revolves around the incredibly fascinating, mysterious Herbert West and his necromantic attempts. I absolutely loved this setup – Herbert West’s story became so much more intriguing when viewed through the eyes of another. This is definitely what the author intended when she wrote this gorgeous piece of literature, and I feel she pulled it off beautifully.

Herbert West alarmed, enchanted, and terrified me all at once. He is ruthless in his ambitions, confident that he will not be discovered, and willing to do whatever it takes to get his way. He should have been the villain of the piece but, perhaps because the story is told through his loyal follower Charles Millburn, I was instead sympathetic for him, and wanted him to succeed despite the fact that what he was doing was morally questionable at best.

The only complaint I can really make is that I felt the story dragged in places. The first half of the story was absolutely gripping, but once the characters separate and go their own ways for a bit, I wasn’t quite as enthralled – although once they get back together, the story picks up pace again.

Overall, a gripping and fascinating insight into a brilliant and disturbed mind (Herbert West, not the author!). I would definitely recommend this to any fan of H.P. Lovecraft, fans of sci-fi/fantasy, and anyone who just enjoys excellently written literature.

The Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Click here to visit Audrey Driscoll’s blog.

Click here to check out the book (currently free to download!)

Unrelated video of the day:

Thor 2: The Dark World trailer came out today! Words cannot convey my excitement for this movie.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Book Review: Can’t Live Without by Joanne Phillips

In my slow but sure attempts to work my way through the small virtual mountain of books piled up in my ereader, I present to you my official book review for Can’t Live Without.

 

The Bookcan't live without cover

Can’t Live Without

The Genre

Women’s Fiction

The Author

Joanne Phillips

The Plot

Stella Hill is proud of the home she’s created for herself and her daughter. She’s worked hard to buy the very best of everything … but when she wakes one morning to find her kitchen on fire, Stella knows her life will never be the same again. At least she has Paul to lean on; Paul Smart, owner of Smart Homes, confirmed bachelor and unknowing recipient of a schoolgirl crush Stella never quite got over …

When the charismatic John Dean turns up after sixteen years, Stella is determined not to fall for him again. Because now her heart belongs elsewhere. Or does it? With a boss she’s half in love with, a teenage daughter about to go seriously off the rails, a spendaholic mother, and a house to rebuild, Stella’s problems are only just beginning.

Can Stella put her life – and her home – back together again? And will she ever realise just what it is she really can’t live without?

The Review

This was an exceptionally fun read. The main character, Stella, is totally incapable of managing her own life or keeping her daughter in line, and watching her fumble her way from one situation to the next was extremely entertaining. But while I would usually find myself irritated with such a character (who on Earth doesn’t buy home insurance and then accidentally burns their house down?), Stella is so quirky and full of life that I found myself cheering for her from start to finish.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance — I guess I had trouble connecting with either of the gentlemen involved in Stella’s love triangle — but I really enjoyed her interactions with her daughter. Stella is a terrible mother who tries really hard to understand her daughter, despite the fact that she doesn’t have a clue what’s going on in her life. It was quite endearing.

One thing I found very odd about this book was the point of view. It’s mainly in first person from Stella’s POV, but at random times it switches to a third person POV from other characters’ perspectives. I did get used to it after a while, but I still found the POV jumps a little jarring.

In conclusion, I found this to be a great self-published novel with excellent editing, a moving storyline, an amusing protagonist, and lots of fun family drama. Highly recommend!

The Rating

5 out of 5 stars

 

Click here to visit Joanne’s blog.

Click here to check out her book.

 

Unrelated link of the day:

Follow this link to view a collection of gifs of people in infomercials failing at accomplishing simple household tasks.

 

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Book Review: A Sense of Light or Darkness by Lizbeth Wright

The lovely Lizbeth Wright sent me her poetry collection … in physical form! Woo! I just feel so much more legit as a reviewer when I can hold the actual book in my hands. Points for style, Ms. Wright!

And now … THE REVIEW! Dum dum dummmm …

The Booka_sense_of_light_or__cover_for_kindle

A Sense of Light or Darkness

The Genre

Poetry

The Author

Lizbeth was born and raised in Las Vegas, where she graduated from UNLV with an English degree in 2010. She loves to write, her favourite colour is brown, and her main forms of entertainment are video games and movies. Several of her poems have won awards and been published in both print and audio collections.

The Plot

Since it’s poetry, it doesn’t really have a plot. All the poems do, however, have something to do with either light, or darkness, or both — hence the title of the collection!

The Review

The poems in this collection are beautiful. The imagery is at times haunting, at times ethereal. I love the theme of these poems — light and darkness. It’s very Kingdom Hearts (video game), which the poet mentions in the preface was one of her inspirations. I’m not a huge poetry fan, but I definitely enjoyed reading this collection.

Several of the poems in this collection really stick out in my mind — namely, Full Moon, Shadows, and The Tower Window. My favourite is definitely The Tower Window — it’s creepy, it’s intriguing, and I feel like there’s some moral to the tale, although I can’t imagine what it might be. I love when a poem really evokes emotion in you, and tells a story that you remember long after you’ve read it. That’s what The Tower Window did for me.

The Rating

4 out of 5 stars for the collection as a whole ( but 5 out of 5 for those three poems I mentioned!)

Check out Lizbeth’s blog here.

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga apparently sang a duet together. Did anyone else know this??? Anyway, here it is. I like that Tony’s just rolling with it and having a ball.

 

Shameless plug of the day:

The Goodreads Giveaway for Imminent Danger is on until April 11th. Enter here!

(Open to CA, USA, UK)

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Book Review: The Crimson League, by Victoria Grefer

I can’t remember if Victoria actually asked me to review this, or if I picked it up for free one day and decided to write a review, but either way, on with the show!

The Book

The Crimson League (Book One in the Herezoth Trilogy)

The Genre

Fantasy

The Author

Victoria is a New Orleans girl, born and raised, with an appreciation for the charm of the Deep South. She has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and English and a master’s degree in Spanish literature, all from the University of Alabama. She started college as a journalism major and worked a year as a staff reporter for the Alabama student newspaper, “The Crimson White.” That experience that helped her realize, once and for all, that her love for writing lay with fiction. She started enrolling in creative writing classes the following semester.

The Plot

What would you do if you were seventeen, a woodworker’s daughter, and your kingdom’s sorcerer/dictator was determined to see you dead?

Join Kora Porteg in the kingdom of Herezoth as she aids her homeland’s organized resistance. Opposing the sorcerer who slew the royal family, Kora soon discovers she’s a sorceress herself, as well as the unwitting subject of an old and often mocked legend. Though she accepts she can have no place in Herezoth after civil war should end, she fights alongside the usurper’s sister, a thief, a scholar, two telekinetic brothers, and other members of the group that calls itself the Crimson League. As their prospects deteriorate, the League has no choice but to make a final stand against its foe and the army that supports him.

The Review

I enjoyed this book, although I do admit I have mixed feelings toward it. I definitely enjoyed the magic system presented in the book — shouting magic words and making awesome things happen is a hallmark of the fantasy genre. I loved the villain, Zalski. I thought he was suave, and clever, and weirdly honourable despite him being totally evil, and if he hadn’t killed so many people I would have wanted him to succeed and become supreme dictator. His motives are very real, very complex, and he was all around a great antagonist. Kora (the protagonist) was feisty, which I liked, and by the end of it she was doing pretty much whatever she wanted, and to heck with anyone who got in the way. I wish more female protagonists were like this! And there were some really excellent scenes that I’ll remember for years to come.

Now for the things I didn’t like so much. This one is purely personal taste, but I would have liked more romance in the book. Romance is brought up a few times, but it never felt … real for me. More like it was added as an afterthought. I’m sure it wasn’t, of course, but that’s what I took away from it. The other thing that struck me as a bit odd was that, when reading the book, I kept reaching the end of conflicts and thinking, “This pretty much wraps up the current plot arc, this must be the end of the book”. Except then I would look at my little progress bar at the bottom of my eReader and discover I was barely 25% through the book. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that the plot is very undulating. Instead of having a slowly building rising action, it kind of goes lull, dramatic moment, lull, dramatic moment, lull, etc. Things got a bit more intense when people started dying off like flies, but overall … I don’t know, I feel like this novel could have been split into two books, and then the author could have added more character development or something to flesh out the world more.

In conclusion, The Crimson League was a fairly slow yet entertaining read in the tradition of classic swords and sorcery fantasy.

The Rating

4 out of 5 stars

Check out Victoria’s site here.

 

Unrelated image of the day:

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Book Review: 28 Shades of Black by Sahm King

This is a fun one, because I picked up the book on a whim and had no idea what to expect … well, read on to see what happened!

 

The Book

28 Shades of Black

The Genre

Humor/Drama/Erotica/Suspense/Thriller/Mystery

The Author

Sahm Ataine King is a poet, aspiring novelist, and graphic designer and has been in love with the written word since his exposure to the Science Fiction/Fantasy and Poetry genres at a young age. He has self-published two poetry collections, “The Grey Muse” and “L’aria Onyx“, along with his first novel, “28 Shades of Black”. He lives on the planet Earth and hopes to one day expand his horizons by travelling the world and learning of cultures beyond the confines of the internet.

The Plot

Dominick Black is a man with a problem: an insatiable sexual appetite coupled with a lack of inhibition.

When Black is informed by his boss that he has to take care of his over-active libido issue or lose his job, he reluctantly agrees to do what he must. What could it hurt?

From the unrelenting and murderous infatuations of a man he thought he knew, and the revelations of a past he thought was long buried, Dominick Black is in for one wild, hot, and disturbing ride.

The Review

This book was … strange. But in a good way! Also in a confusing way. It started out feeling like a parody/humour book, but then, as they say, s**t got real. The shift was totally unexpected, but in a weird way it totally works within the context of the story.

The main character, Dominick Black, is hilarious. It was so refreshing to read about him, because his character is one that I’ve never encountered before. Everything about his life is so different from mine that it was like looking into another world entirely. He’s smart, he’s gutsy … and his very peculiar method of introduction had me giggling every time I read it.

I do wish the book had been a little longer. Dominick’s relationship with his psychologist is sweet, but I felt that it developed a little too rapidly to be entirely plausible. And I would have liked the antagonist to get a bit more screen time, so I could have gotten more of a chance to suss out his motives.

All that being said, I really enjoyed the book, despite it being the total opposite of what I usually read. It baffled me from start to finish, and I had a blast reading it. Well done, Mr. King!

NOTE: This book has a lot of cursing and sexy time (some of the sexy time is disturbing and non-consensual), so read at your own risk.

The Rating

5 out of 5 stars

 

Check out the book here.

 

Unrelated video of the day:

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

New Book Review from Tania L Ramos!

Fantastic new review from my wonderful WordPress friend and self-publishing inspiration Tania L Ramos. (I love saying her name!!! Tania L Rrrrramos!) Anyway, check it out, should you dare:

Imminent Danger and How to Fly Straight Into It, by Michelle Proulx.

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Michelle’s Magical Mini Weekend Blog Tour — Stop #1!

michelles magical mini weekend blog tour

What up, my home-skillets! Sorry, I get rather gangster on the weekends. Anyway, just popping in to remind you that today is Day #1 of MMMWBT! (Terrible name!)

Today’s stop belongs to the incomparable J.R. Wolfe. She has very kindly posted a review of Imminent Danger, as well as hosted an author interview with me in which I divulge the sordid details of how I played Donkey Kong Country in Astronomy class instead of listening to my professor. Gasp!

Check it out the review/interview here!!!

Thanks again to J.R. Wolfe for participating in/inspiring/forcefully starting this mini blog tour!

Unrelated media of the day:

For all you Game of Thrones fans out there, here is a musical recap of Daenerys Targaryen’s adventures in Season 2:

Secondly, for all you Next Gen/X-Men fans, Patrick Stewart displays his finest acting skills:

Categories: Blog-related, My Works, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Magnet Giveaway Results + FANART!!! + Vlog #6!

Today was possibly the most awesome day ever. I will explain why in a convenient-to-follow numbered list.

  1. First, several friends and I went to a local micro-brewery, took a tour complete with samples, and then went for sushi.
  2. Then I got home and discovered that fellow WordPress blogger Misha Burnett had mentioned my book in his latest blog post in a very flattering manner.
  3. Then I discovered that fellow WordPress blogger J.R. Wolfe had finished reading my book and posted a glowing review on Amazon.com.
  4. And to top it all off, Celeste DeWolfe sent me my first ever piece of fan art. And it’s gorgeous!!!
Artist: Celeste DeWolfe

Artist: Celeste DeWolfe

When I first started writing, I always thought the coolest part about being an author must be getting fan art — seeing how other people envision your characters, and watching them brought to life. And now Celeste has fulfilled that lifelong dream of mine, and I’m beyond ecstatic. Woooo!!!

I’m getting too excited. Let’s all take a deep, calming breath and move on to …

The Magnet Giveaway!!!

I decided to record the name-drawing event for posterity because, heck, why not, so here is Vlog #6 — Magnet Giveaway + The Book is Here! ((to just see who the winners are, skip down to below the video))

 

As you discovered in that super exciting video, the winners of the magnet giveaway are:

  1. Jo of all trades
  2. Lizbethwrightbooks
  3. Misha Burnett
  4. Paula Acton
  5. Mari Wells
  6. Celeste DeWolfe

Congratulations, my magnetic friends! (Get it? Magnetic? Hehehe …) I will attempt to contact you tomorrow to acquire your postal addresses for mailing purposes, but if you feel like dropping me a line at michellishelli@gmail.com and letting me know your addresses, that saves me a step!

So, most awesome day ever? Possibly. It’s definitely in the running. Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway, and thanks especially to the personages mentioned above for supporting/enjoying Imminent Danger!!!

Unrelated image of the day:

Categories: Book Reviews, iUniverse, My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

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