Book Reviews, science fiction 0 comments on Ready Player One – by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One – by Ernest Cline

Wade Owen Watts, a poor kid who could be described as homeless, embarks upon an adventure in a virtual world. The OASIS is a vivid, incredibly detailed, virtual reality world that provides more opportunities than the real world does. Ready Player One can be described as a science-fiction dystopia story.

The OASIS was created by James Halliday and his business partner, Ogden Morrow. (The two grew apart over the years.) Upon Halliday’s death, a contest was announced. The first person to find Halliday’s “Easter egg” would receive Halliday’s entire fortune and corporation. Wade becomes an egg hunter, or “Gunter”, and makes a few friends who are on the same quest.

WARNING: This book review contains some spoilers!

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Book Reviews, fantasy 0 comments on Heartless – by Matthew Rossi

Heartless – by Matthew Rossi

Heartless is the second book in the Nameless series. You should read Nameless before you jump into Heartless.

Nameless ended in a way that made it clear that the “big bad” is no longer a threat. That doesn’t mean all the damage is done, however. In many ways, this is a story of redemption and forgiveness. It is about building trust with family after bad things have happened. This was touched on at the end of Nameless, and builds in Heartless.

The wonderful, individualistic, magic that was established in the first book continues to be part of the story. I love how imaginative the characters are in how they express their magical abilities. Rossi’s character’s are so vivid, and feel so real, that I find them fascinating even when they aren’t doing magic.

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Book Reviews, fantasy 1 comment on Nameless – by Matthew Rossi

Nameless – by Matthew Rossi

In Nameless, Matthew Rossi created a detailed world where vampires exist and magic is real. Magic can be strengthened by either pain or pleasure – it’s the intensity that matters. Those who use magic can conjure up monsters or heroes from mythology (be it from Greek mythology or modern comic books) and send them into battle.

I found myself wanting to escape into that world which, despite its dangers, seemed to hold more hope than this one. I mean, there’s a battle where Santa and his reindeer fight a giant, antlered, monster man. I love the idea that something as pure and good as Santa, as seen by small children, can effectively take down evil! This particular battle was one of several in the book, and each was so well written that I could almost see it, as though I was watching a movie.

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Book Reviews, non fiction 0 comments on The Girls of Atomic City – by Denise Kiernan

The Girls of Atomic City – by Denise Kiernan

The history classes you took in school undoubtedly covered at least some portion of World War II. It is unlikely that your history textbooks included information about the incredibly important work that women were doing. The full title of this book is The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of The Women Who Helped Win World War II.  It was written by Denise Kiernan.

Obviously, this book is non-fiction.  It includes a narrative that was based on the interviews that Denise Kiernan did with several women who worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee – a town that officially did not exist – at the Clinton Engineer Works – which also did not officially exist.  Secrecy was vitally important because those who were hired were actually working on the atomic bomb.  None of them knew this was what they were doing until after the bomb had been dropped.

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Book Reviews, classics 1 comment on Civil Disobedience – by Henry David Thoreau

Civil Disobedience – by Henry David Thoreau

Civil Disobedience is an essay that is usually published inside a book that contains other writing by Henry David Thoreau.  The reason is because Civil Disobedience is extremely short.  There’s enough room to put it at the end of Walden.  My copy of Walden was a Barnes & Noble version that included not only Civil Disobedience,  but also a timeline of Thoreau’s life, an introduction, and a detailed section that described the meaning behind some of Thoreau’s references that were commonly understood at the time, but mysterious and confusing today.

Civil Disobedience was written in response to real life events that Henry David Thoreau experienced.  In 1846, he traveled through Massachusetts.  His purpose was to go to Concord, to run an errand.  (He needed to go to the cobblers to pick up his shoe that the cobbler repaired).  A man named Sam Staples was the tax collector and warden of the county jail.
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Book Reviews, classics 1 comment on Walden – by Henry David Thoreau

Walden – by Henry David Thoreau

Walden is a book that some people are first introduced to when they are forced to read it in school.  I didn’t read it until long after I’d finished school. The book came to me as a prize in a contest that was held during a meeting at work.  It took me years before I got around to actually reading the book.

To me, Walden was a difficult read.  I say this as a person who has dyslexia, and who also has a B.S. degree in Education. Take from that whatever you will.  I recommend that people pick up the Barnes & Noble version of Walden because it has a lot of “extras” in it that helped me to understand the background history of Thoreau and some of the references he mentioned.
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Book Reviews, horror 0 comments on The Girl Next Door – by Jack Ketchum

The Girl Next Door – by Jack Ketchum

I did not enjoy this book. The monsters in it were too real.

I prefer stories where the monsters are imaginary creatures: Ogres, Dementors, Ring Wraths, Demons, and other non-existent beings that you wouldn’t have to worry about bumping into on the bus or working beside at your place of employment. There is some comfort in knowing that the things that happened in a scary book could not possibly happen in real life.

In The Girl Next Door, Jack Ketchum gives us a story about a sociopath that starts out appearing to be as safe and stable as anyone else. Ruth might even be described as “the cool mom”. She drives her sons and their friend to the carnival and frequently offers the boys beers. Readers watch her become less human as she gives in to her worst tendencies.

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Book Reviews, romance 0 comments on The Year of Loving – by Traci L. Slatton

The Year of Loving – by Traci L. Slatton

Sarah Paige’s life is stressful. She has two daughters, and has very strained relationships with both of them. Her youngest, Alex is a high schooler who is constantly in trouble. Her oldest, Dani, is in college and seems to want absolutely nothing to do with her mother.

Sarah believes that her cantankerous, narcissistic, ex-husband, George Calhoun, is intentionally trying to turn their daughters against her. His attitude probably has something to do with Sarah’s second ex-husband, Clifton Perini, whom Sarah left George for. It feels like he wants to “make her pay” for that humiliation.

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Book Reviews, fiction 0 comments on Things That Never Were – by Matthew Rossi

Things That Never Were – by Matthew Rossi

One of the things I love about books is that they are an excellent place to escape to when the real world seems dark and dire.  In Things That Never Were, Matthew Rossi gives the reader plenty of interesting, incredibly detailed, glimpses into what the world might have been like if you take what we know of history, twist it around, and see where it goes from there.

The full title of the book is: Things That Never Were: Fantasies – Lunacies –  & Entertaining Lies.  I like to think of it as a series of essays that could be described as “intelligent conspiracy theory”.  That being said, Rossi is not really trying to convince you that the essays in this book are factual (and this is where he differs greatly from actual conspiracy theorists).  These are “things that never were”, after all.   ….Right?

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Book Reviews, science fiction 0 comments on Blood Sky – by Traci L. Slatton

Blood Sky – by Traci L. Slatton

Blood Sky is the fourth part of The After Series.  I highly recommend that you read the first three books: Fallen, Cold Lightand Far Shore.  You will get much more out of Blood Sky if you take the time to read through the earlier portions of the story first.  Relationships are made, and broken, and sometimes repaired along the way.

Traci L. Slatton does a good job of reminding readers about the most significant things that happened in the previous books.  This is not meant as a replacement for reading them, though.  It is important that you “live through that” with the characters before jumping into the fourth book of the series.  One of the things I love about Slatton’s books is that she makes the reader truly care about what happens to the characters (both major and minor).

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