Book Reviews, fiction 0 comments on Beautiful Ruins: a Novel – by Jess Walter

Beautiful Ruins: a Novel – by Jess Walter

Beautiful Ruins is a work of fiction that includes a few characters who are based on real people. Specifically, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton who starred in the movie Cleopatra (which was released in 1963). The more prominent characters, however, are ones created by Jess Walter.

Pasquali Tursi is the first character that readers encounter, and he is extremely likable. He finds himself smitten with Dee Moray, an actress who was supposed to be in the Cleopatra movie, but who cannot now because she is dying. Dee comes to visit Pasquali’s small village on accident.

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Book Reviews, Poetry 1 comment on Varia: Poetry, Visions and Journeys – by Tom McNellis

Varia: Poetry, Visions and Journeys – by Tom McNellis

Varia: Poetry, Visions and Journeys includes poems by Ramon Alone and other works. It has poetry, inspirational writing, short stories, and more.

The book provides a definition of the word Varia: miscellaneous items, especially a miscellany of literary works.”  I tend to like books that are a mixture of different kinds of writing and that do not fit neatly into a particular box or category.

Some of the poems in Varia were originally posted on the author’s Ramon Alone Twitter and Facebook accounts. I love when people use social media in creative ways like that. There was a time when I filled a Twitter account with haiku.

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

Faceless – by Matthew Rossi

Faceless is the third book in the Nameless series. You should read Nameless and Heartless before starting this book.

As in the previous books, Faceless revolves around a magical family of cousins (and their significant others).  All of them are young people, and most are starting to put together a framework of how they think they want the rest of their lives to work out.

To me, one of the things that this book is about is that the choices people make – out of love, or fear, or desperation – have consequences. What happens as a result can affect not only the person who made a choice, but also the lives of other people. It’s a important piece of wisdom that some people do not learn until after they have destroyed something or someone they love.

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Book Reviews, comics, non fiction 0 comments on March: Book Three – by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

March: Book Three – by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

March: Book Three is the third is a series of graphic novels that provide a vivid look at the civil rights movement in the United States. Together, this trilogy gives context to the events that you may have only heard a little bit about.

The March series focuses on the life of John Lewis, who is a United States Representative who represents Georgia’s 5th District. John Lewis is a Democrat. Before you read March: Book Three, you need to read March: Book One and March: Book Two.

The March series was written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. The art was done by Nate Powell.

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Book Reviews, comics, non fiction 1 comment on March: Book Two – by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

March: Book Two – by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

March: Book Two is the second in a series of three graphic novels that provide a vivid look at the civil rights movements in the United States.

The March series focuses on the life of John Lewis, who is a United States Representative who represents Georgia’s 5th District. John Lewis is a Democrat. Before you read March: Book Two, you should read March: Book One. Doing so will make it clear what happened before the events in March: Book Two and how they led to what happens next.

The March series was written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. The art was done by Nate Powell.

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Book Reviews, comics, non fiction 2 comments on March: Book One – by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

March: Book One – by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

March: Book One is the first in a series of three graphic novels that provide context to and details about the civil rights movement in the United States.

This series provides a vivid explanation about events that you may have only heard a little about (or briefly saw photos of on social media). It’s also a great resource for people who are interested in using non-violent civil disobedience as a form of protest.

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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 1 comment 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 2 comments 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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