Monday, May 27, 2019

"Werewolf Nights" by Mari Hamill

Wereville’s claim to fame is their annual Full Moon Festival. Legend has it that the town’s population were originally descended from both scandinavian werewolves and werewolf hunters. Every year during the festival people dress up as either a werewolf or a Hunter and act out imagined scenarios of things that might have happened hundreds of years before. When a movie company chooses Wereville as the location to film the 3rd movie in the “Yellow Fangs” movie series, the townsfolk hope that the movie will bring in more tourism to the town and help keep everyone from needing to close up shop and move elsewhere.

Catherine runs the town’s bakery. She has had a rough life. First, the man she loves seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth never to be heard from again. Then, after marrying the man who had pursued her all through high school, he apparently dies in a boating accident after having run through Catherine’s inheritance and been accused of embezzlement. Now, she is struggling to pay her bills and keep the bakery going.

When the woman cast as the movie’s leading lady suddenly quits and leaves town without notice, the director decides to cast a local in the role instead. Catherine auditions and is chosen for the part. It seems to be a role she was destined to play as it was based on one her ancestors who married a man that legend claims was attacked by a werewolf on his wedding night. His love for his new bride was so strong it was said he remained and has waited for her return ever since, Is Catherine to meant to take the place of the werewolf’s lost love? Can she save both herself and any others who come across this cursed being before they are either killed or become werewolves themselves?

I enjoyed reading this story. The cover artwork and the setup for the story reminds me of old monster movies that I used to watch on TV when I was a kid. I believe this was the author’s intent when writing this book. It worked out very well and I found the story quite entertaining. I could very easily picture the scenes described in the book as if I were watching it instead of merely reading it. I found it to be a fun and entertaining story.

Monday, May 20, 2019

"The Bullybuster" by Clay Cormany

It began with Trevor Newsome being pushed down a stairwell at school. He was a notorious bully and had been terrorizing others at the school for quite some time. Then Colt Miller, another bully, was attacked and his nose broken in the boys bathroom. Each of them claimed to have been attacked by a robot, though their descriptions of their attackers didn’t match. Nor was any robot found anywhere nearby, so where was this mysterious device? And despite a thorough search of the school, how was no such robot found? And most importantly… who had built it and who was using it to attack the school bullies?

This was a very interesting young adult tale that dealt with high school bullying in a very realistic manner. It was also an entertaining mystery as the main character Owen needs to help his aunt, the school’s new principal, find the robot and those responsible for using it to attack other students before anyone else is hurt or possibly killed in a future attack.

This tale showed how often bullying goes unreported by both the victims as well as witnesses for many reasons. It also shows what can happen when those being bullied have had to deal with more than anyone should have to deal with on a daily basis. The results can cause devastating issues that the victims must often face every day for the rest of their lives.

What happens when the victims of extreme or repeated bullying stand up to or seek revenge against their tormentors? This book shows one very real possibility of what could happen. Given how quickly robotics are becoming a part of our everyday lives, I could easily see high school students, and possibly even middle school students, being capable of building a “bullybuster” to help solve their problems with school bullies.

I found this a well-written story, though the book did have a few issues of extra spaces appearing in the middle of words here & there. It caught and held my interest throughout the book. I would definitely recommend reading this story to anyone. So many kids in school are bullied every day and whether the reader was or wasn’t a victim or a bully in school, I believe they will still find it worth their time to read. Recommended.

Monday, May 13, 2019

"Of Wolves and Sheep" by S.E. Meyer

In the future, it is very important for people to get their “treatments” every week to avoid dying of Fleishman’s Disease, something that had been affecting more and more people each year. Those who couldn’t afford the highly expensive treatments for the disease would soon die from it, though more than likely they would be banished before then to live beyond the wall with the others who had been previously banished for one reason or another.

Montana (Anna) has lived her whole life inside the wall, following the rules and working her way up to become a Homicide Detective just as her mother had done. But now she is learning more about her mother’s murder as well as many other things. Can she, along with the one known as the Lone Wolf, solve the mystery of who had killed her mother and why before Anna winds up in the same position herself?

I really enjoyed this novella. It was well written and well edited. This book begins a fascinating series that drew me in & held my interest throughout the entire story. While only a fictional tale, it contains enough realistic behaviors and reactions to various stimuli that it is easy to see how what happens in the story could very easily begin to happen in today’s world. The ending of this book though is what truly makes me look forward to reading the sequel once it is released. (I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I’ve already pre-ordered my copy!)

If you enjoy dystopian fiction that contains enough of a parallel to things happening in today’s world, then I strongly recommend reading this book.

Monday, May 6, 2019

"A Queen's Spy" by Sam Burnell

Young King Edward of England lay dying, and with his death Lord Northumberland was about to lose the power over the country that he had obtained through his manipulation of the young monarch. In an effort to retain his control over the crown, Northumberland attempted to have Edward change the succession.

Instead of the having the crown passing from Edward to Henry VIII’s eldest daughter Mary (a devout Catholic) and should she not bear any children then to her sister Elizabeth (a protestant), through the altered succession, the crown would first pass instead to Lady Jane Grey and any children she should bear. Let’s just say that in the end, things didn’t quite turn out as Northumberland had hoped they would.

This was a stressful time for everyone involved. Religion was very important to the direction the country would take, and which religion that would be depended on who sat on the throne. Quite often, attempts to control which Queen would be the one ruling the country ended poorly for those attempting to influence the outcome.

This book seems to center mainly on the Fitzwarrens and their attempts to help influence the outcome of who will ultimately control England’s future. Richard Fitzwarren appears be willing to support whichever side will offer him the biggest reward for his help and support. Yet at the same time, his friendship to Elizabeth seems to compel him to seek to protect her. Which side he is truly supporting (Mary’s, Elizabeth’s, or merely his own), remains to be seen.

While I did enjoy reading this book, I do need to warn the reader that it is a very long book (778 pages to be exact.) It could have used a bit more editing/proofreading in spots. Parts of the story seemed to move more quickly than others, but the intertwining stories of the main characters and how they related to each other throughout was interesting enough to keep me reading. Though I will admit that at times I did feel the book continued for longer than I might have prefered, I’m not really sure where the author could have attempted to break this into two separate books. It may not realistically have been possible as ultimately it was truly one story.

Would I continue on and read the next book in the series? Most likely. Despite this one being a very long book, the characters and their interactions were quite interesting and did hold my attention enough to make me want to know more. And the ending of this book also held my interest and left me wanting to know more about the Fitzwarrens, as well as their relationships with Mary, and Elizabeth.

So ultimately, yes I did enjoy this book. If you don’t mind long historical fiction novels, chances are you will too. But if, on the other hand, you prefer shorter novels then very likely this one might not be your cup of tea.

"One Can Heal" by Clara C. Johnson

I’m not usually much of a reader of poetry, but this was an emotional collection of poems that seem to highlight the high and low point...