Monday, September 28, 2020

"Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine"
by Michael A. Gordon

When Barnaby Brown and his mother moved to the United States from England after she received a job offer that was too good to refuse, he was at first understandably upset. But in a short amount of time he was once again finding his way, making new friends, and coming to enjoy his new home and the family that he now has the chance to get to know as well.


Soon after moving into his uncle's house, Barnaby & friends discover that his Uncle Finch had invented a time machine, and they manage to convince the man to take them back in time to see some historical events. 


It seemed safe enough, until while in the past Uncle Finch is taken prisoner by Nazi soldiers during WWII. Barnaby and his friends are able to get back to their own time, but they can't leave Uncle Finch in the past. Out of necessity, they need the help of Barnaby's mother and her boss, who owns a weapons development company, to return to the past with them to rescue Uncle Finch without accidentally changing history. What could possibly go wrong?


This was an interesting young adult story that contained some rather interesting twists along the way. The first thing I liked about it was that it allowed the reader to experience some pieces of history without feeling like they were being taught a lesson in school.


The story itself was fun, creative, and entertaining. It was well written and easily held my interest throughout the tale. And for anyone worried that this book was just one big history lesson, worry not. There was much more to this tale than just a couple of short trips into the past.


The plot of this book takes an interesting turn into the realm of science fiction/fantasy. At this point, I don't want to say too much about what happened, but I will say that it added an unexpected twist that enhanced my overall enjoyment of the story. It also sets things up for an interesting next book in the series.


If you enjoy books with a touch of history, adventure, science fiction/fantasy stories, and time travel adventures, you might want to give this one a try. It should be right up your alley.


Monday, September 21, 2020

"Creature Feature: A Horrid Comedy"
by Steven Paul Leiva

 This book is set in 1962, focusing primarily on Kathy Anderson, a young actress who has been playing the role of Vivacia, the Vampire Woman on the television show "Vivacia's House of Horrors" for a local Chicago station. But now she is ready to move on to a new phase in her life after a short vacation to visit her parents. But all is most definitely not what it first appears in the quiet little town of Placidville. And monstrous fun has taken over.


I really enjoyed this book. I grew up watching shows like “Son of Svengoolie” and MSTK 3000” on WGN out of Chicago, which played the same sort of shows as would likely have run on Vivacia's late night show. This book was funny & with the occasional aside from a narrator inserting commentary about things happening in the book, just like the sort of things that happened in the late night monster movies that I watched when I was younger.


I found this to be a very fun book to read. It was quite funny and had the feel of being curled up watching an old monster movie on TV in the wee hours of the morning. It even had me wanting to argue with the characters just as I did back when watching those old creature feature movies when I was younger.


I'm very glad that I read this book. If like me, you grew up watching old monster movies on shows like “Son of Svengoolie” and “MSTK 3000,” then I believe you'll enjoy this book too. I would say to definitely give this one a try. Recommended.


Monday, September 14, 2020

"Fairytale: A Modern Fairytale Anthology"

This is a collection of fairytale retellings. But be warned, this is definitely not a collection of stories that is meant for a younger audience. Several of the tales contain rather explicit and detailed sexual encounters. As such, be warned that this book may not appeal to your tastes if you prefer the "fade to black" scenes that are often used in young adult stories. This is a collection of adult fairytales. 

 There are times when I prefer the young adult versions, but in this case I did enjoy reading all of the stories in this anthology, sex scenes and all. The stories were interesting as well as entertaining. I read and enjoyed each of the authors' unique takes on the fairytales they have recreated as their own. 

Some of the stories may someday become parts of larger tales about their chosen characters, and I think that if I come across them in the future, that I would enjoy seeing where else the author chooses to take the characters I read about here.

This is a book meant for those who enjoy more adult versions of the tales they may have heard as children or who enjoy a new twist on a familiar old tale from their childhood. If that describes you, I would recommend giving this collection of interesting stories a try

Monday, September 7, 2020

"The Perrault Vow" by Addie J. King

 Janie Grimm and her fiance Aiden are planning their wedding, which will take place at their house. As if that wasn't stressful enough, Janie & her housemate Mia are taking the Bar exam. And of course, a magical mystery in the form of a long ago hidden pair of glass slippers being left on the steps of their house, as if they were meant as a wedding gift, falls into their lap during the middle of it all.


This book centers around the tales of Charles Perrault, the french writer that many might more easily recognize under the name of Mother Goose. I grew up reading those tales, though the versions I read as a child were likely not as dark as the original tales.


In this book, Perrault was a human who had become aware of the dangers of many magical items & beings. He had gathered & hidden away as many such items as he could, including the glass slippers. So now Janie & her friends need to figure out how the shoes arrived at her door, who left them there, as well as what to do about all of it. Unfortunately, the one person who knows the truth of what took place back in those days is bound by a magical vow not to reveal the location of the hidden items.


I enjoyed reading this story. I have always enjoyed fairy tales and the many variations that I have been fortunate enough to come across over the years have always been entertaining. While this book may have been centered around the tale of Cinderella, it also included a number of other recognizable fairy tale references worked into the story.


Ms. King has succeeded in holding my interest in this book, as well as in the previous ones in the series. I would gladly return to read more of these books if she were to decide to continue on with the series, but given what is shared in the epilogue, I doubt that she currently has plans for this series to continue. 


If you enjoy reading twisted fairy tales or stories of the faerie realms, I do recommend giving this book, as well as the previous ones in the series a try. I found them all to be very enjoyable.


"Good Sam" by Dete Meserve

Kate Bradley is a news reporter who is usually assigned to the disaster stories and other tales of misfortune. It is not the type of ...