Michael Okon’s Monsterland Reanimated-Monsterland 2

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Okon for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: It’s been three weeks since the disaster that was the grand opening of Monsterland. The governments of Earth seem to have dissolved leaving the citizens open to all sorts of social evils. But, it’s not just people who are the problem. Something is brewing up under Copper Valley’s Monsterland. Can Wyatt and the remaining survivors band together to put an end to this nightmare?

Story Telling: Okay, if you’ve been following my blog very long, you will recognize this author. He used to write under the name Michael Phillip Cash. New name, same books and writing style, so no problem. We have a magical realism form of fantasy with his latest novel.

Dislikes: Okay, my beliefs about The United States political structure aside–we’re a Republic not a democracy, democracies tend to die as tyrannical mob rule–the ideals of the main antagonists are evil with a capital E. All respect to John Raven, he did support our country when asked, but evil can be discerned. Evil actions come from an evil heart. And robbing anyone of his/her freedoms without a due process conviction in a court of law by a jury of his/her peers, is evil.

Likes: Wyatt did try to be what his town needed. Carter struggled to keep justice running the way it was supposed to.

And Melvin didn’t let his status change destroy the relationships that he held dear.

Favorite Character: It’s still Carter White.

Favorite Quote: From Carter White “I fought for this country to defend your freedom. I will fight just as hard for justice.”

Favorite Scene: That would be Keisha’s idea of help. Maybe the bad boys should have been a bit more aware of mythology.

Conclusion: This is a pretty fun book. Just be sure you are more of a horror buff, movie or story wise. You’ll enjoy it more.

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Michael Connelly’s The Wrong Side of Goodbye-Harry Bosch 21

Overview: Harry has found the best of both worlds that he has ever worked in. He has a private investigator’s license, and a small police department has offered him a position with their reserved section. So what does Bosch do? Get involved in two high profiled cases of course. One is a series of cold cases that are located in San Fernando, and the other is the search of a tycoon’s missing–if existent– heir.

Story Telling: We just have a police procedural. Isn’t Harry getting too old for this?

Dislikes: I have a couple of problems with this book. For starters: why do people always seem to think that if you have nothing to hide, you should talk to the police? Are we really willing to sacrifice our Constitutional Rights because we have ‘nothing to hide’? Are we to keep our mouths shut be cause we have nothing to say, thereby destroying our first amendment rights? Exactly how many amendments to our Constitution do we give up?

And two: the virtue signaling is getting old. It’s a cheap way of waving to any of the minority or other classes who can claim victim status, and saying “I’m on your side”. It does nothing other than that, and those you’re signaling to usually don’t care in the first place. If they are going to have a problem with your work, they will find a reason. It doesn’t matter what you write, or how much research you put into it.

Likes: The story was fun to run with. And Harry was able to accomplish a lot during one month. Adoption was also handled in a very favorable way in this one.

Favorite Character: It’s Chief Valdez. He had a great idea to get around the budget cuts. Sloan was pretty cool as well.

Favorite Quote: I’m going to probably offend many people out there on the internet. Mostly because it shows a better view on the Vietnam War. “The story quoted Santanello’s mother as saying her son had been very proud to serve his country despite the antiwar sentiment back home at the time.”

Favorite Scene: I enjoyed seeing what Sloan’s priorities were.

Conclusion: Harry Bosch’s stories are fun. Just please, Mr. Connelly, lay off on the signaling. I’m getting scared to read your up coming books.

Maureen Bloomfield & James A. Markle’s Pure Color-The Best of Pastel

Overview: There are as many art-styles as there are artists. For most, inspiration can be found with but a simple search on your favorite search engine. For those who wish to master pastels, that search can be daunting. Can this book succeed in it’s attempts to inspire the would-be artists?

Story Telling: This is a coffee table book. These books are more valued for the photos than the descriptions.

Likes: The range of styles shown here will attract many artists as well as art collectors. The artists showcased, even explain why, and sometimes how, they came about the pieces.

Favorite Pieces: I prefer the more defined pieces.

Conclusion: This is perfect for inspiration. But, it’s also nice if you want to add a little be of color to your life without a heavy price tag.

Dean Koontz’s The Crooked Staircase-Jane Hawk 3

I received this book courtesy of Random House for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Jane has been on her run, both from the Techno-Arcadians as well as her quest to bring the entire conspiracy to justice, for two months now. She has a new target of the conspiracy in her sights. It seems like her enemies have doubled down on their resources as well, all in order to bring her to heel. Will Jane manage to keep up her momentum? And is Travis as safe as she hopes?

Story Telling: We’re in the middle of Jane’s fight in this techno-thriller.

Dislikes: This book is one of the darkest that I’ve come across from Mr. Koontz in a while. Part of this is the fact that we’re in the middle of the Arcadian war. The rest of it involves the Shukla twins side story. That aspect seemed like it was added for the dark-factor, though it did bring up some aspects of the nanoweb enslavement.

Likes: Gavin and Jessica Washington work so hard to keep Travis safe.

Cornell is something else. He is willing to help his cousin, but the guy is definitely a loner.

Favorite Character: It’s Gavin and Jessica.

Favorite Scene: This time it would be the horseback ride that Gavin took Travis on.

Favorite Quote: I really couldn’t find one. That’s not very common in a Dean Koontz book.

Conclusion: This is a difficult book to get through, though it is necessary to read if you are interested in seeing Jane’s war to the end.

Frank Schatzing’s The Swarm

Overview: Something has gone horribly wrong in the earth’s oceans. Animals, who normally don’t give humanity a second glance, have now started to attack people in droves. Then, there are the weird creatures showing up at deep-sea drilling rigs. What’s going on? Is it an invasion of an extra-terrestrial origin? Or is it something closer to home?

Story Telling: We have a science-fiction/horror novel this time. You could partially call it a killer nature book.

Dislikes: I have a bit of a problem with this book.

For one thing, Mr. Schatzing only seems to have stereotypical American citizens in this book. We have the over-achieving woman, the paranoid CIA agent, the back-stabbing scientist, the southern hick, and the black man struggling with his ghetto upbringing.

Another thing, like Christianity or not, that doesn’t make this one religion fair game for the ignorant, or Bible-thumping bigot roles. At least learn Christian doctrine first. Most Christians believe that, while man was given dominion over the earth, a good steward would bring devastating ruin to those under his/her care for fun, or just for a little profit.

And the final point: there is a reason that known man-eaters are usually euthanized. You can never know how they will react in the wild. Take certain lion prides in Africa for example. They now seek out humans as a food source. This has happened because some cannot bear to see those prides killed.

Likes: Karen Weaver was a fun woman to follow.

And Sigur gave Tina good advice concerning her boyfriend.

Greywolf might have taken his anger, at his past, out on those around him, yet he remembered his humanity in the long run.

Conclusion: This had so much promise. Unfortunately, Mr. Schatzing’s preaching about the virus known as humanity ruined a fun adventure for me. Perhaps you’ll have better luck with it.

John Grisham’s Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer-Theodore Boone 1

Overview: Theodore Boone is around the law enforcement and judicial world quite a bit. Part of it is the fact that both of his parents are lawyers. The rest of it is just Theodore’s dream job. When he finds a surprise witness to a murder case, what is he to do? Keep the witness’s secret and let an injustice be done? Or try to keep both the law, and his integrity in tact?

Story Telling: This is a middle-grade mystery.

Dislikes: This is a pet-peeve of mine. But, why are illegal/undocumented immigrants always shown as the underdog working towards a dream/better life? Honestly it’s the equivalent of saying that a trespasser in your home just wants to enjoy your company. The odds aren’t really in you favor either way.

Likes: Theodore did try to do the right thing.

Conclusion: This is one that should be read as a family. This way, you can discuss the finer points of the case with your young lawyer in the making.

Delores Boone’s Handcrafted Soap-Make it Today, Use it Tonight

Overview: Have you ever wanted to make soap? Do you enjoy finding new ways to use your favorite fragrance or essential oils? Don’t think that the soap-making process is too hard. Ms. Boone has offered us three different methods of hot-processed soap-making, and twenty-eight recipes to get the beginner started.

Story Telling: We have a how-to book.

Dislikes: Make sure you have a digital scale. While my produce-style scale worked. My soap was a 50/50 shot of success.

Likes: There are three ways of using the hot-process method, so if you don’t like one style, try another.

Favorite Recipe: That would be the traditional Castile soap.

Conclusion: This is an interesting craft. Try it, you might like your home-made soap better than store-bought.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island

Overview: Ever since The Captain has moved into the Admiral Benbow Inn, Jim and his family haven’t had very much peace. And it doesn’t get much better when former colleagues of The Captain’s start showing up for business meetings. After the old man’s untimely demise, Jim and his mother run off with the money owed to the bill. Of course, Jim had grabbed an oilskin package with a secret. Can Jim and a few honest folk beat The Captain’s former colleagues to the treasure? Only time will tell.

Story Telling: We have an adventure story. Or, you could call it a pirate’s tale. It’s definitely a boy’s story.

Dislikes: It’s mostly a matter of tastes, as I’ve never truly bought into the romanticizing of the piracy or pirate life.

Likes: It is a more traditional story, so there are rules of conduct safe for the younger ears.

Conclusion: There’s really nothing wrong with this story. Enjoy it with your buccaneers.

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror

Overview: The town of Dunwich has a pretty sordid past. The city is know for accusations of witchcraft. The decadent Whateleys are known to be some of the worst practitioners. So why is Wilbur Whateley growing so fast? And why is he living in a shed, instead of his large, boarded up house?

Story Telling: We have a supernatural horror this time around. And hard to review, as are most short stories. You run the risk of ruining the tale for others. Here’s hoping I succeeded in not doing that one.

Dislikes: The Whateleys–Wilbur and his grandfather in particular–were treasonous. That’s the best way to explain it.

Likes: Henry Armitage was a brave man. He stood up for what was right, and in his seventies as well.

Now take this with a grain of salt. From how it appears, and from what I’ve heard, Mr. Lovecraft wasn’t an atheist in the vein of Mr. Dawkins. Of course, this is if he was an atheist at all. Sometimes people of today can mistake what someone’s beliefs about a higher power is. He did, however, have a problem with those who would betray their fellow man for the sake of their would-be gods. The One True God does not ask us to sacrifice our neighbors, nor humanity as a whole in order to gain His favor.

Conclusion: This was quite the interesting tale. And it’s clean enough for the whole family to enjoy. Enjoy the scares, especially around Halloween.

Lee Child’s A Wanted Man-Jack Reacher 17

Overview: All Jack wants to do is head for Virginia. Was that too much to ask? Apparently so, because he was picked up by a group of three similarly dressed individuals. Coincidently, there was a violent murder not too far away. Well, Virginia can wait for a bit. As it is, Jack does enjoy a good puzzle. But, will his traveling companions agree with his sentiments?

Story Telling: We have another thriller from Mr. Child.

Dislikes: It’s what the FBI did to Sheriff Victor Goodman. That was so wrong. One could even call it evil. But, what else do you expect from those who no longer are concerned with supporting our Constitution?

Also, it appears as if Mr. Child decided to push his beliefs about what happens at the time of death. In my opinion, if your story isn’t about ghosts or the afterlife, leave the transpiring at the time of death from another’s point-of-view.

Likes: Reacher did not quit when Karen needed his help.

And Victor Goodman is one of the good ole boy sheriffs with a fascination with note-taking.

Julia Sorenson does have a healthy suspicion of all of those involved with or in her cases.

Favorite Character: Victor Goodman was the best guy in the whole book.

Favorite Quote: When referring to Sheriff Goodman: “He was a nice man. A good man, like his name.”

Favorite Scene: It was when Victor went looking for the eye-witness’s truck.

Conclusion: This is an okay book. While it’s an entertaining read, you need to really like Jack by the time you get to this addition to the series.