Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

Overview: Guy Montag is a fireman. Now, do not confuse his job with today’s fireman. His job is not to put out fires, rather it is to start them. What could be the source of his job?

Story Telling: Mr. Bradbury’s first novel is a science-fiction novel, albeit, a soft science-fiction one.

Dislikes: Okay, this book is spooky, especially in light of today’s news-reports. The old woman’s death really bothered me.

Likes: Mr. Bradbury showed a lot of hope here. Even when all hope seems gone, intelligence, individuality, and creativity will survive. Please don’t think that I’m just talking about book-learning, I’m not. Just plain critical thinking and personal responsibility skills will survive in the long run. Also, my copy came with a few essays about the book, and they added to the atmosphere of the story.

Favorite Character: It would be Clarisse McClellan.

Favorite Quote: “Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”

Favorite Scene: It would be when Montag met up with the other illegals. It was great.

Conclusion: This is a great book. I highly recommend it for at least one reading.

Matt E. Lewis & Keith McCleary’s States of Terror Volume Two

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

Overview: Lovers of monster tales and cryptid fans rejoice. There’s a series of books full of short stories of the cryptids of the United States of America. The question raised is: how many Bigfoot stories will be included?

Story Telling: We do have a short story collection. That means, for the most part, this is a mixed bag of nuts, very few people will like them all.

Artwork: The cover art for each title and section is in black and white comic book style. Some of them are good, others…well, let’s just say they weren’t my cup of tea.

Dislikes: One or two, maybe three, stories really worked my nerves. I don’t care if you are a 5%-er (someone who believes that only 500,000,000 human population should exist), or someone who believes that God gave man dominion over the earth. There is no reason to use your story as a bully pulpit for your beliefs. And the preachy stories all followed the far-left policies. “Esto Perpetua,” “Wings, Bones,” and “Home School Excursion” were the worst offenders.

Likes: For the most part, we actually had monster stories. The endings usually fit the story. And I enjoyed most of the stories, even if I preferred a happier ending.

Favorite Story: That would be “Different Monsters.”

Favorite Quote: Here’s some good fore-shadowing. ““Thank you, Deputy,” she said and smiled at him, but there was something in her dark eyes. All at once he felt like this was a situation where he was two or three steps behind.”

Conclusion: Five duds, and a few ‘mehs,’ but this was still a fun book, even if it’s just for the quotes at the beginnings of the stories. Enjoy, especially at the spooky time of the year.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales of Numenor

Overview: Have you ever wondered what else has happened in Middle-earth outside of the tales inside “The Silmarillion” “The Hobbit” or “The Lord of the Rings”? Well, now’s your chance to see some of the stories that the master of Middle-earth was working on in his latter years.

Story Telling: We have a bunch of stories, or at least fragments of the stories of Middle-earth.

Dislikes: My only problem with the story telling was the placement of the editorial notes. It broke up the reading. Character-wise, I couldn’t stand Turin’s or Earendis’s attitudes.

Likes: It was great hearing more about Aragorn, Gandalf, and Bilbo.

Favorite Story: It would be Gandalf’s version of the events of ‘The Unexpected Party.’

Conclusion: This was a fascinating collection. You can learn a lot from one of the masters of fantasy. If you wish to write, this is almost a necessary addition for the writer’s toolbox.

Kidsbooks Inc.’s How To Draw Wings and Wheels

Overview: Have you ever wanted to draw some of the classic vehicles? How about some of the more common planes or even the shuttles? If so, then this book may help you pull off some of the vehicles from the mid-60’s to the late 90’s.

Story Telling: This is a craft book. Kidsbooks included some tracing paper for those who want to skip ahead, or just add in a little finishing touches.

Dislikes: My sole problem with this book is that it is not for a beginner. There seemed to be too many pieces involved with each step, as well as a few bridging steps missing.

Likes: This has a good variety of vehicles to attract interest.

Conclusion: This is a good book for the more intermediate artists. If you or your child has gotten past the more basic images, give this one a try. Enjoy it.

Michael Connelly’s The Crossing-Harry Bosch 20 Mickey Haller 7

Overview: Harry is now retired fro the LAPD. Unfortunately, Martin O’Dell’s attempts to save money for the department, may backfire for it instead. One of the perks of having a lawyer for a brother. Now Harry can see the downsides of having a defense-attorney for a brother. Mickey needs a favor, and Harry is the only one he can turn to. Mickey is positive that his client is innocent, and his investigator–Cisco–has had an accident. Harry begrudgingly agrees to look into the case. But will he survive the crossing?

Story Telling: We have a suspense-novel, and a mystery. You can’t call it a police-procedural this time, as Harry no longer has a badge. Surprise! This is a third-person point-of-view story.

Dislikes: Harry seemed so depressed this time around. Maybe, I’ve gotten too used to his mission-oriented thinking. Or it could be that I’m no where near retirement.

Likes: Lucia is terrific. She could have easily gained brownie points with her colleagues by snubbing her former partner. I like how she handled it.

It’s good to know that Harry’s mission is to the truth, and not the prosecution.

Oh, and I finally learned how to pronounce Cisco’s name.

Favorite Character: It’s a toss-up between Lucia and Cisco.

Favorite Quote: Here’s what I mean about Cisco’s name. “It sounded like she pronounced the name Watch-Your-House-Key.”

Favorite Scene: Mendenhall is back. And she agreed to go on a date with Harry.

Conclusion: This is a pretty good book. If you are a fan of Harry Bosch you might want to catch this one.

Jenn McKinlay’s Assault and Beret-A Hat Shop Mystery 5

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

Overview: Vivian and Scarlett are in Paris, France for a couple of reasons. Vivian has a hat making class that she’s looking forward to teaching. And Scarlett is on a missing person’s case, so to speak. See, Vivian is technically married, and she wants an annulment. When they find William, will they be able to peaceably put this marriage thing behind them all? Or will they disappear faster than a mysterious painting?

Story Telling: We get a doubly-foreign cozy mystery here. See, the series usually takes place in England; this one takes place in France.

Dislikes: Oh boy. Vivian needs a reality-check. And don’t give me that “she’s an artist” crud. When you are getting paid, your business credibility is more important that your artistic credibility. If it helps, remember business credibility gets you paid. If you get paid, you can make more art. Vivian may just be too flighty for me.

Oh, and Scarlett seemed to like lying a little too much.

Likes: Harry was quite devoted. And I appreciate how Nick and Andre were described. Their relationship wasn’t over the top.

Favorite Character: Harry.

Favorite Quote: This one requires a bit of an explanation. See, Scarlett vowed not to date a guy for a year. Here’s Harry’s response. ““No.” He held up his hand. “If we start talking about us, I am going to kiss you, if I kiss you at this point, it won’t be enough and you’ll end up breaking your vow of celibacy.””

Favorite Scene: It would be when everyone is snooping at a museum. The wordplay, when they see the female bust, of a sort, was a good show.

Conclusion: I do believe Ms. McKinlay’s writing style is not suited to me. I hope you find it more enjoyable. Oh, just for a reference, cowboy hats and boots are not suited to all occasions, and a wise Texan knows it.

Amanda Lee’s Better Off Thread-An Embroidery Mystery 10

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

Overview: The Seven-Year Stitch is pretty busy this time of the year. But that doesn’t stop Marcy from jumping to help Captain Moe when he asks for a favor. And, what might a large, white-haired, fully bearded, man need as a favor–especially during the Christmas season? That’s right, Santa needs an elf. It’s for sick children at the hospital. Unfortunately, the gig is up when Captain Moe finds the body of the hospital administrator. Who would want Sandra Vincent dead? That’s the question Marcy and her crew has to answer, before Captain Moe gets placed on the naughty list.

Story Telling: We have a cozy mystery. Let’s hope this one doesn’t have too much romance.

Dislikes: Does anyone know a polite way of referring to Bellamy Carstairs and his parents. Please don’t say jerk, that’s just too nice. These are people who need a reality check.

Also, Marcy has a major character flaw, in my opinion. She doesn’t seem to have a backbone, at least when it comes to charity work.

Likes: Captain Moe makes a great Santa. And he does it right. Ted has great relationship with his family. Also, his nickname for Marcy is perfect.

Oh, we didn’t get a love triangle. While there is something involving three people, not even the biggest triangle fan could confuse it for a love triangle.

Favorite Character: It’s Captain Moe.

Favorite Quote: ““You can have a bite of mine in a few minutes,” Riley told him. “That way I’ll only have to run on the treadmill an extra hour rather than an extra hour and a half.”” Riley to Angus.

Favorite Scene: It has to be when Captain Moe asked Marcy his favor. It was funny, and sweet all at the same time.

Conclusion: This was a pretty good story. It was a little slow concerning the mystery, but it fits with the season.

Carole P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived In…Israel

I received this book courtesy of Mrs. Roman for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: It’s time for a trip. This one is taking us to the near-universally-acclaimed Holy Land. What will we learn here?

Story Telling: We get another cultural travelogue for the little ones.

Artwork: We get illustrations crossed with photography this time around.

Likes: We still get the glossary, and pronunciation key. Also, it my just be due to how many Yiddish-inspired words have filtered into English, but this one wasn’t so hard to read.

Conclusion: This was an interesting book. Enjoy it with your travelers.

Carole P. Roman’s One to Ten: Squirrel’s Bad Day

I received this book courtesy of Mrs. Roman for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Squirrel lost her acorns on her way home. Can her friend Rabbit help her put this problem into perspective?

Story Telling: We get another children’s book, this one focuses on putting problems into perspective.

Artwork: Our illustrations are bright and stylized. This time they play a key role to the story.

Dislikes: My problem with this book is more with the one to ten approach. It never fails to tell the child that his or her rating isn’t accurate. That if somebody doesn’t agree with your rating, then you have to change it. In my opinion, the only reason you should change such a rating is if you revisit the problem later with more information. If you wish to use the one to ten approach, why not use it as a lesson in empathy, compassion or sympathy? After all, isn’t it better to teach that what is a ten to someone else may not reach that level for you, but your friend, parent, sibling, or family member was crushed by it anyway and he or she could use your support?

Likes: Friendship did play a big role in this story.

Conclusion: This strikes me as a book, that if read should be discussed and used as a talking point. I hope you find it useful.

Lexington Alexander’s What! Is In My Broom Bristles?

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

Overview: Maud has a problem. You see, she’s afraid of rats, and it’s looking like she may have one or two unwelcome guests. What will she and her family do?

Story Telling: This is a rhyming story for children. And it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Artwork: The illustrations are simple, and in a similar, albeit black and white, vein as the Family Circle comic Strips.

Likes: This story has a great premise, as well as it is simply written. Most of Mr. Alexander’s chosen audience will be able to follow the story.

Favorite Character: It would be Sam.

Favorite Quote: “Maybe it fell out of Santa’s Hat?”

Favorite Scene: There’s not really a favorite scene, as this part could so easily spoil the book for you.

Conclusion: This was a cute story, though I, personally, would go with something far more efficient than a trap.