Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity-Jason Bourne 1

Overview: Jason Bourne was born–no pun intended–around six months ago. That’s when he woke up in the doctor’s home. Too bad all he has is muscle-memory. If he had more, he might understand why t these people want him dead. Can he survive long enough to find out who he is, and what he is?

Story Telling: This is an international spy thriller. Please don’t confuse it for the movie. In this case, they are two different animals.

Dislikes: For the most part, it was the international aspects of the story that bugged me. Yes, I get that there’s this rush for authenticity in your writing. It just seems unwise to alienate those readers who might enjoy your books simply because they don’t have the working knowledge of the foreign language used. Remember, even Mr. Tolkien, with all of his fantastical languages, offered the leisure reader a translation–most of the time.

Likes: Jason has a great attitude. For the most part, as long as you were decent around him, he was decent to you.

Favorite Character: It would be Jason.

Favorite Scene: That would be when Jason went back for Marie.

Conclusion: This book has an intrinsic story, be ready for that, though you’ll at least need a French-English dictionary for translation purposes. And the time it takes for that translation.

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Edgar Allen Poe’s The Complete Tales and Poems

Overview: I’m sure everyone has heard of Edgar Allen Poe. After all, a few of his stories and poems have been made into movies in the early days of Hollywood. This just happens to be a complete collection of his works.

Story Telling: Well, we have poetry, some science-fiction, a few horror, and –surprise!– Mr. Poe put out a few detective stories.

Dislikes: Outside of the gore in the horror ones, most of these stories made no sense to me. It’s almost as if Mr. Poe was playing brain games with his audience.

Likes: For the most part, our antagonists got what was coming to them.

Favorite Stories: “The Man That Was Used Up” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” were pretty good.

Conclusion: I don’t know what to make of Mr. Poe’s work. For someone with the reputation of either being loved or hated, he really didn’t leave much of an impression on me. Must be a matter of tastes.

George Orwell’s Animal Farm

Overview: The Manor Farm is brewing up a storm. Old Major has the animals of the farm dreaming of the end of human rule. By a sheer stroke of luck, the animals get their dream. I wonder if they have ever heard the warning: “Be careful what you wish for.”

Story Telling: Mr. Orwell called this a fairytale; others have called it a cautionary tale. Let the reader decide.

Dislikes: Any member of the pigs, including Snowball and Old Major, just worked my nerves. It was like they planned a coup, and used the others as pawns.

And, why could none of the animals think at all?

Likes: Boxer wanted the best for his friends. Benjamin stayed, I think, just for Boxer. Of course, Molly had the right idea.

Favorite Character: It would be Benjamin.

Favorite Quote: I liked Benjamin’s temperament. “…for instance, he would say that God had given him a tail to keep the flies off, but that he would sooner have had no tail and no flies.”

Favorite Scene: I enjoyed how Clover and Benjamin tended to Boxer. It’s either that one, or when they catch Squeaker messing with the commandments.

Conclusion: This might be a good book to read for anyone working around politics, even if it’s just to vote. Come to think about it, it’s probably a good idea to read it if you are a social activist as well. It’s a good reminder of what today’s heroes can turn into.

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.