Loving The Rain by Jeff LaFerney

October 8, 2012 at 10:34 am (Reviews) (, , , )

 Loving The Rain by Jeff LaFerney is the first book in a trilogy about a father and son who both have  nearly supernatural mind-powers stemming from difficult births. This book is also a story about the anger and importance that some people can’t help but put into high school athletics.  As cool as mind control power might seem, would you really want to be the one who has it?

Before you answer, let me bring up a couple of large problems addressed in this book; would you really want someone to love you if you were left forever questioning whether or not the feeling came from their own free will? Is it worth it to win a game if it only happens  because you unfairly made your opponent fail?

And if you were left to watch your best work come to nothing as good rained upon another person, might it not engender a slight amount of hatred, even if you didn’t know your opponent’s full responsibility?

That’s not to say that knowing would make it any better. Could you trust someone if you knew that any feelings of trust might just be what they want you to feel?

I like this book. The characters felt real, and the story left me thinking.


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The Unwanted: The G6 Chronicles by Daniel L. Carter

October 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm (unsolicited reviews) (, , , , )

 The Unwanted: The G6 Chronicles by Daniel L. Carter is the surprisingly good mixture  of crazy, off-the-wall mad science experiments and believable, un-exaggerated faith. If, like me, you like the explanation of ‘science’ to come up with crazy fun it doesn’t seem should be possible or don’t want to be preached at when another’s belief is shown; this is a book worth checking out.

The story follows the early lifetimes of 5 children who were produced as part of an experiment in a secret genetic lab in Chicago. There were actually several of these labs, yet wanting to keep the project a secret, the company funding the project has taken to destroying the labs and killing their non-central workers in the unwanted facilities at any time when they looked to be in danger of falling under public scrutiny. As one of these laboratories is being covered up, two nurses are able to load a car with newborns and escape before they are all killed.

It also focuses on the investigation led by two FBI agents who are trying to figure out what is happening to cause the sudden seemingly-unprovoked killing of these workers. At least in Chicago it doesn’t look like infants were killed, yet investigators are simply baffled as to what the purpose of these deaths could be.

Of course, let’s not forget the great Dr. Tibon Agha here; his wonderful psychotic mind is responsible for a good bit of the fun. A large part of this story is the recounting of past events in his life. While these  may not actually  give him the right to act as he does, they certainly develop him into an interesting character.

Overall, I’d say this is an enjoyable story. While in a couple of places I was worried it my be ready to go ‘fantasy-religious’ on me, it never did. If we can just ignore the super-human science for a moment, the characters handled situations  the same as real people may do.

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A Whisper in Space (Adventures of the Spitfire Crew) by David C. Drizzit

September 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm (Reviews) (, , , )

 A Whisper in Space (Adventures of the Spitfire Crew) by David C. Drizzit is the beginnings of  Big Damn Love Story (Adventures of the Spitfire Crew) by  the same author. It puts into place the  reasons why the story’s characters are acting as they do, and even lets slip a major secret that is sure to effect future events. Unfortunately; while it is an enjoyable beginning that lays the groundwork for some interesting escapades, standing alone, it’s not much more than that.

The story starts with Drizzit giving us glimpses of an amusing crew upon a spaceship that wanders the stars,as they work by hiring their services out for all manner of business; be such business for transportation, or even bounty hunting. Such bounty hunting even brings about the main parts of this story:

1 The Spitfire has wandered slightly off course, and is in danger of getting lost in the open emptiness of space without effective navigators or mechanics.

2 People on the scarce-visited planet they are able to get to for help may have their own secret agendas.

3 Getting close to their target might just throw these wanderers up against parts of their past they were looking to get away from.

I wouldn’t advise reading A Whisper in Space alone. Many plot strings are started, but  nothing was resolved. I did like how it was written, and wouldn’t refuse the whole story, yet a tease like this makes me wary to put down money when I have no guarantee that anything will ever fully happen.

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Scat by Jim Graham

September 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , )

 Scat by Jim Graham is a great, futuristic tale involving everything you could expect to come from a Sci-fi story; be it rebels wanting to break their chains to Earth or frightening, very god-like aliens. The word Scat is actually a person, a high ranking Earth soldier with the last name Scatkiewicz. Soon after the story begins, he is hired to act as a spy and help keep an eye on the ever-growing society of those who live away from the planet, people who find that their lives and work only produce what is endlessly gobbled up by the very overpopulated Earth.

Because the people of Earth’s great demand for resources that they now find dwindling at home can be supplied by matter upon exoplanets, the idea of colonization becomes quite profitable. In fact, the money to be made makes it where most space exploration is funded by corporations who want control of the new possible commodities instead of relying upon countries that are looking to expand. This means that people who live off of Earth often resent the ‘home’ planet; its demand of materials that supply funds the corporations, who in turn are able to make nearly any demand of citizens on the planets they own so they can produce more and drive up the demand.

The corporations are forever looking for new, valuable property to claim. Because of this, when an item of unknown origin is encountered, the company who finds it tries to seal the priceless artifact away for their own inspection rather than letting their findings be known. Now, this is much more selfish than a simple case of hoarding. When considering the new technologies and possible monetary value the seeming space-junk may hold, i’s finders feel they have the right to ignore rules and procedures for alien contact that  were put forth to look after humanity’s safety, and do so with barely a moment’s thought.

Living as a spy to try getting close to people can start to make that spy see things from the ‘enemy’s’ point of view. Before long Scat almost considers himself to to be one of the colony-rebels. His experience as a soldier before-hand makes him to be a quite worthy adversary. The problem that his enemies face is deciding if it would do them better to rid the universe of is anger for them or to try using his strength as their own asset.

This story had me riveted. I enjoyed the interactions between the people, and the descriptions of futuristic technology. The idea of the controller aliens and their technology caught me as sickeningly fun.

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Tales of Aradia, The Last Witch (volume 1) by L.A. Jones

August 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm (Reviews) (, , )

 Tales of Aradia, The Last Witch(Volume 1) by L.A. Jones is  a fun book  about  supernatural folk who live among us.  Not just werewolves and vampires here, but everything from leprechauns and fairies to witches. Actually, let’s make that just one witch. You see, back around the time of the Salem witch trials there was also a bit of anti-witch fever among the world of the hidden races and it was believed that every witch was killed from existence; in fact, for a fair amount of time in this story no one can even guess what Aradia is.

And Aradia herself? All she knows about herself and her own past is that she was found alone in the wilderness as a baby by the couple who eventually adopt her. Her human ‘parents’ of course notice and realize the amazing magical feats she is capable of. They help her to keep her powers hidden so that she can have a chance at a normal life. It is through this need to appear normal that they unintentionally throw their daughter into a veritable hurricane of supernatural forces.

To  escape the questions that are asked when a silly schoolkid argument unintentionally brings forth a display of her powers, the family decides to move away from their home in Arizona to go to Salem, Massachusetts. This is a city that finds itself  to serve as something of a mixing pool of the supernatural. A happily paranormal version of New York.

I found myself enjoying this new take on a very common theme. I like it how the vampires are outraged when a serial killer starts draining his victim’s bodies of blood and so becomes known as ‘The Vampire Killer’. That would be a name that doesn’t help race relations when it starts to become clear that the victims are all werewolves.

As Aradia learns about the hidden world we are given a few brief scenes of powerful hidden people watching her. Enticingly, it leaves unanswered questions for future volumes wile letting the story itself come to a satisfying end. There are already 5 volumes of this series written.

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Elena by Duncan Lloyd

August 14, 2012 at 10:23 am (Reviews) (, )

Elena by Duncan Lloyd is a dark book  about young Edward ‘Teddy’ Schoendienst who lives with his sister Ellen, and his father Dr. Edward Schoendienst in a small town where his father is the psychiatrist in charge  of the local nut-house. His grandfather used to be the local minister, but is gone now. His mother is dead. Teddy is not a popular kid at school, and so spends most of his time with his three best friends: an imaginary Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade (an imaginary bum), and Mrs. Goethe (the local librarian).

One evening as he leaves the library, a group of bullies manage to surround him, total his bike and beat Teddy horrendously. His father is outraged of course. Dr. Schoendienst is a man who strongly believes in the strength of the individual working for himself. If the school and local police are unable to provide a safe environment for his son, he decides; why, young Edward is disciplined enough, he should home school on his own!

Of course now, Teddy isn’t left merely to indulge in his whims. He is given a strict curriculum of what he must accomplish while his dad is at work and his sister is at school. It’s just that one of the things that the  other kids picked on him for is being smart. One of their favorite insults was to call him a “brain”. Now if a kid who thinks himself intelligent is left with too much free time to sit alone with his imaginary friends, trouble can start.

When free time for Teddy starts involving sexual fantasies about his sister Ellen I was more than a little grossed out, but I could continue reading because of his awareness of its wrongness himself. When trying to get beyond these incestual thoughts, the idea of a new woman comes upon him like a ghost. Her name is Elena. Unfortunately, this new imaginary friend asserts her presence until Teddy begins to doubt that he created her himself. Somehow even Ellen knows of Elena…

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Leonard’s Last Day by D.A. Conn

August 6, 2012 at 11:40 am (unsolicited reviews) (, , )

 Leonard’s Last Day by D.A. Conn is the quick account of a dramatic event based upon an actual happening. Because of this,all the characters have easily adapted the mannerisms  of people you could meet in real life. The story is interesting in that it explores how several people caught in the same event may perceive it differently, based on what they had expected to happen beforehand.

The story is about Leonard, a man who is living with his wife, Sandra, anticipating starting a family in the suburbs; when out of nowhere an unexpected attack  leaves him hospitalized. He does make enough of a recovery to return to his normal life,yet suddenly, it seems that safety has been striped from what he sees and he finds that he now needs to arm himself ‘just in case‘. People may try to explain to him how he should look more carefully into what he thinks is wrong, how the crash might have left him slightly brain damaged, but he’s not about to buy that!

I am nearly certain this is the first work of fiction by Ms. Conn. I would truly be interested in reading something longer; that’s, I guess my only complaint, the story ends before I’m able to latch onto characters I like.

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Dragon, Come Here! (chapters 1-9) by Elysabeth Faslund

July 27, 2012 at 11:16 am (Reviews) (, , )

Dragon,Come Here at Shelfari Dragon, Come Here! (The Princess, The Owl, and The Sorcerer’s Son) by Elysabeth Faslund is an entertaining fantasy that explores the adventures of a seemingly random hodgepodge of character who find themselves stuck together as their homeland comes under the attack of evil dragons. The only downside I found with it is that the story unexpectedly cut off where chapter 10 is supposed to start. I’ll admit, this may simply be my copy as I can’t find the book linked to either my Kindle or Smashwords account, but if anyone knows where the rest of it is, I’d be interested in reading through to the end.

The story starts with a Sorcerer and a not quite explained talking owl who lives with him taking in a gravely injured princess that they come upon, without quite understanding what happened to her. The girl quickly proves herself to be a self-important spoiled brat. To protect her, she was traveling with her pet wolf ‘Kate’ that the sorcerer recognizes as the puppy of his late wife’s pet wolf that died with her, and we catch first glance of the deeper underlying story. A story easily forgotten as the girl and wolf are made to stay with the sorcerer’s young son who is intent on pestering roosters.

Before my copy cuts off, we begin to here the rumors of an invasion by the kingdom from the south that heads its attack with wingless dragons. After spending a short amount of time with the princess and her constant ‘I’m better than ANYONE’ insults, the sorcerer sends note to the king to practically beg that he send escort to take her back. The king however, finds it grand that his daughter is safe in hiding with a highly trusted warrior mage, and tells him to simply keep her for the time being. So, as the sorcerer and owl go off to retain the help of elves for the impending battle it doesn’t look like they can avoid, the princess (who is sick of the sorcerer herself) decides to try and make her own way home. The sorcerer’s young son and the wolf see it as nearly their duty to risk whatever problems may be out there just to make sure she’s Ok.

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The Bridge of Deaths by M.C.V. Egan

July 23, 2012 at 11:34 am (Reviews) (, , , , )

 The Bridge of Deaths by M.C.V. Egan is an interesting book about a couple who get dragged into the sometimes frightening world of exploring their past lives. Although the two of them may be only searching for some happy ‘love in all times’ story, they soon find they have to learn more about an incident where the man was a pilot in World War II as a pilot of a plane that was knocked out of the sky leaving him as the only survivor. This encourages the woman to pursue the facts of the accident through new contacts around the world, and insist that the man undergo several sessions of hypnosis so they might be able to learn exactly what happened.

An English woman(Maggie) meets her Canadian boyfriend(Bill) in the self-help section of a bookstore. He is there because  in college, he went to a fun session of group hypnosis to supposedly contact past lives and has been plagued with dreams of a horrible accident and near drowning ever sense. Maggie is a psychologist, and she feels the need to try and help him. Eventually, she is able to convince him to go with her to a private hypnotist in an effort to get away from what seems to be a terrifying death in another life.

Although Maggie is a scientist, she is also a willing believer of what others dismiss as mystical nonsense. Such a believer, in fact, that she begins looking into the actual event that Bill seems to be repeatedly reliving. She comes across record of a Lockheed Electra aircraft called the G-AESY that crashed near a bridge over the Storstrom waters on its way to Stockholm on August 15, 1939 killing five passengers;yet the pilot survived. While looking into this, she becomes friends with and begins to rely on a woman in Florida who has spent years looking into the same accident because her grandfather was on it.

Much of this book is comprised of factual reports from the incident. Even if you find the whole idea of past lives to be somewhat hokey, at times it seems to be a good excuse to present what in other cases may be seen as dry facts. I found that the history presented in this way was surprisingly enjoyable. I discovered that when I set down this book, I would find myself later wanting to read more and see how events happened.  I’m still not quite sure about past lives, but I was willing to accept them for this story.

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1 Book 10 Personalities by ten students of Action Academy, Guatemala

July 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

 1 Book 10 Personalities [produced by  Isabella Bonifasi, Mariana Quiñones, María Teresa Chávez, Diego Chávez, Andrea Pereira, Alexia Delgado, José Javier Chávez, Sebastian Lou , Irene Delgado, Daniel Herbruger (editor), Gabriela de Lucas (editor)] is a book with an inspiring premise. These young students (ages 9-13) decided that, rather than just accept it when other people tell them that they are too young to accomplish what they may dream to, it would be more rewarding/more of a learning experience to work at and actually create what others may see only as fantasy. This endeavor resulted in 1 volume comprised of 9 short books, each written by a different person/people.

Quick impression from each story:

Everyone has their story. This is mine. by Isabella Bonifasi– A young girl who loves dancing gets the opportunity to go to a prestigious dance school, yet problems and revelations she encounters while getting there will undoubtedly change her life in ways she was never prepared for.

Dream Evolution by Mariana Quiñones– A girl who receives a camera as a gift one time discovers a passion for photography that grows until picture taking become almost as natural, and necessary to her as breathing.

Mistaken Identity by Ma. Teresa Chávez- A fun story about a group of kids who discover they are really super heroes. Perhaps it’s not the best written literature, but it kept my inner Smallville fan amused.

– (Possibly)Untitled- by Diego Chávez– A rambling account of a boy discovering the sport of swimming. Rather short, but ends with the upbeat motto of ‘Stick to your dreams’.

My dreams by Andrea Pereira– A collection of rushed adolescent fantasies that at parts lost my interest enough, I was bothered by the spacing between paragraphs when it would change with no rhyme or reason.

The Mystery Story by Alexia Delgado–  Three girls travel around the world, hunting for buried treasure. This is another story with unexplained spaces in the middle of the text.

-Untitled?- by Sebastian Lou– One day a boy named Jab goes into the jungle and makes friends with a couple lions and a cat. They have to make it through various situations together.

The boy with the squared shirt by José Javier Cháves– A boy, James, who gets expelled from every school he attends and his best friend (an orphan girl who tries to follow wherever he may go) start getting into a lot of strange situations/locations after getting to close to a man who looks like a vampire in central park.

Julie & Amber by Irene Delgado and Maria Pereira– Two school-aged girls look forward to the chance to go off on vacation together, but when it finally comes, they my have to deal with problems caused by the Bermuda Triangle.

While this is a cool idea for a book and I will applaud of their efforts and nerve at simply doing this instead of accepting it as impossible, I do have to say that all of them might benefit by presenting their own writing alone. The couple of stories I truly enjoyed felt held back and weighted down by the lesser ones that could have made me quit before ever reading what of it I did enjoy. What I saw as bad may not have seemed so tarnished if looked alone without the competition.

It’s also not often I’m too hung up on editing, but with someone proudly listed as an editor, I must ask: Did you do any editing? Each story had its own sense of spacing and layout. At times this would break up the text into pieces that would logically have fit together. Two of the stories had no title I could find yet they weren’t marked as untitled, so I’m not sure if I just missed what they were called somehow. Lastly ebooks are made to have navigation tools; even if you can’t be bothered to take the 5-10 minutes it would require to make a live table of contents, have a static listing of the different stories in the book.

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