Back in August, I did a review on a piece of juvenile fiction. Sine then, I've gotten severely sidetracked in writing random thoughts about the books I've read. I've read quite a few over the past four months, but other things have conspired to prevent me from offering select nouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives about them. Things like blogging, writing, and the real world immediately spring to mind.
But now, as the winter season starts to take hold somewhere in these United States, now would be a good time as any to offer my opinions on the books I've read. This post will be comprised of three short reviews of books that I've read in the past four months. Feel free to agree or disagree with my opinions, as I always enjoy lively banter about my point of view.
Note: None of these books that I'm about to review were offered gratis. For each and every book talked about here, my wallet became lighter in the process, as my hard earned cash gladly went to the intended recipient.
First up is the third and final volume of Charles Gramlich's fantasy series "The Talera Cycle".
Please see previous reviews of book 1 and book 2 here.
The battle that was thought ended, was not. Resurrected, it blossomed into a full blown war. Complete with treachery and fresh new heroes, the final book brilliantly concludes the journey that Ruenn Maclang embarked on when he, his brother and his cousin were blown through a portal and landed in a world that was similar in some ways, yet quite different in others, to Earth. The plotting and pacing was steady, if not riveting at times, and in keeping with the previous tomes, the reader was treated as an equal throughout the book. An entertaining read from beginning to end, it is a book series that I will enjoy revisiting in the future.
"The Tarnished Star" by Jack Martin. Jack Martin is the pen name of writer/actor Gary Dobbs, who runs a fascinating blog called The Tainted Archives. This tome is his debut novel, and for the most part, it did live up to the brilliant marketing campaign he created for it.
The story revolves around Sheriff Cole Masters, who arrests the depraved son of the wealthy rancher who owns the town. A confrontation eventually leads to a showdown and Cole Masters finds himself on the run for killing his corrupt replacement.
The plotting and pacing is pretty steady, with the violence minimal and the sex non existent, which to me is reminiscent of the westerns from the 50's & 60's. The book did keep my interest throughout, which if you've read my previous reviews, is an essential component to me liking a book.
The book is an excellent throwback to the days where the suggestion of what was happening, as opposed to going into excruciating detail, was the better hook. A solid read and a decent bang for your buck (about $20 or so US), this book would make a good intro for someone who is looking for a new genre to explore.
The last one is a review of a book series, as opposed to a single volume. If you click on my profile (go ahead, I'll wait for you), you'll see s few authors listed there, of which one is Susan Hooper. Susan Hooper is the one that turned me onto self publishing, and for that I'll be eternally grateful.
Now, onto her book series. She writes murder mysteries, specifically called "The Barnaby Moss/Arnie Kotkin Mysteries". They're pretty decent mysteries in that they do keep your interest and they aren't that all cut and dried, so you can't really figure it out say, thirty pages in. So far she has about 8 tomes out and I've read the first five. All of them meet my criteria for enjoyable book reading.
One interesting thing about the murder mysteries is the secondary story that is woven throughout the series. The main characters, Barnaby Moss and Arnie Kotkin, are gay, and she tastefully explores the complex issues that are involved with this type of relationship. From coming out, to living first as domestic partners then later as a married couple, all of the issues are presented as factually and as plainly as possible.
So although you may be reading a particular part of the series that on the surface has a disconnect with others in the series, in order to understand the underlying issues in that story, you actually have to read the prior parts to the story you're reading. I know it sounds complicated, but she makes it work in the long run: The basic story of whatever book you're reading, plus the underlying story that is weaved throughout the series.
So there you have it folks, my reviews for two books and a book series. I've done a lot more reading in the meantime, and I hop to offer another opinion or two in the near future.