Monday, February 29, 2016

Book Review for The Doorkeepers by by Graham Masterton ~ Great Read

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Julia uses England as a place to run from her past. Her family, in America, hasn’t has contact in almost a year. One day, her mutilated body is found. The authorities contact her brother, Jake, who immediately drops everything and goes to England, searching for answers.
It appears that his sister was employed by a company that no longer exists. Her home was at an address that hasn’t existed since WWII.
His search is aided by a psychic, who introduces him to a parallel world, which he enters through a door that should never be opened. Of course, once it is, Jake must keep fighting for answers, and fighting to keep himself, and those around him, including his significant other, alive.

I began the book with eyes wide open, there was enough going on to keep my mind spinning. I only had time to read this book at bedtime, which means bedtime was extended almost every night, as the book was quite difficult to put down. In my case, close the Kindle case, but you get it.
As I got about ¾ through the book, the mood shifted somehow. It was as though there were limited characters remaining and the author wasn’t allowed more. The story was rushed somehow, and details were condensed, the story incomplete somehow.
The ending was good, and as a whole, I enjoyed the tale very much. I’m quite fussy about what I read, in fact, if it doesn’t “grab” me in the first chapter, maybe two, I’m on to other things. I was rapt until just about the end, then I felt a bit of disappointment with the way the chapters were written. Then ending answered the BIG question about Julia’s disappearance and death, but many details, such as what became of other characters, left untold.
Take a chance and read this book. It draws an amazing picture of the possibility of parallel worlds, and the evil within...

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Another book review! This time, it's RUNNING WITH RHINOS, Stories from a Radical Conservationist by Ed Warner

Running with Rhinos is a book of stories compiled by the author during repeated travels to Africa to assist in the efforts to continue conservation efforts for the remaining, but dwindling population of black rhinos, who continue to be savagely poached for their horns. The images left with me from each of his tales were often heartbreaking, as I have always felt such disdain for the ignorant poachers. These innocent creatures deserve to live, and I'm thankful we have people like this author, who have the financial means and the heart to try and save them. His tales were clever,  at times very funny, especially because the predicaments he described were real.. There's nothing better than a little wit tossed in after you've barely escaped with your life! The stories were entertaining as well as informative. I was completely ignorant to the risk involved in the tasks they undertake, to give these families a chance at a full life. I did find it a bit over the top, hearing so often how much was spent on meals, and lodging, and items purchased for the crew. I didn't feel it added a thing to the stories, rather I began to feel a sense that we needed to be reminded how wealthy Ed is. Now, I don't want that to sound like sour grapes, I'm thankful he has chosen to utilize his wealth to help others. He seems like an AMAZING man. And, he is, in fact, very wealthy. Which means that he worked! However he chooses to spend his cache is his business. Which means I don't need (or want) an itemized expense list.
My reading opportunities are few and far between at this time of year, reduced to only opening the Kindle as I crawl into bed each night. The stories were engaging enough to take me beyond my nightly 'ration' of reading time, making for a foggy mind the following morning, but I found I could not resist "just one more page"....
I did not like the way the author told each story as though I was already "in the know". There were countless  added facts that left me with more questions than answers. The details I felt that I needed were omitted, and in those blank spaces were ramblings about which I had already been told. As a whole, the book was a pleasure. 
Disclaimer: I did receive an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Thanks to  both and the Greenleaf Book Group Press, for the opportunity to read and review this title. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Time for another book review!

In Gallup GreedIn Gallup Greed by Tower Lowe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the story although it appears to be 2nd in an ongoing series; this is NOT the beginning of the tale... I was able to read this story even though I hadn't previously been introduced to the characters in the first book of the series. I have read books in other series that leave me with more questions than answers due to the fact I'm reading a book somewhere in the middle of a series, and I cannot figure out the relationships between the characters involved. I'm happy to say that wasn't the case in this book!
The author did an exceptional job revealing necessary details of characters, I was able to 'know' each one of them.
The book tells the tale of a vicious stabbing of Lonnie, in Gallup, New Mexico. There are no witnesses. His sister, Mirage, happened to be in a questionable blackout at the time. Or is she lying? Does she have motive to kill her own brother? We meet Cinnamon and Burro, who come to investigate the murder. Cinnamon is also actively seeking her Momma, who disappeared without warning many years ago. It's unrelated to this crime, but it's the motivation behind her investigative drive. Burro, her partner, has visions of the crime, but the devil is in the details. What he sees isn't always an accurate picture. Those considered suspect in the crime are being visited by spirits. Who is responsible, and how can they be caught? It won't be easy, with the number of greedy individuals that may benefit from seeing Lonnie gone.
As we are woven through the tale, it appears everyone we meet is suspect. Even the young boy who has a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) I connected with him on some level, as I have actually had a TBI when I was 23. It's a very frustrating condition, and it changes who you are. But could a TBI drive a child to murder someone? And if it does, can the law prosecute a boy who cannot possibly be responsible for his drive to kill?
There are also many shady characters, the owner of an art gallery, even the artists who have contributed their work to the gallery. Everyone wants the biggest piece of the pie in life, maybe enough to kill for it.
In the midst of this investigation, Cinnamon gets a phone call from her Momma. What's the connection? Or is the call completely unrelated to the murder.
The book was very good. I was wrong about the who-dunnit, which made the book better, I don't enjoy a novel that is predictable. I want to be surprised by the reveal, and realize I had been led through a maze the entire time. This book fit the bill.
I'll likely go and read the 1st in the series, just to be re-introduced to each main character. I also love the names these characters have! I found it refreshing to have an entire cast of characters with names I've not heard before, but can still find believable.
Disclaimer: I did receive this book for an unbiased and honest review. I have written exactly that. These are my own thoughts and opinions, and have had no influence or input by another.

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It's time for a BOOK REVIEW!!

The Yoga of Max's DiscontentThe Yoga of Max's Discontent by Karan Bajaj
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first opened this book, (ebook, to be exact) I was CERTAIN I would never be able to finish it. What a shameful assumption. Let me be frank. I have never been to India. I understand ZERO about the Yoga concepts, know nothing of the Yogi, I simply thought my ineptitude would swallow me whole, and I'd have to give up on the novel. Boy. Was. I. Mistaken. And happily so... the next thing I know, I'm staying awake MUCH later than I should, night after night, because at this time of year, I'm so busy, the only time I have to read is when I crawl in bed, for perhaps up to an hour, before my lids crash, and I fall asleep with my Kindle on my face. But here I was, peeking at my phone at 1 a.m., scolding myself for the upcoming morning that begins at 630, like it or not, and then, I continue to read just another page, another chapter, you get it... Here's my summary: (I'll tell you enough, but never so much as to take away from your reading experience)
We meet Max. He is, by definition, a very successful man. A Harvard grad, an analyst on Wall Street, a loving son and brother. An yet... He feels as though something is 'missing' . Max grew up in the Projects in Bronx. His mother worked 2 jobs to give her kids a better life. As a result, there was very little time spent with her children. Max played the role of a punk by day, smoking, cursing, fighting, all to 'fit in' in a place he never wanted to be. At night he studied, all night, to ensure his education lifted him from the slime in which he was growing up. In a random shooting, at 13, he merely lost teeth, but watched his friend Andre's life change in an instant, as a stray bullet takes from him, the ability to walk. In high school he cleans the bathroom in a bar, early before school, then goes home, and erases evidence of the vomit he has cleaned, and then evidence of the cleaning chemicals themselves, in order to emulate his peers, and not stand out. Surviving. Secrets.
Max, the successful man, has just lost his mother. She suffered a lot in the end. He watched her entire life encapsulated in suffering. He becomes obsessed with thoughts about life, death, suffering. A chance encounter (or is it?) with a man on the streets, fuels the flame inside Max, that leads him to India in search of a man, who must answer for him the burning questions in his soul. He is seeking Nirvana. Does it even exist? It must. For if there is life, and suffering, and death, there must be more...
On his journey, he leaves behind his job, his sister, his friend, his comfort, luxuries, everything. He places his faith in the hands of another. No real map, no itinerary, only faith guides him. He tries to go home several times in the beginning, but something will not 'let' him go. The land has a hold on him. It seems although his aching body cries 'stop' , his spirit overrides, and he must continue. He has no idea where he is headed, or whether the Yogi he seeks even exists. But he continues on.
I mentioned I had never been to India. The author wove a tapestry like no other, I was astounded at the beauty before me, a place I had never seen, but was able to experience through words. I was a captive audience. This man found himself terrified and yet more brave than he ever imagined he could be, trusting the land, the elements, his faith, to guide him to the goal he sought. There were so many trials along the way, I imagined he would never make it. (And to what or where was 'making' it, anyway?)
The details in every exchange, with the characters he meets, the elements that nearly break his spirit, over and over, are rich with scenery. I was continuously walked through the tale, a privileged guest, with my own personal guide. The journey was worth every second invested in this novel.
Although the ending was not at ALL what I expected, I found myself immensely satisfied. What a brilliant writing style, what an incredible tale.
I could go on and on about this book, giving you a peek into different experiences within the tale, but, in fact, nothing I say will actually enrich the experience more than reading it yourself. For I, unlike the author, do NOT have the gift of words...
Disclaimer: I did receive a copy of this novel in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. This is my honest review. I am now actively seeking to read any other titles written by the same author, Karan Bajaj. That is how much I enjoyed this novel.

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