Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Fold by Peter Clines

So, this is pretty much my first foray into to the (soft) science fiction genre.  This is not true science fiction.  It is written in an easy to read style, with a basic scientific concept being the plot.  That makes it easy to read for those of us who want to read something different but are not sure if we want to read science fiction.  That basic concept centers around the ability to fold dimensions so to be across the world quickly by stepping through something called the Albuquerque Door.  It's distance travel, not time travel.  The Door opens up a whole Pandora's box of dimensional possibilities; ie; alternate realities, which are mostly not good ones.  Hence, the story unfolds upon nasty things (beings?) coming back through the Door.  Hmmm, is that a spoiler?  Sorry.  Our protagonist Mike, is offered the opportunity to travel to the lab the Door is in and observe the process of the scientific team fine tuning it, whom, by the way, have been traveling over and back from one site, or lab,to another on the same property for some time and logging their trips.  They say it is ready to go but are quite secretive and somewhat defensive.  Oh, and this is a Dept. of Defense funded project.  They are under the threat of maybe losing their funding.  Probably because they will not give out their secrets.  I mean, if you hold the purse strings, you want the scoop on what your money is buying, right?  So, Mike is offered a summer job (he is a school teacher by trade) to observe and determine if the Door should continue to get funded. He has a photographic memory and never forgets anything--that's a nervous breakdown right there!  That is why his long time friend Reggie, the head of the finances for the project, recruits him.  Mike accepts the job, makes observations, reports to Reggie, but--along the way he finds something wrong with the Door.  Before he can figure it out and decide to report it to Reggie, things start to happen.  At this point, you will be halfway through the book.  When the action finally takes off it is a pretty good read and I kept seeing it as a movie while I was reading it.  I think it may be a better movie than a book.
The characters are a good assortment of scientific types with their odd quirks and are pretty believable.  One character continuously replies with the "F" word which grows old pretty quick.  She uses it so much, I felt a yawn coming on every time she began to speak.  The grammar is good in this book, which is a pet peeve of mine, so that is at least one star.  I did find the author writing about Mike's injuries as "fishhooks" of pain and referring to it like it was a new thing several times.  If something is an ongoing presence it becomes "the fishhooks" so the reader knows the same problem is still showing itself.  This always leads me to wonder "where was the editor?"  At any rate, I will not tell you what the "something wrong" is that Mike finds.  That really would be a spoiler and I wouldn't do that.  Also when I read the part that reveals the reason behind the team not revealing their secrets I thought, "Seriously?!? That's what all the secrecy is about? A team of scientists, one who is famously published, is no smarter than that...!?"  What a letdown.
It is worthy of reading, but no blockbuster here.  I really linger between three and four stars on this.  Definitely not four, but not so bad as three, so I give The Fold three and a half stars.  Those stars are for ease of reading and good sentence structure, not so much for a fantastic story with a killer plotline.
None the less, pick it up.  Everybody has different tastes.
I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  These words are my opinion.
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Monday, June 15, 2015

Sunshine Hunter (A Susan Hunter Mystery - Book I)

I am just discovering Chick-Lit, also known as cozy mysteries, from what I hear.  I have stayed away because I thought they were just so much fluff on top of a mediocre story.  I was wrong about that, I think.  Sunshine Hunter has good plot lines and the story-telling by Ms. Cochere is first rate. It had everything needed to keep me turning the pages to the end so that I could find out who was stalking whom (one of two central characters) and why.  I had no idea who the bad guy was until it was revealed near the end.  I could see the depth of character in Sunshine Hunter as I watched her battle back and forth with decisions and situations.  She attracts trouble like white on rice!  As I read, I could see trouble about to  happen but the author writes the character so well, I could tell she never saw it coming!  Susan works in a weight loss center by day and a racquetball club at night.  As the story goes, she takes off for Florida with a friend for a week after finding out that her boyfriend is married.  She just needs to get over him and clear her head.  See, this is why I have never read these kinds of stories!  Is that a cliche plot-line, or what?!  However, there is murder, stalking, accidents, car chases, mysteries abound.  She ends up in the Gulf of Mexico on a flaming fishing boat!  I am telling you, check this out. It is light and breezy, easy to read and the perfect beach read, too. Lots of laughs and also lots of surprises.  I give Susan Hunter five stars!  I loaded this as a free read on my Kindle app, it is not a new release.  
This is Book One--I am checking out the rest!   

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Choosing

In this debut novel from Rachelle Decker, we are transported to a future that is not one we would want to live in; but there is hope even in this for a better one.  We meet Carrington Hale, for whom life will be wonderful, every young woman's dream, if she is chosen.  If she is not, that will be her fault, as will the outcome of not being chosen.  She will spend her life as a Lint, the lowest level of this futuristic society, knowing that she is there of her own doing.  If you like dystopian stories, this is one for you.  I like them and I liked this book.  I knew from the time I held it in my hands that I would enjoy reading it.  The cover is a beautifully done satin finish heavyweight paper.  The inside is printed on quality paper, making it easy to hold in your hand.  It gave me that familiar feeling that I had a good read in my hands and I was anxious to start. I was not disappointed.  It is absent of multiple plot layers, which can be a refreshing change.  There is one story with multiple characters and Ms. Decker is able to keep the intensity going. Just when I thought I knew what was coming, I was surprised.   I would like to see more development of the secondary characters plot line and see that woven into the big picture with more depth. This novel does have that, but not to the detail that I think makes an even more intriguing read. The writing lacks the maturity that a seasoned author would provide but this author will come to that maturity as she writes, I feel certain.  It is easy to read, well written dialogue and narrative descriptions. My heart goes out to Carrington as she struggles to find her self-worth while having her unworthiness drummed into her psyche daily.  You know that I will not tell you more. You will have to read it for yourself!  I appreciate the references to God as our all loving Father and the assurance that we are worth being saved.  I would like to see a little more about humanities need for salvation, and the perfect sacrifice, Jesus.  I have a feeling that may be developed as these characters find their way.  None the less, this is an excellent debut novel, and is also a good book for young adults. It would be excellent even if it were not her first book;  it's that good.
I give The Choosing four stars!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Tyndale, in exchange for an honest review.  These words are my opinion.

I am pleased to include some Q&A from Rachelle Decker as well as a picture of her.  Enjoy reading some insight into her writing process.

 The Choosing is the first of a three-book series. What can we expect in the next two books?
More struggles with identity, but in different ways. Familiar characters dealing with fear and worry and forgiveness. We’ll walk with our characters as they continue to understand the true way of Aaron’s Father. More excitement, more romance (of course), and more self-discovery.

Did you discover anything about your own identity through the writing process?
I will steal a line from Ted Dekker on this one: “I write to discover.” They are one and the same. Even when I think there’s nothing left to discover, if I let myself be open to discovery, it almost always comes. So yes, I did. And I told my husband, if nothing ever comes of this book, it would still have been worth writing because of the way it impacted my life.

What do you hope readers will take away from the story?
I hope readers are filled with joy and power as they either realize for the first time who their Father is and what they are really worth, or as they simply remember this truth.

Thanks so much for being here!  See you soon!