This member has not published any books.
Smashwords book reviews by Christina Galvez
- Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo
on Aug. 30, 2012
Note: I received a complimentary eBook of Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo to review.
Cathartes Aura is a turkey vulture who lives in a zoo. The book contains his observations after an apocalyptic event when no one comes to the zoo. It portrays what happens when the caretakers are no longer there and the animals are hungry and eager to get out.
Poetry and verse were never my strong points. I am a numbers person and something that is as open to interpretation as poetry is usually difficult for me in the sense that I never seem to get out of it what was either intended or what the consensus seems to take away. That does not mean I do not enjoy poetry and verse; I just tend to keep my opinions to myself, especially after so many heated discussions in college.
I am not sure I can accurately explain why, but I thoroughly enjoyed Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo. It may be a bit daunting at first because of the verse, but if you do not concentrate on the structure, it quickly reads like regular prose in most sections. In addition, the writing was extremely successful in emitting the emotions of the vulture and the tempo seemed to reflect that as well. For example, during the more stressful moments, I found myself reading faster. That was impressive; it always impresses me when writers accomplish this technique regardless of whether it was intentional.
I completely understand hesitation due to the combination of vulture point of view, apocalypse and verse, but it works. Not only do I look forward to reading Eighty-Six' next work, but I will most definitely return to Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo. This is the type of literature that I will re-read every so often because I get more out of it with each reading.
I do not presume to know what the author intended for the reader to take away from his work and for that reason, I would not normally comment. However, this seems to be overlooked a bit and I do believe that is a shame. Will it enjoy the success and reputation of more traditional poetry and verse? No. But I can see how this could have a cult following. In fact there was one line that made me chuckle and I added it to my favorite quotes.
I could easily go on for another page or two about Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo. There were several other things I wanted to include but maybe you should just read it and find out yourself. Then if you want to discuss, I will be happy to meet you on the book's Goodreads page.
Give it a try. 4 out of 5 stars.
- Cathartes Aura on the Road from Nowhere
on Aug. 30, 2012
Note: I received a complimentary eBook of Cathartes Aura on the Road from Nowhere to review.
Cathartes Aura the turkey vulture has returned to observe the remaining humans in the area and their behavior. Some come together peacefully and some want to dominate. The reader gets to observe the groups separately as Cathartes Aura flies around looking for food and then ultimately as they find each other.
As I was reading, there seemed to be something missing for the most part- emotion. Remember that the vulture is the narrator and observes the human activity. Now a few descriptive words sneak in there, i.e. "exultant voices" or "bright-eyed girl," but even those are subtle and few. On the other hand, when speaking of himself, the vulture observes that he would "...rather die reckless than starve skeptical." Of course this makes sense because why would a vulture assign emotional descriptions to humans? Okay, I don't know that this was the reason Eighty-Six wrote this way and in fact, this tactic could be for a whole different reason; I can think of one other reason myself and it would be an interesting topic for discussion. The point is it's there. I'm not a writer, but that sounds awfully hard to accomplish; I can't even accomplish that in this review.
The other interesting reaction I had toward this book is that I felt nothing for the characters. There are the admirable characters and the obligatory not so admirable ones, but I did not have any strong feelings for either. While this does not sound like a good thing, and may be only my reaction, I propose this is not a bad thing. Again, I think it comes from the fact that the reader sees the characters from the vulture's point of view and a vulture obviously will not assign any sort of moral value on actions. For me, it was an interesting divergence from everything else I read.
With this type of writing, I know there are a lot of people who will say that I simply read too much into all this; I have argued the same point many times. What difference does it make? The beautiful thing about verse and poetry is that one reader may see complete bologna and another will find the answer to life, the universe and everything. Verse may not be your thing- apocalyptic vulture verse even less so. That's okay. I am new to this whole poetic apocalyptic fiction genre so the only thing I can go by is whether or not I enjoyed reading it. I did.
I debated between three and four stars. I think Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo deserved four stars partly because of its originality. Now anyone who reads apocalyptic fiction knows that wandering humans eventually stumbling upon one another has become practically cliché. For that reason, Cathartes Aura on the Road from Nowhere's story line did not impress me as much as the Apocalyptic Zoo did. However, after going back and pinpointing the tone, or lack of it for the most part, I reconsidered my rating. Maybe this is where a half star may have provided me with a desired compromise, but it is not an option. So I will simply round up.
4 out of 5 stars.
- Project Hope
on Sep. 07, 2012
This review is going to be a little different from all the others I have written, so please bear with me.
The reviews I post are a little different than the ones I keep. The reviews I keep on my computer begin with the exact description of the book, usually from Barnes and Noble. Then I write my summary of the book and that is what I use to begin the review I post. I am parting from that with this review because this time it actually makes a difference.
I do not remember how I came across this book. Somehow, I was offered a free eBook to review. I must have read the description because I never enter any giveaways if I am not interested in the book. I already had a couple of books on my 'to read' list before this one but I replied I would be happy to review the book. When I was ready to actually begin reading, I went back to the synopsis and this is what I saw:
"In the Zones, a troubled society walled off from the outside world, nineteen-year-old Dylan lives in the crossfire between rampaging gangs known as hoods, and tyrannical government guards.
Trapped in a brutal reality, he confronts the helplessness of his situation the only way he can—through his art. By day, he takes on the role of protector, caring for his little sister, Lil. By night, he lives a secret life, breaking the curfew and braving the dangerous Zones to paint the perimeter wall with his subversive images. But with the eye of the warden upon him, and the hoods tightening their grip on the Zones, inaction is no longer an option. He must do the one thing no one else has dared to—unite the downtrodden residents and reawaken their hope."
I immediately thought, "Oh no. What have I gotten myself into?" I imagined Footloose with art instead of music and dancing, and a novel instead of a movie with a cute, although a bit nerdy, Kevin Bacon. Or maybe a superhero with special powers of art. Come on, 'by day.... by night...' Doesn't that sound a little super-heroish? Then I felt really bad because I just knew I was going to dislike this book and would probably give it a bad review. However, I brushed those thoughts aside, determined to read the book with an open mind. So I began...
And then I had to continue reminding myself, for two and a half chapters, to keep an open mind. The book is only 156 pages long in my e-reader and after more than two chapters, I was a little concerned because I was having a difficult time getting into it. I was really beginning to worry because I do not have a single artistic gene in my entire body and I should have considered the description more carefully; this book and I were not going to part on friendly terms.
Then at the end of chapter 3... WHAM! There it was- that moment when you are sucked into a book and would rather read than sleep, shower or care for your children. Unfortunately, it was in the middle of the night when that moment arrived. Considering what happens at the end of chapter 3, I started to get a little nervous and kept looking toward my window worrying that someone was out there. Then when I decided I really needed to tear myself from the book and get some sleep, I could not sleep. I kept thinking about what I would do if I had to live in the Zones.
I obviously had turned a corner and was enjoying the book. I pretty much knew around page 100 that I would give Project Hope 4 out of 5 stars. The next day, I even sent my husband away with the kids so I could be alone in a quiet house and finish my book. Project Hope was absolutely not what I was expecting. It was sad and horrific. I was outraged at how callous some of the characters were. It really brought home the sentiment that a crisis brings out the best and worst in people. That is what this book portrays.
I admit that I saw the end coming. I was 90% sure of the ending and of course I was excited when I got there and sure enough, I was right. What I did not see coming was that on page 152, I started crying. That is when I knew I was giving the book 5 stars.
5 out of 5 stars.
- Eden Book 1
on March 31, 2013
When I first started reading the book, it came across as a wilderness survival type story, even with Mia’s special gift. I usually don’t read those types of books, but I really got into Eden. It was a great story and the whole wilderness survival theme lasts for about 97% of the story. I didn’t get bored once.
I understand how some will immediately find the story corny, implausible, convenient, etc. You have a Special Forces operative, scientist, homeopathic nurse, an architect and a kid who happens to be a pro climber on one plane, not to mention Mia and her special gift. How could this group not survive? Seriously, the deck is completely stacked in their favor.
You’d be surprised. Holley gives a perfectly reasonable explanation as to how all these people happened to be on the same flight. In addition, even though they have amazing skills, it was fascinating how there were circumstances when it did not matter in the least.
I thought the writing was excellent and I had no problem getting into all the characters. I could feel their fear, frustration, pain, suffering and so on. Taking into account the ending of the book, which I will not ruin for you, and assuming Holley maintains the level of writing and character development, I expect to be giving the next book five stars. No pressure…