I had a bit of difficulty in deciding how to rate this book. I spent nearly 20 years in law enforcement, and families such as Tusa depicts here are the rule rather than the exception in lower socio-economic areas. Consequently, this seemed perhaps less unfamiliar and shocking than it might to the average literature fan. 3-stars on my level.
On the other hand, I suspect this work might be an eye-opener to some, and a conflict between disgust and compassion. The text is well written, there are some interesting metaphorical descriptions, and the story holds together well. 4-stars there.
So I'll call it 3½-stars overall, giving Tusa the benefit of the doubt by rounding upwards. It is a worthwhile book and a good read.
This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
This is essentially the author's research to learn the history of her own mother who left Jamaica, lived in England and died with a sense of personal shame. It is a bit slow getting started but ends as with a poignant sense of dismay, sadness and pride. It is not a novel in any sense of the word, but an interesting history from the pages of ethnic humanity and a daughter's quest to reveal her mother's secrets.
I have a hard time rating the two books I've read by Quershi. He has some good ideas and unique scenarios but there are two things that keep this book from a higher rating. The protagonist, a semi-human, is well developed in terms of his growing empathy, but other characters lack a bit of development. The other factor that will come with time is a lack of total familiarity with English. Either the narrative is a translation, or the author needs to become more comfortable with idiomatic expressions and more complex sentence structure. Sentences are short and simple, and there is an occasional odd usage or misspelling. I don't like to dwell on the mechanics because the main idea of the short novel is quite interesting. I'd give it one star on writing and three stars on ideas. I hope Qureshi continues to develop as a writer.
This was received in exchange for an honest review.
I'm still thinking about this one, which I guess is good. Each chapter was a vignette of a certain incident from the narrator's (author?) adolescent history and a connection with his acquaintances that led to a conclusion, often an epiphany. It was a bit like eavesdropping on a junior high school class reunion between two old classmates comparing notes on things they remember. I found it entertaining. The descriptive writing was simple and adequate. It might function well as a YA novel, absent a few adult words.
A free eBook sent by the author in exchange for a review.
This is an enjoyable novel that mixes the allure of pirates with the ethics of the main protagonist, a monk, and that borrows a bit of sci-fi to sweeten the pot and add some interest and open up some doors that wouldn't normally be available in times of the wood galleons. I would probably rate this as a 3-star for adults and 4-star as a YA novel. There are no adult themes and no abusive language. There are some twists, some tension and a good basic storyline, and certainly a good read for anyone.
A mystery, crime novel set in a fictitious city, The City is a short, fairly routine work with a few red herrings that ends somewhat predictably. The writing style is in short sentences and suggests that English might not be the native language of the author. Overall, this style suits action scenes, but is a bit too obvious at the beginning of this mystery when things are being set up. This becomes less apparent as the mystery moves along and the ending is a page-turner.
The author combines a knowledge of Egyptian archaeology with a bit of paranormal contact to create an Indiana Jones type action novel consisting of a mythical hidden pyramid that is temporarily discovered beneath the sand and then reburied and forgotten. Turner considers in the adventure the haunting question of whether ancient relics should be left as intended by their builders, or exhumed and displayed in public museums for public observation and study. The book is well written and sprinkled with a few 'look-up' words, and the storyline moves along at a frantic pace. A good adventure novel.
The book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
There are many good things to say about "Scriber," not the least of which is that it's a well written fantasy story that holds your attention throughout. There are thinly-veiled metaphors that parallel Biblical history but the story is not a sermon as such. History is the theme and a quest to retrieve it leads to the question of a zombie-like resurrection of the dead to prevent knowledge of the past. I've given it four stars only because it doesn't really break any new ground, but as a fantasy novel, it is perhaps worth all five. It is a must read for fantasy lovers.
This book was received from the author through Smashwords in exchange for an honest review.
I would characterize B-Sides and Broken Hearts as primarily a niche novel. Appropriately titled, it weaves rock bands, albums and songs into a background and support network of the main protagonist. Lisa, who is a groupie and follower now entering middle-age. As a disclaimer, I spent my early adult years into jazz and classical, and many of the names, albums and tunes named in the book were unfamiliar to me. I suspect that familiarity would add another level of interest to readers from that background. The writing is well done, with liberal sprinklings of profanity that help convey the reality of the character interactions. There is not much of a storyline, but the reader is carried along by the fanatical enthusiasm of Lisa which makes the book hard to put down. While not great literature, this would be a must-read for anyone associated with or interested in, or just remembers the punk rock scene of the 1980's.
I received this as an eBook in exchange for an honest review.
I found this to be an enjoyable book. The protagonist is in turn naive, arrogant, scheming, criminal, lovable, innocent and guilty. There are enough twists to be interesting and the story line is a good one despite the fact that the reader knows what's going on most of the time. Barnes has done a fine job with this one.
This was received as an eBook in exchange for an honest review.
First of a scheduled trilogy, "Lucifer's Odyssey" is aptly named. The author conjures an imaginary history of Lucifer's rise to prominence among other demons and god-like characters. I found the idea very good using the idea of primal patterns based on the Forms of Plato's Socrates dialogs, but the core thread was held in check by wildly variable descriptions of action that borrowed heavily on an irrational mix of human-like vulnerabilities and supernatural powers attributed to the characters. The story is in no way irreligious unless the reader is bothered by an alternate suggestion as to Lucifer's ascendency to power, which would seem to be the basis of Jameson's trilogy. In short, a good book, and perhaps a better rating for fantasy fans than I've given it.
This book was received as an eBook in exchange for an honest review.
Although it didn't break new ground, this was a good book and an easy, enjoyable read. The author does a good job of shifting suspects and throwing 'red herrings' about as so many good mystery writers do. The writing is straightforward. There is an added touch of romance thrown in and an attempt to parallel the protagonist's loss of a sister to the murder in question, reexamined after twenty five years. As with so many crime situations, the final confession seems to come too easily once the truth is uncovered. I liked the novel and I hope Juba pushes the envelope a bit more on future works for adults.
This novel was received in eBook format from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Although I gave this 4-stars, it's perhaps better than that as a Young Adult novel. The short novel reads as a diary of a young girl who sets out with her father on a nearly endless journey into Minnesota with an ox cart and a flatulent ox. Enroute she deals with fear, discrimination, love and hardship. The story is straightforward and easy reading toward the end while keeping the reader under tension. This is a great read for young adults.
This novel was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.
This is an interesting short novel based on two historical events - the loss of the submarine Thresher, and the assassination of President Kennedy. Author Valentinetti's protagonist suffers from a form of PTSD and fights his own demons as a former Navy seaman. The book is well written and retains the reader's interest. It's limited scope explains the length and several questions are left unanswered as food for thought.
This novelette was received in eBook format in exchange for an honest review.
Though the title is a bit obscure relative to the topic, When Horses Had Wings" is a well written book which follows an old, familiar theme of spousal abuse, poverty, hopelessness, and finally finding a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. There are places where the protagonist misses direction, but she is easy for the reader to relate to. Sprinkled with a bit of adult language, sarcasm and humor, the text is well written and maintains the reader's interest throughout and earns its four stars.
This book was received in eBook format from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.