Return to Mercya by Mark Ruckledge is a stylish, entertaining story for fans of the traditional fantasy genre. The multi-layered world fashioned by thReturn to Mercya by Mark Ruckledge is a stylish, entertaining story for fans of the traditional fantasy genre. The multi-layered world fashioned by the author has an absorbing quality and I found this short ebook a mostly satisfying read.
The author does a superb job in envisioning his world for the reader, and creating a compelling lead character whose narration carries the story. There is an emotional undercurrent that provides the story some depth, and I liked the world-weary feel the first person point-of-view gives to the book. Also, the plot is reasonably well written with some appealing scenes and moments of tense action.
However, the story did leave me somewhat confused at times regarding the events, places and characters, and feeling a bit like I had started reading in the middle of the story. I did decipher the in and outs eventually, but a clearer picture of the politics and happenings previous to the story would have helped with the plot structure and the flow of the narrative. I sense it may have benefitted from more back story and length, although it is the first part in a series so there is more to come.
Overall though, Return to Mercya is an enjoyable and intriguing fantasy book and I certainly recommend it. ...more
A captivating short book, with a witty satirical edge that was a delight to read. It’s a charming tale and a quick page-turner that leaves the readerA captivating short book, with a witty satirical edge that was a delight to read. It’s a charming tale and a quick page-turner that leaves the reader both smiling and pondering the underlying themes. The author has a fabulous knack of combining acerbic lampooning with an entertaining yarn. ...more
The Art of War: a Novel by Angela Panayotopulos is an extraordinarily compelling novel, written with an almost surreal style. It is a panoramic mosaicThe Art of War: a Novel by Angela Panayotopulos is an extraordinarily compelling novel, written with an almost surreal style. It is a panoramic mosaic of vignettes erupting in shades of love, war and family
The novel is set on the small Greek island of Mythaki, over a period of years before and during WWII. We see events unfold mostly through the eyes of a brother and sister, Kalli and Gabe, first their idyllic simple island life and then the bitter and tragic transformations wrought by the war.
The author paints her canvas of words vividly, her backdrop of war palpable and stark. But it is her characters, the atmosphere and the small details that breathe a subtle and pulsating life into the book. It is a poignant, warm, amusing and sometimes brutal portrait of a piece of history frozen in time. I also like the unusual feel of the book, that the structure and ambience gives a slightly unreal touch to the story. I think it adds to both the portrayal of Greek island culture and the hollow reality of a warzone. By the end of the book I felt as if I knew both the island of Mythaki and its people personally.
I did notice that the author left a few characters dangling in oblivion, but in a way it also reflected the unpredictability of warfare, so I didn’t find it distracted excessively from the storyline. Overall I enjoyed this book immensely and highly recommend it. ...more
Parallels: The Black-Eyed Susan by JA Clement is a quick and satisfying taste of her world of On Dark Shores. It is a great standalone story, but alsoParallels: The Black-Eyed Susan by JA Clement is a quick and satisfying taste of her world of On Dark Shores. It is a great standalone story, but also gives a bit more depth to some of the events in On Dark Shores 1: The Lady. For those who have read her ongoing book series, this story has familiar characters, some new ones and that same rich setting and prose that makes her work such a treat (plus it serves to feed reader’s appetites while we wait patiently for the next book). For those who are new to her writing, this tale makes a lovely introduction. Either way it is a story worth reading. ...more
Joe is Online by Chris Wimpress is a clever and adroit book, at times cynical and disturbing (by design), but always intriguing and absorbing. The novJoe is Online by Chris Wimpress is a clever and adroit book, at times cynical and disturbing (by design), but always intriguing and absorbing. The novel is a cyber-thriller, an unsettling dissection of today’s society and technology.
The book is written as a series of online emails, chats and personal electronic documents from the point of view of several people, all of whom eventually tie together in a terrorist/conspiracy scenario. It is an attention-grabbing book that utilizes today’s reliance on technology as its backdrop.
I loved how this novel plays out, slowly and in pieces, through these bits of electronic correspondence. It is an intriguing way to build the narrative and gives the reader both an intimate and limited point of view into the characters. It also gives the novel a nice backbone of tension and suspense as the shadowy manipulations of one of the characters unfolds.
The contemporary, everyday tone of the book does turn with the revelations of the plotline, taking on a more sinister aspect, and a post-apocalyptic quality which splits the flow of the book. I found this slightly jarring, but it was an effective method of conveying the sudden societal shift from events depicted. Also, for a short time I was wondering where one of the subplots was going, but the author manages to tie all the disparate threads together into an unexpected ending. The book’s denouement is unusual and I found it very interpretive. I enjoyed the speculative finish, but it might not be to all tastes.
I recommended Joe is Online as a great book and a fascinating techno-thriller. ...more
A Black Girl’s Poetry for the World by Kimberly LaRocca is a thoroughly enjoyable book. The poetry in the book is emotive and expressive, delving intoA Black Girl’s Poetry for the World by Kimberly LaRocca is a thoroughly enjoyable book. The poetry in the book is emotive and expressive, delving into tangled subjects, and the author has separated her verse into two themed sections, Love and Life.
The poems in the first half, Love, are a diverse, frank and raw examination of affection, sex, commitment, and love gone sour and they run a gamut of emotional depth. The author doesn’t shy away from a candid message in her poetry, while still delivering visceral, authentic beauty in verse.
The second part, Life, is a mix of some lovely faith based poetry, shining insight on the power and shape of belief, with affecting musings on emotional pain, tragic circumstance, inner strength, the complexity of relationships and the meaning in life.
The book is full of intriguing poems and some of my favourites are Thanks to You, Terminal Love and The Long Road Home, all rich in depth and word craft. A Black Girl’s Poetry for the World is a wonderful volume of poetry both communal and personal, an intimate glimpse into a poet’s soul. ...more
In My Mind’s Eye by Justin Marciano is an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek memoir that is amusing, emotional, while at the same time might make you flinchIn My Mind’s Eye by Justin Marciano is an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek memoir that is amusing, emotional, while at the same time might make you flinch and wonder at the folly of people.
The book is a collection of anecdotes culled from the author’s rather disordered childhood, reminisces of his family and his boyhood/teenage tomfoolery. It is a wonderful hodgepodge of dysfunctional family dynamic and dodgy shenanigans that somehow comes across as congenial and affectionate, despite the eyebrow-raising antics depicted.
The author’s style is informal, irreverent at times and very engaging. The book bounces through random and pivotal events in his life, using comparison stories and flashbacks to interrupt the narrative flow, but still manages to weave it all together into an entertaining delight. The narrative does get a bit maze-like at times, lacking a little in the where and when department of the events described, but if you go with the flow it’s a great read.