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Tag Archives: Fiction

The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion by Author S.T Campitelli

As one looks around in in the entertainment world for moves, comic books, TV shows, and even much of the literary world there is something unique. You find that many of the stories involving a post-apocalyptic world focus either on North America or Europe. There have been newer tails that bring us to places like Africa and even India. However, there is not much, that I found, that deal with “The Land Down Under” or better known as Australia. This is at least till I was given the opportunity to read the book The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion by Author S.T Campitelli.

The book opens up in a future that Is not too far away from the present day. It starts innocuously with a man driving out to check his property. He comes across a strip of land that has gotten a great tear in it as a meteor landed and plowed a crater into the ground. Unfortunately for this man, and humanity there is some type of cosmic hitchhiker that will bring Australia, and the Earth, to its modern day end. Its effects will not immediately be known but this older man will shadow what is to come. A wild animal bit will not heal as a man give himself shots of antibiotics as he travels home. It is only when a friend stops at his home do we get a sense of what happened, and Humanity is in for just as much as a shock as that friend. A friend who will find out that opening a door can be a big mistake as the other side could have something infected who sees you as “lunch”.

The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion will take a jump in time and lead us to a walled city. A place where survivors from a massive infected outbreak now live by somewhat strict rules, but they are safe. They will take patrols out into neighboring areas searching for the needs to help their community survive. As we learn more and more about those inhabitants we find not just great friends, but family dynamics, and of course greed. The inhabitants will be a mixture of military to civilians with each member having their job to do.

Author S.T. Campitelli does a very good job in not just introducing his characters but giving us great storylines for them. You find yourself starting to sympathize with their situation as well as either hoping for their success, or downfall in some cases. Along with the character development there is futuristic technology utilized in this book that easily could be real today, if not in a few years. This makes the book even that much more enjoyable as you find yourself envisioning the items being used. In all truth some of the items in a home could be things you ask your voice assisted device to do for you within the next few years.

The story will move at a very good pace and you will notice that the chapters are named around the primary character in each.  It is why you will find many are named for the leading character, father, and husband John Bradley. He is an educated man who goes out into the wasteland around to find those things the walled city needs. He is also one who cares for many and gets involved in a major operation that is going to be overtaken within the book.

There are also chapters such as Dustin Callahan, The Headhunter and Alpha Kronenburg that are just hints of the protagonists within the pages of the book. These will be names that readers will come to find have their own agenda’s and those in the city are at times just in their way.

The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion will introduce the reader to what remains of the civilization that was at one time Australia. It will give readers insight into a part of the world that is often left out of the decision during apocolyptial events. It will also give the reader a chance to ponder what would they do to survive such an event. Would they find themselves banned together in the city, trying to survive on their own, or just well that’s a question you must answer yourself. Of course that will all come if you allow your imagination to take you within the events of the book.

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Posted by on June 18, 2018 in Reviews

 

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The Last Movie Star (2017) staring Burt Reynolds

How many actors are you fans of that when you hear they are in an upcoming movie do you stop and make note of that title? Are you able to name them using one hand, maybe two hands at the most? I know I struggle to think of my own personal list, but one who comes to mind is Burt Reynolds.

I bring up Mr. Reynolds for the reason that I have seen his name appearing in several movies as of late. I had not realized that he was still keeping busy and doing a lot of acting as he enters the later years of his life. It was then recently while walking the aisles of my local Family Video store that I saw the title, The Last Movie Star.

I didn’t think twice I grabbed the movie and proceeded to rent and of course view this movie. It costars another older actor, Chevy Chase, and the Modern Family star Ariel Winter. The movie will take the viewer into an old actor who seems to have lost much of his past fame. He will get invited to a Movie Festival in Nashville and that will cause some changes in his life.

The movie does open on a sad note as you find Vic Edwards (Reynolds) at a veterinarian hospital with is ailing dog. The vet is giving Vic bad news about his aging dog and it comes down to Vic having to put his old friend down. He is left with the dog’s collar when he leaves the hospital and takes his drive home.

The movie will later show Vic out shopping at a grocery store taking time to admire an attractive young woman walking buy. He will decide on a frozen dinner for his evening meal and we watch as the aging actor goes through his normal routine. It is when he finally see him having a lunch with a fellow older actor, played by Chevy Chase, which he finally talks about the invitation to a movie Festival. Chase’s character tells him he should go and later on we see Vic packing his bags for the Festival.

The movie will follow Vic as he gets to the Festival and finds out his “assistant” for the weekend is Lily McDougal, Ariel Winter. The young woman is not what one would call typical or even assistant material. She picks Vic up in her “beater” of a car, drives while using her cell phone, and has shorts that are short. She is just the start of what Vic will find awaits him at this Festival he had determined was a top of a line affair. Instead he’s put in a lower level Hotel, taken to a bar for the Festival, and worse finds out he is in coach when it came to his plane travel.

I wanted to include that last part about how Vic sees himself as a top talent and still should see A-lister perks. I mentioned that as I wanted to show that the movie shows how hard it is for Vic to truly understand he has gotten old. It takes Vic to realize who he really is, and where he came from when he talks Lily into a side trip to his home town. It is here that the viewer will begin to relate more with Vic, and better yet what it’s like to get old.

The Last Movie Star could have been written around Burt Reynolds himself as much of it resembles his own life. In truth there have been articles written from interviews with the writer of the movie that it was written with Reynolds in mind. As the movie progresses we are introduced to this old man, grumpy, and headstrong man that still has his site on his glory days. There are even parts of the movie where old Vic is interlaced with young Vic in movie scenes. Old Vic is doing his best to pass on wisdom to his younger self about the dangers of getting old.

What the Last Movie Star does is quite brilliant in the way it was written and performed by its cast. It takes the viewer into this old man’s life and we see how he starts to realize he has gotten older. We get a sense of how he wants to reconnect with his past, and at same time teaching this young woman about life.

The thing the movie shows the viewer the most is a different way to accept what will happen to us all. We are all getting older every day and the movie will show the viewer the good and bad of growing old. It may help the viewer rethink their own ideals on getting old. However, most of all it is a heartwarming tale of a man who will reconnect with his life, and accept where it has brought him thru his life choices.

I should add that The Last Movie Star was written and directed by Adam Rifkin.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2018 in Reviews

 

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Who: A Novel of the Near Future by author Karen A. Wyle.

If one was to take some time and do an internet search for uploading your mind to a computer you’ll be surprised by the multitude of results. There are tech industry stories going back several years that talk about just that fact. There was even an article in which now departed Stephen Hawking stated it would be something that could happen. He did have the “brains” to know at this time we do not have the technology.

You have to wonder had we had the technology would Hawking have taken the chance to have his brain transferred to a computer to continue living. The possibilities of what could happen to a consciousness moved into a digital realm is somewhat endless, but someone has taken that potential and put it into a great read. The book is titled, “Who: A Novel of the Near Future“, by author Karen A. Wyle.

Author Wyle has already written some very thought provoking books in her Twin-Bred novels. She certainly continues that trend in this book. She goes deep into a subject that is currently starting to gain headlines and has implications of all types. The thing is, this book will give the reader a sense of what some of those potential problems could be.

The book will introduce the reader to a couple who are young and naturally in love. They are both musicians that have done some work for the company LiveAfter. LiveAfter is a firm that will take a person’s mind and digitize it so a person can continue to interact with those they care for. As both Thea and Max have done some contract work for the company they are offered a deal to make use of the digitization if something should ever happen.

As the reader continues the story they will find out the worse does happen and Thea dies. Max makes the choice to have Thea’s mind digitized and this is where the story really starts to take off. Max will find that he has his Thea back as she can still play her music and seems to be her normal self. However, as legislation is passed allowing those who have been digitized to do more, like voting Thea seems to change.  Her mindset changes and her personality seems different and Max has to wonder is this really his Thea?

The book will take the reader into the realm of what could happen when someone’s mind is digitized. Is there a chance the company doing that work could change or manipulate the mind, or some may say soul. I do realize it is a stretch to go with the soul, but if someone’s mind is change I say it’s part of their soul. The mind is the thing that drives reason and feelings, we can say it’s our heart but really it’s the mind that makes that final call.

The book will not just focus on the interactions of Max and Thea but you get to read how others are impacted. The extended family, their friends and others involved in their lives. We get questions come to mind on what this technology could potentially do if this technology eventually came to reality. The book really will get readers using their minds as they consider all the options put forward within the pages of the book.

Author Karen A Wyle is an author who will cause the reader to really think. She does a great job in character development as well as explaining many of the potential challenges this type of technology may bring. I will warn readers that at times this book may seem to get mired in topics around law and great explanations on possibilities, and technology. I realize some of us in fast speed world may find some of this boring, but the book is well worth a read. You can surely scan some of the pages but you’ll miss out on a very well developed story.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2018 in Reviews

 

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Strangeways by Robert J Brunner

I have to admit that when I received the request to do an honest review of the book Strangeways by Robert J Brunner, I looked the book up. I found out first that Brunner was a police 911 dispatcher. This was intriguing as it could add some realism to the book. As I further checked into the book I found it dealt with a prison, an FBI agent, death and an ancient god. Alright I would say I was hooked at this point, but that would not be truthful as I after I started reading the book I did get hooked.

Strangeways opens with a prologue that in itself is a bit of an enigma. The book introduces to a period in the early 1900s in which we find a man, Charles Hobart, in a small town staying in a boarding house. The Hobart is first seen as another potential traveling salesman of the period, a Bible salesman. It isn’t till an evening dinner with the residents of the boarding house things finally come out. The reason is in the town, well he wants to buy himself some property.  The property will be used not for a home, but for a prison.

The reader now “time jumps” to more of a current period in time. We find a prison guard out for rounds of a darken prison just at lights out. The guard will stop to talk to an inmate and take another one out of his cell and down to the showers, the inmate stinks. The guard will soon become first in some mysterious deaths that will begin to plague the prison. As the klaxon rang members of a response team come rushing into the shower area where the guard is screaming. Officer Peter Coyle’s incident report will be found not long after the death has transpired and will help setup what is to come.

It’s not long after that we find special agent Tom Griffin of the FBI on his way to the prison as he will be sticking his nose into what is happening at Strangeways Prison.  He was called by an old colleague who is now the prison’s warden. Griffin will not even make it inside the prison before a strange event will meet him.  He gets out of his car to see a large wolf eyeing him down like could be dinner. Things move on from this point and Griffin will keep his open mind. He may be expecting many different possibilities that may have been the cause of the prison guard’s death. The problem is, Griffin will not want to believe what is actually going on. He is a logical man, what is happening around him, regardless of the signs is something he is not prepared for.

Strangeways will take the reader in to the world of the prison, named the same as the book. As you read you will find that the prison is on Native American land. The area has been known for strange phenomenon and in truth may be the reasoning for the name of the prison. However, what transpires within the walls of the prison is far more than any would expect. The big change in this book is that it is not related to Native Americans but instead a Norse God.  This God has become popular within the pages of comic books, and super hero movies. His name is Odin, The All Father, and many will be shocked by the portrayal of the character. I for one was at first, but I then did some research on Odin and will just point out he is the God of not just of wisdom and poetry, but that of WAR and DEATH.

Author Robert J. Brunner puts together a book that will leave many readers struggling to put it down after they start reading the book. His characters are well developed from those of the prisoners within the prison to those on the side of Law and Order. There are characters you will find yourself miss reading and others that will be evident by their actions. The scenes within the book are well painted through his word play and are properly descriptive without going to intense during the violence. I found the book to be well worth my time to read and provide this review.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2018 in Reviews

 

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Kindred Intentions by Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

A book is something that we pick up to read and if we are lucky will light our imagination. If we are even more fortunate it, that same book will get us hooked. The reader will not want to put it down as they are afraid to miss a moment of what is unfolding in the story that is being told by those words on the page. It is not every day that a reader will come across a book like that, and it’s even more rare to have an author continually turn out books with such storylines we cannot help but want to read it cover to cover in one sitting. Author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli really hooked me with her Red Desert set of books, about life on Mars, but has done it again with her book, Kindred Intentions.

Kindred Intentions takes the reader into a police investigation of murders that are happening at the law firm of, Goldberg & Associates. We are quickly introduced to agent Amelia Jennings who has the job of finding out who is committing those murders.  However, things never seem to go as planned and before we know it people are out to get Amelia and she has to find out who is behind this all.

The reader will also find out as Amelia runs she will have one Mike Connor along for the ride. The issue is can she trust Mike and is he who he says, well I’m sure I could say but that is giving things away.

In the previous point I mentioned, “along for the ride”, and that’s what this book is. Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli has so many twists and turns within the pages of the book you may feel highs and lows as if riding a roller coaster.  The book has spots of humor that had me laugh out loud, and get a strange look from those nearby as I read. On the other side there are points that are dark as one must recall they are after a murderer.

The story is well developed, well told and if one tried to create a murder board as seen on TV shows, the intersections and paths would be confusing to follow, at first. This is the great hidden piece of the book the way you think you may have finally figured things out only to turn a page, and realize you were wrong. It can be upsetting for sure but it also makes you dive further into the story as you tell yourself you’ll figure out who it is.

I’ll add that this was one of the complaints about Agatha Christie’s books on how she would hide things from readers that only her detectives picked up on. It did frustrate some during her time, but it’s not the case within the pages of Kindred Intentions. Instead all you need to figure things out are here but life its complex.

Now, I will add that as I read this I would have to tell myself that what I thought could be misspellings are not ones at all. The books setting is in London, England, and thus the British English is utilized in the book and to me just added more realism. I would not expect a British character to be using American terminology, and as a reminder English is not author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli first language. It however does not matter what language you may read this in as the story in itself is what will capture your attention and suck you into the pages, be that they are digital or real. Kindred Intentions is just one well written book with plot lines that are developed masterfully and a story more twisted at times than a pretzel, but well worth the read.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Danny the Dragon Learns to Floss by Ty Mall

Children’s books are one of those areas in a book store, be it online, or in a store, that is full of titles.  It’s difficult to look through so many options, as many have cute titles, celebrity authors and unique art work to draw a potential reader in at the hopes of being purchased.  It is why it is important to understand the child’s interests when it comes to a main character of a book. This brings me to the book by author Ty Mall with some great illustrations by Alex Bjelica titled, Danny the Dragon Learns to Floss.

I am sure some of you are going why a dragon would need to learn how to floss. My response back is explained in the book as it could throw off their fire breathing. They may lose some accuracy if they have a tooth ache and are unable to shoot that flame straight. There are of course many other reasons for good teeth in a dragon but this is a children’s book.

The story is straight forward enough as the child will get a sense on the importance of flossing. I realize some may not think that as something important but really it is. Oral care is something all children should learn from an early age, or they can have a life time of problems.

The books artwork is well done and works well with the story and is something I can see young children enjoying. A parent would get a laugh out of the art work and I’m sure a good conversation with their child. I say this as I’m sure a child may have many questions about a dragon as a parent reads this to a child.  I’ll close by saying that I did get a copy to review and can see how this book would appeal to parents interested in teaching good oral care, and more importantly getting a child interested in reading.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2017 in Reviews

 

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The Scent of Rain by Anne Montgomery

I’m going to start by saying that this book does have some frightening scenes and will delve into many forms of abuse. This can be from sexual, physical and verbal abuse that will shape many of the characters within the pages of the book. The Scent of Rain is also based on things that are actually happening today in parts of Colorado as explained by author Anne Montgomery at the end of the book.

The Scent of Rain, while fiction, is a book that could potentially be very true when it comes to what happens within the confines of a cult. The Fundamentalist Mormon (FLM) group in which the story takes places is one that is lead like so many other cults by one man, a prophet. A man whose word is law and if you do not follow his law you will not be allowed to go to the Celestial Heaven.

The story revolves primarily around the live of sixteen year old, Rose Madsen. She has plans for her life and many do not seem to agree with what her mom’s choices are for her.  Bliss, Rose’s mother, wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps and get married off to a member of the FLM. The problem with teenagers today are that often they do not wish to follow what their parents wish and some even will speak back to their parents. Rose is one of those teenagers and when she speaks up to her mother’s wishes Rose is beaten. Rose will even find herself locked into a small closet that would make the one a well-known wizard was locked in look like a suite.

The treatment of Rose is just one of the horrific stories that come out of this book as sadly there are others. A ruling from the leader of the group, their prophet, requires all children with pets to kill those pets. These type of events will eventually lead to the greatest act of Rose’s teenage life as she runs away.  She will find that she will not be going alone as a young man with just as a troubling life will go with her.

Sadly this potential of a great ending for the runaways will not go as planned. A misjudgment by those who find the two leads to even more trouble for the pair. Although there are others in the area who wish to help the FLM is a very powerful group.  It really is when others start to stand up to the prophet that things begin to show signs of hope for Rose and Adan.

This is a very powerful book and one that is not easy to put down. There is a lot of drama within these pages but at same time you get a sense of hope. The book is again fiction but really if one wishes all they need to do is some research to find out that these type of groups are out there. Groups that have older men running a compound with multiple wives and many children. Often they rule thru not just fear but psychological abuse that make others fear leaving would be like dying.

Author Anne Montgomery surely did her research on this book. You will find that out in notes she provides along with the dedication to Flora Jessop. As stated in the dedication she escaped two separate cults and now tries to rescue other girls, and women, from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She acknowledges the subject matter at the end of the book and how she hopes to shed some light on the issues that are found in groups like the FLM. I know the subject matter in the book can be troublesome if not horrendous at times but this is a work of FICTION. The book may be based on some potential real events but the story telling is top notch as you watch people try and overcome this life. All they wish to do is believe in hope and rise above what they know and become the person they wish to be.

I’m going to start by saying that this book does have some frightening scenes and will delve into many forms of abuse. This can be from sexual, physical and verbal abuse that will shape many of the characters within the pages of the book. The Scent of Rain is also based on things that are actually happening today in parts of Colorado as explained by author Anne Montgomery at the end of the book.

The Scent of Rain, while fiction, is a book that could potentially be very true when it comes to what happens within the confines of a cult. The Fundamentalist Mormon (FLM) group in which the story takes places is one that is lead like so many other cults by one man, a prophet. A man whose word is law and if you do not follow his law you will not be allowed to go to the Celestial Heaven.

The story revolves primarily around the live of sixteen year old, Rose Madsen. She has plans for her life and many do not seem to agree with what her mom’s choices are for her.  Bliss, Rose’s mother, wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps and get married off to a member of the FLM. The problem with teenagers today are that often they do not wish to follow what their parents wish and some even will speak back to their parents. Rose is one of those teenagers and when she speaks up to her mother’s wishes Rose is beaten. Rose will even find herself locked into a small closet that would make the one a well-known wizard was locked in look like a suite.

The treatment of Rose is just one of the horrific stories that come out of this book as sadly there are others. A ruling from the leader of the group, their prophet, requires all children with pets to kill those pets. These type of events will eventually lead to the greatest act of Rose’s teenage life as she runs away.  She will find that she will not be going alone as a young man with just as a troubling life will go with her.

Sadly this potential of a great ending for the runaways will not go as planned. A misjudgment by those who find the two leads to even more trouble for the pair. Although there are others in the area who wish to help the FLM is a very powerful group.  It really is when others start to stand up to the prophet that things begin to show signs of hope for Rose and Adan.

This is a very powerful book and one that is not easy to put down. There is a lot of drama within these pages but at same time you get a sense of hope. The book is again fiction but really if one wishes all they need to do is some research to find out that these type of groups are out there. Groups that have older men running a compound with multiple wives and many children. Often they rule thru not just fear but psychological abuse that make others fear leaving would be like dying.

Author Anne Montgomery surely did her research on this book. You will find that out in notes she provides along with the dedication to Flora Jessop. As stated in the dedication she escaped two separate cults and now tries to rescue other girls, and women, from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She acknowledges the subject matter at the end of the book and how she hopes to shed some light on the issues that are found in groups like the FLM. I know the subject matter in the book can be troublesome if not horrendous at times but this is a work of FICTION. The book may be based on some potential real events but the story telling is top notch as you watch people try and overcome this life. All they wish to do is believe in hope and rise above what they know and become the person they wish to be.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2017 in Reviews

 

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