Showing posts with label fantasy fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fantasy fiction. Show all posts

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Good Omens 2019 TV Miniseries Review

Lovers of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman rejoice! Good Omens finally has been released as a television miniseries for Amazon Prime Video and BBC Two viewers.

Good Omens TV miniseries on Amazon Prime Video - image courtesy of Amazon

When Pratchett and Gaiman's World Fantasy Award-nominated satirical fantasy novel Good Omens was published 29 years ago, it was my first introduction to Neil Gaiman's wonderfully twisted mind and wickedly funny sense of humor. If Neil Gaiman’s name doesn’t ring a bell, you may know him from the big-screen adaptations of some of his novels, such as the 2007 movie Stardust starring Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Mark Strong, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter O’Toole or the 2009 3D stop-motion animated film Coraline featuring the voices of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French.

My husband and I have long been huge fans of Sir Terry Pratchett's work, especially his well-known and much-loved Discworld fantasy novels. We have read or listened avidly to pretty much every Pratchett book or audiobook we could get hold of (many of them multiple times). So when Good Omens was published, we were quick to buy the paperback. It was bizarre and intriguing, but it had such a huge cast of characters, many in fairly minor roles, that I found the story hard to follow and had to listen read it a second time. Both Pratchett and Gaiman are brilliant – and hilarious – but they do require their readers to do their part by giving the their full attention to their extraordinary writing, especially if you don't wan't to miss all the puns and dry humor. Admittedly these authors' works aren't to everyone's taste, but my husband and I love them.

We also love audiobooks, so when Good Omens was released as an audiobook narrated by one of Pratchett's favorite narrators, Stephen Briggs, I downloaded immediately. I enjoyed it immensely - much more than the print edition. Briggs' distinctive voices for the different characters also made it much easier for me to keep them all straight! Sadly, that recording is no longer available for some reason, but there is a very good unabridged audiobook of Good Omens on Audible narrated by Martin Jarvis.

Good Omens – The Miniseries That Almost Wasn't


After listening to Good Omens I thought what I always do after reading or listening to a Terry Pratchett novel: "Wouldn't this make a great movie?" I didn't hold out much hope, however, since none of Pratchett's books have been made into movies and only three of his Discworld novels have been made into television miniseries: The Color of Magic with Sean Astin as the naive and ever optimistic tourist Twoflower, David Jason as the hapless "wizzard" Rincewind and Jeremy Irons as the wily Patrician; Hogfather; and my personal favorite, Going Postal starring Richard Coyle as Moist von Lipvig, Claire Foy as Adora Belle Dearheart and David Suchet as dastardly Reacher Gilt. (Pratchett's characters' names are always a hoot!)

However, there were, indeed, concerted efforts to have Good Omens made into a movie, to be directed by Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame, which continued long after the book’s publication in 1990. Then in 2011, Gaiman’s website announced that a television series adaptation of the book was “in the works” from another member of the Monty Python troupe, Terry Jones. But in 2016, Gaiman announced that he himself was writing the scripts for a six-part TV series at the request of Terry Pratchett in 2015 shortly before his death from Alzheimer’s disease.

When my husband and I heard that Amazon Studios and BBC Studios would be co-producing a miniseries based on Good Omens and written by Gaiman himself, we were really excited, especially when the cast was announced, including David Tennant (our favorite Doctor Who), wonderful Welsh actor Michael Sheen, Mad Men star Jon Hamm, Miranda Richardson and the voice of Frances McDormand!

Often, movie or television adaptations of books are poor imitations of the original. In the case of Good Omens, however, having to streamline the story for video made the TV miniseries even better than the book in many respects. It makes the intricate story line much easier to follow. (Even so, this isn't something you'll want to watch while checking email, or you're likely to miss an important detail or plot point.)

What I Love About Good Omens, the 2019 Television Miniseries


The Fabulous Cast and Terrific Performances

While the entire cast is wonderful, David Tennant and Michael Sheen are simply outstanding. Sheen, an actor I wasn't familiar with before watching Good Omens, is marvelous as the fastidious, antiquarian bookshop-owning angel, Aziraphale, who sometimes chafes at the restrictions of being "good" by the book, especially when it prevents him from doing what he believes is right. He's the perfect foil for Tennant's inspired portrayal of  Crowley, a creepy yet strangely likeable demon who enjoys his powers and revels in the freedom of being "bad" but who also, deep down, shares Aziraphale's secret desire to do what's right for humanity.

Jon Hamm's Archangel Gabriel pulls heavily from his Mad Men character, Don Draper (without Draper's infamous womanizing tendencies, obviously!). Miranda Richardson is perfect as the endearing medium and former madam with the heart of gold, Madame Tracy. And Frances McDormand is perfect as the voice of God, who narrates the miniseries.

The Authors' Perspective on Good vs. Evil

The interplay between the "good" angel Aziraphale and the "evil" demon Crowley is brilliant. Watching these two find common ground over the course of centuries in pursuit of a worthy goal –saving humanity from Armageddon – is both fascinating and believable.

The Brilllant Script and Deft Word Play

Pratchett and Gaiman share a deep love of language and word play (as well as irreverent but affectionate satire), such as placing common phrases in uncommon or ironic settings. For example, Crowley catches himself starting to say, "Thank God!" and Aziraphale catches himself starting to say, "What the hell..."

In Gaiman's script for the miniseries, the conversations between Aziraphale and Crowley are masterpieces where what isn't said is as important as what is said. These conversations serve to draw the arc of growth for these two central characters as these historical enemies first learn to understand each other, then work together and, finally, develop a true and lasting friendship. And, even though they can never overtly state their affection for one another, Tennant's and Sheen's superb performances allow us to watch its growth over the course of the show.

What's Not to Love? 


The Questionable Motives of both Divine and Infernal Characters

Gabriel, Beelzebub and their respective followers in Heaven and Hell are absolutely obsessed with starting Armageddon, just to see which side wins.

The Negative Portrayal of Organized Religion

The authors of Good Omens appear to view organized religion as a human construct that has been used as a tool for both good and evil throughout human history.

The Implication That Neither Good nor Evil is Absolute 

There are no purely "good" guys or purely "bad" guys in this story, an idea that some people may find disturbing.

An Irreverent Religious and Social Satire


Humans often struggle to determine the right thing to do in a particular situation, especially when the only option seems to be choosing the lesser of two (or more) evils. The fundamental message of this extremely funny, firmly tongue-in-cheek story seems to be that most humans – and even an angel and a demon who live among us and have become extremely fond of our kind – are neither purely good nor purely evil, and that human morality is not absolute and may sometimes depend on the circumstances.

In Good Omens, there are no sacred cows (as it were). The authors lovingly and humorously poke fun at everyone and everything, although that humor also points out serious human failings. For example, Pestilence has retired as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and has been replaced by Pollution, a scourge of humanity's own making. The story also puts a humorous, contemporary twist on things. For instance, The Horsemen – actually, two horsemen and two horsewomen – ride motorcycles.

Fair warning: if you find religious and/or social satire offensive, Good Omens is definitely not for you.

The Good Omens television miniseries provides nearly 6 hours' worth of rollicking entertainment with a brilliant script, a fabulously talented cast and extraordinary sets and special effects. It definitely doesn't take itself seriously, and neither should its viewers.

Good Omens Main Characters


Aziraphale – the angel who is Heaven’s representative on Earth; previously the guardian of Eden’s eastern gate, now the owner of an antiquarian bookstore in London. Fastidious in his dress, language, posture and manners. He loves humans even though he's often disappointed in them.

Anthony Crowley – the demon who is Hell’s representative on Earth; previously known as Crawly, the serpent who tempted Eve with the apple. His most prized earthly possession is his beloved, pristine 1926 Bentley. Predictably hedonistic, coarse and jaded, he swaggers, slouches and lounges. He's grudgingly grown fond of the humans he routinely tempts as part of his demonic duties.

Agnes Nutter – a 17th-century witch, history’s only 100% accurate prophet and author of The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. Burned at the stake in 1656 by a mob of Agnes’s neighbors led by Witchfinder Major Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer. Like the witches in Pratchett’s Discworld novels, Agnes wore many hats, including those of midwife, doctor, herbalist, wise woman, psychologist, undertaker, showman and the moral center of her witching “territory”.

Anathema Device – witch, occultist, Ph.D. holder and distant descendant of Agnes Nutter. Also, the only person who can prevent the impending Apocalypse – if she can just figure out what Agnes’s cryptic prophecies mean in time.

Adam Young – a sweet and charismatic but also odd boy with a dog; also, respectively, the Antichrist and his hellhound. Due to a hospital mix-up by Satanic nuns under Crowley's direction, the newborn Adam was switched at birth with the baby of a random couple, Mr. and Mrs. Young, instead of with the baby of the U.S. ambassador to Britain and his wife, the Dowlings.

Newton Pulsifer – a failed, would-be software engineer whose attempts to fix any electronic device are pretty much guaranteed to render it unusable. A descendant of Witchfinder Major Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer, Newt is working as an overqualified wages (payroll) clerk when he is reluctantly recruited into the Witchfinder Army by Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell.

Gabriel – archangel and leader of the forces of Heaven; hell-bent (so to speak) on winning the Ultimate Battle Between Good and Evil against the forces of Hell, led by Beelzebub. Sees humans as a way to keep score in the final battle between.

Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell – the last remaining member of the Witchfinder Army; invents fictitious additional members with names inspired by whatever his eyes light upon, e.g., Sergeant Cabinet. Lives above the rooms of Madame Tracy.

Madame Tracy – professional name of Marjorie Potts, an over-the-hill but warm-hearted madam; also a medium who offers weekly séances for the gullible. She has a soft spot for crusty Sergeant Shadwell, who calls her Whore of Babylon, Painted Lady, Jezebel, etc., yet still grumblingly joins her for afternoon tea and accepts her financial help when he’s a bit short of funds.

Good Omens Plot


Two of Hell's Dukes, Haster and Ligur, deliver the newborn Antichrist to the demon Crowley who, in turn, entrusts him to the Chattering Order of St. Beryl, a Satanic sisterhood that runs a hospital in Lower Tadfield (a fictitious village in South East England). Crowley instructs the nuns to switch the newborn Antichrist with the infant son of U.S. Ambassador Dowling and Mrs. Dowling. But, thanks to a mix-up at the hospital, Satan's spawn is given instead to Mr. and Mrs. Young, a perfectly ordinary Tadfield couple. While Mrs. Young is sleeping after giving birth to her biological child, Sister Mary Loquacious suggests several names to her husband for the newborn he believes to be theirs. But Mr. Young rejects those names (e.g., Damien, Wormwood) in favor of "a decent English name," which is how the Antichrist was christened Adam Young.

The Archangel Gabriel and Beelzebub are both gung-ho for long-awaited Armageddon to finally start so they can see, once and for all, which side will ultimately win,  But their earthly representatives, the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley, respectively, aren't exactly keen on their bellicose and very competitive superiors' plans to destroy the human race.

After spending hundreds of thousands of years living side by side with humans and intervening in their lives, both Aziraphale and Crowley have grown extremely fond of them. And while the angel and demon are enemies in theory, in reality their shared love of humanity, coupled with the humans' very brief lifespans, have made the unlikely pair each others' only real friends. Crowley accepts this reality with equanimity, but Aziraphale is loathe to admit their friendship, even to himself. His inner conflict about collaborating with Crowley while trying to stay true to his "good" principles is portrayed very cleverly. For example, his deeply ingrained good manners compel him to hold the door open for Crowley while saying to him, "Get thee behind me, Satan!" – followed immediately by a polite, "After you."

Crowley persuades Aziraphale that they will need to collaborate if they are to have any chance of thwarting their higher-ups' elaborate plans to trigger Armageddon, The frenemies hatch a plan to provide Adam Young with Divine and Satanic influences in equal measure during his formative years, in the hope that he will grow up as an ordinary boy and not fulfill his dreadful destiny. They help cover for each other so Gabriel, Beelzebub and the rest of their minions won't discover their disobedience as they try to protect humanity.

In fact, it is Aziraphale's and Crowley's plan that is thwarted, Even a decade later, no one has found out about the Satanic sisters' mix-up at the hospital. So the pair have spent the past 10 years focusing their efforts on the U.S. ambassador's son, Warlock Dowling, whom everyone on both sides still believes to be the Antichrist. The hellhound designed by the Infernal Powers to obey and protect the Antichrist is destined to appear to him on his 11th birthday. Crowley and Aziraphale anxiously await the arrival of hound at Warlock's birthday party, but when tit doesn't materialize, they realize that something has gone dreadfully wrong and that they've been trying to influence the wrong boy for the past 10 years!

They rush back to the hospital run by the Chattering Order of St. Beryl to find out what happened to the infant Antichrist 11 years earlier, After Crowley finally gets the truth, he has to figure out which child is the Antichrist and more importantly, where he and Aziraphale can find him before it's too late. Then, as if things weren't bad enough, their bosses find out what they've been up to. Now they're really in Trouble, with a capital T!

Fortunately, Crowley and Aziraphale aren't the only ones trying to prevent Armageddon.

Back in 1655, rural witch Agnes Nutter published The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. To this day it remains the only book whose prophecies were 100% accurate, as well as extremely cryptic. (For example, one of her prophecies mentions "an apple you can't eat," which turns out to refer to Apple Computer.) The following year, knowing she was soon going to be burned at the stake by Witchfinder Major Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer and the mob of locals he has riled up, prophetic Agnes arranged to have the book passed down through various interim caretakers over the next three hundred-plus years  and, eventually, given to far-distant descendant, Anathema Device. Anathema will need to finish decrypting Agnes’s huge volume of prophecies in time to prevent the impending Apocalypse.

Anathema has spent most of her life working her way through Agnes Nutter's prophecies and, as a result, has moved to a cottage in Tadfield. She meets Adam Young, who seems like a sweet boy and the natural leader of his inseparable group of four friends. She shares with him some of her collection of magazines on the occult  and conspiracy theories, which he devours with fascination, while his friends pooh-pooh his assertions that Atlantis and aliens are real.

Meanwhile, Newton Pulsifer, a hapless, would-be software engineer working as a payroll clerk and, more importantly, a distant descendant of Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer, becomes a reluctant recruit into the Witchfinder Army. While doing his witchfinder research, Newt finds what might be clues to witchy doings in Tadfield. Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell sends him off to Tadfield to investigate, where he meets Anathema.

These two descendants of enemies from 300 years earlier are thrown together and must work together if the end of the world is to be prevented. In Good Omens, religion, rather than politics, makes strange bedfellows.

I'll stop here so as not to spoil the fun. As you can see, the plot is pretty complex, but fortunately, the 6-part television miniseries makes everything perfectly clear and the fabulous acting makes watching it a wonderfully fun and funny experience.

By now, you're probably wondering...

  • Will Crowley and Aziraphale escape their dooms at the hands of Beelzebub and Aziraphale?
  • Will Newt destroy Anathema before she can finish decrypting Agnes' final prophecies and prevent Armageddon?
  • Will Atlantis rise from the sea and little green men in UFOs land in England?
  • Will Adam Young fulfill his destiny as the Antichrist?
  • Will you laugh out loud while watching all the insanity unfold?

The only way to find out, of course, is to watch the Good Omens TV miniseries on Amazon Prime Video or on BBC Two, starting with the Episode 1, "In the Beginning."


An Inside Look at the Making of the Good Omens TV Miniseries 

I always enjoy behind-the-scenes special features. Since the bonus behind-the-scenes video of Good Omens is only 2 minutes long, I'd love to get the companion book to the miniseries, The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion by Matt Whyman. Since it's edited by Neil Gaiman, it's sure to be both excellent and accurate. And it's full of photos from the sets. Fun!

The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion by Matt Whyman, edited by Neil Gaiman, image courtesy of Amazon


Watching Good Omens on Amazon Prime Video


As Amazon Prime members, we were able to binge-watch all six episodes of Good Omens on Amazon Video for free, as well as two short bonus videos (a trailer and a 2-minute behind-the-scenes look at the making of Good Omens), as soon as the miniseries was released in the U.S. on May 31, 2019. For our friends across the Pond, the Good Omens miniseries will also will be shown as six weekly broadcasts on BBC Two.

IMPORTANT! In the US,  only Amazon Prime members can watch Good Omens and the TV miniseries adaptations of Terry Pratchett novels. 



We have been Amazon Prime members for years and have found the many benefits of membership well worth the annual fee, especially the enormous libraries of free video, music and Kindle content. This high-quality content includes Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning Amazon Original TV and movie productions, such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Manchester by the Sea, Sneaky Pete, Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle,. Other benefits of Amazon Prime Membership including free 2-day shipping, free 1-day shipping (depending on your ZIP code) and Prime Now local delivery service with free 2-hour delivery (including groceries from Whole Foods Market), among other benefits. If you'd love to try out all those benefits and more without obligation, you can get a free 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime.

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Good Omens TV miniseries on Amazon Prime reviewed by
Margaret Schindel


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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Dawning Voyager Chronicles Book Review

Book One In Fantasy Fiction Series

elaria of the dawning
Maybe Elaria of The Dawning might look like this
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)
I would like to share another book review with you today. The Dawning is book one in the Voyager Chronicles, Prophecy Series. Written by Julie Embleton, a fellow Indie author, this story falls into the Fantasy Fiction genre and in the sub-genre of Sword and Sorcery. 

As a fan of many of the Fantasy Fiction authors, I was thrilled to find the work of Ms. Embleton to begin reading. She has done a marvelous job of creating a unique world for her story to take place in. I admire the people who can build a different world to tell a story in! Julie Embleton did not disappoint.

The world where Elaria lives is divided into nine realms. Well, actually there are ten but no one wants to talk about that tenth one; it's a bad 'un! It is possible to travel between these realms but not in a way that we are accustomed to. One would have to be Adorned in order to travel and he or she would also need to know where a gate was and have the Gatekeeper let them through the portal. The Adorned are people who either have some sort of magical gift or practice magic in some way. These people with the magic running through them would rather the Unadorned not be aware of their abilities. It isn't looked upon favorably. You will have to read the book to find out why.

A little about Elaria in The Dawning

Over a century ago, a prophecy was made. The Marked One was to be born. This child would be a ruler and would have unique and special Adorned gifts. Solomon, a sorcerer, is to teach this child, guide it, protect it and prepare it. He waits one hundred years or so for the signs that the Marked One has arrived.

Solomon is summoned to the realm where Lynan Castle sits to check on the newborn daughter of the King and Queen. Hidden away, the little Princess has the sovereign couple concerned. Entering the nursery, Solomon witnesses the beautiful baby spinning an object in mid-air and giggling as she does. Little Elaria is showing signs of magical power as an infant of only a few months old. Checking her for the mark, Solomon realizes he will be with this special child for a long time.

As Elaria grows and gets close to her 18th birthday, more of her gifts are revealed. Most of the story takes place around the approaching birthday and her becoming a co-ruler with her father, the King. You know me, I am not a fan of spoilers so I won't go much further in my synopsis. Suffice it to say, Elaria is a very interesting character who I think you will enjoy following as the story unfolds.

The Realms Are Different

Before Solomon goes to Lynan Castle he is in a realm that feels like modern day. Elaria lives in a realm that has more of a medieval feel to it. Modern conveniences do not exist in her realm. Travel is by horse and carriage, guards protect with swords, heat comes from a fireplace. You get the picture.

An Awesome Fantasy Read

I highly recommend The Dawning by Julie Embleton to all of you fantasy fiction fans out there! It was a wonderful book with engaging characters and the plot flows well. I am looking forward to reading book two in the series. I think that I heard that book three will be released later this year. Give this Indie Author a chance, I am certain that you will not be disappointed! 




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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

First Magyc Guardians of the Path Book Reviewed

The Fight Against Good and Evil

The Magic of Music image courtesy of Pixabay.com
I would like to introduce you to a fantasy fiction series today. First Magyc is book one in the Guardians of the Path series written by Nicole Dragonbeck. A short summation would be the plot involves the age old battle between good and evil. That would be factual but doesn't come anywhere close to giving you insight as to whether you will enjoy the first book in the series or not. 

Let me start out with explaining a little of my reaction to reading First Magyc. I feel like I have to tell you that not very far into this first book, I almost stopped reading it. This is a very unusual feeling for me to experience when reading any book. It is rare that I give up on a story of any kind. Suffice it to say, I didn't put the book down. There was something in my mind that niggled at me, telling me to continue with the story. I am glad that I did. I guess what I am trying to say is you might feel the same when you begin this book but I encourage you to keep reading. I don't think you will be disappointed. I wasn't. In fact, the story took on a spiritual significance for me.


The story begins with Ria, a twelve year old girl that I immediately related to and I think many people will. She is a troubled child; slightly broken after the loss of her mother. Her father and step-mother fight a lot. Those fights are usually about her which makes them even harder for her to listen to and cope with. Her escape is to lose herself in music. Her Ipod and earbuds drown out the angry words and sounds of the arguments most of the time. On this particular day, the fight is intense enough that she feels she needs to sneak out of the apartment to get further away from the words of battle that are being spewed by her parents.

Sitting in a grungy corner away from the other apartment doors, Ria hears a song in her head that she has never heard before and it is not one that she has on her playlist. As she concentrates on this song, a door appears where a door never was. She has a strong feeling that she should open that door even though her twelve year old mind knows that is not a safe or wise action to take. When the door opens she meets Cedar who doesn't look like anyone she has ever seen before. There are colors around him and the room that he is in that intrigue her. She knows that she should turn around and leave but yet she feels that she needs to stay. Cedar explains to her that he has been trapped in this world between worlds for a long time and that he thinks that she may be able to help him get back to his world; a place that he desperately needs to be. Cedar has to use First Magyc or Blood Magyc in order to return. (This is where I got disturbed enough that I almost quit reading. All I will say is, keep reading the book!)

So, it turns out that Cedar is one of a handful of Guardians who have been given the task of protecting the Path which is the force of life itself. Cedar and other Guardians have been battling Demons who appear from the Void trying to destroy the Path and the humans who follow it for centuries. Life has become chaotic in Cedar's world; the Path is fading to almost non-existence and the Music of Life is vanishing. Of course, Ria does not understand any of this when she arrives but she knows that somehow she wants to help.

Cedar is surprised to find out that Ria has some abilities that he was not aware of when they first met and this gives him hope but also concerns him greatly. A Demon appears to do battle with Cedar and after injuring the Guardian the Demon calls Ria by a name that she doesn't know anything about but Cedar does. Is this girl who opened the door and helped him get back the very one from the ancient prophecy?

OK, so if you have read any of my other reviews you know that I don't like to give away much of a story line. So, I am recommending that if you want to know more about the Guardians, the Demons, and Ria you need to read this book and the ones that follow.

Here is what I love about the book and I did end up loving the book! For me this is a story about our spiritual journey in life which can and really should be a magical journey through life. Isn't our faith, no matter what name it might be called, a path that we walk on? We don't see the path, we feel it. We know when we have made a wrong turn on our journey and need to get back to the warmth and glow of the path we are supposed to be on. Sometimes that means we have to slay some emotional or physical demons to get back to where we are should be. The walk isn't always easy especially if there are no spirits, angels or guardians protecting the direction we are headed.

There is also the connection between walking our journey through life and music. I love that the author more than hints at that connection! Music is spiritual and it doesn't have to be music in a religious setting to touch your soul. Actually, most times it isn't the music you hear or sing while at church that touches your soul. Is it? Certainly there are songs of a religious nature that move me and I am sure you, too. In our lives there are songs that we hear that help us get through a rough time, make us smile, bring us joy, or make our feet move. Music is emotional, it is spiritual, it is magical, life without it would be like being in a void of nothingness.

Bottom line, I love the first book in the series. I think many of you might also enjoy it. Perhaps, the message that the author hoped to convey is very different from what I came away with. Perhaps you will have a different take away, altogether. My overall reaction is that it touched my soul and that doesn't happen often when reading a book of fiction. 



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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Wilderness Series Reviewed

Stories of Fantasy, Time Travel and American Indians

Sitting Bull
Sitting Bull image (public domain)
I have discovered another series to share with you. The group of books are called The Wilderness Series and are written by Pamela Ackerson. Let me just say that I am in awe of her imagination and her combining several genres to make an intriguing (at least for me) set of stories to read. 

You will find that there are several areas of interest that will appeal to a variety of readers. The books are listed in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre and fit the Fantasy section of interest. Added to that is the element of time travel and Ms. Ackerson has created a unique way for that travel to occur! She has added an element of history in the traveling in time, most specifically back to the late 1800s. She has also created an amazing love story as a part of the books. 

I mentioned the time travel and that is what piqued my interest to read the first book in the series. Dr. Karen Anderson dreams of being in the land occupied by the Lakota Sioux. She is certain that she is dreaming and is fascinated by the detail in her dream. She encounters a Lakota warrior named Standing Deer and feels a very strong attraction. After waking up from what she assumed was a dream, she talks to a friend about her dream and how vivid it was. The two women figure out after a couple of these vivid dreams that they are not dreams at all and that she is actually traveling back in time. 

Her travels begin at a time when Sitting Bull was a young man and Crazy Horse isn't much more than a boy. If you know your history, you might figure out that she is traveling back to the time in history that is the beginning of the end for the great Sioux Nation. Some of you reading this, who know me well, will understand why this specific time in history would grab my attention.  For those of you who don't know me, I have a strong connection to the Sioux and specifically the Lakota. For many years I have supported efforts to help the Lakota at the Pine Ridge Reservation. Anyway, that is why I decided to read the first book and have continued to read them. 

I applaud Pamela Ackerson for her research in the events during this time in history. She has done an excellent job of portraying the Sioux as they really are and were. There is no sugar coating the facts and she does a good job of explaining what happened. 

I mentioned a love story a little earlier. This caused a bit of a struggle for me. Although, I love the concept of two souls meant to be together and the intensity of that love; I could do with a little less description of the physical part of that love. It is just racier than I like to read. It isn't too horrible but I did blush a couple of times. So, I am warning you that the love scenes are not subtle. The thing is these stories would survive quite well without the explicit wording. In other words, I personally don't think those scenes need to be in the books. A more understated scene would have worked just as well. That is really my only complaint with the books.

Even with the love scenes that I could do without, I still love this series. The history involved pulls me in far enough that I can overlook the love scenes. The books are well written and the stories are fascinating. If you like a good fantasy book and enjoy the idea of time travel, I think you will like this Wilderness Series, too. 



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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Aboard The Great Iron Horse Series Reviewed

Continuation of a Steampunk Fantasy Series

iron horse engine
Iron Horse Style Engine from Pixabay.com
Aboard The Great Iron Horse is a book series that continues the story line from another series that I introduced to you back in November which began with the book The Tinkerer's Daughter. I so thoroughly enjoyed the story of Breeze the half human and half Tal'mar in the first set of books and was thrilled to find that the story continued in a different series. 

I do not normally like to ruin a story for anyone but in the first set of books Breeze eventually has a daughter that she names River. That is as much as I will spoil for you if you have not read the Tinker series of books. I do advise that for the most enjoyment of Aboard The Great Iron Horse series that you first read the first set of books. You wouldn't have to but, you will understand the continuation of the plot if you do. 

River (Breeze's daughter) is one of the main characters in the Iron Horse series of books. After, an event in Sanctuary that is certain to have life changing results for this fantasy world; River embarks on an adventure in a great steampunk style train. The expedition is led by Socrates who is a machine of sorts. I find Socrates most fascinating and a wonderful addition to the story line and a most imaginative and mysterious creation by the author.

Socrates is considered an automaton which we would define as a robot or an android. Oh my goodness he is so much more than that! I often think of C-3PO in Star Wars except that Socrates was made to look like a gorilla. There is no other machine in this fantasy world that can compare to the ape with the blue fur. He can function very much like a human. He thinks, reasons and it sometimes appears even feels emotion. He knows the history of the world, has been around for centuries and leads the small crew on a most incredible journey. He runs on steam power along with a mysterious energy source called Starfall. Part of the expedition entails finding more of this energy source or Socrates and the other machines will eventually cease to function.

On the journey Socrates, River and the rest of the crew encounter other civilizations that they were not aware even existed. This makes for a most interesting and entertaining reading adventure.

If you enjoyed the first of the steampunk fantasy set of books by Jamie Sedgwick; I think you will also enjoy reading the continuation of the story in Aboard the Great Iron Horse. I have enjoyed it, myself!



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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Tinkerer's Daughter Book Reviewed

Steampunk Inventions and more to be enjoyed

Steampunk drawing from Pixabay.com
I just finished reading the first book in a three book series written by Jamie Sedgwick that I found quite enjoyable to read. The first book is called The Tinkerer's Daughter and introduces us to Breeze the main character of the book. I loved the premise of this book that was labeled as a steampunk fantasy book but it turned out to be so much more than that. 

Breeze is unique in her world. She is what we would term as a mixed race child; the difference being that her father was human and her mother was an Elf (called a Tal'mar in her world). I loved that the author touched on the difficulties that any child encounters when they are the result of a match by two people who are from different races, cultures or religions. It isn't always easy for these children. Often, they are not truly accepted by either side of the family. In the case of Breeze, she is looked at as an abomination by both the humans and the Tal'mar. That really isn't fair to any child because honestly, they had no say in the matter of being born. 

We first meet Breeze as she is being taken to an unknown location by her father. She is only four years old and is confused and instinctively knows that something is not right about this trip. Her father takes her to a valley where an eccentric man lives alone. It turns out to be Tinker's home where he invents all sorts of unusual items including a steam wagon and more. Breeze's father leaves her with Tinker as he departs to report back to the war. The war of over 1,000 years  is between the humans and the Tal'mar. What Breeze doesn't understand is that her father feels she will be safest with Tinker; all she knows is that she feels abandoned. 

As Breeze grows, she and Tinker become as close as father and daughter. She learns so much from the brilliant loner who accepted her into his home. He introduces her to all sorts of interesting theories and concepts that he makes into reality.

I don't want to go too far into the plot of this book because I hate for stories to be ruined by spoilers. What I will tell you is that I loved the character of Breeze and of Tinker. I remember when my girls were small; I wanted to instill in them that they should never feel at a disadvantage because they happened to be born a female. My oldest daughter had a poster in her room for years that was of Smurfette and it said: "Girls can do anything." I tried to never miss an opportunity to remind both girls of this truism...they could do anything that they set their minds to. The author has Breeze grow up with that same promise with a bit of a twist. Not only could she accomplish things that weren't necessarily done by other females but also she could do things that she wasn't supposed to be able to do with her mixed races.

I enjoyed this book enough that I have now begun to read the second book in the series. I applaud the author for coming up with a story that is slightly different and that has a main character that is an intelligent, capable and lovable female. I like that he touches on the ugliness of bigotry and how sometimes someone special comes along to change the racist thoughts of the masses. The ending of the first book was really touching and I love who he insinuates Tinker really is.  



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Friday, September 30, 2016

Reviewing the Book, Hide in Time by Anna Faversham

Review and recommendation of the book, Hide in Time by Anna Faversham.  A riveting book that includes time travel, romance, and a very unique twist for doppelgangers exchanging places in time.
I have just finished reading the book "Hide in Time" by Anna Faversham and I can easily recommend it to anyone.  To be completely honest, I was actually surprised by how much I really liked this book.  I am not a fan of time travel books, mostly because I don't believe time travel is possible.  But, like any really good fiction is apt to do, this book caused me to "suspend reality" and embrace the plot.

Because I don't often read time travel books, the beginning was a little confusing to me, but after the first few pages, I got it!  Once the author smoothly lead me by the hand through a wall that separates the 1800's to the twenty-first century, I was hooked.  I needed to see what would happen to Laura who found herself lost in a world that was 200 years beyond her life.  

Because we can study history, I think it would be easier to go back in time, but imagine what it would be like to be cast into the world 200 years into the future.


The Book, Hide in Time by Anna Faversham 

Synopsis Written by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

 Hide in TimeAfter discovering her fiancé had been unfaithful, Laura boarded a ship to America.  She wanted to get as far away from him as possible.  She wanted a new start.  She meant to be traveling to a new world, but she had no way of knowing she would actually be traveling to a different place in time.  She knew she wouldn't know anyone in America, but she didn't expect to be clueless about fashion, jargon, idioms, and a more informal way of living.  

The shipwreck she survived changed her life forever.  When she washed up on shore, the land was the familiar, but everything else had changed.  It was to her great fortune, that Matt Redfern, the first person to actually speak to her, was always willing to help the helpless.  Since she had no memory of who she was or where she was from, he helped her get medical attention.  When she still could not "find her past", he helped her establish a new life and guided her in starting her own business.  

Five years after Laura was tossed into the future, she had found her footing there.  She was thriving, actually living.  Although she had regrets, she was content.  During the past 5 years, Laura investigated the area of her arrival and discovered the secret of time travel.  She also discovered that she was invisible when she returned to the past and it was clear her future belonged in the future.  Then she met Xandra.  

She saw so much of herself in Xandra.  They had so many things in common, even looks.  She felt she had actually found someone who would be a real friend.  Someone who could understand her unique ways and would like her because of them.  Laura hoped Xandra could be the sister she had never had, or at least believed she had never had.   However, when Xandra found herself on a murderer's hit list, she needed a safe haven and Laura had the answer.  She sent Xandra back in time.

As this point the book is divided in chapters where the reader is following two stories.  Laura in the future and Xandra in the past.  A truly fascinating exchange of lives.  It was a very interesting twist to doppelgangers trading places and I really, really liked it a lot.  So much so, I plan to read it again!  I feel like I may have missed some hidden nuggets in the story.


My Recommendation of the Book, "Hide in Time"


When I think about it carefully, I know there were several reasons why I really liked this book and why I would highly recommend it to anyone.

First, it shows us that we can completely change the course of our own lives when needed and find happiness in a new place.  It might take some time to readjust, but we can survive and adapt to new surroundings and people.

Second, it highlights how people are basically the same today as they were hundreds of years ago.   Evil still abounds and good people still exist to maintain the balance that is our world.

And, last but by no means least, I like the concept about time travel in "Hide in Time".  You can't go back!  Once you have crossed into a different place in time, you can't return and just pick up where you left off.  Yes, Laura returns, but she cannot be seen.  She can whisper to the living and they hear her, but they believe she is what most of us would think of as a "ghost".  

As I said at the beginning of this article, I don't believe in time travel, but if there were such a thing, it would have to be in a way that everyone traveling in time couldn't constantly be changing the future by visiting the past, literally. 


More Books By Anna Faversham

Now that I have discovered the author, Anna Faversham, I will be reading more of her books!
 


Read More Book Reviews On ReviewThisBooks.com



Book Review of "Hide in Time" Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Reviewing The Royal Wizard Of Yurt Book Series

Fun Fantasy Series Of Books

Last week while trolling around for something new to read, I discovered an older series of books The Royal Wizard of Yurt by C. Dale Brittain. The first book in the series of fantasy fiction was published in 1991 and can be found in both paperback and digital formats. Ms. Brittain penned 10 books in total for this light and fun reading journey.


A Bad Spell In Yurt
(First Book In Series)

In the first book, we are taken to a fantasy world that could be in a medieval era except that there are modern types of conveniences like telephones and lighting that would not be available for several centuries. Now, these appliances are not quite like what we know of today or even like the ones that were first invented some 140 years ago. The lighting and the telephones are made by magic by the wizards in this fantasy realm. There are small little kingdoms scattered throughout with the story taking place in a tiny little kingdom of Yurt. The modes of transportation are not as modern as the phones and the lighting. People either travel by horse or walk, unless you are a wizard and then you can fly using a flying spell or by hiring a flying contraption that resembles a dragon.

Daimbert, has been hired as the Royal Wizard of Yurt fresh out of Wizard School. He was not the best student in the class but rather a bit of a goof-off that barely graduated. Daimbert had cut most of his classes and rarely paid attention in the ones that he did attend. Imagine his surprise when he applies for the job of Royal Wizard and finds out that he has been hired!

It doesn't take long after arriving at the castle of the King and Queen of Yurt for Daimbert to figure out that something is not quite right in the kingdom. He senses an evil presence that he can't quite figure out and the people who live there all become suspect in his mind. He pushes that task aside when he finds out that his first assignment is to create a telephone system. What will he do? He didn't pay attention in the few classes where they learned the magic for telephones! Hopefully, he can find a book in the previous wizard's books that will tell him how to do it or in one of the books that he has brought with him.

This was a fun book to read! Daimbert muddles through what little magic he has retained and learns on his own spells that he should have learned at Wizard School along with some he creates himself. He becomes acquainted with the old wizard who retired from the castle and falls in love with the Queen of Yurt the moment he lays eyes on her.

There are amusing twists and turns in this light read that I enjoyed very much. The young wizard grows in his skills as he bungles along trying to figure out who is behind the evil he senses. I don't like to spoil stories so I am not going to reveal much more. You will have to read the first book yourself to find out what is going on in the land of Yurt whose Royal Wizard slept through most of his wizardry classes.



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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Review: My Thoughts on Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

I Meet Artemis Fowl



Although I didn't enjoy meeting Artemis Fowl, a diabolical twelve-year old, and wouldn't recommend him as a role model, I can sympathize with his having too much time on his hands and not enough constructive attention from his parents.  I normally don't read fantasy, but I have to admit Artemis Fowl held my attention. 


I was immediately lured into the realm of the fairy world by the intriguing plot of this book. It engaged me and kept me wondering what would happen next. I was also intrigued with the characters -- both human and fairy. Each character has a definite personality that humans can relate to. Each character seems to grapple with moral issues, unless it is an amoral character (dwarf, troll). Even in the world of the fairies we see politics at work and those who are politically motivated are willing to destroy others in their attempt to climb to the top.



Artemis Captures Holly



I was able to identify easily with Holly Short, the elf/fairy/leprechaun and protagonist in this book. She felt a bit discriminated against as the first female officer in LEP's (Lower Elements Police) Recon unit.  She was a bit behind in attending to her Ritual.  That meant her magic was not fully there and that she was unshielded and could be seen by humans. Her commander, Root, discovered this while she was tracking a troll and was seen. Root then sent her to perform the Ritual, and that landed her in Ireland.

Unfortunately, Artemis captured her before she could finish the Ritual which would restore her magic. She neded to pluck an acorn where "full moon, ancient oak and twisted water meet. And bury it far from where it was found."  She had the acorn, but had not had the chance to bury it yet. So she was still unshielded and without her magic when Artemis kidnapped her and held her prisoner in the Fowl estate.



The Plot


The plot is complicated and I won't reveal all of it. It is the moral issues in the book that fascinate me. Fowl is a child prodigy who had managed to steal and copy the Golden Book containing the rules the fairies had to follow.  He had found a way to translate the fairy language in which it was written. He did this so he can get his hands on the gold he believes the fairies hoard.  Holly has to abide by the fairy rules, and Fowl uses his knowledge of them to keep her imprisoned. Meanwhile, a fairy Retrieval team has been sent to rescue her.

Besides Fowl himself, Holly is guarded by Butler, Fowl's mammoth body guard, and Butler's younger sister, Juliet, who is not too bright. Holly has a certain amount of sympathy for Juliet, and that sympathy almost gets her killed. Fowl has demanded a ransom of a ton of gold for Holly's release. Holly cannot leave a human house without human permission (according to the rules). Holly managed to pound through the floor of her cell to bury her acorn and obtain her magic and shielding and take advantage of Juliet's laziness and addiction to wrestling programs on TV to distract her  and escape the cell. 

Holly and Fowl know that the house is in a  field where time has been stopped for six hours to buy the fairies a longer night, since they can't handle daylight above ground. At the end of the time field, a "blue rinse" will destroy every living thing in the house --including Holly if she's still there. The idea is to get Holly out, destroy the others, and then go back after the gold, since only living things are destroyed.


A Dwarf and a Troll Precipitate a Crisis


Book Review: My Thoughts on Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Troll Courtesy of Pixabay, Public Domain, Modified on PicMonkey


Meanwhile, Mulch, a reprobate dwarf, has been let out of prison to enter the house. He has approached and found the secret safe where the a copy of the golden fairy rule book is hidden. Butler has been sent to the safe room, and is subdued by Mulch, who then realizes an opportunity to escape from everyone, including the fairies who would like to imprison him again. He manages to make the fairies think he is dead.  With Mulch's disappearance, the fairy command makes the rash decision to send in another lapsed creature -- a troll -- to get rid of the humans.

Holly, unaware of this, decides she will cause a lot of destruction in the house until Fowl begs her to leave. Meanwhile, Butler carries Juliet to what he deems as a safe place and hastens to meet the intruder he hears -- the troll.  He tries to shoot it, but his shots have little effect. Instead the troll almost or completely kills him, and then smells and starts toward Juliet. Holly arrives at the scene and sees Julie's danger and tries to save her, knowing that she'll be in trouble for it. She hits the troll with light, but he still topples her and she is hit by a tapestry falling on her. When she falls, her arm lands on the body of Butler, and he regains consciousness, aware that he is alive and fairy magic is healing him. Holly is also recovering and is able to see Butler defeat the troll before he can kill Juliet.

Artemis is still determined to hold Holy for the ransom, in spite of the fact that she has saved both him and Butler. Butler was a man of honor and did not like this. Holly knows they will all be blasted in a few minutes when the time field can no longer hold off daylight. The gold is on the way, but time is short. Holly confronts Fowl, asking him if he's told Bulter and Juliet about the destruction that's about to come upon them.  Although she's not supposed to have empathy for humans, she does for Juliet. Fowl says he knows and that he also knows how to escape the time field -- a feat that Holly can't believe is possible. Butler affirms his faith in Fowl's abilities, even with Juliet at risk. Then the gold arrived!




"A life is a life."



I won't reveal the ending, but it did involve more dialog between Holly and Fowl. We are left with the impression that  Artemis is not quite so sinister at the end as at the beginning. Near the end, Holly tries to prevent her people from detonating the bio-bomb that will kill the humans, intervening for the innocent Juliet, insisting that "A life is a life."

I will leave it there. The ending is surprising. Upper graders who need a lot of action to motivate them to read will probably be willing to finish reading this because of the action and humor. I found the extreme environmental undertones in the book a bit of a distraction. The fairy folk have no good words for the human race, which in their opinion destroys everything it touches.

Book Review: My Thoughts on Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Image of Fairy Courtesy of Pixabay
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Recommendation and Purchase Information


Artemis Fowl should satisfy thoughtful people over the age of ten who want lots of action and don't mind thinking through moral issues as they follow that action. Less thoughtful young people will enjoy it for the action alone. Artemis Fowl books are also available as  graphic novels or you can get a set containing three to eight of the text versions of the books. You choose.   Any of these would make a great gift for a young science fiction or fantasy reader. 



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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Reviewing The Dark Towers Series by Stephen King

A Review Of Stephen King's Dark Tower Series


Having just spent the last 4 1/2 months (or so) reading the most incredible series of books by the author Stephen King, I can't seem to stop thinking about the story that spans over 8 books. So, I thought that avid readers like myself might enjoy a review of the books as a recommendation for a reading adventure that will most assuredly be worth the investment of time.

Back in April, I told about my first encounter with Stephen King in my Review of 11/22/63. During our Christmas dinner last year, I was talking to my daughter's boyfriend about him reading that book and made the comment that I wished that Mr. King wrote more books that were not in the horror genre because I really enjoyed his writing style. Daved asked me if I had ever read The Dark Tower series by King and I admitted that I had not. He said that he thought that I would really enjoy it. That is where my reading journey began...with that conversation at the dinner table.

First A Little History Of The Series:


The Gunslinger 1st edition cover
I think that I should explain that this is not a new series. In fact, it really didn't start out to be a series at all. King had started working on this story when he was 19 years old long before his first book was ever published. It sat tucked away for several years (8 years, I think) before he submitted parts of it to the magazine The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Five short stories were published in the magazine from 1978 through 1981. In 1982, it was published by Donald M. Grant Publishers Inc as a limited edition book and the first novel of the series was born: The Gunslinger.

King had already made a name for himself in the horror genre by this time with 8 books to his credit. It began with Carrie in 1974 and by the time The Gunslinger was published the first time, he had finished Cujo. I have to wonder if the publishers were leery of putting a fantasy book out there even though King was already pretty popular with the horror books. In my opinion, someone from the Donald M Grant team knew a great book when he read it and was willing to take the chance. Along with millions of others in the world, I'm so glad they did!
That first edition is no longer in print, although I'm sure that if someone really wanted a copy they could find a seller of old books to try to obtain a copy.

My review of the series:

The books that I read over the course of almost 5 months are the revised ones along with the newer ones that were written after the revisions of the first 3 books. Technically, there are 7 books in the Dark Tower series, however, King wrote an 8th book that he recommends reading between book 4 and book 5. One does not have to read that 8th book but I can tell you that you will enjoy it and be a little more enlightened to the overall story.


So, I naturally started with The Gunslinger: (The Dark Tower #1). I do recommend that you start with book one because the story builds from the previous books.

The series follows the main protagonist, Roland Deschain and his long journey to the Dark Tower. Roland hails from the Barony of Gilead that is no longer. In his where and when he was a gunslinger and when our story begins, he is the last of his kind. Before the world had moved on, Roland was taught the ways of the gunslingers as many boys were. These men might have been called knights in the lore and stories of others but in Roland's world they didn't wear armor or fight with swords. They seemed to look more like the men of the American old west and did their good deeds with guns. Roland of Gilead came from a long line of gunslingers and can trace his lineage all the way back to the first gunslinger Arthur of Eld (King Arthur?).

Just as knights were known to protect people from the evils of the world, the gunslingers of Roland's time did the same. They were revered by the common folk. As we journey through the books we come to realize that no matter what time or world Roland enters into, that reverence remains. All recognize him as a gunslinger and ask for his assistance. You see, as he follows his quest to the Dark Tower there are doors that enter different times and different worlds.

Roland encounters both good and evil in his journey with strange creatures, machines of the ancient ones and humans from different eras of history. He does form a group to join him in his journey: Jake, Eddie, and Susannah all of which come from different modern times and have their own special insights and talents. There is also a mutant type animal that becomes a member of the group (ka-tet) after a while and you can't help but love that little creature!

I don't want to give out any spoilers to the books. I hate when people do that! I just want to share with you that this series is one of, if not the best, series of books that I have ever read. Stephen King has a way with words that make you feel like you are right there in the story as it unfolds. I've read some pretty good authors over the decades that I have been reading and then I have read some remarkable ones. The remarkable number but just a few, Stephen King is one of those for me.

I can tell you that if you enjoy fantasy fiction, time travel, imaginary worlds and adventure; this series of books will delight you! There are some parts of the books that get a little gorey from the battles and the habits of some of the creatures but nothing that will give you nightmares. You just kind of think..."Ewwww!" and then move on in the story.

Books In The Series:

  • The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger
  • The Dark Tower 2: The Drawing of the Three
  • The Dark Tower 3: The Waste Lands
  • The Dark Tower 4: Wizard and Glass
  • The Dark Tower 4.5: The Wind Through The Keyhole (can be omitted but I recommend that you don't)
  • The Dark Tower 5: Wolves of the Calla
  • The Dark Tower 6: Song of Susannah
  • The Dark Tower 7: The Dark Tower
Each book in the series can be downloaded to your digital reader or purchased in paperback versions. 

If you enjoy reading a series of books, like I do then I am confident that you will love this series. The only drawback is that I became so enamored with the characters and their journey that I hated for the books to end. There are surprises in the last few books that make it even more enjoyable and the ending was not what I expected but actually better than I could have imagined. I'm going to let a year or two pass and then I will probably go back and re-read this series again. Yep, it was that good! I can't say that over the 5 1/2 decades that I have been reading there have been many books that I wanted to read again...the Dark Tower series is a set that I could read a second time.



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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review Of 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Reviewing An Historical Fantasy Book

You might think that it is a little on the odd side to do a book review of a book that was published almost 4 years ago, but hang in there with me because it might make some sense as to why I chose this book by Stephen King to tell you about today. It was the very first book by Stephen King that I have ever read and even though it was almost four years ago, the story has stayed with me.

Not All Books By Stephen King Are In The Horror Genre

I know how very popular the author Stephen King is with people all over the world, I now know why after having read one of his books that would fall into the historical fantasy genre instead of the horror genre that he is so well known for. Honestly, I had avoided reading any of his work because I am not a big fan of scary books. So, when I saw that he was releasing this novel in November of 2011, I decided that I would really be interested in it. After all, I remember quite vividly that day in history when our beloved President was shot in Dallas, Texas.

King Had Me On The First Page

As soon as the book was available to the public, I downloaded it to my Nook. Before I was finished with the first page, I was captivated by the very way Stephen King puts words together to tell a story. I remarked to my husband that just in the first page, I was impressed with King as a storyteller. If you have not read anything by him, you should! He is that freaking awesome! I'll probably never be brave enough to read on of his actual horror stories because he will scare the bee-geezus out of me!

What is the book about?

One might think that it would be an account of the assassination of JFK and you would be partially correct. It is so much more than that! Stephen King does chronicle the weeks of the events leading up to that fateful day in our history but not in a way that you might presume. He begins the story with a High School English teacher who supplements his income teaching GED classes for adults. King then takes us on a journey of time travel like you wouldn't fathom in your wildest dreams. All the while, adding pieces of historical facts and assumptions that pull everything together. I'm not going to go much further than that because you can read a synopsis of the book just about anywhere. 

Instead, I'm going to tell you just how much I enjoyed reading it, all 880 pages of it! Stephen King has a penchant for writing tomes (lots of pages) but he is so good at his craft that you don't mind that the books are so long because of the way he tells his story with such detail. I found that I couldn't put the book down and then was sad when I read the last page.

Granted, I love to read fantasy books and I've always enjoyed historical fiction but 11/22/63 is one of the very best books that I have ever read in my almost 60 years of reading books.

The wonderful thing about waiting until a few years after a book has been published is that it is now available in so many different formats. It can be downloaded on your e-reader of choice, it can be purchased as a hardcover or paperback and more times than not, it is much cheaper now than when it was hot off of the press.

If you have never read Mr. King for the same reasons that I had avoided him, I do believe that you will really enjoy 11/22/63. Just like the old saying goes, "Don't judge a book by it's cover" well, sometimes we shouldn't judge an author by his most famous genre. If I had not taken a chance on this book, I would have never known what a tremendous storyteller Stephen King is. I, also, am thrilled to find out that there are other books of his that I can read that are not tales of horror. I plan to tell you about those in the future. 



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