Posted in Audiobooks, Book Club Reads, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore

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*No Major Spoilers*

New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history–and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?

The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society–the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal–private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it?

“Poor people all think they deserve to be rich,” he continued. “Rich people live every day with the uneasy knowledge that we do not.”
Graham Moore, The Last Days of Night

This historical fiction novel was interesting to me because I’ve always had a fascination with the early inventors. The remarkable scientific leaps are amazing even for the times. Without these such inventors, we wouldn’t have things like the Internet, our smartphones and computers.

The mythos that surrounds Nichola Tesla is fascinating. How he was so far advanced for his time, and whether the government was conspiring to hide his inventions or ideas. Tesla is featured prominently in this novel, and I enjoyed how not only foreign in a fact that he is from another country, but foreign in how his intelligence far outpaces everyone else.

Paul’s adventure into this strange new world full of scientific wonders was awe-inspiring. How Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb and so many other inventions from the scientific community. I can understand Paul’s struggle to comprehend new technologies.

I would highly recommend this novel for lovers of historical fiction, early inventors, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and early lawyering.

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Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW: Holmes on the Range (Holmes on the Range #1) by Steve Hockensmith

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*No Major Spoilers*

1893 is a tough year in Montana, and any job is a good job. When brothers Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer sign on as ranch hands at a secretive ranch, they’re not expecting much more than hard work, bad pay, and a few free moments to enjoy their favorite pastime: reading stories about Sherlock Holmes.

When another hand turns up dead, Old Red sees the perfect opportunity to employ his Holmes-inspired “deducifyin'” skills and sets out to solve the case. Big Red, like it or not (and mostly he does not), is along for the wild ride in this clever, compelling, and completely one-of-a-kind mystery.

“You can follow a trail without even knowing you’re on it. You start out just ambling, maybe get to thinking you’re lost–but you’re headed somewhere all the same. You just don’t know it until you get there.” – Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith

As much as you hear about how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective Sherlock Holmes affected pop culture, you really don’t see it much outside of the United Kingdom. I am thrilled to see a western twist on the Sherlockian mystery subgenre. It makes the western genre unique and intriguing, not knowing who’s behind the murder until the unveiling at the end of the novel.

The Amlingmeyer brothers are just trying to survive in the late 1800’s America. When they stumble unto a murder mystery too difficult to ignore, they are in for an adventure. Lives and reputations are at stake as Old Red starts to meddle in places where he doesn’t belong.

The unlikeliness of a poor ranch hand solving an intricate mystery made the Amlingmeyer brothers’ struggle to solve the mystery all the more difficult. Old Red was more of an illiterate Sherlock Holmes and Big Red more of a brother trusting his kin. Big Red and Old Red is the only family they have left, so there’s no other choice but to stick together when things get dicey.

I would highly recommend this novel for lovers of westerns, mysteries, and Sherlockian style storytelling. This novel will leave you guessing until the big reveal, and even then you may be surprised to learn the answer to the mysteries.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Infamous by Ace Atkins

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*No Major Spoilers*

In July 1933, the gangster known as George “Machine Gun” Kelly staged the kidnapping-for-ransom of an Oklahoma oil­man. He would live to regret it. Kelly was never the sharpest knife in the drawer, and what started clean soon became messy, as two of his partners cut themselves into the action; a determined former Texas Ranger makes tracking Kelly his mission; and Kelly’s wife, ever alert to her own self-interest, starts playing both ends against the middle.

The result is a mesmerizing tale set in the first days of the modern FBI, featuring one of the best femmes fatales in history—the Lady Macbeth of Depression-era crime—a great unexpected hero, and some of the most colorful supporting characters in recent crime fiction.

I am a big fan of 1920-30s era fiction, especially the gangsters and Prohibition Era stories. Even though most historical fiction romanticizes racial and sexism struggles, I still enjoy them all the same.

This novel mainly takes place in the Oklahoma/Texas area. I am from this area of the U.S. so I was familiar with the layout. It felt good to have Oklahoma represented in a novel about 1930s America.

I enjoyed how Infamous felt like a documentary about Machine Gun Kelley and the other gangsters he was associated with. The language used made me feel like I was right there with both the gangsters and the officers themselves.

If you are looking for a fascinating look into 1930s America, then I would highly recommend this novel. Infamous felt like a biopic of George “Machine Gun” Kelly and life as a whole in 1930s America. I enjoyed this novel of crime, betrayal, and survival in a Depression-era world.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

ARC REVIEW: Miao-Shan: The Awakening by G.A.M. Morris

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*No Spoilers*

**I was given a copy of this novel by the author**

***Miao-Shan: The Awakening will be hitting ebook shop January 15 2019***

When ten-year-old Chow Lei witnessed her parent’s brutal murder at the hands of Hong Kong Triad members she was emotionally scarred for life. Her grandmother adopted her and attempted to help Lei heal emotionally, but only when Lei joined a Shaolin Kung Fu school did any emotional healing occur.

After a year of training, her grandmother reluctantly agreed to send her to the Shaolin Temple. Lei had continued to improve at the Temple to further her Kung Fu training as well as learning compassion towards her peers. At the Temple, she was renamed Miao-Shan, from a legend about the Chinese Buddhist Goddess of compassion, Guan Yin.

This novel isn’t the kind of story I’d read often. I find the culture gap to be intimidating. However, with this novel, there is a helpful list of key terms and important historical events relevant to the story. Having that there helped me understand the slang terms and historical events of the time.

Watching Lei, soon to become Miao-Shan was fulfilling as well as entertaining. Watching her grow as a person who has seen things that no one ever should make her journey more relatable.

This novel has a cast of loveable characters. Even when the story shifts to the leader of the triad’s perspective, seeing where he started and how the triad brainwashed him makes him a more personable and likable character that’s easier to understand.

One of my favorite parts of this story is how Miao-Shan grew up at the Temple and gained a friend in a young boy named Lee. Even though Lee took the vow of celibacy when he became a monk, I wanted the two to be a romantic couple. They had really good chemistry, and their friendship was really heart-warming.

When you’re finished reading this story you won’t find any loose ends, everything wraps up nice and neatly and is presented in a likable and fulfilling ending. This was an entertaining read for all adults to enjoy.

All in all, I enjoyed this read. Sure it was a bit of a rough start getting used to the slang and culture of the story, but once I got the hang of it, I enjoyed this novel in its entirety. I would recommend this novel for lovers of martial arts, historical fiction, and Oriental literature.

Q&A with G.A.M. Morris

Buy on Amazon!

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: Little Hero Vol. 1 by Wakasa

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*No Major Spoilers*

One day after school, fifth-grader Sawa is suddenly enveloped by a bright light, and moments later an unfamiliar landscape straight from a fantasy novel stretches out before her. With no way to return to Earth, she’s forced to accept the role of the “Dawn Hero” and save the world from being devoured by the Witch’s mist.

Sawa quickly learns no one goes by their name in this new world–only by their role in life. From then onward, she is known only as Hero. She is accompanied by Servant, Dagger, and Lady Knight on her adventure to fulfill her role as the hero who will save the world! Will this little hero be able to live up to the role forced upon her? Will she ever return home?

I was intrigued by the premise of this book. A fifth-grader sent to save an unfamiliar world? This book definitely delivered. With dangerous turns at every corner, how can Hero defend herself?

I liked the character development in this manga. Each character has depth and their own personal reason for doing what they do. For example, Hero begins as a shy person questioning the things around her only to grow and become better to protect her friends as the story progresses.

My favorite character, besides Hero, was Dagger. He starts off as a pickpocketing street urchin and becomes part of something greater, he’s one of those pretender types where he plays as a punk, but in reality, he’s just a big softy.

I really liked this book and I’m sure if you’re into Fantasy manga with a unique take on a story, then this is a great book for you!

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Project Daily Grind; Mirror World: Book 1, by Alexey Osadchuk

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*No Spoilers*

This exciting and thrilling novel is a LitRPG (literature role-playing game) set in an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) called Mirror World. In this world, you can become a powerful wizard, slay a dragon, become a great warrior, or even rule your own kingdom.

However, for others, they use Mirror World as a way to make money for their families. Same goes for this man, who becomes Olgard. His mission: to make enough money to pay off his loans and to get his dying six-year-old daughter a new heart. So he starts working in the mines, digging away for various minerals and gems.

However, something goes awry as he not only plays the game smartly but the “dying race” that he has chosen becomes more beneficial than others may have believed. What is going on behind the scenes with the developers? Will Olgard survive long enough in this strange new world to see his family again?

This novel caught my eye when I saw the guy standing, looking like a pirate, and the monstrous spider behind him. I wanted to grab this book and read it!

I listened to this novel on audio. The narrator was really creative with the various voices of each character. It wasn’t boring at all to listen to and kept my attention throughout!

This novel also reminded me of an anime called Sword Art Online which is about an MMORPG that takes place in virtual reality. However, the characters in this novel felt more genuine and realistic than the characters in the anime.

This novel is also loosely based on the MMORPG World of Warcraft. There’s orc-like characters as well as wizards, elves, and dwarves.

None the less, I would say if you’re a lover of video games and books, this series is worth a read (or listen)!

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

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*No Major Spoilers*

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company, and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths even more disturbing secrets.

With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote, rural town of just five claustrophobic miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of the question: can you ever outrun your past?

I was really looking forward to reading this novel while I was looking for Jessica Jones comic books for the comic week. Krysten Ritter is the actress that plays Jessica Jones on the Netflix series of the same name. I was wondering if it was going to have hints of her Netflix character sprinkled in there.

I listened to this novel on audiobook, I feel like I absorb and understand the novel better when I hear it. So I’m sorry if you consider that cheating.

Anyway, this novel reminded me a lot of my experiences in high school. High school was not the best time for me because of many reasons. So I had to deal with those feelings that the novel brought up.

This novel is parts what I expected it to be, and parts that threw me for a loop. There were sprinklings of Jessica Jones in here, if you have never seen the show then it’s just a cool “easter egg” for the fans.

I loved this novel, there wasn’t a moment of rest. I was just go-go-go as soon as Abby Williams drives into Barren. Both action and thriller wise as well as an emotional roller coaster.

I actually like this protagonist, she is strong and determined. When she becomes close to solving the mystery of her used-to-be friend, Kaycee, she will not stop until the mystery of her past is solved.

I would recommend this for Book Clubs and casual readers alike. There’s mystery, thriller, emotions, and dug up memories to satisfy any reader.