Jamztoma's Blog License

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Book Review #23: TIME'S UP by R.A. JORDAN


TITLE: TIME'S UP
Author: R.A. JORDAN
Publisher: VANGUARD PRESS
Publication Date: 19 OCTOBER 2015
Genres: CRIME FICTION/ MYSTERY
Available at AMAZON and BARNES AND NOBLE

Starts Off with a Bang and Will Keep You Up All Night!

            I read this one in a week because I had some other things going on in my personal life like my gig with Odyssey and my book collection efforts.  But to be honest, this one really is a quickie.  Alright, let me get right down to my review for you.  It started off with a bang.  From the first few pages, an old (maybe about in their late fifties to early sixties) couple was just returning from a New Year’s Eve Party that they had attended with both of their daughters who decided to stay late with their friends when they nearly collided with a rushing black car coming in the opposite direction but still in their lane.  The couple brushed it off and arrived home at their farm that they just bought three years prior.  They saw that their dog, Purdy, was fast asleep in their utility room because she had been given a sedative to calm her nerves since she was afraid of the noise made by fireworks that went off when the New Year rang in moments ago.  The couple, named Peter and Ann Wall, went straight to bed.

            The next day, Peter the husband woke up early to do his usual routine of driving Jumbo, his 1955 Series Two Land Rover to a solitary oak tree that stood on top of a mound that allowed him to view the house and outbuildings.  Well, as he drove Jumbo, something happened that got his head cut off and leaving him dead for good on New Year’s Day.  It was just a few hours later that Ann his wife woke up and went looking for him that she found him beheaded and deceased and changed her and her daughters’ lives from then on.  Now the mystery in the death was whether Peter had some type of plan to end his life this way or was he killed by someone else.  This brought in a slew of characters and unfortunate events that made this book a page-turner during this cold May 2017 for me. 

            I loved this book.  It was the pace I needed for my own personal enjoyment.  It did not drag on like some books I read and reviewed.  Nope.  This book had me reading from beginning to end hungry to find out what could have caused the uncanny death of Peter Wall.  The man isn’t just anybody.  He’s the owner of a company that makes a lot of profit and he has a lot of money ready to be bequeathed to his wife and two daughters if in the event that he dies.  Insurance I mean.  I am glad that I read this novel because it is set in England and Ireland.  It is a great glimpse into that part of the world as there are some terms featured and mentioned in it that seem foreign and un-American.  There are some places’ names that are similar to ones here in the East Coast like Grosvenor and Cheshire.  Anyway, to make this review short and simple, I assure you that you will not waste your money on this one if you are looking for a quick read for this upcoming summer season.  I guarantee it!   

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Book Review #22: PUBLIC INFORMATION: COMING OF AGE DURING THE KOREAN WAR by ROLF MARGENAU


TITLE: PUBLIC INFORMATION: COMING OF AGE DURING THE KOREAN WAR
Author: ROLF MARGENAU
Publisher: FROGWORKS PUBLISHING; 2 EDITION
Publication Date: 18 DECEMBER 2016
Genres: HISTORICAL FICTION/ MILITARY
Available at AMAZON and BARNES AND NOBLE

The Adventures of an Infantryman/U.S. Army Combat Correspondent

            Twenty-year-old Wylie Cypher from Hope’s Crossing, New Jersey is a natural-born champion if you followed his life all the way from his childhood to the person he is by the end of this book.  He was a gifted and virtuous guy who kept it at first base with his girlfriend Judy during the early days of their courtship.  Of course there was touching and feeling but no contact between their privates.  It made this book remain true to the stereotypes of the time period it’s set in (though this book had just been released most recently).  From the beginning, Wylie goes off to college but discovered he has no sense of direction while there.  This led to his father planting the “military” idea into his brain to help give direction to his life to which he agreed to.  Wylie went through the basics: training, orientation, and foreign language education in order to grant him “valuable future benefits as well as a good stead and insulation from combat.”  The rest of the novel involves his time in South Korea, where he and his good friend Scott McIlvane battle the enemy alongside each other and mainly with Wylie and his special position as U.S. Army Combat Correspondent, a position that he earned because of his skills in the world of journalism and typing.

            If there was a military novel that was a page-turner, this would be it for me.  It’s got the elements of a comedy with action and romance.  I had initially felt that it would be hard to get through as there will probably be references to graphic violence since it was a military read but no it was a breeze to get through.  The way the author wrote it brings to mind a cross between the French novel Candide with that of the comedic 1970’s film, MASH.  Wylie goes and reports the goings-on of his military life and befriends a group of interesting people throughout the novel.  Public Information will make you laugh, cry, sigh, and open your eyes to the realities of war torn Korea post-World War II. 

            I advise you if you are not into military-themed novels to give this one a chance.  It is one that softens the military experience for you.  Don’t let its serious front cover scare you away because it did that for me at first but when I was into the fourth chapter, I was no silly-willy but was anxious to find out what happens next and so forth.  Take it from me, you will be entertained by this book.  If not, then I don’t know what is wrong with you.  Haha.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Book Review #21: LIBRARIAN (LENNA'S ARC, BOOK 1) by BRIAN FENCE


TITLE: LIBRARIAN (LENNA'S ARC, BOOK 1)
Author: BRIAN FENCE
Publisher: MOON RABBIT PUBLISHING, LLC, 1 EDITION
Publication Date: MAY 11, 2014
Genres: FANTASY/ YA FICTION
Available at AMAZON

The Librarian, the Mage, and the Gemstone

            Wow!  This book was a great read when magic became not just a talent but an impetus for greed, murder and ultimately power.  It started off slowly with Lenna Faircloth just leaving her clock-infested (her father is a clockmaker) home to get to work at the local library (she’s a librarian, hence the title of the novel) where her boss is this annoying, antagonizing individual who is an unimportant character in the book.  Long story short, Lenna is soon joined by a childhood friend and his lover who are both magicians that belong to the Blue Crescent Brotherhood, a society of wizards and sorcerers. They are on the run because they are traitors of that order.  This childhood friend stole something that all of the world covets that can summon worldwide warfare and can grant its possessor power and massive fortune.

            The story, to me, contains elements of the J.R.R. Tolkien Lord of the Rings trilogy and the J.K. Rowling Harry Potter series.  It is quite an adventure and can keep you up all night thirsting for that rush one gets when reading a great story.  I had initially thought that this book would wear me down with its too familiar characters but it eventually became a favorite when by the middle of the book, there was a death, there was feminist themes, and there were some original devices that Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter did not have.  I think this book will work well with high school bookworms as well as adults who are into YA fiction.  There is zero romance in this book but a scrumptious ladle of food references that could make you want to drown yourself in the book with the characters and feast on their soups and their wine as if their actual ingredients were not too exotic and out of the ordinary.

            I would recommend this book to fans of the aforementioned literary works and to budding teenagers looking for a read that isn’t too graphic or too gory for their tastes.  It is a “safe” book and is not that violent and all except for some references to corpses littered outside a city known as Junction that may make the queasy feel a bit uncomfortable.  The title of this review is my own C.S. Lewis summary of the entire plot as I feel those are the three main subjects of Fence’s first book of a fantasy series.  For my final thoughts, I will tell you that this is the type of book that is worth looking into for this upcoming summer.  I just completed my studies in college and this welcomed me with open arms after four years of reading, studying, and researching English language and literature terms and devices.  Haha. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Book Review #20: REVERSIONE: RESET THE FUTURE by CHRIS A. JONES


TITLE: REVERSIONE: RESET THE FUTURE
Author: CHRIS A. JONES
Publisher: GREEN IVY, 1 EDITION
Publication Date: MARCH 9, 2017
Genres: SCI-FI/ ROMANCE
Available online at AMAZON and BARNES AND NOBLE

A Sci-Fi Adventure Filled with Romantic Scenes

            Wouldn’t it be so fascinating if there was actually a time machine in our lives?  Well this book is all about time traveling and romance I tell you!  Reversione: Reset the Future by Chris A. Jones is one sensual and metaphysical read that you will enjoy if you like those themes.  It involves four characters from differing time periods who all meet to work on the construction and invention of the time machine to help stop a major mankind catastrophe from occurring in the year 2341.  You will meet Robert and Dolores who are a couple as well as the “crazy in love” pair Diane and William who are the main masterminds behind the time machine’s construction.  There are some tragedies throughout the novel and it is the time machine that helps “salve” them much to the reader’s delight. 

            If you enjoy sci-fi as well as passionate love scenes (although not detailed), you will come to love this book.  It is actually a romantic tale with scientific tones.  I, myself would also recommend it to those who would appreciate an adventurous read and those who are familiar with the science of quantum physics.  Haha.  Yeah, I know, a heavy subject isn’t it?  To be honest, I had a bit of a confusion with the terms being used because I am just not an expert in that field.  But hey, do not let me stray you from sinking your teeth in this one as it is not that difficult to grasp as you must know that everyone’s different.

            Go ahead, make your Easter Sunday and the week that follows it a science fiction ride sure to be memorable for Easter seasons to come!  .

Friday, April 7, 2017

Book Review #19: THE WIDOW SMALLS: AND OTHER STORIES by JAMIE LISA FORBES


TITLE: THE WIDOW SMALLS AND OTHER STORIES
Author: JAMIE LISA FORBES
Publisher: PRONGHORN PRESS
Publication Date:  OCTOBER 15, 2014
Genre: LITERARY FICTION/ WESTERN
Available online at AMAZON and BARNES AND NOBLE

A Short Collection of Ranch Life Hardships

            Jamie Lisa Forbes moved me with her WILLA Award winning novel Unbroken, now she has reached me again with this one, The Widow Smalls: And Other Stories.  I don’t know, maybe it is the heart-wrenching plots of the stories themselves or the endearing, hardworking characters themselves, but yes, they made me tear up as I closed the book itself and gathered my thoughts to write this review for it.  From her author’s biography at the end, Forbes was “raised on a family ranch in southeastern Wyoming” and rose to earn her degree from the University of Colorado in 1977.  Something tells me she was determined to get herself out of the ranch life just by reading her book here and who wouldn’t want to, right?  I can imagine the immense efforts to get by during the hard winters and to (as she would write), wean, birth, clean, hay, build, fix, etc. the animals and the land on a ranch.  All of the stories in this book are stuck in my mind because they either teach a lesson, feature a sad event, and/or remind me of my own struggles in life (I’m very good at comparing different situations that have similar levels of trauma and difficulty).

            Forbes’ book here should be read by all.  I say this because one can learn from these ranch life hardships.  Living off the land can be quite excruciating for someone who dreams a lot.  There are no automatic results, you have to work to get them.  Some desirable traits of the ranch life that made me smile through the tragedies are as follows: you can get your eggs from your chickens, your meat and milk from cows, and your exercise from the manual labor.  The negatives of the ranch life are: isolation from the rest of the world, the late and early hours of the work to be done, the expanse of the work to be done, and the weather patterns.  But aside from these, the stories include joining the military, attending annual celebrations, going off to college, befriending your boss’ pretty daughter, a President Lincoln look-alike, incest, and sleeping with your ranch hand.  These make the stories interesting, tragic, and adventurous, you know?

            I recommend this book to those who are looking for an old-fashioned read.  I also recommend it to those who love the simple life as well as the hardships of the simple life.  I really, really enjoyed this book as by now I have made it clear in my reviews that I love stories about families.  The intriguing occurrences, the strange and eye-opening goings-on among some of them, the romances and the plot-twists, the nods to Western/Country America (I always have a place for stories that remind me of the Little House on the Prairie books, the cowboy world, etc.).  Buy this book for yourself and read it during Holy Week.  As a dweller of a metropolitan area, it’s always heartwarming to visit the countryside and discover the struggles and realities that occur there.  Lastly, this book is free of spelling, punctuation, and grammatical, typographical, and structural errors.  That is always a masterpiece in my view.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Book Review #18: UNBROKEN by JAMIE LISA FORBES


TITLE: UNBROKEN
Author: JAMIE LISA FORBES
Publisher: PRONGHORN PRESS
Publication Date:  APRIL 26, 2011
Genres: DRAMA/ LITERARY FICTION
Available online at AMAZON and BARNES AND NOBLE

A Tale of Two Families and the Ranch Life

            Once upon a time, in the country state of Wyoming, where the snow is regarded with contempt and the people have to get by through manual labor and farming, there was the Swan family: diligent and striving for perfection.  Will Swan performed his husband and man-of-the-house duties quite perfectly while his female counterpart, his wife Gwen baked the perfect pies and devoted her free time to seeing their two children Rory and McKenna do good at their school.  While they were getting on with their lives, a woman and her son arrive and work for one of the Swans’ neighbors, Mr. Mather.  Her name was Meg Braeburn and her son, Jim.  Together these two families would come to know each other and work alongside each other quite nicely.  But just as with any two families collaborating, human imperfections have to interfere and this causes a major division between them by the middle of the book.

            I will not disclose a lot of details about the plot of this book but I have to say, all that I had learned while growing up between a man and his weaknesses are once again proven in this book.  I also came to discover that there are just some people who are unfortunate all their lives even though their families or their friends would try and try to better them through the course of time.  I felt like crying while reading this book because such perfection did not have to crumble in such a way.  I commend the author, Jamie Lisa Forbes for her storytelling skills.  The book was a masterpiece according to my standards.  The setting was just beautiful and intriguing for me who has never been to a ranch before.  The whole of the book was free of spelling and punctuation errors.  I could hug this book if I had to because of all that.

            If you are curious about the ranch life and want to delve in that world for a time, then this book is definitely what you are looking for.  If you have no experience with the ranch life and have doubts about this book, I assure you, you are in for a treat.  I had approached this book with reluctance when it was assigned to me but when I was done with the first chapter I was hooked!  It was fast-paced for me maybe it’s because I love familial, saga stories that include suspense, drama, romance, and a bit of Christianity in it.  Get it because it will keep you up all night hoping for the best outcome for such a dear set of characters.  This book gets a well-deserved 5 stars from me!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

FORTUNATE



Facebook, Social, Social Network, Social Media
image from Pixabay.com by geralt
This was written for Poetry Pantry #345

Right now I'm fortunate
for a family of friends
I socialize with on the net
daily almost with no end

They be dropping in to say hi
with stickers, positive lines
Joking with each other 
day and night
Then say goodbye until next time

Right now I'm fortunate
to stay connected
with peeps in Australia, New Zealand
who I've never met

Right now I'm fortunate
to have peeps to talk with 
 a new normal, this way to chat
without it I'd be lonely, a hermit

And I'm thankful
though it's not November yet
I'm grateful for my Facebook family
I've been fortunate

And I'm thankful
so much it's magical 
that it's so accessible
How fortunate.