Monthly Archives: April 2012

Book Review – Magnus Opum

Magnus Opum – A Wonderfully Creative Suess-Esque Fantasy

Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Jonathan Gould
Format: Kindle

Like his fellow Kertoobis, Magnus Mandalora enjoyed the consistency and comfort that life provided in their wonderfully stable land of Lower Kertoob.  That is until his brother Jangos developed the Grompets and did something a Kertoobi rarely did – leave Lower Kertoob. Why anyone would leave was beyond all of them, what more could one want that to plant, grow, harvest, bake and sell Pflugberrys in Pflugberry pie?  Such a scandal was Jangos departure that Magnus could hardly concentrate.  Then the unthinkable happens.  News reached lower Kertoob that Jangos had been attacked and killed by the hated Glurgs.  Needing to avenge his brother’s death, Magnus decides he too must leave Lower Kertoob and find his destiny.

Jonathan Gould is a master at “Adult Fables” as demonstrated in his novellas – Flidderbugs and Doodling.  Turning his talents to a full length novel – Magnus Opum – Gould creates an even richer world and experience than possible in a novella.  In the opening chapters, Gould’s turn of phrase and creative names for places (Lower Kertoob), characters (Magnus, Jangos), and races (Doosies, Glurgs) are Suess-esque and immediately give the sense of joy and wonder of life as the Kertoobis experience it by connecting readers with their childhood Suess experiences.  But this is not a simple children’s book as Magnus and readers soon learn.  Gould slowly exposes Magnus to a world forged of prejudice forged by generations of misunderstanding and hate to which Magnus is not immune.

As with all of Gould’s works, one cannot help but reflect and spend time questioning ones own mores and decide whether or not to be courageous and face them, as Magnus did, or live life in our own version of simple Lower Kertoob.

Note: A complementary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.

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Book Review – Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy – A Rare “Gem”…

Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Colleen Cross
Format: Kindle, Paperback

In massive amounts of debt and wondering why she ever decided to start her own the forensic accounting business, Katerina (Kat) Carter is forced to live in her office space after being evicted for not paying her rent.  As her world is about to completely unravel, Liberty Diamond Minds comes into the picture.  Someone has embezzled five billion dollars and before going public with the information, the CEO hopes Kat can track down the money and save the company.  But Kat quickly learns more than just money is at stake as she uncovers a global conspiracy involving “blood diamonds”, money laundering, and some of the most powerful people in the world.
Colleen Cross’ “Exit Strategy” starts with a heart pounding execution style murder in Argentina and the pace does not stop until the final page is turned.  I would have never guessed that a book whose main character is a forensic accountant would be so engaging but this has all the elements of some of my favorite novels – entertaining, fast paced, real characters (with the possible exception of one of the more obstructionist police officials), and numerous plot twists.  What I appreciated most was Cross’ research and expertise regarding the world of underground trafficking, how organizations can launder money, and the use of the global diamond mining system to trade illegally without a trace.  I don’t think I will look at a diamond ring again without wondering if or how it may have played a role in some illegal activity.  Cross provides just enough detail about how forensic accounting works to keep it interesting with the side benefit of illustrating just how challenging our own government and those around the world face in dealing not just with illegal trade activities but terrorists.  This gave me an entirely new appreciation for what likely goes on behind the scenes everyday to keep the world safe.

Cross has a gift for storytelling and I look forward to future works.

Note: A complimentary copy of this novel was provided ini return for a review.

Book Review: Pimp Ur Blog

Pimp Ur Blog: Leveraging Social Media for Exposure

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Paul Rice, Messie Jessie
Format: Kindle, epub

Whether you are a blogger looking for more visibility or an author struggling to find and gain an audience, one thing is for sure – leveraging social media can be one key to success.  But should you use twitter, facebook, myspace, linkedin, google+, live journal, goodreads, wordpress, ning, meetup, mylife…? And what does SEO mean – argh! Endless opportunities, endless options, unfortunately, none of us has endless time.

This is where Paul Rice and Messie Jessie have done the work for you in Pimp Ur Blog.  The authors have done considerable research and Rice has experimented with a number of techniques, measured their success and impact, and shares the results for readers along with recommendations.  Rice is extremely thorough; research, experimentation, measuring and iterating his approach are his expertise.  While presentation of this level of detail could become dry, Messie Jessie balance the material with her practical experience and witty banter.

Written for both the novice and those more advanced, everyone will find more than a few kernels of wisdom from Pimp Ur Blog.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.

Book Review – Legends of the Light Bearer

Legends of the Light Bearer: What if everything you believed about humanity was wrong?

Rating: 3.5 of 5
Author: L.M. Aldrich
Format: Kindle

Struggling to push her agenda forward, Breanna Shepard, junior senator from Virginia, finds roadblocks at every turn.  But when Breanna learns of the federal government’s harassment of citizens in one of the small towns in her state, she decides that enough is enough. Taking matters into her own hands, she begins an investigation and uncovers a chilling truth – one that shakes the very foundation of all she has ever known and believed about the very nature and history of humanity itself.

L.M. Aldrich’s “Legends of the Light Bearer” is a very thought provoking tale which pulls substantially from the Gnostic scriptures as well as other non-mainstream documents which hint at something very different from our current understanding of humanity’s origin.  Dan Brown was a master at creating a plausible alternative view of Christianity in his works and occasionally Legends has a few similar moments.  However, I found the main character’s whining at the beginning of the book about the US government and Christianity to be too superficial to be convincing.  The action and pace start to pick up about twenty percent into the book and kept my attention.  This section was the strength of the novel and I found myself repeatedly intrigued by some of the concepts presented.  Finally, near the end my suspension of disbelief was stretched a bit too much.

Overall, “Legends” offers some strong, intriguing, and thought provoking concepts for readers to consider.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.