Monthly Archives: May 2012

Book Review: The College Solution

The College Solution – A Great Guide in Understanding How Colleges Provide Aid and Awards

Rating: 4.5 of 5
Author: Lynn O’Shaughnessy

This book is like a reader’s digest guide to college costs, aid, awards and maximizing the opportunities to reduce costs. By explaining how colleges manage their finances and the information available on the internet, O’Shaughnessy lifts back the curtain on how colleges must operate to stay in the black, whether private or public, and how knowing these facts can save you significantly on paying for college.

For example, two fundamental keys to managing college costs are calculating and knowing your expected family contribution (EFC) and matching this with a school’s net price calculator (NPC). Knowing what factors affect your EFC and how this along with scores from standardized tests can help or hinder chances at awards and aid are critical.

Armed with the facts in this book, students and parents can save significantly and maximize their education dollar. This book also provides insights on how to evaluate colleges, their admission processes, and increasing a students chances at acceptance and financial awards. This edition is a great guide and starting point for those looking forward to their college career.

Book Review – How to Save the World: An Alien Comedy

How to Save the World: An Alien Comedy – A Geordie Comedic Sci/Fi Adventure – It is only the beginning…

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Charles Fudgemuffin
Format: Kindle

After playing one of their more intense games of “Would You Rather…” Eric, Monty and Garth happen upon an alien spacecraft.  Unfortunately for Eric, he awakens to find not only has he been the only one captured by the aliens but that they are just about to start their sick Alien experiments… then their masks come off and Eric meets Asleev and Jixyl – a couple of other worldly pranksters just putting one over on the human.  But not is all fun and games and eventually Eric learns the human race is indanger from another alien species. Fortunately, Asleev and Jixyl have a plan and Eric is the key.  His task? Snog as many aliens as possible. The good news – the aliens are mighty fit and lush lasses.  The bad news – Eric doesn’t know the whole story – flip!

“How to Save The World” by Charles Fudgemuffin, is funny.  Think Monty Python meets Saturday Night Live funny.  To be honest, just the Geordie accent alone is funny to me. Though after reading page after page I almost starting talking this way with my family.  This book has a lot of dialogue – a whole lot of dialogue. The conversations remind me of the type of banter I had with friends in my college days after a number of drinks at the bar where we would discuss relationships, politics, sports, you name it and in our drunken state we thought we were having the deepest insights about everything when in reality it was all mostly just a bit of drunken patter.  Most of this is quite funny, but like some Saturday Night Live skits, there are times when these comedic exchanges go on a bit too long and I wanted the plot to advance faster. My other caution is that this is only book one, so for those of you looking for a tidy conclusion, you are going to have to wait for the next couple of installments.

None-the-less, this is an entertaining humorous read. The style of humor is likely one that will not resonate with everyone, so grab a sample from Amazon or Charles’ website and find out.  If you like the sample, you’ll enjoy the rest.

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

Book Review: The Aberration

The Aberration – Memories of a Century Long Battle of Good and Evil or crazy Mad Man?

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Bard Constantine
Format: Kindle

Guy Mann woke from the dream, or what he hoped was a dream, and stared at his surroundings wondering if he was going mad.  The spear, the blood, the killing, the evil, and in the waking world the signs and the warning… “The Aberration is here.”  What did it all mean, and why him?  Unfortunately, as the storm rolled in trapping Guy and his fellow Mill workers he was about to find out.  With no communication to the outside world and without escape from the faceless monsters surrounding and pressing in on the mill, Guy’s past lives memories rush back and he knew he alone would be able to save them and possibly the world… unless he really was crazy.

Bard Constantine’s, The Aberration, pulses with action holding the reader with a bizarre intrigue of horrors external and within.  Constantine’s narrative serves up a bone chilling experience instilling the reader with the same dread and fear his characters experience as the novel’s action escalates.  Part Twilight Zone and Angel Heart, Constantine plays with readers as the antagonist plays with Guy – is the Aberration real or the imagined memories of a crazed man looking for meaning?

For those looking for a short but gripping horror novel and a little something different, check out The Aberration.

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

Book Review: Shots

Shots – Austin, Drugs, Coffee, and Crime

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Theodore Quester
Format: Kindle, ebook

As a minor having been busted for drugs once already, Nic decides he wants out of the trafficking business.  Arguing with his friends and fellow drug pushers about their future, things escalate and before he knows it, Nic has shot Carlitos in the eye and destroyed their latest “shipment” of goods.  Things go from bad to worse for Nic, Carlitos, and Juanito as money is due to their suppliers.

In “Shots”, Theodore Quester takes the reader inside drug trafficking in Austin Texas.  Cafelito, a small espresso bar, serves as the central plot device connecting the various characters that Quester introduces and explores through alternating chapters as the story progresses.  I came to appreciate the profession of Barista and the skill it takes to make a “real” cup of gourmet coffee through Quester’s expert narrative details.  I also enjoyed the “Simple Plan-esque” way in which the plot unfolds where situations easily spin out of control as one thread pulls on all of the other interconnected threads.

While there is violence and threats of bodily harm associated with collecting debts owed, for some reason I never felt the sense of fear and dread that I would have expected.  None-the-less, “Shots” is a interesting exploration into the world of drug trafficking by minors who are struggling with family, friends, and cultural pressures.

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

Book Review: From Particles and Disputations

From Particles and Disputations: Writings of Love and Loss

Rating: 4.5 of 5
Author: Philip D. Luing
Format: Kindle, ebook

Since its release in 2007, Rob Thomas’ single “Little Wonders”, whose theme of holding on to those small moments that together weave a tapestry of one’s life with friends and family, has held special meaning for me.  As I read Philip Luing’s “From Particles and Disputations” echoes of Thomas’ song came back to me.  Luing chronicles through his beautiful poetic prose the life he and his partner Jeffery shared over their twelve years together.

This is a wonderful tribute to a real and intense relationship.  Through annual snapshots of their life in December, Valentines day, their anniversary, and Jeffery’s birthday, Luing conveys the intensity of a relationship between two very different people brought together by love.  Readers journey into their early all consuming physical passion, the eventual questioning of their compatibility and the occasional distance felt by each, the reaffirmation of their love, the devastating entrance of HIV’s entrance in their lives, Luing’s tortured soul acknowledging the sickness enveloping his partner while at the same type trying to balance his own emotions to remain optimistic though he doesn’t feel such, and Jeffrey’s eventual passing and peace made while scattering ashes years later.

I wish I could do justice to these “Writings to Jeffrey” but I cannot. The raw words within “From Particles to Disputations” speak for themselves.

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