Monthly Archives: June 2012

Book Review – Terminal Ambition

Terminal Ambition – A Shocking tale of Discrimination and Harassment

Author: Kate McGuinness
Rating: 4 of 5
Format: Kindle, Paperback

After the tragic death of her husband, Maggie Mahoney learns that her once firm position as partner at the law firm her and her late husband practiced at, is now much more tenuous.  Manipulated into participating on the firms new “gender equity committee”, Maggie learns the shocking truth of the firm’s true intentions – to rid the staff of female trouble makers.  But why?  It all becomes clear as she learns of the egregious hostile and frequent harassment work environment the women are enduring.  And given the firm’s head partner is up for the attorney general nomination, nothing will hold him back from reaching his life long goal.  Nothing.  Not even Maggie Mahoney.

Kate McGuiness’ “Terminal Ambition” is a shocking tale.   After reading this I sincerely hope that no women would ever have to work in an environment as destructive as this. The arrogance, selfishness, and indifference displayed by many of the male characters is appalling.  McGuiness’ writing is crisp and the plot believable even in such extreme circumstances though it was hard for me to fathom there could be so much of this behavior going on by so many in one place.  If you have a low opinion of lawyers before you start reading this, it won’t get any better I assure you.

Overall, this was a very engaging though troubling read and achieves its goal of sensitizing readers to this very troubling issue from its  subtlest to most severe forms.  This is one in a series of Maggie Mahoney novels.  I look forward to McGuiness’ next work.

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

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Book Review: The Sword and the Rose

The Sword and the Rose – Fun and Engaging Middle Grade Fantasy Series

Author: Robert Iannone
Rating: 5 of 5
Format: Kindle

M’Earth, King of all Aeriaana and its inhabitants of humans, dragons, and sea serpents, posses the Crystal Egg and its magic making him all powerful. Tranquility exists throughout the land, with one exception, the king’s daughter – Rose’Alynnia. At ten-years-old, she is as precocious as they come and the King decides it is time for her to learn perspective in order to be a wise and thoughtful future ruler. So M’Earth sent her off to learn from the dragons and the serpents their history and ways of the world. Years passed, Rose matures, and when a strange man comes to their world, she alone sees the evil within him. But is she too late, will the man take the Egg and control all that they had fought so hard to create?

Robert Iannone’s “The Sword and the Rose” has all the elements of a classic book for middle grade children. He wonderfully portrays Rose’s character, showing her wonderment as a child moving to adulthood as well as her flaws of seeing the world through a narrow perspective. Instead of telling readers how they should behave, they learn as Rose learns about her world, not from other humans but dragons and serpents which wonderfully conveys how we all can learn something from those who are very different from us. The archetype “bad guy” comes and Rose must sacrifice much in order to save the future of her world. Her transformation throughout the book is a wonderful lesson to young readers.

This is the prequel to a much larger series of books in this world. If you have young readers looking for something just a little bit different but still solidly based in fantasy, pick up this prequel. They are sure to enjoy the introduction to this world.

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

Book Review – Stay Safe Crime Map of San Francisco

Stay Safe Crime Map of San Francisco: Best for iPad

Author: Michael Gard
Rating: 4 of 5
Format: Kindle

When visiting another city, even wonder where to stay. Many times guide
books tell you where the attractions are – restaurants, clubs, museums,
etc. But what about crime? Where are the places that tourists might
want to avoid? In the Stay Safe Series, Michael Gard provides this
information. Using individual maps of San Francisco neighborhoods,
Gard crosshatches those areas which historically have experienced higher
crime.

I like the idea of this “book” and Gard does a nice job providing some
good general travel and stay safe information along with his maps.
While a lot of this may be common sense, they are good reminders for
us all.

The map information is the key to this series and are best viewed using
the kindle App an iPad. My regular black and white Kindle 2 shows the
maps but they are much harder to see. And while one can zoom in on the
pictures using the iPad, which is very useful, I have yet to figure out
how to rotate the maps within the app itself (an alternative is to take
a screen shot of the map by holding the on/off and home button on your
iPad and opening up your iPad photo app and rotating and zooming the map
image). I almost think that this concept would be better executed as a
stand alone iPhone or iPad app which could be easily updated and
downloaded as new information is available. Furthermore, viewing maps
and such are likely more easily done in an App versus embedded within a
kindle book. Perhaps the new Kindle Fire solves these constraints.

Regardless, overall good information for travelers looking for something
beyond the normal guidebook information.

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

Book Review – Glacial Eyes

Glacial Eyes – Well Written and Entertaining!

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: J.K Walker
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Waking up naked lying covered in leaves in the middle of the forest, Jamine (Jazz) Bedeau, struggles with foggy memories from the night before.  How had she gotten here?  Local law enforcement wonder the same thing as she quickly learns that the boy she was with is found dead supposedly slain by some type of large predator.  But soon Jazz learns the awful truth – she had killed him – but not as herself.  Something was a part of her she had not know of before and didn’t want to admit.  Without any parents or family to turn to, Jazz is lost until she is contacted by others like her. Unfortunately, they are not all friendly, and Jazz finds her friends and herself in mortal danger.

In a young adult market full of vampire novels, J.K. Walker’s “Glacial Eyes” is a nice change of pace in the paranormal teenage category.  Told in first person from Jazz’s perspective, I enjoyed her as a protagonist.  She is thoughtful, humble, powerful, but emotionally damaged given her difficult past.  While not nearly as dark as the Hunger Games, Jazz has traits reminiscent of Katniss Everdeen which is high praise in my book.  Walker’s writing style is crisp and engaging and his characters pop off the page.  If I have any compliant at all, it is Jazz’s main love interest – Logan.  I liked his character, but I found his accent distracted me from the story instead of pulling me into it.

Overall, I found myself stealing moments throughout the day in order to finish another chapter and very much enjoyed this guilty pleasure read.  “Glacial Eyes” is part of the “Salt Lake After Dark” series which follows the main characters through each of their respective first person narratives highlighting each of their powers.  I look forward to the next book in the series!

Note 1: While I make it a rule not to comment on other people’s reviews, I will make an exception in this case as one reviewer has noted that this is a “kids book”.  Likely not everyone has the same definition of what age a “kid” is, but for me it would include children under twelve and if others are considering Glacial Eyes for kids in this age range, I would caution that there are explicit scenes that could be inappropriate for this age group.

Note 2: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.

Book Review – Frat House of the Dead

Frat House of the Dead – Great Teaser for the Salt Lake After Dark Series

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: J.K Walker
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Deciding how to celebrate Halloween can be a challenge for some, but given its prominence for Wiccans, Rachel Wood felt more pressure than most.  Especially since, as a young witch, potions and such were’t her thing.  Instead melding technology with witchcraft was her passion.  Resigned to spend All Hallows Eve with the latest video game, Rachel gets a call from her friends who talk her into attending a local frat party.   Together they were quite a motley crew – a witch, wereleopard, katsune, and nurse!  But at the party they  find the guests are all acting a bit odd.  More than a bit odd – crazed.  In fact – Zombified!

J.K. Walker’s “Frat House of the Dead” is a fun, fast paced novella introducing some of the characters from his “Salt Lake After Dark” paranormal series.  I made the mistake of reading this before reading Glacial Eyes, the first full length novel in the series, as the action in the novella takes place after the events in the novel.  However, even though I read them “out of order” this book stands on its own and it did not detract from my enjoyment of either work.  This novella skews more toward the horror genre vs Glacial Eyes which is more paranormal action/romance.  It reads like it was fun to write and feels like a gift to readers who are fans of the series and just can’t get enough of these characters.

I too am now a fan and look forward to future books!

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

Book Review: Lady Grace

Lady Grace (Tales from Earth’s End II) – Big and Small fight for the Future of Humanity

Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Sandy Nathan
Format: Kindle, Paperback

After centuries on the golden planet and being treated as little more than a procreation pet by the Goldies, Jeremy Edgarton demands to be returned home – to Earth – to usher in the rebirth of humanity and ensure that those who survived the world’s end have not fallen victim to The General.  But on his return, Jeremy finds something much much worse than he could have imagined. Reunited with his mother Veronica, his love Ellie, and his exiled friends, he fights to liberate the few remaining humans enslaved by the “Bigs”.  But are they too late, and is the Bigs’ power more than they can overcome? Worse yet, will they be betrayed by the Goldies jeopardizing the future of humanity forever?

Sandy Nathan’s “Lady Grace” is the second offering in the Tales from The World’s End series.  It is similar in style to the first book and this chapter has readers visiting Earth centuries after the world’s end.  Building on book one while adding some startling new characters along with a merger of a few characters from her Numenon series, Nathan creates an unlikely group of protagonists who must band together in a struggle against the Bigs.  By far the most intriguing story arc involves what has happened in the underground after generations of inbreeding results in the evolutionary mutation of The Bigs.  Armed with an even more powerful version of “The Voice” inherited from their progenitor, the Bigs rule with complete mind control.  I will admit that the resolution of the battle with the Bigs was completely unexpected; I’ll leave out those details for readers to discover on their own.  I’ll also admit that the last sentence of the book, which happens to be question, was the most unique I have ever read.

Readers who enjoyed book one, will most certainly enjoy this next book in the series.

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