Forlorn, a dark story of suspense ISBN: 9781978440180 Vinspire Publishing, an e-book copyright 2017 and written by Gina Detwiler.
A prologue describes the situation that results in Grace Fortune being pulled by her Guardian Angel when she is 6 years old from the flaming wreck of her family’s automobile that consumes her parents. The story begins as Grace, now sixteen and being raised by her aunt and uncle, is a student at the Buffalo Arts Academy, where although suffering from a degree of Attention Deficit Disorder, possesses a lovely voice and ability to play the piano. With her are her somewhat misfit friends that include scientifically inclined and quite pragmatic Ethan Ellerman who is there on full scholarship as a designer of video games, artistically inclined Brianna (Bree) Reynolds who at the moment points out a newcomer to the school who is every girl’s dream man, Jared Lorn with muscular build, almost white hair and strikingly blue penetrating eyes and his seeming attraction to Grace. Ethan points out that Jaren is a felon and was transferred here because he had stabbed another student with a fork at a different school. He heard that he moved from “Ohio or Oregon, something with an O anyway”. However he was said to play the guitar amazingly well. Only shortly thereafter Derick Holder, the boy with whom Jared had fought appeared at the lunch room and opened fire with an automatic weapon. Ethan is struck in the stomach and falls into Grace’s lap bleeding profusely. She calls out “Derick! Please stop! Stop shooting.” Her guardian cries out to Grace to sing a special song which he sings to her in the night when she has bad dreams from the Dark Ones seeking a way in. Her singing causes Derrick to hesitate and suddenly Jared moves as a blurred figure knocking the gun from his hand and literally throwing him against a large plate glass window with sufficient force to shatter the glass killing Derick. From this moment the tale becomes one of war between forces of good and evil including different levels of both with guardians, archangels, appearance of ‘the Risen One”, demons, fallen angels, the Nephilim, the importance of faith and the power of prayer per se and through music.
Discussion: The author has presented a most unusual fantasy that may well appeal to readers, especially YA who enjoy conflicts between good and evil forces as they vie for dominance in the living world. The trials and tribulations of the two protagonists are suspenseful as they engage in a series of activities that take them on remarkable journeys. Regrettably, from this reader’s perspective, the tale contains numerous hiccups that are difficult to accept and therefore may require a SPOILER ALERT. If, however a reader enjoys unusual suspenseful fantasy stories pitting the forces of good versus those of the ethereal dark side, obtain the book, enjoy and do NOT read further.
Two of the most difficult discrepancies for this reader to reconcile are: Much is made of the fact that Grace’s parents were completely destroyed by the fiery crash. Yet her mother suddenly appears with an entirely different scenario? Neither Grace nor her friends know much about Jared and seemingly nothing about Derrick yet Grace speaks to him by name and is uncertain when he left school when he is massacring the students?
Conclusion: A fascinating fantasy that should be of particular interest to younger readers and most especially to those of religious inclination. Regrettably and although having enjoyed many tales in the fantasy genre, this reviewer apologetically cannot reconcile the plot discrepancies mentioned.
3* 5* Fascinating fantasy for many; -2* for reasons described.
SLOWER, an e-book for young adults, assumed to have been published, copyright and written by Ted Shepherd.*
The story opens with 9th grader Emit Friend sitting completely bored in science teacher Ms. Beans’ class. He cannot understand how the other students, except for his cousin Ellen, are not also going out of their minds. He has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and sleeps very poorly every night. Thus he falls asleep and is rudely awaked by Ms. Beans shouting his name. He awakens immediately and is told to report to the Principal’s Office. This is a rather routine matter for him, and besides the principal is a very old family friend whom he knows as “Uncle Dimitri” Zachs. Ms. Beans follows his arrival and accuses him of pulling a prank on her. He does remember dreaming of such activity but cannot believe that he was able to perform it. From talking with Zachs he suddenly realizes that he had done it and the tale evolves into a fast moving plot that follows his activities, some of which could turn him into somewhat of a new superhero. It is a story that includes a bit of physical science, cyber science, stock market manipulation, and history that involves Uncle Dimitri, his cousin Ellen, his Grandfather and others. Fundamentally however, it presents a seriously thought-producing for young, as well a older minds to contemplate
Summary: This should be thoroughly enjoyed, as well as providing serious thought paths by young readers.
*Amazon lists as: Ted Shepherd SLOWER
5* Young readers should thoroughly enjoy, while contemplating serious thought paths.
The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election ISBN: 9781732511705 Moot Point Productions, copyright and written by Michael R. French.
The author has presented an ‘on-the-surface appearing’ simple story that follows a very intelligent young high school student with strong moral principles but totally naïveté with respect to politics as she challenges the charismatic favorite young man for election to the student body presidency. This seemingly impossible task appears even less attainable when she, with a team of only a few friends, actually realizes that her opponent’s team is a very successful, well-oiled machine that has been successful for some time. She has one other person to whom she listens intently and absorbs his lectures – the school’s rather revered history teacher who for several generations has been providing sensible advice along with his presentation of the importance of history as it repeats and is interpreted by one generation after another. Through his teachings and advice, complete understanding and approval by her parents, most intelligent decisions, AND unexpected information provided by an unknown cyber expert, she discovers that the success of her main opponent may not be simply because of he and his team’s abilities. Instead, he and his group are supported and secretly funded and advised by an organization that ostensibly has been established to aid struggling educational programs, but has another agenda in mind. When she ultimately makes great advances in her campaign, the organization approaches her with offers extremely difficult for her to turn down and the story continues to an interesting finale.
Discussion: The author has an excellent understanding of politics, its deceit, betrayal, treachery, intrigues, lying and often present, exhibition of blatant but more usually hidden, personal greed and other less worthy aspects of human thought patterns. Additionally his understanding of teen age children and their need to adjust to individual physical and mental changes while simultaneously attempting to deal with their peers in an environment that frequently can be surprisingly cruel, is quite admirable. He has set forth a story that provides an honest look at politics while stressing the importance of history, a much ignored important feature of today’s education, and coincidentally has provided a protagonist who projects strong moral courage and tenacity of purpose to overcome purportedly unbeatable odds and ‘make a difference’.
Summary: This is a fast moving, well-written story that those in their teens should thoroughly enjoy. Coincidentally, this book could be of interest to adults for the parallel it describes with respect to the horribly broken political system presently extant within the U.S. and perhaps could serve as a tool to be employed by teachers of young, and near adult, students.
5* A book young adults should enjoy and adults read – see discussion.
We Are Voulhire A new Arrival under Great Skies is an e-book assumed published, copyright and written by Matthew Tysz.
This is the first of two books that follow the fortunes of Galen, a young man who has escaped from a war torn society/country through help provided by a solicitor who was paid handsomely by his dying grandfather to accomplish this rather dangerous feat. He is totally naïve in the sophisticated ways of this new environment and gradually begins to learn in this first instalment. The country itself is wealthy but lacking in any cohesive identity. It embraces various levels of culture and a wide range of technologies but also various levels and types of magical performance that seem pervasive and often dominant as well. Numerous powerful individuals, several of whom are viciously destructive, appear to be rising into the more powerful positions as this episode ends and the reader must wait to discover whether the seemingly portended hope for the future the young Galen represents actually evolves.
Discussion/Conclusion: The author has set forth a fantasy containing all of the elements that should appeal to younger readers. It is a well-conceived fantasy set in ancient times of the restricted world knowledge of the day. It has a nicely conceived plot with thought-provoking philosophical features, nicely done descriptions and characters with whom some degree of empathy may be developed. Unfortunately however, from this reader’s perspective, there may be a few problems most of us reviewers overlook. We all are somewhat beyond an age group for which we are attempting to provide a meaningful review and we often forget to really observe the developing members of society for whom we cavalierly express our views of what they will or will not enjoy. This story opens slowly, even a little confusingly with new characters being rapidly introduced and the basic theme of good vs. evil actually does not become evident until pretty well into the book. It must be remembered that younger people are more inclined toward a faster mode of life with regrettably most often lesser involved in philosophical thoughts. One simply must observe their choices with respect to music, movies, games, conversation and their activities in general. An amusing aside perhaps is the fact that recent studies have shown that the average attention span level now resides at a mere eight seconds. Thus, long passages of description, even well-done avenues of thought, may present some cause for hesitation. The evolving generations also seem less likely to enjoy reading something for which the final note is designed to arrive sometime in the future. Most appear to prefer the ‘now’. In summation, this is a well-conceived fantasy that provides the usual philosophical thoughts so prevalent in stories in this genre and can appeal to the usual reviewer. However, one must occasionally indulge seriously in a little introspective activity to ascertain whether we are actually reviewing a book from our perspective rather than that of a member of today’s seemingly somewhat differently developing type of individual.
3* 4* Interesting well-written Fantasy; 3(?)* Apropos discussion.
HEIR of RA ISBN: 9781732446700, Kingsmill Press, an e-book copyright and written by Maciek Sasinowski.
Plot: In 1913, Lord George Renley entered a secret passage that he had discovered on a dig under the Great Sphinx in Egypt. Here he discovered a symbol of one of the Egyptian Gods, reached it and suddenly was assailed with a blood-producing cough, could not breathe and died. His associate suffered similar symptoms but made it to the entrance where he collapsed and also died. They were covered with the gradually shifting sands and nothing more was heard of them. The story then opens at a dig in Peru where seventeen-year-old Alyssa is working with her famous archeologist father Kade Morgan in just another exploration upon which she has been accompanying him for the last seven years since her mother died. Her father is called away with the possibility to investigate the very operation Renley had been investigating in 1913. A long extant rumor existed that somewhere in the area there is a Lost Hall of Records that contained history and technology far more advanced and far greater in size than the one purported to have been in the Library of Alexandria and of the Lost Civilization of Atlantis. From this point the action follows Kade’s activities where his specially designed safety suit is compromised and he is confined to a hospital in gradually deteriorating health. Alyssa attempts to discover the source of the infection to save not only her father, but additionally a large segment of the world’s population from a certain death from this unknown source. Meanwhile and simultaneously hereditary head of “The Society” William Drake is applying any and all means possible to obtain DNA from the occupant(s) of this same chamber that supposedly, when mixed with that of his group, will result in individuals with knowledge from these ancient “Gods”. He kidnaps the world’s eminent Grayson Baxter to supply the DNA part of the procedure. Attempts are made on the life of Alyssa and her companion and the action accelerates to a frenetic level to finally discover if she can obtain the necessary object, save her father as well as much of the world’s population.
Discussion/Summary: The author has set forth a fast-moving sci-fi fantasy that should be well received of YA readers as well as offering an enjoyable read for the ‘young-at-heart’.
4* Enjoyable, fast-moving YA sci-fi; suitable for others ‘young-at-heart’.
JAKE, Lucid Dreamer ISBN: 9788494754882, Kwill Books, an e-book by David J. Naiman.
The story is centered on Jake, a young boy now starting middle school four years after losing his beloved mother after an extended life battle that included chemotherapy, gradually extended hospitalization with attendant degenerative changes until her demise. Even four years later he is so devastated that he is unable to realize that his father and younger sister also have been, and still are greatly affected, although each in his/her own way have been able to make adjustments of which he becomes aware only later. Thus, he can only partially and intermittently reciprocate the mutual love that exists within the remaining family. His underlying smoldering anger at the enormity of his loss also reflects in all of his dealings with acquaintances and his entry into this middle school area peopled by individuals described as pimply and awkward with gangling limbs, orthodontic braces, sour attitudes and beginning hormone acceleration. Added to these physical problems provided by this group lying between the more or less friendly elementary school level and the highly competitive ‘almost adult’ high school, are the rising levels of social awareness of boy/girl relationships and the constantly growing ‘bully’ activities. For Jake, nightly dreams offer just one more addition to this huge burden as does the fact that he is of interracial origin (his mother was Chinese). His lengthy journey and steps taken to find an eventual answer to his tortured mind is the subject of the tale.
Discussion: The most prominent feature of this story is how the author has so adroitly handled the number of extremely difficult interrelated subjects – parental loss, a sister seemingly a little slow developmentally either physically or for attention-seeking purposes (adding annoyance to Jake’s already ‘full plate’ regardless of cause), the abundance of ‘middle school’ childhood problems, his interracial origin and his ‘lucid’ dreams. The author further has managed to very creditably depict the problems facing such a student in a manner that individuals of this age can understand so the lessons easily can be assimilated and absorbed by them.
Summary: A very well and thoughtfully written story of a devastatingly heart-breaking, situation set forth in a most movingly heart-warming and thoughtful presentation. Highly recommended.
5* Heartwarmingly told poignant tale for young readers, but thought provoking for anyone.