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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-22 03:02
Alex Rider adventure in France
Point Blanc - Anthony Horowitz

Alex Rider has found a drug dealer in his school and tried to catch the drug dealer.


MI6 has bailed him out only to use him as an undercover agent to infiltrate a French school for rich kids.


The plot thicken as this special school has more guards than students.


So what's going on?


Alex found out. He got gadgets but no weapons. 


He was captured and he called for help. No help comes for 24 hours because MI6 don't trust Alex judgment.


Why are the two MI6 handlers so terrible? 


Anyway, this put Alex in danger and he needed to escape. 


This read like a cartoonish spy story. It is fine as long as the plots are there for the action.


Very entertaining read.  


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text 2018-06-21 10:09
Reading progress update: I've read 190 out of 282 pages.
Point Blanc - Anthony Horowitz

Alex is at school but didn't feel fit in.


He found someone selling drugs at his school and he told matter in his own hands instead of reporting to the police.


Now he is in trouble and the MI6 bailed him out. Only to ask him to help them again.

The MI6 people are really mean. They are not trusting Alex while wanting to use him in the field. He has to infiltrate a French school for troubled rich kids. And pretend to be the son of a supermarket chain owner Friend. 


Friend has one daughter and she is mean too.


Now Alex is at school and notice something strange. 


Really good read. Alex is being independently investigating a case. Like it a lot. 


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review 2018-06-20 22:09
Out in Sept
The Piranhas - Roberto Saviano,Anthony Shuggar

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley


                There is a tendency to romanticize the mob.  Whether it is the fault of The Godfather movies or something more else, many people feel a certain affection for the mob.  Perhaps it is a sense of loyalty or of family. Who knows?  It is mostly a love for violence and mayhem, for instance in Scarface.


                But that’s all Hollywood.


                There are certain things that buck the trend – say The Wire, which is about drug dealers but also about the culture that allows them to exist and how policing is not the solution.  There’s Saviano’s Gomorrah, a book which earned him a target on his back, but that also demolishes any romance for the mob and forces people to confront the truth (this is also true of the movie and tv series that the book produced).


                Saviano’s latest mob book, The Piranhas, is one of those novels supposedly based in true events.  I’m not sure; I don’t know enough about Italy and the mob to say so.


                However, if the fourth season of The Wire is the best because it looks at how a failing school system sets up its students for failure, then Saviano’s book does the same thing for Italy.  The story follows a group of boys, led by Nicolas, who want to become Camorra bosses.  In part, this is a result of the steady diet of media they consume, and in part, it is because of what they see every day, who controls everything, and how everything in their world works.  They can become like some of the fathers, but the boys do not seem to view those men as real men, but as simply weak.


                And that something these boys cannot be seen as, for they want to be in the ones in the private room.


                What the book then chronicles aren’t the corrupting of the innocent, but how a presence of crime combined with social media and status lead a group of boys to become, not so much men, but young people with guns.  The boys can’t be corrupted because that happen long ago, and nothing different is really shown to them.  If it isn’t the Camorra controlling something it’s the better neighborhoods or towns controlling something, acting like the Camorra without the official illegality.  Even the teachers are in on it, for that is simply life.  Those that do not join, simply do not anything really.


                It is a bleak novel, a harsh novel, and one without a true hero.  The reader cannot root for, isn’t suppose to root for, any of the young boys who despite their bravo are still boys.  Still, at times, think the Camorra is simply as it is in the movies (which do make for the truly funny passages of the novel), yet who do have a degree of flare and intelligence needed to pull things off.


                Yet, we need novels like this, in the bleakness, because we need to confront what is wrong in society and why we glorify criminals who don’t really have that many redeeming features and whose actions murder innocence and hope.  At least we need to, if we want to break the cycle.  It is violent but it does not celebrate violence the way that many movies do.  No, it is far more personal  than that.

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review 2018-06-17 07:28
The Cyclist - Anthony Neil Smith

Three and a half star rating.
Don’t take anything on face value, especially online - something Judd forgot when he flew from the U S to see Catriona in Scotland. This keen cyclist got more than he bargained for - much more! The book really got into its stride once Judd and Catriona met at Glasgow airport and from then on it was absolutely action packed, a thrill a minute, but who is the cat and who is the mouse in this violent story? It certainly kept me entertained!

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review 2018-06-12 21:38
California Creatures by Clasman & Anthony
California Creatures - David Anthony,Charles David Clasman

Note: Even though this is Book #3 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone.

This is another great collection of spooky tales for the whole family. I expected great things from this book since Frightening Florida was so wonderful and I was not disappointed. Some tales are based on local myths or legends while others have a more modern bend to them.

A few of the tales stood out for me. I loved the tale that have grandparents who claim to be monster hunters (The Boot). I didn’t know until the very end whether the grandparents were going to be heroes or villains. I also loved the opening tale (Tar Pit Terror) because who doesn’t love a scary story that features a skeleton and this skeleton comes out of a smelly, gooey pit. Toll to the Troll was also awesome. I will never look at Alcatraz the same way again.

This collection of tales has a good balance of humor and scary. For instance, The Man in the Gray Suit had me laughing over the corny surfer slang. Often the various characters, almost all of which are kids, tease each other adding a few chuckles to even the scariest stories.

California Creatures is great for all ages as any sad ending to the heroes is left off scene and merely implied in the ending. I liked that most tales left things open ended so I can imagine my favorite heroes escaping at the last second… or being eaten or such if I felt they needed a dramatic ending.

The collection is full of little surprises. A dragon!?! Some weird fountain of youth? A zoo for movie monsters? The authors’s imaginations are on full display with these tales. 5/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Neil Holmes gave another great performance. I love his range of voices, from little girl to gruff grandma to questionable security guard to impatient troll – he has a different voice for them all. His female voices were feminine and his little kid voices were well done. I loved all his emotion too, especially for the scared surfers. I did notice a few small technical issues with the recording – a few times I think I heard paper rustling and once there was a line that partially overlayed another line. None of these small issues detracted from my enjoyment of the book. 4.5/5 stars.

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