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review 2017-11-04 02:30
I LOVED this novel!
The Price of Humans - J.L. Edwards

I couldn’t get enough of The Price of Humans. This novel follows the story of the dynamic relationship between an unlikely pair, Chaba and George. Chaba witnessed the murder of his father and thinking that justice will never prevail, leads a life of lawlessness. He lives the life of a poor man, wondering where his next meal is going to come from and doing everything he can to provide for his young daughter. George is a factory man that leads a mundane life, but also an easy one. George has a home, nice things, a crazy wife, a big heart, and a need to help people. George becomes almost like a father figure to Chaba, leading him through life, feeding Chaba’s child, and doing what he can to turn Chaba’s life around. But does Chaba really want his life turned around? Does he seek the justice that George thinks he can have?
The suspense in this novel is remarkable, there’s never a moment that doesn’t have you perched at the edge of your seat. What is really appealing to the novel is the amount of truth that is behind it, as it is a mostly true retelling. In the middle of climactic scenes I had to take a step back from the novel to appreciate that these things really did happen, this tragedies are going on, these political “myths” that I’ve read about aren’t so mythic. The Price of Humans is eye opening. intriguing, and definitely worth the read. I highly recommend this novel to anyone that needs to see that justice prevails even in the most unlikely of places.

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review 2017-10-24 17:25
The Gap into Conflict / Stephen R. Donaldson
The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story - Stephen R. Donaldson

Angus Thermopyle was an ore pirate and a murderer; even the most disreputable asteroid pilots of Delta Sector stayed locked out of his way.  Those who didn't ended up in the lockup--or dead.  But when Thermopyle arrived at Mallory's Bar & Sleep with a gorgeous woman by his side the regulars had to take notice.  Her name was Morn Hyland, and she had been a police officer--until she met up with Thermopyle.
But one person in Mallory's Bar wasn't intimidated.  Nick Succorso had his own reputation as a bold pirate and he had a sleek frigate fitted for deep space.  Everyone knew that Thermopyle and Succorso were on a collision course.  What nobody expected was how quickly it would be over--or how devastating victory would be.  It was common enough example of rivalry and revenge--or so everyone thought.  The REAL story was something entirely different.

 

I have a negative past with Stephen R. Donaldson’s work. I loathe the Thomas Covenant series and I could only read the first book of the Mordant’s Need duality. I had the second book on my TBR until I realized that the thought of picking it up depressed me profoundly and I decided to let it go.

So it was with distinct reservations that I picked up The Gap into Conflict and no one was more surprised than me when I actually enjoyed it. The subject matter is difficult, but the insights into the main character, Angus Thermopyle, were worth the struggle. And, as Donaldson promises, we get the “real story” about what is going on in his psyche. It’s not pretty, but it is truthful, as he confronts his feelings and admits to himself that he maybe isn’t as rough & tough as he likes to think. It was kind of like getting a peek into the mind of someone like Ariel Castro, the Cleveland kidnapper.

I liked that no character was locked into a role, that everything kept shifting as the novel unfolded. Morn Hyland starts as a victim, but certainly doesn’t end that way. Nick Succorso is set up to look like a hero, but a small foreshadowing by Donaldson indicates that he is no white knight.

I never thought I would ever say this: I’m looking forward to the next book in this Donaldson series!

Book number 266 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2017-09-21 19:06
Good Me, Bad Me / Ali Land
Good Me Bad Me - Ali Land

Not recommended for those who have children and/or are sensitive to violence against children.

Milly knows she is different from other children. From other people. But she maybe doesn’t realize just how different. You see, Molly’s mother is a serial killer and she has forced Milly to be Satan’s little helper. It’s much easier to snatch a child if you have one of your own in tow.

What conscience Milly has left has sent her to the police. Yes, she felt bad for the children lying dead in their basement, but what she was truly dreading was the “birthday party” that her mother was planning when she turned “sweet sixteen.” So before the invitations go out to people to come & brutalize her, Milly turns her mother in.

But she had no idea how hard it was going to be to leave her mother behind. Or how difficult it will be to act like she is “normal,” especially when she has been taught by an expert how to read body language, how to manipulate people, how to tell them what they want to hear. She can’t seem to fit in to her foster situation, because she can see altogether too clearly what is going on in their home—and how can she trust a social worker who can’t see that his wife is an addict and his daughter is well on her way to the same state.

If you like this book, I would recommend I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. It is a young adult work, but really well done in my opinion. Another child struggling to right himself after being raised by a serial killer dad.

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review 2017-08-07 04:42
Dragon's Guide...
A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans - Joanne Ryder,Laurence Yep

 

 

It was a lovely funeral for Fluffy, the best pet I ever had.

- Opening sentence

 

Avoid spoiling your pet with too many treats; however, spoiling yourself is all well and good.

- Chapter 4

 

Be firm with your pet and make it clear what is acceptable behavior. Both you and your pet will be happier for it.

- Chapter 6

 

This is a cute book told from the point of view of the dragon (Miss Drake). Amelia was Miss Drake's pet (although she called Amelia Fluffy). Amelia left the dragon to her great neice, Winnie. But Miss Drake doesn't want a new pet and Winnie seems untrainable. The book tells how Winnie and Miss Drake get to know each other and become friends. Dragons and other magical creatures hide themselves from humans (unless they are trustworthy). Miss Drakes can transform into a female human when she needs to. There are plenty of other magical creatures who also hide themselves from humans in this story.  

 

I really enjoyed this book. Miss Drake is sarcastic and controlling and Winnie holds her own in the friendship. Winnie finds a journal that ends up wreaking havoc, but together, Miss Drake and Winnie find a way to fix things.

 

This book is nominated for a 2017-18 Sunshine State Young Readers Award, grades 3-5. I think it will be a popular one this year. I am a bit interested in the sequels, but my classes start again soon, and I don't think I'll have time to read them.

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review 2017-05-16 19:24
Among Animals 2
Among Animals 2: The Lives of Animals and Humans in Contemporary Short Fiction - Sascha Morrell,JoeAnn Hart,John Yunker

Among Animals 2 is a collection of short stories that examines the varied relationships between humans and animals. With a mix of contemporary fiction, historical stories, dystopian and science fiction, many different aspects of these relationships are able to be captured. Some of these stories will make you uncomfortable, some are sweet and comforting, all will make you think about the relationships humans share with animals that are pets, in captivity, on farms or in the wild and how our actions affect them.

 

Some stories that affected me were:

Phoenix Cross looks into factory farming of chickens and genetic engineering. Some of us may know exactly the horrid conditions in which factory farmed chickens are raised, we might ignore it, we may not care, some of us might choose free-range chickens. Phoenix Cross brings out not only the effects of this method on the chickens, but on the farmers as well. I loved the connection of boy and bird in this story and the bird's point of view really made me think about how our food gets to us.

 

Exotic Animal Alert: Please Post Widely inspects caretakers and zoo animals as well as the close bond one might form with an animal that is truly wild. Again, an animal point of view was used in order to empathize with the clouded leopard point of view. What I found most interesting was the differing opinions about Sokar the clouded leopard formed by the husband and wife who raised him and how Sokar's presence impacted their relationship.

 

A Normal Rabbit is the story of a family and their ordinary pet rabbit, Camper. Camper is a symbol for many things in the family, but most of all Camper's presence is able to elicit responses of empathy for other living things.

 

Overall, an interesting compilation of stories that will hopefully make readers reexamine their relationships with the animals and environment around them.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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