Blog Tour Review: Dialogues of a Crime by John K. Manos

Dialogues of a CrimeIn this crime drama, Michael Pollitz must decide whether to protect the mobster who has protected him.

When Mike, a college student in 1972 Illinois, is arrested on drug charges, his father insists he use a public defender. His childhood friend’s father, Dom Calabria, head of the Outfit in Chicago, wants to help Mike by providing a first-rate lawyer, but Mike goes with his father’s wishes. The outcome is a plea bargain for a short stay in Astoria Adult Correctional Facility—but after he’s brutally beaten and raped by three inmates, Mike spends most of his sentence in the infirmary. He doesn’t give up his assailants’ names but threatens their lives right before he’s set to be released. When Mike is picked up by the head of the mob, people notice.

Flash forward to 1994, when Detective Larry Klinger begins investigating the murders of two former Astoria inmates who were violently killed shortly after being released. An informant—the third man who beat Mike—tells Klinger that the murders were committed by Calabria, the kingpin whom Klinger would like to see taken down. Klinger investigates, coming in contact with Mike, and the two form a friendship. When Klinger realizes that Mike will never give up Calabria, he begins to wonder whether it’s even worth investigating the murders of such evil men.

Continue reading

Review: Fourth Degree Freedom by Libby Heily

Fourth Degree Freedom explores the best of humanity and the worst. The stories range from hopeful realism to the dystopian side of speculative fiction. Each story twists and turns through darkness and light, settling somewhere in the shadowy area of day to day life.

Thank You For Calling – A young woman fights to keep her sanity, her marriage and her hope while working in a call center.

The Event – Do the youth decide to go along with the government’s plan to rid the population of the elderly, or will they fight back?

Fourth Degree Freedom – A family, shunned by neighbors and friends, struggles with their youngest son, a boy that was literally born a monster.

The Last Six Miles – Samantha has hit rock bottom. Her husband has left her and her only source of comfort is junk food. Her slip into depression seems inevitable until she discovers running. Samantha begins the long journey from barely being able to jog a minute to completing her first marathon.

She Floats – If you woke up and didn’t know where you were, would you panic? What if you were trapped in a giant aquarium? Continue reading

Review: Symphony of Blood by Adam Pepper

Hank Mondale, a rough-around-the-edges P.I. with a small drinking problem and a large gambling problem, needs a break.  With his landlord threatening eviction and his bookie threatening worse, things look bleak. 

Until real estate mogul Thomas Blake calls with an incredible story: a monster is trying to kill his daughter. 

Hank figures she’s probably some whacked-out spoiled brat, but desperate, Hank takes the case to track down the supposed monster.  It seems that people around Mackenzie Blake are disappearing.  It’s obviously no coincidence.  Was Hank hired to unwittingly aid a wealthy murderess?  Or is there really someone…or some thing, trying to kill Mackenzie Blake?

A symphony plays that only It can hear.  But there will be a special performance, just for her.

Review

I, along with millions of other readers I’m sure, enjoy a nice surprise and I don’t mean just the element of surprise when it comes to a good plot twist. What I’m talking about is the surprise of enjoying a story and the surprise of reading something I was not expecting. Continue reading

Review: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume 1

Volume One

London, 1898. The Victorian Era draws to a close and the twentieth century approaches. It is a time of great change and an age of stagnation, a period of chaste order and ignoble chaos. It is an era in need of champions.

In this amazingly imaginative tale, literary figures from throughout time and various bodies of work are brought together to face any and all threats to Britain.

 Review

Unfortunately I was a little disappointed with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It took me more than half way before I could start to get into it and even then I still wasn’t sure what was so good about it. I have seen the film adaptation, that I liked, but I don’t remember why and I can barely remember the story, so there were aspects of the original that surprised me. Continue reading

Review: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

Can you trust yourself when you don’t know who you are? Syme uses his new acquaintance to go undercover in Europe’s Central Anarchist Council and infiltrate their deadly mission, even managing to have himself voted to the position of ‘Thursday’. In a park in London, secret policeman Gabriel Syme strikes up a conversation with an anarchist.

Sworn to do his duty, when Syme discovers another undercover policeman on the Council, however, he starts to question his role in their operations. And as a desperate chase across Europe begins, his confusion grows, as well as his confidence in his ability to outwit his enemies. But he has still to face the greatest terror that the Council has – its leader: a man named Sunday, whose true nature is worse than Syme could ever have imagined…

Review

The reason I picked up The Man Who Was Thursday was because of the title, what a long and interesting title I thought. The reason I kept reading it was because of the characters and G.K. Chesterton’s interesting use of words and ides. The reason I finished it? In all honesty, I still haven’t figured that out. Continue reading

3 In 1: Sherlock Holmes, Spirit Bound & Last Sacrifice

I don’t really have the time at the moment to be able to post proper reviews of the last books I’m reading for the year so instead I’m going to do a short summary of thoughts on three of them, hence the three in one. This might be a new sporadic occurrence in the new year when I finish my break and get back to writing again.

Note: Two of the books are the last two in a series (The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead) and unfortunately have spoilers. Please keep that in mind before deciding to read this post because it’s hard to avoid spoilers in the tail end of a series and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone if they don’t wish for it. Those two are the last two summaries to help avoid the spoilers.

One last thing: If you’re after the synopsis for the books all of the pictures lead to them on other sites (GoodReads and VA Books).

A Study In Scarlet and The Sign of The Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I love the character Sherlock Holmes. I even love the character Watson, which you think would be great for reading the books, but it really is a bit of a problem. The problem is like the majority of people I have been introduced to those characters via other media and loved them from those, when I finally got to read the book (it comprises of two stories) I was a tad disappointed because it bored me.

I think if it wasn’t for my love of those characters I would never have finished reading it, but luckily they saved it for me. It was not only that though, but also Doyle’s idea. Here is this man writing in the late 1800s and he had such great ideas of deducing and scientific know how. I realise that it was the 19th century and there were some great advancements for civilisation at the time, but it’s still great to read something that can be considered visionary in some parts especially when it comes to the identification of blood.

If you haven’t read these books about Sherlock Holmes and want to then I suggest not reading them based on a love of the characters, but for the story itself.

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

I started out thoroughly enjoying this series, eating it up and plowing through the books, but I think a combination of story line and not reading in quick succession once again has left me not being as engrossed as last time. Don’t get me wrong, I still read these books pretty quickly and still had a hard time putting them down, but I didn’t feel anywhere near as much enjoyment as I did with the first few books.

Once again Richelle Mead has shown she is a great writer in that the plot is well formed, her characters are well defined, there is character development as well, and there is enough detail without it being over the top. It really is a book for those who are avid fans of the VA series and who do not mind love triangles.

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

I hate love triangles. To me, if they don’t outright ruin a story, they damage it to an extent. I think there is enough drama in fictional relationships (and real ones) without there being the added drama of love triangles. It’s overkill, in a lot of cases unnecessary, and usually highly predictable. I understand that Rose needed that in some ways to learn certain lessons, but I always feel that there is another way for characters to develop and learn without the aide of a love triangle.

I also hate it when a person who cheats or is so dishonest is written with an amount of sympathy or has been written in such a way, with emotional investment on the reader’s part, that you feel you must sympathise or take their side when they do something like Rose did. It justifies the act in the story (and I have a major problem with it in all forms of media as a plot idea, it is used to excess in so many rom coms and other romantic movies it makes me want to puke) and that always makes me uneasy.

Once again I appreciate Mead’s writing skill and style, for the reasons mentioned in the above summary, but the whole love triangle angle took it down a few notches for me and I lost a lot of respect for the character Rose. Rose went from being a character I enjoyed in the beginning to a character I don’t ever want to read again. It’s great for me then that this is the last book following Rose’s story and I’m still going to read Bloodlines because I really like a lot of the other characters. She also tied it up neatly enough, allowing of course some room for Bloodlines, but all in all I think Last Sacrifice is a good end to the VA series for those who love it.