Fragile by Justin R. Macumber

Fragile is the next book following the life of Maya Gallows, a paranormal investigator and blogger, as she tries to deal with the fallout of what happened in Stillwater (book one, Still Water). But even though she’s struggling with what happened she moves onto the next case. Young girls are going missing and are being replaced by dolls in a small town, so Maya goes to investigate it with the help of her young friend Taylor.img_1065

This is a very well written, and engaging story that becomes more and more of a page turner as you get deeper into the story. There is very little, if any, fluff in Fragile. The story moves along at a healthy and natural pace. The characters are well layered and feel very real, whether it’s those who don’t get much page time like Alan or main characters like Maya and Taylor, they all have a genuineness to them.

Justin Macumber is really good at setting tones for his stories. I found in this and the first novel in the series, Stil Water, especially that he can give you (the reader) a great idea of where these stories take place without overloading the story with details about how the world looks. He gives just enough to set the imagination free, which I think helps the story move along more smoothly.

The story has some pretty chilling moments in it (obviously) but it also has heart and humour as well. Much of the humour is in the dialogue, which is very strong and adds to the character’s personalities. It is a story where I said ‘damn’ and ‘oh shit’ out loud a number of times.

A quick note on the cover by Scott Macumber, it freaks me out. In a good way though, in the way that I can’t quite take my eyes off it despite the feeling that it’s trying to eat my soul.

I’ve now read five of Justin Macumber’s books and it’s great seeing him growing as a writer. Each novel feels a little more refined, a little more stronger, and like Macumber is pushing himself harder and not letting himself get comfortable now that he’s had a few books published.

Stil Water was my favourite Justin R. Macumber novel, but Fragile has just raced passed it.

Book Review: Blood In The Paint by Jordanna East

At the end of last week I received an Advanced Review Copy of Blood In The Paint by Jordanna East.

The story centres around three characters, Dr. Gillian Atford, who is a successful psychologist who has had a few issues in her past. Lyla Kyle, an artist who moonlights as a punisher of men who cheat on their wives and Jason Brighthouse, a police officer who is desperate to become a detective just like his late father.

All three of them have traumatic pasts and all three of them find that their lives spiral together by their actions.

 

I’ve been waiting for this novel since I read it’s prequel, Blood In The Past (https://petergermany.com/2013/07/24/book-review-blood-in-the-past-by-jordanna-east/)

Now you don’t have to read the prequel novella before reading Blood In The Paint but I would recommend it, As I read Blood In The Paint I did have some moments when I said ‘Oh Sh*T!’ because I recognised something from the prequel.

Blood In The Paint is a thoroughly enjoyable read. I knocked this novel out in five days or so, I would have read it quicker but I’m a slow reader and I needed sleep. As I read through the pages I was getting more and more sucked into it, each page demanded that I turn it and when I got to the end of a chapter I couldn’t scroll the screen down quick enough to continue with the story.

The characters have a strong depth to them which is clear from the start of the novel but as you progress through it that depth is revelled and fleshed out even more. Jordanna East is not afraid to push her characters and she was able to pull me into it to the point where, despite my manliness (LMAO!), I got chocked up near the end of the novel. It takes a lot to get that sort of reaction out of me when I’m reading a book so that did impress me.

The whole book did that though, impress me. The  characters were good, as I’ve said. the storyline was very interesting and fascinated me the more that I read of it. The detail that was included did not feel like it was being rammed down my throat or was out of my ability to comprehend it. It was written in a way that made it very easy to understand.

I liked the fact there’s no fat in it at all. Sometimes a novel will have a lot of fluff to pad them out but this one didn’t, I can’t recall any parts where I was bored by or found the content useless.

In full disclosure I will say that I’ve gotten to know Jordanna a little through blogging and social media, but I don’t want anyone thinking that I’m not giving an honest review here. I’m not someone who will just say its great for the sake of it, because if it isn’t then I look stupid. So when I say that this is an incredible good novel, it is, in my opinion, an incredible good novel. In my review for Blood In The Past I said that it was better written then some bestsellers that I have read, and I found Blood In The Paint to match the quality of it prequel novella. Jordanna East is a very talented writer and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

 

Blood In The Paint is available from Monday the 31st of March 2014 and despite having already read it, I will be buying myself a copy come Monday.

Her prequel novella, Blood In The Past, is already available for purchase, here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Past-Prelude-Novella-Series/dp/0989581012/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395867990&sr=8-1&keywords=jordanna+east

And Jordanna’s website is: http://jordannaeast.com/

Please feel free to pop over and say Hi and please check out her fiction, because it is really good 🙂

Book Review: An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

Like a lot of people I had heard of Chris Hadfield but I had never paid much attention to him until I heard an interview with him on the Nerdist Podcast. He seemed to have a very easy and likable personality and I enjoyed listening to him speaking about his experiences so I looked up his book on iTunes and found that it was available in audio. I hit purchase, and I’m very glad that I did.

 

Normally anything Biographical is a no-go for me. As a rule I struggle with them but that was when I was reading and not listening and with An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth I was pulled in within the first five minutes. Hadfield himself narrates the audiobook and that likable personality I mentioned earlier came through in his reading. I’m glad Hadfield did narrate the book as there are moments when the emotion of his memories comes through in how he reads the book.

 

I’ve not read many autobiographies but Hadfield’s sounds very sincere and honest. Not only does he mention his highs but he also is not afraid to talk about the times when he was at fault or did something that he later regretted. We get to see just how hard it is to become an astronaut. I’m not someone who has sat looking up into the night sky wishing I could go into space, I always thought it would be neat to do but I never seriously wished to travel into space but after consuming this book I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I stand no chance of ever leaving this planet. The skills these men and women have that get them into the Astronauts office at NASA are quite impressive. Not only do they have to be intelligent, healthy and competent they also need to have the right personality and mind sets.

Of the thousands of people who apply to be astronauts only a handful are successful and Hadfield earnt his place there through a lot of hard work which he is very humble about. He seems like the type of person that you’d get talking to in a bar where there’s a band playing and take an instant liking to him.

 

The pacing is really good, it’s not just a re-telling of his life in chronological order. It jumps from point to point depending on what Hadfield is trying to say with a particular paragraph and it’s all tied up very nicely.

 

It’s almost part autobiography and part self-help guide. Hadfield talks about how thinking about the worst outcome can help with achieving success. I think the phrase he uses is ‘Sweat the small stuff.’ or something along those lines. Basically he is saying if you think of the worst case scenario and how to solve it then if it happens you are prepared for it. This is something that sounds like NASA train their astronauts to do and it sounds like a damn good concept. To me its the ultimate 6 p’s. Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. I love that saying and with space exploration it seems like a good way of thinking. Hadfield gives a lot of examples of how this has helped him achieve all that he has.

 

This was the last book I read (listened to) and finished in 2013 and it was a good one to end out the year on. I’ve listened to it twice in the two weeks since I downloaded it and I’ll probably listen to it again before the month is out. It has really inspired me and given me an insight into what life as an astronaut is like and I doubt that I am the only person who has been surprised by just what astronauts do when they’re not floating in zero gravity.

If you have an interest in space then I highly recommend this book. It has changed many of my perceptions and inspired more then a few ideas for my own fiction.

Book Review: Blood In The Past by Jordanna East

I’m just posting a quick book review here tonight as I want to get stuck into a bit more writing tonight.

 

Blood In The Past by Jordanna East  is a prelude novella which tells the story of three people who’s lives cross over during times of personal suffering. Jillian falls for a married man. Lyla finds her mother dead and a young man has to deal with the loss of his father.

I couldn’t put this novella down. The story sucked me into it to the point where I was staying up late to read more of it. The characters have a lot of layers to them and I found that I could understand their pain and why they were doing what they were.

The story is well tied together and never feels rushed which I liked because each character had a good amount of time for me to get to know them. Sometimes in shorter pieces I’ve found that characters or the story do not get the attention that they deserve. Here that is not the case. The level of detail is very good as well. Jordanna East must have done a lot of research for this novella and she lays it onto the page in a way that comes through as very convincing. I learnt a fair bit from it.

As for the actual writing it is incredibly well written. If I had not of known I would never have guessed this is Jordanna East’s debut. I’ll go as far to say its better written then some bestsellers I have read. Her way with words is pure beauty.

I cannot wait for more of Ms. East’s work to be released.

 

Please consider clicking on the link to Jordanna East’s blog below. There she writes some interesting posts and she also has a link to purchase the novella if you like the look of it (in the U.K. it’s less then £2)

 

http://jordannaeast.com/

Book Review: Redshirts By John Scalzi

This first sentence of this post I am writing as I am on page 260 out of 317 of the novel Redshirts by John Scalzi and I’m fighting hard on not uploading this post now as I have not finished reading the book yet but I wanted to just write these few words down quickly as it is fresh in my head. John Scalzi, you Sir are a bloody genius!

Now lets see if the last part of the book keeps me this impressed with how Scalzi has wrote this book.
(Date wrote: 13/7/13)

Last night(19/7/13) I finished reading this book and its kept me as impressed as when I wrote the first few sentences of this post.

Redshirts is about a crew on a Starship called The Intrepid and on this starship there are a number of odd occurrences when one of the senior crew always gets hurts and junior crew members have a very short life expectancy. One crewman in particular starts to investigate this and his and his friends investigations go in odd and unbelievable directions.

This book needs to be read not only by every science fiction fan on the planet but by every book lover and writer breathing. The entire last third of the novel is like a guide to writing hidden in the words of the story. Which I’ve never seen done before. Scalzi takes the final third of the book in a direction that I really wasn’t expecting it to and it’s something that I found that as I read more I enjoyed it more. This book as gone straight into the top of my favourite books list, Scalzi has shot straight to the top of writers who have influenced me and had an effect on me as a person and no doubt on how I write as well. The book and him are both fighting it out in the top five of favourite books and authors.

Please consider checking out this book. John Scalzi is an amazing writer whose work has great humour, action, depth and quality. It’s worth a few minutes of your time to check it out I think.

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Book Review: 1984 by George Orwell

This is one which I knew I needed to read (Okay I listened to the audiobook but its the same thing) but I hadn’t gotten round to it but a Friend mentioned Orwellian and I thought I’d get hold of it. My overall impression;

WOW!

It’s such a strong, deep and dark story which is chilling in its content and the fact that so much of it has come true and is still coming true. People reporting each other for the smallest of infractions, the most powerful ignoring what they preach, cameras and other recording devices in every home (apparently the new Xbox will monitor how many people are watching a movie that is being played on it via the camera in the connect). That’s just what comes to mind as I sit here writing this still not quite awake.

In the world of 1984 history is being re-written on a daily process. Sex is frowned upon if its for any other reason then reproduction. Even owning a diary is unacceptable.

The story itself though follows a man as he goes from day to day in a mundane life with thoughts of rebelling against Big Brother (not the proxy TV show) but never really thinking further then the little rebellion of having a diary or other such acts. He suspect a young women who he keeps coming across as a member of the Thought Police and fears that she is watching him, knowing he’s having some of these rebellious thoughts. She is not what he thinks though and they go on a journey of rebellion which leads to a resistance group and;

I’ll leave the summary there as I don’t want to let slip any spoilers, but its an amazing story and quite a scary one. The lasting impression that it has left me with is just how much of it has come true. It’s s chilling tail which has really struck a nerve with me, I went out and brought the movie adaptation on Wednesday, and I’m eager to look into more or Orwell’s work. I’ve got Animal Farm somewhere.

Please consider reading this one. It’s in no way dated and should be taught in every school in the world in my opinion.

Book Review: World War Z

Okay so it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these where its not just s couple of lines in a bigger post, lets see how much of a pigs ear I make of it! Lol

World War Z was not what I expected at all, if fact I not sure I know what I expected. This book by Max Brooks has a man who works for the U.N. going across the world collecting stories from some of the many people who survived the Zombie war. From speaking to a doctor who recorded an early case to the deep sea divers who are searching the oceans for the zombies down there. Each story is very different.

My friend Mike had said to me the night before I started listening to it (I’ve got the audiobook) that he had started reading it but put it down because he couldn’t get along with it. I can see what he means. If I had it as a an actual book and not audio then I think I would have given up with it. It started off very slowly, and the format was off putting at first. It’s really a collection of short stories as opposed to a normal book with a start, middle and end. It got better though. It was fascinating to see how the world fell to pieces and got put back together. Brooks doesn’t leave anything unthought of in this book. The zombies are the kind that don’t stop, they keep going but they as not the smart ones etc. if you can think of a survival story involving zombies then its in this book. There’s the military point of view and the everyday person point of view. Governments, hired guns and each point of view comes from a different person, in a different country.

It’s a very well thought through and written book which I thoroughly enjoyed. I am a little interested in how they have put the movie together because there is no real protagonist. Personally I think a TV series would have complimented the format of the book better but we’ll have t wait and see.

Once past the slow start I well and true fully fell in love with this one 🙂