Saturday, February 23, 2013

With and Without Class by David Wallace Fleming

David Fleming is one of the first authors I got in touch with after setting up a Goodreads account, and I am still glad I did. His writing is insightful, entertaining, and funny no matter which of his works you've picked up. The latest one in my hands, With and Without Class, is a collection of short stories, many of which appear in his other collection Not from Concentrate (I reviewed this audiobook in two parts, here and here). Overall, I definitely enjoyed myself throughout this set of stories, although there were some that stuck out more than others, and is a solid 4 out of 5 star collection in my book.

What I liked about With and Without Class is that while some stories are still very technology heavy, David tries a few different directions as well; he includes some horror and science fiction/fantasy stories in this collection. My favorites were "An Anniversary Concession" and "Talent Police", but I wasn't overly fond of "White Daddies" or "Embarkment". Mostly because I was a bit confused and couldn't really see the meaning behind the story itself.

David has a style of writing that, even though each story is rather short, you get a feel for the characters and what kinds of emotions they're experiencing. In "An Anniversary Concession", you can't help but feel as Eric did- nervous at the thought of taking the call by himself, then overwhelmed and shocked by the situation that ensues. In "Talent Police", which is told through a series of entries both to Frank's diary and to his diary's diary, I empathized with Frank, who was trying to discover who he was and what his purpose was, but was too fixated on other people to really see himself. Kind of sounds familiar, right? Too many people focused on the lifestyles and habits of celebrities and not-really celebrities to concentrate on their own lives and the lives of those around them.

Some of the other stories were a bit confusing, but were still fun to read and try to decipher what was going on and why- It'd be interesting, for example, to see the backstory to "Embarkment", including how the crew got to where they were, and why they became auras of their former selves. Even as I write this review, I find that I'm constantly having to remind myself that a short story is essentially a clip from the potential novel that it could be, and not everything can or will be explained without the story becoming a much longer piece of work (not that I'd be complaining, having more to read from a talented author such as David).

While I was able to learn a bit more about the symbolism and meaning behind "White Daddies" through speaking with the author, my arachnophobia still took precedent over any potential deep reading of the story. There is certainly a lot that could be gotten from the story, I am just not tough enough to get through it again :P

So, there you have it. Another fantastic work from an author I look forward to seeing more from. Definitely a recommended book, especially for people who have trouble getting through a full novel- they're short stories, everyone has time to sit and read one once in a while!

- Justin :)

Things to Lookout For :D

Wow, I'm getting pretty bad at updating this, aren't I? Truth is, I've been running around with the completion of my internship in New York, a job in Jersey, potential job in New York, and FINALLY getting back in shape, that it's taken me the entire month to read 2 books! Not that I'm complaining, I fully enjoyed David Fleming's With and Without Class, and while I have another 50 pages, I have no doubt that I'll enjoy the conclusion to Cassandra Clare's City of Bones. If I were reading this blog, I'd expect/demand posts reviewing these two books within the next week- my goal is by the end of February.

I also plan on revamping my bookshelf pages on my blog, making them more user-friendly and navigable (is this even a word?!) This way, you can click a book and pull up my review of it (assuming it's been reviewed), or at the least there'll be a more understandable list up, with a rating next to it so you can tell whether I enjoyed it or not.

When I first started this blog, I didn't expect it to actually gain followers, nor did I expect to have authors requesting that I read and review their novels. This was just something for me to post and rant about how I felt regarding what I was reading. I'm so pleased that people have noticed this, and that my reading addiction has become influential to other people. Makes me feel just a little more important, you know? Anyway, expect those two posts and the bookshelf updates soon, and if anyone has any comments, suggestions, or book recommendations, feel free to leave a comment here or elsewhere on my blog.

Thanks bunches!!
Justin :D

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Prophecy Revealed by Jennifer Selzer & Daniel Huber

After having read and enjoyed their first book in the Destiny's Kingdom series, Legend of the Chosen, I was contacted by these authors again to read and review their second book, A Prophecy Revealed. I can honestly say I was thrilled to be able to get a copy of their second book, because the first book was a 5 star winner to me and I couldn't wait to get back into the world that these two talented authors have created.

From the publisher:
Having seemingly committed the most heinous act of attacking the Keystone and leaving him for dead, Quade Dacairus seeks sanctuary with the galaxy’s most powerful magic user, the Avè. Hunted by the SanFear, an ancient entity as old and as powerful as the gods, Quade’s limited time to save his world ticks away as he searches for the chosen spoken of in legends to join him in this quest. Uniting the chosen is Quade’s only hope to defeat this evil and save his world from certain destruction. In a world rich with magic and technology, a seamless blend of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, Destiny’s Kingdom follows Quade’s journey as he battles to save a galaxy that has always known peace and prosperity, from a powerful evil that he alone can see. A Prophecy Revealed is Book two in the Destiny’s Kingdom Series.

My thoughts:
Needless to say, A Prophecy Revealed earns itself 5 out of 5 stars for being just as entertaining and fast paced as its predecessor. While it took me a few chapters to get back into the plot, and remember just where all these characters had left off previously, I was just as drawn into the story and anxious to find out if the Chosen are successful in defeating the SanFear. Fantastic blend of action and plot, with humorous dialogue well placed to avoid overly dramatic or emotional chapters (there was a lot of revelation in this book, that left me feeling feelings that Trina was hiding so well through her strength).

There are two quotes that I bookmarked on my Nook and felt that they needed to be shared:
The bulb-shaped space station glowed like an ethereal toy top in gargantuan proportion, hanging against the darkness like a decorative ornament might hang. Its honeycomb lower half was a celestial hive with dozens upon dozens of docking berths to accommodate ships of all shapes and sizes.
This is a fantastically unique way to describe a space station, and I'm not sure yet how I feel about it..

It is a blind faith we keep in so many of the things we hold most dear. It is that which we cannot grasp and cannot guarantee. But that we simply know.
I just really liked this quote, and wanted to share it with everyone. 

Almost all my questions from the first book were answered, although I'm still interested in learning more about Shylo and how things will play out between him, the Seer, and the rest of the Chosen. I did, however, get more confused about the Avé. He was almost affected by the SanFear, which sort of implies mortality or at the least a lack of power to fight the SanFear, and I spent the whole time up until this point thinking he was akin to a deity... Is the SanFear really that strong, or is the Avé weaker and less omnipotent than I originally thought?

Overall I was very pleased with A Prophecy Revealed, and definitely recommend to anyone who likes science fiction, fantasy, adventure, or really any type of genre as this is definitely a 'between the genres' kind of book. Elements of so many different topics and genres are introduced and blended so well together, and I look forward to seeing more from Ms. Selzer and Mr. Huber.

- Justin