Category Archives: Book Reviews

SuperPower: The Ability to Fly or to Become Invisible: The Next Generation (Book #2)

SuperPower: The Ability to Fly or to Become Invisible: The Next Generation (Book #2) by [E Pedersen, Roger]

The Next Generation by Roger E Pedersen is the second book in a super powered series featuring Professor Steele’s ‘Golden Eagle’ organization, taken over by his nephews after his disappearance. At the same time, twin brothers take control of the rival group DODGE (Department of Defense Genetically Engineered). Both organizations set out to find talented new recruits with the strongest superpowers, and this book charts the activities of the recruiters who travel the world wielding their power mostly for selfish or trivial advantage. The action culminates in a thrilling air battle bringing all the characters together for a final clash of superpower against superpower.

This fascinating story is written as a series of dossiers, as if recording facts, although it is not clear who is making the records. This is an interesting and original idea that could have been quite successful as a structural technique, particularly with the historical fantasy nature of the plot. However, I felt the structure was inconsistent, as the ‘dossiers’ contained descriptions of actions as well as dialogue.

The story is very detailed and filled with lots of facts and descriptions that serve to create very detailed characters, just as in book one. For example, Brittany’s description of the value of her necklace:

“… many people compliment Brittany on her beautiful emerald, [sic] green necklace. She says, “Thank you. It was a birthday present to me. I’ve always wanted an emerald necklace from Columbia [sic] where the darkish green and most expensive emeralds are mined.”

The Next Generation continues the intriguing story setup in book one and illustrates Pedersen’s painstaking research into the detailed development of his characters. For fans of super hero fiction, or for anyone looking for a book that focuses on character development, you will find plenty of details to dive into in Roger E Pedersen’s fascinating action adventure novel.

Pages: 316 | ASIN: B098VPTXM9

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Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence by [Lynn McAllister]

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence is an educational picture book warning kids, in hilarious fashion, about the dangers of spending too much time on their phone.

After spending too much time on her phone Pixie Van Dimple suffers from AI Infiltration. Someone must save her, and they better do it soon, or else Pixie will certainly be doomed.

This fun children’s book is told in rhyme and every other page has brightly colored comic art that serves as fantastic eye candy while reading the book. I think this book is more for higher grade elementary students, but in either case, the lesson taught here is a valuable one for todays youth. I loved the fun rhymes and the beautiful art and the story was very detailed. I would love to have seen this story as a kids chapter book for middle grade readers because I feel like there is some hints at a larger world that would be fun to explore.

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence is wonderfully representative of todays kids and provides a good lesson in a fun story that will surely keep children laughing as they eagerly flip the pages of the this whimsical picture book.

Pages: 28 | ASIN: B087BPDK11

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A Labyrinth for Loons

A Labyrinth for Loons by [Michael Greco]

Michael A. Greco’s novel A Labyrinth for Loons first appears as a retelling of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic; however, something much more sinister is happening below the surface.

Trapped on the 22nd floor of his condo in Malaysia, Leonard Smith deals with the global Covid-19 pandemic on his own. With brief facetime calls from his wife and daughter, who are hundreds of miles away, an ill-tempered teenager Chuckie and various neighbours, Leonard is isolated and desperate to leave. When two individuals show up with a manuscript and insist he help return the deceased Leonard Smith’s belongings, the mind starts to play tricks on itself, and he begins to question his sanity.

While the story is based around the Covid-19 pandemic, the story still felt fresh while remaining relevant. The more I read, the more intrigued and entranced I felt. The main character is isolated in urban Malaysia, first appearing as an arrogant and stereotypical American, despite his insistence he is not, but then he morphs into other personas. While his narration and point of view are not trustworthy, I found myself enraptured by his inner monologue and the world of the Tomato Frog Building above the mall.

One would think you are reading about a dystopian world, but for those who experienced quarantine, the events of the book are undeniably plausible. As Leonard (aka Leon or Leoni) gets drawn into chaos, the readers find themselves falling deeper into the madness, as if following the white rabbit down its hole. This book captures every critical moment of the world’s time in quarantine, from Tik Tok to the troubles with face masks. It will serve as an important literary marker for society, most notably for its remark on the human mind in a state of psychological stress. Comparable to Stephen King’s The Shining.

“Monsters are real. Ghosts are too. They live inside of us, and sometimes, they win.”

Pages: 193 | ASIN: B09BKL3XLJ

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Twin Adventures: Backyard Safari

Twin Adventures: Backyard Safari is a fun children’s book following young twins Kate and Tate as they go on a Safari adventure powered by their imagination. This is a charming children’s book that shows kids the power of imagination.

When Kate and Tate are introduced the meaning of their names are explained to the reader. Which I thought was wonderful because this provides a great opportunity for young readers to think about what their names mean. The story then show Kate and Tate brushing their teeth before they head out because ‘no adventure starts until these tasks are complete’. This is another great example of the great lessons this book teaches kids. It seems like every page of this book has a great lesson to learn.

The art in the book is bright and captures the readers attention with a vivid cartoon style. I loved the image of Kate and Tate brushing their teeth as it was funny, but the wonderful images of the Safari were also magnificent. I would have liked to have seen a scene where it shows reality vs. imagination so kids could understand the difference, but this is still a story that is fun and entertaining.

Twin Adventures: Backyard Safari is an educational and enjoyable adventure that takes readers on a journey powered by creativity and imagination. This is a lively kids book that I highly recommend.

Pages: 30 | ASIN: B09CHGKNQN

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Jon and Anna

Jon and Anna by [Anita Venturi]

The story of Jon and Anna is told through messages exchanged on a computer between two people who fall in love. The story is told in Italian with English translations provided as well which should fit anyone who is comfortable with either language.

Jon and Anna is an emotional story that tells a sweet love story that we only get a peek at through the messages they send to one another on the computer. This is a timeless story of love that I think many people will be able to relate to, especially in contemporary society where so much is done on the computer. This is a love story for modern times and will speak to anyone who has been separated from their loved one, and their only connection with them is through the computer.

The characters in the story are intriguing and portrayed in unique ways through the dialogue on the computer. This is something I have not seen before in other literature. Jon is a successful business man with a military education but he definitely someone readers will grow to enjoy. Anna is an impassioned character with a wistful outlook on life and I felt that her character brought most of the emotional color to the story.

This is an interesting contemporary romance book that tells a personal story in a unique way. This feels like a fictional memoir with how it tells a story that can almost be believed. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a passionate love story that is told from an uncommon perspective.

Pages: 80 | ASIN: B07NHR989K

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Butterfly Awakens: A Memoir of Transformation Through Grief

Butterfly Awakens: A Memoir of Transformation Through Grief by [Meg Nocero, Habib Sadeghi, Sherry Sami]

Butterfly Awakens by Meg Nocero is the moving memoir of Nocero’s life after losing her mother. It starts with a brief description of her childhood and introduces her parents then jumps right to her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis. Apart from narrating the difficult moments fighting the disease, we also get to see the destructive consequences such a loss can have and Meg’s deep grieving.

Nocero writes in a beautiful way that is descriptive and realistic at the same time, making it easy for readers to feel connected and empathetic. Her stages of grief are deeply felt by the reader and when she finally gets to the end of El Camino and finds freedom, every reader will feel happy for her achievements.

I appreciated the effort put into describing what she felt during each important moment of her journey toward recovery. An accurate description of her feelings helps readers impersonate and share the journey with her in an intimate way, which is what makes this book unforgettable.

While I enjoyed the story, I felt a bit of confusion between flashbacks and flash-forwards, at one point in the book it was difficult for me to understand when the action took place.  But this is a minor issues in an otherwise tell told and impassioned story.

Butterfly Awakens, by Meg Nocero is an enthralling memoir with plenty of emotional and heartwarming moments that will capture most readers’ hearts. Whether one has already experienced such a loss or has not yet, this story will stir the soul. I would recommend this book to anyone who is dealing with such loss or to anyone who is looking for a book that is emotional but inspiring.

Pages: 395 | ASIN: B08QZCR9FF

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Buzz the Brave

Buzz the Brave by [Gabriela Charatsari]

Buzz the Brave is an inspirational children’s book following the bravest of all bee’s. Although Buzz was not always known as the bravest, he was first known as Buzz the Wanna-Be and was banned from his hive for looking different. But when the queen goes missing, there is only one bee brave enough to find her.

This picture book is wonderfully illustrated with bright computer graphic art that depicts some very cute bees. The story is easy to follow, with simple words, that makes this book perfect  for young readers to practice reading. The story also provides a great example that shows kids how to overcome obstacles, not to listen to those who will keep you down, and being brave. Maya is a fantastically inspirational girl that accepts Buzz immediately and she serves as a great example of how children should be accepting of others that are different.

This was a fun children’s adventure story that follows a charming little bee that sets out to prove everyone wrong and gets his name written on the topmost branch of the tree as a reward for his bravery.

Pages: 74 | ASIN: B096WF5S9C

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In the Beast’s Cage

In the Beast's Cage by [Mac Altgelt]

In the Beast’s Cage is an intriguing paranormal thriller written by Mac Altgelt. The story follows multiple characters as their lives intersect and collide, from the mysterious Ainsley Blake to the gentle Virginia Harrison, as well as others, whose part in the story become clearer throughout the pages. Arriving in a small coastal town in Georgia, Blake sets off a chain of events that none in the town could have predicted, and one that surprises him as well.

The characters were absolutely riveting, with personalities and quirks that made them feel like real people. I had a particular affinity towards Ainsley Blake, whose story was revealed to the reader in small bursts that made his character each time clearer and more definite, akin to a sketch being slowly polished into a painting. But ever side characters are granted their own moment in the sun, bringing the story to life.

While I enjoyed the story and the characters, I felt that the number of characters and locations made the the story a bit hard to follow at times. I think this has more to do with the scale of the story. If you like deep and complex stories then this is definitely the novel for you as I can tell that a lot of care went into crafting the details of this story.

I also liked how mundane things, often overlooked, are given importance throughout the story. Books are a prominent example of this: throughout the story, they move from being mundane and common, to being prized and beloved. This romantic view of the mundane, of love and friendship, was well incorporated.

In the Beast’s Cage is a suspenseful supernatural story with a satisfying ending and was thoroughly enjoyable. The story has some creative supernatural elements and an organically high level of intrigue that will satisfy any fan of dark fantasy.

Pages: 176 | ASIN: B09819FRZP

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