Featured post

Seeing the Author with James Mutumba (November Author Spotlight)

revmutumbaJames E. Mutumba
Amazon Author Page | Twitter @RvJamesEMutumba

Greetings everyone!  The Review Board here to feature another author for the month of November, James Mutumba.  This interview will be conducted by our very own Nikki Vision.  Find out what she uncovers in “Seeing the Author”.

nikkibannerfinal

1:      When did you decide to become a writer, and why?

My mother (RIP) told us stories every moon-lit evening or at the fire side as she cooked supper. This made me like stories and storytelling. I loved reading story books right from primary school.

Source: bookshybooks.blogspot.com

In secondary school, Charles Dickens’s books like Oliver Twist and The Great Expectations raised my reading interest higher. The African Writer’s Series came next, followed by other books.

My interest in reading apparently created the inspiration to write. My first book Treasurable Thoughts was published 1999. However, for various reasons I did not write again until 2012 when I decided to come back actively, but this time with a reason. My writing bears a Christian message aimed at inspiring readers to connect with God for success in life.

2:      With five children, three grandchildren, and your pastoral counseling work, how do you find the time to write?

The secret is in time management. Having a programme and following it as much as possible helps me to be able to write. Moreover, writing takes a lion share of the programme. Good enough we don’t have babies except when our last born (she is fond of coming home) and the grand children are visiting. Being the two of us with my wife at home eases time management.

Monday is for rest. Tuesday and again Thursday and Friday are for wring. Wednesday is reserved for pastoral work. Saturday is for recreation, and Sunday for worship and church ministry.

smilinginthestorm
3:      What motivated you to edit, translate, and put together the truly inspirational collection of stories from Aids survivors in Smiling through the Storm?

At the time I received the stories, I was editor of the New Century, a Church of Uganda monthly publication. The Manager of Church Human Services sent to me some AIDS patients with their stories (some were written and some verbal) for possible publication. The stories moved my heart so much that I wished many more people than the audience of New Century could read them. It is the bravery with which the patients went public and the touching content of their stories that motivated me to put them together as a book.

4:      Would you consider doing a follow up book on the lives of the people featured in Smiling through the Storm - just to see how they are getting on?

No, such a book is unviable since most of the people featured in Smiling in the Storm have died. If anything such a book would contain interviews with relatives of the deceased to show how those people finally ended. But those interviews too would only interest people who have read the original book.

lukiyaslover
5:      What was the inspiration behind Lukiya’s Lover?

As you must have seen, Lukiya’s Lover is mainly for youths and young adults. These people almost all over the world get little mentoring about courtship, sex, and preparation for marriage. I meant Lukiya’s Lover to be a kind of class room.

6:      The sections in Lukiya’s Lover that deal with university, were for me the most vivid and detailed passages in the book. Did you take any of that from your own life and years in higher education and college?

Not exactly. But as I have observed generally, it is at that level that most young people get most arrogant, adventurous, and in fact it is at that level that many get messed up socially. I deliberately concentrated on the section.

7:      You are a very spiritual person with a strong faith. It is clear from your writing that you wish to share this positive attitude with others. How do you go about doing this, other than with your writing?

Thanks for the compliment. Glory be to God for your observation. I sincerely wish to inspire others to have faith in God and to cultivate a good relationship with Him for the worship He deserves and the wonderful companion He can be on our life’s path. Apart from writing, I do preach in churches and schools and teach in Bible Studies and fellowships.

8:      What has publishing your books meant to you as a writer and spiritual leader?

My ebooks are not successes yet, and since I have not put them in print for the Ugandan audience, I am not yet proud of them at home here. However, there is a book Treasurable Thoughts I published years ago. Although it is out of print, people still remember it and I meet many who publically make good comments and give testimonies how it helped them. This gives me encouragement and motivation for more writing. As spiritual leader I have noticed that writing adds to one’s credibility.

9:      What are your writing influences, and do you have a favourite author?

Presently my favourite author is Rick Warren. His The Purpose Driven Life is a big influencer. Otherwise I have read a number of books which have made a collective writing influence. The writers of Our Daily Bread, a devotional published by Radio Bible Class has inspired me a lot.

10:    Where do you write? Can you describe your writing day?

I usually write from home on the days I mentioned above. Our day begins with Christian devotion ─ a measured time of prayer, sharing, and Bible study. Next we take breakfast, and then the writing begins. I writeup to 11:00 pm, of course with the interruptions of lunch, a break, TV news or a trending programme, and supper. There may be other interruptions, but we minimize these as much as possible.

11:    What do you do to relax?

Monday is my day off. Apart from some study, resting is the dominant item on the day’s programme.

12:    What is next for you and your writing?

Right now I am working on two new books and looking for a traditional publisher to do a print version of one of my old ebooks. I have unpublished two ebooks which I am polishing further for the purpose.

blackdivider
Thanks so much for your time, James as well as all those reading material on The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share, and subscribe.  Have a wonderful day!

Featured post

Kent Sync: Ramsey Isler (November Author Spotlight)

profileRamsey Isler
Facebook | Twitter
Blog | Wattpad

Greetings!  The Review Board here.  All of you are in for a special treat.  Making her interviewing debut is Harmony Kent, and on her first episode of Kent Sync she sits down with Ramsey Isler one of our November Author Spotlights.

Harmony, your public awaits!  Let’s get the show on the road.

updatedharmony

1.  Ramsey, nice to have you here. First up (being real cheeky here small_smiley ): Pen name or real name? And why?

I’m keeping it real SnippetCompilerIcon. These books take a lot of time and energy to write, you know. I’m going to make sure people know exactly who toiled for all those hours to bring the stories to life. Also, my family and friends get a kick out of seeing my name out there, and when you’ve been gifted with a name as unique as mine you have to use it.

2. You have four books published so far: do you have any more in progress?

I do! I’m currently working on a short novel trilogy that blends contemporary fantasy and sci-fi. The first book should be out by December 2014, if everything works out.

3. Which is your greatest love: your work as a product marketing/management consultant or a novelist? And why?

I love both, but in different ways. It’s kind of like how our love for our pets is different than the love we have for our spouse, which is different than the love we have for our siblings. Both of my professions require a lot of creative thinking and problem solving, so in that regard it’s a tie. I do enjoy the financial flexibility that consulting provides, and it’s a career that has taken me all over the world. But when it comes to which one gives me the most satisfaction, nothing beats the special joy that writing gives me.There’s something remarkable about reaching out to an ordinary reader, asking them to take a gamble on your book, and they come back and say they loved it. It’s not just about the pride of a job well done; there’s also a unique and powerful personal connection. The words you wrote, these simple little symbols strung together in a certain order to convey your own thoughts, had an impact on someone else. As Stephen King says, writing is the closest thing we have to telepathy, and when it all works perfectly it’s magic.

ghostsofarcadia4. Did you know that GHOSTS OF ARCADIA was the first book that ever achieved top marks on TRB when reviewed by me? How do you feel about that? (I’m a real tough reviewer!)

That was a real treat for me. I was probably one of the first people to see that review, and it was fun to read your reaction. As a reviewer of books and film myself, I always saved top marks for the truly special works that deserved it, so I can fully appreciate receiving a stellar review from people with tough standards.

5. Do you have any particular writing processes or rituals? Favourite music to listen to … that type of thing?

I’m not really a creature of habit, and my writing process is greatly affected by the other things going on in my life (work, friends, family, etc.). If I’m really busy I just grab writing time whenever and wherever I can. When I actually have the opportunity to just write, most of the time you’ll find me writing with the TV on (which some people find surprising or even perverse). I’ll usually have some kind of educational channel on in the background. I write sci-fi and fantasy, and much of my world building relies on fascinating things that are real but stranger than fiction.

6. What’s your biggest pet peeve?

I’m a very forgiving and tolerant person, so there’s not much that really grinds my gears, so to speak. I guess my one true pet peeve is when people misinterpret what I say, whether purposefully or unknowingly. I usually put a lot of effort into meaning what I say and saying what I mean, so when people twist my words into something I didn’t mean it can be a little annoying.

7. Do you hold a grudge or let it all go?

Let it go! Let it gooooooo [breaks into song]

8. Married? Single? Other?

Happily coupled.  romantic-smileys

9. Are you a couch-potato or a workout nut? Or somewhere in between?

I exercise every day, and I make it a point to stand up and move around periodically so I’m not totally sedentary while I’m working. However, I do love my naps.

10. When did you start to write, and what got you going?

Here comes the embarrassing part. The first thing I ever wrote that wasn’t for school was….wait for it….

Harry Potter fanfiction.

I was young(ish). I was experimenting. I wanted to write but didn’t really know how to build a world from nothing. I wasn’t even a huge Harry Potter fan, but Rowling’s seemingly effortless writing style and her mastery of magical realism really drew me in. At the time I had just finished The Order of the Phoenix and had a long wait before the next book was out. So I took a stab at writing my own version of the next book, but writing it as JK Rowling would have based on the story up until that point. In retrospect, it was kind of odd that I’d tackle a novel-length work to start, but it was a very fulfilling and entertaining experience, and I’ve been writing ever since then.

But no more fanfiction.

11. Do you take much notice of reviews on your books?

I read each and every review. Authors can’t work in a vacuum. You have to know if the message is getting across. I don’t peruse the reviews for praise (although that is nice); I’m looking for valuable feedback that lets me know if what I’m doing is effective or not. You can’t please everyone, of course, and opinions will vary. But sometimes people write things that put opinion aside and go into analysis. Even a negative but well-written review can be very useful if it offers insight into something I had not realized or confirmation of something I was concerned about.

12. Do you always leave a review on a book you’ve read?

I try to. These days I’m reading more independent authors and little-known traditionally published authors, and I know how important reviews are to them. I do have a couple of reviews still waiting for books I finished months ago, but I’ll get to them in time.

13. Is there any person in particular who has inspired you in your life and/or writing?

I can’t really pinpoint it to any one person. My writing and life influences come from a variety of sources, and each of them were equally important in helping to shape the kind of stories I write. My style is a little bit of Stephen King’s horror, a little bit of Rowling’s magic, a lot of the smart ass wit I developed in high school, some Maya Angelou poetry, nights of debauchery with friends,some conversations I overheard in coffee shops and airports, Carl Sagan’s sense of scientific wonder, a bartender in Tokyo, and many more. In short, I draw inspiration from everyone, because everyone is amazing and infinitely interesting in their own ways.

14. What would you like to be doing in ten years’ time?

If you had asked me this question ten years ago when I was 24, you would’ve gotten a response that differs dramatically from the life I have now. And if you’d asked my 14-year-old self what I’d be doing at 24, he would’ve been way off too. And you know what? I like that. It shows that I’m always changing, always growing, and always open to becoming more than what I once thought I was capable of.

So the short answer to your question is: I have absolutely no idea.

Thanks so much for your time Ramsey.  Also congratulations are in order for your most recent honor: being the 2nd All Authors Certificate of Excellence winner for your work on Ghosts of Arcadia!

Source: All Authors Magazine

We appreciate those who check out The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share, subscribe and comment.  Have a terrific day!

Unleashed Speaks on Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer

orionpoenewOrion Poe and the Lost Explorer
Will Summerhouse
Amazon | Amazon Author Page

Greetings!  The Review Board here to share its thoughts on Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer.  Now without further delay, let’s see what the Unleashed One has to say!

cropped-nolabelsunleashed

Unleashed Speaks

Before I proceed with my review, let me give the blurb via Amazon:

Eleven-year-old Orion lives with his stodgy grandfather in eastern Maine, where nothing exciting ever happens. But then a series of strange events draws him into the mystery of a lost explorer, and Orion is swept up in a whirlwind of adventure that takes him to the top of the world. To survive he must outwit a scheming treasure hunter, team up with a gang of flimps, and take on a tyrant with an anger management problem. Can Orion solve the mystery and get back home alive? And just what are flimps, anyway?

Orion Poe is about to find out. Join him as he laughs, cries, bluffs, and shoots his way to the heart of one of the greatest mysteries in the history of exploration. Along the way he discovers that the world is far bigger—and stranger—than he ever imagined.

The story began with Orion Poe taking over as the narrator of his own tale because the previous narrator got some parts of it wrong.  It definitely set the stage for the primary target audience of this work which is around middle school to young adult.

Thumbs-up

First, I loved the external and internal visuals of this work.  It matched the ambiance of a big adventure on the water.  Since it is hinted there will be more of Orion Poe in the future, I hope to see this same type of alignment with book presentation in future editions.

Second, I applaud the way the tone of the book stayed in character.  Here is what I mean. I knew that Orion was narrating the story and I never felt like another individual or voice was trying to take over.  The dialect, perceptions and actions were never of a phony stunt double (aka “an adult pretending to be a kid”).  This added authenticity to the novel as a whole.

Third, there were some pretty likeable characters.  I adored the intelligence, self-reliance and savvy of Orion.  I appreciated the different personalities of the crew, in particular Peerless Jones who I had a love/hate relationship with.  I found myself wondering whose side was he really on through the whole narrative and it was great to have characters in a work who aren’t exactly cookie cutter good or decisively wicked among the rest.

Four, although there was plenty of action and conflict to go around, not one out showcased the other.  All of it worked together to achieve the final destination of the story.

Five, resolution was wonderfully tidy, even though there will be a second book.  I think by having a clear resolution to a presented crisis, it not only makes for a better read but it leaves the reader with the option to continue on with other books about Orion Poe without feeling like he/she has missed out on anything.

Six, very balanced chapter lengths made for quick reading so one doesn’t even realize the length of the book.

Seven, if there were any errors with spelling, grammar and punctuation they were slight or nonexistent.

Thumbs-down

The only cons I had about Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer:

  • The adventure didn’t take place as soon as I would have anticipated.
  • The development of Orion taking center stage and being really invested in the events was slightly slow in relation to the length of the book.
  • More of the grandfather, since his quirky ways reminded me of my own grandfather in his heyday.

9.5starsUnleashed Verdict: 9.5 out of 10 Stars

If you are a fan of Treasure Island, Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer will definitely appeal to the need for sea adventure.  This novel also speaks to one’s own inner child looking for a heroic thrill.

Thanks for checking out The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share and subscribe.  Have a terrific day!

Truth Vision Unleashed on Dark Rift

16282642

Dark Rift by Alesha L. Escobar
Book Two of The Gray Tower trilogy
Goodreads | Amazon

Note: This was given by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Hello Readers and Followers,

Today The Review Board brings you their views on Dark Rift by Alesha L. Escobar, the 2nd book in her trilogy.

First, Mini Truth will share her Truthful Takes.

minitruthbanner

Let me see… (insert thinking face here).

serious-thinking-face-animation

Where can I start with this book?

I find myself in one of those situations where you want to say so much, but almost don’t have the strength—more so, the desire—to.

I suppose I’ll start by giving a bit about the premise. However, I’ve made up my mind that this review will be short and to the point. It’ll go something like this: explain the plot a tad, then give my overall thoughts.

Today I’ll be veering away from my typical ‘Pros and Cons’ bullets, as I feel like they won’t really be necessary. Mostly because a lot of my thoughts on this book are the same as my thoughts on the 1st in the series, with maybe one or two difference.

I’ll start by asking, have you ever read a series and thought to yourself “This one isn’t much better than the first, albeit for a couple of different reasons.”?

Basically it’s that thought of “What the first one lacked this one was a bit better on, but what the first one was better on this one lacked.” More specifically, it’s the feeling of being let down.

disappointedbaby

Does that even make sense? I really hope it does.

Let me dig into the meat of this review for you as I really don’t feel like going off on a tangent. I want to keep this as short and sweet as I possibly can. Today Mini Truth, will keep her review short and honest, for my name sake.

The Dark Rift is the continuation of The Tower’s Alchemist, and instead of continuing where the last one let off, as presumed, it actually does not. It starts off some time later—not much, but certainly not where the last one left off.

Here Isabella George deems it necessary to sort things out by presenting the Master Wizard with the proof that the Drifter is humanities only salvation during this time of war and havoc.

Wizards, and Warlocks, and Magic, OH MY!

But, nope! This is definitely no Harry Potter type thing.

Hermione's_Patronus

Isabella is also dealing with the ramifications of the losses she had during The Tower’s Alchemist, and find it difficult to cope with them. In this story we see the return of a few of the characters in The Tower’s Alchemist as well as the presentation of new ones.

I find that the best way to describe the overall scheme of Dark Rift, is to say that it’s a magical (or so we hope) journey of personal discovery.

As with the first story in this series, I had some major problems with this read that really killed my gross enjoyment of it. To be completely honest, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I was flat out bored out of my mind.

Alright… I changed my mind.

I suppose I WILL be doing some bullet points after all, but not in the form of Pros and Cons, just general bullet points.

bullet-points-importance-slide

  • Dark Rift is a story that is unfortunately too “preachy” for me. What do I mean? I mean that the book continually went into long segments of unnecessary information, all being told from a first person perspective which many times seemed very presumptuous.
  • I still didn’t like the main character. She really is just not very likable to me, unfortunately.
  • All of the “magical” elements of this story seemed like an after thought or just all out displaced—as if it just didn’t belong or wasn’t at all necessary.
  • While in Dark Rift there wasn’t as many characters introduced, the ones that were introduced weren’t all that interesting, and for the most part had blasé personalities.
  • I continually felt like the conflict wasn’t believable and lacked stimuli.
  • There were constant bouts of the author trying to plug in the magical/mythological explanations in awkward places. It was like the story’s progression would be halted so that the author could implement some miscellaneous magic lesson.
  • I can’t help but keep saying to myself, “One of these elements just isn’t needed. This should be either a magic story, or a war story, or a spy story and not all. They just don’t seem to mesh well. In wanting to have all of these aspects in the story, it seems as though they aren’t being told to their fullest capacity—so one takes away from the other, and in turn it is an all out put off.
  • The writing style is still a bit odd, but better than the last book. The syntax can still use a tad bit of work, but isn’t horrible.
  • I think that the story would’ve benefited from the exclusion or shaving of some excess scenes to help with the boredom aspect.
  • There was still the aspect of the unresolved issues in book 1, that weren’t resolved in book 2. And now book 2 has added more unresolved issues. I hope that book 3 does its job and seals the deal.

Due to holding the expectation that this one would rank higher on my Reading Richter Scale-—as it was the 2nd in the collection—but didn’t, I found myself feeling highly unimpressed with Dark Rift, and thus causing my ranking to mark even lower this time around.

My verdict?

4 TRB Stars.

I truly pray that the 3rd book is better.

blackdivider

Next we’ll see what Nikki Vision has to say.

nikkibannerfinal

The second book in the trilogy starts with an action packed sequence that doesn’t exactly follow on from the first book. Again, our heroine is in a life-threatening situation and again, casts her ‘Circle of Protection’ and is saved from the danger. Her Drifter training continues between bouts of Nazi demon searching, and Isabella has to learn more of her craft if she is to tackle the dark forces that threaten to destroy the world.

The action shifts around once more geographically and time wise, and Isabelle finds herself in a variety of European locations, such as Spain and England. In fact Isabelle visits Bletchley Park, so that we know that we are back in time. Again, I didn’t feel like I was reading a book set in the 1940”s as the dialogue and narrative voice was quite modern. There are still more nasty warlocks out to stop Isabella completing her mission, but hey, you know what, they are scuppered by not only her circle spell, but Neal’s powers also, which turn out to be the drawing of symbols and, yes you guessed it, the Circle of Protection stuff too.

Then we get back to her mission and the wizard Nazi scenario starts again. Isabella is once more in peril from a demon or possessed thing. When thick black gunge slips from the monster’s mouth, I was reminded of several episodes of the X files. Indeed it began to read like a script from that show with a bit of Supernatural thrown in for good measure. No I’m not saying this is a badly written book, it isn’t and is on the whole a good read, my gripe is that it has the same old stuff going on as in the first. I got tired of reading what I’d basically already read in the previous novel.

Alesha does excel when she writes action scenes. There are some good descriptive moments that were nail-biting and evocative. The scene with the Black Wolves was quite scary, and I really enjoyed the word usage such as: “They latched onto my Circle of Protection and began drinking iots energy like water.” Lovely!

The chapters when Izzy is reunited with most of her family were somewhat dull and slowed the narrative, which I felt was a little jumbled throughout. One minute it’s all fighting and near death action, and then long passages of exposition and backstory, then blam – another creature arrives to harm her. I think this book could do with a bit of editing to get the pace and flow more linear. The tension didn’t build systematically it went up and down like a roller coaster, which sometimes worked and more often than not, didn’t.

I liked the betrayal part of the story as it lent depth to the plot line and was something different from the usual battle between good and evil. Most of the confrontations with evil wizards and demons were basically the same, and there are so many of them. I got fed up with it after a while.

Characters were okay, mostly well defined, but there were so many that they did tend to blur on occasions, and that meant that I didn’t really identify or engage with them enough to care when they were killed or badly injured.

Nothing seemed to progress with this second book in the series. I thought there was too much exposition to get in the backstory of the magical themes, and to explain the history of the various demons and strange magical creatures. There was a lot of re-capping in the beginning that I didn’t feel was all that necessary, and after an exciting beginning, it slowed the narrative to a snail pace.

The ending was pacey on the whole, which I liked, and we do get back to the Nazi plot, which seemed to disappear for most of the book. I have to say that I wanted Izzy to get on with it, and was not too excited about reading the next book if it just carried on from this one.

Vision Verdict: 4 Stars

blackdivider

Now, we have the Unleashed One.

cropped-nolabelsunleashed

Note: It was asked of the author prior to the assignment of the titles if these were stand alone titles or not, and the answer TRB received is that they could not stand alone—meaning if someone were assigned the 2nd one, they’d have to read the first one, and one couldn’t get the understanding of the 3rd one without checking out the two previous titles.

Don’t worry; my mentioning of this does have a point.

When I opened Dark Rift, I expected an immediate continuation of The Tower’s Alchemist (aka picking up where it left off), yet the first chapter had absolutely nothing to do with it whatsoever.  In addition, the way that Alchemist ended, although a bit cliff hanger like, felt like it could have been a stand alone, like one of my fellow reviewers pointed out as well in her review.

With that being said, I will carry on with my thoughts.

thumbsup

Circle of Cool Beans (Magic Spell Pros)

  • The abstractness of the cover still remains a top pro to me.  It does help to tie together all the books in the series.  Plus it does help that my favorite color is blue.
  • The significant decrease of double agent speak made it easier to keep up with characters, particularly Isabella.

Circle of Perturbness (Magic Spell Cons)

Circle of Repetitious Resolution: In almost every situation where Isabella meets with trouble, she immediately relies on one source for assistance.

copshirt

The scenes felt extremely anti-climatic because almost like a “train that is never late”, here comes the Circle of Protection.  Just like John Cena and his five moves of doom, in order to keep Isabella interesting, she has to pull more out of her arsenal and a lot more often at that.  The fact that this is the second book in the trilogy and we are still seeing the same magic tricks of the first is a bit disheartening.

Circle of Crazy Chapter Lengths: It could be an Unleashed thing but the variations in chapter length proved to be a challenge.  Quite a few chapters that had scene separators could have served as another chapter.  Other chapters could have been omitted—especially if they are orchestrated just to add length to a story that doesn’t need it.

yawn

Circle of Little Substance: Although Dark Rift didn’t have the sickening influx of characters like Tower’s Alchemist, all the introduced characters were treated as if they were passing by, including those who had significance in moving along the story.  Not saying that the reader needs to know everyone’s back story but the main chemicals that are going to cause implosion, they definitely needed more exploring.

Circle of Malnourishment: I didn’t mind the Dark Rift being slower as long as one of the things achieved was improvement in the main character Isabella.  If one was reading Dark Rift by itself, one would get annoyed at Isabella’s fits of temper, not thinking things fully through before she acts, and continuing to get in trouble time and time again.

Confused Ramsay

It’s even more painful when you’ve read the first book and realize that it’s damn near the same Isabella only a different setting.  Even when she is given instructions on what to do and told to be cautious, she’s acts like she’s listening but she really isn’t.  In addition, her depiction of her emotions and experiences are very detached.  In first person, I want to be able to feel the person’s triumphs and sorrows, and although she has lost many in not only this book but the previous book, I am not able to connect with her pain and her torment.  I didn’t gain any likability towards Isabella and that spells trouble going into the third installment, since this whole entire trilogy is based on her coming into her own and for the reader to invest the time to ride things until the end.

homer-thinking-smiley-emoticon

Circle of Afterthought: Although the magic was supposed to be at the forefront, I felt like it was conveyed miscellaneously, despite the fact that a lot of the spy ambiance wasn’t utilized this time around.  It’s another example where I feel like this can’t be a spy book and a magic book—that the author needed to make a choice.

Circle of Nonsensical Narration: I feel like a lot of the instructional information about the magic served more as fill in narration than adding to the actual movement or basis of the storyline.  Dark Rift would have served as a better read if these teachable instances had been extracted.

jawdrop

Circle of Disbelief: For me, even a book that is based in fantasy has to have scenes implemented that have a sense of coherence.  In other words, the author has to write it in a smooth pattern that makes the action I am seeing in front of me believable, despite the components being heavily rooted in magic.  Circles of Protection were broken without explanations as to how a villain was able to do it.  Other people are able to break through certain protections placed on Isabella without a smooth lead in as to how this would even play out.  Isabella uses a power that she didn’t even have time to perfect and the reader is supposed to buy that she is becoming this awesome force to be reckoned with.  It as if the author sat down and was like, “I’ll just throw a WTF moment in right about now” and just leave the reader to figure it out.

Since it seems like all of us are on the same page, I’m just going to pull out the star graphic:

4stars

Unleashed (and everyone else’s) Verdict: 4 out of 10 TRB Stars

I did want Dark Rift to serve as a better read for me than Tower’s Alchemist.  Unfortunately it felt like “Same Script, Different Cast.”  I am going to enact a Circle of Protection around my enthusiasm and hope all of the holes in the 1st and the 2nd books will be solved and conveyed better in the last book of this trilogy.

Thanks for checking out The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share, and subscribe.  Have a terrific day.

The Corners of Controversy Exclusive: How to 3D Print a God

 

3dgodHow to 3D Print a God by George Saoulidis
Amazon Kindle | Amazon Author Page

Before proceeding, a special note as it pertains to this particular title: Originally, it was set for TRB Queue but a certain member had a bit of spare time and wanted the intriguing challenge of doing this as a feature on The Corners of Controversy.  With that being said, Mr. Controversy, take it away.

controversybanner

Hello All!

Mr. Controversy here on Special Assignment for The Review Board! I will be examining and reviewing the book “How to 3D Print a God”.

Before we begin the review, let’s take a look at the blurb:

When the score of a lifetime falls in their lap, Deimos and his team accepts to sneak in a factory and 3D print the client’s secret design. But will they succeed when a pack of well trained Amazons tries to stop them, when things don’t quite go as planned and when the secret design turns out to be something very different? 

What is the god complex universe?

The gods are back in town. Skyscrapers pop out of nowhere all around Athens. Corporations rename themselves as Greek gods. It all started with the Greek crisis of 2009 and it will forever change the world as we know it. Some say that CEO’s have gone mad. Others, that they know damn well what they are doing. That there is something solid amongst the myth. In the day of inter-connectivity and social media admiration, can the myths come back to life?

What happens when a corporation gets a god complex? Find out in our series of books on Kindle. Described as light cyberpunk, definitely sci-fi and with a fresh twist on Greek mythology.

 

 

George Saoulidis’ “How to 3D Print a God” is a very short, first-person viewed 20 page read about a special operations and tactics team infiltrating a factory to, well, 3D print a God. Said God is for a high paying client in Mr. Thomas who recruits a motley crew led by the determined and impatient Deimos (the aforementioned first-person viewed narrator of the short story) who must fight off drones as well as sacrifice-happy Amazons in order to complete their objective.

As the book was short, so will my review.

Disclaimer

Let me first start with my disclaimer:

I am a pretty simple person:

I look for Coherence.  I look for Flaws.  I look for detail in ALL works (whether it is Poetry, Stories, etc.).  I LOVE to envision myself at that place in that moment in time.  Most of all, I look for something that I would LOVE to have on my bookshelf; something at which that I can look, and smile brightly because it was THAT DAMN GOOD.

I am EXTREMELY Honest when I review.

If I LIKE your work, I will let you know.

If I DO NOT like your work…

Not only will I REALLY let you know, I will point out more than three examples, correct your work (based on the examples pointed out by yours truly), and give your work a Low Score based on The Review Board’s Ten-Star System which I Designed.

Also, I am very open-minded and will read anything.

I will quickly trust one or two star reviews OVER three through five star reviews on other websites. Those who have reviewed books THAT LOW are from reviewers who see that the work is not done well, and it prepares me mentally for what to expect from the writer.

My BIGGEST Pet Peeve is when I (or any of The Ladies of TRB) do a review and we are HONEST with our reviews and opinions, the author of the work complains about the review that THEY SOUGHT OUT with us.

I WILL be the first to let One know that YOU looked to us to be Honest; DO NOT complain about the VERY THING that you requested from us.  IF that does happen, your rating WILL drop by Two Stars (by MY HAND) GUARANTEED and I will note it IN BOLD PRINT in the review (whether it is my review, or one of The Ladies of TRB).

blackdivider

When The Review Board received this read, it came with a VERY ODD request from Mr. Saoulidis, as shown in this screenshot:

Bad Review

*NOTE: Please open in a new tab to see the picture*

 

wtf-dr-phil-gif Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen: He WANTS A BAD REVIEW!

*NOTE: I MADE SURE to add the email to Cover MY Ass*

No worries, George Saoulidis: you got the RIGHT Reviewer on your book, and I have a few things to say!

I’ll start with the Pros:

-I give Creativity Points to Mr. Saoulidis for thinking up this concept.  It is not every day that you can put guns into the hands of Amazons who are fierce warriors when it comes to spears and other sharp objects.

-The book has a “Call of Duty” and “Final Fantasy VII” feel to it. If you are familiar with those titles, then you know that those are great video game franchises.

TheRockEyebrow

And now, the rest.

20 pages for a short story is knockoutable (yes, I made up that word) in under 30-45 minutes.

Dr. Phil Stare

For me, however, it took about a week. The reason it took me a week was not only did I have to restart the book due to multiple distractions around me, the read was VERY HARD to get into from the start.

Sipping in the Rain

 There were times that I had to get up,

What

Walk away from the book,

What

Go into the kitchen,

 What

Get some coffee,

 What

Make a bowl of oatmeal,

 What

Make a cheese omelet,

 What

Fry some bacon,

 What

Cook some sausage links,

 What

Eat my breakfast,

 What

Go back to the book,

 What

Walk away from the book,

 What

Go to the bathroom,

 What

Relieve myself,

 What

Read some more,

 What

Check my email,

 What

Read some more,

 What

Go to the kitchen again,

 What

Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich,

 What

Read some more,

 What

And get TICKED OFF at what I was reading because I STILL COULD NOT GET INTO THE BOOK!

 What

blackdivider

Gordon-Ramsay

 I have read BAD BOOKS before (Marlowe’s “Phantasy”, Patrick Perry’s “Valentine’s Day”), yet “How to 3D Print a God” is topping the list for me as THE WORST.

 

Not Impressed
The story is basically a HORRIBLY WRITTEN fractured otherworld version of  Greeks v. Amazons using high-tech weaponry, armor, retractable spears, and other nonsense that can be crammed into 20 pages and priced at $2.99.

spelling

The punctuation mark placement in MANY sentences are either misplaced or lacking, separation of paragraphs indicating dialogue for differing characters WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE, and italics when Deimos was thinking would have been…

 

Best For Business

 

I am not only trying to shake this headache that I inherited from this book, I am also trying to get the lost week of my Life back.

 

Let’s cut to the chase.

 

Source: familyfeud

 

2_stars_copy

 

Survey Says: 2 out of 10 stars.

 

Disappointed-Gordon-Ramsay

 

Despite my best efforts to like the book, “How to 3D Print a God” is NOT a good book for me. The inconsistencies littered within the book felt like a rush job JUST TO SAY that George Saoulidis published something.

My advice: Leave It Alone.

At the same time, You All possess Free Will: do with it as you like, wish, crave, and desire. My opinion is my own: all I ask is that you take my words into advisement.

Thanks so much for checking out The Corners of Controversy.  Feel free to like, share, and subscribe.  Have a fantastic day/evening!

Truth Vision Unleashed on The Tower’s Alchemist

thetoweralchemistThe Tower’s Alchemist by Alesha L. Escobar
Book One in The Gray Tower trilogy
Amazon | Amazon Author Page

Note: This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.  There may be light mention of certain segments to further explain pros and cons.

Greetings!  The Review Board here to share its thoughts on The Tower’s Alchemist.  Before getting to it, let’s take a look at the blurb via Amazon.

Blurb:

The Nazis have unleashed occult forces throughout Europe and the Allies are forced to recruit and employ wizards to counter their attacks. Among them is the battle weary spy, Isabella George, a Gray Tower dropout trained in Alchemy. Longing for retirement and a life of peace, she accepts one final job-extract a deadly warlock from Nazi occupied France and prevent him from unleashing an alchemical weapon that will devour the continent.

But France is crawling with the Cruenti, vampiric warlocks who feed off other wizards. When things don’t go according to plan, one Cruenti sets his deadly eyes on her.

Betrayal is everywhere. Even some of her closest allies cannot be fully trusted. Worse still, she finds, she can’t even trust herself. She becomes a woman torn between her charismatic spy lover who offers her what she desires most, and one of her closest confidants, whose soft seductive eyes hold deadly secrets about her past, and the Gray Tower itself.

Plans within plans. Plots versus counter plots. Heists gone wrong, sword-wielding Catholic priests, and the greatest manipulation of history that has ever been seen, is just a taste of what Isabella George is in for, in her final mission.

First to state her observations, Mini Truth:

minitruthbannerTruthful Takes

Imagine, if you will, an alternate earth where magic exists, along with many other mystical creatures: vampires, wizards, alchemists. Now, try to envision a different time. World War 2, to be exact.

In a time when a war is raging, and nothing is as it seems Isabella George finds herself in a tough situation. She’d grown tired of fighting, surviving and doing things that she’s been told were necessary for the well-being of many. Isabella George is a double agent (triple even) with the power of alchemy, which she needs to keep concealed. She realizes that she needs to go on one last mission and that her “particular set of skills” would be beneficial in order to accomplish it.

This world is jam-packed with magic, mayhem and the unknown—this includes Isabella’s past, for she longs to know what happened to her father, whom also honed her same talents. The only problem is that there is much more that Isabella doesn’t know, than what she does.

I had some real problems with this story—too many, to be honest. I truly dislike it when there is a book which lures me in with its idea (potential premise) then lets me down completely. This, unfortunately is one of those sort of books for me.

At one point it got so bad, that I began to nitpick. I don’t typically nitpick.

baffled

Suffice it to say, that I had a hard time getting through this book and I am going to give you a list of reasons why.

However, before I go there, I’ll start with the things that I liked about the read.

Thumbs-up

Pros:

  1. I really liked the cover. There is something about abstract, simplistic art that always captures my attention. This book really nailed it in that aspect.
  2. The idea. I am always attracted to “Out of the Box” literature. I love new ideas and original thoughts. So I found the premise to be intriguing and alluring. What nerd (like me) doesn’t love a good “alternate world and history” bit?
  3. Stella (the best friend/office mate), I think was my favorite character. Out of all of the many characters that were introduced, she seemed like the most genuine.

That was about all I can present to you in the form of positives. I’m sorry. Now, before I get into the negatives, I feel the need to explain a few things about myself as I’ll be presenting you with the negatives from that perspective.

If you are anything like me, you enjoy a complex read, however said “complex read”, must be easy to follow.

complexity_UX

This is what I mean:

In an abstruse read, there must be a steady rhythm and flow; a comprehensive “time line”, if you will. Something that while subtly unraveling an enigmatic story line will help the read not lose track of the happenings.

Think of it in a “Alfred Hitchcock’ sort of way. Our beloved Mr. Hitchcock had a knack for presenting a complicated story in a very comprehensive way. Then at the end, he’d hit us with a twist and left our mouths wide open and our minds blown. That is the sign of a truly genius way of writing a story which entails many facets.

Hitchcock,_Alfred_02

It must be easy to follow, period. So, once again, if you’re anything like me, if a story is too difficult from the very start, then you find yourself undeniably frustrated and ultimately angered.

That being said, let me get into my thoughts as it pertains to the Cons.

Cons:

  1. There were way too many characters introduced too quickly.
  2. There were way too many different “groups” introduced too quickly.
  3. The writing feels displaced. I’ll explain. While it’s based in the past, the writing is significantly modern.
  4. The main character is supposed to be American, residing in England, yet her personality is too unstable. One minute she seems more English than American, the next minute it’s the other way round.
  5. There were too many instances in which there was modern language/slang introduced into the story that did not exist in that day and time.
  6. In the first few chapters, you are tossed directly into the middle of the action without even knowing how you got there. Basically, it was all over the place. I couldn’t, for the life of me, establish one main time line.
  7. Then the story stagnates and basically loses all liveliness. Yet, still we are continually introduced to more and more characters without knowing who anyone really is, or what their actual purpose in the story is.
  8. Way too many “code names” for the characters. You may need a pen and paper to keep track of who everyone is and what their code name is, and what role they play.
  9. After a while the main character began to tick me off. She just seemed annoying after a while.
  10. This book has several instances of “odd grammar” throughout. Little things, like not putting a space after an ellipsis. As well as too many ellipsis used.
  11. Some awkward sentence structure as well. For example: (PDF Page 8)I knew that if I kept pushing myself, that I’d faint. It just sounds weird. It should beI knew that if I kept pushing myself, I’d faint.
  12. Another example of odd grammar is whenever the main character, or any character for that matter quoted what another character said it was written incorrectly. Here is what I’m referring to; “Hmph…well enough. At least acknowledge all the hell I went through to get this formula here.” It should have been, “Hmph…well enough. At least acknowledge all the hell I went through to get this formula here.”
  13. There was more odd terminology used, such as “high school girl”. In England it’s known as “Secondary Education or Secondary School”.
  14. Oddly enough, I found a few hidden references to Sherlock Holmes. Like Baker Street, and Office #221B. Just weird. It made me wonder if it was intentional or not.
  15. Most of the organizations named throughout the story weren’t even really explained. So the reader had no way of knowing what they really were.
  16. Much of the characters seemed unoriginal. Like, a lot of the “bad guys” all sounded the same to me.
  17. Even up until the very last chapter we are STILL being introduced to MORE new characters. This should be the point where things are being resolved. Yet, they are not.
  18. There is absolutely NO resolution in this story. None of the problems were truly solved, things were still left in the air, there is a whole new level of conflict that is introduced—it’s an utter cliffhanger.

cliff-clipart-mp-ss094cTo make a long review, as short as I can without getting into anything else, I was very let down by this read for many reasons. I can only hope that the other two books are better because if I were to base my desire to read the other books on my experience with this one, I probably wouldn’t even attempt it.

Truthful Verdict: 5 Stars. I was highly unimpressed with this story.

blackdivider

Now to find out what she sees, Nikki Vision

nikkibannerfinal

Well, the blurb sucked me in, no pun intended, and I enjoyed the action packed first chapter. It neatly set the scene for a thrilling espionage meets myth and magic story line. Isabella is a feisty heroine and I liked the first person narrative voice. She came across as knowledgeable and trustworthy, only too able to look after herself in the many tricky situations she finds herself in – as a soon to retire spy, with a knowledge of the occult, which makes her perfect for one last job – to prevent a Nazi warlock from releasing a deadly chemical weapon on the whole of Europe.

The concept appealed to me and I was not disappointed on the whole with the plot twists and action scenes. For an alternative history novel, it is well-written with some good descriptions that help the reader to get drawn into the period setting. I wasn’t all that convinced by the dialogue, it seemed too modern considering the book is set during the second world war. Also, there was a little too much exposition and explanations that could have been worked into the narrative via conversations and actual active scenes from memory.

Isabella finds herself in many life threatening situations and as luck would have it, she is adept at occult magic and uses it to get out of these rather sticky situations by casting a Circadian Circle – again and again and again. I wondered if it might be an idea for Alesha, to maybe have another spell for Isabella to use, just to break it up a bit. Using the same spell over and over was a little annoying at times as it dulled the suspense aspect when she did get into another threatening situation, because as a reader, I knew she would be okay.

Characters were believable in the main, but there were quite a lot of them that really didn’t need to be there. The whole Nazi plot line was a bit misleading, because much of the story is to do with the fantasy and occult side of things, so I was a little disappointed that wasn’t more mingling between actual WW2 history, and this made-up version.

There is a lot of reference to the Grey Tower of Wizards, which adds to the intrigue as well as the mystery surrounding her father’s death. In fact there was so much going on that I felt rather full as I was reading it. Maybe the author tried to get too much into the first book: there is magic, mythological creatures, Nazis, wizards, mentalists, demons, espionage and a love triangle, my head was reeling with so much going on.

The pace really picks up when she leaves France and there is a lot of action and peril right until the end. I was exhausted, never mind Isabella, who seemed to constantly leap from one nail-biting scene to the other, but always managing to use her magic powers to survive. Indeed, she does make quite a leap at the end from fighting warlocks in Romania to suddenly finding herself in her own bed in Washington. Ah, what an author can get away with when they use magic to get characters from A to B. I think the ending relied too much on explaining what should have unfurled previously in the book.

Escobar states in the blurb that, ‘It’s a very different World War II.’ Which it is, and I wondered at times why the author chose WW2 as a backdrop to this occult fantasy themed story. As it progressed and the WW2 references died away, it could have been a stand-alone urban fantasy novel. Perhaps more will become clear in the next book. I did enjoy this novel, but the over use of the same magical references and plethora of adjectives to move the narrative along, could have been edited out.

Vision Verdict: 6 out of 10 TRB Stars

It is a long book and would have benefited from losing some of the similar perilous situations, to concentrate more on the actual storyline. However it is a fast paced action adventure, with great descriptions that would satisfy all those who enjoy fantasy, occult and thriller type books – with some geographical and historical references thrown in. A good read on the whole and I would recommend it anyone who likes action, magic, history, and a bit of time travel.

blackdivider

Finally to give her two cents, The Unleashed One:

nolabels-tfts

Hello, the Unleashed One here.  Before I dive into The Tower’s Alchemist, I’d like to digress slightly and offer a confession.  I do like the combination of action and mystery, especially if the proponent of skill is a female character.  Every thing has to have a certain amount of balance and timing, whether in an actual movie (where you can see the people and how it is played out) or in a book (where the action has to be conveyed convincingly enough to have one follow the story).

The description of this book (this whole series, in fact) was touted like a combination of Call of Duty World at War (the honing in of some of the fight sequences with the vampires very similar to what would happen if one was surrounded by Nazi zombies) and Mission Impossible (with the whole spy angle).  I am thinking to myself that this is quite a lot for a series to live up to, yet if it is carried out, it marks the difference between placing this author on the map and her work being chalked up to a bastardized attempt at mimicking a formula other authors have done before her.

So how well did Alesha Escobar do with this first writing in the trilogy?

Time to proceed.

wizardpro

Wizard Extraordinaire (Code Name: Pros)

The Spell of Abstract: Successfully cast
I really like the abstract look of the cover.  For me, it adds to the mystery component.

The Aura of Originality: Lingers in the air
I will give lots of points for the attempt to put out something “out of the box”.  Spies, wizards, World War II—so many different elements in one story.  It does take a lot of gumption to try and have all of that within one work.  That is worthy of some finger snaps.

The Life Force of Substance: Sprinkles here and there
There are a few characters that I really liked.  Renee really stood out.  I admired her wisdom and her quiet spirit.  Ken was a character that really caught my attention along with the intriguing make up of Father Gabriel.  The support and tenacity of Otto also warmed my heart and made me smile whenever he was mentioned.

shocked-smiley-face-EEK

Magnificent Disenchantment (Code Name: Cons)

The Pendant of People Placement Used Erroneously (Code Name: Too many characters, not enough soul)

GIFSec.com
You ever get invited to a function and there are one hundred people in a room.  Those people come up and introduce themselves.  At the end of the event, you are quizzed on how many of those people you know as well as their job title.  How well do you think you would do?

In The Tower’s Alchemist, new individuals were introduced in practically every chapter.  Sometimes, up to five new people.  All before we even get to the main ingredient in the recipe, as they say.  Not only are they placed in the chapters, but it’s done in a way that’s a bit nonchalant and we don’t know what purpose the person serves until much later, if not at all.

homer-thinking-smiley-emoticon

Maybe it was to keep the whole element of suspense going but there is a way of bringing new people in without it feeling overwhelming.  From a reader’s perspective, there are way too many characters thrown into the mix.  I even had to take out a pen and paper and jot down all the ones being mentioned, so when the person gets talked about a few (or many) chapters later, I could still remember what name fit with what function.

The Epic Emblem of Misplaced and Extraneous Back Story (Code Name: Narrative Heavy)
The first four chapters of The Tower’s Alchemist was action, action, action with no clear indicators of the cause.  Once Chapter Five arrived, the author slowed down the pace and began to drop in more narrative.  However, those eye drops felt more like cement bricks, and even worse, they were placed in strange spots.  It’s like an eye drop landing on top of one’s eyelid or on the corners of the eyes, but not at the very source where it is needed.

oprahaggandconfused

Certain elements that were placed on one chapter were better suited to go along with the action that related to the back story in another chapter.  Then, other portions, like Isabella debating the difficulties of having a love life in her profession didn’t seem to run parallel to an experience that would have her asking these questions, yet the moment this epiphany would have been credible (the showdown scene with her and Ken) it didn’t reappear until much later and marked a missed opportunity for a more believable segment.  The story would have been aided more with not only less back story but properly placed back story among all the action.  Instead, the way the author used this instrument, it provided sour notes to a smooth melody.

The Ring of Not Quite Right Dialogue (Code Name: Spoken inaccuracies)
The Tower’s Alchemist is supposed to be set during the time of World War II.  The thing which threw me off was that some of the dialogue didn’t quite fit the setting.  Whether this a true detriment actually depends on the reader.  For those who don’t weigh in heavily on dialogue matching history, this obvious glitch may not even register.  For those who thinks that dialogue matching the proper times makes a story even better, this will stick out like a swollen thumb.

The Necklace of Not Credible (Code Note: Don’t Buy The Hype)

oprahwonders

Let me see if I can type this segment while keeping a straight face.  I want to have a bit of girl talk with Isabella.

“Miss Isabella/Emilie/Noelle/Angela, I don’t know who blew up your head and told you that you were a spectacular spy.  The person who did that is really not your friend.  You could be a fantastic alchemist.  You have some skills on you.  As for your spy mannerisms, your retirement as a spy should have been, like, yesterday.”

oprahlaugh

Isabella being an effective spy is NOT believable at all.  What type of spy reacts to the bad guys calling her by her non-spy name?  Don’t they give classes on maintaining your poker face and not blowing your cover?  Yet on more than one occasion, and through one-on-one dialogue at that, the moment someone she thought she could trust says her actual name, it’s like all of that goes out the window and she is like, “How do you know about me?  How do you know my real name?”

oprahthinks

Speaking of trusting, Isabella is way too trusting in situations where her guard should be made of platinum and sprinkled with the Circle of Protection, emitting the Fumes of Detecting Bullshit.  Yet, multiple times she gets herself in jams where she should know better, or where other people have to come in at just the right moments to save the day.  I’m not saying Isabella can’t make mistakes but you would think she would learn after the first couple of times to put up a more effective guard, and even more so, rather than go into an operation all rogue (putting my red lipstick on, like Funky Dineva), you employ back up in case somebody goes flip mode.

holdthepresses

Speaking of red lipstick, let’s also discuss spy fashion.  True, wigs weren’t as advanced then as they are now, but (1) Why is Isabella’s wig so flimsy that she has to constantly wonder about it staying on her head? and (2) Why does a super spy only have one wig?  If I knew I had to adopt different names, I think that would warrant, at the least, a different type of wig, and at the most, different lengths and colors of wigs.  Hair dye did exist back in those days; why couldn’t that be used, and what did Isabella have against a hair cut?  I have seen spies on TV even shave their hair off to go undercover.  Am I missing something?  It’s just crazy how each and every time, somebody was always able to detect who she was, even in disguise.  A leaky faucet in the organization is one thing, having an easily discernible disguise is another thing altogether.

“Isabella, keep your day job as an alchemist.  You need to report back to Super Spy Class 101 immediately.  Or better yet, just withdraw altogether.  You are making it look like any Joe Blow or Mary Sue Bob on the street can be a spy, and that is an insult to all the ones that are doing the profession stylishly well.  No spell you can weave on my brain is going to make me think any differently.”

The Lace Garter of Long Chapters (Code Name: Balanced Length of Chapter Fail)
In The Tower’s Alchemist, the length of the chapters were all over the place.  A few were about ten to fifteen pages while a few were closer to thirty pages.  Chapters 13, 16, 17, and 21 really stood out because the action in the chapters, rather than utilizing scene separations, should have just been another chapter instead.

The Anklet of Aversion (Code Name: Not a Fan)
Yes, I have to circle back to Isabella.  In addition to her spy swag being less than mediocre (aka atrocious), I’m not a fan of her overall disposition.  She is so quick to judge other’s decisions and motives but fails to look at some of her own actions that mimics those others.

harrypottergirlbye

Each time she does it as a bit of hindsight but sadly Isabella doesn’t grow as a character.  Isabella stays stuck in this rut and it makes her come off as pretentious and insensitive.  The catalyst that really set off my full disdain of her was the treatment of Lucien when he lost his father.  Since she had gone through a similar loss in a similar fashion, I expected a bit more understanding towards him but instead she’s more preoccupied with the success of her mission than tending to Lucien’s broken spirit.  Yet if the tables were turned, she would be the same person acting wounded because no one even stopped to give proper respect to said loss.  Perhaps Isabella will gain more likability as the series continues but as it stands right now, I don’t find myself caring about what happens to her.

The Earrings of Competing Themes (Code Name: Dynamic Themes Fail)
Through this entire story, the spy angle and the element angle seemed more in competition that flattering each other.  Part of it is how the alchemist information was placed in this work.

berightback

It reminds me of watching the catalyst of a TV program, and then a commercial is placed in—a word from your sponsor, if you will.  This is a shame because the usage of the magic is what I found the most enjoyable.  I could have easily done without the added layer of Isabella being a spy because I wanted to experience what she could do with her magic.  The information involving the different stones and symbols could have been better served as a glossary at the beginning of the book as opposed to the lackluster interlink attempts in the gargantuan blocks of narrative.

Unleashed Verdict: 4 out of 10 Stars

Despite the ambitious aim of this work, The Tower’s Alchemist does too much in its goal to be out of the box.  Too many characters, lack of a tidied resolution, major fail of Isabella as a credible and engaging main character, and the disproportion of narration, conflict, information, and historically accurate dialogue really hurt the star power of this undertaking. I can’t say that I can recommend at this point; however, I will continue on with the series before I truly render my full assessment.

Now let’s add all of the scores and divide by the number of reviewers:

5stars

Overall, The Tower’s Alchemist gets 5 out of 10 Stars from The Review Board.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Feel free to like, share, and subscribe.  Have a fantastic day!

Mr. Controversy Speaks on Confessions of a Paris Party Girl

confessionsofaparispartygirlConfessions of a Paris Party Girl by Vicki Lesage
Amazon | Amazon Author Page

Genre: Comedic Memoir

Note: This book was given to us by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Greetings!  The Review Board here to give our take on Confessions of a Paris Party Girl by Vicki Lesage.  Providing his observations, our very own Mr. Controversy.

controversybanner

Before we begin, let’s take a look at the blurb for this comedic memoir:

Wine, romance, and French bureaucracy–the ups and downs of an American’s life in Paris. This laugh-out-loud memoir is almost too funny to be true! 

Drinking too much bubbly. Meeting sappy Frenchmen who have girlfriends or are creeps or both. Encountering problème after problème with French bureaucracy. When newly-single party girl Vicki moved to Paris, she was hoping to indulge in wine, stuff her face with croissants, and maybe fall in love. 

In her first book, this cheeky storyteller and semi-professional drinker recounts the highs and lows of her life in Paris. Full of sass, shamefully honest admissions, and situations that seem too absurd to be true, you’ll feel as if you’re stumbling along the cobblestones with her. 

Will she find love? Will she learn to consume reasonable amounts of alcohol? Will the French administration ever cut her a break?

 

Vicki Lesage’s “Confessions of a Paris Party Girl” has an autobiographical feel as a young Vicki (VeeKee as she is called by a few characters in the story) chooses to leave her unceremoniously relieved from her IT job’s duties as well as take a car everywhere life in St. Louis, Missouri to venture abroad into the lavish and glamorous living of Paris, France as a freelance web designer.

Granted, to be in (let alone LIVE IN) a new land, whether stateside or abroad, is trying as well as taxing. Vicki takes everything is stride, and makes the best of her day-to-day situations. From trying to find the key holder to her first dwelling, breaking 20 euros at the store (while getting guff from shopkeepers), SERIOUS bottles of wine, homesickness, loads of reflection of many fun times with her friends and family, TONS AND TONS of handsy, ignorant, quasi-disrespectful, and helpful Frenchmen and Frenchwomen, all the way down to the locals STRONGLY believing that St. Louis in Missouri) is ACTUALLY (in THEIR minds) located in “Louisiane,” dealing with French authorities while renewing her Visa, and Love.

Ahhh, Paris: you fickle whore…

 

 

I am going to be honest: I LOVE THIS BOOK!

Like Thor Odinson with his coffee, I say “ANOTHER!” when it comes to Mrs. Lesage’s writings.

NO ONE has ever heard me use those specific combination of words EVER in my review (UNLESS you are close to me to where you can contact me by certain means and we talk at length; NEVER said this in writing).

It is a great read that got me from the jump. When I read the first few pages (namely the boarding call for Paris), I had a strong feeling that this read was going to be something special.

I am glad that I was right (for once).

The description of the Parisian life is overall solid, sound, and good. It has a feel of a blogger which helped greatly in my comfort level of reading (bloggers love bloggers for the most part). There are humorous recollections, sadness, and sarcasm which give the book depth and character.

The ONLY complaint that I have with this read is a not too bad one actually. At the same time, a little lesson for everyone:

 

 

While reading the book, I had to put it down a few times to look up and translate certain French words and phrases that did not have a translation already included. Citing that I speak Spanish personally, I would make sure that IF I use a Spanish term, I would include its translation in parenthesis so the language barrier remains intact.

Also, while Vicki was dating a particular gentleman, I noticed a few missing words in the young man’s dialogue, ONLY to come to my own conclusion (and Mrs. Lesage can either verify or deny) that the young man REALLY spoke that way.

Spelling and grammar is quite nice. Ms. Lesage makes sure that her sentences end with either a noun or a verb (Oui [that means “Yes” for my non-French speaking populous]: I AM that damn picky in the realm of sentence structure).

 

Source: familyfeud

9starsSurvey Says: 9 out of 10 Stars

 

 

“Confessions of a Paris Party Girl” is 237 pages of memoir that I KNOW will put a smile on your face. I had a chance to glance at Mrs. Lesage’s Amazon Author Page, and see that she is a hardcore blogger, and has another book “Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer.” I TRULY enjoyed this read, and would LOVE to take a crack at her other books as well.

If I am giving a reigning endorsement for a book, YOU KNOW that I either fell and bumped my head (possible, but not likely in this review), got bought off to give it a reigning endorsement (laughable, because you would have to have me Set For Life FINANCIALLY for me to give you that type of brownnosing ass-kissery), OR (and MOST LIKELY) I REALLY Loved this book. As I have reviewed many books, VERY FEW have stood out and got higher than an 8 (in one case, a Perfect Score of 10 out of 10 stars).

Mrs. Vicki Lesage DEFINITELY has something special here, and I look forward to reading MUCH MORE from this young lady!

Keep it up!

Thanks for checking out The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share, and subscribe.  Have a terrific day!