Archive for the ‘ Book Review ’ Category

Review: The Paradise Snare

The Paradise Snare (Star Wars: Han Solo, #1)

The Paradise Snare by A.C. Crispin

A. C. Crispins The Paradise Snare (1997) came with a high recommendation from a friend who read it as a teenager shortly after its first publication. With Disney’s acquisition of the Star Wars franchise, the new owners demoted “The Paradise Snare” from Cannon to Legend. After seeing the somewhat disappointing Solo: A Star Wars Story, I caught up on the Star Wars universe, and the book fun but something of a disappointment.
After a brief glimpse of a semi-derelict Troop Carrier, the Author stops the story to tell the reader the history of Garris Shrike. Had I picked up the book in a bookstore and read the first few pages, I would not have bought it. I persevered through what writers call a data dump. The story picks up speed, for, as  with the troop carrier, “it was still capable of hyperspace travel, even though it was slow by modern standards.”
Crispin’s Hahn Solo differs from the cocky, arrogant and confident smuggler and crook. As I followed him through his first grand love affair and loss, I found the romance element unsatisfying. His work with drug smugglers and the use of religion as an addictive substance is the highlight of the book. It made a better beginning to the amoral smuggler happy to shoot first when threatened
This is not a book that will change your life. The brightest point of the novel is its entertainment value. I recommend it to readers of Star Wars Novels, everywhere.

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A Delicate Truce by Ben Douglass

Ben Douglass, A Delicate Truce is a brief report of a generational collision between a father and a daughter, both anchored by their own experiences that leave them unwilling to cross the generational divide. The adopted daughter Lisa lives in a world informed by revolutionary youth, a young woman seeking to understand her roots in a world she does not remember, having been transplanted into a middle-class Jewish household. Arnie Sussman, a father who loves his child, is lost in the face of the young woman she has become and find himself unable to understand how the world he sees filtered by nuance and gray tones is for her slashed with jagged lines of black and white.

Their truce for the duration of a family evening at the theater proves difficult to broker. More of difficult cease fire, and their clash though not epic is familiar to parents who often look at their children in dismay.

I enjoyed this Flash Fiction, and found its portrayal of two very different people, both blinded by a version of privilege but unwilling to see past their blinders.

Ben Douglass and Mercury Flats Publishing

Indie writers and publishers go hand in hand. They range from small, boutique publishers providing editorial and publishing services for a price to sole proprietor publishing houses created to handle the works of one writer who serves as Writer, Editor, Publisher, Artist, Book Designer, Bank, and chief cook and bottle washer.

Mercury Flats falls under the later description, operated by author and owner Ben Douglass. His works are available from Amazon.
Konstantin’s Birthday: 4th Revised Edition
Inmate DET-3
Confession of a Former Zombie: A Memoir
This Ain’t The Waldorf Astoria, Honey!
Raw Beginnings: An Omnibus

Thoughts on Paranormal Romance: Pride Mates – Ashley

I don’t read romance novels. It’s not a rule, just that my tastes run in different genres. An interesting statistic from The Most Successful Self-Published Sci-Fi and Fantasy Authors that Paranormal Romance is the highest selling sub-genre from Self-Published and Sci-Fi and Fantasy authors. No, I do not intend to jump into that genre, to chase the money, though, God, money would be nice. Since I write Sci-Fi (Science Fiction) and Fantasy (Why don’t they call it Fan-cy) I thought that some of the techniques would help me create characters that will appeal to more readers. (Oh, please, get your mind out of the gutter.)

Though I’ve only read the first chapter, there are a number of techniques used by author Jennifer Ashley I found interesting. She writes in a limited Omniscient. It first shows up on page 6, after five and a half pages in in Kim Fraser’s head, listening to a 50/50 mix of thoughts about how freaking sexy/dangerous the “Shifter” Liam Morrissey is (description of her physical reaction to the man, the word sexy is not used) and the first intimation of he plot concerning “Shifter” Brian Smith accused of killing his human girlfriend. ”
“Liam smiled again. His eyes returned to normal, and now he looked like any other gorgeous, hard-bodied, blue-eyed Irishman. “You, love, are—”” Jennifer Smith, Page 6, Pride Mates.

The switch in POV without a scene break surprised me. I did not expect and first thought it was head jumping. As far as I can tell, Smith is consistent throughout the novel. This almost microscopic detail of the physical and sensual responses between the characters sets it apart from most fiction I’ve read. It also makes me itch to write something from a limited omniscient point of view.

The focus on the sexual attraction sets this novel, and I suspect the sub-genre, from others. In a way, it is like reading the minds of a class full of teenagers in a sex therapy class. So far, I am enjoying the book.

Book Review: Night of Masks by Andre Norton

If you are a dietitian, doctor, insurance adjuster, mechanic, or most any occupation continuing education is critical to the performance of your profession. Authors, novelists, writers, and poets also require continuing education. That education, however does not come as a Grammar class (thought some could use one) or other formal seduction. Continuing education for an author consists of reading.

As part of my Writer’s Journey, I choose to read extensively both within my preferred genres and from both fiction and non-fiction. This keeps my writing fresh and teaches me how others did it.

Night of Masks

by Andre Norton (1964)

Grand Dame of Science Fiction Andre Norton created a complex universe for her Science Fiction and expanded them with each novel. The shared world that she uses with her stories is perhaps her strongest suit. Tightly written, the book contained no excess verbiage or unnecessary scenes. Night of Masks is one of Norton’s many Juvenile Science Fiction Novels. Her characters are sympathetic and relatable to her audience. Having read the novel as a teenager in the mid-1960s, it was like meeting someone I knew briefly a long time ago. It was better than my expectations because I am older and able to appreciate the world building aspects of her work. She writes clear, concise prose with no frills. It is not great literature, but it is appropriate. This book harkens back to a kinder and gentler age. At no point did she stoop to inappropriate. Night of Masks is not a book to change your life. It is entertainment and escape.  Falling within the subgenre of Space Opera, it is a bit dated. Modern tastes run to grittier and more realistic tastes. Her depiction of the “dipple” would be at home in any dystopia, but readers of Space Opera will find it mild. For me, the investment was a great value, both as a good story and from personal nostalgia. I recommend it to readers of science fiction and space opera.