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December 30, 2014

Book 40 of my 2014 Goal

ElementsElements by Solomon Deep
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Elements by Solomon Deep is not the typical story I would read but it sounded interesting. The simple name, "elements" (How much more basic can you get?) with its simple cover complements the plot of this book. At one point or another I think everyone wonders some basic questions like, who am I? Where do I fit in? What is life about? In this book the main character does more than wonder, he takes us on his journey seeing through his eyes, what he has discovered.

This book is a novel of fiction but the plot of the book is realistic and many of the 'events' in the book can even be applied to what is going on today with a little imagination. An example is the 'sleep-ins' at ValuMart protest which isn't hard to visualize the 'die-ins' around the country currently in the news as well as ValuMart sounding a lot like Wal-Mart in many aspects. So with a little imagination I was even able to relate this to things going on today and how it would look to or confuse people growing up and trying to make it on their own in today's world. However, a lot of the book I found really strange (didn't seem to 'fit' in) and even hard to follow at times.

Since the author expressed that no part of the book can be quoted without his consent, I won't which puts me at a disadvantage for review purposes. Even so, there were many good parts of this book however it did not keep me engaged or interested to the degree I had hoped. To me it seemed to drag in many places and the interesting areas of the book seemed too few and to be rushed. As I said, some of it just made no sense to me to even why it was even included in the book since it only dragged it out instead of getting to the point. I understand what the author was trying to do (express the uncertainty, fears, concerns about life/the future) but for me, it didn't work.

* I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

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December 22, 2014

Book 39 of my 2014 Goal

Return of the DittosReturn of the Dittos by Dale Andrew White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Return of the Dittos by Dale Andrew White is a collection of short stories obvious meant for the reader's entertainment. I think the cover of the book explains it all. It is a picture of an old TV and that is what these stories remind me of, watching old black and white comedies and in some cases, Twilight Zone in the good ole days. The stories are all varied in theme, some are purely humorous while some may use irony. If you don't like one story just keep reading, you may like the next one. It is the perfect book to take with you to enjoy a quick story while waiting at a Dr. office or whenever you have a few minutes because chances are you will be able to read a complete story in just a few minutes.

I only found one story, 'Infatuated,' that I thought was 'sick' for lack of a better way of explaining it. I don't want to give any spoilers away so I really can't explain it but what I mean by it, it is like reading a story about someone who has a foot fetish. This is not what this story is about, it is about something else so be clear on this, I am only using 'foot fetish' as a way to explain it. I do not find feet sexy, nor do I worship them. To me those that do are 'sick' and this is what I mean about this story, it is 'sick'. (Again, it has nothing to do with feet.)

Other stories can possibly be non-fiction although the author has already stated the book is fiction. The story that comes to mind is 'Disappearing Act' which is about a secret experiment concerning the human mind at a college for a Psychology class on Perceptions & Realities. This experiment is done on students through the course of the semester and after reading it, I realized I too believed and wondered what in my life have I (and how many others) perceived as a reality when in fact it was a deception all along. So this story even had me thinking about the statement, "The charade proved that the human mind will gullibly accept a fiction as a fact, if society insists it is so."

Another story that just cracked me up was 'Little Birdie' by the way the narrator was talking to me, the reader. It was if this 'narrator' is a person living within my mind that is the same 'narrator' for everything I do. It is the one that tells me stories when I read a book, it is the same one that tells me what the letter I received in the mail says, and it is the same one from when I was 2 years old. Well, this hilarious story is about what happens because this 'narrator' had enough of the 'me'.

A story that was very deep is 'On Tour with a Confederate Soldier' while I didn't quite know what one other story was about, other than it was ironic. There are so many stories I can't comment on each one but they are such a wide variety in these stories I find it difficult to believe there isn't something for everyone.

Since these are all short stories (approximately 25 of them) there is no real development of characters or plots and subplots or any time lines and such that I can talk about the development of. About all I can say is that each story had characters that were well enough developed that I knew what I needed to know to make sense of the story. Some I liked, some not so much but either way, at least I knew enough about them to draw my own conclusion. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys short stories and has a sense of humor.

*I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

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December 15, 2014

Book 38 of my 2014 Goal

digidigi by Gary Sheerin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The cover of Digi by Gary Lawrence Sheerin is a great depiction of what this book is about. The artwork is fantastic for this YA read about a boy who lives through a jolt of lightning and finds he is able to enter cyber world. I won't go into the whole description of the story as the author has already done that for you but just want you aware it is a YA read that I found difficult to put down.

The characters in the story are difficult to talk about because there are two distinct groups, real and cyber. Of course even this isn't exactly accurate as the main character, Peter has the ability to be both (no spoiler here since the author already told you this in his description). So lets take him in his human state first. Peter is the underdog, he isn't that great in school with computers, sports, and tends to be the subject of bullying. He doesn't complain much (he may think it but doesn't say it) and is sort of a quiet kid. He is also a loving son that deeply cares about his family and he does have a few friends. As far as his character goes in these aspects, he is likable and I found myself rooting for him right along with the other characters. There are some situations where he isn't quite believable with his actions as a person but then again this is a book about a kid who can go into cyber world so just how believable can he really be? In his digital state, he is curious, doesn't always listen, and at times seems to have a problem following directions. Sounds like a typical kid to me.

Terry is the ringleader of the bullies and also one of Peter's classmates. He is the typical rich kid who has everything except his father's loving attention. He never had to work hard at anything as everything was given to him on a silver platter. Terry's father owns SternGuard, a computer virus company and gives Terry an internship type arrangement complete with his own huge office. He has a new BMW, and they live in a huge house. He has no problem with flaunting these things and loves beating others down to make himself look better. A character that is true to life in many cases and surely the one I loved to see 'put in place'.

There are various other characters that all seem real enough for the most part. I would have liked to see Terry's dad have Terry washing toilets at the company instead of handing everything to him. He didn't seem to notice the 'monster' he had created nor what he was doing however, there are parents like that in real life. Terry's fellow bullies seemed real enough as well as Peter's friends and family.

The cyber world was full of characters, firewalls, bits, and bytes, just to name a few. They all take on a life of their own as they hastily zoom across the circuits and down the tunnels doing their various jobs. I don't even know how to comment on these 'characters' since I don't know what a byte might say or how it would act. What I can say is they were all with their own personalities, some with humor, and some capable of compassion and friendship.

I found the book to be somewhat predictable especially since "Every World Needs a Hero Even Cyber World" is boldly stated on the cover. Even though some of the characters are believable, the story isn't. The book is interesting, at points very amusing, and I love how the author brought the cyber world to life with his imagination expressed in these cyber characters. It was an easy YA read with appropriate language and no sex plus you don't have to be a computer genius to understand it. Some of the chapters were extremely short and the book has simple sentence structure and words. I recommend it to anyone who would like an escape in this fantasy world where the underdog is a hero and the bully 'gets his due'.

*I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

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