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April 29, 2015

Book 9 of 2015

Church of MartyrsChurch of Martyrs by Pete Fusco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The church pictured on the cover of "Church of Martyrs" by Pete Fusco looks innocent enough. It looks like many churches you would see around a small rural town but within the walls is anything but innocence. The setting is actually in Cleveland and the church is closed but in the back of the church in the old convent is the Church of Martyrs Woman's Shelter which just opened and the director is an ex-priest.

When the La Mano di Cristo, a secret organization that is small but world wide, kills per orders of the Pope who lived hundreds of years before pay a visit to the Church of Martyrs things get real interesting really fast.The plot thickens with each turn of the page and as the characters develop. Each character is unique with their own personalities that rage from everything from dry humor to animated and bubbly. They are well rounded and believable for the most part. The reason I say this is that I am not sure what a real person would do if faced with these circumstances. Although I think I would do something different from what was done, I really don't know until I am in that position however I do imagine real people may react the same way the characters in the book did. I was able to connect with many of them to varying degree including one of these 'hit men' which of course at the beginning of the book he is the 'bad guy' so basically I wanted to hate him. The one I connected with the most was naturally the main character, Eddie Russo who is the ex-priest and director of the shelter.

The pace of the book is fast, the mystery and action are nonstop. Once one of the questions are answered and that mystery is solved, there are always another question that needs an answer and mystery to solve but it always followed a logical direction and never strayed from this. I would say this is a fast and steady pace book because even in the slower part of it (usually when a new character is introduced) it really doesn't slow down all that much. At no point would I say it stalled or was boring in any way especially with the twist that I didn't see coming at the end.

What I found delightful is that there were not any 'fillers' in the story. I can not think of even one point in the book where it went off in another direction or concentrated even a page on something that had nothing to do with the story. Mr. Fusco writes direct, meaningful, and effectively. It is what I would call a 'no nonsense' story where each and every page all go toward the goal of telling this story.

I thought I should mention that although the book's setting is in an old Catholic church and the main character is an ex-priest, this is not a religious book. In fact, someone without a sense of humor and deep into religion may even find this book offensive to the point of almost being irreligious. There is talk of popes, bishops, and about saints, so knowing what these are is helpful (the 'chain of command' for lack of a better definition, not that you have to know who the pope is, who the bishop is, or who any saints are) although even if you don't know, the author basically explains it so the story still is as enjoyable no matter what, if any, religion you are.

I really love the writing style of the Mr. Fusco and totally enjoyed this book.

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April 24, 2015

Book 8 of 2015

Always DreamingAlways Dreaming by David L. Rivinus
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Always Dreaming by David Rivinus takes dreams and their interpretation a little bit farther by arguing the point that during our waking hours, we have 'waking dreams' and they too are significant and are meant to instruct us once we learn how to interpret them. He shows examples and explains his five-step technique on how to do just that.

Although his interpretation of 'sleeping dreams' are pretty well the standard that have been discussed in countless books that I have read saying they shouldn't be taking literal and are symbols, I had a problem with this book when I realized he wasn't talking about 'day dreams' as being 'waking dreams'. I am sure everyone has had a day dream: they were wide awake and just fantasizing or thinking of something else/somewhere else. The author wasn't calling this the 'waking dream' he calls 'reality' the waking dream. The life we lead while we are awake.

One of his examples of a 'waking dream' is about a man who was leaving the store and started his car but before he even understood what was going on, the car went forward across the small parking lot, crashed through a retaining wall, and ended up broadside across the middle of the street. The author called this a 'waking dream' and went on about interpreting it page after page. This is what I call 'reality' and has nothing to do with anything the man is thinking or what is bothering him in his life. It is due to the fact, just as the mechanic said, the computer that regulated the cruise control wasn't working properly.

Another problem I had is that each person is suppose to 'own' the metaphors. In other words, if someone including one of your co-workers are mean to you, it is a metaphor for something else and you are the one responsible for it. Until you change and address this so called 'waking dream' then it won't go away and will be a re-accruing 'waking dream'. Since when is one person 'responsible' for another person's action? So if you were raped, beaten, or robbed, it is your fault because you didn't pay attention and own your so called 'waking dream' and make changes in your life is simply preposterous that I can't even begin to explain why I totally disagree with it.

Although the author doesn't go so far as to say everything in reality/life when we are awake is a 'waking dream', it does go so far where one gets the impression that not much of life is reality and we either are in a near constant dream state since so much can be interpreted as a 'waking dream'. It is like he is saying if you drop your morning cup for coffee on the floor and it shatters, then you are unhappy in life and feel it is overwhelming and you are being pulled in random pieces. If you wash your clothes, fold, them and realize that there is a wrinkle in them that is stubborn and won't come out then you have a rift in your life and are having marital problems with your spouse that needs to be addressed. If you see the car in front of you crash and are caught in the traffic on your way to work then your life is a disaster and although you choose the road to travel you feel there are obstacles that need to be addressed so you can reach your destination. To me, almost anything in life can be interpreted as his 'waking dream'.

I really did not care for this book or agree with author's concept of 'waking dreams'. Maybe he is 'Always Dreaming' but I am still living in reality.

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* Note: I just want to clarify that this author does write clear, explains himself with examples that are easy to understand, so don't think this low review is because he is an careless/bad writer, He is a good writer but I just don't agree with or care for the subject.

April 4, 2015

Book 7 of 2015

WinterWinter by Reece Ran
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The cover of the book raised my curiosity up, the story explains the cover which is so fitting for this book plus it brings much more to it than I imagined. The setting is Scranton, PA so I knew 'Winter' would be long, cold, and snowy. Winter by Reece Ran captured my attention however I didn't care for the opening of the story since it was something that really took place much later on in the story. I found it distracting to read a scene of someone throwing something out their window into the snow and then turn the page to find that this person is on a plane coming back from Africa and it is Autumn with no snow and no explanation for this totally different place and time. In fact, at first it had me believing he woke up sweating on the plane because he had fallen asleep and had this memory/nightmare, however after reading on a bit I knew that this was impossible since this wasn't something that happened in the past, it will happen that winter so he couldn't have been remembering/dreaming about it on the plane. Then this opening scene is repeated word for word later on when it really does take place within the story which just throws me off since I read all that before in the beginning. It would have been much more enjoyable if the author just started the story without that powerful scene at the beginning since it totally destroys the impact of it later on.

The plot in the story seemed simple enough but it expanded to different layers with their own sub-plots. The author worked this all into the story with seamless ease and a natural time line (exception of the beginning). The reading was smooth and although it was important to recall some things already read to make sense of what is happening now, it wasn't overwhelming and came very easy. It took twists and turns I never saw coming not only in the horror fiction part, but the mystery and especially the end. On the surface, the plot seemed to be some mysterious thing where winter, more accurately I should say, "snow" comes alive and eats people so no one can go outside in winter once the snow arrives. There is much more to this snow than that, almost like it has an intelligence to actively seek 'man' and destroy him. Then there is the underlying legend of the 'Snowman" and if in fact it is a legend or something real. When the main character's daughter disappears one winter's day, the mystery heightens in many ways and on the many levels.

I also couldn't help but notice, especially toward the end that a lot of what went on in the story can be related to things going on in the world currently. In the book the year is 2049 and there is no middle class, there is only the poor, rich and super-rich which is an event that seems to be taking place now (and has for years): the collapse of the middle class in America. There is also mention of the "God Particle" which I still see mentioned every now and then in the news. Some of other things mentioned are politics, terrorist, genocide, religion, mixed race families/racism, viruses, and weapons of mass destruction.

There are a couple of typos that I noticed, such as the word "doesn't" instead of the word "don't" and the word "the" misplaced in a sentence so it reads, "With the [sic] all the gray snow clouds...." I didn't notice any formatting issues at all.

I enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who enjoys Horror Fiction and Mysteries.

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

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