Happy Reading

Toni's bookshelf: read

The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep, #4)
Ape House
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Operation Napoleon
Walking Dead
The Sentimentalists
The Heretic Queen
The Midnight House
Cross Fire
Peony in Love
Finding Nouf: A Novel
City of Veils: A Novel
First Daughter
A Place of Hiding
Peter Pan

Toni Osborne's favorite books »

Friday, November 27, 2015

"The Phone Company", by David Jacob Knight

This is one weird book I never was able to get into, oh yes I tried many times after putting it down telling myself that I wasn’t in the correct mood for a bizarre, kind of nightmarish read. In effect, from my perspective this turned fast into a slow and far too dragging horror to pick my interest from the start and hold it all through….I never reached the end…..

The premise is original: a cellphone service company bestows cellphones on the citizen in a small town but the phones are evil…. What follows is creepy. All through we have lunacy and strangeness happening with phones taking over the lives of the residents….

Although this book was no meant for me it may be yours. I am not saying the plot is not a well-written one and the characters not interesting. It simply this kind of story that never gelled and I simply abandoned it half through… My take on this book may not give a fair assessment but it is the way I see it……

"The Martian", by Andy Weir

This story is pure science fiction, both funny and thrilling at the same time and one of those sharp story heavily laced with geeky details. This story will probably please most fans that are into hard sci-fi genre but may leave some readers questioning themselves whether this book was worth the time spent reading it…..The story follows an American astronaut, Mark Watney, as he becomes stranded alone on Mars and must improvise in order to survive.

There is too much techno sci-fi, mumble-jumble for my taste and long passages where Watney calculates how far he can get, how much water and food he needs but what makes these passages digestible is how the author has lighten the mood by letting his protagonist muse about his situation as a space pirate using unconventional methods to survive (hilarious at times). Of course there is tension found, the pages are filled with catastrophic failures and risks managing decisions. The plot keeps on moving with one random disaster after another and Watney faces each problem as it arises with admirable savvy and technical know-how. The protagonist is an engaging character although I found his development to be rather static throughout his ordeal. No signs of emotional and psychological impact from the experience at all. The story is set in the present and is narrated in alternate voices by the astronaut, mission control desk managers, mission crew and by a third person’s point of view. All account is vivid and very visual….not surprising it is now on the big scene.

I have mixed feelings about this gritty survivalist tale, sometime captivated and at other simply bored to death…..Although ”The Martian” may have an amazing story reading it was a tedious task at times.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

"Desecration", by J.F. Penn

Book 1, in The London Psychic trilogy

Set in London England this mystery/thriller features detective Jamie Brooke and psychic researcher Blake Daniel. In tome 1 Jamie investigates the murder of an heiress whose mutilated body was found at the Royal College of Surgeons. 

Morbid to no end, this story has a most original topic of life and death. As the two protagonists delve into the macabre world of grave robbery, body modification and genetic engineering we explore the dark side of human behavior and depravity. The story is harrowing, shocking and very graphic. Although highly fictionalized, the drama deals with unique themes of dissection and teratology. The author not only tried but did capture the feeling of horror and one’s reaction to tortures, body parts and the use of plastinated cadaver for art. It is also evident the author’s obsession with the supernatural and the macabre: flesh dissected on a person laying on a table….creepy. Exploration into vivisection and Mengele’s interests in genetic are also themes well covered. Intensive research was put in the making of this story.

Putting this aside, Ms. Penn has taken great liberties with Jamie as an investigator and her side kick the psychic. Their joint effort was captivating and offered an eerie journey I rarely take. I loved this book simply engrossing and totally fascinating. “Desecration “is richly written, has strong characterization and has a hell of a story to tell.

Although I received a copy from the author “This is the way I see it” and in no way was I influenced by the offer.

"A Dubious Mission: The Aryan Tablet", by gearld J. Kubicki

Book 1, in the Colton Banyon Mystery

This is a remake and an extended version of the original book in the series. Although I have read more than 13 novels already I never had the chance to read the first book. I am happy to have received the new version from Mr. Kubicki and thanks to this nice touch I finally know how all these wonderful characters met and how Colton and the illusive Wolf came together.

It is rather strange to go back in time to where it all started and find a less confident and a more careful Colton. Colton is middle-age man who seems to have a target on his back and is offered help from the most unexpected sources… thus all through the series we are lead to exotic places and into some pretty exciting adventures….The plots have a bit of history, mysterious encounters and wild chases in search of artifact…of course lots of dubious characters to entertain us.

This version is great and captivating, fast moving plot, clean style and interesting characters. For those who have met the Patel sisters and the sexy Loni Chen in later books will recognize their personalities…and antics and will notice how they have grown not only in skills but also in relationship. The plot brings together all the characters that made this a series a success.

This is so far the best book I read in this series. Of course this is the way I see it and my thoughts have not be influence in any ways by the offer.

Friday, November 13, 2015

"The Girl in the Spider's Web", by David Lagercrants

Book # 4 in the Millennium (trilogy) series

With this 4th edition David Lagercrantz continues Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series. Bringing back the two wonderful characters who were the driving force behind the spectacular success it brought to its creator: journalist Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander , the tough and punkish girl with the dragon tattoo. The author seemed to have stayed true to the Larsson’s original complex stories. Although part of a series, “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” is fresh and unique. Mr. Lagercrantz touch is definitely his own.

I like fast paced intrigues, none here, what we have is a slow developing plot with some bursts of action here and there. What slowed everything down are the wider and complex issues introduced and hard to understand: such as artificial intelligences and state surveillance. Although this may be well-researched the details descriptions of maths and computing brings everything to a halt making the story knotty and boring in most parts. The dialogue is also tin and the narration too broad with every little detail spelled. The numerous characters to keep track of are a challenge especially for those not comfortable with foreign names.

Having said this, the story is nevertheless intriguing and this from the start. Mr. Lagercrantz does an excellent job creating the spirit of this series with a Lisbeth even more kamikaze than we ever seen her although her role has been somewhat toned down and does not appear until far on into the story. But it was nice to discover more of her fascinating background. Bloomkvist has the center stage and is out crusading for justice.

It must have been a challenge for the author to follow Larsson’s footsteps and keep the franchise going, enthrall the readers the same way he did and have your talent shine in every aspect.

This story is good but not the Larsson’s stander.

"Saving Kali", by Phyllis Smallman

This is a short fiction about a homeless woman, a sexual predator, and a child in danger. Although only 51 pages, the story provides a good punch and the expected thrills found in mysteries. 

When an author manages to write a touching and captivating story, populates it with a warm and divers cast and wraps up everything beautifully in a few pages, the author definitely merits good marks. Ms. Smallman’s writing may be sparse here but is rich in tension and suspense.

Can anyone witnessing a wrong play possum? Find out how far the protagonist goes in this story …..Touching.

Although I am a huge fan of this author I maintain a short story even excellent will always leave me unsatisfied, I need more.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"The Society of Orion: The Orion Codex", by Gerald J. Kubicki and Kristopher Kubicki

Book 4: The Orion Codex

Book 18, in the Colton Banyon Mystery

This is another exciting and captivating short story filled with suspense and over the top action. In this one, Colton and his sidekicks are sent to South America, on a wild goose chase deep into the heart of Ecuador. As in all books in this series Banyon is hunting for artifacts and treasures and looking for them strange and mystical things happen…
I admit this series is beyond a fantasy and a bit ridiculous but knowing this is half the battle to enjoying it. The plot in “The Orion Codex”, is fun to follow and very fast paced, flipping the page is no problem one started its 110 pages or so is easy to read in one setting. Of course the merry band of misfits offers entertainment throughout the pages. The writing is simple, the dialogue catchy and narration blends in all the latest gadgets. We do have some twists and turns of events and the appearance of bad guys is enough to grip the reader’s attention…

Being a long-time fan of this series I appreciated the tone down the authors brought to their sex scenes actually very little are mentioned and more attention was directed towards entertaining us with never ending action. After a few months away from this series picking it up was an enjoyment.

"Hecate's Moon", by Carol Anne Dobson

Set in North Devon at the end of the 18th century “Hecate’s Moon” is a colourful story of love and treachery based on legends and the goddess Hecate. It is also the sequel to “Storks in a Blue Sky” another wonderful read I enjoyed immensely.

As in the first book, the literary style reflects the period and is the old fashion romance type with all the frou-frou we can imagine. I noticed from the start that this latest follows the same pattern and beat as its predecessor although with new players and a fresh plot. I admit at one point wondering if I 

was rereading “Storks in a Blue Sky”.

Don’t expect sex scenes we have none but what we have is a strong plot written with passion, a steady flow all through, a mystery to intrigue us and characters to love and hate. The obligatory witchcraft, poisonous plants, moon and magic are not forgotten and the mention of the French revolution is also a topic that runs throughout. The author doesn’t stay there she has injected a bit of Jewish folklore and some pretty powerful images of smugglers, pirates and kidnappers….This story covers quite a range of activities.

“Hecate’s Moon” has a less mushy approach than its prequel but nevertheless has a romantic side to soften the hearts…..aw …..

My thanks to Ms. Dobson for providing a copy of her book.

This is the way I see it, my thoughts have not been influence in anyways.