Book Review: The Haunting of Winchester Mansion

I’m at the point in my book reading career (if only!) that all I have to do to find something to read is pickup my Kindle and make a random choice out of the library I have amassed there. Sounds like a good “problem” to have, eh? Sometimes it is a real gamble. I’m on several mailing lists for free Kindle books, as well as several author mailing lists. It can be very difficult to decide what to read.

In May, I chose to reading a cliche named series. One of those “the haunting of…” titles that seem so popular in the paranormal genre. I didn’t know what to expect. It took me a few chapters to even decide if I liked what I was reading. Might have gone differently if I had actually started with the first book in the series. Continue reading

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Filed under Crime & Mystery, Horror

Curse of Lanval by Rebekah Dodson

Mirrors (Curse of Lanval Book 1) by [Dodson, Rebekah]

4.5 Stars for story, 3.5 for editing

As you may know, I have been meeting a lot of indie and small publishing house authors this year. Thanks to my friend Sarah Buhrman, the Author Goddess herself, I have been introduced to many talented storytellers. One of those authors is Rebekah Dodson. She’s got a way with telling a story that grabs you without being too intense. Rebekah’s had several novellas and novels published over the last couple of years. She’s rather prolific. Her Curse of Lanval series is an example of current works. She’s put out three novellas so far in that series and the final chapter is due out later this year. Continue reading

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance

The Stone Gods

TheStoneGodsFor the Lincoln LGBTQ Reading Group, we selected The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson as our May title. I was unable to attend our monthly meeting to discuss the book, so I have no idea how others felt about this read. It was recommended by one of our newest members, a recommendation that I was happy to take!

Winterson is the author of several books, including Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. I’ve not read that book, but I have seen the film based on it. Rather a good watch, and based on my read of The Stone Gods, I imagine Oranges to be a rather good read as well. I will have to find out some day.

The Stone Gods is written in three parts. Almost entirely separate stories. It is science fiction and fantasy rolled into one. Parts 1 and 3 are the science fiction. Part 2 is the fantasy, though it could also be described as historical fiction or even speculative. I know, sounds confusing.

The book is somewhat confusing to read. I must admit that. It took my a little while to get into it because of Winterson’s choice of style for the book. Not having read her other works, I do not know if she uses the same style for everything. Again, I may just have to find out sometime in the future.

All three parts of the book follow the life of Billie. Billie is a reporter. Billy is a sailor. Billie is a computer programmer. Then there is Spike. Spike’s roll doesn’t change in her parts. She is a Robo sapiens. Any way that you look at the characters, whether in the future, the past, or the present, they are unique and real-ish. Spike is hard to accept as real in the present day, our science hasn’t reached that point in AI. Or have we? Billie is very real throughout the book. Even as the sailor stranded on Easter Island – perhaps where Winterson got the book’s title.

I enjoyed the read, once I got passed the disjointed manner it is written in. It was jarring at first. Not at all what I was expecting or anything close to how I write. It settled down, in my mind, into a storytelling style that put the whole book into the perspective of Billie remembering everything. Whether she was in the future (part 1), the past (part 2), or the present (part 3).

But wait. Was each part a different tense? Or were they all future, past, and present? I think that is one of the philosophical parts of the book that I enjoyed the most. When were these parts taking place in the time line of Billie and Spike? When were these parts taking place in the time line of the human race?

You’ll have to read it to decide for yourself. I don’t regret taking the time out of my otherwise busy reading schedule to enjoy this book. Can’t promise the same for any of you, but I would recommend the book.

Our June selection is Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg.

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Filed under LBGTQA Books, Sci-fi and Fantasy Books

Galdrakraft – Soul Magic, a music review

Rarely do I find a talented author who is also a talented musician. That has occurred with Kaedrich Olsen. Kaedrich is the author of Runes for Transformation: Using Ancient Symbols to Change Your Life. He has taken some of the concepts from that book and put them into this debut Galdrakraft CD, Soul Magic. Both works are inspiring for entirely different reasons! Continue reading

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Filed under New Age Music, Pagan Music

The Red Hill, expanded review

The Red Hill

Here’s the short review I wrote for The Red Hill on Goodreads. Below that you will find a more thorough review.

The Red Hill by David Penny

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy reading a good mystery now and again. Reading a mystery in an historical setting is a real pleasure, especially when the author can bring that setting to life in their book. David Penny managed to do that. Crossing the lines of religion and culture, Penny takes you through a thrilling ride. Exploring the darker aspects of politics in Moorish Spain around the time of Ferdinand and Isabela, Penny’s characters of Thomas and Jorge learn a lot more about life than either one ever wanted to know. With twists and turns that will leave you wondering until the end who-done-it. I’m looking forward to reading other Thomas Berrington stories.

View all my reviews Continue reading

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Filed under Crime & Mystery, Historical Fiction

Coronation by Lee F. Jordan

From time to time I find a story that is damned good, but the writing of that story isn’t at the same level. I’m afraid that was the case with Lee F. Jordan’s Coronation (2012).

An ancient evil (that’s not all that ancient), nautical themes that do make sense (but corrupt the legends of their subjects), and a mysterious ability that just isn’t really explained. Like I said, the story was pretty damned good and could have gone places, different places than it did go.

J.D. is a semi-retired special officer with the United States Navy. He has this thing that happens when he’s in danger, or someone he is close to is in danger. His nose bleeds. Okay. Why? What’s the cause? Just a couple of the questions left unanswered. It almost reads like this isn’t the first book in a series. It is not Jordan’s first book.

Ok, I can move beyond those unanswered questions. The suspense, the thrill, the horror. Those were done rather well. Jordan’s descriptions of mutilated bodies were very graphic. They didn’t leave a whole lot to the imagination, but that may have been his point. Sometimes the more graphic a description the better the horrified reaction from the reader. Personally I like to be able to draw in some of the details myself. But I do understand where Jordan was going with those descriptions. To tell you would be a spoiler.

Along with the blood and guts and the unanswered questions, there is a theme of military and government intrigue that strikes a chord for today’s reader. Does the government really have an “X-Files” unit in the Navy? If so, is the Navy the only military branch with such a unit? More unanswered questions, but maybe Jordan will write something else that will explore both this mysterious unit and J.D.’s nose bleeds.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I am sure that fans of conspiracy theories, the exploration of evil in humanity, and the horror genre will enjoy this book. All in all, I did enjoy it. I was disappointed in the unanswered questions.

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Filed under Horror, Thriller

Asha from AO Music

One of the joys of working in broadcast radio is getting advance copies of new releases. AO Music has sent along three CDs over the years, including this newest album from them. Asha is slated for official release on April 7, 2017. I am happy to have gotten a copy a month ahead of time. It just arrive din my mail box today!

I popped the CD into my player as I sat down to work on one of my writing projects. I was distracted a bit from writing because of the new music. It was mesmerizing in a way. A firm basis in one style with a myriad of influences from around the globe. Just a look at the track list should give you an idea of what I mean.

Starting out with what sounds like a purely Asian or Indian inspired track and moving asha tracksaround the globe into Africa and South America before winding up in the Gaelic countries, this collection of beautiful music will take you on a journey that is both inspiring and relaxing. The vocals are those of adults and children. AO Music likes to work with children’s choirs where ever they go to record.

I was a little surprised that Though We Are Here Now sounded more Gaelic than Gaelic Medley. Not that I was taken aback. Oh, no. I enjoyed both tracks. Just that it threw me for a bit of a loop. Had double-check to make sure I hadn’t gotten tracks confused. Ha!

Over all I was quite happy to add this CD to my new age music collection. Can I compare it to anything else? Can I compare it to their previous releases? Sure, I can do that. But it wouldn’t really do them justice. Comparing to their earlier releases is easier. Hokulea was the first of their albums that made it very evident to me that they enjoy working with young singers. The tracks on that CD are filled with joy and happiness. …And Love Rages On! is filled with that sense of love that the title mentions. But Asha is on its own something of beauty and inspiration. I’ll be listening to this album for a while, enjoying the moods that it stirs within my heart and soul as well as using it to relax and journey forward in my every day life.

Asha is AO Music’s first release under their new signed label Abbeywood Records. Visit their site to see more artists.

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Filed under New Age Music