Saturday, July 18, 2015

America 3.0

America 3.0
Rebooting American prosperity in the 21st century -- Why America's greatest days are yet to come.
by James C. Bennett and Michael J Lotus
Publisher:  Encounter Books (June 2013)

Available at Amazon

Sometimes when we're trying to sort out our history, (how things came to be), or our future (what will affect how our lives will be lived in the coming years given the trends of the present), we look at lots of big changes.  New technology, shifts in attitudes and economics, and a host of other obvious changes that appear in our lives, seem to be the elements that will shape the future.  Bennett and Lotus, however, have a new take on how Americans shape their future.  After all, every country is affected by new technology, economics, etc., but they don't all make the same choices Americans make.  The authors maintain that the critical element, the one we're so familiar with we almost don't recognize it anymore, is the American nuclear family.

They ask some interesting questions:  What difference does it make that American marriages are the result of individuals choosing their mates, rather than having them chosen by their family or clan?  Does the nuclear family provide a different environment from extended families or arranged marriages that makes Americans different?  Is it important that "making it" in America has a different meaning here than elsewhere: getting a home of one's own with some land rather than living with family or in large groups?

To answer these questions, they go back in our history to look at the influences that formed the personalities of the American colonists.  German and British heritage play a role in how the first Americans saw their lives, what they considered appropriate, and years later, what we consider "normal" American life.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Prophecy's Queen; A prequel

Timonthy Bond has once again penned an entertaining work with this new addition to The Triadine Saga.  Prophecy's Queen is engaging with interesting characters. When reading this tale, the words seem to glide by almost like listening to a tale as spun aloud by a narrator. I must say that it took me several weeks to get to this book but I inhaled it in less than two days.

The biggest problem I had in writing this review was I wanted to give the book full credit for how good it is but also point out some minor flaws. There are really two different kinds of readers, I think. After reviewing books for this blog and reading other reviews, I've come to realize some readers need constant tension and conflict.  If the main character isn't in danger in every chapter, if there isn't something on the line all the time, if the main conflict is not always at the forefront, some readers judge the book to be 'bad'. There are other readers who, though they like a good conflict and resolution, prefer a book that reads smoothly with characters and scenes that pop. For these readers the quiet conflict of doing the right thing, the internal conflict of what should be done verses what one wants to do are often enough.

Prophecy's Queen is very much like that, containing a strong internal conflict but one that doesn't take over the story. The reader understands what the conflict is for the Queen without Bond dwelling on it.

  • File Size: 975 KB
  • Print Length: 162 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: myOstrich Press; 1 edition (April 27, 2015)
  • Publication Date: April 27, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00WS5648M

From Amazon:
In this prequel to the epic fantasy series The Triadine Saga, we follow the Elven Princess Rozlynn as she struggles with her role in The Prophecy and what she must do to keep the world from falling into darkness. 
This is a story of love and conflict, personal growth, and freedom to choose your own destiny. The world of Elves, Dwarves, and humans, is inexorably tied to magic, wizards, and dragons, as the battle of good versus evil, light versus darkness, wages on. 
Will Rozlynn make the sacrifices and the choices necessary to ensure that The Prophecy stays on the right path? Will her sister, the Elven Queen, prevent her from making her own choice? Will Rozlynn's love for an Elven Hunter betray her and lead her astray? 

So, in this well written tale, there are no battles and sword fights; there are no life and death moments. Instead there is the constant conflict of doing what needs to be done even if it means one's life in the end. For many of us, that conflict is much closer to own our lives, that conflict of doing the right thing though the outcome is harmful to ourselves.

I believe anyone would enjoy this book. The writing is smooth, the story interesting.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Children's Story that is Not for Children

  • Sometimes books are not quite what they seem on the opening pages. Hidden deep inside the book, squirreled away, is some deeper meaning or story. Sometimes a book switches gears, much like movies that start out in what a person thinks is one genre to have it actually be another entirely.  Then there are books that tell two stories that seem so far apart but in the end begin to blend until there is only one true story.  Robert A. Krueger tells just such a story in his book The Children's Story About Good and Evil. From the beginning you expect one thing only to find that is a small part of what the author is conveying.

  • From Amazon:
  • The novel is a mix of fantasy and reality. It defines different forms of evil and contrasts them with goodness and innocence in a format that is both serious and funny. One morning young teen sisters decide to go for a walk, not realizing that this outing will change them forever. They become trapped in a strange land where the outrageous and bizarre seem normal.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Huck and Sawyer and even Molly by Golly!

Author Andrew Joyce has kindly given me copies of two of his covers to share with you which is wonderful because I am researching what makes a great cover.  The one for Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer  is so perfect. I am beginning to think my new favorite color is orange. It catches my eye so often when I look at book covers.

One thing you learn, hopefully, when designing your own covers is that each cover makes a promise, gives a clue, or shows what the reader can expect inside. There is no doubt what these books have in store for the reader. The colors on Redemption also gives a feeling of riding off into the sunset. Can it be that we will hear the last of Hunk and Tom?

  • Print Length: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Andrew Joyce; 1 edition (January 2, 2014)
  • Publication Date: January 2, 2014

Andrew has a story about the publishing of Redemption which I will let him tell you in his own words.

Meanwhile, Joyce's new book,  Molly Lee, has the same western feel to it.  The cover is still giving a book browser clues to what is in store for them when they read the book. Why is that important? An author wants to attract an audience who will enjoy their book and share it with others. If you write a book for a science fiction fan, while you would like others to pick it up, you want to be sure the book reaches its target audience, the readers of your genre. With the wrong cover it is quite possible that a reader of Romance would pick up the book and while the sale of a book is never bad, your target audience might slide right by your book, causing you to miss hundreds of sales.