Birds of a Feather

I moved into this flat just a couple of days ago, and I have yet to feel comfortable here. On paper, it’s perfect. A massive tree just outside my window provides the right amount of cover from the harsh sun. The nights are breezy, and the gentle rustling of the leaves on the tree is … Continue reading Birds of a Feather

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Review of ‘The One-Eyed King’

From Goodreads: In a futuristic world still reeling from the ashes of protracted nuclear warfare, there are levels to humanity. With the planet's scarce resources severely depleted, survival of the fittest is once more the way of the world. But when one ruling order decides who is fit, equality is history and oppression is the new normal. Into this chaotic world hostile to the disabled, a blind orphan boy is thrust. Iori is kidnapped by an unlikely resistance and trained for many years as the ruling order gets closer to discovering their whereabouts. These soldiers literally can't see and this handicap has become their greatest strength. Not only are their other senses heightened to the point of giving them superior fighting skills, but they also represent the only hope for a human race with a peaceful, true and just vision for the future. As he comes of age, Iori will learn that sometimes, it is necessary to fight fire with fire. The One-Eyed King delivers a unique vision of a future society that could resemble our own. Inspired by defining works such as The Road, Gone, the Divergent trilogy, and The Hunger Games series, fans of the sci-fi and dystopian genres will enjoy this frantic and frenetic adventure replete with mystery, believable characters of every moral inclination, and unforeseen outcomes.

Review of ‘Hotel Silence’

From Goodreads: Jónas is starting to feel that life hasn't worked out the way he thought it would. Divorced and lonely, with nothing much to live for, he decides to buy a one-way ticket somewhere, anywhere, with no intention of coming back. When he arrives at the strangely deserted airport, in the barren holiday resort (the cheapest last-minute deal he could find), and ends up on the doorstep of Hotel Silence, which has definitely seen better days, it seems the ideal place to put an end to it all. There isn't any dinner, the plumbing barely works, and the hotel staff seem somewhat distracted. But as his relationship with May and her small son Adam grows into friendship, and he begins to understand the traumatic story of this war-torn country, Jónas discovers reasons to carry on. The pipes could do with tightening up, the plugs need rewiring, the window frames are in desperate need of a lick of paint. This is a story about discovering perspective, working out how to carry on when life goes awry, and how to find happiness, and love, in the most difficult circumstances.

Review of ‘Pure Hollywood and Other Stories’

From Goodreads: Hailed by George Saunders as "a truly gifted writer," with Pure Hollywood & Other Stories, Pulitzer Prize finalist and O Henry Prize winner Christine Schutt returns to the short story form that launched her acclaimed career and her inimitable style that John Ashbery once described as "pared down but rich, dense, fevered, exactly right and even eerily beautiful." In 11 captivating tales, Pure Hollywood brings us into private worlds of corrupt familial love, intimacy, longing, and danger. From an alcoholic widowed actress living in desert seclusion, to a young mother whose rejection of her child has terrible consequences, a newlywed couple who ignore the violent warnings of a painter burned by love, to an eerie portrait of erotic obsession, each story in Pure Hollywood is an imagistic snapshot of what it means to live and learn love and hurt. In league with JD Salinger, Katherine Mansfield and Guy De Maupassant, in Pure Hollywood Schutt gives us sharply suspenseful and masterfully dark interior portraits of ordinary lives, infused with her signature observation and surprise. Timeless, incisive, and precise, these tales are a rush of blood to the head, portals through which we open our eyes and see the world anew.

Review of ‘Blind Tribute’

From Goodreads: As America marches toward the Civil War, Harry Wentworth, gentleman of distinction and journalist of renown, finds his calls for peaceful resolution have fallen on deaf—nay, hostile—ears. As such, he must finally resolve his own moral quandary: comment on the war from his influential—and safe—position in Northern Society, or make a news story and a target of himself South of the Mason-Dixon Line, in a city haunted by a life he has long since left behind? The day-to-day struggle against countervailing forces, his personal and professional tragedies on both sides of the conflict, and the elegant and emotive writings that define him, all serve to illuminate the trials of this newsman’s crusade, irreparably altering his mind, his body, his spirit, and his purpose as an honorable man. Blind Tribute exposes the shifting stones of the moral high ground as Harry’s family and friendships, North and South, are shattered by his acts of conscience.

Review of ’19 Souls’

From Goodreads: Private Investigator Jim Bean is a straightforward, to-the-point man. When his latest client, Sophie Evers, asks him to find her brother Daniel, Jim has no idea how complicated his life is about to become. Daniel is not Sophie's brother. He is her most coveted prey. Clinging to the belief that they belong together, Sophie kills Daniel's real sister to manipulate Jim into flushing Daniel out of hiding. She will create the "perfect life" for the only man she's ever loved, no matter how many people she must kill along the way. When Jim discovers the truth about Sophie, he's driven to set things right before her delusional plan claims even more souls.

Review of ‘The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World’s Worst Pirate’

From Goodreads: Meet Thomas—a young man sailing with his parents aboard a merchant ship in the 18th century and prone to daydreaming about living an exciting life as a pirate on the high seas. When a pirate crew led by Captain Bartholomew Morgan takes over the ship, Thomas stows away and is accepted into their motley gang. However, life as a pirate proves far less romantic than what he was expecting. The hilarious Long Lost Secret Diary series put readers inside the heads of hapless figures from history struggling to carry out their roles and getting things horribly wrong. The accessible, irreverent stories will keep young readers laughing as they learn the importance of not being afraid to learn from one’s mistakes.

Review of ‘America Inc.’

From Goodreads: The battle for the fate of humanity is about to begin… Following a global economic collapse in 2029 that brought governments to their knees, chaos and brutal violence spread across the globe. To fill the power vacuum, huge multinational corporations, backed by their wealthy benefactors, seized the reins of power and took over governing the masses. Nearly sixty years later, the world has returned to an era of prosperity and progress. There is no crime, no unemployment, no homelessness, and no war. The progress has come at a price. People are nothing more than disposable pawns for corporate machines whose sole purpose is to enrich the elite who trade their shares on the world’s lone stock exchange, Intercorpex. Every employee is constantly monitored, their activities logged, and every sentence they utter dissected for hints of subversion. Most of the world’s population has accepted this as the way of life. Not all of them have. When terrorists set off an explosion that causes problems with trading on the exchange, it sets a series of events in motion that threatens the very fabric of society. Egos clash as bureaucrats, leaders, and the wealthy elite all play politics in the midst of the greatest threat the new economic system has ever faced. Battle lines are being drawn. Alliances are forming. Power moves are being made. Will an attack on the exchange succeed in bringing society to its knees, or can a last ditch effort save the world from plunging into the darkness of another economic collapse?