Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sex and the Russian Mafia

Sorry, gang, wrote this review a few weeks ago and forgot to post it here.

A worthy read.

Stephen Jay Schwartz's sequel to “Boulevard” is an exciting crime thriller that follows sex-addict Detective Hayden Glass into the twisted underbelly of porn, police corruption, and the Russian mafia in search of a prostitute he has fallen in love with. Diving head-first into the “shark-infested” waters, Glass soon finds himself much more invested in rescuing his love than he could have ever imagined.

But the action-packed plot alone isn't the only reason this is a exceptional read, Schwartz's abilities as a writer naturally come to the surface with amazing phrasing and pacing. He can write gritty scenes as well as tender ones, while crafting characters that are not only believable, but sympathetic as well.

I predict that Schwartz will continue to write great crime novels, but will eventually expand into other areas of fiction as well. His talent with all aspects of the craft of writing promises that this author will continue to bless us with wonderfully fun stories for many years to come.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nice little bit of crime noir...

I love crime noir, so maybe I'm a bit biased, but I truly enjoyed this collection of new short stories by some well known authors.

Each tale has its own unique voice and style, sometimes with subtle plot twists, other times with surprise endings that shock the reader out of their chair. Peppered throughout the volume is original artwork that adds to the flavor of the book, although, keep in mind that the art is independent of the stories.

Crime and short story fans can safely add this enjoyable work to their shelf.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I want this time back

This is one of those books you wish you had spent the time doing something more useful, like cleaning behind the refrigerator:

"First Stringers: Eyes That Do Not See" contained promise within the concept and potential story lines, unfortunately, the execution falls short and leaves the reader disappointed at many points along the way.

This is a story where the characters have the ability to manipulate the quantum strings to affect their environment. The concept sounds wonderful, but the author fails to fully understand quantum mechanics by limiting the characters to only have control over certain realms of their environment. Since quantum mechanics takes place at the subatomic level, a character would not be limited to elemental restrictions (i.e., have only the ability to make fire, or only the ability to alter chemical compounds). Because of this, the story comes off as a poor copy of The X-Men, rather than an individual work of its own.

Also, the overall writing is amateurish and in many places elementary-level. The characters are too naïve to their powers considering they've all been aware of them for years by the time the novel begins, and conversations contain clunky dialogue that are not only difficult to read but awkward to speak. Descriptions are not always appropriate to the scene context. The author has a tendency to over-describe a room of no significance, while failing to mention key elements during important scenes. The plot is over-simplified, predictable, and clichéd.

I would suggest that experienced science fiction readers steer clear of this book, but there's no doubt they probably won't get far into it before tossing it to the "donate" pile anyway. If you have nothing else to read, and you don't mind the above distractions, then you can probably make your way through this story and enjoy it for a semi-entertaining distraction from the real world. Otherwise, I'd suggest the author take this one back and give it a serious rewrite.

Until next time...
Thankfully off to read something else,

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book Review: Anywhere, Anytime, Any Body Yoga

If you've never practiced yoga because you believe it belongs to the realm of the skinny and flexible, then it's time to change your perspective. While yoga is practiced by skinny men and women who can contort themselves into the oddest of positions, yoga bests benefits the rest of the know, us normal people.

"Anywhere, Anytime, Any Body Yoga" by Emily Slonina shows us all that yoga isn't restricted to those who are already fit, but can be practiced by the overweight, the elderly, and even the wheelchair-bound. Using models that represent every body type, except the ultra-thin, Slonina provides extensive pictures of various poses and their alternates that can be performed sitting or standing, on the floor or in the office chair, alone or even with a grandchild.

The book is divided into different sections relaxation, meditation, of course, the poses. It does lack a deeper dive into some of the mental aspects of practicing yoga, but considering it's size and price, this book is hard to beat, especially when considering the target audience.

If you've always wanted to try yoga and gain the benefits of regular practice, but have felt intimiated by stereotypes, then this is the book for you.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Book Review: "Reduce Your Cancer Risk"

I recently reviewed a book I found extremely informative and enlightening. I've posted that review here::

"Reduce Your Cancer Risk" has to be one of the best books I've read on the topic in many years. It exceeded my expectations in so many areas, I don't know where to begin.

I had expected the authors to either bore me with endless statistics that would eventually make my eyes glaze over, or, I expected to be condescended with sentences and vocabulary aimed to the lowest common denominator of reading skill. But instead, I was pleasantly surprised by the intelligent yet common sense tone of the text mixed with a good balance of supporting documentation and facts.

Even though I have considered myself well versed on the topics of health and nutrition, especially for someone not in the medical profession, I learned something new with nearly every page in the book. (I must confess that I skimmed two chapters that did not apply to me: tobacco and 'when you've already had cancer.').

If you read with a highlighter or ink pen, bring more than one, because you'll definite use them up as you read this. I've recommended and shown this to friends, although I won't loan it out for fear of not getting it back. This is worth owning, reading, and referring to time and time again. The information packed within will have you re-examining and evaluating your lifestyle choices and the impacts those choices have on your long-term health.

The only beef I have with this wonderful book is: first, the stance of support for censoring Hollywood to remove smoking from its films, which I believe is naïve; and second, no mention that I noticed about the connection between general oral health and the link to increased risks of other types of cancer. The only other concern I have is in the Obesity and Cancer chapter in which the author passively supports fad diets as a way of initiating weight loss, i.e., Atkins, South Beach, etc. Those short term solutions never have the lasting effect that straight forward exercise and diet-control have, and in some cases have the opposite effect.

All in all, this book belongs on every bookshelf in every home in the country.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Book Review for LibraryThing

Here's the full text of a review I recently published on

" Have Sex Everywhere but in Bed" is a cute little book that seeks to inspire couples to have intimate fun outside the usual confines of the bedroom. It that aspect it succeeds, as it offers plenty of ideas of where, when, and how couples can spice it up via role-playing or even exhibitionist-style. The only problem with "idea" books in general is that usual the people who purchase or read them have already thought about or tried a majority of the suggestions. Honestly, who hasn't thought about making love in their own kitchen, in the car, or in the back yard.

But with that being said, there probably are a few situations in here that many couples haven't considered, or may not have weighed the possibilities of successfully pulling off without getting caught. Many of these are in public spaces, or the traditional office, elevator, park, restroom, etc. etc.

This book does offer practical tips and advice on how to get away with certain acts, and how to avoid certain pit falls that could land an adventurous duo in an embarrassing situation. There are "Difficulty" ratings concerning both physicality and practability, "Costs" and "Risks," as well as "Pleasure" ratings.

Unfortunately though, the book was originally written in French and some awkward phrasing will make the reader pause, and many of the inspirational media cited are French works and films and may not be available elsewhere.

Until Next Time...
Off to the next spot, mean, next book, off to the next book,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Sustainable Network" book review

I recently reviewed "The Sustainable Network" for and have included the review here for those who are interested:

Surmised from the title and as stated in the introduction, "The Sustainable Network," takes a look at the role the Internet and all the other networks that connect the world’s computing devices have on our lives, from our politics (as witnessed by the recent presidential election) to our carbon footprint. The author states that this book is the output of her deep realization and appreciation of the global network we've created for ourselves, and she also states that everyone who uses this network should develop a deep appreciation and understanding of it and its potential to change our lives.

But I think on many levels, this book doesn't hit that target.

The author and publisher's mistake is the target audience of the book. Those most likely to read a book of this nature already know 80% or more of the material printed, and in most cases probably understand the technology and its environment. Those most likely to benefit from the material in this book, which is the target audience, either wouldn't read it or probably don't care, i.e., you don't have to appreciate how a car works in order to successfully drive one.

With that being said though, it is a decent high-level read for those interested in information technology in today's society. Yes, there are the occasional mistakes as can be found in every book on the shelf, but there are plenty of things the author got correct as well. Her enthusiasm and appreciation is evident and contagious throughout the pages, and propels the reader to further independent investigation of the topics presented. And even though this book will be out-date within just a couple of years, it's worth picking up a copy.