Choice Cruise Lines by Jack Kregas is one of those novels that makes you stop and think. To consider what sort of choices, you would make if they diagnosed you with a terminal illness and actually had a choice whether or end the suffering or die slowly. Following the lives of several characters as they cope with these thoughts, we find various points of views and even the mentality of the men who start a most novel of ideas.
Choice Cruise Line is both a normal cruise and one where people go to end suffering before it gets to the hardest point. While they are still sane and capable of making the choice themselves.
The story obviously touches on dark subjects of death, and the legality and moral rightness of human euthanasia, so clearly this is not a book for the faint of heat, but it does not go in to death, it covers the subject from the point of view of those who will be slowly inching towards it.
After finishing this book, I spent some time wondering if I would take, or offer, such an option to relatives I have seen die in slow and painful ways. As this is just a book review, I will not go in to that, but it certainly makes one think.
Is Choice Cruise Lines a good book? Yes, it is an amazing book, but go in to it with an open mind and you will enjoy it!
Kolkata Noir is another fantastic story by Tom Vater. In fact, it is three great stories tying in to a forty year long tale of unrequited love and international intrigue. The story follows a female Indian police inspector and a British photographer as they go about finding the murderer of a wealthy man. In the process of solving the case, they deal with a variety of social and political issues which eventually end up separating the two. However, they meet again in twenty years, and then again in forty!
Told in three novellas, Kolkata Noir takes place in 1999, 2019 and 2039, telling the story in the past, present and future, giving this tale both a contemporary and speculative feel to it. We get to see the lives of the two main characters change as they go from hopeful youths to complicated older people aiming for a safe retirement in a world that is slowly drowning.
In short, the story of Kolkata Noir is amazing, a lot of story is packed in to these three short pieces of writing. Vater does a good job of tying up all the loose ends in each novella, so they do not leave you wondering, as can often happen with shorter stories. The characters are well written and interesting. Having different needs that make them feel like individuals instead of just characters.
So, is Kolkata Noir worth reading? It is a definite must read for fans of classic crime and noir dramas. Pick it up and you will have a blast!
Bloodstone is the first novel in The Curse of Time series. It follows the life of Amelina as she tries to adjust to the tough life of a teenager, while also dealing with the fact that her family and the house they live in seem to be cursed. Amelina takes it upon herself, and her gift for using crystal magic, to purge this curse from her loved ones.
Bloodstone is an entertaining novel, well written with interesting characters. Its chapters are short and quick reads, making this a perfect ‘one more chapter before bed’ book. A quality that kept me up late the two days I was reading through this book.
The author does a wonderful job of capturing the drama of the teenage life, keeping up the tension between friends over topics that are relatable to anyone who remembers their teenage years.
Naturally, as this is the first book of a series there are several questions left unanswered, though the author did a wonderful job of wrapping up the main story of this book, I have high hopes that future additions to the series will answer questions that are left hanging like the proverbial loose strings.
So is Bloodstone worth reading? Yes, a fantastic option for fans of contemporary fantasy. Pick it up and enjoy the haunting life of Amelina. I know I am craving more.
The Warden is an interesting tale. The story taking place in both the present and a few years from now. The story centers on a world desperately trying to cope with advancing COVID complications as well as how the people being tucked away at home have allowed tech companies to flourish where many other industries have taken horrible hits to their ability to keep their doors open. Many non-essential human workers have been replaced by automated and easy to deal with mechanical workers. All things that are rather relatable in our current world, making the story feel believable, even towards the obviously fictitious parts.
Beyond being relatable in our even changing and coping world, The Warden is told from the perspective of multiple characters. A man who lives in a tower run by an AI created to cater to the needs of people in a world where they cannot leave their homes because of the possibility of a horrible death by illness, the woman who created the AI, and the AI itself. These characters are all well made, their needs and desires folded out nicely creating wonderfully well rounded characters. Even the AI has an interesting personality that makes its actions and reasoning work well in the story.
The story itself is a speculative fiction wonderland that constantly left me wondering what would happen next. Even ending the book on a note that could scream for a sequel but also leaves the story on enough of a mysterious note that fits so well with the rest of the story that the unknown feels like a satisfying close to the story.
So in short, is The Warden worth reading? If you are in to modern day science fiction and mysteries, I would heavily suggest picking this up!
The Family Man by Anna Willett is a fantastic novel following the story of an Australian police detective Veronika Pope as she and her team do their best to solve a case that has been cold for years after a video containing the torture of four people in found in a couples attic while the renovate thier new home.
The story focuses mainly on Veronika and her peers as she tries to pull the pieces of a complicated and dark, cold case. The villain they are after, while dead, was a very deranged man who seemed to have very little issue treating those around him with the foulest of intentions. I will not go further in to the story to avoid spoilers, but some it is a dark tale.
The characters of The Family Man are all well written with backgrounds that fit well in to the story as a whole. The main character, Veronika, is a well developed female character. While described in an attractive person, there is no forced love story to take away from the police work. And while there is some implied romance, it is a strictly background story. This gives more focus on the characters intelligence, leading to an impressive female lead, which can be fairly difficult in darker novels.
So is The Family man worth reading? Most certainly. Pick up this novel to get your cold case mystery thrill and so much more.
The Numbers Game by Miles Watson is a novella following Maurice a RAF pilot during World War II. While he is a capable pilot, Maurice is more interested in numbers and figures. A mathematician to an almost oppressive point, he takes comfort and depends entirely on these numerical facts. Disregarding the other variables in life, such a luck.
Feeling himself secure in knowing when everyone, even himself, will finally die in the complicated war, he finds himself in an odd place when things do not work out exactly as expected.
The Numbers Game is a great novella, worth picking up if you have a few hours to kill, or just in general looking for a great read. The main character’s obsessive fascination with numbers feels real. Who would not be clinging desperately to whatever they can hold on to during one of the bloodiest wars in history? Even in times a peace, people in hard times need something to cling to.
Pick up The Numbers Game if you are interested in historical fiction. This WWII tale will keep you interested till the end.
Ronin Cleans His Room Like a Ninja is a children’s book by Chris Roy. It is about a little boy who does not like being told what he has to do. So while his parents are on a trip and he is left in the care of his uncle, his uncle suggests Ronin use his desire to be a ninja to clean his room!
I read this story on the Kindle and have to say that it was an excellent choice. Amazon provides an excellent way to view the book, making each image and page of text show up individually, giving you a little adventure to swipe through while you go through Ronin’s bedroom cleaning ninja training.
The story is cute and you leave it with a smile, plus the effect of the book certainly gives some fun ideas to try to get children to clean their room, just like Ronin did!
Two Turtle Doves is a short story by Richard wall following a bullied teenager as he becomes obsessed with gaining the guitar of his dreams. Going so far as to murder to get the money to do so. This leads him down a path that drags him in to fame, but also to the top of a spiral that will lead him to a tormented life of drugs and death.
The tale is a dark display of obsession and anger. The main character’s story seeming to be a repeat of so many dead rockers from the glory days of rock and roll. How far can an individual go to get what they want, and how sweet is revenge when they get what they want?
Two Turtle Doves is a fantastic short story you should pick up if you have twenty minutes to kill and are looking for a quick read, or if you just enjoy a dark rock and roll tale. This short story reads like many of the biographies of histories great musical stars. Pick it up, you will enjoy it!