Monthly Archives: December 2016

The “Tail” Of Rugby Jones

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By Claudia Broome

claudia-broome

https://www.amazon.com/Tail-Rugby-Jones-Rascals-Disability/dp/1535143827/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479073122&sr=8-1&keywords=the+tail+of+rugby+jones

Plot

Rugby Jones is a Welsh Corgi who gets adopted and comes to live on a farm. There he meets other animals and has adventures then. One day, while playing with another dog, Rugby is injured and loses the ability to move his back legs. Rugby has to overcome his disability to be able to continue to live a full life.

Characters

Rugby Jones: Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Mom: owner of Rugby, blonde, left-handed

Dr. Dave: vet

Miracle: Calico cat

Foxie: red fox

Katie: Jack Russell Terrier

There are a lot of animal characters and a few humans in this book. Bits and pieces of information are know. Not too much but okay.

Dialogue

Mom is the only one who speaks. Well, there is a Rugby sentence or two, but Mom’s voice is always light-hearted even when she is not happy with Rugby.

Writing

Titled chapters.

1st person from Rugby’s POV.

Some missed quotation marks or quote in the wrong places in some dialogue.

This is more of a summary of the time with Rugby on the farm rather than a series of stories. There are incidents and anecdotes but they don’t last too long.

It’s presented as if Rugby is speaking to a group of kids because he asks a lot of questions to the reader that relate to his experiences in the book.

The book is positive and uplifting and speaks to those with disabilities. It’s a longer children’s book than most but there are illustrations (although some of them are seem ‘photoshopped’ which doesn’t quite work for me).

Still, I chose to review because I like animal stories and I wanted to see how well one with an animal that overcomes an injury was written.

My rank:

Blue Belt

Blue

Forbidden Birth

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By Dr. William Rubin

https://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Birth-Ravello-Medical-Thriller/dp/099759490X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478042402&sr=8-1&keywords=forbidden+birth

Plot

Somebody is killing pregnant women and removing their babies. Newly commissioned investigator, Dr. Christopher Ravello is assigned the case. He and his partner track down the clues, but more bodies are found. How does a mobster and a stem cell researcher fit in? When the situation turns personal, the case heats up and the tension is thick.

This is an interesting plot with lots of medical material, a serial killer, and a venture into what might be just around the corner for scientific discovery.

Characters

Christopher Ravello: homicide investigator, former general surgeon, married with kids, mother dead

Ray Petersen: chief of detectives

Kevin Kennedy: Ravello’s partner, body builder, sister dead

April Cassidy: long brown hair, stripper

Johnny Briganti: doctor, drug maker, bouncer

There is no shortage of characters and I think they were fairly well developed. The similarity of Ravello and Kennedy both having relatives murdered made them seem closer than their otherwise long friendship. I thought Briganti was a pretty good character, but he fell by the wayside and his subplot with the mob also was forgotten.

Dialogue

The serial killer is named The Giver. He has a lot of spoken dialogue that is only for himself. It was okay, but not natural. Voices were pretty good and distinction.

Writing

Profanity. 1st person from Ravello’s POV in his scenes, third person POV in other chapters.

There was a lot of medical-ese given with not a lot of explanation.

I thought the story flowed pretty well, up until the latter chapters. I felt in the last 20 or 30 pages, the story was rushed. Ravello was blackmailed into doing some things he normally wouldn’t do and I felt those scenes were rushed. They happened too quickly to get to the climax. Because of this his emotions were almost lost. I didn’t get to see the internal debate, the sacrificing of morals. I think this part could have been lengthened to show the tortuous moments of his going against his sense of right and wrong.

My Rank:

Green Belt

Green

Dead Man Code

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By R. Weir

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Man-Code-Jarvis-Detective-ebook/dp/B01LY8JZND/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477256510&sr=8-1&keywords=dead+man+code%2C+weir

Plot

Jarvis Mann, Denver P.I. is back for another case. This time he’s investigating the murder of a man who worked for an online security firm. This case will pit him against Russians and Chinese bad guys and take him to California and Vegas. Along the way, he’ll meet beautiful, seductive women and a sleazy P.I. Will he piece together the clues before he’s a dead man?

Weir does come up with some elaborate plots but they keep me interested. This one doesn’t get too technical so don’t worry about computer-ese being thrown around.

Characters

Jarvis Mann: Denver private investigator, owns a Harley and a Mustang, brother is dead (see previous Mann mystery)

Adam King: private investigator, curly blond hair

Mandy Bailey: 5’3”, blonde, widow, cheerleader in college

April Rainn: cop, martial artist, has 3 brothers, dad was a cop, played baseball and basketball in college

Mitchell Crabtree: former Army, owns a 1970 Corvette, former security officer, 6’4”, married with child, slender, dark brown hair, 40s.

Oh, and so many more well rounded characters. Weir doesn’t mess around with nonsense. Some good background, and when I read the characters, I knew who they were, cold get a good mental picture of them.

Dialogue

Good voices. Minimal outside-the-case conversations that helped develop the characters.

Weir has a habit of having all of the character speak like Star Trek’s Data trying to use contractions but not completely succeeding. It would be okay if one or two spoke this way, but all became a little annoying. It’s not natural. They don’t have to use lofty highbrow words, or garble vocabulary, but the non-contractions are a bit much.

Writing

First person from Mann’s POV. Profanity.

One or two minor and very brief slow spots but they weren’t too bad. Good action, okay tension and emotion, good insight into Mann’s feelings about women, his ex girlfriend, and himself. I like the story because it brings in a bit of old fashioned detective stuff, some good fights, some good cop hatred toward Mann, slightly over the top (and possibly topless) female seductresses.

I wasn’t sure about the relationship with the Russians. I didn’t quite understand how they were the bad guys at the beginning but ended up being not quite so bad near the end. Especially since they weren’t seen throughout most of the book.

Anyway, I thought about Green for a rank, but the like-ability factor was high throughout the book. So, this one receives a:

Purple Belt

Purple

Dearth Of A Nation

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By Garman Lord

https://www.amazon.com/Dearth-Nation-book-Commando-Chronicles/dp/1535300825/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476590625&sr=8-1&keywords=dearth+of+a+nation

Plot

There are three candidates running for president. When one of them is assassinated in a most unusual way, a group with the title of Commandos, undertake the investigation.

Okay, that’s the plot. The plot as mentioned in the blurb I received made it seem as if there was going to be more political satire from the politicians themselves. This book has caricatures of real people, but the blurb doesn’t even mention the Commandos. It mentions the President so that’s where I thought this book would be going. It didn’t. In fact it focuses on only one of the candidates and that’s not how I perceived the story line to go.

Characters

Usually, I would make a list of some of the main characters with a bit of description and maybe some background, depending on the amount of information given. In this case, the author decided to list the individuals in the Commando groups with extensive descriptions at the beginning of the book. Basically, the original five were supernatural in origin and being this is book five of this series, their origin is just mentioned without being heavily delved into. There are a few others that have joined the group throughout the series.

The big problem here is that all of the characters sound and act alike, even those who aren’t part of the group. There isn’t one mature adult in the whole bunch. This may be fine for a YA book, but there are adults, supposedly serious minded adults in this one, but nobody acts like one. With the blend, I couldn’t get into any of them.

As mentioned in the plot section I thought the President was going to have a bigger role but he shows up only in one or two minor sections.

There is a some humor in the characters, but it’s overdone and becomes tedious as the book moves along.

Dialogue

This book is 90-95% dialogue. There is very little action. It’s all somebody talking. For the most part all of the conversations are done after the action and the investigative parts have completed. I can’t count the number of debriefing sessions the commando group had after they had gone out and found the evidence.

Every character and I mean EVERY character who has any prominence in this book has loooooooooong monologues. And each one takes a looooooong time getting to the point. Seriously, a character will speak for pages. And every character does this.

So, every character sounds like every other character. From the teenagers to the Secret Service Agent to the presidential candidate.

Because of this, reading this was exhausting. Constantly I was yelling at these characters to “Get on with it!”

Every character speaks with several quips of attempted humor. There are numerous quotes and phrases from other well known books. That became old hat, too, after awhile.

Writing

Titled chapters.

There is a ‘prologue’, but it is not a proper prologue. It’s a longer blurb.

There were some places in this book, I simply could not comprehend. Chapter 14 was one such place.

It became very difficult to find the actual mystery and keep up with the latest ‘clue’. The climax was not dramatic or tension filled. The question as to the reason behind the method of the murder was asked several times but if there were any clues to throughout pointing to that reason, I missed them. During the climax one of the commandos just explains the reasoning and I had to go back and read it twice because I missed it the first time.

I was also a bit uncomfortable with the ease or the acceptance level from the adults (who should have been more serious-minded) with the constant teen talk about sex.

No action because of the dialogue dump.

I know, I know, this is satire, this is humor, this is apart from reality, this is a skewed and unrealistic story. I understand and maybe I’m not understanding the concept behind it. Maybe it’s me but I didn’t get it and I glad to finish it feeling very tired after it was over.

The only reason this isn’t getting the lowest rank is because there were no misspelling/grammar/punctuation errors.

My Rank:

Orange Belt

Orange