Driving Grandpa Book Review

5157BpcMO5L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

Amazon

Blurb:

What do you get when you combine a hard-nosed WWII vet, a crazy stray dog, a pickup, and a string of foreclosed houses? The answer is a story that will playfully slam your nose against the proverbial passenger-side window at every unexpected turn. In this fictionalized memoir, author John Redstand takes readers on a rollicking tour of the last few months of his grandfather’s life. It’s an adventure you don’t want to miss.

A contract worker hired to clean out abandoned properties during the housing market crash of 2008, the narrator happily adopts double duty as chauffeur for Grandpa, who (despite his ornery protestations) is not allowed to drive anymore. These two simple tasks collide in a perfect storm of one humorous calamity after another.

Woven between the daily adventures of cleaning up supposedly vacant foreclosures, attempting to renew Grandpa’s license, and pursuing a decades gone by female counterpart, are Grandpa’s amusing and often absurd stories of World War II. An airplane mechanic stationed in Australia and the Pacific during the war, Grandpa fills their commutes with tales of stranded submarines, earthquake bombs, run-ins with Australian wildlife, and a disagreeable commanding officer.

Behind the story’s humor breathes a warm and touching ode to family, patriotism, and the Greatest Generation. Not so much of an elegy as an attempt to see the world through Grandpa’s peculiar and remarkable eyes, Driving Grandpa offers an amusing and endearing slice of life that is sure to bring a smile.

My Review:

Five Stars

Driving Grandpa is the most heart-warming book I’ve read in a really, really long time. The story reminded me so much of spending time with my own grandparent’s and hearing all of their stories about them growing up. Especially, my own grandpa who was in the military. I was always that kid that sat cross-legged on the floor on pins-and-needles as my grandpa told me his old military stories.

The story feels so real and you feel like you’re actually there listening to these conversations, that you’re actually a part of the story. You feel yourself wanting to know the same questions that John asks his grandfather. And maybe that’s because it’s based off of real-life events and situations. It makes you yearn to call up your grandparents and listen to their stories, no matter how many times you’ve heard them already.

Driving Grandpa is written in short chapters and flows perfectly. Each chapter leads you to the next and you aren’t left wondering what’s going on, or confused on a time frame. You know exactly where you are when the chapter picks up and know exactly what is going on.

Driving Grandpa is a beautiful story about a grandpa who is just telling his stories to his grandson. He’s just wanting to spend time with the people he loves and cares for and is just trying to instill wisdom onto them. He doesn’t want to go to the nursing home, which is a lot of our grandparents. He wants to live the rest of his life in his own house going to help his grandson on his odd jobs for the bank.

Then you get to the end and the one thing happens that no one wants to happen. We all want to think that our grandparents are going to live forever and that they are always going to be there for us. And the sad truth is, this isn’t the case. We all pass away sooner or later and we all leave behind loved ones. As soon as I got to the last page my heart broke. I’d grown to love the older gentlemen and portrayed him as my own grandfather in so many scenes and then it happened, and it all came rushing at me like a freight train, the reality we all eventually face.

The story is humorous and very honest at some points. Sometimes you find yourself laughing at certain scenes and other times you find yourself in awe at the honesty. You never know which way a chapter is going to go, and it keeps you on your toes until the very end. You’re left hanging off the edge of your seat as if you’re actually there listening to the old war veteran telling stories of his hay-day.

My condolences to John and his family in losing a brilliant man who was an amazing story-teller. I’m so blessed to read a story about your grandfather and can’t imagine how it feels to lose a grandparent. Thank you for sharing your last few months with your grandpa with us. He sounded like an awesome man and a hoot to be around.

I look forward to more great things from John Redstand.

Advertisements

Insanity (Mad in Wonderland) Book Review

51gtGxPjdtL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Amazon

Blurb:

After accidentally killing everyone in her class, Alice Wonder becomes a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum. No one doubts her insanity. All but a hookah-smoking professor named Carter Pillar who believes he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll’s paintings, photographs, and finding Wonderland’s real whereabouts.
Professor Caterpillar persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the Wonderland Monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals. In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford university student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night. The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamond, an arrogant college student who believes that nonsense is an actual science.

Larger than life characters, intricate mysteries, engrossing fun, and intriguing historical locations. Insanity will thrill you, makes turns pages, and stay with you forever.
Warning: intended for insane audience only

My Review:

Five Stars

I love everything Alice in Wonderland and was excited when a friend told me that I needed to read this book. And I’m really glad she told me to read it and now I’m hooked on Insanity and Cameron Jace’s Wonderland that he’s painted. He left me craving more of the story and made me feel like I was really transported into his insane world of Wonderland monsters.

I’d never thought to view Alice as an insane person that imagined all of Wonderland. I’d always thought that it was a young girl who really experienced Wonderland and that no one believed her. But in Insanity, Wonderland is a real place that has been sealed up tight by Lewis Carroll. Though some of the Wonderland folks inhabit the real world.

We first meet Alice in the insane asylum and we see her try and escape the asylum to get out into the world. She fails in her escape. This is the first time you’re exposed to the White Rabbit, and it’s where you see Alice battle with whether she’s sane or not. She desperately wants to be sane and to believe that Wonderland isn’t real. But it feels like a part of her really knows that Wonderland is real, but she wants to be free that she’s allowing herself to forget.

We meet the Caterpillar and he’s a serial killer in Insanity. Which is actually fitting for him. He always has his hookah, and it’s his weapon of choice when it comes to fighting the Wonderland monsters.

Then there is the Cheshire cat. The Cheshire cat has always been my favorite character in Alice in Wonderland, but not so much in Insanity. He’s portrayed as something evil, and in Alice in Wonderland he wasn’t too much of a good guy but I never had nightmares that he was chasing me. And if a book can infiltrate my dreams it’s a pretty amazing book.

I can’t wait to read the next book in this series and have recommended it to all of my friends. Jace sure knows how to write an amazing Alice spin-off and he did it flawlessly.

Author Interview with Andy Peloquin

AndyBucelarii - Copy

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born and raised in Japan, where I lived until the age of 14. I lived a fairly isolated life in a missionary compound in a small town a few hours south of the capital, but when I moved to Mexico at the age of 14, all that changed.

All of the experiences I have had (both in Japan and Mexico) have influenced my writing–in my opinion, given me a better understanding of the world around me.

When did you realize, writing was what you wanted to do?

I realized I had a talent for writing at the age of 10 or 11. I had a teacher passionate about literature, and he instilled in me a love of reading and writing.

I dabbled a bit during my teenage years, but nothing serious until the age of 17 or 18. That’s when I started competing (in small online competitions) and writing more regularly. I started In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent at the age of 18, but stopped writing a couple of years later. I didn’t finish it until 2014, which is about the time I started taking writing VERY seriously.

What do you want to achieve with your writing?

I want to make people think. I want to force them to see things in a new way, things they may be accustomed to, desensitized to, or never thought to question. If I can shake things up and twist the world upside down–even for one person–I will be happy.

What are you currently working on right now? Or plan to work on in the future?

I have just launched Book 1 in the dark fantasy series The Last Bucelarii. This book, Blade of the Destroyer, is the first book in the series about the Hunter, a half-demon assassin. The story will span 5 or 6 books, and it will tell the story of the Hunter’s search for answers about his forgotten past. He will find his place in a world that has no place for him and his kind, and the story will be about his growth as a character. Plenty of plot, plenty of action, but definitely a character-driven series.

What is your writing structure like?

I’ll sketch out a rough plot of the book I’m writing–at least the first half. I’ll usually come up with the ending as I write, and the plot details will sort themselves out as I go.

I’ll write a rough draft (just to get the story down), let it sit for a couple of months, then come back to do a first draft to send to beta readers. Once I get the comments and feedback, I incorporate the changes, print out the book, and do a final edit on paper before sending it to the editor/publisher.

How do you write (handwrite, computer, typewriter, voice recorder, etc.)?

Computer, always! I tried writing with Dragon Naturally Speaking (voice to text), but my brain doesn’t work well when my mouth is running. Heh!

What is the toughest thing about writing your current work? What’s the easiest?

The hardest part of writing this work is trying to get the balance of personality just right. The Hunter is this legendary, immortal killer, but he’s also fairly human in his flaws. It’s a very fine line to walk!

Who are your favorite authors?

Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastards series is probably my favorite book series of all time. I’ll read anything Brandon Sanderson writes, and I love the Riyira books by Michael J. Sullivan.

What’s your favorite reading platform (e-book, paperback, hard cover, audio)?

I’m a total sucker for a good hardcover book, and paperback is a close second. But I’ve discovered that the right audiobook can make a good book great. For example, I have never “read” the Scott Lynch books (on paper or digital), but I have only listened to the audiobooks. The voice talent who recorded those books (Michael Page) did such an amazing job! I love audiobooks, as they allow me to read while I drive, sit in traffic, work out at the gym, walk on the beach, etc.

Tell us about your upcoming release.

Here’s what you need to know:

A faceless, nameless assassin. A forgotten past.  The Hunter of Voramis–a killer devoid of morals, or something else altogether? (Blade of the Destroyer–dark fantasy with a look at the underside of human nature)

The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer

The Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin: ruthless, unrelenting, immortal. Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.

When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?

Do you have any advice for other authors when it comes to writing, marketing, publishing, etc.?

Start NOW! I made the mistake of publishing In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent before I had a decent-sized following. The book never really got any traction, and I never saw the sales I would have liked.

To stand a better chance of success in this highly competitive market, authors need to start reaching out to people, making friends, connecting with other authors, and finding potential readers NOW–well before their books are launched!

How do you relax?

I love to read comic books, though I admit I’m a bit behind due to a lack of time. I’ll download all the latest digital comic books and read them (not enough space in my house for physical books).

I also love to watch TV, hit the gym, spend time with my four active children, hang out with friends, and read. I’m a simple man who loves the simpler things in life!

Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?

I think Edgar Rice Burroughs could have been a fascinating man to meet! I would have loved to talk to him about the John Carter of Mars books, and pick his brain for his creativity.

How long does it take you to write your novels?

I’ll get through 100,000 to 120,000 words of pure writing in about 2 months, so considering all the work that goes into writing a novel (polishing, drafting, editing, etc.), a book takes me about six months of solid work to complete.

Are any of your characters based off of real people in your life? If so, do they know?

I have based a few minor characters off people that I know or people I have met, but I am not going to tell the people I based them off of. They’ll try to get a cut of the proceeds!

Soul Chaser Book Review

41JbxgWz88L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_

Amazon

Blurb:

Life as we know it follows a clear course: a person is born, goes through life, and dies. We are not given the choice to deviate from this routine.
But what if we were?
Soul Chaser carries readers to a world where sixteen-year-old Raven Bishop must struggle with this choice time and time again, not for her sake, but for the sake of others whose lives she can save by repeatedly relinquishing her own.
The decision to die, and die over and over again, however, is not an easy one for anyone to make, let alone a girl who barely lived her own life–but the fate of Raven’s soul depends on it. Will she make the right choice?

My Review:

Fiver Stars

Soul Chaser was a great story about spirits that take over a child’s body shortly before the child dies. This happens so the child doesn’t experience the tragedy of their own death and so they can move on. And it really makes you feel for Raven as she goes through the motions of dying for all these kids.

Campbell paints a vivid image of the spirits as they go from one child to the next. You aren’t sitting there trying to figure out if you’re the child from before if you’ve moved on, it’s apparent who you are rather immediately. And it’s painful to read about these kids dying and how horrible some of their deaths truly are. It makes your heartbreak as you continue on seeing these kids die so young, and knowing that in reality this happens. But in our reality the kids feel the pain, they go through the turmoil. In Campbell’s world the kids don’t experience their deaths. They get to travel to the afterlife and aren’t stuck wondering the world. It’s nice to think that this is really how it happens and that kids don’t feel the pain of their own death.

Of course, Raven doesn’t exactly follow the rules of being a soul chaser and she has to deal with her consequences of doing so. Raven is a lovable spirit and you just want her to succeed and are hopeful that she will succeed in her divine purpose to alleviate the pain from a child dying. Facing her consequences make her see that she is destined for this and nothing else and that makes it easier for her to go on and follow the rules that she should be following. It makes one realize that we all have a purpose and sometimes we have to face the consequences of our decisions.

The story contains short chapters which makes it a quick and amazing read. I look forward to reading more from Campbell and hope there is more to the Soul Chaser series, because I feel left in the dark. I want to see Raven fulfill her destiny and mentor the next before moving on to her afterlife in Heaven above.

Tigerman Book Review

51ZMklZCnmL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Amazon

Blurb:

A mysterious medallion, a secret cult, a deadly secret. Join J.D. Summers as he embarks on a journey to discover the secret of the medallion and the cult that will stop at nothing to have it. With pulse pounding action and narrative that sure to keep you engaged from start to finish, Tigerman is nothing short of excellent.

My Review:

Five Stars

Tigerman is a brilliant novel about a boy who is just going through the motions of being a teenager. Moving from town to town sucks. And it’s no different for J.D. Summers. He’s a teenage boy that just wants to stay put for once in his life. But with his dad’s job that is impossible. And J.D. doesn’t exactly understand why his dad’s career requires constant moving.

But one day he realizes why his family is always moving around. And he goes through a traumatic event to find it all out. J.D. is taken in by a girl he goes to school with and a crush develops. And you watch as the two teens go from being awkward to actually caring for one another. The ending made me shed a few tears because I was hoping it would have turned out differently for J.D. and Ashley. But the life of a superhero isn’t always a life of romance or an easy one.

J.D. goes through the motions of wanting to be a superhero then just wanting to die to back to wanting to be a superhero. And I think going through these stages make for an amazing superhero because somewhere inside that hero knows he’s societies only hope between light and darkness. And Tigerman figures this out real quick in battle.

I can’t wait for the next installment and look forward to great things from Joseph Schweichler.

Blade the Destroyer Book Review

Bucelarii - Copy

Amazon

Blade the Destroyer: The Last Bucelarii Book I (Volume 1)
Andy Peloquin

Book Synopsis:

The Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin:

Ruthless, Unrelenting, Immortal.

Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.

When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?

My Review:
Five Stars

Blade the Destroyer is a gruesome tale of how we all fall into what society makes us out to be. The Hunter was made out to be a vile, murderous being and he fit that description well. But there was always that sense that he was lacking something. That a part of him longed for something more out of the existence he called his life. Like most, The Hunter wasn’t satisfied with the course his life had taken. And for someone that is immortal it’s hard to change something that you’ve always ever known to do.

The Hunter is one of these characters that you find yourself confused about how you feel about him. One minute you absolutely hate him, then you see his humility and you love him, then it goes right back to dislike. My feelings for The Hunter changed often while reading Blade the Destroyer. But in the end I had a newfound love for The Hunter and really hoped he figured it all out. It’s not very fun going through life not knowing who you are and ultimately feeling alone along the way.

I will admit that some parts of Blade the Destroyer really grossed me out. There’s quite a lot of violence that goes on, some vengeful other’s just ruthless killing. The violent scenes are done flawlessly and you can tell that Andy really did his research when it came down to it.

My heart ached for The Hunter in the end when he was in the situation that he was. And so I don’t give anything away I won’t say what that was. But my heart broke for him and this is really when my love for The Hunter came racing back in. Every ounce of me hated The Dark Hierarchs and The Bloody Hand. Every ounce of me was yelling the last few chapters because of what occurred in their brutal pages.

The Hunter may have made a lot of mistakes but in the end it seems he gets a chance to start anew and figure out who/what he really is. He gets a chance to start over and I think his reaction to it all makes him appear more human than animal. He gets a second chance and in the end we all deserve that.

I can’t wait for the next installment of this amazing series. Keep up the brilliant writing Andy.