Monday, December 31, 2018

December's Book Reviews & Previews

Welcome to the December edition of Book Reviews and Previews.  This month, I reviewed some historical fiction, an alternate history novel, and a steampunk novella.  There is also a preview of a book that will be released on February 12.

Happy New Year,

Sister Witch: The Life of Moll Dyer (Legends of the Family Dyer Book 1) by David W. Thompson

Excellent Historical Fiction with Some Paranormal Spice

Sister Witch is the story of perhaps Maryland’s most famous witch, Moll Dyer.  The novel portrays her as a courageous and determined woman with opinions and beliefs far ahead of her time.  I found myself cheering when she took an unpopular, progressive stand, but also cringing when she took another step toward what I knew to be her fate.  Certainly, she had some unusual beliefs, such as in her ability to create love potions or protection spells.  But they were harmless … at least until other people discovered she held those views.  And when that happened, the woman became the target of suspicion and then, hatred.  Over the course of the story, she was held accountable for everything from still births to season-long droughts.  See the complete review or get more information on Amazon:

Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets by Madeleine Holly-Rosing

A Disturbing Alternative History … With a Tension-Filled Story to Match

Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets offers us a stark look at a disturbing, alternative history.  Set in 1890s Boston, the world is run by ‘Great Houses’, families devoted to wealth and power at all costs.  The gap between the haves and the have-nots, a concern in our world, has become enormous, with the poorest – the Irish on the south side of Boston – living in appalling poverty.  A rigid, class system, right down to the ‘uniforms’ people wear, defines life.  Free speech has become “… a quaint notion and rarely applied to anyone except those in power.”  And justice?  When a number of these poor disappear, the police simply look the other way.  After all, it’s only the Irish.  See the complete review or get more information on Amazon:

The Steampunk-Electric Puppy (for curious adults only) by PanOrpheus

A novella for which the phrase ‘needless to say’ is never appropriate.

“Cady Miller was 10 years old and in the 4th grade! Needless to say, it was the 25th Century and she lived on the Earth.”

So begins the novella, The Steampunk-Electric Puppy, a story for which the phrase ‘needless to say’ is never appropriate.  That’s because if there is one thing to expect from this book, it’s to be ready for the unexpected.  Sure, as steampunk, its futuristic technology is implemented in equipment reminiscent of nineteenth-century, steam-powered machinery.  And its fashion is the mix of top-hats and tails accessorized with goggles and gears that you might anticipate.  But other than those mainstays of the genre, you never know when the science, technology, and politics of the past will be superimposed on the future … or vice versa.  The result is a complex mix of fact and fiction that feels familiar even when its fantasy and strange even when it’s part of our past.  See the complete review or get more information on Amazon:

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas (to be released February 12)

A Locked-Door Murder Mystery in a Poorly Conceived Alternate History

The Psychology of Time Travel provides the reader with an alternate history in which four women scientists develop time-travel technology in 1967.  Fifty years later, a fifth woman discovers an unidentified body inside a locked room and becomes obsessed with solving the case, while a sixth woman worries that the dead woman is her grandmother and launches her own investigation.  While this seems considerable grist for a tense, suspenseful mystery, the book falls somewhat short of that goal.  Part of the reason is suggested in the two-sentence summary above – there are a lot of characters (more than just these six).  Additionally, the chapters are short, moving among these individuals and across time periods in an unpredictable sequence of flash forwards and backs, making the story feel choppy.  And finally, the mystery isn’t maintained.  By the midpoint of the book, the victim is known and at three-fourths, the perpetrator.  The rest is tying up loose ends, which is rather dry.  This book is available for pre-order on Amazon:  My complete review can be found on Goodreads:

No comments :

Post a Comment