Category Archives: Video Reviews

Review: STARTING TO FRAME

** I received a copy of this book for review.

*** A video version of this review is available HERE.

Moving memoir of a young man’s youth in Sheffield, England and his family’s struggle with divorce and mental illness.

Starting to Frame: A Memoir

Starting to Frame: A Memoir

The author is a scientist who emigrated from England to Canada in early adulthood, leaving behind a difficult childhood and troubled family. Turns out several thousand miles of ocean isn’t enough to put that past to rest.

The author does a beautiful job setting scenes. I could imagine myself in that dreary Northern England town between the 1940s and 1960s. We start in the ramshackle, mouse-infested home his family shared with his maternal grandparents. Things seem fairly normal there, though the tension between his parents simmers under the surface. Later, the family moves to a new housing estate, but their fresh start is short and painful.

Gordon portrays his parents with honesty–his father’s diffidence, his mothers erratic and explosive temper. There’s compassion as Gordon details the torturous breakdown of the marriage and the chaos that followed.

We also learn the hardships the author faced getting through university and graduate school while battling his own bouts of depression, which left him hospitalized more than once. The bigger wonder is that he managed to get into university at all. His mother paid lip service to the importance of education, but support (practical or emotional) was scarce and full of resentment.

In STARTING TO FRAME, Roger Gordon offer compelling account of a man’s struggle to build a good life on the rubble of a ruined childhood.

Bonds of Blood & Spirit #4: LEGACIES

NOTE: A video version of the following review, which goes into more detail about the entire Bonds of Blood & Spirit saga can be viewed HERE.

Pack and Pride test their physical and spiritual boundaries in preparation for a final battle that will shape the future for both shifters and humans.

Legacies is the fourth book in the Bonds of Blood & Spirit saga. This series is a great mix of character and suspense. The books do need to be read in order–each one digs deeper into Kelly & Dorchak’s unique fictional universe and into the characters as their knowledge of themselves and bonds with one another are constantly tested and transformed.

By the time we get to Legacies, the bad guys (who’ve dogged our heroes from book to book to book) have assembled an evil alliance that seems impossible to defeat. At the same time, Regina, Harry, Cole and the rest of the Pack are still reeling from the events in book three (Reclamations). Now the packmates must face personal fears, petty jealousies, and desires they’d rather keep buried. Things are changing. Each shifter needs to learn where they fit. IF they fit. And NOT fitting would be devastating. Pack membership is a lifelong bond…you can’t walk away without serious emotional and spiritual ramifications.

On the surface it’s the worst possible time to deal with interpersonal drama. The shifters know this. They understand that there’s a clock ticking over their heads and when it strikes the hour, all hell will break loose.

As it turns out, it’s the personal stuff that provides the key for the Pack to have at least a chance of surviving the upcoming battle.

The end? It’s satisfying. Overwhelming. Exhausting. All major questions are answered, but enough tantalizing threads remain to lead us forward.

If you want gripping suspense and characters you’ll never forget, this is the series for you.

WANT TO MEET THE AUTHORS OF THE BONDS OF BLOOD & SPIRIT SAGA?

On Saturday June 20th, Wendi Kelly and Deborah Dorchak will be at the Henderson Barnes & Noble at N. Stephanie (just south of the intersection of Stephanie and Sunset) from 1pm to 3 pm. Click HERE for directions/map.

WANT TO READ MY DETAILED INTERVIEW WITH WENDI AND DEBORAH?

Part I

Part II

Review: The Bookseller’s Secret

*Author provided a copy of the book for an honest review.

Note: A video version of this review can be seen here.

This book is a sequel to SEEKING SAMIEL. You don’t need to have read that book to enjoy this one. However, reading this one will give away lots of SEEKING SAMIEL.

The Bookseller's Secret

The Bookseller’s Secret

A reporter travels to South Africa to investigate a mysterious book and its even more mysterious author and is drawn into a world of hell on earth.

Rumor has it that the book’s author (Eva Van Hollinsworth) is the anti-Christ. Her main purpose is self-perpetuation through her own rebirth and by spreading her contagion (demonic possession)through the world.

Not a standard narrative. The POV shifts from chapter to chapter. There are also interesting insertions–blog posts, news reports, even letters from Satan to a minion about how exactly to go about ruining Mason.

Jordan does a good job of pulling readers through her story. Still, it is a surreal, almost dizzying reading experience.

Eva’s estate is a nightmarish place populated by demons, zombies, and plants with seeds that if consumed, become addictive…the way Eva’s book is addictive. Open the book and you are never free of it. Wherever in the world you travel, you are connected to Eva and her terrifying world. It’s a world out of time. No past. No future. Only an eternal present where Eva hovers spewing her contagion into human world.

The situation very much reminds me of Robert Marasco’s BURNT OFFERINGS. It was published in 1973 and made into a movie a couple of years later. In it, a family moves into a mansion that is alive…sentient…a haunted house taken to the furthest extreme. Rather than being inhabited by entities, it IS the entity.

There are no real heroes in THE BOOKSELLER’S SECRET. Inspector Dusu and Father Charles Thurmont come closest, but they come on the scene in a meaningful way late in the plot. They know what they’re dealing with and are determined to get rid of Eva. The rest of the characters? Not likable. They are certainly sympathetic–lost as they are, obsessed with the book, or with power, or with Eva. Good thing is that you don’t have to like the characters to want to know what happens to them.

THE BOOKSELLER’S SECRET is a scary book and ultimately a sad book. There’s no sense of good battling evil. Only evil corroding everything in its path.

A unique reading experience.

My First Video Review!

This is my very first video review…raw…uncut…all “ummms” and throat clearing included. What I like about this process is that it allows for a spontaneity that isn’t possible with even the most enthusiastic written review. Words on the page (or screen), however thoughtful and honest, are inert. It’s all, “I loved/hated this product and here’s why.” A linear, intellectual exercise. What this video shows is a kind of goofy human being interacting with a real item (a pretty cool goal planner) that she’s invited into her real life.

I’d like to make video reviews a regular feature of the blog. It will be a learning process. For example, this video file is too large for this particular site. That’s why I’m providing a link, so you can view it on Amazon. Videos uploaded directly to the blog will have to be less than half the size. I guess that will force me to be get to the point fast!

Also, for now only print books will get video reviews. My current e-reader is an older Kindle with a black-and-white display. That means e-book covers don’t shine in all their glory. Hopefully I’ll upgrade at some point.

VIEW REVIEW HERE