All posts by bmackela

I'm a retired Steamfitter. I like to read, so I started a book review blog. I am no longer reviewing books. It was fun while it lasted.

Review of The Sum of Her Parts by Alan Dean Foster

The Sum of Her Parts by Alan Dean Foster
The Sum of Her Parts by Alan Dean Foster

The Sum of Her Parts (The Tipping Point Trilogy Book 3)

Alan Dean Foster

This is the final segment of a 3 part story. The picture of the world that was portrayed in the first book, “The Human Blend” was quite intriguing. The future was one where global warming had fulfilled all of the dire warnings we have been hearing for years. The oceans had risen which flooded the low-lying coastal cities. To combat the rising water, some cities had been built on stilts or floats. The warmer climate had driven tropical animals toward what had formerly been the temperate regions. More powerful tropical storms hit the coastlines more frequently. They had fashioned large moveable shields to divert the winds. And the most engaging part of the new world was the dramatically improved ability to adjust ones self. To have any sort of modification to your body  that you could imagine, as long has you could pay for it.

This was the world in the first book. The third book takes place entirely in the desert of South Africa, on the lands of a South African company, SAEC. The two  protagonists of this series, Dr. Ingrid Seastrom and Whispr continue on their quest to discover what the metallic thread found in the first book, has hidden inside of its encrypted data. They are trying to break into the SAEC research facility, which is in the middle of a large heavily guarded and patrolled desert.

I was hoping that Mr. Foster would be using the setting that was developed in the first book as a basis for many more stories, but the ending of this book makes that very unlikely.

If you have started reading the series, you will want to finish it. I think that the series had more promise than it delivered. I give this 3 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from Net Galley.

Title Details

Random House Publishing Group

Del Rey

Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: Del Rey (November 27, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0345512022

ISBN-13: 978-0345512024

Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces

Price: 15.00

Currency: USD

Edition: Paperback

Description

In this thrilling science fiction adventure-the triumphant conclusion to the Tipping Point trilogy-New York Times bestselling author Alan Dean Foster returns to a near future in which genetic manipulation and extreme body modification have changed profoundly what it means to be human.

Dr. Ingrid Seastrom was once a respected American physician. Whispr, whose body has been transformed to preternatural thinness, was once a streetwise thief. Now, in a world on the edge of catastrophe from centuries of environmental exploitation, they are allies-thrust together by fate to unravel an impossible mystery-even as they are stalked by a relentless killer.

Ingrid and Whispr are hunted fugitives bound together by a thread: a data-storage thread made of a material that cannot exist, yet somehow does. Their quest to learn its secrets-and, in Whispr’s case, sell them to the highest bidder-has brought them to South Africa’s treacherous Namib desert. Beyond its dangers waits a heavily guarded research facility that promises answers, if they can survive long enough to get there. But that won’t be easy, not with Napun Molé on their trail. They’ve already escaped the assassin twice, and as far as Molé is concerned, finishing them off isn’t just a job anymore . . . it’s personal.

About the Author

Alan Dean Foster has written in a variety of genres, including hard science fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Star Wars: The Approaching Stormand the popular Pip & Flinx novels, as well as novelizations of several films, including Transformers, Star Wars, the first three Alien films, and Alien Nation. His novel Cyber Way won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction, the first science fiction work ever to do so. Foster and his wife, JoAnn Oxley, live in Prescott, Arizona, in a house built of brick that was salvaged from an early twentieth century miners’ brothel. He is currently at work on several new novels and media projects.

Review of The Human Blend by Alan Dean Foster

The Human Blend
The Human Blend by Alan Dean Foster


The Human Blend (Tipping Point Trilogy Book 1)

by Alan Dean Foster

Mr. Foster develops a very engaging world in this the first novel of the Tipping Point Trilogy. This is a world of flooded coastlines, powerful hurricanes and altered national identities. The human populace has also changed. There are people who haven’t undergone any body modifications, the Naturals, and people who have done nearly any imaginable thing to their bodies, the Melds.

In part one of this Trilogy, Whispr and Jiminy Cricket murder an unknown tourist in Savannah, so that they can steal his meld, a mechanical hand. During the crime, Whispr finds a small hidden metallic thread and takes it. This thread is the focus of the whole story. Police and underground groups are looking for it and will kill anyone who stands in their way of getting it.

The Human Blend is book one of a trilogy, and at the end of the book there is no resolution to the plot. This is similar to a three part television show. You will have to continue reading “Body, Inc.” and “The Sum of Her Parts”.

This is an interesting world and could be used for much more than the story that is being told here. I enjoyed the story and read it very quickly. I hope that Mr. Foster will develop other stories in this setting. I give this 4 stars out of 5.

Description

In this first novel of a thrilling new series set in our near future, New York Times bestselling author Alan Dean Foster reveals a place where criminals are punished through genetic engineering and body manipulation—and poses profound questions about what it means to be human.

Given his name because radical surgery has reduced him to preternatural thinness, Whispr is a thug. In a dark alley in Savannah, Whispr and his partner in crime, Jiminy Cricket, murder what they take to be a random tourist in order to steal his artificial hand. But the victim is also carrying an unusual silver thread, which Whispr and Jiminy grab as well.

Chance later deposits a wounded Whispr at the clinic of Dr. Ingrid Seastrom. Powerful forces have been searching for Whispr since he acquired the mysterious thread, and Jiminy has vanished. All Whispr wants to do is sell the thread, and when he offers to split the profits with Ingrid, she makes an astonishing discovery. So begins the formidable partnership between the Harvard-educated physician and the street-smart thief—as long as they can elude the enhanced assassins that are tracking them.

Product Details

Paperback: 256 pages

Published November 22nd 2011 by Del Rey

ISBN: 0345511980

ISBN13: 9780345511980

edition language: English

Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces

About The Author

Alan Dean Foster’s work to date includes excursions into hard science-fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. He has also written numerous non-fiction articles on film, science, and scuba diving, as well as having produced the novel versions of many films, including such well-known productions as “Star Wars”, the first three “Alien” films, “Alien Nation”, and “The Chronicles of Riddick”. Other works include scripts for talking records, radio, computer games, and the story for the first “Star Trek” movie. His novel “Shadowkeep” was the first ever book adaptation of an original computer game. In addition to publication in English his work has been translated into more than fifty languages and has won awards in Spain and Russia. His novel “Cyber Way” won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction in 1990, the first work of science-fiction ever to do so.

Foster’s sometimes humorous, occasionally poignant, but always entertaining short fiction has appeared in all the major SF magazines as well as in original anthologies and several “Best of the Year” compendiums. His published oeuvre includes more than 100 books.

A Review of Bullets Are My Business by Josh K. Stevens

Bullets Are My Business by Josh K. Stevens

Bullets Are My Business: A Dutton Guilt Edged Mystery [Kindle Edition]

Josh K. Stevens

Levi Maurice piles up scars, bodies and dames at the start of this hard-boiled detective novel. The action comes fast and furious. In the first dozen pages, there is a mysterious pale green envelope, followed by an unknown woman in the shower, who turns out to be Natalie, Levi’s working girl informant, and finally a shootout as three thugs burst into his cheap apartment and start firing. After those three are down, three more come though the door with their guns blazing. After a heated battle, Levi takes stock of his situation. He’s wounded, has a load of dead guys and a light green envelope from an unknown woman who needs his help.

So begins an exciting look though the eyes of Levi Maurice. Josh K. Stevens brings the classic feel of a pulp novel to life. It nearly feels like a 10 round heavyweight fight. If you like to read the real old-fashioned, action filled, hard-boiled detective novels with heroes like Sam Spade or the early Matthew Scudder, you will love this book. I give this 5 stars!

I received this book for free from Net Galley.

Description

Josh K. Stevens masterfully draws a hit man’s underground world of bullets, sex, death, money, and betrayal in his mile-a-minute debut of dark modern noir.

Levi Maurice has always had his eye on the money in his career as a hit man. A chain-smoking alcoholic with a penchant for all the wrong women, Levi is never short of improvised plans and smart-assed remarks to ensure he makes it to the next paycheck. But when the tables are turned and a hit is put out on him, he suddenly finds himself fighting for his life. Along with his crooked cop neighbor, Jacks, and his radical protester little sister, Chenille, Levi has to find out who has it out for him before he finds himself six feet under. Not helping are the mysterious mint green envelopes appearing on his doorstep, asking for his help just when Levi himself needs it most, and Megan, his sexy new girlfriend, who may not be as honest as she looks.

Bullets Are My Business is a bloody, fast-paced, darkly humorous ride into the life of a hired gun who finds himself on the wrong side of a hit — and may not make it out alive.

Product Details

Bullets Are My Business: A Dutton Guilt Edged Mystery [Kindle Edition]

Josh K. Stevens (Author)

File Size: 617 KB

Publisher: Dutton Guilt Edged Mysteries (November 20, 2012)

Sold by: Penguin Publishing

Language: English

ASIN: B009RYKQZY

Text-to-Speech: Enabled

X-Ray: Not Enabled

Lending: Not Enabled

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,110 Paid in Kindle Store

About the Author

Josh K. Steven’s short stories have been published in RAGAD, Boston Literary Magazine, 55 Words and decomP. A nonfiction piece was published in The Great Lakes Reader. He presently resides in northern Illinois with his wife, their son and two cats, where he is currently hard at work on his second novel.

Review of Love Me Do by Bill Harry

Love Me Do by Bill Harry
Love Me Do by Bill Harry

Love Me Do

Behind the Scenes at the Recording of the Beatles’ First Recording

by Bill Harry

Miniver Press

This is a short book about the beginnings of the recording career of The Beatles written by a close acquaintance. Bill Harry knew The Beatles before they had a recording contract and wrote about them in a local Liverpool publication “Mersey Beat”. This is a behind the scenes look at the process of getting a demo recorded and record made in 1962. An interesting read for anyone who liked the early Beatles.

This e-book is 99 cents on Amazon or free for Amazon Prime members.

I was sent a free review e-book by Net Galley.

Description

“Love Me Do” was the Beatles’s first single. Longtime Beatles friend and fan Bill Harry takes us behind the scenes in honor of the 50th anniversary. He tells about how Pete Best was replaced by Ringo Starr after the first recording session, how John stole his harmonica, why the vocal was switched from John to Paul, how George got a black eye, and the real story behind the legend that Brian Epstein bought thousands of records to get the song on the charts.

Product Details

File Size: 414 KB

Print Length: 46 pages

Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

Publisher: Miniver Press (September 7, 2012)

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Language: English

ASIN: B00993ER0I

Pub Date: Oct 1 2012

ISBN: 9780985738907

About the author

Bill Harry (born 17 September 1938), is the creator of Mersey Beat; a newspaper of the early 1960s which focused on the Liverpool music scene. Harry had previously started various magazines and newspapers, such as Biped and Premier, while at Liverpool’s Junior School of Art. He later attended the Liverpool College of Art, where his fellow students included John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe, who both later performed with The Beatles. He published a magazine, Jazz, in 1958, and worked as an assistant editor on the University of Liverpool’s charity magazine, Pantosphinx. Harry met his wife-to-be, Virginia Sowry, at the Jacaranda club—managed by Allan Williams, the first manager of The Beatles—and she later agreed to help him start a music newspaper. After borrowing £50, Harry released the first issue of Mersey Beat on 6 July 1961, with the first 5,000 copies selling out within a short time.

A Review of Crashed by Timothy Hallinan

Crashed (1)Junior Bender is a burglar. He started when he was 14 and has been practicing his craft for 22 years. Now he is being set up. And the fun is non-stop.

This first book in a new series by Timothy Hallinan is very enjoyable trip though the darker, seamer side of Hollywood. It is populated with many crooks and other dubious characters. You will be won over by some of them and wish that some of them would become fish food, but you will enjoy every twist and turn this story brings. If you are a fan of Elvis Cole or Bernie Rhodenbarr, make sure that you put this new novel on the top of your Christmas List.

Book Description from the Publisher

Release Date: November 13, 2012 | Series: A Junior Bender Mystery

Introducing Junior Bender, the favorite burglar-turned-private investigator of Hollywood crooks

Junior Bender is a Los Angeles burglar with a magic touch. Since he first started breaking into houses when he was fourteen years old, he’s never once been caught. But now, after twenty-two years of an exemplary career, Junior has been blackmailed by Trey Annunziato, one of the most powerful crime bosses in LA, into acting as a private investigator on the set of Trey’s porn movie venture, which someone keeps sabotaging. The star Trey has lined up to do all that’s unwholesome on camera is Thistle Downing, America’s beloved child star, who now lives alone in a drug-induced stupor, destitute and uninsurable. Her starring role will be the scandalous fall-from-grace gossip of rubber-neckers across the country. No wonder Trey needs help keeping the production on track.

Junior knows what that he should do—get Thistle out and find her help—but doing the right thing will land him on the wrong side of LA’s scariest mob boss. With the help of his precocious twelve-year-old daughter, Rina, and his criminal sidekick, Louie the Lost (an ex-getaway driver), Junior has to figure out a miracle solution.

Product Details

Hardcover: 356 pages

Publisher: Soho Crime (November 13, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1616952741

ISBN-13: 978-1616952747

Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 x 7.8 inches

About the Author

Timothy Hallinan has lived, on and off, in Southeast Asia for more than 25 years.  He wrote songs and sang in a rock band while in college, and many of his songs were recorded by well-known artists who included the platinum-selling group Bread.  He began writing books while enjoying a successful career in the television industry.  Over the past fourteen years he has been responsible for a number of well-reviewed novels and a nonfiction book on Charles Dickens.  For years he has taught a course on “Finishing the Novel” with remarkable results – more than half his students complete their first novel and go on to a second, and several have been, or are about to be, published.  Tim currently maintains a house in Santa Monica, California, and apartments in Bangkok, Thailand; and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  He is lucky enough to be married to Munyin Choy-Hallinan.

A message from Tim

2012 has been a great year.I moved to Soho Crime for the fifth Poke Rafferty book, The Fear Artist, and the book earned stars from three of the four publishing trades that give stars to the books they like best. Oh, and it was just named one of the Best Crime Novels of 2012 by Deadly Pleasures magazine and got some of the best reviews of my career.

And then lightning struck my ebook series about the Los Angeles burglar Junior Bender. First, Soho acquired them for publishing. Then the series was bought for film by Lionsgate and for audio by Blackstone. The first book in the series, Crashed, will come out on November 13 of this year, with Little Elvises scheduled for January 2013 and The Fame Thief set for June—three books in less than seven months.

Looking forward to 2013.

Review of The Diet Dropout’s Guide to Natural Weight Loss: Find Your Easiest Path to Naturally Thin

Image    The Diet Dropout’s Guide to Natural Weight Loss

Dr. Stan Spencer

(To be published 1/1/2013)

This is the perfect companion book for anyone who is trying to lose weight and keep it off. Dr. Spencer writes about the problems that people have dieting and why losing weight quickly doesn’t usually lead to a permanent weight reduction. He will guide you to changing some habits and ways of dealing with food cravings.

This is NOT a diet plan! This would work very well with a healthy eating plan, such as Weight Watchers. They would complement each other. Weight Watchers gives you a method to decide what food and how much you need to eat to lose weight and Natural Weight Loss gives you the tools to keep on plan.

I would recommend Dr. Spencer’s book to anyone who is serious about living a healthier, lighter life.

I received this book for free from Net Galley.

From the publisher

BASIC BOOK/CONTACT INFORMATION

Trade Softcover, 6 x 9, 152 pages
Publication 1/1/2013
$11.95
Health & Fitness
Appendices, References, Index, 6 Illustrations

ISBN 978-0-9835717-0-4
ISBN 978-0-9835717-1-1 (ebook $2.99 published 1/1/2013)
LCCN 2011928360

Intended Audience: health-conscious adults, repeat dieters

Fine Life Books
3688 Donald Ave., Riverside, CA 92503
951-525-5325 (phone/fax)
reviews@finelifebooks.com
finelifebooks.com

Wholesale Distributors: Ingram, Baker & Taylor

Publicity/Author Contact: stanspencer1@gmail.com or 951-977-1301

Stan Spencer, PhD, is a biological consultant and former research scientist. He has conducted laboratory studies in biochemistry at Brigham Young University, in botany and evolution at Claremont Graduate University, and in genetics at the Smithsonian Institution. Doctor Spencer lives in southern California and blogs on natural weight loss at fatlossscience.org.