Tag Archives: Book review

Book Review: Missouri’s Forgotten Heroes by Ross Malone

Missouri’s Forgotten Heroes    

Author: Ross Malone

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

American release date: June 28, 2016

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/non-fiction/236 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

There are many books about the famous people in history, the heroes whose lives we study in school, the people we grow up knowing about, famed in song and story. But there are many more unsung heroes we never get a chance to appreciate. This book is about some of those people. And they are all from Missouri, which is a definite plus to me, as I am a native of the state myself.

Missouri’s Forgotten Heroes has many interesting stories to tell. Some of the names may be familiar to residents of Missouri as place names, but the people behind the names are greatly unknown. For example, Albert Lambert (Lambert Airport), John O’Fallon (O’Fallon, Missouri & Illinois), John Mullanphy (various places in Florissant, MO) and Paul Henning (of Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction fame).

There are stories about athletes and stories about pioneers, people who endured great hardships and persevered despite the odds against them. These people are not perfect, many of them have flaws, and they are all human. But that doesn’t matter. In some way, they were all heroes.

This was an interesting book from start to finish. I enjoyed reading about unsung heroes from my own state. I love history, and love to read about it, and this book is a great addition to my library. As a bonus, I received an autographed copy, how great is that? This is my first time reading Ross Malone, but it won’t be my last time. He has a wonderful way of telling a story that makes you feel as if you are there, listening to him. I would love to attend a class taught by him, or a lecture.

The only criticism I can make is that the book would have benefited with a little more editing, but that is not an authorial flaw, and I won’t ding him on that. I’ve seen so-called professional books with similar problems.

If you like history, if you are from Missouri, or if you just like to root for the underdog, this book is for you.

 

 

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Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 5

Blue Exorcist, Book 5    

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 6, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/202 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Well, the cat’s out of the bag, and all the ex-wires know Rin’s secret—namely that he is the son of Satan. They have mixed feelings about this revelation, understandably. But no time to dwell on that, Yukio and Rin are off to deal with an emergency situation. The trouble began when someone stole the Left Eye of the Impure King from the Deep Keep. A senior exorcist named Todo, along with an elite force, pursued a masked man but he’s taken a child and is using him as a shield. To make matters worse, a terrible gas has been released, and the hostage child has received severe exposure. The child’s mother begs for help, and when Yukio tries to explain that they might not succeed, Rin rashly promises to rescue her son. The brothers and Todo and his elite force are off to the rescue! But not everything is as it seems.

Meanwhile, back at True Cross, Suguro, Shima, and Miwa are concerned that they are unable to contact friends and family back home. Mephisto unexpectedly turns up in the ex-wire classroom and announces they have earned the right to go on a real mission—to Kyoto! To say that Suguro is less than thrilled would be an understatement.

Rin thinks he’s being sneaky but Shura catches him practicing in secret and tells him to pack, he’s going to Kyoto. Apparently the Right Eye of the Impure King is also in peril. On the train to Kyoto, Rin discovers the other ex-wires are going as well, but nobody seems particularly happy to see him, much less sit with him.  Shura tells them all to behave so she can get some sleep, but how likely is that?

On arrival in Kyoto, the ex-wires go to the inn where they are to stay, only to be met with some surprising information that a certain someone would wish to remain unknown. As they settle in, they get to know the okami (female innkeeper) and her family. Suguro realizes there is a problem there. He has to take charge  or two quarreling families will tear everything apart!

The ex-wires are unsure how to handle their new knowledge about Rin, and it shows. Rin is becoming frustrated because he thinks nothing has really changed, he’s the same guy he was before, but how can he convince them of that? In this new volume, Rin is as headstrong and determined as ever. He’s a good boy at heart, who’s found himself in a difficult situation, and still has some maturing to do. And he’s still determined to defeat Satan one day. Also in this volume, we get some background information on Bon Suguro, which helps to flesh out his character and make him more likeable.

I’m really interested in finding out more about these stolen Eyes. What’s so important about them that someone wants to steal them? Will Rin’s fellow students ever get over his satanic birthright and accept him for who he is? Will Rin ever find the courage to admit he likes Shiemi? Enquiring minds want to know! Good volume, looking forward to the next one.

 

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Volume 3 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Book 3                                                      

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 2, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

 Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Rin is decidedly unhappy with the amount of work that’s required in the exorcist cram school, being inclined toward laziness. Yukio despairs of his brother being able to succeed, and tells Rin he relies on the flame of Satan too much. When Yukio is called to take care of some business, Rin insists on accompanying him… uninvited. It seems that Father Fujimoto’s familiar, Kuro, has become unmanageable since the priest’s death and needs to be taken care of. When Yukio agrees to take care of the cat, Rin protests and steps in to save the angry feline.

The exwires are sent on an assignment to Mephhyland, the academy’s amusement park, and Yukio pairs them up. Rin ends up with Shiemi, which isn’t exactly displeasing to him. She’s wearing a uniform today, one that brings certain features into prominence, drawing the attention of the guys in her class. Drawn by the sound of crying, Shiemi and Rin find a little boy ghost, who turns out to be more than they bargained for. To his dismay, Rin has his sword snatched by Amaimon, who reveals himself as Rin’s brother and works at forcing Rin to fight with him. And another mysterious figure emerges and is revealed.

Summer break means Forest Camp for the exwires, and on their first night of camp, they are given an assignment which only three of them can possibly complete. Who, if anyone, will emerge victorious?

Kazue Kato is beginning to fill in the blanks, and we get more of a glimpse into Rin’s extended family as well as life with Father Fujimoto. I love watching him with Shiemi, and I suspect she has feelings for him. As for Rin, he’s pretty clueless but I think he likes her too, whether he’s willing to admit it or not. The story is moving apace and is keeping my interest. I look forward to see how it develops, and watching the exwires become a cohesive team as they form stronger bonds among themselves. I have to wonder how long will it be before they learn who Rin really is, and will that make any difference in how they treat him?

Good volume, look forward to reading more.

 

Book Review: Q*pid by Xavier Mayne

Q*pid

Author: Xavier Mayne

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

American release date: August 28, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: E-book/M/M Contemporary Romance/310 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Archer is the AI at the dating service Q*pid, and he has his own ideas about how matches can be made. Veera, his programmer, is frustrated that he isn’t listening to her and insists on going his own way. She’s on thin ice as it is with Archer at work, and not everyone at the dating service is convinced of Archer’s ability to make working matches. But when he proposes changing the protocol that determines which gender the clients are looking for, making them open to more possibilities, they are determined he and Veera have lost their collective minds. Due to a misunderstanding, Archer proceeds with his plan, and the results…

Drew Larsen is working on his PhD, and his dating life is fraught with strong and strange women. It’s not surprising that none of his relationships last. He finds more pleasure in the company of his elderly neighbor, Mrs. Schwartzmann, who has more tall tales than Carter has little liver pills.  Fox Kincade is a very successful man in all ways but one—finding the right woman. But never fear, he has a spread chart for everything, and since joining the dating service Q*pid, he is determined to find Ms. Right, as long as he follows his own rules of dating. He feels pressured, though, because he is the last of his group to find their partner. His standards are high. He is determined only to date women who match him at least with an 80% rating or higher.

When Fox and Drew are each notified  of a match exceeding 99%, they are overjoyed! But that joy soon turns to confusion and dismay when they open the match to find themselves looking into another man’s face! The dating service, once it discovers what Archer has done, quickly rescinds the matches, but too late for Fox and Drew, who have to decide to do with this information.

Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith…

Q*pid is a well-written, romantic story about love and possibilities, based on the understanding that love is not limited to nor restricted by body parts. By what matches where or what goes where. Love is soul-deep. You just have to be open to it.

Xavier Mayne writes well, and he draws his characters as people we can easily like and believe in. The secondary characters—Drew’s neighbor, Mrs. Schwartzmann, and Fox’s bff Chad and his wife—are delightful people you would really like to spend time with. From the beginning, I knew the outcome was predetermined—it is a romance, after all—but the journey to happiness is well worth taking, and the ending is satisfying on many levels. Don’t forget to bring plenty of Kleenex.

All in all, this was a good read, one I would recommend if you like two men finding each other when they think they want Ms. Right. And it also goes to prove you don’t have to have all the same interests to be attracted to someone.