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Go Set a Watchman: A Novel
Go Set a Watchman: A Novel
by Harper Lee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.00
455 used & new from $2.93

3.0 out of 5 stars Read it for Scout perhaps instead of Atticus, November 22, 2015
Like many of my generation, I read "To Kill A Mockingbird," in junior high English class. Atticus Finch was the father I wished I'd had, rational, compassionate, well-educated, and non-violent. I, of course, own the movie and have watched it several times in addition to periodically doing something I never do -- re-read a book.

I honestly didn't expect "Go Set a Watchman" to live up to its predecessor. That would be a Herculean task. On the other hand, I had to read the book for myself.

Jean Louise (aka Scout) is twenty-six now. She's gone to college and gotten herself a job in New York City. When she returns for a two-week summer vacation after the Brown v. Board of Education decision by the Supreme Court, she discovers a much different man than she (and this reader) believed her father to be.

Can she -- and those of us who have seen Atticus Finch as a hero and father figure resolve our "childhood" images of the man with those we see now as adults? That's the big question here. What happens when we grow up and we discover that our childhood heroes have feet of clay? The book addresses the relationship of a maturing child with that of an aging father.

"Go Set a Watchman" is a hard read. If you don't want your images tarnished, don't read it. On the other hand, if you want to see how "Scout" grows up, read it for her.

R. Kyle, November 2015

2051: A Novel
2051: A Novel
by Jim Zlokovich
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Near future courtroom drama will leave you thinking..., November 18, 2015
This review is from: 2051: A Novel (Paperback)
Privatized prisons, militarized police, and corrupted Christianity are the hallmarks of Rick Cornell's Orwellian vision in this near-future dystopic, a veteran defense attorney's prognostication into the near future.

After the "Super Patriot Act of 2049" is passed, a person can be declared "enemy of the state" when they have not even committed a crime, and anyone aiding these people can be tried as criminals.

This is what Rev. Beau Browne finds out when he decides to aid a starving homeless parishioner who is a convicted sex offender (though he's actually not had sex with the minor he's charged with--nor did he even anticipate doing so when he met the "sting officer" for a date). The resultant courtroom drama not only tries the law and Browne, but the defense attorneys as well.

Writing is fast-paced, particularly up-front, and the human drama beneath the litigation is presented with a mix of compassion and humor. I literally picked up the book and barely put it down for breaks. Cornell's postulations are plausible and frightening extensions of the current legal landscape. I expect to hear more from this author in the future.

R. Kyle, November 18, 2015

Into the West
Into the West
by J.A. Campbell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.99
8 used & new from $10.87

5.0 out of 5 stars For horse lovers of all ages...., September 2, 2015
This review is from: Into the West (Paperback)
Every young adult girl goes through a stage where all she wants to read about are horses. Lucky for them, Julie Campbell's adding to the shelf-stock with this delightful tale of city-girl Tina, who moves from New Jersey to Arizona.

At first, the only thing that consoles Tina about leaving her school, friends, and familiar places is that she can ride horses at a local ranch in exchange for mucking out their stalls. She quickly learns that Arizona holds a good deal more mystery and magical appeal. When she discovers a portal to past times, she's headed for high adventure with a handsome young cowboy from a previous century.

The story's good wholesome fun filled with horses, a bit of history, and all the adventure readers of all ages would appreciate.

R. Kyle, September 2015

Alice's Adventures in Underland: The Queen of Stilled Hearts
Alice's Adventures in Underland: The Queen of Stilled Hearts
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alice through a glass darkly...., September 1, 2015
SOURCE: ARC provided in exchange for honest review

I know I have read "Alice in Wonderland" as a child and have seen every version of the films from Disney to Burton. It's a favorite tale. Now, I believe I have found my favorite retelling.

"Alice in Underland" is a re-telling through a dark mirror. It's based on Lewis Carroll's relationship with Alice Liddell and her family. And it adds in a zombie virus infection throughout all strata of English society. If possible, it twists the tale even more irresistibly than the original. I was hooked from the first pages and found myself reading through the night. Characters are well-realized, narration is crisp with enough detail for you to envision settings but fill in with a bit of your imagination. Strongly recommended for fans of fairytale-retellings.

R. Kyle, September 2015

Wolverine's Daughter (The Wolverine's Daughter Book 1)
Wolverine's Daughter (The Wolverine's Daughter Book 1)
Price: $3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heroine's journey, August 7, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Relationships between fathers and daughters are often complex. Kelwyn has heard much of her famous absentee father, the warrior called Wolverine, before she's ever met him. Her journey to seek him out and then discover their true relationship, is one fraught with peril--both from outside forces and inside. This is a well-written epic fantasy with a strong and interesting heroine and a hero worthy of accolades as well.

R. Kyle, August 2015

The Secret Gospel
The Secret Gospel
by Dan Eaton
Edition: Paperback
3 used & new from $9.90

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fulfilled my every expectation from the excerpt -- and more, April 2, 2015
This review is from: The Secret Gospel (Paperback)
I first read an excerpt of "The Secret Gospel" during the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards contest. I confess, when I was done with the 5,000 words, I wanted the rest of the book right then.

I've since had an opportunity to read the whole "Secret Gospel" and I was not disappointed at all. The characters are realistic and well-drawn, the action keeps coming and the plot has enough twists to keep me going.

But being the self-confessed book junkie I am, I still want more. Mr. Eaton, where's the sequel?

R. Kyle, April 2015

ANGRY ENOUGH TO KILL (The Desperate Series Book 1)
ANGRY ENOUGH TO KILL (The Desperate Series Book 1)
Price: $2.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced thriller with a villian you will love to hate (Trigger Warning), February 8, 2015
What would make you angry enough to kill? And would you do it on your own if the act required some premeditation outside of immediate defense of self or others?

Three women, who each have experienced trauma from pedophilia directly or indirectly, confess. They know precisely what price the crime exacts from the children victimized to their families, friends, and eventual spouses. They realize they could pay the ultimate price themselves, but they opt to see if they can commit the perfect crime. What follows is page-turner, which has you cheering for the killers.

TRIGGER WARNING: "Angry Enough to Kill" is well-researched and written. The characters are organic and very real feeling. Some scenes may be disturbing to victims of abuse.

R. Kyle, February 2015
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 24, 2015 8:07 AM PDT

Melanie's Marvelous Measles
Melanie's Marvelous Measles
Price: $3.03

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I don't remember measles as marvelous at all...., February 8, 2015
I had the measles. I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy. Okay, I might suggest that Ms. Messenger get a dose of them. I would by no means call having itching poxy sores, 104 temp during an Oklahoma August, in the dark with nothing to do, and yes, the very real fear of blindness to look forward to marvelous.

In 2000, measles was listed as eradicated in the US by the World Health Organization. Thanks to poorly-informed people like Ms. Messenger, there were 644 cases in 2014 and that's just the beginning. Pertussis (whooping cough), and other illnesses are making a comeback. I would advise any parent to vaccinate their children--the risk is small compared to the disease's ill effects, and why have your children miserable.

R. Kyle, February 2015

Queen of the Dark Things: A Novel
Queen of the Dark Things: A Novel
by C. Robert Cargill
Edition: Hardcover
41 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Fans of Austin and dark fantasy, January 21, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Any book taking place in Austin has a potential spot on my reading list. "Dreams and Shadows," the prequel to this book, came well recommended and stood up.

Unfortunately, this sequel read like it was rushed. The main thrust that the sorcerer Colby had regrets over causing the death of a friend is compelling, but there are multiple plot points in addition which can tie themselves into unresolved knots.

While the device of reading notes from a book in chapters was interesting, it began to feel pedantic. I would have preferred some other form of knowledge transfer. Even the dreaded prologue might have worked better for me. Pacing afterward did not pull me forward as well as the first book, either. I felt like another editorial pass might have strengthened the overall storyline and given us a better reading experience.

I had a terrible time getting into the book and in the end, struggled to keep reading. I love really dark fantasy and Austin, and this was a disappointment for me.

You Can't Just Snap Out Of It: The Real Path to Recovery From Psychological Trauma: Introducing the START-NOW Program
You Can't Just Snap Out Of It: The Real Path to Recovery From Psychological Trauma: Introducing the START-NOW Program
Price: $7.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PTSD is for life -- so are the skills you will gain reading this book, October 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have PTSD generated from injuries which happened in several auto crashes over a period years. Two concussions have scarred the right side of my brain. All told, I had more than a year of physical therapy. The last wreck my shoulder was so locked up, my PT couldn't move it. A doctor suggested PTSD and put me in EMDR therapy to reprogram my brain. My PT was shocked after just the first session--my shoulder had mobility and I noticed the pain was less. Essentially what was happening was my brain was caught like a skip on a record. The EMDR broke that pattern and allowed me to begin healing.

Recently, I had to walk in front of a parked RAM pickup--which was the car that did so much damage rear-ending us. I couldn't breathe. My knees were shaking and I thought I was going to pass out.

I had to use some of the techniques I learned from this book to stop, evaluate the situation, and move on. And yes, instead of walking as far away from that pickup as I could, I walked right straight past it. Some will say that's an irrational reaction. It's the same thing when a soldier sees a discarded can on the road and brakes his vehicle.

That's what happens with PTSD. For instance, a soldier in a battlefield acquires senses which allow him to survive but those senses may process harmless items as a threat. PTSD is a serious killer in the military field. 22 soldiers die a day -- not on the battlefield, but in the home front because they are not able to readjust to their former lives. No one who hasn't been there can really adequately address what's happening.

So well meaning friends and family tell them to get over it. They're home now. They can't. They don't know why and neither do the well-intended friends and family who offer the advice.

So many people offer advice, but the truth is you cannot simply "get over" trauma. Scientific fact: MRIs of patients with trauma show that their amygdalas have shrunk. This is the portion of the brain which processes emotional stimuli, thus leaving less computing power for the PTSD patient to actually assess what is facing them and deal appropriately.

So you can't just snap out of a change in your brain. You can decide to work around the problem and gain the skills to continue on with your life. "You Can't Just Snap Out of It" is part of your tool-kit to get started.

As the book's title says: You Can't just Snap Out of It. But, you can learn lifetime coping skills which will help you deal with stressful situations better in the future. This book includes discussions of PTSD from Dr. Doug Bremner, one of the researchers who discovered the effects trauma has on our brains and has worked through trauma himself. A workbook at the end provides practical and usable exercises that anyone can walk through. They're especially good to share with concerned family members who can provide help and understanding.

It's very much a must for military and emergency service personnel as well as abuse and assault victims. Dr. Bremner has a good success rate helping PTSD sufferers get back to their lives. He currently runs a military re-entry program through Gallaway Gardens and Emory University.

R. Kyle
October 2014

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