Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October Site Update

I've archived and cross-linked the previous 6 reviews on the main website, Brightdreamer Books.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Rough Draft (Michael Robertson Jr)

Rough Draft
Michael Robertson Jr
MRob Media LLC
Fiction, Horror
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: Robert is a popular horror novelist with a playboy reputation. Finn's zombie apocalypse series has made the young man a national name, yet he still lives alone in a basement. Victoria may be the most well-known author of the genre, though she hides her emotions and her identity under the masculine pseudonym Vic. All three, threatened by an unknown blackmailer, make their way to a remote Colorado cabin. To free themselves, all they have to do is collaborate on a story about the nearby ghost town of Pike, a mining community whose residents vanished under mysterious circumstances over a century ago. It's a strange request, made under suspicious circumstances, but it's well within their collective abilities... at least, until they realize that they aren't alone. Lurking just outside the cabin door is a mystery, and a danger, more terrifying than anything they've ever written, plunging them into a story worse than any nightmare.

REVIEW: A fast-paced thriller, Rough Draft caught my attention quickly and held it through most of the book, with only a few lulls. The characters each bring their strengths and weaknesses, as people and authors, to the table, and while Victoria degenerates into an emotional wreck they nevertheless manage to gel into an effective team. Needless to say, the mystery of Pike produces some scary moments, not to mention more than one body. The conclusion, unfortunately, felt a little weak, costing the story a half-star. Otherwise, it was a quick and enjoyable read, just the thing for late October nights.

You Might Also Enjoy:
Devil's Race (Avi) - My Review
Seeing Eye (Jack Ellis) - My Review
The Ghosts of Belfast (Stuart Neville) - My Review

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Digital Writer's Guide to Twitter (Tracy O'Connor and the Digital Writer)

The Digital Writer's Guide to Twitter
Tracy O'Connor and The Digital Writer (Sean Platt)
Sterling and Stone
Nonfiction, Business
*** (Okay)

DESCRIPTION: The social media revolution's impact on how we work and play cannot be overstated. Instead of powerful gatekeepers controlling access, now everyone - from megacorporations to individuals - has an equal voice. For authors, small businesses, and others looking to carve out their own niche, tools like Twitter are too powerful to ignore. But just how do you get started? Let the Digital Writer explain the ins and outs of Twitter, so you can start building your own brand and writing your own success story.
A Kindle-exclusive title.

REVIEW: I'm one of the few Americans who has not succumbed to Twitter's charms. I was hoping this title would help me understand the fascination... and, perhaps, understand why I might want to join the Twitterverse if and when I ever get my own writing published. Unfortunately, I walked away little more enlightened than I started. The authors get repetitious, talking in circles and catchphrases while stating (and restating, and re-restating) similar points under different headings. They also contradict themselves a few times. While they point out just how powerful a strong Twitter presence can be for a small business, they failed to convince me that it's worth my while to try. Granted, I'm not the most social butterfly in the garden of Life, but when you start talking about the necessity of mastering extra programs and apps to manage your accounts should you "succeed" at Twitter, requiring an investment of time and energy that can be put to use elsewhere (such as, say, writing) you lose me.
I'm not discounting the power of social media, nor am I discounting the value of books like this. I just failed to find it relevant to my life, online or otherwise, at this time. Since I can't honestly say I was the intended target audience, I gave this one a break on an Okay rating.

You Might Also Enjoy:
The Motivation Myth (Mattison Grey and Jonathan Manske) - My Review
Write a F*$%ing Book Already (Jim Kukral) - My Review
Profit from the eBook Revolution (Bob Perry) - My Review

Monday, October 22, 2012

Odin's Gateways (Katie Gerrard)

Odin's Gateways
Katie Gerrard
Nonfiction, Magic
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: Nordic runes are more than an ancient written alphabet. Said to have come from the great god Odin, each rune contains not just a sound, but a spiritual message and magical energy, powers that endure to this day. Gerrard explains the origins and mystical properties of Nordic runes, and how to harness their potency in modern spellcraft and rituals.

REVIEW: Part of my ongoing efforts to spark fantasy story ideas, I downloaded this title hoping for both information and inspiration. Runes, after all, are a fantasy staple, if one often without roots in real tradition. Gerrard introduces the reader to both the cultural and the spiritual aspects of runes in a way that even beginners or non-believers can understand. She doesn't try to go into the complicated, sometimes contradictory histories of the various runic alphabets (or futharks) and the practices that have arisen around them, instead referring interested readers to an extensive bibliography. While she naturally mentions her own impressions and experiences, she emphasises that true runic work, like many magical traditions, tends to be an individual experience, requiring the practitioner to explore and experience on their own. Considering my iffy luck with freebies, I was pleasantly surprised here.

You Might Also Enjoy:
The Illustrated Book of Signs and Symbols (Miranda Bruce-Whitford) - My Review
The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Spells and Magic (The Diagram Group) - My Review
The Complete Book of Amulets and Talismans (Migene González-Wippler) - My Review

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (the Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race (John Stewart)

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (the Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race
John Stewart, David Javerbaum, Rory Albanese, Steve Bodow, Josh Lieb, editors
Grand Central Publishing
Nonfiction, Humor
***** (Great)

DESCRIPTION: Humans represent the pinnacle of evolution, the only species to claw its way from prey to apex predator, from mere beast to cognizant being... from merely a part of the natural world to its number one enemy, and ultimate destroyer.
Yes, we finally succeeded. We managed to do to ourselves what we did to the dodo, the Caspian tiger, and the 8-track. (What can we say? Driving species to extinction was a popular hobby.)
But we weren't all bad. We had some good ideas, now and again, and deep down beneath all of our vices was the potential (never realized) to become forces for good, not unlike those gods we liked to think we resembled. For future aliens who come to investigate the ruins left behind by our train wreck of a lifespan, this book offers a glimpse of what life was like on planet Earth... you know, before we self-destructed.

REVIEW: Written by the brilliant comedy team behind TV's The Daily Show, this book tackles the entire planet and the whole of human history. Not unlike a DK Eyewitness book, it keeps its information (and its jokes) short and sweet, never overstaying its welcome on any given topic. Needless to say, the easily-offended or humor-impaired would do well to steer clear. For the rest of us, this is a hilarious page-turner, generating more laughs per page than I've had for many a moon.

You Might Also Enjoy:
The Salmon of Doubt (Douglas Adams) - My Review
Duh!: The Stupid History of the Human Race (Bob Fenster) - My Review
Welcome to Jesusland! (Formerly the United States of America) ("Landover Baptist Church") - My Review

Thursday, October 4, 2012

All My Friends Are Dead (Avery Monsen and Jory John)

All My Friends Are Dead
Avery Monsen and Jory John
Chronicle Books
Fiction, Humor
***** (Great)

DESCRIPTION: Friends. Everyone needs them, but not everyone can keep them. A chicken, a dinosaur, an old man, and more lament their lack of friends.

REVIEW: I finally cornered this book at the library long enough to read it. Just as hilarious as the sequel (All My Friends Are Still Dead), it's a joyous romp through the lives of the lonely. Great fun!

You Might Also Enjoy:
Children Make Terrible Pets (Peter Brown) - My Review
The Basic Instructions comic collections (Scott Meyer) - My Review
All My Friends Are Still Dead (Avery Monsen and Jory John) - My Review