Thursday, June 30, 2016

Revenge In The Old West [Book Review]

Robert Dean
The Red Seven by Robert Dean was first released in January 2016, but is quite comparable to a classic western, complete with the lone rider on a mission of revenge to hunt down a villainous posse. There is no complicated storyline. A bounty hunter known as The Ghost finds his family murdered by The Red Seven. Although the group of desperados have disbanded, the main character is determined to kill them all.

I’m not sure I can do this book justice, since I'm not a fan of westerns (unless zombies are involved), but I am impressed with Dean’s ability to keep readers hooked with nonstop action. Not only does he provide a brutal justice with each death, but each showdown is unique. The fight scene with Warchief is my favorite. From one page to another, Dean mixes heartache, despair and the battle of wills.

As much as I was entertained, I had a couple of reservations about The Red Seven. I’m not sure if Dean’s intention is to paint The Ghost as a cold man who is all about business, but he remains something of a mystery. Aside from sympathy for the loss of his family, it was difficult for me to muster any feelings for The Ghost. I also wish there had been a little more physical interaction between The Ghost and his love interest. Maybe Dean was trying to avoid using sexual content as a plot device, but even when The Ghost makes a personal connection with some of the other characters, he seems to remain distant

To be honest, the story reminded me a little of The Outlaw Josey Wales, and I think anyone who enjoys those type of movies will love The Red Seven. The author delivers so many fierce confrontations, readers will feel as if they made the cross-country journey themselves. Robert Dean leaves the novel with an opening for what could be a great western series and allowing The Ghost to be further developed into a true legend of the genre.

As always,

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

All Dogs Matter

Just Life by Neil Abramson is more than just a drama-suspense story centered on animal shelter. This novel is filled with conspiracies and political agendas, with the mystery of the virus as the nexus. The main focus is on the POV of veterinarian Samantha Lewis, owner of a no-kill shelter, but the other POVs include Andy, a 19 year old who works at the shelter; Father Gabriel, whose church is next door to the shelter; and Kendall, a local cop.

I love the way the lives of the main characters correlate with the lives of the dogs: the comparisons make the plight of the canines more personable to the readers. Great detail is given to the dogs' appearances, personalities and canine histories. I would have liked the novel to have at least one opposing POV, such as Morgan or even one of the politicians, just fort he contrast.

Having recently lost a dog who was part of my family for 18 years, this was a difficult story to get through. However, you do not have to be a dog owner to appreciate this novel. Anyone who has a respect for all life will find this story enthralling. The ending in particular had me on the edge of my nerves.

I'd love to read more of Abramson's work.

As always

Friday, June 10, 2016

Top Ten Movie List For Childhood

The following ten movies had the biggest impact on my imagination as a child in the 1980s. To this day, they remain favorites of mine, and I have made it a point to watch all of them with my child.

I truly believe no childhood can be complete without watching these films, and they are best enjoyed with the family.

Originally my Listmania collection on Amazon, I give you my Favorite Fantasy Family Movies From the 80s:

"This movie is great for families with toddlers because the goblins are silly, obnoxious puppets, instead of the slimy, scary ones in other movies.  David Bowie entertains the adults as the Goblin King, singing songs he wrote just for this movie. I also recommend getting the soundtrack."

"Henson comes together with artist Brian Froud to create an elaborate cast of puppets, while still maintaining a live action film.  This movie does have a some darker moments that had my child concerned for the characters, but nothing that actually scared him.  The depth of the plot combined with the various characters makes this a family classic."

"First, I was never impressed with the sequels. The original Neverending Story is a movie that mixes fairytale elements with action & adventure for all ages. Children, especially, will love the luck dragon, Falcor, who resembles a big white dog. The plot involves a boy reading an old book, only to discover that he was part of the story all along, & our imaginations are more powerful than we think."

"Willow is an excellent choice to ween your kids away from animation & CGI, and get them interested in a live-action film. The score is beautiful orchestral music, as opposed to modern music. The characters look like they just stepped out of a fairytale, & Val Kilmer is just a sample of the talent. The most interesting fact about the story is that it is based on an actual Celtic myth."

"This is a movie based on a book that was written by a father for his daughters, so you are guaranteed an excellent bedtime-story.  The movie begins with a grandfather visiting his sick grandson, and we watch as the story unfolds, and takes a life of its own.  Do not let the title fool you, this movie is perfect for girls and boys!"

LEGEND (Theatrical version, NOT Director's Cut)
"This is one of Tom Cruise's best movies, but you'll never hear him admit it. Tim Curry also stars as the evil Darkness, but you can't recognize him. His goblin servants are the scary-looking kind. My then 3yr old was not frightnened at all, but it's not for those who do scare easily. It's a great story about a wild boy, & some elves trying to save a unicorn. (For some reason, the director's cut removes the famous Tangerine Dream score and adds a lot of unnecessary slow scenes.)"

"This movie might not be able to hold the attention of a younger child, unless he or she is crazy about sword-fighting, horses, and questing. It is live-action with limited special effects, but never a dull moment. While the movie has elements like a castle, and a cyclops, the bad guys happen to be aliens trying to take over the universe. This movie mixes sci-fi & fantasy quite well."

"Not exactly a fantasy movie, but a great kids' adventure. A bunch of kids use an old map to hunt treasure, while evading bad guys.  (I think National Treasure stole their ideas from this movie.) Of course, the villains chasing them are far from scary. The theme song is sung by Cindi Lauper. I also recommend keeping some Baby Ruth candy bars nearby...when you watch the movie, you'll understand."

"A group of kids, obsessed with monsters, form their own club --just in time to fight some real monsters.  This is the perfect movie to introduce Dracula, the Mummy, Frankenstein's monster (who turns out to be a good guy), and the Werewolf, without scaring your little ones.  My favorite scene from the movie is when the youngest boy writes a letter in crayon to the 'Army guys.'"

"This movie is about a young boy who travels through time and space with some of God's creation assistants who have stolen a map of doorways. The humor is much like Monty Python for kids, but it also teaches a valuable lesson about what is most important in life. I love the twists on famous historical moments."

Any of these movies would be great for family nights or slumber parties. Perfect for all ages!

As always,