Al C. (vavoice) - - Reviews

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Author: Mark Twain
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 57
Review Date: 3/19/2006


Complete and Unabridged. I have read this story several times, and never seem to tire of it.


Alosha (Alosha Trilogy, Bk 1)
Alosha (Alosha Trilogy, Bk 1)
Author: Christopher Pike
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 7/8/2012


Like Percy Jackson, in the Rick Riordan series, Ali Warner is more than the thirteen-year-old girl she thinks she is. And this becomes apparent when she is thrust into a journey of discovery, and a mission to save the world from an invasion of creatures we all believed were only the stuff of childhood stories and fictional folk tales.

I was apprehensive about reading this offering, because Christopher Pike is better known for his horror novels. However, I was pleasantly surprised with this one. I would recommend this series to any of my adventure-loving friends :o)


American Heart Association Fitting in Fitness : Hundreds of Simple Ways to Put More Physical Activity into Your Life (American Heart Association)
Review Date: 4/22/2014


I very much enjoyed reading this blue-collar self-help guide to fitness on a budget. Though parts are a little dated--suggestions for video and audio tapes--the meat of the text is timeless. I found that I already do many of the suggested exercises, but did not count them as fitness regimens. I also found some new ideas that hadn't occurred to me before. I would recommend this guide to everyone--from the couch-potato to the elite triathlon jock :o)


Amos Fortune, Free Man
Amos Fortune, Free Man
Author: Elizabeth Yates, Nora S. Unwin (Illustrator)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 40
Review Date: 8/8/2010
Helpful Score: 2


Originally published in 1950, this Newbery Award winner embodies the quiet method of changing the world. Amos Fortune lived a hard life, but his calmness and solid beliefs affected everyone he came in contact with. His life story teaches us lessons that many people today seem to have forgotten; lessons of patience and forgiveness. And that a little hard work can go a long way toward making your life, and the lives of those around you that much richer :o)


The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Bk 1)
The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Bk 1)
Author: James Patterson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 550
Review Date: 6/25/2009
Helpful Score: 1


An action-packed adventure about six young 'escapees' form an institution called "The School. This ragtag group of genetic experiments is led by a maternal fourteen-year-old named Max, who is determined to keep them out of 'School', and safe in their mountain home. But that wish becomes a real challenge when the youngest of the 'flock' is kidnapped by another group of genetically engineered werewolves, called 'Erasers'.

Now Max must take the Flock from their secure nest and fly--using their own genetically added wings--all over the country on a rescue mission that quickly becomes a mission of discovery...about themselves, and their (preordained?) futures.

The story is written in lots of short chapters, and is extremely active. Readers will have a hard time setting this book down. I am waiting anxiously for the sequel to come in the mail!


The Annihilators (Matt Helm, Bk 20)
The Annihilators (Matt Helm, Bk 20)
Author: Donald Hamilton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 10/12/2014


I guess the younger generations will never know what we see in the old black & white movies, or why we enjoy reading the older pulp novels occasionally. Though this novel was written in the early 80s, Donald Hamilton continued to used the style adopted when he started this series in the 60s. I very much enjoyed the action and adventure, and will continue to look for these older novels, as they always provided a simpler story than their modern successors.


Anonymous Rex (Anonymous Rex, Bk 1)
Anonymous Rex (Anonymous Rex, Bk 1)
Author: Eric Garcia
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 21
Review Date: 11/27/2005
Helpful Score: 1


I'm not much at doing reviews, but I'll give it a try.

Vincent Rubio is the consumate detective-noir...with a twist. Vincent Rubio is a modern-day Velociraptor, living in L.A. He is one of thousands of dinosaurs, who dress up every day and, inside their disguises, function as a part of human society.

In his first novel, Eric Garcia has created a monster...literally. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. When other novelists flood their novels with graphic sex and vulgarity, Garcia uses only enough to to make the story (two sex scenes, and one character who would make a sailor blush).

This book definitely gets two claws up :o)


Army of the Fantastic
Army of the Fantastic
Author: John Marco, John Helfers
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 2/2/2013
Helpful Score: 1


A very impressive collection of stories. I was not disappointed by any of them. Congratulations to the editors.


Bad Spell In Yurt (Wizard of Yurt, Bk 1)
Bad Spell In Yurt (Wizard of Yurt, Bk 1)
Author: C. Dale Brittain
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 27
Review Date: 2/23/2006
Helpful Score: 1


An interesting fantasy, incorporating the old, the new, wizards, priests,love, jealousy, mystery and mayhem.


Battle Circle
Battle Circle
Author: Piers Anthony
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 31
Review Date: 3/24/2007


It has been a century since the "BLAST" that destroyed civilization and threw the human race back to barbarism--that is most of the human race. In the land once known as America a 'civilized' form of barbarism exists, where battles are fought and argumants are settled formally, in a clearly defined circle. It is also a nomadic society, where men and women travel the country, staying in hostels provided by the 'crazies'--the civilized portion of this odd relationship.
BATTLE CIRCLE is an omnibus of three novels chronicling the lives of three warriers who build, destroy, and rebuild empires. When I first saw the book, with its cheap artwork on the cover, I thought "B-Movie". However, since it was Piers Anthony, I had to give it a try. Yes, it had everything you would expect from a B-movie. Picture the CONAN movies, with lots of nudity, sex (though not graphic), blood & gore. But underneath it all there was a good solid story of post-apocolyptic survival tactics and startegy. I am glad I decided to read the book.


Better to Beg Forgiveness...
Better to Beg Forgiveness...
Author: Michael Z. Williamson
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 7/12/2009
Helpful Score: 1


This was an excellent military adventure that was relatively light on the science and heavy on tactics, strategy, and bureaucratic politics! Two RPGs up :o)


The Big Wander
The Big Wander
Author: Will Hobbs
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 7/4/2007


It's the summer of 1962. JFK is president. John Glenn has orbited the earth as the space race begins. And bomb shelters are everywhere.

Clay Lancaster is 14 years old. He and his older brother, Mike, have begun The Big Wander. They are traveling from Seattle to the Great Southwest in search of their uncle, Clay Jenkins, a former rodeo star who had set off on his own in search of his new life.

When Mike is drawn back to Seattle, by his girlfriend among other things, Clay continues the search on his own. What he experiences in the next several weeks will be an adventure far beyond what he was expecting.

A very enjoyable book in some of the most majestic scenery in the world. The reader will want to jump into the story and walk next to Clay, as he travels through the badlands of Arizona and Utah.


The Black Company (The Chronicle of the Black Company, Bk 1)
The Black Company (The Chronicle of the Black Company, Bk 1)
Author: Glen Cook
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 88
Review Date: 6/23/2007
Helpful Score: 1


"We are the last of the Twelve True Companies. We have out-endured the others by more than a century, but I fear we're into our twilight days. I fear this may be the Company's final commission. A page of history is about to turn. Once it does, the great warrior brotherhoods will be gone and forgotten."

Thus begins this chapter in the chronicles of The Black Company. They are a band of mercenaries. They care not on which side they fight. But they are honorable, and will fight to the death for whomever has commissioned them. They are also a brotherhood that has survived more than a millenium, as is testified in their annals.

Croaker is the current Annalist, and he believes he will be the last when the company takes a commission to serve The Soulcatcher, one of the Twelve, in defense of The Lady, as she trys to claim rule of the world from the followers of The White Rose, and the Circle of Eighteen.

This is a good dark fantasy novel pitting good, evil, and The Company against each other. The reader will cheer the brothers and find it difficult to determine what is good and what is not outside the eyes of the narrator. There is lots of barbarism and magic, with some comic relief. I really enjoyed this story, and can't wait to read the next in the series.


Burning Chrome
Burning Chrome
Author: William Gibson
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 54
Review Date: 12/22/2014


Though the stories were good, the format was too "cookie-cutter", and started getting old toward the end of the book. I think he would have done better in a mixed-author anthology, rather than a solo collection.


By Any Other Name
By Any Other Name
Author: Spider Robinson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 18
Review Date: 12/12/2007


This is an interesting collection of short stories written by Robinson. I think there were only a couple that were set in the far future, while the rest were set in alternative near-futures, based on "What-Ifs". This was my first experience with this author, but not my last. Now I'm in the process of collecting and reading his CALLAHAN'S series, which promises to be just as intriguing, and rather more punny than this collection :o)


Callahan's Crosstime Saloon
Callahan's Crosstime Saloon
Author: Spider Robinson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 12/15/2007


Mike Callahan operates the type of establishment I would love to call my second home. The regular crowd of patrons, though they seem like your typical pub jockeys, are a tight-knit group of shade-tree philosophers who could put this country's entire social-services organization to shame!
Spider Robinson is a super stoyrteller. I enjoyed this collection very much.


Callahan's Lady (Callahan, Bk 4)
Callahan's Lady (Callahan, Bk 4)
Author: Spider Robinson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 24
Review Date: 5/16/2009


This is the first of Robinson's books where I have seen the Heinlein influence. Maybe it is because of the overwhelming female subject matter. A very enjoyable read :o)


Callahan's Secret
Callahan's Secret
Author: Spider Robinson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 24
Review Date: 3/19/2009


It took me a while to start this book, because I had been disappointed by the previous book in this series--TIME TRAVELERS STRICTLY CASH. However, this one proved to be much better as it stayed more with the theme. The Callahan's series started out as monthly installments in various Science Fiction magazines (ANALOG, ASIMOV, etc.). Later, Robinson was persuaded to publish these stories in book form. The characters are memorable, the stories are both funny, and dramatic at the same time, if that's possible.
I really enjoyed this chapter, which ends with a barn-burning revelation regarding Mike Callahan, his Place, and all of the regulars.
So, if you liked the TV series CHEERS, and always wondered what would happen if you mashed it with THE X FILES, You'll love this series. And if you look hard enough you might just catch a glimpse of me sitting at my usual table, next to Fast Eddie's piano :o)


The Cassandra Compact (Covert-One, Bk 2)
The Cassandra Compact (Covert-One, Bk 2)
Author: Robert Ludlum, Philip Shelby
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 86
Review Date: 7/13/2013


The action never stopped in this, the second "COVERT ONE" novel. I really enjoyed this thriller, though I have to wonder about the number of corrupt individuals in high places, who continue to stick their heads out and dare someone to do something.


The Changeling Prince
The Changeling Prince
Author: Vivian Vande Velde
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 5/7/2006
Helpful Score: 1


A very somber story. I had a hard time staying with it as it tended to bog down often under the weight of Weiland's quandries. This is the first of this author's offerings that didn't quite make the grade for me. I would think young readers would tire of it quickly, moving on to a faster paced adventure, elsewhere.


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