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Books

Book: ‘The Robot Rocket’ by Carey Rockwell – December 28th, 2017

by on Dec.31, 2017, under Books

The Robot RocketThe Robot Rocket by Carey Rockwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This last in the Tom Corbett series of books is a nicely written book with a great deal of science fiction technical know-how. Though all fiction mumbo-jumbo, it reads in a believable manner. The core plot seems complicated to me for young people, but excellently handled by the author in narrative and dialogue.

The characters are very well presented as are the sci-fi surroundings. I really like the interaction of the young people with conflcit and cooperation. Very well written.

All of the science fiction I see today, which I admit is little, should follow the lead of this book to present a story and not silly special effects. The latest mess of Star Wars is a perfect example.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 8 out of ten points.

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Book #100 for 2017: ‘Laugh-In Mod Mod World’ by Roy Doty – December 31st 2017

by on Dec.31, 2017, under Books

In the past couple of years, I’ve ended the year with cartoon books. This year I wrapped up with two. This is #2 –

Laugh-In Mod Mod World (#2)Laugh-In Mod Mod World by Roy Doty
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Roy Doty was a friend and I love his artwork. This is a great collection of his cartooning. The writing is another thing entirely. I wasn’t a fan of Laugh-In due to the awful humor and this reflects that. So, Doty did a great job aping the television program. It’s just the whole thing is hard to take in as being funny.

My rating for the artwork: 8 out of 10 points.
My rating for the writing: 2 out of 10 points.

Bottom line: I don’t recommend this book: 5 out of ten points.

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Book: ‘From Here to Maternity’ by Phil Hirsch

by on Dec.31, 2017, under Books

From Here to MaternityFrom Here to Maternity by Phil Hirsch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a hilarious collection of gag cartoons of the maternity process.

There are tons of cartoon collection books. Most are so-so. This is solid and includes less known gag cartoons. Well known cartoonists like Earl Engleman and Don Orehek are included, too.

This is a dated set. All from the 1960s and reflects the hippie generation and the influx of birth control.

This is a perfect example of cartoons not being for children. This book is definitely not for children. Not one word of bad language or nudity. It’s the inference and subject matter that would lose the kiddie set.

Bottom line: I recommend this book (If you can find it): 10 out of 10 points.

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Book: ‘Three’s a Shroud’ by Richard S. Prather

by on Dec.31, 2017, under Books

Three's a ShroudThree’s a Shroud by Richard S. Prather
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Prather was brilliant with packing a solid story in few pages. Usually those numbered over 150 pages. This is 3 stories with in that number. All three excellent plots, great narrative and great endings.

Each story is more focused on the damsel in distress. Scott’s inability to think straight is well drawn in all three stories. That’s a highlight. As is that each and all damsels are not the same. Even the bad guys are depicted differently. How Prather does all this is quite a feat. A typical crutch to series writers and even to Prather is to have repeat characters. Scott’s pal, Chief Samson merely peeks into one of the three tales.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 10 out of 10 points.

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Book: ‘How Full Is Your Bucket?’ by Tom Rath – December 28th, 2017

by on Dec.28, 2017, under Books

How Full Is Your Bucket?How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a mighty simple book to have such a long winded introduction. Basically all presented here has been spun into the “Gratitude” racket that is popular today. There’s a lot of needless exposition, additions to cut out, etc in the book, but it really comes down to the very simple idea of “Do Unto Others as they would do unto you”. Just keep repeating and live this phrase and skip this book.

Bottom line: i don’t recommend this book. 2 out of 10 points.

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Book: ‘Mangrove Island’ by Marjory Bartlett Sanger

by on Dec.28, 2017, under Books

Mangrove IslandMangrove Island by Marjory Bartlett Sanger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sanger does an excellent job of portraying mangroves and the habit they live. The details are very good, but would certainly be over the heads of young people today who might read it. Heck, it’s over the head of most adults.

Having knowledge, myself, of the subject, I like the depiction of the seed to mangrove island process described. This part is extremely well done.

A major drawback of this book is lack of illustrations, drawn or photograph or map.

Bottom line: I recommend this book: 8 out of ten points.

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Book: ‘In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox’ by Carol Burnett

by on Dec.27, 2017, under Books

In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the SandboxIn Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fairly well written and very entertaining book of Carol Burnett’s CBS television program. As with most all book tumbling out by various celebrities, this book reads as the celebrity has dictated the book into a recording device and then transcribed. This leads to a book badly in need of a good writer.

The contents are well worth the writing, if one is a fan of the series. This book iks such an insiders look, that those not knowledgeable of the series will be lost. However, parts and entire sketch scripts are presented which is a bit of a retread for fans of the series.

The best part of this easy to read book are the inside stories of the cast and other celebrities that were part of the series.

Bottom line: I recommend the book. 7 out of ten points.

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Book: ‘A Frontier Christmas’ by William W. Johnstone

by on Dec.26, 2017, under Books

A Frontier Christmas (Christmas, #4)A Frontier Christmas by William W. Johnstone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another in the Johnstone Clan of Christmas books weaving various characters from other books into a Yuletide theme. This one is a bit more involved having to do with a plaque that sets in.

The writing is a step down from typical Johnstone Clan novels. A plot with so many angles could’ve used one of the better ghost writers to handle the book. Something about the whole book, with all of it’s bad guys and threatening disease, lacked what should have been a significant amount of intrigue and drama.

There is clear effort to nail the characters and dialogue. That seems particularly true of the Duff MacCallister character, who’s series had started earlier in the year this book came out. This book almost seems an advertisement of the series.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 5 out of 5 points.

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Book: ‘Mrs. Miracle’ by Debbie Macomber

by on Dec.25, 2017, under Books

Mrs. Miracle (Angelic Intervention #4)Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a light and fluffy Christmas tale that’s more about magic than Christmas. The characters are forgettable with the exception of Mrs. Miracle. The story is well done plot-wise.

A series of troubles that, over the pages of the book, are worked to solutions not necessarily earth-bound. Logic is long gone throughout the plot. Inconsistencies abound involving the magic actions. Macomber using these as literary tricks to solve the troubles she developed. Too bad she hadn’t better thought the entire angel thing out better.

All this gets to why I don’t care for science fiction.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 6 out of ten points.

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Book: ‘Mystery for Christmas’ by Cynthia Mason

by on Dec.19, 2017, under Books

Mystery for ChristmasMystery for Christmas by Cynthia Manson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This a steady collection of Christmas stories that meets the title requirement more than other such collections I’ve read.

The reader of noir books will particularly like this set. This is decidedly a dark turn on the holiday. Wouldn’t expect less when John D. MacDonald is part of the authors. Lots of dead bodies and bloody turn of events…with Christmas cheer added in.

Bottom line: i recommend it. 7 out of ten points.

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Book: ‘Monahan’s Massacre’ by William W. Johnston – November 29th, 2017

by on Nov.30, 2017, under Books

Monahan's Massacre (The Trail West, #2)Monahan’s Massacre by William W. Johnstone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, the Johnstone Clan best keep this ghost writer in the stable. Book 2 of this new series is setting a standard above Johnstone himself.

Book 2 in the series continues to follow the journey of Dooley Monahan. It’s a tough journey that is full of, a Johnstone trademark, outstanding characters and a journey that is added with complicated plot developments this ghost writer placed in the first book that made it so compelling. My favorite of complications is the issue of Manahan’s memory. After the last book, the ghost writer has made the reader uncertain what is real and what may be some hallucination. Another is the main female character featured is NOTHING like I’ve read before in any book. Kinda wish we could know more about her and how on earth the writer saw her getting to be where she is in the book.

I also love the way the writer works in Blue, the dog, and General Grant, the horse. They are also main characters in the book and greatly affect all events.

The settings are very well written. I like how the writer intersperses the characters, narrative and dialogue and the setting. I would have to figure the writer is a huge fan of Twain and learned from him.

My only qualm with the writer is that Monahan escapes certain death a bit too often. It’s a neat plot device, but used a bit much.

My qualm involving the top of the Johnstone Clan, on the superficial side, again, involves poor choices of unrelated cover image and a dumb title that has nothing to do with the book. The books clearly state over and over again Monaham being older and having trouble realizing his age. The writer indicated a couple times that Monahan is around 40 or older. Also, Blue is – Surprise! – BLUE! The horse, also could not be General Grant. Finally there is no “massacre” in the book. But I won’t grade this book based upon the publisher’s bad moves.

Overall this book is a joy to read and I hope the Johnstone Clan doesn’t lose this one!

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 10 out of 10 points.

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