#BookReview: The Stars Don’t Lie by Boo Walker

All Too Real. This book is all about a guy who hasn’t been back to his hometown in 20 yrs due to some massive trauma while he was in school who finally goes back home… and has his world and entire life and history rocked by shocking revelations about what *actually* happened back then. As someone who read this book, then went back to visit my parents near my hometown (they now live in the next County up, rather than the house I spent grades 7+ and college in), and had his dad just casually mention a previously forgotten if not outright unknown fact about his own high school history… yeah, this book is truly all too real. Add in the fact that I have my own version of “Mrs. Cartright”, a teacher who stepped in and stepped up at exactly the right moment in my life – in my case, Tommy Harris of Kingston, GA, who absolutely always deserves every accolade I can possibly give him… and yeah, like I said in the title… this book is all *too* real. And yet, that is exactly what made it so relevant and cathartic, even years after I like to think I’ve “fully” dealt with all my own real-world crap from that era. (Though in defining both who Carter, in the book, and myself, in my “real” life, became… perhaps one never *truly* moves on from that era and that pain… which is actually something Walker actively looks into even into the closing words of the text here.)

For anyone who has ever had one of those teachers worthy of a “Mr. Holland’s Opus Finale”, you’re gonna want to read this book. If you haven’t seen that movie, seriously, go back and watch it. Then come back and read this book. 😀

Overall truly a particularly well written and well told story, one that some will clearly relate to more than others – but which has enough universal truth to be truly transcendent, no matter the particulars of your own life. Very much recommended.

This review of The Stars Don’t Lie by Boo Walker was originally written on August 21, 2023.

#BookReview: Second Chance Lane by Nicola Marsh

Typical, Yet Not. This was a solid genre piece with a few nice wrinkles. If you like romance novels generally, you’re going to like this one. If you don’t, you may still actually like this one specifically because of the wrinkles. Without going into spoiler territory, the drama here just seems far more realistic than some others of the genre. You’ve got the mother with a secret. The haunted rock star. The rambunctious and inquisitve 12 yr old. But you’ve also got a second romance in this particular tale – a feature so rare as to be seemingly unique in all of my reading. Normally you get a secondary character blatantly introduced to continue the series in the next book. Here, this secondary character gets their own full story-within-the-story. This story-within-the-story serves to fill out the town and its wide cast even more fully, even as the main story does a good job in and of itself with this. Ultimately this *is* a romance novel and hits pretty well everything one expects – including on-screen (though not erotica-level explicit) sex. So if you are a reader that can’t handle such a scene (and there are less than a handful of them here, basically enough to fulfill the genre requirement and little else) or you can’t handle the occasional “curse” word (again, not prevalent, yet present), you may want to skip this due to your own hangups. For the rest of us, this was an excellent read. Very much recommended.

This review of Second Chance Lane by Nicola Marsh was originally written on October 2, 2020.

#BookReview: The God Game by Danny Tobey

Solid Yet Could Have Been Transcendental. If you’ve seen the 2016 movie Nerve, you have a pretty good idea what you’re getting into here. The two are very similar in overall concept, though ultimately both use the common concept to speak to different issues. With this particular book, you get more into The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase’s mantra – everyone has a price – even as the book tries in spits and spurts to discuss much weightier metaphysical topics. Hell, the book name drops Aquinas and Lewis and uses Thoth, Christ, Freud, and Heaphestus as characters! And while all of these add some interesting wrinkles to the overall tale, ultimately this book suffers from the same fate as Marcus Sakey’s Afterlife. By this I mean that, as I said in the title, it is a solid action/ scifi book that could have been transcendental with a bit more care. Very much recommended.

This review of The God Game by Danny Tobey was originally written on January 3, 2020.