CassaStorm – A Book Review

I got this book because I like to follow Alex J. Cavanaugh’s blog. I’ve always enjoyed reading his blog, he keeps it funny and lighthearted. He also posts on upcoming movies and has reviews on movies that also keep my interest. Either way, i wanted to support this author who keeps things fresh and new. So here we go.

CassaStorm
CassaStorm by Alex Cavanaugh

I enjoyed the book. I was worried at first because I wasn’t a huge fan of the way the story started out. Officer Byron came across as a cocky character that I just couldn’t get behind. As a pilot, he has to have some sort of confidence to do what he does, so I expected this a little bit, but it seemed a little over the top. It felt like the character always had to remind me that he was the best pilot in the fleet.

As the story moves on, we learn more about Byron and how he has a hard time getting along with anyone. After forming a relationship with his navigator, they grow as a team and continue to move through training as other teams get sent home. During this phase, flight instructor Bassa takes a special interest in Officer Byron. By special interest, I mean he has read his file and has decided that he is going to break him into the fleet. After the training ends, Byron is faced with a difficult choice as his navigator leaves.

This is the type of book that gets better as it goes along. There are a lot more sections of the book that I could talk about but I don’t want to give away the entire story. The relationships grow throughout the story and you get to see Officer Byron grow as a person based on the relationships that he has. I like the book for two major reasons. First the story is in space and follows a space opera theme and second, the growth of the characters throughout the story. Both of these reasons make this book worth a read. I’m plan on reading the next two stories sometime this year as well.

Have you read this book? Enjoy space opera’s? I love hearing from you!

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Book Review: Heat Rises by Richard Castle

Heat Rises is the third installment of the Nikki Heat series from Richard Castle. As a third installment, Heat Rises is very well thought out and can pull in new readers as it stands on it’s own. If you liked the first books, you will love this installment, but if you haven’t read the first two books, you can jump in with Heat Rises but in my opinion, you should read the first two books along the way.

The book takes you into the BDSM world whenever Heat is assigned to the case of a priest found in a club called Pleasure Bound. Through the investigation, Heat finds out the case is much larger then originally planned. There is also the trouble she has with 1PP downtown that adds another flavor to the plot. After digging further, there are some surprises that were very shocking and made the book hard to put down.

Overall, I loved this novel. The book was hard to put down, I even stopped reading all my other books to push straight through this novel. Heat Rises is a great cop thriller that adds to the character and plot development between the main characters on the set of Castle. The concept that ABC has come up with by adding a novel into the TV Show is an excellent idea.

The story itself is not Shakespeare, but it will keep the pages turning and introduce you to an exciting mystery/cop thriller. The relationship that Heat has with her detectives and the wittiness of Rook keep the reader laughing and allows the reader to associate with the characters. By the end of the novel you will be wanting to read the fourth installment, whenever Castle comes out with it.

Book Review: The Rage: The Year of the Rogue Dragon Trilogy

I finished reading The Rage by Richard Byers recently and I thought that I would write a review of the book. The Rage is part of The Year of the Rogue Dragon Trilogy set in the Dungeons and Dragons realm. I originally got into the series by reading some of R.A. Salvatore’s work. I fell in love with the Dungeons and Dragons realm because of the way Salvatore can spin a story and keep interesting characters and action flowing throughout a story. Richard Byers uses new characters in the same realm to create a new story that I would recommend to anyone.

The story starts out in meeting our main cast of characters in the forest hunting down a dragon. Dorn, the leader of the group, is a human that has replaced half his body with iron over the years. He is accompinyed by Will, Pavel, and Raryn travel as a group of beast hunters that slay magical beasts, mostly dragons, in the realm for money. They stumble upon Kara, an injured woman in an inn and Pavel agree’s to heal her from her wounds. After a dragon shows up in the town and Kara is forced to help the group kill it, Dorn and his companions agree to take Kara on her quest.

In the middle of the story, Dorn and his comapnions find out the real reason behind Kara’s quest. The dragons are being taken over by the Rage and Kara is trying to find out what causes it and how to stop it. The group decides to go along with the quest and help Kara solve the problem. They stumble upon many different creatures and dive deep into the heart of the Cult of the Dragon with Maestro Taegan to discover and stop the purpose of the Rage.

The Rage is a good book. The action keeps the pages turning and the character development is enough to keep you interested in their welfare. You hope that the good guys win, but at times it can be hard to determine exactly what they are trying to win. The story flies all over the place as the main characters get themselves in situations with world powers that are unexplained, but are expected to be seen as bad.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I would recommend to most fantasy readers whom either like the other Dungeon and Dragons books or are a fan of dragons. I look forward to reading The Rite, the second book in the trilogy.

Book Review: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

The corporation that I work for had a division meeting the week before the 4th of July. We have four of these meetings where managers, like myself, get invited to another city to sit around and talk about what problems have come up and how the company and our division are doing as a whole. Most times we have a few vendors in to talk about new product and try to drum up some business. It also allows them to talk about what new projects they have worked on and show how they can help us all save money.

I was surprised at our last meeting when our Division Manager brought up a book that he had bought at an airport and wanted all of us to read. He brought out a copy of The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor and talked about how this book could make our teams work in a more productive manner. Me personally, I was skeptical. First off, reading about happiness isn’t normally something I would do and I didn’t see how it could effect the great working relationship I already have with my co-workers. But both were easily proven wrong after I got into the book.

Achor breaks down the book into seven major principles that play on each other to increase the happiness of yourself in both your work and your home life. Through his psychological studies that were conducted at Harvard by himself and other psychologists, Achor was able to pin down what he felt was the perfect recipe for happiness. Achor shows through hard scientific study and his own personal experiences, what works and what doesn’t. I was amazed at the studies that were conducted that shows what effect the brain has on your demeanor and your productivity.

Achor does an excellent job of combining hard scientific studies into the book without making it confusing or a boring read. There are some points that can drag on and occasionally he seems to be showing the same material twice, but he quickly explains how it plays into the overall concept and shows how each of the principles will build on each other. The book overall is exciting as you learn how simple little changes in your day to day life will create a better environment for yourself and your co-workers. I personally look forward to using some of the concepts presented in the book to create a more positive outlook towards my writing. I would recommend The Happiness Advantage to everyone, no matter the career.

Book Review: Are You There Blog, It’s Me Writer

On this wonderful Tuesday, I am going to review the book from my favorite social media expert, Kristen Lamb. The best thing about Kristen Lamb is that she doesn’t beat around the bush, the information you get is hard hitting and straight to the point.  Kristen prides herself in her ability to help authors, by sharing the mistakes that she has made over the years so that upcoming authors don’t have to follow down the same path. Kristen is also quickly becoming the foremost source for social media for writers. So with no further adeiu, here is my review for Are You There Blog, It’s Me Writer.

First off, let me start by saying this book was amazing. The information inside will be extremely helpful in building a platform for any writer. I would highly recommend purchasing this book if you are lost and don’t know where to go next, or if you have a huge following and are looking for something to help grow just that little bit more. This book can help either blogger. Me personally, my blog was one of the major aspects of my platform that I needed to work on, and now I have the perfect source to ensure the work is done right.

The book starts out with a reality check on what exactly it takes to survive in this business. Lamb lays out that writing is a tough business and you need to be able to get past everyone’s doubts if you are ever going to make it. Are you There Blog, It’s Me Writer also covers the best way to get followers. Kristen goes in depth on how being nice to your followers can get you a lot of word of mouth press. This section also covers all the aspects of Social Media and the 21st century writer.

The second section of the book entails 18 lessons to Blogging Awesomeness, as Kristen Lamb puts it. This section is chalk full of examples that Kristen uses from her past to show how her mistakes didn’t work for her previous blogs. This section goes in depth about the ups and downs that can come from a regular blog. She even talks about the physical layout of your blog and how small things, such as your name posted on your blog, can tremendously affect your platform. Through this book, Kristen Lamb shows how important a platform can be, even for upcoming writers without a book published to their name.

Overall this is an excellent book that has great information for practical use. Not only are there suggestions that she makes that will increase your followers and hits every day, but she shows you the path to take to get there. Are You There Blog, It’s Me Writer would definitely get 5 stars from this author.

Book Review: The Art of War for Writers

The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell has quickly jumped to the forefront in my reading books on writing. The information inside The Art of War for Writers is witty and very useful. I currently have mapped out a section of the book a day to read, just as a little reminder of what I am getting myself into by looking at writing as a career. The book itself is a spin off from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War as author James Scott Bell looks at the publishing world from the perspective of a military commander and breaks down, in his own words, the knowledge he has gained over the years. The book is laid out in three different parts: Reconnaissance, Tactics, and Strategy.

The Reconnaissance section covers researching into what it takes to get published. This section goes into depth concerning the fiction writer and what you need to push out a novel. We all know that it is a daunting task, but many have done it before and using this knowledge, hopefully we can one day join in the hallowed ranks of a published author.

The Tactics section covers the discipline of being a writer. The section contains different ideas on how to effectively write and complete the main goal of finishing your novel. Bell presents concepts that have worked for him in the past and gives some suggestions on different aspects of a novel, i.e. characters and plot.

The Strategy section covers the business of writing along with the good and the bad that Bell has learned over the years while publishing his own novels. This section covers the novelist that has accomplished the end of their book and is lost on what to do next. This section makes sure to point out that writing is a business and you have to sell your finished product if you are going to be able to make a living at this career. However, Bell does make sure to put in some encouraging words to stay focused and keep writing even though you are trying to sell your first piece.

Overall I really enjoy this book. The information inside was very knowledgeable and I plan on using it to my advantage as I struggle through my first book ideas. I would give this book 4.5/5 stars. What other writing books have helped you out along the way?