Book Review: "Of Introductions and Abductions" by Robert Dahlen

Of Introductions And Abductions (Monkey Queen, #1)Of Introductions And Abductions by Robert Dahlen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Of Introductions and Abductions" brings us a new young adult series called Monkey Queen. The author, Robert Dahlen, based the Monkey Queen off the Chinese legend of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, opening up a fantasy world involving Chinese beliefs and legends.

The story's protagonist is a young lady named Beth McGill, a student at Cooper College and an acknowledged geek. She loves all things sci-fi, fantasy, Doctor Who, and Dresden, and she misses having anyone to discuss her passions.

Through a quirk, Beth comes to the attention of the Monkey Queen, who needs Beth to help her save
the world, plus Beth's favorite professor. At first, Beth hesitates but then she decides to try. No commitments, just taking once chance.

I will tell you no more of the story, because you need to read it for yourself to understand the appeal of this book. The author refers to modern culture and mixes in some ancient Chinese legends to create a wonderful new place to explore. Beth learns about herself, about the world around her, and about friendship. The Monkey Queen learns that it's better to have Beth on her side. And everyone learns that guinea pigs are awesome!!

This novel is a light, fun read filled with hope and optimism. It's a nice change of pace from the current heavy and dark books out there. I recommend "Of Introductions and Abductions" to everyone who wants to kick back and enjoy a good book.

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Boxes, a Piece of Philosophical Poetry

It's all about the boxes.

People begin life in a box, a special box within their mother.

People grow up in boxes, a box for education, a box for reading, even a box for sports.

Afterwards, people stay in boxes both literally and figuratively.

People literally live in boxes, drive in boxes with wheels, and sometimes even eat out of boxes.

People also figuratively live in boxes. Everyone has their own box of Morality which delineates what is Allowed and what is Forbidden.

The best boxes are the ones you give yourself.  Looking to an outside force to define your boxes inevitably leads to untenable situations and stress.

Stress happens when a person either deeply wants to do action outside his box, or actually does an action outside his box.

Boxes change shape and size as a person grows, as a person matures.

To stop change is to stagnate.

Stagnate long enough and you die...

After which your body is put into a box.

Because it's all about the boxes.

Book Review: "Devil's Daughert: Lucinda's Pawnshop, Book One" by Hope Schenk-De Michele

Devil's Daughter: Lucinda's Pawnshop, Book OneDevil's Daughter: Lucinda's Pawnshop, Book One by Hope Schenk-De Michele
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book to read and review via Netgalley.

"Devil's Daughter: Lucinda's Pawnshop, Book One" by Hope Schenk-De Michele introduces us to an alternate universe where Eve and Lucifer have a daughter, Lucinda. The book balances nicely between action scenes and thought provoking scenes as the tale unwinds.

The basis of this book is that the world is filled with artifacts imbued with the spirit of the original owner. Some artifacts contain peace and kindness. Other artifacts contain all forms of evil, from violence to greed to pure selfishness. To help corrupt mankind, Lucifer orders Lucinda to gather all the evil artifacts that for her pawnshop, and give them away to the proper recipients.

The author created a world full of believable characters here. Lucifer is both attractive and smarmy. Lucinda comes across as cool, calm, and collected when she deals with her father and his minions, but her inner thoughts betray another person altogether, without making Lucinda seem schizophrenic. The demons, angels, succubus, and Rey (a human currently bound to Lucifer) feel like separate entities, not just copies of "generic secondary character".

As I read the book, I found myself wondering about the nature of good and the nature of evil. Can a person find redemption for what might be considered an act of evil? Does he or she even need redemption? Who defines good and evil?

I strongly recommend this book to people who like fantasy books. I only hope the author writes more books in this universe.

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