Book Review – The Reality War: The Slough Of Despond by Tim C. Taylor

The Reality War by Tim C. TaylorImagine a world run by giant lizards: lizards who wear clothes, drive cars, get married and form governments.  Imagine that warm-blooded, scale-less human beings do not even exist.  That is the reality which fights for existence when Raslan Saravanan, a human time traveller born in 2951 but living in the 1990s, makes a choice.  The wrong choice.  His decision rewrites history and allows alternative realities to become possible.

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Book Review: Skin Games by Adam Pepper

Skin Games by Adam PepperSkin Games is the latest novel by self-published writer Adam Pepper.  Set in a rough neighbourhood in the Bronx, it’s a world away from my own daily worries.  I think that’s one of the reasons why I enjoyed escaping into it: reading about pressure from mob bosses and the professional criminal’s code of conduct allowed me to shiver delightedly from the relative safety of my London commute.

The novel is narrated for the most part by Skin, an ex-mob member.  He shows himself to be a tough but likeable guide through the wildness of his youth.  Life for Skin, then known as Sean ‘Shamrock’ O’Donnell, was simple: loyalty is everything.  Follow orders without question, don’t rat anyone out, and if you give your word, you keep your word.  Nostalgically he recalls jumping cars and starting to work his way up the ladder; unflinchingly he also details the many brutal beatings which came his way.  Skin may not cringe at their re-telling, but I certainly did; they’re quite graphic and this tale is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

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eBooks: Friend Or Foe?

As I mentioned fleetingly in my last post, Hard Times by Charles Dickens is the first eBook that I’ve read on my Kindle.  It’s a very different experience to reading an actual book, or “pBooks” as I’ve recently heard them called (excuse me while I repress a shudder).  I have to admit that reading the novel’s first chapter on the Kindle felt utterly soul-less.  It was like looking at a snapshot of a puppy compared to having the warm and furry real-life version cuddling up on your lap.  I’m aware of how mad that sounds, but I’m afraid that’s how I felt.

At first, I thought that I’d made a terrible mistake even owning this strange device: I was trading the magical sensory world of the paper book for this flat, dreary alternative!  I confided my fears to a colleague who is also a fellow book-lover and Kindle-owner.  “Of course it’s soul-less!” she replied cheerily, “But you get used to it.”  This made me feel a little better; it was apparently fine for eBooks not to be cuddly.  What they offer is an alternative reader experience, which suits some people enormously and is quite simply not for others.  The book-lover must accept this fact and move on, either embracing the eBook’s differences or acknowledging that they’re not comfortable with them.  But I do think it’s important to at least give them a try.  Otherwise how can you judge them fairly?

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