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Q&A | August 19, 2014

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Describe your latest book. The Getaway God is the sixth book in the Sandman Slim series. In it, the very unholy nephilim, James Stark, aka Sandman... Continue »
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Michelle @ The True Book Addict has commented on (22) products.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Never Let Me Go

Michelle @ The True Book Addict, September 3, 2013

What does it really mean to be human? Are we human only if we were born to other humans, or can we also be considered to be human if we were created in a laboratory from another's DNA. This book confronts this question in a radical way. What if, in the future, clones were created for the sole purpose of saving the lives of the sick, i.e. via organ donation? In Never Let Me Go, the clones are created and educated as "students" in boarding school type institutions. At Hailsham, where much of the story takes place, a certain emphasis is made on the artistic endeavors of these students. What we later find out is that these students are, in fact, clones and when they leave their schools, they will go out into the world first as "Carers", those who take care of the donor clones as they go through their various donations, and then as donors. Upon donation number four, we learn they complete, or die, which basically means that a life giving organ was taken. However, sometimes the donors complete before donation four due to complications which is not surprising. The importance of Hailsham in all of this is that the way they educated the "students" and emphasized their artistic qualities was their way of proving to the world that these children (and later adults) do indeed have souls and so are human. What we learn through Ishiguro's masterful storytelling is that these people are very human...that they do possess souls. Which makes it all the more tragic.

I do have to admit feeling a bit irritated during much of the book. One of the characters (Ruth) is one of those people who would be absolutely exhausting to be friends with. And Kathy is so frustratingly complacent much of the time. I would have gone off on Ruth much more than Kathy, and even Tommy, ever did. I guess that's what made Kathy such an excellent Carer. Her ability to be understanding of other points of view, however frustrating or irritating. But this is just a little glitch in the reading of the book. Ultimately, I feel that each of the characters...Ruth, Kathy, and Tommy...behaved the way they did as their own special way of coping with what they knew was their inevitability. So very sad.

I must examine the moral implications of the idea behind this book. I used to think that cloning would be a good thing. That it would be good to have clones in case we got sick or our loved ones got sick. But when we are thinking such things, do we really consider that these clones are actually people? Even if they are genetic copies, they are made from the same stuff we are. Who says that you have to be born to be given a soul (if you believe in the human soul, as I do)? How do we know how we really get our souls in the first place?

Books that make me really think are my favorites to read. This doesn't change the fact that this book is very sad and I cried and cried at the end. Definitely well worth the read though.
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Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell
Murder as a Fine Art

Michelle @ The True Book Addict, September 3, 2013

Murder as a Fine Art is exactly the kind of book I love. An historical mystery/thriller with just the right elements for it to have one leg in the horror genre. The opening chapter of the book is so shocking, it's like reading about a murder committed in our modern times. Hard to believe that it occurred in Victorian times. From the moment I started reading, I knew this was the book for me.

What I found most interesting was the criminology aspect of the book. The action takes place just ten years after the newly established detective bureau of the Scotland Yard had its detectives educated in France by the father of modern criminology, Eugene Francois Vidocq. There is a reason that all of these television shows, such as CSI and the new Hannibal, are so popular. We are fascinated by the solving of crimes. Morrell fills the bill with his meticulous investigator, Sean Ryan and his assistant, Constable Becker.

It is also the allure of Victorian times with the gaslight and the fog that make for great storytelling. Conjuring images of a dark figure intent on malicious acts walking the streets of London gives the reader a feeling of dread in the pit of the stomach. The palpable fear of the public as they live in fear that they might possibly be the next victim. This is edge-of-the-seat reading!

Morrell has impressed me previously with his thriller, Creepers--a book that has stuck with me since the day I finished reading it. There is no doubt that he is a masterful storyteller and this new foray into historical mysteries is something I hope he plans to continue. If you are fascinated by Victorian London with all its dark underbelly, then I highly recommend that you read this book...now!
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Seduction: A Novel of Suspense by M J Rose
Seduction: A Novel of Suspense

Michelle @ The True Book Addict, September 3, 2013

M.J. Rose continues to feed my fascination with reincarnation and history in this the fifth book in the Reincarnationist series. Combining the two once again into a novel that I think might be her best yet, Rose takes us this time into the world of seances.

Victor Hugo, famed novelist of Les Miserables, among others, is a prominent character in Seduction. When he loses his daughter to drowning, ten years later he still finds that he has not moved past her loss. He begins participating in seances in the hope that he will speak to his daughter again and ends up communicating with a myriad of famous personas, including the Devil. In the book, he transcribes these communications nightly and his lost transcriptions are at the heart of the story. The quest to discover these communique with the dead is what leads protagonist Jac L'Etoile into a suspenseful situation.

The shift from the present to the past and vice versa is an element that I have thoroughly enjoyed in books. However, not many write it as skillfully as Rose. The Reincarnationist series, and this book, are not only about the phenomenon of reincarnation. They are a thoughtful examination of how we human beings cope with loss and what we choose to believe about the after life. I think reincarnation is something that should be explored more extensively as a definite possibility. In writing these books, Rose is bringing reincarnation to the fore of people's minds, even if they do not believe, and I thank her for raising that awareness.
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The Queen's Rivals by Brandy Purdy
The Queen's Rivals

Michelle @ The True Book Addict, September 3, 2013

Although I know of Jane Grey's story, her lineage and the circumstances surrounding her execution, I did not know a lot about her family. I certainly did not know that one of her sisters was a dwarf, or that her mother was so very cruel. Now I realize that this is historical 'fiction' and, not having read extensively about Jane Grey, I can't say how historically accurate this book is. However, Purdy has written a great book giving us not only the story of Jane Grey, but a glimpse of the lives that surrounded her. I enjoyed the characterization of the sisters. Jane, it would seem, was very studious and serious...and stubborn, which really rubbed their lady-mother the wrong way. The vivacious Kate was a delight to read about and Mary seemed such a sweet girl. It must have been a difficult life for her.

There were a couple scenarios in the book that were quite shocking. Again, not sure about historical accuracy, but the elements added some interest to the story. Of course, the execution parts of the books were very sad and, Jane's time at the block especially, brought tears to my eyes.

In all, I very much recommend this book. Maybe it isn't completely accurate historically (again, I can't say for sure on what I know of the subject matter), but historical fiction is 'fiction' and the value of a good story is that it makes the reader more interested in the subject matter and thus more interested in history. For me, that's the goal and it was achieved here.
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The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora by Stephanie Thornton
The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora

Michelle @ The True Book Addict, September 3, 2013

I am sad to say that for all my knowledge of history, I really know almost nothing of Empress Theodora. What a story I have missed out on! A woman who rose from less than nothing to become the most powerful woman in the Byzantine empire. A truly inspiring story.

I am very impressed that this is Stephanie Thornton's first novel. It is an excellent piece of historical fiction. The reader can tell that she has a passion for history...the research she put into this novel really shows. But it's not only the historical aspects that really shine. The characters are interesting and engaging. Theodora especially is a heroine to root for again and again. I mean, who doesn't love a rags to riches story? But this is a story that beats all stories of that type, in my opinion. When we look at a character like Theodora, what she had to overcome to rise so far, our hardships in life seem to pale in comparison.

It's a rare treat to read a novel that is not only interesting and entertaining, but also an inspiration that all things can be overcome with a little faith and a lot of pluck. I'm so glad that I was given the opportunity to review Stephanie's first book and I'm so looking forward to her next release.
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