Book Review: Wasteland

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4 out of 5 stars rating

Wasteland by Terry Tyler, book two in the Operation Galton Series, is amazingly realistic and as you read you get drawn into this futuristic world even though it is decades away. 

Although this is the second book in this series it seemed adequate as a  read-alone book. Characters are fully developed from the beginning of the story so you can relate to them entirely through the plotline.

I am not usually a reader of dystopian futuristic work but Terry Tyler has changed my mind altogether. This story is read in a present tense in the year 2061, in the UK. Tyler has pulled into this book a storyline of residents who now live either in functioning Megacities or as outcasts in lost, barren, and dilapidated Wastelands. In the Megacities citizens are monitored completely and are kept happy and healthy. If rules are not followed, residents may be sent to the Hope Villages as a result, an awful result, but not as bad as the Wastelands. Rae is a girl who seems to have a well structured life within the Megacity and goes throughout her day without incident, contrary to her boyfriend Nash who takes life less seriously. Rae finds out that she was born into a real family and decides to disobey the law and try to find her family. 

What caught my interest the most and kept me wanting to read more was the realistic connections Tyler made between current day ideas and how a government may shape a new world to iron out all of the problems our world is presented with in the 2020’s. It is like a modern day version of 1984, which is actually mentioned in the story. Although all of the ideas are not made to be significant in the story they are mentioned throughout. For example, when it is pointed out if a certain young man could be Rae’s brother she says there is no way because she is white and he is black. This however would not be acceptable in the Megacity because it would be considered racist to bring up any such topic. Also touched upon is the changes the LGBTQ society has gone through since our current day social opinions. 

I give this story four out of five stars for its believability, readability and overall well structured story line. It is the type of story that you might want to go back and reread just to see if you may have missed something in the earlier pages as so many important topics arise throughout.

Wasteland by Terry Tyler, book two in the Operation Galton Series, is amazingly realistic and as you read you get drawn into this futuristic world even though it is decades away. 

Although this is the second book in this series it seemed adequate as a  read-alone book. Characters are fully developed from the beginning of the story so you can relate to them entirely through the plotline.

I am not usually a reader of dystopian futuristic work but Terry Tyler has changed my mind altogether. This story is read in a present tense in the year 2061, in the UK. Tyler has pulled into this book a storyline of residents who now live either in functioning Megacities or as outcasts in lost, barren, and dilapidated Wastelands. In the Megacities citizens are monitored completely and are kept happy and healthy. If rules are not followed, residents may be sent to the Hope Villages as a result, an awful result, but not as bad as the Wastelands. Rae is a girl who seems to have a well structured life within the Megacity and goes throughout her day without incident, contrary to her boyfriend Nash who takes life less seriously. Rae finds out that she was born into a real family and decides to disobey the law and try to find her family. 

What caught my interest the most and kept me wanting to read more was the realistic connections Tyler made between current day ideas and how a government may shape a new world to iron out all of the problems our world is presented with in the 2020’s. It is like a modern day version of 1984, which is actually mentioned in the story. Although all of the ideas are not made to be significant in the story they are mentioned throughout. For example, when it is pointed out if a certain young man could be Rae’s brother she says there is no way because she is white and he is black. This however would not be acceptable in the Megacity because it would be considered racist to bring up any such topic. Also touched upon is the changes the LGBTQ society has gone through since our current day social opinions. 

I give this story four out of five stars for its believability, readability and overall well structured story line. It is the type of story that you might want to go back and reread just to see if you may have missed something in the earlier pages as so many important topics arise throughout. The only reason I did not give it five stars is I felt that some of the chapters were a little too long, making it feel like some situations became overemphasized. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book!

Book Review: Monster’s Dream

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Monster’s Dream: A Chilling Psychological Crime Thriller by P.K. Abbot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Monster’s Dream is the second in a series of chilling thriller stories and is a stand-alone book, in that I have not read the first one yet and I was still able to understand the plot and thoroughly enjoy reading this story. That being said, I wish I had had the chance to read the first book in the Jersey Murder Series as the characters would have come even more to life than they had in this story.
P.K. Abbot has given us just enough backstory to understand that the detective, Raphael Riley, is not ready for desk duty as is his fate due to heart complications. He was the best on the force and had the most arrests, for prostitution, but he was never a homicide detective. Fortunately for the force, he doesn’t go too far and he is willing to work alongside his peers to make sense of some brutal murders that seem to go back as far as ten years. He becomes even more drawn in when one of the next victims is the son of a woman he is beginning to really care about. Unable to comprehend these heinous murders against young boys, Riley tries to unravel the clues and figure out the how and why. Seeing the other police officers for the first time, in a new light, is more than enlightening, it may be the basis for this profound evil.
This is a short read and kept me turning pages the entire time. I could not put down the book as with the end of each chapter a new piece of the puzzle draws you in, keeping you enthralled and wondering who could kill a child. I gave the story four out of five stars as I felt the plot could have been expanded a bit further to enhance the experience for the reader. It was enjoyable to not have to read through chapters of unrelated or irrelevant material, but I would have liked a little more build-up to the conclusion. This is a must-read for the psychologically twisted thrill.



View all my reviews

The Storm: How Young Men Become Good Men (Book Review)

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The Storm: How Young Men Become Good Men by Daniel Blanchard is like a full-life lesson in an easy-to-explain format for young men and women! Blanchard tells the story from a teen’s point of view as he has a conversation with the grandfather he rarely sees. As young Dakota calls him, Grandaddy has come to him on his special day to tell him all of the secrets to life and how to live it to its fullest. Dakota isn’t happy with his whole life. He is a great athlete, but his father is abusive and absent, and his older brother is in and out of jail. Dakota doesn’t like how his life is going and doesn’t understand why Grandaddy doesn’t come around, except he knows it has something to do with Pops, but today of all days he doesn’t want to talk about Pops.
This is a well-organized book with many easy-to-understand lessons for someone of any age or gender.
Grandaddy tells Dakota of his life during the war, “Dr. Deming taught that quality was not just a matter of meeting certain standards, but rather was a living, breathing process of never-ending
improvement.”
One of the most moving things Blanchard says that is so perfectly fitting to the angst of our society currently in the United States was when he is talking about respect and how using someone’s name when speaking to or about them shows respect:
“Back then, people said the whole name… The United States of America. It was like it meant more back then. Now, people don’t say it like that. Now they just say USA.”
As an educator, I would encourage parents and teachers to read this to, or with, their children. It is an easy read, and easy to understand, and Blanchard gets right to the point on all issues, not leaving any room for stagnant explanations.
My only complaint would be the title; it conveys that this book is a message to boys only and it really is a great book for all people, any gender, and any age!

Five Things

Dr. Tanya hosts Five Things: https://saltedcaramel670.wordpress.com/2022/02/22/5-unputdownable-books/

Five For Tuesday – Books You Just Can’t Put Down – 2-22-2022

Since I’ve been listening to Audiobooks lately I will list my “books”, however they are digital. These are also books that I have read in the past few years. I’m sure I could look back and find so many others.

  1. Behind the Blue Elevator: https://christinebialczak.com/2021/03/26/book-review-behind-the-blue-elevator/
Behind the Blue Elevator

2. The Institute:

The Institute

3. The Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden (The Collector, #1)

4. The Marriage Pact: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4125972953?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Marriage Pact

5. The Patience of a Dead Man: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3548706614?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Patience of a Dead Man by Michael        Clark

Book Review: Deadly Games

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Deadly Games by Sally Rigby is a suspenseful thriller which weaves sociopathy and coming of age in a twist of serial murders.

George, short for Georgina, is a professor at University in the UK. She is a scholar in forensic psychology and knows about profiling and looking at evidence, but she isn’t a detective. DCI Walker on the other hand has learned all she knows from being on the job and doesn’t have the patience for book learners who have no experience in the field. That is until she gets to know George and sees that although George is learned through books, she has a good sense of reality when it comes to character and behavior. When a serial killer is out hunting University students DCI Walker begins to trust and admire George for her help with the case. But they are running out of time. DCI Walker has made too many mistakes and is about to be knocked down to desk duty. George doesn’t want to leave the case and DCI Walker is determined to solve it.

I gave this book three out of five stars for its predictability. The plot, although familiar as in other types of psychological thrillers, is unique in its details and does lend itself to interesting characters involved. Although the author did very well in throwing curveballs to have the reader second guess their suspicions, there wasn’t a depth to the story to lend itself as a new series that will have novelty and unexpected events. The writing itself is good and the story line is plotted out well. It was definitely worth reading and I did want to hear the entire story. Most likely I will look for the second book in the series when it gets published to determine if my idea of predictability is false. 

©2022 CBialczak Book Reviews

Book Review: Kill Your Brother

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Kill Your Brother by Jack Heath was an impressively complex story despite it being on the shorter side of novel lengths. It is just as predictable as its title yet surprisingly unpredictable. I was impressed with the author’s ability to take a single incident and turn it into a complex psychological thriller with many facets of surprise.

Elise is looking for her brother Callum. She seems to be the last person willing to think that Callum has done anything wrong. But Elise has a reputation which leads to problems of her own. She doesn’t have a support system and is financially tapped so looking for Callum has got be creative and done alone.
Elise does find Callum but the only way to save herself means sacrificing her brother. She has a lot to think about and needs to determine if her brother is worth it all.

I gave this story 5 out of 5 stars for its complexity and plot development. I was surprised by the twists and turns and even more blown away with the author’s ability to take one question and incorporate a variety of convoluted characters keeping the reader guessing and surprised to the end.

©2022 CBialczak Book Reviews

Book Review: My First Animal Moves

My First Animal Moves by Darryl Edwards. This book will get kids and parents moving!

Genre: Children’s Books/ Sports/ Illustrated Books
Publication Date: September 20th, 2021
Publisher: Explorer Publishing

This adorable children’s book is perfect for this digital age where children spend more time indoors in front of a screen instead of outside playing. Despite the efforts of adults some children don’t really know what to do to have fun outside. Edwards has found a delightful way to show children how to be active while having fun. Each of the moves is related to an animal that is pictured, reducing confusion if a child does not know what a certain animal might be.

I would give this book three out of five stars. Not only does it give children some great ideas to have fun and be active, it includes the parents, almost asking children to teach their parents how to do each animal move. Although the illustrations are cheerful and bright I don’t think they convey how much fun the young boy is having moving like an animal. I think the boy could be shown having more fun which would be a better buy-in for kids. Overall, it is a great idea and children can try the moves by using picture cues even if they don’t know what the animal is.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Darryl Edwards is a former investment banking technologist turned movement coach and author. He is the founder of the Primal Play Method and a physical activity, health and play researcher.

The Primal Play Method fuses evolutionary biology with the science of physical activity and play psychology.

Darryl wants to inspire humans regardless of age, ability or disability to transform their health by making physical activity fun and engaging.

His work has featured on documentaries, TV, radio, podcasts and international press.

Darryl is author of the best-selling book “Animal Moves” and has released a range of fun fitness cards for adults, juniors, infants, office workers and fitness professionals called the Animal Moves Decks.

He regularly presents as a keynote speaker at events worldwide. His April 2019 TED talk “Why working out isn’t working out”—has now been viewed over a-million times.

Darryl resides in London, England and publishes about playful living at PrimalPlay.com.

Book Review: The Daughter in Law

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Are you supposed to warm up to your mother in law right away or is it she who should warm up to you? Daisy is about to learn that warming up to Ben’s mother might never happen. 

Annie has raised her son Ben by herself and is so proud of the man he is becoming. It is always her and Ben but when Ben suddenly gets married and moves out Annie doesn’t know how to continue on her own. To complicate matters further, Daisy, his new wife, is pregnant with her son’s baby! It isn’t long after meeting Annie that Daisy is forced to move in with her mother in law, without Ben. But being catered to by Annie is not that hard to take and Daisy’s confusion about her relationship with her new husband have made Daisy happy to just move along through the motions. 

I give this story five out of five stars for the gripping plot and original characters that keep you wondering how long anyone could hang on. The characters were not as realistic as I would be able to fathom but then again I have never met anyone as in love with her son as Annie was. Will Daisy be like Annie when her baby is born, unable to be away from him or her? Is it such a bad thing?

Book Review: Her Darkest Fear

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Nina Manning has the ability to leave the reader in suspense until the very end of her thrilling tales. Her story is complete with romance, mystery, and plenty of relationships evolving throughout the plot. 

Frankie is happily married to Damien with two beautiful children and about to start a change in jobs that is going to advance her career to a new level. But after starting the new job with the very handsome Mason Valentine, one of the city’s most accomplished businessmen, Frankie and Damien start growing apart. The problems coming between them are shrouded in the darkness Frankie still has about the accident when her dear brother was killed twenty years ago. Now Damien is looking elsewhere for companionship, but how involved is he getting and with who? Can Frankie deal with grieving for her brother and trying to hold her relationship together? 

I give this story five out of five stars for its gripping plot, with so many different situations the reader is left wondering where the connection is and who is involved with who. Manning leaves no loose ends and each branch of the story is complete with dynamic characters and moving scenarios. If you want a shallow, quick end to a psychological thriller Manning’s gripping stories are not for you. 

©2021 CBialczak Book Review

Book Review:

The Polka-Dotted Penguin

Written by Amy Moy

This adorable book is written with some key ideas that set it apart from other “fitting in” type stories. The story begins with the fathers all holding their baby eggs, just like they do in real life. The other fathers mention the difference they see in the spotted egg but don’t make it a big deal, just a small curiosity. When the new little penguin is born from her dotted egg she is still a penguin, rather than some other sort of “misplaced egg” that would be similar to so many other stories. Instead this little penguin just has some differences, but is still the same type of bird. The reason this matters would be that when explaining differences to children the differences don’t have to be so extreme, as a differing species, for someone or something to still be different “enough”. When the little Penguin, named Dottie goes to school and plays with the other children, they don’t just laugh and ask why she is different. Instead they treat her just like they treat all the other penguins, since being different doesn’t mean she needed different treatment. The approach the author took in treating the different penguin was very realistic and completely acceptable and appropriate for children.

The author also used many well known titled stories in this story, changing the titles just enough to suit sea-life type stories. This is a great tool for opening discussion with little ones about how even different “people” know the same stories many children are familiar with.

I give this story four out of five stars for its realistic approach to dealing with differences. Many important aspects were touched upon but not over exaggerated. The story leaves many opportunities for conversation about being different and treating others who are different. It is a clever take on a popular topic with just enough dissimilar qualities to make it a must-read to little ones.

REVIEWED BY

Christine Bialczak