July 20, 2009

Review #23 – Androgynous Murder House Party – Steven Rigolosi

Posted in fiction, quill reviews, Review at 11:25 am by reviewsonbooks


This review originally posted on Feathered Quill Reviews

Androgynous Murder House Party: Tales From the Back Page #3.

A strange holiday weekend commences when Robin Anders, an extreme fussbudget and wealthy estate owner, invites six friends to stay in his mansion. When a few dreadfully near-fatal mishaps occur during their stay, Robin gets a sneaking suspicion that one of his friends is plotting murder, and worse yet, he just may be the victim. However, all of the friends manage to survive the lavish weekend and return to their normal lives in Manhattan. Well, normal until someone unexpectedly dies thus giving Robin the impetus to start his own private investigation of all the remaining friends. In the meantime, readers are taken on a whirlwind ride, one in which the author questions the sexual orientation and identity of the characters — for you see, Robin, Lee, Alex, Law, Chris, Terry and J, are all of ambiguous gender. Are they male or female, straight or gay, and who did the murdering in the first place? Hopefully it will all be tidied up in a succinct answer by the time the reader finishes the story, or will it?

Author Steven Rigolosi’s strange tale of androgyny and unknown sexual orientation wrapped up in a great murder mystery that has plenty of plot twists, keeps the reader on his toes. It is a bit confusing at times, but definitely thought provoking. Robin, the main character is quite hilarious, but also nasty, and has a few strange quirks including narcissism, and a constant need for wonder pills which are oddly named after numerous fruits and vegetables. What keeps readers riveted throughout the story is Rigolosi’s vivid descriptions of all the characters. At the same time, the author leaves critically important points out of the mix that keep readers guessing as to the characters’ gender. The suspense thickens when Robin, who is seen as more of a wilting flower than an FBI trained investigator, decides he/she must discover who killed one of the friends. Androgynous Murder House Party is an enjoyable read and written in such a way to both confuse and hook readers with countless questions of “what is it?” and “who did it?”


April 26, 2009

Review #8 – A World I Never Made – James LePore

Posted in fiction, quill reviews, Review at 12:00 pm by reviewsonbooks

Review originally posted in Feathered Quill Reviews


By: James LePore
Publisher: Story Plant
Publication Date: April 2009
ISBN: 978-0981608723

Patrick Nolan, a widow from Connecticut, is called to Paris to claim the body of his estranged daughter, Megan, who committed suicide, but upon viewing her body, he immediately discovers that this is not his daughter and that Megan, wherever she may be, is obviously in a tremendous amount of danger and needs help.
Pat begins his world wind journey to find his daughter that will ultimately take him to far away lands from France all the way to the Czech Republic. On his way he pairs up with the beautiful Catherine Laurence, a detective from France who has also lost her husband and together they withstand the treacherous search for Megan coming out with an unusual bond between each other.
Megan Nolan’s story simultaneously unfolds with the author’s riveting storytelling ability as readers discover Megan’s true identity as a journalist in Morocco who is notorious for playing games with her rich lovers. However, this time it seems she has come up against a Saudi businessman, Abdel Lahani, who has much power and control, a fact that Megan has unfortunately learned the hard way and cannot simply slip out of, for she has not only placed herself in grave danger but possibly countless others as well.
Author James LePore has masterfully created a remarkable, gripping tale of suspense in this his debut novel. Readers are expertly taken on a thrilling ride from the very beginning when we learn of the faked suicide which begins the harrowing search through countries narrowly escaping those who are on a simultaneous manhunt for Megan. A World I Never Made is filled with strong, vividly described American, French, Saudi and gypsy characters which the reader quickly forms an attachment towards all the while being transported through wonderfully described exotic lands that creates an atmosphere of breathless suspense affording readers a desire to continue reading up until the thrilling, yet tender, conclusion.

March 18, 2009

Review #3 – Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream – Steven Watts

Posted in biography, quill reviews, Review at 3:17 am by reviewsonbooks

This review was originally posted on Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream

By: Steven Watts
Publisher: Wiley
Publication Date: October, 2008
ISBN: 978-0471690597
Reviewed by: Lynette Latzko
Review Date: March 2009

Steven Watts, a noted biographer of books about Walt Disney and Henry Ford, has this time tackled the story of another American icon by writing a thorough, page turning, and entertaining biography of the quintessential playboy and seeker of the American Dream, Mr. Hugh Hefner.

Being born into, and growing up in the era of post war monetary depression and sexual repression, Hefner’s early life reflected the aspirations of his generation. He received a good education, found solid employment, fell in love, got married and had children, but something was missing for him in that life — he wanted more.

Since childhood, writing and creating fantasy had been one of the ways Hefner escaped from reality. This led him into latching onto an idea of a lifestyle magazine for men who wanted to break free from the stifling mold set in place by previous generations. The critical importance of this magazine was not only to display photos of scantily clad women, but to create a road map for the modern male, offering a model for a new lifestyle that included everything from food to clothing to entertainment.

Of course, not every road to success is always effortlessly paved, and Hefner is definitely no stranger towards adversity. Yet, not only did he manage to create an empire through an unswerving and strong business ethic, he also managed to practice what he preached. Unfortunately, this often came at a price that at times would seem to signal the end of his reign as king of his empire. Society and the media were not always kind to this man who had the nerve to openly boast about his wild days living in his adult playground. But these dark days of societal ridicule, errors in business maneuvers and blunders in his own personal life, never deterred this man. He would pick himself up after every downward spiral and stand by his gut feelings and beliefs of what society, and most importantly, he needed out of life.

Throughout the book the author easily engages the reader with his well organized prose. Although it did appear to be a bit wordy at times, readers are not only given plentiful information concerning Hefner’s life, including a few notable pictures, but they are afforded easy access to where, and from whom, the sources of information were obtained. This appears to enhance the credibility of the story, and lessens the appearance that this is an unauthorized smutty tell-all tale.

Quill says: A thorough and enlightening examination of one man’s life that is often seen as overly crude and abundant. Told through his own personal and professional quest for obtaining the American Dream, this book may afford the reader a different, more respected perspective on Hefner’s life.