From time to time, I review books on These reviews are not heavy-weight literary criticism by any means. Instead, they are on the short side – believing that less is more – and usually do not contain a full plot synopsis or spoilers. I may or may not include a brief sketch of events and/or characters in order to illustrate a point or two but that is usually the most I will include.

Instead, I choose to comment on the book as a whole and leave the capsule plot descriptions to other reviewers. This approach has worked for me so far.

A good number of my reviews cover Young Adult Fiction. Years ago, my wife and I were advisers to the high school group at church and I became interested in what the kidz were reading. That  – combined with my preparation to be a high school teacher in college – has led me to read quite a bit of it as research for my own novel.

Not all of the reviews from Goodreads will be included here. I don’t like giving bad reviews but have had to do so for a number of books and I don’t want to electronically flog the authors of these unfortunate works any more than necessary and therefore I will only publish it once.

Unless otherwise noted, the reviews will cover the Kindle edition only. I have tons of physical books in my house and don’t need to add to the clutter. E-books – especially novels – seem to be the way to go.

High marks will be given for books with a minimum of typos, good grammar, properly used words, and good sentence structure. Of course, there will be the occasional typo or an awkward turn of phrase in any book but too many books today seem to be rife with these sort of things and this is the case especially with self-published e-books.

It is usually my practice to lower my rating on books that are afflicted with an inordinate amount of errors in spelling, grammar, sentence structure, etc. as all these sins detract from the pleasure of reading the story; No matter how good or intriguing that story may be. At the end of the day, the execution is just as important as the story itself.

As of Sept. 25, 2012 I have grouped the all the books in a particular series under the name of that series. Clicking on the name will show you an introductory page with notes about the author, etc. There are several books in the list of reviews that are the first in a series. As soon as the second book is published and reviewed, they will be grouped under the name of that series.

All reviews will first be published as a post in The Rant, posted on Goodreads and  – if applicable – the website from which the book was published,  and then echoed under the Reviews heading. It is hoped that this last bit will save the visitor all the hassle of rooting around in the archives.

Ratings – Most sites have a one to five-star rating system. Since I’m a proud and dedicated pipe-smoker, I decided to use pipes instead of stars. Otherwise, the usual one to five rating applies. If you were paying attention above, you’ll remember that I don’t publish bad reviews so one pipe does not necessarily mean a book is bad. Instead, the ratings will go something like this:

  1. You may or may not like this book
  2. It’s an OK book – may be worth a read
  3. It’s a pretty good book
  4. This book is really great!
  5. Outstanding! This is a “Must Read”


That said, have a look and enjoy.

Rebus at home

A NOTE TO AUTHORS: Promotion of upcoming or recently released books on this site is free. I figure that if I’m good to you, then you won’t laugh – too much – when I publish my novel. At the most, I might ask you to do a session as a guest blogger playing 20 Questions. At this point in time, promoted books are limited to “Mer-Fiction” – Young Adult or otherwise. Contact me for more details.

I am in the process of adding widgets at the end of each review that will allow the visitor to purchase either the Print or Kindle edition from There will also be a widget that will allow them to read the exceprt that appears on the Amaazon website.

– Howard Parsons

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