Book Review: A Brief Eternity by Paul Beaumont

a brief eternity

A Brief Eternity by Paul Beaumont

 

Genre: Humor/Satire, Paranormal

Publisher: Dangerous Little Books

Pages: 284

Published: October 25th, 2013

Links: Amazon |  Goodreads  |  Barnes & Noble

Author Links:  Goodreads  |  Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

One glorious spring day in London, Jesus Christ rudely interrupts the morning rush hour by returning to Earth. The Second Coming has begun and Jerry, hitherto oblivious to Jesus and all of his friends, finds himself transported to Heaven to live a new life in Paradise. And that’s when his troubles really begin… Witty, provocative, subversive and surprising, A Brief Eternity examines mankind’s fondest wishes for love, redemption, happiness, immortality and, paradoxically, for death. Along the way it provides answers to the most important questions about the afterlife: what’s the food like; who cleans the toilets; and how will the Islamic suicide bombers react when they realise they’re all condemned to Hell, forever? A Brief Eternity is best read soon, while there’s still time. Just in case…

At its core, A BRIEF ETERNITY is a story about a forbidden romance between Jerry and Rachel.  Jerry has a cynical and sarcastic view on life and his biggest surprise when the Rapture happens is that he’s got a one-way ticket to Heaven.  Many of the descriptions are literal interpretations of quotes from the Bible and the result is a version of Heaven that will both fascinate and repulse.  It’s an agnostic’s view of Heaven and while technically a paranormal novel, I’d say that this would appeal more towards fans of satires.

Although countless fiction books have been published about ‘dead’ mythologies, it’s rare to find an author willing to put the same spin on a current day mythology aka theology.  The majority of books written about Heaven or Hell are either strongly supportive of the Christian religion or bastardize the religious portion until it’s not even recognizable.  The former are books like THE LEFT BEHIND series, while the latter books are simply a good vs evil war.

In A BRIEF ETERNITY,  it’s quite clear early on in the book that Jerry doesn’t fit in with the rest of the ‘believers’ sent to Heaven.  Going to Heaven with Jerry’s attitude would be like going to Disneyland and telling everyone at the park that the mascots are just people in furry costumes.  If you truly believe in the magic, then the details don’t matter.  It’s Heaven!  Why is he complaining, right? Still, I couldn’t help but laugh at the predicaments he ends up in and the company he has to ‘suffer’.

Jerry is loaded with questions about the policies of the place and can’t seem to get his mind off of his girlfriend, whose Jewish beliefs kept her locked outside the pearly gates.  When the book switches to her POV, we get an interesting version of Hell.  In these chapters, I’m reminded of the INCARNATIONS OF IMMORTALITY series, which offered a not-so-gritty version of Hell.  Life ‘down under’ continues much like it did on Earth.

Judging by the cover and blurb, A BRIEF ETERNITY appeared to be preachy.  I wasn’t quite sure when the author would stuff his personal beliefs down my throat but I was certain it would happen (spoiler — it doesn’t).  I suppose that you could view this book as a religious satire.   It’s has the humor of the HITCHHIKER’S GALAXY with a controversial plot like THE DA VINCI CODE.  THE DA VINCI code asked what if Jesus had a wife, while A BRIEF ETERNITY asked what if the Bible was literally true…would you still want to go there?

I think that two types of people should stay far away from this book:

a)      You think that religion is a load of horse-shit and all books mentioning it should be burned at the stake like the ‘witches’ during the middle-Ages.

b)      You think that anyone who criticizes the way that God works deserves to burn in Hell.

Basically, this book requires either an open mind or someone who isn’t easily offended by jokes about their religion.  I also want to point out that I’m not quite sure what version of the Bible was used when researching this book.  Each religious branch teaches different things.  For example, I was raised Catholic and never even heard of the Rapture until I had a Methodist boyfriend.  This is about how our conversation went:

Me:  You actually believe that ‘believers’ will one day go poof into thin air and disappear from Earth?

Him: You actually believe that the wine they serve during communion is literally the ‘Blood of Christ’?

Me: Touché.

(Although, in this case, he DID actually believed enough in the Rapture to slap a full size decal on his back window that said: ‘In case of Rapture, this vehicle will be unmanned.’  On an semi-unrelated note, he ended up totaling my car when I let him drive.  No Rapture required for that accident.)

I highly recommend this to readers who like humorous satires such as THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE and don’t mind a book that provokes thoughts about what your own version of Heaven and whether people should take everything in the Bible literally.  Paul Beaumont’s spin on Heaven certainly doesn’t match my own version, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story within these pages.

P.S.  I love the oxymoron title.

rating Aminus rating

(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.)

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Need to Write Reviews List for 2013

I’ve been working on clearing my review list since September.  I’m happy to say that I have only a couple review books to finish up in the next week or two.  It’s absolutely liberating to have no stress on my review list.

I believe that I have contacted all publishers regarding books that I won’t be reviewing.  If you’re an author, I haven’t quite managed to get through the entire list.  You’re welcome to email me and I will tell you the status of your book.  I’ll let you know if I read it or if I DNF it and the reason I liked or disliked your book.  Because I’m so far behind in writing reviews for books I’ve read, several of the one or two star books will not be reviewed.  If it’s not on the list below, then assume that it is no longer on my review list.  Email me at lizzylessard (at) gmail (dot) com for details.

 

Books already read to be reviewed:

The Wall by William Sutcliffe

Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves

Sun Bleached Winter by D Robert Grixtireviewing Jan 20th

Nomad by JL Bryan

Glimpse by Steven Whibley

Hidden by Jo Chumas

The Guardians (More#2) by TM Franklinreviewing February 4th

Cracked by Eliza Crewe

Will in Scarlet by Matthew Codyreviewing January 27th

Countdown by Michelle Rowenreviewing January 28th

Waterfell by Amalie Howardreviewing January 30th

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufmanreviewing Jan 21st

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroudreviewing February 4th via Parajunkee

The Faceless One by Mark Onspaugh

Never Fade by Alexandra Brackenreviewing February 12th via Parajunkee

A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway

Hope’s Rebellion by Jade Vardenreviewing February 5th via Parajunkee

Necessary Sacrifices by Zoe Cannon

 

Are there any books in this list that you’d like to see reviewed first?

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Book Review: Memories with Maya by Clyde Dsouza

memories with maya

 

Memories with Maya by Cylde Dsouza

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Self-published

Pages: 216

Published: March 16, 2013

Links: Amazon |  Goodreads

A story of one man’s determination to HACK his destiny, even if it meant challenging Divine Providence…

The story looks at how augmentation technology will affect emotions, intimate human relationships, and our very evolution as a species.

“EMOTIONS ARE LIKE A VIRUS, a common cold…disrupting the flow of logic in the mind.” Daniel reminds himself.

Dan’s work involves creating commercially viable AR solutions. The recession and an explosion of data-cops is drying out his streams of income.
He turns to close friend, Krish, a researcher in Artificial Intelligence, in the hope that they can come up with ideas for the Entertainment market. His girlfriend, Maya, and her family return to their homeland after her father passes away.

Dan and Maya continue their relationship via Dirrogates (Digital Surrogates), experiencing human touch through haptics. Krish gets a job at the prestigious A.I.R.I. Using AIRI’s lab, Krish and Dan, create an advanced visor with Augmented Intelligence built in.
They dub it “Wizer”.
A Board member at AIRI sees potential in the Wizer other than what Dan and Krish have in mind.

At a test in a nightclub, things go wrong…

The most interesting part of MEMORIES WITH MAYA was the science.  It’s like I was watching a movie and the highlight of the movie was when the characters in the movie watched a completely different movie.  The thrilling part of this novel encompasses exactly one scene.  Everything up to this scene involved a very anti-commitment guy.  Everything after this scene involved a character who couldn’t let go.

Dan is such an asshole in the beginning of the story that I had no sympathy for him later on.  I liked the parts where he explained how his new invention worked.  I couldn’t relate to any other character, especially since Dan had anti-social tendencies and didn’t let people get close to him.

I decided not to DNF around 70% and force myself page by page, since I was almost done with the book.  If I had known in the first couple chapters that almost NOTHING would happen for the entire span of a book, then I would have DNF it once I found out that Dan was an asshole.  I had high hopes for this sci-fi, since the premise sounds entertaining.  It’s unfortunate that this would have made a better documentary special on Discovery.  Somehow, the author managed to make even virtual reality sex scenes boring.

F rating

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)

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Day 6 – Best book of 2013

bookblogger

{Day 6} BEST BOOK OF 2013

It was very difficult to narrow down my favorite books of 2013 to one.  I liked so many of them for so many different reasons in so many different genres.  In the end, I chose a book that I thought not only was a pure pleasure to read but it had a very inspiring beginning.

Michael J. Sullivan began as a self-published writer.  His fantasy books were so successful that he eventually was picked up by Orbit.  THE CROWN TOWER is the prequel to that fantasy series and it is a perfect starting point for readers unfamiliar for his writing.  His characters are original, the dialog spot-on, and the world unique.  Although the main characters embark on the typical quest plot, there are so many twists to the story that it retains that uniqueness throughout the entire story.  What I love about self-published writers is that their work doesn’t have that formatic feel (I’m looking at you Terry Brooks and James Patterson!).  Even though Michael J. Sullivan has crossed into traditional publishing, he hasn’t lost that self-publishing flavor.  I can’t recommend this book enough to anyone that enjoys fantasy.

crowntower-2-5

The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Orbit

Pages: 416

Published: August 6th, 2013

Links: Amazon |  Goodreads  |  Barnes & Noble

TWO MEN WHO HATE EACH OTHER. ONE IMPOSSIBLE MISSION. A LEGEND IN THE MAKING.
A warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm’s most valuable possessions. But it isn’t gold or jewels the old wizard is after, and this prize can only be obtained by the combined talents of two remarkable men. Now if Arcadias can just keep Hadrian and Royce from killing each other, they just might succeed.

The Riyria Revelations and The Riyria Chronicles are two separate, but related series, and you can start reading with either Theft of Swords(publication order) or The Crown Tower (chronological order).

What was your favorite book of 2013?

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Book Review: Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman

skyjumpers

 

Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman

Genre: MG Adventure, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Pages: 288

Published: September 24th, 2013

Links: Amazon |  Goodreads  |  Barnes & Noble

Author Links:  Goodreads  |  Website  |  Twitter

What happens when you can’t do the one thing that matters most?

12-year-old Hope lives in White Rock, a town struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. The bombs destroyed almost everything that came before, so the skill that matters most in White Rock—sometimes it feels like the only thing that matters—is the ability to invent so that the world can regain some of what it’s lost.

But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb’s Breath—the deadly band of air that covers the crater the town lives in—than fail at yet another invention.

When bandits discover that White Rock has invented priceless antibiotics, they invade. The town must choose whether to hand over the medicine and die from disease in the coming months or to die fighting the bandits now. Hope and her friends, Aaren and Brock, might be the only ones who can escape through the Bomb’s Breath and make the dangerous trek over the snow-covered mountain to get help.

For once, inventing isn’t the answer, but the daring and risk-taking that usually gets Hope into trouble might just save them all.

Set in a world where the bombs did go off, SKY JUMPERS is a post-apocalyptic adventure at the end of WWIII.  The toxic air left over from green bombs (known as Bomb’s Breath) acts as both a safety net from intruders and a death trap for villagers who get careless.  Isolated for the majority of the year, the town has learned to advance itself through inventions, although its fear of the unknown often limits itself.

Hope is an easy character for MG readers to identify with.  Sometimes her best isn’t enough to succeed.  Her achilles heel is inventing, which unfortunately is the main emphasis in her schooling.  Hope is shamed when yet another invention of hers fails and she is disqualified from the Harvest Festival.  Her feelings are raw and her pain real.  She wants to be useful, yet she doesn’t know how.  To keep her mind off of things, she turns to sky diving.  She’s so fearless that she risked exposure with the Bomb’s Breath to test her theory that it would cushion her fall, no matter how high the jump.

It’s a pleasant switch to have the female MC exhibit qualities usually reserved for male characters.  She’s headstrong, fearless, and adventurous.  She’s more willing to test theories than come up with them.  Her best friend, Aaren, is calmer and very nurturing towards his family.  It bothers me when adults are rendered stupid just to give the children a chance to shine.  In SKY JUMPERS, there is a very plausible reason (which I won’t spoil) that makes the children the only ones to embark on the adventure to save the town.

I wish that SKY JUMPERS had a less linear plot.  Although the characters and setting were unique, it lost its flavor when the actual adventure began.  I’m sure that MG readers will love the easy read and clear goals of the characters, but I wanted a little more.  The second half of the book was well-written and predictable, though the ending had a few parts that weren’t crystal clear (with the Bomb’s Breath).

I was surprised to learn that SKY JUMPERS is the beginning of a series, since it is quite capable of being a standalone book.  Great characters and setting will make this quick read a hit for MG readers.

B rating minus rating

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)

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