Okay, not all of them are fantasy, but more than expected.
The Art of Social Media
Basically a list of tips to help you get more followers on Twitter and Facebook as well as some other platforms. While I enjoyed the laid-back style of the writing, it must be said that this book is geared for those with businesses; I didn’t find much that would help my own profiles. Because of that it was somewhat disappointing, but since it’s not very long and they style flows, it was a quick read.
The Serpent of Eridor
Talking animals and magic are featured in this YA-leaning story about a boy looking for his parents and having to escape danger over and over. Turns into a quest story numerous times. The best part is the characters, mostly the talking animals, each of which has its own distinct personality; it reminded me of Alan Dean Foster’s Spellsinger, without the music. The plot of course features multiple dangers and just as many ways out of them, most of them convenient. An entertaining read, but nothing more.
There have been enough mystery/thrillers with biblical implications and/or McGuffins lately for it to be its own genre. This one takes it a step further by having one thread occur back in the time of the Queen of Sheba, weaving with the different characters and places in the present as they try to find the real history of the Queen.
There are a lot of characters and plot points to keep track of, which is a little annoying. There are even multiple main characters, like an American student—dumb enough to go jogging in skimpy attire in Cairo—and an Israeli undercover agent. While I enjoyed the story and appreciate all the research that went into it, I can’t help but think it would have been better served if it had been trimmed down. My other wish would be for better descriptions of the landscapes, as I have spent a month in the deserts of Oman and know it is quite different from Yemen and Egypt and Ethiopia, which you couldn’t tell from this. Also saw the downer ending coming.
Murder on Easter Island
What for the first half is a murder mystery, albeit in a different locale than most, turns into something completely different at the halfway mark. Catching the bad guy becomes secondary to the detective, yet eventually he does. . . except he doesn’t; yeah, plot twist. Elements of science-fiction, metaphysics, and even romance come into play. I’m not convinced the mixing of genres works here; I definitely would have preferred a straight mystery, though it doesn’t hurt the story that much.
There is one glaring problem: the author is convinced that if the government keeps a lid on the murders, no one will know. But since all the victims were tourists, it stands to reason their relatives would come around asking questions, or at least ask the media to look into it. But other than that it’s a successful mystery, if you can roll with the jarring change halfway through.