Midway was an interesting and quick read. I saw it being offered for free during World Book Knight on Amazon and grabbed it up for my kindle. I'm alwa...moreMidway was an interesting and quick read. I saw it being offered for free during World Book Knight on Amazon and grabbed it up for my kindle. I'm always a fan of seeing new indie authors emerge and seeing what they have to offer the reading community. Sometimes you find diamonds and sometimes you find fool's gold.
This was... not quite either. I would compare Midway to an unpolished gemstone. The author has a very elegant writing style and right away I was able to fall into the setting that Francis had painted. I could hear the sounds of people in the distance screaming in joy and terror as they rode rides, flooding out the sounds of the ever beckoning carnies. I could smell the funnel cake and taste the fresh, hot corn dog. Francis did a very good job at painting her scene and the character was someone who could be any of us. However, Mary Beth wasn't simply a self-insert character, she was able to put herself aside from that sort of thing with her own quirks, fears, and worries.
However, while the story was good the ending left me with some questions that I didn't quite feel.. satisified with. I felt it left the story off a cliffhanger of sorts. My instinctive thought was that perhaps this short story could maybe bleed into another story, or maybe even a series of stories. It felt like the ending was a loose thread. That, however, may have been how the author was wanting it so the story could be played around with at another time.
Now time for the key questions:
Why 4 out 5 stars? Actually, I would call it more like 3.5, but there were a couple factors that bumped it up to a 4. The story did what it was meant to: it entertained me and it made me suspensful. The writing style was impeccable and well done for an indie author. I've read quite a few indie author books and short stories and this story trumps quite a few of them. I do not give out ratings easily. I analyze the story hard after I read it and try to be as honest and fair as possible. Writer's do not get better by people constantly praising them, they get better by honesty. And I honestly felt that the author deserved the four stars. The only thing that made me withold the last star was my confusion towards the end, and my feeling that this is not her best work. I have a feeling that Francis has the ability to make much better work, and I'm saving the five stars for when I've got the chance to read it.
Would I have bought it? In retrospect, after I've read it, I would have to say that the price put up is perfectly reasonable! It's an interesting, suspenseful story and worth the .99C that Francis is modestly asking for.
Would I recommend it? Sure! It's good and I urge those who are unsure and sitting on the fence to give it a shot! It won't blow you out of the water, but it will give you you money's worth!
Francis had a way with words that has made me very curious and excited about where she's going as a writer. I may have to read some of her other stuff and give them a read. =) Given some time to sharpen her work, she might be able to give A.R. Wise a run for his money someday! Good luck, Francis, and keep writing!(less)
I read this book after watching the first two seasons of True Blood with my boyfriend. I was really skeptical about the TV show after the whole "Twili...moreI read this book after watching the first two seasons of True Blood with my boyfriend. I was really skeptical about the TV show after the whole "Twilight" nonsense. I was actually taken aback about how much I liked the show; Sookie wasn't particularly my favorite character, but I liked the way they did the... "Vampire Politics" if you will. So I picked up the book, curious to see how much they'd differ. Heads up, if you don't want spoilers for Season 1 of True Blood or "Dead Until Dark" than you might want to hit back now. This is basically a comparison of the two from this point onward.
(view spoiler)[For the most part the stories for the book and the story stayed the same. Based in Bon Temps, Louisana, Sookie Stackhouse is just a normal, telepathic waitress. From the get-go she lets us know that she's been excited to meet a Vampire for a while and when Bill Compton comes to Bon Temps with the intent on "mainstreaming" with synthetic blood. From there on, the tale begins.
▸Bill & Sookie Bill and Sookie's relationship pretty much stayed exactly on parr with the book. There was several quotes exchanged between the two of them that were similar between book and movie. Bill was over protected, Sookie was... Well, Sookie is pretty Mary Sue material in the book, I'm not going to lie. All the desirable men lust after her, etc, etc. You know a Mary Sue when you see one. She does have somewhat... redeemable qualities that make me overlook her character more than I would others. She doesn't portay herself as weak; in fact, she often makes a point of trying to prove to herself that she does not need Bill to go about rescuing her. Sometimes to the point of stupidity, but she is very willful when it comes to her independence and goes about purposely distancing herself from Bill to ensure that she doesn't become dependent on him. She doesn't drink up Vampire Blood like its the nectar of the Gods and often fears the loss of her humanity. These qualities make her somewhat redeemable to me--or at least enough so that I don't totally cringe when I see her. Bill is about the same as always: brooding, dark, overprotective, and a bit of an asshole. But, considering Sookie can be an unnecessary bitch at moments (what woman isn't at times, c'mon?) that is easily shrugged off. Oh and the sex, boy the sex. Not very graphic but they sure did have quite a few scenes with it. Lot more so than I recall seeing in the season. All in all, the same.
▸ Tara, Terry & Lafayette You can pretty much say all of this went out the window for the most part. Tara was literally non-existent. Didn't see her mentioned once. Lafayette was present, but only occasionally and solely at Merlotte's. I was really disappointed in this because I loved how Tara and Lafayette were portrayed in the TV show. I loved the aspect of the Vampire Blood ( "V" ) dealing, as well as Tara's struggles with her mother's alcoholism and her own "demons". Terry was present and... I guess sort of played his character up. He was the same PTSD inflicted veteran as he was in True Blood, but I felt the TV series fleshed him up a bit more as a proper side character. In fact, I'm going to give the TV show an A+ for all side characters. The book was, however, based on Sookie's POV so I am not really surprised by the changes. Characters like Arlene and Andy pretty much stayed on cue, with the exception of Andy's struggle with his relapsing alcohol addiction.
▸ Jason & Rene They got part way on here, but once again, the TV show gave more exploration to his character. The V aspect of him was gone, as was his venomous dislike and curiosity for vampires. Amy, his V entranced lover, was pretty much nill. She had a brief mention in the book, but not as she was played at all in the show. She was simply a fuck that Jason had had and was even a previous fang banger. Nothing special at all, no romance in many aspects and her character was left quite in the dark. She had no face time. Jason's framing for the murders around town was pretty much the same. However, no entrance came up for the Fellowship of the Sun to appear and Jason never had any sort of doubt in his mind about his innocence.
Rene was pretty much played up the same. He made casual appearances but there was never any foreshadowing that he could have been the killer at all. I specifically looked for it. While I like how Sookie's terrorizing done towards the end (the whole cat thing), it pretty much never gave out any hints. You were literally handed it out like a fortune cookie--"Harris says Rene is killer!" And furthermore Sookie, if there is a fucking killer near your house, why don't you run to the car? At least ATTEMPT IT before you decided running out to the woods is safer. And why run to Bill's house? If the man is out of town he is not going to appear to save your ass. Oh yah, that was different too. There was no dramatic sacrifice that bill had made in order to save Sookie's life. Sookie was on her own. Bravo for her saving herself and all, but stupid for not having thought her way threw things better.
▸Eric & Fangtasia Eric was about the same as always, same with Fangtasia. I loved him instantly in the books as I did the movies. Simply because Eric is a prick, he knows he's a prick, and he lets you know he's a prick. I am very eager to see him fleshed out in future books as he is in the series. I'm only two and a half seasons in, so I'm super curious. Bill killing Longfang--never happened in the book. Eric was the one who did. And while I wasn't really bothered by this aspect, this also meant that there was no reason for Bill to be "disciplined" and for Jessica's creation. I am practically begging that she comes in somehow in the second book as she quickly became one of my favorite characters from the show. Otherwise, not much to compare on this end.
▸ Sam Finally, the last part to touch up on. Sam Merlotte. He was the same old, same old as before. Obvious flirt with Sookie and a shapeshifter. The shapeshifting thing, though verrrrrry lightly hinted through the book, was revealed a little more abruptly. He becomes concerned with Sookie, Sookie takes this "stray collie" in (who had never before been seen in the book, unlike the movie) and wakes up with a naked Sam in her bed. Sam was much less ashamed by this and seemed to have perfectly intended for it as a way of revealing himself to his crush. Sookie pretty much called him out on his bullshit and fully stated that he only wanted her because someone else was. And he admitted it freely. Never liked Sam much anyway. (hide spoiler)]
So, in total, there were changes and differences here and there but otherwise I thought it was a decent read. It was clearly junk food for the brain and really short, but it was the more redeemable vampire-romance novels that I have read since "Twilight" came along and fucked everything up. It's definitely not a favorite, but I'll keep reading out of interest. It wasn't Anne Rice, but I didn't have to worry about getting sparkles in my blood either.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Let me start by saying that this is not the first A. R. Wise book that I've read, but it's the first in a while. Hello again, Mr. Wise! *waves* I firs...moreLet me start by saying that this is not the first A. R. Wise book that I've read, but it's the first in a while. Hello again, Mr. Wise! *waves* I first started reading Wise's works in September 2012, I believe, beginning with the Deadlocked works. I was stuck, unable to decide what book I wanted to read, and what kind of book that I wanted to read when I picked up a free copy of the first Deadlocked book. From that moment, Wise quickly established himself as a top player in today's indie author movement. I quickly bought several of his novels, some I have yet to read still, and snatched up every free story he had avaliable at the moment. I don't regret it.
I enjoy watching how Wise is growing as an author and although there were a handful of typos in the book, I wasn't put off by it. He's an indie author and doing a good majority of the work himself. There was a thing that I did notice that repeated itself, and I'm not sure if it was intentional or not. Whenever Main Street of Widowsfield was referred to, the font of just that portion of text would... differ from the remaining font of the rest of the story. I'm not sure if that was meant to make an emphasis on something, or that was just an in general error. Either way, it wasn't really a big deal and it was just something I found curious.
Anyway, on to the story review. '314' grabbed me the moment I began to read it. Once again I was stuck in a period of not being quite sure what I wanted to read, but knowing that I still wanted to read. The prologue immediately grabbed me and I stayed with the story throughout the whole time, finishing the book--fittingly--on March 14th (3/14). That was totally unintentional, but very amusing. The story revolves around Alma Harper, a music school teacher, who's mysterious past is being put on spotlight by a couple of local reporters with an affinity for the supernatural. Alma experienced something traumatic in Widowsfield, Missouri, and reluctantly agrees to go along to do a report on the town that completely changed her life as a child.
How it changed her life, though, she can't really seem to remember, but knows that the key to closing the door on her past and moving on with her future ultimately leads back there. So, they start to head on. The first 60% of the story is building up to getting to Widowsfield, but it makes sense considering that Wise is breaking the story down into three parts. It works, I think. Story is long enough to keep the reader interested, but doesn't drag on. The characters are not the most likable in areas, but that works just as well because I think it adds to making them more real. I found the relationship with Paul and Alma to be partially insufferable, but I could easily recall several of my female friends having done the same thing over and over.
Also! Props to mentioning the Ozarks! I live in that general vicinity, so it's always a small victory when we're mentioned in a story. Or at least it feels like to me.
It was a decent story, with lots of suspense, and a lot of moments--especially the flashbacks--that made me go "Wtf!". In fact, the prologue genuinely creeped me out! I say, once again, it's worth the read! Especially considering it's free, and I fully intend on purchasing the second book in the trilogy so I can keep going. There's a lot of unanswered questions that I am hoping will be reveleaed later on.
Once again, thanks for getting me out of a reading funk! =)(less)
My brain is half dead from video games, so this review is gonna suck but whatevs. I read most of this book into the weeee hours of the morning before...moreMy brain is half dead from video games, so this review is gonna suck but whatevs. I read most of this book into the weeee hours of the morning before bed. It took me a couple chapters to get into it, but once I did I was pretty well hooked. It was fast moving and my previous knowledge (obsession?) with the samurai eras of Japan definitely helped things. I love studying the Japanese culture and the samurai class, so I was able to easily understand all the terms that came flying my way. Someone who isn't so versed... well, it may take you just a bit longer to catch on. The author doe not spoon feed you, he gradually tells the story as is meant to and slowly allows the reader to adapt to the world he created. That was one of the best things about the story.
The second thing about the story.... I cried. Dammit all to hell, I cried. That earned this story an automatic two-three star minimum, considering I haven't cried from a book since what--"Going Bovine" by Libba Bray?? I read that in 2010. Yah, that definitely says something.... The way he got into Buuru, the dog's brain, and at the last moment his thoughts... Oh god. The waterworks. It didn't help my own dog was snuggled in bed with me at the time, which made me pause, put my kindle down, and blubber into the poor thing's fur for a good few minutes. My dog kept looking at me like, "Oh snap. What's going?". I was genuinely touched and moved by that passage. Job well done!
The next thing I've got to say is that the characters and world felt so.... alive. The descriptions were so fluid and I fell through the pages so vey easily. While, I was expecting to fall in love with this book for the Japanese steampunk sort'a awesomeness, itt was the characters that ultimately made me like it. I felt like I was watching events from another world unfurl through a looking glass, and all I could do was sit there and yell at them to get out of the way of potentially heartbreaking situations. Kin, was by far my favorite character. The scene with him on the deck with Yukiko was great and since then I have loved him.
I must say that the surprise twist caught me a little off guard there at the end. Not enough to make me go "HOSHIT" but enough to make me go "Woah". I liked the story, I adored Buuru and Yukiko's interaction. I couldn't get enough of it.
However, I'm only giving it a four because while the book was a great ride... I'm worried it might not be so memorable. It was good, I'm going to look for the sequel, but it did not have that absolute wow factor I need to give it a couple five stars. It wasn't anything in particular, just... I'm worried I may not remember most the story by the time the sequel eventually comes out; which may be a while since this book is a fairly new release.
....God dammit. I bought this book two hours ago and I'm done. If I liked the first book then I loved the second one. This goes on my favorite shelf....more....God dammit. I bought this book two hours ago and I'm done. If I liked the first book then I loved the second one. This goes on my favorite shelf. Hands down. It was great. Amazing. I'm literally a bit lost for words as I am a bit sleep deprived and sitting here staring at my kindle like, "WOW. That really just happened."
This story pick up where the first left off, shifting to the perspective of Laura, David's wife. In the story, she struggles to try and protect her two little girls within this new, extremely dangerous world. She's drugged up on adrenaline, grief, Oxycontin and a primal instinct to protect her young. I loved the way the characters were literally given life. I cared about Laura, Kim, and Annie. I froze in horror when (view spoiler)[they passed underneath the suicide bridge, I rooted as Laura swung the baseball bat, swore when those fucks from earlier sent the "police" after them, and even came come to tears by the end. (hide spoiler)] If I had rooted for David, I practically begged for her to come out victorious. Maybe it was because she was my gender.
I completely agree with Wise when he says that women characters are often not portrayed as they can and oft should be--strong. I always long for a dependent, stand alone, kickass, fuck you sorta female main character. And by the end of this story, Wise had given me that. I am not exaggerating when I literally say that this is now one of my favorite books.
I'm also going to confess that the Deadlocked series has been my first venture into Zombie literature and I wish I could give Wise a standing ovation for making this a horrifying, memorable entrance. If you're looking for an indie author with skill, look no further. I have already snatched up all of his free books and from the looks of it, as I literally am sitting at the edge of my couch from anticipation, I may be sacrificing lunch money from work just to grab up installation three.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Prey No More is a lot different than the Deadlocked books I've read. I felt like I was reading a mixture of Buffy, and Supernatural but taken in a who...morePrey No More is a lot different than the Deadlocked books I've read. I felt like I was reading a mixture of Buffy, and Supernatural but taken in a whole new way! We were given Vampires, as the title suggests, but we were also given angels and demons! We were given a kick-a, wakizashi weilding, gun slinging bad-a heroine who refused to be anyone's victims. While the book left me asking a lot of questions, it was satisfying in it's own right and am eagerly awaiting for the second book in the series where I am sure that some of those questions will be answered.
I definitely recommend this book. It was a fast-paced, intriguing, and fun read. There were a couple twists and turns that I hadn't seen coming. It makes me so excited to see Wise grow and develop as a writer. He is my favorite indie author that I've encountered so far, and honestly--I got this book when it was free--I would have been more than happy to pay for this novel. I am eagerly awaiting the next in the series.
Oh, by the way, Xavier and Emmy? My favorite characters, though. Emmy has the potential to be so freaking amazing.(less)
Definitely liked the story! There was only one confusion, where the main character referred to his fiance as his wife, and then reverted back. It's no...moreDefinitely liked the story! There was only one confusion, where the main character referred to his fiance as his wife, and then reverted back. It's not a big deal, it could have even been intentional to go with his later emphasis that they'd never be an item. At first I thought the story was going rather fast, but then I reminded myself it was only a short story and that I was reading rather fast. I also found myself very attracted to the "villain" of the story. Very haunting and very visual. I loved it! Good story! Also, I liked the little "surprise" at the end.(less)
I bought this book expecting, honestly, for it not to be that great. Since I've had my kindle touch I've slowly been seeking out the hidden gems of in...moreI bought this book expecting, honestly, for it not to be that great. Since I've had my kindle touch I've slowly been seeking out the hidden gems of indie authors amongst these books. In this ebook revolution, as it truthfully is, sometimes you have to expect the bad with the good. When I saw the first book in the Deadlocked series, I was drawn in by the idea. I'm a little late to the zombie craze but what better time to start then October? I love to binge on scary books during this time of the year, so I decided to stick with my first instict to give it a try. I am soooooo glad I did.
When I started this book I was having reader's block--the inability to stay focused on a book, even if its good--due to having had a big binge of books earlier. My brain was pretty much numb. I picked up this book, thoroughly expecting my reader's block to force it back down. Not what happened at all. The quickly moving plot quickly caught my attention. It was fast action, quickly paced, and rather realistic. I found myself rooting for the main character, hating the thugs, and mortified and surprised by the ending. Wise sticks true to his word when he says that no character in his books are safe..
Wise is one of those gem indie authors! My only disappointment is that his book was not nearly long enough for my taste. You can guarantee that I will be buying his next book. You're doing great, Mr. Wise! Long live the ebook revolution!(less)
I have to say that the book was pretty much exactly like the movie, or rather the movie was exactly like the book with the exception of a couple devia...moreI have to say that the book was pretty much exactly like the movie, or rather the movie was exactly like the book with the exception of a couple deviations. It was good, but as I was already blown away by the movie it too a lot of the book's impact out. I liked going back and reading it, though. Otherwise, not much commentary over here.(less)