No Story to Tell by K.J. Steele is a very depressing book. The main characters life starts out from the very beginning as a disappointment when she suNo Story to Tell by K.J. Steele is a very depressing book. The main characters life starts out from the very beginning as a disappointment when she survives being born and her twin brother, who her father preferred, dies. The rest of Victoria's life is a string of horrible events; being raped as a teen, falling sick at her big dance audition and having to drop out, marrying a drunken, chauvinistic creep. The only bright spot to ever occur in Victoria's life is the day her car breaks down and she meets Elliot, an artistic, handsome man who recognizes the dancer in Victoria right away.
The novel starts to take a positive turn when Elliot convinces Victoria to open a dance studio, but quickly the terrible host of characters populating the small town pull Victoria back into her oppressive prison. The whole time you're reading this book your hoping something will happen to cause Victoria to finally confront her horrible husband, confront the horrible townspeople she's stuck with, and leave her husband and run off with Elliott. This doesn't happen and it makes the novel such a downer its hard to keep reading. The only reason I kept reading was I expected any minute Victoria would grow some balls and tell everyone in town where they could go.
None of the characters in this novel are likable except Elliot, not even the main character Victoria. They are all well written, developed, and have rich histories, but there is nothing redeeming about anyone in the town. If I lived in this place, I would have moved in the blink of an eye. Victoria is so broken and pathetic you want to scream at her. But that's the point of this novel, to live in the shoes of someone so beaten they let everyone walk all over them. You can't understand how a person can be so spineless until you've experienced their life and that's what this novel does for the reader.
The writing quality of this novel is excellent. It was free of typos, errors, and cliche descriptions and phrases. It's worth reading for that reason alone.
I recommend reading this novel, especially if you are a writer, for the excellent proses and character development, but be prepared to be depressed after reading it. The level of despicableness and despair is high and never eases. ...more
The Sticks by Andy Deane is about a character named Brian who loves horror movies, and unfortunately for him, encounters a real werewolf one night aftThe Sticks by Andy Deane is about a character named Brian who loves horror movies, and unfortunately for him, encounters a real werewolf one night after getting kicked out of a party his girlfriend and snotty friends are throwing.
The book is set in the small town of Jefferson, Virginia which sounds like any small town in America. The reader experiences everything through the first person point of view of the main character, Brian. I enjoyed reading this character. He is someone I can relate to and comes across as real and likable. He uses some strange metaphors and descriptions that I found amusing. The characters truthfulness kept me interested and reading.
The novel is supposed to be a horror, but I didn't find it scary. I'm pretty desensitized to horror as I watch and read tons of it, so to the less desensitized, it might be scary. I guess if I was really in the situation of the main character, I'd be scared out of my mind. I did find it entertaining and enjoyed reading it. There are some slow parts dealing with the development of the relationship between the main character and the girl he meets, Jessica, that some readers might not like in a horror novel, but as a girl, I found reading these sections written from a male point of view interesting.
Plot wise, there is nothing new or clever. This novel is a traditional monster horror novel. Its the characters that make this novel interesting. If you like character driven novels, then you will enjoy this book. If you're looking for a super complicated multiple plot driven horror, then this might not be for you.
I recommend this book if you are looking for a fun, uncomplicated, traditional horror story with interesting characters ...more
When October Ends, by JM Lee, is a novel about a middle school werewolf named Zaina. She grows up on an isolated Island after an environmental disasteWhen October Ends, by JM Lee, is a novel about a middle school werewolf named Zaina. She grows up on an isolated Island after an environmental disaster has changed the earth and killed off all the humans. Now the earth is inhabited by strange beasts like werewolves and carnivorous butterflies. In this first novel in the series, Zaina begins to transform and become more animalistic. She also learns she is part of a prophecy that predicts she will save the world. Will she for fill her destiny or will the world succumb to an unknown force threatening to destroy everything.
Zaina is a twelve year old werewolf isolated on an island and only knows about werewolves. During this novel, she discovers other lifeforms exist, like carnivorous butterflies and witches. She suspects that humans may still exist as well. She meets a host of new friends who help her on the path of for filling the prophecy predicting she will save the world.
This book is not a stand alone novel so you will have to read the other novels to get the full story. What Zaina is saving the world from is not uncovered in this first book, nor are the specifics of the prophecy. Hopefully, the reader will discover these answers in books two and three.
The book jumps around quickly so you really need to read closely to stay with the story. The book was written by a twelve year old and published when she was thirteen so I was expecting to move fast compared to a similar book written by an adult. The fact that the book was written by a twelve year old was what initially drew me to read the novel. My curiosity of what a twelve year old would write about had to be quenched. I'm glad I read it, considering her age, she did a remarkable job on her first novel and I can't wait to read the second one. It's wonderful to see a young person committing to a task as hard as writing a novel. Most adult writers I know can't finish a first novel where as JM Lee has finished two and is currently working on a third.
The novel portrays middle school kids accurately, down to the way they talk and think, even petty things they would tease each other about. One problem I had was how easily Zaina took the death of her mother in the beginning. She was off to school the very next day. Zaina's character does reflect on her mother's death throughout the novel, but I think a child of her age would be more devastated.
The novel currently is self-published and does have numerous punctuation and word misuse problems throughout. I heard when I met JM Lee that a publisher has picked up her trilogy so I'm sure newer versions of the story put out by the publisher will have these errors fixed. Other than the typos, I thought the story was well put together, and as long as books two and three answer all the readers questions, will be a good series to read especially for readers eleven to fifteen in age. I do recommend, When October Ends, especially to the age group above, but adults may enjoy the novel as well so give it a try. ...more
The Nightmare Within by Glen Krisch is about a man named Maury who has the unique ability to pull dreams and nightmares from peoples heads and trap thThe Nightmare Within by Glen Krisch is about a man named Maury who has the unique ability to pull dreams and nightmares from peoples heads and trap them in the real world. He uses his ability to create a museum of dreams and nightmares. One particularly nasty nightmare named Mr. Freakshow, a dream from a small boy's imagination, escapes and sets all the other nightmares free to cause havoc on the city of Chicago.
This story mostly takes place in the city of Chicago at the museum of dreams called Lucidity. Other parts take place at the home of the boy's grandmother where the mom and son move after the murder of the boy's father. The story is well written and easy to follow. It is also blessedly free of typos and formatting errors. The author definitely put his time in to present a professional product.
The characters in this story are well developed and have extensive histories. On occasion, it's too developed. I found myself getting bored as the characters rambled on about their pasts that had no connection to the plot, especially the part where the boy returns to his home town and reflects on his past every time he sees something familiar. Some readers may disagree enjoying the extra information. I found that it slowed the pace of the novel especially toward the end when events could have moved much faster to keep it exciting. I found myself skipping through paragraphs to get to the good stuff.
The plot is a tight one and well developed even if it is predictable. Nothing surprising happened, but I did enjoy the idea of this story which was unique from my perspective. I even think this book would make an interesting movie, especially if the same people who filmed, The Cell, made it.
I thought the ending dragged too long. There was an entire chapter about the major I felt could have been cut and a part about a serial killer on a train that didn't tie into the bigger plot in any way and could have been cut. Although, I did enjoy the contrast between how the serial killer viewed himself and how others around him viewed him. IT would make a great short story on its own, but wasn't needed in this story.
Overall I do recommend the book for its unique idea using dreams, and its professional writing style I enjoyed reading....more
The Dark Path written by Luke Romyn reminds me of dark super heroes such as Spawn, The Crow, and The Punisher. If you like that type of fiction, thenThe Dark Path written by Luke Romyn reminds me of dark super heroes such as Spawn, The Crow, and The Punisher. If you like that type of fiction, then you will love, The Dark Path. Here is the description from Amazon:
New York's underworld quivers at the mention of his name. Evil courses through his veins like blood and his conscience has lain dormant for over a decade while he has slashed and burned his way to the top of the food chain.
The Dark Man, born of torment into an existence of death. In the underworld of killers he reigns supreme. And yet he is chosen for a task of supreme benevolence. Why would he be selected to save a young boy, the Avun-Riah, and then protect him against a horde of enemies, both mortal and demonic?
Because he is the only one with any hope of success.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have risen from the pits of Hell and, along with a fanatical army of cultists, are ranged against Vain. If the boy is slain then Sordarrah will be raised to destroy the Earth, a feat even Lucifer never managed.
Evil is being used to fight evil in the ultimate battle for the outcome of all existence. Armageddon sits upon the horizon and all that stands in its way is a man whose path has always been dark....
Most of the story is set in New York where Vain, the best underworld assassin, reins as a terror even the most harden criminal fears. Vain's beginning is typical of most comic book anti hero characters, something terrible happens to his family, and he is powerless to stop it. The experience changes him and he forgets his old life and transforms into a killing machine. This is why I gave the story four stars instead of five. Something more unique could have been developed instead of the overused murdered family. I do like how Romyn uses the memory of Vain's family throughout the novel in later parts.
The character, Vain, is supposed to be a scary figure in the novel, but I didn't find him scary because of the amount of joking around he does and all the one liners he uses. It makes the character more likable, but takes away from the fear factor. There are also scenes where the dialog could have been more mature, such as the scene between Priest and Vain when they first meet. Something about the dialog rang immature to me, despite the few scenes like this, I still enjoyed the novel, just not as a horror. I enjoyed it more like a comic book character.
Another reason I gave the story a four instead of a five is because parts of the plot reminded me too much of the golden child. I even said to my husband that this novel was like the Spawn meets the Golden Child. If you're familiar with the two story lines, I think you'll see the similarities. I also thought the author could have done more research on the Buddhist religion. If he had, he'd know that Buddhist don't believe in a hell.
Overall, I enjoyed the novel and recommend it. It is well written and blessedly free of errors and typos that other self-published books contain. I just didn't enjoy the book as a horror novel. It didn't scare me, but then very few horror movies and novels do, so I may be desensitized to the genre. It is a fast paced book with almost no scene that bored me. I never found myself skipping paragraphs to get to the good parts. THe good parts keep coming on a regular basis. ...more
Although the ending was a little predictable for me, I still liked it a lot. This short story is well written and a lot of fun to read especially if yAlthough the ending was a little predictable for me, I still liked it a lot. This short story is well written and a lot of fun to read especially if you love Monty Python type humor, which I do. I say give Zombies! a try....more
Deep Waters by Sophie Rhodes is a story about a girl who meets a merman. They fall for each other, even though it is forbidden, and go on an environmeDeep Waters by Sophie Rhodes is a story about a girl who meets a merman. They fall for each other, even though it is forbidden, and go on an environmental adventure to save Lake Huron from oil drilling. Here is the description from Amazon:
Deep within the waters of Earth lives a mysterious species of mermaids, the Lemoso. Recent human environmental disasters have threatened the Lemoso’s way of life and forced their prince, Raymos Seabolt, to take a stand. Boundaries are tested and rules are broken as Raymos fosters his forbidden romance with a human, Julia Cork. Can their love transcend their differences in time to save the waters that they both hold so dear—the Great Lakes?
The story mostly takes place on the beaches of Lake Huron where teen, Julia, now lives with her environmental parents helping to build wind turbines in the lake to create environmentally safe energy. Not far away from them is the oil-drilling company that wants to set up oil rigs in the lake. While exploring the beaches, Julia meets the attractive, black-haired Raymos, and they spend time together and quickly fall for each other. What Julia doesn't know at first is that Raymos isn't human, he's Lemoso.
The Lemoso do not follow the traditional mythology of merpeople. Sophie Rhodes has created a completely new creature and mythos that humans have mistaken for traditional mermaids. Like sparkly vampires, this was disappointing for me. I wanted to read a book about traditional mermaids. These Lemoso were more like aliens living in the sea. Once I got used to the idea, the story was fine, just not what I was looking for.
The novel has a strong environmental message, and I do mean strong. You are hit over the head with it in the second chapter. I'm not against novels having a positive message. I can even relate to the environmental concerns of the book. I grew up in Florida on the Gulf Coast, and we were in a group called Secure that was against off-shore drilling. Sadly, the worst fears of the group came true, oil spill. I think the environmental theme could have been handled in a more subtle manor so it didn't feel like you're being force fed.
The characters are playfully written and at times enjoyable to read about, but then there are times when the character's reactions don't come across as realistic. When Julia first finds out the truth, she seems to handle and except it too easily, and when Raymos decides to let her in on the truth, the decision feels too easily made, too quickly made, especially considering the consequences. There are a lot of areas in the book that I felt this way about the character reactions.
This book is definitely for a younger crowd. I think 12 to 14 year olds will love this book, and the parents will, too, because there is nothing explicit for them to read such teens doing drugs, alcohol, or having sex. The only issue parents might have is the fact that Julia's parents let her drive a car alone with only a learners permit, technically breaking the law.
The writing style wasn't bad. It flowed and was easy to follow. There are a few areas that could have been handled better such as the part where Raymos and his family, and the counsel are all touching and the feelings are being transmitted. This section was choppy and repetitive, but there are only a few areas like this. I did come across several errors, typos; mostly words with -ed added to them that shouldn't have -ed.
Overall, I'd say young girls are going to like this story, but if you're older, like me, and like reading young adult, you may want to skip this one, it's too young. ...more
This book is about a girl named Millie who has lived her entire life in a prison called Spokane because of her parents' crimes. She has committed no cThis book is about a girl named Millie who has lived her entire life in a prison called Spokane because of her parents' crimes. She has committed no crimes herself and strongly believes in the laws of The Nation. On her eighteenth birthday she will be released from prison and become a citizen of The Nation. Once out, she learns The Nation isn't what she was taught to believe.
This book is set in a dystopian future where the United State no longer exists. In it's place stands The Nation that has built a wall covering the entire boarder to keep people out, and to keep people in. The Justice system has been completely changed. A citizen is no longer innocent until proven guilty. Everything about the setting is interesting and well written by Jenni Merritt.
The plot of this novel is interesting as well. It starts a few weeks before Millie is released from the prison. The reader gets to experience Millie's everyday prison life and feel her anxiety over leaving her parents and the prison walls behind. At times, I feel it is described too well, to the point where it becomes redundant and I'm ready for the story to move forward again. For example, "During the day, a haze of sunlight would illuminate the thick plastic window, giving us our only sign it was no longer night. Daytime it glowed, nighttime it was dead black." The first sentence is enough to describe the window. The second slows the pace of the story. Dialog is interrupted a lot with the characters feelings and overreactions as well, but it wasn't to the point that I got annoyed and stopped reading. I did find myself on occasion reading only the first sentence or two of a paragraph, then skipping to the dialog to keep the pace moving. Once she is out of the prison, she meets Reed, born and raised outside the prison walls, and from him, Millie starts learning the truth about the world of The Nation. The prison part of Prison Nation was so well developed that when you get out of the prison, it's disappointing. Not so disappointing that I stopped reading, but enough to make me shake my head. From the time she leaves the prison, the plot and other characters become contrived. The way the plot wraps up with everyone somehow connected to each other seemed too unrealistic to me, too coincidental. The world Jenni Merritt creates is fascinating, but the plot in the second half of the book didn't work for me.
The main character, Millie, had a lot of depth, but the rest could have used more. Why did the parents never tell Millie the truth during the eighteen years they spent together in a cell? They had plenty of down time for it to come up. I didn't feel a good enough reason was ever presented to explain why they didn't tell her the truth before she discovers it. Why does Reed suddenly decide to do something? I never felt a good enough reason was given to explain his sudden change. When the characters come across Maria's situation, why didn't they help her? They just decided to leave and left her to her doom.
Overall, I liked the world this story was set in and I liked the main character Millie. I liked where I plot seemed to be going until it didn't. It never got dangerous enough. The ending did leave room for sequels so maybe we'll see more of this world. I liked the story enough that I would give a second book a try. ...more
Mur Lafferty is the host on the podcast I should be writing If you're a writer and you're not listening to it, you should. The podcast is a wonderfulMur Lafferty is the host on the podcast I should be writing If you're a writer and you're not listening to it, you should. The podcast is a wonderful resource for self-published and traditionally published authors alike.
Mur Lafferty also publishes her own books and Marco and the Red Granny is one I recommend reading.
Book description borrowed from Amazon: By bringing back the patronage system, a new alien species has transformed the moon into the new artistic center of the universe, and Sally Ride Lunar Base soon gains the nickname “Mollywood.” These aliens can do amazing things with art and the senses, allowing a painting, for example, to stimulate other senses than simply sight. When someone asks a starlet, “Who are you wearing?” she could as easily say “J.K. Rowling” as she could “Gucci.”
Every creative person in the world wishes for a patronage. It’s quite competitive.
Marco wanted one, once. But then his girlfriend got one and shuttled off to Mollywood for fame and fortune, and Marco stayed home, waiting for his own patron. After several years, he gave up entirely. His career faltered. His agent dumped him. And then, one morning, he gets a call. At last he has a patron, at last the aliens want him. But he’s about to find out that an artistic patronage isn’t what it was in the good old days, and that the only friend he’s made, a tiny old woman who’s the star of a blood sports reality series called The Most Dangerous Game, has secrets of her own.
I enjoyed this book. It's a short, simple story that you can sit down and read in a day. Except for a few areas that could have used some editing, the book is written well with a style that's easy and flows naturally. The setting and world development are interesting. Everything is set on the moon with aliens that are patrons of the arts. The idea that you can put on a shirt and experience a novel from wearing it is unique.
The character Marco is likable and comes across real. The secondary character the red granny is also likable, I wish there was more of her in the story, more about her past and how she ended up in the Dangerous Game.
One gripe, it would seem to me that Marco would've had a harder time excepting Penelope's name change and in the narrative would have continued to call her Penelope.
I enjoyed the ending. I thought is was well plotted out and executed. The ending leads me to believe that there may be sequels to the story and I hope Mur Lafferty does write them. ...more