This is another one of those classics that I never got around to reading. I saw someone on Twitter, linking to the free Kindle Edition on Amazon, so IThis is another one of those classics that I never got around to reading. I saw someone on Twitter, linking to the free Kindle Edition on Amazon, so I picked it up.
I'm glad I did. It's delightfully short and to the point (although the language is a bit verbose to our modern ears, so it would probably have been even shorter, if it had been written today).
It served to remind me of many things I'd forgotten, and cemented once again my conviction in the power of prayer. I especially liked the bit where the author compares meditation to prayer. In today's "New Age" world, we often try to be all inter-faith and inter-denominational, by equating the two, but Andrew Murrary reminds us that what is required of us is NOT to simply meditate, but to PRAY!
I'm definitely going to start getting back into this habit; with God's help, I will learn to pray again!...more
I love Stephen King's books, and I'd been waiting to read this one for a long time, but Mr Mercedes is... a bit different.
When I was reading through tI love Stephen King's books, and I'd been waiting to read this one for a long time, but Mr Mercedes is... a bit different.
When I was reading through the first chapter, I began to wonder what I was getting myself in to. The writing was tight yes, but it just wasn't grabbing me. It droned on and on about this man going to stand in the unemployment line, and meeting a woman with a baby, and they chatted on and on. "Why should I care?" I thought.
If I didn't know that this was a Stephen King book, and that it would get better (and if I hadn't paid $16.99 for it on Amazon), I might've given up at that point.
But it IS Stephen King, and it DOES get better, and I wasn't disappointed!
The book is gritty and gory, as only The King can write. It's some pretty masterful storytelling, and deeply emotional (Similar to Joyland in that respect).
Good old fashioned noir, through and through, it tells the story of your typical retired police detective, on the verge of committing suicide when one of his old unsolved cases catapults itself back into his spotlight. For reasons I won't go into here, he cannot tell his old buddies on the force about it, and has to solve it himself.
I loved the book. Other than that opening chapter, which I still feel missed the mark, I found it extremely satisfying, and the ending was great. As an extra bonus, the edition I read contains an excerpt of the next book in the series, Finders Keepers. That one looks amazing, and I can't wait to read it!
Having said all of that, I did find a few more typos in this book than is usual for Stephen King. I don't know if that's because it was rushed to production, or if it's a sign that our favourite thriller author is getting old.
Don't get me wrong, there are still fewer errors than in many MANY other books I've read. It's just a bit much for Stephen King.
I gave this book three stars, but in truth, it's probably closer to two-and-a-half.
The concept is interesting: Awesomegang.com is an author marketingI gave this book three stars, but in truth, it's probably closer to two-and-a-half.
The concept is interesting: Awesomegang.com is an author marketing site allowing authors (mostly of the self-published variety, but legacy publishers are welcome as well) to answer pre-set interview questions, to introduce themselves to new readers, and to help out other authors.
The editor of this site, Vinny O'Hare, decided to collate all the interviews that had been published on the site at the time of the book's publication, and compile them all into "Awesome Author Interviews: Tips From Self-Published Authors".
The result is a real mixed-bag, a hodge-podge of interviews from a whole lot of authors from many different backgrounds, at many different skill levels, both traditionally published and self-published.
Some of them were really interesting, perhaps interesting enough for me to want to go and check out their books. Others were pretty bland and boring. Still others were a real chore to read through.
I think the biggest problems with them are that they're neither put in any particular order, so that they build to a climax or purpose, and also that they're not edited. Some of these authors writing is pretty bad, in the sense that their interview answers are riddled with typos, missing words, and incorrectly used words. The formatting is also not consistent, with some authors using elipses or smart-quotes, for example, and others use three fullstops and straight quotes.
Of course I understand that many authors are really bad at editing, or have different stylistic choices. This is why we (should) hire professional editors. But O'Hare just took the authors' answers and dumped them, "as-is" into the book. One would think that an editor of a collection like this should take some time to actually, you know, edit. His failure to do so, I think, only does a disservice to the authors he is trying to spotlight.
Each author was asked in his or her interview what their favourite or most effective way of book marketing was, and what advice they could give to authors in general. Naturally, being a writer and always looking for ways to increase my exposure, these were the questions I was most excited about. Some of it was good and worth a try, some of it I already knew (and am implementing, to various degrees of success), and some of it we now know to be just plain wrong - and it was already so when the book was published. Some of the authors just basically decliend to answer, or said they had no idea. Again, this could've been solved by taking some time to think of a cohesive order in which to place these interviews.
All-in-all, I think this book was a good idea, and contains loads and loads of content and different perspectives. It just could've been done way, way better....more
This book was great! It definitely brought back memories of my youth, whiling away long hours playing Lone Wolf, Freeway Warrior, Usurper, and others.This book was great! It definitely brought back memories of my youth, whiling away long hours playing Lone Wolf, Freeway Warrior, Usurper, and others.
It's a game-book, written in the third person - weird, because all the game-books I've ever played are written in the second person. It really worked, though. It's also hilarious, but with a title like that, I hope you're not expecting a story that takes itself too seriously!
There are some in-jokes for fans of the fantasy genre, in-jokes for fans of game-books, and in-jokes for independent authors ("Maybe one day I'll sell a book").
I died twice, and cheated a bit by returning to the section just before I died (bookmark OFTEN!). I finished the quest in about an hour, but I think I probably ended up taking the quickest path to victory. I might play it again and pick different options this time just to see what happens; I get the impression that the replay value is quite high.
The copy editing was good, and I didn't spot any typos or grammar issues, although there was one place where I made a choice and a character explained the exact same thing to me as before, as if he'd never done so. I doubt that was intentional.
Anyway, I think this is a really cool concept, and I can't wait for the next one!...more
This book is billed as Romance, but I took a chance on it anyway, even though Romance is not my usual thing.
I disagree with that classification. ThereThis book is billed as Romance, but I took a chance on it anyway, even though Romance is not my usual thing.
I disagree with that classification. There are some romantic elements to it, but it's much more fantasy than romance. The story is engaging, and I think original. It's also delightfully short - which is good because I often don't get time to read, and I love short books.
The premise is that a barbarian girl is kidnapped and taken to the city to be a slave, as is the tradition in that society. But the person who's kidnapped her has never owned a slave before, so she's his first. Everybody keeps telling him how he should treat and train her, but he can't bring himself to be as brutal as everyone says he should be.
It was a good story, as I say, but I think it could've been told a bit better. I'm also not entirely sure what the technology level of the world is. At first glance, it seems to be your typical high fantasy, but then it turns out there are guns (although probably very rudimentary, early prototypes accessible only to a select few), and later we find out that running water and wall clocks exist. There's magic though, and no cars or electricity that I could see. It's almost Steampunk, but then I can't think of any references to steam power, either. It's rather weird. Interesting, but weird.
It's the first book in a series, but reading the rest of the series isn't required because this one is a complete story which doesn't end in a cliffhanger - which is great, because I don't like cliffhangers!
The series seems like it would follow these two characters, but I don't want to say too much for fear spoiling anything for you. Personally, I found the world and characters intriguing, and I enjoyed the story, but I'm not sure if I found them intriguing ENOUGH that I would want to keep reading....more
This was a decent enough story, about a strange murder in New York City. Soon after, the CIA and FBI get involved, and we realise that it's the work oThis was a decent enough story, about a strange murder in New York City. Soon after, the CIA and FBI get involved, and we realise that it's the work of a serial killer (or killers) whom the FBI have been hunting for decades now.
It has quite a surprising conclusion, involving ancient Greece and Persia. The author is clearly passionate about the period, and did his research well.
The editing was solid, but I did notice one or two issues. It's to the story's credit, though, that I can't remember any of them specifically, right now.
My only gripe was that the story went on a bit too long: it seemed like the plot was concluded, but then it was almost as if there was a word-count quota to fill, so we were treated to another fifteen or twenty percent of, to my mind, irrelevant extras. Maybe those are set-ups to the next book in the series, though. Which I'll probably take a look at when it comes out.
Conner's parents are very nervous at dinner. It's the eve of Conner's eighteenth birthday, and tonight he must complete a coming of age ceremony thatConner's parents are very nervous at dinner. It's the eve of Conner's eighteenth birthday, and tonight he must complete a coming of age ceremony that could very easily result in his death. To add a bit of a twist to this story, Conner is disabled, and nobody holds out much hope that he's going to survive the ordeal. The book doesn't explain the exact nature of his disability, only that he walks around on crutches.
It's a pretty good story, very vivid in its descriptions. I'm surprised that it's written by a fifteen year old girl. It does leave some questions unanswered, though.
Still, I'll be following this author, and eagerly anticipating her next release....more
This book brought me right back to my childhood. It's a good old fashioned fairy tale, with big bad wolves, pirates and swashbuckling, bears, and littThis book brought me right back to my childhood. It's a good old fashioned fairy tale, with big bad wolves, pirates and swashbuckling, bears, and little girls running around the forest with red riding hoods on.
It's a chapter book, but each chapter is reasonably short, and upon reflection, I think it would be a perfect story for parents of young kids to read to them at bedtime, or for slightly older kids to read themselves.
I had some extremely minor issues with it, and it didn't exactly hold my attention a hundred percent of the time, but for what it claims to be (A fairy tale), I does its job perfectly!...more
This book was very good, and I found it to be incredibly insightful. It should be required reading for all authors trying to make an impact on TwitterThis book was very good, and I found it to be incredibly insightful. It should be required reading for all authors trying to make an impact on Twitter.
In truth, it's not just for authors, either. Anybody trying to use Twitter to market a product or service (digital or otherwise) will find value from this tome - just replace "author" and "writer" with whatever you call yourself, and "book" with whatever you call your product!
There are loads of takeaways here - some are quite obvious, but there are other things that I've discovered that I've been doing wrong, and need to change. I've definitely got more than a handful of strategies that I intend to try.
Some of the things suggested in this book may not be your cup of tea (there are one or two things that I'm not going to try; they just don't feel... right to me). But that's okay. The author is the first person to point out that you should use what feels right, discard what doesn't, and adapt what you can.
It was tough deciding whether I would give this book two stars or three, because I actually rather enjoyed the concept, at least in the beginning.
ThisIt was tough deciding whether I would give this book two stars or three, because I actually rather enjoyed the concept, at least in the beginning.
This is the author's debut story, and the thing is, it FEELS like a debut story. The language is very simple, and it's lacking some punctuation (there's a difference between "let's eat grandma", and "let's eat, grandma"). As you read further, you find there are some holes in the plot, and things seem to happen far too fast.
It just doesn't seem reasonable to me for our hero to accept his fate so quickly, or for the enemy to jump to conclusions so quickly when he goes missing, or for him to jump to conclusions so quickly when he is told that he looks familiar.
It's not that this story should be longer. I think the length is right. It just needs to be a bit more... logical....more
First let me clarify my rating. When I say "3 stars", I'm saying I liked the book, but I don't think it really warrants a four.
This is a collection ofFirst let me clarify my rating. When I say "3 stars", I'm saying I liked the book, but I don't think it really warrants a four.
This is a collection of incredibly short stories (probably around forty of them), written in a style of a memoir by the owner of the namesake cat. It begins with the owner walking into a pet shop and buying the cat. What follows is a collection of somewhat connected stories all about the antics of this cat (who can talk to humans, like Garfield could) and his relationships with the other animals on this lady's farm.
I found the stories pretty humorous, but not hilarious. I'm not really a cat person, but I know a few people who are, and most of my smiles came from how similar some of these stories are to the stories I've heard from those people.
My problem is, because these stories are individually so short (often less than a single screen on my tablet), I tend to notice the little errors even more than I otherwise would. I also found that I completely missed the point of some of them. Again, because they're so short, and I'm often prone to "zone out" while reading, the story is done by the time I zone back in again!
Overall, I think the stories are quite sweet, and if you're a cat owner, I'm sure you'll find it a laugh-a-minute romp....more
Torn this time between giving three stars or four. I settled on four, but in truth, I think it should be three and a half.
The Mage's Grave was a greatTorn this time between giving three stars or four. I settled on four, but in truth, I think it should be three and a half.
The Mage's Grave was a great story. It was well-presented, and the pacing was great.
I just had a bit of an issue with the language used. In the first place, for an epic medieval fantasy, it uses a few idioms and sayings that appeared out of place, like "out for the count" or "right off the bat", and there are some other boxing analogies as well - I don't think boxing or baseball/cricket were invented in those days, although I could be wrong.
Staying with the language, there's lots of repetition, particularly when a scene contains two or more characters, and the author repeats one character's name sometimes three times in a single sentence. I understand the reasoning behind this, of course - you want to avoid using "he" too many times or the reader will begin to get confused about which "he" you meant. But there's a better way, and that is to come up with different ways to refer to the same person... or just change the sentence structure so this is not a problem to begin with.
Still, if you enjoy a good old fashion fantasy story, and don't mind language which might be more suited to a slightly younger audience, you should check it out.
I'm definitely going to be picking up the second book in the series....more
This book was flawless. Absolutely perfect. Really, I can't think of one single negative thing to say about it.
It starts out a little weird, with a GoThis book was flawless. Absolutely perfect. Really, I can't think of one single negative thing to say about it.
It starts out a little weird, with a God-Emperor standing atop a giant floating disk, surveying his kingdom while musing to his bodyguard and advisor. For the first page or two, you're not really sure where it's going.
And then it just... explodes (the story, not the world). It turns out that we're part of a distant future, a Matrix-like Earth where everyone experiences something different to everybody else, and where everybody is a God-Emperor of sorts.
Being so short, I can't really divulge any more, for fear of spoiling a major plot point... but that's another plus, actually. It's a long novelette, just under twenty thousand words. If you're not looking to commit a week or more on a book, and you like both Science Fiction AND Fantasy, give this book a try. You're sure to finish it in under two hours....more