Tag Archives: book reviews

Frightfully Ever After by Nick DeWolf

As is often the case I received this book free for the purpose of review but despite that I’ll be completely candid about it below.

The nutshell on this book is that it plays much like a cross between Breaking Bad and Cinderella. You’ve got drug deals, shoot-outs, lots of profanity, magic axes and Fairie Godmothers. It’s not very often you get all that between two covers.

To the positive, I was fairly giddy at the concept and remained so throughout the book. While it would be a bit of a stretch to call this all that original, I will say that this is the first book I’ve seen in which this was done so well and with such blatant grit. As the book progresses the protagonists/antagonists evolve into pretty frightful badasses. DeWolf has a talent for action scenes and his descriptions leave just enough to the imagination to engage the reader in total interest. The writing is solid, reasonably well edited and leaves little to be desired.

To the negative, many of the characters are pretty stereotypical and don’t enjoy fully proper development. This should, I think, be viewed as only a slight issue however, since the original genres from which the author draws aren’t exactly known for their deep character development. Faerie tales cop shows deal primarily in archetypes rather than fully-fleshed characters because they’re intended to teach a more generalized lesson that the reader can relate to by filling in the gaps with their own attributes.

In summary, this is a delightful and thoroughly entertaining book. I found myself wanting to know more about their history and what brought them to the various straits in which they find themselves. If the author has it within him, this milieu would make for a wonderful extended series that focuses on more details and fleshes out some of the gaps left in this narrative.

Find the book on Amazon.


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Bad Books of the Week for 3/26/2016

This week’s batch of bad books is truly a waste of internet.
51kWXv--HjL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Best Damn Sex Jokes Ever!: Jokes Free, Jokes for Adults, Jokes 2016, Funny Jokes (Jokes, Jokes for Adults, best jokes 2016, best jokes, jokes 2016) Kindle Edition
by Johnathon Jacobs (Author)

I’ve never encountered a book of any sort that’s quite in this format. It looks huge in the reader but the real contents are pretty small.

The jokes are translated into languages ranging from Afrikaans to Zulu. However there are only 30 different jokes all of which I could find on the internet. Further, the translation is pretty poorly done. For example, if you look at Latin the language is very clearly not Latin. So I assume that a machine translation service was used.

On the whole, the jokes aren’t bad, it’s just that there’s precious little content for any one reader when compared to the size of the file and the price asked. Fairly strong avoid.

51zfHSRITVL._SX496_BO1,204,203,200_I Like to Read Books (Adventures in Everyday Life Book 1) Kindle Edition
by Jason Anderson (Author)

The figure you see on the front cover appears on every page. In fact, that exact same image appears on all 15 pages, unchanged, unmoved but with different backgrounds except that he changes his shirt color from red to green and back again. In the last frame he adopts a slightly different pose as he plays a guitar.

Backgrounds are all clearly inspired by The Simpsons but the only recognizable character which appears is Moe.

I’d be exceptionally disappointed if I had paid money for this little bit of literature.

51KevlBb8IL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Life These Days: With Family And Friends Kindle Edition
by Ronald McClure (Author)

* First off, the concept seems…. well, only interesting to a VERY select group of people. Maybe the author and a few people around him, but let’s give it a fair shot.

* Page 1: A photo of fixing a door. And all the comments from family/friends about said photo. It’s not transcribed mind you, it’s just screen captures of the Facebook posts glued into each page.

* Page 2: “We woke up WHITE! Just thought you’d like to know!” – yeah well, everyone in this book is pretty white, let me tell you.

* Page 3: Photo of an unidentified interior of a building. Can’t tell if it’s a bar or a house. Photos are all black and white and VERY small so even if this was interesting, it wouldn’t be.

* Page 4/5: Merry Christmas greetings, the author and wife in Christmas hats. Lots of one-liner Christmas greetings exchanged.

* A few pages on we get an album of apparent vacation photos. No indication of where they are though. Grand Canyon maybe? Seems like something better posted on Flickr or some sort of… oh, I dunno, photo service?

* Couple pages further… picture of a relative holding a cup of soda in some unidentified diner.

* A few more pages further we are treated to a sampling of a Facebook messenger chat with someone else who is unidentified and his importance is entirely unknown.

OK, enough of that. While I appreciate what a pain in the butt it must have been to put this together, I fail to see the need for this there is in the world. The only people who could be remotely interested in this are already Facebook friends with the author. So while by all means I applaud the desire to capture and document the past, I see absolutely no reason to try to sell copies of it online.

51K5ustjXML._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Memes: Badass Memes Humor Unlimited (Funny Memes) Kindle Edition
by Memes (Author)

Pages and pages of memes that we’ve all seen before.

One picture per page, nothing terribly entertaining though a couple are slightly more entertaining than staring directly into the sun.

41z-pehbUZL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Billionaire Romance: Marrying a Billionaire: (New Adult Romance) Kindle Edition
by jvr publishing (Author)

Wow. Writing is SO poor. I don’t even have to turn from the first page to find a dozen textual issues. Verbatim quotes below:

“Ellie was so desperate to get married a rich man…”

“Joe is her closest friend who secretly in love with her…”

“Is marrying a billionaire man is the only chance for a woman who is desperate…”

“Angry clouds roared in the form of lightening…”

“After waiting for half an hour and no hard to find a ride…”

It doesn’t really matter what the subject matter is; if the writing is THIS poor then all bets are off as far as I’m concerned.

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Life These Days: With Family And Friends Kindle Edition by Ronald McClure

cover

I picked this up on Kindle Unlimited because it hadn’t been reviewed before. Let’s take a look!

* First off, the concept seems…. well, only interesting to a VERY select group of people. Maybe the author and a few people around him, but let’s give it a fair shot.

page1

* Page 1: A photo of fixing a door. And all the comments from family/friends about said photo. It’s not transcribed mind you, it’s just screen captures of the Facebook posts glued into each page.

* Page 2: “We woke up WHITE! Just thought you’d like to know!” – yeah well, everyone in this book is pretty white, let me tell you.

* Page 3: Photo of an unidentified interior of a building. Can’t tell if it’s a bar or a house. Photos are all black and white and VERY small so even if this was interesting, it wouldn’t be.

* Page 4/5: Merry Christmas greetings, the author and wife in Christmas hats. Lots of one-liner Christmas greetings exchanged.

* A few pages on we get an album of apparent vacation photos. No indication of where they are though. Grand Canyon maybe? Seems like something better posted on Flickr or some sort of… oh, I dunno, photo service?

* Couple pages further… picture of a relative holding a cup of soda in some unidentified diner.

* A few more pages further we are treated to a sampling of a Facebook messenger chat with someone else who is unidentified and his importance is entirely unknown.

OK, enough of that. While I appreciate what a pain in the butt it must have been to put this together, I fail to see the need for this there is in the world. The only people who could be remotely interested in this are already Facebook friends with the author. So while by all means I applaud the desire to capture and document the past, I see absolutely no reason to try to sell copies of it online.

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Sade Evans: She will kill to be happy. by Tonne Odom

As usual I received this book free for the purposes of review. Also as usual I’m completely candid about it below.

The nutshell on this book is fairly straightforward. Our antagonist feels that society has scorned her so she’s going to bloody well kill everyone around her that she thinks gets in her way.

To the positive, I will say that the author brings us some truly authentic Black voices. The dialog is keenly dialed in to the cultural vernacular that you tend to hear from the Black community. While this is not “proper English” to some I find it quite refreshing that these words aren’t sanitized before they’re put on the page.

To the negative, however, there is very little else of redeeming value. The writing is exceptionally poor and error-filled. While I give the dialog a pass because it represents the cultural environment of the characters, everything not between quotes lacks continuity and is exceptionally short and choppy. The author fails to establish basic facts about the characters let alone prove them so every event leaves the reader with a dangling, “why…?” when trying to piece together motives and meaning. From a narrative perspective, the entire story is beyond even the tiniest bit of credibility. Characters act in ways completely contrary to their roles and plot points are almost entirely nonsensical.

In summary, while the style of this book has some potential as an authentic voice of the Black community, everything else about it needs a lot of work. Everything from continuity to character to plot seem to fail on some level. I encourage the author to keep at it as there’s great soul here but the execution is far too weak.


Rob Slaven

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Book reviews: One Person’s Craziness R. T. Ojas

As is often the case I received this book free for the purposes of review. Despite that kindness I’m absolutely honest about it below.

The nutshell overview on this one is that it’s a twlight zone type narrative that touches on alien abduction and alternative human origins. Saying much more would constitute a spoiler but you get the basic genre, I hope.

To the positive side, the narrative is pretty cliche in many ways but manages to find its feet in the end. For 85 pages it was a profound drag but in the last 6 it begins to resemble something worth reading. The text is also reasonably clean with only a few blatantly misused words.

To the negative, the writing is at times painful to endure. The author has fallen into the very common trap of including much irrelevant detail while also omitting many details that might be of interest. The text is rambling, repetitive, self-contradictory and profoundly cliche all the way down to the green-blooded aliens. A few textual samples follow:

“We could make anything out of anything. Literally.”

“As they approached the entrance to the vessel, she saw an opening through which she could slip through.”

“For some reason, I always liked the rain. Something about the rain falling always seemed to give me joy. On our island, it rained maybe once or twice a week. In some periods of the year it rained almost every day…” [tired of typing. you get the idea. It’s’ quite a lengthy and irrelevant hunk about rain]

“As we got pulled into the vessel, we both suddenly stopped yelling as we observed the interior of the vessel.”

In summary, there’s a small nugget of goodness in this book but it’s hidden under an absurd amount of poor writing and tired plot points.

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A review of: Strike a Poser – by Dylan Edward Asher

I received this title free for the purpose of review but despite that I’m completely candid so that other potential readers know what they’re getting.

The nutshell on this book is that it’s a rather convoluted con-game story with several primary characters that are only really loosely affiliated with each other. They come together to attempt a heist that will net them over a million dollars if they can make it happen.

To the positive, the book does have a fair amount of potential in that it is reasonably complex. The con is tangled and has a few amusing points and with the proper rendering and a bit more flavor could be pretty entertaining.

The negatives, however, far outweigh the positives. Despite the brevity of this book is took a LOT of effort to slog through. The first half is painful in its slow and rather plodding setup and by the time you find your way to the last half your eyes are glazed over and you don’t want to read any more. I did finally find my way through it just because it does have potential and you do want to know how things resolve themselves in the end but it’s a lot of work to get there.

In summary, there’s a nugget of goodness here but it’s bogged down in a lot of silly detail that just makes the reader’s mind wander. This feels like a much longer book than it really is and my eyes are still rather crossed.

*** Original Book Description ***

WINNER: AWARD OF LITERARY EXCELLENCE- Dog Ear Publishing
Professional con artist, Olivia, assembles a team to pull off a savvy, complex and perhaps borderline ridiculous scheme in the theme park land of Orlando, Florida. Foreword Reviews calls it “a successful combination of crime caper, humor, and social satire, as it simultaneously spoofs the consumerism of theme parks and conventions of the heist genre.”

Olivia, a professional con artist, is putting together a team. Along with her current accomplice, Jillian, she figures they’ll need two more as they case a millionaire named Jerry Mallore, having followed him to, of all places, the theme park land of Orlando, Florida.

Olivia quickly locates an old flame from way back named Jack. An ex-scammer himself, he’s long since gone straight, working as a bar manager of an Irish restaurant just outside the wacky theme parks. His uniform involves kilts. She knows he’ll be in.

Joining up with Jack, and ultimately his younger brother Kip, they set out to get between Jerry and his shady cash transaction. The plan? Savvy. Complex. Borderline ridiculous. But it’ll be flat-out brilliant if they can pull it off, creating the ultimate illusion in the land of illusions, and ultimately relieving Jerry of hundreds of thousands of dollars and leaving him, quite literally, not even sure what day it is.

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Book Reviews: Ashes by Timothy R. Lyon Jr.

As is often the case I received this book in exchange for a review. Also as usual I’ll be completely honest because readers and authors both deserve that much at least.

The overarching concept here is that we’re looking at a steampunk novel with a rather dark and ominous theme to it.

To the positive, I love the setting and the plot the author has chosen. If you look past the book’s issues you can see a delightfully dark and entertaining plot unfolding.

Unfortunately, to the negative, the author’s writing stumbles terribly. While the author has a great story his choice of words is contradictory and distracting. It really subtracts from the novel as a whole and leaves the reader struggling to stay focused on what he’s really trying to say. A few examples:

p8: “Nathaniel raised his hand and scratched his beard stubble … His beard was long enough to not be stubble…” — is it stubble or not?

p38: “a lady, casual by glance, stood next to a pillar looking with intent” — is she casual or is she intent? And I’m not sure what ‘casual by glance’ even means??
p38: “… steps as precise as her casual garments …” — precise and casual are near antonyms so it seems an odd comparison
p38: “… each step nearly shattering the floor …” — shattered is a bizarre choice of words unless you’re walking on a glass floor which the character is not

p60: “*lots of tense build-up* … the whip extended with excellent craftsmanship…” — Author is building a sense of mood or tension but then diverts rather oddly to talk about the craftmanship of the whip and that breaks the mental flow of the passage.

So in summary, it’s a shame. It’s like a cheese sandwich that’s burned on one side. You know there’s good stuff in there and you really want to love it but that one burned side is a distraction and you just can’t get past it. Suggest a good sound editing to clean things up.

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