Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Marvelously creative visions of an obsidian-dark future!

Seems like I have always found short story anthologies to be a mish-mash of good and “meh.” However, Obsidian Worlds by Jason Werbeloff, is a solid! Each piece of the collection is a darkly-gleaming treasure of a story. All represent a view of an obsidian-dark future and all are a satisfying reading experience – some horrific (“Dinner with Flexi” – yikes!), some amusing (“The Time-Traveling Chicken Sexer”), some with surprising plot twists (“The Cryo Killer”) – just to name a few, are all well crafted and entertaining. The stories have depth with details that unfold and smoothly and easily draw you into the world the author is creating in each scenario. I fully intend on re-reading the collection just to re-experience the pleasure.

I will be recommending it to friends and family members (though not for the youngsters. The stories entail adult themes and a really grim, scary future for the human race!) Personally, I have found a new-to-me author to keep an eye on and follow. If you think this might be down your reading alley, check out Jason's short stories on; he has had some Kindle editions listed for free.

I received a copy of this anthology in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Holy moly! Here's a story that grabbed me by the emotions on the first page!

I'm talking about the Young Adult book SLIP - #1 in the SLIP Trilogy by author, David Estes. I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Maybe it's because I'm a parent but I was emotionally invested in this story and the little unnamed boy (later called Benson) from the beginning. I had to find out what happened to him! So many gut-wrenching scenes and decisions, by both the boy and his parents, that had to be made kept that investment growing, too.

David Estes has created a dark and somber setting of a world that slowly unfolds to reveal a future Earth with critically limited resources. Extreme solutions have been put in place to ensure those resources are enough to support an optimally sized population. Procreation is rigidly controlled and mistakes are ruthlessly eliminated.

Benson is one of those errors, and his family does what it can to hide and protect him from discovery. Eventually he is hidden in plain sight among the masses of the reorganized capitol of St. Louis where he meets other "unauthorized" individuals, and becomes the target of the human-cyborg teenage hunter that never seems to stop. The author develops cool and plausible technology in this future, and uses it to advance the story in interesting ways. The action is constant with no dull moments.

I look forward to continuing the story in the next book, GRIP.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak Has Mystery and Romance

Maisie Lazarow returns home to Fairham, North Carolina, the island of her childhood after suffering the double tragedy of losing both her only child, Ellie, to SIDS and her husband, Jack, to an affair with another woman. But the island is not a refuge, she returns to help her brother, Keith, who is dealing with his own problems - the pains and the ups and downs of addiction and their cold, controlling mother, Josephine. Complicating the situation, Maisie discovers that her first love, Rafe Romero, is renovating the vacation cottages on her family’s property and is living right next door with his young daughter, Laney.

With The Secret Sister, Brenda Novak has written another wonderful and complex story of heartbreak, mystery, renewal, and romance. The characters quickly became real people to me, with lives and back stories all their own. Supporting characters are solid and help develop the complications and give completeness to the novel. The beautiful island gives us a perfect setting for mystery and romance. I found the little touches, such as the texts from Maisie’s ex-husband, gave the story another feeling of reality as well. The interplay between the mother and EVERYONE always had me holding my breath to see what she’d say next. Great!

I can easily recommend this book to my friends and family or anyone that enjoys a good family drama or their romance involved with a good mystery. This is a heck of a start for a new series.