Eating Crow by J.D. Buffington

Summary

Kidnapped, bound, and nearly starved, I am forced to watch the torture and murder of an endless parade of innocent victims. What is this murderer after? Why won’t he just kill me and be done with it? How can I ever get out of this nightmare?

Overall

This short story is hair raising. The story doesn’t wait a minute but throws you into the deep end head first. It is dark and twisted. The main character is caught up in a terrible delusion (or is it?) of a killer. He kills without hesitation to prove a point. See it from the victims point of view. What an excellently chilling piece. Easy to read in one sitting and would make a great intro for a bigger series. Won’t say anymore for the risk of giving it away – well worth the time!

Rating

4 Stars

Chilling! If you love horror and want a quick thrill before bed – this is it!

Where did I get it?

Received a free copy from the author. This is a voluntary review.

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An Extra Topping of Horror by Darrell B. Nelson

Summary

Brian is happy delivering pizza to incompetent devil worshipers, lustful demons, show tune singing vampires, and over-affectionate houseplants. His life gets even better when a time traveling babe he rescues tells him they will be lovers in the future. His carefree life is destroyed when aliens bent on taking over the Earth open a rival pizza place.

Overall

I loved Brian. At first I thought he was an idiot but the author does such a great job rounding him out and showing him to be more complex that he was quite endearing by the end. Amanda was a great balance for him and I appreciated the approach the author took with her – making her the brilliant one. At first it feels like a series of anthologies, pizza stories with an arc of Dr. Rayburn’s travel. However, by the end you’ll find out there is more going on (it isn’t exactly subtle if you pay attention).

The world building needed a little bit of work but the generally sudden arrival of another character/theme was a constant plot device. Many times to the books benefit. Many times to incite laughter. Not always applied the best way. There was at least one overly shocking scene that was completely unnecessary. It was gross and way over the top. I actually put the book down. It doesn’t matter that it was fixed later – the damage was done. It was just so incongruous with the mostly fluffy feel of the book, that it never recovered.

The writing was mostly easy to follow and only lulled in a few areas.It was a bonus but also a let down at the ‘borrowing’ from well known horror stories. Especially since the story relied on them too much at times. Despite that it was FUNNY! So many hilarious b-movie feel scenes that actually hit home (and I hate dumb humor normally) so that was a real surprise. It is for sure for people who love funny horror with a romance and sci-fi pieces thrown in.

Rating

3.5 stars (rounded down)

I really loved so many aspects of this book but there were just enough downsides to give it a solid 4 stars (which with a few tweeks it would deserve). Despite a few downsides – it was an amusing book and if you love b-rated horror movies this is a must read! It just wasn’t for me.

PS to the author – get a formatter and a new cover – this book deserves it!

Where did I get it?

I received a copy from the author. This is a voluntary review.

Game Changers: Power – Control – Deception by Lorna Jackie Wilson

Summary

Carmen Fenton is a waitress at Greyton’s Grill. She is also a student studying to earn a college degree in marketing. Upon graduation, Carmen is seeking an internship at an executive firm where she plans to eventually climb the corporate ladder. Carmen is eager to complete college. She can barely wait to take advantage of the internship program NYU offers. Unaware of the competitive nature of the marketing business, she is ill-prepared for practices that are often high-handed and cut-throat. As she lands the job and begins to learn the business, she encounters an old flame, new friendships, and corporate sabotage. Meanwhile, she has become attracted to Ray Collins, a customer of Greyton’s Grill. She is reluctant to take the relationship seriously as she is career-focused at this point in her life. However, Ray Collins is not only handsome, but persistent. Ray is an architect and lover of the arts and he finds Carmen quite beautiful. Although Carmen finds a mutual attraction to Ray, she wonders if she can handle the demands of work, its related drama, and a new relationship. Carmen is determined to be successful as a marketing executive and mustn’t let anything get in the way of that. However, Ray Collins is determined to make her his own.

Characters

I didn’t like Carmen for the most part. I think the problem was she was trying to be too  many things so instead she felt like a blob character. Sometimes she is noble and sometimes she is petty. Other times she is friendly or determined while other times she is wishy washy and whiny. Hard to pin her down. I liked Nina okay (although she disappears for a huge chunk) but Caitlin didn’t feel like much of a friend. She kept throwing Carmen’s ex under her nose while she has clearly stated she liked Ray. What kind of friend keeps doing that? Also head hopping happened throughout the book. It kinda worked because of the writing style feeling more narrative than story.

Plot

I believe this is supposed to be a romance. I was very hesitant on the romantic aspects. In what world would a woman want to be called ‘young woman’ by her love interest? It totally threw me and BOTH men do it. Um…what? It made me wonder how old Ray is…like way older? However, Ray is mostly very much a gentleman and even though her ex is in the picture she mostly keeps him at a distance so the love triangle is luckily minimal.

It was interesting because the author clearly knew a lot about marketing and researched it thoroughly. I was impressed by the information that just seemed very natural. However, the college classes sounded more like high school and I’ve never heard of a restaurant who lets servers have weekends off. I know multiple people who worked at them (including myself) during college and you always had to work at least one weekend day but most did both because classes were during the week. Those little nonsensical pieces undermined the overall plot because they pulled me out of the story.

Overall

This book doesn’t read like a traditional book – it reminds me more of a play or movie script. Although I appreciated the brevity and consistent flow it was almost robotic at times. Very much all telling and zero showing. I also was a little unsure about many of the scenes and scenarios. The timeline also wasn’t clear. However, I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen next. There was some suspense that made me wonder what was going to happen next. I just wished it was more fleshed out. Also after all that build up there is a rush at the end.

Rating

2.5 stars (rounded up)

I was very split on this book (right down the middle). There were great aspects to it but just as many things that drug it down.

Where did I get it?

The author provided me a copy. This is a voluntary review

Limbo by Laura Koerber

Summary:

Alyse died and she isn’t happy about it. She finds herself stuck in a ghost town occupied by dead souls with whom she has nothing in common. Her reaction to her sense of loneliness and isolation is to throw a neighborhood block party for her little outpost in the afterlife. In the course of her party-planning, Alyse experiences a series of revelations about herself and other people—lessons she had failed to learn while alive—which leave her happier and wiser at the end of the story.

Overall

The unique characters are the strength of this story. Alyse appears to be the primary character but many other supporting characters (Lily, Trey, etc. – even a dog named Dean). Each character is very unique and has a story of their death worthy of attention. That is where it starts to break down for me.

Like the limbo they are stuck in – the plot takes a while to form and isn’t concrete. Instead it relies on the reader to draw their own conclusions. At least in part. After introducing so many characters, it feels incomplete to only resolve a part of the established character plots. If this was part of a series (addressing other characters trapped in limbo) I’d feel differently but this appears to be the only one, so the ending (or non-ending) left this book feeling incomplete. Which if was part of a series would be a good thing – because I was curious to read more.

A major draw back is the constant head hoping. Although it appears the story is meant to primarily follow Alyse, we get glimpses at other ghosts trapped in limbo and then we get Point of View (POV) switches that zigzag back and forth. These POV swaps confuse the narrative.

The major plus for me was the overarching theme. I liked its overall tone that we live in the worlds we make for ourselves. We can accept what we are handed or we can change it. A powerful message and a redeeming aspect because it makes one think!

Rating

3 stars

Thought provoking although slow novella with unique characters. Take a trip to limbo and see the world Alyse decides to build for herself.

Where did I get it?

The author provided a copy to me. This is a voluntary review.

I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found: Daisy and the Olympic Animal Sanctuary Rescue by Laura Koerber

Summary

On the far side of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, halfway between the mountains and the ocean, stands the little town of Forks. In that town, in a quiet neighborhood of modest homes and shabby businesses, there remains a dilapidated pink warehouse.

Packed inside that warehouse, living in deplorable conditions, were once over 120 dogs. Some of the dogs were kept in crates piled high on shelves, arranged in rows along the walls, and shoved into corners behind heaps of garbage and urine-saturated straw. Some of the dogs were confined to wire-sided or glassed-in kennels. One was kept in an old horse trailer. Dead ones were stored in a cooler.

In one of the crates was a black dog named Daisy. This is her story.

Overall

This is a harrowing tale of tragedy that could have been avoided. It educates the reader in addition to telling a story. If you love animals this will hit home – if you are human, this will be eye opening and heartbreaking. The narration was interesting and easy to follow. There were sections of supposition that felt unnecessary and undercut the strength of the story. It was smart to focus on one dog over others, it added an extra layer. Adding to the fact that the author was a small part of the protest and followed the story, that you could feel the passion.

This isn’t just a story about the pets though, it is also about the people. The fact that a few people who were seriously concerned got together and eventually made a difference. I don’t want to ruin the story but some do see a happy ending – which brings an overall positive dynamic to the story. Well worth the read!

Rating

4 Stars

If you like non-fiction books, especially about pets, this is a great read!

Where did I get it?

The author gifted me a kindle copy.

 

 

 

 

Gabriel’s Send-Off by Elle Danielson

**Contains Adult Content**

Summary:

Practically every woman at Klingman and Landis Accounting has a crush on their office manager Gabriel. He’s thoughtful, honest, and fills out a business suit like a GQ model. Of course there are strict policies against hooking up with the boss, but when Gabe announces he’s leaving the company, a few of his most ardent devotees come up with a plan to show him their appreciation. Will their beloved supervisor take them up on their offer?

Overall

This was an erotica with a sweet vein. I have too say there are two redeeming factors in this book – the main guy, Gabriel, seems like a genuinely nice guy and the steamy scenes were very sexy. There was a sweetness to them mixed with the hotness. Although there were a few words used that were more crude and disrupted the flow, there weren’t many of them.

It is fast paced and easy to read in one sitting. There were a few character inconsistencies that weren’t logical, but for the genre it wasn’t the focus. I was surprised at the depth of character development and it brought an extra layer to the story. The biggest drawback was the story felt like it rushed to be something that didn’t fit quite right. Although it was cute it was also very impulsive.

Rating

3. 5 stars (rounded up)

I have to round this up just for how sweet Gabe was. He really did feel like a nice guy. Drawbacks aside this was a cute short read with just the right amount of steam.

Where did I get it?

Picked up a copy on Amazon.

Eyesha and The Great Elephant Gathering by Nadishka Aloysius

Summary:

Eyesha the baby elephant visits the Minneriya Tank with her family for the first time to experience the annual Great Gathering. Curious and adventurous, she makes new friends – but will she be able to stay out of trouble?

Overall:

This is just too cute! A sweet short story about a young elephant who is spunky and curious. I read it in one sitting! I loved the subtle information drops about elephants and how they are. Good for reading to younger kids. It also contains a lot of useful information at the end that was just as fun to read as the story.

Rating

4 stars

This is an adorable little read. If you love elephants and your children do, this is a great read before bed.

Where did I get it?

Author gifted a copy to me.