Wrestling Demons, as it turns out, is about a high-school wrestler that–wait for it–fights demons.
Not on purpose. Not at first, anyway.
Connor Morgan is a varsity wrestler whose life changes after a strange attack on school grounds. The mystery that follows is a tightly constructed one. One of the good types. I thought for sure I had the actual end figured out. Nope. Point to the author.
Drawing heavily on Japanese mythology, the author demonstrates their commitment to research. Yet, it avoids most of the stereotypes that usually follow. Connor isn’t the “Chosen One,” or the white savior. Connor is part of a team. While that team consists of supporting characters, they all feel indispensable. No one gets left behind, and there was some attention paid to their character development. They still felt like individuals with their own personalities. All their interactions were well-done, and the dialogue never felt clunky.
Despite past occurrences, Connor still has a loving family. Words can’t express how much I loved the dynamic. The implicit trust (and refusal to break said trust). The communication that families should have. It still utilizes the broken family trope, but they’re more cracked than anything. Still held together.
I see what the author was doing with romantic subplot. It served a purpose, and it started promising. The farther along in the narrative it got, the less and less I liked his love interest. Her character was fine. It was the actual interaction and conversations between her and Connor I didn’t like.
Speaking of narrative, Connor does an excellent job of recounting his adventures. The tone was appropriate for his character. Details were where they needed to be. They felt more like passing observations, but still gave the reader a good idea of what was going on. Action scenes were well-written. There wasn’t anything super-elaborate or flowery. It wasn’t all “this happened, then this.” There were no “superpowered” kids that learned Kung-Fu in two weeks. It had a nice pace with excellent attention to continuity. When it came down to wrestling, the author didn’t assume that the reader knew the rules. I learned something from this novel. Always a bonus.
I liked the positive metaphors Wrestling Demons contained. And they were obvious metaphors as well. Nothing too convoluted. Nice and simple. The story ended tied up, neat and clean. There was enough left in place to hint at the possibility of a sequel; something I would very much look forward to.
One of the most encouraging things someone can hear is how late someone achieved their dreams. They didn’t wake up at the age of 23-24 with a degree in hand and their foot inside the door. Nor did they know what they wanted to do until well past that. Or have encouragement to do so. Yet, despite all that, the author still manages to achieve what they wanted.
As soon as I saw the title, An Incredible Talent for Existing, I knew I was in for something special. And I was. This book has more motivational potential than quite a few self-help books. The author recounts how their life derailed, and how they got it back on track. Except (because, you know, life) things don’t go as planned. It’s realistic, and it gives a lot of hope for other people who aren’t handed things on a silver platter. Now, that’s not to say that the author didn’t put in their fair share of hard work, but persistence pays offs. Being patient does as well. At least, within boundaries enough to not stall the journey.
Most importantly: it’s okay if it’s not happening now.
The author’s writing style complimented the story. It felt nostalgic, light, and airy. And hey, sometimes real life makes a much better story than things contrived.
Buy it here!
I’ll be honest: I had my doubts about how this was going to turn out.
After a date gone wrong, Tom Collins goes another day without the love of his life. Or does he? And, let’s be real, who is he to define ‘bad date’ in the middle of an apocalypse?
A lot of thought went into Dating in the Apocalypse. There’s quite a bit of backstory to unveil in a such a short space. There needs to be enough information given about characters. The author succeeded. The right environment is present. We have enough of an idea as to what apocalypse they enjoyed, as well as the state of the rest of the area. Tom and co. feel well-rounded. They’re likeable characters. My apprehensions of the ‘damsel in distress’ trope was effectively dismissed. The women were very well-written.
The writing style complimented the tone of the novel. I love the creativity that went into crafting the narrative. While, yes, it is an apocalyptic novel, it strays a little from the tried-and-true formula. Those little strays make a big difference in separating this from the rest. Well, that and the premise of the story itself, which was unique.
Action-packed, character-driven apocalypse. I wonder if they’ll ever make a game show out of this?
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What usually comes to mind when you think of the lights going out? Most likely some kind of horror movie, where bad things happen.
Whelp, When The Light Goes Out, bad things continue happening to young Ami. High schoolers stuck in the middle of an evacuation with no parents sounds like a recipe for disaster. To be fair, it wasn’t all their fault.
The narrative at the beginning is deceptive: it opens like a Young Adult would. With characters introduced and conflict established, the tone takes a hard left. An unexpected hard left. Readers feel the same sense of urgency as Ami. They start to panic with her. Word choice and sentence structure set the pace well. The plot makes appropriate twists and turns. And the plot, as a whole, wasn’t an industry standard. I kind of liked that.
What I liked most about the characters was that they were real. They weren’t perfect do-gooders with a penchant for saving the world. They’re flawed: they drink, smoke, do drugs, and break the law. Yet they’re not the antagonists. Nor are they “bad apples.” All were real people, not boring cutouts. All of them feel like different people. The series of events that occurs does wonderful things for their character development. While they weren’t always getting along, their disagreements weren’t over-the-top. They served as learning experiences, and the writing acknowledges that. The narration did well to show and not tell the story.
Character descriptions I felt lacked, but scenery was perfect for the writing style. So were actions. I little issue picturing what was going on at a given time. For the most part, I felt as though character had realistic reactions to all their mishaps. There was no “sudden superhuman strength” to get them out of jams.
Let me tell you that I enjoyed the romantic subplot in this one. Shocking, I know. I’m such a stickler when it comes to romance. It didn’t follow the standard formula, which was fabulous. Especially since writers have a tendency to use a toxic formula for teen romance. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’m not going to say much more. But. This was a well-done subplot.
A few noticeable errors did pop up from time to time. Most of the writing was pretty solid otherwise.
When The Light Goes Out is a nice read. Slow to start, but once the action starts, it doesn’t stop. It will actually keep you turning the page.
Buy it here!
Not only do I get the privilege of being the first to review this book on Amazon, but I get to give it five stars!
We all have that one weird relative in the family, right? You know the one I’m talking about: dresses weird, talks weird. Your family talks in hushed whispers about how they’re ‘just not right.’
Meet Uncle Herbert. He happens to be that guy. And now he’s gone and dragged his nephew, Andrew, into the fray.
The events of this novel fit right into the eccentricities of Uncle Herbert. It’s a wild ride from start to finish.
The story was neat and tidy. Well thought-out, and finishes with questions answered. For the most part, every character served a crucial role to the story. I say ‘for the most part,’ and I’ll get to that in a minute.
While well-written, there was a lot of uninterrupted dialogue. Properly spaced, mind you, but it felt like one long speech when characters talked sometimes. There was no action to break it up. It was excellent exposition and the information was necessary. It didn’t need to be all at once, though. In some parts, it did serve to jump the narrative ahead, especially given the time frame.
Some of the character interactions felt forced, as did the love story. Remember when I said each character served a crucial role to the story? Avril didn’t. She felt thrust into the narrative to serve as nothing more than the love interest. Her character doesn’t feel as rounded as the others. I like how it ended, I didn’t particularly care for how we got there. The character development was okay. Andrew’s was the most notable, as expected of first person narratives. I wish some of the supporting characters had a little more to them, though.
The author takes great care in how the story unfolds. Character placement and personality become very important, something they manage to reflect. What I liked most was how the author managed to weave little seeds of doubt for the loyalties of the characters. It kind of felt like I was playing Clue. As the cast expands, readers analyze every detail to try and predict how the story will turn out. Because of this, Uncle Herbert isn’t as predictable as it first seems.
There’s some minor editing needed. It’s not enough to tear the reader out of the story.
Uncle Herbert was a book of unique tastes, much like the man himself. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this novel, but I can say I wasn’t disappointed. Adjusting the way the reader’s given information would help how the narrative progresses. Uncle Herbert is a very worthwhile read.