In Mortality, by Mark Marks



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On a mission in the jungle, Thomas Rex and two compatriots, stumble upon a discovery that could change the entire world. They risk life and limb—sometimes literally—to bring it back and study it. 

This was a fast-paced adventure geared towards a younger audience. However, I feel like the style and word choice didn’t really coincide with the target audience. There’s a significant lack of description and almost all telling without showing. That was consistent in a style that’s for younger audiences. I feel like word choice was a bit more sophisticated than it should have been. 

Being so fast-paced and shallow, there wasn’t a whole lot to the characters. It was difficult to sympathize and care about their struggles because the narrative focused on getting everything out. I was really disappointed with his two of the scientist were left as strictly comic relief in the most embarrassing manner. I felt like they contributed very little to the store except as convenient and silly plot devices. That aided, I think, in the disconnect between reader and characters. 

That being said, the premise of the story itself was good. The author had a lot of good ideas; execution was lacking. I liked how things were meant for the betterment of humanity. There’s a very positive tone to the storytelling, which gives a faux sense of hope that maybe one day things won’t be so bad. 

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Loading: Life, by E. N. Chaffin

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The premise of a preternatural, video game-esque narrative is one that isn’t always done too well. However, in Loading Life, real world and video games mesh together excellently. 

Hero, the downtrodden, troublemaking main character without a special ability, is paired with Annie Mei, top student, for a project that will allow him to pass a class in school. From there his life gets weirder and more malicious, while he himself grows as a person. 

Now, usually when the main character is a delinquent, or made out to be something of an uncontrollable statistic, they’re inherently abusive in one way or another. In Loading Life, the author takes a different approach. Sure, Hero is a butthead, but he doesn’t abuse his friends or Annie, especially. Not using her as a sounding board was a huge deal for me. Therefore, when Hero’s character development came, he learned he didn’t need to be scared and run away. He learned he could ask for help. He wasn’t given up on and tossed aside like so many wanted to do. He was still a butthead, but it turned into friendly banter. Character development was huge in this novel for almost every character, even the minor ones, like the guys in the gang. The reader also go to know the characters well without a clogging info dump. 

The writing style was well-suited as well. It was light and serious where it needed to be. Gritty in places without being over the top. As for the world building: HUDs, mana bars, health bars, and things of the Life were as well-integrated as magic would be in a fantasy setting. 

All-in-all, a rounded novel. It’s easy to get sucked in. While the storyline isn’t necessarily original, the storytelling is refreshing and everything wraps up nice and neat at the end. 

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Invinciman, by R. T. Leone



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Welcome to the exciting world of Robox, where robots beating the snot out of each other in cage matches are used to settle disputes on a scale you won’t be ready for. 

Ray Martin gets involved with Daniel Darque’s brainchild–a sentient robot named Darquer–and man does his life go wrong. Between a revolution, a botched assassination, and a genius’ downward spiral, poor Ray doesn’t have much time to breathe. 

I really enjoyed how well-organized the narrative was. It bounced a lot back and forth between past or present quite a bit, but only a handful of times did it feel awkward. They back and forth usually mirrored each others’ causes and effects. Backstory was given without an information dump using that method. Ample time was provided to get to know the characters and get a feel for their depth. 

I liked how friendship and loyalty were tested. Just how far can one be pushed in order to show continued support for their best friend? Ray found that out whether he wanted to or not. There’s many levels of dynamic storytelling involved with the narrative: corporate takeovers, political satire, and brilliantly engineered plots all weaved together. 

A tightly woven narrative with characters pretty well-developed and an ending sure to make even the most stoic of readers feel something. 

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Fractured, by Elizabeth Antonucci


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Talking about life-altering injuries is never easy. It seems, more often than not, that said injuries negatively impact a persons personality, mental health, and overall quality of life. It’s a pretty safe assumption of how things go down, at least.

The authors’ tale in Fractured certainly has a more upbeat tone than others. She faced her own obstacles, both inside and out, but she also seemed to have a support system in place that helped her through; something a lot of folks don’t have.

It also offers excellent glimpses into how to be a good pillar of support for someone going through a traumatic experience; something I definitely wished was more talked about.

It did jump around quite a bit, and it was a very mellow story, but an interesting one nonetheless.

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Update

An actual picture of me trying to balance my life recently Source: http://www.nereusprogram.org

Since I’ve been getting a few emails recently asking for a status update, I figured I’d go ahead and post this to reach as many as possible. 

I’m slowly slogging my way through things. 

When I first set this site up, I had enough spare time that allowed me to read and review a book a day. Unfortunately for me (and everyone else!), that is no longer an option. I’m lucky to get one done per week now. 

I haven’t forgotten, nor have I lost anything. 

I think over the course of the next week or so, I’ll try to create a list of what I’ve got left, and the relative order in which the authors are in. That way, everyone can see where I’m at as well, and as I post the reviews, cross said book off for everyone to see. Does that sound like a good idea? 

I appreciate everyone taking time out to check up on things. Hopefully in the next few days I’ll have something more than: “I’m sorry, I’m working on it!” 

Until then, however: I’m sorry for the delays. I promise I’m working on them! Thank you so much for all your patience. 

I Made a Mother Out of May, by Hala Alzaghal



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A memoir in a poetic state. Personifications and epic imagery try and bring themes like grief and depression to life. A baring of the soul, if you will. 

The writing style takes some getting used to. Getting a feel for the actions and pacing of the story is a little rough, especially if you’re not aware of what it’s about. It feels like an expressive poetry journal. Though there are only two poems within, the writing style makes it seem as though the whole novel is. 

It’s definitely a different sort of read. A very personal read. 
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