Quick Update

Reviews will resume after the conclusion of NaNoWriMo. I’ll have more to talk about then, too!

J159, by Renee Logan

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*one of these days I’ll remember that Patreon isn’t cooperating on mobile and I’ll upload from home instead*

The pure juror system is designed to keep any kind of bias or if the ‘trial by peers’ mentality. If selected, you’re moved to a facility and isolated for years, on the premise that you’ll be released when your allotted time is up. Corruption runs deep, however. And jurors don’t always get what they want.

J159 was written entirely from Eddie’s point of view. With that, the author challenges themselves to get the entire story across using, essentially, one person and one setting. Kind of like the first Saw movie. There’s significantly less action and suspense, but it still tells a good story. And that’s what this novel focuses more on: the story. It moves a bit slow in the beginning, but after the halfway mark, things pick up a bit with tension and suspense.

The entire thing is at least well-written, and populated with just enough foreshadowing to hold your attention through the slow times. I enjoyed the way the entire thing was orchestrated. The reader really got to know Eddie as a character. The reader gets a really interesting and—might I add—isolated, unbiased view of the overall setting and state of the world. Showing, not telling was expertly used throughout the novel, and so the reader is able to use their own imagination to piece together the outside, instead of handing it to them on a platter.

A novel set this way is going to have inevitable lulls and boring exposition. It happens. There are very clear attempts by the author to make these as painless as possible. I really liked the ending. It felt very fitting to the rest of the narrative, and contains allusions to current events. Definitely worth a read.

Buy it here!

PsychKick, by Mark Marks

*Patreon is still not cooperating with mobile, and I completely forgot to upload from my laptop. That will be up later tonight after I get home*

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What would you do if there was a controversial operation that could save you kids life, but the consequences are unknown? You’d take it, right?

Well, that’s what Dr. Hill does for his friends, the Fullers, after an accident leaves little Ben with little to no chance of survival. Then the side-effects start, and the doctor disappears…now what?

PsychKick is definitely paced differently from the author’s other novels. There’s a bit more effort dedicated to characters and making them meaningful to the reader. There’s quite a bit of buildup to the main story, no matter how repetitious it was. There’s was a dramatic increase in the amount of detail that went into showing the story. After that, things smoothed out and kind of took off.

However, this novel does hit some of the pitfalls the other novels succumb to. Things feel rushed. Everything is still direct and to the point.

There’s a lot of perspective switching, but no clear indication or breaks with the current format. The reader will be engross in the Fullers’ lives, and suddenly they’re with the good doctor and his assistant. It’s jarring and breaks the immersion.

Once again. There’s a lot of good ideas. But this one so far is the best to convey these ideas in a way that connects with the reader. There’s more depth to t. Still very rough around the edges, but there is noticeable progression from the author. The ending was a little weird and unclear, and I want to get behind it because I like the connotations that could possibly be behind it, but it felt out of place. Perhaps give a little extra information as to what happened, and possibly a better hint as to the meaning.

There’s definite change and improvement in the author’s writing style. There’s still improvements to be made, but this feels like the polished of the four I’ve read from this author.

Buy it here!

The Artifactor, by Mark Marks 

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*currently, Patreon isn’t letting me upload photos from mobile. The review for this will be posted there later on*

One thing that’s huge to me in novels is diversity. That goes for characters, settings, conflicts—literally everything. A modern-day treasure hunting story is set in Israel during a time of conflict was a good setup. So far, for all the novels I’ve read from this author, their settings vary quite a bit, as do their conflicts and people. 

After becoming celebrities when a treasure quest goes wrong, Solomon and David go on a series of adventures to bring glorious things back to Israel. 

While there’s plenty of conflict and action to go around, I really felt like things were too easy for the main characters. They never really failed at anything. They were embroiled deep in the conflict, but they felt only mildly inconvenienced by it. The ease at which things happened made things boring at times. 

Again, the author has a fast-paced narrative. This didn’t leave much time to get to know the characters as people. Even more so, the time jumps didn’t allow much for developing relationships, and so they felt cobbled together and just sort of thrown in there. There’s little impact on the story. 

Story continuity was pretty good, and the author has a unique talent for uplifting, powerful messages aimed at a younger audience. Things still felt very rough around the edges. There’s some technical editing needed as well. This is a consistent author. 

Needs some work overall, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve read. I think with some solid revisions this could pop. 

Buy it here!