The Book of Moon, by George Crowder

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Alright, so, The Book of Moon sounds very much like another book I’m sure many people have heard of: The Book of Job. Guess what? That’s not a coincidence.

The Book of Moon begins with the main character (named Moon Landing—I’m not sure if I want to applaud his parents for their sense of humor or…) summarizing the trials of Job for the audience. Right here is where we hear Moon’s voice, and determine what kind of novel this will be. Now, don’t get the wrong impression—this isn’t a novel about religion. It’s a novel about finding the self in the midst of crisis.

Told in first-person through Moon, The Book of Moon narrates how he and his brother, Moss, deal with their parents’ divorce and subsequent backlash. Both Moss and Moon are trying to take of each other and still try to find their place in the world. Of course, while most of the things the brothers are going through seem trivial to most adults, I think that the author represented the struggle of children well. There was nothing super-fantastical about it—no dragons to fight, no Chosen One—but Moon still managed to go on quite the adventure.

Another strength in this novel was that even though the parents were getting divorced, and the obvious conflict arising from that, never once was the father portrayed as the bad guy. He wasn’t abusive, neglectful, or dangerous. This was quite possibly my favorite part.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a huge dislike for first-person storytelling.  Most of the time the main character comes off as a conceited know-it-all with poor word choice and no individuality. The Book of Moon is one more novel that gives me hope for first-person. Moon told his story in a captivating way that only a young man can: with such satirical humor it’s easy to picture the tone and setting of everything going on. Readers of all ages will be able to identify with Moon and just say “same.” Not a word wasted, or a plot string left hanging, The Book of Moon is a very well-rounded book.

The whole time I’ve been writing, I’ve been trying to think of just one thing I had a problem with, or something that just didn’t sit quite right with me. I’m struggling, honestly. The author did a fantastic job creating three-dimensional characters and settings that really stick with you. I loved it.

Buy it here!

Close Encounters of the Rubber Duck Kind, by Vincent Lemon

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As a kid I always imagined all the silly little things that happened on Earth were for one reason: we were some kind of entertainment channel for aliens.

Vincent Lemon brings that thought to life.

We follow Calzone in his attempts at keeping Earths ratings at number one for the Scripter channels, only to be foiled at every turn by competitive creators that want nothing more than to win the Game of Life.

Throughout the book we see Earth history recreated in hilarious, but sensible, ways. Close Encounters even touches on the theory of multiple dimensions. Have you ever wondered why alien sightings always seemed so out of sorts and without definitive proof? Calzone will show you.

The characters were cute and funny, but the vast majority of them all sounded the same to me. Their personalities differed a bit, however with the exception of just a couple, most of the characters could have swapped parts and not changed the story.

The ending felt a little drawn out, as well. All the loose ends were neatly tied up, I will say, so at least it had a purpose instead of being long-winded and drawn out just so the author could hear themself ramble.

All in all, it was an enjoyable story. The plot was excellent and took some twists that I didn’t see coming (and believe me, I tried!). Definitely a read if you’re up for some humorous satire.

Buy it here!

Murder Red Ink, by Mord McGhee

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Mord McGhee has done it again!

In this stunning and positively horrific prequel to his masterpiece “Ghosts of San Fransisco,” Mord has taken the readers to where it all began.

And Jack the Ripper has never been more terrifying.

Ghosts come to life in an era of technology close enough to smell. Joseph is haunted by dreams so real, it’s almost as if he’s there. Allena is on the run for her life, caught up in something much bigger than she realizes. It’s so much bigger than any of us realize. By the time things come to a head, it’s almost too late.

The characters were excellent. Each one had their own voice, their own individuality. Never once did I feel as though they were cardboard cutouts simply going through the motions of their narrative. A heavy change in tone takes place when the settings switch and it will send shivers down your spine. The reactions his word choice evokes is so strong you begin to wonder if you yourself aren’t there, watching, almost…participating.

There were a few errors throughout the book, but not enough to detract from the overall experience. The ending was a fast-paced thriller that sets things up perfectly for the follow-up.

A stunning penchant for murder, lust, and the most brilliant conspiracy theories, Murder Red Ink is like the grisly crime scene you can’t stop staring at.

Buy it here!

 

Busy Dizzy, by Dr. Orly Katz 

 

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Busy Dizzy, by Dr. Orly Katz is an absolute wonderment of a bedtime story for children. It shows children (and even adults) how to dispel those constant nagging, negative thoughts (known as Dizzys) that continually hold someone back. It’s designed to instill confidence in both children and adults alike through cute little rhyming narrations. I think this would be a fantastic way to plant those subliminal messages in a child’s mind that they can overcome things like shyness, anger, or embarrassment all by themselves.

Buy it here!

Review of Mord McGhee’s ‘Ghosts of San Francisco’

Mord McGhee’s Ghosts of San Francisco is an action-packed, terrifying thriller of what very well could be our own technological future. Death dealing gang members with implants and enhancements that make them nigh impossible to kill, complete takeovers of the private sector by large companies, murder, betrayal…Ghosts of San Francisco has it all.

It has a unique tone in that some of the story is told through recorded transcripts, and then takes you on a wild ride through what actually happened with brilliant character development. Just enough of the world is given to you through the story, and then leaves much to the imagination—which helps create a more horrific image than what you are actually given.

The best part for me? The fact that the main characters were a male/female team, but there was no romantic subplot detracting from the constant action of the novel. Nor is there any overt emphasis on the fact that the female lead is “something special because she’s such-and-such kind of woman.” Not even a tiny bit, which was amazing.

If you want to get a glimpse into where our technologically-based future where no one is safe, then Ghosts is definitely for you. (And it’s the first in a series!)

Buy it on Amazon

Review of “Shattered Advances (The Struggle for Probana) by TC Squires

Shattered Advances (The Struggle for Probana) by TC Squires is a YA sci-fi adventure told through the eyes of a young man, conscripted by the military to ward off invasions from the mysterious enemy known only as Shrouds. It takes you on an emotional train ride as Kaene suffers through loss, responsibility, and the escalating pressure put on him by his new position in the military, as well as his own determination to see the war end.

The writing was detailed and consistent, giving a refreshing taste of a narrative being told through dialogue rather than an off-page narrator, which helps you stay immersed in the story as well as the world. It stays well-paced, revealing only what needs to be revealed at the time, and never skips a beat in unfolding the narrative.

However, some of that dialogue was difficult to navigate as well as read. Everyone talked so formally—and I mean everyone. It made things a bit dry and boring occasionally.

Some of the interactions felt really forced as well; it felt like the author felt obliged to include a romantic subplot, and that was fine, but it was put together rather poorly. At one point Kaene’s advances start to come off as really creepy, though I don’t think that’s what the author meant for.

All in all, Shattered Advances is an excellent set up and beginning to what very well may play out like Ender’s Game.

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Review of ‘The City Darkens’ by Sophia Martin

The City Darkens by Sophia Martin is everything one would want in a fantasy, decopunk world (and I had to look up what decopunk really was). It creates a whole new world where robots run rampant with a roaring 20’s backdrop. Sophia’s writing style brings it all to life in the mind’s eye without being overbearing on the senses.

Throw in a dystopian regime which eventually shows signs of giving way to Nazism, a Norse theme by which society and religion are governed, a very mature outlook on both feminism and sexuality, The City Darkens has a tight grip on exactly what kind of message it’s trying to convey.

Not only the world, but the main character, Myadar, is brilliantly crafted as one of the best-written heroines I’ve seen in a very long time. Myadar is a woman. Just that. Sophia doesn’t make any distinction about what ‘category’ Myadar fits into. She just is. And I loved that; a refreshing step back from how women are traditionally written.

Perfectly paced to, quite literally, keep you turning the pages. I devoured the book in a day. I was reading before work, at work, and when I got home from work. To make it better, Sophia ended the novel with a cliffhanger that was infuriating and oh-so-tantalizing. I smell a sequel? I can only hope.

Also, I worked very hard to keep this concise; there’s so much to go on about it’s not even funny.

Buy on Amazon