Single in Southeast Texas, by Gretchen Johnson

Just when you thought the dating scene could get any worse, along comes a little town called Beaumont: the cringe-worthy dating tales inside are bound to make someone feel a little better about their love life.

Paige was a delightful protagonist—one that had a firm grasp of not only herself, but what was important to her. And she wasn’t afraid to let her gentlemen callers know it, either. Each chapter was a standalone tale of one man dated (with the occasional interlude) and the outcome. They are both hilarious and realistic. The writing style is well-suited to the almost tongue-in-cheek narration of Paige’s love life. There’s a variety of situations to choose from; many of which I think would look familiar to many people, both men and women alike. A knack for excellent back-and-forth dialogue as character exploration let these encounters feel much less tedious than long, winding paragraphs and exposition. A whole story is told, with lots of character development, through each chapter, as disconnected as they might have felt.

My heart goes out to anyone that’s gone on a date like those mentioned in the novel. I cringed. I laughed. I sighed. I swore. It remained lighthearted, something that suited the tone well. This was a good read. A very good read.

Zombie! Haunted Mansion, by Zombie Origin Media

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Zombie novels are usually quick to grab my attention, and this one was no different. It had a nice, quirky opening done in a unique formula that was alright in small bursts. Unfortunately, it persisted throughout the entire narrative.

A bunch of friends gear up and set out to the middle of nowhere to celebrate graduation—the classic opening done in every horror film. Then, zombies attack, and they escape to a haunted mansion owned by an old, eccentric, elusive man. Their adventures get weirder as it seems not only are zombies out to get them, but the entire house is too!

The opening was true to classic horror and, to be honest, I was picturing very Camp Crystal Lake-type stuff going on. The friends, all of whom followed classic stereotypes, were engaged in some well-scripted banter. Ninety-nine percent of what transpired was told through dialogue or onomatopoeia, and the rest told by the inner monologuing of the narrator, Jesse. However, Jesse’s monologuing was mostly just commentary on what was happening because there was little to no description that existed beyond Jesse’s observations. At first it was a cute and quirky way of doing things. It didn’t take long to get old, though. I frequently found myself frustrated at being denied any sort of look at the setting or backgrounds. Things popped in and out of scenes by thumps and dialogue. Even with Jesse’s running commentary, no real time was given to the surroundings and the setting. Trying to picture what was going on was very frustrating. It started off face-paced and remained there, with little time for characters to rest between things.

With all my frustrations, I really liked how realistic the dialogue felt. At least if that was what I had to see ninety percent of the time, it was done well and easy to read. Let me also emphasize the realistic part. It brought the characters to life, gave them so much voice and personality. The characters themselves really popped. I’m so sad that nothing else did. The story itself was an entertaining one. It put a neat little spin on zom-comedy.

I get what the author was going for with the blatant sensory deprivation for the reader. It was done in a goofy, humorous way that felt like a Disney carnival ride. It was a unique writing tool that served certain scenes very well. Unfortunately, it was not suited for the entire novel. It was more suited for a graphic novel or a comic.

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Drip: A Gothic Bromance, by Andrew Montlack

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They say that those involved in the higher ups of the corporate world are nothing but bloodsuckers. Of course, that’s meant as a metaphor…or is it?

Fresh out of school, two friends embark on a journey for their professional careers. Through a mixture of connections and luck, they land themselves jobs at a company where only one has the experience necessary. Alas, so fickle is fate that even the best laid plans don’t always work out. Sacrifices are necessary to climb the corporate ladder…but are they worth it?

Bloodsuckers are real with their own special twist to fit the plot of the story. And it was a good story. Themes of friendship, karma, betrayal, and of course the soul-sucking rat race of the working world blended well together for a nice, neat story.

The writing style was smart and paced to match the tone of the narrative. Only once or twice were character interactions ever awkward, but it was like the tiniest hiccup on otherwise smooth seas.

J. D. and George’s relationship, one of the most important dynamics of the tale, was very realistic. There’s not one without the other, regardless of current emotions or the power imbalance between them. Resentment, anger, and imperfections were all present, but they remained friends that would do anything for each other regardless. Their character development was broadcasted loud and clear from the beginning.

Speaking of ends, this had an ironic, sad twist to it that ended things on the only respectable note it could. It was satisfying and, in my opinion, tied up the loose ends. It demonstrated well that the term “happy ending” will always be open to interpretation.

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In the Glow of the Lavalamp, by Lily Wilson

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This is one of those books that, based solely on the title, I would pick up off the shelves without hesitation.

I would not have regretted it.

It was a collection of other peoples’ tales of embarrassing, bad, and hilarious sex. The author prefaces the novel by explaining that it’s a universal constant, and if you think you’re not included, well, that’s probably why your calls aren’t getting returned.

There’s plenty of humor to downplay the uncomfortable feelings usually associated with talking about sex. There were tales that turned traditional norms—both the acts and the kinds of people involved—on their heads.

They weren’t all about sex, either. Some were just plain humiliating stories that would let the reader know someone was having a worse day, or just provide a laugh that someone somewhere, desperately needed.

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The Moaning of Loaf, by Ade Bozzay

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I adore weird, off-the-wall novels with dirty, dark, and cynical humor. They tend to stray in directions far from the comfort zone of mainstream narratives. Because of that, I feel that oftentimes they’re more creative and interesting. However, I will say that, unfortunately it takes a certain kind of reader to appreciate and understand it. Therefore, a niche audience is required. 
The Moaning of Loaf was just one such novel. To start with, Nobby is an unattractive, unlucky–or incredibly lucky, depending on how you want to look at it–lonely man. His life is essentially a joke, but he makes do. After a knock to the noggin, he woke up in an alien spacecraft. Think his luck gets any better? That’s open to interpretation. Nobby seemed to be the luckiest unlucky man just…ever. 
There were many reasons to like this novel. Nobby was an unconventional character in many ways. Throughout all his misfortune, he managed to maintain such an odd outlook on life. It fluctuated between pessimism and blatant disregard. As a character, Nobby just kind of is. He was nothing extraordinary or special–and he knew it. Yet he still managed to carry on. 
Tonality was a huge deal for narration. It set a light and humorous, yet decidedly dark and cynical way of reading. It balanced the actions of the story well. 
A wide array of characters were available, and they all had positive messages to teach; be it the reader or Nobby. My favorite one was that it was easy to admit when you were wrong and apologize for any misgivings your ignorant actions may have caused. Especially where cultural differences were concerned. There was a whole lot of respect floating around. It showed that people of all types can, in fact, set their differences aside and get along. However, it also demonstrated that prejudices do get in the way and aren’t the easiest thing to overcome. 
The plot was good. Thing did feel a bit rushed at the end, though. It made the climax sort of flat and unimpressive. I really want to give this novel a higher rating. I do. I can’t, though, because it was incredibly unpolished. Quite a bit of technical editing was needed to put this novel where it needed to be. 
I enjoyed this novel a lot. I won’t say it’s for all audiences, but those it is meant for will love it. I would love to see a fully edited and polished version. It had quite a bit of potential as either a standalone or a series. 
Buy it here!

Audio Review is Live!


We are pleased to bring you our very first audio review! Constructed a little differently than written reviews, they go a little more in-depth.
This one is for Moristoun, by Kevin McAllion. Huge shoutout to Kevin and his patience, as well as his continued support of us and our endeavors. Head on over to Amazon and check it out! Follow him on Twitter as well.
We’re hoping this won’t be the last. For now, however, it is the only one. Considering becoming a Patron, or donating on Book Reviews Anonymous for more content like this in the future!

Moristoun, by Kevin McAllion

There are so many places I could start with my review of Moristoun. It was the kind of book that was so well put together that I want to talk about everything at once. It had such a good message.

Things in Moristoun aren’t quite what they appear. Between a lawyer and a man that’s given up, the little island holds two distinct meanings.

Alright. To the story. I already said how good it was, right? No? Well…it was great. It was the kind of story that set things up four chapters ahead of time, after snippets of foreshadowing. Once the reader caught onto what was happening, the sense of excitement and anticipation heightened. There was just enough information to cast a niggling doubt in the back of the readers mind that maybe they weren’t guessing right. So when the actual delivery came, it was still something of a surprise.

My first impression of the novel after reading one page was of Terry Pratchett and the Discworld series. The farther I got into it, the more it proved me right. The metaphors and imagery were so creative and appropriate. Off the wall and funny. They hit their meaning on the mark, all the while making a satirical jab at the subject matter. And boy, Are they hard to miss.

As someone who’s dealt closely with the overarching theme of the novel, I liked how it was handled. I liked the message and how it was weaved into the narrative. Sensitive subjects were handled with tact. The author manages to take something of a philosophical approach when world building. It integrates flawlessly with the story.

Characters were fabulous. There was so much depth to them, and they were all relatable one way or another. Their development was palpable and happened at appropriate points in the novel. While the tone of the novel seemed calm and peaceful, there was always the underlying threat of conflict. Both internal and external story lines contributed to the depth and realism. Nothing was ever perfect.

This is yet another I want to add to a list of “must-reads.” It was that good. Everything from character creation to world building was just so spot on. It wrapped up without leaving me questions or unsatisfied. It took a unique approach to a subject that people love to talk about, but rarely in a good context. Definitely add it to your reading list.

Buy it here!