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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The Mandate of Heaven, by Rob Flanigan

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4 stars

 

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A Chinese takeover of Disney rife with political satire…what could possibly make the Magic Kingdom anymore magical?

 

Bert manages to spend more time at Disney than he ever dreamed possible, thanks to a very unusual set of circumstances. Much of it is very familiar to him—considering it is the life’s work of someone that stole his life’s work. Not even the Happies Place on Earth ™ is immune to corruption and wrongdoings.

 

This was an unusually creative storyline with some unique imaginings. The author certainly channeled their inner dystopian master; there’s many parallels to the current state of things in the US. Some of it feels like satire—the author’s way of inserting their own, personal opinions into the narrative.

 

The dialogue was done well. And while I enjoyed their interactions, there were some moments where I felt disconnected from their relationships. Description was mostly well-done. There were a few areas where it became muddled, but overall it was satisfying.

 

Plenty of humor reined free in a narrative of such serious subject matter. There was still plenty of time set aside for the magic of Disney, and the importance of family. It was explored on two different fronts, and created a wonderful way for the two storylines to overlap.

 

I rather enjoyed this rendition of Disney. It had many good, creative points, and a different approach to villainy. A somewhat slow read at times, but still an entertaining one.

 

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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. 
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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.

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