The Great Daylight Savings Time Controversy, by Chris Pearce

Be prepared for a textbook-like read on everything you ever wanted to know about daylight savings times.

Origin, evolution, controversy, history—all packed into one neat package. The author managed to organize things in a way that made sense, and allowed the reader a gradual understanding of the subject. What’s interesting about this book is the fact that the author chose to cover the entire world, not just major countries. Getting different global opinions on the subject I think made the information inside a little more valuable. Again, it was organized in such a way that the reader didn’t have to read the entire thing to get their country’s perspective or history.

Textbook-like, dense, and very informative. If this is a subject of interest to you as a reader, I would definitely recommend it.

The Dream Recorder, by C. M. Haynes

Life after death is certainly more exciting than Abby could have hoped for. Being a Dream Recorder means that she watches and records dreams. At least, until something goes awry and suddenly they’re inside the Dreamscape, affecting billions of people worldwide.

The novella is a rather delightful one, featuring a wonderful cast of characters and a well-executed plot. Everything felt smooth from start to finish. The world was planned well and the writing style suited it excellently. There were so many creative, nuanced things that helped enhance the narrative and keep the reader incredibly interested. I had a hard time putting it down.

I will say there are some minor edits needed, mostly involving tense change from past to present. However the rest of the novella is pure quality so those factors can be overlooked.

Definitely a good read. I enjoyed it very much.

The Die-Fi Experiment, by M. R. Tapia

If I had to summarize this in one word it would be: brutal. The extent to which social media has taken over our lives is demonstrated with a live-streamed game show of Saw proportions.

A back and forth of happier times as the main character reminisced and tried to distance himself from the horror he was witnessing and participating in, giving the reader background without overload. The description was on par with horror novels as the contestants are worn down in graphic detail. The writing style is done in such a way that social media was integrated very well into the actual narrative. Brilliant use of hashtags and mentions not only drive the point home, but also serve as a wonderful literary device.

This is a graphic one. Beautifully suited to the theme of the novel and executed very well.

Gold Leafing, by Hannah A’enene

Poetry is a popular form of expression. Let me tell you, this is the most expressive collection of poetry I’ve come across yet.

Everything from observations of people milling about, to sex, to relationships—the author is blatant and straightforward with what they mean. Yet it’s done in a rhythmic way with lots of imagery. This collection starts with a bang and continues on from there.

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.

The Science of Success, by Paula Caproni

What does it mean to be successful? Why are some more successful than others? What can we change about our lives in order to achieve the same level of success as, say, someone born with opportunity?

I can’t really call this a self-help book, but it kinda is. It’s more like a textbook on success, with some self-reflection at the end. It’s an easy read, well-organized, and full of useful information. The author has pulled many studies on the subject to support their words, and all works are cited. Multiple angles of success are used in examples, as well as more than one way of achieving it.

I think this is a good read for anyone in management, anyone who works with people on a regular basis, or just anyone who needs a little extra encouragement that hope for success isn’t lost.

Black and White, by Nick Wilford

Harmonia is the definition of quintessential dystopian futures. The government has a tight hold on everything the citizens do, right down to when they have free time. Everything is carefully controlled and regulated: theie disease-proof, pain-free bodies, their waste and tears, their media. However, the appearance of one little boy threatens to unravel all that the government worked for.

I really felt like this novel did really well in creating a dystopian future. It differed from other novels in the genre in that it didn’t rely heavily on violence; manipulation and deception took its place instead. I liked how the chess game between the government and the main characters played out as a back and forth, each one trying to stay one step ahead.

There were times when things felt a little too easy for the characters. While I enjoyed the interactions with their peers and environment, their personalities felt flat. Certain revelations at the end seemingly came out of nowhere and made the ending feel forced. There was little to no foreshadowing in the book even toying with the idea, so the reader is hit with it and it doesn’t have much of an emotional impact. Not to mention that I felt as though one of the characters involved got left behind with only brief mentions here or there after playing such a huge role. It was a neat twist, and I liked the idea, I just wished it would have been planted better. There was something in the writing style that just…didn’t click or fit with the story.

This was still a worthwhile read. The game of cat and mouse held enough intrigue and drama to keep me turning the pages. I think this was a breath of fresh air in an oversaturated drama.

Jake and the Dragons of Asheville, by Brian Kacica

Jake Winston, son of a heroic fire fighter, lives in a town where legends of dragons are everywhere: good ol’ Asheville. Secret government installations, a mysterious agent named Black, and ancient prophecies propel this youngster into a lifetime of adventure.

The novel started well. Dragon integration with the world seemed to be pretty seamless. Legends were accepted, of course, but everyone scoffed at the notion for the most part—the usual for locals, of course. Jake was at that age where life still held mystical wonders and was easily sucked into all the chaos. He was a personable character. One that interacted well with the world around him. His supporting cast of friends, like Arnie, I thought were excellent as well. They were meaningful to both the story and to Jake, and so they served to push the plot ahead.

The back story of the dragons, and how things used to be, was woven well into the main conflict. I liked the fact that while they were powerful, they still had many limitations. They were at a proportionate disadvantage against humans so things never felt either too easy or too difficult.

Getting on towards the end, however, things started to pick up. I don’t just mean plot pacing—the story itself felt a little rushed. Things started jumping around quite a bit to accommodate shifting perspectives and let the reader know what was happening on all fronts. Doing that, though, I felt like some explanations were lost. I still had some questions at the end.

Overall it was a good story. It had dynamic and interesting characters, excellent and realistic dialogue, as well as a nice writing style. It’s a series I could definitely see myself getting into.

My Shorts, by Arthur Doweyko

Fans of science fiction—more specifically, time travel—will enjoy this collection of short stories. They’re the kind of short stories that always end abruptly, but leave enough information for the reader to piece together what happens. They vary from “holy crap” to “nuh-uh!” endings. While the stories hold similar themes, they do differ greatly between them; different theories and methods of time travel and different consequences. The author at least knows their stuff and it shows.

The one drawback is that these are short stories, so whatever world and characters the author creates are short-lived and not very fleshed out. Most of them are interesting enough that I would love to read a full-length novel.

True Grandeur, by Cal R. Barnes

Stereotypes for artists exist for a reason, and Conrad manages to hit many of them. While searching for his big break, the romanticism of loves’ ideals captures him. Caught deep within tendrils of his heart, Conrad must fight for both his budding career and the affections of the woman he loves.

The whole novel feels like one of those old black and white movies of the Hollywood elite and their inner politics. An overall tone of romanticism and whimsy permeate the author’s writing and ultimately spills directly into Conrad’s character. With the way the story was spun, I honestly expected some sort of Twilight Zone ending.

With only a handful of characters to really keep up with, their interactions felt a lot more meaningful. It allowed the author to explore characters deeply without overwhelming the reader. Conrad’s obsession with Gracie shows the darker side of what one could call love, and it proved to be an interesting dynamic not just between them, but simply for Conrad himself. There were occasions where his overwhelming love for Gracie came off as too much, borderline creepy given the length of time he’s known her, though the tone was meant for something different.

True Grandeur was an interesting exploration of Hollywood and what goes on behind the scenes. I think the writing style definitely fit the tone of the story. It’s one that will get into a reader’s head with very specific imagery.