Monday, August 31, 2015

Scarily Boring

Richard Scarry's Best Word Book EverRichard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever by Richard Scarry
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 1 of 5 stars




* * * Note: I read and reviewed this along with my 5-year-old niece Emma * * *

Emma has real doubts about that title. I fought for Richard Scarry, but I'm afraid the 5 year old girl might be right.

Scarry's cartoony fantasy land populated with eyelid-less, anthropomorphic animals was absolutely beloved by yours truly when I was but a wee lad. However, this incarnation has none of the sense of fun found in the Scarry books I read as a boy. Nothing, I mean nothing out of the ordinary happens in Best.... In the Scarry books of my youth, the characters got into all kinds of zany japery. I recall one high-larious episode in which an ape went for a joy ride that turned the town upside down!

description
(In retrospect, I think the ape was a watch thief.)

This...thing is nothing more than animal people doing nothing untoward, just normal day-to-day activities: waking up in the morning, playing on the playground, building things, farming, going shopping, etc. There are pages of airplanes, cars, zoo animals, firefighters, things you'd find at the beach, and facial expressions. Each page is filled with these items. Each item has its word beside it. Each page has one short, explanatory paragraph with such "riveting" prose as:

School is fun. There are so many things we learn to do. Kathy Bear is learning how to find a lost mitten.

OH MY GOODNESS! Call out the National Guard! Someone get the Bureau of Lost Mittens on the line!

Holy hell, talk about boring.

Not only is this book fun-free, I couldn't even find my favorite character Lowly, an earthworm in a dashing little hat.
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Aside from a logo on the cover, Lowly doesn't seem to appear in the book at all. Each page is so very busy that perhaps I missed him, but I looked and looked for such a long while that Emma went off to entertain herself elsewhere and came back some time later asking, "Did you find him?!" Yes, that exclamation point is necessary. Emma possesses an "indoor voice," but likes to know she's being heard.

Okay, so clearly Best... is meant to be a book for learning purposes, but did it have to be so purposefully dull? One reason my be that this was one of the author's very early books. I'm no Richard Scarry scholar, but it would seem he started off staid and later amped up the good times.

Whether you were born in the '60s or the '00s, kids like fun, and so for this one the Emma-o-meter registered utter disinterest.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Liam Davis & The Raven


Anyta Sunday
Self-Published
Reviewed by Nancy
4 out of 5 stars


Summary



Liam Davis is a serious journalist, and he’s good at it.

Or at least, he was. Until the chief of Scribe, the campus magazine, makes him give up his politics column to write for the party page—the party page that is problematic for two reasons: One, it threatens Liam’s chance of getting the traineeship with his apathetic father at his prestigious newspaper company, and two, he has no idea what it means to party, let alone how to capture this new audience’s attention!

But Liam Davis is no quitter. He’s determined to prove to his father, the chief, and above all himself that he can do it—and do it well.

Life doesn’t make it easy. Not when Freddy Krueger comes stalking out of the shadows to attack him. Luckily the Raven, the campus vigilante—the vigilante getting hate mail sent to Scribe’s opinions page—comes to his rescue.

Now, between finding the perfect angle for his party page columns and making friends (and perhaps something more?), Liam needs to find this mysterious Raven—not only to thank him, but to warn him to watch his back.




My Review


Liam Davis is a student journalist writing for the campus magazine, hoping to gain apprenticeship at his father’s firm. In order for him to accomplish that, he needs to hold an editorial position for two years. He works hard and believes the features editor position is a possibility in the very near future, but Chief Benedict wants the students to be challenged. So he reassigns everyone to different positions. To Liam’s consternation, he is asked to write the party page. For lots of reasons, this really sucks. Liam is not a partier, he has no friends outside of work, and his life is solely devoted to studies.

If this story were told from any other perspective than Liam’s own, I might have found it difficult to finish. Even still, he was a difficult character and it took some time for me to warm up to him. As a journalist, Liam’s skills of observation are well honed. His social skills, however, need some work. Thankfully, the party page provides Liam with the opportunity to make some new friends and learn who the Raven is.

Liam is blunt and insensitive at times. He also seems incapable of expressing emotion or responding to others’ feelings. It’s awkward and frustrating at first, but I really enjoyed watching Liam slowly come out of his shell and gradually become a character I could empathize with. Liam’s character is well balanced by those of his new friends. There’s Quinn, his roommate, and his close friend, Shannon. There’s also Hunter, amateur photographer, and partially paralyzed after a brutal gay bashing incident. Liam’s two rivals at work, Jack and Jill, make his life difficult, as does his distant father.

These are very real, engaging characters that I enjoyed spending time with. The mystery surrounding Liam’s attacker and rescuer mystery was light and clever, with a few surprises. This is a thoughtful, humorous and entertaining story that made me smile.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai (The Song of Shattered Sands, #1)Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P. Beaulieu
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

In the city of Sharakhai the people hope to see the Immortal Kings overthrown. Çeda, a young woman with a sad past, fights in the pits to make a living. Çeda as much as anyone prays for the downfall of the Kings and on one holy night she may have just received the hint she needs to overthrow them.

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai from the outside seemed so appealing. It has an interesting cover and the premise was promising. The first chapter of Çeda fighting in the pits as The White Wolf enveloped me with excitement, but unfortunately the story meandered past mediocrity to the point of drudgery from there.

In many ways this book is centered around mystery, but for me it missed one crucial aspect necessary to make a good mystery...I need to care. I was unconcerned with the Kings secrets of immortality and Çeda's secret was painfully obvious. Page after page of mystery I wasn't concerned with and tangents that were no more interesting left me drained whenever I tried to read the book.

In the end Twelve Kings in Sharakhai just wasn't a story for me.

1 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Half A War

Half a War (Shattered Sea, #3)Half a War by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mother War's long shadow has once again covered the Shattered Sea. Grandmother Wexen has built an unfathomably enormous army and means to crush all who stand against her.

Half A War was an interesting conclusion to the Shattered Sea trilogy. The story takes place three years or so after the events of Half the World. The uneasy alliance between Gettland and Vansterland still exists, but has been largely toothless as their ally Throvenland could attest to since they were eradicated and their allies did nothing to help.

Once again Joe Abercrombie opted for all new point of view characters and the results were mostly good. The new point of view characters are Princess Skara, Koll, and Raith. Princess Skara is the granddaughter of King Fynn of Throvenland. Skara's words are her weapons and she's forced to wield them to avenge her grandfather and her people. Koll is the energetic young boy from Half the World who has now become Father Yarvi's apprentice. Raith has been raised basically as a wild dog by his master Grom-gil-Gorm. He's also the sword bearer and cupbearer for Gorm.

I have to admit I would've preferred seeing Father Yarvi, Thorn, Brand, King Uthil, Grom-gil-Gorm, Grandmother Wexen, or pretty much any other crucial returning character to have the point of view chapters rather than the new comers. Much of the story is character driven and while Skara and Koll make fine characters I felt as though Raith was a plague nearly every time he appeared. He just felt false and I could hardly believe or relate to anything that happened with him.

Abercrombie takes another stab at love with two separate love stories intermixed and while one of the two was equal to Thorn and Brand's story in Half the World the other felt incredibly forced and fake.

This book left me with a different feeling about some of the returning characters. The Iron King Uthil earned my respect and admiration as a character. Steel is the answer and Uthil brings it every time he appears in the book. Father Yarvi and Grom-gil-Gorm on the other hand became underhanded snakes and I don't mean that in any nice way.

Half A War is a good title for this book because the story started wrapping up about 80 pages too soon. Unfortunately the plot again became rather predictable and I figured out what was going to happen with incredible accuracy. Even though this book is aimed at a young adult audience, the writing is still grim and brutal. I really don't see how this qualifies as young adult other than that it's less grim, brutal, and sexual than Abercrombie's adult novels.

Half A War was an adequate finale to the Shattered Seas trilogy.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

NIGHTMARES, GRANDMOTHERS WITH FROG FACES, AND MORPHING LOTS OF MORPHING.

The Shadow Over InnsmouthThe Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

”One night I had a frightful dream in which I met my grandmother under the sea. She lived in a phosphorescent palace of many terraces, with gardens of strange leprous corals and grotesque brachiate efflorescences, and welcomed me with a warmth that may have been sardonic. She had changed--as those who take to the water change--and told me she had never died.”

It might have been the uncertain light from the flickering fire casting deceptive shadows across my friend’s face or maybe it was the way the lush, aromatic smoke from our smoldering cigars circled around his head, but I could swear that I was seeing changes morphing the features of Robert’s face as he told me his tale.

He showed me a piece of jewelry with grotesque depictions of insidious looking creatures engraved on its surface. I rubbed the engravings vigorously with my thumb as if I could smear the gold and blur their hideous features.

“I’ve seen them.”

I gave him a startled look. “You mean in your nightmares like the fantastical one about your grandmother.”

He sighed and drained his glass of cognac and signaled into the darkness for another. “Jeffrey, you are my only hope. The only person I know who could even begin to fathom what I have seen, what I have experienced. Out of all my friends, you are the most likely to be able to set aside what you think are absolutes and allow me the courtesy of objectively considering that what I’m telling you could possibly be true.”

I nestled back into the oxblood leather of my chair. I considered the set of his face as best I could. His eyes seemed larger suddenly, black as if the pupils had encroached outside of their normal sphere. A waiter appeared, dressed in dark colors, barely distinguishable from the surrounding darkness except for a white napkin tucked in his belt. He dropped off two more cognacs and evaporated back into the midnight recesses of the room. I’d barely touched the first, but I felt that this might be a fine time to add some fortification, given that I felt an uncontrollable, insane urge to grab one of the decorative shields from the wall of the room so that I would have something between me and the words that were about to be shared.

I flicked a trembling hand in the air. My hand had a pale luminescence as if I were reaching for a torch burning under water. “I appreciate your faith in me, dear Robert, please do continue.”

He flicked the piece of jewelry with his finger. “These images are mere stick figures gouged into a cave wall by an ancient man when one compares them to what they actually look like.”

”I think their predominant colour was a greyish-green, though they had white bellies. They were mostly shiny and slippery, but the ridges of their backs were scaly. Their forms vaguely suggested the anthropoid, while their heads were the heads of fish, with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of their necks were palpitating gills, and their long paws were webbed. They hopped irregularly, sometimes on two legs and sometimes on four.”

“You’ve seen them yourself? If anyone else were describing these creatures to me, I’d think they’d been reading too many Penny Dreadfuls”

“I nearly didn’t escape them.”

He held up a hand to quiet the questions bubbling to my lips.

“I discovered that this piece came from Innsmouth, Massachusetts. My curiosity was peaked as to the origin of the artwork. Little did I know that I was being pulled by more sinister forces than just my own natural interest in the extraordinary.”

“What a peculiar statement, Robert. Are you saying that something was compelling you against your will to go to Innsmouth?”

I watched his hand reach out for his glass. The fingers, as they wrapped around the round curve of the cup, were deformed. It took me a moment to ascertain that the fingers were misshapen by what appeared to be webbing.

I gasped.

“What’s the matter, Jeffrey?”

I looked up at his face and then looked down at the hand again. Robert’s hand now looked as normal as my own.

I laughed weakly. “Your tale of fantastical creatures has permeated my brain with disturbing apparitions.”

Robert leaned forward. “Do I look alright?”

He did, too pale, the standard problem with academics. We all began to look like cave creatures after long bouts of research. Whatever morphing I was seeing was merely my own hallucinations. I was starting to wonder if I’d ingested something that was unbalancing my vision. “You look fine, Robert.”

“I’ve been seeing things in the mirror. The Innsmouth look as they say. It is as if something has been changing in me. I do wonder about my own sanity. I’ve been researching my family tree and have discovered that I am descended from a prominent Innsmouth family.”

“What an odd coincidence that is," I exclaimed.

“I’m beginning to believe that none of this has been happenstance, but more to do with predestination.”

“More like morbid curiosity, my old friend,” I said, but doubt was beginning to hang a heavy stone around my own assurances.

“I’m going back to Innsmouth. I do think that I will bring my uncle with me. You know the one that has been incarcerated for mental illness. I’ve been having thoughts of liberating him.”

“Liberating the insane? Is that wise?”

“Maybe he is not insane. Maybe he is just not where he is supposed to be.”

“You are worrying me, Robert.”

He sighed heavily. “It is all so complicated, but only because I keep denying what needs to be done. I’ve been keeping notes of my research and of my dreams. I’m leaving them with this scholar in Providence, Rhode Island, named H. P. Lovecraft. We’ve been corresponding for some time. A strange young man with a voracious appetite for anything I might know about these creatures.”

After we parted that night, I never saw Robert Olmstead again. After months of hearing nothing from my old friend, I decided to take the train to Providence and see if this Lovecraft fellow had seen or heard anything. I knocked and battered at his door, but he refused to come out to see me. His windows were covered with what looked like sheets of metal. I found a place where a hole had been bored through the window frame. As I peered through the aperture, I was momentarily shocked to find myself looking eyeball to eyeball with him. His eye widened and then fell away from me. I heard this awful clatter followed by what sounded like terror induced moaning.

I heard him scream something odd...something that sounded like Cthulhu. Though he screamed it several times, I’m still not sure I heard properly what he was calling out. After several more minutes of pounding on the door, extorting him, and menacing him with all forms of retribution for not helping me, I finally gave up.

There was nothing for it. I was going to have to go to Innsmouth.

The man who checked me into the hotel didn’t look right. ”He had a queer narrow head with a flat nose and bulgy, stary eyes that never seemed to shut. His skin was rough and scabby and the sides of his neck were shrivelled and creased up.” He had a half drowned, dropped on his head too many times look about him that sent a shiver up my spine.

“Have you seen my friend, Robert Olmstead?” I gave him a brief description. He looked at me for longer than was necessary and finally shook his head.

“Listen, you degenerate rogue, I can tell you are lying.” I slapped my hand on the counter for emphasis which made him jump back. The first look of mild intelligence crossed his amphibian features.

He walked around the counter, picked up my valise, and started up the stairs. I weighed my options, but decided it was late and probably the best thing for me would be to rest and recuperate from the long hours spent on the train. ”It would perhaps have been easier to keep my thoughts from disturbing topics had the room not been so gruesomely musty. As it was, the lethal mustiness blended hideously with the town’s general fishy odour and persistently focussed one’s fancy on death and decay.” To further discombobulate my already acute discomfort, the bolt for the door was missing. I wedged a rickety chair under the door knob. The chair looked old enough that Captain John Smith may have put the grooves in the seat with his very own buttocks.

I didn’t feel comfortable enough to undress or even pull my shoes off. I expected at any moment to have some horrendous beast burst through the door intent on my eminent destruction. I tossed and turned. The musty smell of the room and the general stuffiness of the high humidity was driving me to distraction. Finally out of desperation, I decided to leave the uncertain safety of my room for a brisk walk around the town. Few lights offered any help in determining a surefooted way. Luckily, the moon was full and illuminated a choice of paths. I decided that a walk down to the shoreline was probably my only hope of relaxation.

The smell of the salt air did clear my head. I peered out at the water and thought about the stories that Robert had told me. They couldn’t possibly be true. My fear was that his mind was cracking and that the unfortunate circumstances of his uncle might be one he currently shared. I noticed that the waves were being disturbed, that something, possibly wreckage from some unfortunate vessel, was coming ashore.

”For a closer glance I saw that the moonlit waters between the reef and the shore were far from empty. They were alive with a teeming horde of shapes swimming inward toward the town; and even at my vast distance and in my single moment of perception I could tell that the bobbing heads and flailing arms were alien and aberrant in a way scarcely to be expressed or consciously formulated.”

Fear gripped my spine. I wanted to scream, but only an inhuman gurgle was able to traverse the constriction of my throat. My legs, fortunately, responded, and soon I was fleeing at a helter skelter pace up the pathway to the hotel. There were several of them waiting for me outside the hotel, but I flailed my way through them, shuddering every time my fist or my boot came in contact with their foul, nauseating flesh. I ran down the road and out of town. After my stamina began to fail, I crawled into a ditch and shivered all night long expecting at any moment for a webbed hand to reach for me.

I must say, I feel no end of guilty torment over my decision, but I gave up on my quest to find Robert. Once back in civilisation, I returned to my books. I occasionally happened upon some mention of trouble at Innsmouth, but my eyes would always blur before I could read more than a few words. My hand refused to continue to hold the newspaper. I pined for my good friend, Olmstead, but I feared that if I ever did see him again, he would be a creature intent on making me immortal in the most grotesque of forms.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Disassembled ManThe Disassembled Man by Jon Bassoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Disassembled man was my third read from author Jon Bassoff and his debut novel, from his other two stories the darkly disturbing Corrosion and the instantly forgettable Factory Town it would be interesting to see where this one would go. The Disassembled Man is told in a brash, maniacal first person narrative in true psychopathic style with lashings of dark and dirty humour.

Frankie Avicious is a man with a plan, one that's creeped up on him over time, shitty job at the slaughterhouse and a wife who has loads of potential in the wealth department but has let herself go somewhat over the years. Change is coming, he's making promises he can't possibly keep but that's not going to stop him trying and once you take the first step there’s no going back.

First off, he's in love with a stripper who sees him more as a stalker than a love interest, he hates his obese wife with a passion but her father is the big knob on the hill, a man with serious money. Now how can he get his hands on all that money and run away with the stripper of his dreams? It's gonna take some careful planning, or maybe not, let's just kill the old man, wife will inherit the money and then kill her, simple as.

Prepare yourself for a ride of carnage as possibly the most morally repressed man you've ever come across dives into a killing spree that would make psychos are us extremely proud.

Ruth is the wife and it would be fair to say that Frankie's love for her has waned just slightly over the years.

'She had more rolls than a bakery and more chins than a Hong Kong phone book.'

Tongue in cheek humour and violence follow after an argument.

'I should tell you now that Ruth suffered from a rare psychological disorder called insanity. The doctors gave her medication to stabilize her moods, but she must have forgotten to take her magic pills that day. In the wink of a con artist’s eye, she went from behaving like a loving housewife to a wild-eyed psychopath.'

And the punch that changes everything.

'but in all my life I don’t think I’d ever landed a better blow than this one. My fist vibrated, and she just stood there for a moment— the way a cartoon character remains suspended after walking off a cliff— then her knees gave way, and she collapsed to the floor.'

Frankie then has to win his Ruth back after she storms off, with money at the forefront of his mind, when he finally manages to convince her of his love it comes at a cost. A steamy night of passion and some hilarious scenes as Frankie in his mind goes to battle with a sexual tyrannosaurus.

'Then, like a Japanese kamikaze pilot, I readied myself for destruction. I dove into bed and was quickly smothered by the beached whale that was my wife.'

A mysterious traveling salesman named Jack Marteau takes an interest in hard drinking Frankie's fate as it becomes just a matter of time before he gets what's coming to him.

The Disassembled Man is a cringingly entertaining trip that has plenty of laughs, a war zones worth of violence and slaughter, some deranged family moments including incest and more than a fair share of depravity. All for money, the root of all evil but it's never that easy or we'd all have plenty of it. If moral fortitude and goodness of heart is what you're after then you're knocking on the wrong door with this story, prepare yourselves is all I will say.


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The Devil Gave Them Black WingsThe Devil Gave Them Black Wings by Lee Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Devil Gave Them Black Wings is a supernatural tinged thriller that resides in the aftermath of the falling twin towers.

Jacob walks a life of misery and despair, his wife lost in the disaster and he seeks closure, if it can ever be gained in the loss of a loved one, by burying her ashes at the house she grew up in. He can't find the house though and spends his time drinking in the park, sinking into the depths of depression.

This is where he meets Nina, a thirteen year old girl who recognises the sadness in him and also the goodness, he's broken and she needs to fix him.

'Her heart was pounding because he looked so goddamn lost, so in need of help, but she couldn’t help him, even at thirteen she knew that no matter how much somebody else needed you, you couldn’t change a thing in their lives: you could only listen if they spoke, and you could only hold them if they leaned on you.'

At the same time a little girl goes missing from the park, an abduction and a frenzy. People search for Jacob, the authorities, his wife's brother, Nina is desperate to see him and to warn him. Amidst the search for an abductor there's a dark, shadowy figure with names tattooed up his arms, a guardian or something much worse, a sheer nightmare.

'Only his features seemed to pulse, one moment blurry, the next razor sharp, then they’d blur again and for the life of him Jacob knew that if he looked away he would never be able to describe the man to anyone.'

A reporter toys with more depravity as she figures the abduction forms a pattern, a police officer looking for revenge and in the middle, one man grieving and one morally perceptive young girl deeply troubled by those around her.

'How much grief did you have to suffer, he wondered, before your mind shattered and you couldn’t keep anything straight.'

The Devil Gave Them Black Wings is a beautifully written tale of anguish, despair and immense sadness. A story of depth that is heart rending in places, the loss of a young love, a child not yet born and if that wasn't enough, a girl kidnapped in broad daylight. The parents distraught and burdened beyond measure with the knowledge that blame will never be far from thought.

Emotional just doesn't seem to cover it, there is darkness in people just as there is light and Lee Thompson expresses it better than most, flips between the two in the blink of an eye and you can't help being gripped by it all. I highlighted that many quotes that I actually found it difficult to pick the right ones for the review and that just about says it.

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14

1414 by Peter Clines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When broke and directionless Nate Tucker finds an extremely affordable apartment, things quickly take an odd turn. Why does the light in Nate's kitchen always act like a black light? What's with the seven legged cockroaches? And why are all the other apartments as quirky as his? That's what Nate and the other tenants of the Kavach building aim to find out. But will they survive what they find?

After reading The Fold, I had the fever and the only cure was more Peter Clines! 14 has all of what I loved about The Fold and was quite an engaging read.

14 is the tale of an apartment building that has more mysteries than the entire run of Murder, She Wrote. As Nate compares notes with the other tenants, the Kavach building slowly gives up her secrets. I could easily see 14 being an episode of The Twilight Zone or the Outer Limits.

When the purpose of the Kavach building was finally revealed, I was one happy monkey. To prevent spoilage, I'll only say that I didn't see it coming and I was really glad the direction the book went in after that.

Clines' writing is very suspenseful and the way he gradually revealed the history and purpose of the building was masterfully done. If the book has one weakness, I'd say it was the characters. Nate, Tim, and Veek were the only ones I was terribly attached to. The others were immigrants from Clicheville, if you ask me.

All the tie-ins to The Fold made me glad I read that book first. Actually, now I'm waiting for Clines to write another book to tie in with them.

That's about all I have to say. 14 has everything I look for in an odd read and was very enjoyable. Four out of five stars.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Over The Wild Blue Yonder

The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45 by Stephen E. Ambrose
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Slow down with that zipping and zooming about, whipper-snapper! This is a far tamer tale. Like the planes Stephen E. Ambrose is describing herein, his prose plods along at a steady, satisfying pace. These are not jet fighters, these are workhorses carrying out a task.

The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45 is just as much the story of George McGovern as it is of the pilots and crews of those famous World War II bombers. McGovern is most famously known as the Democratic candidate who lost to Nixon in the 1972 election, the year the Democratic National Headquarters was raided by Republican operatives in the dead of night during a little incident you may have heard of called Watergate. Prior to that, he piloted one of these finicky, taxing aerial beasts.

description

Ambrose wisely uses McGovern's wartime experience as a template and as the narrative thread for his treatise on the B-24, infusing a dull, non-fiction text with a human element, a technique in vogue with popular, modern day historians. The people like a good story. McGovern's life is perfectly entertaining in this context, but Ambrose heightens his book's readability by adding in the stories of other pilots and those of McGovern's flight crew. All of which turns a book about a plane into something much more humanistic. The reader can't help but develop an attachment to these courageous men.

The Wild Blue is a solid niche book for those familiar with WWII, but who want to have a deeper understanding of this specific facet of the war.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

True Grit


Charles Portis
Simon & Schuster
Reviewed by Nancy
5 out of 5 stars




Wow, what a great story! Mattie Ross is just 14 years old when she hooks up with Rooster Cogburn, the “meanest” U.S. Marshal, to avenge her father, killed by an outlaw who took advantage of his good nature.

Mattie endures bad weather, illness, grueling hours on horseback, runs into outlaws, and fights off rattlesnakes. She’s tough-talking, honest, loyal, fearless, and I enjoyed every moment with her. I also loved the realistic historical details and well-drawn secondary characters. The gruff and unkempt Rooster Cogburn was a perfect match for the stubborn and willful teenager.

Mattie’s thoughts and exchanges with Rooster were hilarious.


“Nature tells us to rest after meals and people who are too busy to heed that inner voice are often dead at the age of fifty years."

“I had hated these ponies for the part they played in my father’s death but now I realized the notion was fanciful, that it was wrong to charge blame to these pretty beasts who knew neither good nor evil but only innocence. I say that of these ponies. I have known some horses and a good many more pigs who I believe harbored evil intent in their hearts. I will go further and say all cats are wicked, though often useful. Who has not seen Satan in their sly faces?”



The story is told by Mattie 50 years later. She is wealthy, unmarried, churchgoing, and as spirited as she was when she was a teen.

Though I’ve never been a fan of John Wayne films, I really enjoyed this classic. The remake, directed by the Coen brothers and starring Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn, is also well worth watching.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Half the World

Half the World (Shattered Sea, #2)Half the World by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thorn's a girl touched by mother war who fights every day to become a warrior. She finds herself bruised, bloodied, and named a murderer by her teacher. Thorn becomes indebted and oath bound to serve Father Yarvi as he schemes to find allies against the High King. She crosses half the world in search of allies for Gettland while making some of her own like Brand a warrior who wants to do good more than anything.

Half the World is a strong sequel to Half a King. Half the World has politics, conflict, and battle galore.

While being a sequel and seeing many familiar characters such as Father Yarvi, Queen Laithlin, and King Uthil, the story changes it's point of view. Instead of having one point of view character in Yarvi we get two point of view characters in Thorn and Brand. This change strengthens the story and the mystery because Thorn and Brand are young and don't know much of what's happening at any given time unlike Father Yarvi who's pulling many of the strings.

I really enjoy the characters particularly Father Yarvi, Thorn, and Brand. I must admit that I miss the younger Yarvi from Half A King. Father Yarvi is a harder man who isn't afraid to do what's necessary for the greater good of Gettland. This Yarvi is a deep cunning man who seems like the type who rarely jokes or even smiles. He's a man that's seen too much of the darkness in the world and will never be the same because of it. Father Yarvi is a stronger more determined man than Yarvi from Half a King.

Thorn is interesting because of her personality. Thorn starts out as a fiery young woman who has trained with the young men her entire life. She is fierce and stubborn while being quite capable in battle against the young men of her age. She goes from being an arrogantly proud annoyance who thinks too highly of herself and her skills to a fairly humble woman who has skills worth bragging about. It's also interesting that despite being a warrior woman Abercrombie gave her some insecurities. It's good to see heroes and heroines who are far from perfect. Thorn's vulnerability made her more relatable.

Brand is interesting because of his convictions. Brand desires to be warrior like the ones in the songs. He wants a band of brothers to stand shield to shield with while earning glory and riches. Above all Brand believes he desires, he wants to do good. Brand is constantly striving to do good throughout the book despite the consequences. Brand is the character I find myself relating to the most.

The biggest surprise to me was to see Abercrombie put together a love story in the midst of all the conflict. The author captured perfectly that awkward excitement of being a teenager in love. The characters uncertainty, desire, and misunderstandings mixed into a quite familiar feeling of being a teenager who has developed romantic feelings for someone. I have to say it even had me remembering my own awkward teenage infatuations.

Joe Abercrombie truly captures the futility of war. His characters talk of the songs sung, the scars earned, and the reputations won all the while showing how different the truth is from a song. He doesn't make it seem glorious, but rather haunting.

One of my favorite parts of reading Half the World and all of Joe Abercrombie's work is his powerful quotes. Joe Abercrombie is one of the most quotable authors in fantasy today. One of my favorite quotes from Half the World was, “Those with bad luck should at least attempt to balance it with good sense.” Another quote I particularly like was this one on relationships, “I always thought of being together as the end of the work. Turns out it's where the work starts.”

Half the World isn't exactly what I expected in a sequel, it's even better. The new characters Thorn and Brand carry the story in a way I never expected and that made it a memorable sequel. I excitedly look forward to the trilogy's conclusion.

4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Half A King

Half a King (Shattered Sea, #1)Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit I wasn't sure what to expect with Half a King. Having Lord Grimdark himself Joe Abercrombie write a young adult novel didn't fill me with confidence regarding this book...but I was wrong.

Half a King is another strong book from Abercrombie about a boy with a deformed hand who should have never been king in Yarvi. Yarvi was training to be a minister when disaster struck in the form of his father and brother being killed. Yarvi then becomes king, gets engaged to his cousin, and vows to get revenge on those who killed his father and brother. Things go downhill for Yarvi quickly after that.

Yarvi strikes me as a young Tyrion Lannister before having the first of Tywin's sharp lessons. Though he's clearly intelligent he's a bit naive which leads him into the trouble that is the bulk of Half a King. The parallels between Yarvi and Tyrion are clear. They most clearly each share a physical deformity that makes others overlook them in a world where warriors are more important than basically everyone else.

My only complaint is I found the books major twists quite predictable. It's a shame because I love being unsure of the major twists, but I figured out the ending half way through the book.

In most ways this book seemed normal for a Joe Abercrombie book except there aren't any sex scenes or even described nudity. So if anyone likes Abercrombie, but dislikes the sex scenes this is probably a book for that person. Also anyone who is a fan of Abercrombie will find plenty to enjoy in Half a King.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

SHIPWRECK BY LOUIS BEGLEY

ShipwreckShipwreck by Louis Begley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

”The conclusion I reached came down to this: none of my books, neither the new novel nor any I had written before, was very good. Certainly, none possessed the literary merit that critical opinion ascribed to them. Not even my second novel, the one that won all the prizes and was said to confirm my standing as an important novelist. No, they all belonged to the same dreary breed of unneeded books.”

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The trouble with John North, as it is for most of us, is in his head. It is the spectre of self-doubt that begins to violate his normal sensibilities regarding himself and his work. Every award he has ever won has been pandering. Everything he has ever created is far short of where he wishes it could be. He is in the midst of a full blown mid-life crises.

We first meet John North when he encounters a man in a café called L’Entre Deux Mondes. Over numerous hours and too many bottles of whiskey North relates what he calls the story of his life to this man. It isn’t his entire life for he is mostly obsessed with only a few months of his life. In this short span he learns more about himself than he has in all the rest of the years of his life put together. Louis Begley leaves it up to the reader to determine if the man in the bar is really there or a doppelganger. I like to think that North is slowly getting completely smashed and telling his story back to himself. He is a writer after all. He naturally must analyse what he knows. How could he possibly help but change the narrative?

As doubt is wrapping itself around all that he believes about himself, he meets a journalist in Paris. He is there to do some interviews around the coming film based on his first book. Léa, works for Vogue, but fashion isn’t really her game. Her main preoccupation seems to be in collecting interesting, successful men. ”I had taken stock of her skin, nose, and pouting lips. Now with her opulent blond mane so close to my face, as I stared at those fabulous legs and imagined the shape and heft of her breasts, I became aroused. There was no doubt about it: she was truly beautiful. And seductive beyond what I had imagined.”

Beauty, so easy to come by when one is still blooming. Lust, so easy to inspire when one is unhindered by the passing of decades. Desire, so easy to achieve when genetics gives one universal appeal. A word of caution though, everything in this world is on a lend lease contract.

North is old enough to be Léa’s father which is immaterial to anything, after all he doesn’t want to marry her. He only wants to borrow her exuberance, her taut skin, and feel the allure of youth again. The point is that this is to be an affair, a short lived affair.

No one need find out.

He is, after all, happily married to his accomplished, desirable, and devoted wife Lydia. He is reassured by the fact that Léa tells him about all the ongoing affairs she is having with various men she has met while doing her job. This can all be justified.

”People are most often wrong about sex. As you have probably guessed, I opened this parenthesis, which I will soon close, to demonstrate that, contrary to ignorant middle-class prejudice, which holds that men become ‘fucked out,’ intense and inventive lovemaking with a woman who is a great lay...rebounds to the sexual benefit of the wife. The husband’s interest in women, and in the unbeatable pleasure to be found in fornication, rises sky-high.”

So really he is having sex with Léa to improve the already (he admits this) wonderful sexual relationship he has with Lydia. I would have more respect for North if he would just admit that he wants his cake and be able to eat it, too. He wants to feel more alive. He wants to steal some inspiration from Léa and hopefully improve the way he feels about himself.

Of course, there is guilt; it is hard to escape the gloom of remorse. There is also fear, the nerve jangling anxiety of Lydia finding out. Léa, as it turns out, knows a lot of people that know him. How quickly the jubilation over his conquest is replaced with the trepidation over the possibility of being caught. Misgivings are flooding his mind even before the soiled sheets of his hotel bed can be changed.

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Part of the attraction of the luscious Léa is her easy availability. North didn’t have to chase. He simply had to take advantage of her enamored view of him. He had to allow himself to be collected, to become a notch on her bedpost, a small part of her unpublished memoirs of the men she had seduced. Another calculating aspect to this situation is that this is a woman who is used to men cumming coming and going out of her life.

She won’t be any trouble.

In his overall assessment of the situation, his own arrogance may have miscalculated the possibility that she might become obsessed with him.

North is brimming with arrogance, hopeful, blessed arrogance that he will manage to extract himself with his superior wit mingled with a heavy dose of dumb luck. As it turns out, he may have to resort to much more sinister scheming as his desperation becomes more acute.

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Skimming through a few other reviews, it seems that people are struggling with the fact that North is not a likeable character. I must say he can’t help that... he “was drawn that way.” Of course, that was Begley’s intention to create this man so truly misguided, so bored with his own successes, so deluded by childish logic, and so unbelievably self-centered that by the end of the novel whatever sympathy or dollop of respect you might have for the man will easily float in the neck of a freshly opened bottle of whiskey. The Begley writing, as always, is superb. You want to like North just because he is allowed to express himself so well. He might even convince you, briefly, that his rationales are...well..rational. North is a wonderful character study that might even convince a few men to not put their pet bunnies at risk of being found on the kitchen stove in a hot pot.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Black Cat MojoBlack Cat Mojo by Adam Howe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Black Cat Mojo, how best to describe this collection of 4 short stories, well I had more fun than a tornado in a trailer park, its just graceful as a pig on ice, lower then a mole's belly button on digging day and hotter than two hampsters farting in a wool sock.

If your mind regularly trips or even gets pushed down to gutter level and don't we all occasionally, then you'll be in heaven with these tales off debauchery and immoral wickedness.

First up is Of 'Badgers & Porn Dwarfs' staring Rummy the famous porn star dwarf with the foot long schlong. A thoroughly twisted, funny as fuck journey into redneck land where Rummy the tripod is kidnapped by a couple of hillbillies after killing their prize badger. Recompense is required and they're going to film him doing the nasty with their Momma.

I could go quote mad here.

'Momma made a gurgling noise, deep in her throat. She started teasing up the tarp, flashing Rummy some leg. Literally: one leg. She’d lost the other leg above the knee, probably to diabetes. All that remained was a gnarly stump, baby’s ass-pink at the sawed-off end. The leftover limb—and the other leg, for that matter—was rashed with bedsores and bristling with coarse black hair. She was naked below the waist. Her leg and stump led to a bush like a verminous haystack. The old hag’s labia grinned at Rummy through a rat’s nest of wiry hair, the withered brown lips glistening like something gone spoiled in a fishmonger’s window. Yolky yellow mucus oozed down her inner thighs, pooling on the bed.'

Nasty.

"Just to warn you,”Troy said. “Momma’s a squirter, so hold on tight."

Seriously I'm so tickled I can't get my leg down.

There's more of course, comparisons to a fisherman's bait box, you get the idea it's all deep down dirty humour and refreshing in a way it really shouldn't be.


The second story is 'Jesus In a dog's Ass', Hank and Marsha live in a trailor, Hanks just bought a video camera with the intention of filming their sexual shenanigans and selling it. Big bucks, he thinks, while Marsha is completely unaware of his plan. So he sets about getting some practice in by filming the dog taking a dump.

'Hank started filming the dog doing his business . Hank was sure other folks would find it just as funny as he did. He figured he’d film a few weeks worth of shitting, then edit the footage together with a music track playing— Duelin’ Banjos, say— put it up on YouTube with a catchy title— SCOOTER TAKING A SHIT.’

Then something amazing happens, watching the footage they see Jesus in the you know where. This starts an avalanche that can't be stopped, there's queues at the door and people are paying 5 bucks to spend time looking at Scooters ass.

Now this story goes in tandem with two of the finest crooks you'll ever come across, if stupid could fly then these guys would be the fastest jets on the planet. I mean these guys rob the piss wagon so a sample doesn't make it back to the lab to be tested, there's more to it but this really is fucking priceless. And then another genius plan.

Now the other two stories were ok but I was just blown away with the first two as you can probably tell. Well worth giving this a try it's near to the knuckle and very well written.

This was provided by the author in return for a completely unbiased review and I'm pretty fucking glad he did.

Also posted at http://paulnelson.booklikes.com/post/...

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The Ghosts Of Evolution: Nonsensical Fruit, Missing Partners, and Other Ecological Anachronisms

The Ghosts Of Evolution: Nonsensical Fruit, Missing Partners, and Other Ecological AnachronismsThe Ghosts Of Evolution: Nonsensical Fruit, Missing Partners, and Other Ecological Anachronisms by Connie Barlow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Ghosts of Evolution is an account of fruits and their missing seed dispersers.

Ever wonder what eats crazy-looking fruits like the Osage Orange? It could be that nothing living does, that the preferred organism for spreading the seed has been lost to the sands of time. Connie Barlow investigates fruits from around the world and points out the probable ecological anachronisms.

For instance, the avocado seems to be intended to be devoured whole by some megafauna, possible a ground sloth, but no such megafauna exists in its range. Fortunately for some of the tastier species, mankind has taken on the role of seed dispersement but some species aren't so lucky.

The Ghosts of Evolution was one of the more interesting non-fiction books I've ever read. It made me harken back to my pre-teen days of wanting to be a scientist, several years before deciding having friends was more important than being the smartest kid in the room. What was I thinking?

Anyway. The Ghosts of Evolution is a fascinating exploration of the ecosystem and what happens when it gets disrupted. Four out of five stars.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Mysterious Wish Fulfillment

Parker Pyne InvestigatesParker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Fantasy Island for the mystery set!

This isn't Agatha Christie's typical who-dunnit mystery. Half the people that come to "investigator" Parker Pyne for help are just bored. Makes sense since that's who he advertises for, those who are unhappy and don't know what to do about it. So, his clients are often people with money who want someone else to make life interesting again for them...

That is difficult for me to swallow. I come from a background where money had to be hard-earned, penny by penny. As I've aged I've also learned the value of time. I tend to loath people who say, "I'm bored" and I feel "killing time" deserves capital punishment. It is murder after all. So, I found the very premise of Parker Pyne Investigates repugnant.

Much of this book is wish fulfillment. A client meets with Pyne, unburdens his woes, and then Pyne sets up an improbably scenario in order to spice up that person's life. In these short stories, Pyne sets up thrilling adventures and minor mysteries to put a little pep in his client's lives. More than once the issue is little more than a husband or wife who's bored with the other. So Pyne creates jealousy and soon they both realize how foolish they've been, how much they still love one another, and they live happily ever after. I honestly could've slept my way through this book.

There are a few actual crimes solved herein and occasionally Pyne flashes Sherlockian genius. Pyne is no Poirot, other than his girth, but occasionally Christie can't help but mix in some of that crafty Belgium's cleverness. However, there's not enough character in this character. Again, his girth aside, Pyne is flat. The most interesting things about him are his intuition into human nature and his unintentionally absurd notion that lying to your significant other is the key to a solid relationship. Yes, I understand "white lies" are what is meant or at least what it could be explained away as, but it honestly sounded like ridiculous, archaic advice column mumbo jumbo. Hell, this whole book is mumbo jumbo!!!



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Friday, August 14, 2015

Silent Woods


Ofelia Gränd
Beaten Track Publishing
Reviewed by Nancy
5 out of 5 stars



Summary


Daniel is married to an amazing man—a nature-loving man—and when that man suggests the family goes camping Daniel can’t say no. But even before they’ve left their home Daniel has a feeling that something is wrong.

He almost succeeds in convincing himself everything is as it should be, but then their five-year-old son, Axel, goes missing.

A search party arrives, and the two fathers encounter something far more sinister than either could ever have dreamed of. Will they find their son before it’s too late?


My Review



I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read this story, as I am really pleased so far with the offerings from Beaten Track Publishing.

This lovely, haunting, and tense story kept me riveted and wormed its way into my dreams.

Anders and Daniel are parents to two adopted children, Maya and Axel, who are biological siblings from Argentina. Though they have been together for thirteen years and have a very loving relationship, the two men are like night and day in many ways. Daniel loves the comfort and convenience of urban life, while Anders is an active, adventurous nature lover. Despite Daniel’s dislike of bugs, creepy wildlife, and the eerie solitude of the forest, he agrees to a two-day camping trip with his husband and children in their home of Sweden rather than visiting a foreign country, as Daniel would have preferred. Anders is knowledgeable about the forest, its plants and inhabitants, and its mythical landscape and also wants his children to love and respect nature. His confidence in their adventure reassures Daniel.

What starts out being a peaceful exploration of their new surroundings and quality family time gradually turns into a nightmare. Daniel and Anders are uneasy about the lack of forest sounds – no leaves moving, no chirping birds, and the unsettling feeling of being watched. They keep their anxiety to themselves, not wanting to worry Axel and Maya. In spite of their vigilance, a parent’s worst nightmare comes true and Axel goes missing.

The police come to investigate, and it is obvious to Anders and Daniel that important information is being withheld from them, like details about past drowning incidents. The tension continues to build up as the two men cope with their guilt, fear, and frustration at the lack of resolution in their case. Daniel’s and Anders’ fear, emotional intensity, and desperation are palpable and made me break out into a sweat.

As the inspector in charge becomes more forthcoming about the drowning incidents, the men learn there is some truth in folklore. I loved the mystery, the tension, the creepy ending, and the very believable portrayal of a loving family that shies away from excess sentimentality.

Ofelia Gränd is a new author to me, but you can bet I’ll be on the lookout for more of her stories.

Special Guest Post - Jason Parent interview by Paul Nelson

Welcome to the blog Jason.

Happy to be here! Thanks for having me. I absolutely love the background images and enjoy reading your reviews.

(You are the man)


I really enjoyed both your novels Seeing Evil & What Hides Within, Let’s talk about your first novel. One scene that sticks in my mind was the surgeon stepping back and hearing the crack of porcelain being pulverized underfoot and stammering “where’s the skull piece”. What was your favourite scene and the one you had second thoughts about?

Yeah, people either seem to really like the doctor scenes or find them really stupid. I do… kind of, maybe, perhaps… treat doctors as bumbling idiots in that book, though I do not think my portrayal of their bedside manners is that far from the truth (in my experience). But yeah, I enjoyed writing those scenes most—lots of tongue in cheek humor, which I plan on revisiting soon.

I had second thoughts about some of the actual people I reference anecdotally, not only because it could date the book, but also because I’m not out to piss anyone off. And I am not talking about Hannah Montana – she’s so bad, I consider her fair game.


Do you plan follow-ups to either of these stories? (Hoping for more spiders)

Yes.

(And)

Oh, you want more? Well, I’m putting the final touches on a story the pre-dates Seeing Evil but also features Detective Reilly. That story has a somewhat personal touch, and it has been a long time in the works. I don’t intend this or any other story with the Detective to be a sequel, prequel, etc., but rather a stand-alone book – sort of like separate case files.

As for What Hides Within, I have an outline for a second work. For obvious reasons, though, a sequel would feature an entirely new cast, save for those that survive my final chapter.


There’s a completely different edge to your two novels, one had me in stitches with the sarcastic humour and the other a much more emotional journey. How did writing the two stories differ from a personal point of view?

Well, I hope WHW showed I can write horror, mystery and dark humor. Seeing Evil, I hope, shows I can write a fast-paced thriller, with characters that may not be stereotypical heroes but that the reader can thoroughly connect with – relatable, human, empathetic. I want to grow as a writer. I don’t think one form is better than the other, but instead let my characters and their personalities dictate the tone of the story. Clive Menard was a clueless dolt, which allowed for some humor. The characters in Seeing Evil have been through more than their fair share of suffering that laughing at them just didn’t feel right.


Seeing Evil deals with some topics close to a lot of people hearts, did you draw on experience or did it all come from the mind?

Personal experience, controversial topics over the past years in American news (bullying, gun violence in schools, etc.) and my sordid imagination.


Favourite scene from Seeing Evil & the one you deliberated over the most? (spoiler tags can be applied)

Chapter 3, the chapter that really sets things in motion. I tried to nail several emotions in a truly horrific scene that is all-too-real. And not just from Michael’s perspective, but from everyone else’s in the scene. I would think it would be hard not to feel for Michael after that scene, and hopefully that feeling carries forward.


Have you struggled to get inside any of the characters you’ve written about and are you prone to masses of research?

In WHW and Seeing Evil, the characters came naturally, even where their experiences don’t match mine. Human emotion is something we all feel, know well its many intricacies (minus you sociopaths out there – call me, I need to do some research!). Tapping into it isn’t hard, as simple as stepping into the character’s shoes. When my characters go well beyond my experiences, things get tricky. That’s when I become a research fanatic.


It’s my view that a good author needs to be an exceptional study of people, do you notice things others don’t or does it all come from the imagination?

I agree 100%. I am a prolific people watcher (Jessica Alba called it stalking – so overdramatic that one), which is strange since I can’t stand reality television. Oh yeah, probably ’cause that ain’t reality. Like I said above, we’ve all felt every emotion at one point or another. All a writer need do is tap into it, relive his own pain, love, longing, sorrow, etc. through the character on the page.

(That kind of stalking is fine LOL)


If you were stuck on a desert island and could choose 2 books as companions. 1 to read again and again, and one, page by page to wipe your backside with. Which books would you choose?

Ha! My favorite book is The Stand. Plus, it’s a long read, so it will occupy me for a while. I can’t read any book over and over again, but that one I’ve read three times. I am sure I will give it another go in the next 10 years.

My least favorite book is On Walden Pond, also read three retched times. But I’d run out of paper more quickly than if I brought say, War and Peace, so… Does the Encyclopaedia Britannica count as one book?

(soft pages is a must)


Who are your favourite characters both from what you’ve written and what you’ve read? (Clive was brilliant).

From my own work, Chester and Victoria from WHW, Samantha and Michael from Seeing Evil, and Dakota and Merwin from an upcoming work (sort of the good, the bad and the ugly there). And, of course, the monsters!

From the works of others, Pennywise from It, Karl Ruger from The Pine Deep Trilogy, Hannibal Lecter, Dexter, from Silence of the Lambs et al., Marv from Sin City, and Rorschach from The Watchmen (sort of the bad, the worse, and the ugly).

What’s the funniest thing that's ever happened to you? (The more embarrassing the better)

I had an accident in my pants at a very young age, and I don’t know if it was to embarrass me or it was all they had that would fit, but I had to wear woman’s underwear. Scarred for life.

(Haven't we all, had accidents in our pants I mean)


Is there a particular book that made you want to be a writer?

Not so much a book, but an author: Edgar Allen Poe. His short stories were what got me excited about reading and how words could be used to entertain in ways that provoked imagination. I laugh every time I read “A Tell-Tale Heart” as the narrator describes the victim’s vulture eye and why he had to kill him. I sweat beneath the pendulum, behind the meticulously laid wall, or within the maelstrom, becoming his protagonists or better yet, his antagonists.


What’s next in the pipeline and can you give us some inside information? Just between me and you of course ;)

I have two novels (horror, science fiction) out for consideration and a third in its final round of editing pre-submission. I also have several novelettes and short stories in the pipeline. But I am fairly certain the next thing you will see from me will be this September, when Adam Light, Evans Light, Edward Lorn, Gregor Xane and I release Bad Apples 2. I’ve already read a couple of the stories, and I think people are going to love them.

(cool loved the first one)


Know any good jokes?

Two guys walk into a bar. The third guy ducks. Oh , you said “good” jokes.


When you’re not slaving over the books, what do you like to do?

Travel, kayak, watch movies, play poker… long walks on the beach, dinner by candlelight, a hot bath filled with rose petals, and snuggling up in front of a warm fireplace. Oh, this isn’t a site for singles? The first four then, and I also try to jump out of a plane every now and then.


I notice the one line story is becoming more and more popular, and is in itself a powerful storytelling method, can you give it a go for us?

They hid beneath the man’s fine crop of pubic hair whilst pinching with the claws and stabbing with needle tipped toes as they waited for their time to spread.

(brilliant, simple as)

Any issues close to you heart you’d like to share?

Yes. I do not have crabs.


LOL Great stuff, Thanks for dropping by Jason and I'm looking forward to all the new stuff that's on its way.


A little bit more about Jason Parent

When you do a search for Jay on the net, there are a few pictures that come up. I know that this one is definitely him, luckily he has a great sense of humor.



And here's another I assume this is before he started writing. The world needs more DJ's.


Wait is that him can't be sure now.

In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.

In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge . . . as a civil litigator. When he finally tired of Latin phrases no one knew how to pronounce and explaining to people that real lawsuits are not started, tried and finalized within the 60-minute timeframe they see on TV (it’s harassing the witness; no one throws vicious woodland creatures at them), he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble. The flops got repossessed the next day, and he’s back in the legal field . . . sorta. But that’s another story.

When he’s not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, travel any place that will let him enter, and play just about any sport (except that ball tied to the pole thing where you basically just whack the ball until it twists in a knot or takes somebody’s head off – he misses the appeal). And read and write, of course. He does that too sometimes.

You can learn more about Jason, his upcoming works and his appearances here, on 


or on Twitter

and the website 


His latest novel, Seeing Evil, was published on August 4, 2015 from Red Adept Publishing. Below is the synopsis and cover image:

Seeing Evil

Fate in plain sight.

Major Crimes Detective Samantha Reilly prefers to work alone—she’s seen as a maverick, and she still struggles privately with the death of her partner. The only person who ever sees her softer side is Michael Turcotte, a teenager she’s known since she rescued him eleven years ago from the aftermath of his parents’ murder-suicide.

In foster care since his parents’ death, Michael is a loner who tries to fly under the bullies’ radar, but a violent assault triggers a disturbing ability to view people’s dark futures. No one believes his first vision means anything, though—not even Sam Reilly. When reality mimics his prediction, however, Sam isn’t the only one to take notice. A strange girl named Tessa Masterson asks Michael about her future, and what he sees sends him back to Sam—is Tessa victim or perpetrator?

Tessa’s tangled secrets draw Michael and Sam inexorably into a deadly conflict. Sam relies on Michael, but his only advantage is the visions he never asked for. As they track a cold and calculating killer, one misstep could turn the hunters into prey.

Buy it here