Random Book Review Roundup- #2

It’s the November roundup of recent book reviews! Although I read all the time it seems, I wanted to get this fresh-baked set of reviews out and about before the holiday season descends upon us all with its madness and merriment. All reviews are also included on Amazon and Goodreads while being listed here as well so take a chance, read a new favorite or simply gloat with pride, you deserve it!

I’ve also included the star rating even though it’s not entirely necessary. I find it an antiquated tradition and only opinion but hey, where would we be without a star system determining our satisfaction, or lack thereof, a person’s writing worth? To me, everyone should be sitting at 5 stars just for doing the damn thing, but I digress. I won’t post links as you’re all internet sleuths and can find your way without the hand holding. Without further ado, read on, keep writing, keep creating, keep being you and enjoy!!

Stories for a Storm Filled Night (The Storm Series-The Short Stories) by Alan Scott–4 stars

Scott’s detail to character development takes center stage in this collection of short stories related to his series, The Storm Series. Not having read those previous offerings, Scott details exactly where and when his offered short stories take place within his fantasy world weaving a tapestry of continuity on an expert level. Leaving no stone unturned, readers are treated to closer inspections, darker findings, and greater introspection of his created world and the characters that live there.

Although reading Scott’s Storm Series would increase reader satisfaction and overall understanding of the timeline of events detailed within his collection of short stories, it is not a requirement. Each story offers up enough information and, based on Scott’s assistance with how each story fits into the grand scheme of things, readers will no doubt enjoy the ride of uncovering and learning more about his creations.

Masterfully weaving short stories that display how life, events, and situations can shape us, Scott beautifully shows the aftermath as well perfectly placing these “one-shots” into their respective timeline. A fantastic addition for anyone who has read the Storm Series or plans on it, or for anyone who enjoys in-depth characterization in a short story format that blends flawlessly with larger works and within this offering as well, you cannot go wrong. Good read all around!    

Chainsaw by John Bender –4 stars.

Gives good mullet.

In Chainsaw, Bender delivers a rollercoaster ride of redneck humor and blood-soaked visuals that dives deep into backwoods hilarity while going full-tilt duh in all the right spots. More fun than pass the cousin at a hillbilly reunion, Bender pulls out all the stops and pushes the envelope on toilet jokes, dirt road mentalities, and gory splashes of ineptitude.

At its heart, Chainsaw can be seen as two good ‘ole boys trying to better their positions in life while the powers that be continue to push them down. In a clash between the have and the have nots, greed meets stupidity, and Bender makes it all explode firework-style with displays of vulgarity in all the right spots in this fast-paced comedy horror short read.

Although readers may feel the grisly and crude are over the top, most will find themselves laughing as well as holding back their lunch watching this created train wreck play out within the pages. The characterization, while not as deep as the well that tried to eat Baby Jessica in the late 80s, was well placed and thorough enough that readers can visualize, if not smell what Bender is giving us. There was some head-hopping and odd switches to narration in a couple of spots which can lead to confusion, but readers enjoying Bender’s cruise through the backroads and woods will no doubt easily breeze right past the stumbles.

True to the feel of the first few pages, Chainsaw never deviates from its deliverance of speedy trailer park trash calamity and the trench ass greasiness of bad decisions, bloodshed, and mans’ never-ending quest for money and anything with boobs. It works, even with some flaws. Although a hard three on the star rating, the shock value and moments that had me laugh aloud while reading it tipped it into a 4-star rating due to the pacing and overall enjoyment which, in the end, is what it’s all about. Bender’s work brings with it so many elements that work well together that readers will be more forgiving of any downsides they may find. Funny, gross, crude, horrifying, and rude, it’s a quick jaunt into debauchery on many levels and well worth the price of admission.

It’s Joe Dirt meets the Dukes of Hazard sipping moonshine on a back porch with Tucker and Dale vs. Evil and the Squidbillies while Smokey and the Bandit plays on a dirty old television in a run-down cabin in the same neighborhood as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It is an amalgamation of many things and Bender offers as many referenced nods as imaginable during the run of his offering while remaining original and fresh. Much like Aunt Ella-Mae’s potato salad after it sat out for 4 hours in the sun at a family picnic, Chainsaw delivers and stays with you long after the last flush. Good stuff if you’re into it!

Boredom & Bedlam: A Supernatural Comedy Short Story Pairing by Joel Spriggs— 4 stars.

Having not read Over a God’s Dead Body, Spriggs’s first book in his Wrong Gods series, I wasn’t sure what to expect in this short story involving characters Jake and Esmy but in the end, it was well worth the read. Comedy takes center stage as magic and mayhem run amok after boredom decides to stir the pot resulting in hilarity during this short read.

Consisting of two separate quick tales, Spriggs expertly crafts a fun romp in two completely different scenarios involving his characters that give readers a taste of magical life outside his main series while highlighting how power can sometimes cause more problems than solve. An enjoyable zippy read that is sure to entice those new to Spriggs’s series as well as delight readers of the first book with a one-shot offering that explores his characters in a new light and continues the fun he has brilliantly created.   

Unseen by Rebecca R. Pierce— 5 Stars

A deceptively short read that brings creepy depth.

Pierce does more with the seventeen pages of Unseen than most could ever imagine in this short read horror offering. Weaving the past and present in a smoky haze of confusion, Pierce creates a world of shadowy mystery that takes readers on a slow walk into terror while leaving subtle hints at her true intentions until readers have arrived at their final destination. Masterfully bringing growing tension, Pierce delivers her horror short free of extensive amounts of gore choosing to offer readers a more classic approach with just enough blood to get the job done which blends beautifully with her created vibe. Monsters come in all shapes and sizes and, while Pierce certainly showcases this thought, it’s the cleverly detailed scenes, overall mood, and sadistically hidden truths that are revealed that give Unseen its final punch that will haunt many a reader for days.

If you’ve managed to read this far, congratulation and much love. Also, I like cookies and have a sweet gummy fetish if you’re wondering what I like for the holidays. *winkwink* Lastly, thank you to the awesomely talented authors I read from this month and I look forward to not only future work from you all but from the entire writing community.

–KJF

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