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review 2019-01-16 17:30
THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER by Calvin Demmer
The Sea Was a Fair Master - Calvin Demmer

THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER is a top notch collection of flash fiction!

 

I have always thought that flash fiction consisted of stories that were only a few sentences long. For example: "The last man in the world heard a knock at the door." That type of thing. I was wrong. Apparently flash fiction can be super short stories-say a page or two. Four to five. Six to seven. Now that I know the correct definition of flash fiction, I'll say this: I love it!

 

I read a ton of single author story collections and multiple author anthologies throughout the year. I've done this since about the age of 12. It seems to me that stories back then were shorter than the tales these days. The last one I read had two stories that were the length of novellas. Not that I'm complaining, but I like my short stories to actually be short. These are!

 

What I liked most about the tales here is that they were all dark, they had lots of variety, and they were ALL GOOD. Seriously, every single one of them made me feel something, made me think, made me chuckle, or made me marvel at how well written they were.

 

My absolute favorite was YARA. Incredibly poignant and super short. It's amazing to me that such feeling and emotion can be communicated in only a few pages, but Calvin Demmer is a master at doing just that.

 

LETTING THE DEAD GROW and HUMANS OR SNAKES were another two stories with disturbing imagery while at the same time being wildly creative. UNDERNEATH, BLIND TEDDY, REVENGE OF THE MYTH and VOODOO CHILD round out my absolute favorites.

 

Usually I would tell you a little about each story, and/or about why I liked them so much, but these bite-sized pieces of entertainment are so short, I feel you need to go into them blind, as I did, and take from them what you will. I hope, (and I'm pretty darn sure), that you're going to like them as much as I, (and nearly everyone else who has read this book), did! If you like your short stories to be short, original, and have occasional punches to your gut? I doubt you could find a better volume than this.

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Get your copy here: THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER

 

*I bought the Kindle version of this book with my hard earned cash, but then the author offered to send me a paper copy with no strings attached, and I accepted.*

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review 2019-01-15 12:45
THE PIGEON by Andrew Lennon and Christopher Motz
The Pigeon: Nothing Goes Unseen - Christopher Motz,Andrew Lennon,Ryan C. Thomas

Don't let this rather vague-looking cover trick you into thinking this is not a full-fledged horror story. THE PIGEON is not some little psychological tale with a talking bird or poetry like an Edgar Allan Poe story. And it's not some fancy literary fiction either. It's an in-your-face, fast paced, gory, twisty-turny little novella that might even make you laugh at times. How much fun is that? A lot! It's a LOT of fun.

 

When Andrew Lennon asked me if I could review this book last fall I think it was, I said sure without really knowing what I was getting myself into. If I had known it was this short, I probably would have tried to squeeze it in even sooner.

 

A young lady hates her job and is being stalked by her ex-boyfriend. He shows up at her house and things just go downhill from there. Fast! There's no way I can get across to you how surprised I was at nearly every turn this story took. And it's because of the fact that I want you to be surprised too, that I'm not going to go further into the plot.

 

If you like your horror unpredictable, bloody and gory, with a sense of humor on the side? THE PIGEON is for you!

 

Highly recommended! Get your copy here: THE PIGEON

 

*I was provided an e-copy of this novella in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2019-01-13 17:16
THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU by Chad Lutzke
The Same Deep Water as You - Chad Lutzke

 

I'll start simple: I love me some Chad Lutzke! THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU is yet another tale from the author I view as the one most able to make me cry. If there was a ribbon for that, he would take blue for first place.

 

As always, Chad put together an intimate story where his writing is top notch. The language is plain but the words are put together in such a way that they make you feel. They're like tiny little word arrows shot into your heart.

 

 

" You can put life on hold for a whole year dating someone, getting to know them, and then it all falls apart. Your heart is broken and you can’t do shit for another half a year without thinking of them, missing them, missing all that wasted time. I suppose with each one we walk away learning something about ourselves, about life, about how to love. Maybe we’re all just stepping stones for each other. We’re all helping somebody get somewhere. From here to a better there."

 

 

 

While I did enjoy this novella, I didn't feel the same poignancy that I normally experience when reading Chad's work. I've been thinking on it and I've come up with this for the reason why: the time period in which it's set. I came of age of with ACDC, Motley, Judas and Ozzy. I'm pretty sure The Cure came after that?? That means that all references to them went right over my head, (other than those to their most popular songs.) Being more familiar with the band and their music would probably have provided that extra connection or nostalgia I felt I was missing.

 

This is still Chad Lutzke though, so it's all good. It's still a story that grabs you and makes you think. It still has phrases put together in such a way that they touch your heart. It still builds into a satisfying tale in the end and what more could you ask for?

 

Recommended! You can get your copy here: THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU

 

 

*I bought this book with my hard earned cash. *

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review 2019-01-11 17:45
THE LAST: A NOVEL by Hanna Jameson
The Last - Hanna Jameson

 

THE LAST: A NOVEL by Hanna Jameson is an intriguing look at how people might deal with the end of the world. In this case, starting with a nuclear bomb and a cell phone notification!

 

Jon Keller and and a group of plucky survivors find themselves stranded in a resort hotel in Switzerland when nuclear bombs are dropped on bigger cities around the world. He and everyone else there are stuck with no access to the outside world-the internet goes down and cell phones no longer work. With no ability to communicate Jon has no idea how his family is faring back in the U.S. On top of all that, the group discovers the dead body of a young girl in the water tank atop the hotel. When was this girl killed and why was her body tossed into the water tank? Will Jon and the others survive, and if so-what will they have to do to do so? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I was impressed by the writing style as it was so relatable and it flowed easily throughout. Most of the main characters were fleshed out beautifully, however there were a few more that we never learned much about. I think that was a wise decision-because focusing any more on the lesser members of the group would have detracted too much from the story.

 

As the characters came to know each other, we came to know them as well. Of course, conflicts between them arose-some more important than others. Political views become involved and depending on where YOU stand on the political spectrum you may or may not enjoy that turn of events. (But isn't it just like people to argue over politics when it's possible that "politics" no longer even exist? Humanity just has to have someone to blame, doesn't it?)

 

Jon styles himself the journalist of the group and as such collects everyone's stories while he also becomes rather obsessed with the murdered girl. As such, he also becomes a detective of sorts, interrogating people and trying to get justice of any kind for the victim. There were interesting threads that cropped up during this story-some followed through, some not so much. There was also the constant fear of being attacked by other survivors as well as the very real fears of running out of food and water.

 

My only issues with this tale were the leads that ended up going nowhere and the fact that the ending seemed to wind up too quickly. I would have liked to have learned more about the possible supernatural aspects, (as in did they exist or not?), and also, a little more about the denouement, which I can't get further into here without spoilers. These items are a bit picayune, but hey, that's how I felt.

 

Hanna Jameson has a hit on her hands with THE LAST: A NOVEL. It was intriguing and mysterious, while at the same time entertaining and engaging. I hit a certain point during reading when I knew there was no longer any way to put this book down without knowing what happened. I HAD to know and I bet you will need to as well, if you give this book a chance. I highly recommend that you do!

 

*Thank you to Atria and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2019-01-04 17:15
COYOTE SONGS by Gabino Iglesias
Coyote Songs - Gabino Iglesias

 

COYOTE SONGS. What can I say? It was brilliant, so let's start with that.

 

I can't even hope to write a review as insightful and well written as my friend's, Michael Patrick Hicks', here: Mike's review.

 

 All I can hope to do is try to impart to you the way this book make me feel. There is a small group of characters living near the U.S./Mexican border and we are privy to their lives-with all the sorrows and joys therein. Unfortunately, there are very few joys. There is little to look forward to other than more poverty, misery, and crime. I quote from the book:

 

"He opened his eyes to a present that mocked his every wish and shattered any vision that dared go past it." 

 

When every hope you have is dashed, when every small good thing in your life is met with ten big, bad things, what point is there? When you have no hope for your children or yourself, again, what's the point?

 

Here is where I was going to make a brief political statement, but I just deleted it. If you don't already feel compassion or empathy for those innocents caught up in this immigration debacle, then there's nothing I can say to make you feel for them. But Gabino Iglesias has said the words that made me feel even more for them than I already did.

 

They are powerful words. They are words that needed to be said. They're not all flowers and sunshine, they are violent and dark and represent some of the worst things about humanity. You should read those words. They are called COYOTE SONGS.

 

My highest recommendation, period.

 

You can and SHOULD get your copy here: COYOTE SONGS

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