The Faces of the Crying Girl: Fiction (With a piece by yours truly)

April 20, 2015 at 6:15 pm (Book Review, Promo, writing) (, , , )

Back in February, Alex Nader posted about submissions for an anthology he was putting together, with proceeds going to a literary charity. The word limits? Anywhere from 500 to 5000. I figured it was worth a try. I finished my super short piece over a couple days, and sent it in. It grew over the course of edits, and the day has come for the anthology to be released!

Goodreads info: The Faces of the Crying Girl

The Faces of the Crying Girl

You can buy the ebook here at Amazon and the proceeds are going to Worldreader. I’m excited to be a part of this!

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Crooked by Richard Pett

August 13, 2013 at 11:12 am (Book Review) (, )

Spoiler free!

Broken Eye Books have not replied to my pleas for a sequel to this book to show up in my inbox. I imagine them sitting back, the maniacal sneer of a dealer eyeing their junkie of a client upon their faces.

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This is a gruesome book; both the city and its residents, and the things they do to each other. But there is a glimmer of a hope, a worm that wiggles free each time you clutch at the dirt, just out of reach. You know it’s there, but damned if you can hold on to it. And yet, the lead characters in this book never give up. There is so much strength in them: strength of spirit, of mind, of determination. Several times I stopped to check my progress, thinking surely this must end soon, what more can these people survive? And each time they dug deeper and struggled on. And I loved them all the more. There is love in this book as well, but it is love lost, and mature love. No fawning teenagers here, but adults finding each other amongst the terrible world they live in, a world where death is not necessarily the end.

There is so much character and world building in this book, in the first chapter even, but not once did it feel like exposition, or that the character was stopping to explain anything to the reader. It flowed naturally, and it took very little time to come to know Brine and the nature of the city.

The book is broken into three sections, and each of these starts with, quite literally, a bird’s eye view. Then you’re deep into the action, adventure, and mystery of the story. Jared is the first character we are introduced to, but the story is not limited to his events. Klesh, his good (but dead) friend, is soon introduced, and the author shows us much of what is happening elsewhere in the foul city.

The concept of the Between, another world (full of nightmares) that can be connected to the world of Brine through reflections, is one that fascinates me. I hope there will be more exploration of it in future books. I could go on for hours about the interesting world, but it is far better you experience it for yourself.

There is a kickstarter ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1557256029/crooked-and-other-oddities-from-broken-eye-books ) right now that ends September 5th 2013 to fund the release of Crooked and a pile of other awesome literature, including an expanded The Hole Behind Midnight (which I reviewed here with much love: https://asylos.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/the-hole-behind-midnight-by-clinton-boomer/ ).

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The Hole Behind Midnight by Clinton Boomer

June 18, 2013 at 5:18 pm (Book Review) (, )

Reposting (was on my blog before transition, originally posted in January 2012)

Spoiler Free!

I’ll start by saying thank you to Scott Gable for a review copy, because let’s face it, my hatred of anything that has the faintest scent of time travel/alteration would have turned me away from this book, much to my loss. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one.

The idea of an extra hour (or more) hidden away behind midnight is a fascinating one. To think of all the things you could accomplish, if you felt like it. Maybe even cure cancer! Most people don’t use this time in a way that is beneficial to others though, and that is the harsh reality that keeps dragging our narrator into very messy situations, often literally. Being party to the secrets of the 25th hour can grant quite a deal of power to abuse.

The prologue gives a really strong glimpse into the main character, and the first chapter drops you right into the action. If it weren’t for Bad Things happening around the narrator, he seems like the kind of guy I would want to hang out with. He’s an asshole, no one argues with that, but it’s for the right reasons. As the story is written in first person, we ate privy to these reasons more than any other characters.

The chapters are quite short and it’s easy to say "I’ve got time for one more chapter" until an hour or two later the search party stumbles across you huddled in the corner with just the pale light of the screen for company. The action moves fast and you just want to see what happens next. While we know the narrator makes it out alive, we have no idea if he’ll be in one piece til the very end.

The Hole Behind Midnight is available on iTunes and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/The-Hole-behind-Mi…) published by Broken Eye Books ( http://www.brokeneyebooks.com/).

I’ll leave off with my favourite lines that don’t give anything away:

"It looked like [he] had been involved with a busy, shitty day.
Well, at least it had ended with getting murdered. If you’re gonna do bad day, I mean, you might as well do it right."

(Also posted at Goodreads. )

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The Janus Affair by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

June 3, 2013 at 6:51 am (Book Review) (, , , )

Spoiler Free, as always.

This book has the honour of being the first book I’ve ever bought on release day. Sadly, it took nearly a year to find the time to read it. Definitely worth squeezing into my day.

This book is the sequel to Phoenix Rising, the first book of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. I quite liked the previous book and was excited to see what happened next for our brave protagonists.

Having listened to the Tales from the Archives podcast, I could clearly hear Pip and Tee as Eliza and Wellington. Both characters have unique and well defined voices that suit them.

The book was an exciting romp, with tears and amusement, and a final chapter that brought much satisfaction. I was glad Eliza made the choices she did. It was nice to see some of the office staff in action as well. Every person has more to them than we know. And the gadgets! Love a good gadget, I do.

If you like Phoenix Rising, you’ll definitely want to continue the story here. If you haven’t read that, then what are you waiting for?

The next book is expected to be out early next year, but is with a different publisher.

(Sorry for the shortness of this review, but a nice steampunk adventure has my mind off writing my own. I think that’s a compliment.)

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City of the Lost by Stephen Blackmoore

May 16, 2013 at 6:06 pm (Book Review) (, )

SPOILER FREE
I hate reading reviews with spoilers, so I strive to avoid them in my writing. There are plenty of other reviews out there that will outline the entire book if that’s what you’re looking for.

Things go to hell fast for Joe Sunday and there’s a landslide following him down. Everyone has an angle, everyone wants something, and he knows it. The question is, who will screw him the least?

Note: if you gross out/get offended by cursing easily, you should probably skip this one. While I think the back cover outlines pretty well what style to expect, some reviewers obviously weren’t paying attention.

Joe is a thug, and he shows it in thought, word and deed. Written in first person narrative, you really get to know him in the short time you have together. At 224 pages, this is a pretty quick read, and the action keeps it going like a steamroller on a downhill slope.

I quite liked this book. There are a number of people Joe has to deal with, and they all feel like characters and not just obstacles. It’s difficult to discuss the book without spoiling anything as events progress very quickly. There is no filler or wasted padding in this book. I will say Darius was a favourite character of mine and I hope he shows up again somewhere. The mythology of the world is very interesting. Magic is real, and I like the way it works. I want to know more about how playing cards work as security as that was fascinating to me. Joe is a bit too busy to pry into details of that though. His goal is very clear to him. Unfortunately not many people want him to accomplish it.

I am very thankful to have won a copy of this book in a blog contest, as the price ($13.99 CDN) for the ebook would have definitely steered me off. I would have been sad to have missed out on this. I’ll be picking up the follow up (same world, different protagonist) Dead Things once I find one in print (cheaper than ebook sadly, but not commonly stocked in my area).

Also posted on Goodreads

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