Category Archives: short reviews

Uninvited, by Pete Mortimer

This is where I would normally do the Short, Sweet, and Snappy review, some nice little bullet points about what I liked about the books, what I didn’t, and the most important, whether I would recommend you go out and buy it. However, that part is missing this time. There is only one reason for that; for the first time when reviewing, I didn’t finish the book. And I will not be finishing the book, either. 

So who, where, what and why? The book is a novella called Uninvited. It is about an unnamed man who comes home to find a stranger in his house. It lost me in about four pages, right about when the man comes home, finds the strange man there, and goes to make a cup of tea. 

Now, I’m all about suspending belief and reading about impossible things. Hell, I write vampires and aliens for a living. There has to be some kind of doing away with reality to write and read genres like that. Having said that, there is a line. For me that line is apparently coming home to find a man in my house, a man I do not know and was not expecting, a man who no one else could have let in, and I go off to make a cup of tea? Nope. I’m going to kick and scream and ask questions. I’m going to call the police, get out of the house, and shout for help. I am not going to say “oh” and go make tea. 

That wasn’t the only problem, if it was, I might have finished the book just so I could see what on earth was wrong with a man who would go make tea when faced with an intruder. 

The writing style felt like that of an eight year old learning to tell stories who hadn’t grasped the concept of multiple clauses in a sentence. Almost every single sentence was a fragment. Reading the few pages that I managed was jarring, and there was no submersion into the world the writer had created. I think that if I put the whole book into MS Word, the average sentence length would be maybe five words. 

Short sentences, of course, have their uses. I am personally a fan of using fragmented sentences on occasion, sometimes when dramatic things are happening, and sometimes because it flows better. However, using them to tell a book almost exclusively does not make for good reading. As such, Uninvited is not a book I will be going back to any time soon, nor is it one that I can give any stars to. 

On a final note, there was one other thing that bugged me. I read the paperback, but it was formatted like an ebook, complete with extra paragraph returns between each paragraph. This, however, is a pet peeve of mine, and has no impact on the reading except that it makes you feel like you’re reading an ebook, not a paperback. 

All in all, this is not a book I recommend reading. If you like, you can go check out the Amazon’s look inside function and see what I mean about fragmented sentences. But personally, go read something else. 

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Dancing by Laurell K Hamilton

Short, Sweet, and Snappy Review:

 

Title: Dancing

Author: Laurell K Hamilton

Genre: Paranormal

What I liked: the glimpse into Anita’s life.

What I didn’t like: the lack of action

Recommended Read: Yes

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Synopsis:

 

For most people, summer barbecues are nothing to be afraid of. But Anita isn’t exactly plain vanilla – and neither is her love life. So it takes a special kind of courage to attend a barbecue thrown by her friend Sergeant Zerbrowski. Walking into a backyard full of cops and their families with wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel both looking gorgeous on her arm won’t be easy, even with almost-four-year-old Matthew Vespucci to break the ice…

 

 

Anita is determined to have a good time with her family, just like everyone else. But it doesn’t take long for tensions to rise among the adults and kids. And Anita will learn that gossip and innuendo can be just as dangerous as anything the undead can throw at her…

 

Michelle’s Review:

 

Though I enjoyed this short read it felt as though it was lacking something for me. Whether that was the lack of action or the length of the descriptions, I don’t know, but something was off with it. I did, however, enjoy the read, and it was nice to catch up with some of my favourite characters in between books.

 

Having said that, the length of the descriptions really make the short drag in places, and I felt like we could have done without a page and a half description for each well-established character. But when it came to some of the new characters, there didn’t seem to be enough description.

 

If you’ve got the rest of the series, however, it’s worth a read.

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Dancing by Laurell K Hamilton

Short, Sweet, and Snappy Review:

 

Title: Dancing

Author: Laurell K Hamilton

Genre: Paranormal

What I liked:

What I didn’t like: the lack of action

Recommended Read: Yes

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Synopsis:

 

For most people, summer barbecues are nothing to be afraid of. But Anita isn’t exactly plain vanilla – and neither is her love life. So it takes a special kind of courage to attend a barbecue thrown by her friend Sergeant Zerbrowski. Walking into a backyard full of cops and their families with wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel both looking gorgeous on her arm won’t be easy, even with almost-four-year-old Matthew Vespucci to break the ice…

 

 

Anita is determined to have a good time with her family, just like everyone else. But it doesn’t take long for tensions to rise among the adults and kids. And Anita will learn that gossip and innuendo can be just as dangerous as anything the undead can throw at her…

 

Michelle’s Review:

 

Though I enjoyed this short read it felt as though it was lacking something for me. Whether that was the lack of action or the length of the descriptions, I don’t know, but something was off with it. I did, however, enjoy the read, and it was nice to catch up with some of my favourite characters in between books.

 

Having said that, the length of the descriptions really make the short drag in places, and I felt like we could have done without a page and a half description for each well-established character. But when it came to some of the new characters, there didn’t seem to be enough description.

 

If you’ve got the rest of the series, however, it’s worth a read.

Click here if you want to get a copy.

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All My Friends Are Dead

Short, Sweet, and Snappy Review:

 

Title: All My Friends Are Dead

Author: Jory John and Avery Monsen

Genre: Unknown

What I liked: the pictures

What I didn’t like:

Recommended Read: Yes!

Rating: 5 stars

 

Synopsis:

 

If you’re a dinosaur, all of your friends are dead. If you’re a pirate, all of your friends have scurvy. If you’re a tree, all of your friends are end tables. Each page of this laugh-out-loud illustrated humor book showcases the downside of being everything from a clown to a cassette tape to a zombie. Cute and dark all at once, this hilarious children’s book for adults teaches valuable lessons about life while exploring each cartoon character’s unique grievance and wide-eyed predicament. From the sock whose only friends have gone missing to the houseplant whose friends are being slowly killed by irresponsible plant owners (like you), All My Friends Are Dead presents a delightful primer for laughing at the inevitable. Plus, this is a fixed-format version of the book, which looks nearly identical to the print version.

 

Michelle’s Review:

 

This is a nice, short read with plenty of pictures to keep you laughing. The title really says it all, but you’ll be laughing from start to finish with this one. Honestly, the synopsis says everything the title doesn’t, so all I have left to say is yes, this is a 5 star read that I highly recommend.

 

Click here if you want a copy.

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Twisted Imaginings, Vol 1 by Garry Charles

Short, Sweet, and Snappy Review:

Title:  Twisted Imaginings, Vol 1

Author: Garry Charles

Genre: Horror

What I liked: It certainly appealed to my twisted sense of the world

What I didn’t like: where it ended

Recommended Read: Yes

Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis:

Another two blood soaked tales from the author The Horror Channel is calling “The UK’s Horror Supremo”… In ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ we are given a new reason to fear the Big Top and clowns haven’t been this scary since Pennywise… In ‘The Tunnel’ something is waiting in the dark and its hungry… very hungry.

Michelle’s Review:

When I mentioned above that this appealed to my twisted sense of everything, I meant it. A disturbed young man well and truly under his mother’s thumb. An event that changed everything. And though where it ended is my least favourite part of this short, it left me smiling.

Well written, fast enough moving but not too fast, and horror as I like it best. Partly in the mind, partly in reality and blurring the lines so you’re not quite sure which is which.

I’m not sure what else I can say about it other than go get it whilst it’s still free. Get it, read it, and then reread it. Well worth downloading. Click the title above to go to smashwords.

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A Meeting at a Critical Juncture by Michael Doran

Short, Sweet, and Snappy Review:

Title:  A Meeting at a Critical Juncture

Author:  Michael Doran

Genre:

What I liked: The ending and the message

What I didn’t like: the grammar and repetition.

Recommended Read: Maybe

Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis:

A young boy waits anxiously in an empty room. The boy has been bullied extensively during his life, both at school and at home, and is unsure what to expect.  A familiar face walks in, introduces himself, and the conversation they have has a profound impact on each of their lives.

Michelle’s Review:

If there’s one thing more people need to do in life it’s learn to love themselves. Everyone has little bits about themselves and their lives that they hate, and a lot of people spend far too much time focusing on those negatives. So a story that encourages people to do just that is a good story to be reading.

But there were some issues. The grammatical problems were consistent throughout, but if you’re not sure where commas and apostrophes go anyway, then you can more than likely ignore those. For me, however, they did detract from what the story could have been.

Secondly was the repetition. Almost ever sentence starts with either the or this, it seems. Words, phrases and descriptions were used over and over again, making the story feel clunky and awkward. In my opinion, it could do with a lot of those sentences rewording to take away that feeling.

Having said that, the message in the story is one that I think a lot of people need to learn, and for that alone I am giving it three stars.

As to whether it is a recommended read or not, go have a look at the free view on Amazon and see if you feel the same regarding the grammar and repetition. Click here to go to Amazon.

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Girls and Monsters by Anne Michaud @annecmichaud

Short, Sweet, and Snappy Review:

 

Title:  Girls and Monsters

Author: Anne Michaud

Genre: horror

What I liked: the twists and turns

What I didn’t like: the length

Recommended Read:  yes

Rating: 4 stars

 

Girls and MonstersSynopsis:

This dark but uplifting collection of five Young Adult novellas includes:

Death Song: Liz is in love with Joe, but the monster of the lake has other plans for them.

Black Dog: Scarlet is engaged in a struggle for her sanity, but according to the voice in her head, she may be too late.

A Blue Story: When Katherine’s beloved dog goes missing, she fears her strange new neighbor might be involved.

Dust Bunnies: Christiane faces her childhood arachnophobia and ends up confronting even greater fears in this test of sisterhood.

We Left at Night: Brooke and her family must abandon their home and their lives to make it out of a disease-plagued town overrun by zombies.

Girls & Monsters is for everyone who has ever been brave enough to confront their childhood fears…and lived to tell about it.

 

Michelle’s Review:

 

It has taken me a little while to read this collection of short stories, but that is by no means a bad thing. There are some books you want to make last that little bit longer. This is one of them. There are five short stories in this collection.

 

My favourite of the five has to be Black Dog, closely followed by A Blue Story. The first of which I felt was highly accurate regarding its subject. All too often people try to write mental health issues and self-harm stories and they get it wrong. They miss the mark by such a long way. But with this short story, I felt that the mark was firmly hit and that made for an enjoyable story.

 

A Blue Story appealed to my twisted side. I always enjoy it when people start doing strange things, and the tie in with the Blue Beard story was right up my alley. That is one story I grew up with that I always found fascinating. The twist on it that this short story gave me fitted perfectly.

 

The only issue I had, actually, with any of the stories is that I felt like some of them dragged. A couple of them could have been much shorter and still read just as well as they did. However, having said that, they are all worth a read, and for the price, it is absolutely a recommended read.

click on the book cover above to go to amazon.

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The Old Vampire, by Emma Meade, @emmameade83

Short, Sweet, and Snappy Review:

 

Title:  The Old Vampire

Author:  Emma Meade

Genre:  Paranormal

What I liked:  the realism

What I didn’t like: parts of the start

Recommended Read:  yes

Rating:  5 stars

 

Synopsis:

Hailey spent her life dreaming of a dark prince falling in love with her. He never showed up, until now.

A short tale set on the spookiest day of the year, Halloween.

Be careful what you wish for!

 

Michelle’s Review:

 

I’m going to start with the bits I didn’t like on this one, because it is so small and trivial that I want to get it out of the way. Really it was just the inconsistency in the number formatting. It didn’t detract from the story at all, and didn’t affect the rating, but it was something I wanted to mention.

 

And now onto the rest of the story. The realism in this struck me as fantastic. A life filled with fantasy, dreams and desires. And the absolute true to nature fact that fantasy and reality rarely meet up with each other. Most of the stories I have read where someone is obsessed with the live of the undead and they get it, they get everything they ever hoped for. So it is a refreshing change to see the opposite of this.

 

Another point I liked was the ending. It was mean and evil to leave the character like the author did, but if there is one thing I love it is being mean and evil to characters. Everything can’t always go the way the character wants. People have to die. Things have to go wrong. Plans have to fall through. Torment has to happen in order to balance everything out. And this story did that perfectly.

 

From the young life of the character, being obsessed and infatuated, to the gaining of her dreams and the realisation that it might not have been such a good idea after all. Sometimes it really is better to have the fantasy life as just a fantasy, because bringing certain things into reality is destined to end badly. This story nailed that on the head, and for that, I love it.

 

So for this one, go download it, now. It’s a short read, but it will certainly leave you thinking.

Click the book cover to go to Amazon.

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The Dead Beats by Emma Meade @emmameade83

Short, Sweet, and Snappy Review:

Title:  The Dead Beats

Author:  Emma Meade

Genre: Paranormal

What I liked: Had an essence of Queen of the Damned

What I didn’t like:  bit of the grammar

Recommended Read:  yes

Rating:  4 stars

The Dead BeatsSynopsis:

It’s good to be alive…when you’re dead!

Meet Alex & Tristan, modern star-crossed lovers of the supernatural variety. Vampire rock star, Tristan, has a serious obsession with Bruce Springsteen and is battling a ‘can’t live without you’ sort of love for Alex. He’s trying to persuade her to come over to the dark side, but so far she’s resisting his efforts…

Michelle’s Review:

I’ve just finished reading this one. Picked it up about twenty minutes ago, and I’m done. So much so that I almost burned my lunch. Not only is there some very steamy sex in it, but it’s full of vampires, and I love nothing more than sex and vampires.

What I liked specifically about this was the Queen of the Damned feel about it. Tormented vampires, rock stars, blood, sex, and everything that implies. The characters were easy to love, which is unusual in such a short piece, and I got to know quite a bit about them, too. They were portrayed brilliantly.

In fact, there was only one issue I had with the story, which is why it is four stars and not five. There was a slight issue with commas. Not enough of them as opposed to too many. And it was missing them in certain places consistently. However, having said that, it didn’t detract from the story. I steamed through the whole thing and though I noticed when commas were absent, it didn’t slow me down any.

I also liked the mystery that it left me with. A character who is no longer there, but no explanation as to why. It was covered in such a way that I had enough information to for a rough picture, but wasn’t burdened with the whole picture. The addition of this gave the characters more depth without overcomplicating the story or adding an unneeded side plot.

All in all, go read it. It’s all of 77p on Amazon at the moment, and for a story that sucks you in as well as this one does, that is a steal. Click the book cover to go to Amazon.

About Emma:

Emma Meade lives in rainy Ireland. She loves reading and writing supernatural fiction.

 

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Opposites, by C. Patrick Neagle

Short, Sweet, and Snappy Review:

Title:  Opposites

Author:  C. Patrick Neagle

Genre: Horror

What I liked: the idea

What I didn’t like: It was a bit weird

Recommended Read: Yes

Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis:

This very short story (approx. 1200 words) was originally written for a Sleuth’s Ink Mystery Writer’s Group contest. Fear the dark, and mirrors, and the dangers within our own souls. Enjoy.

Michelle’s Review:

This is one of those shorts that I would recommend reading partly because it is a bit weird, and also on the same breath recommend the opposite for the same reason. For me it was somewhat disjointed in places and the events of the story didn’t really gel together very well.

Technically speaking, it was well written and well described. However, the biggest point for me was the idea behind it. Everything having an opposite, like the reflection in a mirror. It was an idea that kept me reading through until the end. But when I looked back on it to write the review, I found that it hadn’t stuck with me very well, and most of it just didn’t stand out very much.

But as it is a free read, it is worth picking up, if only to use it to pass a little bit of time. Click the book cover to go download it.

 

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