Posts tagged ‘thriller’

HOWLING AND HURTING

Blow: A Short Story

Written by K.J. Waters

 

This short story was written as a bridge between the author’s two novels about hurricanes. Its setting takes place in the middle of Hurricane Ivan, a Category 4 hurricane, which took place in Pensacola, Florida, in September 2004. Loosely based on the memories of an actual storm survivor, this fictional account places the reader in a terrifying situation. Rick is barricaded in his home His friend Chip seeks shelter with him.. Rick doesn’t know that Chip is bringing his friend Buck, who is a cop. Why should that bother Rick? He has a deep, dark secret hidden in the house, which could land him in deep trouble if discovered. The reader is given the backstory in flashbacks artfully woven into the narrative. The characters are remarkably well developed. Readers feel the tension build as the hurricane intensifies and Rick’s secret is slowly revealed.

While I haven’t read either of the two novels, this short story does a fine job of standing alone as a well-written thriller. Perfect afternoon read for young adult and adult audiences.

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WHERE IS THAT REMOTE?

Conspirators of the Lost Sock and the Loose Change Collection Agency

Written by Dan O’Brien

Illustrated by Steve Ferchaud

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Labeled as a Fantasy Noir by the author this short tale of less than fifty pages contains interesting characters and an engaging plot. Robert Pendleton is an elderly man who apparently lives alone. Upon waking up from his customary long sleep, he is annoyed to discover that he cannot find his remote control. He bends over, smashing a lamp in the process. Robert gets down on his knees and discovers a leprechaun standing at the back of his couch. Colin McMasters is in charge of the Loose Change Collection Agency. He has come to enlist Robert’s help to defeat a malevolent creature known as The Scourge. He is the leader of a sock army of soldiers harassing the community of leprechauns.

Robert cannot believe he is taking this tale seriously, but he agrees to enter the fantasy world through a broken washing machine. He is amazed to discover that Colin is telling the truth. Will Robert succeed in his mission to defeat the invaders and then find his way back home to his world.

Targeted for ages six through eighteen, the length of this book suggests it could be appropriate for younger readers. The charming black and white pencil illustrations aptly portray the characters, and the dialogue is fun to read. On the other hand, there are some challenging words like acerbic, undulating and gargantuan that might discourage readers under age ten. Definitely not a bedtime story, but certainly a creative and well-written tale that provides an interesting discussion topic.

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EASTER EGGCITEMENT

A Rabbit’s Tale: An Adult Easter Story (Praying Mantis Series Book 1)

Written by Diogenes Ruiz

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An interesting Easter story for teens and adults. Written from a Christian fiction perspective, though not a preachy story with a totally one sided perspective. At the outset the reader gets the impression she is reading a middle grade novel. Juan Arias is a fifth grader growing up in non-religious Catholic family with his father who is a computer programmer, his mother a homemaker, and his younger sister, Angie. Juan has a passion for photography; he is eagerly waiting for a subscription to National Geographic to arrive in the mail. A new family rents the house across the street, but Monty turns out to be a mean-sprinted bully. Their first encounter involves Monty placing a dead squirrel in Juan’s mailbox. Monty terrorizes Juan and threatens his sister if Juan reveals that Monty stole Juan’s photograph to submit as his own.

The scene shifts as Monty moves away and Juan grows to adulthood. Sadly, Juan follows in his father’s footsteps and gives up his dream of photography to marry Leigh, who turns out to be a self-centered selfish brat. But Juan’s sister Angie marries Ray and has two beautiful children who adore Juan. When Ray talks Juan into dressing up as the Easter Bunny for a holiday party, an outlandish set of events is put into play leading to a shakeup of family relationships, embezzlement, and attempted murder. Juan becomes a victim once more; it appears that his life will be ruined. Characters from past and present are intertwined in a melange of emotions and devious plots.

The Easter story is woven into the well-developed plot and interesting characters. As the title indicates, this book is part of the Christian fiction genre, though it relates a sometimes funny, sometimes sad commentary on what life can dish out.

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WHISPERS, WOLVES AND WITCHES – BLOG TOUR

Whispers of Trees (Mythic Adventures Collection: Book 2)

Written by Ben Woodard

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I received a copy of this book in return for an honest, non-biased review.

Bridget and Colin are walking through the Irish woods ahead of their parents and ten year old brother, Declan. Suddenly Colin disappears; Bridget thinks that he has been eaten by a wolf. A park ranger assures the family Colin will be found. When they go into town to file a report with the town constable, a strange looking lady named Mrs. O’Leary suggests that they must go into the woods so that the trees can guide them to Colin. Colin’s dad angrily puts his foot down, refusing to listen. Declan sneaks out and goes back into the dark woods to find the strange old woman who may be able to lead him to his brother. When Declan finds her in a odd cabin filled with computers and a bubbling cauldron, he is puzzled, but also drawn to follow her. Mrs. O’Leary demands that he go into the woods where the spirits of the trees will speak to him. By taming his fears, not only will he be successful in finding his brother, but he will also bring peace and tranquility to the family.

This mystery set in the mythical woods of Ireland mixes elements of adventure, myth, thriller, and family relationships. Targeted reader audience is ages seven through twelve. This is a story with many layers of meaning which are exposed by repeated readings, and one that could definitely be used for guided reading in a classroom discussion on many topics. Perfect as well for a family read aloud and group discussion.

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DISOBEDIENCE IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE….

Wasted Wood

Written by Brock Eastman

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I struggled to decide what rating to give this middle grade novella; I decided to go with four stars because the writing is appropriate for its intended audience. The dialogue is on point for thirteen year old Hudson and his friends. Lots of adjectives and onomatopoeia to keep the story interesting as well as those illustrations of the tree troll.

Hudson is a typical teen; he loves to play video games and test the limits with his parents’ rules. Hudson gets grounded when he comes home late because he took a short cut and trespassed on Mr. Gilbert’s property nearly falling off the bridge in the process. Of course that wasn’t the whole story, Mr. Gilbert had called his parents catching Hudson in a lie. Hudson doesn’t take long to decide to sneak out and join his friends for their camp out.

Orin, the neighborhood bully and his friends, come across Hudson with his friends in the woods. They dare them to trespass on Mr. Gilbert’s property to prove that they are not afraid of the legend that a Tree Troll exists. When they take the dare; the real adventure begins. Soon the Dark Demon appears. Is the legend real? All the teens including the bullies must struggle to survive. What will happen to the boys? Will their parents and Mr. Gilbert find out?

Lots of adventure, danger, paranormal and coming of age issues combine to make the novella appealing to the middle grade audience. Despite the fact that there is lots of passive voice and the writing style could be sharper, this is a tale well worth reading for the eight to twelve year old target audience. The author has developed a set of discussion questions for each chapter, which makes the book a good choice for a classroom read aloud and discussion.

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HAUNTED BY HISTORY

MikeCashRafterCopter
 The History Major: A Novella
Written by Michael Phillip Cash

HistoryMajor,picI received a copy of this book in return for an honest non-biased review.

Hung over college student Amanda Greene wakes up in her dorm to an unsettling situation. She vaguely remembers a fight the night before with her boyfriend, Patrick, and partying with her two best girlfriends who don’t like him. But her room is at once familiar and strangely different; her roommate is someone she has never met. Finding her classroom schedule on the bed, Amanda is distressed to see a history class on it; Amanda hates history. She rushes to the Registrar building to drop the class, but the administrators tell her she must take the course. Amanda walks through the campus, which seems oddly different. Buildings appear and disappear, and she has the feeling of being stalked.

Resigned to her fate, Amanda is drawn to the history lecture, where she meets Nick and her professor who is dressed like Aristotle. His lecture is even stranger. He drolls on about Joan of Arc, Pope Alexander VI, Lucretia Borgia and other historical characters, but as he does so Amanda is drawn back into history interacting with and sometimes being attacked by them. Nick tells her, “They all hear what they have to hear.” Amanda’s thoughts drift back and forth between the past and her own reality. She has flashbacks of her grandmother, mother, and abusive stepbrother, Wayne. How can there be a connection? Amanda hears the words, “People are trapped in history, and history is trapped in them.”

What is real, what is fantasy, and how will Amanda deal with integrating both within her present life?

Elements of a thriller, paranormal, history and a psychological study combine to make this novella a compelling read. The first couple of chapters confused me, and I definitely disliked Amanda. As I got into the plot, I could not stop reading. Lots of interesting dialogue and colorful language engage the reader. Plenty of twists and turns keep the reader on edge; the ending caught me off guard. Recommended for teen and adult audiences as a thought provoking afternoon read.

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PhillipCashBlogTour

PhillipCash About the Book
After a vicious fight with her boyfriend followed by a night of heavy partying, college freshman Amanda Greene wakes up in her dorm room to find things are not the same as they were yesterday. She can’t quite put her finger on it. She’s sharing her room with a peculiar stranger. Amanda discovers she’s registered for classes she would never choose with people that are oddly familiar. An ominous shadow is stalking her. Uncomfortable memories are bubbling dangerously close to her fracturing world, propelling her to an inevitable collision between fantasy and reality. Is this the mother of all hangovers or is something bigger happening?

Praise
“Cash intermingles beauty and violence …It’s smartly ambiguous and open
to interpretation, and some may delight in a second (or third) read.” – Kirkus Reviews

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