When Purity is Less Than Pure

After figuring out that Reinheit by Thomas Flowers is a novel which has descriptions of German (Einzatsgruppen) wartime atrocities, it was interesting for me to know where the name came from. A translation of Reinheit is “purity.” That may have been stated in the novel somewhere but if so, I missed it. It makes a lot of sense on at least two levels after reading this fascinating tale told from the perspectives of two time periods. There is no time travel although there is a bit of fantasy involved. There may be some readers that believe the protagonist is a chair.


I Am Karma by Dawn Cano is a 53-page short story that has elements of extreme horror in the first half of the story. You might want not to let the kids (under 16 at least) read this one. There is language describing extreme physical brutality. Then the story turns to one of vengeance and that might not sit well with those who believe that revenge carried out by one’s fellow man is not justified. So there are a bunch of negatives going into the story. But I liked it.

Gristle & Bone: A Collection of Dark Fiction including Werewolves, Conspiracy Theories, Monsters, Cannibals and Vengeful Ghosts is the title of this collection by Duncan Ralston as it appears on its Amazon page. This title attracts more attention than the cover title Gristle and Bones but no matter which one you pick the idea is that you will be reading some unusual stuff. All seven stories are a bit twisted and out there. If you are a fan of this genre, welcome. If you are easily offended by dark stuff, run away. Scavengers is the more complex story in this novel. The character of the narrator is important even though the narrator is mostly unidentified; the development of the narrator character is superb. The language used in Artifact #37 and Fat of the Land warrant a warning to the squeamish or those easily offended by graphic language.

Broketown by David Wheeler is an excellent novel but one not to read if you are in a dark mood. If you feel that life is too routine, that there is nothing in the future that will ever improve on the current condition, that everybody is flawed and the best thing you can do is retreat within yourself and ignore unpleasantness, you are in a dark mood. This book will reinforce those feelings. On finishing this novel, I had an overwhelming feeling of despair. There was also my feeling of sadness about a life wasted in mostly meaningless activities just to fill the time until death arrives to the rescue. After reading this I will move on to a novel with graphic violence and horror just to wake up from the ennui generated by this novel. So it may come as a surprise to read that I liked this novel a lot.

From the cover of Sam ’n’ Patty’s 1st Adventure Hidden Gems by Jerry Dawson we can infer that there might be some follow-up stories coming. That is true, there is a three-story series that follows Sam and Patty plus other novels written by this author. I received an author request to read and review this short novel. I was quite happy with the reading experience because I learned new things presented in an entertaining way. This short adventure novel should appeal to the YA crowd. I couldn’t find anything offensive as far as language or cultural slights. The author does take aim at a “southern” way of speaking that can become so pronounced it borders on unintelligible but the observations are appreciative, not critical.

The Lost by Ari Rose is short story #10 in a Jill Hunter private investigator series. She started out as a police officer but at this point in the series, she is a private investigator. Each of the short stories takes on a different type of crime or social issue. This story is the first in a three-part set that sells on Amazon for free. That is not a KU subscription deal, it is an outright sale for free.

The Stellar Life of a Superhero Wife by Joynell Schulz doesn’t appear on Amazon. What does appear is The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives, a 316 page novel by the same author. The story I am commenting on here measures 718 locations on Kindle which might be 30 pages. It gives readers a sample of the authors writing style and an example of short stories available through Instafreebies.

A Fast, Quick, Wake-Up Read

Here is something to start out your day with a jolt (but painlessly). Flash fiction. It is quick to read and almost by definition authors create it to surprise you either by the content or innovative organization of ideas. Five Free Flash Fiction Pieces by Paul D. Dail does that. The only thing unsurprising about it is the price. Refer to the title. It is for sale on Amazon at the price indicated by the title.

Three quick fantasy stories to give the reader a taste of another world. That is how author Joynell Schultz describes her 2017 published Quick Escape: Fantasy Tales.

Bitten Alex loved dogs and was surprised that one he was trying to pet bit him. There was blood. Mom didn’t scream that much, she just calmly tried to treat the wound. But she had recognized the bite of the werewolf from experiences in years past. She couldn’t stop the change Alex would go through but she could minimize damage. She may have been able to manage things if a strange man hadn’t appeared with a claim to ownership of Alex. Mom and Alex had to run; Mom had to protect the child she loved. There is a surprise ending I didn’t see coming.

What Did You Do For Your Summer Vacation?

I received One Night by Deanna Cabinian from the author. At first a bit reluctant to read something described as a “coming of age” novel, I am glad I did. I have a category I like to call a “comfort read.” Nothing in it should give offense to anyone (IMHO). It borders on fantasy in that the characters are almost too perfect and, in several cases, too mature in behavior and opinion for their chronological age. In the first few pages, I worried the story would spiral down into sappy, syrupy, sentimental storytelling in a nostalgic search for an imagined perfect past. That did not happen. The tightly controlled crisp writing moved the story along at almost page-turner speed. There are nicely woven reflections on quality of life, the inevitability of death, different perceptions of love (requited and unrequited) and the values of a strong family life. What could have been sappy was rescued by the writers skill into something really good. On an Amazon scale, I gave this a five-star rating, something I have never done with a “comfort read.” I highly recommend this for the YA crowd and will nag my son until he reads at least parts of it.