The Cartographer’s Apprentice by Jim Webster is a collection of four short stories that according to one reviewer serves as an introduction to the writings of Jim Webster. I stumbled across another of his works, Deep Water and Other Stories, got completely lost in the first thirty pages, and decided to find out more about this author and his stories. There are many novels in which an author gets praise for effective and complete world building. Jim Webster is the equal of any writer I’ve read. The world building element all by itself is on a level with Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and the fantasy novels of J. K. Rowling. The storytelling can become confusing for readers either not familiar with or unwilling to follow British English. This is writing that requires a reader to pay attention. Readers will not be sanctioned for the inattentiveness, but neither will they receive the full rewards of this excellent writing.
In Tents by Andy Kaiser is a look at Con Men (Con Persons?), Charlatans, circus performers, monsters, and the supernatural. All this for USD 3.99 or free through Kindle Unlimited. It is a very strange story which I believed could have been written from a cloud of hallucinogens. It is interesting in that it has strange and weird creatures. Ariel is beautiful except when she morphs into various forms of Alligator Woman. There is Half-a Man which is a rather self-describing name. Think of a person standing and a line is drawn from the middle of the head south in a 180- degree direction. Remove one-half and you have (fill in the blank). Penny is the owner of the rather strange circus which prides itself on being a family. She only looks perpetually pregnant because her stomach is the largest and most prominent part of her body. Another name appropriate character is Archie. He runs a game or concession at the circus. By shooting arrows and hitting the bullseye three times in a row, players can receive their heart’s desire. Archie will make sure the competitor’s most wanted object is in stock. Outsiders are not welcome to join the circus; new members must be invited. There is only one entity that does the inviting.
Arc of a Shooting Star by Simon Northouse is Book One of a Shooting Star Series. The series name is a pleasant play on words for the Shooting Tsars, a successful music group from a decade earlier. The band was wildly successful artistically but far less successful financially due to a cleverly written contract that disguised legalized robbery. The group disbanded after a five-year run because of a contract dispute that went to the courts. The band lost the court case and there were huge financial settlements the group members had to pay. The taxman never sleeps. After five years on the road, many of the group members were tired of being around each other; each group member went his own way. Some got jobs, there was one convert to Christianity, one went on the dole, and Will, singer and glue of the team, assumed the life of a country gentleman.
Ultimate Justice by M A Comley is a mystery novel that presented a mystery to me that was one not intended by the author. This title is listed as Book 6 in the Justice Series. The mystery for me was how a series could survive with five previous titles of writing such as this. As bad as this novel was, I was determined to read through to the end to find out if there was something magical that would make me want to read anything else written by this author. There are twenty-five chapters and I got to chapter sixteen before I took a break and went to Amazon to see if I could determine how such writing could survive and sell in the marketplace. I did not want to read any reviews before writing mine, but I wanted to get a feel for the number of stars this and other novels in the series had collected.
Know What I Meme? by Marc Richard answered a lot of my questions about what a meme is. “Meme” is a trendy word. It is used by lots of folks and I don’t care because I am a contrarian as far as trends go. I know one when I see it and I refused to look the “word?” up. I could never vocalize the sound, so I made up my own pronunciation. If others around me pronounced the four-letter slippery character in a way different from me, I felt sorry for their ignorance. It was easy for me to capture the moral high ground if I simply bombarded others with questions about what, exactly, this abomination was. And how does one pronounce it? Since I never found anyone who could give me a clear explanation, I maintained that my ignorance was superior to their ignorance. And then along came Marc Richard to give me many examples ending with the question, Know What I Meme? I felt sheepish as I answered in the affirmative. (I lied).
Tupelo Gypsy by Vito Zuppardo is Book One in a planned Voodoo Lucy Series. Since this was published in 2018, I can’t complain that there are few books in the series. I look forward to reading more from the author in this series. I was surprised to finish 166 pages so quickly, but the story entertained me so much that the time flew by for this single session read.
Not Eligible for Rehire by Glenn McGoldrick is a very short read to be read over a very small cup of (instant) coffee. At only 19 pages, the reading should be finished before the instant coffee crystals dissolve. McGoldrick’s specialty is writing short stories that describe life’s daily struggles in a very comfortable and familiar way. A reader can walk away and say, ”Yeah, I would have done that.,” or a variation on the answer that might include a 180 degree opposite reaction. In all the McGoldrick short stories I have read, whether stand-alone or as part of a collection, this has been the case. Readers identify easily with the characters and their situations. This story was sent to me and others by an email alert that assured me it was a free offer. The story was offered at USD 0.00 (purchase, not KU) by Amazon. If you haven’t read anything by McGoldrick, this is a good introduction. After reading this, I am sure readers will read several more of his five Amazon star short stories.
Haveaheart’s Trap by Michael Allan Scott is a 12-page story published in 2019 with the aim of showcasing the author’s writing talent. It is available for free as an author’s promotion from his website or email offers or it can be purchased from Amazon for USD 0.99 which turns it into a verified purchase. I believe that makes a difference as far as reviews are concerned.
Curious Men by Rosalind Minett has a very logical subtitle He-Time Tales. Minett’s earlier work was not so gendered in the title, Me-Time Tales, but given that the earlier work was written by an author named Rosalind, some assumptions can be made. I gave the fifteen stories in Me-Time Tales five Amazon stars https://ron877.com/2019/03/07/what-is-a-well-woman-examination/ which guaranteed I would read anything else written by Ms. Minett. This collection has seventeen stories plus three interventions. I enjoy writing a quick couple of “reaction” sentences after each story. There are sections in addition to the stories. There is a tongue-in-cheek Health and Safety Warning. A Prologue admits to the author’s sense of fairness in giving men their platform and hints that men and women are different. Who would have thought it?
The Snark Handbook: Insult Edition: Comebacks, Taunts, and Effronteries by Lawrence Dorfman is not a novel that can be reviewed for its content. That would be like trying to review a dictionary or the phonebook. What is interesting is to see where these snappy comments come from. In this work a reader will find commentary from Dorothy Parker, Groucho Marx, H. L. Mencken, Oscar Wilde, Robert Benchley, George Bernard Shaw, Jules Feiffer, Bill Hicks, Bill Maher, Phyllis Diller, Édith Piaf, W. C. Fields, Mark Twain, Voltaire, and Charles Bukowski to name a few. It sells for USD 1.99 and can be read for free on Kindle Unlimited. It might be a good idea to buy the book if you want to keep it as a handy reference before going out to a party where you know there will be plenty of Snark. If you read it for free through Kindle Unlimited, you will either have to return it sometime or keep the book forever in your TBR list of ten allowed borrows.