Watch Out for the Snake Charmer

Hit The Road Jack by Willow Rose is first in a series of “Jack Ryder” books. The novel is divided…

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Don’t Try This (Lifestyle) At Home

Weird Trips by Mike B. Good is all about “Travel Adventures Gone Wrong” which also happens to be the subtitle. As a self-proclaimed professional expat (and no, I do not know what that means) I found the stories appealing. I don’t consider traveling to Hawaii a foreign adventure but other than that I think the stories will appeal to those of us who travel and have extended stays abroad. I got this book from Instafreebies. A day or so later I got an email in which the author explained some of his thoughts on how this book was received by many reviewers. The email is interesting. You can get one also if you follow the Instfreebie download path.

Burning Everything At Both Ends

Watched Too Long by co-authors Ann Voss Peterson and J. A. Konrath is a fourth book in the Val Ryker series. Ann Voss Peterson is the sole author of the Val Ryker trilogy. In this cooperative writing effort, J. A. Konrath brings in situations and characters from his novels Webcam and Rum Runner but assures us that all novels are standalone stories.

This novel is too funny and humorous to review. Many times, a reviewer will mention that a novel is a laugh-out-loud experience. While I may chuckle occasionally, I usually do not laugh out loud. But I did so with this novel. The humor starts on page one with the introduction of the absurd name of Jet Row. I laughed out loud through pages one and two. Although Jet is not the main protagonist, he will burn himself into your memory.

I Know Jack

Whiskey Sour by J. A. Konrath appeals to the love of alcohol in me. Not that I drink a lot,…

Personal Wartime Experiences

In this volume of the series Threads of War, Volume II, Jeremy Strozer looks at war as it is played out in ways we don’t generally think of. Each story has two parts. The first is a factually based account of an incident that happened. The account is referenced for those who want to investigate further. The second is a story of humans trying to exist in a hostile environment that is war. The stories are fiction as thoughts and feelings are ascribed to people who did not survive. Those experiences exist in Strozer’s mind and the author brings them to life in a very entertaining way.

I give the novel five Amazon stars in part because of the pleasing structure and way of presentation, in part because of the referencing which accompanies factual accounts, and finally for the interesting fictional presentations which lend human coloring to a dehumanizing experience.

Following are my immediate comments and reactions to each story.

Who Loves Bruno?

Look Fast or Die Slow by David Six is the second book in the Bruno & Salvanian series. The first one, In the Time It Takes to Blink impressed me so much that I decided not to read this one right away. The pace of the first book was so fast and dense with action that I wanted to put some space between books one and two. It is a bit like not wanting to read a book of jokes from beginning to end, the edge is just not there; as a reader I become jaded. Coming back to this novel after a breather was good. In my opinion, this book is just as great as the first one. There is one huge coincidence which I will not describe that I am sure will annoy some readers as being too much of a … coincidence. I had no problem with it. This is one of the few novels to which I give five Amazon stars.

Fictionalized Facts

At first, it looks like there is a certain arrogance in the title and subtitle of this work. Threads of THE WAR by Jeremy Strozer has the last two words capitalized indicating that this war was truly “the war to end all wars.” While that was the popular sentiment describing WWI, veterans of later wars and different forms of sacrifice might take issue with the presumption made by this title. Just in case the reader misses the message, the subtitle claims this work is a collection of historical short stories that are personal truth-inspired flash fiction of “The” 20th century’s war. Putting those possible claims aside, it is valuable to read the author’s introduction. Strozer has a different definition of “The War,” one that stretches from 1898, powers through WWI and WWII, and concludes with the residual after effects that still flare up around the world today.

Concealed Twists

Little Dramas by Glenn McGoldrick is a collection of eight very short stories. They are short enough to be called flash fiction. As I read through each one, I jotted down by one-line takes as I read. There is a twist to each one. The twists are not necessarily grotesque or totally out of the realm of reality but some of them are a bit difficult to detect. I think writing them must have been pleasant for McGoldrick. As a reader, I enjoyed them, and I would give each of them an Amazon star rating. Some were fours, and some were threes; all were interesting. As a collection, they come in at 3.5 stars. I don’t believe the Amazon system allows me to give partial stars.

Character Overload

Death on Lake Michigan by Steve Arnett is a 225-page 13-chapter mystery novel published in 2015. On the one hand I found it to be a good example of linear interesting storytelling and on the other hand, I felt uncomfortable with characters popping up just because the story needed a character to supply a small bit of needed information. I felt there were too many unneeded characters in the story.

Don’t Try To Be Badder Than The Bad

The Wrong House to Burgle was offered to me by the author through a website. It is a short story published in 2017 that serves as a preview of the author’s writing style. If I liked this story, I would probably download some of the author’s longer works.