Let Them Eat (Chocolate) Cake

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.

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Unrealistic Premise

In The Disappearance: A Jill Hunter Short #13, we find that Rory, computer hacker and partner to Jill, has disappeared. Jill thought it was an argument over the milk but we are at a point 24% into the story where we find out Rory has been kidnapped by someone. Jill had been planning to change her life entirely, close her business, and travel until she got the anonymous phone call that said Rory was in trouble. She had almost made a huge mistake about the “why” of Rory’s disappearance.

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A Small Sacrifice

From the Prequel: A New Beginning straight The Cult: Part Two: A Jill Hunter Short #9, there were bound to be some problems. I am sure that reading these short stories in the order prescribed by the author is the way to go. For example, I can’t say I was surprised by the presence of the love interest, Rory, but it seems we are almost back to the prequel except this time it is Rory who is about to walk out. Also, this is a continuation of Short #8. But short #8 is in a boxed set that costs money. This one, #9, was free on the Amazon site.

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Unusual, but with a Gracious Ending

The Cupboard by Charles Harris is a collection of seven unusual stories. That is what is stated on the cover so as I go through each story I will be looking at the “unusual” factor and rate each story accordingly.

Unusual rating = U + 1-10 (10 being the most unusual)

The Cupboard (U8) There is no end to this story. It is a realistic ending without being an ending. Our unnamed narrator is a film director who is not always employed. His upstairs neighbor, Frank, turned out to be a cameraman with a gift for lighting. When Director found a script about a magician that he thought worthy of production, he also found magic to be one of Frank’s talents. Frank helped correct a few errors in the script and Director went on to production but felt Frank’s talents as a cameraman weren’t sufficient to include him in the project. Frank didn’t actively complain but became increasingly quiet and didn’t visit Director’s apartment as much. The film was a success and Frank was invited to a party where he performed his most astonishing trick of all. It would affect others present in different ways in their futures. The story is unusual and so is the phrasing used to discuss some of Director’s observations. Describing his marital relationship with wife Rosie, Director noted: “She was attractive enough to find her own lover if she wanted to, and in her mid-thirties was still more than serviceable.” (loc 68-69). I found that a bit jarring. Such phrasing contributed to what made the story unusual for me.

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Everybody Lies

The Rand Hotel by William Burleson is a 49-page short story primarily about the history of a relationship between a father and his son. During the examination, there is also informed commentary on an urban subculture of Minneapolis, block E. Block E is also the title of a three-volume Burleson collection which includes this story. The collection sells for USD 2.99 on Amazon, this single sells for USD 0.99. I fought off the anxiety of insufficient math skills as I tried to calculate possible savings I had given up by purchasing only this story so I could decide whether I wanted to read all three stories. This story is great with nice twists; I will read the other stories in the collection.

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Short Story Thriller Collection

A collection of stories with a common theme, Close to the Bones has contributions from eleven authors. Only three of the stories failed to hold my interest. Read the short descriptions below to find out which ones. The first two stories and the last story are worth the investment of time and money. Priced at USD 4.99 on Amazon, I opted for the KU subscription option and read it for the subscription price.

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Depression is Catching

The Scream of Silence by Pamela Crane features the improbably named Destiny Childs, the 15-year-old unmarried mother of Baby Childs. Destiny was hopeful when she did not hear the first screams of her baby. The baby would be something less to worry about. The scream she heard signaled profound disappointment for Destiny. But at least other parents were waiting for her, parents already selected for financial and emotional stability. Destiny didn’t even have to hold the child once; the adoptive parents were at the hospital. But Destiny kept up with the birth parents. She was happy that they and her birth daughter were rich. So why did Destiny feel so sad when she saw the TV news report of now 23-year-old daughter Clarissa’s murder?

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