Bleeding Cross

cover

By Aaron Dawbot

dawbot

https://www.amazon.com/Bleeding-Cross-Chronicles-Episode-Thomas-ebook/dp/B0741PCF5N/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505351809&sr=8-1&keywords=bleeding+cross

Plot

Some evil things are happening to the residents of an elderly care facility. Heinous murders that leave mutilated corpses. Thomas Arsen and his team of demon hunters are on the scene. Can they stop the evil from spreading?

Okay, this is another one where the blurb was better than what it portended. This story and book has a plethora of problems and some I don’t think I can adequately explain, but I’ll try.

Characters

Thomas Arsen: demon hunter, apparently immortal (he’s been around for a few hundred years), sister dead, black hair, green eyes.

Lonnie Blake: oily hair, tall, mustache and the start of a beard, demon hunter

Fitz: black, hazel eyes, short hair, teenager, demon hunter

Okay. There are some other characters in this book, but scant details about everyone. I know that Thomas has scars.

There’s no history of these characters. Who/what is Thomas? How did he get those scars? How is it that he’s lived for hundreds of years? Where did he come from? How did he, Lonnie and Fitz get together? Thomas and Lonnie tend to argue a lot about the past, but nothing is explained. Apparently, Thomas’ sister was horribly killed but nothing is explained.

Fitz’s nickname is Baby Shark which isn’t explained and doesn’t seem to work for me.

There was a new character brought in at the end who made no sense because she wasn’t mentioned before, but Thomas knows her and then she’s gone.

Too many unanswered questions about these people.

Dialogue

The demon hunters try to joke around while fighting the baddies but it doesn’t work. Capitals for the shouting instead of italics. A lot of tag lines that aren’t real tag lines. Lonnie may have had his own voice, I suppose.

Writing

Very weak writing throughout.

Loads of tense problems. Present and past tense thrown in willy-nilly. Punctuation problems.

More unanswered questions:

– We meet Thomas at the very beginning in a scene that started out pretty scary but ended in a strange almost ludicrous manner. We don’t know it’s Thomas until a couple chapters later when he is running around on fire and Lonnie and Fitz save him. They save him by dunking him in ice water. How he is magically saved isn’t explained. How he came to be on fire isn’t explained other than a story of his going to hell but that leaves more unanswered questions. Why did he go there? What did he or didn’t he accomplish?

Continuity problems:

– Fitz and Lonnie fight this demon possessed dead woman. They lay her out in the back of their van, then a couple paragraphs later, they lay her out on the ground. Then she’s back in the van (or was still there, I don’t know). Then she’s out outside on the ground attacking, but there isn’t any showing of how or when she left the van.

– Thomas’ sister’s ghost visits him (but it’s not really her) and we see her intro as she places a hand on his shoulder while he’s seated. Then, a few paragraphs later, the ghost shuffles toward him from a distance across the room. How did she get over there?

Problem: in a scene where Thomas is speaking with a nun, we discover later that he has put a some salt and iron filings around his chair. How did the nun not see him doing this? She’s surprised later by it.

A lot of ‘was’ followed by ‘ing’ words. Was shouting. Was walking. Was beginning to [do something]. This took me right out of the story.

The above is only the beginning of the hard to explain weak writing. Part of it was over writing and part was underwriting. Underwriting in the form of vagueness. “Ancient words” “Magical symbols” “Mysterious heat”. These don’t relay any details and the author skimmed right over them. Underwriting in the form of nonsensical sentences.

Overwriting:

– run-on sentences, some with to many ‘ing’ words where it would by physically impossible to to do all those actions at the same time.

Weak writing:

– The man from under the shallow depths of stirring murky water found his very last ounce of strength and managed to lift his boiled body out of the murky water.

– One of the caretakers checked on the fainted girl, only to be struck into immobilizing fear as his whole body was compromised with immeasurable terror.

– He found himself looking down a flight of stairs, a faint rancid smell came crawling up into his nostrils. He knew that it came from the basement down below.

– …a hint of subtle irritation.

This entire book is filled with these types of sentences.

Some of the descriptions were over-the-top, overwritten.

This was a short book (74 pages in my epub format), but very exasperating to read. Too many unanswered questions, the action was too complicated and much of didn’t make sense. The characters did strange things that weren’t explained or completed something without enough quality detail that I could understand.

Before I had completed the first chapter, I knew this book was going to receive a:

White Belt

White

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When Hope Calls

final cover

By David Lui

http://www.amazon.com/When-Hope-Calls-Human-Trafficking-ebook/dp/B074KL8LH5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504933733&sr=8-1&keywords=when+hope+calls

Plot

Morris works a humanitarian hotline in Asia. One day he receives a call from young girl who pleads for rescue from her kidnappers. Thus begins two of the worst days for Morris and a team of assistants doing what they can to keep the girl from a nightmare.

This is a short book, only about 44 pages in my epub format. This deals with the heinous crime of human trafficking. I think, for the most part, the plot is good with a couple minor issues.

Characters

Morris: humanitarian hotline attendant, short black hair

Jeremy Moore: hotline supervisor

Margaret Hall: hotline coordinator, 5’6”

Aat: mid 20s

Chariya: 30’s, tall, slim

For the most part, the characters are good. I don’t know about the kidnap victim and maybe this belongs in the dialogue category, but some of her dialogue didn’t sound like a kidnap victim. There were times she talked too much without the scared voice. I understand at times, Morris was trying to draw her out and try to get her mind off of her situation, but there were sentences that didn’t fit.

Dialogue

For the most part, again, the conversations were fine. Some of the voices were okay.

Writing

The story is presented with time headers.

This is a short book as mentioned. Now, let me say up front that I am commenting only on the writing part, the story itself as it was presented. This is in no way a commentary on the human trafficking crime. So, let me get that part out of the way first, then I’ll deal with the story presented here.

Actually, the author makes his own commentary and I wholeheartedly agree with it. This is an awful crime and it’s been around since people decided that other people were commodities. It’s a crime that is beyond heinous and anything anyone can do in any little way to minimize the number of victims is good. Although this book takes place in an Asian country, this crime is worldwide including America, including Iowa where I live. It was mentioned that this story was based on an actual event and the ending is not pretty.

Okay, ‘nuff said about the crime itself, let me get back to the story.

With this being a short book I wanted more ‘stuff’ in the story. I understand the circumstances of the people involved with trying to rescue the girl, but most of this was waiting around in an office hoping for the next call from the girl. There wasn’t any action with the police or other people out on the streets looking for the girl. I realize, too, that the clues to her whereabouts came in bits and pieces and it was difficult for anybody to act, but the author’s job is to keep the reader moving through the story and not have the reader waiting for yet another phone call.

The other issue I had was I wanted more action, more ‘we almost had her’ moments, but a good portion of the book is Margaret upset at herself and wondering if she’s good enough to do her job. A little bit is fine, but this kind of thing ran for many more pages than I thought necessary. It’s a short story so things have to keep moving and when time is taken to self analyze it takes the reader away from the intensity of the story.

Otherwise, I thought it was a good read and I hated the ending. Before you start claiming unfair, let me mention that the author hated the ending, too, and he hopes any reader hates the ending as well. Again, this was based on a true event and the ending to that situation was awful, too.

My Rank:

Green Belt

Green

Lying In Vengeance

LyingVengeance_CVR_SML

By Gary Corbin

Gary Corbin 4010 low-res web RGB

https://www.amazon.com/Lying-Vengeance-Injustice-Thrillers-Book-ebook/dp/B0738QYVS2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504931726&sr=8-1&keywords=lying+in+vengeance

Plot

Peter Robinson has a problem. Well, several problems. He’s found a new girlfriend, Christine, a woman who was on a jury with him. The trial was held for a guy accused of murder. One of the problems for Peter is that he knew the man was innocent…because he himself was the murderer. Unfortunately, Christine has discovered this fact, also. And she wants Peter to continue his killing ways by taking care of an abusive ex boyfriend. Another problem for Peter is the guy who was accused (and was found innocent) has shown up at Peter’s place of employment…wanting a job.

This is a complex little tale that becomes more complex with just about every chapter. There are some twists and not everyone is who he or she claims to be. A good little tale with some interesting intrigue.

Characters

Peter Robinson: 33, divorced, works at a lumber & building supply company, has siblings, drives a silver Ford Ranger

Christine Nielson: drives a Miata

Frankie Kowalczyk: ex employee of the lumber company

Kyle: has a brother, blond, brown eyes

Some good characters. No real description of Christine and it’s never revealed how she pays the bills or from where she gets her money. I kind of liked her because I thought she was an innocent woman in distress. But she’s more, so much more.

Dialogue

Good voices. Conversation stay on track. Nothing over the top.

Writing

Titled parts.

Not much wrong with this book. Little action that isn’t very tense and each ends pretty quickly. This is more psychological than shoot ‘em/blow ‘em up stuff. It moves pretty quickly. I did enjoy the twists. The ending left me hanging but not necessarily in a bad way. Some good character development.

As for rank although I did enjoy it, it didn’t excite me as much as some others. But don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad book. I think I found one or two misspelled words but otherwise punctuation/grammar was good. So, if you want a decent, well presented mystery, this is a good read.

My Rank:

Green Belt

Green

The Consequence Of Loyalty

TheConsequenceofLoyalty

By Trey Stone

TreyStone

https://www.amazon.com/Consequence-Loyalty-psychological-thriller-mind-bending-ebook/dp/B071P19HV6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504050815&sr=8-1&keywords=consequence+of+loyalty%2C+stone

Plot

Jordan Greer, Gerard Martin, and Dana Norman all work for the FBI in Columbus. Their supervisor is Sean Calloway. One day, Martin walks into his boss’ office and shoots him. Why did he do it? Greer and Norman are determined to find out…if they can get around a formidable internal affairs agent.

Okay. Again, I was intrigued by the plot. The problem was that’s about it for the plot. I expected Greer and Norman to be hitting the streets in search of clues, but all of the story takes place at the hospital (for a short scene), Greer’s house, or the FBI offices. Plus, there are other problems that will be discussed later.

Characters

Jordan Greer: FBI agent, 32, 6’2”, blond

Gerard Martin: FBI agent, 40s, heavyset, short brown hair, former British SAS, married

Dana Norman: FBI agent, black hair, has a sister, former cop

Sean Calloway: FBI agent

Lloyd Ackerman: FBI internal affairs investigator, large frame, balding

None of these characters acts like I would expect FBI agents to act. Ackerman shouts and is angry all the time. The other agents, either Norman/Greer or the internal affairs investigators Ackerman brings with him-don’t act like agents. Much of the ‘investigation’ is a lot of nothing except IA people on the computer researching Martin, but every now and then someone comes up with…a CLUE. When he/she does, I can almost hear the soap opera cliffhanger music pop in because everybody has an OMG moment.

Dialogue

Major problems here. Many of the issues are with capitalization and punctuation. Most of the dialogue is missing a comma before the tag. The tag may not be an actual tag, but may be a brand new sentence. Fine, but there’s no period in the dialogue and the first letter of the new sentence isn’t capitalized.

Way too many exclamation points. Way too many yelling and screaming tags. And the scene itself should explain to whom someone is talking. If there are only two people, there is no need to write Norman said something to Ackerman. That’s obvious.

Other than that Ackerman has the only distinguished voice and only because he can’t stop yelling.

Basically, the dialogue sounded forced, overdone.

Writing

Where to start? The only profanity is the ‘F’ word. Okay maybe a damn here and there, but F is overused.

Chapters are headed a bit strangely. They’re headed by the character who will have the POV in the chapter, the date and time. However, there is some weird computer coding that I don’t understand.

<define_subject>_Hawton_John

<state_currentdate>_May_11th_2014

<define_TIME>_07:24

When I saw the above chapter headings and the errors on dialogue mentioned above, I checked the pdf file I had converted to epub, thinking maybe something went wonky in the conversion. I also contacted the author and was informed that the copy I received was the version that was published.

Okay, onto other problems:

– Spelling errors. Incorrect words used. Capitalization errors. Example: agent Greer. When used with a name, Agent is a title so it should be capitalized.

– It is not believable that the Norman and Greer did not remember sooner that Martin was married or that Ackerman didn’t know Martin was married until told.

– Subsequently, why did Ackerman and company rush over to the Martin’s house and bust in the door scaring Martin’s wife? Doesn’t make sense. There wasn’t any notion that she was in danger or at least it wasn’t made clear enough.

– In regards to Norman, why does Greer call his partner by her last name most of the time?

– On page 61 in my epub format, Ackerman begins the interrogation of Martin. This goes on for awhile with some shouting and conversations with his other IA agents. Then there’s a Norman/Greer scene. About 20 pages later, the interrogation scene is repeated except this time it’s from Martin’s POV. This is weird. Why repeat an entire scene from another character’s POV? I thought there was an error and stuff was repeated by accident.

– Speaking of repetitions there were too many times of ‘the giant man’ or ‘the giant’ when referring to Ackerman, the ‘black haired agent’ when referring to Norman, and ‘the little woman’ or ‘the blonde woman’ when referring to Martin’s attorney.

– Martin’s attorney declines to be Greer’s attorney when he’s arrested because she’s ‘impartial’. If she were impartial she would take him on.

– Too much back and forth between Norman/Greer and Ackerman on whether the two agents can talk to Martin. Get on with it.

– Hardly any action. The bit scenes when the agents take down bad guys lack real tension and felt like filler material.

And the ending lost its tension with too much dialogue.

The writing is weak and the dialogue is over the top. This reads like people who didn’t understand their roles overacting in a stage play.

My Rank:

White Belt

White

Raven’s Peak

cover

By Lincoln Cole

Cole

https://www.amazon.com/Ravens-Peak-World-Fire-Book-ebook/dp/B01FVEZ6G2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503345808&sr=8-1&keywords=raven%27s+peak

Plot

Okay. May I begin with a rarity? Usually, I start with a short blurb about what I read as the plot. Sometimes, I’m disappointed because what either the author has sent me as a description of the book or what I read on Amazon does not adhere to the actual contents. In this case, may I submit the Amazon blurb:

A quiet little mountain town is hiding a big problem. When the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak start acting crazy, Abigail Dressler is called upon to discover the root of the evil affecting people. She uncovers a demonic threat unlike any she’s ever faced and finds herself in a fight just to stay alive.

Abigail rescues Haatim Arison from a terrifying fate and discovers that he has a family legacy in the supernatural that he knows nothing about. Now she’s forced to protect him, which is easy, but also to trust him if she wants to save the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak. Trust, however, is something hard to have for someone who grew up living on the knife’s edge of danger.

Can they discover the cause of the town’s insanity and put a stop to it before it is too late?

The above is what attracted me to the book. The disappointment was that the above blurb is mostly untrue. The actual is: Abigail spends a lot of the book rescuing Haatim and tracking down a connection to her mentor who saved her at the beginning of the book. Yes, Haatim has a secret and yes, he does ‘team up’ with Abigail, but it’s a reluctant team up. They don’t even reach Raven’s Peak until page 128 of my epub version which has 205 pages. And it’s not even in Raven’s Peak proper that the weird stuff is happening.

Some of this is explained, but if I had known this was the plot, I might have passed.

Characters

Arthur Vangeest: demon hunter

Frieda: brown hair

Abigail Dressler: early 20s, black, brown eyes, scar on cheek

Haatim Arison: sister dead

George Wertman: overweight

Not much description of anybody but Abigail. Abigail comes off as a bit cynical, tough but her constant attitude of not answering questions became a bit irritating. Haatim plays a good counter to Abigail in that he’s a complete wuss. I can understand naivete, it was a little difficult to accept he doesn’t know which end of a gun to point at somebody. He changes near the end, but still is a weak character. Not enough of Frieda ‘s involvement in the book to care about.

Dialogue

For the most part, okay. Characters have distinctive voices, including the demons.

Writing

The issues I had in this category were:

Repetitive descriptions of Abigail. Once you have a character established, the reader doesn’t need to be reminded that she’s black with brown eyes.

As mentioned above, I had a problem with the plot. Also as mentioned the bad stuff doesn’t take place in the town of Raven’s Peak, but in a campground…an hour away? Really? An hour?

Another aspect of the story I couldn’t accept: Out in the woods near this campground is the original location for the town of Raven’s Peak, with structures still standing. After years and years, nobody has come across this site? No hikers? Lumber companies? Surveyors? It isn’t discovered until a twelve year old boy wanders away and gets lost and he finds it?

Another weird thing: When Abigail and Haatim go to the site Abigail finds a guy-the lone survivor of a group of campers-doing something strange in the church. Then she walks away to call Frieda for assistance? Really? She doesn’t inquire as to what the guy is doing? Doesn’t recognize the supernatural woo-woo going on? Doesn’t recognize that the guy might have problem? She’s going to go away and call to see what needs to be done?

My main issue was that this was a shorter book than most and I expected to get to the main plot as told by Amazon sooner than we did. It took a long time to rescue Haatim from his first supernatural encounter then another long section of recovery and escaping Arizona. Then, when I thought they were off to RP in Tennessee, they divert to Colorado to torture a demon for information. Then off to another scene to make another connection to Abigail’s mentor. Finally, they reach RP, or rather the campground.

I don’t mind subplots, but the incident at RP turned out to be the subplot and if it hadn’t for the incident with these campers, I don’t think Abigail and Haatim would have found anything. They certainly didn’t obtain any concrete information in town about previous incidents of ‘something weird going on.’

There was repetitive phraseology in the action sequences:

Example (not in the book but only an example): He shot, causing the other man to fall back.

The repetition was an action following by an ‘ing’ word the action resulted in. This type of writing was over used.

Clean book otherwise, with no grammar/punctuation/spelling issues but I am going to have to drop it from the original intent of Camo to:

Yellow Belt

Yellow

Hounded

cover

By Matt Ziselman

Ziselman

http://mattziselman.com/

Once again, I deviate from the usual mystery/thriller reviews to bring you a book I thought was pretty special. I hope you won’t mind too much.

Plot

How the lives of three dachshunds influence the perspective of their owners. That’s what Hounded is all about: looking at the actions, reactions, and personalities of dogs and relating them to the life of Matt Ziselman. He begins the book by sharing the story of how he met his first pet, a German Shepherd, as a young boy. Then he jumps to his current adult life, married with children and the trio of canines in his household. Baxter, the 25 pounder; Maya, the emotionally scarred older dog; and Molly, the happy-go-lucky vicious licker. In every chapter he discusses the quirks, habits, and eccentricities of the dogs. These include: Molly’s eating of poop, Baxter’s attempts at dominance over the others, and Maya’s phobias about the front entrance, hall, and stairs. Then Ziselman will relate these doggie dos to particular instances within his own life. He’ll discuss, upon more than one occasion, his parents’ death, his own brand of OCD, and how he shouldn’t worry so much.

This is not your typical let’s-talk-about-my-special-pet book. I love animal books and learning about the pets in people’s lives. Ziselman, however, sets out to give us, and himself, life lessons. In fact, he calls them Daschund Life Lessons. At the end, however, he changes those to Life Reminders. The circumstances, personalities, and decisions he discusses in Hounded are those to which many people can relate. We’ve all done similar things, have similar quirks. And with a discussion of dogs, you can’t go wrong.

Characters

Baxter: 25 pound dachshund, stares a lot, acts dominant, but is not

Maya: adopted from is assumed but not outright stated, a puppy mill, emotionally scarred, apathetic, has phobias

Molly: happy-go-lucky, the boss, intense licker

Of course there is the author himself whose list of characteristics would pretty much spoil the book and be too long to mention. His wife and daughter are also included. I enjoyed listening to the dogs’ quirks and lives and hearing about Ziselman’s life was interesting in its own way.

Dialogue

Since this is a certain type of non-fiction book, there is little dialogue. I listened to the audio book so the narrator used a different voice to reflect the author’s daughter. Which is fine. Same with the author’s wife.

Writing

He blends well humor and serious, tear-jerker material. At first, I was a bit put off by his use of profanity, but it works. So, buyer beware, that this is not a children’s doggie book. This is for adults. I listened to the audio version which added the extra nice quality of hearing a narrator’s inflections which further brought out the humor. I did want to hear more about the dogs and not so quickly moving to the author’s dealing with an issue in his life. But that’s what the book is about. It doesn’t center on the dogs, it shows how a dog’s life influences a man’s thoughts on his own life. The subject matter gets a little risque or male-oriented when he discusses dog farts and Baxter’s apparent disregard that he’s neutered. Still a well written, well thought out book. His use of language is excellent.

My ranking:

Brown Belt

Brown

Quick Kick – Tuskers

cover

By Duncan McGeary

author

https://www.amazon.com/Tuskers-1-Duncan-McGeary/dp/1941987192/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479206080&sr=8-1&keywords=tuskers

Plot

Barry had created a little piece of paradise in his southern Arizona backyard—until the javelinas came. 

His battle to rid his property of the wild pigs soon escalated into war. Too late, he realized these weren’t ordinary animals. They were something new, something meaner and smarter. These pigs weren’t just at war with him; they were at war with the human race. 

And the humans were losing.

My Analysis

What a great concept for a movie flick. I would love to see this on the screen. It’s just believable to be “Hey, this could happen.”

There are several characters around which the story revolves, each having their own adventure and problems with the pigs.

This is a trilogy (What?), so what could books 2 and 3 hold in store.

This gives some very basic information on the origin of the super pigs and there are typical, “Yep, he’s dead” scenes.

I think reading the book might have been better than the audio, just because the imagination might have been better encouraged.

My rank:

Purple Belt

Purple

When The Reaper Calls

When the Reaper Comes - Cover art

By John L. DeBoer

John's author photo

https://www.amazon.com/When-Reaper-Comes-John-DeBoer/dp/1625264712/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502933616&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=when+the+reaper+calls%2C+deboer

Plot

Terrorism is center stage. Two members of a security company team up with the NSA to stop a terrorist from killing a rock star. It’s a game of chess and out-thinking the opponent and the stakes are deadly.

Oft seen plot with just a bit of a twist this time where the main characters aren’t military (although they are former SEALS), or a lone hero going into action guns blazing. Plus, the terrorist is home grown.

Characters

Adam Taylor: 38, former SEAL, works for Global Security Guardians

Mario Martinez: former SEAL, works for GSG, parents dead

Peter Crandall: NSA analyst, knows Arabic, homosexual

Amira Bahar: NSA analyst, long black hair, dark brown eyes, Muslim, has a brother

Barbara Plaskin: works in the counter terrorism department for the FBI

Yusuf Khouri: 30, parents were professors, attended Fairleigh Dickenson U., and Wroxton College

I thought the characters, with the exception of Yusuf, were pretty good, well developed. Some good camaraderie between Adam and Mario. There was good interplay between the good guys.

As for Yusuf – the Reaper. Well, when I saw the title, I thought “Ooh, evil guy coming up.” When I started in on this, Yusuf was the bad@$$ terrorist. As the story moved along, though, he had to contend with a couple of terrorist yokels who, if they were honest with themselves, would rather have sat at home eating Cheetos and watching Netflix. They didn’t come across as all that scary. Which, in turn, brought down Yusuf’s nastiness because he had to constantly keep these other two on the mission. He was a good baddie, but not scary Reaper bad.

Dialogue

Pretty good. Distinctive voices. Conversations didn’t wander.

Writing

A bit of profanity. Chapters and scenes headed by a combination of time/location/day.

This book was clean in that I didn’t find a grammar/punctuation/spelling error and I was impressed with that. Kudos to whoever edited this.

I thought the action was pretty good, some good drama, a bit of a twist at the end that could have gone another way and still worked.

I did enjoy the chess game. Each side seemed to think ahead and plan accordingly. Yusuf was pretty good at coming up with Plan A, then B, then C, then D, and so on each time he was thwarted from the previous. The GSG guys and the NSA kept always thinking, “Well, what if Yusuf does this, then we’d better plan for that.” So, that was interesting.

My main issue with this book is that it set up the climax way in advance, then spent a huge chunk of the book leading up to it. That final day dragged on and though there were plan changes and clues and deliberations, and scenarios, it seemed forever before things started speeding up.

The climax could have been a bit more intense, but I enjoyed the determination of the terrorists.

So, what about rank. This may surprise some people based on the issues I had with this, but I did enjoy not having to slog through errors and hard to read sentences and misspellings and POV problems. And it was a decent story, all in all, despite some of the aforementioned problems. Therefore, keep those in mind, but still have a good read on a book I’ll give a:

Purple Belt

Purple

The Witches Of Wildwood

coverBy Mark Wesley Currant

https://www.amazon.com/Witches-Wildwood-Horror-Stories-Jersey/dp/1936828499/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502066620&sr=8-1&keywords=the+witches+of+wildwood%2C+curran

Plot

Wildwood, New Jersey and the surrounding area are home to strange events, creatures of the night, and evil. Welcome to a collection short stories all centered in and around this town…and enter if you dare.

The Girl In The Attic: Who is the enigmatic woman in the attic…and why must she die?

Dante’s Inferno At Castle Dracula: A fireman’s past haunts him at another fire.

Neptune’s Revenge: A musician is mesmerized by the lead singer of a band.

Night Of The Wildwood Dead: A sailor on a whaling ship experiences horror from Haiti and sees it brought to Wildwood.

Captain Harvey’s Seafood Palace: What do you do with an infamous food critic who loves to trash restaurants?

Showdown At Angelsea: A stranger challenges a veteran/bar owner to a duel.

The Fortune Teller Machine: An arcade features an old favorite.

Jersey Devil: A wealthy man confronts one of the best known monsters of the East coast.

Werewolves Of Dennis: What happens when a late night radio talk show hosts criticizes the wrong person?

Swamp Beast Of Grassy Sound: A WWII vet and a mysterious creature from the swamp.

The Witches Of Wildwood: It’s a quartet of witches against one lone preacher.

Some of the stories were pretty good. Others were predictable. I thought all, except for some problems-discussed later-were well written.

Characters

A lot of them, but I’ll highlight a few:

Gracie: late 60s, landlady, has daughters, smokes

Cody Myers: teen

Veronica Martin: blonde, 16, spiky hair, pierced nose, short

Vince: smokes pot, plays guitar

Gus Harvey: former TV star, owns a restaurants

Belmus K. Fritch: food critic, 30s, wears glasses

Just a taste. I thought all of the characters were well thought out, well-developed, and none resembled another. A pretty good cast in the stories.

Dialogue

For the most part well done. Some good accents, distinct voices.

Writing

Profanity in a couple stories. A couple incorrect words and some misspelled words.

Two continuity problems:

In on scene, Gus drives an Impala and a couple pages later, the car changes to a Lexus.

The second one is in the last story and I have to set up the scene. Wilkes is a preacher determined to kill the witches- Ali, Jaz, Zoey, and Maya. After a chase, the four women capture Wilkes and hang him from a set of chains in a boathouse. They cut off his big toe, then leave. I guess I have a small issue with the mindset of the women thinking Wilkes would die of blood loss. It’s a possibility, but they went off to celebrate without making sure. Anyway, Wilkes escapes, subdues Ali and hides her in the trunk of the car. He’s there too, waiting for the other three. When they do return, Maya stays in the car while Jaz and Zoey investigate the boathouse. Maya opens the trunk and out pops Wilkes. Wilkes takes care of Maya but Jaz and Zoey attack him. There’s a fight and Wilkes kicks Zoey away while still holding Jaz’s wrist. He retrieves the gun and points it at Zoey…as Jaz runs at him from the boathouse. Here’s the problem. How did Jaz get back to the boathouse when Wilkes was just holding onto her wrist?

Now, this book has been published for several months. I was sent a Proof copy, so I hope that these errors have been corrected along with the spelling/incorrect words and everything is fine in the published copy.

My rank:

Green Belt

Green

Paradox

webparadox

By Ted Weimann

webTed

https://www.amazon.com/Paradox-Fascinating-Anomalies-Ted-Weimann-ebook/dp/B071HR33ZJ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501508634&sr=8-1&keywords=paradox%2C+weimann

Once again, I accept a book that is out of my usual genre. It’s a rare occasion that I do this, but every now and then something will strike an interest, and science can be fun sometimes.

Plot

Presented is a book of science fun and education with some interesting ‘paradoxes’ that are discussed and, for the most part, solved. Included in this book are discussions on: why would a smaller brain be more intelligent than a larger brain? Diet and weight gain. Black holes. Can something go faster than light? Time paradoxes. Climate change. Math fun.

I thought this would be a quicker read with shorter chapters and much more entertaining segments with a lighter atmosphere. This was more in depth than I realized. Now, that is not to say it wasn’t enjoyable or educational. I learned a lot, disagreed with some of it.

Characters

Well, here I had a problem because unless you want to consider the Earth, the planets, black holes and the universe characters, there weren’t any. The author did mention several scientists and professors from various universities in the discussions. I started writing them down, but the list became very long. I think it’s good to have a several references and people who have done experiments and studies in the various topics.

Dialogue

Again, because this was educational material, the only dialogue came in the form of quotes from some of the scientists and professors listed. The dialogue can be said to be from the author himself because the book is presented in a narrative type fashion. Not ‘let me tell you a story’ but more as a lecture to either a small or large group.

Writing

Titled chapters and titled segments within the chapters.

Misspelled words and incorrect words. (The egregious example was near the end when an experiment was discussed a video was shown of six people on screen were passing around a basketball. In the middle of the video, a person in a gorilla suit enters the scene, stays for about ten seconds and then exits. Viewers were asked to count the number of passes by a certain subsection of the people. The interesting thing was a lot of people didn’t see the gorilla. The author used guerilla in later sentences. I watched the video and I saw the gorilla, but didn’t not see an armed solider enter the scene. Lol)

One thing that cut my overall enjoyment was some of the in-depth usage of math and formulas. I didn’t understand them. I may have understood, for the most part, some of the concepts but the math confused me.

The author does mention at the beginning that the discussions go off tangent many times. This is true. He does work his way back to the original point, but sometimes the tangents are surface relative.

I was ready to dive into a disagreement over the climate change chapter, but the author handled it well.

I would like to point out that despite his assertion that .9999… is equal to 1, if you have 99.9999… of something, you still don’t have the entire something. There is a miniscule portion missing. Lol. Plus, with his earlier discussions about space and travel and such, I wonder how he would feel about travel in a straight direction in space, his destination a certain planet thousands of light years distant…and going .999…% in the correct direction. That small percentage should have him missing that planet.

Anyway, I have to downgrade the rank because of the constant misspelled and wrong words, but otherwise it is an interesting discussion on various topics and makes for good conversational topics at a party of eggheads…or with your intelligent friends. Lol.

My Rank:

Green Belt

Green