Monthly Archives: September 2017

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

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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

The Rain

The Rain(EBOOK)

By L. A. Frederick

https://www.amazon.com/Rain-Government-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B071PB9BX9/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500412715&sr=8-1&keywords=the+rain%2C+frederick

Plot

I’m going to start off this review by saying there are so many things wrong with this book, I really don’t know where to begin. I’ll put some issues here in the plot category but some may belong in the Writing category. Maybe putting and * next to them as I move through the plot will help.

So, some chemical in the rain over New Hampton causes some people to mutate (turn different colors, unlock various super human or inhuman abilities). *However, some people already have special abilities that weren’t caused by the rain and have had them for years. Not explained.

A reporter wants to know the inside scoop on what the government is doing about this and especially what a Doctor Zhirkov has to do with it. *Nothing is explained how everything started, what the reporter was writing about, the origin of her story, or how she discovered Zhirkov’s name.

The mayor obsesses over ridding New Hampton of all criminals and wants Zhirkov to cure his son who, apparently, has a mutation that makes him a bad guy. *This isn’t explained either so I was lost when it concerned the mayor’s son. The mayor doesn’t seem to do much else, either, in regards to his job.

Then there’s a guy who plays an avenger, killing criminals. *Not sure where he comes from and I don’t understand his role other than to upset the mayor.

There’s sort of a P.I. who works for Zhikov and tries to find out about certain people in whom the doctor is interested. *Apparently, the doctor lost track of some of these special people after he discovered them years before.

And, of course, Zhirkov, who works out of a run down lab, doing experiments with some of the more-than-humans, including one who appears to be immortal. *Where he started, his background, and several other aspects of this part of the book isn’t explained either.

*This was a hodge-podge of characters affected either before the chemicals in the rain or after it rains, or by stepping into a fresh water puddle. Characters try to either survive or find answers or both.

Characters

Jack Whitlock: brown hair, blue eyes

Evaline Thornton: reporter, a bit over 5’, long blonde hair, late 20s, mother dead

Ivan Dash: mayor, has a son, grey white hair

Alexander Zhirkov: 60s, thin white hair, hook nose, wears glasses

Aurora: dark brown hair and eyes, tan

Several other characters and I liked nobody. Part of the way some of these people described is vague. Zhirkov is described as being mid to late 60s. Pick one. In fact, pick a specific age. The only way this works is if his age were being guessed at by another character, but that’s not how it’s written. Zhirkov is too enigmatic, tries to be too sly. Dash is a loon. Evaline has no spine. There’s a Doctor Fattal who is supposed to assist Zhirkov but doesn’t seem to accomplish anything other than asking a lot of questions and being confused. Another character is called the Homeless Man. His scenes are filled with: “Who am I?” questions, and he ends up being a worthless character. Too many characters to keep straight.

Dialogue

Dash yells a lot. Many characters have internal dialogues that don’t work. As for voices, nobody really stood out. Tag lines that aren’t tag lines. Punctuation errors on tag lines. People scream a lot. Scream is a word that should be used sparingly.

Writing

Profanity. Titled chapters.

Just about any mistake there is to make is made. Errors on: punctuation, grammar, misspelled words. Some chapters are present tense and some are in past tense with no rhyme or reason why. Tense problems within chapters.

The major problem is the author uses passive language throughout the book. Examples of descriptions: The man is six feet tall. He is wearing a shirt. Water is covering the street. The night is dark. The men are running. The man has a hook nose. This type of description and writing is used (if I may err here) constantly. This type of writing makes the book difficult to read because the narrator is distant from the character. Is and Are are usually followed by and ‘ing’ word which words show up a lot.

Too many details on unimportant things, when summation would be better.

Repetitive words and phrases: Jack washes his hands. Finishing, he reaches for a towel to dry his hands. Finishing, he throws away the towel. Also, people gawp too many times in this book.

Many things ‘begin’ and ‘start’ and these words tend to beget ‘ing’ words.

Nonsensical sentences.

Question: Zhikov uses only women guards at his facility. Why? This question isn’t answered but only men are affected by the rain or have extra powers, so this could be logical.

Question: Jack spends many days and nights out on the streets or in the wilderness. How does he survive? Food? Water? His experiences aren’t explained.

Question: Does it seem reasonable Zhirkov has seen these special abilities passed on but can’t remember how? He’s been studying these people for decades.

Problem: Darkmore is first shown wearing a hood and a mask. But, he gives Fattal a look with black eyes. How can anybody see the man’s eyes if they’re covered by a mask? If there are eyeholes in the mask, I that should be clarified.

– Another character’s name is the Shifter. I didn’t understand him but he has a cat. In one scene, the man dons a tracksuit. Then the author writes: The cat’s eyes stare knowingly at the tracksuit; it has not been worn in years. Really? The cat knows how long it’s been since the man wore the outfit?

This entire book was a mess with very weak writing, which made for a difficult read, and made little sense. Any action had no tension. There were no like-able characters, and the ending confused me because I missed the part of how it came to be played out as it was. 

My Rank:

White Belt

White

Vessels

VesselscoverFinal

By J Man

https://www.amazon.com/Vessels-J-Man/dp/1521298254/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499737201&sr=8-1&keywords=vessels%2C+j-man

Plot

The TREE corporation, manufacturer of much of today’s items we use everyday, has developed and released something brand new, something every household is expected to want and use. But what is the truth behind this new invention?

When I read the blurb, I thought this would be a fascinating sci-fi thriller. Unfortunately, the blurb didn’t reveal the multitude of problems and weaknesses in the plot and other aspects of the book.

Characters

Here’s the first problem. The characters. Almost every chapter introduces a new character.

Chet, Mary, Andreea, Pamela, Clare, and others. Chloe is the only repeat character shown and she’s a technician doing tests in the lab on the new invention.

So, I had to wait until the end to understand the role of all these characters…and even then I wasn’t sure about all of them. Because, for the most part, a new character was introduced, nobody really developed, not even Chloe. Because of this, I couldn’t care about anybody or get close to them. I couldn’t make the connections to the story or the reason for their inclusion…until, like I said, at the end. Sort of.

Robert is the CEO of TREE but his last name isn’t mentioned until the end…I think. And his character was never developed so his voice and actions were confusing.

Dialogue

Because of the many characters nobody really stood out for voices. Dialogue and conversations, for the most part were banal and blah or vague. Capitalization errors on tag lines. “I’m going to the store,” He said. No capital He.

Writing

Titled chapters. Short book. A bit of profanity. Each chapter is first person from that chapter’s character, which didn’t work for me and was too confusing.

Misuse of semicolons and run-sentences that commas should not have separated.

As mentioned above, I didn’t understand almost anything about this story throughout the read until the end when I had to think a bit.

Nothing was developed. No action. No detecting. No one person or a team figuring it out and putting it all together. At the end, it’s the cop talking to whom I assume is Robert and laying it all out for him, and, apparently the reader. Then the book ended. Just…ended. No resolution, no aftermath, no nothing.

This book’s chapters were based from a timeline that started at the convention with the big announcement of the new product, then proceeded through scenes before and after the convention. The lab tests before the convention with Chloe didn’t make sense and seemed to go nowhere and had no resolution or what happened after their apparent failure. What decisions were made to be ready for the big event?

So, to conclude with a bit of repetition. This book was confusing, did not develop properly, weak writing, a weak plot that seemed to bounce from place to place with no solid connections. If I hadn’t been reviewing this book, I would have given up a few chapters in. And if I may make one last comment: the book’s cover does absolutely nothing to attract a reader.

Giving a rank to this book was not a difficult decision:

White Belt

White

When The Sky Falls

cover

By Joseph Bendoski

https://www.amazon.com/When-Sky-Falls-Joseph-Bendoski/dp/1520951590/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499483766&sr=8-1&keywords=when+the+sky+falls

Plot

It is 1988. Do you remember the scare Orson Wells gave America broadcasting War of the Worlds? That was considered a Sky Fall Event. William Stephenson has spent his life studying Sky Fall events, including the most recent in Portugal. The CIA is interested in this latest incident and sends in a team to help and learn from Stephenson. But is everyone’s motives true? Who put the latest Sky Fall event into motion and why?

As a premise, I think it’s pretty good. But the way it was laid out was…well, I find it difficult to explain. Really. I didn’t know what to make of it. Something seemed off, not totally left field stuff, but just leaning just shy of plum. Let’s see if I can delve into it in other categories.

Characters

Jay Nichols: works for the CIA

Trevor Benson: Nicknamed Costly. Works for the CIA

Silas Cooper: black hair, smokes cigars, works for the CIA

William Stephenson: Thin grey hair, average looking, wears hearing aids

Okay, there are a few other characters named Alvero, Jones, Alice, and Casey. They’re all CIA but they’re all a bit weird and, like I said…off. I didn’t know whether Alice was a total whack-job or cleverly clever. Jones was enigmatic and I didn’t understand the role of Casey.

There is an afterward to the book that mentions William Stephenson was an actual person who was a spy in WWII. The character in this book is loosely based on the real man.

One problem I had with these characters is I didn’t understand them. They were introduced and they did things and then I never felt the follow up with them. Just my opinion here. Nichols is a newbie agent, yet seems to turn pro pretty quickly, within months.

I just never was able to grasp any of the characters or feel close to them. The Afterward mentions in an earlier version that Nichols was actually named Nickels. There is one time that I caught the second spelling still in there.

Dialogue

Because Alice was so different, her voice came through well. So did Silas’. I didn’t have any problems with dialogue other than sometimes I didn’t quite understand the purpose of some of it.

Writing

Profanity. Titled Chaps and chapters are headed by quotes from Stephenson’s book.

Misspelled words and run-on sentences. Some sentences would have worked better with a period and separated.

To be honest, I enjoyed the anecdotes/small excerpts from Stephenson’s book at the beginning of the chapters more than the story.

I tried to grab onto some thread but found it difficult. There are a few twists here and there but, and I hate to be repetitive, the whole book seemed off, shaky, not on solid ground, hard to fully comprehend what was going on, and the reasons for it.

Take a chance or don’t. I just don’t know about this one.

My Rank:

Camouflage Belt

Camo