Restless Highways, by Melissa L. Webb, is a collection of dark, angry, creepy, scary stories--in other words--it's a hit! Many short story collections are written for one, specific audience. Ms. Webb's collection appeals to both adults and young adults. The suspense that she creates in each story is developed so quickly that when the story suddenly ends, it is as though she has slammed her reader into a brick wall, only to have him rub his head unsure of what has just happened! And then, it comes to the reader that there is more to each story--more that Webb requires the reader to bring to the story. Not only are these ghastly stories good for camp fires and Halloween, but they can also be used in a high school classroom. Ms. Webb accomplishes what she sets out to do--tell a good story or two. She also accomplishes what she may not have anticipated--she requires her readers to think and participate in her stories. Brava!
Stray : Touchstone Part 1
on Aug. 19, 2011
Andrea Host effectively uses a diary format to bring science fiction to young adult readers. Her use of computer interfaces with the brain and the concept of planet “jumping” is done in such a way so as to keep young readers going in a sense. The ideas she presents and the plot that she constructs are en vogue enough with this virtually-active, computer-minded generation. Her story of Cassandra’s trials and tribulations were involved to the point to keep an adult reader reading. This, mixed with the science-fiction aspects of the story will surely keep younger readers reading and asking for more.
The Traveler's Companion
on Aug. 20, 2011
This novel effectively manipulates the science fiction genre. It plausibly combines known science with the futuristic idea of the relationship between man and machine. It uses the ideas and working theories of physics to present the human concept of loss, or rather, the power of loss to generate new creation. Chater writes, at the core, a story that explores the emotions that supreme loss can create. He depicts the determination to survive the overwhelming sense of defeat and lonliness that humans experience when loss is suffered. He does this against the backdrop of an explanation of the "what if" factor in life. This novel is an example of what science fiction can be when it is presented in its finest form--a well-written, well-told story.
This type of novel is not always my favorite pick, but I am glad that I received it through Library Thing or I would have missed a very good read. While I think that the beginning of the novel is a bit heavy---it made me feel as if I missed something important before, the character development and plot structure soon made it something that I found hard to put down. It is clear that Christopher Kellen understands the idea of the Hero's Journey and is able to incorporate it well in his writing. This is certainly a novel that I will encourage others to read!
I have been sitting on two novels that I poured a great deal of time, energy, effort and love into. After reading David Gaughram's book, I not only have the courage it takes to risk publishing, but step by step directions on how to get the job done. I am grateful that he has written his manual in a no-nonsense manner and am appreciative that I know have a map to follow. What a great tool he has given to all writers who want so desperately to be published.
I really enjoyed the collection of stories in this book. Each story, while becoming a bit predictable, followed the short story building "formula" so well that I read a few to my lower reading classes and used them as a teaching tools. When ninth grade English students who can usually care less ask to hear another story, you know you have a winner. This collection is a winner in my humble opinion.
I really enjoyed the idea of a character collecting stories. I love to collect stories as well and believe that everything and everyone has a story behind it. While horror is not really my genre, I did like this book and will recommend it to those who are more into the genre than I am. It was well written and was compelling enough to keep me reading--not bad for someone who doesn't like horror!
Rex Jameson has created a novel that contains the unexpected, next logical choice for the "How the Universe Came to be" story. His novel does something that truly presents itself as unique--an ever increasingly difficult thing to do in literature. Jameson tells the story of Lucifer--and manages to make him a sympathetic character. Definitely not something that is often considered. Jameson's LUCIFER'S ODYSSEY is certainly written for those with an open mind. If you routinely wonder "what if...." kinds of questions, then this novel is for you. Looking at the world and all of its conflicts through its perhaps most well-known and feared villain is so intriguing that it made it almost impossible for me to put this book down--much to the woe of my family who wanted to be paid attention to. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment of this story, and truly envy Jameson's talent as a writer!
SCRIBER by Ben S. Dobson has created a must-read version of an old concept. The value of history has intrigued man for generations. Wondering why things are the way they are, why people are who they are, and what exactly happened in the past to create the present is not a new set of ideas. Dobson uses these ideas that seem to be genetically embedded in the human psyche to create a spellbinding story that keeps readers enthralled. The novel adds creative evidence to the argument that one’s past is indeed important—often more important than first realized. In fact, Dobson’s novel suggests that realizing the importance of one’s personal, cultural, and national history can be so vital that it saves the future from extinction. It is a novel that is not only worth reading once, but is worthy of saving in order to read it again—and again.
Who would you be if you could be ANYONE? What would you do? How would you use your talent? Or, more importantly, would you be able to avoid abusing that talent? Melissa Conway explores these very questions in her novel ANYONE. On second thought, Conway does more than explore the idea; she develops it with an amazing amount of skill. ANYONE is a novel that is, simply put, impossible to put down once one has started to read it. ANYONE dragged me into a universe in which I became so engrossed that I was able to forget the universe in which I am currently living. That, in itself, is next to impossible to do and is the main reason why I recommend it to anyone and everyone. If you are interested in reading a book that will transport you to a place that is NOT in the “here and now”, this is the book for you.
Tempest, by Holly Hook, is a young adult novel destined to enter the ranks of Percy Jackson and even Harry Potter. It is grounded in mythology, yet is presented in enough of a modern background so as to make it interesting. Its fast-paced plot structure and life-like characters make it hard to put down. Ms. Hook weaves a tale that is engrossing and that engages enough of a reader's prior knowledge to make it irresistible. As an adult, I found the story plausible as a mythological tale. I can only imagine the power that a young reader will give it.
Naked Mommy is a puzzling story. Its plot it not difficult. Basically, it presents the story of how three characters come together and interact--or don't act--as they move through life. Two brothers fight over a woman who wants neither. It is an old story. The puzzle, for me, lies in what the author leaves unexplored.
I am puzzled as to why the Irish background of the novel is left unexplored. The local language used in the story hints at setting, but it is not enough. Take the language out, and the story could happen anywhere that a naturally occuring, glacier-fed lake exists (New Hampshire, maybe?). So, then, why is Ireland important?
I am puzzled as to why Mel's rejection of a life-long choice was not explored more dramatically. It is one thing, perhaps, to no longer wish to be a priest. It is quite another to declare oneself "god-less". Why include the information only to ignore it in the end?
I could go on, but find it sufficient to say that, while I do not regret reading the novel, I am not sure that I would pick it up again. I am alos not sure what I would say to someone else about reading it. My best reason for suggesting that others read the book is to see if my puzzled reaction is unique or not.
Michael Belmont was a pleasant surprise. I chose it because I work with reluctant readers and I thought it would be interesting for them. Little did I know that I would be drawn in as well. I literally could not read it fast enough. I was most pleased with the combination of mythologies presented in the story. I think that one of the greatest things to happen to young adult literature is a resurgence of mythology. This is a perfect example of how well that can be done when time, energy, effort and care go into the mix. I eagerly await the next installment.
The energy an effort that the author spent on this novel is immediately evident. There is great time spent making sure that details are accurate; however, I have to be honest. I couldn’t finish it. For me, it was overly graphic and I question why. I am recommending this book for those who are not queasy readers and who love a good mystery/thriller. It just wasn't my style.
Paul Moxham provides readers with a suspenseful story that is sure to keep younger readers interested to the end. The idea of family working together to protect one another, as well as their country is an interesting and timeless one for young and/or reluctant readers—a population that I am familiar with. There are a few bumps and rubs, however, which even a young reader will notice. There is a bit of name confusion at the beginning of the short novel. Mr. Brody becomes a Mr. Mitchell more than once. Also, dialogue during “high action” and “high adrenaline” situations is far too proper and formal. That being said, this is still a short piece that I will certainly purchase another copy of. It will make a good addition to my classroom library.