Hi, I’m Gunnar Grey. I write books. I’m a historian, a forensics nut, a target shooter, and a retired adventurer and equestrian. I read avidly and post reviews or at least ratings for most of the books I read. In addition, I format ebooks for myself and a few clients, including indie writers and a no-longer-quite-so-small publishing company. If you need an ebook formatted or want to meet my references, check out my blog, Mysteries and Histories.
I live in Humble, Texas, just north of Houston, with four parakeets, the aforementioned husband (who’s even more entertaining than the birds), a fig tree, a vegetable garden, the lawn from the bad place, three armloads of potted plants, and a coffee maker that’s likely the most important item we own.
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Mutated Mediocre Public Television Galactic Defenders Save the Universe!
In the epic satire Bob Ross, Vampire Hunter, a motley collection of public TV heroes rode off into an apocalyptic sunset aboard the Boston Symphony Hall. Now join scientific Carl, neighborly Fred, Georgie the reader, Bob the painter, and the shrill red puppet Ergo as they battle evil robots and aliens, mutate into spacey things, and save the universe! Did you know you could do all that in Toronto?
Dixie’s an apprentice jockey, riding winners for the stable where her father works. When trainer Jake gives her the Fraternity ride on Bow Wave, a super two-year-old colt, she should be over the moon. But Shane, the jockey whose kisses make her tremble, is also riding in the Fraternity. He and his father need to win or they’ll sink further into debt. How can Dixie race against their desperation?
Deal with the Devil
He wasn’t supposed to be on the plane. Now Major Faust is a prisoner of the English and he must escape before they break him. But every time he gets away, a woman is raped and murdered. The English need someone to hang. He’s the hot suspect.
He’s got to catch the killer, even though he’s helping the enemy. It’s collaboration, almost treason. It’s making a Deal with the Devil.
Unemployed Public Television Vampire Hunters
Myles Kieffer is a mild-mannered TV program director who is inadvertently pulled into a world of conspiracy, intrigue, and mystery as he and a scrappy band of public TV stars embark on a cross-country adventure in which they encounter zombies, aliens, vampires, clowns, and the penultimate evil that could very well mean the end of all humanity, as well as government-funded TV programming.
There's a lot involved in firearms and ballistics. But with this handy primer in your e-reader, you'll be armed and ready to write before you can say "submachine gun."
Oh, and did I mention it's illustrated?
Carlyle Harris and Robert Buchanan had several things in common. Both worked in the medical field, with Harris a medical student and Buchanan a practicing physician. Both lived in New York City in the early 1890s. And both had wives they didn't want.
Captain Charles Ellandun lives in two worlds: NATO’s Rapid Response team, and civilized Boston with his beloved Aunt Edith. Then the war implants a ferocious, repeating memory he can't shake. Then someone murders Aunt Edith. And then someone tries to run him over with a Suburban. Like it or not, Charles must dig into her past, even if it rips his world to shrapnel. Even if it costs him his life.
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Smashwords book reviews by Dingbat Publishing
- Horker's Law
on Aug. 15, 2011
There's a new breed of novel arising, the self-pubbed novel with a great story that would have benefitted from an equally good editor. This is one of the best examples of that category I've yet read. "Horker's Law" has a solid, well-developed plotline with enjoyable characters. It's clearly set up as the first of a series and a sample of the next book is included at the end. Mike Lee is definitely an author I'll be tracking, even if I did predict one of his twists at the end.
At the same time, there's a lot here a good editor could have improved. Some scenes are overly developed and go on for too long. Although it's true you never know when something carefully worked into a previous scene will return to bite you, it's also true that these scenes would read better with some judicious cutting.
While there are no misspellings or formatting errors, there are poor grammar choices and obvious outright mistakes. An example is consistently using "it's" when "its" would have been correct. Therefore, grammar purists might prefer to give this book a miss. But if you can allow the author some patience, and prevent the errors and slips from pulling you out of the story, "Horker's Law" is clever and fun. I give it five stars for the story, and four for the book as presented
- The Night the Lights Went Out
on Sep. 05, 2013
Of all the books I've read this year, this is one of the most difficult to rate and classify. It's an intense read, densely written, heavy and realistic; but at the same time it's hopeful and light on its feet. The ending is left open, as if for a sequel, but because of the realism factor there's no other way it could possibly have ended.
The climax is strong and satisfying, but the denouement and falling action drag on a bit. It's possible the story would be stronger with a couple thousand words chopped off the end; but it wouldn't be the same book and the effect on the reader would be neither as heavy nor as hopeful.
The characterization is excellent. The author could use a professional copy editor or at least a good proofreader, and there are some sentences where I never did figure out a satisfactory meaning. But even when it threw me out of the story, there was never any question but that I'd dive back into it.
If you like post-apocalyptic fiction without the tired tropes of nuclear holocaust or zombies, well, I've read worse. Much worse. And I guess that answers the how-many-stars question: this story will stay with me. Knock off one for the lack of proofreading and the questionability of those ending chapters, then let's say four stars and one contented if wondering reader.
- The Irishman&Other Stories
on Sep. 11, 2013
This is another difficult book for me to rate. The author's writing skills are excellent, fluid and exact; his characters, situations, and themes are utterly real. And therein lies the problem. It seems I'm currently more in a mood for escape than for reality, and at this time these stories simply aren't reaching me.
In no way is this the fault of the author; his book description is spot-on, no false claims involved. And allow me to emphasize that this is an entirely subjective assessment. There's no doubt other readers will not agree. With the author's polished skills, it's easy to imagine others awarding this anthology five stars and buying every book he's written. What makes my funk even worse is, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review, and this is the best I can currently do.
My thanks to the author for the opportunity to experience his work — and it's an experience, rather than a read, it's that real — and should this escapism funk ever break, I'll revisit these short stories and give them a better, fairer chance.
- Beyond the Path
on Sep. 11, 2013
The hardest part about writing a good old-fashioned horrific ghost story, I imagine, would be ending it. We've all read books where the ghost was banished too easily, or the story became too cheesy for words, or in some way the climax became a let-down rather than a keep-me-up-reading-all-night. This book does not suffer from that complaint. If the main characters had been more likeable, and if the proofreading had been more thorough, this novella would have been a five-star story.
Note that I received a free copy of this novella through the Library Thing Member Giveaway program in exchange for an honest review.
- Falken's Woods
on Sep. 23, 2013
Nice YA romance, with mysterious paranormal/horror and coming of age elements extending and strengthening the story line. Strong, believable characters with real development, and if there are traces of instalove in the immediate attraction between H and h, the realistic romantic development makes up for that. One good touch was the common sense shown by the h while she's investigating the mystery; too often an amateur sleuth parks her brain and does stoopid things to move the plot along and set up scary scenes, but this author didn't resort to such measures. That's worth an extra star, right there.
Note that this book does need a line editor and proofreader. There are problems with verb tenses, missing and added words, and the occasional clumsy sentence. For the most part, these errors don't detract from the book's enjoyment factor, but readers, if you're sensitive to such, consider yourself warned.
Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through the Library Thing Member Giveaway program in exchange for an honest review. This assessment would be no different if I had bought the book or nabbed it as an Amazon freebie.
- Arlo's Epiphany
on Nov. 06, 2013
This is a cute "secret lives of animals" short story. Engaging characters, entertaining storyline, and lots and lots (and lots) of narration. It includes one of the most hilarious chase scenes I've ever read, one of the best feline secret agents ever, and if the narration were trimmed down some this would easily garner four stars. As it stands, let's call it 3.5 stars.
I received a free copy of this short story through the LibraryThing Member Giveaway program. Thanks for the fun read, Ms Oldaker.
- A Day at the Office or The Bastard
on Nov. 06, 2013
A clever short story with a unique twist at the end. I did not see that one coming.
- The Barrows
on Nov. 17, 2013
This is a boxed set of four sword & sorcery fantasy novellas. I had the distinct pleasure of reading one previously (Witch Hunt) and the following three are just as good. The concept isn't particularly new -- a group of traveling adventurers have a series of adventures -- but these are better written than the average. Author Annie Bellet has a good sense of story and pacing, as well as a fantastic imagination, and her use of "Killer" and her lost identity as an overarching storyline pulls the series together.
Especially enjoyable for this reviewer is "A Stone's Throw," which explores the deeper characterization of the group's rogue, Drake, and gives him a chance to shine on stage. While the final novella, "Dead of Knight," spends a bit of time showcasing the group's magic user, Rahiel, it doesn't provide the deeper characterization and leaves the little pixie-goblin as much of a mystery as before.
I have no hesitation in recommending these four novellas to fans of S&S. If the proofreading had been a bit more precise, the boxed set would have earned five strong stars.
Please note that I received a free copy of this title through the LibraryThing Member Giveaway program in exchange for an honest review. The price of the story has no bearing upon the review received.
on Nov. 17, 2013
This is a full-length epic contemporary fantasy novel, with winged demons, winged knights (definitely not angels), telepathic horses, and weapons and armor that shape themselves to their owners. The plotline is solid -- I enjoyed the read -- but I kept wishing the world-building had been more solid, that there were more background details to keep me "grounded" in the author's universe. There just wasn't the overall flavor of immersion that truly satisfies the dedicated fantasy reader.
However, my major issue with the book is a trick of the author's wordsmithing. She tends to omit certain important details until after the fact, and then spring the detail as a surprise for the reader. As an example, a character might be held at knifepoint, then fight free using a knife the reader knew nothing about. This is just off the top of my head, not a real example from the book, so no spoiler there. But several major plot twists were sprung using this "Gotcha!" technique, and I'm not a fan of it.
I am a fan of the storytelling and the author's universe, even incomplete. There's a rough depth to the characters, a strength to the plotline, that will draw me back for future installments. Hope founds a fantasy world and is clearly intended as the basis for a series, with several questions remaining unanswered, invitingly so. Keep writing, Ms Rook.
Please note that I received a free copy of this novel through the Library Thing Member Giveaway program. The price of the book never dictates the honesty of the review.
- Ghosts of Florence Pass
on Feb. 24, 2014
e e cummings would have been thrilled at this short story. Sad but excellent ending, and well written throughout. Thanks for the read, Mr. Anderson.