Bears, Recycling and Confusing Time Paradoxes
on May 10, 2011
This has to be one of the most bizarre collections of stories I have ever read. When the author contacted me to ask if I would like to review the book, it sounded like it would be a fun, maybe crazy, read. Crazy is an understatement. This book takes crazy to a whole new level. Each story is only a few pages long, and at the end of each page is a moral that, somehow, links to the story. Sounds pretty straightforward right? A kind of Aesop’s Fables for adults, if you will. But then consider that the morals are only very loosely linked to the actual stories. That the morals are, regularly, even more strange than the stories themselves. Oh, and sometimes we have no idea how the moral connects to the story whatsoever. Confused? Yes, I was too.
Confusion, though, gives way to humour in this collection of stories. ‘Serious’ readers need not apply. There has to be a huge level of suspended belief when reading this collection. If you are the kind of reader that can just open a book and go along for the ride, you will love it. After the initial shock at just how strange some of these stories are, the humour starts to shine through and I found myself smiling a lot whilst reading. The author clearly has a vivid imagination and this collection is the perfect showcase of that. The writing was pretty good but I sometims found the plots difficult to follow.
All things considered, it did make me smile, but it wasn’t for me. That said, I think that it would be a good read for those who like light, humourous reads and for fans of speculative short fiction.
Hungry For You
on May 13, 2011
I have to say that stories about zombies have never been high on my list of things to read. It’s not that I’m against them, it’s just that I’ve never been interested enough to pick up anything that contains Zombies. I am aware, however, that this sub-genre has a HUGE fanbase, so when A.M. Harte contacted me to ask me whether I’d like to review the book, I figured it was time I finally made my first foray into their world.
As it’s a collection of short stories, I guess it served as a great introduction to the world of zombies. As I said above, I don’t have anything to compare this too, but looking at other reviews, it would seem that Harte plays around with the genre and injects new life into zombies (no pun intended!). Whilst I can’t corroborate that, what I can say is that whatever she does, she’s damn good at it. I loved all of the stories in this collection and I could easily have read more. Hell, some of the stories left me dying to know more and many of them could serve as great bases for novels. I guess this isn’t a great thing in a short story collection, but it didn’t bother me too much.
The writing is creative, the plots imaginative and the twists generally unexpected. I liked that some of the twists also made me think about the preceding story in a new light. The feeling throughout this book is pretty much always creepy and it definitely had me feeling uneasy. But it kept me hooked. It had me freaked out in a good way.
I would say my favourite story is the story that gives the collection it’s title, Hungry For You, but as I said, for me there weren’t any duds in this collection.
I look forward to reading more from A.M. Harte
on June 24, 2011
It's very difficult to post a review for a book that comprises of 9 pages and comprises of flash fiction - very short, short stories - however I'm going to do my best! I was intrigued by the concept of flash fiction when the author contacted me. I'd never heard of it but, as a lover of short stories, it sounded both interesting and fun and so I agreed to read and review it.
If I'm honest, I had to read all of the stories through twice before I understood them, which wasn't a problem as they were obviously very short! Maybe this is because I'm not used to such short stories and trying to find the meaning behind them. I don't consider myself particularly analytical but I knew that I would have to be if I wanted to get the most out of the stories. Initially after reading the stories once, I found that they were fun, quirky and creative. In particular, I loved the creativity of The Revolt of the Coconut Trees. Once I'd read the stories again I saw that they were insightful and, in many cases, there was much more to them than I'd originally thought. Many of them left me wanting to know more. I'm undecided whether this is a good thing or not, as I tend to think that short stories should be complete in themselve. I suppose it depends on what the author is trying to acheive. If the author decides to expand on the stories in the future then I would definitely be interested in reading them.
Overall, this was a fun, quick read and it made a welcome change in between heavier reading. I would recommend it to people who want to try something different or are just looking for a fun read.
on June 24, 2011
When I read the email from Cyndi asking me whether I would review this book, I was pretty certain it would be something I'd enjoy. I love YA and I love paranormal, and the plot sounded interesting, so I accepted without hesitation. I'm really glad I did!
To start with, I loved the character of Aiden. I'm not surprised that Lindsey fell in love with him, because I'm sure if I was in her place I would too! What's not to love? He's gentle, caring, gorgeous and Scottish (I adore the Scottish accent!). He was the perfect 'hero' figure and I really enjoyed reading his interactions with Lindsey.
The plot was interesting and original and I was propelled through the book as I really wanted to know what happened next. I have to be honest and say that at the beginning, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it as it felt a little... erm... cheesy I suppose. Like a YA version of a Mills and Boon novel - love at first sight and everything. But I persevered with it and found that feeling disappeared very quickly and the real story emerged. I was rooting for Aiden and Lindsey throughout the book and, whilst I won't say too much for fear of giving spoilers, I found myself getting annoyed when things weren't working out for them! It really played with my emotions and Lindsey's grief was very real and relatable. The story was engrossing and there was a 'twist' which I didn't see coming. I didn't find it to be predictable at all and I wasn't sure how it would end.
The writing flows well and I actually came to like the fact that the book moved so quickly at the beginning. This is one reason I like YA novels - they don't take forever to build up the story at the beginning, they send you straight into the action! The characterisation of both Aiden and Lindsey was good and watching their love develop was enthralling. Although there are references to God and religion within the book, it's not preachy at all.
So I think it's fair to say that I loved this book and would definitely recommend it. At the back of the book there is a teaser for the next book in the series. I'll definitely be picking it up!
Sleeping Kings (Dark Force – Book One)
on Jan. 22, 2012
Sleeping Kings was a pleasant surprise for me. When I received the email pitch from the author, I wasn't sure if it would be for me, but I decided to give it a go and I'm glad I did as I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a fantasy, adventure thriller aimed at a YA audience but I believe it can be enjoyed by anyone. It follows Nik, a teenage tomboy who ends up moving to the French Pyranees with her father when her mother decides to emigrate to America with her new boyfriend, whom Nik cannot stand. Whilst out on a mountain with school one day, she ends up meeting an ancient king who tells her that he needs her help to protect a secret that dates back 700 years from a group that are conspiring to uncover the secret and destroy the world. Pretty tough to take when you woke up in the morning thinking you'd just have a normal day at school, right? Nik enlists the help of her schoolmate and new friend, Daan, who knows the mountains and the countryside around them like the back of his hand and together they take on some pretty nasty people...
I liked this book because it combines fast paced adventure with historical information about the Cathar movement. I enjoy learning whilst I'm reading but some authors are unable to pull this off, making it boring to read despite their best efforts. This is certainly not the case with this book and I think that it will appeal to children, teens and adults alike. The characters of Nik and Daan are easy to relate to - Nik is an online-gaming addict who has a difficult relationship with her father and Daan is a friendly, caring boy who really cares about the environment around him (another great message delivered through this book without it feeling forced) and who loves an adventure.
My one issue with the book was the short chapters that were interspersed with the main chapters, telling a kind of side story about a place called 'Somewhere Else'. For me, they added nothing to the book and became more of an annoyance than anything else.
This is book one of a series and I think I will probably read the next book at some point. I would definitely recommend this to people looking for a fun read that is a little different to the books that seem to be dominating the market at the moment.