Scrolling Covers

Thursday, February 17, 2011

BROOKS BERRY IN The Case of The Stolen Season by Michael James


Brooks Berry is your normal 12 year old boy. Obsessed with sports, best friends with his dog Ripken and a very curious mind. He also is one of Wauwatosa's leading detectives. Join this boy sleuth and his friends on his mystery solving adventures packed with unexpected twists and turns. Written in the spirit of the Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew mysteries. First edition of a new series. 

Reviewed by Dale

I enjoy a good mystery as much as any one does and I was quite eager to start this story. Te setting is an American high school and the action or mystery unfolds around american football games. I don't follow grid iron and it's not played in my country so I couldn't really understand the in depth narratation of the plays. I guess it would be the same for Americans reading rugby or cricket plays.

The story has a few through away laughs, the Trojan computer company, where I'm sure the author is laying on a Trojan virus the word is also the brand name for a popular brand of condon in my country so it constantly made me snicker. Hehe

Also the references to cigarette buts and the hero's intimate knowledge of them is a no brainer homage to the great Sherlock Holmes no doubt that anyone who has read a Conan Doyle story could miss that.

Although I found the story and the writing up to a good standard. Was dissapointed that the author used narrative to drive the story forward. In fact probably 70% of this story is authors voice. A great scene, and sadly a great example of this was when Brooks, the young sleuth was black boarding his suspects and motives. Now Conan Doyle would have done this with Holmes plucking away all melancolie on his violin, half doped with opium and dr Watson buried in the Sunday cross word. It would have been dialogue driven with Watson struggling to keep up with Holme's wild posturing and great leaps of intuition. Instead we had the author explaining what Brad was thinking.

The ending was good, though. The author managed to twist the tale around and around to keep you guessing as to who the culprit was. Lots of red herrings and excitement.

Three and a half out of Five for me.

Format: eBook
Price: Free
27,000 words
Download link Here
Author Michael James

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reasons on her Wrist by Racaneya

Editorial Blurb:

Cassie, a suicidal teen, learns many reasons about her purpose in life after dealing with death, a love triangle, saving another life, and going through a life changing event.

Reviewed by Dale

This story follows a 17 year old high school student who struggles to find a sense of purpose in her young life. People have disappointed her and left her and now she finds the only source of any real feeling in her life is in self mutilation.

As she trudged wearily through her days at school people try to push their way through her dark walls and get to know her. Resistant at first she pushes them away but gradually Cassie lowers her guard and let's them close. But are they the right people to be part of her life?  Will there screwed up lives be more weight than Cassie can bear?

This is a very well crafted novel. The dialogue driven story is well constructed with likeable and believable characters.
The topical nature of the story was also handled well. Sending a message about self mutilation and suicidal thoughts but in a constructive and non preaching way. I was in awe of some of the monologues and wonder how the author has come to have such a deep connection with her characters.

Part two didn't feel as strong as part one, but it completed the story. The ending has been the subject of debate in other reviews but I haven't seen the alternative ending. This ending worked fine for me, although a little sad perhaps.

As for the young author herself I'm glad to hear she is working on another novel, she has a great voice and a mastery of dialogue.

Author: Racaneya
Author blog: Blog
Format: eBook
Word count: 30,000
Price: free
Link: Download

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Darkling Wind by Jamie Sedgwick

Editorial Blurb:
Ben always thought his grandfather's bedtime stories about the darklings were make-believe, but now the darklings have invaded his hometown and only Ben can stop them. When a mysterious package arrives containing his grandfather's old journal and a crystal pendant, Ben knows he's found the way to stop the darklings. Unfortunately, the journal is encrypted and Ben is running out of time.

With the help of his Best friend Sara, Ben must unlock the journal's secrets and find a way to banish the evil darklings before they destroy the town and kill everyone he loves. But does Ben have the strength to face his greatest fears? If he succeeds, Ben will have to sacrifice everything just to survive. If he fails, Ben will not only lose everything he loves, he will also become the thing he fears the most.

Reviewed by Dale

This is a well written and very heart warming story. It's written in the first person and is largely narrative driven. Usually I would not like this style of writing but it pretty much works in this format and for young adult readers it shouldn't be too tiring.

The young hero of the story is Ben Larbinger a fourteen year old nobody who gets picked on by all the school bullies. Ben's amiable sidekick is Sara, or Sarah depending on which page you are on. Actually I only saw that once but it was funny to see a major character's name changing through a story. There were only a couple of typos and the editing was good about 94% perfect.

Back to the story; young Ben meets a sinister man with an evil aura whilst visiting his grandfather. The evil stranger tells Ben and Sara that they will meet again soon. This is a nice little tension building tease that the author uses throughout the book, to successfully build his story. The characters indeed meet the stranger again and have a near fatal run in with their teachers at school. It was very exciting when Ben accidentally fell into a room full of darkling monsters and gouls. I couldn't wait to see how Sedgwick was going to write Ben out of that scene. You will have to read it yourself to find out.

Tragedy strikes early on in the story and the cute litle sidekick, Sara, falls victim to the invading darklings. I was really upset by this as she was a character I had come to like and care about. A hallmark of great writing is in conjuring this kind of emotional attachment in readers.

So the story is novel, refreshing and definitely very interesting, the writing is good. A few overly introspective descriptive passages towards the end but easily forgiven in the rush to turn the page to see how it finishes. I would have liked a more dialogue driven story. I would have liked to have seen more of the other characters in the book developed more fully. This is a challenge with first person stories. The lead actor is well characterized and the bad guys can be left too one dimensional.

I'm still giving this book 5 stars though, and I thoroughly recommend it. It's not long at a bit over 30,000 words or so. So why not download it for a rainy day?

Title: The Darkling Wind
Author: Jamie Sedgwick Author's Blog
Genre: Fantasy
33,000 words
Free download via smashwords: Download link