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The Hole Between Mine and Yours:
Liquid Logic from a Dirty Tumbler

By Christina M. Grey

A Poetic Review: H.A. Parker

At first I thought I was ornate,

A twisted-grading heavy weight,

Until this fashion, sweet as dew,

This book was novel, fresh and new.

You wrote, I like, I must admit,

It reads with some heroic wit.

Like Swift, Arbuthnot, and Parnell,

Who wrote their writings, raising hell.

Their friends include the blessed Pope,

Whose words are fine like soft green soap.

While you uncovered something swift,

I find some writings gone adrift,

Like Sideways, Going, Slumber Fast,

Those poems, I say, won’t even last.

Because the problem is sublime,

I will not take up that much time.

I find your rhythms done in haste,

That makes the poems look like a waste,

Like mixed elixirs, calling mom,

Ice cream screamers, and Eros’s Psalm,

Pausing for arrows, if they’re point,

I know it feels, they’re out of joint,

Like aqua olive lime pear tea,

That makes one grand disharmony,

And smoking weed, and stock of leaf,

These words do choose my disbelief,

Words you use like my vagina,

Have no need like Aunt Jemima.

These terms are just a random snip,

Of these big poems, done bit by bit.

If you fix them, one here and there,

These poems are great, I say, ‘I swear.’

I know, I see, talent unique,

It’s good, it’s spunk, it’s fresh physique,

Like Melting, Nest Doll, and Snow White,

I find these charms a pleasing sight.

So please take up a poet’s plea,

To fix this poor cacophony,

Before I put this book straight down,

And start to make a lowly frown.

I hope you love the poet’s news,

And take me up for my sheer views.

But if you reject my subtle clue,

I wish to bid a fair adieu.

Parker’s Overall Grade:

B+

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Note: The basis of this review is limited. Although the author has forwarded me their complete manuscript, I have refrained from further reading because the book lacks a particular element in its writing.

Most Likely

By Craig Hansen

Cold Honest Truth:

  • With slight improvement, this book will ‘most likely’ succeed.

OVERALL RATING: B+

First, let me start off by saying something positive about this book before I decide to make any honest evaluation. I liked Becky… a lot. There seems to be something going for her that makes her a very likeable character throughout the story. I enjoy the fact there are athletic and social pressures that make her who she is. I like the decisions that she has to make as a person in order to overcome the physical abuses that affect her friend and the sexual tensions that the boyfriend pushes upon her. Sometimes I wonder exactly where the idea came from, I love its originality.

CHARACTERIZATION: B

Apart from the positives, I had to stop the book for a couple of predominant reasons. This is one of them. Although I like the fact that there are ‘core characters’ in the book, the problem that I see within the first few chapters is the fact that there are way too many of them at once. Gina, Scott, Lynn, Lucy, Meg, and Tammy Jo are all introduced without giving any backdrop to make them the characters that you want them to be. When you also introduce Coach Lansing and her parents, you tend to become overwhelmed with the amount of people you have to remember and try to know about. Essentially this becomes a frustrating ordeal, especially when you’re getting involved with a really good plot.

RHYTHM/DIALOGUE: B-

Everything that I have read so far in this book has a really good rhythm and sounds quite down to earth. You can instantly imagine yourself within the realm of high school again, trying to compete with the other people in one big race. This book does a great job in demonstrating a sense of verisimilitude i.e., the conversations resemble something that readers can easily relate to because of the realities that we live in. My biggest problem in this book is that the dialogues grow a bit redundant after a while, especially if the pacing is not as even with the plot of the book itself. “I know” this book has its potential to influence readers as a YA and “I know” it’s worth a good read, but also “I know” people would get tired of reading the same phrases one too many times, really “I know.”

Formatting: C+

Reading any kind of book is as much of a frustration to me already since I am in the business of making reviews in hopes that I can have my name established out there for readers to look at. What makes me more frustrated is when the book is contained with multiple spelling, punctuation, and diction errors that exist in the novel. Although I do face grammatical errors as a writer, I would not hesitate to at least request another set of eyes to take a look at the book itself. If you cannot afford an editor, the only sure proof way to avoid making HUGE mistakes is to take the time out and read the book aloud. That way, the book won’t look as bad as it seems (apart from the missing page numbers).

Cover Design: A-

I can tell what the story is about even from the cover! That is definitely a good thing to work with. However, I noticed on slight mistake that you should alter to make the book more appealing. The name the author and title needs to be capitalized so that everyone knows that you really mean it as a serious writer who honestly believes in the work he puts forth. The last thing I want to mention is that you might want to re-title your work. I could not imagine that nobody else would not make fun of the title because of the cheesy implications that come from the work, not to mention that you threw in a cross in there to implicate that the book is a ‘Christian fiction’.

Parker’s Overall Grade:

B

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In Between Lies

By Shawna Hill

Synopsis:

After a devastating break up with her cheating fiancé, Savannah Summers delves into her work as the Assistant to the VP of Production in a marketing/production company. Finding refuge in work and her best friends, she finally decides to try her hand at love one more time. Wanting more than ever to close the wounds of lost love and against her better judgment, she falls for Kevin Styles. This time around she vows to not give her whole self as before and keep her heart closer and guarded more than ever before.

Kevin Styles, a smooth, handsome Meteorologist at a local news station is somewhat a local celebrity in his own right. When it comes to women and playing the field, he holds all the cards. Being suave, having the right timing and patience is his game and forte and he is just the man to wine and dine her. However, a known player to his heart in his not so distant past, he’s looking for the right woman to tame his wild player ways.

Just when things are going perfect, Naomi Sanders, a now tarnished blast from Kevin’s past hits the scene. Naomi, now a revamped diva and budding actress, creates an entry into Kevin’s life and bed, reigniting a first unwanted and secret rendezvous that threatens his budding relationship with Savannah. For a short while, Kevin delights in having his cake and eating it too until Naomi decides that she wants more. Spurned, Naomi stops at nothing to stake her claim on what was once hers, bringing lies, destruction, and deceit, even if it means death.  Naomi is bent on a sweet revenge targeted at Kevin and anyone that lies within his reach. Shattered trust and betrayal is inevitable. Can Kevin and Savannahs’ blooming relationship withstand Naomi’s tactics, or should Savannah cut her losses and run?

Overall:

This book definitely spoke out to me on every level imaginable i.e., it’s smooth in rhythm and style. Shawna has definitely gone up, over, and beyond the typical slush pile of self-published writers who want an honest attention. Not once have I felt that the book was more about plot than the elements of erotica (that’s a pet peeve of mine, writing more about the sex than the plot itself, yucky). The character’s voice through Savannah’s internal conflicts can be heard from over a mile away and the best part is that I can always relate to her. Who hasn’t had girl trouble? The best part about this book is that I can also relate to the area of Chicago because I just visited the place a few months back. Amazing!

 The Good:

 Unlike your average ‘Indie’ author, Shawna has achieved an excellent opening by not using the entire paragraph as a weather report. Time after time, I constantly find authors trying to woo my interests by telling me about the weather, can anyone say boring? Not so with Shawna, she tosses a morning workout and mixes this with the weather outside in the most subtle fashion and that’s a plus. Secondly, the character introduction is gradual to some extent i.e., there are no overwhelming feelings of trying to know the who’s who at first through the first couple of pages. It really revolves only the four main characters of Savannah, Dre, Styles, and Jasmine.

 The Really Good:

Like I said earlier about sexuality, I like that it’s not the entire focus of the book. Relationships between the sexes are great, especially the funny analogies that come from the thoughts of a woman and what exactly runs through their minds. However, there are always the complications that result directly from it. I can definitely relate to some of the tensions whenever I pursue relationships, especially when it comes to wanting to get married. I strongly feel that fidelity is one of the major themes that Shawna deals with throughout her entire book. Well done.

Tweaks:

 There are just a couple of slight downfalls that I believe Shawna has dealt with which I am going to sparingly touch. Grammar blunders are one of them, especially the need to punctuate and spell things correctly. Apart from that general problem, I think it would be best to tone down on the sexual innuendos and cussing that happens in the book. I know there has to be an effect to the writing style, but using too much of it detracts readers because they will view these terms another set of modifiers and adjectives that really deter the reader from moving onward. Secondly, these words can cross the boundaries of redundancy where the words are far too often repeated.

Some parts of the book had been skimmed because of poor formatting. There really is no need to use italics for each and every word that you want to bring into focus. Some pages had bad paragraph indentations and breaks where it was not really needed. If there was one other thing that needs to be discussed it is this: SHE DOESN’T NEED TO GIVE HERSELF AWAY. I know she has swept me up beyond the first ten pages, but don’t go telling me the ending of the book. Let me make that determination for myself.

As for the book cover, you might want to consult a professional. I do not really think you are going to get anywhere with using sexuality in the book itself. I know that the book can be classified as a romance, but I think using the flowers on the desk scene (from Dre/Kevin Styles) as part of the book cover will make a better selection. The choice is up to you.

Parker’s Overall Grade:

A

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Rogue Hunter

 By Kevis Hendrickson

Synopsis:

Zyra Zanr is the most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy. Criminals everywhere cower at her name. During the attempt to capture a notorious fugitive, she stumbles onto a conspiracy to murder the senators of the InterGalactic Alliance. Behind this plot is a clandestine force seeking to destroy not only the InterGalactic Alliance, but mankind as well.

War looms on the horizon as Zyra collides with this deadly force threatening to rock the very foundations of time and space. Zyra’s quest to uncover the mastermind behind this plot will pit her against an evil menace beyond her wildest imagination. Only Zyra can save humanity from an impending holocaust. Victory will mean the salvation of the human race. Failure will mean the end of all that Zyra holds dear. The battle for the future has begun!

 Overall:

For an amateur attempt at a fast paced sci-fi fantasy novel, I’m quite impressed. The setting, characters, and plots are realistic. This author has hatched an idea that seems to well with the character’s personality from the movie, Violet. Zyra is robust in her attitude toward life and her abilities to capture the bad guys are impressive, and the best part of this book is that it’s wrapped up in mystery. No one knows exactly why the monsters attacked Hel-ship II and she needs to try her best in finding out. The second most interesting part of the book is the acquaintances she makes and uses to accomplish her own means (e.g. Captain Jack and Logos). With the suggestive tweaks for the book, I’m quite positive this book will become something similar to Halo.

 The Good:

Zyra has a really good personality. She’s smart, smooth, and definitely robust. Did I also forget to mention that she looks incredibly attractive? Somewhere along the beginning where I had first encountered the author’s work, I wanted to ask him about the inspirations for this character. The features used to illustrate Zyra remind me of a Starburst Candy bust featured in a commercial (and as seen above). Although the author might not think of her in that light, I do and that is one very positive way to keep my interests with a girl as the main character. Of course, I could always ask how much bigger can Zyra’s breasts get. Sometimes it seems as if her boobs are the only biggest things that are worth staring in the cover image.

The Really Good:

 Apart from my sense of humor, I have to admit that Kevis has shown the marks of a true author by a display of his honesty and humility. I could not wrap my mind around how other self-proclaimed authors get when they show their sense of ingratitude by making posts about the unfairness of my reviews. Granted, some of these reviews are honest and sometimes crude, I would have to say that Kevis has done a tremendously good job by being patient and kind. Beside the humility, I have to say that there are fine balances that the author has struck that do not immediately come natural to the writer. For starters, the novel possesses a strong sense of rhythm and good pace throughout the story. At least there are no dozens of pages that flow with just ‘dialogue’ and little plot line. This has been well established in the first few chapters.

Tweaks:

There are a couple of things that need some final tweaking that comes throughout the plot and I believe they fall into two categories: format and style. For starters, I think the book needs some page numbers. In almost every physical and electronic copy of a book, there have always these markers to know where the reader is at so this way he is not lost in the book. I think I am beginning to grow weary about this because it’s exhaustively irritating when nothing indicates where the author is at. With italics and bold, there needs to be a use of moderation, not excessiveness. When you start highlighting scores of paragraphs that are featured with either italics or bold, it gets really tiring. The only purposes for those tools are to make an emphasis on a particular point. I completely understand the need to make a bad guy profile but there are many different ways to make the readers less wary of using the italics. You can use different fonts to make that achievable so there is a distinctive difference.

Whenever you got a 213 page novel with 8.5 X 11” paper measurement and in a PDF file format, you’re bound to make the book long and boring if the novel is featured single spaced. I have had that mixture of feelings between both wanting to go on and wanting to get off. The book really needs to have an even amount of spacing between the lines and paragraphs that will make the book more readable without having to go through the stress. These are one of the key elements in good printing, exercising the right amount of space for the reader.

Without taking these things to heart, you are going to give the reader a feeling of frustration because the book is featured in a format that does not look either appealing or refreshing; it looks like a cell phone contract! Nevertheless, there is another area that I think needs some slight tweaking which is the style. I think the linguistic terminology you use for a futuristic story line is GREAT! I love the analogies and terms you use in the whole book even the opening line from the lousy answering machine is imaginative. The biggest problems I’m having are these:

1. Too much choppy dialogue– you need to make some of the things run smooth. Zyra does not have the time to flirt with other men, especially when she’s looking for something. I can definitely imagine her heroism throughout the book. Your character has a very similar personality to an Angelina Jolie personality (from Tomb Raider). The other thing I would also recommend is that you attempt to provide the reader some dialogue tags so this way he or she can keep track of knowing who on earth is doing all the talking.

2. Better word choices– Ok, Zyra’s beauty does make her seem like some type of ‘ancient earth goddess’ but that’s not good enough to describe her. Why use an actual goddess name like Aphrodite? I think someone will get it, if you make a reference to the birth of Venus painting. If someone doesn’t, just explain the details a little bit. You also need to cut back on some of the jargon that’s being used- you need better nicknames (e.g. ‘hexagonal colonies’, just call them hex colonies). We live in an age where almost every technical term for some word has its abbreviations like facsimile (FAX), electronic mail (e-mail), or even world wide web (www). This is the direction you got to play from.

3. More character description- I know this sounds a bit redundant, but in Sci-Fi we need to know about the cultures that we are immersing ourselves in. If you listen to Star Wars carefully, you know about the kinds of people that are being introduced in the movie. Since we can’t afford to see the picture of this woman and her future epic, I want to point out that you need to make this clearer in the books. You have done this with most of your characters, but I have noticed there were a few words that the mayor had occasionally said which I had no clue (e.g. Arlarions, Ratarians, Draeds). Who are these people?

 Apart from those major issues, I still think your book is a really good.

Parker’s Final Grade:

A

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Lucifer’s Odyssey

By Rex Jameson

Synopsis:

Lucifer languishes in an earthly prison, awaiting the apocalypse that will finally free him after 200,000 years. Before breaking loose, he discovers that the Armageddon he set in motion will destroy the capital of Chaos, his home universe.

He travels back to Chaos and stumbles upon a bloody civil war devastating his homeland. The realm’s magic wielders are firmly under the control of a rival clan, and without their protection, Lucifer’s family is in mortal peril. As old demon clan rivalries blossom and a new hostile universe expands across the known multi-verse, Lucifer is faced with not only protecting Chaos from annihilation but also saving his rightful place on the throne.

Overall:

I am much happier with reading this book; there are no cheesy names, settings, or plotlines that make the book not worth a read. After reading the first three chapters, there was a serious engagement that this author has cleverly weaved to pull my interests where I felt compelled just to read more of the book. Normally, finding self-published authors who study the craft of writing are like finding diamonds in the rough. Fortunately, I think Jameson can make it on his way to success if he tries hard enough and pulls the right strings. If there one thing I can definitely say about the book, Rex Jameson has done an excellent job in pulling his readers into his series. Personally, I highly recommend for the author to take his book a step further by entering the book into a self-publishing contest for further publication. Although I am not entire sure if he has done that already, I am quite positive he might have a chance at winning the contest or getting among the top 100 books.

The Good:

As mentioned previously, the mixture of future Christian topics (e.g. apocalypse, angels, demons, God, etc) are one of the few things that will grab an audience’s attention. However, making a synthesis of these elements to create an interesting storyline to captivate the readers into reconsidering their faiths from a different perspective is something hard to do. In this case, that is what the author has attempted to do and successfully done a pretty good job with the idea altogether. One other that makes the book worth reading is the fact that there seems to be a few interesting characters and aspects about Satan and his demons that make the book worth taking about.

The Really Good:

The best part of this book is the fact I felt quite engaged in the book for the first fifteen chapters of the book; the plot line tends to slowdown after that a bit, but then speeds up later in the series. Unlike other writers, I did not have to worry about the need about sappy melodrama, boring dialogue, and perhaps cheesy characters. There seems to be a fine balance between who is important and who is not important in the ‘demonic order.’ What makes me quite pleased about this book overall is that the author has conveyed an imagery similar to C.S. Lewis’s book The Screw- tape Letters. Though I am not entirely sure whether the author intended to make the book feel that way or convey an alternative message that was the impression I received from reading this book.

Tweaks:

There are a couple of things I would like to mention that probably is lacking in the series overall and that is verisimilitude. If there intends to be an impact upon the nature of Christianity, then the author needs to stick to make his or her character realistic and stick to the original storyline. In order to offer some kind of ‘alternative aspect’ to any kind of traditional view whether these involve vampires, werewolves, witches or (in this case) involve biblical characters, there needs to be a kind of discussion that either affirms or dismisses a common stereotype. The problems I find with the characters are how they are conveyed. According to scripture, angels bear no relations with God and cannot die. The novel’s idea that immortality among angels can be revoked or restored does not sound realistic in any sense of the term. There is some low humor that is conveyed in the book, especially with the words like “Hell” and “Demon.” However, much of its overuse can become detrimental for readers who think the book can tremendously entertaining.

The last thing I want to touch upon is that the book needs to clarify the plotline and dramatis personae i.e., the characters involved. For some reason, I began to lose track of who’s who almost toward the middle of the book and I did not figure out what was going on until the very end of the book. Hopefully, the author will try to clarify and make the book clearer.

Overall Grade:

A

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Bayne’s Climb

By Ty Johnson

Synopsis:

Waking amid battle, the warrior Bayne has no recollection of his past, of his life, of himself. Believing the mad emperor-mage Verkanus holds the keys to his past, Bayne pursues the wizard across years and unto a mountain. Here, Bayne must climb to find Verkanus and to find himself, and among the crags are oddities and dangers never witnessed by lesser men.

In part an allegorical tale, the short novel Bayne’s Climb is the first part of The Sword of Bayne trilogy.

This short novel also takes place in the same world as the author’s Kobalos Trilogy, but nearly 2,000 years before the events of those books.

Overall:

I liked the tale’s beginning and end; the concept was reminding me of Lord of the Rings. The setting takes place upon a fictional ‘middle earth,’ there is a man who is being pursued, and the main character, Bayne, needs to fulfill an ultimate quest to find out who he is and where he stands in light of humanity. In midst of his journeys, he even denies the most comforting pleasures in life, marriage, friendship, and revenge. I was beginning to share sympathies with Bayne throughout the entire book because he does not know when and where to express his emotions. In one sense I feel there is a sense of guilt coming from his mysterious behavior while on the other side he does a very good job trying to be faithful to his yearning for purpose.

The Good:

The author does a tremendously good job by creating a memorable character. Like I expressed earlier in posts and reviews to other authors, there needs to be some motivating reason to make any reader want to turn a page. In this case, the desire for fulfillment in a fantasy epic is one of the few things that will get anyone to read on. Bayne’s quest for answers and truth are the main reasons to get anyone to read more of the book and move on to find out the answers.

The Really Good:

The Christian themes to Bayne’s quest are classic, right along with John Bunyan and C.S. Lewis. The moment I began reading more of the story, I started to see the parallelisms between Christians, the world, and unsaved. To some extent, the book reminded me of reading the book Pilgrim’s Progress which delves into the discussion about the walks of a true Christian in the light of life. In this case, the author has done an exceptional job with attempting to show Christian truths.

Tweaks:

In light of the positive things said, I tend to think a couple of problems with the overt transparency with the story’s theme. While there is nothing wrong with attempting to illustrate Christian truths, there is something wrong when the author attempts to insert too much of them simultaneously in the book altogether. For a non-Christian audience, I would not think there would be too much of a problem since most have never heard of these key phrases like ‘immortal, invisible’ and think ‘God only wise’ from a Baptist hymnal.

The other problem I had is that there needs to be more background information with Bayne’s overall character. He needs to have some type of past event that shapes him into the way he is. That tends to be difficult for authors of a novella, however, to make a story more effective that needs to happen with as much effective information as possible.

The last thing that needs some tweaking is the openings, closings, and of course the dialoguing in the chapters; there needs to be some satisfaction for the reader to feel like he can relate to the book and the characters to move on. Most authors have difficulty in trying to establish a kind of relationship with the reader, but with that in mind he or she needs to make the book much tighter in its dialogue, exposition, and of course the endings because the nature of these books are so tremendously short.

Overall Grade:

B+

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