Book Reviews: Corin by Ava Burkhart

The writing needs a lot of work, but for a debut short story, this was fairly good. I couldn’t really get a grasp on the characters or the world they lived in, so honestly, from my viewpoint, it could have been longer. I’m not a huge fan of vampires, but I do like supporting lesbian romance. However, I think the romance between Corin and Lindsay moved very quickly. I know there’s a lot of joking in lesbian culture about how lesbian relationships move very fast, but I find it hard to believe that Lindsay would have chosen Corin over her mother after hardly knowing her for a few weeks.

There were a lot of things I felt were detrimental to the story. There isn’t enough description or time to grow to like the characters. Magical realms need time to be set up, there’s a lot of world building required to write these kinds of stories. Also, the way the book was designed left a lot to be desired. You shouldn’t have both a paragraph indentation and a double space between every paragraph. It looks bad.

All in all, I did enjoy the story. There’s nothing like a heartwarming lesbian story about two unlikely people falling in love, but I hope in the future Burkhart will continue to grow and persevere to make their writing better. I know from experience how hard it can be to publish something on your own without an editor, cover designer, or someone to format your book.

You’ve made incredible strides, Ava. I wish you all the best and may your stories become even better moving forward. I’ll be watching and keeping up with your work. One LGBT author to another, we need all the support we can get. 

More about Corin

The daughter of a vampire hunter falls in love with the same vampire her mother is hunting. Lindsay and Corin are soon forced to pretend to be dating to keep her mother off their trail.
A pulpy, cheesy novella about useless lesbians in love. 

READ IT NOW ON AMAZON

Book Review: The Unfortunate Expiration of David S. Sparks by William F. Aicher

From start to finish, this book is a complete science fiction masterpiece. I was hooked right away. Science fiction is one of my all-time favorite genres and William Aicher knows exactly what he’s doing. 

He creates a world where David S. Sparks is dropped, with no memories, into a very dangerous place. He meets what is essentially a terrorist, who befriends him and takes him on a long journey through some really interesting places (as you can see I’m trying not to spoil anything). 

There is a lot of things that are super creepy and somewhat gross that happen to David on his journey, but they make the story so much better. There’s all this action and adventure and mishaps in this world David knows nothing about.

There’s a huge reveal about ¾ of the way through that I never saw coming. And, to be honest, I have a really easy time guessing plot points. The fact that William Aicher managed to keep me in the dark until he was ready for me to know that information is incredible. I actually had to stop reading for a few days to recover. 

The prose and overall writing structure of David Sparks flows so smoothly from one idea and one chapter to the next. The writing is incredible and so professional. This has got to be in my top 5 favorite books I’ve read this year. 

Great job, William, I look forward to reading more from you.

MORE ON DAVID SPARKS AND WHERE TO BUY

Who is David S. Sparks? Where is David S. Sparks? When is David S. Sparks?

In the aftermath of The Chemical Wars, nature has reclaimed humanity’s infrastructure. This world, lush with life – yet dangerously uninhabitable for mankind – houses the remaining population who ekes out an existence in quarantined cities anchored off the mainland.

David S. Sparks awakens into the chaos of this future world, unsure of his place in a reality wildly different from his fragmented memories. As the desire to retake the planet swells, so too does the question of how. Will the same mistakes be repeated? Can technology beat nature, or is it time for another approach? And what is David Sparks’ role in it all?

Dive into a wild, mind-bending journey as one man chases the ultimate question of self, discovering the truly elusive nature of reality. 

Buy DAVID SPARKS on AMAZON.

How to Review Books

Recently I published a tweet talking about how important it is to review the works you read. Every single book your reading deserves a review, whether it’s good, bad, or ugly. You owe it to the author to tell them what you thought. 

Another thing I get is “How do I review a book?” or “How do I make my review sound good?” 

And honestly, that isn’t something you should worry about. How did the book make you feel? What were things you personally liked or disliked about it?

Reviews are your way of telling the author that you enjoyed something they wrote or to criticize them constructively on things you didn’t like. Or even both at the same time. 

It is absolutely 100% okay to write a review that simply says “I really liked this story! I can’t wait to read more from you in the future!”

You don’t have to write a novel. All you have to do is give the author the praise and recognition they deserve.

Book Review: Distant Memories by J.L. Keathley

At first glance, Distant Memories seems a little strange. It isn’t your typical impeccably edited novel, but instead J.L Keathley chooses to work outside of the novel standard and write a book with mistakes. This, is a style choice and an incredible one at that.

The story follows Jade, a teenager who lives in Texarkana, Arkansas. She’s your typical, All-American teen who lives with her friendly and wonderful grandmother and has the best of best friends. The book is told from her point of view and very much reads like a teenager’s diary. 

In the beginning, the book is slow, but once it comes time for Jade’s 16th birthday, everything changes very quickly. Jade undergoes an incredible transformation from her human self into something so much more. Her world becomes bigger and brighter and a lot more confusing.

She loses people, she finds people, and she becomes an adult in such a short amount of time. That’s where things get even weirder. J.L Keathley writes this story wonderfully, every single part of it written like a diary entry from Jade’s point of view as she slowly discovers who she really is and what her place is in the world. 

The numerous twists and turns and big reveals had me reeling for the entire book. There is still so much to learn and know about Jade and her new shadow realm family. 

This book is incredible and always left me guessing. The big reveal at the end ALONE was enough to make me shout “WHAT THE HECK!!” angrily at the sky. 

Well done, J.L I cannot wait for the second book, Impossible Decisions, when it is released in 2019. 

You can purchase Distant Memories on Amazon.

Book Reviews: Stupid Small Things by Agatha Zaza

Agatha Zaza captures the essence of what it’s like to slowly fall out of love with someone. Zaza’s prose is incredible and it kept my eyes glued to the page as I read.

Olivia absolutely thought she would spend the rest of her life with Elias, but there is so much that can change over the period of a life. Olivia’s story is powerful and interesting from start to finish. There were all of these small ways in which Olivia and Elias began to differ and as they slowly grew apart. Olivia’s struggles with Elias and with her cultural upbringing, as well as sexism and racism living and working in Singapore, were incredibly poignant.

The way Olivia referred to herself as an “other” among all of these people who belonged there in Singapore really resonated with me. This story is incredible. The writing is so well done and every word belongs to the page.

More Information on Agatha Zaza and Stupid Small Things Here.

Book Review: Now or Never by Lucy Smoke

**This Review Contains Spoilers For Now or Never Book One and Study Break**

This book was easier to get into than Smoke’s previous book, Daimon. I’m not a fan of Reverse Harem, but I am a fan of supporting authors. While a lot of the description in this book weighed heavily on the purple prose side, I gave Smoke the benefit of the doubt and continued reading. 

The book itself is evenly paced. Though It didn’t sit well with me how often one of the boys joined the main character in her bed. Harlow in and of herself is a trope of every female I’ve ever read in romance with one key difference. She does seem to genuinely care about helping other people. 

The main mystery in the book, if you can call it that, sort of left me wanting. The “job” they did seemed to go by far too quickly. We didn’t get to see Harlow shine and show off some of her intelligence. Despite the book playing up her intellect from the very beginning. 

The guys are very similar in stature and description and that left me confused a lot because I often didn’t know which man she was referring to. I know there’s diversity among them with Bellamy being Native American, but men are much more diverse than skin color. I would liked to have seen some differences in their personalities and outward appearance. Not all men are tall and lean with endless muscles. 

At this point I’ve read several of Lucy Smoke’s books because she shows promise as a writer. I have noticed in many of her Reverse Harem titles that the boys are strikingly similar and not just among the books they’re in, but also across series as well. In her novella “Study Break” Dexter Jones, who bears an extreme likeness to Knix in Now or Never, tells the main female character, Jamie, that he will “spank her” if she doesn’t stop saying bad things about herself. Knix also tells Harlow he will “spank her” if she doesn’t stop saying negative things about herself. 

Smoke seems to zero in one one man in the series to be their main character’s “focal point” despite there being three+ other men there that the character needs to pay attention to. In Now or Never this man is Knix. He is so obviously well-suited for Harlow and Smoke intentionally writes him this way. However, despite this, Harlow continues to pine over the other guys and worries about this hurting their feelings. 

This didn’t make sense to me. Harlow has never considered a poly lifestyle for herself and based on this evidence instead of her wondering if this is okay for her to kiss all these guys who are already in a well-established friendship, shouldn’t she be agonizing over which one she should choose? 

A lot of other reviewers have been praising Smoke up and down for writing Harlow as a “strong female character”, when there’s no such thing. There are only well-written female characters and poorly-written female characters. In reality, Smoke seems to write her female characters through the “male-gaze”. She uses tropes like “She doesn’t know she’s beautiful” and “these men have to save her”, not to mention, Now or Never wouldn’t even pass a simple Bechdel Test. 

Harlow is a girl who randomly starts following a bunch of older men around because they claimed to be from an organization they couldn’t tell her anything about and they immediately started paying for her bills. Why? Harlow never questions this in any real way. Not to mention her only female friend exists to talk to Harlow about “the boys” or just relationships or men in general. That’s not a healthy relationship with another female.

Harlow also doesn’t once talk to “the boys” about the reality of the situation they’re in. She leaves so much unsaid, yet still decides to join their group, “Iris”, despite ¾ of them kissing her and she never once brings that up. I know Harlow is new to being Poly, but communication is key. This could potentially come back to blow up in her face and ruin the dynamic of the group. This is something she should have considered prior to joining. Instead, she negated to even bring it up.

Despite all of this, Lucy Smoke has a lot of potential. I look forward to seeing new works from her and seeing her grow as a writer. Well done, Lucy :).