Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Disarray​ by Jessie Cal

*No Spoilers*

*I received a copy of the novel from the author*

It’s been four months since Mia woke up with no memory—no recollection of any of the twenty-four years of her life. She doesn’t remember getting married, or even moving to the small town of Cooper Creek. But what bothers her the most is not knowing why she keeps having the same recurring nightmare about the Chinese tattoo on her ring finger.

When Mia discovers how to trigger back her memories, she’s taken aback by the fact that her past does not match her current life. When Mia experiences a trigger so intense that she has a seizure, she learns that any further triggers could cause permanent damage to her brain.

On the edge of her doubts, will she risk her mental stability to find out the truth about her past?

My first impression of this book was not the best, to be honest. I don’t like how one author strikes fire with a “new” literary technique, and soon everyone is basically writing the same story over and over again. The best example of this is what happened during the Twilight craze. I assumed this was going to be the same situation.

I will give the author credit for originality. An amnesiac waking up from a coma and finding an unfamiliar world around her and wanting to know her past. It’s a mystery to both the narrator and the reader. The narrator isn’t keeping any secrets from the reader and both are in search of the truth.

Now time for my negatives, which are not that bad. I was rooting for Mia when she started getting some of her memories back. She’s figuring things out! Yay! I thought to myself as I reached the halfway point.

Once I passed a major plot point, I felt like the author had to constantly throw “plot twists” and “things aren’t as they seem” cliche’s at me. It got to be exhausting to the point where I had to put down the book and gather my thoughts.

I don’t mind plot twists, but when they start happening too often I start to get annoyed and start screaming at the book to just stop with the crazy twists and turns.

Also, it’s difficult to surprise me with major twists and turns. However, this novel did throw a few surprises in a way that I didn’t see coming. Although through hints that are given through Mia’s flashbacks and her seizure, I figured the “main” plot twist.

Now, this doesn’t mean this novel isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. This was a good read the pros and cons considered. I’m going to recommend this to my mom and get her thoughts on this novel. Even though we read different genres, we do have some genres in common.

Overall, I found this novel to be an entertaining read. If you love stories full of mysteries and twists and turns, you should definitely check this novel out!

Buy Disarray by Jessie Cal HERE!

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: First Evidence by Ken Goddard

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*No Spoilers*

A down-to-earth forensics expert has just discovered a crime scene that is out of this world.

In criminal forensics, they train you to uncover evidence, no matter how brutal or bizarre the murder.

But what if one night you make contact with a crime scene so terrifying, no one on earth can explain it?

It begins at a chaotic crime scene in the deep woods of the Pacific Northwest–site of a reported shoot-out. Investigator Colin Cellars cannot find a trace of perpetrator or victim–or even confirm that anyone has been killed. As he doggedly pursues the case, he realizes there is far more at stake here than murder. Someone–something?–will stop at nothing to prevent him from discovering the truth. For the truth is not “out there.” It is locked away in Cellars’ own evidence file. The evidence points to a killer far outside Cellars’s experience–far outside any earthly experience. But who will believe one maverick cop?

This novel is different from other monster stories. This novel is a mystery, mixed with Sci-Fi, with a dash of romance. The mystery involving the disappearance of multiple deputies and citizens alike. It is up to Crime Scene Investigator, Colin Cellars to figure things out while not ending up locked away in a rubber room.

This thrilling novel will have you on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what the mystery is really all about!

My favorite part of this story was how it felt like Colin Cellars was the only one who knew the mystery went further than his fellow officers knew. It felt like no one was believing him, and in the beginning, I was questioning Mr. Cellars’ sanity myself.

If you thought the “shadows” in Doctor Who: Silence in the Library was terrifying, this novel cranks it up to 11. Shadows that appear will give you a new sense of uneasiness. Keep the nightlight on for this one!

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I would recommend this novel for lovers of horror, science fiction, and mystery. This novel keeps you hooked and invested from page one.

Posted in Author Q&A

Q&A with Mark Tullius

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Mark Tullius is the author of Ain’t No Messiah along with other popular novels such as 25 Perfect Days and Brightside. He has a talent for writing dark fiction. When I requested to read his novel, Ain’t No Messiah I asked him if he’d be interested in doing an interview with me.

Q: What about religious cults inspired you to write a novel based on one?

Mr. Tullius: I’ve always been interested in religious beliefs, but it wasn’t until David Koresh and the Branch Davidians made headlines in 1993 that I took more of an interest in cults. It amazed me that people could bow down and worship individuals like Koresh and Jim Jones, but the more I looked at religion, the more I understood there often isn’t much of a difference between cults and the religions they splinter off from.

Q: Why do you think cults base their beliefs or Christianity?

Mr. Tullius: It makes sense for cults to take a little spin on stories already told. Many leaders probably believed a good deal of whatever religion they were part of but worked it into something that better fit their vision and benefitted them. By doing so it’s also much easier for them to find members that are already familiar with their overall belief and have a track record of devoting time and money to a cause based solely on faith

Q: What other authors are you friends with and how do they help you in the writing or publishing process?

Mr. Tullius: I have not taken advantage of becoming friends with other authors. I am a member of the Horror Writers Association and have met some great people through there, but I’m not very active in the group. It would be nice to have friends that I could talk about the process and turn to for advice, but I’ve been stubborn and determined to figure this thing on my own.

Q: What is your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Mr. Tullius: One of my favorite books is 1984 by George Orwell. Although that book has seen a resurgence over the last decade thanks to society’s move towards dystopia, I believe it is still under-appreciated. Orwell was a genius and the book is incredibly powerful and relevant 70 years after it was written.

Q: What was the hardest scene to write?

Mr. Tullius: As a recovering Catholic who was taught sex was sinful outside of marriage, I’ve always struggled writing love scenes. With violence, I have a good sense of how much is too much, but with sex scenes, it is a bit harder to gauge. Those scenes were even harder with Messiah because the main character’s sexuality has been repressed through religion and then heavily influenced by pornography. Trying to capture the emotions while staying true to his character made for some uncomfortable situations, but overall I was happy with how the scenes turned out.

Q: What did you enjoy reading growing up?

Mr. Tullius: As a kid, I loved to read the Choose Your Own Adventure stories. Those books were awesome because you got to steer the story and see different outcomes. Prior to those books, I believed that stories were set in stone, but that series opened an entirely new way of looking at literature and wondering what would happen if the character had made a different choice. My Try Not to Die series wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for the COYA influence. Another big influence in grade school was military fiction. My favorite was The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins, a book I read at least three times in the fifth grade. After that, I was turned on to Stephen King and devoured everything that he and Dean Koontz wrote.

Q: Do you have an interesting writing quirk?

Mr. Tullius: I don’t feel like I have any interesting quirks but if someone were watching me write they would probably say otherwise. I talk to myself quite a bit, especially when trying out dialogue, and I often act out motions. So if you ever see some weirdo sitting by himself, spouting random nonsense and waving his hands around, be sure to stop by and say hi.

Q: What did you want to be when you were a kid?

Mr. Tullius: As a kid, I wanted to become a police officer or join the military. From a very young age, I was obsessed with violence and power and knew I needed some sort of danger in my life. Fortunately, I discovered I could satisfy that craving through writing.

QAin’t No Messiah is set in modern day, why did you choose this?

Mr. Tullius: This novel is set in modern day for a few reasons. The main reason is that I like to write what I know and to point out things that bother and concern me. I wanted the narrator to have some of the same experiences I did and I had to fit this novel into the 5-book Tales of the Blessed and Broken series which I’d begun writing prior to coming up with this novel. The other books in the series are all set modern day so I didn’t have much of a choice if I wanted to include this one.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote? Either from this novel or in general?

Mr. Tullius: “Remember: Matter. How tiny your share of it. Time. How brief and fleeting your allotment of it. Fate. How small a role you play in it.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Thanks so much, Mr. Tullius for giving me the opportunity to read your upcoming novel!

Read My Review of “Ain’t No Messiah” HERE

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

ARC REVIEW: Ain’t No Messiah by Mark Tullius

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*No Major Spoilers*

**I was given a copy of the novel by the author**

***Ain’t No Messiah will be hitting bookshelves February 5***

From the day he was born, Joshua has found himself the recipient of death-defying miracles. His earliest memories include his own father proclaiming him the second coming of Christ. However, Joshua has wrestled with serious doubts about the validity of this claim all his life. How could he not, having survived a childhood filled with physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his earthly father. Now, one way or another, Joshua is going to show the world who he really is.

This novel has a very interesting concept of a religious cult, where the leader is someone’s child. Instead of Joshua’s father claiming to be the Messiah and using Joshua’s unusual birth as proof. He claimed that Joshua is the Messiah.

Watching Joshua grow up in this cult, where he was expected to be perfect, and god-like. To “give judgment” and to forgive those who followed their beliefs was intriguing. It would’ve been one thing to have him grow up in a cult solely focused on his father. However, having their cult beliefs based on him, whether he wanted it or not made Joshua more relatable as a character.

One thing I found interesting was how this novel takes place in modern times, and yet Joshua never went to a school of any kind until their father added a schoolhouse onto the church. It wasn’t until he adventured into the world outside of the cult and slowly learned how things worked in the real world.

Although Joshua has vehemently denied his father’s “gospel” that he is the Messiah. When he is defending himself, or reacting to negative outside forces. He says that he’s “casting judgment” or “the fist of God” has judged those who had wronged Joshua or those he cared about.

Before Joshua ran away from home, his father brainwashed him to believe there are millions of bad people in the world who wanted Joshua dead. He also made Joshua believe that all the tragedies in the world, like 9/11, the war in Iraq, and mass shootings were his fault.

Although, you want to believe that there’s at least one person in the world who is kind without taking advantage of Joshua’s “slowness” or “gullibility”. However, this novel takes that and makes sure Joshua doesn’t get a sense of kindness or just in this world.

I felt the ending was justified and fulfilling. The ending provokes emotions of all kinds, from sadness to anger, and even peacefulness. Things end in a way that finishes everything but leaves just enough open to have a sequel. This novel is apart of a series called “The Blessed and Broken”. Of course, I am interested in reading more from this series and Mark Tullius’ other works as well.

I would recommend this novel for those who want a dark and thought-provoking “coming of age” story. Also, if you enjoy novels about cults, this is the novel for you.

Buy “Ain’t No Messiah” HERE

Read My Q&A with Mark Tullius HERE

Posted in Personal Blogs

Major Update: I am Going Back to Work!

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I just want to start off by saying, things are finally looking up for me in my personal life. I just received confirmation from the company that I will be starting work soon!

Now, with that being said, I’m trying to create as big of a backlog as I can so I’m not missing my deadlines for book reviews. I am a loyal and reliable person, and I do my best to make things happen.

I am so excited to be going back to work. Even if I don’t pass the probation phase, at least it’s something to add to my resume.

So next month might be sparse for book reviews, I’m not sure yet and I will keep this updated. I know I have a small following now, and I can’t let my regular readers down!

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Marvel Comics

REVIEW: Spider-Man: Noir (Spider-Man: Noir #1-4)

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*No Spoilers*

It was 1933 and the Great Depression was just getting started. And so was the corrupt mob boss The Goblin. When embittered, angry Peter Parker meets a spider and its life-changing bite, he may have just inherited the force to honor the phrase, “If those in power can’t be trusted, it’s the responsibility of the people to remove them.”

People who know me, know I love film noir. I’ve also been wanting to dive into the Marvel Noir series for a while. When I saw this at my library, I knew I had to read this.

I still haven’t seen Into the Spider-verse yet. I only recently learned that this version of Spider-Man was in the movie. I think Spider-Man in 1920’s New York is interested in the fact that Spider-Man is a “glass half-full” kind of hero. Even though Spider-Man has faced tragedies he is still hopeful and optimistic about the world around him.

Here, with the Great Depression, and The Goblin having control of the entire city, Peter Parker has a dour view on life. He is more vigilante than a hero. In that, he murdered one of Goblin’s henchmen that were after Aunt May. This caused Aunt May to be outraged by the pure violence that Spider-Man displayed and claimed she could take care of herself.

The artwork is dark and gritty. Throughout the novel, it is constantly snowing, and the art style makes the pure, white snow seem dirty and unclean.

I would recommend this graphic novel to lovers of Marvel Comics, Film Noir, and Spider-Man in general. This graphic novel definately scratched my itch for the Film Noir genre, and I think this novel might be perfect for you!

Posted in Author Q&A

Q&A with G.A.M. Morris

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G.A.M Morris is the author of Miao-Shan: The Awakening. I thought I’d ask him some questions I had while reviewing his novel.

Question: What was it about Chinese culture that inspired you to write a novel?

Mr. Morris: I have been passionate about both Japanese and Chinese culture since I was about four years old. I first saw it on television while I was living in Scotland, and since then I have fallen in love with the history, art, weapons, martial arts, food, and general culture of both nations. I collect both Chinese and Japanese art and weapons. I also have quite a few books on the subject.

Question: Are you friend with any other authors and how do they help you become a better writer?

Mr. Morris: Yes, I am friends with other authors, but it doesn’t change the way I write at all. I don’t discuss actual writing styles or techniques much with them. The main assistance we give each other is the promotion of our books.

Question: What’s your favorite underrated novel?

Mr. Morris: The Ninja by Eric Van Lustbader.

Question: What was the most difficult scene to write?

Mr. Morris: It’s a toss-up between the two. The beginning where I had to depict the gruesome death of Lei’s parents, the emotional aftermath, and how Lei’s grandmother dealt with it.
Another difficult thing was describing how Lei was able to use “The Void”. In martial arts “The Void” is a crucial technique that all Masters must learn, no matter what martial art. In Kung Fu, Karate, Mu Thai, it’s all the same. I had to depict Lei learning how to use it in a way the general public would understand. To the best of my knowledge, no other author before me has attempted to depict the actual learning of using “The Void”. I didn’t depict it quite in the way I learned it, but I did use the teaching techniques my own Master used when teaching me how to use it.

Question: What is your favorite childhood book?

Mr. Morris: That’s a very difficult question! I began reading fluently when I was 6 years old. My first loves were comic books. Spider-Man and Superman being my favorites. As I grew up I learned to love the darkness of Batman.
Of course, I love Dr. Seuss, one of my aunts introduced me to the Suess stories. My dad wanted me to read the classics, he was afraid comic books were going to rot my brain. I received the box set of The Lord of the Rings trilogy as a gift, and I gave my son the set when he turned 10. All my life books have been a huge part of growing up and being able to pass the love of reading on to my own kids makes life very fulfilling to me.

Thanks so much, Mr. Morris for taking your time and chatting with me!

Read My Review of Miao-Shan: The Awakening HERE

Buy Miao-Shan: The Awakening HERE