Book Reviews

The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas by Daniel James

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What da cover says:  Ezra Maas is dead. The famously reclusive artist vanished without a trace seven years ago whilst working on his final masterpiece, but his body was never found. While the Maas foundation prepares to announce his death, journalist Daniel James finds himself lured to write the untold story of the artist’s life – But this is no ordinary book. The deeper James delves into the myth of Ezra Maas, the more he is drawn into a nightmarish world of fractured identities and sinister doubles.

A chilling literary labyrinth, The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas deftly blends postmodern noir with psuedo-biography, letters, phone transcripts, documents, emails and newspaper clippings to create a story like no other before it.

What I says:  Are you ready to go down the rabbit hole? Because that is where this book is going to take you!  How to describe this book…or even put it in a genre?  It is a detective novel, it is both a biography and an autobiography, it is part encyclopedia, it is full of lies and truths and there is no telling which is which, it is nightmarish, a prophecy of sorts, but most of all it is a labyrinth stalked by Ezra Maas…dare you start reading it?

On the day I started this book the following events happened.  The Maas Foundation started following me on twitter, a black van parked outside my house and when I walked down the road a blacked out Mercedes slowly followed me.

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I have never read anything quite like this, the whole thing is like a puzzle that draws you in and forces you to keep asking questions like, are the typos a clue?  Why do some of the chapters not have “End” at the end?  Who is Ezra Maas, why can’t I find him on google?  Why did Google home stop recognising my voice when I asked questions about Ezra Maas?   Who is Daniel James?  And who the hell is “Anonymous” the person putting this manuscript together?

The book’s oddness could put a few people off, for me I struggled with the many many footnotes, that is until I realised there was a story in there too.  As Shrek says this book is like an onion, it has so many layers.  The main chapters are broken up with interviews, phone conversations, emails, and newspaper reports.  This has a real positive effect on the book, it gives you time to take in and process what you’ve just read.

You’re never going to get the full story or all of your questions answered during the first read, this book demands you read it again and again, discovering something new each time.  The next time I read this I’m going to focus on those chapters with the missing “End”, there must be clue in there.

I’ve gotta say congrats to Dead Ink books for picking up this book, I’ve read 3 of their publications (Sealed by Naomi Booth and The Study Circle by Haroun Khan) and all three have been fantastic.

Don’t be scared, give this book a go as it does what all good books should do, Take you on an adventure!

5_stars

 

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Book Reviews

Ivy Feckett is Looking for Love: A Birmingham Romance by Jay Spencer Green

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What da cover says:  Winner of Best Indie Comedy, 2016.

When brainiac nerds and smooth-talking power players meet up, there’s no telling what can happen. In the case of Ivy Feckett, what happens is a nonstop romp of wry, quirky fun.

Bookish Ivy’s cluelessness is as endearing as it is comical, from the first peek into her random sexual fantasies to the moment she realizes that her boss, the rich, handsome Ned Hartfield, is a serial manipulator with “wealth-induced Asperger’s.” Her search for love may not go as smoothly as her search for geocaches, but its route through awkward hookups, clumsy intrigue, and fake evangelicals is both hilarious and touching.

Told with a tone that’s pitch-perfect, Ivy Feckett is Looking for Love is a nerds-against-the-patriarchy romantic comedy that will tickle the inner geek of even the most sophisticated reader.

What I says:  I see what Mr Green is trying here, he is testing the waters, it’s been about 2000 years since the first book was released, is the world ready for the sequel to the bible? Here is an sample of what he has been working on:

“And Reagan begat Saddam, and Bush begat Saddam, and Saddam begat war, and Bush begat war, and Bush begat Osama, and Osama begat war, and Bush begat Bush, and Bush begat war, and war begat war.
Hypocrites 9:11”

If the rest of his bible is gonna be of that class then I’m signing up for membership to his cult.

The book contains a brilliant group of characters, the Nerdy Ivy, the best friend Sam, sexy Caroline, awesome Nana, a couple of super sluts and the biggest knob in the literary world (Ned).

The editing is super slick as with his previous book, I could find no fault, no plot holes and no pointless paragraphs. What I did find was myself smirking and getting looks asking what the hell was so funny. I won’t say anything about the story, you need to go get yourself a copy and find out for yourself. I’m not a fan of romance stories but this is such a good book you can’t help but love it.

5_stars

Book Reviews

The Bleach Boys by Johnny Scarlotti & Josain Splorgat

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What da cover says:  a dark collaboration of poetry and flash fiction

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What I says:  So this book is split in two, part 1: Johnny’s usual brand of poetry, there is something to offend everybody.  Then you have a 20min interval, stretch yer legs and go for a walk, come back and start part 2: start screaming!  Part 2 is like entering an insane serial killer’s lair and reading the crazy ramblings written on the wall (Most probably written in blood or something). It is very clever, no longer poetic, no longer funny, no longer sexy, just some real worrying sentences…I recommend reading this part in one go as far as you can, it adds to the craziness.

#Sundaymorning is the perfect poem to start off this series, had me laughing, sets the tone for the part 1, dirty and funny.

There is some real clever wording here, Johnny will sneak in a line and it’s meaning only hits you once you’ve gone past it. One of these lines “I look down at my shoes I wish they had laces” probably the best line in the book…once you get the meaning that is…or maybe I’m just a bit slow.

Best poem in the collection was “PERFECTIONIST’S POEM:” After reading the poems up to this point it is quite effective.

The poems are what you’d expect from Johnny, you gotta be brave to take them on, making it to the end still sane is quite an achievement…Me, I ended up crying whilst lying in a muddy puddle.

“It went to their heads” is probably one of the most disgusting things I’ve read, I was eating a biscuit at the time and nearly threw it up, I’d skip read this one if I were you 😉

Wonderful original writing, I’d recommend this to everybody, don’t care if you get traumatised, this book most be read.  You can’t give this anything more than 5 stars, even if you hate it you’ve got to appreciate that it is a piece of art.

5_stars

Book Reviews

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

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What da cover says:  When Felix is deposed as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival by his devious assistant and longtime enemy, his production of The Tempest is canceled and he is heartbroken. Reduced to a life of exile in rural southern Ontario—accompanied only by his fantasy daughter, Miranda, who died twelve years ago—Felix devises a plan for retribution.

Eventually he takes a job teaching Literacy Through Theatre to the prisoners at the nearby Burgess Correctional Institution, and is making a modest success of it when an auspicious star places his enemies within his reach. With the help of their own interpretations, digital effects, and the talents of a professional actress and choreographer, the Burgess Correctional Players prepare to video their Tempest. Not surprisingly, they view Caliban as the character with whom they have the most in common. However, Felix has another twist in mind, and his enemies are about to find themselves taking part in an interactive and illusion-ridden version of The Tempest that will change their lives forever. But how will Felix deal with his invisible Miranda’s decision to take a part in the play?

What I says:  This book is a review of a Shakespeare play gone out of control and it works well, I loved this re-imagining of The Tempest.  I remember reading The Tempest at school and it was sooooooo dull!  If only this book had existed then, it would have really opened my eyes and made me appreciate the fantastic play.

Felix gets forced out of his role as artistic director of a festival just as he was putting together his masterpiece, The Tempest.  He goes into exile living as a hermit until he gets a job teaching theatre at a prison and that is the start of one of the best revenge plots since the Count of Monte Cristo.

The story is very slow during the first half, Felix is not a likeable character and neither are any of the characters around him, but as Felix starts working on the play with the convicts he starts to come out of his shell, not so shallow and you start to feel his pain.  On the night of the play the plot reaches a crescendo and things work out just as I was hoping they would go.

Stick with this book, don’t get thrown by the slow start and I do recommend you know the Tempest before you begin as it will really add to the experience.

4_stars

Book Reviews

Magic Be With You Episodes 1-5 By Jamie Brindle

Episode 1: Magic Be With You

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An interesting read, a silly fantasy story told in a very serious way.

I’m not a massive fan of fantasy books, all those wizards and trolls and knights in shining armour, but I know Jamie Brindle is a good writer and likes to do things a little bit differently to anybody else. and in Magic Be With You he has found a unique style, a very calming way of telling a story There is a big battle in the book, plenty of violence and gore and yet the descriptive writing slows everything down and it becomes like emotionless description of a battle. Things like after a bad guy gets killed there is a comment “Which was fair because he wasn’t a good person”. Somehow it seems to work, but for how long? this is only volume one in this series, I’m interested to see how Jamie can keep this up and not turn it into a one-joke-book.

Episode 2: Wizards Be With You

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This series is coming along nicely, I was worried that the jokes would wear a bit thin after a while but the constant comparison of Elainer to a whore makes me laugh every time….I guess this book is lucky that I am a childish simpleton.

Book 1 was an intro to the characters, in book 2 the plot is developing nicely, plenty of action and a few new characters. A new colour called Terry and an evil land called Kevin are introduced. There also seems to be a lot of indoor horse-riding, odd idea but seems to work.

Episode 3: Enchantment Be With You

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The quest is on! The evil bad person has attacked the tower, an oracle has been consulted and our heroes…and Elainer….have gone on a quest to find our heroes to fight their cause and also to find a magical sword.

The fourth wall is constantly being attacked by the author and at times it seems the characters are almost aware that they are in a book, at one point somebody comments on how another person is developing as a character.

The biggest joke in the outing was comparisons, one chapter in particular anything that was happening got compared to something happening to a cake and as the chapter went on these got more and more absurd.

I’m really enjoying these books, great fun to read.

Episode 4: Exposition Be With You

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This series is plodding along nicely, same old jokes, lots more silly comparisons and plenty of political correctness gone mad.

This book was almost ruined at one point, the author decided to have a few chapters based around Elainer and her thoughts, why would he do this? She is so boring and annoying.

Anyways, there is some pretty nifty fighting in this book, Majilda is really becoming a fantastic fighter….oh and a horse got carried, I dare you to make sense of that one. 🙂

Great stuff as always, Episode 5 is going to be last one I have in the series, hoping it doesn’t end in a cliff hanger.

Episode 5: Dragons Be With You

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Not a bad little series, even though it hasn’t finished yet, at the beginning I was worried about the jokes becoming a bit tired but it worked….well it did for me anyway as I was still laughing at the meaness towards Elainer and the so very silly similes. I think this episode had the best similes of all, the body-piercing goth shop becoming confuddled with the three little pigs story was genius.

As for the story, the action is picking up, there is plenty of violence and as if inspired by Game of Thrones this book has a dragon in it.  Whooop!  Majilda faces trials and a whole load of soul searching, she also shows her intellect by knowing about Space.  The story is heavily focused on Elainer cocking things up and Majilda facing down a dragon, the other characters are there but seem to end up in the background.

Now I’m fully caught up with the series I have the long wait for episode 6 ahead of me.

4_stars

Book Reviews

Grundish and Askew by Lance Carbuncle

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What da cover says:  Strap on your athletic cup and grab a barf bag. The Dr. Reverend Lance Carbuncle is going to kick you square in the balls and send you on a wild ride that may or may not answer the following questions: what happens when two white trash, trailer park-dwelling, platonic life partners go on a moronic and misdirected crime spree?; can their manly love for each other endure when one of them suffers a psychological bitch-slap that renders him a homicidal maniac?; will a snaggletoothed teenage prostitute tear them apart?; what is the best way to use a dead illegal alien to your advantage in a hostage situation?; what’s that smell?; and, what the hell is Alf the Sacred Burro coughing up? Carbuncle’s latest offering, Grundish and Askew, ponders these troubling questions and more. So sit down, put on some protective goggles, and get ready for Carbuncle to blast you in the face with a warm load of fictitious sickness.

What I says: Woooooooooooooooooooooo. What an awesome book! Really, really gross, very violent and really really gross.

Grundish is my new favourite character… ever. His relationship with the insane fuckup that is Askew is really moving at times. And just how proud he was over a massive poo he did had me laughing so much I had to take a photo of the page to send a friend, because my wife just didn’t understand why it was so funny.

The book is well written and gradually adds more and more pace as the story nears it’s conclusion. Lance has also been kind enough to include endnotes, I am always Googling words to see what they mean and luckily he saved me from having DOCKING (you’ll have to buy this book now if you want to know what this is) in my search history… so the book gets a point for teaching the reader new stuff. A few times during the book I think the author may have been a wee bit drunk and the characters start attacking the author about his lazy writing style, very funny if not strange.

There is a character in this book that is hinted at being in another so it looks like I need to read previous books to find out more.

If you are up for reading a story that pushes the limits of good taste then definitely give this a go.  There is also an audiobook out and I think that would be good fun to listen to.
Looking forward to reading more.

5_stars
Book Reviews

The Hierophant’s Daughter by M.F. Sullivan

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What da cover says:  By 4042 CE, the Hierophant and his Church have risen to political dominance with his cannibalistic army of genetically modified humans: martyrs. In an era when mankind’s intergenerational cold wars against their long-lived predators seem close to running hot, the Holy Family is poised on the verge of complete planetary control. It will take a miracle to save humanity from extinction.

It will also take a miracle to resurrect the wife of 331-year-old General Dominia di Mephitoli, who defects during martyr year 1997 AL in search of Lazarus, the one man rumored to bring life to the dead. With the Hierophant’s Project Black Sun looming over her head, she has little choice but to believe this Lazarus is really all her new friends say he is–assuming he exists at all–and that these companions of hers are really able to help her. From the foulmouthed Japanese prostitute with a few secrets of her own to the outright sapient dog who seems to judge every move, they don’t inspire a lot of confidence, but the General has to take the help she can get.

After all, Dominia is no ordinary martyr. She is THE HIEROPHANT’S DAUGHTER, and her Father won’t let her switch sides without a fight. Not when she still has so much to learn.

What I says:  Blimey, what an amazing book.  There are certain series that give you a feeling of awe when you start them, the sheer scale and possibilities get your brain going into overdrive…or if you were are dog called Basil then your tail would be wagging.  For me this happened when I picked up the first book of Frank Herbert’s Dune, Stephen King’s Dark Tower and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. This has now happened again with The Hierophant’s Daughter and it doesn’t disappoint.

There are many great characters and so many plot twists that the book doesn’t leave you much time to catch your breath, it also has many flashbacks but even then so much happens you don’t get a chance to cool down. Dominia and Miki play off each other really well, and how brave Miki is around Dominia makes the character more loveable.

At the back of the book is a timeline of events leading up to the rise of the Martyrs to the book’s current date, I recommend you read this before you start as it gives you an idea of how much time has passed (over 2000 years) the book then does a strange thing, it feels like no time has past and events could be happening in present day.  A crazy person in charge who thinks he is God, even technology hasn’t moved on that much, due to many wars having happened.

The author has also included her own unique writing style used in the last book (The Lightning Stenography Device) where she takes the story in a surreal direction, the way the book ends like this works well and like all those great TV shows it ends on quite the cliff hanger, leaving you eagerly awaiting the next book.

This series is going to be epic and I hope many many will read it….at least before it gets picked up by Netflix that is.

5_stars

For more info on this book and to pledge devotion to the Holy Martyr Church please click the logo below.

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