Book Review: Shotgun Bastards and other Stories by Andrea Speed

Publishing Date: July 2018

Publisher: LTTP

ISBN: 9781684313129

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.8/5

Publisher’s Description: A collection of tales filled with monsters, be they human or beast, ranging in setting from dystopia to pitch black noir and even general silliness. From the ludicrous to the frighteningly plausible; from deep space to after the end of the world. There are clumsy werewolves and bloody revenge, monster sleep overs and a dieting fad sure to kill your appetite. Whether looking into the past or the future, you’re sure to find that stuff gets really weird.

Review: “Well, what we have here is a failure to communicate….” So, the author uses a plethora (gaggle, murder, flock, school??) of short stories as a platform for her own identity. Which in the realm of egos and minds is right up there with Caligula. Some of the stories quickly move in a direction that is not only interesting but palatable, then…… ends. Like wtf, you finally write a good story that could be an epic novel and cut it off. Is that as far as the creative juices flow?

Sadly, or depending on your perspective, elatedly, the collection holds no promise as the stories are an amalgamation of considered personal invective within an endless turn of drivel. Go be a whale luggin’, tree huggin’, eco-feminazi lesbian or whatever, I doubt anyone gives a fook. If an author wants a job, they try not to alienate the readership on which they rely. I think this author has talent that lacks an expansive focus. Instead we get mired in opinionated aggression veiled by imaginative characters. I am kinda looking forward to a toned down Andrea that can embrace the novel entire.

Book Review: The Elf and the Amulet by Chris Africa

Publishing Date: May 2018

Publisher: BooksGoSocial

ISBN: 9781976223358

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.3/5

Publisher’s Description: One summer day, their idyllic lives start to unravel, when a freaky creature straight out of a legend arrives spouting prophecies about the destruction of their village. Then an old wizard sends them on a quest with a bunch of useless gifts, but he dies before even telling them where to go. Retrieve the Amulet of Hope or all is lost! That’s all they know; that’s all anyone can tell them.
So they set off in pursuit of this mysterious amulet, each for his or her own reason. They learn that the world outside of Waet Tree Village is nothing like the storybooks they grew up with, and the Amulet of Hope is only the beginning of their adventures.

Review: This was a fun read. Not mind boggling or ground breaking with regard to the story line, yet rife with inventive characterization and constant movement in the form of a quest.

As with any quest, the goal is what drives the story line, and in this case the patterned road to culmination is never realized as it sputters down with interruptions in lieu of a sequel. Initially I thought this was pretty good slow reveal of magic, where it is earned or discovered rather than thrust upon the characters. What we get is a mix of earned discovery and speshulness that at once disappoints and elevates interest.

The characters and their interactions with each other are what really drives the novels success. I like that Nita punches guys that get out of line but hate when she blushes and gets girly around handsome men. Chassy is a great character that reveals a depth not displayed by the others. A really good character to shoulder a novel. Andrev is a dick and continues to be a sour dickhole for most of the novel, which got really tiring after the first few chapters. William is a stalwart mystery that begs his own story along with his band of really interesting cohorts.

This novel really walked the line between 3 and 4 stars so let us be hopeful that the sequel burns brighter.