Dull Margaret by Jim Broadbent & Dix

Book Reviews, Graphic Novels & Comics

I recently hopped on the Dull Margaret bandwagon, then catapulted myself right off. DM Int

Whoever wrote the back synopsis deserves an award because after reading it inside Barnes and Noble, I was pretty excited about buying this book. Unfortunately, after I took it home and read the entire thing, I couldn’t figure out why Dull Margaret received the shining editorial reviews that it did.

I think the creators should have included a section at the very end that clarifies what their vision for this book was, and how it’s meant to be interpreted. The greatest positive is that the illustrations are well done (see interior image to the right). If you like gory books and nudity, then this book is for you.

In short, Dull Margaret is about a strange woman who lives by the sea and does a lot of gross stuff. Margaret is a barbaric, self-absorbed loner who likes to interact with dead bodies, chow down on eels, and perform black magic. There is light character development for her as she does make a “friend,” but she berates and tortures him. The book starts with Margaret swimming in the ocean buck naked and ends with the same scene. The end.

-E

Review of The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer

Book Reviews, For Book Lovers, Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense, Publishing

I was offered a digital copy of The Sea Was a Fair Master for review and it’s a collection worth reading. I don’t publicly review every book I’m offered, so pay attention.

The Sea Was a Fair Master is currently on pre-order for just under $3, a generous price you can afford. Anyway, you can’t afford to miss this title…unless you’re a younger reader, who shouldn’t be reading books laced with curse words and  murder, anyway. Curse words are light, FYI.

After reading the first 3 stories, I knew that this collection was going to be a winner. It’s a collection of 23 short, thought- provoking stories that have one thing in common: they’re all dark and twisted somehow.  If you thought I was going to say that the common thread is the sea, don’t worry, I thought it would be, too. But, no. The subjects in the stories extend past, just ocean references.

CalvinDemmer_Photo

Calvin Demmer, author of The Sea Was a Fair Master.

Short stories aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it’s appropriate for today’s instant-gratification generation, or for anyone caught up in the daily hustles of life who can’t commit to reading a full-length novel. The stories are short (just a few pages or less) and well-written enough that it would be worth to spend a few minutes every night to read one story. It’s the kind of book to keep on your nightstand.

My favorite story in the collection is, “Underneath,” because of the twist at the end. A married couple end up burying a secret over another secret–literally. “Graves,” a story about a ghost is a sad one to consider, too.

My least favorite was, “Trashcan Sam,” a short about a garbage society members–think hobos gone wild or deranged–who compete to one-up each other.  I think it was still good, but felt it paled in comparison to the others.

Very excellent! And recommended!

-E

 

 

Review on The Art of Fully Living by Tal Gur

Book Reviews, Other Genre, Publishing

Tal Gur gave me a copy of his book, The Art of Fully Living, recently to review. I think his work speaks for itself; it has a near-perfect 5-star rating on Amazon. Maybe it can do something for you, too.

I’m sure this comes as no surprise to say but, I’ll say it anyway: life is complicated so it’s always nice to get wisdom where you can.  We all need a pep talk or help with perspective once in a while. And if you haven’t found yourself in a slump, just give it time.  Trust me. Life’s just around the corner…wearing punching gloves. This book would best benefit those who are beginning their journey toward happiness. If you’re feeling lost or that life has become this impenetrable wall, check this book out.

The Art of Fully Living: 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals is part memoir and part self-help from someone who has done what many are too afraid to do: he didn’t like his life, so he did what he had to, to change it. He even moved to another country (Australia) to pursue happiness. Now, that’s a big jump! His motives are explained in the quote below–a quote too many of us can sadly relate to.

But some longing kept gnawing at my insides. That morning, anger at traffic inspired unusual introspection: is this life truly my dream? Waking up, getting ready for work, driving to work, heading back from work, unwinding from work, going to bed. Rinse and repeat. How did I end up here, in this shadow of a life?

–Tal Gur, The Art of Fully Living

My biggest takeaways from Tal Gur’s work relates mostly to changing one’s perspective. It’s true that your thoughts become actions and actions become your destiny so, it’s important to harness control over your thoughts and how you look at adversity. I think Tal says it best:

“When a setback or a crises happens, don’t think of it as a curse. Maybe it’s exactly the inspiration you needed. When you can see a “negative situation” from a positive angle, you can reflect on what’s important and maximize your growth. The difficult emotions that usually accompany crises are catalysts for dramatic change.”

– E

 

Review on “The Secret Apartment” by Natalie Fast

Book Reviews, Other Genre, Publishing

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I decided to read The Secret Apartment over the last few days because lately, I’ve been really needing book therapy! My love for books started when I was just a kid and The Secret Apartment is exactly the type of book I would’ve enveloped my brain around when I was younger. These days, I don’t get to read for fun often; I’m always reading to critique at work now or to learn at school.

 

 

My copy is an older, decommissioned library book, that I picked up at a library sale last summer. And as you might be able to tell, the book provides very little plot details on the front and back cover. In this case, the cover artist did they’re job; I picked it up because the cover intrigued me. The title and cover design immediately reminded of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, a film I was made to study in college.

20180117_223733It turned out to be a sweet story about a girl named, Jillian Fairly who moves to New York after her father dies and her mother remarries. New step-sister animosity coupled with her father’s recent death and being forced to go to summer camp, initially make the move an unhappy one. Eventually Jillian is asked to house/petsit by a neighbor which gives her a special opportunity: she uses her neighbor’s home as a sort of getaway from her current problems. One day, after looking out the window of her neighbor’s apartment into another, she realizes that the handsome boy in the building over is the kidnapped boy she learned of from the news.
Sure, rescuing the kidnapped boy was an exciting point in the book but I’m drawn to characters that don’t turn out to be what you’d expect. In this book, the unexpected hero turns out to be Jillian’s mean and spoiled new step-sister, Mariella. When it counts, it’s Mariella’s toughness and cleverness that helps Jillian get into the apartment building and into the apartment the boy is being helped captive.
Anyway, this is a solid pick for anyone who needs a break from “adulting”; it really is a kid’s book so don’t expect any complexity or layered, deep characters. It’s also a good pick for anyone who appreciates stories with strong themes of family and friendship.

 

-E

To Scoff or Not to Scoff: A Review on Jay Anson’s “The Amityville Horror”

Book Reviews, For Book Lovers, Horror

There are definitely clashing opinions on this book, evident by scrolling through the internet alone. After reading the inconsistent reviews on GoodReads recently and the sheer fact that my family and I are in the middle of a “no TV” hiatus for the next two weeks, I decided to finally read it myself. Such a shame that I hadn’t read it before as it’s an incredibly popular story that was first published well-before I was born–1977.

AM_coverThough the cover of my copy–a ragged thing I found at a library sale a few months ago– boasts that it is an “incredible, bestselling true story,” there’s no real and consistent evidence to support anything the Lutz family claims. But even if the family told their truth, there would naturally be both skeptics and believers. And well, honestly, no one who didn’t live in the house during the Lutz family’s crazy 28 days in the house, will ever really know the truth. But, maybe–just maybe–we aren’t supposed to! I mean, some of the events that supposedly take place according to Anson and the Lutz family are a bit over the top for a non-fiction if it is one; a house is essentially physically destroyed without anyone ever hearing the damage being done, a woman’s face molds into an old stranger’s, phantom welts appear, secret unmapped rooms are found, a burial ground compounds the problem, levitation, unbearable temperatures, invisible marching bands, a Catholic priest, a well-known local story about a boy who murders his family, giant pig demons, and more. That’s a whole lot of nope to deal with.
Anyway, the storyline is good to really good–true or not. Anson wrote the book in a reporter’s tone so depending on your taste, it could be dry or just acceptable. If you’re an editor like me, page 114 is a good place to skip because it will probably kill your soul a little:
“Kathy came out of the house with his light and his parka” (114). (You mean George!)
I have to give Anson credit for how he constructed the book though; it goes back and forth between characters a lot and flows day by day until the family eventually flees the house. This construction allows the reader to be able to really dig in to the details that finally push the family out.
I think this story will forever be popular because of the anomaly that it is. No matter how much skeptics scoff at the “based on the true story” stamped boldly across the cover, it’s still a scary read–disturbing even. This is definitely a book to read in broad daylight…with friends around.
-E

MASHED: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror

Book Reviews, Horror, Other Genre

Erotic horror with a culinary twist? Is it possible to do well? Apparently so because Grivante Press just pulled it off. When I was approached to review this book I was immediately intrigued because the theme of this collection is pretty rare. I was craving something new and unique to read and I wanted to see how well this could be done. If not done right, the theme could make the collection a gaudy mess.

Grivante Press did not disappoint, however, and it shows that they really took the time to select stories that would shine. They also have some really creative editor floating around up there because the titles to the chapters are smart and cheeky! “A Woman’s Corn” was pretty clever! I really appreciated the length of the stories, too. It would be easy enough to take the few minutes to read a short story every day over about twenty days.

Most of all, I found Deven Rose’s Succubus’s Parting Gift, Breakfast in Bed to be the most twisted and fun to read. It’s a story about acting when you think it doesn’t matter and it really does. When the main character is dreaming they do something they normally wouldn’t do in real life and wake up to find that the dream won’t be ending–ever.

Sex, food, violence, and stories to get your heart beating! If you’re looking for something different, this might be for you, though I know that it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

5

 

Learn more about Grivante Press here: Grivantepress.com.

 

Copyright Law in a Nutshell (2nd Edition) by Mary LaFrance

Book Reviews, Other Genre

Goodreads review:

Copyright Law in a Nutshell, 2d (Nutshell Series) Copyright Law in a Nutshell, 2d (Nutshell Series) by Mary LaFrance

My rating: 3 of 5 stars.  Note: a rating for 3 stars on Goodreads means, “Liked it”.

LaFrance gives you all the info that you need, but, it’s dry and the info isn’t communicated or formatted in an easy way to understand.

View all my reviews

I had to read this book for a class and though it gave me all the information I needed, it reminded me of how important the interior design of a book is. Book design is extremely important for how readers are able to digest information and plays an integral part in generating enough interest for readers to even look at a book. And with a title with the word, “nutshell” in it, it sure didn’t express major ideas concisely.  LaFrance’s work is still a great resource if you’re looking for a boiled down version of a subject as dense as law, though. The book is also broken down by section per U.S. copyright law so it’s easy to reference a particular section of it if you’re looking for something specific.

-E