Thursday, December 31, 2020

Welcome!


Image result for welcome matWe are glad you stopped by!

The purpose of this site is to Review self-published and small-press published books. If a book is reviewed here, you can expect the quality and content to be sufficient for human consumption (at least ours, your mileage might vary), or know the reason why not. We will post clearly in our review the general quality, the amount of violence, language, sexual and spiritual content.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Review: Zombie! Haunted Mansion: Memoir of Jesse Jamieson by Zombie Origin Media

Zombie! Haunted Mansion: Memoir of Jesse Jamieson

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Review: Sweet-pea's Thief by J. Cassidy

Sweet-pea's Thief

by 
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My Take:



Gambling for dollars is one thing. But gambling for days is something else. Charlie is dying of cancer. He only has months to live. But he hears of a raven-haired girl that will play poker with you, gambling for your remaining time. If you win, you leave with more time. If you lose, you... lose time. With little to lose, he plays poker with Sweet-pea, who relates during the game the incredible tale of why she is gambling Years of Life with the dying.

With her body stolen by a monster, and her soul pushed into another parallel realm with monsters and magic, Sweet-pea's survival depends on the protection of others stuck in this horrific realm with her. Hunted by bounty hunters, monsters and the mysterious Tin Master,  Sweet-pea finds that while attempting to regain her life, she may lose her soul.


Content:
Drug Content:
PG - Sweet-pea is given a bottle of pills to help her cope with the shock of losing her body, pills she quickly becomes addicted to.

Violence:
R - There's a good deal of violence and death, blood and gore. A torture chamber provides a horrific gory backdrop for one of the scenes. A hand is cut off, a throat is slit.

Language:
PG - There are a few cuss words, nothing serious.

Adult Content:
G - there's really no sexual content, though some obviously happened once off-screen.

Christian content:
Nada. There are some concerning concepts in this work, mainly that souls aren't eternal and can be used for food, that Time can be gambled away, or gained through a game of chance. There are some references to an afterlife. Heaven and Hell are referred to as real places, in other dimensions, but monsters can capture your soul during the 'tunnel experience' while heading to the bright light at the end of the tunnel. Loyalty, self-sacrifice, destiny and friendship play large parts in this tale. There is a definite struggle between good and evil here, but the lines are grayed.

Final analysis:
This book has an incredible concept - that between life and death there is a dimension the soul must travel through, and those souls can be stolen. That the body can be stolen, and the soul released to wander rather than move on to heaven or hell. The plot behind this story is gripping, the world-building phenomenal, and the action fast and furious. New life, Old life, are gathered like glowing marbles. Strange creatures like Griwald and Deadly Mimics threaten constantly, along with Tin Men and other horrific creatures. Magic amulets and spells are formulated and used to gain access to further dimensions, while time passes at alarming rates. Characters are often larger than life. However, the pacing dragged for me. It seemed to take an eternity for me to plow through some sections, while other sections moved so quickly I had to reread to catch important details. So, a great read, but some pacing issues. Four Stars!
About the Author:
J. CassidyJ. Cassidy's website reads,
I’m J. Cassidy and I used to be an oak tree growing in a park in England. I still like to be decorated once a year.
Pink, sparkly fluffles and rainbows make everything better.
She can be followed on Twitter: https://twitter.com/6twistedbiscuit


Review: Imprint Legacy by Dorian Keys

Imprint Legacy

Imprint Legacy by [Keys, Dorian]
My Take:


When Detective Robert Miers and his partner follow the clues left by the stiff they found in the old apartment, it quickly leads them to their own deaths. But Robert wakes up to find he's not dead, just confused, with a gap in his memory and a missing partner. After being suspended pending an internal investigation, Robert follows clues on his own regarding the mysterious men in black, clues that cause him to question whether his entire life has been a lie. 


Content:
Drug Content:
G - None.

Violence:
PG - There's violence and death, a gun battle and ray guns. There is no real gore. Some people die in a fire off-screen.

Language:
PG - The D-word is used once, and g-d is used a couple times.

Adult Content:
G - there's really no sexual content of any sort in this work.


Christian content:
Not really any. I wouldn't have any issue handing this to my kids to read, as they are all into their teens or beyond. There are questions raised in this book that make for some good talking points - ideas about loyalty, life and death, and our purpose in life. 

Final analysis:
This short novella is a whirlwind of twists and turns, a high-stakes action-packed scifi mystery. Fast-paced and immersive, the focus is more on action and plot than deep descriptive passages, which makes for a quick read with an interesting end. Five stars!


About the Author:
Dorian KeysOne day, a while back, Dorian handed his father a handwritten story. Five sentences telling of an unknown object landing on the backyard. He was seven.

At the time, he was praised for it, he thought nothing of it: everyone can do what i do. And everyone can.

Years later, Dorian self published his debut novel Imprint Legacy on Amazon. It was well received. Earning a four star rating from Literary Titan. Next year he self published a short story collection, and has a world of stories to tell.

Presently, Dorian lives in busy New York City together with his family. He writes every chance he gets carrying his laptop everywhere. Occasionally he shows up on Twitter, but the best way of contacting is on this website.

P.S: Unbeknownst to Dorian, his father laminated that original story and kept it with him. He yet has to see it again.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Review: Frapps The Barbarian by J.L. Blenkinsop

Frapps The Barbarian

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My Take:

When Frapps, the Barbarian, a lowly wen-picker from the Equatorial Girdle, visits Catenary Jones' Trading Post, he is surprised to see a paperback novel there with his own likeness on the cover, and his own name there, too. Recovering from the shock, he opens it to find that most of the pages are blank. But what is in there are the activities of his last few minutes. The pages are being written as he reads.

Inside the book he also discovers that a hapless land far to the north called Legoland is being taken over by a despot named Unther Margate, who is making plans to overthrow the kingdom by marrying the fair Princess Amplex. The rebel forces have called for the assistance of a Hero, by putting an ad in the paper. How could any half-wit resist?



Content:
Drug Content:
G - None, unless wens are cigarettes. I have no idea.

Violence:
PG - The bad guy in this story is not above chopping off heads, and his sword gets stuck in a dead guy. There's a knife in the back, but for the most part it's about on a Disney level.

Language:
G - squeaky clean. In fact, the book refuses to record one word the bad guy lets fly. :-)

Adult Content:
PG - This is a kids' book. Sort of. Not even kissing occurs here. There's a bit of potty humor with the choices of names in this hilarious romp, about on a level with Spongebob I suppose. There are several scenes, however, where the main character is rendered naked, a relatively obvious allegory to how we are all naked before God, unable to hide our sin.

Christian content:
Quite a bit. There is a significant amount of Christian allegory in it, with the Immortal Unicorn being the embodiment it seems of Christ. There are other parallels but some of that would be spoiling. There are no bible verses quoted, no preaching, per se. Self sacrifice and determination are bold and up front. The concept of the king being God's man found in Rom 13:4 is clearly displayed. 

Final analysis:
Frapps the Barbarian is a novella, which I rarely review. But this was an entertaining and quick read, with a nice moral outcome where good triumphs in the end. I found some of the thick English cockney accents a bit hard to interpret, but there were only a few areas where they were problematic. The characters are all whimsical and you can't take them too seriously, but even so there is definite character development and the world building is ingenious. I found it fascinating, entertaining, fast-paced and enthralling. Five stars!


About the Author:

Friday, August 23, 2019

Review: The Flawed Ones - A Story of Mental Illness, Addiction and Love by Jay Chirino

The Flawed Ones - A Story of Mental Illness, Addiction and Love


The Flawed Ones - A Story of Mental Illness, Addiction and LoveAfter leaving behind a trail of drug-addled destruction, Jay finds himself confined to the walls of a psychiatric hospital. He is now compelled to confront his actions, his issues, and the past that led him to such downhill spiral. But what surprisingly affects him most are the people that he becomes surrounded by; people with considerable deficiencies that will shed some light on the things that truly matter in life.

“The Flawed Ones” is a thorough examination of the struggles of mental illness, depression, addiction, and the effects they have on the human condition. Most importantly, it proves that physical and mental shortcomings do not necessarily define who we truly are inside- that the heart is, in fact, untouched by our “flaws”, and that love will always prevail above all.

My Take:
Jay has admitted himself into a psychiatric hospital to recover from a long trail of addiction and destruction. He must face the monsters of his past and the destruction he caused in order to move forward into a new life of sobriety. For the many people confined with him in the psych ward, including him, the future holds an opportunity for improvement or return to the destruction that brought them to this place.

The Flawed Ones is an in-depth examination of the life inside a psychiatric ward, and the internal struggles that accompany it. 




Content:
Drug Content:
R - The majority of this book covers a lot of ground, from alcoholism to prescription and street drug addictions, and the destruction that accompany them. Cocaine, Vicodin, Xanax, Marijuana, and many other drugs are discussed at some length, as the author, or at least the main character, had struggles with most of these. Significant space is given to discussion of the effects of these drugs and their less-potent treatment drugs, and how an addict can be safely brought into sobriety without the death that often accompanies withdrawal from these potent drugs. Clear descriptions, honest and raw, of the destruction caused by an addict to the ones he or she loves, is laid bare and bleeding for the reader to see. A deranged addict pours a bottle of pills down the throat of a child and forces her to swallow.

Violence:
PG - There is a scene where one patient is screaming the word 'Rebellion!' repeatedly at the top of his lungs, and another patient punches him out.

Language:
PG-13 - The F-bomb is dropped once, and swear words are scattered lightly throughout. 

Adult Content:
R - One of the female patients tries to make out with the main character, and he has a dream during this that is rather intensely erotic. (She does this while he is asleep). There are three passages in the book that are in the bedroom, and get a bit graphic in their depiction.   Rape is openly discussed. An addict uses prostitution for a fix.

Christian content:
Jay's roommate for much of the book is a Christian man named Bob. He reads several passages of the bible out loud to Jay. The main character's parents pray fervently for him to be delivered from his addictions. His girlfriend is a Christian girl too, but they move in together at his prompting, rather than marrying. There are hints that the main character is considering his eternal destination, but other hints that he cannot accept the existence of God.

Final analysis:
The Flawed Ones is poignant, raw, eloquent, emotional, and relevant. It covers a lot of ground and exposes the tendencies in the medical profession to simply treat mental health issues with medication as the easy and quick way out. Many of the characters in the book are reduced to zombies each night, and only reach a modicum of lucidity during the day. I can't determine if this is a work of fiction, an autobiography, or, more likely, a hybrid of both, with names changed to protect the innocent. The characters were raw and believable, and the issues relevant. The passages concerning backstory and interaction between the characters were incredibly eloquent and beautiful.

That having been said, the pacing was extremely slow for me. The book dragged in parts, and was a bit disjointed in other parts. At the end it was revealed he had only been in the ward a week, but it seemed much longer to me, partially because of the flashbacks, dreams, and backstories of the other characters.

This book is recommended reading for anyone wanting a clear understanding of mental health issues; depression, anxiety, addiction, codependency, sexual addictions, abuse, and the list goes on. However, the content is adult enough to recommend for late teens and adults only. I found it to be engaging and immersive, but the pacing was too slow for me to give it more than Four Stars.


About the Author:
Jay ChirinoMental health advocate and author of The Flawed Ones, a story of mental illness, addiction and love. You can download free at theflawedones.com