Book Review: I am sleepless: Sim 299. Johan Twiss.

I am sleepless : sim 299 is a sci-fi YA novel and is perfect for that market. Because it is sci-fi there are unfamiliar terms for objects and abilities which the characters have. These can be difficult to get over as you try to comprehend them all but you soon pick it up. The beginning is smooth and goes straight into the action.  It feels like you have may have intruded into the lives of these people, a sign of a good book.  I do think a few of the characters names, such as Fig, are lazy ones. The way our author, Johan Twiss,  has the skill of showing and not telling,  the old writers adage, makes this enjoyable. I like the idea of printing food, of virtual reality, of the creatures that are similar to our own but clearly of another world and of a character that signs and does not speak. This book has a refreshing lack of clichés in it. What I do feel is there is also a lack of threat,  which means the story can be a little thin on the ground. The ideas are vibrant enough to cover this and I look forward to the second instalment, as this is a fantastic first novel. 

Buy it here.

Just: Read me a poem.


Review: The Love Garden. David Blackburn.


The cover of the love garden is misleading.  That front cover may look pretty and that this book is going to be about all things cute and fluffy but I’ll have to tell you,  it isn’t.  This book has a psychopathic narrator and no moral compass whatsoever.  The subject matter is not a pretty one but don’t let that kid you this is going to have depth because it doesn’t. It is very staccato and in the beginning especially the dialogue is horrendous.  In fact, the first half of this book is reminiscent of a 50s Hollywood movie,  maybe a Cary Grant comedy. This is strange because I’m not sure this is supposed to be funny.  This is about abuse and murder,  not funny subjects and yet the jokes between our narrator and the poor bloke she is duping come thick and fast.
I do like how our narrator’s behaviour and demeanour is in accordance to how she was treated as a child and her whole character is based on those experiences.  This is, in part, erotica and is highly erotic.  I think writer,  David Blackburn, should concentrate on more erotica in his future work and less dialogue. 
The twist in this tale,  when it arrives,  is engaging and I wanted to know if our narrator would be bought to justice for her crimes. I even begun to feel empathy for her.  There is a female character,  the only other predominant female character in this,  and I think that her part in this is an interesting sub story of its own. 
A mixed bag but readable.

Buy it here.

Book Review: Green eyes: An Erotic Novel (Sort of). Michael Ampersant.

Reminiscent of Douglas Coupland, green eyes is humorous, thrilling and erotic. It is the blending of genres. I like the style that this is written in. It’s quite absurd and our narrator, John, seems to be either poking fun at himself or the author Michael Ampersant (or the author poking fun at John) The tenses seem to be all over the shop and I are not sure if something is happening in John’s mind, that of the writer or in the reality of the book. I like how this flows. It is like drops of water falling on one another, joining and bursting. It’s languid. This is also a book about blogging. There are some witty and intelligent observations on this subject. It’s almost a resource for how to start a popular blog. It is brilliant how this is used in the book for criminal baiting.
The bringing together of the end of this book is great fun. Almost like the writer realized he was late for something and had to have it wrapped up quickly in a few sentences. The last chapter is poignant.
This is a perfect book for any adult reader, who’s looking for something other than the usual.

Grab a copy here.

Book Review. Wild horses. Saurav Dutt.

This retracts a lot.  The story begins with his brother dying to his time in prison, to the present moment and to the first moment he stepped into the jail.  The writer handles these changes well.  There isn’t much in the way of description,  there are mixed metaphors and characters you can believe in, even the characters that make a brief appearance.  This starts quite episodic and then morphs into a story depicting family,  money,  violence, bikers, death and sex.  This is well paced throughout and the story told through our narrator,  Mikey,  with the odd expletive and slang makes it more personal.  He is a great character  and he does seem, in varying chapters, both a man and boy. The ending does feel very drawn out and at times there are parts cut off suddenly and we are introduced to another strand of the story,  I feel there is too much going on in this. Overall a gritty and appealing story.

Get a copy here.

Book Review: The Wish Thief. C.D.Verhoff.

This is the story of Glory and her family. Despite a confusing start, with silly names, hard to digest information and it unclear if our characters were playing a game or for real when talking of the Mesa and a sliver, the first chapter gives us everything we need to know and that is when the story begins. The story is very much your typical fantasy type and perfect for film. I like the Wybbils and their speech. They are the evil and the main source of comedy, it’s a balancing act that works well because the reader is never sure whether they can be trusted. The middle felt bloated with explanations and I skipped some of the pages. Thankfully a wonderful twist shows up and this enthralled me once again. The characters of Matthew, Olivia and Mandy being bought centre stage was inspiring but sadly not long lasting and I would have liked to have heard and seen more from them. The character of Clash is also a sparingly used one and I would have liked to have gotten to know him a little more. Although I am glad he wasn’t used just as a dumb sidekick to Glory. The ending of this book is great. I feel sorry for poor George! We all have wishes and this book shows the consequences of those, for better or worse, what if our wishes did come true? It is astonishing to see what happens when a mother is around to nurture and nourish her children, instead of an alcoholic father. The benefit of hindsight, indeed, is a powerful one. A brilliant book for those young and old, with a thrilling narrative.

Buy it here.

Book Review: A Christmas Kerril. By Denise Jaden.

This is highly engaging and I would recommend this for a teenager or young adult.  I’m already enthused about the possibilities. There is a love triangle,  warring parents, a teacher that lives across the street and the only person I don’t like is Kerril, our leading lady. She seems dense and I already feel sorry for Adam. 
My overall impression on finishing this is I feel like it was handing me information.  Baking was important to Kerril but in the book it is only mentioned a few times and bears no real significance on it. The two boys,  Perry and Adam, felt used mechanically in the way she went after one boy,  ended that and then focused on the continued development with the other boy. Same issue with the parents and the overblown narrative and back story that really had no impact. Kerril hasn’t changed throughout this. There are obstacles,  they are moved on from and that’s that.  I like to feel like a character has actually changed after reading a book. And I feel for Kerril there was only one instance of that happening.  It is almost like this was a checklist of YA fiction clichés that were being ticked off one at a time. 
Despite that I like this, the style of writing, the pace, the sheer readability, the reworking of The Christmas Carol through her dreams, the relationship with Perry -I felt her lust and frustration and doubt and dilemma. Maybe it’s me but I like a complex love triangle and that,  for me, was the best part of this.  The interaction between Perry and Kerril,  is he an @sshole or a genuinely nice guy and is she going to do the right thing and stay clear of him?
The scene in the nursery with the children and Perry is a fantastic light relief part. I like that I didn’t know which boy she was going to end up with. I still don’t feel invested in Kerril by the end of this,  she seems just like a vehicle to navigate the chapters.  This has many ideas, not all fully explored, that there is more than enough loose threads and characters for a sequel.

Buy the Kindle edition here!

After the Pause Year 1

Please think of purchasing a copy. All proceeds go to a great organization.

After the Pause

Purchase your copy here!

year 1 cover full

After the Pause Year 1 is the first print anthology from a…p press, featuring work from the first year of After the Pause’s online magazine. Encompassing issues ranging from Winter 2014 to Fall 2015, the anthology features work from 69 artists from around the globe. Including poetry and flash fiction, this vibrant, diverse collection also features an Intermission section mixed with the literary selections, wherein readers are prompted to make their copy unique by interacting with the text in tangible ways. For ideas of what this might be like, check out Keri Smith.

All proceeds from the sale of the anthology support To Write Love on Her Arms.

The full list of contributors appears below. We encourage you to look them up and see what else they’ve done and are doing. They are wonderful people and writers.

–Winter 2014–

Daniel von der Embse

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Book review: From a Criminal Mind to the Mind of Christ. Melody Wolfe.


Melody Wolfe has written this book about her experiences of mental illness, addiction, and being incarcerated. This is also a book about her religion. She writes with a very compelling voice, that urges you to continue reading. The first chapter tells her story and the following chapters read like personal essays, covering the topics of suffering, self image, love, prostitution, addiction, power, forgiveness and unity, using quotations from the Bible. Melody describes her own story beautifully by writing ‘I know what it is like to have a mind focused and enthralled by crime’ and then writes ‘Jesus, who is Lord of all, set me free from many grievous sins and set my feet upon solid ground’ I think Melody’s story is encouraging and engaging from the opening sentences. I, personally, dont have a religion and for others thinking of reading this they may find the references to religion difficult to swallow, especially in the final two chapters, but I found that interesting, reading Melodys thoughts and her understanding, her faith. I feel like I understand more too.

A copy of this can be bought here.

Book Review: After you, in Love Arrest. Mario Gabriel Adame.

Author Mario Gabriel Adame’s after you, in love arrest is a collection of non traditional poetry that shows the pitfalls, insecurities, doubts and splendour of two people in pursuit of each other. With a shaky start, the book really begins with the poem uncanny (dreaming until our world is one) which is when the pace starts to pick up and I found myself really enjoying reading what this author has to say. In fact along with that poem, Without Touch, Without Touch Part 2 and I are a few of my personal favourites in this collection. This is a book you will need, and want, to read again because of the sheer delight of the phrasing and metaphors he uses. Sometimes these can weigh down the poem and are not needed. The language is beautiful and you will want to revel in it. The language also draws you into the world and emotions of this writer. What isnt always easy is writing something that everybody will care about because everybody’s take on love is individual and personal to them but I think this book does make us care. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and I think this will become one of my favourites, on more readings of it.

A copy of this can be bought here.