Bunch of Reviews

29 Mar

I’ve been sick, so I’ve caught up on some reading and a whole lot of editing. The final installment of The Vale of Shade trilogy: Lord of an Endless Realm is in final edits. After a cover is made, this one will be available. I’m doing some editing on my children’s fantasy novel: The Door to Halloween, as well. I hope to have this spooky fantasy out for people of all ages who love the holiday to enjoy by autumn.

I also have read a novella, two novels and a graphic novel: Here goes, in no particular order:


by: G. Elmer Munson

First two disclaimers: 1. I was given a copy of this book for review 2. Normally, I would not read this type of book. My horror usually has to have some supernatural element to it, and I bypass the suspense genre completely. Those two things said, I only have good things to say about G. Elmer Munson’s horror/suspense novel, Stripped. Our plucky protagonist is Paula, a down and out girl with little education and less prospects. The novel opens with her witnessing the brutal murder of her boyfriend (a fellow ex-carney) and going on the run from a couple of murderous thugs. After nail-biting scenes of violence and chase, our heroine finds herself in a very realistic hell where slave strippers dance, are used and abused. The plot is direct, but with enough twists to really keep you reading. The characters are frighteningly believable. Munson is able to create this very possible scenario using a no-nonsense approach to verbiage and dialogue. The horrors will haunt you, which throws into juxtaposition the character of this relentlessly hopeful woman who endures every kind of depravity, but still finds the chutzpah to survive, and even more… but I’m not telling. The ride is too fast, and too fun with this one. You need to take it yourself. If you don’t shy away from brutal descriptions of the most horrific caliber, then this novel will have you turning the page to see just what more can spill from Mr. Munson’s incredibly creative mind. Has this novel sold me on this kind of novel? Not really, but it has sold me on G. Elmer Munson, and I look forward with anticipation to his next work (put a vampire or a zombie in the next one, please!)I’m afraid Mr. Munson’s depictions and characterizations are a little too realistic. I’m not sure I want to believe that humans can treat each other this way, although I know they can. It is the strength of Munson’s unflinching flare that really high lights this dark and perilous tale.The Legion of Monsters (a graphic Novel)

by: Dennis Hopeless and Juan Doe

2.5 stars.I fell in love with the characters in Legion of Monsters in Rick Remender’s “Frankencastle” run. I loved the monstropolis and the banter between these misunderstood monsters. When I saw that there was more, I was very excited. Perhaps I was too excited, and hence my feeling of disappointment. The story had real potential, with some interesting twists, but the execution was too cluttered, too rushed, and in my opinion, a big opportunity was wasted. Very little is explained, so that the entire story becomes disjointed and in the end- anti-climactic. Focus on the pov of a couple of characters might have helped, and the art work did not always add to the clarity. I hope to see more of the Legion of Monsters, but I hope next time, they are allowed to shine with their monstrous potential.

A Long Way Gone

by: Ishmael Beah

A moving memoir from a boy soldier in Sierra Leone’s Civil War that went for ten years (1992-2002). This is disturbing, graphic and challenging (as well it should be) but also beautifully written. It both reveals the depths of madness and depravity humans are capable of while simultaneously highlighting the unbelievable acts of kindnesses, too. I believe Ishmael Beah’s book should go on to become one of the most important war novels of all time. Everyone over the age of 13 should read this book. It makes one appreciative of one’s own relative peace and amazed that a young soul can rise above his situation and produce such a remarkable literary testament.

Mile 81 (a novella e-book)

I don’t give everything by Stephen King five stars, although he is the most consistently entertaining author alive today, IMHO. Here are some of the reasons that I gave this novella the gold prize: It reminded me of his best and funnest works in his old anthologies. It has all the elements of great everyday characters, everyday objects and situations that are turned on their head and gruesome horror. Is it brilliant? No, probably not, but it was pure and delicious entertainment. Many of the characters are children, and as in most of his work (here his connection to Bradbury and other essentially Romantic American writers are shown), it is the child’s innocence and imagination that allows them to navigate situations that would otherwise send one to gaga land. Here is the crux of the theme: In a world where bad stuff falls into our laps, and we could die from being a Samaritan, we must see the world through a child’s eyes. If you can’t do that, don’t bother with this little horror gem. It is fun, twisted and light, but not I’d say for the jaded and cynical.

That wraps it up for now. I’ll be journeying back to Vanaheim to finish the novella: “The Stormherald” soon!


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