Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: Midnight Rain

Midnight Rain
James Newman
Available in trade paperback and
Kindle format from Amazon.

Hello kids, miss me?

If a coming of age story set in the woods of North Carolina with murder and mayhem thrown in is your cup of tea, then this book is for you.

Midnight Rain starts off by introducing us to 12 year old Kyle Mackey. His favorite past time is riding his bike, Burner, in the woods and spending time in a deserted cabin, perfect for alone time.
But that all comes to a screeching halt one month after he witnesses the death of Cassandra Belle Rourke in his cabin. It's violent and bloody. Kyle puts two and two together and knows who did it...but who will believe him? He struggles with what to do and when to do it, and ends up taking matters into his own hands.
Newman has you firmly perched in Kyle's pocket every step of the way as he wrestles with what he's seen. The rain is almost a secondary character in the story and I swear I felt a little water logged by the ending.
If the trade edition or Kindle edition are not to your liking, you may find Midnight Rain in a used bookstore in a mass market edition as Leisure, the original publisher, is no more.
James Newman however, goes on. He's been writing for a while and deserves a wider audience. I've got one of his short story collections, People Are Strange... oh yes...you bet they are.
Go check Mr. Newman out, as he keeps getting better with each book.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: Fosaken (Shadow Cove Saga #1)

JD Barker
Available in Kindle format
and in paperback
on Amazon.

Forsaken is a Bram Stoker Award nominee for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. The award are currently being voted on and will be presented on May 9, 2015.
Will Forsaken win? Possibly. I've not read any of the other 4 nominees, but I'd say this has a fair chance at taking the prize.

Meet author Thad McAlister, who has just penned what he believes to be his best, biggest seller, "Rise of the Witch". Written in journal style, we're taken back to 1692, in the town of Shadow Cove where a witch trial has begun. Thad details the trial, and introduces us to a young woman who may or may not be guilty of witchcraft.

In present day, his wife, Rachel, is pregnant with their second child. Thad goes to New York to meet with his agent and Rachel and daughter Ashley are left at home alone, where odd things start to occur. Their yard is taken over by little piles of dirt. Then the dirt starts showing up in the house...along with...no, I won't tell you that part.

The chapters are short and lead up to a rattling conclusion. My first thought about a third of the way in was, "Man, this is giving me the creeping tinglies." And that is a good thing.

I hope Forsaken wins. And I hope JD Barker keeps writing.

Oh, and by the way, the last chapter is an homage to Stephen King in the best way ever. Not going to spoil it by telling you here. Read it for yourself.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas to all I've reviewed and all who follow my reviews

Merry Christmas Constant Reader.

I don't have a new book for review, (yet), but I wanted to take this time to tell you what I'm doing for all the authors I've favorably reviewed here. It's a small gesture for Christmas. I'm going to post the review I posted here on their author page on Goodreads.
Big deal, you may be saying.
Well. Yes, as a matter of fact it is.
Authors live and die with reviews, and if I've given them a good one, I need to post it where it will do some good.
Goodreads prides itself on the reviews posted there, so mine are about to join.
My TWU reviews are already posted on Amazon. Posting on Goodreads is just one more way for folks to find a good read. Pun intended. ; )

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Review: Strange Roads by Steven Lloyd

Strange Roads
Steven Lloyd
Available in Kindle format
and in paperback
on Amazon

If you decide to come along on a journey with Mr. Lloyd, rest assured the roads he travels in his short stories are strange.

Steven Lloyd submitted his most excellent short story "The Wooden Box" to me last year and it was absolutely excellent (you can find my review of it here in the entry dated August 23, 2013. The story is part of this collection, or available by itself through Amazon.)

So imagine my delight when I was presented with Strange Roads, a small collection of more of Lloyd's short stories.

All of them will get under your skin. Some will horrify in a subtle way that lingers. Others will hit you over the head.

Among my favorites were "The Wooden Box", and like a juggernaut put into motion, it drags you down the road with you in it's wake..
"The Wallet"- just how much will one man go through to get his property back?
"Where There Be Dragons" - a wonderful short fantasy that is charming as hell.
"Dogwood Summer"(an excerpt), which I've been told by Lloyd will be fleshed out at some point as I wanted way more than the story delivered. Not that it came up short. It was so good I wanted more. Now!

This is a worthy addition to any horror lovers library. The horror is subtle in some cases...splatterpunk this is not, but that's OK.  The best kind of horror short story is one that doesn't bludgeon you to death. It lingers in your mind's eye long after you've read the last sentence.

Lloyd crafts his stories as if he's mining precious gems.
I can't wait for him to continue mining in this vein.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Not Gone and Never Forgotten

Bet you thought I'd disappeared.
Nope, no such luck.

Moved twice and about to move again (same apartment complex, larger apartment).

My mother passed away in May, peacefully in her sleep, which was how I hoped it would be.

I've been writing more cook books - 19 available now, under T. L. Sheppeard on Amazon, for the Kindle for $2.99 (go check 'em out).

Been doing a lot of for pleasure reading. I've discovered the brilliant writings of Cory Doctorow. Though intended for a young adult audience, the subject matter is relevant to any and all and is presented beautifully. If you like science fiction that's science fact and relevant to the times (cyber stuff, hacking, spying, how much privacy do we really have?), then you'll eat his stuff up - Homeland and Little Brother are the two I've read.

I liked the Anita Blake novels by Laurell K Hamilton and have read a great deal of them. But, I've found a series that I think is head and shoulders over Hamilton's books - The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. I've read the first two and am on the third and have the rest on my Kindle to read. Full of sex, violence, blood, interesting vampires, this series is better written than the Anita Blake books. Too often Hamilton will come up with a nifty premise, only to drown it to death in sex, and then wrap it up nice neat in one chapter, telling us how things were resolved rather than writing it and showing us how. Lazy writing is what that is.

Got some interesting books coming up in the following weeks for review...
So stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hey, Reviewers Need To Eat, Too

Good afternoon constant reader.

I've not deserted the Universe. I've been busy with proofing books for a writer, and writing my own series of cook books. Both are time consuming and haven't left a lot of time for reading and reviewing.

The thing is book reviewers have to eat, too and pay their bills, so I've been engaged in things that will make me some money.
The Written Universe started out as a labor of love, with no expectation of making any money off of it.
Circumstances have changed, I have changed, so my time is spent differently these days.

I intend to use this blog to advertise my cook books from time to time and I intend to post relevant reviews from time to time, so don't jump ship and assume TWU is dead in the water.

I'm authoring a series of cook books, under the name T.L. Sheppeard. Check me out on Amazon. They're for the Kindle, run $2.99 a pop.

Halloween 100 Recipes
Thanksgiving 100 Recipes
Christmas 100 Recipes
New Years 100 Recipes
Valentine's Day 100 Recipes
Saint Patrick's Day 100 Recipes


Ramen Noodles 100 Recipes
Sriracha 100 Recipes
Lasagna 100 Recipes
Nutella 100 Recipes


Paleo Diet 100 Recipes

**Coming Soon**

Easter 100 Recipes
Chili 100 Recipes

You can also find me on Goodreads

This is a new venture for me and I've got to say I'm loving every minute of it.
Cruise by Amazon and check out my cook books and buy one or buy 'em all.
No Kindle? No problem - get Amazon's free Kindle Cloud App Kindle Cloud App.
You can use your desk top (PC and Apple), tablet, lap top, or Smartphone (Blackberry, Android, iPhone, Windows Phone)

By the way, not only is Valentine's Day approaching on the 14th, but World Nutella Day is February 5th. 
I've got you covered on both fronts.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: Blue Into The Rip by Kev Heritage

Blue Into The Rip
Kev Heritage
Available through Amazon in Kindle format and pasperback, B&N in Nook format,
Createspace in paperback, and Smashwords in various e-book formats.

Good morning Constant Reader.

If you like fast paced, intriguing, thought provoking, character driven science fiction, then this book is for you.

Blue is a typical teenager, attending school, looking after his little sister, and putting up with his hippie parents. Until, one day, he is ripped out of his present and flung far into a future where the Earth has undergone some extreme changes. One of which is the military academy Blue finds himself rescued by and inducted into, in a future where the world is not what it used to be. Ravaged by climate change the only refuge is an under ground Desert Amazon. Blue finds life quite a bit different, especially as he is inducted into said military academy as a cadet, who only wants to return to the past. His past.

Blue is put to several tests and finds he does have some affinity for what he's supposed to be learning, but along the way, he discovers how the Earth got into it's present state. At one point, he visits the Museum Of Indulgence, which houses such diverse Earth artifacts as Stonehenge, the statue of Michelangelo's David, remnants of the Sistine Chapel, the head of the Statue of Liberty, some of the most famous paintings to have ever existed by the likes of Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Warhol, Picasso, Dali, etc.
He comes upon a gallery with a screen projecting how the world used to be, then another showing the wars, the pollution, the riots and finally the devastation of famine, the disease that followed starvation, poverty, then another gallery depicting the fall of civilization -raging fires in China, the US entirely covered by a hurricane, earthquakes devastating Northern Europe, Tsunamis, volcanic activity on a massive scale.

Still resolved to get through this academy and back home, Blue makes friends with the other cadets in his squad, steeling himself for the day he is instructed in rip technology, the way he will "rip" his way back to his time and his family.
Interspersed throughout the book are definitions of certain words, phrases, or people, which although I knew most of them, I found them a help, expanding on the reading experience the way they were used, much better than the inclusion of a glossary in the back of the book, with the words asterisked for reference or intruding foot notes.

Does Blue make it back to his Earth and his time?
Read the book and find out.

Read the book with the underlying lesson about climate change, which isn't preachy- it's so well woven  into the fabric of the story, you don't feel like you're being beaten over the head about an issue which is becoming more clear, day by day - quit hurting the planet we live on, lest we turn our cities into dust, and we along with them.

This is written for a young adult audience and being marketed that way but I can tell you, it's fine science fiction, with a great story and well imagined characters that keep you fully engaged.
I loved it.

For more information on Kev Heritage:
Kev Heritage author page
Kev Heritage blog page
Kev Heritage on Facebook
Kev Heritage on Twitter