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Along with reviews of many well-known titles, this site also searches out unique books
from small, independent presses.
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SPOTS: A Tale of Star-Struck Misfame and Misfortune
By: Simon Plaster
Publisher: Mossik Press
Publication Date: September 2017
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 13, 2017
The satirical master who last brought you the mystery OPRY has done it once again. He has written a great mystery, while also reaching the apex of great satire...which is a tough mountain to climb. Henrietta is our lead; a fantastic character who has starred in Simon Plaster books before, and one that readers need to get to know because she’s one of the best in literature to-date.
We begin by sitting beside Henrietta, one of the reporters for the OKC SCENE News Group. She is a reporter who wants more than anything to “get that story” and win herself a Pulitzer. Unfortunately, even with all the great work she just did by unwinding a mystery involving a beer joint named Honky Tonk, Henrietta finds herself outside her boss’s office waiting to be fired. Instead, she’s given a job to cover the “Academy of Television Commercials Arts and Sciences” awards for the year’s best in TV commercials. It also seems that anonymous death threats have been made against (no one really knows who) people who end up attending these festivities.
Deano DeBoffo, famous Hollywood director/producer, arrives in the city on a mission to get his own career back on track. He wants to make friends with the right people and put together a TV docudrama called, “What’s in Your Wallet?” He runs into a pair that may just help him out. Flo, the famous star of those Progressive commercials has an estranged sister named Chloe or “Clo.” The sister does a lot of work, yet Flo has a better career. But Deano may just get Clo as the female lead for his docudrama. And if he generates some gossip at the event about Clo, he may just bring in a few more money men to help with his project. As you know, bad publicity is still publicity!
There’s an actor named Jimmy who attends; he ends up falling to his death from the hotel where the event is being held. A moment that Henrietta just happens to see. However, Jimmy also appears in new ads after he has supposedly died. There’s also a woman named Shirley who loves her Harley, but is having a mid-life crisis that makes it look like she could be the person who has delivered those anonymous threats.
We meet up with those famous boys who appear in all the SONIC commercials; the Mayor of OKC is worried about the fate of one of these guys...but not the other. We even meet the woman who has fallen down and hasn’t been able to get up for years when she’s apparently poisoned by Alka-Seltzer.
It must be said: When it comes to this author and his ideas, he would definitely get my vote for being “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” So, pick up a bottle of Dos Equis, sit down in a leisurely spot, and read this book!
Quill says: This is most definitely an author who needs to have 9-Lives (get it?) so that readers can enjoy his words for the next thousand years!
For more information on SPOTS: A Tale of Star-Struck Misfame and Misfortune, please visit the book's Goodreads page.
The 18th Rune: (The Aesir Kids, Volume 2)
By: James Grant Goldin & Charlotte Goldin
Illustrated by: Treehouse
Publisher: Basiliak Books
Publication Date: June 2017
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: October 7, 2017
The children of the Norse gods have done well in all of their training in their home city of Asgard, but now they face an even greater challenge. They will travel to Vanaheim and attend a camp where they can work on strengthening their skills. There is one catch to this adventure, the gods of Vanaheim and the gods of Asgard have had disagreements in the past and do not get along well. Many times those disagreements have turned into destruction and war, so it is not surprising that the Aesir children are feeling a bit apprehensive about their trip.
Among the children going on this trip are Thrud, daughter of Thor, her brothers Magni and Modi, Fire, who has amazing abilities with flame, Ull, who is an expert with skis, and Forseti, an expert archer. There are also two mortals that serve Thor who are allowed to go as well, Tjalfi, who has the ability to run at amazing speeds, and his sister Roskva, who has the ability to hear even the faintest sound. Even though this is usually a camp strictly for children of gods, both Tjalfi and Roskva are thrilled with being allowed to go. However, it does not take long for trouble to start...
When the children reach camp in Vanaheim they are greeted by the head camp counselor, Skogurvegg, and his assistant Tryggvin. From the beginning, all of the Aesir children could tell that something was wrong about the way Skogurvegg treated them while getting settled into camp. The first thing he has them do is play a game with the Vanir campers and it did not take long for the game to become violent. For starters, it seemed as if the entire forest, including the grass, trees, and roots, were working against the Aesir team as they used all of their skills to try and win. However, what started out as a simple game became terrifying when Roskva got pulled into a lake by a vicious looking vine and nearly drowned before being saved in the nick of time by Thrud. Utterly surprised that the camp counselors were not more concerned with this attack against their teammate, all the Aesir children agree that everyone should be on guard while they are at the camp.
Unbeknownst to all of them, the playing of a game will be the least of their worries, as a dark evil resides under the land of Vanaheim and it is waiting for its chance to escape. With all of their strengths working together, will the Aesir children be courageous enough to defeat this evil or will it be too much for them to handle this time?
This is a book that will thrill any adventure or fantasy enthusiast, as I could not put it down after I started. Every chapter had suspense and action in it that had me turning pages as quickly as I could. The authors do a great job of developing each of the characters as well, and that creates a bond between those characters and the reader. I will definitely be looking for the next book to come out and will snatch it up when it does!
Quill says: Loved this book from the beginning, and could not ask for a better adventure story!
By: Steve Zell
Publisher: Tales from Zell, Incorporated
Publication Date: June 2012
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 4, 2017
Think about the King classic Stand by Me and you’ll understand the feeling that comes over you at the onset of this read.
Michael Helm and his mother are racing to California in their Plymouth Fury to start a new life. Once there, Michael investigates their new town and basically sees a whole lot of dust, and a riverbed framed in ice plants that had managed to produce a “sprinkling of red flowers; enough to make the riverbed look like some giant with a bloody nose had run across it.” (Just one of many spectacular explanations!) The place also has a store called Big Jerry’s; a dilapidated building that would fit perfectly into any ghost town.
They’ve moved from the Helm House in Phoenix. It was there that Michael would play with his older brother Nicky – an artistic soul who is now dead. In addition, Dad has “left” the family, and now Michael and his mom (a woman who suffers from blinding headaches), have gone to his grandparents’ bungalow. This is a shoebox filled with mold and dirt that smells putrid, like old nicotine that came from Gramps Helm’s constant chain-smoking.
The first oddity about Michael is seen on that walk through town when he has a “run-in” with a very large seagull. But instead of the normal “fiery” anger that most people experience when they get mad, Michael turns cold. The feeling of horror that runs through his veins is like ice...and let us just say that bad things occur when Michael “turns cold.”
Soon he meets up with others who are enjoying the end of summer before school starts up again. Sandy Randall is a girl coming of age, so to speak. She has dealt with a growth spurt that has slowly turned her body from that of a tomboy into “girlfriend” material, and her buddies are starting to notice. Meeting and befriending Michael turns Sandy’s world upside down.
With Michael trying to fit in, and Mom getting a low-level job in order to create some kind of future for Mikey, readers set out on a path that includes everything from a kid’s fort that’s destined to be the spot of nightmares, to a monumental mystery involving a group “tracking” the Helm family.
The only downside to Running Cold, which does not negatively affect the story, are the editing/formatting issues. Putting that aside, author Steve Zell is always extremely gifted at mixing thrills with sci-fi, YA, mystery, and the darkness and fear that raises goosebumps to the nth degree. With Running Cold, he has done it again.
Quill says: You’ll need to sleep with the light on for more than a few days in order to shake the feeling that Michael Helm ignites within your imagination.