“The November Keys” does not fit into a certain type of genre. Instead, it borrows on key elements of the supernatural, comedic, and downright fantastical.
Uniquely told by real life father and son authors, “The November Keys” is an equally unique read. Eschewing any treading on formulas of books past, it instead focuses on telling a fun and thrilling tale. Football plays a large role in the novel, but it’s not a book only sports lovers will enjoy. Rather, the authors take the passions and dedication of the sport and uses it to inject fervour into the narrative.
There are many interesting characters, ranging from local gangsters to purveyors of special beer, making the story charismatic and enjoyable. It is evident that the authors had an enjoyable time writing a book where life is absolutely not what you think it is, right when you think you have it all figured out.
There are mythical creatures and local witches, and stories of the quest for redemption and for the preservation of culture. Timeless and creative, “The November Keys” is a must-read.
It couldn’t be more of an instance of perfect timing. Jaqueline Kyle’s hilariously inventive Ebenezer Scrooge: Ghost Hunter just so happened to be next in my review queue.
The term ‘mash-up’ is really just a synonym for post-modernism. Borrowing elements from other pieces of art is a concept that’s been around since the concept of art was created. In this book, Kyle broadens Charles Dickens’ classic and adds some unsavoury, entertaining characters that add a whole other dimension of the text.
Taking place years after his partner Marley’s death, Ebenezer finds himself visited by three, very different ghosts who have very specific agendas. It is with these visits that Ebenezer embarks on a journey towards self-redemption and self-exploration, travelling in a world that while full of monsters, is not so unlike today’s modern societal mayhem. In order to become a better person, Ebenezer has to reconcile the events and experiences that have formed his current state, in all of its guts and glory.
A fun, captivating read, Ebenezer Scrooge: Ghost Hunter is a fun, quick-paced piece that brings the idea of self-development to the forefront of a story that is often mirred in regret.
First and foremost, I love a good play on words. I also love Martin Scorcese, which is why I could not help but accept to review the magnificently titled, genre mash-up novel “Apocalypse Wow”.
As the title suggests, the novel is indeed set during the Apocalypse, whatever that may mean. The main character here is the simply titled Jack Winters. He’s an average dude – has a job he semi-enjoys and a group of friends that he likes to hang out with. Throw in an encounter with a woman he thinks may have been sent to him from his dreams and he’s one happy camper. However, as this is a piece of fiction that has to subvert and move a narrative forward that enthralls the reader, Jack awakens from his dream date to find out that the world has ended. Imagine waking up to that. And you thought hangovers were bad.
Now this is what I’m talking about.
Emily Clarke’s Fallen is a short and effective take on teenage romance with ambitious goals that does not fail to live up to its intentions. The protagonist here, Julie Anderson, goes beyond the personification of a real teenager. Depicted as an already semi-morose person, things only get worse for Julie as she has to leave all that she’s ever known when her father gets a new gig in Texas. All of this pre-sadness is of course the perfect catalyst to the tumult of the relationship Julie soon finds herself in with the very conflicted fallen angel, Nick Landers.
T.W. Malpass had me at “combining 80’s style horror with science fiction” with his review proposal for the eerily good Sanctuary 12.
An obvious homage to the horror great The House on Haunted Hill, Sanctuary 12 brings a depth to the genre that covers a gamut of human emotion, undesirable predicaments, and an intelligent opinion on the power of humanity. The novel itself finds nine strangers who are invariably linked by the ominous, frightful words of a young child. This link amongst them commences their journey towards understanding things about themselves they did not quite know were there, as well as where this young girl is located.
Before I opted to remove Sci-Fi from my review policy, I committed to reading A.K. Stone’s opus “Adam” – and I’m quite glad I did. Written for the adult reader but still appropriate for a younger audience, “Adam” is a sci-fi tome that attempts to modernize the genre, if that’s even possible. Can you modernize the future? If A.K. Stone’s writing is any indicator, it’s certainly a possibility.
With obvious inspirations from the Kubrick/Spielberg criminally underrated “A.I.” and Kubricks masterpiece “2001: A Space Odyssey”, Stone spins a tale that possesses just enough genre conventions to satiate the needs of the seasoned sci-fi reader but also evokes humor to keep it a tad lighthearted. In my experience reviewing sci-fi works, authors tend to overly describe otherworldly locales and hybrid species that litter galaxies far, far away. While “Adam” has the requisite forward thinking mentality and coldness that the future apparently has, there’s still some heart lurking below the monochromatic surface.
I won’t lie and say my exposure to Young Adult fiction is limited. I am proud to say that I have read every single Harry Potter novel and devoured each solitary word. Not a being a huge believer in defining books by a single genre, I believe every work of fiction, if written well, has the ability to transcend pre-existing labels and be able to reach out to a broader demographic with its presentation of original thoughts, ideas, and plotlines. As the attention span of a young adult today is practically non-existent, authors of YA fiction have an extra stressor on their hands to write a creative, entertaining tale that could maintain the interest of the most fickle of readers.
Scott Spotson’s “My Wizard Buddy,” the first in the “My Wizard Buddy” trilogy, is an affirmation that original ideas do indeed still endure. At a slim 126 pages, Spotson’s tale succinctly tells the story of a lonely pre-teen named Tyler Dunsmore who makes no disguise of the fact that he wants a friend, pure and simple. As luck would have it, his want becomes reality in Dirk, a foreigner in many ways. Dirk, the wizard buddy to Tyler, attempts to help his newfound friend in many predicaments not so uncommon in this genre. However, it is Tyler’s contemplation of having an otherworldly wizard friend worth it.
Doesn’t it seem that fictional characters with supernatural powers are often born, raised, or come of age in small town America? Is their something in the water in the deep plains of Texas or in the sands by the Mississippi River?
Justin March’s “Quick Save,” a bright and spry tale, has such a character. The protagonist in the novel is navigating the often turbulent waters that comprise the high school existence. Tapping into the angst and verve that encompasses the teenage experience, March richly develops characters who are both at one caustic and endearing.
Craig, now entering his junior year at Buckton High, finds himself friendless but not entirely unhappy. Fortunately, a new student enrolls in Buckton, Craig finds himself befriend by the effortlessly cool Quinton. Quinton, from California and who oozes charm, takes Craig into his inner circle and the two form a special friendship.
The two new friends couldn’t be any more different. Craig is shy and semi-geeky, while the exotic Quinton practically has a personality that oozes off the pages of the book. However, in due time, Craig soon discovers that Quentin’s seemingly unattainable coolness gets even cooler: the boy can predict the future.