Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tales from The Swollen Corpse- by Sam Williams

Tales of The Swollen Corpse is a book of 17 tales of pulp style horror. You know how much I love my short story collections and anthologies. And I love this one even more for two very good reasons- the first is because its good. And the second is because I edited it.

I'm a fan of all the stories, but of course you are bound to like some more than others. My all time favorite story is called, "Apocalypse on Aisle Six". Yes, it is a zombie tale! How did you know? The action of the story takes place in a home improvement store and centers around the night shift crew. Its witty, its refreshing and its entertaining. It doesn't just recycle the same old zombie shtick because the story is character driven. You root for the hero because Sam lets you see inside his mind, gives you a glimpse of his life. Sure it's got the requisite zombie gore, but it's also got humor and depth.

My second favorite is "Redlands". Redlands is a vampire tale with some new twists, like a government conspiracy, and some awesome weaponry. It's also character driven and draws you in. How far would you go to save or avenge a family member? And the hero is one kick-ass dude. But he's not your typical "I'm alone in this world" tough guy. He can be tough and still tell him mother he loves her.

And it's really hard to choose a third because they are all good. It would be a toss up between "The Well" and "The Ghost Eaters". If you've ever wondered what happens when you die, "The Ghost Eaters" is a brand new take on that theme. And "The Well" explores farm life and revenge through the eyes of a young boy.

I repeat- all of these stories are good. I like to think I did a good job editing- but the truth is an editor can only do so much. Sam has the story telling talent that brings these characters to life and makes you want to read what happens to them. The stories are all different, a very eclectic mix. And they are all character driven, which in my opinion, makes the story. I highly recommend this collection. You just might have a new favorite author.

Oh! And I wouldn't advise reading them at night...

Happy Reading,

PS- As always, you can find an interview with the author on The Author Spot. Come find out more about Sam Williams.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Strange Journal of the Boy Henry by S. Alini

I received an email from S. Alini asking if I would like to review one of his books. So I went to his website and checked him out. He's a multi-talented writer and writes a variety of things including screenplays, children's books and young adult. I hadn't reviewed any young adult books yet on this site and I'm always up for a free book so I chose The Strange Journal of the Boy Henry. Boy, did I make a good choice!

I don't know how many of you read Young Adult fiction. I know that it's grown in popularity since the advent of the Harry Potter series as well as the Twilight Saga. I've read a lot of young adult since I homeschooled my children. And at the bookstore where I worked, I would pick up new titles so that I would know what to recommend when people asked. Just like adult fiction, some YA is very well written and is a great read and some is not. I can say with somewhat of an expert opinion- The Strange Journal of the Boy Henry is excellent.

The story follows the main character Henry, on an odd journey of discovery. He wakes in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar house, with an unfamiliar family. He seems to have amnesia and is told that he's been "sick" for awhile. While Henry doesn't know exactly who he is or where he's from, he's pretty sure this is not his family or his home. He begins chronicling everything in a journal.

The more he finds out about his so called family, the more he's sure he's not who they say he is. The journal chronicles Henry's search to figure out who he is and what happened to his real family. It's compelling, amusing and entertaining all in one. The book will hold your interest from the beginning and not ease up. The things Henry finds out and the ways he begins to deal with them and set things right make for a great read. From the very beginning you will empathize with Henry.

The book follows through with all the promise of the beginning. The conclusion is well thought out and fits perfectly. The storyline is as complex as a Dan Brown novel. S. Alini did his homework and even I can understand the complicated discussions that take place between the brilliant Henry and his odd companion, Robert Bontley. And that's saying a lot!

For a very entertaining, quick read- look no farther than The Strange Journal of the Boy Henry. Let's face it, good writing is good writing regardless of the age group it's intended for. Fans of suspense & intrigue will really be pleased.

As always, I've interviewed the author, S. Alini, over at my author blog- The Author Spot. Please stop by and read about S. Alini.

Happy Reading,