Humor

Heads You Lose

Heads You Lose
Categories: ,
Author:
Published: December 31, 2014
Author's Twitter: @RobJohnson1000
The assignment in Greece might have been the answer to Trevor and Sandra's problems except for one thing. Someone was trying to frame them for murder... with a watermelon. 'Money for old rope,' Sandra had said when they accepted the job of looking after the ageing Marcus Ingleby at his villa in Greece, but when a neighbour brings a gift for the old man, the prospect of spending most of the rest of their lives in a Greek prison becomes a terrifying reality. Meanwhile, Ingleby has problems of his own. During his seventy-odd years, his cupboard has accumulated plenty of skeletons, one of which is about to be rattled by a couple of ex-cons and a retired police inspector from his murky past. Heads You Lose is the sequel to Lifting the Lid and the second book in the 'Lifting the Lid' series, featuring Sandra Gray, Trevor Hawkins and his incorrigible dog, Milly.

Assessed 

4 Stars

Trevor Hawkins and Sandra Gray are two PIs who aren’t exactly a rousing success. When they’re hired to travel to Greece to be nursemaids to a sick old man, Marcus Ingleby, they see it as a welcome change of pace. Little do they know that the only case from which they made money, the downfall of semi-retired gangster, Harry Vincent, will follow them to Greece and complicate their lives beyond measure.
After an interesting opening which starts like a thriller, and ends with Trevor being bonked by a cheating spouse he’s been tailing, the reader is plunged head-on into a comic romp in which even the violent encounters and bloody, beheaded corpses are milked for laughs.
This story has an expansive cast of characters, with different, but ultimately interlocking motives. But, the author handles them well by introducing each in their own chapter. The suspense is kept up by only hinting at the complex relationships—there are two separate crimes that bring them all together—until near the end when the threads are brought together.
The main weakness of this book is that the relationship between Hawkins and Gray is not as fully explained as it could be. Their history is mostly hinted at until well past the book’s midpoint when the reader learns that they had an almost romantic encounter. Donna Vincent’s motive is exposed too early, taking away some of the mystery. This, however, is just one reader’s observation. Heads You Lose is a funny book, and well worth the read.
I give it four stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delivering Virtue

Delivering Virtue
Published: November 7, 2015
Author's Twitter: @briankindall
Poetic rogue Didier Rain is hired by The Church of the Restructured Truth to deliver a baby – Virtue – to be the bride of the Prophet Nehi at his church’s new settlement in the wilderness territories. A picaresque novel set in the American frontier of 1854. “It’s 1854 in the American West and Didier Rain – rogue, poet, and would-be entrepreneur – is hired by an upstart church to deliver a child bride to the sect’s prophet across a frontier fraught with perils.” Delivering Virtue is a picaresque novel set in the American frontier of 1854. A poetic rogue by the name of Didier Rain is hired by The Church of the Restructured Truth to fulfill a prophecy. He is to deliver a baby – Virtue – to be the bride of the Prophet Nehi at his church’s new settlement in the wilderness territories. The story is an account of the trials Rain endures on this journey, attempting to adhere to the contract he signed prescribing his sacrosanct behavior throughout, while wrestling with his more base animal inclinations. As he walks this precarious line between the sacred and the profane, Virtue remains Didier Rain’s guiding miracle, showing him the true meaning of salvation by journey’s end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me-Time Tales

Me-Time Tales
Categories: ,
Published: April 28, 2016
Author's Twitter: @Minettjr
Ironic short stories with a dark edge. All kinds of women unlocked. Inhibited Elfreda learns the beauty of a gorge.
 A bizarre theft in the Well Woman clinic.
Marian faces middle age with attitude and support knickers. Fish-phobic Daryl finds her sole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six Months to Get a Life

Six Months to Get a Life
Author:
Published: January 21, 2015
Author's Twitter: @benadamsauthor
Graham Hope had it all – a wife, two perfect children, a detached house in the suburbs and a huge TV. He now has an ex-wife, lives in his parents’ spare room and gets the kids and the dog at weekends. He might be lost and lonely, but Graham is not a victim. In exactly six months time, he will be forty-three. He vows to sort this mess out by his birthday. He gives himself six months to get a life. Will Graham play a meaningful role in his boys’ lives? Will his friends take him under their wing? Will he move out of his childhood home? More importantly, will he ever have sex again? For Graham, failure is not an option. Warning: if you are looking for a sanctimonious self-help book, then ‘Six Months to Get a Life’ is NOT for you.

 

Reviewed by Awesome Indies

A well crafted novel

In this fictitious diary, newly divorced Graham Hope gives himself six months to relaunch his life after divorce. His ex-wife’s accusation that he is “Adrian Mole and Bridget Jones’s lovechild” suggests the author’s intention for the book.

We follow Graham’s progress from living uncomfortably with his parents with occasional access to his sons, to moving into a rented flat and acquiring a new girlfriend, Amy. Graham gets a wake-up call when Amy is seriously injured in a car accident, causing him to emerge at the end of his six month plan a better and more self-aware adult with a promising new relationship ahead.

The novel explores predictable themes: the challenge of sharing childcare between divorced parents, jealousy and resentment of the ex-partner, a lack of confidence in moving on, the dubious comfort offered by his mates. The characters, their situations and their actions were realistic, and I particularly liked the portrayal of Graham’s relationship with his sons. However, the structure felt a little hurried, forced by the neatness of the timescale in the book’s title, though the ending was satisfying.

It took me a while to warm to and respect Graham. At first he seemed irritatingly immature and petulant, particularly in his attitude to his hated job. It’s never clear what this job involves, other than paying him a decent wage. More effort and detail in this area would have added depth to the story. The way he left his post, with a boat-burning hate-filled email to all his colleagues, didn’t ring true for me: I don’t think a grown-up who needs a reference would behave that way.

I am familiar with the area in which the novel is set, and being a Londoner could grasp all the colloquialisms and brand references. Non-British readers may either struggle with these or find them part of the charm.

The book was on the whole well crafted, but for my taste, it was a bit obvious and pedestrian, and lacked the spark to lift it into the realms of Bridget Jones and Adrian Mole. Only when it strayed into more ambitious territory, such as in the hospital scenes, did it really begin to shine for me.

This book would appeal to anyone who loves English humour, British settings, or divorce sagas described from the man’s point of view.

 

 

 

 

 

The Retail

The Retail
Published: November 11, 2014
Author's Twitter: @joshdankerdake
Aspiring writer Penn Reynard has just joined the ranks of America’s fifteen million retail workers: fresh out of college with an English degree, he can’t find a job anywhere except at the local big-box hardware store. Working returns, Penn experiences firsthand the often comical absurdity, chaos, and shenanigans of the retail world. At least he has a new romance with a coworker going for him—if he doesn’t screw it up. The constant pressures of dealing with hostile customers, oblivious coworkers, and overbearing management begin to take their toll on him, though, and as his desired career path threatens to fall out of reach, Penn struggles to break free of retail’s clutches.

Reviewed by Awesome Indies

November 11, 2014

4 Stars

The Retail by Joshua Danker-Dake is an easy, fun read. Anyone who’s ever been inside one of those Big Box home improvement stores will instantly recognize the setting, though I doubt my local Home Depot or Lowe’s is hiding sales associates as clever and funny as these.  The conversations are the sort we wish we had with our work colleagues, but our colleagues are mere mortals, while the boys and girls of the House Station are bright and witty. The interactions with the customers-from-hell ring true, if sometimes exaggerated for effect.

Main character, Penn, is a recent collage graduate and wannabe writer (Why are these protagonists always wannabe writers, never wannabe lawyers, or wannabe plumbers?) working at the House Station after being denied entrance to grad school. Told in dairy-like episodes, the book chronicles Penn’s 431 days toiling in retail, his interactions with his colleagues, his roommate and his girlfriend, and his budding romance with Chloe, who works in Paint. It’s easy to visualize this story as a film—a young twenties, buddy-film, coming-of-age, romcom.

The book is well edited and fast-paced. There’s nothing deep, profound, or unexpected here, but there doesn’t need to be. Readers looking for a light, enjoyable story won’t be disappointed. A strong four stars.

 

 

Lydia Bennet’s Blog: the real story of Pride and Prejudice:

Lydia Bennet’s Blog: the real story of Pride and Prejudice:
Categories: , ,
Author:
Published: February 19, 2012
Author's Twitter: @ValerieLaws
Jane Austen’s Lydia Bennet is a modern teen in Regency times. She’s funny, shameless, fashion and boy mad and determined to get money and her man. Find out what really happened in Pride and Prejudice…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scribbling

Scribbling
Published: October 24, 2012
Author's Twitter: @jonno_go
Neville Lansdowne pushed the world out of shape. He didn't mean to do it. He didn't even realise he had done it. If you had asked him, he would have said that, as far as he could tell, the world was the wrong shape to begin with. In a world that is totally the wrong shape, Neville meets a new bunch of eccentric characters, and embarks on another strange and wholly unexpected adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doodling

Doodling
Published: January 24, 2011
Author's Twitter: @jonno_go
Neville Lansdowne fell off the world. Actually he did not so much fall off as let go. The world had been moving so quickly lately and Neville was finding it almost impossible to keep up.   Doodling is an engaging comic fantasy which relates the events that befall Neville after he finds himself abandoned by the world and adrift in the middle of an asteroid field. Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll (with just a touch of Gulliver's Travels) as Neville wanders through his new home, meeting a variety of eccentric characters and experiencing some most unexpected adventures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnus Opum

Magnus Opum
Author's Twitter: @jonno_go
An epic tale of swords and baked goods. Magnus Mandalora never planned to go out into the big, wide world. He thought he’d live out his life in his homely little village, happily cooking and eating pflugberry pies. But fate had other ideas. Before he knows it, Magnus has embarked on an incredible adventure. He discovers a world full of marvels and wonder, surprises and delights. But it’s also a world of perils and danger. As Magnus finds himself right in the middle of a long-running war between the fair and noble Cherines and the vile and despicable Glurgs, he faces challenges beyond anything he could have imagined.  

Awesome Indies' Review

Humorous fantasy with heart

Magnus Opum is a delightful read in Jonathan Gould’s unique style, a book that shows this writers extraordinary talent in even greater depths than his other works Flidderbugs or Doodling. Imagine a mix of Tolkien and Dr Seuss and you have Magnus Opum, a humorous epic fantasy that highlights the absurdity of cultural assumptions. Perfect for all ages, I urge everyone to read it.

Populated with bizarre animals like the borse, who has two legs shorter than the others, making them perfect for hilly terrain but highly unstable on the flat, and the Blerchherch, “a ravenous giant with a hunger of the flesh of all other creatures”, who lives in the dingy dungy Drunglegum valley, the books names alone provide plenty of giggles. I had fun trying to say words like Pharsheesh, Pergle-brots, Parghwum, and the rather tricky Hargh Gryghrgr out loud.

Magnus is a little Kertoob in a big world and with more courage than he knows. His main companion Shaindor is a beautiful Cherine, but he also befriends Klugrok one of the race of ugly Glurgs. These two races are mortal enemies, and as Magnus discovers, the only reason behind their conflict is cultural differences and misunderstanding. To the Cherines, anything ugly must be evil, and to the Glurgs anything that prides itself on its beauty is evil. And indeed, we do see the ugly side of the beautiful Cherine race. So, in true Dr Seuss style, there is an important message for adults and children alike.

I put this book squarely in the zany-and-out-of-the-box category (except that Jonathon has made his own box), and because it’s 2012 and the author isn’t waiting for traditional publishers to go through the incredibly time consuming process of making up their minds, we can buy it for next to nothing for our electronic readers. I give it 5 stars and urge you to buy it immediately.

Only in an Indie published book will you find something so highly creative and different. Long live Indie publishing. May it take its rightful place as a respected part of the publishing industry. This is where you’ll find alternative reading fare, the artistic ground breakers and even new subgenres.