“I liked that J.H.M. Okthos brilliantly engages in writing about people with depth and imperfections not just adding characters with no importance, a pleasing change of pace for my summer reading.”Read More
“It was an undercover project for bioweapons, spearheaded by Cpt. Matthew Chambers, now an infamous household name associated with an emerging national scandal—Biogate, as dubbed by the media. Such a project would violate a worldwide ban—signed years ago by the United States—against biotechnological warfare.”
4 Stars: It's a Rabbit with a Gas Mask, Sold!
When I started "A Bastard's Indie Book Reviews" I might have overwhelmed myself with accepting too many request or genres that I am not a big reader of but this is my website I control that, and it's not only for me read to get better at my art but to read for pleasure. My last review Life II by Scott Spotson I still have fond memories and thoughts of Time Travel, chatting to people who couldn't care less. Scott Spotson is back on my review page I just finished his book "The Strange Life of Brandon Chambers," yes it's strange, satirical, and mind-bending. Scott gave me a choice which of his books I like to read, I judged the cover of The "Strange Life of Brandon Chambers" a rabbit with a gas mask. I didn't bother reading the blurb; I wanted to guess the story and imagine why is that rabbit wearing a gas mask? I am coming to believe that book covers matter.
Scott Spotson mixes in a thriller, a coming of age story, a conspiracy plot in the life of Brandon Chambers. Ten-year-old Brandon's life changes forever after a bioweapons explosion, Brandon's parents are left to blame and moments later presumed dead. What I liked about reading this book is Brandon's understandable rage and rebelling to cope. I felt for Brandon as he gets into pretty crimes and drugs, how do you deal with the death of your parents and being forced to become a ward and live with a jerk military lifer? The best part of Scott's book is the coming of age of Brandon, as he searches for the truth and deals with hallucinations, cleverly taking a path to understanding the human brain. Brandon's has his detractors to impede his quest, but you will root for the truth in the age of conspiracies.
The girlfriend and Brandon's temporary hardnose guardian are stand out supporting characters. While the hallucinations and story rollercoaster journey is enjoyable I felt this book drag at times, Scott does capture the innocence that was lost and the teenage rebellion of Brandon masterfully, it is the best parts of this book, outstanding! Adding Scott Spotson (Bridge Through Time ) again to my Fall reading list, summer is booked up.
“Jeremy stopped and pointed at a middle-aged man with olive skin and an enormously fat belly. "Look at this guy. That's not a tan, it's jaundice. Judging by his beer belly, he must have been quite a drinker so his kidneys were already in a bad state. The dehydration is just the last straw.”
4 Stars: You Be Illin'
Sometimes I feel that world has gone completely stupid when I wake up and read my morning news, it is a momentary overreaction, and thus I begin my day and repeat the same reaction the next morning. For "Kings Of This World" by Peter Bailey I am taken to a post-apocalyptic world like a zombie outbreak, but instead of zombies looking to eat brains, human beings have become stupid (which would be worst?). The thought of encountering a person that functions on animal-like instincts taking "dumps" on the streets, having sex in public, murdering each other for the smallest reasons and add an alien conspiracy allowed me to take that leap as a reader that typically doesn't read Sci-Fi novels.
Peter Bailey takes a few chapters with introducing Matthew and all things falling apart; it kept me feeling unbalance not sure what is going, but it is well written enough to follow along. Peter handles writing touchy subject matter and horror with his innovative style and finds a way to fit other characters into the story that doesn't feel too clunky. Matthew seems all alone until he meets Jeremy who's mind is still there maybe not his sense of right or wrong or maturity, but he is smart making their relationship a right balance of convenience. For Matthew and Jeremy not knowing each other before the "stupid outbreak" brings tension adding an important dynamic to "Kings Of This World" ( I would have punch Jeremy many times ).
"Kings Of This World" for me not being an avid reader of Sci-Fi, and not wanting to read so much technobabble is an enjoyable read. A little long at times, but Peter Bailey makes it up with humor, easy to follow plot turns, and the highlight is the relationship of Matthew and Jeremy allowing you to ponder the idea of being forced to work with someone you may not like to survive the end of the world.
Author of Dandelions
A Bastard's Interview with Dandelions Author Jennifer Buck
Published by Booklocker
Ebook, Amazon, and Paperback
Read My Review of Dandelions by Jennifer Buck
Questions and Media Inquiries
“I spent a lot of time rural Utah growing up, and I understood something about the aggressive stupidity and defiant self destructiveness that these relatively cosmopolitan politicians barely knew existed."
4.5 Stars : Ted Just Admit It
What if on August 16, 1975, Ted Bundy didn't get arrested and avoided the pending doom and end of his life and continue to go unnoticed, finish law school and become a politician? Author Zeb Haradon's "what if" isn't a far fetch scenario, think about how many decades do serial killers go on killing before they are caught think of B.T.K.
"The Usurper King" is a political fantasy/ thriller, leans heavy on pop culture references but in a right way while the events of the book sometimes come off as absurd Zeb manages to present it with a seriousness that could have been easily dismissed a just plain stupid. Jim is our main protagonist in a series of unfortunate personal failures, alcoholism, loss of employment, a bitter divorced, and contracting a virus that is aging him. Jim will attempt to cash out on what he is good at "extispicy," the practice of predicting the future or reading omens by reading the entrails and liver of animals ( an old world real practice ) by entering a TV game show called "Guts." During Jim's winning streak the backdrop is the presidential election with Ted Bundy ex-governor of Utah with the campaign slogan "If you can’t trust someone like Ted Bundy, you can’t trust anyone" vs. JW. Zeb keeps the story grounded as much as he can with this premise as Jim continues to win at extispicy on "Guts," but failing as a father, getting deeper into alcoholism, and battling his aging virus. His winning streak is not ratings gold, so the show brings in a ringer, an uncouth Hillbilly that is also just as good at reading entrails, but Ted Bundy keeps coming up. Jim and the Hillbilly (noble and smart ) form a partnership because past events tied Jim to Ted Bundy, as they venture to expose Ted Bundy and take on the system. Zeb sprinkles other modern social ills such gun violence and populism in politics.
As mentioned above Zeb manages to write a plausible thriller or alternate historical thriller that could have become very stupid and unreadable he does it with a seriousness (with humor) that makes this book readable and enjoyable. The book does have some pacing issues when it comes to his ex-wife and son, especially the ex-wife and her backstory she doesn't come off likable at all and I don't see why would Jim ever be with her. But books need fillers sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. I find that The Usurper King 's world could use more books because there are other tidbits that are intriguing to expand on.
“I walked away and went up to the counter to get a donut. I would show them that I could afford a donut. I ordered a chocolate cake donut and handed the lady behind the counter a brown dollar food stamp. She lowered her glasses just below her eyes so she could stare at me intently, “You can’t use food stamps for those sweetie, cash only.”
5 stars - Excellent
The story of Josephine or "Yonder" as she is comically referred to, I think of the word “displacement.” When the world you know which is not perfect but it’s the world you can accept and build your dreams and future is suddenly turned upside, if you had this happen to you in your childhood you will perfectly relate to the struggles of “Yonder” and her family.
The Reagan backdrop is bright and well detail at the height of the AIDS ignorance, fear of the “gays,” being poor, being considered White Trash, our language as a country was still not PC Jennifer lays out the battles of a young lesbian knowing who she is at a very young age. Being forced to move to a part of America, I didn’t know about until this book “pig pickin” what is that I thought. Jennifer’s follies to express love to a crush is no different my indiscretions, but we as a society did make homosexuality as something evil and sinful hopefully we have evolved from such stupidity.
The family dynamics well thought out the characters that interact with “Yonder” are not just one dimensional, but she adds chapters to give them a sense of history and why this person may be the way they are now. People are shaped by their experiences even the ones that consistently screw up. My stand out character within Yonder’s clan is Ma’am not mom, but Ma’am right there tells you she demands respect and you might think that she is an extreme religious old woman but as Jennifer added more background history. What I walked away with is a woman trying to save her family from their misfortunes they seem to land at her doorstep when there is trouble, I say her rules and her demand of respect in exchange for her to help is the price of admission. I was able to keep track of other characters which can be overwhelming sometimes in other forms of media.
In most liberal places being gay is no big thing but do young people know about the struggle I think the same of all American conflicts, we take many things for granted. Open this book and feel the hurt, the pain, and the hope of a young lesbian that wants to survive and be somebody. A reflection of America not so long ago and the daily fight to keep us from going back to those ignorant times is a good reason to understand what Jennifer crafted in her book. I look forward to her next book.
Dandelions Website http://authorjenniferbuck.com/