Book Review: Memoirs of a Mouthy Dame

So, you guys may have seen me talk about +C. Corey Fisk before. You’ve seen me wax all glowing and girlcrushy about her because, frankly, she is crushable on pretty much all conceivable levels of crushability.

Beyond that, though… this woman is tough as shit and frakking brilliant.

If you follow her stream at all, you know that; she’s one of the people at the forefront of the +Virtual Photo Walks™ project, she agitates in favor of the disable, and she’s also a fantabulous geek. And, of course, Corey is a writer.

She wrote much of this book several years ago, and it is finally coming to print. I have had the multifaceted honor of not only being able to read this book, but also to actively partake in working on making its sequel come into being. Memoirs of a Mouthy Dame — Beyond Repair: Living with MS is, as I have told its author, an important book.

That’s not quite right. It’s an Important Book.

I don’t know about you guys, but I used to have only the barest of familiarity with multiple sclerosis. I knew it was a thing, a disease, and it was the sort that if someone got it we’d talk about it with hushed whispers and sad demeanour. MS is, honestly, not something I’d talk about while jumping up and down and playing accordion. But thanks to Corey’s book, I actually have a working knowledge of it without having felt like a moron while it was explained to me.

Even better, she was able to explain it to me in such a way that I giggled while I learned, and then this bold woman went on to ask questions I never would have asked – some of them because I wasn’t consciously aware that I had such questions to ask.

Below is the link to Corey’s book. It’s currently 25% off until March 24, and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this launch sale – if possible, by two or three copies, so that you can keep one for yourself and give the others away to friend show might otherwise try to steal it from you!

And if for some reason you don’t have the money to snag this jewel of a book for yourself… please share this post. Hopefully one of your friends will buy it.

Then you can yoink their copy. 😉

http://www.lulu.com/shop/c-corey-fisk/memoirs-of-a-mouthy-dame%E2%80%93-beyond-repair:-living-with-ms/paperback/product-18935175.html

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Book Review: Redbacks, by Aaron Crocco

It becomes increasingly tricky to innovate a fairly well-explored fiction genre, and the idea of a zombie apocalypse is no exception – zombies are fast or slow, voodoo or viral, after your brains or simply any iron-rich tissue of the body, a tool for a gorefest or an allegory for society. Sometimes it seems like, in the overal body of work involving zombies, it’s all been done.

Then +Aaron Crocco comes along and gives us something new.

_Redbacks_ is book 2 of his _As Darkness Ends_ series, but can be read standalone (although, having read it, I want to go back and read book 1). It begins with the world ending – or so it seems to some of the characters. An earthquake shakes not just most of Manhattan, where protagonist James Cole works, but the actual entirety of the earth. James manages to avoid upheaving streets and crumbling skyscrapers, and post-quake bands together with a survivor who saved his life in order to try to get through the city to make his way back to his estranged wife.

Then they discover that buckled streets and precarious architecture and infrastructure are far from their biggest worry – the eponymous, violent antagonists of the tale appear, wreaking havoc and killing survivors, moving in animal-like packs, though they clearly used to be human.

And all of this under a sky unnaturally darkening under a black cloud moving to cover the earth.

It’s a quick-paced adventure with roots in zombie literature and religious apocalyptica alike, and one I quite enjoyed – it grabbed me from the quaking get-go and dragged me along through the ruins of one of the great cities of the world, to a conclusion that I honestly never saw coming.

 

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Redbacks-As-Darkness-Ends-ebook/dp/B007ETKF2S
Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Redbacks-Darkness-Ends-Book-Volume/dp/1470034441
Amazon Paperback of Book 1: http://www.amazon.com/As-Darkness-Ends-Book-One/dp/1466251654
Smashwords Book 1: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/82830
Smashwords Book 2: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/137369

See the author’s site at http://www.aaroncrocco.com/ for more links, info, and a way to purchase an autographed eBook!

Book Review: Big Chills, by John McDonnell

I recently downloaded Big Chills, one of 8 books currently available from John McDonnell, from Amazon.com as part of a free promotion. Big Chillsis a collection of 9 pieces of horror flash fiction from this (according to the Amazon blurb) master of psychological horror.With a claim like that, I was very eager to dig into the book and see what was being serve up on the altar er, platter.

Flash fiction, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is an ultra-short form of fiction writing that can be as small as under a hundred words (although that often falls into the subcategory of “drabble”), and up to no more than a thousand words. Obviously, therefore, that made this series of stories a quick read by form of length alone.

It was also a quick read for content. The first story, All The Time In The World, begins in the 1500s on a sugar plantation, in media res of a conflict between a Spanish plantation owner presented with an african slave prophet who is causing an uproar among the slaveworkers of his Canary Islands plantation. Urged by his priest, his solution is swift and brutal – but the retaliation that follows is equally as brutal, and with long-reaching consequences for such a short tale.

One thing that struck me as I read was the consistently recurring theme, from a fantasy kingdom with a giant to a parson’s clairvoyant wife in possession of a Thor’s Hammer necklace to a particularly snide babysitter, of revenge. In most of the stories, someone is done wrong, and in one way or another are made to pay a price for their crimes. Some tales, particularly the story of an aging former model with Beautiful Hands, accomplish this in such a way that you can perfectly imagine it as a tale being told while sitting around a s’mores-toasting campfire, while others such as The New Boy attain their resolution in a way that even an experience reader of horror and thrillers would not expect.

The New Boy as well as New Year are both tales that leave the reader almost with more questions than when the story began, and New Year in particular is one that I personally would love to see expanded into a longer work. The premise presented is incredibly engaging, and I desperately wanted more of it.

Quite likely my favorites in this volume are So Few Giants and The Bad Babysitter. So Few Giants is the only outright fantasy-set piece in the collection, and manages in quite a short time to accomplish several twists of who is the good guy, and who is the bad. The closing line, echoing the title, gives it a wonderfully cyclical feel, and leaves one to consider what constitutes a giant and conversely the smallness of mind and intent that plagues all too many people. The Bad Babysitter delighted me in dealing directly and unabashedly with children and monsters, and with a wonderful deconstruction in brief of what Satan is in terms of evil:

Melissa sat down on the couch. “It’s a primitive defense mechanism, actually. I’ve studied it. It makes people feel safer if they have this cartoon figure to give them an alibi when they do something wrong.”“Cartoon figure?”

“Yes. The long nose. The pointy beard. The horns. Like a Disney character, actually. It has nothing to do with real evil. We have more real evil in our basement than you’ll even find worshipping Satan. I still say you couldn’t go down our basement in the dark and stay there for a minute.”

It’s precisely this sort of wry, impudently cheeky sense of humor that really makes the collection, in my mind; set against the recurrent theme of revenge, it really underlines the horrors that happen to the victims and antagonists, and leaves the reader with a wonderfully smug sense of “I told you so.”

Ultimately, I quite enjoyed this collection, and look forward to reading more of Mr. McDonnell’s work.

 

Big Chills is available from Amazon for $2.99: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005D2M72Y

John McDonnell’s blog: http://mcdonnellwrite.blogspot.com/

John McDonnell’s books on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/John-McDonnell/e/B004AXGYHQ

On Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jaymack