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Into The Liquor Store

Into The Liquor Store4 Stars

Are you a fan of people watching? Can you spend hours just watching society go by and analyzing situations that seam small and insignificant but are all part of a bigger drama that is unfolding before your eyes? Charles Sims-Charles creates a future version of Earth in his novel Into the Liquor Store. This novel does not have a linier plot line, it has no great mystery to solve, there is not even a major conflict in need of resolution. Instead we are transported into a world where the main character Bink is a spray paint graffiti artist and connoisseur of cannabis and we follow him through a series of life events. While the events all lead up to a surprise ending your left wondering just what is going on sometimes. Add in the Galactic Triumvirate (GT) and the colonies on the Rings of Saturn and the moons and you have an intriguing story to follow.

Bink’s journey is told through his eyes and through a third person narrator view. This adds to the disjointed effect of the novel, but adds to the feeling of watching someone’s life unfold from a distance, as if you were watching a movie. It is the year 2218, Earth is now called Terra and the inhabitants are called Terrans, while the people living on the moons and rings are called Orbiter’s. The world is divided even more than it is now, states are now their own territories with their own laws and rules, countries have their own sets of standards and laws, everyone is acting under their own guidance unless they are part of the GT. One of the focuses of Bink’s story is tagging. He is a talented graffiti artist. Tagging in this time is regulated art form and taggers are well respected. Each artist has a special ID cap that is registered and somehow when it is used, they can scan the paint on a piece of work and determine who painted it. There are rival gangs among the taggers, but most rivals are in good sport and everyone is out to keep the art form alive and well respected.

The other focus is on Bink’s love life. He goes through several relationships throughout the novel, but they all follow a theme. Bink’s relationships with the other characters, Derrick (Lux), Kris, and Milly are also a focus. It is not secret Bink hates the rings and the orbiters, but when his life lands him on a remote ring colony he is reunited with his lost love Milly. On the rings, life is confusing. They speak in riddles; they call their language Summertime. Everyone dresses in a steampunk style and paint their faces like animals. It is a complex society with it’s own rules drastically different from Earth. Somehow Bink winds up mixed in with the Mob, a group called the Koeghuza. He learns how to navigate this world as well and become successful.

Charles Sims-Charles’s world is creative and unique. His descriptions of the clothing, music, and environment draw the reader in and give them a feel for being there and experiencing everything Bink does. It is the perfect novel for the person that likes to watch others and analyze the psychology of people. The society structure is interesting and complex, the relationships diverse and just as complex as the characters that have been created. A great novel to take you out of the modern stress and see a glimpse into a future where art and science thrive.

Pages: 235 | ASIN: B01NAGKSJJ

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The Jealous Flock

The Jealous Flock: A Literary Epic in Miniature, 2017 by [Borodin, Ashley]3 Stars

The Jealous Flock by Ashley Borodin is a realistic fiction story that centers around the slightly strained relationship of a married couple and their lives as individuals in partnership and their young adult son. The narrative drops readers directly into the lives of the characters featured and lets you explore their lives and innermost thoughts as they struggle with identity and the maturing of unique ideas. Heavily geared towards deep thinking, challenging societal ideals, and the mass acceptance of those who are different, The Jealous Flock is a story that is designed to open the audience’s mind and heart and think outside of the box.

What seems to be an ordinary, white picket fence family in England takes the spotlight in a vivid narrative from each character’s point of view. Hints of tension between Doris and Martin, a married couple both caught up in their jobs, play their part on their son John who is beginning to phase into his adult life from that of a teenager. As Martin travels to Afghanistan to help stop a potential blood bath with jihadists, Doris is left at home to struggle through the differences in her personal opinions and morals as they pertain to her career in the law as a PR agent. Meanwhile, left behind in his parents own crisis, John quits his respectable job and flees overseas where he hopes to find himself and pursue his passion for photography. In Australia, he follows the steps of his father in participating in protests that aren’t always peaceful to defend Muslims battling hate and discrimination. Here he meets Randall, an unhappy widower pursuing an unusual relationship with a transgender prostitute who is stuck in her own shell of self-hatred.

The relationships in The Jealous Flock are realistic and relatable, breathing life into the characters both on their own and in harmony with their counterparts. The story takes on a political drive with themes of racism, xenophobia, and sexism as strong elements in the plot. Dynamics between the father and son of this story are particularly captivating, as Borodin manages to catch those meaningful moments that happen during the shift from parent to lifelong friend and mentor.

Ashley Borodin makes a strong call to arms to fight against society’s expectation of us in any walk of life. In a way, the author has created a coming-of-age story not just for young adults but for those in later years as well. This story dives deep into your thoughts and twists open the cap on unique thinking and encourages ideas of change and acceptance. The graphic, bold way that the author takes depression and insecurities relatable to everyone is a refreshing breath of life and gives you the chance to realize that you are more than what a shallow skin can provide for you. Though a bit wordy and emotionally daunting, Borodin transcribes a striking narrative that has the ability to strike the hearts of those who yearn for something more than mundane life.

Pages: 66 | ASIN: B01NAPZWB8

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It Is An Alien Society

Ken Hart Author Interview

Ken Hart Author Interview

The Eyes Behold Tomorrow is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a science fiction, fantasy, and action as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

Actually, it was a hybrid process. I used my extensive, detailed outline to frame the story, but during story development, I had to deviate from it.

The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?

Queen Aphelia. I have no knowledge of how royalty are supposed to act, except from gossip reporting. I wanted her to be a popular, open leader among her people but have a private life as well. This was made even more difficult because it is an alien society; how are they supposed to act?

What were the driving ideals that drove the characters development throughout the story?

Initially, I wanted them to try and get used to the modern day barbarian, Robert Teach. A politically incorrect bad boy, who doesn’t care about who he offends. Then have Robert change with the subtle pressure a woman can have on a man.

You’ve characterized your writing as ‘believable’ science fiction. Why do you think this is important for your novels?

As humans, we have to solve our own problems. Unlike in the movies where the cavalry suddenly rides over the hill to save the day, life is not at all like that; unless you consciously plan well in advance for the cavalry to arrive. Then it’s believable.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?

It Was A Small Affair. For 13 days, the defenders of the Alamo defied General Antonio López de Santa Anna and his army of over 2400 infantry and cavalry. Before dawn on March 6, 1836, the final assault began. By sunrise, all 188 defenders had been brutally killed. On February 23, 2010, an Army infantry squad carrying ammunition to a live fire training exercise is caught in a time rift that lands them outside the Alamo, 13 days before it fell. To be published early 2017.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

The Eyes Behold Tomorrow
Edward Robert Teach is a modern-day barbarian that encompasses everything a woman loves and hates in a man. He abhors his notorious namesake, correctness in any form, and has a habit of expressing his opinion whenever it does the most offense. When he meets Kamini, a stunningly beautiful, large eyed woman from the planet Feletia, he thinks he has finally met the girl of his dreams until he is recruited by her, and he becomes the unlikeliest captain of a prototype destroyer in the Feletian space navy, giving him the ability to stir up more trouble than he can get out of. Queen Aphelia, leader of her female dominant society, and Kamini’s mother, takes an interest in him. She uses Robert to attain her political goals, forcing him to learn harsh and sometimes painful lessons in humility when his earthbound attitude clashes with the strong-willed Feletian women. When Robert is powerless to stop the assassination of the Feletian royal family, Kamini ascends the throne and takes him as husband. He becomes Feletia’s Regent, sparking a political and marital struggle that could bring the flames of galactic war to the peaceful planet.
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Behind the Gem

Behind The Gem3 StarsWhen entire buildings begin disappearing around earth, former Army Ranger Raymond knows that the end cannot be too far away for him and his fellow humans. A normal day at the office takes an unexpected turn, causing Raymond to make use of his training as everything around him begins to suddenly change. However, no amount of training could’ve prepared him for the Drassens—a species of aliens with a matriarchal society. After being saved from certain destruction, Raymond forms a bond with the High One, unleashing a series of events that will challenge everything he knows about the universe and himself.

Ken Hart’s Behind the Gem delves deep into a future where earth’s existence begins to unravel as entire buildings begin to disappear on by one. At the center of this story is Raymond, a former Army Ranger who lives with his wife, rides a motorcycle, and works a regular office job. Normalcy for him, as well as the reader, is forever changed with the introduction of the species of aliens called the Drassens.

Hart’s creation of an alien, matriarchal society comes naturally throughout the book. Where some writers rely on heavy descriptions to convey that the new world is vastly different from earth, Hart allows his characters, mannerisms, and short descriptive phrases to usher the reader into a world that is vastly different from earth. Though some parts of the book could use more exposition as to why certain things are happening or to help separate the travel from one location from a different one (such as the Most High One’s palace and the landing), there remains little to complain about when it comes to world building.

The electronic devices and healing mechanisms are very unique to this story and to this world that Hart created. It has a familiarity, but comes with variances that make it new and exciting without being overwhelming. Additionally, the alien species seems to round out the total uniqueness of the story. Hart’s description of the new aliens leaves nothing to be questioned, allowing the familiarity of the mammal-like species to ease Raymond’s trust in the creature while also showing the difference of the alien from humans.

Behind the Gem is well conceived but I felt that there were elements that could of been handled with greater care. The relationship between Raymond and Amber—though well-written and thought out—could be viewed as Stockholm Syndrome. Every element of their unconventional relationship, I felt, should have been handled with greater detail to give readers a better understanding of their connection.

As Raymond’s trust with the aliens develops, so does the writing style of the book. What begins as a journal written almost completely in stream of consciousness with strange introduction of characters develops into a more matured and skilled version of his story as he begins to become more and more educated like the Drassens who surround him. It is a nice touch that assists in capturing Raymond’s transformation. If you enjoy a good alien invasion story, then this book should be next on your list.

Pages: 286 | ISBN: 1629894206

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