Book Review: My Partner, Jakup the Jay


 “Are you kidding me? A moped? You drive a moped?”

He glowered at me. If he’d had shoulders, they’d have shrugged. I shrugged mine instead, “Take it or leave it—or use the wings you came with.”

His beak opened and closed in exasperation. He peered skyward. “What the hell did I do to get this—this person? You can be sure I’m filing a complaint with the Local. This piece of junk is not big enough for the two of us.”

“So fly.” He tried, big macho bird like him. He‘d keep up, no problem. Of course, he didn’t count on my hitting top speed and cruising, so finally I heard this cry, “Wait up. Wait up. Do you have to go so flippin’ fast?”

“Not quite the hotshot you thought you were, are you?” I gloated.

If I’d been a beetle, he’d have buried his beak in my back, judging from the dirty look he shot at me. I’m fairly sure scrub jays eat the things. I dismounted and opened the handy dandy bin at the rear of the scooter. We moped riders like to think of our mounts as power motor scooters. At least in the bin, he’d be sheltered from the wind. I spotted a moldy half-eaten apple, a Nature Bar wrapper, a couple of bungee cords, and a USB cord for charging my phone. Not my problem, beggars can’t be choosers. What the hey—jays EAT moldy apples.

He hunkered down, shoving the bungees together in a make shift nest. He didn’t say a word, but the angle of his head told me, he was one pissed off Aphelocoma Californica. No doubt, he’d have more to say on the subject of mopeds when we reached our destination. I gunned the motor and took off.

Estee Kessler (2013-11-13T06:00:00+00:00). My Partner Jackup The Jay (Kindle Locations 96-109). Jupiter Gardens Teen. Kindle Edition.

Book Review

Riley Rose didn’t plan much beyond the next semester. Being the perpetual college student with all of the beautiful women and the endless supply of booze was just too good a life to give up easily, no matter what his parents thought. When he is forced to volunteer on summer break he takes on a simple job feeding baby birds. Little did he suspect that before the summer was through he would have a bird perched on his shoulder and it would be telling him what to do.

THE GOOD

Normally I do not like to review Young Adult fiction because all too often it has seemed to me that Young Adult is writer code for Not-Good-Enough-For-Adults, I was running a little short on review material and I trust the publisher, so I gave it a read. This is a piece of Young Adult fiction that I would actually recommend to my adult friends. It is a well written easy read with a quick pace and engaging story. Riley and Jackup are well defined and have lives of their own, but the supporting cast is equally distinct and supports the story in an excellent fashion. The settings are believable and well detailed, giving the story the support most often found lacking in Young Adult fiction.

THE BAD

There are times when the story skips forward or an unimportant side story is injected into a chapter, and this can make for a slightly jarring read. Obviously it is not such a problem that I did not like the book, but it was the one thing that really bothered me about the book.

THE TAKEAWAY

I enjoyed this book and I think it laid a great foundation for additional books in the series. It was presented to me as a young adult novel, but I think it would serve well as an adult read for a lazy summer day at the beach. If you get a chance to pick up a copy, go for it. You will not regret it.

 

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Book Review: Listening to Ian Magick


“At my feet, her headless body jerked with spasms.  It seemed to be trying to sit up. The legs shook and the arms flailed as blood spurted from the neck. The red liquid splashed onto my hands and my feet. then the body gave out a tremendous shudder, and the convulsions stopped.  The corpse was motionless.

I stared down at the knife in my hand. Blood dripped from its blade.

I was now a killer

I had murdered someone, and I had done it for Ian Magick.”

I started reading this book with some considerable bias.  The moment the author, Tamworth Grice, told me that Lisening to Ian Magickwas about a Satanic rock star who was speaking to a teenage girl through his music I had to repress a moan.  But I decided to give it a try anyways since there is always a chance that it could be better than it sounds.  I made my way through the book without too much difficulty.  The story was fast-moving and flowed nicely.  It is easy to follow along and the characters were fairly well-defined even though some of them were rather odd and some of them made little jumps in the way they acted.

One of the biggest issues I had with the book were the clichés.  The story takes place in a town called Horrify, the helper at the pharmacy is rumored to be a zombie, the class clown’s parents are werewolves, etc., etc., etc.  Perhaps the author is setting this up as a location she will use for another book so she is setting the scene for what may come ahead, but it  felt a little over the top to me. 

The story is about Chelsea, a teen on the verge of adulthood who moves once again once her mother re-marries.  As the new kid at school she must deal with all of the usual awkwardness, but things  really take a strange turn when the local sports hero takes an interest in her and she draws the attention of his psychotic girlfriend in return. As things get harder to deal with she begins to have violent nightmares and her waking thoughts become even more so.  She hears the words of her favorite singer, Ian Magick and is comforted by them until they begin to urge her to do more and more violent things, ultimately calling for the death of one of her classmates. 

Ultimately I felt like the book fell a little short of its potential.  There are a lot of supporting characters worth exploring in the story, but all we are given is half the picture, which leaves the characters looking like they have been plucked from a catalog of stereotypes and some minor details added to make them at least a little different.  I would have preferred that the author spent more time directly developing the supporting characters so that they could highlight the main character better.

With all of that being said, it is well worth the $0.99 price through Amazon.

If you would like more information about the author please visit her blog: Griceland and look for her book in Kindle format through Amazon.com.

Book Review: Listening to Ian Magick


“At my feet, her headless body jerked with spasms.  It seemed to be trying to sit up. The legs shook and the arms flailed as blood spurted from the neck. The red liquid splashed onto my hands and my feet. then the body gave out a tremendous shudder, and the convulsions stopped.  The corpse was motionless.

I stared down at the knife in my hand. Blood dripped from its blade.

I was now a killer

I had murdered someone, and I had done it for Ian Magick.”

I started reading this book with some considerable bias.  The moment the author, Tamworth Grice, told me that Lisening to Ian Magickwas about a Satanic rock star who was speaking to a teenage girl through his music I had to repress a moan.  But I decided to give it a try anyways since there is always a chance that it could be better than it sounds.  I made my way through the book without too much difficulty.  The story was fast-moving and flowed nicely.  It is easy to follow along and the characters were fairly well-defined even though some of them were rather odd and some of them made little jumps in the way they acted.

One of the biggest issues I had with the book were the clichés.  The story takes place in a town called Horrify, the helper at the pharmacy is rumored to be a zombie, the class clown’s parents are werewolves, etc., etc., etc.  Perhaps the author is setting this up as a location she will use for another book so she is setting the scene for what may come ahead, but it  felt a little over the top to me. 

The story is about Chelsea, a teen on the verge of adulthood who moves once again once her mother re-marries.  As the new kid at school she must deal with all of the usual awkwardness, but things  really take a strange turn when the local sports hero takes an interest in her and she draws the attention of his psychotic girlfriend in return. As things get harder to deal with she begins to have violent nightmares and her waking thoughts become even more so.  She hears the words of her favorite singer, Ian Magick and is comforted by them until they begin to urge her to do more and more violent things, ultimately calling for the death of one of her classmates. 

Ultimately I felt like the book fell a little short of its potential.  There are a lot of supporting characters worth exploring in the story, but all we are given is half the picture, which leaves the characters looking like they have been plucked from a catalog of stereotypes and some minor details added to make them at least a little different.  I would have preferred that the author spent more time directly developing the supporting characters so that they could highlight the main character better.

With all of that being said, it is well worth the $0.99 price through Amazon.

If you would like more information about the author please visit her blog: Griceland and look for her book in Kindle format through Amazon.com.

Book Review: Shifters


“This is not a diary or a journal.  This is a record for anyone who comes after me. There were, are, and will be thousands of millions of copies of it, but this is the only one you will ever find.

This book only exists in case I die.  If you’re reading this, I’m probably dead.  If I’m not, I’m going to want this back.  I’ll also want to find a way to keep you quiet. I suggest you find me before I find you.”

Zachary Umstead’s novellette, Shifters, is a great little afternoon read, an introduction to his series of young adult books that will be hitting your favorite online bookstore soon.  This 13 year old author has quite a career in front of him if his follow up work is as good and if his talents grows with his years he’ll be a force to reckon with by the time he’s an adult.

Shifters introduces us to Alex, a football player who makes a horrible decision.  Wracked with regret he is given a second chance, a life with a do-over.  His new found gift sets him on a course where doing the right thing becomes a whole lot easier and a whole lot more dangerous.

Book Review: Sebastian and the Afterlife


“I can’t be dead…that’s ridiculous.”

But a feeling inside told him that this was not a dream.  His face sank and his stomach sickened as he came to grips with his current state.

“So, I’m a ghost?” The rationalization was disorienting.

How far would you go to be with the one you love?

Are you tired of the barrage of supernatural young adult fiction littered with vampires and werewolves?  Are you looking for something a little different that still brings with it something beyond the normal life?  Do you like excellent writing and a tremendous story?  Well if you do then Sebastian and the Afterlife by William J. Barry is the book for you.

The story revolves around Sebastian, a recently deceased teenager who finds himself at a school for spirits who aren’t quite ready to move on to the afterlife.  He makes some new friends at the school and they must work together to come to grips with their own deaths and figure out what it is that is holding them back, but just like life in the mortal realm things are never quite so simple as they seem.  Will they survive their own death in a world where the Grim Reaper reigns supreme and growing threat by spirit draining villains lurks in the darker places of the spirit realm?

William J. Barry fills the book with stories within stories, layering the life and death of the various characters together in a seemless orchestration of events that is easy to follow and connect together when the time is right, making the book an absolute pleasure to read.  But don’t worry, not everything is tied up in a neat little package by the end of the book.  Little threads are left loose, just enough to suggest a sequal, not enough to leave you irritated by it.  Personally I look forward to the day when I can return to the world of Sebastian and the Afterlife.