Book Review – Alice in the Country of Hearts Love Labyrinth of Thorns

Title: Alice in the Country of Hearts Love Labyrinth of Thorns

Authors: Quin Rose

Illustrator: Aoi Kurihara

Format: Paperback

Published:  2014

 

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of Julius and Alice as in the Original series Alice in the Country of hearts Julius’ clock tower is where Alice had chosen to spend a lot of her time as it was neutral territory and Julius didn’t really force himself on her.  Really in the stories from before this one Julius acted as if he didn’t care about Alice at all but then there would be small soft moments where you could tell he cared.  I know I’ve said in a previous review that Boris is probably one of the more sane characters of those found in Wonderland, I would say Julius would out rank him as he doesn’t really wield a gun unless he has to and he is very busy and focused on his work repairing clocks which are the ‘hearts’ and souls of those in Wonderland.

 

This story is about how Alice and Julius become a couple and it is drawn by a different artist than the one who normally does these Alice stories.  I will start off and say that the drawings are pretty decent and close to the original at times but there is something off about them the lines are more round and soft in some areas and more angular in others, and the shading at times is wrong for certain hair colors.  Still it was decently well done and my focus is always the story.  Unfortunately the story is kind of right there with the art work, just a little off.  Alice’s character doesn’t seem quite right to me and she seems almost rushed and forced into being with Julius.  Of course part of that might be because getting them to admit their feelings for one another was through a concocted devious plan by Nightmare who stole Alice away into a tower with her door blocked by thorns which were the thorns around her heart.  Julius was told of her danger and went to rescue her.  Really over all the story was over the top a bit and rushed.  Of course trying to get a love story in, in one short book is a challenge I’ll admit, but really as a fan of the Alice in the Country series I think I would give this book a 2 out of 3.  This story didn’t capture or rapture me away and is something that I could easily do without in my collection of reading Alice stories.  If there were a sequel I would not be reading it.  Fortunately there isn’t and there are many other fun Alice stories to read.

Book Review – The Gurkha’s Daughter By Prajwal Parajuly

Title: The Gurkha’s Daughter
Author: 
Prajwal Parajuly
Format: 
Paperback ARC
Published: 
2013

The Gurkha’s Daughter is a short story collection by Prajwal Parajuly that focuses on various relationships of the ethnically Nepali. Most of the stories take place geographically in or near Nepal and there are maps for the geographically challenged that I appreciated.  All of the stories tend to deal with the relationships between people separated by age, class, gender, caste, race, and ethnicity.

This is a book of varied and well crafted characters in a modern setting but one unfamiliar to a western audience. The stories are simple in their scope, often focusing on family relationships or that of close friends.  But they speak to much deeper and broader cultural issues and prejudices.  Racism and poverty are a strong factors, but these aren’t simple stories of racism.  They’re complex blends with the caste system, ethnic divides, and sexism.

I found the mix of foreign and familiar well done. I have some familiarity with Indian culture but less with Nepal, so it was an interesting journey into new territory for me.  Not that I would take this as a perfectly accurate snapshot of Nepal.  It is fiction after all.  But the author certainly sets out to give a flavor of the Nepali.

My main complaint is that this is the sort of book that would benefit greatly from a glossary in the back. The author throws a lot of terms at us, and while many can be understood through context, it would help to have a quick reference.

Most of the stories tie up as well as one can hope for a short story with some degree of resolution at the end. A couple seemed to stop abruptly, and/or I felt like I was missing the full significance of the last line.

Overall, I’d give the book a 4.75 and round up to a 5 star rating. It’s true to its purpose and reads smoothly, just different enough to keep my interest engaged and the characters were well developed and presented in a relatable way.

(For what it’s worth, this is an ARC I picked up for free at a “take a book, leave shelf” at a coffee shop.)

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Joker Circus and Liar’s Game

Title: Alice in the Country of Joker Circus and Liar’s Game

Authors: Quin Rose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published:  2012

Alice in the Country of Joke has been out and around for few years and I was always hesitant to pick anything from that country up because I wanted to finish the Country of Hearts story but eventually I figured out that the stories don’t entirely flow one right after the other and the Country of Hearts story didn’t seem to progress any just a bunch of smaller stories where Alice ends up picking one person or another in the country of Clover.  Though that repertoire has expanded to some of these stories being in the Country of Hearts and at least one in the Country of Joker.  For the love stories where Alice picks a person the country serves for little more than a back drop so to speak.  This book however is not about Alice picking a person it is more plot heavy and is about Alice being in Wonderland and how she shall remain there.

 

The idea of the Country of Joker is that there are seasons, something that is not there in the other stories and each land has a season and the main season is April season the season of lies ruled by the bothersome Joker.  In this story it is revealed that Alice had forgotten some things such as the fact that people who had been missing in the Country of Clover are returned she thinks they have always been there and doesn’t question how the Clock Tower and the Tower of Clover now the same place.  Everyone is concerned by this on some level and wants her to remember things because it could be bad if she doesn’t.  Additionally there is pressure for Alice to pick a land to spend all of her time in because once the seasons settle; she’ll be locked in at that place unless she gets express permission from the joker to move between lands.  It is clear that there is evil intents for Alice from the Joker and his circus but nothing more is revealed and it has left me very curious for what will happen next and where Alice will choose to live.  The love and romance aspect of the story still lives only it is toned down as Alice hasn’t picked a person that she wants to be with.

 

Over all I would give this story another 4 out of 5 pages and an excellent story.  I would advise this story if you want less romance and more intrigue as this is what this is.  If you expect nothing but the romance you may be disappointed but don’t shun the book because of it, the story holds very well and is something I would recommend reading.  Particularly for the ever hilarious bonus panels of  “If Alice was small” it was quite cute!

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Clover Cheshire Cat Waltz 2

Title: Alice in the Country of Clover Cheshire Cat Waltz 2

Authors: Quin Rose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published:  2012

 

As I warned in a previous review that comics and manga will be the theme for a while, and this month will be brought to you by the “Alice in the country of XX” series as there have been a lot of releases and I’m way behind the library was well stocked.  Back at the start I reviewed a few books from the main series “Alice in the country of Hearts”  Rachel has also reviewed a few of them as well.   Any way the manga is based off of a love story game that is based on the concept of Alice in Wonderland.  The first game and first set of Manga is Alice in the Country of Hearts – at least that is how it is known in English.  In Japanese is it known as “Alice no heart no kuni”.  There are sequels to the game known as Alice in the country of the Clover and Alice in the country of Joker.  Each manga sort of stands separate from the others unless it is a series like Cheshire Cat Waltz Vol. 2.  To read any of these books you sort of have to dismiss what you read before and take what you have before you and run with it.  Really that is sort of the point, Alice in Wonderland was madness and so are these stories only people use guns and things are a little more heated in some ways.

Every story gives you an introduction to the world stating what the manga is based off of and where she has been staying as of late to give you a bit of a running start when you dive into the story.  Also the start of these manga many times tells of how Alice came to the Country that she is in and the rules of the country such as the time of day jumping at random.  This story is the second in a series I started long ago but it was easy to pick up as it gave me where things left off in the last manga and I was able to move forward and enjoy the story.

 

I will admit from the start that I have been and continue to be a fan of Boris.  It is true that all the residents of Wonder Land are a bit mad but I think the most together is Boris the Cheshire Cat.  Which is really odd to think about and say that the Cheshire Cat might be the most sane of the lot but in this series I think it might be so.  Any way this story picks up with the after effects of Alice pushing Boris away because she felt that he was moving too fast for her.  The story picks up from there with Boris deciding that instead of pushing he’d pull by keeping away from her.  A good portion of the story is focused on this while the rest of it is focused on the after effects of the plan.

 

To spoil the story a bit Boris’ plan works and they end up together but really that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise considering the basis these comics come from.  The fun is in the details and how things play out and that I really enjoyed and won’t bore you with as it is better to read than to be told about.  Overall, I would give this book a 4 out of 5 page review.  If you like something like this read it, if not it’s okay.

Writer Wednesday – Bobby Nash

bobbynash

1. Who are you?
I’m Bobby Nash. I write stuff.

2. What type of stuff do you write?
I am an author of novels, short stories, comic books, graphic novels, novellas, screenplays, and whatever else I can try my hand at writing. I also dabble in podcasting and acting, but writing is a big part of my life. You can check out my published work, and even a few freebies to sample, at http://www.bobbynash.com

3. What do you want to pimp right now?
There are a couple of recent releases that I’d like to draw attention to today.

SNOW FALLS is an ebook novella published by Stark Raving Press.

About Snow Falls:
Half an inch is all that stands between life and death.

Abraham Snow’s career ended with a bullet. Left for dead, the undercover operative barely survived an assassin’s bullet. After a long and painful recovery, Snow retires and returns home to Atlanta, Georgia to reconnect with his former life and the people he has not seen in over a decade.

After thwarting an assassination attempt on a diplomat that endangers his sister, Snow leaps into action to keep his family out of a killer’s crosshairs. Teamed with his grandfather, himself a former government operative, and a couple of old friends, a FBI Agent, and a former car thief, Snow is determined to stop the assassin before he or she can take another shot at the target.

Snow Falls is an adrenaline-filled adventure thriller from award-winning author Bobby Nash.

Snow Storm is coming.

The other one:

ALEXANDRA HOLZER’S GHOST GAL: THE WILD HUNT is a novel published by Raven’s Head Press.

About Alexandra Holzer’s Ghost Gal: The Wild Hunt:
Alexandra Holzer is just your average young paranormal investigator out to show an early 1960s New York City she knows a thing or two about ghosts. Join Alex’s alter ego, GHOST GAL, and her fiancé, Joshua Demerest as they do battle with a very ancient ghost and his pals who have a score to settle with her famed father, ghost hunter, Hans Holzer.

Alexandra Holzer’s Ghost Gal: The Wild Hunt is an pulpy horror thriller from award-winning author Bobby Nash.

Up next is Alexandra Holzer’s Ghost Gal: A Haunting We Will Go…

4. What is your favorite book?
Now this is a tough question because the answer is likely to change on a day by day basis. In fact, I changed my answer so many times I think I’ll just stick with a non-committal answer. How’s that for dodging? HA! HA!

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
On occasion I dive into over roles. I am a co-host of the Earth Station One podcast [www.esopodcast.com]. I am an occasional extra in TV and movies, and even more rare, I actually do some acting. On the writing side of things, there are a number of writing-related roles that I fill. I handle marketing, promotion, and basically running the business side of my writing career. Maybe one day I’ll be able to afford someone to help out with that.

6. What link can we find you at?
You can always find me at http://www.bobbynash.com and I am on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. You can find all those links on my website. Please stop by and say hi.

 

 

 

*****
My Most Common Mistake as a Writer

In addition to typos… damn those typos… I think the most common mistake I make as a writer is falling into patterns. While there is something to be said for having a signature shot or a definitive writing style, I strive to be careful not to repeat the same actions again and again. Here’s one I find myself writing often:
They hit the ground hard in a tangle of arms and legs.
This is part of a fight scene as two characters wrestle to the ground, kicking and gouging, as the old song says. Sometimes I change it, other times I leave it. It all depends on if it works in context or not.
There’s nothing actually wrong with this type description, at least in terms of the story. Where the author, in this case me, has to be careful is that this phrase isn’t used in every single fight scene I write.
Being aware of your go to phrases is an important aspect to writing. The common mistake is not to notice or catch it.

 

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Book Review – Uglies Shay’s Story

Title: Uglies Shay’s Story

Authors: Scott Westerfeld, Devin Grayson

Illustrator: Seven Cummings

Format: Paperback

Published:  2012

 

It can be easily said that one of my favorite authors right out is Scott Westerfeld.  I have admired every single book of his that I have read.  I think this man is a master of his craft as he tells nothing but amazing and gripping stories even his weakest stories are still something I very much enjoy.  I envy him his skills in a good way.  So when I learned that there was a comic book that he had a hand in that gives more story to Scott’s amazing Uglies Story I had to read it.

 

To describe this book is difficult.  It was good the images were fun and gave me a lot of great visuals it was awesome to see some of the characters instead of just imagining them but at the same time, I don’t know the story was certainly not as strong as the original story. Really it has been a long time since I read them and I think that might have been some of my failing.  This book is certainly a companion to the main series and I think it would have helped if I had re-read the main series before getting to this story. As there were moments when the story crossed over with the book and in favor of not re-telling that story it left me going wait – what happened here? I know I should know what happened here but I don’t remember!

 

The book was good but really needs to be read shortly after you have read Scott’s book Uglies first.  Really this book has made me want to unpack my books and fine the Uglies series and re-read the story because it was that good and it filled me with nostalgia for the good read that the books were.  Over all I would give this a 3 out of 5 pages because it was a good read and it would be better if I remembered the original story better.

Writer Wednesday – Herika R. Raymer

1. Who are you? (A name would be good here…preferably the one you write under)
Herika R Raymer reporting!

2. What type of stuff do you write? (Besides shopping lists)
Right now writing short stories and working on my first novel and novella.

3. What do you want to pimp right now? (May it be your newest, your work-in-progress, your favorite or even your first)
Have some short stories in several anthologies, the newest being:
Children of Ghennharra in Luna’s Children – Full Moon Mayhem
Piasa Remains in State of Horror – Illinois

4. What is your favorite book? (Okay, or two or three or… I know how writers are as readers.)
Traveler in Black by John Brunner
E Pluribus Unicorn by Theodore Sturgeon

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
Mother – this means keeper of schedules (bedtime everyone!), forager of foods (preferably sweets), driver to fun places (grandparents the most popular), tolerant of whines, healer of boo boos, maid, breakfast short order cook, and censor of movies.
Also wife (hehehe)

6. What link can we find you at? (One or two please; don’t go overboard here!)
Website – http://herikarraymer.webs.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Herika-R-Raymer-WriterEditor/218450834882572?fref=ts

 

 

 

*****

How To Take Critique

The hardest writing lesson I had to learn was how to take critique. I would ask for it, listen, and then hide the piece of work before anyone else had a chance to rip it apart. I really had to learn that if I was to get better at writing, then I needed a thicker skin. Yes, all my stories are my darlings, but if I want them to be the best I can make them I have to learn to listen when someone is offering critique – especially if it is from an author I respect. It took years, but I finally learned and I like to think my writing improves with every story because of this.

 

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