Book Review-Quickfire Reviews of Blood Price, Comfort Foods, My Summer with the King

Book Reviews are funny things, for the reviewer anyway.  Just like any writer, we find inspiration for what we produce review wise.  And of course, that inspiration is found within the pages of said volume and/or work we are choosing to review.  Now, if you’ve read any of my reviews, then you know that I’m prone to knock out anywhere from five hundred to a thousand or so words on the books I review.  Having said that, though, there are some books I read and plan to review that just don’t conjure that many words for me.  It has nothing to do with how good or bad the book is or how much I liked it or not, it’s just that some books cause me to elaborate and expand more than others.  There are those books that simply evoke a very simple, very brief response in me.  Not so brief that it’s a smattering of ‘I loved it!’ or ‘This book isn’t worth a plug penny!’, but brief enough that doing a short review of just one book isn’t worth it.

So, welcome to the first of my Quickfire Reviews. I won’t do these often, but periodically I’ll do short, blurb like reviews of three to five books that just didn’t coax me to write more. Some will be top notch, others will be bottom of the barrel, and most likely in between, just like all the books I read.  They just will all be collected in one spot for your rapid reading pleasure.

Title: My Summer With the King

Author: Meliss Goodman

Format: Paperback, published by Healing Hands Entertainment

Published: 2014

summerwithking

In the summer of 1953, May Richards and her mother, Mama Rose, along with May’s little sister Daisy and her cousin Thelma, move into a new home.  This sets May, a teenager, on a course that will greatly affect her life, thanks largely to three men- Mama Rose’s boyfriend, a local sort of bad boy, and a young man who is spending his summer with his grandparents across the street from May.  A young man by the name of Elvis Presley.

My Summer with The King is an interesting look at the unintentional rites of passage a young girl goes through one summer, a process that just happens to involve the future King of Rock and Roll.  The book opens with engaging characters and conjures images that would interest any fan of such stories or of books set in the historic South, but a promising beginning quickly falls apart due to choppy storytelling and poor plot structure.  By the end of the story, the characters have become boring and the episodes that May goes through have become not only predictable, but forgettable due to inconsistent pacing.  Having said that, the last several pages outlining the final scene of the book are glimmers at what the rest of this book should have been, a closing scene that was put together well and made me sorry that these characters hadn’t fared better as far as development and build up.  Editing issues, including typos and story structure, seem to have contributed to the weaknesses of this book quite a bit.

My Summer with The King gets three out of five pages.  If you’re a fan of Elvis, the portrayal of the King is fun and nostalgic.  But for the most part, the book sort of collapses around itself.

Three out of six bullets go in my gun for this one.  It takes aim at a dandy target, but misses almost by a mile.

Title: Comfort Foods

Author: Ella Buntin, Jack W. Butler, Mary Lang, Larry Underwood, Kim Caudell, Mandy Haynes, Mark Steinwachs, Angela Trumbo, D. Alan Lewis, Robert Crow, Melissa Posecznick, David Michael Rose, Hunter C. Eden, and Nikki Nelson-Hicks.

Format: Paperback, published by Nashville Writers Meetup Group

Published: 2013

comfortfoods

I’m not a horror fan.  Not by a long shot.  But I do have to say that Comfort Foods, an anthology put together by a Nashville writers group and themed somewhat loosely around the concept of eating and food, is a total package of tantalizing terror goodness.  Edited by Nikki Nelson-Hicks, who also wrote the fantastic introduction, creepy in its own right, the stories in this volume reach out and tease and downright scare whatever bejeezuses you might have in you right out of you.  There are no duds in this collection, the best stories being hard to determine simply because each one delivers on the horror in just the way it seems intended to. Personal favorites for me include Dull Flesh, Sharp Fangs by D. Alan Lewis, Always the Feet by Robert Crow, Bones in the Wind by David Michael Rose, and In the Garden Where the Bones Are by Kim Caudell.  Also, one of my favorite parts of this entire collection happens to be the cover, a charming and disturbing image created by Brenna Hicks.

Comfort Foods is a full five out of five pages and loads six out of six bullets for me, hitting horror on its decapitated head with every word.

Title: Blood Price

Author: Martin White

Format: Paperback, published by Alban Lake Publishing

Published: 2014

Blood-Price-600

Blood Price is a sixteen year old super heroine.  Equipped with a mask and gadgetry, she is also a young girl who is running head on into danger due to darkness in her past.  As she works her way through both normal and super life as a teenager, she teams up with a young lycanthrope and a sort of possessed mystic and together the three of them pursue a killer. Not just any murderer, but a being that may hold secrets for all of them and may prove to be their ultimate undoing.

Blood Price is a novella, clocking in at 63 pages.  That is its biggest weakness and the reason this book just never works.  White packs enough teen angst into the words on the page to keep therapists in business for years, yet there is simply too much.  Not just too much preening to the young adult market, but too much in too little space of everything.  The story is largely inconsistent, unable to make up its mind between being a super hero actioner or a coming of age story in tights.  It never finds itself as either one and simply ends up being disjointed and disenchanting. You can see what the book might have been given another 100 or so pages, but it never gets there.

Blood Price gets two out of five pages. If you’re desperate for young adult super hero fiction, then take the chance.  You’ll miss the story I wanted to be just like I did.

I can give it two out of six bullets, again because it had promise, but it doesn’t ever, ever reach it.

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