Category Archives: Fiction

Full Contact: The Collection by Daniel Kucan

Daniel Kucan is a master story teller.  He has taken a violent world and filled it with poetry, nuance, and style.  The story follow’s Zach, a MMA champion, not only as he goes from place to place but also as he navigates the interior of your heart and haunts your psyche.  The stories are brutal and yet touching.  Cold and filled with heat.  Heartless and full of joy and love.  I laughed and at times I must have gotten a little dust in my eyes as I found them watering up.  I read this book over a month ago and I’m finding that I still think about it from time to time.  No matter what genre you usually read, I would highly recommend this book.

I received this book for an impartial review from the author.

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Full-Blood Half-Breed by Cleve Lamison

Maligned, rebel, fighting genius engages with the establishment for a one time smack down which ends up being the catalyst for all out war.

I received this book from NetGalley for an impartial review.

Wow, I hate to give a thumbs down on a book I received for free…BUT this one just didn’t do it for me. The initial promise of blended martial arts being used against the evil traditionalists was promising. Unfortunately it went down hill from there. The names of the characters and the various cults were contrived. The scenes and character building was shallow, relying more on telling than showing. The special power of what I started calling the “stoner look” which was used for mind control by the zealots was a little deus ex machina-ish. Those are the acceptable things. What I really didn’t like was that the characters often weren’t true to themselves…when they were they became very one dimensional. Some folk may like it – not me.


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Before My Eyes by Caroline Bock

Gun control or not to gun control?

When Barkley stops bathing, starts hearing voices, and buys a gun you can be pretty sure that the summer by the shore is going to be explosive.

When Matt, who’s senator father wants him to be a great kid, as long he’s able to campaign and not embarrass his politically power drunk mom, wants to buy prescription drugs from Barkley to get him through a soccer injury, you can guess this summer is shot.

When Claire’s mom has a stroke and her father becomes physically and emotionally unavailable, Claire has to assume responsibility for the household and her sister.   Claire starts getting email from an online stranger who “LOVES” her poetry blog.  She’s so excited to meet him face-to-face, but you guessed it, this summer is going to end with a bang.

It all culminates in an angsty teen drama that will keep you tapping your thumb on your Kindle for just one more page.

The characters are well drawn and the interactions between them are dead on.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley with no provision for a good or bad review.

Simultaneously published on Goodreads

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January 19, 2014 · 12:50 pm

The Missing Ink by Philip Hensher

Nerd alert.  Unless you are into handwriting, typography, and fountain pens you probably aren’t going to enjoy this book.  Fortunately for me I’m enamored of all three.  Like most people I hate my handwriting.  It’s crabbed, and even when I remark to myself that ah… that’s a nicely turned capital K…when I go back to read it later.  I can’t.

This book feels your pain and embarrassment in a soothing sort of way. While it was a little rambling and often went down odd little paths.  SHINY. If you can bear this (which I can) then you will enjoy Mr. Hensher’s book.

Shout out to Chapter 28 – My Italic Nightmare wherein the author goes on a search for a pen with an italic nib.  He searches all over the boroughs and ends up with the same type of pen, a Lamy, that he already owns…but the journey is filled with adventure.

Again you probably need to have “super geek” powers to enjoy this.  You know who you are…

Top Hat Reviews

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

So who do you hate the most.  In this twisty, sinuous, grippy novel you’ll get your chance to hate every character in varying degrees.  However under Ms. Flynn’s deft handling it’s a book you’ll love to read.

4 out of 5 hats rating!

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The Midwife’s Tale by Sam Thomas

Wonderful tale of a woman, because of her time, who had power only when she took it. Bridgett Thompson definitely claims her power through her inherent intelligence and willingness to take on the system in the only way she knows how.

Well crafted, strong characters, and a very satisfying story.

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Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

… if you believe your father may be a misunderstood Satan with daddy issues and your best friend is a chain-smoking head who is trying to betray you; all while you’re trying to save the world from the various rank and file of the undead and on top of all this an avenging angel is trying to kill you… Then you are sharing a typical day for James Stark aka Sandman Slim who escaped from Fight Club in hell in Richard Kadrey’s first book in this series titled after the character Sandman Slim.

Kadrey builds on his first book with humor, excellent character development, gratuitous violence, and oh yeah sex.

A sustainable and fun read for those who dote on urban fantasy.

Simultaneously published on Goodreads.

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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

“The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein, is told from the point of view of Enzo, a dog of indeterminate heritage, who longs for opposable thumbs. It is his memoirs of auto racing, life and love with his human companion Denny. I’m not a big car racing fan and sometimes books with animals talking are too, too precious. Not this one. I alternately laughed out loud, blubbered so hard I couldn’t see the words on the page and the most ugly part was when I wanted to find a couple of “evil twins” to smack because I got so annoyed with the “villains” of the story. In short, I give it two paws up!

Originally reviewed in Goodreads

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