Review: Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds

This was the first book I had read from my fellow Horror Writers Association member, Peter Salomon. He reached out to me back in January of this year asking for a blurb for his new book. I had never been asked to do anything like that before, but he enjoyed The She-Wolf of Kanta so much that he wanted to hear what I thought of this.

I didn’t know what I was getting into.

Finished: January 31, 2019

What starts out as a very stream-of consciousness style slowly pieces together as the story progresses. You get snippets of details as each person explores memories. You get insight, piece by piece, into what happened that led to this bizarre state of existence. You start to understand the mistakes, the terrible decisions, the consequences of being so very intelligent and untouchable.

After reading this book, I’ve started to keep an eye out for any of Peter’s other work because I binged this in two days. Yes, it’s a novella so it’s shorter than a novel, but the sun had gone down and I was sitting in the dark reading on my phone because I just couldn’t put it down and hadn’t noticed it was nighttime. I don’t usually do that, I can disconnect and pull away, but this book sucked me in entirely. Maybe it’s because it taps into psychology and cognitive science, two fields that I adore and almost went into in college. Maybe it’s because it explores teen abuse and neglect from highly intelligent individuals, something I haven’t seen much in YA fiction. Either way, I devoured this book.

This book is an intense, terrifying foray into a dark future where two survivors must piece together the end of the world through the jumbled memories of six abused teens. A wonderful read that I couldn’t put down by a writer who understands the biological, technological, and research worlds, this is one science fiction thrill ride you won’t want to miss! If you enjoy exploring cognitive science, AI technology, biological weapons, and a mystery of global proportions, this is definitely the book for you!

What I consider a 5-star book:

  • Is it a fun read? Didn’t even notice it was nighttime, remember? It’s a ridiculously fun read once you get on board!
  • Would you recommend it to others? Absolutely! Especially if they enjoy science fiction thrillers.
  • Does it stick with you? Peter’s writing gets under your skin in a good way. I’m reading another book from him now, and I just end up falling right into his voice again. So yes, it sticks with you. Like glue.

My overall rating: 5/5

PS. I’m reading another book by Peter now, Henry Franks, and I’m enjoying it just as much so far. It’s more of a straightforward horror rather than a science fiction piece though. Expect a review for that to come soon! He’s quickly become one of my favorite authors.

Broken Now Listed on Goodreads

I’m thrilled to announce that Broken, the sequel to Stolen, is now posted up on Goodreads! Due out in Spring 2020, this is Book 2 of the Stolen series trilogy. Get a glimpse of what’s to come in the unofficial blurb below.

Add it to your To-Read list! I’m in the middle of editing this one, and trust me when I say you won’t want to miss it!

Broken
by Marlena Frank

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

Coming Spring 2020

BookCon Day 1 – Getting There

BookCon was just an absolutely amazing experience. We learned so much, we met so many amazing people, and we had such a great time. Of course, you know me, I had to film and photo a TON of it.

Our first struggle though was just getting to New York City! Check out the first leg of our adventure at BookCon 2019 – just trying to fly there!

Review: Clouded by Envy

Finished: May 12, 2019

I really enjoyed the previous books I read from Candace including Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, The Bride of Glass, and Bacon Pie. So of course I had to pick up this one too!

My Review:

This was such a fascinating story! From the strange world of Laith, to magical stones, to bizarre curses, and cute, suburban family life, this book mixes quite a lot of juxtaposed concepts. A heck of a ride filled with unexpected twists and turns, with adult content that was somewhat explicit but still sweet.

WARNING: SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT!

So first off, I liked Bray’s character, but she seemed too perfect and lucky to me at times. She’s a good person, but she also doesn’t struggle with guilt and sorrow as much as at times I think she should. Most of her conflict comes from her brother.

Brenik for me is the real star of the story, and even though he’s cruel and callous at times, he’s been dealt a terrible hand in life. He’s the weaker one from the start, he’s usually wrong, he’s pulled into a human world without the ability to become human (unlike Bray), and he has a learning disability so he can’t read. He lives with Bray so of course he has terrible jealousy. When the jealousy becomes too much and the Stone of Desire grants his wish, it’s a horrific curse. I don’t want to give away too much, but his angry and defiant response to life truly does make sense from the constant bad luck he experiences. Also he and Luca make an amazing team and I wanted more of them!

Luca was also one of my faves, an intuitive kid who is curious and isn’t frightened of the various monsters around him. He really grew on me throughout the story.

One part that I struggled with was toward the end when it turned into a sort of generational novel. Some people absolutely love those, but I just have a hard time connecting with them. This is just a personal issue of mine though because this goes along quite well with the story and with the magic of the world.

That said, I’m excited to come back for the next book in this series! I love the mixture of monsters that inspired this book, and I’m excited to see what Candace does next! I’m also hoping we get to see more of the strange land of Laith.

What I consider a 5-star book:

  • Is it a fun read? Definitely! It’s really cute to read about Bray and the adventures she gets into.
  • Would you recommend it to others? Oh yes, especially if you love unique mash-ups of monsters, a wholesome family, and a dash of a generational novel.
  • Does it stick with you? I have to say yes to this too, simply because it’s so unique and I’ve never read a book quite like it before. I think Brenik will especially be a character that will stay with me for a long time.

My overall review: 5/5

The Same Experience as Everyone Else

What a difference it can make just to know that someone cares.

I read this story earlier this month on Facebook from a post made from the Kindness Factory’s page, a non-profit organization.

A man explains that he goes in to pick up his Frappuccino from his local coffee shop, but since he’s deaf, he usually has it written on his phone and just shows it to the barista so they know what he wants. He goes there just about every day, so most of the employees know his order by heart anyway.

Then one day, he showed his order like normal, and the woman named Krystal Payne handed him a note that read:

“I’ve been learning ASL just so you can have the same experience as every one else.”

Then she started using sign language with him, explaining that she had spent hours practicing it on Youtube just to be able to have a conversation with him. They only talked for about two minutes, but he said that “he had never felt “so equal in all of [his] life.”

Now if that doesn’t restore your faith in humanity, I don’t know what will.

I just love Krystal not only having the idea to do this for him, but also her determination to spend hours making sure she could actually talk with him. She absolutely didn’t have to do it, but the fact that she went out of her way to make him feel like any other customer just makes your heart melt.

You can read the full account on Facebook here. It honestly needs way more attention.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more positive tales that have been collated over the internet, check out the We Are the World Blogfest on Facebook. That way you can read all of the incredible acts of kindness that is just the explosion of positivity I need at the end of the month.