Sunday, July 15, 2018

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass – Book Review


Book: A Court of Thorns and Roses
(A Court of Thorns and Roses, book 1)
Author: Sarah J. Mass
Publication date: 5 May 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Synopsis:


Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.


Book review by Nadaness In Motion

A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first instalment in a series of the same name by Sarah J. Mass. It's my first read for Mass. It might take me a while it pick something else by her, although I was planning to read Throne of Glass.

The beginning opens with Feyre hunting and then a scene with her family, both revealing her character. Feyre is harsh on the inside and because of her hard life, a useless father, two useless sisters, she's also created a prickly exterior (not literally). I actually liked her then but the beginning trailed too long and I started getting bored. I wanted "the action", which came in quite late.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is narrated from the first person perspective of Feyre, the youngest of three with broken father, and whose mother passed away without offering her a chance of education. Feyre has learnt to survive and taught herself to hunt. One day in the forest, she is tracking a deer but instead finds a wolf following the same deer. She kills both but the wolf isn't what it appears and Feyre is now indebted to the High Fae of Prythian.

"We need hope as much as we need bread and meat," he interrupted, his eyes clear for a rare moment. "We need hope, or else we cannot endure. So let her keep this hope, Feyre. Let her imagine a better life. A better world."
"There is no such thing."

There were A LOT of repeated images. I liked the "tore me to ribbons" image, and though it was creative, but it was used once per chapter for six chapters! That's just overkill of a good image. The word 'feral' was used 17 times in the book. 17 times! I mean the English language must have some other words to replace this.

These are the most notable examples of repetition that really bugged me in the book. They also made me feel like I was not progressing. Didn't I read this before?

Despite never seeing fae in her life, Feyre is able to determine who is high fae and who isn't, which didn't appear logic to me.

Image via the Throne of Glass blog

There is a bit of a Beauty and the Beast theme in there. Although Tamlin, the masked High Fae, is not entirely a beast. He's actually more likeable than Feyre. The romance in the book is ok.

Even though we see Feyre as selfless with her family, when she meets Tamlin, she becomes selfish in her selflessness. I liked her varying character traits. Her thoughts and the endless repetition of the need to go back home after being sent to live with the fae are tiresome and could be trimmed down, though. In the end, her fight and strength are admirable.

His eyes became clearer and bolder than I'd seen them in years. "You were always too good for here, Feyre. Too good for us, too good for everyone." He squeezed my hands. "If you ever escape, ever convince them that you've paid the debt, don't return."

Feyre has an oversized inferiority complex. Despite that, she's a strong but emotionless and harsh character. Her development is slow but there. I loved Tamlin and Lucien. We also meet Rhysand, the trickster Highlord of the Night Court, who is set to appear in future books. I liked and disliked him at the same time. A kind of Snape character with a wry sense of selfishness and humour.

I felt that A Court of Thorns and Roses went on and on and on. I'd read several pages and then check the percentage completed and I'd find I haven't progressed much. The novel took a while to unfold to get to the important and interesting parts. Even towards the end, I felt that Mass had strained certain parts beyond the limit. The book was at an important turning point and the events needed to move faster.

I did like, however, how Mass kept throwing problems in Feyre's way. Testing her to very last breath.

I think I might have had higher hopes for this book. The length didn't help. When I checked book 2 and realised it was over 600 pages long, I was totally put off.  

Overall, I felt that A Court of Thorns and Roses could have been better. As I read books, I try to learn from them. I learnt the cost of repetition. I totally docked one star off my review for that.

Overall rating: 3.5 stars


Sunday, July 8, 2018

An Early Wake by Sheila Connolly - Book Review



An Early Wake by Sheila Connolly is the third book in the County Cork Mystery series. I was surprised to discover that it was the third book (didn't realise it when I bought it) because it reads like the first. Connolly gives great background so you don't feel like you've never met the characters before.

The novel is set in Leap, a small town in Cork Country, Ireland. Maura Donovan has inherited a pub from her grandmother. This was six months ago, but Maura still has a lot to learn. She interacts well with her part-time employees, even those that had been hoping for a share in the business but didn't get it.

One day a musician who had been famous a few decades back enters the pub and talk ignites of a musical reunion. Business kicks is better than the whole tourist season on the day of the music event, but the following morning Maura opens the pub to find a dead body.

One of the things I liked in An Early Wake was the use of Irish pronunciation and occasional Old Irish words, stuff like good morning and good luck. Some of those weren't translated, which was a bit hard to understand, but can easily be skipped. Irish pronunciation gives a strong feel for the novel. It had me practicing speaking like the characters a bit (don't try it out loud in public, you'll look weird).

"We've set the bird to flight and the ball to rolling and the clock to ticking. It'll be a day like no other since yer arrival."

On the flipside, I found Maura's character as difficult to believe. She repeatedly mentions that she's around 25 years old but surprisingly doesn't act like it. She doesn't have a mobile phone that takes images and is entirely unfamiliar with such technology. Throughout the book, I often felt that she was over 50 not just 25, even when she compares her age to the slightly younger police officer Sean Murphy, making him look like a kid, while she deems herself more mature as if she were his mother.

It took a long while for the death and mystery to take place, a little over 100 pages in fact. The bit at the beginning isn't boring but I picked An Early Wake for the mystery not just the background information, so I was disappointed that the "mystery" was delayed.



The characters are down to earth and likeable. They are a close community that Maura is surprised to discover she's become part of. A family she's never had. One of the things I liked was the touch of romance but that comes towards the end. I'd love to learn what happens in that area.

The mystery could use more suspects and more action. The setting, characters, background are great, but the mystery, which should be the focus of the novel, isn't. I felt it was kind of stuck in the novel.

The dialogue was shabby and often didn't reveal much. There was a TONNE of repetition, with Maura having to repeat conversations to various characters. This could have been skipped or just mentioned as "Maura repeated what Sean had told her to Mick and Jimmy" or "Maura described the situation to Mick but decided to keep the...information to herself." This over-repetition bothered me (so I'm docking 1 star because of it). Imagery was minimal, if any.

The way the music event takes off is repeated so many times in almost the same way, it was over the top annoying. Sadly this book isn't an e-book, otherwise I would have pointed out the number of time that was repeated.

An Early Wake does contain a lot of history and background on Irish music, which I found interesting. Maura has no idea about it and neither did I. But I liked seeing a few band names I recognised and had no idea were Irish.

Overall, I think An Early Wake could have been a lot stronger and more memorable. I liked the characters and the way they take care of each other, and the romance bits.

Overall rating for An Early Wake by Sheila Connelly: 2.5-3 stars. It needs more work.



Monday, July 2, 2018

Takhayyal Writing Prompt 87- July: TIME


Summer here is going head strong, which means we're melting or hiding next to the air conditioner. I'm taking 38 Celsius/100+Fahrenheit almost all week. 

For June, I thought the mighty Mediterranean would be a good inspiration and writing prompt. For July, I'm thinking it's all about TIME. 

How you spend it - or waste it, plans and deadlines, all of that. Feel free to mix the June and July writing prompts.

Ready? 

Get set...

GO!




Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a challenge for writers of all ages and genres; a place to spark creativity and explore new genres. Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction; you name it and write it.

General rules:
·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·        Leave the link to your post in comments below OR post your piece as REPLY to this post
·        Your piece MUST be inspired in some way or other by the above picture
·        Multiple entries allowed
·        It is not required but it is a nice and encouraging gesture to comment on others' pieces.
·        Feel free to add your Twitter handle (@....) so I can tag you in my tweets!

Let's IMAGINE!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Academia of the Beast by KN Lee - Book Review


Academia of the Beast by K. N. Lee is a fast-paced fairytale retelling of the Beauty and the Beast with a dark twist. I couldn't put it down and finished it in two sittings!

Allyn is a witch, a breed that's being hunted down by the rulers of Elastria. Her good-for-nothing boyfriend leaves her penniless to the point where the police take her small apartment right before the winter season where their small town closes-shop for six weeks.

"Allyn didn't want to be a princess. She just wanted someone to be good to her."

Right before the winter begins, Allyn goes to a party where she meets one of the princes of Elastria, Conall, a man she has met many years prior. The two connect and their once-innocent love is rekindled. From there, the novel picks up as Conall has to leave for the winter but promises to return once the cold season ends. Shortly after that Allyn is more or less kidnapped.

"As those words fell from her lips [Allyn] began to wonder who the witch was in this scenario… because she was sure Conall had her under a spell."

Characters in Academia of the Beast are beautifully flawed. You can't help but love them all, even the dark and evil ones. Character development is strong and pleasant to see.

I loved the twin brothers, my heart ached for Lennox, whom I despised at first, but grew to love as the book progressed.

One of the things I liked was the rivalry between the brothers. From the beginning, we are told of Lennox's darker nature and we already see Conall's romantic and kind side. The comparison between the brothers is huge.

"We found her."
Conall froze. "What?"
"You heard right…. Not just any witch. We found the one that Lennox told your father about. She sounds incredible. None of the others were able to do the things she did that night in the woods. And no one escapes Lennox."
"Whatever you do, don't let Lennox find out."

Old book cover
The novella keeps you on edge full-time with lots of dark twists even till the very end. It also had several beautiful lines and dialogues.

"She saw within him a soul just as lost as she was. When he held her hand, she was at peace."

One of the cool things that popped up a couple of times in Academia of the Beast were the quotes from the original Beauty and the Beast movie/cartoon.

Overall Academia of the Beast is a must-read. After I finished it, I went over a couple of parts I had enjoyed. I would definitely read this again.


Overall rating: 4.5 stars


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Miss Marple's Final Cases by Agatha Christie – Book Review



Miss Marple's Final Cases is by none other than Dame Agatha Christie. It's my first read featuring sleuthing oldie Miss Marple, whom it seems even the police like to get her opinion about certain cases. However, I have seen several older episodes based on the books before.
 
The book comprises nine short stories, some of which are sub-divided into shorter chapters.

I must note in advance that I recommend reading the stories in order. While they are not related, I later realised that apart from Miss Marple, some of the other characters make several appearances. So, starting at the beginning with "Sanctuary" will introduce to some characters, who become important or become suspects in subsequent stories.

Two stories in the collection, "The Dressmaker's Doll" and "A Glass Darkly" do not feature Miss Marple. So, they can be read separately.

Miss Marple's Final Cases opens with "Sanctuary", an exciting five-star story Although Miss Marple makes a small appearance, she plays a big role in the mystery-solving.

"Bunch's remark might have seemed incongruous to an ignorant listener, but in certain spheres Miss Marple had a reputation for dealing with murder."

"Strange Jest" does not involve murder or theft but is quite interesting as it is a kind of treasure quest. Miss Marple digresses and talks a lot, to the point where the people who have requested her help are dying to get her to leave. The ending will definitely come as a surprise.

"Behind Miss Marple's back, Charmain made a sign to Edward. It said 'She's ga-ga'."

I always like the idea of a story within a story, which is what happens in "The Case of the Caretaker". It opens with Miss Marple being seen by a doctor who hands her a manuscript of a story he wrote. The end is very clever and will definitely put a smile on any reader's face.


In "The Case of the Perfect Maid", a friend of Miss Marple's maid is accused of stealing and thrown out at a time when finding a decent maid is nearly impossible. Soon after, people from the building where the maid, Gladys, had worked report thefts. Miss Marple takes into her own hands to apprehend, or at least divert the police to, the real thief.
The only downside to this one is that there's lots of chit-chat but there is some real sleuthing in this story. Highly recommended.  

"Miss Marple Tells a Story" is as the name suggests the only story told in first person by Miss Marple, whose intellect is evident in this piece. She also admits to digressing, which kind of makes up for her endless talk. Great ending and mystery.

"Tape-Measure Murder" is a good mystery and a recommended read.

Two stories in the collection do not feature Miss Marple. Nor are they mysteries in of themselves. Both have a touch of the paranormal, a genre I didn't know Agatha Christie ever wrote.

"The Glass Maker's Doll" is a repetitive, waste-of-time story. I barely made it till the end without skimming and skipping. Whereas "In a Glass Darkly", the shortest piece in the collection, is romantic, fast-paced, and told from the first person perspective of a young man. 


"Greenshaw's Folly" is the final story in the collection. A little long and over-the-top elaborate. Took a while for me to wrap my mind around it but it is a great thought-provoking story nonetheless.



Overall, Miss Marple's Final Cases are a fun and light dose of mysteries, from what is most likely the first woman sleuth. There's some light humour and the stories will definitely get your brain working.

I had forgotten what it was like to read something set in older times, especially since my reading tastes involve fantasy and the paranormal. Or the closest would be contemporary mystery.

You will find a lot of repetition in terms of adjectives and of course the abhorred adverbs are ever-present in this type of book. It was a time, I believe, when they were not frowned upon.  

I did enjoy going back to the genre where cozy mysteries are derived from. It is also interesting to know – or in my case discover – that fingerprints had just started being used. I thought they came at a later time.

Overall rating for Miss Marple's Final Cases: 4 stars.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Fairies And Frosting by Christina Bauer - Cover Reveal




Book: Fairies And Frosting
Author: Christina Bauer
(Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #2.5)
Publisher: Monster House Books
Publication date: 28 May 2019
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Elle (never call her Cinderella) is trying to throw a surprise birthday party for her bestie, Bryar Rose. Trouble is, some unfriendly fae are working hard to ruin everything. Good thing she has a certain handsome Le Charme wizard on speed dial...

***An interim novella between SHIFTERS AND GLYPHS and SLIPPERS AND THIEVES***

About the Series
The Fairy Tales of the Magicorum series includes WOLVES AND ROSES (Book 1), MOONLIGHT AND MIDTOWN (Novella 1.5) and SHIFTERS AND GLYPHS (Book 2, Fall 2018). Eight full novels are planned in total.

Add the book via Goodreads.






Author Christina Bauer has a GIVEAWAY for YOU to celebrate the Cover Reveal!

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Pre-order Fairies And Frosting via Amazon, Kobo, or Google Play.

About the Author:

Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult bestseller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. The first three books in the series are now available as audiobooks on Audible and iTunes.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Stalk Christina On Social Media – She Loves It!
Find her via her Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Website.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Destined for Love Resorts Collection - Blast & Giveaway




Destined for Love Resorts Collection - Thrilling Sweet Destination Romances


KEEP ME AT CHRISTMAS by Lucinda Whitney



Can the magic of the season keep them together beyond Christmas?
When Luciana Romano arrives in Hudson Springs, New York, her plan is to complete her restoration job at the museum so she can return home to her family in time for Christmas. But a blizzard grounds all flights, and she finds herself stranded. The DiLorenzo family offers her a place to stay, and she accepts their hospitality. But the unexpected attraction between her and the quiet, good-looking son makes it hard to want to leave.
Jack DiLorenzo is stuck. Managing the family’s Italian café is not what he’d planned to do with his life, but his sense of duty won’t let him quit. When his grandmother invites a Portuguese woman to stay with them, Jack feels something he hasn’t felt for a long time: hope. He knows he shouldn’t get close to Luciana since she’s leaving as soon as the airport opens, but he can’t help himself.
Yet as the magic of the season begins to work on them, he wonders how he can let go of the woman who’s awakened his heart.

AMAZON



IF THE SUIT FITS by Sally Johnson

Finding love at the amusement park can be quite a ride.

Becky Perkins has lost her job, her lease, and her car. As a result, she moves back in with her parents and takes the only job she can find: a seasonal position at the local amusement park as a sign spinner. Unfortunately, it includes wearing a foam hot-dog suit.
When she crashes into fellow park employee Hudson Lowell, on her first day, suddenly the job doesn’t seem so bad.
Actuary Hudson Lowell feels the weight of the world on his shoulders with this assignment. The Gainesville Amusement Park has been struggling for years. It’s his responsibility to advise the park owners as to the viability of the park. Going into the deal, the solution seems pretty simple—until he meets Becky.
The more time Becky and Hudson spend together, the more their feelings grow, making it harder and harder for Hudson to be objective about his decision. If the park closes, it will impact the whole town and directly hurt Becky. And how can he hurt the woman he has fallen for?




SECOND CHANCE IN PARADISE by Jennifer Peel


A first love that deserves a second chance.
Doctoral student Holland Reeves may have aced every class she’s ever taken, but when it comes to life outside her lab, she finds she has more meaningful relationships with test tubes and pipettes than she does with people. That all changes when a surprise wedding invitation arrives, forcing her to return to the small coastal town of Paradise and the Clairborne Resort, where she left her first dream of being Mrs. Clairborne to begin the dream of becoming Dr. Reeves. There she must face her past and, to her surprise, the only man she ever loved, Porter Clairborne, the prodigal son who has unexpectedly returned.
Together, Holland and Porter must decide if their love deserves a second chance, and if Paradise will finally live up to its name or forever remain a town of broken dreams.



KINGS CROSSED LOVERS by Donna K. Weaver

Will their online magic survive when they meet in real life?

Ethan Walters has no time for distractions like romance. Not if he's going to have the brilliant medical career he's always dreamed of. But when he's given a trip to a theme park resort as a college graduation present, he can't exactly say no. Even if Samantha--the one girl with the power to dismantle his goals--is tagging along.
Samantha Diederik has managed to avoid her high society mother’s manipulations since the woman moved to Europe. Now she’s back and pressuring Sam to move to New York with her. With that battle on the horizon, Sam proceeds with a vacation with her brother and his roommate. She’s crushed on Ethan for years. They've only met online, but their hours-long conversations are the highlight of her week. Now she has a chance to find out if the cyber magic she's felt with him will translate to real life.
And wow, does it ever--with sparks flying! Now all she has to do is find a way to fight off her mother's machinations while convincing Ethan she won’t destroy his dreams.


MARRYING AN ATHLETE by Anne-Marie Meyer
Anna Short’s life has been in a slump ever since her boss and boyfriend—who happened to be the same person—dumped her. Now forced to work at a coffee shop, she's pretty sure her life can't go any lower. Enter Michael: her best friend McKenna’s older brother and life-long crush.
Michael Jones is the life of the party. As a Defenseman for the New York Rangers, he's always had his pick of women and friends. When he mistakenly proposes to the Mayor's daughter at a party one night, he hightails it out of New York before the media storm hits. He drives to McKenna’s house where he finds her in emotional shambles. Grateful for the distraction her problems give him, he jumps head first into finding a solution.



HER BIG FAT DREAMY BILLIONAIRE EX by Victorine Lieske

When McKenna begs them to fake a marriage so they can go with her to a counseling resort designed to help fix her failing one, Anna and Michael agree. After all, the drunken kiss they shared two years ago was definitely in the past. But when they decide to make it their mission to bring McKenna and her husband together, they begin to realize just how good of a team they really are.

Felicity should have suspected something when she got hired to take pictures at a resort in Belize, all expenses paid. When she arrives and bumps into her ex-fiancé, Aiden, she realizes she’s been set up. His grandmother is playing matchmaker and every time she turns around Grams is forcing Aiden and her together. But she can’t fall for him again, it was a disaster last time, and she doesn’t want to repeat the past.
Aiden can’t believe Felicity is at his resort. She broke his heart five years ago, and he’s determined not to allow it to happen again. But one disaster after another keeps forcing them together and he’s sure Grams is behind all of it. He’s just not sure how long he can hold out without pulling Felicity into his arms and confessing that he never really got over her.
Her Big Fat Dreamy Billionaire Ex is a sweet romance, and it is a stand-alone novel.


THE TRUST OF A BILLIONAIRE - Michelle Pennington

Can their love survive her secret?

Hannah Rhodes is determined to keep her beachfront property, even though she can’t afford to. But it’s her childhood home and she can’t bear to see it plowed down by the billionaire investor who keeps raising his offer to buy it. When the same man hires her to be his daughter’s nanny—providing her the income she needs to reject his offer—the irony is not lost on her. However, seeing him as a loving, worried father makes it difficult to enjoy her secret revenge.

For Carter Ellis, building his own resort was a massive risk, but worth it to build a new life for his daughter away from his controlling mother. Everything is going to plan except that the owner of the tumbled-down home blocking his resort view and threatening its success refuses to sell. If only his new nanny would stop distracting him, he just might be able to figure out how to solve this problem. Not only is she beautiful and vibrant, she’s helping his daughter bloom. Just when he begins to give in to his feelings, he discovers who she really is.
When their trust is shaken, will Carter and Hannah sacrifice what they wanted most for a chance at something more?


MATCHED BY DESIGN by Lindzee Armstrong


Jasmine has finally landed her dream job with a world-famous couture wedding dress designer. All she wants is to make a name for herself in the fashion world, and working on a celebrity’s wedding is a great start. But when the groom gets caught leering at the staff, the bride demands any single designers be taken off the project. No problem—Jasmine quickly invents a fake fiancé. Too bad the bride insists he come to the wedding.

Dr. Isaac Sloan couldn’t save his best friend, so he’s left the army and cut all ties with his past. Now he’s spending his newly inherited fortune to improve the transplant surgery that killed his friend. Following through on the silly marriage pact he made with his childhood crush certainly isn’t in the plans.

When Jasmine runs into Isaac at a coffee shop, he reluctantly agrees to be her pretend fiancé—but only after learning the bride’s dad is the prestigious transplant doctor who’s help he desperately needs. As sparks fly between Jasmine and Isaac, the line between fact and fiction grows very thin. Can they keep the engagement secret, or will the lies unravel their careers?






As part of the blast, there is a $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway. Ends 22 June 2018.


Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



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Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer – Book Review

Book: The Sea Was a Fair Master
Author: Calvin Demmer
(Short story collection)
Publication Date: 5 June 2018
Publisher: Unnerving

The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer is a collection of 23 short stories spanning realism to paranormal, from sad-and-heartbreaking family and romance to stories that will have you hiding under your bed.

Most of the pieces in the collection have either unexpected endings or unthought of events from start to finish. Demmer will keep you guessing about the motives of the characters till you read the last word and say "WOW" or "Yikes!" or "Wicked!"

“On these dark-blue waves, it is the sea who is judge, jury, and executioner.”

The Sea Was a Fair Master begins with “On the Seventh Day”, a strong and deep opening story with the silent sea as the main theme. It is followed by “Restroom Finds”, a thrilling story. I loved it – even though it was a little gory. Don’t want to give it away but it’s creative and new!

“Underneath” is the third piece in the collection. It’s creepy. Unexpected. Totally five stars!

“Revenge of the Myth” is a 10-star story, which means I was blown away by it.

“Fear the Clowns” had me saying “Yikes!” and “Lol” at the same time. Imagine that.
“West” is an interesting albeit slightly black-comedy kind-of-story. Demmer is lauded for his ability to keep both reader and characters alike on edge until the end.

“They were a little nosy like you officer,” a voice said. “I can’t have people coming and disturbing the dead.”

“Letting the Dead Grow” is another fresh piece of creativity with an unexpected turnout. Five stars to this one.

When I picked up the collection, I planned to keep “The Snakes or the Humans” till the end because of my fear of snakes. But I’m glad I didn’t. A sad tale, the story is a 10-star emotional piece.

Meanwhile, “The Guests” is a very short piece. The ending? You won’t see it coming! Five stars.

Easily finished in a sitting or two, The Sea Was a Fair Master collection is simply un-put-down-able.

“Like a Spanish Guitar” mixes the dreaminess of romance with the paranormal. A 10-star, highly enjoyable story, which I might add is quite terrifying. I could visualise it from start to finish. And I loved it.

Then there is “Hangman”, a horrifying – need I say ‘unexpected’ –story that nearly had me biting my nails. I loved how Demmer took a simple children’s game and turned it into a creepy story. After reading it, I also felt that Demmer should consider writing moving scripts; they’d definitely be innovative compared to what we see often. 10 stars to this one.

“Graves” is a sad, beautiful, and emotional story that nearly brought me to tears. Another 10-star piece.

Last but certainly NOT least is “Sea Ate Nine”, which is gripping from start to finish with lots of puns. A wicked read. Pun intended!

One of the things I liked about The Sea Was a Fair Master was that many of the stories had unexpected endings. Demmer’s word choice, imagery, and overall sentences are well-thought out, easy to read, and he’s done a great job with the pacing of his stories. There isn’t a boring one in the group.

Other recommended reads (five-star stories) in the collection include “Yara”, “Voodoo Child”, “The Sea Was a Fair Master”, “Not Suicide”, “Evolution = Crime”, and “Noisy Neighbours”.


Overall rating for The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer: 5 stars. There were only two stories that didn't appeal to me, but the collection still deserves five stars. It would be unfair on my part to give it anything less.


Note: I received an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of The Sea Was a Fair Master from its author Calvin Demmer in exchange for an honest review.