Book Review: The Soul Dick by EM L. Smith

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Cleverly Written. 4/5 stars.

The Soul Dick written by EM L. Smith is a uniquely plotted story about a psychologist, Mason Burr, and his super neurotic [and I mean, super neurotic] patient, Jerry Zobec, of whom Burr spends the next 24 hours with. This is due to Burr’s fierce belief that he can help his patients better by having a full-on long session with them instead of the expected short sessions.

The professional relationship that develops between the two men is compelling, humorous and sometimes downright stressful. There were moments I just wanted to reach out to Jerry and put an end to his seemingly endless misery. But, I also couldn’t help but feel enormous empathy for him; he hates his disabilities and only wants to improve.

Smith’s characterisation of Jerry is brilliant, displayed in a mostly light-hearted and humorous manner, yet never in a way that belittles the serious issues of mental illness, particularly the one highlighted in this book. The many societal topics that Jerry broaches, [and there are many] I found quite thought provoking as I did the cause of his mental illness.

What truly captivated me was Smith’s clever writing. She masters the words on every page with such amazing skill, such natural wittiness and warmth.

I only have one question. Where does this Mason Burr reside as I have a couple of people who could really benefit spending 24 hours with him?

I’m hanging out now for the next book.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest, non-reciprocal review.

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Book Review: Fearless by Patricia Hamill

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Thought Provoking. 4/5 stars.

Fearless by Patricia Hamill is the story of survival during a zombie apocalypse. It is told through the diary of a young woman who narrates the horrors, the successes, the failures, the laughter and the tears of a group of people as they struggle through their daily lives. Interestingly enough, the main character is never named.

But for the purpose of this review, I will name her ‘Lady’.

‘Lady’ refuses to know the names of those surrounding her. To do so, makes it too personal and thus too painful, if they should die. Instead, she gives them names like Blonde Guy, Artist, Surfer etc.

The emotions described by ‘Lady’ are powerful – the moral choice of what to do through tough times, quite thought provoking. What would you do if in her exact shoes?

‘Lady’ is tough, aggressive, decisive and not always popular because of those characteristics. I found her credible and consistent in personality, so important in any fiction writing, but particularly when using a strong first person POV such as this. And she grows, just as many people would when facing such abysmal situations.

As a huge fan of The Walking Dead, I found Hamill’s writing technique [using a diary format] a fresh and innovative way to tell an apocalyptic story. Her sentences are beautifully crafted, painting vivid pictures of a dreadful era we hope to never see.

The only difficulty I experienced was during the initial parts of the book. The detailed day-to-day drudgery of survival became a little too monotonous for me. But from the moment ‘Lady’ becomes leader, meets Blonde Man etc, I found the book hard to put down.

As for the final chapter?

It completely blew me away.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest, non-reciprocal review.

Book Review: The Queen and the Dagger by Melanie Ansley

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A Fantasy Lover’s Delight.

This novella has it all.

A fantasy world so plausibly thought out, so vividly described, I could sense myself actually being there.

Protagonists and antagonists, clearly defined in their roles, where they [although animals] appear human-like in their behaviours, in their personal endeavours and in the way they combat their weaknesses.

A plot that is strong, emotional but succinct enough to move the story along, to the point that I [not a fantasy reader] am compelled to know what happens in the next book.

A must read.

5/5 stars.

Book Review: Catharsis by Noorilhuda

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A story with potential.

This novel centres on a police detective, Aurora Fox and her determined efforts in solving the mystery of the abduction of ten-year-old, Daniel Logan. Enters Maxwell Caine, an elderly stranger, who appears to know more about the case than expected. With Caine’s help, Aurora finds Daniel still alive but heavily traumatised by constant physical and sexual abuse. Aurora’s priority, now, is to uncover the mastermind of the operation.

Noorilhuda’s story line, I found not too bad. At times, I even wondered what would happen next. However, there were sections of unnecessary narrative [e.g. the overly detailed news reports], incorrect punctuation and grammatical errors.

What I had the most difficulty with were the characters, particularly the main character, Aurora Fox. I found her to be insufferably angry, rude and twisted. Yes, I do discover why she is like this, and it is a plausible reason. But a main character devoid of any redeeming qualities, I find unlikeable and difficult to relate with.

In fact, I found the entire book filled with too many angry, damaged characters, graphically abused children and sad, pathetic marriages. If there were any happy characters in the book, they had been swallowed by the misery of the others.
With a heavy story such as this, a little light-hearted balance gives the reader breathing space.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest, non-reciprocal review.

3/5 stars.

Book Review: How to Get Your Boyfriend Back by Julia Black

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Enjoyably Informative!

Feel like the romance and sex in your relationship has become lost somewhere between having children and managing every day pressures such as work demands, home duties, and financial stresses?

Then you must read How to Get Your Boyfriend Back [From the Husband He Turned Into] by Julia Black. This reader-friendly book provides clear, practical and sometimes amusing suggestions in how to reignite the passion in your relationship.

It is well researched and uses a number of real-life examples. I particularly liked the dot-pointed summary, What to Do, at the end of each chapter and have personally taken on board many of Black’s suggestions. A great read.

I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

4/5 stars.