Review: Three Southern Short Stories ~ Karen Cunningham

3 Southern Short Stories

Three Southern Short Stories- a blend of humor, mystery and self sacrifice, from a uniquely Southern perspective.

Medium Gold-A spirit medium has her vacation sidetracked by the mischievous ghost of a Confederate officer who wants her help to find the gold he buried at the end of The War.

The Murder Code-A teenage boy inherits his grandfather’s shortwave radio, and stumbles across a coded message about his murder.

Hope Deferred Maketh the Heart Sick- A new life beckons to Millie, but she turns away to take care of her abusive ex husband because she thinks it’s the right thing to do.

4 Thumbs-Up

This is the first novel by this Author and has broken into the writing world with a wonderful little trilogy of short stories, of just the right length, and if the Author keeps up this level of writing in her next book and beyond, she will soon become a name on every book reader’s lips.

My favourite in this little trilogy had to be “The Murder Code”, which pulled me in as soon as I read “Tate had tee die.” It went from good to incredible from there.

As with all short story compilations, it is hard to write in detail about character development but, in the few pages allocated to each tale, not only is the Author able to write strong believable character, but make sure you are able to have an opinion about them too, whether you love or hate them.

The dialogue is pure Southern and, as a Brit, I sometimes had to ask my Husband what certain things meant as he is from the South.  All the knowledge and experiences the Author has of living in the South, and her wit and intelligence comes through with every word.

I would recommend this to anyone, as it covers most tastes, and is not offensive in any way. It’s a great little read to carry in your bag, so when the moment presents itself you have something to enjoy.   It’s a rare treasure in a world where most books and short stories are full of sex and unnecessary violence. Even the murder in the above mentioned story, is committed in a gentile Southern sort of way.


Review: Eyes like Blue Fire ~ Amanda M. Lyons

Eyes Like Blue Fire

Katja is a vampire who has lost sense of herself and her value in the world. Lost, broken and damaged she wanders the streets of Europe hoping to find some sense of purpose beyond the death and tragedy she has always known. Betrayed by her sire and left alone in the night she is startled to discover herself forming a connection to a young man who shares a close resemblance to her master and lover. Though everything in her begs her to stay with him she flees only to come running back to save him when a sadistic monster from her sire’s past comes to destroy the only hope she has had in 300 years.

Katja and Raven will face many horrors among them Renfield style zombies, ghosts and the undead.

2 Thumbs-Up

This is the first novel by this Author in the Broken Edges series.

There has been a lot of time invested in the development of the characters in this book.  The Author describes in great detail the emotions, feelings and thoughts of the main female lead, in an effort to create a link/bond between the character and the reader.  There is a lot of back story for the main lead also, which helps explain her current circumstances and the motivation for doing the things she does.  Not the same can be said for the male lead, he is full of angst and intricacies that make him not a very lovable character at all; he really reminded me of a teenager who declares all too often that the world doesn’t understand what he’s going through.  In a sense this is true, as we don’t understand his particular lifestyle, what may have helped him would have been the Author giving him as much attention to detail as she did the female lead.  Other characters in the novel seemed to appear for no obvious reason and then leave just as quickly.  Even though some of their involvement in the plot was explained at a later date, it still made their sudden appearance seemed a mite contrived.  The character I enjoyed the most in the novel was the villain, unfortunately she didn’t appear until about a third of the way through the book.  She was, as all good villains should be, malicious, vindictive and violent.

The full history of a main character, and the time taken to build a world, is something I usually enjoy in a book (the sweeping epic), but for one of this length it was not needed, along with the all too frequent flashbacks.  But again, if this is something you enjoy in your reads, you won’t be disappointed in this one as it delivers in all three areas.

The novel also contains a lot of descriptive scene setting, again in an attempt to draw the reader into the world between the novels pages.  For some this may be too much description and not enough dialogue, but I actually liked this aspect of the book, along with the fight scenes, as I am not a lover of the ‘chatty’ novel.  However, the amount of descriptiveness in the book has a tendency to slow the plot down, and it’s not a fast paced building plot to begin with.

After reading the summary I was interested enough to want to read the whole book, and it did start off with such promise.  However, the formatting on both my Kindle for iPad and for PC was diabolical.  There were sentences cut off halfway through, and being turned into paragraphs; chapter numbers appeared in a seemingly random way and, it was very rare for one to appear in the intended spot.  This really interfered in my enjoyment of the novel, and actually made carrying on to the end a painful task.  As I have said, in a previous review though, I will not put a book aside completely unfinished as I feel that is more of an insult to the Author than a mediocre review.

Would I recommend this to others?  Yes, especially to the fans of The Twilight series and Vampire Diaries lovers, it is right up their street.  If you are looking for something vampiric along the lines of Anne Rice, I would steer clear, this is not for you. I would actually classify this as a nice little book for YA readers.

If not for the formatting debacle, and the inconsistencies in the appearance and development of some characters, I feel I would have really enjoyed this book.  As it is though, I wasn’t made to care enough for the lead to make me want to read any of the other novels in this series.