Audiobook Review: Bugs in the System

“It’s a tough universe out there with death-by-giant insect waiting around every corner.”
 
Immerse yourself in these short stories based on the role-playing game, We Hunt Bugs, and experience the tales of shaky alliances, backstabbing comrades, and terrifying monsters. 
 
“It’s what we do. We hunt Bugs.”
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Purchase LinkAmazon

 

 

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

These short stories are based on the RPG “We Hunt Bugs” and would probably be appreciated more by someone who plays the game. Most of the stories are about shooting big bugs in outer space: spiders, centipedes, beetles, etc. The best story was “The Hunter and the Suit” about a famous hunter who is deep in debt. When a debt collector finds him, he can’t seem to shake him. It was a cute story and I would have enjoyed reading more of it.

The narrator did a good job especially considering that these were short stories. It seems to me that it would be more difficult to narrate short stories than a full-length novel. Just like reading them, once you start to get into the story, you have to start a new one.

 

 

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Book Review: Cry Your Way Home by Damien Angelica Walters

“Once upon a time there was a monster. This is how they tell you the story starts. This is a lie.” 

Sometimes things are not what they appear to be. DNA doesn’t define us, gravity doesn’t hold us, a home doesn’t mean we belong. From circus tents to space stations, Damien Angelica Walters creates stories that are both achingly familiar and chillingly surreal. Within her second short story collection, she questions who the real monsters are, rips families apart and stitches them back together, and turns a cell phone into the sharpest of weapons. 

Cry Your Way Home brings together seventeen stories that delve deep into human sorrow and loss, weaving pain, fear, and ultimately resilience into beautiful tales that are sure to haunt you long after you finish the collection. 

“Once upon a time there was a girl…”

Available on Amazon.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This is a variety of stories that have one thing in common: they’re all dark and mostly about women. They represent suffering, loss, pain, and fear. I was surprised at how well the author was able to make me feel connected to the characters so quickly. Short stories often can have a good story but without the connection with the characters, so that was impressive.

Cry Your Way Home is seventeen short stories over different genres. I didn’t read them in one sitting. I could have because each story was pretty short but they’re so dark I didn’t want to read too many at one time! I definitely recommend Cry Your Way Home if you like dark fiction.

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About the Author

Damien Angelica Walters is the author of Cry Your Way HomePaper Tigers, and Sing Me Your Scars, winner of the 2015 This is Horror Award for Short Story Collection of the Year. Her short fiction has been nominated twice for a Bram Stoker Award, reprinted in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror and The Year’s Best Weird Fiction, and published in various anthologies and magazines, including the Shirley Jackson Award Finalists Autumn Cthulhu and The Madness of Dr. Caligari, World Fantasy Award Finalist Cassilda’s SongNightmare MagazineBlack Static, and Apex Magazine. Until the magazine’s closing in 2013, she was an Associate Editor of the Hugo Award-winning Electric Velocipede, and she lives in Maryland with her husband and two rescued pit bulls.

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Guest Post: Interview with Authors Andrew Joyce & Danny the Dog

Today we’re sitting down with authors Andrew Joyce and Danny the Dog for a joint interview. Andrew is the author of several novels, including his latest, Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups, and Danny writes a monthly column to keep his legions of fans informed as to his latest adventures. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

AJ: It’s a pleasure to be here.

DtD: Me too … I guess.

Tell me a little about yourselves and your backgrounds?

AJ: I’m a writer, which surprises me greatly. For the first three years of my writing career, I never referred to myself as a writer. It was only when the royalties started coming in and I could quit my day job that I dared think of myself as such.

DtD: I’m a dog.

What book or books have had a strong influence on you and/or your writing?

AJ: The works of Louis L’Amour and Robert B. Parker.

DtD: The genius writings of Danny the Dog.

AJ: Excuse me, but I need to speak to Danny for a minute.

AJ: What are you doing, Danny? You don’t seem to be taking this interview seriously. You’re giving one-word answers and when asked about your favorite authors, you say “yourself.” I know all us writers think of ourselves as our favorite author, but you’re not supposed to say that out loud.

DtD: Whatever! May we continue with the inquisition?

AJ: I’m sorry for Danny’s attitude.

That’s okay, Andrew. Danny and I understand one another. So let’s carry on. Going back to the beginning, what is it that got you into writing?

AJ: One morning, about six years ago, I went crazy. I got out of bed, went downstairs, and threw my TV out the window. Then I sat down at the computer and wrote my first short story. I threw it up on the internet just for the hell of it, and a few months later I was notified that it was to be included in a print anthology of the best short stories of 2011. I even got paid for it! I’ve been writing ever since.

DtD: One day, about five years ago, Andrew went out and left the computer on. He was always complaining about how hard it is to write anything decent, so I thought I’d show him how easy it is when one has talent. Is that a long enough answer for you, Andrew?

Tell us a little bit about your writing process.

AJ: I prefer to write in the early morning hours when things are quiet. I usually get up around 2:00 a.m. and go to work. The commute is not long … only a few steps to my computer.

DtD: I have to wait until Hemingway over there goes to bed.

AJ: By any chance, are you referring to me?

DtD: Yes, but only in an ironic way.

AJ: You see what I’ve got to put up with?

Now, boys, play nice. You are both professionals. What would your fans think?

AJ: You’re right. I’m sorry.

DtD: I’m the only one with fans around here. I’d say that Andrew’s been riding my coattails for years—if I had coattails. But for your sake, I’ll try to be well-behaved.

That’s a good doggie. Do either of you have any hobbies? Or anything you like to do in your spare time?

AJ: I like to read history and do research for my next book. I also like to watch old movies from the 1930s and ’40s.

DtD: My hobby is looking after His Nibs here. I’m always getting him out of trouble or bailing him out of jail after one of his benders. I call him Hemingway because he drinks like Ernie did. You should see ol’ Andrew when he’s had a snootful.

What are you two working on at the moment?

AJ: This interview.

DtD: Ditto.

AJ: High five, Danny.

DtD: Next question, please.

AJ: Hey, Danny. Don’t leave me hangin’.

DtD: Pleeease … give us the next question!

How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use a set formula?

AJ: I usually sit down to write a book with no idea where my characters will lead me. I start out with what I hope will be a killer first sentence … and the last paragraph of the book. Then I set out to fill the in-between space with 100,000 words. I find that the easy part. Sometimes I will bring my characters to a certain place, only to have them rebel when we get there. They’ll tell me they want to go somewhere else and take off on their own. I have no choice but to follow.

DtD: That was a pretty artsy-fartsy answer.

AJ: Was not.

DtD: Was too.

AJ: Was not!

DtD: Was too. Was too. Was too!!!

Boys! If you can’t behave, I’ll have to end the interview. As a child, Andrew what did you want to be when you grew up? And, as a puppy, Danny, what did you want to do?

AJ: I never wanted to grow up, and I believe I have succeeded.

DtD: I think he has, too. As a puppy, I only wanted to survive Andrew.

What would we find under your bed?

AJ: The monster that lives there.

DtD: When it thunders, me (and Andrew’s monster).

If you could travel into the past or future, where would you want to go? Why?

AJ: Egypt. I’d like to see the Great Pyramid being built.

DtD: The caveman days. I think it would be super-duper to be in a time before dogs allowed themselves to be “domesticated.”

What has been your worst or most difficult job?

AJ: Some jobs I’ve had in the past have been real doozies. I’ve done back-breaking physical labor. I’ve worked as a waiter for a short spell and hated every minute of it. I worked with and breathed in chemicals that have done a number on my lungs. But the worst job I ever had was when I was eighteen. I worked at a McDonalds for one day. At the end of the shift, I walked out never to return. I didn’t care about the pay I was owed or anything else. I just wanted out of there.

DtD: Looking after Andrew.

What group did you hang out with in high school?

AJ: I had no friends in high school. Still don’t … come to think of it.

DtD: At last … Andrew has said one true thing! I, of course, had no need of schooling. I was born brilliant. Not to mention wonderful, marvelous, and good looking.

What is something that you absolutely cannot live without?

DtD: If you don’t mind, I’ll field this one for both of us. For Andrew, it’s vodka. For me it’s Andrew.

AJ: Aw shucks, Danny.

Thank you for stopping by. It’s been a little different. However, I believe we’ve learned a few things about your writing processes … and a few other things as well.

AJ: Thank you for having us.

DtD: Yeah, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Continue reading

Book Review: Eating Robots and Other Stories by Stephen Oram

 

The future is bright…or is it?

Step into a high-tech vision of the future with the author of Quantum Confessions and Fluence, Stephen Oram.

Featuring health-monitoring mirrors, teleempathic romances and limb-repossessing bailiffs, Eating Robots explores the collision of utopian dreams and twisted realities in a world where humanity and technology are becoming ever more intertwined.

Sometimes funny, often unsettling, and always with a word of warning, these thirty sci-fi shorts will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

 

Goodreads  Amazon India  Amazon US
A universal booklinker link that detects which country you’re in and links to Eating Robots myBook.to/EatingRobots

 

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

There’s not one or two words I can think of that would describe these stories. I’d read one and think that it was interesting and then the next one would leave me with my mouth hanging open. Some of these stories will really make you think. For example, exactly how far is too far when it comes to technology?

Although I found some of the stories to be entertaining fiction, most of them are more a social commentary on where we are headed with today’s technology. In fact, at the end of the book, there are comments by several experts about some of the stories and how close we really are to some of these things happening. Perhaps we should use this book as more of a warning as to where we are headed rather than just as entertainment.

That being said, I did like this book and I have to buy a copy for my son. He will love and dissect it and show me things in it that I missed.

 

About the Author

Stephen Oram writes thought provoking stories that mix science fiction with social comment, mainly in a recognisable near-future. He is the Author in Residence at Virtual Futures’, once described as the ‘Glastonbury of cyberculture’. He has collaborated with scientists and future-tech people to write short stories that create debate about potential futures, most recently with the Human Brain Project and Bristol Robotics Laboratory as part of the Bristol Literature Festival.

As a teenager he was heavily influenced by the ethos of punk. In his early twenties he embraced the squatter scene and was part of a religious cult, briefly. He did some computer stuff in what became London’s silicon roundabout and is now a civil servant with a gentle attraction to anarchism.

He has two published novels – Quantum Confessions and Fluence – and several shorter pieces.

  

Find Stephen Oram on:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

 

 

The Amazon US purchase link in this post is an affiliate link. Purchasing through it helps sustain Bound 4 Escape.

 

 

 

Book Review: Three Modern Shorts: The Park Stories by K. Kris Loomis

No time for novels? Try these Single Sit Stories!
What happens when a distraught teen and a whacky old woman meet in the park? How about a couple that weaves tales about spies and incurable diseases? Or when a father and daughter are presented with the opportunity to get to know one another better under unusual circumstances?
In these three modern short stories, author K. Kris Loomis offers us glimpses of universally shared moments in everyday relationships and life. They are humorous, thought-provoking, and written to be read in one sitting.

LOVELY HORNS
FRIDAY AFTERNOON
THE KING STOMPER

Available on Amazon.

 

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

These are short stories about different people meeting at a park bench, whether by accident or on purpose. “Lovely Horns” is about desperation, kindness, and hope. “Friday Afternoon” is about avoidance. “The King Stomper” is cute but is about communication, or the lack of. 

If you’re looking for something to read in one sitting, I recommend Three Modern Shorts: The Park Stories. They’re short but well written and intriguing. I’m hoping to read more of this author’s short stories.

 

About the Author

K. Kris Loomis is the author of the humorous travel memoir, Thirty Days In Quito: Two Gringos and a Three-Legged Cat Move to Ecuador. She also writes adult parables and short stories as well as books about yoga and meditation. Kris is a determined chess player, an origami enthusiast, a classically trained pianist, and a playwright.

Website: http://www.kkrisloomis.com/

 

 

 

The purchase link in this post is an affiliate link. Purchasing through it helps sustain Bound 4 Escape.

Book Review: Deadly Beauties by Cherita Smith

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Genre: Dark paranormal, young adult

Pages: 41

Publication Date: August 3, 2016

Hell has its demons. Lux has Foster Dad George in LUX AETERNA, a coming-of-age superpower origin story—of a darker sort. Lux is just one of five troubled girls who haunt this trio of dark paranormal tales that will appeal to fans of Laini Taylor & Francesca Lia Block.

In MAUDLIN CARNIVAL, a mysterious investigator hunts through the memories of Evelyn Jones in search of the clues he needs to prevent her tragic death. But time is almost out. What will happen to Evelyn if he should fail?

In ROZA MIRA, Svetlana, Catalina and Soojin have it all: beauty, youth, successful modeling careers… and a creepy man in black who watches them from afar. But each day he gets closer. They call him El Flaco, Geulimja, a Rasputin in a suit. Who is he and what does he want? The three girls will soon find out—whether they like it or not. And chances are good it will be “or not.”

Links

 Amazon     Goodreads     iTunes     Barnes & Noble     Kobo

 

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

In some ways, it’s more difficult to review short stories because there’s less content than in a full-length novel, however, I did enjoy these short stories. They’re dark but interesting.

There wasn’t a lot to Lux Aeterna, but I did like where it was going with her power.

Maudlin Carnival was a little difficult to follow but it had an interesting premise. This investigator is looking through the memories of Evelyn Jones, trying to find some tidbit to help avoid her horrible death. Will he find something in time to help her?

The Roza Mira stories were my favorites. They combine real life problems of young successful supermodels with a bit of paranormal. These girls are so driven, but are they too driven? Will they give up too much to get the fame that they crave?

I definitely recommend Deadly Beauties if you like dark fiction. I’d like to read more!

 

About the Author

41xlnxznfel-_ux250_Cherita Smith is a writer of fictional words, doer of magical deeds, lover of social justice, dope street art and pretty, girly things. A Los Angeles native, she writes speculative fiction of all kinds, from dystopian sci-fi to paranormal urban fantasy. Whatever the subgenre, dark, lush and haunting with a dash of creepy-thriller is her preferred writing jam.

In the not-too-distant past, her bread and butter was fundraising and online marketing for organizations like Brave New Films and Film Independent, who produce the Los Angeles Film Festival and Spirit Awards. She did a lot of writing then, too, only none of it was speculative and it was (mostly) non-fiction.

 

 

Short Story Review: Environmentally Friendly by Elias Zanbaka

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Out of seven billion people, one man has declared war on Mother Nature and plans to bring it to its knees.

Out of all the criminals in Los Angeles, he’s the number one target being hunted by the LAPD tonight.

And out of the entire LAPD, one officer is hell-bent on helping him complete his mission.

 

My Review

I got this story from Amazon when it was available for free.

Environmentally Friendly is very short but intense. A man has escaped from a psychiatric hospital and is waging war on Mother Nature with a flame thrower and a chainsaw. The LAPD, of course, wants to stop him but one officer wants to protect him as well by helping him to complete his perceived mission.

Even though this story is short, I really liked it. It is suspenseful and even has a twist. If you’re looking for a quick but good read, I recommend Environmentally Friendly.

 

Available on Amazon.