Short Story Saturday #12

Welcome to this week’s edition of Short Story Saturday, where I find books 100 pages or less on Amazon that are both self-published or small press published and worth reading, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature!
 

Z is for Zombie by Philip Hansen

Publisher:  Self-published

Genre:  Horror

This 21 page story is available as an ebook from Amazon.  More reviews can be found on Goodreads.

It’s the end of the world as we know it… and nothing is fine.

Mack, Skinny, Navarette and El Tee are Echo Squad, soldiers on the frontlines of the zombie war. Faced with an army of zombies that hungers for all flesh to be eaten their tiny group must survive deadly decap zombies and wicked clever roamer zombies in time for an aerial assault that will change the face of the battleground against the living dead.

Z is for Zombie is an action-packed gun-porn short story in the world of the living dead.

This is a man’s story.  A story worthy of a man cave and the story to read between Halo 3 matches.  I wasn’t surprised to learn that the author is an avid gamer (as am I) and the utter pwnage of the characters over the zombies in the novels was epic…like purple epic…like I just beat the hidden cow level epic.  Okay, okay.  Seriousness.  This is a story about soldiers…in a zombie apocalypse.  They talk like soldiers and there is quite a bit of military jargon used in the story.  I loved the dialogue.  The descriptions are so vivid.  The pacing and action is super fast.  The plot and characters feel so authentic and intense that I just have a need to read the story out loud – and then I realize that I probably shouldn’t in front of my kid.  I don’t want to explain what “headshot” means.

Warning:  excessive cursing  violence, and gore.

I do have one complaint – the text is in a stupid font and non-adjustable.  Besides that, this is a pretty awesome short story.

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Short Story Saturday #11

Welcome to this week’s edition of Short Story Saturday, where I find books 100 pages or less on Amazon that are both self-published/small press published and worth reading, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature!
Sorry about the late posting.  It’s been a crazy weekend. 

After the Darkness (Episode One) by SunHi Mistwalker

Publisher:  Self-published

Genre:  Dsytopian

This 27 page story is available as an ebook from Amazon.  More reviews can be found on Goodreads.

Even in a world of never-ending winters and permanent darkness, fourteen-year-old Nadia Comani has everything she could ever want: power, privilege, a loving family and most importantly warmth. But her family’s refusal to compromise their values changes everything. Nadia is cast down from her pedestal of power onto the trash heap of the lower classes. No longer guaranteed a life of ease, Nadia faces a future of servitude. Branded as powerless and deviant, will Nadia muster the strength to save herself and what remains of her family?

This dystopian short short is descriptive to the point where the metaphors and imagery does slow the pacing of the story.  I would recommend that you read this story without distractions and truly let yourself be absorbed by the world the author paints with her images.  Not much is known about Nadia’s “normal” life in the beginning of the story, as she is abducted along with her sister within the first couple of pages.  The situation is bleak for Nadia and the people treat her more like a slave than a princess.  For someone who enjoys “darker” stories, I enjoyed the beginning chapters of Nadia’s tale.  I did notice one missing word from a sentence (72%)- but besides that both the formatting and grammar are good.  And as a warning, Episode One does end on a cliffhanger.

Note:  The cover was recently redesigned.  I think the new one looks awesome.

About the author:

Author of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction. Mistwalker enjoys writing books about how societal collapse can change individuals and families. She specifically explores class, economics, environmentalism and state sponsored oppression within post-apocalyptic and dystopian futures.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Short Story Saturday #10

Welcome to this week’s edition of Short Story Saturday, where I find books 100 pages or less on Amazon that are both self-published/small press published and worth reading, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature!

Nordic Fairies by Saga Berg

Publisher:  Self-published

Genre:  Fantasy

This 36 page story is available as an ebook from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  More reviews can be found on Goodreads.  Nordic Fairies is currently FREE!  Download your copy today.

What would you do if your lover since a thousand years back in time reappeared after two years apart as a famous movie star, and you couldn’t get to him?

Svala and Viggo have spent a hundred lives together over the last thousand years. As Liosálfar, Nordic light fairies, their job is to do good and to uphold a balance in the mortal world. A balance, often compromised by the Döckálfar, Nordic dark fairies.

In this life, Svala turns on her TV and learns that Viggo has become a popular movie star. This is not only highly unexpected, it indicates something is wrong and that Viggo is attempting to contact Svala before their assignments are carried out, an action which is strictly forbidden.

Svala seeks him out, but not without breaking a few rules of her own, and learning that things are not always as they seem.

This is the first part of the Novella Series Nordic Fairies. The second part Freja (Nordic Fairies, #2) was released in March 2012 and the third part, Döckálfar (Nordic Fairies, #3) will be released during the summer 2012. So far, a total of five parts are planned in the Nordic Fairies series.

Nordic Fairies is a low fantasy novella series with a new concept of fairies where Saga Berg introduces Nordic light and dark fairies, Liosálfar and Döckálfar in a contemporary setting. The series has been very well received by readers in all ages with high ratings and amazing reviews on Amazon.

This is the first part in a series, so be forewarned that the end of this part is far from the end of the story.  It’s a fun story but a teaser.  If you haven’t read anything by Saga Berg, then take advantage of Nordic Faeries #1 free download right now.  But, don’t be surprise when you find yourself clicking the buy button on part 2 and 3 because you NEED to find out what happens with Svala and Viggo.

About the author:

Saga Berg was born in Sweden during the snow storm of 1979 and knew already at the age of seven that she wanted to become a writer. She studied English and Communication at the University of Malmö, then took her Bachelor in Marketing- and Communications at the same University.

After working a few years as a Marketing Manager, Saga Berg started writing the novella series Nordic Fairies, her first published story. The Nordic Fairies series is a low fantasy novella series with a new concept of fairies and introduces Nordic light and dark fairies, Liosálfar and Döckálfar fighting for balance in a contemporary world. The series has been very well received by readers in all ages with high ratings and amazing reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Nobel.

Three parts of the series is currently published, Nordic Fairies (Nordic Fairies, #1), and Freja (Nordic Fairies, #2), Döckálfar (Nordic Fairies, #3) and Daughters (Nordic Fairies, #4). So far, a total of six parts are planned in the Nordic Fairies series.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Short Story Saturday #9

Welcome to this week’s edition of Short Story Saturday, where I find books 100 pages or less on Amazon that are both self-published/small press published and worth reading, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature!

Hallow’s Ween by Rex Jameson

Publisher:  Self-published

Genre:  Horror (Recommended for MG)

This 47 page story is available as an ebook from Amazon and Smashwords.  More reviews can be found on Goodreads.

Talented teenage witch Chloe Hallow seeks the heart of the love of her life, but when her attempts at a normal conversation fail, she falls back on what she knows best: alchemy. The resulting spell leaves an indelible stain on the small magical community of Squirrel Hill, but every year, her enduring legacy touches the world.

Hallow’s Ween is a 13,500 word short story that details the surprising, magical origins of one of our most beloved holidays.

The essence of this story reminds me of the creepy yet innocent horror of Goosebumps.  Chloe is a girl who wants nothing more than to spend forever with her crush, Jacob.  “Be careful what you wish for” is the motto here.  Chloe gets exactly what she asks for, which is not at all what she wants.  The twist is predictable if you’re paying attention but no less creepy than if it wasn’t when it actually happens.  I would say that the actual story part of this short story is great MG horror.  I would definitely read another short in this genre by the author.

I think that the prologue and epilogue harmed this story.  The effort made to make this book seem non-fiction made it feel less real to me and its shortcomings more obvious.  According to the prologue, this is an story of how trick and treat and Halloween began, but the story was written very modern.  The dialogue and references are modern.  The Wiccan religion didn’t exist until the 1930s (it was called something different prior to then) while Halloween and trick or treating has been around for centuries.

I’m torn on what to rate this story.  There’s talent in the art of writing horror from this author.  I think with some further editing (either remove the historical implications or make it more historically accurate) this could be easily a 4 or 5 star short story.  For now, I’m going to rate it a 3 and recommend that fans of MG horror only read chapters 1 to 5 to maximise the creepy-factor.  Ignore the prologue until after you read the story.

*Please note that there is a newer update for this book than I based my review on.  I haven’t had the chance to read the changes, but I’m told that some of the issues addressed in this review are fixed.*

Giveaway:

If you are a member of LibraryThing (it’s quick and easy to sign up), you can enter to win a free copy of this book HERE.  Giveaway ends 10/10.

About the author:

Rex Jameson is the author of the Primal Patterns series of novels and the Perspectives series of novelettes. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife Jenny and a cadre of psychotic calicos who sometimes ambush him in his sleep. He recently earned his PhD in Computer Science from Vanderbilt University and is thoroughly nerdy. Rex is also an avid movie buff who likes to torture his wife with practical jokes and inappropriate public displays of affection.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Short Story Saturday #8

Welcome to this week’s edition of Short Story Saturday, where I find books 100 pages or less on Amazon that are both self-published/small press published and worth reading, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature!

Looking Through Lace by Ruth Nestvold

Publisher:  Self-published

This 71 page story is available as an ebook from Amazon.  More reviews can be found on Goodreads.

As the only woman on the first contact team, xenolinguist Toni Donato expected her assignment on Christmas would be to analyze the secret women’s language — but then the chief linguist begins to sabotage her work. What is behind it? Why do the men and women have separate languages in the first place? What Toni learns turns everything she thought they knew on its head.

Originally published in Asimov’s in 2003, “Looking Through Lace” was a finalist for the Tiptree and Sturgeon awards. The Italian translation won the Premio Italia for best work of speculative fiction in translation in 2007.

“Looking Through Lace” is a novella of approximately 20,000 words.

So how interesting can it be to read about a woman learning a new language?  Well, with the expert grammar skills of the author (she is an English professor), it’s as interesting as humanly possible.  This novella  length science fiction story started out fairly slow.  Its short length is a positive, as I’m not sure I could handle a novel on this topic.  That said, it was fasinating watch Toni defragment an alien language using skills that linguistics use in a way that a non linguist can understand and enjoy.  Besides the science fiction, there is also a bit of mystery as Toni discovers why her boss is being so difficult and hindering her progress.  If you love anthropology or learning how to decode a language, this would be an awesome novella to check out.  There is some romance, but due to length it isn’t too developed.  If you’re looking for more of a thriller or paranormal story, then this probably isn’t a good choice for you.

Short Story Saturday #7

I skipped this last week because I had 6 tours/promos to fit in.  I really do love sharing stories that I’ve found on Amazon with you guys, so I’ll try not to over-book myself again.


Kid by Steve Emmett

Publisher:  Self-published

This 12 page story is available as an ebook from Amazon.  More reviews can be found on Goodreads.

From the author of the acclaimed Diavolino comes this chilling, short horror story set somewhere in England a few centuries ago. Born hideously deformed, Kid was never even given a name. When illness took away his hearing, his family shunned him completely and he retreated to the forest. Chanced upon by the local sheriff, Kid is forced to work as torturer and executioner. One evening he is visited by a stranger bearing a gift. All Kid has to do is choose…

I swear I spent more time thinking about this book than reading it.  At only 12 pages long, you might not think that an author can cram in scenes so vivid that every sense comes alive.  It’s creepy and disturbing.  I think the choice Kid made was 100% the wrong choice.  The ending isn’t well-defined but I’m left with the feeling that the results of this gift aren’t going to make Kid’s life any better.  Definitely a 5 star short story.


The Grip by Griffin Hayes

Publisher:  Trebor Books

This 13 page story is available as an ebook on Amazon.  More reviews can be found on Goodreads.

Lt. Cready and Engineer Andreas Chavez have been chosen to man a claustrophobic outpost on the outer edge of the solar system. After a year and a half with no word from Earth, nerves become frayed and tensions mount as Cready begins to suspect that his friend isn’t entirely human.

I liked this short story and then I didn’t.  I liked the set-up and the ending…but the middle was too much of an angry monologue to thrill me.  I thought that there was something missing – like the ending was rushed.

Short Story #5

Madly by M. Leighton

Publisher:  Self published

Madly is FREE today on Amazon.  More reviews are available on Goodreads.

Madly is your average nearly-eighteen year old girl—for a princess, that is.

Madly James is thoroughly enjoying her internship in the small town of Slumber when the unthinkable happens—there’s a prison break in Atlas, the magically-protected home of Madly’s race. A traitor has set free eight Lore, the spirits of what humans know as fairy tales, and they are making their way to Slumber to awaken their descendants.

In order to save her home, the lives of her family, and all of humanity, Madly must learn to wield her exceptional powers and recapture the Lore before it’s too late and all is lost. But Madly’s only help are her two best friends and the Sentinel, Jackson Hamilton, that threatens both her heart and her destiny. Madly has loved Jackson as long as she can remember, but he is the one thing even a princess can’t have. Can she resist love to become the queen she was fated to be? Or can she find a way to have both?

This novelette introduces you to Madly and prepares you for the quest of a lifetime.

Madly is a mermaid novella that may or may not interest you.  The main character (Madly) acts like a complete teenager, only she is a princess too.  The story has a little bit of a love-triangle going on but it’s fairly light-hearted and it is quite obvious who Madly will end up with.  My major gripe is that it ends on a cliffhanger, but that gripe is soften by the fact that the other parts of the trilogy are already available on Kindle and full sized novels currently priced at $2.99.  So, if you like Mermaids with a dash of drama and romance, this is a good short read (53 pages) to check out this week.  Best of all, this novella is FREE to read if you purchase it now.

Short Story Saturday #4

Be Paranoid Be Prepared by Dina Rae

Genre:  Thriller/Suspense

A James Martin adventure and short story. While working in a strip club, James falls in love with a stripper. She is not what he expected.

At only 12 pages long this is more of an introduction to the series than a full-fledged short story, but worth your time if you plan on checking out the rest of the series.  I was surprised by how well-developed James is in such a short amount of words.  He’s not your average Joe Blow – well, he does blow…lots of it.  Currently only $.99 from Amazon on ebook.


Maelyn (The Nine Princesses Novellas) by Anita Valle

Genre:  YA fantasy (Although I’d say it fits more in MG)

Months later, the king returned home and presented his astonished queen with not one, but nine baby girls. “One from each kingdom I visited,” said the king. “They are orphans.” The queen wept joyously at the row of cradles, each bearing a sleeping infant. After bestowing a kiss on each child’s forehead she said, “Now they are princesses.”

Book 1: Maelyn was not born a princess. The king found her as a child, the lone survivor of a poor village slaughtered by the Red Fever. Suddenly she became a princess of Runa Realm, the first of nine orphans adopted by the king.

By her eighteenth year, Maelyn rules over Runa and a family of nine sisters. But some call the princesses frauds and imposters, a handful of urchins raised into royalty. Even Uncle Jarrod, the High King of Grunwold, seems determined to prove that Maelyn no longer deserves to be a princess. With a family losing faith in her, and a kingdom growing dangerously hostile, even Maelyn begins to wonder if she is truly a real princess. And if her riches will turn to rags once again….

The Nine Princesses Novellas is a series that chronicles the adventures of an unconventional family of princesses, the struggles they face in a kingdom often hostile to their humble origins, and the day-to-day dramas of nine young women whose personalities often clash like swords. Fans of Gail Carson Levine and Shannon Hale would enjoy this young-adult series.

At 78 pages this is technically a novella but still a very quick read.  I wasn’t sure what genre to stick it in, since it felt like a Disney princess story.  In other words, my child at heart absolutely adored this novella.  I honestly think that Maelyn will appeal more to pre-teens than teenage girls, as she’s very naive and loyal.  She cares more about the welfare of her sisters and kingdom than snagging a boy.  So this pick is for all the princesses at heart.  Loved it.  Currently only $.99 from Amazon.

Short Story Saturday #2

This week’s short story is for all my dark fiction lovers who are tired of reading stories about ponies and unicorns and magic beans to their children.  Here is a very adorable tale about a young zombie who tries to tell his parents about a human in his closet.  His parents don’t believe him until it is too late.  The lesson in this book is for the parents – believe your little zombies.  It is currently FREE on Amazon.  Buy your Kindle copy HERE.  I would purchase a board book version in a heartbeat, but unfortunately it is only available on ebook.

There’s a Human in my Closet by Ryan Leach and Mike Bombon

Summary:

This is the story of young little Zed
An interesting boy who is very undead.

Like little boys, he sometimes tells lies
And sooner or later he’ll learn that’s not wise.

Crying wolf, is what human boys do,
But for zombie boys, they cry about me and about you.