Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Return of the Dittos - Dale Andrew White

                I had just read a different collection of stories written by Dale Andrew White and found them oddly enjoyable so I thought I would try this collection and see if they would provide the same amount of enjoyment. One of the big improvements over Moe Howard Died For Our Sins is the cover. It’s not a whole lot better but for some reason the image of an old fashioned television caught my eye. It represents well the title story, Return of the Dittos, which is about a sitcom family, the Dittos, who were popular many years ago and now are ready to make a comeback to TV land. The problem is that weight has been gained, plastic surgery has been done and careers have grown tepid, at best. It’s a funny tongue-in-cheek look at where the sitcom stars would be today and their actions with the comeback. It’s hilariously realistic. The Labor’s of Peon examines a grocery store bagboy revolt. Yes, you read correctly. A bagboy revolt. It sounds ridiculous but it is actually quite funny and, again, dare I say a bit realistic.
                It’s this realism that makes Mr. White’s collections so entertaining and wickedly fun to read. They seem insane but there is just a smidgeon of truth to them even if we won’t admit it to ourselves. Some of the stories also made me think about things that have never before crossed my mind. For example, how did Christopher Columbus’s mother react when he told her that he was going to be sailing around the world that she believed to be flat? Mr. White imagines that tongue lashing and so much more about this famous event in the short story, The Last Coronation.
                My only problem with the book was some minor editing, such as the lack of commas in places that really seemed to need them. It’s a minor issue but some of the sentences seemed to run together. Other than that, this is a fun collection of twenty really short stories that will give you a laugh…if you have an odd sense of humour, which I do.
                I read this on my ereader where it formatted well. The cover, as I stated above, is interesting but could still use a little work in order to draw the reader’s eye to it.

Moe Howard Died For Our Sins - Dale Andrew White

                Moe Howard Died For Our Sins is a short collection of very odd little stories that some may find too strange for their taste but I found quite entertaining. The secondary title of the book is Made-To-Fit Tales for the Maladjusted and it’s probably this title that made me choose this book. The cover, to be honest, is not interesting at all and when that is the case it is necessary to have a great title to attract readers. Mr. White has provided the great title and the tales within deliver the quirkiness that is promised in the title. The stories are very short and easy to read and it would make a great bathroom book (we all know we have them). I do have a few favourites from the book, such as The Battle of Florence Tucker, which is about a lady who finds out that her perfectly southern life isn’t quite as cut and dried as she thought it was. It’s full of humour and I really wish that Mr. White would write an entire book with Florence Tucker and her friends and family as the characters. Another favourite was Nature of the Beasts. It’s this wonderfully written look at racism and fitting in when you’re from a different culture. The difference is that the characters are actual pigs. It reminded me a lot of one of my favourite books of all time, Animal Farm.
                Some of the stories really don’t seem to work. They sometimes end abruptly, as if the author decided all of a sudden that he was finished with the story. However, there were only a couple like this and, although I didn’t like all of them to the extent that I did the other ones, especially Nature of the Beasts, they are a wickedly humorous little collection that will be a fun read for anyone with a bit of an off-beat sense of humour. Sometimes the stories can have a bit of nastiness to them (one refers to a homely lady as the Paper Bag Award) but I’ve never been very politically correct so it was right up my ally. It is definitely a book that will provide some amusement to those interested.
                I read this book on my ereader and it formatted well. As I mentioned above, the cover could use some work so that it would entice a reader to pick the book up.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Boat Shoes: Soliloquy of a Useless Eater Book One - Daire Feeney

                Boat Shoes: Soliloquy of a Useless Eater is the story of the author’s job as a doorman for a swanky apartment building on Fifth Avenue. I love to read the dirt others have about rich people and how they act. I’m not sure if it’s because I want to feel morally righteous or that I feel better knowing how miserable rich people often are. Either way, this seemed like a book that I would really enjoy. I also liked the cover which is a quirky depiction of a typical doorman. Mr. Feeney starts the book by warning the reader that he will more than likely offend them in some way before the end of the story and he’s not going to apologize for it. This is a smart move on his part because there were times that the book dragged a bit and the only thing that kept me reading was the fact that I was waiting for the big event that would cause me to “clutch my pearls”. I’m pretty open-minded but the events in Chapter Fifteen, the final chapter in the book, were completely unbelievable and, if they are true, Ms. K. and the author both need to be locked up in mental wards. There’s also an event involving a young man with Asperger’s syndrome that, unfortunately, is exactly how many people would treat him in similar circumstances, especially in the years before political correctness became such a huge issue. This event probably offended me more than anything else in the book and I didn’t find it remotely funny, even if the author thought it was.
                The main thing I did learn while reading this book is that I would never make it as a door person because I couldn’t stand to be treated like these people are treated. The building is like its own little Downton Abbey where the rich live like royalty and treat the help like dirt. The ironic thing is that the help, in particular the doormen, know everybody’s secrets. There were definitely some interesting tidbits throughout about the job and the tenants of the building but for those readers easily offended, don’t even bother picking this book up.
                I read this book on my ereader and it formatted well. The cover, as I stated above, is amusing and what drew me to the book in the first place.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Twisted Threads - Kaylin McFarren

                The first thing that the author tells the reader in the prologue of the book is that she likes to have a variety of different “threads” in a story that all eventually tie together. It’s a challenge for her to see how many storylines and characters she can juggle and then have those all tie in. When I read this, my first thought was that this would just end up being a confusing book with far too many characters. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Ms. McFarren accomplished all that she had set out to do and did it very well.
                Twisted Threads is an erotic mystery set on a cruise ship that no one in real life would ever want to sail on. There are numerous murders, some quite grotesque (think of an elevator and a decapitation), and all are covered up by a rather creepy captain. There’s also romance as well and it is a bit on the steamy side by places so if you’re not interested in or are bothered by erotica, be aware that there are some explicit scenes in the book, although not overwhelmingly so. The chemistry between Akira, a trained assassin, and Devon , a wealthy cruise guest, is so well written that it almost jumps off the page at you. I’m not usually a big lover of romance in a whodunit because I find it can take away from the mystery but in Twisted Threads it adds to the whole story line in a necessary and pleasing manner. There are a lot of characters and, at times, it did become a bit confusing as to who was who but as the mystery deepens, the characters became more developed and fleshed out so that they were easier to distinguish between.
                The story is quite intricate with many twists and turns that left me constantly thinking I had things figured out but then realizing I was wrong. The dialogue is believable except for a few incidences where something a character said just didn’t ring true but it happened so few times that it in no way took away from the mystery. If someone is looking for a fun and somewhat steamy cruise ship whodunit, then Twisted Threads is well worth reading.
                I read the digital version of this book and it formatted well. The cover could reflect the story a bit better and it didn’t really catch my eye.