Tag Archives: books

Book Review – You Dear, Sweet Man by Thomas Neviaser

How much attention do you give to the advertisements that surround you every day?  They’re constantly there, and many of them barely even register.  But what if one of them insisted that you pay attention?  Such is the case in You Dear, Sweet Man.

Note:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  I will always give you my honest opinion on something before linking to it.

You Dear, Sweet Man is the story of a burger joint that will go to any lengths needed to redesign its marketing campaign and keep up with the times.  It’s also the story of a burned out man in search of something new in his life.  There’s also the story of the two young-and-hungry men who are desperate to help make the ad happen, and the woman who is manipulating all of them.

What I Loved:  This story was so very different from anything I’ve read recently, and I mean that in a good way.  It wasn’t just your average genre fiction.  The characters were well-developed and described, making them easy to differentiate from each other and to envision as I read.  The story held my attention even when I really wasn’t certain what direction the story was heading.  I think this is in large part because the opening chapter was such a great hook, and it made me want to know more.  There’s also just a great sense of suspense.  Once I finished, I felt that You Dear, Sweet Man had an ending reminiscent of something out of the Twilight Zone.

What I Didn’t Love So Much:  Unfortunately, this book could really use some better editing.  There were repeated or missing words and redundant phrasing that needed to be taken care of.  Overall, the story was well-written, but I found these distracting.

I also felt that the ending could have used a little bit more explanation.  I don’t want to go into anything specific in order to avoid spoilers, but I wish there was a little bit more clarification.  Perhaps it was meant to be somewhat mysterious, and I can see how that works, but I’m one of those people who really likes to understand what’s going on.

Rating and Recommendations:  I hovered back and forth for the star rating on this one because I was slightly disappointed at the end.  Since it is so innovative and well-written, though, I’m giving it 4 stars.

I recommend this book for anyone who likes science fiction when it’s incorporated into our current way of life.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Interested in having your book reviewed?  Contact me.

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Book Review: Five Weeks in a Balloon by Jules Verne

It’s not often that I have a cold, rainy Saturday with nothing to do.  Oh sure, there are plenty of things I could have done, but since I didn’t have to I decided to finish this book.

Five Weeks in a Balloon is the first in a collection of seven novels in this gorgeous volume I picked up at Barnes and Noble a few months ago.  The tale follows Dr. Ferguson, Dick Kennedy, and the faithful Joe Wilson as they traverse Africa in a balloon, attempting to investigate the depths of the continent that have up until that point been unreachable by other explorers traveling on the ground.

Verne, as always, did a fantastic job with his description.  As the trio explores vast landscapes, battles dangerous animals, and fights the elements, the reader is easily pulled into every scene.  They say that as a writer you have to learn how to torture your characters in order to make a good story, and that most certainly happens in this novel.  The characters are almost constantly in danger of some sort, just barely pulling free before it’s too late.  One of my favorite examples of this is when the men in the balloon pull a man from his horse to safety as he’s being pursued by a group of angry horsemen.

A tale of exploration, peril, and constant adventure, I recommend Five Weeks in a Balloon to anyone looking for a little excitement.  I would also suggest that the reader keep in mind the fact that this book was published in 1863, so the rather Eurocentric viewpoint is a manifestation of its time in history.

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…Because Who Doesn’t Love the Smell of a Book?

Sometime last year, I was involved in a discussion about whether the “packaging” that a book comes in is important or not.  More specifically, this meant was a book any better for being printed on paper instead of being produced in ebook format?

My answer, if I was listening to the logical angel on one shoulder, was no.  A good story is a good story.  It doesn’t matter if it has a great cover, or lots of marketing, or what it might or might not be printed on.  These factors affect how well the book sells and who buys it, but they don’t change anything about the story itself.

The passionate angel on the other shoulder thoroughly disagreed.  Sure, ebooks are convenient, good for the environment, cheaper, blah blah blah.  But you don’t get the same sensation of holding the book.  You don’t hear that beautiful scrapey noise of the pages turning.  You don’t get the sweet, comforting sensation of reading words that are permanently imprinted on paper.  Most of all, you don’t get that smell.  It doesn’t matter if they’re new or old, books smell amazing.

I’m thinking about this right now because I just requested the cover edits for my upcoming book.  Like always, I’ll release it in both formats.  Like always, I’ll be excited to see the listing on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and various other platforms with my name and a thumbnail picture of the book.  But I will be absolutely thrilled to actually feel the hard copy of it in my hand and to smell the fresh ink on those crisp, white pages.

What do you think?  Is there a difference to you in how the book you’re reading is packaged?  I’d love to know!

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Dragon Tears…The Mourning Period

As I’ve mentioned before, The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping is a project I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.  It’s changed names, characters, and even the basic plot, but it’s still a dream come true to know that very soon people will be reading it!  It seems, however, that I am in book mourning.

You know that feeling when you finish reading a book, and it’s so good that you just can’t possibly turn right around and pick up something different?  Like it would be an insult to the characters and the story to move on to something else so quickly?  Well, it’s the same way when you’ve finished writing.  And I’ve spent A LOT more time writing this book than anyone will ever spend reading it.

Sure, I have other book projects that have been floating around for awhile, waiting for their turn.  The sequel for The Graveside Detective  (for which I also mourned greatly….I was so attached to Frank) is just begging to be written.  But for the moment, it’s going to have to wait.  I need some time to get over this one.

Want to help me cast off the black veil?  You can pre-order an autographed copy here and join my release event here.  May you mourn as I do.  🙂

 

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Here Be Pre-Ordered Dragons!

Dragon Keeper Thumbnail

Hello everyone! I am thoroughly enjoying Dragon Month both here and on my Facebook page!  Sure, it might be Shark Week for some, but who can turn down a whole month of mystical creatures?  Big thanks to everyone who has joined my release event so far!  The main thing I want to let you know about today in the progression of my new release is that you can pre-order an autographed copy of The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping right here through my Facebook store!  I’ve already had quite a few pre-orders come in, and it gives me little dragonflies in my stomach to see the numbers tick up!  So thank you again to everyone who has helped me out with this, and if you haven’t yet, well, come join the party!

 

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A Dragon Dream Come True…Cover Reveal!

When I was about 14, my brother gave me a copy of The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley for my birthday.  It was my first foray into fantasy novels, and the beginning of an incredible stage of my life.  I absolutely fell in love with the genre, and for many years would read almost nothing else.  There have been other genre addictions (historical fiction, chick lit, and that time where if it didn’t say “Stephen King” on the cover I wouldn’t touch it), but fantasy has got to be the longest running and most influential one for me.

Shortly after my addiction started, I decided I would write a fantasy novel.  I had always loved to write and had notebooks full of poetry, so this wasn’t so much of a stretch…except that I hadn’t written anything of that length before and really had no idea how to go about it.  I wrote the first chapter, and there my dream died for many many years.

Earlier this year I decided to revive that old dream.  I have long since lost that first chapter, which might be a good thing because I’m sure it’s terrible.  The story has evolved quite a bit, but nevertheless I am thrilled to be releasing The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping at the end of this month!  Be sure to visit my Facebook page to pre-order!

Now here’s a special treat for my fantastic followers:  COVER REVEAL!

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Welcome to The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping. You no doubt have stumbled upon this book due to a great need, whether realized or otherwise. You are a very select individual, placed in a very exclusive position of responsibility. Dragon keeping is not for the faint of heart.

 

Aubrey Goodknight is alone. Orphaned at a young age, she long ago stopped believing in the fantasies and mythical creatures she had so loved as a child. When she’s diagnosed with breast cancer, she’s certain things couldn’t be more desolate. That is, until she stumbles across The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping, which changes her life completely. Raising a baby dragon in a modern, non-magical world isn’t a challenge she’s sure she’s up to. Now, Aubrey must learn that seeing isn’t always believing, but believing can be the most powerful kind of magic.

 

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A Special Reward for my Followers

I want to thank my wonderful fabulous followers with a very special present:  you are the very first to know about my new release at the end of August!  The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping is set to come out August 31st.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about it…well, actually, I’ll be doing just that in an upcoming post, because this book really means a lot to me.

Here’s what you need to know with this exclusive insider information:

-Throughout August, I’ll have oodles of dragon and fantasy posts on my Facebook page, as well as a giveaway!

-Also on Facebook, I will have the ultimate pre-sale!  You can order AUTOGRAPHED paperback copies of The Wanderer’s Guide directly from the Product tab on my page, before they are available on Amazon!  (And because I love you, the autographs are free!)  Stay tuned for more details!

Coming up next:  cover reveal!

Old open book with magic light and falling stars on wooden table

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