Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Review’

tongue sticking out

I got another lovely review for Old, Fat Punks – which is nice, but it came with some problems. As an independent writer with no self confidence, reviews are brilliant both for one’s self esteem (even, often, when they’re negative) and for garnering additional sales. When a couple – both writers and lovely people – both reviewed my book on the US Amazon site, it triggered some sort of automated script that deleted both reviews.

I tried appealing, they tried appealing, but all any of us seemed to get were more automated emails that didn’t seem to stem from a human being. We got nowhere.

You can read more about these shenanigans HERE.

For my part, I understand the need to avoid fake or malicious reviews, but these seems a bit odd. Couples often use the same products, read the same books and are enthusiastic about the same things. Even outside of couples, groups of friends often share housing for years at a time and, similarly, share similar interests. Not only is this creepily intrusive with your data, but it’s counterproductive for Amazon, sellers and consumers.

The really important part is, of course, the actual review…

I loved the book. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, thanks to Desborough’s clever wit. The setup is ingenious and hilarious: a group of middle-aged punk rocker friends meet in a pub that’s relevance is waning as surely as their own. After they go several rounds comparing sources of unhappiness and lamenting how futile it is to change the world for the better, they manage to hatch a plan that is as brilliant as it is doomed to fail. Or succeed? Does it even matter? The book is a must-read for anyone who craves another perspective on contemporary politics.

For me, this was a 5-star book, in that it was a thoroughly entertaining read, stayed true to its promise, and had zero flaws. It sucked me in and kept me riveted to the end, and I came to care about the characters and their issues, which are real and wholly felt. It resonated with me, and I think it would resonate with other readers.

But you should check out Lisa’s work as well. Clearly she’s a fine writer with excellent taste!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

56774f3a74724023f8767d1232a9d332

Old, Fat Punks got another lovely review, which I missed because I don’t pay enough attention to my reviews!

People really, really seem to like it, which is encouraging. I probably should write more books and put more effort into finding an agent.

“Well, I took a bung on a book just by its cover. And it was well worth the read. Full of life, with believable characters and a vivid colourful background. As a member of generation x and an ageing hippy, this is brilliant, political and strikes anchors with the masses .”

“To be honest I reckon I know the main characters in the book, so close to some of my own friends.”

“Brilliant. Just brilliant. cannot wait for his next work.”

✮✮✮✮✮

 

Read Full Post »

poisonI follow quite a few writers that I like on Twitter and through them I discover other writers that I might not otherwise be aware of. This has become something of a phenomenon for me, finding writers on social media, making their acquaintance and then feeling like you sort of owe it to them to read their work.

Sarah Pinborough (@SarahPinborough) is one of those whom I found via Joe Abercrombie (@LordGrimdark). Having followed her for a while (she makes me laugh every day and she pisses off Steven Leather) I finally found the money and the time to get one of her books and to read it. These things are more difficult than you might think when you’re writing yourself all day every day, looking at another book can become painful, especially if they’re better than you – which Sarah is. Still, I managed it, and I’m glad I did.

In the interests of full disclosure, I quite fancy Ms Pinborough* but I’ll try not to let that get in the way! *Grin*

Poison is part of a series of books by Ms Pinborough (Poison, Charm and Beauty) that re-tell well-known fairy tales but with a twist. Really, it’s more like an un-twist since anyone with a passing interest in fairy stories knows that the original versions of a lot of these tales were pretty goddamn fucking grim and they got cleaned up and Disneyfied over time. Ms Pinborough sets about putting the grim back into Grimm with gay abandon and it works incredibly well.

There’s a nuance here that you simply don’t find in the children’s versions, along with a wonderful way of playing along with and then subverting the kind of stereotypical expectations you have of the story. All the normal ingredients are there and a whole paragraph can tease you along with its typical, traditional, stereotypical nature before suddenly – BAM – subverting it and making you grin and chuckle like a loon.

The evil queen you almost sympathise with, Snow White is so sickeningly saccharine that you almost want her to get her comeuppance. The seven dwarves have an air of the friendzoned nerd boy about them and both Prince Charming and The Huntsman are as much a pair of dicks as the contents of their tights.

Things are further played about with by hints and mentions of other well-known fairy tales, crafting the appearance of a much wider fairytale world beyond the contents of the single book (or even the series). Talk of giants, mentions of Aladdin and genies, some horrible clues as to the final fate of Hansel and Gretel. It’s Shrek, as written by George R R Martin and while an enjoyable read you welcome the fact that it’s set far, far away because then it can’t get you.

There’s no happily ever after here, not really, not truly, not for anyone but it’s all the better for it.

There’s just not as much sex as The Sun claimed and while saucy it’s all a bit coy. Maybe two shades of grey rather than the full fifty.

SPIt’s a great book and it’s fantastic to see publishing houses willing to put out fantasy-type books that aren’t bricks you could clobber a policeman unconscious with. I hope more books of this sort of size, enjoyable reads that don’t overstay their welcome, continue to come out.

Style: 5
Substance: 4
Overall: 4.5

*I’m married, not dead. Besides, what’s not to love about a saucy former English teacher with a foul mouth who can drink you under the table?

Read Full Post »

the_ocean_at_the_end_of_the_lane

Gaiman’s latest is a bit of a puzzler. It was intended to be a short story originally and then ended up being a novel but, in the process of becoming a novel it has ended up feeling a bit stretched and threadbare.  It might have worked better, in my humble opinion, as something of more moderate size but I imagine it’s harder to sell smaller books – even for Mr G.

The story follows the misadventures of a young boy (in what seems to be the 1960s) in rural England. He’s drawn into things beyond his understanding, a victim of circumstance and curiosity and the strangeness that follows it.

For those of us brought up in rural England (in the 70s and before) – and on a diet of weird Children’s television that the BBC sought to fuck us all up with – the book is rather nostalgic. Filled with little familiarities. Neil’s a little older than me though and not all of it quite jibes, though there’s a bit of a feeling that it’s a Famous Five book that’s been given an heroic dose of mescalin.

It’s weird, strange, unusual – even for Neil – otherworldly and trippy but somehow also unsatisfying. There’s an adventure, but it’s a memory and the protagonist is largely a helpless pawn in the affairs of other, incomprehensible things. There’s touches of Lovecraft as well as Blyton, hints of science, allusions to the confusing world of quantum mechanics, a subtle reference to the triple-goddess. It’s a lot of things.

The naive, child’s viewpoint cushions the blow a little – because to a child a great many things are incomprehensible but it can’t save the feeling, by the end of the book, that everything in it might as well not have happened.

I’m glad I read it, but it’s a bit personal feeling and a bit self-indulgent.

Also something nasty happens to a cat early on, and I love cats.

So apologies to Mr Gaiman, but I didn’t like this one that much.

Style: 4
Substance: 2
Overall: 3

Read Full Post »

 

Check out a rather flattering review of Full Metal Orgasm number one, which I contributed to. It is, possibly, less safe for work than FMO is itself.

You can buy FMO at Amazon.

Read Full Post »