Tag Archives: comedy

“Heart of Mystery”– Mark Laporta

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Plot: 5/5       Characters: 5/5       Writing: 3/5        Entertainment: 5/5       World Building: 5/5

 

51wgxgwbihl-_sx331_bo1204203200_   When an unlikely intergalactic alliance comes to light, Ixdahan Daharek (AKA Derek) and his human best friend, Lena Gabrilowicz, must save not only the Earth this time, but the very fabric of space itself. Between their search for alien cookware, stopping a clone army, and calming down a moody robot, Ixdahan and Lena must also figure out their feelings for one another once and for all. But no pressure, right?

 

Guys. I love these books so much. Mark Laporta officially has a spot on my “Favorite Indie Authors of All Times” list and I haven’t even been reviewing for a full year yet. “Heart of Mystery” is just as funny, creative, zany, endearing, and memorable as “Heart of Earth,” if not more-so since it builds on such a great foundation.

 

Just like the first installment, the sci-fi elements are funny, colorful, and an absolute joy to read. Between the new, strange aliens and the action there’s never a dull moment, no matter what species Derek is around and, yet again Derek and his friends are some of the best teenagers I’ve ever read.

 

Laporta knows how to tap into the most universal aspects of being a teenager and bring them to life in the most outlandish situations. Derek and Lena not only grow as an individual characters, but as teenagers entering adulthood, which can be hard to capture, regardless of the YA subgenre.

 

I don’t want to give too much away, but I just want to give an example. There’s a scene where Derek is talking with another character about the gravity of his situation and what the adults are asking of him. The conversation turns to Derek himself and how important it is for him to stick to his morals, especially in a situation with such dire consequences.

 

That kind of message is so important for young people, especially in times like these. Not only that, but Laporta makes the world around Derek and his friends so much fun and exciting that the message is bound to stick. I know the scene itself will stick with me for a long time and I’m 24.

 

So, if you like bizarre worlds, even more bizarre conflicts, and wonderful characters, go read “Heart of Earth,” if you haven’t already, and read “Heart of Mystery” intermediately after, regardless of your age. Your inner kid will thank you. And don’t forget to look for the conclusion to Derek’s adventures in “Mirror at the Heart of Time,” set to be released this summer!   

“Let There be Linda”–Rich Leder (ON SALE TODAY)

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“Let There be Linda”–Rich Leder (ON SALE TODAY)

Plot: 5/5     Characters: 5/5     Writing: 4/5     Entertainment: 5/5

     Where does one even start with “Let There be Linda?” It stands alone as one of the most bizarre, dark, and surprisingly human comedies to ever grace the Amazon store. The jokes are grim, but too wacky not to laugh at, the characters are all insane, but easy enough to understand (in most cases) and memorable, and the story itself has so many twists and turns that it’s impossible to guess what’s coming next.

Brothers Mike and Dan Miller can’t stand each other, but are forced to come together when their mother passes away suddenly. As if getting along through the funeral isn’t hard enough, Dan runs a talent agency and signs a girl who can raise the dead, leading all Hell to break loose. Now the brothers must work together to survive a loan-shark little person and his giant body guard, a psycho comedian-cop, a real estate zombie, and an angry reanimated poodle. Oh, yeah, and they have to get $75,000 from a coked up dentist.

I can’t imagine “Linda” was an easy book to write, but Leder made it look easy. He manages to balance the dark aspects of the story and its humor perfectly. Not only that, but all of the characters are fleshed out and stay faithful to their development, no matter how bizarre. Together, these elements worked to suspend my disbelief higher than I thought possible for such a strange book. A woman who can raise the dead and whose eyes change color every day? Sure. Vengeful reanimated poodle with a thirst for blood? I don’t see why not. A grown woman with a Dr. Seuss reading club? I’d expect nothing less at this point.

In addition to the expertly crafted narrative, Leder manages to touch on the very real phenomenon of grief. There aren’t many quiet moments where the brothers can reflect on the loss of their mother, but when they occur, it feels genuine. Especially with Mike since he was closest to her. Despite all the zany plot twists and insane characters, the feelings of lose and the uncertainty of what to do next felt very real.  The emotions that the characters go through especially struck a cord with me since I lost two grandparents and an aunt last year. “Let There be Linda” was probably the last book on Earth I expected to shed tears for, but I did, and I applaud Leder for capturing such a personal and complex emotion in such an unlikely book.

If you like fast-paced stories, crazy antics, unforgettably strange characters, and dark humor, “Let There be Linda” should definitely be on your reading list. It goes on sale today, so I encourage you to swing by Rich Leder’s Amazon page and read the free sample before you buy. I highly doubt that you’ll regret it.