Tag Archives: rich leder

The Top 10 Cheap Reads of 2016

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          Happy New Year’s everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying the last day of 2016! In case you need some help getting started on your 2017 reading list, here are the top ten books I had the pleasure of reviewing this year. Since the books cover such a broad range of genres and styles, I figured it would be better to list them alphabetically by the authors’ last name. If a title catches your eye, be sure to click on it to read the full review. Let’s check them out!

1. Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton

rarity           An android crashes outside a rural Appalachian town and offers to cure young Lacey Dawn’s family. In exchange, Lacy Dawn must save the universe.

          Between the zany characters, outlandish scenarios, and heart-breaking believable tragedy, “Rarity” stands out as one of the most memorable and unique books I’ve ever read. I’ve been informed that Mr. Eggleton has revised certain aspects of the book, so the version you read might be a bit different than the one I reviewed, but I promise it’s still well worth your time. Please note the content warning on the review.

 

2. Twiceborn by Marina Finlayson

51IKBSPYMHL          Kate O’Connor does her best to continue living after the death of her only son, but when she winds up in a battle for the dragon crown, her efforts to live a normal life gets put on the back burner.

          “Twiceborn” blends the action, magic, and adventure of YA fantasy and the personal struggle of more adult-centered fiction. The resulting story is an exciting journey that you won’t be quick to forget or put down. I personally enjoyed the wide array of folkloric creatures that prowl the pages. It’s rare that an author includes so many diverse beings without the book feeling crowded, by Finlayson does a great job.

 

3. Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt

51xlqnu7xml         Cameron never imagined that time travel was possible, until a college professor shows him that it is, giving Cameron the opportunity to save the love of his life.

          John A. Heldt is such a treasure. I’m not usually a fan of romance, but he’s easily one of the best authors I’ve discovered this year. “Indiana Belle” really showcases his strengths, making it my favorite novel of his that I’ve read so far. He brings the past to life with pinpoint accuracy and vibrate scenery, his characters are charming and memorable, and the stories are impossible to pull away from. If you love romance and/or history, “Indiana Belle” is a must read.

 

4. This Crazy Infection by Kaylim

51dudwx5ydl-_sy346_        Interstellar playgirl Myrha is just looking to get away a while. A cooky host, weird campers, a hot android, and flesh-eating zombies weren’t part of her promised vacation package, but that’s what she got.

          I love this novella so much. When ever I’m feeling down, I always come back to it. The writing is great, the story is hilarious, and the characters are a lot of fun. It also includes a great gay protagonist, which I feel is rare when looking for cheap self-published works. So, if you’re a fan of works like “Hitchhiker’s Guide the Galaxy,” or are looking for more LGBT+ representation I highly recommend checking this one out.

 

5. Heart of Earth by Mark Laporta

511litsn4ml          After selling top-secret information to intergalactic warlords, Ixdahan Daherek is exiled to Earth and doomed to live as a human teenager. Just as he’s getting used to humanity’s strange customs and walking on two legs, his mistakes come back to bite him.

          This is another one that I absolutely love. Between watching Daherek adjust to Earth and his efforts to save the world, this book is a lot of fun. Laporta knows how to craft a story that’s equal parts hilarity, adventure, and heart. I can’t wait to see more of Daherek in the coming years with the continuation of his series.

 

6. Let There be Linda by Rich Leder

LetThereBeLinda      Life gets hard for brothers Mike and Dan when their mother dies suddenly. A girl claiming to breathe the dead back to life seems like the answer to their problem, but dealing with the colorful cast of characters that come with her, including a comedian cop, a coked-up dentist, and a reanimated poodle, just might be too high of a price.

       Rich Leder is easily on of the best authors I discovered this year. His books are zany, hilarious, creative and human in surprisingly equal measure. “Let There be Linda” showcases that all perfectly and I can’t wait to have the time to read it again. If you like darker humor or are looking for something a bit more off the beaten path, Leder is definitely your guy, whether you decide to go with “Let There be Linda” or one of his many other works.

 

7. Moonchild by Kate L. Mary

519zBDCvYyL          All Scarlett wants to do is survive, but when her best friend is kidnapped, she has to put her own safety and that of her friends aside. When she enlists a band of airship pirates for help, including the dashing Asher Kimura, her years of solitude and single-minded survival begin to fall away.

          I don’t even know where to start with this book since there’s so much to like. The story is captivating, the world building incredible, and the characters are a lot of fun, especially Asher. I also love that it has enough action and adventure for any YA fantasy fan, but it’s mature enough to capture New Adult readers as well. It’s a unique and enjoyable read and I highly recommend it to fans of either genre.

 

8. Twice Upon a Time edited by Joshua Allen Mercier

61wy8hnhlzl          Fairy tales often have dark roots and fables can sometimes end in tragedy. These roads and many more, most which are as dark as they captivating, are explored at great length in this collection of short stories by writers both experienced and new.

          I love folklore and fairy tales. The hold so much possibility depending on who decides to reinterpret them and which angles they decide to explore. “Twice Upon a Time” does a brilliant job collecting stories that breath life into timeless tales and new ones that could one day be timeless. It’s a great read for those who love darker fantasy and/or shorter fiction.

 

9. Pilgrimage by Carl Purcell

51xzcodflgl          Roland and Griffith are probably the most unlikely companions in Australia. One is a young optimistic man claiming to be a sorcerer and the other is a washed up loner who wants to drink his days away in peace. When they start making magical enemies, however, they’ll have to worth together to survive their road trip to Salem.

        Between it’s complex characters, simple yet fun plot, and exciting blend of magic and adventure, “Pilgrimage” is definitely one of the most memorable books I’ve read this year. It blends elements of fantasy with believable real-world dilemmas to create a unique read for any adult who grew up reading magical adventures.

 

10. Mutation by Nerys Wheatley

Mutaion          Just as the world is recovering from the horrors of the zombie virus, a new strand threatens to bring humanity back to a halt. It’s up to Alex, a virus survivor, to put an end to it before it spreads beyond his city.

          You might be burnt out on zombies by now, but trust me, “Mutation” is worth shaking off the zombie-frenzy fatigue and checking out.  The writing is superb, the story is exciting, and the characters are thoroughly enjoyable. Even the ones off their rockers. Even if you’re not a fan of zombies, “Mutation” is such a fun ride even if you’re a fantasy/sci-fi fan in the least.

 

  So, there they are, folks. I hope you found a title or two to take with you into the New Year. I know I already have a few.

  Thank you everyone who found this little blog and gave it a chance. I’ve learned a lot since April and can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store, both in terms of books and this blog itself. Happy New Year!

“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.

 

Workman’s Complication (McCall&Company Book 1)-Rich Leder

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Plot: 5/5

Characters: 5/5

Writing: 4/5

Entertainment: 5/5

Workman’s Complication is one-third mystery, one-third comedy and one-third heart, which come together to make a book that is a whole lot of fun from start to finish. Kate McCall is first and foremost an actor, but when her father turns up murdered in a life insurance company elevator, she inherits his private investigations company and becomes a PI herself. As if finding her father’s murderer wasn’t enough of a case, she must also find out if a ballroom-dancing construction worker really fell off a piece of scaffolding, or if he’s faking it to milk millions out of his employer. To crack both the cases, Kate calls on the eclectic and crazy tenants of her apartment building and the animated, eccentric members of her drama troop.

Mystery has never been a favorite genre of mine. I read one “Alex Cross” novel and it was so cold, impersonal, and needlessly raunchy that I felt like I needed a shower afterwards and never bothered looking into the genre again, so I was skeptical when I first picked this book up.

Thankfully, Kate McCall and Alex Cross couldn’t be more different. Kate is witty, clever, creative, a bit over the top, and incredibly personable. From the first page, she sounds like a real person that you might meet on the streets of New York. The characters that live in Kate’s apartment building and preform with her are equally entertaining and downright hilarious. A few of them are so much larger than life that they don’t sound like real people, but I enjoyed them so much that I really didn’t care. They’re a blast to read, believable or not.

The way Leder portray the characters directly involved in the cases makes you really invest in the outcome. I really wanted Kate to discover that the construction worker was faking it because he boss is a wonderful guy (but I won’t tell you if she did or not :P). I really wanted Kate to find out who killed her father because she’s great and I wanted to see her triumph. Since I cared about the characters, it always felt like there was something more at stake than just finding answers.

Another thing that Leder does surprisingly well is make New York a vivid backdrop for the story. I’ve never been to New York City, but I’ve seen enough movies to know what it physically looks like. However, it has never been alive the way it is in Workman’s Complication. Leder has a knack for making the places Kate goes as important to the story as the characters. The places he picks are always perfect for the scenes that unfold and make them feel as three-dimensional as the characters. Whenever he describes a location, every word feels important and adds to the world around Kate. And not only the places, but the walk-on characters as well. People you only see for a few pages, or even a few paragraphs, feel fleshed out and make the scenes believable and real. It’s quite impressive and makes the book enjoyable on multiple levels.

I don’t want to say too much more, seeing as Workman’s Complication is a mystery, but I highly recommend it. Everything from the characters to the comedy to the writing and story are so enjoyable that, even if you’re new to mystery novels, there’s something that you’re bound to enjoy.”

As posted on tabbyafae.com on April 22, 2016.