All posts tagged reviews

Stuff I’m doing

Published August 22, 2017 by admin

A short one this week, since the other link of what I’m up to isn’t live yet. There will be a new flash piece from me for the Ladies in Horror project soon – I’ll likely have that to post next week. I’m also back working with I Smell Sheep to do regular manga reviews geared to non-manga readers. Ie, I read it and spell it out for you so you know if you like it or not. So be on the lookout for that, soon.

In the meantime, I’m back at Books by Violet to bring you my weekly YA graphic novel reviews. This week is a series near and dear to my heart – The Adventures of Superhero Girl. This is one of those that I read when I’m down, and I’ve been getting a lot of mileage from it lately. To the point where I may have tweeted Faith Erin Hicks asking if Superhero Girl would let me move to Canada and be her roommate. I was fast reminded of SG’s tendency to not pay rent, but I’d just like to point out that that wasn’t a complete no…

Fangirling aside, this is a super-cute (ha, see what I did there) series, and one that’s great for all ages. Check out my full review here!

Calling readers and reviewers!

Published October 5, 2016 by admin



Hey, remember that awesome book I wrote, Olde School? It’s currently up for grabs on the Juniper Grove Book Solutions Review Library, so if you request it you can read it for free in exchange for an honest review (Don’t let Clyde influence you. Please feel free to be honest).


Maybe not this honest

I’m still plotting out what comes next, but I’m extremely proud of that title and would love the word of mouth to keep going! So if you’re a book blogger, reviewer, or a reader who’s into quirky fantasy with a touch of horror, check it out!

All the info on how to request the title can be found here!



More reviews makes my characters stop shilling for me, I swear


Comic & Film Review Roundup 2

Published December 7, 2015 by admin

Time for another batch of the reviews other people want me to do for some reason! The story behind this is I had a geektastic talk with Sharon Stogner of I Smell Sheep Review Blog at Imaginarium, which led to me agreeing to do comic and movie reviews as I can.

Really I just wanted people to give me comics, but they don’t have to know that.

This Damned Band 1 – Think Almost Famous meets rock folklore meets Led Zeppelin meets Spinal Tap meets demons. A great set up.

This Damned Band 2 – A little more uneven than issue one, but still intriguing. This issue follows the band on their tour along with continued tensions and strange happenings.

This Damned Band 3– The band records in a French chateau and contemplates a missing groupie. The bassist’s money problems come front and center, along with some further haunted happenings.

This Damned Band 4 – The band faces off with masked intruders in the chateau. The magic mushrooms are back, plus there are uncomfortable discoveries in the band manager’s room. Some really creepy moments make the weird pacing and art changes worthwhile.

I also got asked to check out as many films in the Another Hole in the Head Festival, which had so many awesome horror entries that I really wish I could’ve just binged them all. Sadly, between being crunched for time and being sick, I only got to two, but they were two awesome films.

Nina Forever – I believe this actually comes out in theaters in February, but I loved this one. When a boyfriend still mourning his ex tries to move on with a new love interest, things take a weird turn when his dead former girlfriend shows up every time he and his new girlfriend try to be intimate. More of a horror/romance/relationship movie hybrid, I was really pleased that it took on the metaphors head on instead of trying to be really campy or in-your-face.

Sacred Blood – An ‘operatic’ film without the singing, this is a melodramatic look that spends time treating all the undead characters as people, which is nice. I’d have liked a little more explanations for some things, but the film just looks stunning and there are some nice stand-out performances, as well.


Comic Review Roundup

Published December 2, 2015 by admin

So along with people foolishly inviting my writer-type opinions on their sites, I’ve been invited to guest review for the awesome blog I Smell Sheep. And more than once, too!

Seriously, this is something that’s been a ton of fun so far. While it’s still my policy to not officially review small press or indie books (obviously I still give my general thoughts on library books in my SJ Reads posts), I’m all about reviewing comics and movies if someone’s going to enable me. While I do read a few superhero titles, I have a passion for the fact that graphic novels can really tell stories in a unique way – from realistic titles like Persepolis, The Property, Fun House, or something meant to mirror reality like Maus, to epic stories like Sandman or horror titles like Locke & Key. There are some truly unique titles out there that aren’t getting the love they deserve or people may not know unless they specifically follow a certain title or publisher, so I love the chance to discover new titles and share them with others.

Since these were done for the I Smell Sheep Blog, I’ll spare you full reviews and link you to the actual ones. I’ll have to divide this up because I’ve actually done more than I realized, but here’s the first batch.

Dark Horse Comics Presents # 15 – Admittedly one of the reasons I jumped on board was because I knew the blog had an in with Dark Horse and I had just discovered Finder and I love it with an unholy passion. So when this title came up and featured serialized Finder, I was ready to fight to the bitter end for it. Truly, though, every story in this issue was fantastic and has opened me up to some other titles I can’t wait to check out.

Dead Vengeance 1 -A carnival sideshow act comes to life and tries to figure out who he really is. A lot of flashbacking, but a really interesting set up that reminds me of the older Creepy and Eerie titles.

Dead Vengeance 2 – More information on John Dover’s tragic past, as well as a unique allusion to a possible time travel element, plus it takes us back to the carnival!

Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 1 – Love this. So ridiculous in the best possible ways. Dr. Zomboss tries to take over town with some help from the future…and a metal butt. Brings to mind a lot of the Saturday morning cartoons I used to love watching.

Love Hurts: The Complete Love Hurts (Horrifying Tales of Romance) – Translated from a Swiss comic, I believe, this is amazing. I love this thing. A collection of short stories that blend horror and romance elements, these are twisted, warped, insightful, emotional, and just so inventive I can’t stand it. Loved.






Calling all Readers and Reviewers!

Published September 24, 2015 by admin

There are some upcoming opportunities for readers, reviewers, bloggers, et al!

Want to read for free? Heck, want to read Olde School for free?

Seventh Star Press is looking for honest reviews for their Read to Review program. Basically, fill out a form, choose a title, read it, post your honest review, then you get to choose another title. For a full run-down of how the program works, as well as the submission form, check out the link!

But you should totally request Olde School first. Just sayin’.


Tomorrow Comes Media is looking for reviewers and tour hosts for some upcoming titles. Click the links for full synopses and tour info:

Born of Swords by Steven Shrewsbury (Sword and Sorcery)

Codename: Knight Ranger by John F Allen (Urban Fantasy)

Hellscapes vol 2 by Stephen Zimmer (Horror)

Heart of a Lion by Stephen Zimmer (Sword and Sorcery)

E.L. James and the Twitter Q&A: Critique or Bullying?

Published July 8, 2015 by admin

Now here’s a post I bet you didn’t see coming….

I’m sure most of you probably heard of this going down last week, and admittedly I went back and forth on whether to talk about it here. It got a lot of attention and debate in my social media channels, though, so I can’t help but think there’s still something to discuss there.

Last week E.L. James did a Twitter Q&A that quickly turned into a debacle, to put it mildly. You can read about it here (and about a billion other places), but basically the bulk of the questions were from people bashing her writing, questioning her motives and themes, and nine zillion variations on those themes.

I think it’s important to be honest here: I’m not a fan of E.L. James. I haven’t read her books, I have read excerpts, and from that I’ve gathered that I have no desire to read the books. I find the writing style beyond purple (Plum? Indigo? -Violet-Urple infinity?), the characters underdeveloped or B-movie quality, and I do believe that even though she had her story picked up from originating as fan fiction, it would have done her a lot of favors to research and adapt her work to fit in within the bdsm community as it really is. I definitely agree with a lot of the criticism of the book that it really pushes romanticized manipulation and blurs consent and a million other things. I’m not going to argue with any of that. I also feel that nothing she’s done is particularly new if you’ve been paying attention at any point in the past thirty years or so (Exit to Eden, the Beauty Series by Anne Rice, the movie Secretary. Honestly, my take on the whole franchise is I don’t care. I really don’t. Does it frustrate me that that’s popular and I’m working my tail off for every copy of my work that I sell? Sure, but I also don’t write in the same genre as Ms. James, so it’s me that needs to get the chip off my shoulder and get back to work.

To be fair, there are plenty of romance titles (especially e-titles) that are badly edited and poorly written (I’ve seen more than a few missing words in blurbs and featuring excerpts that I can’t even get through). There are a lot of romance and erotica titles that blur lines of consent – that’s been a growing issue in the genre for years. There are far more controversial trends in erotica than 50 Shades, and they sell. A lot. If you want your brain well and truly broken, here’s a Cracked article on the subject (just don’t say I didn’t warn you). There’s also the that fan fiction and the work that derives from it is written for different reasons than traditionally written fiction. You could argue that certain romance and erotica trends are a whole other type  of writing, as well, honestly, which would put things in an interesting light in a discussion about fantasy vs. “responsible” art vs. free speech vs. consent and a million other things. Plus, there’s always something that a billion people going to latch onto because it happens at the right place and the right time and, for whatever reason, works for them.

I’m not going to do any of that, though. What I am going to say is that, admittedly, I was amused by the snarky twitter comments at first, until I got to thinking.

That could be me and any of my books. That could be any of my friends who are authors and their books. That could be any of my friends who are actors, singers, artists, producers, and on and on. I don’t even know what I would do if it was me in her shoes and something that I had poured my time and love into and had to sit there, sorting through so much ill will. That’s the thing. I may not like the books, but it takes time to write that much, and because it did start out as fanfic, I can guarantee that E.L. James must have some love for her stories. This isn’t someone slamming out 100 plus porn shorts for e-book audiences in a year to work the system and make money. This is something that has taken time and constant effort over and over, especially given all the different adaptations and side projects.

That, in fact, is not initials on a screen and a meme or a joke that people are being snide to, but an actual person getting attacked just because their work happened to do well. A friend of mine made the point online that he had no problem with people critiquing the writing, but this is a whole other ballgame.

Would people have acted this way if they had to go down to a store to say these things to someone’s face? Maybe, maybe not. I get we live in a different world and it’s a lot easier to sit behind a computer screen and say whatever you want, for whatever reason. I get it. Hell, as an author who isn’t doing nearly that well, I totally get people’s frustration with her success, plus I get the concern and anger over the exploitation of themes – though it could be argued that because of the book, topics of consent, relationships, and sexual practices are getting more of an actual space to be discussed.

Believe me, I’m not putting these things on a pedestal by any means, and it’s slightly amazing me that I’m defending her, but fair is fair. And she did not deserve to have to deal with that.  Seriously, picture yourself at your graduation, wedding, birth of a child, finishing a thesis, any huge event or project that has taken a lot of time, effort, will, and feeling, and then picture thousands of people making jokes to your face and slamming you with hate comments.

It’s one thing to pick a work apart in articles and reviews, in debates and on panels. That’s totally fair. It’s also fair for people to showcase their concern via memes and other things going around because that is commentary about the actual work.

The moment it becomes not about the actual work in question, but about degrading the author/artist/creator – especially to their face – that’s a whole other ballgame.

It probably wasn’t the smartest PR move, and I can’t help but think that they had to expect this (all press is good press and all that), but still, it saddens me. I wonder if people would say things like that to Stephen King. God knows he’s amazing, but not all his work is gold. So would that same number of people show up and make those kind of comments to him if he did a Twitter Q&A?

It also concerns me that a lot of people passing the link around are saying that Ms. James “deserved this” and “It doesn’t matter, she’s rich off of this, she’s laughing all the way to the bank, that’s what she gets,” and other similar statements.

That wording is so uncannily close to victim blaming and slut shaming, I cannot even. Look, you can argue that the books may deserve harsh reviews, but no one deserves to be degraded, especially on a mass scale, especially in an artistic/creative context like this. You don’t have to agree with or like the books – I don’t – but it would never occur to me to go up to a person and say things like that to them, then blame them for having horrible stuff said to them.  I mean she wrote a romance series, not Mein Kampf or the Necronomicon, for cryin’ out loud.  I don’t care how much they make, what gender they are, there is a line between critiquing a work and making it personal for no real reason. That may make you feel better, to legitimize it with those terms, but that doesn’t make it right.

So what do you think? Does dislike of a work give people reason to attack or degrade the creator? Is there a point where it’s okay and a point it’s not? At what point does general dislike – even if it’s valid – cross over into bullying?

Unexpected and Awesome!

Published November 28, 2012 by admin


So I’m exhausted. Trying to do three-four shows a night, get a holiday release off the ground, and keep on top of writing and other things…and the upcoming holidays is wearing me out. However, that makes good news all the sweeter. Imagine my shock and surprise when I received an email about a LASR review for Mooner in my inbox. Not only is it a great, insightful review, but it’s been given a LASR rating of Best Book – which is above their five stars!

This also means I’m up for book of November – voting will happen Dec 1 and 2, so expect that link to show up as soon as I get it on all my social media. 🙂

In the meantime, you can check out the review HERE



Want to check out Mooner for yourself? Check it out in all formats HERE!