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Sweet Violent Femmes
Sweet Violent Femmes
Price: £2.10

4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable short story collection, 13 Dec. 2013
Note: I was given a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

First up, there's The Glass Room. It's a story set in Paris and without going into spoiler territory, it's essentially one continuous scene where girls are assembled in a glass room, while clients view them and then pay the owners of the establishment to be `serviced'. As you can imagine, the story touches on what it's like to be in that line of business, with the emphasis on what might be felt if they're abused at the hands of the clients. I liked the emphasis on how greed can affect people and how the rich can get away with things because . . . well, they have money. It's true to life, sadly.

For me, the reason it's not as strong as it could be is because there was only really a sentence or two that explained how the main character ended up working in the place. You can draw your own conclusions easily enough. The ending to the story is quite well deserved too.

The next story, Tethered, was not really for me unfortunately. That's not the story's fault. Basically, it's a surreal story with a supernatural element where a woman tries to piece together what happened to her. I can't really give more details than that sadly, with it being the type of story that's quite easy to spoil. Again though, it did end on a good note.

Seeing Black, the third story, was really quite good. The only downside for me was that when a particular character was mentioned, it was pretty obvious what would happen. It was just the `how' that was in question. The story itself is about an emotionally damaged woman who's trying to cope with a breakup that has scarred her. I won't get into further details than that.

The final story, Feminist Theory, didn't have the same problem. It kept me guessing right to the end as to who would be on the main character's hit list. Actually, that's incorrect. Essentially, the story is about the interaction between a doctor and his `patient'. Obviously, the greater story is unravelled through the narrative. That's just the basics. I knew the doctor was the one on the main character's hit list, but I didn't know why until the end, nor did I know who he actually was (in terms of the story that the main character tells the doctor). I rather enjoyed this one at any rate.

Overall, all of the stories were well-written as to be expected from Holly, because I'd previously read one of her short stories published online. They all share the common theme of females getting vengeance on males who've wronged them and in closing, I would definitely recommend that people give the stories a try. The only thing is that the stories are definitely not suitable for children etc. and some adults might balk at the content as well. Let's just say that no punches are pulled, which is how it should be when telling the sort of stories that these are, as you need represent the situations accurately for them to have the necessary impact.

Riddle in Stone: The Riddle in Stone Series - Book One
Riddle in Stone: The Riddle in Stone Series - Book One
Price: £2.22

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable debut novel, 29 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There are a lot of fantasy books out there where the main character is highly skilled, charismatic etc. That is not so in this book. It's the first thing that sets it apart from others in the genre.

Edmund, the main character, is a librarian and someone with a stutter. Very much someone that others take advantage of and mock. It is this mocking that leads to him finally deciding to up and leave in search of adventure, because he thinks it might help him win the hand of the woman he loves.

And so he begins his journey with the goal of finding an object that the king seeks.

However, as with most spur of the moment choices, he hadn't thought it through. He's been reading books for most of his life and he learns that the world is not really how his precious books portrayed it to be. He is also totally unprepared for the dangers that he will inevitably face.

That's the beginning of the book. What sets into motion his adventure. I won't say more, but I do want to talk about other aspects.

First of all, the characters are rather good. Goblins for instance. They are not how you'd picture them being. Sure, they're nasty, but they're not stereotypical and two of them make for rather nice villains. This extends to other elements of the book as well, as Edmund finds that life and the world in general is not really how it's portrayed in the tales.

Then there's the character development. Edmund grows quite a lot as the story progresses. When you first meet him, you probably doubt that he could turn into a hero. Sure, he'll never be the stereo-typical hero, but he learns and grows, becoming quite heroic in the process. So, it was quite nice to watch him develop as a character.

Now, this bit could be a negative for some people, but the book does get dark and grim in places. But I'd ask people to try and not let that bother them. Without spoiling what happens later, the darkness and grim nature of certain situations is a necessary part of the book, because if the darkness and grim nature of some scenes weren't present, then those scenes as a whole wouldn't really work. Therefore, the story wouldn't work as well as it does, because it serves to highlight what Edmund goes through throughout the novel. And if you can handle that aspect of the book, then the sequel, I'm told, is less grim and dark. So, for me, the dark and grim nature of some scenes in the book is a plus. It may not be for everyone.

Finally, this brings me to a negative point. The editing wasn't as good as it could be when it comes to spelling and such. But I want to make it clear that the errors didn't distract from the story for me, because it was good and an enjoyable read. Also, a lot of readers may overlook the errors and it's possible that the errors I encountered may be fixed in the version now available, as I bought the book near release, I think.

So, I would really recommend the book to readers. Just be aware that some scenes can be grim/dark/brutal and what I just mentioned above. Those are really the only two potential negatives I can think of.

Price: £2.64

5.0 out of 5 stars A great, lengthy game/interactive story, with something to offer non-wrestling fans, 2 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: SLAMMED! (App)
First of all, if you're looking for a proper game with graphics etc., this isn't the right app for you. There are no graphics. You simply read, like you would a normal book, until you arrive at a choice in the narrative. You also have stats to consider, which can affect the outcome of things. Making choices and having stats are the only game-like elements. Essentially, think of the old choose your own adventure books. Also, from this point on, I'll be referring to the app as a novel/book, as I prefer to think of it as an interactive novel rather than a game.

Moving on, it is very obvious that a lot of love and care has gone into writing this story. Not only that, but having meaningful choices that affect the narrative, rather than fake choices that do nothing, is essential with this type of game. I'm pleased to say that the author has also given this aspect of the novel a lot of care as well. Not everything will branch, but there will be callbacks to previous choices, choices can affect the story branches you receive as you get further in, and they matter. So, you're guaranteed to not see everything in one playthrough. It is a lengthy read too, with the whole 'book' being 250,000 words as stated in the product description. You won't see a large chunk of them per read-through. Basically, I guarantee that you won't feel like you paid too much for the app, as it's value for money.

You shouldn't avoid the book because you dislike wrestling either. Yes, the book is about wrestling, but it is also about so much more. You will read about matches, but you will also find that a large part of the book is dedicated to backstage politics, character relationships and how the business works. There are plenty of twists and turns as well. This brings me to the possible romances that you can have your character pursue. They are very well implemented and the romanceable characters are integrated into the overall narrative, which is rare as romance can often feel like it's been shoe-horned in and like an afterthought.

Now, I want to talk about the amount of writing that goes into making a 'book' like this before I get to the negative side of things, in order to explain why I've given 5/5 stars rather than 4/5 stars.

I'm a writer myself and as I'm typing this review, I have an 'interactive story' open myself that I'm working on. Currently, I have 474 words written, with six possible branches in a chapter that is nowhere near finished. I'm also only working on one current story path. Now, look at those numbers and consider how hard it must have been for the writer to write a 250,000 word novel that branches. It'd be hell to edit and to keep everything straight. This is without touching on code, which I don't have to bother with thankfully. So, the writer has done a great job as it would be so easy to say 'screw it, I'm only going to use fake choices that don't really affect anything'.

This brings me to the negatives. There are a few typos, grammatical errors etc. throughout the book. They didn't affect my enjoyment of the story though, as they were not numerous and no book is ever perfectly edited, nevermind one that has code to sift through and branching paths. I know I wouldn't be able to edit this with code anyway, and I'm also a freelance editor. The only other fault I can see with the game, though it isn't one for me, is that the stat checks felt a bit too easy to pass. So, people may not like that, but people who just want a good, interactive story won't mind it, I think. On the positive side, some of the decisions when dealing with politics etc. backstage felt quite hard to make, which is good.

So, the reason I'm giving Slammed! 5/5 stars is because it would be very hard to keep it error free. There are other reasons too. 1) It is refreshing to find a wrestling book/game focusing on the characters themselves (not the characters they portray when wrestling), and on the politics. 2) It is a very enjoyable read, for wrestling fans and non-wrestling fans, though a few non-wrestling fans might not understand some of the terminology (I don't think it'll be a big deal). 3) There is a genuine reason to go through the book multiple times. 4) There is a thread on the company's forum where typos etc. can be reported, so the errors present will be cleared up in time and again, they're not numerous.

So, Slammed! may not be perfect, but I feel it is as close as it can come to being perfect. Hence the 5/5 stars, with nothing ever being perfect.

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