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30 Jan 2012

The Speed of Darkness

The Speed of Darkness is written by Sarah Baethge and published by Smashwords. At just shy of 40,000 words, 18 chapters and 104 pages this book comes under the description of a novella because of its lower word count.

Sarah Baethge lives in Salado Texas on her step-moms donkey ranch with her dad and sister. She has written at least five short stories and published one book. Sarah has some more works in various stages of completion and admits she writes the stories that she would like.

Computer Professor Eric Omlup teaches adult learning and two of his students (the best and worst of the class) have him tearing his hair from his head. It is no wonder then that he miscalculates the coming fullmoon, until Ms Brenner shows him while she tries to get a date with him.
Eric Omlup, werewolf, about to be caught, with only 20 minutes to get to his apartment but with only 2 minutes remaining to get into the apartment from his car. Time is not on Eric’s side as he transforms and is left to wonder the streets. Happening across some Professional werewolf trappers and their prey Eric’s life is about to get even worse.
As if Eric’s own secret wasn’t enough the prey, Nigel, has one of his own far different from Eric’s the only problem being they are both now being hunted by the evil group known as The Eclipse.

In a world where both werewolves and what appears to be mutant-like abilities exist in secret.
Good and evil. Light and dark. We are about discover the monster that lurks inside us all.
Can Eric hold back the wolf long enough to help bring down one of the world’s greatest organisations? What is shadow skating? Who are Solar Flare? Who are Eclipse? And which side are they on? What are the agenda’s of each side?

The Speed of Darkness has an interesting plot that has the potential to go further, deeper and be expanded upon. The plot is also unbalanced to the pace of the story where one speeds up the other appears to slow down.
This is an interesting and at times enjoyable story with some colourful characters but I believe that this unbalance between plot and pace has let the story and the author down considerably which is a shame. I would perhaps be inclined to pull the story from publication in order to reassess the story in its entirety perhaps wearing a different hat. For the world created I believe this story to be merely a drop in the sand as there is great potential for this story, but I do not feel it has yet been discovered as there is so much more ground to be covered and I personally would like to see more of these organisations and how they work. The science was not bad either and I would have liked to have seen more science but perhaps less theory.
Written in third person with a miss-matched mix of first person that leaves the reader confused and having to re-read sentences to see what was actually meant to have been said. There is also an unsuited combination of single spaces and double spaces used.
The font this novel is published in is not the usual Times New Roman or Arial format we are all accustomed to seeing. In fact this story goes completely against all known publisher requirements. So I recommend it to be best read at 75% magnification.

This was perhaps one of my most difficult reviews to undertake to date and I found it so hard a task to stay on track as well as to rate but I must rate on what I see therefore I give The Speed of Darkness 3 out of 5 stars.

By R.N. Hadley

22 Jan 2012

The Diary of A Seventh Grade Hybrid

The Diary Of A Seventh Grade Hybrid is written by Lee Mavin and available through and is a fantasy adventure. The book is 232 pages in length broken into manageable daily bitesize outtakes suitable for any age reader.

Lee J. Mavin lives in Shanghai, China with his wife and daughter. He teaches, has written and published three books including a poetry and unused lyrics book, plus a collection of horror themed short stories. Lee also writes articles and the monthly must do’s and don’ts in Shanghai for The Get Go Magazine.

The day before Ziggy (Sigmund) starts seventh grade at Fuqain International his mom hands him a notebook to record all thoughts and memories so that he does not forget a thing, unfortunately for him he does not remember the day before this.
As if being a seventh grader wasn’t hard enough poor Sigmund (Ziggy) Zhao has a huge secret to hide under his cap, voices in his head and the school bully Timmy Tang to deal with threatening to “flush him”.
There’s something about Ziggy. At first he appears to be your average loner at school who has few friends but introduce the school bully and some very strange teachers and there are things to be revealed beneath the surface, things that Ziggy does not want revealed. So when it becomes common knowledge that Ziggy has antennas on his head. Of course the whole school want to know him which just about makes things worse for him in that his popularity drives Timmy Tang round the bend and fuels his fury for flushing Ziggy even more.
With the teachers behaving strange around him, and his random kidnappings he decides something is going on and he needs to find out exactly what. But whatever it is it seems to have something to do with these strange voices that keep feeding him information on the Toyota Company, a man named Takeshi Shibuya and an alien attack on the planet in the future.
Joining the basketball team and taking a few extra classes how is Ziggy going to keep his secret? Why can he not stop writing poetry for his English Teacher the flame haired Miss Woods? How will the others kids and teachers take his secret? Why does he keep getting kidnapped? Who is the quiet weird girl constantly following him? And what is with the voices in his head to do with The Toyota Company and a supposed future alien attack?
With question after question piling up school is about to get all kinds of crazy but it is nothing when compared to his own eccentric mother’s behaviour and lack of interest to the goings on in his life.

The Diary of A Seventh Grade Hybrid is a title which literally describes the book. Unable to remember his past Ziggy is asked to keep a diary in order to help him remember. Written on a day to day basis covering school, dates and adventures this book reads like a kid who can’t quite get his words out fast enough.
An enjoyable book spanning a school year and based in Shanghai, Lee J. Mavin has done a marvellous job at portraying an average Joe whose not so average afterall. A possible hero in the making will there be more of Ziggy to come in the future?
I give Lee J. Mavin and The Diary of A Seventh Grade Hybrid 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to any child from around ten years of age upwards.

By R.N. Hadley

15 Jan 2012

My Life As A Dog

My Life As A Dog is written by Cynthia and Mike Arsuaga and published by Secret Cravings Publishing is an erotic paranormal romance at approximately 67,000 words and 14 chapters in length.

Cynthia and Mike Arsuaga live in Orlando Florida with their Yorkie Thumper, daughter and granddaughter. Both authors have completed individual works including such titles as Subspecies and Born To Be Wild, however there is word of another collaboration for a sequel to My Life As A Dog.

Drake Martin is no average human, being a part-time hitman, private eye, lover and shapeshifter. On the run in his 8lb Yorkie form Drake is captured by animal control and see’s his only option for survival as being adopted. In steps the little girl Kady Hartley who would change his life forever.
Making a home is not easy for a shapeshifter while in dog form perhaps this time is different, running away is not an option but has 12 years with the Hartleys made him soft and susceptible? after all the vet appears to have noticed something wrong with the fact of having immaculate health for an old dog and has something planned. So perhaps it is time to leave.
A decade later, and his about to meet Kady again, FBI Agent Kady Hartley and things are about to get all kinds of crazy.
Taking on what first appears a simple case of betrayal little does Drake expect to come across Kady mixed up in a big FBI case involving Russian mob families, sex slaves and bent cops. On top of that Drake the PI has fallen in love with Kady and Drake the Yorkie has returned to the girl who loved him unconditionally and whom he abandoned all those years ago. Can they survive this? Any of this?

The relationship between children of a young age and a pet is relatively unbreakable and the bond goes extremely deep. But, what if the child grew up and discovered that pet could turn into a person and was the person their heart belonged to? Or the person they shared their bed with?
Dogs are both renowned and accomplished for having an excellent nose and for Drake Martin there is no difference between him being in human or dog form, except when it comes to sex and appreciating the female figure. When it comes to Kady Hartley there is so much history between them that Drake can no longer love any other woman or look at them the way he once did, in fact he realises that for him it has always been Kady but how will Kady take finding out the truth of who Drake really is? Or finding out the true identity of Precious the dog she grew up with as a child/ the dog she found working a case?
A life without trust, and love is damaging enough but can a little girl now a fully grown woman and FBI agent renew belief in ones self, in life and allow for a change that goes deeper than anyone else could provide?
Is love truly unconditional? And can it span the differences between humans and shapeshifters?

Mike and Cynthia Arsuaga have created an action packed, heart warming tale of growing up, love, loss, and betrayal. I am sure many readers will think of times they wished their pet could turn into the man/woman of their dreams, at how no-one in this world expresses love like a pet can.
I would recommend My Life As A Dog to anyone aged 18 years and over and award the novel 4.5 stars.

By R.N. Hadley