One Sentence Reviews: My 1st Quarter 2019 Reads

Autographed, cool!

If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader. Here are the fiction and nonfiction books I’ve read this quarter with my one-sentence reviews.

When the Lights Go Out – Ink Slingers’ Halloween Anthology (2015). In an anthology there’s sure to be at least one author’s voice that doesn’t suit the reader, but I found no bad eggs in this book, enjoyed several good stories, and read one I truly admired by Joleene Naylor because she told a tense tale and developed 3D characters using (almost) nothing but dialogue.

RealmShift, by Alan Baxter. A complicated plot, dark fantasy creatures, metaphysics, noir-like passages, and scatterings of purple prose left me with the bizarre feeling that I’d just read an entire graphic novel series converted to text and condensed into one book.

The Stranger Inside, by Laura Benedict. This is an expertly-written crime novel of murder and blackmail and revenge, enjoyable!

OMGosh . . . dense, philosophical horror.

Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges. OMGosh, the most dense, difficult, philosophical passages fill this classic collection of horror short stories.

But I’m not nutty.:-)

Beautiful Demons, by Sarra Cannon. Beautiful Demons is an engaging, young adult, horror novel is aimed at teen girl readers dealing with cliques and nutty adults.

Renegade Valkyrie, by Stacy Claflin. The main character, Soliel, and Soliel’s world are previously introduced in Clafin’s Curse of the Wolf series, which I didn’t read, so I was at a disadvantage when trying to navigate my way through this dark fantasy novel.

End of Day, by Mae Clair. Eerie monsters from the cemetery, dastardly thugs, and a sweet dog populate this well written, paranormal suspense in which the protagonist, Jillian, must use her empathic gift to save the town from an evil curse.

Atomic Habits is so helpful that I’m reading it twice!

Atomic Habits, by James Clear. Atomic Habits teaches readers how to develop good habits that rely on enjoyment and fulfillment rather than pure will power.

They Came with the Snow, by Christopher Coleman. This novella is a science fiction, apocalyptic, military thriller with really cool cryptids (“snow crabs”) that, unfortunately, didn’t get enough page time.

Stolen Ink, by Holly Evans. Even though the book didn’t hold my interest in the middle chapters, the premise is really cool because Stolen Ink is a murder mystery where the motive involves magical, powerful tattoos, especially dragon tattoos.

Violet Lagoon, by John Everson. This novella about carnivorous spiders and flies horrified me so much I may never go camping again!

Feast, by Thomas Flowers. Don’t read this (slightly preachy) horror novel unless you have a strong stomach because it addresses transgender and racial issues using a bloody, violent plot.

This book was written by a TEENAGER?!

Shadows on the Wall: An Old-Fashioned Gothic Tale of Horror, by Benjamin Fouche. This book, written by a teenager in the style of Poe, genuinely entertained me and gave me shivers.

Atonement, Tennessee, by Teagan Geneviene. Geneviene takes a mythological story and plops it into a modern protagonist’s life for a spooky and engaging chick lit story.

Dinosaur Lake, by Kathryn Meyer Griffith. Jurassic Park meets Godzilla in this creature novel with an awesome, though wordy, plot.

Which reminds me, I need to upload a new picture of myself and stick it on the home page of my blog.

Author Branding: Win Your Readers’ Loyalty & Promote Your Books, by Rayne Hall. I highly recommend this book from Rayne’s Writer’s Craft series because it has exercises and actionable items that help writers present themselves. Which reminds me, I need to upload a new picture of myself and stick it on the home page of my blog.

Practitioners, by Matt Hayward and Patrick Lacey. In this horror novel, a gun-totin’ detective faces monsters in his sleep world, creating a surreal setting that was fun to explore as a reader.

One by One, by Yawatta Hosby. Even though there are some first-novel writing mistakes, I loved the plot of this psychological horror novel, and Hosby has since published a sequel which I’m eager to read.

The Vampire, the Hunter, and the Girl, by Martin Lastrapes. Too much backstory bloats the middle, but excellent fight scenes and an appearance by Dracula (think Christopher Lee’s version) make the book a fun diversion.

Christmas at the Corner, by Andrew Leon. Little did I know, I had picked up a children’s ebook about a family who uses magic (and violence) to fight greedy goblins trying to steal Christmas.

. . . artfully crafted.

The Worst Is Yet to Come, by S.P. Miskowski. Don’t read this horror novel about youth and witchcraft if you have the blues because Miskowski’s artfully crafted story is full of loss, heartache, turbulent adolescence, and vengeful violence.

White Death, by Christine Morgan. Morgan starts with a fictionalized account of the Children’s Blizzard of 1888, adds a Sioux snow spirit, and builds a horror novel that leaves you terrified of snow and the pale creatures it may hide.

Props for the eye-catching title.

No One Wants to Read Your Sh*t, by Steven Pressfield. This book has tons of helpful writing advice delivered in pithy, uber-short chapters that frustrated me with their length and tone, but props for the eye-catching title.

Never Change, by Shari Sakurai. Never Change is a novelette in Sakurai’s Demon’s Blood universe and portrays a sweet, M/M love story between two vampires during the Christmas season.

Shadow Witch, by J. Thorn and Dan Padavona. Set in medieval times, this dark fantasy novel has forest scenes that are haunting blends of Blair Witch and Hansel and Gretel.

Before I Won, by Tomas Veres. Veres uses a raw, unpolished voice to tell a rags-to-riches, depression-to-happiness journey based on his own life.

I find it encouraging that the more I learn about writing, the more I can identify the techniques authors use (or, oops, fail to use).

I wish you lots of enjoyable reads whatever your preferred genre!

50 thoughts on “One Sentence Reviews: My 1st Quarter 2019 Reads

  1. I really love the idea of one line reviews. You tell so much with a few short words.
    I’m off to look up Shadows on the Wall and White Death.

    I enjoyed reading Dinosaur Lake in the past (you probably know I love creatures). Also, delighted to see End of Day in your reviews. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Page-wise, it didn’t feel like much because I happened to end up with so many shorter books, even a couple of novellas, and a children’s book. If they were all like Ficciones, I would have read, like, 3 books.:-) (I know, I know, it’s a classic, and “important” literature, but geez, it was difficult to get through!)

      Thanks for commenting, Staci!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Being a YA author you might enjoy Miskowski’s The Worst is Yet to Come. It’s a horror novel for adults, but the plot follows teenagers around, and Miskowski is a skilled wordsmith.

      Thank you for commenting, Teri!


  2. A writer has to find the time to read. Simple as that. How-to books are fine but fiction is my real how-to book. Nothing teaches me more than watching an author create. I’ve learned so much from them.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Totally agree that reading is a MUST for writers (I would say for all humans 🙂 )

    Thank you for sharing this list! Unfortunately I DNFd Atomic Habits but I’ll be checking out all the other books on it.

    Dialogues are not my forte so I’m especially interested in When the Lights Go Out! or.

    I cannot believe I have never read Jorge Luis Borges! I’ll have to start with Ficciones then! Who can resist what you say about it!

    I really like Sarra Cannon’s YouTube videos about writing and self-publishing, so I’ve always been curious about how good her Beautiful Demons series is. Happy to hear you liked it!

    Shadows on the Wall is a MUST since I LOVE Poe and I’m so intrigued about a teenager so talented!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maybe you’re not Type A enough to enjoy Atomic Habits.:-) Ficciones was hard for me . . . hard to comprehend. The man must have been brilliant. Sarra Cannon said she’s going to re-do her earlier Beautiful Demons books now that she’s a more experienced author. It’ll be interesting to see what changes she makes.

      Thanks for commenting, Daniela!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha!!! I’m actually a AAA type! I think it wasn’t getting to the point as fast as I wanted it lol 😝 ohhh It will be indeed interesting to compare Sarra’s work then and now 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t write many reviews because i read fast and find that they take much from my time. I do think about what to write, but then i get distracted, pick another book, and start on that one. I may give your style a try! And shudders for that Violent Lagoon, sounded the spookiest to me (I don’t mind blood and gore, but throw in spiders? i’m a trembling mess on the floor).
    Great choices here!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hear ya! Sometimes I won’t feel like reading. Maybe it’s too near bedtime or I’m in a grumpy mood or something. But then I’ll read “just one page,” and it turns into 10 or 20 pages. A good book grabs ‘hold of you! Thanks for commenting, T.J.!


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  6. Holy schmolie you are quite the reader, which explains why you’re such a great writer. No, I’ve not yet read any of your books, but your posts and all your comments at Haunt Jaunts are very thoughtful and well crafted so your talent shines through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do like me a good book.:-) I haven’t published any books yet. Sigh, I’m a novice still, but I’m working hard to remove the “un” from unpublished author. Thank you for your kind words, Courtney, and I love and visit your website often!


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