Category Archives: Instant Review Challenge!

Review: “Bottling Farts,” by Donald Rump

Yay! Book reviews are back! It’s The Instant Review Challenge, book 9!

A reminder: The Instant Review Challenge is just me, downloading ebooks, reading them, and writing reviews for Amazon — all in less than an hour.  But not just any ebooks. I’m reviewing the books written for J.A. Konrath’s challenge to write, edit, format and publish a story, complete with author-generated cover… in 8 hours. And while I’m explaining things: Did you guys know that so many of the Challenge books would be erotica? I’m too em-bare-assed to review that, so I’m not gonna. (Sorry.) Is it getting hot in here?

Here’s the cover for today’s  featured book, which is $.99 at the time of posting, 

Its book page on Amazon,

and my review:

Flat-out Flatulent Frivolity!

I must admit to being disappointed, at least at first. Despite its no-nonsense title and serious cover, Bottling Farts utterly fails as a self-help book for chemical warfare aficionados of the survivalist persuasion. Between me and you, there’s just not enough “How to.”

But then, maybe the world doesn’t need another How to Weaponize Your Farts manual. So it’s a good thing. A nasty, smelly, naughty, not-for-kids good thing. I suspect the author, Donald Rump, is all of those things, too.

So if it’s not a how-to guide, what is Bottling Farts?

If you think a story about farts-as-mind-control is funny, it’s flat-out flatulent frivolity.

If you’ve got the urge to see a naughty kid give an odiferous adult a whiff of his own medicine, it’s the gas.

Butt… butt…
The ending stinks. Also the middle.
Stinks so good.

(5 smelly stars)

Review: “Forbidden,” by Cege Smith

If you know where this post is heading (The Instant Review Challenge, book 8), you may skip to the review.

(Go on. You know you want to!)

If you’re new here: The Instant Review Challenge is just me, downloading ebooks, reading them, and writing reviews for Amazon — all in less than an hour. At least one per day. Until I drop. But not just any ebooks. I’m reviewing the books written for J.A. Konrath’s challenge to write, edit, format and publish a story, complete with author-generated cover… in 8 hours.

Here’s the cover for today’s  featured book, which is $.99 at the time of posting, 

Its book page on Amazon,

and my review:

Forbidden

by Cege Smith

This chilling little ghost story may seem a bit (first) drafty, but it’s a gripping tale, nonetheless. Written in the spirit of the Konrath 8-hour challenge…

But wait. Not everyone knows what an awesome feat this author has performed! Let me explain:

On his blog, bestselling author JA Konrath recently challenged indie authors to pen, edit, format, generate a cover for and publish an original ebook — all in 8 hours or less! There. Told you it was awesome.

Forbidden is the short tale of a girl head-over-heels in love with paranormal activity. Too bad that love… is unrequited. (And that’s more than enough spoilers from me.)

Although it works just fine as a traditional ghost story, I’d love to see it as the first chapter of a more complex novel. (Fingers crossed!)

If I didn’t know that this is the first draft of a story, I’d be tempted to give it 3 or 4 stars out of 5. (Because, you know, Stephen King exists!) But this is a good first draft, written on very short notice. So high 5!

Review: “Welcome to the Future,” by Edward M. Grant

If you know where this post is heading (The Instant Review Challenge, book 7), you may skip to the review.

Go on. Shoo!

If you’re new here: The Instant Review Challenge is just me, downloading ebooks, reading them, and writing reviews for Amazon — all in less than an hour. At least one per day. Until I drop. But not just any ebooks. I’m reviewing the books written for J.A. Konrath’s challenge to write, edit, format and publish a story, complete with author-generated cover… in 8 hours.

Here’s today’s cover for the featured book, which is $1.99 at the time of posting, 

The book page on Amazon,

And my review:

Holy Space Barnacles, They’re Gambling with the Future!

Wow. I hated to see this quirky sci-fi story end. It drew me in with an irresistible Red Dwarf vibe, and never disappointed.

Between this story’s e-pages I found great writing, humor, poker-playing spaceships, smart-mouthed characters — even the ones with no mouths — and the silent undertow of Something To Think About. (But only if I feel like it.)

In short, it’s all this meat-bag wants from sci-fi, and then some. I’ll revisit Grant’s galaxy as often as the author will have me.

5 stars on Amazon. (Wish I could give it 7.)

 

Review: “Shifted,” by Madeline Freeman

By now, you probably know where this post is heading: The Instant Review Challenge. Book 6. You may skip to the review. Or skip to your loo. (Either way, get a move on.)

For the rest of you: The Instant Review Challenge is just me, downloading ebooks, reading them, and writing reviews for Amazon — all in less than an hour. At least one per day. Until I drop. But not just any ebooks. I’m reviewing the books written for J.A. Konrath’s challenge to write, edit, format and publish a story, complete with author-generated cover… in 8 hours.

Here’s today’s cover for the featured book, which is $.99 at the time of posting,

The book page on Amazon,

And my review:

An Amuse-bouche of thrilling sci-fi horror!

The first short episode in Madeline Freeman’s paranormal series, Shifted, got me hooked — with plenty of action, compelling characters, and a hint of future romance. Think Teen Wolf… but not really, meets The X Files… but not really, meets a YA version of True Blood… but not really, then…

But that would be spoiling things!

I had one minor complaint: characters doing too many eye rolls. But this book was uploaded to Amazon in a rush, as part of J.A. Konrath’s 8-hour Challenge, so any little flaws of that nature didn’t bother me. I knew they would be taken care of in due time. Sure enough, the author has informed me she’s merrily plucking out the offending eyes, and mercilessly hunting down the typos mentioned in another review, silver bullet-firing guns ablaze.

A fast, easy, fun read. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

(5 stars)

Review: “How To Train Your Dinosaur,” by Christopher Gordon

By now, some of you know where this is heading: The Instant Review Challenge. Book 5. You may skip to the review. Hurry along there, you don’t have all day.

For the rest of you: The Instant Review Challenge is just me, reading ebooks and writing reviews for Amazon — all in less than an hour. At least one per day. Until I drop. But not just any ebooks. I’m reviewing the books written for J.A. Konrath’s challenge to write, edit, format and publish a story, complete with author-generated cover… in 8 hours. Too lazy to take the challenge, I have imposed on myself this pleasurable penance.

Here’s the cover for this post’s subject of scrutiny, which is $.99 at the time of posting, 

The book page on Amazon,

And my review:

Christopher Gordon’s How To Train Your Dinosaur is Catcher in the Rye meets Jurassic Park meets John Dies at the End.

‘Nuff said? No? In that case:

A versatile writer, Gordon has conjured up a surprisingly badass-but-touching story, written totally in correspondence from (and to) a new “recruit” to R.A.P.T.O.R. (That’s Republic Academy Predator Training Objective Rehabilitation, to you and me.)

It’s like rehab boot camp, with dinosaurs. Who knew?

So,  how did Neville “The Nogaliscious One” Noggins end up dodging dino dung, while his parents moved on without him? He peed on the Principal’s wig, at Jurassic High. Oh, how he’ll wish he hadn’t done that. (Nah. Knowing “Nog,” he’d just wish he hadn’t gotten caught. Or he will, if he ever gets the chance… )

And that’s all the spoilers you’re gettin’ outta me!

I haven’t read any of this author’s other books, but I will. Gordon makes it easy to get hooked — by including the first 5 chapters of The Dinosaur Games. Which is cool, convenient… and just a bit predatory. 😉

(I do have one bone to pick, and it’s a big one: no dinosaurs on the cover!)

5 stars, anyway.

Review: “The Devohrah Initiative,” by Craig Hansen

Here we go again! Instant Review Challenge. Book 4. I’m downloading ebooks, reading them, and writing reviews for Amazon — all in less than an hour. The ebooks in question were written for J.A. Konrath’s challenge to write, edit, format and publish a story, complete with author-drawn cover… in 8 hours. Some stories are more challenging than others. Here’s the cover for this post’s subject of scrutiny, which is free at the time of posting,

Here’s the book’s Amazon page,

And here’s my review:

Craig Hansen’s The Devohrah Initiative is a savvy, thought-provoking and politically timely story in a neatly-wrapped, unattended package.

This surprisingly sophisticated little story, based on a pun, could generate some buzz. I won’t spoil the story, except to say that although the author billed it as a blend of horror/satire, it came across as sci-fi/satire to me. The subject matter — conflict in the Middle East — is culturally and politically tricky, but Hansen pulled it off.

This story is one response to bestselling author J.A. Konrath’s call to arms: a challenge to indie authors to pen, edit, format and publish an ebook, complete with author-generated cover, within 8 hours. The result is a tightly-strung, tidy, tiny book with a lethal injection of humor — a testament to Hansen, who even had time to write an Author’s Note,  to include his author’s bio and reviews for his other books, and to come up with an eye-catching cover!

Well played all around. 5 stars.

Review: “Eight Hour Fiction #1,” by Travis Hill

Instant Review Challenge. Book 3. I’m downloading ebooks, reading them, and writing reviews for Amazon — all in less than an hour. At least one per day. Until I drop. But not just any ebooks. Oh, no. I’m reviewing the books written for J.A. Konrath’s challenge to write, edit, format and publish a story, complete with author-drawn cover… in 8 hours. Too lazy to take the challenge, I have imposed on myself this pleasurable penance. So far, the stories are great, but this is still likely to be the death of me. And yet I carry on.

Here’s the cover for this post’s subject of scrutiny, which is free at the time of posting,

Here’s the book’s Amazon page,

And here’s my review:

Eight Hour  Fiction #1 is a collection of two flash fiction stories by author Travis Hill. It was published in response to J.A. Konrath’s recent challenge to readers of his blog. The challenge? Write and edit an ebook, draw the cover, and publish it all within eight hours.

Like the unemployable insect-alien castaway in Hill’s Vonnegut-esque A Career Moment, the cover of Eight Hour Fiction isn’t good at its job. (But that’s OK. Someone will surely come along and give it a hand.) The alien, too, hasn’t made the most of his outstanding assets, hasn’t reached his full-blown potential. But when he does… heads up!

I’m dying to spoil this story, to make clinical observations about the astute employment of adolescent wet memes — but I’d better not. I can say this:

I applauded!

Next up, an even shorter flash. Capture at the Hive, the author’s homage to Calvin and Hobbes, champions the forces of good (a boy named General Megatron) over evil (the general’s “Evil Queen Mother” and her dark list of household chores). It’s sweet, but not too, and it’s funny — and, unlike the first story, it’s ideal for both adults and children. IMHO, it’s worth a cartoon series of its own.

(5 stars.)

Review: “Leave Me Alone, The Introvert’s Guide to Travel,” by Wya Soquiet

It’s the Instant Review Challenge, part 2! I’m challenging myself to download Kindle books, read them, and write reviews for Amazon — all in less than an hour.

But not just any Kindle books. That would be folly. Some are whoppers — and even my speed-of-light badass reading skills would be doomed to failure.*  No, I’m reviewing the books written for J.A. Konrath’s challenge to write, edit, format and publish a story, complete with cover… in 8 hours or less. I was too lazy to take the challenge, myself, but I stand (sit, sprawl) in awe of those who did, and think they deserve reviews in random order.

Without further ado, here’s the cover for number two, 

The Amazon page for this book, which is $.99 at the time of posting,

And my 5 star review:

“Leave Me Alone” is the go-to book for introverts on the go!

Author Wya Soquiet  (not to be confused with her sister, Ima Marriedwomannow-Sothere, who also writes handy pamphlets of this ilk) is a Godsend for introverts who tremble at the thought of travel.

Soquiet’s book is a veritable tiny gold mine of information, and the author is quite convincing when she insists that introverts need not turn into faux extroverts just because they want to see the world. As Wya says — in her distinctively wry, humorous, Soquiet way — “Travel is tiring enough without that shit.”

Highlights include:

  • Ways to get out of backpacking with serial killers.
  • How to choose an appropriate travelling companion, if you must, and, most helpful of all,
  • How to avoid extroverts on the road.

In short, “Leave Me Alone, The Introvert’s Guide to Travel,”  is a good short book for a short flight, reviewed by a short reviewer.

*Know anyone else who read the Lord of the Rings trilogy in two days, huh? Huh? Know anyone else dumb enough to do that, huh?

Instant Review Challenge!

I just downloaded a Kindle book, read it, and wrote a review for Amazon — all in less than an hour. This story was written as a response to J.A. Konrath’s recent challenge to write, edit, format and publish a story, complete with cover… in 8 hours or less. I just happened upon it in the signature line of its author while buzzing around KindleBoards. Here’s the cover:

Click here to see the book page on Amazon.

At the time of this post, this book is free! Here’s my review:

“Charles Deckins’ Tsunami of Swill, Secret of the Ebook Crapnado is the best thing I’ve read all hour. At one point I heard both chortling and snorting, and realized those unseemly sounds were coming… from me! If I’d had a mirror handy, I could have described myself as I brushed back my long chestnut hair and admired my own baby-blue eye-twinkle in response to this amusing short story — but this is not about me!

I could tell the story was funny — I believe I knew this telepathically; you can believe what you want, if you think it’s a free country. I read on, grinning wider, and of course I had to fetch a mirror so as to truly cherish this once-in-an-hour reading experience.

Ahh… That was better! My perfect teeth gleamed like Chiclets by Kindlelight as I flipped page after page of pages, and lock after lock of hairs.

(All kidding aside, this is worth twice the price for the similes alone! Tsunami of Swill is brilliantly witty and original, hit every meme it aimed at right between the eyes, and I loved it. Loved it. And I refuse to “spoil” it. Just read it, especially if you are a self-published author. I said just read it!)”

5 stars. Did I forget to say 5 stars?

This experience has made me decide to challenge myself: to read a story, write an Amazon review, and post it — in one hour or less, one or more per day. This I pledge to do for as many of the winners of Konrath’s challenge as I can, before I go:

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