Chicken Boy – Books

* * * * * * * * 8 / 10

Frances O’Roarke Dowell

I had to buy the book called Chicken Boy. How can you not buy a book called Chicken Boy?

I was only a little disappointed it wasn’t about a chicken-boy hybrid monster that terrorises all who get in its way.

Tobin is a young lad whose mum has died, dad isn’t quite able to fill her shoes and Granny is not quite all there. He’s failing at school and has little hope for a future, until he meets Henry. Henry likes chickens.
It’s a story of friendship, having faith in your friends and in yourself, aimed at 11- 13 year olds.

Grand Theft Octo – Books

* * * * * * * * * * 10 / 10

Niels Saunders

What starts of as a fun trip to crazy town takes a dark turn into horrified fascination. Jonathan Doe is a con-man selling whatever it is you’re willing to buy, be that an assurance your plants will be fine while you’re away or that your octopus is in dire need of teasing. He’s brimming with self-assurance, fun, insane and somehow manages to bend the world to his will while at the same time failing hugely in whatever he’s doing.

The failing part is largely due to Caputo, the hotdog in the middle. Just as in what happens to the story, Caputo will take all your fun and crazy and twist it into something unpleasant and violent.

Jonathan Doe is charming and funny, at first appearing superficial but as he reels from one situation to another it becomes clear there’s more to him than meets the eye… while at the same time he continues to be… well, superficial.

Dust Blowing – Books

* * * * * * * 7/10

Margaret Skea

I don’t read many books of short stories, for no particular reason.
This one has a lot to offer. Some stories are sad, some frightening in their own way, some are hopeful. The common theme seems to be a battle of some sort or another. A few are battles be with yourself in doing the right thing, some with yourself to do the necessary thing.
The writing is good, the ideas in each story work well and for the most part they complement each other despite all of them being so different. There was one story, Finding Rose, that I just couldn’t get on with and to me seemed to stick out from the rest like a sore thumb. The rest of the book though was excellent.

Lesbian Zombies from Outer Space – Graphic Novel

* * * * * * * * * * 10/10

Jave Galt-Miller

This is not something to take seriously. Not even a little. Like the title suggests, it’s a graphic novel about lesbian zombies from… well, you know. It’s all there.

The story is as uncomplicated and as silly as you’d expect. The alien zombies are hungry for man parts, and the only woman unaffected by the disease, virus, outbreak, however you’d want to describe it, happens to be a lesbian. The men are left helpless and terrified, soon to be killed, with the exception of our hero, Ace, who’s plan to defeat the zombies involves…. wait for it… porn.

Yup.

It’s a light and easy read, though where I left off had suddenly taken quite a dark turn. The artwork is excellent and suits the book and I have the feeling it’s going to offend a lot of people.

Ratpaths – Books

* * * * * * * * * * 10 / 10

Angelika Rust

The first time I read this, it wasn’t my favourite book and it was a couple of years before I picked it up again and gave it another go. I’m glad I did.
I think the only way Nivvo could be described is as a cheeky rascal. He’s just that sort of lovable scamp, who might have a somewhat dark side to him but for the most part is honest in his own way.
The city is living under the thumb of a tyrant who had Nivvo’s father killed when he was but a child, and sent him to the streets. The only reason he is alive is that the lord of the underworld took a liking to him…
The story comes to a satisfying end, yet there is obviously more to come.

Three Days Breathing – Books

* * * * * * * 7 / 10

Mike Maguire

The story focuses on Corim and takes us through his childhood, from schooling to meeting his first love, marriage and having a child of his own. It’s through Corim’s life we learn of the society he lives in.
Corim belongs to the General Order, which means he will live for 37 years. He will have one of two jobs, a system architect, or a sex worker. Becoming a sex worker is seen as the better choice, being higher paid and bringing benefits such as colourful clothes and jewellery. Prostitution is celebrated, an enviable job because it allows for a slightly better way of living.
Of course there are the other Orders, allowed to live longer, have more career choices and wear more clothes, own more belongings. The higher the order, the greater the luxury.
There is no way to move up in the orders. The only career choices are those available within the order, which gives the illusion of social mobility to those who live in this world.
The story starts very strongly, but as it comes to the end I get the impression the author didn’t quite know how to finish it. Part of the problem is that there are two stories here, one of the dystopian society and the other of Corim. The society needed more telling than Corim could give it.
I’d be far happier with two or more books. Corim’s story is important enough that it can stand as part of a series, of how the cruelties of that society has effected its citizens on a personal level, while the creation and downfall of the class system can be dealt with by new characters.

Teach a Teacher a Lesson – Books

* * * * * * * * * 9 / 10

Cat Nicolaou

Sam is an arrogant 18 year old, given everything in life and spoiled enough to believe what he wants is his by default. Rita is his new history teacher and he wants her…
Fast forward ten years and Sam seems to have his life under control. Handsome, charming and in a job on a cruise ship that takes him around the world. No matter how happy he appears on the surface though, he still feels resentful that Rita had him expelled for his unwelcome and almost threatening advances at school.
Then there’s Rita, who’s left an abusive relationship and decides to start a new life with a luxury cruise…
This is not a romantic tale. This is a pair of dysfunctional people, who don’t so much meet again as crash spectacularly without thought as to who they take down with them.