Long & Short Reviews features The Designated Survivor

The Designated Survivor‘ was reviewed by Long and Short Reviews.  They write:

The Designated Survivor Cover Photo

“It isn’t easy to reason with someone who is emotionally unstable. Injecting logic into a completely illogical belief system is even more difficult while you’re on the run and have no time to spare.

The pacing of this novella is fantastic. No sooner was I introduced to Tess and Wesley than their adventure begins in earnest. The tension rapidly escalates from that point on until the very last scene, and I was so invested in what was happening with these characters that I read the whole book in one sitting.

Numerous plot holes and connections between characters that were never fully explained lead to me give this tale a 3 star rating. A few issues with the plot were briefly brought up again later on, but given how much time had been spent on them earlier I would have liked to see more time spent discussing why these explanations are the right ones.

Small details in the descriptive paragraphs pulled me back into the action. This isn’t a typical road trip by any stretch of the imagination, but the author’s descriptions of what it feels like to carpool with someone you don’t know very well or stop at a gas station for a quick snack and stretch were right on point.

I did notice inconsistent characterization of someone who plays an important role in the plot. Their behavior shifts so much from one scene to the next that I briefly wondered if this was another clue about what was really happening with them. It would have been helpful to have confirmation of this if it is truly what the author is intending to do.

There are quite a few personality similarities between Wesley and Tess that aren’t necessarily apparent immediately. Discovering what they are is one of the best parts of reading this story because of how slowly everything is revealed. Despite the short length of this novella, the beginning in particular felt like the introduction to a full length novel. It took the time to set up everything the reader needs to know about Tess and Wesley in order to jump into what happens to them next.

The Designated Survivor kept me hooked until the final sentence. This fast-paced mystery is a good choice for anyone interested in a plot-centered story.”

You can read their  full review by clicking here ==> Long & Short Reviews: The Designated Survivor

Short Story Anthology benefits LitWorld literacy organization

913tWyXiosL._SL1500_I just purchased a copy of Library of Dreams on Amazon.

This inaugural short story collection from PSG Publishing contains the work of fourteen authors from six different countries, covering every corner of the literary dreamscape. One of those stories, “Mina’s Sactuary,” was written by a WattPad friend, Tim McFarlane.

“Mina’s Sanctuary” finds a teenage girl (who witnesses bullying at school, indifference at home and sanctuary in her paintings) embarking on an adventure in a magical realm of midevil castles, wicked witches and talking animal sidekicks. The narrative references Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” as inspiration, and evokes the imagery of a Disney cartoon. And like Disney, Mina (whose full name is Philomina, but she really hates being called that) must find confidence and courage to complete her journey.

Proceeds from sales of the Library of Dreams will be donated to LitWorld, a non-profit literacy organization. For more information, visit http://litworld.org/.

Little eBook Reviews features The Designated Survivor

The Designated Survivor‘ was reviewed by Paul Little on his blog Little eBook Reviews. He writes:

The Designated Survivor Cover Photo“This is JC Gatlin’s first offering on KDP as far as I could tell and it is a relatively short ebook at around 93 pages. These two facts tell us that the author is on a mission to make a splash with a fast paced novel. The blub is accurate and we get straight into the plot from the get-go.

“The main characters come together seemingly at random and as we go through the pages we learn about each and more importantly what we do not know. We know that Tess is on the run and desperate to get to her daughter and any road trip is going to be fraught with tension on the way. Quite how people outside the car learn about Tess is left to the imagination but this becomes much more than just a simple trip with just one goal.

“The writing is good and the action is kept up; the plot is intriguing and tension is exciting. Inevitably there is a car chase and inevitably the description of this goes on too long for my taste but that is a minor thing.

“Did I enjoy it? Sure, it was a fun read that kept me guessing. It has a good pace and good tension.”

You can review his full review by click here ==> Ebook Review: The Designated Survivor by Paul Little

Review of ‘Wilderness’ by Dean Koontz

WildernessI read Dean Koontz’ short story “Wilderness” today. Like all his books, it features an interesting, tortured protagonist and page-turning suspense.

In it, Addison is a deformed, lonely boy hiding in a cabin in the woods with his single mother. His mother is disgusted by his deformities and banishes him from the house. In his exile, he comes face to face with a hunter — the first human being he’s ever seen beyond his mother. The hunter, possibly frightened by the boy’s appearance or was he sent to ferret the boy out of the woods for nefarious reasons, tracks him along barely visible deer trails and into another abandoned, spider-infested cabin.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story — but it’s very, very short. And I use the term “story” loosely, as this reads like a prologue to the forthcoming novel, “Innocence.” It ends abruptly, leaving a lot of questions unanswered, and would’ve benefited from a more formal conclusion. Plus, there are many references to what will  happen to Addison in the upcoming book, which was a little distracting from the story at hand.

Still, Koontz’ writing, as always, is spot on. His voice (or Addison’s voice, as its written in first person) is at times moving and beautifully written. The boy is clearly wise beyond his years, and for a kid who has been isolated from society all his life possesses a vocabulary that puts me to shame. There were several words I actually had to look up in the dictionary.

In the end, “Wilderness” grabbed me from the first sentence, and I couldn’t put it down. The hunter chasing Addison through the woods and into the abandoned cabin is especially enthralling. And Addison is an engaging character. This is a gripping, fast-paced excerpt, er, short story. I can’t wait for the novel.