The Ball Washer by Lance Manion

The Ball Washer

by Lance Manion

Genre: Adult, Humor, Short Story Anthology

Five stars

The Ball Washer is a collection of short stories beginning with some lighthearted tales and then delving into very personal, graphic, and sometimes shocking themes. Some stories tell of boys who can erase the universe with paint, and others read like a masturbation recipe.

Not often do I come across a work that I admire, but don’t really enjoy. The Ball Washer is that book. As a parent of two boys, I have my fill of off-color jokes and disgusting humor. You can understand why I wouldn’t want to read it in a book, or really hear it at all, anywhere. In a home where flatulence passes as music in more than one person’s opinion, I just can’t enjoy it.

On the other hand, Ball Washer is incredibly well-written and cerebral for all its baseness. The contrast is rather fantastic. Lance takes the very graphic and often embarrassing parts of life and opens them wide for all to see. That is a kind of bravery in writing that not many authors can claim. The tales consist of some choice malarkey as well as a tongue firmly in cheek. A reader will discover such quotes as: “Originating in Kashmir, velvet painting is an ancient technique embraced by early religious leaders, and to this day many early works hang in the Vatican.”

My only non-personal criticism for the book is that it seems entirely too long. After six or seven stories, I checked to see how many more stories I had, and found I hadn’t even made it halfway through. At 74,000 words it could have easily worked as at least two separate anthologies, in my opinion. When I looked through some other anthologies available online, the only comparably-sized one was an anthology of novellas.

A few epically long sentences appear through the narratives. Nothing in them appeared incorrect; just don’t try to read the long ones out loud without first sitting down in case of an oxygen-deprivation nap.

I couldn’t finish The Ball Washer, both because of the length and the subject matter. I made it halfway. That doesn’t mean it won’t have merit for other readers, and one definitely gets plenty of well-written stories for their money. For me it provided TMI, but you just might LOL.

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Few Are Chosen by M.T. McGuire

Few Are Chosen

by M.T. McGuire

Genre: Fantasy, Humor

Five stars

The Pan of Hamgee ekes out his existence in a world parallel to our own. Working as a third-tier criminal is the only ambition he can attain, because his continued existence is illegal. Capture by the despotic Grongolian rulers means execution for The Pan. Does the dictator, Lord Vernon, have it in for him personally? The dotty and fanatical Resistance is probably an equally bad (or maybe even worse) option for The Pan.

When The Pan discovers a magic thimble, he hasn’t a clue that it will be the key to his world’s liberation. He didn’t want to be a hero, dangit! He was happy with his accidental promotion to getaway driver. It fit perfectly with his natural yellow streak and talent for saving his own skin. He didn’t want to save the world. But to his chagrin he finds that somewhere in deep inside, he has a conscience, and the blasted thing won’t let him ignore the cause of Underground or the mysterious girl he sees through the magic thimble.

I found myself smiling like a goof through most of the book. MT’s delightful humor and silly names were like a sprinkling of chocolate chips on top of a delicious cupcake. The book’s ending had me laughing and annoying my husband by reading him snippets.

MT weaves an endearing tale of cowardice paired with surprising bravery. The true growth and maturing of a dopey young man tugged my heartstrings and tickled my funny bone. Little about this story is typical. I loved the delightful dialects and fantastic, complex political and racial balance. The swearing in the book is priceless, not displaying a lack of imagination, but adding a creative exclamation fitting for the setting. Arnold’s Y Fronts!

I couldn’t wait to read the next page of this book, and am delighted to recommend it for Awesome Indies! This book is a gem and an absolute must-read.

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Three Girls and a Wedding by Rachel Schurig

Three Girls and a Wedding

by Rachel Schurig

Genre: humor, romance

Why is it that we girls are always forced to choose between love and career? Jen Campbell thinks she has made the right decision, sacrificing her own romance for the career of her dreams: planning weddings. NoLimits, a premiere event planning firm in Detroit, Jen is pushing for the top. Her hopes look like they’ll become reality when she lands a supporting role planning a gala wedding week for local mogul, David Barker’s pampered daughter, Kiki. Though she is undercut for the lead role by smarmy Jason Richardson, this is still her chance. Determined to make her name known, she pulls out all the stops.

A foil to her hectic career is her beloved, peaceful home-life, living with her two best friends, Ginny and Annie  and Danny, Ginny’s little boy. The highlight of her day is time spent at home with her friends, which is an enormous conflict with her career goals.

To make things even more hectic, Ginny asks Jen to plan her wedding at the same time as the career-making Barker wedding. Can Jen have a career and a life? Will she end up with Matt, the groom’s hot brother, will she find common ground with the self-centered and douchetastic Jason, or will she end up alone? Will she even survive?

I have to admit my dark secret, that I love those shows where brides pick out dresses. I even used to watch the wedding story shows with every detail of weddings, but I watched too many and burned myself out on them. Still, I have an incurable love for all the girly, frilly, fabulous fun! This book was all that and an Amsale dress. Though it was a second in a series, there was nothing preventing me from enjoying the full story without having read the previous book. All the characters were fun and interesting. The plot never lagged and the girly excitement never fell flat. I felt the friend bond between Jen and her friends. I ground my teeth at Jason as he dumped all the work on poor Jen and took all the credit. I worried for Jen as she endured the piles of work and problems, screwed up with everyone even though it wasn’t her fault, and fretted over Matt and his strange standoffishness. The ending was the best! But I won’t spoil the surprise…. I do have to issue a warning for intense girliness, frills, foo-foos and drama. If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the boutique! Rachel Schurig has written a thoroughly fun and enjoyable story of love, marriage, weddings, girl power, and all the headaches and drama that come with them.

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or nook

For more information about the author: http://rachelschurig.com/