Favorite Works of Fiction- Book Review

Favorite Works of Fiction

by Adam Huddleston

For our book review month, I wanted to bring back an old blog of mine concerning my favorite works of fiction.  They aren’t necessarily detailed book reviews, but rather an insight into the types of works that I enjoy.

A couple of weeks ago I published a blog concerning my favorite non-fiction books for writers.  This week, I would like to list a few of my favorite works of fiction (in no particular order).  As you can imagine, me being a life-long reader of fantasy and horror, the list is full of selections from those genres.

Stephen King has always been a “fave” of mine.  He has a plethora of thrillers and chillers.  Some works seek to get you at the “gross-out” level.  Others are more intimate examinations of the inner-self.  My favorite novel of his belongs to the latter; “The Long Walk.”  Reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, this story follows a young man as he participates in a horrific annual tradition.  The book is eerie and very well written.

Shifting to fantasy, you can’t find many works better than those of J.R.R. Tolkien.  In a world where new writers are shoveling their wares in both bookstores and electronically, this legendary author’s work stands the test of time and his “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is, to me at least, at the top.  It is the definition of an epic fantasy with a huge cast of characters, a sprawling world, and an entire language created by the author.

The late Michael Crichton penned a ton of great science-fiction stories, many of which were adapted into motion pictures.  My favorite work of his is “Jurassic Park.”  The movie, once it gets going, travels at a break-neck pace.  Guess what?  The novel does as well.  The author even goes into great detail concerning how they manipulated the DNA to create the stories antagonists.  

The last piece I’ll mention is one by Richard Adams.  One of my earliest cinematic memories is watching “Watership Down” on a VHS player in my parent’s bedroom.  When I was older, I discovered that it was based on a novel of the same name.  The book does a great job of personifying the characters, mostly rabbits with a black-headed gull thrown in for good measure, and bringing their adventures to life.  Like Tolkien, Richard Adams gives us a healthy dose of backstory, native language, and even a form of lupine religion.  

Whatever your favorite genre might be, these novels are worth looking into.  They will give insight into proper world building, plot, dialogue, and character development.

Happy writing; and reading!

OUR TIME ON ROUTE 66 – Book Review

Outtakes 387


By Cait Collins

Recently Wordsmith Six released an anthology OUR TIME ON ROUTE 66.  The book contained five stories with different time periods and different genres. The uniting theme was Route 66 and the U-Drop Inn in Shamrock, Texas.

Maggie’s Betrayal by Natalie Bright is based on actual events during the Depression Era.  Maggie is given in marriage to a gangster as payment for gambling debts.  Shy and frightened, she tends to the household chores and is more a servant than a wife.  When she meets her husband’s nephew, Alex, she learns not all men are mean and abusive.  As their relationship grows and changes, Maggie must decide whether to stay in her loveless marriage or take a chance on love.

I couldn’t believe it when I realized our two guys both wrote romances.  Rory C. Keel wrote Waiting.  Set in World War II, the story traces a tale of love based on letters a newlywed couple wrote to each other.  Brennon and Patricia’s marriage grows stronger even though they are separated by war.  The story is enhanced by the inclusion of well researched facts regarding events in the Texas Panhandle and the war in Europe.  The ending will touch your heart.

Sudden Turns by Joe Nichols is a hoot. Joe has this wonderful voice that combines details of ranch life and the romance between a young widow and a Texas cowboy who has returned home following his military stint in World War II. Liz and Buster don’t start out on good terms, but she’s desperate to get her cattle to market.  For room and board plus a portion of the sales, she hires Buster to “capture” her cows.  A cowboy himself, Joe brings just the right amount of humor and “ranching” to the story.

Moira O’Hara, a photo journalist spent months recovering from injuries sustained during an earthquake while embedded with troops in Afghanistan.  Much of her time in the Middle East is a distant memory she chooses not to remember; including memories of her rescuer, Aiden Thornton. When they accidentally reconnect at the Rialto Square Theater in Joliet, Illinois, they begin a journey of recovery on the road to a Showdown at the U-Drop Inn by Cait Collins.

Author Nandy Ekle set the final story, Fear of Heights, a few years in the future. Shamrock, Texas has grown.  The U-Drop Inn has reopened, and a carnival is set up close to the restaurant.  Reylene is in the process of divorcing her abusive husband, Shane.  Shane is not happy with the amount of child support Reylene is requesting, so he enlists the aid of his current squeeze, Sherry. Sherry is Reylene’s best friend. Terrified of heights, Reylene reluctantly agrees to a ride on the Ferris wheel.  But she is unaware Shane and Sherry plan to scare her into giving up on the child support. Can she forgive the betrayal?

The book gave each of us a chance to test our imaginations, research skills, and take a leap of faith. OUR TIME ON ROUTE 66 is available online or through your local Barnes and Noble Booksellers.

The ORCHARDIST – Amanda Coplin

The ORCHARDIST – Amanda Coplin

Review by Rory C. Keel

William Talmage grows up as a gentle recluse caring for the family orchard after the death of his mother. Haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his sister, his heart of compassion is kindled when he befriends two feral girls stealing from his orchard. Talmage sets out to aid both girls who are pregnant and hungry and to redeem them from the opium controlled brothel owner named Michaelson.

The book is well written and picturesque with the details of the Pacific North West in the late 1800’s. This book is worth a read and a re-read!

“The Way of Kings”

“The Way of Kings”


by Adam Huddleston

I realize most book reviews are written after a reader has finished the work, but I wanted to let you know a little bit about the novel that I am currently reading.  

“The Way of Kings”, by Brandon Sanderson, is an epic fantasy novel.  It is the first in his “Stormlight Archive” series.  At the moment, I am only a quarter or so of the way through, but I can tell that this is going to be a massive story.  The overall plot is told through the experiences of a multitude of main characters, each with their own motivations and colorful back-stories.  The book includes several maps of the fantasy world as well as artwork created by one of the main characters.  

If you are a fan of epic fantasy, or of Brandon Sanderson (whose works include the last few “The Wheel of Time” books and the “Mistborn” series), I highly recommend “The Way of Kings”.  I can’t wait to see where the story goes!

Provenance – Book Review 



Provenance written by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujois a true story of John Myatt, an artist living on the edge of financial ruin, yet possessed the ability to recreate the paintings of Cézanne, Matisse, Giacometti.

Enters John Drewe, who becomes the biggest client and collector of Myatt’s “genuine Fakes,” and begins paying John Myatt large sums of money in appreciation to for his work.

Let me let you in on a little secret, Drewe was selling John Myatt’s work to the art world as real Cézanne, Matisse and Giacometti’s. John unknowingly becomes an accomplice through accepting the money Drewe makes selling the paintings. When the fraud is revealed to the artist, it’s difficult to quit.

Provenance is a truly suspenseful story of one of the greatest art frauds of all time. If you like suspense or art, this is a fantastic read.