It’s Kind Of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini – A Book Review

I’ve seen It’s Kind Of a Funny Story on several must-read lists, especially those aimed at young adults.  I must admit that when I learned of the book’s plot, as well as the author’s unfortunate passing, well, it was with morbid fascination that I finally sat down to read it.

The premise is sadly common.  A teenage boy named Craig becomes overwhelmed by the demands of life, particularly his rigorous school, and decides to take his own life.  He finds his way into a psychiatric ward, and there he finally meets people with whom he can relate.  Though only required to stay for a short while, the fifteen year old recognizes his issues, has an epiphany on how to manage them, and leaves the ward on a happy note.

Of course, this is oversimplifying everything about the book.  The important thing to note is that Vizzini truly captures the essence of depression, he creates real characters, he expertly draws out various emotions, and, in the end, he provides hope to both Craig and the reading audience.

This book is sad, it is funny, it is uncomfortable, it is affirming, it is real, it is life.  No matter what your age, I highly recommend it.

 

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Misery Bay by Steve Hamilton – A Book Review

I recently discovered Steve Hamilton and read his work entitled The Lock Artist, a book I thoroughly enjoyed.  So when the opportunity arose to procure an advance copy of his latest, a thriller called Misery Bay, I jumped at the chance.

Misery Bay stars a character called Alex McKnight.  McKnight has, apparently, appeared before in previous Hamilton works, but my unfamiliarity with McKnight proved inconsequential.  Hamilton eased me into McKnight’s world by utilizing an organic, smooth narrative style that subtly revealed the character’s history.  In fact, so seamless was Hamilton’s introduction of McKnight that I wouldn’t have been surprised at all if this was the character’s first appearance!

McKnight is a former Detroit cop who now resides in Paradise, a frigid little town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  McKnight has a long history of tragedy, one I won’t spoil here, but the man keeps a good sense of sardonic humor about him and is, by all accounts, a capable protagonist.  He doesn’t particularly want to be a hero, however, and is very much at ease hanging out at his favorite bar and drinking his favorite beer.

Through a series of gruesome events, though, McKnight finds himself ensnared in a case involving multiple suicides and murders, all involving state police officers and their children.  Honor and duty binds him to the case, and while he doesn’t necessarily want to take on the role of “detective,” he can’t turn his back on those in need of help.  In the end, it’s a grisly affair, one that will shock you and keep you on the edge of your seat.

Hamilton’s writing style is fluid and conversational with a special emphasis on realistic, dynamic dialogue.  Though there’s a mystery in Misery Bay, I’m not sure I would classify it as such.  I would be more comfortable calling it a thriller.  There’s plenty of action, humor, gore, and even a touch of drama which all come together to form a true page-turner.  Michael Connelly and James Patterson offer favorable quotes in regards to Hamilton and his McKnight, and after reading Misery Bay I can understand why!

Crossover Dribble by PJ Farris – A Book Review

One thing’s for sure: PJ Farris knows basketball!

In this young adult novel released by Mayhaven Publishing, Joe Perkins is a young man desperately in love with the game of basketball and willing to do anything to improve his playing skills.  However, his father—a hardworking, relentless farmer—is constantly after Joe to help out more on the farm.  Joe concedes, but always with his mind on the courts.

Unfortunately, Joe’s father becomes seriously injured in a car accident and now Joe, along with his grandfather, must somehow meet the farm’s every need if they hope to keep it alive.  Before long, they hire Cuda, an older boy and star basketball player.  An unlikely bond forms between the two ballers, and Joe even learns a thing or two from both his granddad and Cuda.  But will their combined efforts be enough to keep the farm afloat in the father’s absence?  And will his sudden preoccupation with the farm prevent Joe from reaching his basketball goals?

Farris did a nice job of providing a streamlined story full of conflict, tension, and humor.  Joe underwent serious change throughout the novel, which is always the sign of strong characterization.  In fact, all of the main players were believable and utilized a distinct, charismatic personality.  Even Joe’s father—dour as he was—proved to be multilayered and identifiable in the end.

As mentioned, the novel had some truly funny moments, but it also contained very serious, life-threatening situations as well.  Farris juggled the changes in tone seamlessly, and, like life, one led to the other and then back again without much ruckus.

Being from a small, rural community, I especially appreciated the accuracy of farm life displayed throughout the story.  Farris has obviously spent time in the country because the farm machinery, livestock, industry methods, and even dialogue reflected the reality of country life.

Moreover, Farris knows the game of basketball.  No matter what Joe does, he always relates it to his game, often recounting lessons from his coach and things he’s learned on the court.  Farris, through narration, delivers several fundamentals of basketball in such a way that readers can’t help but pick up a helpful tip or two about the sport.  Best of all?  Everything mentioned about basketball is correct and essential to playing well.  If I had to guess, I’d say Farris has coached a player or two over the years.

Crossover Dribble has crossover appeal to all readers, whether they are basketball fans or those wanting to read about farm life.  Young adults will surely find the novel approachable, informative, and exciting.

More Reviews For Andropia!

Positive reviews keep rolling in for Andropia, and I’m very appreciative to those who are writing them! Check out the latest two:

“I loved Andropia! I started reading it on the El train to work, and I rapidly got pulled into the story as it developed from chapter to chapter. It got to the point where I couldn’t wait to get on the train, so that I could read more of it! I like Foley’s technique of closing chapters with a cliffhanger, and I liked the short stories at the end too, which really added great background details to the main story. It was a very quick read, and it definitely made me think deeper as I was trying to figure out what was coming next.”
~Matthew P., data migration expert

Andropia! I enjoyed this great read and was through it in a flash. Engaging and though-provoking, Andropia will transport you into it’s mysterious world and make you really wonder about our own world. Asking many questions and opening our minds to think in a new way, the books structure consists of the central story, then features short stories telling parts of the story from different perspectives. Pick this one up and you won’t be disappointed. Let’s hope there will be a sequel to follow.”
~Katie Hoffman, private chef and blogger

You can still get your copies by the following methods:

PayPal:
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=KYL4N7D8D4XHG

Amazon.com

Barnes and Noble.com

Join Me For a Reading At TheatresCool

It is my honor to be a special guest of TheatresCool this coming Tuesday night.  I’ve been invited to headline RE: VERSE, an open mic night held every second Tuesday of the month.  I’ll read a selection from my latest novel, Andropia, field questions for a few minutes, and then the stage will open up to those who’d like to share their poetry and writings as well.  Following the participants’ readings, I’ll be back on stage to sign and sell copies of Andropia.

Information

When: Tuesday, July 13, at 7:00 p.m.

Where:  TheatresCool, 403 N. Main Street, Bloomington, IL

Price of Books:  $13

I hope to see you there!

Here’s a link to TheatresCool if you’d like to know more:

http://www.theatrescool.com/

Can’t make it?  You can still get your signed copy of Andropia by following this link:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=KYL4N7D8D4XHG

And if you’d like to know what people are saying about Andropia, check out this wonderful review written by Dr. Jane Thomas:

Andropia, Scott William Foley’s intriguing novel reminiscent of utopian and distopian fiction, presents a number of big questions. What does it mean to be alive? What constitutes humanity? Should we question authority, and if so, why? What is our purpose in life? Does futility mock all endeavors? This slim book rivets attention from the first page, making it nearly impossible to put down until the last word is read. Foley also incorporates many historical and literary references into his story, and though a reader doesn’t need to know these references to enjoy the book, they enrich the writing by evoking concepts that further add to the significance of his science fiction thesis.

“The story consists of two parts, the first, a novel that includes the questions mentioned above and populated with a number of engaging characters. The second part consists of eight stories, seven of which are backstories to the novel. Although the novel and the stories can each stand alone, taken together, they extend the questions and provide a deep dive into the complexity of existence.

“Among the many attractive characters are Isaac and Amelia, the two heroes of the novel. Readers will identify with these characters, eagerly follow their activities, and when the final questions are answered, will realize that everything we know and everything we believe will be turned upside down. Parts of the story I still can’t get out of my thoughts, and the more I think about it, the more questions arise. Andropia is in some ways subversive, in many ways disturbing, and in all ways a thoroughly good read!”

Thanks for your time and consideration!

Respectfully,

Scott William Foley

Andropia Is Here!

My latest book, Andropia, is now live and available for purchase.  I like to think of it as philosophical science fiction, heavily influenced by the world events of the last five years as well as classic works of literature such as Brave New World, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451.

Andropia is the world’s last city, a utopia for its citizens known as Andropians.  They exist to please the Maker, he who created them in his floating Citadel.  Andropians cheerfully question nothing as they go about unnecessarily purifying air, cleaning water, and raising livestock.

When Isaac arrives from the Citadel, his many questions lead other Andropians to compare him to the deviant Amelia.  Soon Amelia and Isaac’s paths cross, and she persuades him to help rescue their people.  For she long ago discovered a suspected harbinger of destruction, an object that could mean the end of life as they know it.

Isaac and Amelia invade the Citadel and confront the Maker, but nothing could have prepared them for what they learn and their final fates.

To get your signed copy of Andropia, simply follow the link:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=KYL4N7D8D4XHG

or send $13.95 to:

Scott William Foley
P.O. Box 174
Normal, IL  61761

The shipping is free, and please allow up to three weeks for delivery.

If you’d like to read the first few chapters, click on this: Andropia Sample Chapters!

Andropia is also available at Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com/Andropia-Scott-William-Foley/dp/1450222366/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274142161&sr=1-1

and Barnes and Noble.com:
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Andropia/e/9781450222365/?itm=1&USRI=andropia

I truly hope you’ll give Andropia a try!

Sincerely,
Scott

Check Out Jude Landry’s Cover To My Latest Book!

Jude Landry is someone who will be revered one day as an artist … mark my words.  Originally a friend of a friend, I asked Jude almost two years ago if he’d design the cover for a book that I planned to release.  Because I  loved his previous work, I knew Jude would come up with something fantastic.  And so he did.  Best of all?  I like to think we became great friends in the process.  Behold Jude Landry’s cover to Andropia:

Be sure to visit Jude Landry’s website and look at his amazing work by clicking HERE!

And don’t forget, you can use PAYPAL to order a signed copy of Andropia by clicking HERE!