Cheri Reviews Shadow Box by Kim Pritekel

Erin Riggs is an average woman with a normal life, though with decidedly un-common fears of exploring her world or her own truths. One 3 a.m. incident would change everything forever.

Tamson Robard spent a childhood with a weak mother, desperate to land a man in order to escape a horrific secret that Tamson can’t even fathom. Tamson ran away as a teenager, but is now a grown woman. Other than drugs, her only friend is a guardian angel, Penny, whom she confides in, sharing feeble hopes and unending pain.

Together, the two will discover buried truths that will lead them through tears and to death’s door. Can the collision of Erin and Tamson’s worlds save them both?

Tamson is a young woman who has had a hellish life and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. Erin is a straight-laced woman who takes as few risks as possible. They meet when Tamson gets robbed and bangs on Erin’s door, hoping to use her phone. The pair meet a few more times, never under very good circumstances, and, eventually, end up on a road trip from Denver to Fort Worth because Tamson’s mom has gone missing. The story was interesting but there were a lot of things that kept pulling me out of it and made it difficult for me to like this book.

When I read online fiction, I switch my brain into that mode. I let misspellings, bad grammar, and misused words sort of roll on by. When I read a book that’s been published, that people have to pay for, my standards change. I think that’s a fair expectation for readers to have. Shadow Box had numerous errors that should have been caught prior to publication. Beside the grammar and typo issues, there were so many flashbacks that I found myself groaning when I was pulled from the current action to be tossed back to the past. And, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why the bad guy was so intent on getting Tamson. Besides being crazy and possessive, I just can’t recall any detail that would prompt his actions at the end of the book.

Will I read more of the author’s work? Probably, yes. When Tam and Erin are getting to know each other and getting close, I very much enjoyed the story. The story lines about Tamson’s family, I also liked a lot. It was the other stuff that, I think, kept me from liking this book.

You can download a sample or purchase a copy of Shadow Box by clicking this link.

Awaken by Kim Pritekel

I was on a Kim Pritekel kick and decided to read all of her stories posted to pdafiction.com. Well, that lasted for a good long while but I didn’t finish them all. This review I actually wrote a long time ago but was posting so many that I decided to hold off on it. Well, here we are months later and I’ve not been posting much at all! So I figured I’d better get this one done. UK and Jarling have been doing a great job of keeping you all in reviews so I don’t feel too awfully bad.

Awaken was pretty original, I think. It’s the story of young Braxton who ends up in a coma. While she sleeps, she has an adventure in a sort of purgatory where she and her guide, Asima, fight for her soul.

After she wakes up and gets back to her regular life, she continues to have dreams of her time in the other realm. Braxton’s life has changed and it changes even further after she gets to know her reclusive roommate, Becca.

Ok, I won’t say much more but there’s also issue of domestic violence, murder, and love and loss. This was a good story but there seemed to be parts – important parts – that were never really touched upon. I enjoyed it but found myself thinking, “OK, but what about ______ (fill in the blank with a few different choices that I can’t say here)?”

All in all, a good story and I thought it was well worth the read.

http://pdafiction.com/kp.htm

Something I Said by Denic

A few weeks ago I reviewed “True Colours“ by Karen A. Surtees and PruferBlue as part of a list on stories with a less than physically perfect protagonist. I’ve been adding to the list since then, so here is an update.

You’re probably already familiar with the very productive pen of Kim Pritekel, a number of her stories have already been reviewed at this site, but I don’t think anyone has mentioned “Eye of the Beholder”. In “Eye of the Beholder” we meet a young blind journalist, who has been assigned to do an article on a beautiful and rather bitchy former model. Kim Pritekel also penned the touching story “Again” about Laurel, who returns to Boston after 10 years, to see her former lover, Caden, who is suffering from brain cancer and wants to see Laurel again before she goes into surgery. This is one of those classic romances of young love that never dies, so rest assured – even if it’s a bit tragic at times – I guarantee a happy end.

In the short story “Sheridans Fate” by Gun Brooke, we meet Sheridan Ward as she opens the yearly stockholders’ convention of Ward Enterprises. This is Sheridans first public appearance after she contracted bacterial meningitis 11 months earlier, now she is bound to a wheelchair and dependent on her personal assistant and nurse – Lark. This is a short, but catching tale of a tough and bitchy executive with a heart longing for love. I understand that the story has been turned into a novel published by Bold Strokes Books.

While we are at it, I think I should also mention “Love’s Melody Lost” by Radclyffe, a novel sporting a concert pianist and composer, who has isolated herself in her home after a car accident that left her blind and without her former feel for music. Anna enters into this bleak house as a “house manager” for the pianist, and manages to put the spark back in her eyes, but love is something that Graham – the pianist – is not yet ready to embrace. Even though the story is well written, I’m not too keen on it, as Graham is portrayed a bit too transgendered for my taste, but it’s well rated on The Athenaeum so – surprise – not everyone agrees with me 🙂

The last story to be added to my list of stories with less than perfect protagonists is “Something I Said” by Denic, and this is really something else as the protagonist Conner suffers from Tourette’s syndrome. This is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by tics, but in the case of Conner, the tics are mostly vocal and take the form of exclamation of obscene words.

When we meet Conner, the Tourette’s has yet again caused her to lose a job, she is banned from shopping in the nearby grocery store, and virtually friendless. Wandering the streets, she encounters the neighbourhood toughs, who don’t take too kindly to her mouthing her thoughts on their mothers and that lands her with a bloodied lip and a black eye. You want me to go on, or do you get the idea ? Conner is at a low point in her life and this is when she starts a string of encounters with a beautiful blond who seems to be stalking her.

Conner’s life turns for the better when she strikes up a friendship with her neighbour, Elmer, an older man who doesn’t seem to take offence by her cuss words, and eventually the friendship with Elmer leads her to meet her blond stalker – Ellison.

Basically “Something I Said” is an ordinary romance, with two woman both reluctant to believe in love, but I must say that Denic has found an original setting for this one. I’ve no idea if the story is true to the plights of someone suffering from Tourette’s, but I hope that it won’t offend anyone. When you cut out all the cuss words, you’ve got a sweet romance and a number of episodes that can put a smile on your face. So don’t hesitate to look up this story even if it is a bit out of the ordinary.

http://www.academyofbards.org/fanfic/d/denic_somethingisaid1.html

Control by Kim Pritekel (with Alexa Hoffman)

Garrison Davies and her father own a hangar and a couple of planes. They do mostly cargo work. Keller Mitchum is a 17 year old girl who works as their janitor. All of their lives change one night as Garrison sees a seriously wounded Keller on the side of the road.
This story is about severe abuse, fear, and healing. It is well worth the numerous grammatical errors and name inconsistencies. There were a few places when the story seemed off – like the timeline was a bit off or the author forgot she had already referred to something. But, to be honest, these are things that I come to expect from Pritekel’s work so they don’t bother me much. She makes the story worth the bumps. I did see that Alexa Hoffman was credited with contributing to the first twelve chapters.

All said, Kim Pritekel is one of my very favorite authors and Control, while emotionally difficult, is well worth the read. And, if I’m not mistaken, Garrison, Keller, and Parker (Keller’s much younger sister) make an appearance in 1049 Club.

http://www.pdafiction.com/kp.htm

The Collector by Kim Pritekel

I’ve been on a Kim Pritekel mission over the past couple of weeks. I enjoy her work very much and have decided that I’m going to read all of her work on pdafiction.com or become too burned out to continue. I tend to be a bit of an extremist. I’ve got notes for a few other stories that I didn’t review right away and I’ll be posting them soon. But I just finished The Collector and had to get this review done now before I forgot how I felt about this story.

In my opinion, this was the best story of hers that I’ve read so far. The standard Pritekel non-published work disclaimers apply (typos, missing words, etc.) although I don’t think anyone’s name changed mid-story.

This is much darker than anything else of hers that I’ve read. It deals with some very serious stuff and the author doesn’t hold back. The tale begins with drifter Remmy Foster hitching a ride from Julie Wilson, a local 6th grade teacher. Remmy has some psychic abilities and immediately feels something going on with Julie. Later that day, Julie is abducted by a serial kidnapper. She is taken to his home, kept in a hidden room in the basement, naked, bound, and used, along with other women who have been there much longer than she has.

Pritekel’s descriptions of the dark environment are fantastic and vivid. Her villain was well written and not exactly what I expected. Julie’s co-captives are not done in much detail but I still felt for them and had an idea of who they were, for the most part.

Now we turn to Remmy, who is inexplicably connected to Julie. She can often see what Julie sees and, occasionally, what the kidnapper sees or, at least, the general environment that he lives in. Remmy goes to the police to share what information she can and ends up working closely with one of the detectives.

The first half of the novel length story is intense and I had a very difficult time putting it down. The second half was equally good but less dramatic. All in all, I truly enjoyed this story. It’s not often that we get a disturbingly dark story that works with a bit of romance.

OH! Ok, I do have one minor issue – complaint would be too strong of a word – but it doesn’t only deal with this story. Sometimes authors really do go too far in extolling the all healing powers of a good orgasm. That’s all I’m going to say on this but I’ve seen it more times than I can count.

If you can handle some graphic rape/torture scenes, this is one you’ll want to read. Thanks, Ms. Pritekel, for another great story. This one bumped Club 1049 into 2nd place in my personal rankings of your stories.

I just checked PD Publishing and it looks like The Collector will be being published under the name Connection (a much better title in my opinion) around the end of the year. Another I’ll be adding to my “to purchase” list.

http://www.pdafiction.com/kp.htm

Storm by Kim Pritekel

Sometimes we stumble upon the one person who makes our life complete. The connection is so strong that it would seem that nothing but death could separate us. That’s the sort of connection that Merryn and Cara shared in Kim Pritekel’s Storm.

Storm takes place during the time when the plague was ravaging Europe. Our main characters meet when Merryn saves Cara from a thief and the young women decide to travel together for awhile. They discover love and a sense of family and belonging with each other. This happiness doesn’t last long, though, and Merryn finds herself without alone and full of grief.

Most of the story follows Merryn as she rises to be a great warrior and leader. This novel length Xena uber is filled with plenty of angst. Yes, I cried a lot but I’m pretty easy in that regard. As with all of the work by Pritekel that I’ve read, the story is fantastic but the grammar is a little distracting. The typos and grammatical issues seemed much less in this one than in 1049 Club.

I honestly enjoyed this story. I would have liked to see more of a conclusion than what was written. It left me sort of unfulfilled and I felt that there were unresolved issues. This is also available in a published format so maybe those things were addressed in that version.

http://www.pdafiction.com/kp.htm