Category Archives: Reviews

Paint the Toon Red (Animætropolis Book 1) Review

Review By Aaron B.

 Being a fan of classic cartoons, such as Looney Tunes and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I knew I wanted to read this. From the cover alone, I was very interested. To best describe this is an ‘R-version of Cool World’ (but MUCH better written and a much more interesting plot.) I won’t ruin the plot too much, but in a nutshell it’s about a human character, named Tyler in a world of cartoons-what follows is a story including violence, dark themes (think maybe a gritty action movie or a noir tale)

I tend to bounce from subject to subject during a review, but I do have ADHD so I guess it’s the nature of the beast sort to speak! What I enjoyed the most here from a writer’s perspective besides the characters themselves (Snappy- the old timey alligator {crocodile maybe?} being maybe my favorite) was the descriptions of the cartoon characters. Of course, in a movie, it’s blatantly obvious who the animated characters are-you don’t question who’s who, but in a novel-everything is up to the writer to convey how characters walk, talk, interact with the environment etc. I was skeptical as to how this would work, I couldn’t imagine writing a cartoon character-so many details and so many actions would have to be done. Imagine WRITING a Wille E. Coyote short? It would be tough in my opinion.

However, A.J. Mayall does a fantastic job describing these odd characters. How their eyes would literally pop out of their heads from shock or how silly some of them behave (much like a Looney Tunes short) As a writer, I’d shy away from writing cartoons, but I’m glad another author took up the challenge, and I feel like this is a story I would have written-I’m glad someone else did, takes more pressure off of me I suppose!

For me, the plot kept getting better and better. I’ll admit I was skeptical over some plot points (turning humans into cartoons specifically) I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this concept, but I really did-it made for amazing character development. The other thing I thought I’d get tired of is the romance between Tyler and his boyfriend, romance is not my thing typically. Again, I was proven wrong. I liked the two couples, they made for kind and enticing characters.

I also loved what Tyler gets himself into, I loved who the bad guys ended up being and there were some extremely unique ideas. What would people do if they could turn others into cartoons? What would a sicko do with that kind of power? It gets depraved quickly.

Speaking of depraved and an R-rating, I am not kidding. Some of the plot even took ME off guard with how graphic the violence, torture and sex were-but I welcomed it (hell I wrote a book about a dragon and knight falling in love, so I have no room to talk!)

The last few chapters totally switched genres, which I really enjoyed. It flowed well. More of an action-thriller type deal, I won’t ruin what Tyler decides to do with his cartoon body, but it’s really, really cool. I was a huge fan of the ending.

The writing was also very good, never did I feel it long, again I have ADHD so for a book to hold my attention isn’t always a given.

I really liked everything in this story, it’s what Cool World should have been-I hope something like this (or heck this same story) gets turned into either a movie or a series. I think something like this would really grab people. For R-rated cartoon content you can’t do better.    

Hell Hound (1977) Review

Written by: Aaron B.

I first heard of this book while watching reviews of obscure horror movies (thanks to spookyastronauts), someone made a review of a movie called “Baxter”. About a dog who basically has no remorse or guilt for the bad things he does. I knew I had to read this, animal books and horror books are two of my favorite genres.

The opening of the book details Baxter’s disdain for his owner, an old lady who he eventually pushes down the stairs. He enjoys watching her die, so kicks off the story. The chapters are partly written in an omnipresent fashion, while the other chapters (and my personal favorite ones) were written from the POV of Baxter himself. I sort of wish the entire book had been written in this way, but I also understand that character development happened in the other chapters.

They’re a few startling events in the book, but don’t go into this thinking it’s a bloodbath. This isn’t a slasher, it’s a dark and psychological story about what it means to be a sociopath and have violent tendencies. The story is about the build up to violent acts and the anticipation rather then the actual ‘kill.’ The book is intense because of the lack of emotion not only from the dog, but from one of his owners, a boy who’s obsessed with Hitler and Nazis.

To me, that boy was the most interesting character aside from the dog, every time he was in a scene I was tense, he had quite violent thoughts and very morbid motivations, his parents were at a loss of what to do with him almost the entire time.

There are some sections towards the end which get into animal abuse, which is something I expected from a story like this, but just be warned. I personally can handle it in a story, but it was tough to get threw one section in particular involving puppies.

Overall though, this is now one of my favorite ‘horror’ books, this is one I’ll recommend to other horror fans for sure. This is a rare time where I’d say I could’ve written this story, but I’m glad a very talented author did so already. We need more horror / animal books out there, and this is a great addition to that genre.