BOOK REVIEW: Under the Empyrean Sky, by Chuck Wendig

BOOK REVIEW: Under the Empyrean Sky, by Chuck Wendig

Hello Rebels, and welcome back to my life, AND welcome back to my first book review in a long long time. Unfortunately, this is NOT the return of Five Minute Books. Those videos still take me way too long. This is Four Minute Books. With jump cuts. It’s not as good, I’m sorry! Last week I read Under the Empyrean Sky by hybrid author Chuck Wendig, and it gave me happy pants. I made a little unboxing video for it, and if you missed that on my Twitter, here it is: Under the Empyrean Sky is a dystopian sci-fi novel. It’s also placed in the Young Adult category, but … I don’t know, there’s a lot of stuff in here I was like, “Whoah.” Though I guess it’s definitely not more violent than The Hunger Games. The story takes place in a futuristic America where the world has divided into two groups, the Heartlanders who live on the ground and work the land, and the Empyrean, who fly around on hovering cities and rule over everyone. A quick note up front about the only thing that threw me a little bit out of this book. In this future, America has been overtaken by mutant corn genetically spliced with venus flytraps and some other nasty plants. The corn is kind of alive and will eat almost anything it comes in contact with, albeit slowly. Humans have to control the corn with all kinds of herbicides and other nasty, nasty ass chemicals, and that means a lot of them are extremely sick and have cancer. I saw this as an obvious depiction...
May I Have Your Attention Please?

May I Have Your Attention Please?

Good morning, Rebels, and welcome back to my life. May I have your attention, please? If you’re reading this, that means that for these brief moments, these eight hundred words or less, I have your attention. But odds are pretty good I don’t have your undivided attention. Many of you are probably checking your phones while you watch this. Or else you’re checking your computer screens while you read this on your phones. And if you weren’t doing that before, mentioning it makes you about three times more likely to do so. I wonder how much more likely you are to do so when I tell you you’re statistically more likely to do so? I fell like this is a rabbit hole that could lead to madness. So I’ve never told you this before, but I write books for a living. (I’ve told you that before. Too often. You’re probably sick of it). But as much attention as I am able to gain from you to read this blog post — five, ten minutes out of your day, five days a week. Most times. Not most times. Sometimes. Lots of times it’s days or weeks between posts. BUT WHATEVER that time investment you’re willing to give my blogs or YouTube videos … books are a whole ‘nother ball game. Reading a book is a time commitment like no other. And that’s why so many new authors struggle to make it. Why would you invest twelve hours reading a book when you’ve never even heard of the author before? The only reason you might is if someone you trust tells you,...
Negative Reviews and Five Minute Books

Negative Reviews and Five Minute Books

Good morning, Rebels, and welcome back to my life! So today I want to talk about Five Minute Books, my book review show I do on my YouTube channel. You might have seen it before, if not, you can click on that link above which will take you to the whole playlist. You can peruse for a review that piques your interest. The way the show works is, one week I read Amazon’s number one bestselling fiction book and review it. The next week, I choose an independent title and review it. The astute among you who have been watching the show will have noticed that I post a majority of five-star reviews, especially on indie books. The only sub-five-star reviews I’ve posted have been of bestsellers—and two of them were pretty negative. So, what, am I judging bestsellers more harshly than indie books because I’m an indie artist? Am I taking kickbacks or getting paid to promote the books of other authors? The answers to those questions are “no” and “definitely not.” So perhaps I don’t negatively review other indie artists because it invites backlash and because we’re all in this together, and without encouragement indie authors will curl up and die?I mean, Shen Hart from TheReviewHart.com (a great book review blog, by the way) gets a LOT of flak from independent authors in our mutual communities because she’s not afraid to negatively review books. I think this is incorrect. I think that hearing a thoughtful, well-crafted review of what’s wrong with your books is one of the best things that can happen to an indie author. After all, that’s what critique groups...
Gone Girl Review—Five Minute Books

Gone Girl Review—Five Minute Books

Hold on to your butts for one of the most mystifying thrillers I’ve ever read. This is Five Minute Books. I’m Garrett Robinson, independent author of Rebel Yell. Welcome back to Five Minute Books, where I promise to tell you everything you need to know about popular books in five minutes or less. It’s bestseller week, and I’m reviewing the psychological thriller Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. As always, this show will be spoiler-free—which is going to be very difficult on this one, but here we go. Gone Girl is about a married couple, Nick and Amy Dunne, living in North Carthage Missouri, and begins on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary. Nick, who runs a bar called The Bar with his twin sister Margo, gets an unassuming call from a neighbor that his front door is wide open and his indoor cat has slipped outside. Nick quickly returns home to find that his wife has vanished, and the house contains signs of a struggle. He immediately alerts the police, who begin a manhunt (or, womanhunt, I guess) but the longer the investigation goes, the more the spotlight seems to turn on Nick. Nick claims he’s innocent, but even you as the reader aren’t sure whether he’s telling the truth, as it’s revealed piece by piece how much he’s been lying not only to the police, but to his wife Amy, and even himself. GENERAL THOUGHTS If you like books that are impossible to put down, here’s one indication: Gone Girl is 432 pages long in hardcover. I read it in a day. The book sinks its claws...
WhiteSpace Review—Five Minute Books

WhiteSpace Review—Five Minute Books

Today’s book might make you lose a little faith in humanity, but I promise you it’ll be worth it. This is Five Minute Books. I’m Garrett Robinson, independent co-author of the Realm Keepers series. Welcome to Five Minute Books, the show where I promise to tell you everything you need to know about popular books in five minutes or less. It’s indie week, and I’m reviewing my favorite title by two of the biggest self-published authors out there, WhiteSpace by Sean Platt and David Wright. As always, this show will be spoiler free. Gonna geek out about this one a little bit, because this book is REALLY good. WhiteSpace isn’t the most popular book from Collective Inkwell, the publishing company of these two authors, but it’s definitely my favorite—and I say that as a guy who doesn’t even like most horror. The story takes place on Hamilton Island, a supposedly semi-utopian community dominated by the incredibly rich Conway family, who do all kinds of biotech research, some of it for the government. The town is shattered when tragedy strikes their school, and while I’m don’t want to spoil anything, one doesn’t have to read beyond the first couple of chapters to know that one of the important victims of the incident is a teacher named Sarah Hughes—without which detail the rest of this review becomes kind of impossible. After the tragedy, more and more mysterious behavior begins cropping up amongst the citizens of Hamilton Island. People start doing strange, unexplainable things—many of them violent—and then wake up suddenly, not knowing where they are or what they’ve done. Jon Conway, of the wealthy...