5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best Book
Ryan Bradley is one cool dude. A little strange and kinky, it would appear, but a cool dude all the same.
As founder, editor, and creative designer of Artistically Declined Press, Bradley works hard at redefining publishing, writing, and marketing. Prize Winners, a collection of 18 short stories - some of which have been previously published, some which are brand spanking new - is being released as the first in hopefully a series of many "Pop Up Releases". It's publishing with a twist: where information about the collection is leaked slowly, teasingly, in an attempt to whet your appetite and have you desperate for more.
One peek at the titles of the stories, and you can pretty much guess what you are getting yourself into. "Curtains and Carpet", "X Marks the Spot", "Going Down"... Are you starting to get the picture? Is it coming together for you?
But not to worry, folks. I wouldn't run around handing out 5 star reviews to straight up porn stories. Trust me, I might be a horse of a different color when it comes to reading, but I still have my standards!
Prize Winners contains well written, extremely personal little snippets of what goes on behind most closed doors. It feels like you're peeking into someone's most private moments. Scratch that. It feels like you're peeking into LOTS of someone's most private moments.
It starts off rather PG-13 with "Goodbye Ruby" - the story of a girl who is obsessed with Tom Selleck's mustache and suffers a rather strange breakdown when she witnesses him shave it off on a late night talk show. Bradley cranks it up a notch in "A Culture of Bacteria" when he discusses the switch our male protagonist makes from his girlfriend's dirty pictures to her dirty underwear when she begins to send him photos of microscopic lab cultures. Cool use of a dual title there, by the way! My personal favorite is "Spank". One guess what that one is about?!
His stories exploit humanities obsession, vanity, struggles, and curiosity at a sexual level. There's nothing extremely dark or sadistic here - The stories actually feel quite familiar. They could be written about you, your family members, your closest friends... They are not far fetched. They are not over-the-top or full of wild fantasies. They are real life.
Bradley has managed to capture the painfully embarrassing dysfunction that follows any intimate relationship - whether it is new, old, or over.
The collection is up for pre-order now. Go. Order. Trust me. Don't be that dude that misses out on the next best thing. Cause I'm telling you. We just found it.