Down in Monterey – Entered in 2018 ATAI Book Award Contest – Young Adult

5 Stars

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Steven A. Moore

Down in Monterey: The Summer of Love by Steven A. Moore is a colorful, nostalgic trip down the Northern California coast. Wyatt, a seventeen-year-old boy upset with his home life, meets a girl named Dusty Bedingham at a convenience store. Dusty promises him a day of adventure as the two set off down the coast towards the Monterey Pop Festival. Hijinks ensue as the two cross paths with rock stars, classmates, and drug dealers.


Meticulously paced and plotted, Down in Monterey: The Summer of Love unfortunately stumbles slightly at the end. The resolution of the novel comes suddenly and almost without warning, bringing the momentum that has been slowly building to a screeching halt. This abrupt resolution has the effect of making the conclusion of the novel feel superficial and rushed, as if the novel itself is actively more interested in the journey than in the destination. This could be remedied if a little more attention were paid to Wyatt’s relationship with his family and his friend Eric.


Down in Monterey: The Summer of Love is a road trip tale that nimbly weaves together the lives of its many characters. Set during the 1960s, the novel plucks at the heartstrings of any reader who has a nostalgia for this time in American history. The world is described in careful and loving detail. Moore does an excellent job of painting a vibrant picture of hitchhiking down the Northern California coast. Although the plot verges on the improbable at times, the reader cannot help but be swept along in the current of chaste rebellion, drugs, and rock n’ roll. Down in Monterey: The Summer of Love by Steven A. Moore is sure to appeal to any reader with an interest in, or nostalgia for, the 1960s, as well as anyone looking for a quick, yet well-written, read.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Rainbow Bud – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Steven A. Moore

The Rainbow Bud by Steven.A.Moore is a highly imaginative work of fiction that follows a washed up rock star, Sonny Adams and his adventures at the Rainbow Falls, a community full of quirky characters who have stumbled upon time travel. There is romance, family discord and a love of music that runs through the novel.

Moore has created a world full of eccentric characters that are well thought out and fit into his aesthetic of the late 60s and 70s. The story itself is fun and readers will enjoy following Sonny Adams as he learns about rainbows that transport past serial killers and rock stars and the antics that ensue. There are well-developed characters, plot twists and Moore’s easy writing style makes this book a pleasure to read.

However, the repetitive dialogue between Sonny and his lover Dandy becomes predictable, and there are parts of the dialogue that read unrealistic and static. Another criticism would be the length of the novel. As very little happens, this novel could have very easily been a short story without having lost any of its charms. The inclusion of song lyrics, written by Sonny Adams, also does little to push the plot and feels like space fillers at the beginning of chapters.

Overall, Rainbow Bud by Steven A. Moore is a story that takes its readers into a surreal world where weed fields, washed up rock stars and ghosts are the norm. Rainbow Bud is a unique story that needs to clean up some of its stylistic issues if it wants to be taken seriously, even for a book that has very little seriousness between its pages.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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The Everett File – Entered in the 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Steven A. Moore

Steven A. Moore has crafted a fabulously interesting fictional novel in The Everett File: The Gooey Gospel of Truthy Goodness. It is unlike a normal fiction story as it brings to light paranormal spiritual occurrences surrounding catholicism. Told from the perspective of Raymond, the main character, he is shocked to discover, well into his adult life, that two of his closest friends hold deep secrets. The paranormal events that begin to occur blow him away at first until he can no longer deny that they are truly happening. The spiritual and paranormal abilities that he encounters are often mentioned within catholicism, but they are typically rejected in modern times. Raymond and his friends are being called upon to help protect a very powerful individual along with the secrets that they themselves hold. That request from beyond forces them to make life changing decisions.

The Everett File moves quickly, but the pacing is pretty well maintained throughout. Moore does an excellent job keeping the reader entertained and urged to turn the page. Readers can easily become wrapped up in this story no matter what their spiritual beliefs are. What if the Shroud of Turin really exists? What if one could get their hands on a piece of the cross Jesus was said to be crucified on? Would these items give special powers to the one who holds said item? Moore offers readers an opportunity to be quite entertained while developing fascinating spiritual questions in their minds. The mysteries keep coming from start to finish in The Everett File, but Moore wraps it all up in a very tidy way that still has readers turning pages all the way through the epilogue. Well done.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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