Friday, 28 March 2014

Stuck on You by Jasper Bark

Poor Ricardo what a way to wake up, but think it was worse for Consuela.

I was totally gripped from the first paragraph, how could I not be with lines like this; Her body smelled rancid from the vomit with an underlying odor of burnt pork. 

So, the basic premise of the story is philandering Ricardo goes on a shopping errand for his poor, but stupid wife. He ends up cheating with some skanky drugs mule, gets struck by lightning on the ass and then a bear shows up to the picnic! 

Joined at various parts poor Ricardo tries to make it back to his jeep but must first make it out of  the forest, as bad goes to worse the final text conversation is hilarious and heart stopping all at the same time. 

There is a great underlying dark humour to this. It’s short and snappy and the writing style is very clean and easy to read, it has a way that just seems to keep you engaged, despite smelling my dinner burning in the background.

As the story is played out in a serious of flash backs, little pieces of the story come to the surface and you are drawn to like then dislike Ricardo as each scenario is completed. 

The gore and gross factor are right up there with some pretty hot sex going on in here too.

Not read this author before but will definitely be on the look out now!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Wrapped in White - Anthology

The introduction basically asks why do we like to be scared, especially by ghosties?  This made me think…. I love to read horror because it is escapism at the highest level for me, I can have romance, the news shows me real crime, murders and thrillers every day but sci-fi and horror are something that has to be fiction, please.

I was worried about this anthology as I don’t believe in ghosts, so how was I to be scared, spooked or terrorized? Not to worry, I had shivers, shakes and something definitely tapped me on the shoulder.  I have alwasys said I have  never been a fan of ghost stories, I don’t believe in them I say….. or maybe I do and that’s why they give me the shivers so much.

I really enjoy the little author bios but IMO they should be at the start or finish of each story so that I can run off and grab their other works.  That said the editor has done another splendid job in arranging this in just the right order to freak you out!

 Daddy’s Glasses by Allison M. Dickson  
Loved the southern twang to the story. An early baby death sets the tone for this nightmare riddled story. 

So much death in one family but AMD also manages to show what happens in “real” life as families stretch, change and lose contact. 

However, when a blast from the past arrives in a little wooden box the narrator of this story gets a full front seat to the true horror of human nature.

The Curse of Kirby by Patrick C Greene
Poor Dawson he cant seem to get any peace with Butthole the cat pooping everywhere or scratching him to hell, not to mention his wonderful party hard neighbours. 

Mendelbaum, his only other sane neighbour, is also having a hard time sleeping. Then they meet Abigail and Kirby; a mischievous ghost! and a plan is hatched.

However, as is always with hauntings there are dark currents and secrets, and with PCG you can always expect some even darker comments, not forgetting the gore, always lots of gore! But funny gore!

A fantastic climactic and grin worthy ending.

The White Boy by Joshua Rex
Micheal is down on his luck, however, not all the back story is laid bare, some is hidden, this unfolds later in little scary drips. He finds Jacob, alone, cold and white.

As Michael is led through a torturous route to really finding Jacob its all quiet sad.  Well written enough to draw some serious emotions.

Unseen by James Glass
Omg! So spooky, two dimensional people and rustling. 

The end of the world is nigh according to our narrator. Really enjoyed this story as it gave me goose bumps. 

The tension of not knowing if he is going mad or actually seeing ghosts is riveting.

John by G. Elmer Munson
I was a bit confused at first. 

It started out like John was kidnapping Janelle, but then they get caught in a storm and a strange house appears. 

The time line is all a bit squewhiff in the spooky house with the freaky old lady and ever spookier noises, but all sort of becomes clear at the end. 
Weird little story.

You’ll Thank Me by Tomorrow by Michael D. Matula
Liam and Molly are trying to enjoy a little naughty week away, and the temperature is getting a little hot when the screaming starts. 

This story is very much Groundhog Day for horror lovers, as three people and two rooms rotate in varying fashions to kill each other. It’s exhausting reading in a fantastic way.

The ending is amazing and I think this was my favourite story.

Thursday Night Bingo by Kelli A. Wilkins
Betty gets midnight visitors, she is used to them. 

Her son Jimmy, just thinks she is gong senile. Blackie her dog saw the ghostie too, but as the story unfolds something more sinister is afoot. I really enjoyed this until the ending, it just finished to quick and too predictably for me, great writing style though.

The Witness by Bryan W. Alaspa
Clever nods to your novels BWA! 

In this little story Tabitha is the Witness to all the strange goings on in Knorr, especially the tale of the House on Kettle Street & Clara.

Well written little piece with lots of love and tension, the build up is good and then the final reveal is good if a little cliché. 

However, it did have the best line in the anthology for me: I am the witness. And I shall remain so until I become my own ghost story.

His Shrine to Santa Muerte by Michael G. Williams
Four people who regard themselves as book witches effectively. 

I did not connect with this story I found the writing style too flowery and flowing for my tastes, but thought the overall story was well thought out and deeply complex.

The Other One by Patrick O’Neill
Set out as a testimony which was an interesting way of starting a story but just reduced to a normal telling after a while.

However, I found the “old, rich and educated” flavor of the prose and the perfect little wife and child routine far to sickly for my tastes, in short not making me care about the characters at all, and little niggles regarding time lines such as the visit to the towns tiny Xmas market, they spent all day there??

That all said, there was some beautiful descriptions of places giving a sense of immersion in the story.
As the narrator keeps seeing a little wounded boy night after night, he becomes a little jumpy, however when his wife and child confess to the same vision it all gets a little spooky (I think that seems to be the theme of this anthology!).

As the coincidences and sightings occur the history is revealed and PN leaves us with a little after thought.

Inseparable by Solomon Archer, Ph.D.
The first paragraph left me feeling nauseated, such was the portrayal of devastation and lost come to physical being.

As you continue to be dragged down the rabbit hole of depression that has a dream like edge to it, I was wondering where the spooky would be in this well penned tale.

I need not have worried as the very last line sent such shivers down my spine I needed to stop reading for a while.  Brilliant.

Whiteout by Gary Buettner
Derek and Evie, she is trying to get him killed for a cheating moment but he refuses to die. 

On the way to their cabin Evie crashes and leaves Derek, blinded by the latest assassination attempt, alone in the snow.

Who is guiding him? Who is pointing him in the wrong or right direction?

I had to smirk at the ending,  I wouldn't normally like to be left that way but it suited the story.

Ain’t They Bright by Cecilia Dockins
In the world of Nursing and Medicine I found myself nodding and understanding all the pressures that CD was portraying.

Even with a busy shift it seems Hell has followed our narrator into work.

I was left a little perplexed by this story, maybe it was too close to home.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Vaccination by Phillip Tomasso (III)

This is a mixed bag review for me,  there are spoilers, so be warned. 

Phillip Tomasso needs to spend time editing, proofing, and fixing the various errors. The whole story could have done with a good proof read or better still a beta reader to point out the inconsistences, grammatical errors, tense confusion and misplaced words (eg harm instead of arm – however I note this was pointed out the PT in Oct 2013, he responded to the comment saying he would tell his editor (who should be shot!) but the book remains the same).  These are important elements a writer should get right in order to master his craft and hopefully sell more books!

He has potential, but there were too many mistakes for me to really enjoy or get involved in the story.

Whilst it had a great explosive start, you do know what’s coming as it’s a zombie novel but thought this was a fantastic opener. I really enjoyed the unique initial setting of the 911 dispatch office to witness the start of the zompoc.

I did not like Chase the chain smoking, divorced obsessed father who treats his girlfriend, Allison, as an afterthought. He is “there” for his kids but happy to kill himself with the constant smoking (and drinking), his inner dialogue not mine!

As the story moved on I actually began to despise him, hoping that the next zombie attack would see him ripped to shreds, not a good emotion for the would be hero of the book.

Basically he is a self-centered a*rsehole who is both condescending and uncaring, and whilst PT struggles to interject some humanity and humility in the man he goes back to being said a*sehole 5 lines later. This does not appear to be clever writing by the author, merely inadequate character growth.

With the regards to Chase’s chain smoking, this is really focused on at the beginning of the book but then as they run for the lives it is forgotten, he is an addict so where is his craving? Feel the author missed a beat here or just used it as a filler early on and then conveniently forgot about it.

I am not sure how the a*seholeChase survives as he frequently makes idiotic choices. His whole mentality is “save the kids” BUT on his way to them, he stops to bury a stranger, twice, then when they raid a convenience store suddenly the need for cigarettes kicks in, additionally he becomes obsessed about toothbrushes! Until a child zombie appears and  then 3 grown men go all stupid.

This is a prime example of a plot twist that is mentioned but not followed through, why is the childzombie playing with a ball?

The other characters are like after thoughts as they are never fully introduced or given back stories. David and Josh, the brother combo, were excellent in the first chapter but then just become shadows with a small mention to their history, but only as a tool to explain why a*sehole Chase must be more kind, caring etc.

Allison his, of course, stunning girlfriend was pleasant enough but to the point of irritation in the end, PT never really fleshes her out apart from as a buffer to a*rseholeChase' needs.  I began to like her only until the words “I love you” manage to stop her dead (excuse the pun) in the middle of a zombie attack to go all mushy and hug Chase, totally unbelievable.

A*seholeChase keeps thinking about ditching Allison  or his new friends if they don't "toughen" up,  slow him down or stop him reaching his kids but this continual internal dialogue gets old quickly, especially when his companions keep saving him, and he keeps getting emotional epiphanies only to resort to a*seholeChase 5 lines later.

I was impressed that the sudden 4 mile hike for sedentary people was difficult, a nice slam of reality but then they manage to have only one meal and drink in 3 days too? I was also curious as to where a*seholeChase thought he was going to plug in his mobile charger that he was so desperate to get hold of.

Plot inconsistencies abound and this particular one really annoyed me; why make a big fuss of NOT stopping at your own house only to "face palm" later and state “oh that’s where the kids would have gone in an emergency”?

There was one giggle moment, I hope it was intentional, with the whole “universal” fist in the air signal for stop, which did endear me to Allison for about 5 mins before I wanted to slap her silly again. 

The kid interlude was nice but seriously doubt after two days they stank that badly they needed to risk their lives for a cold shower, the irritation only continued regarding a*seholeChase that his children became simpering idiots the minute he found them, despite having survived and killed many zombies on the trek to his house.

Lack of imagination from the author regarding potential danger situations, er hello it’s the zompoc!, where also irritatingly inconsistent, allowing his characters to get into 3 car accidents, especially when he gives the person wearing the seatbelt concussion but the one who went through the windscreen a cut forhead, erm.

There were hints that the zombies had differing levels of speed and intelligence but just not enough information to make you really think about it, again no follow through on plot twists/ideas.

The Blurb, and several 5* reviews, state this is unique infection vector but actually loads of authors use the vaccination excuse for the zompoc.

I did note that PT has a slew of 5* reviews, which astounds me but also noted that many of the 3 and below are commented on by the author (at least on the USA site) so I expect a comment, or maybe as he now has book 3 out he won’t bother!

Whilst the ending was intriguing, PT killed off the only character I liked in a dubious plot irregularity;  shot in the head, turn the page shot in the heart.  
Therefore I am not pulled to want to read the next two instalments of the series.   Would I recommend this book? only if a freebie.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Jennifer Thomas reviews..... Kat Yares.

The lovely Jennifer Thomas, guest blogger, reviews one of my favourite authors Kat Yares

This collection of shorts is in my opinion horror at it's finest. 

Each story gives you a different level of fear. I think the scariest part is that each story albeit fiction gives you the human monster instead of the monster under the bed. 

As I read this and the little hairs stood up on the back of my neck ( which happened with almost every story) I began to think, any of the characters in this book could be someone I passed in the grocery store. 

That are what stays with me most. That the things in this story could happen.

Kat Yares does an outstanding job of reaching into my mind with her words and at times brings my emotions almost to the point where there is no turning back and I know it is either finish reading or drive myself mad wondering what is going to happen next, or in this case in the next story.

If you are the kind of horror fan who likes the feel of that icy chill running up your spine or the goose bumps crawling up your arms as you read then I highly recommend this collection to you.

Yes this is a short story but it is a short that speaks in volumes. 

From the very first sentence I was hooked and really hated to see it come to an end but while the words were in front of me I could feel the confusion that John must have felt when he woke up in the hospital strapped to the bed. 

How can a person just become something? Everyone has their own idea of how vampires began and how they become what they are but Kat Yares gives you something to think about while reading this story and something to remember when you finish.

Wonderful and highly recommended read.

I can only start by saying that Kat Yares is an amazing writer who captured my attention and my emotions from the first page and her writing held me within the story throughout the entire book.

Even though this is a work of fiction you can not help but fell the pain, fear, loss and hate that radiates from the pages, but you also feel love and redemption as an entire town pays for the horrible way it women and children were treated.

This story gives you the chance to live through the main female character, Macie, as he learns what it means for not only her self but the souls of the lost to be able to seek true vengeance.

I would like to add a small warning, if you are an emotional person you may need a box of tissues and if you are sensitive this may be a tough story to read but I can assure you that once you start this story there is no putting it down.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Sleep No More by Billie Sue Mosiman

This is a great new novella from BSM and even in the first paragraph you know you are in for a treat as the overload of wonderful description takes you into a scary place.

Sasha Potter can’t sleep in her jail cell, as she thinks over the horrific night that she got caught up in. 

It appears that from a young age she was headed for a life of crime, even though her Granddaddy warned her “life was to wonderful too spend in jail”, this did not stop her from this path.

Sasha is a complex character, hard to like despite the love she was given as a child as she still has many wicked thoughts and a bad habit of picking the wrong guy and this one is a real doozy; with her brains and his muscle they set about targeting a new victim to burglarise.
However, in true BSM style it also goes wrong and the body chopping starts, then the lying, the blaming and eventually the police and judgement.

Is the punishment or the crime worse?

Such a sad tale, it felt like a relief at the end for Sasha. I really enjoyed the little twist at the end and was glad it had this ending and not a cop out. 

BSM writing style is easy to read but don’t let that fool you into thinking you won’t have to concentrate on her plots and intrigue. 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Triangle Trilogy (infected series) by Scott Sigler

Scott Sigler is one of the best authors around for that wonderful sci-fi, horror and comedy blend. His style is easy to read, has amazingly well rounded characters and all the science “stuff” is well explained, even if some is a little Alien!

Apparently there is a little room at AT&T that screens the phone lines for key words, such as murder, bomb, kill and Triangles....and so the tracking begins.

Deputy Director of the CIA, Murray Longworth is a great character, with a complex history, just not very likeable but then when you have to do what he has to do, not sure I would be likable either.

Dew & Malcolm pick the short straw of being excellent field agents, again with some really great back stories, IMO this is what makes this an awesome novel and ultimately fantastic trilogy, each character is fleshed out, I truly felt a bond to these characters and missed and grieved for them as their stories played out.

The other main players are an epidemiologist, Margaret and her little sidekick, parasitologist, Amos. They are assigned their own Agent Clarence. Apart from all the betting and banter that goes on these three make a great team, which is seriously needed when you realise what has come to take a peek at Earth.

Are the characters a little cliché? Yes of course, but then wouldn’t bland characters be just that? Boring!

Scary Perry Dawson, what a man to pick for an alien invasion. Perry maybe scary for many reasons but thankfully he has his BFF Bill to keep his temper in check for him, Perry has his reasons for having anger management issues but at 6’ 4” and 268lbs you need discipline. 

The first horror scene comes via some cranked up Frank Sinatra, a pair of legs being hacked off, a huge house fire, axes to the guts and the possibility of contamination of an unknown germ – riveting.

The “germination” process of the alien seeds is amazingly described; some complex biology information is neatly and easily explained.

As it becomes clear that Perry is infected with the Magnificent Seven the paranoia kicks in, so does the hunger. However, Perry does his best to make the Magnificent Seven become more manageable. Whilst attempting this he manages to capture The Betrayer (one of the worst torture scenes I have read), do some self-surgery, eat the weirdest food concoctions, talk to little blue triangles, see out of his butt cheek and whittle his way down to the Three Amigos.

On the flip side of the story Dew is trying to play catch up with the other infected as Margaret & Amos try to discover the cause of the rotting bodies and “crazed” victims.

It is now a race against time to get to the Gate; will it be Colonel Ogden and his elite team or the Triangles, and just what is coming through anyway….
The descriptions of the hatching and the showdown between Scary Perry and The Three Amigos was nail biting.

As Showtime arrives it feels like all hell has broken loose, and maybe it has, SS leaves you on a massive cliff, not so much hanging as teetering on the edge trying to hold balance. There is an element of rushed finale but knowing this a trilogy explains this.

Whilst this book can be read as a stand-alone I would recommend you buy the trilogy as you won’t be able to put this down.

A new President gets a doozy of a joke played on him; maybe.

Scary Perry has survived his trial with the Magnificent Seven but is minus a few body parts, but he does have some enhancements. He can now sniff out the Triangles which is great advantage in this Alien war, however the anger management issues are still there with some horrific killing scenes, SS does not shy away from the horror. Scary Perry maybe on the good side now but he continues to be a sonofabitch!

Col. Ogden is back on a full time mission, with his elite team of exterminators, again with SS you always get a great back history to fill out these characters so that when they die, get maimed, make choices, you are right there with them, usually wincing.

The sexual frisson between Clarence and Margaret has finally fruited and the banter love/hate relationship between Clarence and Amos provides the humour element in this second installment of horror via the blue Triangles.
Margaret really grows as a character in this book and you don’t get the feeling that she is the token genius female anymore!

We learn more about the source of the infection and discover The Orbital and its intentions, this only serves to ramp up the potential terror of the situation. Poor Perry must brave his demons as a new infection takes hold and The Orbital has changed its strategy.  This new infection has a bigger agenda as the little angel that is Chelsea Jewel finds out.

The insights in to the higher functioning of Government was no real surprise but it did resonate that they are human too, but for how long?

The tension in this 2nd part of the trilogy comes in waves as each team race to discover the transmission vectors, the Gate sights, infected victims and all the while discovering what new talents that the Triangles are developing.

Chelsea Jewel is the central character of the newly infected family and she brings a whole new element to the Triangles attempts at invasion; a childs greed.

SS has really let his imagination go wild in this book and all the better for us readers. I loved the fantastical route he has taken, some really genuine scares and horrors.

There are also some horrific deaths and touching moments in this book, made my arm hair stand up!

The detailed military element is also there for all the gun nuts!

Really looking forward to the concluding part in this fantastic trilogy.

Fantastic prologue shoves you right back in to the Triangles world of horror.

The complex science (fiction based in truth is always the best stuff) is very neatly and simply explained again by SS. He really excels at this element of writing.

Updates are given about the last five years via flash backs and “chat pages”. I really enjoyed the use of modern media to convey public opinion and show how Margaret and Clarence have been existing since the last Triangle showdown.

New and old characters are updated and fleshed out in true SS style.  Even old theories are updated and explained.

The two main story lines this time are Jeff and Cooper the boat men, with Bo Pan and Steve hiring their services to locate the Orbital; lots of shady espionage stuff going on this time too which lends a spooky tense feel to it.

Swift jumps between the two main stories really build the tension and with the little peaks from the Triangle perspective give an added bonus of horror.

With all of SS there is never any skimping on the gore factor.
As mayhem and destruction occur it’s scarier than a zombie apocalypse as you don’t know who is infected.

It’s not just individuals or families that are infected this time, the Triangles are aiming globally.

The finale is excruciating to read but I was riveted the whole time, at over 12hrs reading time this is an epic book and nicely rounds off the Triangle trilogy.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Coalition of the Damned: Monster Squad by Heath Stallcupp

A few clever paragraphs and you are taken straight back in to the story, its like you never put the last book down.

Ohmergawd, so funny that Zombie Fallout author Mark Tufo, an awesome new character introduced in the last book, caught a woodland sprite! a bit like you would catch a cold! Oh and the things he has to do to get rid of her can be barely read without giggling like a mad woman!

The story is moved along with great pace, and as the vampires seek pieces of The Cross the werewolves are hunting down the mythical figure of the roman solider; all great parts of the Christ story, I love it when authors play with myths and legends adding their own twists and turns.

The “human” teams go on the hunt for allies and manage to find themselves some Elves, oh! and other unmentionable critters.

Poor Dominic is left with the Sicarii and you get a true sense of terror with his mental torture and the Sicarri’s boasts for world domination.

The weapons cache is impressive! It really felt like the apocalypse was coming.

Robert and Barbara – the best love story ever! HS has such a gore filled heart, but it such a big heart with all the love and romance (not the sickly kind) that he crams into his books.

With some political shuffling the MS team find a new home and all the pieces of war start to fall into position. Which of course, in true HS style, leaves you on such a massive cliff hanger that I am left hoping that the next installment is not too far behind!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Jennifer Thomas reviews..... Lori R. Lopez part 2

The lovely Jennifer Thomas reviews her second batch of short stories and collections from the multi talented Lori. R. Lopez. Did you know all those covers are done by Lori herself! and you should have a listen/watch Fairy Fly Entertainment on YouTube where she brings her stories to life.

This is a fantastic collection of Lori R. Lopez's work. If you have read anything by Lori you know that she has a wonderful and unique style to her writing that is able to pull you right into the world that her words paint through your imagination. 

This collection gives you thirteen different worlds!! In my opinion this is a collection of her darkest and most suspenseful work, never too dark but the suspense will have you hanging on the edge of your chair and as your mind gets twisted and twirled throughout each story.

There is something in this collection for everyone, you have zombies, creatures, circus freaks, ghosts, big foot, werewolves and more.

I highly recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys reading for fun and who loves having their mind challenged with a unique outlook of the horror world.

Lori R. Lopez writes this adventure with so heartfelt compassion that this is a book to love. 

There are so many characters that you get to know throughout this book that it is amazing that she is able to give each one a personality and background. 

I was brought to tears by so many of their memories and the sadness that they have been through it makes them so real that they seem to jump from the pages right into you mind. 

Reading this fabulous book is so much like watching a movie that you can get lost in the time that you are reading and before you know it the book is finished.

This book is such a great mix of horror, humor, emotion and suspense that it is a book for everyone of all ages, from young adult upward. You have so much to every page that your mind is able fully emerged itself and you are able to forget the real world and get lost in the storm that is the incredible mind of this amazing author. 

It doesn't matter what type of book you like to read this book has it all for everyone to enjoy.

Lori R. Lopez had done it again!!!! She has blown my mind with another amazing story. Bloodpath takes you through the mystery of the legendary bigfoot and beyond. 

All Boyd Applegate wanted to do was have some drinks with his buddies to make himself feel better and then drive home. Well the first part of his plan works wonderfully and then everything happens. 

What is that he just hit? How drunk is he to think that it couldn't be human? 

This short suspenseful horrific mystery is a wonderful read. And as always Lori is able to help you envision the entire story through her unique and amazing use of words. 

You can feel the fear of the humans and the anger of the beasts and the sadness for the loss of the lives that are lost in this tale, but I have to say that I have never thought of a path of blood being beautiful until I read them described in this story.

This is one of the most amazing stories that have come from the mind of Lori Lopez. This Bone Man is a character that equals a force to be reckoned with.

From one mansion that becomes a number of different things in it's years including a sanatorium, but the one thing it really was is a place where murder was always going to happen. 

When a psychic buys the old place to record and try to contact the poor victims of this evil building he bites off more than he can chew.

This is a great and fun book. It will hold your attention from beginning to end. Lori has such way of writing like no other. Each and every character in this book will catch your mind and embed itself there for years to come.

The words and descriptions of this book are written in a way that no one else but Lori could pull off. 

I love her no holds bar writing style every one of her books and stories never cease to amaze me.
If you love mythology, adventure and a bit of humor read this book you will not be disappointed.

Thank you so much Lori for just being you and letting your true self shine in your books!!!!

This book takes you through the imagination of Lori R. Lopez in the best of ways. Every story in this book leaves you wanting more and when you finish it you feel a satisfaction in you mind like no other. 

So many of the stories hold the emotions of this brilliant writer and you can actually feel what the characters feel and see through their eyes. 

The pictures that these stories paint in your mind are like no other. If you like short story books then this one is for you!!!

When I started this short story I had a million ideas of what I thought the Creep was and I was wrong...If you like stories of revenge and hatred with a little bit of regurgitation thrown in for good measure, this story is for you. There is action in this horror from the first page all the way through until the final sentence.

This is also one of the stories where you want to feel bad for the thing doing the killing.

I think this is one of those few stories where you want just the right kind of people to read it and have to spend a while looking over their shoulders from the guilt they feel in their heart.