Monday, 25 August 2014

Exsanguinate by Killion Slade

What an opening chapter!!
This novel has a great opening premise three sisters who run a horror based gaming site; Cheyenne is the main narrator however she is scared of all things scary, especially haunted houses! Dakota is her baby sister and basically the wild child. Counter that with Sheridan the older sister, who is the brains of the outfit, stir in lots of love, giggles, a traumatic matriarch death and a kooky father and you have a fabulous set of characters ready to love.
Then the gaming side of things kicks in, but this really gives a good edge to the story chiefly as Cheyenne’s avatar is basically her alter ego who just happens to be in a two year virtual relationship with Roxas, and boy oh boy does he have a whopper of a secret!
I adored the dogs Beano and Stormaggeddon! They do play an integral part in the story in keeping our heroine sane! As for PADME, Cheyenne’s holographic PA system, she is brilliant and I want one, now.
Up until the haunted house chapter it was all quite pleasant and whilst you could feel a gentle build up of potential horror, even if it was just the fancy dress outfits (the ravenous bush had me in stitches) and I was ready and expecting some gore and splatter but then all hell broke loose and I think I fell into a different novel.
The sudden intensity of the writing and sheer horror of what was going on gave me goose bumps but I was now hooked and needed to get through the terror to see if Cheyenne made it out alive.
On a negative note, there was quite a lot of online gaming speak at the beginning and if you are a total non-player like myself, you might get a bit confused; but it soon pans out and you get used the phrases. I totally loved all the little added extras (links to secret pages), almost like secrets, not sure how a print version would cope with that concept but rock on the e-version!
Also, after the haunted house scene there were so many fabulous ideas, new worlds, new characters and such that it was very intense for a little bit in the middle there and could have almost done with some more filler or at least a slower explanation of everything.
However, when Cheyenne finally heals and her new self is revealed from all the scarring and wounds, a whole underworld is opened to her. The real and the virtual world soon integrate to become a novel of hide and go seek with monsters, kidnapped sisters and plots of world domination.
From this point I could not have put the book down had my house been burning down, thankfully it wasn’t, although my hubby had to fend for himself AND feed the cats!
I loved all the snappy telling,  pokes of humour, brilliant supernatural characters and adored the romance element and what women doesn’t want a man to rub her feet!
All the other members of the ExsanguiNation gaming company all come with their own little secrets and make for any interesting lunch and day out at the super spa! (and that’s super as in supernatural! Does your dragon need a manicure??).
Riveted until the final words, which bytheway were cruel in their temptation of the next in this series (and I hope it’s a long one!), I found this to be a whirlwind roller coaster ride of fun, surprise and bottom clenching moments.
I thought the reference list at the end was an amazing way to finish as it really gave a little jolt of reminders of special places in the book.

Kilion Slade is a brand new author and wow what a way to start.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Plague Town by Dana Fredsti

Poor Maggie is a normal Mum and housewife who tries to ensure the safety and care of her family, then she must witness their harsh deaths and change into the undead, and so begins the plague.

Dana Fredsti has a real down to earth, tongue in cheek humour in her writing that I couldn’t help giggling at even with the grossest of subjects spewing out at me.

DF is clever in her explanation of why our heroine misses her fatal flu bug jab, and this route of infection is often, but never directly, implicated.

Totally love Ashley; she has depth and a reality charm to her. Finally some needs to piddle during the zompoc!!!

The other characters are plausible if a little cliché but then this is fiction, zombie apocalyptic fiction, and needs its main stay characters! But DF puts her own little feminine swing on them.

Professor Simone Fraser, the kick ass matriarch with a secret past that knows all about pandemics.  Gabriel the totally gorgeous military dude with another secret! Nathan the secret loner/ex-military/extreme survivor was, for me, fantastic. His way of living is how I spend my day dreams planning.  All I will say about general Heald is what an asshat! You have to have a character you love to hate.

 I enjoyed the little interspersed zombie PoVs it really added a different dimension, and brought a quality to it which I thought made the zompoc “human” and not just some throwaway function for gore, splatter and horror. DF made her victims real.

The little geek killing squad are some eclectic characters and I really started to bond with them, so I hope that the next book gives a bit more history on them or at the very least expands their relationships with each other more.

The secret society element and historical explanations were unique (to me) and I thought a really good edge and underpinning storyline, so I hope this continues to further books in the series.

Finally a zombie writer that likes, no LOVES cats!! Go to the top of fav’ author list! Yes I’m fickle.

The movie references were far from out of date, soon to be forgotten pop culture references as suggested by other reviews. I found that the movies quoted fit with the story line, gave a good grin and are actually now classic movies, not mere whims of the author and flashes of her (factual) past.

Focusing on a small town gave it an intimate feel which changed dramatically with the ending and gave a brilliant cliff hanger and total jaw dropper moment – glad there is the next book (Plague Nation) to jump straight into (although compared to other indie authors I do find the price a little high, but possibly worth it).

I should probably not comment about the female author and her excellent weaponry knowledge and fight sequences but I will. She does not over egg but allows for enough information to be interesting without boring me to death with ammo knowledge. Her real life is an amazing adventure according to her bio’ and this shines through with her brilliant descriptions of sword play and choice of weapons.

Over all I really enjoyed the protagonist being a feisty woman, not many authors go that way but personally I think woman are better equipped at surviving mentally and physically, if only our need for cuddles and sex didn’t get in the way! But this is fiction and supposed to be fun and escapism.

DF certainly ensures you get your giggles with your gore in this novel. Make sure you check out her novella “Mans Gotta Eat”, which introduced me to this talented author.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Zippered Flesh: Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad! - anthology

Bootstrap by Michael Baily: great concept regarding cloning, just a bit too detailed in the IT stuff at the beginning lost me a bit until it stretched out the information overload and turned into really great story telling, then it wanders off into the technobabble again. The actual horror is hard to pin point; the imagination does go into overdrive a bit at the missing byte! Less technobabble would have made this story a 5*

Idol by Michael Laimo: when does imitation become more than flattery? When you need a replacement?! Great details submerge you into the weirdness, but it only more weird, gross and weird!

Unplugged by Adrienne Jones: OMG I love this story, I was disappointed when it ended! Alien transformations, brilliant brilliant!

Comfort by Charles Colyott: this reads like a sad story of a man who loves his mother to the deference of his job, marriage, friends.... Only in the last paragraph do you reach the horror of a mother's comfort, truly gross, but a great story.

You With Me by Christophe Nadeau: you can feel the horror coming on this one, like little flickers of light at the corners of your vision.... You don't quite want to look the whole way! Nothing prepares you for the ending, but it is a good one! Nothing says I love you quite like this!

The Shaping by Scott Nicholson: in a strange world of Critiques, Editiors & Artists the sorrowful artist gives blood, sweat and tears to his final masterpiece, but is it enough to gain him the thumbs up though? A very weird concept with lots of strange word play - a masterpiece in its own story telling, what a talent Scott is....

Something Borrowed by J. Gregory Smith: really enjoyed how this bubbled away, giving you flashes of what horror is on its way! I was so not prepared when this went full 3HD on me! A story of a nip and tuck too far?

Equilibrium by John Shirley: loved the idea of body form cars! But that was all I really liked about this! This author was all over the place for me, even now Im not sure what it was supposed to be about.

Sawbones by L.L.Soares: WOW - a body modified hit man gets visited by a "ghost". This was an excitingly played out story, definitely one of my top 3.

Whirling Machine Man by Aaron J.French: great story telling of an intriguing idea; torture, amputation, spirits etc shame it never went anywhere.

Sex Object by Graham Masterton: This must rate as the most disgusting story of the book. How far does a woman go to change herself to please a husband! Riveting but revolting!

The Sad, Not so Sad, Ballard of Goat-head Jean Ambivalent Devil Queen: wow really felt like I had been on a mushroom trip with this tale of murderous boyfriends, satanic rocks and the desire for perfect breasts! Can't really tell you what the story was trying to say but I did feel bedazzled, dizzy and WTF happened at the end, but in a good way!

Locks of Loathe by Jezzy Wolfe: it was the hair what done it!! A murderous tale of revenge via hair! Well written with an exciting ending!

By Hook by Elliott Capon: a sailors tale with a curse to boot.   Nothing special in this story for me, a tenuous link to the pirates hook.

Creeping Death by Armand Rosamilla: stranger than most! A girl obsessed with tattoos becomes protected from Death! Written so you get a shudder at the end.

Paraphilia by Lisa Mannetti: short and viscious, you get lulled into this sad girls story only to get slapped as the ending hits you. Very clever writing!

Independence Day by P.L. Barrington: hard to describe really - crippled man uses a shamen Dr to fix his body which then turns on him. Just never really explained why....

Marvins Angry Angel by Jonathon Templar: how funny that a new trend would be to get an Angel attached to your shoulder, literally! What happens when that Angel gets pissed off though; funny, short and not so angelic!

Change of Heart by Rob M. Miller: Ewwww Ewww double ewww! A witch of a mother in law comes to dinner. The final paragraph is the killer - yucky ducky... brilliant!

Hearing Mildred by Wheldon Burge: ah the wicked evils of TV and not reading enough! A cute little tale that made me smile.

You really get your money’s worth in this brilliant anthology!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Discordia Ascendant: An Illustrated Demon Squad Story by Tim Marquitz

This short story focuses on Rahim, the Wizard werewolf, from the Demon Squad series.

In this snapshot of his life we see him facing down a mortal enemy in a darkened alleyway, the strange woman with no eyes; Anai.

Her aim is to bring back her Mother, Discordia, to bring havoc to the planet as God is currently on hiatus and not really keeping an eye on things.

This short snippet hints at a much bigger plot in Rahim’s history and gives a promise of more to come.

Beautiful in its prowse, this story is only enhanced by the wonderful art work of Robert Elrod; I sort of imagined Rahim to be more handsome but think this visual interpretation gives him a little edge.

 I would love to see a much longer, more graphic novel style, from them both.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Free short stories, prizes and a chance to vote!!

Here, you will find links to seven great stories. All with free to read!

Please submit using the form at the bottom of this page to cast your vote for your favourite story to win. Simple as that!

Do not want to delay any longer!!!
3rd place- $5.00 Amazon Gift Card
2nd place- $10.00 Amazon Gift Card
1st place- $25.00 Amazon gift card, Plan 3 advertising package on The Daily Bookworm (a $35.00 value), the prestige and glory that come with winning, which is a lot of prestige and glory!
Voter prizes (two winners): $5.00 Amazon gift card and a Daily Bookworm swag pack (a $25.00+ value)
Just read all of the stories, then come back here to vote for that story to win! Easy peasy!
Winners will be announced on September 2, 2014!!!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Holes in the ground by Iain Rob Wright and JA Konwath

Basically this is fan fiction at its greatest!

It seems that IRW took the brilliant idea formed by JAK in Origin and then added his own fantastic spin of humour and horror, a few of his own characters, mixed them up, put them in a new hell and span them out again.

Fast, fun, and full of laughs, this is one that Konrath fans won't want to miss - made all the more interesting by Iain Rob Wright's British touches.  Those that have read Origin or The Final Winter will quickly fall in love with this book because the characters are just as you remember them to be.

Each main character is well formed but flawed and you can see early on how Bub will get to them, only IRW/JAK manage to make a few good twists and surprises too. However, the parting shot from Andy annoyed the hell out of me! (no spoilers)

The setting of a monster zoo/prison really allowed both authors to run wild with their imaginations and whoever thought up Mu the talking banana was genius. IRW must have had a riot writing this.

However, there were some “bad” points for me, I did think it had a rushed ending of sorts, nothing was finalized (IMO), which I suppose leaves it open for a sequel but I think that’s a little cheeky of both authors.

In addition, I was really disappointed to get to 52% and have it end – the last part is the original story from IRW without JAK input. Which is wonderful in of itself but I did feel cheated and which runoffthemill reader  is really is going to read the same story twice in a row??

Also, I wish we had more back story on Wolfie as it was such a sad story.

I think both authors could have made this into a much longer book with more expansion of the “monsters/prisoners” history, the secret society could have had more back story, as could the new characters.

All that said, I do hope there is a sequel!