Monday, 27 October 2014

Kaiju Apocalypse by Eric S. Brown & Jason Cordova

It’s a B-rate “movie” read at its best, but it is a fun, fast read if all you want is monsters, weapons and YaHoo/Gung Ho for humanity!

As a virgin of Creature Feature books I really enjoyed the fantastic description of the beasts. Rapid and hungry for human flesh. Smaller “dogs” and huge “mothers”.   I think another review calls it “Pacific Rim meets Starship Troopers”!! and yes that’s exactly what it is.

The opening lines were brilliant and I found Commander Jorgs death to be amazing in its grossness! And it just goes on from there really.

The history of how the Earth fell and how the Kaiju rose is told succinctly within a few lines.  The premise is that Pacifica Base has fallen leaving just one strong hold of humanity left. The last remaining Governor and Minister of War set about trying to find the possibly mythical OverMind, alleged to be the hive mind of the Kaiju.

With his superdooper new “DogKiller” (that’s the little kaiju!) amour, which has some splendidly fun weapons and abilities Ryan West sets out with his battalion to find this place and destroy it.

Basically just monsters wreaking havoc, and humans trying to fight back! There is no character growth or development but they do have humour and as most people die anyway and it races through the story you don’t have time to get to know them!  Which is a shame really as I thought the book could have been extensively extended and more emphasis put on the characters, their relationships and back history and then maybe I would have routed for them more than the Kaiju!

Very militarized in some of its prose yet easily accessible as well described and not laden down with technicalities. It is a bit gung ho and “into battle we ride” type fodder too but that goes along with the story really well.

There are some really obvious grammar and spelling errors, especially from the middle to the end of the story, and a good editor/beta reader would have picked these up – just because its B rate doesn’t mean it should be published in that state.

Overall I did enjoy the read, it was an afternoon of fun, but it is left open for a sequel I just think the authors should clean this one up, even extend it a little and then maybe it would make a great series.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wrapped in Black anthology

This edition of Wrapped In… has exceeded itself with the caliber of author included, the stories and the editing lay out.

I am not sure how Sekhmet is going to follow on from this but I sure hope they do, I will be first in line to buy it.

Hair Shirt Drag by Gordon White: Jesse, or Sissy to his non-friends, is a backwoods, Southern, effeminate, cross-dressing Witch and is even a little strange even for each of those sub groups.  He comes from a long line of Overhold women who have the “gift”, each use and supply it in various odd ways but the outcomes are all the same.

The town has come to Jesse’s Momma house to help her with some “medicine”, the initiation of her son, who should have been a girl.

However Jesse is splendid in his hand me down Hair Shirt and as the townsfolk turn upon him, his beauty explodes around them.  Fantastic build-up, great finale and brilliant start to this anthology.

I could feel the atmosphere such is the writing skill of GW, he managed to spin, wind and wallow me in a tale so beautiful I almost did not notice the dark undertone.

Comes the Rain by Gregory L. Norris: Granny Rae is dying, but not in peace. Three of the most awful creatures are after her powers. Jamison must protect her.

The pace of this story is enchanting, the rhythm that the author beats out with his words entraps you into this little snippet of world. His descriptions are vivid and colourful. The ending is so bittersweet.

Number One Angel by Allison M. Dickson: Louise is trying to kill her Mama and Phelan, her lover, has told her how to do it. Gulp, gulp, gulp; the sound of the cake going down her fat neck.

But Phelan is not all he seems and only wishes to collect what was his from Mama’s box.

Short but punchy, this made me smile, I love the way AMD writes, all her work is exquisite.

Unto the Earth by Patrick C Greene: Landon and his beautiful wife, Agnes, who makes a wonderful Voodoo dinner, if only the dog would shut up, the cable wasn’t off and Aggy would stop ordering all the magazines in French!

The tension between these two and the unspoken things that are in their pasts and what is occurring now was intriguing.

I think this is one of my favourite lines to describe love and need - they clutched each other like otter pup littermates.

There was some serious imagery in this story along with the spooks. The reasoning in the end is fantastic and I loved the finale!   Brilliant writing and torment from PCG!! He is a master of short stories.

HÄXENHAUS  by Nick Kimbro: eeeeek at the torturous instruments described and explained.

Our narrator, Kramer, is close to a house that is prison to witches, a place that has turned confession, torture and suffering into an art.

The witch that killed his child is now dead but what parting gift did she leave him.  To say I really enjoyed this story would make me sound perverted, but then I love horror! And this has multiple elements to it.

To wish suffering on others, is that human nature? Whatever, it was brilliantly written and certainly deserves its place in this black anthology.

Stories I tell to the Girls by Michael G. Williams:  The Book People are a coven working magic through the written word but magic often requires a sacrifice.

Loved all the book quotes! But with all their chanting they conjure up Percy the vampire and then, as the story states, there “… some seriously weird reverse-Bella shit.” Because, actually, he only wants to go to Heaven!

A beautiful tale of love, forgiveness and something wished for. Gripped from the start I thought this story had a unique edge using its humour.

The Rising Son by James Glass:  Calahan has had a taste of Cherry, but apparently who hasn’t! Apparently his brother who is in love with the great Crowley. So they decide to summon a demon, well why not?

So his local coven decide to help, as world domination is not enough fun. However, what pops up is not quite what they were expecting.

I have read JG before and always enjoyed the story and writing, no different here, just wish there were more!

Beautiful, Broken Things by Rose Blackthorn: Trey with his mantra of clean now. Trey has done something that requires penance. He has lost much too, and he appears to be paying. The world he lives in miserable; dull, grey and dirty.

Ciara gives the illusion of colour, and such gorgeous descriptions of colour given by the author, I was mesmerized.

This is a sad tale, with the lesson of being careful what you wish for.  Wonderful.

Not this Time by Mike Lester: Jack has buried Melanie. I loved the skill of the author in telling the story through snippets of conversation, memories and flashbacks.

This was a brief story but I really felt like a I knew the main characters. Amazing writing.

Into the Light by Solomon Archer: Elliot got more than scrapped skin when he fell handlebars over butt off his bike last April.

The grooming of Elliot into the coven was almost friendly but watching from the outside it’s easy to see the danger, the author did a brilliant job in conveying this.

The Sight and the Dreams made uncomfortable reading. BUT I think this line is my favourite from the whole book (horror and humour are a powerful mix): he imagined a family of raccoons sitting around a tree stump playing Yahtzee, their little paws clumsily tossing acorns onto a pile as they placed their bets.

The climatic ending was expected in such a powerful story and was suitably explosive, perfect.

She makes my skin crawl by Shenoa Carroll-Bradd: Jaime and Elana, she who was bitten by the Devil, on her ass no less!

Her small but powerful punishments result in bloody bags of stuff, stuff from Jaime, skin from Jaime, skin that goes crawling on its own!! Even Jaime’s own bath tub was gagging at the revolting descriptions and imagery.

To take a common saying and place a story around it, awesome!!

Pigeon by Eric Nash: Maddie has removed her amulet and now Jack, ex-lover/married another woman/living the wonderful life Jack, is literally in melt down.

I really enjoyed the fast pace set by the author, there was no let up, pushing, pushing, pushing….until, Bang.  Glad this was fairly short as am sure I was holding breathe for the entire read.

Pig Roast by Aaron Gudmunson: Chet loves food, but mostly with mustard. Then he meets Sarah.

Whilst I felt where the story is heading the humour kept me reading! I thought the ending was great and really wrapped up this anthology well!!

The Bio’s at the end were mostly witty and very informative! I enjoy finding out about authors, it makes them so much easier to locate and stalk them!

Friday, 17 October 2014

In the Valley, Where Belladonna grows by Tim Lebbon

I found the beginning very slow and confusing but then I was also intrigued and the story started to grow on me, it is only a 2-3 hour read and you will be rewarded with not only a well thought out tale but well written with some great descriptions of a beautiful way of life.

Apparently Mary has been wronged by her powerful husband Sherlock, cheated on and beaten until she decided to shove back. She has been banished to a valley where, even at her late stage in life, she must fend for herself and live off and with the land.

TL unwinds this relationship with Sherlock and its slow demise like a tangled ball of knitting wool.  In this ball are some huge knots in the shape of rapid dogs, half dead visitors and some hysterical home renovation skills.

I found the ending most satisfying and whilst it took me awhile to get into the story I really enjoyed the meander. I look forward to reading more of Tim Lebbon. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Monster Squad 5 by Heath Stallcup

So as is usual for the lovely HS I was thrust straight back into the action, I really enjoy that he manages to catch up new readers to the story fairly quickly but has the sense to realise that faithful readers don't need big long explanations!.

Commander Tufo has managed to bring his bulldog Hank onto base and this makes for all sorts of humour, but as is the norm’ its Tufo who brings all the laughs. I think the HALO joke was the best.  That said, since the first book all the other characters seem to have lost their sense of humour, which is a real shame as I find horror and comedy the best combination.

HS is a master at skipping you along in the story with short bursts of info that don’t detract from the present tense.  The story is yet again full of intrigue and back stories, complex yet simple to follow, he leads you on wild goose chases that somehow lead back to the main story.

However I was a little concerned that some of the characters were not really going in an expected direction based on their previous actions, but they are at least not one dimensional or boring! 

Again enough ammonerd info to keep you happy if you love the military thing but it was too much for me and I ended up skipping little chunks of the story.

One of the main stories is focused on Damian and Lilith/Rachel as they continue to try and find her body, managing to come across as the bad ass vamps that they are. But there is a twist in the tail, of course! But I want to know just why is Rachel so scared of becoming Lilith again? 

Finally I got to find out what the "Wolf on Ice" was all about! I so loved this little love story, but I felt that some of the original erotica was missing and it left a damp patch rather than a hot spot.

I love that all his female characters are strong and lead their own lives etc but also have that feminine side. Their story lines are not just add ons or fillers but genuinely part of the plot.

My only real complaint is that once you start reading HS you tend to lose time. He blends in so much intrigue and skullduggery that you cant put the book down, and I lost many hours sleep because of him, also its not a book you can finish in a day, it is way to bulky for that, you certainly get your moneys worth with a HS book.

However, I did have a couple of  Gripes: just cos you got a saying right doesn’t mean that’s what all the rest of us idiots actually say! “and you have another thinK not thing coming!

What drew me into this series of books was the amazing monsters that HS dreams up and its not until halfway through the book, again, that we get a new monster; a frog with teeth!? but only one new monster!

Keep them coming Mr HS!! but more monsters and humour pls, a bit of bump and grind would be good too - i liked the way you made me blush in book no.1.

Monster Squad: 5

Monday, 13 October 2014

Chelsea Avenue by Armand Rosamilia

Apparently Chelsea Avenue is a real location in Long Branch, New Jersey. The Murphy's Law Club was a real place. On July 8th, 1987, the famous Haunted House on the pier in Long Branch did burn down.  From that nugget of news Armand Rosamilia has drawn on his imagination and produced this haunting story. 

How to classify it? 
Ghosty, not really but very haunting. 
Gore laden, nope but still shocking and murderous. 
Apocalyptic, definite potential. 
Horror, Thriller or Fantasy, none but all. 

I cannot label this book which is really frustrating!  But I do know it gave me the chills, satisfied by need for spooky, horror and weird all at the same time. 

On the night of July 8th, Murphy’s Law night club is the site Wiy of the Water has chosen to try and attain Ascension; becoming a god over the humans, demanding their worship.

However, his brothers (other elementals of Fire, Earth and Wind) decide this is not a good idea for mankind and thwart his plans with a binding spell, causing a life changing fire and so begins the dark tale of sacrifice, murder and control as Wiy acts out his revenge.

Manny is the main character and focus; a young man who watched his friends and family (the owners of the nightclub) perish in the fire, losing his home and future in one horrifying night, he is also the tether that binds all the goings on in the following 15 years. 

I loved how each chapter represented a leap forward in the years, focusing on the same date, the anniversary of the fire which also happens to be Manny’s birthday. 

This allowed for big progressions in his life and the overall story. AR was so eloquent in his ability to proffer a single snappy line into a years’ worth of history easily keeping you update to date as he enters the police force, climbs the ranks, falls in love, marries, mucks it up and eventually gets dragged into hell as that fateful night pulls on his subconscious via a series of dreams and nightmares. 

However, he is not the only one having these dreams and all those connected with the fire succumb to Wiy’s power, pull and vicious need for worship.

With Detective Tankard as his senior, he and Manny eventually admit to each other that there must be a supernatural link as new dead bodies keep arriving at the abandoned lot on Chelsea Avenue each year. 

I was confused at first as to why the police did not simply stake out the Lot and provide protection but this issue is dealt with later in the book and shows again, how intricate and wonderful the AR brain works in delivering a balanced story and not just using characters, scenes and places for convenience of storytelling.

As each year brings the death toll up, the tension increases and the murders seem to get more gruesome. It is at this moment that AR allows you into the minds of some of the victims and a new element of horror occurs. The total helplessness of each victim as they are forced to return to Chelsea Avenue and commit horrific murders and mutilations whilst fully aware but unable to stop themselves gives a chill up the spine.

AR’s character building talent is evident in all his books but especially so in this one. Each character is given a strong back story; just enough so that when they die you feel a full tug and sadness at their loss.

However just when I was getting bored with new characters being introduced (remember this is over a 15year period) just to get killed off the story takes a massive leap into the present and the obvious danger that is looming.

As the actions kicks up a gear AR rockets the reader to an elemental show down of immense power. I could almost taste the salty water and feel the fire and smoke.

I hope the cliffhanger was an intentional plot twist as this story is far from over. I want more about these elemental gods, more apocalyptic world domination attempts and more brilliant writing from the mind of AR.

Friday, 10 October 2014

The Mask & The Old Hands by Billie Sue Mosimen

The Mask: Joe & The Mask have a connection - at least in Joes mind.

Leftover from a party Joe finds the Mask laying on his coffee  table as he comes around from a heavy night of drinking.

Through the conversation with the Mask you learn all the horrid things that Joe has done as he slowly confesses.

But is the Mask really talking? and walking? Or his he hallucinating, again.
For a 20min read this little story really freaked me out.

The power of the mind is strong and BSM does her best to mess with yours (the reader).

Old Hands:  George has Old Hands, but they are not his.

The WHO had declared this a new viral pandemic and George and his wife have caught it.

But these are not just old, wrinkly Hands - they are mean, vile and have a will of their own.

However, George and his wife have a solution, an illegal solution; although its soon clear that people should be careful what they wish for.

Again, another fantastic twist in the ending, total brilliance.

 BSM brings a unique thought to the apocalyptic disease table.

I loved the line "a wet cat kind of day".

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Lucky's Girl by William Holloway

Lucky thinks himself a Prophet, he has an irresistible talent for drawing people in, an ability to beguile with his public speaking, and his general allure allows him to be a leader of men but he has a twisted sense of self and a deep need for revenge, so when The Big Tree at Elton lakes calls him back he follows. 

We are then introduced to Kenny as he reunites with his estranged children, Jake & Jenny, both are clearly harbouring resentment and something terrible has happened to Jenny recently.  Having lost everything in the big city he too is making his way back to his childhood home, the cabin/shack his Vietnam Vet Uncle raised him in.

Sherif of Elton Township, Jerry Kaminsky, is a recovering alcoholic but general good guy trying to hold his dying, failing town together.
All three men, it soon becomes clear, have history together; all are interwoven with the Big Tree.

As funding after funding leaves the town and its people they become disheartened, desperate and ripe for salvation. The most recent an archeological dig, discovery of a possible Indian burial ground out by the lake.  So the stage is set for Lucky to breeze back into his home town and start his tribe, bring them to glory.

There are other major characters in the book such as the lovely Rev James, his wife, the Mayor Errol and the Wolves.  The characters are all deep, with fascinating back stories, none are pure good or evil, baring the odd one but even then you are given elements of doubt.

The author has certainly out done himself on the scare factor for this book, some really spooky stuff in there, does make you wonder what he gets up to on the weekends!

Between Wendigo’s, American Indian Folklore, Cults, demands for revenge, Gods of Chaos and Werewolves you will be riveted up until the final page. 

I do hope there is more to come from not only this author but also this story.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Monsters in Hollywood (books 1-6) by Lila DuBois

Lights, Camera ... (Book 1): 
Calypso Hollywood Productions is a company run by five beautiful and talented women; Lena, Jane, Akta, Margo and Cali.

One day a group of three exceptional looking men, Luke, Michael Henry and Their walk into office with a proposal for a movie.

But here is the twist, they 'are monsters, hiding from persecution and are slowing dying out. They need to get out Their message That They want to be friendly and integrate into human society without hiding.

They are among us as Their Already Seer has provided them all the spells, in the form of gorgeous tattoos That allow them to change from Their monster bodies to human form.

However, the girls laugh them off and send them on their way, not without Luke begging for a Date with Lena, who Obliges Because He is after all gorgeous and she is starting to feel like a born again virgin.

The monsters That LD describe Both are horrifying and beautiful, and get all Apparently Their sexual experience from succubae !!

This is an erotica book after all and it soon turns to some rip roaring sex from Luke and Lena. Apparently magical spells but do not hold well after eight hours of sex and a night's sleep as Luke inadvertently lets out for Lena His monster to wake up next too, I unfortunately looks like a demon With His huge wings, horns and cloven feet!

This leads to some humorous moments and then the plot really begins. There are other moments when you 'humor Realise That all their "knowledge" about humans comes from watching TV shows and movies, although this is a little odd can actually When They Interact with humans, so That falls flat after a while.

Just as the girls are getting on board and seriously thinking this movie That Could Be a go ahead to That monster is not fully With the plan tries to kill Lena and the plot twist and Takes a really starts to sizzle as much as all the intense sex That is going on.

Some very sad moments in This First Book That really seal it as a story and not just erotica.

My Fair Monster (Book 2):
Clearly Whilst the first book sets the scene and then Continues to concentrate on the love that has now blossomed Between Lena and Luke, it is now obvious That this is now Jane and Michael's turn.

More body numbing sex OCCURS but Michael's monster is not what you would expect!

A new monster has joined the group, Runako, I is not convinced That Should integrate humans and monsters. With His sad back story and still painful memories Clearly I Began to agree with His points of view on human annihilation instead.

The grin inducing Often humor is still here, Along with the eyeball popping sex but this book felt more like a love story and there was no clear moving forward of the story.

However LD book sets up 3 very neatly at the end.

I was aware of quite a few editing errors in this book Which Were a little distracting.

Gone with the Monster (Book 3):
This is Clearly Runako and Margo's chapter and she is one tough lady That man needs a tougher to crack her. So I kidnaps her and Margo Takes to a cave.

This Allows for some really funny moments, as by default in Original two characters are much more humorous. Runako's monster just happens to be the biggest demon looking thing you can think of.

Whilst Margo is filled with Self-body issues, Runako acerca is clueless female human emotions Generally And This makes for great banter not to mention the almost painful but highly erotic sex scenes.

Again we are shown the horrors of humans vs monsters in the past and why Runako is so afraid of integration. When I fully shares with Margo His pain she confesses That She May who did they know awful things to His Sister.

This knowledge With a new element of revenge and killing Enters The story line and Gives it an interesting twist.

New monsters and plot elements in this book are Introduced at it Continues to not shy away from going to some deep dark places in some XXX sex scenes.

Again, some editing issues, but this time not so distracting.

Have will travel Monster (Book 4):
Now That the story line is not just about the monsters bringing out into the open, the secret Black Wolf agency trying to capture and experiment is to focus on monsters.

Henry goes off to China to seek out and plead for help from the secret, yet powerful warrior clan.

Their is Tokaki Most prized warrior and Agrees to come and help them, but as the fight coordinator on the movie !!

There is a lot more in this book speak movie Which was becoming tedious. The two new characters Tokaki and Jo, the artist, are so obviously going to be the next couple together but That Get Their characters and plot lines are so cliché to make it feel like some 70s porn film.

Whilst I Understood That Tokaki was the Chinese version of the westernized notion of monsters, I turns into a huge white tiger that looks a lot like the parade dragon / lion, I got fed up reading about Their Chi - I am not reading in Original books for intellectual stimulation! Not to mention That acerca 50% into the book info we have only peeked at a penis surprised so far, and if Jo says His male body is "ridiculous" once more I Would have screamed, and not in pleasure.

The little movie Were funny one liners and the best character in Madoka This chapter was the teenage sister, a beautiful purple dragon.

Eventually Tokaki and Jo get together, but I is rude, obnoxious and oblivious to her feelings Which of course are fixed by watching a marathon of chick flicks. I found this to be very condescending and not fitting With the rest of the books. Although they 'are getting a bit boring monsters in every mating for life with each girl picks I have to enlighten on monster sex.

If I had not bought the last two Already books in the series I Would have Given Up At this point as the center plot is missing, the editing and continuity is way off and the sex has Become boring.

The notion That brilliant sex can suddenly fix all female hang up and make You have instant self-belief is a little nauseating or maybe I have yet to enjoy That sort of sex!

The ending paragraph was good and it pulled together some unanswered questions from early in the book but does not make you want to read the fifth installment.

A Monster and a Gentleman (Book 5):
You are now thrown forward into movie production. Apparently all on set people believe in monsters and none have run screaming to the loony bin but surprise, surprise one has leaked to the press photos DESPITE huge confidentially clauses.
Cali the bitch of the group Total has-been lusting after Seling, a fire breathing dragon, who joined the group During a rescue camp at the Black Wolf, and this is Clearly Their sexual chapter for fun and eventual mating.

No mention Thus Far of the plot twist Involving the Black Wolf camp, if They Were Such a threat then why forget them ?? So Easily The editing is much more of an issue in this book and LD Could have Done with some better beta readers / editors to pull together her inconsistencies.

Why every single woman in this group have to be hung up on Their lack of body perfection is now becoming annoying. Plus the eleven sizzling sex scenes and daring are now repetitive, same sex couple different.

Not sure on the odds of finding each monster kill Their exact Within the five women in LA who happen to be making Their movie.

Eventually Investigations get under way into who leaked the photos of the monsters, trying to out them.

The monsters call on Their Seer, Mauve the Banshee.

Between the Black Wolf Banshee and the militia, That suddenly make a reappearance this is a lot more violent action in this book.

Towards the end is more of a monster story, much less erotica, even if boring in this book.

This series has sort of flunked in the middle not sure If its erotica, a story, Both of neither. The one dimensional characters and Have Become Often slide off the page with no thought. The book end has-been read simply as I am hoping for a conclusion.

The last of the Monsters (Book 6):
Flashbacks from VARYING PoV allow for the story of Henry, the monster and end Akta - That end the couple need to pair off to Make This all so convenient.

Mauve the Banshee has discovered who the leak is and punishment is interesting. The Black Wolf men are used in a unique way.

Once the movie is finally out, so are the monsters and they 'are whisked off to meet all the "special" people of the world.

The relationship Between Henry, the color changing monster and Akta skin is crawling and childish to say the least.

A dramatic finale Allows the series to redeem itself at the end.

Overall This Could Have Been probably four books, better edited and more flesh and brains Given to the characters. The first book was amazing and the sex but soon Became repetitive and pathetic Were plot lines, or Told At least not well.

For a fast bit of erotica LD is a good writer as she does not shy from some eye watering moments but as a storyteller, nope not her strong suit as her plots are often forgotten or repetitive, but overall a good series to read.

The movie references in the stories and was very clever book titles and you can not help but love the cover art!