Saturday, 29 November 2014

Cyberchip by Billie Sue Mosiman

Cory is annoyed with his life in general, his job, his boss, his ex-best friend, his soon to be ex-wife, so now he is acting out revenge.

After trialing a tracking chip on himself he discovers a unique talent,  he  then goes on an almost murderous spree; almost as each attempt fails and lands the target in hospital instead, seems he can’t if do that correctly.

Soon he notices that the apes in the lab are acting strange towards him and karma comes to call.

Left on a brilliant twisty note this little story held me engrossed for half an hour and then left me with a satisfied smile.

Fabulous writing and strange little stories spring from this authors mind!

Friday, 28 November 2014

whats wrong with Horror??

Its not often I comment or even share another blog or review site but this post today on FB has made lots of authors, reviewers and the rest of us sit up and think.

Many a lovely site, chat room or FB group has gone south of late due to the amount of just general spam. 

Have a read of this brilliantly written article on the great Ginger Nut review site and see what thoughts it provokes in you..... maybe even head on over there and leave a comment!

Interaction, thats whats missing for me.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Jane The Hippie Vampire: Hair by Leigh M. Lane

Jane is ironically a vegan vampire with a knack for getting into trouble.

Needing to head to warmer climes she heads South into Bible Belt country, the weather maybe warmer but the hospitality is not; at least for an outwardly appearing teenage vagrant.

When a purple dog runs past her during a routine police stop you are already drawn back into Jane’s strange world and you can feel the magic carpet ride coming.

Whilst she knows that she must feed and she often disgusts herself with the berserker like frenzy when this occurs she knows it was not her that started to rip the Officers to pieces in the woods, even though she does not turn down an easy meal.

LML has a wonderful skill of explaining the pain that Jane feels during these feeds giving you a sense of the gnawing hunger vs the need to preserve all life.

As she hides in the forest she is found by the local Ranger, Bobby, and he kindly takes her home for dinner, although he does have his own agenda and what is actually on the menu?

His family are a strange mix of rednecks and homely parents, then LML introduces  the local fruitloop who professes to be seeing lake monsters, werewolves and vampires and you know things are about to go squiffy for poor Jane!

When said fruitloop decides to rid the world of a “stinking leech” he sets in motion a terrible chain of events, killing sprees, hidden bodies and family secret revelations.

Whilst all this is going on LML manages to throw in some horrific flashbacks of Jane’s previous life and her “change”.

Overall another wonderful installment in the undead life of Jane. I am more intrigued by this vampire now; LML is expertly giving little hints of the true horror in Jane’s life whilst telling these little chapters in her life. 

My only complaint is having to wait for the next episode.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Undead Tales antholgy

Resurrecting Mind by Joe McKinney: Poor Kevin the last man alive after the world ended three years ago, its Xmas eve but he still believes.

But maybe he is not truly alone, whilst out foraging for decorations, he spots an ex-girlfriend and with some very corny jokes tries to nourish her back to life from the world of the zombie “faker”.

The twist at the end is heart breaking. Such wonderful writing and a superb way to start this anthology.

Louis by Carole Gill: Louis has decided to become a necromancer after his best friend dies. eeeew at the practice mouse.

A great tongue in cheek feel to this story, yet another interesting author I must seek out and try a longer piece of work from.

Breaking Out by Eric S. Brown: Bio toxins, the military and naughty, unethical Drs; what could possibly go wrong!

Loved the telling of this notsooriginal story. Blindingly fast, it was a super read.

Hard Choices by Todd Sprague: The juxtaposition of some of the Hard Choices and comments from the narrator would have been funny had they not rung the sad bell of truth a little too loud.

The Hard Choices only get worse as survival becomes the utmost driving force to this man.

I am curious to know if this is a standalone brief flash of a story, or if it is part of a greater story.

So far, every single author and story has been spot on!

Until Hell calls our names by WD Gagliani: Loved the approach to telling this story.

Set in the Old Wild West it brought a new tinge to an old story.

In between tales of confederacy and submarines (!) is the most awful tale of relationship abuse.

The wronged woman, along with her Mother, cast zombie spells to avenge they abuse. The story which follows is complex and I found it to be too harrowing to “enjoy” but it was thoroughly entertaining and caused a different sort of shudder in terror.

Amazing writing to make me feel so uncomfortable.

Till death do us part by Scott M. Goriscak: Poor Tim, the mortician, he finally finds the love of his life only to lose her in a freak accident.

Of all the horror in this book, the reading of the embalming made me actually gag.

When a rogue bolt of lightning reanimates his love all sorts of strange things start to occur.

I had to giggle at certain body parts coming apart as she decomposes. The ending, for me, was hilarious.

I forgot my own name by JD Gillam: A sad story from the zombies PoV.

This was obviously hard to write due to the decomposing brain, but well accomplished and interesting to read.

Zombie Camp by Lawrence R. Dagstein: Day care camp for zombie children, now that’s a thought! As the world has changed, apparently parental love and social ambition has not.

Very well-articulated to bring forth all the trappings of rich families and the dilemmas obviously faced when picking your child’s education and play mates.

A cracking concept with some outstanding dry humour.

The Zombie with the Dragon tattoo by Armand Rosamilia: Another rip roaring giggle a minute story.

Gary is in lust with Roxy the stripper, even if she is now one of the undead and all the hassle that brings.

When he decides to break into the Cheaters strip bar for one last lap dance he meets the bouncer and DJ who are not what they seem.

The normal sex focused zombie humour from this author, a really fun little story with some clever character twists.

Feast of the Dead by P. David Puffinburger: The first story with editing errors? Or not? I am not sure if this was an attempt at first person writing with intentional errors, but as it went on it did not feel right in its prose
This story was neither funny nor sad but degenerated into a deliverance type rape scene that was poorly written. 

Really felt this story was out of context for this anthology so far, or maybe I just didn’t “get it”.

Mick’s Rules by Zach Brunner: A weird little tale of a 50’s circa zombie frequenting a bar owned by Mick and boy does he like to pick a fight!

Lots of dialogue and some nifty left hooks make for a fun showdown between the pair.

What walks in afterwards makes me want to visit and order some nachos and beer for some “people” watching.

Yet another fabulous author, who plays well on stereo types.

Written during rapture by Scott Nicholson: A love note vs a suicide note. Very brief story but oh so poignant.

Carriers by Ian DG Sandusky: A new take on what causes the zompoc. Kind of put me off my dinner!

Some great explanations, funny? Not so sure but definitely a sad indictment on our current way of life and destruction of the planet.

What’s a man gotta do by Chantal Boudreaux: An old ranch hand is trying to eke out a living by foraging and trading in the zompoc world.

However, he has an addiction, his Drink.  He risks life and limb for this special taste.

Whilst serious throughout the story the final lines really leave you on a giggle.

Always brilliant writing from Chantal.        

My name is Riley by Mark Tufo: Told from a dogs PoV this is a unique take on the zompoc.

Riley’s little pack must survive the start and ongoing zompoc, a teenage girl, a baby, a runt dog, Riley and a naughty cat – sounds like the start of a good joke – it’s actually a fabulous series that I encourage everyone to seek out.

How do you kill what’s already dead? By Jeremiah Coe: The Germanic barbarians are facing off the invading Roman Hordes, only these turn out to be zombies, an unfair advantage.

With a lot of chatter about the ancient military style  I found it hard going as not my favourite topic to read about. But the author gave me characters that I really started to care about to follow and become involved with.

The sad little twist at the end made the read very worthwhile.

Of the Dead by Ian Woodhead: As if zombies aren’t bad enough IW thinks up spider mutated zombies!

Just what is going on in that food factory, you can probably figure it out, but this author just loves taking you for a ride of terror.

The world presented in this short story is complex and hints at a larger set of stories, but IW does have extensive zombie writing experience, well worth a seek out.

I loved the humour, dark and slapstick, mixed with all the horror. Some really original stories mixed in this anthology with some original telling’s of old stories.

The contributors are well picked and well placed, so credit to the editor, himself an accomplished author.  Rich Orth has amazing little poems scattered throughout, which makes for some light relief and is an inspired thought.

One of my favourite anthologies to date.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Lady Blues, Forget-me-Not by Aaron Paul Lazar

I was concerned to find that I had picked up book 10 in the series, but this works well as a standalone novel. 

There is a slew of characters that are obviously well established but quick comments on their relationships soon bring a novice up to speed. Although even in the opening paragraphs I did find this a bit repetitive so imagine if you read all the series this would start to grate.

The time line seemed a bit off in the first few chapters as they were out jogging, then rescuing, driving home, eating supper then bed all within what appeared to be only an hour or so.

Between music and food making interludes this story meanders through Gus’ life, lots of family, extended family and friends. The affection and love becomes a bit overwhelming at times and whilst they have suffered loss etc I was starting to feel that their lives were a little too perfect; however, if you are invested in this series, to be on no.10 book, then I should think you feel part of the family by now.
There is a dramatic start to the book which then takes a long and windy way to get to the meat of the story and the crux of the mystery.

There is some intrigue,  tension and a hint of threat, but Professor Gus is calm and comforting, so the real edge is never felt IMO. When you don’t actually fear for any of the characters’ lives it’s hard to be all that concerned. For me this is very much a lazy Sunday afternoon read.

The two main mysteries to solve are siblings Thom and Lily and the secrets they hide. Then there is the Music Man at the Nursing home, a lost man who remembers is lost love, Bella, when music is playing, with an added little twist, both are very emotive stories. 

Am I intrigued enough to read from the beginning, maybe, as mysteries are not really my thing but I did enjoy the beautiful descriptions of landscape, music and food. 

Friday, 7 November 2014

Samhain by Lori R. Lopez

First off I have to mention the amazing cover art - as LRL does all her own work I am always intrigued at how wonderfully fascinating they are, the more you look the more detail you see, not to mention how she manages to really grasp the essence of her stories in the covers.

It is All Hallows Eve and self confessed wuss and multi phobic Daren Karl is on his way to his sisters house to a Halloween party. Rather than brave all those people he is coerced by his parents into taking his nephew Dare out trick or treating, they leave him with a strange comment about facing his demons!

Dare maybe named after his Uncle but he makes his name a challenge, not a burden and delights in teasing his Uncle on the route around the neighbourhood.

As they prowl the streets Darrens phobias about this night are surfacing and causing some interesting discussion with his nephew. Amid all the candy collection, pirates, werewolves and cowboys he spots THE witch and as memories come flooding back LRL drags you into a hellish house of horrors.

I really enjoyed the goosebumps I was given and the thrilling explanation of Halloween, Samhain and various other historical spookies. 

LRL manages in her small novellas to inject such emotion, tension and sense of history to all her characters, I miss them when i finish the story. 

I am glad I stayed in this Halloween - but it is as I have always suspected that children really ARE tasty little morsels best served broiled!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The Fledgling by AE Jones:

AEJ does well with all her 80’s references and how she injects them into the storyline thus evoking some nostalgic flashbacks. Also included in those memory lane walks are little snippets of Jean Luc, that wonderful 400+yr old vampire from Mind Sweeper and he still remembers vividly his world before being violently turned.

Add into the mix his partner, Misha the Demon, both tasked with fighting to keep the supernatural world secret from humans.    I think AEJ missed a trick by not exploiting his love of calories and the 80’s explosion of fast food.

The duo are currently on the trail of a killer but so is Talia, a baby vampire and bounty hunter, as they clash there is a sexual tension that runs throughout which thankfully culminates in something easy to read, worthy and satisfying.

Through a series of conversations I could see the shape that AEJ’s vampire system, their “beliefs” and abilities take form.   I loved the Adam and Susannah vampire characters and hope to see more of them in the following series, what a tale their story would make on its own.

It is a cat and mouse mystery that drives the story with lots of character history and building going on in a very subtle way. You could read this as a standalone but I dare you not to want to read the first book; the one where a vampire, an angel and a demon walk into a bar…..

My only complaint about the book is that I was never actually told the reason for all the killing, but then do we know why any psycho’ kills?

The little bonus chapter at the end really showed off AEJ’s humour skills, if you were still unsure.  The mental image of a demon doing jazzercise had me in giggles.

Such perfection in the editing, layout and flow of story and spot on consistency, AEJ has proven she is has great skill and has most certainly not dropped the ball in her second installment, I was overjoyed to read of a planned 4th and 5th book.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Hallowed Horror Collection

What a fantastic collection this book is, some amazing authors who have supplied some huge novels and brilliant novellas. Everyone should find something they like in here, hopefully a few new authors to try out too.
As for value for money – hells bells its less than a £/$ for NINE stories!

The Spirit Clearing by Mark Tufo:
What a great way to start this amazing anthology of NOVELS and novellas, not short stories but full on, full length reads; such great value, especially when you see the calibre of author included.

I had stayed away from reading this for ages.... as I am so in love with MT in the Zombie Fallout series I did not want to sully my mind (or get confused!)

However, this was just amazing!

MT has a true talent; he is able to weave a complex story bringing in all sorts of emotional, physical, reality and spooky elements. I felt myself sweating away with the characters in their struggles and don’t get me started on the tears that I shed; thankfully no cats were killed in this one!!

All ends are neatly tied up in the final climax, which is great... I do so hate reading a book that finishes ambiguously!
Any fans of MT won’t be disappointed with this.

All the Little Children by Christine Sutton:
This novella sized story seems to bump along, nice happy families etc. then CS blasts the reader with the horror.

What starts out as a bit of ghost story turns into a possession, throw in a few poltergeists and demons and you get all rolled up into one sharp, snappy gore fest.

Death and its vivid descriptions just bolt off the pages at you via CS and her amazing descriptions.

I can’t really explain much about the stories main elements without giving it away other than the ending leaves you with a cold shudder in on a warm sunny day! Although that was my first read of it back last, last summer! On the night before Halloween it still gave me a shocking chill!

A great, quick read for a lunch time scare.

Fangs in Vain by Scott Nicholson:
Sabrina is an Angel and Luke is a Vampire, strange combination of lovers, but SN makes it work in this fascinating novella.

Initially I felt a little out of synch with the story, feeling that maybe I had missed the other parts of the story or that this was a little novella in the middle of a series of novels, but apparently not; it’s a stand-alone or possibly the start of a series.

Whilst this clearly shows off the talent of SN I felt the story lacked a proper start, had a good middle but left me hanging and wanting at the end.

There was a huge amount of humour and I really wanted to find out more about these two brilliant characters, so I hope SN picks them up some other time, maybe when he gets bored writing all his other fabulous novels!

The Unsaintly by Lisa Vasquez:
LV can certainly ping you into a scene, I was so engrossed in the scenes I almost forgot the underlying storyline.

The initial scenes of Demons, God, Angels and Hell were amazing although I felt the eventual fall of Lucifer was a little anti-climactic after all that wonderful build up.

Then the story swapped to a different era and setting and I was a little confused.

The beautiful, intricate descriptions continue however as LV now starts a seemingly new story about Isabel, daughter of the King of France, eventually to become a Saint, she links the two stories as Isabel is “tested” with all the horror that befalls her and the terrible nightmares of Hell that she suffers.

There seems to be lots of sub plots going on with Marciel her guardian Angel and Lucifer sending various Demons after her, whilst in the background God and Marciel have random meetings and strange chess matches that LV plots meticulously via sequenced moves – which meant nothing to me!

I did enjoy the humour as the Angels and Demons have petty arguments but also felt that it was almost out of tune with the thrust of the book. I found the jumping around of narratives and storylines very confusing and really distracted from the overall feel of the book.

Will I pick up the other two in this trilogy? Doubtful unless they pop up on a good offer etc. I was not drawn to this author style but her attention to detail was amazing.

Generation Evil by Eric A Shelman:

This novel has a complex setting of past, not so past and present which is articulated very well by EAS.

I felt the characters were realistic, 3D and mostly likeable without being perfect so I developed a bit of bond with them, which is needed as the plot lines are deep, clever and the twists keep coming but EAS was able to keep me focused and not lose me in the broil.

Five witches are burned at the stake in Massachusetts in the late 17th century. Four are good and one is bad, evil, nasty bad! As the flames consume them the evil warlock casts a spell for eternal rebirth to torture mankind, the four good witches join together and cast their own spell for rebirth and chase him through time to protect those he touches and try to destroy him; however they miss that bit of the spell that grants their new bodies pre-knowledge.

Fast forward more than three-hundred years; which is a shame as I think EAS could of given a few snippets of previous lives instead the reader is thrust into a dusty attic in California where a trunk is found by four friends. What they then find inside changes their lives forever, hence why snippets of their previous incarnations would have been good to show an on-going pattern.

I am very tempted to seek out more novels by this author and that’s why I love anthologies so much!

Pride by Chantal Noordeloos:
So I originally read this as a short story, it has since been updated, lengthened and some serious eeew moments added.

Adolf Zakerny is a notorious serial killer, he has no set Modis Operandi he merely seeks to inflict as much pain as possible, and he is a master of his work, giving tribute to his Lord of Lies.

Eventually the time comes when he feels ready to share his true calling and nature with Hell, and as he plummets to his death, you may think the book has started at the wrong end of the story. However, CN excruciatingly makes us witness his rebirth, cell to sinew, bone to muscle. Every little nuance of tension is explained, like reading in slow motion with HiDef.

The road to Hell ala CN is a revolting sounding one, and he witnesses things that make you feel sick to your stomach with expectant glee. It is soon his turn, as Adolf’s sins are “weighed” and a punishment is suggested, he looks forward to meeting his new boss, but soon becomes confused when he steps into a scene from Perfect Houses.

CN has certainly done her homework on Demons and mythology. Demons loiter around Lucifer’s mansion house and she does a brilliant interpretation of making it seem like a normal work place on a regular day.

Adolf is invited to sample Hell and he enters the Redemption Labyrinth and finally finds some of the bliss he seeks. No over the top gore description is required as CN taps into the true horrors of torture and the internal removal of hope, to make your goosebumps rise and the hairs on your neck tingle.

After much discussion and some feather preening (did you see the title?) Lucifer has a room suited exactly for Adolf’s needs.

CN is such an eloquent author, not a word is out of place or written down without thought, this line alone really made me think; "their own preconception of sin, often most find it most difficult to forgive themselves ".

An enjoyable, yet icky, read with some thought provoking issues and images. I do hope that CN is going to expand on this a little….7 deadly sins and all that!

Whispers by Heath Stallcup:
The story starts in 1885 with Sheriff “two guns” and an amazing breakfast that I could almost smell.  This started to feel like a good old fashioned western book; an honest Sheriff and some bad out of towners intent on mayhem and evil.

HS then fast forwarded me to modern day Texas, which strangely feels like it has not changed much!  A collector of Old West antiques  “buys” some naughty items off two drug addicts, Casper and Roger, who have been raiding the Little Hope cemetery, and you just know that no good (or Hope) can come of that! And so begins the story.

The story flicks back and forth between the two eras; you can start to feel the story and tension build up. It is the perfect mix of good, old fashioned justice, twist, turns and things that go bump in the night; something that HS is perfect at (I love his Monster Squad series). The book spans over 100 years and as another reviewer put beautifully this is a story about “a festering vengeance waiting, waiting to have revenge on evil, true evil”.

Whilst this is a long read I really felt hard pushed to find a “put down” moment and ended up with two very, very long days routed to a chair reading – hard work!   I don’t usually do ghost stories but this has so much more to it, so take your time with this novel and savour all the subtle horror and spooks provided by HS.

Shifters by Jaime Johnesee:
This was one of the first ebooks I read when I got my kindle and the first of JJ’s books and I was so blown away I bought everything else that she has published since then!

Loved the myth explosion right at the beginning! and the dead pan delivery was brilliant.   Lots of really great humour moments!

I really hope this is the start of a series as the character and "world" is fantastic!   An FBI werepanther!

There were a few little bits that niggled and could have been written better, such as the partners ignorance of her studying seemed a little off and the "change" would have worked better as a flashback maybe, as thought she would have shared this with her partner long before.....

I have loved rereading this but can also see how JJ has grown as an author and that this little novel needs an update, spit n polish! But I believe this is in the works.

Tool Shed by Armand Rosamilia:
Michael Zaun has arrived on his newly inherited farm and is investigating exploding cows – what a great first line and start to a story; loved the little CSI and music references.

Michael is also 300lbs of blubber and lives in the never, never land of diets which start tomorrow and dreams of living off the land, something he needs to research and finds himself at the local library where he meets Susan; AR plays this meet and relationship really well. Both are characters that you want to like and I really felt myself having feelings for them throughout the story.

Next AR throws in the group of teenagers who are at “play” in the shed with weed and almost-sex. Strangely enough this ends up calling the “monster” aka Dir of the Earth who wants only to live among us, eat cheeseburgers and have sex (don’t all underworld beings?), but this comes at a price, of course, and it soon becomes obvious what happened to the cows.

I found this story really intense as Michael must live up to his families calling and Dir does what Dir does!

Oooh a prequel in 2015!! Yippee!!

Dust to Dust by Eden Crowne:
Well, I have to admit I originally picked this up as part of a free promotion on a FB page. However, I am so glad to have had the opportunity to reread this as I clearly missed some of the little nuances last time, and loved hearing about Tasmin again.

Tasmin has been tricked by Soul Eaters, they befriended her when she was lonely, gained her trust and then split her soul between them like a take away one night. She soon learns how to jump into near death bodies and now seeks out these people to regain the pieces of her soul. 

We first meet her as she chooses a not very nice vampire body to jump into, who is currently ending life by being strangled by Drake, a Fae with issues.

The story is intricate, well thought out, with lots of differing strings attached but so wonderfully written you have NO trouble keeping up.  As Tasmin keeps having to jump bodies to track down her Soul Eating fiends the sense of humour is a great relief amongst the gore; one reincarnation is of a bo-peep/sheep hybrid!

Throughout reading this story (a straight 4hr read, I could NOT put it down) I just kept feeling myself say WOW. I love how EC writes her characters, surroundings and takes you on a fantastic journey.  There is also a touch of raunchy in there.

All the different supernatural beings are in there, I don’t think the EC left one out! but none are gratuitous, all have a place!

What really comes through is the sense of story and how far this could go, as EC is already on her third in this series I am pleased to say I am BIG fan.