Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Hatching

You should know by now that I am unable to pass on a book about spiders, and this one is a doozy!

This book is a super-fast-paced read that hooks you from the very first page. Boone has created instantly relatable characters, and the book takes you all over the place/world (in a good way, assisting with the rapid pace).

Even though this book is a quick read, it has a gradual build-up, which leads to apocalyptic proportions!

My favorite line in the book is the final line:

"Leave the Lights On. 'Skitter' is coming!"

I so cannot wait for the sequel - I will definitely be one of the first in line to buy it!

Jason

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bloodshot Books - 'The Awakening'

First, a little history. . .

Back in 2014, I read Pete Kahle​'s debut novel 'The Specimen', and it ended up being my favorite book of that year. Since then, Kahle has entered the publishing field and established 'Bloodshot Books' (I love his tagline!).

Why am I telling you this? Because, underneath the 'Bloodshot Books' banner, Kahle has a "Second Sight Imprint" where he is currently seeking out authors whose published works have gone out of print and republishing them under 'Bloodshot Books' (can you tell I love that name?).

The first book to be released is going to be Brett McBain's 'The Awakening' (which was originally published in 2012). The release date for this book is going to be August 15th, so mark your calendars now, or better yet, it is available for pre-order now!

Trust me on this one - just buy this book - you will not be disappointed! I read it last month, and it is absolutely phenomenal! I cannot wait to share my review with you, next month. I will not be surprised if this book ends up taking the "Best Book of the Year" award at the end of the year.

Jason

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Shadows and Dust [Book Review]

Genre - Horror/Short-Story Collection
Year Published - 2016
Length - 259 (digital) pages
Written by Paul Fairbairn

Tagline: "18 Gripping Tales of Horror and Suspense"

Rating: 4 Skulls

Plot Summary:
From the dark imagination of acclaimed novelist Paul Fairbairn, come these eighteen tales of modern horror, alienation and urban decay -- stories to make a stranger of sleep and reveal our deepest fears in a cold, dead light:

An artist's sculptures may be more than lifelike, but she saves the worst of them for her ex-lover.

The owner of a shock-site finds that there are worse things in the world than even he can imagine.

In the dead of night, a mysterious couple abduct a child. But for what chilling purpose?

The horrors of war are starkly revealed to a young interpreter on his first tour of duty in Vietnam.

In secluded mountains, a forgotten stone circle holds an ancient secret too hideous to be named, waiting to be unleashed.

These and many other horrors are writhing in the darkness, among the shadows and the dust that are our lives. Approach them with caution...if you dare.

Review:
This was my first introduction to Fairbairn, and I will definitely be checking out his full-length novels!

Fairbairn's stories are well-written. They are the kind that suck you into the story itself. They are very descriptive, gruesome when needed, and you can feel the terror of the characters emanating from the pages.

My favorite story, hands down, was "Love's Last Embers". I also really enjoyed "Mara", "Interpretations", and "The Sons of Osiris". "Kramer's Waste" is also an enjoyable read, especially if you have read Joseph D'Lacey's 'The Garbage Man'.
Also, the last story "Summer with Marshall" is completely different from every other story in the collection and was a perfect way to end the book.

If you enjoy short stories, then this collection is worth checking out!

Jason

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Morbid Metamorphosis [Book Review]

Genre - Horror/Anthology
Year Published - 2016
Published by Lycan Valley Press
Length - 291 (digital) pages
Anthology Authors selected by Jo-Anne Russell and Edited by Robert Nelson

Tagline: "Terrifying Tales of Transformation"

Rating: 4 Skulls [overall]

Plot Summary:
This book contains 22 stories from authors around the world. Together they bring you morbidly terrifying tales of metamorphosis, transformation, and deep horror that will follow you for days, long after you've read the last page.
Beware reading this book at night and alone - for the mind is a powerful thing, and you may find you have company in the shadows.

Review:
If you read my Google+ post, last month, then you know that Franklin E. Wales has a story within this anthology, hence my reading it. Wales' story - Pickin' to Beat the Devil - is a continuation in his Dramos Saga (*you do not have to have read anything prior - it is better if you have, but this is a stand-alone story that I guarantee will have you wanting to read the others!) For those of you not familiar with Dramos, he is a [*spoiler*] vampire hunter, and his tales take place, mostly, in the Old West - great reading!
Pickin' to Beat the Devil adds a new (Irish) character (Patrick O'Dea) in the mix, and if you are a fan of Robert Rodriguez' El Mariachi or Desperado, then you will love this character! [Now that I think of it, Robert Rodriguez would be an ideal director to bring the Dramos Saga to the Big Screen. . .]

Obviously, there are other stories/authors within this anthology, so how did the rest compare?

Out of the 22 stories, there wasn't a single one that I didn't like (which is pretty impressive!) Most were 3-Skull quality; entertaining in their own right. Several more were well-above average - just to mention a few... Terri Del Campo's 'The Skully Effect' (an extremely bizarre tale that you won't soon forget!), Suzie Lockhart's 'Vile Deeds' and Cameron Trost's 'The Corkscrew and the Void' were some other well-above average tales. 

As for the stand-outs: Jo-Anne Russell's 'You Are What You Eat', Stacey Turner's 'The Lake' (loved this one!), Tina Piney's 'The Death Vaccination' (cool concept!), Suzanne Robb's 'The Moonlight Killer' [man, the women are killing it this anthology!] Of course, the aforementioned Wales' tale, and then Ken MacGregor's 'Danger's Balls' (If you are a fan of the 1991 flick 'Body Parts', you will definitely dig this tale!)

As I stated earlier, each of the stories within this anthology are entertaining, in their own right - there are many more gross, sick, and twisted tales that were not mentioned. Those that were are just the one that rose to the top.

If you are a fan of anthologies, or are just looking to try some new authors, then this one is for you!

Jason

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Facet for the Gem - The Tale of Eaglefriend: Book One [Book Review]

Genre - Fantasy
Year Published - 2016
Length - 274 (digital) pages
Written by C. L. Murray

Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
In a land of eagle-riding knights, bloodthirsty beasts, and a ruthless prince, no border is safe for long.

As smoke billows from the only blockade standing between the great city of Korindelf and certain doom, young Morlen races to escape the inevitable siege. Thrust from the chaos with thousands of snapping jaws on his trail, he discovers that the abilities he’s buried all his life are awakening - and it could not have happened at a worse time. War has come, and he doesn’t dare rely on his untested talents after stealing the coveted Goldshard, which makes strength and invincibility just a panicked whisper away. His dependency on it carries him through many dangers, until it becomes an enemy far worse than those he must fight hand-to-hand. And the allies he meets on his quest are just as troubled: a legendary warrior too afraid to leave his sheltered paradise, a wizard tormented by his past, and a disgraced king who has lost any hope of saving his people.

A Facet for the Gem brings Morlen from distant kingdoms to sprawling airborne battles, into the fiery breath of a stony dragon, and side-by-side with a lady knight who is the last person in need of rescue. Follow him as his epic adventures culminate in a final showdown against swords, fangs, and greatest of all: his own fear.

Review:
I first have to give kudos to Murray for his superb world-building skills. It is no easy feat for a reader to jump from one world into another. (The book that I read before this one was Hill's 'The Fireman', and I was completely immersed within that story...) However, Murray immediately sucked me into the world that he has created, and I never once looked back!

With names such as Morlen, Felkoth, Nottleforf, and Roftome, and items such as the Goldshard, the Crystal Spear, and the Dark Blade, and enemies known as Shriekers and Ferotaurs, you are immediately thrust into this superb fantasy tale!

Beginning with a fragile alliance between the city of Korindelf and Veldere, where the Eaglemasters reside, and with war brewing along their borders, you have no choice but to hold on for the ride!

If you are a fan of fantasy, then this one is a must-read! If you are a fan of Robin Hobb, then I suggest that you give Murray a shot, as there were some similarities, before Murray completely made it all his own. And for fans of Terry Goodkind, Murray explains the title of the book, brilliantly, just like one of Goodkind's "Wizard's Rules".

Murray dropped several hints, within this story, where he will take us in future books, and I for one am looking forward to the next book!

Jason

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Fireman

Wow! What an amazing book!
A fantastic concept - brilliant from beginning to end!
This is one of those books where you hate that it had to end.

Joe Hill has always been a fantasic storyteller, but this book is basically his 'The Stand' - exceptional in every way! [Stephen King has got to be one proud father!]

Speaking of fathers - if your father enjoys a great book, and you haven't yet purchased a Father's Day gift, then this is a guaranteed good one!

Jason

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Spider Kingdom ('Shivers' #13) [Book Review]

"Do you enjoy being frightened?

Would you rather have nightmares instead of sweet dreams?

Are you happy only when shaking with fear?

Congratulations!

You've made a wise choice.

This book is the doorway to all that may frighten you.

Get ready for cold, clammy shivers running up and down your spine!

Now, open the door - IF YOU DARE!!!!"

So, after reading the above, I recently had to stop what I am currently reading in order to read this book, for my youngest daughter, to make sure that it was suitable and not too scary. . . (per her asking)

The deal that was made with my daughter was "if it is appropriate, after you read it, you need to write me a review".

[I will first give my thoughts, and then I will end with my daughter's review, in her exact words.]

Genre - Children's Horror
Year Published - 1996
Length - 123 pages
Written by M. D. Spenser

(My daughter's) Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot summary:
Follow this frightening fable of Freddy and his pal, Lumpy, as they face the flesh-eating forces of giant spiders.

But, it's all their fault! If only they hadn't killed all those little spiders. If only they had learned to appreciate those crawling creatures. It's too late now!

They're trapped in the Spider Kingdom awaiting trial for their crimes. The mighty Spider King will be their judge. There's no way out, or is there?

Will they find their fate as food fit for a king or will they weave a way out of this web?

Spider, Spider on the wall. . .

Review:
This 'Shivers' series is basically akin to the far more popular 'GooseBumps' series. This series of books is written for ages 8 - 14. (This one is #13) My daughter came across it at our local used book store - not a bad deal for only 50 cents!

After having read it myself, I deemed it appropriate for my 11-year-old daughter to read. I rather enjoyed the subtle message of "how not to act" (being a bully, etc).

On to my daughter's thoughts (in her exact words):

Definitely read this book!

I liked the whole story and how the end of the book twisted all together in a cool, weird, spooky way.

The story is put together very well and is nerve-wracking!

M. D. Spenser did a great job creating and putting together this book! I totally want to read the other ones!

J