Friday, August 25, 2017

The Dramos Saga [Book Review]

Do you like vampires? Do you like werewolves? How about zombis? What about Westerns?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then The Dramos Saga is for you!

If you are looking for something different to read this weekend, then I highly suggest The Dramos Saga - a series of stand-alone short stories - each one leading into the other, yet able to be read individually. (Trust me though, you will want to read the saga straight through!) Here is my review:

Genre - Horror/Western
Year Published - 2017
Length - 233 (digital) pages
Written by Franklin E. Wales

Rating: 5+ Skulls

Plot Summary:

They slaughtered his village in a frenzy of bloodlust and cruelty.

He followed them to America, vowing vengeance.

His name brings fear to the Undead, for they know of his wrath.

His name is Dramos and this is his Saga. 

Seven Adventures, One Saga.

13 STEPS: Thirteen steps up the gallows to the hangman’s noose.

FUNERAL COACH: A coachman chained to the seat of a traveling funeral coach.

PICKIN' TO BEAT THE DEVIL: An Irishman with a banjo has learned the secrets of the undead.

RENEGADE: Two widows slaughtered. The town blames wolves. The facts say otherwise.

VAMPIRE'S GOLD: A locomotive loaded down with gold, hired guns and something very old screams through the night.

THE VAMPIRE KING: A Vampire King must face the most formidable opponent in its centuries of existence.

BLACK WATER: A dead town by day, an undead town by night.

Review:
I have waited 5 long years for this saga to be completed, and the wait has been paid off tenfold! This book is exceptional! One of those books that you don't want to end! (which is a good thing, especially since when you think this one might be ending, it continues.)

The story opens with Dramos at the gallows, preparing to be hung. 13 Steps up to the hangman's noose - one step for each day leading up to this point.

You may guess what lies within the Funeral Coach, but I guarantee this tale will still surprise you!

In Pickin' to Beat the Devil, you will be introduced to one of my favorite characters in the saga - an Irish vampire hunter who has discovered a unique talent.

Renegade introduces another great character - Injun' Joe (and his sister Mary).

Vampire's Gold - the action plays out like a movie in your head! (You may have heard me say this before, but I feel that Robert Rodriguez would be the perfect director to bring this saga to the big screen - it would be amazing! - one of my dreams!)

The Vampire King is pretty much self-explanatory and Black Water is about a mysterious ghost town.

All of these stories are perfectly linked to tell Dramos' story. (each story, individually, receives 5 Skulls) This is a saga that should not be missed!

(note: the covers shown of #1 and #2 are off-colored only because I started this in the evening, when the blue-light filter was off on my phone. I then finished the rest the next day, which is how all of the covers look)

Jason

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hell on Earth Series (Books 1 - 3) Review

What will you do when the world ends?

I am going to be a bit ambitious with this review. Rather than one book review, I am going to give you three. (I thought that I was going to be reviewing a trilogy, however thankfully these 3 books are hopefully only the beginning. 
I present to you the Hell on Earth series (Books 1 - 3)

Genre - Apocalyptic Horror
Year(s) Published - 2015/2016/2017
Length - 346/302/285 (digital) pages
(all 3) Written by Iain Rob Wright

Rating: (all 3 books receive) 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
What will you do when the world ends? That's a question that needs answering quickly when the gates to Hell open up all over Earth.

Taking place across the globe is an apocalypse like no other, and humanity will find itself at war against a smart and merciless foe. The world must come together and fight back against the unstoppable Legions of Hell, because no one is coming to help them. The monsters are real and they will not stop. Welcome to Hell.

Follow the struggles to survive with several characters as things go from bad to worse.

Humanity is dwindling.

When the gates open, all Hell will break loose!

Review:
Iain Rob Wright is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. When I finished book one of this series, I immediately had to read book two, and when I finished book two, I immediately jumped into book three. Now, I have to wait like everyone else for book four to be released, which can't come soon enough! Here are my brief thoughts on each book:

The Gates (Book One)
If I had to choose one word to describe Wright's endeavor with this series, that word would be Epic!. This book is completely character-driven. Some chracters you will root for, other characters you will despise. Either way, you are with each of them on their journey of survival.

Legion (Book Two)
This one starts off with longer chapters than the first book (I am a fan of relatively short chapters), though in this case, the longer chapters are okay, as roughly the first 35% of the book is filling in the blanks from the first book (which is awesome) and introducing some new characters. (Speaking of new characters, I just have to say that the Caretaker needs his own story/book!)

Both books 1 & 2 end with "Collateral Damage" which help explain the flip side of certain parts of the story. (which, again, is awesome!)

Book 2 also has two (very captivating) Bonus Short Stories by author Stuart Keane (who I will definitely be checking out!)

Extinction (Book Three)
Just to give you a time-frame - at the beginning of this book, it has been six-weeks since the gates first opened. You would think, by this time, some parts of the story would seem slightly stale. This is not the case, as Wright in no way makes this story repetitive. In fact, he introduces two new characters in this one (Beedle & Molok) who are, once again, deserving of their own tale. (and the identity of Skullface - whoa!!).

Before I sign off, I just have to say that it was hard not talking about any of the characters, as I do not want to give any aspects of the story away. I do want to say, however,  that I love the fact that at the end of book 3, Wright begins to allude to some of his other books (some of which I have not yet read). This opens the door to magnificent potential! There is so much to love about this series! I cannot recommend it enough!

Make The Gates your next read - currently only $0.99 on Kindle!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Caddis Initiative - Phase One: Infection [Novella Review]

Caddis Initiative - Phase One: Infection

Genre: Horror (tentacle/body horror/medical thriller)/Novella
Year Published: 2017
Published by Bloody Whisper Books
Length - 124 (digital) pages
Written by Cassie Carnage

Tagline: "Don't drink the water!"

Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
There’s something in the water. It’s making people sick. Everything is changing. Everyone is changing. The whole world is becoming something else. Something alien. 
Something terrifying. Something deadly.

The infection is spreading and altering everything it comes into contact with; people, animals, plants - nothing is safe from its invisible grasp.

Becca Espinoza’s entire life changes overnight. The whole world is becoming something beyond her wildest imagination and worse than her darkest nightmares. 

Tentacled slime spewing horrors from beneath the sea are heaving upon the shores of New Jersey. They’re spreading a deadly infection, a contagion that kills the strong and mutates the weak into mind numbing monstrosities. 

It starts with sores that are filled with black thread-like worms. Headaches, vomiting, and fever follow. Shortly after, your body is completely infested with parasites, and you die. Those who survive this infection find themselves swiftly turning into something more than human and utterly alien to the world as we know it. 

Will Becca survive long enough to find her girlfriend and get her to safety? Or is everyone living in their coastal town doomed?

In this brutal, gore filled, fast paced, mutant creature feature novella, a butch lesbian plumber faces off with monsters created by science run amok. Inspired by old school horror and medical thriller movies like The Thing and Outbreak.

Review:
The most amazing thing to me about this story is that Cassie Carnage was asked to write it! (Thank you, Kelsea, for asking Cassie to write you a story. You must be thrilled at this outcome. I know that I am!)

I will start off by saying that Cassie immediately connects you with her characters which, with this kind of "tension-filled" story, pays off in full, as you will be concerned for each character's welfare.

Another aspect worth mentioning are Cassie's creatures - they are truly the stuff of nightmares! (If I ever hear of a fish-to-human disease, I am staying far, far away!)

With all of that said, I am definitely looking forward to Phase Two: Invasion which can't come soon enough!

Before I go, I do want to point out the $5 price tag on this one, for those who may be hesitant. That price seemed a little steep to me, for a 100+ pages novella, but I will say that you do get your money's worth!

Jason

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hex-Rated

A contender for Best Book of the Year!

"Brown bags littered the gutters like the corpses of squashed rats. The air fluttered with the launching of a dozen different burger wrappers that danced in and out of traffic like kamikaze birds."

The above are just random sentences from the book. You can pretty much open the book to any random page, and find other sentences just as superbly written.

I am not really sure why this book is classified as Fantasy. (because of the magic?) I found it to be more in the vein of a crime/noir/pulp novel, so if you enjoy any of those, then you will definitely enjoy this book!

This book is a page-turner in every sense of the word. It is difficult to put down and will keep you reading late into the night. I am so glad that this is the first in a series. The next book cannot come fast enough! Thank you, Jason Ridler​, for sharing James Brimstone with us!

Jason

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Dark Designs: Tales of Mad Science [Book Review]

Genre - Horror/Anthology Collection
Year Published - 2017
Published by ShadowWork Publishing
Length - 330 (digital) pages
Written by Multiple Authors

Rating: 4 Skulls

Plot Summary:
Twilight Zone. The Outer Limits. Fringe.

Science without limits. Madness without end.

All proceeds from the purchase of this ebook will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.

This is a warning. What you are about to read violates the boundaries of imagination, in a world where science breeds and breathes without restraint. A world very much like our own.

Within these shadowy corridors you will discover characters seeking retribution, understanding, power, a second chance at life—human stories of undiscovered species, government secrets, the horrors of parenthood, adolescence and bullying, envisioned through a warped lens of megalomania, suffering, and blind hubris. Curious inventors dabble with portals to alternate worlds, overzealous scientists and precocious children toy with living beings, offer medical marvels, and pick away at the thin veil of reality.

You can run. You can look away. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Witness our Dark Designs.

Review:
As stated in the summary, this is a "Charity Anthology" - with all of the proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders. This is a good book with a great cause, so purchase your copy now (currently only $4).

This book is edited by both Thomas S Flowers​ and Duncan Ralston​, both of whom not only contribute their own stories, they also both offer their personal thoughts on the "mad science" genre.

This book was immediately a must-read for me, not only because of the genre, but also because it includes stories from Thomas S Flowers​, Chad Lutzke​, and Ken Preston​ (three authors who I totally enjoy!).

Rather than break down every individual story (of which there are 16 total), I am just going to tell you my favorites:

The stand-out story, for me, in this collection is, without a doubt, T. N. Kaylor​'s Death Ray Potato Bake. This story is worth the $4 alone! (I definitely plan on reading more of Kaylor's work!

Other superb stories were Jeffery X Martin​'s Underneath the Foam, Chad Lutzke​'s Discerning the Adversary (which is the shortest story in this collection), Ken Preston​'s Looking After the Parents, and Thomas S Flowers​' The Ascension of Henry Porter.

Other enjoyable stories were Daniel Marc Chant's How They Met Themselves, Chad Clark​'s Through the Slip, G. H. Finn's The Hidden War on Terror, and Duncan Ralston​'s The Burden.

The other stories are good as well - there isn't a bad one in the bunch - the above we're just my favorites.

Jason

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Unacknowledged: An Exposé of the World's Greatest Secret [Book & Movie Review]

From the back of the book flap:

The Biggest Lie in History is about to be Shattered.

UFOs are real.
Extraterrestrials have been interacting with humans since World War II.
We mastered gravity control in 1954.
Free, clean energy systems could have replaced fossil fuels long ago.

In late June of 1947, three extraterrestrial craft were downed outside Roswell Air Force Base. Many more followed, revealing dozens of ET species - and a Rosetta Stone to a new physics - an energy generation and propulsion system responsible for interstellar space travel. This new system could have easily replaced oil, gas, coal, nuclear plants and with them, the entire geo-political and economic order on our planet -- only a cabal of bankers, the Military Industrial Complex, and Big Oil stopped it.

We've been lied to. And now, 70 years after Roswell, the witnesses to that lie have come forward to testify in a MUST-READ book that will shock the world.

Look for the accompanying documentary to be released from The Orchard, a division of Sony.

While definitely powerful and thought-provoking, I felt that both the book and the film we're too heavily inundated. (I base my reviews on how things flow, and when the film feels as long as the book, and the book even longer, then there is an issue.)

I do however find myself fascinated with the concept of Zero-Point Energy and the hidden, subterranean bases where Special Access Projects are performed, and for that reason, I highly suggest just reading Steve Alten's ("faction" story) Undisclosed. You learn pretty much all of the hidden truths while being engrossed in a highly-entertaining tale.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Beautiful Tears & Stained [Two Short Story Reviews]

Two (brief) short story reviews for you today:

First, some backstory - this past weekend, my youngest son split his head open while attempting a back-flip into the pool, so I of course left in a hurry and left behind the book that I was reading. While waiting in the emergency room, I started browsing short stories on my phone. (My son's injury was minor, though he did end up with 5 stitches. He was totally fine, sitting in my lap with his head on my shoulder.) The joy of reading a book on my phone is the ability to read one-handed (using the volume buttons to flip the pages).

So, I first decided on David Kummer​'s Beautiful Tears. (If you are not familiar with Kummer, he is a teenage writer with quite a few stories to his name already.)

This is a well-written story that kept me engaged throughout. Kummer definitely has talent. He reminds me of a young Brandon Ford.

Still with time to spare, I next chose Kayla Krantz​'s Stained. This too is well-written story. (I do not even remember downloading it, but I am glad that I did.)

Both of these stories are available for free on Kindle and are worth the read. Especially if you find yourself in need of a quick story like I did!

[No disrespect is meant to either author with me putting both reviews together. I just felt like they were both worth mentioning, and there isn't really much more to say.]

Jason