Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse

Rather than just leaving an average book review, I am attaching the link, below, so that you can just buy this book directly. (Pay no mind to the cover or the  bad font - this book could end up saving your life!)

Written by F. Kim O'Neill (not much is known about him, although he must have an impressive background) this book covers everything that you can think of, and I mean EVERYTHING!

In this book you will learn about the different classifications of zombies (the viral, the supernatural, and the voodoo types). You will learn their strengths and their weaknesses. You will also learn several combat strategies, with many fighting tactics and techniques.

If that isn't enough, you will be taught proven survival methods, such as finding food, water, and shelter, and many, many other skills.

This book is completely engrossing and really should be required reading!

Rating: 5 Skulls!

For those of you who may have already read Max Brooks' 'Zombie Survival Guide', you may be asking yourself if you really need to read this book as well, and the answer is an emphatic YES! You will learn far more in this book and feel much more confident in your ability to survive any type of apocalypse (not just zombie).

Also, if you are a fan of David McIntee's 'We Will Destroy Your Planet. . .', then you will definitely want to read this book as well.

Before I log off and start preparing myself a zombie bug-out bag, I just want to reiterate that this book may one day save your life!


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bane County: Forgotten Moon [Book Review]

Arrrrgghh!! For whatever reason, my Blogger App is not allowing me to post the cover art for this book, and that's too bad, as it is a great cover! 😕

Oh well. Here is my review:

Genre - Horror/Werewolf
Year Published - 2016
Length - 315 (digital) pages
Written by J. R. Rice

Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
The large river-island of Bane County has a troubled past; but some histories are eagerly forgotten, especially those written in blood.

Nestled into the foothills of the National Wildlife Refuge, the small rural town of Silver Canyon seems idyllic to most; but a long-slumbering evil is about to reawaken.

Seventeen-year-old Bryce McNeel is your average teenage boy, living on a cattle ranch with his grandparents. Well, average genius, but he prefers to keep that fact to himself, no one likes a know-it-all.

When Bryce learns of a series of grisly deaths and mutilations that occurred decades earlier, his curiosity gets the better of him. Together with his cousin, Jackson, Bryce sets out to learn more about the macabre event; but as they delve deeper into the history and legends of Bane County, the two boys are horrified by what they find.

Unfortunately, history has a way of repeating itself.

As friends and neighbors begin to go missing, or worse, they find themselves embroiled in a battle for their young lives.

If you are looking for a new, fresh book to read this Halloween, look no further!

If I were to list my top three werewolf novels, they would be 'Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter',  'High Moor', and this one, 'Bane County'.

What I am about to tell you is a slight *spoiler alert*, so you may want to skip the next paragraph...

One of the things that I really like about Rice's werewolf is that it is simply a beast/monster (with a very "Laymonesque" feel to it) as opposed to a man that changes into a wolf.

*safe to resume*
If you are a fan of movies and music from the 80's & 90's, there is a deluge of musical references (such as Metallica's 'Of Wolf and Man'!) and movie quotes, which just added themselves, perfectly, into the story.

This book moves along at a brisk pace, and then ramps itself up once Deputy Bennett begins hunting the beast.

You can tell that a lot of research went into this book, as the science behind the beast, etc, is very well thought out.

This book has great mass-market appeal. It is not just for fans of horror or werewolves. If you grew up reading Hardy Boys, or enjoy mysteries, then you will definitely enjoy this book as well, and the good news is that this is Book 1! (Book 2: Returning Moon is coming, hopefully soon!)


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dreaming at the Top of My Lungs [Book Review]

Genre - Horror/Short Stories
Year Published - 2016
Length - 115 (digital) pages
Written by Israel Finn

Rating: 5+ Skulls

Plot Summary:
Ten Tales of Horror from the mind of Israel Finn:

A man who is faced with the prospect of losing the most important thing in his life— his son— but instead loses his mind. And then finds himself trapped in a waking nightmare with no way out.

A frustrated man who curses life for having the audacity to pass him by, but discovers how it feels to be truly forsaken when the universe chooses to teach him a horrible lesson.

A man who must decide between vengeance and forgiveness in a world turned upside down by war and famine.

A milquetoast trapped in a loveless marriage and a thankless job, who isn't even allowed the small luxury of suffering in peace when he comes down with a terrible case of the flu. The result is something straight out of a nightmare delirium.

A man who is living with a very odd houseguest, a visitor who has no concept of war.

A boy who lives in constant terror of someone who is supposed to love and protect him, but who has betrayed that trust. A horror story that examines the real-life beasts who walk among us every day.

...and more.

This is probably the greatest collection of short horror stories that I have yet read!

Here is a brief breakdown of each of the ten stories:

Story #1 - 'Stranded' - a story about a man caught in a bizarre time-loop, with a terrific climax! 5 Skulls

Story #2 - 'No Such Things As Monsters' - this is my second favorite story in this collection. Truly horrifying! 5 Skulls

Story #3 - 'Sick Day' - this one ended too soon! (warning: this one will make you gag!) 5 Skulls

Story #4 - 'The Messenger' - my least favorite in this collection, however it is still a solid story! 3 Skulls

Story #5 - 'Deadfall Lane' - this one is, by far, my favorite in this collection! 5 Skulls

Story #6 - 'Water and War' - a thought-provoking story about an alien. 4 Skulls

Story #7 - 'Stones' - another story that makes you think! 4 Skulls

Story #8 - 'Deathbed' - a very well-written story about a father and son. 3 Skulls

Story #9 - 'To Catch a Fly' - a story about a convict. 4 Skulls

Story #10 - 'Ugly' - an absolutely brilliant twist-ending in this one! 5 Skulls

So there you have the ten tales within this collection. I didn't even mention the incredible Foreward (which immediately grabs you!)

Israel Finn writes with spectacularly, vivid clarity. His stories suck you in and are totally immersive! He has a talent, in spades, for great storytelling! I am definitely looking forward to reading a novel by Finn!


Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Wizard's Gambit [Book Review]

Genre - Fantasy
Year Published - 2015
Length - 400 (digital) pages
Written by Ryan Toxopeus

Rating: 4 Skulls

Plot Summary:
Thomas, Sarentha, and Eliza will learn that peace never lasts. After fighting for their freedom, wicked forces beyond the Tamorran Empire's borders rise against them. Tamor's king falters when threats of genocide and an undead plague arise. The would-be heroes must fill new roles of responsibility and power to hold Tamor together. When more menaces emerge, each darker than the last, their adventure spans the entire continent. Thomas, Sarentha, and Eliza must make difficult choices and face their darkest fears to uncover their lost history by reviving long-dead wizards. Only by illuminating the past will they be able to step into the future. One misstep could lead to their undoing.

'A Wizard's Gambit' is Book 2 in the Empire's Foundation trilogy.

There is a lot going on in this book!
(dragon attacks, the training of dragon riders, raising ancient wizards from the dead, a zombie outbreak, etc!)
Fortunately, Toxopeus made a smart move writing a couple of short stories, in between books 1 & 2, that help to fill in some of the gaps/questions.
(I definitely recommend reading the novella 'Demon Invasion' before reading this book.) *see my last post, regarding the preferred reading order of these stories*

For those who have already read 'A Noble's Quest' and are fans of the orc wizard Feng, there is a great battle near the end of this book where he faces off with the ancient dragon Fyrsanthemar: the god crusher. (I just had to mention that, as I am still pumped from that battle!)

Toxopeus bookends each book by having the prologues and epilogues tie into past events, which I love, and definitely makes me look forward to the release of 'A Hero's Birth' next year!


Monday, September 26, 2016

'1100 BGW' & 'Demon Invasion' [Double Feature Short Stories Review]

These two individual short stories coincide with the 'Empire's Foundation' trilogy, written by Ryan Toxopeus.

My previous review was 'A Noble's Quest' (Book 1 of said trilogy).

Per the author, the recommended reading order of this series is as follows:

'A Noble's Quest' (Book 1)
'1100 BGW' (Short Story)
'Demon Invasion'  (Novella)
'A Wizard's Gambit' (Book 2)
'Dawn: A Dwarven Creation Story' (Short Story Collection)
'A Hero's Birth' (Book 3 - coming in 2017)

So, following the above order, here are my reviews of the two tales between Books 1 & 2:

1100 BGW [Before God's War]
Genre - Fantasy/Short Story
Year Published - 2015
Length - 21 (digital) pages
Written by Ryan Toxopeus

Rating: 3 Skulls

Plot Summary:
Amurtag and her fellow minotaur farmers are called away from the harvest by the priests. Margaff, their new chief, is making a play for power over all the minotaur tribes using a secret weapon. But when Amurtag questions him publicly, he shares his vision for the future. The question is, will everyone stand by and allow him to take control?

What I liked about this story is that it is centered around minotaurs. Margaff is named their new emperor, and it is his wish to unite all of the tribes and bring peace to all of the races...

Within this story, you also discover that the dwarves may not have been the 1st created race after all, as previously believed in Toxopeus' world. The 1st created race may in fact have been the Aeri - half man/half bird beings, created by the Titans, Air & Earth, to have dominion over the sky and the land.

While not tying in directly with anything that happened in Book 1, this is still an interesting read, taking place in the same world, well before the events in 'A Noble's Quest'.

Demon Invasion
Genre - Fantasy/Novella
Year Published - 2016
Length - 93 (digital) pages
Written by Ryan Toxopeus

Rating: 4 Skulls

Plot Summary:
The demon lord Zeracth has a plan to take an army to the world of Illuma. However, his spawn Glezxnodin has his own plans to save his people and create a demon nation.

Illuma at first appears ripe for the taking, but the world has changed since the demons fled ages ago and many new challenges await them.

I get that demon's true names are most definitely unpronouncable, however this makes for very distracting reading!
(A perfect example: Ffckookckck)
Fortunately, Toxopeus has included a glossary, at the back of this book, that makes the names much easier. (Still, I found myself skimming over the majority of the names, or just coming up with shorter versions.)

Once you become accustomed to the names, you realize that Toxopeus has actually created a really good, intriguing story. One that I believe to be tying in directly to the Empire's Foundation trilogy.

Stay tuned for my upcoming review of Book 2!


P. S. Google's Blogger App is still not allowing me to post pictures of the book covers. (I keep being told, "pictures not found") Unless this issue gets fixed, you will need to read these reviews on my Google+ profile, in order to see the cover art.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Noble''s Quest [Book Review]

This review was originally posted on my Google+ profile, earlier this month. For whatever reason, Google's Blogger app was acting up. It looks like the issue has been resolved, however the app is not allowing me to post the book's cover. :(

Here is the review:

Genre - Fantasy
Year Published - 2012
Length - 288 (digital) pages
Written by Ryan Toxopeus

Rating: 4 Skulls

Plot Summary:
Two lumberjacks, Thomas and Sarentha, flee everything they know when Thomas murders a co-worker. In the dead of night, a cloaked noble approaches and offers them a sum of coins they cannot refuse. His sole request is for the pair to retrieve an amethyst from a tomb. From there, they are introduced to Eliza, a spirited and head-strong noblewoman who proves her competence with her skills in diplomacy and combat. Together with Thomas’ strength and steadfastness, and Sarentha’s drive and inquisitiveness, the trio makes an odd but capable group. Their adventures take them across the lands of the Tamorran Empire to witness sights they never imagined. With grand plans in motion, everything hinges on Thomas, Sarentha, and Eliza’s success. Artefacts need to be crafted, alliances need to be formed, and above all, secrets need to be kept. Not even their own allies know every facet of the noble’s quest, and he plays a dangerous game by creating plots within plots. Can the disparate trio hold together throughout their trials? What secret does the noble know that causes him to go to such extraordinary lengths to succeed? Dark shadows blanket the Tamorran Empire, and illuminating those secrets will bring a terrifying truth.

I absolutely loved the prologue to this story, where we are introduced to humanity's greatest champion and hero, Matthew Strongblade.

The book then jumps ahead 450 years later to where we meet best friends Sarentha and Thomas who, after getting themselves into some trouble, are approached by a mysteriously cloaked figure who offers to send the two of them on a quest. Fortunately for us, the two friends, being the adventurous type, accept the offer.

Toxopeus has crafted a fun, well-thought-out, classic fantasy tale that is perfect for lovers of Dungeons & Dragons and for fans of the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms books.

This is book one of the series, and I am looking forward to reading the next book. As much I enjoy Thomas and Sarentha's adventures (as well as several other characters - namely a "Rager" dwarf named Thurzin) I am hoping for some more stories from the past. (In Toxopeus' timeline, BGW - Before the God's War)


Monday, August 29, 2016

Shrouded Voices: Tales of Terror and Fantasy [Anthology Review]

Genre - Horror/Fantasy (Anthology)
Year Published - 2016
Length - 67 (digital) pages
Written by +Zane Dowling​, +Theresa Jacobs​, +David Kummer​, and Peter Vialls

Rating: 3 Skulls

Plot Summary:
A Compilation of Short Stories: Wondrous adventures await you beneath Shrouded Voices. Ageless and timeless, four adventurers set out on journeys all their own, but fate wound their tales together. Lead by the fearless Theresa Jacobs, they threw their lots in as a team with one goal – to vanquish the evil wizard of time, Obscuritmos. Follow their individual tales as they weave together to form the powerful weapon that will one day vanquish their dark enemy to bring their new light into the world. Well maybe not ageless, but definitely timeless, Theresa Jacobs has truly accomplished something great. With Zane Dowling as her Chief Editor, Theresa set out to bring the works of her friends, as well as her own, to this short but powerful compilation of stories. Shrouded Voices showcases not only her own talents as an author, but those of other outstanding authors, Zane D. Dowling, David Kummer, and Peter Vialls. Each of these accomplished authors have novels of their own. If you enjoy their works in this compilation, you are sure to enjoy their individual novels. Please check them out on the internet and let the adventures begin.

I am not sure how accurate the above description really is, but it does point out that anthologies/short stories are a good way to discover new authors that you may  enjoy, and with that I wholeheartedly agree.

The standout author in this collection is Theresa Jacobs, whose story 'The Followers' makes this collection worth getting. There are also 8 other (very short) stories that were pretty much hit and miss with me. Keep an eye on this one to go free again. You may find an enjoyable tale or two.