Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bane County 2: Returning Moon [Book Review]

If you have read my last couple of posts (on Google+) then you are already aware that I have been reading Bane County 2: Returning Moon. Well, I have finished it and here is my review:

Genre - Action-Adventure/Horror/Werewolf
Year Published - 2017
Length - 466 (digital) pages
Written by +J R Rice

Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
For nearly two decades, life in the small rural town of Silver Canyon had been peaceful and serene. People went about their daily lives as usual, completely oblivious to the inescapable horror that loomed on the horizon.

All but a select few of Bane County’s residents had forgotten the macabre occurrences of the past. It was hard to believe that twenty-one people, missing or dead, in only three months’ time had been so easily dismissed.

Bryce McNeel and Jackson Campbell had been at the heart of those horrific events, and the tragic memories of that long, bloody season still weighed heavily on them, especially since they knew it wasn’t over.

The time was quickly approaching when a long-slumbering evil would reawaken, and the horrors of the past would revisit the people of Bane County. Somewhere within the dark cavernous depths of the wildlife refuge, something ravenous awaited, longing for its time to rise.

As Bryce and Jackson prepared themselves, they were unaware that an even deadlier adversary would come for them, and once again, they would find themselves in a battle for their lives.

Review
This is the sequel to Bane County: Forgotten Moon. You do not have to read the first book, but I highly suggest that you do, if you have not yet done so (primarily for the background of the characters). If you have not already read my review of Forgotten Moon, I gave that one a five-skull-rating as well. With that said, Returning Moon is even better!!

Like I said in my review of the first book, this book too has excellent mass-market appeal. It is not just for fans of horror or werewolves. It is for fans of really any genre, but especially those who love great action or an intriguing mystery.

The book starts off with an incredible discovery which took place before the first book. The story then jumps ahead, approximately 19 years after the end of the first book. There are returning characters as well as new ones (specifically Iggy, Bryce's best friend, and Fate, Jackson's dog - a possible Rottweiler/Bull Mastif mix.) What I most love about Iggy is his "instant belief" when Bryce first tells him of the beast who hunts within Bane County's Refuge, and Fate is just awesome!

J R Rice is a Master at not only interweaving his different subplots, but also of superb character development. (both for the protagonists as well as the antagonists) You easily become emotionally invested with the characters and become angry when there is wrong-doing against them!

Not only is this a terrific book with a rapid-fire plot, it ends with you craving more, and the good news is that Book 3 [First Moon] is already underway! (and I have a sneaky suspicion that there are going to be several forthcoming surprises)

Make this book (or the first one) your next read. You will not be disappointed!

Jason

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Planet of the Dead [Book Review]

Here is my review of Planet of the Dead:

Genre - Apocalyptic Horror/Zombie
Year Published - 2017
Length - 178 (digital) pages
Written by +Thomas S Flowers

Rating: 4 Skulls

Plot Summary:
News reports speak of mass panic and violence spreading across the globe. Negligent leaders hide behind misinformation. But in an age of paranoia and suspicion, who can say what is true anymore? Struggling to survive against a sweeping epidemic that has engulfed the planet, survivors will have to make hard choices in a world that no longer makes sense. 

Live. Die. Or become one of the undead. 

Review:
In a time where our culture is saturated with zombies, Flowers manages to keep this book fresh, with superb character development, unique concepts (for example, there is a chapter written completely from a dog's perspective, and I am looking forward to finding out more about those on a space station - something I never thought about before), and surprising deaths.

From the very first chapter, this book accelerates like a bullet fired from a gun! The story is very "Romero-esque" which is a good thing, especially since the book is dedicated in his memory. I definitely like the fact that Flowers chose to keep his characters in the dark - not knowing what, exactly, is happening (for instance, one of the characters calling the zombies "*nasties*").

Needless to say, I am definitely anticipating the sequel's release [War for the Planet of the Dead], next year.

Also, just in case you are wondering why the 4-Skull rating - I had to deduct a star as surprisingly (for a Flowers' release) there were quite a few spelling errors - enough so that they sometimes took me out of the story. Other than that, a top-notch tale!

Jason

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Swarm

The Swarm By Frank Schatzing

"The #1Blockbuster German Bestseller about an intelligent life force that takes over the oceans and exacts revenge on mankind."

This book is utterly fascinating! I do not believe that I have ever read a book filled with so much informative knowledge! (the amount of research that went into this book is mind-boggling.) Think Steve Alten on Crack The science behind everything is extremely complex, yet Schatzing makes it all completely understandable, and every bit of this story is explicitly visual within your mind's eye.

This is a book that lovers of any genre will thoroughly enjoy. There is something within for everyone.

Jason

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