Thursday, December 29, 2016

Speaking in Tongues [Short Story Review]

My last review of 2016. . .

This one was a (Christmas) gift from author Ken Preston​ (he who writes the 'Joe Coffin' series that I am fond of) This may not yet be a published story, or it may be in an anthology somewhere - I just couldn't find any information on it through Amazon or Goodreads.

So, in the author's own words:

"A short story about Rock 'n Roll, God, Faith, Prayer, Alcohol, Redemption, and Damnation.
You know, the usual stuff."

If you come across this one, it is worth picking up. It is a super fast read, (I read it while waiting at a Dr's office) and the payoff, at the end, is well worth it!

Thank you for the gift, Mr. Preston, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Until next year ~ Keep Reading!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Omen Days (A Christmas Ghost Story) [Short Story Review]

Genre - Thriller
Year Published - 2015
Published by Two Tales Press
Length - 72 (digital) pages
Written by J. T. Ellison

Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
Autumn disappeared from his life once. And he's not going to let her do it again.

Zack Aukey hates Christmas—despises it, actually. December carries painful memories of his first love Autumn Cleary, who left him during the holiday season. But when Autumn mysteriously shows up in Nashville on Christmas night bearing gifts and apologies, Zack knows this is a holiday he won't soon forget.

And then he sees the police report.

From New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison comes her first Christmas story, marrying the magic of the season with her signature thriller twist.

Whoa! What a spectacular short story!
This story is currently only $1 on Kindle. I definitely recommend buying it.

Looking for something short and sweet, with perhaps some Christmas flair, I decided upon this story; my first by J. T. Ellison, and it definitely will not be my last!

Ellison had me completely enraptured from the very first page until the very last page! Fortunately, I had just put my kids to bed, because I read this one straight through, uninterrupted (a Christmas miracle!)

Not only will you get a great story, for a buck, you also get some great "special features" - including the author telling you about the story's inspiration, as well as some other author's notes, plus an interview with the author, an essay written by Ellison, and upcoming peeks - great stuff!

Enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Best of 2016

My Top Ten Books of the Year:
(these were all published in 2016)

1. The Awakening by Brett McBean
*this was an out-of-print book that was re-printed, this year, hence its inclusion.

2. Bane County: Forgotten Moon by J. R. Rice [Horror/Werewolf]

3. The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer [Action/Thriller]

4. The Conjurers by David Wade [Historical Fantasy]

5. Dreaming at the Top of My Lungs by Israel Finn [Horror/Short Stories]
*this is a book of 10 short stories, all written by Finn, and all terrific!

6. A Facet for the Gem by C. L. Murray [Fantasy]

7. The Fireman by Joe Hill [Apocalyptic Horror]

8. The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone [Apocalyptic Horror]

9. Nest by Terry Goodkind [Thriller]

10. Tijuana Donkey Showdown by Adam Howe [Pulp Fiction]
*while this one is basically an oversized novella, it is too good not to include!

So there are my top ten novels - depending upon your genre preference, I am confident that you will enjoy any of the above listed books.

For those who enjoy Short Stories:
My Top 3 Short Stories (published in 2016)

1. Empire of the Tooth by Iain Rob Wright [Apocalyptic Horror]
* A sequel to Wright's novel Animal Kingdom

2. The Incredible Zilch Von Whitstein by Thomas S. Flowers [Horror]

3. Spiders in from the Garden by Jason R. Davis [Horror]
*A short story that links to Davis' novel Hatched

Honorable Mentions:
(these are books that I read this year, not published in 2016)

Animal Kingdom by Iain Rob Wright [Apocalyptic Horror]

The First Hostage by Joel C. Rosenberg [Action/Thriller]

Joe Coffin (Season One) by Ken Preston [Crime/Horror/Vampire]

Leviathan (Book One of the Antediluvian Legacy) by R. M. Huffman [Biblical Fiction/Fantasy]

The Minus Faction (Book One: Breakout) by Rick Wayne [Action/Mystery/Sci-Fi/Thriller]

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah [Historical Fiction]

A Noble's Quest by Ryan Toxopeus [Fantasy]

The Ultimate Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse by F. Kim O'Neill (aka David Dubrow) [Self Help]

Again, depending on your genre preference, any of the above should tickle your fancy!

Honorable (non-2016) Short Story Mentions:

Dawn: A Dwarven Creation Story by Ryan Toxopeus [Fantasy]

Dreadedin Chronicles by David Dubrow [Horror]

Lanmò: A Tale of Southern Horror by Thomas S. Flowers [Horror]

So there you have my favorite reads of this year. I hope that you discover some new authors. . .

My Top Ten Movies of the Year:
(Released in 2016)

1. Captain America: Civil-War
2. The Conjuring 2
3. DeadPool
4. Doctor Strange
5. Don't Breathe
6. Keanu
7. Kubo and the Two Strings
8. Nerve
9. The Revenant
10. The Shallows

These are the movies that entertained me the most this year. Which was my favorite? That honor goes to:
(by far my favorite film of the year!)

Honorable [Non-2016] Mentions:

Blood Diamond
The Hateful Eight
I'll Follow You Down
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
The Walk

Now, you will notice that both The Hateful Eight and The Revenant were separately listed. I believe that both were released around Christmas, last year. I saw The Hateful Eight last year, and The Revenant was not released here, locally, until the beginning of the year, hence their separation.

I hope that you find something new from my lists above, and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and an extremely Happy New Year!!


Monday, December 12, 2016

NEST by Terry Goodkind

From the inside flap:

What if you could see evil?
What if evil could see you?

Kate Bishop thought she was an ordinary woman living and working in Chicago. But when she unexpectedly finds herself in the middle of a police investigation into a brutal murder, Kate makes a shocking discovery: she has the ability to identify killers just by looking into their eyes.

Trying to grasp the implications of this revelation, Kate is drawn deep into a world of terror. She is tracked down by Jack Raines, a mysterious author with shadowy connections to those who share her ability. He tells Kate that her unique vision also makes her a target, and only he can help her.

Now, hot on Jack and Kate’s heels are a force of super-predators, vicious and bloodthirsty killers who will stop at nothing until Kate is dead. But even as she fights for her life, Kate still isn’t sure if Jack is really her salvation, or another killer coming to slaughter her.

An explosive mix of action and suspense, Nest is a landmark new novel from worldwide bestselling author Terry Goodkind, and a complete reinvention of the contemporary thriller. Travel with Goodkind on a dangerous journey to the back alleys of the darknet, to the darkest corners of our minds, and to the very origins of what it is to be human.

I am, once again, in awe of storytelling master, Terry Goodkind. I thought it a high order when the above stated that Goodkind has reinvented the thriller genre, but boy has he ever!

While labeled a "thriller", this could also be labeled as "straight-up horror" being that it deals with the underlying, base evil of human nature. (This book could easily make people paranoid!)

If thrillers are your thing, then this book will be right up your alley!

An absolutely phenomenal book!


Friday, December 9, 2016

Tijuana Donkey Showdown [Book Review]

Genre - Pulp Fiction
Year Published - 2016 (Released today!)
Length - 156 (digital) pages
Written by Adam Howe

Rating: 5+ Skulls

Plot Summary:
Reggie Levine, ex-boxer turned bouncer, and hapless hero, has barely recovered from his ordeal in Damn Dirty Apes, when he is called back to action. Recruited to retrieve a Chinese crested terrier from a fleapit roadside zoo, where the ugly effing showdog has been mistaken for the chupacabra, Reggie soon finds himself embroiled in a deadly criminal conspiracy involving neo-Nazi drug smugglers, a seedy used-car salesman, a wannabe serial killer, an ornery Vietnam veteran, a badass veterinarian, a freakishly endowed adult entertainment donkey named Enrique, and in an explosive cameo, an Academy Award winning Hollywood icon.

Is the above plot summary not enough?
What more can I say? Just go, right now, and buy this book!

If you compile a list of "best books of the year", then you still have time to read this one, because I can guarantee that it will be included on said list.

Are you still looking for a Christmas gift for the avid reader in your life? Look no further!

You do not have to read 'Damn Dirty Apes' first (a prior adventure starring the character, Reggie Levine, found in Howe's collection 'Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet'), but this book will make you want to read it anyway.

Are you the type to "first look" at a book? If so, you will know immediately, within the first chapter, if this book is for you. Where does Howe come up with this stuff?!?!? I have no idea, but I thank him for it!

I really cannot heap enough praise on Howe and his writing style, you just have to read him for yourself. If explosive action, spattered with a ton of classic movie quotes, is your thing, then this book is for you!

Oh yeah, this book also includes a Bonus Story: 'Clean-up on Aisle 3'. This too is a great story, and I would say that it is Howe's tamest work to date! Speaking of tame, while Howe's "Author's Disclaimer" at the beginning of the book is laugh-out-loud funny, I was a bit concerned at first, but I am thrilled to say that Howe is considering a third Reggie Levine tale ~ YES!!! Please, make it so! Also included, at the end, are Howe's "Story Notes" which I absolutely love - I wish that every author included theirs!