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review 2018-01-19 01:05
Hell or High Water
Hell or High Water (The Deep Six) - Julie Ann Walker

First in a series, this focuses on a group of ex-military men. What makes this different is they are a marine salvage company. This is Leo and Olivia's story. 
I didn't like this as much as I thought I would. With so many characters and personalities, I was a little lost. Decent action. I would think having a beard would make it hard to get a seal on a scuba mask. But, since I've never done that, I really don't know. It just struck me as weird. Not invested enough to read next.

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review 2018-01-18 18:10
Girl in the Water
Girl in the Water - Dana Marton Girl in the Water - Dana Marton

This is, so far, my favorite of Dana Marton’s books. The story is heart wrenching in places and the intrigue is palpable. Such a good story. Don’t miss this one. 

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review 2017-12-28 00:00
Cutie and the Beast (Fae Out of Water Book 1)
Cutie and the Beast (Fae Out of Water Bo... Cutie and the Beast (Fae Out of Water Book 1) - E.J. Russell A sweet, hot, amusing read!

E.J. Russell combines fantasy, fairytales, faerie and hot hot men in this lovely book about an accident prone ray of colorful sunshine in David and a broody beast of a fae suffering under a curse. David is adorable, optomistic and can see the true beauty of the 'man' who hides in the shadows and shuns the world, locking himself away in his practice.

Alun was once one of the highest ranked fae in the seelie court, men and women falling at his feet, the Queen herself seeking him for a consort, but he was struck by a curse that turned him into a 'beast' rather than a beauty and cast out of Faerie. Two hundred years in the outer world and he's built a practice treating the supernatural community of afflictions and running support groups for humans who had suffered negative exposure to the supernatural world. His world was grey and painful... until temporary office manager David burst into his life.

And the rest of the story is a fairytale romp full of mischief, secrets, attraction and good triumphing over bad. David breaks the curse, gets the Fae and gets his happily ever after. But like all good fairytales, there's a twist, a sword fight, a rescue of the fair prince, and a suitably diabolical villain to overcome before they get said happy ending.

I totally enjoyed this fun, sweet book. Off to read book 2 now! The Druid Next Door.

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text 2017-12-27 12:30
Char's Horror Corner: Top Ten Novellas of 2017
Spungunion - John Boden
Of Foster Homes and Flies - Chad Lutzke
Mapping the Interior - Stephen Graham Jones
Mystery Road - Kevin Lucia
Wallflower - Chad Lutzke
Just Add Water - Hunter Shea
Hoodoo Harry (Bibliomysteries) - Joe R. Lansdale
Soles - Kay Brandt
Money Back Guarantee - Hunter Shea
Sweet Aswang - Anthony Hains

I ADORE dark fiction novellas. I think that novella length is the perfect form in which to tell a lean and powerful horror story. Every word has to count, anything that isn't important is left out. Because I love them so much, I tend to read a lot of novellas. This year, I decided to give them their own category and so without further ado, here are my top ten of the year. (Please click the book covers below, if you'd like to see my original review.)

 

1Spungunion - John Boden  by John Boden. Spungunion is poignant, powerful and lyrically written at times. In my humble opinion, John Boden, (along with Chad Lutzke, see below), are the REAL DEAL. I will, with pleasure,  continue to read anything they write.

 

 

 

 

2Of Foster Homes and Flies - Chad Lutzke  by Chad Lutzke. Two parents gone and an upcoming spelling bee. It doesn't sound like much, but in the hands of Chad Lutzke it IS much. Almost too much at times. This novella touched me and I related to this poor kid in just about every way. As I said above, I believe Chad is an author to watch.

 

3Mapping the Interior - Stephen Graham Jones   by Stephen Graham Jones. This man is so prolific and thus far, I've only managed to read a few things by him. Mapping the Interior was another poignant story on this list, involving lost parents and life as a Native American in today's harsh world. Much like the two stories above, I'm finding it very difficult to describe why this tale affected me so much, but it did. Perhaps it will affect you in the same way?

 

 

4. Mystery Road - Kevin Lucia  by Kevin Lucia. This is yet another poignant tale about a man caring for his dying father, an area where I have some personal experience. Perhaps, that's why this novella hit me so hard? Or maybe it's just that it was brilliantly and beautifully written. 

 

5. Wallflower - Chad Lutzke  by Chad Lutzke. This is a powerful novella about addiction. Never, ever underestimate the power of drugs or alcohol. People often do just that and end up in dire straits. This was so well written that as I was reading I thought for sure that Chad had personal experience with drug addiction. It turns out he doesn't, but that should give you an idea of how real-feeling this novella was. 

 

6. Just Add Water - Hunter Shea  by Hunter Shea. Amazing sea monkeys! YAY! No poignancy here, (You're probably saying YAY too!), just good clean horror FUN. Simple as that!

 

7. Hoodoo Harry (Bibliomysteries) - Joe R. Lansdaleby the Champion Mojo Storyteller himself: Mr. Joe Lansdale. He's probably the biggest, most well known name on this list. Author of the popular Hap & Leonard series, he writes in all genres and he's always funny as hell. This was a mystery involving Hap & Leonard, and it made me chuckle. Plus, it's a story about a bookmobile-how could I not love that?

 

8. Soles - Kay Brandt  by Kay Brandt. As far as I know this is the only novella written by this author. It had a very cool premise and I think she pulled it off. Ms. Brandt has an interesting career going for herself, but I think if she chose to pursue dark fiction, she might do very well. 

 

9. Money Back Guarantee - Hunter Shea  by Hunter Shea. This is Mr. Shea's second entry on this list. Both of these novellas were part of a series titled "Mail Order Massacres" and were based upon things you could order through the mail via the ads in the backs of comics. Though JUST ADD WATER was my favorite of the three, MONEY BACK GUARANTEE placed a close second. Never mess with a mom who spent some of her hard earned money on a product that nearly killed her kid. Pure F U N!!

 

10. Sweet Aswang - Anthony Hains  by Anthony Hains. I admit to not knowing what an Aswang was when I started this tale. Now that I do know, I wonder why Aswangs are not the subject of more horror stories-because have no doubt: Aswangs are freaking SCARY! I had quite a few novellas ranked 4 stars this year, but I chose to include this one because of the sheer originality and fun of it.  

 

If you've stayed with me this far, I thank and appreciate you! I hope that you'll join me in 2018 as I seek out and hopefully discover more great dark fiction novellas! 

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review 2017-12-21 22:35
Writer's block.
The Memory of Water - JT Lawrence

I struggled to get into this book; at 20% it seemed like nothing was happening. Then, slowly, it picked up. I'd guess we weren't supposed to particularly like Slade Harris, but I find it hard to support a lead character that I don't like. He was the ultimate misogynist, using and dumping women on a whim. As an author, he felt he needed to behave this way to generate material for his novels, a likely story.

The best part of the book, for me, was the feel of Johannesburg and South Africa, the lurking danger and constant threat of crime. 
The sex scenes were a bit over the top, though to be fair, we were warned about that - my book was stickered with an 'adult material' warning. 
The audiobook I was listening to, narrated by J. Austin Moran II, was well read, if a touch slow. Mr Moran's voice was deep and gravelly and at first I thought it a strange voice for a narrator, but in fact it perfectly suited the self centred Slade Harris, who tells the story in the first person.

While I was considering abandoning the book at 20%, I went on to GoodReads to decide whether to continue and noticed many reviews praising the ending, so I kept going. Maybe those reviews led me to expect too much. I can't say more and spoil the book for others, but I wasn't as bowled over by the ending as many reviewers were.
Thankfully not all authors with writers block resort to planning their love interest's demise.

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