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review 2017-03-19 15:52
Man & Monster (The Savage Land, #2) by Michael Jensen
Man & Monster (The Savage Land: Book 2) - Michael Jensen

 

 

Man & Monster (The Savage Land, #2) is a blast of an historical fiction, m/m romance, horror novel!

 

Cole ("Cold-Hearted") Seavey meets up with the characters from Man & Beast (The Savage Land, #1) , out on the Ohio Frontier, circa 1799. (Namely John Chapman, (Johnny Appleseed), and Pakim, (our handsome Delaware Brave). Pakim rescues Cole after he finds him badly injured as the result of an attack. An attack from what is the question; especially after this creature begins to attack Hugh's Lick-the small settlement that is closest to John Chapman's claim.

 

Soon the reader is fully engrossed in the story of this town, its inhabitants and whatever the thing is that's hunting them. The characters are so solidly drawn, they're vivid in my mind. I was happy to see John Chapman again, (I didn't know that he was going to be in this one!) and Cole turns out to be anything but cold-hearted. He soon develops feelings for Pakim and together with John Chapman and others, they struggle to defend themselves against what Pakim believes is a Wendigo.

 

The real meat of this story was the mystery of the Wendigo. I have always had a fondness for creatures of legends of myth, and Wendigos are near the top of my list. Native American cultures are fascinating and so are the stories they told to each other. The author's research into these and into the norms and taboos of the white frontier-folk of the time really shines through and rings true.

 

With many exciting action scenes and twisty turns of the plot, Man & Monster turned out to be a lot of fun, even though it's wayyyy out of my wheelhouse. To me, it's always the story that is paramount, and in that regard, Michael Jensen delivers.

 

Highly recommended to fans of historical fiction, m/m romance, and HORROR!

 

You can get your copy here: Man & Monster (The Savage Land: Book 2)

 

*I received a free e-copy from the author in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.* **In addition, I consider this author to be an online friend. This did not affect the content of my review.**

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text 2016-12-13 02:52
I'm starting Man and Beast by Michael Jensen and...
Man & Beast (The Savage Land Book 1) - Michael Jensen

for some reason, I'm nervous as hell. Why, you ask?

 

This book is historical fiction and I'm down with that, but it's also partly a romance and a m/m one at that. I've got nothing against the m/m part, it's the romance part that makes me nervous. I just don't do romance. But now I am. 

 

I feel like I'm the one exploring a new frontier, along with the protagonist. Wish me luck!

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review 2016-10-30 16:48
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume One
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories - Professor of Strategic Management Bernard Taylor,Michael P. Kube-McDowell,Christopher Priest

 

The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume One is one of my favorite collections of this year, and that's saying a lot because I've read some STELLAR collections in 2016. This is one of the rare times that every. single. story. worked.

 

The stand-outs to me were: Miss Mack by Michael McDowell. It's McDowell. How could it not be good? This starts out as such a nice story about a friendship between two women and then it takes a sharp turn into darkness. Permanent darkness.

 

Furnished Apartments by Forest Reid (I would be remiss if I did not mention the excellent intro to this little known author's story. This, and the story itself made me want to immediately read more of Reid's work.) This is a creepy little story about (surprise!) a furnished apartment for rent.

 

A Psychological Experiment by Richard Marsh Most known these days for his novel, "The Beetle", Richard Marsh wrote over 80 books and 300 short stories. This particular tale is a delicious story of revenge featuring some creepy crawlies. I absolutely loved it.

 

The Progress of Arthur Crabbe by Stephen Gregory Stephen Gregory is another favorite author of mine. He's not as prolific as I wish he would be. Valancourt somehow dug up this nasty tale, (which, once again, features a bird), originally published in the Illustrated London News back in 1982. I am so glad they did! I have read everything I could get my hands on from Mr. Gregory. Without Valancourt, I would never have had the opportunity to read this gem.

 

California Burning by Michael Blumlein Michael Blumlein is another author introduced to me via Valancourt Books. They published his collection: The Brains of Rats which contains one of the most disturbing short stories I've ever read. Once again, Blumlein knocked my socks off with this story of a man whose bones would not burn.

 

The Terror on Tobit by Charles Birkin A beautifully written tale and one I found to send chills up my spine. Not only because of the spookiness of the story, but because of the amazing prose. I've never even heard of this guy before, but now I want to read everything he's written.

 

The Head and the Hand by Christopher Priest Probably most well known for his novel The Prestige , Christopher Priest's contribution to this collection was superb. It reminded me a bit of Katherine Dunn's Geek Love and makes me wonder if she ever read The Head and the Hand. It's a rather weird tale, but I loved it. Plus it made me REALLY want to read The Prestige which has been sitting on my Kindle for well over a year.

 

I could go on and on, because as I said every story in this collection worked for me. I can't write a review that's a long as the book though, so just a few more things. The intros to these stories were excellent. Many of them talk about how these authors were prolific back in their day and now have been forgotten. I love that Valancourt is dedicated to bringing these authors back into the public eye. I'm going to do my best to read more of the authors that appealed most to me, like Priest and Birkin.

 

This collection receives my highest recommendation! Every single story is thought provoking and even the introductions to the tales are well written and informative. Plus, these aren't a bunch of stories that you've already read in countless other collections and anthologies. Valancourt worked hard to bring you enticing pieces that will likely be unfamiliar to most contemporary horror readers. All I can say to that is BRAVO! (And MORE, PLEASE!!)

 

Get your own copy here: The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories

 

*A free copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. This is it!*

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review 2016-09-09 22:05
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde, narrated by B.J. Harrison
The Canterville Ghost - Oscar Wilde,Inga Moore

What a cute little story this was! I've forgotten which Bookliker it was that recommended it, but thank you! 

 

The Canterville Ghost is not scary at all, but it IS funny and as the story goes on, rather pitiful. I found myself laughing at some portions and then  all but shedding a tear towards the end.

 

This is a short story which is available for free, or at least this version is, at Amazon and you can add the Audio for a nominal fee. Click to get your copy: The Canterville Ghost.

 

 

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review 2016-07-16 20:43
Fingersmith (Audiobook)
Fingersmith - Juanita McMahon,Sarah Waters

This starts off kind of slow, and a little too much telling over showing as Susan kicks off this story of intrigue and thievery. To be honest, if I hadn't seen the mini-series years ago and already known about the twist, I would have been impatient through the first part of this. This is a book about people doing horrible things to each other and it's asking me to care about them. That's not usually my forte because screw anyone who would willingly hurt another over money, of all things. Susan also starts out rather naive and unobservant, which didn't help. Once the twist happens and we switch to Maud's POV, the story got much more layered and complex, and not just because we're peeling back another layer to this scheme but because Maud is more complex. Ms. Waters did manage to get me rooting for Sue and Maud, despite how terrible they are. She makes their situations real and understandable, even if their actions aren't excusable, and she does make them pay in their own ways for their selfishness. 

 

I remembered the reveals about Susan and Maud that come at the end, but had forgotten what happened to Gentleman and Mrs. Sucksby. Can't say I'm terribly upset about either one of them. They both got what they deserved, as far as I'm concerned.

 

Juanita McMahon does an excellent job narrating this. She speaks perhaps too slowly, and that was listening at 1.25x speed, but she was clear at all times and really put the emotions into each character. I'm also finding that some narrators are better at holding my attention when I'm at work that others are, and Juanita is one of them, so if I could rate her performance more than five stars, I would.

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