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review 2018-06-19 18:57
Servant of the Undead by Isabelle Drake
Servant of the Undead - Isabelle Drake

I don’t think this book is going to be a book for everyone but if you like a little monster mixed in with your erotica it may just be the book for you.

 

Hayden is a young guy doing a little zombie sex-cult research for a junk rag in the library when he is approached by a gorgeous woman wearing little more than a mini-skirt and a few scraps of rags. She’s dripping (it’s storming out, you pervs), she is icy cold and she smells weird. He knows deep down that something is not quite right here but he has sex with her anyway (hey, she offered!) and now he’s in way over his head. Turns out she’s the sort of zombie that he has just been researching. What are the odds, do you think?! She lets him know that he is her newest sex pet and he must perform whenever she feels the need to “feed” which is quite often, it turns out. She feeds off of sex, by the way, instead of brains and he has no way to fend her off because she easily compels him with her eyes and her beautiful body.

 

“You don’t understand yet, do you? Let me explain. You belong to me now. Until I’m done with you, that is.”


She chains him, she drugs him and, if you ask me, it serves him right! He has a girlfriend who he has cheated on and now because of his dick and his weakness, she’s caught up in all of this weirdness. He is one of the world’s worst boyfriends and feels bad for brief moments but not bad enough to figure a way out of the situation. And nearly not bad enough for me to feel bad for him as I reveled in his debasement!

 

This book is something else. I cannot honestly say that I liked any of the characters with the exception of Rachelle, the cuckolded but good-natured girlfriend, because they’re all pretty despicable creatures who do terrible things and think terrible thoughts but I couldn’t put it down. It’s a sexy, strange read with loads of dubious consent and a few humiliating episodes but nothing overly gross or truly disturbing (says me who has read some AWFUL stuff in the past, pee & poo stuff if you must know, so your mileage may vary). Be warned though, if dubious consent or the inability to consent scares you off because that stuff is here in several scenes. None of it gets too dark or disgusting and it’s not filled with angst and emotional despair. It was all rather amusing in a dark, dubiously sexy sort of way.

 

I’d give it a 3 1/2 because the story did get a wee bit convoluted towards the last half but it still managed to keep me entertained.

 

Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for providing me with an ARC.

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review 2018-06-13 15:42
The Axeman of New Orleans: The (boring) True Story
The Axeman of New Orleans: The True Story - Miriam C. Davis,Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I am DNFing this book. For a story about the axeman, it is so incredibly dull. The author has clearly done her homework but she's included too many sidelines that have nothing to do with the murders. If I wanted to learn about the origins of the Italian Mafia in New Orleans I would've picked up a different book.

 

This story was also one of the subplots in American Horror Story’s season of “Coven”. The "axeman" is the guy Jessica Lange gets cozy with. The gals over at MY FAVORITE MURDER also covered the case in one of their many disturbingly amusing podcasts. I’d say listen to that instead. Life's too short and stressful so I'm picking up something else rather than struggling to stay awake during this one.

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review 2018-06-12 19:22
Worship Me by Craig Stewart
Worship Me - Craig Stewart

We all need a little darkness in our reading lives, if only to escape the darkness of reality, right? Well, I sure do and this book was gruesomely dark, unrelentingly evil and I loved nearly every black page but especially those where selfish hearted people meet their demise most painfully. 

Does that make me evil too? 

The story begins when a horrible wife abusing man named Rick finds his bliss while praying to a structure in the woods. That structure houses The Behemoth, the one and true God, the God of hellfire, damnation and exquisite pain to all who fail to bow down properly. Rick and The Behemoth infest a local church filled with loyal devotees and demand fealty to their new God as well as make an offering of an innocent child or they all die . . . Just one child though, this Behemoth is not greedy even though there is a basement filled with kiddos.



So, what follows is the evil that happens when humans are asked to make such a terrible decision to save their own hides. All of their ugliness, self-preservation and selfishness come crashing to the surface and spewing through their mouths and thoughts. Some become sheep, just going along with what they know instinctively is very wrong. This all feels so very real and the author does a fantastic job of bringing this terror-filled this scenario to life.

“All was not right in the house of God.”

Terrible, gory things happen at the level of early Clive Barker gruesomeness, mostly to people who deserve it but just know that no one is truly safe, even if they’re not a jerk. I enjoyed the spontaneity of the murders even when I was sad to see someone decent go because it upped the odds. The characters were well drawn and the brief moments of light and hope make the darker bits stand out all the more. My only minor complaint is that there is a bit of head hopping which I noticed most nearest the end. I don’t typically notice such things but there were a few pages that I had to go back and reread to clarify who was speaking.

The ending was very fitting and one I didn’t see coming. I loved the visceral brutality of it all and the picture it paints of the most horrible creature of all: humans. 

Read this one if you dare!

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review 2018-06-11 17:28
The Outsider by Stephen King, narrated by Will Patton
The Outsider - Will Patton,Stephen King

This is the story of an atrocious murder of an innocent and the investigation that turns into a “ f*cked up nightmare of a case” for all of those involved. 

That description about sums it all up. The murder, the ensuing rush to jail a suspect and the follow up are all horrific. To say anything more about the plot, truly, is to ruin it for anyone wishing to read it. It’s not just me being lazy! I’m seriously tired of having things spoiled for me so I’m refusing to say much of anything. If you want to know more, check out one of the zillion spoilery reviews out here in the internets. 

If you want to read a book by a master storyteller who grabs you early and doesn’t really let you up for air until well into its second half, I cannot recommend this audiobook highly enough. I was hooked into the story so hard that I found myself making up chores so I could stay plugged in and listen to “just a bit more” before I had to return to reality. I even took my lazy dog for a long neglected walk in order to have an excuse to keep going. He pooped out way before I was ready to call it quits on The Outsider and pull out my earbuds.

This isn’t a straight up murder mystery and you need to know that before going in. It has a horror angle and a tie-in to a previous series. If you don’t like either of those two things in your books, you might not be overly thrilled with the second half of the book. Me? I loved it. I want more books like these and I want them all to be narrated by Will Patton! His voice is just so down to earth, calming and listenable (is that a word?). He breathes life into the characters and that’s a skill that isn’t an easy one to master. 

I’m not giving this book five stars because:

1. I’m a jerk and only give fives out to the rare book that I personally feel fit my idea of perfection.
2. It gets a little sloggy in its last few acts. 
3. It made me sad and horrified but I never felt fear or creeping dread as I did in The Shining or Pet Sematary. 

Instead I give it 4 ½ stars which is the next to best thing, and a very high recommendation. 

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review 2018-06-08 19:04
Fear University by Meg Collett, narrated by Lidia Dornet
Fear University - Meg Collett,Lidia Dornet

I’m not fond of the title of this one. It gives the book a generic feeling of YA or NA and does the book a disservice because it’s a gritty, violent and action-packed story that deserves a title such as Aswang: Demon Dogs! That’s catchier, don’t you think? Or maybe Devil Dogs Want to Eat Your Tasty Bits. Yeah, I like that one but maybe that’s why they don’t ask me. Anyway, I grabbed this because the blurb caught my attention and I’m glad I did because it was pretty darn good.

Ollie has never been able to feel physical pain. Because of this, she ended up abandoned by her mother and was tormented by those who should’ve protected her. She’s grown up tough and resilient and has been living on her own since becoming a young adult. One day she is attacked by a dog-like creature and wins the fight as two young men watch. They can’t believe their eyes. Average humans, AKA civvies, aren’t supposed to win fights against the “aswang”, they’re supposed to become their dinner. They kidnap her and bring her back to “Fear University” where only select families are training to fight a secret war against the aswang beasties. She’s soon entrenched in training for the war by a handsome but all business guy named Luke who is reputed to abstain from sexy times because he likes it too rough. She feels no pain. She is intrigued!

So all that’s going on and a whole lot of other stuff that I will not spoil. This book is definitely more urban fantasy than NA angst or romance and I liked that about it. There’s action, the pace is fast, there are many revelations and surprises, the characters are imperfect and their interactions are interesting. But it’s Ollie who makes the book sing for me. She’s carrying the weight of a painful past and she’s sarcastic, cynical and doesn’t take any crap from anyone but she’s also funny and reminded me a bit of Liv from IZombie.

“I didn’t like Luke or his stupid dick.”

She lies too :)

This was a very good urban fantasy but I recommend picking up the next book (and maybe the one after that) in the series if you’re like me and prefer to have all of your questions answered. This book leaves things a-dangling and may leave you pulling out your hair if you don’t have book two all lined up and ready to go. My library does NOT so arrrrgggh!



The narrator is most excellent. She sounds youthful and tough and exudes emotion exactly where needed.

I received a copy of this audio from Tantor Media. Thanks, Tantor!

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