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review 2017-09-26 12:39
I have issues
Awakened by the Wolf - Kristal Hollis

See when a woman says "not in my bed" and runs away from you at first chance, even going so far as to break glass to get away as hard as possible, you respect that choice and you bloody well respect her.  This is not a good way to start a relationship and I would be reluctant to get involved with this self-involved whiny man child who is supposedly a successful lawyer but can't understand that sometimes he has to negotiate a deal rather than ride roughshod over things.

 

Yes the story pulled me through and was well written but consent was a frequent road bump that made the whole difficult to appreciate.  Like many others of this type that I've read recently, it was problematic but had some good aspects.

 

Now I could put it in werewolf if I had it, there were scenes in the woods (she runs into woods to get away from him at first), so In the Dark Dark Woods would work, also supernatural and honestly he falls into future monster, despite the werewolf thing, she's going to have to work at her self-hood and hard.

 

Dark Dark Woods it is.

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review 2017-09-26 10:44
Faerie Tale
Faerie Tale: A Novel of Terror and Fantasy - Raymond E. Feist

by Raymond E. Feist

 

This one kept getting recommended and after trying a sample, I decided to give it a read. It's my first Feist and possibly my only, as sampling another of his novels didn't impress me as much.

 

It's a very dark story that wraps folklore, especially Irish mythology, around a modern day setting. A family buys a farmhouse with woodland attached to the property and there are local stories about the woods and some sort of sleeping evil.

 

What I liked was that this isn't a standard monster story with one nasty critter causing all the problems. Various otherworld entities encounter the family members, some in harmless ways and others, well, you have to read to see what happens.

 

The story was more sexual in parts than I expected and not always in nice ways. People really sensitive to anything suggesting rape might want to steer clear. The strange experiences are fairly subtle at first and build as the story goes along.

 

Another thing I liked was short chapters! It's really easy to decide to read just one more, and just one more since it's only a few pages. I got 149 pages in on the first sitting! Then towards the end found myself getting through a lot of pages without realizing as things really heated up.

 

The family who are central to the plot are well defined characters and some of their close associates also come across strongly as individuals. Even the twins become distinctive as their part of the story develops. At times I didn't know where the plot was going and wondered if it was just meandering or if it was setting me up for something specific, but it all came together in the last couple of hundred pages.

 

My one niggle is the mixing of different cultural histories and mythologies. As it happens, I recently read an academic book on Persian Zoroastrianism/Magic and crossing that over with the Illuminati in Europe and a mix of Irish/English/Germanic folklore stretched believability a little far.

 

Putting all that aside, I enjoyed the story and fully approve of the ending. Highly recommended for dark fantasy fans.

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review 2017-09-25 18:45
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two- edited by James Jenkins & Ryan Cagle
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two - Nevil Shute,Mary Elizabeth Braddon,Michael P. Kube-McDowell

 

Once again, the gentlemen over at Valancourt Books knocked their anthology out of the park-maybe even out of the state! Last year's Volume 1, (click to read my review), was outstanding and Volume 2 is as well. My favorites of this volume are as follows:

 

Stephen Gregory's never before published: "The Boys Who Wouldn't Wake Up" was poignant and, in a way, beautiful. It was also very much unlike any other Gregory story I've read. I'm a huge fan of this author and this tale did NOT disappoint. 

 

"The Nice Boys" by Isabel Colegate was a spectacularly eerie story, set in a relentlessly foggy Venice, Italy. A young woman heads there to vacation away a recent bad break up and meets two young men. As the tension grows the reader is drawn in, but the vivid and disturbing scene towards the end ensures this story will not soon be forgotten. 

 

"Herself" by M.E. Braddon involved two of my favorite tropes-haunted houses and haunted mirrors. I'm not sure which it was, exactly,  but I'm going with  a combination of the two. I love these types of stories-where people are called in to help but are rendered helpless by circumstance and can only witness as bystanders the evil that occurs.

 

"Halley's Passing" by Michael McDowell. It's no secret that I adore Michael McDowell. (You do too, if you love Beetlejuice or The Nightmare Before Christmas.) This tale, however, is shocking and extra bloody which is unusual for him, but at the same time: so much FUN.

 

"The Elemental" by R. Chetwynd-Hayes. Another FUN tale featuring a psychic that no one takes seriously. At first. 

 

"Samhain" by Bernard Taylor. Taylor is an author that I was unfamiliar with until Valancourt Books republished some of his work. I am now an unabashed fan and stories like this are exactly why. Everything is going along, you think you have a handle on things, and then BAM! He punches you right in the face. It's often a bloody punch too, and this is no exception. I laughed out loud at the ending because I was surprised, it was bloody and I loved it!

 

"The Bell" by Beverly Nichols. A beautifully told tale about a man who was completely dependent upon his valet/butler and what happens when that butler dies. Who will then come to the insistent ringing of the bell? 

 

Just like with Volume 1, I could list each and every story as a standout, because they were ALL just that good. Also like with Volume 1, is the fact that most of these stories have not been published over and over again. I'm not sure if it happens with all genres, but the same horror stories often appear ad nauseam in anthologies and it's irritating. With the cost of books these days, it's disappointing to buy an anthology only to discover you've read half the stories already in other anthologies. Rest easy, because that is not the case here. 

 

Each story in this volume is prefaced by a bit of background on the story and on the author, many of whom were not known for writing in the horror genre. I think that fact brings a certain freshness to this collection that is often lacking in others. The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two is simply EXCEPTIONAL and belongs in the collection of any serious fan of the genre. 

 

My highest recommendation!

 

You can pre-order your copy  here: The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two

 

*This book was provided by Valancourt Books in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

 

 

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review 2017-09-25 13:05
Book Review For: DARK CONTROL by Annabel Joseph
Dark Control (Dark Dominance) (Volume 1) - Annabel Joseph

'DARK CONTROL' by Annabel Joseph is the First Book in a New Series called "Dark Dominance". This is the story of Juliet and Fort.
Fort and his friends are into hardcore BDSM and they go to an exclusive club that is only open on Saturdays. But they are all feeling like they want to get out and do their thing but go to a lower standard type club. There Fort happens to see Juliet who is outside looking upset and drunk. Fort feels compelled to help her and tries to take her home. But ends up with her at his apartment. Fort finds her attractive but doesn't act on it and the next day she leaves. Fort thinks to never see her again but he can't get her out of his mind. They end up in a Dom / Sub relationship which Fort makes it clear and Juliet agrees that will be all that they have. But as with perfect plans they aren't so perfect.
This was a really hot book that I did enjoy. The only thing that stuck out to me was that Fort was dealing with a past issue but I didn't really feel the connection with that issue. Overall loved the book and hope to read more from Ms. Joseph soon.
"My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
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review 2017-09-24 16:45
Freebie Square Read
Wolves in the Dark (Varg Veum Series) - ... Wolves in the Dark (Varg Veum Series) - Gunnar Staalesen,Don Bartlett

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

 

                Varg Veum is a literary character that I first meet though television.  MHZ had the Varg Veum movies on, and I watched them.  So, I started reading the series in a haphazard fashion, or in other words, totally out of order.

 

                This installment finds Veum coming out of a drinking addiction fueled by depression after a death.  In part, some of his sobering comes from meeting a woman (who has a daughter) and part of it comes from being accused of child pedophilia. 

 

                The novel opens with the arrival of the police to arrest Veum and search his apartment, and the book stays to the break neck speed.  In a cell, Veum is forced to remember as much as his drunk years as he can because someone, he doesn’t know who, is setting him up.

 

                Not many people believe him.  Strangely enough his new girlfriend is one of those who does.      

 

                I guess he is lucky that way, for those that have known him the longest, by and large, view him as guilty.

 

                On one hand, the story is a non-stop thriller.  It starts with a bust and keeps going.  The pace never seems to slow, not surprising when Veum isn’t given the time to catch his breath.  The characters are well written, possibly not the girlfriend who seems a bit too trusting, yet she is not stupid.  Even though at times it seems like too much coincidental.  The ending too, is on level, a typical white male ending.  It is difficult to image an immigrant or even a woman, even in Norway, having the same reaction as Varg Veum to the final outcome.

 

                In part, that might be part of the problem with this book – Veum never seems quite aware of the societal pressures, norms, what have you, that contribute or allow the trafficking and abuse of children (and women) to occur.  On one hand, there are times when a reader wants to smack Veum for his cluelessness on the matter.  Doesn’t he realize, the reader might wonder under her breath, in particular when he is confronting woman.  Then one wonders if this genius on the part of Staalesen.  What better way to show a problem?  There is no preaching, no holier than though.  And this provokes more thought.

 

                This book will most likely get less attention then Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  A shame considering that it is better written and far more powerful for its subtlety.

 

 

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