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review 2018-04-20 18:30
SHOCK Anthology edited by Joe Pruett
SHOCK Anthology - Joe Pruitt

 

SHOCK Anthology is a collection of short stories told via comics. Being a lover of short stories, and taking into consideration that super cool cover, how could I resist? As with any anthology, some of the stories worked for me and some did not. One thing I learned was that I needed to go through this volume slowly, otherwise moving from comic to comic, each being totally different in writing and artwork styles, was too jarring.

 

That said, these are the tales that stood out for me:

 

THE LAST DANCE WITH YOU: was a beautifully told story and even though the clues were there, I didn't catch on to where the story was going until we arrived.

 

DUMB BITCH: Don't you touch that dog!

 

ISTANBUL: I loved this one because the art work was gorgeous and evocative, even with no words.

 

THE DEAD CITY AWOKE: This tale was super short and had few words, but the art was simply breathtaking. (Probably my favorite graphics in this collection.)

 

LIVE OR DIE: A spooky story taking place in the middle of a war battle.

 

DEVOLUTION: I loved this dystopian tale of caution even if it was a bit implausible. I see seeds of this in our day to day living right now and I often wonder where it's going to end up. DEVOLUTION presents its own ideas as to how things will turn out.

 

MOMENTS: With tongue firmly in cheek, this tale about social media and how far it could, (will?), go was hilarious and disturbing all at once. With so many people paying way too much attention to their online lives and so little to their actual lives, I thought this tale was a fun and unsettling way to look at what the future might bring.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the concept of this book and the book itself. With lots of variety and something for everyone, I recommend this fun volume to fans of short stories,comics and graphic novels!

 

*Thanks to NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it.*

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text 2018-04-18 11:26
Blood Shadow and Aftershock: how do they fit into the Eye of the Storm series?
Blood Shadow: an Eye of the Storm Companion Novel (Blood Never Lies) - Dianna Hardy
Aftershock: an Eye of the Storm Companion Novel (Blood Never Lies) - Dianna Hardy
Eye of the Storm: Omnibus Edition - Dianna Hardy

Blood Shadow and Aftershock

 

Dark, humorous, gritty and explicit, the Eye of the Storm series crosses genres with paranormal romance and dark fantasy, leaning more and more towards the fantasy elements from halfway through the series. The lives of werewolves take centre stage, from their mythological history to their near extinction, and at the very core of this storyline filled with magic and man-made beasts is Lydia, a twenty-five year old waitress living in the human world, who has no idea what she is.

Focusing on character develop and dynamics, we get thrown into Lydia's new world no holds barred - her new world is sexual, violent, and ruled by nature and instinct, which challenges the 'romance' she's always dreamed of. It's also loving, warm and protective if she has the will to let it all in.

 

Eye of the Storm series, by Dianna Hardy

 

Amid her new pack, resides a she-wolf called Selena. Bitter, scared and jealous, Selena's aim is to undermine Lydia's arrival into the pack and run her off for good. 

This character we love to hate finds herself in a place she never expected, and the end of this completed series sees her and her new identity hurtled into Blood Shadow, which bridges the gap between Eye of the Storm, and a brand new, dark urban fantasy series to come (the Blood Shadow series).

 

 

In turn, Aftershock does the same with other characters from Eye of the Storm: Pete and Claire, and their new addition, Jasmine. Like Blood ShadowAftershock will lead to yet another brand new urban fantasy series (the Aftershock series).

Dianna Hardy is bringing us a new world with new rules, new dangers, and new characters to sink our teeth into, and the first chapter begins with Blood Shadow.

 

Blood Shadow

 


Blood Shadow:

an Eye of the Storm Companion Novel
​(Blood Never Lies, #1)

 

*although some background is given to make this book comprehensible for new readers, it's recommended that you read Eye of the Storm before read Blood Shadow

 

Five years after her life changed forever, Jennifer Warren has put her past firmly behind her - at least, she's tried. A few sweaty nightmares here and there are a small price to pay for the freedom she won. No longer a werewolf, but human, she works as an office manager for a health and beauty spa in York, and keeps herself to herself. It's barely enough to pay the bills, but it's quiet and safe, and the clique of the staff means she's left well enough alone - no one asks her questions; no one wants to get to know her better.

 

David, her tender, kind boyfriend of two years is all she needs ... and she doesn't really need him, which suits her just fine. Never mind the occasional guilt that she doesn't really love him; he'd never hurt her in a million years - that's worth its weight in gold.

 

But Jennifer's just received another note - one of those that her mysterious, anonymous 'friend' likes to leave her every now and then; warnings of things to come, people not to trust... Her elusive friend has saved her more than once the past five years.

 

Only this note has left her breathless; her chest tight. A Supermoon is coming - the first in thirty years - and with it, a total lunar eclipse.

 

Jennifer's disowned her past, but it hasn't disowned her. As the earth shadows the full moon, her own shadows threaten to turn on her.

 

Can you ever escape what you truly are?

 

Blood never lies.

___________________

 

RELEASED 27th APRIL, 2018

 

Pre-order from:

iBooks

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon AUS

Nook

Kobo
Book Depo
​Waterstones

 

(Google Play only available on release day)

 

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review 2018-04-07 22:32
Audio/Book Review of The Dragons of Dorcastle (The Pillars of Reality, Book 1) By Jack Campbell
The Dragons of Dorcastle - Jack Campbell

The first book in a thrilling new epic fantasy saga by Jack Campbell, the New York Times best-selling author of The Lost Fleet series!

 

For centuries, the two Great Guilds have controlled the world of Dematr. The Mechanics and the Mages have been bitter rivals, agreeing only on the need to keep the world they rule from changing. But now a Storm approaches, one that could sweep away everything that humans have built. Only one person has any chance of uniting enough of the world behind her to stop the Storm, but the Great Guilds and many others will stop at nothing to defeat her.

 

Mari is a brilliant young Mechanic, just out of the Guild Halls, where she has spent most of her life learning how to run the steam locomotives and other devices of her Guild. Alain is the youngest Mage ever to learn how to change the world he sees with the power of his mind. Each has been taught that the works of the other's Guild are frauds. But when their caravan is destroyed, they begin to discover how much has been kept from them.

 

As they survive danger after danger, Alain discovers what Mari doesn’t know – that she was long ago prophesized as the only one who can save their world. When Mari reawakens emotions he had been taught to deny, Alain realizes he must sacrifice everything to save her. Mari, fighting her own feelings, discovers that only together can she and Alain hope to stay alive and overcome the Dragons of Dorcastle.

 

Review 5*

 

This is the first book in a fantastic epic fantasy series called The Pillars of Reality. I absolutely loved it!

 

Mari is a fantastic character. I love her determination to do the right thing, even at the cost of her own life. She is an eighteen year-old mechanic... Sorry, Lady Master Mechanic as she loves to correct all her Guild elders who insist on dropping the honorific, even though she has attained it by qualifying as the youngest Lady Master Mechanic since the Guild was first formed. When the caravan/convoy she is travelling in is attacked, she finds herself travelling with a mage who was hired by the caravan to protect it as it travelled to Ringmon where she has a Guild contract to repair a mechanical device. As danger threatens, Mari finds herself torn between doing what is right, and her growing feelings for Mage Alain.

 

Mage Alain is also a fantastic character. I liked him a lot. He is seventeen years-old and one of the youngest Acolytes to achieve Mage status. He has been taught from a young age not to show or feel any emotions and that the world he lives in is an illusion, where nothing is real. When the caravan he's been contracted to protect comes under attack, he finds himself drawn to Mari, feelings long forbidden returning to the surface. As he begins to see through the illusion to the truth that had been kept from them, he realises that Mari is the woman prophesized to unite the people of Dematr. Can he protect her long enough to fulfil it?

 

I purchased this book in audio format in 2015 when it was recommended to me on Audible due to my listening and browsing history. I am kicking myself for not listening to it sooner. I kept putting it off for some reason unknown to me. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it at the time. Who knows? Anyway, now I'm seriously annoyed with myself for missing out on listening to this story, which is narrated by MacLeod Andrews. He does a fantastic job in bringing the story to life. Even Alain, who's voice is meant to be flat and emotionless comes across with subtle hints. You would think that Alain's voice would be monotonous, but it's not so. I love the way he brings all the characters to life with different accents, inflections and tones. He even makes the women's voices sound perfect for each character. As for his narration, he read the story clearly and concisely, and his pacing was perfect. I would definitely listen to more books read by this narrator.

 

This story introduces us to the world of Dematr. It is a mass of contradictions. There are two great Guilds who hold all the power over the common folk - The Mechanics and The Mages. These Guilds have held power for centuries and refuse to relinquish their hold and reject change of any kind. However, this is slowly strangling the world, making it harder and harder for the Mechanics especially as their technology is regressing. This story has a steampunk feel to it, with machinery being steam driven at times - trains for instance. Though there are some more modern items such as far-talkers (walkie-talkies to you and me), torches using batteries, and rifles and pistols that are decidedly more modern-day. Mages use energy from the land around them and some of their own energy to make spells. These spells can be used in various ways - from hiding oneself to creating a dragon.

 

This book is told through the eyes of both Mari and Alain and I found myself completely hooked from beginning to end. I was fascinated by how different the Guilds were, but also struck by how similar they were too. I loved getting to know the two main protagonists and watching (in my minds eye) the story unfold as I listened. I have no idea why, but as I listened to Mage Alain talking and thinking, I had a sudden picture of Richard Dean Anderson as he played Colonel Jack O'Neill in SG1 - with a dry wit and deadpan face. If they ever decide to make this book into a movie or TV series, I would hope they could find someone like that to do Alain justice. Anyway, back to the book. I found myself an emotional wreck near the end. I think my heart broke, it definitely felt heavy at any rate. However, the audiobook version (I can't speak for the book version) has a preview of the second book in the series and I am now looking forward to reading/listening to The Hidden Masters of Marandur as soon as I can.

 

Jack Campbell is a new author to me. I've never read or listened to any of his other books. However, I may have to add him to my favourite authors list, as he's found a fan in me. I love his writing style, which is fast paced and descriptive, and the flow of the story is good too.

 

Although there is no mention of any scenes of a sexual nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 15 due to some violence. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love dark or epic fantasy, steampunk or action/adventure and supernatural/paranormal romance genres. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-04-03 11:54
Review: Dear Sweet Filthy World
Dear Sweet Filthy World - Caitlín R. Kiernan

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This particular author is one of my favourites of dark and bizarre fiction. Most of the time I love her work, there are the odd ones that I really don’t like or get at all. This collection of short stories has been on my radar since I heard about it. I was thrilled when I got approved for it on Netgalley (a hardcover is nearly $30). After reading a few of the stories I knew I had to have a finished copy and  I did purchase a finished Kindle version.

 

Stand out stories for me were:

 

Werewolf Smile – a narrator’s flighty girlfriend posing for a series of disturbing photos based on a Red Riding Hood theme. There was something so dark and powerful about the prose that made this story stick with me more than the others. First story in the collection.

 

Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint – this is about a dude who picks up a random girl hitchhiking and finds himself sharing her memories of violent acts throughout history. Very vivid and uncomfortable.

 

The Eighth Veil – I loved this one, I wanted a full novel of this one. A group of weird people gathering in a bar to watch some sort of stage show which seems to be an execution.

 

-30- This one is about a woman who receives an anonymous photo of some sort of monster – is it real? Where did it come from? Who sent it? What is it? An intriguing mystery though was a little disappointed with the end.

 

The Carnival is Dead and Gone – This was another favourite, dude and has friend visiting a carnival of oddities and freaks head into a special area where the strangest of creatures are held including some sort of quivering mass with theatricals that resemble a giant vagina following some strange sex act. It was another one that was quite uncomfortable but utterly compelling and erotic as it was disturbing. It feels wrong but you can’t take your eyes away.  The audience of the show seemed to find it really erotic.  Something like this should not be erotic, but it was and what does that say about the state of my mind?

 

Interstate Lovesong (Murder Ballard No 8) Two sisters who pick up randoms and kill them on their journey get a shock of their own when they pick up a girl with an attitude of her own. Gory and fascinating.

 

These were the stand outs for me.

 

This collection is a host of stories from the strange, the weird, the bizarre, disturbing, erotic and sometimes just plain what the fuck was that? 28 of them. Some of them I loved, some of them I hated. Some of them were just bland. One in particular - Tempest Witch - I read the whole thing and didn’t get a word of it.  The writing is beautiful and lyrical, dark and dreamy.

 

A good mixed bag.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Subterranean Press  for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2018-03-30 17:57
4.2 Out Of 5 "Tarnished...But Not Broken" STARS
Tarnished City - Vic James

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~ABOUT THE BOOK~

Tarnished City

Vic James

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

A corrupted city. A dark dream of power.

 

Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his mind. But as the Jardines tighten their grip on a turbulent Britain, brother and sister face a fight greater than their own.

 

New alliances and old feuds will remake the nation, leaving Abi and Luke questioning everything – and everyone – they know. And as Silyen Jardine hungers for the forgotten Skill of the legendary Wonder King, the country’s darkest hour approaches. Freedom and knowledge both come at a cost. So who will pay the price?

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I was torn as to whether I was going to continue this series because I struggled to get through the first book.  Then way before it (Tarnished City) was due to release, I noticed my library had already purchased it in audiobook format…I thought…hmmm…maybe I could eliminate some my issues with Gilded Cage by listening to Tarnished City, rather than reading it.

 

Overall, I'm happy that I gave this series a second chance because this world that Vic James has created is darkly captivating and dangerously alluring.  I applaud her ingenuity with the unique plot and the complex characters.  She also threw in some very clever twists.  While there are still many elements to this that I found confusing and I know I didn't always comprehend the situations totally, I did enjoy it, nonetheless.

 

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~MY RATING~

4.2/5 STARS - GRADE=B+

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Plot~ 4/5

Main Characters~ 4.3/5

Secondary Characters~ 4.3/5

The Feels~ 4/5

Pacing~ 4/5

Addictiveness~ 4/5

Theme or Tone~ 5/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4/5

Originality~ 5/5

Ending~ 4.2/5  Cliffhanger~ More or less…yes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Book Cover~  Awesome, I think this darker version goes with the story better.

Narration~ ☆4.3☆ Avita Jay, for having an accent, which I always seem to struggle with, I thought she was pretty good.

Series~ Dark Gifts #2

Setting~ England & Scotland

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

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