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review 2018-07-09 13:22
Insidious and disquieting horror. Great evil characters, a very satisfying ending.
Doctor Perry - Kirsten McKenzie

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and thank Rosie Amber (check here if you would like to have your book reviewed) and the author for providing me with an ARC copy of this novel, that I freely chose to review.

I read and reviewed Kirsten McKenzie’s book Painted a while back and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, so when I heard about her new novel, and after reading the description, I knew I should read it.

Although the topic is quite different, there are many similarities between this story and the author’s previous incursion into the horror genre. The setting is not quite as important as the old house was in Painted, but Rose Haven, the retirement home where much of the action takes place, plays a central role in the story. This home, which had previously been a motel, has not much to recommend it, other than being cheap. There are a few sympathetic members of staff, but mostly, from the director to the nursing and auxiliary staff, people are in it for what they can get, try to do as little as possible, and some are downright dangerous. Caring professionals they are not, that’s for sure. What comes across more than anything is how dehumanised and dehumanising a place it is, but there are also gothic elements to it, particularly the doctor’s lab, that seems to have come right out of Frankenstein or Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The novel also has a timeless feel, as there is talk about television and the news, but no mention of social media or modern technology, and the action is set in the recent past, or in a parallel time-frame, similar but not quite the same as our present. Even with the outdoors scenes and the many settings, the novel manages to create a sense of claustrophobia that makes readers feel uneasy as if they were also trapped and caught up in the conspiracy.

I found this novel much more plot-driven than the previous one. The cast of characters is much larger here (there is a list at the end, which is quite useful), and it is not always easy to keep them separate, as some of them don’t have major roles, and sometimes the only difference between them might be their degree of nastiness or their specific bad habits (drug use, thieving, violence…). Some characters we don’t know well enough to be able to make our minds up about, like the police officers or some of Dr Perry’s patients. There are not many truly sympathetic characters, and even those (like Elijah and Sulia) show a certain degree of moral ambiguity that makes the novel much more interesting and realistic in my opinion. The book is full of characters that show psychopathic tendencies, and its shining star is Doctor Perry. I’ll try not to reveal any spoilers, but from the cover of the book and the description, I think anybody reading the book will know who the main baddie is (as I said, he’s not alone, but he is in a league of his own). He is a fascinating character, and we learn more and more about him as we read, although there’s enough left to readers’ imagination to keep him alive in our minds for a long time. Oh, there are two other characters that are quite high up in the malevolent league, but I’ll let you discover them yourselves. (I love them!)

The author uses the same peculiar point of view she used in Painted to narrate the story. The novel is written in the third person, from the point of view of most of the characters, from the residents in the hospital to the receptionist, and of course, the doctor, while also having moments when we are told things from an outside observer’s perspective (it is not a third-person omniscient POV but it is not a third-person limited point of view either, but a combination of the two), and that increases the intrigue and adds to the novel rhythm and pacing. There is head-hopping, as a chapter can be experienced through several different characters, and I recommend paying attention to all the details, although the main characters are very distinct and their points of view easy to tell apart. The mystery, in this case, is not who the guilty party is (that is evident from the beginning) but what exactly is happening and who the next victim will be. And also, how it will all end. In case you’re wondering, and although I won’t give you any specifics, I enjoyed the ending.

There are great descriptions of places, characters’ thoughts, and their sensations (including those due to chronic illness, which are portrayed in a realistic and accurate way), and also of some of the ‘supernatural’ (I can’t be more precise not to ruin the surprise) processes that take place. There is more gore in this novel than in the previous one, and although it is not extreme, I would not recommend it to people who are hypersensitive and have a vivid imagination unless they like horror. If you can easily “feel the pain” of the characters, this could be torture.

Another fascinating novel by Kirsten McKenzie, and one that will make readers think beyond the plot to related subjects (elderly abuse, unethical behaviours by caring professionals…). Great evil characters and a very satisfying ending. I recommend it to readers of horror who enjoy a gothic touch, and to those who prefer their horror ambiguous, insidious, and disquieting.

(Don’t miss the mention of a real orphanage in Florida and the link to donate to their important cause).

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text 2018-07-03 10:59
Deborah Brown - Paradise Series latest mystery is here!!
Blownup in Paradise - Deborah Brown

Deborah Brown - Paradise Series latest mystery is here!!
Set against the backdrop of sun-kissed tropical waters, sexy sleuths Maddison and Fab take you on one highly entertaining adventure!

"The author has added unique characters and situations that are descriptive and unforgettable in each one of the books of this series. I have a vision in my mind of how each character looks. Good or bad, they have all found a way into my heart. Needless to say, I could read this series forever." -Julie Geter Baswell

"This is the story of Madison and Fab who once again find them selves in a bit of a pickle. This story will keep you on your toes with lots of mystery and suspense involved. Great story by Deborah Brown and look forward to the next instalment in the “Paradise” series." - Tfaulcbookreviews

"Everything is being blown up in this one--boats--docks--tempers. Fab is up to her usual tricks--well not as much now that the boyfriends are watching them VERY closely and have decided to accompany them to keep them from getting hurt in this wonderful and zany series" - Miki's Hope

Available on....
Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B4ZLDBJ
Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0998440450
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blownup-in-paradise-deborah-brown/1128103869

I’ve come a long way since inheriting my Aunt Elizabeth’s Tarpon Cove house and her beach cottages full of quirky residents. I strap a Glock to my thigh as easily as I slip into flip-flops.

Even Fab is going legit… mostly. When she’s hired to investigate some high-end boat thefts in Biscayne Bay, I go along to do what I do best. Chat up the help to get the real story.

Neither of us expected the case to explode—literally—and take out one of Miami’s richest men. And possibly a mistress, though no one’s found her body floating among the bits and pieces.

Somewhere in the Miami upper-crust’s phony smiles and even phonier alibis there’s someone who wanted to see Marshall Sacks dead. Someone willing to ruin Fab’s and my lives to keep their secret. It’ll take calling in every favor I’m owed to keep us out of trouble.

Read more on the #book, series and author here...
https://beckvalleybooks.blogspot.com/2018/06/blownup-in-paradise-by-deborah-brown_6.html

Source: beckvalleybooks.blogspot.com/2018/06/blownup-in-paradise-by-deborah-brown_6.html
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text 2018-06-19 18:45
I hope you'll join me on Thursday...
Jurassic, Florida - Hunter Shea

when author Hunter Shea joins me for a guest post in which he discusses his top five people-eating monster books! If you're a fan of creature features, you don't want to miss it! 

 

 

Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter’s novels can even be found on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum. His video podcast, Monster Men, is one of the most watched horror podcasts in the world. He’s a bestselling author of over 13 (lucky number!) books, all of them written with the express desire to quicken heartbeats and make spines tingle. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to gobble down Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.

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review 2018-06-18 11:47
JURASSIC, FLORIDA by Hunter Shea
Jurassic, Florida - Hunter Shea

The quiet town of Polo Springs, Florida, (It's where you go to die!), is about to suffer from an invasion the likes of which it has never seen. Hurricanes? No problem! Climate change? No worries! Giant Iguanas? What the..what???

 

That's right, lizards! At first they're cute and remind you of those television commercials. Then, they seem to be larger than your average geckos. Then, they seem like they must be on steroids or something. And then? Then, they are bigger than your car and threatening to destroy your house! Will the people of Polo Springs survive? You'll have to read this novella to find out!

 

Hunter Shea is the man when it comes to fun creature features. That's all there is to it. There's no shame in serving up fine horror cheese, (and this is cheesy, have no doubt), because, let's face it - sometimes we are just in the mood for some chasing and chomping! What creature is doing the dining? Who cares? Who's getting eaten? Perhaps some of us like to substitute certain members of our families or co-workers for the actual characters... what? Who said that? Anyway, pretty much everyone is getting eaten and that's what's fun about it! There's no fake, drippy sentimentality here. Everyone is fair game.

 

Once again, I came away from this creature feature interlude totally entertained and with another story to tell my friends. "I just read this great book about..." 

 

Highly recommended for fans of creature feature FUN!

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!* 

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review 2018-01-31 12:09
Book Review - Ambushed in Paradise by Deborah Brown
Ambushed in Paradise (Florida Keys Mystery Series Book 12) - Deborah Brown

Here we go again with the crazy gang in the Florida Keys, but this time it is a bitter heart ache for Madison as the love of her life has gone. Faced with the prospect of being alone and not wanting to interfere with her souls mate love life she throws herself into even more wild situations than before. This is to try and avoid the sympathy factor and give her the chance to grieve in her own way.

The usual characters are larger than life and show how much compassion and love they have for Madison in her time of need. The full range of human emotions is felt in this particular story and you just want to reach out and protect Madison. The excellent character traits of those around her are expertly described especially with not knowing what do for the best.

The story is another page turning adventure of fast cars, guns, love and the feeling of loss and the hope of the future. Another fantastic instalment from Deborah Brown and cannot wait for the next escapades in Florida Keys.

Source: beckvalleybooks.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/ambushed-in-paradise-by-deborah-brown.html
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