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review 2018-03-30 02:06
Moonstruck by Graeme Reynolds (2016 Review)
Moonstruck - Graeme Reynolds

Moonstruck by Graeme Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Best Read 2016

Now in police custody, John Simpson is quickly running out of options. His face is all over the news for the grisly murders of multiple people, and the full moon is vast approaching yet again. If that wasn't bad enough, a squad of professional killers have been sent to take him out. He's a threat, an apparent moonstruck, with no control over his monster - or so the pack believes. John's not the only one in danger however; those that know too much must be silenced, including the law enforcement involved with the High Moor investigation.

(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)

High Moor was my one and only five star book of 2014, with very good reason. It surpassed my expectations and instantly plunged me into an exciting roller-coaster of claws and teeth. Everybody was fair game, every limb at risk of being ripped off - the extreme brutality throughout shocked me as well as thrilled me, but it wasn't just about violence and gore. It was about a man with a terrible beast lurking beneath the surface, and a society determined to remain hidden. This second instalment was no different in terms of pace and edge-of-your-seat excitement. I found myself drawn into the life and death situations of characters old and new, and a few I truly liked from the get-go. There's something about how Reynolds spins a tale, and that coupled with my love for werewolves, is the perfect combination.

The plot largely centred upon the werewolf pack, led by Michael as alpha, and their attempts to cover up the rather messy events that transpired in the previous book. Getting a more in-depth look at their inner workings and at their harsh, yet understandable, methods of taking care of the situation was thoroughly engrossing. Of course they went to great lengths to secure the secrecy of their race; realistically, we (humanity), would outright eradicate them upon the discovery of their existence. Perhaps not at first, but eventually. No matter how much it may be denied, we are a destructive force, and peace would most assuredly be merely an illusion. Because of this, I didn't dislike Oskar and his team for doing what they did out of necessity, but Connie was another matter. She was the heartless villain that enjoyed the cruelty and pain of her victims. She was so consumed by hate. I have to admit, she provided some very tense scenes, like the one with Olivia, which I couldn't read fast enough; I needed to know if the poor woman survived.

John and Marie both returned and their romance took a step further, albeit with an awkward, yet sweet moment. I appreciated that amongst the horrific bloodshed, there was at least a little bloom of love and the potential for quite the power couple. Steven Wilkinson also proved to be deadlier than ever, yet no longer did he desire an allegiance with John, but four unsuspecting policemen. I was quite fond of Phil Fletcher in particular, the older and higher ranked copper, as he seemed the decent sort. Hopefully he reappears in the final book of the trilogy, perhaps as a hunter himself. Considering the ending, there's no doubt things are going to escalate for every character.

Another aspect I favoured was when Marie admitted to there being other types of supernatural creatures; vampires included. This made me smile and wonder of the possibility of more novels being set within the world of High Moor. I'd definitely read them!

In conclusion: Utmost excitement - excellent werewolf savagery. I'll be keeping an eye on Reynolds' future works, as I just love how he spins a tale.

Notable Scene:

If anything, the experience was worse going from wolf to human than it had been from man to beast. The savage fangs pushed their way back through his gums, feeling as if a dentist was drilling all of his teeth at once, without the benefit of anaesthetic. Black talons forced their way under his already forming fingernails, while every bone in his body splintered and reformed, flowing like liquid to their original shape. The worst thing, however, was the itching burn across every inch of his skin, as thousands of coarse black hairs pushed their way into his flesh. He cried out in agony, but his vocal chords were half way between human and werewolf, so all that escaped his lips was a strange combination of howl and scream.

© Red Lace 2016

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/03/30/moonstruck-by-graeme-reynolds-2016-review
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text 2018-02-01 00:56
January in Review

January in Review

(Read: 5 / Reviewed: 9)

It's certainly been an interesting, if not a long, month! Phew, I thought January would never end! Fortunately I got through some great books and was able to write two reviews each week. This new routine really helped me stay on top of things. Let's take a look at all the bookish goodness, shall we?

Read

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Splatterpunk Fighting Back by (multiple) - This analogy has eleven individual stories written by different authors. Going in, I was only vaguely familiar with Duncan Ralston, having previously finished Woom. I never would've discovered this had it not been for Horror Aficionados on Goodreads, of who appointed it the January group read with author invite. I was lucky enough to ask some of the authors questions whilst trying to gain more insight into their brutal tales, and I had a blast! The best thing, though? All proceeds of this book go to charity! (Rated: 4/5)

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay - Another one I wouldn't have picked up if not for the Horror Aficionados group. Being the January group read, I was pleasantly surprised by this one! (Rated: 4/5)

The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter - I started this long-running series in 2011, and it's still ongoing. Whilst I really enjoyed it at the beginning, my enjoyment waned several instalments ago, however I can't just give up without finishing it, can I? Ludicrous! (Rated: 2/5)

What Hides Within by Jason Parent - I found this on Netgalley, and I'm glad I did! Bloodshot Books accepted my request, and I promptly read and reviewed it. (Rated: 4/5)

Morium by S.J. Hermann - I was requested to read and review this novel by the author. Being my last read of January, this one takes priority and will be the first review of February. See my request information here. (Rated: 3/5)

 

Reviewed 

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Blood Song by Cat Adams (WORST READ)
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson
Stephen by Amy Cross
The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards
Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds (BEST READ)
Woom by Duncan Ralston
What Hides Within by Jason Parent
Dark Space by Kevis Hendrickson

Other than that, January was a decent month for me personally. I'm enjoying reading more, getting out more, and generally trying to put more effort into my day-to-day life. I thank everyone who made this past month all the better, including the wonderful authors I had the chance to speak to! Here's hoping for a book-tastic February!

Red xx

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/31/january-in-review
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-01-20 22:01
Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds
High Moor 3: Blood Moon - Graeme Reynolds

Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Top Read 2017 * * * * *

Atrocities committed in the name of war. In this incredibly brutal finale, the world attempts to deal with the fact that werewolves are real, and oh-so-dangerous. Security measures are taken and, on both sides, death is dealt to those undeserving. As the body count increases exponentially, difficult decisions have to be made, and extreme action has to be taken.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

It's no secret that I absolutely adore this bloodstained trilogy with all my heart - each instalment elicited an abundance of excitement, thrilling me with every character and their often perilous ventures. Blood Moon proved to be one hell of an epic conclusion, even if it left me saddened because I just didn't want it to end. It's extremely rare that I consistently rate so high - usually I find highs as well as lows, my overall enjoyment changing, sometimes drastically, throughout a series, but with Graeme's wolf-tastic world, each addition kept me entranced. Not only did it maintain its strong quality of descriptive writing, it continued to surprise, delight and disturb me. There's actually something I feel I need to state, because it's been in my mind and, for me, it holds a lot of significance:

An author doesn't need to be a best-seller, or have a great deal of recognition to be a great writer. I believe it's our job, as readers, to discover the hidden gems out there, to bring acknowledgement to the stories that bring us joy.

It pains me to think of deserving authors going unnoticed, and not even given a chance by the wider community, but I digress. Let's get back to the review, shall we?

There's a lot of characters to keep track of and, I admit, returning after a year since reading Moonstruck was confusing at first. I found myself trying to remember who was who, but it swiftly returned to me the further I went. I daresay these novels are meant to be read in order; context plays a big part in understanding how the war came to be, not to mention the journey each character had to traverse to reach that point. Marie and John were undoubtedly my favourites, as despite being apart for most of the book, they had time to shine in their own individual ways. Marie had to step-up, become what she never thought she'd become, and John had to endure and overcome a great deal.

Of course, amongst the large cast, others stood out as well - Phil and his desperation to return to his beloved wife, and Daniel, who just wanted the best for the pack. Every single one had their own unique personality, and their own agenda that added a considerable amount of substance.

To tell you the truth, it was at times hard to root for either side. Both the human force and the werewolf pack did terrible, terrible things. Just who was the lesser evil? Well, I'm not sure, both were neck-deep in murky waters - the pack just wanted to survive, but in retaliation of their species being killed and imprisoned, they set upon a whole town of human civilians, either savagely butchering them, or turning them into moonstruck. This included children, so I can't quite say the pack was at all innocent in the situation. I felt a whole lot of dread right before that High Moor slaughter; I knew it was coming and the anticipation nearly killed me.

The ending I considered to be bittersweet. I understood why it needed to be so, but I still felt rather bad about it. It was, after all, a last resort, and I couldn't stop thinking about what all those people would lose. I almost had tears it my eyes, and that's another oddity, as most of the time nothing I read renders me so emotional, and if it does, that in itself makes it special.

One more thing, before this review comes to an end. A paragraph in chapter eighteen piqued my interest, specifically, this one:

On occasion, the she-wolf picked up the scent of fresh death in the air, and when the two of them happened across an old stone mausoleum, the air crackled with an atmosphere of malevolence that raised both wolves' hackles and forced them to back track to find another path around the place.

Is it possible that was a hint of another monster? Perhaps it was just me, but I got a vampiric vibe that I just couldn't shake! It's a little - a mere hint - but it certainly stuck out. Since it was confirmed that other creatures did exist, I kept it in mind to pay extra attention for any teasers, and I believe I may have found one.

In conclusion - I was lucky to discover this trilogy, and honoured to read it. Werewolf horror at its finest, and I hope Reynolds one day returns to this world. I'm sure it has much more to offer.

Notable Scene:

Where Amy's pretty face had been, there was only a bloodstained skull. The bone had deep gouges carved into it and Amy's beautiful blue eyes stared out of the gore at nothing. Her friend's body stood on its own for a second, then fell to the floor in a crumpled heap. Anna couldn't help herself. She turned to Matty and was met by a visage from the depths of hell. The boy's eyes were flat, reflective disks in the flicking candlelight. His face is distorted - the bone stretched into a snout filled with row upon row of razor sharp fangs. A mass of bloody flesh and muscle dangled from between those terrible jaws. They crunched once, then swallowed. Matty brought up a clawed hand and wiped his mouth. "Aye, she wasnae wrong. She did have a tasty face."

description

© Red Lace 2018

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/20/blood-moon-by-graeme-reynolds
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text 2017-01-01 16:03
Top 10 Reads of 2016
Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
Letters To The Damned - Austin Crawley
The Other Einstein: A Novel - Marie Benedict
Phantom - Susan Kay
Gravity Spike: Episode Six of The Chronicles of the Harekaiian - Shanna Lauffey
Suicide Forest - Jeremy Bates
Einstein's Secret - Irving Belateche
High Moor - Graeme Reynolds
Demoniac Dance (The Goblin Series, #2) - Jaq D. Hawkins

There were several other very good reads, but these are the ones that kept me going back to read a little more or sitting up at night because I didn't want to stop.

 

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

 

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

 

Letters to the Damned by Austin Crawley

 

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

 

Phantom by Susan Kay

 

Gravity Spike by Shanna Lauffey

 

Suicide Forest by Jeremy Bates

 

Einstein's Secret by Irving Belateche

 

High Moor by Graeme Reynolds

 

Demoniac Dance by Jaq D. Hawkins

 

 

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text 2016-08-22 15:00
Lining up some selections for Halloween Bingo!
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman
America's Most Haunted Hotels: Checking in with Uninvited Guests - Jamie Davis Whitmer
Willa Wicked: A Charming Tale - A.M. Hudson
Letters To The Damned - Austin Crawley
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
Insects - John Koloen
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Illustrated) and Other Tales By Washington Irving - Washington Irving
{ [ HIGH MOOR [ HIGH MOOR BY REYNOLDS, GRAEME ( AUTHOR ) NOV-17-2011[ HIGH MOOR [ HIGH MOOR BY REYNOLDS, GRAEME ( AUTHOR ) NOV-17-2011 ] BY REYNOLDS, GRAEME ( AUTHOR )NOV-17-2011 PAPERBACK ] } Reynolds, Graeme ( AUTHOR ) Nov-17-2011 Paperback - Graeme Reynolds
Dracula and Other Stories by Bram Stoker. (Complete and Unabridged). Includes Dracula, the Jewel of Seven Stars, the Man (Aka: The Gates of Life), the - Bram Stoker
The Human Ate My Pumpkin! - Jon Mac

So, I've never done a Bingo before and it looks like a lot of books to read in just a couple of months considering how many I normally get through, but I should be able to do a couple of lines at least.

 

With that in mind, I've been identifying books for some of the categories. 4 are re-reads. I don't want to make it more than that because, new authors! And being a glutton for punishment, I've had a look through the Amazon free Kindle books under Horror to see what might fill a few spaces.

 

I haven't got enough books to fill any one line yet, but 2 lines at least just need 2 more to be identified to make them doable.

 

So far I have:

 

Magical Realism

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (re-read)

I wanted to re-read this anyway, so it was a no-brainer.

 

Ghost Stories and Haunted Houses

America's Most Haunted Hotels by Jamie Davis Whitmer
A Netgalley book I haven't started yet. I already read the others that were Horror.
 

Young Adult Horror

Willa Wicked by A.M. Hudson
An Amazon freebie. I'm not a big YA reader, but this sounded like it might not suck too badly.
 

Reads With Booklikes Friends

Letters to the Damned by Austin Crawley
Hoping to buddy read this with someone, though I have no takers yet. I have it on pre-order for 1st October so if no one reads it with me, I'll put it on the Genre: Horror square or maybe Supernatural.
 

Grave or Graveyard

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (re-read)
Another re-read which I know I could get through pretty quickly, unless I find something else from a new author.
 

Creepy Crawlies

Insects: A Novel by John Koloen
Another Amazon freebie. It's over 400 pages so I'll keep an eye out for something shorter, but it was an obvious fill for the space.
 

Set in New England

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
One of those classics I've been wanting to read for ages! It's sitting on my Kindle and has been for a long time.
 

Full Moon

High Moor by Graeme Reynolds
One that's been on my tbr for a long time. Werewolves, full moon, I see a connection.
 

Classic Horror

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Another tbr classic sitting on my Kindle.
 

Pumpkin

The Human Ate My Pumpkin! by Jon Mac
Another Amazon freebie that looks like it might not entirely suck.
 
I don't know if I'll get to all of these in the time frame, but it gives me some references to work from. My next move will be to look through all those books on my Kindle that I've accrued and see if there's anything to fit the remaining categories!
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