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review 2017-04-18 18:30
Nightmare of the Dead by Vincenzo Bilof
Nightmare Of The Dead - Vincenzo Bilof


Nightmare of the Dead was a different kind of zombie/cannibal novel and I'm torn over it.


On the one hand, I enjoyed the creativity and imagination that went into this story. We have the Union and the Confederacy battling it out, with one side using medical experimentation to create the perfect type of soldier. And somehow this was done with a horror/western type feel to it-kudos to the author for that.


On the other hand, the writing felt disjointed. At times there seemed to be parts that were rewritten and inserted without regard for the paragraphs before and after. There were also a lot of missing words. These issues did bother me and took me out of the flow of the story more than once.


The author's descriptive skills were excellent and believe you me, there is a lot of blood, gore, torture, and rape here to describe. In that vein, Mr. Bilof's writing put me in mind of Tim Curran, whose imagination is beyond compare.


This was a quick reading, short novel and I did enjoy it, it's just that the writing could have been better. I would read more of this author's work in the future, in the hopes that he's honing his craft. If that's the case, then we certainly have not seen the last of Vincenzo Bilof.

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review 2016-12-06 15:57
The Booking by Ramsey Campbell
The Booking (Black Labyrinth) - Ramsey Campbell

The Booking is a strange little novella which had me thinking for days.


Kiefer gets a job in a strange bookstore named Books Are Life. The owner of the shop hates technology but wants to get his inventory listed online-this is now Kiefer's responsibility. He likes to Skype regularly with his girlfriend, but since his employer refuses to allow any type of camera in the shop, he as to make do with audio only. From there this novella wanders off into the weird.


I can't say much more without spoilers, but I loved how this story was put together. I went into it with a clear idea, I thought, of what was happening and by the time the story was over, all of my ideas were upended. I still have a couple of things that I'm not quite clear on, so after a little while, I'm going to read this one again.


Brilliantly written, hiding the plot twists down long, narrow aisles of books, this novella was a real treat. The only reason I'm not awarding five stars is because I developed no real feeling for Kiefer or for the bookshop owner. That little spark was missing. Other than that, I highly recommend this novella for readers that enjoy having their mind tickled by one of the best in the business.


You can get your copy here: The Booking


*Big thanks to Kimberly for gifting me a copy of this book!*

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text 2015-12-29 12:45
Author Participation Group Read at Horror Aficionados, featuring Jonathan Janz!
Wolf Land - Jonathan Janz


The Horror Aficionados Group over at Goodreads is SUPER EXCITED to announce that in January, Jonathan Janz will be joining us in our group read of Wolf Land! He will be available in the thread to answer any questions you might have about Wolf Land, his other books, or on writing in general. (Special thanks go out to Horror Aficionados member Ken McKinley for putting this together! You can find Ken's blog here: Into the Macabre.)


The author of several books such as: Exorcist Road, The Nightmare Girl, The Sorrows, and many others, Jonathan Janz seems to be getting more popular by the day! We at Horror Aficionados are quite honored to have him participate in our first group read of the year.


If you are already a member of Goodreads AND Horror Aficionados you can find the group read here: Jonathan Janz Wolfland Group Read


If you're a member of Goodreads, you can search for our group, Horror Aficionados, and join us.


If you're not a member of Goodreads, you're missing out!


You can purchase your copy of Wolf Land here: Wolf Land. Hope to see you there!

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review 2015-08-24 10:53
The Eyes of the Dragon
The Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King

Stephen King says in the introduction to this book that although he was writing it for his daughter, he made an effort not to talk down to a child audience. Despite his good intentions, I felt that this story was written at a very young level. That doesn't stop it from being a good story, but I think he could have told it in his usual adult voice and made it even better.


Some spoilers ahead:


The premise is fairly well-trodden ground; an evil wizard called Flagg, advisor to the king, craves power. The king has two sons, Peter and Thomas, and the eldest has been groomed for future kingship, while the wizard thinks the second son, Thomas, will be more easily manipulated. So the wizard concocts a plan to kill the king and get the elder son blamed for it, not realising that his efforts to teach the younger son his own sneaky ways will backfire on him when Thomas witnesses the murder.


This is where it all falls down. The evil wizard's plan moves ahead and Peter is blamed for his father's murder, but instead of outing the wizard, Thomas whines and begs for his help because he has not been prepared to be king.


Suspension of disbelief is stretched a bit in this story. I found Peter the most interesting character and was constantly frustrated over Thomas' failure to act. A little sibling jealousy just doesn't wash as sufficient reason to leave his brother rotting in a tower for years! Peter's escape plan also stretched credibility a little too far, unless you think of the story as a fairy tale in the same vein of magic as Rapunzel or Rumplestiltskin.


As much as I love Stephen King, I won't be reading anymore of his children's stories and may not bother with future attempts at Fantasy. He's let me down in this genre.

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review 2015-07-30 00:27
Fathers & Sons
Fathers and Sons - Ivan Turgenev,Richard Freeborn

When I'm drawing a blank about what I want to say in my space about a book, I go take a stroll through my highlights for inspiration.


No inspiration was found this time around! Funnily enough, what I did notice was that when taken in quotes, this book feels quite heavy - when, on the whole, it was very readable.


I had trouble connecting with any one character though I probably most enjoyed Nikolai. His inappropriate love for the servant girl, adoration of his son, and desire to do good by his freed farmers sort of grounds him among the rest of the cast who were quite focused on their own sphere.


Of speaking of the young 'nihilists' or 'the sons', Nikolai says:


'Do you know what I was reminded of, brother? I once had a dispute with our poor mother; she stormed, and wouldn't listen to me. At last I said to her, "Of course, you can't understand me; we belong," I said, "to two different generations." She was dreadfully offended, while I thought, "There's no help for it. It's a bitter pill, but she has to swallow it." You see, now, our turn has come, and our successors can say to us, "You are not of our generation; swallow your pill."

And shortly later, regarding the 'fathers':


'My brother says we are right,' he thought, 'and apart from all vanity, I do think myself that they are further from the truth than we are, though at the same time I feel there is something behind them we have not got, some superiority over us.... Is it youth? No; not only youth. Doesn't their superiority consist in there being fewer traces of the slaveowner in them than in us?'


Which, I think is my takeaway thought. Every generation has to come to grips with the mistakes they make while juggling the solutions to the previous lots mistakes.  Wisdom is gained, not gifted. Taking stock in what we believe to be the truth should be done with an open mind - sometimes tradition wins and should win. But not always. In a book that is in essence about generational gaps, Nikolai was who I felt I'd personally relate to.


Overall, it was very fine to watch Arkady part from the discipleship of Bazarov, our principle nihilist,  and forge his own path, one that leads to love and happiness. 


The irony of Anna not being able to feel, while Bazarov who feels a great deal though he doesn't believe in feeling, was not lost on me. This experience of heartbreak did a big fat load of nothing to help Bazarov become a something other than an ass.


Which is unfortunate, because his own father speaks so lovingly of him:


"He is averse to every kind of demonstration of feeling; many people even find fault with him for such firmness of character, and regard it as a proof of pride or lack of feeling, but men like him ought not to be judged by the common standard, ought they? And here, for example, many another fellow in his place would have been a constant drag on his parents; but he, would you believe it? has never from the day he was born taken a farthing more than he could help, that's God's truth!' And I don't only idolise him, Arkady Nikolaitch, I am proud of him, and the height of my ambition is that some day there will be the following lines in his biography: "The son of a simple army-doctor, who was, however, capable of divining his greatness betimes, and spared nothing for his education ..."' The old man's voice broke"


Which is why, in the end, I didn't feel a whole lot of gushing love for this book. Bazarov was not redeemed. And while I can understand the reality that few men of his caliber of egocentricity are redeemed, I still don't have to like it.


Still, that aside, I think there is a satisfactory outcome for all other characters and I'm glad I read it.




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