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review 2020-06-27 23:54
NIGHTBLOOD by T. Chris Martindale
Nightblood - T. Chris Martindale

3.5/5 stars!


This was total 80's, cheesy, horror fun. Uzis and vampires in a small town. There's so many horror tropes involved I don't know where to begin, so I think I'll just leave it at that.


My complaints mostly focus on the fact that the book is a bit too long. If you don't take things too seriously, and you enjoy that fun, silly Rambo-like type of horror, than this is for you!




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review 2020-06-18 23:00
LET'S GO PLAY AT THE ADAMS' by Mendal W. Johnson
Let's Go Play At The Adams' - Mendal W. Johnson

LET'S GO PLAY AT THE ADAM'S has quite the reputation, so I was excited to finally read it. In some ways, the book lived up to the hype, and in other ways, not so much.


I'm not going to run down the plot because it's pretty apparent even by just looking at the cover. This book was loosely based on a real case. The young woman's name was Sylvia Likens, and I know that I'll never forget her. I've read about her in another book: THE GIRL NEXT DOOR by Jack Ketchum. A book that I forced myself to finish. It was brutal in its descriptions of what happened to her, and I felt like I somehow owed it to her to keep reading until the end. I expected this book to be a kind of rehash of that one, but it wasn't. I also expected it to be rather trashy, and it wasn't that either.


LET'S GO PLAY has a different set up but it gets to the meat of the story right off the bat. This was where I began to realize that there was going to be a lot of psychology in this book. Not only in the captive's head, but in the heads of the children as well. We have kids varying in age from 17 down to 10. We get to peek inside the heads of all of them. I'm no expert, but I read a lot of psychological horror, and the thoughts going through all of these different heads seemed spot on to me. Everyone here acted their ages, and their inner thoughts reflected their later actions.


I have to say LET'S GO PLAY AT THE ADAMS' surprised me. It was more well written than I thought it would be, and the psychology seemed spot on. The facts remain however, this denouement was the same as in Ketchum's book, and as in real life. It was a tragedy and these kids were monsters.




Trigger warnings:

Rape and Torture

(spoiler show)


*Thank you to Valancourt Books for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback.*

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review 2020-06-10 16:39
'Hell Is Empty - Walt Longmire #7' by Craig Johnson
Hell Is Empty - Craig Johnson,George Guidall

In 'Hell Is Empty' Craig Johnson has attempted something very ambitious and done it pretty well but I hope he doesn't feel the need to do it again.


Unlike its predecessors, 'Hell Is Empty' doesn't have a mystery at its heart. We know from the beginning who the bad guys are, even if we don't know exactly why they're doing what they're doing. The FBI have, for various plausible reasons that they'll kick themselves for later, transported some very bad men into the Wyoming mountains just before a major ice storm (Hey, it's May, what did you expect at that altitude?). Of course, things go wrong, people die and the rest of the book is about Walt's relentless, lone pursuit of the men up the mountain in the storm.


At the beginning, this reads like a relatively normal hunt-the-bad-guys plot, with Walt at the centre bringing his unique mix of dry wit, erudite commentary, dogged determination and decisive action to the chase.


Then, as Walt gets tired, the altitude climbs and the weather gets worse, we move into something that feels more like a Vision Quest. It's not clear whether Walt is being guided by a real person (a character we met in a previous book) or by a spirit guide appearing as that person or whether Walt is just hallucinating as his refusal to give up bumps into the physical effects of hypothermia.


I think Craig Johnson does a splendid job of walking this is it real or isn't it line while keeping the tension high, the action constant and still finding time for to share Walt's reflections on Dante's 'inferno' and the idea that the worst hell is in the mind and Walt's deep understanding of how a monster like the man he is chasing is created and the terrible harm that he does.


The final scene at the top of the mountain is beautifully done. It's dramatic, visually stunning and works as a conclusion to both the mystical and the material explanations of Walt's quest.


The epilogue was also very distinctive. It went beyond the 'let's wrap up the loose ends and finish on a positive note' scope of the traditional epilogue and showed that Walt can't just shrug off his experience and step back into his old life. That rang true to me and I admired it.




Although I could see that this was both a bold book to write and that it was well written, it wasn't as much fun as usual. Walt's head is a fascinating place to visit but an exhausting place to live in. In the books so far, Walt has been supported by a cast of interesting characters who aid or obstruct him in solving mysteries and bringing the bad guys to justice. In 'Hell Is Empty' we have nearly half a book that is Walt all the time and I found it tiring.


So, I'm hoping book eight, 'As The Crow Flies' brings me back to more familiar, less ambitious territory that's easier for me to enjoy.


Still, I recognise that, as is the way with Spirit Quests, the Walt who came down the mountain is not the same Walt who went up it and I'm intrigued to see how that change will manifest in future stories.

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review 2020-05-28 13:51
The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell
The Doors of Perception/Heaven and Hell - Aldous Huxley

by Aldous Huxley




This is a well-known treatise on altered perceptions and is loosely categorized as Philosophy.


The Doors of Perception is largely about the author's experience of mescaline and the altered mental perceptions of the world he experienced under the influence of the drug. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with the limited viewpoint as this could have been much more interesting with input by other people, especially native American people who have traditionally used Peyote for spiritual questing in their rituals.


The sequel, Heaven and Hell, goes more into the philosophical musings that I was interested to find. In this follow-up, Huxley discusses correlations between hallucinogenic drug experience, especially the heightened sense of color, and religious experience as well as the natural attraction our species has to gemstones and flowers with bright colors.


It made for dry reading, yet had some interesting points. The rock band, The Doors, named themselves for this book so curiosity made me want to read it. I wouldn't recommend it for deep Philosophy, but it was interesting in parts and blissfully short. Reading a few pages at a time worked for me to keep from letting the boredom mask the worthwhile insights.

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review 2020-05-17 21:58
Great Story and Characters
Legacy Found (Hell's Valley #4) - Jillian David

Following a traumatic accident in the Army, Kerr Taggart returns to Hell's Valley to come to terms with the man he’s become, so he can take the biggest chance of his life . . . asking the beautiful and forbidden Izzy Brand out on a date. But even if he achieves Mission Date Izzy Brand, Izzy’s family remains intent on destroying the Taggart family, and remains aligned with the rising supernatural creature plotting to steal Taggart land.

This was really good, right from the beginning. I really liked Kerr (although there were a few times I wanted to smack him upside the head) right off. I liked Izzy too, however for about the first half of the book I was really questioning her thought process. I hadn’t read any of the other books in the series, but it was pretty easy to catch on about the family dynamics. At this point, I plan on going back to read the first three! I highly recommend.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book

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