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review 2017-04-30 18:29
Soles by Kay Brandt
Soles - Kay Brandt

Soles has the most original premise of any book I've read so far this year!

 

Roland has inherited his family's shoe shop which has gone severely downhill since the violent death of his parents. His Aunt Grace has tried to keep it going, but is finally throwing in the towel and handing it over to Rolie. Problem is, he's not interested and...oh yeah, the place is haunted.

 

I'm not going to act like I understood everything that went on, but honestly, I don't need to understand every little thing. The atmosphere went from slightly silly when Rolie first took over the store and hired Stephanie, to deadly serious when Stephanie's friends came to rob the store. There were some extremely creepy moments,

especially when the shop kept locking its own doors, trapping Rolie inside. For some reason, that gave me the shudders.

(spoiler show)

 

  In the end, I'm not positive as to the cause of things, but I'm okay with that because I enjoy ambiguous stories and providing my own ideas as to what was happening :

my thoughts being that Rolie's father, literally, put his soul into the soles, (see what I did there?), and they carried it on, as did the shop itself, long after he was gone. Or perhaps the shop was haunted before Roland's dad ever took it over? 

(spoiler show)

Am I right or am I wrong? That's the beauty of ambiguous stories: I don't know. Perhaps you'll come up with your own theory and we can discuss it?

 

Soles is an original take on a haunting and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The writing was above average and in the creative department this tale knocked the ball out of the park. As such, I recommend it-especially to readers that don't need everything tied up in a neat little bow. If this sounds interesting to you, you can grab your copy here: Soles and we can discuss it when you're done!

 

*I was provided an e-copy of this novella in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-04-28 18:00
People of the Sun by Jason Parent
People of the Sun - Jason Parent

People of the Sun is a science fiction tale with heart!

 

Have you ever wondered how the world would react if we ever made "first contact" (to borrow from Star Trek, that's right, I'm a Trekkie), with an alien race? As Dave Matthews asks in his song Time Bomb, "If Martians fell from the sky, what would that do to God? Would we put the weapons down, or aim them up at the sky?" This book has its own way of answering that question.

 

When we imagine aliens, we might think of little green men, or ET or perhaps "gray men." However we might think of them, we do seem to think of them as all alike. This book addresses the likely fact that they are NOT all the same, that each of them has a personality just as we do. What happens if some of them are good and some are not? Everything becomes that much more complicated, doesn't it?

 

I'm not going further into the plot because the synopsis and several other reviews already do that. I will say that this book made me think of our likely response,(as a nation), and what I came up with was not pretty. It gets exponentially worse when I think of our response as a WORLD, with all of our different governments, with great and petty leaders alike.

 

I think Mr. Parent's take on all this was realistic and it caused me to think about all of these issues and more. Even though this was mainly a science-fiction novel, it had elements of horror. It was also well written. A good story entertains, has complex characters and it makes you think. People of the Sun has all that and as such I recommend it!

 

*Thanks to the author for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it. Further, I consider this author to be a friend, but this did not affect the content of my review.*

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review 2017-04-27 16:12
Review: Jackals by Stuart R Brogan
Jackals - Stuart R Brogan


I have to say, I'm kind of fed up with a lot of the horror books lately. A large proportion of the horror released of late has been either the same old stories told in a slightly different way or are labelled as "extreme horror" and are full of violence and gore thrown in for nothing more than shock value with no real plot to speak of. But, I'm glad to say that that wasn't the case with Jackals.

 

How far would you go to protect the ones you love? Who can you trust when the seeds of corruption and violence have wormed their way into every crack?

 

Jackals was one heck of a wild and gory ride. It's most definitely not a book for the faint of heart. The action kicks off in great gory detail almost immediately and keeps you on the edge of your seat to the very end. The author takes the reader on an action-packed adrenaline ride to the deepest darkest depths of depravity and exposes the sadistic, twisted, and primitive side of human nature.

 

"They are without doubt some of the most dangerous people out there and the worrying thing is that ninety-nine percent of the population doesn't even know they exist..."

 

Nobody is what they seem. Take nothing, and no one, for granted. Heroes and villains emerge in the most unlikely of places. There is no safe place for the reader or the characters. The twists and turns keep you on your toes, they mess with your head, you're never quite sure what's around the corner or who's going to turn on you next.

 

Definitely one I would recommend.

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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review 2017-04-27 16:03
Just Add Water by Hunter Shea
Just Add Water - Hunter Shea

Amazing sea monkeys!! Remember those ads in the back of comic books? Didn't you always want them? I know I did. But my mean smart parents never let me order them because they were a "waste of money." That's what David and Patrick's parents told them too, but they ordered them anyway. Just Add Water is the story of what happened next.

 

 

This novella read so fast and was so much fun that I almost read it all in one sitting. It's exactly what a creature feature fan wants in a story. Lots of action? Check! High body count? Check! Lots of blood and gore? Check! This tale has the added bonus of being set in the 80's, and 80's nostalgia works for me.

 

All in all, I say "head's up" creature feature fans! This one is not to be missed! I highly recommend it!

 

*Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin/Random House for the free e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2017-04-27 15:34
This Was a Hard One to Rate
Swan Song - Robert R. McCammon

So many of my friends absolutely love "Swan Song" and I felt badly that I did not love this book as much as they did.

 

I think most of my problems revolve around the fact that there are three separate mini-plots going on in this book before everything syncs up in the final couple of hundred pages (this book was a behemoth!) and I just was not feeling anything.

 

Maybe because I seriously doubt that after just a few years after a world wide nuclear event the sun would just come out one day and that people would be able to eat all of the food from the poisoned Earth. That is where the fantasy part comes into play though. So I had to turn my brain off a bit while reading and stopped saying that can't happen.

 

Also, I really loved the character of Josh. But Swan got on my nerves (I am so ashamed!). I hated the fact that everyone was so focused on keeping her safe they were putting themselves in danger and she stupidly a couple of times thought that turning herself over would be the best thing. And also that her talking was enough to get people to put down their weapons.

 

Maybe I am looking at this book way too much in the lens of the recent U.S. election when a smart capable woman was demonized. And I look at the character of Swan and think that in most cases she would have been hung as a witch and or ignored cause who is going to listen to what some girl says. I loved what McCammon was trying to do with this book, but like I said, maybe my own cynicism stopped me from just letting go and enjoying this book. 

 

"Swan Song" is parts fantasy and I didn't really get the horror aspect of it. There is a character that comes along that I found absurdly pathetic. I think we were supposed to be scared of them. But for me, I was more scared of the human characters like Roland and Macklin who justified the things that they were doing. Even though I found them terrible. I still felt for them because you realize pretty early on that Roland was broken before the nuclear war and just went even more over the edge after it. Also can I say that I hated this character having the name of Roland. It made me think of Stephen King's "Gunslinger". 

 

 

I thought the writing was good though. I liked the message that McCammon was trying to push a bit about how love and listening was more important than guns. And that a girl (young woman) could rise up to be the leader the world needed. I just feel bad that I didn't find it believable which says more about me than him.

 

“No man was ever prouder of a daughter than I am of you,” Josh whispered in her ear. “You’re going to do wonderful things, Swan. You’re going to set things right again, and long before you come back to Mary’s Rest ... I’ll hear your name from travelers, and they’ll say they know of a girl called Swan who’s grown up to be a beautiful woman. They’ll say she has hair like fire, and that she has the power of life inside her. And that’s what you must return to the earth, Swan. That’s what you must return to the earth.”

 

The flow was off the whole book though. The POV would switch between Josh/Swan, Roland/Macklin and then Sister and whoever she was running around with. By the end McCammon kept adding and disposing of characters left and right and I couldn't keep a lot of people straight. I teared up when we get to the scenes with Leona and Killer (the terrier) but after that I just stopped really engaging with any of the characters and just pushed myself to finish the book.

 

The ending leaves the world as we have come to know it in a new wave of reconciliation and rebuilding. 

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