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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?


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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)





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 2018-01-26 20:52
Zombie School Lockdown by Grivante
The Zee Brothers: Zombie School Lockdown: Zombie Exterminators, Book 2 - Grivante,Ian McEuen,Grivante Press

What a fun slapstick zombie ride! The Savini Charter School is in deep trouble as first one kid and then a pair of adults and yet another kid come down zombie. Jonas and Judah get called out to do their zombie extermination thing. Of course, no one relishes killing kids (or if you do, then you’re a bit messed up). The brothers do their best to follow the posted rules about weapons and tobacco on school property, because they are polite fellows. Ha!

Meanwhile, JJ and Xanadu head over to the school as well and by the time they get there, they provide some much needed backup. I have mixed feelings about JJ as so much of her role is defined by her boobs. Sometimes I really enjoy her humor and her practical nature. Other times, she’s totally insecure and uses her sexuality as a crutch. But she also has Xanadu who is an awesome dog.

The brothers meet a wonderful nerdy girl named Nantucket (cue questionable limericks) who goes by Nat. She’s into science and home made explosives. This odd hobby comes in very useful for the crew as they have to deal with the growing number of zombies. Nat rocks and I really hope she takes the zombie exterminators under her wing. I can see her being their on-call mad scientist.

All together, it was entertaining and wacky. The characters are unique and the story held my attention all the way through. 4.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Ian McEuen was awesome! His performance for this book was outstanding. He really brings the characters to life and he sounds like he’s fully enjoying the story as well. All his character voices are distinct and his female voices are feminine. I really liked his voice for Nat and his rough, rude voice for the principle. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Grivante. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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review 2018-01-11 00:00
The Zee Brothers Vol.2: Zombie School Lockdown (Zombie Exterminators)
The Zee Brothers Vol.2: Zombie School Lo... The Zee Brothers Vol.2: Zombie School Lockdown (Zombie Exterminators) - Grivante The Zee Brothers are back, hilarious, and cruder than ever. I mean that, quite literally, as the its not too far into the book before one of the adults at the school is caught in a rather compromising position with someone else (not a student) as they turn into a zombie. There is a sausage nommed, and it isn't a Vienna. So, again, just in case you thought otherwise, with a silly title like Zombie School Lockdown, this book is not for kiddos.

Jonah, Judas, and JJ are a fantastic team, and I was happy to see that they were all trying to make their unusual partnership work. Zombie School Lockdown is just as much about the development of the relationship between the three as it is the outbreak in the school. Jonah and Judas are well-meaning and slightly dense, and JJ is self-confident and has a good heart. The result is something that should seem like a semi-disgusting mess but is actually rather just unusually cute Watching Judas and Jonah trying to navigate how to try JJ will have you melting and snickering in turns.

The action is nicely-paced, the imagery disgusting and silly, and as usual, it is all exquisitely narrated by Ian McEuen.

If you haven't read the first book: Zee Brothers: Curse of the Zombie Omelet, I highly recommend you do so before moving on to the second book. You could read just the second book, but you'll get so much more enjoyment out of reading them in order. Grivante is a talented writer who knows how to write action and comedy flawlessly together. I can't wait to see what the next installment in this series is going to bring. I have a feeling its only going to get more ridiculous from here on out. But I am a little worried about the pooch! There's hints in this book that something a bit dangerous is in the works.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Grivante. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-28 13:00
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
Lockdown - Alexander Gordon Smith
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Alex Sawyer finds himself in Furnace Penitentiary; a pit in the ground, its sole purpose to cage away the youngest of offenders. The thing is, Alex may be a thief, and he may have broken the law, but he certainly doesn't belong in Hell. Facing a lifetime underground, of never seeing the sun again, Alex is determined to escape. Good thing he's made friends, for he'll need all the help he can get.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

This wasn't a bad book (the Escape from Furnace series is five instalments long); I actually quite enjoyed it on some level, however certain questions got in the way and became an obstacle I unfortunately couldn't bypass. Without sufficient world-building, I just couldn't fully appreciate the premise of the plot; it seemed too far-fetched to me, lacking in any form of realism. But this is a book, right? It doesn't need to be realistic, it's fiction, after all. Well, if a story's told correctly, if sense is made through the writing, then the author makes you believe, no matter if it's about elves and goblins or whatever else. Words are a tool to be used, to transport us to new worlds that in themselves need to work. This didn't work.

Sure, there was a bit of background on the world, and it touched upon why society believed it imperative to lock away children, but it was minimal and certainly not enough. Logic and reason just kept worming its way into my mind, asking why. Why create the most horrific prison for teenagers? Adults commit appalling crimes just as much, if not worse in comparison, yet this prison - this hell - isn't for them? Let's get the important facts out of the way, shall we?

- Each and every prisoner is there serving a life sentence. LIFE. I recall there being kids younger than fourteen.
- Inmates have zero rights. No visitation, no health checks, nothing regarding the law.
- They're killed and / or transformed into monsters regularly. Basically guinea pigs for the warden and his experiments.
- Oh, and they're all male. No females in sight. I can't say I agree with the exclusion, but I get this is supposed to be a book catered to young boys.

They're thrown away, forgotten about, and whilst I understand the "Summer of Slaughter" may have been a horrendous thing, the plausibility was severely lacking.

Moving on, before I just keep on repeating myself! Another thing that occurred to me throughout the chapters - this series is labelled as "young adult", however I found there to be sensitive material that younger readers could very well find disturbing; including the murder and abuse of minors. This isn't something that bothered me per say, but even I felt a chill or two down my spine at the horror elements Smith included with vivid description.

Despite my complaints and belief that it's extremely flawed, I didn't hate it. I kept wanting to read more, to see what would become of each and every character introduced. I found it interesting to read about Alex's range of emotions; from desperation, to fear, to that spark of hope. The place had an effect on the boy; weighing upon his shoulders until he felt he'd been trapped there a lot longer than the mere days in which was reality. Alex may have made mistakes throughout, but I found him likeable. He had spirit, and despite his mistakes in life, he had a good heart. He wasn't my favourite, though, as Donovan took that position. Older, more mature, he strived to take care of the group. I believed it was completely reasonable for him to question Alex's ideas, and for his mindset to be cynical. I actually felt something when he was taken - some sense of sadness.

Whilst some things got repetitive in regards to the writing (the same thing would be described in different ways, over and over, such as the voices of the "blacksuits"), it worked for me. A lot was able to be conveyed; the sheer ugliness of Furnace itself. The dogs, the "wheezers", and in general the frightening side of the plot, were all written superbly. I felt entertained until the very end, and the cliffhanger promptly made me buy the next one. I guess that was the intention!

In conclusion - I found it to be entertaining, however it failed in convincing me how Furnace could be allowed in any country. I'll be continuing on with the series, with the hopes of having a history lesson.

Solitary is the next instalment of this series, and was first published in 2009.

Notable Scene:

The monster was standing outside my cell, staring at me with eyes so deeply embedded in its shrivelled face that they looked like black marbles. The contraption that covered its mouth and nose was coloured with rust and verdigris, and this close I could see that the ancient metal was stitched permanently into the skin.

© Red Lace 2018

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/05/lockdown-by-alexander-gordon-smith
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review 2017-08-02 00:00
Lockdown: A Novel of Suspense
Lockdown: A Novel of Suspense - Laurie R. King This gets perfect marks for craft; spectacular storytelling with multiple viewpoint characters, each with compelling stories, distinctive voices, a meaningful character arc and a piece of the puzzle that cleverly misdirects. While many backstories and certainly the central event of the story include traumatic events, the overall tone is empathetic, hopeful and uplifting. I read in half a day; couldn't put it down.
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