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review 2017-05-15 14:00
Skitter by Ezekiel Boone
Skitter: A Novel (The Hatching Series Book 2) - Ezekiel Boone

SPIDERS! HELL YEAH!

 

Even though I loathe the things in real life, I find them so entertaining to read about when done well. Skitter is done very well!

 

We start right where The Hatching left off, (which was with a cliffhanger), and I found it quite easy to slip right back into this world-well, what's left of it, anyway. I keep expecting some kind of weird Star Trek time anomaly or something, because I just can't believe what's happened with the United States and the planet. Ezekiel Boone does not shy away from death, or what I think would be the ultimate response to such an invasion. That surprised and delighted me.

 

The main characters here are still interesting while the creature feature portions are entertaining. Perhaps all the things happening are not quite realistic, but who cares? Skitter is fun for those who like their spiders fast and hungry.

 

These 300+ pages flew by and I had a blast reading them. If you enjoy creature features, with a little bit of scientific and military action thrown in, and with character viewpoints from around the world, The Hatching and Skitter should work well for you.

 

Skitter is a fast, fun, chittering thrill ride and I enthusiastically recommend it! Bring on the next!

 

*Thank you to NetGalley and Atria for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2016-10-10 15:22
Blood Verse by Patrick James Ryan
Blood Verse - Patrick James Ryan

 

Blood Verse is a rather lengthy collection of short stories and dark poetry. The stories range all over the place from weirdly creepy tales to ones about psychos surviving the storm of the century. Some were bigger hits with me than others and those were:

Hair This was a story straight out of the Twilight Zone. Creepy and weird without any real explanations, this was my second favorite tale in this collection.

Spelling Bee reminded me a lot of Stephen King's The Running Man. I remember a game show in that story where people with heart problems had to run on a treadmill. In this story, contestants have to do the whole spelling bee drill-say the word, spell the word, then say the word again. However, in this game if you get the word wrong, the consequences can be deadly. (This was my favorite story.)

Little Swimmers was an imaginative little story that packed a surprise ending that really was a surprise. (That happens so rarely, at least for me.)

F-21 was all over the place from abusive husband, to spree killer to apocalypse survivor-there was just no way to predict where this story was going.

While all these tales showed a lot of imagination and promise, the writing itself left a little to be desired. Admittedly, I have pretty high standards as far as grammar and use of language are concerned, so this is mostly a personal observation on my part. Also, there were a few things that could have been caught with more careful editing; for instance the word Tornado's in F-21 shouldn't have been a capital T and it shouldn't have had an apostrophe either. Issues like this popped up more often than they should which is why I deducted 1.5 stars from a 5 star rating.

Overall, I enjoyed this collection of dark fiction and poetry and I believe that Patrick James Ryan is an author to watch. As such, I plan to read his novel The Night It Got Out later this month.

 

You can purchase your copy here: Blood Verse

 


*I received a free e-copy of Blood Verse in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2016-10-02 16:28
The Factory by Mark West
The Factory - Mark West

The Factory was a nasty little stroll through, (you guessed it!), an abandoned factory.

 

Four old friends meet up for the funeral of the fifth member of their group. Back in their school days, all 5 would get together and go on urban exploring trips. Urban Exploring (Urbex, as this group calls it), is the inspection of abandoned buildings, preferably at night, since technically it's an illegal activity. As a tribute to their recently deceased mate, they decide to explore the factory that HE had always wanted to check out when he was alive. As you may have guessed, everything did not work out for the best. To find out exactly what happened, you'll have to read this book.

 

This novella was packed full of atmosphere. I mean, really, what better place for a haunting than an old abandoned factory? Especially one that was known to have employed children? Everything is covered with layers of dust and strange noises own the night. Our plucky explorers think they have a handle on everything because they have flashlights and radios. They could not have been more wrong.

 

The ending packed one heck of a punch. Usually stories of hauntings fall short for me at the denouement, but not this one. It did not flinch away from what needed to be done and faced it head on. Bravo!

 

Recommended for fans of haunting stories, both in the haunted house sense and in the sense that this story may stay with you for weeks to come.

 

*I received a free e-copy if this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2016-09-21 18:05
Everything Under the Moon by Jeff Johnson
Everything Under the Moon: A Novel - Jeff Johnson

Sometimes I like to request an Advance Review Copy based on the strength of the book description alone. Everything Under the Moon: A Novel captured my interest when the synopsis mentioned a serial killer werewolf. Yeah... so like Dexter, but a werewolf, I thought. Well, yes and no.

 

Gelsen Verber, (not really his name), is a fascinating character. A human/werewolf hybrid who knows nothing about where he originally came from and is suffering from PTSD from WWII. He can also cook a mean green chili stew, (and tacos!), and he likes to read. He ingests massive amounts of drugs and alcohol trying to stomp out the more wolfish effects of his nature and he also likes to prey upon society's undesirables. He's good at it.

 

Gelsen finds himself mixed up with Salt Street, a type of data mining company that knows his true nature and tries to bend him to their will. As you might have guessed, he's having none of it. Here's where things get difficult to describe: Gelsen is like no other werewolf that I've read about-except perhaps Michael Gallatin from Robert McCammon's The Wolf's Hour. Where Gallatin was a handsome, MacGyver-type spy in WII, Gelsen is a handsome, stylishly dressed, MacGyver/James Bond type in today's world. He's always prepared for any eventuality and if things get tough-he'll just rip you apart. Done deal.

 

This novel was fast paced, populated with an entertaining cast of characters, (Izelle, I'm looking at you, girl.. er boy er...?), all of them fully fleshed out and three dimensional. At times I felt like the plot was a flash flood and I was struggling to keep my head above water as the current carried me towards the denouement. And then, BAM! straight into the wall of a dam. There I struggled,with my mouth hanging open like a fool, trying not to drown.

 

In case you can't tell, I loved this book! Here you will discover completely unique characters; some drunk, some high, some master chefs and werewolves, but ALL entertaining. Here you will find a story that wants to bury you in its darkness at times, while at other times making you laugh so hard you can barely breathe. Here you will find an ending that takes that breath away AGAIN.

 

I highly recommend Everything Under the Moon to fans of horror, especially those who like their darkness peppered with humor and occasional poignancy. Oh! Also recommended to those who enjoy lots of bloody, gory, werewolf action!

 

Come on, you know want some.

 

*Thank you to Edelweiss and to Soft Skull Press for the ARC I received in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2016-09-13 22:05
The Rising by Brian Keene, narrated by Peter Delloro
The Rising - Brian Keene

It didn't take long to make my way through this zombie filled wasteland of a book. Humans, (whether they still be humans or be they zombies), are not the only monsters here.

 

I loved the originality of this story. I can't get into the specifics of it without spoilers, but some of the things imagined and written about in The Rising have still not been done in other zombie books or movies. I really felt something for a few of these characters too. The author pretty much put everyone and everything at risk, so I had no idea what might happen to these people; there was no safe feeling like some books provide you, where you know the good guy will win in the end.

 

What I did not like is a short list and here it is: The narrator and the fate of most of the female characters. First, the narrator had a fine voice but he mispronounced some words, (brackish is not brake-ish), and his tone of voice was often off. (Obviously, the tone thing is a personal opinion, while the mispronounciations are not.)

 

Second, I've been a horror fan for a long, long time and I'm quite used to the treatment of women in horror stories being less than stellar. I also understand that a female, or male protagnoist for that matter, has to be put into positions where the reader can root for her or him. However, what happened to the women here bothered me a bit more than usual. Perhaps, because the descriptions were graphic? (But I've read Laymon, Barker and even some Lee and none of those bothered me.) Maybe it's because I'm getting older and my tolerance for that type of behavior, even in books, has now dwindled down to nothing? Even if I can't quite put my finger on it, it bothered me, so that's that.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this book! The originality of it was mind-blowing, and it must have been the horror book of ALL horror books when it originally came out back in 2003. Remember, this was before The Walking Dead and the whole zombie mash-up thing, (Pride and Prejudice With Zombies, anyone? WTF?). I do plan on reading the sequel, City of the Dead, but I'm going to do just that-read it, instead of listening, because the narration of this one did diminish my enjoyment a little bit.

 

Recommended to fans of ZOMBIES!

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