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review 2017-09-18 05:44
Savage Woods - Mary SanGiovanni
Savage Woods - Mary SanGiovanni

The woods are alive. At least that's what Mary SanGiovanni would like you to believe in her latest offering, Savage Woods. The Nilhollow section of New Jersey's Pine Barrens has had its history of weird happenings. People tend to go missing here. Think of it as New Jersey's answer to the Bermuda Triangle. This has dated back tens of thousands of years. The Native Americans knew this and avoided this area like the plague. But what causes it? SanGiovanni attempts to explain it by introducing us to a chasm in Nilhollow that is allowing the bad mojo to escape it and pollute the wood spirits like a plague. This causes the woods to constantly shift and trap anyone who enters and then the wood spirits form these little tree creatures to off their victims. If you suddenly went "Huh?", you're not alone. Savage Woods has a few good ideas surrounded by an absolute mess and that's the most frustrating part for me. SanGiovanni can write. I've read so-called authors who couldn't find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. She is not one of them. Unfortunately, the two stories of hers that I've read, she tries to take amazingly unrealistic material and breathe life into them. Instead, we get a laughable plot, uninteresting characters and pacing that makes a snail look like a top-fuel dragster. The possessed trees and vines in the Evil Dead. Now that was scary. Not so here. The tree creatures come off as hokie. Native American folklore can make for a great storyline, much like Brian Moreland did in The Devil's Woods and Dead of Winter. Again, not so here. She does throw in quite a bit of the red stuff, but you're beyond caring at this point and that makes the characters nothing more than cannon fodder. I simply found myself yawning through the whole thing eagerly anticipating the ending to come and put me out of my misery.

 

 

2 Killer Oaks out of 5

 

 

* this ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

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review 2017-08-21 18:56
Wrath of the Ancients - Catherine Cavendish
Wrath of the Ancients - Catherine Cavendish

Adeline Ogilvy, a young widow from Wimbledon, has accepted a job in Vienna. Her assignment is to employ her skills as a typist and transcribe the memoirs of the late Dr. Emeryk Quintillus, an archeologist with a most peculiar hidden history. When she begins her recording the doctor's notes, she learns that, five years earlier, he claims to discover the tomb of Cleopatra. Even more astonishing, it seems that he has brought more than secrets back from Egypt. Strange occurrences begin to happen at the mansion. Is what Adeline seeing before her eyes real or a hallucination?

 

 

This is my first read of Cavendish and I love the slow burn in this Gothic chiller. I also like how blends an archelogical curiosity and characters with her own original take on what happened all those thousands of years ago. As the story unfurls, I can't help be reminded of the quiet horror writing style of Charles L. Grant. The characters are interesting and I'm drawn to keep turning the pages to see where they go in the story. If I have any criticism it's that there are parts where the pacing seems off. In one instance, things are doing a nice slow burn and then it closes in way too much of a flurry. But, it's a small blemish in an overall fun story. If you haven't had the pleasure to stumble upon Cavendish, Wrath of the Ancients is a great one to introduce yourself.

 

 

 

4 1/2 Green Glowing Apparations out of 5

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

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review 2017-02-22 15:57
Highwayman - Craig Saunders
Highwayman - Craig Saunders

I admit it. When it comes to my reading, I'm a completionist. For better or for worse, I finish what I start. I can't remember the last time that my little idiosyncrasy has bitten me in the butt as hard as it did when I read Craig Saunder's Highwayman. So many times I wanted to quit this mismashed bore of a story. But no. I trudged on through the mud of staccato bursts of sentences, multiple points of view storytelling that seemed to lead to nowhere, and a hazy plot that was about as entertaining as watching metal rust. Was it all bad? Not totally, but close. There were, indeed, parts where he'd get the ball rolling and I'd start to get into it only to come to a screeching halt and a new chapter of mundane happenings would be in front of me. I'm sure there's a decent story somewhere in Highwayman. Maybe I don't get what Saunders was trying to create. But, what I read a tedious lesson in patience with no payout for my troubles. Sorry, but I can't recommend Highwayman to anyone.

 

 

 

2 Talking Deer out of 5

 

 


This ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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review 2017-02-11 16:49
Dwelling - Thomas Flowers
Dwelling (Subdue Book 1) - Thomas S Flowers

The Suicide Squad is the name a group of adolescents from the 90's gave themselves after getting their hands on the comic book of the same name. Ricky, Maggie, Bobby, Jonathan, and Jake's lives were changed forever that September morning when terrorists rammed their jetliners into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Ignited by patriotic fever, the boy's enlisted to go fight in the desert. Their lives would never be the same. Ricky is killed in combat, leaving his now wife, Maggie, all alone. Jonathan lost a leg in the same attack that killed Ricky and suffers from PTSD and guilt for not being able to save his friend. Heavy drinking doesn't seem to help the PTSD or the haunting vision of the dark creature he saw just before rocket was fired at their Humvee. Bobby is now a homeless vet that brought back more than haunting memories, and it rears its ugly head when the moon is full. Jake is a minister that has lost his faith due to the nightmares that followed him back from Iraq. The war has shattered all of their lives and they can't seem to deal with it on their own. But the remaining members of the Suicide Squad are being called back to a mysterious house on a remote Texas prairie in the small town of Jotham. Do the answers they seek to rid themselves of their nightmares reside in the house, or are their current nightmares just the tip of the iceberg to whats about to come?

 

 

First and foremost, Dwelling is Book One of a trilogy and it reads as such. If you're trying to decide whether or not to give Dwelling a try based off of reviews like this one, keep that little nugget in mind. I've read a handful of reviews from people bitching that the writing was good but nothing was solved or wrapped up by the end of the book, therefore they hate the story. People, people. Do a little research. Yes, Dwelling is open ended. Yes, you'll have to continue to read the rest of the series to find out what happens. That's why they call it a trilogy. Why am I ranting here? Because, I think that Flower's has received some very unfair (and very silly) criticism for the way he wrote Dwelling. Look. It's a very good book. The writing and pacing is amazingly mature for a newer author. The characters are well fleshed out and their problems that center around PTSD and loss from the war makes for a compelling read. The fact that Flowers is a vet himself comes through nicely in his writing. It adds that dose of realism that many authors lack when they write about a place that they've never been to. Dwelling is shadowy and haunting that feels all to real when you're reading it. Yeah, there's some shades of Stephen King's It permeating through the story, but show me a chilling, coming-of-age tale that you can't compare to It? There's definitely a nod to King, but Dwelling is definitely it's own monster. I'm looking forward to jumping into Book 2 - Emerging - and continuing the saga of The Suicide Squad. Won't you join me?

 

 


4 1/2 Rocket Launchers out of 5

 


I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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review 2017-01-30 03:26
The Final Reconciliation - Todd Keisling
The Final Reconciliation - Todd Keisling

So, as a fellow metal-head, I feel a kindred spirit with Todd as he unfurls The Final Reconciliation, a story about a journalist who is interviewing Aidan Cross. Cross is an aging guitarist who is institutionalized for going off his nut over the tragic show his band played 30 years ago. Aidan was the guitarist of the prog-metal band, The Yellow Kings. After hardcore touring in support of their EP, the band lands a two-album deal and head to Los Angeles to record their official first record. After a show in Texas, they pick up a groupie named Camille, who was waiting behind the club for the band. She immediately takes a shine to their lead singer, Johnny. Soon, the band learns that Camille is not your ordinary groupie trying to sponge off the band in hopes that they'll be famous. No, she has a different agenda and the band are simply pawns in her evil plan.

 

The Final Reconciliation pulls out it's inner Lovecraft and marries it with story about a heavy metal band. Metal bands have been influenced by all things macabre and Lovecraft is a favorite of many, i.e. Metallica. Keisling has done his homework. As someone who knows a thing or two, not much more, but a thing or two about metal bands, touring, and recording, he executes the story flawlessly. This is where so many writers can go astray - writing about something that they don't know enough about and the cracks show. This isn't the case here. Kudos to Keisling. Not only did he get his facts right, but he delivered one hell of a story, in the process.

 

 

 

5 Guitar Solos out of 5

 


This ARC was provided by Crystal Lake Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

 

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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