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review 2017-12-17 15:59
Infestation - William Meikle
Infestation - William Meikle

Meikle really is a maestro of fear. He knows how to add just the right notes, when to increase the tempo, when to crescendo to a furious pace, all while captivating his audience with a perfect production. Infestation has everything I love in a read. A tight plot. Interesting and believable characters. Realistic dialogue that flows easily without feeling forced. All the right notes.



A Russian ship is reported being in the Arctic in waters where it's not supposed to be. A Scottish special force unit is deployed to investigate. What they find is more horrific than they can imagine. Big beastie isopods have been released from the depths below...and they are hungry. They'll eat through wood, metal, and FLESH!



Infestation is a fun, quick romp that you'll furiously turn page after delicious page. Big beastie horror seems to be all the rage right now. Unfortunately, very few authors seem to know how to do it right. They need to take lessons from Meikle. He's at the top of his class.



4 1/2 Fluorescent Green Veins out of 5



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review 2016-03-04 14:08
"Uprooted" by Naomi Novik
Uprooted - Naomi Novik

I'm very conflicted about this book. I had heard great things about it, and when I started it, it was immediately clear why so many readers sing its praises. It's beautifully written, and the Wood is the most chilling, most disturbing, and most imaginative villain I've ever encountered in literature. I also loved the bond between the narrator/heroine/Chosen One Agnieszka and her best friend Kasia, which is the central relationship in the story. (This book easily passes the Bechdel Test.)


And yet, as I read, I developed some serious reservations that lead me to warn that this book is not for everyone. First, it's pretty gruesome and violent. That doesn't bother some readers as much as it bothers me. It wasn't gratuitously violent, and the violence was in keeping with the plot, but it was disturbing enough that I couldn't read this book before bed -- and since bedtime is when I do the lion's share of my reading, it took me about five times as long to read Uprooted as it usually takes me to read a book of this size. That always reduces my enjoyment a little, because the more I have to stop and start, the more disjointed the reading experience feels.


The second thing that really, really bothered me, was the "romance" aspect between 17-year-old Agnieszka, and the Dragon, the centuries old wizard who takes a 17-year-old girl as a servant every decade. Because of the age difference and the vastly differential power dynamic between the two of them, the physical aspect of their relationship was super squicky and inappropriate. It also wasn't very believable or compelling. The Dragon was grumpy old goat, and Agnieszka could have admired his wisdom and guidance without wanting to get in his pants.


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review 2015-10-24 19:45
The Island of Doctor Moreau (dramatized) by H. G. Wells
The Island of Doctor Moreau - H. G. Wells,Matthew Posner,Nathalie Boltt,Andrew McGinn,Bob De Dea,Jeff Minnerly,Amy Escobar,Morgan Bader,Jane Anne Wilder

Dr. Edward Prendick finds himself on a plane that is crashing into the sea. Luckily, he survives and is eventually found on his little raft by a passing ship. Dr. Angela Montgomery nurses him around and eventually the ship drops all passengers and their cargo at a little know island. There, Prendick is pulled into a world of animal experiments that will push the boundaries of his moral compass.

This story is told as a series of flashbacks. Prendick lies in a hospital bed recounting his tale to his insistent daughter. Prendick is a mathematician who did some classified work during WWII. He’s a Brit who is still highly respected in his field by both the British and the Americans. Too bad his plane went down. He was believed lost to the world by all but Dr. Montgomery and Dr. Moreau. I was a little surprised by how much of a delicate flower Prendick was. He was usually freaking out about something or making rash decisions. He was a right nuisance on the island, even if he was the only one with what society would call normal morals. Still, he was a great character for Dr. Montgomery to stand beside and appear very reasonable and I think this made the story more intriguing. As a reader, it forced me to slow down on making a judgement and to truly consider the merits of the work of Moreau and Montgomery.

I was surprised how few lines and appearances Dr. Moreau had in this story (or, at least, this rendition of it). After all, he is the master mind behind all this. So while we see little of him, his large ego leaves a lasting impression. He’s playing God with his experiments and he doesn’t hesitate to say so.

As a biologist, I have long been both repulsed and fascinated by the experiments in this story. When Prendick first meets a few of these talking experiments, he thinks they are merely odd, deformed people. Later, he mistakenly believes that Moreau took living men and experimented on them, bringing out animal characteristics. Once he finds out the truth, that Moreau took animals and gave them human characteristics, he calms down a little, at first. The final step in the experiment is a pretty gruesome, painful one, requiring the chosen animal to remain awake and aware. Not all those who live through the experiment appreciate the gifts they have been given.

As you might guess, things start to spiral out of control shortly after Prendick arrives on the island. Part of the reason is that he goes mucking about in a very excitable manner. But, then, Montgomery and Moreau don’t treat all the living experiments with respect either. Then there is the basic nature of the experiments and what will out in time. It was like the perfect storm.

And then we quickly come to the ending which was rather anticlimactic for Moreau and a bit drawn out for Montgomery and Prendick. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get more from Moreau over all for the entire story and I was definitely a little sad to have his part of the story come to a swift end. After all, he is the reason, the driving force, for this tale, right? But then I enjoyed having more time with Montgomery and Prendick. From the flashbacks, we obviously know that Prendick makes it off the island alive somehow. It was fun to see how that came about.

While I have enjoyed other HG Wells stories, this was my first time listening to a version of his book The Island of Doctor Moreau. I was not disappointed. All the drama associated with the moral conundrums of the tale was there. Also, I enjoyed the divided loyalties of Dr. Montgomery, who was saved by Dr. Moreau back during WWII, who loves the science of their work, but also has questions. Prendick was somewhat of a spazzing butterfly much of the time, but this personality trait went well with his sheltered, well mannered, bookish mathematician air. I look forward to future Mondello Publishing performances.

I received a copy of this book at no cost from the publisher (via theGoodReads Audiobooks Group) in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: The performance all around was pretty worthy. Ms. Boltt had a spot on German accent for Montgomery that I really enjoyed. Posner did a great job as the highly excitable Prendick, sounding disturbed throughout the entire performance. I want to say that Jeff Minnerly had a great disgruntled voice for the ship captain and also a perfect mesh of human and monkey for Monkey Man. Bob De Dea did an awesome Hyena Man. There were plenty of animal sounds (screeches, grunts, cries, hyena laughs, etc.) throughout the performance and my hat’s off to that – well done! There was some exciting music in between scenes that I enjoyed, keeping the scene shifts clear to me as the listener. Most of the sound effects were great. There were a handful that took me an extra second or two to identify, but that is my only little quibble on the performance. 

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review 2015-04-11 22:25
Pale Rider: Zombies versus Dinosaurs
Pale Rider: Zombies versus Dinosaurs - James Weston Livingood

The zombie virus was initially misdiagnosed. Of course it would be. Eventually, it spread and society as we know it collapsed. A new method of transport was needed, one that did not depend on petroleum products and was immune to the virus. Some scientists got together and gengineered large reptilian birds to transport humans and to be used as heavy equipment in farming and clearing land. Us humans couldn’t help but refer to them as dinosaurs.

I read the description to this novelette and smiled. How could I not give it a listen? The story starts off with a short lead in that sets the stage clearly for the reader. I liked how the zombies (also called ‘blues’ in this story) have a nervous system disorder caused by a virus. Then I thoroughly enjoyed how the dinosaurs came into being. If you have ever owned chickens, then you know they are not far removed from T-rexes. So it was not hard for me to imagine some gengineered featherless birds crossed with reptiles being raised to take out tree stumps.

Then we get into the story. Farming is pretty dangerous today, without zombies and with modern equipment. Imagine trying to clear a bit of farming land while watching out for and possibly fighting zombies. Yeah, pretty damn exciting. The story is told through a single point of view (a man, known as Pale Rider, who travels around the area clearing farm land) in a near nitty gritty way. I liked his skeptical attitude.

There are only 2 women mentioned in this book and neither have speaking roles. They are both wives and we only see one on stage, just once, to plant a sultry kiss. Obviously, I would have liked to see a real female character or two, with actions and dialogue pertinent to the plot. However, that’s my only complaint about this tale.

The mix of action and dinos and zombies had me alternating between a black humor chuckle and nibbling on my nails wondering if our hero had met his end. James Livingood is an author to keep an eye on and I really hope he continues to explore this world he has created.

The Narration: Michael Gwynne was a good fit for Pale Rider, giving him a hard-boiled feel. He had a range of voices for the few other characters we encounter.  

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review 2014-10-15 17:49
Perhaps This Series Is Not For Me.
Visions of Heat - Nalini Singh

I liked the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, Slave to Sensation (despite the awful title and even worse cover), but I couldn't get into this sequel at all. The story was too similar to the previous book (emotionless Psy woman falls for hot-blooded Changeling man/cat, thereby waking her scary, dangerous emotions, plus sex, plus murder), but the hero and heroine of this book weren't as interesting as the main characters in the previous book. Also, the previous heroine, Sascha, had a very real fear that if she gave in to her emotions, the other Psy would find out and lobotomize her. That made for a much better conflict than this story, where Faith is just afraid that if she gives in to emotions she's going to break her brain somehow. I got bored and annoyed with Faith's weird mental fragility.


As with the prior book, there's lots of sex here. Neither book is covering any new ground, but while the sex scenes in Slave to Sensation didn't wow me, the sex scenes between Faith and Vaughn actively turned me OFF. I was annoyed by Faith making advances only to back off whenever she started feeling too much (which came across as the worst kind of teasing), but I was also annoyed that Vaughn made clear his intentions to push her into physicality regardless of whether she was ready (which set off consent alarms, though nothing in this book amounts to rape).


Finally, I was confused and irritated by all the talk of the PsyNet and how it works, and all the Airy-Fairy business of psychic connections and powers. I think this series is not for me.

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