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review 2019-04-16 18:45
THE NEST by Gregory Douglas
The Nest - Gregory A. Douglas

 One of my favorite sub-genres of horror is the creature feature, and boy does this one deliver! On a small island off the coast of Cape Cod, something is happening in the middle of the island's dump. There's hissing and movements, then someone's dog dies and so begins THE NEST.

 

I'm not going to make like this book is some kind of literary achievement, because it's not. (Does anyone really pick up a giant cockroach book and think it's literary? I guess it's possible, but it's not the case here.) What this book IS is....just plain romping and chomping F-U-N!

 

Set on an island in my home state-the isolation makes for a cockroach feast! And that's basically what we get: cockroaches feeding on this one and on that one, in increasingly inventive and gross ways. (See my previous statement: F-U-N!)

 

Being that this was originally written back in 1980 we also get: some preachy scientist talk, some man-splaining, a smidge of schmaltzy romance, a wee bit of anti-feminism, and a tad of classism. Did I mention the gross cockroach kills?

 

Okay, so this isn't the "great American novel" but what it is is a lot of gross out laughter and chills, and a few hours of mindless entertainment. In these political times, who couldn't use that? I would have given this three stars based on the writing alone, but I added a half star because of the FUN factor!

 

Recommended to fans of 80's horror and creature features!

 

Valancourt Books has teamed up with Grady Hendrix and Will Errickson (Co-Authors of PAPERBACKS FROM HELL), to bring you an entire line of horror books from the 70's and 80's called the PAPERBACKS FROM HELL series.

 

Find out more about the series here: http://www.valancourtbooks.com/paperbacksfromhell.html

 

*I was given an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2019-03-29 13:45
THE HATCH by Kelli Owen
The Hatch - Kelli Owen

Spiders! I hate them! Yet I couldn't resist reading this sequel to WAITING OUT WINTER. I'm so glad I finally did!

 

We're following Nick and his band of survivors as the government experiment gone wrong in WINTER, has now morphed into a different problem altogether. As with the best post apocalyptic stories, this tale is more about the survivors than it is about the creatures. And even though there is a metric shit-ton of spiders around, in all of their different shapes, sizes and venomous abilities, we don't see a lot of gory spider action. In fact, we really don't see any-only the after effects. 

 

This is another quiet tale from Kelli Owen that I very much enjoyed and can heartily recommend with two caveats: 1. If you're expecting a lot of creature feature romp & chomp action, you'd probably be happier with something by Hunter Shea, and 2. you probably should read WAITING OUT WINTER first.

 

Heartily recommended!

 

Get your copy here: THE HATCH

 

*I bought my copy directly from Kelli and the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival and she was kind enough to sign it for me. That did not affect the honesty of my review.*

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review 2019-03-23 01:58
Primal Waters (Meg #3) by Steve Alten
Primal Waters - Steve Alten

TW: Because yes, this will have triggers, like the first two. Misogyny, implied/mentioned sex between adults and underage girls, suicide is mentioned, abortion is mentioned, slut and fat-shaming (blink and you might miss the slut-shaming, but it is there.)

 

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You can go into a vintage horror (or any genre) novel and expect some dark and nasty stuff, including how females are treated, and hey, maybe you even like those books, despite the problematic elements. Those books were a product of the time.  I'm honestly not judging your taste in books, because I read them, too. It is nice to be able to turn your brain off sometimes.

That being said, the way females are treated in this book just doesn't make sense. Because it is about killer sharks, does that mean it is marketed toward men and that is why all the girls are treated like eye candy, along with underage eye candy to boot? It is just cringy how Terry is described. (The Asian beauty with almond eyes.)

I wasn't even at the 30% point and already suicide was mentioned, two instances of underage sex mentioned (with an adult) and one instance of what seems like a forced abortion (man paying for and probably making the underage girl abort her baby), and a cheating scumbag. (And later on in the book there are slut and fat-shaming.) Oh, and of course some shark kills! Which is the real reason read these, right?

 

Why in the world would Jonas let his underage daughter be one of the "Candy Girls" without even saying a word of protest?


“I was hoping you might be able to use Dani behind the scenes, you know, assisting the film crew . . . something to keep her busy.”

“Behind the scenes?” Erik laughs. “Your daughter’s eye-candy, Professor, and we can never have too much of that. Dani, as soon as you get settled, come find me and I’ll hook you up with wardrobe. They’ll pick out some nice bikinis, maybe a few after-hour numbers. We’ll pay you to be one of our Candy Girls, my pet name for our Daredevil groupies.”

“Excellent.” Danielle’s gloating smile tweaks her father’s blood pressure.

 

Also, I can do without shaming people for having body hair. It was just a silly and unneeded line.


"God, I miss California. If I date one more woman with hairy legs, I think I’ll—"

***

 

Erik points to the bow where a cocoa-brown African-American woman in a white thong bikini is posing before a photographer and two cameramen. “Not much of an actress, but who cares, she makes—”

“I know, great eye-candy.”

So, we have an almond-eyed Asian beauty and now a cocoa-brown African American...can't we describe POC without using food? And you don't have to keep reminding us that Terry's Asian as well. We remember! (Later on, there is an olive-skinned Italian as well.)

I saw someone call these books "Shallow Entertainment" and they sure are that! I notice that he really likes to go into detail of describing how a female looks, using words like "shapely" a lot. Also, I noticed he points out skin color and eye color of the females often, but only one time did he mention the eye color of a man. I wonder why it is? So we know what eye color the females have when we fantasize about them? I mean, he writes them like "Eye Candy!"

The girls on the boat are even called "Candy Girls" by the camera crew. It is basically "Girl's Gone Wild" with stupid daredevil stunts that get people killed. How has this film crew not been sued and how are they allowed to show the deaths on tv?

I've never watched the real Girl's Gone Wild, but this book is similar to the Piranha (2010) movie, if you remember the GGW film crew, well, yeah, this book is like that, but with some hungry sharks and people who don't use their brains. Of course, the sex and nudity in this are not graphic or anything, but you get what I mean. That is because Steve does a lot of telling, and not showing.


All the people in this book that get put in danger (and end up getting killed) are getting what they deserve. I would never say that about a real-life situation, toward a real victim, but seriously, these characters have bricks for brains.


The camera, still looped around his neck, bounces against his chest—
—calling out his name.
Brian stares at temptation, his fear momentarily subsiding. 'The whale’s dying. Angel’s got to be circling below, waiting to feed again. One shot, just a quick one before you lose the light, then get to shore as fast as you can.' He stops paddling, allowing the kayak to drift as he glances back at Charlie. 'Calm and steady and the Meg won’t even know you’re here. One great shot of her next attack, just one killer shot.'

'Sorry Charlie, but that’s life in the food chain. Damn, this looks good. Okay, Angel, one more time for Daddy while we still have the light. Definitely a cover shot on National Geographic, maybe even Time . . .'

 

This is why I root for the shark!

 

A certain thing keeps happening in this book and jarring me out of the story. Steve Alten has a broken way of writing what are supposed to be suspenseful moments. Personally, I don't like this style. I don't know how to describe it, so I will show you.

Balancing atop the wall, he runs back to the arena and the safety of the bleachers as fast as he can—
—nitrogen bubbling in his bloodstream.

Fergie bounds over another swell and pulls hard on his control strut—
—as a powerful updraft catches the kite.

Losing the wind, he plummets—a seabird with clipped wings—
—as the Megalodon breeches, its head rising at him like a missile, its jaws yawning open, offering an impossible target to miss.

Devin flees—
—only to be confronted by an even bigger nightmare.

This way of writing might be fine if it only happened a couple of times, but it is littered throughout the whole book.

One last thing I want to add about Dani, which is a spoiler-ish.

Dani starts off as a teenage spoiled brat; there is no way to say it nicely. I liked how she grew and eventually stopped being such a pain, and she and her father started to see eye to eye again.

(spoiler show)


Don't get me wrong, despite my complaints, I really do like these books. As I said, it is nice to turn your brain off and enjoy some B movie type books.

 

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text 2019-03-21 11:50
I'm in the mood for "Creature Features" [Please Recommend!]

Can anyone recommend some "Creature Feature" books along the lines of Jaws, the Meg series, Jurassic Park, Congo, The Hatching, Skitter...etc.

 

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By creature, I mean animal, bug, alien, mythical, killer plant, you name it. Creature verses humans sort of thing. Cheesy B movie types welcome. All age ranges welcome (children to adult) Short story, novella or full length novels all welcome.

 

Feel free to promo your own book, but please include a couple other recommendations, too! I do do read and reviews, but I'm honestly nobody here (hah) and bookstagram. Lol Though my Instagram is leighas_life and I have over 100 followers, though lets be honest, half are probably spam. :/

 

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Thank you!

 

 

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review 2019-03-14 18:00
FEAR by Ronald Kelly
Fear - Ronald Kelly

 

FEAR was a crazy mixture of: creature feature/coming of age/evil in a small town horror. It just doesn't get much more fun than that!

 

In the backwoods of Tennessee, young Jeb Sweeney is fighting for his family. His farmer father has been turned into a simpleton, thanks to a war injury. His mother is gone and his grandmother is gravely ill. There are bullies around their small town and on top of that, some kind of creature has arrived and it's killing anything it can get its hands on. What is a young man supposed to do about all this? You'll have to read FEAR to find out!

 

I have to admit that this book brought me back to the old days when I first started reading horror. (For me, those old days are in the late 70's, early 80's.) Back then, there were a lot of tales like this and they were beefy ones too-500 pages or more. You really would settle in with a book and it would go everywhere with you until you finished it. Coming of age tales were especially popular during that time, but not all of them were great. FEAR was though and I'll tell you why.

 

We have a family we can care for, more than one antagonist, a compelling setting, and best of all? A creature that can only be described as....SCARY. Sprinkle in some older women busy working their mojo, a traveling blues-man and an entire county of scary creatures, and you have the recipe for F-U-N!

 

This tale did start out slowly as we got to know everyone, the town itself, and the stories surrounding Fear County. Around about the halfway point, things ramped up and then the pace flew through the second half- I had a very hard time putting it down. I suspect that these days, an editor would have cut down the word count a bit, and even though I enjoyed the slower pace of the beginning, I can't deny that a few words could have been cut without hurting the book overall. For that I deducted half a star.

 

FEAR is exactly the type of book that inspired in me a love of horror fiction and dark fiction in general. We have a dirt poor family, a young man to root for, a setting of the small town, and nearby? A place so haunted and scary that no one ever goes there. I mean, really, for a horror fan-what's not to like? I highly recommend this book, especially to fans of coming of age horror and creature features.

 

Get your copy here: FEAR

 

*I purchased my copy with my hard earned cash back in 2014. I'm so glad I finally read this book!*

 

**Ronald Kelly was kind enough to join the Horror Aficionados Group for a group read of this story. Thank you, Mr. Kelly! I had a great time!*

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