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review 2019-01-03 18:17
Bones by Andrew Cull
Bones - Andrew Cull

This lovely author sent me two copies of his newest work (all the way from Australia!) so that I could release them in the Little Free Libraries in my care. I'm going to release this one asap when I visit the mall tonight and read the other asap before setting it free at the other park location because I can't NOT read it!

Here are my thoughts now that I'm finished:

Bones is author Andrew Cull’s debut collection of short fiction and it is pretty fantastic if you like a story where the creep factor is high and quickly settles under your skin and festers. 

Did You Forget About Me?

A man returns to his childhood home. He, his mother and sister fled from it 23 years earlier leaving behind an abusive man to simmer in his ugliness. The trip back home brings back all of his deeply buried memories to terrify and to haunt him because some things just don’t want to stay buried. 

This is some immersive storytelling that is eerie and atmospheric and steeped in childhood fears, abuse and a terribly tragedy. There was no way I was putting this down once I started it because I HAD to know how it ended.

Hope and Walker

“We were both 10. But he was dead. And I sat drawing him”

This was my favorite story in the collection. It tells the story of a young girl who grows up in the family mortuary. Is it weird that she finds it calming to say goodbye to the dead by drawing a final picture of them in her notebook? I vote no, I loved her. Some might think it’s a little morbid but it's also very sweet until one day one of the dead begins talking back to her . . . 

The characters are well written characters and there are some pitch dark images in this story that will linger around in my brain for a long while to come. 

The Trade

“I was seven and that was the summer death stalked our home.”

All of these stories are haunting and grounded in realism but this one hit me a little harder than the others. It’s set in the sweltering heat as a young child watches his family disintegrate knowing there’s nothing he can do about it. The feelings of helplessness and the fear of an unknown future will knock you down with its accuracy. Then the author throws a monster in the mix! A monster that is leaving dead carcasses on the doorstep and wants something in return . . . 

Knock And You Will See Me

“We buried dad in the winter. It wasn’t until Spring that we heard from him again.”

A woman’s elderly father passes away and soon after she begins to smell the stench of decay that is followed up with a note written by her dad demanding to know the reason she left him behind. Soon the notes take on an ominous tone. Is she going mad from grief or is it something far more sinister?

You’ll have to read it yourownself to find out and it’s worth the read. Like all of the stories found here it is unsettling and it may rob you of sleep.

The Rambling Man

This story is only four pages long but it is a disturbing little gem about sacrifice and betrayal and I loved it. 

This is an excellent debut and I am looking forward to whatever the author puts out next.

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review 2017-12-01 14:13
The Diary of Sonny Ormrod DFC: Malta Fighter Ace - Brian Cull,Frederick Galea

"Sonny" Ormrod epitomized both the unflinchingly honest and scrupulous diarist, as well as the dedicated & courageous fighter pilot. During his service in the Royal Air Force (RAF) - which he joined soon after finishing school in 1940, age 18 - Ormrod kept several diaries, detailing his experiences and impressions of his fellow pilots. It was his intention to make those diaries into a memoir after the war. Thus, this book by Brian Cull constitutes a belated (though abridged) memoir.

The book takes the reader from October 1941 - when Ormrod was in the UK with 605 Squadron awaiting an imminent posting overseas - to April 1942 - when Ormrod was serving with 185 Squadron on the besieged Mediterranean island of Malta. Not many people perhaps know that, at one point during the Second World War, Malta was the most heavily bombed piece of real estate on earth. It was the lynch pin in Britain's efforts to retain a presence in North Africa and the Mediterranean against the Axis Powers. From Malta, British air and naval vessels would harry German and Italian ships sending supplies to Rommel in the Western Desert during the height of the fighting there in 1941-42.

Ormrod arrived in Malta with 605 Squadron during November 1941. At the time Italy's Regia Aeronautica alone was bombing Malta, which the British were generally able to cope with. The Luftwaffe, who had had a presence over Malta earlier that year, had withdrawn its units to take part in Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. This somewhat relieved the pressure on Malta for several months. As a result, sinkings of German and Italian ships became almost prohibitive to the Axis, so both the Germans and Italians resolved to destroy Malta through air assault. This is reflected in Ormrod's diary from December 1941 onwards, when the Luftwaffe returned to assist the Regia Aeronautica in trying to neutralize Malta.

Indeed, for Ormrod and his comrades, their job of helping to defend the island became an increasingly difficult and perilous undertaking. (The Maltese people also suffered greatly. Nevertheless, they endured the increasingly daily bombings from January 1942 with good grace. Ormrod's descriptions of the island, both aloft and on the ground, made tangibly real for me the stresses and horrors of what it must have been like to be in Malta at that stage of the war.)

Many pilots like Ormrod bravely and faithfully met their responsibilities, while others were malingerers and made excuses not to fly on certain missions. This angered Ormrod and several diary passages reflect his disgust and disdain for those squadron mates who were willful shirkers. Flying Hawker Hurricane fighters, they were outmatched in terms of performance and speed by the latest German and Italian fighters: the Messerschmitt 109F and the Macchi MC 202, respectively. One passage for me - from Tuesday, April 14, 1942 - illustrates the challenges and terrors of trying to cope with the daily attacks by what were now swarms of enemy aircraft:

"[Wigley - one of Ormrod's closest friends] landed with but eight gallons of petrol remaining. His bravery and contempt for the enemy almost at times approaches madness. If ever a pilot in this war deserved a DFC [Distinguished Flying Cross], I consider Plt. Off. Wigley to deserve one. No odds deter him. Whose courage surpasses his? Few could out-fly him. Yet since he has not an aircraft in which now here it can well be done, he is unlikely to win a DFC because he is unlikely to win six confirmed victories. Most probably some newly arrived Spitfire pilot, who has never taken the odds that Wigley has, nor at such a disadvantage will, if he has the luck and a little skill, mount a score of six soon, be awarded a DFC and acknowledged by the world as Wigley's superior; a hero of the Malta battles. Hurricanes without speed and cannon cannot hope, except rarely, to bring down fast and heavily armoured German aircraft. Whereas the Spitfires can do it often in spite of the opportunities their pilots waste. This is our moan. We love the old Hurricane that has carried us gallantly and saved us on innumerable occasions but we know that old age has now overcome it."

Sadly, Ormrod's luck would run out 8 days later, on his 20th birthday.

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review 2017-07-11 09:06
Stoff für die Leinwand
Artificial - Jadah McCoy

„Artificial“ von Jadah McCoy fand seinen Weg über den Newsletter des Verlages Curiosity Quills Press zu mir. Ich erhalte schon seit letztem Jahr regelmäßig Informationen über zur Verfügung stehende Rezensionsexemplare – seit mich „Don’t Eat the Glowing Bananas“ von David D. Hammons begeisterte. Meinem Gefühl nach konzentriert sich der Verlag auf ungewöhnliche, fantasievolle Geschichten, die immer ein bisschen abseits des sogenannten Mainstreams liegen. Ich hoffte, dass „Artificial“ ähnlich unkonventionell sein würde.


Der Planet Kepler ist eine Einöde, das beschämende Zeugnis des verheerenden Konflikts zwischen Menschen und Maschinen. Die Menschheit ist beinahe ausgerottet; zur Beute degradiert von den Cull – riesige, an Insekten erinnernde Prädatoren, das Ergebnis der genetischen Kriegsführung der Androiden, bevor diese spurlos verschwanden. Die Cull jagen Menschen. Sie fressen Menschen. In dieser feindseligen Welt kämpft die junge Syl ums Überleben. Als sie auf einem Streifzug entführt wird, bringt man sie an einen Ort, den es eigentlich gar nicht geben dürfte: ein Labor in einer Stadt voller Androide. Dort erfährt sie am eigenen Leib, dass die Roboter skrupellos mit Menschen experimentieren. Sie muss fliehen, aber wie sie soll sie aus einer Stadt entkommen, in der sie auffällt wie ein bunter Hund? Ihre einzige Hoffnung ist der Android Bastion, der zu einer Untergrundbewegung gehört, die Menschen über die Stadtgrenze schmuggelt. Ohne zu wissen, ob sie Bastion trauen kann, lässt sie sich auf ein gefährliches Katz-und-Maus-Spiel ein, während sie eine Frage quält: ist sie nach den Experimenten überhaupt noch ein Mensch?


Obwohl ich „Artificial“ von Jadah McCoy insgesamt nicht unbedingt als unkonventionell bezeichnen würde, enthält dieser Reihenauftakt einige interessante, ausgefallene Ideen. Die Ausgangssituation des Krieges zwischen Menschen und Maschinen ist zwar nicht neu, doch die Gründe für diesen Krieg empfand ich als angenehm originell. Als die Erde starb, beschloss die Menschheit, den Planeten Kepler zu besiedeln. Für die Reise dorthin erfanden sie Androiden, die über die Körper der vermutlich in Kryostase versetzten Menschen wachen sollten. Doch während des langen Fluges geschah etwas mit den Androiden: sie entwickelten Gefühle. Auf Kepler angekommen, hatten die Androiden ihren Zweck erfüllt und wurden durch Menschen ersetzt. Niemand erwartete, dass dieses Verhalten die Roboter verletzen oder erzürnen könnte. Ihre Ignoranz war verhängnisvoll – die Androiden begannen den Krieg, der Kepler in das Schlachtfeld verwandelte, das er heute, im Jahr 2256, noch immer ist. Sie erschufen die Cull erfolgreich als ultimative Waffe gegen ihre ehemaligen Herren. Diese Insektoiden sind wirklich zum Fürchten. Richtig gruselig. Die Vorstellung, von diesen Wesen gejagt zu werden, verursachte mir eine Gänsehaut. Jadah McCoy bebildert ihre Geschichte heftig und extrem; sie zeigt Situationen, die mir das Gefühl vermittelten, es mit einem literarischen Horrorfilm zu tun zu haben. Deshalb weigere ich mich, das Buch als Young Adult zu kategorisieren. McCoy will schockieren. Leider konnten die blutigen, brutalen Szenen nicht verschleiern, dass „Artificial“ gravierende Defizite aufweist. Meiner Ansicht nach ist das Worldbuilding des ersten Bandes der „Kepler Chronicles“ dermaßen lückenhaft, dass es sich auf die Handlung auswirkt. McCoys futuristisches Universum erschloss sich mir nicht, wodurch ich viele inhaltliche Entwicklungen nicht verstand. Gigantische Fragezeichen schwirrten durch meinen Kopf. Wieso wussten die Menschen nichts von New Elite, der Stadt der Androiden? In welcher Beziehung stehen die Androiden und die Cull heute? Warum experimentieren sie mit Menschen? Wie kann es sein, dass moderne Androide die Fähigkeit ihrer Vorfahren, Emotionen zu empfinden, verurteilen und sogar unter Strafe stellen? Wichtige Informationen fielen unbeachtet unter den Tisch; zu viel musste ich mir selbst zusammenreimen und konnte daher kein Vertrauen zur Autorin aufbauen. Wiederholt stolperte ich über ihre Inkonsequenz und war folglich nicht in der Lage, mich an den Figuren zu orientieren, trotz der wechselnden Ich-Perspektive der menschlichen Protagonistin Syl und des Androiden Bastion. Mit Bastion kam ich ganz gut zurecht, ich fand ihn liebenswürdig und nahbar, aber Syl… Furchtbar. Es ist keine Seltenheit, dass vermeintlich taffe Hauptdarstellerinnen gemein und übertrieben aggressiv dargestellt werden, doch Syl erreicht einen neuen, traurigen Tiefpunkt. So eine rotzig unsympathische „Heldin“ habe ich selten erlebt. Wie sie mit anderen Charakteren umspringt, ist ekelhaft. Keine Ahnung, wie Bastion es schafft, Syl zu mögen. Ich konnte es nicht und halte ihre seltsame Freundschaft für unmotiviert und künstlich erzwungen. Ich hätte das Miststück ihrem Schicksal überlassen.


„Artificial“ bietet hervorragenden Stoff für einen actionreichen SciFi-Horrorfilm. All die logischen, inhaltlichen und strukturellen Löcher würden auf der Leinwand vielleicht gar nicht groß auffallen, wenn Spezialeffekte davon ablenken, dass die Geschichte mäßig Sinn ergibt. Als Buch funktioniert sie für mich bedauerlicherweise nicht, weshalb ich die Reihe auch nicht weiterverfolgen werde. Ich vermute, dass Jadah McCoy ihre Inspiration für „Artificial“ durch Bilder erhielt, die vor ihrem inneren Auge auftauchten, nicht durch Handlungssequenzen, die sich in ihrem Geist abspulten. Wobei ich wirklich nicht in ihrer Haut stecken möchte, sollten diese gewalttätigen Bilder sie tatsächlich mental überfallen haben. Wer möchte schon sehen, wie jemandem in einer bizarren Operation bei Bewusstsein der komplette Torso aufgeschlitzt und auseinander geklappt wird oder einer jungen Frau bei lebendigem Leib die Beine von einem insektenartigen Monster weggefressen werden? Nein, danke, mein Hirn produziert schon von allein genug Material für schillernde Albträume.


Vielen Dank an den Verlag Curiosity Quills Press für die Bereitstellung dieses Rezensionsexemplars im Austausch für eine ehrliche Rezension!

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/jadah-mccoy-artificial
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review 2017-05-27 17:30
Forever find out the truth – and begins to rebel. Excellent stuff
Lazarus Vol. 5: Cull - Greg Rucka,Michael Lark



This volume deals with Forever Carlyle and her role in the family's attempt to resurrect their position. She finds out about her origin and begins to plot. There's a lot of bloody action as well in the European zone as the Lazari clash. Read the previous volumes to make more sense of it all.


Well-written and illustrated, it is a treat and I’d recommend it any comic book lover.


Highly enjoyable and I look forward to the next instalment.



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review 2016-10-03 04:24
Calling and cull by Augusta Li
Calling and Cull (Blessed Epoch) - August Li “Revenge, lust, ambition, pride, and self-will are too often exalted as the gods of man's idolatry; while holiness, peace, contentment, and humility are viewed as unworthy of a serious thought.” ~ Charles Spurgeon 'Calling and the Cull' by August Li is the fifth book of the ‘Blessed Epoch’ series. It begins approximately ten years after the previous book ended. The war is over, but the truce is tenuous. Knowing that the armies of the thirteen goddesses is growing and King Garith's Blessed Epoch is in danger of being taken by force, Octavian Rose and his lover, D'Aurlian, travel to the Twenty Nine to seek out Yarrow's advice about how to proceed. When Octavian and his men get to Yarrow's domain, they are somewhat shocked at first at the life they find in this magical near paradise. With its carefree people, relaxed sexual activities, and its intrinsic beauty it is not difficult to see why anyone would feel like they are in paradise and why they would never want to leave. Still, they are not sure how anxious Yarrow will be to see them. Surprisingly, Yarrow welcomes them with open arms. When Octavian tells them about what's happening with the goddesses, it throws Yarrow into a fit of rage that only his lover, Sasha, can diminish. Yarrow despises the goddesses who, although powerful, are not immortal beings at all, but women who have gained so much knowledge and magic, stolen from their husband. He abhors that people still worship these “whores” as he calls them and has pledged to destroy them all and heal the pure magic polluted by these beings. Octavian isn't the only person who has come to support Yarrow in his quest to overcome the goddesses and their followers. His lovers, Duncan and Sasha, are there, and later they are also joined by others. Yarrow doesn't adhere to King Garith's truce or any of the rules his cousin has given. He has also warned the Johmatran ships to stay away from his islands. Partly to test Octavian's loyalty, he asks him and his men to help the Emiri raid the ship to discover what they are carrying. When word of the attack comes to King Garith, he has no choice but to demand that Yarrow come in person to face the charges. The results of this meeting only cause more trouble, putting King Garith in an impossible position: attack the Twenty Nine or face civil war between his army and that of the temple. With a heavy heart, he gives the order to invade. This is what Yarrow and his followers are expecting and prepare for as much as they can. This volume answers as many questions as it raises in the continuation of this epic tale. The world building continues to be fantastic; the familiar characters and on-going plots are well wrought, along with new characters and circumstances being seamlessly woven into the action. There's no way I can do justice to the story in the space allotted in this review. There are so many new characters, relationships, information, and understanding that it would take several pages even to scratch the surface. This is definitely not a stand-alone book. Fans of the series will love it. Since there is so much knowledge gained from the previous books, those of you new to the series would be lost without first catching up. Thanks, Gus, for offering me another awesome part of one of my favorite high fantasy stories ever!
Source: www.rainbowbookreviews.com/book-reviews/calling-and-cull-blessed-epoch-5-by-august-li-at-dsp-publications
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