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review 2018-05-08 23:33
What Do Monsters Fear?: A Novel of Psychological Horror - Matt Hayward

Matt Hayward is an author on the rise. Checking him out online, reading interviews and such, you get the sense that he’s one of those guys writing for the love of it. I don’t sense that he’s one of those writers concerned with the numbers or one that aggressively seeks out your attention. He’s passionate and genuine, and it turns out he’s a pretty freaking good writer, too.


I read and enjoyed his previous release, BRAIN DEAD BLUES (Sinister Grin Press, 2017), a really good collection of short stories that displayed Hayward’s massive potential in stories like, “That’s the Price You Pay” and “The Faery Tree” had me eagerly awaiting Hayward’s debut novel, WHAT DO MONSTERS FEAR? (Post Mortem Press, 2017).

This novel is about a group of addicts that sign up for a rehab facility of sorts, where unbeknownst to them, the end game might not be the promise of a clean and sober life, but that of something far more sinister.


There are definitely some cool influences here. I saw a review that mentioned One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest, and rightfully so, as the author also refers to the book and film in the story itself. There’s also a bit of John Carpenter’s The Thing, as well. Both movies that I love. As with both of those films, the characters here are real, and Hayward does a great job making them stand out from one another, something that some newer writers stumble over with a larger cast.


Peter and Henry’s relationship is the best in the book. Two guys trying to kick the bottle, one older, and the other in his early thirties, their initial meeting out on the front porch is a memorable one. From there, Hayward develops them even further and it really makes the horrors to come all that much more intense.


For me, although Hayward uses the front half of the book to get you acquainted with everyone, and does a great job, it is a little slow, but you feel there is definitely something horrible just around the corner. And believe me, when you get to the second half of this one, hold on to your seat!

Hayward delivers in the horror category with lines like: “…___’s innards slopped away from his sliced open stomach, like saliva dripping from the jaw of a pit bull.”

Also, his use of Phobos (the personification of fear in Greek mythology) is righteous and wicked fun. I really enjoyed this one, and so will all you horror fiends. Great characters, great blood and guts, and a fun story.


Overall, I give WHAT DO MONSTERS FEAR? 4 stars!

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review 2018-04-27 14:47
Review:The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2) by Rick Riordan
The Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan

The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan's amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a "half blood" whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan's series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment. In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book's drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come


Another great, light, funny and quick read with our friend Percy and his friend.
Like the first book I really enjoyed this book. Percy again grows a lot in thus book. Now that he is more familiar with the gods, camp half-blood and such things come easier for him. Well most the time. Other times he still is sometimes walking around with his blinders on lol. He is back with the gang and camp half-blood and its people are once again in trouble and it is up to Percy and crew to safe it.
We meet some new people and even come across, face to face with some of the gods, Some unlikely people become allies and others not so much . I really enjoyed some of the new people we meet and what they brought to the story good or bad ort sometimes just awkwardly funny.
Overall I really enjoyed this light and fun adventure and look forward to the next book in this so far awesome series that the whole family can enjoy. Young or old or just somewhere in the middle ;)
I rate it 5 ★








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review 2018-04-06 23:44
Water monsters and other beasts in the prewar Okanagan
Our Animal Hearts - Dania Tomlinson

Disclaimer: I won a copy of this book via the Goodreads Giveaways program.


I generally find literary novels to be a challenge to review/rate because they often aren't the sort of thing that you 'like'. They're not asking to be liked or to provide entertainment in the same way genre fiction does. So when I say I didn't like this book, that's not meant as a criticism, exactly. It was an engaging, well-written piece of fiction and an excellent debut.

Iris is a preteen of British descent living in the Okanagan around the turn of the last century. Her working-class Welsh mother prefers to be called by her first name, drifts around their fanciful house with her pet peacock generally defying propriety, and tells alarming legends or fairy stories. Her father is upper-class English and generally absent. Iris's mother may be a seer, a character from legend, a madwoman, an abusive parent, an epileptic, an abused child, unfaithful, or a mother of monsters. Iris is her mother's daughter and lives in her mother's world of magic and monsters. It is not a kind world.


I would have enjoyed more emphasis on the supernatural elements, and less of the dark heart of man, but that's not the sort of book this is. It reminded me of Gone With The Wind - selfishness, pettiness, jealousy, cruelty and a lack of taking responsibility for one's actions wrapped up in a story about coming of age as your world falls to the violence and loss of wartime. This is not a book about the redemptive power of stories. It is not a story about using magic to escape or defeat darkness.


However, there is much to like. The setting - a tiny lakefront settlement in the Okanagan in the early 1900s - is tangible, rich, earthy and otherworldly by turns and all at once. I appreciated the nuanced portrayal of diverse communities, both their existence and the challenges they faced. I hadn't previously been aware of a significant Japenese community in the Okanagan working the orchards, and while the book doesn't quite cover both wars, it does stretch up to the Japanese internment tragedy. The First Nations community exist mostly as ghosts or a marginal presence, quite literally unseen or half-seen at the edges of things, and the tension between British-descent Canadians and immigrants, and other white (specifically Eastern-European) immigrants and their children was also handled well. Supernatural elements similarly feature a blending of influences, most strongly in the water monster in the lake, who is referred to by Welsh, First Nations, and Japanese terms.


This story is both beautiful - ethereal, intricate, magical - and horrific in its portrayal of humanity. Its excellent quality, historical detail, imaginative format, and philosophical positioning will likely make it a polarizing read, with both fervent fans and those who won't appreciate its uniqueness. I wouldn't be surprised to see it shortlisted in more than a few of next year's literary prizes.

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review 2018-04-06 04:03
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach - Kelly Robson

Our 80-something main character, Minh, is an ecologist bidding on a project to do an ecological survey in the past (approx 2000 BCE) in a future about 250 years from now where humans have just started to reclaim the surface of the Earth. Medical technology is quite advanced, so I'm not sure how much like an 80-year old she actually looks (maybe she'd pass for 50-60?), but it wasn't so advanced to avoid the plague that cost her her legs (the reason she walks around on six prosthetic tentacle-legs).


This was interesting, but it took half the novella just to build the team and the proposal and get to the past, and I wasn't sure how I felt about Kiki and what she did. I would be curious enough to look into other things that Kelly Robson has written, however. I hadn't read her before. She is Canadian, though, which is always a plus (I know there are lots of Canadian authors, but sometimes it feels like they're drowned out by everyone else even in Canada). Minh is based in Calgary, naturally. Or the hab that is located on what used to be Calgary and is thus called Calgary.


There is a double narrative thread that is weaved throughout (starting each chapter) that only pays off towards the end, but I'm not sure I liked it enough to reread it just to appreciate that part more.

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review 2018-04-05 03:11
Bedtime For Monsters - Ed Vere
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

A fantastic bedtime story that is a little bit scary and a lot a bit fun. Great for kids who like monsters. Simple illustrations and text, that make up a hilarious, entertaining read. 

This will be an instant favorite to be read again and again. It's a nice, quick book sure to delight. Great read.
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