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review 2017-10-13 12:45
Spungunion by John Boden
Spungunion - John Boden

 

 

It's difficult to review this amazing novella without taking away from the beauty of the writing-this is a story that needs to unfold to the reader personally. That said...here we go:

 

 Deke has been on the road carrying loads, as truck drivers do, when he comes home to a tragedy. His grief is palpable-almost suffocating. About two years later,  Deke gets a chance to find out who was responsible for his pain and suffering and he jumps on it, despite several warnings that this may not be the best course of action. We're along for the ride.  

 

Throughout this story, there are sentences and passages that resonated in my heart-some to do with grief, some not. This, for instance: 

Outside, night had lumbered in and clubbed the day to death, like a Neanderthal.

 

Another quote I loved which reminded me of Robert McCammon:

My heart is as thin as a dime but I'd give it to her anyway. In her small hand, it would look like a doubloon. She could cram it in the slot in my back and see all the senseless tricks I would perform, to make her smile again. 

 

All of the wonder that is this tale was brought to us via a fabulous intro from Bracken MacLeod. He said the things about John Boden's work that I want to say, but sadly, I lack the skills to say properly.  

  

Beautifully written, poignant, grief-filled and yet resilient, Spungunion is a powerful piece of work which I HIGHLY recommend.

 

Spungunion: (pronounced: Spun-Gun-Yun) noun; 1.) a dish made from rotting road kill, usually a skunk or a opossum. The more fragrant or maggoty, the better. 2.) Something that's been on the road for a long and unfortunate time. 

 

Available on Halloween, but you can pre-order here: Spungunion

 

*I was provided a digital ARC of this tale in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-10-06 18:30
Halloween Carnival Volume 4, edited by Brian James Freeman
Halloween Carnival Volume 4 - Kealan Patrick Burke,C.A. Suleiman,Ray Garton,Brian James Freeman,Bev Vincent

 

It's that time of year again and my pile of books to read is towering! I had to choose which of the Halloween Carnival books I was going to request because I knew I wouldn't have time to read all 5. The reason I chose Volume 4 was because of 2 authors-Kealan Patrick Burke and Ray Garton. They didn't disappoint! These and another story stood way out for me, and here's a bit on each of them:

 

The Mannequin Challenge by Kealan Patrick Burke is the first story and it's killer. Maybe it's because I love the kind of tales that are just plain weird and offer NO explanation-they just ARE. A quiet and reclusive man decides to attend the Halloween party at work, just this one time. What will he find? You'll have to read it to find out! This one made me laugh out loud with delight.

 

Across the Tracks by Ray Garton was a blast. For whatever reason, to me this tale had a distinct Ray Bradbury feel to it, but I think the ending might've even blown Bradbury himself away. What fun!

 

The Halloween Tree I've seen Bev Vincent's name around and I am friends with him on various social media, but I believe this is the first time I've read one of his stories. I enjoyed it! Any kid with an imagination can make something scary from an inanimate object. In this tale, it's a tree. But what made this story different was how the kids dealt with the problem. I found this to be the most surprising story in the bunch and it made me smile.

 

I did enjoy the other two stories in this anthology, but these three stood tall and they alone are worth the price of this book. The other two are just the gravy on top!

 

Recommended!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: Halloween Carnival Volume 4

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and to Hydra for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-10-03 18:44
Cthulhu Blues by Douglas Wynne
Cthulhu Blues (Spectra Files) - Douglas Wynne

 

Cthulhu Blues is the third and final book of the SPECTRA FILES trilogy. I'm sad to see the series end! 

 

In this volume, Becca Phillips is in the hospital trying to find a way to get some sleep. While being monitored overnight, Becca begins to sing, while asleep, and weird things begin to happen-not the least of which is the mirror in her room coming alive with... something. Something from the other side?

 

Jason Brooks, Becca's friend and colleague is still around, and working for SPECTRA, albeit under a new director, when he hears about Becca. He also discovers that a few children have been singing while asleep as well, and now those children are disappearing, one by one. He invites Becca to stay at his house, (turns out he's having trouble sleeping too), and together they begin work on the mystery of the song. They work together, that is, until Becca filches an important artifact from the SPECTRA stores, and joins the missing children to sing WITH them. What will come through, if the chorus is allowed to continue until completion? What will happen to the earth and all of mankind as a result? You will have to read this to find out!

 

It would be hard to pick up this volume without knowing what happened in the first two, but it's not impossible. (However, I recommend reading the first two because they're creative and a lot of fun!) I have developed quite a liking for both Becca and Jason over the last 2 years as their stories have unfolded. Neither of them are perfect people; they are dealing with PTSD, sleep disturbances and all kinds of other problems that make them come across as more real to me. Even Becca's dog, Django, has a place in my heart. SPECTRA itself is an interesting entity, being the group that helps keep cosmic horrors out of our realm. 

 

Speaking of which, there is no shortage of imaginative cosmic horror here. There are all kinds of Lovecraftian creatures and there never seems to be a shortage of people willing to give up everything, even their lives, to help them take over. 

 

The last entry in this trilogy delivers on the great storytelling that took place in the first two. I have no problem recommending it, or all of the books, really. They're innovative, full of engaging characters, and fascinating monsters. They're everything a horror lover could ask for! 

 

 

You can get your copy here: Cthulhu Blues

 

*I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

 

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review 2017-10-01 21:04
The Grip of It by Jac Jemc
The Grip of It - Dancing Bear Michael Axtell;David Castleman Deborah Byrne;Michael Estabrook Daniel R. Cuddy;Bobbie Kilzer Gogain Mark Featherstone;Billy Dean Hester George Held;Jerry H. Jenkins Ken Holland;Duane Locke,Jac Jemc,Inc. Blackstone Audio, Inc.,Amy McFadden

I loved the premise of this book and borrowed the audio from library because it sounded so good. The Grip of it delivered!

 

This audio follows Julie and James as they buy a new home to begin their fresh start. Almost immediately, creepy things begin to occur. Their new neighbor only adds to the uncomfortable atmosphere, not to mention the stories of the townspeople. When mysterious bruises begin to appear on Julie's body, they both have to admit there is some kind of problem, but how are they going to deal with it? You'll have to read this book to find out.

 

I loved how the chapters alternated between the viewpoints of James and Julie. This worked very well on audio with two narrators. I also enjoyed the slow burn of the stories and how the characters reacted to each occurrence, though at one point, I will admit to just yelling at my phone, "it's time for you to move out!!" Surprisingly, I liked the ending too, which is where almost all haunted house stories fall apart for me. I thought it believable and reasonable. What more could I ask? Oh, I know! More Jac Jemc, please!

 

Highly recommended, but beware, this is quiet, creeping, chilling horror. Not in your face, blood everywhere type of horror and to that I say, Bravo!

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review 2017-09-27 19:00
Money Back Guarantee by Hunter Shea
Money Back Guarantee - Hunter Shea

From what I understand, this is the last of the Mail Order Massacres novella series. That's a damn shame! The first dealt with sea monkeys, the second with X-Ray glasses, and this one- a nuclear submarine ordered from the back of a comic book. You shouldn't worry though because if you're not happy with your submarine, there's a money back guarantee!

 

So what happens when Rosemary orders said nuclear sub and her son tries to take it into his best friend's pool? As you can imagine, it doesn't go very well because the sub is actually made out of cardboard. Rosemary tries to get her money back and that's when everything goes south. Is her son okay? Will she be refunded her $5.00? You'll have to read this ripping novella to find out!

 

Money Back Guarantee was a fast paced story that can easily be knocked off in one sitting. Was it fun? Hell, yeah! Was it engaging? Oh yes! Was it totally believable? Probably not, but if you're looking at these kinds of books, believability is probably not your first priority. If what you ARE looking for is fun, then this is the novella for you!

 

I'm going with highly recommended on this one, because it's just so entertaining!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: Money Back Guarantee

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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