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The Sea was a Fair Master
Calvin Demmer, 2018
5* Book review
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads: “The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.
The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, riding the currents of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. There are tales of murder, death, loss, revenge, greed, and hate. There are also tales of hope, survival, and love.”
I love horror shorts, short films and short stories. Some are downright terrible, while others are terrifyingly great. It’s surprising what can be packed into a 5 minute video of a few pages in a book. I’m one who loves to be scared, I want to be clinging onto my fiancé Andy, the child in me scared of what might be lurking behind the sofa or under the bed. There is a damsel in distress within me who loves the feeling of being protected by my man during scary scenes.
This collection of short stories from Calvin Demmer titled ‘The Sea was a Fair Master’ is quite frankly a masterpiece. I would absolutely love to see a few of these, Hangman and Trashcan Sam in particular, expanded into novellas if not full novels. Within the pages of ‘The Sea was a Fair Master’, are great stories; I was genuinely unnerved by a few.
‘Hangman’ is one of my favourites from the collection. An unsettling tale of the ‘Extreme English’ class, one class you absolutely cannot fail. The penalty is death.
Another I particularly liked was ‘Graves’. This is a sad story of death and the struggle to move on. This is one that tugged on the heartstrings a little.
‘Trashcan Sam’, now this is an interesting one. I would love to read more of this, to see where it started and how it develops. This is creepy world of garbage looters and the random oddities they find in peoples trash. It’s rather disturbing I thought, and possibly my overall favourite. It’s hard to choose as they are all so good.
You can find ‘The Sea was a Fair Master on Amazon here:
It’s also free via Kindle Unlimited.
Check it out, please, it’s worth your time.
5/5 I LOVED IT
Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)
Series can be difficult to write for an author and of course, for me, I have never read any books beyond a trilogy as I prefer it to be short and sweet. Gone series by Michael Granthad surprise me in some - good flow of science-fiction, unraveling plots and twist and characters you understand them and seeing them change as the book series progress. This is the fifth in the 6 book series and Fear has reach its level of not just a good read but one I never thought I want to finish the series to know what happens next.
The FAYZ is going dark, literally. As dark shapes slowly covers the dome and the children of Perdido Beach panic in fear of what will happen when they are in the dark, Sam has to face his greatest fear - the dark. As others make decisions of what they need to do, the gaiaphage is making a move - one that involves Diana's baby. With the dark covering the dome, and the world outside of the dome are going to discover if the parents of the children of Perdido Beach will be able to see their children again, one thing is for certain - the battle has just begun.
Although I took too long to read this (since June, I have no excuse for this late reading and its entirely my fault not making the time for), Fear is the too good to be true not making it into an adaptation, one worthy as a TV series. There's just so much to go for (horror, action, romance, suspense) even though, yes the book is graphic in its violence description and really not for the weak stomach, Fear to me is like the ending of Empire Strikes Back. Overall, I just can't wait to read the next one and hopefully, buckle up my reading habit.
‘We Sold Our Souls’ is one HELL of a ride. Grady Hendrix, King of horror at Quirk Books, has written a heavy metal masterpiece with a female lead guitarist, Kris Pulaski, as its star.
Less classic horror this time (his previous books are ‘Horrorstör’, and ‘My Best Friend’s Exorcism’), Hendrix has laden ‘Souls’ with conspiracy theory and real life horrors.
Kris Pulaski was in a heavy metal band called Dürt Würk two decades ago and they were on the brink of success when the lead singer Terry Hunt ripped the band apart and left to start his solo career. And it seems Terry’s rise to success was at the cost of selling the band’s souls.
That’s right, he sold their souls for rock’n’roll…or in this case, heavy metal.
Kris’ pitiful present day existence is working at the reception of a Best Western, and if you can stomach the ‘Welcome To Hell’ chapter (good horror always comes at the cost of reading things that make your stomach turn), then you can follow Kris on her journey as she gets whisked from Pennsylvania to a Satanic rehab center, and then across the country again to grimy Las Vegas. Years of grueling, crazy, exciting, challenging (to say the least), and often nasty experiences on the road with the band, were nothing compared to this trip, and it seems like all Kris’ heavy metal years were preparation and toughened her up. The journey to Las Vegas is overwhelming, but Kris has a mission she can’t ignore. There’s also a whole host of colorful characters along the way, but I do have to wonder if Hendrix has a thing against UPS (you will see what I mean when you read the book).
The greatest thing about this book is that Hendrix has chosen to write ‘Souls’ with a female protagonist. Not just that: a kickass, middle-aged (even though I hate that word, because that’s what I am now, I suppose), female as its lead. And she plays the guitar like a certain other Hendrix. She doesn’t take any bull from anyone and doesn’t stop fighting back once she starts on her new road trip.
While it seems as though she has given up with her hotel job, the revelation that she must stop her old bandmate Terry Hunt, lights a fire in Kris, and the book has that vibe of ‘don’t give up, don’t let the system win, don’t let the bullies push you’. That’s highly clear in the messages of conspiracy theory, our paranoia-laden country, and how culture is selling itself (its soul) particularly out to cell phones and shallow marketing. Reading the book will give you a greater sense of the way the conspiracy theory works in ‘Souls’ - I’m kind of at a loss as how to explain the genius behind how it’s woven in - but Hendrix has cleverly used snippets of radio and newspaper to show how ‘news’ travels and information spreads. This has always been the way conspiracy theories spread and this underbelly of the book is fascinating.
If you don’t know all the music in the book, this may be a little daunting, as there are a lot of heavy metal and music references, but I think if you have even the remote interest in or knowledge of decades old music such as Black Sabbath and Slayer, and remember the days when everyone thought that heavy metal listeners were devil worshipers, you will appreciate what Hendrix is doing here (and no you don’t have to actually like the music). Trigger warnings for sexual assault and creepy crawlies; this is definitely rated R.
Hendrix is an undeniable force in pop culture literature and has written an unforgettable book, one that’s not for everyone, but will be a cult classic, but not like any of the schlock he writes about in his awesome ‘Paperbacks from Hell’. No one writes like this guy; ‘We Sold Our Souls’ is funny, gross, complex, and a wonderful blend of horror, pop culture, conspiracy theory, and is infused with a heavy dose of music history. Only Grady Hendrix could have done that.
**I'm really lucky because this Friday I get to meet Grady here in Seattle at his book signing and I get to have my big stack of books signed.
*Kudos to Doogie Horner again, for another excellent book cover design for Grady. It's worth noting that the hardcover of this book has beautiful black ink-sprayed pages.
What an amazing ‘signing’. To anyone who gets to go to one of the signings on this book tour: Grady will blow your mind with the presentation he has ready for you; I wish I’d been prepared and been able to record it or something, so I could listen to it again (you hear/see that, Grady?).
The whole ‘secret history’ behind heavy metal and how it has rotted so many young minds (aka the wonderful conspiracy theories that set WSOS in motion) is the basis for Grady’s brilliant ‘lecture’, along with a slideshow and I wish I’d at least taken notes, but I chuckled too much to do that. It was the most funny, inspiring, thoughtful signing I’ve been to yet.
THANK YOU TO GRADY for revealing the personal background behind writing this book in particular; I really appreciated your message at the end, you have so much heart, especially for a guy who writes some of my favorite books which are complete with things like people getting their scalps ripped off, beetles crawling down their shirts, and high schoolers needing exorcisms. Plus you will say ‘fuck’ a lot right near the children’s department in the bookstore and do the ‘voices’ of the members of KISS.
And I have NO idea how you have the energy that you do (you delivered about 20-25 pages at cutthroat speed), especially since I’m someone who has zero energy most of the time, thanks to MS.
Us Seattlites apologize for the death of metal circa 1991 when Nirvana et al burst onto the scene (I thought it was funny that you started your tour here*), but you must admit jeans are way more comfortable than leather pants, so that was a godsend. I’d love to hear your take on whether that was a conspiracy itself.
So, thank you for coming and signing my massive stack of books, for your presentation, and for your writing genius. Thank you to librarians for buying secret copies of books for kids like a certain one did for you.
*We would like to reiterate that we did indeed have a very hot and sunny summer here this year (again) in Seattle, and now that it’s raining we are actually all quite relieved. Sorry you had to experience it for your trip though. Make sure you come back for your next book.
When seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher is caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen...but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she'd only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head...
#1 New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns to the universe of the Lux in this brand new series, featuring beloved characters both new and old.
*I received a free copy from the publisher via Netgalley and chose to leave a voluntary review. Thank you!*
I love Jennifer L. Armentrout’s work and I loved the Lux series. So this book was a must read for me. I was super excited excited to dive back into the lux world. You don’t have to have read the Lux books in order to read this one but I would recommend it, not only are they great but it will help you with past events and or people. But again, it is not necessary in order to read this book.
That being said, sadly I didn’t love as much as I thought I would, it was not horrible by any means, but it also was not the best she has written. The good, it had plenty of action and humor, we get from her books. Loved the banter we got between Luc and Evie, most of the time, there were a few times it just seemed forced or over the top. It also had its suspense and defiantly kept you asking for more and wanting to find out, who ,what and why….And of course there is the romance, which also had its up and downs. We see some lovely and familiar faces again and it was great. But also meet some pretty great new people.
Luc, it has been a few years since we saw him last but he is still the funny dude we met way back when. Just all grown up. Or well almost ……. And for the most part I liked him, funny, cocky and willing protect those around him. Now that includes Evie. Sometime now with Evie he had his moments, that more than anything made me roll my eye, not so much him as them together. Evie, it is clear from the beginning that there is more to her and it takes a bit before we get there but I must say I was just like “ oh okay…..” not shocked or anything it was just hmm okay. Maybe that was because, I was not her biggest fan and she annoyed me a lot of times. She often just came over as whiny more than anything. The romance sometimes seemed to be taking over the story but it all came back around.
For me, the whole narrative came over as very young or naiveish ?! IF that is a word lol. I know it is YA, but so was the Lux series but that by any means did not seem that young/ and or teen angst written as this book.
So overall, we get a teen angst insta love/lust teen drama but that is also wonderfully connected to the world we read and loved. In a weird way I couldn’t quit. I was often annoyed with it but also couldn’t put it down.
So the verdict. I give it 3★, I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate, it was just in the middle somewhere. That being said though I most likely will get book two to see how it continues.
Will be available October 30th,2018, pre-order now