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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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review 2019-02-23 17:16
Southern Player (Charleston Heat #2) by Jessica Peterson
Southern Player (Charleston Heat #2) - Jessica Peterson

 

 

The heart of a cowboy with all the charm of a Prince Charming. Luke may be a little rough around the edges, but the way he put Gracie first made him perfection. Southern Player is my first Jessica Peterson novel, but I am confident it won't be my last. It's easy to love a story that doesn't gloss over the heartache, but makes it the backdrop of a fresh start. Gracie wants her voice to be heard and Luke wants her to know that he was always listening. Southern Player is a sweet temptation that is a welcome asset to any lover of romance. I found a new one click author.

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review 2019-02-22 07:10
Blog Tour w/ Review - The Crush Collision

 

 

 

The Crush Collision 

by Danielle Ellison

(Southern Charmed #2)

Publication Date: February 18, 2019

Publisher: Entangled Teen: Crush



Haley Howell has had a hopeless crush on her brother’s best friend, Jake Lexington, for as long as she can remember. Too bad to him, she’ll forever be off-limits. But with senior year and acceptance to a college outside their tiny southern town of Culler, South Carolina, comes new confidence. Haley’s ready to get Jake to notice her—whatever it takes.

No one in Culler notices the real Jake anymore—to them, he’s nothing more than the star football player or the kid with the family tragedy. When one mistake lands him in community service, he’s shocked to find his best friend’s little sister there, too, looking cute as hell and threatening all his no-friends-with-benefits rules. But Jake isn’t ready to take a chance, no matter how crafty Haley’s willing to get to prove him otherwise… 

 

Link to Goodreads:

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43602666-the-crush-collision

 

Purchase Links:

 

Amazon | Amazon Australia | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Link to Tour Schedule:

http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/blog-tour-the-crush-collision-southern-charmed-2-by-danielle-ellison/

 

 

 

 

The Crush Collision (Southern Charmed, #2)The Crush Collision by Danielle Ellison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is #2, in the Southern Charmed series. This can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this series in order.

Haley has been in love with her brother's best friend for years. When they have more in common during the school year - they end up spending time together. Can she keep it a secret from her own BFF who thinks she is in love with Jake?

Jake is finding this the worst year of his life. The only thing he looks forward to right now is spending time with his best friend's little sister. He wants to tell everyone but knows it will cut their time together short. Will he get the guts to tell all?

This series is so good. I love the couples and friendships. This is my favorite trope - no secret there - but I especially love when its done right. I loved the characters and how rich and deep they were. Considering all the touchy subjects touched on in the book this was a terrific way to read about them.


***This early copy was given by Netgalley and its publishers, in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Danielle Ellison is a nomad, always on the lookout for an adventure and the next story. In addition to writing, she’s the founder and coordinator of the NoVa TEEN Book Festival. When she’s not busy with books, she’s probably watching her favorite shows, drinking coffee, or fighting her nomadic urges. She is newly settled in Oklahoma (for now) with her cat, Simon, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.

 

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram • Goodreads

 

 

Blog Tour and materials provided by:

 

 

 

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review 2019-02-22 03:52
Forbidden
The Crush Collision (Southern Charmed #2) - Danielle Ellison

This is #2, in the Southern Charmed series.  This can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader enjoyment, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this series in order.

 

Haley has been in love with her brother's best friend for years.  When they have more in common during the school year - they end up spending time together.  Can she keep it a secret from her own BFF who thinks she is in love with Jake?

 

Jake is finding this the worst year of his life.  The only thing he looks forward to right now is spending time with his best friend's little sister.  He wants to tell everyone but knows it will cut their time together short.  Will he get the guts to tell all?

 

This series is so good.  I love the couples and friendships.  This is my favorite trope - no secret there - but I especially love when its done right.  I loved the characters and how rich and deep they were.  Considering all the touchy subjects touched on in the book this was a terrific way to read about them.  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given by Netgalley and its publishers, in exchange for an honest review only.

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review 2019-02-20 18:16
"Annihilation - Southern Reach #1" by Jeff Vandermeer - Highly Recommended
Annihilation: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy) - Jeff VanderMeer

"Annihilation" is a deeply disturbing exploration of the truly alien. It's a difficult book, not because it's hard to read but because it's hard to stop, no matter how uncomfortable reading on becomes.

 

From the very beginning, this story is a quiet nightmare that won't let you wake up. It's a vivid hallucination with a pervasive sense of threat, a compulsion to continue and a heightened awareness of your own helplessness. 

 

The writing is vivid, the narrator fundamentally unreliable and the nature of the narrative is literally mind-bending.

 

The story is told from the point of view of a member of the twelfth expedition into Area X, an all-female, four-person team made led by a psychologist (which immediately removed my trust - who puts a psychologist in charge?), and consisting of an anthropologist, a surveyor and our narrator, the biologist. What Area X is, what the mission objectives are, even why the fifth member, a linguist, dropped out is all left not just unexplained but proactively obscured.

 

All we see is the landscape, unspoilt apart from the things left behind by previous expeditions.

 

What follows is an exploration of Area X that shows the duplicity of the people sending the expeditions and the deeply alien core that defines Area X and makes the people who send the expeditions afraid.

 

"Annihilation" deals with the truly alien. Not the well-they're-a-little-like-us-except-they-do-this- and they-think-that-and-they-look-funny. What we and our narrator come to understand is that the truly alien is unknowable. It is literally incomprehensible.

The more we are driven by a curiosity sharpened by scientific method and the habitual identification of patterns and the garnering of knowledge, the more painful it is to be confronted with the obviously present but incomprehensible.

 

That kind of contact forces us to look inwards, towards the familiar, the known, the human, so that we can tear our vision from the insanity-inducing contact with something that we cannot process.

 

Our narrator, The Biologist (we never learn her name but we know that she tolerates her husband calling her Ghost-Bird, a reference to her emotional distance and disengagement with the people around her) has the perfect background for encountering the alien and still having the potential to survive. She is someone with a strong, although not necessarily positive, sense of self, who has, since childhood, preferred solitude and welcomed the opportunity to slide her consciousness into a deep embrace with whatever ecosystem she is studying The Biologist is an Uber-introvert who is highly resistant to and suspicious of, outside influence.

 

Early in the book, in the journal she records this narrative in, she comments:

That’s how the madness of the world tries to colonize you: from the outside in, forcing you to live in its reality.

The telling thing here, I thought, was the Biologist's view that we choose the reality that we live in.

 

It soon becomes clear that The Psychologist and the people who sent the team on this mission have taken steps to shape the reality the team sees, even going as far as to implant strong hypnotic suggestions. That our narrator spots and resists this seems to central to her character. She is someone who naturally joins teams or shares her life. Her Ghostbird nickname was earned in part because of her inability to share herself with her husband. At one point, she writes in her journal:

It may be clear by now that I am not always good at telling people things they feel they have a right to know,

The biologist has a gift for letting her focus widen, letting her mind still and waiting for patterns to emerge. She is someone for whom imagination and knowledge are both routes to understanding. This changes the way she sees Area X and gives her a perspective previous expeditions have not been able to achieve.

 

When she thinks about the motivations of her superiors, who send the expeditions, she comes to the conclusion that, while they perceive Area X alien and threatening, they are unable to let themselves fully understand what that means and so have become locked in a pattern of behaviour that does not offer a way forward. She says:

our superiors seemed to fear any radical reimagining of this situation so much that they had continued to send in knowledge-strapped expeditions as if this was the only option.

I found The Biologist as fascinating as Area X. I can see that her dispassion, her tendency to obsess, her ability to be so fully present in the moment that she fades into it, and her emotional toughness would make her seem strange to many, but she is not alien, only different.

 

When making life or death decisions in the face of imminent personal threat, she says:

You can either waste time worrying about a death that might not come or concentrate on what’s left to you.

I admire the pragmatism of that. Yet she is not an emotion-free logician but rather is driven by an emotional connection with the world around her. Her scientific training as a biologist provides with a mother-tongue but it is her connection with her environment that turns the words into poems.

 

She has often failed to have her field assignments renewed because her form of focus is seen as a lack of discipline. She says:

I had gotten sidetracked, like I always did, because I melted into my surroundings, could not remain separate from, apart from, objectivity a foreign land to me.

The Biologist's up close and personal encounter with the animus of Area X is mind-bending and beautifully wrought. There are no easy answers here, only a recognition of our limited ability to know and the dangers of trying to exceed those limitations. She describes part of the encounter by saying:

But the longer I stared at it, the less comprehensible the creature became. The more it became something alien to me, the more I had a sense that I knew nothing at all—about nature, about ecosystems...

...And if I kept looking, I would have to admit that I knew less than nothing about myself as well, whether that was a lie or the truth

I particularly like the last clause. The Biologist is never in doubt that reality is more malleable than truth.

 

I highly recommend this book if you're in the mood for a thoughtful and sometimes challenging read, filled with strong emotion and beautiful prose.

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