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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-08-18 14:44
Creature by Hunter Shea
Creature (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea

Creature by Hunter Shea
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kate Woodson's life is not what she expected. Once being a very active and lively woman, she now is a victim of her own body. Happiness is a thing of the past, however Andrew believes they can find some form of it in Maine, where a lake-house becomes available for the summer. The married couple thus set off, eager and full of hope, desiring the serenity of nature. Nature has other plans, however, as something resides within the dark, and it seeks their undivided attention.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank Flame Tree Press for giving me the opportunity.

I couldn’t help but notice the high amount of praise from the horror community regarding this particular Shea novel, so I was quick to jump aboard that train and request it myself. What immediately became apparent was how disturbed I felt right from the get-go, but not in the typical sense that relates to the genre. Rather, it was the very real and disquieting portrayal of Kate that provoked such a response. To have such a chronically ill main character was almost a shock to the system; I can’t say I’ve witnessed something to that extent during my travels into the dark. Her every waking moment was a challenge, and I couldn’t help but feel that this was, potentially, a very personal topic for the author - it was the in-depth, almost intimate account of Kate’s suffering. Upon reaching the end, I discovered I was correct, in that autoimmune diseases are a very familiar antagonist in Shea's life. No wonder the writing held such passion.

First and foremost, let me state that the plot put an incredible amount of emphasis on the relationship between Andrew and Kate, which very much included the hardships and struggles that frequented their day to day life. I was warmed by their tenacious bond - something most of us yearn for, yet their marriage wasn’t without its share of problems. The painfully realistic and unwanted thoughts that often plagued their minds were a relatable aspect that only padded out their already authentic depiction. It was fairly easy early on to discern just how dependable this book was on characterisation and atmosphere; the first fifty percent was rather uneventful in terms of monsters and gore. I’m not saying there’s no horror, because there was a great deal of it, but some of it required a deeper look into what was presented. As for the creature itself when it came into play, well, it certainly got my mind theorising as to what exactly it was and its origins. At first I believed it to be something typical, but I was surprised to discover it wasn't as obvious as I initially assumed. I favour a good, creative approach to any plot, and this was no different.

This being my first experience with Shea's work, I was thrilled by the reckless abandon in which he penned his violence. There's something special about carnage that has no boundaries in terms of who's going to end up as a corpse, and I felt that spark of excitement whilst anticipating the brutality that would come next. It was worth it - to follow these very real individuals into chaos.

I can honestly say that this proved to be great read, and it nearly reached five stars. My hesitation however lies in the ending and my lack of emotion at what ultimately transpired. By the life of me I can’t explain why I didn’t feel much of anything, but I do massively rely on my feelings to dictate the final outcome. It's a shame, considering my attachment up until that point. Perhaps I found it too abrupt; the fate of those that survived probably would have proved more satisfying.

In conclusion: I became quickly engrossed in this undeniably character-driven tale. I felt connected to the characters and their relationship, and it was as if I was a member of their family. The straight-forward prose was able to convey the harshness of their reality, which induced a lot of emotion within me. It was the ending that I became detached, but in the scheme of things it mattered little when I thoroughly enjoyed the journey to get there. Oh, and Buttons was a hero.

Notable Scene:

Andrew grabbed the doorknob and was about to twist it when he stopped, suddenly unsure. He took a deep, steadying breath and tried again, heart thudding, skin crawling, at war with himself but knowing deep down he had to see. More than anything, he had to see what was out there.

© Red Lace 2018


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/08/18/creature-by-hunter-shea
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review 2018-08-17 21:02
There was more than just images moving in this one...
The Mystery of the Moving Image - C. S. Poe

Ok before I get into this one, I'm just going to say if you haven't read the first two books you may want to stop here because some of the stuff that I'm going to mention happened in previous books and I admit I'm not up for spoiler tags, however, I don't plan on mentioning any major plot points and will keep it to smaller things.

 

It's Sebastian and Calvin!!!! I'm really, really loving these two and this book has cemented them with me. I was more than a little impressed with the first book and book two also went fairly well but this one...Sweetbabyjebus!!!! I loved it. From start to finish this story had my full attention.

 

After having his apartment destroyed in the last book, Seb's needing a new home and so he and Calvin are taking the next step and they've found a place of their own. Calvin's got a dog and he's seeing a counselor (this is a previous story thing).

 

Once again Sebastian is faced with a mystery with origins in the past and this time it goes back to the beginnings of the golden age of film...or more accurately the beginnings of film. When Sebastian receives a mysterious package at his shop. Inside he finds a Thomas Edison Kinetoscope a 19th century movie viewer but there's so much more to this than it appears. 

 

As Sebastian gets drawn further into the mystery things begin to become complicated and not everything or everyone is as it seems. But add in to these events the appearance of someone from Calvin's past and Neil, Seb's ex and you've got a story that's teeming with twist and turns. From start to finish I was kept guessing and wonderfully entertained with this one.

 

Calvin and Sebastian are definitely evolving as a couple and I loved seeing them grown and their interactions had some very definite humorous moments. Along with Calvin and Seb's relationship growth, we're treated to some personal growth on the part of Seb and Neil, as they both evolve from bitterness over their failed relationship to a friendship that just might still be tinged with a bit of sarcasm on both their parts. Sarcasm that also held a touch of affection as Seb and Neil both realize that the biggest problem they'd ever faced was that they were really only ever meant to be friends.

 

Back when the first book was released in this series there were mentions of another well loved cop & shop owner pairing and the resemblance that Calvin and Sebastian held to them, which is something that I'm not trying to dispute because I truly feel this is a matter of personal perspective so I'm not looking for a right or wrong here because I don't think there is one, but I would just like to say that for a number of reasons with this book I think Sebastian and Calvin have firmly moved themselves out of that shadow and are standing in a spotlight that is all their own.

 

Now there's just one other thing that I'd like to mention and that's the ending...which, I'm simply going to say I loved it. The ending of this book for me was totally perfect...I loved it and yes, I'm so on board for more of these two men and I can't wait for what's coming next or at least I hopefully I won't have to wait too long, maybe...please?

 

*************************

An ARC of 'The Mystery of the Moving Image' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-08-17 19:42
Some times you have to walk away from what you don't want, in order to walk towards what you do want...
Running to You - Andrew Grey,Jack Richmond

 

After witnessing Billy Joe an act of cruelty and prejudice that has Billy fearing for his life, he realizes that home is not the place where he and his young son would be safe...no, he needed to run...to run far and fast if he was going to keep himself and his little boy safe. So that's what he does. In the middle of the night Billy Joe packs up their lives, takes his boy and quietly gets the hell out of Dodge or in this case Mississippi.

 

Billy Joe gets as far as Pennsylvania when his luck seems to run out...or in fact his car dies during a snowstorm, but maybe his luck is just beginning when a passer-by stops to offer help...a passer by in the form of Carlos.  Carlos shows Billy that there is kindness and good in the world when he goes out of his way to help him without any ulterior motives...just the honest desire of a good and decent person to help someone in need.

 

There was a lot that I liked about this story first off I liked both of the MCs and I really loved them together as friends and as a couple, I loved how their relationship progressed and seriously we're not talking about insta-love here...did their attraction to each other happen fairly quickly...yes, but it was attraction not love and I think we can all think of at least once in our life that we felt attraction to someone as soon as we saw them...whether, or not that attraction deepens and becomes more and how long it takes is what determines  whether it's insta-love or just lust at first sight and whats fast or too fast or slow can be such a subjective issue.

 

For me the relationship between Billy Joe and Carlos didn't feel like it was developing at an overly fast pace but I think a lot of that was due to their circumstances. Billy Joe didn't know anyone else and Carlos initially seemed like he was just trying to be a genuinely good person and help them out, which brought these two into close proximity a lot faster and more often than probably would have been the case under other conditions...so given the circumstances for me it worked and while the relationship may not have progressed at a slower pace at times the overall flow of the story was honestly a little slower than I would have liked but in the end I liked it, I guess sometimes it is slow and steady that wins the race or in this case it was the slow and steady that allowed me to truly enjoy the story.

 

Ok, this is where I'm going to share the biggy the one thing that took away from this being a 5 star read for me and that one little thing was...Tyler...yep, the kid. I love kids truly I do but this one just didn't work for me and I'm going to try and explain without going into excessive amounts of detail why...and yes this is my third try at this, so sorry to say or maybe not so sorry, you got spared the first two rants because I'm trying to keep this somewhat reasonable...so here goes again...in quick summary...

 

I just wasn't able to buy into Tyler his behavior and development was too erratic. Honestly I had initially thought he was a baby and then it seemed like 'oh, I guess he's maybe 4 or 5 years old and then I just kind of threw my arms in the air and said 'what the hell ever, he's Billy Joe's kid and I care not how old he is.' I know his age was clearly defined as 2 going on 3 at one point but I just wasn't feeling it and by this point I no longer cared, so I basically sidelined Tyler and focused on everything else in the story. I cannot lie Tyler is essentially the full reason that this story got 4 stars and not 4.5 or even 5 from me...sorry, Tyler but as a 2 year old...you were fail for me.

 

Ok, let's move on from poor little Tyler because now I'm feeling like a bully and maybe I need to send Tyler a teddy bear to say sorry...I'll ponder this.

 

As for our MCs...there was so much about Carlos that I really liked. How he was basically able to keep such a positive outlook on things in spite of his family and yes, it was very much a case of 'in spite of' and not 'because of', I loved how supportive both he and Billy Joe were of each other which I think was due, at least in part, to the fact that they understood each other in a very basic way...both men had crap families. Sure maybe the circumstances and dynamics weren't identical but at the heart of it both men were failed by their families and they recognized this in each other...reasons and events may be different but at the core it's the same kind of hurt.

 

While it may have taken Billy Joe time to get there...this guy had strength. From taking Tyler and leaving behind everything that he knew to his determined efforts to make sure that Tyler had a better life, to acknowledging who he was and finally doing what he knew was the only thing he could do to ensure his and his son's safety...Billy Joe had strength. If it took him time to get where he was going I can totally deal with that he had to make the hard choices just as Carlos did in dealing with his family and these two both met the challenge. Sure it wasn't without pain, heartache and a few mistakes but who among us can say differently. We may make different choices and our mistakes aren't always the same but at the end of the day we're all human and we all follow our own path. 

 

Last but not least I want to talk about the narrator...Jack Richmond. I liked his character voices especially for the MCs they were both distinct making it easy to distinguish who was speaking and while I had an issue with Tyler's character in terms of age development unfortunately Tyler's voice didn't really help with this because for me, Tyler's voice was more reflective of that 4 or 5 year old that I thought he was a one point than that of a two year old, but on the upside it was a child's voice that didn't feel like nails on a chalk board which many of my friends will tell you with me that's a definite win.

 

I loved the ending of this one, especially when it came to Carlos and Billy Joe's families and how things worked out with them and while I'm not sure I'd call this an HEA it's definitely a strong HFN that's heading towards HEA and I'm good with that.

 

*************************

An audio book of 'Running to You' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-08-17 16:19
Exploring the Star Wars Expanded Universe

 

 

Sequart is proud to announce the publication of A More Civilized Age: Exploring the Star Wars Expanded Universe, edited by Rich Handley and Joeseph F. Berenato.

 

Almost as soon as there were Star Wars films, there were Star Wars novels. Alan Dean Foster got the ball rolling, ghost-writing the first film’s adaptation for George Lucas, as well as penning a sequel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. Novels covering the exploits of Han Solo and Lando Calrissian soon followed, ushering in what would come to be called the Star WarsExpanded Universe. The EU, like the Force itself, has helped to bind the galaxy together.

More than 250 Star Wars novels have been published by Del Rey, Bantam Books, Ballantine Books, and other companies, aimed at both young and adult readers. Spanning the decades before, during, and after the films’ events, the books have spawned new galactic governments, explored the nature of the Jedi and the Sith, and developed the Star Warsmythos well beyond merely a series of films and television shows. The Expanded Universe — recently re-branded as “Legends” following Disney’s acquisition of the franchise — has grown exponentially, comprising not only the books but also comics, video games, radio shows, role-playing games, and more.

 

With A More Civilized Age: Exploring the Star Wars Expanded Universe, editors Rich Handley and Joseph F. Berenato continue their look back at the franchise’s highs and lows, which began with A Long Time Ago: Exploring the Star Wars Cinematic Universe and A Galaxy Far, Far Away: Exploring Star Wars Comics. This third volume offers insightful, analytical essays examining the Star Wars EU, contributed by popular film historians, novelists, bloggers, and subject-matter experts — including fan-favorite Star Wars novelists Timothy Zahn and Ryder Windham. The films were just the beginning. Find out how the universe expanded.

The book runs a massive 348 pages.

A More Civilized Age: Exploring the Star Wars Expanded Universe is available in print and on Kindle. (Just a reminder: you don’t need a Kindle device to read Kindle-formatted books; you can download a free Kindle reader for most computers, phones, and tablets.)

 

Find out more on the book’s official page or its Facebook page.

Reviewers may request a PDF of the book for review, and the book's editors are available for interviews. If interested, please send inquiries to sequart.mike@gmail.com

 

 

Amazon link:

 

https://www.amazon.com/More-Civilized-Age-Exploring-Expanded/dp/1940589177

 

 

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review 2018-08-17 12:35
Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
To Kill a Kingdom - Alexandra Christo

 

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure what I can say that has not been said about this book. It is really, really good and I enjoyed it a lot. There were a few problems I had with it but I think that was just my problem as I was a bit in a reading slump when I started this book. But even though I still enjoyed this book very much.

I liked the world setting and building, the ocean and the main land, and really liked the touch with the different kingdoms sorts all have a special thing , that we might or might not know  from other legends and/ or  telling’s.  The story is also a bit of a retelling with a twist of Ariel, which I liked.  I also liked the twists on mermaids and sirens and the differences, I thought it was well played put and written.

I must say that I had issues with Lira in the beginning and had a hard time to connect to her. To me it seems she was trying to make more excuses of why she is that way than actually changing anything or even trying. But while also fishing for sympathy. I did start to like her more about half way through when she actually starting to act on stuff. I have to say though she was funny and snarky a thing I like J .

I did however enjoy Elian much more from the beginning, and I liked his values, There were a d=few times I cringed. He never wanted to be a prince or his duties but when it came in handy, he had no problem using his title. But overall I could overlook that and I really liked him.

I think what I enjoyed more was his crew and the friendship he had with them. While we got plenty of it I still wished we would have had more. It sort of reminded me of the Six of Crows crew, Kaz and friends.

Overall, great book and I enjoyed it a lot. Took me a while to finish but that was because if me not the book, lol.

I rate it 4 ★, while I enjoyed it a lot I couldn’t rate it any higher because I wasn’t a huge fan of Lira in the first half of the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy Links

 

Amazon *** B&N *** Kobo 

 

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/08/17/review-to-kill-a-kingdom-by-alexandra-christo
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