Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror by Christopher Golden

I am always wary about picking up anthologies about vampires because usually they are of the Twilight or Buffy variety. Don't get me wrong. I am one of those who did read the Twilight series and enjoyed it and I am a huge Buffy fan but I really love a good old fashioned vampire/horror story aka Bram Stoker and H.P Lovecraft style. When I requested this book I assumed that it would be a ho hum contemporary vampire anthology but was pleasantly surprised to find myself very wrong. All of the short stories included in this anthology are fantastic though a few stick out in my mind. These are not your sparkly vampires but are the real deal: full-fledged, horrific creatures that breathe new life into the vampire genre. It isn't easy to write a convincing short story but all of the authors do an incredible job and really they all created an original view of vampires that is convincing and bloodcurdling. This was such a treat to read. It is so good that I am planning to buy a copy for myself. I would really recommend this wonderful book to anyone who wants to read a vampire anthology that harks back to the heyday of quality horror fiction. I received a copy of this novel from the publishers via Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Haunted America FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Haunted Houses, Cemeteries, Battlefields, and More

I have to admit that I am a sucker for ghost stories; the more historic the better which is why I requested to read this book. This must have been a huge undertaking for the author. While some of the history is very blunt and short; others have a lot of historical background to them which I enjoyed immensely. I just googled for more information on the others that intrigued me. I was a little taken aback by the format of writing at first. I had thought it would be like another book I had read about haunted sites in England where it had a paragraph or more for each site and actual directions to and from one site to another. Once I got into the style of writing, I was drawn in quickly. The format reminds me of sitting next to someone near a fire while they tell ghost stories. I liked the style very much. 
Another welcome change for me was the fact that often the author would take a "breather" and discuss different areas of ghosts and hauntings such as spiritual photography, the history of the entire genre, and also a comprehensive discussion on some of the literary masters of horror fiction (I took many notes). All in all, I really enjoyed this read and would recommend it to anyone who loves learning about not only haunted places in America but also some of the history surrounding the genre.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Zombie Stories of H.P Lovecraft: Featuring Herbert West--Reanimator and More! by H.P Lovecraft

This is truly a fantastic anthology by the true master of horror fiction. Even the renowned Stephen King (another favorite author of mine) says he was influenced by H.P Lovecraft. 
These zombie stories are a bit different than the current day type of zombie but Lovecraft was a master at creating horrific stories with such atmosphere and suspense that they are far superior to anything we have today. 
H.P Lovecraft's work is classic and I am glad to see them revived once again. Highly recommended. In fact, I plan to purchase a copy for myself as the stories are ones that I will read again and again.
I received a copy of this anthology via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Five out of Five Stars

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Sara is a shy, withdrawn Swedish woman who lives through the books she loves. She develops a long distance correspondence with an American woman from a small town who also adores books. Sara decides to visit her friend, Amy but when she gets to Broken Wheel Sara finds out that Amy has passed away. This book has so many layers that it is hard to decide what the book is exactly about. It is not only a love story but is also an examination of small town life and people and the joys and regrets that their choices bring them. It is also a tribute to books. I found myself wanting to visit the bookstore and Broken Wheel.

Three out of Five Stars

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell

This was such a treat to read! I love the paranormal, mysteries, and crime novels but found it is very hard to find an author who blends all of that successfully in one novel. Caroline Mitchell has done that and more. I was drawn in from the beginning, and I like how the author fleshed out the main characters but still managed to leave more to be discovered. This is actually the second book in the series but it can be read as a stand-a-lone novel as well. I can honestly say that Caroline Mitchell has gained a fan.

Three out of Five Stars

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sweeney Todd The String of Pearls

I have always been fascinated by the story of Sweeney Todd. If you are expecting this to be the written version of the musical with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter then you will be sorely disappointed. This is a novelization of the original story of Sweeney Todd that was published in a "Penny Dreadful" in 1846-1847 as a serial. The written style is old fashioned (by current day standards) but that is to be expected. I don't think the story would have the same flair without it, and I adapted very quickly to the style and rhythm of the writing. I really found this to be an enjoyable and thrilling read. There is a bit of debate as to who exactly wrote it but whoever they were (there are apparently two possible authors who may have collaborated on it) they had great imaginations. I really would recommend people interested in the story of Sweeney Todd to give this book a try. It fleshes out and gives new life and insight into one of the most diabolical literary villains ever to have been invented.

Three out of Five Stars

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Powerless by Tim Washburn

I love a good disaster novel and this novel didn't let me down. It was very well written and drew me in from the first page. I find that often when I read a disaster novel that there is so much focus on action that the character development is lacking. That is not the case in this novel. The author did a great job of blending the background of the main characters with the main story. Highly recommended! I received a copy of this novel for free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The New Wild by Holly Brasher

The idea behind this book is intriguing. Mother nature has had enough of the abuse humans heap on her and she decides to wipe the slate clean.
I had thought the novel would be a dystopian survival novel but I am really not sure exactly what it is. Is it dystopian? Apocalyptic? Fantasy? Or a blend of all three? I found the main characters to be a bit one dimensional and had a bit of a hard time with some of the new creatures to be found. I felt like the novel didn't know if it wanted to be survive against all odds or a surreal fantasy novel. It distracted me from the novel as a whole. The vision behind the book is compelling and I really think the author has potential but the novel just didn't do it for me. I received a copy of this novel for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Two out of Five Stars

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Sleeping King by Cindy Dees

I rarely read epic fantasy novels these days as I am invariably disappointed because I always compare them to classic series like The Lord of the Rings, The Belgariad, Lord Foulsbane, The Sword of Shannara and The Fionavar Tapestry among others. To say that this novel blew me away is an understatement. I actually kept putting my kindle down to make it last longer. The beginning is a bit overwhelming and hard to get through but that is normal when you are reading a novel with so much depth and detail. Once you begin to understand what the story is about and who the main characters are then you literally fall into an incredible fantasy world. It is full of all that should be in a fantasy novel: elves, orcs, trolls, magic, quests, and the inevitable love story. I was not disappointed at the ending in the least as I understand that this is the first novel in a series so I am sure unfinished story-lines will be explained later on as the series progresses. This is really a fantastic novel that should stand beside the classics I mentioned earlier. I can't wait until the next novel in the series comes out. I received a copy of "The Sleeping King" from the publisher via Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review. I want to thank them for the opportunity. This book was a treat to read.

Five out of Five stars

Lethal Elements by Joel Gomez-Dossi

I received a copy of "Lethal Elements" by the publisher via Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review. 
I requested this novel because I was interested in the premise of the story. A geologist wakes up in the wilderness not knowing how or why (at first) what happened. All he knows is someone is trying to kill him. The story was fast paced but distracted me a bit with the rapid changes from the current situation to past memories of the characters which I found to be a little choppy. The story was also very sharp and to the point which I can understand considering the author's background is in journalism. I really enjoyed the style of writing. I always like to learn something from the books I read and this one did not let me down. I learned about an area of geology I was not aware of. The author did a great job of blending this knowledge into the story very well. I thought the emotional background of the main characters with their relationship troubles and shared grief from a previous tragedy really added to the story. I did wish (more than once) to be able to drop into the story so I could smack Roman near the end though lol (Snap out of it man! Calm down and let the police do their job! Do you need a valium?). All in all, I found the novel to be a light and exciting read. I am interested to see what the author comes up with next.

Three out of Five stars