Friday, 31 January 2014

Book Blitz: Carnelian by B Kristin McMichael

 
Book & Author Details:

Carnelian by B. Kristin McMichael
(Chalcedony Chronicles #1)
Publication date: January 10th 2014
Genres: Time-Travel, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Everyone has a past, but for most it isn’t so far in the past as Seth Sangre. His past is literally from thousands of years ago. Seth’s past led him to the present seeking something that might help him save his country from destruction. He has been in the present for over three years now and just found exactly what he has been looking for.

Mari had dreams of college being a fresh start, one where she would start over and not fall for the good looking player like high school. Unfortunately for her that’s exactly what ends up falling into her lap on the first day she moves into the dorms. Now she has to hold to her promise to herself and not fall for the handsome Seth. But he doesn’t plan to make it easy for her. Seth has already marked her as his next conquest. As the semester progresses, Mari learns that Seth might just have a past of his own that’s literally in the past. Suddenly Mari finds her future along with her past put into question. She’s connected to Seth far more than she ever wanted to be and maybe the player isn’t who she thought he was. If Mari can trust her heart enough to follow him, Seth will lead Mari on an adventure of a lifetime and reveal family secrets she never knew existed.



Purchase:


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AUTHOR BIO
Originally from Wisconsin, B. Kristin currently resides in Ohio with her husband, two small children, and three cats. When not doing the mom thing of chasing kids, baking cookies, and playing outside, she is using her PhD in biology as a scientist. In her free time she is currently hard at work on multiple novels. Every day is a new writing adventure. She is a fan of all YA/NA fantasy and science fiction.

Author Links:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6889132.B_Kristin_McMichael



Thursday, 30 January 2014

Book Blitz: Matt Archer Bloodlines by Kendra C Highley(Matt Archer #4)


When seventeen-year-old Matt Archer set out on his last mission in the Australian Outback, he thought it would be like every other hunt.

Not even close.

After only two days on the ground, his best friend is possessed, a long-lost family member has returned and hidden truths have come to the surface. Add in a coven of witches bent on bringing about the end of the world and, well, this trip has started to suck. Badly.

As his power and strength continue to grow, so does Matt’s concern that he’s becoming more and more like the creatures he’s been charged to hunt: a monster.

Faced with some of his biggest challenges to date, Matt has to decide what he needs to protect most—his family, his team…or himself.

My Review:
*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

A coven of witches are suspected as being responsible for calling all the deadly monsters that Matt and the team continue to face as they move operations to Australia for the next battle. A new member to the team has an effect on Matt while Will has to face a challenge of his own.

These books continue to be really exciting as we enter the fourth adventure. The eclipses are becoming more dangerous each time with multiple monsters appearing and the battle of Oz is the most deadly yet. The scene also switches back to where it all began in Montana which was nice as well. As for the monsters we had the dingoes, super intelligent bears and the creature I would fear most in the world...big ass spiders! Yes being an arachnophobe, I was hoping these guys would show up at some point so Matt could kill some of the creepy gits!

Ha Ha! I was right! Matt's Dad is the CIA man sent to join this mission! I just knew that he was going to feature at some point-and I liked him. He was cool and deadly just like James Bond! Erik's mixed welcome from his wife and kids, and open hostility from Mike were nicely played out in this book. I also had suspicions about the role that Mamie was going to be playing in this series as I caught a few hints that the author left about her-see where she comments on Matt and Ella's relationship and you'll see the hint. She always seemed able to find out things much easier than Julie which showed intuition but I always wondered if there was a bit more to it. These two additions to the story were very interesting as was the section with the super intelligent bears. It was quite a touching scene actually and I felt as bad as Matt did about what he had to do.

Again the plot switches between Matt the monster killer and Matt with his family struggles and that is what makes these books so enjoyable to read. The author drops you right into this family and everything they have to face so it is impossible not to care about them all. It is the same with the Green Berets. With the danger they face and without them all having a magic knife, you know there will be casualties but you just hope it isn't your favourite that gets hurt. I was very upset at the tragedy in this book. Damn you author!!!

The big thing in this book was the big cliffhanger at the end. It was great! It left you thinking 'what the hell do they do now??? What does this mean for the next book? Do they all go rogue, which would be really amazing? Oh I hope so! I hope we don't have a lot of stuff about them going before committee's to explain themselves!

I cannot wait for the grand finale to this series! 
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica.


Contact information: 



Book Review: The Torturer's Daughter by Zoe Cannon

When her best friend Heather calls in the middle of the night, Becca Dalcourt assumes it's the usual drama. Wrong. Heather's parents have been arrested as dissidents - and Becca's mother, the dystopian regime's most infamous torturer, has already executed them for their crimes against the state.

To stop Heather from getting herself killed trying to prove her parents' innocence, Becca hunts for proof of their guilt. She doesn't expect to find evidence that leaves her questioning everything she thought she knew about the dissidents... and about her mother.

When she risks her life to save a dissident, she learns her mother isn't the only one with secrets - and the plot she uncovers will threaten the lives of the people she loves most. For Becca, it's no longer just a choice between risking execution and ignoring the regime's crimes; she has to decide whose life to save and whose to sacrifice.

It's easy to be a hero when you can save the world, but what about when all you can do is choose how you live in it? THE TORTURER'S DAUGHTER is a story about ordinary life amidst the realities of living under an oppressive regime... and the extraordinary courage it takes to do what's right in a world gone wrong.

My Review:
*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Becca's mother is the top state interrogator and hopes her daughter will also want to work for Internal. But when Becca's best friend Heather begs her to help prove that her parents are not enemies of the State, Becca starts to spy on her mother, suspecting her of arranging false confessions which cause innocent people to be tortured.

Becca is a good character. She is honest and loyal, refusing to believe that Heather and her parents are the enemy, even when the whole school is against them. You can imagine how you would feel if your best friends parents were in this kind of trouble and you would want to help or believe it was all a mistake. Becca's snooping and her unguarded comments to her mother and friends is showing dissident traits which could see her executed if she is reported but she won't abandon her principles for an easier life, even if it is safer. I found Heather to be frustrating and a bit too changable to like but her character again is well written. When Jake comes on the scene, you are never too sure about him or his motivations which adds a bit of interest. The character that interested me the most was Becca's mother as we see different sides to her through the book that I liked. She is afraid of her daughter's behaviour and has to juggle loyalty to her with the demands of her job. She was complex and fun to read about and I think Becca's view of her mother is a bit unfair at times.

The book flows nicely with no big info dumps or pointless descriptions. It is simple and effective character based storytelling which I like to see in a book. I also felt that the length of the book was just right. Adding more to it may have made the book feel too slow and having less would have resulted in missing out on the complex evolving of each character. It is good to see the author get the balance right.

Plot wise, I liked the twists and turns as you are never quite sure what is going to be coming next. It gives you a real idea of what it would be like to live in this suspicious world where everyone is watching you to see that you conform to the government way of thinking. At the same time, the setting for the book is very much like the present day which lets the reader imagine that this could actually happen to them and lets them relate to the characters and their struggles. I like that the characters are flawed and make bad decisions.

Overall this was a good novella/short book for YA and adult fans of dystopian books. No sexual scenes or f bombs every page. 
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Film Review: The Thing(2011)

A Norwegian research team in Antarctica discover an alien craft buried under the ice-along with one of its crew. But when the creature thaws out, it starts to hunt down and kill the humans, assuming their shape until it is ready to escape and infect the rest of the world. The remaining team members must identify who is infected and kill them to stop the things reaching populated areas.

Prequel film to John Carpenter's 1982 film The Thing.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0905372/?ref_=nv_sr_2 
Filmography links and data courtesy of IMDb.

The Thing(1982) is one of my all time favourite films so I was intrigued to hear of a prequel film showing what happened to the Norwegian team and the events that led the thing to the American team. I thought that this would be good to have, instead of just another remake, something that Hollywood is overdosing on just now. So I was very much looking forward to seeing this and it did not disappoint!

It keeps true to the other film in many ways...the dark creepy corridors, the drama of who is infected and who isn't, the atmospheric music, the scientists trying to work out ways to test the survivors for infection, the way the creature takes you over, the guys struggling back to the building after being outside too long being under suspicion. The scenes with the thing are similar to the ways the men die in the original film. In other words, all the elements that made the film work for me in 1982 were there in some form with this film. 

There are a few nice new touches though. We have the Norwegian party with singing and dancing just before the killing starts, which I thought was good fun. It's the sort of folk festival kind of thing that I would enjoy spending a few hours at on a Scandinavian holiday in winter! When the scientists are trying to come up with a test, they first consider the mixing of blood idea that they used in the first film. But instead of going to the hot needle in the blood samples, they start checking people for whether or not they still have their fillings as the thing can't absorb metal. That was a new and interesting theory for finding who was still human and led one guy to fear being killed just because he flossed, which amused me! 

I liked the mix of characters though it was always going to be hard to beat Kurt Russell and Keith David. Why does my favourite in the 2011 film have to die though? That really hacks me off! I won't say who it is of course as I hate spoiling the film for others. And the good thing is that it pretty much answers all the questions from the first film over what the Americans find-the guy in the chair who killed himself, the dog escaping with the helicopter following, finding the alien ship and its pilot etc. 

Overall, this was a tension filled, gripping and satisfying sci-fi film that is a tribute to the original yet a good film in its own right. I bought this for my personal collection.
 
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Book Review: Matt Archer Legend by Kendra C Highley(Matt Archer #3)

When Matt Archer was fourteen, he was chosen—by a magic, spirit-inhabited knife—to hunt monsters with a special paranormal division of the Army. When he was fifteen, he was thrown into a global war the rest of the world didn’t know existed.

Now Matt’s sixteen and the war has cost him more than he ever thought it would. He’s also learned that the knife-spirits have an agenda he doesn’t totally agree with. The only problem? The spirits have the upper hand, and they plan to control the fight—and Matt.

Then things get worse: the next lunar eclipse cycle is starting, a prominent physicist has gone missing, and Matt’s best friend is thinking about quitting the team. If he loses Will—after everyone else he’s lost—Matt’s not sure how he’ll fight alone.

As the source of his nightmares starts to creep out of the shadows, Matt knows he’ll need all the help he can get…because being alone could prove deadly.


My Review: 
*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Matt is dealing with heartbreak, guilt, a knife that tries to take over his mind, and his most dangerous mission yet. Now the threat comes from Africa in the form of mutant cats and he has to deal with news about his family bloodline, explaining why he was chosen for the knife. Getting answers only adds to the responsibility weighing Matt down.

I like the fact that Matt has evolved from the smartass kid to the weary soldier over the course of this series. We see him struggle with his destiny, and having responsibility for the lives of the team is difficult for him to cope with. I enjoy his love/hate relationship with Tink which is becoming a battle of wills as she seeks to fully control his mind in battle, with Matt desperate to hang onto his independence. And now Will is assuming some of that responsibility, Matt has fears for his best friend. He is also worried about baby Kate losing one or both of her parents on his watch, plus he has relationship issues with Ella and his brother Brent. It is a tough time for Matt and it really adds something to the story.

The plot again is all action with some spectacular battle scenes but this time we learn a bit more about Matt's destiny, and a prophecy about the knife wielders. There is still the humour with Matt and Will, tension over who on the team will survive each battle and wondering what can possibly come next in this plot! There are never boring bits, the book flows along nicely and you just keep wanting to read the next chapter.

The characters really do play such an important part in this book. Every time a new battle starts you start to hope that your favourites will make it through ok. New characters are continually coming into the series and they all seem to fit nicely into the story, even if not all of them are there for long. I also continue to enjoy seeing Matt at home with his family, dealing with the normal issues facing a teenage boy, something that the author handles very well.

I don't want to give out too many spoilers but I really do recommend this series for older YA readers and adults who enjoy urban fantasy, monster paranormal or action adventure stories. This series has such a good mix of action, angst and humour that there is something for every reader to enjoy. And I have now ordered books 1-3 in paperback for my own collection! 
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Cover Reveal: Evil Red by Nikki Jefford

Evil Red by Nikki Jefford
(An Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter Novelette)
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy



L.A. is one tough city, especially while sharing a trailer with four thieving sisters.

Valerie’s plans for a better life and Hollywood grandeur are interrupted after a fateful stabbing lands her in Anchorage, Alaska where government agents expect her to play the role of a vampire hunting La Femme Nikita.

The redheaded vixen is back in her own Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter novelette.

**Novella is approximately 18,000 words**

As the door closed behind the agents, Valerie snatched a knife off the table and stuffed it into her back pocket. She picked the handgun back up, opened the chamber, and checked for bullets. It was fully loaded. She snapped the chamber into place and unlocked the safety. With that she walked over to the far wall of the room, spread her legs shoulder width apart, and aimed at the door.

Valerie glanced at the mirror.

Ready.”

There was no reply.

She kept her arms steady. The gun weighed on her arms as she waited, but she didn’t waver. There was a sudden knock right before the metal door screeched open. A twenty-something man stumbled in as the door slammed shut. The dude was skinny and a bit pale, but who wouldn’t be in a place like Alaska? He righted himself and faced the door. And there he remained standing, staring at the door as though it would open if he waited long enough.

Some vampire. Valerie lowered the gun slightly as her arms relaxed.

Hey, you,” she called out.

The man turned more suddenly than she’d expected. His eyes sparked to life when he saw her.

Blut,” he said. “Ich brauche Blut.

I don’t speak vampire,” Valerie retorted.

The man started walking toward her.

Valerie raised her gun.

Stop! Stay where you are.”

The man kept advancing.

I said stay where you are!”

Ich brauche Blut,” the man said back.

When he was three feet away from her, he reached for her neck.

Not again. Valerie wouldn’t be a victim a second time.

She pulled the trigger.


Author Bio & Links:

Nikki is the author of the bestselling SPELLBOUND trilogy and AURORA SKY:VAMPIRE HUNTER. She's a third generation Alaskan who now lives in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands (WA) where she is, once more, neighbors with Canada in a town without a single traffic light.


Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

http://www.nikkijefford.com/
https://www.facebook.com/authornikkijefford
https://twitter.com/NikkiJefford

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Book Review: Matt Archer Blade's Edge by Kendra C Highley(Matt Archer #2)

When Matt Archer was fourteen, he discovered monsters are real. As if that wasn’t enough to go on for a few decades, Matt also found out that he’d been chosen to hunt those monsters--with a sentient, supernatural knife. Now fifteen, Matt has spent the last year working with a clandestine military unit, trying to rid the world of monsters, demons and other vicious creatures, all while keeping it a secret from nearly everyone he knows back home in Billings.

Including his mom.

Add in a new girlfriend, family secrets, sibling drama and enough homework to sink an aircraft carrier, and Matt’s life has become more complicated than he ever imagined. Worse, the knife has developed some very definite opinions about Matt’s personal life and it interferes in his business whenever it wants. More and more, Matt’s coming to realize that sharing brain-space with a spirit kind of sucks.

When stories of decimated towns and hordes of zombies start pouring into the Pentagon from Afghanistan, Matt knows he’ll be called up soon. Between the new mission and the knife’s increasing control over his mind, Matt wonders if he’ll survive long enough to take his driver’s exam.


My Review: 
*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Matt is a recognised part of the Green Beret team now and has the girl of his dreams, Ella waiting for him when he returns from his monster hunting missions. He also has a new aunt-Badass Aunt Julie as Matt calls her, and he is getting more in tune with his knife. But of course when you add in new countries, strange new creatures and an evil danger, Matt is in more danger than he thought possible.

One of the things I love about this series is the change of locations and new monsters. This book starts with a scary parachute jump into the Himalayas to take on Kali Cult Witches, followed by zombie locals and winged monsters in Afghanistan. Each new threat is scarier and harder to kill than the last which means bigger challenges for our hero. I particularly like when the commanding officers ask Matt how he feels about zombies and he answers 'Braaiinnss!' It was what anyone aged 15 would do in that situation and it's probably what I would do as well, so I found that particularly amusing! I can imagine the blank looks on those military faces when Matt does his zombie impersonation. These guys need to watch more films...

The interesting addition to this book is the big family secrets coming out. Matt's family discover his secret army life causing a huge fight at home. His brother is angry and jealous that Matt was chosen by the knife instead of him and his mother blurts out that she doesn't want her son following his dad. So Matt's dad is CIA and not the deadbeat that we thought he was. This was interesting because I was expecting him to pop up at some point during this book now that we know why he left his family. And we have the added drama of Julie's premature birth to baby Kate which leaves us on the edge of our seats, along with Matt's complicated love life.

Plot wise, the team that we know and love are facing serious danger in Afghanistan, starting with Ramirez who is kidnapped by the winged creatures who want his blade. These creatures are also snatching civilians and turning them into zombies.  Then we have demon scorpions just to add to the danger. This book as always, is action packed with lots of exciting fights and battles and a lot of emotionally charged incidents.

I'm not sure I'm going to forgive the author for two things that she did in this book, and I'm NOT talking about Kate! I refuse to divulge any details but you'll know what I'm talking about when you get to it. Drama, tension, action and fear are all on the menu in this offering. This author has a great way of adding a bit of everything that readers like yet making it blend into a compelling story that you don't want to stop reading. Excellent paranormal action adventure!
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Book Review: Matt Archer Monster Summer by Kendra C Highley(Matt Archer #1.5)

In this companion short-story to Matt Archer: Monster Hunter, fifteen-year-old Matt Archer finds himself in the Australian Outback on the trail of his latest targets...and hunting hyper-intelligent, mutated Dingoes is not his idea of a great summer vacation.

Making things more complicated, Matt's Uncle Mike--aka Major Tannen--is his C.O. for this mission. To Matt's consternation, the major's new fiancée, Captain Julie Hunter, is also along for the trip.

When Captain Hunter disappears during a routine scouting trip, it's up to Matt to help his uncle find her before it's too late.


My Review: 
*I received a free copy of this book from the author via Smashwords in exchange for an honest review*

Matt is finally coming to terms with his role as a monster killer and has best friend Will working with them. For the summer, they are part of a military operation in the Australian Outback to kill mutant dingoes. But these creatures are smarter, speak Australian English and work as a team, leading to one of the squads being kidnapped.

"It was just an attempted strangling...nothing serious."

Matt and Will are happy to be working together and visiting Australia though that changes when they are attacked by trash talking Aussie mutants. Matt is already struggling with his jealousy over having to share his precious time with Mike with Mike's new fiancee' Julie, who is part of the team for this mission. When Julie's team are kidnapped, Mike has to risk Matt and his team to rescue her. Could the Archer family have a more complicated time right now? In later books, I will assume yes!

I wasn't sure if I would take to Julie but she is a good character and Mike does deserve a bit of happiness when he is not monster hunting. You do feel sympathy for Matt though. Mike is his father figure and sharing him with a stranger is difficult, especially when Mike and Julie will be moving to DC. In this book I really enjoyed the dingoes new intelligence and the fact that it was a different monster from those in book one. It keeps things interesting when there are different monsters and locations.

My only complaint is that the book was just too short! I'd have liked to have seen more in the search for Julie to give it more time for the tension to build up, maybe a more fleshed out big fight at the end. But that is just a bit of nitpicking on my part! I did enjoy this book even though it was short and I'm moving straight on to book 2. 
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Film Review: Apollo 18(2011)

Footage of the secret Apollo 18 mission to the Moon was uncovered and shows why NASA never wanted to go back to the Moon. The astronauts come under attack from killer rock creatures
which also disrupt communications and a rescue will not be coming for them.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1772240/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
 Filmography links and data courtesy of IMDb.

I was interested to see just how many conspiracy theory people there are online arguing that this film footage was real and that Apollo 18 really happened. Those who see this as just a Hollywood film were going crazy trying to tell them that they were wrong. There were arguments about how the film footage got back to Earth ie was the footage streamed from the module or did it need to come back to Earth in physical form. They yelled and screamed about footage quality and whether these rock spiders should have invaded Earth as rocks were brought back on other Apollo missions.

For me, the overwhelming factor that says this is just a Hollywood film is that the footage which was meant to be recovered from either Space or NASA, featured 3 actors called Warren Christie, Ryan Robbins and Nate Walker! Warren Christie who plays Ben was born in 1975, AFTER this mission took place so why is he and the others in the footage if it is 'real'? Hmmm? He has since appeared in 'Alphas' on TV so he is very much alive...And on IMDB it tells you of a goof in the film during the moon footage "When the two astronauts are driving the Rover, trying to find back the Russian capsule, the skyline of a city can be seen in the background for a few seconds, revealing that the scene was shot on Earth, rather than the Moon."So, not believing it is real.

As a film I was expecting a lot more. For an 86 minute film, it really dragged for me and I thought it was never going to end. It follows The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity style of you not being able to see what was happening, not hearing some of what was said, being too dark to work out what was going on etc. The rock things were the most boring alien life form ever and reminded me of old 70's sci-fi series with no budget for special effects. It is slow and 'atmospheric' and there is no build of of tension because you don't really see anything worth noting for most of the film. There were a couple of semi interesting scenes where the rocks finally attack people, and the actual crash was ok but it was a long wait to get to that point. The acting was good considering the lack of script and action provided for them.

Overall, it was not a great film and it did not keep me entertained. My mind kept wandering off during the endless quiet spells and I certainly would not watch it again. Disappointing. 
star rating photo: 1 star orange-1star.jpg

Book Review: Matt Archer Monster Hunter by Kendra C Highley(Matt Archer #1)


Fourteen-year-old Matt Archer spends his days studying Algebra, hanging out with his best friend and crushing on the Goddess of Greenhill High, Ella Mitchell. To be honest, he thinks his life is pretty lame until he discovers something terrifying on a weekend camping trip at the local state park.

Monsters are real. And living in his backyard.

But that's not the half of it. After Matt is forced to kill a strange creature to save his uncle, he finds out that the weird knife he took from his uncle's bag has a secret, one that will change Matt's life. The knife was designed with one purpose: to hunt monsters. And it's chosen Matt as its wielder.

Now Matt's part of a world he didn't know existed, working with a covert military unit dedicated to eliminating walking nightmares. Faced with a prophecy about a looming dark war, Matt soon realizes his upcoming Algebra test is the least of his worries.

His new double life leaves Matt wondering which is tougher: hunting monsters or asking Ella Mitchell for a date?


My Review:
*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Matt is on a camping trip with his Uncle when a Yeti like creature attacks them. Using a knife from the tent, Matt kills it and saves his Uncle, forever changing his destiny. The knife is no longer Uncle Mike's-it it Matt's and he has just been recruited as a monster hunter for the US Government.

This book gets off to a very good start, straight into the monster attack and Matt's new destiny. No waffle, no boring crap, no long rambling introduction or history lesson. I liked that. When the scene switches to Matt obsessing over Ella at school I thought 'oh no, here we go with the YA cliche story' but it didn't go like that. I think it is because Matt, Will and Ella are so likeable and you can relate to them that it works. Will is the rich boy with a talent for sport but his family never spend time with him and Matt's dad abandoned him and his family at birth, leaving Mike as the substitute father. Having him deployed to Afghanistan is a blow to Matt, and the reader because I love Mike! You can't help feeling sympathy for both boys. Matt's sister comes into the book more as it goes on and she is really good fun to read about. The characters really make this book such an engrossing read. It is the same when you start to meet all the army guys-I liked all of them! It's unusual to care so much for all the people in a book with such a large cast! Except for Ella's idiot boyfriend of course. He needs a damn good slap...

"I'm sending you out into the woods with a knife to kill eight foot tall Wookiees!"

The book is a great mixture of monster hunting tension and excitement, and stupid funny humour, which is exactly what I love in my books. Add in the different monsters, the magic knife and shamans and you have a really good plot. The teenage monster hunters aren't always smart and they do mess up a lot, which keeps it realistic in a sense, and it makes the action scenes quite gripping. The story rolls along at a good pace without any boring bits to slow it down, and there are no massive information dumps to confuse. The author does a good job in describing what teenage boys would think, talk and act like in these situations, which makes it easy to bond with Matt and Will.

"Parker's team is in China...dealing with the mutant pandas."

I also enjoyed the chance to see a book with the Green Berets featuring heavily in a supernatural setting. One minute we are chasing Yeti things in Montana, then we are at an army camp and then the jungles of Peru with mutant crocodile things. The change of settings keeps the monster hunting fresh and interesting.

Overall there are no complaints or niggles about this book which I enjoyed enough to buy for my paperback collection this week. If you like action YA like Percy Jackson, I think you will like this book a lot. I very much recommend it and will be reviewing the rest of this series through the week.  
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Stacking the Shelves #20


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews
Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
I haven't had a lot of time online this week so not a lot of books to show for it. Still it's quality that counts right?! Two pre-ordered books from Amazon arrived during the week plus a rare book that I've been trying to track down for years, so I'm pretty happy with my small book haul this week.
BOUGHT:
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FOLLOW ME:

Friday, 24 January 2014

AOTW #11: Connie L Smith


Welcome to Author of the Week! Every week on my book group, an author member is chosen to be Author of the Week and will be featured here, tweeted on Twitter, shared on Google Plus and Pinterest and generally treated like royalty! Group members are asked to do features and talk about our AOTW to help each one to promote his/her work to the book community. 
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/114319-my-big-fat-indie-book-gang 

This week: Connie L Smith!


Connie L. Smith spends far too much time with her mind wandering in fictional places. She reads too much, likes to bake, and will be forever sad that she doesn’t have fairy wings. And that she can’t swing dance. When she isn’t reading or writing, there’s a good chance she’s goofing off with her amazing, wonderful, incredible, fabulous nieces and nephew, or listening to music that is severely outdated. She has her BA from Northern Kentucky University in Speech Communication and History (she doesn’t totally get the connection either) and likes to snap photos. Oh, and she likes apples a whole big bunch.

Where can I find Connie?

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7257320.Connie_L_Smith 
http://clsmithbooks.blogspot.co.uk/ 
https://twitter.com/CLSmithbooks 
https://www.facebook.com/clsmithbooks
http://www.pinterest.com/conniel0194/


Years ago, demons were forced out of the earth’s realm by a band of supernatural fighters, banished from the place and its people in the aftermath of a horrific war. It should’ve ended there – would’ve – if not for the final demon’s claw snagging on the open portal. What felt like victory became only a reprieve, the winning warriors understanding that the tear would spread, and the demons eventually would escape exile. It was only a matter of time, and a need for future defense – a question of genetics and essences, magic and power.

Now, centuries later, a new army must bind together – one of teenagers with inhuman potentials and abilities…

AJ went to bed Sunday night an average teenage girl, clumsy and athletically lacking. So when she wakes up Monday morning with super-strength, she does what any rational person would do: She goes into denial. When a smoking hot guy in a suit shows up, rambling about the end of the war and demons spilling through some kind of rift, she refuses to listen, telling herself he’s insane. Except weird things just won’t quit happening, and the guy keeps popping up in her life, trying to explain the changes suddenly happening within her. Is she crazy, or is this guy… not so crazy after all?


Where can I buy this book? 
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Essenced-Division-Chronicles-Book-One/dp/1491259930/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390578696&sr=1-1&keywords=Essenced 

http://www.amazon.com/Essenced-Division-Chronicles-Book-One-ebook/dp/B00E83O344/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390578740&sr=1-1&keywords=Essenced 


Coming in 2014!

Film Review: Battleship(2012)

During a military international war games event near Hawaii, an alien invasion advance team trap a handful of ships inside a force field and attack them. Cut off from the fleet, the survivors must find a way to destroy the alien ships and prevent them from sending a message from a communications centre to summon the rest of the alien fleet.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1440129/?ref_=nv_sr_1
 Filmography links and data courtesy of IMDb.

I really enjoyed this film, other than the rather stupid opening 10 minutes which annoyed me. As soon as it got into the story, I was enjoying it a lot. The special effects of the alien ships and the battles were pretty spectacular, the action scenes were big and exciting. There was a lot of tension during the battle scenes which kept my attention of the film. My mind certainly wasn't drifting off to what I was having for dinner when I was watching it! The film is based on the boardgame Battleship, which I liked but was crap at and there is a scene during the war that recreates the feel of that boardgame as they try to locate enemy ships. The tension and anxiety in that scene was very well directed and acted.

The acting was good and I actually cared about the characters, not wanting any of my favourites to die. I loved the different personalities of the crew-the dumb young sailor who can't stop talking crap, the renegade officer who takes risks, the recently disabled and disillusioned soldier etc and of course the cowardly and barmy geeky scientist who wants to run away instead of saving the world. He is so funny in the scene where he meets the disabled soldier in Hawaii after the attack starts! I was laughing like an idiot! Now I'm not a fan of Rihanna as a person with her attention seeking antics or her music, but I thought she did a decent job in this film. She might not be winning Oscars for her performance but I thought she did the part justice.

I also enjoyed the fact that the Americans and Japanese were working together to save the world, especially with Hawaii being the setting for the film. I also liked what was done with the former soldiers getting their moments of fame which added something extra to the plot.

Overall it was a very entertaining, all action film, with all the elements that you look for in this kind of film. I liked it so much that I bought it for my own collection.
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Book Review: Brothers to the Death by Darren Shan(Saga of Larten Crepsley #4)

The fourth and final instalment in the epic saga of Larten Crepsley - vampire, hero and victim of fate...Just as Larten is finding a new place for himself in vampire society, trying to help vampires escape the Nazi menace, horrifying tragedy falls on his own family, thanks to the nefarious Vampaneze. With his old friend Wester calling for war against the ancient enemies of vampires, Larten finds himself a figurehead of the campaign. But there are more evil things than just the Vampaneze stirring. And soon, Larten might find himself grieving again - as he faces the worst and final betrayal...

My review: 
Larten has finally found his place in society-being friends with and looking after Alicia and helping to save humans and vampires from the Nazis during WW2. However tragedy, betrayal and Desmond Tiny are lurking to push Larten into starting the war against the Vampaneze.

I really enjoyed this book as it used the backdrop of WW2, which I have studied myself in great detail. I enjoyed seeing how both vampire clans actually have standards and believe the Nazis to be the true monsters. With the addition of Holly's story, you can see the vampaneze aren't just the bad guys we saw them as in the SODS. These books have given you a bit more depth and understanding of their motives and beliefs, which I found interesting.

Larten goes from peaceful to bloodthirsty in this book, determined to take his revenge even if it means starting a war that will kill lots of vampires on both sides. His relationship with Gavner has changed for the better but the disaster pulls them apart, while shared loss and politics brings him closer to Wester. Kurda disapproves of the war and tries to promote peace, which shows why he did those terrible things in SODS. It was great to see his back story, having him helping Holocaust victims, and you wish he was going to make better choices in his future! And don't you just want to kill Desmond Tiny? The horrid cretinous toad of a 'man' creeps me out and I really hate him and his meddling. Of course we are meant to hate the evil bamstick which shows how well written his character is.

The humour was good, especially from Arra, when she was asked to use her saliva to help heal Kurda's humans. 'Show us where to gob!'

But I HATE the title, which when combined with the blurb, leaves it pretty damn obvious who is going to betray Larten and it is then obvious what the betrayer has done. This did spoil the book a bit for me as I didn't want to know from the beginning how this was going to end. You know the fate of most characters because there is a prequel series and that is ok but I didn't want this book's main story spoiled before I even started! Boo, hiss!

Overall I did enjoy reading this series about Larten Crepsley and his vampire friends.
star rating photo: 35 star rating 3-5-stars.jpg

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Film Review: Shark Week(2012)

A group of strangers are abducted to the island fortress of a mad mafia man, each connected to the others by the death of this madman's son. Now they have one week and a series of shark related challenges to survive if they want a chance to live. 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2292182/?ref_=nv_sr_1 
 Filmography links and data courtesy of IMDb.

OK I love sharks and shark films, Jaws being one of my all time favourite films, and I liked the concept of these strangers all having to work together to get past each shark to survive another day. It was a pretty inventive plot idea-sadly the film itself did not live up to expectations.

First, the good things. As I said, I liked the concept. Who doesn't enjoy a madman feeding people to his sharks? There is a reason why I loved The Spy who loved me and Live and let Die! I liked the shark challenges that the strangers had to take on, which were ok considering the obvious lack of budget. The added plot of the minefield was a decent idea. Er, that's pretty much it for The Good.

The Bad? Where to start! I like Patrick Bergin as an actor(Sleeping with the Enemy) but this was an appalling performance from him and from Yancy Butler(Witchblade), who I expected more from. I place the blame on the director getting them to play the bad guys so over the top that it leaves you cringing. The rest of the cast were just plain terrible. In some scenes they were turning to deliver a line to the camera like a theatre production soliloquy! It looked really weird coming from the Vin Diesel wannabe. The budget was so cheap that most of the shark scenes were filmed in dark underwater caverns so you don't even see a good death, which is kinda the point in shark films! Without bloody attack scenes and special effects, you rely on tension  and caring about the characters. The tension was there during each challenge but there was no attempt at real character development so you didn't really care if they all died. And to say the ending was lame was putting it mildly.

Didn't really like this film at all. Had potential but did not deliver.
star rating photo: 1 star orange-1star.jpg

Monday, 20 January 2014

Book Review: Palace of the Damned by Darren Shan(Saga of Larten Crepsley #3)

In the third instalment in the creepy, captivating Larten Crepsley series, Larten finds out what it means to love… but is he also damned to find out what it means to lose?

Lost in the arctic waste, carrying a baby whose love he could never deserve, Larten faces the darkest time he has ever known. But hope has a way of shining through even the smallest of cracks, and just as Larten reaches the end, a new beginning presents itself. The trouble is, for Larten, the violence of his youth is never far from the surface… and those he loves are the ones he hurts the most. As Larten experiences heaven and hell, and tries to save the soul of a child, the question is: can he save his own?


My review:
Larten is at rock bottom when he flees the ship with the baby, escaping to Greenland where he plans to let himself die. He discovers a legendary vampire palace and his life is saved by Desmond Tiny who indicates that he has an important future ahead of him.

Having his life saved by the creepy thing that is Desmond Tiny sends fear through Larten, as does the responsibility of being father to the baby, now named Gavner. It was interesting to see his true connection to Larten after him being one of my favourites in the SODS. This back story was interesting though I always find it harder to engage with books set in France for some reason. I found the love story a bit slow in places but it didn't spoil the book in any way and you know it is going to be important for the continued development of Larten's character. Having Larten guilt ridden and longing to atone for his sins adds another interesting dimension to his character.

The slimy Tanish is back and you just want to yell at Larten not to get involved with him because you know it is going to end badly. Tanish, of course, lives up to his reputation as a coward and destroys Larten's hopes for a happy life. You also long for Larten to just give Gavner a damn hug and warn him that Uncle Tanish is evil!

This book is set against the backdrop of WW1, a type of warfare that shocks the vampire race and they stay well clear, no longer looking for entertainment from it. I think this reaction from the monsters says a lot about humanity and their desire to destroy everything.

Another enjoyable book in the series and I will be looking forward to book 4!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

AOTW #10: SJ Hollis


Welcome to Author of the Week! Every week on my book group, an author member is chosen to be Author of the Week and will be featured here, tweeted on Twitter, shared on Google Plus and Pinterest and generally treated like royalty! Group members are asked to do features and talk about our AOTW to help each one to promote his/her work to the book community. 
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/114319-my-big-fat-indie-book-gang 

This Week: SJ Hollis!


Writer. Torturer of fictional teenagers. Author of Bounty Hunter, a YA apocalyptic fantasy with ... erm, funny bits.

Short, unreliable, slightly odd thirty-seven-year-old. Pizza fiend. Suspicious of the human race. Watches the crime channel instead of the morning news. Fan of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Batman. Morning person. Lover of Game of Thrones and Hollyoaks. Skyrim player. Shakespeare admirer. Forty quid a month comics habit. Thinks frost giants are cuddly and Loki needs a hug. Feels sick at the thought of sharing the remote control. Is learning to cook (can fry bacon like the devil fries souls, but spaghetti more of a challenge). Currently obsessed with fish finger sandwiches. Very short attention sp...


S J Hollis lives in Surrey, England with her two houseplants and a cuddly seagull. Bounty Hunter is her debut novel and she is currently working on the next book in the series


Where can I find SJ?
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7213842.S_J_Hollis 
http://shelleyjanehollis.wix.com/sjhollis
https://twitter.com/SJHollis_
https://www.facebook.com/hollissj
http://shelleyjanehollis.wix.com/sjhollis#!tumblr-feed/c1dq1

What do you do when your magic makes you a target? Run. Fight. Die.

14-year-old Kai Koson had nothing to do with the apocalypse, thank you very much. He was just a baby the day a coven of blood witches ripped a hole in the universe and the demons fell screaming from the sky. Earth and its magic perished. Witchkind was hunted and annihilated.

Now, because he was born a witch, Kai must spend his life running and fighting for survival. Even his own uncle seems determined to abandon him.

With nothing left to lose, Kai runs away and joins a team of galactic bounty hunters. But instead of providing an escape, it sets Kai on a path that will destroy everything he believes about himself and the apocalypse, transforming him into the most wanted teenager in the galaxy.


Written with humour, imagination and darkness, Bounty Hunter and its protagonist Kai Koson stand confidently beside Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, Alex Rider, Young Bond, Mortal Engines and Harry Potter


Where can I buy this book?
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bounty-Hunter-S-J-Hollis/dp/0992645905/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390051410&sr=1-1&keywords=SJ+Hollis 

http://www.amazon.com/Bounty-Hunter-S-J-Hollis-ebook/dp/B00EBU6A04/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390051465&sr=1-3&keywords=SJ+Hollis 

 

Film Review: Shark Night(2011)

When 7 college friends head for Sara's vacation house on an island, it should be fun and sun all round. But a run in with local rednecks and a shocking shark attack leaves them with an injured man and no way to get help. Things take a sinister turn when they discover that the sharks have been put in the local waters just to kill people so that local crooks can make money showing live deaths on the internet. And these men are hunting them down to feed to the sharks...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1633356/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2
 Filmography links and data courtesy of IMDb.

When the film started, it was the cliche' teen monster movie with the geeky guy drooling after hot Miss Popular and his idiot friend being annoying and chatting up everything in a skirt. Add in the bikini moments and the obligatory run in with the redneck locals and I thought that this film was going to be a waste of time. But it did get into the shark story quite quickly with a couple of nice attacks.

This is not a great film. The acting is not the best though you see a lot worse on the SciFi Channel monster films. The cast were chosen more for their looks than acting ability for the most part. The redneck locals who cause some trouble for the newly arrived college kids are predictable and a bit like over-the-top comic James Bond bad guys. It is obvious who is causing the shark attacks and who all the bad guys are so the 'big reveal' was far from unexpected. There is nothing really new about the film or plot, the script isn't the greatest and you could drive a truck through the plot holes, and the unrealistic events unfolding onscreen have you going 'hmmm, right'. Don't expect a film with the tension and quality of Deep Blue Sea or Bait or you will be disappointed.

However, if you go into this expecting a typical cheapish shark romp with death, blood, teenagers and a silly storyline, you will find this to be perfectly watchable and enjoyable. It is a decent enough film to pass 90 minutes and I liked it enough to watch it through to the end, even if I wouldn't watch it again in a hurry. So if you like your sharks and monster B movies, you might well like this film.

2.5 stars out of 5






Stacking the Shelves #19

 


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews
Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
This was a quiet week at The Book Cave though I am waiting on a few books to arrive from Amazon! I had to get a new mattress delivered this week so I've been trying to get the bedroom into some kind of order, plus I still have the remains of this annoying head cold that won't go away. I have managed to read, get some TV and a few films watched so the reviews will be up shortly I hope! I read 'Max and the Gatekeeper' this summer as a read and review and enjoyed it so I've just bought the series to read at leisure. If you like action packed YA urban fantasy then you'll like this series.
BOOKS BOUGHT: