Monday, 30 June 2014

Book Blitz: Hideous by Devon McCormack

Hideous by Devon McCormack
Publication date: June 19th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Eight years ago, Luke Retter witnessed the brutal murder of his mother and sister at the hands of his demon-possessed father. He survived but lost a hand and an eye. The demon also burned its emblem into his skin, marking him as a cursed. Those who bear this mark are at risk of becoming possessed themselves, so they are monitored and enslaved by the state-run UCIS. Working as a slave is hard, but Luke prefers it to the possibility of being controlled by a demon.

One night, Luke wakes to find his worst nightmare coming true. His father’s demon has returned. In a panic, he runs to the only person who might be able to help: Zack, a cursed who ran away from the state and created an underground community to protect other fugitive curseds. Zack helps him suppress the demon. But the city’s become a time bomb, and Luke’s demon itches to escape.

With the UCIS closing in on Zack’s underground operation and Luke’s demon crafting its own, nefarious plot, Luke realizes that he must take a stand.

Devon McCormack spends most of his time hiding in his lair, adventuring in paranormal worlds with his island of misfit characters. A good ole Southern boy, McCormack grew up in the Georgian suburbs with his two younger brothers and an older sister. At a very young age, he spun tales the old fashioned way, lying to anyone and everyone he encountered. He claimed he was an orphan. He claimed to be a king from another planet. He claimed to have supernatural powers. He has since harnessed this penchant for tall tales by crafting whole worlds where he can live out whatever fantasy he chooses.

A gay man himself, McCormack focuses on gay male characters, adding to the immense body of literature that chooses to represent and advocate gay men's presence in media. His body of work ranges from erotica to young adult, so readers should check the synopses of his books before purchasing so that they know what they're getting into.
Author links:

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Throwback Thursday #26

This Meme is hosted by Melissa at My World in Words and Pages. Go to her blog and join us!

I blog about great looking new releases, new books sent to me for read and review, book reviews of what I've read and features about exciting new authors to try.

But what about all the books that are already on my TBR, waiting for me to read them? Don't they deserve a mention and a chance to be highlighted? Yes they do!

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where I will take the time to tell you about some of the books that have been on my shelves for a while and maybe a few of you will add them to your wishlists/tbrs. If you have read them, why not leave a comment to tell me what you thought of it-but no spoilers please! 

A gripping futuristic thriller, perfect for fans of The Hunger Games.


Every year, the United Commonwealth invites top graduates from each colony to participate in The Testing. Successful candidates will go on to the University and help the government work to rebuild our war-stricken world. This process is not optional.
Disclaimer: The United Commonwealth is not responsible for candidates' psychological or physical heath during The Testing.

Dr. Dora Adler's life has been in disarray since the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, but when she gets bitten by one of the undead, her whole world is turned upside down. Held captive in a secret underground lab, the tall, muscular hunk in the next cell is her only hope for salvation. Unfortunately, he claims to be a werewolf. Yeah, and she's supposedly a witch.

Dirk Gunderson is an alpha Arbor pack werewolf. Captured and collared, he's sold to the zombie lab in hopes his blood serum can create a vaccine. He needs to escape, but not without the hot little brunette witch.

In the midst of enemy werewolves and the hordes of undead, Dirk and Dora's sexual tension ignites a blaze hotter than the desert highway. Along their journey, they battle the inevitable: a werewolf must never take a witch as a mate.

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.
Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.
But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.
Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Book Review: Spooky Stacks anthology

A free collection of four spooky tales by bestselling horror authors Brian Keene, Jonathan Maberry, Scott Nicholson, and Bryan Smith. 15,000 words, part of the Spooky Stacks signed book giveaway for Halloween. 

My Review: 
Four horror stories by well known authors. One was great but the others left me cold.

Brian Keene-Fast Zombies Suck
Ken is a zombie fan who has seen the films and read the books, and everyone agrees that if a zombie apocalypse comes, Ken will know what to do. So the theory is tested when Ken goes out to dump the trash and sees zombies shambling around the street.

This was a gem of a short story. I felt an affinity for Ken as I'm a big zombie fan, and yes I have escape plans and things 'just in case'! So I could imagine being in his shoes when he sees the zombies coming to his house. I would have been barricading myself in though, while a scared but determined Ken grabs his gun and gets ready to take action.

This story will appeal to non zombie fans as well because there is no blood and gore or brain eating incidents. This story is quirky, funny and has that beautiful twist that turns the story on its head. Lovely! I also like the fact that Ken sneers at Brian Keene's books for having fast moving zombies which he does not believe in. I think it shows that the author has a sense of humour if he pokes fun at his other work.

I have ten of his novels which I picked up in a sale but haven't read so this was my first experience of Brian's writing and I wasn't disappointed! Can't wait to read the rest of his work! (4 star)

Bryan Smith-Pizza Face
A pizza delivery man stumbles into a violent home invasion situation.

I felt that this story was lacking direction and cohesion. The home invasion was all a bit chaotic with the story drifting along aimlessly. Then after the big plan, we get an info dump epilogue. (1 star)

Scott Nicholson-A Farewell to Arms
Two survivors are hiding in a barn as the zombies close in on them.

This was not a great read. The characters were unpleasant, the story seemed confused and aimless and I just wanted the zombies to eat them both. (1 star)

Jonathan Maberry-Cooked
I didn't finish this book. I despised the idiot main characters and their behaviour and had no interest in continuing with it.
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Book Review: Monster Proof by Scot McAtee

Tucked in an empty corner of the Great Plains lies Winston Manor, the “Monster Proof” home of one Mr. Winston, a rich old eccentric who believes in all sorts of scary monsters. He also believes they’re out to get him, which is why his spacious mansion has the ultimate home defense system. Nothing can get in because nothing can even reach the building.

Judy Barnes is a young journalist who has managed to wrangle an interview from the old coot. She’s determined to find out just how monster proof Winston Manor really is for reasons that will quickly become apparent, but will it be too late for the old man to see what’s hiding below her Plain Jane appearance?

My Review: 
A rich old man lives in what he claims to be a monster proof house, able to stop attacks from mutant bugs to vampires. Now he agrees to do an interview and demonstration to show people that monsters do exist.

I liked this book. The idea of a monster proof house appeals to a paranoid security conscious horror reader like me. I blame my paranoia on that scene in Salems Lot where the creepy boy is tapping on the darn window...gave me nightmares for weeks! Anyway, this book is very imaginative as the author has fun describing the different defences of the house and garden, and the creatures that he is defending against. There were a few lkie the burrowing tropical bugs that I certainly did not want to meet. I don't know if they are real or made up by the author but either way I don't want to see the blighters!

The hints are there about the journalist in the blurb but I wasn't entirely sure what was coming. When the box is introduced, I sat for ages wondering what was inside it and I kicked myself that I didn't guess! It was a nice twist and something that our rich man really should have thought of. But then again, you can overlook the simple defences when you are expecting the more complex attacks so I liked the plot. I felt it was well thought out and nicely delivered.

I would love to see a longer version set in this brilliant house...maybe a group trying to break in...or break out...! 
star rating photo: 35 star rating 3-5-stars.jpg

Book Review: Horror Showcase anthology

This anthology features four stories each by three authors. Overall I gave the anthology 3 stars based mainly on the excellent stories by Dave Jeffery who I enjoy reading. Here are my thoughts on each one:

Stuart Neild-The Smoking Assassin
The ramblings of a smoke demon who assassinates people.

This is a monologue of a demon talking to the next victim. He just rambles on about nothing and I found this boring. (1 star)

Ian Woodhead-Spicy Meat
A bunch of thuggish would-be rapists want a late night snack and fun but get more than they bargained for.

The language was vile throughout the book, f-bombs etc just for the sake of it, and the attempt at rape, obnoxious moronic characters, all of which ruined a halfway decent story. Got bored. (1 star)

Dave Jeffery-Wish you were here?
Four drunks steal a garden gnome which turns out to be the death of them.

A little gem of a story about the garden gnome version of Chuckie getting revenge for being stolen from his owner. Quirky horror tale with good writing and satisfying death scenes. (4 star)

Stuart Neild-Special Boy
A woman becomes obsessed with an exhibit in a freak show.

This was weird and left me cold. Love affair with a foetus in a jar? (1 star)

Ian Woodhead-Two Skins
Sex obsessed OAPs fight over a new man in their social circles.

This was an amusing story with a nice horror twist to it. (2.5 star)

Dave Jeffery-Daddy Dearest
A man has to deal with his abusive father becoming a zombie.

This has an amazing amount of emotional depth for a short story, dealing with issues of domestic violence, alcoholism and zombies. The author delivers a good story which is not your usual zombie tale. (3 star)

Stuart Neild-So you think you're a werewolf?
A woman claiming to be a werewolf agrees to change on camera at the full moon.

It was ok if a bit predictable but a werewolf isn't likely to do a stunt like this and put victims in front of herself. Never quite bought it. (2 star)

Ian Woodhead-Sewing Lesson
A strange girl uses the heads of dead animals to sew onto her dolls.

Creepy story which never seemed to really go anywhere. (2 star)

Dave Jeffery-The last rose of summer
Two serial killers roam the city and both have an eye on the same victim.

Delightful little thriller with a lovely twist. Liked this one. (3 star)

Stuart Neild-The return of Borley Rectory
A haunted house appears to lost men.

This was confusing, weird and never gives you a satisfying conclusion. I was left wondering what actually happened. (1 star)

Ian Woodhead-Beg the other man
A man steals money from the client he kills.

This was a better story with a decent plot. (2.5 star)

Dave Jeffery-Foresight
A psychic who gets visions of disasters sees his wife in trouble and tries to alter her fate.

This was another quirky story with paranormal elements and a great twist. (4 star)

Overall I was pretty disappointed with the other authors but Dave Jeffery really delivers in this book with four good stories. He does great twists and packs lots of character and interest into even the shortest story. Will look for more of his work again. Be nice if he published all these free stories into a paperback!
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Book Review: Tales from dark places anthology

A selection of chilling stories from some of the best Indie authors on the market. We dare you to venture into these pages of spine chilling tales and stories of ghosts and goblins. Freely donated by the authors themselves, these dark passages are a great example of their various, unique styles and imaginations. This is the first of a series of free topical collections brought to you by The Indie Collaboration.

My Review: 
Here are my thoughts on the stories:

DC Rogers-Dinner, date and autopsy
A date raped woman awakes just as her autopsy is about to begin.

This was good. It had tension and a nice twist that gave a good ending. (3 star)

Sonya C Dodd-Alone
A recurring dream of being murdered and waking to spend the day alone is a special kind of punishment.

It was ok but the punishment was not as cruel as the crimes so it wasn't a greatly satisfying ending. (2 star)

Peter John-It started with a whisper
Woman has dreams/hallucinations of things telling her pain was coming.

Well that was pretty much the whole story so it felt pointless and boring to me. (1 star)

Chris Raven-The Visitor
James gets a visit from his angry spurned wife.

The big reveal was a damp squib as it was obvious what was coming. Predictable and done countless times before. (2 star)

Sheryl Seal-The Goblin Changeling
A group of trick or treating goblins find the night spoiled by a lack of self control.

Amusing enough story with a moral of why rules need to be followed. (2.5 star)

Madhu Kalyan Mattaparthi-Bars
Someone trapped inside finds messages to help their escape.

This was confusing weirdness on a grand scale. (1 star)

Alan Hardy-Death's Track
George feels something is holding him back in life and death feels near.

This was a quirky little horror tale that I liked. (2.5 star)

Gunjan Vyas-Melinda
A lonely woman waits for the love of her life to return.

This one was not a great read. (1 star)

William O'Brien-Charlie Featherwick
A stupid child's prank played on a witch is punished.

It was ok but did get a bit confusing. (2 star)
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Book Review: A world of terror anthology

The authors of ASMSG have determined this Halloween to be a great time for Terror. Ghouls, ghosts, vamps, death, and psychos reign in World of Terror. Twenty stories of fright and nightmares await you as you peruse these tales of fear and horror. Enjoy, and don't forget to keep a bed light on just in case.

My Review: 
Here is a brief bit about each one that I read:

Murielle Cyr-Class Reunion
A pupil from June's past arrives to ruin her chance of promotion.

I liked this one. June was a real bitch to her pupils and staff and you want her to get what she deserves. Nicely told and developed (3 star)

Danielle DeVor-Dawn
Something evil is chasing a boy and he is 'saved' by a werewolf.

I liked the tension filled start then it kinda fizzled out a bit. OK I guess (2 star)

Wodke Hawkinson-Death hates his job
The Grim Reaper becomes depressed over his role in people's lives and is shown how important he is.

It was a bit like a twisted form of It's a Wonderful Life. Ok. (2 star)

Simon Okill-Nightmare Circus
I'm still trying to work out what the hell this was about. It seemed a very confusing mix of dreams about a circus, a circus psycho gameshow and torture. It jumps around so much that I couldn't work out what was going on. (1 star)

Lucy Pireel-Hunger
The coven test a new recruit on a mission to the city to see if he defeats temptation.

This one has potential and had an interesting concept. Decent read. (2.5 stars)

Chad Huskins- Jesse came to the dead tree
Nobody believes that Hannah ever existed but Jessie knows that the garden tree took her and goes out for answers.

This was a creepy little tale with a nice twist. (2.5 stars)

Berk Washburn-Millie
Millie faces a night in the house alone with someone trying to break in.

This one was ok but so predictable. The twist was no surprise. (2 stars)

JJ Toner-The Perfect Woman
A scientist creates the perfect woman in a lab but he is not her perfect man.

Creepy, intriguing Frankenstein twist. Decent read. (3 stars)

JC Eggleton-The blight moon dark lords club
A first outing into society for the Ice Queen is not a success.

Boring posh club setting with bland characters. (1 star)

Tony Gilbert-The Clearing
Um, weird story about dying birds sucking the life out of people with creepy guy doing something? Bizarre, odd and boring. (1 star)

Billy Ray Chitwood-The Closet
The bedroom closet in a man's dream home is a place where aliens can abduct.

Sounds weird but this was a clever little story that I enjoyed. (3 star)

Ann Swann-The Fee
The cost of a fertility deal with the devil.

This was a creepy, atmospheric story that was enjoyable with a nice twist. (3 star)

PJ Perryman-The land of Nobel
A weird story about a deserted gas station sucking people into another dimension. (1 star)

Michelle Brown-The Maid
Weird and bizarre sci-fi about an infected spaceship and strange employee. (1 star)

Oscar Wager II-The Mansion
A poem? It wasn't good either. (1 star)

Joe Pringle-The old oak tree
Average story of a girl making contact with ghosts. (2 star)

Thomas Ryan-The Wooden Chest
Two kids travel to grampa's house and discover the family secret.

I really liked this one! You don't mess with grampa! (3.5 star)

Claude Nougat-Wrong Move
Boring family story. (1 star)

Lauren Scharhag-Zombie Anonymous
A group of zombies who rediscovered their emotions after a semi-cure meet at a self help group.

An intriguing read that I would like to see developed into a proper novella or novel. This has real potential. (3 star) 
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Stacking the Shelves #39

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!
A quieter and less manic week thankfully! My mum gets out of hospital at last in a few days which is a relief to us. Being able to look after her at home will be easier than all the hospital visits, that's for sure. I still haven't got my energy back to start reading again but I hope it will be soon! A quiet week on the buying front as well which is not a bad thing!



Thursday, 12 June 2014

Book Review: Sundered by Shannon Mayer

They were promised weight loss, the cure for Cancer, Parkinson’s Disease and infertility; they were promised hope.

The side effects were anything but hopeful.

Mara and Sebastian are young, in love and newlyweds. Far too soon, they will face tests to their love that most others won’t survive. Their bond strengthens with each loss, destruction and unbearable race against time. In each other, they find the will and hope to endure. Hand in hand, they will face the darkening of humanity with strength and integrity and an undeniable spirit to survive; together.

My Review: 
The first thing you need to do is ignore the somewhat pretentious blurb that really doesn't give you an idea what the book is really about.

Mara wants a baby and this new all purpose drug offers fertility treatment as well as healing but she is unable to receive it for health reasons. 90% of the population take the drug which turns them into blood crazed maniacs. Now Mara and her husband Seb have to survive against a hungry enemy at their door wearing the faces of people they know.

This book is a really good story. We have the human side of things with Mara wanting a baby and her devastation at finding out she is unable to take the wonder drug because she is allergic to its main ingredient. She has to deal with friends and neighbours taking this drug for a variety of reasons and feeling life is very unfair. You feel bad for this young couple who just want to start a family as they are both really good characters. We also have the friendly neighbours and the eccentric survivalist who tries to advise them on what to do when hell erupts.

The plot shifts then into the wonder drug causing everyone who takes it to start changing into mindless zombies within a week of taking the drug. Maya and Seb have to start protecting their home, stockpiling food and thinking how to survive the crisis in a rural area far from government help. They have to deal with the loss of friends and neighbours and worry what will happen when supplies run low. I like this kind of story because you can imagine yourself in these situations and wonder what you would do or how you would survive.

And it isn't just a straight zombie book. The 'zombies' still look like people, can understand the words and actions of survivors and can in some ways interact with them, which I found intriguing. You see a gradual deterioration of these functions as time goes by but it was an interesting concept. The zombies can also tell the difference between survivors and those who are infected but have not yet turned. There is also a twist to the story which I really liked but I can't talk about it or I'll spoil it for you guys!

My only complaint about the book is that about ten pages from the end, the author TELLS us what is going to happen before she shows it to us in the following pages. WHY WOULD YOU SPOIL THE STORY LIKE THAT???!!! I was really mad because it takes the element of surprise away and reduces the impact of the last ten pages which was actually a very good piece of plot! Darn it, readers like to find out what is happening as it unfolds not getting a great big spoiler!

I'm very keen however to see what happens next!
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

Throwback Thursday #25

This Meme is hosted by Melissa at My World in Words and Pages. Go to her blog and join us!

I blog about great looking new releases, new books sent to me for read and review, book reviews of what I've read and features about exciting new authors to try.

But what about all the books that are already on my TBR, waiting for me to read them? Don't they deserve a mention and a chance to be highlighted? Yes they do!

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where I will take the time to tell you about some of the books that have been on my shelves for a while and maybe a few of you will add them to your wishlists/tbrs. If you have read them, why not leave a comment to tell me what you thought of it-but no spoilers please! 

This week I'm spotlighting three more cool sounding books from my huge tbr. I WILL get to all these books at some point...

When it comes to demons, always read the fine print.

Jesse James Dawson was an ordinary guy (well, an ordinary guy with a black belt in karate) until one day he learned his brother had made a bargain with a demon, Jesse discovered there was only one way to save his brother: put up his own soul as collateral, and fight the demon to the death.

Jesse lived to free his brother-and became part of a loose organization of Champions who put their own souls on the line to help those who get in over their heads with demons. But now experienced Champions are losing battles at a much higher rate than usual. Someone has changed the game. And if Jesse can't figure out the new rules, his next battle may be his last...

It’s 1938, and Hitler's tentacles have commenced their stranglehold on Europe. The Nazi empire will soon be purged of all "tainted" bloodlines…including vampires.

London’s ancient tribunal of vampires is aghast at the destruction taking place on the Continent and resolves to send its five most formidable vampires— immensely powerful "millennials" who have lived more than a thousand years— to infiltrate and destroy the Nazis. Brilliant and beautiful millennial Brigit is loath to go, for it means leaving behind her vampire lover Eamon, whom she made eight centuries ago. But go she must; her powers are needed if the mission is to have any chance of success.

As the millennials attempt to penetrate and sabotage Hitler’s armies, they discover that the Nazis are more capable and more monstrous than they'd ever imagined. Forced to take bolder, more dangerous steps, they soon attract the attention of specially trained vampire hunters loyal to Hitler and his vision of a vampire-free world. Exposed, deep inside enemy territory, with vicious Nazi officers and hunters at her heels, Brigit must attempt a daring escape from the Continent, guarding precious cargo that marks the only hope of salvaging their mission.

For werewolf Natalya Stravinsky, the supernatural is nothing extraordinary. What does seem strange is that she’s stuck in her hometown of South Toms River, New Jersey, the outcast of her pack, selling antiques to finicky magical creatures. Restless and recovering from her split with gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Thorn, Nat finds comfort in an unusual place: her obsessively collected stash of holiday trinkets. But complications pile up faster than her ornaments when Thorn returns home—and the two discover that the spark between them remains intense.

Before Nat can sort out their relationship, she must face a more immediate and dangerous problem. Her pack is under attack from the savage Long Island werewolves—and Nat is their first target in a turf war. Toss in a handsome wizard vying for her affection, a therapy group for the anxious and enchanted, and the South Toms River pack leader ready to throw her to the wolves, and it’s enough to give anybody a panic attack. With the stakes as high as the full moon, Nat must summon all of her strength to save her pack and, ultimately, herself.

Book Review: Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong (WOTO #8)

Tabloid reporter Hope Adams appears to live the life of an ordinary working girl. But in addition to possessing the beauty of a Bollywood princess, Hope has other unique traits. For she is a half demon—a human fathered by a demon. And she’s inherited not only a gift for seeing the past but a hunger for chaos—along with a talent for finding it wherever she can. Naturally, when she’s chosen by a very dangerous group for a very dangerous mission, she jumps at the chance….

The head of the powerful Cortez Cabal—a family that makes the mob look like amateurs—has a little problem in Miami: a gang of wealthy, bored offspring of supernaturals is getting out of hand, and Hope is needed to infiltrate. As spells, astral projections, and pheromones soar across South Beach, Hope weaves her way through its elite hot spots, posing as upscale eye candy and reading the auras of the clientele—and potential marks.

As it turns out, Hope is a little too good at this job. And soon she’s in a little too deep, needing to be bailed out by her jewel-thief werewolf ex-boyfriend and by the Cortez heir himself. And when a killer goes to work, Hope is among many targets at the pinnacle of Cabal rule. For a woman who didn’t know what she was getting into, there’s only one way out: it’s time for Hope to unleash her most potent primal instincts—and open herself, mind and body, to everything she most fears . . . and desires.

My Review: 
Hope is a reporter and has the added talents of a half-demon-seeing the past and having a real lust for chaos. When the powerful Cortez Cabal family ask her for help, she finds herself infiltrating a gang of bored supernatural kids who are causing chaos and violence across the city. The Cabal once helped Hope and now need her help and she may be in over her head.

I read this series originally a bit out of order so this was the first one I read featuring Hope and I liked her. She is tough, resourceful and feisty as you expect in a heroine by Kelley Armstrong, but she has big flaws like her love of chaos which can easily derail her. She has to use her brain and power to pass a tricky entry test to get into the gang and she has to hang out at a club getting rich men to spend their money, robbing people's houses while they are drunk at the club etc giving her a chance to feed on chaos that occurs. Her mission and possible romance with Jaz are under threat when her on-off werewolf boyfriend Karl shows up in town to stop her. I liked seeing Karl in this book and you get an idea of his motivations and personality in his interactions with Hope. I wasn't really a fan of Hope getting with Jaz but I guess I'm biased in favour of werewolves in this series!

Unusually, the narration is shared with Lucas, husband of Paige the witch, son of the Cabal boss who hires Hope. I found this a bit strange when the series is about the supernatural women. It didn't ruin the book or anything but I felt that it wasn't really necessary. I don't think it really added anything to the story. It just seemed like an excuse to bring in Paige and Savannah.
Another good read in the series. As usual you have a fast plot with plenty of action and characters that are interesting and engaging.
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Book Review: Undead-Ten Tales of Zombies anthology

1. IMMUNITY by Jeff Strand
What if the body’s immune system can shake off the infection?

A man is bitten by a zombie and his friend prepares to kill him before he turns. The bitten guy decides he's immune and better just kill his friend first. Then he turns zombie and kills someone. And that's it. The end. At one and a half pages it was too short and underdeveloped to be a decent read. Just damn I'm bitten, hey don't kill me I'm immune, RARG I've killed someone. (1 star)
2. GREYWALKER by Rayne Hall
A dying man will pay any price to gain time.

A dying man wants a chance to tell his former wife that he's sorry he beat her and makes a deal with a witch for more time as a temporary zombie but he must kill himself within a time limit before he eats people. This was ok but I'm not a fan of these historical, middle age village kind of settings for stories so not really my thing. Nicely written though. (2 star)

3. LAST CHANCE TO SEE by Tracie McBride
You have twenty-four hours before death becomes permanent.

After her death Sharon is reincarnated for 24 hours to say goodbye to her family and friends. At her 'party' people are too busy fighting or watching TV to take advantage of those last few hours with her and one relative finds it funny to poke her with a fork to see if it hurts. It was a sad but slightly scary story as you can imagine technology of the future allowing this to happen. Lets just hope you don't have relatives like Sharon! (3 star)

4. FURZBY HOLT by Jonathan Broughton
Collecting census information in this English village should be an easy job.

A census taker goes to a remote village to find the residents are all undead and can't fill in the forms. This was ok but the side story of the fight with his girlfriend distracted the reader from what was a quirky story. It was ok. (2 star)

Retirement home resident Margaret is hearing music that no one else can hear.

Margaret can hear the singing of her beloved dead husband and knows he is coming to claim her for the grave but with help from a care home assistant, she has another plan. This one was clever and had a decent little twist which I won't spoil. You get a good background to their life together in with the creepy aspect of the ghost story. (2.5 star)

Mama lives in the basement.

This was a great wee story about a couple who have Marlie's dead mother locked in the basement and a dead neighbour who keeps escaping his family to come and annoy them. Frank wants to kill the zombies who were created by giving dead relatives an immortality serum but Marlie can't imagine life without Mother. Frank is funny and his comments about Poo Tube made me laugh while Marlie wonders if hashtags are a new kind of hash brown. Not the smartest pair in the world and not great at staying safe! Nice story! (4 star)

7. I’LL LOVE YA, FOREVER, BUT… by April Grey
Faithful to a fault, that’s my Fred.

A houseproud woman is horrified when her newly risen zombie husband comes home and starts leaving slime trails around the house. This was quite an amusing story as she tries to coax him away from her carpets and back to the grave. (3 star)

The year is 2225. Is it safe to reanimate a person from the barbarous past?

In the 23rd century a reanimated man will ever be allowed to live and be studied, or be terminated after a council meeting. This was far too technical for me with info dumps about cryogenics, voodoo and sci-fi stuff that I didn't find that interesting. (1 star)

9. THE REASON FOR ZOMBIES by Douglas Kolacki
My limbs are not as cooperative as they used to be.

A zombie man keeps escaping from his home to find the entity that made them and ask to be released into death. This was a very long winded and confusing story. The conversations in it were weird and I just didn't get what the author was trying to do with this. (1 star)

10. FEEDING FRENZY by Matt Hults
These zombies are hungry.

Ron and Greg want to buy an abandoned fast food joint but when they get inside the zombie customers want never ending service and they can't find a way out or a way to call for help. This one was quirky and I liked the ideas in it. I would have marked it higher but there was no real conclusion to the story which was a bit frustrating. (3 star)

Overall I have to mark this anthology based on there being more stories that left me cold.
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Book Review: Fading Away by Tom Upton

Young Adult short fiction "Life Along the Okie-Dokie Highway" A girl goes on a horrifying road trip with her dysfunctional family. "Sound Travels" Two childhood friends spend the last weekend of summer at a lake side cottage. "Tiny Voices" A girl tries to cope with the boredom of the small town in which she lives, as well as with the voices only she can hear. "Cold, Cold Water" A depressed teen passes judgment on people, which begins a murder spree. "The Great Squirrel Hunt of 1977" A squirrel causes havoc in a small Texas town "Fading Away" A girl has a disturbing dieting episode.

My Review: 
I'm going to review the short stories that I read before I abandoned the book:

Cold Cold Water-A boy's older brother decides for no reason to kill a Greek shopkeeper and is now threatening to kill teachers and their great grandfather. The boy says nothing and his brother rants. The end. WTF was the point in this story? Did anyone else die? Did he get caught? Stopping there made the whole thing pointless.

Life along the Okie Dokie Highway-A girl on a family trip writes letters to her friend about it. Car breaks down, family argue about money. The end. This was such a boring story. It had no horror or thriller element and I didn't see much point to it at all.

Sound Travels-Two boys hear a scream and one swims off to investigate. When he finally comes back he won't say what happens. The end. WTF??? What is the point in setting up a story, building up the tension and then keeping the result a secret? Up until the lack of ending it had been a better story.

Tiny Voices-A girl hears voices in her head telling her to plan a prank-which her best friend uses instead to get attention. Girl is angry. The end. This one was boring.

At this point I got tired of the anthology and gave up on it. The stories I read either had no conclusion at all which I found very frustrating or they had no interesting plot to speak of, and it made me wonder what the point was in writing them. I felt that this was a complete waste of an hour and I won't be reading anything else by this author. 
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Book Review: Dead-The Gruesome Tale of Garrett and Kirstin by TW Brown

This was billed as a gruesome horror tale which is what attracted me to it but that is not in truth what we get. Yes the zombies are there but only really feature twice in any important capacity-the beginning where Garrett sees the apocalypse as an opportunity to start his depraved journey and at the end.

This is quite simply a rape novel with zombies in the background who get mentioned occasionally to remind you that they are still there. Garrett rapes the corpse of the girl next door he fancies AFTER she becomes a zombie, he rapes various women he rescues from the streets and then he breaks into a house and starts raping, violating and humiliating a young girl on every second page. That got old and boring very quickly. Garrett rapes her, someone looks out the window to see the zombies are still there, lets have another rape, Garrett goes to eat while his victim cries, hey another rape just for a change! Or maybe a nice violation or something just to change it up a wee bit. *Yawn*

Now I like a gruesome horror and don't mind sexual violence(hell I read Jack Ketchum and Edward Lee!) but this was just rape after rape after rape with no attempt at developing this into a proper horror book. There was no tension or attempted escape to get you rooting for the girl, no imagination in the story development just a rape-athon, no character development, no story flow or complex unfolding plot to keep you interested the way Ketchum and King deliver. There is nothing to get you wondering what might come next(you know it's just going to be another rape anyway). It's just boring.

I wasn't impressed by this book at all. If you are going to do gruesome horror you need to have something more than just rape every second page to keep your readers hooked. I certainly won't be continuing with this series and I don't recommend it. Disappointing because I know the author can produce much better writing than this.

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Monday, 9 June 2014

Book Blitz: The Artful by Wilbert Stanton

The Artful by Wilbert Stanton
(Shadows of the City #1)
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: May 27th 2014
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, 
Young Adult

New York City, 2025: Everything is changed. The city that never sleeps is now a land of death and decay. A rampant virus has taken over and the survivors have become carriers, quarantined from the rest of the world.

Twist and Dodger grew up in the streets, the sewers and underground tunnels – their playground. They aren’t heroes. They just like attention; and stealing meds from the rich and giving them to the poor is their golden ticket.

On their latest raid, they unknowingly steal a cure that puts them square between the ailing Emperor of Manhattan and the war hungry Governor of Brooklyn and forces them on a quest into the darkest shadows of their putrefying world.

We didn’t speak anymore for a time, just walked in silence. Every other block we stumbled upon some sort of savagery. Bloodstained walls or half-eaten body parts. There was a moment I thought I would get used to it. If I saw enough of it, it wouldn’t bother me. I had to man up, after all. Here I was, acting like a child in the care of his babysitter. This wasn’t how I wanted our trip to go; I was sick of being a sidekick. I had to step up. So I straightened, shoulders out firm and head held high and sped up, trying to match Gia’s pace.
Until we turned a corner and all my resolve was thrown out the window. We ran into two bare-chested men in tattered jeans. One had a shaven head, rings stretched his earlobes, big enough for a finger to fit through, and a number of piercings along his lips, tattoos sloppily etched into his back and arms. The other was a bit smaller. He wore tight jeans and combat boots. His hair was a mess of knots and tangles, a thick beard covered most of his face, and he had a number of tattoos as well. They crouched down low, over the remains of a naked woman. Bits and pieces of flesh were gone from her face and neck. Her stomach was a gaping hole of blood and gore as they used their hands to spoon her insides into their mouths. Even though Gia held up her hand in silence, I puked, unable to help myself. They turned toward us, their carnivorous smiles and filed down teeth reminding me of a shark.
Gia turned toward me, her earlier confidence escaping with the color in her skin. “Oh, crap. Run!” She grabbed my arm and pulled me as I let loose the last of my breakfast.
We got some fresh meat, boys!” The words seemed to chase us down the street. I ventured a look over my shoulder to see them giving chase, laughing and throwing bits of human meat at us.
Come and get it!” shouted the other. “Dinner time!”
We’ll feast on the boy for dinner and have the girl for play!” His voice was dry and frightening.
Then eat her for breakfast.”
And play with her some more!” They laughed wildly. This was a game to them. We were sport. They didn’t view us as people, only things to be played with and eaten. We can’t get caught, we can’t get caught. I would have killed Gia and myself before they caught us. We ran down a street and another, turned corner after corner and couldn’t lose them. They remained on our heels like vicious dogs. Before long, I realized we were just going in circles. Gia was panicked and no longer knew where we were going, I had to act before―
A woman stepped out from around a corner. Her face was heavily pierced. Blonde pigtails fell about her slender shoulders. She wore a school girl outfit. Her skirt was stained with blood, and her legs were covered in scabs. Pigtails wobbled as she tilted her head, flashing a sinister smile filled with shark-like teeth. The baseball bat held loosely at her side glistened with semidry blood. She snarled like a feral beast as we skidded to a halt.



Wilbert Stanton was born and raised in New York City. From an early age, Wilbert decided he would either write books or take over the world; everything else was just a precursor to his end game.

Along the way, he has studied Psychology, English, and Computer Science. He’s held jobs in a wide range of fields and met people from all walks of life. Wilbert is constantly learning and growing as a person, in order to solidify his dreams.

In the end world domination was a bit tedious, so he decided to focus on writing books.

Author links: 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Stacking the Shelves #38

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!
As some of you might have noticed, there was no STS post from me last week. This was because of a family crisis which meant I was not online for days or buying or reading anything. This is a link to the post about what happened.

So I still haven't managed to pick up a book because we are now getting work done in the house and preparing for my mum coming out of hospital. Honestly, it has been 6 months of upheaval and a break from it would be great! *sigh* Maybe next month!!!




Friday, 6 June 2014

Book Review: At Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost

It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield’s life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she’s successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat’s worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover’s finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.

As if that wasn’t enough, a woman from Bones’s past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat’s about to learn the true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she’s learned as a special agent won’t help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save herself—and Bones—from a fate worse than the grave.

My Review: 
Cat and Bones are back together and planning a wedding but of course things never run smoothly. Vampires from their past seem determined to kill Cat at any cost and Bones has to round up a list of allies to fight to save her.

I loved this book as much as the first two in the series and in some ways it is the best one so far. I had to flick back through it to refresh my memory before I wrote my review just to make sure I got my facts straight as I don't have time for re-reads at the moment!

Firstly the plot. Cat's psycho 'father' is back, betraying Ian for a new mistress who is happy for him to attack and kill whoever he likes. Max is also determined to inflict more terror on Justina and his character is just so evil that you want Bones to get a hold of him real bad! The new mistress remains unknown through most of the book but she has links to Bones, Ian and Mencheres, and because of a prophecy about a half breed's partner murdering her, she soon targets Cat and Bones for herself. It is time for the other vampires to start choosing a side, bringing old enemies and allies together to fight. Meanwhile, Don asks Bones to start changing his team into vampires as promised and Justina finds love again.

Things are changing in this book with the arrival of Annette, a former lover of Bones who wants him back. Her bitchy fights with Cat are funny and I enjoyed the inclusion of her character. Humour is also there in the form of Justina's hatred of the filth that plans to marry her daughter and her surprising choice of new boyfriend! Vlad, the real life Dracula and old nemesis of Bones also joins the alliance and he has humour, wit and danger making him a character that I quickly loved. In book two Ian was the enemy but having his slimy, funny, perverted vampire ass in this book as a friend and ally was an unexpected but welcome twist. I really grew to love Ian in this book and I REALLY want an Ian spin off book or series!!! Spade and Rodney are back along with Denise and Randy, as well as Don and his team. The one character that really got on my nerves in the book was Tate. His declarations of love for Cat and trying to persuade her to love him instead of Bones really got under my skin and made me yell at the book! She'll never love you, muppet head!!! Stop being a complete asshat!!! I've never really liked him and I don't get why Cat lets him get away with acting like that. I'd be saying we can't even be friends if you don't grow up.

Didn't believe the big shocker mid-book but then again I don't think the reader was supposed to believe it. It did let us see the depth in quite a few characters like Annette and Ian and gave us an insight into Vlad's history which was nice.

Great mixture of humour, emotion and action. This series keeps on delivering!

Favourite scenes? Cat and Bones making children cry at a burger bar by attacking the mascot who is actually a vampire. Funny! The scene where Cat and Bones find out who Justina is sleeping with is priceless! The big attack on the house where the allies all fight to survive was a great action sequence complete with death and betrayal. 
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Throwback Thursday #24

This Meme is hosted by Melissa at My World in Words and Pages. Go to her blog and join us!

I blog about great looking new releases, new books sent to me for read and review, book reviews of what I've read and features about exciting new authors to try.

But what about all the books that are already on my TBR, waiting for me to read them? Don't they deserve a mention and a chance to be highlighted? Yes they do!

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where I will take the time to tell you about some of the books that have been on my shelves for a while and maybe a few of you will add them to your wishlists/tbrs. If you have read them, why not leave a comment to tell me what you thought of it-but no spoilers please! 

Yes this is a day late this week due to the chaos that has surrounded me recently but better late than never eh? This week I am spotlighting three more books from my tbr list that I want to read.

Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other twenty-something girls—with one tiny exception: They're the products of a curse that backfired and gave each of them unique powers that make them, well, a little weird…

The Wird sisters are content to avoid the local vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region—until one of them blows up a vampire in self-defense. Everyone knows vampires aren't aggressive, and killing one is punishable by death. But soon more bloodlust-fueled attacks occur, and the community wonders if the vampires of Tahoe are plague-ridden.

Celia reluctantly agrees to help Misha, the handsome leader of an infected vampire family. But Aric, the head of the werewolf pack determined to destroy Misha's family to keep the area safe, warns Celia to stay out of the fight. Caught between two hot alphas, Celia must find a way to please everyone, save everyone, and—oh, yeah—not lose her heart to the wrong guy or die a miserable death. Because now that the evil behind the plague knows who Celia is, he's coming for her and her sisters. This Wird girl has never had it so tough.

Night Owls book store is the one spot on campus open late enough to help out even the most practiced slacker. The employees’ penchant for fighting the evil creatures of the night is just a perk…

Valerie McTeague’s business model is simple: provide the students of Edgewood College with a late-night study haven and stay as far away from the underworld conflicts of her vampire brethren as possible. She’s lived that life, and the price she paid was far too high to ever want to return.

Elly Garrett hasn’t known any life except that of fighting the supernatural werewolf-like beings known as Creeps or Jackals. But she always had her mentor and foster father by her side—until he gave his life protecting a book that the Creeps desperately want to get their hands on.

When the book gets stashed at Night Owls for safe keeping, those Val holds nearest and dearest are put in mortal peril. Now Val and Elly will have to team up, along with a mismatched crew of humans, vampires, and lesbian succubi, to stop the Jackals from getting their claws on the book and unleashing unnamed horrors…

The Northern California town of Big Beaver has become a haven for Bigfoot, alien sightings and is home to The Phantom Bigfoot Bather. One particularly weird Beaverite, Duane, has kept the Bigfoot a secret, but to his utter dismay, a female Bigfoot abducts a teenager. Duane must use all his guile to stop his secret from getting out, especially now that MB, his close friend and crypto-zoologist, is on the trail, along with Sheriff Lou and the FBI. Can Duane keep his Bigfoot friends a secret? And what does MB discover deep in the forest?