Thursday, December 31, 2009

Book 80 of 2009: Rot by Michele Lee

Book 79 of 2009: Strange Magic by Gord Rollo

Gord Rollo's latest release, Strange Magic, tells the story of former magician Wilson Kemp. Wilson has been trying for years to escape his past, going as far as changing his name, moving, and giving up his career as a magician. His wife and daughter know nothing of his past life, but unfortunately, his past has finally caught up with him and he may not be able to keep it hidden any longer. Someone in town known as "the Stranger" is killing both humans and animals, leaving messages at the scene of each crime for "The Iceman", which happens to be Wilson's old stage name. Wilson is now scared for the life of himself and his family. He is not sure who "the Stranger" really is, but fears it may be his old partner, "The Heatseeker". The problem with that scenario is that "The Heatseeker" has been dead for twenty-two years!

Intense, imaginative, well-balanced, fast-paced... you name it and Rollo has accomplished it in Strange Magic! Ever since Leisure started putting out Rollo's work I've been grabbing them up off the shelf immediately and I haven't been disappointed yet. Strange Magic may very well be my favorite so far. A couple of the characters' actual identities are kept secret through a good chunk of the book. Usually it is hard to keep up such a "front" that well without the reader figuring it out prior to the big "reveal", but Rollo managed to accomplish this without a hitch! I was ultimately pleasantly surprised, and a bit disturbed, with both of the characters once I found out who they really were. In addition, the death scenes within the book aren't overly gruesome, yet still cringe-worthy enough that both gore lovers and those of the weak stomach should be able to enjoy them. It is truly a well-rounded book and I feel that Rollo has definitely written something that all horror fans will love.

In addition to reading the Leisure addition of Strange Magic, I also had the pleasure of reading Rollo's short story, "Peeler", a tie-in story to Strange Magic. This story can currently be found in the limited edition of Strange Magic published by Bad Moon Books. Peeler is the name of one of the side characters from Strange Magic who happens to have what you might call a weird "fetish" for peeling off his own skin. In this short story, we get to learn what causes Peeler to mutilate himself and where he was at prior to the time-frame of Strange Magic. The story is a bit gross, yet definitely ties into the whole magical element playing throughout the novel. It's a must-read for die-hard Rollo fans, and it's a shame that Leisure couldn't have included it in their edition of the release. Hopefully, this story will be released in a short story collection from Rollo, for those that are unable to get their hands on a copy of the limited edition of Strange Magic. I highly recommend reading both Strange Magic and the tie-in story, "Peeler"!

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Mutilation

Review also posted at

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Book 78 of 2009: Rotten Little Animals by Kevin Shamel

Kevin Shamel's debut release from Eraserhead Press, Rotten Little Animals, is a bit like Animal Farm on crack. The animals in Shamel's novel, however, are trying to keep their presence unknown to humans. While filming their latest masterpiece, the animals are spotted by a young boy that lived across the street. When the boy comes to investigate what he has seen (it's not every day you see a zombie cat fight!) the film crew of animals decides to kidnap him and re-write the movie that were working on to include the boy as their newest cast member. They figure staging an abduction will be more realistic-looking than their previous project, and it might help their chances in the Animal Academy Awards. What the crew doesn't count on is some of the animals turning against each other... and when that happens, you never know what Rotten Little Animals might do next! These animals are crude, rude, and usually drunk and/or high. They aren't your typical, cuddly pets that you'd want to take home, but this is definitely a novel that you want in your collection! Shamel has created a tale that is disturbingly rude, laugh-out-loud funny, and at times, just so bizarre that you can't even wrap your head around the fact that these are animals doing these things. Of course, some scenes I couldn't even fathom humans doing to other humans! In particular, there is a scene in the book where the animals put the human boy, Cage, in a room that he had to share with Filthy Pig (obviously a pig) that is known as the "Toilet Room". As you can guess, there is a grating above the room that all of the other animals stand above and let their urine and feces come down through... right onto poor Cage. It's a powerful scene, but greatly disturbing at the same time. It makes the reader feel for Cage though and want him to pull through somehow and escape. That scene, as well as numerous others, kept me reading Rotten Little Animals, fast and furious, as I wanted to see what was going to happen at the end. As this was part of Eraserhead Press' New Bizarro Author Series, I am hoping that Shamel will have more releases in the future because I am greatly anticipating reading more by this author. Highly Recommended!

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations

Review also posted at

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Book 77 of 2009: Wolf Tales 9 by Kate Douglas

Wolf Tales 9, the latest release in Douglas' Chanku series brings all of the Chanku together in Montana. Tia is getting ready to give birth to the twins that she and Luc have conceived and everyone has gathered to support her. The labor is a long process and Luc is very concerned for her. In order to help pass the time and relax the nervous couple, the rest of the Chanku family decides to tell stories about various stories about their past lives. When the time of birth grows closer, Logan realizes that one of the babies is under some distress and takes Tia on back to the birthing room to monitor her while the others continue their stories to keep Luc calm.

This was probably my favorite book of Douglas' series so far. The way the Chanku all came together as one united family to help at Tia and Luc's time of need showed just how strong the Chanku love truly is. The stories that were told from the various members of the pack helped fill in some of the gaps that I had been wondering about through the story thus far... especially the bits about Mik and Aj... talk about hot!!! This book did lack the mystery/adventure aspects that most of the other Wolf Tales books had in them, but this was a special book and didn't need that. This series is like following the adventures of a family that you have watched grow together and Wolf Tales 9 really brought everyone closer together, especially at the exciting conclusion when the babies were born. Highly Recommended!

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Graphic Sex

Review also posted at

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book 75 of 2009: Santa Claus Conquers the Homophobes

Book two of the Santa Claus Chronicles by Robert Devereaux starts off where Santa Steps Out leaves off. Santa's new stepdaughter, Wendy, has a mission every Christmas Eve alongside of Santa where she visits one hundred children. Upon each visitation she shows the children a glimpse into their future. On one particular visit, one of the boys she visits, Jamie Stratton, leaves her disturbed, and she glimpses suicide in his future due to torment he has dealt with because of the fact that he is gay. She discusses this with Santa and asks for his help in order to save Jamie's life. Together, Santa and Wendy go on a special journey to "fix" all the people that affect Jamie's life and make them less prone to homophobia. Of course, the Tooth Fairy isn't going to make this task easy for them and intervenes where she can. But when all is said and done... if they can expunge the homophobia of just a few people... will that be enough to appease Santa and Wendy or will they want to do even bigger and better things?

Santa Claus strikes again in this second round of adventures from Robert Devereaux. This novel is a lot different from the first release as it's lacking all of the sex that was included in the first, but it still could be considered offensive to some as it focuses heavily on bigotry and religion. I had hoped to read more about the Tooth Fairy in this book, but after the way Santa Steps Out ended I knew that was something not to expect. I did enjoy the addition of some of the new characters though (in particular, the imps) and also the fact that the elves got a bit more time in this book than the previous release. I am curious to see what Devereaux will have up his sleeves for a third release down the road! Highly Recommended!

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Minor Sex, Violence

Review also posted at

Also available at is a review I did with Robert Devereaux.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Book 74 of 2009: Santa Steps Out by Robert Devereaux

Santa Claus spends every Christmas Eve delivering presents to boys and girls and spreading Christmas joy, but have you ever wondered what else goes on at the North Pole with good ol' Santa? Robert Devereaux tells us just that with his tales of wonderment in Santa Steps Out. We learn about the trials and tribulations that Mr. and Mrs. Claus suffer within their marriage and how Santa turns to the seductive Tooth Fairy, yes, I did say the Tooth Fairy, in order to get his jollies off. And lurking not far from all the sexual adventures, is the voyeuristic Easter Bunny. What? You didn't know that about the Easter Bunny? Well... now you do! That poor bunny though... he's a bit jealous, and when he runs off and tattles on dear old Santa, you should see what happens when the missus finds out...

Robert Devereaux has created the ultimate fairy tale for adults with Santa Steps Out. I never would have thought ever such a book could have existed before this landed in my hands. Every chapter I was amazed at what naughty things he had my old "fairy tale friends" doing. Deveraux stretches the limits as far as possible with this book and I commend him for that, as some authors wouldn't go to such extremes. This novel is one-of-a-kind and couldn't have been written by anyone else half as well as Devereaux. Some people re-read A Christmas Carol every holiday season, me... I think I'll be reading Santa Steps Out! Highly Recommended!

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Graphic Sex, Violence, Rape

Review also posted at

Also available at is a review I did with Robert Devereaux.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Book 73 of 2009: Sausagey Santa by Carlton Mellick III

Sausagey Santa is the story of the Fry family and what happens to them one Christmas season. The Fry family is made of Matthew Fry, with "the sly guy" hairstyle, his wife Decapitron, who thinks she is a Transformer, and their four children. Matthew would love to not be married to Decapitron, but he knows that anything he does against her wishes will cause her to annihilate him, so he is stuck where he is. On Christmas Eve Decapitron allows sits around telling the kids Santa stories. One in particular is about Sausagey Santa and Matthew doesn't approve of his children hearing the story. The tale describes Santa as being made out of meat goo and linked together in order to form the shape of a man. However, this particular Christmas, Santa made quite a ruckus showing up at the Fry household and when Matthew and Decapitron go downstairs to investigate, Matthew is shocked to find that it is Sausagey Santa rather than Santa Claus that is in their house and instead of drinking milk he prefers beer. Santa enjoys a short visit with the Frys and is about to head off when he hears a lot of noise stirring up outside. He informs the Fry family that they are all in danger. They later discover that it is an anti-Christmas spirit that is after Santa and trying to ruin Christmas. Now, with the help of the Fry family and his elves, Sausagey Santa is attempting to salvage Christmas this year!

Readers like to get in the spirit of the season by reading a holiday novel or two, but some don't like those feel good, mushy, happy-go-lucky romance books and such that are easy to find on the shelves during the holiday season. Sausagey Santa is the answer for that are looking for those hard to find books! Also, if not familiar with Carlton Mellick III and/or the greatness of the horror sub-genre, Bizarro, this is a great introduction to both! I can only imagine what possibly inspired the ideas for some of the scenes that are depicted in this novel. In particular, I would one day like discuss with Carlton Mellick III exactly where he came up with the idea for "Television Cake" and that's something you read about in just the first chapter of this treasure of a book. There is much more hidden within the pages of Sausagey Santa and every chapter contains something to make your jaw drop and you're mind to ask "What the f---?!?!" So buy up a copy, make some hot cocoa, and snuggle up in the blankets and read this book! And afterward, I guarantee you'll be hoping that it's the "Original Santa Claus" coming to visit you Christmas Eve rather than Sausagey Santa... unless, of course, you are REALLY twisted!

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Violence, Sex

Review also posted at

Book 72 of 2009: Under the Dome by Stephen King

Not going to bother writing up a review for this one after all. I honestly wasn't all that impressed in the end. Kinda wish I hadn't wasted my time. At least I only spent $9 on the hardback edition and not $20+ like some people...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Book 71 of 2009: The Resurrectionist by Wrath James White

Wrath James White starts us off into the world of The Resurrectionist by vividly exploring a scene where a young boy listens intently from outside his parents’ bedroom door as they fight. The boy continues to listen as his dad beats up his mom and he even listens as his dad kills his mom. Then he decides to call the cops. Once the cops arrive, even more chaos takes place as the boy is escorted out to a cop car and the cops go in to see what has taken place. He watches them one by one stagger out of the house getting sick and finally he runs back into the house to find his father dead, shot by the cops, and his mom skinned alive by his father's hand. He climbs over to his mom and starts giving her mouth-to-mouth. Slowly she starts to breathe again and then her skin starts to rejuvenate. The cops come back in then and can't believe their eyes. The woman sitting with him can't possibly be the woman that was just lying there skinned alive, can it? But he claims it's his mommy. What special powers is it this boy holds and what else could he possibly use those powers for in the future?

The Resurrectionist delves deep into the life of one very demented and warped individual. The main character, Dale, has so many "issues" that as a reader it's hard to decide whether to sympathize with him or hate him for what he is doing to the victims in the book. I was honestly torn throughout on my opinion of him, yet leaned more to the negative side because it was just hard to fathom any person could do the things he was doing to other beings. White has written a novel so graphically depicted and so intense that you actually feel like you're "living" the nightmare that is taking place within the pages. I would recommend those with a queasy stomach to pass this book by and move on to a more "user-friendly" horror book as White does describe extremely graphic scenes of mutilation, torture, and rape, which might offend some readers. To those that can handle it, however, this is a must read! I was unable to put the book down once I opened it up and I think any lovers of extreme horror will feel the same. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Contains: Gore, Rape, Sex, Mutilation, Torture, Adult Language, Adult Situations

Review also posted at

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Book 70 of 2009: My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent

The adventures of Kaylee Cavanaugh continue on from Rachel Vincent's prequel story, My Soul to Lose, in this first novel of the Soul Screamers series. Kaylee thinks she's died and gone to heaven after sneaking into an eighteen-and-over-club and earning the affections of one of the hottest guys in school, Nash Hudson. But then someone really does die, and ironically, it is someone that Kaylee had predicted was going to die, before Nash and her best friend, Emma, pulled her out of the club during a "panic attack". Somehow, Nash knows that it was not just a panic attack, and is able to soothe Kaylee when she was on the verge of shrieking, but how? Shortly after the first girl dies, a second does. Kaylee feels like there is something seriously wrong going on and that she should somehow try to stop it. Of course, Nash wants to help out and for whatever reason, he seems to know even more about what is going on than Kaylee.

Rachel Vincent has been on my "must read immediately upon release" list for a while now with her Shifters series and having now read both My Soul to Lose and My Soul to Take, I think it'll just be any books that come out by her that go on that list. Vincent is an amazing writer who is coming out with creative new plot ideas for the paranormal genre. There are plenty of vampire, werewolf, and zombie stories out there, but Vincent is going beyond those, picking out and using some of the less common elements. I applaud her for that, and appreciate it, as some of the others, while enjoyable, can get stale at times. My Soul to Take allows us to get to know more about what is going on with Kaylee as she learns about herself. There are some emotional scenes in the book both for Kaylee, getting a handle on who she really is, and also due to the deaths that are taking place within the book. This novel crosses over many genres... paranormal, mystery, romance, and horror, so it is a good blend. Young adult readers, as well as many adults, will find Soul Screamers a unique and fascinating series and will be eagerly awaiting the next book. I know I am. Highly Recommended.

Contains: Mild Adult Language, Adult and Teen Death Scenes

Review also posted at

Also posted at is a review I did with Rachel.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Book 69 of 2009: B Is For Bad Poetry by Pamela August Russell

No Review to follow... sorry! I just read this quickly while in a bookstore one day. So I don't have the book in my possession to really write up a really good review of it. I found some of the poems in it to be highly amusing, but then some fell very flat. It was amusing for the time being as I read it, but nothing I would've bothered spending my money on, especially considering it was a hardback.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book 68 of 2009: Swarm of Flying Eyeballs by Gina Ranalli

Squid Salad Press' second bizarro release, Swarm of Flying Eyeballs, comes from one of the top-selling authors in the genre, Gina Ranalli. In Swarm, the summer school students of a local school are going on a local field trip to a blueberry field. Ron, the poor guy that has to tend to the blueberry fields, watches as the bus pulls up and is a bit disgruntled, since back in the day when he was in school he never got to go on field trips during summer school. Soon, the kids are all picking berries until all of a sudden one of them starts to scream! Ron goes to check on the girl who was screaming, and next thing, both Ron and the girl that was previously screaming are both running and yelling "EYEBALLS!" But what are they talking about? Only the mind of Ranalli and those that have read Swarm know for sure and honestly, I'm not even sure the readers know exactly what Ranalli has in mind once this book comes to such a twisted end. Swarm has the feel of a fun B-horror movie and I could picture the film rolling in my head as I was reading it. The characters that Ranalli has created are brilliant. They vary in age from young kids, to teens, to adults. The weird thing is... it seemed liked a lot of the time the young kids, such as Natalie, our heroine, had more smarts about her then those that should have had more maturity. Of course,, I guess that is how things do seem to be in a lot of real life instances, so Ranalli probably hit that dead on! It's the underlying things such as that, and Ranalli's quirky writing style, that make this such a powerful read. Highly recommended for all fans of the bizarro genre, or even those readers that are hesitant about the genre and just want to consider "dipping their feet in".

Contains: Mild Violence

Review also posted at

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Books 65-67 of 2009: Silent Night 1-3 by R.L. Stine

R.L. Stine's omnibus collection, Silent Night, contains all three of his Silent Night stories about Reva Dalby. The trilogy is part of his successful teen series, Fear Street, though the majority of the books take place in surrounding areas of Fear Street.

Silent Night, the first story of the trilogy, starts the omnibus off and introduces us to several of the main characters, including Reva Dalby and her daddy, who happens to own Dalby Department Stores. It's Christmas season and he is needing extra help in the store so he has asked Reva to recruit some of her friends to help out in the store. She, being a bit self-centered, decides that this is the perfect opportunity to gain the attention of one of the guys at school she has a crush on and also to play pranks on a few other people that she doesn't like. Once everyone is hired in, however, the pranks seem to start on Reva! It seems like someone is stalking her and it might be a bit more harmful than the pranks she had planned for her daddy's new employees. Whoever is stalking her seems to be out for... blood!

Silent Night 2 takes place the winter after the first Silent Night and, obviously, Reva has survived the adventures of the first book. She's even promised to be a nicer person due to everything that happened to her, but everyone knows that it's hard for a person to change themselves that drastically, right? In this second installment of the Silent Night series, Stine has set-up a new challenge for Reva to face, kidnappers! Why you ask would anyone want to kidnap a bratty teenager like Reva? Don't forget... she is the rich daughter of the owner of the Dalby Department Store!

In the final installment of the Silent Night trilogy, Reva is home from college and has brought her roommate to stay with her for the holidays. Her daddy has asked her to work the store again for the season, but after the last two miserable Christmases she's hesitant yet gives in. Reva's cousin, Pam, has a special request for Reva as well now that she's home. She and her friend have been making special scarves and would like to sell them at the department store and figure if Reva likes them, then she can convince her daddy to do it. Reva not only LOVES the scarves, she convinces her daddy to sell them at the store by telling them that she was the one that designed them! This infuriates Pam, but she doesn't speak up as she figures it's the only way she will get to sell them at the store. Reva is excited because she also has conviced her daddy to let her have a fashion show at the store and whatever she wants, she gets. Only, at Dalby's Department Store... she tends to get a little more than she bargains for every time and this time it seems to be murder after murder, but who is doing it and why?

As a teenager I read the Fear Street series consistently. It was how I got my start reading horror. I love Stine's writing style and find his books suspenseful. Even reading the Silent Night series today, I still feel that his writing style is superior to many of the teen horror authors out there. I had guesses throughout the books as to what was going to happen at the end, but I was never quite sure. These books, along with the rest of the Fear Street books are great books for all pre-teen and younger teenagers to read if they are wanting to start into the horror genre. They have just enough "scare factor" in them that the kids will enjoy, without all the gore and adult themes that parents would not want them reading yet. (Of course, us "young at heart" also enjoy these quite a lot still as well) This trilogy in particular is a great one to read around the holidays since it's based around Christmastime and also has a lot of Christmas elements going on within the story. Highly Recommended.

Note: I reviewed this as a combined collection, but the books are also available as individual books titled Silent Night, Silent Night 2, and Silent Night 3

Contains: Some Death Scenes, Some Alcohol Use

Review also posted at

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book 63 of 2009: My Soul to Lose by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Lose is the prequel to Rachel Vincent's new novel My Soul to Take. At the start of My Soul to Lose, Vincent introduces us to Kaylee Cavanaugh and her best friend, Emma. They are on a trip to the mall and plotting revenge on Kaylee's ex. Unfortunately, while wandering around the mall, Kaylee has what Emma assumes was a "panic attack". Emma pulls her away from the crowds of the food court where the attack first hit her and led her down to Sears. Kaylee was feeling better until she spotted a boy in a wheelchair who appeared to have shadows wrapped around him and then she began to shriek. Next thing Kaylee knows, she finds herself in a psychiatric ward, trying to find a way out and also a way to explain the shadows to herself.

Having been a fan of Vincent's adult Shifters series I was curious to see how her writing style would hold up in the young adult genre, and I have to say I am quite impressed. My Soul to Lose is a great introduction to the Soul Screamers series and leaves you wondering what is going on with this girl, Kaylee. It is also a great introduction to Rachel Vincent that may eventually lead younger readers to discover her adult books. This is a novella, but has a lot packed into it. Several characters in the Soul Screamers world are introduced and you get a bit of background on what has been going on with Kaylee. Readers don’t need to read this prior to reading My Soul to Take, but I think it helps you get more in touch with the characters. Highly Recommended.

Contains: Mild Adult Language

Review also posted at

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Book 61 of 2009: The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson

Skipping the review on this one as I'm too far behind on reviews and this one is low priority for me. I really wasn't impressed with the book anyway.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Book 60 of 2009: The Gray Zone by John R. Little

The Gray Zone is a time-travel novella that follows the adventures of Henry Davidson. During a visit to Aswan, Egypt, Henry saves a young boy from drowning in the Nile River. In order to reward him, the boy's father, Mohammed, gives Henry a secret powder. After Henry swallows the powder, strange things start to happen. He starts jumping back and forth between the past and future and at times into what he simply describes as the "gray zone", and when in the "gray zone" he is having trouble recalling any events of the past or future. It is a disturbing and haunting feeling for Henry, and makes the powder Mohammed has given him seem more like a curse than a gift

Often horror is written with paranormal elements in order to scare the readers with monsters, but in The Gray Zone, Little completely avoids these things. Instead, he makes us think about what it would be like to live in a world where we can't change the course of our actions based on knowledge of past events. Personally, I've always learned from my mistakes. What if the knowledge of those mistakes were no longer there? Would we all just keep making the same mistakes over and over again? Now THAT is a scary thought! But that is one possibility of living in the "gray zone". Little has written of a very scary "world" in this novella, and I felt sorry for Henry as he struggled to deal with everything. Even if it was just a temporary curse that he might eventually overcome, it was still a nightmare to live through. The Gray Zone is highly imaginative, thought-provoking, and a fast read. The author will keep you wondering what is to come next and keep you turning the pages for more. Highly Recommended.

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations

Review also posted at

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Book 59 of 2009: Depraved by Bryan Smith

Bryan Smith's latest novel, DEPRAVED, takes place in the backwoods town known as Hopkins Bend. Anyone passing through tends to not make it back out and most don't even survive. The town is full of inbred cannibalistic rednecks who tend to rape, torture, and/or eat their victims... not necessarily in that order. Those "lucky" enough to survive and not get killed are put to work in a special strip club that is also within the town of Hopkins Bend. And what is it with the Kincher family? They appear to not be quite human. It looks like they are half-man/half-monster. Have they been undergone some kind of mutation? Will any of the outsiders to Hopkins Bend be able to escape or find a way to stop the townsfolk or will these vicious acts continue to go on forever?

DEPRAVED is graphic, foul, smutty, trashy, and probably everything your mama told you never to read as a kid, but that's what makes it so great! Backwoods towns have always been depicted as creepy and if you add in rednecks, well... that just makes them even scarier! Just Kidding! Well, unless they're cannibalistic as Smith portrays them! That's the key. Smith adds in the twist of cannibalism and mutations to make these inbred rednecks be extremely scary, not to mention that they are so depraved. There is also one particular chapter in the book where Smith touches on the "bizarro". I won't spoil anything for you, but it's probably one of the most intense sex scenes I've ever read in a horror book. It's horrifically foul, but I loved every minute of it despite the voices in my head screaming "Oh my god! That did not just happen!!!". As far as I'm concerned, Smith has out done himself with DEPRAVED and I hope that he continues along this line of writing in the future. This is a must for fans of extreme horror. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Violence, Torture, Gore, Rape, Graphic Sex, Cannibalism

Review also posted at

Also available at is an interview I did with Bryan Smith.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Book 58 of 2009: The Lucid Dreaming by Lisa Morton

Lisa Morton's first novella, The Lucid Dreaming, tells the tale of a girl named Spike, a violent paranoid schizophrenic whose condition is currently controlled by a drug called Prolixin. Spike resides in a mental hospital in Oxnard, California, but one day a nurse comes to Spike’s room holding a scalpel, covered in blood, and tells her that she is free. Spike doesn’t wait around to see what the nurse is going to do with the scalpel, and takes off out the door seeing all kinds of horrors around the hospital as she flees. She finds a car and hits the road (despite having never driven in her life). Along the way she meets up with a special boy named Teddy who seems to be affected by whatever is going on. After spending time with him she realizes it's like he's almost in a dreamlike state. She wonders why she isn't affected, but soon realizes it must be the Prolixin she is taking. Spike and Teddy travel through many a state together, but get stopped in Texas by a group of rednecks. Now Spike has to figure out a plan of escape for her and Teddy to get them back on their way and out of redneck hell!

The Lucid Dreaming is one of the best novellas I have ever read. I picked it up one evening and couldn't stop until I was finished. Spike's character has a sassy attitude and comes out with lots of snarky comments that I absolutely loved. The fact that half of the time Spike is leading around Teddy in his sleep makes for interesting moments as well. There were many memorable scenes in the book, but I think my favorite had to be the bathtub scene. That was just a classic moment in the book. I won't say what happened as to avoid spoilers, but it's worth reading the novella just for that scene alone in my opinion. Morton gives the reader a bit of everything within less than 100 pages... action, suspense, thrills, romance, and of course, horror! She's definitely an author to keep an eye out for in the future. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Violence

Review also posted at

Book 57 of 2009: Wolf's Gambit by W.D. Gagliani

The second book in Gagliani's Wolf Cycle series is a bit different than the first, Wolf's Trap, as there is more than one bad guy involved. In the opening scene a man is actually killed by three werewolves near Eagle River, where Nick Lupo's girlfriend, Jessie, resides. When Lupo comes out to visit Jessie, she tells him of the attack that has just taken place, and the two of them attempt to help out Arnow, the new sheriff. Nick and Jessie suspect werewolves are involved, but Arnow is obviously in the dark. What they don't know is that a man who calls himself Mr. XYZ is controlling this pack of werewolves. Somehow, Lupo needs to take down the whole pack without getting himself killed in the process.

Wolf's Gambit takes on a whole new angle from Wolf's Trap with the multi-killer aspect. In the first book, Lupo only had to contend with one human killer, but in this novel he is up against a whole pack of militant werewolves that appear to be stronger than him. It's like one man against an army! I liked how Gagliani added in the emotions going on in Lupo's head when he was struggling with the doubts of those he thought trusted him. I felt it truly gave me a more personal look into Lupo. That's just one example of character development- Gagliani showed several examples of that as well with some of the other recurring characters. This is truly shaping out to be a great series and I'm greatly anticipating book three. Highly recommended!

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Gore, Rape, Sex

Review also posted at

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Book 56 of 2009: The Cannibals of Candyland by Carlton Mellick III

Franklin Pierce witnessed something very traumatic as a child. His brother and sisters were devoured by a candy woman with cotton candy hair, a belly like a giant circus lollipop, and marshmallow breasts. Due to this, he has made it his mission in life to track down the candy people and to destroy them. Franklin buys a gun so he can kill the candy people, then stumbles into a candy person on the street and shoots him. The candy person doesn't die right away and Franklin follows him back to the secret "Candyland". There he runs into Jujy, the candy woman who killed his siblings. Jujy takes Franklin into her home and eventually turns him into a candy person himself. But can a human actually be turned into a candy person without repercussions?

Candyland was one of my all-time favorite games as a kid, so when I saw this book was being released I was ecstatic! Also, I thought the cover art for this book was absolutely gorgeous. I finally received the book and read Mellick's note at the beginning of the book, I saw that the book actually had nothing to do with the board game, but that it was his inspiration for the book, and I was still ready to devour it. From start to finish this book is a delicacy! Mellick uses such vivid language to describe the candy people and the world they inhabit that I had a very clear image of what they all looked like. There are also some humorous moments in the book that keep the story light and balance out the gore level of the book. It was a well-rounded read and will be a great addition to the bizarro lover's collection. Highly recommended!

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Cannibalism, Gore, Violence

Review also posted at

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Book 55 of 2009: Snarl by Lorne Dixon

When family man Chev Worke decided to pick up some extra money by spending Christmas on the road driving his 18-wheeler, he wasn't expecting to slam into an animal on State Highway 59 and then have his truck die. And he REALLY wasn't expecting said animal to turn out to be a werewolf that belonged to a pack of werewolves that decide to hunt him down, since he has killed one of their own. Given a head start, Chev makes it to a little grocery store in the town of Easter Glen on foot and meets up with some townsfolk. Together they try to make a break for it, but soon Chev learns of a pact that the townsfolk have made with the werewolves. At that point everyone has choices to make. Hopefully they will make the right choices, and make it out alive, but will they?

Lorne Dixon has taken a refreshing look at the world of werewolves. He keeps you clawing at the edge of your seat up until the very end of Snarl. The story is fast-paced throughout, with enough action and plot twists to keep you guessing all the way through so that you aren't sure exactly how things are going to wrap up. It's a very powerful novella and feels more like a full novel. The main character in the story is very likable and you sympathize with him immediately wanting to help him out of his predicament, especially considering he just happened to be "in the wrong place at the wrong time". This is my first experience with the works of Lorne Dixon, but I will definitely be looking into reading more by this fine author as I was highly entertained by Snarl. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Contains: Adult Language, Violence

Review also posted at

Book 54 of 2009: Wolf's Trap by W.D. Gagliani

The main character of Wolf's Trap, the start of a new series of interconnected novels, is Nick Lupo, a good cop who also happens to be a werewolf. In Lupo's first adventure, he is involved in tracking down a serial killer that seems to have some kind of strange obsession with lipstick. To make matters worse, Lupo senses that the killer is gunning for him specifically by some of the messages he is leaving behind at the scenes of his crimes. This puts a fear in Lupo that those he gets close to might also be in danger. He has been struggling with his werewolf side for years, and now with a competitor on the loose he fears that it may prove to be too much of a challenge to keep his inner wolf under control.

Gagliani had me hooked from page one with this first novel. He takes a different writing style from most authors in that he chops his chapters up based on who the main focus is and labels them as such. This made the book an extremely fast-paced read and had me flying through it! Gagliani juggles lots of interrelated storylines to clue readers into past events in the lives of many of the characters as they were growing up- events which, of course, shape the future. Gagliani uses flashback scenes throughout the book. In some novels this can seem confusing and troublesome, but in Wolf's Trap this fit well. The past triggered much of what happened in the present, so without the flashbacks, the novel wouldn't have been nearly as strong. All in all, this was an addictive read and much different from your typical werewolf attack books... for once the werewolf is the "good guy". Highly recommended!

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Gore, Rape, Sex, Child Abuse

Review also posted at

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Book 53 of 2009: Magick & Misery by Lincoln Crisler

Lincoln Crisler has assembled a vast array of short stories in his latest collection, Magick & Misery. There are ten stories included. Three of which are fairly lengthy, and the other seven are much shorter; however all are equally enjoyable. Four stories in particular stuck out in my mind after finishing the collection above all others: "Pete Does What Needs To Be Done" is about a 16-year-old boy dealing with his parents’ struggling marriage; "The Seven O'Clock Man" in which a mother makes up a story about a monster known as the Seven O'Clock Man in order to scare her son into behaving; "Seizing Deliverance" where a man finds out that his mother is dying; and "Discarded Refuse" a story about a garbage man who takes out a little extra garbage when he discovers his wife is cheating on him. Crisler's eclectic collection is something horror fans won't want to miss. Lincoln Crisler is a brilliant short story writer and is an author to keep an eye on. Highly Recommended!

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations

Review also posted at

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book 52 of 2009: Girls That Growl by Mari Mancusi

In the third installment of Mancusi's Blood Coven Vampire series, Rayne is faced with her biggest challenge yet. As "the slayer", her newest task is to figure out why it is that the cheerleading squad is growling. In order to do so she must get close to the cheerleaders, and as ANY teenager knows, the only way to get close to a cheerleader is to BE a cheerleader! Rayne seeks out her sister Sunny's help in a “prep” makeover so that she can try out for the cheerleading squad in hopes of becoming one of their new members. From there she must figure out exactly where the growling is coming fro, and find a resolution.

Mari Mancusi has created yet another fun adventure with Girls That Growl. The characters of Rayne and Sunny are hilarious and I love how they tend to use their "twin powers" to reverse their roles whenever it helps them out of a situation. They are such opposites, yet they always manage to pull it off. There is still a lot more that can be done with this series and I think Mancusi will go far with it. She is a very strong storyteller and has a unique writing technique. The story of Rayne and Sunny is fun for all ages, not just teenagers. Highly Recommended.

Contains: Blood Drinking, Kissing, References to Sex

Review also posted at

Book 51 of 2009: Dark Jesters edited by Nick Cato & L.L. Soares

Dark Jesters is a compilation of ten hilariously funny horror tales by ten different authors. The stories range from cavemen zombies to possessions by James Brown to a horror author getting kidnapped and tossed in a shed with a bunch of other hacks. Each turn of the page of Dark Jesters will bring a thrill to readers. What one person may not laugh at, I believe another will. There wasn't a single story in this collection that I did not enjoy, but there were a few that specifically stuck out in my mind as highlights in this book.

“Deadneck Woman” by Mark Justice is one of those. It's a follow-up story to Deadneck Hootenanny, also by Justice, published by Novello. Readers are taken back to Possum Hollow to visit some of their old redneck zombie "friends" again and also get to meet a new gal that comes to town. Readers that missed out on Justice's previous “Deadneck” stories will still enjoy this, however, as it can be read as a standalone.

Jerrod Balzer's “Wolf Plugs” is yet another story that stands out as a classic bit of humor within this book. A small town has gathered in a courthouse and is trying to figure out what to do about the werewolves that are attacking their town. A werewolf hunter shows up at the door bearing the solution to all their problems. I don't want to tell you what that solution is though as that will ruin the surprise!

The last story I'm going to mention literally had me in tears while reading. The story is “Curse of the Blind Eel” by James Roy Daley. It is the story of two brothers who are on a mission to stake a vampire before he rises from his casket. Unfortunately, one brother's got a bit of a problem and is in major need of a bathroom. Let me just say... I never realized there were as many ways of saying "poop" and "taking a dump" as Daley put into this one short story! I don't know what it is about bathroom humor that is so funny, but this story had me in stitches!

Every story within Dark Jesters is a masterpiece in some way. Nick Cato and L.L. Soares did a fantastic job pulling together a variety of humorous stories from across the board. This book is a must for anyone who enjoys comic horror. Highly recommended!

Collection Includes:

- FOSSILIZED BRAAAINS by William A. Veselik
- TONGS AND THE ROACH by David T. Wilbanks
- WOLF PLUGS by Jerrod Balzer
- HACKS by Sam Battrick
- PAPA'S GOT A BRAND NEW BAG by Robert Guffey
- CURSE OF THE BLIND EEL by James Roy Daley
- RETIREMENT by Rob Brooks
- DEADNECK WOMAN by Mark Justice

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Bathroom Humor

Review also posted at

Book 50 of 2009: Deadneck Hootenanny by Mark Justice

Review to follow...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Book 49 of 2009: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Meyer's fourth and final book in the Twilight series starts off with Bella and Edward getting married and going off on their honeymoon. However, their honeymoon is cut short due to the unexpected pregnancy of Bella. Edward is concerned by the rapid progression of the "baby" and thinks that it is harming Bella and suggests to Bella that she has an abortion, but Bella has grown too attached and wants nothing more than to see the pregnancy all the way through. Everyone is concerned of what is actually growing inside of Bella though as no human has ever gotten pregnant by a vampire before. Will Bella be able to survive this childbirth and what exactly will she be giving birth to?

Now that I've finally made my way through the entire Twilight series I can honestly say that it was the most painful teen series I have ever read. Bella's insistent whining throughout the series as well as the fact that she was so wishy-washy about wanting to be with either Edward or Jacob just grates on one's nerves. Yes, a lot of teenage girls can be annoying, but not that consistently. Also, this book was to be aimed at teenagers... well, every teenager I know of is aware of the basics of sex at least. When Bella and Edward had sex for the first time, even *I* as an adult didn't realize what was going on until after it was all said and done. I mean, how dumbed down did Meyer need to make the story? Was she trying to write it for elementary school kids? Why omit everything up to the point of pillow feathers flying? Teenagers aren't THAT naive! Moving on... to avoid major spoilers for those brave enough to tackle reading this doorstop of a book, the latter part of the book just seemed to drag on forever. There is a battle scene at the end that I struggled through as it brought in a lot of extra characters that got confusing to keep track of and just got a bit boring for me. After a while I just started skimming over names figuring it wasn't really important, which for the most part... they weren't! I initially started this series to see what the hype was all about and once I started figured I might as well see it through to the end despite it appearing to being a waste of my time. I wish I had never found out though because when all is said and done vampires were never meant to sparkle!

Contains: Kissing, Sexual Innuendos

Review also posted at

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Book 48 of 2009: Stake That! by Mari Mancusi

Stake That! leaves off where Mancusi's first book, Boys That Bite, ended. Goth girl Rayne is dying to be a vampire, and her sister, Sunny, is the one that is dating the vampire. As if Rayne's life wasn't bad enough, she finds out that her destiny is to be the new vampire slayer. How uncool is that? As the slayer, she is given a very special mission... she is to infiltrate the vamp bar where foul play is suspected to find out exactly what is going on inside, wielding a stake carved by her own delicate hands as her only weapon. Easy, right? Little does she know that when she poses as a willing human blood donor at the bar that she is going to be approached by such a sexy vampire! What's a "vampire vampire slayer" to do?

This second book in the Blood Coven Vampire series focuses heavily on Rayne's character, though Sunny is definitely not forgotten. Rayne’s new role of "the slayer" takes everyone by surprise and she'd do anything to get out of the job. I felt a bit sorry for her, but luckily she managed to turn a bad situation into something good for herself. Mancusi threw in several surprises throughout the book, especially with David's character. I enjoyed the pop-culture references in the first book of this series and Mancusi didn't disappoint me with this one either. I especially appreciated the tribute to the movie The Lost Boys. Stake That! is a strong follow-up to a great first novel, and I foresee many more great books in Mancusi's future. Highly Recommended.

Contains: Blood Drinking, Kissing, References to Sex

Review also posted at

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Book 47 of 2009: Boys That Bite by Mari Mancusi

First in Mari Mancusi's Blood Coven Vampire series, twins Sunshine and Rayne (cute, no?) couldn't be more opposites. Sunshine is the drama student that wants to date the most popular boy in school, whereas Rayne is into the goth scene and won't be caught dead in a pair of pants! Rayne is all excited about a new goth club in town, Club Fang, and tells Sunshine she has to go with her and also must dress accordingly. After a bit of a guilt trip, Sunshine caves in and dons a “Bite Me” T-Shirt from her sister, figuring at least it's not black, and goes with her to the club. Once at the club, Rayne temporarily leaves Sunshine to play the role of “wallflower” while she grabs them a couple of drinks. In her absence, Sunshine is approached by an Orlando Bloom look-alike that she figures can't possibly be talking to her. She is flabbergasted, but it's so loud in the club that she can't tell what he is trying to say to her. He leads her outside of the club in order for them to be able to hear each other. She is highly attracted to him and once they introduce each other (himself as Magnus) he then asks her “are you sure?” as he leans closer. She assumes he is asking whether she wants him to kiss her and says “yes” which he does, but next thing she knows, he bites her neck! Her sister comes running out a minute later and sees what has happened and realizes that there was a case of mistaken identity. She knows who this Magnus guy is, he's a... vampire! And not only that, but... he was supposed to have been there that night to change HER into a vampire. Now what will Sunshine do?

I have to say that this has to be one of the funniest teen books I have read in a long time! It had some Buffy the Vampire Slayer references mixed within that slayed me!!! (full pun intended!) Mancusi used numerous pop-culture references throughout the book that made the book even more humorous, especially the inclusion of using Stewie from Family Guy as one particular vampire within the book. I won't say which one because I don't want to give too much away, but you'll realize why it's so funny once you read it! I like how Mancusi kept up the suspense throughout the entire book. I wasn't sure until the very end how things were going to turn out for Sunshine. This is a very strong first book and I'm glad that she has several more to follow it up as I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series! Highly Recommended.

Contains: Blood Drinking, Kissing, References to Sex

Review also posted at

Also, please check out the interview I did with the author, Mari Mancusi. It is also available at

Monday, September 21, 2009

Book 46 of 2009: Fish out of Water by MaryJanice Davidson

The final book in MaryJanice Davidson's Mermaid trilogy starts off with Fred buying a house and slowly obtaining unwanted roommates. Houseguest number 1... Jonas, Fred's best friend, who insists on dragging her around to help plan his wedding, which Fred hates! And to make matters worse, her boyfriend, Prince Artur, proposes to her! Now Jonas is all excited at the prospect of planning a royal wedding for her. Can things get any worse? Wait! This is Fred we're talking about. Of course they can! Enter... Thomas Pearson, marine biologist, and the guy Fred chose over Artur. As if that isn’t enough bad news, let's add one more houseguest to the list... Fred's long-lost father, Farrem, who she has never met and who all the other sea folk think is their worst enemy. How's a girl supposed to cope with everyone in such close quarters... especially when one is her ex?

It's a shame that this is the end of the series, as I have really enjoyed the characters in this trilogy. Davidson definitely could have continued on with this series a while longer as there is much more potential, so I'm hoping that more will come from these characters in spin-off stories somewhere down the road. Dialogue is definitely Davidson's strongest suit and this book is filled to the brim! Jonas had some of the quirkiest lines in the book and Fred's foul mouth makes me think of times I want to say something to and don't. I admire her for being so outspoken. She is never afraid to speak her mind, and that shows in this book, as she spoke up to several of the head people, including her own father. It's amusing as well, as they all tend to just laugh at her when she goes off on a tirade instead of getting angry with her. I'll miss hearing about Fred, but I did like the way that Davidson ended this book. I thought it was a good finish. I think all readers of the paranormal romance genre will enjoy this fun, fast-paced read. Highly Recommended.

Contains: Adult language, Adult Situations

Review also posted at

Friday, September 18, 2009

Book 45 of 2009: The Jake Helman Files #1: Personal Demons by Gregory Lamberson

Gregory Lamberson's new series, The Jake Helman Files, starts off with a detailed scene showing readers how the book's serial killer, The Cipher, operates. Readers are then introduced to the series' main character, Jake Helman, who works for the New York Special Homicide Task Force. After killing two men shortly into the book, Helman is required to take a drug test. Instead of following orders, Helman decides to take more drastic measures and quits. Less than 48 hours later, Helman receives a phone call from Tower International, a genetic engineering company, about an interview. He goes in that same day and is hired on the spot as their director of security for a salary that he never believed possible in his wildest dreams! After looking around the office a bit, though, he starts to notice some things seem to be a little odd. In particular, he is trying to figure out why strange homeless people are always hanging out right outside Tower International's doors, and why they look so much like The Cipher's victims.

At the beginning of Personal Demons, it appears that the book is going to be an average serial killer book (albeit with a really cool murder method!) where the bad guy goes around slicing each victim for whatever reason, but Lamberson changes that feel abruptly and takes the book to a whole other level! Once Jake Helman leaves the Force and takes on the new job at Tower International, he becomes a magnet for danger. All kinds of hell starts breaking loose, and Lamberson puts Helman through the wringer! It's a wild journey, and one that shouldn't be missed. I had a very hard time putting the book down once I started it. Highly recommended for all fans of the horror genre!

Contains: Violence, Mild gore, Adult Language, Adult Situations

Review also posted at

Also, please read the review I did with Gregory Lamberson. It is also available at

Monday, September 14, 2009

Book 44 of 2009: Siren by John Everson

This is the same book as my #37 read of the year, but read it a 2nd time through to do a 2nd round of editing so it gets counted again. LOL!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Book 43 of 2009: Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris' 9th installment of the Sookie Stackhouse series is a big transition book for the Were population of the small town of Bon Temps. At the start of Dead and Gone the Weres finally decide to go public. This is a huge deal, and the reactions of the townsfolk vary greatly. However, shortly after the announcement is made, there is a murder behind Merlotte's, and a Were has been crucified. The question is, is the murder related to the big announcement, or is there another reason for this horrible killing? Sookie, with the help of her two favorite vampires, Eric and Bill, does everything she can to track down the person responsible, yet, as always, seems to put herself in more danger in the process.

The Sookie Stackhouse series is still going strong with this latest novel. I enjoy the way Harris balances out the mystery, humor, and romance in all of her books. She seems to know just what the perfect mix should be! I didn't enjoy this book as much as some of the earlier ones because it wasn't as focused on the vampire community as it was on some of the other characters in the series, and I am hoping that Harris will go back to spending more time at Fangtasia (the vampire bar) and other vampire hang-outs in future books. But other than that complaint, I have none! I always look forward to Harris' books and am already eagerly awaiting the next one. Highly Recommended!

Contains: Violence, Adult Language, Adult Situations

Review also posted at

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Book 42 of 2009: Dweller by Jeff Strand

No cover art available yet. :(

Read this one to help catch any potential typos prior to going to print for Jeff. Absolutely LOVED the book!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Book 41 of 2009: Taste of Tenderloin by Gene O'Neill

Taste of Tenderloin is comprised of eight unique stories based on life in the underbelly of San Francisco. All of the stories are connected, as they take place in the same neighborhood, and a recurring character pops up throughout to help show this connection. The language that O'Neill writes in is rich and vivid, showing he is a strong storyteller, but there was something about the stories in this particular collection that didn't grab me. All of the stories seem to end in doom and gloom and left me saddened after reading them. I guess maybe I just needed a happy ending while reading this book and was disappointed over and over again. This is definitely not a good book to be reading on an already gloomy day.

Contains: Violence, Adult Language, Adult Situations

Review also posted at

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Book 40 of 2009: The 13th by John Everson

David Shale has come to Castle Point to stay with his aunt and train for the Olympics. While out riding, Shale gets knocked off his bike by a distracted police officer, Christy Sorenson, in her car. She rushes him to the nearest building, Castle House Lodge, which a century ago was an exclusive resort hotel. Upon entrance they are told it has been renovated into a mental hospital for pregnant women. Later that night, Shale goes to a bar to ease his pain from the accident, and meets a girl who later ends up missing. Actually, LOTS of girls end up missing! Both Sorenson and Shale are wondering if it's a coincidence that Castle House Lodge has just happened to get renovated at the same time as the disappearances started taking place.

Once again, Everson has written a wonderfully erotic demonic twisted tale. He begins his story by giving the readers a chance to get to know the main characters and get emotionally attached, and then throws them into the nightmare in the latter half of the book. Everson's brutal depictions of the killings throughout the book will turn some readers off, but for the true horror and gore lovers out there, they will crave every last drop of blood. In true Everson fashion, The 13th also has sexual scenes and demonic possession. This book crosses over many sub-genres of horror in order to fulfill the needs of all horror readers. Highly Recommended!

Contains: Violence, Gore, Rape, Adult Language, Adult Situations

Review also posted at MonsterLibrarian.Com

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Book 39 of 2009: Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

The Twilight saga continues in Meyer's third book with a series of unsolved murders taking place in Seattle, Washington. A young vampire is suspected, but later the Cullens realize the there is a bit more involved than just one vampire. It's more like... an "army". With preparations for battle underway, the ever-growing love triangle between Edward/Bella/Jacob continues. Bella insists on seeing Jacob despite Edward telling her that it is too dangerous. Then Edward proposes to Bella, which she hesitantly accepts. This practically causes Jacob to lose his mind. Trying to calm him down, Bella ends up kissing him and in return finds out that she cares for him more than she realizes. Who will she end up choosing in the end? And how will the battle turn out?

While Meyer's series showed improvement in the second book of the series, New Moon, I felt that this book took a step back in quality. The focus on the love triangle was quite heavy and there was a lot of emphasis on Bella whining through the majority of the book. This left a very sour taste in my mouth and honestly made me hesitant in wanting to carry on with book four. Younger readers may not mind this as much and will probably enjoy this title more than I did. Recommended for teens.

Contains: Kissing

Review also posted at

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Book 38 of 2009: New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

The second novel in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series starts off with the Cullen family throwing Bella Swan an 18th birthday party. At the party, Bella accidentally cuts her finger on one of the gifts she is opening and Jasper Cullen, attracted to the scent of her blood, attempts to attack her. Luckily, Bella's boyfriend and Jasper's brother, Edward, is able to protect her. After this incident, the Cullens decide that it is safest for Bella to move away from Forks. This leaves Bella sulking and moping around. Eventually, she finds that her only way to cope with her depression is to put herself in danger as when she is in harm's way she hears Edward's voice in her head trying to stop her. She goes to Jacob Black, an old family friend, to help her out with this, and he helps her restore a couple of old motorcycles. Jacob and her become very close as the story progresses and she discovers more and more about him including that he has a secret of his own... he's a werewolf. How will this secret affect Bella's feelings for Jacob when she knows that the werewolves are the Cullen's biggest enemy?

New Moon is a much stronger book than Meyer's first, Twilight. There are not a lot of initial character descriptions to wade through, as readers are expected to have already read book one so the book starts off at a faster pace. Also, the fact that the Cullens are absent for the majority of the book means there are fewer of the lovey-dovey Bella/Edward scenes to read. However, there are still numerous scenes of Bella whining about how she misses Edward and how she wants to be with him, etc... etc... ad nauseam. Many times I found myself wanting to toss the book across the room due to Bella's annoying whining, but due to the entrance of the werewolves, I was able to continue on. Jacob Black and the rest of the werewolf pack actually made this book fairly enjoyable. Wondering what is going to happen with the whole Jacob/Bella/Edward love triangle will now lead me to continue on with the rest of the series. It's like a train wreck I can't look away from. Recommended for teens.

Contains: Kissing

Review also posted at

Monday, August 10, 2009

Book 37 of 2009: Siren by John Everson

This was a book I edited to help out an author friend of mine. :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Book 36 of 2009: The Kult by Shaun Jeffrey

The Kult starts off from the eyes of a serial killer, fittingly given the name, The Oracle. He believes that all people are predictable, and that that's what makes them so easy to kill. After The Oracle kills a person, he sends in a picture to the police of the body with pictures of various other serial killers surrounding the body.

Detective Chief Inspector Prosper Snow is heading the case of The Oracle and is at a loss to what the significance of the surrounding pictures within these pictures could mean. While deep into the case, Snow gets an email in one of his private email accounts at home, The Kult email, set up between him and his old school buddies. They had formed the Kult so they could help each other out. In this email, one of Snow’s friends asks for assistance. Unfortunately, it is more than the typical "beat so-and-so up for me" request. This friend’s wife has been raped, and he wants revenge on the rapist. He wants someone killed! The friend thinks that the timing is good to set it up to look like The Oracle is the killer. Hesitant to go along, Snow finally gives in to his friend's wishes. Once he agrees, all kinds of crazy things start happening and Snow doesn’t know what to do as it appears now that someone is trying to frame him for ALL of the murders!

Shaun Jeffrey had me on the edge of my seat from the get-go with this book. I was trying to guess throughout the book who The Oracle was, but Jeffrey’s plot twists and turns, and threw me off enough that I never did figure out exactly what was going on until the very end. The book was extremely suspenseful, and with short chapters, I had a hard time putting it down, as I figured just one more couldn't hurt! This was my first glimpse into Jeffrey’s writing, but I will definitely be delving deeper, as I was mesmerized by this book. I think anyone that enjoys a good mystery, thriller, or horror novel would enjoy this book. Highly recommended!

Review also posted at

Monday, August 3, 2009

Book 35 of 2009: The Dare by Brett WIlliams

Walking to school the day before Halloween, Davey and Dennis spot a cat hanging in front of the old, abandoned Bentley place. Dennis tells Davey the story of how the Victorian house is said to be haunted after old man Bentley killed his family several years ago and that their ghosts still live within. Davey is hesitant to believe his friend’s story, but later that day when they return to see if the cat is still hanging where they last saw it, Dennis still insists that it is true. About that time, Davey’s crush from school, Lacy, shows up and asks what they are up to. Dennis accuses Davey of being chicken and not wanting to go check out the house with him. Being teenage boys, this starts a back and forth argument and ends up in a DARE! Not wanting to look bad in front of Lacy, Davey agrees to the dare, but not in daylight where they could get caught going into the house. They all agree that the next night, on Halloween, when they are out trick-or-treating, that Davey and Dennis will go into the old Bentley place, but what will they find inside?

Brett Williams’ The Dare is a very fun Halloween read! The first part of the book is basically setting up the scene of who is who and getting the “dare” initiated. It also sets the stage for the “haunted house” that Davey and Dennis are to investigate. The second part of the book is where the kids are going around trick or treating, which is a lot of fun as you get to witness the antics of kids of all ages and also foreshadows to dangers ahead as Lacy and her friend run into a couple of creepy characters that are in search of the Bentley place. And the last part of the book takes place when they finally reach the Bentley place and Davey and Dennis venture inside. Williams does an excellent job with the flow of the story and building up to the final scenes of the book. This book seems to be aimed towards a young adult audience, but I think that fans of horror at any age would enjoy this great novel. Highly Recommended!

Contains: Violence

Review also posted at

Friday, July 31, 2009

Book 34 of 2009: As Fate Would Have It by Michael Louis Calvillo

Who would’ve guessed that the well-known chef at the fanciest restaurant in town would also happen to be a cannibal? Heather certainly didn’t when she accepted an invitation to go out on a date with him and agreed to accompany him home for a drink. When they reach his house, the power doesn't seem to be working and the furniture and floor are covered in plastic. Hmmm... Something doesn't seem quite right to poor Heather. Unfortunately, that turns out to be one of her last thoughts before our chef, Montgomery, slices ‘n’ dices her and prepares a murderously romantic dinner for his wife, Liz.

Heather’s death remains unknown for some time because, unfortunately, she had a fight with her best friend, Ashley, just before her death, and consequently, Ashley doesn't realize Heather is missing until she doesn't show up to work. Ashley and her boyfriend, Henry, are fighting with a major heroin addiction and aren’t really in their right minds, so thinking clearly about what might have become of Heather is not really the top thing on their agenda. Ultimately though, Ashley grasps that something has gone horribly wrong, and takes it upon herself to seek out Heather.

You wouldn’t typically think of the word “lyrical” when you think of “cannibalism”, but Michael Louis Calvillo has written a truly lyrical story with As Fate Would Have It. As I read this book I kept thinking of it as a love story because, in a way, it truly is. Yes, it was also horribly gruesome, violent, and disturbing in other ways, but it is, at the same time, a strangely romantic tale. I love what Calvillo did with this book and how he wove two disparate stories into one within the novel. To anyone that can handle a bit of gore to season their reading, they should definitely give this one a try as it’s worth the bit of queasiness said spice will likely put in your gut! Highly Recommended!

Review also posted at

Monday, July 27, 2009

Book 33 of 2009: Dusk by David A Doub, Maki Naro (Illustrator), Jerry Gonzales III (Illustrator)

Dusk is David Doub’s first graphic novel. The book has four chapters. The first chapter jumps into the story without providing much background, but the reader easily picks up that Eve is the willing servant to Vampire Lord Ash, and that the two of them hunt down vampires that are causing trouble in town. It is also apparent that Eve has a major crush on Ash. Ash doesn’t want Eve hurt, and tries to get her to leave. In chapter two, Ash goes as far as to attempt to trick her into leaving her "hunter" life. Eve doesn’t give in to Ash, though, and in chapter three she goes to the Alps in search of a vampire that has made a mistake. In the last chapter, Eve is after a high school boy that is also a "witch". He is being tormented at school and appears to be trying to cast a spell that will eliminate the situation if Eve doesn't stop him.

Dusk was penned by multiple artists and I think that the artwork got better throughout the book, which could be due to whom penned which chapter(s).The writing style is very strong , although I did get lost a bit and at times it felt like a little additional information would have clarified the story. Except for sharing some of the same characters, the four chapters do not appear to be connected stories, and it’s difficult to tell if the author intended for the stories to be connected or not. Dusk is a solid first graphic novel, though, and I would read more by David Doub in the future as I see definite potential in his work. Recommended.

Review also posted at