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 MonsterLibrarian.com

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 MonsterLibrarian.com

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 MonsterLibrarian.com

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 MonsterLibrarian.com

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 MonsterLibrarian.com

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

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 MonsterLibrarian.com

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 MonsterLibrarian.com

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

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 MonsterLibrarian.com

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!