Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Book 34 of 2010: Carnageland by David W. Barbee

David W. Barbee takes readers on a madcap adventure as the alien Invader 898 goes on his first mission. Sent to a planet full of twisted characters of fairy tale and fable, Invader 898 and his trusty Doomshooter are ready to take over. One thing that Invader 898 did not expect, however, is the reaction of the green flesh between his legs. Upon viewing salacious sights of the inhabits of this new planet, he has a hard time controlling this green flesh that tends to form the shape of a trumpet and play music. Will Invader 898 be able to conquer this planet before the urge to give in to temptation becomes too strong, or will he give in to the pornographic delights and fail? Readers of the bizarro genre will not want to miss Invader 898's tale in Barbee's first release through Eraserhead Press, included in the New Bizarro Author Series. Carnageland is chock full of familiar characters, looked at in a whole new light. I found myself amused at every turn by Barbee's depictions of these characters and how Invader 898 reacts to each one, and the description of Invader 898's "trumpet" is a brilliant idea. Sure brings a new meaning to one saying they are horny! This novella kept me laughing non-stop and wanting more once the last page was read. Barbee definitely has a promising future in the world of bizarro and I would recommend all libraries adding it to their collections for readers to enjoy.

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Graphic Sex

Review also posted at

Monday, March 29, 2010

Book 32 of 2010: Dweller by Jeff Strand

Jeff Strand's latest mass market release, Dweller, follows the life of a boy named Toby as he matures and ages. At the start, Toby is an eight year old boy who likes to explore the woods. One day he walks a bit deeper into the woods than his parents allow him, stumbles into a "monster", and runs! Seven years later, at age fifteen, Toby is dealing with the trauma of being tormented by the bullies at school and with being an outcast, and he still spends much of his time in the woods when not at school. One day he happens upon a cave and discovers the "monster" that he thought was created by his childhood imagination once again. Instead of running this time, Toby tries talking to him. The "monster" doesn't attack and Toby starts to visit him regularly, bringing him food, telling him stories, naming him Owen, and ultimately becoming best friends with him. Of course, can being friends with a creature such as Owen truly end well?

Dweller is noted as being Jeff Strand's second "serious" novel. However, I was pleasantly surprised that this release featured much more of Strand's humor than his previous release, Pressure, did. As stated above, the book is written over the course of numerous years, but is written in a format where certain years are focused upon. The other years are covered by chapters titled "glimpses" which feature snapshots from the years in between. This is a unique technique that I hadn't seen before, as most books just jump forward ten or twenty years, leaving the reader guessing at what occurred in the middle. Strand allows us to experience Toby's life as it progresses with these special chapters, and we watch Toby graduate, move out from home, get married, and so on. At the same time, we watch the continued friendship between Toby and Owen progress. So far this isn't sounding too much of a horror novel, now is it? Think again! There is a very dark storyline mixed within that will leave readers shocked. I would say more, but doing so may spoil the surprise. Let's just say that Owen doesn't JUST like ice cream for a treat! For readers who have yet to enjoy the works of Jeff Strand, Dweller is a great first book to read as it explores many elements of Strand's writing style. Many of his books are extremely humorous. In contrast, Pressure is dark and serious. Dweller, on the other hand, mixes these styles up and Strand churns out a story that is unforgettable. Highly recommended!

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

Review also posted at

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Book 28 of 2010: Symptoms of a Broken Heart by Cory Cramer

In Symptoms of a Broken Heart, Cory Cramer tells the story of two sisters, Susan and Lisa, who go on a special trip to New Orleans in order to celebrate Susan's birthday. The sisters couldn't be more opposite in that Lisa has always been the "wild child" and Susan the quiet, reserved one. Susan is also preparing to get married to the one and only man she has ever been with and has decided that this trip will be her one big adventure before tying herself down. Little does she know that the "Full Moon" party, hosted by a society of werewolf and vampire enthusiasts, that Lisa has scheduled for them to attend, could end up more deadly for her than she expects. After Susan's death, Lisa is scared that her family will blame her, and goes on an adventure of her own to cover up what she feels she has caused... even turning to the aid of dark magic.

Cramer has created almost a fairytale with Symptoms of a Broken Heart. This novella is only forty-five pages in length, but has more story wrapped into it than some of the novels I have read. Lisa, our main heroine, seems shallow, especially considering she's more upset regarding the fact she may be accused of getting her sister killed when she was supposed to be looking out for her, than the fact her sister has died. However, Cramer makes us feel sympathy towards her as the story progresses and she deals with one of the most painful experiences one could imagine. However, that sympathy was short-lived, as I found myself doubting her tactics again. The final scenes of this novella will surprise readers and leave them thinking about the outcome long after having read it. Cramer is a talented new author and I plan on seeking out more by him in the future. I would recommend this to all readers of the horror and urban fantasy genres, though some scenes may be a bit too graphic sexually for a younger audience.

Contains: Graphic Sex, Adult Language, Adult Situations

Review also posted at

Book 27 of 2010: In the Closet, Under the Bed by Lee Thomas

Lee Thomas' latest horror anthology, In the Closet, Under the Bed, contains fifteen short stories. Six had been printed before, but were new to me. As David Thomas Lord mentions in the foreward of this collection, the title plays a bit on two things... one, the "monster in the closet", or "boogeyman" as many people call it and two, the fact that many people keep certain aspects of themselves hidden in the closet. The most obvious example of this is dealing with one's sexuality, as some people are afraid to "come out of the closet" due to the fear of how they will be accepted in society, and especially by their own family and friends. Thomas provides us with numerous examples of this, as well as many other horrors that everyday people face. Several stories in this collection stood out to me- they were all extremely dark and lyrical, and deeply meaningful. "All the Faces Change" tells the tale of Tim, who runs into an old high school buddy, who he once shared a kiss with. Tim has hidden this fact and his feelings regarding it, and moved on with his life. However, after this "chance meeting" with his old friend, he now realizes that as much as he tries to hide his true self due to fear, it will always be a part of him. "The Good and Gone" provides us with a glimpse into the hospitalized Max Evans, who is not allowed to get out of bed. While lying in the hospital bored, he decides to play a childhood game his grandma taught him called 'The Good and Gone'. The game allows him to shut his eyes and while concentrating, allows him to "leave his body" and go visit other areas. In doing so, he manages to follow a Mr. Gohling back to his house and gets trapped inside only to discover the horrors going on within said house. Thomas mixes in also several stories tied to internet dating. My favorite of these titles was "Crack Smokin' Grandpa", not only for a catchy title, but also because it explores how hard it is to know whether you are actually meeting the person one says they are at the other end of the computer or if said person is actually taking on another's identity. This seems to be one of the scariest things out there in today's society. I've only mentioned a few choice stories from this collection, but all were enjoyable for one reason or another, and will truly make the reader think deeply while immersed in each story. I highly recommend this book to any library collection as it is a great addition, especially for those that are trying to expand their gay fiction as this would be included within the sub-genre, gay horror fiction.

* Foreword by David Thomas Lord
* All the Faces Change
* An Apiary of White Bees
* Healer
* Dislocation
* They Would Say She Danced
* Shelter
* The Good and Gone
* Appetite of the Cyber Tribes
* Crack Smokin’ Grandpa
* Anthem of the Estranged
* I Know You’re There
* Down to Sleep
* I’m Your Violence
* Tears to Rust
* The Tattered Boy
* Afterword by Michael Rowe

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Violence, Gay Themes

Review also posted at

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Movie 12 of 2010: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Loved it as much as always! I never get tired of Captain Jack. :)

Book 25 of 2010: Wonderland 3: King of Diamonds by Cheyenne McCray

First off, the cover art pictured here is absolutely great for the book as I vividly had this scene in my mind when it came up in the book. Of course, if I recall correctly, the girl was without the lower fabric... LOL!!! Can't put that on the cover though. *grin* Anyway... this book may have been my favorite in the series so far as it was dealing with Karn, the King of Diamonds, battling with his inner self and trying to avoid falling in love due to events that have happened in his past. Also, Annie, the main girl in the story, is dealing with learning about her sexual side as she is taken to Wonderland as a virgin. So both characters have a lot of "waking up" to do and watching both characters change throughout the book is a beautiful process.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Movie 11 of 2010: Blood: The Last Vampire

Truly enjoyed watching this movie! Some of the martial arts and stuff was a bit over-the-top, but it made it fun rather than overly cheesy. A slightly different take on vampires from what I've seen... especially the most powerful looking vamps in the movie. Great plot all throughout. I was slightly confused by the very end, but it still didn't deter from making the movie great. I highly recommend this to all horror and vampire fans. (well, maybe not the "Twilight crowd" as I'm not sure they could handle all the blood!) Now I need to locate the anime version of this movie to see how it is in comparison. Pretty cool that they turned the anime into a live-action movie!


Friday, March 5, 2010

Movie 10 of 2010: Alice In Wonderland

So... I've been waiting for about a year for this movie to come out and have been prepping for it for the last couple of months. I read the original Alice In Wonderland/Through the Looking Class as well as a few spin-off "parodies". I rushed out and pre-ordered the Almost Alice CD as soon as I heard about it and have listened to it in the car daily since I picked it up three days prior to the movie release. As you can see, I was REALLY pumped for this movie!

With that said... I think I got my hopes up TOO high.

Yes, I really enjoyed the movie. Yes, Johnny was great as usual. But... it just wasn't as good as I had hoped.

I hate to admit it, but my favorite character in the movie was actually the Cheshire Cat rather than the Mad Hatter, though the Mad Hatter was probably my second. The cat just cracked me up every time he came on screen. The Mad Hatter character was very creepy at times and hilarious at others. Definitely a great role for Johnny, but not one of his best I don't think. I much prefer him pretending to be Charlie Chaplin in Benny & Joon, Captain Jack in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, or... for a more bizarre role... Willy Wonka in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. This character just wasn't AS PERFECT for him as some of the others I mentioned.

The storyline for the movie was great though and I enjoyed the specific references that were made back to the original story by Lewis Carroll. The movie was around two hours long, but it didn't feel long at all. It was fast-paced and full of action from the start.

The girl playing Alice did a fabulous role in the movie as well. And as far as the Caterpillar goes... well, Alan Rickman always does a great job, though every movie I hear his voice in I picture Professor Snape still. LOL!

So all in all... a great movie! Though not sure it matters whether you see it in 3D or not because I didn't see where the 3D side of it was "all that". One of the trailers shown in 3D I thought was cooler when it came to the 3D effects. For fans of Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton, or Johnny Depp... this is still a must-see film. I will also buy the DVD once it comes out. It just wasn't as good as I'd hoped.

On a side note, for those curious about taking their little ones to see it.... There are some somewhat scary scenes for young kids. I think if the kid(s) in question don't mind a few "scary monsters" or some slightly gory scenes (gory may not be the word I'm looking for here, but "cringe-worthy" anyway...) then they'll be fine with the movie. (And Laura... I think Gwynn may handle the movie better than you *grin*)

Now I'm just waiting for the next Burton/Depp movie... DARK SHADOWS!!!

There ya have it... my opinion... and spoiler free! :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Book 24 of 2010: Wonderland: King of Spades by Cheyenne McCray

King of Spades is the 2nd book in Cheyenne McCray's Wondland series. The main character featured in this novel is Alice's sister, Alexi. Unlike Alice from King of Hearts, Alexi is not so willing to become the submissive to the king of this new world she has been taken to. I loved Alexi's fiery spirit and thought the nickname, "firecat", that Darronn gave her was more than appropriate. It is obvious who the female "victims" will be in the next two books in this series, but I'm curious to see what happens in them.