Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Book 46 of 2010: Sparrow Rock by Nate Kenyon

A group of high school kids looking for a secluded area where they can get drunk and party get more than they bargained for. Hiding away in a newly built bomb shelter, they hear noises overhead. When they go to check things out, the kids realize that the world as they know it is gone. They have to grow up quickly, as they have some major decisions ahead of them. Not only have they most likely lost their families, but other beings are hunting them. Whomever caused this catastrophe doesn't appear to want survivors

Nate Kenyon's Sparrow Rock is post-apocalyptic fiction at its finest. This novel will leave readers biting their nails and gripping the edges of their seats as they await whatever is around the next corner. Kenyon details how each main character changes and grows over the course of the story. Also, some of the characters have secrets in their past that slowly surface, allowing readers to connect with them further. Beyond the amazing characterization portrayed in Sparrow Rock, Kenyon also includes many "creep factor" scenes. Those disturbed by bugs, or LOTS of bugs, I should say, will definitely get the heebie jeebies while reading this book! Sparrow Rock is a definite must-read for all horror fans and is one of the best Leisure releases Ive read in recent time. I highly recommended it for the horror collection in all libraries.

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

Review also available at MonsterLibrarian.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Book 45 of 2010: When Darkness Loves Us by Elizabeth Engstrom

When Darkness Loves Us consists of two novellas by Elizabeth Engstrom, the first being the same title as the book itself and the other called Beauty Is, which is actually the longer of the two stories.

The first novella, When Darkness Loves Us, tells the story of farm girl Sally Ann Hixson, who is recently married. While roaming the farm, she accidentally falls down into an underground area that had been sealed off. Sally Ann is trapped underground, her whereabouts unknown. As she adjusts to the darkness of the tunnels and creates a new way to live, Sally Ann realizes she is pregnant with child. How will she ever be able to survive down in the darkness, much less give birth to and raise a child there?

Beauty Is tells the story of Martha Mannes, and how she is coping with her life since the death of both of her parents. Martha isn't your typical girl, as she was born with a deformity- she has no nose- and everyone in town treats her as if she is retarded. The story has flashbacks to Martha's birth and childhood, and even her parents' life prior to her birth As the story continues, Martha finds the kindness in a few townsfolk and in doing so, gains more confidence in herself. The story starts to unravel a bit at this point, as Martha starts remembering more and more about her past and how it relates to her present.

When Darkness Loves Us and Beauty Is are both vivid in detail and beautifully written. I find myself at a loss in determining which story I actually enjoyed more as they were both so entertaining. Engstrom has a way of making readers really get to know the characters, and it almost puts you into the story as one of the extras. Wanting to know what was going to happen to the main heroine of each story made me feel compelled to turn page after page until I knew how things were to end. Strong in both characterization and dialogue, When Darkness Loves Us is a fabulous two-story collection that shouldn't be missed by any reader. It is a book that not only horror fans will enjoy, but readers from other genres as well, if they were to give it a chance. Definitely a great addition to any library collection out there!

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Sex, Violence

Review also available at MonsterLibrarian.com

Book 44 of 2010: MachoPoni by Lotus Rose

Review to follow...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Book 43 of 2010: Skull Full of Kisses by Michael West

Skull Full of Kisses collects a wide range of horror stories written by Michael West. Many are re-issues of stories printed in magazines and other anthologies, but there are a few new surprises in store as well. I hadn't had the pleasure of reading anything by West prior to this, so I was introduced to the wide array of his talents. Each story is a new adventure, and West pulls in many outside influences. One example of this is in the story "Jiki", where West's love of Asian horror is expressed in the way he twists the methods of the mob. Another favorite of mine within this anthology was "God Like Me", where a man is unhappy with his life, but soon realizes he has some amazing powers that prove very useful to him. Both of the above mentioned stories, as well as the others in this collection, contain drama, terror, and depth. The stories are easy reads, but they make you think, and some even touch close to home. One story that personally touched me was the final segment of this book, "Goodnight". In this story a young boy has lost his mother, and the spirit of his great-grandfather pays him a visit in order to explain to him about death. "Goodnight" is extremely touching, and, though I'm not a seven-year-old boy like the one in this tale, it made me think more about death and how to face it, as I recently lost someone close to me. West has proven he can bring forth emotions of the reader and to me, that is a sign of a great author! I will definitely be reading more by West in the future and would recommend that all horror fans give him a try. This collection would be a great addition to the horror section of all libraries, as with such a variety of stories included, anyone that picks up this book should find something they enjoy.

Disappearing Act (Introduction by Gary Braunbeck)
The Bridge
Dogs of War
Einstein's Slingshot
God Like Me
To Know How to See
For Her

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Sex

Review also posted at http://monsterlibrarian.com

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Book 40 of 2010: The Frenzy Way by Gregory Lamberson

Part horror, part police procedural, The Frenzy Way is a madcap ride of killings and chases as police captain Anthony Mace tries to hunt down a serial killer who appears to be of the wolf variety. It is unknown at first exactly who or “what” the killer is, and lots of investigations are made in order to determine what the police are facing. In addition, at each crime scene the killer leaves a calling card of sorts by writing words on the wall in various languages with the victim’s blood, and all of the words translate to “werewolf”. Also, it appears that the victim’s heads have been taken from each scene by the killer. Is he taking these as souvenirs for himself or using them for some other reason? This is one of many questions that Mace and his team must answer as they hunt down the killer.

As with all of Gregory Lamberson’s novels, The Frenzy Way is fast-paced and intense! The killer Lamberson has created is one of the best I’ve come across in a long-time. He’s sneaky, seductive, and scary as hell! Along with a great cast, The Frenzy Way also has numerous graphic scenes that all gore-hounds will love. Some of my favorite moments in the book were when a girl was having sex with the killer only to turn around and see a wolf behind them. I can only imagine the terror each of those victims faced at that moment. Additionally, several murder scenes were fleshed out in detail. None of the gore was overdone, as is the case in some novels where it’s just tossed in to gross-out the reader. Lamberson keeps the story flowing from beginning to end with the reader not able to stop turning the page due to the anticipation of what is next to come! The Frenzy Way would make a great addition to any library’s collection, whether it is a public library or a horror fanatic’s personal collection.

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Sex, Gore, Violence, Mutilation

Review also available at MonsterLibrarian.com

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Book 38 of 2010: The Zombie Cookbook edited by Kim Richards

The Zombie Cookbook is an enjoyable collection of short stories by a variety of authors. Some of my personal favorites include "A Zombie's APB", by Cinsearae Santiago, the story of a disgruntled zombie; "Secret Ingredient", by Lisa Haselton, in which a husband hires on a zombie to help his wife run her restaurant; and "My Big Fat Zombie Wedding", by Karina Fabian, which tells a story of a girl falling in love with a zombie and trying to gain her family's acceptance of the situation. In addition to the short stories, several pieces of zombie artwork are included, and recipes are sprinkled within for the daring reader to use their brains to make, literally. The Zombie Cookbook is a must-have for zombie enthusiasts, and also a welcome addition to the collections of all horror fans. I would recommend it for all library collections.

Forward by members of the metal band, The Zombie Cookbook.
Wokking Dead By Karina L. Fabian
Secret Ingredient by Lisa Haselton
A Zombie Named Clete By Lisa Haselton
Beer-Battered Zombie with Butternut Squash By Becca Butcher
The Right Recipe By Lin Neiswender
Quick & Easy Zombie Pastie by Kate Sender
Express Cuisine by Dawn Marshallsay
Brain Food By Carla Girtman
Brain Salad for Dummies by Scott Virtes
A Zombie’s APB By Cinsearae Santiago
My Big Fat Zombie Wedding by Karina Fabian

Review also posted at http://monsterlibrarian.com

Book 37 of 2010: ????? by ?????? ????????

This was a book I read/proofed to help out a friend of mine. More to come later...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Book 36 of 2010: Crystal Dreams by Kate Douglas

This novella will be released in an anthology called Nocturnal. Crystal Dreams is part of Kate's DemonSlayers series and is a wonderful addition to the series. I'm not dong a full review yet, but since I proofed the book wanted to add it to my "read" list. :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Movie 13 of 2010: Mulberry St.

If you're desperate for a horror flick... feel free to give Mulberry St. a try. However, I wouldn't recommend it. People are being turned into rats and if they bite other people then they are also infected and start turning into rats. Very slow build-up, yet there was no chance to really "get to know" the characters during that part... and then it just turned into a rat infestation. The ending leaved a lot to be desired as well. Not sure why this was in the "8 Films To Die For" series unless the series means something more along the lines of the movie being so bad it kills you.

Here's the trailer if you're still interested at this point...

Book 35 of 2010: The Castle of Los Angeles by Lisa Morton

Lisa Morton’s first novel, The Castle of Los Angeles, takes place in a castle with both numerous artists and a theater. Beth Ortiz has just moved into the castle in order to take over the theater, which takes up the lower portion of the castle. Beth witnesses strange things happening in the castle and starts to wonder if it might be haunted. After asking around she finds out that, yes, the castle has been said to be haunted for a number of years. Soon even stranger things start occurring, and Beth decides to figure out what exactly is going on. At the same time, she is trying to piece together a brand-new play, inspired by disappearances that have been taking place nearby.

Last year, one of my favorite reads was Morton’s Stoker-winning novella, The Lucid Dreaming. This year, The Castle of Los Angeles may very well be one of my favorites. This novel has a little bit of everything and is written beautifully. Morton creates a cast of characters that typically wouldn’t mix. For example, the main character, Beth, befriends a prostitute early on, which leads to the whole idea of the big production that her theater takes on. Additionally, the eccentric characters that inhabit the castle cover a wide range of talents and don’t always appreciate the talents of others. One particular character I have in mind here is Jessamine, an artist within the building who can be a bit unapproachable at times and whose artwork Beth finds intriguing. The strong casting and realistically creepy haunting scenes sprinkled throughout make this a powerful novel. Morton has a very strong future ahead of her in writing horror if she continues as she has thus far. She’s definitely an author that belongs on everyone’s personal bookshelf. Highly recommended!

Includes: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Sex, Mild Violence

Review also posted at MonsterLibrarian.com