A writer, painter, occultist, studier of religions, furry, mascoter, and general fun loving guy.
Where to find Voice Spider online
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Voice Spider's favorite authors on Smashwords
Land of Corn Chips.
Published May 25, 2011.
(3.00 from 1 review)
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Celeste M. Bath
Family Love - Part Two.
Published April 21, 2014.
(5.00 from 1 review)
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Circlet Press Editorial Team
Wired Hard: Erotica for a Gay Universe.
Published March 17, 2013.
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Synthia The Early Days.
Published November 23, 2011.
Mother of the Groom; A Short Story of Incest.
Published July 21, 2014.
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
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The Gryphon's Goal.
Published December 7, 2014.
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Origins of a D-List Supervillain.
Published June 8, 2014.
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Justin R. Macumber
Published April 18, 2014.
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Published June 5, 2012.
Published June 10, 2012.
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
Surviving The Theseus.
Published August 9, 2010.
(4.75 from 4 reviews)
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Crazy About the Baumgartners.
Published July 11, 2014.
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Mental Ward: Stories from the Asylum.
Published June 6, 2013.
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"SUBMISSIONS CLOSED: The Sirens Call Issue #18 – Words of Death"
Sixes Wild: The Bluff.
Published April 20, 2013.
(4.00 from 1 review)
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Published November 15, 2011.
(4.00 from 1 review)
Published October 18, 2012.
Black Static #43 Horror Magazine (Nov - Dec 2014).
Published November 7, 2014.
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Published September 20, 2012.
(4.88 from 8 reviews)
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Smashwords book reviews by Voice Spider
on May 06, 2011
I picked this book up looking for a good quick read that would pleasure the senses. Unfortunatly, the stories are like short porn films...viewed on a scrambled channel.
The problem is lack of details. The action is fast, quick, and leaves you feeling unfulfilled. Very few details are given about the physical sensations, the emotional sensations, and read more like letters to trashy porn magazines.
I should have read a preview of this before purchasing it. Otherwise, I could have spent my money on a better written anthology.
- Family Ties; A Short Story of Incest
on July 20, 2011
A very excellent read in my mind. Good descriptions, hot action, and the follow up with the Father and Daughter is so scorching I think my fingertips burnt! Very well written, and I am looking forward to more works of this caliber from Greene in the future.
- His Daughter's Best Friend
on July 20, 2011
Very well written, and the back and forth between the two persons involved is a nice touch that add to the flavor. A nice simple and hot read that I will be revisiting more than once I am sure. Keep up the good work!
- An Anniversary to Remember
on July 20, 2011
There's a LOT of buildup to the final 'climax' of the story as it were. Highly enjoyable and overall a well written story. The only drawback would be its length, but as I said, the buildup is worth it and should a reader actually read it (and NOT skip to the well written, final sex scene) then they will be primed to explode when they reach it. (and frustrated as the twins which would be the point) Overall, a good read, and one I have read a couple times now for the sheer pleasure of it.
- Diary of a Nympho: The Collection Volume One
on Oct. 21, 2011
Let me start by taking a snippit from the description of the book:
"Nothing is held back, or censored. Tales of men in uniform, school girl crushes, best friends, and more, are revealed in explicit detail in stories you won't soon forget. Raw, gritty, and sure to make you beg for more, Diary of a Nympho is sex at its dirtiest!"
Ok, let me state this first off. If you are looking for dirty and raw sex, this isn't it. In fact the stories almost read like they are from a romance novel rather than an erotic writer. The details aren't that indepth, the writing isn't that descriptive, and the stories themselves feel like the reader is just skimming the experience rather than getting into the "explicit detail" that they were promised.
Yes, some of the subject matter is taboo...sort of. Actually, not really at all. So the stories don't even really have that to tempt new readers with.
The diary form is an interesting way to present these stories. That said, the character writes like she's fifteen instead of 'as age' as she is supposed to be. This gets to be annoying after awhile as she goes on and on about things you could really care less about. There's no character building here as well. Oh sure, you could argue that it's erotic fiction, but that's no reason NOT to have some form of a decent plot or character development to the stories. They are, after all, connected in a long string.
In the end, don't pick this collection up unless you are really, really desperate for erotic fiction. You'll do better going and finding another writer, one that will give you the gritty details that will leave you panting in your bed rather than skimming the story because you've gotten bored with it.
- Fathers and Daughters; A Short Story of Incest
on Oct. 21, 2011
The more and more that Esmeralda writes, the more and more I find her writing improving in both its quality as well as the subject matter. She has definatly found her audience and subject matter. I highly recommend this story, you won't be disapointed.
- The Innsmouth Syndrome
on Oct. 27, 2011
This is this author's first attempt at an ebook, and for that, they did a pretty good job. Besides a couple editorial mistakes the overall story is really well done. I thought his treatment of Innsmouth to be really faithful to Lovecraft and added just the right amount of atmosphere. There were a couple points where that description carried on perhaps a bit too far, but that was only in two instances that I noticed.
The modernization of the old blood in Innsmouth was pretty interesting, as was the suggestion of how it was happening and what could be the cause. It brought the older tale up to speed and though it didn't present a lot of useless detail in this regards, it added just the right amount of flavor.
All in all, I suggest this short read. It's about 80pgs at normal novel font, so a quick one or two day read depending on your pace. If you are a fan of the Innsmouth story or the movie Dagon, I suggest this story to you. You won't be disapointed.
on Oct. 28, 2011
4.5 stars, easily. This novella was an amazing read. Let me say that flat out. I loved the characters and they were well written for the legnth of the piece. Ivan was a personal favorite of mine just with the way he reacted to the world around him, especially as it continually went to more and more bizzare places. I really didn't know what to expect from this book when I initially got it but I was more than impressed. The editing is well done, the writing is superb, and the story itself is very well planned out and executed.
The only hitch I found in the whole story, and I had to wrack my brain for it, is that Ivan talks about how exhausted he is a number of times in the story. Be it how his sides hurt, or how he will pay for it when it is all over, or how he would work out if he survived the encounter, it's mentioned a lot for such a short read. But as I mentioned, I had to actually activly think of something that bothered me.
If you are looking for a good piece to read, furry or not, pick this up. I mean it. Electronic from Smashwords like I did, or in paper form, it's worth it. Hell, I'll be getting the paper version at the next con I go to even though I have the electronic one. It was that enjoyable!
- The Call of Distant Shores
on March 06, 2012
Though some of the stories contained within this collection aren't exactly Cthulhuian or Elder God stuff, they do hold true to Lovecraftian storytelling. The writing is well done and the stories themselves are very well planned out and executed wonderfully. Each is fairly unique in what they present to the reader and the subject matter they contain.
As with all collections, some stories were more enjoyable than others. Wilson himself admits that he has never really considered himself a fan of Lovecraft, but in saying that, it helps rather than hinders his writing in this collection. It means he doesn't stick to the tropes of the material and instead branches out into other areas.
So why four stars you ask? Because as mentioned above, as with all anthologies, there are stories I enjoyed, and others that I cared less for where it seemed that the author was perhaps trying too hard to stretch his wings in areas he was not experienced in writing. ('Death, and His Brother Sleep' being the first that comes to mind) Though one can hardly be faulted for trying new things, I feel that perhaps they could have been refined before seeing publication with other, more successful stories.
That said, I do recommend this book, and from the looks at reviews on other sites, so do many others. If you are a fan of Lovecraft's style, check out this book. Many of the stories will have you coming back to the anthology time and time again after you set it down.
- Don't Clean the Aquarium - Volume I in the Complete Works of Jeffrey Osier
on March 28, 2012
Jeffrey Osier is mentioned in this book's description as being called the next Lovecraft. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill, and I have to say, he does a good job filling them. The first story in this anthology (which mirrors the name of this collection) is VERY Lovecraftian, and also very powerful. It's easily the best story in the anthology in my opinion. That said, don't let that fool you, the rest are just about as good and capture a lot of powerful emotions in them.
The writing style is well done, though I did find myself struggling at times with the stories of the young boys. The reason for this is just that sometimes the action would go a certain way and the way it was described was a bit lacking. That said, those stories also recalled my days as an angry boy with nothing but the world to lash out at for no other reason than being male. It was a powerful thing to remember, and Jeffrey captures it beautifully.
If you like Lovecraft's works, pick this one up. If you like powerful writing, pick this book up. Hell, just pick it up. It's a good series of stories, well written with wonderful language, and it captures powerful emotive states that will have you savoring it like a fine multiple course meal.
- How the West Was Weird
on March 28, 2012
A wonderful collection of weird western fiction spanning not only the standard fare of cowboys and zombies/creatures/werewolves but also a nice helping of modern day and futuristic stories as well, something a lot of people forget is ALSO part of the weird west genre.
After setting this book down I thought back to all the stories within it and have to say that none really struck me as sub-par. Even the final story set in modern times, though less interesting and lacking in a lot of the weird west theme, is still a wonderful story to read. I had found myself coming back to this book again and again as I read it, unable to put it down as I promised myself one more story.
This is a superb collection of weird west stories and if anyone has any interest in this genre you can't do wrong by adding this to your collection of fiction. Well done stories, edited with skill, and overall left me with a satisfied feeling. I recommend this collection.
- Just Another Cat Girl, Part 1: Out of the Frying Pan and into...
on April 12, 2012
When I first picked this book up, I thought I was in for another spank book. What I got was a surprise in the gender turn around, and then what came across as a wonderfully erotic book that had me squirming on the train.
Well written (with the odd mistake as pointed out by the reviewer below) with good characters and believable conversation and actions, (though a little heavy on the 'slut' aspect of the main character) the story ends up giving you more than your fair share of erotic action.
One problem I had was the formatting issues for the epub version, where the text would grow and shrink in size from paragraph to paragraph. This, though distracting, didn't take away from the story, but it did undercut the finished look of the story.
The other problem I had with the story were the anatomy size of Guy, as 14" is unbelievable. Jonah Falcon has the world's largest penis at 13.5". Yes, I know this is a fantasy world where genetic manipulation is key, but for an athlete to be carrying around that much package just seems...cumbersome. Yet, like the formatting issues of the story, it didn't take away from just how hot the story itself was.
In the end, this was a gem where I expected poorly written smut. A hot read I will read again, and again, and now look forward to the other two stories of this series.
- Like a Mask Removed, Volume 1: Erotic Tales of Superheroes
on May 16, 2012
This anthology was an interesting read, covering a number of different pairings and situations to arouse the reader. The stories run from really short with little to no character development to those that allow you into the lives and heads of the characters involved.
The writing is fairly well done, with no overly large mistakes in any of the stories. Each had its own voice which was nice to see in a collection of short stories, and the situations presented were varied enough that I didn't get bored reading them.
However, some of the stories seemed to end abruptly when they felt like they should have continued on or there should have been more substance to the story. The story about the Merman being the one that comes to mind the quickest in this regard. There is a huge build up of back story with very little pay off in the end. I half expected the story to continue on, but unfortunatly it didn't.
The level of violence in the male/male stories was a little disconcerning, especially after the first male/male story in the collection which was rather tender. (though still rather hard and rough, but definatly lacking the violence of later stories) I recognize that this is a turn on for some readers, it just wasn't my own personal taste. (which is why it didn't effect my score for this story)
In the end, this is a good collection, and one that tackles a wonderful topic. Though well written and put together, the stories themselves aren't exceptional. I will say though that they are worth a read, and that if you are into super heros, this collection is for you!
- Trolley No. 1852
on May 18, 2012
I have a love hate relationship with this book.
After all I have heard about Edward Lee, I picked this book up expecting a lot more than what I got.
The writing of the actual story itself is really well done, if though a little too over descriptive, even for someone mimicing Lovecraft's writing. Yet despite that, the words flow well together and create a wonderfully written tale. Yet this is off-set by the story that bookends that tale about Lovecraft himself where the writing is actually almost abysmal in the way it is approached. As it is written in third person rather than first, there is no real reason to phrase the language in such a way as to make it seem as if it's from HP's mind. (and poorly at that no less) To be frank, the whole part of the story about Lovecraft could easily be removed and the actual Trolly story kept, and this story would love nothing. In fact, it would be a lot stronger and more enjoyable.
As for Edward Lee's gross out horror which he is so well known for...it's lacking in this story unless you don't have access to the internet. There was only one actual account in this story where the story got close to getting to me, and that was simply the textural description of the Trogg's semen. Other than that, nothing else in this story was overly line crossing in its subject matter.
Another thing that is distraction is the 12" penis that the main character is endowed with. I never understood why authors who can't seem to understand the workings of the human body continually put disproportioned penis sizes in their stories. It detracts from the actual story itself, and is beyond realistic. Anyone who has read any of the medical and personal accounts of those blessed/cursed with said size understands that they are anything but pleasurable. Ron Jeremy has a 9.75" penis and has his own set of issues involving it, so 12" would be even worse.
I also found the final confrontation of the story to be fairly weak in its resolution, though the actual ending of the Trolly story was sufficiently Lovecraftian to make up for it.
All in all, if you are a Lovecraft fan, this story is a good one to read if you ignore the story that surrounds the actual story of 'Trolly No. 1852'. Had the book-end story been removed this would easily be a 4-4.5 star story.
- Just Another Cat Girl, Part 2: Earning Your Pay
on May 26, 2012
A continuation of the story about a man turned cat-woman, this series continues to provide what the first did.
I was a bit disapointed in the sex in the beginning of this story. It was quick, not very descriptive, and generally kind of boring except where one's imagination filled in the details.
But then we get to the part with Kurt, the fox-man. Suddenly the sex gets ramped up into a level that left me squirming in my seat. Panther-woman/fox-man sex with a high level of S&M thrown in leads to one very, very hot scene.
The rape scene wasn't my cup of tea, and seemed to be glazed over perhaps just for the reason of its subject matter. Bath also did a good job showing that though it WAS rape, it was semi-consentual and the female lead was okay with it.
All in all, I find myself looking forward to Bath's next piece in the series and I hope they continue to write these stories with the same level of intensity that I've come to expect from this series. All in all, a very hot read, and one I would definatly recommend.
- Restless On Boot Hill
on May 27, 2012
Possibly one of the better Weird West stories I've read that blends elements of Lovecraft with the wild west setting. The characters were believable and just the right amount of history was given to them that it made you want to read more without drowning you in useless details. The setting is well written, from the actions of those around the main group of characters to the description of Boot Hill itself.
My only problem with this story is that the subtle details that linked it to Lovecraft and Robert Chambers. They were a nice level of subtle to begin with, and had they been kept at that level it would have been a nice treat for those that had knowledge of such things. But instead they go into greater detail in regards to the play and King in Yellow which sort of ruins the mystery behind what was going on. I feel it could have been done in such a way that it would have worked storywise if you didn't know about the play, yet any knowledge of that work would have made it a nice mental treat.
But beyond that, the writing is good, the story is well told and entertaining to read. The climax was well done and just the right amount of excitement, and all in all, I really enjoyed this tale. If you like westerns, I suggest this for you. If you like weird westerns, definatly pick this one up.
- Daddy & His Little Baby
on May 30, 2012
Very, very short.
Very little plot, and very little of anything else. The sex starts almost immediatly and though somewhat hot, isn't anything special.
I would have given it three stars until I reminded myself that I paid $3 for something so short and weak story-wise.
Definatly not worth the money. Spend it on authors who charge the same amount for longer, more fulfilling material.
- A Dead God's Wrath
on May 30, 2012
This is a nice little story. It was an interesting read that had a pretty constant pace. The characters were believable, as was the setting. As it's written from someone from that time's point of view, there is an appropriate amount of confusion when he's confronted by technologies he doesn't understand. The action is smooth, the villians are just the right amount of disturbing to make you dislike them. All in all, a really well put together story.
That said, in the end when Mary is explaining things, the references are so vague that I couldn't piece together just who they were. Yes, the references in regards to the book she was reading and her abilities hint at one thing, but there's not enough definition given to give a solid answer. I know that due to the time period the main character lives in, his understanding would be limited. However, there would have been other ways to perhaps give a little more information to the readers without compromising that character.
Overall, a good short story, one that I would love to see more of to discover more about the characters involved. The mystery of the weird west was captured perfectly, as was the brutality of the wild west. If you are a fan of the genre, pick this one up. It's worth the read and a steal at its price.
- Encounters: Cat Women
on May 30, 2012
I picked this up for a quick arousing tale. What I got was a lot more.
D.B.Story has written something that I honestly have to say is magical. It's an incredibly hot story, with some of the best erotic scenes I have ever read in fiction. The right amount of detail mixed with the right amount left to the imagination leaves you breathless and wanting more. Couple that with a plot that not only engages the reader, but grips you with the story and keeps you reading NOT for the erotica, but for the story itself.
I'm not ashamed to say that this story made me cry.
That took me by surprise and should tell you something about this tale. It's more than erotic situations with cat women, it's a story about living with them, caring for them, and growing with them. D.B.Story, despite dealing with anthropormorphic animals writes a story that speaks to all us pet owners and teases our experiences with our pets to the fore.
A very, very well written story, one I will read again and again for sure, and one that I recommend VERY highly to anyone who is interested in writing anything anthropormorphic related. If you are into anthro animals, pick this book up. If you are a cat person looking for something different to get your blood racing, pick this book up. Hopefully you too will be as pleasantly surprised as I was with this treasure of a tale.
- The Old One
on May 31, 2012
A very well done short horror story, The Old One was a fun read. Built with the right amount of suspense, crazy people, and a horrific monster that you only really get the barest of glimpses of, this story handles its theme really well. The characters are well done for the most part, some of them feel a little thin, but all in all it's such a minor detail among everything else you barely notice.
Two problems I did have with this story have nothing to do with the plot, characters, or any aspect of the horror itself. (all of which were well done) My main problem with the story is the use of 'OK' rather than 'Okay' throughout the story, something that most word processors will catch. When you have a sentance going on with all lower case letters, and suddenly a fully capitalized 'OK' appears it tends to drag readers out of the story where a lower case 'okay' would have worked better.
My second problem was the author's love of short sentances. Usually used for high tension situations to denote a faster pace, when used for things such as descriptions of people and settings, it just feels like you're being bombarded by factual rocks. It really detracked from the story, especially when combined with the smattering of 'OK's hiding within the story.
Yet despite all that, this is a good read and I really enjoyed it. The way the monster was handled was wonderful and I liked the fact that you reall never see it, nor does its existance ever really get explained. It just is, which fits it perfectly. Definatly a good story to pick up.
- Just Another Cat Girl, Part 3: Even Cat Girls Fall in Love
on June 02, 2012
A nice conclusion to the trilogy of cat girls stories from Bath. Like each one, the sex was different than the previous two stories and equally as hot. The inclusion of the the panther man was a nice touch and it was good to see the main character finally happy.
Well written, hot as hell, and a wonderful read, like the other two stores by Bath, I recommend this one as well. I really don't have any complaints in regards to this story. It was everything I expected from the previous stories in this series and I do hope that Bath will write more stories of this nature.
A truely good and hot read. One I will read again and again with the rest of this trilogy, and one I will continue to recommend to my friends.
- Succor the Child: a Lovecraftian Short Story
on June 02, 2012
Very short story that captures a lot of Lovecraftian themes in a small space and time. Very pleased with how this one came together and how well it was written. Some of the images brought to life by Loomis' prose are simply amazing and she does a good job with Lovecraftian language.
All in all, a pleasing little mythos tale that any fan of Lovecraft will enjoy.
- Daddy's Dirty Little Virgin (Daddy Sex Stories)
on June 03, 2012
A short story that gets right to the sex pretty quickly. It's hot, quick and descriptive in all the ways it should be. Well worth the cheap price and hot enough to get your blood pounding. A good buy for anyone looking for a good story for a quick 'break'.
- Confessions of a D-List Supervillan
on June 07, 2012
It's books like this that made me get back into writing.
A day later and my mind is still running through the story. I'm still riding the emotional high off this book and can't stop talking and thinking about it. Bernheimer has created something amazing here with this book.
The characters are believeable, frustratingly so in some cases. Each character behaves as you expect them too and no one ever goes outside their character. They all evolve over the story, and their interactions drive the story as much, if not more, than the action itself. Most of what I will remember from this book, and the reason I will read it again, are the character interactions. They are gripping, engaging, and everything you'd expect from a good book.
Then there's the action, which is fast paced with just the right amount of description. The only time that I found it lacking was in the final battle where it felt like it got glazed over. But at that point, the final battle wasn't the point of the story I found, but rather the character interactions and thought patterns instead, so the story didn't lag from it. The action is also spread out over the novel well and keeps the pace of the story up.
But the thing I want to talk about that gripped me the most about this story is Cal. If you were ever an outsider in school, ever a nerd, ever felt that you didnt' have a chance in the world due to 'the popular kids', you'll relate to Cal. There were parts of this book that had me pacing my living room talking to my girlfriend about the storyline as I found it touching parts of my childhood that I hadn't thought about in years. The frustration, waiting for the other shoe to drop when I had thought it was all going to go great, and losing something I had wished I had had more than anything. There is a little of Cal's story in all of us, not to mention a fundimental storyline that anyone can relate to. He doesn't have super powers, he just has talent and skill. And yet, he still makes it work. Bernheimer hits on many things that a lot of fans of Superheros have likely delt with in their past, and it helps to engage the reader and the story is better because of it.
Again, it's books like this that brought me back into writing again.
I honestly can't recommend this book enough. I think every one of my friends has heard me recommend it to them, superhero fans or not. There is something in this for everyone, and it truely is a wonderful story and one I will definatly be reading again and again.
- Like a Mask Removed, Volume 2: Erotic Tales of Supervillains
on June 09, 2012
After reading the first volume in this series I was hoping for another like it. Though the idea of erotic super villains is an exciting one, this collection was actually a let down. Out of the five stories in this anthology, I only fond two to be erotic and to play upon the villain and hero. The other stories only seemed to brush upon the subject rather than include it into the themes of their stories.
'Pow! Bash! Yes, Yes!' and 'Those Who Favor Fire' are easily the best stories in this collectio...more After reading the first volume in this series I was hoping for another like it. Though the idea of erotic super villains is an exciting one, this collection was actually a let down. Out of the five stories in this anthology, I only fond two to be erotic and to play upon the villain and hero. The other stories only seemed to brush upon the subject rather than include it into the themes of their stories.
'Pow! Bash! Yes, Yes!' and 'Those Who Favor Fire' are easily the best stories in this collection and are the two I mentioned above. Both contain the right amount of eroticism and character development. Each story's pacing was well done and the writing was excellent. As for the other stories in the anthology, they just seemed to fall flatter than these two. Either through jerky pacing such as in 'Bridge Over Shifter's Chasm', or the over wordy nature of 'Invisible Touch', the other stories just don't reach the same peak.
That is not to say the other stories aren't bad. They are actually fairly hot in their own right, and even ones meant to make you think ('Bridge Over Shifter's Chasm') manage to find some heat in their lines, even with all the weird sex. They bridge a lot of stranger topics than the first anthology tackled, and it fits well with the villain theme of this collection. But due to the things mentioned above, they just didn't reach the same level as the initial anthology did.
So if you like super heroes, I suggest this anthology. If you already got the first anthology, I suggest you pick this one up as well. But if you are looking for a good spank book, pick the first anthology up first collection first, or go looking elsewhere.
- Playing Games (Taboo Sex Stories)
on June 16, 2012
All in all, not that bad of a read. I would have liked to see a bit more detail and a slightly slower pace to the story, but as it stands it's still a pretty good read. The writing was pretty well done, and the tale itself was what one would expect for a spank story.
I think if a little more lead up to build tension had been taken, the story would have been a lot better. His daughter and friend are very forward with their invitation and I would have liked to see a bit more shyness based off of the fact that his daughter seems inexperienced with men.
In the end though, not a bad read and one I may read again.
- It Sees
on June 22, 2012
An interesting story set in the Arkham Asylum where two people try to come to grips with the world around them. The writing of this story is strong enough to help draw you into the feeling of being in an asylum, especially one where those around you have touched Lovecraft's mythos. The characters are interesting, especially Pigeon.
But as the story goes on, the climax of the story enters this weird stop-start pacing issue that bogs down the flow of the story and kills most of the forward momentum. When the final moment happens in the story, it was hard to care what was happening simply because I wanted the story over and to escape the halting pacing.
The other thing that should be noted, is that this is the SECOND in a series of stories. If you read the description, the author really doesn't actively state that this is the second in a series, and since most Lovecraftian stories happen after something large has already happened, some people (like myself) didn't pick up that there is something that should be read before this story. It also explained why there was a bit of confusion at the start of the story in regards to certain events.
All in all, a good take on a mythos story, but the jerking nature of the pacing during the climax makes it hard to finish this story.
- The Thing From Lover's Lane
on July 07, 2012
Overall not a bad story. The setting was a new one for a Lovecraftian story, and a refreshing one. The writing for this story is strong and though there are a few issues with pacing, the story flows fairly well.
The Lovecraftian elements of the story worked well when they were half hidden and hinted at. Unfortunatly Collins ends up revealing a large amount of the history behind the creature where the story would have worked better with the opposite. As mentioned, the pacing was a little start and stop throughout the story, with parts of it flowing well and others, like Billy's prison sentence, halting a lot of the story's forward momentum.
In the end though, except for the above mentioned, and things that left me wondering (a library of occult and forbidden texts in the prison library???), the story itself was enjoyable and one I may read again later. For Lovecraft fans, I recommend this story. For people looking for a horror story, the elements of horror in this one aren't half bad. Definatly worth the price I got it for on Smashwords.
- The Alchemist
on July 07, 2012
A short story that gets quick to the point and leaves you thinking that Woodward could have done more with it.
The Alchemist had a lot of potential based off the beginning of the story with the way the main character wakes up and his memory of the night before. We have a solid setting, the right amount of horror and build up. But what he spends building up gets quickly torn down and forgotten with what comes across as a rushed mess of pulp fiction. It's like the story switched its genre half way through the story and became something completely opposite what it was supposed to be, and it left me scratching my head.
There are also a couple editorial mistakes as well, such as words that should have been other words and weren't caught in the editorial process.
But beyond that, the respected elements of pulp and horror, when viewed on their own, are pretty well done and each element could easily have been their own story. It's unfortunate that they got combined into this story, though I will admit that the $o.99 I paid for it on Smashwords was well priced for its length.
In the end, if you enjoy pulp stories, I recommend you pick this up. But if you are looking for a Lovecraftian story, pass this by. Same if you are looking for something horror.
- The Innswich Horror
on July 14, 2012
Edward Lee, quoted as "The sickest writer in horror..." tries his hand at a Lovecraftian story. This isn't the first story of Lee's I've read, and yet having finished this I am starting to wonder where this title of 'sickest writer' comes from as this story is relatively tame when it comes to the aspect of what one would expect from a writer with such a title.
The story itself is well written, and flows fairly well. The details and descriptions are very Lovecraft in how they are presented to the author. The basic plot is interesting and with only a few pacing issues, flows relatively well from beginning to end. The main character is interesting, as is his obsession with Lovecraft's work and person. Mary is enchanting and will cause anyone with a 'white knight syndrome' to instantly feel sorry for her and want to see her helped. Other characters too are well planned out and act as you would expect them to.
The setting is well done as well, capturing the feel of a bustling port town well. The explaination as to why things don't resemble the old days is nicely done and helps to move the plot along as well. Just enough description is giving to keep the story moving without bogging it down in over done details about the buildings, the woods, shoreline and more. (something Lovecraft himself is guilty of)
But there were a couple issues I found with this story. One is the pacing issues, where often the pacing jerks and places where the pacing should be quick it suddenly feels as if you're riding on a stalling car. One moment it's going fast, the next you've stopped, but now you're going, wait, it's stopped again. This tended to stop a lot of the tension from building to what it could have been, increasing the horror aspect of the book.
Another problem is Lee's attempt to seemingly include multiple Lovecraftian elements into the story, for example, the Re-animator. Though such Easter eggs are interesting when well done, the sections he's placed them seem to be unneeded in the story itself. The reanimated corpses could easily have been taken out of the story and it would have worked out just as good, perhaps better, as they didn't play that much of a roll in the overall plot.
The ending itself also seemed to be rather jumbled, as if Lee had a number of ideas of how to end the story and was trying to get all of them down onto the page. The main character is thrust back and forth from location to location to accomplish what he needs to do, often going back to locations he's already been again and again. This is one of the pacing issues mentioned above, as instead of having a clean, clear line of rising action and climax, it jumbles what should have been a rush of action.
Lastly, the very end of the story was completely pointless. The very last paragraph seems to have been added on simply for shock value or 'ha-ha, you didn't get away so easily!'. It felt tacked on, pointless, and could easily have been left off with no effect.
Yet despite this, I am giving this story four stars as, don't get me wrong, this was a good story. I read it in two sittings, couldn't put it down, and overall enjoyed the tale. I am glad that this wasn't along the lines that, from what I can gather, what Lee writes usually. An over abundance of gore and splatter-punk in this tale would have detracted away from the story.
In the end, I recommend this story to anyone who is a Lovecraft fan. If you are a horror fan looking for a story, read 'Shadow over Innsmoth' first and then read this story. You'll have a better understanding of elements in this story and it will make a lot more sense. Pick it up, it's a good read and well worth the price I paid on Smashwords.
- The Porn Maid's Tale
on July 14, 2012
When I picked this story up I wasn't sure what to expect from the description of it. Part pornographic of an extreme kind (though not all that in depth), part horror, all Lovecraftian, this story kept me gripped to the story.
The writing is strong, capturing setting and characters well. It's easy to place oneself within the mind of the main character within the story. You understand the decisions he makes as well as the burden he bears because of those choices. The horror that is the femme fatal he hires is captured well, the innocence as well as the horror of her later on in the storyline.
As for issues with the story, I really don't have a lot except for story elements that seemed to detract from the story, such as the platform Selenan is being carried on being old men. (which is unrealistic given who Errera chose to have them be) That, and a couple other elements pulled me out of the story once or twice.
Yet despite that, this story was really well done and the Lovecraftian element was fresh and interesting. The mythos is mentioned only once, and unlike a lot of other stories, isn't in your face and explained to death.
I recommend this story to anyone who is a fan of Mythos stories, as well as those that are looking for subtle horror.
- The Blackwater Flood
on Aug. 27, 2012
I picked up this book due to the tags it had on Smashwords. It sounded like it would be an interesting read, despite the fact that I had twice before passed it over by the character set it had described in its extended description. Still, in the end I picked it up because of the five star reviews it had received both here and on Smashwords.
To be fair, this book hovers around the 3-4 star range throughout its pages. The characters are interesting, each with their own set of issues and problems. The interactions of these characters are realistic and understandable, and their struggle to survive is one that manages to capture your interest relatively easily. Williams does a good job with family dynamics and as each character has their own personal revelation, certain things click together in a satisfactory way.
Yet there is a problem with more than a couple of the characters. Having so many people present in the house creates a jumble of personal issues, and despite more than a few being fleshed out, many are simply stated, then drop off the face of the pages. Yes, you had this severe thing happen when you were a kid, that's sad. We'll mention it, and then you die. No real revelation, no real redemption, no real point. Other than dying, these characters serve no real point in the story and a couple of them could have been combined with others to streamline the story.
Then we come to Dr. Saxton, the villain.
We know this because from the moment we meet him, that he is nothing but evil. The fact that he is a villain is hung around his neck in neon lights, plainly obvious from every single thing he does in regards to his family.
There is no sympathetic parts to this character. Nothing to cause the reader to relate. There seems to be a couple moments where Williams tries to create some sort of sympathy towards Saxton, but even that just furthers the fact that he is evil and nothing more. Then, when the end comes, it's unsatisfactory, quick, and seemingly pointless.
Yet despite that, Williams does present a lot of interesting history, both real and mythical (Saxton's forte) to back up what is happening in regards to the black water. Generally the themes he draws upon are wonderfully put together. The relation to Heaven and Hell is there, sometimes glaring, other times, subdued. This creates a nice backdrop to the multiple myths of creation, something even Saxton comments on, but this is also where we run into a glaring problem.
Saxton studied religions and creation myths and at one point, compares what is going on to various creation myths. Yet when he comes to Christianity, he refers to the flooding of the world to destroy the race of Giants that had existed there to lay with mortal women. If indeed Saxton studied his myths, he'd know that it had been angels who had laid with women and begot the race of giants. They weren't some previous race that had existed prior to the religions of the Book that God wiped out with the flood so his faith and people could remain. His faith existed prior to that, and the angels creating these giants had been the cause of a lot of mankind's issues at the time. Hence the flood, so he could start over again. Had Williams not tried to use this example to further prove all of his previous examples, Saxton's speech would have been mind blowing and an epic moment in the story.
In the end, this is an okay read. I enjoyed parts of it, and a couple moments captivated me. But all in all, I won't be reading this again. I paid 0.99cents for this story, and I think Williams should charge a bit more for it, as there is a good story there and he's under charging himself. But that said, I also wouldn't recommend it to many. If you like battles between good and evil that are blatant and in your face, this might be the book for you. If you want touching family stories, this might even be for you. But as I said above, it's just an okay read.
But that's just my opinion of course.
- Concrete Gods
on Aug. 29, 2012
What if cities were built on creatures left by the Old Ones?
I have to admit, the premise of this story interested me enough to purchase this little story. First thing that surprised me was the length, which I expected to be longer. Yet once I started reading, I found that it was just long enough.
Shown through multiple points of view, this story collects a variety of people's experiences as the city around them wakes up from its long slumber. As expected, there are a lot of deaths. You never really see the monster, which in this case works really well for the story itself. Yet having so many characters, it's more like reading drabbles than an actual story itself, as there is no real flow between character to character except in one instance.
The story is also written in past tense, which unfortunately destroys any and all feeling that what was happening was happening RIGHT NOW. Instead, it reads like a past experience recorded down, which of course is impossible as everyone you read about pretty much dies. This was one flaw in the story, and sadly a glaring one. Had this been written in present tense, the action would have been more intense, the feeling of confusion and death more apparent. Instead, we are left looking at it all from the eyes of things already past.
Possibly the best part of this story is the ending. I thought the last segment did a good job of explaining what was happening, and why it was happening. Unlike the rest of the stories in this tale, it was possibly the best one put together story-wise.
If you want a very quick read, and enjoy Lovecraft, then this story will be interesting to you. Other than that, it's a good example how choosing the wrong tense can change the feel of a story.
- Phone Home
on Sep. 06, 2012
I really enjoyed this tale. One of the few left on Smashwords where it's not pseudo-incest but rather full on incest. Yes, no actual penetration occurs, but that doesn't detract from the hotness of the tale. In fact, it enhances it.
Beyond a couple grammar errors, Jay has written something that flows really well from scene to scene. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys this kind of fiction.
- Susan, King, and Family
on Sep. 06, 2012
This story has it all. It doesn't hold back and it goes from one scene to the next easily, keeping the action going and the reader's interest peaked.
Bath's not afraid to write incest that isn't pseudo, one of the last on Smashwords to keep doing so. There are a couple of grammar errors and places where the sentences don't read properly, but they are few and far between. They also tend to be overlooked because you are reading some very sexy scenes. And there are a lot of those in this story.
If you are into anything that this story has as a tag, I recommend you check out Bath's other works. You won't be let down.
- Dark Circus
on Sep. 07, 2012
A short steampunk (sort of, see below) themed story, this tale was interesting and kept me glued to its pages until the very end.
Vaugn has created something that I hope they expand upon in larger and longer words. This tale only brushes upon what is a rich concept and one that could span a number of novels. Vaugn's attention to small details like how a lady should act in Victorian England is refreshing from steampunk women who run around without any care as to how society runs at that time period. It helps to keep the main character realistic and helps with reinforcing the Victorian themes.
That said, there is actually very, very little of a steampunk element to this story. Yes, there are one or two elements that are steampunk, such as the chef, but other than that, I wouldn't actually consider this steampunk at all. (or even clockwork for that matter) At least not how the genre is portrayed in most fiction. Instead, this is more along the lines of Dr. Who, Sliders, or similar dimension hopping story lines. If you are reading this for something steampunk, be prepared to be let down on that front.
Another element is the length. Yes, this is a novelette, and the story does fit well into that length. But it also means that a lot feels cut short. As mentioned above, the concept presented here allows for a lot longer of a work. I really hope Vaugn does something other than novelettes with this concept.
In the end, I really liked the premise of this story, the characters, and the general plot. I recommend it to anyone who watches the above mentioned shows, and hope that anyone out looking for a steampunk tale understands what they are getting into before purchasing this story.
- Jake's Monthly- Lovecraftian Horror Anthology
on Sep. 13, 2012
I picked this up because I am a fan of Lovecraft's writing, and always love to see what other people are producing in the genre. I got to set the price for this on Smashwords, so I set it at a simple $2.99 because I thought I would at least be getting my money's worth. I was wrong, and ended up ripping myself off.
I was interested in seeing Jake Johnson, a sixteen year old published author. I was let down because he has no stories in this collection, and instead was just the head editor. Still, I decided to have a read anyway and see where they would take me.
The first story is more of a poem. “Dread Tale” by Mike Jansen is short, simple, and actually not too bad. I enjoyed it despite how short it was even though the ending was a bit...cliche, it was a good piece of flash fiction.
“The Done Witch Horror” by John H. Dromey felt like incomplete fiction to me. It was almost as if the story got cut off or was the first chapter of a novel rather than a shorter piece. I personally would have loved to see more, as this story hooked my interest. Sadly, it ended before I could really enjoy it.
"Arden Bluff" by Rick McQuiston is the longest piece in this anthology. I tried to enjoy this story. I really honestly tried, but it put me to sleep six times and took me two days to read. I struggled with this one. It's Christian Lovecraft, which I find interesting and those elements were new and facinating in the story. However, Mr. McQuiston has a terrible issue with run on sentances and the use of commas. He also tends to contradict himself when describing action. One of his characters is near death and dragging themselves along, then is suddenly running around before once again crawling. Combined with his run on sentances and over-done descriptions, I couldn't enjoy this story.
“Sitting, Waiting” by Jon Chan was an alright story, with a good amount of tension. It creates a good amount of interest and was fairly interesting.
“Memories of Inhuman Nature” by Rick McQuiston was not half bad. The concept was interesting, the story itself had the right amount of action, and all in all the rising action was fairly well done. However there seemed to be little to no climax to the entire story.
“The Fun Guy from Yoghurt” by John H. Dromey was interesting. Though short, it was really interesting. The right amount of mystery, the right amount of dialogue and characterization. All in all well put together and well executed. Possibly the best story in this collection.
“SHUB” is by David Perlmutter was...odd. Anthropormorphised characters from Lovecraft's mythos existing in a real world situation...well, real world if it included a Roger Rabbit type section of toonstyle life. I can admit, not my flavor, but the story wasn't half bad. The ending however, did feel a bit rushed and blown over. There wasn't any satisfaction to it, and it happens almost in an eyeblink.
Lastly, this anthology has more than its fair share of editing problems. There were times where I caught words that were supposed to be other words, spacings that weren't done right, and the above mentioned run on sentances. (in now way did Rick McQuiston have the only ones, he just had the most by far)
Another issue was the Lovecraft stories that were linked at the end of most of the stories. Jake included these to "illustrate the connections." between Lovecraft's stories and the ones presented in the books. Unfortunatly, (and even admitted at one point) those connections are minor at best. Personally, the people who purchase anthologies like this are already familiar with Lovecraft's works and thus don't need these links.
In the end, I don't recommend this to anyone who isn't a Lovecraft fan. If you are, then pick this up, though I recommend you do not pay as high as I did for this collection. There are elements collected here that are interesting, but the execution could have been a lot better, as could the editing.
- Encounter with a Slug Girl
on Sep. 13, 2012
This book is my introduction to the Monster-Girl genre of erotica. Overall, I didn't know what to expect and what I got was surprisingly better than I thought I'd get.
The story is fairly well written, though how Andrew gets lost in the story seems a bit forced, kinda like the beginning of the Blair Witch Project. But once the story gets underway, the story itself is pretty good. There's a wonderful amount of description in the erotica itself.
There are a couple things that need improving in this story. One fact (and may seem like nit-picking) is that the slug girl is actually a snail-girl. Though it may seem like a minor detail, if a person had not looked at the beautiful cover art, they would have expected something different.
Another is the loose threads of the story. There are things that I would have loved to see explained. Things are hinting at, suggesting that there is a possibility that the slug girl is lying to Andrew. We never do find out the answers to those questions and though that may not bother some readers, others will be left wondering.
I will say that it was refreshing to see a story about a man and a woman creature where the sexual organs aren't what you'd expect. It's nice to see creativity being used in way that a monster girl can mate with a human male.
So if you are into exotic erotica of a new flavor, this may be a story for you. It's new, it's refreshing, and certainly different. Give it a read, if anything you'll certainly be surprised. I myself will be looking for more stories by this author.
- Geppetto's Orphans
on Sep. 15, 2012
A short weird west tale set at 0.99cents, this story doesn't fail to deliver everything that should be in a weird western.
Hoover provides a nicely wrapped story that contains all the elements of a good tale. The writing is good with no obvious editing errors. The pacing is maintained throughout the story with no points that had to be slogged through. And the setting, Haxan, is interesting and I am glad he is writing more set in this town.
But where Hoover shines is his characters. Though just a short story, there's a lot behind the characters he presents to us in this story. It creates a mystery that the reader wants to find out more about. It draws the reader in and keeps them reading. Thankfully he's written more of these stories. Each character is very human, with their own fears, prejudices, and characterizations. Overall very well written.
If I had to pick out anything that didn't work as well in the story, I would have to say it was the climax of the story. Overall, the mystery of the statues wasn't really resolved all that interestingly. The resolution with the statues also wasn't that peaked with that much tension. That said, it doesn't detract away from the story itself and it's still very enjoyable.
If you like weird westerns, or even westerns in general, I recommend this story to you. Simple, well written, I would suggest this to anyone. I honestly can't wait for more stories set in Haxan.
- Magic Lantern Show of the Gods
on Sep. 18, 2012
I really enjoyed Pratt's 'Restless on Boot Hill' and was excited to see that he had written more with the characters from that story. So in a heartbeat I snapped this up.
Pratt, as in Restless, immediately goes straight into the story. The issue is presented, and then very quickly the tale goes into the climax and resolution. It all happens very quickly, much as it did in Restless. But if there's one thing Pratt can do well, it's make this flow of action fairly tight and keep the reader interested.
Another thing I enjoy is Pratt's characters. Not just his protagonists, but his antagonists as well. In this one, the Lovecraft element is increased and it works well in the world that he's creating, as well as his protagonists. The Lantern show is an interesting way to bring about the plot devices that he does and I highly enjoyed it being an element.
However, one issue I did find within this story was the way that sentences flowed. I noticed it more towards the end of the story, but there were more and more sentences that, when read, would cause me to reread them. The reason was that they didn't seem to scan well, and when read out loud, they didn't flow.
The other problem I had with the story was The Messenger. When the final battle happens, all you see is 'The Messenger, The Messenger, The Messenger' over and over again, sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph. It repeats so much that it becomes distracting and detracts from the story.
All of that said, this is easily a four star story, but I had to give it three because of the way the sentences read and the constant use of The Messenger in the final part of the story. If you like weird westerns, pick this up, as well as 'Restless on Boot Hill'. Pratt writes amazing worlds and his stories are entertaining.
- Horror at Cold Springs
on Sep. 19, 2012
Steampunk, weird western, and horror. Three things that when combined can create amazing worlds and stories.
Merriam has created a very interesting world for this piece of fiction. Taking what starts off as a steampunk piece, he slowly adds other parts into it with a nice level of skill that allows for all the pieces to blend rather than compete with each other.
The characters are well done, each of their voices are fairly unique, as are their opinions and reactions to the events that take place. The way that various supernatural elements are brought into the story are just enough that they play a part yet are not overwhelming. This is where Merriam succeeds beautifully, in their characters. They draw you in, and they leave you wanting more stories from them.
That said, the characters are also one of the largest flaws for this tale. Written in first person, Merriam has decided to do it from everyone's point of view. This leads to jumping from one character to another to another to another. It leads to disorientation as the reader is left to puzzle out who's head they are in after each jump until some clue is given. This would have been fine had the story been from two people's point of view. But it's not. It's from far more. It bods the tale down and ruins what is overall an amazing tale.
I really enjoyed Merriam's story. I can't wait to see more of the same characters and their lives beyond what happened at Cold Springs. I think the story contained the right element of horror to everything else, and overall I recommend this to anyone who is interested in steampunk or weird west fiction.
- Jake's Monthly- Punk Anthology
on Sep. 21, 2012
You've seen my rating, now please read to the end of my review. I say this because not all of the stories deserve the low rating the rest of this anthology received.
This is the second of Jack's anthologies that I've read, the first being his Lovecraft collection.
Let's look at each tale one at a time to see what this collection serves up:
'Cold Portents' by Mike Jansen = An interesting tale that explores the divergences of timelines and what would happen when someone is caught between two of them. The story itself moves fairly slowly and contains no real climax. The ending is given away with multiple repetitions before it and all in all it feels relatively flat. The concept is interesting and I would have loved to see more done with it. However it gets bogged down heavily in the explanation of things rather than the telling of the tale itself.
One editing problem with this tale that is glaring is the quotations around everything that is said. Yes, it is a man talking to someone. However, as there is no physical action throughout this entire story, they are not needed and are in fact, distracting. This should have just been done as any other first person tale, something they should have caught in editing.
Lastly, except for one mention of a car powered on water, there is nothing in this story that would define it as a *punk story. It is more of an alternative history tale, something Jake even states. Unfortunately it does not feel like it belongs within this anthology.
'A Growing Problem' by John H. Dromey = A steampunk story and fits well within the description of this anthology. It's a simple story that has a wonderful plot and neat collection of characters. There are small points where the writing seems to get a bit cluttered, but it's easily ignored in the scope of the story. All in all, I can easily say this is the second best story in this anthology, and that Dromey did a good job telling his story.
'The Tick-Tock Heart of StarrBat' by T. Fox Dunham = This story was chaotic at the best of times. Dunham creates a rich world for this story. However, the language seems rough and unedited throughout the entire story. 'She' is repeated again and again, often starting the majority of sentences within one paragraph after another. It detracts from the story, becoming repetitious and could have been fixed with a quick read out loud or by the editor.
'Unparalleled Problems in the Multiverse: A Baker’s Dozen Flashes of the Future' by John H. Dromey = A series of flash fictions all aimed at various *punk universes. Some come across really well, others, far less so. I will admit that the puns made me laugh, and kept the seriousness of the stories down. Yes, some were groaners, but even those were fun and playful. I would have liked to see the *punk element a bit stronger in some of the stories.
As much as I enjoyed these flashes of fiction, it really didn't fit well within this collection. If perhaps it had been a flash fiction collection, or something else, it would have worked better. But in the middle of the collection, it feels awkward and misplaced. Had it been at the end of the anthology I think it would have fit better, a nice end to everything. Or perhaps the beginning to gently bring the reader into the theme. But in the middle, it just doesn't work, even if they are good stories.
'The Ghost in the Wire' by Don Raymond = Easily a Five star story and the best of this entire anthology. It contains all the elements this anthology promised in the beginning. It has a *punk element, shows an interesting change in society and technology, and all in all, creative. The writing is strong, the characters are interesting and realistic, and the editing is extremely well done. Raymond has created a wonderful story that will entrap the reader within its story. This story could have easily been included in an anthology with far stronger stories and would have shone just as bright. Easily the diamond in the rough of this collection. I will be looking for more from this writer.
In the end, this collection was anything but a *punk anthology. Very rarely was anything referenced that would give it a feel of a *punk collection of stories. Though tagged with a variety of *punk genres, anyone like myself who were looking to explore the genre will be sorely let down by this anthology. (except for Don Raymond and John H. Dromey's pieces)
All in all, I don't recommend this anthology except to read 'The Ghost in the Wire' and 'A Growing Problem'.
- Charlie's Dream
on Oct. 06, 2012
A very quick read. The erotica is quick, to the point, and fairly interesting. The concept of the story is sexy and the way it comes together leads to a highly sexual climax.
However, the writing is very quick and dirty with very little buildup. The sex itself is very fast, and the level of detail written into it is minute. Much like good sex needing foreplay, this story could have benefited from more description and a draw out of the action itself.
However, despite this, the story is an effective fap-fiction and if you are looking for something to just get you off, this would be a good one to get.
- Sons of Nowhere: Leviathan
on Nov. 28, 2012
For being a very short intro to the book series, Almand has done a really good job keeping things tight in this story. There is everything one would look for in a well written story within Almand's tale, and I really look forward to seeing more within this story.
The only real issue I had were a couple of awkward sentences in the story itself. I read a couple of them out loud and they just didn't flow well and it brought me out of the story. Thankfully, they were few and far between and honestly didn't detract from the story itself all that much.
I will also add here that the art in this story is amazing and Almand did a good thing here including it in this edition. It enhances the story and the last picture on the last page raised my curiosity enough that I might have to look into his other works.
All in all, a good story and a good beginning. Well written, well put together, and enjoyable. I hope to see more of this character later on. And the best part? It was free. Almand could easily charge for his longer works for this quality of story.
- In the Doghouse of Justice
on Feb. 04, 2013
Though I am reading another of Mr. Gold's books, this was the first one I completed. I have been wanting to read his work for some time now and am glad I finally have a chance to review one of his pieces.
The anthology all together as a whole is pretty well done. The stories are individualistic, yet contain enough elements from one to the other that they they all tie into each other. This brings the series of short stories together and gives it the feel of a novel rather than just an anthology. I was told that Gold took out some of the sex from the stories and I have to say that it works for the most part throughout the entire thing. There is still sex in the anthology, and you can tell Gold's preference fairly easily from what he pays attention to when it comes to describing those sex scenes, but they don't over power the stories themselves. Instead, we're left with some rather enjoyable stories that are more about the plot than they are about the erection.
In my opinion, the best story in the collection is 'Stop The World'. The way that Gold handles a speedster hero is realistic, believable, and honestly amazing. There's no sex in this story, and instead it is very character driven with how Red deals with the world around him and his almost addictive need to slow down time. It also captured a lot of grey areas and such that super heroes face when it comes to having to face down things that are perhaps not evil in their own right. All in all, this story was extremely enjoyable to read, well written, and overall my favorite.
The story that didn't work for me was 'Vicious'. Looking back, though it does introduce the League itself, there doesn't seem to be a lot of character development to V. We see her go about her life as a model, and as a crime fighter. We get to see her attitude issues when it comes to various people, and also her tenderness when it comes to some of the other models. And yet, something seems to fall below where it should be with the story. The writing is still well done, the combat scenes are well thought out and planned, and the characters are all well done as well. Yet still, there is something missing from V herself. Perhaps that's the flaw of the character herself, but planned or not, it takes away from the story.
Possibly the biggest flaw of this anthology is the Kobo version I got from Smashwords. I later checked the online version from them as well and the problem persists there as well. A majority of the pictures end up showing up over the story itself, which makes it difficult to impossible to read any of them. Though I know this is a formatting issue rather than a writing issue, when it comes to things such as this most authors should double check their uploaded works to prevent issues such as this from coming up.
In the end however, formatting issues aside, this is a wonderful super hero collection and well worth picking up for the $10 I paid for it. I hope there may be more in the future, as there is no conclusion to one of the singular characters and elements that ties a lot of the stories together, but for now, I recommend you pick up this collection. Furry or otherwise, it's worth a read.
- New Girl (Anti-Heroes Book I)
on Feb. 22, 2013
A great idea that falls apart quickly to plot holes, simplistic writing, and poor pacing.
Let me first state that I bought the other two books in this series because I actually really like the concept of this "book". If I had not thought there were merits to it, I wouldn't have done so, specially since this "book" was free on Smashwords. So yes, the series is worth spending money on if you like the premise.
However, there is a lot that is wrong with this story. First off, it refers to itself as a book, which is far from the truth. At a 26 pages long, it is a short story at best. Combine that with no real climax within the story, no real climbing action, by the end of those 26 words it's hard to feel satisfied.
The story itself feels as if it was written by 16 year old goths trying to write something dark and edgy. This superhero book actually reads far more like a paranormal one. Yes, there are super-beings in the story, but they play such a small roll to the vampires, witches, Satan, etc, that they are easily forgotten and easily could have been replaced with other paranormal beings and not lose anything.
Another issue with this story is the plot holes. You have a high school in a city with the largest amount of super heroes, with a super hero on staff, and yet they have no way of dealing with a super powered fight breaking out in their lunch room. Then, there's the fact that the teachers have no idea what is going on within the student body. Every teacher I have known is not blind to the interplay of power within their classrooms. A group of students would not be labelled as bad when it is extremely clear who the 'assholes' are within the school.
Finally, the Geek Squad walks out of the police station after being there for a murder investigation, and Jinx actually says he'll see the others at school the next day. I'm sorry, but you just fled a murder investigation, incapacitated the entire police force, and still expects that he will be able to return to the scene of the murder and everything will be okay. Hell, he tells his friends basically that it is okay that they return to school, despite being suspected accessories to murder themselves. Not to mention a firing pistol in public that NO ONE goes to investigate. And one would thing that if super powers are being used to destroy a school in a city full of Supers, someone, anyone, would have shown up to investigate.
Now the characters are interesting, unique, and there are things tied in with them that grab the reader. Take the mention of the 'Witch World'. The mere mention of it and their technology instantly creates a want to read more and discover more about that world. Little things like this are spread throughout the story and the writers did a good job placing them to hook the reader. Hopefully later on there will be payoff for these little hooks.
The characters themselves are interesting. The main character (I assume it's Serena since Jinx gets the same amount of POV time within the story) is fairly eye catching and realistic. Her fears, her reactions, they all seem genuine and fit her character. I do have a bit of an issue with Jinx being what he is, mostly because it feels very Mary Sue-esk. Why is it when someone is the son of something evil, it's always the Devil? (who's actions in the story also seem cartoonish and out of character for the lord of all evil. Even for a YA story, he's very G rated.) I can understand his want of a parent and his fear of abandonment, however against the backdrop of his cartoonish father it quickly loses its impact and any sympathy that may have been forming.
In the end, I loved the concept, but the lack of structure and the plot holes just wrecked this for me. I will continue to read the other "books" in this series as I do enjoy the characters. However, I really hope that the other two that are currently are released have climaxes and actual plot building that is fulfilled.
So if you are looking for a well written super-hero story, this isn't for you. However, if you want a quick read with interesting characters and great potential later on, then maybe give this story a try. I'm definitely hoping for things to blossom in the books ahead.
- Like Death
on April 18, 2013
I've read Waggoner's work before, and saw a touch of those other books in this one, albeit just a touch. This is good as too much would have taken the heavy feel of this book and turned it to a far lighter side.
'Like Death' is a wonderfully written novel that captures a very dark feel and wraps it around your soul, leaving you feeling dirty and sullied at major points in the story. From the intro of the tale to the very final word, the reader is treated to a tale that brings out horror as well as the darkness that dwells in all of us. Waggoner's concept of the darkness is an interesting and creative idea. Though it is in this presentation that you see a hint to some of his other works, Waggoner keeps it darker, and in doing so saves the work. He also doesn't go all out and extravagant, thus over doing the setting. Instead, it's the right balance of the disturbing and weird.
The characters in 'Like Death' are also well written, and realistic. There were a couple points where the main character Scott seems a bit off, but throughout the story you slowly understand what is going on and in the end everything is explained. The young woman he meets is an excellent character, and easily my favorite out of all of those present in the tale. As you learn more about her, her character deepens and she becomes a very rounded character.
The storyline travels along with very few dry spots, moving from one event to another and posing enough of a mystery to keep the reader interested. As I read, I found myself striving for what came next, searching for the pieces to figure out what was going on as the plot advanced. There were points where I thought I had everything together, and then found out that either I was right, but often found out I had it wrong. That kept me reading more so, as I wanted to finally figure what was going on.
In the end, this is an amazing book that is the right amount of gore mixed with horror and the weird. There are parts that will linger with me in the months to come, perhaps longer. The mysteries all got solved, the way things ended were not the way I would have liked, but still left me feeling better about how everything came together. Scott's own ending made me smile and though things came together in an unusual manner, it still worked really well with the storyline.
If you are a reader of horror, I recommend you pick this up. If you enjoy weird works like Lovecraft's, then I strongly recommend you pick this up, there are a lot of elements that resemble his stuff, only in a very unique way. Waggoner is a great writer, and his work will leave you feeling satisfied.
- Creeping Dawn: The Rise of the Black Centipede
on April 26, 2013
'Creeping Dawn: The Rise of the Black Centipede' is a book that I both highly enjoyed, and one that also made me want to set it aside and forget about.
The intro to the book is wonderfully done, the way that Miller introduces the Centipede from his fictional roots and then goes into his actual roots was interesting to read. Some elements, such as Lizzie Borden, were both unusual and yet very engaging. It actually had me reaching for Google to refresh my memory.
The first half, if not first three quarters of this book are well done. Elements flow easily into each other, the action is handled well. Not too detailed yet not too glossed over. There's an element of danger, mystery, and the hunt for Dr. Almanac contained just the right of Pulp villian craziness with over the top characters. (Baron Samedi being one of my favorites)
The writing is fairly well done, the characters are believeable and the Pulp aspect of the story shines bright. There is a lot here to engage the reader, to drive them on in the story and to keep them interested. Even slow parts in the beginning were still interesting enough to keep me interested in what was going on.
However, in the last quarter of the book, the story quickly falls apart for me. There is no real climax to the story, no final confrontation between Almanac and Centipede. Instead, you are treated to a second hand telling of how the criminal mastermind was arrested. Not only that, but the telling of that tale is so drawn out, so muddled, so uninteresting, that I really wanted to set the book aside and forget about it. One of the major things I have found with Pulp fiction, is that much like modern day superhero stories, you can't build up to a climactic battle and then not have it. It's like reader's blue balls. Not only that, it takes the climax right out of the book. Your rising action suddenly ends and then...nothing.
Creeping Dawn could have easily been a four to five star book. I really did enjoy a large, significant portion of it. I will and have recommend it to others to read, especially if you enjoy the Pulp genre. However, the lack of any real climax to the story, even with the surprise 'who done it' ending, really drags this book down for me. I will be buying the sequal to this novel, however, because I really do like the story, I do like the characters, and Miller is a fairly good writer.
So if you like Pulp, pick this book up. The ending may work for you, it has for others that have rated and reviewed this book. However, it didn't work for me. But still, if you like Pulp, you will probably really enjoy this story.
- Hershey's Wet Dream...
on May 15, 2013
This took me all of a couple minutes to read, and I really wish I could get them back. I admit, the poor reviews below were the reason I decided to give it a shot, and I am sad I did.
The grammar is terrible, often missing full words in more than one of the sentences. The plot is uninteresting, the characters are boring and have no development, and the setting is stunted.
In the end, do not read this. This story should have seen heavy editing before being posted to Smashwords, and the only saving grace of this story is that it is FREE.
- Space Eldritch
on May 24, 2013
I actually picked a copy of 'Future Lovecraft' and in searching for it, came across this little gem. I admit, the cover for 'Space Eldritch' is far more eye catching, which is why I ended up grabbing it as well. What I found inside was quite a mix of stories, which I will try to touch on the ones that had the best or worst impact on me while reading.
“Gods in Darkness” – David J. West was the story I enjoyed the least out of this collection. Not only were the characters one dimentional in my opinion, but the combat on the outside of the station, though handled fairly well, felt like it was still relying on gravity despite there not being any on the outside of the station. And then there was the sudden sex scene out of no where that made absolutely NO sense and felt shoehorned into the story.
“The Shadows of Titan” – Carter Reid and Brad R. Torgersen was an interesting story, containing a definite horror element that was handled with deft hands. The foreshadowing was a bit heavy, so it was easy to figure out what was going to happen, and the ending had a feel of being a bit deus ex machina. But overall, the story was a pleasure to read and I appreciated the horror element being intact.
“The Fury in the Void” – Robert J Defendi gave me mixed feelings. While reading it, I kept seeing huge links to Games Workshop's Warhammer 40k universe. From the cyborgs tech people, to the loss of technology falling to religious rote, to even calling the whirling sawbladed axe a 'power axe'. There were so many of these elements that I found myself being pulled out of the story time and time again, despite the fact that this is actually a good story. I think the religious elements were handled well, I think the way they came to this point was creative as well. I thought so many elements were creative, but had they been handled in a way that perhaps used different terminologies, or had been tweeked a little bit, the story would have read far more as a unique piece rather than feeling tied to something else.
(I am not accusing this of being ripped off of Games Workshop's world, rather, that it had many of the same elements which through my own association, wrecked the story for me. This is no fault of the author, and rather my own. Others, especially those with no exposure to 40k, will most likely enjoy this story for the interesting take on religion that it is)
"The Fury in the Void" did concentrate a bit too much on the rage elements of the storyline, to the point where I felt like I was getting smote in the head over and over again. Yes, the main character is angry, I get it, I don't need to be continually reminded through his rage, how others see his rage, how he acts around people, and people telling him he's the angriest man they know. It quickly became annoying. Still, Defendi created an interesting story that contained a good mix of Lovecraftian elements, and it was interesting to read.
“Flight of the Runewright” – Howard Tayler was easily the top story in this entire collection. Though I found the last part of the story to be a tiny bit muddled, the entire story itself was really well written, had believeable characters, and a twist that worked out really, really well. I think the Lovecraftian elements were beautifully handled, mixing well with the science fiction element to create something unique among the stories in this collection. Easily my favorite story in this collection.
Overall, this collection was pretty good. As others have stated, it's a good mix of fairly good stories, with some gems mixed in. Shumate did a good job bringing together a mix of sci-fi Lovecraftian themes and managed to put together a fairly unique anthology. If you are into sci-fi, or Lovecraft, pick this collection up. I enjoyed most of it, and I am sure you will too.
- Daddy's Shower Surprise!
on May 28, 2013
Strongly written, this story contains the right amount of build up as well as pay off. The way that Lovecraft brings events to a head is done extremely well, and she brings in just the right amount of description to make the show scene damned hot. Worth getting.
- Round-Robin; A Short Story of Incest
on May 28, 2013
Greene does it again with another amazing story. This one touches a lot of the bases and has a nice mix of plot vs erotica. Well worth the price, and just enough erotica to keep you coming back time after time after time.
- Tasting Daddy: An Incest Delight
on May 28, 2013
Overall a good little story with the right amount of heat vs plot. A bit too forward to get the action going, which sort of screws the believability of the story. However, if you are looking for something that's a plain fap fic, this would be right up your ally. Once the action gets going, it's well paced, very well described, and overall extremely hot. Worth getting.
- The Dancer in the Dark
on June 22, 2013
This book surprised me. I picked it up on Smashwords during a Lovecraftian themed shopping. But once I started reading it, the story quickly swept me up and soon I was finding myself turning page after page.
Fuller & Strickland have created a storyline that travels along at a really good pace. Though at times it may seem that the story is slowing down, it is in fact setting you up for the next big event in the story. The first person narratives interspersed in the actual story helps the reader to relate to the events in the storyline. These help to add a certain believability to the tale and also help to pull the reader further into the novel.
The climax of the story was a bit...quick. Things came to a head extremely quickly, and were resolved with equal speed. This removes the sense of urgency that has been building throughout the story and instead replaces it with an ending that feels as if it was solved too quickly, too easily. This is somewhat soothed by the way the ending pans out after all is said and done, but it still left me feeling that things could have been a bit more difficult for the protagonists.
However, the writing in this novel is wonderful, the tale masterfully put together barring what I mention above, and in the end, I will most likely read this tale again. Well worth the money I paid for it on Smashwords, I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys Lovecraftian tales. I suggest you pick it up and give it a read.
- Future Lovecraft
on June 25, 2013
Science Fiction and Lovecraft, what more could one want?
I follow Silvia's blog and tweets. She does good work, and produces pretty good material. I saw her plea for honest reviews about this book and decided to purchase it and give it a go. She mentioned this was the highest pirated book out of all of the ones released by her, but also one of the lowest rated.
I think I know why now.
Like many, I picked this up because it was Lovecraftian themed. Anything with Lovecraft in the title will draw the masses of fans, read to get their tentacles onto another collection of fiction that will entice them and make them dream forbidden dreams. Hence the high level of piracy in regards to this book. You tap into something so popular as Lovecraft, and people will come and snap it up as fast as possible. I was excited to read this anthology, especially after having read Space Eldritch (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16118770-space-eldritch) which in itself was a sci-fi Lovecraftian themed anthology.
Reading this anthology was like riding a roller coaster with huge peaks and very low valleys. There are some really, really good stories in this collection. "In The Hall Of The Yellow King", "The Labyrinth of Sleep", "Deep Blue Dreams", "The Comet Called Ithaqua", and "The Door From Earth" were some of the stories that I enjoyed the most. Wonderfully written, they contained Lovecraftian themes, even the ones that didn't contain his monsters. They were entertaining, understandable, and were a good mix of sci-fi and horror. I will probably go back and read these on a future date if I want to brave the bad stories of this anthology.
And that's where we run into the issue with this anthology. There were some stories in this collection that were hard to enjoy and most of the time felt as if I was being force fed a joke such as in the story "Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Nyarlathotep", or shoehorned into the anthology such as "The Library Twins And Nekrobees". (actually, more than one story felt shoehorned into the anthology)
In the end, this anthology is only middle of the road when it comes to Lovecraftian themed collections. If you are a fan of Lovecraft, then you might like this anthology. Just understand you might have to do some digging in the rough to find those diamonds.
- Alone In The Dark
on June 26, 2013
I picked this up when I was looking for Slender Man stories. Priced at 'Free', and with one five star review on Smashwords, I figured it was worth a look.
Johnson presents a two part story with this tale, and individually they aren't too bad. The first sets up the second, allowing the reader to get a good view of how Slender Man does what he does. The second follows a detective as he tries to solve the mystery of Slender Man and the missing children.
However, what had the potential to be a fairly good story got bogged down with a severe lack of editing and plot holes. Missing commas, lowercase names, improperly done dialogue, 'Alone In The Dark' is lousy with editorial problems. Had Johnson had someone look over this story, it would have easily been a three star story. But as it is, due to all the errors it was hard for me to rank it even as a two star.
One other issue I had was towards the end. The detective collects the means to defeat Slender Man from one part of a set of twins, the other who currently is imprisoned by Slender Man. The part that makes no sense is the fact that this imprisoned/tortured/whatever twin somehow is allowed to wander around Slender Man's domain. In doing so he is allowed into the creature's library where he not only learns the monster's language, but also finds the manner to defeat Slender Man in one of the books. It makes me wonder why something as evil as the Slender Man would just have the means of his destruction laying around for anyone to find. This leads, along with other events, to a very deus ex machina ending which left me feeling let down.
Another problem I ran into is the fact that in the second story, the detective hears a telling of what happens in the first part of the story. As the reader has already read the first story, this becomes simple filler and highly repetitive.
Still, 'Alone In The Dark' does contain, at its core, a very interesting story that given work, would be a fairly good tale. I am just saddened that it didn't see the work it deserved before being published on Smashwords.
- In Her Daddy's bed
on June 27, 2013
Hot, very much so.
But also extremely quick.
This is more of a 3.5 story, but I decided to give it 4 stars because this story felt more like a fap story more than anything. If you want to get off to something, this story gets to the action very quickly, and you have more than enough to choose from in regards to what to climax to.
I agree with the other review that this story isn't as developed as her previous stories, however, it works really well as a simple story for a self-quickie.
- Night of Wolves (The Paladins #1)
on July 03, 2013
This book had two five star ratings on Smashwords, and was also Free. I saw that it was the beginning of a series (now up to five books I believe) and I thought I'd give it a shot. I've never been a true fan of paladins, but one of the reviewers said that Dalglish did a good job writing them. Plus, I needed a fantasy book to read, and this seemed interesting enough. I mean, it had wolf people, so that's always a bonus.
First off, the reviewer was right. Dalglish does a fantastic job writing paladins. Anyone who has grown up with any D&D books, be they Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance (with its own brand of holy knights), and the other worlds, will be familiar with this class. They will also be familiar with how annoying they could be, and how boring they were to play. However, Dalglish has done an amazing job making his paladins something more than just holy knights. He made them human, and gave them all the traits you would expect from a human who relies on their faith as a weapon/shield.
However, as well as Dalglish writes the paladins, he does a lesser job on Redclaw I found. Though the Wolf King was a good antagonist, when I reached a point about half way through the book where suddenly Redclaw is plagued with fears, I was surprised. Here was a character that for the first part of the book was portrayed as a fearless leader full of conviction and courage, only to suddenly find out he was riddled with fear. (or so it seemed) This broke me away from his character, and felt like a bid to make him more sympathetic as a villain. Unfortunately, all it did was make him less interesting. Had his character had this trickle of fear throughout the novel, his character would have been wonderfully flawed and easier to relate to.
Another element that caught me off guard was the suddenness of events involving Jerico's order. They seem to suddenly occur and everyone seems fairly quick to assume what they do about Jerico and his people. I found it weird that everyone suddenly seems to know what they do, and even Jerico himself seems partial to believing it himself. True or not, having so many people present the same idea as fact with no one really fighting against it just feels unnatural rather than the normal flow of things.
Dalglish does a great job with the combat scenes in this book. They flow easily, each moment moving seamlessly to the next. They are easy to picture in one's head and don't get bogged down with endless details. Each was filled with the right amount of excitement, bloodshed and the unknown that keeps the reader turning the pages. The spacing between scenes was also handled well and kept the general flow of the novel smooth.
'Night of Wolves' was a fun and enjoyable fantasy novel to read. I have already purchased the second book 'Clash of Faiths' and put the third and forth in my 'to buy' list once I am done the second tale. If you love fantasy, this book is for you. You can't beat the price (and if you don't like it, you lost time and nothing more), and if you like paladins, then that's more of a bonus. I have already recommended this book to my friends that are into fantasy, and I suggest you pick it up as well.
- Whispers in Darkness: Lovecraftian Erotica
on July 10, 2013
This was the second Lovecraftian themed erotica book I have read, and where the first one I read enjoyable, this one excelled in every way possible.
Circlet Press has done a fantastic job with this collection of Lovecraft themed erotic stories. Where some would leave out the heavier stuff and concentrate more on the erotic without the details, 'Whispers' has a nice range of both kinds of stories. There are those that concentrate on setting the mood over explicit details, but there are also those stories that revel in what they are presenting forth with writhing tentacles and unspeakable horrors doing unspeakable things.
'Whispers' is a well put together anthology, with an amazing collection of stories and writers under one cover. Never once did I wish a story was over, nor did I ever find myself skim reading over details. Instead, I was drawn into each story and immersed in well thought out stories, interesting characters, and well done sex.
Even if you don't get some of the wink-wink-nudge-nudges towards Lovecraft's stories, you will still enjoy this collection. Especially if you are into boneless tendrils caressing your body late at night.
It's hard to pick out anything that was truly off with this collection. Yes, as with any collection, there were stories that were far better than others. But even those stories were engaging and overall were a fun read all in all. The length of the collection was a bit shorter than I would have liked, but again, that all depends on the material they received, and the quality that they have more than makes up for it.
In the end, 'Whispers' was a fantastic read that did what it set out to do with flare and amazing skill. The others inside this collection deserve a read, and I look forward to seeing their other works to see if their skill carries over to their other pieces.
So if you are into unique erotic collections, Lovecraftian things that suck in the night (or blow, or f*ck, or...well, you get the picture), then this collection is right up your alley. Well written, overall really fun, I highly recommend it.
- Babysitting My Naughty Sister
on July 11, 2013
Overall, the sex in this story was well done. The right amount of detail, a good mix of dialogue once things got going, and overall a pretty good story if you are searching for something to entice your fantasies.
Personally, I would have liked to see a more realistic lead up to the actual sex. A lot of the dialogue before the actual sex comes across as stilted and like a bad porn which takes away from the rest of the fiction.
Still, if you are looking for a quick read to get off to, this would be a good one to get and worth the asking price.
- Horrible Stories For Terrible People, Vol. 1 - Monsters
on July 13, 2013
I really didn't know what to expect when I picked up this anthology. Sure, I head read the title, but not the description. I've read Pratt's work before and had a general idea what I was going to be faced with, but what I got was something above and beyond his previous works.
'Horrible Stories' is a really interesting mix of monster stories that all seem to be interconnected in some manner. In some places, it's hard to see how they are connected, while in others the threads run extremely close to the other stories. More than once characters suddenly crop up, their paths crossing as you get further into the anthology. This is one of the charming points of this anthology. No matter what, all the stories are in the same universe, so in a way there's a nice common ground you can rely on while reading.
Pratt's writing in this anthology is fairly strong. The action flows well from one story to another, and their placement works well amongst their neighbors. A few of the stories I found to be a bit abrupt in their ending, sort of like driving your car along a patch of road to suddenly find yourself over a cliff, falling to your doom. The stories that did this, though few, were jarring and tended to drag me out of the story and anthology.
But thankfully the other stories brought me back time and time again, especially once I was past the mid-point of the collection. As the stories built, so did the world and the characters within it. Pratt did a good job with characters like Vlad, Horton and Rudy. (okay, as much as I hate the whole talking dog thing, Rudy grew on me, and Pratt did a fantastic job making one of my most disliked children's tv shows into a legit feeling story)
One of my favorite points was Vlad showing up at the vampire party, and simply his view of the various types of vampires. Pratt actually made me laugh out loud there and I immediately shared it with my girlfriend. It's small moments like that which make this anthology more than simply just another monster anthology.
'Horrible Stories' is a good collection, and one I highly suggest for others to pick up. I enjoyed it, the pricing is good, and it isn't your standard mix of monster stories. (though you will have to get past the werewolf story in the beginning which will make you think that is all they are. Trust me, they aren't all like that, just keep reading) So if you like monsters, and want a fun and entertaining ride through a unique world, pick this collection up. Well worth a read.
- The Thing in the Water: a Lovecraftian Short Story
on Nov. 06, 2013
I admit, I'm a sucker for Lovecraftian stories. When I saw this attractively priced story, I decided to pick it up. What started out as an interesting premise unfortunately ended on a disappointing note.
I give Loomis credit, the setting of a cruise ship is a unique setting idea. The characters, especially the main character, were wonderfully constructed. Their interactions were believable and there was a good dynamic between all of them, especially the narrator and Cliff. Each person intertwines nicely and overall Loomis does a good job keeping things moving as the story developed.
However, the major issue I found with this story was the climax. I admit, this is perhaps a bit of nit-picking, but if you are going to include a Lovecraftian creature, do your homework. Though Lovecraft himself didn't write a lot about Shub-Niggurath, it has pretty much been established that the Old One is primarily land/forest based. Putting her/it in the middle of the ocean, as well as the way she/it solves the narrator's problems, is completely out of character for that being. Her/its use in this story also seems to go against Shub-Niggurath's primary description as a corrupt fertility goddess as well. If another of Lovecraft's Old Ones were used, this tale would have come across a lot smoother.
Another element that fell short was the final climax of the story. That the main character would participate in what he does, even in the heat of the moment, seems fairly bloodthirsty and callous for someone who had not shown any of those elements previously in the story. Also, the fact that on a crowded cruise ship, three people would not be noticed by the ship's crew when all the other guests are apparently at a party feels unrealistic. That no one would notice someone falling overboard, or a missing person, adds to the breaking of the suspension of disbelief. Security tends to be fairly tight on cruise ships.
That said, if the reader has no prior knowledge of Lovecraft's mythos, or isn't wide read in the genre, then the above paragraph won't matter to them. Old One element aside, Loomis wrote a story with a unique setting, with an interesting premise, and with characters who will keep the reader engaged. I wouldn't recommend this story to frequent readers of Lovecraftian stories unless they wanted a quick read.
on Nov. 06, 2013
Having read Hemplow's 'The Innsmouth Syndrome' and really enjoying not only their writing style, but the well crafted story, I decided to pick up 'Sarcophagus'. What I got was an interesting lesson on myths centered around Chernobyl and a unique Lovecraftian story.
Hemplow writes interesting characters, and this story is no different. Victoria comes across as a realistic character, her decisions reflecting her experiences both past and present. Her inner struggles with the things she sees are understandable, and do not feel plot driven. I was especially drawn to her inner thoughts later on when she is told something I can not spoil here. Her reaction, her decisions, and ultimately her final choice, all seem like the thoughts of someone who has experienced all that she has.
The Lovecraftian horror of the story is also done well. There is a smattering of folklore that is centered around Chernobyl which had me instantly googling it learn more and that I found highly engaging. It added a level of realism to the story and helped to create a believable situation to insert the true horror of the story.
My only real complaint to the story is that when the final confrontation happens, it comes across as kind of hokey. The entire 'using primal instincts to obey vs using other primal instincts to fight it', while a good concept, didn't fit with everything that had been going on. Especially with Victoria's earlier thoughts, and even more so with the final decision at the end of the story. (which perhaps was supposed to be ironic, but in the end killed all validity the mental battle had at the climax of the story)
Still, the story is well crafted, the characters are enjoyable, and the setting was handled really well. Still worth picking up if you want to read a shorter Lovecraftian story, or are interested in some of the myths of Chernobyl. (not to mention, it is attractively priced as well, which is nice in this ever increasing pricing for ebook market)
- So Close, Yet So Far
on Jan. 26, 2014
Sadly, the good of this book is quickly drowned out by the bad, and there's a lot of it.
My first warning with this book should have been the fact that the author's name/fursonna is also the name of the main character. It becomes quickly clear as you read that the entire novel (300 pages or so) is a tale of self insertion with a dump truck load of Mary Sue poured liberally over everything.
Karmakat is the perfect character, going so far as being able to heal an arm sized hole through his stomach in a matter of seconds by eating chocolate bars. At no part in the entire story do you actually feel as if he is in trouble or in a situation that will put him at risk. There are moments where the lion makes a statement that what he is about to do will be the hardest thing he has ever had to do, and then he will go about doing it flawlessly with little to no personal harm.
Karmakat's (the character) only character flaw is that he is unsure of himself when it comes to his appearance. (but don't worry, everyone fawns over him throughout the entire book, and the only person to judge him on his looks isn't serious, so it's not really a flaw.)
The side characters however, were handled fairly well, and their personal risks were far more real as they had a lot more to lose. They had real issues that they struggled to deal with...that is until Karmakat comes along and fixes everything. But until that point, they are believable and enjoyable people, and if Karmakat would have been handled with the same believability this would have been a far better book.
In other reviews, the grammar and spelling issues are mentioned. As the author's primary language is not English, this can be expected. However, Karmakat had assistance from a number of people who he lists in the introduction to this novel. These include his wife who is from California, (and thus should have been able to correct his English) as well as another author, who should have been able to correct (or at least point out) the large amount of grammar and spelling errors that litter each and every page of this novel.
There are also some basic English mistakes involving paragraph breaks that leave the reader with pages of nothing but a wall of text. Often these include multiple conversations between different characters that should have been broken up into new paragraphs.
Many of these issues could easily have been caught in the editing (or even beta-reading) phase before publication, improving the quality of this book significantly.
Karmakat's underlying plot, or what I gathered was his plot as there was a lot of jumping around in this book, is Karmakat's (the character) budding relationship. This includes the feelings associated with it as he discovers someone who he would like to spend his life with. There was a lot of potential with this storyline, and if the entire book had centered on this, it would have been a really interesting story.
Instead, everything gets rushed in an unrealistic manner that left me shaking my head and wanting to put the book down.
The wolf seems to be considering a homosexual relationship for the first time and through the entire book Karmakat is smothering him while wondering why the wolf seems so reluctant. Definitely not the way to gently usher someone into their budding homosexual feelings. Then there's the case of things between the lion and wolf progressing extremely fast, to the point where they rush into things that take other couples months to years to decide to do. Thankfully, there wasn't any sex, so the characters didn't rush into that at least.
There are a number of smaller details that I could go into, but I won't, as I am trying to keep to the major problems with this story. There are those that did enjoy the novel if you look at the Smashwords reviews, and that's not to say you might not as well if you can look past the issues mentioned above.
But as it stands now, I do not recommend this novel.
With its size, the technical errors alone make it rough to slog through. The self insertion and Mary Sue elements with no real threat/suspense/danger to the main character make it almost unbearable. There is better written and edited material out there. And at $10, this novel is not worth it, and I feel ripped off that I paid as much as I did for it. If things were streamlined and all the errors fixed, then this book would be worth it, perhaps more so.
But until then, I do not recommend this novel for anyone.
on Jan. 27, 2014
This was a wonderful read with a nice blend of science fiction and the furry fandom.
Griffin has composed a story that, if you read the other reviews, seems to have surprised a lot of readers into thinking they were going to read another story when they picked this story up. He has done a masterful job of composing a story where you don't know what's going to happen around the corner and where the build of suspense is going to lead.
But man, what an ending!
I have to say the only reason I had any kind of inkling about what was going to happen was from all the reviews saying that this wasn't the story they thought it was. It got me looking deeper into the storyline than perhaps I should have and thus when the big twists hit I was prepared and already suspecting them. (that said, I only suspected one of the twists, not the others)
This is a book I highly recommend to anyone interested in science fiction or furry fiction. Wonderfully done, the perfect length and a very smooth Twilight Zone feel to the story. Well worth the price.
- If God Doesn't Show (A Cthulhu Mythos Novel)
on Feb. 21, 2014
Grover and Riley have put together a fairly interesting read with this book, and judging from the number of higher ranking ratings and reviews, a lot of people out there have enjoyed it. While there were many elements I rather liked, the majority of the story for 'If God Doesn't Show' fell flat for me.
The underlying plot for 'If God Doesn't Show' is a unique and interesting story involving both Lovecraftian mythos and Christian mythology. At first the combination surprised me, having not really seen it before, and I give full cred to Riley and Grover for the concept, it's an amazing one. The one flashback to Cthulhu vs the angels was beautifully done and brought to mind very clearly the sheer epic nature of the battle that was happening.
Other elements, such as the shadow creatures, were also nice touches, and their purpose was a nice surprise when it is finally revealed later on in the novel. I wouldn't have seen that coming, and when it did, I was impressed.
That said, however, I found that 'If God Doesn't Show' very much feels as if the authors tossed a large number of elements into a blender and tried to see if they would blend. As much as certain elements like the angels and fallen angels were great to add to the story, they play next to no roll in the story and could have easily been taken out or replaced with a preexisting element. (like the Twins for the angels, or cthulhu monsters for the one fallen angel they encounter) I understand that Blount exists in an angel rich storyline, and it would be a shame to leave them out. However, if a reader has not read the previous works including Blount, then the angels come across as mentioned above rather than an integral element.
There were some ups and downs with the characters within this work. Some characters, like Sam and Casey, were handled really well and saw some good character growth. (Sam especially) However, the main characters, Archer and Blount, were a problem for me. Archer felt almost one dimensional, while Blount felt like he was being shoe-horned into the novel. Archer didn't seem like he should have held the initial job at the start of the novel. If your wife, in a very memorable incident, tells you that your daughter's bf is trouble, and then something happens, why wouldn't you go back and ask her how she knew? Sure, she's crazy, but she also knew what was going to happen before it did. You guard the president, you're obviously a smart man, so why wouldn't you explore that lead?
Blount shows up as a character in the novel about 90 pages in, and slowly becomes the primary protagonist from then on. The fact that he is not in the first half of the novel gives the story a lopsided feel to it. More so since you haven't seen anything magical or myth related has really shown up before then. (except maybe the cult, and even then they just seem like a normal cult) The reader goes from what they suspect is a normal world that is suddenly going to hell due to an island rising in the ocean to multiple lives, psychics, angels, demons, God, gods, so on and so forth. This would have worked a lot better if Blount has been included earlier in the novel beyond a phone call.
But as I mentioned, the secondary characters are well done, and each behaved in a realistic and believable way. Some were handled well enough that it was a shame when they died, and more than a couple were frustrated me when they were given what amounted to a footnote death despite the amount of face time they got earlier in the novel. (such as the one that died in the helicopter crash)
In the end, the thing that got me the most with 'If God Doesn't Show', were the details. Though small, they built up fairly quickly and ruined a lot of the book for me. Some of elements were things like:
-The man who got shot in the belly, yet it somehow hit the lungs.
-The fact that okay is done as OK. Though correct, visually it is a gunshot to the eye when reading and gets annoying. (especially where they show up multiple times on a page)
-The runes that Blount placed that ended up containing the possessed person at the end of the novel, placed there earlier according to him yet I couldn't find reference to it even when I went back and reread that part of the story.
-Casey saying that the last time she saw her mom, the mother didn't recognize her, yet from what the reader sees, the last time they visited the mother she clearly knew who her daughter was. (unless they visited between that visit and the kidnapping)
-The deus ex machina ending, both in the false climax and the true climax of the book.
Yet despite what I mention above, 'If God Doesn't Show' was an okay book. As mentioned, I enjoyed aspects of it and there were things in it that both amazed and worked really well. I wish certain things had been integrated better though, as that would have turned an average book into a great book for me. And really, this book has gotten a lot of higher scores, so there are people that enjoy it, so you might as well too, despite what I mentioned above.
So, if you are interested in reading a unique take on Lovecraft's mythos, pick this book up. Both authors have done some amazing things in this story, and it is worth a read just for that fact. If you tend to get bogged down with details, then you may want to shy away from this one. An average book, this is still worth a read.
- Surviving The Theseus
on Feb. 22, 2014
I picked this book up off Smashwords because it had gotten high ranking reviews, and they said some very positive things about this story. Though it took me awhile to read it, I am glad I finally sat down and did so because Noble has crafted a really good tale.
The primary strength of Noble's writing is his action scenes. Each one is painted in the perfect level of detail, not too much, not too little. You get the general gist of what is going on while being able to observe what is happening around the main combatants. Be in gun battles, being chased by unknown things, or hand to hand, Noble has really found a good balance in each situation.
Another element of this story that was well done were the characters. Despite there being one or two moments where I felt a character broke their role, each person comes across as realistic, and their motives are understandable and easy to relate to. The only character I had a bit of an issue with was Regina, who is a weird mix of being a cold killer yet emotionally unstable in regards to those she kills. She was a fine balance, though I found she worked better when she wasn't internally trying to justify her actions continually. (though they did add a certain level of depth, and perhaps insanity, that she may have needed for the job she had)
The others, especially the crew sent to find out what happened to Pyramid, were beautifully done. The right amount of details were given for each character so that the reader would care about them, and the character tension levels were done well with interpersonal dramas between them. Seeing more of them would have been nice, but wasn't needed, all things considered.
Noble's story in this book is well put together, and once you get past Regina running around for most of the beginning (including a scene involving a immersive video game which could have easily been cut and the book would have lost nothing) it gets better. In fact, once the story hits its stride, it turns into a fast paced science fiction-horror story that will drive you to continue reading. However, as mentioned, you have to get through some slow material/unneeded material first.
I really enjoyed 'Surviving The Theseus', more so than I thought I would. There were elements, often with Regina, that had my blood pumping and really pulled me into the story. Noble has crafted something really interesting here, has done a fantastic job with the mysteries of what is happening on the Pyramid, and the final reveal wowed me.
If you are a fan of science fiction or horror, I suggest you pick this book up.
- Smooth and Tight: Sapphic Panty Stories
on March 08, 2014
I admit, despite the blurb on this book, I didn't know what I was getting into when I purchased this book. At the time I was looking at lesbian fiction so as to learn how it is written, and what I got was something far, far more interesting.
Cavendish has produced some very well written stories in this anthology. Though they generally carry the same theme (the theme of the anthology), each is interesting and unique enough that the reader won't get bored. Each contains varying levels of eroticism as well, and that helps keep the reader engaged as well.
But the one thing Cavendish understands extremely well is the fetish theme of lesbians who have a panty fetish. She writes each encounter and situation with an eye that presents it in a very realistic and understandable manner. Any reader with even a hint of this fetish will instantly pick up on this and it serves to enhance the fiction into a very arousing zone.
I have very little to say on the negative side of this book and only had an issue with the situation in the last story of the anthology. Though trying to seduce someone, wearing a see through dress in front of an entire party of people with visible underwear will most certainly get you a reputation, unless of course they are like minded to the host.
That said, the relationships are realistic, even the ones that might seem less so to those in more 'normal' relationships. Each character behaves in a manner that the reader can understand, more so if, as mentioned above, the reader carries this particular fetish.
All in all, I highly suggest anyone interested in lesbian or fetish works pick this book up. Though short, this anthology packs a punch!