I am not an author but I do love to read and review books. I love urban fantasy, dystopian, and gory horror. For non reading fun I watch cricket, darts, films, listen to music, and make news scrapbooks.
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Smashwords book reviews by chucklesthescot
on June 29, 2013
*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
A car accident on a quiet road brings 6 teenagers into contact with bloodthirsty beasts who pursue them into a dark forest. The old house seems to be the refuge that will save them but what they find inside is more dangerous than anything they have yet faced.
I really enjoyed this novella and it reminded me of a good horror film called House of Fears that I watched recently. The descriptive work by the author is excellent, allowing the reader to follow every twist and turn in the plot, building up the tension with every page. The secrets and fears of each character are explored using a clever mix of brief flashback and terror filled reality. It is not over descriptive or complicated, indeed you are meant to be as lost in the house as the characters are. It adds to the tension of the story. Character development in novellas is limited of course but the author does enough to interest you and not enough to bore you. It's difficult to say what I liked about it without giving spoilers and there is nothing worse than a novella review with spoilers. Let me just say that I found the book to be full of imagination. Well written and enjoyable for fans of creepy psychological horror writing.
For those who are interested, there is no sexual content and there is regular use of swearing, similar to what you would expect in a slasher film. It doesn't bother me at all but some readers like to know these things in advance.
I don't have any negatives on the book to share and I will certainly be interested in reading more work by the author.
on June 29, 2013
Poor. It's three pages filled with Bob did this. Bob did that. Ted did this. Ted did that. Poor dialogue, no real attempt to make a decent short story out of it.
The House Spider
on June 29, 2013
This was a decent read. It may be short but there was a lot of work put into the story. These are the kind of nightmares I have sometimes! Nice work.
on Aug. 09, 2013
On her sixteenth birthday, Libby faces the Inquest which uncovers her talents and her future path. The more talents you have, the better your future but if you have all seven it is a death sentence. Libby's future is The Destroyer, who will end the world, and as her family and friends desert her, only a school outcast stands by her. With two years left until she can be legally killed, Libby has to master all her abilities to keep herself alive.
I liked the sound of this book as soon as it came to my attention and it was an excellent story. Libby approaches her Inquest with dread because she knows what it will say but nothing prepares her for the way everyone reacts. Her boyfriend tries to kill her, her best friend wants nothing to do with her, her mother kicks her out and the whole school turns against her. Libby wants to prove to everyone that she is not evil or a threat to anyone but only Milo wants anything to do with her. I liked Libby because she is a normal girl with terrible secrets that are ruining her life. You feel for her as everyone turns their back on her and part of you wants her to embrace being The Destroyer and get her own back on them! I wanted to thump Lance from the moment the Inquest happened and I wanted Libby to hit him so much! I was nearly yelling at her to make him suffer! I liked Milo and was so keen to know what he was hiding. My guess was in the right sort of area but the author still managed to surprise me with the plot twists, which is always good. I loved the way the book finished, hinting that things were going to change in book 2. There are still secrets waiting to be revealed there I believe ie what is the President's real plan for Cassia? You know he is up to something as you can never trust these dodgy politicians!
I think my favourite scenes were everything that happened from the theatre onwards. I loved the way the plot went into a whole new area that I wasn't expecting and I liked the conclusions that Libby came to. Very satisfying!
Negatives? None. I liked the way the story unfolded, the way it was written and the very human story that was told. Libby is a frightened young woman with scary prospects and flaws and the way that people react to her through the different scenarios she faces is very realistic. It could have been your school that was being described. the character development is excellent and the twists and surprises in the plot keep it fresh and entertaining. You really do want to know what happens next. As soon as I get my Kobo in a few days, I will be getting the rest of this excellent series to read.
So why 4.5 stars? Well I think book 2 will be even better so I have to leave a half star spare for that!
on Sep. 15, 2013
Alyssa wakes up in a field on an alternate Earth full of magic and monsters and with no memory of who she is or how she got there. After befriending a coven of witches, Alyssa begins a dangerous quest to kill the monsters to get her memories back, helped by a variety of people with special monster hunting skills.
I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't expecting the book to have the setting of a more traditional King Arthur court kind of fantasy so I was worried that I might not like it. However as soon as I got into it, I was caught up in the adventure. I like the fact that Alyssa has no magic powers in this world and that she finds ways to use that as a weapon against the witches and monsters she faces. The worldbuilding is interesting and detailed without getting boring and the varity of characters and monsters was great!
I really liked our band of heroes-Alyssa and Vessa had an interesting and complex relationship that is well developed through the novel. Parker struck me immediately as the likeable rogue, instead of just the straight romantic hero. I laughed at the vanity of Eric and enjoyed the sarcasm of Lace who became one of my favourites. Kaitlyn was a character that I wasn't too sure about all the way through which gave her a more interesting edge than she might otherwise have had. I liked what was done with Beth as well. Ooh there is so much I want to say about the characters but that would mean spoilers so I must restrain myself! OK one wee hint-when the witches discover a traitor in their midst, I knew instantly who it was because of what happened when they first entered. I did suspect the possibility of what happened in that flashback shocker but I was taken by surprise a few times in the final showdown. I like it when that happens!
The range of monsters in the book was wonderful for an urban fantasy fan like myself! Vampires, werewolves, human sized ticks(UGH), witches, demons, Ice Queens and Fire Kings, zombies! What more could you have in a book? Plus we had the city of Frankenstein where the people are creating science instead of magic and I found this bit really interesting. It blended both versions of Earth together with a nice thick helping of monster mythology!
I don't think I could say there was much I didn't like. There was a good mixture of action packed plot and character development. I enjoyed the way Lace in particular was developed with her mixture of cowardice and bravery. It made her more real. I liked the storytelling and the simple way that the story was told. I liked the gradual development of the relationships between the characters and the way they became more committed to each other and the quest. It was good to see them all playing their part in the quest and becoming a real team. OK so I didn't like the cruelty to a few poor animals though! *Sniff*. I'm such a soft touch when it comes to dead animals. I never did forgive JK Rowling for what she did to Hedwig and Dobby...
The great thing is that I have a few more works by this author that are lurking on my Kobo and I'm REALLY looking forward to reading them now! This book will appeal to those interested in fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal and adventure books. Highly recommended.
Max and the Gatekeeper
on Oct. 05, 2013
Max doesn't want to spend the summer with Grandpa Joe, especially when there are are creepy chanting people and bullies with magic powers. But he needs to learn his destiny, safeguarding a gateway to other worlds, and stopping evil enemies from taking control of it. With Grandpa's friends and Cindy, his only friend, Max is mixed up in magic, danger and adventure.
This was a really enjoyable, easy to read adventure for all ages. There are evil people from several galaxies who want to kill the rest of Max's family to gain control of the gateway, and only a few people are standing against them. Max and Cindy have to learn magic to help keep themselves alive as they help to stop their enemies. There are several trips to other worlds in a Stargate style plot, meeting new races and animals. There are magical battles and life or death dramas. It keeps moving along at a good pace, with the author putting the characters into lots of dangerous situations to entertain the readers.
I liked the characters in the book. Grandpa Joe is a very cool guy and I liked the fact that our hero was a pensioner! It makes a nice change to have a bit of diversity. Max and Cindy are good kids and I liked their growing relationship which includes that awkward is she just my friend or does she LIKE me like that situation. It's a fun innocent puppy love subplot which is cute because we can all remember that first childhood crush! I liked the different people that Max meets on his travels and I really liked Ell! The bad guys were entertaining pantomime villans who you wanted to yell 'boo, hiss!' at every time they appeared, especially Alan!
There was a nice twist towards the end which I did guess a bit earlier. I think it might have been a subtle hint left by the author in a bit of dialogue, as I spotted this and thought, 'hmmm!'. But guessing the twist did not spoil the reveal at all, it just made me go 'Ha I was RIGHT!' which is quite satisfying!
This is a book that will appeal to anyone who enjoys fantasy, magical adventures, and a good fast moving plot. There is one bit of dialogue where a pile of swear words is implied but not written, but other than that it is suitable for all ages. I'd certainly like to read the rest of this series.
Fusion: A collection of short stories from Breakwater Harbor Books’ authors
on Nov. 01, 2013
Dee Harrison-The Sliver of Abilon:
Junah the Mirrorsmith seeks out fragments of mirrors to be safely destroyed before these slivers infect humans causing death or madness. A plague occurs in Abilon and he goes to investigate. 3 stars!
I'm not a huge fan of this style of fantasy-scifi but I did enjoy this story. It's tough to develop character in a short story but Junah was likable and his quest to stop the plague and find the slivers of contaminated mirrors that came through the planet gateways to infect people was an interesting concept and not one that I had seen before, which is always nice! The side characters that we meet on his journey are all interesting in their own ways and add to the story. It's hard to say much without giving away the story but I liked the way the plot moved on. If anything, perhaps I'd have liked it to be a bit longer just to get some more action and tension into it. I would certainly look at more by this author, and would maybe look at any other books set in this world.
Ivan Amberlake-Diary of the Gone:
A social misfit who is haunted by the dead has to investigate when students at his school start to go missing, with only his diary to protect him. 3.5 stars!
This was a creepy paranormal story with the 'don't go into the woods' warning to it. The plot was a bit different, which is always a good thing and not easy to do with a paranormal theme. The author's descriptive work is excellent, and you can see exactly what he wants you to see through Callum's eyes, right now to the colours fading from life every time the ghosts are coming. One thing that I have noticed about this author is that his word use is always perfect. The descriptions of the world he is building are always new, not a tired cliche that you have seen in countless other books, and it always seems to fit just right into the story. There is plenty detail about Callum's ghost problems and the diary to let you know what is going on but enough enough to bore the reader. I felt there was a nice balance.
Callum is quite likeable and I felt sorry for him because his sister treats him with such contempt, and the school bully seems to be picking on him for no reason. Nathan is the fun friend who tries to look out for Callum so you warm to him despite his appearance being brief. I didn't feel much of a connection to his other friends, other than Vivian as the book progresses, but it wasn't too vital for the story. Gloria was my favourite character though.
I did have a couple of minor plot niggles. I wanted to see a bit more of Gloria and her back story as she was the one who really fascinated me. I felt that she was a bit underused when she seemed so important to the story. I would have liked the scene in the library to have been longer and more detailed, giving us more about the previous missing kids. I also wish the attack at the school had been longer, along with the big finale. I guess I wanted more of these bits because they were the bits of the book that I liked the best. But these niggles are more about what I wanted to see in the book, and no reflection on the author's writing.
Claire C. Riley-Life Ever After:
Nina and Ben are on the verge of divorce when the zombie apocalypse comes. When their plan to stay safe in their house fails, they must make a run for it to try and reach safety. 4 stars!
Really enjoyed this story! I felt that this was a very realistic look at how an ordinary couple would deal with a sudden zombie outbreak. Do we stay at home and wait for help or risk a road trip to get to the country? What do we take? What do we need? Can the zombies get in? It made me think about what I would want to do in that situation. Nina and Ben are nicely developed through their interaction with each other before the zombies arrive, and during the crisis itself and both are likable characters. The zombie incidents are nicely written with plenty tension and a little bit of gore to keep horror fans happy! This was the best story in the book and a prequel to zombie novel Odium.
Scott J. Toney-Novafall:
The essence of dead planets once invited into the human body give the host great powers but using the powers drains their life away bit by bit. 1 star.
I found this story very confusing and not to my taste at all. It starts with a man called Ineal and we get a bit about his back story as he crashes down to a planet with the alien essence. Then we never hear of him again. A man appears later called Ivanus with no back story. I wondered if the author during a new draft had decided to change the name of the character and forgot to do a complete edit. Then there was the jumping back and forward between present and past which was not always clear. I didn't like the way it was written, described or structured and gave up halfway through it.
A man falls in love with a muse who is trapped in another dimension and goes on a quest to deem himself worthy to rescue her. 3 stars!
This was the surprise of the book for me. I'm not a romance type person and that is what the blurb sounded like but it was so much more than that. Our hero is obsessed with his muse who can only visit him for limited times before returning to where she is captive. Other men have tried and failed to complete a mythological quest to find and claim her. The quest was fascinating, testing him in different ways and I was caught up in the story. Beautifully written, well developed.
Cara Goldthorpe-Capturing Perfection:
A greedy man marries a talented artist and forces her to draw things for him to pass off as his own to make him rich. 2 stars.
I just never got into this story at all. There was nothing wrong with the way the story was written-it just wasn't my thing. I'm not interested in art or painting and I'm not interested in love stories so I didn't expect this to be a favourite!
C.M.T. Stibbe-Until the Ninth hour:
The reign of a serial child killer is brought to a halt by the police but there are a few more shocks in store. 3 stars!
I liked this story. The characters are well developed and the plot is excellent. We find out about the last moments of a serial killer's victim from the killer, which is chilling and we get a tension filled side story developing as we follow the victim's father going to confront the man who took his daughter. Chilling, sad, touching all the same time! Very well written and will look out for more work in this genre by the author.
Overall I enjoyed this anthology and will look at further releases from Breakwater Harbor books.
on March 20, 2014
Skip hangs around the old theater, doing a bit of clean and repair, dreaming of owning the property and dating the hot but unattainable Nadia. But today there is movement in the building and Skip doesn't know who or what it is and must find a way to sneak out.
This was one of those stories that had real potential but was just too short to deliver. On the plus side, it is well written. I liked the plot itself and the main character was likeable-for a change, a young guy who was against drugs! How often do we see that? I hate stories where the so called hero is a pothead.
However, my copy had twelve pages and the first five had the whole history of this theater and Skip's personal problems and dreams for the future. Had the book been fifty or a hundred pages long, that would have been fine as it was quite interesting to read, but the book was half finished when the first hint of danger finally arrived for Skip. In a story this short, I wanted to get right into the action. I was starting to wonder if I was going to see a zombie at all! If the book had been longer we could have had the extra tension of a long chase, hiding and panicking, and a dash for freedom which I feel the author could have delivered nicely. Instead it was all over very quickly without the chance to get too excited by what was happening.
I feel that this author has the potential to write some really good stuff if he writes longer material and develops the good ideas that he has in a bit more detail.
on March 20, 2014
Colts wants to get this job on Death Row in a new environmentally friendly prison so he can be involved in killing a man who killed a member of his family. But something odd is happening at the prison. Why is everyone so scared of going into the death chamber? Why are no questions allowed? What exactly happens when the prisoner is left there? Colts is about to find out.
I quite liked this one. You can understand the motivation of Colts. Plenty people would want to be there when the murderer of someone they love is put to death and some may feel better to be legally involved in that death. I liked his partner, who guesses why he wants the job that others are scared to do and he tries to warn Colts not to start getting nosy or it could be the death of him. I liked the way the story was set up, showing the fear in everyone who had to enter the chamber to execute the prisoner and how quickly they want to get out of there. I had a few ideas through the story about what was behind the door that everyone kept looking at, but I won't tell you what is was in case I spoil things for you. The ending as well is just my thing!
This was a nice horror/thriller without the need for gore. The characters are nicely developed, the plot moves swiftly and the tension is gradually turned up as the execution looms. I wonder if this could be the future of Death Row executions...
on March 20, 2014
Everyone that Dany knows died in the zombie apocalypse but she is somehow immune to their bites. She is travelling to a quarantine zone in New Jersey where she thinks safety can still be found.
Lets start with the good. My favourite character was the dog who had plenty personality. The action scenes with the zombies are written fine and there is no problem with the ideas behind the story. But I did have issues with a few things.
OK first of all, I hated Dany. She is a rude little bitch to everyone she meets on the road and needs a good slap. When she meets another teenage girl who has been living in a car since her parents turned, Dany takes the opportunity to sneer at her for not having any fighting skills. Dany hardly covered herself in glory with what happened to her brother yet she thinks she has the right to be mean to this girl who was doing fine for herself before Dany messes things up for her. When she is given shelter by a family, she is rude to the young guy who doesn't have much to say. I really wanted to see her getting chewed to death by a pack of zombies.
There were a couple of plot holes that gave me a serious headache as well. Dany has been travelling from Missouri to Ohio using cars as much as walking yet somehow near Ohio's border she is just sitting in a tree and sees her zombie parents strolling by. How did they get to Ohio ahead of her, jet pack? They were bitten in Missouri yet shambling around, they still beat a healthy girl and multiple cars? Oh come on! I know it is put there for dramatic purposes but it just could not happen!
I don't usually put a spoiler for how the book ends but I'm going to in this case so if you don't want to see it stop reading and skip to the next paragraph. OK you were warned! When Dany finally reaches quarantine and tells the army that she is immune, they decide to drain her blood and kill her to use her blood for research. Now seriously, if they find someone immune, the army would be smart enough to take some blood for research, keep her alive, then remove more once her body had replenished itself. That way you have a plentiful supply to keep using while you search for a cure instead of killing your only hope! That just does not compute! I know again it was for dramatic purposes that this ending was chosen, and I wasn't sad to see her die but the army just wouldn't do that so it bugged me. I'd have preferred her to get ripped apart...
One star is probably a bit mean as there is nothing wrong with the author or his storytelling ability but there was just too much that I didn't like about it for rating any higher.
on March 21, 2014
For all of you out there like me who picked this book based on the title, let me give you a heads up. This is not a gory zombie story with the living dead eating people. This is not about a guy who is a zombie wanting to or trying to eat his loved ones. It is a dead guy wandering around with little memory of his life and with no purpose, who crosses paths with various thugs, lowlifes and gangsters that he knew before he died. And that's about it. I'd call it a gangster book with a dead guy in it, I wouldn't even really call him a zombie.
So was it any good? For me, no not really. First it wasn't what I expected it to be. What really was the point in Dave? When he came back from the dead he didn't DO anything except wander around town. He didn't solve the puzzle of his death, he didn't chew on anyone, he didn't have a purpose and eventually he just walks back to his grave. Well it wasn't really exciting to read that plus we also find out that he wasn't a good guy when he WAS alive. Then I didn't really like the countless scumbags brought into the story for no real reason except to talk about Dave and how he was killed. Why were there so many in such a short book and why were are so poorly developed?
As for the plot, well it was just plain boring. No action scenes, no fight scenes, no zombie attacks and little of interest happening plus the editing was poor. Disappointing read.
What Waits Through the Trapdoor
on March 21, 2014
Tom Reidy is a monster hunter for the Vatican, on the trail of something that is eating children off the street. He starts to follow a couple of goth kids that could be vampires or could be possible victims. But when the kids decide to steal alcohol from the creepy shop, their worst nightmares are about to come true unless Tom can save them...
I really enjoyed this story. I liked the information given about Tom and his job, which sets the scene for why he thinks the boy is a vampire and why he hates them so much. Tom is tough, resourceful but prone to mistakes in his work, as Giselle reminds him, and comes over as a likable guy who'd you'd want to be close to if trouble is near. His phone interaction with Giselle the f-bomb dropping nun is funny and I certainly hope that we get to meet her in future books.
It takes a bit to get to the meat of the story(pardon the pun) but I never found it boring because we find out a few bits and pieces about Tom and the missing kids as we follow the targets. As soon as we get to the creepy store with the dreadful smell, the fun begins! The trapdoor opens and down into a maze full of zombies we go! Imagine being in the semi-dark with bloodthirsty zombies wanting to rip you apart while you try to avoid them and find a way out. That's as much as I'm going to say about the plot as I don't want to spoil this story for you. It was full of tension and zombie attacks which I always find enjoyable, and the author does a good job of keeping you interested in what was going on. This was well thought out and constructed and it delivered perfectly in my opinion.
I certainly want to read more about Tom and his adventures and I look forward to reading more by the author when available. I'd recommend this one for fans of paranormal thrillers and those who like some scary zombie action!
on March 22, 2014
The Zombie Dash 10k race is a chance for runners to run through zombie infested woods where volunteers dressed as zombies try to grab flags off their back. Losing a flag costs time to be added at the finish. At first it is all fun with giggling zombies and mock screams of horror until the big clown zombie targets Becca with real menace and drags her away...
I have always wanted to get involved in these zombie races as it looks like a really good laugh-I'd have to be a shambling zombie though as I can't run for a bus, never mind 10k! So this story idea appealed to me when I saw it. You can imagine the atmosphere...runners pretending to scream and yell with fear, volunteers yelling 'braiiiinnnsss!' and trying to grab them without cracking up laughing and everyone having a great time. Nobody is going to notice real screams when one zombie is trying to attack a girl for real and everyone ignores her friend yelling for help and chasing them into the dark woods...
I liked this story. It had the fun of the race and then the tension and the menace of the zombie clown. I mean, clowns are bad enough but zombie clowns really are a twisted invention! I liked the plot twists that kept on coming, starting with the identity of the attacker and his reasons for doing it. You do have hints about this in the early part of the book so if you're paying attention you'll be expecting this but it is still fun waiting for the reveal. I really enjoyed what came next...call it the twist after the reveal! It would spoil the story if I tell you but it was a good ending.
I could see a follow up story, beginning where this left off and if it comes I would certainly read it. It is a light zombie read that is entertaining and nicely written.
on March 22, 2014
Cory is angry when his girlfriend dumps him for a total loser and he goes to her flat to teach this guy a lesson. But as he flees the flat, something inhuman is growling below him on the staircase...
This is a short creepy horror where you know what is going to happen and what the twist is, but you enjoy watching it unfold anyway. Cory is a violent thug so when he gets a taste of fear, you have no sympathy for him and hope that he will get what is coming to him. He has two choices-go back up the stairs to beg his ex for help or fight his fears to use the lift to get past this beast.
The author does a good job of expressing all the emotions that come from Cory during his 'adventures' that night-his explosive anger, his violence and his utter terror. The tension is gradually built up as the beast closes in on him and I thought that this was a great wee horror tale. I'd be interested to see what else the author has written and maybe give that a go. 3.5 out of 5!
on March 22, 2014
Sarah has been kidnapped for a ransom that she knows her soon to be ex husband will have no intention of paying, so things look pretty doomed. Escape is impossible when she is tied up and being watched.
I just didn't get what the heck was going on in this one as the plot was very confusing. She is sure she recognises the voice of her kidnapper and seems to be confused over whether it is her father or a toy doll called Bobo or someone else. She is having flashbacks to being sexually abused by either her father or Bobo, which I found really weird. Flashbacks to a stillborn child and Bobo being buried by her mother in amongst the weird stuff. And who is trying to rescue her-the police or Bobo???
What happened??? Who was the kidnapper? What's this all about?
I'm beyond confused...
Music of the Gods
on March 22, 2014
Donald and Susan are a couple at war and are going away for a few days to try and sort things out. The two of them bicker about Donald getting them lost and hating each other and then comes the car crash...
After exiting the car to get help, they look for help but only find an abandoned town and Susan can hear music from the forest but all Donald can see are shadowy figures. He fears that something bad is lurking there but Susan wants to explore.
OK so I did know what was happening and how it was going to end as I have read quite a few similat stories through the years. It may not be an original concept but it was still a decent short story worth a 2.5 as opposed to just a 2 star, but I can't give half stars out.
The Unfinished Song: Initiate
on March 23, 2014
Dindi dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, a warrior-dancer with magic powers. Only those who pass an Initiation test can join this group and now her turn has come.
For me, this was the worst book I've read this year. The plot, the characters, the writing, EVERYTHING was wrong with this book. I really hated this one.
Dindi is the most useless excuse for a girl that I've ever seen. She is supposed to be 14 but doesn't seem older than about two. She is stupid, useless, and has the common sense of a blade of grass. She spends all her time dancing with the fae and shirking her chores and this causes chaos everywhere she goes. She screws up the simple act of washing her face, screws up the Initiation kidnap for everyone and makes a mess of everything she says and does. I was hoping that somebody would just kill her as becoming a Happy Meal for her tribe would have given her a use at last! The second story arc following the clan exile is no more interesting.
The book is over-descriptive to excess. We get every detail of Dindi's chores, the village, the market place, Dindi's home, the Initiation, the trek etc and it was far too much for me. I don't need to know the colour and shape of everything. Yet the author did not feel the need to explain the important things. She gives names to things ie '..a kraal at the bottom of the hill held aurochsen and horses'...yet does not think to tell the reader what an aurochsen is! The info dumps are long and complicated with words you don't get given the meaning for which leads to a boring and confusing narrative. There were so many tribes and factions each with different names and traits that it leads to more confusion, especially when the story keeps jumping between them all the time. I was totally lost and could not keep track of who was who, and it got to the stage that I didn't actually care anymore.
It Lives In Dark Places
on March 25, 2014
Robert agrees to do a simple courier drop for two hapless criminals which leads to him being chased by every cop in the country. He finds an open sewer where men are working and climbs down with the police in hot pursuit. But there is something else lurking down there in the dark, something that wants to kill everyone down there...
Yes I liked this one. I do enjoy a story where people are being shredded by the monster in the dark! I never get tired of reading that kind of thing. Being a very short story, the author gets straight to the point-the chase and the mayhem in the dark. It did have an intriguing ending so I wonder if we are going to hear a bit more about the company and where the creature came from in later works. It is surprisingly well developed for its length and the story is nicely presented.
This is the second story that I have read by the author and I find his work to be enjoyable. The stories may all be short but they are snappy and fun for the horror fan to get their teeth into. I certainly plan to read more of his work.
on March 25, 2014
Toby has no friends and finds himself trying to join The Hellhounds, a gang of criminal losers who are happy to have a new member. For his initiation, they break into a church but when they are confronted by the vicar, one of the boys lashes out and injures him. That's when they hear the sound of the stone gargoyle coming for them.
Toby is a decent kid who is so desperate for friends that he is willing to have out with the town crud. He doesn't want to be a criminal but he doesn't want to lose his new friends. You can see his panic as things start to spiral out of control and he soon regrets his choices. I like the idea of a rampaging gargoyle taking revenge on evil little gits like this so the story was very satisfying. You learn a lot about Toby in this story which is unusual in these shortened versions. The author has a real knack of pulling you along for the ride and engaging you in the plot. Nice work!
To the Devil his Due:
Victor hates his weak wife and lures her out into the forest for a romantic date so he can stab her to death. He gets a surprise when the crime is witnessed by the stone gargoyle watching him. The creature is trapped and will promise Victor the world if he releases him...
Heh! I enjoy this kind of tale where the criminal is an evil git who needs a good lesson taught to him. Again, I liked the gargoyle and the way that he uses Victor's ego to secure his own release. I liked the ending and it was another satisfying short story from this author.
on March 25, 2014
*I received a free copy of this book from the author through Making Connections in exchange for an honest review*
Kelsey is young, healthy and happy until she is told that she must donate her kidney to a stranger. Scared that the procedure could disable or kill her, Kelsey decides to run away, knowing that if she is caught she will go to prison and her organs will all be harvested until she is dead.
This book turned out to be nothing like what I was expecting-in a good way. It is a story that will get people talking because this society has very clear ideas about Life First-abortion is illegal,women are put at risk to try and save the baby,organ donation is compulsory and those who refuse are regarded as murderers and killed for their organs. It will get emotions running high depending on where you stand on these issues. I don't let my personal opinions affect me when I read a book and I didn't have any problem with the book or its content.
The characters are all well written and you can really feel for them as they face each emotional incident. I really liked Dr Grant, Susan and Kelsey's father as they all add real emotion and depth to the plot. It's easy for readers on one side of the divide to think Kelsey is selfish but when you get deep into her story it does challenge you to think what you would do with her history. The plot was really well worked with lots of twists and surprises that keep you hooked. I expected this to just be one of these on-the-run dramas but it was so much more than that. There was depth, drama, tension and action in this book that I didn't expect. The storytelling was done beautifully, and you can't help but care what happens to everyone involved.
I don't really have a negative on the book. I liked the way the author presented the story, the plot was good, the characters interesting and 'real', and a society that was different. Pehaps an epilogue would have been nice to tie up what happened to everyone but that's me being a bit picky. A good dystopian read for adult and NA/older YA to read.
If I could, this would be 3.5 out of 5.
2013: The Zombies Take Manhattan
on March 25, 2014
The idea of a woman taking refuge from the zombie apocalypse in her favourite fortified museum was a good one and the idea that she ends up sharing her hideaway with a wanted serial killer who murders women was a nice sounding twist. I thought that this was going to be a totally different take on the zombie novel. Well I was right but sadly I did not enjoy this one.
To be fair to the author, there is nothing wrong with the writing style or storytelling. It seemed well edited and put together. My only issue is that I did not enjoy the book personally.
Christine was one of the most annoying women you could ever be trapped in a building with. The character is a crime author and likes to talk like a romantic heroine from some bad historical romance. She is over dramatic, over 'girlie' and annoying as hell! I swear that she sees herself as Cathy in Wuthering Heights, floating around like lady of the manor and then locked up with big bad serial killing, cat hater Heathcliffe!!! She is also very dumb-I mean are you seriously just going to leave the other set of keys to your sanctuary just lying outside for any nutter to pick up? Well, yes if you are Christine. She had WEEKS to retreive the keys but didn't so in comes the serial killer.
And she keeps letting her cat wander around when she KNOWS he wants to kill it!!! I'm not a fan of cats and having her screaming 'you promised not to hurt Kitty!' every few pages had me grinding my teeth. I don't know how Erik restrained himself from murdering her because I certainly wanted to by about the 10th page. I wanted him to kill her AND Kitty! I just can't stand characters like this even though I know she was made that way for dramatic plots and purposes. I just didn't take to this book and when I flicked through to see what happened, I found the ending was really rushed and pretty poor.
If you like the lighter chick-lit style of zombie novel/thriller and don't mind that type of main character, you might well like it.
on March 25, 2014
Amelia has a curse on her family. If she does not save the love of a chosen human, she will forever be cursed without love herself. The problem is, the demon is trying to steal the love of the ex boyfriend who cheated on her so Amelia doesn't really want to help him.
This is a light, entertaining Valentine's Day story for fans of paranormal romance. Amelia is miserable at losing her boyfriend and not impressed that she has to save him from this demon when part of her wants him to suffer. She is not exactly the smartest girl in the world as you'll see when the plot gets to where they discuss his cheating. Doh! Stupid dumb girl alert! I liked the cute wee demon that was chasing them around and there was a sprinkling of humour. The story was well written enough to amuse and entertain. A decent short read and I'm probably going to try more by this author.
on April 10, 2014
I am always happy to see more books, self published or otherwise, set in the UK and this was part of the attraction of this book. sadly I did not actually enjoy the book.
On the plus side the story was a bit different, having a man harvesting brain matter from innocent people to sell to a large corporation. The side effect is that the harvested person goes into a health decline and dies due to their brain no longer working the way it should. Thing is, I didn't really connect with this guy, our hero or the victims and the characters were all a bit stale.
I felt that the author over complicates things in his writing, using long winded descriptions when a brief summary would be better. He also uses a lot of fancy words that left you feeling that he had swallowed a dictionary or wanted to show off his vocabulary. Well I can't be bothered reaching for said dictionary to look up every word I don't know especially in a short story so I ended up just ignoring bits of description and moving on. It was also a slow book which I never enjoy and by the time I was halfway through it I had totally lost interest in the plot and was getting bored.
Not for me.
Crimson Overcoat Versus Christmas
on April 10, 2014
Sometimes it's difficult to write a review of something that you really didn't enjoy and this is one of those times. I've been trying to think why I had such a negative response to it and I'm struggling to put it into words.
OK, I did not feel that this guy was a superhero even in his best years. He is like the office nerd who goes around annoying everyone with a tablecloth tied around his neck pretending to be Superman. In other words a very annoying character. He had no personality about him to make me like him, being grumpy and rude. I also found no humour in the story which is what I was hoping for when I downloaded it, so it all fell a bit flat for me. Overall I just got bored and stopped reading.
I Survived A Zombie Apocalypse Book !
on April 14, 2014
I'm afraid that I just didn't like this book at all. Firstly for such a short story, the punctuation and spelling etc were terrible. I really do find that criminal in such a short book. It hardly takes any time just to look for glaring mistakes. You can miss a few things like that in a long book but not in a tiny short story! Big long sentences full of commas and no full stops in sight. Far too many !!! in the most bizarre places. Sentence structure was non existent and missing/wrongly placed capital letters and punctuation made sentences sound stupid ie
'Then see what the situation was after that, Kate worked as an assistant bar manager at a golf club so she was told to take a few weeks off, same as Darius and Clare, they both worked at a Public House in Cromer so they were also told to wait for a call from their employers as to when to return to work.'
I found this very off-putting along with long winded descriptions of things I didn't care about(see above quote). I did not finish it.
The Vampire Hunter's Daughter: Part I
on April 14, 2014
This is just a review of part one as it is the only part I have read.
Chloe awakes in the middle of the night to her mother defending her against violent vampires who want to take her away to her vampire dad. Rescue comes in the form of a group of vampire hunters who take her to safety and explain her heritage.
I liked this short story. It opens with a bang and an exciting fight which sets the scene for what Chloe's future life could be like as a slayer. The book nicely mixes this action with Chloe finding out about the complicated relationship between her vampire father Trevor and her hunter mother Felicia. Chloe is a good character who reacts pretty well to what is happening to her and I think she has the potential to be a good strong female lead, which I enjoy in paranormal books. Drew is very much the mystery man and I am curious to learn more about him and Chloe's grandfather Luke, who she is going to live with. Between plot and character, this book is a promising start to a series and has a lot going for it.
However it is doubtful that I will be continuing with the series, as much as I liked this opening installment. I'm not keen on this new fashion of releasing small 'novellas' of 30 odd pages one at a time where to have to keep buying or downloading the next part. It's hard to get swept away by the book if you have to keep stopping to wait for the next part to come out. For those like me on a book budget it makes more sense to buy complete novels. What a pity!
NB: Since I wrote this review's rough draft I see a completed version is now available to buy. Now I might consider it.
on April 14, 2014
Erika hunts vampires with her mento and friend Mitch but not in the traditional way. When a vampire tries to bite or attack her, it just dies. Adonis, a mysterious friend of Mitch wants to help her adapt this skill to kill from a distance but Erika is starting to think that she might be being used for another agenda.
Erika was a character who is not fully comfortable with who she is and what she can do. She can be reckless, going out hunting on her own before she is fully in control of her abilities which annoys Mitch who wants to keep her safe. When Adonis comes along he is less rigid about rules and wants to speed up her training to develop her mental killing skills, while Mitch wants to train her in self defence first. I liked her as she was tough but vulnerable and pretty smart.
The plot was interesting and entertaining and was certainly character based. There was good development and the story had a nice mix of vampire death and training. I liked the twist onhow Erika can kill the vampires, which was a bit different from the usual vampire story. I did guess part of what was happening with Mitch but not the major reveal with Adonis. The big finale of the book was satisfying and I did very much enjoy this story. I'm quite keen now to read Spiral X which has been on my wishlist for a couple of years.
3.5 out of 5!
Wayward Spirits - A Prelude to The Dawning of Power
on April 14, 2014
I initially put this as one star then changed it to two stars as I felt I was being a bit unfair on the author. There was nothing wrong with this story to be honest. It was well written, not too descriptive, a decent attempt to develop a bit of character which is not easy in a 15 page book. It is the story of two boys who want to be heroes getting ready to run away from their dull lives on a quest to change the world.
Basically the only reason I marked it down is because the story itself just did not appeal to me. The fantasy genre is hit and miss a lot of the time for me and this just wasn't my thing.
So if you like fantasy books don't let me put you off!
Advice by Clyde
on April 24, 2014
First of all I must say that I haven't read anything else in this series. I tried this book because it was free to see if I liked the writing enough to give it a go and the answer was yes. I have since bought book 1 in the series which is Night Calls.
Clyde is a Hellhound who can talk to his mistress, Nyx, who lives in a house with an assortment of werewolves and humans. He spends his spare time writing an internet advice column and having sexual relations with stuffed animal toys.
"I hope they didn't find out about me humping a fluffy stuffed duck I found lying around the other day. It was just the right firmness to...well you get the idea."
Clyde is not your patient, kindly, compassionate agony aunt and his advice to his followers is to the point and illegal in most cases-and pretty funny. Now he may be about to lose his internet access, and his mistress seems pretty mad at him all the time.
"She must've found out about the duck. I tried to hide the dang thing."
It's a hard life for Clyde, living with someone who hates him, unable to communicate with those around him and getting bored. Only the internet gives him a sense of purpose.
"I have to say the Internet is one of the best things ever created besides maybe the cow."
This book is pretty funny and it is impossible not to love this intelligent hellhound as he talks to us about his typical day. I think he appears in the later books in the series and seems popular among those who follow the series. Based on this I certainly want to give the series a try.
The Vampire from Hell: (Part 1) - The Beginning
on April 30, 2014
It's not easy being Satan's daughter especially when you want to save humans from the fate he has in store for them. But when she gets caught helping them, Daddy is not very pleased.
I was a bit unsure how to rate this one, going between 2.5 and 3 stars. It was interesting enough to read and I liked the pet hellhound Blick. He was pretty cool. I didn't fully connect with Rayea though she was a decent character but I didn't dislike her either. The story was well written and delivered and I can't really say that there was anything about it that annoyed me or anything. But it was just lacking that something for me to give it a higher mark.
Random irritation: at one point Rayea says she can imagine herself as Sarah Connor in the Terminator, looking all toned and ready for some fighting action. Well it was actually Terminator 2 that Sarah was the ruthless action hero, not the original film where she was a quivering wreck! Things like that tend to bug me! I did NOT mark down for that though coz that would be dumb and pretty unfair!
Shimmerspell: The Shimmer Trilogy, #1
on April 30, 2014
Jensen lives with her con artist sister Lauren and knows it won't be long until it is time to move away from her friends. Then a boy at school seems to be staring at her all the time and she is seeing weird things like kids with wings.
If the description I wrote sounds confusing then you ain't seen nothing until you read the book! Confused and baffled pretty much sums up my reaction to it. It starts off ok until she sees the kids with wings and gets attacked. The staring boy Liam rescues her then tries to explain the situation. That's where I stopped getting it. There is a huge info dump where he is talking about Seelie Courts, Unseelie Courts, the Legends of King Arthur, and the mythology of the Isle of Man with a host of character names thrown in. The author seemed to jump around in these topics with no real thought or plan so I didn't follow what she was talking about.
You struggle to work out who is good and who is evil and who the hell everyone is and where each is from and what they all seem to attack her for. Good and evil? Well I couldn't tell who was meant to be one or the other as everyone seemed to want to attack our heroine. All of the female characters are psycho bitches without rhyme or reason and by then my head was spinning like that scene in the Exorcist.
I was glad to abandon this one, lie down to stop my head buzzing then try a nice horror book instead!
on April 30, 2014
This is a very short story to introduce you to Heather the zombie killer who comes to the rescue of a couple of girls being attacked by zombies. It is a short prequel to Corpse Days and is a decent little taster.
on April 30, 2014
Jasmine is a Fury who is sent out on missions sometimes in disguise. This time she infiltrates a woman's house, posing as her cat, to catch the boyfriend who needs to face his punishment.
This book was ok but it didn't really appeal to me personally. There is nothing wrong with the writing, the story flows well enough and the author blends humour and paranormal history into the plot. It was a decent enough read but lacked that something to really engage me fully. Perhaps it would help if you are a cat lover which I am certainly not! I despise the darned things!
Probably would appeal to fantasy lovers who like the idea of a cat as the heroine.
on April 30, 2014
When I received a free copy of Children of the Plague to review, the author suggested I look at the short story that runs alongside it, which is Killing Tiffany Hudson. This was the original story that the novel was based on. It is featured with another short story called Finding Home in this book. I downloaded this free from Smashwords and really enjoyed it.
Killing Tiffany Hudson was a good story, set during a big battle in a plague ridden world. It shows a couple of human resisters battling alien monsters with the odds stacked against them. Victory of sorts is available at a high price if someone has the guts to set it in motion. This story takes place during the last part of the Children of the Plague novel. The main character here is a confident exterminator who finds out that he isn't invincible. We also get to see his view of Diane, someone who is important in Children of the Plague, and a few of the monsters that will become so familiar when you pick up the book. It was an exciting all action story that whets your appetite for the longer novel.
Finding Home is a story about what seems to be a schizophrenic killer who imagines things happening to people and then acts out the violent fantasies. At the root of his problem is a wish to have a nice happy home life, but his inability to act normal around people causes death to anyone who crosses his path. This was a dark twisted tale which I found entertaining. Maybe that makes me a bit twisted but I love this kind of story! You know he is evil but you can't help being amused as he acts like an idiot and then kills people to cover up his lack of social skills. There is no graphic gorefest-the murders are more implied than described which I liked as a writing style. It kept you in the mind of the killer and what he was thinking, instead of being all about bloody murders.
Two excellent short stories that can be quickly devoured and will appeal to a wide range of readers even if horror and sci-fi are not your usual reads.
Both stories are well written and entertaining. There is enough description to tell the story but not enough to bury you with information. Both tales are quirky in their own ways and of different genres which shows that the author has the ability to write different kinds of novels should he want to. I will certainly be interested in reading more from this author.
on April 30, 2014
I could not get into this book at all. Ellie was a really cold bitch with little respect for anyone who doesn't agree with her. She was going to break the rules, risk the health of everyone just to see her ex and save him from this plague and colleagues in the way just get murdered for doing their job and trying to stop her. Then there was the smartass thirteen year old brat who acts like a bitch, upsets her dad and thinks a casual sorry makes it all ok. There is no character development when it comes to decent good human traits but all the nasty vices are there in abundance. Even the plague could not save this one.
A Vision for the Future
on May 01, 2014
When Elaina meets her partner for the first time, she just knows that he will become President of the United States-in the same way that she knows how she will die, what she was wearing and that it will happen in water. As the time of her death gets nearer, the signs are all there and the couple prepare for the end but even Elaina cannot predict what will happen next.
The lack of information in the blurb does this lovely little story a bit of an injustice as it doesn't really make you keen to read it. I just downloaded it because it was free and it certainly did not disappoint. This is a dramatic, tense little short story that really does deliver a punch, which is difficult to do with so few words. It says a lot about the skill of the author that I enjoyed this as much as I did. It's actually difficult to review this story without giving away any of the plot but here we go! OK the plot is set against a Presidential campaign and Elaina's partner is behind in the polls and needs to catch up. The story does not go into any detail about politics or anything like that so don't let it put you off if you're not into that kind of thing.
The stress of the death prophecy which they both believe, puts strain on the couple as well especially as the signs seem to indicate that the time is almost here. You are left hoping that there is a way for Elaina to escape her supposed fate and grab that happy ending. It's nice to care about the character when you barely get a chance to connect with her before the book ends. Then comes the ending which was soooo cool and I didn't expect it! I do love it when a book surprises me.
I actually think that this could be extended into a nice little novella if the author wanted to expand it a bit as there are a few things that could be fleshed out. It has made me decide to read more of this author's work. So if you like a nice thriller, why not give this one a try?
Aine: Another Complication (Tales of the Executioners)
on May 06, 2014
Aine the law enforcer and executioner is sent to arrest a vampire and despite being young and inexperienced, he thinks he can handle it. But this vampire turns out to be trickier than expected and he has broken more rules than Aine knew about.
I liked this story. Aine is a good character and I liked the idea of the supernatural community being policed by a squad like this. The story is short but fast paces and I liked the battle of wills between Aine and the vampire. I also liked the introduction of the cat. It's hard to say much more without ruining the story but I'd recommend this book to fans of urban fantasy and vampires.
I'd certainly read more in this series.
on May 06, 2014
A family watching the news see that an outbreak of madness and violence is happening near to their rural home. As they discuss whether or not to flee, they near noises in the barn...is it racoons again or something worse?
This was a nice little horror thriller about a family being targeted by something evil and being trapped in a house far away from help. Our heroine is the mother who has to fight off the monsters while trying to protect her children. This is a fast paced short story that doesn't waste time with long winded introductions to the family-the horror begins straight away on TV and swiftly arrives at their home.
It takes the form of the tried and tested horror formula that people like me enjoy. We have the family scattered throughout the house, there are bangs and screams and someone has to go and investigate in the dark where the monsters lurk. It was nicely written and the tension is kept high throughout. You can feel Alice's agony as she searches for her husband and children, knowing that something is stalking them all. When she has to confront the monsters we see her strength and feel her suffering. There is a good mixture of tension and emotion in this book.
I enjoyed this short story and see that it will be continued in another book which I would probably read if I get the chance. Recommended for those who like creepy horror tales and monsters!
The Last Day
on May 06, 2014
Naomi and Max are newlyweds and very happy, when the world goes to hell. This story shows that you never really know someone until you see how they act in a zombie apocalypse.
This was a good short story about a zombie dog attacking people in a park and the bitten victims starting to chomp on the watchers. Naomi's reaction of standing staring at the carnage is perfectly reasonable under the circumstances though she did leave it a bit late to start running! I think I might've been running as soon as the first person bit another person! But that's just me. Anyway, Max is the opposite of Naomi and has no interest in gawping at what is happening, he just wants out of there.
OK here comes a spoiler so if you don't want to know what happens next, move to the next paragraph! You were warned so here it is. Naomi's beloved husband who declared he would love her forever, jumps in the car, ignores her pleas to let her get in and drives home without her, leaving her at the mercy of the growing pack of zombies! What a weasel scumbag! Naomi faces a nighmare journey home alone and she cannot believe what has just happened to her. But our heroine has a plan and she looks forward to getting revenge.
I liked this. We have the lovely zombie attack in the park which had a nice twist in that it was a dog that starts the mayhem. Naomi's journey home was also nicely written and you were rooting for her because she was just a normal everyday kind of person who never imagined this kind of thing happening. She is smart enough to head for home, knowing that Max had secured the building and built a few extras that might come in useful. For me, Naomi's decision was the right one and I was cheering her on every step of the way!
This was a 3.5 star story which I enjoyed and I would look for anything similar that the author might write. You can get this free at Smashwords. I recommend it for zombie fans and those who like a monster horror thriller.
Clean Slate Complex (a daynight story)
on May 08, 2014
A charity set up to help homeless people off the street and into a new life seems too good to be true and the rebels try to convince the latest girl saved to join their cause.
I just could not connect with this story from the start. Oh don't get me wrong, it isn't a horrible book, it isn't badly written or anything like that. It just wasn't my kind of thing.
Alexa and her family are living in a van when she is attacked by a potential rapist-and saved by people from a charity. Her mother is offered the medical help she needs if Alexa lets herself be used in fundraising attempts. She meets people who are big supporters of the charity and insist that they only want to help people, but others are part of a rebel network who want to expose the charity and show what they are really doing.
It was during all this stuff that my attention really wandered. The two opposing views of Adam and Joshua were going into love triangle territory which really bores me now in YA books and I tend to lose interest when it becomes all about hormones and less about the plot.
Not for me. However it won't stop me looking at other books by this author in genres that are more suited to me. Her storytelling and character development are fine and it is hardly her fault that I wasn't fully into this story! YA fans should probably enjoy this book.
Contamination Book Zero
on May 08, 2014
Dan is a small town cop who enjoys the peace and quiet of his town-until the night when things go mad. It starts with the local drunk attacking a cop when spending a night in jail. Now the whole community seems to be infected, killing and eating each other and Dan has to save himself and his family.
This is not a typical zombie book as the people are not traditional corpse style zombies. They are people who became suddenly contaminated and start trying to kill everyone around them. What I liked about this story is that the contamination was planned. I won't spoil the story by telling you any more but it was a nice twist. I liked the way that Howard's story was developed in particular.
The story follows Dan, Howard the bitten officer, and Dan's daughter who is missing in the dark neighbourhood. I liked the way that we switch between them as it keeps the tension up. There is a lot of action and sneaking around in the dark scenes which I enjoy in this kind of book. The author does a good job of telling the story and it was an enjoyable adventure, if not a classic.
I might investigate this series further in the future.
Darkness Falls (Darkness Falls, Book 1)
on May 08, 2014
This should have been a really good book. Kayla was a tough character who is willing to risk her life to take on the vampires to get supplies for her colony who live safely underground. It seemed like she was the only one willing to do what needed to be done so you'd think the colony would've been grateful. Makes you wonder who they got to do their dirty work once she was cast aside.
The colony was a bit weird but I found it intriguing that the smallest slip up like talking out of turn or looking at the wrong person could get you in big trouble. I'm not saying that the first section of the book didn't have it faults but it was at least keeping me interested enough to read on. My issue with the colony was the Higher things. I didn't like them and didn't fully get what they were or why they were treating people so badly. Still it did make it satisfying when Kayla started to take them on and gets into trouble. I did get annoyed when nobody wanted to answer her questions about the Highers. Two/Three stars for the book while they were in the colony though.
After The Gathering, Kayla wakes up outside in a bodybag with a former friend who now seems to be a rude, obnoxious asshat and the weird creepy girl that you want to stay the hell away from. Their wanderings around the desert didn't seem to have much point except to let two of them argue and the other make weird comments all the time.
Basically from this point on, I barely understood what was meant to be happening. Kayla was naturally on the defensive as the outsiders were trying to capture her and didn't really look as if they wanted to be friends, yet they blame her for fighting them and don't like or trust her because of it which annoyed me. Nobody will give a straight answer to any of her questions which bugged the hell out of me. 'Later' works once or twice in a book but this author chose not to answer anything that Kayla or the reader wanted to know and that just left me totally in the dark about what was happening. The reader wants to see Kayla's memories and know all about The Gathering or colony secrets etc. It is one thing to slowly feed the frustrated reader bits at a time to tease them but it is another thing to just tell them virtually nothing important!
I lost interest when these outsiders came into the story and it all started going weird. I was getting tired with thinking 'what is happening' or 'answer the damn question'. It was just a very frustrating book to try and read and eventually I decided that I couldn't be bothered waiting for answers. Who knows if the answers will even come in the next book? I certainly won't be bothering to find out!
Had potential but did not deliver.
The Fallen Star (Fallen Star Series, Book 1)
on May 08, 2014
I must be one of the few people on the planet who did not hate Bella in the Twilight books! I actually liked her because of her faults. But if you hated Bella, prepare yourself for the pathetic female that goes by the name of Gemma. She is whiny, cries all the time, lets Alex treat her like dirt yet won't stay away from him(cue more crying and self loathing whining). She just goes on and on obsessing about Alex until I wanted to strangle her. Then I have to mention her superpower when she first sees him. From the distance she was at she couldn't work out how tall he was but could perfectly describe his green eyes and shade and style of his hair. Must be an X Men thing or something.
Alex is the asshat from hell who is downright cruel to our beloved doormat heroine. I just hated him full stop. And you know of course that love is suddenly going to come. Well sorry mate, I'd tell you where to go. Sadly that never happens and girls in YA writing remain spineless and walked over.
Bad characters aside, the writing was not great either. Poor sentence structure, badly edited, and a plot that made me want to tear out my hair. It is a poor copy of Twilight as others have said in their reviews and I thought it was pretty darn bad.
I'm done with books by this author.
on May 09, 2014
The blurb for this book makes it sound as if we get a really detailed introduction to all the training she needs to prepare herself for life among humans yet in reality it is only a handful of pages. This should really have been used as a prologue in the actual novel instead of a tiny short story, in my opinion.
The story is ok, nothing wrong with it. I don't really feel that it adds anything to the series being written in this format though. Like I said, trim it up and use it as a prologue. That would give you a contrast between the emotionless individual being given her mission, and the woman with human emotions who is fully intigrated into human society that is in book one.
The version I read does not feature her meeting the man who would change her life as the Smashwords blurb seems to suggest. It does not cover all events up to the start of the first book in the series. This is why I feel it doesn't really offer much as a story on its own.
on May 15, 2014
I loved Leo the wolf. He had more personality, charm and common sense than the rest of the cast put together and I just wanted to take him home and cuddle him. The book also started out ok when we were following Em as she raided her food stores and shared with us how people were not to be trusted and that she was a good survivalist. Then comes Insta-love and the book goes downhill.
Em might have had little choice but to help Anna and Jake but she pretty much trusts them instantly and falls in love with Jake. Seriously how often do you fall in love with the very first guy you see at college or school, yet it happens in seconds in these books. It bugs me so much. Then Em the great survivor is wandering around outside with fantasies of her and Jake and doesn't manage to notice the military guy stalking her until she gets shot. That is dumb on a whole new level for a survivalist! Jake is meant to be older than the girls but he has the common sense of a dog turd, crashing his way through the forest, talking loudly soon after the man shoots Em. Shut your mouth you moron! Do you WANT to die? I wanted to shoot him myself or see Leo savage him to death. He is so childish. Em also gets more annoying as the book moves on. The 'trust nobody' girl decides to trust everyone she meets in the dangerous town which leads her into trouble countless times.
Then Em meet's Jake brother and now she is suddenly in love with him as well. Oh come on! Falling in love with both brothers in a matter of minutes after meeting each one is just crazy stuff and I was pulling my hair out by this point. And Em is such a stupid cow that you wonder why any of them would be interested in her. And the two brothers are both idiot immature rude asshats that no sane girl would want to get involved with.
It takes forever in this book to get answers to what is happening. What is the infection? Why are the women being taken? When we do find out what caused this apocalypse I had to laugh out loud. Of course a tiny band of rebels living in the forest know everything and here it is. It seems that the United Nations engineered a plague to stop world pollution which mutated into a killer disease and now they are taking white women away to breeding labs to repopulate the world. WTF? Now, anybody who watches the news would know that the UN can barely arrange a meeting never mind let loose a bio plague. So who exactly was involved in this? Which countries knew about it? Why just white women? Aren't African nations objecting to this? Where are the answers to these questions? To be honest by this point I was so sick of the stupid love triangle and plot holes and annoying characters that I decided not to finish the book.
I'm not going to be reading the rest of this series or anything else by the author. Not for me I'm afraid!
on May 15, 2014
Oh yes, this is how I like my zombies-traditional, scary and unstoppable. The panic that begins on the streets as the zombies appear is exactly how I imagine it to happen(I have that kind of imagination and a survival kit list written out). You fully understand David's decision to go to his family and you can see that this is going to be a long and dangerous journey right from the start. I think what makes this so good is that David could be your dad, brother, son etc, just a normal guy who loves his family and will do anything to save them. He makes a few mistakes, he isn't superman but he is very much real and you are rooting for him all the time.
This is a fast paced novella and I read it in one sitting. It sweeps you up and carries you away with it, and is full of tension filled situations that put our hero in danger. And it is not just the zombies that he has to fear. Trigger happy nervous cops and looting thugs are also around to make things more difficult. The author tells a great story and is not afraid to shock you with an event that you weren't expecting and I love that kind of uncertainty in a zombie book. You want to be afraid for the characters and scared that they might not make it because it keeps you gripped and this book certainly delivers on that score.
The ending was pretty awesome, though I know some fans of the book were not happy with it. Personally I liked it! It is a zombie book after all so expect the unexpected...
My only 'complaint' is that the books are only available in ebook format. When I like a book I like to purchase the paperback version for my collection but this is not an option which is a pity. I'll look out for the rest of the series going cheap and hope to continue the rest of the adventure.
The Wedding Feast
on May 25, 2014
I liked the idea of this book, in a twisted fairy tale kind of way and it started off ok, but the further it got into the story, the less interest I had in it. It was written well enough and I don't have any issues with the plot choices or style it was presented in.
So why didn't I like it? I hated the characters. Philip is a Class A jerk. The reason he goes back to his girlfriend's house to warn her that there might be perverts lurking around is because if she gets molested, he won't get any sex from her. He swears because Matilda tells him not to, he doesn't care for her pain or her feelings and insults her every chance he gets despite her saving his life. Mandy is a cow. She thinks Philip deserves what he gets for 'getting in the van'-he was being kidnapped trying to warn you, you dumb bitch! She is spiteful, nasty and vindictive. When you don't care whether your MCs live or die, you are in trouble. Philips mother is as bad as Mandy. The only one I liked was his dad. Even Matilda could not inspire any sympathy in me as she was still convinced that Philip loved her when it was obvious he didn't.
I got the trilogy free but only read book one. Not for me.
The Line Unseen
on May 25, 2014
When Tim discovers that his wife is having an affair with a construction worker, his angry confrontation with the man leaves his enemy dead by accident. But not everything remains buried.
This was an entertaining horror story which I liked. Tim is just a normal guy who accidently kills his love rival and his friends help him cover up the crime. Determined to finish with his cheating wife, he is at home with her when something comes calling. There was tension and a nice creepy storyline to this book that kept you interested.
And there was a nice twist at the end which I wasn't expecting and it gave the story a very satisfying conclusion. Enjoyable short horror story and I'll continue to read things by this author.
on May 25, 2014
I liked this short story. The characters were interesting and there was enough conflict and cooperation between them to make it an interesting working relationship. Midnight tests demon killing weapons despite being part demon himself and when stressed, he struggles to keep that side of him under control. He was an intriguing character that I'd like to read more about and his relationship with Natalie is worth exploring. She is smart and capable but being forced to test a dangerous weapon too early in its development has her fearing for her job.
I liked the whole weapon testing plot complete with the bad guy boss who cares little if his weapon works or not as long as it makes him money, and we had the demon hunting teaser plot as well.
The blurb for book two is a bit vague so I don't know if the same characters are going to be in it or not. I'd be interested in reading it though that horrible cover does not inspire me. Books with half naked men on it make me suspect it is an uber sex no plot book so I'm a bit wary of spending money on it.
King of Rats
on June 11, 2014
The King of Rats has a problem-he is too soft. His mate Alice talks back to him and cheats on him, his sister plots to overthrow him and his pack are betraying him. To win them back he plans to kill his enemies and find a better food source-until he falls in love with a mouse.
It was ok. It was mildly amusing, a few rats get what they deserve and it was well enough written but it just wasn't a story that really grabbed me. I didn't really like the insta-love for the mouse storyline and felt it would have been better just concentrating on the rat story which was more interesting.
If you like stories with animals as heroes and villans you might well enjoy this.
A World of Terror
on June 14, 2014
Here are the stories I liked in the anthology:
Murielle Cyr-Class Reunion
A pupil from June's past arrives to ruin her chance of promotion.
June was a real bitch to her pupils and staff and you want her to get what she deserves. Nicely told and developed (3 star)
The coven test a new recruit on a mission to the city to see if he defeats temptation.
This one has potential and had an interesting concept. Decent read. (2.5 stars)
Chad Huskins- Jesse came to the dead tree
Nobody believes that Hannah ever existed but Jessie knows that the garden tree took her and goes out for answers.
This was a creepy little tale with a nice twist. (2.5 stars)
JJ Toner-The Perfect Woman
A scientist creates the perfect woman in a lab but he is not her perfect man.
Creepy, intriguing Frankenstein twist. Decent read. (3 stars)
Billy Ray Chitwood-The Closet
The bedroom closet in a man's dream home is a place where aliens can abduct.
Sounds weird but this was a clever little story that I enjoyed. (3 star)
Ann Swann-The Fee
The cost of a fertility deal with the devil.
This was a creepy, atmospheric story that was enjoyable with a nice twist. (3 star)
Thomas Ryan-The Wooden Chest
Two kids travel to grampa's house and discover the family secret.
I really liked this one! You don't mess with grampa! (3.5 star)
Lauren Scharhag-Zombie Anonymous
A group of zombies who rediscovered their emotions after a semi-cure meet at a self help group.
An intriguing read that I would like to see developed into a proper novella or novel. This has real potential. (3 star)
Tales From Dark Places - The Halloween Collection
on June 14, 2014
DC Rogers-Dinner, date and autopsy
A date raped woman awakes just as her autopsy is about to begin.
This was good. It had tension and a nice twist that gave a good ending. (3 star)
Sonya C Dodd-Alone
A recurring dream of being murdered and waking to spend the day alone is a special kind of punishment.
It was ok but the punishment was not as cruel as the crimes so it wasn't a greatly satisfying ending. (2 star)
Peter John-It started with a whisper
Woman has dreams/hallucinations of things telling her pain was coming.
Well that was pretty much the whole story so it felt pointless and boring to me. (1 star)
Chris Raven-The Visitor
James gets a visit from his angry spurned wife.
The big reveal was a damp squib as it was obvious what was coming. Predictable and done countless times before. (2 star)
Sheryl Seal-The Goblin Changeling
A group of trick or treating goblins find the night spoiled by a lack of self control.
Amusing enough story with a moral of why rules need to be followed. (2.5 star)
Madhu Kalyan Mattaparthi-Bars
Someone trapped inside finds messages to help their escape.
This was confusing weirdness on a grand scale. (1 star)
Alan Hardy-Death's Track
George feels something is holding him back in life and death feels near.
This was a quirky little horror tale that I liked. (2.5 star)
A lonely woman waits for the love of her life to return.
This one was not a great read. (1 star)
William O'Brien-Charlie Featherwick
A stupid child's prank played on a witch is punished.
It was ok but did get a bit confusing. (2 star)
on June 14, 2014
Stuart Neild-The Smoking Assassin
The ramblings of a smoke demon who assassinates people.
This is a monologue of a demon talking to the next victim. He just rambles on about nothing and I found this boring. (1 star)
Ian Woodhead-Spicy Meat
A bunch of thuggish would-be rapists want a late night snack and fun but get more than they bargained for.
The language was vile throughout the book, f-bombs etc just for the sake of it, and the attempt at rape, obnoxious moronic characters, all of which ruined a halfway decent story. Got bored. (1 star)
Dave Jeffery-Wish you were here?
Four drunks steal a garden gnome which turns out to be the death of them.
A little gem of a story about the garden gnome version of Chuckie getting revenge for being stolen from his owner. Quirky horror tale with good writing and satisfying death scenes. (4 star)
Stuart Neild-Special Boy
A woman becomes obsessed with an exhibit in a freak show.
This was weird and left me cold. (1 star)
Ian Woodhead-Two Skins
Sex obsessed OAPs fight over a new man in their social circles.
This was an amusing story with a nice horror twist to it. (2.5 star)
Dave Jeffery-Daddy Dearest
A man has to deal with his abusive father becoming a zombie.
This has an amazing amount of emotional depth for a short story, dealing with issues of domestic violence, alcoholism and zombies. The author delivers a good story which is not your usual zombie tale. (3 star)
Stuart Neild-So you think you're a werewolf?
A woman claiming to be a werewolf agrees to change on camera at the full moon.
It was ok if a bit predictable but a werewolf isn't likely to do a stunt like this and put victims in front of herself. Never quite bought it. (2 star)
Ian Woodhead-Sewing Lesson
A strange girl uses the heads of dead animals to sew onto her dolls.
Creepy story which never seemed to really go anywhere. (2 star)
Dave Jeffery-The last rose of summer
Two serial killers roam the city and both have an eye on the same victim.
Delightful little thriller with a lovely twist. Liked this one. (3 star)
Stuart Neild-The return of Borley Rectory
A haunted house appears to lost men.
This was confusing, weird and never gives you a satisfying conclusion. I was left wondering what actually happened. (1 star)
Ian Woodhead-Beg the other man
A man steals money from the client he kills.
This was a better story with a decent plot. (2.5 star)
A psychic who gets visions of disasters sees his wife in trouble and tries to alter her fate.
This was another quirky story with paranormal elements and a great twist. (4 star)
Overall I was pretty disappointed with the other authors but Dave Jeffery really delivers in this book with four good stories. He does great twists and packs lots of character and interest into even the shortest story. Will look for more of his work again. Be nice if he published all these free stories into a paperback!
on June 14, 2014
A rich old man lives in what he claims to be a monster proof house, able to stop attacks from mutant bugs to vampires. Now he agrees to do an interview and demonstration to show people that monsters do exist.
I liked this book. The idea of a monster proof house appeals to a paranoid security conscious horror reader like me. I blame my paranoia on that scene in Salems Lot where the creepy boy is tapping on the darn window...gave me nightmares for weeks! Anyway, this book is very imaginative as the author has fun describing the different defences of the house and garden, and the creatures that he is defending against. There were a few lkie the burrowing tropical bugs that I certainly did not want to meet. I don't know if they are real or made up by the author but either way I don't want to see the blighters!
The hints are there about the journalist in the blurb but I wasn't entirely sure what was coming. When the box is introduced, I sat for ages wondering what was inside it and I kicked myself that I didn't guess! It was a nice twist and something that our rich man really should have thought of. But then again, you can overlook the simple defences when you are expecting the more complex attacks so I liked the plot. I felt it was well thought out and nicely delivered.
I would love to see a longer version set in this brilliant house...maybe a group trying to break in...or break out...!
on June 14, 2014
Four men on a fishing trip make an unexpected catch and argue about whether to release it or take it home for dinner. But their decision will have fatal consequences for the group.
Creepy little horror story that tells you to be very aware of where your food comes from! The characters are not that nice so it was easy to feel no sympathy for the trouble they got theirselves into. Nothing really unexpected but a nice short horror tale.
Jenny Pox (The Paranormals, Book 1)
on Oct. 29, 2014
So lets start as always with the good. Jenny is a decent MC and you feel sympathy for her situation. She can maim and kill by touching people so she keeps distant from everyone at school to protect them from her curse. One day she gets bullied and touches a girl in front of witnesses who see the ugly welts she causes, earning her the nickname Jenny Pox. Jenny struggles to hug her dad or even befriend a dog in case she kills by accident. I liked her and I liked the 'pox' storyline, which was a bit different but I thought having the cliche story of the MC being bullied by the beautiful school uberbitch did spoil the plot, turning something new into something we'd seen a hundred times before. It's something that does get on my nerves in YA books. And the bitches were just evil in this case with no redeeming qualities.
I finally started to lose interest when the inevitable romance element was being introduced. I know that teen romance is going to feature heavily in most YA/NA paranormal after the success of Twilight, but I'm just getting a bit bored by that type of book all the time. Jenny needs a friend so having someone who has a similar type of ability was good, but seriously, guys and girls can be friends without a love element! It might be nice to see that for a change! Seth, as a character was a bit bland and boring, even when he is playing hero for Jenny and I never really felt a chemistry or anything between them. The romance felt there for the sake of it instead of natural. Most of the other characters I just didn't like.
I have read in reviews on Goodreads that graphic sex and drug taking are also in the book but to be honest, I didn't really get that far into the story so I can't comment. This book was marketed to me as being YA, it is highly listed on Goodreads as YA yet I just noticed as I write this review that it carries an 18 restriction-so I guess it isn't meant to be YA at all. Huh. It just wasn't going to be my kind of book anyway.
Fanged Love: The Prequel
on Oct. 29, 2014
This story did not impress me at all. The characters are appalling. Grace is a spineless doormat who lets her boyfriend treat her like crud. He beats her, cuts her, humiliates her, tries to make her a vampire, decides to sell her on the internet and sacrifice his best friend. Her reaction? I'm going to kill myself to frame him but hey I forgot to plant the knife on him! Oh please! Nathan is a control freak who attacks her, threatens her friends and believes he is a vampire. Nothing nice about him or his idiot friend who has agreed to be sacrificed.
The whole story is Grace sitting there dying from this stab wound and hoping Nathan will get blamed. There seemed little point to this story as it didn't catch my interest in any way or make me want to continue with a following series.
on Oct. 29, 2014
Katrina wakes to noises in her apartment and escapes as an intruder sets her flat on fire. A stalker is watching Katrina, sending her strange messages and making it clear that he can get to her wherever the police hide her.
This was a detective novel not a paranormal one which is what I was led to believe. It was Katrina fleeing her stalker, talking to the police, being put in a safe place, being stalked again. I didn't want to read a crime novel! If I had, I would've read James Patterson.
The story was well enough written and there was nothing wrong with the author's writing style or character development. It just wasn't what I wanted to read.
Breathe for Me
on Oct. 29, 2014
I just couldn't get into this book at all and even 17 pages felt like an eternity when I was trying to plough through it.
Dormun was the most boring, flat character I've read for a while and I wasn't really that interested in him. The rest of the thugs and psychos he is with did not appeal to me either. The plot was dull and without excitement.
Not much else to say really.
A Vow of Tears: The First Vow
on Oct. 29, 2014
This book was so slow that I felt as if it was going backwards. In the present Sara is being told that she is a vampire and the couple who have her are torn between helping her and killing her. This features Sara crying a lot, the female quizzing her about her human emotions and feeding habits several times and the man trying to kill her every two seconds.
Then we have long chapters showing how Sara met her husband Matt, how she and nasty sister Robin have never got on with each other, Robin cheating her out of her inheritance, her mum's wake, the day Matt died and so on. It was boring! I didn't really care to see Sara and Robin at the theme park following two guys for hours or Robin sulking that the guy she wants fancies her younger sister or her countless jealous rants. There was way too much back story and not enough dealing with the main story that I downloaded it for.
Got bored and went to find something else to read instead.
Gathering of Blackbirds
on Oct. 29, 2014
I've read a lot of Indie books over the last couple of years so I'm tolerant of bad spelling and sentence structure-unless I feel that it is overshadowing the plot. I'm afraid in this case there were so many mistakes that forced me to stop and re-read that it stopped the entire flow of the story. A few mistakes I can overlook but this copy had nothing but mistakes and was obviously not proof-read by the author before publication. Here are a few examples. 'he disgusted me anymore', 'Alice and Jimmy was his parents'. These are mistakes that a simple re-read could have prevented.
The sentence structure was really weird and made it difficult to understand what the author was trying to actually say. 'Gabe was a true gentleman, like the kind of fictional character that can only exist with words to describe them'. I'm not sure what that is really meant to mean. I really struggled to get this story.
The story was a bit slow to start and we get a lot of information about Em's past, her drunk father, her abusive boyfriend, her collection of old jewellery but I don't really feel anything for her as an MC. She was worrying more about her makeup than being suddenly whisked off to Atlantis, which I found really strange. She just didn't feel real or believable to me, and I struggled to relate to her or care about her situation.
I just feel that this book needs a lot more work on it before it is really ready to be published. The story needs tweaking a bit in places to make a bit more sense, Em needs more development in my opinion and it certainly needs to be edited to stop it from feeling like a first draft. I'm afraid I had to stop reading it quite early on as it was just not working for me.
Ill-Conceived Magic: A Monster Haven Short Story
on Oct. 28, 2015
Having been surprised at how funny Monster in my Closet was, I couldn't wait to get onto this short story which I picked up free last year, to see what Zoey and Maurice did next.
Zoey finds a half satyr, half dryad baby abandoned on her doorstep and she and Maurice are clueless as to what to do. They decide to find the real parents to see if the problem can be solved which means facing down hostile dryad women and horny violent satyrs. Maurice is in a panic about Zoey's safety but she is only concerned with the baby's welfare.
For a short story, this had everything-paranormal action, lots of laughs and a big pile of Maurice! What else could you want? The fun comes in the form of Maurice and Phil doing karaoke to the Titanic theme with Phil of course using words that make sense only to him! I couldn't stop laughing! Instead of 'near, far, wherever you are' from Maurice, we got from Phil 'yawn, stew, forget my old shoe'. Very funny. Phil's guide to nappy changing was amusing as well. I was also amused in a sick way by the initial slimy introductions from the satyrs until they got nasty.
We also get the serious side, exploring the friendship between Zoey and Maurice, asking the question of can you accept friends for who they are, even if they have a side you don't like much? Poor Maurice really goes through hell on this journey, trying to keep her safe and fearing that he might lose her friendship. The story also explores the relationship between two enemy races and the prejudice that the resulting baby has to face from both sides, which I found pretty poignant.
Overall this was a great addition to the series and I really liked it. I recommend this series to fans of paranormal cozy mysteries and light urban fantasy.
Revenant - Book One of the Tatterdemon Trilogy
on Nov. 06, 2015
It started ok with the witch part of the story but what came next was page after page of foul characters which make you never want to live in a small town. Each one introduced was worse than the next. The ghosts aren't really explained, it jumps around the place and by halfway there was still no real interest for me. Didn't like it at all.
The Sweet Ones
on Nov. 06, 2015
A young child faces the zombie apocalypse, with his toy car and a fear that THe Bad People will get him. It's only 19 pages long or so, so don't expect a ton of character development but I thought it was nicely written. It was a change to see how a child would cope with zombies all around while the adults try to protect everyone.
This would actually worl well as a longer story, maybe following the soldiers and Bill as they try to secure the house, being in the middle of the fight where Bill gets injured instead of just being in the car with Tommy. I think if this was fleshed out and more tension added, it could be something really good.
Matt Archer: Monster Summer
on Nov. 06, 2015
Matt is finally coming to terms with his role as a monster killer and has best friend Will working with them. For the summer, they are part of a military operation in the Australian Outback to kill mutant dingoes. But these creatures are smarter, speak Australian English and work as a team, leading to one of the squads being kidnapped.
"It was just an attempted strangling...nothing serious."
Matt and Will are happy to be working together and visiting Australia though that changes when they are attacked by trash talking Aussie mutants. Matt is already struggling with his jealousy over having to share his precious time with Mike with Mike's new fiancee' Julie, who is part of the team for this mission. When Julie's team are kidnapped, Mike has to risk Matt and his team to rescue her. Could the Archer family have a more complicated time right now? In later books, I will assume yes!
I wasn't sure if I would take to Julie but she is a good character and Mike does deserve a bit of happiness when he is not monster hunting. You do feel sympathy for Matt though. Mike is his father figure and sharing him with a stranger is difficult, especially when Mike and Julie will be moving to DC. In this book I really enjoyed the dingoes new intelligence and the fact that it was a different monster from those in book one. It keeps things interesting when there are different monsters and locations.
My only complaint is that the book was just too short! I'd have liked to have seen more in the search for Julie to give it more time for the tension to build up, maybe a more fleshed out big fight at the end. But that is just a bit of nitpicking on my part! I did enjoy this book even though it was short and I'm moving straight on to book 2.
The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian
on Nov. 06, 2015
When an ordinary family release a trapped elf from a stone, they find themselves in the middle of an Elf War and join a quest to find legendary gems of power that will win the war for the good elves. However the dark elves and dangerous creatures seek to stop the quest at any cost.
The thing I really liked about this book is that grandparents get a starring role as adventure heroes, which makes a nice change. I liked the idea of the quest for the gemstones with the elf war and dangerous creatures chasing the group. I also liked Nana and Beebop as the adventure couple despite her dodgy back, and the cast of characters were interesting especially Keeper, who I would want to see more of. He was intriguing and interesting. I liked the story of the Kelpie as well. I would have liked to have seen the dangerous confrontations developed a bit more instead of being quckly solved or escaped from. Overall it was an entertaining magical adventure story that will appeal to adults and the older YA.
There were, however, niggles that caused this to be 3 star rather than a higher mark. The first thing I would comment on are the frequent and often complicated info dumps, some of which younger readers might not understand. It is also a bit repetitive. We get the action happening through the eyes of characters and a few pages later, those characters tell the others what happened pretty much word for word. That gets pretty boring and for me it isn't really necessary. We also get told about every meal they have and every bedtime routine, even though it is virtually the same every time. There is a lot of description in the book which also wasn't necessary. By this I mean that we got a full description of every room in Beebop's house, his vehicles, his rock hunting equipment and how he uses it, his tools and how he uses them to make his gems-and then most of the book is spent in another realm! We didn't really need so much detail of a place we see very little of. I also felt that every escape from the bad guys was just too easy and convenient. Every time they were trapped, a family member instantly developed a new skill, thought or spell to get them out of it with minimum effort. It was just a bit too easy for my liking.
The children annoyed me a bit with their immaturity. I expected Maggie to break the rules and not do what she was told, but Aidan was worse. He was the most immature 14 year old I've read about! He never does what he is told and never seems to think of the consequences of his actions ie levitating the spit, freeing the elf etc. I found him pretty annoying but that is a personal thing. The entire family fail to follow advice for their safety ie don't use magic or they'll track us and the next thing Maggie and Nana are out-Yodaing each other in the forest! Still, I don't blame the author for the faults of the characters though, as he is doing that to create more dangerous situations for the reader to enjoy.
It was still a good read and if the opportunity arose, I'd probably read the rest of the series. If you like magical adventure stories, this one might interest you. No sexual content or bad language.
on Nov. 06, 2015
This was one of these stories that had the potential to be really good but it just fell flat the way it was fleshed out.
The first big issue for me was Layla, the most self obsessed selfish bitch to ever walk the planet. When she hears on the radio that thousands are dead in riots across California, there is no sympathy, just her moaning that she can't find a channel playing music instead of reporting the breaking news. She spends the car journey sleeping and taking selfies. She doesn't like her husband talking to anyone else in case it takes his attention off her for a second. She moans about his car not being expensive enough and that people might think he only earns minimum wage. And when a woman watches her husband get ripped apart by zombies, Layla is in a mood because her husband dares to touch the woman's arm in sympathy. What a cretin in heels. I despise bitches like this and HATE it when I'm expected to care if she lives or dies. Then we have the spineless husband who won't say or do anything to upset his precious bitch from hell.
The story itself was a decent idea-a tour group getting stranded on Alcatraz with a zombie infection beginning. However the way the story was told could have been much better. There was no building of tension to get you wondering if a zombie was hiding around the corner. The infected guy attacked someone at the dock and it all went down in a few pages. Our lovely heroes then hid for a few pages then wandered back to the dock to get back in the boat. Think of how that could have been developed! Stragglers from the tour group being quietly picked off. A mob of zombies attacking the group, forcing them to split up and hide which would have built the tension nicely. Footsteps are coming towards you...is it survivor or zombie? We could have had a couple of different POVs in the survivors, ramping up the horror and excitement as they all try to make their way back to the dock! But no, we are stuck with Miss Prissy Pants instead.
This was a great idea, wasted by poor characters and a lack of show with too much tell. No tension, no real plot development and a tame and uninteresting ending.
HVZA: Apocalypse Sale
on Nov. 06, 2015
An unknown virus is sweeping the country and people start staying home when reports start of infected people attacking normal people. Worried retailers fear going out of business and decide to tempt people back to the shopping malls by having a massive Apocalypse SAle. Lots of people rush to the bargains but so do a few of the infected...
I was really amused by the concept of this one. Retailers desperate to get shoppers braving the plague, shoppers greedy enough to risk their life for a few dumb bargains on things that mean zip when the apocalypse comes! I liked the reference to it being the Black Death sale instead of Black Friday!
The story then moves onto a traditional zombie melee where shoppers are attacked all through the mall. I liked the descriptions of the zombie attacks, the people running for their lives, the human side to those about to be eaten. I thought it was well written, it flowed nicely and the author obviously knows how to entertain with her zombies! It lacked the tension of people trying to sneak away and hide that you get in full length zombie novels but this being a short story, it didn't need that element to keep me interested. I liked what I saw here so I'm taking the plunge and buying the first two novels in the series.
Til Death Do Us Part - A Zombie Short Story
on Nov. 06, 2015
This was the standard zombie story of the outbreak happening when a person was seperated from their loved ones and trying to find a way home. I read a lot of stories with the same plot so I don't have any complaints about a lot of them being similar as long as they are still enjoyable. So the idea of the story, while not anything new in the genre, was fine.
It was the way the story was written that I was unhappy with. The whole story is connected by the use of a mobile phone. He calls home and his wife and kid are safe, locked in the house. He phones back and they are on the run. He phones back and they are hiding somewhere so he heads that way. He phones, they have moved. It just jumps around all the time with no flow to the story. There is no opportunity for the tension to build around her dangerous situation and I felt no connection to her at all. It was just a bit flat and repetitive and of course the ending was also predictable. It just seems to a man racing around town talking on a phone plus there wasn't enough zombie action!
Bit disappointing really.
Zombie Threat: The Undead Arise
on Jan. 17, 2016
This was a 35 page story segment that covers a botanist and his lab working friends who discover a worm larvae that is eating treats in Belize. They are brought to Texas to study and when it is deemed that they can kill and reanimate lab spiders, it is considered dangerous. But instead of contacting the CDC and containing the threat, they decide to drive the samples to the CDC, risking public health.
OK on the plus side, I liked that the author tried to think up a different was to introduce zombies. It shows that the author has a few different ideas and I do applaud that. However when I obtain a book called The Undead Arise, I kind of expect to see more than just a few worms and a zombie spider. Yes there are no zombies in this short story which comes to a very abrupt and not very satisfying end. The whole story, I kept waiting for something to happen but instead we got info dumps on chemistry and worms and trees and little else. I don't like serial stories like this and had I known the length and lack of actual zombies in this story, I would have given it a miss.
Oh and if you want to find out what happens after the abrupt ending I'm afraid you are out of luck as the next two books of 40 odd pages each don't seem to continue the story, which for me makes this whole thing a complete waste of my time. I felt as if the title of the book was a deliberate plan to get zombie fans to read this book and I can imagine a lot were not very impressed at being misled. The fact that book two goes back to the jungle to start a new story means we can't even get to see the results of an outbreak which appeared to be set up by the end of book one! I feel cheated in more ways than one. I'd suggest giving this a miss and finding a complete series or novel to read instead..
Life After Death
on Jan. 17, 2016
Davina is a smart, sporty seventeen year old whose father is a prepper. He has fortified the garage to use as a safe house should the worst happen and taught his daughter to survive any apocalypse or disaster. So when Davina describes herself to her readers, why on earth would she describe her breast and ass size in her diary? Well seeing a man wrote this as he obviously deemed that to be the most important thing about her. Not impressed by that.
Putting that aside, this was a decent little story. Davina is about to face the zombie apocalypse alone, as her father is away on a business trip and is stranded, trying to find a way back home to her. She follows her father's instructions and moves her things and supplies over to her 'fort' where she prepares to wait it out. However, it is not just zombies that she fears but other people coming to loot her house and endanger her survival. It is written simply, giving you an idea of what it might be like if such an event happened for real.
There were a few minor niggles to this. Firstly it needs to be proofread as the sentence structure breaks down in places and the spelling could be better. Also I think Davina was being a bit picky by leaving food in her house that she doesn't like. She should have moved everything into the fort as she didn't know how long she might need to be there. She complains about being bored so why didn't she move more books and things into the fort when she was getting ready for the move? She seemed to lack a bit of brains there.
Anyway the niggles were minor and it was a decent enough story. I'm not sure that I'll read on with the series though. I'd probably go 2.5 stars on this but I'm rounding it up to 3 as it would be unfair to give it 2 stars.
Zombie Crusade Snapshot: Ontario
on Feb. 10, 2016
At a hockey training day for kids, a group of zombies shamble in and start attacking people. Katie, her kids, their coach Robbie and her friend Carolyn flee the rink and head for the safety of Katie's home on an island in the lake nearby, connected to the mainland by a bridge. The community agree to take in fleeing people as long as they are medically checked for bites then quarantined if they are infected. As law and order on the mainland breaks down and Canada becomes infected, it is time to disconnect the bridge, just as the zombies come pouring towards them...
I first read this short story free on Smashwords and I liked it. The main characters of Katie and Michael, their friend Carolyn and coach Robbie are all interesting and you like them straight away, which is great because some zombie books have dreadful characters that I just want to see eaten! In this case, you want everyone to survive. It starts with a bang as the zombies attack the rink then we get the preperations to protect those on the island and the news coming from the outside world. The tension really increases when they decide to disconnect the swing bridge, putting our MCs out on the bridge as the zombies suddenly appear. It was edge of the seat stuff, tension filled and the action was well written.
My original review indicated that my one issue was that the main books in the Zombie Crusade series didn't seem to feature the islanders and I so wanted to see what happened to them! Since I wrote the first version of this review I have been kindly contacted by the authors who have assured me that the Canadians feature later in the actual full book series, which is great news and I appreciated them taking the time to get in touch about it.
I have now read the first book in this series which I very much enjoyed and there is a link to the characters in this book. In this short story we discover that Michael, Katie's husband, has a prepper uncle in Cleveland and he is to be joined by Michael's cousin Christy and her boyfriend. The boyfriend is not named, but he is David, brother of the MC in the first book in the series. So now I see the link to the Canadians from the characters in the first full length Zombie Crusade book, which is nice.
Reading this again and knowing that we do find out what happens to these people later in the series made me enjoy reading this even more second time round, and I look forward to the rest of the series.
Ken's Tale & the Peterson Dilemma - Desperate Prequels
on June 28, 2016
Ken is determined to prep behind his wife's back, including the purchase of illegal weapons from a shady source found through a prepper friend. He has to try to keep his illegal meeting quiet from his employees and his wife, hope not to be ripped off or killed or arrested. Ken is about to have a very trying day!
Without giving away the plot, I liked this book. Poor hapless Ken goes through a lot of torment to try and get these weapons and it was an entertaining story.
When the electricity and water goes off, Stanely is worried about keeping his employees from rioting and robbing him. The servants have their own ideas about where to be in the crisis and most are determined to look after their own families. Now the family need to find their own safe place out of town.
I wasn't greatly interested in the fate of Stanely's somewhat spoiled and stuck up family, who think the servants own families come after serving them. My sympathies are with the poor servants and I wasn't caring much about the Petersons dilemma.
Bill Huggins - A Desperate prequel
on June 28, 2016
Bill is the guy that everybody goes to when they need their electrical items fixed but when it comes to inviting him to hang out with them, nobody wants to know. The only person on his side is his best friend Jimmy who is determined to look out for Bill.
I liked this as Bill was a really nice guy being treated badly by people who pretend to be his friend to get help from him. The only issue I have with it is the abrupt ending. I would rather have seen him and Jimmy score a win over the betrayors but it just fizzled out.
Jon...A Desperate Prequel
on June 28, 2016
Jon lives with his partner Kyle and the two get involved in a food dare bet in their local bar with a bunch of thugs.
Um, what was this about? I will have to discuss the full plot here to explain why I didn't greatly like it. Firstly, I didn't see the point of the whole food bet thing as it had nothing to do with the economic collapse or anything. I just found it a bit puzzling. Taking the time to introduce Kyle, who I liked, only to say that he is leaving Jon to be with his family rather than admit to being gay and staying with him. So what is the point to any of it really? Disappointing.
This prequel is an introduction to characters that I assume will feature in the first full novel in the series. I'll decide on whether to read the novel when I finish the sequels. At the moment I'm really unsure about whether or not I like the characters enough to gamble on reading the novel.
Julie Hartman, Julie Hartman
on June 28, 2016
The economic meltdown leads to Julie losing her job and coming home to find her boyfriend Mike moving out and taking all the shared things from the house for his new lovenest with another woman. But Julie's best friend Brenda has decided on an interesting way to get revenge for her.
I liked this story of women being scorned and getting some nice revenge on the people that treated them badly! I won't ruin it but it was good.
The Raid: an Eden short story
on June 28, 2016
This was a short prequel to the series, showing our team out gathering supplies and trying to evade capture by The Bane, their robotic enemy. There was the tension of a zombie supply raid in this book so I'm not surprised that I enjoyed it.
I read this book a few years back at the height of my YA dystopia reading, so I added the series to my wishlist. However since then, I am less interested in the genre and I avoid YA books with insta-luv and love triangles so I won't be reading on with the series. If you like that stuff in your YA you might well like the series so try this book free and see what you think.
Zombie Resurrection: Episode 1
on June 28, 2016
I've read a lot of zombie stories and this one was pretty poor. It's not difficult to please me in a zombie book-a few good characters, a zombie outbreak, some tension and teeth. This had the zombies but none of the author things.
The author was all tell and no show, using short clipped sentences that lacked description or emotion. It reminded me of the kids books to help you learn to read, y'know? Mary went to the window. Dexter looked at Mary. Dexter and Mary left the room. It was so monotonous and lifeless that I got seriously bored within a few pages.
The characters had no personality-they were just there and going through the motions. I wasn't rooting for them to survive and they just felt like robots or cardboard cutouts. There was no excitement or tension building which is what I love about zombie books! Everything was told to you and as a reader, I never felt as if I was being grabbed and pulled along for the ride. This story was lacking on all fronts for me and was a massive disappointment.
In For A Dollar In For A Dime
on June 28, 2016
This is a short, action packed prequel to the novel Family Reunion. It follows several characters who are travelling across America to a family reunion just as a flu type virus brings on the zombie apocalypse.
Ryan is on a Puget Sound ferry when the outbreak begins and is trapped by zombies everywhere. I liked him instantly because he is terrified to the point of panic and physically wetting himself. He is also vomiting at the sight of mauled bodies which is also a believable reaction for an ordinary man. I liked that realism in the character. It was nice to see a male character so scared instead of being big and brave. He is close to the meeting point for the family and tries to keep in touch with brother Max. Max is at the airport to collect his stepdaughter Lisa but the military have quarantined the building, leaving Mike to find a way in as Lisa tries to find a way out.
I liked the switching POV of these three characters as we followed the different problems they had-Max dealing with jittery soldiers, Lisa dealing with pervert airport workers and zombies, and Ryan dealing with more zombies than he can handle. It keeps the action non stop and the tension high and I felt that for it being a short story, it kept you interested and you cared what happened to these three people.
My very slight niggle is that the characters don't want to use the word zombie to describe the infected. We seem to get lots of novels that call them all kinds of strange variations. In this book, zombies are called 'zekes'. I don't get it personally...I mean, 'zombies' was good enough for the likes of Romero! For me, if it is trying to eat your brains, it'a zombie! Seriously, that's just my preference and makes no difference to me in the story!
I am very interested in going on to read the first novel in the series which follows all of the family who are making the journey, hoping to find each other safe and sound. I think this series has great potential and I'm excited to read it!
Burn District:A Short Story Prequel to Burn District the Series
on June 28, 2016
A deadly virus on US soil is being contained by destroying entire parts of towns and cities-without evacuating uninfected civilians. When a neighbour with inside knowledge warns that their district will be next to burn, Mike starts preparing supplies for their escape. When Pete tells him it will happen in two hours, Mike, his wife and kids, his parents and his wife's friend flee for a cross country journey to relatives in Yuma.
This was a different disaster book from what I've read before. Mike's neighbour Pete is able to give them a warning that allows the family to flee, but the family can't risk warning other neighbours in case they are reported by snitches, as nobody trusts anyone in this climate of fear. Doctors are refusing to report infected cases for fear of condemning entire districts to death so the government have bugged every house to find out themselves who is sick and who is preparing to flee, or who is anti-government. Those who manage to escape burning areas are regarded as criminals so there is danger in fleeing but certain death if you stay. I liked the idea of this evil government behaviour, the aspect of everyone being spied on and the innocent being sacrificed. There were lots of tense moments in this short prequel.
I also liked the characters that we will be following. Mike's wife Laura is our main MC. She has 4 kids under 18, her oldest having Down Syndrome. I think having a bit of diversity in the story is going to add something interesting to the plot. There is also an interesting subplot in that Laura suspects that her husband Mike and her best friend Kelly are attracted to each other, something that is shared by Mike's father Randy. This could really be interesting in the middle of a survival story! Laura honey, I would not have let Kelly travel with me in these circumstances, I would have told her nothing and let the bitch burn!
This is a short prequel to introduce the characters and show why they fled and what the background to the story was. I am now really interested to see what happens on the journey to Yuma, how Laura deals with Mike and Kelly and juggles the needs of her kids. I grabbed the first book in the series and am looking forward to reading it soon!
on June 28, 2016
I'm going to review the short stories that I read before I abandoned the book:
Cold Cold Water-A boy's older brother decides for no reason to kill a Greek shopkeeper and is now threatening to kill teachers and their great grandfather. The boy says nothing and his brother rants. The end. WTF was the point in this story? Did anyone else die? Did he get caught? Stopping there made the whole thing pointless.
Life along the Okie Dokie Highway-A girl on a family trip writes letters to her friend about it. Car breaks down, family argue about money. The end. This was such a boring story. It had no horror or thriller element and I didn't see much point to it at all.
Sound Travels-Two boys hear a scream and one swims off to investigate. When he finally comes back he won't say what happens. The end. WTF??? What is the point in setting up a story, building up the tension and then keeping the result a secret? Up until the lack of ending it had been a better story.
Tiny Voices-A girl hears voices in her head telling her to plan a prank-which her best friend uses instead to get attention. Girl is angry. The end. This one was boring.
At this point I got tired of the anthology and gave up on it. The stories I read either had no conclusion at all which I found very frustrating or they had no interesting plot to speak of, and it made me wonder what the point was in writing them. I felt that this was a complete waste of an hour and I won't be reading anything else by this author.
Undead L.A. 1: LAX
on July 20, 2018
I find myself being a bit baffled by the way the first story was set out. Half of it features Eddie's flight history as a pilot, life story, seeing a rapper hit a photographer in the airport, bitchy comments about the girlfriend he cheats on his wife with, the girlfriend's sexual partners, checking into the hotel, his married life woes...that was all very boring. It did improve when the zombies finally arrive and he has to escape the airport on his plane, but all the dumb waffle leading up to it wasn't needed. I decided not to read on after other reviews suggested the same format for each short story.
The Dead Rising: The Beginning
on July 20, 2018
Henry is so annoying. He starts by moaning about his neighbour Jacob who wandered into his living room one day for a chat while Henry was in the shower. Then locks your doors so he can't invite himself in! It's not rocket science!!! Despite hating his job at the school, he is still brooding over the kids getting him sacked. And then the zombies come. To say that Henry is dumb is putting it mildly. The police are trying to tell him about staying indoors and giving him safety instructions, all of which he is ignoring, along with the somewhat obvious signs that there are zombies next door! He just kept doing really dumb stuff and getting on my nerves.
There is nothing much to like or root for in Henry. There is so much tell and the show that we do get is dull, lacking in tension and uninteresting. I didn't find anything much to make me want to finish this one.
Freshman 15 (When the World Ended and We Were Invaded: Season 1, Episode #1)
on July 20, 2018
The 37 page first part of a serial novel follows three seperate stories at the start of the zombie apocalypse. Shay and Ella have just met on their first day of sharing a dorm and are quarantined inside when zombies and police battle outside. A trip to the grocery store ends in a trip to hospital when Matt's brother is bitten by a dead guy. Lin is a Chinese American, dreaming of a big break as a country music star, who is getting ready to perform in a bar when zombies take to the streets outside.
The story was well written and it was a proper zombie story instead of one of those parody humour ones that are never funny. This features ordinary people suddenly thrust into the middle of a zombie outbreak and trying to make sense of what they are seeing. It had a nice mixture of tension and violence, which I like in my zombie novels. It gets straight into the story without wasting a lot of time on pointless descriptions and just gives you a brief introduction to each character. It is difficult to have character development in a short segment like this but the author does a good job of making me like the ones we have met so far.
If like me you refuse to buy these short 30/40 page segments when they are released in serial form, there is a full length novel of about 300 pages which features the full first season segments added together. I'll read the next part, segment two, and see what happens next before making a decision about buying the actual novel.
A Really Bad Dream (When the World Ended and We Were Invaded: Season 1, Episode #2)
on July 20, 2018
Ella and Shay are still stuck in the dorm building but things take a turn for the worst when their fellow students have become the undead and patrol the corridors. A plan is needed to escape. Matt is facing the loss of his entire family and needs to find a way to get out of the hospital and get to his sister Shay. Lin decides that it is time to leave the bar and go home to check on his family but is going to find the streets more crowded than he thinks.
This segment was only 29 pages which was a bit disappointing as I'd hoped to get a bit more to help me decide whether or not to go and get the novel. Shay and Ella's plan was dumb but it was a realistic dumb plan that you can imagine a couple of scared students trying to do so I'm not going to be critical of that. I think Matt needs to be a bit more developed as he isn't getting the screen time that the girls are getting in comparison.
It is certainly fast paced and I have liked what I've read so far. Don't think I'll continue as serial novels are not what I'm looking for.
on July 20, 2018
A tube train crashes in London, derailed after it hits something on the track. The dazed passengers debate whether to stay on the train to wait for help or move through the tunnel to the nearest station. And as they talk, they see things moving in the dark to eat the dead bodies...dinosaurs.
I liked the idea of the plot. Who doesn't love the idea of rampaging dinosaurs in the centre of London? However, the execution of the story did not live up to my expectations. The initial encounter with the dinosaurs was fine and the group decide to flee and get to what they think will be the safety of the street, only to discover that dinosaurs are everywhere.
This was where the story starts to get silly. Picture yourself coming out the station to realise that London is overrun with dinosaurs...you want to find somewhere safe to hide or get home to family and friends right? Um no, instead you decide to stop and rescue a baby dinosaur and try to reunite it with its mummy while T Rex and other horrors are running around eating people. Yep, that would be my priority. The author seemed determined to showcase all his favourite dinosaurs by leading our group to them one by one in a plot that was encounter dinosaur, escape, move on. It was repetitive and no time was taken after the initial bit in the tunnel to really ramp up the tension.
The other thing that I didn't like was the attempts at humour that the author kept throwing in. It felt out of place to keep trying to throw funny comments into the situation in a dinosaur horror story. It might have been ok if any of these inserts were funny but for me it all fell a bit flat.
Good plot concept but lacks good execution in plot and character.
on July 20, 2018
Whatever the other reviewers saw in this book obviously passed me by! Our MC Kelly is an airhead numbnut who puts up with her husband's habit of beating her crapless on a regular basis because he never questions the massive credit card bills she runs up on home shopping and the sex is good. Oh and he never bruises her face, which is nice of him. She also thinks that he should change his name as Terry sounds like an asian or black man who is trying to hide his true ethnic origin. WTF????? I mean seriously, what is THAT all about? As usual the cops are obnoxious morons who keep letting her off with parking offences because she smiles nicely at them and is attractive. That was it for me. Let the zombies eat them all.
on July 20, 2018
I liked the idea of a real zombie outbreak happening at a convention, where people are already dressed up as zombies and other monsters. However, I don't feel that it was executed as well as it could have been.
It sets the scene with Norman being there as a VIP guest which should mean getting ahead in line for everything he wants-except there are so many VIPs that the lines are longer than expected and the lack of planning from the ZombieCon people becomes obvious. He even meets a girl who is just as much of a zombie fan and become friends in the queue. We also have the subplot where a terrorist steals a virus and is planning to sell it when the plan goes wrong and it is released. This was all quite interesting.
Sadly the rest of it becomes rushed. A person goes into a room and is eaten. Next person goes into different room and is eaten. Someone looks for first person and is eaten. It follows a somewhat repetitive description of how each person meets their doom. There is no tension to it or original moments as the zombie virus spreads. It just needed a bit more depth and excuse the pun, for the story to be a bit more fleshed out. The lack of detail gives the impression that the author was in a rush to get it written by a certain page number so it was a bit disappointing. If the author went back and added a bit more description and thought to it, it could be a decent story. As it is, it was way too short and underdeveloped for me.
on July 20, 2018
A man decides to take his zombie wife to the CDC to demand the cure that he is sure Obama is withholding from the people.
I can't really say more than that without giving you the whole plot but it was an amusing short story.