Archive | Books RSS feed for this section

2013 Brings Changes To My Book Reviewing

2 Jan

As most of you know, I’ve been reviewing for Monster Librarian for the past several years.  For the last year or so I’ve really fallen behind on writing up reviews.  It seemed like I could read a ton of review books, but then I’d put off writing the review, even as long as a year later.  At that point I barely remembered what the book was about and practically had to re-read the book to be able to write the review.  I know, I know, I should’ve taken notes and/or wrote the review immediately upon finishing the book, but with the stresses of work and every day problems, I just didn’t always have the energy to do it immediately.  And then, of course, there was the “I’ll do it tomorrow” problem and as everyone knows, tomorrow never comes.  So… after a LOT of thinking and I do mean a LOT… I’ve decided to give up my reviewing gig with ML.  However, I will still be doing some reviewing.  I know several publishers/authors have sent me books directly to review and those reviews will be going up here on my blog (and most likely cross-posted to Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and GoodReads), though I’m not sure of the exact time frame.  I have a lot of non-review books I’ve been wanting to catch up on so I will be mixing them into my pile as well.  Some of the non-review books might get a quick mention/blurb on this blog, but I will definitely be writing up reviews of the books that have been requested of me.  This might only be one or two a month and if I really don’t care for a review book, it might never get a mention (however that is a rarity for me as I can usually find something to like in all books).  I already have a few reviews to work on posting up here, but I need to get into my New Year groove with working out, housecleaning, etc… as I’ve made several goals for myself  So, I ask of all publishers/authors to please be patient with me as I do want to read & review your books, I just need to limit the stress behind it a bit.  

Yes, I am still accepting review books, but I am limiting what all I take in.  If you would like to submit a book for review, please contact me at my email:  sanddanz at gmail dot com.  I’m not promising a review, but I’ll see how the review pile stands at that point.  

I really hope everyone understands the reasons I’m backing off of things and also appreciate the patience those have shown in the past for my delay in writing up reviews.  I truly am not a flake, but I will be the first to admit that I took on a bit more than I could chew. So… with the new year, I’ve just decided to try to make things a bit more manageable.

Thanks again to all publishers & authors for their contributions and be sure to check back as your review(s) might be the next thing published here.

Happy New Year!

Review: Desdaemona by Ben Macallan

30 Jul

Desdaemona follows the story of Jordan, on the run from his parents, who plan to make him immortal when he becomes of age. While on the run, he helps find other runaways–because who better to find a runaway than another runaway that knows all the best hiding spots and tricks? Enter Desdaemona, or Desi for short, who enlists Jordan’s help to find her sister Fay, who has gotten herself mixed up with some very bad immortals. Jordan attempts to turn down her request, but, as he’s a horny teenager, it doesn’t take much for Desi to convince him to help her out. As their search begins, so do a lot of crazy and dangerous escapades that make Jordan second-guess his decision to help out Desi, despite his raging hormones.

Honestly, I had a really hard time getting through this novel. Some sections of the book I really got into, but then others made me wish I was already on the final chapter. I am glad I stuck through to the end, though, as some of the stuff near the end of the book was quite intense, and I really liked one of the characters introduced late in the book. I will most likely read the next book in the series to see how things go now that the characters have been fleshed out. This first book just felt like the author was struggling a bit with getting his voice and writing style sorted out, but I have hope that in future books this won’t be an issue for Macallan, as he does seem to have some really good tales to tell. The fact that he pulls in so many different creatures, going beyond just the typical vampires and werewolves found in urban fantasy, makes him stand out drastically from many of today’s urban fantasy authors. I would definitely recommend giving Desdaemona a try if you can handle a little frustration along the way, as the book does turn out to be well worth it in the end. Recommended.

Contains: Adult language and situations

Review also posted at MonsterLibrarian.

Review: Die, You Bastard! Die! by Jan Kozlowski

30 Jul

Claire left her past life as far behind as possible, and didn’t want to return home when she received the call that her father had been hospitalized.  He had abused her growing up, which was the main reason she had left in the first place, but she decided to be the bigger person and went home to check on him.  Claire didn’t expect to find that she was expected to use her training as a paramedic to act as a home nurse to him until his condition improved. Nor did she expect her best friend’s suggestion that this would be the perfect opportunity for the two of them to get their revenge on the man that had abused them for the biggest part of their life.  

Intense from start to finish, this book keeps you biting your nails the entire time.  Kozlowski keeps the momentum going throughout this book, giving the reader no chance to come up for air.  Ravenous Shadows promised novellas that could “pack as much punch, personality, and plot as books three times their size” and that they did with Die, You Bastard, Die!  If I didn’t have other obligations in life I would’ve read this in one setting easily, as it was THAT good!  This is a revenge story.  This is an extremely gory revenge story.  I don’t say that lightly.  If you are hesitant to read books that have to do with revenge or contain gore, I’d pass this one by.  However, if you don’t mind either of those things, make sure this one goes to the top of your must-read pile.  Trust me, it won’t take up much of your reading time and you won’t regret it.  I know I can’t wait to read more from Ravenous Shadows and especially from Jan Kozlowski.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Contains:  Adult language, Adult Situations, Sex, Rape, Violence, Gore

Review also posted at MonsterLibrarian.

Review: Unspeakable and Other Stories by Lucy Taylor

30 Jul

Lucy Taylor’s work has been recommended to me frequently, due to my love for erotic horror.  Earlier this year, I finally got to read a short story by her, and I enjoyed every word of it.  So I was ecstatic when our site was contacted by the author about reviewing her short story collection Unspeakable and Other Stories.  The collection is made up of eight short stories, which I believe have all been published previously in various anthologies/magazines.  There was not a story in this collection that I did not enjoy, but my three favorites would have to be (in no particular order) “Wall of Words”, “The Family Underwater”, and “A Hairy Chest, A Big Dick, and a Harley”.  Taylor has a special way of playing with words and twisting them around, making the reader think one thing, and then, when she unravels it all, showing  something entirely different.  Her endings were always a surprise to me, especially in “A Hairy Chest, A Big Dick, and a Harley”. Yes, her stories would be classified as erotic horror, but I don’t think many readers would find themselves wanting a warm body to make love to after having read her work.  Taylor’s stories are sensual yet disturbing and are more likely leave you fearing the lover beside you.  Gripping and chilling, I devoured this collection in small doses to make it last longer.  Highly Recommended!

Contains:  Adult language, Adult Situations, Sex

Review also posted at MonsterLibrarian.

Review: Sacrifice by Wrath James White

30 Jul

Odd crime scenes are popping up across town, starting with a man being eaten alive by his own dog,  soon followed by a school teacher being brutally beaten by his elementary school students.  The incidents don’t stop there, unfortunately, and Detective John Malloy and his partner Mohammed Rafik have a crazy case on their hands.  In addition to these reports, they also have been running an investigation on a bunch of missing little girls.  When Molloy and Rafik visit the parents’ houses, they notice that the parents don’t have any pictures up any more of their children, but do have a picture up of themselves with some strange looking woman.  Doing a bit more research around town, they find out that the other woman in the picture is a woman that goes by the name of Delilah, and she is some kind of voodoo priestess who has the power to take away a person’s pain… but at a cost.

I’ve yet to meet a Wrath James White book I haven’t liked and that goes for this one as well.  He always writes a strong story with vivid details and strong characters.  In particular, the character of Delilah that he has created in Sacrifice is one-of-a-kind, and I had a hard time deciding whether I loved her or hated her.  Her reasoning for doing what she does is good-natured, but the results are just so horrific that it’s hard to decide which outweighs the other.  That might not make sense to you now but I guarantee that if you read this novella, you will understand my conflict.  If you are familiar with White’s work, you will expect over-the-top gore, lots of violence, and hardcore sex in this novella.  Well… maybe not so much in this case.  There is still a little of each, but I’d say the gore and sex is majorly tamed down this time, which should allow readers that have avoided White’s work in the past due to those features a chance to give his writing a try.  He is a powerful writer and one that shouldn’t be missed.  

Note:  Sacrifice is a semi-sequel novella to White’s novel The Resurrectionist as it pulls in some of the same characters and reflects back on some of the events that took place in the novel.  In order to avoid spoilers to the novel, be sure to read it before this novella.  

Contains:  Adult language, Adult Situations, Gore, Sex, Graphic Violence

Review also posted at MonsterLibrarian.

Review: Faint of Heart by Jeff Strand

30 Jul

Gary Harpster is planning on spending a weekend camping with the boys, but is worried about leaving his wife Rebecca home alone–she’s a bit of a scaredy cat.  Rebecca promises him she’s alright, though deep down she knows she’s anything but. After a bit of back and forth, he promises her he’ll call and check in, and heads out on his trip.  Rebecca struggles her way through the weekend, and never receives a phone call from Gary, nor does he answer when she tries to call him.  By Sunday night, she starts to panic.  About that time her doorbell rings, and the person on the other side tells her that they are the police.  Unfortunately for Rebecca, it’s not really the police and she is taken at gunpoint by the stranger at the door.  He tells her that he will take her to find out what happened to Gary, but the only way for her to find out is to play their little game.  And what they have in mind is something she’s not prepared for at all.  They want her to go camping.  Well, not just camping… they want her to re-live everything Gary went through over the weekend and she can’t even begin to imagine what all that might entail.

A good horror/comedy book is hard to find, but all one has to do is find a book with the name Jeff Strand on the title and it’s a winner every time (except for those couple of non-horror/comedy books he wrote).  Faint of Heart is a fast-paced novella with a bit of torture, a slight bit of gore, and a lot of laughs.  At the start of the book the main heroine, Rebecca, seems to be quite the wuss.  (Seriously, who wouldn’t want a weekend home alone to be able to catch up on their reading?)  But as she starts going through all of the stuff that Gary had to go through, she has to learn to toughen up quickly.  If not, she would’ve probably just died trying to eat the hot dog. (You’ll understand once you read this novella.)  That being said, Rebecca becomes a very likeable character by the end and the love she shows throughout for Gary is just phenomenal.  The fact that she would put herself through as much as she does throughout this story proves just how much she cares for him.  It’s quite the touching story, despite it being full of violence, but what else can you expect from the King of Comic Horror?  Highly Recommended!

Contains:  Adult language, Adult Situations, Violence, Gore, Torture

Review also posted at MonsterLibrarian.

Kindle Freebies – 04/10/12

10 Apr

Quick post today with no pretty pictures as I didn’t really have time today to post at all, but… there seemed to be a good selection today so wanted to get these out to my followers.  Lots of horror, mystery, thriller, paranormal, and fairy tale books within.  Some are erotic, so if that’s not your cup of tea, please pass over them.  I was particular excited to find the 5 fairy tale books by Sandy Stoker and OzMania by Richard A. Zagranski.  They are listed below with all the rest.  Enjoy!

Innsmouth Magazine: Collected Issues 1-4

The Vampire’s Warden by S.J. Wright

The Monster Within Idea by R. Thomas Riley

Welcome to Moon Hill by Anthony J. Rapino

The Eyes of the Dead by G.R. Yeates

Meany by Peazy Monellon

Come the Hour by Martin McGregor

The Gods of Dream by Daniel Arenson

The Hall of the Wood by Scott Marlowe

Maggie For Hire by Kate Danley

Demon Hunter and Baby by Anna Elliott

The Witch Queen’s Secret by Anna Elliott

Ozmania Inc. by Richard A. Zagranski

The Division of the Damned by Richard Rhys Jones

Tick Tock Run by H.C. Elliston

Quick Thrills by Jeff Menapace

All Aboard for Murder by R.T. Ray

The Jury Series by Lee Goldberg

Absolute Liability by J.W. Becton

Lick Your Neighbor by Chris Genoa

Mama Said by Lee Allen Howard

Perillegal by J. Pryzmus

Lifeblood by J. Pryzmus

Lostblood by J. Pryzmus

Sorry, Charlie by Shawn Bailey

The Kraken’s Mirror by Maureen O. Betita

My Boyfriend’s Back by Chrissy Olinger

The Tears of Elios by Crista McHugh

Dysfunctional by Tameka Hicks

To Speak for the Dead by Paul Levine

Premature Eradication by James W. Lewis

Occupy Faerie by Marilyn Peake

Vampire for Christmas by Felicity Heaton

Awakening: The Darkfire Chronicles Part 1 by Victoria Knight

Hansel & Gretel: An Erotic Fairytale by Sandy Stroker

Snow White: An Erotic Fairytale by Sandy Stoker

Little Red Riding Hood: An Erotic Fairytale by Sandy Stoker

Rapunzel: An Erotic Fairytale by Sandy Stoker

Rumplestiltskin: An Erotic Fairytale by Sandy Stoker

NOTE:  Below are some additional books free today!

Spying in High Heels by Gemma Halliday

Dracula’s Harem by Adrianna White

Letting Go by Polly J. Adams

Bound By Blood by Danielle Bourdon & Kimberly Hoyt

Death Has a Name by Jerry Hanel 

The Hours of Creeping Night by Sophie Playle

Snow Angels by Brenton Harper-Murray

Sworn by Emma Knight

Bloody Little Secrets by Karly Kirkpatrick

Bury the Children in the Yard by Andersen Prunty

Easter Kindle Freebies

8 Apr

Happy Easter everyone!  What a better way to spend your Easter than reading a good book, eh?  I know that I’ll be doing so when not at the family dinner later.  What will you be reading today?  Here’s my book read for today:

(Note:  This is not a freebie today)

Like a naughty Easter version of The Nightmare Before Christmas mixed with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. . .

Don’t let her habit of constantly wearing bunny ears fool you. Charlee hates Easter. And she has good reason to. So, on the day before her 18th birthday, she wasn’t expecting to meet the Easter Bunny, a person-sized gummi egg, and a large toad. But that’s what happens when she and two other teenagers are transported to Easter Land. Charlee ponders the teenage girl made out of gummi with huge boobs, and the teenage boy in a wheelchair with an overdeveloped upper body.

A black-clad princess informs them that they must compete to decide which of the three creatures will be the future egg deliverer. But a mysterious man tied to a dark holiday known as SinEaster is also aware of the teens’ arrival.

Some say that in the days of prophesy, SinEaster will destroy Easter. Will Easter go on as usual, or will it be cancelled this year?

======================================================

For those of you looking for a new book today, here are some freebies that I snagged up.  I’ll highlight a couple at the top that will be my top reads of the bunch, but several of these look really good!  🙂

(Note:  This is not the cover used for the Kindle edition)

The few souls still left in the dying mining town call it Milestone, but a better name might be Purgatory, for it is nothing less than a prison for those who have done wrong. They are the damned, condemned to murder other sinners for a chance to escape, though escape never comes.

For the patrons of Eddie’s bar, who live in the shadows of their own tragic pasts, tonight will be different.

Tonight, there will come one shot at redemption for those brave enough to take it.

Featuring an incredible cast of characters united by desperation, this the novella that inspired the critically acclaimed novel CURRENCY OF SOULS.

“It was when Joe come back from the dead our troubles begun, I reckon. Things was none too cheery ’fore then, of course, what with us thinking him drownded, Tom and me, but… well, it’d’ve been better all round if he’d just stayed dead. Them was the fun times, I’ll allow, when I think what come later…”

Two boys hide in a graveyard at midnight so that when devils come to claim the soul of a man buried the previous day they can fling a dead cat at them, curing one of the boys of his warts. Such, strange to recall, was the incident that set in train the central narrative of Mark Twain’s classic novels of childhood in the West of the 1840s, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

“The odd superstitions touched upon were all prevalent among children and slaves,” explained Twain in his preface to Tom Sawyer. But what if all those superstitions were true?

Huck takes the principal characters of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and sets their lives in motion once more – this time in an enchanted Missouri where being barked at by a stray dog or serenaded by a whippoorwill really is a sure sign that you will die, where hairballs from ox stomachs are powerful amulets that foretell the future, where touching a snakeskin or looking at the moon over your left shoulder will bring down bad luck, and where every wind that stirs the trees and mist that clouds the Mississippi is thick with the voices of ghosts.

A nighttime trip down the river ends in disaster for Huck and Tom when their raft overturns and their best friend, Joe Harper, is swept away to certain death. Stranded on Jackson’s Island, a series of mishaps enforces their stay until they learn the terrible truth: that Lady Miz, the spirit of the river, feels cheated and has sent Joe back to fetch his friends – any way he can.

But as if a ghostly Joe Harper wasn’t enough to contend with, another Joe is back in town – Injun Joe. If this bloodthirsty bandit discovers that Huck and Tom know his secrets a vengeful Mississippi could become the least of their worries.

Many a twist, turn and torment must be overcome before Huck and Tom confront their demonic antagonists and fight to save their lives – and their souls.

======================================================

Not enough you say?  Well, here’s a bunch more:

The Slab by Jefrey J. Mariotte

Forever Darkness 1: Forever Undead by Jacob M. Drake

Forever Darkness 2: Darkness in the Light by Jacob M. Drake

Forever Darkness 3: Forever the Dark Grave by Jacob M. Drake

Dark Angel: Fallen by Jacob M. Drake

By Hook or By Crook ed. by Ed Gorman & Martin Greenburg

Tasteless by Jennifer Olson Farrar

South Severe by Brian D. Lee

Soul Hunter by Tina Hand

Things That Go Bump In The Night by Students of The Write Place

Four Jokers & a Queen by James Hockings

Zombie Christmas by Devin Coldwell

Zombie Easter by Devin Coldwell

Nocturne by Saul Tanpepper

Diary of a Teenage Serial Killer by Jem Fox

Jezri’s Nightmares Vol. 2: Tales of Terror by Lisa McCourt Hollar

The Pineville Heist by Lee Chambers

Power of Three by Paisley Grey

Six-Pack of Blood by Betty Davis & Barbara Watkins

The Nightmare Within by Glen R. Kirsch

The Last Guardian by Joan Hazel

Just A Quick Freebies Post

7 Apr

Sorry for the lack of pretty pictures in this update, but I wanted to get SOMETHING posted since I haven’t had a chance to share anything with you all the last few days.  Here are some of the top freebie horror books I’ve snagged up over the past couple of days.   I’m sure there are more than the ones I’ve listed below, but I wanted to get this posted while I had  a chance.  Enjoy!  🙂

 

Bloody Mary by Sean Patrick Traver

Jezebel by Gordon A. Kessler

Showdown at Midnight by Various Authors

Devil’s Dozen: 13 Tales of the Strange and Obscure by Dan Meadows

Shades of Green by Ian Woodhead

Spores by Ian Woodhead

Suburban Horrors by Tim Kizer

Strange Circumstances by Various Authors

Sweet Burden by K.L. Ogden

The Haunted by Michaelbrent Collings

Dead Things by Matt Darst

Red Band by Jay Franklin

Horror House Detective by Michael Gold

Forgotten Crown: The Father by James Miller

Vivisepulture by Various Authors

Unfruitful Works and Other Personal Horrors by Jordan Krall

Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys by Jordan Krall

The South Will Rise Again by Jeffrey Kosh

DOOMBUNNY: A Tale of Easter Terror by Benjamin Knox

Anthology of Ichor: A Devil in the Details by Various Authors

Anthology of Ichor II:  Hearts of Darkness by Various Authors

The Space Between by Alexandra Sokoloff

The Headhunter by Saul Tan Pepper

Campfire Chillers by Dave Jeffery

Bad Juju by Randy Chandler

Dead of Night by Nick Steckel

Ladykiller by Chelsea Hoffman

Nasty Little F!#*ers by David McAfee

The Toil and Trouble Trilogy, Book One by V.J. Chambers

The Zombies of Hobbiton: A Martian Love Story by Edward W. Robertson

Samhane by Daniel I. Russell

Servants of Darkness by Mark Edward Hall

Review: Floating Staircase by Ronald Malfi

29 Mar

Author Travis Glasgow recently completed a novel titled The Ocean Serene, written as Travis’s way of dealing with the death of his brother Kyle, whom he felt he had killed years ago.  Thinking he had put his past behind him, he and his wife, Jodie, move to Westlake, Maryland to be closer to his living brother, Adam.  However, upon arrival to the house, Travis starts noticing strange happenings.  He is hearing noises and seeing strange sights in the basement.  What he witnesses makes him believe that Kyle’s spirit has followed him all this way and is trying to tell him something.  Then one day Travis notices another oddity; a staircase, floating in the middle of the lake outside their house.  As Travis’s confusion and fears increase, he decides to do an investigation of his own, wondering if there is more to the house than just a ghost from his own past.  Taking his research skills to the local library, he soon discovers that the previous owners of his new house have something in common with him; they also dealt with the death of a drowning boy in their family.  Travis becomes obsessed with finding out as much as he can about the previous owners of his house in order to find out what message the being that has been reaching out to him is trying to get across.

Of all the books I read in 2011, Floating Staircase was at the top of my list!  From start to finish I could not put this book down.  Having not previously read anything by Ronald Malfi I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this one, but I was pleasantly surprised and will definitely be looking up his other reads.  I’ve always been a fan of ghost stories and this book is definitely that.  In the beginning, Malfi leaves you wondering if maybe Travis Glasgow has gone just a bit crazy over the years due to the blame he had put on himself after his brother’s death.  But once he discovers that there is another presence in the house other than what Travis originally thought was his brother’s spirit, things really take off.  Mixing elements of both horror and mystery, Malfi has put together a page-turner that, even when finished, leaves you wanting more.  Powerful and chilling, Floating Staircase is one ghost story that horror fans should not miss.  Highly Recommended!

Contains: Adult Language & Adult Situations

Review also posted at MonsterLibrarian