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Review: Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times

1 Jul

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Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times

I unexpectedly received WITCH HUNTS as a review copy.  I say unexpectedly, but with Lisa Morton’s name on the cover it wasn’t completely unexpected as she knows I devour her work.  At any rate, for some reason I put this one off despite the fact that it is a graphic novel and would be a quick read.  The only reason I can give for this is that I am not a fan of history… at all!  That being said… after all of the craziness that occurred on Facebook about this book being banned (see Rocky Wood’s blog post here) and also getting to meet Rocky Wood in the flesh, I picked this book up finally.

Remember, I said I pretty much hate history, however this book was absolutely amazing!  I was a little familiar with some of the witch hunt acts that had occurred over the years, but hadn’t heard of nearly as many as Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton compiled into this one graphic novel.  Not only did they have detailed facts about the witch hunts throughout the years, but they wrote about them in a way that was fun to read.  Yes, I just used the word “fun” in referring to history.  Additionally, the artwork that is supplied by Greg Chapman in this book is absolutely phenomenal!  Excluding the cover, the artwork is completely in black and white, but I think color would’ve taken away from the style of this book and the fact that it was depicting olden times.

Whether you are looking for a book to educate yourself quickly on witch hunts or you just want an entertaining graphic novel to read, I’d definitely recommend picking this one up.  I’m actually thinking about re-reading it soon as I don’t retain very well and I’d like to remember a few more of the facts that this book is jam packed full of.  Again, this coming from an anti-history person.  I’m sure some of you history buffs out there will get even more from this very well written and drawn book depicting tons of witch trials that took place over the course of time.

That being said, the book is currently available on Amazon both in print and in Kindle format.  Normally I link to the Kindle version of books only as that’s typically what I read, but due to the artwork in this one I’d recommend having a print copy in your hands.  I’ve linked to both within this text so you have the option, but I highly recommend shelling out a few dollars more to get the print version!  Alternately you can purchase this book directly from the publisher, McFarland Publishing via their website or you can order from them at 1-800-253-2187.

And if my recommendation of this book is not enough for you, might I add that this book even won the Stoker award this year for Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel.  Below is a picture of me with Lisa Morton (left) at the Bram Stoker Awards Banquet holding her two Stoker Awards, the one I just mentioned and another one for Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction for her book TRICK OR TREAT: A HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN.

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Review: Biology of Blood by Mark Parker

30 Jun

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Biology of Blood by Mark Parker

Up front I shall say that I am not a fan of short stories typically as I don’t feel you can get to know the characters well enough to grow attached to them as I do with a novel. With the case of BIOLOGY OF BLOOD, it’s not so much a short story as the beginning of a longer book. If I recall my conversation with Mark Parker correctly, this is the first of two short stories to be published with a third novella length book coming after that to complete the entire story.

In this short, the reader is given the chance to meet mainly three characters: Draymond, his roommate Trevor, and his biology professor Prete. Draymond is concerned about something he read in his biology textbook and is looking to question Prete about it since he was the author of the text. However, what he discovers is a bit more than what he bargained for.

Based on the cover art and title of this series you can pretty much figure out up front what he’s going to discover so the story isn’t really suspenseful at this point, however I think that as Parker expands upon this story there is great potential for things to get interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing where he goes from here as the first short seemed a bit bland for me, like the beginning of many novels out there. There just wasn’t time to get to know any of the characters well enough nor to even see much vampire action. I’ll definitely be picking up “book” 2 to see what happens next as it sounds like things are just beginning for Draymond.

You can currently grab this tale on Amazon Kindle for only $0.99.

Review: Savage Species Part 2: The Children by Jonathan Janz

29 Jun

Review: Savage Species Part 2: The Children by Jonathan Janz

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Reviews, especially of friend’s books are hard to write, but this book is particularly difficult since I’m doing it in segments.  That’s the one problem I have with a serial novel, I don’t want to provide spoilers in my reviews, but it’s kind of hard not to!  (The other problem with a serial novel is having to wait on the next segments to be released, especially when it’s such a great book!)  At any rate, this review as well as those for parts 3-5 shall be shorter than my review from part 1, NIGHT TERRORS, due to me trying to avoid giving everything away.

Continuing straight on from where NIGHT TERRORS left off, Jonathan Janz throws us right into all the action.  Jesse and all the gang are fighting off all the evil baddies and searching for Emma.  His search is not in vain, but trying to get her and everyone out of the area safely is a bit of a challenge.  Janz managed to even make me cringe and feel a bit of sympathy for one of the monsters when I read one scene depicting a most horrible “circumcision”.  (I’ll leave it at that until you read this segment for yourself.)

After rescuing Emma, the crew flees the area.  Unfortunately, realizing the entrance is not a likely exit, the only place they think to go is back to visit Frank Red Elk, the most creepy man I’ve heard of.  I’m talking a man who has no shame that has an addiction to soft core porn like most of us reading this have an addiction to horror novels.  He’s one disgusting dude that I hope to never meet the likes of.  At any rate, upon returning to his house, they discover that he knows something about these monsters, or rather “the children”, as he calls them.  But just how much does he know?  Janz leaves us pondering the answer to this question until we read future segments of SAVAGE SPECIES.

Switching gears a bit, part two gives us a larger picture of what is going on in the Florence household.  This is actually what I was looking to finding out most about after reading the first segment as it only teased a bit about what was going on with this family.  Now having lost her son, Charly, is beyond devastated and seeks out help from her friend Sam to help her look for her baby as Sam is the only one that seems to believe her crazy story about some monster taking her baby away.  Of course, Eric Florence isn’t happy at all about her asking for Sam’s help and goes to track them down, not to help them, but to prove that there is something going on between them.  (Yeah, that’s the pot calling the kettle black!)  This little trek through the woods ends with them all going into a cave where they hear the baby’s cries.  And you know that a mom isn’t going to let anything stand in her way of getting to her crying baby.  Unfortunately, part two ends before we find out if she gets to him in time or if something more horrific might happen.

I’m sure with the high-paced momentum Jonathan Janz has kept going through this second segment all readers should be hooked by now.  I know I am!  Now to move onto part three, DARK ZONE, which will be released on July 2, 2013.

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

Note:  Clicking on the cover above will take you to the Amazon page to buy.

Review: Savage Species Part 1: Night Terrors by Jonathan Janz

2 Jun

NightTerrors

Savage Species Part 1: Night Terrors by Jonathan Janz

Savage Species is a new serial novel by Jonathan Janz that is being released by Samhain Publishing. There are five parts being released every two weeks starting June 4, 2013. This review covers only part 1, Night Terrors.

Night Terrors starts off with a flashback scene about Shane Dulin, who was helping build a walking bridge at a new state park that was getting ready to open. Upon waking from unconsciousness, Shane tries to think back to how he came to be wherever he is and wonders why he is in so much pain. Once he discovers he is in a cave and has been literally chewed upon he starts to freak out and attempts to get away from the cave thinking that danger could still be lurking nearby. Unfortunately, he’s right about something being nearby and his lack of legs causes him to not make it in time.

Moving on from the flashback scene, Janz introduces us to Jesse, Emma, and Colleen who are headed to the above mentioned state park to do a story on its opening. Colleen doesn’t understand why they always get the “fluff” stories to write, however Emma tries to look at the bright side of things to make it look like a great experience for them. Jesse on the other hand seems to not care one way or the other as long as he gets to spend time with Emma, who he seems to have been harboring a crush on for quite some time.

Janz also branches off to a completely different setting where a family of five is having some problems. Eric, the dad, doesn’t seem to care anything about the family, choosing instead to spend all of his time coaching and going over plays with his beautiful assistant. Eric’s wife, Charly, on the otherhand is stuck at home taking care of everything, including raising two young girls and a baby boy.

Lots of details are provided by Janz about all of the characters mentioned above along with many side characters to allow the reader to start feeling something for them, whether it be sympathy, hate, amusement, etc… Once both scenes are established danger ensues. For the campers at the park, it’s a massacre! Some kind of monsters have started visciously attacking everyone in the park and our three reporters are trying to find a way to both escape and save as many people as possible. As for our dsyfunctional family, someone – or was it something – has kidnapped Charly’s baby boy. She claims it wasn’t human, but there is no such thing as monsters, right?

Not holding anything back, Janz makes the reader feel like they are right there in the middle of the massacre at the state park, and possibly even one of the victims. This is definitely not a book for a reader with a weak stomach, but I’d definitely recommend it to those that can’t get enough blood, guts, and gore.

Night Terrors is currently free on Amazon and I guarantee after reading it you will want to purchase the other segments to this novel. I know I’m ready to move on to part 2, The Children. A review of each segment will be forthcoming.

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

Note:  Clicking on the cover above will take you to the Amazon page to buy.

Approach to Reading

22 Mar

Was just thinking about the fact that it seems I do a bit more reading nowadays with the whole e-book world out there.  I still don’t get nearly as much read as I’d like given how many books are waiting for me on Mt. TBR.  I just hope that there will be a way to take them all with me when I leave this world one day.  🙂  At any rate,  I now read 3 different ways…

1 – Print Books (the old-fashioned way) – this is actually my least favorite method of reading nowadays, but it is still nice to occasionally pick up a print book.  And since some of my review books I receive are in print rather than electronic format, I don’t have a choice.

2 – Electronic Books via my Kindle Fire – My favorite method of reading ’cause I *SO* love my Kindle Fire!!!  On there I have access to almost 2,000 books I’ve gotten from Amazon (most for free as there are so many generous authors out there) plus I have put all of my waiting-to-be-read review books on there and some other books that I want to read sooner rather than later.  I read on this as much as possible as I especially like that I can read in the dark in bed at night without a reading light of any kind.  In addition to reading on it, I also can check my email, facebook, play words with friends, etc… on there so it’s a handy all-in-one tool for me whenever I’m anywhere with wi-fi accessibility.  🙂

3 – Electronic Books via my Droid RAZR Phone – Yes, despite now having the Kindle Fire I do still read on my phone.  I know I’m bad in doing so, but I do read some while driving… especially at stop lights and such.  *grin*  I can usually get in a short story or a chapter or two between work and home each day by doing so and I do hate losing reading time.  Also, the phone is easy to have with me no matter where I go since it’s small and light, plus it’s ALWAYS with me anyway.

So what about you?  How do you like to read?  What formats do you read in?  I know that some people hate the idea of e-books and I’m not trying to start any kind of bashing war here.  We all have our preferences on how we do things so I’m just curious of your own preferences.  🙂

The other thing I wanted to talk about here is picking your next read.  Since I read in three formats as I mentioned above, I am typically in the middle of three books.  I tend to read shorter stuff on my phone, typically short story collections and novellas.  But as for exactly what I choose to read, I just go for what strikes my fancy at the time.  I know that I should probably read the review books I get in the order they come in, but if I did so I’d either be reading a LOT slower or end up giving more negative reviews due to reading books that I really am not in the mood for.

How do you decide what to read next?

If you look over to the right of my blog you should be able to see my current reads via the GoodReads widget I have plugged in there.  In case it’s not working however, my current reads are as follows:

In Print:

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On my Kindle Fire:

On my Droid RAZR:

 What are you reading?