Tag Archives: book

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.

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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.

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

Wild Girls by Lisa Morton

26 Feb

The “wild girls” mentioned in this novella’s title are Jessie and Dens.  Jessie has had a rough life growing up and Dens has decided to take her in and try to help her out.  Little did Dens know that when she offered Jessie a place to stay for the night that her life was going to change so much.  That’s just what happens, though, as Jessie seeks out the ultimate revenge on her father, and men in general.

As a seasoned fan of Morton’s work, the contents of this book were not at all what I was expecting from her.  Yes, it included her typical tougher-than-nails female lead character, but it also included mutilation, rape, and lots of killings.  This is not her typical style, which made it a bit humorous in the sense of being able to tell that it was a bit of a jab at some of the other authors in the field that tend to write solely about these kinds of things.  However, Morton’s spin on this was that she reversed the roles, and instead of the typical dynamic of males attacking females, she wrote about the females attacking the males.  That being said, she held her own in this sub-genre of the horror industry and wrote a fun and gruesome novella.  Readers that don’t take kindly to rape and mutilation, please pass on this particular Morton title, but be sure to check out one of her other books as I promise you will enjoy this author.  For those of you that don’t mind a bit of violence and abuse in your books, be sure to give this one a try, as it’s only a $0.99 download for your Kindle. Highly Recommended!

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

Review also posted at MonsterLibrarian.