Tag Archives: Review

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.

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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.

Dark Shadows Movie Review

13 May

Went yesterday afternoon to a matinee showing of Dark Shadows.  Surprisingly, Craig decided to go with me despite thinking the movie was going to be stupid.  Overall I did enjoy the movie, though not as much as I’d hoped.  I did like it better than Alice In Wonderland (see my review here at my old blog) however, which may be mostly due to the fact that Johnny Depp was playing the role of a vampire.  And since I love both Johnny and vampires, well… it’s a no-brainer.  🙂

Anyway, more regarding the movie…

The beginning starts out nice and dark & gloomy like some of Burton’s other treasured horror films, but soon takes a lighter turn as many old Dark Shadows fans were unhappy about.  The movie did NOT however turn out to be as tongue-in-cheek as the trailer showed.  Honestly, most of the jokes in the movie are IN the trailer which took away a bit from the humor in the movie since all of the jokes had already been heard before.  That being said, the jokes were distributed throughout the movie at a well-balanced pace rather than bam, bam, bam as the trailer showed.  I think they created the trailer as such in order to bring in a younger audience since that’s where a lot of movies get their sales.  While watching the movie I had several moments where I was reminded of another of Burton’s movies, Beetlejuice, and a non-Burton film, Death Becomes Her.  The scenes that reminded me a lot of Death Becomes Her were due to a bit of excess “cheese” in the movie, but still amused me to a point.  A few things seemed a bit overboard for the movie, but since I’m more forgiving than a lot of movie goers & definitely the cult Dark Shadows fans, I laughed them off as just a bit of Burton’s overzealous personality.

There were a few moments in the movie that I also found a bit slow, but not so slow as I was nodding off as I have done in many other movies.  This one held my attention all throughout.  The only thing I had wished I had done different was to have started watching the old Dark Shadows series earlier than I did in order to follow some things a bit better.  Well, maybe not follow so much as to understand some of the various connections.  I watched the old show some as a little girl with my older brother, but don’t remember anything from that time really.  I have recently started the series from the beginning, but haven’t even gotten to where Barnabus comes in so really didn’t know who a couple of the characters were and was thrown off in the beginning with the timeframe of when Vickie Winters came to town, the ages of David & Caroline, and also due to the fact that Vickie’s actual name in the movie was Maggie Evans, though I think the latter was just a homage Burton must’ve added in to another great character from the old show.  Hopefully I will discover more hidden homages and such as I get further into the TV series and then re-watch this movie on DVD once it comes out.

I have read comments from others regarding the movie saying it sucked and someone even mentioned giving up on Johnny Depp after this one.  Everyone has a right to their own decision, but just because I liked a couple of Johnny’s movies less than some of his others doesn’t mean I’ll give up on them.  Honestly, I’m not sure I’m going to like Johnny’s next movie, The Lone Ranger, but I’m still going to watch it.  It probably won’t be one I go to opening weekend, but I plan on going.  And since I am a Johnny fanatic, whether I love it or not, the movie will be added to my DVD collection.  I’m sure other people feel the same way about various actors.  Everyone has a time where their movies aren’t as strong as some of their others.  A lot of actors play one good role in the beginning and are expected to live up to that in future.  There are a LOT of factors that go into whether an actor is okay, good, or wonderful and the reason Johnny stands out to me so much is the fact that he is willing to push his limits and try so many different roles.  Yes, Craig has made comments that Johnny plays different roles with the same accent, but honestly, how much can a person change their voice?  He’s an actor more than a person trained in voice overs.  Yes, several of his Burton movies have his characters looking pale and creepy, but that’s the Burton and actually, Johnny-style, given that Johnny typically creates his own character in the movies he plays in.  But back to my point, he is willing to do just about anything that is thrown at him and he does it well, despite whether the movie itself is good or bad.  I think I got off on a bit of a tangent there for a bit, but I think he did a good job as Barnabus Collins, even if the manuscript was a bit weak or too cheeky for some.  And if Burton & Depp were to have a 2nd Dark Shadows movie released next week, I’d be there again.  That’s ’cause I AM a true Johnny Depp fan and quickly becoming a true Dark Shadows fan.  I know that many Dark Shadows fans and people not familiar with the show think the movie “sucked balls” or whatnot, but I say… “to each their own”… if you don’t enjoy Burton’s style, don’t watch Burton movies.  If you think Johnny’s past his prime and making sucky movies now, don’t watch movies he plays in.  Don’t just go watch a movie because you want to have the pleasure of bitching about it later.  If I were one to want to do that, I would’ve gone to see the rest of the Twilight saga, but I knew to stop after the first one as that was more than enough for me!

End Review & Rant

Oh… and for those curious about the original Dark Shadows series… there is an AWESOME looking new collector’s edition coming out that I would give an arm and a leg to own.  Check it out:

 

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

Movie Review: John Carter

7 Mar

Was given the chance to go check out the Sneak Peek of the new Disney movie, John Carter, tonight thanks to a co-worker of mine.  Craig and my friend Wendy also went with.  I think the consensus from all three of us was that it was a very fun movie!

The pre-movie awesomeness was seeing the Avengers trailer in all its glorious 3D.  It was all I could do to contain myself having Thor, Chris Hemsworth almost falling out the screen at me.  I was SO ready to catch him!  *grin*

I’ll try to make a few comments (spoiler free) on my thoughts of the movie:

I’ll start with the biggest concern I was hearing about… the worry regarding Disney having produced this movie.  Yes, you can probably tell what influence Disney had on it.  The “alien dog” in the movie is definitely something that Disney influenced as he’s playful and adds a lot of comic relief to the movie.  It’s a great character though, despite the Disney influence.  Additionally, there are quite a few light jokes throughout, which didn’t seem to take away from the movie, but rather helped keep things light-hearted a bit as some of the scenes got a bit serious.  I didn’t think that the stuff Disney probably was mostly involved with took away from the movie though, so hopefully you Disney haters out there can overlook that aspect of the movie.  🙂

Throughout the movie, I was getting a lot of Deja vu feelings as many things reminded me of the Star Wars movies.  The flight machines being used in the movie seemed  a LOT like the Pod Racers… the aliens themselves looked a lot like Jar Jar Binks (though MAJORLY less annoying!!!)… and other little things throughout.  Again, this didn’t take away from the movie, just something I noticed as I was watching.  Not sure if it was an intentional thing or not.

This could definitely be considered a family movie, though a few of the fight scenes might disturb very young children.  (not that it stopped the few people tonight that brought crying babies with them *grumble grumble*)  Overall, there is something for MOST all ages in the movie.  If you like 3D movies, DEFINITELY go see it.  This was probably the best 3D movie I’ve seen in a long time.  It fully utilized everything that 3D has to offer.  It’s visually stunning throughout and the fight scenes have you feeling like you are right there with everyone.

My only complaint was there was a part maybe 45-60 minutes into the movie that seemed a little slow, but I was also running on about five hours of sleep so it could’ve been that I was just tired and having trouble focusing.  Other than that, I had a fun time with this movie and hope all of you out there that go see it enjoy it as well.

Oh… and ladies… yes, Taylor Kitsch, is VERY nice eye candy!  *drool*  There were even scenes where I found myself comparing his image to some of Johnny Depp’s in various movies.  And on a non-guy front… I absolutely LOVED the wedding dress of the lead girl, Lynn Collins.

One last thing… as I wasn’t familiar with the books before.  This movie is actually based off of a series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  You can buy the first five of the series for Kindle for just $0.99 so you might want to check that out as well if you do decide to see the movie, whether before or after.

Review: Help! Wanted: Tales of On-the-Job Terror edited by Peter Giglio

6 Mar

For most people, there is nothing more terrifying than waking up and going into work day after day.  Peter Giglio shows just how valid this fear is as he brings together twenty-five authors and stories in Help! Wanted.  As with all anthologies, some stories will be favored by one reader while other readers will prefer the ones that reader didn’t care for.  For me, some of the stories that truly stood out were Lisa Morton’s “Face Out”, where a spell goes wrong for a bookstore owner; Mark Allan Gunnells’ “Must Be Something in the Water”, which will make you hesitant to ever drink from a water cooler again; Gregory L. Norris’ “Carpool”, in which a man finally goes crazy from driving to work each day; and Jeff Strand’s “Work/Life Balance”, which shows how things really can be too good to be true.  These are just a few of the magnificent and utterly terrifying stories in this collection.  Do yourself a favor and read this book… unless, of course, you think it will make it that much more difficult to get out of bed in the morning.  Consider yourself warned! Highly recommended for all library collections.

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.