Thursday, 22 June 2017

Review: Gork, the Teenage Dragon: A novel by Gabe Hudson





Gork, the Teenage Dragon: A novel by Gabe Hudson

My Rating:

This is a DNF for me. I'm not a fan of the writing style, it's rather juvenile and reads like someone's high school English homework. The humour wears off very quickly, there are only so many times "my scaly green ass" can be found humorous or used as a descriptor. There was so much repetition throughout the book that it started to get on my nerves. At times it felt like every other sentence started with "Now, ..."

Not a book I would recommend.


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Friday, 16 June 2017

Review: A Life Removed by Jason Parent






A Life Removed by Jason Parent

My Rating:

Detectives Bruce Marklin and Jocelyn Beaudette have put plenty of criminals behind bars. But a new terror is stalking their city. The killer’s violent crimes are ritualistic but seemingly indiscriminate. As the death toll rises, the detectives must track a murderer without motive. The next kill could be anyone… maybe even one of their own.

Officer Aaron Pimental sees no hope for himself or humanity. His girlfriend is pulling away, and his best friend has found religion. When Aaron is thrust into the heart of the investigation, he must choose who he will become, the hero or the villain.

If Aaron doesn’t decide soon, the choice will be made for him.

Yet another excellent book from Jason Parent. This was a lot of fun to read and I enjoyed every minute of it. I was engrossed from start to finish and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. The characters are well written and fully fleshed out and there are plenty of twists to keep you on the edge of your seat. The descriptions were vivid and at times had me cringing but I couldn't look away from the page.

A Life Removed has a wee bit of everything that I enjoy: crime, thriller, police procedural, action, and horror, and there is plenty of each to please every reader. It never ceases to amaze me how well Jason Parent can meld different genres together and produce something that is a lot of fun to read rather than a hot mess.

The only mistake was mine... I picked it up late at night and ended up awake into the wee small hours because I kept having to read just one more page...

Definitely one I would recommend.




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Thursday, 15 June 2017

Guest Post: Genre-Splicing and Why I Do It by Jason Parent


Today I'm delighted to bring you a guest post by the wonderful, the weird - you'll understand once you've read his post, the one and the only Jason Parent. This is one stop of many to promote the release of his new book A Life Removed (and his promotion to the front seat of the special bus, but shhh lets keep that just between us ;) ) I'll be posting a review for A Life Removed tomorrow so be sure to keep an eye out for that.




Genre-Splicing and Why I Do It


Have you ever seen the movie Splice, starring Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley, where two scientists create a new lifeform through gene splicing? The fast-aging “girl” embodies the most resilient genes of the animal kingdom while retaining a somewhat humanoid form.

When I write, that’s what I want to create. No, not some gender-swapping (spoiler alert… oh, too late. Well you should have seen the movie eight years ago) abomination, but a mixture of all the most resilient features of the best genres: political satire, anamorphic romance, and robots who calculate and drink tea.

Actually, more like alcoholic shapeshifting cyborgs who attempt to save the world from a megalomaniac American president (yeah, like we’d ever have one of those) hell-bent on making Russian telepathic huskies birth litters of highly intelligent and genitalia-enhanced (or genetically enhanced, tomayto, tomahto) cyber-doodles to spread plague-infused feces across the planet… while a mysterious figure lurks in the shadows… who sometimes calculates and drinks tea. So, yeah, kind of like the movie, Splice.

Adrian Brody’s nose is genetically enhanced. I wonder if… never mind…

I had a point.

I think.

Oh yeah, genre splicing. Horror authors often claim their tales to be studies of the human condition as everyone experiences fear, there’s inspiration in overcoming it, or some other horseshit while peddling their Eyeball Worms Versus Mutant Sheep Colons Versus the Zombie Apocalypse novel (which I will be releasing next month). But don’t all genres reflect some aspect of the human condition? And don’t we secretly want a little love, mystery, drama, suspense, thrills, and maybe even humor mixed in with our kill, kill, kill, mutilate, cannibalize, kill, have a siesta, kill, rape dead thing, kill (which I will be releasing the month after next)?

I know growing up in the eighties, I waited patiently for that love scene I could expect from every R-rated horror film of the time, the one that made me all tingly in my underpants and by which I define true love even to this day. If that’s not true love in all its beauty, I don’t know what is. Frankly, I don’t know how Jason Voorhees had the heart to interrupt such lovers’ bliss on more occasions than my own quivering hand—heart, I said heart—could endure.

What do you mean that’s not true love? Tomayto, tomahto, my friend. Potayto, potahto. Nellie Furtaydo. I’m calling her that from now on until someone gets annoyed enough to tell me to stop.

My point is (see I told you I have a point) is that you could eat hotdogs all day, every day (haggis for you Scarlet compatriots, except I don’t think anyone could really eat that crap once, never mind daily… as if hotdogs were any better), but eventually, you’ll crave wieners even less than the kind women seem to so often see in their inboxes. (I am saddened that no one has ever sent me a dick pic – I had to literally look up Brett Favre’s beansprout. Like really? No one felt I was good enough to see Brett Favre’s penis? But I digress… again).

Me? I like a buffet. So give me my horror with some sci-fi, some mystery, some thrills, and even some laughs, but timing is everything. Just as I don’t want to mix my cheesecake with my salad (ha, like I eat salad), I don’t want a love story to break out right when the president’s hot dog is being ground into haggis by a mysterious figure drinking tea, unless it’s meant to be funny. Then, I’ll roll with it.

But with a hotdog in that roll, not haggis.

PS - Don't listen to him, a wee bit o haggis beats a hotdog anyday!


Sunday, 11 June 2017

Review: Just Add Water by Hunter Shea





Just Add Water by Hunter Shea

My Rating:


I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

Just Add Water was a lot of fun. Pure unadulterated trashy 80s horror kind of fun. It's packed full of blood, gore, and dark humour and was a blast to read. It's not a book to be taken seriously, but one where you have to just have fun with it and enjoy for what it is.

That being said, I was tearing through the pages and thoroughly enjoying myself and then all of a sudden was completely pulled out of the story. I initially thought it may have been a case of me reading too fast because I was having so much fun, but on re-reading it I discovered quite a silly inconsistency that should have been easily caught during editing. Up until that point, I had been having a riot and loving the ridiculousness and the chaos but I had been reminded I was reading and my immersion faded.

I did still enjoy the book a lot, it's just a shame that something that should have been easily caught and fixed during editing ruined the flow and immersion so early on.



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Saturday, 10 June 2017

Review: You Will Grow into Them by Malcolm Devlin





You Will Grow into Them by Malcolm Devlin

My Rating:

I would like to thank Unsung Stories for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

The world is a far stranger place than we give it credit for. There, in the things we think familiar, safe, are certain aspects. Our fears and desires given form. Moments that defy explanation. Shadows in our home.
In Malcolm Devlin’s debut collection, change is the only constant. Across ten stories he tackles the unease of transformation, growth and change in a world where horror seeps from the everyday. Childhood anxieties manifest as debased and degraded doppelgängers, fungal blooms are harvested from the backs of dancers and London lycanthropes become the new social pariahs. The demons we carry inside us are very real indeed, but You Will Grow Into Them.


'You Will Grow into Them' is a solid selection of short stories. The stories are varied and different and have a dark unsettling undercurrent. The author's writing style is engaging and draws the reader in, he manages to give the reader just enough information to get the story across while at the same time leaving room for the reader's imagination. This allows the reader to fill in the gaps and to embrace the strangeness and fantastical and let their imagination run with it.

While I didn't find them to be scary, I did enjoy the strangeness and unsettling feel of them. They made me think, had me reading between the lines and contemplating the effect and affect, and the reasoning behind what was taking place. I can't say I was a fan of every story in the collection, some stood out more than others. My two favourites in the collection were 'Her First Harvest' and 'We All Need Somewhere to Hide'.

As a whole, I would say that 'You Will Grow into Them' is a 4 star read. I did, however, rate each story individually as I read through the collection and you can find those ratings below:

1 - Passion Play - 3 stars.

2 - Two Brothers - 3 stars.

3 - Breadcrumbs - 4 stars.

4 - Her First Harvest - 4.5 stars.

5 - We All Need Somewhere to Hide - 5 stars.

6 - Dogsbody - 3.5 stars.

7 - Songs Like They Used to Play - 2 stars.

8 - The Last Meal He Ate Before She Killed Him - 2 stars.

9 - The Bridge - 3 stars.

10 The End of Hope Street - 4 stars.



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Friday, 2 June 2017

Review: The Wicked by James Newman





The Wicked by James Newman

My Rating:


 I received a free copy of The Wicked via LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Well, that was a lot of fun. The Wicked is everything that I loved about the good old fashion trashy horror novels of the 80's. It's a bit of a car crash. It's cheesy, it's gruesome, it's fast paced, it's your stereotypical good vs evil horror, but that's why it's so good. It's a roller-coaster ride that blasts through the doors of every ghost train and haunted house in the park without allowing you to catch your breath in between. There's no fancy prose, no heavy wordy detail, no pages and pages of world building or character building. It's straight up horror, no bells or whistles and I had a blast reading it.

Definitely one I would recommend.



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Thursday, 1 June 2017

Review: The Night Brother by Rosie Garland





The Night Brother by Rosie Garland

My Rating:


I would like to thank HarperCollins UK for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

The Night Brother is a unique and unusual read and is unlike anything that I've read before. It's also a book that is hard to discuss without spoilers so this review will be rather brief and to the point.

At its heart, The Night Brother is a historical fiction novel but it also has a touch of magical realism and fantasy. It explores both gender identity and fluidity, and sibling rivalry. The plot was original and unique and the writing style appealing, but the overall concept wasn't clearly explained in the end.

I did enjoy it, the authors writing was engaging, it was a pleasure to read and it easily held my attention, but I am left with lots of questions. For example: Why was this happening to Edie and Gnome? Is it a curse placed on them and their family? Who placed it, when and for what reason? If it wasn't a curse then what was it? Was it medical? Psychological? There's was no clear explanation given. Had there been then this would probably have been a 4 star read for me but the lack of explanation knocks it down to 3 stars.




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