Thursday, December 30, 2010
Kobo ebook review
Pages 104 (Kobo epub version)
Spectrum is an interesting collection of stories and poetry from a new publisher entering the market. I know a couple of the writers in this collection but everyone else was new, and to tell the truth, there were several surprises in this nice -- yet short -- collection. All the stories are spec fiction in nature and all bar one really hooked me.
We have a ghost story with a bit of a twist and very well thought out; a struggling writer facing rejection who is a vampire in a world where The Happening occurred causing zombies, mutants and a lack of blood. We have a twisted story about a goat, to say more would give it away. There are a couple of zombie stories one had more oomph than the other (and that's just my opinion). It's hard to get oomph in a zombie story these days, but these do it well. In this collection, though, there is one clear winner: Lemminaid by Carson Buckingham. The execution of this short story won me over, as well as the build up, the twist and the characters.
All the stories here are awesome and well worth your hard earned dosh. You won't go wrong with this collection in your e-reader or on your shelf. If you like spec fic, if you like to smirk after each story and nod your head thinking 'neat', then check out these writers and their stories here-in.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
What's on the back cover?
Thank you for your loyalty. You've no doubt noticed that the world is a troubled place. People are apathetic, lazy, unmotivated. You've probably asked yourself
WHY ISN'T ANYTHING BEING DONE TO STOP THIS SYSTEMATIC DECLINE?
Rest assured that measures are being taken. Beginning immediately, we will randomly select a different citizen each day who will be killed within 24 hours of notification. We believe this will help remind all people how precious life is and how important it is to be a productive, active member of society.
Thank you for your continued attention and your cooperation and participation...
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE BEEN RANDOMLY SELECTED BY THE GOVERNMENT...TO DIE IN 24 HOURS!
Now, is that a back cover blurb or is it a back cover blurb?
The story itself is really good. There are two stories here including the role of the Ikigami delivered - just a city office worker.
The manga starts off introducing us to a slightly future world when all school children are immunized. In the injection is a nano-bomb, but only 1000 get this planted in them. The bombs are set to go off at a certain time and the government knows who and when and they prepares an Ikigami for them. The person is notified 24 hours before they die. The children are kind-of brainwashed into believing this is for the good of the country. Mase Motoro also spends some time on building the back story and creating a government ideal that is almost believable.
The first story is revenge on being bullied. Standard fare but a good warm up and an excellent way to tell us what happens if the person who gets the ikigami commits crimes. The second story is about a couple of buskers, one gets a contract to sing and in doing so he gives up on his best friend. Later, one of the gets an ikigami and tries to make up with his friend and be all-he-can-be the only way he knows how.
Throughout this book, there are interjections of the real story, the office worker, Fujimoto, and his job of delivering the ikigamis and his wondering if this law is actually a good thing. But these worries he must keep to himself, as it is the duty of any citizen who learns of / hears a person being a social miscreant to report them. All social miscreants will be dealt with in the appropriate manner.
I'm not a manga reader by a long shot, the only other manga I read was GTO, but I saw the movie first. This manga series is (so far) pretty darn good and I'm onto the second manga now.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Walker Books Australia
(c) 2009 / 438 pages
Winner of the Sir Julius Vogel award for YA fiction
Deciding to test the YA waters myself (as a writer of fantastical stories), I thought I should read some YA first. I am glad I picked up Brian Falkner’s book. This is the first YA book I’ve finished, and basically couldn’t stop reading. It was the prologue that got me reading the book and deciding to purchase a copy. Here’s the first few lines: Right now, as you are reading this prologue, I am shifting through the contents of your computer. Yes, your computer. You. The one holding the book.
Brainjack is a cracker of a read for a YA book. It is intelligent and fast paced. It is a very plot focused book, but that’s not a bad thing. We meet young Sam who likes to hack into unhackable places. Wanting a couple of new laptops and Nuro-Connectors, Sam hacks into Telecomerica and gets arrested. Locked up, Sam wants out and finds out there is a computer in the library. It is locked down with several protection decides so hackers won’t have access to temptation. But Sam is no ordinary hacker. He’s a natural and a locked down computer has a work around.
Having broken into the computer he makes plans for an escape. He almost doesn’t make it. Hitting the city he jumps in a cab and discovers everything he’s been through from breaking into the White House for a convention and breaking out of jail was all part of a job interview. The CDD want Sam working for them.
A couple of months later, a cyber attack introduces them to a phantom on the Internet. The phantom takes out the cyber terrorists and then spammers the very next day. The phantom is taking out the things it believes to be wrong or bad and the CDD needs to find it and take it out. They are worried that the phantom might take out anything it sees as bad or a threat.
Soon enough a war breaks out between Nuro users and non-nuro users.
Set in the near future, this book tells a tale where being online is the main way of life. It’s engrossing with techno terms described in a way everyone would understand. The writing is straight to the point and runs smoothly from paragraph.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Kobo ebook version (converted by reviewer)
StoneGarden.net Publishing (February 14, 2010)
# ISBN-10: 1600761615
# ISBN-13: 978-1600761614
Wow. I'm a fan. this book takes an ordinary storyline and grips you right through to the last page. Wednesday writes so well that the words flew by and always in rhythm. The book is told in first person by different viewpoints and we get to see how this serial killer was made and what drives him to do what he does. Bringing the red, is the perfect description for a reader to completely understand what's happening to him. It's always 'their' fault.
I will need to get a paperback copy of this for my bookcase.
One would think, the story of a serial killer would be dull and ordinary, but Kiss me like you Love me is anything but. It's filled with interesting plots and background stories told in a way that draws you in. And you can't leave a chapter half way through like other books. No. You need to finish the chapter.
Get it. You'll like it.
Monday, July 26, 2010
PUBLISHED BY COSCOM ENTERTAINMENT
Review of eBook Edition
Table of Contents:
Introduction || The Beast of Garden Row || Lycanthropy || The Wolf Maiden || The Guardian || Dance of the Wolf || Voodoo Moon || Lady of the Forest || War Dog || Shadows of the Wolf || Animal Behavior || Mind, Body, and Soul
Lycanthropy, werewolves, my favorite horror genre arrived in my email box the other day. I converted it from PDF to epub and loaded it on my Kobo so I could read anywhere. The book is a nice collection of short stories and unlike many other collections, not all the stories were the same.
The collection starts off with a bang, a priest attends an exorcism only to find out the man is not possessed by a demon. The guardian had so much potential but for this reviewer the story failed. It would work better as a standalone novella or novel. A little rewriting and it would slip into the YA genre easily. Animal Behavior and Mind, Body and Soul, Dance of the wolf and Lady of the Forest really make this collection rock. Although for this reviewer, The Wolf Maiden is one of the best stories in this collection, though in saying that the human emotions displayed by the wolf were off-putting. Still, this story grabbed me and drew me in. it is the story of a wolf having lost its pups and she watches a young couple with a new born.
This is a short and fast paced book that will keep you engrossed in the characters and what they face. No two stories are the same and you’ll be pleased to have they collection on your shelf.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey
(c)2007 Night Shade Books
Trade Paperback 257 pages
Butcher Bird is an interesting book. The story is about a tattoo artist who, after being bitten by a demon, suddenly sees the world in a different light. The city of San Francisco is no longer the city he knows. Demons are attached to the back of humans, buildings aren’t where they should be, and some people are skinless. Oh, and there’s the Black Clerks. Their role is to keep the balance. The book revolves around heaven, hell, and different spheres of existence.
The story is told in sixty-one short chapters. Some chapters seem like they are only there to fill pages. A lot of the chapter I saw little reason for them being there. Other chapters are scattered throughout the book written in italic and they give a kind of history and explanation of the spheres and the black clerks. The descriptiveness is left pretty much blank, leaving a lot to the reader’s imagination. The lead character Spyder accepts the changes a little too easily and calmly. The chapters themselves are over edited – the length did not concern me – what did concern me was the lack of substance per chapter. Things just seem to happen. And it’s not until you’re past the halfway mark that you start to like the main character, Spyder. I don’t quite understand why he and Shrike ‘got it on’ at the beginning of the book, especially when he doesn’t know her and she has treated him rather unkindly.
But, once you get used to the style and the characters the story does grow on you. Once you get past the first hundred pages the worlds Richard Kadrey builds are expertly constructed. And the end is a kicker. I especially like Lucifer, in this book he is an alright kind of guy (demon). He tortures souls in his free time buy, hell, I’d have a beer with him.
The book did have some engaging battle scenes involving magic.
Favourite quote: Lust is all that’s amusing about talking meat.
This is a specialist book, by that I mean it is not general novel that follows general guidelines. I doubt many readers will get into the story and lose themselves in Kadrey’s worlds and characters.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
This version: 23/11/2007
J. A. Konrath wrote nine books before finally getting published. He decided to release his earlier books as PDF downloads for free. I was looking for something to read on my Kobo Reader and thought I'd give him a try. I have read his blog many times and it is always fun and interesting, so it was time to try his books.
After I converted his book into epub format (which is used for reading on the Kobo, I settled down for a good dose of horror.
And I got it.
I love the idea behind this story (even though some things don't quite add up). The back stories half way through the book, I feel, weren't needed (apart from doctor Harker who lost her baby--but I also believe this was added just to keep the plot moving along. Only problem it was obvious and the doctor is never fully fleshed out, unlike three of the other characters). But overall, this book was a fun, fast read.
Bub is awesome and funny and tricky as he should be.
Andy and Sun are a good team, but she fell into his arms a little too easily. She was hard core and cold when they first met but a chapter later she was warming to him and thought he was cute.
The story revolves around the finding of Bub in 1906, and upon discovery the government built an underground bunker (super large) and found people to work in it. People they knew could keep their mouth shut. Not all did, and the government stepped in quickly. The Area 51 question is answered and so is an assassination. lol. Nicely Done.
Bub was found in a 'coffin' and in a coma. Now he has awoken. No one can understand his language, so the government finds a linguist, Andy, and brings him into the fold. Andy speaks every language imaginable. He speaks to Bub, and translates. English is new to Bub, and he masters English in one day. And goes to work.
Bub has amazing abilities and can perform (what appear to be) miracles, giving some of the team their greatest needs. But Bub has a plan, and he's put it into action.
This is what a horror should be and I don't understand why it wasn't picked up for publication in paperback form. Oh well. Lucky for me. I intend to download his other free books and make sure this wasn't a one-off.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Published by: Quercus
439 pages (c) 2010
Review based on UK edition
I first heard about this book on a Facebook group, British Horror Novels. I heard it was about werewolves (a favourite of mine. My first novel was about werewolves--more lycanthropy of the mind than changing...until the end) and I was keen to try a British werewolf story as opposed to the US band I’ve been enjoying.
The leaping is an engrossing book, but I wouldn’t really class it as horror, though it does have all the lovely trappings of a horror novel: a Lord of Hell, werewolves, people attacked and eaten, blood, guts, intestines, a sinister game, ghosts and a violin. It also has: strong characters, drama, friendship, loss, heartbreak and torment.
The book is told in first person by two characters: Jack and Francis (although the book is opened by Erin, for reasons I can’t understand). They are friends that share a house with three others; Graham (your typical hardcore partier, Erin and Taylor (who become a couple). They all work in a call centre and hate their job and supervisor, a sicko by the name of Kenny (kudos on creating this character, he came off very well).
Francis is a complex character who worries about everything, mainly cancer and all the ways of catching it. His father has cancer of the throat and that compounds his fears. He has it, he is sure of that fact and he worries about his flatmates. Jack is your normal everyday guy with a fascination about the history or truth behind lore. Then he meets Jennifer. She is everything he’s wanted in a person. But unfortunately for him, she doesn’t believe in belonging to anyone or having one mate for life. She comes across as a new-age/hippy chick who believes in free love.
It takes a long time for the story to really get going. A very long time, like over 200 pages. But the build up and small hints really enhance the characters and give them a life and a reason for the actions performed. Graham needed a better send off (there wasn’t one, he was just dead). Think of Graham as the hunter with the axe in Little Red Riding Hood.
There are many characters in this book but it is fairly easy to keep track of them. I think only having two characters tell the story works wonders and keeps the reader interested. The many threads in this story is what keeps it going, but the main theme is the party that is thrown for Jack at Fell House—deep in the mountains. It is here that the story kicks into third gear. It’s the time of the Leaping. Werewolves abound. Jennifer kidnapped. Francis is bitten. Graham grabs the axe. The lord of Hell is here with his violin. The time is upon them. The night is long.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow; First edition. edition (February 16, 2010)
Review based on US version ordered from Amazon.
Ig is a tortured man. The only girl he has loved just dumped him. That night she is raped and murdered and everyone thinks he did it. And the only proof that could save him was destroyed in a fire.
One year later, Ig is still suffering the loss of his teenage love. He’s moved in with the town skank, they don’t love each other—but what the hell.
Last night he went out on the piss and got totally slammed. He wakes up the next morning with no memory of what happened and a pair of horns on his head.
The horns are awesome and horrifying at the same time and they have a special power of people who see them (which is everyone), people can’t help but tell him their deepest, darkest thoughts: what they think of him and what they want to do.
Some of the things he learns are deeply disturbing. I won’t mention them in this review, but they are good. As is part one of this book. It starts off at a fair clip, letting us get to know characters through interaction and Ig’s thoughts. They story is moving at a good clip and I can barely put it down. Then part on ends—suddenly—and we are thrust into Ig’a childhood. Bloody hell, talk about a screeching halt. Massive back story follows. Then we get back to the horned Ig. Excitement resumes but not with the same power as before. Throughout the story there are massive flashbacks that need decent section breaks or italics or something as I got lost a couple of times and found it very easy to put the book down.
I kept hearing this was a revenge story, but not really. To me it come across as a thinly disguised love drama story. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Monday, April 19, 2010
(from her website) In 2095, every facet of society runs perfectly by computers and advanced technology. Citizens like Britannia Stone conduct their lives effortlessly with a genetically embedded barcode linked to Central, the world government. But this easy lifestyle, one without economical hardships, crime and disease, comes with a price - the freedom of choice.
Now world citizens are beginning to mysteriously disappear. John Ettinger, a society inactive and member of the underground group called the Starters, knows the reason why. With the help of Kendall Knowlton, a highly-gifted psychic child, it becomes a race against time as Britannia and John join forces before they are next to disappear. They must stay alive long enough to reach Central's mainframe and destroy the enemy before the enemy destroys all of mankind.
It is weird to see someone like Caitlin McKenna self publishing a book. With all her movie and TV credits you’d think a publisher would jump on the opportunity to do this book, but she went the independent route. And that’s why I picked up this book in a second hand store while on holiday in Japan.
I wasn’t sure if I should fork out the money for this title as I do recognize the name but I loathe Lost. Possibly the worst show in the world (everyone at work raved about it, talked about and discussed possible plot turns/reasons, etc)—but I digress.
As far as Syfy goes, this is an excellent books. The plot moves fast, the POV is (unfortunately) all over the place—head hopping takes a bit to get used to, though in this book each character is clearly mentioned and it is easy to follow. The ideas are rusty and used before but Caitlin uses it as a backdrop to the plot, not part of it.
The ending was stretched out. There were lines where I cringed (these are few and far between), example: She screamed in terror. He cried out in pain. The love interest formed too quickly, but I think Caitlin was going for the “love at first sight” concept. The characters are well formed and following their trials were easy.
This was a pleasant surprise and I finished it on the plane home.
©2000 Review of second edition
A struggling writer, Carl Granville, gets the opportunity of a lifetime. An editor offers to publish his books if he writes one special book for her. He has ghost written before and so (naturally) he accepts the project. There are stipulations and at first he finds them weird but gets used to them. He has a very limited time to get the book done. It’s time sensitive.
On the day he accepts, a new girl moved into the apartment above him and he helps her get a large seat into her apartment. They form a relationship.
Harry –one of the stipulations—watches him writing. He never speaks. He is there to ensure Carl works and that Carl copies none of the information handed to him in the form of a diary. He is allowed to make notes only.
He is part way through the book when the editor is killed.
Harry doesn’t show up at his apartment.
Carl’s laptop is stolen.
His new girlfriend is killed.
He is the suspect for both murders.
There is no proof of his assignment, no records.
He flees, determined to find out who is behind this and clear his name. The only person who can help him is his ex, a reporter for a major newspaper.
The book is a good and fast read. The many plots interweave into one hell of a story, though I feel it is a little over-written. Sometimes, there is too much detail and some clues he gets seem to be just plan lucky when they pan out.
I found I didn’t like Carl very much, nor his ex. Harry, I liked.
Overall, the story is good and entertaining. It is a thriller that ranks up there with thrillers of today and well worth the investment.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Girl Next Door
Leisure Books version 2008
The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum starts off wonderfully: You think you know about pain? That's a kicker of a first sentence. Yes, this book is based on a true story and that is what makes it all the more horrifying. The book focuses on David and his experiences. The story is told from the POV of David and relayed as he is writing it down, though he has no intention of showing his soon to be third wife. Davi is 41 now and the events that shaped his life happened back in 1958, when Ruth, Donny and Willie meet Meg Loughlin and her sister Susan.
Admitidly I bought this book after seeing the preview for the movie, which I intend to buy, not because I think the book was fantastic but because I would like to see the movie version. The book itself is not so fantastic, it lolls around a lot and has too much inner termoil and it seemed to take a long time to get into the story fully and some things seemed a little unrealistic -- yet it is based on true events, so I guess there are people out there like Ruth, people tilting on the edge on insanity.
Jack Ketchum is an excellent writer and cn weave an awesome story with full back stories and totally engaging. I own another of his books which I enjoyed more: The Lost and have ordered Red for further enjoyment. The Girl Next Door is unfortunatly a let down.
On the front cover, Stephen King says: The Girl Next Door s alive. It does not just promise terror, but actually delivers it. I wonder if we were reading the same book?
On a side note: my wife totally loved the book.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Leisure Edition 2008
I've heard a lot about Jack Ketchum (especially recently), even discovered he has a couple of movies out. My only experience reading Jack is in the book Triage with Richard Laymon (the reason I bought the book) and Edward Lee.
The other day I saw a youtube clip on his movie, The Girl Next Door. Now THAT is a movie I want to see, but I like to read the book first. So, I jumped online to goodbooksnz and went hunting and ordered The Girl Next Door and The Lost. My wife read TGND and I read The Lost.
The story starts off nice and hard with a double murder and described in detail. The story then jumps four years and we get to learn all about Ray (the killer) and his friends. Best friend Tim and Jennifer (sex buddy more than anything). I didn't like the skanky ho by the end of the book. Why? Because she was described so real. We all know people like her and Tim and Ray (I do or I did), and what she does to Tim sucks big time.
Ray likes to fuck and everyone he wants -- he gets with (while Jennifer stands back and waits for him to come back to her. He always does). His mother runs a motel and Ray has the room at the back of the complex. he is assistant manager and one day, Sally Richmond comes to work for them. On her first day he hits on her and is rejected. That pisses him off. Ray has a short temper, but he holds it at bay.
Sally (18) is dating ex-cop Ed Anderson (52), she tells him where she is working and Ed gets his cop friend to pay her a visit and warn her about the assistant manager, Ray. This happens before Ray hits on her. Later he meets her at a parking lot and tries to impress her with a book he's never read but heard college students like it. She doesn't and embarrasses him in public. This infuriates him, he grabs her arm but the place is busy so he lets her go. Thinking he'll get hte bitch later.
Then he meets Katherine. On a date with her, he thinks he's meet the perfect person for him. She gets him to help her steal some free beer, drink in NY and not pay and on their second date, tries grant theift auto, but the car is locked. Ray takes her to the lake where he shot the two girls and they get it on.
Ray is totally into her.
A week later, she dumps him. On the same day, Jennifer shows up and dumps him forever and tells him she's doing Tim.
Ray goes off the deep end.
The Lost is a fantastic story looking closely at friendship, small town life, and the mind of a killer going off the deep end. There were parts I wish I had skipped, these were dreams that seemed unrelated to the story and I don't understand what they were doing there. I didn't find the violence I was led to believe (via critics -- have I not learnt yet? Never listen to critics).
This book is suspense more than horror and I think it is wrong to class it as horror. As an introduction to Jack Ketchum's writing style and skill at weaving complex characters and building a solid, believable, story--it was a good choice.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Published by Leisure Fiction
Crimson is a basic horror story in setting. We have four friends (like Stand by me-sk) and we have an evil (reminds me of It-sk); but that is pretty much where the similarities end.
The book opens with a man walking home after visiting his neighbour with an axe. He walks home, his family already done and gone, bar the baby who is crying. He cleans up the child, feeds it and when the baby is asleep he bakes her and then hangs himself.
Wow! What an opening. We are then introduced to the main characters of the story delivered in an interesting style going from third person to first person telling a tale in third person. This allows him liberty to inject omnipresent views or second person POV.
Building the characters and setting the scene runs at a steady pace. While looking for a clubroom, they discover a buried room and naturally open it and investigate, awaking the evil inside (whom they believe to be Old Man Harrison, the dude who baked his baby).
Angered at having been awakened, the beast tells them there is a price to pay for disturbing his rest. And pay they will.
Then the story jumps several years and pretty much drags on leading to an exciting end.
I'm in two minds about this book. In a way, I like it and in another I found parts of it way too long. Many of the sentences put me off:
David cried out in fear. He cried out in agony.
The book didn't have a lot of show but I think it was written that way. And the story worked in this vein.