Monday, November 30, 2015

The Shaun Hupp Collection

     The Shaun Hupp Collection Vol 1 5/5   http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016MTLPJW?keywords=The%20Shaun%20Hupp%20collection&qid=1448889254&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

   
                                                                           





      For about I week I kept hearing about this book. Even got invited to the release party on Facebook, but I fell asleep. I did buy a copy though and dove in not long after. After hearing about this book so much I wondered if the hype was worth it. Let's be honest and admit that there are a lot of indie horror writers vying for your attention. I'm one of them. Facebook is a great way to get noticed. Of course if you write a terrible book it's just a waste of everyone's time. 

     The collection is reality based horror. There's no zombies or other cliched monsters running amok. These are far worse because they just so happen to be people that we're supposed to trust. That's what makes these stories so terrifying. You do have Emrys who is telling these tales to random (or are they?) people on a subway. Make no mistake though, Emrys is no Crypt Keeper, or a mindless narrator. He is an integral part of the book. Once you finish these short stories there's an unexpected surprise waiting for you. There should be some kind of warning about violence. If you're easily offended maybe you shouldn't read this, but then again you should anyway. 

     As a writer Hupp has a knack for weaving together plots that keep you interested and the violence and horror is the glue that holds it all together. We see that in the world around us there are bad people everywhere, but Hupp goes one step further and introduces us to people that we would never suspect of doing such unspeakable acts. As I read this I became of a fan of Hupp's because you can tell that he loves horror, and as a horror fan I love stories like these. They keep the genre growing. As a writer Hupp travels into the dark to create something unique. The Shaun Hupp collection is a must read collection. These are stories that should be read and read often. 


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Realms Of The Dead

    Realms Of The Dead - William Todd Rose 2/5

                                                     
 

       Here we have two novellas in one nice convenient ebook. It's not exactly a horror story even though there are elements of horror involved. It deals more with death and the herding of wayward souls. Not what I normally read but these two novellas were actually well written and would make an excellent movie or television series. I think the main problem I had was that it seemed to drag a bit and the books themselves aren't very long. The idea of a guy herding souls like cattle sounds interesting and it is for the most part. William has a knack for telling a great story and you almost become a participant due to his various descriptions of the cutscenes.

     I'm just not a big fan of these kinds of novels. I struggled to finish it because my mind kept drifting. Maybe it was due to the books being so short. There is a lot of great ideas housed withing these pages but I think something longer would have made it more exciting. I gave it two stars because I wanted it to be better than it was. It's a surreal novel that opens up the idea of death to be more than just this idea of heaven and hell or even the fact that your soul doesn't travel at all. Rose will make you think, but the novels themselves are just okay.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Benjamin

Benjamin - Pedro Proenca 5/5   http://www.amazon.com/Benjamin-Pedro-Proen%C3%A7a-ebook/dp/B0172PA8VG

                                             






     If you look at my Goodreads reviews you'll see that I was a huge fan and supporter of Bizarro fiction. I had become bored with popular fiction and bizarro was exactly what I had been looking for. It was insane and didn't follow any rules. Unfortunately I began to drift away from the genre but occasionally I'd peek back in when the right book came along.


     Pedro was kind enough to give me a copy of Benjamin and I have to say that this guy truly loves this genre and it shows in his writing. Instead of emulating his heroes in the genre he takes that influence and creates something unique and truly bizarre. This is why I started reading bizarro. As a debut it's quite strong and you can see that Pedro is finding his voice, but make no mistake, this is a debut to be proud of.


     Benjamin is a story about destiny, or maybe it's about reincarnation. Pedro has given us a hero who also happens to be a balloon. As the story builds and evolves we see that Benjamin is a very special balloon. He has a purpose and that is where the story truly reaches its apex. As a story teller Pedro knows how to capture his readers. It's a story that borders on the absurd, but that's the interesting part of the. There's something here that anyone can pick up on and give their own interpretation of what Benjamin and the Nexus is. I have a feeling about Pedro. He's going to be a rising star in the Bizarro genre. It's a fascinating debut that shows us a writer with a bright future ahead of him.

































Sunday, November 22, 2015

Monsterland

      Monsterland - Michael Phillip Cash  3/5

                                                                 






      I snagged this off of Netgalley based on the cover and then the blurb. It sounds intriguing and as a horror fan this looked like a win, This a premise that hadn't been done before, and it felt to me like it would be a nice spin on Jurassic Park. It starts out strong but then kind of falters at the end. It's not a bad novel but it just feels like it needs less of a morality play and way more gore. These are legendary monsters in a theme park! I expected things to go sour, but I thought that there would be more blood, more focus on the monsters themselves. These are the stars of the novel, and their pissed off. I want to see the vengeance played it in a more violent fashion! What I got though was a novel meant maybe for teens? I dunno, but the thing is you have the mad scientist who seems like the world's savior, but is really well you'll just have to read it to find out.

     Cash is a decent writer but at times it feels as if he's unsure of the direction he wants to go. He has this great set of characters that are heading into this park and then it just kinda slows down. This is the kind of novel that horror fans would jump on and its heart is in the right place, but it just feels a bit predictable. We can what's coming a mile away and sure, he's a good story teller but there are so many other directions that he could have ventured into to give this book some serious bite.

     It's an interesting read though and fans of light horror will find a lot to like here, and that's not bad thing at all. The premise is strong and if you enjoy novels that have interesting characters and a quick moving plot this is the book for you. Horror fans on the other hand may be dissapointed though because it's jut not that frightening. It's a novel about corruption and greed. We see who the real monsters of Monsterland really are they aren't the ones the park's visitors are being protected from. I think that's the true message of Monsterland.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Head Full Of Ghosts

     A Head Full Of Ghosts - Paul Tremblay 5/5

                                                 
 

         




       I have been hearing about this book for quite awhile now, but sadly I'm one of those people that balk at paying 12.99 for a digital book, and will only fork over 12-13 dollars for a physical copy if it's written by an indie writer I want to support. So when Head dropped to a buck ninety nine I clicked the buy button and allowed it to sit on my Kindle app for awhile. Surely you've heard about this book. Stephen King has said that it scared the hell out of him and I've read Stephen King's latest books and the only thing scary about him is that he's still writing. The question is, should you read Ghosts? Does it live up to the praise, and hype it's received?

    It does. There are certain parts of this book that had me flinging my tablet onto the couch and announcing that I was done. Fuck this book. The thing is that Tremblay has written one hell of a novel. It will creep you out, keep you guessing until the very end, and even when you've read it, you have to allow it sink in a little. It's more than a story of possession, greed, and whatever other reviewers tell you it is. It's a book that has to be read and experienced in order to understand just how good it is. I can understand why everyone is talking about this book, and the hype isn't bullshit. Tremblay has written a great horror novel that taps into so many different emotions, and genres that it all just blends together and makes for some highly addictive reading.

     The story is told from Mary's perspective, but fifteen years after the events. It would be easy for Tremblay to come right out and say whether Marjorie is, or isn't possessed. That's the easy way though and A Head Full of Ghosts doesn't make anything easy. A great story teller presents a story but it's up to the reader to figure out the why and the what. Even when you think you have all the answers you find out that you're wrong. This is a book that shifts the horror landscape and ups the ante a bit.

     Ghosts is going to be on a lot of end of the year lists and for good reason. It transcends the horror genre and becomes a novel that stands on its on. It never loses steam and as a writer Tremblay knows how to hook his audience. This is one novel that you should read even if you're not a horror fan. I wish that this were a book that were easier to review, but in order to explain it you have to give away some spoilers and that would be unfair to those who want to read it. Is it worth picking up and reading? Hell yeah it is and it's without a doubt one of my favorite novels that I plan on revisiting very soon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Flashes Of Fiction

     

Flashes Of Darkness: Halloween Special 2015: A Flash Fiction Collection 5/5  http://www.amazon.com/Flashes-Darkness-Halloween-Special-Collection-ebook/dp/B017UK76PE/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 
                                                         
                                                               



     Maybe I shouldn't review this because I have a story here, but if you take my piece out of it it's still an interesting little book. In October Dark Chapter Press held a contest for writers to take part in. You were given a team and had to create a flash fiction piece about werewolves, zombies, or vampires. These are genres that have been done to death so the challenge here was to breath new life into them. Sounds simple until you realize that the word count is only 1k. It was a lot of fun to take part in a contest like this and as a writer there's only so much you can do with so few words. Dark Chapter Press knew that it could be done, but the how was left up to us. 

      Flashes Of Darkness features some of those entries and what a collection this is. It's proof that you can take tired genres and breath some life into them. Each story here is short, but they pack one hell of a punch. The writers here have really stepped up and the book is a satisfying read. These aren't your typical werewolves, zombies, or vampires and that's what this book is meant to represent. What Dark Chapter and even the authors involved here have shown is that less is more. With the limited word count you had to hit fast and hard, and sometimes build tension with the first sentence. Each of these authors here have created something new and unique. There is a lot to like here and each story that the editors have chosen for this volume could have won.

     Dark Chapter has released a solid anthology that features some new authors as well as some that have been around for awhile. Once you read this you'll want to seek out some of their longer works. As a fan of horror I give this five stars and even if I wasn't involved it would still be a five star book. Dark Chapter Press knows horror, and as they begin to release more books more and more people are going to take notice. Books like these are what horror fans love. You have a wide cross section of horror that caters to a wide fan base. The nice thing is that the book isn't horribly expensive. You get 24 flash fiction pieces for .99 cents and trust me Flashes Of Darkness is worth every penny. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

     Stuart Keane - Grin 5/5     http://www.amazon.com/Grin-Stuart-Keane-ebook/dp/B017EHJ98U/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

                                         



      I cannot say enough good things about Stuart. This is a guy knows horror and he has a knack for going deep into the muck and the mire of the dark side of humanity. If you see Stuart's name on a book then you know it's going to be good. He shows us that the monsters sometimes wear human faces and in Grin they will slaughter your whole family and leave you disfigured. Reading Grin you can't help but feel Dani's pain and look forward to the moment when she finally sets out to get her revenge. I thought  that Cine was Keane's best book, but I was wrong. The thing about Keane is that with each book he evolves, and that's what a writer does. You can see that he's at that point where he can write whatever he wants and you know that it's going to knock you on your ass. That's just how Keane rolls.

      Grin is almost a horror/ action novel that slowly builds until the bloody climax. There's a warning label about some scenes may disturb for a reason. Make no mistake though this isn't just about pushing out a bunch of violence to sell books. This is a tale of vengeance. You can see yourself as Dani, and doing the same exact thing. The plot moves quickly and we see Dani's sanity begin to slip a little as her need for revenge overpowers her. It's Dani's story that makes this novel so good. Keane could have painted her as a victim that accepts her fate and just moves on with her life.

     Problem with that is that it would have made the book weak and less powerful. We want to watch Dani get her revenge. When the story begins to hit its conclusion we're cheering for her, and want to see her succeed. Keane is a talented writer that knows how to hook his readers. Grin is the type of novel that moves quickly and presents us with a highly addicting story that will no doubt unnerve, and yes, even shock you, It's the type of horror novel that people forget exists. It has a classic old school feel to it and that's not a bad thing. Grin fits into a lot of genres, but doesn't feel weighted down or preachy. It could have easily went down that path but it doesn't. Thanks Stuart!

     If you've never read a Stuart Keane book this is a good place to start. For the fans it's an evolution of a talented writer. This is how you build a career folks. Keane is the kind of writer that horror fans enjoy because there's no bullshit. He knows how to craft a story and each book is better than the one before it. This is a writer that'll be around for a long time and I keep waiting for mainstream audiences and pick this guy up. Easily a five star book. You should click the above link and buy this now.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

God Bomb

    GodBomb - Kit Power 5/5       http://www.amazon.com/GodBomb-Kit-Power-ebook/dp/B0141HK0FM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446879922&sr=8-1&keywords=God+Bomb


                       
                                                             



      When I heard about GodBomb I wasn't sure what to expect. Books like these sometimes just don't live up to the hype, and often become mired in whatever agenda the author has in mind. The only book I can compare it too would be Stephen King's Rage. This is a book that King himself pulled out of circulation due to it resembling current events. The reason I bring Rage up is because it made me think and after I read it I couldn't stop thinking about it. GodBomb is the exactly the same kind of novel. You simply don't read it. You become absorbed in it and you may even find that your holding your breath as events unfold. There's no way to stop it and it everything happens so fast that you sometimes have to take a break just to catch your breath,

     It's a very dark novel that is based smack dab in reality and at times it does make you question God, and even faith, Godbomb is the kind of story that could happen. All it would take is a crisis of faith. That's what this books really about. These are people from different backgrounds and with different levels of faith, forced to pray for God to show up and if he doesn't there's going to be a mighty big boom. That is the pull of the novel. Does God actually listen to prayer? If he's watching over us like we're lead to believe then why hasn't he stopped this from happening? Maybe he allowed this to happen to test their faith. Faith is both a powerful and also a crippling thing.

     It's a riveting story that evolves well. Powers has written a novel that will shock and offend, but when you read a novel like this you can always expect something like that. This is a writer that knows how to engage his readers. It's a masterpiece of reality fiction, and it keeps your eyes glued to the page. We've all questioned our faith, but our protagonist has gone one step further and has called God out. His actions make sense in his mind, and even as I read it I could feel his desperation. He has set out to prove the existence of God. That one decision sets of a chain reaction of violence and the unexpected. GodBomb is a well written novel that pulls you in and holds you hostage until the end.