Wednesday, August 17, 2016

'Merica!!

   America, You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter To Freedom 4/5 stars


      I saw this at my local library and the title alone caught my attention. Based on that alone I had to read it . The premise is simple and not as daunting as most people would expect. Michael and Meghan aren't trying to change your opinions at all and only offer up their insight throughout their road trip in a smelly RV.  How would this play out? These are two people on opposite sides of the the political spectrum on the road to discuss politics. The thing is that the politics of course come up, but to quote from The Dude: It's just like their opinion man. If you're not into politics all that much you may or may not hate this book, or if you're expecting it to explain why this country's so screwed up you may end up hating this book. 

      It's more about their trip and how they interact with one another. That's what the book is really about. Meghan is surprisingly not as annoying as I thought she'd be. There was a few moments when my gag reflex kicked in and I rolled my eyes at not just her beliefs but how she can come off  as this God fearing person and drink as much as she does.  There is a lot of drinking in this book and for the record, Meghan is pretty damn hot. 
                                                               


           Michael is laid back and seems to be at ease throughout the whole trip. While there are discussions and arguments they aren't the type where anyone gets offended for long and eventually everyone is happy and drinking again. He's the voice of reason and when Meghan goes off on one of her reasons why she believes in what she does he's there to remind us that we shouldn't take ourselves to seriously. We all have a tendency to do that though. 

         Overall it's a book that actually gets you thinking a little about politics, but it's not in your face, or overly offensive. These are two people of different political affiliations traveling across the country together and along the way they do meet some interesting people. Regardless of your party there's quite a bit here to make you laugh and even cringe. It's not one of those over the top political books that goes out of its way to make you feel like an asshole or an idiot. If anything, it's a way to look at both sides in a lighthearted manner. Will you learn anything? Maybe, maybe not, but it's a book that you can read and laugh at and then take back to the library and maybe, just maybe you'll read Meghan's book simply because she's hot, and you want to learn more about her. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Gore Carnival Book 4

     Standing Ovation: Gore Carnival Book 4 - Various Authors 5/5 stars
                                                                   
                                                                       



      Here we are fiends. We have reached the end of the carnival and one thing that has impressed me so far is the talent that has graced these pages. Jaded Books Publishing has created an anthology that sets the bar pretty high. This is a company that has left behind the corpse of Fat Lip Press and has made a one helluva statement. If you're a new publisher this is how you get noticed. You don't need a gimmick just a stable of talented authors. I'm not going to lie to you. I was nervous going into book 4 due to the fact that it's been so damn good. There's no way they can keep the momentum going can they? Answer? Yes, they do. Not all of these stories take place in the circus but they are dark and sometimes quite funny. I have a sick sense of humor so I'm sure that some of these weren't meant to be funny.

      Black Swan Song kicks off the set and it's not a bad story. It features a freak show performer with a strange talent. Dutch Walden thankfully steps away from clowns for this and I cannot thank him enough. What I loved about this was that it doesn't end the way you think it would. I like this one because it's different and Walden is a writer that I look forward to reading more from. Standing Ovation isn't all that gory, but the authors featured here are presenting fresh ideas to a box set that could very easily wear out its welcome due to the subject matter. In Standing Ovation you have stories that feature a trip to hell, a strongman who truly hates his job and my absolute favorite story here which is Zombie Hooker: A Love Story. I liked this because it takes a stale genre and puts quite a spin on it. You're expecting a love story but what you actually get is far more interesting. I've read James H Longmore before and he's truly growing as a writer.

      Other high points here are Necrobeard and One Sunday In Hell. It's a nice break from the circus and gives us something different. These authors clearly took risks with their stories and they paid off in a big way. Standing Ovation is a nice end to a well thought out book. Once again, it flows well and allows you to experience other genres without going overboard. You aren't bogged down by gore or forced to sit through a bunch of clown stories. I don't mind them unless I'm reading story after story about clowns and how psychotic they can be. I've written my own clown story so I get it.

        So, should you throw down the 10 bucks and get the entire set? You should because this is a unique volume that delivers on all levels. You not only get a bunch of great stories but you also get to meet a few new authors that you're going to want to seek out. This is a launching pad for quite a few of them and what a way to kick off your writing career. There are a lot of horror anthologies on the market but Jaded has given us something more. A four book box set that reaches almost four hundred pages. There are a couple stories here and there that I didn't care for but it wasn't because they were terrible, they just weren't my style. We all have different tastes so I'm sure that there stories here I love and you don't. At the end of the day I highly recommend this set because of how unique these stories are. They don't offer too much in the way of gore, but they make up for it in story telling. I'm proud to be in this set and can't wait to see what Jaded Books Publishing has up their sleeves.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Gore Carnival Book 3

     Gore Carnival Book 3: Encore Various Authors 5/5 stars
                                                             
                                                             



      Now we've made it passed the intermission, and so far this is one hell of a box set. If you like your horror sadistic and dark then you've come to the right place. There's been a wealth of great talent and all of these stories have been really well written. In a volume like this though you can only hold the momentum so long before you start hitting the clunkers. The confusing thing is that this is titled Encore but it differs greatly from the style and pace of intermission Had these titles been swapped it would have made more sense. The stories in volume 3 aren't as in your face or half as disturbing as book 2. This is my type of horror. When it needs to be it's extreme but it doesn't become the focal point. Case in point the lead off story Chuckles. This is by far a high point of the set and one that slowly follows a clown as he slides into insanity. Well thought out and one that has a hook that you feel right in your eyeballs. Tina Pey's clown reminds me a lot of Shakes The Clown but instead of being an alcoholic he slowly loses his mind. Shakes The Clown is by far the most messed up clown movie  I have ever seen and if you haven't seen it well you should.

     The common theme here is clowns. When you think of horror in a circus it's easy to place clowns in it because it's a fear that a lot of people have, Here you have a tripped out version of an Insane Clown Posse type of nightmare, and it's the one story I didn't really love. It wasn't bad but it just wasn't my style. then you have The Synyster Brothers which shows you that clowns are in fact not fun cuddly types. They will mess you up. Aside from Chuckles is another favorite called Pachyderm PTSD. This was an intriguing story that features a bitter clown, a bitter redneck and an elephant on a bunch of drugs. RD Cervo went in an unexpected direction and it works extremely well and shows that there are more than just clowns at the circus.

     This is my 2nd favorite book in the set because the horror here is organic and not written with the express goal of making you want to throw up or shock you. I think if it had kept going in that direction I would have stopped reading not because the stories were bad, I just would have gotten bored. You have a decent range of stories that have different elements to them. I loved Freak Show House because it reminded me a lot of Clive Barker. It's disturbing and dark but there's also great story telling involved. That to me is what makes a great story and volume 3 was a return to that.

      While all of these books are good book 3 is truly the home run that 2 could have been. The shock value alone was the driving force behind it but the story telling and overall creepiness that exist in Encore is what makes this so damn good. Once again the editors have put together a wealth of talent that flow well together. It's the kind of anthology that gets a publisher noticed and makes fans of the horror genre happy. So far The Gore Carnival is a must read box set but we do have one more book to go so let's hope that the momentum keeps going.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Gore Carnival Part 2

     The  Intermission Book 2 (Gore Carnival Box Set) - Various Authors 5/5 stars
                                                         

      I have to tell you that when I think of an intermission I'm thinking about a break. A chance to stretch your legs a little, hit the bathroom, and grab the snacks. At the Gore Carnival it's not a break from anything. In fact, book one was really just a taste of what's in store for you in later books. Intermission is truly not for the easily offended and offers only one mild story in the form of Let's Go To The Circus. It's an interesting take on the already tired zombie genre and focuses on clowns. It's stories like these that I enjoy the most because it takes something we have fond memories of and promptly destroys it. This is not for those who have coulrophobia or have tickets to the circus any time soon, It's a great story that sets the pace for the rest of Intermission.

     In this volume you have stories that are truly disturbing but just when you think you're safe you have a story called Splatter Cake that will make you think twice about going to your local bakery. I love splatterpunk as well as stories that make you feel a little uncomfortable. That's not a bad thing given the task set up by the publisher. I can only imagine what the rejected stories contained. There were a lot of new faces here and I loved each and every story, but my favorite by far was Stay Most by Rob Glasgow. I'm a huge fan of Full House and reading a story that contains a Full House reference grabs my attention. It was a well written piece that truly threw me for a loop especially when you have clowns armed with dildos. Yeah, just when you think you can face a clown this guy arms them with dildos. Thanks Rob.

     Intermission is a wild and insane ride that contains not a clunker in the bunch. I've discovered some new writers and as I read the last story I breathed a sigh of relief but then I groaned again because I still have two books to go? So far this is a solid collection that doesn't just feature a lot of gore and body fluids. These are well written stories that feature both Bizarro and Splatterpunk elements. If you're still on the fence about buying these you should or could wait and see how the rest of the reviews play out. I can tell you I have started on the next volume and holy crap on a cracker.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Gore Carnival Boxset

     The Gore Carnival (Book 1) - Various Authors  5/5 stars
                                                       

      This is a massive box set that I thought about reviewing all at once but that would be a massive review so I am reviewing each book as I read them. Makes it easier for all of us. Delving into book one I was really stoked to read this because I'm a fan of quite of a few of these authors. Anytime you have authors of this caliber in an anthology called The Gore Carnival you're in for a treat and no one here disappoints. If you like your fiction filled with body fluids and bizarre sex practices you've picked up the right anthology. This one is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.

      Kasey Hill has done an amazing job editing this so you get a bit of variety. Not all of the stories are shocking but John Ledger's Three Ring Circle Jerk is a bit of splatterpunk and bizarro mixed together. There's no way to describe it. You have to read it for yourself and fits right into the chaos of the carnival of gore. Jimmy Pudge's Face of Love is another high point of the first volume it's a tribute to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and shows that Pudge can move beyond his comfort zone a bit and write a story that hooks you in from the first paragraph and then takes a turn into a direction you never see coming.

     The fact is that all of these stories are well written and make this a 5 star set. It's short and packed tightly with a lot of great talent. People to keep an eye out for are Cory Cline and Sutter Kane who also bring their A game and keep the Gore Carnival entertaining. These two may be newer to the game but they're two writers I can't wait to read more from. Lastly you have Donald Armfield's poem and I love this guy's stuff. This is another writer that I'm a huge fan of and have never read anything of his that I don't like. That's what makes this so hard to review. I'm a fan of all of these guys so going in I knew that I had to read this. It makes the 2nd book that much harder to read. How the hell are they going to keep the momentum going?

      So far The Gore Carnival is a hit and Jaded Books has certainly made a statement. As a new publisher it's important to make a statement and I believe that they have. You have to have quality writers in order to succeed and so far they're off to a good start. Book One of The Gore Carnival Series is a book for splatterpunk fans as well as horror fans.There's a lot of great talent here. Now I'm going to wrap this up so I can get into book 2.