Showing posts from 2018
Into The Fire - Sonia Orchard 5/5 stars

       I received a copy of Into The Fire from Netgalley

     When I first started reading Into The Fire I wasn't sure if I'd like it. It seems like a pretty straightforward story but like life, there are quite a few twists in turns along the way that happens when people grow and change. It's about friendship, and how we all change as we grow older. No one stays the same and what's interesting about the book is how realistic the characters are. They're selfish and have their own motivations as they age. We can see Lara and Alice drift apart and sadly that happens a lot in real life. The book hinges on these characters, how they interact with each other. There's no action here so it's the characters who have to carry the weight of the novel.

       Orchard is a talented writer who is able to pull us into the story and allows us to feel as if we're not simply reading a novel, but experiencing it along with Lara. We …
Look Behind You - Sibel Hodge 2/5 stars

      On the surface, Look Behind You seems like a pretty decent read, but the problem isn't in the writing but in the predictability of the story. I love a good thriller. I love it when a great book keeps me on my toes and throws curveballs at me just to keep me reading. Sadly, this isn't one of those books which is unfortunate because everything you need for a decent thriller is there. A woman wakes up to realize she's been kidnapped. She escapes with and we're off to a great whodunnit am I right? The problems begin right away. Chloe may or may not be crazy and this right here is where you know what happened even before the halfway mark of the novel. Big red flags are everywhere while Chloe begins to figure out what happened to her because the hit on her head gave her a convenient case of amnesia. The why here should have been treated with huge plot twists, but no, we don't have that option. It's all pretty much la…
Diary Of A Canadian Nobody - Paul James  4/5 stars

       I haven't been reading a lot lately but I as I set up my iPhone I added the Kindle app and remembered I had a copy of this from NetGalley. As I read it I wasn't sure if I'd like it even though I thought the premise was interesting enough. The problem is that when you read someone's diary you have to feel as if you're peeking into someone's most intimate thoughts. It's a running commentary on who the person is. You get them as they really are, not how you expect them to be. James' creation is an interesting read that shows us a man who is just like everyone else. If you saw him on the street he wouldn't really stick it. That's what makes this work so well. It's the reality that's injected here. Arthur could, in fact, be any one of us. We all have the same frustrations, the same ideas. These are the intimate thoughts that you never speak of. Instead, you allow the frustration to dri…

This Book Made Me Swear

Bring Me Back - B. A. Paris  2/5 stars

      I received an arc of this book from Netgalley

      After finishing Bring Me Back I am frustrated and swore way too much at the ending of this book. The problem begins immediately and doesn't really get any better the more you read. There's potential here, a lot of ways to make this novel great, but instead, it plays it safe which is fine if you've never read a suspense thriller before. It's a decent enough read to get you interested in the genre, but for the seasoned fans, there's not a lot here that's new or exciting. Paris is a decent writer, but the plot twists become glaringly obvious and the characters are lifeless cutouts that you merely read about, yet have no interest in.

      While the premise is intriguing, it just doesn't hold up. I get that while you're reading a book, or watching a movie things happen that could never happen in the real world, but the subject matter has to hold your inte…

Smart fiction for serious readers

The Perfect Mother - Aimee Molloy  3/5 stars

      Anytime you hear rave reviews about a book you always have doubts right? These are critics after all and there are also marketing people who want the books in people's hands, or on their Kindle screen. What happens when the buzz dies down and you realize you were suckered into buying a novel that fails on the promises it made? The Perfect Mother is one such book. I can agree that it will work great as a film because as a book, it just seems to be all over the place. The writing style is told from varying viewpoints. It's not a bad thing because you get a decent story from a variety of characters, but sometimes it's hard to keep track of them all.

        For a debut, it's pretty ambitious and is clearly designed to be read by people who like to take risks with their fiction. It's not simply a book about a kidnapping. That would be too easy. Instead, we get a variety of issues and the joys of new motherhood wra…

Embrace The Darkness

Hellsworld Hotel - Matthew Vaughn 

      I received an arc from Matthew Vaughn and dove right in. I love Vaughn’s style of writing, and here we have an all-out assault on your senses. From the opening page, you get brutal in your face horror. For those looking for something light to read that doesn’t offend, you may want to skip this one. Vaughn’s latest novella is a love letter to extreme horror and he holds nothing back. This is a book for those who like their fiction raw and unapologetic, and love films that border on obscene. Zed and his family are a sadistic bunch of folks who open a haunted house with a hidden agenda. It;'s that hidden agenda that drives the book. 
     Despite all the violence and gore, it’s a solid read that sets up a premise that we’ve seen before, but the execution (pardon the pun), and the why of it is the blood that flows through this books veins.
 This is a writer that can craft a good story while also making feel a little queasy. It’s horror that gets …
Find You In The Dark - Nathan Ripley 4/5 stars

    I  received an advanced copy from Netgalley.

         Just from reading the blurb of Find You In The Dark you know right away that you're in for something special. Not only do you have a guy harboring his own secrets, but then, he gets attention from someone who doesn't like his own secrets coming out. It's an interesting premise and one that can only work if the writer is talented enough to make you care about the story. The story here is creepy enough, but when you add in Martin Reese's weird hobby and then The Ragman it becomes even creepier and way more interesting. It's the dark aspects of the story that make it so good. We all have secrets that we would like to stay hidden, but what would we do if they began to leak out? What happens when the life we keep hidden is compromised?

      The book initially starts out slow kind of like a roller coaster, but then when it picks up speed it hurtles ahead almost givin…
The Outlandish And The Ego -  O. Ryan Hussain 5/5 stars

       As a fan of weird fiction I loved Ego a lot. It takes political scandal and mixes it together with one characters who is clearly suffering from schizoprehnia and there's Roger who thinks he can turn himself invisible, but clearly can't. This to me is the glue that holds the novel together. They embark on a journey, but have no idea how that journey will end. Then you have the other side of the story which involves a weak president who is being controlled, and is too weak, and even too stupid to stop it. It's the greed here that keeps the momentum growing and shows us a darkside to the political process that doesn't seem all that farfetched given our current political climate.

      For those who have never read Vonnegut. or even like their fiction told in a linnear fashion won't like this novel all that much which is a shame because Hussain is a talented writer who has not only written a great novel but…
The Outsider  Stephen King 5/5 stars

      To be fair I should point out that I am no longer one of Stephen King's constant readers. I consider King to be an old friend I check in on from time to time to see how he's doing. Sometimes he's doing well, and others not so much. The Outsider is a monumental release. This is King's 60th book which makes me feel a bit old. What this means is that there are fans of his that started reading his books from the beginning, and there are newer fans who discovered him from his recent output which has been hit or miss. Sixty books is no small feat especially when you factor in just how fickle the business is. King has evolved with the times, and has proven to be a writer that deserves the success that has come his way.

      The Outsider is a book that feels like a standard thriller, but the crime here is so heinous, sensitive readers will no doubt feel outraged by it. The crime itself isn't really the important thing. It's t…
Richard Laymon - Quake 5/5 stars

      In an interview Richard Laymon said his books are about bad people doing bad things and in Quake you see that in a large scale as an earthquake hits Los Angeles. The core of the novel is survival and simply trying to make their way home. Of course in a Laymon novel it's not that simple. he allows us to glimpse at a world in which laws no longer apply, the carnal side of human nature runs rampant. He also knows how to pile on layers of tension while allowing us to peer at the ugly side of humanity. We never imagine people at their worst in a time of crisis, but that's what's so good about his work. He knows deep down that not everyone is good, deep down they're vile.

      At the core of Quake is Stanley who is by far the greatest villain Laymon has ever created. He sees the Quake as an opportunity to take advantage of his trapped neighbor, and as the novel wears on, we see his sanity slowly begin to slide away. He has filled his n…
The Secrets We Keep - Mia Hayes  3/5 stars

      I received a copy of Secrets from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

      Once in awhile I stumble across something that starts out mediocre, and then begins good. Not great mind you, but good. The Secrets We Keep is one of those novels you read when you don't want something light to read. I found the journal to be the most fascinating aspect here, and it shows us just how shallow all of these women are. No one here is likeable, and that's the point. At it's core, it's a book with a dark theme running throughout, but the problem is, it begins to run out of steam halfway through. The only saving grace here is the death of Sarah, and who exactly is the woman writing this journal. To me, this is the best character of the novel, but just like everyone else, she has her own secrets and I spent the entire book trying to figure out who this person was.

      While I wanted to give this novel a couple of stars I began…
Diablo Snuff - Carver Pike  5/5 stars

      I've never erotic horror before, but there's always a first time for everything right? I was given a copy of Carver's novella not knowing what to expect. Take the normal rules of horror and add a smidge of sex and presto. This is not a book for those who are weak and squeamish. Carver writes like a man possessed, a man who wants to shock his readers and has no trouble reaching into the dark recesses of his mind to do it.

      At the core of this is what exactly is Diablo Snuff. While theit comes novella itself is short, it's a compulsive read that drags you along toward its violent shocking conclusion. Carver blends the eroticism with extreme horror, but here, it's not just for shock value. There's a genuine story here that's unique enough to please even the most jaded reader. While I may not like erotica, I do like horror and there's plenty of that to keep me hooked. Carver does a great job of balancin…

What She Doesn't Know Andrew E. Kaufman 2/2 stars

I've read a lot of thrillers before. but this one frustrated me to no end. There's no doubt that  Kaufman is a talented writer, but the novel feels like a bunch of ideas thrown together without any real thought to how it's going to turn out. The plot seems pretty straight forward, but the thing is by the middle of the book you begin to wonder why this is all happening. Sure, we all like plot twists, but this just left me scratching my head wondering how no one saw any of this coming. Let's be honest here and admit that it's kind of clever, but it couldn't really happen. How in the hell didn't anyone see any of this happening? Riley's sister is pretty much useless here, and Riley is pretty sketchy as a lead character which shouldn't really surprise us. It's not the story that frustrated me. it's the ending that left me practically throwing my Kindle across the room.       The truth is, I really liked this book, I did, but Kaufman's …
Butt Stuff (The Book) - Jeff O'Brien 5/5 stars

       So, clearly the title of the book should be an indicator of what you're dealing with before you even read it. If you're easily triggered, or lack a sense of humor, you're going to hate this book. Before we even begin I should tell you that Jeff is the kind of writer who writes what he wants, and he doesn't really care about rules, and crosses over into the land of bad taste quite often. That's why he's such a good writer. He taps into that inner twelve year old in us that loves cheesy horror films, and juvenile comedy. The point is, Butt Stuff is a great introduction to his work. These are stories that are often laugh out loud funny while bordering on offensive to people who have no sense of humor. I would say to start here to get what O'Brien's work is about and then go into his other releases.

      Butt Stuff is a collection of short fiction that gives us exactly what we expect. It's chock…
Cannibal Cheerleader - Tiffany Drake 5/5 stars

       When you see a book with the title Cannibal Cheerleader you have to read it because you know what to expect right out of the gate. This isn't going to break the sound barrier of decent, well written literature, but it's to be expected. If you had to describe this book it's pretty much exactly what you would expect. You're typical fish out of water story except the fish is a cannibal who is being hunted by the police. It's a mixture of Encino Man, and My Fair Lady, but it's actual a decent read. It's the perfect B-movie except it's in book form, and all of the typical cliches are there front and center.

        Drake knows how to pace to pace the novel with enough laughs and cheese to keep it from growing stale. You know Chase is never going to fully reform, or even resemble a decent human and I expected that. I laughed out loud several times while reading this and she presents the cheerleaders exactl…
The Daughter - Lucy Dawson 5/5 stars

       The Daughter is an interesting book with an interesting premise, but I don't think you can call it straight up a straight up suspense thriller despite there being moments where it does follow the pattern. It's a novel filled with emotion, and decisions that no one should be forced to make especially after losing a child. When you have a book like this it's easy to latch onto a specific theme to hook your readers, and toward the last half of the book we find Dawson switching gears a bit and hit us with an interesting twist. Of course at the forefront the drive, and motivating force is all about the emotional impact key decisions cause.

       While I did enjoy The Daughter, there are certain things that really made me roll my eyes. The thing is, I get the why, but it just doesn't come off as believable. Case in point the scene in the restaurant in which Jess tells Simon good-bye. While it shows the anguish Simon's wife is …
The Night Manager - Jeff O'Brien  5/5 stars

      Once again Jeff has finally released another book, and I say it's about dang time. The Night Manager is a blast to read because it features all the stuff that Jeff enjoys. Aliens, and meat. It seems as if the book is about himself and his desire to be a hero. Makes sense when you think about it. Who doesn't want to save the world from an alien invasion? Doyle is the kind of hero we can relate to. He lives in a trailer park, he's fat, and he's stuck in a job where he makes very little money. Of course when he finally gets promoted the world goes to hell, and he finds himself thrust into a role he never imagined he'd be in. Of course it also throws in the comedic elements that have become an O'Brien staple.

       When it comes to comedic horror, Jeff has really found his groove. The Night Manager is great B-rate comedy/horror with cheesy dialogue, and a plot that contains elements of the The Evil Dead, and S…
Keep Her Safe - Richard Jay Parker 5/5 stars

      Here's another book I received from Netgalley and I should point out right away that nothing in this book could really happen. None of it, but Keep Her Safe isn't the type of book you gain anything from, and you don't read it to look like an intellectual. I know it sounds like I'm about to tear this book apart, but no, it's just a warning to those who want a book that does something more than entertain you. The plot is simple enough. Woman comes into kill another woman and things escalate pretty quickly. What would you do to protect your child? Turns out these women would do quite a bit because after all, we love our kids and would do anything to protect them.

       So, as soon as things pick up you're going to need to suspend your disbelief for the remainder of the novel. Just strap your self in and enjoy the ride because that's what this is. It's a fast moving thriller that takes you on a thrilling r…
The Last Days Of Jack Sparks -  Jason Arnopp 5/5 stars

       Once in while you come across a novel that totally messes with your head in such a way you become absorbed in it to the point where you almost become obsessed. The Last Days Of Jack Sparks is one such novel. You can't call this a horror novel despite the horror elements, and you can't really call it a black comedy either. So what exactly is it? It's a seamless blending of genres that takes you on a trip. It's not always a pleasant trip, but it's a trip nonetheless. The thing is, we already know that Jack Sparks is going to die, but the how and the why are up to us to find out. It all starts at an exorcism, and all goes downhill from there. Sounds pretty simple right? No, actually it's not.

       Jack Sparks isn't a nice man at all, and Arnopp makes it pretty easy to dislike Jack. At the core is one man's journey, and also his decline into madness. The novel takes a lot of twists and turns al…
The Long Deception - Mary McCluskey 5/5 stars

      The Long Deception is an interesting novel. When I got this from Netgalley I was under the impression it was a thriller, but it's not. I'm not disappointed by this at all because the novel works as literary fiction, or women's fiction which just sounds like a weird genre. I'm a guy and I loved this book, so why would you alienate men from reading this? That puzzles me a little and I hope men see this review and read the book. This a novel where the focus is on characters more than action. McCluskey is a talented author who tells a story with a huge twist at the end. Sophie's death changes things for Alison and you get to see her evolve and finally realize that the life she has isn't the life she wanted. We can all relate to that, and sometimes we have to make a choice that's terrible for others, but exactly what we need.

      Matt seems to be the catalyst for all of this. It's a chance to reconnect an…