Saturday, 26 September 2015

Review: Convalescence by Maynard Sims

Convalescence - Maynard Sims

Convalescence by Maynard Sims

My Rating:

I received a free copy of Convalescence from the publisher in return for an honest review.

I have yet to read a Maynard Sims book and not enjoy it immensely. I love the atmosphere and visuals in their books and their writing always captures my imagination.

I do love a good ghost story and very rarely do I find one that I can honestly say I really enjoyed, especially when it's written for the young adult audience. Picture if you will an old large country house full of secrets, dusty rooms and locked doors, strange noises and voices in the dead of night and a creepy uncle who hides away in his rooms barring his young nephew from entering, and you have all the makings of a great ghost story.

The atmosphere and mystery portrayed in the book really adds a lot to the story and you can easily picture the scenes as you read. The main character Jimmy pulls you in, you can't help but feel for him. He's lost his family and almost died himself, now he finds himself in this creepy big house, alone and missing his family, living with strangers and no one to turn to when he starts hearing things at night.

Convalescence took me back to reading spooky ghost stories when I was younger, it has just enough suspense and mystery to keep you interested and the pace has you turning page after page eager to find out what's going to happen next. It's not a complicated story, it's classic storytelling at it's best and captures your imagination.

Definitely one I would recommend.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Review: Spore by Tamara Jones

Spore - Tamara Siler Jones

Spore by Tamara Jones

My Rating:

I received a free copy of Spore in return for an honest review.

Spore was a very thought provoking book. It's not what I would class as scary horror but more of a "What if?" kind of horror. What if people could come back from the dead? If everything they had known had changed, their families moved on, their homes inhabited by someone else, the world around them now a totally different place. How would we react? How would we cope if we were to come back ourselves?

I really enjoyed this one, it gave me a lot to think about while reading. The whole concept intrigued me and I particularly enjoyed the way the author expressed the different attitudes and reactions to what was happening.

There was a lot going on in Spore but it worked. The story takes place in a small community and that really comes across while reading. There is a feeling of isolation, of something monumental taking place that the rest of the world is unaware of and it adds a lot to the feel of the story. I was drawn into the story almost immediately. The plot was intriguing. The characters well fleshed out and engaging. I wanted to know more about them, they were believable and real. Each character had their own story and the way they were written really draws you to them.

It has plenty dark and disturbing moments and really exposes the horrors of human nature and how peoples views differ. It contains the subject of child abuse, a topic that not everyone will be comfortable with, but it does so in a way that is not overly descriptive.

Definitely one I would recommend.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Review: RavenStorm Witches: A Coven of Bitches by Misha McKenzie

RavenStorm Witches: A Coven of Bitches - Misha McKenzie

RavenStorm Witches: A Coven of Bitches

My Rating:

I received a free copy of RavenStorm Witches: A Coven of Bitches from the publisher in return for an honest review.

The RavenStorm Witches have taken the art of revenge to an all new level. Hilarity ensues when Maeve and the rest of her Coven take on the liars, manipulators, and bullies who’ve hurt or betrayed their loved ones. And for those needing a little something extra… there’s always the stock from the better-off-dead potions cabinet.

I initially picked this one up because I'm a sucker for any story that has witches and on reading the blurb it sounded like it would be a fast and funny read. To a certain extent it was but it quickly became very repetitive.

It was more like I was reading a series of mini TV sketches rather than a novel. If The Good Witch and Bewitched had a baby, this would be the result. It's far too repetitive, the same thing happens each chapter: A member of the coven seeks revenge on someone and teaches them a life lesson. Each time Sheva sneaks behind the back of the rest, although they know she's doing it, and uses a potion from the better-of-dead cabinet. The victim suffers for a bit with some embarrassing, humorous, malady and then all of a sudden turns a new leaf.

Don't get me wrong, it has it's humorous bits but they are ruined because it's so predictable, outside of the malady you know what's going to happen in each case. I didn't hate it, I did get a few chuckles out of it but I don't think it works as a novel. It would be more enjoyable released as a set of individual shorts, there just isn't enough of a story to get your teeth into outside of the different revenge scenes for it to be a complete novel.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Friday, 18 September 2015

Review: The Lost Girl: A Fear Street Novel R.L. Stine

The Lost Girl: A Fear Street Novel - R.L. Stine

The Lost Girl: A Fear Street Novel by R.L. Stine

My Rating:

I received a free copy of The Lost Girl: A Fear Street Novel from the publisher in return for an honest review.

My daughter used to love R L Stine books when she was younger so I figured I would give this new one a try. I'm not sure what I was expecting to be honest, it was OK but I can't say that I truly enjoyed it.

I liked the mixing of the two different timelines and I much preferred the older timeline over the present day. The older timeline although it was better, still had some unbelievability around it, especially the reactions after Lizzy disappeared.

The present day timeline really didn't work for me, the characters didn't stand out as individuals, the choices they made were totally unbelievable and the plot felt superficial. I had a hard time believing that a group of kids in this situation would react the way they did. The ending felt rushed and the whole time thing just felt thrown in with no explanation behind it.

One thing that didn't sit well with me at all was the storyline between Lizzy and Aaron. Near the beginning of the book there was an attempted rape scene between them, the word rape was never used but that's exactly what takes place. Without giving spoilers, later in the book Lizzy and Aaron are best buddies and he's madly in love with her. Really? This guy tries to rape Lizzy but it's OK because he loves her and all is forgiven? What kind of message is that? It's certainly not the kind of message I'd want to be passed on to my child when reading.

Like I said before, my daughter loved Stine's books when younger and couldn't get enough of them, but there is a lot more out there now for children to read. The book industry has improved a great deal since Stine's original books, both in quality and quantity, and I feel after having read The Lost Girl that the content and writing style has not progressed enough to compete with today's market. Had I still been choosing books for my daughter today I wouldn't have passed this one on to her to read.

The Lost Girl had potential but it's lacking the depth, believability and real characters that are in most teen books out there today. It feels dumbed down and out of touch with today's generation.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Review: Took: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn

Took: A Ghost Story - Mary Downing Hahn

Took: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn

My Rating:

I received a free copy of Took from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Took was my first Mary Downing Hahn and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a ghost story aimed at the younger audience and is just creepy enough without it being too scary. It has the touch of a modern day Hansel and Gretel with a creepy doll thrown in for good measure.

The characters are well fleshed out and likeable and it was a fast and enjoyable read. The book has a great atmosphere and I can picture it grabbing a child's imagination very easily. It strikes me as a book that they will remember fondly when they grow up and will probably find themselves looking for the scares this created in their young minds in future horror books when they are older.

I wish books like this were more readily available when my own children were younger, it's a great introduction to the more creepy and scary side of fiction for younger readers and they would have loved it.

Definitely one I would recommend. But beware, if you venture out into the woods you may find Bloody Bones on your trail.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Review: The Sleeping King: A Novel by: Cindy Dees, Bill Flippin

The Sleeping King: A Novel - Bill Flippin, Cindy Dees

The Sleeping King: A Novel by: Cindy Dees, Bill Flippin

My Rating:

I received a free copy of The Sleeping King: A Novel from the publisher in return for an honest review.

"How am I supposed to master magic if he never taught me?" Will demanded.

"Because it is a simple and powerful truth that cannot be taught, cannot be proven, and cannot be measured. The most powerful magic is all around us. It is in the air we breathe, the earth we stand on, the water we drink, and the fire that warms us. It is always and forever, never waning, never fading. It is what you feel in your heart, what you know in the deepest part of your spirit, and what you believe in your wildest dreams. It is simple and pure like the scent of lady's breath."

The Sleeping King hit the spot for me and had everything that I enjoy in a fantasy novel. It was a bit slow to start with but that was down to all the world building and introducing the characters, which is to be expected in a book like this. It did take me a while to get all the characters down though and I even had to make a few notes to remind myself who was who for a while.

The story is both complex and completely captivating and I found myself drawn into a whole other world. The characters took a bit of getting to know but once I was familiar with them I was totally engrossed in their stories. Each character had their own story outside of the main story and this made them stand out and feel complete as a person.

The pacing once it picked up was nice and I was flying through the pages, I couldn't read fast enough. I was at around 90% and realised there wasn't enough left of the book to complete the story the way I was hoping, I knew there was a cliff hanger coming and I wasn't a happy bunny. However, the ending kind of summed the story up to a certain extent and it's left me dying to know what happens next.

There were a few things that I found irritating, didn't spoil the story though, and the more I came across it the more it irritated me. Lizardman girl, this annoyed me so much. Why not just Lizard girl? Lizardman girl just sounds silly. Also she talks like yoda, which really started to get on my nerves.

"Give it to you I did not. Your pocket I used to hide it from those cursed soldiers." She stared at him defiantly for a moment, then added, "Give it back!"
"I wish I could."
The lizardman girl jolted. "Sell it you did not?"

The dialogue was pretty decent throughout the book but at times I did notice that the character of Rosana started to slip into yoda style every so often and then go back to her usual dialect. It caused me to jump out of the story every time it happened, as did lizardman girls yoda talk. I realise this isn't a huge deal, it's just a little personal niggle as it brought me out of the story every time it happened.

All in all this was a great read and I'm really looking forwards to the next instalment. Highly recommended.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Review: Ravenous: Car Nex Collection Book One

Ravenous: Car Nex Collection Book One - Kerry EB Black, ER Robin Dover, Joseph Ramshaw, Shaun Hupp, Terry M. West

 Ravenous: Car Nex Collection Book One

 My Rating:

The Car Nex. Weapons will not slow it. Prayers will not stop it. It is coming. And it hungers...

Five authors put their horrific spin on the Car Nex (Carnivore from the Nexus), Terry M. West's wicked and unstoppable creation. If you are a fan of gory creature feature tales, get your monster on with this thrill packed collection of old school horror! This volume features the first wave of Car Nex tales by Terry M. West, ER Robin Dover, Joseph Ramshaw, Kerry EB Black and Shaun Hupp!

I won't be reviewing each story as I normally do with this type of book as I have read many of the stories in this collection previously and posted reviews individually for most already. Like I find with many collections there are stories that I enjoyed and others that I didn't enjoy, it's all down to personal preference.

I do love reading about the CAR NEX, he's a demon as demons should be. Bloody, cruel, destructive and leaves carnage wherever it goes. It's fun to see other authors take on Terry's original story and experience it through their different styles, although I still think I like Terry's the best so far.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Friday, 4 September 2015

Review: Kill For A Copy by Jack Rollins, Rob McEwan, Shaun Hutson

Kill For A Copy - Rob McEwan, Jack Rollins, Shaun Hutson

 Kill For A Copy by Jack Rollins, Rob McEwan, Shaun Hutson

My Rating:

Kill for a Copy was an easy read. Like most mixed short story collections it has good and not so good stories inside, a lot of it comes down to personal preference, and it was a nice filler for those times I just wanted something short and quick to read. I do have a favourite out of all the shorts. I thoroughly enjoyed The Herald, with Home, Sweet Home coming in second.

17 chilling horror and supernatural tales, Kill For A Copy boasts a foreword from Shaun Hutson, 'the Godfather of Gore' himself.

With visions of dark, fantastic worlds, disturbed minds and beasts beyond imagination, this collection will shock, scare and grant the occasional guilty chuckle as you immerse yourself in the nightmarish landscape forged by these newcomers.
1 - Home, Sweet Home by Jack Rollins: Enjoyed this one, was refreshing to read short where I had no idea where the story was going. - 4 stars.

2 - Bon Appetit by Stuart Keane: It had somewhat of a story to it but mostly just aims at turning your stomach. It was short and to the point but  I feel how I feel about zombie stories with this one... been there, read it already. - 1 stars.

3 - Out of Sight, Out of Mind by David Basnett: Clever use of something simple turned into horror. - 3.5 stars.

4 - Blynd Haus by Robert J. Stava: Another good story. This is why I steer clear of our loft! - 4 stars.

5 - Be Careful What You Wish For… by Sharon L. Higa: Didn't like this one so much, was left thinking but why? - 2 stars.

6 - Silver Bullets by Steve Jenner: I like where this one was going but it felt like it was part of a bigger story and we only got a little taste. - 3 stars.

7 - Am I Dead? by Josef DeCory: Didn't like this one at all. The writing was clunky, the dialogue didn't work and too much junk talk even for them being young guys. - 0 stars.

8 - Bovine Rule by S.L. Dixon: I never have been a fan of meat! - 3 stars.

9 - Redwood by Angus Fenton: Decent story, feels like part of something larger but it was a fun read. - 3 stars.

10 - Bedlam Betty by Brian Barr: Glad I don't read graphic novels! - 4 stars.

11 - Tactile Living by Audrey E.L. Coots: Cool concept and message, still like my online games though! - 4 stars.

12 - Time It Right by William G. Chandler Jr: For some reason I found myself getting confused on which character was which with this one but apart from that it was an OK read. - 2 stars.

13 - The Herald of our Times by Matthew Teah: This has to be my favourite story in the whole collection. I loved the message behind it. - 5 stars.

14 - To See the Well by Luc Haasbroek: Be careful what you wish for! - 3 stars.

15 - The Coma by Stefan Lavery: There is always a catch! - 3 stars.

16 - Madness in Death Valley by M.R. Wallace: Knew there was a reason I avoided camping. - 3 stars

17 - Hell Awaits by Feind Gottes: That is one nasty demon. - 4 stars.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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