Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Women in Horror Month Contest - Win five ebooks from various authors

In recognition of Women in Horror, I am holding a contest through the end of the month. The winner will receive five ebooks from various authors (authors and titles are listed below). These are the same books that I recently reviewed, so I thought it would be great to share them with others who haven't had the pleasure of reading them yet. I will be gifting each of these to the lucky winner on March 1. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spooked by Lori Lopez

Zom Alive: 2110 by Billie Sue Mosiman

Cure: A Strandville Zombie Novel by Belinda Frisch

The Evolutionist by Rena Mason

Still Lake by Sara Brooke

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Women in Horror Month - Review of "Still Lake" by Sara Brooke

****Four Stars

A quick and entertaining read with untapped potential

I have read Sara Brooke before, and the description for Still Lake was right up my alley, so I didn't hesitate to pick it up. Sara has a certain quality about her writing that makes her easy to read, and this book was no different. While I enjoyed the story, there were a few things that held back the book's true potential. One was the amount of "telling" that went on. For example, everything is laid out for the reader from the very beginning, which kills a lot of the mystery/suspense relating to the plot. This makes the story somewhat predictable and doesn't give many of the characters the depth they truly deserve. Additionally, I wasn't sure whose point of view I was reading at times. That being said, Sara is effective in her storytelling. She moves at a quick pace, which I like, and the book was entertaining enough to keep me turning the pages. Though rectifying the issues I mentioned could have made this book great (five stars), I did "like" Still Lake, which is why I believe it deserves four stars.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cover Art for The Landfill

I received the cover for the second of two books that will be released this spring by MuseItUp Publishing. It's titled The Landfill, and it's a Young Adult/Dark Fiction story. The cover was done by the talented Suzannah Safi. Below is a blurb for the book. It's scheduled for release on April 4.

Billy, a high school senior, has lost a lot in the past year, including his younger sister, Sara. Billy lacks excitement and purpose in life until his curiosity takes him and his best friend, Connor, to an old, abandoned landfill along the river. Connor would rather forget the experience, but Billy can’t help but feel invigorated by their findings. Taking it upon himself to uncover the mystery, Billy finds his life coming full circle – but is that a good or bad thing?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Women in Horror Month - Review of "The Evolutionist" by Rena Mason

****4 Stars

Solid debut!

I'm an avid reader of sci-fi, horror, dark fiction, etc., but I don't normally care for psychological thrillers. I wouldn't necessarily tag the Evolutionist as this type of book (it's more like a combination of all of these), but I was pleasantly surprised, nonetheless. Though the book started out a little slow, I found myself getting hooked about halfway through it. The pace picked up nicely, and I eagerly awaited further clues to help make sense of Stacy's mysterious experiences. The last third of the book did exactly what it should--it moved quickly and built to an ultimate climax. While the end seemed a little abrupt, it was unexpected and strayed from the norm, which I consider a good thing. Honestly, this book ended up being much different than I anticipated, and the constant twists and turns made for a very engaging read. Additionally, Rena's background in the medical profession and her love of astronomy are both apparent in this book, making it that much more believable.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Women in Horror Month - Review of "Cure: A Strandville Zombie Novel" by Belinda Frisch

****Four Stars

This was my first time reading Belinda Frisch, and I came away very impressed. Her writing style is both smooth and engaging, which made this an easy and quick read for me. Her background in healthcare is apparent, too, as the book read very intelligently from a science/medical standpoint. Having personally lost a child to stillbirth, I can relate to Miranda and Scott. I felt their pain throughout the story, and I think this loss really drives the series. As some reviewers have mentioned, we are introduced to a barrage of characters, which can make following all of them a task at times. The constant movement of these characters (several small groups) within the clinic--ascending and descending between the basement and upper floors--only adds to the confusion, but it's a minor drawback in what I considered to be an overall enjoyable read. Belinda does a great job of setting us up for the sequel, and it will be interesting to see what's in store for the remaining characters.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Authors Supporting Our Troops - An Update

Armand Rosamilia continues his quest of delivering signed print books to our troops overseas. To help support the costs of shipping (he has received hundreds of books from authors so far), a t-shirt campaign was started a few weeks ago. Since that campaign ends today and there are still people interested in purchasing them, a new t-shirt (white with red font) has been designed. This new campaign will last three weeks, and Armand needs 20 sales for the shirts to be printed, so pick one up today and support a great cause!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Women in Horror & World Cancer Day Charity

As I mentioned earlier this week, I will be highlighting several women this month in recognition of Women in Horror month. Since today is World Cancer Day, I am going to challenge those of you out there who like this genre and also want to do something for a good cause. If you purchase a book today by a female author in the horror genre, leave a comment on my blog, shoot me an email, or message me on Facebook. Just include the name of the book and author and whether it's an eBook or print book. I will match the sales price of each book and donate that money to the American Cancer Society. I have provided author page links below for some of the women I will be covering this month, but it can be any female author of your choosing. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Women in Horror Month - Review of Zom Alive: 2110 by Billie Sue Mosiman

****1/2 Stars

Before I get into my review, it should be noted (for future readers) that there aren't zombies in this story. By definition, zombies are the living dead or undead, but what we get from Billie Sue Mosiman is something different. Though they possess some similar traits, the Zoms--as they're called--are infected humans who are very much alive and still retain many of the qualities they had prior to becoming sick. They can think, speak, tell right from wrong, and even have sex (among other things). Since the zombie sub-genre is one of the most saturated markets in writing, Mosiman's unique spin is a good thing. While it reads like many other zombie and post-apocalyptic stories (humans fighting to survive), we get the perspective of a Zom as well. In fact, I became more emotionally attached to the Killer (Zom) than the three humans in this story. I also like how everything came together at the end. I felt the dialogue could have been a little stronger in places, and I did see some things coming before they actually happened, which is the only reason I'm not giving it five stars. It's damn near close, though, which is why I would rate it 4-1/2 stars.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Women in Horror Month - Review of Spooked by Lori Lopez

In celebration of Women in Horror Month, I will be reviewing some creepy tales by several female authors throughout the month. Lori Lopez's short story, Spooked, is first on my list. 

*****5 Stars

I have read many of Lori's works, and this short story might be my favorite one yet. Some readers claim that Lori's stories are difficult to get into. I think this is due to her writing style, which isn't for everyone, but I consider it a thing of beauty. Lori is a talented poet, and this comes across in her prose writing as well. She has a great feel for imagery. As far as the story goes, we are presented with two viewpoints as the tale unfolds - one being a black cat named Mister Whiskers or Jinx (just a couple of his nicknames) and a young male named Casper Bledsoe. These two characters eventually cross paths, one ultimately aiding the other in a time of need. Dark family secrets come to light and human and feline both find themselves fighting for their lives. It's a nice mixture of horror and humor, and I thought the cat scenes were cute, especially the unexpected--but perfect--ending.

Review of Blake Crouch's Wayward (Book Two of the Wayward Pines Series)

*****Five Stars

I didn't realize at the time of reading the first book, Pines, that this was going to be a trilogy series. When I found out other books would be following, I never hesitated to pick up Wayward. I'm the type of reader who can lose interest in longer works unless they keep me engaged. Because of this, I rarely finish full-length novels. Blake Crouch, however, never lost my interest. Despite the limited reading time I sometimes have, I managed to finish Wayward in just a few days. I literally couldn't stop reading it. I stayed up late on a couple occasions because I had to know what was coming next. It sounds cliche, but Crouch has an uncanny ability to keep me turning the page. I was afraid this book would be a filler for the final installment, but I was wrong. There was so much going on here (different subplots, further character development, unexpected twists, etc.). Crouch has a smooth and simple writing style, and he moves at such a great pace. You never feel like things are dragging out. The end absolutely surprised me...I wasn't anticipating it at all. I can't wait to read the final book of the series when it's released this summer. If you are going to read this book, and I highly recommend you do, do yourself justice by picking up the first book of the series. It will make the transition much easier and the overall experience even better.