Author: Lee Pletzers
TBR Reviewer: Mark
Rating: 2 stars - This had potential but we didn't like it.
Attempting to bring H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Myths into the modern age, Resurrection Child follows the story of Damon Hutter; a Neo-Nazi thug who is given the task of tracking down the woman who will bring forth the seed of Cthulhu, thus heralding in a New Age, which will see the return of the mythical Old Ones of legend. Before long, Damon realizes he is the only one who can protect Caroline from the evil of the Cthulhu cult when they turn against him. With Caroline’s life hanging in the balance, it quickly becomes a race against time between two warring Cults and the Police to determine who reaches her first and whoever wins holds the fate of our world in their hands...
This was an okay novel that I had kind of high hopes for but which ultimately didn’t deliver. The amount of books and novella that have been based around Lovecraft’s most famous creations by now must number in the hundreds if not thousands and this was not amongst the better of them. I just felt as though the characters lacked some depth, the story just didn’t ring particularly true and that Cthulhu here could have been replaced with any other generic demon/ monster and the plot would not have overly suffered one whit. To me, it just didn’t feel like a Cthulhu story and was more akin to
something like Rosemary’s Baby or Dean Koontz’s Servants Of Twilight at times.
It felt like a bold effort to try and bring this myth into today’s modern setting but for me, it just didn’t try quite hard enough. I appreciate that maybe I might have gone in to this expecting a bit too much but I just felt I wanted something more intense, more gritty than what I got here, which instead felt like just another generic horror thriller with nothing, outside of the presence of Cthulhu, that made it stand out. I want memorable characters and an involving plot not something that all rests upon a single thread and characters who I will forget within another one or two books. This is not the only Cthulhu book that has been released lately and I just felt if it wanted to compete it just needed to deliver something more...
Eden by David Holley and Jeremiah Pinto
Genre: Horror/ Adventure thriller
Rating: 4 Stars - Recommended Read!
Whilst on an Orbital Space Plane travelling from London to New Zealand, Mia, one-half of a pair of twins, experiences a vision of impending disaster. Her reaction to what she sees is the deciding factor that dooms her parents but saves herself and her brother from certain death. When members of a terrorist cell activate a device capable of disrupting the controls of the Orbital Shuttle, the Plane is
torn in half; one section crash landing on a remote island just off the coast of mainland New Zealand, the other lost beneath the turbulent seas. Among the survivors is Noah, a former Special Forces soldier who has recently left the Armed Forces, and his strong-willed wife, Evelyn, who together unite to lead the
stranded passengers across a hazardous and perilous terrain in a bid to reach civilization and safety. Along the way, the survivors encounter tsunami, landslides and an erupting volcano that threatens to engulf the island in ash and molten lava. But even when they reach civilization, they quickly learn that
everything is not quite how they left it.....
This was an engrossing thriller, set in the near future, that quickly swept me up in its enthralling plot. I found the tale of Noah and his fellow survivors to be extremely fast-paced with lots of action and which wasted very little time before getting down to the main crux of the story with very little unnecessary
preamble. Though many elements of this novel were far from original (there was a T.V disaster movie in the Eighties, starring Lee Majors I believe, that featured an Orbital Space Plane almost crashing on its maiden flight and the whole stranded-on-an-island-miles-from-anywhere idea has been recently used in the popular cult T.V show, Lost). For me this didn’t matter as I thought the authors still managed to bring something new to the table. It is true that their editing needed work. Many questions are left unanswered, hopefully to be resolved in the next installment one hopes, and though the climax takes a bit of a different and quite unexpected turn, still I look forward to reading what happens next. It is difficult to talk about the ending without giving anything away but needless to say, the twist in direction that this novel takes almost makes its final act feel like a whole different novel altogether. Whether or not this entirely works I am not sure, and I strongly expect that there will be those who are left alienated by this novels ending, but personally, I thought it a clever twist that throws everything else that comes before it into a completely different ballpark.
Would I read future books by this author co-op partnership? This is a question I ask myself a lot when writing reviews, whether I would come back again for more, and here, my answer is a definite yes! Eden manages a very respectable and very strong four stars and a recommendation that if you are looking for something different with a lot of thrills, chills and spills then this book is definitely for you!
Temperature : Bitter Cold
Author: Adam Santo
Genre: Horror Science Fiction
TBR Reviewers: Shyla
Rating: 5 stars - A Must Read.
The second book in the Temperature series takes on a much darker, sinister tone. I was chilled to the bone, riveted and curious about where Mr. Santos was taking me. Our hero Bo is forced to team up with a witch named Zemra to find Sally, our heroine who's been kidnapped in the
last book; I hate to be a spoiler kind of gal but that's a need to know basis for this review. Mysteries and legends prevalent in society are explained with the wit and whimsy I've come to expect from Santos as Bosnic and his partner trek to find someone who can give them the locations of Sally.
Our heroine, newly raised zombie, Sally is having one hell of a bad year! She's just trying to wrap her mind around what she's become, only to find she has powers none have seen in millennium, be threatened with death and finally kidnapped by a religious group of zombie haters. The torture she endures at the hands of top psycho Demric is enough to turn your stomach. But it forces her to explore just what being a necromancer means. If you have images of vile , half decomposes bodies rising from their grave you're dead on and you know just what makes this book so bad ass. One thing I really love about Sally is she's a save yourself kind of girl. ( The best kind in my opinion.) Bo is there to help her get out of tight spots but he's almost a last resort/mentor.
I could on and on about the plot and its wicked twists but that would be ruining. Suffice to say I highly recommend this dazzling jewel. Santos has a way with descriptions and distorting the everyday knowledge we take at face value that makes you devour each page.
Tower in the Woods by Tara Quan
Genre: Zombie, romance, post-apocalyptic, bdsm
TBR Reviewer: Brutally Honest
Rating: 4 stars – Recommended Read.
Heat: 4 handcuffs – An erotic Ride.
What a unique idea! At the end of the world, we have zombies! Along with a virgin sniper trapped in a tower, rope made out of zombie hair and some wicked rope bondage. Add that to witty one-lines and extremely well written characters – you have Tower in the woods by Tara Quan
At the beginning, there’s a scene in her POV and then the same scene in his POV. That
was the first hurtle with this book. It slowed down the entire pace and it was redundant. It hurt the book rather than helped. There was a puppy torture reference that I absolutely hated and I nearly put the book down for that single line. It was horribly disturbing and completely unnecessary. There’s also a major hop in the story. They have sex and then jump to a week later, which put a damper on the character’s connection.
Still, after those issues the book comes together quite nicely. The characters were well written and the story itself a solid read. I’ve never read anything that blended a fairytale with zombies. It was a really good idea, the plot was well fleshed out and there were no annoying slow spots. The pace was constantly even. The sex was smoking hot with some bondage. I enjoyed it and would like to read more from this author.
Zombies plus fairytale story plus a talented writer equals a book you must read!
The dying of the light: interval by Jason Kristopher
Rating: 3 Stars: It was a good read.
Interval is the second of three books set in the same universe where Zombies or “Walkers” have taken over the planet forcing much of humanity to retreat to underground bunkers until such time as they can repopulate the planet. Though they are the last vestiges of mankind, the separate bunkers find it difficult to co-operate with each other and get along despite being under constant attack and that’s without mentioning the feelings of mass claustrophobia that begins developing amongst the population of Bunker One.
Meanwhile at McMurdo Base, deep in the heart of Antarctica, one more group of humans struggles to survive in desperate and dire conditions. There may not be any Walkers but they have their own separate problems to deal with....
I really enjoyed the first book and the two short stories I have read that accompany the series so had high hopes for this. Unfortunately, I felt a little let down and disappointed by this second installment which, although good, never quite matched the superiority of the
first novel. This was for a number of reasons.
Firstly this book quickly becomes less about the Zombies and more about the individual pockets of humanity as they struggle to survive and work together towards a common goal. In fact, the Walkers barely feature for large chunks of the novel other than in passing. Secondly, the main plot of the novel jumps around a lot. Not just between McMurdo Base and Bunker
One but also across vast stretches of time. Two years or more can have passed between chapters and I found this, at times, a little disconcerting and thought that it broke the story up quite a bit, meaning it didn’t flow as well as it did in the first book.
It is an interesting take on survival and is a good read because it deals firmly with the practicalities of retreating to an enclosed space underground for what could end up being decades and looks at the various problems that could arise in just such a situation. But I just felt that this time around the plot was slightly lacking when compared to the first book!
Another thing I felt let this down was that characters from the short story What Ever Happened To Tom Reynolds feature heavily and if you have not read this, then many fans may feel a little lost as to what exactly is going on. What Ever Happened To is supposed to represent a
“lost” chapter from the first book and is due to be included in an anthology of stories to be released once this series is over but without reading it, I just felt that many people wouldn’t have a clue who some of these people were or their relevance to the plot! This I thought to
be a major plot error.
Overall, this isn’t bad but don’t expect this to be quite as gripping as the first book in the series. A big revelation towards the end almost feels like a bit of an excuse to string out
the series to another book and though I am keen to read it to see how this all ends, still now I feel a bit skeptical about whether it will reach the high standards set by the first book! Like I say, I didn’t hate this ~ I just felt a little let down.
Title: Whatever Happened to Thomas J. Reynolds? by Jason Kristopher
Length: short story
TBR Reviewer: Mark
Rating: 5 Stars - A Must Read.
Whatever happened to Thomas J. Reynolds is the second short story to be set in the same universe as The dying of the light: End but this time much later, about a week after Z-Day. When a group of specialist AEGIS military attempt to make their way to one of the vast underground bunkers to which much of mankind has fled to wait out the infection, they find their journey fraught with danger. Though the bunkers have all long since closed their doors, this team have a special dispensation to be allowed access...but only if they should survive!
But, for now at least, it is not the Zombies that are a problem! A group of religious zealots
determined to wipe out all those who are trying to cheat the Armageddon by laying low are in pursuit and as relentless in their intent as their Undead counterparts! If not even more determined as they are driven by a fury that has lead them to turn against their fellow man.....
This is another cracking short story that perfectly compliments Kristopher’s already
established universe and also introduces a couple of characters who I am sure will have larger roles to play in future upcoming installments! Again, the story is fast-paced and gripping and is fascinating in the way it gives the reader a small glimpse into what is happening to the rest of humanity after all that befell the world in The dying of the light: End. By offering us this small
insight into what is happening to the rest of the world after humanity’s forced absence from the surface, Kristopher again paves the way for yet more stories set to run alongside his already established story line. One thing is for sure, it will certainly be interesting to see exactly what direction he has planned for the next full novel in the series after events depicted here.
I really enjoyed this story and thought it just as brilliant and original as Outbreak One, the previous short story! Both shorts are intended, according to the author, as being viewed as “deleted scenes” or the equivalent of DVD extras to compliment the rest of the main series and Kristopher has so far, managed to break with convention and actually deliver something wholly original in what can often be seen as the already over-populated genre of Zombie fiction. No easy feat by any stretch of imagination!
This short story really got me excited and did what all short fiction should do in leaving me wanting more. Much more! In the meantime, all I can do is wait in anticipation for the next full volume of The dying of the light and I for one cannot wait to see what is going to happen next....
Title: Outbreak One: The Washington Territory by Jason Kristopher
Length: short story
TBR Reviewer: Mark
Rating: 5 Stars - A Must Read.
Outbreak One is the first of two short stories written to accompany the new ground-breaking Zombie series, The dying of the light. This seems to be a common practice at the moment, writing shorter fiction to compliment existing novels and is a great way to keep fans interested between longer, lengthier installments of their favorite series! Some more cynical than I might suggest it is a clever, ingenious marketing ploy but I say who cares? The fact is that while authors are prepared to do this, fans like myself are able to get regular fixes of their favorite characters, a bit like sneaking in illicit snacks in-between main meals!
Outbreak One is a tale of the first ever official reported sightings of Zombies, way back in
the 1800’s. A group of American soldiers head into an abandoned garrison only to discover that a new plague is amongst them that causes the dead to rise to feast on the living! Outbreak One details what happens when the soldiers attempt to stem the tide of the virus the only way they know how; by destroying anything and anyone who has come into close contact with the infected. It is a tale that was briefly touched upon in The dying of the light: End but is
further expanded here. It is also very, very good and compelling reading!
More flash fiction than a short story per se, the tale is very, very short but nonetheless
works well to build on the already established background that featured as a prelude to the events depicted in The dying of the light: End. It would be great to read more fiction set in this particular timeline of the infestation but whether this is something the author has planned remains to be seen. What is known is that this is just the first of a series of related stories that the author intends to release at a later date in a separate volume. And if the rest of the stories are as good as this, then fans will have nothing to worry about!
Title: The dying of the light:end by Jason Kristopher
Genre: Horror thriller
Rating: 5 Stars - A Must Read
Zombies are really big right now. With World War Z the movie coming out next year and Season 3 of The Walking Dead currently on a mid-season break, there are probably quite a few fans of the genre out there quite literally gagging for their latest fix. Well, wait no longer! The Dying Of The Light: End is the first part in a new Zombie trilogy by aspiring new author Jason Kristopher. This book offers everything the discerning Zombie fan could possibly want and a little bit more!
Since around the time of the late 1800’s, when American soldiers found themselves being attacked by diseased Indian tribes feasting on the flesh of the living, the American government has been aware of the existence of the walking dead. Over the course of the intervening centuries, there have been random and sporadic further outbreaks all across America as lone hunters stumble across the odd infected undead straggler wandering loose amongst the woods but, for the most part, these rare incidences have been covered up and hidden from the public
eye. The undead virus is caused by Prions, similar in nature to those found in BSE or CJD, which cause their hosts to bite in an attempt to pass on the disease and spread the outbreak. A flaw in the virus’ programming is what causes the undead to continue to bite long after the disease has been spread and this is why they appear to feed but their basic nature is merely to pass on the infection. Now, a specialist Task Force has been created specifically to deal with the increasing threat of the undead as attacks begin to increase all across the U.S and neighboring borders. This is their story and this time around, Mankind is determined not to go down without a fight.....
This was a great book and a thrilling read that dealt with the whole Zombie outbreak idea through a series of totally different and original perspectives. The story begins with an outbreak in a small rural town then continues through with the creation of the new Task Force and the challenges they face as they try to keep everything they know under wraps from the general population. This novel is far different and much better written than at least 2/3 of the other Zombie fiction that is out there. For one, it just offers a more upbeat and fresh approach, almost as though Mankind actually has a chance of getting past this, whilst the majority of other Zombie fiction can often come across quite bleak. I simply loved the way the story progresses as it goes along. Without giving anything away, the decline of human civilization is much slower and gradual than is traditionally seen in other Zombie media, adding a rather nice injection of realism into the plot, and so the inevitable end when it comes is much more
pleasing. I really liked this and cannot wait to read the next installment.
At times, there are shades of Jonathan Mayberry’s Patient Zero but, though I found Mayberry’s book ultimately a little bit disappointing, the same could not be said here! The momentum of this novel is constant and relentless and the story barely gives you time to breathe before it throws the next hurdle at you, catching you squarely in the face! I love Kristopher’s matter-of-fact style of writing, I love the world and characters he has created and more than that, I think he has the potential to be big, really big in the Indie authors market!
If you love Zombies then you are going to love this! It really is a very welcome shot of adrenaline for a genre that can often seem overwhelmed in fiction that is simply not very good. This, my friends, is how Zombie fiction deserves to be written!
Title: The Hidden Valley by Leigh Lane
When a dysfunctional family with a series of problems decide to move to a small town, about as far removed from the bright lights of Vegas as you could get, they are expecting to make a clean break and experience a fresh start for them all. What they get is something completely different.....for something unspeakable, something evil lurks below the surface of this quiet
mountain town and once it has them in its grasp, it refuses to let them go! Too late, the family begin to realize that they have been trapped as this force for evil manipulates them all for its own ends....
The Hidden Valley is the third book of Leigh Lanes that I have read for review and is a very strange kettle of fish indeed! It is described thus: “THE HIDDEN VALLEY is an experiment in structure. The reader will find that nearly every chapter is, in itself, a short story. Also, each main character’s story may be read individually for a different effect. Read THE HIDDEN VALLEY by character, read the short story serial, or read THE WHOLE STORY” and this was enough to
immediately pique my interest but does it entirely work as advertised? The answer, unfortunately, is no...not really.
The short stories of each character are supposed to work independently of each other, each set of chapters giving the reader a different perspective of what is going on but, in my experience, I felt more as though that unless you read the book as a whole, you would be more than a little
confused. Even reading the whole thing together, I was left kind of puzzled exactly what was happening at times. Maybe collecting each individual character’s chapters together and telling each story consecutively rather than splitting them between the other perspectives might have worked better? I don’t know. What I do know is that laying out the book in its current form just made this read like any other novel.
I felt that the whole evil lurking below the surface of a small town idea has been done before and done better. I didn’t particularly think there was much new here and I’m afraid I felt a little disappointed as I was expecting so much more. The author seems to expect the reader to stump up quite a bit of suspension of disbelief to buy into this whole story presented here
and, for me, it was a bit more than I was willing to cough up! The whole background behind what occurs also felt weak and not properly fleshed out and this book ended up resembling a house built on very shaky foundations. Case in point: I may have missed it but at no time did I find reference to how the family decided to move to this area in the first place or how they chose this town over all of the other small towns or how they found the house they moved
into. This seemed like quite an important point to me and one whose absence was
sorely missed. I also found the characters very hard to connect with and not very believable either if I’m being brutally honest - though I did think that using an animal as one of the character perspectives is ridiculous.
It is interesting to note that this is the second of Miss Lane’s novels that I have read that has tried to do something a little bit different (the other was Finding Poe). The only one of her books that I have enjoyed so far, World Mart, has been perhaps the most conventional of the three I have reviewed. I am all for writers attempting something different but I’m not sure
that here, the idea really works as well as it could’ve. This is a book that I really couldn’t get on with and struggled to wade through to the end. I’m trying right now to think of something positive to say about this book but all I can say is that I’m falling woefully short.
The concept behind all this may have been a marvelous idea but it’s fair to say, that it didn’t really work at all and this really did get two thumbs down.
Daimones by Massimo Marino
Think you’re having a bad day? Yesterday Dan lost his job after being made surplus to
requirements and being told he was no longer needed. Today he woke up to find he and his family could well be the only survivors left on the planet after an extinction-level event occurred whilst they were sleeping. Faced with a new reality in which they might just be alone, Dan and his family attempt to adapt and survive but two questions remain....why did they survive and what happens now?
I seem to be reading a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction of late this. All rather appropriate seeing as how the Mayans have quite nicely predicted our demise for sometime around December of this year! It is true, that with the end of the world supposedly just around the corner, there does seem to be an abundance of these kind of novels around. So how does this latest novel compare?
Well quite favorably actually. Daimones begins with an ordinary day for Dan, much like any other. Even when he is fired, he doesn’t take it badly as he was starting to get disillusioned with his work as a Software Programmer anyway. He returns home, we are introduced to his family, they go to bed...and then, the next morning, they awake to the unthinkable. And, to start with, that is it. There is little explanation, and none is needed because all we know is what Dan and his family know, but what this novel does do next and does well is ask, “so, what happens now?”
The answer is try and get back into as much of a routine as possible whilst searching for possible survivors. That is where this novel really succeeds because everything that happens for the next two-thirds of the novel is realistic, down to earth and very, very believable! I found myself asking what I would do, would I do anything differently and analyzing what my own reaction to such an event might be. Would I cope as well as Marino’s protagonists here? I would like to think so but, in all honesty, probably not!
I loved the early part of this book and thought it brilliantly conceived, well thought out and the plot wonderfully structured. What I didn’t like was the authors need to try and explain everything that comes in the final chapters of the book! This final segment kind of let everything down and left me feeling cold. I am not going to give anything away but as soon as Marino starts building the foundations for an explanation, the book begins to take a turn for the worse and it almost begins to feel like two separate stories that have been forced together. Until now, what the author has written has been good and, had he left everything up in the air, what the reader would have walked away with was a very post-modern and highly enjoyable new take on post apocalyptic survival. Unfortunately, Marino decides to go a different route and instead what we are left with is a kind of diatribe into new-age, meta-physical clap-trap that kind of spoils all the good work that has come before.
Like I say, compared to a lot of other similar themed fiction floating around right now, this DOES compare quite favorably. I honestly even thought that it would end up being as good if not better than some of the best post apocalyptic stories I have read of late. For me though, it was just the ending that brought this all crashing back down to earth! If I could rate the first two-thirds of the book only, I would give this 4 stars. As it is, I am afraid the disappointing
ending reduces it to three stars.