Kyle has an unwelcome crush on his nemesis Brent. Brent has a welcome crush on his friend Kyle. As it turns out, the line between a friend and an enemy doesn’t have to be a line at all.
Born on the wrong side of the tracks to the wrong family, Kyle Potter. When he gets the perfect job at the perfect firm in perfect Los Angeles, Kyle is sure there are only blue skies ahead. Born with a silver spoon to a well-established family, Brent has never been interested in leveraging his connections. Friends, success, and dates come easily to Brent and rejection isn’t something he has to deal with in life. And then he meets perfect Kyle Potter.
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!
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.
Read the End First by Suzanne Robb
Genre: Anthology, science fiction, horror
Since the dawn of civilization, mankind has predicted the end of the world in one form or another. In this collected anthology, 24 writers were given three rules: pick a time zone from around the globe, set their story sometime after midnight and then pick a way for the
world to die. The end result ~ a collection that is at once both grim yet compulsive reading; every bit as horrific as it is thought provoking.
I was really looking forward to this and thought it was an interesting concept and, indeed, there are some great story ideas here that will totally keep you hooked. But, at the same time, unfortunately there are just as many offerings that are distinctly average by comparison. Every doomsday scenario ever thought about under the sun is featured here and then some. But whilst some of them work, sadly there are one or two that really do just fall a bit flat on their faces. This is a problem that seems to be inherent with any anthology but is more noticeable here with all of the stories following a common theme.
Highlights for me included the story “The barrier between here and there” which invoked fond memories of old-school, traditional, Lovecraftian horror and which certainly started the collection off with a bang. But others that also resonated with me included John McCraig’s “EMP”, “Best Intentions” by Rebecca Snow and “Not With A Bang” by author collaboration, Brooke and Scott Fabian. By far the creepiest story here though has to be David Dunwoody’s “The Hour.” I don’t want to spoil anything but this story stood head and shoulders above all the rest and left me itching and squirming long after I had moved onto the next story......and the next....and the next!
Overall, this isn’t a bad collection of grim fiction. Like I say, some of the stories included were better than others but there were none that were truly awful, just some that were a little under par. Reading chapter after chapter of yet more ways for the world to die inevitably begins to take its toll after a while – which is why I would probably recommend reading this in smaller chunks rather than in one big session! Be warned ~ there are no happy endings here and, after a while, the whole thing can get a little bit depressing ~ but if you like end-of-the-world scenarios and are looking for something a bit different, then you check this out!
Just remember to stock up on canned goods and drinking water before picking this up. Just in case because you never know....
Giveaway: 1 Ebook
Blood Cell by Shaun Tennant
TBR Reviewer:- Kim
This is the story of Josh. He is a prison escapee who boasts that no prison can hold him, so he is sent to the impenetrable Pod C of Pittman Penitentiary. Now locked in with some of the worst gang members and murderers on record, he must keep his eyes open and his wits about him. Then one of the gangs starts a riot and all too soon he realizes that they are not alone. Something is hunting them down one by one and it is hungry. Can Josh keep it together enough to survive, and escape with his life?
I really enjoyed this. It was certainly a different take on the 'been there, done that' vampire novel. I liked the idea that it was set in an impenetrable prison, it made for some very claustrophobic scenes! Josh was the perfect anti-hero - trying to save his own neck plus the neck of a woman who shouldn't have been there in the first place. The story had shades of Dracula in it, with Norris being the head vampires 'familiar' ala Renfield. It was a great
story with plenty of pace and action - but the ending fell a little flat. This was a shame really as the rest of the book was so good. I would still be happy to recommend it however.
+Giveaway: 1 ebook
Fit to Kill by Donnie Whetstone
Genre - Thriller
Length - Novel
TBR Reviewer - Kim
This is the story of a personal trainer who acts out his fantasies of killing his clients by brutally murdering other people. It is up to a slightly damaged female detective to try and put the pieces together and solve the mystery before any more people are killed.
After a fairly lengthy introduction - that set the scene for a story in the world of high fitness - this story took off. It was a very clever thriller. Things were done so that it kept you guessing most of the way through. It was graphic and violent and I loved it. Tara was the damaged detective, who usually relys on her gut instinct steering her right. After a case went wrong a couple of years before, she is no longer sure about her instincts and begins to doubt herself. Meanwhile the killer is well on his way to serial killer status by acting out all sorts of fantasies by brutalising his victims. This was fast paced, detailed (almost too much so in places) and had a mind blower of an ending. A great serial killer thriller for lovers of the genre.
Cassandra shakes her head in disbelieve as the scale has her three pounds heavier than her last assessment.
“I’ve had it. I’ve followed your program for twelve weeks and it didn’t work,” Cassandra says out of frustration. “I don’t know why I fall for these ridiculous programs!” Tears well in her eyes.
“Cassandra,” the trainer says in a calm, deliberate tone. “I need to ask you something and you need to be truthful, did you follow the changes we made three weeks ago?”
“Yes…I did,” she says.
“Cassandra,” the trainer says in a deliberate, not so calm tone, “did you do something...three days ago…You know…have a cheat meal with margaritas, perhaps?”
Cassandra went on the offensive.
“I don’t like your tone and I don’t like what you’re insinuating. I followed your program and it didn’t wor…”
Cassandra’s last word did not materialize before she finds herself four feet from where she was standing, jammed against a wall, with a powerful hand clamped over her mouth.
When her mind catches up to what has happened, she finds herself gazing into eyes that are cold and dark. Astonishment instantly becomes fear, then terror when she realizes she is in a deadly place. The eyes peering at her are not the eyes of the man she was with moments ago.
“That was not the answer to my question Cassandra; a simple yes or no would have sufficed!”
Tears began to stream heavily down Cassandra’s face and the powerful hand muffles any chance of her screaming.
“I think you were insinuating my program didn’t work, which means you were following your diet.”
Adrenaline surges through Cassandra and her heart is beating at a frantic pace.
“Since you refuse to answer my question, I’m going to have to find out for myself. Now, you’re probably wondering…How am I going to do that?”
Horror - novel
TBR Reviewer: Mark
From the author of World Mart, comes this very different and interesting tale that is a mystery based around many of the most famous works by acclaimed horror writer, Edgar Allan Poe and, in particular, his final, unfinished story that plays a central role in what proceeds to unfold. Lady Karina moves to an eerie lighthouse with her estranged husband following a scandal, only to be plagued by nightmares and hallucinations after she arrives that begin to warp her sense of reality. When her husband takes his own life, she is left a mysterious envelope addressed to Poe and sets off to deliver her husband’s final words to a man she has never met, let alone heard of. But along the way, things begin to get stranger and stranger leading her to question her sanity as she becomes less certain what is real and what just a dream...
Having read and been disappointed by Dan Simmon’s Drood (which follows a similar premise but instead looking at Charles Dickens and his final, unfinished work), I went in to this with very high hopes, especially having so enjoyed World Mart, Leigh Lane's previous novel. But unfortunately, though this is very well written and has an entirely suitable gothic feel throughout, I came away almost thinking I must be missing something. Though very good, reading this is kind of like trying to do a jigsaw where somebody keeps altering the picture as you go along. Every time I felt as though I was getting a handle on this story, along came Ms. Lane who seemed to pull the rug from out my feet sending me sprawling once more!
A book with no clear answers, no certain conclusions and no real sense of closure, this, like I say, is an interesting read if a perplexing one, that has gotten high praise and many rave reviews from critics. I can fully understand why because the imagery and imagination, not to mention research, that has gone into this novel is beautiful and brilliantly conceived. It would be unfair for me to say I didn’t enjoy this. But I was left feeling puzzled by its climax
and quite unsure how much of what I had just read was real and how much the product of a disturbed mind. It is a personal preference of mine that I prefer my endings just a little more neater and contained than is presented here.
A recent author I reviewed described his novel to me as a puzzle the reader needs to decipher and this is true too of Leigh Lane’s book. Is it better than Dan Simmon’s Drood? Definitely! Does it make any more sense? Not really though you cannot deny the technical skill and effort that has been put into something that at least tries to be different from anything else you will have read before. I loved the subtle introductions of so much influence from Poe’s collected work and definitely think that a better knowledge of his fiction would help make this a more rewarding read. But it remains that this is a book that
left me feeling very confused and for that, I am afraid, I can only give this 3 stars.
That said, I still have high hopes for anything else that Leigh Lane has written and this hasn’t put me off any. Indeed, she remains, in my eyes at least, an author I will certainly be keeping an eye out for in the future!
Horror - novel
TBR Reviewer: Mark
Noah is sleeping in his Grandmother’s basement, during one of his parent's monthly visits to her Farmhouse, when he is woken in the middle of the night over fears that the basement might flood. A heavy storm has erupted outside but it is unlike any other storm seen before in the area......this storm shows no sign of abating and the water that begins to lap at the Farmhouse’s porch has curious properties. Not only that but there are creatures in the water. Creatures with less than honourable intentions towards the Forrest family. And
then there is the mysterious Doctor Saxton who turns up on their doorstep stranded; a refugee from the nearby Spearpoint Technologies Installation. How much does he know about what is going on? As the water rises, so does the danger level and soon Noah and his family find themselves caught up in a battle for survival with time steadily running out...
This was a really great novel that started off well and carried on through to a truly brilliant climax. Right from the start, the tension levels are set extremely high and maintained throughout. Much like C.K.Burch’s The Icarus Void (which I reviewed recently), the novel’s characters are thrown into a very stressful situation very early on from which they are forced to do anything to survive. And just as with Burch’s novel, though the plot here at first is less than an original one, borrowing from inspiration such as Stephen King’s The Mist
among other sources, Williams succeeds in taking the story to new depths (no pun
intended), making it entirely his own! Rarely have I read anything quite this tense and chock full of suspense and what starts off like your average, standard traditional Monster tale soon becomes something much, much more!
I really, really loved this ~ so much so that I stayed up until 1 in the morning trying to finish it! I quite literally could not put this down and was not disappointed even when I reached the novel’s end! If this is the high standard that can be expected from this author in the future, then this is one reviewer who will definitely be checking out more of his work! I cannot recommend this enough and book is right up there with some of the best horror I
have read all year. I don’t want to say any more because this kind of novel works best when the reader isn’t quite sure what to expect but, suffice to say, if you DO decide to pick this up then get ready for one hell of a rollercoaster ride! Because this is one book that will stay with you long after you turn the last page!
Purchase here (only .99)
Thriller, Horror - novel
TBR Reviewer: Mark
For several decades now, two local serial killers have possibly been working alongside each other in the Portvale area; killing prostitutes and slaughtering the indigenous homeless who are unlikely to be missed. One of these is known as The Dockside Ripper, the other is referred to only as The Portvale Slasher. But Police also suspect that at least one other killer may or may not be working alongside them, copy-catting their crimes.
The notorious Cunningham family have long been suspected of their involvement in the killings but nothing has ever been proven. Until now......suddenly, pieces of the jigsaw begin to be put together as the truth about this very scary family finally comes to light.....
This is an interesting book and a quite compelling read that quickly pulls you in and gets you hooked pretty much even from the opening chapters. Starting with an account by an esteemed Clinical Psychologist detailing her unique experiences of the Cunningham clan, and more specifically twin brothers, Charlie and Caleb. The book then goes on to tell the main part of the story from Caleb Cunningham's perspective as he regales the reader with the truth (?) behind his crimes and the true history of his disturbed family and his very dark
At times, this book is a difficult one to read. It quickly becomes apparent that Caleb is a Sociopathic Psychopath suffering from chronic delusions and possible hallucinations and, as such, this makes him a very untrustworthy narrator at times as the edges between what is real and what is only perceived swiftly become blurred. But that said, there are equally moments when this book is impossible to put down!
Unfortunately, by the time we reach the books climax, the whole thing has begun to get a little stale and tired. Without giving anything away, there is no real resolution to the novel, no attempt at closure and the whole thing just kind of..well....ends. This is okay but, with a book such as this, it doesn't really leave the reader with any real sense of satisfaction.
This book kind of reminds me, in places, of Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho but not as well written and nowhere near as clever. That said, it was enjoyable but the flat ending inevitably made me reduce my rating from a 4 down to a 3! For all the things I did like about it, there were an equal amount of things I didn't but I wouldn't say it was a bad read just rather a bit of a disappointing one. To my mind, for a book about serial killers, there just wasn't enough blood, there wasn't enough gore and there certainly wasn't enough nastiness! And the whole blurring between reality and delusion only served, for me, to muddy already cloudy waters.
This was one of those books that I really wanted to like but instead, ended up feeling rather neutral about. It was alright while it lasted then, but wasn't something I would feel compelled to read again.
Dark, Horror, - novel
TBR reviewer: Brutally Honest
First, this is not a romance. Despite the cover and the excerpt there is no romance anywhere in this novel. It's futuristic horror with a dose of strange. The novel starts with a bang, literally. Lyle is intimate with another man. From here we learn he’s the owner of a sex club. He plans to get even with Abby, his lover’s former girlfriend after his lover Markus commits sucide because of her.
I had to unravel the mystery in the story which was a good thing. There are some twists and an initial interest that only grew as the story progressed. There is no set ‘good’ or ‘bad’ guy, it’s sort of like the lesser of two evils. The flashback was way too dragged out and I really lost interest as this played out. Toward the end it gets better but trimming the passage would have really made the story smoother. This is a dark story in more ways than one but I usually enjoy darker, crazier books as long as the plots clean and the editing decent. This definitely needed more editing and the flashbacks needed to be severely trimmed. Other than that, the story was solid and the characters unique. The ending was absolutely insane in a good way, the torture, the crazy twist.
I found this rather hard to rate. On one hand I sympathized with Lyle but at the same time I was worried for Abby. Either way you go, this story was hard to put down as it played out.
Overall, Breaking The man was a dark, twisted tale that I enjoyed reading.
Warning: Contains torture (piercing) and rape.
Abby and Paul walked hand in hand along the lower level of Corsica City's Red Light District. Busy streets full of rank, smoke-filled air, with the noise and hum of drudgery and decay illuminated the place like a heroin addict's high. They were nervous and felt wholly out of place, having not ventured into this part of town before. Occasion had never demanded it until now. 'Doing the job' held new meaning. Accepting the gig at Micheal's behest had taken some convincing, but the lucrative pay and the promise of 'one time only' swayed their acceptance. Illegal activities, they usually never ventured into. Work, up until this point, had been legit. Still, there was a living to be made, even this way, and both Abby and Paul liked their work in working together. They wouldn't have it any other way. With this knowledge, they passed beyond the velvet rope into Club Erosia to meet with the man who could hook them up with five hundred thousand in Republic credits.
Inside the club, darkness enveloped them, alongside the musky smell of burning incense. Candles burned on various tables inside faux, medieval archways. An attendant, dressed in all black, stoked the embers of a dying fire centered in the entrance of the place. Despite the display of 'warm and inviting', Abby shivered against the chill that seemed to thread its way through the room. A premonition? Perhaps. Paul, sensing her unease, placed his hand to
the middle of her back, providing warmth through the gauzy fabric of her dress.
"Yeah." She nodded. "I'm fine. Just fine. Just want to get this over with, you know."
Paul looked around. The attendant had walked over to them and now stood, his gaze on Paul, curiously appraising.
"May I help you?" the man asked.
"Yeah. We have a meeting with Lyle DuFant."
"Wait right here…" The man smiled. He set the poker in its holster and walked around the fireplace and out the entrance-way. Abby drew Paul along, following the man, until they reached another open doorway. Beyond it, she heard the sounds of music, voices, conversation. Although the front area was empty, save for the barkeep stocking bottles, there were people inside, just unseen. She glanced around and spied a seating area to the right of them, partially hidden by black beaded curtains. A few sofas and couches littered the space; fabrics of velvet and silk lined the cushions. Paul tugged at her sleeve, but she
continued, stepping through the wall of beads. Those couches had stains on them. No wonder they keep it so dark.
"What is it?" Paul asked.
"Just wondering who is it we're about to get involved with. I mean this place, I've heard of these type clubs, but—"
"We don't have to do this. Just say the word and we're out."
"Nah," she said after a beat. "Don't want Michael pissed at us for reneging on a done-deal. Besides, when would we stand to make this much money again? And who would set it up?"
"Okay." He sighed. "I'm with you. Whatever you want to do." He smiled reassuringly then leaned in for a quick kiss to the side of her face. She giggled at the contact, pleased. She was a tough broad, had to be, but Paul made her feel giddy, like a little girl in his arms, protected. She liked that and suspected he liked it, too.
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