Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tongues

I was provided a print copy of Tongues by Sam Joyce for review.

Tongues is a horror story from the beginning. It does take a bit to understand what exactly the focus of the horror is. The story moves from one anti social group to another before telling us what the real evil is. The horror is a practitioner of a voodoo-type spirituality, Palo Mayumbe. Carmen (the practitioner) unleashes a sinister spell in a small Texas town.

I have to say I was a little disappointed in how this story played out. I'm not sure if I received a galley or uncorrected proof. There weren't typos but there were issues of continuity at times. For example: in one sentence the heroine jerks a gun out of the bad guys hands. Two sentences later she struggles with the bad guy to take the gun away from him. That kind of continuity issue.

The story itself was scary enough and I did like it over all. Serious evil running rampant with no way to stop it. But some of the depictions of the evil people were doing just seemed too jarring. Not just graphic (which I have no problem with) but seemingly included more for shock value than story progression. Graphic violence, graphic sexuality (at one point bordering on the absurd). A six hour or so road trip took up a major portion of the book, bogging it down for me.

The ending didn't really resolve the problem and didn't really set us up for any future books.  I always strive to be positive in my reviews, and Tongues by Sam Joyce, is an o.k. book, but for me it fell a bit flat. If you like horror stories about evil spirituality, and can get past a few continuity issues, you'll probably like Tongues. Enjoy!

Mike

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Edge of End: A Novel

I received an e-version of Edge of End: A Novel by H. G. Suren aka Suren Hakobyan.

I have read this author's work before and enjoyed it immensely (since I have seen the name Suren presented first and last, I don't know whether it is his first or last name, I am proceeding with the belief that Suren is his surname).  For me Edge of End far surpasses what I've read from him in the past, and that is saying a lot since as I recall, I rated The Silent City five stars.

Edge of End reads like an extended Twilight Zone (and that is a very good thing). Our main character is caught in an incomprehensible situation. He has to learn as he goes along and the consequences for making a mistake are dire indeed. Edge of End is presented as a horror story, and no doubt it is, but it also is extremely suspenseful. Graphic, gruesome, violent, action, almost graphic sexuality, intrigue, romance, heroism and psychological mind games.

Edge of End begins in a life or death struggle and continues non-stop (literally) for the entire book. There is no let up in the story at all. It kept me riveted (I even had a dream set in this story, and that does not happen to me often). Though I was not able to read it in one setting, I was able to pick up the story with no problem when I came back to it.

A very scary thought to even imagine this story in anyway approaching reality (talk about scared straight). But there is no denying the spiritual aspects to this story. It is a story of right and vs wrong, good vs evil, redemption, and selfishness vs. selflessness.

Edge of End : A Novel by H. G. Suren (that's how his name is presented on this book) is an awesome story to get lost in and scare the snot out of yourself with. Enjoy!


Mike


Friday, June 9, 2017

Cannibal Moon

Cannibal Moon is the 77th book in the Deathlands series under the house name James Axler.

First and foremost, I am a fan of the Deathlands series, it is one of my guilty little pleasures. I say "guilty" because they are pulp, formulaic, predictable, violent, often misogynist and anti-social. Thank goodness they are not racist. Apparently the nuclear holocaust eliminated racism (guess it's not all bad).

Cannibal Moon is focused on (you guessed it) cannibalism. Cannibals often play a part in the deathlands saga. Until this book however, they were usually loosely organized, poorly equipped and easily dispatched by the companions. In Cannibal Moon this is not the case. The cannibals here are organized, very well outfitted and threatening to take over.

Books in this series often focus on different companions as the main character being affected by the story line. In Cannibal Moon it happens to be Mildred. What struck me with this story was how little the rest of the companions contributed. Since Mildred and J.B. have a romantic connection it was surprising to me that he had such a small impact here. Also Jak seemed to be almost a disinterested party to what was happening.

Although I read Deathlands books expecting just what I get; over the top violence, machismo, dystopian societies, and heroes that emerge victorious no matter the odds. I don't expect high quality writing, lofty prose. I expect down and dirty, gritty, in-your-face descriptions of the horrors of the "hellscape". I was a bit disappointed in Cannibal Moon. It struck me as a little flat. I still enjoyed it, but not as much as others in the series. I guess that is to be expected with such a large series; not every book is going to thrill every reader.

Deathlands is still my not so secret pleasure, and  Cannibal Moon may not be the pinnacle of the series but it was enjoyable enough. Fans of the series will still like it. Enjoy!


Mike

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Devil's Due

I received an e-copy of The Devil's Due by L. D. Beyer for review.

This is the third book I have read by author L. D. Beyer and I have to say that they just keep getting better.

The Devil's Due is set in Ireland shortly after World War I. It follows Frank Kelleher, IRA soldier, as he copes with being falsely accused of betraying his comrades. We follow his attempts to clear his name and reputation, and reclaiming his life in his beloved Ireland.

We also get a history of the fight for independence in Ireland and the civil unrest of the time. Kelleher is the epitome of anti-hero (the crux of the story so, you'll have to read that part for yourself). He is an honorable man caught in the wheels of history.

I could hear the Irish lilt in his voice as he tells his story. It made the story that much more enjoyable. I can not speak to the historical accuracy of the story, but that is not really the point of the book to me. The story is Kelleher and his family and friends. It is a compelling, touching story. Honor, loyalty, patriotism, are key to Kelleher's life. His stubborn insistence in holding true to his values in the face of events which would prompt many to abandon them is inspiring. Author Beyer excels at painting a verbal picture that places the reader right in the heart of the story. His description of the beauty of Ireland is nothing short of breathtaking.

There is, of course, a lot of violent action. But there is also a lot of introspection and soul searching, making The Devil's Due more than just an action packed story of violence, retribution and redemption. It is a well rounded, balanced story of a man's life.

Readers whose tastes in action extend beyond kill everybody and let God sort them out, who like more depth to their reading will find this book fills that interest in a most satisfying read. I thoroughly enjoyed The Devil's Due, and as I said earlier, L. D. Beyer's work gets better with each book I read. Enjoy!

Mike

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Eye of the Storm

I received a print copy of Eye of the Storm by Frank Cavallo for review.

Eye of the Storm is a difficult book to pigeon hole genre wise. One of those books where explaining details about the book would certainly involve spoilers (and you know how feel about that). Although basically it is a sword and sorcery fantasy, it also has elements of history, political intrigue, the quest, science, technology, horror, romance and military action/adventure. It is your true roller coaster ride. As such, it is highly unpredictable most of the time, not unusual for me since I rarely anticipate correctly the next move in any story, but Eye of the Storm highlighted this inability on my part (thanks Mr. Cavallo).

We start the story in current times with a scientific expedition, which of course goes wildly off track. We travel through a storm which sends us through a space-time portal (no spoiler, it's on the back cover), and the roller coaster has begun.

We follow two heroes (or at least main characters) as they encounter the bizarre inhabitants of this world, each more exotic and unbelievable than the last. There are different factions/species/entities? vying for control. None of whom seem particularly benign or benevolent. As reader/participants we find ourselves forced to choose sides, or at least sympathize with viewpoints that change as the story progresses.

My only real complaint is that the story jumps in time months to years at a time rather abruptly. The way we wind up with the two main characters is a little rocky.

On the plus side, there is a lot going on, the story does not lag even though it moves from straight out physical action to more cerebral pursuits. Eye of the Storm contains graphic violence, some language (unnecessary in my opinion), political double dealing (is there any other kind?), secret loyalties, romance, sexual innuendo (as opposed to graphic portrayal) and an absolutely colossal three way battle at the climax.

Frank Cavallo has created an interesting, if not terrifying, world for us to explore in Eye of the Storm. I recommend it to readers looking for that "little something different" in a fantasy read. Enjoy!


Mike

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou

I received a print copy of Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou by Steven Burgauer for review.

Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou is a work of fictionalized history. I learned a great many things about World War Two and the history of boats and such. What caught my interest with this book was the connection to the Louisiana Bayous, a region of the U.S. that fascinates me, I'm not usually a reader of war books.

Although  Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou has as its backdrop WWII, I would not call it a "war book". What we read is intrigue around the development and production of the Higgins Boat, an amphibious landing craft. We have a Mafia connection, bad guy Germans, prostitutes, business people, politicians, spies, and everyday people. A lot of characters to keep straight but Mr. Burgauer (a German name if I'm not mistaken, hmm) does a fine job in that respect. I didn't find myself having to look back in the book to see who this or that person was.

Warning to the sensitive reader: Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou is written in the language of the times. There are many instances of words which would be cut from a movie today; n-words, j-words, and various other "trigger" words (what a shame that even needs to be said).

Very mild sex (especially when you consider some of the action takes place in a brothel), lots of action and intrigue. Some graphic violence. Lots of history.

I really enjoyed Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou by Steven Burgauer. I recommend it for historical fiction fans, and even WWII enthusiasts (fans doesn't seem an appropriate word here), action and intrigue readers. Enjoy!

Mike

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Accidental Demon Slayer

I received an e-version of The Accidental Demon Slayer  by Angie Fox, as part of a Goodreads Giveaway.

This book is a seriously funny light read. As the saying goes; some are born to greatness, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them (don't remember who said it though). Apparently for Demon Slayers it is all of the above. Our heroine Lizzie was born to be a demon slayer (though she doesn't know it), does achieve that ability (if she didn't we would have no story), and it is definitely thrust upon her against her will.

Lizzie's grandmother is a witch, and a part of a  coven that fronts as a biker club. They are as hard riding and wild as any motorcycle club you want to meet. Their current focus is to protect Lizzie so she can (what else?) slay demons.

Along the way she encounters, many mythical creatures, mostly from the dark side, bent on causing trouble. Of course we get to watch Lizzie learn to deal with them. The witches are powerful and intimidating, but they are also mischievous, petty and vindictive. They store spells in glass jars and have no compunctions about using them on each other. The spells themselves are hilarious and I leave it to you to read about them.

I expected The Accidental Demon Slayer to be somewhat reminiscent of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and it is, but much more in the comic vein. It is also the first of the seven book Demon Slayer series. I haven't read the next six books, but I happily note that The Accidental Demon Slayer maintains its comic focus throughout. It doesn't get all serious on us.

The Accidental Demon Slayer gives us action and adventure, suspense, magic, romance (in a strange way) even a bit of redemption, all wrapped up in a fun, and funny, tale.

The Accidental Demon Slayer is definitely an adult story. There is a strong sexual thread though the story; sexual thoughts, sexual desires, and sexual activities. In keeping with the general tone of the book, the sexuality is usually depicted in a humorous way. Not torrid, graphic sex, but steamy enough anyway.

The coven is able to place spells in booby traps, and it may well be that they placed a Giggle Spell on The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox. I know it kept me chuckling. A good, light, fun and funny read. Enjoy!

Mike