Tuesday, November 29, 2016

All Darling Children by Katrina Monroe


Monday, November 21, 2016

Eat the Night by Tim Waggoner


For Joan Lantz, it starts with a dream of a death-cult’s mass suicide in the jungle of Suriname thirty years ago, followed by the discovery of a hidden basement in her new house, where heavy metal music echoes on humid tropical air.

For Kevin Benecke, long-suffering employee of a mysterious organization known simply as Maintenance, it starts with the violent death of his co-worker at the hands of a madman who tells him, The Big Dark is coming for you.

Long-dead cult leader and former rock star Mark Maegarr has returned from beyond the grave, and Joan and Kevin have front-row seats to his apocalyptic comeback. Maegarr’s waited decades to finish what he started, and this time no one will stop him from putting on a killer show designed to hasten the universe’s end.

Rock on.

Joan has suffered a traumatic past, which has left her always longing for a home of her own. Because of that, she is ecstatic when she has the opportunity to purchase a house with her husband Jon even if the circumstances of that opportunity seem suspiciously convenient.
Kevin is an employee of "Maintenance" a company which does not advertise, does not have customers and doesn't want any. These characters who seem to have nothing to do with each other do in fact share a common thread and they are going to meet, in a big way.
This was a creepy read, reminiscent of the classic 80s horror that I so love.
4 out of 5 stars from me.

I received a complimentary copy for review

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Gangster Women And the Criminals They Loved by Susan McNicoll


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Five Stories High by K. J. Parker; Sarah Lotz; Robert Shearman ; Tade Thompson; Nina Allan


‘They didn’t see the house until they were practically on top of it. A single building emerging from the dark. It didn’t look welcoming. But the front door was open. The door was wide open.’

Irongrove Lodge – a building with history; the very bricks and grounds imbued with the stories of those who have walked these corridors, lived in these rooms. These are the tales of an extraordinary house, a place that straddles our world and whatever lies beyond; a place that some are desperate to discover, and others to flee. At one time an asylum, at another a care home, sometimes simply a home.
The residents of Irongrove Lodge will learn that this house will change them, that the stories told here never go away. Of all who enter, only some will leave.
Multi-award-winning editor Jonathan Oliver has brought together five extraordinary writers to open the doors, revealing ghosts both past and present in a collection as intriguing as it is terrifying. Along with a linking narrative, this collection features five novellas by Nina Allan, Tade Thompson, K.J. Parker, Robert Shearman and Sarah Lotz.

This book contains 5 stories linked together in a narrative by Jonathan Oliver

When is a wood louse not just a wood louse? The answer to that is in the first story "Maggots" by Nina Allan.
A happy, family oriented young man, home visiting from college begins to suspect that his aunt is an imposter after she briefly goes missing and then reappears somehow changed. He is the only one who notices this difference. There was a delicious sense of foreboding that permeated this story from start to finish, made even more intense by the fact that I actually cared about this family and was hoping things would turn out well for them. I would give this story 5 stars

"Priest's Hole" by K.J. Parker is a story about a shape shifter who makes his living by becoming other people. It got off to a slow start, and did eventually pick up a bit but it just didn't grab my interest that well. Not to say it was a bad story, it was just not my type.

"Gnaw" by Tade Thompson
Harry and Tara move into the house with their 2 children Adrienne and Corey. The spooky happenings begin almost immediately, and it's not just the children who see and hear things that should not be there. This was one of my favorite stories in the book, again 5 stars from me.

"The Best Story I Can Manage Under The Circumstances" by Robert Shearman
I don't know what to say about this. It was like some kind of bizarro fiction. It begins with a very strange pregnancy and gets more weird from there.

"Skin Deep" By Sarah Lotz
This was a story of accused murderer Malika "the butcher" told from multiple points of view. When Malika and Robin meet they feel an instant connection. It doesn't matter to them  that she is 20 years his senior or that he doesn't have a cent to his name. When they decide to move in together and he wants to live in Irongrove Lodge, Malika buys the apartment to make him happy even though she feels there is something off about it. If only she had trusted her gut!
 This was in my opinion the shining star of  this book, the absolute best saved for last.

I received an advance copy for review.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Till the Cows Come Home by J.T. Blakemore

Till the Cows Come Home: One Man's Story of Triumph Over Adversity and 48 Years of Life After Traumatic Brain Injury

For those of us who sometimes feel that the light at the end of the tunnel really is an oncoming train, J.T. Blakemore is living proof that we don't have to simply stand on the tracks and be run down. This is the story of a man who faces down a great deal of adversity and lives to tell the tale.
In 1963, J.T. took an ill-advised ride in a '59 Hot Rod Chevy and regained consciousness twenty-eight days later. He was 21 years old. "You might say I threw my life away for a dozen cans of beer. My bell was rung really well, and I've had one I gigantic hangover ever since. The prognosis was simple: brain damage. The effects were not so simple. Not by a long shot."
J.T.'s past provides him with the tools he needs to meet the challenges of learning to walk, talk, and see all over again. The product of a tempestuous couple who met and married on the same day, J.T.'s often humorous journey from orphanage to U.S. Marines and beyond teaches him that adversity is a fact of life. His unflinching description of his ongoing recovery and his unique insights into the thought processes of someone with "drain bamage" will be uncharted territory for most readers, but well worth the trip. In spite of his many obstacles, this consummate storyteller is one of the most positive, enthusiastic men you will ever meet.
"Damage to my big USMC pride would be an ongoing occurrence. On more than one occasion, I have found myself, for no apparent reason, sitting squarely on my posterior. But I have learned two positive things about falling. First: getting back on my feet has become easier with every fall. Second: living with embarrassment won't kill you."
His belief in "patient, prayerful, persistent perseverance" and an unflappable faith in God have served him well during his unusual journey. He has gone on to earn several college degrees, meet and marry his wife, and raise two equally strong and determined children. At first glance, you might think he's just an average guy.
Till the Cows Come Home is an inspiring account of triumph over adversity -- the sort of triumph that J.T. sincerely believes could be achieved by anyone of us if we have faith, a healthy sense of humor, and (although he never comes right out and says it) a certain level of practicality.
"I have had to learn to accept the fact that everything is constantly changing, and, in many cases, remains different and difficult. That sounds almost normal. Doesn't it?"

J.T. Blakemore is a remarkable man and after reading this book I feel like I know him. This factual account does not include only the after affects of learning to live with a traumatic brain injury. J.T. already had an interesting life history before that tragic accident ever happened and he shares it here.
This account is written in a matter of fact way, not over emotional, not seeking sympathy. J.T fully admits he was not always easy to get along with during his recovery and that he has issues to this day. This was an honest look at one man's struggle to recover. 4 out of 5 stars from me.

I received a complimentary copy for review.