Thursday, March 27, 2008

Book 20 of 2008: Rogue by Rachel Vincent

Book Description:

Okay, so cats don’t always land on their feet

I know that better than most. Since rejoining the Pride, I’ve made big decisions and even bigger mistakes: the kind paid for with innocent lives. As the first and only female enforcer, I have plenty to prove to my father, the Pride, and myself. And with murdered toms turning up in our territory, I’m working harder than ever , though I always find the energy for a little after-hours recreation with Marc, my partner both on and off duty.

But not all my mistakes are behind me. We’re beginning to suspect that the dead are connected to a rash of missing human women, and that they can all be laid at my feet--two or four, take your pick. And one horrible indiscretion may yet cost me more than I can bear...

My Opinion:

First off... I have to say how much I absolutely LOVE the covers of Rachel Vincent’s books. In case you haven’t seen the cover of the first book in this series, I’ll post it here as well:

I just think the color scheme and the design is absolutely gorgeous. I’m not sure who did the cover art, but I definitely hope to see more by them!

At any rate... on to the story. This book continued on where STRAY left off. (see my 2007 reading blog for my review of STRAY) There are several different events taking place in this book, yet all of them are tied together in one way or another... werecat killings, stripper kidnappings, human-turned-stray, etc... Vincent leaves little "down time" in the book as it is chock full of action scenes. I loved it from start to finish and found myself enjoying it even more than STRAY, but mainly due to the fact the characters are growing on me so much. The characters are absolutely fabulous and believeable. All of the "drama" between Faythe and Marc cracks me up and I keep on cheering for Jace, but I have a feeling where things will end up there in the end. LOL!!! I also found myself laughing at several other scenes in the book, the most memorable being when Faythe was flinging cassette tapes in order to attack someone and refused to use a classic Aerosmith cassette, so in turn tossed the Thompson Twins. Ha ha!!!

Unfortunately, the book left a major cliffhanger at the end and now I’m left waiting until the fall to find out what is going to happen next. Drat!!! Can’t these books get published faster?!?!? LOL!!! Seriously though, I am highly anticipating the 3rd book of this series, PRIDE, and commend Rachel Vincent for how wonderful she has done in writing this series thus far. I hope that she continues on with this story for many more books and one day moves on to some other storylines as I’m quickly becoming a huge fan of her writing style.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Book 19 of 2008: The Haunted Vagina by Carlton Mellick III

Book Description:

It’s difficult to love a woman whose vagina is a gateway to the world of the dead...

Steve falls madly in love with Stacy, but it isn’t until they move in together that he hears voices coming from Stacy’s southern junction. When a skeletal creature makes it’s way through Stacy into their world, Stacy convinces Steve he must go exploring to find out where this mysterious passage leads. After his fist foray, Steve almost doesn’t make it back from the alternate world, but the next time Stacy sets him up for a full spelunking.

My Opinion:

First off... I absolutey love the cover of this book. I think it’s gorgeous!!! The skeletal hand reaching up to the "girl" is a very neat touch (pardon the pun). The story itself is very f’ed up! Stacy has a "haunted vagina" in that it makes noises and expands, etc... She decides that she wants her boyfriend, Steve, to explore the "world" within. The adventures continue from there as he wanders around the insides of Stacy’s vagina meeting up with Stacy’s childhood "friend" as well as the Zephrans. I won’t say much more than that as I don’t want to spoil the story, but the story makes you laugh as well as wonder WTF!!! Mellick is definitely a writer I’m going to have to explore some more because his stories really make you think. Of course, the entire time I was reading THE HAUNTED VAGINA I kept having the same one though... Why doesn’t this girl go get checked out at the gynecologist!?!?!?!?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Book 18 of 2008: Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath

Book Description:

Lieutenant Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels is having a bad week. Her live-in boyfriend has left her for his personal trainer, chronic insomnia has caused her to max out her credit cards with late-night home shopping purchases and a frightening killer who calls himself "The Gingerbread Man" is dumping mutilated bodies in her district. Whiskey Sour is full of laugh-out-loud humour and edge-of-your-seat suspense. It also introduces a fun, fully drawn heroine in the grand tradition of Kinsey Millhone, Stephanie Plum and Kay Scarpetta.

My Opinion:

Fabulous read!!! I wish I had listened to my friends and started into this series sooner. I finally made myself start the series due to the upcoming release of SUCKERS which is co-written by J.A. Konrath and Jeff Strand (my favorite author for those who don’t know me all that well) as SUCKERS includes a character from both this series as well as Strand’s sickeningly-awesome Andrew Mayhem series.

Konrath definitely has a way with keeping his viewers interested. This book is full of action from the first page to the last. You are immediately thrown into the nightmare life of "Jack" Daniels. She is one kick-ass lieutenant who doesn’t take shit from anyone... well, except Harry McGlade, somewhat. I am looking forward to seeing what kind of "trouble" Jack and the rest of the cast get into in the future installments of this series.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Book 17 of 2008: Dead Over Heels by MaryJanice Davidson

Book Description:

Three all-new paranormal stories of lust, laughter, and love from the New York Times bestselling author, including an original novella featuring Undead queen Betsy Taylor.

With her trademark "sassy dialogue, lusty lovemaking [and] irreverent humor"* New York Times bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson delighted fans with her wickedly sexy and wildly funny anthology, Dead and Loving It-stories in which the worlds of the Wyndham Werewolves and Undead Queens collided. Now she returns to that sensual and irresistible after-dark realm of werewolves, vampires, and mermaids in three more original novellas--including an all-new Betsy Taylor novella.

My Opinion:

Undead and Wed: A Honey Moon Story
This story follows up Betsy & Sinclair’s wedding. I couldn’t believe Jessica and Nick decided to "crash" their honeymoon. LOL!!! The story was classic and I about died when the shoe got stuck in the wall. I do wonder how Nick will be getting along with everyone after the events in this story. Only a bit longer to wait for UNDEAD AND UNWORTHY. YAY!!!

Fred the mermaid doesn’t actually show up in this story, but it tells a bit about the adventures of a loan guy, Con Conlinson, who is stranded at sea, and is being followed by a "silver severed head" better known as a mermaid. HA HA!!! Enter Ree, the beautiful mermaid, who ends up having to rescue Stupid Con and help him survive. This story had me laughing at several points and I hope the characters appear in future mermaid stories by MJD.

Speed Dating, Werewolf Style
Okay, so Laura was telling me about this book and how this story wasn’t all that great... yada yada. Well, let’s just say that I made the mistake of taking this book with me to lunch the other day and while I’m sitting there eating my Wendy’s chili I read a part in the story that makes me laugh so hard I actually choked on my chili! Due to that scene and many, MANY others this became my favorite story of the anthology. I just kept thinking that one day that I may end up doing some kind of speed dating thing like Cain does in this story.

Book 16 of 2008: Right House on the Left by Steve Vernon, Mark McLaughlin, and L.L. Soares

Book Description:

Right House on the Left is a deluxe chapbook with three imaginative tales mixing humor and horror. The first is "The Outhouse on the Edge of Forever," by Steve Vernon, where a mystical outhouse built for a community picnic becomes the source of some inspired horror and hilarity. "Don’t Look in the Little Storage Room Behind the Furnace," by Mark McLaughlin, takes many of the horror fiction staples and parodies them in a tale about a family moving into a house with a haunted past. Finally, in "The Blood Splattered Mirror Ball," by L.L. Soares, an exclusive club becomes haunted by the fun-loving spirits of some unpopular people who had always been refused admittance. The chapbook presents a wide variety of writing styles and tales and they all work well for those who are familiar with the horror genre. The chapbook is perfect for horror fans and recommended for libraries that support a large community of horror readers.

My Opinion

Right House on the Left was published by Novello Publishers in a limited release. I lucked into receiving my copy direct from one of the wonderful authors within, L.L. Soares, who I’m happy to have become really good friends with thanks to the wonderful Internet world!

Soares’ story, THE BLOOD-SPLATTERED MIRROR BALL, starts off with a scene of a guy snorting coke off of a model’s ass and from then on everything that happens makes you feel like you, the reader, are the one snorting that coke! Soares describes the events of the party in so much vivid detail that you feel you are standing in the midst of it, but thankfully you’re not as some very f’ed up stuff happens... though I’ll leave that for each of you to read as to not spoil it.

In addition to L.L’s story, I also got my first peek at the works of both
Steve Vernon and Mark McLaughlin. Vernon’s story, THE OUTHOUSE ON THE EDGE OF TERROR used some very unique alliteration that I found amusing and who can go wrong with a book full of potty humor? McLaughlin’s story, DON’T LOOK IN THE LITTLE STORAGE ROOM BEHIND THE FURNACE, also had a bit of potty humor in it as well what with the zombie eating creatures that pooped the zombies back out. HA HA HA!!! That was just classic!!! And ya know, now that I think back on it, Soares’ story also had potty humor due to the horse scene.

So... all in all... this was one "shitty" chapterbook... and I mean that in the best possible way as this story collection is hilarious and extremely well-written. I loved all of the varying styles of writing and the combination of stories. I will definitely be looking into other works of all three of these authors, as well as anything else published by Novello Publishers!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Book 15 of 2008: Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Book Description:

Sooner or later, the dead catch up . . .

Judas Coyne was a collector. The bizarre, the uncanny, the grotesque. A cookbook for cannibals. A used hangman’s noose. A snuff film. Many of these objects were gifts from the black-clad fans who made his metal band a legend and made him rich.

But not all. When his personal assistant told him there was a ghost for sale on the Internet, Jude knew he had to have it for his private collection, didn’t think twice. He should have. Jude has spent a lifetime evading ghosts -- of an abusive father, of the bandmates he betrayed, of Anna, the suicidal girl he loved and abandoned. But this spirit is different. This one means to chase him to the edge of sanity.

His new acquisition -- delivered to his doorstep in a black heart-shaped box -- is the restless soul of Anna’s vengeful stepdaddy. Craddock McDermott swore he would settle with Jude for ruining his daughter’s life. Soon, everywhere Jude turns, Craddock is there: behind the bedroom door; in Jude’s restored vintage Mustang; outside his window; on his widescreen TV. Waiting -- with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one bony hand.

If ever there was a case of caveat emptor, this is it . . .

My Opinion:

I checked this book out from the library after getting good reviews from both Cindi and Nick. I had heard from Nick that the first few chapters were very scary. I’m not sure that I was scared by the book... I do remember getting freaked out at one point though when Craddock was trying to "control" Judas to the point of shooting and killing Georgia. I even had dreams about it, though I don’t recall them now. This book was VERY well written though and I truly enjoyed the story line. I think that Joe left enough of an opening *IF* he’d want to write a sequel to the book as I’m sure that more could become of both Anna and her mother ... especially if the mother were to escape from jail. Plus Anna could become a sociopath or something after having been through so much crap over the years. I’m looking forward to reading further books by this author and definitely need to track down his anthology TWENTIETH CENTURY GHOSTS!

A couple of side notes...

1 - if you aren’t familiar with Joe Hill... this is Stephen King’s son

2 - I was just surfing around a bit and it appears that there IS a movie in the works on this book so I’ll be curious to see how that turns out. It could make for a VERY creepy movie or it could just suck... only time will tell!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Book 14 of 2008: Like Death by Tim Waggoner

Book Description:

Scott Raymond is a man haunted by his past and terrorized in the present. As a young boy, he witnessed the brutal murder of his family, but there is so much of the gruesome tragedy that he simply cannot remember — including the identity of the killer or why Scott alone was spared. The memories won't come, but the trauma won't go away.

Scott is an adult now, still emotionally scarred but learning to deal with it. He has come to Ash Creek to write about a different mystery, a six-year-old girl named Miranda who has disappeared in broad daylight one year ago. Here, Scott meets another girl named Miranda, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the one who's missing — but this one's a teenager. She will draw Scott into the bizarre hidden world known as Shadow. A world where nightmares are very real . . . and very deadly.

My Opinion:

Again... this Tim Waggoner book goes above and beyond the description provided for it. Waggoner is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors as his writing style and ideas are extremely fresh and different from other horror I have read (albeit a bit f'ed up... lol!!!). I have no idea where he comes up with the ideas he has his books filled up with, but my oh my they are bizarre! I love how he integrates everything together and twists the plot so much it makes one dizzy trying to figure out what is going to happen next. I'm looking forward to reading DARKNESS WAKES in the near future and any other Waggoner books I can get my hands on.