Sunday, October 28, 2012

This Darkness Mine

     This is the latest horror book from a favorite of mine, G.R. Yeates. Those familiar with his Vetala  cycle books will note this one is quite different; in fact, it is different from most fiction. It is written in the style of  William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch, although I think Yeates takes things one step further with This Darkness Mine. 
     Yeates uses a lot of very violent and sexual imagery to illustrate just how soul sucking modern life, and the corporations who run it, can be. In the first half of this novel the reader is brought through a typical day in an office, one where every unique thing about an individual is taken from them and the brain dead are prized. I think this is something anyone who has worked somewhere they haven't liked can understand all too well. The second half of the book follows the worker as he is laid off from his job and thrust out into the streets. Here we see how consumerism has taken over everything to the point that it has become it's own entity; it feeds on our humanity until there is nothing left that is recognizable. 
     Using short, harsh descriptive sentences, Yeates is able to drive home his points about modern culture and its problems in a very thoughtful and provocative way. This unique read is highly recommended. 

You can purchase this book by clicking the following links:  Amazon USAmazon UK

I give it five cocktails.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Woman Made of Milk

     A Woman Made of Milk by Ralph Robert Moore is an odd title for an odd little story, but it was one that I very much enjoyed. This is a novelette about a woman who is a medium for hire that goes out to a rather unusual location. She was employed by a man who lost his wife, and is distraught that he can not see her ghost. But the house he brings the medium to is one that has been added on to for five hundred years; each new house is built onto the front of the previous one. 
     That setting alone was enough to intrigue me and pull me in; this is not a typical ghost story by any means. Moore gives the reader something original and different with an ending I didn't see coming. This is a quick creepy read that I think is perfect for anyone looking for a new take on ghost stories. Highly recommended. 

You can purchase a copy by clicking the following links: Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon DE

I give it five cocktails.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Girl (Southern Hauntings Saga)

The Girl is the second installment in the Southern Hauntings Saga, and it is an excellent continuation of the series. Crate Northgate is brought in to investigate the disappearance of a twelve year old girl that not everyone believes is dead. Her father, however, is convinced she is, and he is being haunted by her spirit. 
  Hall's prose is very fluid, and this is a moving story that the reader is immediately drawn into. The father's grief and pain is brought to life in a way that I think any reader can sympathize with, although Crate Northgate does not. Actually Nothgate's inability to do so made him more fleshed out and real to me; we learn a little bit more about his background in this story and the reason why he has the current homeless lifestyle he does. Overall this was a very good, short read. Hall's story telling abilities will have anyone who picks this up feeling like they are walking through the southern mountain woods right along side the characters. I am very much looking forward to the next installment, and highly recommend this one.

I give it five cocktails. 

You can purchase The Girl from the following links: Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes and Noble

For my review of the Vagrant, the first in the Southern Hauntings series, click here.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

YOU Having a Baby

Well if any of my readers are wondering why I haven't been around for a while, or why I'm suddenly posting about baby books, it's because I'm 15 weeks pregnant! Very exciting (and also tiring) time for me and my husband, so that is why the long absence. I am hoping to maybe get a few more of my normal reviews in sometime soon, depending on how I am feeling. 

But I really do want to recommend this book to any expectant mothers out there. I know the pregnancy Bible seems to be What to Expect When You're Expecting, but to me that book reads like an encyclopedia. Is it good as a reference book for when you have a question? Absolutely. Could I just sit down and read it? Not at all.  So I would recommend YOU Having a Baby. Yes this is by the same Dr. Oz who has his own television show in the United States, and his same quirky funny style that he uses to convey health information on his television show is displayed in the pages of his book. This was a fun, informative, and easy read. It is a long book but I found it read fast and I was able to learn about all sorts of things that would be happening to me before they happened, which is a good way to prevent panicked calls to family and friends asking, "Is this normal?" So whether this is your first pregnancy or your third, they can all be different and I would recommend this book out of all the others I have come across.    

I give it five (non-alcoholic) cocktails. Yes I want to cry when I look at my liquor cabinet. 

You can find this book at any major retailer, but here are a few links. Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes and NobleWaterstones

Monday, June 18, 2012


     Inkarna is a supernatural thriller about a woman who is a member of an ancient Egyptian cult that has the ability to reincarnate themselves. However, this cult is made up of warring factions, or houses, and instead of reincarnating into the body of a five year old girl, she finds herself in the body of a twenty-one year old man. This presents an entire hosts of problems, and she must find out what went wrong. 
      This was a fun enjoyable read, with likable characters that Dorman fleshes out completely as the story progresses. Dorman also deals with a very interesting concept; that is, what it would be like to switch not only bodies but genders as well? This is explored in the story while the main character is also searching for answers as to why this has happened in the first place, and he/she finds an unlikely ally in the form of the new body's girlfriend who believes her boyfriend has had a miraculous recovery.  This leads to lots of action in the latter half of the novel, which brings it from a merely interesting to a very entertaining read. The ending is also satisfying and complete, but leaves things open for subsequent books. I certainly hope there are more. This is a well paced thriller and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the genre. 

To purchase, simply click on one of the following links:  Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon DEAmazon FR

I give it four cocktails. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

YO A$$ IS GRA$$ ! Tales from a Redneck Gangsta


 In case it wasn't obvious from the title, this is a short story collection that is a bit different. Yo A$$ is Gra$$!, by Jimmy Pudge  is a varied set of short stories. They range from comedic erotic horror, to a scifi mythology story. Most of the stories are written in the first person and in a small town Georgia patois. Overall I really enjoyed this collection; they are a very entertaining set of stories. However, some were a bit better than others. The first one was one of my favorites though.

     Everything She Touch Turn to Doo Doo was one of the comedic erotic horror stories, and it had me laughing out loud. It is about a man who is selling drugs in his trailer park, and he picks up a woman who promises sexual favors in exchange for drugs. Little does he know that she is not all she seems to be. This story was pure entertainment. It was extremely funny and Pudge fleshes out the characters quite well in a few short pages.

      The Parade brings us back to more a more traditional horror setting; a small town filled with odd people who are offering something that is too good to be true to a young couple. While this story was also entertaining, it lacked the dark edge that it would have needed to make it more than an average story; the ending was a bit too predictable to make this story stand out.

     The Wine, the Bitch, and the Broom Closet was much more original, or at least I don't often read things from the point of view of a prison trustee. It started out in a very promising way, but was lacking in the ending. It is never quite explained what the Bitch has become, only that she is there and turns out to be quite menacing.

     Good Omen is the third and last of the average stories; again, this one is a bit predicable. It is about two state employees, one of whom wins the lottery and offers to share the winning jackpot with the other. Despite it's predictability it was still an enjoyable read and again I think Pudge developed the characters well here.

     Pissing the Night Away is another comedy, only this one is about a man who wants to have a threesome with his cousin, only he and his friend need to give her some meth first. Unfortunately, they are broke so they find the next best thing- urine from another meth addict. Yes, that is disgusting as it sounds. It also has some very unintended consequences that took me by surprise. Pudge was able to deliver a strong ending to this story, and make me laugh at something that would normally make me gag.

     Bob's Country Store is another comedic horror story, and I think comedy is something Pudge is able to do well. It is about a man who finds himself in the back of a truck in chains, and he is told by the man who has taken him that he will be turned into sausage. This is cannibalism made funny, and with a surprising and humorous ending.

     I Wish I had Jeffery's Girl brings us back to more serious horror, and this time it is about love that has turned into obsession. It also plays with the reader's notion of the gender of one of the characters; this was an interesting and dark story. I felt that the ending could have been a little stronger than it was, but over all it was well done.

Stone Cold is a scifi story that also dabbles a bit in Greek mythology; this was the best story in the entire collection. Here, Pudge manages to bring together a compelling set of characters into a crime drama that made me stop and think a bit about our current legal system. It also has a strong ending that I think was lacking in some of the other stories; the reader is left with the chilling feeling that all is not well in the world.

Overall I enjoyed this entertaining set of stories, and I am looking forward to reading other things by Pudge.

You may purchase this title by clicking on these links: Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon DEAmazon FR

I give it three and a half cocktails.

The Other Iron River and Other Stories

  The Other Iron River, by Tony Rabig is a collection of three short stories that was recommended to me by a good friend. I don't think I would have picked it up otherwise, but I am very happy I did. Rabig's writing style is a deceptively simple one. That is to say  his stories are not overly complex, yet I find myself thinking about them long after having finished reading. Each of them seems to ask a question of the reader, what would you do in similar circumstances?
     The Other Iron River is the first story, and it is about a couple who moves to a small town only to discover that there is a parallel town that exists right outside of their house, stuck forever in the town's heyday of the early 1900s. They have the option of staying in the present and living out their lives or they can cross over and stay in the past permanently.  It begs the question, what would you do given the choice? Would you choose to live in the present and move forward, good or bad, or would you go to the other place in the past where everything has a guaranteed  happy ending? Or does anything in life ever come with that kind of guarantee?

      The second story in the collection, Ghost Writer, is a fanciful story about a man who inherits his grandfather's house, and with it his grandfather's abilities. We all like to think that if we are taken too soon in life there is a way of continuing on with our legacy, and someone to do that for us. This story was appealing to me since it was about books, but at the same time it also lacks that something extra that I have come to expect from Rabig based on the other two short stories. It entertained me, but it is not one that I will continue to think about long after reading.

     Acts of Faith is the third and final story, and this one is about zombies. I am not normally a fan of zombie fiction, but this particular story was about more than that. It was about a man who was alone, perhaps the last survivor, but he certainly hopes not. He takes it upon himself to try and preserve a few books. What are the most important books? What are the ones that would be needed to preserve a culture and nurture what could be a new civilization, if anyone survives? Do we all feel this sense of arrogance that we alone will get to decide this in a similar situation?

     I enjoyed reading this collection mostly because it allows the reader to play the what if game; it allowed me to let my mind wander and ponder the questions that it unobtrusively posed. I enjoyed Rabig's writing style, the simplicity of the stories that still made me think. That is often a hard thing to achieve, but he did it well here.

You can purchase this title by clicking on the following links: Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon DEAmazon FR

I give it four cocktails.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Vagrant

     The Vagrant, by Brian Hall is a novelette that introduces an interesting character in a promising new series from Angelic Knight Press. Crate Northgate is a man with a troubled past who can see, and communicate with, ghosts. In this brief story, we are only given hints about his past. His main focus this time is helping a homeless man he sees at a convenience store that is being tormented by the spirit of a dead judge. In the end, Crate is not sure he should have helped the man at all.
     I really enjoyed this story, and Crate Northgate is a character I would like to get to know better.  Hall does an excellent job of fleshing him out and making him seem real. Overall it was a well written story and a good introduction to the Southern Hauntings Saga.

I give it four cocktails.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Horror For Good

     There is something for everyone in Horror For Good, from the staccato prose of Ray Garton to the poetic style of G.R. Yeates, the stories found in this collection are as varied as they are chilling. In fact, that variety extends to include all aspects of the horror genre; stories that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, ones that evoked the sadness of the loss of a loved one, to dark humor, to science fiction with a dark twist, everything the horror genre has to offer can be found here. 
     I should mention I was a slush reader for this anthology. I was honored to be able to help, along with two other wonderful women. However, I did not get to read every story in here prior to publication. Many of these were new to me, and I enjoyed getting to read them for the first time. There are also a few reprints in here that are very hard to come by, but were offered thanks to the generosity of the authors in the horror community. That same generosity is what led to the number of stories that came pouring in, and allowed the editors to pick the best of the best for this anthology. I want to highlight a few of the stories here; a mix of reprints and originals. 

Dead Letters, by Ramsey Campbell was a chilling story told by a master. As the story progresses, you have some vague notion of the direction Campbell is taking you, but at the end there is still that element of surprise that makes you stop then reread the story because you have just realized all the clues had been neatly laid out, if you had just taken the time to notice them. Campbell manages to build the tension and suspense in just a few short pages; there is good reason why he is an award winning author. 

Mouth, by Nate Southard was one of those stories that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It was a very original story, where you learn things a bit at a time about the new conditions of life on the planet. There is a new organism, and it has demands that must be met. I don't want to say more than that, as what makes this story great is its slow build up to a very frightening end. 

The Lift, by G.R. Yeates was another unique and very well written story. Yeates uses his signature poetic prose to evoke a nightmare world that is contained in an office building, but it all originates from the lift. This bleak story evokes what a truly hellish job with no hope of any redemption would look like. Nightmare merges with reality in the world Yeates has created.

The Apocalypse Ain't so Bad, by Jeff Strand is an example of the dark humor that can be found in a few stories in this anthology. In this humorous but gruesome story, the zombie apocalypse has occurred, but our main character is fine with that since he can do what he wants, or at least he can until a rather unfortunate incident occurs.  Strand's sense of humor had me laughing out loud at this quirky, bloody story. 

Solution, by Benjamin Kane Ethridge is a perfect example of how science fiction and horror marry so well together. Things are slowly revealed in this tale; the reader learns most things as the main character does, but by the end you know exactly what has happened and it is a very frighting prospect. 

Returns, by Jack Ketchum was one of the sad stories of loss. This was a very moving story, that again, surprised me with the direction it ultimately took.  But with that surprise came a deeper emotional response, Ketchum has an amazing ability to tell a story and also make you think about what really matters in life. 

     To say I enjoyed this anthology would be an understatement. This is one the finest collections of horror stories I have seen. The editing was superb, the groupings of stories flowed smoothly from one to the next, with the perfect ones at the beginning and the end. The fact that all the profits are going to a wonderful charity, amFar, is simply an added bonus. Highly recommended. 

I give it five cocktails.