Saturday, December 7, 2013

Of a Feather

Anyone who reads this book that also suffers from ornithophobia will probably not want to leave their house for a week, and I'm sure they will suffer nightmares. As the title suggests, this book features birds, all sorts of birds, who are not our benign feathered friends. But they are not really what this story is about; it is about adolescence. That confusing time in everyone's life where things never seem to go smoothly. In fact, sometimes events lead up to make things go horribly wrong.

Of a Feather follows several central characters, and one thing I really enjoyed about Ken Goldman's writing style was that he gives equal time to each one. The reader gets to see the genesis of a psychopath, everything that leads up to him becoming a monster. On the flip side, Goldman also shows what happens to essentially good people who are pushed too far. And even though he is writing about a generation younger than my own, Goldman manages to capture everything that is universal about being a teenager. I think anyone of any age can relate to what these characters are feeling and thinking. The technology and slang might be different, but the emotional ups and downs will never change. Goldman fleshes these characters out quite well as we follow along a bloody horror story that will continue to haunt the reader long after they put it down.

This is Ken Goldman's first novel, but I hope it won't be his last. This is a solid, entertaining read, and I'm looking forward to seeing what else he will come out with in the future.

I give it four cocktails.

Click these links to purchase: Amazon US,  Amazon UKBarnes and Noble

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Baby Boozer

Ever have one of those days where you come home and you just want a drink? Well, I had a day like that, but, alas, no wine and no beer in the fridge. So I turn to my liquor cabinet, and I see that I have some vodka and St. Germain. Now normally I would mix those two with some sprite, but I am all out of sprite. So I looked to see what I did have in the fridge, and there is apple juice. I have apple juice thanks to my baby who can now start drinking the stuff. Bless that child and her plant made sugar water. Since I was going sweet with this cocktail (by default), I also added some orange liqueur, and the Baby Boozer was born. It came out quite tasty.

Baby Boozer:

2 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Ste. Germain*
1 oz. Orange Liqueur (you can use Cointreau, but I buy the cheap stuff and it came out fine here.)  
2 oz. Apple Juice

Add to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and pour.

*If you don't keep St. Germain on hand, (I know not everyone does), you can just substitute an extra shot of vodka. This will make it less sweet and give you an excuse to serve it in a martini glass. Unless you have a nifty glass that is rounded on the bottom like me. Who wouldn't want to use a glass you can spin around without your drink spilling? I'm easily entertained.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Buried A Man I hated There

Buried A Man I Hated There is a story of loss and the kind of grief that can destroy lives if left unchecked. The novel focuses on three characters whose lives intertwine at various points and are all suffering from the loss of a loved one. 

Jack Maddox is alive but living like a ghost in a personal hell of his own creation. Heidi seems normal on the surface, but is hiding an obsession. Dr. Bernard avoids dealing with his grief by trying to reclaim his youth, and, in doing so, crosses a line.  Pepper presents three lives torn apart by loss and lays bare emotions that most people want to keep buried. He slowly peels away the layers of the characters until we can see what is real, not just the social mask that they put up for everyone to see.

 This is an emotional read; I cried several times. It forces the reader to examine their own lives and think about what it could be like to lose everything that matters. What is left? That answer is different for everyone, and as Pepper shows in this novel people fall apart in different ways and sometimes you can put the pieces back together. Highly recommended. 

I give it five cocktails.

You can purchase this book by clicking the following links: Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes and Noble

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous

Fading Light is an anthology about fear; fear of the unknown monster. Monsters can take all shapes and forms; from what has become the  almost mundane zombie, to the overdone vampire that isn't really scary anymore. Nothing so common will be found between these pages. No, here the monsters run the gamut from animals from other dimensions to intelligent life forms that have been slowly plotting against us. I found myself sucked in to each of these nightmare worlds but some kept me up at night more than others.

Wrath, by Lee Mather was the story that had the greatest impact on me. I think that was in part due to the subject matter but also a testament to Mather's excellent skill as a writer. I don't want to go into too many details and possibly give away the ending, but this is a story of religious horror that packs quite an emotional wallop and had me questioning what I would do in a similar situation. 

Darktide by Mark Lawrence is a story that deals with the consequences of exploring too deep, of awakening something that has been dormant for a very long time. This one really scared me. Most stories I read don't, but this one explores the idea of an unknown coming for not only you, but your whole family and what you have to do to protect them. And how do you protect yourself and loved ones from something that you not only don't understand, but can't do anything about? 

Degenerates by D.L. Seymour is one I really enjoyed. It is set some years after H.P. Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror, which is a story I would recommend reading first if you are not familiar with it. Seymour manages to pull off a suitably Lovecraftian tale with a twist ending that I didn't quite see coming.

Light Save Us by Ryan Lawler was one of my favorites due to the gore and action that kept this story moving at a fast clip. It had that horror movie feel that gets your heart pounding and makes you want to scream at the characters to look out for the monster that is sure to come at them, or yell at them to not go out alone where you know the danger lurks.  

There was one story in this anthology that stood out from the rest because it was actually quite humorous rather than dark and scary. Gef Fox just plain had fun with Where Coyotes Fear to Tread, and I think the reader has fun right along with him. There are two unwitting heroes stuck in Tennessee when the monsters come and then find themselves on a mission to save the world. 

This is a large anthology and I found that I liked almost every story in here. For anyone looking for something a bit different that will touch more on the reader's fear of the unknown, they have a winner with this one. I wouldn't read it right before bed or you may find yourself sleeping with the lights on. 

I give it five cocktails.

You can purchase this book by clicking the following links: Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes and Noble

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Pink Martini (The drink, not the musical group. This is a blog about booze, after all.)

        So, for any of you follow this blog regularly, or as regularly as I post, you probably figured out that I had a baby recently. I am now the proud parent of a five month old girl. I love her very much, even though she occasionally makes a scream/sound that has been described as the Devil's weed-eater. Or I guess what lawn equipment in hell would sound like. This is a sound she makes when she is happy, which brings me to my new favorite cocktail recipe! (I was going to get to it eventually.) It is a pink martini, simple to make and perfect for the summer. You just need your favorite vodka, some coconut rum, cranberry juice, and pineapple juice.


Add 1 1/2 oz of vodka (I would stick with plain, unflavored vodka, but if you like a super sweet drink go for a citrus flavor or you can always double up on the coconut.)

1 1/2 oz of coconut rum (I like Bacardi, but Malibu works fine as well.)

Splash of cranberry juice.

Splash of pineapple juice.

(Obviously a splash will vary depending on who is mixing the drink, but again if you like it sweeter just add more fruit juice.)

All of this goes into your cocktail shaker with some ice. Shake then pour and serve!

     If you want to get fancy, you can add a fruit garnish of cherries or a pineapple slice. If you are making these by the pitcher you might have more fun with the cherries since they provide a stem to play with after you eat the garnish. Although I have yet to meet someone who can tie a knot with one of those, but it's fun to watch people try.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer and can find the time to enjoy this light libation.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sceptre of Storms

    The Sceptre of Storms is the second installment of the Age of the Flame series; a YA fantasy series that I am enjoying tremendously. This book picks up where the first, The Sword of Sighs, ended. Sarah Bean once again finds herself traveling to strange places, this time a world between worlds, then back to Seythe to fulfill her destiny as the Living Flame. The action of in this book is non stop and in some places quite a bit darker than the first book, however this is balanced well with a bit of humor. As with the first book, James manages to create interesting worlds that are appealing to adults as well as his target YA audience. This is not the type of thing I would normally find myself reading, but I was completely engrossed in this book and I can't wait for the next one. Very entertaining read. 

I give it five cocktails. 

This book can be purchased by clicking on the following links:  Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes and Noble

Friday, May 3, 2013

50 Shades of Decay

50 Shades of Decay, as anyone familiar with recent pop culture would guess, is a play on 50 Shades of Grey, the popular Twilight fan fiction erotica. Only rather than being about BDSM, this is horror/erotica, and some of the stories within go into really alternative lifestyles. In fact, this anthology contained some stories that featured sub(sub?)genres that I didn't realize were out there. But there are 51 stories by 51 different authors, so their take on zombies and erotica varies widely. There are stories of love that leads to suicide come the apocalypse, zombie strippers, necromancy, necrophilia, and the list goes on. The stories range in quality from good to excellent, with my favorites leaning much more heavily into the horror genre. 

Out of all of the short stories in this anthology, two in particular really stood out to me. Rabbits, by Guy Anthony De Marco, is a rather bleak story that features a zombie with a latent memory and a man who comes to realize that he has been reduced to nothing more than an animal in a cage. There were a few stories that dealt with similar themes, but De Marco manged to capture the sense of hopelessness in just a few short pages in a way that has stayed with me long after reading it. The other, and possibly the best story in the anthology, is Z Spot, by Benjamin Kane Ethridge. Ethridge's story revolves around a zombie stripper that is still going through the motions as she slowly decays, and who is also looking for an emotional connection. She finds it with one last customer, but things take a tragic turn. Ethridge is one of those rare writers who can take something that could easily be ridiculous and turn it into a moving story of love and loss. 

If I was giving awards away for titles, the award for best short story title ever would have to go to Pretty Kitty's Post Apocalypse Porn Palace. My love for alliteration aside, this was a good story. Jolie Chaton is the author and she has an original take on the zombie apocalypse,  or at least one possible business opportunity that could be available afterward. 

Overall this is a good anthology that I think would appeal to anyone who loves zombie fiction, and quite possibly a few of you weirdos out there who have truly outlandish fetishes. (That last bit is very tongue in cheek, so please don't send me any hate mail. Many thanks.) 

I give it four cocktails.

This title is available as an ebook and in paperback, and can be purchased by clicking the following links: 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Moonstruck: High Moor II

Moonstruck is the highly anticipated sequel to High Moor, the debut novel from Graeme Reynolds. High Moor was an excellent read, and the second in the series doesn't disappoint.  This book picks up right where High Moor left off, and the action starts almost immediately and continues at a fast pace the whole way through. I don't want to mention anything about the plot as that would give away some of the ending of the first novel, but I can say that even with the fast pace Reynolds brings in several new characters and takes the time to develop them fully. This helps him deliver an emotional impact that you don't often see from such action oriented novels, and speaks to his skills as a writer. Moonstruck is a fantastic horror novel with enough carnage to make the gore hounds happy and has scenes that are going to stay with me for a long time.

If you have read High Moor then you definitely need to pick up Moonstruck as it is one of the best books of  the year. If you haven't read the first one, then by all means do so. This is not a series you want to miss out on. Highly recommended.  

I give it five cocktails. 

This book is available as both a paperback and an ebook from the following: Amazon USAmazon UK, and Barnes and Noble as a paperback. 

High Moor, the first in the series, can be purchased by clicking the following links:  Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes and Noble

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Mighty Quinn

      The Mighty Quinn is an odd, quirky, fun read. Stiles starts the book in what seems like the middle of the action. The reader doesn't get much background information, but we quickly learn that this version of Canada is populated by angry Weres and a man who can suck the heat out of anything, which comes in handy when being attacked by said Weres. This prompts the attacked, Quinn, to head south to the US where he is looking to lay low for a while. Instead trouble keeps finding him, and all sorts of bizarre things start happening. 

      Stiles takes lots of creatures from the horror genre and just has fun with them. The result is a book that has a dry humor and continuous action that makes for a light, fun read. Anyone who enjoys the horror genre but wants something that doesn't take itself too seriously should pick this one up. 

I give it four cocktails. 

This book can be purchased by clicking the following links:  Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes and Noble

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sword of Sighs

The Sword of Sighs is a young adult novel, which is not something I would normally read, but Greg James, who also writes horror as G.R. Yeates, is one of my favorite authors so I made an exception for this one. I am very glad that I did. The Sword of Sighs is a fantasy novel with well paced action and compelling characters. The story features Sarah, a young girl who is tormented by school bullies until she finds herself transported to another world where the bullies are much more menacing than the ones found at her school. She also learns that there is something different about her, and she is set on a course that will change her life forever. 
     Even though this is a young adult novel, I think adult readers will also enjoy it. One of the things I liked about it was James' use of dream sequences throughout the book. Nightmare sequences are something he uses frequently as a horror writer and the more dreamlike sequences are no less effective here.  It gives the reader a unique way to see into the character's mind.  This was an entertaining read and I am looking forward to the next one. 

I give it five cocktails. 

This book can be purchased by clicking the following links: Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes and NobleKobo

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Rift (Detectives and Demons)


   The Rift, by R.J. Clark, is a horror novel and detective story all rolled into one. Set in post Katrina New Orleans, it is not a version of the city that anyone will easily recognize. This is because in the world that Clark has created, the city has become hell on earth, or at least a section of it has anyway. This version of things makes for what is a very fun, violent, blood drenched story that brings in some classic horror elements such as possession and all manner of evil creatures, and mixes them in with an interesting mystery.
      What I enjoyed most about this novel was how much fun Clark had with it and with the characters. All sorts of terrible things happen to Matt Faustus, the paradimensional investigator and our lead character, but Clark presents it in a way that takes the reader along for the blood soaked ride. This is the first in a series, and I hope there are many more to come after it.

I give it four cocktails.

This book can be purchased by clicking on the following links: Amazon USAmazon UK