Showing posts with label 3.5 paws up. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 3.5 paws up. Show all posts

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Review: Aliens and Ice Cream by Michael James


Aliens.

They’re everywhere.

If you go outside, they’ll kill you.
If you try to run, they’ll kill you.

Ice cream probably won't help.

On an entirely normal summer day, the sky rips apart and aliens pour from the wound. Black, featureless pods, they are horrifying in their efficiency, killing anything that steps foot outside. Inexplicably, they don’t attack anyone indoors.

No one knows where they came from, what they want and when—or if—they’ll go away. Matt Cutler wanted to spend Sunday with his family. Now, he’s trapped in a tree fort outside his house with his neighbor, Heather Keene, and his little sister Abby.

They can’t go outside.

They’re running out of water.

If dehydration doesn’t kill them, the aliens will.

But Matt thinks he’s figured out a way to save everyone… if the aliens don’t kill him first.



You might think given that cover that you are getting ready to read a sci-fi apocalyptic alien invasion story...and you are, except Aliens and Ice Cream is much more than that.  I wouldn't call this one heavy on the sci-fi either. More like sci-fi lite. Part horror, part thriller, with a good dose of domestic tragedy, the heart of this survival story is a coming of age tale. It's more about the interpersonal relationships than it is about aliens. 

Set in the midst of a neighborhood cookout, the story really begins like any day in any town, USA. Oh sure, there's some drama with certain neighbors, but who doesn't have that neighbor that they just don't care for? While we are all worried about who's having an affair with who, and whether that cute girl has figured out who is crushing on her, out of the blue comes...well, aliens. They quickly decimate the neighborhood, turning that cookout into a crispy critter human BBQ. Only there's a catch. Anyone "inside" is unnoticeable to the alien pods stationed outside.  The rules are pretty simple. Stay inside. Stay alive. But as we've frequently learned, there's always someone willing to overlook the rules. 

I'm not that big on alien sci-fi but Aliens and Ice Cream had enough gratuitous gelatinizing and vaporizing going on that it satisfied my horror-loving heart. The best scenes were tight, tense, and claustrophobic. You try being stuck in a treehouse for days, or a junction box, or even in your own house for days. In spite of this, I will admit I struggled in caring about a lot of the characters and really found myself wanted most of the adults to be zapped.  The dialogue was well-written so that's not the problem at all. The adults are the most jacked-up emotional messes seen this side of a soap opera. It's initially a very large cast of characters with a boatload of pageantry.  I couldn't even love to hate some of them. 

But the kids? Yeah, the kids are the gold star in this alien version of "As the World Turns." If you are looking for a character-driven narrative without a lot of science-y over-explanation, and love "this is how the world ends" novels, I think you'll find that Aliens and Ice Cream will pack a punch.



Sunday, July 28, 2019

Review: The Toll by Cherie Priest


State Road 177 runs along the Suwannee River, between Fargo, Georgia, and the Okefenokee Swamp. Drive that route from east to west, and you’ll cross six bridges. Take it from west to east, and you might find seven.

But you’d better hope not.

Titus and Davina Bell leave their hotel in Fargo for a second honeymoon canoeing the Okefenokee Swamp. But shortly before they reach their destination, they draw up to a halt at the edge of a rickety bridge with old stone pilings, with room for only one car . . .

When, much later, a tow-truck arrives, the driver finds Titus lying in the middle of the road, but Davina is nowhere to be found.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Review: Heart of Stone by Ben Galley


Merciless. Murderer. Monster. He has been called many names in his time.

Built for war and nothing else, he has witnessed every shade of violence humans know, and he has wrought his own masterpieces with their colours. He cared once, perhaps, but far too long ago. He is bound to his task, dead to the chaos he wreaks for his masters.

Now, he has a new master to serve and a new war to endure. In the far reaches of the Realm, Hartlund tears itself in two over coin and crown. This time he will fight for a boy king and a general bent on victory.

Beneath it all he longs for change. For something to surprise him. For an end to this cycle of warfare.

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Action-packed and emotionally-charged, The Heart of Stone is a dark fantasy novel that explores the aspects of human nature. Perfect for fans of Brandon Sanderson, Mark Lawrence, and Joe Abercrombie.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Review: Uncle Billy's Chicken Hut and Salvation Emporium


West of the bustling metropolis of Phoenix, along Interstate Highway 10, is the magnificent and mystical desolation of the mountains of Southwestern Arizona. It is as alien as the planet Mars, and just as foreboding. Yet hidden away between the peaks & valleys and desert vistas, is a most incongruous edifice – part diner, part carnival atmosphere, with equal measure of whimsy, and just a smidge of nightmare. And it lay smack dab between the Eastern boundaries of imagination, and the Western shores of spooky. You can’t get to it by car or plane; and you won’t reach it by helicopter or even horseback. Nor is it on any map in existence. In fact – you won’t find it at all. 

Unless you’re dead. For this is Uncle Billy’s Chicken Hut & Salvation Emporium. Welcome. You say your spirit can’t move on until you find that 1995 issue of Jugs Galore with Miss February – before your wife does? Come on in! Never got a chance to see the dream realized of eating oysters on the half-shell? You’ve come to the right place! Not quite sure you’re actually in the dead mode? Uncle Billy will steer you on the right path! You know you’re dead, but you’re not quite sure how it happened, or where to go? Uncle Billy will set you straight!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Review: The Monster of Selkirk - The Duality of Nature

Publication date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a monster when they see one. After three hundred years of monstrous, feral elves plaguing the island nation of Selkirk, everyone believes they know what a monster is. Humans have learned to live with their savage neighbors, enacting a Clearing every four years to push the elves back from their borders. The system has worked for centuries until after one such purge, a babe was found in the forest.
As Tallis grows, she discovers she isn’t like everyone else. There is something a little different that makes people leery in her presence, and she only ever makes a handful of friends. 
But when the elves gather their forces and emerge from the forests literally hissing Tallis’s name like a battle mantra, making friends is the least of her troubles. Tallis and her companions find themselves on an unwilling journey to not only clear her name, but to stop the elves from ravaging her homeland.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Review: Soul Scent by Reyna Favis

blue gravestone with underwater feel

Troubled psychic Fia leads a double life. As a ground pounder for Search And Rescue, she finds the lost and vulnerable living and brings them to safety. As a servant to an ancient and indifferent Psychopomp, her mission is no less crucial – to help the suffering dead cross over to the afterlife. Her worlds collide after a distraught woman with a gun disappears into the woods and the rescue becomes a body recovery. 

When a frantic hammering erupts from the empty SAR team trailer, Fia appeals for help to Cam, irascible Brit, mentor and Psychopomp aficionado. But nothing is what it seems and a straightforward case soon goes sideways. Will Fia and Cam be able to uncover the shocking truth behind the final act of a desperate woman and free her tortured earthbound spirit? 

The second novel of the ZACKIE STORIES.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Review: Reaper by Jonathan Pongratz


Gregory and his little sister Imogen love spending Halloween with their parents. But this year is different. If he proves he can take care of Imogen all by himself, he’ll finally have the allowance he’s dreamed of. 

That was before the basement door opened on its own. Before the strange door appeared in the basement and Imogen was taken from him by the monster. 

Now everyone in town is blaming him for her disappearance, but no one is listening to his story. Where did the door come from? What was that creature? And most of all, can he find his sister before it’s too late, or will he bury his memories of her along with his parents?

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Review: Lingering by Melissa Simonson


With Lingering, your departed loved ones are only ever a phone call or text message away.*

Say all those things you should have said. Get their advice, hear their comforting words. Let them celebrate your achievements and soothe your fears like they used to. 

Everyone is welcome, and consultations are always free. 

*Some conditions may apply. Please call our office for details.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk


You don't read the book. It reads you.



Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A disturbing tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror. Jesse Wheeler--former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead--was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book. It takes more than some urban legend to frighten him. Hell, reality is scary enough. Seven years ago his greatest responsibility was the nightly guitar solo. Then one night when Jesse was blackout drunk, he accidentally injured his son, leaving him permanently disabled. Dreams of being a rock star died when he destroyed his son's future. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to stay clean. But Jesse is wrong.

The legend is real--and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on his fears and resurrect the ghosts from his past. Jesse is not the only one in danger, however.

By reading the book, you have volunteered to participate in the author's deadly game, with every page drawing you closer to your own personalized nightmare.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Review of Our Frail Disordered Lives


Larry Kavanaugh is an ordinary kind of guy. He’s got a nagging wife and two kids, both annoyingly gifted. No matter what he does, there is no end to what his family needs. What’s a regular, everyday guy to do? Well, he cuts a few corners, obviously – one very big corner. He sells his soul to the Devil.

Maybe it’s not the actual Devil, but Larry is ready to make a deal with one of the Devil’s minions. He meets some demon whose name he can’t remember. Funny, it was right on the tip of his tongue, a name of something you step on. Roach the Demon has sort of good intentions. He just wants a re-write of Dante’s Inferno with himself as the star.


Roach goes after Larry as a rogue operation. He needs to make a point to his boss, Satan, so he uses the body of a human to follow Larry around and stir up trouble. He offers Larry an airtight guarantee that nothing could possibly go wrong. After all, Larry does not feel like he has much to lose – or does he? Even Roach might be in over his head this time.