Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Witchlight - Featured Author Review

Book 9 in Nightworld series
by LJ Smith
Genres: Paranormal, Romance,
      Young Adult

     In the 9th and so far last installment in the Nightworld series, the third Wild Power has been located. Keller, a shapeshifter who can transform into a black panther, and her team is dispatched by the Daybreakers to secure and guard this very important person. Keller has no patience for the girl she is supposed to protect, often thinking of her as a bubble-headed Barbie. She soon realizes that her charge isn't as superficial as she had originally thought and gains respect for her as she learns that the girl exudes unconditional love and genuinely cares for people, no matter the situation.

     As the apocolypse approaches another ancient power is unearthed and awakened. This deadly being is much more powerful than the soulmate principal but not nearly as much fun.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Architecture of Fear - Review

Architecture of Fear
edited by Kathryn Cramer
Genre: Horror

     "The master architects of fear will chill and thrill you in this outstanding collection of spine-chilling terror ... in a house of horror from which your mind may never escape ..." Quoted from back cover.

     This collection of 14 short stories by famous authors such as Robert Aickman, Michael Bishop, Dean Koontz, and Joyce Carol Oates all have one thing in common ... a creepy building. Whether it is an apartment, family home, abandoned house, or even a bar the settings are frightfully well described and eerie.

     I found this on my bookshelf with other misc. paperbacks and thought that it would fit in wonderfully with this month's theme. I'm not even sure when I had bought it and don't recall reading it before. Most likely the title had grabbed my eye back when I was an architectural student in college.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Black Dawn - Serial Sunday Review

Black Dawn
Book 8 in Nightworld series
by LJ Smith
Genres: Paranormal, Romance,
      Young Adult

     Maggie is a human who stands up to the wrong person and finds herself a captive with Night World slave traders. We explore deeper into the Redfern family tree and discover a lost branch which brings about a new heir to this ruling dynasty of vampires. This new prince is also the second Wild Power to be revealed to us. He realized his power as a young child and has had time to cultivate and hone this deadly force and use it very accurately.

     Once again the soulmate principal comes into play to make a previously cold and heartless vampire rethink his attitude towards human. I have to wonder about the whole soulmate principal though. When theorizing in a previous book, Soulmate, as to why vampires are not reincarnated after they have been staked, the hypothesis is made that with no soul there is no soul to move on to another life. This makes me wonder how vampires can have soulmates if they have no souls.

     Either way, I find it quite humorous that of all the magic in the Night World it seems that the ancient power of the soulmate principal can bring down abig bad vampire the quickest and it seems to be the power that they fear the most. Maybe the best way to keep vampires in line is to host a weekly mixer and see how many soulmates they can pair up.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Monkey's Paw - Saturday Shorts Review

The Monkey's Paw
by W. W. Jacobs
Genres: Classic, Horror

     This short story originally appeared in 1902 in Harper's Monthly magazine. A classic tale of a mummified monkey's paw with a spell on it that grants the owner three wishes. This story teaches the lesson "be careful what you wish for". Often these words warn that it is common that the things we often want comes with circumstances we haven't considered. Such as how paparazzi are the price of fame as well as never having any privacy. In stories such as The Monkey's Paw however it is fate that delivers unexpected circumstances turning a seemingly innocuous wish into a sinister deed with horrid consequences. In its own quirk of fate, Jacobs most commonly wrote humorous pieces but it is this morbid tale of horror that has withstood the test of time.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Valley of Death, Zombie Trailer Park - Review

Valley of Death, Zombie Trailer Park
by William Bebb
Genre: Horror

     You can't have halloween without a good zombie story. Whether this book qualifies depends on your definition of good. From a literary stand point, probably not. Generally when an author has a disclaimer apologizing for editing flaws instead of fixing such errors, I don't cut them much slack. However, the introduction to this book showed that the writer possessed an excellent sense of humor so I figured what the heck. The punctuation errors that he warned about were easy enough to ignore, but whole words were missing from sentences.

     But if you define a good zombie story based on plot, well zombie plots aren't too complicated. Flesh eating, brain craving undead creatures, and survivors trying to stay that way. Provided the survivors don't do anything too annoying or stupid and at least one does get away, seems to makes for a successful zombie story.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Huntress - Featured Author Review

Book 7 in Nightworld series
by LJ Smith
Genres: Paranormal, Romance,
      Young Adult

     A huntress, originally feared as a lethal vampire that hunted humans for fun suddenly learns that she is half human. She does a complete turn around and joins the Daybreakers - an underground circle of Night World creatures and humans alike who are trying to bridge the gap between all the races.

     I can feel a climax beginning to build with this book. All of the stories so far have been interlaced but not so tightly woven together that they don't make any sense on their own. While this book did not end with a cliff hanger, thank goodness, it did introduce a new underlying plot of prophecies of the coming apocolypse and the search for four "Wild Powers" that obviously wasn't concluded at the end of the book. I'm not so confident that Black Dawn,the next book in the series, will be comnpletely stand alone and easy to understand without having to read this book first. I cannot say for sure as I have not read it yet.

     It may be a moot point though as this is becoming like Lays potato chips, you can't consume just one. This series is so entertaining, compelling, and just downright addicting, I don't know that anyone could read just one without wanting to read them all.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Destination Frightville Review

Destination Frightville:
      13 U.S. Haunts to Visit If You Dare
by Harrison Clancy
Genres: nonfiction, paranormal

     If you live near any of these destinations this would definitely be way cooler than any typical staged haunted house that invariably pop up for Halloween. This book gives a brief history, as well as contact information for the following destinations:

1. Devil's Den - Gettysburg, PA
2. Moon River Brewing Company - Savannah, GA
3. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium - Louisville, KY
4. The Haunted Mortuary - New Orleans, LA
5. Pensacola Lighthouse - Pensacola, FL
6. The Stranahan House - Ft Lauderdale, FL
7. Lizzie Borden House - Fall River, MA
8. The Myrtles Plantation - St. Francisville, LA

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Soulmate - Serial Sunday Review

Book 6 in series
by L.J. Smith
Genres: Paranormal, Romance,
  Young Adult

     "... her flying companion - her playmate. The one who was sacred to her, who was the other half of the mysteries of her life for her. The one who would always be there for her, helping her, watching her back, picking her up when she fell down, listening to her stories - no matter how many times she told them. Loving her even when she was stupid. Understanding her even without words. Being inside the innermost circle of her mind. Her soulmate."

     It is a love that knows no bounds. A love that stands the test of time, through thousands of years. A love that endures beyond "til death do us part" and extends through re-incarnation into the next life. To know such love is unfathomable. To find such a love is ecstatic. To exist a multitude of lifetimes finding such a love but never living to revel in it is a tragedy. Hannah Snow is the tragic pawn in the middle of a battle of wills between two vampires, one wants to protect Hannah, the other only wants to destrpy her. Hannah finds it impossible to distinguish which to trust.

     While again it isn't necessary to have read any of the previous books to enjoy this story, it definitely would add to the plot if you had. There is a scene, a small reunion of characters from previous books. While the scene gives a brief explanation and introduction of the characters it was nice to revisit these "old friends", almost like attending a high school reunion and catching up on the latest news in their lives.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Horror at Halloween - Saturday Shorts Book Review

book cover art for Horror at Halloween Part 1 by John GordonHorror at Halloween Part 1
First book in series
by John Gordon
Genre: Horror

     Bizarre things happen in the small town of Oxrun Station. No one can explain why. Mysterious things happen that nightmares are made of. This series of 5 stories tell of the strange things that occur on Halloween night to five different people that live in Oxrun Station.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tales From the Woods - Review

Tales from the Woods
by Lowell Ellington & Kevin Duffield
Genre: Horror

     This pick of the month contains several short stories that were inspired by an actual haunted forest attraction. Both authors had worked as actors and/or creators of the different skits and situations employed by the attraction over the five years that it had been open.

     The collective stories cover just about all of the necessary creatures of halloween: zombies, ghosts, unnatural creatures, and the chainsaw wielding maniac. Other than the many editing flaws, this book was very enjoyable and really sets the scene for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Featured Review - The Chosen

The Chosen
Book 5 in series
by L.J. Smith
Genres: Paranormal, Romance,
  Young Adult

     At he age of 5, Rashel witnessed a vampire savage her friend and then snap her mother's neck with a simple, but deadly, backhand. By the age of 18 she became Cat - the vampire slayer that brought fear to all of the creatures in the Night World.

     Quinn had entered the Night World innocently enough but over the centuries he had become a ruthless killer, reknowned within the Night World. When Rashel and Quinn meet it should be the ultimate battle to the death by two well trained and lethal combatants. Instead that dang soulmate principal goes and screws everything up.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Favorite Books for Halloween - Top Ten Tuesday

     This list represents some of my favorite books to read for Halloween that are not typically free.

     Amityville Horror by Jay Anson is allegedly based on a true story.

     Personally I think It is one of Stephen King's creepier books.

     Tim Burton's Nightmare before Christmas is a whimsical mixture of both Halloween and Christmas.

     Going to try not to fill this list with Stephen King books but he IS the master of horror after all, and Pet Semetary is an interesting take on zombies and the undead.

     If you are having a halloween party you can get some great ideas from Debbie Goard's book, Twisted Cakes!

Monday, October 15, 2012

No Way Out - Review

No Way out
by MJ Ware
Genres: Horror

     This book consists of 3 short stories which makes up about 1/3 of the book, an extended preview fills up about half the pages, followed by another preview.

     The three short stories were enjoyable enough and sufficiently suspenseful and eerie for halloween. As a free book it isn't too bad, but I'm glad I didn't pay for it.

     This book was still free on Amazon when I wrote this review, but as with all books on Amazon their prices fluctuate often so please double check the price before downloading the book.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dark Angel - Serial Sunday Review

Dark Angel
Book 4 in series
by L.J. Smith
Genres: Paranormal, Romance,
  Young Adult

     This week's Serial Sunday review is a continuation of the Night World series from our featured author. Near death experiences often give people a new lease on life. To realize how one almost cashed in their chips can lead to reflection as to whether they have wasted their life or made the most of it. Gillian realizes that she is in the latter category. The fact that she returns to her life with an angel that has plenty of advice on how to reach her goals helps her immensely.

     In Spellbinder, Smith briefly touched on the theory that we can never have what we want most. As soon as we get what we want, we want something else. Smith exbounds on this theory through Gillian's desire to be popular. Many movies and books have explored the phenomenon of the "popular crowd" and that it really isn't all that it is cracked up to be. Many times those who strive to be popular end up losing themselves and their own personality as they try to fit in. Is this what happens to Gillian? You will have to read this story to find out, I'm not going to ruin it for you.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe - Saturday Short Review

The Raven
by Edgar Allan Poe
Genres: Classics, Poetry

     Poe had written this while his wife was terminally ill and it tells the tale of a sad and lonely man, a specter in the form of the memory of a lost love, and a creepy raven who repeats the same word "nevermore" which echoes the man's thoughts that he will see his love nevermore.

     While The Raven is often associated with felings of creepiness, I honestly found it more sad than eerie. Though I will share something a little creepy about this poem. As I sat down to read it this morning there was a tapping, tapping on my door. But it was a woodpecker and nothing more. I'm serious! It was quite bizarre and more than a little eerie!

     Even if you are not a fan of poetry you cannot help but to admire the rhythm and the cadence of this almost musical poem. I would have to admit that the Kindle version of this book is probably a bit disappointing. While there is a list of the illustrations that accompany the original text, the drawings are not included in he file. From the introduction before the poem, which is actually longer than the work itself, the illustrations are quite noteworthy on their own.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Review of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

by Mary Shelley
Genres: Classic, Horror

     Frankenstein is just TOO good of an example of classic stories for Halloween for me to pass up, even if I have already reviewed it. Here is an excerpt of my original review and a link to it.

     Contrary to popular belief, Frankenstein was NOT a monster. The being that DR. Frankenstein created was never given a name. It can also be argued as to whether or not the being WAS a monster. Also contrary to popular belief Frankenstein is not a monster story. It is a story about prejudice and the emotions and behavior of mankind.

     During the times of the black plague, Dr. Frankenstein was surrounded by death. He discovered a way to create life, but it wasn't easy. He became obsessed with the idea, rarely stopping with his research and experiments to eat or sleep. He was so inamorate with the question of if he COULD create a living being that he didn't question if he SHOULD.

Read more

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Second Strike - Review

Second Strike
by Ron P. Whittington

     Parker Glynn lost his wife, daughter, and self respect when the towers fell. His apparent goal in life was to drink heavily in an attempt to numb his pain. When he wakes up one morning after passing out on a remote beach in Florida, he sees something that will change more than just his outlook on life.

Read the entire review at A Goddess of Frugality.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spellbinder - Review

Book Three in series
by L. J. Smith
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young adult

     In this addition to the series we get a detailed look into the lives of Thea and Blaise - the witch cousins of Ash whom we briefly met in Secret Vampire.

     Blaise is a wild temptress likened to the goddess Aphrodite. Her hobbies include toying with human boys, torturing human boys emotionally, and controlling human boys. Oh, she also enjoys making beautiful jewelry which are actually charms and/or spells to aid in her toying, torturing, and controlling of boys.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Ouijiers - Book Review

The Ouijiers
by Matthew Ballotti
Genres: Science Fiction, Horror

     In all honestly, I didn't have very high expectations for this book. I had downloaded it out of curiosity because the author is a frequent caller on a pod cast that I listen to, and because it was free. But this book was incredible.

     Paul buys a Ouija board as research for the college paper he is writing for his occult history class. Strange things begin to happen immediately. This story asks the ages old question "Are Ouija boards truly doorways into another plane of existance?" Take this theory one step further and suppose that it is not a one-way doorway and you have the main plot of The Ouijiers.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Daughters of Darkness - Review

Daughters of Darkness
Book Two in series
by L. J. Smith
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, young adult

     This second book in Smith's Night Wold series is completely autonomous. It makes complete sense whether you read the first book or not. In Secret Vampire we had briefly met Ash, James' bad boy cousin who relished the hunt and killing of humans.

     In this adventure in the Night World we meet Jade, Rowan, and Kestrel - vampire sisters on the run from their family and the family's old fashioned male dominated traditions. Ash is dispatched to find his sisters and to bring them back home. On this quest he finds the unexpected, his soulmate, and she's human. Can love tame the savage beast?

     I'm not real big on the whole vampire movement. I don't dislike vampire stories but I don't seek them out either. I have to say that I am enjoying this series immensely though. The characters are so well defined they begin to feel like someone you might know personally. The situations are enthralling as the plot just sucks you right into it. A neighbor had given me these books and I'm very glad that he did, otherwise I may never have stumbled into the Night World on my own.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dead(ish) - Review

by Naomi Kramer
genres: humor, horror, paranormal

     This short book has been free since I downloaded it a year ago. It is the first installment in a series of 3 short unrelated novellas that are connected with the common theme that one of the main characters is dead(ish). The story begins not long after Linda is murdered by her boyfriend Mike. She can't move on without some closure and feels the need to find where Mike has hidden her body. Linda uses some very clever haunting tactics to try to terrorize Mike into revealing the whereabouts of her corpse.

     The language in this book might make a trucker blush as well as some of the more lewd sexual innuendos and situations, so this is definitely not for kids or young adults. Regardless of the subject matter it is surprisingly funny and light hearted as Kramer describes the ultimate payback from beyond the grave. Jilted women who are too demure to turn psychotic, no matter how much they may dream about it or feel their ex may deserve it, can live vicariously through Linda's acts of revenge.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bram Stoker's Dracula - Review

by Bram Stoker
Genres: classics, horror

     The ancestor of all modern day vampire stories and beliefs. Stoker would be amazed if he could see how the idea of vampires has infilitrated our culture.

     The story unfolds through an assortment of letters, journal entries, and telegrams from the interested parties. Newspaper clippings also help to enlighten the reader as to certain circumstances. The story begins with the journal of Johnathon Harker. He visits Transylvania to conduct business with Count Dracula. The count insists that Harker remains his guest for at least a month. There seems to be no other business to tend to and I was a bit confused as to how this delay was justified. I know my boss would go ballistic if I decided to extend a business trip for so long for no apparent reason.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Smoke Portrait - Book Review

Smoke Portrait
by Trilby Kent
Genre: Literary Fiction

     Glenys Phayre volunteers to become penpals with a Belgium prisoner. Due to a misspelling in the city's name, her letters end up in the mailbox of 13 year old Marten. He is as desperate for companionship and a confidant as Glen is and Marten pretends to be said prisoner and writes back to her.

Read the entire review at A Goddess of Frugality.

I give it 3 star review graphic 3 stars.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Secret Vampire - Review

Secret Vampire
Book One in series
by L. J. Smith
Genres: Paranormal, Romance

     It was the first day of summer vacation and 16yo Poppy had been looking forward to it for weeks. Armed with a brand new CD and her best friend James at her side, Poppy planned to make the most of her new found freedom. Until she suddenly doubled over with pain in her abdomen, and her mom dragged her to the doctor. Poppy's world would never be the same. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer without long to live.

     James offered her an alternative. She would still be dead, but undead. Without much time left before Poppy dies for real, she and James embark on her journey into the Night World.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - Free Stories for Halloween

     These books tell the story of classic characters that we associate with Halloween or are just good and creepy to get you in the Halloween spirit. The top four will be this October's monthly picks.

     When I think of Halloween stories, Dracula by Bram Stoker is the first one that comes to mind! Read my review.

     Even though most Frankenstein movies really have nothing to do with Mary Shelley's original story, it is still sufficiently creepy to read for Halloween. Read my review.

     This is a new book for me, it was listed in the free Kindle books on Amazon so I thought I would include something for those readers who don't enjoy classics as much as I do. Read my review.

     Another new book for me, I decided it might be best to split the monthly picks up between half classics and half new books. I was looking for a zombie story for this month too!

     This book of creepy short stories is currently free for download on Amazon! Read my review.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October Featured Author - LJ Smith

L.J. Smith

  September 4, 1958
Main genres:
  Young-adult, Horror, Science fiction,
  Fantasy, Romance

     Smith has said that she realized she wanted to be a writer sometime between kindergarten and first grade, "when a teacher praised a horrible poem I'd written", and she began writing in earnest in elementary school. Lisa has worked as an elementary school teacher before she pursued her writing career full time.